The Masterís Kiln
Diamond in the Rough
Ephesians1:3-14; Romans 8:18-30
Dear one, the darkness is just the same as the light to Me.
Do not fear when the road turns the bend and becomes engulfed in a dark cloud.
Everything that is ahead is for a purpose. The purpose of creating in you more of Me.
I love you to much to not lead you through this. I want you to become a jewel that shines ever so brightly.
When a jewel is first found from the ground, it does not look like a treasure.
There is a process of grinding and cleaning before it becomes the rarity that it is. It is the same with you.
You are as a diamond in the rough-needing all the imperfections to be ground away.
But, alas, you will be a jewel that will shine forth...as a rare treasure only a few will find.
The Master's Kiln
You have brought me so far,
I'm not who I used to be.
Everything is being made new~
Just as You said it would be.
You have taken this clay that was once just a lump,
And have shaped it for your glory.
And just when I think that we are done
I discover there is more in the making!
Keep me pliable in Your hands, Oh Potter.
Let my heart not harden again.
Keep pride from seeping in the cracks
to ruin what You have begun.
Make me into the vessel You have planned me to be.
Let me not pull from your hand,
But burn away my imperfections
In the Master's kiln.
So many today are living in fear. These are indeed fearful times that are coming upon the earth. Even now suicides are on the increase, drug and alcohol abuse is skyrocketing among the youth and others. Hope for the future is looking hopeless.
From the Mayan Calendar predictions to the Book of Revelation we see news story after news story of nothing but calamities, tribulations, and a picture of a world gone mad. And the only thing in store, is more and worse of the same.
Paganism and New Age are also on the rise due to the need of so many who are at the end of their own endurance. They are seeking for a good word, that we can somehow turn the course of events and everything will be OK. That there is some higher power that can come and fix all the wrongs, and bring utopia.
Talk and dreams of invasions of the West from Russia, China, and even aliens are added to the list daily. Nightmares of being imprisoned much like the Jews and others in The Holocaust are confirmed by conspiracies of prison camps springing up seemingly overnight. Predictions and speculations of the rise of the one world government, the Anti-Christ, and the mark of the beast are in no short supply. The threats of earthquakes, hurricanes, and a worldwide economic collapse are on the minds of weather trackers and economists. It seems everyone these days has an ominous feeling of the other shoe about to drop. That these are the good olí days, and the world will never be the same from here.
With all of this, what should the Christian response be. We are in the world, not of it, but does that immunize the mind from fear of what is ahead? Even though we are Christís, we still are human and have concerns for our, family, friends and self.
The Christian Response
So many passages and verses from scripture are set before us to encourage us, and draw us to Christ. Of which 1Pe 4:12 is one of the most popular: Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: 13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.
There is no doubt that judgment falls on the righteous and unrighteous the same, but that trial, tribulation, and uncertainty should work a different response from those whoís Lord is Jesus. The fires of affliction that come upon us can be used to purify our own lives, but they can also be used to bring others to Christ, and to strengthen those around us.
Isa 48:10Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.
2Co 8:2 How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality.
There is one book of the Bible that shows how the response of a great trial of affliction worked toward a saint becoming an encouragement for other Christians, and the reason some unbelievers came to Christ all the while he is talking about the process of becoming perfected in Christ (Php 3:12).
The book of Philippians was written by Paul while imprisoned in Rome.
Php 1:10 That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ;
Php 1:11 Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.
Php 1:12 But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel;
Php 1:13 So that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places;
Php 1:14 And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.
How were the brethren waxed confident by Paulís bonds? It was because of his response. His continual faithfulness in speaking the Gospel. He was not afraid of trusting the Lord no matter what the outcome of his own self was.
Php 1:20 According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death.
Php 1:21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
Php 1:22 But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not.
Php 1:23 For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:
Php 1:24 Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you.
Php 1:25 And having this confidence, I know that I shall abide and continue with you all for your furtherance and joy of faith;
This is going to have to be our response as followers of Christ. This type of attitude can not be faked, nor can we find it in our own mind, feelings and emotions. It can only be had through surrendering to the Lord. Giving Him all things, and asking for His faithfulness and ability to be placed in us. It is only by His Spirit that we will endure these type of tribulations that Paul went through, and is coming. Things will be worse than even at this time of Paul. How much more surrender will it take for us to stay faithful?
Then there is the temptation of wanting to give up. Wanting to die because that really is the better life with Christ. But what spurs Paul on is his love for Christís people, his brethren.
1Ti 6:12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.
There is always a reason to continue the good fight.
Php 2:13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
Php 2:14 Do all things without murmurings and disputings:
Php 2:15 That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;
Php 2:16 Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.
Php 2:17 Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice with you all.
Php 2:18 For the same cause also do ye joy, and rejoice with me.
Sounds like Paul was describing our very own state of affairs. A crooked and perverse nation. This is the sacrifice and service of faith. To shine as lights in the world, to be purified and set as an example and witness where ever we are placed. What ever state we are in, to remain faithful.
Php 3:8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,
Php 3:9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:
Php 3:10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;
Php 3:11 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.
Php 3:12 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.
Php 3:13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
Php 3:14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
Php 3:20 For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:
Php 3:21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.
Suffered the loss of all things. That is what the trials and afflictions can do. Burn off all the dross. Being made in His image through a process.
There is a method of glazing pottery called Sodium Vapor Glazing.
Sodium Vapor Glazing
Salt Glazed Pottery incorporates a unique method of glaze application.
Salt glazing is a process where pots are engulfed in a sea of sodium vapors and fire. Salt is inserted into the kiln at 2000 degrees, releasing sodium which acts as a flux on the silica in the pots. This action creates a unique glaze. The entire process is called "vapor glazing"
The Pottery is actually glazed by sodium vapors in the kiln, rather than by a coating of glaze minerals applied to the surface of the pot before firing.
The amount of salt used, depends on the intent of the potter.
Adding a pound of salt per cubic foot of kiln volume
is usual for potters seeking deep texture.
Please notice that the glaze is applied while the pot is in the kiln. And it is the Master who applies the salt at the right time. We can trust that our Lord knows what He is doing.
But there is another application to this. Through the affliction, where we are weak, He is strong. In our own weakness, we ask for His strength, and He provides. It is a glaze of provision through the afflictions. The more of His provision, the deeper the texture, or the less of the original state of the pot is seen. It is a process of glazing that the salt is added at the end of the firing. The more salt added the hotter the fire. The deeper the texture.
Quite the picture as we race toward the end of the age.
Php 4:5 Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.
Php 4:6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
Php 4:7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Php 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
Php 4:9 Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.
Php 4:22 All the saints salute you, chiefly they that are of Caesar's household.
Php 4:23 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen. To the Philippians written from Rome, by Epaphroditus.
The most striking thing about this story is that Paul was talking about the brethren in Ceasars court! No matter where the guy landed, he preached the Gospel, and counted not his life.
The most important thing we can be is a light to the world. When things start to get very hard, and people are terrified...who are they going to look to? Someone who is faithful and steadfast in the Lord. A person who is not falling apart because the ride is uncertain.
That does not mean that we will not die, or some family members, friends wont die through these things that are coming, but it means that to remain faithful strengthening those around us by His Spirit within us. The only way Paul and the other early Apostles, and many others through history were able to face their own tribulations was because of their faith in the Lord to see them through. Stephen comes to mind as one of the best examples in scripture of remaining faithful. Somehow I think that Paul's witnessing, and actually applauding that saint's death had more of an impact on Paul's life than is evident in the scriptures.