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Explaining Eternity

Eternity Hope Uncertainty

Contributed By: Thomas Bevers | Date Posted: 2016-07-05

Scripture: 1 John 2:17 ; Ecclesiastes 3:11

Author: Thomas Bevers
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ILLUSTRATION

I have a gentleman who likes to challenge the pastor (me). He regularly attends Wednesday evening for Bible study and prayer, which offers a discussion format. Recently, he asked, "Pastor can you please explain eternity to me." I responded, "I could, but it would take forever."

APPLICATION

Eternity is difficult, if not impossible, to illustrate. I have, time and again, heard preachers try to relate just how long eternity will be with stories that always end the same way--"This or that will be like one second in eternity." I have been guilty of using such myself. 

The problem lies in the fact that you cannot use time to illustrate eternity because eternity transcends time. It's like saying, "I could hear the concern in his face." Or, "I could see the trembling in his voice."  Since eternity can't be measured in time, it can't be illustrated in time. It will always contain more than the mere passing of seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years, decades, centuries, or millennia. 

"Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God's work from beginning to end" (Ecclesiastes 3:11). 

The Final Frontier

Expectations Uncertainty Spiritual Life

Source: MY UTMOST FOR HIS HIGHEST: Daily Devotionals by Oswald Chambers, “The Graciousness of Uncertainty,” posted on UTMOST.org, retrieved 1/19/15

Link to Source: Click here to view source

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2015-01-21

Author: Oswald Chambers / Illustration Exchange
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ILLUSTRATION

Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its continuing mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.

If you had a pulse and a TV in the late 1960s, you probably found yourself glued to the set as your watched Star Trek and all the adventures of the Star Ship Enterprise. No doubt, you vicariously joined Capt. James T. Kirk and his crew as they “boldly” journeyed into space, the “final frontier.”

You’ll note, however, their mission was not to tame that frontier, but to explore it, experience it, interact with it, learn from it.

APPLICATION

The spiritual frontier is a lot like that "final frontier" in the sense that it is wild, mysterious, untamed, uncertain and requires an adventurous and bold spirit on the part of all those who dare to journey that way.

“The spiritual life,” said Howard Macey*, “cannot be made suburban. It is always frontier and we who live in it must accept and even rejoice that it remains untamed.”

Indeed, just because it is wild, mysterious, untamed … uncertain, does not mean that it should be feared, or worse yet, avoided. Jesus said that we are to be adventurous; that we are to boldly ask, seek and knock; that we are to steer directly into the mysterious spiritual frontier that awaits us.

Oswald Chambers aptly noted:

Naturally, we are inclined to be so mathematical and calculating that we look upon uncertainty as a bad thing. We imagine that we have to reach some end, but that is not the nature of spiritual life. The nature of spiritual life is that we are certain in our uncertainty … Certainty is the mark of the common-sense life: gracious uncertainty is the mark of the spiritual life. To be certain of God means that we are uncertain in all our ways, we do not know what a day may bring forth. This is generally said with a sigh of sadness, it should be rather an expression of breathless expectation. We are uncertain of the next step, but we are certain of God.

Oswald Chambers (1874 – 1917) was an early twentieth-century Scottish Baptist and Holiness Movement evangelist and teacher, best known for the devotional My Utmost for His Highest.

*As quoted in WILD AT HEART by John Eldredge. Biographical information not available.

The Teacher Is Often Silent

Testing God's Presence Uncertainty

Contributed By: Barnett Gushin | Date Posted: 2012-08-31

Scripture: Psalms 46:10

Author: Barnett Gushin
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ILLUSTRATION

I’ll never forget the first "final exam" I took in college. The professor passed out the Blue Books (remember those?) and directed us to answer essay style each of the five questions she posted on the board. 
 
“Please clear your desks of all but your Blue Book and pencil. You will have 2 hours to complete your answers. There will be no talking, and no questions will be entertained during the exam. You may begin.”
 
No questions?! But what if I’m not sure about the finer nuances of the questions? What if I need clarification? What if I want to run my initial answers by her to be sure I’m on the right track? 
 
I raised my hand, intending to ask what I should do in the event I had confusion (I didn’t even have a “real” question yet!). She acknowledged my raised hand by putting her right index finger up to her lips. 
 
I looked at her questioningly and opened my mouth to say, “But …”
 
She lifted her finger to her lips once again, this time firmly and insistently.
 
I had no choice but to dive into the exam, and to wait for the posted grades to know how well I had interpreted the questions and fared on the test.

APPLICATION

When you find yourself in the midst of trial and testing, don’t fret. God is not absent. He is sovereign and is overseeing your trial. Just keep moving forward, doing the best you can.

And don't be surprised if His only response to your questions is a finger lifted to His mouth as if to say, "Shhhhh. Be still and know that I am God" (Psalm 46:10). Remember, during the most critical tests, the teacher is often silent.

Curing The "Yips"

Intimidation Confidence Fear

Contributed By: Neal Pollard | Date Posted: 2020-08-14

Scripture: Philippians 3:10 ; Ephesians 6:19

Author: Neal Pollard
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Strong Hands Soothe Fear

Fear Fatherhood Confidence

Contributed By: Ben Kurz | Date Posted: 2019-11-25

Scripture: Psalms 23:4 ; Isaiah 41:10

Author: Ben Kurz
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Roller Coaster Lines

Death Fear Judgment of Believers

Contributed By: Thomas Bevers | Date Posted: 2016-10-26

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 15:54 ; 2 Corinthians 5:10

Author: Thomas Bevers
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The Rule of Love

Law (of God) Fear Jesus' Love

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2016-07-28

Scripture: John 1:17 ; 1 John 4:18

Author: Illustration Exchange
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God Watches Over Every Atom

God's Care Fear Apologetics

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2016-02-26

Scripture: Colossians 1:17

Author: Richard Swenson / Illustration Exchange
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I May Be Small, But God Is Backing Me Up

Power Success Boldness

Contributed By: Roger Teal | Date Posted: 2016-02-14

Scripture: Judges 6:12 ; 2 Corinthians 12:10

Author: Roger Teal
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Good Fear

Fear Wisdom Guidance

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

Scripture: Proverbs 1:7

Author: Illustration Exchange
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