Abundant Life
Carring Each Others Burdens
Christian Living
Church Discipline
Hearing God
Judgment Day
Kingdom Of God
Making A Difference
Material Possessions
Peer Pressure
Second Coming
Self Esteem
Self Reliance
Wholehearted Devotion


God's Comfort

The Barcelona Olympics of 1992 provided one of track and field's most incredible moments.

Britain's Derek Redmond had dreamed all his life of winning a gold medal in the 400-meter race, and his dream was in sight as the gun sounded in the semifinals at Barcelona. He was running the race of his life and could see the finish line as he rounded the turn into the backstretch. Suddenly he felt a sharp pain go up the back of his leg. He fell face first onto the track with a torn right hamstring.

Sports Illustrated recorded the dramatic events:

As the medical attendants were approaching, Redmond fought to his feet. "It was animal instinct,"' he would say later. He set out hopping, in a crazed attempt to finish the race. When he reached the stretch, a large man in a T-shirt came out of the stands, hurled aside a security guard and ran to Redmond, embracing him. It was Jim Redmond, Derek's father. "You don't have to do this," he told his weeping son. "Yes, I do," said Derek. "Well, then," said Jim, "we're going to finish this together." And they did. Fighting off security men, the son's head sometimes buried in his father's shoulder, they stayed in Derek's lane all the way to the end, as the crowd gaped, then rose and howled and wept. Derek didn't walk away with the gold medal, but he walked away with an incredible memory of a father who, when he saw his son in pain, left his seat in the stands to help him finish the race.

That's what God does for us. When we are experiencing pain and we're struggling to finish the race, we can be confident that we have a loving Father who won't let us do it alone. He left His place in heaven to come alongside us in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ. "I am with you always," says Jesus, "to the very end of the age" (Matt. 28:20).

Hot Illustrations For Youth Talks
Wayne Rice, Zonderzan, pp. 93-94.

God's Compassion

In 1975 a child named Raymond Dunn, Jr., was born in New York State. The Associated Press reports that at his birth, a skull fracture and oxygen deprivation caused severe retardation. As Raymond grew, the family discovered further impairments. His twisted body suffered up to twenty seizures per day. He was blind, mute, and immobile. He had severe allergies that limited him to only one food: A meat-based formula made by Gerber Foods.

In 1985, Gerber stopped making the formula that Raymond lived on. Carol Dunn scoured the country to buy what stores had in stock, accumulating cases and cases, but in 1990 her supply ran out. In desperation, she appealed to Gerber for help. Without this particular food, Raymond would starve to death.

The employees of the company listened. In an unprecedented action, volunteers donated hundreds of hours to bring out old equipment, set up production lines, obtain special approval from the USDA, and produce the formula—all for one special boy.

In January 1995, Raymond Dunn, Jr, known as the Gerber boy, died from his physical problems. But during his brief lifetime he called forth a wonderful thing called compassion.

God has the kind of compassion for us as the Gerber company had for this boy. Our God looks down upon us with care, and concern, and He will do everything in His power to help us.

Source Unknown

God's Greatness

Leave it to a children's book to help us see how big our universe is. In a book entitled Is a Blue Whale the Biggest Thing There Is? Robert Wells takes us from a size we can grasp to one we can't.

The largest animal on earth is the blue whale. Just the flippers on its tail are bigger than most animals on earth.

But a blue whale isn't anywhere near as big as a mountain. If you put one hundred blue whales in a huge jar, you could put millions of whale jars inside a hollowed-out Mount Everest.

But Mount Everest isn't anywhere near as big as the earth. If you stacked one hundred Mount Everests on top of one another, it would be just a whisker on the face of the earth.

And the earth isn't anywhere near as big as the sun. You could fit one million earths inside of the sun.

But the sun, which is a medium-size star, isn't anywhere near as big as a red supergiant star called Antares. Fifty million of our suns could fit inside of Antares.

But Antares isn't anywhere near as big as the Milky Way galaxy. Billions of stars, including supergiants like Antares, as well as countless comets and asteroids, make up the Milky Way galaxy.

But the Milky Way galaxy isn't anywhere near as big as the universe. There are billions of other galaxies in the universe.

And yet, filled with billions of galaxies, the universe is almost totally empty. The distances from one galaxy to another are beyond our imagination.

And the Creator of this universe is God, who with a Word spoke it all into being, who is present everywhere in this universe and beyond, who upholds it all with his mighty power. Great is our God and greatly to be praised!

