13 October 2013

posted 11 Oct 2013, 06:47 by C S Paul   [ updated 11 Oct 2013, 07:16 ]

13 October 2013

Quotes to Inspire

  • "The price of wisdom is above rubies." — Solomon
  • "The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary." — Unknown
  • "Don't put off to tomorrow what you've already put off until today." — Unknown
  • "No matter how good an idea sounds, test it first." — Henry Bloch
  • "Successful people form the habit of doing what failures don't like to do. They like the results they get by doing what they don't necessarily enjoy." — Earl Nightingale
  • "An 'enemy' is someone that God puts in our path that is most in need of our love; not retaliation or retribution or harm or insult." — John Carmody
  •  "Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act." — Dietrich Bonhoeffer from Germany in Hitler's Era
  • "To see what is right and not do it is a lack of courage." — Confucius
  • "If you don't fail now and again, it's a sign you're playing it safe." — Woody Allen
  • "Love does not consist of gazing at each other, but in looking together in the same direction." — Antoine de Saint-Exupery
  • "The best years of your life are the ones in which you decide your problems are your own. You do not blame them on your mother, the ecology, or the president. You realize that you control your own destiny." — Albert Ellis
  • "I'm not in competition with anybody but myself. My goal is to beat my last performance." — Celine Dion

Dropped Chalk

Unknown
 
There was a professor of philosophy there who was a deeply committed atheist. His 
primary goal for one required class was to spend the entire semester attempting to prove that God couldn't exist. His students were always afraid to argue with him because of his impeccable logic. For twenty years, he had taught this class and no one had ever had the courage to go against him. Sure, some had argued in class at times, but no one had ever really gone against him because of his reputation. At the end of every semester on the last day, he would say to his class of 300 students, "If there is anyone here who still believes in Jesus, stand up!"

In twenty years, no one had ever stood up. They knew what he was going to do next. He would say, "Because anyone who believes in God is a fool. If God existed, he could stop this piece of chalk from hitting the ground and breaking. 

Such a simple task to prove that He is God, and yet He can't do " it." And every year, he would drop the chalk onto the tile floor of the classroom and it would shatter into a hundred pieces. All of the students would do nothing but stop and stare. Certainly, a number of Christians had slipped through, but for 20 years, they had been too afraid to stand up.

Well, a few years ago there was a freshman who happened to enroll. He was a Christian, and had heard the stories about his professor. He was required to take the class for his major, and he was afraid. But for three months that semester, he prayed every morning that he would have the courage to stand up no matter what the professor said, or what the class thought. Nothing they said could ever shatter his faith...he hoped.

Finally, the day came. The professor said, "If there is anyone here who still believes in God, stand up!" The professor and the class of 300 people looked at him, shocked, as he stood up at the back of the classroom. The professor shouted, "You FOOL!!! If God existed, he would keep this piece of chalk from breaking when it hit the ground!"

He proceeded to drop the chalk, but as he did, it slipped out of his fingers, off his shirt cuff, onto the pleat of his pants, down his leg, and off his shoe. As it hit the ground, it simply rolled away unbroken. The professor's jaw dropped as he stared at the chalk. He looked up at the young man, and then ran out of the lecture hall.

The young man who had stood, proceeded to walk to the front of the room and shared his faith in Jesus for the next half hour. 300 students stayed and listened as he told of God's love for them and of His power through Jesus.

Prable of Distrust
-- Author unknown

This is a story about a man called Joseph, who had the misfortune to get caught in a serious flood. The water was rising all around him and was soon up to his knees. He climbed the staircase to the first floor but still the water rose. It wasn't long before the water was up to his waist and he looked out of the window to see what was happening to his neighbours.

A boat was passing and the occupant shouted, "Hey, Joseph! Quick, climb aboard my boat and I will take you to safety." Joseph smiled and replied, "Thank you very much, but I have had a word with God and he will take care of me. You use the space on your boat to help others less fortunate than myself." Soon the boat was out of sight.

