23 February 2014

posted 20 Feb 2014, 19:09 by C S Paul

23 February 2014

Quotes to Inspire

  • "It is not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves." — Edmund Hillary
  • "I ask not for a lighter burden, but for broader shoulders." — Jewish Proverb
  • "When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hang on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn." — Harriet Beecher Stowe
  • "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 (Philippians 4:13)
  • "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
  • "If you don't fail now and again, it's a sign you're playing it safe." — Woody Allen
  • "People may not remember exactly what you did, or what you said, but they will always remember how you made them feel." — Unknown
  • "Friendship is a candle whose flame glows brighter when the hour is darker." — Unknown
  • "A real friend is when you can sit alone together and never say a word … and walk away feeling that you have had the best conversation." — Unknown
  • "Transformation through reconfiguration: We become transformed to the express image of Christ through the reconfiguration of our thinking, habits, and all else we do, say and believe. Believe me; it takes courage to do so." — Pete Patterson
  • Forgiveness is man's deepest need and highest achievement. -- Horace Bushnell

Nothing Beats Family

By Ridgely Goldsborough

I stepped into my hotel room to a pleasant surprise. Lots of room surrounded an inviting king-size bed, flanked by overstuffed armchairs that rested against sliding glass doors that opened onto a private patio. A small dining table sat next to a kitchenette with a separate sink, refrigerator and coffee machine. "Wow," I thought to myself. "Nice place."

I love hotels - from the Holiday Inn Express to the Ritz-Carlton and everything in between. I love to enter a clean room, hang my clothes and gaze out the window, walk out in the morning knowing that each afternoon when I return, someone else will have made the bed. I like in-room dining and the way they greet you so professionally. "Nice to have you with us again, Mr. Goldsborough." Very cool.

The problem is that unless Alison travels with me, I never sleep well in hotels. I miss my family. Even though Linus and Camille, at ages 4 and almost 2, find a way to interrupt even the best night's sleep at home, still, I'd rather be with them. I'll take Linus clamoring over me at five AM or a kick in the chin from Camille over the finest linens and a chocolate on my pillow. When I'm on the road I yearn for my loved ones.

I'm deeply troubled by the number of parents who wake up too late with the realization: "My children grew up too fast. In the hustle-bustle of career and corporate rat race, I missed their childhood." What they fail to say but too often inwardly think causes me even more pain: "...and I barely even know them."This applies to couples as well - so in a hurry to get who-knows-where - a destination seldom defined. Relationships turn into co-habitations, romance into convenience. Very disturbing.

A hundred years from now, no one will remember the size of your bank account, the car you drove or the square footage of your house. The world might differ greatly however, based on your impact in the life of a small child. Your life will most certainly improve, if you pay attention to your significant other, make the choice to put her or him first. Your example will benefit the rest of us. Our world cries out for role models and heroes of every day living. What could you do today to let your loved ones know how much they mean to you? What will you do tomorrow? And the next day?

Think of one specific action that you can take, and take it. Then think of another one and take that, too. Challenge yourself to find new ways to express your appreciation and love on a daily basis. It will pay off ten-fold at home.

On those slightly stressful days when the grass looks a little greener and you feel like maybe you need a break, remember this. Room service will never kiss you goodnight!

The house with the golden windows


The little girl lived in a small, very simple, poor house on a hill and as she grew she would play in the small garden and as she grew she was able to see over the garden fence and across the valley to a wonderful house high on the hill - and this house had golden windows, so golden and shining that the little girl would dream of how magic it would be to grow up and live in a house with golden windows instead of an ordinary house like hers.

And although she loved her parents and her family, she yearned to live in such a golden house and dreamed all day about how wonderful and exciting it must feel to live there.

When she got to an age where she gained enough skill and sensibility to go outside her garden fence, she asked her mother is she could go for a bike ride outside the gate and down the lane. After pleading with her, her mother finally allowed her to go, insisting that she kept close to the house and didn't wander too far. The day was beautiful and the little girl knew exactly where she was heading! Down the lane and across the valley, she rode her bike until she got to the gate of the golden house across on the other hill.

As she dismounted her bike and lent it against the gate post, she focused on the path that lead to the house and then on the house itself...and was so disappointed as she realised all the windows were plain and rather dirty, reflecting nothing other than the sad neglect of the house that stood derelict.

So sad she didn't go any further and turned, heart broken as she remounted her bike ... As she glanced up she saw a sight to amaze her...there across the way on her side of the valley was a little house and its windows glistened golden ...as the sun shone on her little home.

She realised that she had been living in her golden house and all the love and care she found there was what made her home the 'golden house'. Everything she dreamed was right there in front of her nose!

Puppy Love

-- By Bill McCartney

We jog, run, camp, fish, and build furniture. But, do we ever cross the line?

I'm Bill McCartney... It's 4th and Goal!

I know men who can take raw wood and a few nails and create a family heirloom. And then there are those of us who can listen to a sputtering engine and pinpoint the problem without even popping the hood. Other guys fly fish or fry up a gourmet meal.

Some of us are music lovers, avid readers and huge pet fans. These interests help fulfill us, but sometimes we can get caught up filling our days... and evenings... and weekends... pursuing activities that leave our families in the dust.

Take our interest in man's best friend. Our animals are companions for kids, protection for the home and just plain furry fun for the whole family. But, with all the extras and supplies available, there can be a tendency to get a little carried away.

We've got doggy beds, doggy diet chow, and special canine clothing. People primp their pooches, put them up in pet hotels, and even take them to counselors, when they're not sure what's dogging Fido. Things can easily get out of hand.

