Friday, August 19, 2022

My clay experiences...

 


There are a few movies that I could watch over and over because they make me laugh.
 My Big Fat Greek Wedding is one.  The one-liners get me, and I often repeat them when I have the opportunity. 

There is one scene where the main character - Toula makes the decision to date a ‘non-Greek’ and hide it from her family.  Toula tells her entire family that she is going to a pottery class - while instead - she is out with Ian Miller.  Obviously, this only lasts for a hot minute and one of her cousins discovers the secret.  The cousin confronts Toula at her workplace when she catches the couple kissing.  The famous words from her cousin’s mouth; “Well Hello Mr. Pottery Class!”  makes me laugh every time because Ian Miller is obviously anything but potter class.

This stuck in my head for years until one day I found the perfect opportunity to use it!  My husband and I visited family a few years back and they invited us to, of all things, a pottery class.  I posted this picture below and titled it: “Well Hello Mr. Pottery Class!”  😊  I know only a few will get it, but I couldn’t help myself…

 


God has many lines (scriptures) in His word that I repeat daily to feed my soul and give me comfort and sometimes a laugh too.  One scripture that hits home is Isaiah 45:9. I can see God speaking these words to me daily…

“Woe to those who quarrel with their Maker, those who are nothing but potsherds among the potsherds on the ground. Does the clay say to the potter, ‘What are you making?’ Does your work say, ‘The potter has no hands’?

 

If you have ever seen the process of creating pottery, you would know it is quite the undertaking for the Potter.  First, the clay needs to be kneaded by hand to work out the air bubbles. This process takes time because the clay needs to be warmed and constantly kneaded to eliminate soft spots and made the clay more pliable.

 


Next the Potter takes the clay and places it on the wheel to start forming the bowl.  The skills of the Potter are shown as He carefully shapes the clay.  It is tough to rework the clay if mistakes happen, so the Potter takes His time to create the masterpiece.

 


Finally, there is a firing process that hardens the bowl.  The pottery is placed in a kiln for 12 hours at 850 degrees Fahrenheit.  The fire removes the physical and chemical water so the piece can be glazed without returning to mud and breaking.  The temperature is then dropped from the 850 degrees and the bowl remains in the kiln for 48 hours. 


The bowl is then removed and glazed or painted. 


 

Now why am I sharing all of this with you?  Because as scripture says, God is the Potter, and we are the clay He is forming for His will in our lives.  He is refining us through daily kneading and fire.  We can’t become who He has created us to be without the Potters hand in our lives.  When we try to change in our own strength, we fail miserably.  I know I do. 

However, the process is not always neat or comfortable. I complain when I am kneaded into the shape He has intended for my life. I am a mess sitting on the potter’s wheel like a lump covered in water.  I then cry out when the fire gets hotter in my life.  “Where are you God?!” 

Free will steps in. I sometimes fight the process.  I need to put myself on the alter as a living sacrifice as He does His will in my life.  I struggle daily with that. Someone shared with me recently that it is hard to keep a living sacrifice on an alter because it keeps jumping down.  I try not to jump down as the fire gets hotter.  I need to trust Him with everything.

I am so grateful for His grace and mercy towards me as I often complain through the entire process.  I need to trust the method, even during the pain, knowing He has my best interest at heart. 

Side note, did you notice no two pieces of potter are identical?  That is the same for us.  God has created us uniquely different.  Not one of us is identical to another person.  Even ‘identical’ twins are not.   God created us each differently to be a part of the body of Christ. How awesome is God?


So - next time you see a piece of pottery, thank our Heavenly Father for continuing that process in you…

 


Jeremiah 18:6 (NIV)

He said, “Can I not do with you, Israel, as this potter does?” declares the Lord. “Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, Israel.

Isaiah 45:9 (NIV)

“Woe to those who quarrel with their Maker, those who are nothing but potsherds among the potsherds on the ground. Does the clay say to the potter, ‘What are you making?’ Does your work say, ‘The potter has no hands’?

 


https://www.wikihow.com/Make-Pottery


Copyright © 2022 Peggy A. Priest. All Rights Reserved.


Friday, August 12, 2022

Do you need a time out?

 

Sometimes the things of the world get to me and wear me down. 

During those times I need to take a break and spend time refreshing and refocusing on God and His word and His will for me.  Not all problems are for me to solve.  I can have that ‘knee jerk’ reaction and want to step in and fix it for someone.  Sometimes that someone is myself.  

Instead, I need to stop…


Breath…

Pray…

Read His word…

And then listen.  To what God wants me to do.  Or what He doesn’t want me to do.

Often, I can see the solution clearly with His help.  I have a tendency as mentioned before to react and not listen to the Holy Spirit.  Taking that extra moment, hour, or sometimes days helps me make the right decision.  His decision, not mine.

