Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Treasure in Clay

But we have these treasures in jars of clay to show the all-surpassing power is from God and not from us (2 Corinthians 4:7, NIV).

My demitasse decorated with oranges and blues and highlighted in gold had once been mere dirt, molded, painted and fired specifically to hold Turkish coffee. After I drank my coffee this morning, I noticed the cup had a hairline fracture. It held the coffee just fine, but an almost invisible line reminded me I had dropped it in the sink yesterday.

Though I enjoy these pretty cups, my most important reason for holding, washing, and trying to keep them safe is to enjoy my coffee. Coffee with Scripture. Coffee with my husband or with other loved ones. It's the coffee that's important to me!

Like the clay pots in this verse, we were designed by God to hold amazing treasure. We've been hit by life: divorce, financial shortfalls, wayward children, health surprises, untimely death. The fracture lines they bring are actually occasions for us to discover God's amazing power. No other power is more powerful, even though we might reel with pain. God's Spirit, present and more powerful, transforms each trauma if we let Him. What we thought would have killed us, made us better.

Because the presence of Jesus Christ transforms each trauma, we can still carry the rich tasting, robust smell of God's power. We could have been thrown away or set on a back shelf, but the One who has the power to transform works in us, revealing more and more of God's glorious power.

That's clearly not our own doing.

For Your Consideration

Read and meditate on 2 Corinthians 4:6-9.

How have you found God's power greater than your traumas, helping you heal?

What helps you experience  Christ's transforming presence when life gives you a jolt? What keeps God's presence at bay at such times?

Will you rejoice in God's desire to indwell you, His treasured vessel?

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Alice: Sharing New Life

"Did you see that lady?" my sister-in-law asked as the slim, gray haired woman went through the food line?

I asked to be excused from my volunteer work at the church's food booth. Business was slow and I was intrigued when I heard how she had spent her day.

Offering to take her food to her table, I introduced myself. I shared my admiration that she would spend a hot day at the county fair handing out pieces of Good News at the Gideon booth.
Alice's face lit up when I asked why she chose to do that.

She had been raised in Boston by parents who were caught up in the social scene. Her unitarian father thought Jesus was an illegitimate man, and her main faith input was a grandmother who read her Psalms and prayed for her. Before age 30, she had 3 active children, a husband who was often absent with work, and many socialite friends--all of whom were not enough to stifle the nagging suspicion that there was more to life.

That is, until she met Lois.

Lois had rediscovered her Christian upbringing in a way that was exciting and vital. After their children were in bed, they would talk by phone and Lois would share scriptures with Alice. At first, she was offended to hear that she (along with everyone else) was a sinner. But later she discovered and treasured Ephesians 2:8-9. No matter how hard she tried to be a good person, it wouldn't be enough. God had a better way, and He'd already opened the door for her to have true life.

In a Bible Study, honest discussion watered and sprouted Alice's faith. Years passed as her faith grew tall and her relationship with God changed from vague and intellectualized to robust and vibrant.
At first, her husband thought she was crazy, but her new serenity intrigued him. He, too, eventually came to accept Christ's invitation to a transformed life.

Widowed now, with grown children who had themselves discovered new life through Christ, it was Alice's joy to share the treasure she had found. Though stamina and social networks had changed, God's love was just as relevant. As she shared her story, her brown eyes sparkled with life.
Those tracts were maps so others could discover it too.