19 January 2014

posted 16 Jan 2014, 19:09 by C S Paul

19 January 2014

Quotes to Inspire

  • The purpose of our lives is to be happy. Dalai Lama
  • Every day there is only one thing to learn: how to be honestly happy. Sri Chinmoy
  • Cherish all your happy moments: they make a fine cushion for old age. -Christopher Morley
  • Experience praises the most happy, the one who made the most people happy. Karl Marx
  • Think of all the beauty still left around you, and be happy. Anne Frank
  • You are only ever unhappy, when you focus upon what you don't have. Patrick Combs
  • A happy person is not a person in a certain set of circumstances, but rather a person with a certain set of attitudes.Hugh Downs
  • The happiness of a man in this life does not consist in the absence but in the mastery of his passions. Alfred Lord Tennyson
  • Happiness in simplicity can be achieved with a flexible mindset and nine hours sleep each night.Dalai Lama
  • Happiness comes from good health and a bad memory. Ingrid Bergman
  • Unconditional acceptance of others is the key to happy relationships. Brian Tracy
  • I am still determined to be cheerful and happy, in whatever situation I may be; for I have also learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our dispositions, and not upon our circumstances.Martha Washington

Winds of Forgiveness
- Unknown -

Winds of Forgiveness Two friends were walking through the desert. During some point of the journey, they had an argument and one friend slapped the other one in the face. The one who got slapped was hurt, but without saying anything, wrote in the sand: “Today my best friend slapped me in the face.” They kept on walking, until they found an oasis, where they decided to take a bath. The one who had been slapped got stuck in the mire and started drowning, but the friend saved him. After he recovered from the near drowning, he wrote on a stone: “Today my best friend saved my life.”

Winds of Forgiveness The friend who had slapped and saved his best friend asked him, “After I hurt you, you wrote in the sand and now, you write on a stone, why?” The friend replied, when someone hurts us we should write it down in the sand, where the winds of forgiveness can erase it away. But, when someone does something good for us, we must engrave it in stone where no wind can ever erase it.”

Winds of Forgiveness Awesome! Without forgiveness, there is no future. We could add to the statement in several ways without changing its basic meaning:  Without forgiveness, there is no freedom. Without forgiveness, there is no recovery. Without forgiveness, there is no healing. This joy is as abundant, as rich and as unlimited as the Lord’s abundant forgiveness of us. It is my prayer that you would experience this forgiveness, practice this forgiveness and, in so doing, receive this joy.

A Box Full of Kisses
-- Author Unknown

The story goes that some time ago, a man punished his 3-year-old daughter for wasting a roll of gold wrapping paper. Money was tight, and he became infuriated when the child tried to decorate a box to put under the Christmas tree. Nevertheless, the little girl brought the gift to her father the next morning and said, "This is for you, Daddy."

The man was embarrassed by his earlier overreaction, but his anger flared again when he found out the box was empty. He yelled at her, stating, "Don't you know, when you give someone a present, there is supposed to be something inside? The little girl looked up at him with tears in her eyes and cried, "Oh, Daddy, it's not empty at all. I blew kisses into the box. They're all for you, Daddy."

The father was crushed. He put his arms around his little girl, and he begged for her forgiveness.

Only a short time later, an accident took the life of the child. It is also told that her father kept that gold box by his bed for many years and, whenever he was discouraged, he would take out an imaginary kiss and remember the love of the child who had put it there.

In a very real sense, each one of us, as humans beings, have been given a gold container filled with unconditional love and kisses... from our children, family members, friends, and God. There is simply no other possession, anyone could hold, more precious than this.

Nothing is more precious than the beauty of a child's perception. Please consider sharing this short story with loved ones. Thank

A Brother's Hands
-- Author Unknown
Back in the fifteenth century, in a tiny village near Nuremberg, lived a family with eighteen children. Eighteen! In order merely to keep food on the table for this mob, the father and head of the household, a goldsmith by profession, worked almost eighteen hours a day at his trade and any other paying chore he could find in the neighborhood. Despite their seemingly hopeless condition, two of Albrecht Durer the Elder's children had a dream. They both wanted to pursue their talent for art, but they knew full well that their father would never be financially able to send either of them to Nuremberg to study at the Academy.

