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Nagasaki

An atomic bomb known as “Fat Man” was dropped by a United States B-29 bomber this day in history, 1945. The target was Nagasaki. The number dead – 39,000.

For 12 months prior to the nuclear attack, Nagasaki had experienced five small-scale air attacks by an aggregate of 136 planes which dropped a total of 270 tons of high explosive bombs, 53 tons of incendiary bombs, and 20 tons of fragmentation bombs.

But none of these compared to the utter devastation of the atomic bomb.

Within less than a second after the detonation, the north side of the city was destroyed. At least 39,000 were dead – possibly as many as 80,000. About half died immediately, some after days and even weeks. This second atomic bomb was more powerful than the “Little Boy” bomb that had been dropped over Hiroshima.

There are many lessons to be learned from the atomic bombs that ushered a close to WWII. I will leave the political and military analysis to those qualified to address such issues. But we do know one thing. The Japanese had prior warning of both atomic drops. Even after Hiroshima, they did not surrender. It was only after the horror of Nagasaki, 72 years ago today, that they surrendered.

We are still like that today. It takes more to get our attention than it should. And most of us, like Japan, are unwilling to surrender until after the devastation of non-surrender becomes too real.

The key to peace and victorious living is to surrender to God through Jesus Christ. There is no need to wait. There is no need to suffer the carnage of sin first. Jesus already did that for us on the cross.

How to Win Carnival Games

Ethan Trex has done the world a great favor. He has studied carnival games and devised a winning strategy. Follow these simple tips and you can be the king of carnivals, a prince to preschoolers.

Let’s start with the “Balloon Dart Throw.” The scam is that the darts are dull and much lighter than normal darts. And the balloons are under inflated, which makes them harder to pop. The strategy is to not hurl the darts hard, but to loft them up, so they can come down onto their targets with the assistance of gravity.

Ever tried the “Basketball Shoot”? The rims are smaller than regulation and oval-shaped. The backboards have a harder bounce, the balls are overinflated, and the rims are higher than normal. The trick is to toss the ball underhanded; it’s all about getting a good arc on the ball.

Then there’s the “Milk Bottle Pyramid.” The bottoms are heavier. So if you aim for the middle, you’ll never win. You must go low!

Now, let’s talk about the “Game of Life.” The scam is it looks like you can win by your own strength. The trick is to recognize that you can’t win unless you depend totally on God.

Obvious Questions

A young family was touring the FBI Headquarters. They were shown pictures on the wall of the ten most wanted men. The family’s young lad asked, “Why don’t you just keep them when you take their pictures?”

Here’s another great question, asked by a little girl of her dad, who was a pastor. “What do John the Baptist and Kermit the Frog have in common?”

The pastor/dad was clueless. “I have no idea, honey. What do John the Baptist and Kermit the Frog have in common?”

“They have the same middle name!” she said.

Kids indeed ask some wonderful questions. That’s how they learn.

Questions must be a good thing, because there are a lot of them in the Bible. “What is your life?” “What shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” “If a man dies, shall he live again?” “What think ye of Jesus?” “What shall it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his own soul?”

Kids are full of questions. The Bible is full of questions. Life is full of questions. But there is good news. For every problem there is a solution, and for every question, there is a God.

The best way to get in trouble is to turn somewhere else for the answers to life’s most important questions.

Getting Older

You have reached middle age when you try to find out where the action is so you can go somewhere else.

There was a guy who was really proud of his four-year-old daughter. He was convinced she was the smartest kid in the world. One day, he took her to an outdoor mall in the wintertime. She was all bundled up with a coat, boots, and mittens, to stay warm. Her dad ran into an old friend.

“Ask my daughter how old she is!” he told his buddy, in hopes that his girl would impress him with her answer.

His friend said, “Okay, little girl, how old are you?”

The girl replied, “I can’t tell you. I have mittens on.”

It’s hard to count with your mittens on. But it’s also hard to stay young.

I have only read one article that gave advice that really works, in my task to stay young. It read, “You can stay young indefinitely if you eat wisely, get plenty of sleep, work hard, get plenty of exercise, have a positive mental outlook, and lie about your age.”

I don’t know how old you are. Sometimes, I’m not sure I know how old I am. But God has numbered our days, and he wants every one of them to count.

The Birth of MTV

On August 1, 1981, MTV began broadcasting in the United States and aired its first video, “Video Killed the Radio Star,” by The Buggles.

The first broadcast words were, “Ladies and gentlemen, rock and roll,” spoken by John Lack. They were played over footage of the first Space Shuttle launch countdown of Columbia, which took place later that year, and the launch of Apollo 11.

MTV’s effect was immediate in areas where the new music video channel was carried. Within two months, record stores in areas where MTV was available were selling music that local radio stations were not playing, such as Men at Work, Bow Wow Wow, and the Human League. MTV sparked the Second British Invasion, British acts, featured heavily on the channel.

It’s hard to believe MTV is celebrating its 36th birthday. What was cutting edge yesterday is old school today. The world changes at a pace never known before.

I am grateful that one thing never changes. Actually, I mean one person never changes. He is the one who Scripture describes as “the same yesterday, today, and forever.” So no matter what is going on around you, stay tethered to your anchor. When life is crazy, He’s not. He is our rock and our shelter in times of trouble. Anchor your life to him today.

