Illustration results for Stains
"YOU'RE NOT FROM AROUND HERE."
There is not much you can do about it. Once you have been around it everybody else knows. I’m talking about the red dirt of western Oklahoma. It’s caused by the iron in the soil that, after being oxidized, turns to rust.
It seems that nothing can erase or clean the stain from that red dirt on your shoes once you have walked there. If you have new shoes – everyone knows -- because they are not red ... yet. If you are from the city (OKC or Tulsa, for example) and you make your way into the western ranchlands everyone can tell "you’re not from these parts" simply by looking at the color of your shoes.
The inverse is also true; if you go to the city and are wearing shoes that you have previously worn out "out there" everyone knows where you are from.
It’s not a judgmental thing. The cities in Oklahoma are intimately connected to the ranches and open lands; no one thinks they are better or inferior; it is simply a recognizable and distinct line of demarcation. There is simply no getting around it.
Godly love (Agapé) is like that too. It is such a contrast from the world’s love that it becomes immediately recognizable and "different." The world looks at the sacrificial, serving, grace-filled love of God and says "You’re not from around these parts." It cannot be duplicated, at least not for long, it can be "faked" for a little while (vv. 1-3) but even the masquerade is evidence that it isn't Godly love.
When it has been poured into your hearts it cannot be hidden; that’s the nature of God’s love. It's just there and influences the lives of those it touches.
Sermon Central Staff
"In an article in Campus Life a young nurse writes of her pilgrimage in learning to see in a patient the image of God beneath a very 'distressing disguise.'
"Eileen was one of her first patients, a person who was totally helpless. 'A cerebral aneurysm (broken blood vessels in the brain) had left her with no conscious control over her body,' the nurse writes. As near as the doctors could tell Eileen was totally unconscious, unable to feel pain and unaware of anything going on around her. It was the job of the hospital staff to turn her every hour to prevent bedsores and to feed her twice a day 'what looked like a thin mush through a stomach tube.' Caring for her was a thankless task. 'When it's this bad,' an older student nurse told her, 'you have to detach yourself emotionally from the whole situation...' As a result, more and more she came to be treated as a thing, a vegetable...
"But the young student nurse decided that she could not treat this person like the others had treated her. She talked to Eileen, sang to her, encouraged her, and even brought her little gifts. One day when things were especially difficult and it would have been easy for the young nurse to take out her frustrations on the patient, she was especially kind. It was Thanksgiving Day and the nurse said to the patient, 'I was in a cruddy mood this morning, Eileen, because it was supposed to be my day off. But now that I'm here, I'm glad. I wouldn't have wanted to miss seeing you on Thanksgiving. Do you know this is Thanksgiving?'
"Just then the telephone rang, and as the nurse turned to answer it, she looked quickly back at Eileen. 'Suddenly,' she writes, Eileen was 'looking at me... crying. Big damp circles stained her pillow, and she was shaking all over.
"That was the only human emotion that Eileen ever showed any of them, but it was enough to change the whole attitude of the hospital staff toward her. Not long afterward, Eileen died. The young nurse closes her story, saying, 'I keep thinking about her... It occurred to me that I owe her an awful lot. Except for Eileen, I might never have known what it's like to give my self to someone who can't give back'" (Rebecca Manley Pippert, Stories from the Heart (Multnomah Books: Sisters, Oregon, 1996), 31-32).
What have you been confronted with that seems impossible to overcome? How are you allowing God to use you to meet the needs of others through the divine resources he has?
(From a sermon by Eric Lenhart, Are We Manufacturers or Distributors? 8/12/2010)
John Newton: Infidel Restored
John Newton continued his ministry into his old age, turning a deaf ear to friends who urged him to accept retirement, as by the time he reached 80 he was almost blind and partially deaf. "I cannot stop" he replied. "What! Shall the old African blasphemer stop while he can speak?"
But in December 1806, the end was coming. His diary recorded his prayer asking God to help him meet his end with a faithful spirit: "Oh for grace to meet the approach of death with a humble, thankful, resigned spirit becoming my profession. That I may not stain my character by impatience, jealousy or any hateful temper but may be prepared and permitted to depart in peace and hope and be enabled, if I can speak, to bear my testimony to thy faithfulness and goodness with my last breath. Amen." That’s the prayer that I would make my own and perhaps you as well.
Newton’s friend wrote: "I saw Mr Newton near the closing scene. He was hardly able to talk; and all I find I noted down upon my leaving him was thus: ’My memory is nearly gone but I remember two things: That I am a great sinner and that Christ is a great Saviour.’"
Newton would not have been pleased by the eulogistic reference in The Times report of his death to his "unblemished life," for he never forgot that he owed his redemption from a life of sin to a life in Christ entirely to divine mercy. He made this clear in the epitaph he wrote for himself. It was to be the inscription on his tomb at Olney and on a commemorative tablet to him at St. Mary Woolnoth:
"Once an Infidel and Libertine,
A Servant of Slaves in Africa,
Was, by the rich mercy of our Lord and Saviour JESUS CHRIST,
Preserved, restored and pardoned,
And appointed to preach the faith
He had long laboured to destroy."