After many long discussions at night in their crowded bed, the two boys finally worked out a pact. They would toss a coin. The loser would go down into the nearby mines and, with his earnings, support his brother while he attended the academy. Then, when that brother who won the toss completed his studies, in four years, he would support the other brother at the academy, either with sales of his artwork or, if necessary, also by laboring in the mines. They tossed a coin on a Sunday morning after church. Albrecht Durer won the toss and went off to Nuremberg.

Albert went down into the dangerous mines and, for the next four years, financed his brother, whose work at the academy was almost an immediate sensation. Albrecht's etchings, his woodcuts, and his oils were far better than those of most of his professors, and by the time he graduated, he was beginning to earn considerable fees for his commissioned works.

When the young artist returned to his village, the Durer family held a festive dinner on their lawn to celebrate Albrecht's triumphant homecoming. After a long and memorable meal, punctuated with music and laughter, Albrecht rose from his honored position at the head of the table to drink a toast to his beloved brother for the years of sacrifice that had enabled Albrecht to fulfill his ambition. His closing words were, "And now, Albert, blessed brother of mine, now it is your turn. Now you can go to Nuremberg to pursue your dream, and I will support you."

All heads turned in eager expectation to the far end of the table where Albert sat, tears streaming down his pale face, shaking his lowered head from side to side while he sobbed and repeated over and over, "No ... no ... no ... no."

Finally, Albert rose and wiped the tears from his cheeks. He glanced down the long table at the faces he loved, and then, holding his hands close to his right cheek, he said softly, "No, brother. I cannot go to Nuremberg. It is too late for me. Look ... look what four years in the mines have done to my hands! The bones in every finger have been smashed at least once, and lately I have been suffering from arthritis so badly in my right hand that I cannot even hold a glass to return your toast, much less make delicate lines on parchment or canvas with a pen or a brush. No, brother ... for me it is too late."

More than 450 years have passed. By now, Albrecht Durer's hundreds of masterful portraits, pen and silver-point sketches, watercolors, charcoals, woodcuts, and copper engravings hang in every great museum in the world, but the odds are great that you, like most people, are familiar with only one of Albrecht Durer's works. More than merely being familiar with it, you very well may have a reproduction hanging in your home or office.

One day, long ago, to pay homage to Albert for all that he had sacrificed, Albrecht Durer painstakingly drew his brother's abused hands with palms together, and thin fingers stretched skyward. He called his powerful drawing simply "Hands," but the entire world almost immediately opened their hearts to his great masterpiece and renamed his tribute of love "The Praying Hands."

A Foot Has No Nose
- by Ellen K. Kuzwayo

Of the many interactions I had with my mother those many years ago, one stands out with clarity. I remember the occasion when mother sent me to the main road, about twenty yards away from the homestead, to invite a passing group of seasonal work-seekers home for a meal. She instructed me to take a container along and collect dry cow dung for making a fire. I was then to prepare the meal for the group of work-seekers.

The thought of making an open fire outside at midday, cooking in a large three-legged pot in that intense heat, was sufficient to upset even an angel. I did not manage to conceal my feelings from my mother and, after serving the group, she called me to the veranda where she usually sat to attend to her sewing and knitting.

Looking straight into my eyes, she daid "Tsholofelo, why did you sulk when I requested you to prepare a meal for those poor destitute people?" Despite my attempt to deny her allegation, and using the heat of the fire and the sun as an excuse for my alleged behaviour, mother, giving me a firm look, said ""Lonao ga lo na nko" - "A foot has no nose". It means: you cannot detect what trouble may lie ahead of you.

Had I denied this group of people a meal, it may have happened that, in my travels some time in the future, I found myself at the mercy of those very individuals. As if that was not enough to shame me, mother continued: "Motho ke motho ka motho yo mongwe". The literal meaning: "A person is a person because of another person".

Did You Know ?
  • June 5, 1909: Indy stages its first race. As construction crews toil below, the racers soar high above the surface—in gas balloons. Fisher’s balloon race draws nine starters, including himself. The winner spends more than a day in the air, alighting 382 miles away, in Alabama.
  • 1911: Forty-six cars enter the first “500-mile Sweepstakes,” 44 show up, and 40 qualify. Qualifying consists of sustaining 75 mph for a quarter-mile down Indy’s front straight.
  • Paying $1 each for grandstand seats, 80,200 spectators turn out for the first 500.
  • Henry Ford is among the honorary judges for the 500-mile inaugural.
  • Of the 23 car makes represented in the inaugural 500, only ?three survive today: Buick, Fiat, and Mercedes.
  • Approximate 80,000 components come together to make an F1 car. The cars have to be assembled with cent per cent accuracy. If it were assembled 99.9% correctly, it would go on the track with 80 components wrongly placed.
  • F1 car engines complete their life in about two hours of racing. Just compare this with normal engines which go on serving us faithfully for decent 20 years.
  • An average person has over 1,460 dreams a year which is about 4 dreams every night!
  • On a clear night ,the human eye can see between 2000 to 3000 stars in the sky.
  • Do you know the similarity between human body and a banana? You will be amazed to know that 50% of human DNA is same as in banana!
  • The human body has enough iron in it to make 3 inches long nail.

Just For Laughs

Flying Sermons

The pastor's wife is often his best friend... or severest critic. Realizing that her pastor husband did not have a good feeling about the sermon he had just delivered a few moments earlier, she asked, "So Honey, how do you feel about the service today?"

"It was a good worship service," he responded in a somber tone, "the sermon just never got off the ground."

Before she could stop the words from coming out of her mouth, she replied, "well, it sure taxied long enough!" 

Acting Up In Church 

One Sunday in a Midwest City, a young child was "acting up" during the morning worship hour. The parents did their best to maintain some sense of order in the pew but were losing the battle. 
Finally, the father picked the little fellow up and walked sternly up the aisle on his way out. 
Just before reaching the safety of the foyer, the little one called loudly to the congregation, "Pray for me! Pray for me!"


by Lew Wallace

Part Eight

Biblical references: Matthew 27:48-51, Mark 11:9-11, 14:51-52, Luke 23:26-46, John 12:12-18, 18:2-19:30

During the next three years, Jesus preaches his gospel around Galilee, and Ben-Hur becomes one of his followers. He starts to believe that Balthasar may be right, when he sees that Jesus chooses fishermen, farmers and similar people, considered "lowly", as apostles. Judah believes Jesus to be wasting valuable time by not proclaiming himself king immediately. Yet, he has seen Jesus perform miracles, and is convinced that the Christ really had come.

During this time Malluch, armed with the Hur fortune, has bought the old Hur house and renovated it, restoring it to splendor. He then invites Simonides and Balthasar, with their daughters, to live in the house with him, and they become regular occupants of the house. Judah Ben-Hur seldom visits the house. The day before Jesus plans to enter Jerusalem and, finally proclaim himself, Judah returns and gives them a full account of what has happened through the years he has followed Jesus. When he tells of the healing of ten lepers, Amrah realizes that Judah's mother and sister could be healed, and the next morning, alone, hurries to the lepers' cave to tell them the good news. The three wait along a road, and amidst all the rejoicing and din during the Triumphal Entry, they ask Jesus to heal them, and their request is granted. When they are cured, Judah sees them and Amrah and the family are finally re-united.

Several days later, Iras talks with Judah, saying he has trusted in a false hope, for Jesus had not started the expected revolution. She says that it is all over between them, saying she loves Messala. Ben-Hur remembers the "invitation of Iras" that led to the incident with Thord, and accuses Iras of betraying him and spying on him for Messala's gain. That night, he realizes how different Balthasar and his daughter are, and resolves to go to Esther.

While he is lost in thought, he sees a parade marching down the street, and falls in with it, confused. He notices that Judas Iscariot is leading the parade, and many of the temple priests and Roman soldiers are all marching together. They go to the olive grove of Gethsemane, which confuses Ben-Hur even more, and he sees, ahead of him, Jesus walking out to meet them. Ben-Hur understands the betrayal, is spotted by a priest who tries to take him into custody; he breaks away and flees. When morning comes, Ben-Hur learns that the Jewish priests have tried Jesus before Pilate, and although he was originally ruled "not guilty", has nevertheless been sentenced to crucifixion at the crowd's demand. Ben-Hur is shocked at how his legions have all deserted him in his time of need. They head to Calvary, and Ben-Hur resigns himself to watch the crucifixion of Jesus. The sky darkens. Ben-Hur offers Jesus wine vinegar to return Jesus' favor to him. Jesus utters his last cry.

Ben-Hur and his friends commit their lives to Jesus, who they now realize is not the earthly king they had previously hoped for, but a heavenly king and a savior of mankind.


An hour or thereabouts after the scene upon the roof, Balthasar and Simonides, the latter attended by Esther, met in the great chamber of the palace; and while they were talking, Ben-Hur and Iras came in together.

The young Jew, advancing in front of his companion, walked first to Balthasar, and saluted him, and received his reply; then he turned to Simonides, but paused at sight of Esther.

It is not often we have hearts roomy enough for more than one of the absorbing passions at the same time; in its blaze the others may continue to live, but only as lesser lights. So with Ben-Hur, much study of possibilities, indulgence of hopes and dreams, influences born of the condition of his country, influences more direct--that of Iras, for example--had made him in the broadest worldly sense ambitious; and as he had given the passion place,
allowing it to become a rule, and finally an imperious governor, the resolves and impulses of former days faded imperceptibly out of being, and at last almost out of recollection. It is at best so easy to forget our youth; in his case it was but natural that his own sufferings and the mystery darkening the fate of his family should move him less and less as, in hope at least, he approached nearer and nearer the goals which occupied all his visions. Only let
us not judge him too harshly.

He paused in surprise at seeing Esther a woman now, and so beautiful; and as he stood looking at her a still voice reminded him of broken vows and duties undone: almost his old self returned.

For an instant he was startled; but recovering, he went to Esther, and said, "Peace to thee, sweet Esther--peace; and thou, Simonides"--he looked to the merchant as he spoke--"the blessing of the Lord be thine, if only because thou hast been a good father to the fatherless."

Esther heard him with downcast face; Simonides answered,

"I repeat the welcome of the good Balthasar, son of Hur--welcome to thy father's house; and sit, and tell us of thy travels, and of thy work, and of the wonderful Nazarene--who he is, and what. If thou art not at ease here, who shall be? Sit, I pray--there, between us, that we may all hear."

Esther stepped out quickly and brought a covered stool, and set it for him.

"Thanks," he said to her, gratefully.

When seated, after some other conversation, he addressed himself to the men.

"I have come to tell you of the Nazarene."

The two became instantly attentive.

"For many days now I have followed him with such watchfulness as one may give another upon whom he is waiting so anxiously. I have seen him under all circumstances said to be trials and tests of men; and while I am certain he is a man as I am, not less certain am I that he is something more."

"What more?" asked Simonides.

"I will tell you--"

Some one coming into the room interrupted him; he turned, and arose with extended hands.

"Amrah! Dear old Amrah!" he cried.

She came forward; and they, seeing the joy in her face, thought not once how wrinkled and tawny it was. She knelt at his feet, clasped his knees, and kissed his hands over and over; and when he could he put the lank gray hair from her cheeks, and kissed them, saying, "Good Amrah, have you nothing, nothing of them--not a word--not one little sign?"

Then she broke into sobbing which made him answer plainer even than the spoken word.

