Posted by: Pauline | September 1, 2013

Scriptures for Sunday September 8

Jeremiah 18:1-11

The image of a potter shaping a vessel on a potter’s wheel is not as familiar to us as it would have been to people of Jeremiah’s day (or even perhaps to our great-great-grandparents). But most of us have probably had the experience of trying to shape something out of clay. Sometimes it just doesn’t come out right, and you just squish it back into a shapeless lump and start over again.

Our pride doesn’t like to recognize that we are like clay in God’s hand. We want to be in control of our own lives. But God reminds us that He is the Potter, and He shapes our lives and circumstances according to His will. He is not capricious in what He does however. Our individual circumstances at any given time do not always reflect reward for obedience or punishment for sin. But it is God who shapes them, and always according to His perfect wisdom, justice, and love.

Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18

Knowing that God knows us so thoroughly – better even than we know ourselves – can be both a source of concern and comfort. When our thoughts and actions are calculated only to please ourselves, it makes us uneasy to realize that God sees through every mask and excuse. But at times when we feel alone or misunderstood, it is good to know that God knows us so thoroughly – and loves us despite how inadequate we feel.

His complete knowledge of us also makes us realize how great He is. He knows us because He made us, forming us from the basic elements that make everything around us, yet putting us together as such incredibly complex creatures. We know today, even more than Jeremiah did, the marvels of human physiology and psychology.

Luke 14:25-33

Many teachers would be glad to have the great crowds that were following Jesus, and would be careful not to say anything that might drive them away. But Jesus didn’t want people to think that following Him would be easy, because He knew it would not. Better for people to know ahead of time that the way would be difficult, and choose to follow Him having decided that He is worth whatever it costs.

People often begin to follow Jesus as a result of an emotional appeal or experience. Then the difficulties of everyday life intrude and they grow discouraged and fall away. If they know from the outset what to expect, however, they will be mentally and spiritually prepared for the conflict, and know that by trusting in Him they can be faithful – not by their own strength or ability but by His.

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