20 January 2013

posted 17 Jan 2013, 02:33 by C S Paul

20 January 2013


Our identity, and measure of our life's success.

Kadavil Kuriakose

In the life that I used to live in the past, as one who believed GOD on my terms, not according to HIS, as in the Holy Bible, I used to consider true born again believers as people who were failures in life and had now where else to go but to hide behind spiritualism. I considered them to be timid, misfit's... losers, and ridiculed them. It was only after I received salvation by the grace of GOD, did I realize how ignorant I was, and the experiences I have had from that point on until now, has been incredibly overwhelming. I would have done anything in my past life to attain this experience I'm enjoying now, had I have known of it. 

As I analyzed my transformation, I realized that in my past life, I had a natural identity which had its references based on worldly perspectives (wealth, power, family credentials, influences, abilities, appearance,... etc). My natural identity was who I was to the world. Today, I have a strong spiritual identity as well, besides my natural identity. My spiritual identity has now become my primary personality, and the natural identity is now only secondary.

What is one's spiritual identity?

Spiritual identity is all about we knowing who GOD really is, and what we are to HIM. It is about being aware of GOD's intense desire for me, and the fact that I love HIM with all my heart, my soul and my strength. It's also the fact that I know for sure that HE thoroughly enjoy's my relationship with HIM. Why would HE have chosen me into HIS kingdom, otherwise?? HE loved me before I reciprocated!!

As apostle Paul said... Colossians 3:10 (NIV) and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.

This verse is all about renewing our heart and mind. 

People who do not know GOD or have the wrong idea about GOD do not know their identity before HIM. The word of GOD reveals who GOD is, and what we mean to HIM. But when we do not know who GOD is and about HIS burning desire for us, we are under the stronghold of Satan  who all the while whispers lies about who GOD is to us and what we are to HIM. We are in a constant state of self-condemnation, and we try and run away from HIM rather than towards HIM. We lack confidence in HIM. We perceive HIM as being too far away, too difficult to connect to, and draw ourselves into a state of spiritual boredom and denial. In this state the word of GOD makes no sense at all to us.

Two key emotional factors that demotivates us spiritually are:

1) Feeling of failure in life before GOD
2) Feeling of rejection by GOD

Symptoms of condemnation include:
- Lack of interest in prayer and Bible reading
- Obedience seems difficult
- No interest in serving GOD

This negative state of our mind is the work of satan. The Holy scriptures term this as 'strongholds'. 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 (NIV)....The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. [5] We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

My natural identity hardly gave me a consistent feel good factor in my past life. My sense of Joy (pleasure) when I achieved something good was merely momentary. I was lacking something deep within, which I could never understand what it was. 

It's only less than 10% of the human race that have actually said a profound yes to the love of GOD, and have become lovers of JESUS. Infact, we become profoundly successful before GOD the moment we said yes to HIS love, and became a lover of Jesus Christ.

Together with the intense relationship with GOD, when we are washed with the word of GOD, our spiritual identity begins to take shape. Our spiritual identity draws power from our connect with GOD, and makes us strong and powerful internally within us. This may not be manifested externally to other people, but the power is felt internally. GOD has made us to live out of our Spiritual identity, not our natural identity. That's how the human heart was designed, and therefore can relish true satisfaction and happiness only through our spiritual gains, not material.

As a result of our spiritual identity, the stronghold of Satan is broken. Self accusation diminishes, and we enter the realm of grace. When this happens, GOD's identity mixes with our self identity, and the latter becomes our secondary personality, the former becoming the primary. With this power, we begin to say no to the accusations of Satan against GOD, and his accusation against us. We begin to love life. 

God defines our life as a lover of HIM by the gift of righteousness, HIS passionate pursuit for us, and by the cry in our heart for HIM (our willing spirit). This defines whether our life has been a success or a failure before HIM. 

On the other hand, Satan wants you to define your life by the struggles you go through. Satan wants you to become slave to sin that struggles to love GOD. But GOD wants you to be a lover of HIM, who still struggles with sin. HE will enable you to overcome sin.

Jesus's disciples, especially Peter and John were very ordinary people, who drew power from their love for Jesus and Jesus's love for them. Both had denied knowing Jesus. In these verses, after Peter had denied knowing Jesus before crucifixion, he considered himself a hypocrite  Jesus, after HIS resurrection, asks him thrice whether he loved HIM, and urged Peter to hold steadfast to his love for Him. Also, by this, Peter was able to come out from his state of self condemnation/shame, and to reinstate his relationship with GOD (John#21:15-25).

We are loved, and lovers of Jesus CHRIST. The knowledge of who GOD is, and who we are to Him, awakens our spiritual identity within us and motivates us to repentance and obedience to HIM.

