Hi Guys, we wanted to share these words of encouragement with you from our friend. Let us know what you think!! Love you all & hope to catch up soon. Did you know I was a potter…funny…I haven’t made a pot in years, yet I still consider myself a potter. Anyway, It always amazed me how beautiful some of the pieces I’d made could be…delicate, intricate, and daring…sometimes I’d even incorporate locally harvested clay from the ground to my works of art. It always amazed me what a “dirty” process the making of pots was. It doesn’t really mater how clean the water is, the clay comes in many different varieties and colors, but pretty much all of them are “muddy” looking. I made these things with the knowledge that I’d have to, at some point, subject them to the fire. A heat so fierce the kiln would glow orange! In fact, I couldn’t really consider my pieces “complete” until I’d “fired” them. The word we use for pottery that hasn’t been put in the kiln and faced the heat is “green”. The funny thing is when they’re sitting on the shelf…from a distance, these pieces…the “green” pieces…look a lot like completed pots. If you were to take them down and use them though…well, they break easily, they chip, they always leave your hands “dirty” with clay dust, they are porous, and if you fill them up with water…they fall apart. They are not useful at all. Some pots actually never make it through the firing process…they break under the pressure of all that heat. This used to make me sad and angry at the same time…I’d poured so much effort into making a beautiful work of art, and I’d find just shards of hardened clay at the bottom of the kiln. But, when a pot DID make it through the fire, it was actually completely different. My mentors told me the firing actually changed the molecular structure of the clay…my work of art was actually a completely new thing because of the trial by fire…and the best part was, I could actually use it. I could safely display it, glaze it, and fill it up! It was a beautiful instrument to use as I liked. Some pots are fired twice or more…this makes them even harder and stronger. Sometimes A potter will apply a muddy looking glaze that can only be transformed into it’s desired color by the transformative power of that second firing. People are like this too you know. You and I know a lot of “green” Christians. People that are beautiful and full of potential, God has already started “shaping” them. But, they haven’t faced the fire yet. They break easily, the “dirt’ of their old lives still comes off on others, and they are incapable of holding all of God’s blessings He’d like to fill them up with. They won’t be truly strong and useful until God “fires” them in his kiln. Some of these people won’t make it through these trials in their lives. Their failure to cleave to Him evidenced by the scattered shards of their lives. But others will make it through the fire…stronger and a true reflection of the hand of their Maker. Still others will face the fire of life’s trials multiple times…God’s attempt to make something truly beautiful and incredibly strong.