One of the first presents I remember receiving was a small set of tempera paints. Later came a set of oil paints, a tripod, and some canvas. I remember my first “masterpiece,” painted when I was 11 and on summer vacation in the mountains. It took me days, and the result was nothing amazing, but the sense of accomplishment was immense.
Nehemiah said it was the source of true strength.1 The psalmist David found it in God’s presence and offered it back to Him as a love gift.2 Jeremiah found it in God’s Word.3 King Solomon said it was one of God’s rewards for right living.4 Jesus promised it to His followers and said it came through believing and doing what He said.5
Peter was awestruck. Along with James and John, he’d trudged up the mountain following Jesus, when suddenly “[Jesus’] face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light.” The spectacle was soon even more amazing: Moses and Elijah—dead for many centuries—appeared and started talking with Jesus.1
The walls of my bedroom are brightening with a new day’s sun. I rub my eyes, stretch, and yawn, allowing my thoughts to travel far on memory lane. Through the twists and turns of my life, I’ve made what I like to think is a discovery—though surely many others have long found this secret. I have discovered what makes a person happy and how I can be happy too.
The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him.
—Psalm 37:23 NIV
Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.
—Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929–1968)
It saddens Me that so many people are content to just let life pass them by. They may be busy keeping up or trying to get ahead, or they may fill every spare moment with relaxing activities, but where is all that busy activity taking them? When do they really live?
A mother once took her young son, who was just beginning to learn to play the piano, to hear the world-famous pianist Jan Paderewski in concert.
After an usher showed them to their seats, the mother spotted a friend in the audience and walked down the aisle to greet her. The little boy saw that as his opportunity to explore the wonders of the concert hall, and eventually explored his way through a door marked “NO ADMITTANCE.” When the house lights dimmed and the concert was about to begin, the mother returned to her seat and discovered that her son was missing.
One of the central questions that philosophers and theologians have struggled with for millennia is the mystery of what gives life meaning. Everyone wants to be happy and fulfilled, but how can we tell what true happiness is and where it comes from?
This is a time of great change in the world—technological, economic, religious, political, business, and environmental. The results are seen in governments, organizations, and in the lives of families and individuals. Although it’s sometimes more evident and easier to recognize and take stock of at the start of a new year, change is actually constantly affecting all spheres of society.
Life is all about the little decisions you make every day. Decisions of the past have had their effect, but every new day can be a new start. No matter what has happened up till now, you have a chance to make the right choices today.
Don’t waste time reliving the pain of past mistakes and wrong decisions. That only saps your power to do the good that you can do today. You can’t change the past, but the future is what you make it, starting right now, so take full advantage of the present.