Perhaps you've seen the Vietnam War picture of Kim Phuc, a 9-year-old girl running naked in terror from her village, hoping to escape the horror of napalm that was burning her skin. The day was June 8, 1972. The pilot of the South Vietnamese plane was carrying out orders to bomb enemy troop positions in the village of Trang Bang.
I don't like to fish. So I was less than enthusiastic when my son Dan, about 12 at the time, asked me to take him fishing. We woke up early and got out on the lake just before dawn. Dan was excited, but when 10 long minutes passed without a bite I was already bored. So I rearranged a few life preservers, got comfortable, and promptly fell asleep. A little while later we returned home, even though the morning was still young. Needless to say, Dan was disappointed—and I felt guilty!
I used to think my friends Irene and Ken were a little too fanatical about keeping the deck of their sailboat clean. The gleaming white deck is part of the boat's beauty as she sweeps through the water in full sail under a bright sun. You aren't aboard her very long before you realize that keeping her that way takes constant attention.
For everyone with a close family member who is not a follower of Christ, Dr. Luke has included a wonderful surprise in the first chapter of Acts. Among those gathered for prayer in the days after Jesus ascended to heaven, Luke mentioned Mary, the mother of Jesus, and His brothers (Acts 1:14).
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial was dedicated in 1982. In the first 15 years, 54,000 items were left at the Wall. It still takes almost an hour every night, and much longer on Memorial Day, to collect the mementos—a teddy bear, a photo of a soldier's grandchild, a letter from a daughter who never knew her dad.
Do you expect to go to heaven? On what do you base your hope? Your good deeds or the cross of Jesus? Many believe that God in His mercy will forgive all people whose good deeds outweigh their sins. But the gospel of Christ is totally and blessedly different.
While it was still young and manageable, a tree planted in the middle of our small backyard provided just enough shade. But then its branches began to spread. Eventually the tree was shutting out the sunlight. The grass started to get thin and the garden became unproductive. By the time I realized that the tree had to come down, I had a backbreaking job on my hands. If only I had dealt with the problem when it was small instead of when it was full-grown!