Our natural tendency is to live by our natural identity, but as a born again, GOD wants us to align our hearts with our spiritual identity. Relying on natural identity puts pressure on our lives, but GOD wants us to align our thinking to knowing who HE is and who we are to HIM (our spiritual identity). This will bring us true Joy and comfort.

When a person who's living in his natural identity comes under pressures of circumstances, he tends to think and find solutions from his material resources, which often leads him into more issues. GOD wants us to rely on our spiritual identity during these times. Sometimes GOD allows pressures in our lives so that we stay aligned with our spiritual identity.

Jesus had virtually no natural identity at all. When He ascended into heaven, he had a meager 120 followers, left no literature, had no property, no money, etc. HIS identity was entirely spiritual.

The true measure of success or failure of our lives is about how GOD looks at it and defines it. We cannot view it from our natural identity. The truth about me is about what I look to GOD as, not what humans view it to be. When a person begins to live their lives in accordance to worldly views to comply with what society defines it as, he lives under pressures of dissatisfaction.

We find Joy in our relationship with Jesus, as He found joy when He went to the cross for our redemption's sake:

Hebrews 12:2 (NIV)
fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Biblical, there were three motivating factors that brought joy to Jesus when He endured the cross for our sake:

1. He knew that the Father had put all things under his power. He knew that He was going to triumph in His mission and was going to sit on a throne at the right hand of His father. This was His spiritual identity. 
2. The fact that He came from GOD. When we know that we came from GOD and belong to Him, not the world, we know that our human spirit has HIS seal. Jesus knew this. You were born from GOD. This gives us confidence, joy and our spiritual identity.
3. The fact that He was returning to GOD. We know that we are without doubt, going to GOD after our life mission on earth. This gives us confidence and joy.

(NIV)John 13:3
Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God;

It were these thoughts that enabled Him become like a servant to wash His disciples feet. This identity gave Him the power within to be humble and serve others. Likewise, it is our spiritual identity that makes us feel powerful within. It gives us peace, joy and comfort. It gives us a sense of servitude.

(NIV)John 13:4-5
so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. [5] After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.

(NIV)Philippians 2:6-8
Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; [7] rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. [8] And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death---even death on a cross!

It is our spiritual identity before GOD that is the true measure of success or failure in life.

May GOD bless you, and be with you always,
Kuriakose.
Good Morning, this is GOD

 I will be handling ALL your problems today.

Please remember ... I WILL NOT NEED YOUR HELP!!!

If life happens to deliver a situation to you that you cannot handle, do not attempt to resolve it. Kindly put it in the SFGTD Box (something for God to do). It will be addressed in My time, not yours. Once the matter is placed into the box, do not hold onto it.

Holding on or removal will delay the resolution of your problem. If it is a situation that you think you are capable of handling, please consult me in prayer to be sure that it is the proper resolution.

If you find yourself stuck in traffic, don't despair. There are people in this world for whom driving is an unheard of privilege.

Should you have a bad day at work, think of the man who has been out of work for years.

Should you despair over a relationship gone bad, think of the person who has never known what it's like to love and be loved in return.

Should you grieve the passing of another weekend, think of the woman in dire straits, working twelve hours a day, seven days a week to feed her children.

Should your car break down, leaving you miles away from assistance, think of the paraplegic who would love the opportunity to take that walk.

Should you notice a new gray hair in the mirror, think of the cancer patient in chemo who wishes she had hair to examine.

Should you find yourself at a loss and pondering what is life all about, asking what is my purpose? Be thankful! There are those who didn't live long enough to get the opportunity.

Should you find yourself the victim of other people's bitterness, ignorance, smallness or insecurities, remember ... things could be worse. You could be them!!!

Because I do not sleep nor do I slumber, there is no need for you to lose any sleep. Rest, my child.

If you need to contact me, I am only a prayer away.

Love Eternally, The Lord your God


Your Cross

A young man was at the end of his rope, seeing no way out, dropped to his knees in prayer.

"Lord, I can't go on," he said. "I have too heavy of a cross to bear."

The Lord replied, "My son, if you can't bear its weight, just place your cross inside this room. Then, open that other door and pick out any cross you wish."

The man was filled with relief said, "Thank you, Lord," and he did as he was told.

Upon entering the other door, he saw many crosses; some so large the tops were not visible. Then, he spotted a tiny cross leaning against a far wall.

"I'd like that one, Lord," he whispered. And the Lord replied, " My son, that is the cross you just brought in."

When life's problems seem overwhelming, it helps to look around and see what other people are coping with. You may consider yourself far more fortunate than you imagined.


Whatever your cross, whatever your pain, there'll always be sunshine after the rain.

Provided by Free Christian Content.org 

BEN-HUR: A TALE OF THE CHRIST 

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.

