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Illustration results for diligence

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"Diligence is the mother of good luck."
Benjamin Franklin

 
Contributed By:
Ken Schlenker
 
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Humility was a Hebrew word meaning the lowering of the Nile River. Now I know a lot of Egyptians friends that use to come through Galilee and we would talk and they would tell me that the Nile River meant everything to them. They were totally dependent upon it. When the Nile River went down so did their quality of life and when it rose the quality of their life rose up. Jesus was so dependent upon the Father in the Spirit for everything that is where He got His humility. My first step was being over-confident in myself, forgetting how dependent I was upon my Father. How many times had I memorized Scripture? In Proverbs it says, “Guard over your heart with all diligence for from it flows springs of life.” How many times did I need to hear, “ A haughty Spirit precedes falling?” How many times did I need to hear it as I walked miles and miles every day with Jesus? But I didn’t hear it.

 
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WESLEY'S PEACE

Although Charles Wesley had been engaged in preaching the gospel with much diligence and earnestness, he did not know what it was to enjoy peace with God until he was in his thirtieth year. Being laid low by an alarming illness, and seeming as if he were going to die, a young Moravian named Peter Bohler, who was undergoing a course of preparation by him to go out as a missionary, asked him, "Do you hope to be saved?" Charles answered, "Yes."

"For what reason do you hope it?" "Because I have used my best endeavors to serve God," was his reply. The Moravian shook his head and said no more.

That sad, silent, significant shake of the head shattered all Charles Wesley's false foundation of salvation by endeavors. He was afterwards taught by Peter Bohler the way of the Lord more perfectly, and brought to see that by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ men are justified. And now in his sick-room, he was able to write for the first time in his life, "I now find myself at peace with God"; and it was on this occasion he composed that beautiful hymn, "O for a thousand tongues to sing my great Redeemer's praise!"

Our hope likewise need only rest in the finished work of our remarkable Redeemer. Our righteousness is not about our righteousness. Our righteousness is the gift of the imputation, the transfer, of the righteousness of Christ credited, as it were, to our account. The debt that we couldn't pay, He paid.

(From Chris Surber's Sermon "Remarkable Redeemer")

 
Contributed By:
Mark Brunner
 
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“Step Into The Image of Christ!” Hebrews 5:1-9 Key verse(s): 8-9:“Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him . . .”

Why do we love the Constitution so! A document that is nearly 220 years old and written in the flowery English of our forefathers, a musty old thing that some say has little relevance to the way we live our lives today; why is it that it occupies a central display in our national archives and governs yet after all these years? As a charter, some say, it is certainly without equal. Many have compared it to the Magna Carta presented by the English barons to King John in 1215. Others have held it up as the hallmark of all governing charters. Certainly we can all be proud of our Constitution. In reality, nearly every other democratic nation in the world has made it their epitome as they craft their own charters of state. But, what is it about this charter that holds us so tightly after all these years? It must be more than the “bigger-than-life” characters that wrote it and signed it. Ultimately, it must be the relevance of what it grants not what it so eloquently states that so binds us since the lives we lead today bear little resemblance to those led by its authors.

A charter is something that engraves for all time. It is meant to be held in high esteem and altered only with utmost diligence. For a charter grants privileges and reserves rights which are endemic to life itself not just living. In a sense, it reflects the character of those who wrote it on-in-perpetuity. Though gone for hundreds of years, when we open the pages of our Constitution, we see reflected not just words but images; character images of those who bore this document. When I read our Constitution I can see and feel Jefferson, Franklin, Madison and the all the others who shaped it word by word and then embraced it for all ages. As you cannot look at Michelangelo’s Pieta and not see the sculptor or Rembrandt’s The Black Watch and not see the artist, it is impossible to divorce the Sons of Liberty from pages of our Constitution.

