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Illustration results for unworthy

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JOY AND PRAYER IN SUFFERING

The fact that God chooses to love the unworthy should move us to loud praise frequently.

Margaret Sangster Phippen wrote that in the mid-1950’s her father, British minister W.E. Sangster, began to notice some uneasiness in his throat and a dragging in his leg. When he went to the doctor, he found that he had an incurable disease that cased progressive muscular atrophy. His muscles would gradually waste away, his voice would fail, and his throat would soon become unable to swallow.

Sangster threw himself into his work in the British home missions, figuring he could still write and he would have even more time for prayer. "Let me stay in the struggle Lord," he pleaded. "I don’t mind if I can no longer be a general, but give me just a regiment to lead." He wrote articles and books, and helped organize prayer cells throughout England. "I’m only in the kindergarten of suffering," he told people who pitied him. Gradually Sangsters’s legs became useless. His voice went completely. But he could still hold a pen, shakily.

On Easter morning, just a few weeks before he died, he wrote a letter to his daughter. In it, he said, "It is terrible to wake up on Easter morning and have no voice to shout, "He is risen!" -- but it would be still more terrible to have a voice and not want to shout."

(From a sermon by David Scudder, The Four Hallelujah’s, 10/25/2009)

 
Contributed By:
Jeff Strite
 
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Joe Bailey in his book "A View From a Hearse" tells of the day his boy died of cancer. He had returned to the clinic to thank them for their kindness and care of his son. As he spoke to the receptionist, she motioned toward a woman whose son was playing quietly with toys in the waiting area. "He has the same cancer your son had" she said. "Why don’t you go over and see if you can talk with her."
Bailey went reluctantly over to sit next to her and they whispered just out of hearing of the boy. "It must be hard bringing him in for the treatments," he said, more a statement than a question.
"Hard," she turned with anguish in her eyes. "I die everytime I have to bring him in. What makes it worse is that I know it’s not going to stop the cancer and that he’s going to die."
Uncomfortable, Bailey ventured: "Still it is some comfort to know that when that happens there is no more pain and suffering, and that they go to a better place."
"No," hardness in her voice. "When he dies I’m just going to bury him in the cemetery and I’ll never see him again."
Bailey wanted to leave. It was uncomfortable to be reminded of his loss and even more uncomfortable to speak with this woman who obviously had not hope in any way. Then he spoke quietly, "I buried my boy just yesterday, and I’ve only come today to thank the doctors and nurses for their kindness. I know what you’re feeling but I also know that there is a better life for my son now."
"How could you believe such a thing," she challenged.
And then Joe Bailey told her about Jesus.

The hymn writer tells us "I know not why God’s wondrous grace to me he has made known. Nor why, unworthy, Christ in love, redeemed me for His own....
But I know whom I have believed...."

 
Contributed By:
Denn Guptill
 
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The definition of prayer found in the Devils Dictionary, written by Ambrose Bierce around the turn of the century-- "To ask the laws of the universe to be annulled on behalf of a single petitioner confessedly unworthy."

