Crackpots

The Cracked Pot: Part One

Crackpots and Cracked Pots are not quite the same thing. God does not plan to merely take the good guys home to heaven and allow the bad guys take over and run the planet. That’s His short term plan to polar things. Long term? The sky is falling now everywhere. Those who know and cling to Jesus Christ are safe. The rest of you are not.

Back in my drinking years (1960-1980) my drinking buddies and I knew every watering hole on the Peninsula. There was Rossotti’s on Alpine Road behind Stanford. The Oasis on El Camino in Menlo Park (beer only), the Cracked Pot in Atherton. (Palo Alto was dry all the way to East Paly in compliance with land ceded to Palo Alto by Leland and Jane Stanford about 1884).

My Booze Addiction

1954: I was a teetotaler until I turned 18. I persuaded a classmate, Lester Monson, 30, to take me out for a drink in my senior year of college. Reluctantly he finally agree and this was my initiation into manhood — I thought. My boss at work loved roast beef at Fabbro’s in Redwood City. But we always had to start with two martinis! Not good! I liked my boss a lot but he died young from smoking and drinking.

1960: Fast forward: Martinis on the fantail of the yacht Acania were the order of the day. I rode the ship from Curaçao to Antigua in 1960 which led to an incredible chapter in the land of Steel Bands and Calypso. Beefeaters gin was only a dollar a bottle so we shipped it home by the case.

Returning home I worked overtime to build a close friendship with Phillip and Melinda Compton which lasted for many years. We three loved to visit Barghetto's’s winery in Santa Cruz. Phil did the driving so I could drink too much wine.

It has been forty three years since I stopped drinking. I have friends who have been sober only a few months and they can’t imagine my decades of sobriety. The hard part for me was realizing I had an addiction to alcohol and that my heavy drinking friends probably were not addicts. On my first visit to Raleigh Hills Hospital in Redwood City, the staff were mostly addicts so they knew the trickster at work in alcoholics. I enjoyed my first week in rehab, especially meeting other recovering alcoholics from all walks in life. After a week I was feeling like a new man so I got to go home. Warning: If you are an addict, Make sure you dump all of your liquor including those secret stashes you've saved for a rainy day. Watch out for wine vinegar and shaving lotion. 

For the first week home I was fine. I felt so good a glass of wine with dinner wouldn’t hurt any? Wrong! One drink and an alcoolic is rehooked. The outside world is not safe if not-drinking is, for you, a life and death issue. I rushed back to RHH where the main counselor said, “I knew you’d be back.” Week Two did the trick! Sobriety at last!

Not much later in made my first trip to Israel. My Jewish hosts, Stanley and Helen Goldfoot, asked why I refused a glass of wine at dinner. They were amazed when I related my story. Stanley told me there were a few addicts in Israel but wine in moderation was normative from childhood. Wine, in the Bible symbolizes earthly joy and I’d have to focus on the joy imparted by the Spirit of God.

 As time went on I was able to be around drinking friends. Visiting a bar way later I immediately saw the patrons as utter fools who thought they were having a good time. Lots of “friends” dropped out of my life after I sobered up--which showed me who the freeloaders were. 

Looking back I thought awful hangovers and splitting headaches were normal. I kept a bottle of gin in my desk drawer at work just in case. If I had not stopped when I did I would surely have died and missed forty years of adventure, learning, travel and joy.

Lowlights in my Life

1962 I became a Christian in the Fall of 1962.
1963 My LSD trip
1963 Moved from the Mesa to Cupertino
1972 I Left PBC for ten years and made thirteen trips to Egypt 1972/1974/1976.
1977 Raleigh Hills, Redwood City. Sober ever since! Two trips to RHH required!
1979 A great vision of God on Central Expressway leading to two bipolar psychotic breaks!
1990 My Father dies in Twin Falls, Idaho.
1982 Two weeks in Israel with Ray and Elaine Stedman and Carole Gallivan hosted by the Goldfoots.
1983 SOS San Francisco
1988 Moved from Cupertino to Pomeroy Palace, Santa Clara
2006-2017 Addicted to Oxycontin
June 2017 Near Death Experience


  


Back to Clay Pots!

