— Michelle Avery, Editorial Assistant.
Sometimes we hear a verse or illustration so many times it no longer means anything to us. Try to think about these familiar passages in a different way.
In Luke 12:6-7, sparrows illustrate something small and insignificant. Do you know anyone that seems insignificant? How can you be sure he is significant to God?
According to I Corinthians 6:15-20, your body compares to the Temple of God. So what is the altar? How do you worship in the outer court?
Psalm 145:1-9 praises God for the kind things He does. Has anything inexplicably good ever happened to you (v. 3)?
Peace is spoken of in John 14:23-27. What is the world’s idea of peace? What is the biblical idea? How are they alike and different?
Matthew 18:12-14 tells the story of an unsatisfied shepherd. Why is God not satisfied with His ninety-nine sheep?
A familiar sight is presented in I Peter 1:17-25. The Jews in Jesus’ day very easily understood the concept of a sacrificial lamb. How could you explain such an act with a real-life present-day illustration?
Hebrews 2:5-8 tells us something we too often forget. What makes you only a “little lower” than heavenly beings? How has God crowned you with glory and honor?
— by Crystal (Bennett) Billington
Sitting here, staring at a blank screen wondering what on earth I could ever type to express the impact my parents, Calvin and Becky Bennett, have had on my life and the lives of so many others, I look over at my son. He is sitting on the desk next to me, eating crackers and trying to brush his hair with the wrong side of the brush. I think to myself, what kind of an example do I want to leave for him? It is an easy answer; I want him to have the kind of example to follow that my parents gave me.
My parents are two very different people. My mother would go around the block to find someone to talk to; my dad would go around the block to find peace and quiet; but for thirty-six years they have worked together to serve God to the best of their ability. My father with his gentle, wise spirit and calloused hands, building buildings and building better lives, my mother with her unfailingly cheerful and exuberant spirit, bringing joy with her piano playing and cookies.
I have been privileged to be the child of two people who have fully devoted their lives to serving God. I look back with a grateful heart on my childhood where I learned early the importance of putting God first, family second, and service to others third. My parents modeled this each and every day, laboring to help others with their problems, their struggles, but always ready to put my problems and struggles first if needed. I have spent many an hour discussing things with my dad, often while following him around a building site, toting nails and tools. I admire my dad’s ability to give advice, to gently correct wrongs and to diffuse anger. He is always patient, always ready to listen and always kind. These traits have not only made him an amazing father, they have made him a wonderful counselor, pastor, and friend to many over the years. He and my mother have found their place in God’s plan in serving others and like the Apostle Paul, can count many their “sons and daughters in the faith.”
— by Troy Moore, from an unpublished collection of illustrations.
The story is told of a farmer who loved the Lord and believed in stewardship. He was a very generous man, and gave much to the cause of God. He was asked one day by his friend why it was that he gave so much and yet remained prosperous. “We cannot understand it,” his friends questioned, “You seem to give more than the rest of us, and yet you seem to have greater prosperity.”
“Oh,” replied the farmer, “That is very easy to explain. You see, I keep shoveling into God’s bin, and God keeps shoveling more and more into mine, and God has the biggest shovel.”