16 September, 2012

posted 13 Sep 2012, 07:39 by C S Paul   [ updated 13 Sep 2012, 07:41 ]

16 September, 2012

Hill of Crosses - Lithuania

Hill of Crosses, Lithuania
 Billy D. Strayhorn, At Cross Purposes:

Source -malankaraworld

The people of Lithuania take cross bearing a little more seriously than we do. For them the cross symbolizes faith, hope and love. There are crosses everywhere in the countryside, on roads, in city parks and village squares. Communities and individuals erect crosses to bring them health and to commemorate events like weddings, births and christenings. 

Crosses are also erected to commemorate historical events. One of these is the Baltic Way, in which millions of people linked hands stretching across the Baltics from Estonia to Lithuania on August 25, 1989. About 9 monuments commemorate this extraordinary event.

The nation's pride is the Hill of Crosses, located north of Siauliai. Lithuanians erected crosses there as early as the mid-19th century. 

The Soviet government couldn't tolerate that kind of spiritual expression, so they totally destroyed the hill in 1961, then again in 1973 and 1975. But people kept erecting more crosses, until in 1980 their destruction stopped. 

Today there are over 100,000 crosses there. They are different sizes and shapes, some simple, some ornate, but they immortalize Lithuania's troubles, misfortunes, joys, hope and faith.

For them, the cross is more than a symbol in the church. It is symbol for the world to see. A symbol that will not go away. It is a symbol of sacrifice. A sacrifice that gives each and every one of us hope and faith and courage.

When You Worry

Provided by Free Christian Content.org 

You've been on my mind and heart. I see you struggling and planning, worrying and sweating, crying and running, at a furious pace. You're trying to move that mountain by yourself again, huh?

God asks that we cast all our cares on Him because He cares. Think about what your worrying says to God when you refuse to give things over to Him.

When you worry about money - you're telling Him that He is unable to provide for His children... that although He has riches beyond belief in Heaven, He is too stingy to share them with you.

When you worry that no one understands you, - you're telling Him that although He has been with you since before you were formed in the womb, and has carved you into the palm of His hand, He doesn't know you.

When you worry that you will not have enough food - you're telling Him that although He rained down bread from Heaven in the desert to feed His children, you are the one He's forgotten.

When you worry that your enemies will have victory over you - you're telling God that although He has given you spiritual battle gear to defend yourself, that despite His track record of being a giant slayer, Red Sea divider, lion mouth closer and a furnace cooler, He can't handle your co-worker, your neighbor or a former friend.

When you worry that your children have decided to follow the world instead of your example - you're telling God that He doesn't keep His promises....That despite the fact that you have raised them up in the way they should go, they'll stray because basically, He lied.

When you worry because the doctors told you that children are impossible, that a cure is impossible, that healing is impossible - you're telling Him that this world controls your fate. You're saying that prayer time with Him is nearly something to pass the time. You're saying that although He can raise the dead, make a virgin conceive, open the womb of a woman well past eighty, heal a 12 year issue of blood, make the blind see and the lame walk, He can't help you.

When you worry that you won't be able to do enough to earn forgiveness - you're telling Him "that's ok Lord, no need for Your Son to die, I can earn my own forgiveness." Let's just act like Jesus never died, and tell Him never mind, that He doesn't need to go to the cross.

When you worry that no one will love you, that you'll be lonely for the rest of your life - you're telling Him that His love is insufficient... that He couldn't possibly love you enough to ward away loneliness. You're saying that although He has promised life more abundantly, He was lying... that despite the fact that He started off saying that it is not good that we be alone, He's changed His mind.

When you worry and refuse to give the problem over to Him - you're telling Him that although He could create the world, He can't handle what's going on in your world, so you will. You are saying that He won't work things out, that obstacles cannot be overcome, that mountains can't be climbed, that healing cannot occur, that what is lost will not be found, that joy does not come in the morning, that He is not the God of a second chance, that the promised land has been swallowed up by the desert, that you have discovered the height, depth and width of His love and found it to fall short of your needs.

Think about all that you're saying to the one who loves you the most and who has all power, really think about it. Then open you hands and release what you've been holding onto. Bow down on your knees and ask Him to forgive you for doubting Him. Walk away with a peaceful heart and note the footsteps that go before you to make the crooked places straight, a way in the wilderness, and later springing forth in the desert.


"Standing in a stream with waters around your ankles.
The waters that pass by you at that moment, you will never see again.
So it is with the misery that has challenged your life... let it go, let it pass away." 


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.

Chapter I

The month to which we now come is July, the year that of our Lord 29, and the place Antioch, then Queen of the East, and next to Rome the strongest, if not the most populous, city in the world.

There is an opinion that the extravagance and dissoluteness of the age had their origin in Rome, and spread thence throughoutthe empire; that the great cities but reflected the manners of their mistress on the Tiber. This may be doubted. The reaction of the conquest would seem to have been upon the morals of the
conqueror. In Greece she found a spring of corruption; so also in Egypt; and the student, having exhausted the subject, will close the books assured that the flow of the demoralizing river was from the East westwardly, and that this very city of Antioch, one of the oldest seats of Assyrian power and splendor, was a principal source of the deadly stream.