Man Created from the Clay of the Earth

Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth." So God created (bara) man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth." (Genesis 1:26-28)

"In the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens, when no plant of the field was yet in the earth and no herb of the field had yet sprung up---for the LORD God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was no man to till the ground; but a mist went up from the earth and watered the whole face of the ground---then the LORD God formed [Heb: yatsar man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath [ruach] of life; and man became a living being [nephesh]. And the LORD God planted a garden in Eden [the word means "delight"], in the east; and there he put the man whom he had formed." (Genesis 2:5-7)

[First use of the symbol of potter and clay. "Dust" and "clay" are often used interchangeably for soil or earth from the ground.]

Yatsar, translated in this version as "formed" means to mold as a potter molds the clay, [the term is also used in Jeremiah 18-19]. The account of man's creation in Genesis 1:27 says that God created [bara] man. Man was created, but also molded and fashioned. Bara is a word used in the Bible only for the creative activity of God. It implies something new has been brought into existence by divine command. Yatsar tells us how God formed and sculpted man (Adam/Eve). Man as created by God is the highest of all of God's artistic works, and God made man very much like Himself. God's creation of the first man was "hands-on" and God's involvement with all men ever since has been a personal one, whether individuals know this or not!

The fall of man affected body, soul and spirit. Death entered the world because of sin, man's connection with the Source of life caused mind and soul to languish and the physical body to begin to die. The genetic and spiritual damage causing death was passed on down to all of us who are the natural descendants of Adam. 

The death of God's Son on the Cross was God's method of reconciling all things to Himself, making provision for man's restoration, rebirth and eventual physical, bodily resurrection. The new life imparted to all followers of Christ immediately renews soul and spirit. The body, however, remains unredeemed for the rest of one's life.

"Thus it is written, 'The first man Adam became a living being;' the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. But it is not the spiritual which is first but the physical, and then the spiritual. The first man [Adam] was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. As was the man of dust, so are those who are of the dust; and as is the man of heaven, so are those who are of heaven. Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven. I tell you this, brethren: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Lo! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable nature must put on the imperishable, and this mortal nature must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: 'Death is swallowed up in victory.' 'O death, where is thy victory? O death, where is thy sting?'" (1 Corinthians 15:45-55)

The Biblical symbol of the potter and the clay when applied to man therefore makes references to man as created by God, man related to and linked to the physical world, and man the perishable and mortal. God as the great Potter, the Sovereign God has the right to create, or to remake any man, and the clay has little to say about the matter! 

Job acknowledged this when he said,

"Remember that thou hast made me of clay; and wilt thou turn me to dust again?" (Job 10:9)

The Potter's Right over the Clay

In the days of the prophet Isaiah, Judah's repeated disobedience brought an alarm from the Lord,

"Woe to those who hide deep from the LORD their counsel, whose deeds are in the dark, and who say, 'Who sees us? Who knows us?' You turn things upside down! Shall the potter be regarded as the clay; that the thing made should say of its maker, 'He did not make me;' or the thing formed say of him who formed it, 'He has no understanding'"? (Isaiah 29:15-16)

A lump of ordinary clay is chosen from the amorphous pile of the clay heaped on the floor. The potter has an end product in mind, a vessel that will be useful to its final owner and a credit to the potter's craftsmanship and experience. The potter labors over the clay forming and shaping and forming it until the final product is realized. The pot then can be fired and decorated - but if it cracks or turns out misshapen, it is no big deal to discard it altogether. Can we imagine a mere clay pot complaining to the potter? Does the pot have "rights" of it's own? No, it exists, and finds useful service as an ordinary kitchen pot or a beautiful vase, solely because the potter intended it for such an end.

Yet God allows both individuals and nations to cooperate with Him as He molds and shapes fallen men and women. While the clay is still pliable and wet, the Great Potter's desire is to make a work of beauty and utility out of that which is otherwise marred, flawed, and unsuited for His use.

