Illustration results for psalms 107
It was an unusually cold day for the month of May. Spring had arrived and everything was alive with color. But a cold front from the north had brought winterís chill back to Indiana. I sat with two friends in the picture window of a quaint restaurant just off the corner of the town squire. The food and the company were both especially good that day. As we talked, my attention was drawn outside, across the street. There,
walking into town, was a man who appeared to be caring all his worldly goods on his back. He was carrying, a well-worn sign that read "Iíll work for food." My heart sank. I brought him to the attention of my friends and noticed that others around us had stopped eating to focus on him.
Heads moved in a mixture of sadness and disbelief. We continued with our meal, but his image lingered in my mind. We finished our meal and went our separate ways. I had errands to do and quickly set to accomplish them. I glanced toward the town square, looking somewhat halfheartedly for the strange visitor. I was fearful, knowing that seeing him again would call some response. I drove through town and saw nothing of him. I made some purchases at a store and got back into my car. Deep within me, the spirit of God kept speaking to me: "donít go back to the office until youíve at least driven once more around the square." And so with some hesitancy, I headed back into town. As I turned the squareís third corner, I saw him. He was standing on the steps of the storefront church, going through his sack. I stopped and looked, feeling both compelled to speak to him, yet wanting to drive on. The empty parking space on the corner seemed to be a sign from god: an invitation to park. I pulled in, got out and approached the townís visitor. Looking for the pastor? I asked. Not really, he replied, just resting. Have you eaten today? Oh, I ate something early this morning. Would you like to have lunch with me? Do you have some work I could do for you? No work, I replied. I commute here to work from the city, but I would like to! Take you to lunch. Sure he replied with a smile. As he began to gather his things, I asked him some surface questions. Where you headed? St. Louis. Where you from? Oh, all over; mostly Florida. I knew I had met someone unusual. We sat across from each other in the same restaurant I had left earlier. His face was weathered slightly beyond his 38 years. His eyes were dark and clear, and he spoke with an eloquence and articulation that was startling. He removed his jacket to reveal a bright red T-shirt that said, "Jesus is the never ending story." Then Danielís story began to unfold. He had seen rough times earl in life. Heíd made some wrong choices and reaped the consequences. Fourteen years earlier, while backpacking across the country, he had stopped on the beach in Daytona. He tried to hire on with some men who were putting up a big tent and some equipment. A concert, he thought. He was hired, but the tent would not house a concert but revival services, and in those services he saw life more clearly. He gave his life over to God. Nothingís been the same since, he said, I felt the lord telling me to keep walking, and so I did, some 14 years now. Ever think of stopping? I asked. Oh, once in a while, when it seems to get the best of me. But god has given me this calling. I give out bibles. Thatís whatís in my sack. I work to buy food and bibles, and I give them out when the spirit leads. I sat amazed. My homeless friend was not homeless. He was on a mission and lived this way by choice. The question burned inside for a minute and then I asked: whatís it like? What? To walk into town carrying all your things on your back and to show you a sign? Oh, it was humiliating at first. People would stare and make comments. Once someone tossed a piece of half-eaten bread and made a gesture that certainly didnít make me feel welcome. But then it became humbling to realize that God was using me to touch lives and change peopleís concepts of other folks like me. My concept was changing, too. We finished our dessert and gathered his things. Just outside the door, he paused. He turned and said," come ye blessed of my father and inherit the kingdom Iíve prepared for you. For when I was hungry you gave me food, when I was thirsty you gave me drink, a stranger and you took me in." I felt as if we were on holy ground. Could you use another bible? I asked.
It’s Thanksgiving Day & the aroma of roast turkey fills Charlie Brown’s house. Snoopy, outside, lying on top of his doghouse, smells that aroma, & he is thinking, “It’s Thanksgiving Day. Everybody eats turkey on Thanksgiving Day.” So he lies there, watching the back door, eagerly awaiting his Thanksgiving dinner.
Finally, the door opens & here comes Charlie Brown with a bowl of dog food, & he puts it on the ground. Snoopy gets off his house & stares at the dog food with a forlorn look on his face. And he thinks, “Just because I’m a dog, I have to eat dog food on Thanksgiving Day.”
Then the next square shows him looking at the dog food more intently, & he is thinking, “It could be worse. I could be the turkey.”
Sermon Central Staff
"HERE BE DRAGONS. HERE IS GOD."
2 Timothy 3:1-7 Matt. 8:23-26; 16:24-26 John 16:33 Psalm 107:23-30
We all remember Hurricane Katrina and the damage it inflicted on New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. Itís only a memory now, but it left terrible devastation and painful memories that still remain. The other night on the news they were revisiting New Orleans and looking at how much still remains to be done. As I watched, I thought about all those sailors over the centuries who looked to the sea for their livelihood, and how familiar they mustíve been with similar scenarios. Then I also thought how life is often compared to a voyage at sea.
Consider the ancient sailors for a moment. Now they really were the ultimate risk-takers. A weather forecast in those days meant, maybe, a couple of hours warning . . . if they were lucky.
I read about an interesting map thatís on display in the British Museum in London. Itís an old marinerís chart first drawn in 1525. It outlined the North American coastline and adjacent waters that had been explored. The cartographer made some intriguing notations on areas of the map that represented regions not yet explored. Some of his notations included the following:
* "Here be giants!"
* "Here be fiery scorpions!"
* "Here be dragons."
The article explained that eventually the map came into the possession of Sir John Franklin, a British explorer in the early 1800ís. Franklin scratched out each one of the fearful inscriptions, and he wrote these words in their place: "HERE IS GOD."
How often do we live our lives like weíre following that original map? We sail through waters which seem filled with many dangers. Fear of the unknown becomes very real to us! It seems that "Here be Giants! and "There be fiery scorpions!" and "Near by are terrible dragons." Our fears take away our peace of mind everywhere we turn.
(From a sermon by Terry Barnhill, Here Is God, 10/26/2009)