20 October 2013

posted 17 Oct 2013, 09:54 by C S Paul

20 October 2013

Quotes to Inspire


  • "Do not wait ... the time will never be just right ... start where you stand ... and work with whatever tools you may have at your command at the moment ... and better tools will be found as you go along." — Napoleon Hill
  • "To be prepared is half the victory." — Miguel de Cervantes
  • "Strength: Those who say 'I can't' and those who say 'I can' are both right. There is no way we can do anything worthwhile if we say and believe we can't. The power to achieve is in the 'I can!'" — Ray Lammie
  • "I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me." - Paul the Apostle
  • "Pressure is what turns coal into diamonds." — Unknown
  • "People often say that this or that person has not yet found himself. But the self is not something one finds, it is something one creates." — Thomas Szasz
  • "Most of the important things in the world have been accompanied by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all." — Dale Carnegie
  • "Temptation usually comes in through a door that has deliberately been left open." — Unknown
  • "The last thing one knows is what to put first." — Blaise Pascal
  • "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results." — Albert Einstein
  • "Today is the first day of the rest of your life." Charles Dederich
  • "I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been." — Wayne Gretzky
  • "Courage is not the lack of fear. It is acting in spite of it." — Mark Twain


A Lesson in Faith - The Charles Blondin Story 
-- Author unknown

The amazing story of Charles Blondin, a famous French tightrope walker, is a wonderful illustration of what true faith is.

Blondin's greatest fame came on September 14, 1860, when he became the first person to cross a tightrope stretched 11,000 feet (over a quarter of a mile) across the mighty Niagara Falls. People from both Canada and America came from miles away to see this great feat.

He walked across, 160 feet above the falls, several times... each time with a different daring feat - once in a sack, on stilts, on a bicycle, in the dark, and blindfolded. One time he even carried a stove and cooked an omelet in the middle of the rope!

A large crowd gathered and the buzz of excitement ran along both sides of the river bank. The crowd “Oohed and Aahed!” as Blondin carefully walked across - one dangerous step after another - pushing a wheelbarrow holding a sack of potatoes.

Then a one point, he asked for the participation of a volunteer. Upon reaching the other side, the crowd's applause was louder than the roar of the falls!

Blondin suddenly stopped and addressed his audience: "Do you believe I can carry a person across in this wheelbarrow?"

The crowd enthusiastically yelled, "Yes! You are the greatest tightrope walker in the world. We believe!"

"Okay," said Blondin, "Who wants to get into the wheelbarrow."

As far as the Blondin story goes, no one did at the time!

This unique story illustrates a real life picture of what faith actually is. The crowd watched these daring feats. They said they believed. But... their actions proved they truly did not believe.

Similarly, it is one thing for us to say we believe in God. However, it's true faith when we believe God and put our faith and trust in His Son, Jesus Christ.
-----
Note: In August of 1859, Blondin's manager, Harry Colcord, did ride on Blondin's back across the Falls.

Daddy’s Empty Chair
-- Author Unknown

A man’s daughter had asked the local minister to come and pray with her father. 

When the minister arrived, he found the man lying in bed with his head propped up on two  pillows.

An empty chair sat beside his bed.

The minister assumed that the old fellow had been informed of his visit. “I guess you were  expecting me," he said.

“No, who are you?” said the father.

The minister told him his name and then remarked, “I saw the empty chair and I figured you knew I was going to show up,”

“Oh yeah, the chair,” said the bedridden man. “Would you mind closing the door?”

Puzzled, the minister shut the door.

“I have never told anyone this, not even my daughter,” said the man. “But all of my life I have never known how to pray. At church I used to hear the pastor talk about prayer, but it went right over my head. I abandoned any attempt at prayer,” the old man continued, “until one day, four years ago, my best friend said to me, ‘Johnny, prayer is just a simple matter of having a conversation with Jesus. Here is what I suggest...’”

