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Monday, April 23, 2007

So which one are you?

But Thou art making me, I thank Thee, sire. What Thou hast done and doest Thou knows't well. And I will help Thee; gently in Thy fire I will lie burning; on Thy potter's wheel I will whirl patient, though my brain should reel. Thy grace shall be enough the grief to quell, And growing strength perfect through weakness dire.-George MacDonald,Diary Of an Old Soul, October 2..

While talking to my Mom the other day I explained to her, as you blog and get to know a wide variety of women your heart becomes more and more tender. Life just is not fair, and you find people who are going through situations that are just plain hard! Part of me wants me to crawl back into my hole and put my rose color glasses back on.

But that is not where the Lord wants me; the blessing lies in opening up your heart and loving. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by pain that other people have to bear. And being a sister who stands before the throne for women who are going through a difficult time can be overwhelming for the person praying also. There is a part of me that says, “why Lord, why are you allowing this to happen to the person I care for? My heart breaks for them.”

Why does God allow these difficult trials? While pleading to God this week, He has shown me that He is not only teaching the one going through the difficult time, but also the one who stands before the throne praying for them.

The person going through a difficult time:

Christ said each one of us will go through a season of pruning. God is the Gardner, we are the vine and if we are to bear fruit then we will need to go through some pruning. When a tree is pruned, not only is the bad cut away, but also what appears to be the good. (ie. bad things happening to good people). “This is my Father's glory, that you may bear fruit in plenty and so be my disciples" (John 15:8, NEB). What we need to realize is that we don’t need to understand why; we just need to realize this is part of the process of growing.

Secondly, Christ might be refining us through our difficult time. When a potter creates a clay pot, the pot is first shaped, molded, and then made beautiful. Then the last step is a firing process.

According to Wikipedia, it states the “firing produces irreversible changes in the body. It is only after firing that the article can be called pottery.” If God stopped at just shaping us (no matter how good we looked), we would bend and break when the slightest trial came our way. It is the firing that makes us strong, it is the firing that makes us useable to God. And while going through the firing, God promises in 2 Corinthians 12:9, "My grace is all you need; power comes to its full strength in weakness" (NEB). And I don’t know about you, but I like the fact God will develop “irreversible changes” in me.

Then after the firing process, you have something beautiful, molded by the masters hands, but very sturdy against storms that may come your way.

But I suggest not only is the one going through the fire or difficult time is the only one being taught by God.

The person who stands before the throne for another:

This person is taught the power of prayer. James 5:16b – 17 " The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years." There is power in prayer.

Secondly, we are taught to be faithful. Romans 12:12 “When you hope be joyful. When you suffer, be patient. When you pray, be faithful.” In Strong’s concordance the word faithful is defined as “to persevere.” We are to persevere for a friend or loved one. We stand strong when they are weak.

Then in I Peter 3:12 we have the promise, “the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil."

So when one person’s prayers are answered and another person emerges from the firing process, both individuals have been taught an important lesson before God. There is nothing more exciting then to see a prayer for a friend or family member answered that you have been praying for. The same goes for when you emerge from the firing process; you are strong and ready to take on whatever winds may blow.

How awesome is our God, that no matter what position we are in, the difficult time, or the one praying…..each person emerges blessed and renewed.

So if you are going through a time of fire, gather some prayer buddies around you to stand before the throne. If you are in a season of peace, take on another and persevere in prayer. I promise in the end both will be blessed.

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Blogger Kelli said...

Thank you Laurel. I'm being fired, yet paying for my sister in need. It's an amazing process where we are allowed to gain strength from one another. As my sister said "One of us will pull one day, one of us will pull another day." God is so gracious that way.

I'm printing this for later days.

April 22, 2007 at 10:41 PM  
Blogger Crystal said...

Wow Laurel...such an appropriate post for what I am going through......thank you for encouraging me this morning.

April 23, 2007 at 7:15 AM  
Blogger Cyndi said...

Laurel, this was an amazing post today, and truly spoke to my heart. What great thoughts!