A charter is a likeness of those who drew it up; a reflection of their thought. When we read a charter and live under it as we do the Constitution, we are not simply edified. Rather, we enter into it and become like Jefferson and Madison. Their words become our words because once a charter is so drawn up, ownership of it belongs to those to whom it is granted. It is not Jefferson’s Constitution. It is Mark Brunner’s Constitution and so on. Since it is my charter and your charter, and we receive from it rights and privileges reserved only for those who live under it, we in turn strive to protect it, defend it, and cherish it. To love it become natural. In that love we follow naturally into obedience. For it is natural to obey something which provides us with essential security and well-being. The more and more we crave that security and well-being, the more and more we strive to conform to the image of the charter that provides it. In a sense we are holding the document up to the light of understanding and trying to step into it and sound its depths. In our love of freedom and liberty we long to make the Constitution, the charter of our freedom-loving forefathers, the portal by which we enter into and conform to their understanding of what freedom is.

Jesus Christ came down from heaven over two thousands years ago and presented us with the greatest charter of all time, the charter of freedom from sin and death through His sacrifice once for all on the cross of Calvary. His Word is our charter to freedom that is irresistible to a sinner. It draws us into Christ Jesus himself and because of what it promises, remains r...

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Learning is not attained by chance. It must be sought for with ardor and attended to with diligence.

 
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Martin Dale
 
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AN ATHEIST DEFENDS EVANGELISM IN AFRICA

I would like to conclude by reading you an article – that Andrew sent to me - from the Sunday Times dated 27th December 2008 written by Matthew Parris:

December 27, 2008
(full article)
As an atheist, I truly believe Africa needs God

Missionaries, not aid money, are the solution to Africa's biggest problem - the crushing passivity of the people's mindset

Before Christmas I returned, after 45 years, to the country that as a boy I knew as Nyasaland. Today it's Malawi, and The Times Christmas Appeal includes a small British charity working there. Pump Aid helps rural communities to install a simple pump, letting people keep their village wells sealed and clean.

I went to see this work. It inspired me, renewing my flagging faith in development charities. But travelling in Malawi refreshed another belief, too: one I've been trying to banish all my life, but an observation I've been unable to avoid since my African childhood. It confounds my ideological beliefs, stubbornly refuses to fit my world view, and has embarrassed my growing belief that there is no God.

Now a confirmed atheist, I've become convinced of the enormous contribution that Christian evangelism makes in Africa: sharply distinct from the work of secular NGOs, government projects and international aid efforts. These alone will not do. Education and training alone will not do. In Africa Christianity changes people's hearts. It brings a spiritual transformation. The rebirth is real. The change is good.

I used to avoid this truth by applauding - as you can - the practical work of mission churches in Africa. It's a pity, I would say that salvation is part of the package, but Christians black and white, working in Africa, do heal the sick, do teach people to read and write; and only the severest kind of secularist could see a mission hospital or school and say the world would be better without it. I would allow that if faith was needed to motivate missionaries to help, then, fine: but what counted was the help, not the faith.
But this doesn’t fit the facts. Faith does more than support the missionary; it is also transferred to his flock. This is the effect that matters so immensely, and which I cannot help observing.

First, then, the observation. We had friends who were missionaries, and as a child I stayed often with them; I also stayed, alone with my little brother, in a traditional rural African village. In the city we had working for us Africans who had converted and were strong believers. The Christians were always different. Far from having cowed or confined its converts, their faith appeared to have liberated and relaxed them.

There was a liveliness, a curiosity, an engagement with the world - a directness in their dealings with others - that seemed to be missing in traditional African life. They stood tall.

At 24, travelling by land across the continent reinforced this impression. From Algiers to Niger, Nigeria, Cameroon and the Central African Republic, then right through the Congo to Rwanda, Tanzania and Kenya, four student friends and I drove our old Land Rover to Nairobi. We slept under the stars, so it was important as we reached the more populated and lawless parts of the sub-Sahara that every day we find somewhere safe by nightfall. Often it was near a mission.

Whenever we entered a territory worked by missionaries, we had to acknowledge that something changed in the faces of the people we passed and spoke to: something in their eyes, the way they approached you direct, man-to-man, without looking down or away. They had not become more deferential towards strangers - in some ways less so - but more open.

This time in Malawi it was the same. I met no missionaries. You do not encounter missionaries in the lobbies of expensive hotels discussing development strategy documents as you do with the big NGOs.

