Free Sermon Illustrations

A website by Illustration Exchange

Category: God’s Love (page 1 of 2)

Good To The Last Drop

Topic: Devotion                                                                                                    Printer Friendly
Source: “A Woman Chugged a Bottle of Liquor Because She Couldn’t Take It on the Plane” by Helen Regan, TIME, August 14, 2015
Link to Source: Click here to view source
Author: Illustration Exchange

ILLUSTRATION

A Chinese woman, surnamed Zhao, while making a connection at the Beijing airport, was told by security that she could not take an expensive bottle of cognac in her carry-on. Since it was too late to access her checked-in luggage, it appeared she had no choice but to leave it behind.

But Zhao was determined not to let a $200 dollar bottle of Remy Martin XO Excellence go to waste, so she drank the entire bottle! Now she faced a new problem. Too drunk to stand, cognacsecurity–out of concern for her own safety–could not allow her to board. Instead, unable to continue her journey, she was escorted in a wheelchair to a room where she slept until a family member was able to come and pick her up.

APPLICATION

Some things become so important to us that we have trouble letting them go. Instead, to our own detriment, we cling to them. Of course, we’re not just referring to expensive cognac.

There is a moment in time when virtually everything we hold dear must be relinquished if we are to continue moving forward on our journey. Otherwise, we undermine our own spiritual health and contentment.

Continue reading

The Man Without A Brain

Topic: Faith                                                                                                          Printer Friendly
Source: “The Healthy Man Who Was Missing a Brain” by Ross Pomeroy, Real Clear Science
Link to Source: Click here to view source
Author: Illustration Exchange

ILLUSTRATION

Do you ever find yourself thinking you’d do better if you just had a little more of something–like a little more time, or money, or brains? Well perhaps you’re wrong, at least about the brains.

From the category of the unbelievable comes this article by Real Clear Science:

… A 44-year-old happily married man with a white-collar job and two children visited a hospital in Marseille, France complaining of mild weakness in his left leg. Some time later, he concluded his hospital episode with his leg weakness cured, but with another, intriguing diagnosis in tow: he was missing most of his brain.
Continue reading

A 5 Year Old Learns What A Proposal Feels Like

Printer Friendly

Topic: Jesus’ Love
Scripture: Song of Solomon 2:4, 10
Author: Mitchell Dillon

Lila'sProposal

When a 5 year old is dying of cancer, what can be done to make up for all that she will miss? This was the challenge facing Ryan and Heidi, whose daughter, Lila May Schow, was diagnosed with stage four neuroblastoma and is not expected to make it to this Thanksgiving.

Springing into action, her parents decided they would not allow the cancer to rob their daughter of the important celebrations of life. So they planned a fairy tale ball, which included every major celebration a girl has to look forward to — a prom, a birthday bash and a wedding!

Continue reading

The Hesitant Bride

Printer Friendly

Topic: Commitment
Scripture: Revelation 19:7
Author: Thomas Bevers

I had an uncomfortable experience at a wedding recently. Everything was going along as planned until it came time for the minister to ask that all-important question of the bride, “Do you take so-and-so to be your lawfully wedded husband?”

Just then, for some unknown reason, there was an incredibly long and unbelievably awkward silence.

Continue reading

When Life Calls For A Transfusion

Printer Friendly
Author: InfoPlease.com / Illustration Exchange
Scripture: 1 John 4:16
Source: “Blood Types” published InfoPlease.com, retrieved 5/9/15

If you ever find yourself, either by virtue of illness or injury, in need of a blood transfusion, you’d better hope your local blood bank has a good supply of a compatible blood type.

According to INFO PLEASE:

Human blood is grouped into four types: A, B, AB, and O. Each letter refers to a kind of antigen, or protein, on the surface of red blood cells. For example, the surface of red blood cells in Type A blood has antigens known as A-antigens.

