The Journey to Porcelain

By Jarrod Spencer –

When I was studying art in college, I had to take a pottery class. It was a medium of art I had never had the privilege of working with. To say the least, it was difficult. I improved my skills throughout the semester, but did not come close to “having a handle” on this art form.

I remember being a bit frustrated when I would go to “paint” my pots and not know what colors were going to appear. Some colors will appear a different color as when they go through the extreme heat of the kiln.

Mildred White Struven shares this thought: “A clay pot sitting in the sun will always be a clay pot. It has to go though the white heat of the furnace to become porcelain.”

As life hands each one of us our fair share of challenges, we may forget what we can become by going through the heat, because of those challenges. Sometimes life can be tough and cause us to experience heat like that from the sun. And our goal is never to come out on the other side so hard that we are no longer flexible. Still, in order for us to be molded and reshaped, we are required to go through the deep heat of the furnace.

It is only through the heat in the furnace that the clay can become porcelain.

PRAYER: Father, may I always be moldable, never becoming so hard that You cannot work with me.

“Yet you, LORD, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand” (Isaiah 64:8 NIV).

Oooo, Ahhhh

March 29, 2021 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Worship

By Cheri Cowell –

I love fireworks! One Fourth of July I had the privilege of viewing them from the bow of a boat anchored in the river. With each burst of color the water surrounding me reflected the beauty that filled the sky. As I watched the dazzling show above and around me I became as a little child, filled with awe and emotion. I beamed from ear to ear, and spontaneously commented with each boom on the majesty displayed in the sky.

On the return home after the fireworks I thought about how glorious it will be when Christ comes again to take His throne. It will be more glorious than any fireworks show can ever be, and my heart will soar more than it ever could while viewing anything man-made. For such a time as this we were created: to fall in adoration at the spectacle of our Lord taking His rightful place as the sovereign power ruling over all the earth. Won’t that be a magnificent day?

Some scholars believe Daniel’s visions prophesy the fall of the kingdoms of Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome. Still others label this as a second coming prophesy. Either way, the clear message is that God (the Ancient of Days) sits on the throne, overseeing a judgment (court) with books that detail the sins of those who oppose Him. At His will, He will destroy these men and women with their own boastfulness. Then the Son of Man (Jesus Christ) will take His place as ruler over all. All the people, of every tribe and nation, will worship our Lord forever! Won’t that be a magnificent day?

PRAYER: Dear God, penetrate me deeply today with the vision and reality of Your great return. Help me prepare for Your second and final coming. To You be the glory, forever and ever.

“In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed” (Daniel 7:13-14 NIV).

A Grrrr-eat Attitude

March 28, 2021 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Personal Growth

By Rosemary Flaaten –

Imagine if the only things you had today were those which you were grateful for yesterday.

If this were to become a reality in my life, what would I have left today? Would I have a house, car, a bureau full of clothes? Would I still have my husband and three children? Would any of my friends remain? Would I even be able to stand or would I be a shrivelled-up hollow of a woman because I had not been grateful for my health? Would I have a relationship with Jesus, my Savior or have taken that for granted as well?

Thankfully this was just a posting on Facebook and not a reality I need to worry about, but it does cause reason for pause. I go about each day interacting with people and accomplishing the tasks before me. But how often do I include a thankful spirit or an expression of gratitude in my daily routine? Has gratitude become a way of life or just an occasional blimp when something extraordinary occurs?

Scripture abounds with both examples and admonishment to be thankful for everything. Gratitude is to overflow from us. Overflow—that would be the antithesis of the dribble that comes from my heart.

Gratitude is a grrrr-eat attitude. Its choosing to see the blessing in the little things and the extraordinary. It’s expressing thankfulness for the easy and the hard. Its relishing the time we have with people rather than taking them for granted. Its accepting others for who they are, instead of wishing them to be different. Gratitude changes our inward perspective to one that is other-focused, forgiving and kind.

Choose to live today as if this Facebook posting were the gospel truth. Start each day with gratitude. Look for people and events to be thankful for at every turn in the day. End the day with whispers of appreciation for all that has transpired. Watch how it changes your heart and ultimately your world.

