God, Obedience

The Potter

person making clay pot

Ceramics was one of my high school electives. It was only for a semester and I wasn’t very good at it. I did give it my best try and actually enjoyed making ceramics. The pottery wheel was exciting and very difficult. If you didn’t get your clay exactly at the center of the wheel the pottery was not going to work. Then there was the enormous challenge of shaping the clay. The entire process had to be started over if any part went wrong.

God is The Potter. He made each of us. Shaping us with His mighty hands. Vessels to be used for His glory. 

In the ancient world pottery was an important part of almost every aspect of life. There were storage jars, oil lamps, and cooking pots all made from clay. The earliest pottery was formed by hand.

Yet you, Lord, are our Father.
    We are the clay, you are the potter;
    we are all the work of your hand. Isaiah 64:8, NIV 

When the clay goes bad or something goes wrong in the process, the potter crushes it down and starts again. The potter never throws the clay out.

God will never throw us away. We are the clay in His powerful hands. We must trust what He is doing.

Trust God when everything is falling apart.

Trust God when you are being crushed.

Trust God when the cracks are getting bigger.

Trust God when He reshapes you into something beautiful.

The Potter does not want to destroy us, though we may think that at times. Especially when we are being crushed. God loves us beyond anything we can humanly comprehend. He is our Maker and knows what is best for each and every one of us.

Clay pots look strong, but we can easily break and chip. Many factors contribute to our cracks. What are we filling ourselves with? What are we thinking on? What are our priorities? Clay pots are designed to be containers.

We are not meant to be empty vessels. We are designed with eternity in mind by The Potter. If we allow God to mold us, and shape us, and use us for His glory than we are fulfilling our purpose. Yes, sometimes we will be crushed back down into a lump. Sometimes, we do it to ourselves and the cracks appear and ultimately we crumble.

God never throws the clay away.

No matter how many cracks, and broken pieces are in your life, He can make beauty out of your brokenness. Trust God.

Love you all,

Meghan

If you need prayer just drop me an email from my contact page.

Photo by Anthony Shkraba on Pexels.com

 

Jesus, The Early Church

The Meaning of the Jesus Fish

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For as long as I can remember my mom had this wooden fish on the wall of our home. Since we were Christians, this seemed completely normal. I associated this carving with Jesus making us fishers of men (Matthew 4:19). In my mind, Jesus in the shape of a fish made sense. Jesus and fish go together.

We’ve all seen the fish symbol on countless cars. Anytime I see the little fish on a vehicle I know they are a Christian. It has become a universal symbol in modern American culture. The fish logo shows up on business advertising letting us know it’s a Christian owned company. Every color and version of a fish is used on bumper stickers, T-shirts, book marks, Bible covers, mugs, jewelry, and even tattoos.

The fish logo is easily identified with Christianity. But where did it come from? Why a fish?

First Century Christians were severely persecuted. Christianity was illegal in the Roman Empire. Under Roman Emperor Nero, Christians were arrested, tortured, thrown to wild animals, and crucified. If you were a Christ Follower in the early days of the church, you were probably going to be killed. Many Christians went underground.

In order to reach out to to followers of Jesus Christ, a symbol was used. The fish symbol would be carved into doorways or on the road, to say that Christians were there. The fish was chosen because it could go unrecognized. Several pagan religions at the time used a fish symbol, so it wasn’t given a second look.

The Greek word for fish is ichthys or ichthus.

I – Iota or Iesous – Jesus

X – Chi or Christos – Christ

Θ – Theta or Theos – of God

Y – Upsilon or Yios – Son

Σ– Sigma or Soter – Savior 

The Greek letters form an acrostic which translates to Jesus Christ Son of God, Savior.

During those oppressive years in Ancient Rome, if there was a meeting between two Christians, one person would draw an arc in the dirt. If the other person was truly a Christian, they would draw another arc, completing the fish logo.