Does anyone know what that piece in the middle of the washer is called? The part in the middle that moves back and forth and shakes the clothes back and forth? What is that called? I’m going to call it an Agitator…. What is the purpose of the Agitator?
As far as I can tell, it sole purpose is to cause havoc for the dirty clothes… it’s there to shake and separate the clothes from all the dirt and grime and money that may be in or on the clothes, right?
As soon as we are saved, the Holy Spirit moves into our hearts, but He doesn’t have our heart to himself… there’s still a lot of things in there… the main one being our own selfish desires…even though we have been saved from our past sins, there still remains some things of the world that we are still fond of… these things of the world have a way of attaching themselves to us like dirt on clothes… they can stain us, they seemingly won’t come out.
The Holy Spirit, being Holy….His nature doesn’t allow Him to live in a dirty environment, so He begins to gently and lovingly, He begins to agitate, to shake… to convict us of the things that need to leave our heart…. You see God wants us to be filled with His Spirit… and only when we come to a place in our lives where we are willing to remove all the dirt…can we truly be Filled with His Spirit. Until then, many times our spiritual life fills like we are in ...
During the late 1800’s an English evangelist named Henry Moorhouse made
several trips to preach in America. On one of those occassions he was
taking a walk through a poor section of town when he noticed a small boy
coming out of a store with a pitcher of milk in his hands. Just then,
he slipped and fell breaking the pitcher and spilling the milk all over
the sidewalk. Moorhouse rushed to the childs side and found him unhurt
but terrified. "Mu mama’ll whip me," he kept crying. So Moorhouse
picked up the boy and carried him into the nearby store where the
preacher purchased a new pitcher. Then he returned to the daity, hd the
pitcher washed and filled with milk. With that done, he carred the boy
and the pitcher home.
Putting the youngster down on his front porch, Moorhouse handed him the
pitcher and asked, "Will your mama whip you now?"
A wide smile spread across the boys tear stained face, "no sir, cause
this is a lot better pitcher than we had before."
In grace God saves us. He doesn’t patch up our old lifes that have been
shattered by sin and satan into a million pieces. That would not do.
His reputation is at stake. We are His workmanship!
I once heard about a man who worked with children who lived in sewers - somewhere in South America I think. He used to go into the sewers himself to try and help the children who were living there. Imagine you had been one of those children - virtually blind through living in the darkness underground. Filthy through living in the waste from thousands of homes. Maybe this man offers you a chance to leave. You jump at the opportunity, but has he leads you out, as your eyes become accustomed to the light at the end of the tunnel, you start to see the state that you are in. You start to see the excrement on your clothes and in your hair. And no matter how hard you try to brush it off, the stains will not go away. And of course, the nearer you get to the light coming in from the entrance of the tunnel, the dirtier you appear. Naturally you would shy away from ever coming out of the sewer until you’re fit to be presented to the outside world. The problem of course, is that you cannot be made clean until you come out of the filth of the sewer, and by coming out it’s inevitable that you will be made aware of your own filth.
If we are to see God’s holiness, it is certain that we will recoil at our own sinfulness.
Illus.: “Empty Offering Plate”
An artist who wished to paint a picture of a “dead church” visited a sanctuary with beautiful stained-glass windows and a magnificent pipe organ. Every pew was filled, but the offering plate, lying in the vestibule, was marked “FOR MISSIONS” and was conspicuously empty. It was then that the artist knew he had his subject.
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 ...
"During World War II, England needed to increase its production of coal. Winston Churchill called together labor leaders to enlist their support. At the end of his presentation he asked them to picture in their minds a parade which he knew would be held in Piccadilly Circus after the war. First, he said, would come the sailors who had kept the vital sea lanes open. Then would come the soldiers who had come home from Dunkirk and then gone on to defeat Rommel in Africa. Then would come the pilots who had driven the Luftwaffe from the sky.
"Last of all, he said, would come a long line of sweat-stained, soot-streaked men in miner’s caps. Someone would cry from the crowd, "And where were you during the critical days of our struggle?” And from ten thousand throats would come the answer, "We were deep in the earth with our faces to the coal."" (Don McCullough in Waking from the American Dream.)
Dr. W.A. Criswell tells of a small New Testament that was taken from the breast-pocket of a fallen American soldier in Vietnam, a young boy from Georgia. When Mr. Pat Zondervan held up that New Testament before the congregation of the First Baptist Church of Dallas, Dr. Criswell could see the light of a bullet hole through its middle. Later, when Dr. Criswell held it in his hands, he saw that the pages were stained with the blood of that fallen soldier. Flipping through it, he found an inscription in the back that had survived intact. It read, "On this date, I Wilton Thomas take Jesus Christ as my personal Savior." Then it was signed and dated by the hand of that young man. That is what the Bible is for. It is not to amaze us with its scientific accuracy or impress us with its historical integrity, but to lead us to a personal knowledge of God through Jesus Christ as