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Contributed By:
R. David Reynolds
 
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Since my high school years, the message of the Gospel Hymn “God Will Take Care of You” by Civilla D. Martin, have spoken to my heart, especially in times such as these. I would like to share the lyrics of the first stanza and the refrain with you this morning. You may also find the complete text at Number 130 in our 1989 edition of THE UNTED METHODIST HYMNAL:

Be not dismayed what e’er betide,
God will take care of you;
Beneath his wings of love abide,
God will take care of you.

God will take care of you,
Through every day, o’er all the way;
He will take care of you,
God will take care of you.

 
Contributed By:
Michael McCartney
 
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GIVING BEGETS GIVING

Leadership Magazine carried a story about four young men, Bible College students, who were renting a house together. One Saturday morning someone knocked on their door. And when they opened it, there stood this bedraggled-looking old man. His eyes were kind of marble-ized, and he had a silvery stub of whiskers on his face. His clothes were ragged and torn. His shoes didn’t match. In fact, they were both for the same foot. And he carried a wicker basket full of unappealing vegetables that he was trying to sell.

The boys felt sorry for him and bought some of his vegetables just to help him out. Then he went on his way. But from that time on, every Saturday he appeared at their door with his basket of vegetables. As the boys got to know him a little bit better, they began inviting him in to visit a while before continuing on his rounds.

They soon discovered that his eyes looked marble-ized not because of drugs or alcohol, but because of cataracts. They learned that he lived just down the street in an old shack. They also found out that he could play the harmonica, that he loved to play Christian hymns, and that he really loved God. So every Saturday they would invite him in, and he would play his harmonica and they would sing Christian hymns together.

They became good friends, and the boys began trying to figure out ways to help him. They finally collected a bunch of clothes and secretly left it all on his doorstep, no note attached or anything. The following Saturday morning, the story says, right in the middle of all their singing and praising, he suddenly said to them, "God is so good!" And they all agreed, "Yes, God is so good."

He went on, "You know why he is so good?" They said, "Why?"

He said, "Because yesterday, when I got up and opened my door, there were boxes full of clothes and shoes and coats and gloves. Yes, God is so good!" And the boys smiled at each other and chimed in, "Yes, God is so good."

He went on, "You know why He is so good?" They answered, "You already told us why. What more?" He said, "Because I found a family who could use those things and I gave them all away."

 
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John Newton, the writer of the most popular hymn in history, "Amazing Grace" said:

"… if two angels in heaven were given assignments by God at the same time, one of them to go and rule over the greatest nation on earth and the other to go sweep the streets of the dirtiest village, each angel would be completely indifferent as to which one got which assignment.
It simply wouldn’t matter to them. Why? Because the real joy lies in being obedient to God. For a Christ follower, the important thing isn’t what God has us doing; the important thing is that we’re doing what God wants us to do."

Lee Strobel, God’s Outrageous Claims, 93

 
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“But whom do you mean by one that is perfect? We mean the one in whom is the mind which was in Christ, and who so walks as Christ also walked; a man that has clean hands and a pure heart, or that is cleansed from all filthiness of flesh and spirit; one in whom is no occasion of stumbling, and who accordingly does not commit sin. To declare this a little more particularly: We understand by that scriptural expression, a perfect man, one in whom God has fulfilled his faithful word, from al your filthiness and from all your idols will I cleanse you. I will also save you from all your uncleanness. We understand hereby one whom God has sanctified throughout, in body, soul and spirit; one who walks in the light as he is in the light, in whom is no darkness at...

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Contributed By:
Dana Chau
 
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God promised peace to those whom His favor rests. Let me close with the words from a hymn that Annie Johnson Flint wrote: "What God Hath Promised"

God hath not promised skies always blue,
Flower strewn pathways all our lives through;
God hath not promised sun without rain,
Joy without sorrow, peace without pain.

God hath not promised we shall not know
Toil and temptation, trouble and woe;
He hath not told us we shall not bear
Many a burden, many a care.

God hath not promised smooth roads and wide,
Swift, easy travel, needing no guide;
Never a mountain rocky and steep,
Never a river turbid and deep.

But God hath promised strength for the day,
Rest for the labor, light for the way,
Grace for the trials, help from above,
Unfailing sympathy, undying love.

