The Tea Pot

2 Timothy 2_20_21_The Tea Pot

Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for honorable use, some for dishonorable. Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work. (2 Timothy 2:20-21, ESV) 

It’s a passage that doesn’t get a lot of attention from the pulpit; perhaps because it’s one in which Paul uses a lot of words which can get confusing.  Or perhaps it’s because it speaks of “vessels” made of gold, silver, wood, or clay.  That’s language we’re just not familiar with.  However, the main message of these two verses is too important to skip.  So, straight to the main point I hope to take us!   

In Paul’s day, clay pots were often used for the “dishonorable” purpose of excrement removal – i.e., they were chamber pots.  Those same pots, therefore, would NOT be used for more honorable purposes – like serving the evening stew!  You just wouldn’t use the bed pan as the bread pan, or the pee pot as the tea pot!  We know better than to do that, and so does God. 

What makes a vessel (person or pan) ready for honorable, godly use is not what it’s made of, but how clean it is!  So, God says cleanse yourself from all that’s dishonorable.  (BTW, the rest of the chapter includes several dishonorable things for us to avoid).  Why do it?  Because God wants to use us for good things!  Please understand, our works are not a determinant in our salvation, but they are a determinant in our service.  How we live either prepares us, or disqualifies us, for His use. 

Do we really want to be fully prepared for every good work?  If so, we need to be serious about our spiritual cleaning! –Dave 

(To receive these free daily devotions via email, subscribe at:  http://www.theteachableheart.com/blogs—daily-devotions.html. For more information about the ministry, or to order the devotional books, visit:  http://www.theteachableheart.com/books.html).

Advertisements
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Counsel We Want

1 Kings 12_7_15_The Counsel we Want

I shudder to think how many times I’ve done likewise. 

Rehoboam had just ascended to the throne and was facing his first challenge – the people he ruled asked him to relax the heavy tribute Solomon had placed upon them. 

To Rehoboam’s credit, he knew enough to ask for guidance.  Scripture tells us that the new king first asked his father’s elderly counselors for advice.  Those men replied, “If today you will be a servant to these people and serve them, and give them a favorable answer, they will always be your servants.” (1 Kings 12:7) 

Good, solid counsel.  However, it wasn’t the answer the new king wanted.  So, Rehoboam asked a second group of advisers their opinion.  These men were much younger than the first group and had actually grown up with Rehoboam since childhood.  These men told the new king to treat the people even more harshly than his father had. 

Who knows why he did what he did, maybe Rehoboam didn’t want to be a servant to the people – he was king after all; shouldn’t they serve HIM?  Maybe the new king didn’t want to look weak before his childhood friends.  What we do know is that Rehoboam kept asking until he found the answer he wanted to hear. 

That’s the part I relate to; searching out others who will tell me what I may WANT to hear, not what I NEED to hear. It’s much easier to surround ourselves with “yes men” than those who will challenge us when necessary. 

How open are you to the counsel of others – really?  Do you heed the words of others if they go against what you hoped to hear?  Or do you continue searching for someone to rubber stamp your plans?  –Dave  

(To receive these free daily devotions via email, subscribe at:  http://www.theteachableheart.com/blogs—daily-devotions.html. For more information about the ministry, or to order the devotional books, visit:  http://www.theteachableheart.com/books.html).

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Not Final or Fatal

Psalm 88_9_Not Final or Fatal

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts.” (Winston Churchill) 

It’s a relatively easy concept to agree with; but a very difficult one to live out in a practical manner.  For many of us, looking over our shoulders is an almost constant condition.  We look back on past failures and get so defeated we don’t want to go on.  Or, we look back on past successes and conclude we’ve “arrived” at where God would have us. 

Churchill’s message?  Forget both.  Leave both your successes and your failures behind and courageously face today.  Scripture also supports the notion of leaving the past in the past (Philippians 3:13) and focusing on today (Matthew 6:34).  The Psalmist said it like this: 

      I call to you, Lord, every day; I spread out my hands to you. (Psalm 88:9) 

Each day, we’re to come before the Lord, lay out our concerns before Him, and call upon Him for His guidance and help.  I believe it brings joy to the Father when we set yesterday behind, whether it was filled with failure or success, and ask Him to walk with us today. 

Remember, baggage from past failures gets heavy – lay it down.  But, carrying around yesterday’s trophies also prevents us from fully embracing today – lay those down too.  Instead, welcome God to join you in each new day! –Dave  

(To receive these free daily devotions via email, subscribe at:  http://www.theteachableheart.com/blogs—daily-devotions.html. For more information about the ministry, or to order the devotional books, visit:  http://www.theteachableheart.com/books.html).

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Fearful or Restful?

Proverb 19_23_Fearful or Restful

“If you want to conquer fear, don’t sit home and think about it.  Go out and get busy.” (Dale Carnegie) 

In many ways, I’m a fearful person – I mean FULL of fear!  In response to those fears, I often sit at home and let them compound, for fear is a self-fertilizing weed – it feeds upon itself.   