The flood would not stop and the water continued to climb. Joseph was forced onto the roof of his home and he surveyed the catastrophe below him.

A helicopter flew over Joseph and a man used his microphone to tell Joseph that worse was yet to come. He threw a rope down to Joseph and cried, "Quick Joseph, climb up while you still have a chance!" Nevertheless, Joseph had been a good man all his life and placed his faith in the Lord, so he declined the offer, requesting that they go in search of other people. "You don't have to worry about me," he shouted, "I have spoken with God and he will not let me die."

The helicopter flew away and the waters rose and rose until finally it was all over. Joseph was taken from this earth.

As stated earlier, Joseph was a good man, so naturally he was taken to the pearly gates to meet St. Peter. On entering heaven he was taken and introduced to God who welcomed him with open arms. But, Joseph was not content and asked God, "I am confused my Lord. I have been a devout follower my entire life, and never once have I strayed from your chosen path. I believe I was too young to die now. I prayed to you and asked you to save me, but my faith let me down. How could you have been so cruel?"

And the Lord replied, "What do you mean I let you down? I sent you a boat to save you, and a helicopter as well."
------
So often we try to help each other, but our efforts are met with distrust or total apathy. So little faith... especially when we try to lead people to the word of God, and His plan for them. But, often we fail to get the message across. 

"You can lead the horse to water, but you cannot make him drink." However, as faithful disciples, it is the wish of our Lord that we keep trying.


Sleeping Through The Storm
A Parable-like Story -- Author Unknown

A young man applied for a job as a farmhand. When the farmer asked for his qualifications, he said, "I can sleep through a storm."

This puzzled the farmer... but he liked the young man.  So he hired him.

A few weeks later, the farmer and his wife were awakened in the night by a violent storm ripping through the valley.  He leapt out of bed and called for his new hired hand, but the young man was sleeping soundly.

So they quickly began to check things to see if all was secure.  They found that the shutters of the farmhouse had been securely fastened.  A good supply of logs had been set next to the fireplace.

The farmer and his wife then inspected their property.  They found that the farm tools had been placed in the storage shed, safe from the elements.  He sees that the bales of wheat had been bound and wrapped in tarpaulins.

The tractor had been moved into its garage. The barn was properly locked tight. Even the animals were calm and had plenty of feed. All was well.

The farmer then understood the meaning of the young man's words, "I can sleep through a storm."

Because the farmhand did his work loyally and faithfully when the skies were clear, he was prepared for any storm.  So when the storm did actually break, he was not concerned or afraid.  He could sleep in peace.

Moral:::

If we tend to the things that are important in life,if we are right with those we love and behave in line with our faith, our lives will not be cursed with the aching throb of unfulfilled business. 

Our words will always be sincere, our embraces will be tight. We will never wallow in the agony of 'I could have, I should have.' 

We can sleep in a storm.

And when it's our time to go, our good-byes will be complete.


Acts of Kindness
-- Author Unknown

He was driving home one evening, on a two-lane country road. Work, in this small mid-western community, was almost as slow as his beat-up Pontiac. But he never quit looking. Ever since the Levis factory closed, he'd been unemployed, and with winter raging on, the chill had finally hit home. It was a lonely road. Not very many people had a reason to be on it, unless they were leaving. Most of his friends had already left. They had families to feed and dreams to fulfill. But he stayed on. After all, this was where he buried his mother and father. He was born here and knew the country.

He could go down this road blind, and tell you what was on either side, and with his headlights not working, that came in handy. It was starting to get dark and light snow flurries were coming down. He'd better get a move on. You know, he almost didn't see the old lady, stranded on the side of the road. But even in the dim light of day, he could see she needed help. So he pulled up in front of her Mercedes and got out. His Pontiac was still sputtering when he approached her.

