12 August, 2012

posted 9 Aug 2012, 07:51 by C S Paul

12 August, 2012

Thinking on a Higher Plane

by Jim Davidson

Henry Ford (1863-1947) once said, "thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason so few people engage in it." Today I would like to share some thoughts with you on the important subject of "thinking" and I've titled this column "Thinking On A Higher Plane." 

In the Bible you will find these words recorded in Proverbs 23:7a, "As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he." The Roman Emperor Marcus Arelius once said, "A man becomes what he thinks about all day long." Back in 1957, the late Earl Nightingale wrote and recorded a motivational message titled "The Strangest Secret", which became the only one of its kind to ever sell a million copies. The Strangest Secret is that "We Become What We Think About." It was my good fortune to work personally with Mr. Nightingale for several years.

Yes, from King Solomon on down through the ages, the most successful writers, teachers and philosophers have all come to the same conclusion: It is the quality of our thinking that will ultimately determine the quality of our life. 

At this point, it might be in order to ask you some very pertinent questions. What do you think about most of the time? Is most of your thinking done on a higher plane? That is, do you reach for the stars in your thinking or is most of your thinking done in the gutter? The truth is, we have only to look about us to see where we are and to see what we have to see the fruits of our thinking.

For fear that I may be misunderstood, I want to make it very clear that we don't have to be a religious person to desire a good, decent, honest and moral life. Sometimes we forget that the greatest have as citizens of this free country is the power to choose. Regardless of who we are or what we have done in the past, we can choose the quality or level of our own thinking. Isn't it great to be able to say, "the past is gone" and I can't do anything about it but from this point forward I'm going to improve my life by improving the quality of my thinking? As I said a moment ago, the choice is yours. What is so tragic for me to realize is that millions of people could have more and be much happier if they only knew it.

While its an individual thing, you may ask, "how do I go about it?" While it's not easy, it's very simple. Station a guard at the entrance of your mind. You must be very careful when you select the television programs you watch, the books and magazines you read and the people with whom you associate. In short, if we are to improve the quality of our thinking, we must be very selective as to where we get our information.

It took several years for me to come to the realization that if I'm going to improve my life, when a filthy program comes on T.V., or even the radio, I just turn it off Its a choice I make because I now realize what it will do to my thinking. 

How about you? Have you ever given any serious thought to this before? Remember please that "birds of a feather flock together" and you may have people tell you that it does not make any difference what you watch or read or who you spend your time with. But it does. We can trust the words of King Solomon here: "As a man thinketh in his heart so is he."


The Father's Eyes

Bob Richards, the former pole-vault champion, shares a moving story about a skinny young boy who loved football with all his heart. Practice after practice, he eagerly gave everything he had. But being half the size of the other boys, he got absolutely nowhere. At all the games, this hopeful athlete sat on the bench and hardly ever played.

This teenager lived alone with his father, and the two of them had a very special relationship. Even though the son was always on the bench, his father was always in the stands cheering. He never missed a game.

This young man was still the smallest of the class when he entered high school. But his father continued to encourage him but also made it very clear that he did not have to play football if he didn't want to.

But the young man loved football and decided to hang in there He was determined to try his best at every practice, and perhaps he'd get to play when he became a senior. All through high school he never missed a practice nor a game but remained a bench-warmer all four years.

His faithful father was always in the stands, always with words of encouragement for him.

When the young man went to college, he decided to try out for the football team as a "walk-on." Everyone was sure he could never make the cut, but he did. The coach admitted that he kept him on the roster because he always puts his heart and soul to every practice, and at the same time, provided the other members with the spirit and hustle they badly needed.

The news that he had survived the cut thrilled him so much that he rushed to the nearest phone and called his father. His father shared his excitement and was sent season tickets for all the college games.

This persistent young athlete never missed practice during his four years at college, but he never got to play in a game. It was the end of his senior football season, and as he trotted onto the practice field shortly before the big playoff game, the coach met him with a telegram.

