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Fix Your Eyes On Jesus

Perspective Trials Jesus, Good Shepherd

Contributed By: Rob Tucker | Date Posted: 2018-01-08

Scripture: Hebrews 12:2

Author: Rob Tucker
4

ILLUSTRATION

When I was a kid I used to look at the "magic eye" in the newspaper. Remember that? The colorful image where you had to gaze at it long enough until a picture emerged. Problem was, I used to get so frustrated at the magic eye. I could never see the image. People would say, "There! See it? It's a duck!" Or, "See! Right there! It's a rocket ship." And all I could see was a green blurry shadow.

Years later I found out I was color blind. What most people don't realize about color blindness is that it is not the absence of colors for most people. Colorblind people just see the colors differently than everyone else. Hence, they could never see a magic eye because they are focussed on the wrong colors.

APPLICATION

The writer of Hebrews exhorts us to fix, "our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith" (Hebrews 12:2). Trouble is, we are fixated on our problems. We strain at our worries, our doubts, our imperfections and even our sins.  As these things capture and keep our gaze, we lose sight of Jesus.

To see Jesus in the blurry mess of life, we must focus our attention on Him. As we ponder His person, His victory, His promises to us, His faithfulness, etc., we begin to see Him in everything, even in the problems we face. 

Happy Death Day!

Spiritual Growth Trials Circumstances

Source: Contextiving.org

Link to Source: Click here to view source

Contributed By: Major Dalton | Date Posted: 2017-12-03

Scripture: James 1:2 ; Romans 7:24

Author: Major Dalton
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ILLUSTRATION

Virtually everything we learn, we learn through repetition. Athletes master their field through repetition and call it practice. Students learn complicated formulas and facts through repetition and call it review. Aspiring musicians learn a new instrument through repetition and call it lessons. Virtually everything we know, we learn through repetition.

The film “Happy Death Day” is a cinematic thriller that follows a young college woman named Tree Gelbman. Tree is a self-absorbed material girl. She ignores those who are beneath her. She rejects those who don’t meet her strict social standards. But that all changes after she is murdered on her 21st birthday.

Now, normally, death would bring an end to personal self-development and rehabilitation of flawed character traits. But in Hollywood, death can actually be a catalyst for change.

Tree begins a cycle of reliving the day of her death over and over again. Think horror version of “Groundhog Day.” To break the cycle, she must solve her own murder. But no matter what she does, each day’s reiteration climaxes the same way. Her death.

Ironically each day’s death brings her closer to real life.

APPLICATION

Virtually everything we know, we learned through repetition. And if this is true of academics, athletics, and the arts, why would our most valuable life insights come any other way?

Do you ever feel like you’re living the same tragic day over and over again? You wish things would get better or change but it seems you are starring in your own horror story. Is there anything good that can come from these days?

Sometimes, while we are waiting for our circumstances to change, we change.

Dying daily changed Tree. She began to notice people she had previously ignored. She realizes that too much of her life was committed to impressing others. She came to terms with the loss of her mother and the broken relationship with her father.  When "you relive the same day over and over again,” she confides in a friend, “you kind of start to see who you really are.”

The Apostle Paul wondered aloud who would break the cycle of death in his life: “Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” (Romans 7:24). In the verse that follows he answered his own question: “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!”

God Does Give Us More Than We Can Handle

Trials God's Promises Grace

Source: “God Never Gives You More Than You Can Handle,” by Hemant Mehta, Pathos, October 9, 2012

Link to Source: Click here to view source

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2017-03-24

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 10:13 ; 2 Corinthians 12:10

Author: Illustration Exchange
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ILLUSTRATION

Comedian Tig Notaro spoke candidly about her cancer, her mother’s death, her pneumonia, and her breakup in a recent stand-up routine.  Having faced all of these life altering events in the short span of a few months, she addressed the cliché that God won't give you more than you can handle: 

What’s nice about all of this is that you can always rest assured that God never gives you more than you can handle.

