Subject: Christ's Victory
On March 6, 1836, residents of San Antonio, Texas, thought their world had come to an end. Declaring their independence from Mexico, they fought valiantly at a Catholic mission called the Alamo. Unhappily, Mexican General Santa Ana and his troops killed all 189 of the defenders, including the legendary Davy Crockett.
Six weeks later, thought, with the battle cry of "Remember the Alamo," General Sam Houston and a small cavalry ensemble launched a surprise attack on Santa Ana. He was captured, forced to give up his army and acknowledge the independence of Texas.
This moment in American history is not unlike another more significant set of events in the chronology of our world. After His work of creation, God had placed his people in a luxurious garden called Eden. There, his arch enemy Satan declared victory after successfully encouraging man to rebel against his Creator.
The ultimate vindication, however, when the Son of God came to earth in human form, gave up His life on Calvary's cross for the sins of mankind and was raised from the dead. The Bible even taunts Satan, saying, "Death has been swallowed up in victory. O Death, where is your victory? O Death, where is your sting?" (1 Cor. 15:54-55).
As overcoming believers, we daily shout "Remember Calvary" and declare Christ's victory over sin, death, and Satan.
J. Kenneth Basset
A Spiritual Checkup
When you go to a doctor for your annual checkup, he or she will often begin to poke, prod, and press various places, all the while asking, "Does it hurt? How about this?"
If you cry out in pain, one of two things has happened. Either the doctor has pushed too hard, without the right sensitivity, or, more likely, there's something wrong, and the doctor will say, "We'd better do some more tests; it's not supposed to hurt there!"
So it is when ministers preach on financial responsibility, and certain members cry out in discomfort, criticizing the message and the messenger. Either the pastor has pushed too hard, or perhaps there's something wrong. In that case, my friend, we're in need of the Great Physician because it's not supposed to hurt there.
Leadership Ministries Worldwide
Practical Illustrations: Galatians-Colossians
Did you ever see a blast-furnace? How long would it take a man, do you think, with hammer and chisel, or by chemical means, to get the bits of gold out from the stony matrix of ore? But fling them into the great cylinder, pile the fire, and let the strong draft roar through the burning mass, and by evening you can run off a glowing stream of pure and fluid metal. All the dross and rubbish is parted from it; it has been charmed out of all its sullen hardness, and will take the shape of any mold into which you like to run it.
The fire has conquered, melted, and purified. So love shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost given unto us will purify us from all our sins.
Adapted from Alexander MacLaren
via MacLaren's 1,024 Best Illustrations
Seeking Something Solid
On April 23, 1921, Andrew Corey, a self-proclaimed "human fly", was attempting to climb the outside wall of the New Howard Hotel in Baltimore, Md. He had staged the stunt as a fundraiser for an orphanage.
Corey climbed easily up to the sixth floor, but, as thousands of spectators watched, he reached for was looked like a gray piece of stone near a cornice. He gambled all his weight and safety on it as he stretched upward, but suddenly he plummeted to his death on the concrete below. When they opened his hand, they found, ironically a spider's web. He had gambled his life on a something hollow and unstable masquerading as something solid.
Jesus said, "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in and steal" (Matt. 6:19-20).
Life is serious business. Do not gamble your soul on earthly things that are hollow, unstable, and transitory. Secure your soul by pursuing spiritual treasure found in God's Word. Sin weaves a web of deceit that makes us think we have something solid to grab onto as we navigate the climb of life, but its web will not support you. You need something more substantial; the firm foundation of Jesus' teaching.
"Take hold of eternal life" (1 Tim. 6:12).
It is recorded of D.L. Moody that, upon one of his journeys across the Atlantic, there was a fire in the hold of the ship. The crew and many volunteers stood in line to pass buckets of water. A friend said to Moody, "Mr. Moody, let us go to the other end of the ship and engage in prayer." The common-sense evangelist replied, "Not so, sir; we stand right here and pass buckets and pray hard all the time!"
Moody understood that supplication and action are two hands of the same person; they should not be separated. God answers prayer, but He also expects us not to shirk our responsibility to do what is right. We do not always have to be in quiet solitude to cry out to God.
via Knight's 3,000 Illustrations
The Way to Heaven
Anglican Bishop Samuel Wilberforce (son of the great reformer William Wilberforce) was noted for his witty responses. Once, he was accosted at a railway station by a man who said he thought he could put to him a question that he would be puzzled to answer.
Bishop Wilberforce asked what it was.
"Which is the nearest way to heaven?" said the man.
"Oh, that's quite easy," said the bishop; "any child knows that; I learnt it when I was a boy at Sunday school. You just take the first turning to the right, and keep straight on."
Tools for Teachers
Subject: God's Protection
What Struck Him
A young soldier, back from service overseas, tried to get out of telling of his experiences by saying that nothing had ever happened to him, but his questioner was persistent.
"Something must have happened," she declared. "Now, tell me, in all your experiences overseas, what was it that struck you the most."
"Well, ma'am," said the soldier after some thought, "the thing that struck me most was the number of bullets that missed me."
So we may be struck most by the number of dangers that have threatened us, only to be diverted by God's protecting hand.
via Knight's 3,000 Illustrations
The Blind Man's Confidence
A poet and an artist once examined a painting representing the healing of the two blind men of Jericho.
The artist asked, "What seems to you the most remarkable thing in this painting."
The poet said, "Everything is very clear-the groupings of the individuals, the expression upon the faces, etc."
The artist found the most significant touch elsewhere. He pointed to the steps of a house in the corner of the picture. "Do you see that discarded cane lying there?"
"Yes," said the poet, "but what does that signify?"
"The blind man who has rushed to Jesus is so sure he will be healed," said the artist, "that he has left his cane behind. He will need it no more and rushed to the Lord as though he could already see."
Too often we hold on to canes and crutches of our own making instead of looking only to Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith!
via Knight's 3000 Illustrations