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Solomon discovered the emptiness of stuff.
Illus. A young banker was driving his BMW, in the mountains, during a snowstorm. As he rounded a turn the vehicle slid out of control and toward a cliff. At the last moment he unbuckled his seatbelt and jumped from the car.
Though he escaped with his life, his left arm was caught near the hinge of the door and torn it off at the shoulder.
A trucker passing nearby witnessed the accident, stopped his rig, and ran back to see if he could be of help. There standing, in a state of shock, was the banker at the edge of the cliff moaning, "Oh no, my BMW, my BMW". The trucker pointed to the banker’s shoulder and said "man you’ve got bigger problems than a car".
With that the banker looked at his shoulder, finally realizing he’d lost his arm, and began crying ":Oh No, my new Rolex, my new Rolex".
The pull of the world can easily steal our affections away, and cause us to live for the wrong things. See, stuff is not bad, and it is not evil to own stuff, to have money, possessions, nice cars, Rolex’s.
The important thing is our attitude toward the stuff in our life.
For example: Money is not evil, the love of it is.
Many godly men were rich :
Solomon – with his wealth he built the Temple.
Jehoshaphat – with his wealth he built a great Military power
Job - Stayed faithful to God even when he lost all his wealth. Then God gave him even greater wealth as a reward..
Hezekiah – Used his wealth to reform Israel.
Solomon was the richest man who ever lived.
He owned : Houses, vineyards, gardens, parks, fruit trees, slaves, flocks, singers, so much silver that it was as common as dirt, gold shields, a solid ivory throne, a solid gold throne, fleets of ships, robes of the finest materials, weapons, Storage buildings full of exotic spices, herds of mules, peacocks, 1,400 chariots, 12,000 horses, and land that extended farther than the eye could see.
Ecclesiastes 2:10: “He was denied nothing his eye desired.”
From a Sermon By Art Good
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PRECIOUS DAD MOMENT
As ham sandwiches go, it was perfection. A thick slab of ham, a fresh bun, crisp lettuce and plenty of expensive, light brown, gourmet mustard. The corners of my jaw were aching in anticipation,
I carried it to the picnic table in our backyard, picked it up with both hands but was stopped by my wife suddenly at my side. "Hold Johnny, (our six-week-old son), while I get my sandwich," she said.
I had him balanced between my left elbow and shoulder and was reaching again for the ham sandwich when I noticed a streak of mustard on my fingers. I love mustard. And I had no napkin. So I licked it off.
It was NOT mustard. No man ever put a baby down faster. It was the first and only time I have sprinted with my tongue protruding. With a washcloth in each hand I did the sort of routine shoeshine guys do, only I did it on my tongue.
Later my wife said, "Now you know why they call that mustard ’Poupon.’"
Irene Pepperberg, a visiting professor of animal behavior at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is teaching a parrot how to surf the Internet. "Parrots are very social creatures," she says,
but people who own them "leave them alone eight or nine hours a day." She says that leads to boredom and stress, and that leads to behavioral problems. She is developing special bird-enabled software, "InterPet Explorer", to make it easier for the animals to find sites of interest, such as those showing wildlife and music, or perhaps even chat rooms populated only by animals.
-That’s all I need - my dog, Snuggles, coming up to me and saying “Dad, can you punch in the credit card number. I found some rawhide chew bones on the Internet that will help me reduce stress and boredom”. Or, “Can we take a walk. I met a bull dog in an internet chat room and he just lives right down the street.”
-But stress and boredom have led to behavioral problems in humans as well. Satan has geared modern technology to offer internet sites and videos and DVDs that fit with his perfect plan of offering alternatives to God’s peace and love and joy. Satan’s plan is to get all men entangled in some form of pornography.
A parable is told of a community of ducks waddling off to duck church one Sunday to hear their duck preacher. After they waddled into the duck sanctuary, the service began and the duck preacher spoke eloquently of how God had given the ducks wings with which to fly.
He pounded the pulpit with his beak and said,
With these wings, there is nowhere we ducks can not go!
There is no God-given task we ducks cannot accomplish!
With these wings we no longer need walk through life.
We can soar high in the sky!
Shouts of Amen!¨ were quacked throughout the duck congregation.
The duck preacher concluded his message by exclaiming,
With our wings we can fly through life!
WE......CAN.....FLY!!!!¨ More ducks quacked out loud AMENS! in response.
Every duck loved the service.
In fact all the ducks that were ...
“May those who love us, love us; and those who don’t love us, may God turn their hearts; and if He doesn’t turn their hearts, may he turn their ankles so we’ll know them by their limping.”
SENDING THE VERY BEST
Someone has composed the following list of "Cards You'll Never See at Hallmark":
"Looking back over the years that we've been together, I can't help but wonder....
What was I thinking?!"
"I've always wanted to have someone to hold, someone to love....
After having met you, I've changed my mind."
"As the days go by, I think of how lucky I am....
that you're not here to ruin it for me."
"As you grow older, Mom, I think of all the gifts you've given me.....
Like the need for therapy."
"You look great for your age....
"When we were together, you always said you'd die for me....
Now that we've broken up, I think it's time you kept your promise."
"We have been friends for a very long time....
What do you say we call it quits?"
"I'm so miserable without you....
It's almost like you're here."
"You are such a good friend that if we were on a sinking ship and there was only one life jacket....
I'd miss you heaps and think of you often."
