13 January 2013

posted 10 Jan 2013, 08:34 by C S Paul   [ updated 11 Jan 2013, 04:08 ]

13 January 2013



A Love Story

One day, I woke early in the morning to watch the sunrise. Ah the beauty of God's creation is beyond description. As I watched, I praised God for His beautiful work. As I sat there, I felt the Lord's presence with me. He asked me, "Do you love me?" I answered, "Of course, God! You are my Lord and Savior!"

Then He asked, "If you were physically handicapped, would you still love me?" I was perplexed. I looked down upon my arms, legs and the rest of my body and wondered how many things I wouldn't be able to do, the things that I took for granted. And I answered, "It would be tough Lord, but I would still love You."

Then the Lord said, "If you were blind, would you still love my creation?" How could I love something without being able to see it? Then I thought of all the blind people in the world and how many of them still loved God and His creation. So I answered, "Its hard to think of it, but I would still love you."

The Lord then asked me, "If you were deaf, would you still listen to my word?" How could I listen to anything being deaf? Then I understood. Listening to God's Word is not merely using our ears, but our hearts. I answered, "It would be tough, but I would still listen to Your word."

The Lord then asked, "If you were mute, would you still praise My Name?" How could I praise without a voice? Then it occurred to me: God wants us to sing from our very heart and soul. It never matters what we sound like. And praising God is not always with a song, but when we are persecuted, we give God praise with our words of thanks. So I answered, "Though I could not physically sing, I would still praise Your Name.

And the Lord asked, "Do you really love Me?" With courage and a strong conviction, I answered boldly, "Yes Lord! I love You because You are the one and true God!" I thought I had answered well, but God asked, "THEN WHY DO YOU SIN?" I answered, "Because I am only human. I am not perfect." "THEN WHY IN TIMES OF PEACE DO YOU STRAY THE FURTHEST? WHY ONLY IN TIMES OF TROUBLE DO YOU PRAY IN EARNEST?"

No answers. Only tears.

The Lord continued: "Why only sing at fellowships and retreats? Why seek Me only in times of worship? Why ask things so selfishly? Why ask things so unfaithfully?" The tears continued to roll down my cheeks. "Why are you ashamed of Me? Why are you not spreading the good news? Why in times of persecution, you cry to others when I offer My shoulder to cry on? Why make excuses when I give you opportunities to serve in My Name?"

I tried to answer, but there was no answer to give.

"You are blessed with life. I made you not to throw this gift away. I have blessed you with talents to serve Me, but you continue to turn away. I have revealed My Word to you, but you do not gain in knowledge. I have spoken to you but your ears were closed. I have shown My blessings to you, but your eyes were turned away. I have sent you servants, but you sat idly by as they were pushed away. I have heard your prayers and I have answered them all."

"DO YOU TRULY LOVE ME ?"

I could not answer. How could I? I was embarrassed beyond belief. I had no excuse. What could I say to this? When I my heart had cried out and the tears had flowed, I said, "Please forgive me Lord. I am unworthy to be Your child."

The Lord answered, "That is My Grace, My child."

I asked, "Then why do you continue to forgive me? Why do You love me so?"

The Lord answered, "Because you are My creation. You are my child. I will never abandon you. When you cry, I will have compassion and cry with you. When you shout with joy, I will laugh with you. When you are down, I will encourage you. When you fall, I will raise you up. When you are tired, I will carry you. I will be with you till the end of days, and I will love you forever."

Never had I cried so hard before. How could I have been so cold? How could I have hurt God as I had done?

I asked Jesus, "How much do you love me?" Jesus answered, "This much." as He stretched His arms and died on the cross for me. (And you too!) I then bowed down at the feet of Christ, my Savior. And for the first time, I truly prayed.
 

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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.

 Book IV - CHAPTER X

Beyond the village the country was undulating and cultivated; in fact, it was the garden-land of Antioch, with not a foot lost to labor. The steep faces of the hills were terraced; even the hedges were brighter of the trailing vines which, besides the lure of shade, offered passers-by sweet promises of wine to come, and grapes in clustered purple ripeness. 

