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You Can't Outrun God In An Excavator

Restoration Accountability Grace

Source: “Wanted Oregon man attempts to flee arrest in slow-moving excavator, deputies follow on foot” by Stephen Sorace, for FoxNews.com, 8/15/22, retrieved 8/25/22.

Link to Source: Click here to view source

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2022-08-26

Scripture: Psalms 119:32 ; Psalms 139:7

Author: Illustration Exchange
6

ILLUSTRATION

What was he thinking?!

Jesse B. Shawin was wanted in Oregon where he was facing three separate arrest warrants, including charges of stealing a car.  Police located and confronted him in Washington County as he was sitting in a construction excavator.  But instead of disembarking from the heavy-duty vehicle, Shawin took off, putting pedal to the metal to outrun the officers.

Let’s just say his efforts were futile. According to one online construction equipment source, “Most tracked excavators are limited to a top speed of four to six miles per hour, while some lumber along at a tortoise-like two or three.”

The sight of Shawin’s flight was nothing short of comical, as heavily armed police officers calmly walked behind the fleeing rig, content to pursue until he was ready to stop. (You can view it here.)

The ending was inevitable. Just a mile and a half later, Shawin finally stopped the vehicle and surrendered.

I can just imagine the officers’ words to him as they pursued from behind. “Turn off the engine and climb on down, son. We can do this the easy way or the hard way. Your choice.”

APPLICATION

Running from God is a lot like running from the cops in an excavator. You can’t possibly outpace Him. And even if you could, where would you hide?

Yet, committed to our own willful ways, this is what we so often do. We attempt to run from Him, run from our accountability to Him, run from His control, or even His correction.

In the end, we would be much better off if we simply surrendered to His will, forgiveness, love, and grace. So why not just climb off that rig and surrender to Him? Run toward Him, rather than away from Him.

His righteous, yet gracious, heart is calling out to you: “We can do this the easy way or the hard way.”

“I will run in the way of your commandments when you enlarge my heart!  (Psalm 119:32, ESV)

“You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me. … Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?” (Psalm 139:5-7, NIV).

“What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? (Matthew 18:12, NIV).

A Great Singing Audition Highlights A Tone Deaf Humanity

Grace Spiritual Blindness Idolatry

Source: "America's Got Talent: Madison Baez Taylor, 11, gets Golden Buzzer after singing from the audience" by Claudia Smith, published DailyMail.co.uk, June 8, 2022, retrieved 8/5/22

Link to Source: Click here to view source

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2022-08-07

Scripture: Romans 1:25 ; James 1:17

Author: Illustration Exchange
6

ILLUSTRATION

2022’s Season 17 of the hit TV show America’s Got Talent has seen many highlight moments, not the least of which being a performance by 11 yr old Madison Taylor Baez of Yorba Linda, California. Rather than having a regularly scheduled audition, Madison had been invited by the producers to sing from the audience during one of the breaks from scheduled auditions. Only then was she invited up onto the stage to perform.

She absolutely stunned the audience and judges alike with her rousing, emotionally rivetting rendition of the beloved Christian hymn, Amazing Grace. Madison sang it with authority and passion, as if she believed every word and was celebrating every truth conveyed in the “amazing” lyrics. 

So moving was her performance and her “story,” that judge and former Deal or No Deal host, Howie Mandel, reflexively reached for the Golden Buzzer, assuring young Madison a place in the “live show” competitions and a chance to win the coveted $1 million prize.

Accolades gushed (and deservedly so) from the mouths of the host and judges for the quality of her performance. 

“Incredible!” exclaimed the shows host, Terry Crewes.

'I normally leave during the break, because people do sing.” famed celebrity host Simon Cowell mused sarcastically. “So this is actually the opposite. It actually brought me back into the room.”

"Everybody is going to know your name now young lady," proclaimed Mandel.

Click here for a video of her AGT audition. 


 

APPLICATION

What strong reactions these judges and audience had to this performance! 

Crewes found her performance incredible. Cowell was drawn back into the room by the power of it. Mandel exclaimed that he wanted to be sure that everybody would come to know her name.

Yet one critical component of the performance was left utterly ignored … the very subject of the song itself. Young Madison, as lovely and talented and gifted she might be, was extolling the virtues of the God of the Universe, Who, by His AMAZING GRACE, condescended to become the Savior of the world, to seek and to save us wretched, lost souls!

This was of course, as Simon would say, a talent competition, not a church service. But what a picture of the tone deafness of lost humanity!