 Book IV - CHAPTER XI

What time the lower horn of a new moon touched the castellated piles on Mount Sulpius, and two thirds of the people of Antioch were out on their house-tops comforting themselves with the night breeze when it blew, and with fans when it failed, Simonides sat in the chair which had come to be a part of him, and from the terrace looked down over the river, and his ships a-swing at their moorings. The wall at his back cast its shadow broadly over the water to the opposite shore. Above him the endless tramp upon the bridge went on. Esther was holding a plate for him containing his frugal supper--some wheaten cakes, light as wafers, some honey, and a bowl of milk, into which he now and then dipped the wafers after dipping them into the honey.

"Malluch is a laggard to-night," he said, showing where his thoughts were.

"Do you believe he will come?" Esther asked.

"Unless he has taken to the sea or the desert, and is yet following on, he will come."

Simonides spoke with quiet confidence.

"He may write," she said.

"Not so, Esther. He would have despatched a letter when he found he could not return, and told me so; because I have not received such a letter, I know he can come, and will."

"I hope so," she said, very softly.

Something in the utterance attracted his attention; it might have been the tone, it might have been the wish. The smallest bird cannot light upon the greatest tree without sending a shock to its most distant fibre; every mind is at times no less sensitive to the most trifling words.

"You wish him to come, Esther?" he asked.

"Yes," she said, lifting her eyes to his.

"Why? Can you tell me?" he persisted.

"Because"--she hesitated, then began again--"because the young man is--" The stop was full.

"Our master. Is that the word?"

"Yes."

"And you still think I should not suffer him to go away without telling him to  come, if he chooses, and take us--and all we have--all, Esther--the goods, the shekels, the ships, the slaves, and the mighty credit, which is a mantle of cloth of gold and finest silver spun for me by the greatest of the angels of men--Success."

She made no answer.

"Does that move you nothing? No?" he said, with the slightest taint of bitterness. "Well, well, I have found, Esther, the worst reality is never unendurable when it comes out from behind the clouds through which we at first see it darkly--never--not even the rack. I suppose it will be so with death. And by that philosophy the slavery to which we are going must afterwhile become sweet. It pleases me even now to think what a favored man our master is. The fortune cost him nothing--not an anxiety, not a drop of sweat, not so much as a thought; it attaches to him undreamed of, and in his youth. And, Esther, let me waste a little vanity with the reflection; he gets what he could not go into the market and buy with all the pelf in a sum--thee, my child, my darling; thou blossom from the tomb of my lost Rachel!"

He drew her to him, and kissed her twice--once for herself, once for her mother.

"Say not so,". she said, when his hand fell from her neck. "Let us think better of him; he knows what sorrow is, and will set us free."

"Ah, thy instincts are fine, Esther; and thou knowest I lean upon them in doubtful cases where good or bad is to be pronounced of a person standing before thee as he stood this morning. But--but"--his voice rose and hardened--"these limbs upon which I cannot stand--this body drawn and beaten out of human shape--they are not all I bring him of myself. Oh no, no! I bring him a soul which has triumphed
over torture and Roman malice keener than any torture--I bring him a mind which has eyes to see gold at a distance farther than the ships of Solomon sailed, and power to bring it to hand--ay, Esther, into my palm here for the fingers to grip and keep lest it take wings at some other's word--a mind skilled at scheming"--he
stopped and laughed--"Why, Esther, before the new moon which in the courts of the Temple on the Holy Hill they are this moment celebrating passes into its next quartering I could ring the world so as to startle even Caesar; for know you, child, I have that faculty which is better than any one sense, better than a perfect body, better than courage and will, better than experience, ordinarily the best product of the longest lives--the faculty divinest of men, but which"--he stopped,
and laughed again, not bitterly, but with real zest--"but which even the great do not sufficiently account, while with the herd it is a non-existent--the faculty of drawing men to my purpose and holding them faithfully to its achievement, by which, as against things to be done, I multiply myself into hundreds and thousands.

So the captains of my ships plough the seas, and bring me honest returns; so Malluch follows the youth, our master, and will"--just then a footstep was heard upon the terrace--"Ha, Esther! said I not so? He is here--and we will have tidings. For thy sake, sweet child--my lily just budded--I pray the Lord God, who has
not forgotten his wandering sheep of Israel, that they be good and comforting. Now we will know if he will let thee go with all thy beauty, and me with all my faculties."

Malluch came to the chair.

"Peace to you, good master," he said, with a low obeisance--"and to you, Esther, most excellent of daughters."

He stood before them deferentially, and the attitude and the address left it difficult to define his relation to them; the one was that of a servant, the other indicated the familiar and friend. On the other side, Simonides, as was his habit in business, after answering the salutation went straight to the subject.