Mary sat at the feet of our Lord, while Martha was busy running around in her own strength. I can easily be Martha and forget Mary in the story.  God called me to be a Martha, but only when I am first a Mary.  Sitting at His feet daily to hear from Him.  If I go out in my own strength, I get overwhelmed and discouraged quickly.  If I fill my cup by sitting at His feet in the morning, I can then tackle the world like Martha with God at my side.

The problems seem smaller when I am at His feet in the morning.  The solutions come faster when I am not bogged down by the storm and my focus is on the One who calms the storm.

Take that time out for yourself today and sit at the feet of Jesus.  Read His promises below.

He will refocus you. 

He will reset your thoughts. 

He will give you direction.  Trust the process…

 


 

Deuteronomy 4:29 (NIV)

But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul.

Jeremiah 29:13 (NIV)

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

Psalms 119:2 (NIV)

Blessed are those who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart

Luke 11:9 (NIV)

“So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.

Proverbs 16:3 (NIV)

Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.

Matthew 11:29 (NIV)

Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

Matthew 11:28 (NIV)

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

Exodus 33:14 (NIV)

The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”


 Copyright © 2022 Peggy A. Priest. All Rights Reserved.


Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Plot Twist...!

 

I am a planner.  I am a project manager by trade.  

So, it is almost impossible for me NOT to plan.  In our business I need to have my planning hat securely on while I plan our day’s activities.  Things come up and I often end up playing a game of Jenga moving blocks around praying none will fall.  It takes combination of skill, faith, and a lot of prayer.


Sometimes when I pray and move forward with a plan, things happen.  I call them my plot twists in life.  Today I woke up late, plot twist.  For some crazy reason our alarm wasn’t set, and we were woken by our puppy Benny.  I was grateful for Benny - otherwise I might still be sleeping…



After running around in a hurry to get things started and the team out the door, I sat down to breathe for a second before running out to do my activities.

Then suddenly I received a text - and another plot twist. Everything I had planned just got changed out of my control.

I sat down, took a breath, and prayed.

Was God surprised by my day?

Was it a plot twist for Him?



We both know that’s not the case.
  Nothing surprises God. He knows the beginning from the end of time and in our lives.  We may be surprised, but He is not. Honestly, I was a bit surprised.  But I know God’s got me and my situation.  I can stand in faith knowing He will show me the next steps to take.  Because I don’t know the entire picture, I need to trust my God and His direction. 

What can cause these ‘plot twists’ in our lives?


1.       Timing.

Sometimes it just isn’t the right time.  Because we don’t know the beginning from the end of our story, we don’t see the pitfalls that may come in play.  We might be running late because God is intervening and saving us from something.  Remember Balaam and the donkey?  The donkey was saving Balaam from God’s judgement. 

God may have given us the direction, but it is not the right time.  Remember Abram and how long he waited on God for a son?  Abram was one hundred years old when Isaac was born.  God was not late.  He was just in time knowing how the story would end.

2.       Testing.

Sometimes He is working in us and asking for our surrender in a matter.  God may be testing me like He did with Abraham and Isaac.  What is more important to me?  What I have in front of me, or my God?  Who is on the throne of my life?

3.       Trusting.

Sometimes I just need to trust Him even when I don’t know why things turned upside down.  It is hard to accept change when we don’t know why it happened.  However, we are here to trust Him and the process.  Job trusted God even when he didn’t understand what happened in his life.  I can cry out to the Lord for understanding, but in the end, I need to trust my loving God knows what is best for me.

--------------------------------------

So, in my plot twist day, I chose to go back to prayer and read His word to clear my head and bring me back to Who is in control.  I may or may not understand why it happened today.  But I trust who holds my days in His hands.  I will reach out to His family for prayer as I step aside and ask for His guidance going forward.

 

Please pray with me as we move forward in our day, trusting Him, in all plot twists. 

Father give us guidance and wisdom so we can see Your will in our lives.  You know the beginning from the end.  Please give us Your peace as we trust Your process in all the changes around us. 

In Jesus name, Amen…

 

Numbers 22:30-33

The donkey said to Balaam, “Am I not your own donkey, which you have always ridden, to this day? Have I been in the habit of doing this to you?” “No,” he said. Then the Lord opened Balaam’s eyes, and he saw the angel of the Lord standing in the road with his sword drawn. So he bowed low and fell

facedown. The angel of the Lord asked him, “Why have you beaten your donkey these three times? I have come here to oppose you because your path is a reckless one before me. The donkey saw me and turned away from me these three times. If it had not turned away, I would certainly have killed you by now, but I would have spared it.”

 

Genesis 15:2-6

But Abram said, “Sovereign Lord , what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?” And Abram said, “You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir.” Then the word of the Lord came to him: “This man will not be your heir, but a son who is your own flesh and blood will be your heir.” He took him outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” Abram believed the Lord , and he credited it to him as righteousness.

Genesis 21:5

Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him.

Genesis 22:1-2

Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.” Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!” “Here I am,” he replied.

 

Job 1:21-22

and said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.” In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.