But for the fact that we are fallen creatures living in a fallen world, the audience and judges would have jumped to their feet, first and foremost, to celebrate, laud, and praise the amazing grace of God that was being extolled. That’s what Crewes would have found incredible! It would have been the message of the song that drew Simon back into the room! It would have been the name of the Most High God which Mandell wanted to ensure was recognized by every man!

While human talent is no less a gift from our most gracious God, its purpose, like any “good and perfect gift” should be to draw our focus to the Lord Who bestowed it.

Grace was showcased side by side with the talent, yet no one noticed the grace.

“They exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen” (Romans 1:25, ESV).

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows” (James 1:17, NIV)

We Obey What We Love

Grace Transformation Motivation

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2021-11-21

Scripture: Galatians 3:3 ; 2 Corinthians 5:17

Author: Mitchell Dillon
3

ILLUSTRATION

Paul tells us that when we become Christians we become “a new creation” (2 Corinthians 5:17), that we “put off the old self with its practices … and have put on the new self, which is being renewed” (Colossians 3:9-10, ESV).  Like a butterfly that rises from its cocoon, we emerge as renewed creatures.

Before, we trusted in good works for salvation, now we trust in the finished work of Christ. Before, we lived in fear and shame, now we live in light of God’s perfect love and forgiveness. Before, we resolved to do better by conjuring up the mustard to overcome bad habits and sinful behaviors, now we resolve to do better by conjuring up the mustard to overcome bad habits and sinful behaviors.

Wait a minute!! That last one didn't sound any different than what we were doing before our salvation. How is it that grace has transformed everything about us except the process of transformation itself? Could it be that we are failing to turn to grace at this strategic point and are relying on old habits instead? Seriously, how is the approach most of us take to overcoming bad behavior any different from how we exercised self-control before we came to faith in Christ?

APPLICATION

It is important to take note that in all of the ways that grace has affected a change in our lives there has always been a transition from relying on human effort to relying on divine provision.  With that all-important point in mind, we fool ourselves if we think that we have transitioned to grace in our efforts to overcome sin if we are, in fact, still relying on human effort.

This was Paul’s point when he asked the legalistic Galatians, “After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh?” (Galatians 3:3). They began their Christian experience by relying on God’s provision for salvation but they attempted to go on to maturity not by grace but by continuing to rely on human effort. Sound familiar?

The real solution to chronic issues of disobedience isn’t more effort but more love. To turn to human effort to solve a problem that was created by human effort is nonsensical, as Paul pointed out.  What we need, instead, is to love God more than the things that tempt us away from Him.

Here's the central point: We Obey What We Love.

We yield to temptation because we love the things that tempt us. We overcome temptation by loving God more than anything else. But search as we may, this love won't be found in our flesh. To find it, we must turn from ourselves and ask God to fill us with more of His love.

So, when you find yourself failing to be obedient to God over something, don’t resolve to do better or try harder next time. Instead, ask God to give you a love for pleasing Him that’s greater than your love for that sin. When it's more love for God that provides the victory, then you can rest assured that you have not only begun your Christian journey in the Spirit but that you are learning to finish it in the Spirit, as well.

"Work Makes Free"

Grace False Hope Works Salvation

Contributed By: John Reed | Date Posted: 2021-11-01

Scripture: Ephesians 2:8

Author: Johnny V. Miller
17

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Grace Is Just Too Easy

Grace Salvation Skepticism

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2021-04-22

Scripture: Romans 6:23 ; John 3:3

Author: Illustration Exchange
7

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Call Me Daddy

Dependence on God Maturity Grace

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2020-09-05

Scripture: Galatians 4:6

Author: Mitchell Dillon
7

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Be Perfect!

Grace Religion Works Salvation

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2020-05-28

Scripture: Matthew 5:48

Author: Illustration Exchange
5

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Simon the Leper

Forgiveness Grace Mercy

Contributed By: Thomas Bevers | Date Posted: 2020-01-13

Scripture: Matthew 26:6

Author: Thomas Bevers
4

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Debt Canceled

Forgiveness Grace Debt

Contributed By: Charles Schuyler | Date Posted: 2019-09-15

Scripture: Romans 6:23 ; Ephesians 2:8

Author: Charles Schuyler
4

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If You Pay For Anything, You Pay for Everything

Grace Works Salvation Atonement

Contributed By: Allen Snapp | Date Posted: 2019-06-07

Scripture: Ephesians 2:8 ; Romans 11:6

Author: Allen Snapp
10

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