"What of the young man, Malluch?"

The events of the day were told quietly and in the simplest words, and until he was through there was no interruption; nor did the listener in the chair so much as move a hand during the narration; but for his eyes, wide open and bright, and an occasional long-drawn breath, he might have been accounted an effigy.

"Thank you, thank you, Malluch," he said, heartily, at the conclusion; "you have done well--no one could have done better. Now what say you of the young man's nationality?"

"He is an Israelite, good master, and of the tribe of Judah."

"You are positive?"

"Very positive."

"He appears to have told you but little of his life."

"He has somewhere reamed to be prudent. I might call him distrustful. He baffled all my attempts upon his confidence until we started from the Castalian fount going to the village of Daphne."

"A place of abomination! Why went he there?"

"I would say from curiosity, the first motive of the many who go; but, very strangely, he took no interest in the things he saw. Of the Temple, he merely asked if it were Grecian. Good master, the young man has a trouble of mind from which he would hide, and he went to the Grove, I think, as we go to sepulchres with our dead--he went to bury it."

"That were well, if so," Simonides said, in a low voice; then louder, "Malluch, the curse of the time is prodigality. The poor make themselves poorer as apes of the rich, and the merely rich carry themselves like princes. Saw you signs of the weakness in the youth? Did he display moneys--coin of Rome or Israel?"

"None, none, good master."

"Surely, Malluch, where there are so many inducements to folly--so much, I mean, to eat and drink--surely he made you generous offer of some sort. His age, if nothing more, would warrant that much."

"He neither ate nor drank in my company."

"In what he said or did, Malluch, could you in anywise detect his master-idea? You know they peep through cracks close enough to stop the wind."

"Give me to understand you," said Malluch, in doubt.

"Well, you know we nor speak nor act, much less decide grave questions concerning ourselves, except as we be driven by a motive. In that respect, what made you of him?"

"As to that, Master Simonides, I can answer with much assurance. He is devoted to finding his mother and sister--that first. Then he has a grievance against Rome; and as the Messala of whom I told you had something to do with the wrong, the great present object is to humiliate him. The meeting at the fountain furnished an opportunity, but it was put aside as not sufficiently public."

"The Messala is influential," said Simonides, thoughtfully.

"Yes; but the next meeting will be in the Circus."

"Well--and then?"

"The son of Arrius will win."

"How know you?"

Malluch smiled.

"I am judging by what he says."

"Is that all?"

"No; there is a much better sign--his spirit."

"Ay; but, Malluch, his idea of vengeance--what is its scope? Does he limit it to the few who did him the wrong, or does he take in the many? And more--is his feeling but the vagary of a sensitive boy, or has it the seasoning of suffering manhood to give it endurance? You know, Malluch, the vengeful thought that has root merely in the mind is but a dream of idlest sort which one clear day will dissipate; while revenge the passion is a disease of the heart which climbs up, up to the brain, and feeds itself on both alike."

In this question, Simonides for the first time showed signs of feeling; he spoke with rapid utterance, and with clenched hands and the eagerness of a man illustrating the disease he described.

"Good my master," Malluch replied, "one of my reasons for believing the young man a Jew is the intensity of his hate. It was plain to me he had himself under watch, as was natural, seeing how long he has lived in an atmosphere of Roman jealousy; yet I saw it blaze--once when he wanted to know Ilderim's feeling towards Rome, and again when I told him the story of the sheik and the wise man, and spoke of the question, 'Where is he that is born King of the
Jews?'"

Simonides leaned forward quickly.

"Ah, Malluch, his words--give me his words; let me judge the impression the mystery made upon him."

"He wanted to know the exact words. Were they TO BE or BORN TO BE? It appeared he was struck by a seeming difference in the effect of the two phrases."

Simonides settled back into his pose of listening judge.

"Then," said Malluch, "I told him Ilderim's view of the mystery--that the king would come with the doom of Rome. The young man's blood rose over his cheeks and forehead, and he said earnestly, 'Who but a Herod can be king while Rome endures?'"

"Meaning what?"

"That the empire must be destroyed before there could be another rule."

Simonides gazed for a time at the ships and their shadows slowly swinging together in the river; when he looked up, it was to end the interview.

"Enough, Malluch," he said. "Get you to eat, and make ready to return to the Orchard of Palms; you must help the young man in his coming trial. Come to me in the morning. I will send a letter to Ilderim." Then in an undertone, as if to himself, he added, "I may attend the Circus myself."

When Malluch after the customary benediction given and received was gone, Simonides took a deep draught of milk, and seemed refreshed and easy of mind.

"Put the meal down, Esther," he said; "it is over."

She obeyed.

"Here now."

She resumed her place upon the arm of the chair close to him.

