1 July 2012

posted 27 Jun 2012, 23:58 by C S Paul   [ updated 30 Jun 2012, 09:17 ]

1 July 2012


An elderly carpenter was ready to retire. He told his employer/contractor of his plans to leave the house building business and live a more leisurely life with his wife enjoying his extended family. He would miss the paycheck, but he needed to retire. They could get by.

The contractor was sorry to see his good worker go and asked if he could build just one more house as a personal favor. The carpenter said yes, but in time it was easy to see that his heart was not in his work. He resorted to shoddy workmanship and used inferior materials. It was an unfortunate  way to end his career.

When the carpenter finished his work and the builder came to inspect the house, the contractor handed the front-door key to the carpenter. "This is your house," he said, "my gift to you."

What a shock! What a shame! If he had only known he was building his own house, he would have done it all so differently. Now he had to live in the home he had built none too well.

So it is with us. We build our lives in a distracted way, reacting rather than acting, willing to put up less than the best. At important points we do not give the job our best effort. Then with a shock we look at the situation we have created and find that we are now living in the house we have built. If we had realized, we would have done it differently.

Think of yourself as the carpenter. Think about your house. Each day you hammer a nail, place a board, or erect a wall. Build wisely. It is the only life you will ever build. Even if you live it for only one day more, that day deserves to be lived graciously and with dignity. The plaque on the wall says, "Life is a do-it-yourself project."

Who could say it more clearly? Your life today is the result of your attitudes and choices in the past. Your life tomorrow will be the result of your attitudes and the choices you make today.


by Lew Wallace

Part Three

In Italy, Greek pirate-ships have been looting Roman vessels in the Aegean Sea. The prefect Sejanus orders the Roman Quintus Arrius to take warships to combat the pirates. 

Judah is a galley slave rowing chained on one of the Roman warships. He had survived three hard years, fueled by his passion for vengeance. Arrius is impressed by Judah and finds out more about his life and his story. 

The ship is attacked by pirates and the ship is sunk. Judah uses a plank as a raft. Arrius surfaces besides him and the two of them hold on until a Roman ship appears and rescues them. They return to Misenum and Judah is adopted by the influential Arrius, becoming a Roman citizen.

Part three - 

The bench of number sixty was slightly above the level of the platform, and but a few feet away. The light glinting through the grating over his head gave the rower fairly to the tribune's
view--erect, and, like all his fellows, naked, except a cincture about the loins. There were, however, some points in his favor.

He was very young, not more than twenty. Furthermore, Arrius was not merely given to dice; he was a connoisseur of men physically, and when ashore indulged a habit of visiting the gymnasia to see and admire the most famous athletae. From some professor, doubtless,
he had caught the idea that strength was as much of the quality as the quantity of the muscle, while superiority in performance required a certain mind as well as strength. Having adopted the doctrine, like most men with a hobby, he was always looking for illustrations to support it.

The reader may well believe that while the tribune, in the search for the perfect, was often called upon to stop and study, he was seldom perfectly satisfied--in fact, very seldom held as long as on this occasion.

In the beginning of each movement of the oar, the rower's body and face were brought into profile view from the platform; the movement ended with the body reversed, and in a pushing posture. The grace and ease of the action at first suggested a doubt of the honesty of the effort put forth; but it was speedily dismissed; the firmness with which the oar was held while in the reach forward, its bending under the push, were proofs of the force applied; not that only,
they as certainly proved the rower's art, and put the critic in the great arm-chair in search of the combination of strength and cleverness which was the central idea of his theory.

In course of the study, Arrius observed the subject's youth; wholly unconscious of tenderness on that account, he also observed that he seemed of good height, and that his limbs, upper and nether, were singularly perfect. The arms, perhaps, were too long, but the objection was well hidden under a mass of muscle, which, in some movements, swelled and knotted like kinking cords. Every rib in the round body was discernible; yet the leanness was the healthful
reduction so strained after in the palaestrae. And altogether there was in the rower's action a certain harmony which, besides addressing itself to the tribune's theory, stimulated both his curiosity and general interest.

