Awesomely-Made Jars of Clay

Containers play an important part in the everyday lives of people. Jars, pots, cups, bottles and vessels of every kind are vital in preserving, storing and dispensing commodities of all kinds. Depending on the value, need for security, or fragility, generally careful thought is given as to the type of carrier we select to hold our assets.

A grocery sack would not be a suitable receptacle to store liquids. Neither would we place bacon grease in a perfume atomizer. The pairing of contents and containers is also an important choice when it comes to housing spiritual treasures.

Matthew 9:17 (KJV):

Neither do men put new wine in old bottles: else the bottles break, and the wine runneth out and the bottles perish: but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved.

The “bottles” were actually drinking tanks, like canteens, fashioned from animal skins. As the skins aged, they would become brittle, losing their elasticity. The “new wine” was grape juice that had not reached fermentation.

New skins, being pliable, would expand and stretch as the gases from the fermentation process built up inside. The new skin would contain the new wine and the wine would keep the skin stretched and lubricated.

This provides an illustration of how to receive truth. As believing ones grow and move with the Truth, the Truth preserves the believing ones. The real point is, “both are preserved”. The drying wine skins of religion and traditions will never be able to contain the effervescing spiritual reality of Christ-in-you.

When it came to being filled with the new birth, His gift of holy spirit, don’t you think God was selective in choosing the vessel for His treasure?

2 Corinthians 4:7 (NIV):

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.

Being “jars of clay” is not in any way demeaning to our physical bodies. It is a very appropriate and well-designed container to surround and display His glorious gift of Christ that is within.

Here is how David perceived his clay jar and he did not have the treasure.

Psalm 139:14 (KJV):

I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.

David wrote, “I will praise thee.” He was not just going to admire God for his handiwork regarding his physical being; he was going to declare publically—express his love, proclaim his gratitude, and give God honor. For what? “For I am fearfully and wonderfully (awesomely) made….”

The part of man that was “made” was the body, which God fashioned from the dust of the ground. David said his body was “fearfully and wonderfully made…”

Barnes Notes on the Bible, explains that “fearfully” means, “suited to produce reverence distinguished from other awe-inspiring works of creation.”

Men are captivated by the splendor of the Grand Canyon, spellbound by the cosmos, enthralled by the oceans, and mesmerized by the mountain vistas. But, the “eyes” of God did not regard the glory of the star-studded expanse or the rolling marine tides of teeming life. His gaze was intent upon an earthen vessel to preserve and be preserved by His most precious gift.

Psalm 139: 15 and 16 (KJV):

My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest part of the earth.

Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfected; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.

“My substance was not hid from thee”—the Septuagint, the Latin Vulgate, the Syriac and Arabic texts, as well as Luther translate “my substance” as “my bones”. The King James margin note, is “strength,” referring to the skeletal frame and the sinew which covers the bones. We should also call to mind that “ the life of the flesh is in the blood” and blood is produced in the marrow of the bones (Leviticus 17:11).

Before our frames were ever formed, before even the embryonic stage, the wisdom of God envisioned strength; actual physical life in our frames and the supporting structure where His spirit could dwell and collaborate.

For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do his good pleasure (Philippians 2:13 KJV).

An artisan often works alone. “I was made in secret.” Our bodies were embroidered and woven in private where the espionage of the enemy would not discover the mystery that would later be unveiled—Christ in you, the hope of glory.

“…in thy book, all my members, were written….” Just as an architect or engineer drafts a print or schematic, God made exacting plans in our design. This body, with its most “secret compartment,” was fashioned to perpetuate. God included an immune system and healing properties in its inner workings. Should a repair become necessary, every “member” is kept in His detailed “repair manual”.

Psalm 139:17:

How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! How great is the sum of them!

He thought of everything! Every contingency was considered and answered. Indeed we were “fearfully and awesomely made”.

We know that this repository for “Christ in you” is only temporary; for it is corruptible:

For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality (1 Corinthians 15:53).

But as for the corruptible…it is designed to last as long as we need it.

If you had the most delightful perfume that has ever floated upon a garden breeze, how would you protect this lovely potion? Though only the holder, you would want the container to have a wonderful look of elegance, and dispense the exact measure to stimulate a most pleasant olfactory sensation.

