The great 19th-century preacher Charles Haddon Spurgeon told the story about a woman who said to Joseph Turner while he was painting, "Why do you put such extravagant colors into your pictures? I never see anything like them in nature."
Only a fool makes light of sin. The Bible warns us of its devastation in our lives and in our communities. I believe sin should be punished. I get upset when a clever lawyer helps a guilty client avoid paying the penalty for his crime. But I don't want my sin to be punished. Yet, in my more honest moments, I know that my sin must also be dealt with.
"No children please!" These words are seldom voiced, but they're often assumed when we are invited to hear a prominent speaker, teacher, or leader. The assumption is that children wouldn't know what's going on and they might annoy the speaker.
In Thomas Lynch's popular book The Undertaking: Life Studies From The Dismal Trade, he reflects on his work as a funeral director in a small Michigan town. In 25 years, he has overseen some 5,000 burials. How has it shaped his thinking?
I remember that when I was in the 6th grade I used to look with admiration and awe at high school football players. They were old enough to be heroes, and as far as I was concerned they were the biggest, fastest, and toughest guys around. But now I realize that it all depends on whose team you're playing for. Compared with the college or professional athletes of today, those fellows don't even rate.
A young man looked forward to joining the US Marine Corps after high school. But after just 3 weeks in boot camp, he wanted out. After he got an administrative discharge, he said, "I didn't know it would be that hard."
A co-worker told me about taking a walk near his home and noticing this imprint on a number of sidewalk slabs: "A. Anderson, 1903." That name and the date were indelibly inscribed in the concrete, indicating the year it had been poured and identifying the man who did the work.
Several months ago, I visited two professing Christians who were terminally ill. I was struck by their contrasting attitudes. One man was glum and quite listless even when I read Scripture and prayed and spoke about our hope in Christ. His spiritual eyesight seemed dim.