"God is good to me, very good," he said, fervently. "His habit is to move in mystery, yet sometimes he permits us to think we see and understand him. I am old, dear, and must go; but now, in this eleventh hour, when my hope was beginning to die, he sends me this one with a promise, and I am lifted up. I see the way to a great part in a circumstance itself so great that it shall be as a new
birth to the whole world. And I see a reason for the gift of my great riches, and the end for which they were designed. Verily, my child, I take hold on life anew."

Esther nestled closer to him, as if to bring his thoughts from their far-flying.

"The king has been born" he continued, imagining he was still speaking to her, "and he must be near the half of common life. Balthasar says he was a child on his mother's lap when he saw him, and gave him presents and worship; and Ilderim holds it was twenty-seven years ago last December when Balthasar and his companions came to his tent asking a hiding-place from Herod. Wherefore the coming cannot now be long delayed. To-night--to-morrow it may be. Holy fathers of Israel, what happiness in the thought! I seem to hear the crash of the falling of old walls and the clamor of a universal change--ay, and for the uttermost joy of men, the earth opens to take Rome in, and they look up and laugh and sing that she is not, while we are;" then he laughed at himself. "Why, Esther, heard you ever the like?

Surely, I have on me the passion of a singer, the heat of blood and the thrill of Miriam and David. In my thoughts, which should be those of a plain worker in figures and facts, there is a confusion of cymbals clashing and harp-strings loud beaten, and the voices of a multitude standing around a new-risen throne. I will put the thinking by for the present; only, dear, when the king comes he will need money and men, for as he was a child born of woman he will be but a man after all, bound to human ways as you and I are.

And for the money he will have need of getters and keepers, and for the men leaders. There, there! See you not a broad road for my walking, and the running of the youth our master?--and at the end of it glory and revenge for us both?--and--and"--he paused, struck with the selfishness of a scheme in which she had no part or good result; then added, kissing her, "And happiness for thy mother's child."

She sat still, saying nothing. Then he remembered the difference in natures, and the law by which we are not permitted always to take delight in the same cause or be equally afraid of the same thing. He remembered she was but a girl.

"Of what are you thinking, Esther?" he said, in his common home-like way. "If the thought have the form of a wish, give it me, little one, 
while the power remains mine. For power, you know, is a fretful thing,
and hath its wings always spread for flight."

She answered with a simplicity almost childish,

"Send for him, father. Send for him to-night, and do not let him go into the Circus."

"Ah!" he said, prolonging the exclamation; and again his eyes fell upon the river, where the shadows were more shadowy than ever, since the moon had sunk far down behind Sulpius, leaving the city to the ineffectual stars. Shall we say it, reader? He was touched by a twinge of jealousy. If she should really love the young master! Oh no! That could not be; she was too young. But the idea had
fast grip, and directly held him still and cold. She was sixteen.

He knew it well. On the last natal day he had gone with her to the shipyard where there was a launch, and the yellow flag which the galley bore to its bridal with the waves had on it "Esther;" so they celebrated the day together. Yet the fact struck him now with the force of a surprise. There are realizations which come to us all painfully; mostly, however, such as pertain to ourselves; that we are growing old, for instance; and, more terrible, that we must die. Such a one crept into his heart, shadowy as the shadows, yet substantial enough to wring from him a sigh which was almost a groan. It was not sufficient that she should enter upon her young womanhood a servant, but she must carry to her master her
affections, the truth and tenderness and delicacy of which he the father so well knew, because to this time they had all been his own undividedly. The fiend whose task it is to torture us with fears and bitter thoughts seldom does his work by halves. In the pang of the moment, the brave old man lost sight of his new scheme, and of the miraculous king its subject. By a mighty effort, however,
he controlled himself, and asked, calmly, "Not go into the Circus, Esther? Why, child?"

"It is not a place for a son of Israel, father."

"Rabbinical, rabbinical, Esther! Is that all?"

The tone of the inquiry was searching, and went to her heart, which began to beat loudly--so loudly she could not answer. A confusion new and strangely pleasant fell upon her.

"The young man is to have the fortune," he said, taking her hand, and speaking more tenderly; "he is to have the ships and the shekels--all, Esther, all. Yet I did not feel poor, for thou wert left me, and thy love so like the dead Rachel's. Tell me, is he to have that too?"

She bent over him, and laid her cheek against his head.

"Speak, Esther. I will be the stronger of the knowledge. In warning there is strength."

She sat up then, and spoke as if she were Truth's holy self.

"Comfort thee, father. I will never leave thee; though he take my love, I will be thy handmaid ever as now."

And, stooping, she kissed him.