‘Sit down in a chair; place an empty chair in front of you, and in faith see Jesus on the chair. It’s not spooky, because He promised, ‘I will be with you always.’ Then just speak to Him in the same way you’re doing with me right now.’”

“So, I tried it and I’ve liked it so much that I do it a couple of hours every day. I’m careful though. If my daughter saw me talking to an empty chair, she’d either have a nervous breakdown or send me off to the funny farm.”

The minister was deeply moved by the story and encouraged the old man to continue on the journey. Then he prayed with him, anointed him with oil, and returned to the church.

Two nights later the daughter called to tell the minister that her daddy had died that afternoon.

“Did he die in peace?” the minister asked.

“Yes. When I left the house about two o’clock, he called me over to his bedside, told me he loved me and kissed me on the cheek. When I got back from the store an hour later, I found him dead. But, there was something strange about his death. 

Apparently, just before Daddy died, he leaned over and rested his head on the chair beside the bed. What do you make of that?”

The minister wiped a tear from his eye and said, “I wish we could all go like that.”

Don't Worry
Author Unknown

Years ago, I was enthralled as I listened to a pastor who for several years had faithfully served the church. His executive responsibilities had taken him all over this country. As he concluded his message, he told of one of the most frightening, yet thought-provoking, experiences of his life.

He had been on a long flight from one place to another. The first warning of the approaching problems came when the sign on the airplane flashed on: Fasten your seat belts. Then, after a while, a calm voice said, "We shall not be serving the beverages at this time as we are expecting a little turbulence. Please be sure your seat belt is fastened."

As he looked around the aircraft, it became obvious that many of the passengers were becoming apprehensive. Later, the voice of the announcer said, "We are so sorry that we are unable to serve the meal at this time. The turbulence is still ahead of us."

Then the storm broke. The ominous cracks of thunder could be heard even above the roar of the engines. Lightening lit up the darkening skies, and within moments that great plane was like a cork tossed around on a celestial ocean. One moment the airplane was lifted on terrific currents of air; the next, it dropped as if it were about to crash.

The pastor confessed that he shared the discomfort and fear of those around him. 

He said, "As I looked around the plane, I could see that nearly all the passengers were upset and alarmed. Some were praying. The future seemed ominous and many were wondering if they would make it through the storm.

Then, I suddenly saw a little girl. Apparently the storm meant nothing to her. 

She had tucked her feet beneath her as she sat on her seat; she was reading a book and every thing within her small world was calm and orderly. Sometimes she closed her eyes, then she would read again; then she would straighten her legs, but worry and fear were not in her world. When the plane was being buffeted by the terrible storm when it lurched this way and that, as it rose and fell with frightening severity,when all the adults were scared half to death, that marvelous child was completely composed and unafraid." The minister could hardly believe his eyes.

It was not surprising therefore, that when the plane finally reached its destination and all the passengers were hurrying to disembark,our pastor lingered to speak to the girl whom he had watched for such a long time. Having commented about the storm and behavior of the plane, he asked why she had not been afraid.

The child replied, "'Cause my Daddy's the pilot, and he's taking me home."

There are many kinds of storms that buffet us:
• Physical,
• Mental,
• Financial,
• Domestic, and...
Many other storms can easily and quickly darken our skies and throw our plane into apparently uncontrollable movement. We have all known such times, and let us be honest and confess, it is much easier to be at rest when our feet are on the ground than when we are being tossed about a darkened sky.

Let us remember... Our Father is the Pilot. He is in control and taking us home... so Don't Worry.

Can Anybody See God?
-- Author Unknown

A small boy once approached his slightly older sister with a question about God.

"Susie, can anybody ever really see God?" he asked. Busy with other things, Susie curtly replied: "No, of course not, silly. God is so far up in heaven that nobody can see him."

Time passed, but his question still lingered, so he approached his mother: "Mom, can anybody ever really see God?" "No, not really," she gently said. "God is a spirit and he dwells in our hearts, but we can never really see him."

Somewhat satisfied but still wondering, the youngster went on his way. Not long afterwards, his saintly old grandfather took the little boy on a fishing trip. 