In Ancient Ephesus the early Christians used a pizza looking symbol to share the same message, Jesus Christ son of God, Savior. These circular symbols can be found in what remains of Ephesus today. The same pizza-like symbols are in a few spots near The Forum in Rome. The pizza shape hid the Greek letters for fish.

Early Christians risked everything to share The Good News of Jesus Christ. Many gave their lives so that message could go around the globe. I am a Christian because of Jesus. He came to seek and save the lost, which is all of us.

For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost. Luke 19:10, NIV 

The thought of those early Jesus Followers risking everything to live out their faith is inspiring. I wouldn’t know Jesus as my Savior without them. It started with Jesus and His completed work on the cross, and spread through the first disciples like Peter and Paul. Then it just kept going through poor people, rich people, enslaved people, and ordinary people. So many gave their lives to spread the message that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:16, NIV 

In America I am free to practice my religion. This is not the case around the world. Christian persecution is happening in many places like China, India, and Iran. Christians are still being killed for their faith today. If you live in a country where you are free to worship Jesus without fear of death, thank God! If you are living in a persecuted country, God bless and protect you!

The next time you see a little metal fish on the back of a vehicle say a prayer for the persecuted church around the globe. They are our brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ.

Love you all,

Meghan

 

Father God,

Thank you for sending your son, Jesus, to save us. Thank you for the faithfulness of the early church. Please protect and bless our persecuted brothers and sisters around the world. Use each of us to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ. Equip us Father, to do your will.

Amen

 

 

References

https://www.pbs.org/empires/romans/empire/christians.html

Ichthus

http://www.eureka4you.com/fish/fishsymbol.htm

https://www.compellingtruth.org/Christian-fish-symbol.html

https://www.allaboutgod.com/jesus-fish.htm

https://www.biblestudytools.com/bible-study/topical-studies/the-christian-fish-symbol-origin-and-history-facts.html

 

Faith, God, Uncategorized

He Named the Stars

stars
Photo by Philippe Donn on Pexels.com

 

According to NASA, our sun is one of about 200 billion stars in our galaxy.¹ That’s more than any of us can see with our eyes. I am overwhelmed by the few stars I can see at night. The most stars I’ve seen at once was at the Grand Canyon. I wish I could have captured that beautiful view. It’s forever in my memory, until I lose my memory. Hahaha!

We can never reach any of the stars, besides our sun. Proxima Centauri, our closest star, is approximately 4.24 light years away. A light year is 5.88 trillion miles.² Yeah, we’re never going to get up close to a single star. And we are not supposed to. Each star is exactly where it is meant to be, far, far, away.

God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. Genesis 1:16, NIV 

There is no doubt in my mind that there is a God when I look at the night sky. But when I think about the fact that God named the stars, my mind is officially blown. Only God, who made billions of stars, also named them. 

He determines the number of the stars

and calls them each by name. Psalm 147:4, NIV 

 

Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens:

    Who created all these?

He who brings out the starry host one by one

    and calls forth each of them by name.

Because of his great power and mighty strength,

    not one of them is missing. Isaiah 40:26, NIV

God made and named each and every star. Not one star is missing or out of place. 

God is in the details of the universe and the details of our lives. 

Do you feel like He has forgotten about you? Do you ever wonder if He sees you and what you’re going through? Does God really care about me? Yes, God really cares about every heartache, trial, and pain you experience.

God made every single part of the universe and He made you. He knows everything about you. He even numbered the hairs on your head. He doesn’t just count how many individual hairs you’ve got. God numbered your hair. Reach up and touch a piece of hair on your head. Maybe that’s number 1000 or 50. Who knows? God does. 

And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Matthew 10:30, NIV 

God has intimate knowledge of us. He is not a far-off, too busy for us, God. The God who made us also deeply loves us, and deeply cares about our needs and sorrows. He is in the details. 

Whatever you are going through today, or tomorrow, He cares. God cares so much that He wants you to trust Him, to talk to Him, and give Him all your concerns. He will take care of you. It may not be your way, or your time, but He will provide. 