Continue reading

Good Morning Videos Help Comfort Dementia Patients

Printer Friendly
Topic: Comfort
Scripture: Psalm 63:1-8
Source: “Families make videos to reassure patients with dementia” by Associated Press, posted FoxNews.com, April 17, 2015
Author: Illustration Exchange

Morning can be a really tough time for our aging loved ones struggling with Alzheimers or other forms of dementia. As both the body and the mind effectively reset after a night of sleep, many may need help to “break through the morning fog of forgetfulness that can often cause them agitation and fear.”

Why am I here? How did I get here? How am I supposed to get through this day? These and other questions–not to mention feelings of loneliness, abandonment, even anger–all combine to make the common admonish to “rise and shine” seem nearly impossible.

Continue reading

Police Dole Out Gifts Not Tickets

Printer Friendly
Topic: Christmas
Scripture: Isaiah 9:6
Source: “These Drivers Thought They Were Getting Tickets. Instead, Police Gave Them Christmas Gifts” by Kate Abbey-Lambertz, posted HUFFINGTON POST, 12/12/14
Author: Kate Abbey-Lambertz / Illustration Exchange

“Getting pulled over by a police officer can make a good day bad and a bad day worse. Unless, of course, he helps you with your Christmas shopping instead of writing you a ticket,” reports the HUFFINGTON POST:

In a video released Tuesday, the police department in Lowell, Michigan, did just that.* Over two days in November, Officer Scot VanSolkema stopped unsuspecting drivers for minor infractions, like illegally tinted windows, that the department might normally let slide, according to Today.

After he pulled them over, VanSolkema made small talk and sneakily asked drivers what they or their kids wanted for Christmas. Meanwhile, a group of helpers were standing by at a nearby store. As soon as they heard a driver’s Christmas wish, they’d race to find, buy, wrap and deliver it to VanSolkema.

Instead of tickets, the officer handed over gifts, like a new TV and an electric scooter. Drivers had reactions that turned from irritation into confusion before melting into joy, and, in some cases, hugs.

*Click link to source above to view the video.

Application:

Isn’t it sad that those who have been tasked with the job of “keeping the peace” usually evoke such a sense of fear and dread within us? There’s no doubt that those Lowell, Michigan, citizens were convinced that the officer approaching their car was there to drop the hammer and nail them on one infraction or another.

Some of that stems from our own sense of guilt and shame. We’re just sure that we must have done something wrong! And some of it stems from an expectation that those who are charged with keeping the law take some sort of perverted delight in catching us when we break it.

But on this day, all expectations were shattered. It’s important to note that the officer pulled over the drivers for legitimate reasons (illegal tinting or a burned out turn signal). Yet he chose to look right past the driver’s guilt to the driver’s need for those yet unfulfilled gifts on their Christmas lists.

This is exactly the way our gracious God chooses to deal with us each and every day!

While many of us see Him as the great “law keeper” in the sky, just waiting to nail us on one thing or another, the reality is exactly the opposite. He’s the great keeper of the peace Who has Himself already satisfied all the requirements of the Law, so that He can look right past our guilt to our need. And the best part is HE is our gift!

It shatters our expectations. It’s confusing. But let the reality sink in, then just melt into the joy!

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).

Want More Illustrations On This Topic?  Click Illustration Exchange Now!

The Anti-Loneliness Cafe

Printer Friendly
Topic: Loneliness
Scripture: Revelation 3:20
Source: “Japan’s ‘anti-loneliness’ cafe goes viral” by Frances Cha, published CNN,Thu May 15, 2014
Author: Illustration Exchange

Hate to dine alone? Many people do. No worries. If you don’t have a date for dinner, you can now dine with a Moomin.

Wait, a what?!

Moomins, are a family of white, anime, hippo-like characters created by Finnish illustrator and writer Tove Jansson. They’ve been around for decades, and have increased in popularity around the world, especially in anime-obsessed Japan, where Moomin House Cafes are catering to the solitary diner.

In a nod to the growing isolation of Japan’s workaholic labor force, giant, plush-toy Moomins are brought to the tables of solo diners in an effort to spare them the “awkward perils” of dining alone.

The original Moomin cafe opened in 2001, but pictures of diners “enjoying” the company of Moomins have recently gone viral, creating a huge surge in the cafe’s popularity. There are now three locations, with more on the horizon, if their “anti-loneliness” concept proves to be more than a passing fad.