They were having a great time together -- it had been an ideal day. The sun was beginning to set with unusual splendor as the day ended.

The old man stopped fishing and turned his full attention to the exquisite beauty unfolding before him.  On seeing the face of his grandfather reflecting such deep peace and contentment as he gazed into the magnificent ever-changing sunset, the little boy thought for a moment and finally spoke hesitatingly: "Granddad, I - I wasn't going to ask anybody else, but I wonder if you can tell me the answer to something I've been wondering about a long time. Can anybody, can anybody ever really see God?"

The old man did not even turn his head. A long moment slipped by before he finally answered. "Son," he quietly said. "It's getting so I can't see anything else."
---
 "The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world." -- Psalm 19:1-4


Just for Laughs
Ring, Ring

A fellow showed up at church on Sunday morning with his ears painfully blistered. 

After services, the concerned preacher asked, "What in heaven happened to you?" 

"I was lying on the couch yesterday afternoon watching a ball game on TV and my wife was ironing nearby," the man explained. "I was totally engrossed in the game when she left the room, leaving the iron near the phone. The phone rang, and keeping my eyes glued to the television, I grabbed the hot iron and put it to my ear." 

"So how did the other ear get burned?" the preacher asked. 

"Well, I had no more than hung up and the guy called again."


Did you Know ?

  • The second Saturday in September is usually a popular time for weddings. Not in 2004, as most couples did not want their anniversaries on September 11. 
  • Mel Gibson has personally earned almost $400,000,000 from his movie "The Passion of the Christ". 
  • Austin High School in Texas has removed candy from its vending machines. Now some enterprising students are earning $200 per week dealing in black market candy. 
  • In 2004, Virgin Atlantic Airlines introduced a double bed for first class passengers who fly together. 
  • The world's largest book, "Bhutan: A Visual Odyssey" is in a Chicago public library. The book measures 5 feet tall by 7 feet wide when open. It weighs 133 pounds. 
  • 55% of Americans claim they would continue working even if they received a $10,000,000 lottery prize. 
  • The company that manufactures the greatest number of women's dresses each year is Mattel. Barbie's got to wear something. 
  • All radios in North Korea have been rigged so listeners can only receive a North Korean government station. The United States recently announced plans to smuggle $2,000,000 worth of small radios into the country so North Koreans can get a taste of (what their government calls) "rotten imperialist reactionary culture". 
  • A ten year old mattress weighs double what it did when it was new, because of the -ahem- debris which is absorbed through the years. That debris includes dust mites (their droppings and their decaying bodies), mold, millions of dead skin cells, dandruff, animal and human hair, secretions, excretions, lint, pollen, dust, soil, sand and a lot of perspiration, of which the average person loses a quart per day. Good night! 
  • About 20% of gift cards never are redeemed at the full value of the card.


BEN-HUR: A TALE OF THE CHRIST 

by Lew Wallace

Part Six 

Simonides bribes Sejanus to remove the prefect Valerius Gratus from his post, as a service to Ben-Hur. Soon after the accession of the new prefect, Pontius Pilate, Ben-Hur sets out for Jerusalem to find his mother and sister. Pilate orders a review of the prison records which reveals great injustice and that Gratus was deliberately trying to conceal the existence of one walled up cell. Pilate's troops reopen the cell and find that there are two leprous women inside - Judah's mother and sister. They are released and stop for a while at the old vacant Hur house. Here, they find Judah sleeping on the steps, and they offer thanks to God. They don't wake him but weep that, as lepers, they are to be banished, never seeing him again. They leave.

