Vessels Fit for Use

My family and I enjoy taking weekend getaways to the Great Smoky Mountains. More specifically to the towns of Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, Tennessee. This entire area is filled with all sorts of attractions ranging from mini golf to dinner theaters and everything in between. I think it has become a home away from home for us.

There is also a large arts and crafts community in the area. Every time we would visit this area, I always admired the pottery work of one certain artist. The pieces can be a bit pricey depending on what you choose so I purchased a beautiful mug. (Maybe one day I will get the pitcher I really wanted.)

I am still happy with my purchase, this is my mug:

cup

“But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also some of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor. Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the later, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work.”   2 Timothy 2:20-21

So often we want to look like my mug when what God is looking for is a vessel that is fit for use. We think our lives need to look a certain way before we can come to God or before He can ever use us. What we really  need to do is say “here I am God cleanse me and make me fit for your use.”

The scripture didn’t state which vessels were actually the vessels of honor. Was it the gold, the silver, the wood, or the clay? The world would choose the gold and silver. God chooses the wood and clay and turns them into the gold or silver vessel.

Man looks at the outward appearance but God looks at the heart. Man thinks he must start out as the gold or silver vessel but God chooses the simple and turns them into something beautiful. There are some very beautiful vessels in this world, but are they useful?

I have never used this mug. I am sure the artist intended for it to be used, however it is not useful to me as anything but a decoration. I don’t want to run the risk of breaking it or ruining it. So it sits on a shelf and is only looked at. It is pretty but it isn’t useful.

During the same trip my son also picked out a glass. Here is what he chose:

cup2

Yes it is a very plain glass, but for our family it is very useful. His glass is used over and over again. Mine is only dusted from time to time. His plain-looking glass is filled up, emptied, tossed in the sink, thrown in the dishwasher, and then placed back in the cupboard to be used again.

We have to stop looking at the outer appearance of the vessel and start looking at what is inside the vessel. If we keep looking at the vessel we are looking at man and his ability. Look instead at what is being held inside the vessel. When you look inside the vessel you are looking at God and what He can do.

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as a man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”  1 Samuel 16:7

I have no problem with people making their outer appearance look beautiful as long as they are concerned about their hearts being beautiful too. Lord knows I put on makeup, fix my hair, pick out a nice outfit, etc. to make myself look and feel better. I also spend time with the Lord to fix the issues going on inside my heart so that it is beautiful too.

The artist who made my mug started with a lump of clay and turned it into something beautiful. God does the same thing with us if we will let Him. You see no matter what the vessel looks like, what really matters is what is inside the vessel. We are the vessels, are you going to allow God to clean you and then fill you up with His presence? In these pictures both cups are empty. They both have the potential to be filled up and used.

“Before we can be filled with the Spirit, the desire to be filled must be all-consuming. It must be for the time the biggest thing in life, so acute, so intrusive as to crowd out everything else. The degree of fullness in any life accords perfectly with the intensity of true desire. We can have as much of God as we actually want.” – A.W. Tozer

Is your vessel empty or only half full? How much of God do you want? Do you want Him more than anything? Enough to lay down your own desires, your pride, unforgiveness, bitterness, fear, doubt, and whatever else you might be filled with. Are you thirsty? Tell Him. Let Him cleanse you, fill you, and use you as He sees fit.

Set Yourself to Seek

water-lily-verse

Do you feel like the enemy is in your territory? Maybe he slipped in before you even noticed and he is closer than you realized.

In 2 Chronicles 20 Jehoshaphat’s men came to let him know that the enemy was coming to make war. Not only were they coming, they had already crossed the sea and were in Jehoshaphat’s territory. Before the people even realized it the enemy had entered their land. Look at how Jehoshaphat responded after hearing the news that the enemy was coming.

Then Jehoshaphat was afraid and set his face to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah” (2 Chronicles 20:3 ESV).

