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1 John 2:15-2:17
1 Kings 3:16-3:28
2 Corinthians 9:12-10:1
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ILLUSTRATION… Discipleship Journal, 11-12/92
A recent survey of Discipleship Journal readers ranked areas of greatest spiritual challenge to them:
5. (Tie) Anger/Bitterness
5. (Tie) Sexual lust
Survey respondents noted temptations were more potent when…
they had neglected their time with God (81 percent)
and when they were physically tired (57 percent).
Resisting temptation was accomplished by prayer (84 percent), avoiding compromising
situations (76 percent), Bible study (66 percent), and being accountable to someone (52 percent).
Harry Houdini, the famed escape artist issued a challenge wherever he went. He could be locked in any jail cell in the country, he claimed, and set himself free quickly and easily. Always he kep his promise, but one time something went wrong. Houdini entered the jail in his street clothes; the heavy, metal doors clanged shut behind him. He took from his belt a concealed piece of metal, strong and flexible. He set to work immediately, but something seemed to be unusual about this lock. For 30 minutes he worked and got nowhere. An hour passed, and still he had not opened the door. By now he was bathed in sweat and panting in exasperation, but he still could not pick the lock. Finally, after laboring for 2 hours, Harry Houdini collapsed in frustration and failure against the door he could not unlock. But when he fell against the door, it swung open! It had never been locked at all! But in his mind it was locked and that was all it took to keep him from opening the door and walking out of the jail cell.
I DON'T REMEMBER
A young nun once claimed to have had a vision of Jesus. Her bishop decided to test her truthfulness and ordered that the next time she had a vision she should ask Christ what the bishop’s primary sin had been before he became a bishop.
Some months later the nun returned and the bishop asked if she had asked Christ the question, to which she affirmed that she had. "And what did he say?" the bishop asked, apprehensively.
"Christ said..." and the nun paused a moment... "He said, ‘I don’t remember. ’"
We have a God who not only forgives but forgets!
SOURCE: Donald Deffner, Seasonal Illustrations, Resource, 1992, p. 94.
In Christ We Have:
A love that can never be fathomed
A life that can never die
A righteousness that can never be tarnished
A peace that can never be understood
A rest that can never be disturbed
A joy that can never be diminished
A hope that can never be disappointed
A glory that can never be clouded
A light that can never be darkened
A purity that can never be ...
Sermon Central Staff
PAIN PASSES, BUT BEAUTY REMAINS
Pierre Auguste Renoir is a famous French artist who lived in the late 19th century to the early 20th century. He was known for his paintings, mostly depicting family life. But there was one disease that tormented this gifted artist -- he had arthritis that plagued him to the tip of his fingers. Every time he painted, each stroke of brush meant grimacing pain due to his arthritis. It took him quite a time to finish one painting, a masterful work of art. One of his friends pitifully consoled him to stop painting and shift his passion in arts and focus on his health, for it did seem a great struggle against pain whenever he held his brush and start another piece of art. But Renoir, with great display of passion, answered, "The Pain passes away but the Beauty remains."
I would say with Renoir that every time we face a brunt of painful experience, we must answer with pride on our faces, "The pain will pass away ultimately, but the beauty of character that it would produce in me will remain."
(From a sermon by Jofrey Bustamante, Let the Pain Remain! 7/25/2010)
I used the famous Gene Kelly scene from Singing in the Rain as an illustration of Romans 5:17. The Sermon title was Singing in the Reign. Kelly’s dance was full of the child-like love we can feel and experience in knowing that God has freely given us His abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness. Kelly’s exhuberant joy is dampened by the appearance of the policeman - an apt illustration of moving from grace and the free gift back into legalism!
On 11 May 2000 a lady found a new e-mail message on her computer, which simply said, "I love you". It looked innocent enough, perhaps even romantic. Like most of us would, she clicked to open the message, and the so-called "Love Bug" was born. With lightning speed it raced around the world, bringing politics and business to a halt. It was a deadly computer virus that caused millions of computer software programmes to crash. One virus, but so much contamination. But it’s not the first time that a single virus has caused so much grief to mankind. In fact, it’s a kind of replay of a deadlier virus that hit Planet Earth more than six thousand years ago polluting the first human couple, Adam and Eve. Despite God’s warning not to click on to Satan’s message, they did so with appalling consequences for them, and through them to all mankind. That virus is called "Sin".