Over melon-patches, and through apricot and fig-tree groves, and groves of oranges and limes, the white-washed houses of the farmers were seen; and everywhere Plenty, the smiling daughter of Peace, gave notice by her thousand signs that she was at home, making the generous traveller merry at heart, until he was even disposed to give Rome her dues. Occasionally, also, views were had of Taurus and Lebanon, between which, a separating line of silver, the Orontes placidly pursued its way.

In course of their journey the friends came to the river, which they followed with the windings of the road, now over bold bluffs, and then into vales, all alike allotted for country-seats, and if the land was in full foliage of oak and sycamore and myrtle, and bay and arbutus, and perfuming jasmine, the river was bright with slanted sunlight, which would have slept where it fell but for ships in
endless procession, gliding with the current, tacking for the wind, or bounding under the impulse of oars--some coming, some going, and all suggestive of the sea, and distant peoples, and famous places, and things coveted on account of their rarity. To the fancy there is nothing so winsome as a white sail seaward blown, unless it be a white sail homeward bound, its voyage happily done. And down the shore the friends went continuously till they came to a lake fed
by back-water from the river, clear, deep, and without current. An old palm-tree dominated the angle of the inlet; turning to the left at the foot of the tree, Malluch clapped his hands and shouted,

"Look, look! The Orchard of Palms!"

The scene was nowhere else to be found unless in the favored oases of Arabia or the Ptolemaean farms along the Nile; and to sustain a sensation new as it was delightful, Ben-Hur was admitted into a tract of land apparently without limit and level as a floor. All under foot was fresh grass, in Syria the rarest and most beautiful production of the soil; if he looked up, it was to see the sky paley blue through the groinery of countless date-bearers, very patriarchs of their kind,
so numerous and old, and of such mighty girth, so tall, so serried, so wide of branch, each branch so perfect with fronds, plumy and waxlike and brilliant, they seemed enchanters enchanted.

Here was the grass coloring the very atmosphere; there the lake, cool and clear, rippling but a few feet under the surface, and helping the trees to their long life in old age. Did the Grove of Daphne excel this one? And the palms, as if they knew Ben-Hur's thought, and would win him after a way of their own, seemed, as he passed under their arches, to stir and sprinkle him with dewy coolness.

The road wound in close parallelism with the shore of the lake; and when it carried the travellers down to the water's edge, there was always on that side a shining expanse limited not far off by the opposite shore, on which, as on this one, no tree but the palm was permitted.

"See that," said Malluch, pointing to a giant of the place.

"Each ring upon its trunk marks a year of its life. Count them from root to branch, and if the sheik tells you the grove was planted before the Seleucidae were heard of in Antioch, do not doubt him."

One may not look at a perfect palm-tree but that, with a subtlety all its own, it assumes a presence for itself, and makes a poet of the beholder. This is the explanation of the honors it has received, beginning with the artists of the first kings, who could find no form in all the earth to serve them so well as a model for the pillars of their palaces and temples; and for the same reason Ben-Hur was
moved to say, "As I saw him at the stand to-day, good Malluch, Sheik Ilderim
appeared to be a very common man. The rabbis in Jerusalem would look down upon him, I fear, as a son of a dog of Edom. How came he in possession of the Orchard? And how has he been able to hold it against the greed of Roman governors?"

"If blood derives excellence from time, son of Arrius, then is old Ilderim a man, though he be an uncircumcised Edomite."

Malluch spoke warmly.

"All his fathers before him were sheiks. One of them--I shall not say when he lived or did the good deed--once helped a king who was being hunted with swords. The story says he loaned him a thousand horsemen, who knew the paths of the wilderness and its hiding-places as shepherds know the scant hills they inhabit with their flocks; and they carried him here and there until the opportunity came, and then with their spears they slew the enemy, and set him upon his throne again. And the king, it is said, remembered the service, and brought the son of the Desert to this place, and bade him set up his tent and bring his family and his herds, for the lake and trees,and all the land from the river to the nearest mountains, were hisand his children's forever. And they have never been disturbed in the possession. 

