15 September 2013

posted 14 Sep 2013, 03:10 by C S Paul   [ updated 14 Sep 2013, 03:13 ]

15 September 2013

Quotes to Inspire 

  • "You have set yourself a difficult task, but you will succeed if you persevere." — Helen Adams Keller
  • "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose." — Christian martyr, James Elliot
  • "The most important thing in any relationship is not what you get but what you give.... In any case, the giving of love is an education in itself." — Eleanor Roosevelt
  • "Character is the ability to carry out a good resolution long after the excitement of the moment has passed." — Cavett Robert
  • "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." — Eleanor Roosevelt
  • "Some of the best tasting and nutrient filled fruits are rather small. We don't need to do something big. We just need to do something that bears fruit." — Ray Lammie
  • "The first step to becoming is to will it." — Mother Teresa
  • "Whether you think you can do it, or whether you think you cannot do it, you are right." — Anthony Robbins
  • "How many men have dated a new era in their life from the reading of a book?" — Henry David Thoreau
  • "The hardest thing to learn in life is which bridge to cross and which to burn." — David Russell
  • "He that will not sail until all dangers are over must never put to sea." — Thomas Fuller
  • "The tragedy of life is what dies inside a man while he lives." — Albert Schweitzer
  • "The most dangerous thing in the world is to leap a chasm [or try to] in two jumps." — David Lloyd George

26 Guards

Have you ever felt the urge to pray for someone and then just put it on a list and said, "I'll pray for them later?"  Or, has anyone ever called you and said, "I need you to pray for me, I have this need?"  Read this story - may it change the way that you think about prayer and also the way you pray.  You will be blessed by this. -- Author unknown

A missionary on furlough told this story while visiting his home church in Michigan. "While serving at a small field hospital in Africa, every two weeks I traveled by bicycle through the jungle to a nearby city for supplies. This was a journey of two days and required camping overnight at the halfway point.

On one of these journeys, I arrived in the city where I planned to collect money from a bank, purchase medicine and supplies, and then begin my two-day journey back to the field hospital. Upon arrival in the city, I observed two men fighting, one of whom had been seriously injured. I treated him for his injuries and at the same time talked to him about the Lord.

I then traveled two days, camping overnight, and arrived home without incident.

Two weeks later I repeated my journey. Upon arriving in the city, I was approached by the young man I had treated. He told me that he had known I carried money and medicines. He said, "Some friends and I followed you into the jungle, knowing you would camp overnight. We planned to kill you and take your money and drugs. But just as we were about to move into your camp, we saw that you were surrounded by 26 armed guards. At this I laughed and said that I was certainly all alone in that jungle campsite. The young man pressed the point, however, and said, "No sir, I was not the only person to see the guards. My five friends also saw them, and we all counted them. It was because of those guards that we were afraid and left you alone."

At this point in the sermon, one of the men in the congregation jumped to his feet and interrupted the missionary and asked if he could tell him the exact day this happened. The missionary told the congregation the date, and the man who interrupted told him this story: "On the night of your incident in Africa, it was morning here and I was preparing to go play golf. I was about to putt when I felt the urge to pray for you. In fact, the urging of the Lord was so strong, I called men in this church to meet with me here in the sanctuary to pray for you. Would all of those men who met with me on that day stand up?"  The men who had met together to pray that day stood up.

The missionary wasn't concerned with who they were, he was too busy counting how many men he saw. There were 26.

This story is an incredible example of how the Spirit of the Lord moves in mysterious ways. If you ever hear such prodding, go along with it.

Nothing is ever hurt by prayer except the gates of hell. I encourage you to share this story with as many people as you know. If we all take it to heart, we can turn this world toward God once again. As the above true story clearly illustrates, "with God, all things are possible" - and more importantly, how God hears and answers the prayers of the faithful.

After you read this, please pass it on and give God thanks for the beautiful gift of your faith, for the powerful gift of prayer, and for the many miracles He works in your own daily life.


8 year-old's explanation of God
-- By Danny Dutton

Written by an 8 year old from Chula Vista, CA, for his third grade homework assignment. The assignment was to explain God. I just wonder if any of us could do as well?
One of God's main jobs is making people. He makes them to replace the ones that die, so there will be enough people to take care of things on earth.

