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German Version


Clay - From Dust To Glory
Markus Piercy-Reins
















“Arise and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will cause you to hear My words.”
Then I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was, making something at the wheel. And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter; so he made it again into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to make.
Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying:
“O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter?” says the Lord.
Look, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel!
 Jer. 18:2-6 NKJV

Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?
Ro. 9:21 NKJV 

I’m sure you’re very familiar with the above scriptures… and in general we just think about the process of making a vessel. Let me tell you: There is much more behind the whole “clay-thing” than just the making of a vessel… we can start much earlier and will find a wonderful parallel to all the processes we run through entering the Kingdom of Heaven.

I would like to share a little bit from the making of good clay - over the whole procedures of processing it - till the final product: an earthen vessel.

These processes of winning clay till the final product will give us perfect understanding about God’s dealings we will find in our lives.

First we’ll start with the natural process - in Italics - of clay winning and processing and then look on the parallels showing up in the spiritual life. 

1. Winning/Salvation 

Clay is substance created by water. Water is grinding stones relentlessly till they’re turned into dust… floating in water. As long a body of water is moving clay stays afloat but when water comes to rest the clay-particles slowly settle down… and as time goes by a layer of clay is growing. Later after having gone through earth-changes the water may disappear – by a river changing its riverbed – but the clay will stay now available for the potter to get it.

It’s very easy… costs no money… you just need to know where to find clay and then a shovel and a bucket is all you need!

Though the clay got “saved” from the ground and no longer is connected to the surrounded soil it still is in the exact same condition as it was before. Though it is clay… it isn’t clay alone. It’s clay mixed with stones, sand and other organic materials. 

And in the same way it is with our salvation, too. When God shows up in our lives and we come to faith in Christ… we’re saved.

Saved means “we’re gathered into God’s bucket” with all connections severed having us bound in “the soil” before.

But though we’re saved, we still have the exact same “consistency” as we had being in the ground. We’re saved… but still with the same impurities as before our salvation.

God choosing us broke the ties binding us… but to become clay ready for the potter’s wheel we still need some processes to run through. 

2. Disintegration/Purification/Dehydration 

I once saw a great video showing the ingenious, easy way how to get pure clay… it’s so easy! As we’ve learned clay is so lightweight it is easily floating in water. So what to do?

Well, it is enough to have two big barrels (or buckets) and water!
The first barrel is filled with water and then the raw clay is rubbed into the water… the whole thing stirred well for some time.

Then it is just enough to wait for a couple minutes… to let the heavier than water particles like sand, stones or metals sink to the bottom and the lighter particles start swimming at the surface. In the water between our clay is floating.

Now this sludgy broth is poured into the other empty barrel with a fine sifter on top. The fine filter-mesh will hold back all the lighter ingredients like grass, wood, leaves, little insects etc. but the super-fine clay particles will be gathered in the second barrel.

Now we need an ingredient - we’ll need later again in the whole process of making good clay: Time!
As the water is resting gravity will force the light-weight clay particles to settle down to the bottom of the barrel. When the water will become clear again we will find a layer of clay in the barrel.
The barrel is tilted carefully now letting the water to run out… and a very oozy mass of pure clay will remain.

This clay is way too wet and won’t hold any form so it has to be dehydrated till the right plasticity is reached. The potter will test the clay to find out about its qualities defining his plans what he is able to make out of this clay. 

Isn’t this a wonderful parallel to baptism and rebirth? I so like this parallel because it is so fitting what God is doing with us: 

That He might sanctify and cleanse it (the church) with the washing of water by the word, That He might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. – Eph. 5:26-27

As we have seen water is used to separate the admixed “unwanted” impurities from the “wanted” clay. In the same way God uses the “water of the word of God” - the light of divine truth - to expose and cut away still existent “impurities” in us having the potential to hinder God’s planned future form for us to come true.
Only pure clay is able to make it through the future processes – including the burning – and so it is with us, too.
Therefore God will turn us upside down and inside out exposing the depraved fabric of “old Adam” in us. This ugly guy has to die - being buried with Christ – so the moldable, purified, “re-birthed” clay will rise from the water. 

Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?
Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection,
knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.
For he who has died has been freed from sin. – Ro. 6:3-7

This is a once-for-all; radical step… the old is done away, completely! 

We have to face the facts:

To be born-again isn’t just lifting your hand or following an altar-call… even the act of baptism isn’t the rebirth of a person (you can be baptized ten times – but never being born of the Spirit of God!). These are right things for us to do … but are limited to what we can do always!

The rebirth is an act of God alone… just He can do alone by the power of His Holy Spirit!

In Acts 10:44-47 we read about a good demonstration of God’s absolute sovereignty - Cornelius and his family being born-again – even before they got baptized! Yep, our God blows the dogmatics of man apart! Hallelujah!

And as clay needs to be disintegrated into water… torn apart and pulverized by the hands of the potter… everyone being truly born-again by the Spirit of God has to face the following: 

It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. And when He has come,
He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment. – Jo. 16:7-8

This conviction is the first act of the presence of God in a man’s life. No, it’s not: Please, come to Jesus He loves you so… or as I have heard recently: Please, give God a try!
It is the first work of the Holy Spirit being exposed and disintegrated in the all-penetrating light of God’s truth… His truth about you!

