*The Sultan and Satan*
An ancient legend from the East tells of a great sultan who was a devout man of God. One morning he overslept. When the Devil saw that the hour of morning prayer was passing, he woke the sultan and urged him to get out of bed and pray.
“Who are you?” asked the startled sultan, still rubbing the sleep from his eyes.
“Oh, it’s not important,” replied the shady figure. “The important thing is that I woke you up in time, otherwise you would have missed your prayers for the first time in ten years-and it is very good to pray, isn’t it?”
“Yes, that is true!” replied the sultan smugly. “I wouldn’t dream of missing my prayer time. Not even once! … But wait a minute! I think I recognize you. Yes, I know your face. Of course! You are Satan, and no doubt you have some evil motive for your appearance!”
“I’m not really as bad as you think!” exclaimed the intruder. “After all, I was God’s right-hand angel once.”
“That is all very well,” replied the wise old sultan, “but you are also the Deceiver; that is your business! So I demand in the name of God to know why you want me to get up and pray!”
“Well,” replied the Devil, having grown huffy and impatient with the sultan’s persistence, “if you must know, I’ll tell you. If you had slept and forgotten your prayers, you would have felt very sorry for it afterward and would have been quite penitent. That would have humbled you and brought you close to God. But if you continue on as you have for the last ten years, without missing a single prayer, then you will become so satisfied with yourself that it will be worse for you than if you had missed one prayer and had asked God for forgiveness. God loves your fault mixed with repentance much more than your virtue seasoned with pride!”
Often it is actually good for us to make some mistakes because if we didn’t, we’d most likely become so proud of ourselves and so self-confident that we’d no longer feel we needed any help from God or others. But in reality, when we feel so proud and self-satisfied, it’s because we’re not closer to God, but more full of ourselves.
Many people in the world today are taught that pride is a virtue. But God recognizes pride and self-righteousness for what they really are-sins of the heart! The Bible says that “pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall,” and that “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (Proverbs 16:18; James 4:6).
Quite frequently God uses our mistakes to help keep our pride in check, to keep us humble and more dependent on His goodness and strength, rather than our own. The Lord blesses humility. He gives more grace to the humble, and promises to dwell “with him who has a contrite and humble spirit” (1 Peter 5:5; Isaiah 57:15).
It has been said that out of what seems like defeat come some of God’s greatest victories. “But what kind of victory is that?” you may ask. Well, God very often uses humbling experiences to make us better people-more compassionate and understanding of the errors of others, more loving and patient, when otherwise we might not have been so. The Lord wants to use our mistakes to teach us many important lessons that perhaps we wouldn’t be able to learn any other way. So isn’t it encouraging to realize that even our failures can be for our good?
Of course, in order for the Lord to bring this good to pass, we must be honest with ourselves, be willing to confess our mistakes, and attempt to rectify them. The hardest words to say in any language are, “I was wrong!” This takes humility of the kind that only God can give, because it’s human nature to want to appear perfect and faultless, and consequently be unable to confess our mistakes.
But if we want the truth and desire God’s blessing, then we’ll honestly and humbly admit our faults and failings. Then we can take comfort in knowing that we are wiser today than we were yesterday. Contrary to what some folks seem to think, an admission of error is a sign of strength rather than weakness.
Besides, God knows you’re anything but perfect. In fact, He knows you can’t be perfect and never will be. So the crux of the matter is not whether you are perfect or not, but whether you depend on the Lord and His grace, love and mercy. Do you give Him all the glory and credit for anything good that you do? Whenever you accomplish something good, you should say, “Just thank Jesus. Don’t thank me! If I have done anything good, it’s only because the Lord helped me do so.”
A good rule to follow is this: Give God all the glory for anything good you do, and yourself the blame for anything bad. That will help keep you from falling into that horrible trap of self-righteous pride, which is the basis of virtually all sin.
So whenever you make a mistake and are then tempted to get down and discouraged, just remember the sultan’s lesson: God loves your fault mixed with repentance more than your virtue seasoned with pride!
The City of Regret
I had not really planned on taking a trip this time of year, and yet I found myself packing rather hurriedly.
This trip was going to be unpleasant and I knew in advance that no real good would come of it.
I’m talking about my annual “Guilt Trip.”
I got tickets to fly there on Wish I Had airlines. It was an extremely short flight. I got my baggage,
which I could not check. I chose to carry it myself all the way. It was weighted down with a thousand
memories of what might have been. No one greeted me as I entered the terminal to the Regret City
International Airport. I say international because people from all over the world come to this dismal town.
As I checked into the Last Resort Hotel, I noticed that they would be hosting the year’s most important event,
the Annual Pity Party. I wasn’t going to miss that great social occasion. Many of the towns leading citizens would be there.
