Illustrations

Subject: Mothers' Day

Fervent Prayer

Once, in North Africa, there was a mother named Monica who had prayed through the years for her wayward son. Before he left for Italy, she prayed through the night that he might not go, but with the light of morning the ship sailed.

Later on the son wrote, "That night I stole away and she was left behind in weeping and prayer. And what, O Lord, was she with so many tears asking of You but that You would not suffer me to sail? But You, in the depth of Your counsels, knowing the main point of her desire, did not regard what she then asked, that You might accomplish the greater thing for which she was ever imploring You."

Yet, though long-delayed, the mother's prayers were answered. Her son found Christ in Italy, on the very trip she feared would most draw him away from the Lord. We know this story because of the result of his salvation-the son was St. Augustine of Hippo. The Lord loves the prayers of a mother for her children.

Knight's 3,000 Illustrations

Subject: Fulfilled Promises

Israel's Future

On May 14, 1948, at 8 a.m., Britain's Union Jack was lowered over Jerusalem. That simple act signaled the beginning of Israel as a nation-state. It also shouted, "Let the hostilities begin!"

The arms dealers of the world would not be disappointed. All the peripheral Arab nations launched a superior assault on the novice Israelis. Yet when the curtain dropped, it was the infant who miraculously prevailed.

How? God prophesied 2,500 years before: "For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land" (Ezek. 36:24). The "why" behind His actions: "It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for My holy name, which you have profaned among the nations where you went . . . then the nations will know that I am the Lord,' declares the Lord God, when I prove Myself holy among you in their sight'" (Ezek. 36:22-23).

What is Israel's future? God continued: "Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes and you will be careful to observe my ordinances. And you will live in the land that I gave your forefathers; so you will be My people, and I will be your God" (Ezek. 36:25-28).

Pray daily for Israel, that they might know Jesus, with whom there is no brighter future.

J. Kenneth Bassett
Timeless Signatures

Subject: Sin

Know Your Audience

A preacher stood up in front of his congregation and asked, "Have any of you here, at any time in your life-even in childhood-ever told an untruth? And white lies count, by the way." Of course, everyone raised their hand. Then he asked, "And has anyone here ever taken something that didn't belong to you-like a piece of bubble-gum from a candy store, or a paper clip from work, or never returned something that you borrowed?" Everyone again raised their hands. "That's good," the minister said. "I just needed to know who my audience is. I see that I'm surrounded by liars and thieves."

"For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at one point, he has become guilty of all" (James 2:10).

From The Story File by Steve May, copyright 2000 by Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody, Massachusetts. Used by Permission. All rights reserved.

Subject: Waiting on the Lord

Sunspots

It is said of Heinrich Schwabe, the German astronomer, that, wishing to determine the relation between sunspots and the earth's magnetic field, he gave himself to recording of the varying appearances of the sun's surface.

For 42 years, the sun didn't rise on a single cloud-free morning above the flat horizon of the plain at Dessau where Schwabe lived without meeting the eye of his patient telescope! The man of science trusts nature. He waits for it, in the faith that it is, and that it is a rewarder of those who diligently seek it.

If only Christian people would realize that it is infinitely more worth their while to wait thus patiently upon God, what wonders of Spirit-filled lives we should see!

Archibald Alexander
via 1,000 New Illustrations

Subject: Prayer

The Power Room

The story is told of two men who were visiting a great factory. They were shown all the different rooms where the great machines were buzzing and making a great noise as the wheels turned at a rapid pace. Then the guide led them to another room. Here everything was very quiet, not a sound to be heard.

One of the men said, "Not much doing here." The guide smilingly replied, "But this is the most important room of all, this is where the power comes from to run the great machines. We call this the quiet room' and it is the power room' as well."

As I read this story, I pondered where we get our power. Do we have a "quiet room"? Do we need one? I am sure you will say, "We indeed need a power room', a place where we can meet the Lord and talk things over with Him." Yes, we need to tarry there, too, until we know the Lord's will and then go out to do it as best we can. Our lives will be fruitless and failures unless we do spend time in the "quiet room".

Knight's 3,000 Illustrations

Subject: Truth and Love

Sodium Chloride

Sodium is an extremely active element found naturally only in combined form; it always links itself to another element. Chlorine, on the other hand, is the poisonous gas that gives bleach its offensive odor.

When sodium and chlorine are combined, the result is sodium chloride, common table salt-a substance that
preserves meat and brings out the flavors of food.

Love and truth can be like sodium and chloride. Love without truth is flighty, sometimes blind, willing to combine with various doctrines. On the other hand, truth by itself is often abrasive. Spoken without love, it can turn people away from the Gospel.

When truth and love are combined in an individual or a church, then we have what Jesus called "the salt of the earth" (Matt. 5:13), and we're able to preserve and bring out the beauty of our faith (Eph. 4:15).

"Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned, as it were, with salt, so that you may know how you should respond to each person" (Col. 4:6).

Bulletin Digest

Subject: Christian Life

A Lost Art

It was Vance Havner who said, "Walking is a lost art. Any pedestrian along a country road these days is presumed to be either out of his head or out of gas."

This philosophy is clearly seen in the language of our culture today with statements like, "life in the fast lane," "I'm going to run to the store", and "why walk when we can ride?" Walking, we say, is "too boring", "too slow", or "just wears us out."

We can make excuses, but walking is good for your health, a good way to slow down the pace of life and enjoy God's creation, and always meant to be done "left, right, left, right, etc."

Walking requires us to be consistent. When we were born, walking was not an immediate skill we performed. It was something that had to be learned. The same is true in the spiritual realm. Walking with God is a practical skill that takes time to master. Once you learn to walk as a Christian, you have a lifetime to practice and keep it in top form.

From Practical Illustrations-Galatians-Colossians
Leadership Ministries Worldwide

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