For example, in his desperate prayer asking God for mercy for the rebellious nation of Israel the prophet Isaiah employs the very same image of the potter and the clay,

"Yet, O LORD, thou art our Father; we are the clay, and thou art our potter; we are all the work of thy hand. Be not exceedingly angry, O LORD, and remember not iniquity for ever. Behold, consider, we are all thy people. Thy holy cities have become a wilderness, Zion has become a wilderness, Jerusalem a desolation. Our holy and beautiful house, where our fathers praised thee, has been burned by fire, and all our pleasant places have become ruins. Wilt thou restrain thyself at these things, O LORD? Wilt thou keep silent, and afflict us sorely?" (Isaiah 64)

Isaiah begs God not to discard Israel as a worthless piece of pottery, but to reform and remake the nation while the clay still retains its pliability. 

As we shall see, the situation had deteriorated 100 years later when Jeremiah was given a vivid picture of pottery that is useless and destined at this point in time to be shattered and thrown out with the potsherds into the rubbish heap.

The Reforming and the Smashing of a Nation

Jeremiah the prophet (627-585 BC) lived somewhat later in time than Isaiah, it was his destiny to prophesy for 40 years in Jerusalem with no fruit for his efforts. In anguish and pain he witnessed the terrible invasion of Nebuchadnezzar in 586 BC and the slaughter of the majority of the populace---men, women, and children. Jerusalem was destroyed before his very eyes. He himself was hauled captive to Egypt soon afterward by rebellious fellow-countrymen and there put to death.

One of the most vivid pictures of God the Potter and His people the clay is recorded in Jeremiah 18-19:

The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD: "Arise, and go down to the potter's house, and there I will let you hear my words." So I went down to the potter's house, and there he was working at his wheel. And the vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter's hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to do. Then the word of the LORD came to me: "O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter has done? says the LORD. Behold, like the clay in the potter's hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel. If at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom, that I will pluck up and break down and destroy it, and if that nation, concerning which I have spoken, turns from its evil, I will repent of the evil that I intended to do to it. And if at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom that I will build and plant it, and if it does evil in my sight, not listening to my voice, then I will repent of the good which I had intended to do to it.

In the clearest imagery possible, God the Potter asserts His rights to reform, remodel, or even to discard an entire nation when His inspection reveals the pot on the wheel is "spoiled, marred, or ruined."

Now, therefore, say to the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem: `Thus says the LORD, Behold, I am shaping evil against you and devising a plan against you. Return, every one from his evil way, and amend your ways and your doings.' "But they say, `That is in vain! We will follow our own plans, and will every one act according to the stubbornness of his evil heart.' "Therefore thus says the LORD: Ask among the nations, who has heard the like of this? The virgin Israel has done a very horrible thing. Does the snow of Lebanon leave the crags of Sirion? Do the mountain waters run dry, the cold flowing streams? But my people have forgotten me, they burn incense to false gods; they have stumbled in their ways, in the ancient roads, and have gone into by-paths, not the highway, making their land a horror, a thing to be hissed at for ever. Every one who passes by it is horrified and shakes his head. Like the east wind I will scatter them before the enemy. I will show them my back, not my face, in the day of their calamity." Then they said, "Come, let us make plots against Jeremiah, for the law shall not perish from the priest, nor counsel from the wise, nor the word from the prophet. Come, let us smite him with the tongue, and let us not heed any of his words." Give heed to me, O LORD, and hearken to my plea. Is evil a recompense for good? Yet they have dug a pit for my life. 

Remember how I stood before thee to speak good for them, to turn away thy wrath from them. Therefore deliver up their children to famine; give them over to the power of the sword, let their wives become childless and widowed. May their men meet death by pestilence, their youths be slain by the sword in battle. May a cry be heard from their houses, when thou bringest the marauder suddenly upon them! For they have dug a pit to take me, and laid snares for my feet. Yet, thou, O LORD, knowest all their plotting to slay me. Forgive not their iniquity, nor blot out their sin from thy sight. Let them be overthrown before thee; deal with them in the time of thine anger. (Jeremiah 18)

Ray C. Stedman offers a clear commentary on this passage in his book The Pot and the Potter, from Death of a Nation

"What did Jeremiah see in this lesson? First there was the clay. And Jeremiah knew, as he watched the potter shaping and molding the clay, that he was looking at a picture of himself, and of every man, and of every nation. We are the clay. Both Isaiah and Zechariah in the Old Testament join with Jeremiah in presenting this picture of the potter and the clay. And in the New Testament we have the voice of Paul in that great passage in Romans 9, reminding us that God is the Potter and we are the clay. So Jeremiah saw the clay being shaped and molded into a vessel. Then some imperfection in the clay spoiled it in the potter's hand, and the potter crumbled it up, and began anew the process of shaping it into a vessel that pleased him.

