Reading through Proverbs (find Proverbs 19-20 here), I am reminded over and over that I am a jar of clay. As King Solomon applies the 10 Commandments to our lives, I join him in sorrow asking: “Who can say, ‘I have kept my heart pure; I am clean and without sin’?”
The darkness of this confession is amplified today because it is Brad’s birthday. Brad was my best friend in high school. He battled depression for years and ultimately took his own life.
Why bring the rest of you down today with that fact? Because there are some who are reading this who have walked in Brad’s shoes, feeling the pain is too great to bear. Like Paul in our New Testament lesson (find 2 Corinthians 4:7-5:10 here), you see yourself as a "worthless" jar of clay, hard-pressed, perplexed, struck down. You are not alone!
What gave Paul hope in those dark days? "We know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus."
God’s desire is not that we remain in those dark places of sorrow and despair, but that we claim the truth of Jesus' resurrection: “The blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:7,8). Cleansed! Forgiven!
The fact that you may be struggling makes you one of those “jars of clay” (2 Corinthians 4:7). The gospel ministry is powerful, not because we can claim perfection and power for ourselves, but because people can see "the all-surpassing power is from God and not from us."
In our struggles, what seems to us to be going on forever is only a short time in God’s sight, because he sees the joy he has prepared for us for eternity. On dark days, I cling to this truth: “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:17-18).
Closing Prayer: Lord, I am a jar of clay. Protect me from the darkness. Cleanse me from my sin. Use me to proclaim your saving power. Amen.
Worship with Us
Here are the links if you have not yet had a chance to worship with us this weekend. You can still worship with us in person on Wednesday at 7 pm.
The Traditional Service worship folder with St. Paul's news is attached.
Want a Bible Study?
Join Pastor Nate in Following the Promise on Monday evenings online. Register with Pastor Nate at .
Pastor Pete will be hosting a Zoom study on Thursday, July 30 at 7 pm using the GroupWork study of Revelation 7 that is attached. Email to register .
Thirteen 22 Society
“A good person leaves an inheritance for their children’s children” (Proverbs 13:22). We invite you to join a free 45 minute Zoom meeting on Thursday, July 30 at 7 pm to learn how SFC Estate Coaching can help you fulfill your desire to develop an estate plan. Here is the zoom link.
St. Paul’s has contracted with SFC Estate Coaching to provide personal estate coaching free to our members of our St. Paul’s family. Learn more about the process in this 3 minute video You can contact Tom Slye of Estate Coaching ( ) to reserve a time.
Finally, remember that Sunday, August 2, we will have an outdoor worship service at 10:30 am.