Archive for March 2010

A Personal Prayer of Faith

March 16, 2010

Over the years of Christian publishing it has been popular to issue collections of prayers. I will share a prayer with you that you’ll probably not find in one of these collections.

God works to bring us to a place of weakness, so that we might be totally abandoned to Christ alone as our life. On many such occasions the Father has so moved in my life as to pray a faith-emboldened prayer similar to what I will now share with you. I do so for the encouragement of our many dear readers who have experienced this same working of Dad in their hearts and lives as well.

The following prayer is based on Philippians 2:13:

For it is God Who works in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.

Father,

I seem so lost most of the time. My life and heart appear to be such a big mess. I have no idea what I am doing or where I am going, let alone what I should be doing, or where I should be going, or even who I really am. My heart aches and is so heavy. I give up!

After all, it’s not about me anyway, right? I can’t live the Christian life. I never could. I never will. It’s You or nothing – but, the mess of my life is You working in me. You said so! You said that I was Your workmanship; You started me, You will complete and finish me. I am the workmanship, You are the worker. I am the clay, You are the potter. That’s all there is to it.

I know that You know what You are doing, and Your Word is true. So, if You want to make a complete mess out of my life – have at it. I am Yours, and I am Your work. So I quit. If anything is going to get done then You’ll have to be the one Who does it. After all, that’s what YOU said, right? So, You must want this mess. Therefore by faith I will quit and let You do whatever You want with me.

You said that You work in me to “will” and to “do.” So, I don’t “want-to” anymore. So, I quit. All I know to “do” anyway is what I have been taught all my life to “do” from the religious system; and if I know anything, that is all empty and vain, and it doesn’t even work. Yet it is all I have known. So, I quit – and since You work in me to “will,” I am not going to “do” anything else with my spiritual life unless I “want” to, and right now I don’t “want” to do anything.

My heart is so heavy, it is so empty, and You are responsible. After all, You are God, not me. You are the Potter, not me. You are the Father, not me; and God, the Potter, and the Father are all responsible agents!

So, if You do give me a “will” to do what You want, You also are just as responsible to “do” it in me. You said so! Then even if You work the “will” in me, I will make a mess out of everything, because even if I have the “want-to” I can’t “do” it either. I don’t even know how. So, You’ll have to do both parts, just like You said you would do. Therefore if I don’t “want” to do anything, and nothing gets “done” then it will just be Your fault, because I am just a creature – You’re the One Who is the Creator. So there, I quit. Now it’s all up to You. I am just going to trust You; You are all that I have, and I am going to rest in You. My quitting is going to be, for me, an act of faith. I am going to rest in this quitting, because my quitting is trusting You. I am NOT trusting You to help me; I just quit. I am trusting You to do it all Yourself. After all, You are God, and You’re responsible.

If by chance You don’t follow through with what You said, I am going to hold You responsible on the Day of Jesus Christ. When I stand before You, You’ll see what You made, and if You don’t like it – well, I’m Your workmanship, I’m Your creation, so you can’t blame me. If my life is just a big mess, it will be Your big mess, because I am just Your creature, and You made me weak and subject to vanity. I didn’t even ask to be here; I am a product of Your Own making. It all happened on Your watch. If You expected anything different out of me – in the weakness of who I am without You – then You were supposed to provide the “will” and the “do.” You said so!

Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.
Bible Student’s Notebook
© 2010

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He Will Finish What He Started – Peace in the Middle of Life’s Greatest Trials, Part 12

March 15, 2010

Another foundational principle from God’s Word that will guide our hearts to peace, even as we experience life’s great trials, can be found in Philippians 1:6.

Being confident of this very thing, that He Who has begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.

You are the workmanship, the achievement of God. This is something that Paul was confident about – “Being confident of this very thing.”

Father “has begun a good work in you” and what He has started, He will finish to completion. With Paul, we can have the full confidence that He “will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ!

This confidence that Paul speaks of here in Philippians 1:6 was not as sure when he wrote,

… For to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not (Romans 7:18).