PRAYER: Thank You for life, love and opportunity. Thank You for strength and health. Thank You for each hardship and challenge. Thank You for each blessing. Thank You for You.

“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (I Thessalonians 5:16 – 18 NIV).

History and Heroes

March 25, 2021 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Life Topics

By Hally Franz –

I’ve had a history-filled spring. Between my family’s spring break vacation and two school trips, I have seen our nation’s capital and state capitals for both Missouri and Illinois. Over the last four months, I’ve visited homes of George Washington, Robert E. Lee, Abraham Lincoln and Barack Obama. What a blessing it has been to learn about our American heroes and leaders, both past and present.

Conditions around the world and in my own home may make it impossible to visit the places where Jesus was born and where Paul walked. My family and I may never see great pyramids, palaces or temples of Bible times. We can, however, experience many human accomplishments and creations here in this country.

As I write this devotional, we have just returned our American flag to its home in our hall closet. The sun has set on Memorial Day, a holiday that originated in 1868 as a day on which the graves of Civil War soldiers could be decorated. Today, we remember the soldiers who have given their lives to maintain our country’s freedoms. Soon, we will celebrate our hard-won independence on July 4th. And, after the seasons have changed once more, we will recognize members of our military, both living and dead, on Veteran’s Day.

George Washington was a brilliant gardener, valiant soldier and loving adoptive father. Abraham Lincoln prevailed through tremendous personal pain and a controversial term in office. Earl C. Tucker, my grandfather, served in Germany, England and Belgium during World War II. He came home with horrific pictures from concentration camps, and, at the same time, a feeling that most Germans were descent people. Matt was a challenging freshman in my ‘95 Introduction to Business class. He was killed a few years ago while in service to his country.

Heroes, all of them.

Each of these men served; each gave to his country. May we remember those famous and everyday heroes of American history – whether our flags are unfurled and flying or stored safely in a closet.

PRAYER: Mighty and Merciful God, we thank You for all the heroes through the ages – the ones who have been martyred while preaching Your word, as well as those who have given their lives in service to our country.
“And the saying pleased the whole multitude. And they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit, and Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas, a proselyte from Antioch, whom they set before the apostles; and when they had prayed, they laid hands on them.” (Acts 6:5-6 NKJV).

The Workout High

March 23, 2021 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Humorous

by Elaine James –

I wanted to try something different and have some fun, so I went to a Zumba class at my gym. It was so stinking hard. I couldn’t keep up with the instructor. My feet went one way while my hips went the other. My dancing looked nothing like my the moves my instructor demonstrated.

“With time, the dance will become more familiar and things will get easier.” She said, encouraging me to keep coming. Things were going well until she changed the routine. Ugh!

I continue to drag myself to some kind of exercise class or to use the machines. My crotchety body still gets sore. But you know the old cliché “No pain, no gain.” I have to admit a membership to a club, cute proper workout clothes and protein power bar (need that boost) help make the experience a little better. Still, it is not always something I look forward to.

If I get in a rut and slack off. I remind myself of the reasons why I workout; I feel better, it is good for my health, helps keep my weight down and gets those endorphins going in my brain. I feel that work-out high or “Runners high”.

But I still needed more motivation. That is when I came up with the idea to get a personal trainer. It was her job to help motivate, challenge, support me and give me fresh perspective. But it became too expensive, and as soon as I stopped training, my motivation dropped again.

Lasting motivation and zeal for life needs to come from my true personal trainer, Jesus Christ. I decided to give myself permission to have a McDonalds drive through mentality. I want things fast so I can go, go, go. So, for motivation, I pick a verse and go. I know I will benefit from it. Here is the first one I selected: “So that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power” (1 Corinthians 2:5 NIV).

Man’s wisdom for exercise is excellent today because of technology. You can get an eating and exercise app on your phone. Greater than all of that knowledge and resources man gives us is reassurance from God.

Where does your faith rest? You can’t rely on the workout high. This simple reminder helps me pray for faith so the power of God will rest on me to get through the day.

PRAYER: Father in heaven, forgive me for leaving You home and not taking You with me at times. Thanks for Your word that gives me a power boost for the day.

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