11 November, 2012

posted 8 Nov 2012, 01:22 by C S Paul
11 November, 2012

 
Just for Laughs

The Politically Correct Holiday Greeting

Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit our best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low stress, non-addictive, gender neutral, celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practised within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasions and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all . . .

And a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling, and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2013, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make India Shine, (in spite of the large scale corruption all around, and not to imply that India is necessarily greater than any other country or is the only "INDIA" in the world), and without regard to the race, creed, colour, age, physical ability, religious faith, choice of computer platform, or sexual preference of the wishes.

(By accepting this greeting, you are accepting these terms. This greeting is subject to clarification or withdrawal. It is freely transferable with no alteration to the original greeting. It implies no promise by the wisher to actually implement any of the wishes for her/himself or others, and is void where prohibited by law, and is revocable at the sole discretion of the wisher. This wish is warranted to perform as expected within the usual application of good tidings for a period of one year, or until the issuance of a subsequent holiday greeting, whichever comes first, and warranty is limited to replacement of this wish or issuance of a new wish at the sole discretion of the wisher.)



Refuge from the Storm

 Author Unknown

You Can Sleep When The Wind Blows.... Refuge from the Storm. 

Years ago a farmer owned land along the Atlantic sea coast. He constantly advertised for hired hands. Most people were reluctant to work on farms along the Atlantic. They dreaded the awful storms that raged across theAtlantic, wreaking havoc on the buildings and crops.

As the farmer interviewed applicants for the job, he received a steady stream of refusals. 

Finally, a short, thin man, well past middle age, approached the farmer."Are you a good farmhand?" the farmer asked him."Well, I can sleep when the wind blows," answered the little man.Although puzzled by this answer, the farmer, desperate for help, hired him. 

The little man worked well around the farm, busy from dawn to dusk,and the farmer felt satisfied with the man's work. 

Then one night the wind howled loudly in from offshore. Jumping out of bed, the farmer grabbed a lantern and rushed next door to the hired hand's sleeping quarters. He shook the little man and yelled,"Get up! A storm is coming! Tie things down before they blow away!" 

The little man rolled over in bed and said firmly, "No sir. I told you, I can sleep when the wind blows." Enraged by the old man's response, the farmer was tempted to fire him on the spot. Instead, he hurried outside to prepare for the storm. 

To his amazement, he discovered that all of the haystacks had been covered with tarpaulins. The cows were in the barn, the chickens were in the coops, and the doors were barred. The shutters were tightly secured. Everything wastied down. Nothing could blow away. 

The farmer then understood what his hired hand meant, and he returned to bed to also sleep while the wind blew. 

SPIRITUAL TRUTH:When you're prepared, you have nothing to fear.Can you sleep when the wind blows through your life? The hired hand in the story was able to sleep because he had secured the farm against the storm. 

We secure ourselves against the storms of life by grounding ourselves firmly in the Word of God. --


 Keepers

 

Some things you keep. Like good teeth. Warm coats. Bald husbands. They're good for you, reliable and practical and so sublime that to throw them away would make the garbage man a thief. So you hang on, because something old is sometimes better than something new, and what you know is often better than a stranger. 

These are my thoughts, they make me sound old, old and tame, and dull at a time when everybody else is risky and racy and flashing all that's new and improved in their lives. New careers, new thighs, new lips, new cars. The world is dizzy with trade-ins. I could keep track, but I don't think I want to. 

I grew up in the fifties with practical parents - a mother, God bless her, who washed aluminum foil after she cooked in it, then reused it - and still does. A father who was happier getting old shoes fixed than buying new ones. 

They weren't poor, my parents, they were just satisfied. Their marriage was good, their dreams focused. Their best friends lived barely a wave away. I can see them now, Dad in trousers and tee shirt and Mom in a house dress, lawn mower in one hand, dishtowel in the other. It was a time for fixing things - a curtain rod , the kitchen radio, screen door, the oven door, the hem in a dress. 

Things you keep. It was a way of life, and sometimes it made me crazy. All that re-fixing, reheating, renewing, I wanted just once to be wasteful. 