Paul could not find how to “perform” that which was “good.” Yet eventually he came to have confidence that Father would “perform” the “good work” that He had started in him. What we can never “perform” in and of ourselves, God Himself “will perform.”

You are His work. He started you, and He will complete you. This is something about which you can be confident, because it is all of God. This is a divine process that He Himself will carry out to its completion.

Delighting in this glorious truth can settle the weary heart and bring peace to the troubled mind. Regardless of what appears to be happening in our lives, Father is in control, performing His work. Rest in that.

Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.
Daily Email Goodies
© 2010

We Are His Workmanship – Peace in the Middle of Life’s Greatest Trials, Part 11

March 14, 2010

Another foundational principle from God’s Word that will guide our hearts to peace, even as we experience life’s great trials, can be found in Ephesians 2:10.

For we are His workmanship …

Sometimes the Christian life is filled with frustration, discouragement and guilt. These are all rooted in self-reliance, and are a failure to lay hold on the reality of God’s workmanship in our lives.

The Concordant Version renders this phrase in Ephesians 2:10 as,

For His achievement are we.

We are His achievement! Think of it. God is busy achieving something in you, regardless of how you see things, or feel about it – God is at work in you!

Now unto Him Who is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us (Ephesians 3:20).

For it is God Who works in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure (Philippians 2:13).

From Whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplies, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, makes increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love (Ephesians 4:16).

William R. Newell well articulated the basis of the distresses of the Christian life:

To “hope to be better” is to fail to see yourself in Christ only.

To be disappointed with yourself, is to have believed in yourself.

To be discouraged is unbelief – as to God’s purpose and plan of blessing for you.

The fact is simple: we are not self-made; rather, we are God-made – we are His workmanship, His achievement. The great, wise and almighty God of the universe is steadily at work in your life. You are His handiwork.

Things are not as they appear. This divine work in our lives will culminate in “every man” having the praise of God. This means that one day God will praise you. How could it be otherwise, for after all, you are His workmanship!

Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes … and then shall every man have praise of God (I Corinthians 4:5).

If it is true that God has made you and that you have not made yourself, if it is true that He began the work in you and will complete it, then why do you fret so? Why are you so anxious and troubled? Why are you so full of care, frustration and discouragement? After all, is He not God? Is He not in charge? Is not He the Creator, and you are His creature?

Acknowledging this can settle the weary heart and bring peace to the troubled mind. Regardless of the situations that we face, Father is in control – you are His workmanship – you are His achievement. Rest in that.

Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.
Daily Email Goodies
© 2010

The Potter Has Power! – Peace in the Middle of Life’s Greatest Trials, Part 10

March 13, 2010

Another foundational principle from God’s Word that will guide our hearts to peace, even as we experience life’s great trials, can be found in Romans 9:21.

Has not the potter power over the clay …?

In the Scriptures Father is spoken of as a Potter; an analogy that places great emphasis upon His ever-present hand, and His well-designed plan in our lives.

The Potter always has complete power over His clay. He designs and makes His clay-creation according to His Own masterful plan. He is active in His craftsmanship, with His hands-on skill.

Isaiah the Prophet also confirmed this important principle.

But now, O Lord, You are our Father; we are the clay, and You our Potter; and we all are the work of Your hand (Isaiah 64:8).

Paul validates this universal principle of Father as the Potter, and we as His clay.

Who are you who replies against God? Shall the thing formed say to him who formed it, “Why have you made me thus?” Has not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honor, and another unto dishonor? (Romans 9:20-21).

Down to the Potter’s House

In Jeremiah 18:1-6 God called Jeremiah “down to the Potter’s house.” It is critically important for the believer to “go down to the Potter’s house.” It is only here that we will ever gain the true reality of the divine perspective. When Jeremiah went down to the Potter’s house, there he saw the Potter fashioning “a work on the wheels.”

