Sunday, August 05, 2007


Grand Sweep Daily Reading: Jeremiah 34, 35, 36

Jeremiah 36:21-24 (NIV)

21 The king sent Jehudi to get the scroll, and Jehudi brought it from the room of Elishama the secretary and read it to the king and all the officials standing beside him. 22 It was the ninth month and the king was sitting in the winter apartment, with a fire burning in the fire pot in front of him. 23 Whenever Jehudi had read three or four columns of the scroll, the king cut them off with a scribe’s knife and threw them into the firepot, until the entire scroll was burned in the fire. 24 The king and all his attendants who heard all these words showed no fear, nor did they tear their clothes.

Jeremiah 18:6-8 (NIV)

6 “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter does?” declares the Lord. “Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel. 7 If at any time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down and destroyed, 8 and if that nation I warned repents of its evil, then I will relent and not inflict on it the disaster I had planned.”

Good evening!

This morning as I sat in worship, I was reminded again of God’s plan for my life, and how it doesn’t always fit neatly into the life plan I’ve sketched on the drawing board inside my head. During the children’s time, our speaker (who, by the way, was Jesus to me today) took a misshapen piece of Play-Doh and asked the children to examine her unique creation. It was far from perfect. Then she asked a question, “Are you perfect?” A cute little three year old with sparkling eyes said, “I am!” She looked pretty perfect to me too. And yet, we know that looks can be deceiving. No matter how hard we try to be flawless, we know deep down inside that we are not. And it is there, right in the middle of our imperfections and misshapen lives that God steps in to remold our hearts, if we will let Him. I need a new mold today. Do you?

Jeremiah was totally disgusted with the arrogance and self-righteous behavior of king Jehoiakim. Jeremiah asked his friend Baruch to transcribe the Word of the Lord onto a scroll and take it to the king, warning him of the impending captivity of Judah. Baruch read the Word to the officials in the temple, but they would not listen. They would not turn around. Somehow, in the middle of their apathetic hearts and prideful arrogance, the king tore the pages from the scroll as it was read, and placed them into the fire to be burned. He thought he could simply make God’s Word go away if he destroyed it. Isn’t it interesting how we did the very same thing to the Savior of the world?

Why do we try to rewrite God’s Word to fit our world view? We struggle to fit it into our own theological perspective. A dear pastor tells of an experience he encountered while attending seminary. His professor, along with many of his peers, professed to be Universalists. This pastor was ridiculed for believing there would be an afterlife. He was the only one in the room who raised his hand affirmatively to the question, “Does anyone here believe in hell?” Later that semester, he wrote a paper that included his belief on the power and presence of the Holy Spirit, citing scriptural authority to back his thesis. His professor wrote in red ink on the paper, “This is cute.” Fortunately for all of us, he did graduate from seminary and is now faithfully shepherding a United Methodist congregation in Missouri. We are blessed to have this pastor teach the scripture as it is written, without trying to reshape the Word into something more palatable to the world’s taste buds. During the sermon today, our pastor reminded us that we are not the Potter; we are the clay. It is not our job to reshape His Word to suit our fancy. We must be willing to allow the Lord to mold and reshape our hearts, even when it hurts. Today, I’m letting go and letting God be God.

It must just be the mother in me. I have three grown children and I’m still trying to remold the shape of their lives. Two of my children are ill right now, and it is breaking my heart into pieces, just seeing them suffer. I keep forgetting this is something I cannot fix. I just love them so very much. I wish I could jump in and make it all go away. All day I have heard God repeat in my ear, “I am the Potter; you are the clay.” I was feeling a little wimpy and weepy this morning. I know what the power of prayer can do; I trust Him with my life. I must trust Him with their lives too. Yet, this morning I wondered if I was wimping out spiritually, maybe begging the Father for just one more miracle, one more time.

Just like Jeremiah, I learned a new and exciting lesson today in frustration. It is never dull and boring at our house, and waiting patiently has never been one of my strong suits. Jeremiah was totally fried with the king’s happy attitude. He knew what would happen to the people, and his tears flowed down like a river for them. Jeremiah may have felt a little wimpy too. As I prayed today, the Lord whispered in my ear, “Go ahead Deb, be a wimp. You have my permission to “Wait In My Presence.” W.I.M.P. I wonder if God gave Jeremiah permission to be a wimp for Him?

I am not the Potter. I am the clay. I cannot heal my children; only God can do that. There are some things I cannot fix. He has the power to hold us when we hurt, forgive us when we sin and are sorry, and heal us, if we will just let go and trust His Word. Are you trying to take control over something you have no authority in? If so, repeat after me, “I am not the Potter. I am the clay.”

Grace and peace,

Deb Spaulding

Pray for: permission to be a wimp for the Lord today. Make time to wait in His presence. He will calm your fears, give you strength, and teach you how to trust Him more fully each day.


© Copyright 2007, Deb Spaulding

All rights reserved

Articles may not be printed in any “for profit” publication without further permission by the author. Articles may be freely distributed via e-mail, reprinted in church bulletins or in other non-profit publications without further permission. Please keep this copyright and Web Site information intact with copied articles. Articles are sent originally to subscribers only. You may have received a forwarded or reprinted copy.