Waste meant affluence. Throwing things away meant there'd always be more. 

But then my father died, and on that clear autumn night, in the chill of the hospital room, I was struck with the pain of learning that sometimes there isn't any 'more.' Sometimes what you care about most gets all used up and goes away, never to return. 

So, while you have it, it's best to love it and care for it and fix it when it's broken and heal it when it's sick. That's true for marriage and old cars and children with bad report cards and dogs with bad hips and aging parents. You keep them because they're worth it, because you're worth it. 

Some things you keep. Like a best friend that moved away or a classmate you grew up with, there's just some things that make life important... people you know are special... and you KEEP them close! 

Provided by Free Christian Content.org



BEN-HUR: A TALE OF THE CHRIST 

by Lew Wallace

Part Four

Judah Ben-Hur trains for five years in the Palaestra in Rome and becomes the heir of the deceased Arrius. Judah goes to Antioch on state business. On the voyage, he learns that his real father's chief servant, Simonides, lives in a house in this city, and that his father's possessions had been entrusted to him. He pays a visit to the house and tells his full story to Simonides, who demands more proof. Ben-Hur replies he has no proof, but asks whether they know the fate of Judah's mother and sister. He says he knows nothing and Judah Ben-Hur leaves the house with an apology. Simonides hires his servant Malluch to spy on Judah to see if his story is true and find more information. Malluch meets and befriends Judah in the Grove of Daphne and they go to the games stadium together. There, Ben-Hur finds his old rival Messala racing one of the chariots, preparing for a tournament.

A prosperous Arab of Antioch, Sheik Ilderim, announces that he is looking for a chariot driver to race his team in the coming tournament. Judah, wanting revenge on Messala, decides to drive the sheik's chariot and defeat Messala. Meanwhile, Balthasar and his daughter Iras are sitting at a fountain in the stadium. Messala's chariot nearly hit them but Judah intervenes. Balthasar thanks Ben-Hur and presents him with a gift. Judah heads to Sheik Ilderim's tent. The servant Malluch follows him there, and along the way they talk about the Christ and Malluch relates Balthasar's story of the Magi. They realize that the man rescued at the fountain was the same Balthasar that saw the Christ's birth.

Back at Simonides' house, Esther, Simonides and Malluch talk together, and conclude that Ben-Hur is who he claims to be, and that he is on their side in the fight against Rome.

Messala realizes that Judah Ben-Hur has been adopted into a Roman home and his honor has been restored. He threatens to take revenge.

Meanwhile, Balthasar and his daughter Iras arrive at the Sheik's tent. With Judah they discuss how the Christ, approaching the age of thirty, is ready to enter public ministry. Judah takes increasing interest in the beautiful Iras.

Part Four - Chapter V

When Ben-Hur sallied from the great warehouse, it was with the thought that another failure was to be added to the many he had already met in the quest for his people; and the idea was depressing exactly in proportion as the objects of his quest were dear to him; it curtained him round about with a sense of utter loneliness on earth, which, more than anything else, serves to eke from a soul cast down its remaining interest in life.

Through the people, and the piles of goods, he made way to the edge of the landing, and was tempted by the cool shadows darkening the river's depth. The lazy current seemed to stop and wait for him.
 
In counteraction of the spell, the saying of the voyager flashed into memory--"Better be a worm, and feed upon the mulberries of Daphne, than a king's guest." He turned, and walked rapidly down the landing and back to the khan.

"The road to Daphne!" the steward said, surprised at the question Ben-Hur put to him. "You have not been here before? Well, count this the happiest day of your life. You cannot mistake the road. The next street to the left, going south, leads straight to Mount Sulpius, crowned by the altar of Jupiter and the Amphitheater; keep it to the third cross street, known as Herod's Colonnade; turn to your right there, and hold the way through the old city of Seleucus to
the bronze gates of Epiphanes. There the road to Daphne begins--and may the gods keep you!"

A few directions respecting his baggage, and Ben-Hur set out.