But instead, I noticed that a handful of the most impressive African members of the Pump Aid team (largely from Zimbabwe) were, privately, strong Christians. "Privately" because the charity is entirely secular, and I never heard any of its team so much as mention religion while working in the villages. But I picked up the Christian references in our conversations. One, I saw, was studying a devotional textbook in the car. One, on Sunday, went off to church at dawn for a two-hour service.

It would suit me to believe that their honesty, diligence and optimism in their work was unconnected with personal faith. Their work was secular but surely affected by what they were. What they were was, in turn, influenced by a conception of man's place in the Universe that Christianity had taught.

There's long been a fashion among Western academic sociologists for placing tribal value systems within a ring fence, beyond critiques founded in our own culture: "theirs" and therefore best for "them"; authentic and of intrinsically equal worth to ours.

I don't follow this. I observe that tribal belief is no more peaceable than ours; and that it suppresses individuality. People think collectively; first in terms of the community, extended family and tribe. This rural-traditional mindset feeds into the "big man" and gangster politics of the African city: the exaggerated respect for a swaggering leader, and the (literal) inability to understand the whole idea of loyal opposition.

Anxiety - fear of evil spirits, of ancestors, of nature and the wild, of a tribal hierarchy, of quite everyday things - strikes deep into the whole structure of rural African thought. Every man has his place and, call it fear or respect, a great weight grinds down the individual spirit, stunting curiosity. People won't take the initiative, won't take things into their own hands or on their own shoulders.

How can I, as someone with a foot in both camps, explain? When the philosophical tourist moves from one world view to another he finds - at the very moment of passing into the new - that he loses the language to describe the landscape to the old. But let me try an example: the answer given by Sir Edmund Hillary to the question: Why climb the mountain? "Because it's there," he said.

To the rural African mind, this is an explanation of why one would not climb the mountain. It's... well, there. Just there. Why interfere? Nothing to be done about it, or with it. Hillary's further explanation - that nobody else had climbed it - would stand as a second reason for passivity.

Christianity, post-Reformation and post-Luther, with its teaching of a direct, personal, two-way link between the individual and God, unmediated by the collective, and unsubordinate to any other human being, smashes straight through the philosphical-spiritual framework I've just described. It offers something to hold on to to those anxious to cast off a crushing tribal groupthink. That is why and how it liberates.

Those who want Africa to walk tall amid 21st-century global competition must not kid themselves that providing the material means or even the knowhow that accompanies what we call development will make the change. A whole belief system must first be supplanted.

And, I'm afraid, it has to be supplanted by another. Removing Christian evangelism from the African equation may leave the continent at the mercy of a malign fusion of Nike, the witch doctor, the mobile phone and the machete.

 
Contributed By:
Segun Omole
 
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Judge 16: 1-31
I have heard and read quite a number of analysis of the weakness of Samson, his lack of self control and his inability to resist the power of a woman...well, guess these are all correct in their own ways but I would like to look at this man of God from another perspective. I believe Samson’s problem was a matter of the heart. Bible says guide your heart with all diligence for out of it are the issues of life.

I wouldn’t say that Samson lacked self control...Samson was a strong man who had everything but lacked love. In chapter 14 of Judges this ’strong man’ had a wife but his wife was taken and given to his ’best’ friend..hmmm...as a man, I know that is terrible on any man’s ego. I know you will say that he deserved it, after all his parents warned him against the marriage...well, you may be right in your judgement but I believe as the bible said Samson’s ’mistakes’ was part of God’s plan and purpose for his life.

So, here is a man who’d been married before and had enjoyed the companionship and intimacy of marriage, now very lonely...hmmmm…married folks would tell you that it is a bit difficult to live by yourself after enjoying the companionship of marriage. Believe me, as a single man there are times you feel very lonely...you just want to be held and pampered...especially after winning a serious battle!! You want someone to share the victory moment with you. You even want to be pampered like a child at times. Someone said there is a king in every kid and there is a kid in every king...

