21 July 2013

posted 19 Jul 2013, 06:25 by C S Paul   [ updated 19 Jul 2013, 06:27 ]

21 July 2013

Quotes to Inspire

  • Christianity is not a theory or speculation, but a life; not a philosophy of life, but a living presence. -- Samuel Taylor 
  • Christian life consists of faith and charity. -- Martin Luther
  • The purpose of Christianity is not to avoid difficulty, but to produce a character adequate to meet it when it comes. It does not make life easy; rather it tries to make us great enough for life. -- James L. Christensen
  • Life is an adventure in forgiveness. -- Norman Cousins
  • The fewer the words, the better the prayer. -- Martin Luther
  • Whatever makes men good Christians, makes them good citizens. -- Daniel Webster
  • I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen. Not only because I see it, but because I see everything by it. -- C.S.Lewis
  • To be like Christ is to be a Christian. -- Daniel Webster
  • The measure of a Christian is not in the height of his grasp but in the depth of his love. -- Clarence Jordan
  • A Christian is a keyhole through which other folk see God. --Robert E. Gibson
  • We should live our lives as though Christ was coming this afternoon. - Jimmy Carter
  • "There's been nothing but discipline, discipline, discipline all my life." — Celine Dion, singer
  • "Without God there is no virtue because there is no prompting of the conscience ... without God there is a coarsening of the society; without God democracy will not and cannot long endure ... If we ever forget that we are One Nation Under God, then we will be a Nation gone under." — Ronald Reagan
  • "The most important thing about goals is—having one." — Geoffry F. Abert
  • A horse never runs so fast as when he has other horses to catch up and outpace." — Ovid, Roman poet
  • “People who are out to find fault seldom find anything else.” — Unknown
  • "Don't worry when you are not recognized, but strive to be worthy of recognition." — Abraham Lincoln

Don’t Judge the Composer

When visiting in a parish neighbourhood, a pastor stopped at a house and asked the man who lived there to visit his church the next Sunday, mentioning at the same time that the man’s neighbour went to that same church. 

On hearing this, the man said he would never go to that church because he wanted nothing to do with a religion that would have a man like his neighbour in it. In fact, he said, his neighbour was the worst neighbour he ever had.

The pastor, seeing that the man had a piano, asked the man’s young daughter if she would play a piece by Beethoven that was on the piano. 

The man said that Beethoven’s music was far too advanced for his daughter. 

Still the pastor insisted, and the girl gave it a try. Needless to say, she butchered Beethoven.

After the daughter was finished, the pastor said, “Boy, that Beethoven sure wasn’t much of a composer was he?”

On hearing this, the man suddenly understood that he, too, had been judging the music of Christian living by the player rather than by the composer.

Let us all try to be good players, but let us not judge the composer by the player.

Shake It Off and Step Up

- Author Unknown

A parable is told of a farmer who owned an old mule. The mule fell into the farmer’s well. The farmer heard the mule ‘braying’ — or whatever mules do when they fall into wells. 

After carefully assessing the situation, the farmer felt sorry for the mule, but decided that neither the mule nor the well was worth saving. Instead, he called his neighbours together and told them what had happened and asked them to help haul dirt to bury the old mule in the well and put him out of his misery.

Initially, the old mule was hysterical! But as the farmer and his neighbours continued shovelling and the dirt hit his back, a thought struck him. It suddenly dawned on him that every time a shovel load of dirt landed on his back: he should shake it off and step up! 

This is what the old mule did, blow after blow. “Shake it off and step up… shake it off and step up… shake it off and step up!” he repeated to encourage himself.

No matter how painful the blows, or distressing the situation seemed, the old mule fought “panic” and just kept right on shaking it off and stepping up! You guessed it! It wasn’t long before the old mule, battered and exhausted, stepped triumphantly over the wall of that well! 

What seemed like it would bury him, actually end up blessing him. All because of the manner in which he handled his adversity.

God works in mysterious ways
Author Unknown

It was an unusually cold day for the month of May. Spring had arrived and everything was alive with colour. But a cold front from the North had brought winter's chill back to Indiana. I sat, with two friends, in the picture window of a quaint restaurant just off the corner of the towns-square. The food and the company were both especially good that day.

As we talked, my attention was drawn outside, across the street. There, walking into town, was a man who appeared to be carrying all his worldly goods on his back. He was carrying, a well-worn sign that read, "I will work for food."