Click here to see a diner with her Moomin companion.

Application:

Yes, Moomins are cute, but it seems a stretch to suggest they can quell the “awkward perils” of loneliness.

The truth is, even real people aren’t able to satisfy our need to be perfectly loved and fully accepted. For that we must seek the companionship of the only person who is actually capable of meeting these deeper, spiritual needs. To every lonely heart, Jesus says, “Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends” (Revelation 3:20, NLT).

A Moomin might fill an empty seat, but only Jesus can fill an empty heart. Open your heart to Him and you will never have to fear the “awkward perils” of loneliness again!

Want More Illustrations On This Topic?  Click Illustration Exchange Now!

10,000 People Disappointed In You

Printer Friendly
Topic: God’s Love
Scripture: 1 John 4:16
Author: Mitchell Dillon

Whitney Houston, in an interview with Diane Sawyer in 2002, discussed the pain and frustration she experienced in her failed comeback attempt. At one point in the interview she turned to Ms. Sawyer and asked, “Have you ever heard the sound of 10,000 people disappointed in you?”

Application:

Hailed as perhaps the greatest vocalist of all time, Whitney Houston once stood atop the music industry as the unchallenged queen of pop. The greatness of her talent was met by an equally magnanimous outpouring of love from millions of fans the world over. But when her abuse of drugs and other related habits finally robbed her of that “golden voice,” the cheers turned to jeers.

She had risen to the pinnacle of admiration like few others, only to have it all melt away as soon as her flaws were revealed. The rejection left her confidence wavering from the resonating sound of her fans’ disapproval. Even so, in that same interview, Ms. Houston declared emphatically, “I know this—Jesus loves me!” It was a declaration she would assert repeatedly, even at the occasion of her final public appearance the night before she died.

Despite her flaws and self-doubt, there was one thing she did not question: the love of Jesus. What a critical realization, one which highlights the important distinction between the love of the world and the love of God. The former is fickle and fleeting; the latter is sure and eternal.

If an adored star like Whitney Houston could suffer the pain of this world’s fickle love, don’t think it won’t treat you the same–or worse!

The sad truth is we must conceal our flaws if we hope to hang on to the love of this world. But not so with the love of God! His love is felt most strongly when we lead off with them!

“And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him” (1 John 4:16).

Want More Illustrations On This Topic?  Click Illustration Exchange Now!

God Is Bigger Than Your Troubles

Printer Friendly
Topic: Anxiety
Scripture: 1 Peter 5:6-7
Source: SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT by Raymond McHenry, p. 141
Author: Raymond McHenry / Illustration Exchange

Inspirational writer Raymond McHenry notes that in times of uncertainty it is good to know these simple facts from Isaiah 40:

* The oceans of the world contain more than 340 quintillion gallons of water, yet God holds them “in the hollow of his hand” (40:12).

* The earth weighs 6 sextillion metric tons, yet God says it is but “dust on the scales” (40:15).

* The known universe stretches more than 30 billion light years (200 sextillion miles), but God measures it by the width of his hand (40:12).

* Scientists claim there are at least 100 billion galaxies and each galaxy is made up of about 100 billion stars. To such mind-boggling math Isaiah reminds us that God calls each star “by name” (40:26).

[Dr. Raymond McHenry has served as pastor of Westgate Memorial Baptist Church. He earned his Master of Divinity and his Doctor of Ministry degrees from Southwestern Baptist Bible Seminary.  Through his books and quarterly newsletter, IN OTHER WORDS, he has become a highly respected compiler of biblical illustrative materials.]

Application:

If God can hold the waters of the ocean in the hollow of His hand, consider the weight of the Earth as but dust, measure the width of the Universe with span of his hand, and call each start by name, surely he can handle the details and dramas of our lives.

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:6-7).

Want More Illustrations On This Topic?  Click Illustration Exchange Now!

