Lloyd Wilson - Edgewood, NM - 1977

There are three parts to convention. Before the actual meeting, this is the first part. Ezra 8:21 in his day he said to place a fast and afflict ourselves and seek a right way for us and for our little ones and all our substance. How much has that actually been done, afflict ourselves and just facing facts? Do some heart searching. A preparation before the meeting. Second, is a time of renewing our strength and purpose and desire; getting a vision clear and fresh. Getting aims set right. A lot taking place during convention. Third, at the close of convention we would say, "We sure had a good convention." We heard a lot of good preaching but don't know whether we had a good convention or not. Maybe next year we would know, depending upon the results of what follows after the meeting--that is the part that determines whether or not we have a good convention. Remember this:  A farmer went out and sowed corn seed and said, "I sure have a good crop of corn." You may say, "I don't see anything," but maybe after a few months from now we can see if it is a good crop or not. Maybe this is the same about convention.

Jeremiah 18 tells about the potter and the clay. There are seven different parts or stages from the beginning of the work of clay until the time for the glorified vessel. Seven different stages the clay passes through from when it is taken out of the hill till it becomes a sanctified, glorified vessel. Where we stand and where we are in regards with this work of recreation, to make a vessel unto honor, sanctified and meet for the Master's use. If we can learn where we are in this process, then it might put us in a condition to cooperate with God in regards with this working to accept His purpose. It is in the place where we can cooperate and accept and feel all right with the conditions to understand what stage we are in.

First: Some workman goes into distant places to dig with pick and shovel and uncover lots of clay until they find a certain clay they need. The first stage is separation. Does that remind you of when God's workmen came into your community and with the tools of the gospel and digged where you lived and separated you? How did you like it? Maybe you didn't like it. Maybe you said, "You don't love me." Is that what the clay said, "You sure don't love me? I was here and had peace and now you've disturbed my peace." Some say, "We have had peace but not the kind God gives, the peace of a glorified peace." They had the peace of darkness. We can misunderstand the love of God always doing the nice things. But it means more than that. The glorified vessel could say, "They loved me and took an interest in me and took me out of that hill." Don't misunderstand the love of God and His servants and maybe digging, exposing some things and disturbing your peace. Don't misunderstand, but try to accept the purpose in it. The first stage is separation and deliverance because they would take clay out and remove it away and never return it again to that cold dark hill. Separation - from the first, God has taught us separation. God believes in a separated people. He divided light from darkness. A line of separation between the children of light and children of darkness, a definite line. Where there is no separation there is no deliverance. Where there is deliverance there is separation. 2 Corinthians 6:16-18, "What fellowship hath light with darkness--be ye separate saith the Lord and I will receive you and be a Father unto you and ye shall be My sons and daughters."  Who has a right to claim God as our Father? Only one class has a scrap of right to call Him our Father--a separated people. Exodus 32, "When the children of Israel made a molten calf, God sent Moses down and said, 'Thy people whom thou hast brought out of Egypt have corrupted themselves. Your converts, your people corrupted themselves.'" God said this to Moses. Moses prayed, "Lord consider these are 'Thy' people, so shall we be separated from all the people of the world."  When they were not showing marks of separation from the world He did not claim them. But when they did, He claimed them as a separated people. Separation is an invisible wall made by the spirit of God. Good to maintain a good strong separation. It is necessary. That is the first stage, and people who don't yet know what that separation is, they are still in the cold dark hill.

Second stage is when they took clay out, never to return to the cold dark hill again. It came out in lumps and came in different shapes and sizes, and were put under the grinder and pressure. Seven different kinds of earth that had to be blended together to make a vessel. Some of it white, some black, some brown and shades of colors. One lump could not say that I am better than you because I am white or I am as good as you because I am brown. Individuals who talk like that have not gone through the pressure and the grinder. All broken down to the same level and all independence is destroyed and taken out. No one can say I am better or just as good as you but on the same level as you. Hymn 382:  "A broken and a contrite heart our God will not despise. A contrite spirit is the price to keep His storehouse open." Maybe we have been willing for the breaking down and crushing and break down our humanness, stubbornness, pride, until no more resistance is left. Isaiah 29:23 tells that the word of God is like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces and it is able to crush it until it is fine as dust and no resistance left. That's the reason the work of God progresses so slowly. Because the clay has not been willing for contriteness, and all resistance against the word of God taken out. As long as there is a feeling of self-sufficiency or independence, people have not yet been broken and it has not become a reality in their life.

Isaiah 66:2, "The Lord said, 'To this man will I look even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit and trembleth at my word.'"  This is an absolute must. After it has gone through the pressure, it is brought into a mixer with 60% water and 40% clay, and there it is mixed and mixed. Every part in the mixture becomes a part of the whole. The human will and pride and stubbornness broken down and now in the mixture and fellowship where there is the mingling with one another, and cannot say, "I'm better than you, but we are on the same level in the fellowship."  If you don't feel this way, then you have not come into this fellowship. After the time of mixture then it is taken to the sifter. It may not seem necessary and they could make pottery, but we are interested in quality pottery. The box was sifting and when stopped, there were little pieces of straw, root that went under pressure, and this was removed. The Lord is interested in quality. Make a vessel unto honor and meet for His Master's use. God has a sifter and so does the devil. Luke 22:31, "Jesus said to Peter, 'The devil wants to sift you as wheat.'"  The devil desires to have every one of us. The Lord has a sifter and wants to sift out root and chaff, anything that would destroy the vessel. Roots of bitterness, pride, evil things, unforgiveness will mar the vessel, and we need to be willing for the sifting process. We need to have the real shaking up. Ever feel like you're being really shook up? You are going through the shaking experiences to remove the chaff and evil roots, and so would be a quality vessel.