"Jeremiah saw the wheel turning constantly, bringing the clay against the potter's hand. That wheel stands for the turning circumstances of our life, under the control of the Potter, for it is the potter's foot that guides the wheel. The lesson is clear. As our life is being shaped and molded by the Great Potter, it is the circumstances of our life, the wheels of circumstance, what Browning called "this dance of plastic circumstance", which bring us again and again under the potter's hand, under the pressure of the molding fingers of the Potter, so that he shapes the vessel according to his will.

"Then, Jeremiah saw the potter. God, he knew, was the Great Potter, with absolute right over the clay to make it what he wanted it to be. Paul argues this with keen and clear logic in Romans 9: "Will what is molded say to its molder, 'Why have you made me thus?' Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for beauty and another for menial use?" Of course he has. The vessel is shaped according to the image in the potter's mind.

"So Jeremiah, watching, learned that an individual or a nation is clay in the Great Potter's hands. He has a sovereign right to make it what he wants it to be. He has the skill and design to work with the clay and to bring it to pass. And if there be some imperfection in the clay, something which mars the design, spoils the work, the potter simply crushes the clay down to a lump and begins again to make it yet a vessel according to his own mind. In the verses which follow, this lesson is applied to the nation...

"In other, more direct terms, this is the same lesson Jeremiah learned at the potter's house, applied to the nation. When the pressure the potter applies is successful in turning the clay in the right direction, the potter seems to repent, the pressure is relieved, and the clay is allowed then to remain in the form it has taken. But when something in the clay resists, the potter then seems to repent of making a vessel at all, and he crushes it into a lump, and begins again to make it yet into the vessel he desires.

"And this is true of our individual lives. If some hard circumstance comes into your life---and it may be there right now, or it may be just around the corner, or you may just have passed through it---that circumstance is the wheel of God, to bring you against the pressure of the Potter's hand. If you do not resist, if your will does not spoil the work by murmuring, grumbling, or complaining, or feeling resentful and bitter, but you accept the working of the Potter, then the pressure is relieved, and the vessel takes shape. But if there is resistance, if the human will, like some imperfection in the clay, chooses something other than the Potter has in mind, then the Potter can do nothing else but crush it down to a lump once again and, beginning with the same lump, make it over into a vessel which suits his heart and mind. The great lesson Jeremiah learned at the potter's house was that of the sovereign control of God. He is the potter, and we are the clay...

"In Chapter 19, God sent Jeremiah back again to the potter's house:
Thus said the LORD, "Go, buy a potter's earthen flask, and take some of the elders of the people and some of the senior priests, and go out to the valley of the son of Hinnom at the entry of the Potsherd Gate, and proclaim there the words that I tell you.
"Back to the potter's house he went, this time not to watch the formation of a vessel in the hands of the potter, but to buy a potter's flask, a vessel already fired in the kiln, hardened, brittle. He was to take it outside the gates of the southern part of Jerusalem to the valley of Hinnom, which is called, in the New Testament, the valley of Gehenna. This was the garbage dump of Jerusalem, the place they threw all the refuse from the streets of the city. All the bodies of dogs and cats and other animals that died in the streets were left there to rot. It was the place where bodies of criminals were thrown after execution, to rot in the sun and be food for vultures---an evil, stinking place. There Jeremiah was to take the elders of the people and some of the senior priests and say these words to them:

"You shall say, 'Hear the word of the Lord, O kings of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem. Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, Behold, I am bringing such evil upon this place that the ears of every one who hears of it will tingle. Because the people have forsaken me, and have profaned this place by burning incense in it to other gods whom neither they nor their fathers nor the kings of Judah have known; and because they have filled this place with the blood of innocents [This was a place where altars were erected to the god Molech, a fearsome, grinning god inside of which was built a great fire, and then through whose mouth the people passed their living children to be burned alive.], and have built the high places of Baal to burn their sons in the fire as burnt offerings to Baal, which I did not command or decree, nor did it come into my mind; therefore, behold, days are coming, says the Lord, when this place shall no longer be called Topheth, or the valley of the son of Hinnom, but the valley of Slaughter. And in this place I will make void the plans of Judah and Jerusalem...'"

