If it was your task to overcome the power of evil in our world, how would you do it?
When my wife was battling cancer, I came to understand a lot about the disease and its treatment. I shared my wife's experiences in every way I could, yet one thing I never came to understand was what it is like to have cancer invade my body. Only those who contract this disease know what it means to have cancer. We gain knowledge either objectively or experientially. Objective learning comes from observation and study; experience opens an entirely different understanding not possible by observation.
Of all the temptations with which we wrestle, the most foundational is our desire to supplant God. It was the enticement the serpent gave to Adam and Eve, that eating the forbidden fruit would give them godlike insight into good and evil. Their experience proved true. However, even though they recognized what was good and evil, neither of them (nor any of us for that matter) could control this new ability.
Do you like mysteries? If so, you should relish 2 Corinthians 8:18. The Apostle Paul, writing to the church at Corinth, informed them that Titus would be coming to them with "the brother who is praised by all the churches for his service to the gospel." No other identification of this individual accompanying Titus is given, leaving many puzzled as to his identity.
Epitaphs, those catchy statements we often see on gravestones, can provide great insights into the life of the dearly departed. Sometimes they play on the person's name. "Here lies Johnny Yeast; pardon me for not rising." Occasionally, there is a stab at poetry. "Here lies the body of Jonathan Blake; stepped on the gas instead of the brake." Then there are the attempts to vindicate the deceased. "She always said her feet were killing her, but nobody believed her."
On Aug. 21, 1883, a tornado roared into the small town of Rochester, Minnesota causing major damage. Because there were no hospitals, the wounded were taken to doctors' offices. Motels, dance halls, and other public buildings were turned into makeshift care centers. The situation was in need of a medical leader so the town called on Dr. W.W. Mayo to organize the care. One of the first things he did was enlist the help of the Sisters of St. Francis, a new convent in the town to act as nurses.
Karkakonias, an Ojibwe chief in the mid-1800s, was taken to Washington, D.C. to see firsthand the advanced society and military power the United States had achieved at the time. When he returned home, his tribe was excited to hear all about his experiences, but the old chief remained mute, choosing to be alone and smoke his pipe. After some days, his people asked him why he did not tell them of his trip. He answered: If he told them of all the amazing things he had seen, they would accuse him of being a liar.
Did you know that infection was once considered a normal part of the healing process?
Last week, I fell asleep at my computer while working on a sermon. When I woke up, the screen had a long line of "Ks" across it because my finger was still pressing down on the key. A quick edit and the problem was corrected, but I remained concerned about the sermon. After all, if I fell asleep while writing it, what are the people going to do when I preach it?
You may never have heard of him, but Andy Green is the fastest man on earth. On Oct. 15, 1997, he broke the land speed record at 763.035 mph. Hearing this, I was amazed. Imagine a human being propelling himself along the ground at supersonic speed. But then I discovered Mr. Green did not achieve the speed recorded for him; it was the twin, jet-engine, "Star Wars"-looking vehicle that he was driving.