First, the bad news. Our society can have a terrible influence on us and our children. The entertainment media, for example, offer various forms of sinful behavior for our listening and viewing "pleasure." One music TV channel, for instance, was characterized in World magazine by film critic Michael Medved like this: "There is absolutely no excuse for MTV to be present in the home. It is 100-percent negative."
Most of us can think of someone—perhaps a relative or a friend—who is known for a particular perfume she wears. Even without seeing her, we know when she's nearby. Wordlessly, her fragrance welcomes us into her company.
Early in Moss Hart's career as a Broadway playwright, he tried desperately to overhaul the dull third act of an ailing play. After a dozen agonizing rewrites, he decided his favorite scene, along with its elaborate and expensive set, had to go. The scenery had captured the plot and was holding the dialog hostage.
When I walked into the gift shop, I was greeted with a cheery "Good afternoon!" The young salesperson chattered brightly as she pointed out the shop's unique products, shared my observations about the weather, helped me choose a gift, and neatly wrapped my purchase.
Late one afternoon in 19th-century London, two sight-seeing soldiers went to visit the magnificent Westminster Cathedral but found its doors locked. Arthur Stanley, who had become dean of the Cathedral in 1863, was walking outside at the time and noticed them. When he learned that they couldn't return the next day, he unlocked the door and gave them a personal tour.
God's power was dramatically displayed when the Holy Spirit came upon a small band of Christ's followers on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:2-4). Those present heard a roaring sound like a strong driving wind. Flames like fiery tongues hovered above their heads, and they proclaimed God's wonderful works in languages they had never learned.
While traveling on an interstate highway, I observed an interesting analogy of the relationship between law and grace. I saw motorists pulled over by state troopers, reminding me that the law always remains in force. But I also noted that if I stayed in the traffic flow, I would need grace, for nearly everyone was exceeding the speed limit. Yet I saw no motorist being pulled over for merely keeping up with the traffic. This reminded me that when we break God's law we deserve punishment, but He deals graciously with us.