Along with these promises, God has given us peace with Himself through Jesus Christ, peace with others through His instructions, and peace of mind through confidence in Him. When we have no peace, we have no joy. But when we know peace, we know joy.

 
Contributed By:
Kevin Karhoff
 
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The meaning of life. The wasted years of life. The poor choices of life. God answers the mess of life with one word: grace. We talk as though we understand the term. The bank gives us a grace period. The seedy politician falls from grace. Musicians speak of a grace note. We describe an actress as gracious, a dancer as graceful. We use the word for hospitals, baby girls, kings, and pre-meal prayers. We talk as though we know what grace means. Especially at church. Grace graces the songs we sing and the Bible verses we read. Grace shares the church parsonage with its cousins: forgiveness, faith, and fellowship. Preachers explain it, hymns proclaim it and seminaries preach it. But do we really understand it?

Max Lucado, "Grace" (p. 7)

 
Contributed By:
Rob Clifton
 
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Many people believe that traditional church music is vastly superior to the contemporary church music being written today. But the date on which a song was written does not insure it’s worth either theologically or musically. Milburn Price, a Church Music professor, gave the following example in an article he wrote called, "Tensions in Church Music":
"The bells of Hell go ting-a-ling-a-ling
For you, but not for me.
The blessed angels sing-a-ling-a-ling
Through all eternity.
"O death, where is they sting-a-ling-a-ling?
O grave, thy victory?
No ting-a-ling-a-ling, no sting-a-ling-a-ling,
But sing-a-ling-a-ling for me!"
This was a hymn sung by the church in early America. But clearly it doesn’t measure up to the great hymns of the faith written at that time. My point, just because something is old doesn’t make it good!

 
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"For all the promises of God in Him are yea, and in Him Amen, unto the glory of God by us" (II Corinthians 1:20).

The word "amen" is a most remarkable word. It was transliterated directly from the Hebrew into the Koine Greek of the New Testament, then into Latin and into English and many other languages, so that it is practically a universal word. It has been called the best-known word in human speech. The word is directly related--in fact, almost identical--to the Hebrew word for "believe" (aman), or "faithful." Thus, it came to mean "sure" or truly," an expression of absolute trust and confidence. When one believes God, he indicates his faith by an "amen." When God makes a promise, the believer’s response is "amen"--"so it will be!" In the New Testament, it is often translated "verily" or "truly." When we pray according to His Word and His will, we know God will answer, so we close with an "amen," and so also do we conclude a great hymn or anthem of praise and faith.

The word is even a title of Christ Himself. The last of His letters to the seven churches begins with a remarkable salutation by the glorified Lord: "These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God" (Revelation 3:14). We can be preeminently certain that His Word is always faithful and true, because He is none other than the Creator of all things, and thus He is o...

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Contributed By:
David  Yarbrough
 
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Help me to realize that it was not the healthy who reached out to you. They bunched up in crowds, but it was those who suffered greatly who reached out to grasp you. It was the people in the streets, not in the sitting rooms of society that groped for your garment. It was needy people. People with out stretched arms. People with empty hands. People who had nothing to offer but the faith that you could make them whole. I confess, O Lord, how often I have followed in the crowd pressed around you. Yet how few times have those brushes with you changed my life? I have touched you, but only in the rush hour of religious activity. Sunday after Sunday I take my part in the crowd as I sit through the service. I sing the hymns, hear the sermon. I read my Bible, say my prayers, give my money. I attend the right seminars, tune in to the right programs, read the right books. How could I be so close your presence yet so far from your power? Could it be that my arms are folded? Could it be that my hands are full? I pray that if my arms are complacent, you would unfold them in outstretched longing for you. And if my hands are full, I pray that you would empty them so that I might cling only to you. (“Intimate Moments with the Savior”; Ken Gire)

 
Contributed By:
Bruce Howell
 
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John M. Moore, the hymn writer captured this truth when he wrote…

Why did they nail Him to Calvary’s tree?
Why, tell me, why was He there?
Jesus the Helper, the Healer, the Friend—
Why, tell me, why was He there?

Then the songwriter answers the rhetorical question by saying…

All my iniquities on Him were laid—
He nailed them all to the tree.
Jesus the debt of my sin fully paid—
He paid the ransom for me.

When Jesus was on the cross, I was in the crowd.

 
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