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In Other Words...
A Research Service of Facts & Humor For Christian Leaders
May 2022 Issue 1
AUTHORITY: Dashiell Hammett (1894-1961) was an author, screenwriter, and controversial political activist. He came to fame during the era of prohibition by writing detective novels like The Thin Man. His knack for weaving crime stories resulted in one of his most famous lines: “The problem with putting two and two together is that sometimes you get four, and sometimes you get twenty-two.” Without some basis of authority, truth will be elusive and confusion will reign…just like we see today. The Week, 12/17/21, p.17
BIBLE: Theologian J.I. Packer (1926-2020) wrote, “Whatever else in the Bible catches your eye, do not let it distract you from Him.” All of Scripture is but a compass that points to the true north of Christ. Knowing and Doing the Will of God, J.I. Packer, 1995
COOPERATION: Each year millions of people are fascinated by the extraordinary migration of monarch butterflies. In the fall they begin the 2,500-mile journey to winter in central Mexico, and then reverse course in March to return to North America. The process is highly observed so researchers know that the migration cycle requires as many as five generations to complete. The beauty of monarchs flitting through the air points to the wonder of how God designed His creation to cooperate. Like these butterflies, we aren’t the complete journey, just a portion of it, so let’s all do our part. NBCNews.com, 8/13/13
DISAPPOINTMENT: How would you summarize your feelings about life throughout the pandemic? That question was posed at the end of 2021 and “disappointed” was the top answer. “Overwhelmed” came in second. Similar responses topped the charts long before COVID arrived so we can’t just blame it on a virus. Sin has terminally infected us all with the consequence of alienation and separation from God, which creates overwhelming disappointment and anxiety. Jesus is the only antidote and “anyone who trusts in Him will never be disappointed” (Romans 10:11). DenisonForum.org, 3/11/22
EVANGELISM: Reaching lost people involves fervent prayer for their salvation. Apologist Lee Strobel has been reminding Christians of this for several years with his probing question about prayer: “What if tonight you’re alone in your room and Jesus physically appears to you. And what if he looks at you and says, ‘I’m going to answer every single prayer that you prayed last week.’ If Jesus said that to you tonight, would there be anybody new in the Kingdom of God tomorrow?” BaptistStandard.com, 4/7/19
FAITH: It’s a simple picture of truth & faith, but every golfer has experienced it. You shank your Titleist into the rough and no matter how hard you look, you can’t find it. It’s gone from your sight but that doesn’t change the reality of its existence. Just because we can’t see issues of faith like the resurrection or heaven doesn’t mean they’re not real. Like that lost golf ball, we’re “certain of what we do not see” (Heb 11:1). Editor’s Perspective
FEAR: Just before the pandemic erupted, John Tierney and Roy Baumeister released a book on negativity. One unique caveat noted what some researchers called “9/11 Act II.” Negative thoughts about planes followed the terrorists’ attacks and prompted millions of Americans to travel by car rather than fly to their destinations. As a result, it’s estimated that 1,600 more people died in car accidents than would have had they flown. The authors point out that our negativity bias can lead to poor judgment, counterproductive decisions, and even deadly outcomes. The Power of Bad, John Tierney & Roy Baumeister, 2019, p.33
GOD’S WILL: Evangelist Billy Graham (1918-2018) said, “If you are ignorant of God’s Word, you will always be ignorant of God’s will.” Professor and author Paul Little concurred with his rhetorical question: “Has it ever struck you that the vast majority of the will of God for your life has already been revealed in the Bible?” The Journey, Billy Graham, 2006, p.242; Men of Integrity, January/February 2010, p.1/5
GRACE: James Simpson (1811-1870) was a pioneer in the field of medicine who discovered the anesthetic qualities of chloroform. The British Medical Journal noted that this innovation changed the face of medicine for a century. When asked about his greatest discovery, Simpson replied, “It was not chloroform. It was to know I am a sinner and that I could be saved by the grace of God. A man has missed the whole meaning of life if he has not entered into an active, living relationship with God through Christ.” Regardless of who we are or what we’ve done, we too can make the greatest discovery of all. The Evidence Study Bible, Ray Comfort, 2011, Philippians 3:8 Notes; Wikipedia.org
GUIDANCE: The “Faith in America” survey was conducted in January of 2022. It found that “72% of Americans say the nation’s moral compass is pointed in the wrong direction.” Uniquely, though, 60% of all respondents admitted they don’t make it to church even once a month. Hope is found in Christ, not in the avoidance of Him. ChristianPost.com, 3/22/22
SATAN: On April 13, 2022, the medical examiner’s office in Charles County, Maryland released their conclusion on the cause of death for a man found in his home in January. The accidental cause of death was “snake envenomation.” When the unidentified 49-year-old man was found, there were 124 snakes in his house including rattlesnakes, cobras and black mambas. This sad story paints a very clear picture of what happens when we try to get comfortable with deadly snakes – Satan included. Beaumont Enterprise, 4/15/22, p.A2
ATTENTION: Teddy Roosevelt’s daughter Alice loved attention just like her celebrated father. She humorously said of him, “He wants to be the bride at every wedding, the corpse at every funeral, and the baby at every christening.” Reader’s Digest, March 2019, p.40
HOUSEWORK: Comedienne Joan Rivers (1933-2014) used to complain, “Housework is so futile. You dust and make the bed, and two weeks later you have to do it all over again.” Saturday Evening Post, March/April 2022, p.72
TECHNOLOGY: Kim Komando gives technology advice on her radio show, website, newsletters, and syndicated columns. She recently deciphered some common tech support terminology and explained how some of their code words reveal the real problem. If you’re told it’s an EEOC, that means Equipment Exceeds Operator Capabilities. Code 18 refers to the tech’s belief that the problem is sitting 18-inches from the screen. And if the diagnosis is an IBM error, it means Idiot Behind Machine. USA Today, 4/22/22, p.3B
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