"And more," she said, continuing: "he is comely in my sight, and the pleading of his voice drew me to him, and I shudder to think of him in danger. Yes, father, I would be more than glad to see him again. Still, the love that is unrequited cannot be perfect love, wherefore I will wait a time, remembering I am thy
daughter and my mother's."

"A very blessing of the Lord art thou, Esther! A blessing to keep me rich, though all else be lost. And by his holy name and everlasting life, I swear thou shalt not suffer."

At his request, a little later, the servant came and rolled the chair into the room, where he sat for a time thinking of the coming of the king, while she went off and slept the sleep of the innocent.

to be continued

My Busy Day

-Author Unknown

"Mommy, look!" cried my daughter, Darla, pointing to a chicken hawk soaring through the air.

"Uh huh," I murmured, driving, lost in thought about the tight schedule of my Day.

Disappointment filled her face. "What's the matter, Sweetheart?" I asked, entirely dense.

"Nothing," my seven-year-old said. The moment was gone. Near home, we slowed to search for the albino deer that comes out from behind the thick mass of trees in the early evening. She was nowhere to be seen. "Tonight, she has too many things to do," I said.

Dinner, baths and phone calls filled the hours until bedtime.

"Come on, Darla, time for bed!" She raced past me up the stairs. Tired, I kissed her on the cheek, said prayers and tucked her in.

"Mom, I forgot to give you something!" she said. My patience was gone.

"Give it to me in the morning," I said, but she shook her head.

"You won't have time in the morning!" she retorted.

"I'll take time," I answered defensively. Sometimes no matter how hard I tried, time flowed through my fingers like sand in an hourglass, never enough. Not enough for her, for my husband, and definitely not enough for me.

She wasn't ready to give up yet. She wrinkled her freckled little nose in anger and swiped away her chestnut brown hair.

"No, you won't! It will be just like today when I told you to look at the hawk. You didn't even listen to what I said."

I was too weary to argue; she hit too close to the truth. "Good night!" I shut her door with a resounding thud.

Later though, her gray-blue gaze filled my vision as I thought about how little time we really had until she was grown and gone.

My husband asked, "Why so glum?" I told him.

"Maybe she's not asleep yet. Why don't you check," he said with all the authority of a parent in the right. I followed his advice, wishing it was my own idea.

I cracked open her door, and the light from the window spilled over her sleeping form. In her hand I could see the remains of a crumpled paper. Slowly I opened her palm to see what the item of our disagreement had been.

Tears filled my eyes. She had torn into small pieces a big red heart with a poem she had written titled, "Why I Love My Mother!"

I carefully removed the tattered pieces. Once the puzzle was put back into place, I read what she had written:

Why I Love My Mother

Although you're busy, and you work so hard You always take time to play I love you Mommy because I am the biggest part of your busy day!

The words were an arrow straight to the heart. At seven years old, she had the wisdom of Solomon.

Ten minutes later I carried a tray to her room, with two cups of hot chocolate with marshmallows and two peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. When I softly touched her smooth cheek, I could feel my heart burst with love.

Her thick dark lashes lay like fans against her lids as they fluttered, awakened from a dreamless sleep, and she looked at the tray.

"What is that for?" she asked, confused by this late-night intrusion.

"This is for you, because you are the most important part of my busy day!" She smiled and sleepily drank half her cup of chocolate. Then she drifted back to sleep, not really understanding how strongly I meant what I said.

Just for Laughs

Prayer

A little boy was overheard praying: "Lord, if You can't make me a better boy, don't worry about it. I'm having a real good time like I am!"


What's in a Name ?

As a Dominican nun, I lived in a convent named for a deceased pope.

One day while I was wearing contemporary clothes instead of my habit and rosary beads, I drove into a gas station to get the communal car filled up.

After the young attendant topped off the tank, he walked toward my car window to return my credit card.  It was clear from his furrowed brow that he had something on his mind.

The young man looked at me shyly and pointed to the convent's name,     John XXIII Hall, imprinted on the card.

"Pardon me," he asked hesitantly, "but how do you pronounce your husband's middle name?"


The Power of Positive Thinking

by Norman Vincent Peale

Chapter 13 

Inflow of New Thoughts Can Remake You ONE OF THE most important and powerful facts about you is expressed in the following statement by William James, who was one of the wisest men America has produced.

William James said, "The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind." As you think, so shall you be. So flush out all old, tired, worn-out thoughts. Fill your mind with fresh, new creative thoughts of faith, love, and goodness. By this process you can actually remake your life.

And where do you find such personality remaking thoughts? I know a business executive, a modest man, but the type of individual who is never defeated. No problem, no setback, no opposition ever gets him down. He simply attacks each
difficulty with an optimistic attitude and a sure confidence that it will work out right, and, in some strange way, it always does for him. He seems to have a magic touch on life—a touch that never fails.