The young man read the telegram and he became deathly silent. Swallowing hard, he mumbled to the coach, "My father died this morning. Is it all right if I miss practice today?" The coach put his arm gently around his shoulder and said, "Take the rest of the week off, son. And don't even plan to come back to the game on Saturday."

Saturday arrived, and the game was not going well. In the third quarter, when the team was ten points behind, a silent young man quietly slipped into the empty locker room and put on his football gear. As he ran onto the sidelines, the coach and his players were astounded to see their faithful teammate back so soon. "Coach, please let me play. I've just got to play today," said the young man. The coach pretended not to hear him. There was no way he wanted his worst player in this close playoff game. But the young man persisted, and finally feeling sorry for the kid, the coach gave in. "All right," he said. "You can go in."

Before long, the coach, the players and everyone in the stands could not believe their eyes. This little unknown, who had never played before was doing everything right. The opposing team could not stop him. He ran, he passed, blocked, and tackled like a star. His team began to triumph. The score was soon tied. In the closing seconds of the game, this kid intercepted a pass and ran all the way for the winning touchdown.

The fans broke loose. His teammates hoisted him onto their shoulders. Such cheering you never heard. Finally, after the stands had emptied and the team had showered and left the locker room, the coach noticed that this young man was sitting quietly in the corner all alone The coach came to him and said,"Kid, I can't believe it. You were fantastic! Tell me what got into you? How did you do it?"

He looked at the coach, with tears in his eyes, and said, "Well, you knew my dad died, but did you know that my dad was blind?" The young man swallowed hard and forced a smile, "Dad came to all my games, but today was the first time he could see me play, and I wanted to show him I could do it!"

Like the athlete's father, God is always there cheering for us. He's always reminding us to go on. He's even offering us His hand for He knows what is best, and is willing to give us what we need and not simply what we want. God has never missed a single game. What a joy to know that life is meaningful if lived for the Highest. Live for HIM for He's watching us in the game of life!


BEN-HUR: A TALE OF THE CHRIST 

by Lew Wallace


Part Three

In Italy, Greek pirate-ships have been looting Roman vessels in the Aegean Sea. The prefect Sejanus orders the Roman Quintus Arrius to take warships to combat the pirates. 

Judah is a galley slave rowing chained on one of the Roman warships. He had survived three hard years, fueled by his passion for vengeance. Arrius is impressed by Judah and finds out more about his life and his story. 

The ship is attacked by pirates and the ship is sunk. Judah uses a plank as a raft. Arrius surfaces besides him and the two of them hold on until a Roman ship appears and rescues them. They return to Misenum and Judah is adopted by the influential Arrius, becoming a Roman citizen.


Part three - CHAPTER IV  continued

To every bench, as a fixture, there was a chain with heavy anklets. These the hortator proceeded to lock upon the oarsmen, going from number to number, leaving no choice but to obey, and, in event of disaster, no possibility of escape.

In the cabin, then, a silence fell, broken, at first, only by the sough of the oars turning in the leathern cases. Every man upon the benches felt the shame, Ben-Hur more keenly than his companions.

He would have put it away at any price. Soon the clanking of the fetters notified him of the progress the chief was making in his round. He would come to him in turn; but would not the tribune interpose for him?

The thought may be set down to vanity or selfishness, as the reader pleases; it certainly, at that moment, took possession of Ben-Hur.

He believed the Roman would interpose; anyhow, the circumstance would test the man's feelings. If, intent upon the battle, he would but think of him, it would be proof of his opinion formed--proof that he had been tacitly promoted above his associates in misery--such proof as would justify hope.

Ben-Hur waited anxiously. The interval seemed like an age. At every turn of the oar he looked towards the tribune, who, his simple preparations made, lay down upon the couch and composed himself to rest; whereupon number sixty chid himself, and laughed grimly, and resolved not to look that way again.

The hortator approached. Now he was at number one--the rattle of the iron links sounded horribly. At last number sixty! Calm from despair, Ben-Hur held his oar at poise, and gave his foot to the officer. Then the tribune stirred--sat up--beckoned to the chief.

