Sermon Illustrations


Don Shelby tells about a teenage girl who came from a solid, loving family, but was lured into drugs through her friends at school. In spite of the best efforts from her parents and professional help, this girl kept going back to drugs. She left home and dropped out of sight for awhile, then showed up again at Christmas, more depressed and confused than ever.

One night, her mother went into the daughter's room and told her again how much she loved her. Mom also told her how she was praying for a miracle that would save her. A little while later, the girl left the house and returned about midnight.

The next morning, the mother woke up to find her daughter making breakfast. She had a smile on her face, and looked like a new person. Mom couldn't believe her eyes.

Then that young woman told her mother about the long, desperate walk she took that night. She came back ready to take her own life, because she felt she had failed her parents, her God, and herself.

She sat in her room figuring out the best way to do it. But as she sat there, she found herself looking at a Christmas card someone had sent to her. Her Mom had left it on her bedside table.

The daughter opened the card and saw a painting of Mary responding to the news of the miraculous baby who would be named Jesus. The young woman held the card to her chest, and began to cry out to God for help.

She said she heard a voice saying to her, "Why didn't you ask me for help long before this? I've been here all the time."

She knew it was the voice of the Lord. And she spent the rest of the night walking the floor, while she talked to God and held on to that Christmas card with the picture of Mary saying "yes" to God.

All at once a peace and a release came over her. Her life turned a corner, and began a process of change that continued to grow.

[Adapted from sermon "The Trance of Non-renewal" by Maxie Dunnam - Zechariah 9:9-13 (Dunnam wrote: "Thanks to Don Shelby for this story, retold by Jack Heacock, 'They Have No Wine,' January 15, 1989.") From a sermon by Rick Crandall, Mary's Message to Us, 12/3/2011]

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