He may have been afraid but he knew how to respond. No one had to advise him, no one had to tell him what to do, he already knew who to turn to. He had set himself to seek the Lord. Then he took it one step further and proclaimed a fast throughout the nation.

It seems like we try all of these different ideas but we should be going to God first. The scripture doesn’t say Jehoshaphat prepared his army and then they sought the Lord, it says he sought the Lord and fasted first.

On this earth we are going to have battles in all areas of our lives. How are you responding when the enemy comes at you? Have you set yourself to seek the Lord listening for His answer? Or are you letting the enemy defeat you before the battle even begins? Don’t let there be any question on how you are going to respond. God is our source, He is our strength. No foe stands a chance against Him. Seek Him first.

I used to drive by a horse farm on my way to work. If I drove by at just the right time, I would see a trainer leading a horse and buggy around the property. The horse would be wearing blinders so that the trainer could keep him focused and heading in the right direction.

Sometimes we need to do this during the battles of our life. Put your blinders on to shut out the distractions around you. No matter what is coming against you – you have to set yourself to seek the lord. We are not going to waiver and we are not going to doubt. You have to be determined to seek God wholeheartedly. Keep your focus on God and let Him take care of the needs in your life. You are on the winning side, keep your eyes on the Lord.

We have to continuously stay in communion with the Lord. He is our strength, He is our shield, He is our everything. We pray, read the Word, praise, worship, and give thanks while spending time with the Lord. We do these things to stay prepared for battle. We need to live in the ready position. Stay ready to avoid the cost that comes when you are hurried to battle because the enemy has already stepped into your territory.

One of my favorite parts of this chapter is in verse 21 when the “praise team” is sent out ahead of the army to sing to the Lord. When the people began to sing and praise, the Lord set out an ambush against the enemy. Just think about that, with every song of praise that we sing an ambush is being sent against our enemies. That just makes me want to start singing right now, or at the very least start playing some praise music.

Get those weeds out!

Weeds are not my friends. It seems like they take over everything in no time at all. Even though we placed weed barrier under our flower beds, the weeds still manage to show up. If we don’t keep up with them they take over the entire flower bed.

plant small weeds
Little weeds trying to make their way in, pull them quick!

The same thing happens in our lives. Let the weeds grow in your mind and they turn into big problems. Their roots grow deep and strangle the life out those things that are valuable to us.

weed1
Weeds are out of control, but there is hope! They can still be cut down it just takes a little more effort.

For myself, I constantly have to battle the weeds trying to take root in my mind. I have had to battle a few of them that have taken deep root in the corners of my mind. It is not always an easy battle but it is one that we can win. Sometimes we need help, ok we probably need God’s help every time. Just saying.

Sometimes we associate a physical object with a memory. For instance when we hear a song, drive on a certain road, see a certain building, it can spark a memory from that time in our life. We have associated that item with a memory. This can be a good thing but it can also be a negative thing. Believe it or not you can change that connection if you want to, if you need to.

I am not medical doctor, psychologist, or any sort of expert. I just know that it has worked for me and if this is an area you need to work on it will work for you too. I haven’t done it on my own though.

Romans 12:2 tells us to “be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” (NKJV) Through prayer, the word of God, and just flat out God helping me, areas of my life have been changed. Some things have been simple, some hard.

This is a very basic example and really quite silly, but it is one that I have been dealing with lately.

One time while washing dishes I didn’t have a dish rack or towels to dry them with. I was unfamiliar with the kitchen I was working in and the only thing I could find to dry the dishes with was a small roll of paper towels. The roll was just about empty and the paper towels ran out quickly. I was letting the dishes drain in the sink for a second but was then placing them on the few paper towels that I had left on the counter next to me. I didn’t want to be there all day after all.

I am not sure if what happened next was really my fault or not. Someone came in the kitchen and slipped in a puddle of water that was back behind me and they fell on the floor. (They were fine by the way, well for the most part, if nothing else it probably hurt their pride).