Amrah, the Egyptian maid that once served the Hur house, discovers Ben-Hur, wakes him, and they are reunited. Amrah reveals that she has stayed in the Hur house for all these years. She had also kept in touch with the loyal Simonides and discouraged many potential buyers of the house because they thought she was a ghost. They pledge to find out more about the lost family. Judah discovers an official Roman report about the release of two leprous women. Amrah hears rumors of the mother and sister's fate.
Meanwhile, a plan is approved to use funds from the corban treasury, of the Temple in Jerusalem, to build a new aqueduct. This is seen as sacrilegious by the Jewish people, who petition Pilate to veto the plan. Pilate sends his soldiers in disguise to mingle with the crowd. At the appointed time, they massacre the protesters. Judah kills a Roman guard in a duel, and becomes a hero in the eyes of a group of Galilean protesters.


PART VI - CHAPTER IV

It was dark when, parting with the drover inside the gate, Ben-Hur turned into a narrow lane leading to the south. A few of the people whom he met saluted him. The bouldering of the pavement was rough. The houses on both sides were low, dark, and cheerless;
the doors all closed: from the roofs, occasionally, he heard women crooning to children. The loneliness of his situation, the night, the uncertainty cloaking the object of his coming, all affected him cheerlessly. With feelings sinking lower and lower, he came directly to the deep reservoir now known as the Pool of Bethesda, in which the water reflected the over-pending sky. Looking up, he beheld the northern wall of the Tower of Antonia, a black
frowning heap reared into the dim steel-gray sky. He halted as if challenged by a threatening sentinel.

The Tower stood up so high, and seemed so vast, resting apparently upon foundations so sure, that he was constrained to acknowledge its strength. If his mother were there in living burial, what could he do for her? By the strong hand, nothing. An army might beat the stony face with ballista and ram, and be laughed at. Against him alone, the gigantic southeast turret looked down in the self-containment of a hill. And he thought, cunning is so easily baffled; and God, always the last resort of the helpless--God is sometimes so slow
to act!

In doubt and misgiving, he turned into the street in front of the Tower, and followed it slowly on to the west.

Over in Bezetha he knew there was a khan, where it was his intention to seek lodging while in the city; but just now he could not resist the impulse to go home. His heart drew him that way.

The old formal salutation which he received from the few people who passed him had never sounded so pleasantly. Presently, all the eastern sky began to silver and shine, and objects before invisible in the west--chiefly the tall towers on Mount Zion--emerged as from a shadowy depth, and put on spectral distinctness, floating, as it were, above the yawning blackness of the valley below, very castles in the air.

He came, at length, to his father's house.

Of those who read this page, some there will be to divine his feelings without prompting. They are such as had happy homes in their youth, no matter how far that may have been back in time--homes which are now the starting-points of all recollection; paradises from
which they went forth in tears, and which they would now return to, if they could, as little children; places of laughter and singing, and associations dearer than any or all the triumphs of after-life.

At the gate on the north side of the old house Ben-Hur stopped. In the corners the wax used in the sealing-up was still plainly seen, and across the valves was the board with the inscription--

  "THIS IS THE PROPERTY OF
       THE EMPEROR."

Nobody had gone in or out the gate since the dreadful day of the separation. Should he knock as of old? It was useless, he knew; yet he could not resist the temptation. Amrah might hear, and look out of one of the windows on that side. Taking a stone, he mounted
the broad stone step, and tapped three times. A dull echo replied. He tried again, louder than before; and again, pausing each time to listen. The silence was mocking. Retiring into the street, he watched the windows; but they, too, were lifeless. The parapet on the roof
was defined sharply against the brightening sky; nothing could have stirred upon it unseen by him, and nothing did stir.

From the north side he passed to the west, where there were four windows which he watched long and anxiously, but with as little effect. At times his heart swelled with impotent wishes; at others, he trembled at the deceptions of his own fancy. Amrah made no sign--not even a ghost stirred.

Silently, then, he stole round to the south. There, too, the gate was sealed and inscribed. The mellow splendor of the August moon, pouring over the crest of Olivet, since termed the Mount of Offence, brought the lettering boldly out; and he read, and was filled with
rage. All he could do was to wrench the board from its nailing, and hurl it into the ditch. Then he sat upon the step, and prayed for the New King, and that his coming might be hastened. As his blood cooled, insensibly he yielded to the fatigue of long travel in the
summer heat, and sank down lower, and, at last, slept.

