The Chef and His Ingredients

Romans 8:28 is a verse I return to often, and I would not be surprised if you do as well, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”

Remember to put flesh and blood on the authors and persons found in Scripture. Paul wrote these words, and he is looking back at all that has unfolded in his life to make this statement of faith. This isn’t philosophy, and it isn’t theory, it’s faith that Paul is articulating.

I often marvel at my wife’s ability to prepare food. She can take a handful of ingredients and work together something marvelous. Not surprisingly, given the same time and ingredients, I would not be able to do so.

It is a skill to know just how to work ingredients together and make something edible; even more, it is a gift to make it delightful. I am blessed.

Paul is looking back at his missionary trips to Philippi, to Thessalonica, to Athens, to Corinth, a shipwreck, snake bite, beatings, stonings, mobs, rejections, and insults. He reflects and writes, “And we know that God worketh all things together …”

Paul did not say “we think,” or “I’m hopeful that,” or “He does some things,” or even “most things.” No, “all things.” The Greek is exact.

Like the Potter working the clay, the Lord takes the ingredients of life, and works, or mixes, them all together for our good.

Still, this is a restricted promise that does not work until the calling, and an affirmative response to the voice of the One calling. In the ecclesia of Messiah, the called out ones, they are, as Paul writes, “called to be saints” (I Cor. 1:2).

A “saint” is not a perfect looking person, perfect in all ways. No, they are set-apart to God, committed to Him, who are given over to the working of His grace in their lives. He then works the ingredients in the pot, all the troubles and trial, before and after salvation, “according to His purpose.”

The “all things” that once had a say in your life are now silent in the hands of the Chef. They are powerless to give their opinion, as they are now subject to the will of the One working them all together according to His purpose.

The conclusion of the process is found in Romans 8:29. As I have oft said, Romans 8:28 is only understood when read in light of Romans 8:29, as the Lord is conforming us to the image of His Son, in whom we are called.

So all of the circumstances, past and present, that seem to derail you, in His hand will be worked only for His glory, and your good. Given the same ingredients and time, you and I could not cook up a better dish, as we would leave out those moments of the deepest flavor, or more accurately, pain.

I want to give you hope today, as He is working all things, it may seem that someone is trying to over season the pot, but as Paul concludes, “If God is for us, who can be against us” (Ro. 8:31)? He will work it out.

Be well. Shalom.

“Let them say …”

Psalm 118 is a personal favorite. It’s beauty, simplicity, and expression of deep faith when “things” are not going “right” inspires in the midst of uncertainty. Maybe you can relate?

The psalm opens with a call to “give thanks to the Lord for He is good, His mercy endures forever.” Then the author calls Israel, the sons of Aaron, and all who fear the Lord to give thanks for His enduring mercy.

Put your name in there to, “Let ______ say, ‘His mercy endures forever.” Personalize it, especially when you are encompassed by troubles. Speak the promise of His enduring mercy.

When dangers cause stumbling, when it seems correction is too great to bear, His mercy endures, bringing stability and rejoicing, take that personally.

When trials press in, we rejoice together, because the right hand of God has delivered us in order to declare His wondrous works. The years of wandering and trials will cease, and we will enter the gates of righteousness with praise.

Personalize it. Personalize the rejected Stone Who is now the cornerstone, Yeshua/Jesus, as He goes before you this day, what is made will be measured according to His righteousness, and will conclude in His will, perfectly.

“This is the day the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it” (Ps. 118:24) is not a declaration of excitement when all is well, but a cry of victory over the present circumstance because of the One who orders our steps.

Rejoice now, when rejoicing is the furthest thing from your mind, and the hope on the horizon will be manifest in the present.

“Let ______ say, ‘His mercy endures forever,” that’s you and me as well.

Be well. Shalom.

Again, the Potters House

This clay has talked back. This clay has questioned. This clay has argued. This clay has attempted to persuade.

Yet the hand of the Potter continued to work against the natural inclination of this clay. Mashed against the wheel, His hand working the lump into a form discomforting this clay.

Pressure of hand and wheel. The will of the Potter working this clay against the circumstance manifest as a potters wheel, shaping this clay into a vessel.

The working of this clay is contrary to the sensibilities and sensitives of today, as the clay must, for once and again, behold the truth that God the Father is Lord, and this clay is not.

The Potters House demonstrates a simple principle: the Lord has the right and authority to work this clay however He wills.

It’s painful. It’s unsettling. It’s not what the clay would want. Yet, in His hand this clay is worked perfectly according to the desire of His heart, according to His plan and purpose for the vessel He is forming for use in His house.

Messiah bought the potters field, so the Potter could rework and refresh the rejected clay (Matt. 27:7-10).

Once rejected, under the pressure of His hand, you are more accepted then you ever imagined; because He purposely and intentionally bought you, and that, at the highest price.

Meditation: Isaiah 64:7; Jeremiah 18:1-4; Romans 8:28-29; 10:8-10.

Be well. Shalom.