"There is the sovereignty of the Potter over the clay. Men make plans. God makes other plans. Napoleon had to learn that lesson. He once said, 'God is on the side of the army with the heaviest artillery.' There came a time in his life when, exiled on the island of St. Helena, he said, 'Man proposes; but God disposes.'

"'And in this place I will make void the plans of Judah and Jerusalem, and will cause their people to fall by the sword before their enemies, and by the hand of those who seek their life. I will give their dead bodies for food to the birds of the air and to the beasts of the earth. And I will make this city a horror, a thing to be hissed [whistled] at; every one who passes by it will be horrified and will hiss [whistle] because of all its disasters. And I will make them eat the flesh of their sons and their daughters, and every one shall eat the flesh of his neighbor in the siege and in the distress, with which their enemies and those who seek their life afflict them.'"
"These words came literally true. In but a few years the armies of Nebuchadnezzar surrounded this city, laid siege to it, and the resulting famine grew so severe, as we will see in this very prophecy, that the people resorted to cannibalism and killed and ate their own children, and one another, in order to live. Then the armies broke down the walls of the city and leveled them to the ground, so that later those passing by would whistle in amazement at the destruction which came upon this city.

"Now Jeremiah was told to do something with the flask he had purchased at the potter's house, beginning with verse 10,
"Then you shall break the flask in the sight of the men who go with you, and shall say to them, 'Thus says the Lord of hosts: " 'So will I break this people and this city, as one breaks a potter's vessel, so that it can never be mended. Men shall bury in Topheth because there will be no place else to bury. Thus will I do to this place, says the Lord, and to its inhabitants, making this city like Topheth. The houses of Jerusalem and the houses of the kings of Judah---all the houses upon whose roofs incense has been burned to all the host of heaven, and drink offerings have been poured out to other gods---shall be defiled like the place of Topheth.'"
"But Jeremiah was told, in the striking figure God employed for the benefit of these people, to take the potter's vessel he had bought and dash it to pieces on a rock. And as they watched it fly into smithereens, so that it was impossible to bring it back together, these people were taught that they were dealing with a God whose love is so intense that he will never alter his purpose---even if he has to destroy and crush and break them down again...

"You see, that is the way the world sees God right now. They see the hell which is coming into our nation, the hellish things which are taking place. And soon it will be worse, according to the prophetic Scriptures. There will be worse signs taking place, worse affairs among men, in which 'men's hearts will fail them for fear of seeing the things which are coming to pass on the face of the earth.' They will cry out against God as being harsh and ruthless and vindictive, filled with vengeance and anger and hatred. That is all the world sees.

"But the people of God are taught further truth. Jeremiah had been to the potter's house. He had seen the potter making a vessel, and he knew that it was love behind the Potter's pressures, and that when the vessel was marred, the Potter was capable of crushing it down again, bringing it to nothing but a lump, and then molding it, shaping it once again, perhaps doing this again and again, until at last it fulfilled what God wanted. That is the great lesson Jeremiah learned at the potter's house, and that we can learn at the potter's house, as well. In Paul's second letter to Timothy he says,
"In a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and earthenware, and some for noble use, some for ignoble. If any one purifies himself from what is ignoble [those practices which appear just before this in the context ---wrongful attitudes, contentiousness, ungodliness, doctrinal aberrations, iniquity] then he will be a vessel for noble use, consecrated and useful to the master of the house, ready for any good work."

"When we are in the Potter's hands, feeling his pressures, feeling the molding of his fingers, we can relax and trust him, for we know that this Potter has suffered with us and knows how we feel, but is determined to make us into a vessel "meet for the master's use". What a tremendous lesson, what a beautiful lesson Jeremiah learned at the potter's house---one which I hope will guide us and guard us under the pressures which are coming into our lives these days. Remember that the Potter has a purpose in mind, and the skill and ability to fulfill it, no matter how many times he may have to make the vessel over again." (See also Ray C. Stedman, Fit to Be Used.)




