The Two Pots

cracked_pot

A water bearer in India had two large pots, each hung on each end of a pole which he carried across his neck. One of the pots had a crack in
it, and while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water at the end of the long walk from the stream to the master’s house,
the cracked pot arrived only half full.

For a full two years this went on daily, with the bearer delivering only one and a half pots full of water to his master’s house. Of course, the
perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments, perfect to the end for which it was made. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own
imperfection, and miserable that it was able to accomplish only half of what it had been made to do. After two years of what it perceived to be a
bitter failure, it spoke to the water bearer one day by the stream.

“I am ashamed of myself, and I want to apologize to you.”

“Why?” asked the bearer. “What are you ashamed of?”

“I have been able, for these past two years, to deliver only half my load because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your master’s house. Because of my flaws, you have to do all of this work, and you don’t get full value from your efforts,” the pot said.

The water bearer felt sorry for the old cracked pot, and in his compassion he said, “As we return to the master’s house, I want you to notice the beautiful flowers along the path.”

Indeed, as they went up the hill, the old cracked pot took notice of the sun warming the beautiful wild flowers on the side of the path, and this cheered it some. But at the end of the trail, it still felt bad because it had leaked out half its load, and so again it apologized to the bearer for its failure.

The bearer said to the pot, “Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of your path, but not on the other pot’s side?

That’s because I have always known about your flaw, and I took advantage of it. I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back from the stream, you’ve watered them.

For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate my master’s table. Without you being just the way you are, he would not have this beauty to grace his house.”

Each of us has our own unique flaws. We’re all cracked pots. But if we will allow it, the Lord will use our flaws to grace His Father’s table.

In God’s great economy, nothing goes to waste.

So as we seek ways to minister together, and as God calls you to the tasks He has appointed for you, don’t be afraid of your flaws.

Acknowledge them, and allow Him to take advantage of them, and you, too, can be the cause of beauty in His pathway.

Go out boldly, knowing that in our weakness we find His strength, and that “In Him every one of God’s promises is a Yes.”

God does not call the perfect, but perfects the called. There will never come a time in your life where you are perfect, where you have to live up to some standard. We just cannot do it. But, with the focus on the change that God did on the inside of us at salvation, we will end up living more holy, than we ever could focused on ourselves all the time. If you are trying to walk on eggshells before God, then you’re not trusting in His righteousness, but you’re own; and that is carnal and bondage.

In your spirit man, you are as holy as you are ever going to be. When we come before the Lord, we come to Him in His righteousness.

1 Jn 4:17 “Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as He is, so are we in this world.

Solitary Life

Hope all had a great Sunday!

Here’s a really deep thought for you. It’s the type of abstract thinking that stimulates the mind’s neurological receptors… thus forcing one to reflect upon the significance of their own daily role. Or not… you judge…..

‘He never owned a home. He never wrote a book. He never held an office. He never had a family. He never went to college. He never put His foot inside a big city. He never traveled two hundred miles from the place He was born. He never did one of the things that usually accompany greatness. He had no credentials but Himself…

While still a young man, the tide of popular opinion turned against Him. His friends ran away. One of them denied Him, and one betrayed Him. He was turned over to His enemies. He went through the mockery of a trial. He was nailed upon a cross between two thieves.

While He was dying His executioners gambled for the only piece of property He had on earth – His coat. When He was dead, He was laid in a borrowed grave through the pity of a friend.

Nineteen long centuries have come and gone, and today He is a centerpiece of the human race and leader of the column of progress of the heart.

I am far within the mark when I say that all the armies that ever marched, all the navies that were ever built; all the parliaments that ever sat and all the kings that ever reigned, put together, have not affected the life of man upon this earth as powerfully as has that One solitary Life.’

Adapted from a sermon by Dr James Allan Francis in “The Real Jesus and Other Sermons” © 1926 (pp 123-124)

solitary_life

A Carpenter’s Attitude

carpenter

An elderly carpenter was ready to retire. He told his employer/contractor of his plans to leave the house building business and live a more leisurely life with his wife enjoying his extended family. He would miss the paycheck, but he needed to retire. They could get by.