As for God, his way is perfect:

    The Lord’s word is flawless;

    He shields all who take refuge in him. Psalm 18:30, NIV

The God who named the stars, and numbered your hair, loves you. Trust Him. Cry out to Him. Praise Him, and thank Him. Spend some time with Him. He loves hearing from you.

 

Love you all,

Meghan 

 

¹ https://spaceplace.nasa.gov/other-solar-systems/en/

² https://www.britannica.com/story/how-do-we-know-how-far-away-the-stars-are

Bible, Faith

How to Read the Bible

img_2843Followers of Jesus need to be in the Bible every day. We are told regularly to read The Bible. What should we read? How do we read the Bible? Where to begin can be overwhelming. If you’ve been a Christian for a long time, you may wonder what to read next. Maybe you want to study in a different way.

Thank God that the Bible has never ending wisdom and knowledge to gain. Just because you’ve read it all the way through many times, does not mean you’ve got it all figured out. That is impossible. We will be seeking truth in God’s Holy Word the rest of our lives. There is always something new to learn regardless of how learned we are. God will never stop revealing Himself in His Word.

Some Bible Basics:

There are 66 books of the Bible compiled into one volume with two sections, the Old Testament and the New Testament.

Old Testament

Law

 

Genesis
Exodus
Leviticus
Numbers
Deuteronomy

 

 

History

 

Joshua
Judges
Ruth
1 & 2 Samuel 
1 & 2 Kings
1 & 2 Chronicles
Ezra
Nehemiah
Esther

 

Poetry

 

Job
Psalms
Proverbs
Ecclesiastes
Song of Songs

 

Prophecy

 

Isaiah
Jeremiah
Lamentations
Ezekiel
Daniel
Hosea
Joel
Amos
Obadiah
Jonah
Micah
Nahum
Habakkuk
Zephaniah
Haggai
Zachariah
Malachi

New Testament

Jesus

 

Matthew
Mark
Luke
John

 

History

 

Acts

 

Letters

 

Romans
1 & 2 Corinthians
Galatians
Ephesians
Philippians
Colossians
1 & 2 Thessalonians
1 & 2 Timothy
Titus
Philemon
Hebrews
James
1 & 2 Peter
1,2,3 John
Jude

 

 

End Times

 

Revelation

 

 

The Bible is about relationships.The Old Testament is about God’s relationship to His chosen people, Israel. The New Testament is about God’s relationship to the world through Jesus Christ.

The Bible has one theme. God’s passionate pursuit of a rebellious people.

When reading the Bible follow these steps.

1. Rely on the Holy Spirit. We cannot properly read and understand God’s Word without the Holy Spirit. Ask God what He wants to teach you today. Thank Him for who He is and humble yourself before the Lord.

17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.     John 14:17, ESV

25 “These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.   John 14:25-26, ESV 

26 “But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me.                 John 15:26, ESV

2.  Engage in a passage. Choose a book of the Bible to complete. Start in The New Testament with John, or any of the four Gospels. Or, start with a short book like Philippians or James.

Use the four “C‘s”

Chief people – Who is writing, receiving, or any other important names.

Challenges – What words, phrases or sentences don’t you understand. Underline them and write them down in a notebook.

Crucial Words – What words or phrases are repeated? Any comparisons/contrasts?

Cool Verse – What verse summarizes your study for the week? Underline that verse and memorize it.

 

3. Ask: Who is God? As you read through the verses look for any reference to God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Look for His name, personal pronouns or His activities. Underline them.

Fill in the blank:

God is ___________

God _____________

4. Dialogue with God. Talk with Him. Pray.

Do I believe this about you? Why?

What truth do I need to remember about you? 

What are you doing that I need to be a part of?

How does what I read apply to me? In my relationships, work, school, etc.

Do I have unconfessed sin? Or areas of unbelief? 

Rely

Engage

Ask

Diaologue

This is a very basic breakdown of the books of the Bible and how to read it. This does not cover every thought, or idea on the Bible and Bible study. It’s simply a starting point. Most of this information came from a handout I received from my church years ago.