A strong revulsion seized the Jew. From the hortator, the great man glanced at him; and when he dropped his oar all the section of the ship on his side seemed aglow. He heard nothing of what was said; enough that the chain hung idly from its staple in the bench, and that the chief, going to his seat, began to beat the sounding-board. The notes of the gavel were never so like music. With his breast against the leaded handle, he pushed with all his might--pushed until the shaft bent as if about to break.

The chief went to the tribune, and, smiling, pointed to number sixty.

"What strength!" he said.

"And what spirit!" the tribune answered. "Perpol! He is better without the irons. Put them on him no more."

So saying, he stretched himself upon the couch again.

The ship sailed on hour after hour under the oars in water scarcely rippled by the wind. And the people not on duty slept, Arrius in his place, the marines on the floor.

Once--twice--Ben-Hur was relieved; but he could not sleep. Three years of night, and through the darkness a sunbeam at last! At sea adrift and lost, and now land! Dead so long, and, lo! the thrill and stir of resurrection. Sleep was not for such an hour. 

Hope deals with the future; now and the past are but servants that wait on her with impulse and suggestive circumstance. Starting from the favor of the tribune, she carried him forward indefinitely.

The wonder is, not that things so purely imaginative as the results she points us to can make us so happy, but that we can receive them as so real. They must be as gorgeous poppies under the influence of which, under the crimson and purple and gold, reason lies down the while, and is not. Sorrows assuaged, home and the fortunes of his house restored; mother and sister in his arms once more--such were the central ideas which made him happier that moment than he had ever been. 

That he was rushing, as on wings, into horrible battle had, for the time, nothing to do with his thoughts. The things thus in hope were unmixed with doubts--they WERE. Hence his joy so full, so perfect, there was no room in his heart for revenge. Messala, Gratus, Rome, and all the bitter, passionate memories connected with them, were as dead plagues--miasms of the earth above which he floated, far and safe, listening to singing stars.

The deeper darkness before the dawn was upon the waters, and all things going well with the Astroea, when a man, descending from the deck, walked swiftly to the platform where the tribune slept, and awoke him. Arrius arose, put on his helmet, sword, and shield, and went to the commander of the marines.

"The pirates are close by. Up and ready!" he said, and passed to the stairs, calm, confident, insomuch that one might have thought, "Happy fellow! Apicius has set a feast for him."

to be continued

Just for Laughs

Dear God

Dear God,

My brothers told me about being born, but it doesn't sound right.

They are just kidding, aren't they?

Signed, Marsha 


Dear God:

If you watch me in church Sunday, I'll show you my new shoes.

Signed, Mickey

 

Dear God,

We read Thomas Edison made light. But in Sunday School we learned that you did it.

So I bet he stole your idea.

Sincerely, Donna

 

Dear God:

I do not think anybody could be a better God. Well, I just want you to

know that I am not just saying this because you are God already.

Signed, Charles

 

Dear God:

Maybe Cain would not have killed Abel if they had their own rooms.

It works with my brother.

Signed, Larry


Power of Positive Thinking

 by Norman Vincent Peale


Chapter 7 continued

I suggested these principles some months ago to an old friend of mine, a man who perpetually expects the worst. Up to the time of our discussion, never did I hear him say

anything other than that things would not turn out right. He took this negative attitude toward every project or problem.

He expressed vigorous disbelief in the principles outlined in this chapter and offered to make a test to prove that I am wrong in my conclusions. He is an honest man, and he faithfully tried these principles in connection with several matters and actually kept a score card. He did this for six months. He volunteered the information at the end of that period that 85 percent of the matters under investigation had turned out satisfactorily.

"I am now convinced," he said, "although I wouldn't have believed it possible, but it is evidently a fact, that if you expect the best, you are given some strange kind of power to create conditions that produce the desired results. From now on I am changing my mental attitude and shall expect the best, not the worst. My test indicates that this is not theory, but a scientific way to meet life's situations."

I might add that even the high percentage he attained can be raised with practice, and of course practice in the art of expectation is as essential as practice on a musical instrument or with a golf club. Nobody ever mastered any skill except through intensive, persistent, and intelligent practice. Also it should be noted that my friend approached this experiment at first in a spirit of doubt which would tend adversely to affect his earlier results.