It means to be torn apart… and to die with Christ! 

There is no resurrection… no true new life… if not death hasn’t occurred before! 

No matter what is preached today… these are the true “markers” of the genuine work of the Holy Spirit! 

For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account. – Hebr. 4:12-13

Jesus says:

Most assuredly, I say to you, unless (this is a condition!) one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. – Jo. 3:5-6

So clearly, you have to face His reality… how He sees you… and this means the death of your old life.

The “old” can’t inherit the kingdom of God… and there can’t be new life without the death of the old before! (1.Cor. 6:9-11 /1.Cor 15:59)

The grain has to die before new life can grow! (Joh. 12:24) 

Salvation isn’t rebirth… in spite of all “mixing of terms” and erroneous teachings prevailing today. 

It has to be “water and Spirit”! “Water” is standing here for the “earthly” dimension, for our part… what we can do… and “Spirit” is this part just under God’s control alone… only He can do!
“Water” alone… our part… isn’t sufficient for a rebirth (though it is important!)… it has to be “water and Spirit” as Jesus has said!

And the “Spirit-part” includes our disintegration… this piercing of the two-edged sword… and the death of our old man. 

This all happens after God’s direction alone… yes, His “timing” is different… and His ways are different for all of us. 

As clay has to wait till the process of purification is finished… the water has become clear again… so we have to learn to wait on the Lord and to trust His expertise. Nothing we can do here – but trusting!

It’s not so easy… feeling disintegrated and afloat in water… losing all our so familiar “frames and parameters” we’re so used to… facing this wobbliness of being afloat shredded to parts… not knowing how it will turn out in the end.
As time goes by… as the water clears… you will see how your “floating parts” will come together again… and you will get “solidified” as the water (standing for God’s measures to purify you) is leaving your life.

The heavenly expert will test you… to find out about your consistency, plasticity and quality important for defining the vessel He will make out of you.

3. Creation 

After the clay has passed through the process of refining and solidification the day will come the potter will take the clay and will give it a new form after his design.

The clay needs the right plasticity for being formed on the wheel… it must be shape- and moldable but firm enough to keep the given form. 

God has a plan for each of us. He was the one who chose us with intent… and saw us before we’d been made in our mother’s womb… and all our days were written in His book before there was one of them (Ps. 139:16)
So from saving us, through the process of rebirth, He follows His divine plan for our lives… and after His plans we get formed now. (Ro. 9:21) 

Seeing Him being active now fills us with great joy and vibrant expectation. After all this painful dying and waiting we start to see His intents now.
Oh, how we love to see this happening… what a joy fills our hearts to see our Beloved starting to fulfill the promises we received from Him… and of course we start dreaming, dreaming about all the “possible use” we see this “vessel” may be good for. 

Well, though we’ll get our final form… this doesn’t mean we’re ready for use now. The very moment He will take us from the wheel we’re put on a shelf! Yes, my dear… it’s about waiting again! 

4. Solidification/Final Dehydration 

After the potter finished the vessel after his design he places it on a shelf for final drying and solidification of the given form.

This process of drying isn’t allowed to be too fast. Due to the fact clay is shrinking while drying this would cause cracks on the vessel. So this place should be dry but cool so a consistent and steady drying is assured.

In the beginning the form is still moldable easily and so it has to be protected from any influences destroying the given form. The vessel is in its final form… but it is too weak for any practical use.

So the vessel is put in a dry and safe environment and as the days – and weeks - pass by the vessel solidifies as the water dries out of it. This drying is the longest “process of waiting”.

It is very important the vessel is completely dried before it is burned in the kiln. If there is moisture inside the heat will cause it to vaporize and destroy the vessel by the steam cracking it up.

The potter has to be sure it is completely dry… and so better waiting a little longer than being impatient and ruining it unnecessarily. 

Seeing God shaping us we so long to be used finally… and it is quite irritating for us we’ll suddenly find ourselves placed on some shelf in a very dry, desert-like surrounding. 

If man has a tough time with something - it is with patience! None of us likes waiting… and our “instant-society” is the result of our impatience. If there is a need we want it fixed and solved as soon as possible.

But not so with God! He doesn’t act on our pace… but wants us to get rid of our own strive… of our own “zeal for Him” by putting our own fire on His altar.

Believe me, this doesn’t come easy! How do we hate having to wait at traffic lights… or even being caught in a traffic jam! As long everything is moving we’re okay… even being not so much concerned about where we’re moving - as long we’re moving, right?

Sitting around doing nothing is so hard to endure… but just this is all our Heavenly Father is after during this special time.

It is a time of checking our motives… a time of revealing and exposing the “independent drives” of man and - drying them up!

God has to put to end our own zeal… yes, all we do with oh such holy intent and passion but originating from our souls.

God doesn’t accept this… it would ruin His plans and purposes and so He has to “desiccate” this fountain by drying it up completely: 

Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the Lord of Hosts. – Zech. 4:6

God’s medicine for us here is: WAITING!

