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How to Believe

 

Development of Faith

The desert is seemingly void of all life, but given a little rainfall, life springs into existence and beauty. Life is there, but it is dormant. Unbelief is like that. It is the desert of one’s being. But the potential for life is there and needs only to be watered by faith to spring into existence and beauty. ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching

 

Exercise of Faith

Many years ago it was decided to put a suspension bridge across a wide gorge. How could they build a bridge across such a wide space? In fact, how could they even start? They shot an arrow from one side to the other. The arrow carried across the gulf a tiny thread, and thus the connection was established. By and by the thread was used to draw a piece of twine across; the twine carried after it a small rope; the rope soon carried a cable across—and in good time came the iron chains the bridge was to hang from.

            Although often weak in its beginning stage, a seemingly small faith can draw us to a stronger and stronger faith that will accomplish greater and greater things. ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching

 

Exercise of Faith

At a circus a huge elephant was tied to an eighteen-inch stake. Could he not easily have pulled it out of the ground and be free? Sure! But he had tried it when he was a baby and was unsuccessful. The elephant had concluded that he could never pull it out of the ground. So there he stood, a massive creature capable of lifting whole trees, yet held captive by a puny stake.

            What small stake could faith release you from? ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching

 

Exercise of Faith

A student once purchased a new mechanical pencil. After some time he found himself in the middle of an important test, and his pencil ran out of lead! There was a great deal of frustration and anguish as he wasted precious minutes going around to other students trying to borrow another pencil. Later the student found out that his new pencil was designed with a complete supply of extra lead inside that could be dispensed with a mere press of the button.

            Christians are often like this student: although they have all of God’s sufficiency available to them, because of lack of knowledge they do not draw on it in their time of need. Faith must be linked to knowledge to be exercised and to grow. ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching

 

Exercise of Faith

The physics professor had just finished his lecture about the pendulum, wherein he had shown the mathematical proof that an untouched pendulum will always swing in ever-decreasing arcs.

            He then asked for a volunteer to demonstrate this fact by standing against a wall with a pendulum bob against his chin, then releasing the bob and allowing the pendulum to swing naturally through its arc. The professor reminded the class that the bob would return almost to, but not quite touching, the chin. No one volunteered. Although the science students “believed” that this law of physics was true, they were unwilling to put it to the test.

            How like many of us in our relationship with God! We know the facts, but are unwilling to risk a step of faith based on them. ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching

 

Exercise of Faith

It was a bright, clear morning. A large crowd had gathered at Niagara Falls to see the famous Bondin walk over it on a tightrope. The sun glistened on the cascading torrent as it rushed over the precipice. From below came the ceaseless thunder of the plunging cataract.

            The world’s greatest tightrope walker briefly tested the taut strand that reached across to the opposite bank. The he took his long pole and, balancing himself expertly, started across. The crowd followed every movement tensely. Step by step he moved forward. The people on the shore reacted nervously to every sharp motion of the balancing pole. But their fears and forebodings were unnecessary. The great Blondin not only went across safely, but returned as well—to the great relief and admiration of the spectators.

            Turning to the audience, he then made a sensational offer. He would cross the falls again, this time with someone on his back. Who was willing to go? No one rushed forward to accept the offer. Picking out a man at random, Blondin asked, “Do you believe that I am able to carry you across?”

            “Yes, sir,” came the unhesitating reply.

            “Well, then, let’s go,” Blondin urged.

            “Not on your life!”—and the man withdrew into the crowd.

            And so it went. One after another expressed great confidence in the tightrope walker, but no one would agree to let Blondin take him across. Finally, a young fellow moved toward the front of the crowd. Blondin repeated his question: “Do you believe I can carry you across safely?”

            “Yes, I do.”

            “Are you willing to let me?”

            “As a matter of fact, I am. The young man climbed onto the expert’s back. Blondin stepped onto the rope, paused momentarily, then moved across the falls without difficulty.

