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    OBSTACLE

    Michael A. Guido of Metter, Georgia, columnist of several newspapers writes:

    "An artist in Mexico lost his right hand while working on a statue. But he did not give up his work. He learned to carve with his left hand. His beautifully finished masterpiece was called 'In Spite Of.'

    "A sound body, a brilliant mind, a cultural background, a huge amount of money, a wonderful education -- none of these guarantee success. Booker T. Washington was born in slavery. Thomas Edison was deaf. Abraham Lincoln was born of illiterate parents. Lord Byron had a club foot. Robert Louis Stevenson had tuberculosis. Alexander Pope was a hunchback. Admiral Nelson had only one eye. Julius Caesar was an epileptic. But these men made history in spite of their handicaps. And there was Louis Pasteur, so near-sighted that he had a difficult time finding his way in his laboratory without glasses. There was Helen Keller, who could not hear or see, but who graduated with honors from a famous college.

    "Got a handicap? Call on the Lord. No problem is too big for Him, or too small. He will make everything 'work together for good' -- if you trust Him."

    Surely, Guido understands the nature of the human spirit to overcome all obstacles, and that by the power of God!

    Source Unknown.


    In 1962, Victor and Mildred Goertzel published a revealing study of 413 "famous and exceptionally gifted people" called Cradles of Eminence. They spent years attempting to understand what produced such greatness, what common thread might run through all of these outstanding people's lives.

    Surprisingly, the most outstanding fact was that virtually all of them, 392, had to overcome very difficult obstacles in order to become who they were. 

    Tim Hansel, Holy Sweat, 1987, Word Books Publisher, p. 134.


    Bette Nesmith had a good secretarial job in a Dallas bank when she ran across a problem that interested her. Wasn't there a better way to correct the errors she made on her electric typewriter? Bette had some art experience and she knew that artists who worked in oils just painted over their errors. Maybe that would work for her too. So she concocted a fluid to paint over her typing errors.

    Before long, all the secretaries in her building were using what she then called "MistakeOut". She attempted to sell the product idea to marketing agencies and various companies (including IBM), but they turned her down. However, secretaries continued to like her product, so Bette Nesmith's kitchen became her first manufacturing facility and she started selling it on her own.

    When Bette Nesmith sold the enterprise, the tiny white bottles were earning $3.5 million annually on sales of $38 million. The buyer was Gillette Company and the sale price was $47.5 million. 

    Crossroads, Issue No. 7, pp. 3-4.


    A young fellow wanted to be a star journalist but lived in a small town (not much possibility). One day the dam upstream broke and the town was flooded. He got in a rowboat and headed out to look for a story. Found a lady sitting on her rooftop. He tied up the boat and told her what he was after. (They both watched as various items floated by). She says, "Now there's a story." "No, that's not a story." 

    Finally a hat floats by and then does a 180 degree turn, goes upstream a ways and does another 180 degree turn, etc. The fellow says, "There's a story." "Oh no, that's not a story. "That's my husband Hayford. He said that he was going to mow the lawn come hell or high water!"

    Source Unknown.


    Liu Chi Kung, who placed second to Van Cliburn in the 1948 Tchaikovsky competition, was imprisoned a year later during the Cultural Revolution in China. During the entire seven years he was held, he was denied the use of a piano. Soon after his release, however, he was back on tour. Critics wrote in astonishment that his musicianship was better than ever. "How did you do this?" a critic asked. "You had no chance to practice for seven years." 

    "I did practice," Liu replied, "every day. I rehearsed every piece I have ever played, note by note, in my mind." 

    Soundings, Vol. D, No. 7, p. 23.


    Johnny Fulton was run over by a car at the age of three. He suffered crushed hips, broken ribs, a fractured skull, and compound fractures in his legs. It did not look as if he would live. But he would not give up. In fact, he later ran the half- mile in less than two minutes. 

    Walt Davis was totally paralyzed by polio when he was nine years old, but he did not give up. He became the Olympic high jump champion in 1952. 