May 5, 2004 “You Can Walk Boy!” John 16: 19-24 Key verse(s): 21 “‘A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world.’”
Why do Christians have to suffer? If I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard that questions, from others and from that whisper within my own heart, I’d be a rich man. So the adage goes. But, when you think of it, it is a logical question. Why do we have to suffer? Wouldn’t it be just as meaningful in terms of our faith if we had lived a life of contentment, devoid of suffering, so that there would be so much more room for joy? Think of all the wasted time spent in suffering. There was that financial problem we had last year. There were days and weeks on end when we did nothing but fill our lives with worry over where the money would come from and how the bills might be paid. This was time that could have been better spent reflecting on our financial good fortune and how we might better use it to help others. Instead we indulged ourselves in countless hours of self-concern and worry. Or, remember that time we were so sick? Both body and mind were thus wrapped up in ourselves. Can there be any more selfish way of living than that depicted in suffering? On the face of it it would seem that suffering is a very inefficient way of getting things done from a divine perspective anyway. What could possibly be on God’s mind to inflict us so? It would seem that there are far better ways of doing His will than effecting if by suffering. Suffering is so consuming, so inefficient and base.
“Arthur Gordon relates a story of a man who had been stricken with polio at age three, and his parents, probably Depression-poor and overwhelmed, had abandoned him at a New York City hospital. Taken in by a foster family, he was sent to stay with their relatives in Georgia when he was six, in hopes that the warmer climate would improve his condition. What improved his condition, though, was Maum Jean, an elderly, black woman who took that ‘frail, lost, lonely little boy’ into her heart. For six years, she daily massaged his weak legs; administering her own hydrotherapy in a nearby creek; and encouraged him spiritually with her stories, songs, and prayers. Gordon writes,
Night after night Maum Jean continued the messaging and praying. Then one morning, when I was about twelve, she told me she had a surprise for me.
She led me out into the yard, placed me with my back against an oak tree; I can feel the rough bark of it to this day. She took away my crutches and braces. She moved back a dozen paces and told me that the Lord had spoken to her in a dream. He had said that the time had come for me to walk. ‘So now,’ said Maum Jean, ‘I want you to walk over to me.’
My instant reaction was fear. I knew I couldn’t walk unaided; I had tried. I shrank back against the solid support of the tree. Maum Jean continued to urge me.
I burst into tears. I begged. I pleaded. Her voice rose suddenly, no longer gentle and coaxing but full of power and command. ‘You can walk, boy! The Lord has spoken! Now walk over here.’ She knelt down and held out her arms. And somehow, impelled by something stronger than fear, I took a faltering step, and another, and another, until I reached Maum Jean and fell into her arms, both of us weeping.
It was two mor...
Several years ago Billy Graham preached in St. Petersburg, Russia. During the crusade a very brilliant architect, an atheist, came to hear him. Night after night he listened to the preaching of the gospel. He didn’t make a decision during the crusade. As he thought about the matter later, he realized the question was not, "What should I do with Jesus?" but rather "Am I smart, or am I stupid?" "Am I a normal person, or am I crazy?" And so while he was taking a shower one day, it all came together for him. With the water splashing in his face, he looked to heaven and said, "Jesus Christ, forgive my sins." In that moment, he was saved, his sins were forgiven, and he was transferred from Adam to Christ. (Told to pastor Ray Pilchard by Pastor Sergel Nikolaev)
Floyd Landis, embroiled in a doping scandal since winning this year’s Tour de France, raised a Mennonite in Pennsylvania, leans on his mother for support.
“She’s the one that no matter what happens, to me or to anyone else in life, she will remain unchanged,” he said. “When she spoke to me, she said, ‘Look, tell me the truth, doesn’t matter to me what it is, I’ll see you the same regardless.’ And I think if you saw any of her interviews on television, she believes in me.”
If an earthly parent has this much unconditional love for her child, how much more does our Heavenly Father love us? No matter what we do, when we come to Him all He sees is Christ in us and yes, He believes in us.
(Taken from an ESPN.com article written on 08/07/06)