2 Corinthians 2:15 and 16:

For we are unto God a sweet savour [fragrance] of Christ, in them that are saved [being made whole], and in them that perish [are perishing]:

To the one [the unbeliever] we are the savour [smell] of death unto death: and to the other [the believing ones] the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things?

Well, by God’s grace we are! Our Heavenly Father planned and forethought for our bodies to hold His most precious “essence.”

To plainly state it, our bodies are the perfect container. We carry the fragrance of Christ.

Let’s recapture the words of David in verse 14 of Psalm 139, “…my soul knoweth right well.” He was completely convinced. Most people look at their bodies as something destined for decay from the sin nature locked inside. I assure you David didn’t. We magnify perceived imperfections; but, David knew something much different.

Don’t be ashamed of that body. It is a beautiful work. It’s more intricately exquisite and durable than you could ever think. God paired it with His best treasure. It’s an awesome jar of clay! ~

Thoughts of Peace

“Do you know what I think?” he said as he turned to me. “I think God hates mankind. He puts all these obstacles in our way and expects us to climb over them. He’s just downright mean. I don’t think I want to become a Christian. I hate to think what eternity with Him would be like. I hate Him for what He does to us.”
People tend to reject Christianity because they think they hate God. Primarily, they think He hates them so they are going to hate Him right back. What they really hate are their thoughts and concepts of God; He’s mean and is just waiting for them to mess up so He can really let them have it. To tell you the truth, I hate those thoughts and concepts too! Unfortunately, these notions and perceptions have been given to people from prominent Christian leaders. Such ideas as “Hurricane Katrina was sent by God to punish New Orleans for its wickedness.” Or that God dispatched AIDS to “chastise homosexuals.”
Are these really the deliberations and sentences of God? Or, does He contemplate something altogether different but is blamed for the musings men have entertained? God is a helper and deliverer to those introuble, a light to guide us through the darkness in this world.
We should never allow the world to define God, nor Christianity. Let’s allow the Bible to reveal to us the thoughts and nature of God.  Let’s begin our exploration with Jeremiah 29:11:
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.
The New American Standard Version reads: For I know the plans that I have for you, declared the Lord, plans for welfare and not calamity to give you a future and a hope.
God should know what He thinks and plans.
Have you considered John 3:16?
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, thatwhosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
“But, I thought He hates me.” Perish that thought. Better yet, why not replace that thought with the exhortation in Philippians 4:8:
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
Why would God have you think on what He does not think on Himself? Here is something else to think on.
This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare untoyou, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. ~ 1 John 1:5
It would seem some of these Christian leaders have received a different message. I, for one, would rather think on the message from 1 John, wouldn’tyou? I did not consider Hurricane Katrina as light.
Let’s examine the record of Jesus and his disciples in Matthew 8:23-26:
And when he was entered into a ship, his disciples followed him. And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch the ship was covered with waves: but he was asleep. And his disciples came to him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish. And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.
If God was trying to punish the disciples, why did Jesus stop the storm and cause a great calm? The disciples were alarmed and cried out, “Lord, save us: we perish!” People think if there is a God, why doesn’t He do something? He has… “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Don’t perish in your own thoughts. Let there be a great calm and believe in Him. There is an old proverb that goes, “your thoughts are the seeds for your words and deeds”.  What have you germinated in the recesses of your mind through the thoughts you entertain? If you hate to think that God would punish sin with sickness, stop thinking those thoughts. I hate thinking that too!
So why don’t we replace those thoughts with Psalm 103:10: He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.
Or, 3 John 2:
Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.
The children of Israel were rapidly moving into captivity because of their own vain thoughts. They hated the position they were in because they clung to negative thoughts that were lodged in their minds. God sent pastors to teach them His thoughts and care for them; but, they rejected the teachings. He had the prophet confront them in Jeremiah 4:14: O Jerusalem, wash thine heart from wickedness, that thou mayest besaved. How long shall thy vain thoughts lodge with thee? Don’t ward off salvation to cling to unprofitable thoughts that are not true, nor what God thinks. Don’t reject Christianity because you think God hates you. His thoughts are “of peace and not of evil. His plans are “for your welfare, and not for calamity, to give you a future and a hope”. If you think on these things, a great calm awaits you. ~