    Shelly Mann was paralyzed by polio when she was five years old, but she would not give up. She eventually claimed eight different swimming records for the U.S. and won a gold medal at the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne, Australia. 

    In 1938, Karoly Takacs, a member of Hungary's world-champion pistol shooting team and sergeant in the army, lost his right hand when a grenade he was holding exploded. But Takacs did not give. up. He learned to shoot left-handed and won gold medals in the 1948 and 1952 Olympics. 

    Lou Gehrig was such a clumsy ball player that the boys in his neighborhood would not let him play on their team. But he was committed. He did not give up. Eventually, his name was entered into baseball's Hall of Fame. 

    Woodrow Wilson could not read until he was ten years old. But he was a committed person. He became the twenty-eighth President of the United States. 

    At the age of seven, he had to go to work to help support his family. At nine, his mother died. At twenty-two, he lost his job as a store clerk. At twenty-three, he went into debt and became a partner in a small store. At twenty-six, his partner died leaving him a huge debt. By the age of thirty-five, he had been defeated twice when running for a seat in Congress. At the age of thirty-seven, he won the election. At thirty-nine, he lost his reelection bid. At forty- one, his four-year-old son died. At forty-two, he was rejected for a land officer role. At forty-five, he ran for the Senate and lost. At forty-seven, he was defeated for the nomination for Vice President. At forty-nine, he ran for Senate again and lost again. At the age of fifty-one, he was elected President of the United States. During his second term of office, he was assassinated. But his name lives on among the greats in U.S. history--Abraham Lincoln. Heaven Bound Living, 

    Knofel Stanton, Standard, 1989, p. 43-44.


    In 19467 San Francisco's Potrero Hill was not only a poor South City neighborhood, it was a real ghetto. That year was the year Oren was born. Rickets, a poverty-related disease actually caused by malnutrition, was Oren's major problem. His vitamin-mineral deficient diet caused his bones to soften. His legs began to bow under the weight of his growing body. Even though the family was too poor to afford braces, Oren's mom refused to sit back, sigh, and resign herself to the inevitable. She rolled up her sleeves and took charge. She rigged up a homemade contraption in hopes of correcting her son's pigeon-toed, bowlegged condition. How? By reversing his shoes! Right shoe, left foot; left shoe, right foot; plus an improvised metal bar across the shoe tops to keep his feet pointing straight. It didn't work perfectly, but it was good enough to keep the boy on his feet and ultimately able to play with his buddies. 

    By the time he was about six years of age, his bones had hardened, his legs were still slightly bowed, his calves were unusually thin, and his head was disproportionately large. Nicknames from other kids followed him around: "Pencil-legs," "Waterhead"; but he refused to let all that hold him back. He compensated by acting tough. Street gangs on Potrero Hill were common: the Gladiators, Sheiks, Roman Gents, Persian Warriors. By age thirteen Oren had fought and won his way to being president of the Gladiators. For all the fighting, he was arrested only three times; that was the crowing achievement of his early youth. 

    Those who don't know his background could easily think he got all the breaks. As they look at him today and see this fine and refined gentleman, they would assume he's always been wealthy. He lives in the exclusive Brentwood district of Los Angeles, drives a luxurious car, and has his elegant office in an elite bank building. He is now a busy executive with his own production company. He personally handles most of his own financial affairs and business negotiations. He has contracts with the media and various entertainment firms and agencies. In today's terms, Oren has it made. That plush office with the name on the door belongs to Orenthal James Simpson. Yes, none other than "the Juice," O.J. Simpson. 

    Charles Swindoll, Living Above the Level of Mediocrity, pp.17-18.


    Track star Wilma Rudolph won three gold medals in the 1960 Olympics, but to get there she had to overcome enormous hurdles. Stricken with scarlet fever at the age of 4, she lost the use of her left leg and had to learn to walk again when she was 7.

    Source Unknown.