The Clay and The Vessel

The Bible often refers to God as a Potter and speaks of how He shapes us (Isaiah 64:8; Romans 9:21; Jeremiah 18:1-6).

This is a very clear and powerful analogy, as it shows how God helps us to become a useful vessel for Him, rather than us merely existing, unchanged, in our sinful states. If we wish to be used by God, we must allow ourselves to be shaped and molded by Him into a vessel which can be used for a higher purpose than an earthly one.

Sadly, I have heard some Christians speak, with great pride, about how learned they are and how well they know the bible and yet refuse to admit to, or apologise for, any wrong doing they may do. However, it is not enough to simply know the good things we must do, to be more like Jesus, we also have to become them.

A lump of clay may look at a vase (if it had eyes and conscious thought) and think, yes, I can see how that is shaped, I know what makes it useful but that would not be enough to make it a vase. Despite it’s realisation of the characteristics and composition of a vase, without additional effort to change into something better, it would still remain an unshaped lump of clay.

God’s Holy Spirit teaches us as we grow closer to God. As a cherished child, we are taught and disciplined (Hebrews 12:6), to help us to progress from what we once were, into something much more precious and useful. Thus, are we transformed from glory, to glory, into the likeness of Jesus (2 Corinthians 3:18).

Now, I imagine that, if clay could feel, the moulding process would probably not feel too pleasant. Likewise for people, who are often resistant to change and can even dislike seeing or admitting to flaws in themselves. However, the realisation of flaws in ourselves is an important step towards us becoming better. Like an addict (or someone with a bad habit), we have to admit we have a problem, if we wish to fix it.

After the realisation and acceptance of our flaws, comes the training to be better, the moulding. Despite how it may feel, a believer can have the consolation of knowing that they are shown flaws in themselves, so that they can be dealt with and that it will help them to progress in their Christian walks, rather than to condemn them, regardless of how it feels (Psalms 94:12; Revelation 3:19).

When an athlete trains, they learn to recognise that progress takes effort, sweat and endurance. They learn to push through the pain barrier, to improve their performance and fitness. How much more worthwhile is it then, if people can do this for the temporary flesh, to make the same effort with refining our eternal spirits, so that we can become more like Him whom we follow and improve our interactions with all people?

This assurance can help us to endure the process of critical self evaluation (as we can tend to be overly gracious to ourselves, whilst being overly critical of others) and hopefully strengthen our resolve to rid ourselves of anything which would cause us to behave in a manner less than Godly. So let us put off those things which would degrade and devalue us as children of God. Rather let us bring the flesh into submission and race the good race (1 Corinthians 9:25-27)

Pride is a prime candidate, for something people often struggle to overcome, as it can be subtle yet pervasive, yet is detestable to God (Proverbs 16:5). When someone harms you, do you wish to harm them back, or show them the love of God? If it is the former, perhaps it is time you asked your Lord to help to shape you into a vessel which regards not itself but rather how good a vessel it is.

If we wish to be a vessel of value, we cannot live our lives holding onto what we were or are, for the sake of pride. After all, Jesus told us that if we wish to follow Him, we need to deny ourselves [selfishness] and take up our cross [self sacrifice] (Matthew 16:24-26).

Rather, we should be quick to confess our flaws and happy to accept correction and guidance, which would result in us being more Godly. Regardless of how our flesh feels about it at first. The beauty is, the more you do it the more sense you see it makes too.

In laying down our selfishness and pride, we are also resisting the devil and how he would rather you behave and as the Good Book tells us, resist the devil and he will flee from you (James 4:7).

Reject pride, embrace meekness, humility and the love God has for all, so that the love and light of God can shine through us and help us to illuminate the world with His ways and help to show that there is a way back to God for all.

Free Daily Christian Teachings, Publications, Radio and TV

UCB (United Christian Broadcasters), is a Christian media ministry formed to promote the good news of Jesus Christ, has recently launched a new DAB Radio christian channel,  UCB UK. UCB’s radio stations include UCB UK, Inspirational, Gospel and Bible. There is also a UCB TV Channel and a  prayerline you can telephone/email or text.

The UCB network also publishes free publications which can be posted out, emailed or read online.

The publications are made for varied age groups from children through to adults and include “The Word for Today“, “Word 4u 2day“, “The book of Hope” and “The Overcoming Series” amongst others.

Those wishing to support this exciting project, can donate here.

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Poem for Our Heavenly Father

I thank You Father, that on the darkest night,

Where You are, there’s always light,

Life without You, was no life at all,

So we thank You Lord, for Your call.

You teach us how to love and forgive,

And show us how in dying, we live,

We ask You Lord, to help us shine,

As beacons of Your love, Divine.

Your Holy Spirit lights the way,

In what to do and what to say,

So guide us Lord, in all we do,

Help us make our hearts more true.

All that we are, Let it be for thee,

Our Heavenly Father, who helps us to see,

And to lift You up and give You praise,

Be our heart’s desire, till the end of days.

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12 Steps to living a Christian life

I found this post  on 12 important steps for Christians to live out through their daily walk of life, which I have copied below for convenience. I would encourage all heed the words of Jesus and to seek to love God and others above all else (Matthew 22:36-40). When we manage to love those who may seem not to deserve it and show compassion and empathy for them, rather than ourselves, then we are truly walking as Christ wished it (Luke 6:27-35).

I would also say that with point 11, although we are to keep ourselves pure, that does not mean that we should neglect those that are not Christians. Jesus was criticised for spending time with people others classed as sinners (Luke 15), to which He told them 3 parables to demonstrate how God rejoices over each sinner that is returned to Him. How are we to show them God’s love if we reject them? I for one wish to follow Jesus’s examples, which includes loving those that others would criticise. After all, He came to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10). As a Christian, you can be a positive example and take the light of God’s love into dark places.

The original website can be found here:

 
 

1. Believe the record that through faith in Christ, you have received eternal life.

1 John 5:10-13 “He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.” Remember that you are now a living testimony of the saving power of the Lord Jesus Christ. The life of Christ is in you, the believer. Are you sure you have accepted Jesus as your Saviour?

2. Love God and Others.

Love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength according to Mark 12:30, “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.” Love your neighbor as yourself as commanded in Mark 12:31, “And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandments greater than these.” Make these the highest goals of your new life in Christ. There is nothing you can possibly do greater than these in your life. Ask the Lord to help you love more and more. 1 Thessalonians 3:12, “And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you:”

3. Read and study your Bible, memorizing portions that are helpful to you.

Give special attention to the promises of God. Meditate on these and they will be food for your soul. 1 Peter 2:2, “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby.” Remember that the Word of God, the 1611 King James Bible, is the light to your path. Psalms 119:105 “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” It is the weapon of our warfare against temptation, Ephesians 6:17, “And take … the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”

4. Pray daily to God, your heavenly Father, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Thank Him for all things. Ephesians 5:20, “Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Praise God for His blessings. Ask God to give you victory over sin and weakness. 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Pray for the needs of others when praying for your own needs. Remember that your prayer life will keep you spiritually strong and growing. Don’t recite prayers. Pray and talk to God from your heart in your own words with respect.

5. Confess the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour as often as you can.

Water Baptism by immersion is the first step to take in confessing Christ, see Acts 8:36-38. Continue confessing Christ to others. Matthew 10:32, “Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.” Use every opportunity you have to tell others what the Lord Jesus Christ has done in your life. Try to lead them to accept Christ as their Saviour as you did.

6. Avoid temptations.

The Bible tells us that they will come. But we must be careful not to walk in their path. Psalms 1:1 “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.” When temptations arise, remember that God has promised a way of escape for those who faithfully serve and obey Him. 1 Corinthians 10:13, “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” Pray that the Lord will help you avoid temptation. Matthew 6:13, “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.” Jesus quoted Scripture when the devil was tempting Him. (See Matthew 4:1-11.) Learn Scriptures that pertain to your weaknesses and memorize them. Quote them often.

7. Witness to others about the Lord Jesus Christ.

Acts 1:8, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” Many today do not know Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour. Who will tell them? Romans 10:13-14, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?” The believer’s greatest joy is the privilege of telling the good news of the Gospel to every creature. Witnessing for Christ is not only a blessed privilege but a divine command, Matthew 4:19, “And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” The Lord will use you to win souls to Him.

8. Serve the Lord with gladness.

Psalms 100:2, “Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing.” God has a regular ministry for every believer. (Read 1 Corinthians 12:12-21.) Assemble regularly in a Bible-believing, separated church. Hebrews 10:25, “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” Invest your time, talents and money for eternity. Colossians 3:1-3, “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.”

9. Stand firmly on the Word of God.

(See Ephesians 6:10-18.) Beware of false teachers and false doctrines. 2 Peter 2:1-3 “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.” Test everything by the Word of God, not by experience. Isaiah 8:20, “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” Remember that God has promised the victory to those who honor Him and His Holy Word. 1 Corinthians 15:58, “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.”

10. Commune with the Holy Spirit.

2 Corinthians 13:14 “… the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.” Get to know the Holy Spirit as personal as you know the Father and the Son. He is a person. John 16:13, “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.” Talk to Him. Commune with Him. Ask Him to help you with all the things mentioned on this leaflet. Do not try these things in your own flesh, but with the help of the Spirit. Galatians 3:3, “Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?” 2 Corinthians 3:18, “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”

11. Be a separated Christian.

2 Corinthians 6:14-18 says, “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” Not only should we be separated from unbelievers, but our Lord prayed for us to be separated from the evil in this world. John 17:15-16 says, “I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.” Be an answer to Jesus’ prayer, stay away from evil. Try to win unbelievers to Christ but be separated from them and their lifestyle. 1 Timothy 5:22, “…keep thyself pure.”

12. Forgive each other.

All of us have been hurt by somebody in our life. Some to a small degree, some very greatly. We, too, have offended a Holy God and our sins led Christ to die for us … yet … the Lord forgave us. We are to follow His example. Ephesians 4:31-32 says, “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” Take a moment and read the story about forgiveness in Matthew 18:23-35 in your Bible.

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Revelations explained Videos

Hi guys,

If you are interested in studying the book of Revelations, you may enjoy the videos below which go through the book of revelations in detail. It is done in such a way that it is easy to follow and also has an accompanying booklet you can view online. David C Plack presents the videos and gives lots of scripture to back up his words (just how I like it :))

Part 1: The Book of Revelation – An introductory video on the relevance of prophecies throughout the bible, especially Revelations

Part 2: Revelation’s 1-6, Through the four horseman

Part 3: Revelation 6-7, Seals 5 & 6

Part 4: Revelation 7-11, Plagues and woes

Part 5: Revelation 11-17, 2 Churches, God’s wrath and Armageddon

Part 6 Revelation 17-22, Great False church and God’s final plan

Booklet: Revelation Explained at last, David C Pack

God Bless you

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Covenants

Most faiths/religions/belief systems profess that there is a pattern to life, a design or karmic force. Christianity is no different. Life is described as a race or battle in which we’re encouraged to “fight a good fight” (1 Timothy 1:18). At times when man has wanted help from God, he has entered into covenants with God. Definitions of covenant are given as 1: a usually formal, solemn, and binding agreement : 2 a: a written agreement or promise usually under seal between two or more parties especially for the performance of some action.

Examples of covenants between God and man include:-

1) Adamic Covenant – when Adam and Eve decided to eat of the fruit of knowledge of good and evil, forbidden to them by God, they broke the Edenic Covenant (Genesis 1:28-29; 2:15-17), resulting in the Adamic covenant which we are born into (Genesis 3:14-21). By chosing to disobey God and eating of the tree knowledge of good and evil they chose to know evil, consequently distancing themselves and their offspring from God.

We are exercising our free will each time we choose whether to do the right, or wrong thing. Whether to walk in the spirit of love and truth, serving God and others, or to walk in the flesh and serve ourselves. Unfortunately, the knowledge of good and evil resulted in man declining further and further into sin. This has resulted in the many manifestations of wrongdoing we see about us in the world today.

As God is Holy, sin distances us from Him and results in us becoming lost in sin, the wages of which is death (Romans 6:23). Hence the need for covenants, to enable us to once again return to God, such as the covenant of salvation and redemption enabled by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

2) The Abrahamic covenant – circumcision was the sign of the covenant for Abraham and his descendants, for which God declared that He would be their God (Genesis 17:4-14).

The covenant of circumcision with Abraham and his descendants (Acts 7:8; Genesis 17:2-21), provided Abraham and his descendant with an opportunity know that God was their God. However, the Mosaic Covenant added requirements/laws  to the original covenant of the 10 Commandments

3) The Mosaic Covenant – The ten commandments which Moses later added statutes and laws to, on the understanding that if men followed certain rules and rituals they would be regarded as God’s people (Exodus 34:27-28; Deuteronomy 4:13-14). Acceptance was said to be dependant upon these laws being abided by and it was not a perfect relationship, being referred to as the “curse of the law” by the apostle Paul (Galatians 3:10-14).

The laws added after the Mosaic covenant required frequent forms of appeasement and sacrifice to try to make man acceptable enough, in terms of Godliness, to be considered a servant of God. The Levite priesthood was established so they could sanctify themselves to be considered to be holy enough to be able to commune with God on behalf of the people.

While this covenant may have provided template of a future improved covenant and a route to God for mankind, it was restrictive and difficult to maintain. By bringing laws, the failings of men were revealed as they fell short of the requirements and those accepted were only able to have a limited relationship with God. Even then, much of the relationship required a third party, e.g. a priest, acting on their behalf. When Jesus spoke about some of the traditions that make up the Jewish religion, He criticised them for teaching the commandments of men as doctrines and clarified that it is what comes out of people which defiles them (ie from their hearts) rather than what they put into themselves (Matthew 15:1-20).