He doesn't make grownups, just babies. I think because they are smaller and easier to make. That way he doesn't have to take up his valuable time teaching them to talk and walk. He can just leave that to mothers and fathers.

God's second most important job is listening to prayers. An awful lot of this goes on, since some people, like preachers and things, pray at times beside bedtime.  God doesn't have time to listen to the radio or TV because of this .

Because he hears everything, there must be a terrible lot of noise in his ears, unless he has thought of a way to turn it off.

God sees everything and hears everything and is everywhere which keeps Him pretty busy. So you shouldn't go wasting his time by going over your mom and dad's head asking for something they said you couldn't have.

Atheists are people who don't believe in God. I don't think there are any in Chula Vista. At least there aren't any who come to our church.

Jesus is God's Son. He used to do all the hard work like walking on water and performing miracles and trying to teach the people who didn't want to learn about God. They finally got tired of him preaching to them and they crucified him. But he was good and kind, like his father, and he told his father that they didn't know what they were doing and to forgive them and God said O.K.

His dad (God) appreciated everything that he had done and all his hard work on earth so he told him he didn't have to go out on the road anymore. He could stay in heaven. So he did. And now he helps his dad out by listening to prayers and seeing things which are important for God to take care of and which ones he can take care of himself without having to bother God. Like a secretary, only more important.

You can pray anytime you want and they are sure to help you because they got it worked out so one of them is on duty all the time.

You should always go to church on Sunday because it makes God happy, and if there's anybody you want to make happy, it's God.

Don't skip church or do something you think will be more fun like going to the beach. This is wrong. And besides the sun doesn't come out at the beach until noon anyway.

If you don't believe in God, besides being an atheist, you will be very lonely, because your parents can't go everywhere with you, like to camp, but God can.

It is good to know He's around you when you're scared, in the dark or when you can't swim and you get thrown into real deep water by big kids.

But... you shouldn't just always think of what God can do for you. I figure God put me here and he can take me back anytime he pleases. And this is what I know about God.

 
Two traveling angels

Two traveling angels stopped to spend the night in the home of a wealthy family.

The family was rude and refused to let the angels stay in the mansion's guest room.

Instead the angels were given a small space in the cold basement.

As they made their bed on the hard floor, the older angel saw a hole in the wall and repaired it.

When the younger angel asked why, the older angel replied, "Things aren't always what they seem."

The next night the pair came to rest at the house of a very poor, but very hospitable farmer and his wife.

After sharing what little food they had the couple let the angels sleep in their bed where they could have a good night's rest.

When the sun came up the next morning the angels found the farmer and his wife in tears. Their only cow, whose milk had been their sole income, lay dead in the field.

The younger angel was infuriated and asked the older angel how could you have let this happen? The first man had everything, yet you helped him, she accused. The second family had little but was willing to share everything, and you let the cow die.

"Things aren't always what they seem," the older angel replied.

"When we stayed in the basement of the mansion, I noticed there was gold stored in that hole in the wall. Since the owner was so obsessed with greed and unwilling to share his good fortune, I sealed the wall so he wouldn't find it. Then last night as we slept in the farmers bed, the angel of death came for his wife. I gave him the cow instead. Things aren't always what they seem."

Sometimes that is exactly what happens when things don't turn out the way they should. If you have faith, you just need to trust that every outcome is always to your advantage. You just might not know it until some time later.

REMEMBER, GROWING OLDER IS MANDATORY. GROWING UP IS OPTIONAL.?

We make a Living by what we get, We make a Life by what we give.?

God promises a safe landing, not a calm passage.?

If God brings you to it - He will bring you through it.?

Lord I love You and I need You, come into my heart, Today.?

For without You I can do nothing.?


My father's angels
 
by Kay Johnson McCrary

I wasn't paying attention at the time to the good example my father set. He wasn't consciously "setting a good example" -- he was just living life according to his values.

It was the 1950s in a small Middle Georgia farm town. Our family owned a clothing store in the middle of the main business block downtown. Six days a week, 8am until 6pm (9pm on Saturday), my father presided over his business. And sometimes an angel would come to our store.