Because of that impressive characteristic this man always interested me. I knew there was a definite explanation of his being this way and of course wanted to hear his story, but in view of his modesty and reticence it was not easy to
persuade him to talk about himself.

One day when he was in the mood he told me his secret, an amazingly simple but effective secret. I was visiting his plant, a modern, up-to-date structure, much of it air-conditioned. Latest-type machinery and methods of production make it a factory of outstanding efficiency.

Labor-management relations seem as nearly perfect as is possible among mperfect human beings. A spirit of good will pervades the entire organization. His office is ultra-modernistically decorated and furnished with handsome desks, rugs, and paneled with exotic woods. The decorating scheme is five startling colors blended together pleasantly. All in all it is the last word, and then some.

Imagine, then, my surprise to see on his highly polished white mahogany desk an old battered copy of the Bible. It was the only old object in those ultra-modern rooms. I commented upon this seemingly strange inconsistency.

"That book," he replied, pointing to the Bible, "is the most up-to-date thing in this plant. Equipment wears out and furnishing styles change, but that book is so far ahead of us that it never gets out of date.

"When I went to college, my good Christian mother gave me that Bible with the suggestion that if I would read and practice its teachings, I would learn how to get through life successfully. But I thought she was just a nice old lady"—he chuckled—"at my age she seemed old—she wasn't really, and to humor her, I took the Bible, but for years practically never looked at it. I thought I didn't need it. Well," he continued slangily, "I was a dope. I was stupid. And I got my life in a terrible mess.

"Everything went wrong primarily because I was wrong. I was thinking wrong, acting wrong, doing wrong. I succeeded at nothing, failed at everything. Now I realize that my principal trouble was wrong thinking. I was negative, resentful, cocky, opinionated. Nobody could tell me anything. I thought I knew everything. I was filled with gripes at everybody. Little wonder nobody liked me. I certainly was a 'washout.' "

So ran his dismal story. "One night in going through some papers," he continued, "I came across the long-forgotten Bible. It brought up old memories and I started aimlessly to read it. Do you know it is strange how things happen; how in just a flashing moment of time everything becomes different.

Well, as I read, a sentence leaped up at me, a sentence that changed my life—and when I say changed, I mean changed. From the minute I read that sentence everything has been different, tremendously different."

"What is this wonderful sentence?" I wanted to know, and he quoted it slowly, "'The Lord is the strength of my life...in this will I be confident.' (Psalm 27:1, 3)
"I don't know why that one line affected me so," he went on, "but it did. I know now that I was weak and a failure because I had no faith, no confidence. I was very negative, a defeatist. Something happened inside my mind. I guess I had
what they call a spiritual experience. My thought pattern shifted from negative to positive. I decided to put my faith in God and sincerely do my best, trying to follow the principles outlined in the Bible. As I did so I began to get hold of a new
set of thoughts. I began to think differently. In time my old failure thoughts were flushed out by this new spiritual experience and an inflow of new thoughts gradually but actually remade me."

So concluded the story of this businessman. He altered his thinking, and the new thoughts which flowed in displaced the old thoughts which had been defeating him and his life was changed.

This incident illustrates an important fact about human nature: you can think your way to failure and unhappiness, but you can also think your way to success and happiness. The world in which you live is not primarily determined by outward conditions and circumstances but by thoughts that habitually occupy your mind. Remember the wise words of Marcus Aurelius, one of the great thinkers of antiquity, who said, "A man's life is what his thoughts make of it."

It has been said that the wisest man who ever lived in America was Ralph Waldo Emerson, the Sage of Concord. Emerson declared, "A man is what he thinks about all day long."

A famous psychologist says, "There is a deep tendency in human nature to become precisely like that which you habitually imagine yourself to be." It has been said that thoughts are things, that they actually possess dynamic power. Judged by the power they exercise one can readily accept such an appraisal. You can actually
think yourself into or out of situations. You can make yourself ill with your thoughts and by the same token you can make yourself well by the use of a different and healing type of thought. Think one way and you attract the conditions which that type of thinking indicates. Think another way and you can create an entirely different set of conditions. Conditions are created by thoughts far more powerfully than conditions create thoughts.

Think positively, for example, and you set in motion positive forces which bring positive results to pass. Positive thoughts create around yourself an atmosphere propitious to the development of positive outcomes. On the contrary, think
negative thoughts and you create around yourself an atmosphere propitious to the development of negative results.

To change your circumstances, first start thinking differently. Do not passively accept unsatisfactory circumstances, but form a picture in your mind of circumstances as they should be. Hold that picture, develop it firmly in all details, believe in it, pray about it, work at it, and you can actualize it according to that mental image emphasized in your positive thinking. 
 
