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The Incredible Seashell Rooster

Love for God Jesus' Sacrifice Human Worth

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2019-01-30

Scripture: 2 Corinthians 9:15 ; Hebrews 12:2

Author: Mitchell Dillon
6

ILLUSTRATION

As a family in ministry, we often didn't get a lot of quality family time during the holidays. So we had a tradition of taking a post-Christmas family road trip to sunny Florida.  Along with a few gifts, each of our kids was given some cash and the opportunity, along the way, to pick out a few things for themselves. Inevitably, during these trips, we would end up in a south Florida gift shop.

It was during one of those gift shop stops that my youngest son, probably 6 or 7 years old at the time, first spotted an amazing rooster designed almost entirely out of seashells.  He was completely enamored by it. He was also convinced that I would love it as much as he did. 

So he took the seashell rooster to the man at the register to find out how much it would cost him.  After completely emptying his pockets of what was supposed to be his Christmas money, and some negotiation over the difference, he was so proud to walk away with that amazing seashell rooster for me, his father.

APPLICATION

From a practical point of view, I have never been given a more worthless gift. But when measured in terms of the sacrifice involved, I have never been given a more meaningful gift. In fact, of all of the gifts I've received over the years, the seashell rooster is still on my mantle. And its value to me only grows with time.

Although it serves no practical purpose, that rooster will always remind me of the time when my son completely forgot about himself, sacrificing all the money he had, in order to bless me. For that reason, it will always be one of my most valued possessions. 

Something similar happened two-thousand years ago when God forgot about Himself in order to bless us. But the gift of God's Son, sacrificed for us, would prove to be anything but impractical. Once received, it would pay for our sins, restore us to right fellowship with God, assure us of our true worth, bestow the promise of the resurrection, and grant us eternal citizenship in God's Kingdom. Receiving Jesus literally satisfies all of our deepest longings and all of our most essential needs.

And when this gift is measured in terms of the sacrifice involved, we see how profoundly wonderful it really is, for it represents the highest price that has ever been paid for anything. God was willing to make the greatest of all sacrifices for the joy of loving us.

You will never be offered a more meaningful gift. May the value that you place on this gift, and the joy that you find in Jesus, only grow in time.

"Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!" (2 Corinthians 9:15).

"Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross ..." (Hebrews 12:2).

Hostage's Family Paid Ransom, Got Nothing

Jesus' Sacrifice Jesus' Authority God's Promises

Source: “Hostage's Family Paid $250K Ransom, Got Nothing” By John Johnson, Newser Staff, Apr 24, 2015

Link to Source: Click here to view source

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2015-04-25

Scripture: Ephesians 1:14 ; Hebrews 7:22

Author: Illustration Exchange
3

ILLUSTRATION

Headlines revealed the startling news that Warren Weinstein, an American aid worker and economic adviser held hostage in Pakistan since 2011, was killed in an errant drone strike targeted against Al Qaeda operatives. The airstrike, which took his life and that of Italian hostage Giovanni Lo Porto, actually occurred in January, though, the White House only acknowledged to deadly mistake this week (4/23/15).

As America reeled at the news, new details have emerged of the long sought efforts to secure his freedom. The Wall Street Journal and Foreign Policy have both reported that Weinstein’s family actually paid $250,000 ransom in 2012. Though the Pakistan government reportedly worked with the family to deliver the funds through an intermediary, the effort did not secure his release in return.

The NY Times reports his wife as saying:

“We are devastated by this news and the knowledge that my husband will never safely return home. We were so hopeful that those in the U.S. and Pakistani governments with the power to take action and secure his release would have done everything possible to do so, and there are no words to do justice to the disappointment and heartbreak we are going through.”

APPLICATION

Deals are only as good as the word of the guarantor.

It seems that neither the word of the kidnappers, nor even the word of the Pakistani government were sufficient to guarantee the release of the captive once payment of ransom was satisfied. And the failure of the deal ultimately led to Weinstein’s death and his family’s heartbreak. They had hoped that those “with the power to take action and secure his release would have done everything possible to do so.”

Our hearts break with and for the family of Warren Weinstein. To be promised release from captivity, only to have it snatched away, is cruel enough. For rescue to have not come in time, and Weinstein to have died in captivity at the hands of his own government makes his death that much more painful, more tragic.