Even with the smile on his face, she was worried. No one had stopped to help for the last hour or so. Was he going to hurt her? He didn't look safe, he looked poor and hungry. He could see that she was frightened, standing out there in the cold. He knew how she felt. It was that chill that only fear can put in you. He said, "I'm here to help you m'am. Why don't you wait in the car where it's warm. 

"By the way, my name is Joe."

Well, all she had was a flat tire, but for an old lady, that was bad enough Joe crawled under the car looking for a place to put the jack, skinning his knuckles a time or two. Soon he was able to change the tire. But he had to get dirty and his hands hurt. As he was tightening up the lug nuts, she rolled down her window and began to talk to him. She told him that she was from St. Louis and was only just passing through. She couldn't thank him enough for coming to her aid. Joe just smiled as he closed her trunk.

She asked him how much she owed him. Any amount would have been alright with her.
She had already imagined all the awful things that could have happened had he not 
stopped. Joe never thought twice about the money. This was not a job to him. This was helping someone in need, and God knows there were plenty who had given him a hand in the past. He had lived his whole life that way, and it never occurred to him to act any other way. He told her that if she really wanted to pay him back, the next time she saw someone who needed help, she could give that person the assistance that they needed, and Joe added "...and think of me".

He waited until she started her car and drove off. It had been a cold and depressing day, but he felt good as he headed for home, disappearing into the twilight. A few miles down the road the lady saw a small cafe. She went in to grab a bite to eat, and take the chill off before she made the last leg of her trip home. It was a dingy looking restaurant. Outside were two old gas pumps. The whole scene was unfamiliar to her. The cash register was like the telephone of an out of work actor, it didn't ring much.

Her waitress came over and brought a clean towel to wipe her wet hair. She had a sweet smile, one that even being on her feet for the whole day couldn't erase. The lady noticed that the waitress was nearly eight months pregnant, but she never let the strain and aches change her attitude. The old lady wondered how someone who had so little could be so giving to a stranger. Then she remembered Joe.

After the lady finished her meal, and the waitress went to get her change from a hundred dollar bill, the lady slipped right out the door. She was gone by the time the waitress came back. She wondered where the lady could be, then she noticed something written on a napkin. There were tears in her eyes, when she read what the lady wrote. It said, "You don't owe me a thing, I've been there too. Someone once helped me out, the way I'm helping you. If you really want to pay me back, here's what you do. Don't let the chain of love end with you."

Well, there were tables to clear, sugar bowls to fill, and people to serve, but the waitress made it through another day. That night when she got home from work and climbed into bed, she was thinking about the money and what the lady had written. How could she have known how much she and her husband needed it ? With the baby due next month, it was going to be hard. She knew how worried her husband was, and as he lay sleeping next to her, she gave him a soft kiss and whispered soft and low, "Everything's gonna be alright, I love you Joe."

Did you know ?

  • Dogs and cats consume almost $7 billion worth of pet food a year. 
  • The Pentagon has twice as many restrooms as necessary. When it was built, segregation was still in place in Virginia, so separate restrooms for blacks and whites were required by law. 
  • If you stretch a standard Slinky out flat it measures 87 feet long. 
  • Each year, over 1,000,000 people fail to itemize out the mortgage interest deduction on their income taxes. Last year, this amounted to $473,000,000 in taxes. 
  • In 1998, more fast-food employees were murdered on the job than police officers. 
  • The lead singer of The Knack, famous for "My Sharona," and Jack Kevorkian's lead defence attorney are brothers, Doug and Jeffrey Feiger. 
  • One out of three employees who received a promotion use a coffee mug with the company logo on it. 
  • In 1963, baseball pitcher Gaylord Perry remarked, "They'll put a man on the moon before I hit a home run." On July 20, 1969, a few hours after Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon, Gaylord Perry hit his first (and only) home run. 
  • Pinocchio is Italian for "pine eye". 
  • All of the clocks in the movie "Pulp Fiction" read 4:20. 
  • Al Capone's business card said he was a used furniture dealer. 
  • Only 14% of Americans say they've skinny dipped with the opposite sex. 
  • "60 Minutes" on CBS is the only TV show to not have a theme song or music. 
  • Half of all Americans live within 50 miles of their birthplace. 


Just for Laughs

An artist asked the gallery owner if anyone had shown interest in his paintings. 

"I've got good news and bad news," she said. "The good news is that some guy 

inquired if it would appreciate in value after you died. When I told him it 

would, he bought all 15 of your paintings."

"And the bad news?"

"The guy was your doctor."

BEN-HUR: A TALE OF THE CHRIST 

by Lew Wallace

Part Six 

Simonides bribes Sejanus to remove the prefect Valerius Gratus from his post, as a service to Ben-Hur. Soon after the accession of the new prefect, Pontius Pilate, Ben-Hur sets out for Jerusalem to find his mother and sister. Pilate orders a review of the prison records which reveals great injustice and that Gratus was deliberately trying to conceal the existence of one walled up cell. Pilate's troops reopen the cell and find that there are two leprous women inside - Judah's mother and sister. They are released and stop for a while at the old vacant Hur house. Here, they find Judah sleeping on the steps, and they offer thanks to God. They don't wake him but weep that, as lepers, they are to be banished, never seeing him again. They leave.

Amrah, the Egyptian maid that once served the Hur house, discovers Ben-Hur, wakes him, and they are reunited. Amrah reveals that she has stayed in the Hur house for all these years. She had also kept in touch with the loyal Simonides and discouraged many potential buyers of the house because they thought she was a ghost. They pledge to find out more about the lost family. Judah discovers an official Roman report about the release of two leprous women. Amrah hears rumors of the mother and sister's fate.
Meanwhile, a plan is approved to use funds from the corban treasury, of the Temple in Jerusalem, to build a new aqueduct. This is seen as sacrilegious by the Jewish people, who petition Pilate to veto the plan. Pilate sends his soldiers in disguise to mingle with the crowd. At the appointed time, they massacre the protesters. Judah kills a Roman guard in a duel, and becomes a hero in the eyes of a group of Galilean protesters.

PART VI - CHAPTER III

About the hour Gesius, the keeper, made his appearance before the tribune in the Tower of Antonia, a footman was climbing the easternface of Mount Olivet. The road was rough and dusty, and vegetation on that side burned brown, for it was the dry season in Judea.Well for the traveller that he had youth and strength, not to speak of the cool, flowing garments with which he was clothed.

He proceeded slowly, looking often to his right and left; not with the vexed, anxious expression which marks a man going forward uncertain of the way, but rather the air with which one approaches as old acquaintance after a long separation--half of ple asure, half of inquiry; as if he were saying, "I am glad to be with you again; let me see in what you are changed."

As he arose higher, he sometimes paused to look behind him over the gradually widening view terminating in the mountains of Moab; but when at length he drew near the summit, he quickened his step, unmindful of fatigue, and hurried on without pause or turning of the face. On the summit--to reach which he bent his steps somewhat right of the beaten path--he came to a dead stop, arrested as if by a strong hand. Then one might have seen his eyes dilate, his cheeks flush, his breath quicken, effects all of one bright sweeping glance at what lay before him.

The traveller, good reader, was no other than Ben-Hur; the spectacle, Jerusalem.

Not the Holy City of to-day, but the Holy City as left by Herod--the Holy City of the Christ. Beautiful yet, as seen from old Olivet, what must it have been then?

Ben-Hur betook him to a stone and sat down, and, stripping his head of the close white handkerchief which served it for covering, made the survey at leisure.

The same has been done often since by a great variety of persons, under circumstances surpassingly singular--by the son of Vespasian, by the Islamite, by the Crusader, conquerors all of them; by many a pilgrim from the great New World, which waited 

discovery nearly fifteen hundred years after the time of our story; but of the multitude probably not one has taken that view with sensations more keenly poignant, more sadly sweet, more proudly bitter, than Ben-Hur. He was stirred by recollections of his countrymen, their triumphs and vicissitudes, their history the history of God.

