When the great ocean liner Titanic sank in 1912, it was rumored to have gone down with a fortune in jewels and gold. That longstanding myth was dispelled, however, by the discovery of the ship's manifest, which showed that the ship was carrying raw feathers, linen, straw, hatter's fur, tissue, auto parts, leather, rabbit hair, elastics, hair nets, and refrigerating equipment.
Switzerland is known for its scenic mountains and beautiful waterfalls. A visitor to that picturesque country observed: "Some guidebooks name the time when rainbows may be seen on many of the waterfalls in Switzerland. One day, when I was at Lauterbrunnen, I went to the famous Staubbach Falls and watched and waited. Others did the same, and we all went away quite disappointed. The next day one of my friends said he would show us how to find the rainbow. So I went again and saw a lovely one, and stood almost in the center of it. Then I found that not only were sunshine and spray necessary to produce a rainbow, but also that it could be seen and enjoyed only at a certain point."
I'm old enough to remember the Great Depression of the 1930s. For several years our family had no car, no plumbing, no electricity. But we had a house, a spring nearby, an outhouse, wood for fuel, adequate clothing, and enough food. Were we poor? Not by standards back then. We would be today, however, if we lived in that same area.
As a parent, I think one of the scariest times of the school year is that first conference with the teacher. And one of the most upsetting phrases to hear is something like, "We're having some problems with your child."
Douglas Burton-Christie decided to walk the last few miles to his spiritual retreat at an Egyptian monastery. He stepped off the bus in a small village and confidently set out across the desert. A few hours later, he realized that he was lost. Instead of arriving at the monastery self-assured and proud, he eventually found his way there humbled and grateful to be alive.
Missionary Keith Gustafson was forced to leave the Congo because of the civil war that erupted in 1997. He reported that as the fighting spread, people in the remote area where he lived knew that soldiers were approaching because of the message of the drums. Down the trails and along the riverbanks came the chilling drumbeat that warned of danger.
In the New York City subway, two youths robbed a well-dressed man who appeared to be asleep in his seat. Suddenly the whole car came alive! The victim turned out to be a decoy, and the passengers who jumped up from their seats were police officers. With lightning speed they converged on the young pair and made the arrest. These officers were "unseen" at first, but they provided ample security for riders on that subway car.
In his letter to the Christians in the town of Colosse, Paul devoted nearly the entire fourth chapter to a roll call of believers. There is Tychicus from Asia Minor (v.7), and the runaway slave Onesimus, who became a Christian when he met Paul in prison (v.9). There are Jewish believers: Aristarchus, Mark, and Justus (vv.10-11). There are Gentile Christians: Epaphras, Dr. Luke, and Demas (vv.12-14). There is Nymphas (v.15), who provided a home in which the church could gather. These folks obviously meant a great deal to Paul and his ministry.