One of my all-time favorites is the Prophetess Deborah!

The Treasure in Earthen Vessels

After pruning down the volunteer army from 22,000 to 300, Gideon was given God's strategy for overcoming the Midianite oppressors in the Days of the Judges,

And the LORD said to Gideon, "With the three hundred men that lapped I will deliver you, and give the Midianites into your hand; and let all the others go every man to his home..." That same night the LORD said to him, "Arise, go down against the camp; for I have given it into your hand. But if you fear to go down, go down to the camp with Purah your servant; and you shall hear what they say, and afterward your hands shall be strengthened to go down against the camp." Then he went down with Purah his servant to the outposts of the armed men that were in the camp. And the Midianites and the Amalekites and all the people of the East lay along the valley like locusts for multitude; and their camels were without number, as the sand which is upon the seashore for multitude. When Gideon came, behold, a man was telling a dream to his comrade; and he said, "Behold, I dreamed a dream; and lo, a cake of barley bread tumbled into the camp of Midian, and came to the tent, and struck it so that it fell, and turned it upside down, so that the tent lay flat." And his comrade answered, "This is no other than the sword of Gideon the son of Joash, a man of Israel; into his hand God has given Midian and all the host." 

When Gideon heard the telling of the dream and its interpretation, he worshiped; and he returned to the camp of Israel, and said, "Arise; for the LORD has given the host of Midian into your hand." And he divided the three hundred men into three companies, and put trumpets into the hands of all of them and empty jars, with torches inside the jars. And he said to them, "Look at me, and do likewise; when I come to the outskirts of the camp, do as I do. When I blow the trumpet, I and all who are with me, then blow the trumpets also on every side of all the camp, and shout, `For the LORD and for Gideon.'" 

So Gideon and the hundred men who were with him came to the outskirts of the camp at the beginning of the middle watch, when they had just set the watch; and they blew the trumpets and smashed the jars that were in their hands. And the three companies blew the trumpets and broke the jars, holding in their left hands the torches, and in their right hands the trumpets to blow; and they cried, "A sword for the LORD and for Gideon!" They stood every man in his place round about the camp, and all the army ran; they cried out and fled. When they blew the three hundred trumpets, the LORD set every man's sword against his fellow and against all the army; and the army fled as far as Bethshittah toward Zererah, as far as the border of Abelmeholah, by Tabbath...(Judges 7:7-22)

Clay pots with lamps inside! Clay pots that are smashed and broken in order to let the inner light shine through! Perhaps this Old Testament story inspired the Apostle Paul to describe Christians as mere vessels of clay designed to hold and contain a priceless treasure,

"...if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled only to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the likeness of God. For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake. 

For it is the God who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. 

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, to show that the transcendent power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. 

For while we live we are always being given up to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you. Since we have the same spirit of faith as he had who wrote, "I believed, and so I spoke," we too believe, and so we speak, knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence. 

For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God. So we do not lose heart. Though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed every day. For this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, because we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen; for the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal." (2 Corinthians 4:3-18)

A Closing Promise for the Future

"He who overcomes and who keeps my works until the end, I will give him power over the nations, and he shall rule them with a rod of iron, as when earthen pots are broken in pieces, even as I myself have received power from my Father; and I will give him the morning star."(Jesus Christ to the Church of Thyatira, Revelation 2:26-28)

The Song of Deborah 

The Book of Judges, Chapter 5

 1 "Then sang Deborah and Barak the son of Abinoam in that day:

2 `That the leaders took the lead in Israel,
that the people offered themselves willingly,
bless the LORD!

3 `Hear, O kings; give ear, O princes;
to the LORD I will sing,
I will make melody to the LORD, the God of Israel.

4 `LORD, when thou didst go forth from Seir,
when thou didst march from the region of Edom,
the earth trembled,
and the heavens dropped,
yea, the clouds dropped water.

5 The mountains quaked before the LORD,
yon Sinai before the LORD, the God of Israel.

6 `In the days of Shamgar, son of Anath,
in the days of Jael, caravans ceased
and travelers kept to the byways.