I didn't recognize those visitors as angels. Neither did my mother, who accepted my father's decisions but referred to Daddy's angels as "bums". She was concerned that they painted hobo marks to guide others to my father. My father was, and still is, an extremely kind man. He bought them lunch.

I guess Daddy knew Mama's opinion and took precautions in case any individual "angel" might actually be an alcoholic. He would have a friendly, encouraging conversation with the person, who was shabby and obviously down on his luck.

Then Daddy would walk him across the street to the Coffee Cup Cafe and pay for him to eat the daily special, a hearty meal. Depending on how the conversation was going, Daddy would sometimes sit and have lunch with him.

Another variation on this theme was sometimes Daddy would bring the man to our house to do yard work to earn a bus ticket. Mama would feed him a good home cooked meal but would serve it to him in the kitchen or on the back steps.

Daddy explained his theory of angels to his children this way: "It's Biblical. Sometimes God sends an angel among men unawares, to test us. How we behave toward the least of his children is how we treat Him."

I remember chuckling at my "naive" father's actions later when I got more grown and more savvy. I laughed that he got it backwards about who the angel was.

Now that I am middle-aged, I'm proud to say that I realize how blessed I am to have such a wise and good man, Joseph Van Johnson, as my father and my teacher.

I am also doubly blessed to be meeting angels now myself. More than once I have recognized God Himself staring back at me from the face of a homeless mentally ill person. I understand now that my father was respecting the spirit of God that is within each of us.


Did you know ?

  • The cruise liner Queen Elizabeth 2 moves only six inches for each gallon of diesel fuel that it burns. 
  • There are more 100 dollar bills in Russia currently than there are in the United States.
  • It is physically impossible for pigs to look up into the sky. 
  • Most boat owners name their boats. The most popular boat name requested is Obsession. 
  • In a recent survey, Americans revealed that banana was their favorite smell. 
  • In all three Godfather films, when you see oranges, there is a death (or a very close call) coming up soon. 
  • There are more collect calls on Father's Day than any other day of the year. 
  • Mel Blanc (voice of Bugs Bunny) was allergic to carrots. 
  • Superman is featured on every episode of "Seinfeld", either by name or pictures on Jerry's refrigerator. 
  • A house in Baghdad worth $15,000 before the Iraq war now sells for $120,000 to $150,000. 
  • There are between 5,000 and 7,000 tigers kept as pets in the United States. 
  • Every day more money is printed for Monopoly than for the US Treasury. 
  • American Airlines saved $40,000 in 1987 by eliminating one olive from each salad served first class. 

Just for Laughs

A man decided to go on a safari. He took his faithful pet dog along for company. One day the dog starts chasing butterflies and before long he discovers that he is lost. So, wandering about he notices a leopard heading rapidly in his direction with the obvious intention of having lunch.

The dog thinks, "Oh Boy, I'm in danger now."  Then he noticed some bones on the ground close by, and immediately settles down to chew on the bones with his back to the approaching cat.

Just as the leopard is about to leap, the dog exclaims loudly, "Man, that was one delicious
leopard. I wonder if there are any more around here?"  Hearing this the leopard halts his attack in mid stride, as a look of terror comes over him, and slinks away into the trees. "Whew", says the leopard. "That was close. That dog nearly had me."

Meanwhile, a monkey who had been watching the whole scene from a nearby tree, figures he can put this knowledge to good use and trade it for protection from the leopard. So, off he goes. But the dog saw him heading after the leopard with great speed, and figured that something must be up.

The monkey soon catches up with the leopard, spills the beans and strikes a deal for himself with the leopard. The cat is furious at being made a fool of and says, "Here monkey, hop on my back and see what's going to happen to that conniving canine."
Now the dog sees the leopard coming with the monkey on his back, and thinks," What am I going to do now?"

But instead of running, the dog sits down with his back to his attackers pretending he hasn't seen them yet. And just when they get close enough to hear, the dog says, "Where's that monkey. I just can never trust him. I sent him off half an hour ago to bring me another leopard, and he's still not back!!"