[Pause]

Never.

Never.

When you’ve had it, God goes, “All right, that’s it.”

I just keep picturing God going, “You know what…? I think she can take a little more.”

And then the angels are standing back, going, “God, what are you doing? You’re out of your mind!”

And God was like, “No, no, no, I really think she can handle this.”

“Why, God? Like, why? Why?”

“I don’t know, I just, you know, trust me on this. She can handle this.”

God is insane, if there at all.

 

APPLICATION

The idea that God doesn't give us more than we can handle is thought by many to be a quote taken directly from the Bible.  Actually, the statement isn't found in Scripture at all; however, the basis for it comes from 1 Corinthians 10:32, which reads, "No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it."

Although the word “temptation,” or peirasmos in Greek, can refer to suffering or trial, that's not the best way to understand it in this passage. Here, the context makes it clear that the Apostle Paul is concerned about sins that might lure us away from God.  The promise is that in every such temptation, God will always provide "a way out," i.e. a path for obedience.  In other words, we need never fear being trapped by sin.  The choice to obey God will never be withheld from us.  Ever!

Besides the context, there's another reason we shouldn't take 1 Corinthians 10:13 to mean that God will never give us more than we can handle. In 2 Corinthians 1:8-11 the Apostle Paul confesses that God indeed gave him more than he could handle. In this passage, Paul wrote that he and his companions were “so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself.” Clearly, God brought the Apostle and his companions to an end of themselves. The reason for this is explained as Paul went on to write, “Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.” 

God did give Paul more than he could handle, so that the Apostle might learn to trust in Him. To suggest that God never gives us more than we can handle is to negate the very circumstance the Bible says is necessary for the believer to experience grace.  

As positive as the idea that God never gives us more than we can handle might sound, that's how negative it becomes when it is proven wrong.  What do those who believe this lie do when God does give them more than they can handle?  How do they turn to trust God more when their expectations of God have just been so profoundly disappointed? Rather than experience grace, they become confused and discouraged. They likely think to themselves,"God is insane, if there at all."

That's the danger presented by false hope. 

If it's really our goal to fortify our fellow believers for the inevitable trials that will come to them, rather than point them to 1 Corinthians 10:13, we should point them to 2 Corinthians 12:7-10:

So to keep me from being too elated by the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from being too elated. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Rather than offer the false hope that God won’t give us more than we can handle, offer the biblical certainty that God will give us all the grace we need in every trial we face.

God intentionally gives us more than we can handle to teach us our own limits, to teach us to trust in Him, and so that we might experience grace.  Because God gave Paul more than he could handle, the Apostle came to an end of himself and confessed, “When I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10).  As long as we are “handling life,” we think that we have all we need.  Unless we come to an end of our own resources, we will fail to discover the sufficiency of God’s grace.

“Your Story Is Our Story”

Compassion Legacy Trials

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2016-08-08

Scripture: 1 Thessalonians 2:8 ; 1 John 3:16

Author: Illustration Exchange
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Happy Birthday Pothole!

Trials Joy Attitude

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2016-07-20

Scripture: James 1:2

Author: Illustration Exchange
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A Whale Of A Find

Reward Trials Perseverance

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2016-07-01

Scripture: 1 Peter 1:7

Author: Illustration Exchange
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The Theory of Everything

Grace Trials Worldview

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2016-02-13

Scripture: Job 1:21 ; Romans 5:8

Author: Mitchell Dillon
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Do You Believe In the Law of the Pendulum?

Trials Trust (In God) Doubt

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2016-01-20

Scripture: Romans 8:38 ; 2 Corinthians 4:8

Author: Ken Davis / Illustration Exchange
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God’s Mural

Trials Hope Gospel

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2016-01-02

Scripture: Revelation 21:4 ; 2 Corinthians 4:17

Author: Illustration Exchange
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Clinging To The Cross

Cross Perseverance Trials

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2015-12-26

Scripture: Galatians 6:14

Author: Mitchell Dillon
13

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