Every day as you confront the problems of life, I suggest that you affirm as follows: "I believe God gives me power to attain what I really want."

Never mention the worst. Never think of it. Drop it out of your consciousness. At least ten times every day affirm, "I expect the best and with God's help will attain the best."

In so doing your thoughts will turn toward the best and become conditioned to its realization. This practice will bring all of your powers to focus upon the attainment of the best. It will bring the best to you.

to be continued

Did you know ?

  • Facebook has 500 million registered users… about 100 million less than QQ.
  • About 1.8 billion people connect to the Internet, 450 million of them speak English. See list of Internet languages.
  • Google indexed it’s 1 trillionth unique URL on July 25, 2008. That is thought to be about 20% of all the pages on the Internet but a high percentage of the World Wide Web (the public Internet).
  • One google search produces about 0.2g of CO2. But since you hardly get an answer from one search, a typical search session produces about the same amount of CO2 as does boiling a kettle.
  • Google handles about 1 billion search queries per day, releasing some 200 tons of CO2 per day. 
  • About 50 Bibles are sold every minute. It is the world’s best-selling book. Some 1 billion copies of Bibles have been sold.
  • Christianity is the world’s most widespread religion (2.1 billion Christians – see list of largest religions).
  • There are about 34,000 Christian denominations in the world.


A Story To Live By

by Ann Wells (Los Angeles Times)

My brother-in-law opened the bottom drawer of my sister's bureau and lifted out a tissue-wrapped package. "This," he said, "is not a slip. This is lingerie." He discarded the tissue and handed me the slip. It was exquisite; silk, handmade and trimmed with a cobweb of lace. 

The price tag with an astronomical figure on it was still attached. "Jan bought this the first time we went to New York, at least 8 or 9 years ago. She never wore it. She was saving it for a special occasion. Well, I guess this is the occasion." He took the slip from me and put it on the bed with the other clothes we were taking to the mortician. 

His hands lingered on the soft material for a moment, then he slammed the drawer shut and turned to me. "Don't ever save anything for a special occasion. Every day you're alive is a special occasion."

I remembered those words through the funeral and the days that followed when I helped him and my niece attend to all the sad chores that follow an unexpected death. I thought about them on the plane returning to California from the Midwestern town where my sister's family lives. I thought about all the things that she hadn't seen or heard or done. I thought about the things that she had done without realizing that they were special.

I'm still thinking about his words, and they've changed my life. I'm reading more and dusting less. I'm sitting on the deck and admiring the view without fussing about the weeds in the garden. I'm spending more time with my family and friends and less time in committee meetings. Whenever possible, life should be a pattern of experience to savor, not endure. I'm trying to recognize these moments now and cherish them.

I'm not "saving" anything; we use our good china and crystal for every special event-such as losing a pound, getting the sink unstopped, the first camellia blossom.

I wear my good blazer to the market if I feel like it. My theory is if I look prosperous, I can shell out $28.49 for one small bag of groceries without wincing. I'm not saving my good perfume for special parties; clerks in hardware stores and tellers in banks have noses that function as well as my party-going friends'.

"Someday" and "one of these days" are losing their grip on my vocabulary. If it's worth seeing or hearing or doing, I want to see and hear and do it now. I'm not sure what my sister would have done had she known that she wouldn't be here for the tomorrow we all take for granted. I think she would have called family members and a few close friends. She might have called a few former friends to apologize and mend fences for past squabbles. I like to think she would have gone out for a Chinese dinner, her favorite food. I'm guessing-I'll never know.

It's those little things left undone that would make me angry if I knew that my hours were limited. Angry because I put off seeing good Friends whom I was going to get in touch with-someday. Angry because I hadn't written certain letters that I intended to write-one of these days. Angry and sorry that I didn't tell my husband and daughter often enough how much I truly love them. I'm trying very hard not to put off, hold back, or save anything that would add laughter and luster to our lives.

And every morning when I open my eyes, I tell myself that it is special.

Every day, every minute, every breath truly is...a gift from God.

 


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