Illustrations

Subject: Sin Exposed

The Missionary's Microscope

C. H. Spurgeon tells of a missionary in India who encountered a primitive Hindu whose religion consisted of not eating food that required the destruction of life. The missionary took his microscope and made a slide with a drop of water from the shaman's cup. The man looked and saw clearly the dozens of microscopic creatures swimming in his water.

But instead of abandoning his false religion, he grew very angry at the microscope. He took a club and beat it to smithereens, then he threatened the missionary.

Editor's note: How often people being exposed as sinners seek to take their anger out on the messenger, when their quarrel is really with God.

Passed on by John Gillmartin

Subject: Trusting God

Life and Forrest Gump

On March 27, 1995, actor Tom Hanks was ecstatic. Hanks, along with the movie and the director, had just won Oscars for the movie Forrest Gump. Did the sore losers become a "forest of grumps"?

Actually, Hank's character bore little resemblance to the real person. But that is typical Hollywood exaggeration for you. Gump was a simplistic over-achiever who occasionally uttered a bit of profundity. For instance, a classic "gumpism" was "Life is like a box of chocolates-you never know what you're going to get."

Of course, chocoholics worldwide, who regularly go through a Whitman Sampler, will ardently disagree with Mr. Gump. They know by the position, shape, and color exactly what to expect.

Forrest Gump is evidence that it doesn't take a genius to understand that life is uncertain. Jesus, thankfully, promises the fullest possible life to those who trust in Him. On the other hand, He also warns of temptation, persecution, poverty, and suffering.

So, regardless of the bends and turns in life's journey, there is this guaranteed divine promise: "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose" (Rom. 8:28). Does that define you?

Remember: Sample dependence on God, and you will never fear what goes "gump" in the night.

J. Kenneth Bassett, Timeless Signatures ©2003

Subject: Heaven

Where Will You Spend Eternity?

We live in a day and time where medical technology has made great strides by keeping alive people who otherwise would have died years ago. There are both positive and negative points for the Christian believer to consider.

For example, look at the life of a young lady whom we will call Karen. At the prime of her life, Karen was stricken by a devastating disease, which put her into a coma. Years went by as she lay asleep. The only thing keeping her alive was a series of tubes.

Karen's parents finally made the difficult decision to turn off the life-support machines and remove the tubes from their daughter's wasted body. Their decision was not easy. It was so hard to let her go. But it was bearable because of Karen's commitment to Christ. When she finally left this world, she fell into the arms of her loving heavenly Father.

When you let go of this old world, will you fall into His arms also?

Practical Illustrations-Galatians-Colossians, by Leadership Ministries Worldwide

Subject: Brotherly Love

Oh, to Be a Brother

Years ago in the Philippines, I heard a story (which is similar to a story that others have told in other parts of the world) of a man who parked his car in his office complex in downtown Manila. A street boy was nearby and he asked if he could watch the man's car while he was in the office.

Several hours later, when the man came back to get his nice Mercedes, he paid the boy some loose change and was surprised when the boy asked if someone had given him the car. The man replied, "Well, yes, my brother gave it to me."

The lad responded, "I wish I could be a brother like that."

The man was amazed at the statement, and asked if the boy would like a ride. The boy jumped up in the front seat and as they drove down the road, the man had to roll down the windows because the little boy was so smelly.

The boy then asked, "Sir, could we go get my little brother and give him a ride, too?" The man agreed, and followed the boy's directions to a poor slum area of Manila called Tondo. The little boy ran down a filthy alleyway and a few minutes later came back with his little brother on his back. He was crippled!

As they drove and talked, the man found out that the brother had a crippling accident and because his family was so poor, they could not get him the medical care he needed.

The businessman said, "My brother is a doctor. Why don't we go see him and find out what he can do for your little brother?" After the examination they found that with a simple operation, the younger brother would be able to walk again. The operation was performed and the little boy was able to walk again.

Why did all this happen? Simply because of the unselfishness of someone caring for someone else, rather than for himself. So, might we have the words on our lips, "I wish I could be a brother (or mother, father, sister, fellow worker) like that."

Doug Nichols
Action International Ministries

Subject: Accountability

Sweet Bondage

John F. Brand passes on the story (originally from the Christian Herald) which Joseph Fort Newton wrote about a neighbor of his: The neighbor said, "Fact is, I've been in chains every day of my life, bound hand and foot by the faith which other people had in me.

"First, there was my little mother-as sweet a soul as ever lived-really wonderful to me in all sorts of ways. Sometimes I simply could not do some things while she was alive; I never felt free to do anything that would hurt her feelings."

(Next the neighbor mentioned his pastor, who believed in him and expected good things from him.)

"Last but not least, there are my wife and family. They have the odd idea that I am a first-rate fellow, and there you are. Some things a man can't do, when others may be horribly hurt."

Sparks

Subject: The Lord's Return

Coming Events

On March 29, 1950, the TV program I'd Like to See, hosted by Ray Morgan, caused folks to say, "I'd like to see just one more episode." Too bad; it was the final airing of this viewer-driven fare, which gave way to a similar popular show, You Asked for It.

In the late 1940s, all television programs were seen by just a handful of viewers. Not only was the round-screen gadget still in the experimental black-and-white stage, but also there were few folks who could afford the exorbitant $600 price tag.

Today, either in person or by virtue of television's extensive programming and coverage, there is little of the world most Americans haven't seen. Perhaps an I Don't Want to See program might be popular. But fifty years ago, people were eager to see just about any thing or place they had only heard about before.

If you have been there and done that, either in person or vicariously, there is one upcoming event Christians do not want to miss. The Bible foretells: "Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and all the people of the earth will mourn because of him" (Rev. 1:7). Make sure you're in the group that is simply ecstatic over seeing Him.

Remember, He's coming, whether "you asked for it" or not!

J. Kenneth Bassett, Timeless Signatures, ©2003

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