The contractor was sorry to see his good worker go and asked if he could build just one more house as a personal favor. The carpenter said yes, but in time it was easy to see that his heart was not in his work. He resorted to shoddy workmanship and used inferior materials. It was an unfortunate
way to end his career.

When the carpenter finished his work and the builder came to inspect the house, the contractor handed the front-door key to the carpenter. “This is your house,” he said, “my gift to you.”

What a shock! What a shame! If he had only known he was building his own house, he would have done it all so differently. Now he had to live in the home he had built none too well.

So it is with us. We build our lives in a distracted way, reacting rather than acting, willing to put up less than the best. At important points we do not give the job our best effort. Then with a shock we look at the situation we have created and find that we are now living in the house we have built. If we had realized, we would have done it differently.

Think of yourself as the carpenter. Think about your house. Each day you hammer a nail, place a board, or erect a wall. Build wisely. It is the only life you will ever build. Even if you live it for only one day more, that day deserves to be lived graciously and with dignity. The plaque on the wall says, “Life is a do-it-yourself project.”

Who could say it more clearly? Your life today is the result of your attitudes and choices in the past. Your life tomorrow will be the result of your attitudes and the choices you make today.

The Masks

It’s freaky Friday! What shall we post today? How about something with meaning, yet one you must find for yourself…? Have a great weekend to all who frequent this page. Much love to you in these times. “…ofthestory.”

the_masks

Don’t be fooled by the face I wear, for I wear a thousand masks, And none of them are me. Don’t be fooled, for goodness sake, don’t be fooled.

I give you the impression that I’m secure, that confidence is my name and coolness is my game, And that I need no one. But don’t believe me.

Beneath dwells the real me in confusion, in aloneness, in fear. That’s why I create a mask to hide behind, to shield me from the glance that knows, But such a glance is precisely my salvation.

That is, if it’s followed by acceptance, if it’s followed by love. It’s the only thing that can liberate me from my own self-built prison walls. I’m afraid that deep down I’m nothing and that I’m just no good, And that you will reject me.

And so begins the parade of masks. I idly chatter to you. I tell you everything that’s really nothing and Nothing of what’s everything, of what’s crying within me.

Please listen carefully and try to hear what I’m not saying. I’d really like to be genuine and spontaneous, and me. But you’ve got to help me. You’ve got to hold out your hand.

Each time you’re kind and gentle, and encouraging, Each time you try to understand because you really care, My heart begins to grow wings, feeble wings, but wings.

With your sensitivity and sympathy, and your power of understanding,
You alone can release me from my shallow world of uncertainty.

It will not be easy for you. The nearer you approach me, The blinder I may strike back.
But I’m told that Love is stronger than strong walls, And in this lies my only hope.

Please try to beat down these walls with firm hands,
But gentle hands, for a child is very sensitive.

Who am I, you wonder. I am every person you meet, and I am you, also.

What I’ve Learned From a Dog:

learned from a dog

1. Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joy ride.
2. Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure ecstasy.
3. When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.
4. When it’s in your best interest, always practice obedience.
5. Let others know when they’ve invaded your territory.
6. Take naps and always stretch before rising.
7. Run, romp, and play daily.
8. Eat with gusto and enthusiasm.
9. Be loyal.
10. Never pretend to be something you’re not.
11. If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.
12. When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by and nuzzle them gently.
13. Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.
14. Thrive on attention and let people touch you.
15. Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.
16. On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree.
17. When you are happy, dance around and wag your entire body.
18. No matter how often you are criticized, don’t buy into the guilt thing and pout. Run right back and make friends.

The Three Trees

All I can say is, “Read it all the way through; it’s good.” “…ofthestory.”

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Wanted to share this special story with you…. Like a lot of things in life, it’s much easier said than done but this is where faith and perseverance comes in.

Once there were three trees on a hill in a woods. They were discussing their hopes and dreams when the first tree said “Someday I hope to be a treasure chest. I could be filled with gold, silver and precious gems. I could be decorated with intricate carving and everyone would see the beauty.”

Then the second tree said “Someday I will be a mighty ship. I will take kings and queens across the waters and sail to the corners of the world. Everyone will feel safe in me because of the strength of my hull.”