The city was of their building, at once a lasting testimony of their crimes and devotion, their weakness and genius, their religion and their irreligion. Though he had seen Rome to familiarity, he was gratified. The sight filled a measure of pride which would have made him drunk with vainglory but for the thought, princely as the property was, it did not any longer belong to his countrymen; the worship in the Temple was by permission of strangers; the hill where David dwelt was a marbled cheat--an office in which the chosen of the Lord were wrung and wrung for taxes, and scourged for very deathlessness of 

faith. These, however, were pleasures and griefs of patriotism common to every Jew of the period; in addition, Ben-Hur brought with him a personal history which would not out
of mind for other consideration whatever, which the spectacle served only to freshen and vivify.

A country of hills changes but little; where the hills are of rock, it changes not at all. The scene Ben-Hur beheld is the same now, except as respects the city. The failure is in the handiwork of man alone.

The sun dealt more kindly by the west side of Olivet than by the east, and men were certainly more loving towards it. The vines with which it was partially clad, and the sprinkling of trees, chiefly figs and old wild olives, were comparatively green. Down to the dry bed of the Cedron the verdure extended, a refreshment to the vision; there Olivet ceased and Moriah began--a wall of bluff boldness, white as snow, founded by Solomon, completed by Herod. Up, up the wall the eye climbed course by course of the ponderous rocks composing it--up to Solomon's Porch, which was as the pedestal of the monument, the hill being the plinth. Lingering there a moment, the eye resumed its climbing, going next to the Gentiles' Court, then to the Israelites' Court, then to the Women's Court, then to the Court of the Priests, each a pillared tier of white marble, one above the other in terraced retrocession; over them all a crown of crowns infinitely sacred, infinitely beautiful, majestic in proportions, effulgent with beaten gold--lo! the Tent, the Tabernacle, the Holy of Holies. The Ark was not there, but Jehovah was--in the faith of every child of Israel he was there a personal Presence.

As a temple, as a monument, there was nowhere anything of man's building to approach that superlative apparition. Now, not a stone of it remains above another. Who shall rebuild that building? When shall the rebuilding be begun? So asks every pilgrim who has stood where Ben-Hur was--he asks, knowing the answer is in the bosom of God, whose secrets are not least marvellous in their well-keeping.

And then the third question, What of him who foretold the ruin which has so certainly befallen? God? Or man of God? Or--enough that the question is for us to answer.

And still Ben-Hur's eyes climbed on and up--up over the roof of the Temple, to the hill Zion, consecrated to sacred memories, inseparable from the anointed kings. He knew the Cheesemonger's Valley dipped deep down between Moriah and Zion; that it was 

spanned by the Xystus; that there were gardens and palaces in its depths; but over them all his thoughts soared with his vision to the great grouping on the royal hill--the house of Caiaphas, the Central Synagogue, the Roman Praetorium, Hippicus the eternal, and the sad but mighty cenotaphs Phasaelus and Mariamne--all relieved against Gareb, purpling in the distance. 

And when midst them he singled out the palace of Herod, what could he but think of the King Who Was Coming, to whom he was himself devoted, whose path he had undertaken to smooth, whose empty hands he dreamed of filling? And forward ran his fancy to the day the new King should come to claim his own and take possession of it--of Moriah and its Temple; of Zion and its towers and palaces; of Antonia, frowning darkly there just to the right of the Temple; of the new unwalled city of Bezetha; 

of the millions of Israel to assemble with palm-branches and banners, to sing rejoicing because the Lord had conquered and given them the world.

Men speak of dreaming as if it were a phenomenon of night and sleep.They should know better. All results achieved by us are self-promised, and all self-promises are made in dreams awake. Dreaming is the relief of labor, the wine that sustains us in act. We learn to love labor, not for itself, but for the opportunity it furnishes for dreaming, which is the great under-monotone of real life, unheard, unnoticed, because of its constancy. Living is dreaming. Only in the grave are there no dreams. Let no one smile at Ben-Hur for doing that which he himself would have done at that time and place under the same circumstances.