Very soon he found himself waiting to catch a view of the man's face in full. The head was shapely, and balanced upon a neck broad at the base, but of exceeding pliancy and grace. The features in profile were of Oriental outline, and of that delicacy of expression which has always been thought a sign of blood and sensitive spirit. With these observations, the tribune's interest in the subject deepened.

"By the gods," he said to himself, "the fellow impresses me! He promises well. I will know more of him."

Directly the tribune caught the view he wished--the rower turned and looked at him.

"A Jew! and a boy!"

Under the gaze then fixed steadily upon him, the large eyes of the slave grew larger--the blood surged to his very brows--the blade lingered in his hands. But instantly, with an angry crash, down fell the gavel of the hortator. The rower started, withdrew his face from the inquisitor, and, as if personally chidden, dropped the oar half feathered. When he glanced again at the tribune, he was vastly more astonished--he was met with a kindly smile.

Meantime the galley entered the Straits of Messina, and, skimming past the city of that name, was after a while turned eastward, leaving the cloud over AEtna in the sky astern.

Often as Arrius resumed to his platform in the cabin he returned to study the rower, and he kept saying to himself, "The fellow hath a spirit. A Jew is not a barbarian. I will know more of him."

to be continued

Bobby's Gift

Bobby was getting cold sitting out in his back yard in the snow. Bobby didn't wear boots; he didn't like them and anyway he didn't own any. The thin sneakers he wore had a few holes in them and they did a poor job of keeping out the cold. 

Bobby had been in his backyard for about an hour already. And, try as he might, he could not come up with an idea for his mother's Christmas gift. He shook his head as he thought, "This is useless, even if I do come up with an idea, I don't have any money to spend. 

Ever since his father had passed away three years ago, the family of five had struggled. It wasn't because his mother didn't care, or try, there just never seemed to be enough. She worked nights at the hospital, but the small wage that she was earning could only be stretched so far. 

What the family lacked in money and material things, they more than made up for in love and family unity. Bobby had two older and one younger sister, who ran the household in their mother's absence. 

All three of his sisters had already made beautiful gifts for their mother. Somehow it just wasn't fair. Here it was Christmas Eve already, and he had nothing. 

Wiping a tear from his eye, Bobby kicked the snow and started to walk down to the street where the shops and stores were. It wasn't easy being six without a father, especially when he needed a man to talk to. 

Bobby walked from shop to shop, looking into each decorated window. Everything seemed so beautiful and so out of reach. It was starting to get dark and Bobby reluctantly turned to walk home when suddenly his eyes caught the glimmer of the setting sun's rays reflecting off of 
something along the curb. He reached down and discovered a shiny dime. 

Never before has anyone felt so wealthy as Bobby felt at that moment.As he held his new found treasure, a warmth spread throughout his entire body and he walked into the first store he saw. His excitement quickly turned cold when salesperson after salesperson told him that he could not buy anything with only a dime. 

He saw a flower shop and went inside to wait in line. When the shop owner asked if he could help him, Bobby presented the dime and asked if he could buy one flower for his mother's Christmas gift. The shop owner looked at Bobby and his ten cent offering. Then he put his hand on Bobby's shoulder and said to him, "You just wait here and I'll see what I can do for you." 

As Bobby waited, he looked at the beautiful flowers and even though he was a boy, he could see why mothers and girls liked flowers. 

The sound of the door closing as the last customer left, jolted Bobby back to reality. All alone in the shop, Bobby began to feel alone and afraid. 

Suddenly the shop owner came out and moved to the counter. There, before Bobby's eyes, lay twelve long stem, red roses, with leaves of green and tiny white flowers all tied together with a big silver bow. Bobby's heart sank as the owner picked them up and placed them gently into a long white box. 

"That will be ten cents young man," the shop owner said reaching out his hand for the dime. Slowly, Bobby moved his hand to give the man his dime. Could this be true? No one else would give him a thing for his dime! Sensing the boy's reluctance, the shop owner added, "I just happened to have some roses on sale for ten cents a dozen. Would you like them?" 

This time Bobby did not hesitate, and when the man placed the long box into his hands, he knew it was true. Walking out the door that the owner was holding for Bobby, he heard the shop keeper say, "Merry Christmas, son." 

As he returned inside, the shop keepers wife walked out. "Who were you talking to back there and where are the roses you were fixing?" Staring out the window, and blinking the tears from his own eyes, he replied, "A strange thing happened to me this morning. While I was setting up things to open the shop, I thought I heard a voice telling me to set aside a dozen of my best roses for a special gift. I wasn't sure at the time whether I had lost my mind or what, but I set them aside anyway. Then just a few minutes ago, a little boy came into the shop and wanted to buy a flower for his mother with one small dime. 

When I looked at him, I saw myself, many years ago. I too was a poor boy with nothing to buy my mother a Christmas gift. A bearded man, whom I never knew, stopped me on the street and told me that he wanted to give me ten dollars. 

When I saw that little boy tonight, I knew who that voice was, and I put together a dozen of my very best roses." 

The shop owner and his wife hugged each other tightly, and as they stepped out into the bitter cold air, they somehow didn't feel cold at all. 

 Did You know ?

  • The British, the highest per capita spenders on music, buy 7,2% of the world music market.
  • Sports command the biggest television audiences, led by the summer Olympics, World Cup Football and Formula One racing.
  • Gymnasiums were introduced in 900BC and Greek athletes practiced in the nude to the accompaniment of music. They also performed naked at the Olympic Games.
  • The very first Olympic race, held in 776 BC, was won by Corubus, a chef.
  • You’ll drink about 75,000 litres (20,000 gallons) of water in your lifetime.
  • After a certain period of growth, hair becomes dormant. That means that it is attached to the hair follicle until replaced 
    by new hair.
  • Hair on the head grows for between two and six years before being replaced. In the case of baldness, the dormant hair was not replaced with new hair.
  • Men loose about 40 hairs a day. Women loose about 70 hairs a day.
Power of Positive Thinking

 by Norman Vincent Peale

Chapter 7 continued

It so happened that a preacher named Schlater was popular in 
that neighborhood at that time. He claimed to be a faith 
healer and apparently was getting some astounding results.
Throngs crowded to hear him and most everybody had 
confidence in him. Perhaps the fact that they did believe in 
his power enabled Schlater to achieve results.

O'Reilly asked each player to lend him his two best bats. 
Then he asked the members of the team to stay in the 
clubhouse until he returned. He put the bats in a 
wheelbarrow and went off with them. He was gone for an 
hour. He returned jubilantly to tell the players that Schlater,
the preacher, had blessed the bats and that these bats now 
contained a power that could not be overcome. The players 
were astounded and delighted.

The next day they overwhelmed Dallas, getting 37 base hits 
and 20 runs. They hammered their way through the league to 
a championship, and Hugh Fullerton said that for years in the
Southwest a player would pay a large sum for a "Schlater 

Regardless of Schlater's personal power, the fact remains that 
something tremendous happened in the minds of those 
ballplayers. Their thought pattern was changed. They began
thinking in terms of expectation, not doubt. They expected 
not the worst, but the best. They expected hits, runs, 
victories, and they got them. They had the power to get what 
they wanted. There was no difference in the bats themselves, 
I am quite sure of that, but there was certainly a difference in 
the minds of the men who used them. Now they knew they 
could make hits. Now they knew they could get runs. Now 
they knew they could win. A new thought pattern changed 
the minds of those men so that the creative power of faith 
could operate.