Finally the third tree said. “I want to grow to be the tallest and straightest tree in the forest. People will see me on top of the hill and look up to my branches, and think of the heavens and God and how close to them I am reaching. I will be the greatest tree of all time and people will always remember me..”

After a few years of praying that their dreams would come true, a group of woodsmen came upon the trees. When one came to the first tree he said, “This looks like a strong tree, I think I should be able to sell the wood to a carpenter.” and he began cutting it down. The tree was happy, because he knew that the carpenter would make him into a treasure chest.

At the second tree a woodsman said, “This looks like a strong tree, I should be able to sell it to the shipyard.” The second tree was happy because he knew he was on his way to becoming a mighty ship.

When the woodsmen came upon the third tree, the tree was frightened because he knew that if they cut him down his dreams would not come true. One of the woodsman said, “I don’t need anything special from my tree so I’ll take this one” and he cut it down.

When the first tree arrived at the carpenters, he was made into a feed box for animals. He was then placed in a barn and filled with hay. This was not at all what he had prayed for. The second tree was cut and made into a small fishing boat. His dreams of being a mighty ship and carrying kings had come to an end. The third tree was cut into large pieces and left alone in the dark.

The years went by, and the trees forgot about their dreams. Then one day, a man and women came to the barn. She gave birth and they placed the baby in the hay in the feed box that was made from the first tree. The man wished that he could have made a crib for the baby, but this manger would have to do. The tree could feel the importance of this event and knew that it had held the greatest treasure of all time.

Years later, a group of men got in the fishing boat made from the second tree. One of them was tired and went to sleep. While they were out on the water, a great storm arose and the tree didn’t think it was strong enough to keep the men safe. The men woke the sleeping man, and he stood and said “peace” and the storm stopped. At this time, the tree knew that it had carried the king of kings in it’s boat.

Finally, someone came and got the third tree. It was carried through the streets as the people mocked the man who was carrying it. When they came to a stop, the man was nailed to the tree and raised in the air to die at the top of a hill. When Sunday came, the tree came to realize that it was strong enough to stand at the top of the hill and be as close to God as was possible, because Jesus had been crucified on it.

The moral of this story is that when things don’t seem to be going your way, always know that God has a plan for you. If you place your trust in Him, He will give you great gifts. Each of the trees got what they wanted, just not in the way they had imagined.

The Park Bench

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The park bench was deserted as I sat down to read beneath the long, straggly branches of an old willow tree. Disillusioned by life with good reason to frown, for the world was intent on dragging me down.

And if that weren’t enough to ruin my day, A young boy out of breath approached me, all tired from play.

He stood right before me with his head tilted down and said with great excitement, “Look what I found!”

In his hand was a flower, and what a pitiful sight, with it’s petals all worn, not enough rain, or to little light. Wanting him to take his dead flower and go off to play, I faked a small smile and then shifted away. But instead of retreating he sat next to my side and placed the flower to his nose and declared with overacted surprise, “It sure smells pretty and it’s beautiful, too. That’s why I picked it; here it’s for you.”

The weed before me was dying or dead. Not vibrant of colors, orange, yellow or red. But I knew I must take it, or he might never leave. So I reached for the flower, and replied, “Just what I need.” But instead of him placing the flower in my hand, he held it mid-air without reason or plan. It was then that I noticed for the very first time that weed-toting boy could not see: he was blind.

I heard my voice quiver, tears shone like the sun as I thanked him for picking the very best one. You’re welcome, he smiled, and then ran off to play, unaware of the impact he’d had on my day. I sat there and wondered how he managed to see a self-pitying woman beneath an old willow tree. How did he know of my self-indulged plight?

Perhaps from his heart, he’d been blessed with true sight. Through the eyes of a blind child, at last I could see the problem was not with the world; the problem was me. And for all of those times I myself had been blind, I vowed to see the beauty in life, and appreciate every second that’s mine. And then I held that wilted flower up to my nose and breathed in the fragrance of a beautiful rose. And smiled as I watched that young boy, another weed in his hand about to change the life of an unsuspecting old man.