About that time two women came down the street from the direction of the Tower of Antonia, approaching the palace of the Hurs. They advanced stealthily, with timid steps, pausing often to listen. At the corner of the rugged pile, one said to the other, in a
low voice,

"This is it, Tirzah!"

And Tirzah, after a look, caught her mother's hand, and leaned upon her heavily, sobbing, but silent.

"Let us go on, my child, because"--the mother hesitated and trembled; then, with an effort to be calm, continued--"because when morning comes they will put us out of the gate of the city to--return no more."

Tirzah sank almost to the stones.

"Ah, yes!" she said, between sobs; "I forgot. I had the feeling of going home. But we are lepers, and have no homes; we belong to the dead!"

The mother stooped and raised her tenderly, saying, "We have nothing to fear. Let us go on." Indeed, lifting their empty hands, they could have run upon a legion and put it to flight.

And, creeping in close to the rough wall, they glided on, like two ghosts, till they came to the gate, before which they also paused. Seeing the board, they stepped upon the stone in the scarce cold tracks of Ben-Hur, and read the inscription--"This is the Property of the Emperor."

Then the mother clasped her hands, and, with upraised eyes, moaned in unutterable anguish.

"What now, mother? You scare me!"

And the answer was, presently, "Oh, Tirzah, the poor are dead! He is dead!"

"Who, mother?"

"Your brother! They took everything from him--everything--even this house!"

"Poor!" said Tirzah, vacantly.

"He will never be able to help us."

"And then, mother?"

"To-morrow--to-morrow, my child, we must find a seat by the wayside, and beg alms as the lepers do; beg, or--"

Tirzah leaned upon her again, and said, whispering, "Let us--let us die!"

"No!" the mother said, firmly. "The Lord has appointed our times, and we are believers in the Lord. We will wait on him even in this. Come away!"

She caught Tirzah's hand as she spoke, and hastened to the west corner of the house, keeping close to the wall. No one being in sight there, they kept on to the next corner, and shrank from the moonlight, which lay exceedingly bright over the whole south
front, and along a part of the street. The mother's will was strong. Casting one look back and up to the windows on the west side, she stepped out into the light, drawing Tirzah after her; and the extent of their amiction was then to be seen--on their lips and cheeks, in their bleared eyes, in their cracked hands; especially in the long, snaky locks, stiff with loathsome ichor, and, like their eyebrows, ghastly white. Nor was it possible to have told which was mother, which daughter; both alike seemed witch-like old.

"Hist!" said the mother. "There is some one lying upon the step--a man. Let us go round him."

They crossed to the opposite side of the street quickly, and, in the shade there, moved on till before the gate, where they stopped.

"He is asleep, Tirzah!"

The man was very still.

"Stay here, and I will try the gate."

So saying, the mother stole noiselessly across, and ventured to touch the wicket; she never knew if it yielded, for that moment the man sighed, and, turning restlessly, shifted the handkerchief on his head in such manner that the face was left upturned and fair in the broad moonlight. She looked down at it and started; then looked again, stooping a little, and arose and clasped her hands and raised her eyes to heaven in mute appeal. An instant so, and she ran back to Tirzah.

"As the Lord liveth, the man is my son--thy brother!" she said, in an awe-inspiring whisper.

"My brother?--Judah?"

The mother caught her hand eagerly.

"Come!" she said, in the same enforced whisper, "let us look at him together--once more--only once--then help thou thy servants, Lord!"

They crossed the street hand in hand ghostly-quick, ghostly-still. When their shadows fell upon him, they stopped. One of his hands was lying out upon the step palm up. Tirzah fell upon her knees, and would have kissed it; but the mother drew her back.

"Not for thy life; not for thy life! Unclean, unclean!" she whispered.

Tirzah shrank from him, as if he were the leprous one.

Ben-Hur was handsome as the manly are. His cheeks and forehead were swarthy from exposure to the desert sun and air; yet under the light mustache the lips were red, and the teeth shone white, and the soft beard did not hide the full roundness of chin and throat. How beautiful he appeared to the mother's eyes! How mightily she yearned to put her arms about him, and take his head upon her bosom and kiss him, as had been her wont in his happy childhood!

Where got she the strength to resist the impulse? From her love, O, reader!--her mother-love, which, if thou wilt observe well, hath this unlikeness to any other love: tender to the object, it can be infinitely tyrannical to itself, and thence all its power of self-sacrifice. Not for restoration to health and fortune, not for any blessing of life, not for life itself, would she have left her leprous kiss upon his cheek! Yet touch him she must;
in that instant of finding him she must renounce him forever! How bitter, bitter hard it was, let some other mother say! She knelt down, and, crawling to his feet, touched the sole of one of his sandals with her lips, yellow though it was with the dust of the street--and touched it again and again; and her very soul was in the kisses.

He stirred, and tossed his hand. They moved back, but heard him mutter in his dream,

"Mother! Amrah! Where is--"

He fell off into the deep sleep.

Tirzah stared wistfully. The mother put her face in the dust, struggling to suppress a sob so deep and strong it seemed her heart was bursting. Almost she wished he might waken.

He had asked for her; she was not forgotten; in his sleep he was thinking of her. Was it not enough?

Presently mother beckoned to Tirzah, and they arose, and taking one more look, as if to print his image past fading, hand in hand they recrossed the street. Back in the shade of the wall there, they retired and knelt, looking at him, waiting for him to wake--waiting some revelation, they knew not what. Nobody has yet given us a measure for the patience of a love like theirs.

By-and-by, the sleep being yet upon him, another woman appeared at the corner of the palace. The two in the shade saw her plainly in the light; a small figure, much bent, dark-skinned, gray-haired, dressed neatly in servant's garb, and carrying a basket full of
vegetables.

At sight of the man upon the step the new-comer stopped; then, as if decided, she walked on--very lightly as she drew near the sleeper. Passing round him, she went to the gate, slid the wicket latch easily to one side, and put her hand in the opening. One of the broad boards in the left valve swung ajar without noise.

She put the basket through, and was about to follow, when, yielding to curiosity, she lingered to have one look at the stranger whose face was below her in open view.

The spectators across the street heard a low exclamation, and saw the woman rub her eyes as if to renew their power, bend closer down, clasp her hands, gaze wildly around, look at the sleeper, stoop and raise the outlying hand, and kiss it fondly--that which they wished
so mightily to do, but dared not.

Awakened by the action, Ben-Hur instinctively withdrew the hand; as he did so, his eyes met the woman's.

"Amrah! O Amrah, is it thou?" he said.

The good heart made no answer in words, but fell upon his neck, crying for joy.

Gently he put her arms away, and lifting the dark face wet with tears, kissed it, his joy only a little less than hers. Then those across the way heard him say,

"Mother--Tirzah--O Amrah, tell me of them! Speak, speak, I pray thee!"

Amrah only cried afresh.

"Thou has seen them, Amrah. Thou knowest where they are; tell me they are at home."

Tirzah moved, but her mother, divining her purpose, caught her and whispered, "Do not go--not for life. Unclean, unclean!"

Her love was in tyrannical mood. Though both their hearts broke, he should not become what they were; and she conquered.

Meantime, Amrah, so entreated, only wept the more.

"Wert thou going in?" he asked, presently, seeing the board swung back. "Come, then. I will go with thee." He arose as he spoke.

"The Romans--be the curse of the Lord upon them!--the Romans lied. The house is mine. Rise, Amrah, and let us go in." A moment and they were gone, leaving the two in the shade to behold the gate staring blankly at them--the gate which they might not ever enter
more. They nestled together in the dust.

They had done their duty.

Their love was proven.

Next morning they were found, and driven out the city with stones.

"Begone! Ye are of the dead; go to the dead!"

With the doom ringing in their ears, they went forth.

to be continued


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