BEN-HUR: A TALE OF THE CHRIST 

by Lew Wallace

Part Five 

Messala sends a letter to Valerius Gratus about his discovery that Judah is alive and well, however Sheik Ilderim intercepts the letter and shares its contents with Judah. He discovers that his mother and sister were imprisoned in a cell at the Antonia Fortress and Messala has been spying on him.

Ilderim is deeply impressed with Judah's skills with his racing horses and is pleased to choose him as charioteer.

Simonides the merchant comes to Judah and offers him the accumulated fortune of the Hur family business, of which Simonides has been steward. Judah Ben-Hur accepts only the money, leaving property and the rest to the loyal merchant. They each agree to do their part to fight for the Christ, whom they believe to be a political savior from Roman authority.

A day before the race Ilderim prepared his horses and Judah appoints Malluch to organize his support campaign for him. Meanwhile, Messala organizes his own huge campaign, revealing Judah Ben-Hur's real identity to the world as an outcast and convict. Malluch challenges Messala and his cronies to a vast wager, which, if the Roman loses, would bankrupt him.

The day of the race comes. During the race Messala and Judah become the clear leaders. Judah deliberately scrapes his chariot wheel against Messala's and Messala's chariot breaks apart. Judah is crowned winner and showered with prizes, claiming his first strike against Rome.

After the race, Judah Ben-Hur receives a letter from Iras asking him to go to the Roman palace of Idernee. When he arrives there, he sees that he has been tricked. Thord, a Saxon, hired by Messala, comes to kill Judah. They duel, but before it is over Ben-Hur offers Thord four thousand sestercii to let him live. Thord returns to Messala claiming he has killed Judah - so collecting money from both Messala and Judah, returning to Rome to open a wine shop. Being supposedly dead, Judah Ben-Hur goes to the desert with Ilderim to plan a secret campaign.

PART V - CHAPTER XVI continued

The mystery surrounding his own presence in the palace tended, as we have seen, to make Ben-Hur nervous; so now, when in the tall stout stranger he recognized the Northman whom he had known in Rome, and seen crowned only the day before in the Circus as
the winning pugilist; when he saw the man's face, scarred with the wounds of many battles, and imbruted by ferocious passions; when he surveyed the fellow's naked limbs, very marvels of exercise and training, and his shoulders of Herculean breadth, a thought of
personal danger started a chill along every vein. 

A sure instinct warned him that the opportunity for murder was too perfect to have come by chance; and here now were the myrmidons, and their business was with him. He turned an anxious eye upon the Northman's comrade--young, black-eyed, black-haired, and altogether Jewish in appearance; he observed, also, that both the men were in costume exactly such as professionals of their class were in the habit of wearing in the arena. Putting the several circumstances together, Ben-Hur could not be longer in doubt: he had been lured into the palace with design. Out of reach of aid, in this splendid privacy, he was to die!

At a loss what to do, he gazed from man to man, while there was enacted within him that miracle of mind by which life is passed before us in awful detail, to be looked at by ourselves as if it were another's; and from the evolvement, from a hidden depth, cast up,
as it were, by a hidden hand, he was given to see that he had entered upon a new life, different from the old one in this: whereas, in that, he had been the victim of violences done to him, henceforth he was to be the aggressor. Only yesterday he had found his first victim!

To the purely Christian nature the presentation would have brought the weakness of remorse. Not so with Ben-Hur; his spirit had its emotions from the teachings of the first lawgiver, not the last and greatest one. He had dealt punishment, not wrong, to Messala.
By permission of the Lord, he had triumphed; and he derived faith from the circumstance--faith the source of all rational strength, especially strength in peril.

Nor did the influence stop there. The new life was made appear to him a mission just begun, and holy as the King to come was holy, and certain as the coming of the King was certain--a mission in which force was lawful if only because it was unavoidable. Should he, on the very threshold of such an errand, be afraid?

He undid the sash around his waist, and, baring his head and casting off his white Jewish gown, stood forth in an undertunic not unlike those of the enemy, and was ready, body and mind. Folding his arms, he placed his back against the pillar, and calmly waited.