The sun stooped low in its course. Awhile the flaring disk seemed to perch itself on the far summit of the mountains in the west, brazening all the sky above the city, and rimming the walls and towers with the brightness of gold. Then it disappeared as with a plunge. The quiet turned Ben-Hur's thought homeward. There was a point in the sky a little north of the peerless front of the Holy of Holies upon which he fixed his gaze: under it, straight as a
leadline would have dropped, lay his father's house, if yet the house endured.

The mellowing influences of the evening mellowed his feelings, and, putting his ambitions aside, he thought of the duty that was bringing him to Jerusalem.

Out in the desert while with Ilderim, looking for strong places and acquainting himself with it generally, as a soldier studies a country in which he has projected a campaign, a messenger came one evening with the news that Gratus was removed, and Pontius Pilate sent to take his place.

Messala was disabled and believed him dead; Gratus was powerless and gone; why should Ben-Hur longer defer the search for his mother and sister? There was nothing to fear now. If he could not himself see into the prisons of Judea, he could examine them with the eyes of others. If the lost were found, Pilate could have no motive in holding them in custody--none, at least, which could not be overcome by purchase. If found, he would carry them to a place of safety, and then, in calmer mind, his conscience at rest, this one first duty done, he could give himself more entirely to the King Who Was Coming. He resolved at once. That night he counselled with Ilderim, and obtained his assent. Three Arabs came with him to Jericho, where he left them and the horses, and proceeded alone and on foot. Malluch was to meet him in Jerusalem.

Ben-Hur's scheme, be it observed, was as yet a generality.

In view of the future, it was advisable to keep himself in hiding from the authorities, particularly the Romans. Malluch was shrewd and trusty; the very man to charge with the conduct of the investigation.

Where to begin was the first point. He had no clear idea about it. His wish was to commence with the Tower of Antonia. 

Tradition not of long standing planted the gloomy pile over a labyrinth of prison-cells, which, more even than the strong garrison, kept it a terror to the Jewish fancy. A burial, such as his people had been subjected to, might be possible there. 

Besides, in such a strait, the natural inclination is to start search at the place where the loss occurred, and he could not forget that his last sight of the loved ones was as the guard pushed them along the street in the direction to the Tower. If they were not there now, but had been, some record of the fact must remain, a clew which had only to be followed faithfully to the end.

Under this inclination, moreover, there was a hope which he could not forego. From Simonides he knew Amrah, the Egyptian nurse, was living. It will be remembered, doubtless, that the faithful creature, the morning the calamity overtook the Hurs, broke from the guard and ran back into the palace, where, along with other chattels, she had been sealed up. During the years following, Simonides kept her supplied; so she was there now, sole occupant of the great house, which, with all his offers, Gratus had not been able to sell. The story of its rightful owners sufficed to secure the property from strangers, whether purchasers or mere occupants. People going to and fro passed it with whispers.

Its reputation was that of a haunted house; derived probably from the infrequent glimpses of poor old Amrah, sometimes on the roof, sometimes in a latticed window. Certainly no more constant spirit ever abided than she; nor was there ever a tenement so shunned and fitted for ghostly habitation. Now, if he could get to her, Ben-Hur fancied she could help him to knowledge which, though faint, might yet be serviceable. Anyhow, sight of her in that place, so endeared by recollection, would be to him a pleasure next to finding the objects of his solicitude.

So, first of all things, he would go to the old house, and look for Amrah.

Thus resolved, he arose shortly after the going-down of the sun, and began descent of the Mount by the road which, from the summit, bends a little north of east. Down nearly at the foot, close by the bed of the Cedron, he came to the intersection with the road leading south to the village of Siloam and the pool of that name. 

There he fell in with a herdsman driving some sheep to market. He spoke to the man, and joined him, and in his company passed by Gethsemane on into the city through the Fish Gate.

to be continued


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