Evangelist J. Edwin Orr said that "the first word of the gospel" is repentance. It's a turning away from sin and toward the Lord. The prophet Zechariah cried out to the people of Israel to repent and return to the Lord: "Turn now from your evil ways and your evil deeds" (Zech. 1:4).
Whenever children visit relatives, they often hear this kind of greeting: "My, haven't you grown!" This embarrasses them, but inside they're glad they've outgrown babyhood. Not that babyhood is bad. How else can life begin? But it is sad when babies remain babies.
About this time every year, I re-read Dot Jackson's 1981 Thanksgiving column from the Charlotte Observer. After raising the question of what ever happened to the old-time concept of "enough," she wrote: "Enough was a roof that didn't leak. Plenty of chairs on the porch, and at the table. . . . Enough was food and safety from the elements . . . ; enough was a little help for a friend in need and debt to no one.
Are we ever like a child who at the end of a day kneels by his bed and says, "Thank You, God, for not letting Mom find the chocolate wrappers in my pocket. I'm glad I was able to have all the candy I could eat at Billy's today. Oh, and I almost forgot, thank You for not letting Dad miss the matches I took off his workbench. Amen."
What a story! Three young men who refused to treat their king as a god ended up walking around in a furnace (Dan. 3:21-25). The furnace was so hot that the committee in charge of incineration died from the heat (v.22), but these three young champions hardly broke a sweat.
Travel to the moon is no longer a fantasy. Human beings have walked on its surface. But years ago when the Hayden Planetarium in New York advertised (merely in jest) that it would take reservations for that lunar trip of 240,000 miles, 18,000 people applied within a few days.
When I was 15 years old, I spent as much time as I could in the library reading articles and books about social justice. I was troubled by the fact that thousands of men who were willing to work hard could not find a job. I was trying to find out what form of government could best provide economic justice.
The German poet Goethe told a fable about a poor fisherman's crude hut. When a lighted silver lamp was placed inside, the entire cabin was transformed into silver—the flooring, the logs that formed the walls, the roof, even the furniture.
A study by researchers at three West Coast universities says that couples who stay together longer grow happier. The study, reported in Newsday magazine, does not say that time itself turns unhappy marriages into happy ones, but it does support the theory that marriages tend to improve with time. According to Professor Robert Levenson (University of California, Berkeley), couples who stay married "develop the ability to not lose sight of the love in the relationship, and to express it."