Can we be honest enough to admit that our world is full of things to fear?  There are evil men bent of committing evil deeds.  There are natural disasters that literally rock our world.  There are accidents that steal our loved ones away.  There are innumerable diseases that may be lurking inside our bodies right now.  On and on we could go. 

Thankfully, fear is also a topic commonly addressed in Scripture.  There are over 500 verses that mention fear.  Surprisingly to some, hundreds of those speak to our need to “fear the Lord.”  I can’t think of any that tell us to fear the types of things mentioned above (e.g., disasters, men, disease, etc).  In fact, there are ~365 reminders in Scripture NOT to be afraid.  So, if I’m honest, I’m forced to admit that I fear the wrong things. 

It’s impossible to pick one verse that summarizes the hundreds on fear, yet I find this one very helpful: 

The fear of the Lord leads to life; then one rests content, untouched by trouble. (Proverb 19:23) 

“Fear” in the sentence above can mean terror, but when used of God it also carries the idea of reverence for His deity.  Our reverence for God leads us to love Him, love our neighbor, and follow His commands.  IF we’ll live that way, we can rest easy.  “Untouched” does not mean that troubles won’t come; a better translation would be “unmoved.”  When troubles come, we will be immovable because we’re being held in the mighty hands of God. 

Which do you fear more – God or the worries of this world?  –Dave

(To receive these free daily devotions via email, subscribe at:  http://www.theteachableheart.com/blogs—daily-devotions.html. For more information about the ministry, or to order the devotional books, visit:  http://www.theteachableheart.com/books.html).

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A Question of Care

Mark 4_38_A Question of Care

Mary asked the question.  So did the disciples.  My guess is, you’ve asked it too. 

When Jesus visited the home of Lazarus, Martha scurried about the kitchen preparing a meal, as Mary sat at Jesus’ feet listening. So overwhelmed and frustrated by all that needed to be done, Martha let it out, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” (Luke 10:40). 

As Jesus and His disciples crossed the Sea of Galilee, a storm suddenly came up and threatened to sink their boat.  As Jesus slept in the stern, the disciples were reaching for their cell phones to text their loved ones good-bye (well, they probably would have).  Wracked with fear and uncertainty, they woke Christ and asked, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” (Mark 4:38).   

“God…don’t you care?”  Haven’t we all wondered it?  Maybe we’ve even said it more as an accusation than a question?  “Lord, don’t you care that I’m overwhelmed by life?  Don’t you care that I feel like I’m about to drown?  Don’t you care about my loved one who is dying?  Don’t you care about my marriage that’s falling apart?  Don’t you  care about my failing health?  Lord – do you really care?  If so, WHY are you allowing me to go through this?”  Been there; or am I alone in this? 

Sometimes, God calms the storms; sometimes He calms us.  Sometimes, He chooses to do neither.  Yet, at all times, God continues to care – for He simply cannot forsake His own (2 Timothy 2:13).  Then why all the suffering?   

Room doesn’t allow a thorough examination of the topic, but I’d like to provide this reminder, “These [trials] have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith…may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. (1 Peter 1:7) 

Trials don’t indicate God’s lack of care; but they can prove that our faith in Him is genuine! –Dave 

(To receive these free daily devotions via email, subscribe at:  http://www.theteachableheart.com/blogs—daily-devotions.html. For more information about the ministry, or to order the devotional books, visit:  http://www.theteachableheart.com/books.html).

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Less is More

Ecc 6_11_Less is More

“The more the words, the less the meaning, and how does that profit anyone?” 

No, those words weren’t from the inventor of Twitter!  Instead, they’re ancient words uttered by Solomon, the wisest of Israel’s kings.  However, perhaps they’ve never had more relevance than in today’s “sound bite,” hash tag culture.  I can see it now – #lessismore! 

Honestly, I’m not a huge fan of ≤120 character messages; by necessity, so much gets left out.  However, I have actually benefitted by the laser-sharp focus that today’s communication methods demand.  If a topic can’t be covered in 300 words or less, I don’t attempt to tackle it on social media because very few people will pause long enough to read more than that. 

Which brings me back to Solomon’s words above from Ecclesiastes 6:11…his point is simple – make your point as quickly and succinctly as possible.  Don’t add a lot of “fluff” in an effort to impress others – because it won’t.  In fact, the longer we drone on, the less likely our “take-home message” gets taken home.  And as Solomon asks, how does that benefit anyone? 

My dad always liked to say that when a listener’s bum goes numb, so does their brain!  The longer one sits, the shorter becomes their attention span. 

Have an important point to make?  Remember, sometimes less is more! –Dave  

(To receive these free daily devotions via email, subscribe at:  http://www.theteachableheart.com/blogs—daily-devotions.html. For more information about the ministry, or to order the devotional books, visit:  http://www.theteachableheart.com/books.html).

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Thirsty for God

Sunday_Psalm 42_2_Thirsting for God

Each day is an opportunity to meet with God; we need only make the time for Him!

(To receive free daily devotions via email, subscribe at:  http://www.theteachableheart.com/blogs—daily-devotions.html. For more information about the ministry, or to order the devotional books, visit:  http://www.theteachableheart.com/books.html).

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment