July 22

Today's Bible Readings
     Judges 5
     Acts 9
     Jeremiah18
     Mark 4

MEMORIZE TODAY
“O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter? Says the Lord. Look, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel!”(Jeremiah 18:6)

BROKENNESS AND THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD
            RobertKrieglewrote a book entitled If It Ain't Broke, Break It.It's a book for businessmen, and he makes some great points. In the book, he tells the story of a craftsman on a South Pacific Island who made beautiful pottery. He would have the pottery almost ready, and then he would break it. He would put it back together with melted gold so that each piece had a beautiful, unique filigree of gold. They became extremely valuable. The value could not be there, however, unless the pottery was broken and the gold was melted.
            God works that way in our lives, but His work is a sovereign work. God has just shown to Jeremiaha vision of His sovereign throne. In Jeremiah17:12, He calls it a ''glorious high throne from the beginning ...the place of our sanctuary." God has also established a throne in our hearts for the person of the Holy Spirit. We have come to the Throne of Grace, and received His forgiveness. Our Lord's throne is a place of refuge for us from the powers of Satan, demons, temptations, and sins of the flesh. It is truly a ''glorious high throne."
            But, still, we face in our lives events, circumstances, tragedies, adversity, pain, and hurt that leaves us with nothing but a question mark. Sometimes there are no clear and obvious answers. We discover that God's Throne of mercy and grace is a sovereign throne. We cannot always dictate what He does, but trust God in His sovereignty to know what is right and good for each of us.
            InJeremiah18, God gives a beautiful illustration to help Jeremiahunderstand His sovereignty. Here is an illustration of the potter's house. The first thing Jeremiahlearned from the potter was that God is sovereign, that He has unlimited authority over all things, and He always creates and molds everything perfectly. Now we come to the purpose of sovereignty. The potter was molding a clay vessel on the potter's wheel; he was a skilled craftsman; he had a purpose in his work; and he knew what he was making. But his purpose was thwarted when the clay ''was marred'' in the hands of the potter. It was not marred by the hand of the potter, but as he was working with it. So the potter made yet another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to make.
            Now the lesson shines forth in sovereign grace. God is telling Israel, and us, that He can do with us as this potter did. As the clay in the potter's hand, so are we in the hands of God. In this case, God would make Judah and Jerusalem into another vessel, but they refused, so God sent them to captivity for 70 years.  By doing so, He remolded them as He desired.
God is sovereign over all nations, and all individuals. He then dispenses sovereign judgment and sovereign grace according to His just nature, but He never punishes or shows grace arbitrarily. He always has a purpose that fits His holy character.   You can trust the purpose of the divine Potter today.

PRAY FOR THE WORLD
            Approximately 100,000 people live on the small island of Tongain the Pacific. The people are mostly Polynesianand the country is 95% Christian. The evangelical church is strong, but there has been a languishing of the vision for missionary outreach. Pray that this vital Christian country will be recommitted to sending out missionaries throughout the world. May they realize that the Great Commission is also for them.

A WORD FOR YOUR WORLD TODAY
''Sin, by its deadly infusions into the soul of man, wastes and eats out the innate vigor of the soul, and casts it into such a deep lethargy, as that it is not able to recover itself."