Catch a Falling Tear

Printer Friendly Topic: Sorrow
Author: Illustration Exchange
Scripture: Psalm 56:8; Revelation 21:4
Source: Lachrymatory.com

They’re called tear bottles, tear catchers, tear vials, unguentaria, and lachrymatories. In them, tears are collected as a token of grief and mourning. Legends of tear catchers go back millennia to the days of Rome when, purportedly, mourners would bury their tear bottles with the dead as symbols of respect. It’s also reported that professional mourners (called wailers) would be paid to collect their tears for the dead–the loader the wails and the fuller the tear bottles, the better the pay.

The use of tear bottles enjoyed a resurgence during the Victorian period of the 19th century. Mourners would place their tears in a bottle with porous stoppers. The complete evaporation of the tears would mark the end of the mourning period.

During the Civil War, women would catch their tears in a bottle and kept them to show their husbands how much they were missed while away on the field of battle.

Today, tear bottles are enjoying yet another resurgence in popularity. You can buy them online and in trendy gift stores to give as gifts and tokens, not just of mourning, but for shared tears empathy over present struggles, and even for shared tears of joy.

Application:

References to tear bottles actually predate even Roman culture. King David, in his sorrow, cried out to God saying, “Thou tellest my wanderings: put thou my tears into thy bottle: are they not in thy book?” (Psalm 56:8, KJV). The New Living Testament says it this way: “You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.”

What beautiful imagery. God sees each tear we cry and tracks each one. No sorrow goes unnoticed. No pain goes unmourned by our loving and compassionate Father. And one day, just as with the lachrymatories of the Victorian era, all our tears will evaporate, wiped away by the hand of a loving Savior.

“He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever” (Revelation 21:4, NLT).

The time of mourning will be over!

Want More Illustrations On This Topic?  Click Illustration Exchange Now!

Light to See Clearly

Printer Friendly Topic: Light
Author: Stephen Kingsley
Scripture: Isaiah 1:18
Source: Illustration Exchange

I used to work in the carpet cleaning business and enjoyed success selling our pet urine removal process. I carried a high powered black light in my van and upon smelling pet odor, would ask if the homeowner would like to see the extent of the damage. Being composed of proteins, urine glows under a black light. With the lights out and shades drawn, the homeowner would follow me through their house.

Usually, there were far more spots of dried urine than the owner expected and often it could be seen on drapes, stereo speakers, the back of the couch, and splattered on walls. The reactions were often quite dramatic. One lady said, “I don’t care what it costs, just clean it up!” Another said, “I’ll never be comfortable in my home again.”

Application:

The black light didn’t cause the problem, it only revealed it. The offense was there all the time, causing a bit of a stink, but when the extent of the problem could actually be seen, most people were ready to do something about it.

We live in sin to the extent we get comfortable with it, but when the light of God’s righteous law shines upon our lives, we can see our offenses for what they really are.

It would have been cruel for me to show homeowners their problem without being able to help them. God shows us our violations of his holiness so we will accept his help. He too is in the cleaning business. By the blood of Christ our sins can be washed away and the gift of eternal life secured.

“Come now, let’s settle this,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool” (Isaiah 1:18, NLT).

Want More Illustrations On This Topic?  Click Illustration Exchange Now!

Called To Leave Our Mark

Printer Friendly Topic: God’s Love
Author: Illustration Exchange
Scripture: John 13:35
Source: “One Amazing Thing You Never Noticed In Countless Disney And Pixar Movies: What does ‘A113′ signify and why does it keep popping up everywhere?” by Robyn Wilder, BuzzFeed Staff, published on BuzzFeed.com, retrieved 5/4/14

“A113” … It’s everywhere!

  • It’s Andy’s mom’s license plate number in Toy Story;
  • It’s a door number in Monsters University;
  • It’s the courtroom number in Up;
  • It’s the camera model number in Finding Nemo;
  • It’s on a rat’s ear tag in Ratatouille;
  • And it’s the train number in Cars … to name just a few.

But what does it mean?

“A113” was a classroom number at the California Institute of the Arts. “If it appears in a movie,” reports BuzzFeed, “it means that a CalArts alumnus was involved with the animation.” And it’s not just in animated films. The trademark number even appears in live action films like Hunger Games and Mission Impossible.