The rulers succeeding have found it policy to keep good terms with the tribe, to whom the Lord has given increase of men and horses, and camels and riches, making them masters of many highways between cities; so that it is with them any time they please to say to commerce, 'Go in peace,' or 'Stop,' and what they say shall be done. Even the prefect in the citadel overlooking Antioch thinks it happy day with him when Ilderim, surnamed the Generous on account of good deeds done unto all manner of men, with his wives and children, and his trains of camels and horses, and his belongings of sheik, moving as our fathers Abraham and Jacob moved, comes up to exchange briefly his bitter wells for the pleasantness you see about us."

"How is it, then?" said Ben-Hur, who had been listening unmindful of the slow gait of the dromedaries. "I saw the sheik tear his beard while he cursed himself that he had put trust in a Roman.

Caesar, had he heard him, might have said, 'I like not such a friend as this; put him away.'"

"It would be but shrewd judgment," Malluch replied, smiling.

"Ilderim is not a lover of Rome; he has a grievance. Three years ago the Parthians rode across the road from Bozra to Damascus, and fell upon a caravan laden, among other things, with the incoming tax-returns of a district over that way. They slew every creature taken, which the censors in Rome could have forgiven if the imperial treasure had been spared and forwarded. The farmers of the taxes, being chargeable with the loss, complained to Caesar, and Caesar held Herod to payment, and Herod, on his part, seized property of Ilderim, whom he charged with treasonable neglect of duty. The sheik appealed to Caesar, and Caesar has made him such answer as might be looked for from the unwinking sphinx. The old man's heart has been aching sore ever since, and he nurses his
wrath, and takes pleasure in its daily growth."

"He can do nothing, Malluch."

"Well," said Malluch, "that involves another explanation, which I will give you, if we can draw nearer. But see!--the hospitality of the sheik begins early--the children are speaking to you."

The dromedaries stopped, and Ben-Hur looked down upon some little girls of the Syrian peasant class, who were offering him their baskets filled with dates. The fruit was freshly gathered, and not to be refused; he stooped and took it, and as he did so a man in the tree by which they were halted cried, "Peace to you, and welcome!"

Their thanks said to the children, the friends moved on at such gait as the animals chose.

"You must know," Malluch continued, pausing now and then to dispose of a date, "that the merchant Simonides gives me his confidence, and sometimes flatters me by taking me into council; and as I attend him at his house, I have made acquaintance with many of his friends, who, knowing my footing with the host, talk to him freely in my presence. In that way I became somewhat intimate
with Sheik Ilderim."

For a moment Ben-Hur's attention wandered. Before his mind's eye thee arose the image, pure, gentle, and appealing, of Esther, the merchant's daughter. Her dark eyes bright with the peculiar Jewish lustre met his in modest gaze; he heard her step as when she approached him with the wine, and her voice as she tendered
him the cup; and he acknowledged to himself again all the sympathy she manifested for him, and manifested so plainly that words were unnecessary, and so sweetly that words would have been but a detraction. The vision was exceeding pleasant, but upon his turning to Malluch, it flew away.

"A few weeks ago," said Malluch, continuing, "the old Arab called on Simonides, and found me present. I observed he seemed much moved about something, and, in deference, offered to withdraw, but he himself forbade me. 'As you are an Israelite,' he said, 'stay, for I have a strange story to tell.' The emphasis on the
word Israelite excited my curiosity. I remained, and this is in substance his story--I cut it short because we are drawing nigh the tent, and I leave the details to the good man himself.

A good many years ago, three men called at Ilderim's tent out in the wilderness. They were all foreigners, a Hindoo, a Greek, and an Egyptian; and they had come on camels, the largest he had ever seen, and all white. He welcomed them, and gave them rest.

