Five of the Worst Predictions in History

Jim Denison | Denison Forum on Truth and Culture | Monday, December 31, 2018
Five of the Worst Predictions in History

Five of the Worst Predictions in History


The Americans have need of the telephone, but we do not. We have plenty of messenger boys.” So predicted Britain’s Post Office chief engineer in 1876.

The horse is here to stay, but the automobile is only a novelty–a fad.” This advice was given to Henry Ford’s lawyer by the president of the Michigan Savings Bank in 1903.

Daryl Zanuck, a film producer and co-founder of 20th Century Fox: “Television won’t be able to hold onto any market it captures after the first six months. People will soon get tired of staring at a plywood box every night.”

The FCC Commissioner said in 1961, “There is practically no chance communications space satellites will be used to provide better telephone, telegraph, television, or radio service inside the United States.”

And Ken Olsen, founder of Digital Equipment Corp., claimed: “There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home.”

Even machines get the future wrong. Aiera, Wells Fargo’s artificial intelligence platform, was asked where Amazon would put its second headquarters. The machine drew on a wide pool of data to predict that Amazon would choose Boston. Chicago was Aiera’s second choice, followed by Atlanta.

The actual winners, New York and Northern Virginia, were number four and unranked, respectively.

“Great is your faithfulness”

Now we’re one day from a new year. I could fill the rest of this article with predictions for 2019, but most will be as inaccurate as predictions last year that President Trump would resignPaul Ryan would become president, and the Patriots would win the Super Bowl.

The ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus noted that we cannot step into the same river twice. Change is the only constant in our world, or so he believed.

I can think of one major exception.

The author of Lamentations prayed: “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22-23).

The author of Hebrews noted that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).

God says of himself, “I the Lord do not change” (Malachi 3:6).

What will the consistency of our Father mean to us in 2019?

All that God has done, he can still do.

When you face challenges next year, look back to times when God was faithful this year. When you question God’s love for you, remember when you experienced his love. When you need faith that God will answer your prayers, recall prayers he has answered.

One of the reasons the Jewish people were encouraged to remember their travails in Egypt (cf. Deuteronomy 15:15) was to remind them of what God had done for them. When we remember God’s faithfulness in 2018, we are encouraged to trust him in 2019.

God alone deserves to be the foundation of our lives and trust.

Moses, David, and Peter would be included in anyone’s roster of biblical heroes. Few of us would claim that we could rival them in faith, courage, and world-changing significance.

But few of us have committed murder, committed adultery followed by murder, or denied Jesus publicly. If the best of us can fail, any of us can fail.

Jesus warned us not to construct our house on the sand, lest the rains fall and the floods rise and the winds destroy what we build (Matthew 7:26-27). I’ve been to places in the Judean desert that he may have had in mind. They appear dry and safe until it rains. Then they turn into torrential rivers.

There is only one Rock upon which to build your life today.

Consistency is a powerful witness in a chaotic culture.

A new study found that only 8 percent of people keep their New Year’s resolutions. Most people give up on them by January 12.

By contrast, Christians who are empowered by the Spirit of God (Ephesians 5:18) can reflect the character of Christ (Romans 8:29) to our tumultuous times. When we are consistent in our lives, witness, and ministry, the world takes note.

Rip Parker is one of my faith heroes. I was privileged to be his pastor in Dallas and to know his story on a personal level.

Rip was a businessman, but his true love was for the homeless of our city. He fed them every day of the week. He was a constant and consistent force for love in their lives.

Speaking to our men’s Bible study at my invitation, he told us, “If one life is changed, that’s 100 percent better than zero.”

Rip is now with the Lord–as are many of the men he led to Jesus through the consistency of his life and ministry.

What Jesus cannot do

As we prepare for a new year, let’s remember that all God has done, he can still do. Let’s make his faithfulness the foundation of our lives. And let’s ask his Spirit to make us consistent in character and service.

Jim Cymbala: “When every demon in hell stands against us, the God of Abraham remains faithful to all his promises. Jesus Christ can do anything but fail his own people who trust him.”

What about tomorrow do you need to trust to him today?

For more from the Denison Forum, please visit www.denisonforum.org.

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Publication Date: December 31, 2018

Photo Courtesy: Pixabay

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