April 23, 2007 at 7:20 AM  
Blogger eph2810 said...

"It is the firing that makes us strong, it is the firing that makes us usable to God."

Yeah, both hurt, but we are blessed when we make it through the storm...Beautiful devotion, my friend.
It reminds me of my 'refining' time after I lost my dad. Without His loss, I don't think I would as strong in my faith as I am today.

Blessings to you and yours.

April 23, 2007 at 8:22 AM  
Anonymous Mindy said...

This is an awesome post Laurel!
I think hubby and I are being "fired" by God right now together and I KNOW that I am being "fired" to learn to FULLY trust and rely on him. I like your idea of prayer buddies! I have some and I think I will take the time to thank them for their prayers this week!
In HIM -

April 23, 2007 at 8:50 AM  
Anonymous Lynn Donovan said...


This post is so well written and filled with the truth of God's word. I love the 1 Peter scripture. I am often the prayer but today am in the refining. Wonder what I will see when I emerge. Thank you for reminding me to keep perspective. :)

April 23, 2007 at 10:15 AM  
Blogger cajunquilter said...

What an incredible post. And what an encouragement. Thanks for being used by God.

April 23, 2007 at 11:51 AM  
Blogger Christine said...

I have always loved the image of the Potter and the clay and you have made it come alive so beautifully. Wecan learn so much in either circumstance- in the kiln, or praying for the one in the kiln. Thanks for a wonderful post today!

April 23, 2007 at 12:46 PM  
Anonymous angeleyes Blue said...

I am reminded of a conversation I had with my husband back in 1993--I was diagnosed with an incurable disease. Crying to him I remember saying Why Me? I am the oldest child, the first grandchild, I was the very best at everything I undertook, what ever it may be...Why Me? He looked at me 'Honey if you say Why Me? then you have to say WHY NOT ME?'

A strong lesson Damn he was right. I hate it when he is logical and makes sense :( :) I am happy to say that I take what doctors say with a grain of salt...I was told I would NEVER make it to 40. While knock on fake wood...I passed 40 some time ago and am still kicking and still around to be a fly in the ointment for my two fabulous teenagers.

April 23, 2007 at 3:09 PM  
Blogger Denise said...

Thanks for this Laurel, it touched my heart.

April 23, 2007 at 3:27 PM  
Blogger Darlene said...

Laurel, as usual it was wise and meaty. Thank you for praying for me last month. Things are way, way better now! :) Had it not been for prayer, I may not be feeling so refreshed now.

I just had lunch under an umbrella table with the little one's in the sunshine, but I remember dark times in the past when I never would have dreamed such peace would be possible.

April 23, 2007 at 3:29 PM  
Blogger Sharon said...

I love that you said, it can not be called pottery until it has been through the fire. I wonder how many times I have missed the kiln because I cried out to be delivered from the fire.
God give us a small peak at what is in store either in the fire or on the other side. If I perish then I perish.
Thank you this was great!

April 23, 2007 at 3:49 PM  
Blogger Linda said...

You have done such a great job with this Laurel. It really ministered to me. I feel a bit like I am in both places, and everything you say is true.
I heard a potter give a talk once and one of the things she said really ministered to me. She said there is only a certain amount of time the article can be left in the fire. The potter knows just when it is time to remove it from the heat so it won't be destroyed.
Our "Potter" knows just what He is doing.
Thank you so much for this. You put into words some of the same things I've been thinking about.

April 23, 2007 at 5:00 PM  
Blogger The Preacher's Wife said...

This was wonderful Laurel.. A reminder that when we are pulled out of the fire it isn't so we can rest with our pretty new finish...That's when it is time to shine!

April 23, 2007 at 5:54 PM  
Blogger Elise said...

As one who bows her head dozens of times each day she reads other blogs, I appreciate this so much!

April 27, 2007 at 7:47 AM  

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It is good to hear from you... thank you so very much for leaving a note on the table. That makes us smile!

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