Next morning they arose and prayed a prayer new to the sheik--a prayer addressed to God and his son--this with much mystery besides. After breaking fast with him, the Egyptian told who they were, and whence they had come. Each had seen a star, out of which a voice had bidden them go to Jerusalem and ask, Where is he that is born King of the Jews?' They obeyed. From Jerusalem they
were led by a star to Bethlehem, where, in a cave, they found a child newly born, which they fell down and worshipped; and after worshipping it, and giving it costly presents, and bearing witness of what it was, they took to their camels, and fled without pause to the sheik, because if Herod--meaning him surnamed the Great--could lay hands upon them, he would certainly kill them. And, faithful to
his habit, the sheik took care of them, and kept them concealed for a year, when they departed, leaving with him gifts of great value, and each going a separate way."

"It is, indeed, a most wonderful story," Ben-Hur exclaimed at its conclusion. "What did you say they were to ask at Jerusalem?"

"They were to ask, 'Where is he that is born King of the Jews?'"

"Was that all?"

"There was more to the question, but I cannot recall it."

"And they found the child?"

"Yes, and worshipped him."

"It is a miracle, Malluch."

"Ilderim is a grave man, though excitable as all Arabs are. A lie on his tongue is impossible."

Malluch spoke positively. Thereupon the dromedaries were forgotten, and, quite as unmindful of their riders, they turned off the road to the growing grass.

"Has Ilderim heard nothing more of the three men?" asked Ben-Hur.

"What became of them?"

"Ah, yes, that was the cause of his coming to Simonides the day of which I was speaking. Only the night before that day the Egyptian reappeared to him."

"Where?"

"Here at the door of the tent to which we are coming."

"How knew he the man?"

"As you knew the horses to-day--by face and manner."

"By nothing else?"

"He rode the same great white camel, and gave him the same name--Balthasar, the Egyptian."

"It is a wonder of the Lord's!"

Ben-Hur spoke with excitement.

And Malluch, wondering, asked, "Why so?"

"Balthasar, you said?"

"Yes. Balthasar, the Egyptian."

"That was the name the old man gave us at the fountain today."

Then, at the reminder, Malluch became excited.

"It is true," he said; "and the camel was the same--and you saved the man's life."

"And the woman," said Ben-Hur, like one speaking to himself--"the woman was his daughter."

He fell to thinking; and even the reader will say he was having a vision of the woman, and that it was more welcome than that of Esther, if only because it stayed longer with him; but no--

"Tell me again," he said, presently. "Were the three to ask,
'Where is he that is to be King of the Jews?'"

"Not exactly. The words were BORN TO BE KING OF THE JEWS. Those were
the words as the old sheik caught them first in the desert, and he has ever since been waiting the coming of the king; nor can any one shake his faith that he will come."

"How--as king?"

"Yes, and bringing the doom of Rome--so says the sheik."

Ben-Hur kept silent awhile, thinking and trying to control his feelings.

"The old man is one of many millions," he said, slowly--"one of many millions each with a wrong to avenge; and this strange faith, Malluch, is bread and wine to his hope; for who but a Herod may be King of the Jews while Rome endures? But, following the story, did you hear what Simonides said to him?"

"If Ilderim is a grave man, Simonides is a wise one," Malluch replied.

"I listened, and he said-- But hark! Some one comes overtaking us."

The noise grew louder, until presently they heard the rumble of wheels mixed with the beating of horse-hoofs--a moment later Sheik Ilderim himself appeared on horseback, followed by a train, among which were the four wine-red Arabs drawing the chariot. The sheik's chin, in its muffling of long white beard, was drooped upon his breast.

Our friends had out-travelled him; but at sight of them he raised his head and spoke kindly.

"Peace to you!--Ah, my friend Malluch! Welcome! And tell me you are not going, but just come; that you have something for me from the good Simonides--may the Lord of his fathers keep him in life for many years to come! Ay, take up the straps, both of you, and follow me. I have bread and leben, or, if you prefer it, arrack, and the flesh of young kid. Come!"

They followed after him to the door of the tent, in which, when they were dismounted, he stood to receive them, holding a platter with three cups filled with creamy liquor just drawn from a great smoke-stained skin bottle, pendent from the central post.

"Drink," he said, heartily, "drink, for this is the fear-naught of the tentmen."

They each took a cup, and drank till but the foam remained.

"Enter now, in God's name."