Creation, Omnipresence, Power of God
Gen. 1; Ps. 19:1-6; Isa, 40:18-26; John 1:1-3

Contemporary Illustrations For Preachers, Teachers, & Writers
Editor Craig Brian Larson, Baker Books, p. 83.

God's Love

In The Whisper Test, Mary Ann Bird writes:

I grew up knowing I was different, and I hated it. I was born with a cleft palate, and when I started school, my classmates made it clear to me how I looked to others: a little girl with a misshapen lip, crooked nose, lopsided teeth, and garbled speech.

When schoolmates asked, "What happened to your lip?" I'd tell them I'd fallen and cut it on a piece of glass. Somehow, it seemed more acceptable to have suffered an accident than to have been born different. I was convinced that no one outside my family could love me.

There was, however, a teacher in the second grade that we all adored-Mrs. Leonard by name. She was short, round, happy-a sparkling lady.

Annually we had a hearing test....

Mrs. Leonard gave the test to everyone in the class, and finally it was my turn. I knew from past years that as we stood against the door and covered one ear, the teacher sitting at her desk would whisper something, and we would have to repeat it back-things like "The sky is blue" or "Do you have new shoes?" I waited there for those words that God must have put into her mouth, those seven words that changed my life. Mrs. Leonard said, in her whisper, "I wish you were my little girl."

God says to every person deformed by sin, "I wish you were my son" or "I wish you were my daughter."

Acceptance, Grace, Love of God, Mercy, Sin
Rom. 5:8; Eph. 2:1-5

Contemporary Illustrations For Preachers, Teachers, & Writers
Editor Craig Brian Larson, Baker Books, p. 90.

God's Love

Rubel Shelly tells this story:

Jason Tuskes was a 17-year-old high school honor student. He was close to his mother, his wheelchair-bound father, and his younger brother. Jason was an expert swimmer who loved to scuba dive.

He left home on a Tuesday morning to explore a spring and underwater cave near his home in west central Florida. His plan was to be home in time to celebrate his mother's birthday by going out to dinner with his family that night.

Jason became lost in the cave. Then, in his panic, he apparently got wedged into a narrow passageway. When he realized he was trapped, he shed his yellow metal air tank and unsheathed his diver's knife. With the tank as a tablet and the knife as a pen, he wrote one last message to his family: I LOVE YOU MOM, DAD, AND CHRISTIN. Then he ran out of air and drowned.

A dying message-something communicated in the last few seconds of life-is something we can't ignore. God's final words to us are etched on a Roman cross. They are blood red. They scream to be heard. They, too, say, "I love you.")

God's love, Christ's blood

Illustrations For Preaching & Teaching
Editor Craig Brian Larson, Baker Books, p. 140.

God's Protection

In October 1993, police sharpshooters in Rochester, New York, surrounded a car. In the back seat of the car was a man with a rifle. The police attempted to negotiate with the man. No answer. The police watched and waited. No movement. Finally the police discovered the truth: The armed man in the back seat was a mannequin.

When the authorities tracked down the owner of the car, he told them he keeps the mannequin in his car for protection. "You've got to do this," he said. "With the car-jackings, it helps if it looks like you've got a passenger."

These are dangerous times. Whom do you rely on for protection? A mannequin or the Mighty One?

Angels, Fear, Safety
Ps. 91; 121

Contemporary Illustrations For Preachers, Teachers, & Writers
Editor Craig Brian Larson, Baker Books, p. 192.

God's Pursuit

Several years ago an eastern paper reported this story:

One evening a woman was driving home when she noticed a huge truck behind her that was driving uncomfortably close. She stepped on the gas to gain some distance from the truck, but when she sped up, the truck did too. The faster she drove, the faster the truck did.

Now scared, she exited the freeway. But the truck stayed with her. The woman then turned up a main street, hoping to lose her pursuer in traffic. But the truck ran a red light and continued the chase.

Reaching the point of panic, the woman whipped her car into a service station and bolted out of her auto screaming for help. The truck driver sprang from his truck and ran toward her car. Yanking the back door open, the driver pulled out a man hidden in the back seat.

The woman was running from the wrong person. From his high vantage point, the truck driver had spotted a would be rapist in the woman's car. The chase was not his effort to harm her but to save her even at the cost of his own safety.

Likewise, many people run from God, fearing what he might do to them. But his plans are for good not evil-to rescue us from the hidden sins that endanger our lives.

God's goodness, Sin

Illustrations For Preaching & Teaching
Editor Craig Brian Larson, Baker Books, p. 98.