Illustration results for Knowing God's Will
Staff Picks of Free Sermons and PRO Church Media
When God bolts the door, don’t try to get in through the window. The will of God never will lead you where the grace of God cannot keep you.
Intro: Illustrate: If You Can’t See the Water Line, It’s ... Time to Unload
When I was a child, my father, on leave from World War II, took my sister and me to the Liverpool dock yards to see the
merchant ships that brought us food.
"Brave men have risked their lives to bring us this precious cargo," he told us. I noticed a line painted around each vessel. "What’s that for?" I asked.
"To show the people loading the ship how much it’s made to carry," he said. "If they put too much on, the line disappears
below the water. The boat will sink. If they put too little inside, it won’t be full enough to do what it was made to do.
Each boat is made by its builder to carry just the right amount."
God has painted a water line in our lives… He will not give too much to bear… but would allow “too much” to cause us to need His help. My children enjoy help bringing in the groceries from the car. They prefer to carry in the candy and cookies…. But at times I would asked (make) them to carry in other items. My youngest of boys reaches for items unaware of the weight and if too heavy… says…, “You do this one daddy.” God allows for “things” to get to heavy for us so we can humble ourselves and say, “You do this one daddy.”
John Williams III
There are times when we get in God’s way when He is trying to tend to the business of His kingdom here on earth. "A man was struggling with a large box at the back edge of his truck. A passing neighbor saw his plight and came over to help him. He put his shoulder to the box. After a few tiring moments the neighbor exclaimed, "What’s in that box anyway? I don’t think we will ever get it on the truck." "Get on!" the exasperated man shouted, "I’m trying to get it off!" … Well-meaning Christians can be God’s worst enemies. When we judge and condemn others, when we set up our own standards of what it means to be saved, when we claim absolute knowledge of God’s will and of his Scriptures, we take over God’s role and attempt to run his business" (Hoefler, p. 47). That is the very reason that we sometimes fail to see that we are trying to put the box on the truck when God wants the box off the truck.
LEADERS AND FOLLOWERS
S. I. McMillen, in his book "None of These Diseases," tells a story of a young woman who wanted to go to college, but her heart sank when she read the question on the application blank that asked, "Are you a leader?" Being both honest and conscientious, she wrote, "No," and returned the application, expecting the worst.
To her surprise, she received this letter from the college: "Dear Applicant: A study of the application forms ...
Have you heard the Story of the Doctor who comes to a split in the road on a Vermont back country lane. The road sign at the fork points both directions for the same town. Seeing a farmer beside the road he asked him, “does it matter which road I take to get to town?” The Farmer replies, “Not to me it don’t.”
You’re probably familiar with the book "Moby Dick". Even if you’ve never read it, you know the story: Captain Ahab goes in search of a great while whale, and is finally killed when the whale attacks and destroys his ship. But you probably didn’t know that this scene in Herman Melville’s novel was inspired by an actual event in the year 1820 - the sinking of the whaling vessel "Essex" in the South Pacific. Just like the ship in "Moby Dick", the Essex was rammed by a whale. As it sank, the captain and crew abandoned ship and climbed into the three whaleboats. These were twenty-five foot seqgoing rowboats that were normally used to chase and kill whales. But now they would be used to carry the survivors of the Essex more than three thousand miles, over a period of 93 days, to the coast of South America.
