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The Hope Effect

Hope Word of God Faith

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2020-10-22

Scripture: Isaiah 40:31

Author: Mitchell Dillon
5

ILLUSTRATION

I’ve recently been struggling with what the doctor tells me is Athlete’s Foot.  You know, at this point of my life, I am glad to be associated with the word athlete no matter how uncomfortable it may be. 

So I’ve been using this over the counter stuff and it works, but when I stop using it, the Athlete's Foot immediately returns. So, I went back to my doctor and told him, “You know, I need something more powerful to kick this thing.  I'd like to completely get rid of it.” 

He said, "Ok, I’m going to give you the most powerful drug on the market." 

After I got the prescription filled, I read the little paper that came with it. It contained a list of all of the weird things this drug might do to those who administer it. 

There, I also found the results of a controlled study.  Sixty percent of the people found the drug effective.  Of course, in a controlled study, there are those who are given a placebo, instead.  Forty-four percent of those who took the placebo also found it effective.

I was amazed to read that forty-four percent of the time the placebo did the job.  That’s almost as good as the actual medication!  As I considered those numbers, I thought to myself, that is an illustration of the power of hope!

APPLICATION

When we expect something to help us, it is incredible how helpful that can be all by itself.  Hope, even an empty hope, can change our lives for the better. 

Perhaps, the next time I see my doctor, I should tell him,  “Listen, just give me a prescription for the placebo.  It’s cheaper and it’s almost as effective!” 

Of course, the problem with this idea is that once we are aware that we are taking a placebo, it doesn't work! Right?  The Placebo Effect requires a genuine belief.  The medicine doesn't have to be genuine but the hope does.  Without a sincere belief, there is no Placebo Effect. 

This tells us that the Placebo Effect is really the Hope Effect.  And if hope is powerful without anything behind it, think of how much more powerful it will be when the words of God are behind it! 

"But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint" (Isaiah 40:31). 

Faith In A Dying Savior

Faith Good Friday Easter

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2020-04-28

Scripture: Luke 23:43

Author: Mitchell Dillon
6

ILLUSTRATION

I have always been drawn to the thief on the cross and to Jesus' compassionate response to him. The thief knew he didn't deserve paradise, yet Jesus promised it to him simply because he asked. It's a beautiful picture of the simplicity of grace.

APPLICATION

This scene also provides us with perhaps the greatest example of faith in the pages of Scripture. Think about it. The thief placed his complete confidence in Jesus at His worst moment, while Christ was defeated and dying. How does a person put their confidence in a Messiah who is hanging condemned and forsaken on the cross right next to them?

This puts our own call to faith in perspective. How do we respond when life makes no sense and God seems distant and everything seems out of control? The thief believed in a dying Jesus. Can you, at those times, believe in a rising one?

"Then he said, 'Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.' Jesus answered him, 'Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise'" (Luke 23:42-43). 

Scrutinizing Seashells

Circumstances Faith God's Will

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2020-04-18

Scripture: Romans 11:33

Author: Mitchell Dillon
5

ILLUSTRATION

My two-year-old granddaughter watched with great interest as her big sister and I hunted for seashells during a family day at the beach. When she asked if she could try, I plopped her down on a pile of shells and she went right to work. Immediately, without any instructions or coaching, she held up one seashell at a time and scrutinized it. Those that passed her inspection went into the bucket but those that didn't were tossed over her shoulder. I marveled over her decisiveness and I wondered what possible criteria does a two-year-old use to discern the worthiness of one shell over another.

So, I stole a peek at her booty. There were a number of perfect shells in her bucket but there were far more defective shells; shells with holes in them; shells that had been worn by the surf; shells that were chipped and broken; shells that would never have made it into my bucket. There didn't appear to be a rhyme or a reason for what made it into my granddaughter's bucket. Rather, the collection seemed to be random. Like someone had just scooped them up and dumped them in there.

APPLICATION

If the ways of a two-year-old are mysterious, how much more are the ways of God?

Have you ever looked into the bucket of things that make up your life and wondered, "How'd that get in there?" Are there things in your life that you would have never selected for yourself? Does your life ever feel random to you, with no rhyme or reason to it? Like someone just scooped them up and dumped them in there?

But that isn't at all the case. Every shell in your bucket has been handpicked; every shell has been scrutinized; every shell has passed God's inspection. All the details of your life, your circumstances and the people you know have passed the mysterious criteria of the Eternal One, of God Himself.

Who can possibly begin to see what God sees, or judge things by His criteria? No, ours is not to understand what God places in our bucket. Ours is to trust that each shell has been placed there with some purpose.

If you can't understand the mind of a two-year-old, how do you expect to understand the mind of God?

"Oh, how great are God's riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his ways!" (Romans 11:33, NLT).

The Lifetime Pass That Was Never Used

God's Promises Faith Blessings/Blessedness

Contributed By: Howard Harden | Date Posted: 2019-10-11

Scripture: Proverbs 16:20 ; Matthew 7:24

Author: Howard Harden
10

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Devotional Crumbs

Word of God Bible Faith

Contributed By: Joe Ballard | Date Posted: 2018-07-19

Scripture: Matthew 15:26 ; Job 23:12

Author: Joe Ballard
6

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Go In Peace?

Poverty Faith Love (Divine)

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2018-04-21

Scripture: James 2:16

Author: Illustration Exchange
8

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Crossing Over

God's Provision Faith God's Presence

Contributed By: Brian Erwin | Date Posted: 2017-11-27

Scripture: Genesis 28:15

Author: Brian Erwin
3

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The Wild Ride

Giving Faith Risk

Contributed By: James Miller | Date Posted: 2017-10-27

Scripture: Matthew 6:30

Author: James Miller
6

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Be A Pest

Prayer Persistence Faith

Contributed By: Charles Krieg | Date Posted: 2017-08-11

Scripture: Matthew 15:28 ; Luke 18:1

Author: Charles Krieg
5

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Date Miserable People

Hope Faith Dating

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2017-04-20

Scripture: Romans 8:18

Author: Illustration Exchange
10

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