riving down a country road, I came to a very narrow bridge. In front of the bridge, a sign was posted: "yield." Seeing no oncoming cars, I continued across the bridge and to my destination.
On my way back, I came to the same one-lane bridge, now from the other direction. To my surprise, I saw another yield sign posted.
Curious, I thought. I'm sure there was one positioned on the other side.
When I reached the other side of the bridge I looked back. Sure enough, yield signs had been placed at both ends of the bridge. Drivers from both directions were requested to give the other the right of way. It was a reasonable and gracious way of preventing a head-on collision.
When the Bible commands Christians to "be subject to one another" (Eph. 5:21) it is simply a reasonable and gracious command to let the other have the right of way and avoid interpersonal head-on collisions.
— Stephen P. Beck Ephrata, Pennsylvania
ride is the dandelion of the soul. Its root goes deep; only a little left behind sprouts again. Its seeds lodge in the tiniest encouraging cracks. And it flourishes in good soil: The danger of pride is that it feeds on goodness.
— David Rhodes
Rotherham, South Yorkshire,
resident Reagan recently retold the story of Telemachus, the fourth-century Christian whose boldness has been recounted in Charles Col-son's Loving God.
The Asian hermit lived in a remote village, tending his garden and spending much of his time in prayer. One day he thought he heard the voice of God telling him to go to Rome, so he obeyed, setting out on foot. Weary weeks later, he arrived in the city at the time of a great festival. The little monk followed the crowd surging down the streets into the Colosseum. He saw the gladiators stand before the emperor and say, "We who are about to die salute you." Then he realized these men were going to fight to the death for the entertainment of the crowd. He cried out, "In the name of Christ, stop!"
As the games began, he pushed his way through the crowd, climbed over the wall, and dropped to the floor of the arena. When the crowd saw this tiny figure rushing to the gladiators and saying, "In the name of Christ, stop!" they thought it was part of the show and began laughing.
When they realized it wasn't, the laughter turned to anger. As he was pleading with the gladiators to stop, one of them plunged a sword into his body. He fell to the sand. As he was dying, his last words were, "In the name of Christ, stop!"
Then a strange thing happened. The gladiators stood looking at the tiny figure lying there. A hush fell over the Colosseum. Way up in the upper rows, a man stood and made his way to the exit. Others began to follow. In dead silence, everyone left the Colosseum.
The year was a.d. 391, and that was the last battle to the death between gladiators in the Roman Colosseum. Never again in the great stadium did men kill each other for the entertainment of the crowd, all because of one tiny voice that could hardly be heard above the tumult. One voice — one life — that spoke the truth in God's name.
— Randy Roth Portland, Oregon
hristians have often disagreed over whether believers can forsake their salvation. Perhaps we should compare our situation to riding in the back of a pickup truck. All true believers are on board. Some Christians believe the tailgate is closed and locked; others believe it is left open. In either case, the logical thing to do is not to see how daring we can be in leaning out the back but to ride as close to the Cab as possible.
— Gordon E. Donaldson Phoenix, Arizona
recent issue of National Geographic included a photograph of the fossil remains of two saber-toothed cats locked in combat. To quote the article: "One had bitten deep into the leg bone of the other, a thrust that trapped both in a common fate. The cause of the death of the two cats is as clear as the causes of the extinction of their species are obvious."
When Christians fight each other, everybody loses. As Paul put it, "If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other" (Gal. 5:15). — Peter A. Alwinson West Haven, Connecticut
braid appears to contain only two strands of hair. But it is impossible to create a braid with only two strands. If the two could be put together at all, they would quickly unravel.
Herein lies the mystery: What looks like two strands requires a third. The third strand, though not immediately evident, keeps the strands tightly woven.
In a Christian marriage, God's presence, like the third strand in a braid, holds husband and wife together.
— Cathern Paxton Indianapolis, Indiana
he motor home has allowed us to put all the conveniences of home on wheels. A camper no longer needs to contend with sleeping in a sleeping bag, cooking over a fire, or hauling water from a stream. Now he can park a fully equipped home on a cement slab in the midst of a few pine trees and hook up to a water line, a sewer line, and electricity. One motor home I saw recently had a satellite dish attached on top. No more bother with dirt, no more smoke from the fire, no more drudgery of walking to the stream. Now it is possible to go camping and never have to go outside.
We buy a motor home with the hope of seeing new places, of getting out into the world. Yet we deck it out with the same furnishings as in our living room. Thus nothing really changes. We may drive to a new place, set ourselves in new surroundings, but the newness goes unnoticed, for we've only carried along our old setting. The adventure of new life in Christ begins when the comfortable patterns of the old life are left behind.
— David Rohrer Ventura, California
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ecently I laid a small circle of poison around a hill of stinging ants. Thinking the tiny granules of poison were food, the ants began to pick them up and carry them throughout the colony. I returned later to see how well the poison was working. Hundreds of the stinging ants were carrying the poison down into their hill. Then I noticed a hole in the circle of poison. Some of the poison was moving the opposite way — away from the hill.
Some smaller, nonstinging ants had found this "food" and were stealing it from their ant neighbors. Thinking they were getting the other ants' treasure, they unwittingly poisoned themselves.
When we see someone with more than we have, we must beware. The hunger to beg, borrow, or steal our way into what is theirs may poison us spiritually.
— Bob James Paint Rock, Texas
he Australian coat of arms pictures two creatures — the emu, a flightless bird, and the kangaroo. The animals were chosen because they share a characteristic that appealed to the Australian citizens. Both the emu and kangaroo can move only forward, not back. The emu's three-toed foot causes it to fall if it tries to go backwards, and the kangaroo is prevented from moving in reverse by its large tail.
Those who truly choose to follow Jesus become like the emu and kangaroo, moving only forward, never back (Luke 9:62).
— Steve Morrison Bremerton, Washington
EYES TO SEE"
n his novel, My Lovely Enemy, Canadian Menno-nite author Rudy Wiebe aptly pictures how different things look to the person with spiritual eyes: "It could be like standing on your head in order to see the world clearer. ... If one morning you began walking on your hands, the whole world would be hanging. The trees, these ugly brick and tile buildings wouldn't be fixed here so solid and reassuring; they'd be pendant. The more safe and reliable they seem now, the more helpless they'd be then. . . ."
Once we are given "eyes to see," we recognize what a frail and temporary world we live in. We see the spiritual world as the solid one.
— Brian Weatherdon New Glasgow, Nova Scotia
| I |
n Other Words, a publication of the Wycliffe Bible Translators, recently told a story about Sadie Sieker, who served for many years as a house-parent for missionaries' children in the Philippines. Sadie loved books. Though she gladly loaned out some, others she treasured in a footlocker under her bed. Once, in the quiet of the night, Sadie heard a faint gnawing sound. After searching all around her room, she discovered that the noise was coming from her footlocker. When she opened it, she found nothing but an enormous pile of dust. All the books she had kept to herself had been lost to termites.
What we give away, we keep. What we hoard, we lose.
— Larry Pennings Winthrop, Minnesota
What are the most effective illustrations you've come across? We want to share them with other pastors and teachers who need material that communicates with imagination and impact. For items used, leadership will -pay $15. If the material has been previously published, please include the source.
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To Illustrate . . .
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