"God's will has been done," he next said, solemnly, in a tone to make each listener know he had no hope more of finding his people. In his eyes there were tears which he would not have them see, because he was a man.

When he could again, he took seat, and said, "Come, sit by me, Amrah--here. No? then at my feet; for I have much to say to these good friends of a wonderful man come into the world."

But she went off, and stooping with her back to the wall, joined her hands before her knees, content, they all thought, with seeing him. Then Ben-Hur, bowing to the old men, began again:

"I fear to answer the question asked me about the Nazarene without first telling you some of the things I have seen him do; and to that I am the more inclined, my friends, because to-morrow he will come to the city, and go up into the Temple, which he calls his father's house, where, it is further said, he will proclaim himself. So, whether you are right, O Balthasar, or you, Simonides, we and Israel shall know to-morrow."

Balthasar rubbed his hands tremulously together, and asked, "Where shall I go to see him?"

"The pressure of the crowd will be very great. Better, I think,that you all go upon the roof above the cloisters--say upon the Porch of Solomon."

"Can you be with us?"

"No," said Ben-Hur, "my friends will require me, perhaps, in the procession."

"Procession!" exclaimed Simonides. "Does he travel in state?"

Ben-Hur saw the argument in mind.

"He brings twelve men with him, fishermen, tillers of the soil, one a publican, all of the humbler class; and he and they make their journeys on foot, careless of wind, cold, rain, or sun.

Seeing them stop by the wayside at nightfall to break bread or lie down to sleep, I have been reminded of a party of shepherds going back to their flocks from market, not of nobles and kings. Only when he lifts the corners of his handkerchief to look at some one or shake the dust from his head, I am made known he is their teacher as well as their companion--their superior not less than their friend.

"You are shrewd men," Ben-Hur resumed, after a pause. "You know what creatures of certain master motives we are, and that it has become little less than a law of our nature to spend life in eager pursuit of certain objects; now, appealing to that law as something
by which we may know ourselves, what would you say of a man who could be rich by making gold of the stones under his feet, yet is poor of choice?"

"The Greeks would call him a philosopher," said Iras.

"Nay, daughter," said Balthasar, "the philosophers had never the power to do such thing."

"How know you this man has?"

Ben-Hur answered quickly, "I saw him turn water into wine."

"Very strange, very strange," said Simonides; "but it is not so strange to me as that he should prefer to live poor when he could be so rich. Is he so poor?"

"He owns nothing, and envies nobody his owning. He pities the rich. But passing that, what would you say to see a man multiply seven loaves and two fishes, all his store, into enough to feed five thousand people, and have full baskets over? That I saw the
Nazarene do."

"You saw it?" exclaimed Simonides.

"Ay, and ate of the bread and fish."

"More marvellous still," Ben-Hur continued, "what would you say of a man in whom there is such healing virtue that the sick have but to touch the hem of his garment to be cured, or cry to him afar?

That, too, I witnessed, not once, but many times. As we came out of Jericho two blind men by the wayside called to the Nazarene, and he touched their eyes, and they saw. So they brought a palsied man to him, and he said merely, 'Go unto thy house,' and the man
went away well. What say you to these things?"

The merchant had no answer.

"Think you now, as I have heard others argue, that what I have told you are tricks of jugglery? Let me answer by recalling greater things which I have seen him do. Look first to that curse of God--comfortless, as you all know, except by death--leprosy."

At these words Amrah dropped her hands to the floor, and in her eagerness to hear him half arose.

"What would you say," said Ben-Hur, with increased earnestness--"what would you say to have seen that I now tell you? A leper came to the Nazarene while I was with him down in Galilee, and said, 'Lord, if thou wilt, thou can make me clean.' He heard the cry, and touched the outcast with his hand, saying, 'Be thou clean;' and forthwith the man was himself again, healthful as any of us who beheld the cure, and we were a multitude."

Here Amrah arose, and with her gaunt fingers held the wiry locks from her eyes. The brain of the poor creature had long since gone to heart, and she was troubled to follow the speech.