The examination of the statue was brief. Directly the Northman turned, and said something in the unknown tongue; then both looked at Ben-Hur. A few more words, and they advanced towards him.

"Who are you?" he asked, in Latin.

The Northman fetched a smile which did not relieve his face of its brutalism, and answered,

"Barbarians."

"This is the palace of Idernee. Whom seek you? Stand and answer."

The words were spoken with earnestness. The strangers stopped; and in his turn the Northman asked, "Who are you?"

"A Roman."

The giant laid his head back upon his shoulders.

"Ha, ha, ha! I have heard how a god once came from a cow licking a salted stone; but not even a god can make a Roman of a Jew."

The laugh over, he spoke to his companion again, and they moved nearer.

"Hold!" said Ben-Hur, quitting the pillar. "One word."

They stopped again.

"A word!" replied the Saxon, folding his immense arms across his breast, and relaxing the menace beginning to blacken his face.

"A word! Speak."

"You are Thord the Northman."

The giant opened his blue eyes.

"You were lanista in Rome."

Thord nodded.

"I was your scholar."

"No," said Thord, shaking his head. "By the beard of Irmin, I had never a Jew to make a fighting-man of."

"But I will prove my saying."

"How?"

"You came here to kill me."

"That is true."

"Then let this man fight me singly, and I will make the proof on his body."

A gleam of humor shone in the Northman's face. He spoke to his companion, who made answer; then he replied with the naivete of a diverted child, "Wait till I say begin."

By repeated touches of his foot, he pushed a couch out on the floor, and proceeded leisurely to stretch his burly form upon it; when perfectly at ease, he said, simply, "Now begin."

Without ado, Ben-Hur walked to his antagonist.

"Defend thyself," he said.

The man, nothing loath, put up his hands.

As the two thus confronted each other in approved position, there was no discernible inequality between them; on the contrary, they were as like as brothers. To the stranger's confident smile, Ben-Hur opposed an earnestness which, had his skill been known, would have been accepted fair warning of danger. Both knew the combat was to be mortal.

Ben-Hur feinted with his right hand. The stranger warded, slightly advancing his left arm. Ere he could return to guard, Ben-Hur caught him by the wrist in a grip which years at the oar had made terrible as a vise. The surprise was complete, and no time given. To throw himself forward; to push the arm across the man's throat and over his right shoulder, and turn him left side front; to strike surely with the ready left hand; to strike the bare neck under the ear--were but petty divisions of the same act. No need of a second blow. The myrmidon fell heavily, and without a cry, and lay still.

Ben-Hur turned to Thord.

"Ha! What! By the beard of Irmin!" the latter cried, in astonishment, rising to a sitting posture. Then he laughed.

"Ha, ha, ha! I could not have done it better myself."

He viewed Ben-Hur coolly from head to foot, and, rising, faced him with undisguised admiration.

"It was my trick--the trick I have practised for ten years in the schools of Rome. You are not a Jew. Who are you?"

"You knew Arrius the duumvir."

"Quintus Arrius? Yes, he was my patron."

"He had a son."

"Yes," said Thord, his battered features lighting dully, "I knew the boy; he would have made a king gladiator. Caesar offered him his patronage. I taught him the very trick you played on this one here--a trick impossible except to a hand and arm like mine. It has
won me many a crown."

"I am that son of Arrius."

Thord drew nearer, and viewed him carefully; then his eyes brightened with genuine pleasure, and, laughing, he held out his hand.

"Ha, ha, ha! He told me I would find a Jew here--a Jew--a dog of a Jew--killing whom was serving the gods."

"Who told you so?" asked Ben-Hur, taking the hand.

"He--Messala--ha, ha, ha!"

"When, Thord?"

"Last night."

"I thought he was hurt."

"He will never walk again. On his bed he told me between groans."

A very vivid portrayal of hate in a few words; and Ben-Hur saw that the Roman, if he lived, would still be capable and dangerous, and follow him unrelentingly. Revenge remained to sweeten the ruined life; therefore the clinging to fortune lost in the wager
with Sanballat. Ben-Hur ran the ground over, with a distinct foresight of the many ways in which it would be possible for his enemy to interfere with him in the work he had undertaken for the King who was coming. Why not he resort to the Roman's methods?
The man hired to kill him could be hired to strike back. It was in his power to offer higher wages. The temptation was strong; and, half yielding, he chanced to look down at his late antagonist lying still, with white upturned face, so like himself. A light came to him, and he asked, "Thord, what was Messala to give you for killing me?"