The Potter Is in Control

Of course Jeremiah could clearly see the clay for what it was – just passive material, and that it was the Potter, and the Potter alone, Who was steady at His important work.

It was the Potter Who wrought a work on the wheels.” A visit to the Potter’s house reveals that it is all about the Potter. The clay, after all, was just soil from the earth – completely powerless over its own design and destiny.

… Being predestinated according to the purpose of Him Who works all things after the counsel of His Own will (Ephesians 1:11).

The Potter Is Responsible

Whatever is made of the clay on the Potter’s wheel is totally the responsibility of the Potter. Clay does not have the power to make itself into anything. Nor does it have the power to resist the Potter’s purposes.

Marred Vessels

And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter …

Jeremiah saw that the vessel was “marred” – but do not miss this! It was “marred in the hand of the potter …”

Of course it was! The clay can’t mar itself! If the clay vessel is “marred,” it is the Potter’s responsibility.

A trip to the Potter’s house will reveal the hand of the Potter in everything – even in all of life’s brokenness. After all, He is the One Who mars the vessel; it is His doing. Clearly and simply, any vessel is what it is because of the Potter.

Marred, but Still in the Potter’s Hand

We are in the hand of the Potter. He is making us. Regardless of the stage of the clay’s formation on the wheel, it is always in the Potter’s controlling hand. Furthermore, not only is the clay on the wheel in the Potter’s power, the clay is also always close to the Potter – for His hands are all over the clay. This speaks of the closeness of the Potter and His clay.

What peace have we who truly consider these words. It matters not what our lot in life may be; what our circumstances may be like – each of His vessels rests ever secure in His able hands.

For in Him we live, and move, and have our being … (Acts 17:28).

This is the central truth that will allow us to,

Be careful for nothing … (Philippians 4:6).

William Mealand (1873-1957) wrote of this wonderful truth.

How great a thing it is to realize ourselves as in His Hand! What equipoise and calm! For then, should wayward circumstance, or mood’s despair come near, it is to find us still within that hand. As our “faithful Creator,” His Word is confirmed to our hearts in all its fine gradations: “I have made, and I will bear. Even I will carry, and will deliver you.”[1]

He Made It Again – Another Vessel

He made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it …

Jeremiah also saw a process. He saw the Potter making the clay over again into another vessel. If the clay is “made again another vessel,” that too is equally and entirely the Potter’s responsibility. The Potter is always responsible for whatever He makes.

The Potter is faithful to continue His work until He has made the clay into the vessel of His own desire and plan. This is simply the Potter’s way: the clay is marred and then made new. We see it in the entire story of creation, for, there is coming a day when there will be a “new heaven and a new earth, wherein dwells righteousness” (II Peter 3:13).

The Spinning of the Potter’s Wheel

Be honest. Do you not often feel that your life is spinning out of control? Does it not seem to you to be quite a mess? That it is simply marred (ruined), veering wildly on a purposeless course?

This is nothing more than the spinning of the Potter’s wheel beneath you.

The Pressure of the Potter’s Hands

Do the pressures of life bear down hard upon you? Does the pressure feel too much at times; more than you can bear?

Paul, our Apostle, felt these pressures hard. They seemed unbearable and life-ending. Listen to his heartfelt expression, that he was

… Pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life (II Corinthians 1:8).

Know this truth – these are not the mere pressures of “circumstances” that you feel. This is the hand of the Potter pressing ever so firmly on surface of your clay. Do you think that this pressure is hindering the work of the Potter in your life? No, indeed, it IS the work of the Potter!

Beloved of the Potter, do not be discouraged with His loving work of wisdom. Trust Him implicitly. Patiently wait upon Him as He does His life-long work on you. After all, you are His workmanship, and He alone is responsible.

Do not be disappointed with His work; His methods and His timing. Simply trust Him unreservedly. He is absolutely skillful and faithful and He will accomplish His work (you) to supreme perfection!