My heart sank. I brought him to the attention of my friends and noticed that others around us had stopped eating to focus on him. Heads moved in a mixture of sadness and disbelief. We continued with our meal, but his image lingered in my mind. We finished our meal and went our separate ways.

I had errands to do and quickly set out to accomplish them. I glanced toward the town square, looking somewhat half-heartedly for the strange visitor. I was fearful, knowing that seeing him again would call some response. I drove through town and saw nothing of him. I made some purchases at a store and got back in my car.

Deep within me, the Spirit of God kept speaking to me: "Don't go back to the office until you've at least driven once more around the square." And so, with some hesitancy, I headed back into town. As I turned the square's third corner. I saw him. He was standing on the steps of the store-front church, going through his sack. I stopped and looked, feeling both compelled to speak to him, yet wanting to drive on.

The empty parking space on the corner seemed to be a sign from God: an invitation to park. I pulled in, got out and approached the town's newest visitor. "Looking for the pastor?" I asked. "Not really," he replied, "just resting."

"Have you eaten today?" "Oh, I ate something early this morning."

"Would you like to have lunch with me?"

"Do you have some work I could do for you?"

"No work," I replied. "I commute here to work from the city, but I would like to take you to lunch."

"Sure," he replied with a smile.

As he began to gather his things. I asked some surface questions. "Where are you headed?"

"St. Louis."

"Where you from?" "Oh, all over; mostly Florida."

"How long you been walking?"

"Fourteen years," came the reply.

I knew I had met someone unusual. We sat across from each other in the same restaurant I had left earlier. His face was weathered slightly beyond his 38 years. His eyes were dark yet clear, and he spoke with an eloquence and articulation that was startling. He removed his jacket to reveal a bright red T-shirt that said, "Jesus is The Never Ending Story."

Then Daniel's story began to unfold. He had seen rough times early in life. He'd made some wrong choices and reaped the consequences. Fourteen years earlier, while backpacking across the country, he had stopped on the beach in Daytona.

He tried to hire on with some men who were putting up a large tent and some equipment. A concert, he thought. He was hired, but the tent would not house a concert but revival services, and in those services he saw life more clearly.

He gave his life over to God. "Nothing's been the same since," he said, "I felt the Lord telling me to keep walking, and so I did, some 14 years now."

"Ever think of stopping?" I asked.

"Oh, once in a while, when it seems to get the best of me.

But God has given me this calling. 
I give out Bibles.

That's what's in my sack. I work to buy food and Bibles, and I give them out when His Spirit leads."

I sat amazed. My homeless friend was not homeless. He was on a mission and lived this way by choice. The question burned inside for a moment and then I asked: "What's it like?"

"What?"

"To walk into a town carrying all your things on your back and to show your sign?"

"Oh, it was humiliating at first. People would stare and make comments.

Once someone tossed a piece of half-eaten bread and made a gesture that certainly didn't make me feel welcome. But then it became humbling to realize that God was using me to touch lives and change people's concepts of other folks like me."

My concept was changing, too. We finished our dessert and gathered his things. Just outside the door, he paused. He turned to me and said, "Come, Ye blessed of my Father, and inherit the kingdom I've prepared for you. For when I was hungry you gave me food, when I was thirsty you gave me drink, a stranger and you took me in."

I felt as if we were on holy ground.

"Could you use another Bible?" I asked.

He said he preferred a certain translation. It travelled well and was not too heavy. It was also his personal favourite. "I've read through it 14 times," he said. "I'm not sure we've got one of those, but let's stop by our church and see."

I was able to find my new friend a Bible that would do well, and he seemed very grateful.

"Where you headed from here?"

"Well, I found this little map on the back of this amusement park coupon."

"Are you hoping to hire on there for awhile?"

"No, I just figure I should go there. I figure someone under that star right there needs a Bible, so that's where I'm going next." He smiled, and the warmth of his spirit radiated the sincerity of his mission.

I drove him back to the town-square where we'd met two hours earlier, and as we drove, it started raining. We parked and unloaded his things.

Would you sign my autograph book?" he asked.

"I like to keep messages from folks I meet."

I wrote in his little book that his commitment to his calling had touched my life. I encouraged him to stay strong. And I left him with a verse of scripture from Jeremiah, "I know the plans I have for you," declared the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you a future and a hope."

"Thanks, man," he said. "I know we just met and we're really just strangers, but I love you."

"I know," I said, "I love you, too."

"The Lord is good."

"Yes, He is. How long has it been since someone hugged you?" I asked.

"A long time," he replied.

And so on the busy street corner in the drizzling rain, my new friend and I embraced, and I felt deep inside that I had been changed. He put his things on his back, smiled his winning smile and said, "See you in the New Jerusalem."

"I'll be there!" was my reply.

He began his journey again. He headed away with his sign dangling from his bed roll and pack of Bibles. He stopped, turned and said, "When you see something that makes you think of me, will you pray for me?"

"You bet," I shouted back, "God bless."

"God bless." And that was the last I saw of him. Late that evening as I left my office, the wind blew strong. The cold front had settled hard upon the town. I bundled up and hurried to my car. As I sat back and reached for the emergency brake, I saw them... a pair of well-worn brown work gloves neatly laid over the length of the handle. I picked them up and thought of my friend and wondered if his hands would stay warm that night without them. I remembered his words: "If you see something that makes you think of me, will you pray for me?"

Today his gloves lie on my desk in my office. They help me to see the world and its people in a new way, and they help me remember those two hours with my unique friend and to pray for his ministry.

"See you in the New Jerusalem," he said.

Yes, Daniel, I know I will.

God created the teacher
Author Unknown

On the 6 th day, God created men and women. On the 7 th. day, he rested. Not so much to recuperate, but rather to prepare himself for the work he was going to do on the next day. 

For it was on that day - the 8 th day - that God created the FIRST TEACHER.

This TEACHER, though taken from among men and women, had several significant modifications. In general, God made the TEACHER more durable than other men and women. The TEACHER was made to arise at a very early hour and to go to bed no earlier than 11:30 PM with no rest in between.

The TEACHER had to be able to withstand being locked up in an air-tight classroom for six hours with thirty-five "monsters" on a rainy Monday. And the TEACHER had to be fit to correct 103 papers over Easter vacation. Yes, God made the TEACHER tough... but gentle, too. The TEACHER was equipped with soft hands to wipe away the tears of the neglected and lonely student... those of the sixteen-year old girl who was not asked to the prom.

And into the TEACHER God poured a generous amount of patience. Patience when a student asks to repeat the directions the TEACHER has just repeated for someone else. Patience when the kids forget their lunch money for the fourth day in a row. Patience when one-third of the class fails the test. Patience when the text books haven't arrived yet, and the semester starts tomorrow.

And God gave the TEACHER a heart slightly bigger than the average human heart. For the Teacher's heart had to be big enough to love the kid who screams, "I hate this class - it's boring!" and to love the kid who runs out of the classroom at the end of the period without so much as a "goodbye," let alone a "thank you."

And lastly, God gave the TEACHER an abundant supply of HOPE. For God knew that the TEACHER would always be hoping. Hoping that the kids would someday learn how to spell... hoping not to have lunchroom duty... hoping that Friday would come... hoping for a free day... hoping for deliverance.

When God finished creating the TEACHER, he stepped back and admired the work of His hands. And God saw that the TEACHER was good. Very Good! And God smiled, for when he looked at the TEACHER, he saw into the future.

He knew that the future is in the hands of the TEACHERS. And because God loves TEACHERS so much... on the 9th day God created... SNOW DAYS!


Did you know ?

  • A rhinoceros horn is made of compacted hair.  
  • A Saudi Arabian woman can get a divorce if her husband doesn't give her coffee.  
  • A scientific report form the University of California found that the steam rising from a cup of coffee contains the same amounts of antioxidants as three oranges. The antioxidants are heterocyclic compounds which prevents cancer and heart disease. It's good for you!  
  • A scientist who weighed people immediately before and after death concluded that the human soul weighs 21 gms. 
  • A scrum in rugby is equivalent of a hockey face-off, except that it involves all playing the forward position on both teams. 
  • A SEAL's weapon of choice is the Heckler and Koch MP-5 submachine gun. 
  • A shark can detect one part of blood in 100 million parts of water.  
  • A shark can grow a new set of teeth in a week.  
  • A shark is the only fish that can blink with both eyes.  
  • A shrimp's heart is in its head.  
  • A single drop of water contains one hundred billion billion atoms. 
  • A single share of Coca-Cola stock, purchased in 1919, when the company went public, would have been worth $92,500 in 1997. 
  • A snail can actually glide over the sharp edge of a knife or razor without harming itself. This has something to do with the mucus it produces. 

Just for laughs

The Fall

A man named Jack was walking along a steep cliff one day, when he accidentally got too close to the edge and fell. On the way down he grabbed a branch, which temporarily stopped his fall. He looked down and to his horror saw that the canyon fell straight down for more than a thousand feet. 

He couldn't hang onto the branch forever, and there was no way for him to climb up the steep wall of the cliff. So Jack began yelling for help, hoping that someone passing by would hear him and lower a rope or something. 

HELP! HELP! Is anyone up there? "HELP!" 

He yelled for a long time, but no one heard him. He was about to give up when he heard a voice. Jack, Jack. Can you hear me?" 

"Yes, yes! I can hear you. I'm down here!" 

"I can see you, Jack. Are you all right?" 

"Yes, but who are you, and where are you? 

"I am the Lord, Jack. I'm everywhere." 

"The Lord? You mean, GOD?" 

"That's Me." 

"God, please help me! I promise if, you'll get me down from here, I'll stop sinning. I'll be a really good person. I'll serve You for the rest of my life." 

"Easy on the promises, Jack. Let's get you off from there; then we can talk." 

"Now, here's what I want you to do. Listen carefully." 

"I'll do anything, Lord. Just tell me what to do." 

"Okay. Let go of the branch.""What?" "I said, let go of the branch. Just trust Me. Let go." 

There was a long silence. 

Finally Jack yelled, "HELP! HELP! IS ANYONE ELSE UP THERE?" 

Author Unknown
 
A Prayer Upon Waking

Dear God, so far today, I've done all right. I have not gossiped, and I have not lost my temper. 

I haven't been grumpy, nasty or selfish, and I'm really glad of that! But in a few minutes, God, I'm going to get out of bed, and from then on, I'm probably going to need a lot of help. 

Thank you! Amen. 


BEN-HUR: A TALE OF THE CHRIST 

by Lew Wallace

Part Five 

Messala sends a letter to Valerius Gratus about his discovery that Judah is alive and well, however Sheik Ilderim intercepts the letter and shares its contents with Judah. He discovers that his mother and sister were imprisoned in a cell at the Antonia Fortress and Messala has been spying on him.

Ilderim is deeply impressed with Judah's skills with his racing horses and is pleased to choose him as charioteer.

Simonides the merchant comes to Judah and offers him the accumulated fortune of the Hur family business, of which Simonides has been steward. Judah Ben-Hur accepts only the money, leaving property and the rest to the loyal merchant. They each agree to do their part to fight for the Christ, whom they believe to be a political savior from Roman authority.

A day before the race Ilderim prepared his horses and Judah appoints Malluch to organize his support campaign for him. Meanwhile, Messala organizes his own huge campaign, revealing Judah Ben-Hur's real identity to the world as an outcast and convict. Malluch challenges Messala and his cronies to a vast wager, which, if the Roman loses, would bankrupt him.

The day of the race comes. During the race Messala and Judah become the clear leaders. Judah deliberately scrapes his chariot wheel against Messala's and Messala's chariot breaks apart. Judah is crowned winner and showered with prizes, claiming his first strike against Rome.

After the race, Judah Ben-Hur receives a letter from Iras asking him to go to the Roman palace of Idernee. When he arrives there, he sees that he has been tricked. Thord, a Saxon, hired by Messala, comes to kill Judah. They duel, but before it is over Ben-Hur offers Thord four thousand sestercii to let him live. Thord returns to Messala claiming he has killed Judah - so collecting money from both Messala and Judah, returning to Rome to open a wine shop. Being supposedly dead, Judah Ben-Hur goes to the desert with Ilderim to plan a secret campaign.


PART V - CHAPTER XI continued

The audacity seemed to stun his hearers.

"Haste!" he said. "I have an engagement with the consul."

The spur was effective.

"Two to one," cried half a dozen in a voice.

"What!" exclaimed the purveyor, astonished. "Only two to one, and yours a Roman!"

"Take three, then."

"Three say you--only three--and mine but a dog of a Jew! Give me four."

"Four it is," said a boy, stung by the taunt.

