When you set sail on the high seas, you need to know three important facts: your location, your destination, and your course. By referring to a map and using a compass, you can end up where you want to go.
In the province of Mizoram in India lives a group of Christians who have discovered a unique way to give to the work of the Lord. As the woman of the house prepares meals for her family, meals that consist primarily of rice, she measures out just enough rice to feed her family.
Sometimes I am puzzled by the shortsightedness of intelligent people. I recall, for example, when once-noted American psychologist John B. Watson (1878-1958) published theories about human nature that inspired widespread excitement in academic circles. Watson contended that we can control behavior and make people act in any way we desire. He scoffed at the biblical teaching that we are made in God's image. He argued that we are essentially the same as animals and can be manipulated like puppets.
Mel Fisher was a treasure hunter who searched for gold and found it. In 1985, after 16 years of looking, he finally discovered the Spanish wreck Nuestra Senora de Atocha in 55 feet of water near Key West, Florida. His divers salvaged millions of dollars' worth of treasure from that sunken ship—but it didn't come easy. They toiled long and hard with metal detectors, diving to investigate every metallic "hit." Fisher's dreams and work eventually paid off when he came upon his big find.
The story of Rahab, a harlot in Jericho, is puzzling. She welcomed the spies from Israel, hid them on her roof, and helped them escape. Then her own life was spared and she was honored by becoming part of the family line of the Messiah (Mt. 1:5). Why did God choose her?
I have a friend in England who is in her mid-eighties. Although she's housebound and frail, she has an attitude of gratitude every time we talk on the telephone. One of her favorite hymns has always been, "Count Your Blessings." So I was concerned when she remarked one day, "I've stopped naming my blessings one by one." But then she continued cheerfully, "My blessings are so many, I'm weighing them ton by ton!"
As the son of a schoolteacher, the father of a schoolteacher, and a former schoolteacher myself, I've never had trouble with the idea that learning is a rewarding experience. I'm a "fact fiend" who is always eager to learn some new statistic or dig up another exciting bit of information.
Travel books focus on reaching a destination and having an enjoyable time when you arrive. But a new volume called The Art Of Pilgrimage looks beyond that perspective to consider the deeper significance of travel. "A journey without challenge has no meaning," writes the author. "One without purpose has no soul." In his book, the journey is as important as the destination.
Repentance is not a matter of cleaning up our lives in order to be forgiven. C. S. Lewis said that it "is not something God demands of you before He will take you back . . . ; it is simply a description of what going back is like."