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Disaster On The East River

Easter Assurance Salvation

Source: "NTSB Releases Preliminary Report On Deadly East River Helicopter Crash" by Staff Writers, CBS New York, March 26, 2018

Link to Source: Click here to view source

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2018-03-31

Scripture: Ephesians 2:8

Author: Illustration Exchange


Nine years after "The Miracle on the Hudson," tragedy takes place on the East River as 5 five lives are lost in a helicopter crash.  The New York helicopter crash that killed everyone on board except the pilot was caused by a series of safety failures. The ill-fated flight had been chartered for a private photo shoot by the five passengers. 

The fuel shut off valve was intended to be a safety feature but was accidentally engaged during the flight, forcing the helicopter into an emergency landing.  The floatation devices were intended to keep the helicopter from sinking but inflated improperly, causing the craft to flip on its side and quickly take on water.  The harnesses were promoted in advertising to reassure those who might feel skittish about leaning out of an open door helicopter flight but instead served to trap the five passengers, sealing their tragic fate.

Three separate safety features actually worked together to do exactly the opposite of what they were supposed to do—save lives.   They promised security but delivered disaster.


Every year there are those who attend Easter service believing that they are spiritually secure.  After all, they call themselves Christians.  They were born in a Christian family.  They attend church services during the important holidays.  They try to be a good person.  They give to charity.  They treat others the way they hope to be treated.  As they look at all the things they do, they feel they’re going to land safe and sound at their eternal destination. 

What they don’t know is that the very things they’re counting on to securely deliver them will end up working toward their demise.  That's because their confidence in church membership, church attendance, and their own good deeds can't replace the only real source of salvation—the finished work of Jesus. 

"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-- not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Death Makes An Appearance

Death Denial Assurance

Source: “Decaying foot horrifies grieving family as they bury grandfather,” By CHRISTINA CARREGA, Daily News, August 11, 2017

Link to Source: Click here to view source

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2017-11-09

Scripture: Psalms 23:4 ; 1 Corinthians 15:55

Author: Illustration Exchange


Daily News reports:

After a graveside eulogy and a few prayers, the scene morphed quickly from silence to Stephen King with the appearance of the foot.

“We all looked down and we were looking at what apparently was a human foot and leg wrapped in plastic, with cloth wrapped around it, sticking out on top of my father’s casket,” said Alonzo Butler, 53.

One of the mourners snapped a cellphone photo of what looks like an outtake from “The Walking Dead.”

Relatives later griped the cemetery workers ignored the dangling foot and quickly filled in the grave.

... Mount Holiness owner James Shmergel felt that the attention to the ghoulish grave mishap was overblown.

“Is it newsworthy? In a cemetery?” asked Shmergel. “Not really.”

The Butlers may hire a lawyer and file a lawsuit seeking compensation for pain and suffering.

But cemetery caretaker Bill Plog, who started at Mount Holiness in 1983, said he was surprised such incidents were so rare.

“There was a casket,” he said. “It deteriorated. You can purchase a concrete vault, but people don’t. That grave there is from 1969 . . . It’s unfortunate that this happened, but this is a graveyard.”


Death is disturbing, so we do our best to literally bury it.  We don’t want to see it, not even at a graveside! But is denial really the best way to deal with this reality? 

King David, in the 23rd Psalm, suggested that we, “walk through the valley of the shadow of death” (v. 4).  This may seem like a pretty negative outlook on life, but although David was a realist, he was not a fatalist.  Even though he recognized the presence of death, he did not live in “fear” (v. 4). Rather, he found comfort knowing that God was always with him (v.4), and he possessed the assurance that one day he would, “dwell in the house of the Lord forever” (v. 6). 

Death is meant to be disturbing; it is designed to get our attention.  But most importantly it’s intended to draw us closer to God, the only place where comfort and assurance can be found. 

Remember, this is a graveyard! But according to King David, God's comfort and assurance are the ultimate reality, even in the graveyard!

“Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?" (1 Corinthians 15:55). 

Billy Graham's New Suit

Heaven Assurance Eternal Life

Source: Little by Little: A Journey By Jack E. Shaw, p. 340

Contributed By: Paul Lingren | Date Posted: 2016-07-30

Scripture: John 11:25 ; John 6:40

Author: Billy Graham


Jack E. Shaw writes:

In January 2000, leaders in Charlotte , North Carolina , invited their favorite son, Billy Graham, to a luncheon in his honor.

Billy initially hesitated to accept the invitation because he struggled with Parkinson's disease. But the Charlotte leaders said, "We don't expect a major address. Just come and let us honor you." So he agreed.

After wonderful things were said about him, Dr. Graham stepped to the rostrum, looked at the crowd, and said, "I'm reminded today of Albert Einstein, the great physicist who this month has been honored by Time Magazine as the 'Man of the Century.'

Einstein was once traveling from Princeton on a train when the conductor came down the aisle, punching the tickets of every passenger. When he came to Einstein, Einstein reached in his vest pocket. He couldn't find his ticket, so he reached in his trouser pockets. It wasn't there, so he looked in his briefcase but couldn't find it. Then he looked in the seat beside him. He still couldn't find it.

The conductor said, 'Dr. Einstein, I know who you are.  We all know who you are. I'm sure you bought a ticket. Don't worry about it.'

Einstein nodded appreciatively. The conductor continued down the aisle punching tickets. As he was ready to move to the next car, he turned around and saw the great physicist down on his hands and knees looking under his seat for his ticket.

The conductor rushed back and said, 'Dr. Einstein, Dr. Einstein, don't worry, I know who you are. No problem. You don't need a ticket.  I'm sure you bought one.'

Einstein looked at him and said, 'Young man, I too, know who I am. What I don't know is where I'm going.'"


The author continues:

Having said that, Billy Graham continued, "See the suit I'm wearing?  It's a brand new suit.  My children, and my grandchildren are telling me I've gotten a little slovenly in my old age.  I used to be a bit more fastidious.  So I went out and bought a new suit for this luncheon and one more occasion.

You know what that occasion is?  This is the suit in which I'll be buried.  But when you hear I'm dead, I don't want you to immediately remember the suit I'm wearing.
I want you to remember this:

'I not only know who I am... I also know where I'm going.'" 

"For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day" (John 6: 40). 

ISIS Afraid Of Girls

Assurance Salvation Faith

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2016-02-27

Scripture: Acts 16:31

Author: Illustration Exchange

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A Broken Promise Is More Than A Broken Promise

God's Promises Empathy Assurance

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2015-11-29

Scripture: Hebrews 4:15 ; James 5:12

Author: Illustration Exchange

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Fish Do Not Live On Bread Alone

Word of God Assurance Spiritual Warfare

Contributed By: Vicente Bejo | Date Posted: 2015-07-17

Scripture: Matthew 4:4

Author: Vicente Bejo

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Not More Secure

Assurance God's Promises Eternal Security

Contributed By: Anthony Edwards | Date Posted: 2014-10-20

Scripture: John 10:28

Author: Anthony Edwards

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Believe Your Father

Lies God's Love Assurance

Contributed By: James Miller | Date Posted: 2014-07-17

Scripture: Romans 8:38

Author: Marvin Winans

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Being Sure Makes You Secure

Assurance Confidence Eternal Security

Contributed By: Steve Yuhasz | Date Posted: 2014-07-11

Scripture: John 10:27

Author: Steve Yuhasz

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The Chicken Cannon

God's Judgment Grace Assurance

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2014-07-11

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 3:13

Author: Homiletics Staff

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