Perhaps you have not been doing so well in the game of life. 
Perhaps you stand up to bat and cannot make a hit. You 
strike out time and again and your batting average is 
lamentably low. Let me give you a suggestion. I guarantee 
that it will work. The basis for my assurance is the fact that 
thousands of people have been trying it with very great 
results. Things will be very different for you if you give this 
method a real trial.

Start reading the New Testament and notice the number of 
times it refers to faith. Select a dozen of the strongest 
statements about faith, the ones that you like the best. Then 
memorize each one. Let these faith concepts drop into your 
conscious mind. Say them over and over again, especially 
just before going to sleep at night. By a process of spiritual 
osmosis they will sink from your conscious into your 
subconscious mind and in time will modify and reslant your
basic thought pattern. This process will change you into a 
believer, into an expecter, and when you become such, you 
will in due course become an achiever. You will have new 
power to get what God and you decide you really want from 

The most powerful force in human nature is the spiritual-
power technique taught in the Bible. Very astutely the Bible 
emphasizes the method by which a person can make 
something of himself. Faith, belief, positive thinking, faith in 
God, faith in other people, faith in yourself, faith in life. This 
is the essence of the technique that teaches. "If thou canst 
believe," it says, "all things are possible to him that 
believeth." (Mark 9:23) "If ye have faith... nothing shall be
impossible unto you." (Matthew 17:20) "According to your 
faith be it unto you." (Matthew 9:29) Believe—believe—so 
it drives home the truth that faith moves mountains.

Some skeptical person who has never learned this powerful 
law of the effect of right thinking may doubt my assertions 
regarding the amazing results which happen when this 
technique is employed.

to be continued

Just for laughs

No Marriage

What's It Like In Heaven? 

A true story, from a church I attended ...

The preacher had done a "Children's sermon". You know the kind of thing - where the children are fascinated and the parents relax and learn as well. The subject was "What's it like in Heaven?" and the kids came up with a marvellous array of suggestions ... no crying, no pain, lots of food, lots of friends, etc.

When the kids dried up, the parents were asked for their contributions.

"No marriage!" came from a tired male voice. (The Church erupted). 

Laughing Prayer

A father was waiting nearby while his young son prayed silently before going to bed. Suddenly the boy burst out laughing. 

"Reggie!" scolded his father, "Why are you laughing during prayer?" 

"But Dad," the boy answered, "you told me that prayer is talking to God as to a friend, and I just told him a joke." 

Puppies for Sale

A store owner was tacking a sign above his door that read "Puppies For Sale." 

Signs like that have a way of attracting small children, and sure enough, a little boy appeared under the store owner's sign. "How much are you going to sell the puppies for?" he asked.

The store owner replied, "Anywhere from $30 to $50." 

The little boy reached in his pocket and pulled out some change. "I have $2.37," he said. "Can I please look at them?" 

The store owner smiled and whistled and out of the kennel came Lady, who ran down the aisle of his store followed by five teeny, tiny balls of fur. 

One puppy was lagging considerably behind. Immediately the little boy singled out the lagging, limping puppy and said, "What's wrong with that little dog?"

The store owner explained that the veterinarian had examined the little puppy and had discovered it didn't have a hip socket. It would always limp. It would always be lame.

The little boy became excited. "That is the puppy that I want to buy." 

The store owner said, "No, you don't want to buy that little dog. If you really want him, I'll just give him to you." 

The little boy got quite upset. He looked straight into the store owner's eyes, pointing his finger, and said, "I don't want you to give him to me. That little dog is worth every bit as much as all the other dogs and I'll pay full price. In fact, I'll give you $2.37 now, and 50 cents a month until I have him paid for."

The store owner countered, "You really don't want to buy this little dog. He is never going to be able to run and jump and play with you like the other puppies." 

To his surprise, the little boy reached down and rolled up his pant leg to reveal a badly twisted, crippled left leg supported by a big metal brace. He looked up at the store owner and softly replied, "Well, I don't run so well myself, and the little puppy will need someone who understands!"

We ALL need someone who Understands!