It is difficult to comprehend the torments and extreme agonies these men must have suffered, constantly exposed to the brutal rays of the sun, having very little to eat or drink and both starving and dying of thirst. In fact, many of the men did not survive the trip. But those who did described the voyage as three months of constant torture. As the first mate, Owen Chase, recorded in his journal, "The privation of water is justly ranked among the most dreadful of the miseries of our life. . . The violence of raving thirst has no parallel in the catalogue of human calamities." On the twenty-third day after the sinking of their ship, he wrote, "[Our] thirst had become now incessantly more intolerable than our hunger, and the quantity then allowed [half a pint per day] was barely sufficient to keep the mouth in a state of moisture, for about one third of the time. . . In vain was every expedient tried to relieve the raging fever of the throat. . . Our suffering during these . . . days almost exceeded human belief." ["In the Heart of the Sea," p. 116]
As Nathaniel Philbrick writes in his book about the disaster,
"The Essex survivors had entered . . . the ’cotton-mouth’ phase of thirst. Saliva becomes thick and foul-tasting; the tongue clings irritatingly to the teeth and the roof of the mouth. Even though speech is difficult, sufferers are often moved to complain ceaselessly about their thirst until their voices become so cracked and hoarse that they can speak no more. A lump seems to form in the throat, causing the sufferer to swallow repeatedly in a vain attempt to dislodge it. Severe pain is felt in the head and neck. The face feels full due to the shrinking of the skin. Hearing is affected, and many people begin to hallucinate. Still to come . . . were the agonies of a mouth that has ceased to generate saliva. The tongue hardens into . . . ’a senseless weight, swinging on the still-soft root and striking foreignly against the teeth.’ Speech becomes impossible, although sufferers are known to moan and bellow. Next is the "blood sweats" phase, involving ’a progressive mummification of the initially living body.’ The tongue swells to such proportions that it squeezes past the jaws. The eyelids crack and the eyeballs being to weep tears of blood. The throat is so swollen that breathing becomes difficult, creating [the] terrifying sensation of drowning." [ibid, pp. 126-127]
As terrible as their suffering was, there’s something even worse. In the story of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31), the rich man is in torment in hell, while Lazarus is with Abraham. And the rich man begs, "Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’" The description of the agony of thirst suffered by the crew of the Essex gives us just a glimpse of the torments of hell. But even this is only an approximation. The reality is even more intolerable, for Jesus says, " Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.." (Matthew 10:28) In other words, the worst bodily suffering possible on this earth is still less terrifying than suffering under the wrath of God for ever and ever, throughout eternity.
There’s an old story of a man who was walking at night, and saw another man searching for something near a lamp post. Approaching, he asked the man what he was looking for, and the man, without looking up, replied, “My watch”. The first man asked, “Well, precisely where were you standing when you dropped it?” Continuing his search, the man pointed a finger in the distance and said, “Over there somewhere.” Incredulous, the first man said, “Well then sir, why are you looking for it here?” Finally looking up in frustration and meeting the first man’s gaze, the searcher replied testily, “Because sir, the light is better here!”
GOING NO WHERE FAST
In his book "Growing Strong in the Seasons of Life", the author Charles Swindoll tells a story about the 19th Century agnostic Thomas Huxley (some of you might know that it was Huxley who promoted Darwinism and Humanism in his attacks on Christianity). Huxley was in Dublin and was rushing to catch a train. He climbed aboard one of Dublin’s famous horse drawn taxis and said to the driver -"Hurry, I’m almost late ... drive fast". Off they went at a furious pace and Huxley sat back in his seat and closed his eyes. After a while Huxley opened his eyes and glanced out the window to notice that they were going in the wrong direction. Realizing that he hadn’t told the driver where to take him he called out ‘do you know wher...
A story is told of two men who worked in the audit department of a large bank. They made an overnight trip to a distant branch of the bank, and were dining in a local restaurant. The chief auditor told the other man, “First we’ll hit the tellers, and then get the vault.” They arrived at the bank the next morning, only to be promptly arrested by the state police. Upon inquiry, they discovered that a police captain had eaten at the same restaurant and had overheard the conversation about “hitting the tellers and getting the vault.” The police captain had made a very good assumption about the situation, based on the information as he had overheard it, but his assumption was also very wrong. So how can we avoid making false assumptions when we seek the mind of the Lord?
I remember hearing the director of the George Muller Foundation telling of God’s perfect timing in the provision of guidance and resources.
The Foundation had been requested to commence a new child-care project which would require a great commitment in time and resources. The trustees decided that they couldn’t go ahead unless they received clear direction from the Lord, and so they committed the need to God in prayer. The day came for a decision to be made, but no definite leading had been received. Then on the day of their meeting a substantial sum was received from a donor earmarked for such a project - and what was more remarkable was that the gift had been designated over 20 years before but because of legal problems over the estate it had just become available.