 
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Randy Aly
 
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NO JACKET REQUIRED

I shook my head in disbelief. This couldn’t be the right place. After all, I couldn’t possibly be welcome here. I had been given an invitation several times, by several different people, and had finally decided to see what this place was all about. But, this just couldn’t be the right place. Quickly, I glanced down at the invitation that I clutched in my hand. I scanned past the words, "Come as you are. No jacket required." and found the location. Yes, I was at the right place. I peered through the window again and saw a room of people whose faces seemed to glow with joy. All were neatly dressed, adorned in fine garments and appeared strangely clean as they dined at this exquisite restaurant.
Ashamed, I looked down at my own tattered and torn clothing, covered in stains. I was dirty, in fact, filthy. A foul smell seemed to consume me and I couldn’t shake the grime that hung to my body. As I turned around to leave, the words from the invitation seemed to leap out at me..."Come as you are. No jacket required." I decided to give it a shot. Mustering up every bit of courage I could find, I opened the door to this restaurant and walked up to a man standing behind a podium. "Your name, sir?" he asked me with a smile. "Jimmy D. Brown," I mumbled without looking up. I thrust my hands deep into my pockets, hoping to conceal their stains. He didn’t seem to notice the filth that I was covered in and he continued, "Very good, sir. A table is reserved in your name. Would you like to be seated?" I couldn’t believe what I heard! A grin broke out on my face and I said, "Yes, of course!"
He lead me to a table and, sure enough, there was a place card with my name written on it in a deep, dark red. As I browsed over a menu, I saw many delightful items listed. There were things like, "peace," "joy," "blessings," "confidence," "assurance,"hope," "love," "faith," and "mercy." I realized that this was no
ordinary restaurant! I flipped the menu back to the front in order to see where I was ... "God’s Grace," was the name of this place!
The man returned and said, "I recommend the ’Special of the Day’. With it, you are entitled to heaping portions of everything on this menu." You’ve got to be kidding! I thought to myself. You mean, I can have ALL of this! "What is the ’Special of the Day’ I asked with excitement ringing in my voice. "Salvation," was his reply.
"I’ll take it," I practically cried out. A sick, painful ache jerked through my stomach and tears filled my eyes. Between my sobs I said "Mister, look at me. I’m dirty and nasty. I’m unclean and unworthy of such things. I’d love to have all of this, but, but, I just can’t afford it. Undaunted, the man smiled again. "Sir, your check has already been taken care of by that Gentleman over there," he said point to the front of the room. "His Name is Jesus." Turning, I saw a man whose very presence seemed to light the room. He was almost too much to look at. I found myself walking towards Him and in a shaking voice I whispered, "Sir, I’ll wash the dishes or sweep the floors or take out the trash. I’ll do anything I can do to repay you for all of this." He opened His arms and said with a smile, "Son, all of this is yours if you just come unto me. Ask me to clean you up and I will. Ask me to take away the stains and it is done. Ask me to allow you to feast at my table and you will eat.
Remember, the table is reserved in your name. All you must do is accept this gift that I offer you." Astonished, I fell at his feet and said, "Please, Jesus. Please clean up my life. Please change me and sit me at your table and give me this new life." Immediately, I heard the words, "It is finished." I looked down and white robes adorned my squeaky clean body. Something strange and wonderful had happened. I felt new, like a weight had been lifted and I found myself seated at His table. "The ’Special of the Day’ has been served," the Lord said to me. "Salvation is yours." We sat and talked for a great while and I so enjoyed the time that I spent with Him. He told ...

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Contributed By:
Mark Brunner
 
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“Bring Back the Rotary Phone?” Acts 13:42-52 Key verse(s): 50:“But the Jews incited the God-fearing women of high standing and the leading men of the city. They stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them from their region.”

There are three things you can do in life when confronted by change. You can examine the change, judge its merits and incorporate it into your life. You can, upon that same examination, deem it unworthy or foolhardy and courageously push it out of your way. And, finally, motivated by fear, you can pull over to the side of the road and let it rush past you. The first and second alternatives feed on courage. The latter feeds on your fears.

Anyone who knows me well knows that I have a “thing” about telephones. I grew up in a day and age when phones were something that were either mounted solidly on the kitchen wall or sat boldly on your father’s desk. In either case, they had rotary dials and not buttons. Telephones were heavy, so if you dropped them on your foot you knew it. They had cords that connected the receiver to the base. They were not portable. If you wanted to make a phone call you had to go to one of these two places. You asked to use the phone and, permission given, you placed the call after carefully dialing the number. That is, of course, if the neighbor was not on the line before you. If the phone rang you knew exactly where it was ringing from since it had to be either on the kitchen wall or on Dad’s desk. You did not need to search for the source of the ringing since there was no need to worry about a misplaced receiver. So connected, they were always there, ready to be picked up and answered.

Since those wonderful days of Bell Telephone so many years ago, many things have changed. Bell is no longer Bell. Phones are light-weight; that wonderful dial has been replaced with buttons, and receivers are no longer connected to the base unit. These modern times find us wandering around the entire inside of our homes as well as the outside with a wireless receiver. There is no longer the need to worry about “party” lines or if you knew the exchange number before your called. Everything is programmed in and, with only the touch of a finger to a button, your call is sent instantly around the world. Add cell phones and internet calling to the mix, and you’ve got a picture of change probably unequalled in our society by any other technology over the last forty years. But, as mentioned, I have a “thing” about phones. When they ring I can’t find the receiver. When I want to make a call my finger tips are too large and I hit the wrong buttons. And, worst of all, they are no longer devices for which you ask permission to use. Now they are deemed as much a part of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” as breathing and going to the bathroom. I lament the passage of time and the changes in phone technology to that extant. I often find myself yearning for the days when phones were heavy, a privilege to use, stayed in one place and you seldom misdialed. Yet, as my children have informed me so often, those days are gone and I just need to adapt to the change. All my complaining won’t bring back the rotary phone. Besides, despite the inconvenience of the convenience, modern communication has been enhanced by these sometimes inconvenient enhancements.