 

 

 Copyright © 2022 Peggy A. Priest. All Rights Reserved.

 

 


Thursday, August 4, 2022

Storms brewing...?

 


We are due to have a few storms over the next few days in upstate New York.  My puppy Benny Hates storms with a capital H!  When the storms come, our poor Benny starts to shake and wants to be held. 

Here is our little Benny


We had a couple nasty thunderstorms at night this past spring and the thunderclaps were so Big that Benny now associates nighttime with storms and is afraid to go to bed.  We need to prepare him for bedtime by sitting with him in our bed for a while with the lights on.  Then he eventually settles down for the night. 

Benny also associates rain with the storms so even when it rains a bit, he gets scared and starts to shake.  This is a new thing for Benny.  He is three years old and was never scared before with storms rolling in.  

Benny reminded me of how I can react when the storms of life come at me.  The storms can be very noisy and distracting to my daily activities especially when I am not expecting them.  Like Benny I can get overwhelmed easily by the storm and not focus on who can calm the storm.



The enemy sometimes brings microbursts into our lives. These microbursts can be a health issue, an unexpected confrontation from a friend, or even an issue at work.  The enemy uses these microbursts to catch us off guard.

Sometimes the storm becomes darker and stronger.  The winds pick up and try to push us back.  

The enemy will use this time to shout in our ear -  GO BACK!  You are going in the WRONG direction!  Some storms are caused by the enemy because we are making strides for the Kingdom of God.  Satan tries to distract and deter us from God’s direction.

Remember - God may have called us to go through the storm to get to the other side.  Also, He has allowed the storm for a reason.  We need to trust God has the bigger picture.  He knows the beginning from the end of this storm.



He also has a plan in the process.  Remember, He is also with us in the storm.  GOD calls us to move forward in faith knowing HE has got our back!   Trust God in this trial.  He might be using the storm to sift, or move us or those around us.  We may learn the reason later.  Sometimes we don’t discover the reason until we see Him face to face.  Either way HE IS IN CONTROL of the storm.

Never forget - God is all Powerful and can end it at any second.  He is allowing it and we need to stand firm knowing we are not alone in this. 

And unlike my Benny, we can KNOW God is in control and He is the one who allows and calms the storms of life.  

Also, this storm is only a season.  This storm will not last forever. The enemy would like us to believe that lie.  This storm will pass, and the clouds will part.  The SON (sun) is revealed sometimes during the storm, and sometimes after.  Either way, HE is with us.



What storms are you facing today?  Look up and remember God is with you and will get you through this.  Push through and pray for wisdom and discernment in the storm.  Never forget – He didn’t bring you this far to let you go.


Psalms 56:3

But when I am afraid, I will put my trust in you.

Proverbs 3:5

Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.

Romans 8:28

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.

Philippians 1:6

being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

Ecclesiastes 3:1

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:

 

 Copyright © 2022 Peggy A. Priest. All Rights Reserved.








Monday, August 1, 2022

Focusing on what is important...


Happy August 1st!  Can you believe it is August 2022 already??  

What happened to this year?  Time seems to move faster and faster as the years go by.  I just brought out our patio chairs for the summer.  And now it is August.  In about a month, we will carry the chairs back down to the basement for next year.  There never seems to be enough time to get everything done.  Can you relate?

As I sit and write - I glance at my desk of ‘things to do’ and do a mental juggling of priorities. 

Then I close my eyes and take a breath…

Focus on what is important – my Lord…

And then I continue to write…

Sometimes we are so busy we forget to focus on what is important.  Remember what I wrote about distractions? 

If you don’t remember, click here to catch up.

Yesterday my husband and I took a moment to ourselves after church to refresh and refocus.  We have been busy with United Marriage Encounter events and the business all week.  Church was a blessing.  Spending time with our community and worship fills our cups.   After church we drove home to have a late breakfast and prioritize all the things we wanted to accomplish.  I needed to write, and my husband wanted to tackle some things around the house.   However, the longer we sat at the table, the more we realized our bodies were weary and we needed some rest instead. 

So, we gathered up the puppies and took a nap.

Was it productive? 

Actually, yes because we needed the rest after a long week of running around.  After our nap we did a few things around the house and had enough energy after dinner to sit and read a book together we had started in July. 

God met us there at that moment we were reading. 

Would we have even read together after dinner without that nap?  Probably not.  We would have missed out on the blessing God had planned for us through our reading.

Focus today on what is important and take that breath…

Sometimes the blessing comes through rest. 

 

Colossians 3:2 (NLT)

Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth.

Psalms 116:7 (NIV)

Return to your rest, my soul, for the Lord has been good to you.

Exodus 33:14 (NIV)

The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”


Copyright © 2022 Peggy A. Priest. All Rights Reserved.

God's Timing

  I am impatient .   I wait in grocery lines and pick up my phone and scroll through social media.   I stop at a red light and pick up ...