Somehow those cards truly don't seem very appropriate for a card company that advertises with the slogan, "When you care enough to send the very best." Greeting card companies certainly have made it easy for us to let our friends and relatives know that we care about them.
The apostle Paul didn't have the benefit of going into a card store, but many of the words he wrote to congregations and individuals are filled with sentiment and worded in such a way that perhaps they should be used in greeting cards. Listen to these words written to the Christians in Philippi:
"I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always with every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy....it is right for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart....For God is my witness, how greatly I long for you all with the affection of Jesus Christ." (Philippians 1:3-4,7,8).
Warren Wiersbe outlines this section with these phrases: "I have you in my mind", "I have you in my heart" and "I have you in my prayers." That sums up well the affection that Paul had for those brethren.
Is there someone that you care greatly about? Send them a card. Better yet, drop them a line of your own creation and let them know that they are on your mind, in your heart and in your prayers today. Only do it, though, if you care enough to send the "very best."
"You better watch out, you better not pout, you better not cry, I’m telling you why, Santa Claus is coming to town. He’s making a list, checking it twice, gonna find out who’s naughty and nice, Santa Claus is coming to town. He sees you when you’re sleeping. He knows when you’re awake. He knows when you’ve been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake."
I never liked that song as a kid. You can’t fool Santa. He knows it all. Well, great! Then he knows I lied about scratching the car with my bike. He knows I hit my sister. He knows I was cussing up a storm with my friends down the street. He knows it all. That’s just great! What chance do I have for a decent Christmas present now? I might as well just keep on being bad.
You know. That’s how people often look at their lives as Christians. Jesus is coming back. You better watch out - you better be good, cause He knows it all. You better be ready, prepared, faithful, loving, because there’s no fooling Him. And when you look at it this way, any honest person would say, "That’s just great!" Then I have no chance, cause I know I’ve been bad." But that misses the point of the grace of God. Ephesians 2:8-10 tells us that we cannot be good enough to earn God’s favor. Instead, He gives us the gift of eternal life when we believe in Jesus, and He recreates us in Christ so that we can do good things.
Erma Bombeck wrote this essay entitled, When God Created Women. “By the time the Lord made mothers, he was into his sixth day of working overtime. An Angel appeared and said "Why are you spending so much time on this one?" And the Lord answered and said, "Have you seen the spec sheet on her? She has to be completely washable, but not plastic, have 200 movable parts, all replaceable, run on black coffee and leftovers, have a lap that can hold three children at one time and that disappears when she stands up, have a kiss that can cure anything from a scraped knee to a broken heart, and have six pairs of hands,"
The Angel was astounded at the requirements for this one. "Six pairs of hands! No Way!", said the Angel. The Lord replied, "Oh, it’s not the hands that are the problem. It’s the three pairs of eyes that mothers must have! One pair of eyes are to see through the closed doors when she asks, “What are you kids doing in there?” Another pair in the back of her head that sees what she shouldn’t but what she has to know. And of course the ones here in front that can look at a child when he goofs up and say, “I understand and I love you without uttering so much as a word.
The Angel tried to stop the Lord. "This is too much work for one day. Wait until tomorrow to finish." "But I can’t!", the Lord protested, "I am so close to finishing a creation that is so close to my own heart. She already heals herself when she is sick AND can feed a family of six on a pound of hamburger and can get a nine year old to stand in the shower! The Angel moved closer and touched the woman. "But you have made her so soft, Lord." "She is soft," the Lord agreed, "but I have also made her tough. You have no idea what she can endure or accomplish." "Will she be able to think?", asked the Angel. The Lord...
The devout priest was caught in a flood one day, and he climbed onto the roof of his Vicarage and as the water started lapping up over the roof he prayed “Lord, deliver me from this flood”.
The water continued to rise and a policeman in a rowing boat passed: “Can I help you Vicar?” “No thanks, the Lord will deliver me!”
A little while later, the water is even higher, and the Vicar is up to his waist, even standing on his roof. A lifeboat cruises past, and the coxwain shouts out “Can I help you, Vicar?” “No Thanks” was his reply “The Lord will deliver me – I’ve prayed for it”
After another few minutes, the water has risen so much that only the Vicar’s head is peeping out from above the water and a helicopter flies over. The pilot leans out and calls “Can I help you Vicar?” “No thanks, the Lord will deliver me!”
At which point, the water rises over the Vicar’s head and he drowns.
When the Vicar arrives at the gates of heaven and faces St Peter he is furious: “I’ve been a most serious and devout priest all my life, devoted to prayer and good works – why didn’t God answer my prayers. “Oh,” says Peter “That ‘s strange: we sent two boats and a helicopter after you…”
I’ve always liked the story of the 3 old widows who lived together. One sister got up to go to bed, half way up the stairs she stopped and asked "was I going up or was I coming down"
One sister replied with hint of aggravation, "you were going up to bed."
A second sister headed into the kitchen to make herself a sandwich. Once in the kitchen she hollered back to her sister who was still down stairs; "what did I come in here for"
The sister responded again with a trace of irritation, "you went in to make yourself a sandwich" after which she said; "I’m so glad I am not as forgetful as the both of you are" as she knock on the end table.
And then she got up and walked over to the door and said "Who is it?"
Yes, we are a forgetful people. And from my vast experience I have concluded that forgetfulness is not a respecter of age. And there fore we come up with all kinds of ways to help us remember; (string around finger; post it notes, day planners, memory courses). And most of us do need a little help to remember.