7 `The peasantry ceased in Israel, they ceased
until you arose, Deborah, 
arose as a mother in Israel.

8 When new gods were chosen,
when war was in the gates.
Was shield or spear to be seen
among forty thousand in Israel?

9 My heart goes out to the commanders of Israel
who offered themselves willingly among the people.
Bless the LORD.

10 `Tell of it, you who ride on tawny asses,
you who sit on rich carpets
and you who walk by the way.

11 To the sound of musicians at the watering places,
here they repeat the triumphs of the LORD,
the triumphs of his peasantry in Israel.

`Then down to the gates marched the people of the LORD.

12 `Awake, awake, Deborah!
Awake, awake, utter a song!
Arise, Barak, lead away your captives,
O son of Abinoam.

13 `Then down marched the remnant of the noble;
the people of the LORD marched down for him
against the mighty.

14 `From Ephraim they set out thither into the valley,
following you, Benjamin, with your kinsmen;
from Machir marched down the commanders,
and from Zebulun those who bear the marshal's staff;

15 the princes of Issachar came with Deborah,
and Issachar faithful to Barak;
into the valley they rushed forth at his heels.

`Among the clans of Reuben
there were great searchings of heart.
 16 Why did you tarry among the sheepfolds,
to hear the piping for the flocks?
Among the clans of Reuben
there were great searchings of heart.

17 `Gilead stayed beyond the Jordan;
and Dan, why did he abide with the ships?
Asher sat still at the coast of the sea
settling down by his landings.

18 Zebulun is a people that jeopared their lives to the death;
Napthtali too, on the heights of the field.

19 `The kings came, they fought;
they fought the kings of Canaan,
at Taanach, by the waters of Megiddo;
they got no spoils of silver.

20 `From heaven fought the stars,
`from their courses they fought against Sisera.

21 The torrent Kishon swept them away,
the onrushing torrent, the torrent Kishon.
March on soul, my soul, with might!

22 `Then loud beat the horses' hoofs
with the galloping, galloping of his steeds.

23 `Curse Meroz, says the angel of the LORD,
curse bitterly its inhabitants,
because they came not to the help of the LORD,
to the help of the LORD against the mighty.

24 `Most blessed of women be Jael,
the wife of Heber the Kenite,
of tent-dwelling women most blessed.

25 He asked water and she gave him milk,
she brought him curds in a lordly bowl.

26 She put her hand to the tent peg
and her right hand to the workman's mallet;
and she struck Sisera a blow,
she crushed his head,
she shattered and pierced his temple.

27 He sank, he fell,
he lay at her feet;
at her feet he sank, he fell;
where he sank, there he fell dead.

28 `Out of the window she peered,
the mother of Sisera gazed through the lattice:
"Why is his chariot so long in coming?
Why tarry the hoofbeats of his chariots?"

29 Her wisest ladies make answer,
nay, she gives answer to herself,

"Are they not finding and dividing the spoil?-
A maiden or two for every man;
spoil of dyed stuff for Sisera,
spoil of dyed stuffs embroidered,
two pieces of dyed work for my neck as spoil?"

31 `So perish all thine enemies, O LORD!
But thy friends be like the sun as he rises in his might.'

And the land had rest for forty years," (Judges 4-5).

 Jesus Christ is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers—all things have been created through him and for him. 

He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together. He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross.

And you who were once estranged and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his fleshly body through death, so as to present you holy and blameless and irreproachable before him—provided that you continue securely established and steadfast in the faith, without shifting from the hope promised by the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven. I, Paul, became a servant of this gospel.

I am now rejoicing in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am completing what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church. I became its servant according to God’s commission that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, the mystery that has been hidden throughout the ages and generations but has now been revealed to his saints. To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. It is he whom we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone in all wisdom, so that we may present everyone mature in Christ. For this I toil and struggle with all the energy that he powerfully inspires within me. (Colossians 1:15-29)


References

My Career as a Scientist

Pots, Potters and Clay

My Search

What LSD did for me

The Mesa Part 1

The Mesa Part 2

We Are All Accountable!

Music

On Jordan's Stormy Banks

Fifty Miles of Elbow Room

Marching to Zion




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August 22, 2021