However, God had a better covenant in the pipeline and the Old Testament foretold of a new covenant (Jeremiah 31:31-34) which was later fulfilled through the sacrifice made by Jesus. The new covenant is one of liberty where Jesus sacrificed himself to make an everlasting covenant, able to cover our sins and provide a way for us back to God (John 3:16; Hebrews 8:6-13; 12:24). The bible tells us that love will cover a multitude of sins (Proverbs 10:12; 1 Peter 4:8) and what greater act of love is there than to sacrifice yourself for others that persecute do not even know of you yet! This covenant surpasses the others as it is available to all and enables us to become children of God, rather than servants.

4) The Covenant of Jesus Christ – God sent His Son, Jesus, so that He could show us the way and enable us to be saved (John 3:16). The gift of salvation Jesus came to teach, taught that if we repent and have faith, God will forgive us and we will be saved. Jesus showed us the walk that God desires of those of us who wish to be His children, namely, to walk in love and truth. His life became the ultimate example of this walk that we are called to emulate resulting in Him sacrificing His life for us and His blood becoming the blood of The New Covenant (Mark 14:24). Jesus loved us so much that He gave His life for us, as we are to give our lives for God and others in our daily walk.

Thanks to the sacrifice offered by Jesus, to atone for our sins, God sent the Holy Spirit to guide us and take His rightful place as Our Holy Father (Ephesians 1:4-7). It also means that believers no longer live according to sets of rules, but according to our leading by the Holy Spirit within us once we have accepted God’s gift,  as He said in Jeremiah 31:32-34

“But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the LORD, “I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.

“They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,” declares the LORD, “for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”

Although Jesus endorsed the value of the original “Ten Commandments” (Matthew 15:3-4), when He was asked which of the Old Testament commandments were the greatest, He responded that those which told you to love God and other people summed up all the law (Matthew 22:36-40). Jesus gave us valuable teachings and  guidance but the only thing he specified being one of His commandments was to love God and others (John 13:34-35).

This is vastly superior covenant as it enables each person’s walk with God to be on an individual basis, tailor made and the ultimate in liberty as Paul pointed out “All things are possible, but not all things are beneficial” (1 Corinthians 6:12). We are encouraged to have consideration for others (1 Corinthians 8:9) and so it is our love for them that prevents us from doing others wrong, rather than having to be forced not to do things because we are following rules (1 Corinthians 10:23-24). Free will at its best and with the Holy Spirit and God’s love for everyone, to guide you (John 16:13; 2 Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 1:13-14).

NB: The blue writing in this passage will take you to the relevant scripture on biblegateway.com where you can also look up the scripture in other translations of the bible.

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Made In Gods image:The human trinity

 

The bible says that we are made in God’s image (Genesis 1:27). God’s trinity comprises of :-

 

God

Jesus

Holy Spirit

We are also made up of a trinity of soul, body and spirit. The figure below shows how these different aspects of a person can influence our choices actions and words.

The Spirit –  Our spirit is our most direct link to God, via His Holy Spirit. God’s people are called to worship Him in spirit and truth (John 4:24). Our spirits search all things within us and knows all about us, as does God’s spirit with Him (1 Corinthians 2:10-11). God speaks to us via the Holy Spirit, the still small voice which can prick our conscience, give us Godly wisdom (Isaiah 11:2), intercede for us (Romans 8:26-27) and teach us all things (John 14:26), although your flesh may not always like what you hear!
As our Heavenly Father, God can guide us in His ways via the Holy Spirit but spiritual growth requires that we learn to follow the leading of His Spirit, “For all who are led by the spirit of God are sons of God” (Romans 8:14). This will most likely involve the laying down of your worldly desires and self-interests (Galatians 5:17) but in the words of Jesus, “what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost?” (Luke 9:25).
The Soul – The decision making part of you. The conscious mind which determines whether we will be led by the voice of our spirits and act in love, or whether we will follow the desires off the flesh – opting for self gratification over love for others. It is our soul which we are improving when we allow ourselves to become more led by God, as our spirit, through Christ, is perfect (being God’s – we just have to learn to listen to it more!) and the flesh will pass away. It is our choice whether we want to listen to and strengthen our flesh or our spirit – free will.
The Body is the flesh, with its appetites, lusts and desires. It is “all about “me”” with the body and instant self gratification where possible. The bible says that our flesh wars against our spirit, against that which we wish to do (Galatians 5:17). I know which one I’m rooting for!