The news headlines of the last few weeks have been fraught with racial tension and angst. The issue of racism isn't something unique to our culture, but accounts like what we hear every night reveal a historical sensitivity throughout the ages manifesting a discomfort and even fear of those different than us. Every one of us has a bent toward exalting ourselves and one sinful way this is done is by finding fault and blame with others because of racial differences.
2015 was another year of global tragedy on a massive scale; a perusal of newspaper headlines proclaim the top tragedies include the earthquake in Nepal that killed almost 9,000, the terrorist attacks in Paris, ongoing attacks and massacres by ISIS and Boko Haram, the war in Yemen which has claimed the lives of hundreds of citizens, airliner crash in Taiwan, a massive shipping explosion in China, landslides in Colombia and avalanches in Afghanistan, and stateside shootings in San Bernardino, South Carolina, and Oregon.
Matthew 5:4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. If you're planning on going to Valley Fair amusement park this summer, you could plan on paying up to $37 for admission. If you want to travel further for a more exotic experience, you could go to Knott's Berry Farm for about $64.
Many years ago during a Knicks-Bullets playoff game, one of the Bullets came up from behind the great Walt Frazier and punched him in the face. Strangely, the referee called a foul on Frazier. Frazier didn't complain. His expression never changed. He simply called for the ball and put in seven straight shots to win the game (U.S. News & World Report, June 14, 1993, p. 37.) 1 Peter 3:8-14 affirms the reality that not one of us can expect to go through life without being hurt or wounded by people who have a regular spot in our lives.
It didn't take me long to figure out that when I'm cutting or splitting firewood, it's best to wear leather work gloves; they protect from the splinters, abrasions, and thorns that a woodcutter deals with. Unfortunately, there's no work glove that fits over the soul; when we deal with abrasive or prickly people, there's little protection against getting hurt. In 1 Peter 3:8-12, God gives us instructions for handling prickly people, because he knows that everyone encounters people who are hurtful.
A husband and wife were chatting with friends when the subject of marriage counseling came up. "Oh, we'll never need that," the husband said. "My wife and I have a great relationship. She has a communications degree and I have a degree in theatre arts. She communicates really well and I act like I'm listening." (jokes2go.com) Valentine's Day is approaching, bringing thoughts of romance and affection to couples everywhere, and really putting the pressure on us guys to know what our wife's understanding of romance even is. What makes the perfect Valentine's Day, anyway? Flowers? A card?
How you can tell when it's going to be a rotten day: You see a "60 Minutes" news team waiting in your office. Your twin sister forgot your birthday. Your boss tells you not to bother to take off your coat. You put both contact lenses in the same eye. The bird singing outside your window is a buzzard. Your income tax refund check bounces.
Have you ever wondered if there is an answer to life? Have you ever pondered where that key to making life 'work' could be found? What makes a life a success or failure? Is success a formula made of bank account numbers? Is it just surviving any given day? Is life 'working' when you experience happiness and acceptance from other people? Or finally perfect a talent or ability?
Psalm 119:113-120 describes two 'ways of life:' those who live their lives in accordance with what they read in God's word, and those that reject God's principles and laws in favor of their own sinful preferences.