Gaius Octavius became the first Roman emperor by working behind the scenes to consolidate his power. He changed his name to Gauis Julius Caesar Octavianus, after his adoptive father, and then promoted the idea of Caesars (Roman emperors) being divine—allowing him to be considered the son of a god. Eventually, Octavius took the title of Augustus Caesar—sole ruler of Rome—whose spirit was deemed worthy of worship by his people.
As my wife tried to get home from visiting our daughter over the holidays, bad weather shut down numerous flights. After 2 days, she had a fistful of boarding passes for planes that couldn’t leave the ground, and she joined thousands of weary travelers scrambling for places to stay.
I once wrote a book based on a collection of letters that François Fénelon (a French pastor from the 17th century) wrote to a younger friend who was serving in the morally corrupt court of King Louis XIV. Fénelon’s fatherly posture and his call for unflinching devotion to God captured me. Words like this are standard Fénelon fare: “Becoming a follower of God is hard because it requires that we submit ourselves fully to a God who is other than us. We must let go of our insistence that we know best what we need. We must let go of our demands that God act when and how we demand.”
We got really good,” Raleigh Becket bragged. He and his brother piloted a “Jaeger,” a huge battle robot that fought massive, dinosaurlike creatures named Kaiju as depicted in the movie Pacific Rim. In their arrogance, the brothers defied orders and went on a reckless mission battling a huge Kaiju alone. The massive beast destroyed their Jaeger, causing it to come crashing down in defeat. Raleigh’s brother was then killed by the monster while his brother could only watch in horror.
Have you ever wanted to take a quick peek at someone else’s mail? Maybe it was an envelope from a doctor’s office that held the results of a family member’s recent medical tests. Or perhaps it was a letter addressed to your parents from an estranged family member. As you held the envelope in your hands, the temptation to open it might have felt overwhelming.
Lance Armstrong was on top of the world. He’d won the coveted Tour de France seven times. He’d beaten cancer and had seen his charity, Livestrong, become an acclaimed source of help for cancer patients. But then the walls came tumbling down. It was revealed that Armstrong had led a doping program on his teams during his career. And, just like that, he was stripped of his Tour de France titles, he severed ties with Livestrong, and his name became synonymous with cheating and duplicity.
Last month, as my wife was using our riding lawn mower, she accidentally hooked the bottom of the mower on one of the swings of our swing set. It dangerously lifted the front tires off the ground! So, as I was recently cutting the grass, her scare reminded me to slow down to first gear. I confidently maneuvered around the swing on my left—but I failed to see the one on the right. Suddenly, the mower reared up on its rear wheels and then tipped backwards. After hitting the ground and rolling clear of the blades, I realized that my mower now lay upside down on its crushed steering wheel.
Thirty-five years ago, Thomas Daigle and his wife signed a home loan. On the way out of the bank, he found a penny on the ground. On a lark, they said they should save pennies to pay off their loan. Decades later, they had amassed 62,000 pennies. They hauled the accumulated coins to a bank teller to finish off their mortgage’s balance. It took bank employees 2 days to count the coins, but the Daigles’ mortgage was no more.
This past week I’ve been working on a labor of love. My wife, Lynn, is reaching a significant birthday milestone, so I’ve decided to throw her a party. One game I came up with is “Lynn in a word.” The idea is for party attendees to think of a word that describes Lynn best and write it down on a note card. On the other side of the card, they’ll write their name. At the party, Lynn will draw the cards from a basket and then the individuals whose cards are selected will take a few moments to tell a Lynn anecdote and why they selected the word they did.
The opening line of the 1984 song “Holding Out for a Hero” asks, “Where have all the good men gone?” That’s a fair question in a world that has seen more than its share of passive or violent males.
The metro was packed with rush-hour travelers, and my family and I stood on the station platform waiting for the doors to open so we could board. Tired after a long day of sightseeing, we were already anticipating the refuge of our hotel room. I took my son’s hand and entered through the open train doors. As I looked for…
"There are two kinds of people,” said advice columnist Abigail Van Buren. “Those who walk into a room and say, ‘There you are!’ and those who say, ‘Here I am!’” The one Person who could have rightly declared, “Here I am,” seemed oddly reluctant to promote Himself. Jesus was much more interested in others. At His first miracle, He admonished…
Taking online quizzes is popular on Facebook. The quizzes range from “What Disney character are you?” to “What Bible character are you?” I wonder how a person would react if the Bible character quiz revealed that they are most like Jael.
Who’s Jael? She’s the woman who drove a tent peg into an army general’s head. While we could debate…