Tuesday, August 2, 2016

When We Make A Mess.

Have you ever made something that was a really good thing?

Some people build stuff.
Some people sew stuff.
Playing instruments.
Some people are really good at sports or fishing or golfing.

Whatever your talent, interest, and gift might be... have you ever created something, done something, or participated in something and you stepped back and said...

"I like it."

"This looks good."

"This tastes good."

"This turned out well."

"I worked hard and accomplished this, I'm proud of the work I did."

That's a good feeling.  It's a powerful feeling.

Have you ever tried something and it didn't work out the way it was supposed to?

Epic Pinterest fails.
Crumbled pieces of paper from writer's block.
Burnt confections in the oven.
Furniture that falls apart when you touch it.
A failed business.
Or an important game that was lost.

Sometimes, instead of admiring our creations, we look at them in disgust.

I wonder if that's what the artist did with my unfinished painting?  Did they have an idea and as they started stroking the colors off their palette onto the canvas, they quickly became displeased with the direction the painting was going... it wasn't turning out the way they envisioned it, and that's why it ended up on the street?

I am so thankful to know that God is not like us.

The One who began the good work in you never fails!
He never quits!
He never gives up!
He doesn't toss us out on the street, kick us to the curb, or throw us away as a lost cause.
Instead, He pursues us, desires us, chases us, and longs for us.

"The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy... He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities... Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear Him.  For He knoweth our frame; He remembereth that we are dust." ~ Psalm 103:8,10,13-14

I am thankful that God knows I am human and that I am not perfect!

The prodigal son took his inheritance and he went off and lived it up and wasted all his money.  Riotous living.  Wild, unruly, uncontrolled behavior.  Lively and rambunctious.  What a great time he had.  What fun he had.  Until the money ran out.  He found himself starving, living in a pig-pen, wanting to eat the pig's food.

My daddy raised pigs.  I remember the smell of the pig pen.  On a nice breezy day, when the wind was in the right direction, that not so lovely odor could be smelled for a couple of miles.  I remember the slop buckets we kept.  Scraping our leftovers into five gallon buckets after each meal and once they were almost full we'd carry that bucket of nastiness up the hill and pour it into the troughs.  The pigs would run over top of each other to get to that watery, slimy mess.  And, I remember the fall Saturdays that my daddy woke us up bright and early so we could go with him to cornfields where we would collect the ears that the corn harvester machines had left behind.  I have been there, seen it, and don't think I could ever eat what I've seen my daddy's pigs feed on, unless I was desperate and starving.  The Bible said the prodigal son would gladly have filled his belly with the pig's corn.  He was desperate and starving.

If you read the scriptures closely, it says that "no man gave to him".  His position in his life at this time meant that he couldn't ask for what he wanted or needed.  He couldn't take what he needed.  He couldn't take the pig's food... even if he was willing to eat it.  He could only have what was given to him.  Otherwise, he could have been beaten and severely punished.

He came to himself and he realized that his father had plenty and his father's servants were well treated and well fed.  He decided to return home.  He was planning on asking to be a servant, just to be given a place to sleep and food to eat.  The Bible says that while he was still "a great way off" his father saw him coming and ran to meet him.

His father was watching for him to return!

His father was waiting for his return!

If you have wandered away, living wildly and unruly, uncontrolled and rambunctious, your father is watching and waiting for your return.

He is waiting, not to make you merely a servant, but to return you to sonship status.  The prodigal son's father put shoes on his feet, and fresh robes on his back, and a ring on his finger.  The shoes, the robe, and the sandals were all indicators of his position in life.  Not a lowly servant or slave, but a man of wealth and social position.  His father returned him immediately to full sonship status.

Our heavenly artist doesn't toss us out on the street when we've made bad decisions or our masterpiece has veered off course from what He has planned.  He doesn't decide not to love us or not to offer us forgiveness.  His mercy and His grace is sufficient for every situation.  His Word says that where sin did abound (was plentiful), grace did much more abound!

Wherever sin is, God's grace overflows!

Sometimes our masterpieces are not what God intends them to be.  We can honestly be a total mess a lot of the time.  But, as Jeremiah 18 says, the potter was making a vessel on the wheel and the vessel was "marred in the hand of the potter".  The New Living Translation says the vessel did not turn out as he hoped.

He didn't throw it away.  He made it over again.  It was still in His hand and He kept working on it.

I'm glad God is not like the artist who threw out my painting.  He sees us in our disorderly, chaotic condition and even though we aren't looking the way He planned, He desires to keep working on us and making us into the masterpiece He began.

He knows we're unfinished.

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