You will need a Bible that you can write in and highlight. Don’t be afraid to write in the Bible. Also, a notebook can be quite helpful to write down thoughts, questions, or what God spoke to you.

There are many versions of the Bible. I will not go into detail, in this post, on Bible translations. There are three main versions:

Word-for-word: NASB, ESV, NET, KJV, NKJV

Thought-for-thought: CSB, NIV, NLT

Paraphrase: NIRV, MSG, GNT,

That’s not every translation. There are numerous ones. I like to use several. My favorite is my old, beat up, 1978 New International Version. It was my Mom’s when she was a brand new Believer.

I pray you will pick up your Bible today and read it. Hopefully with new eyes and new passion. It’s the most exciting book you will ever read.

12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.  Hebrews 4:12, ESV

 

Love you all,

Meghan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Faith, God, Jesus, Uncategorized

Live for Today

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Today you have been given a gift. The gift of time. There are 1440 minutes in your gift. You and I get this precious gift of time, each and every day.

This is the day that the Lord has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.        Psalm 118:24, ESV 

God made our days and He numbered them.

Lord, reveal to me the end of my life
and the number of my days.
Let me know how short-lived I am.
 You, indeed, have made my days short in length,
and my life span as nothing in Your sight.
Yes, every mortal man is only a vapor.Selah    Psalm 39:4-5, HCSB

How much time do we waste each day? I don’t believe the goal is to fill every single minute with non-stop activity. We’ve all got necassary day-to-day duties that are unavoidable. Sleep takes up a certain amount of our hours. Work. Other daily responsibilities like cooking, errands, caring for our families, and a long list of daily tasks fill our routines. And yes, there should be a little down time each day, to recharge your batteries.

    A person’s days are determined;
    you have decreed the number of his months
    and have set limits he cannot exceed.   Job 14:5, NIV

So, if God ordained our days, and He ordained our lives, then He knows we have normal routine stuff that needs to take place. He also has ordained big and small events in our lives every day; that give us opportunities to make a difference for His Kingdom.

This is not the Carpe Diem trendy thinking of our culture. Seize the day is associated with self. Go for it. Take everything you can from each day. This type of thinking says the day is yours. As Christians, each day is a gift from the Lord that He made, and it’s not all ours for the taking.

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.  Ephesians 2:10, NIV

God has Kingdom work for us to accomplish. And we need Him to do what He’s called us to. Maybe you don’t know your specific calling yet. Start asking God what He has you here for. Each of us has a unique purpose. In the meantime, look for daily small moments to share the love of Jesus. Working hard to provide for your family matters. Cooking a meal for your family is loving. Going to the grocery store and getting food and other essentials is important. We’re human and we need food. Being kind to the checker at the store. Helping an elderly shopper with reaching an item. (Maybe after the covid19 6 feet away craziness is over.)

There are moments each day that we can make a difference. Praying for someone, sharing the Gospel, helping a neighbor. Giving a friend a ride. Listening to your children’s ideas and hopes. Encouraging your spouse. Forgiving that person you’ve been holding a grudge against. Love God. Love your family. Love strangers you cross paths with. Love your annoying neighbor.

These are not easy on our own. They are impossible in our own abilities. We need filled up before we can overflow with the love of Christ.

Yesterday is the past. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have today.

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:34, NIV

We are all very aware we’ve got enough to deal with today. Jesus tells us not to worry about tomorrow. We are supposed to live in today. We can still make plans, and pray about future events, and circumstances. But, we are to leave those at Jesus feet and get on with our day. I know, that’s super difficult. At least for me it is.

Give each day the care it deserves. It may not be flashy but it is a gift from the Lord. Every day is not some thrill ride. Many days can be mundane and quite ordinary, but God ordained them. Thank Him for each day.

Thank God on the good days.

Thank God on the awful days.

Thank God every single day. He made it just for you.

Is Jesus Christ your Savior? Today would be a great day to accept His free gift of salvation. Tomorrow is not guaranteed.

Love you all,

Meghan

 

Go to my contact page and email me if you need prayer.