"Five--give me five," cried the purveyor, instantly.

A profound stillness fell upon the assemblage.

"The consul--your master and mine--is waiting for me."

The inaction became awkward to the many.

"Give me five--for the honor of Rome, five."

"Five let it be," said one in answer.

There was a sharp cheer--a commotion--and Messala himself appeared.

"Five let it be," he said.

And Sanballat smiled, and made ready to write.

"If Caesar die to-morrow," he said, "Rome will not be all bereft. There is at least one other with spirit to take his place. Give me six."

"Six be it," answered Messala.

There was another shout louder than the first.

"Six be it," repeated Messala. "Six to one--the difference between a Roman and a Jew. And, having found it, now, O redemptor of the flesh of swine, let us on. The amount--and quickly. The consul may send for thee, and I will then be bereft."

Sanballat took the laugh against him coolly, and wrote, and offered the writing to Messala.

"Read, read!" everybody demanded.

And Messala read:

"Mem.--Chariot-race. Messala of Rome, in wager with Sanballat, also of Rome, says he will beat Ben-Hur, the Jew. Amount of wager, twenty talents. Odds to Sanballat, six to one.

"Witnesses: SANBALLAT."

There was no noise, no motion. Each person seemed held in the pose the reading found him. Messala stared at the memorandum, while the eyes which had him in view opened wide, and stared at him. He felt the gaze, and thought rapidly. So lately he stood in the same place, and in the same way hectored the countrymen around him.

They would remember it. If he refused to sign, his hero-ship was lost. And sign he could not; he was not worth one hundred talents, nor the fifth part of the sum. Suddenly his mind became a blank; he stood speechless; the color fled his face. An idea at last came
to his relief.

"Thou Jew!" he said, "where hast thou twenty talents? Show me."

Sanballat's provoking smile deepened.

"There," he replied, offering Messala a paper.

"Read, read!" arose all around.

Again Messala read:

"AT ANTIOCH, Tammuz 16th day.

"The bearer, Sanballat of Rome, hath now to his order with me fifty talents, coin of Caesar.

SIMONIDES."

"Fifty talents, fifty talents!" echoed the throng, in amazement.

Then Drusus came to the rescue.

"By Hercules!" he shouted, "the paper lies, and the Jew is a liar. Who but Caesar hath fifty talents at order? Down with the insolent white!"

The cry was angry, and it was angrily repeated; yet Sanballat kept his seat, and his smile grew more exasperating the longer he waited. At length Messala spoke.

"Hush! One to one, my countrymen--one to one, for love of our ancient Roman name."

The timely action recovered him his ascendancy.

"O thou circumcised dog!" he continued, to Sanballat, "I gave thee six to one, did I not?"

"Yes," said the Jew, quietly.

"Well, give me now the fixing of the amount."

"With reserve, if the amount be trifling, have thy will," answered Sanballat.

"Write, then, five in place of twenty."

"Hast thou so much?"

"By the mother of the gods, I will show you receipts."

"Nay, the word of so brave a Roman must pass. Only make the sum even--six make it, and I will write."

"Write it so."

And forthwith they exchanged writings.

Sanballat immediately arose and looked around him, a sneer in place of his smile. No man better than he knew those with whom he was dealing.

"Romans," he said, "another wager, if you dare! Five talents against five talents that the white will win. I challenge you collectively."

They were again surprised.

"What!" he cried, louder. "Shall it be said in the Circus to-morrow that a dog of Israel went into the saloon of the palace full of Roman nobles--among them the scion of a Caesar--and laid five talents before them in challenge, and they had not the courage to take it up?"

The sting was unendurable.

"Have done, O insolent!" said Drusus, "write the challenge, and leave it on the table; and to-morrow, if we find thou hast indeed so much money to put at such hopeless hazard, I, Drusus, promise it shall be taken."

Sanballat wrote again, and, rising, said, unmoved as ever, "See, Drusus, I leave the offer with you. When it is signed, send it to me any time before the race begins. I will be found with the consul in a seat over the Porta Pompae. Peace to you; peace to all."

He bowed, and departed, careless of the shout of derision with which they pursued him out of the door.

In the night the story of the prodigious wager flew along the streets and over the city; and Ben-Hur, lying with his four, was told of it, and also that Messala's whole fortune was on
the hazard.

And he slept never so soundly.

to be continued


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