The Empty Pot

(Summary of an ancient Chinese tale. Originally recorded by Demi.)

A story is told in China of a young boy named Ping. He loved flowers and whatever he grew would always blossom into a beautiful flower. In the kingdom where Ping lived, the emperor had no son, and he needed a successor. The emperor, who also loved gardening, distributed flower seeds to boys throughout the kingdom. Whoever grew the most beautiful flower from his seeds would become the next emperor. Ping carefully planted the seed from the emperor in a pot with rich soil. He watered and cared for the seed, but nothing happened.Read more

The Goodness of God

Despisest thou the riches of his [God’s] goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? —Romans 2:4

There is no way to escape the judgment of God, for it is certain that “we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ” (Romans 14:10) and give an account of how we lived life. However, the Lord in His infinite mercy is prolonging time that more people may be saved from the power of sin and have opportunity to prepare for eternity. God’s mercy is extended to the worst of evildoers, and His love reaches to the most despised of society. He has compassion on the vilest of sinners, and He cares for the ostracized and rejected.

So many are despising the goodness of God by ignoring His love and longsuffering and refusing to accept the beautiful plan of salvation. Indeed, it is the goodness of God that leads people to a condition of repentance. When one’s eyes are opened to the great love of God and to the gift of eternal life, it softens the heart and creates a desire to embrace all that God has provided.

We do not deserve kindness, longsuffering, or mercy because we have all been in a state of rebellion against God. It is in that state of rejecting God that He so often manifests His love by helping the sinner during difficult times of life.  When the storms come like a tornado, wreaking havoc, God once again demonstrates His care. When people’s actions cry out for judgment due to the harm and pain they cause others around them, God offers mercy and is longsuffering. He delays His judgment and withholds punishment with infinite kindness. The riches of His goodness are revealed time and time again to fallen mankind.

Why is God so longsuffering? Why is He so good to people when they do not deserve it? Because it is His goodness that will lead people to repentance (Romans 2:4). His goodness and love draw people and encourage them to turn around. It leads people to forsake wrong and cling to those things that please the Lord.

The door of mercy is open and forgiveness awaits the repentant heart. Praise God for His goodness! ■

The Pearl of Great Price

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls:  Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.
—Matthew 13:45-46

The goal of a merchant is to buy and sell merchandise in order to attain the greatest profit. For centuries, at the expense of their lives, people have sailed the vast oceans and explored new territories in pursuit of treasure and riches. The troubles and dangers encountered were considered worth the risk when valued against the potential gain of earthly possessions.

Jesus spoke this parable illustrating salvation from sin and the eternal reward as a pearl of great price. A merchant, when he has found such a great pearl, sells all his possessions in order to buy something of far greater value. Salvation is of more worth than any literal pearl. The seeker of salvation should with joy and gladness forsake all the things of this world in pursuit of Christ and deliverance of sin. This wonderful pearl can and will only be attained by those who seek after it with all their hearts.

Christians who are lazy and haphazard in their experience with God have either not truly found real salvation or they are in danger of losing that which they possess. To follow Jesus, we must forsake all to attain the power and joy of true salvation. We must seek after that pearl of great price with our whole hearts, holding nothing back.

When we find that pearl of great price, salvation from sin and hope of eternal life, it is accompanied by an inward peace and joy that the world cannot give. As servants of the Lord, may we convey the true worth and value of salvation. May our lives exemplify the riches and joy of full salvation. The enemy would like to cause us to paint a dire picture of the necessity of selling all other possessions rather than focusing on the wonderful treasure found in Jesus Christ.

If you are saved and know Jesus Christ, you have a rare pearl of great price. Go tell someone else about this great salvation that they also may have eternal life.

Suffering Brings the Capacity to Empathize with Others

Blessed be God… Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. —2 Corinthians 1:3-4
After the Lord called me to His work, I endured some great soul conflicts. In them, I suffered inexpressibly. I almost despaired at times, but I look back upon those things now as being the things that made me understand the human heart, that gave me a broader sympathy—and have since enabled me to enter into the sorrows and needs of others, to minister comfort and help as I could not otherwise have done. Read more

A Preacher of Righteousness

And [God] spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly. —2 Peter 2:5

In obedience to divine instruction from God, Noah faithfully labored for decades to build an ark. This ark was a means of deliverance from the flood that would destroy the wicked in God’s judgment. Despite being scoffed at and ridiculed, Noah steadfastly maintained integrity with God and did not yield to the pressures of society. He stood alone, believing God’s word was truth. He “prepared an ark to the saving of his house…and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith” (Hebrews 11:7).

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