Do not fret. His work is larger and grander than we can see from the vantage of the spinning wheel. You are who you are because God has made you that way. You are ever changing – marred and remade, because He is the Potter, and you are His clay. The Potter is steadily and devotedly working His clay. He is working, making you the vessel of His own choosing.

… Shall the thing formed say to him who formed it, “Why have you made me thus?” (Romans 9:20).

Because you are God’s clay – His “workmanship” – He is responsible for who you are at every stage of the process. God will use His turning wheel and the firm pressure of His hands at His own discretion.

The Potter has power – He has power over the clay. Father is always the Potter, and we are always His clay.

Acknowledging this can settle the weary heart and bring peace to the troubled mind. Regardless of the situations that we face, Father is in control. Rest in that.

Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.
Daily Email Goodies
© 2010


[1]In the Hand of the Potter, in the Unsearchable Riches Magazine.

All Things Work Together – Peace in the Middle of Life’s Greatest Trials, Part 9

March 12, 2010

Another foundational principle from God’s Word that will guide our hearts to peace, even as we experience life’s great trials, can be found in Romans 8:28.

And we know that all things work together for good to them who love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.

Regardless of what those who profess to speak for God may say, God has not been haphazardly working His way through the stages of time. He has been closely following His definite plan for the ages.

God has planned His work, and He has been working His plan – all to fulfill His own predetermined purpose. His plan is, always has been, and always will be, right on schedule – in all of its fullness.

Father’s hand leaves no place untouched in your life. Even that which seemingly is working against you is used by your Father to fulfill His Own good purpose in your life. This truth can be seen in the life of our Apostle. Paul wrote to the Philippians from prison. The circumstances of his life had the appearance of working negatively – extremely negatively. Yet, he wrote with such confidence that the opposite was actually true:

But I would that you should understand, brothers, that the things which happened to me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel (Philippians 1:12).

The fact is simple: you can trust God. He alone is truly trustworthy, and He has a definite goal in view for you! Your Father is taking you on a journey that has as its final goal conformity unto Christ. For in the very next verse Paul says,

For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the Firstborn among many brothers (Romans 8:29).

To be conformed to the image of His Son is your predestination. To take you on this journey will mean many years of wilderness and valleys. His current goal is to bring you to a place where you find your completeness, satisfaction, contentment, glory, thanksgiving and rejoicing in Him alone, and not in your circumstances.

God is actively at work in us, even in the circumstances of life that we may dread the most. Do not be discouraged. Do not fret. Trust Him there. Rest fully and confidently in His work. The God Who works “all things after the counsel of His Own will” finds no challenge with the circumstances and details of life – not even the hard ones. Nothing poses an obstacle to Him – after all, He is the Almighty God.

Therefore, there is nothing that comes our way that God does not take and make an instrument of His work in our lives. Regardless of what comes our way our Father can work them together for good. After all, He is the Master Workman, and we are His Master-piece.

The knowledge of this can settle the weary heart and bring peace to the troubled mind. Regardless of the situations that we face, Father is in control. Rest in that.

Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.
Daily Email Goodies
© 2010

All Things Are of God – Peace in the Middle of Life’s Greatest Trials, Part 8

March 11, 2010

Another foundational principle from God’s Word that will guide our hearts to peace, even as we experience life’s great trials, can be found in II Corinthians 5:18. In this verse Paul makes this amazing statement:

And all things are of God.

It is sad that many professing believers seem to believe in a “God” who is somehow less than “God.” Our Father, the God of Scripture, is the absolute Sovereign of the universe. How could it be otherwise and He remain “God”? Any concept that is less than this is weighed in the balances and found lacking!

In 1885 Arthur P. Adams (1845-1925) wrote concerning Paul’s powerful statement that “all things are of God”:

There is no statement in the Bible, that was made by an apostle, that is more remarkable and even startling than this statement. When you think of it seriously, it seems as though Paul was very unguarded and careless in his language. We are apt to think that he ought to have modified and limited it in some way, such as, for instance, all good things are of God.