In a very real sense, we are all held ransom—by sin—the great kidnapper of our souls. Fortunately for us, the One with the “power to take action and secure our release” has not failed to do so.

Jesus is both our ransom and the guarantor of our freedom. He has both paid the price for our sin and guaranteed the promise of our salvation. Spiritually speaking, we will never know the pain of promises broken, nor the tragedy of death at the hands of the One pledged to guard our souls until the Day of Redemption.

“Because of this oath, Jesus has become the guarantor of a better covenant” (Hebrews 7:22).

“The Spirit is God's guarantee that he will give us the inheritance he promised and that he has purchased us to be his own people. He did this so we would praise and glorify him” (Ephesians 1:14, NLT).

Standing In For Tom Cruise

Salvation Atonement Jesus' Sacrifice

Source: "Standing In" by Bryson Smith, as published on Perspective.org.au, Perspective Vol8 No4, 2001, from an article published in the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, Sunday Life Section, Sept 17, 2000

Link to Source: Click here to view source

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2014-04-22

Scripture: 1 Peter 2:24 ; 1 Peter 3:18

Author: Bryson Smith
11

ILLUSTRATION

"I once read an interesting article ... all about movie stand-ins," says Bryson Smith. "They’re the people who replace movie stars in scenes that are dangerous or just uncomfortable. Like Glenn Duhigg, an ex-lawyer who worked as the stand-in for Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible 2."

As Duhigg himself recalls: 

It sounds very glamorous saying you’re the stand-in for Tom Cruise but I don’t think many people realize the long hours and constant demands that deflate your ego very quickly. The days are long. Whatever scene Tom was in, I would be the one standing there, being him sometimes for ages as the crew set up the shot – getting the lighting just right and the props just so. I’d be standing there for hours out in the weather, getting drenched in the rain or sun stroke out in the heat. And then Tom would just walk on the set from his air-conditioned caravan or out of his beautiful sports car once the scene was ready.” As one of the other stand-ins said, “I realized very quickly the difference between being a star and being a stand-in.”

Bryson Smith is a member of the ministry team at Dubbo Presbyterian Church, an evangelical church in rural Australia.

APPLICATION

"But you see," says Smith, "on the cross, Jesus Christ was our stand-in. He endured the discomfort, the pain, the punishment from God, all in our place. He accepted God's anger on himself instead of us. He was our stand-in.

"Amazing that he would do that, because really he’s the important one. You wouldn’t expect Tom Cruise to stand-in for that bloke Glenn Duhigg. No, no. Tom’s the important one! And yet, even though Jesus is the important one, a divine king come to earth, yet he stood in for us."

"He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed" (1 Peter 2:24). "For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit" (1 Peter 3:18). "Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people" (Hebrews 2:17).

In The Event of Moon Disaster

Christmas Jesus' Sacrifice Easter

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2014-04-14

Scripture: Isaiah 53:7

Author: Illustration Exchange
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The Tone Deaf and Oblivious Ms. Paltrow

Empathy Jesus' Sacrifice Jesus' Humanity

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2014-03-29

Scripture: Philippians 2:7

Author: Illustration Exchange
3

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How Gross Is Your Toothbrush

Self-righteousness Sin Jesus' Sacrifice

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2014-03-17

Scripture: Isaiah 64:6

Author: Illustration Exchange
2

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The Right To Forgive

Reconciliation Devotional Thoughts Jesus' Sacrifice

Contributed By: Mitchell Dillon | Date Posted: 2014-01-30

Scripture: 2 Corinthians 5:18

Author: Mitchell Dillon
6

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No Strings Attached

Jesus' Sacrifice Humor Grace

Contributed By: Leroy Larson | Date Posted: 2013-12-16

Scripture: 2 Corinthians 5:21

Author: Leroy Larson
5

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The Redistribution of Spiritual Wealth

Wealth Significance Jesus' Sacrifice

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2013-10-08

Scripture: Philippians 2:6 ; 2 Corinthians 5:21

Author: Illustration Exchange
9

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Saving Your Soul In 140 Characters or Less

Forgiveness Experiencing God Jesus' Sacrifice

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2013-07-19

Scripture: Psalms 103:12 ; 1 Peter 3:18

Author: Illustration Exchange
2

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