Samson is introduced in chapter 16 "Samson went to Gaza, where he saw a prostitute. He went in to spend the night with her..." Looking for love in the wrong place you’d say...but then in the 4th verse see him again... "he fell in love with a woman in the Valley of Sorek whose name was Delilah..". In his search for companionship and intimacy he’d found himself in the house of a woman from Timnath, in the house of a prostitute and now finally his wearied soul has "fallen" in love with a certain Delilah..Samson was lead in his search by his passion and desire rather than by the spirit of God. Isn’t that what we all do in some areas of our life?? We are very spiritual in certain areas of our life but very sensual in other areas...

I would like to submit that Samson is an example of an average Christian today...Very anointed and strong in the battlefields of life but still not fulfilled in the matters of the heart...and you and I know that the matter of the heart is the heart of the matter...Guide your heart with all diligence for out of it are the issues of life..Samson lost his sight, his destiny, his anointing, his strength, and then his life because he did not guard his heart well enough...

 
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D. Greg Ebie
 
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Your brain makes up only about 2% of your body weight, but it uses about 25% of the oxygen within your blood. Why does your brain require one fourth of your body’s need for oxygen? Because it is always active. In addition to controlling the function of your body, the brain cells and nerve fibers are continuously interacting with each other. This interaction within your brain is what becomes your mind; you possess conscious and subconscious thought. The activity of your brain hold your memories and stimulates your dreams, hopes and aspirations. The brain’s activity feels emotion, and causes your body to respond to those emotions. With our mind we are the thought processes of reason, and learning. With the elect...

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Contributed By:
Robert Sickler
 
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FRUIT REQUIRES EFFORT AND DEDICATION

The young boy stood looking up at the naked ice-covered limbs of his favorite cherry tree. It was 4:30 in the morning and the full moon produced a silvery sheen in the ice, which almost seemed to originate within the branches themselves. The young man let out a deep sigh, which produced a cloud of ice crystals that slowly rose up as a gray mist amongst the limbs of the tree. As the young boy turned his eyes back to the snow covered path, his mind conjured up images of pies made from the bright red spheres of wonderful fruit this tree would produce in early summer.

The boy headed on to the barn, from which the gentle sound of cattle let him know that it was time for their morning feeding. The young boy would repeat this morning’s journey every day, seven days a week, 4 weeks a month until the winter snows would eventually gave way to spring rains. With the spring rains the boy became more and more fixated on his cherry tree. He was so delighted when the first pink and white blossoms began appear; but, at the same time, he was burdened by the fear of a late frost. Eventually, the blossoms were replaced with the beginnings of that most perfect of fruits: the cherry.

The young boy’s anxiety over a late frost was replaced by a deep sense of guardianship. He absolutely reveled in the thought of bathing his taste buds in the fruit produced by the cherry tree, but so did every bird in the county. To protect his tree from the inevitable onslaught of birds, he leaned boards up against the tree and place morsels of food on the upper part of the board. He hoped, in this way, to entice the barn cats to eventually venture into the branches of the cherry tree. He also placed an old stuffed owl on top of a pole, which he secured next to the tree.

Of course, he personally took on a daily vigil of protecting the tree. With every pail of milk he carried to the milk house, morning and night, the boy would stop and survey the tree for signs of birds. Should one be careless enough to perch in the tree, the boy would carefully set down the pail of milk, slowly reach for his bb-gun and turn the bird into cat food. He never paid any mind to the breed of bird; the fruit of the cherry tree must be protected at all costs.

Thanks to the faithfulness of the cats, the diligence of the owl, and the boy’s true aim, the cherry tree produced an abundance of fruit. As he had expected, the young boy’s grandmother turned the first harvesting of the tree into perfect cherry pies. She made them just the way the boy loved cherry pie: with extra thick pie crust on the top and on the bottom. Subsequent harvesting of the fruit from the cherry tree was canned and naturally an occasional pie was also made. Thus, the rewards of the cherry tree were both immediate and enduring.

As a youngster, the cherries served to pleasure the boy’s palate, but later in life he often considered how much effort and dedication is required to produce an abundance of good fruit.

 
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Diligence is the mother of good fortune.

 
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