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The Beauty in Brokenness

Brokenness Transformation Grace

Contributed By: Cornelius Clark | Date Posted: 2024-05-15

Scripture: 2 Corinthians 4:6 ; 2 Corinthians 4:7

Author: Cornelius Clark
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ILLUSTRATION

Consider a majestic stained-glass window adorning an ancient cathedral. From a distance, its vibrant colors and intricate designs captivate the eye, but upon closer inspection, one notices the fractures and imperfections marring its surface. Yet, it's these very flaws that allow light to dance through the glass, casting a kaleidoscope of colors onto the walls and floor below. 

Similarly, our lives are akin to stained glass, beautiful yet fragile, marked by the cracks and breaks of adversity and pain. And just as the light shines through the brokenness of the stained glass, illuminating its hidden beauty, so too can God's grace illuminate our broken lives. 

APPLICATION

In our journey through our trials and tribulations, we are confronted with moments of shattered dreams, broken relationships, and profound loss. Yet, it is precisely in these moments of brokenness that we have the opportunity to experience God's transformative power and love.

By surrendering our brokenness to Him, we open ourselves to the possibility of redemption and renewal. Like the master artisan who painstakingly restores the fractured pieces of a stained-glass window, God works in our lives to mend our brokenness, infusing each shard with His grace and love.

As we allow Him to work within us, we discover that our brokenness is not a sign of weakness, but a testament to His redeeming grace as our brokenness becomes a source of strength, drawing us closer to His divine love.

"For God, who said, 'Let light shine out of darkness,' has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay [or, cracked and chipped stained glass windows!] to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us" (2 Corinthians 4:6-7, ESV).

 

The Gift of the Moleskin Pants

Christmas Friendship Grace

Source: https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/panting-in-anticipation/

Link to Source: Click here to view source

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2024-01-03

Scripture: Ephesians 2:8 ; 2 Corinthians 9:15

Author: Illustration Exchange
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ILLUSTRATION

According to Snopes, the hillarious urban legend of brothers who regifted each other the same pair of moleskin pants for over 25 years isn't just a legend. It's actually TRUE!

"For twenty-five years, two brothers-in-law traded the same pants back and forth between them as a Christmas gift, each time finding more inventive ways to wrap them."

It all began in 1964 when Larry Kunkel's mom gave him a pair of moleskin pants. After wearing them a few times, he found they froze stiff in Minnesota winters and thus wouldn't do. That next Christmas, he wrapped the garment in pretty paper and presented it to his brother-in-law.

Brother-in-law Roy Collette discovered he didn't want them either. He bided his time until the Christmas after, then packaged them up and gave them back to Kunkel. This yearly exchange proceeded amicably until one year Collette twisted the pants tightly and stuffed them into a 3-foot-long, 1-inch wide pipe.

This game of regifting went on and on, year after year, with each of the men getting increasingly more creative. One year Collette stuffed the pants into a 3-foot-long, 1-inch wide pipe. Kunkel compressed the pants into a 7-inch square, wrapped them with wire and gave the "bale" to Collette. Then Collette stuffed the pants into a 2-foot-square crate which he then "filled with stones, nailed it shut, banded it with steel and gave the trusty trousers back to Kunkel." 

Kunkel next had the pants mounted inside an insulated window that had a 20-year guarantee and shipped them off to Collette.

Collette broke the glass, recovered the trousers, stuffed them into a 5-inch coffee can, which he soldered shut. The can was put in a 5-gallon container filled with concrete and reinforcing rods and given to Kunkel the following Christmas.

Kunkel installed the pants in a 225-pound homemade steel ashtray made from 8-inch steel casings and etched Collette's name on the side. Collette had trouble retrieving the treasured trousers, but succeeded without burning them with a cutting torch.

Collette found a 600-pound safe and hauled it to Viracon Inc. in Owatonna, where the shipping department decorated it with red and green stripes, put the pants inside and welded the safe shut. The safe was then shipped to Kunkel ...

Other "gift wrap" over the years inclouded a encasing the pants in a 250 steel ashtray, welcding them inside a 600 lb safe, embedding them within a double paned window, and cementing them in a 5 gallon bucket filled with concrete and reinforced steel bars, 

But wait, there's more!

The pants next turned up in a drab green, 3-foot cube that once was a 1974 Gremlin. A note attached to the 2,000-pound scrunched car advised Collette that the pants were inside the glove compartment.

In 1982 Kunkel faced the problem of retrieving the pants from a tire 8 feet high and 2 feet wide and filled with 6,000 pounds of concrete. On the outside Collette had written, "Have a Goodyear."

In 1983 the pants came back to Collette in a 17.5-foot red rocket ship filled with concrete and weighing 6 tons. Five feet in diameter, with pipes 6 inches in diameter outside running the length of the ship and a launching pad attached to its bottom, the rocket sported a picture of the pants fluttering atop it. Inside the rocket were 15 concrete-filled canisters, one of which housed the pants.

Collette's revenge for the rocket ship was delivered to Kunkel in the form of a 4-ton Rubik's Cube in 1985. The cube was made of concrete that had been baked in a kiln and covered with 2,000 board feet of lumber.