When changes come, especially those which demonstrate “inconvenience” even hardship, it is hard to embrace them. We want to shut our minds to them because our security is threatened. The “pattern” and habit of our lives is a comfortable thing and when this is threatened, we often react blindly and without thought. From time to time I have threatened to install an old rotary phone in our house. But, after some thought, I knew this would be foolish. The day of the rotary phone is past and I need to move on. I recall reading about a group of Amish folk who pulled up stakes and moved their entire community to Peru. When asked why they were taking such a drastic measure, they responded that “We got tired of having to move our wagons to the side of the road to let the cars go by.” When presented with change, they pulled over refusing to take a stand one way or the other. Sometimes that’s the easiest way to go because changes that confront the very purpose of who we are and what we do are the most difficult ones to handle. We simply don’t want to be wrong, so we pull over to the side of the road and let the challenge pass. This is what the Jews in Antioch were confronted with. Paul and Barnabas challenged their beliefs and they, finding great comfort in those beliefs, refused to accept the need to change to something with more promise and greater hope. They pulled their wagons over and let the teachings of Paul and Barnabas pass by hoping that the whole thing would simply go away. When it comes to changing our lives for the better and removing those bad habits that are comfortable, it is never wise to pull our wagons over to the side of the road.

 
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An idea that is not dangerous is unworthy of being called an idea at all.

 
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Aubrey Vaughan
 
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John Stott writes,

"Not all envy is tainted with selfishness, because it is not always either a grudging discontent or a sinful covetousness. At base, envy is the desire to have for oneself something possessed by another. And whether envy is good or evil depends on the nature of the something desired and on whether one has the right to its possession.

If that something we desire is in itself evil, or if it belongs to somebody else and we have no right to it, then the envy is sinful. But if the something desired is in itself good, a blessing from God, which He means to have all people enjoy, then to 'covet' it and envy those who have it is not at all unworthy."

(Source: John Stott's Commentary on Romans, p. 297.)

 
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ASTOUNDING ANSWER

When you think of what prayer really is it’s astounding that we’d get an answer at all. Ambrose Bierce once said that to pray was …

"To ask that the laws of the universe be annulled in behalf of a single petitioner confessedly unwor...

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Contributed By:
Gregg Bitter
 
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WORTHLESS SLAVES

Rewards from God are never merited as something God owes us but come as a free gift from his grace. Jesus brought this home at another time with a short story. Suppose you had a slave plowing the fields. Now when that slave came in, would you say, "Sit down and I’ll get you some food"? Rather wouldn’t a slave be told, "You, wait on me first and then see to your own food"? Would such a master thank a slave for doing only what he’s told? Then Jesus concluded, "So also you, when you have done all that was commanded of you, say, ’We are worthless slaves. We have done only what we ought to have done’" (Luke 17:10).

But what a gracious God we have! Even though we are unworthy slaves, he rewards us out of the bounty of his grace.

 
Contributed By:
Bobby Scobey
 
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YOU PUT THE DEVIL OUT, BUT DID YOU LET HIM LEAVE HIS BAGS?

You got out of a bad relationship because it was bad, but you are still resentful and angry.
(You let the devil leave his bags.)

You got out of financial debt, but you still can’t control the desire to spend on frivolous things.
(You let the devil leave his bags.)

You got out of a bad habit or addiction, but you still long to try it just one more time.
(You let the devil leave his bags.)

You said, I forgive you, but you can’t seem to forget and have peace with that person.
(You let the devil leave his bags.)

You told your unequally yoked mate that it was over, but you still continue to call.
(You let the devil leave his bags.)

You got out of that horribly oppressive job, but you are still trying to sabotage the company after you’ve left.
(You let the devil leave his bags.)

You cut off the affair with that married man/woman, but you still lust after him/her.
(You let the devil leave his bags.)

You broke off your relationship with that hurtful, abusive person, but you are suspicious and distrusting of every new person you meet.
(You let the devil leave his bags.)

You decided to let go of the past hurts from growing up in an unstable environment, yet you believe you are unworthy of love from others and you refuse to get attached to anyone.
(You let the devil leave his bags.)

When you put the devil out, please make sure he takes his bags!

 
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