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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).

Life Can Change In a Feline Flash

God's Promises Eternal Security Circumstances

Source: “Woman run over with her own car trying to escape cat attack,” WKMG, Jan. 5, 2018

Link to Source: Click here to view source

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2018-01-30

Scripture: Matthew 6:20 ; 2 Timothy 1:12

Author: Illustration Exchange
4

ILLUSTRATION

Florida Today reports:

A woman said a cat jumped into her car and attacked her, and as she was trying to escape the feline's fury, she was run over by her own vehicle as it rolled in reverse, according to officials from the Florida Highway Patrol.

... Troopers said the car rolled over the woman, leaving her with critical injuries. 

APPLICATION

Life can change in a feline flash. From one moment to the next, we live on the edge of potential chaos.  Disaster can come at any moment and from any direction.  

Nothing and no one is safe from the precarious nature of life.  Even Julius Caesar met his untimely end just one month after being declared dictator for life.

Calamity and destruction can find anyone, even the child of God. But while nothing is secure or guaranteed in this life, the believer does find security in the promises of God.  What we commit to God, and only what we commit to God, we keep forever!

“But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal” (Matthew 6:20).

That is why I am suffering here in prison. But I am not ashamed of it, for I know the one in whom I trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until the day of his return” (2 Timothy 1:12).

Not only is the believer eternally secure in the promises of God, everything they do in the power of His love is eternally secure, as well.

Squeeze More Joy Out of Every Day

Joy Circumstances Happiness

Source: Time Magazine

Link to Source: Click here to view source

Contributed By: Charles Krieg | Date Posted: 2018-01-24

Scripture: John 15:11

Author: Charles Krieg
9

ILLUSTRATION

Time magazine ran an article recently titled “14 Ways to Squeeze More Joy Out of Every Day."  The author, Ellen Seidman,  began: "Sometime this morning, during your shower or at work, you probably did a mental run-through of your day. You decided when you’d tackle various tasks and errands. Perhaps you vowed to hit the gym at lunchtime. Maybe you plotted to get out of something (apologies, PTA meeting). The one thing you forgot to plan for: happiness.”

The author then gives a list of 14 ways to be happy suggested by Barbara Fredrickson, a social psychologist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  The list, among other things, includes the following suggestions about how to be happy:  Make happiness your goal, know what makes you happy, prioritize it, think happy thoughts, and make Sunday future-fun day (make plans for the next weekend).

APPLICATION

A man, living in the third century, was dying when he wrote these last words to a friend: "It's a bad world, an incredibly bad world. But I have discovered in the midst of it a quiet and holy people who have learned a great secret. They have found a joy which is a thousand times better than any pleasure of our sinful life. They are despised and persecuted, but they care not. They are masters of their souls. They have overcome the world. They are truly a joyful people. These people are the Christians ... and I am one of them" (Riding the Joy Train by Wanda Jo Pence, p.18).

We who are Christians, followers of Christ, have learned a great secret: Jesus is the reason for the joy of joys. His presence in our life and the promise of eternal life in heaven with Him brings a transcendent joy to any set of circumstances.

If you want to squeeze more joy out of everyday life, fit more of Jesus into it!

Jesus said, "I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete" (John 15:11). 

Happy Death Day!

Spiritual Growth Trials Circumstances

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

Scripture: James 1:2 ; Romans 7:24

Author: Major Dalton
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Don't Turn Your Back on the Manger

Spirituality Christmas Circumstances

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2016-12-13

Scripture: Luke 2:12

Author: Illustration Exchange
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Donning True Beauty

Gratitude Circumstances Spirituality

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2015-12-21

Scripture: 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Author: Illustration Exchange
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Let The Ice-Cream Melt

Contentment Circumstances Faith

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2015-09-22

Scripture: 1 Timothy 6:8

Author: Illustration Exchange
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Perfect Numbers Always Add Up

God's Sovereignty Trials Circumstances

Contributed By: Larry Lewis | Date Posted: 2015-05-01

Scripture: Romans 8:28

Author: Larry Lewis
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Raise Your Happiness Set-Point

Happiness Gratitude Circumstances

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2013-10-28

Scripture: Psalms 50:23 ; Hebrews 13:15

Author: Marelisa Fabrega
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Letter Order Not Essential to Comprehension

God's Care Circumstances Faith

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2013-10-22

Scripture: Revelation 22:13

Author: Illustration Exchange
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