We will find it throughout the bible: Waiting! Waiting drives us first mad - till we worked ourselves into the ground in our futile activities – but after we’ve had our “Elijah-moment” (1.Ki. 19:4-8) we will learn finally: It’s not about us, but Him alone! 

God doesn’t need you and me! He could do it all alone! Look, it’s just we see ourselves more important as we actually are!

We’re just vessels… and nothing more!
We have no power in ourselves… and without Him we can’t do anything (Jo. 15:5)… so why not enjoying this time of waiting? Willfully agreeing and submitting to His so important process of waiting?
In it we learn to let go of our aims, let go of our plans and learn about the indispensable pre-conditions every service in the Kingdom of God is based on: Patience and obedience! 

Do you feel you have waited way too long now? Do you fear you might have got something wrong… got stuck in some error… or even being forsaken by your God? 

Well, as long you have feelings like this… you will have to wait a little longer! 

In the very moment you have learned to be completely content in and with all you are and have today… not worrying about tomorrow any longer… just basking in His presence alone… you’re ready for the hardest process a man can go through…

5. Transformation 

After the long period of drying the vessel will feel like stone. No longer it can be deformed  easily and it looks perfect now from the outside.
Though having the final form and having hardened the vessel still isn’t ready for daily use… still the vessel is clay… and as we know: clay is water-soluble.
The time of drying hardened its form… but didn’t change its substance. To have this changed clay has to be transformed into stone again.
As we know clay is coming from stones being grinded by water… and so water transformed the water-proof stone into water-soluble clay.
Now it needs fire to “re-transform” clay into stone again. Therefore the vessel is put into a kiln now running with extreme temperatures making the vessel glowing orange for heat.
Coming out of this transforming heat the vessel still needs some time of rest... cooling down from the extreme heat. Filling it with cool water right after the burning - the temperature difference would just cause it to crack to pieces, like a hot glass coming right from the dishwasher after drying is bursting.
After the process of burning the vessel will rather break than giving up its form… and you could immerse it in water for centuries without any harm… as ancient wine-amphoras show archeologists rescue from sunken ancient ships in the Mediterranean Sea.

After having reached the end of God’s waiting time for us… suddenly we will be confronted with the most tense situations and circumstances a man can imagine.
Situations and incidents challenging your spiritual man to the utmost… and even more! Everything will break away… and you will come to your very end.

We don’t expect it to come and so we’re in shock – even paralyzed in the beginning. “What is this now?” we stammer in confusion by all we see being hurled at us.
All we are body, spirit and soul, is exposed to fiercest heat. Now it is so important there is no “impurity” remaining in the clay anymore… even a little sand would cause the vessel to break apart.

We hope the heat will cease soon… just to find out: It’s even getting hotter!

This heat is intended to bring us to our very end… normal human believe systems won’t make it through this blast-furnace of affliction… just a “dead in Christ” will make it through.

The fire will expose the true fabric of our spiritual making. Are we truly born of God? Or have we followed human doctrines?
Do we really know our Master… or is our faith just good for times of outward sunshine? Is our life and faith grounded on the rock of knowing our God ourselves… or is it just some nice theory… some ear-tickling, flesh-suiting dogma we have chosen from all the offered variety of doctrines presented today? Is our faith based on the reality of intimately knowing Jesus and following Him in close pursuit… or is it just based on some hear-say? (Job 42:5)
Everything will be tested by this fire. Only after having passed through all of God’s perfect processes before we will make it through the flame of transformation… everything else will be burnt! (1.Cor. 3:13 / 1.Pet. 1:7 / Rev. 3:18)

This fire will transform us from transient “earthen vessels” into vessels not from this earth anymore.

Like it is with an earthen vessel the Lord won't start using us right away after the burning. He will give us time needed to cool down - to adapt to the new reality - before starting to use us.
This world (water based) can’t touch you anymore. You will just act on His word and by His Spirit alone… not worrying about all you have to do – or not to do – anymore! Just doing every word you’ll hear at your favorite place: By His feet.

And darkness? What can darkness do to you? Darkness just can have impact on “water-based” materials… but you aren’t “water-based” anymore! Your walk is in heaven… just your feet being on this earth temporarily… and yes, man might not know about your origin - but darkness does! Read Acts 19:13-16!
You have went through God’s process of re-creation and He will trust in your “fabric” just you’re His very own creation He had designed right from scratch.

He knows you – as you know Him and the endeavors of the Almighty will progress through these original vessels all showing off one signet:Heaven-branded!

In His Service

If someone has some deeper interest into Clay processing - here are some YouTube videos giving insight in the processes mentioned:

Winning/Purification
http://youtu.be/mv-6zvI3r4c
http://youtu.be/0BL8bfhZqfk

Dehydration/Processing
http://youtu.be/sJkTjq5zLws
http://youtu.be/v0nK1VZHwGo

Shaping
http://youtu.be/aqPRjxXMAyY
http://youtu.be/1yiCVmitk8Y

Drying
http://youtu.be/QIUvnfm7ua0

Burning
http://youtu.be/6R01zB-_K6g

 
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