The Colonnade of Herod was easily found; thence to the brazen gates, under a continuous marble portico, he passed with a multitude mixed of people from all the trading nations of the earth.

It was about the fourth hour of the day when he passed out the gate, and found himself one of a procession apparently interminable, moving to the famous Grove. The road was divided into separate ways for footmen, for men on horses, and men in chariots; and those again into separate ways for outgoers and incomers. 

The lines of division were guarded by low balustrading, broken by massive pedestals, many of which were surmounted with statuary. Right and left of the road extended margins of sward perfectly kept, relieved at intervals by groups of oak and sycamore trees, and vine-clad summer-houses for the accommodation of the weary, of whom, on the return side, there were always multitudes. The ways of the footmen were paved with red stone, and those of the riders strewn with white sand compactly rolled, but not so solid as to give back an echo to hoof or wheel. The number and variety of fountains at play were amazing, all gifts of visiting kings, and called after them. Out southwest to the gates of the Grove, the magnificent thoroughfare stretched a little over four miles from the city.

In his wretchedness of feeling, Ben-Hur barely observed the royal liberality which marked the construction of the road. Nor more did he at first notice the crowd going with him. He treated the processional displays with like indifference. To say truth, besides his self-absorption, he had not a little of the complacency of a Roman visiting the provinces fresh from the ceremonies which daily eddied round and round the golden pillar set up by Augustus as the centre of the world.

 It was not possible for the provinces to offer anything new or superior. He rather availed himself of every opportunity to push forward through the companies in the way, and too slow-going for his impatience. By the time he reached Heracleia, a suburban village intermediate the city and the Grove, he was somewhat spent with exercise, and began to be susceptible of entertainment. Once a pair of goats led by a beautiful woman, woman and goats alike brilliant with ribbons and flowers, attracted his attention. Then he stopped to look at a bull of mighty girth, and snowy white, covered with vines freshly cut, and bearing on its broad back a naked child in a basket, the image of a young Bacchus, squeezing the juice of ripened berries into a goblet, and drinking with libational formulas. 

As he resumed his walk, he wondered whose altars would be enriched by the offerings. A horse went by with clipped mane, after the fashion of the time, his rider superbly dressed. He smiled to observe the harmony of pride between the man and the brute. Often after that he turned his head at hearing
the rumble of wheels and the dull thud of hoofs; unconsciously he was becoming interested in the styles of chariots and charioteers, as they rustled past him going and coming. Nor was it long until he began to make notes of the people around him. He saw they were of all ages, sexes, and conditions, and all in holiday attire.

One company was uniformed in white, another in black; some bore flags, some smoking censers; some went slowly, singing hymns; others stepped to the music of flutes and tabrets. If such were the going to Daphne every day in the year, what a wondrous sight Daphne must be! At last there was a clapping of hands, and a burst of joyous cries; following the pointing of many fingers, he looked and saw upon the brow of a hill the templed gate of the onsecrated Grove. The hymns swelled to louder strains; the music quickened time; and, borne along by the impulsive current, and sharing the common eagerness, he passed in, and, Romanized in taste as he was, fell to worshiping the place.

to be continued


Heaven's Grocery Store

Provided by Free Christian Content.org 

Read this story, and follow the recommendation at the end......

As I was walking down life's highway many years ago I came upon a sign that read, Heavens Grocery Store. When I got a little closer the doors swung open wide and I found myself stepping inside. I saw a host of angels; they were standing everywhere, one handed me a basket and said, "My child shop with care." Everything a human being needed was in that grocery store and what you could not carry, you could come back for.

First I got some Patience; Love was in that same row. Further down was Understanding, you need that everywhere you go. I got a box or two of Wisdom and a bag or two of Faith and Charity. Of course, I would need some of that too. I couldn't miss the Holy Ghost, It was all over the place. Then I found some Strength and Courage to help me run this race. My basket was getting full but I remembered I needed Grace, and then I I chose Salvation for Salvation was for free. I tried to get enough of that to do for you and me. 

Then I started to the counter to pay my grocery bill, for I thought I had everything to do the Masters will. As I went up the aisle I saw Prayer and put that in, for I knew when I stepped outside I would surely run into sin. Peace and Joy were plentiful, the last things on the shelf. Song and Praise were hanging near so I just helped myself. 

Then I said to the angel "How how much do I owe?" He smiled and said "Just take them everywhere you go." Again I asked, "Really now, how much do I owe?" "My child" he said, "God paid your bill a long, long time ago."

Power of Positive Thinking

 by Norman Vincent Peale


Chapter 10  continued


In the very necessary business of solving personal problems, it is important, first of all, to realize that the power to solve them is inherent within you. Second, it is necessary to work out and actualize a plan. Spiritual and emotional planlessness
is a definite reason for the failure of many people to meet their personal problems successfully.

A business executive told me that he puts his dependence upon the "emergency powers of the human brain." It is his theory, and a sound one, that a human being possesses extra powers that may be tapped and utilized under emergency
situations. In the ordinary conduct of day-by-day living, these emergency powers lie dormant, but under extraordinary circumstances the personality is able, when called upon, to deliver extra power if needed.

A person who develops a working faith does not allow these powers to lie dormant, but in proportion to his faith brings many of them into play in connection with normal activity.

This explains why some people demonstrate greater force than others in daily requirements and in a crisis. They have made it a habit normally to draw upon powers that would otherwise be ignored except in some dramatic necessity.
When a difficult situation arises, do you know how to meet it? Have you any clearly defined plan for solving unusually difficult problems as they develop? Many people proceed on a hit-or-miss method, and, sadly enough, most frequently
they miss. I cannot urge too strongly the importance of a planned use of your greater powers in meeting problems.

In addition to the method of two or three praying together in the "surrender of God" technique and that of establishing a partnership with God and the importance of a plan to tap and utilize emergency inner powers, there is still another tremendous technique—that of practicing faith attitudes. I read the Bible for years before it ever dawned on me that it was trying to tell me that if I would have faith—and really have it—that I could overcome all of my difficulties, meet
every situation, rise above every defeat, and solve all of the perplexing problems of my life. The day that realization dawned on me was one of the greatest, if not the greatest, of my life. Undoubtedly many people will read this book who
have never gotten the faith idea of living. But I hope you will get it now, for the faith technique is without question one of the most powerful truths in the world having to do with the successful conduct of human life.

Throughout the Bible the truth is emphasized again and again that "If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed...nothing shall be impossible unto you." (Matthew
17:20) The Bible means this absolutely, factually, completely, and literally. It isn't an illusion, it isn't a fantasy.

It is not an illustration, nor a symbol, nor a metaphor, but the absolute fact—"Faith, even as a grain of mustard seed," will solve your problems, any of your problems, all of your problems, if you believe it and practice it. "According to
your faith, be it unto you." (Matthew 9:29) The requirement is faith, and directly in proportion to the faith that you have and use will you get results. Little faith gives you little results, medium faith gives you medium results, great faith
gives you great results. But in the generosity of Almighty God, if you have only the faith symbolized by a grain of mustard seed, it will do amazing things in solving your problems.

For example, let me tell you the thrilling story of my friends Maurice and Mary Alice Flint. I became acquainted with them when a previous book of mine, A Guide to Confident Living, was condensed in Liberty magazine. Maurice Flint at
that time was failing, and failing badly. Not only was he failing in his job, but as a person as well. He was filled with fear and resentment and was one of the most negative persons I have ever encountered. He was endowed with a nice personality and at heart was a wonderful fellow, but he had simply messed life up as he himself admitted.

He read the condensation of the book in which is emphasized the idea of "mustard-seed faith." At this time he was living in Philadelphia with his family, a wife and two sons. He telephoned my church in New York, but for some reason did not make contact with my secretary. I mention this to show his already changing mental attitude for normally he would never have called the second time, because it was his pathetic habit to give up everything after a feeble effort, but in this instance he persevered until he got through and secured the information relative to the time of church services. The next Sunday he drove from Philadelphia to New York with his family to attend church, which he
continued to do even in the most inclement weather.