First, there would be the Done family, you know, Should Have, Would Have and Could Have. Then came the I Had
family. You probably know ol’ Wish and his clan. Of course, the Opportunities would be present, Missed and Lost.
The biggest family would be the Yesterday’s. There are far too many of them to count, but each one would have
a very sad story to share.
Then Shattered Dreams would surely make and appearance. And It’s Their Fault would regale us with stories
(excuses) about how things had failed in his/her life, and each story would be loudly applauded by Don’t Blame Me
and I Couldn’t Help It.
Well, to make a long story short, I went to this depressing party knowing that there would be no real benefit in doing so.
And, as usual, I became very depressed. But as I thought about all of the stories of failures brought back from the past,
it occurred to me that all of this trip and subsequent “pity party” could be cancelled by ME! I started to truly realize that
I did not have to be there. I didn’t have to be depressed. One thing kept going through my mind, I CAN’T CHANGE
YESTERDAY, BUT I DO HAVE THE POWER TO MAKE TODAY A WONDERFUL DAY. I can be happy, joyous, fulfilled,
encouraged, as well as encouraging. Knowing this, I left the City of Regret immediately and left no forwarding address.
Am I sorry for mistakes I’ve made in the past? YES! But there is no physical way to undo them.
So, if you’re planning a trip back to the City of Regret, please cancel all your reservations now. Instead, take a trip
to a place called, Starting Again. I liked it so much that I have now taken up permanent residence there. My neighbors,
the I Forgive Myselfs and the New Starts are so very helpful. By the way, you don’t have to carry around heavy
baggage, because the load is lifted from your shoulders upon arrival. God bless you in finding this great town.
If you can find it — it’s in your own heart — please look me up. I live on I Can Do It street.
by Larry Harp
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Imagine getting the command from your Master, “Go out behind the barn.
Find the dunghill and bring Me back something acceptable, beautiful that
I can put upon My table to enjoy.”
“Oh just great,” you think to yourself as you leave the mansion.
“I’m in for it now!
I’ve seen that grimy old dunghill and beautiful doesn’t even come close
to describing it.”
Rounding the corner of the barn, you almost get knocked over by the smell
as the wind changes and starts blowing in your direction. As you get closer,
your eyes start to water. Trying to breath in short shallow breaths, you get
as close as you dare. There it is. That dreaded dunghill which has been filled
with all sorts of filth from your life. Lust sits festering as does greed, and envy.
Maggots of strife and contention feast happily among the rotting decay of all
things repugnant.Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, you realize
that as this pile rots, it generates an unnatural heat from within which causes
evil gas clouds of despair and hopelessness to bubble up to the surface and
hang in a fog of misery all around the area.
You think to yourself, “Why am I here???
I left this stuff long ago and now here it is again. If I didn’t know better, I’d
say that it has grown since I had last seen it. I can’t make something out of
this junk to put on my Master’s table. All of those who wait upon Him will
laugh me to scorn. The big angels at the door probably wouldn’t even let
me in and for good reason too!”
But trying to be obedient, you grudgingly take up some of the horrible
material and think what you can do to make it fit for the Master’s table.
No amount of perfume could help kill the smell and the stuff crawling
around and in it gives a macabre impression of the entire dunghill
breathing with a life of its own.
So you kneel down and in vain try to shape it and make something useful.
No matter how much perfume you use it only serves to make the whole
ugly mess even worse.
Just then you hear Him behind you. “Child, what are you doing?”
Now the tears start streaming down your cheeks freely as you know that
there is nothing you can do but tell the truth.
“I can’t do it. Nothing I try works. Everything I do only makes it worse…”
Your own sobs cut off what was about to be a long drawn out explanation.
Gently, He tells you, “Put that back.”
So you throw the evil mess you were working with back onto the pile and
just stand there staring at the epitome of sin’s futility. You watch as the
Master takes His mighty hand and using His finger, He creates a God
shaped hole right into the heart of the horrible mess before you. Your own
soul feels what He has done and it takes your breath away.
Turning towards you He holds out His hand and shows you what looks
to be a seed of some sort. With a gentle smile He asks, “May I?”
You are confused.
Not knowing what is about to happen, you reply, “What is that?”
His response sends waves of terror into your heart, “This is My life.
I want to put it into the hole I just created. May I?”
You recoil in fear at the thought of His life going into the worst you
have to offer.
You want to scream ‘No!’ but you don’t dare.
Deep within your heart, you long to have Him do it, but it just doesn’t
seem fair that He should put His best into the worst areas of your life.
But the Master has never made a mistake and you know that even
this can only work out for good.
Half-heartedly, mumbling under your breath you say, “Yes, go ahead…,”
and the tears flow once more.
Gently the Master places His Seed within the God shaped hole His finger
had made. With loving kindness He covers it over and starts to walk away.