And when they were gone in, Malluch took the sheik aside, and spoke to him privately; after which he went to Ben-Hur and excused himself.

"I have told the sheik about you, and he will give you the trial of his horses in the morning. He is your friend. Having done for you all I can, you must do the rest, and let me return to Antioch.

There is one there who has my promise to meet him to-night. I have no choice but to go. I will come back to-morrow prepared, if all goes well in the meantime, to stay with you until the games are over."

With blessings given and received, Malluch set out in return.

to be continued


Go Placidly

Go placidly amid the noise & haste & remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly & clearly; and listen to others, even the dull & ignorant; they too have their story. 

Avoid loud & aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain & bitter; for always there will be greater & lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. 

Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism. 

Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity & disenchantment it is perennial as the grass. 

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue & loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. 

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees & the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. 

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive him to be, and whatever your labors & aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. 

With all its sham, drudgery & broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be careful. Strive to be happy.

Found in Old Saint Paul's Church, Baltimore; dated 1692. 


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Hold On...

Author - Unknown

Some years ago on a hot summer day in south Florida, a little boy decided to go for a swim in the old swimming hole behind his house. In a hurry to dive into the cool water, he ran out the back door, leaving behind shoes, socks, and shirt as he went. He flew into the water, not realizing that as he swam toward the middle of the lake, an alligator was swimming toward the shore.

His mother in the house was looking out the window saw the two as they got closer and closer together. In utter fear, she ran toward the water, yelling to her son as loudly as she could. Hearing her voice, the little boy became alarmed and made a U-turn to swim to his mother. It was too late. Just as he reached her, the alligator reached him.

From the dock, the mother grabbed her little boy by the arms just as the alligator snatched his legs. That began an incredible tug-of-war between the two. The alligator was much stronger than the mother, but the mother was much too passionate to let go. A farmer happened to drive by, heard her screams, raced from his truck, took aim and shot the alligator.

Remarkably, after weeks and weeks in the hospital, the little boy survived. His legs were extremely scarred by the vicious attack of the animal, and on his arms, were deep scratches where his mother's fingernails dug into his flesh in her effort to hang on to the son she loved.

The newspaper reporter, who interviewed the boy after the trauma, asked if he would show him his scars. The boy lifted his pant legs. And then, with obvious pride, he said to the reporter, 'But look at my arms. I have great scars on my arms, too. I have them because my Mom wouldn't let go.'

You and I can identify with that little boy. We have scars, too. No, not from an alligator, or anything quite so dramatic, but the scars of painful past. Some of those scars are unsightly and have caused us deep regret. But, some wounds, my friend, are because God has refused to let go. In the midst of your struggle, He's been there holding on to you. 

The Scripture teaches that God loves you. You are a child of God. He wants to protect you and provide for you in every way. But sometimes we foolishly wade into dangerous situations. The swimming hole of life is filled with peril - and we forget that the enemy is waiting to attack. That's when the tug-of-war begins - and if you have the scars of His love on your arms be very, very grateful. He did not and will not - let you go. 

 

The Power of Positive Thinking

by Norman Vincent Peale

Chapter 12 continued

Recently a diagnostician told me of a young woman who was admitted to the hospital with a temperature of one hundred and two degrees. She had a definite case of rheumatoid arthritis; her joints were badly swollen.

In order to study the case thoroughly the doctor gave her no medication except a slight sedative to relieve the pain. After two days the young woman asked the doctor, "How long will I be in this condition, and how long must I remain in thehospital?"

"I think I must tell you," replied the physician, "that you will probably be in the hospital for about six months."

"You mean it will be six months before I can get married?" she demanded.

"I am sorry," he said, "but I cannot promise you anything better than that."

This conversation took place in the evening. The next morning the patient's temperature was normal and the swelling was gone from her joints. Unable to account for the change, the doctor observed her for a few days, then sent her home.

In a month she was back in the hospital in the same condition as before: temperature one hundred and two, joints swollen. Counseling disclosed that her father insisted that she marry a certain man who would be an asset to him in his business connections. The girl loved her father, wanted to do as he wished, but did not want to marry a man whom she did not love. So her subconscious mind came to her assistance and in effect gave her rheumatoid arthritis and a temperature.

The doctor explained to the father that if he forced this marriage his daughter could become an invalid. When told that she need not go through with the marriage, the girl's recovery was quick and permanent.

Do not get the idea that if you have arthritis you are married to the wrong person! This incident merely illustrates the profound effect of mental pain on physical conditions.

I was interested to read a statement by a psychologist that infants can "catch" fear and hatred from people around them more quickly than they can catch measles or other infectious diseases. The virus of fear may burrow deeply into their subconsciousness and remain there for a lifetime. "But," adds the psychologist, "fortunately infants can also catch love and goodness and faith and so grow up to become normal, healthy children and adults."

In an article in the Ladies' Home Journal, Constance J.Foster quotes Dr. Edward Weiss of Temple University Medical School in a speech to the American College of Physicians in which Dr. Weiss stated that chronic victims of pains and aches in the muscles and joints may be suffering from nursing a smoldering grudge against someone close to them. He added that such persons usually are totally unaware that they bear a chronic resentment.

"To clear up any possible misunderstanding," the author continues, "it is necessary to state emphatically that emotions and feelings are quite as real as germs and no less respectable. The resultant pain and suffering of diseases caused primarily by the emotions are no more imaginary than those caused by bacteria. In no case is the patient consciously to blame for developing the disease. Such persons are not suffering from any disease of the mind, but rather from a disorder of their feelings, often linked to a marital or parent-child problem."

In this same magazine article the story is told of a certain Mrs. X who came to the doctor's office complaining of a breaking out on her hands which was diagnosed as eczema.

The doctor encouraged Mrs. X to talk about herself. It developed that she was a very rigid person. Her lips were thin and unyielding. She was also rheumatoid. The doctor sent Mrs. X to a psychiatrist who saw at once that there was some irritating situation in her life which she was translating outwardly in the form of a skin rash, thus taking out on her own person the urge to scratch some thing or person.

The doctor finally put it to her bluntly. "What is eating you?"

he asked. "You're peeved at something, aren't you?"

"She stiffened up like a ramrod and marched right out of the office, so I knew I'd hit the target too closely for comfort. A few days later she came back. Due to the agony of the eczema, she was ready to let me help her even if it meant she had to give up a hate.

"It turned out to be a family row over a will with Mrs. X feeling she had been treated unfairly by a younger brother.  

When she got rid of the hostility, she got well, and when she made up the quarrel with her brother, within twenty-four hours the eczema vanished."

That there is even a relationship between emotional disturbance and the common cold is indicated by Dr. L. J. Saul of the University of Pennsylvania Medical School, who has made a study of this subject.

"Emotional disturbances are believed to affect the blood circulation in the linings of the nose and throat. They also affect glandular secretions. These factors make the mucous membranes more susceptible to attack by cold viruses or germ infection."

Dr. Edmund P. Fowler, Jr., of Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons, stated, "There are colds which develop in medical students at the time of their examinations and colds which develop in many persons before or after a trip. Colds develop in housewives when they must care for a large family. And one often sees a cold develop in a patient when his mother-in-law comes to live in the house, and it often disappears when she leaves." (Dr. Fowler does not specify the effects on the mother-in-law of a daughter-in-law or son-in-law. Perhaps she has a cold also.)

One of the cases Dr. Fowler reports concerned a twenty-five-year-old salesgirl. When she visited his office her nose was stuffy, the lining was red and congested, and she suffered from a headache and a mild temperature. These symptoms had persisted for nearly two weeks. Questioning disclosed that they had started a few hours after a violent quarrel with her fiancé.

Local treatments cleared up the cold but the young woman was back in a few weeks with another attack. This time the trouble had started after an argument with the butcher. Again local treatments brought relief. But the girl continued to have recurring colds, and each time they were traced to a fit of anger. Finally Dr. Fowler was able to persuade the girl that her bad temper was at the root of her chronic cold symptoms.