"Then, again," said Ben-Hur, without stop, "ten lepers came to him one day in a body, and falling at his feet, called out--I saw and heard it all--called out, 'Master, Master, have mercy upon us!' He told them, 'Go, show yourselves to the priest, as the law requires; and before you are come there ye shall be healed.'"

"And were they?"

"Yes. On the road going their infirmity left them, so that there was nothing to remind us of it except their polluted clothes."

"Such thing was never heard before--never in all Israel!" said Simonides, in undertone.

And then, while he was speaking, Amrah turned away, and walked noiselessly to the door, and went out; and none of the company saw her go.

"The thoughts stirred by such things done under my eyes I leave you to imagine," said Ben-Hur, continuing; "but my doubts, my misgivings, my amazement, were not yet at the full. The people of Galilee are, as you know, impetuous and rash; after years of waiting their swords burned their hands; nothing would do them but action. 'He is slow to declare himself; let us force him,' they cried to me. And I too became impatient. If he is to be king, why not now? The legions are ready. So as he was once teaching by the seaside we would have crowned him whether or not; but he disappeared, and was next seen on a ship departing from the shore. Good Simonides, the desires that make other men mad--riches, power, even kingships offered out of great love by a great people--move this one not at all. 

What say you?"

The merchant's chin was low upon his breast; raising his head, he replied, resolutely, "The Lord liveth, and so do the words of the prophets. Time is in the green yet; let to-morrow answer."

"Be it so," said Balthasar, smiling.

And Ben-Hur said, "Be it so." Then he went on: "But I have not yet done. From these things, not too great to be above suspicion by such as did not see them in performance as I did, let me carry you now to others infinitely greater, acknowledged since the world began to be past the power of man. Tell me, has any one to your knowledge ever reached out and taken from Death what Death has made his own? Who ever gave again the breath of a life lost? Who but--"

"God!" said Balthasar, reverently.

Ben-Hur bowed.

"O wise Egyptian! I may not refuse the name you lend me. What would you--or you, Simonides--what would you either or both have said had you seen as I did, a man, with few words and no ceremony, without effort more than a mother's when she speaks to wake her child asleep, undo the work of Death? It was down at Nain. We were about going into the gate, when a company came out bearing a dead man. The Nazarene stopped to let the train pass. There was a woman among them crying. I saw his face soften with pity. He spoke to her, then went and touched the bier, and said to him who lay upon it dressed for burial, 'Young man, I say unto thee, Arise!' And instantly the dead sat up and talked."

"God only is so great," said Balthasar to Simonides.

"Mark you," Ben-Hur proceeded, "I do but tell you things of which I was a witness, together with a cloud of other men. On the way hither I saw another act still more mighty. In Bethany there was a man named Lazarus, who died and was buried; and after he had
lain four days in a tomb, shut in by a great stone, the Nazarene was shown to the place. Upon rolling the stone away, we beheld the man lying inside bound and rotting. There were many people standing by, and we all heard what the Nazarene said, for he spoke in a loud voice: 'Lazarus, come forth!' I cannot tell you my feelings when in answer, as it were, the man arose and came out to us with all his cerements about him. 'Loose him,' said the
Nazarene next, 'loose him, and let him go.' And when the napkin was taken from the face of the resurrected, lo, my friends! the blood ran anew through the wasted body, and he was exactly as he had been in life before the sickness that took him off. He lives yet, and is hourly seen and spoken to. You may go see him to-morrow. And now, as nothing more is needed for the purpose, I ask you that which I came to ask, it being but a repetition of what you asked me, O Simonides, What more than a man is this Nazarene?"

The question was put solemnly, and long after midnight the company sat and debated it; Simonides being yet unwilling to give up his understanding of the sayings of the prophets, and Ben-Hur contending that the elder disputants were both right--that the Nazarene was
the Redeemer, as claimed by Balthasar, and also the destined king the merchant would have.

"To-morrow we will see. Peace to you all."

So saying, Ben-Hur took his leave, intending to return to Bethany.

to be continued