Turning back to look at you, He once again commands, “From this dunghill,
bring Me back something acceptable, beautiful that I can put upon My
table to enjoy.” With that He walks away.
For a long, long while you just stand there staring at the horrible mess
before you. Nothing has appeared to change and you feel as though the
Master has left you in the same predicament as when you had first arrived.
But then you see it.
A small bump in the dunghill started slowly rising up to the surface.
Looking closely you are sure that there is something green breaking out
from the very heart of your worst nightmares.
During the rest of the day you watch this little plant grow.
By day, you tend and give it water from the eternal spring of life.
By night, you sleep near it, afraid that something might happen to this
precious little life. It is not a very comfortable rest, trying to sleep on the
ground next to a dunghill, but even though you don’t know what your
Master has done, you are determined to see it through to the end.
For three days and nights you tend and guard this little seedling.
You notice that as the plant gets bigger, the dunghill gets smaller.
It appears that the plant is taking all of the evil smelling corruption and
using it to grow. Then on the morning of the third day, as the sun rises
in the distance, you awaken to see that the tiny plant has now grown
into a sizable young shrub.
But something is happening.
As the sun’s light starts to warm its leaves, you see the most beautiful
blood red roses starting to open up right before your eyes!
Hundreds and hundreds of bright red roses unfold sending out an aroma
that instantly blots out the horrible stench of the dunghill!
You stand staring for a time in total awe at the sight of these beautiful
roses which move in unison to the rhythm of a holy wind.
Each petal is shining and glistening in radiance as the sun rises higher
and higher into the morning sky.
Then you hear His voice in the distance, “My child, I AM waiting…”
The sound of His gentle thunder reminds you of your original task, to get
something from this dunghill that will be both beautiful and acceptable
for His table.
Carefully you pick twelve of the very biggest and best flowers you can
find and arrange them in your hand. Yes there are thorns, but you don’t
even seem to notice them as you look at what the Lord has done.
After walking back to the mansion, you find a vase in the kitchen and
arrange the flowers with silent joy. What at first looked to be impossible
now has become a work of living art.
As you make your way towards the main dining hall, some people stop
to admire the roses you have in your vase.
“My but they are beautiful!” says one well meaning person.
“You sure are one fine gardener!”
Without any hesitation, you humbly reply, “It’s not me, it was all the
You hurry off, not wanting to answer any more questions such as,
“Where did you get them.”
You enter the main hall and set the roses upon the Master’s table.
You want to smile, but you can’t because you know from where
these roses have come.
You silently pray that nobody will ever find out.
Your mission accomplished, you turn to leave, but you see your
Master standing in the doorway.
You swallow hard as you glance back at the arrangement of flowers
you have just left on His table.
Your eyes once again fill with water as you stare at the floor,
unable to look at Him.
You know the truth of where you got the roses. But what is far worse
is that you know that He knows from where you have gotten them!
The thought of the dunghill breaks your heart with shame and remorse.
Gently placing His hand under your chin, He lifts your head, moving
your gaze upward so that you are now looking right into His loving eyes.
The tears stream down your face as your Lord and Master carefully
wipes away each and every one of them.
He smiles and says, “They are beautiful!
Well done, My good and faithful servant. Won’t you join Me for
I would just like to sit and talk a while with you My dear and
♥ ♥ ♥
♣ ♣ ♣
*Author Unknown by all but God*
PARABLE OF THE PENCIL
*author : Unknown*
The Pencil Maker took the pencil aside, just before putting him into the box.
There are 5 things you need to know, he told the pencil,
before I send you out into the world.
Always remember them and never forget,
and you will become the best pencil you can be.
One: You will be able to do many great things, but only if you allow yourself to be held in someone’s hand.
Three: You will be able to correct any mistakes you might make.
Four: The most important part of you will always be what’s inside.
No matter what the condition, you must continue to write.
The pencil understood and promised to remember,
and went into the box with purpose in its heart.
Now change places with the pencil.
Always remember them and never forget,
and you will become the best person you can be.
Be thankful that you don’t already have everything you desire.
If you did, what would there be to look forward to?
Be thankful when you don’t know something,
for it gives you the opportunity to learn.
Be thankful for the difficult times.
During those times you grow.
Be thankful for your limitations,
because they give you opportunities for improvement.
Be thankful for each new challenge,
because it will build your strength and character.
Be thankful for your mistakes. They will teach you valuable lessons.
Be thankful when you’re tired and weary,
because it means you’ve made a difference.
It’s easy to be thankful for the good things.
A life of rich fulfillment comes to those who
are also thankful for the setbacks.
Gratitude can turn a negative into a positive.
Find a way to be thankful for your troubles,
and they can become your blessings.