When she learned to lead a calmer existence, her sneezes and sniffles disappeared. And yet people still think that when the Bible tells you not to hate or to get angry that it is "theoretical advice." The Bible is not theoretical. It is our greatest book of wisdom. It is filled with practical advice on living and on health. Anger, resentment, and guilt make you sick, modern physicians tell us, which proves once again that the most up-to-date book on personal well-being is the Holy Bible, neglected by so many or regarded by them as purely a religious book and certainly as one that is not practical. No wonder more copies are read than all other books. That is because in this book we discover not only what is wrong with us but how to correct it as well.

Dr. Fowler calls attention to the "emotional colds" suffered by children who feel insecure. He reports that many cases of chronic colds occur in children who come from broken homes. An older child often has recurring respiratory infection when a new baby is born because he feels neglected and jealous. A nine-year-old boy had an extremely dictatorial father and an indulgent mother. The conflict between the strictness of one parent and the lenience of the other obviously was disturbing to the child. He particularly feared punishment by his father. This boy suffered for several years from continuous coughs and sniffles. It was noted that the colds disappeared when he went to camp—away from his parents.

Since irritation, anger, hate, and resentment have such a powerful effect in producing ill-health, what is the antidote?

Obviously it is to fill the mind with attitudes of good will, forgiveness, faith, love, and the spirit of imperturbability.

And how is that accomplished? Following are some practical suggestions. They have been used successfully by many in counter attacking especially the emotion of anger. A consistent application of these suggestions can produce feelings of well-being:

1. Remember that anger is an emotion, and an emotion is always warm, even hot. Therefore to reduce an emotion, cool it. And how do you cool it? When a person gets angry, the fists tend to clench, the voice rises in stridency, muscles tense, the body becomes rigid. (Psychologically you are poised for fight, adrenaline shoots through the body.) This is the old caveman hangover in the nervous system. So deliberately oppose the heat of this emotion with coolness—freeze it out. Deliberately, by an act of will, keep your hands from clenching. Hold your fingers out straight. Deliberately reduce your tone; bring it down to a whisper. Remember that it is difficult to argue in a whisper. Slump in a chair, or even lie down if possible. It is very difficult to get mad lying down.

2. Say aloud to yourself, "Don't be a fool. This won't get me anywhere, so skip it." At that moment it may be a bit hard to pray, but try it anyway; at least conjure up a picture of Jesus Christ in your mind and try to think of Him mad just as you are. You can't do it, and the effort will serve to puncture your angry emotions.

3. One of the best techniques for cooling off anger was suggested by Mrs. Grace Oursler. She formerly employed the usual "count to ten" technique but happened to notice that the first ten words of the Lord's Prayer worked better. "Our Father who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy name." When angry, say that ten times and your anger will lose its power over you.

4. Anger is a great term expressing the accumulated vehemence of a multitude of minor irritations. These irritations, each rather small in itself, having gathered force by reason of the one being added to the other, finally blaze forth in a fury that often leaves us abashed at ourselves.

Therefore, make a list of everything that irritates you. No matter how inconsequential it may be or how silly each is list it just the same. The purpose in doing this is to dry up the tiny rivulets that feed the great river of anger.

5. Make each separate irritation a special object of prayer. Get a victory over each, one at a time. Instead of attempting to destroy all of your anger, which as we have pointed out is a consolidated force, snip away by prayer each annoyance that feeds your anger. In this way you will weaken your anger to the point where presently you will gain control over it.

6. Train yourself so that every time you feel the surge of anger you say, "Is this really worth what it is doing to me emotionally? I will make a fool of myself. I will lose friends." In order to get the full effect of this technique, practice saying to yourself a few times every day, "It is never worth it to get worked up or mad about anything." Also affirm: "It isn't worth it to spend $1000 worth of emotion on a five-cent irritation."

7. When a hurt-feeling situation arises, get it straightened out as quickly as possible. Don't brood over it for a minute longer than you can help. Do something about it. Do not allow yourself to sulk or indulge in self-pity. Don't mope around with resentful thoughts. The minute your feelings are hurt, do just as when you hurt your finger. Immediately apply the cure. Unless you do so the situation can become  distorted out of all proportion. So put some spiritual iodine on the hurt at once by saying a prayer of love and forgiveness.

