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.
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.
The sound of Mother’s eggbeater drew me to the kitchen. There I found her at work, and began to watch. This was my chance to find out what she put into that chocolate cake of hers that made it so good. There was baking chocolate, of course. I reached for a crumb that had fallen off the bar and put it on my tongue to dissolve. It was bitter! I surveyed the other things on the table. There was a cupful of sour milk. Yuck! Surely Mother wasn’t going to put that in the cake! But she did, along with some of that awful baking soda she had given me the last time I had a stomachache. What kind of cake could she possibly make out of such things? Mother smiled and told me to wait and see.