The Wrong Answer

A student visited his old school, 20 years after his graduation, and met up with his old science professor. The prof happened to be grading exam papers, and the student was surprised to notice that the questions on the exam were exactly the same as they were 20 years earlier. He asked the professor about the possibility of the leakage of the exam questions.

“Couldn’t the students get the questions in advance?” asked the visitor.

The old professor answered, “Don’t worry about that, my dear boy. It’s true that I never change the questions. But no one can successfully cheat, because I change the answers every year.”

I’m so glad that God never changes the answers.

What does it take to have eternal life? Faith in Jesus Christ.

How does a person find real peace? By trusting in the great Peacemaker.

How can we navigate the problems of this life? By total reliance on Him.

Indeed, in the exam we call life, the questions haven’t changed since the creation of man. And neither have the answers. And the really good news is that for life’s toughest questions, we don’t just need an answer. We need The Answer. And we have him in Jesus Christ.

Next question?

Great Fire of Rome – 1,953 Years Ago Today

For those of you too young to remember, something really big happened this day in history, 64 A.D. In the merchant area of Rome, a fire broke out. It soon burned out of control. Reportedly, Nero, the Roman Emperor, played his lyre and continued to sing while watching the fire blaze form a safe distance.

The fire burned out of control for six days. Then Nero blamed the Christian community for the fire, initiating the first great persecution of the Christians in Rome.

By July 19, the population fled to unaffected areas of the city, and then to open fields and rural roads outside of Rome. Looters and arsonists were reported to have spread the flames. Of Rome’s 14 districts, three were completely devastated and only four completely escaped damage.

We learn two things from the great fire of Rome. First, Christians can expect persecution. It was predicted in Scripture, and it will only get worse. Doing the right thing only makes us a bigger target.

Second, much of life is beyond our control and can be lost without notice. Thousands went to bed the night of July 18, fully expecting to awake the next morning, ready to go about the day’s business. But for many there was no “next morning.”

Do not take another day for granted. Don’t live in the past, for it is gone. Don’t live in the future, for it may never come. Live for today. Make it count – for you and those you love the most.

The Bite of the Century

It happened 20 years ago today – the Bite of the Century. It was also known as Evander Holyfield vs. Mike Tyson II. In a classic rematch, the two heavyweights fought for the WBA boxing championship of the world. As in their first fight, Tyson won. But it was how he won that made history.

Not once, but twice, Tyson bit the champion’s ears. After the second biting, in the fourth round, referee Mills Lane stepped in and disqualified Iron Mike, and the fight was over. Holyfield, ahead on all cards, retained his crown.

Tyson never returned to boxing greatness. Holyfield, on the other hand, would become the only four-time world heavyweight boxing champion in history.

Fast forward 12 years to October 16, 2009. Tyson and Holyfield made a joint appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show. Before millions of viewers, Tyson apologized to Holyfield, who accepted his apology. Actually, Holyfield had stated his forgiveness years earlier, on the basis of his faith in God and his Savior, Jesus Christ.

It is our love for each other that marks us as true believers, said Jesus. That is what makes Christianity real.

I have had the privilege of meeting both Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield. I found Tyson to be surprisingly surreal, measured, and calm. When I sat down with Holyfield for several minutes, he wanted to talk mostly about his faith – and forgiveness. He really did forgive Mike Tyson. He told me he had no other choice. “How can I claim to be a follower of Christ and not forgive others?” he asked.

His boxing nickname was “Real Deal.” They always introduced him in the ring as “Evander The Real Deal Holyfield.” And that is right. Evander Holyfield is the real deal – not because he beat Mike Tyson 20 years ago today – for the second time – but because of the forgiveness that rules his heart.

Staying Warm

In the sheep country of New Mexico, shepherds were losing lots of lambs in the winter time. The problem was, the ewes were taking their lambs out to graze late in the day, and when it started to snow, the temperatures would drop below freezing. But the ewes were unaware of the danger to the young lambs and would continue to graze, and many of the lambs froze to death.

The shepherds came to realize the problem. The ewes were unaware of the danger because they were covered in such thick wool that they didn’t feel the drop in temperature. The shepherds came up with a unique solution. They sheared the top of the ewes’ heads. That way, when the temperature would drop, the ewes felt it and headed back to the barn, with their lambs following behind.

The first step in helping others is to feel what they are feeling. There is an old adage that says, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

The key to changing your world is simple. It’s all about feeling what others feel. That is what gets sheep to the barn and people to the Shepherd.

Trust Him Anyway

Helen Roseveare, a British missionary in Conga, survived the uprising that resulted from the invasion of the Mau-Mau revolutionaries. This godly, gracious lady was raped, assaulted, and humiliated. But she never abandoned her faith.

While recovering from the horrible attack, Helen and the Lord grew closer together than they had ever been. She wrote a statement in the form of a question that every person needs to ask himself, from God’s perspective. “Can you thank me for trusting you with this experience, even if I never tell you why?”

Golfer Bernhard Langer had one putt that would decide the Ryder Cup winner, between Europe and the United States. He missed the putt. But he told a reporter afterwards, “If I had made that putt, it wouldn’t have made God love me more. And by missing it, it didn’t make God love me less.”

God’s love is perfect, whether our shots go in or not. It’s one thing to trust him when you miss a putt. But when you go through a truly horrific experience, listen for God’s voice. “Can you thank me for trusting you with this experience, even if I never tell you why?”