Kunkel "solved the cube," and for 1986 gift-giving repackaged the pants into a station wagon filled with 170 steel generators all welded together. 

Not to be outdone, Collette took the gift wrapping just a tad too far. "Sadly, 1989's packaging scheme brought the demise of the much-abused garment."

Collette was inspired to encase the pantaloons in 10,000 pounds of jagged glass that he would then deposit in Kunkel's front yard. "It would have been a great one — really messy," Kunkel ruefully admitted. The pants were shipped to a friend in Tennessee who managed a glass manufacturing company. While molten glass was being poured over the insulated container that held them, an oversized chunk fractured, transforming the pants into a pile of ashes.

The ashes were deposited into a brass urn and delivered to Kunkel along with this epitaph: "Sorry, Old Man Here lies the Pants ... An attempt to cast the pants in glass brought about the demise of the pants at last."

The urn now graces the fireplace mantel in Kunkel's home.

APPLICATION

In the birth, life, death, resurrection and Person of the Lord Jesus Christ, God gift wrapped and offered the world the greatest gift EVER given. But you won't have to crack a 600 lb safe or decompress a hydraulically compacted 1974 Gremlin to dig it out of the glove compartment. 

It is the gift of eternal life -- the forgiveness of sin and the promise of the resurrection to come. All you need do is reach out and receive it. Yep, it's that simple. You don't have to wrestle, or saw, or dig, or work for it in any way. In fact, you couldn't if you wanted to. It is a FREE gift, pure and simple, no strings, metal weldings, steel bars, or concrete attached.

"For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not from you; it is the gift of God; it is not from works, so no one may boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9, NIV).

"Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!" (2 Corinthians 9:15, NIV).

 

Grace Sufficient for a Serial Killer

Grace Forgiveness Judging

Source: Based on the writings of Max Lucado, from his book IN THE GRIP OF GRACE, Chapter 4

Link to Source: Click here to view source

Contributed By: Mark McClelland | Date Posted: 2023-03-20

Scripture: Luke 23:43

Author: Based on the writings of Max Lucado, from his book
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ILLUSTRATION

To the thief on the cross Jesus said,"Today you will be with me in paradise."

That's grace. All that thief had was a prayer, but that's all it took. He had no time to be baptized, or do good works, or turn over a new leaf. He was on a cross dying. That's grace.

Most people celebrate the forgiveness of the thief on the cross, but how about Jeffery Dahmer? He was a serial killer. The Milwaukee Monster was convicted of 17 murders. Eleven corpses were found in his apartment. He dismembered them. He consumed them. He was sentenced to life without parole.

A few months before an inmate murdered him, Jeffrey Dahmer became a Christian. He repented and said he was sorry, profoundly sorry for his sins. He was baptized in the prison. He began reading the Bible and attending chapel. His conversion was genuine. His sins were washed. His soul was saved. His past was forgiven, and that bothers some people.

As Max Lucado expresses the hearts of many, "God is kind, but He's no wimp. Grace is for average sinners like me, not deviants like [him].” 

APPLICATION

Can Grace really extend to the worst of us? What about people in the Bible? Abraham lied, but he is in heaven. Mosss murdered, but he's in heaven. David was an adulterer, but he's in heaven. Paul arrested Christians and had them killed, but he's in heaven.

The thief on the cross is in heaven, and so is Jeffery Dahmer.

Rather than being bothered by Grace being extended to the worst, we should marvel at the magnitude of God's love.

If they can be forgiven, we can be forgiven. Whatever you've done, you can be forgiven. Nothing is beyond God's grace, because His grace is greater than all our sin. Learn from the thief on the cross. Forgiveness is just a prayer away. 

"Then he said, 'Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.' Jesus answered him, 'Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise'” (Luke 23:42-43, NIV).

You Can't Outrun God In An Excavator

Restoration Accountability Grace

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2022-08-26

Scripture: Psalms 119:32 ; Psalms 139:7

Author: Illustration Exchange
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A Great Singing Audition Highlights A Tone Deaf Humanity

Grace Spiritual Blindness Idolatry

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2022-08-07

Scripture: Romans 1:25 ; James 1:17

Author: Illustration Exchange
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We Obey What We Love

Grace Transformation Motivation

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2021-11-21

Scripture: Galatians 3:3 ; 2 Corinthians 5:17

Author: Mitchell Dillon
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"Work Makes Free"

Grace False Hope Works Salvation

Contributed By: John Reed | Date Posted: 2021-11-01

Scripture: Ephesians 2:8

Author: Johnny V. Miller
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Grace Is Just Too Easy

Grace Salvation Skepticism

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2021-04-22

Scripture: Romans 6:23 ; John 3:3

Author: Illustration Exchange
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Call Me Daddy

Dependence on God Maturity Grace

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2020-09-05

Scripture: Galatians 4:6

Author: Mitchell Dillon
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Be Perfect!

Grace Religion Works Salvation

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2020-05-28

Scripture: Matthew 5:48

Author: Illustration Exchange
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