Monday, June 20, 2011
"Reflecting Him" Review Part 1
I have the privilege of reviewing a Bible study called "Reflecting Him" by Carla McDougal. This is her first study written, although you would never know it! Week Two of this study has challenged me more than any single week of any single study I've ever done. In fact, this study is so amazing, I will be doing a series of reviews, because there is WAY too much to fit in one post.
There are literally dozens of references in the Bible to potters and clay. The most significant ones (to me) will be integrated in these reviews. I'm going to start with Isaiah 29:16. "You turn things upside down, as if the potter were thought to be like the clay! Shall what is formed say to Him who formed it, 'He did not make me?' Can the pot say of the potter, 'He knows nothing?'"
Ouch. For me, that was almost enough! I can't count the times I have thought "Why can't I just be normal, why can't I just be like that person, who has their health?" I've even thought "They don't even appreciate their health, why do they get to have perfect health?" Well, check out an expository of Romans 9:21: "Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?" (The NIV uses "some pottery for special purposes and some for common use?")
The words "power over" in this verse come from the word exasla in Greek. That means "the right to act, decide or dispose of one's property as one wishes." "The same lump" in Greek is furamatos, "that which is mixed or kneaded." (Reflecting Him pg 6).
Before we go further, I want to refer to the expert of the week in this study, Cynthia Bonner. She is a pottery specialist, and throughout this week, Carla McDougal refers to her to explain the real process of creating pieces of pottery.
"Mixing the clay and temper to form the prepared or ready-to-use clay is similar to kneading dough when you are making bread. Once mixed together, the clay will actually improve as it ages, but it can also be used right away....By applying pressure on the clay, the potter eliminates air bubbles that can cause problems down the road." (Cynthia Bonner, as quoted in Reflecting Him, page 14.)
So far this is what I've learned:
1. God is my Creator. He created me with a specific purpose in mind, just like a potter knows what he or she is going to make before he or she starts to fashion it.
2. God made me according to the purpose for which I have been called. Who am I to tell Him He made me incorrectly? Even before MG, I have always been exactly how God created me to be.
3. God must knead me to get out the air pockets so I don't disintegrate when I'm put into the fire. While this process is NOT enjoyable, it is necessary to become what God wants me to be.
I'll continue part two of the potter and the clay tomorrow...I think this is enough for one day!
Carla McDougal is the founder of Reflective Life Ministries and Share Fair, an annual conference for connecting, equipping, and encouraging women in ministry. She speaks at women’s events, retreats, and conferences in the U.S. and internationally. Carla married her high school sweetheart, Fred, and they have four children ages 16 to 23 and live in Magnolia, Texas. Reflecting Him: Living for Jesus and Loving It (WinePress Publishing, 2010) is Carla’s first book, although she’s been involved in leading and teaching Bible studies for more than 20 years. Carla writes a Monday morning e-votional at her blog, Carla’s Corner.