8. Apply grievance drainage to your mind. That is, open your mind and  let the grievance flow out. Go to someone you trust and pour it out to him until not a vestige of it remains within you. Then forget it.

9. Simply start praying for the person who has hurt your feelings. Continue this until you feel the malice fading away. Sometimes you may have to pray for quite a while to get that result. A man who tried this method told me that he kept account of the number of times he needed to pray until the grievance left and peace came. It was exactly sixty-four times. He literally prayed it out of his system. This is positively guaranteed to work.

10. Say this little prayer: "May the love of Christ fill my heart." Then add this line: "May the love of Christ for — (insert the other's name) flood my soul." Pray this, mean it (or ask to mean it), and you will get relief.

11. Actually take the advice of Jesus to forgive seventy times seven. To be literal, that means four hundred ninety times. Before you have forgiven a person that many times you will be free of resentment.

12. Finally, this "wild, undisciplined, primitive urge in you which flames to the surface can be tamed only by allowing Jesus Christ to take control. Therefore, complete this lesson by saying to Jesus Christ, "Even as You can convert a person's morals, so now I ask You to convert my nerves. As You give power over the sins of the flesh, so give me power over the sins of the disposition. Bring my temper under Your control. Give me Thy healing peace in my nervous system as well as in my soul." If you are beset by temper, repeat the above prayer three times every day. It might be advisable to print it on a card and put it on your desk, or above the kitchen sink, or in your pocketbook.

to be continued

Did You Know ?

  • Animals also are either right-handed or left-handed. Polar bears are left-handed – and so is Kermit the Frog.
  • There are 701 types of pure breed dogs. There are about 54 million dogs in the US, and Paris is said to have more dogs than people.
  • Some bird species, usually flightless birds, have only a lower eyelid, whereas pigeons use upper and lower lids to blink.
  • Fish and insects do not have eyelids – their eyes are protected by a hardened lens.
  • Flatfish (halibut, flounder, turbot, and sole) hatch like any other “normal” fish. As they grow, they turn sideways and one eye moves around so they have two eyes on the side that faces up.
  • Measured in straight flight, the spine-tailed swift is the fastest bird. It flies 106 mph (170 km/h). Second fastest is the Frigate, which reaches 94 mph (150 km/h).
  • Millions of trees are accidentally planted by squirrels who bury nuts and then forget where they hid them.
  • There are more than 150 million sheep in Australia, a nation of 21 million people.
  • New Zealand is home to 4 million people and 70 million sheep.

 

THE SHADOW OF THE CROSS 

Author Unknown

A young man who had been raised as an atheist was training to be an Olympic diver. The only religious influence in his life came from his outspoken Christian friend. The young diver never really paid much attention to his friend's sermons, but he heard them often 

One night the diver went to the indoor pool at the college he attended. The lights were all off, but as the pool had big skylights and the moon was bright, there was plenty of light to practice by. 

The young man climbed up to the highest diving board and as he turned his back to the pool on the edge of the board and extended his arms out, he saw his shadow on the wall. 

The shadow of his body in the shape of a cross. Instead of diving, he knelt down and asked God to come into his life. As the young man stood, a maintenance man walked in and turned the lights on. The pool had been drained for repairs

 


Just for Laughs

A former Infantry Sergeant having served his time with the Marine Corps took a new job as a school teacher.

Just before the school year started he injured his back. He was required to wear a plaster cast around the upper part of his body. Fortunately, the cast fit under his shirt and wasn't even noticeable.

On the first day of class, he found himself assigned to the toughest students in the school.

The smart aleck punks, having already heard the new teacher was a former Marine, were leery of him and decided to see how tough he really was before trying any pranks.

Walking confidently into the rowdy classroom, the new teacher opened the window wide and sat down at his desk.

When a strong breeze made his tie flap, he took a stapler and stapled the tie to his chest.

He had no trouble with discipline that year....





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