Illustrations

Subject: Faith

Bifocals of Faith

Peter Marshall, senate chaplain during the 1940s and World War II, was the author of this prayer: "God, give us the faith to believe in the ultimate triumph of righteousness, no matter how dark and uncertain are the skies of today. We pray for the bifocals of faith-that see the despair and the need of the hour but also see, further on, the patience of our God working out His plan in the world He has made."

Subject: Honesty

Trigonometry Exam

Madison Sarratt taught mathematics at Vanderbilt University for many years. Before giving a test, the professor would admonish his class in this manner: "Today I am giving two examinations-one in trigonometry and the other in honesty. I hope you will pass them both.

If you must fail one, fail trigonometry. There are many good people in the world who can't pass trigonometry, but there are no good people in the world who cannot pass the examination of honesty."

George Sweeting via Ted Matamis

Subject: "Look to Jesus"

The Saving Snake

C.H. Spurgeon tells in a sermon on Numbers 21:5-9: "I think I told you once of a picture which I saw of the brazen serpent. I want the Sunday-school teachers to listen to this. The artist represented all sorts of people clustering round the pole, and as they looked the horrible snakes dropped off their arms and they lived. There was such a crowd around the pole that a mother could not get near it. She carried a little babe, which a serpent had bitten. You could see the blue marks of the venom. As she could get no nearer, the mother held her child aloft, and turned its little head that it might gaze with its infant eye upon the bronze serpent and live.

"Do this with young little children, you Sunday-school teachers. Even while they are yet little, pray that they may look to Jesus Christ and live; for there is no bound set to their age. Old men snake-bitten came hobbling on their crutches. Eighty years old am I,' says one, but I have looked to the brazen serpent, and I am healed.' Little boys were brought out by their mothers, though as yet they could hardly speak plainly, and they cried in child language, I look at the great snake and it blesses me.' All ranks, all sexes, and characters, and dispositions looked and lived.

"Who will look to Jesus at this good hour?"

Quoted in The Biblical Illustrator, via a sermon by Franklin Kirksey, pastor of First Baptist Church of Spanish Fort, Ala.

Subject: Sin

How Much Does Sin Weigh?

An open-air preacher was telling out the old, old story, when a thoughtless youth called out: "You tell us about the burden of sin. I don't feel any such burden." Then he flippantly added: "How much does sin weigh? Eighty pounds? Ten pounds?"

The preacher answered: "Tell me: if you laid a 400-pound weight on the chest of a dead man, would he feel it?"

"No, because he's dead," answered the youth.

The preacher responded, "And the man who feels no load of sin is dead spiritually."

Sparks

Subject: Sin Revealed

Come into the Light

One of our church janitors was in my office the other day and told me a fascinating but sad story.

An acquaintance, a hardworking man, finally had time to go to a night baseball game with his family. They were doing the usual things: eating hot-dogs and peanuts, drinking sodas, and complaining about the prices.

His wife, a registered nurse and mother of his three kids, said something and he turned in such a way that the park lights were directly in his eyes. She gasped and took his face in her hands to have a closer look. Her suspicion was correct, his eyes were jaundiced-a sign of several serious diseases. Within a few weeks her child-hood sweetheart and the father of her three children was dead.

Man must come into the light of God to see the ravaging affects of his sins. He is little more than the walking dead without the cleansing power of the blood of the Lamb. The Light reveals the truth for all to see. Many will come into the light too late (1 Cor. 4:5).

J. A. Gillmartin,
sheepcribone.blogspot.com

Subject: Perseverance

Try, Try, and Try Again

On May 29, 1968, Tommy Titcomb transitioned to see the Lord who had been behind him every step of the way.

Titcomb was born in Wiltshire, England, 86 years earlier. His Christian conversion occurred when he turned 21. A year later he emigrated to Canada, and there, on Thanksgiving Day of 1906, he knew God was calling him to the mission field.

Accordingly, he applied to the Sudan Interior Mission. To his sorrow, he was turned down. Nonetheless, he moved forward, enrolling in New York City's Missionary Training Institute. After graduating two years later, he re-applied to the Sudan Interior Mission. Again he was turned down.

Not until his home church and pastor pledged to stand fully behind him was he finally accepted.

His success in tenaciously spreading the gospel in Nigeria for half a century is chronicled in Sophie de la Haye's book, Tread Upon the Lion-and also in the hundreds of lives changed eternally through his ministry.

What has God asked you to do, for which even Christians discourage your efforts? Do not give up! The Bible promises: "If God is for us, who can be against us?" (Rom. 8:31).

J. Kenneth Bassett, Timeless Signatures

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