A transport galley entered the mouth of the river Orontes from the blue waters of the sea. It was in the forenoon. The heat was great, yet all on board who could avail themselves of the privilege were on deck--Ben-Hur among others.

The five years had brought the young Jew to perfect manhood. Though the robe of white linen in which he was attired somewhat masked his form, his appearance was unusually attractive. For an hour and more he had occupied a seat in the shade of the sail, and in that time several fellow-passengers of his own nationality had tried to engage him in conversation, but without avail. His replies to their questions had been brief, though gravely courteous, and in the Latin tongue.

The purity of his speech, his cultivated manners, his reticence, served to stimulate their curiosity the more. Such as observed him closely were struck by an incongruity between his demeanor, which had the ease and grace of a patrician, and certain points of his person. Thus his arms were disproportionately long; and when, to steady himself against the motion of the vessel, he took hold of anything near by, the size of his hands and their evident power compelled remark; so the wonder who and what he was mixed continually with a wish to know the particulars of his life.

In other words, his air cannot be better described than as a notice--This man has a story to tell.

The galley, in coming, had stopped at one of the ports of Cyprus,and picked up a Hebrew of most respectable appearance, quiet, reserved, paternal. Ben-Hur ventured to ask him some questions; the replies won his confidence, and resulted finally in an extended conversation.

It chanced also that as the galley from Cyprus entered the receiving bay of the Orontes, two other vessels which had been sighted out in the sea met it and passed into the river at the same time; and as they did so both the strangers threw out small flags of brightest yellow. There was much conjecture as to the meaning of the signals.

At length a passenger addressed himself to the respectable Hebrewfor information upon the subject.

to be continued

A Valentine Story

John Blanchard stood up from the bench, straightened his Army uniform, and studied the crowd of people making their way through Grand Central Station. He looked for the girl whose heart he knew, but whose face he didn't, the
girl with the rose. 

His interest in her had begun thirteen months before in a Florida library. Taking a book off the shelf he found himself intrigued, not with the words of the book, butwith the notes penciled in the margin. The soft handwriting reflected a thoughtful soul and insightful mind. In the front of the book, he discovered the previous owner's name, Miss Hollis Maynell. With time and effort he located her address. She lived in New York City. He wrote her a letter introducing himself and inviting her to correspond.

The next day he was shipped overseas for service in World War II. During the next year and one month the two grew to know each other through the mail. Each letter was a seed falling on a fertile heart. A romance was budding. Blanchard requested a photograph, but she refused. She felt that if he really cared, it wouldn't matter what she looked like. 
When the day finally came for him to return from Europe, they scheduled their first meeting - 7:00 PM at the Grand Central Station in New York. "You'll recognize me," she wrote, "by the red rose I'll be wearing on my lapel." So at 7:00 he was in the station looking for a girl whose heart he loved, but whose face he'd never seen.

I'll let Mr. Blanchard tell you what happened:

A young woman was coming toward me, her figure long and slim. Her blonde hair lay back in curls from her delicate ears; her eyes were blue as flowers. Her lips and chin had a gentle firmness, and in her pale green suit she was like springtime come alive. I started toward her, entirely forgetting to notice that she was not wearing a rose. 

As I moved, a small, provocative smile curved her lips. "Going my way, sailor?" she murmured. Almost uncontrollably I made one step closer to her, and then I saw Hollis Maynell. She was standing almost directly behind the girl. A woman well past 40, she had graying hair tucked under a worn hat. She was more than plump, her thick-ankled feet thrust into low-heeled shoes. The girl in the green suit was walking quickly away. I felt as though I was split in two, so keen was my desire to follow her, and yet so deep was my longing for the woman whose spirit had truly companioned me and upheld my own. 

And there she stood. Her pale, plump face was gentle and sensible, her gray eyes had a warm and kindly twinkle. I did not hesitate. My fingers gripped the small worn blue leather copy of the book that was to identify me to her. This would not be love, but it would be something precious, something perhaps even better than love, a friendship for which I had been and must ever be, grateful. I squared my shoulders and saluted and held out the book to the woman, even though while I spoke I felt choked by the bitterness of my disappointment. 

"I'm Lieutenant John Blanchard,and you must be Miss Maynell. I am so glad you could meet me; may I take you to dinner?" 

The woman's face broadened into a tolerant smile. "I don't know what this is about, son," she answered, "but the young lady in the green suit who just went by, she begged me to wear this rose on my coat. And she said if you were to ask me out to dinner, I should go and tell you that she is waiting for you in the big restaurant across the street. She said it was some kind of test!"

It's not difficult to understand and admire Miss Maynell's wisdom. The true nature of a heart is seen in its response to the unattractive. "Tell me whom you love," Houssaye wrote, "And I will tell you who you are."nd I will tell you who you are."

Power of Positive Thinking

 by Norman Vincent Peale

Chapter 8 continued

I played golf with a man who was not only an excellent golfer but a philosopher as well. As we went around the golf course the game itself drew out of him certain gems of wisdom for one of which I shall ever be grateful.

I hit a ball into the rough, into some high grass. When we came up to my ball I said in some dismay, "Now just look at that. I certainly am in the rough. I have a bad lie. It is going to be tough getting out of here."

My friend grinned and said, "Didn't I read something about positive thinking in your books?"
Sheepishly I acknowledged that such was the case.

"I wouldn't think negatively about that lie of yours," he said "Do you think you could get a good hit if this ball were lying out on the fairway on the short grass?"
I said I thought so.

"Well," he continued, "why do you think you could do better out there than here?"

"Because," I replied, "the grass is cut short on the fairway and the ball can get away better."

Then he did a curious thing. "Let's get down on our hands and knees," he suggested, "and examine the situation. Let's see just how this ball does lie."

So we got down on our hands and knees, and he said, "Observe that the relative height of the ball here is about the same as it would be on the fairway, the only difference being that you have about five or six inches of grass above the ball."

Then he did an even more whimsical thing. "Notice the quality and character of this grass," he said. He pulled off a blade and handed it to me. "Chew it," he said. 
I chewed, and he asked, "Isn't that tender?"

"Why, yes," I replied. "It certainly does seem to be tender grass."

"Well," he continued, "an easy swing of your number-five iron will cut through that grass almost like a knife." And then he gave me this sentence which I am going to remember as long as I live, and I hope you will also.

"The rough is only mental. In other words," he continued, "it is rough because you think it is. In your mind you have decided that here is an obstacle which will cause you difficulty. The power to overcome this obstacle is in your mind. If you visualize yourself lifting that ball out of the rough, believing you can do it, your mind will transfer flexibility, rhythm, and power to your muscles and you will handle that club in such a manner that the ball will rise right out of there in a beautiful shot.

All you need to do is to keep your eye on that ball and tell yourself that you are going to lift it out of that grass with a lovely stroke. Let the stiffness and tension go out of you. Hit it with exhilaration and power. 

Remember, the rough is only mental."

To this day I remember the thrill, the sense of power and delight I had in the clean shot that dropped the ball to the edge of the green.

That is a very great fact to remember in connection with difficult problems—"the rough is only mental."

Your obstacles are present all right. They are not fanciful, but they are not actually so difficult as they seem. Your mental attitude is the most important factor. Believe that Almighty God has put in you the power to lift yourself out of the rough by keeping your eye firmly fixed on the source of
your power. Affirm to yourself that through this power you can do anything you have to do. Believe that this power is taking the tension out of you, that this power is flowing through you. Believe this, and a sense of victory will come.

Now take another look at that obstacle that has been bothering you. You will find that it isn't so formidable as you thought. Say to yourself, "The rough is only mental. I think victory—I get victory." Remember that formula. Write it on a piece of paper, put it in your wallet, stick it up on your
mirror where you shave each morning, put it over the kitchen sink, put it on your dressing table and on your desk—keep looking at it until its truth drives into the depths of your consciousness, until it permeates your whole mental attitude, until it becomes a positive obsession—"I can do all things
through Christ which strengtheneth me."

What may seem to be a difficult proposition is, as I have pointed out, hard or easy in proportion to how we think about it. It may be said that three men vitally affected the thought processes of Americans—Emerson, Thoreau, and William James. Analyze the American mind even to this late date and it is evident that the teachings of these three philosophers combined to create that particular genius of the American who is not defeated by obstacles and who accomplishes
"impossibles" with amazing efficiency.

to be continued

Did you Know ?

  • A gallon of gasoline produces 8.8 kg of CO2.
  • The first Ford cars had Dodge engines.
  • About a quarter of the world still drives on the left, and the countries that do are mostly old British colonies.
  • The Ilyushin-76TD is the world’s largest waterbomber.
  • The pilot with the most flying hours is American John Edward Long. From May 1933 to April 1977 he flew 62 654 hours, achieving a total of more than 7 years airborne.
  • There are about a billion bicycles in the world, twice as many as motorcars.
  • In 1955, the Ford Thunderbird outsold the Chev Corvette 24 to one.
  • The 16th century Escorial palace of King Phillip II of Spain had 1,200 doors.
  • The world’s first travel agencies were Cox & Kings, founded in 1758, and Thomas Cook, founded in 1850.
  • A dog was the first in space and a sheep, a duck and a rooster the first to fly in a hot air balloon.
  • Music was sent down a telephone line for the first time in 1876, the year the phone was invented.

Just for Laughs 

A Rude Awakening

The story is told of a Pastor who was frustrated because of one man who always seemed to fall asleep during the sermon. So the Pastor devised a trick, a way he thought he could embarrass the man so as to get him to break this habit. Near the end of a sermon concerning "hell", the Pastor, in a normal voice, said to the congregation, "Any one here today who wants to go to hell"... then he raised his voice to a much louder volume... "PLEASE STAND UP!"

Of course this woke up the sleeping parishioner who quickly jumped to his feet. After collecting himself for a moment, the man then looked at the Pastor and said, "Preacher, I don't know why I'm standing, but it appears that you and I are both in this boat together."