After the sifting there was 60% water and 40% clay and the water was squeezed out by pressure and squeezing till most of the water was squeezed out. Do you want to be under pressure? When the children of Israel were pursued by the Egyptians behind, and the Red Sea ahead, they were under pressure. What did they do? They cried unto the Lord, and God came and opened up the Red Sea. Sometimes we get under pressure and some don't stand up very well. But that's one of the stages and we need to cry unto the Lord and He hears and does something about it. When this was over, they took the clay and rolled it flat like a wheel and all of it stuck together. The experiences is the pressure that makes them stick together, because of the pressure they go through. The love of God holds them together, yet holds them a distance apart. Sometimes some get too thick. But the love of God holds them together and though they can be held apart, they need to have this pressure and these experiences so that they can cry unto the Lord and make them stick together.

Next thing is the potter's wheel. Two ways:  some work is done on the wheel and some on the mold. Clay stuck to the hand supporting the clay. Next it went into the green room and set quietly and set until it had taken on a degree of firmness. After a mission ends, God's servants stay around and people need them to mold them, and the servants stay with them until they take on enough firmness to stand upright themselves. The clay must be soft and pliable, and if ever anything but soft and pliable, it would not be a glorified vessel meet for His use. There is another time clay needs to take on a degree of firmness to take shape. The Lord wants people to stand upright in Him. Think of some strong looking supports holding up a building. We don't see the hands that put them there and don't see them around, but see pillars standing, which hold up things. Jesus has a standard. He raised up a standard to glorify the Heavenly Father. He is not here holding it up but expects us to hold it up where He has raised it up. Some try to tear or pull it down, the standard Jesus raised up. God has raised up a standard to glorify His name. If we are holding up the standard of Jesus, we are doing a very necessary work. Vessels were to take on a degree of firmness to hold the shape the potter planned. Sometimes it wouldn't take on firmness, but twist and lean, and that vessel is marred, it leans toward the world, a marred vessel. You don't have to go in for the world or go after it with all your might, just lean and your vessel would be marred. But if you are leaning, it is possible for a vessel to be molded again. Some get messed up in the world and worldliness and after a while there, they come and start taking part where they left off. You think this is right? This vessel has to start all over, new again to be a useful vessel. Let roots of unforgiveness, worldliness, bitterness--this has marred the vessel and destroyed the quality of it. The potter took the clay back and put it in the very center of the wheel. Some are satisfied to be on the wheel all right but not in the center of the wheel. Some feel satisfied to be counted in, but not in the center of the wheel, but sitting on the outer edge of wheel. Jesus is highly qualified and wholly capable if He can get the clay centered. Every time it comes around to give it a little pat and get it back on the wheel. Some people think when they are in the meeting they get a little slap. If this is so, you are not in the exact center of the wheel. He puts one hand on the inside and one on the outside, and under the gentle pressure of the potter's hands. Some say, "The outside does not matter, what I am outwardly does not matter, just what I am inwardly is the thing that matters."  They have not told you the whole truth. The potter's hand on the inside and the outside, and keep up with the shaping so the inside is shaped, as well as the outside. This is the truth. If people don't shape up on the outside, it is because they are not shaping up to the hand of the potter. Both go together and both make and shape up together when the skillful potter, with one hand on the outside and the other on the inside--both go together.

After the vessel comes off the wheel, it was put in the green room and takes on a degree of firmness. We need to be firm. If we are not firm enough the vessel will be marred. In Matthew 25, the wise virgins took on a firmness to say, "No" to their friends who asked of their oil. We need to start to say, "No" to yourselves and "No" to our enemies.  It may be necessary to say, "No" to our friends and acquire enough firmness to say, "No" when it is necessary to say, "No."  After the green room, then it was taken out to the furnace. It takes 2½ days to travel that short distance through the furnace. It moved very, very slowly and was 2700 degrees temperature in that furnace and gradually going through until it came out on the other end. Some cracked and chipped under the furnace. They were not made again into another vessel. They were permanently discarded vessels that had failed to stand the fiery trials. It is a gradual trial. It begins with reproach and misunderstanding. It is the beginning of being cracked and chipped. Don't shrink from the fiery trial. This will perfect you or destroy you. Those who would stand the fiery trial, then a glaze was put on them and then a beautiful design in gold, or flowers, and then the last thing that was put on is the name of the potter. He wants to know if they would stand the fiery trial before he puts his name on it. After the fiery trial, the potter will put his name on it. If we are willing for whatever the tests, and stand upright, and hold together, then we become a glorified vessel. 1 Peter 4:12, "Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you."  If we understand what stage we are in, it would help us to cooperate with the Lord and better fit in to that experience. After beautified and glorified, it was put in the show-window to advertise the goods by the potter and the pottery shop. God wants to put us in the show-window that we might show forth the praises of Him, to glorify Him. The show-window does not show off the price but the prize. We want to feel the merchandise when we go to purchase it, and see the color and size, and like it, and when we find out the cost, we don't want it and shop around a little more. Some may want something for half the price, but not half as good. Somebody looking at your show-window and they would be willing to pay the price. You are on the way to glorify the potter if you are just willing to accept and understand the reason for this and how it is going to work out His purpose and help us to cooperate with God and eventually emerging a glorified vessel, sanctified and meet for the Master's use.

(Notes not complete)