"A thousand sestertii."

"You shall have them yet; and so you do now what I tell you, I will add three thousand more to the sum."

The giant reflected aloud,

"I won five thousand yesterday; from the Roman one--six. Give me four, good Arrius--four more--and I will stand firm for you, though old Thor, my namesake, strike me with his hammer. Make it four, and I will kill the lying patrician, if you say so. I have only to cover his mouth with my hand--thus."

He illustrated the process by clapping his hand over his own mouth.

"I see," said Ben-Hur; "ten thousand sestertii is a fortune. It will enable you to return to Rome, and open a wine-shop near the Great Circus, and live as becomes the first of the lanistae."

The very scars on the giant's face glowed afresh with the pleasure the picture gave him.

"I will make it four thousand," Ben-Hur continued; "and in what you shall do for the money there will be no blood on your hands, Thord. Hear me now. Did not your friend here look like me?"

"I would have said he was an apple from the same tree."

"Well, if I put on his tunic, and dress him in these clothes of mine, and you and I go away together, leaving him here, can you not get your sestertii from Messala all the same? You have only to make him believe it me that is dead."

Thord laughed till the tears ran into his mouth.

"Ha, ha, ha! Ten thousand sestertii were never won so easily. And a wine-shop by the Great Circus!--all for a lie without blood  in it! Ha, ha, ha! Give me thy hand, O son of Arrius. Get on now, and--ha, ha, ha!--if ever you come to Rome, fail not to ask for the
wine-shop of Thord the Northman. By the beard of Irmin, I will give you the best, though I borrow it from Caesar!"

They shook hands again; after which the exchange of clothes was effected. It was arranged then that a messenger should go at night to Thord's lodging-place with the four thousand sestertii. When they were done, the giant knocked at the front door; it opened to him; and, passing out of the atrium, he led Ben-Hur into a room adjoining, where the latter completed his attire from the coarse garments of the dead pugilist. They separated directly in the Omphalus.

"Fail not, O son of Arrius, fail not the wine-shop near the Great Circus! Ha, ha, ha! By the beard of Irmin, there was never fortune gained so cheap. The gods keep you!"

Upon leaving the atrium, Ben-Hur gave a last look at the myrmidon as he lay in the Jewish vestments, and was satisfied. The likeness was striking. If Thord kept faith, the cheat was a secret to endure forever.

* * * * * *

At night, in the house of Simonides, Ben-Hur told the good man all that had taken place in the palace of Idernee; and it was agreed that, after a few days, public inquiry should be set afloat for the discovery of the whereabouts of the son of Arrius. Eventually the
matter was to be carried boldly to Maxentius; then, if the mystery came not out, it was concluded that Messala and Gratus would be at rest and happy, and Ben-Hur free to betake himself to Jerusalem, to make search for his lost people.

At the leave-taking, Simonides sat in his chair out on the terrace overlooking the river, and gave his farewell and the peace of the Lord with the impressment of a father. Esther went with the young man to the head of the steps.

"If I find my mother, Esther, thou shalt go to her at Jerusalem, and be a sister to Tirzah."

And with the words he kissed her.

Was it only a kiss of peace?

He crossed the river next to the late quarters of Ilderim, where he found the Arab who was to serve him as guide. The horses were brought out.

"This one is thine," said the Arab.

Ben-Hur looked, and, lo! it was Aldebaran, the swiftest and brightest of the sons of Mira, and, next to Sirius, the beloved of the sheik; and he knew the old man's heart came to him along with the gift.

The corpse in the atrium was taken up and buried by night; and, as part of Messala's plan, a courier was sent off to Gratus to make him at rest by the announcement of Ben-Hur's death--this time past question.

Ere long a wine-shop was opened near the Circus Maximus, with inscription over the door:

THORD THE NORTHMAN.

(End of PART V) - to be continued


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