In an interview later he told me his life story in full detail and asked if I thought he could ever make anything of himself. The problems of money, of situations, of debts, of the future, and primarily of himself were so complicated and
he was so overwhelmed with difficulty that he regarded the situation as completely hopeless.

I assured him that if he would get himself personally straightened out and get his mental attitudes attuned to God's pattern of thought, and if he would learn and utilize the technique of faith, all of his problems could be solved.
 
One attitude that both he and his wife had to clear out of their minds was that of resentment. They were dully mad at everybody and acutely so at some. They were in their present unhappy condition, so they reasoned in their diseased
thoughts, not because of any failure on their part but because of "dirty deals" other people had given them. They actually used to lie in bed at night telling each other what they would like to say to other people by way of insult. In this unhealthy atmosphere they tried to find sleep and rest, but with no
successful result.

Maurice Flint really took to the faith idea. It gripped him as nothing ever had. His reactions were weak, of course, for his will power was disorganized. At first he was unable to think with any power or force due to his long habit of negativism,
but he held on tenaciously, even desperately, to the idea that if you have "faith as a grain of mustard seed, nothing is impossible." With what force he did have he absorbed faith.

Of course, his capacity to have faith gradually increased as he practiced it. One night he went into the kitchen where his wife was washing dishes. He said, "The faith idea is comparatively easy on Sunday in church, but I can't hold it. It fades. I was thinking that if I could carry a mustard seed in my pocket, I could feel it when I began to weaken and that would help me to have faith." He then asked his wife, "Do we have any of those mustard seeds, or are they just something mentioned in the Bible? Are there mustard seeds today?"

She laughed and said, "I have some right here in a pickle jar." She fished one out and gave it to him. "Don't you know, Maurice," Mary Alice said, "that you don't need an actual mustard seed. That is only the symbol of an idea."

"I don't know about that," he replied. "It says mustard seed in the Bible and that's what I want. Maybe I need the symbol to get faith."

He looked at it in the palm of his hand and said wonderingly, "Is that all the faith I need—just a small amount like this tiny grain of mustard seed?" He held it for a while and then put it in his pocket, saying, "If I can just get my fingers on that
during the day, it will keep me working on this faith idea."

But the seed was so small he lost it, and he would go back to the pickle jar for another one, only to lose it also. One day when another seed became lost in his pocket, the idea came to him, Why couldn't he put the grain of mustard seed in a
plastic ball? He could carry this ball in his pocket or put it on his watch chain always to remind him that if he had "faith as a grain of mustard seed, nothing would be impossible unto him."

He consulted a supposed expert in plastics and asked how to insert a mustard seed in a plastic ball so there would be no bubble. The "expert" said it could not be done for the reason that it had never been done, which of course was no reason at all.

Flint had enough faith by this time to believe that if he had faith "even as a grain of mustard seed" he could put a mustard seed in a plastic sphere. He went to work, and kept at it for weeks, and finally succeeded. He made up several
pieces of costume jewelry: necklace, bow pin, key chain, bracelet, and sent them to me. They were beautiful, and on each gleamed the translucent sphere with the mustard seed within. With each one was a card which bore the title,
"Mustard Seed Remembrancer." The card also told how this piece of jewelry could be used; how the mustard seed would remind the wearer that "if he had faith, nothing was impossible."

He asked me if I thought these articles could be merchandised. I was no expert in such matters so I showed them to Grace Oursler, consulting editor of Guideposts
magazine. She took the jewelry to our mutual friend, Mr.Walter Hoving, president of Bonwit Teller Department Store, one of the greatest executives in the country. He at once saw the possibilities in this project. Imagine my astonishment and delight when in the New York papers a few days later was a two-column advertisement reading, "Symbol of faith—a genuine mustard seed enclosed in
sparkling glass makes a bracelet with real meaning." And in the advertisement was the Scripture passage, "If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed...nothing shall be impossible unto you." (Matthew 17:20) These articles sold like hot cakes.