But no, Paul makes the sweeping, unqualified statement, “All things are of [i.e., out of] God.” Furthermore, so important did Paul consider this truth that he repeats it over and over again.

The direct statement is made no less than six times in the writings of the apostle:

For of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things … (Romans 11:36).

… There is but one God, the Father, of Whom are all things … (I Corinthians 8:6).

… All things [are] of God (I Corinthians 11:12).

All things are of God … (II Corinthians 5:18).

… The purpose of Him Who works all things after the counsel of His own will’ (Ephesians 1:11).

… Whom are all things, and by Whom are all things … (Hebrews 2:10).

Now, was the apostle careless and a little too bold in these utterances, or did he mean just what he said, and are they true, taken full strength? I say, without any hesitation, yes, to the two latter questions. The more we learn (the more revelation) of God’s works and ways the more we shall understand that in a sense absolutely “all things are of God.”

The knowledge that “all things are of God” can settle the weary heart and bring peace to the troubled mind. Regardless of the situations that we face, all things are out of God. Father is in control. Rest in that.

Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.
Daily Email Goodies
© 2010

But if Not – Peace in the Middle of Life’s Greatest Trials, Part 6

March 9, 2010

Another foundational principle from God’s Word that will guide our hearts to peace, even as we experience life’s great trials, can be found in Daniel 3:16-18.

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer you in this matter. If it be so, our God Whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto you, O king, that we will not serve your gods, nor worship the golden image which you have set up” (Daniel 3:16-18).

The “Three Hebrew Children,” to put it lightly, were in a “tight spot.” Their very lives were in the balance. The king held the power of their lives in his hands, or so he thought.

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego knew that things are not always as they appeared to be, and that what they saw with their eyes was not the real picture of the situation.

Despite the fact that King Nebuchadnezzar was an earthly monarch which appeared to have their destiny under his control, they knew that there was a heavenly Sovereign Who had all things under His control. They knew the truth, as we learn later in the book of Daniel, that,

… the most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomsoever He will … (Daniel 4:17, 25)

… all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and He does according to His will … among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay His hand … (Daniel 4:35)

This was but the great truth of God’s sovereignty over the affairs of men taught throughout the Scriptures.

… Are not You God in heaven? and do You not rule over all the kingdoms of the heathen? and in Your hand is there not power and might, so that none is able to withstand You? (II Chronicles 20:6)

And that,

The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: He turns it wherever He will (Proverbs 21:1).

That in fact,

… He is a great King over all the earth (Psalms 47:2).

It is these truths that gave the “Three Hebrew Children” their strength and courage. They knew that God was able to deliver them! Listen again to their response.

Our Godis able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace …

It can bring great peace to any trial or situation that we face, to know in our hearts that “… Our God … is able to deliver us.” Faith calls us to live daily in these words: “God … is able!”

But faith is greater than all of this! Faith calls us to live beyond “God … is able!” Listen to the rest of there response.

But if not, be it known unto you, O king, that we will not serve your gods, nor worship the golden image which you have set up.

Here is our theme for today “But if not.” Just as with the “Three Hebrew Children,” God is able to deliver us from our trials and troubles, however great they are; but if He does not, He is still our God, He is still in control, and He is still working “all things after the counsel of His own will! (Ephesians 1:11). Faith calls us to far greater heights, to live daily in these words: “But if not!”

We cannot always understand the great trials of life; we cannot always understand what is truly best for us and our loved ones; we cannot always see the “big picture” for what it really is – from its eternal and heavenly perspective – but Father can!

Father is able to deliver you from your current situation that at this moment may seem so hopeless; “but if not,” nothing has changed: He is still the great God, and sometimes in His great love and wisdom He has destined for you not deliverance, but endurance – and that by His unfailing grace.

God is able” to deliver us, and He may do just that – “but if not …” The knowledge of this can settle the weary heart and bring peace to the troubled mind. Regardless of the situations that we face, Father is in control. Rest in that.

Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.
Daily Email Goodies
© 2010


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