This is one of the greatest laws in the universe. Fervently do I wish I had discovered it as a very young man. It dawned upon me much later in life and I have found it to be one of the greatest if not my greatest discovery, outside of my relationship to God. And in a deep sense this law is a factor in one's relationship with God because it channels God's power into personality.

This great law briefly and simply stated is that if you think in negative terms you will get negative results. If you think in positive terms you will achieve positive results. That is the simple fact which is at the basis of an astonishing law of
prosperity and success. In three words: Believe and succeed.

to be continued

Grace

The boy stood with back arched, head cocked back and hands clenched defiantly. "Go ahead, give it to me." The principal looked down at the young rebel. "How many times have you been here?" The child sneered rebelliously, "Apparently not enough." The principal gave the boy a strange look. "And you have been punished each time have you not?" "Yeah, I been punished, if that's what you want to call it." He threw out his small chest, "Go ahead I can take whatever you dish out. I always have."

"And no thought of your punishment enters your head the next time you decide to break the rules does it?" "Nope, I do whatever I want to do. Ain't nothin' you people gonna do to stop me either." The principal looked over at the teacher who stood nearby. "What did he do this time?" "Fighting. He took little Tommy and shoved his face into the sandbox." The principal turned to look at the boy, "Why? What did little Tommy do to you?" "Nothin', I didn't like the way he was lookin' at me, just like I don't like the way you're lookin' at me! And if I thought I could do it, I'd shove your face into something."

The teacher stiffened and started to rise but a quick look from the principal stopped him. He contemplated the child for a moment and then quietly said, "Today my young student, is the day you learn about grace."

"Grace? Isn't that what you old people do before you sit down to eat? I don't need none of your stinkin' grace." "Oh but you do." The principal studied the young mans face and whispered. "Oh yes, you truly do..." The boy continued to glare as the principal continued, "Grace, in its short definition is unmerited favor. You cannot earn it, it is a gift and is always freely given. It means that you will not be getting what you so richly deserve."

The boy looked puzzled. "You're not gonna whup me? You just gonna let me walk?" The principal looked down at the unyielding child. "Yes, I am going to let you walk." The boy studied the face of the principal, "No punishment at all? Even though I socked Tommy and shoved his face into the sandbox?"

"Oh, there has to be punishment. What you did was wrong and there are always consequences to our actions. There will be punishment. Grace is not an excuse for doing wrong." "I knew it," Sneered the boy as he held out his hands. "Lets get on with it."

The principal nodded toward the teacher. "Bring me the paddle." The teacher presented the paddle to the principal. He looked at it and then handed it back to the teacher. He looked at the child and said. "I want you to count the blows." He slid out from behind his desk and walked over to stand directly in front of the young man. He gently reached out and folded the child's outstretched, expectant hands together and then turned to face the teacher with his own hands outstretched. One quiet word came forth from his mouth. "Begin."

The paddle whipped down on the outstretched hands of the principal.

Crack!

The young man jumped ten feet in the air.

Shock registered across his face, "One" he whispered.

Crack! "Two." His voice raised an octave.

Crack! "Three..." He couldn't believe this.

Crack! "Four." Big tears welled up in the eyes of the rebel. "OK stop! That's enough. Stop!"

Crack! Came the paddle down on the callused hands of the principal.

Crack! The child flinched with each blow, tears beginning to stream down his face.

Crack!

Crack! "No please," the former rebel begged, "Stop, I did it, I'm the one who deserves it. Stop! Please. Stop..." Still the blows came, Crack! Crack! One after another.

Finally it was over. The principal stood with sweat glistening across his forehead and beads trickling down his face. Slowly he knelt down. He studied the young man for a second and then his swollen hands reached out to cradle the face of the weeping child.

"Grace..."

Provided by Free Christian Content.org 

Did You Know ?

  • The Spanish word esposa means "wife." The plural, esposas, means "wives," but also "handcuffs." 
  • If all Americans used one third less ice in their drinks the United States would become a net exporter instead of an importer of energy. 
  • If the Nile River were stretched across the United States, it would run nearly from New York to Los Angeles. 
  • San Francisco cable cars are the only National Monuments that move. 
  • The Hoover Dam was built to last 2,000 years. Its concrete will not be fully cured for another 500 years. 
  • Abraham Lincoln's dog, Fido, was assassinated too. 
  • The original name of Bank of America was Bank of Italy. 
  • The ant, when intoxicated, will always fall over to its right side. 
  • The California Department of Motor Vehicles has issued six driver's licenses to six different people named Jesus Christ. 
  • Michael Jordan makes more money from Nike each year than all the Nike factory workers in Malaysia combined. 
  • People in China and Japan die disproportionately on the 4th of each month because the words death and four sound alike, and they are represented by the same symbol. 



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