Embraced together, I find it amazing! The word chisel is harsh. It is defined as a sharp object used to excavate - to clear away unwanted mass, material, stuff in order to create an opening or to carve an image. Dolabra or celtes (Latin) derived from coello, to engrave.
Interesting thought...We are engraved on the palm of the Master's hand.
~ Isaiah 49:16
And yet, it is His very hand that holds the tools that mold and shape us into the likeness of Himself.
I was struck by a thought triggered this week when Kathy shared about her starting pottery. She said that after a 6 month delay, she was a little ambitious and may have tried something a little too difficult. I instantly imagined her diligently molding the clay and the tools with which she was working to make "her masterpiece." My immediate thought was, "I'm glad that nothing is too big or difficult for God when He began creating the masterpiece of my life!"
A chisel is most often used on a surface that is already hard - not very pliable. I can re-call many times I have hardened my heart toward God and He skillfully chiseled away, shaping me into His image. How easy it is to mold and shape something soft! When chiseling, the chisel leaves what I call "memory marks." This is where each gouge, score, cut...every stroke is evident. Once the hack marks are made - more removal is necessary to gain a smoother, beautiful object. A blanket of small fibers (sand paper) gently glided upon those "memory marks" perfects, and polishing completes the masterwork.
A few years ago, Brian and I submitted an artwork at the Worship Arts Festival at our church. I had it in my mind and heart to sculpt "The Faces of God's Children." I do not claim to be a sculptor, but as I sought out ways to create this art form, I felt this burning desire to share the vision from my heart. I believe God was letting me peek into His heart, desiring others to recognize the wondrous Masterpieces He has designed. The objective of the festival was to use one of the names of God and base the art around the name you chose. Mine was Jehovah-Medoddishkem - The Lord Who Sanctifies You. Jehovah is translated as "The Existing One" or "Lord." It also suggest "to become known" - this denotes a God who reveals Himself unceasingly. Mekoddishkem derives from the Hebrew word qadash meaning "sanctify," "holy" or "dedicate." Sanctification is the separation of an object or person to the dedication of the Holy. The two words combined are translated as "The Lord who sets you apart."
As we worked on this art, we had to chisel away the unwanted plaster left by our mold. Small instruments were used to clarify the character lines, just as God chisels the unholy to make holy and to sanctify. Chisel and Masterpiece dance together.
" For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so that we
can do the good things he planned for us long ago." ~ Ephesians 2:10
From the word chisel plaguing my mind, to Kathy's pottery, and this quote from our Wednesday Beth Moore Bible study; "Our old body of sin, the nature that must seek its own way, the person who is hopelessly depraved and resigned to failure, hangs limp on the cross. Raised in its place is the Spirit of the Living God poured into a temple of flesh so that God's presence will remain among men." - once again, the imagery and magnificence of these words Chisel and Masterpiece are creating a beautiful dancing duet in my heart, mind and soul. As He continues to chip away areas of my life, God is creating for Himself a grand masterpiece - He planned long ago - to pour the Spirit of the Living God within me - this art form in flesh - so that God's presence will remain among men. "I have been crucified with Christ - I no longer live but Christ lives in me." ~ Galatians 2:20
2 Corinthians 4: 6 -11 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give light of the knowledge of the glory to God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus also might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.
It is not a new concept for me to wrap my brain around, but a reminder, and going deeper still; that not only am I formed and created in His image, but I am the place where the Spirit of God dwells. An earthen vessel where God Himself fills me up and provides opportunities to spill over - pour and slosh out - His love, His encouragement, His hope...to do the good work that He planned for me long ago!
Interesting too, as I was reading a devotional from Streams in the Desert, that I would come across this quote:
"If you have surrendered yourself to Christ, your present circumstances that seem to be press in so hard against you are the perfect tool in the Father's hand to chisel you into shape for eternity. So trust Him and never push away the instrument He is using, or you will miss the result of His work in your life."
Hummm? Interesting that he calls a chisel an instrument, for when I think of instruments, I think of beautiful music! Let me encourage you to let the instrument of the chisel help create the beautiful melody of your life song...and let the dance begin!
Take a moment to be blessed by this skit I stumbled across on YouTube by the Skit Guys. They have allowed us to post it on our site. Grab a tissue!
Due to a conflict with the upcoming Chapel's Women's Conference and material from the video, I have been asked to consider removing it temporarily from the blog. After much prayer. I have removed the embedded source but will return it after the conference. If you live in Baton Rouge, you will want to attend the Masterpiece Women's Conference with guest speaker Susie Larson. Click here for details then go to women's ministry tab: www.thechapelbr.com
If you are not planning on attending the conference or live out of state, you may see the video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3QCkBL2DfVg but I urge you not to watch if you are planning to attend. We don't want to spoil the impact it may have for conference attendees. Thank You!
Article by J. Yates p.420 of William Smith, D.C.L, LLD
-A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, John Murray, London, 1875
Streams in the Desert, L. B. Cowman, Zondervan 1997
David: Seeking a Heart Like His, Beth Moore, LifeWay Press, 2010.
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I hope you were blessed.
Dancing with God's Chisel,