Like a digital calling card or a cinematic fingerprint, it’s a message to the public … a CalArts alumnus was here!

Application:

What is your calling card, your fingerprint, your message to the public? How will you communicate to the world that you are an alumnus, a disciple of Christ?

Jesus has a trademark number for you to consider. It’s J1335.

“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:35).

Want More Illustrations On This Topic?  Click Illustration Exchange Now!

Even Superman Ducks!

Printer Friendly Topic: Courage
Author: Mitchell Dillon
Scripture: 1 Peter 4:16
Source: Illustration Exchange

In the original television series, Superman, our favorite super hero would confidently posture himself, legs spread, fists on his hips, chest pushed forward, while he stared down the barrel of a gun.  As the bullets bounced off his chest, Superman would smile, with no thought of retreat.  Then something would happen that defies explanation.  Once the rounds were spent, the bad guy, in desperation, would hurl the gun at Superman, and the caped super hero would duck!!!  Superman, the man who was fearless in the face of oncoming bullets, would cower to avoid being hit by an empty gun!

Application:

Just like Superman, we cower and duck at things that shouldn’t intimidate us.  As believers, we are perfectly loved and accepted by an all powerful, all knowing, all everything God. And as if this weren’t enough, we are promised that “all things will work together for good to those who love God” (Romans 8:28). So, what should cause us to fear?  What else matters when compared to the assurance of God’s love?

In truth, God has given us every reason to face life boldly–with our legs spread, fists on hips, chest out. Nevertheless, we duck at small things.  We fret over a setback in our plans, or become discouraged at a disappointing turn of events, or we hesitate to speak boldly of our faith for fear of the reaction it might incite. Our fears send us reeling, even though we live in this world with the certainty of God’s eternal promises.  Life makes us flinch in a thousand little ways.  Like Superman, we duck when we should fearlessly stare them all down.

On the night that Jesus was betrayed, Peter cowered in fear of being associated with HIm. “I don’t know the man,” he claimed. Three times he denied his relationship with Christ. Three times he flinched as the empty gun of man’s threats was hurled his way. But years later Peter would eventually overcome his fear of empty guns. As a more mature, more courageous follower of Christ he would write, “if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name” (1 Peter 4:16).  In other words, Peter is telling us to face life boldly–with our legs spread, fists on hips, chest out, fully assured of God’s great love!

Want More Illustrations On This Topic?  Click Illustration Exchange Now!

Cleaning Fairy Arrested for Unsolicited Housework

Printer Friendly Topic: Manipulation
Author: Kim Palmer, Reuters
Scripture: Revelation 3:20
Source: “‘Cleaning fairy’ arrested after shovelling snow without permission” By Kim Palmer, Reuters , published on Yahoo News, Thu, Jan 24, 2013
Contributor: Illustration Exchange

CLEVELAND (Reuters) – The Ohio woman dubbed “the cleaning fairy” by local media because she broke into a home and cleaned it without permission, was arrested on Tuesday after police found her shoveling snow from a driveway without the owner’s consent, police said.

Police in Elyria, a city 30 miles southwest of Cleveland, arrested Susan Warren, 53, on an outstanding warrant stemming from the separate incident last year where she entered a suburban Cleveland home, did some light cleaning and left a note charging the owner $75. …

According to Sherry Bush, the owner of the home, she called Warren to question if she had cleaned the wrong home by mistake and was told by Warren that there was no mistake, that she “does this all the time” and thought she was doing Bush a favor.

It would seem that both the homeowners and the police found the unsolicited cleanings much more an intrusion than a “favor.”

Application:

No one considers it a “favor” when someone forces something, even a good thing, on them. Rather than gratitude, it will only lead to resentment.

There is no better “favor” than the salvation that God offers to the world as an absolutely free gift. Nevertheless, God isn’t in the business of forcing favors we don’t want. Rather, His offer is as gracious as the gift itself.

“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me” (Revelation 3:20).

Note: An alternative application would be to use this story as a picture of the co-dependent person who offers help beyond the boundaries of what’s appropriate.

Want More Illustrations On This Topic?  Click Illustration Exchange Now!

Older posts