I always try to be careful and not make a big mess, but it is a possibility that the water came from me while doing the dishes. Other people had been working in the kitchen earlier and may not have cleaned everything up from their projects either. Who really knows how the water ended up on the floor, but that doesn’t really matter anymore.

Here’s the problem. Lately every time I look at my dish mat that memory comes back. I feel responsible, guilty, embarrassed, and all these emotions come up about that brief moment in my life. The other person probably doesn’t think much about it. I hope not anyway. Yet I keep replaying it in my mind. Silly I know but there it is.

So what am I doing to change it? As soon as I realize I am thinking that way I take a deep breath and stop the thought from going any further. (I am trying to associate another memory but how many good memories can you associate with a dish mat 🙂 )

I realize that this is a small example and that there are major issues that we deal with. God will help you with all of them though. Nothing is too big for Him and nothing too small. He cares about all of it.

Pay attention to what you are think about and stop and take a deep breath. Take a few if you need too. Change the direction of your thoughts. Pray. Say a few scriptures. Renew your mind. Ask God to help you.

It takes time but eventually you will see improvement. It may not always be easy, but nothing in this world worth having usually is. It will take a little work on your part and help from God, but you can do it!

So get those weeds out!

No weeds!!!
No weeds!!!

Love ya!

Mindy

Lord, we come before you asking for your help. We need you. Please help us in the places that we are struggling with today. Help us to recognize when we are not thinking thoughts pleasing to you. Please help us to take those thoughts captive and to renew our mind. Do not let us think as the world thinks, but help us to be transformed and renewed by your power. Help our thoughts to be pleasing and acceptable to you today. We need your grace. Amen

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Welcome! Jump on in!

thUDPXZUN4

Well I’ve done it, I took the plunge and just jumped into the deep end. OK I admit it, I did have a friend encouraging me to jump in so I finally did. I have been standing on the side trying to dip my toes in the water and just get them a little wet. Dipping my toes is no longer acceptable. So I jumped.

I’ll let you in on a little secret, I am a little bit afraid of the deep end. You never know what is out there underneath all that water and I don’t like swimming in water that I can’t see in.

So welcome to my blog! I am so glad you stopped by!

This is the deep end for me. I don’t know what I am doing and I don’t know where this will take me, and I sure can’t see what is around me. My hope however is that this blog turns into an encouraging place for both of us.

So what’s with the name Oil of Myrrh? I am so glad you asked.  No I am not opening an essential oil website, although it would be interesting to learn more about them. Seems to be a popular subject right now. Sometime in the near future maybe I will write more about Myrrh. For now just know that for me it was inspired from out the book of Esther.

Oil of Myrrh is mentioned during Esther’s preparation before she went to see the king. As a Christian, isn’t that what we are all doing right now? Preparing ourselves to meet our King.

So that is what this site is about. Inspiring and encouraging everyone to get prepared and stay prepared for all the things we are going through in life. Ultimately the goal is to be prepared to meet our King, Jesus Christ.

We can’t skip the prep time, although let’s be honest, I would like too. When I was a kid, I started taking piano lessons from my aunt. Only I wasn’t very disciplined and didn’t practice. I just wanted to know how to play the piano without practicing. Guess what? It didn’t work. To this day I still do not know how to play the piano. Practicing was part of the preparation of playing the piano and the only one who lost out was me.

So even if it is hard at times, long, lonely, or all the other things that times of preparation can be, please don’t skip your prep time or even rush through it.

Cooking is not my favorite thing to do in life. God bless you who do like to cook, I am grateful for you. Yet even I know that you have to prepare the meal before you can eat it. Believe me I know the preparation is hard at times, but in the end it will be worth it. You’re just going to have to trust me on this.

So let’s start this journey together and I hope you enjoy it along the way.

Love ya!

Mindy

By the way, if you don’t know Christ as your savior yet that is a decision you need to make quickly. We all need a savior, and asking Him to be my savior was the smartest thing I ever did.