On a late Saturday afternoon, traffic crawled towards the congested, narrow intersection in the large metropolis. Pedestrians zigzagged through the lanes. Lines of cars were pulling out of one of the busiest shopping malls, adding a strain to the already overcrowded junction. With no traffic lights or traffic controllers around, the traffic quickly became deadlocked.
I’ve always been fascinated by the stories of people who just up and change their lives. The successful surgeon who becomes a baker, the beggar who becomes a Wall Street tycoon, the soccer mom who becomes a backpacking mountaineer, the high-powered corporate couple who embrace minimalism and travel the world living out of a suitcase. I must like the comfort of believing that if it’s ever necessary, I too can change when I need to.
On a trip to attend my son’s wedding in the Philippines, I had the joy of riding on a bangka boat, a Filipino vessel that looks like a catamaran and has a pontoon on both sides, which gives it great stability. This sleek, swift, slender design has been in use for thousands of years and continues to be used extensively today.
My new year literally started with a bang! On December 31st, my phone leaped out of my hand in an apparent dive of depression.
I picked it up immediately, not really expecting anything to be wrong. It had fallen on a carpeted floor, and I’d dropped it several times before without damage.
A friend of mine mentioned how he often feels melancholy after experiencing something beautiful. I wasn’t sure what he was talking about. It wasn’t until I started to recall my feelings at the end of a magnificent sunset, a fantastic day, or a moving performance that I realized how often I feel the same.
If you asked me how I feel about music, I’d say I’m an enthusiast. My friends might say a fanatic, but I just tune them out.
There’s something inexplicable about music that moves our hearts and stirs our souls. Powerful lyrics can be just the right thing to lift our mood and cheer us up, and I personally owe many happy moments to inspired songwriters.
Jesus opened the Sermon on the Mount with the Beatitudes, which provide an overview of how He intends for those who follow Him to live their faith. Throughout the rest of the Sermon, He expressed further and more detailed principles which build on the Beatitudes.
One of those principles, following right after the Beatitudes, is:
My daughter once asked me if I regretted devoting my life to Christian service.
I answered, “No regrets whatsoever. The idea has been to work with eternity in mind.”
The word “eternity” has been popularized by an amazing guy who passed away in 1967, named Arthur Stace, whose life story has been remembered in a book, an opera, and a film.1
The Bible has a lot to say on the topic of what our purpose in life should be. King Solomon, described in the Bible as the wisest man of his time,1 discovered the futility of living only for this world. He gives these concluding remarks in the book of Ecclesiastes: “Respect and obey God! This is what life is all about.”2
I have always been a dog person. I grew up with dogs, and even later in life when my wife and I served as missionaries, we felt a dog was a necessary addition to our household. So we got ourselves a puppy and a collar.
Not just any collar, but the best one we could find. In fact, when I would take him on walks in the morning or explore the fields together at dusk, with his stainless steel collar complete with a gold-colored name tag, he often seemed better dressed than I was.