            There were many in that crowd who believed that Blondin could do it. But there was only one who was willing to trust him to do it. ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching

 

Object of Faith

The degree of faith that one places in a given object is directly proportional to one’s knowledge of the object. For example, consider a man terrified of flying. When he first arrives at an airport he buys insurance at those coin-operated insurance-policy machines. He has his seat belt buckled twenty minutes before take-off and is sure to listen carefully to the routine “Emergency instructions.” He has no faith in the ability of the plane to get him to his destination. But, as the journey progresses, this passenger begins to change. He first unbuckles his seat belt, then has some lunch, and pretty soon is talking to the person next to him and joking. Why the change? What happened? Is there more faith at 36000 feet? Of course not. The more he learned about the object of faith, the plane, the more faith he exercised in that object.

            Sot it is with believers. The more we learn of the Lord, the more faith we can place in him. ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching

 

Object of Faith

During an earthquake some years ago, the inhabitants of a small village were generally very much alarmed, but they were at the same time surprised at the calmness and apparent joy of an old woman whom they all knew. At length one of them, addressing the old woman, said, “Mother, are you not afraid?”

            “No,” said the woman. “I rejoice to know that I have a God who can shake the world.” ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching

 

Object of Faith

Faith is only as good as its object. A small boy in England was asked by a scientific team to be lowered down the side of a cliff to recover some important specimens. Though the scientists offered to pay him greatly, the boy said no. They tried to persuade him further and he consented finally, but only on one condition—that his father would be the one to hold the ropes by which he would be lowered. ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching

 

Object of Faith

The object of mans faith is more important than the amount of his faith. For example, you might have a tremendous volume of faith in the ability of a well-known general to fly you across the Atlantic Ocean, even though he has never flown before. Yet—even with all this faith—if you enter the plane and he does the flying, you will probably end up very wet, or even drowned. The problem with you faith was that the object was not reliable in that particular area. Conversely, you might have only the minutest faith in the ability of an unknown twenty-year vet with 29000 hours of flying time, yet he would get you where you wanted to go, because now the object of your faith was reliable in the area of your concern. ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching

 

Object of Faith

The power of faith rests in the reliability of its object. After the first cold week of a Northern winter, I might go down to the shores of the nearby lake and with the utmost confidence begin to stride across the newly formed layer of ice. Unfortunately, I would receive only a cold, wet shock for my trouble. As long as the ice was thin, my faith would be meaningless. But let the winter progress and the cold wind do its work, and eventually the ice will become several feet thick. Imagine that I return to the lake. Now, though I may be frightened because of my previous experience, even the smallest, most hesitating step will be rewarded by the solid feel of firmness underfoot. Faith can now accomplish its task, because its object is worthy. ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching

 

Object of Faith

Faith is an essential element of life, but the faith must be in God. Sir Donald Malcolm Campbell, the British car-and boat-racer and holder of several world speed records, lost his life while racing a fast boat on one of the lakes of Scotland. The boat exploded and rapidly sank. The only thing that ever surfaced was a toy stuffed animal, Campbells good luck charm. It was powerless to help him in the final and fatal crisis of his life. Faith is only as good as its object is able. ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching

 

Development of Faith

         The desert is seemingly void of all life, but given a little rainfall, life springs into existence and beauty. Life is there, but it is dormant. Unbelief is like that. It is the desert of one’s being. But the potential for life is there and needs only to be watered by faith to spring into existence and beauty. ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching

 

Development of Faith

         George Muller, a great man of faith, once said, “God delights to increase the faith of his children. We ought, instead of wanting no trials before victory, no exercise for patience, to be willing to take them from God’s hand as a means. I say—and say it deliberately—trials, obstacles, difficulties, and sometimes defeats, are the very food of faith. ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching

 

Exercise of Faith

         Many years ago it was decided to put a suspension bridge across a wide gorge. How could they build a bridge across such a wide space? In fact, how could they even start? They shot an arrow from one side to the other. The arrow carried across the gulf a tiny thread, and thus the connection was established. By and by the thread was used to draw a piece of twine across; the twine carried after it a small rope; the rope soon carried a cable across—and in good time came the iron chains the bridge was to hang from.

         Although often weak in its beginning stage, a seemingly small faith can draw us to a stronger and stronger faith that will accomplish greater and greater things. ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching

 

Exercise of Faith

         At a circus a huge elephant was tied to an eighteen-inch stake. Could he not easily have pulled it out of the ground and be free? Sure! But he had tried it when he was a baby and was unsuccessful. The elephant had concluded that he could never pull it out of the ground. So there he stood, a massive creature capable of lifting whole trees, yet held captive by a puny stake.

         What small stake could faith release you from? ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching

 

Exercise of Faith

         A student once purchased a new mechanical pencil. After some time he found himself in the middle of an important test, and his pencil ran out of lead! There was a great deal of frustration and anguish as he wasted precious minutes going around to other students trying to borrow another pencil. Later the student found out that his new pencil was designed with a complete supply of extra lead inside that could be dispensed with a mere press of the button.

         Christians are often like this student: although they have all of God’s sufficiency available to them, because of lack of knowledge they do not draw on it in their time of need. Faith must be linked to knowledge to be exercised and to grow. ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching

 

Exercise of Faith

         The physics professor had just finished his lecture about the pendulum, wherein he had shown the mathematical proof that an untouched pendulum will always swing in ever-decreasing arcs.

         He then asked for a volunteer to demonstrate this fact by standing against a wall with a pendulum bob against his chin, then releasing the bob and allowing the pendulum to swing naturally through its arc. The professor reminded the class that the bob would return almost to, but not quite touching, the chin. No one volunteered. Although the science students “believed” that this law of physics was true, they were unwilling to put it to the test.

         How like many of us in our relationship with God! We know the facts, but are unwilling to risk a step of faith based on them. ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching

 

Exercise of Faith

         It was a bright, clear morning. A large crowd had gathered at Niagara Falls to see the famous Bondin walk over it on a tightrope. The sun glistened on the cascading torrent as it rushed over the precipice. From below came the ceaseless thunder of the plunging cataract.

         The world’s greatest tightrope walker briefly tested the taut strand that reached across to the opposite bank. The he took his long pole and, balancing himself expertly, started across. The crowd followed every movement tensely. Step by step he moved forward. The people on the shore reacted nervously to every sharp motion of the balancing pole. But their fears and forebodings were unnecessary. The great Blondin not only went across safely, but returned as well—to the great relief and admiration of the spectators.

         Turning to the audience, he then made a sensational offer. He would cross the falls again, this time with someone on his back. Who was willing to go? No one rushed forward to accept the offer. Picking out a man at random, Blondin asked, “Do you believe that I am able to carry you across?”

         “Yes, sir,” came the unhesitating reply.

         “Well, then, let’s go,” Blondin urged.

         “Not on your life!”—and the man withdrew into the crowd.

         And so it went. One after another expressed great confidence in the tightrope walker, but no one would agree to let Blondin take him across. Finally, a young fellow moved toward the front of the crowd. Blondin repeated his question: “Do you believe I can carry you across safely?”

         “Yes, I do.”

         “Are you willing to let me?”

         “As a matter of fact, I am. The young man climbed onto the expert’s back. Blondin stepped onto the rope, paused momentarily, then moved across the falls without difficulty.

         There were many in that crowd who believed that Blondin could do it. But there was only one who was willing to trust him to do it. ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching

 

Development of Faith

George Muller, a great man of faith, once said, “God delights to increase the faith of his children. We ought, instead of wanting no trials before victory, no exercise for patience, to be willing to take them from God’s hand as a means. I say—and say it deliberately—trials, obstacles, difficulties, and sometimes defeats, are the very food of faith. ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching

 

Exercise of Faith

            Three men were walking on a wall,

            Feeling, Faith, and Fact.

            When Feeling got an awful fall,

            Then Faith was taken back.

            So close was Faith to Feeling,

            That he stumbled and fell too.

            But Fact remained and pulled Faith back,

            And Faith brought Feeling too.

── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching

 

Exercise of Faith

         Three men were walking on a wall,

         Feeling, Faith, and Fact.

         When Feeling got an awful fall,

         Then Faith was taken back.

         So close was Faith to Feeling,

         That he stumbled and fell too.

         But Fact remained and pulled Faith back,

         And Faith brought Feeling too.

── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching