Encouraging and empowering people to live victorious lives in Christ

Archive for August, 2016

I’m on the Potter’s Wheel

There are times in our lives as Christians when we feel pressed on every side.  It seems like we’re catching it from everywhere…our relationships with our loved ones are challenging, we’re overworked on our jobs and are feeling unappreciated, we’re dealing with health concerns, and the place we go to worship and get encouragement is going through a season of trial (these are just a few). The Apostle Paul experienced this pressing and shared his plight with the church at Corinth: “For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life” (2 Corinthians 1:8, KJV)

When we’re feeling this pressure, the first thing we want is relief!  We cry out to God, just like Job did (which is what we should do) and ask, plead or even beg God to free us from the pressure.  We want these burdens off of us, and we want them gone NOW!  Can anyone else besides me relate to this?

Instead of desiring to be released, let’s take a moment to look at things from God’s perspective.   The prophet Jeremiah observed in chapter 18 a potter working on a pot on the potter’s wheel.  According to Jeremiah, “the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands.” (vs. 4, NIV) Doesn’t that sound like us?  We are marred creatures, yet God desires to work on us.  Jeremiah goes on to say in verse 4:  “so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him.”


That is what our Heavenly Father is doing while we are being pressed.  He’s forming us into another pot, shaping us as He sees best.  He’s allowed those sandpaper people to be in and stay in our lives for a reason.  He’s giving place for the challenges we’re facing at work for a purpose.  He’s letting some things happen in our lives that we may not like.

Picture in your mind what Jeremiah sees as he watches the potter work with the pot.  If the pot could speak, what would it say? “Ouch, that’s hurts, Mr. Potter.”  “When will you be finished, Mr. Potter?” “That’s enough, Mr. Potter!”  Don’t we say these same things to God when we’re being pressed?  I know I have!   But it helps to remember that we’re not going through what we’re going through for no reason.  God is allowing our experiences to shape up us in the image of His Son Jesus, to become the person He wants us to be.

For me, I believe in my own season of ‘press,’ God is preparing me for something greater.  He’s getting rid of some things in me so I can be ready for the purpose for which He’s called me. And He’s replacing those character traits and habits that are not of Him with those that are.  So, as the pot, I’m going to stay on the potter’s wheel until the Potter is finished with me.  Being on the potter’s wheel is not the most comfortable place, but it’s the most necessary place.  And I’m trusting that the Potter knows what He’s doing as He molds me until what He wants me to be.


Who’s In Your Spiritual Tribe?

How many Facebook friends do you have?  What about Twitter or Instagram followers?  Between church members, friends from various levels of school (elementary to grad school), sorority sisters, event industry contacts, my FB friends number over 2000 (no I’m really not that popular!)  Yet, among all of those connections, who can I say is in my spiritual tribe?  First off, what’s a spiritual tribe?


My definition of a spiritual tribe is a group of people who are living out their walk with Christ daily.  These people not perfect, but strive to live godly lives.  I believe these are people who are also living out the calling that God has placed on their lives. That doesn’t necessarily mean being a preacher or pastor, but recognizing that God has called one to a specific purpose, and doing one’s best, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to fulfill this calling. The members of your spiritual tribe are close to you.  They have nothing but your best interest at heart.  They are on the same spiritual journey you’re on and they want to see you be successful, just as they themselves want to be successful.  They recognize that the tribe is in it together, and that there’s no room for negativity or judgment…just love, encouragement and support.

As we are striving, working, trusting and praying along this journey, there will be some days when we just ain’t feelin’ it.  Sometimes we get tired of dealing with folks who make promises then disappoint; we’re sick of facing haters and those with a jealous spirit, we’re over those who are living just for show (no substance to their walk); we’re done with those who, as James Brown would say “talkin’ loud and sayin’ nothin.’”  This can get old real fast…anybody been there?

But yet, how do we overcome these challenges so that we can continue along our Christian journey?  First, we need to go to God and ask for help!  Also, this is where our spiritual tribe can come in.  If we have the right people in our tribe, they can sense when we are struggling and offer a word of encouragement.   They can totally relate to what we’re experiencing, and want to help lift us out of the funk we’re in so you can keep going.  They know we have something to offer the Body of Christ, and give us that nudge to help you continue.  They also convict us in a loving way when we’re wrong and out of order!  And when we do make mistakes, they don’t judge.

So, having described what I believe is a spiritual tribe…who’s in yours?  A tribe doesn’t have to consist of a slew of folks (truth be told, it probably shouldn’t).  Since your tribe members are those with whom you can be transparent, this number should be a small one.    One of the qualities of a tribe member that I didn’t mention earlier is that he or she should be trustworthy!  She is able to hold things in confidence that need to be held in confidence (and you are willing and able to do the same thing for them).

So take a look at your friends and ask yourself…who’s in my tribe?  If you can count one or two as a member of your tribe, be grateful!  Don’t mistake tribal membership for acquaintances or colleagues.  And if you don’t feel you have one, pray and ask God to show you who should be in your tribe. No man is an island, and we need one another to keep pressing toward the mark.  I’m grateful for those in my spiritual tribe and I pray I am a blessing to them, just as they are to me.