Car racing legend Bobby Unser faced the toughest race of his life—and won. He and a friend, Robert Gayton, were snowmobiling in New Mexico when both of their sleds quit working. Snowdrifts as high as their chests, temperatures as low as zero, and winds as stiff as 70 mph hampered their attempt to find shelter. They even had to spend one night in a snow cave they made. Late the next day they found a barn with a heater and a phone.
People who have a positive outlook on life tend to accomplish more than those who look at life through dark-colored glasses. Negative attitudes are self-defeating. If a person thinks he won't do well on a test or won't be able to break a bad habit, he probably won't.
Paul's letter to the Romans is considered the theological centerpiece of the New Testament. Yet this grand statement of doctrine concludes with a personal greeting from the apostle to a host of people, 27 of whom are mentioned by name. He also refers to "our sister," "servant," "helper," "fellow worker," "beloved," "countrymen," "fellow prisoners," "brethren," and "saints."
Evangelist G. F. Pentecost told of a man who came to see him at a meeting because he was under deep conviction of sin. His conscience was continually condemning him. He was very angry with Pentecost, and with D. L. Moody, who had preached the previous week.
The often quoted statement "Nice guys finish last" seems all too true to the fullback of a high school football team. After they lost a game to a team that seemed intent on breaking all the rules, he asked, "Why didn't God honor us by giving us the win?"
In a conference for Christians who were 50 and older, we were talking about work. After we studied the last few verses of Ecclesiastes 5, one person said, "I wish that someone had explained these verses to me when I was younger. Perhaps I wouldn't have been so driven in my work. Maybe I would have relaxed more and let myself enjoy life."
An economist made this comment about his profession: "In most fields, if the facts don't fit the theory, you find a new theory. But an economist doesn't do that—he tries to explain away the facts."
For many years the words of Romans 3:9-20 raised uneasy questions in my mind. I had no trouble seeing those verses as describing the selfishness, cruelty, immorality, crime, and conflict of our society. But the harsh words didn't seem to fit most of the people I knew, including many non-Christians. They often did kind deeds, spoke truthfully, tried to avoid conflict, and showed respect for me and my faith. It didn't seem right to describe them as being "unprofitable" (v.12), as having the "poison of asps . . . under their lips" (v.13), or as being "swift to shed blood" (v.15).