Now hundreds of great department stores and shops throughout the country find difficulty keeping them in stock. Mr. and Mrs. Flint have a factory in a Midwestern city producing Mustard Seed Remembrancers. Curious, isn't it—a failure goes to church and hears a text out of the Bible and creates a great business. Perhaps you had better listen more intently to the reading of the Bible and the sermon the next time you go to church. Perhaps you, too, will get an idea that will rebuild not only your life but your business as well.

Faith in this instance created a business for manufacturing and distributing a product that has helped and will help thousands upon thousands of people. So popular and effective is it that others have copied it, but the Flint Mustard
Seed Remembrancer is the original. The story of the lives that have been changed by this little device is one of the most romantic spiritual stories of this generation. But the effect on Maurice and Mary Alice Flint—the transformation of their lives, the remaking of their characters, the releasing of their personalities—this is a thrilling demonstration of faith power. No longer are they negative—they are positive. No more are they defeated—they are victorious. They no longer
hate. They have overcome resentment and their hearts are filled with love. They are new people with a new outlook and a new sense of power. They are two of the most inspiring people I ever knew.

Ask Maurice and Mary Alice Flint how to get a problem solved right. They will tell you—"Have faith—really have faith." And believe me, they know. If as you read this story you have said to yourself negatively (and that is being negative), "The Flints were never so bad off as I am," let me tell you that I have scarcely ever seen anybody as badly off as were the Flints. And let me say further that regardless of however desperate your situation may be, if you will use the four techniques outlined in this chapter, as did the Flints, you, too, can get your problem solved right.

In this chapter I have tried to show various methods for solving a problem. Now I wish to give ten simple suggestions as a concrete technique to use generally in
solving your problems:

1. Believe that for every problem there is a solution.

2. Keep calm. Tension blocks the flow of thought power.Your brain cannot operate efficiently under stress. Go at your problem easy-like.

3. Don't try to force an answer. Keep your mind relaxed so that the solution will open up and become clear.

4. Assemble all the facts impartially, impersonally, and judicially.

5. List these fact on paper. This clarifies your thinking, bringing the various elements into orderly system. You see as well as think. The problem becomes objective, not subjective.

6. Pray about your problem, affirming that God will flash illumination into your mind.

7. Believe in and seek God's guidance on the promise of the "3rd Psalm, "Thou wilt guide me by thy counsel."

8. Trust in the faculty of insight and intuition.

9. Go to church and let your subconscious work on the problem as you attune to the mood of worship. Creative spiritual thinking has amazing power to give "right" answers.

10. If you follow these steps faithfully, then the answer that develops in your mind, or comes to pass, is the right answer to your problem.

to be continued

Did You Know ?

  • The shortest verse in the NIV Bible is John 11:35: “Jesus wept.”
  • The longest book chapter in the Bible is Psalm 119, the shortest is Psalm 117.
  • There are 594 chapters before Psalm 117 and 594 chapters after it (King James Version), making it the center chapter in the Bible.
  • Psalm 113:1-2 are the center verses of the Bible (King James Version) – two verses because there are an equal number of total verses: 31,102.
  • Obadiah, with 21 verses consisting of 602 words, is the shortest book in the Old Testament, and the third shortest in the Bible.
  • II John has the fewest number of verses (13) of any book in the Bible – it is the shortest book (by verse) in the Bible, consisting of 298 words.
  • III John has the fewest number of words of any book in the Bible; 294 words in 14 verses.
  • Job is the oldest book written in the Bible – it was written by an unknown Israelite around 1500 BC.
  • Malachi, written about 400 BC, is the youngest book in the Old Testament.
  • James, written around 45 AD, is the oldest book in the New Testament.
  • Revelation, written about 95 AD, is the youngest book in the New Testament.
  • The chapter in the exact middle of the Bible is Psalm 117; there are 594 chapters before Psalm 117 and 594 chapters after Psalm 117.
  • St Paul wrote 14 (of the 27) books of the New Testament.



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