While we enjoy our outside interests and hobbies, do we let these "extras" become sore spots in our lives? Do they absorb far more time, energy and money than we should be sacrificing?

Any diversion can draw us away from the relationships that make life worth living. Let's ask ourselves what's more important, fulfilling our own needs or being a father to our children? What will they remember longer? The shiny wax job on the classic 'vette? Or, all those times we got on the ground and wrestled around with them?

Guys, we can take our hobbies to the extreme, pouring money and time into efforts that have no lasting value. Anything we put ahead of our wives and children, whether a pedigreed pooch, a workbench full of tools, or a super-deluxe convertible, says something about who we are, as men. Let's keep first things first and stay clear of anything that pulls us away from our first priorities as fathers and husbands.

"...Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things." -- Philippians 4:8


Former head football coach of the University of Colorado, Coach Bill McCartney is the founder and former president of Promise Keepers. Currently he is the founder and chairman of The Road to Jerusalem ministry.

Nothing is written

Roger Darlington

My all-time favourite film is "Lawrence Of Arabia" and, if I have a favourite scene from the movie, then I guess it is the one of Lawrence's triumphal return from the Nefud desert, having gone back to rescue the Arab Gasim. The crossing of the Nefud desert is considered impossible, even by the local Arabs, but Lawrence persuades them that, in this way, they can take the Turkish port at Aqaba from the rear.

Having carried out the superhuman feat of traversing this furnace, it is discovered that one of the Arabs, Gasim, has fallen off his camel and is no doubt dying somewhere back in the desert. Lawrence is told that any idea of rescue is futile and, in any event, Gasim's death is "written". When Lawrence achieves the impossible and returns with Gasim still alive, Sherif Ali admits to him: "Truly, for some men nothing is written unless they write it".

As an impressionable teenager when this film was first released, I was stunned by Lawrence's courage and unselfishness in going back into the hell of the Nefud to attempt to find a man he hardly knew among the vast expanse of a fiery terrain and I was so moved by the sense of purpose of a man who is determined to take nothing as "written" but to shape his own destiny. This sense of anti-determinism and this belief that anything is possible has stayed with me always and continues to inspire me in small ways and large.

Did You Know ?

  • India has the most post offices in the world !
  • The largest employer in the world is the Indian railway system, employing over a million people !.   
  • The World's first university was established in Takshila in 700 BC. More than 10,500 students from all over the world studied more than 60 subjects. The University of Nalanda built in the 4th century was one of the greatest achievements of ancient India in the field of education.
  • A kangaroo can't jump unless its tail is touching the ground.
  • Dolphins don't automatically breath; they have to tell themselves to do it.
  • Cats sleep 16 to 18 hours per day.
  • A flamingo can eat only when its head is upside down.
  • No other animal gives us more by-products than the pig. These by-products include pig suede, buttons, glass, paint brushes, crayons, chalk and insulation to name a few.
  • Ayurveda is the earliest school of medicine known to mankind. The father of medicine, Charaka, consolidated Ayurveda 2500 years ago.
  • Although modern images & descriptions of India often show poverty, India was one of the richest countries till the time of British in the early 17th Century. Christopher Columbus was attracted by India's wealth and was looking for route to India when he discovered America by mistake.
Just for Laughs
The Minister and the Taxi Driver

A minister has just died and is standing in line waiting to be judged and admitted to Heaven.

While waiting he asks the man in front of him about himself. The man says, "I am a taxi driver from New York City." 

The angel standing at the gate calls out next and the taxi driver steps up. The angel hands him a golden staff and a cornucopia of fruits, cheeses, and wine and lets him pass. The taxi driver is quite pleased, and proceeds through the gates. 

Next, the minister steps up to the angel who hands him a wooden staff and some bread and water. 

The minister is very concerned and asks the angel, "That guy is a taxi driver and gets a golden staff and a cornucopia! I spend my entire life as a minister and get nothing! How can that be?" 

The angel replies, "Up here we judge on results—all of your people sleep through your sermons—in his taxi, they pray." 


by Lew Wallace

Part Eight

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

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

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

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

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

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

PART VIII - CHAPTER - VI  continued

As he was about passing out of the door, she called to him.

"A word."

He stopped where he was, and looked back.

"Consider all I know about you."

"O most fair Egyptian," he said, returning, "what all do you know about me?"

She looked at him absently.

"You are more of a Roman, son of Hur, then any of your Hebrew brethren."

"Am I so unlike my countrymen?" he asked, indifferently.

"The demi-gods are all Roman now," she rejoined.

"And therefore you will tell me what more you know about me?"

"The likeness is not lost upon me. It might induce me to save you."

"Save me!"

The pink-stained fingers toyed daintily with the lustrous pendant at the throat, and her voice was exceeding low and soft; only a tapping on the floor with her silken sandal admonished him to have a care.

"There was a Jew, an escaped galley-slave, who killed a man in the Palace of Idernee," she began, slowly.

Ben-Hur was startled.

"The same Jew slew a Roman soldier before the Market-place here in Jerusalem; the same Jew has three trained legions from Galilee to seize the Roman governor to-night; the same Jew has alliancesperfected for war upon Rome, and Ilderim the Sheik is one of his partners."

Drawing nearer him, she almost whispered,

"You have lived in Rome. Suppose these things repeated in ears we know of. Ah! you change color."

He drew back from her with somewhat of the look which may be imagined upon the face of a man who, thinking to play with a kitten, has run upon a tiger; and she proceeded:

"You are acquainted in the antechamber, and know the Lord Sejanus. Suppose it were told him with the proofs in hand--or without the proofs--that the same Jew is the richest man in the East--nay, in all the empire. The fishes of the Tiber would have fattening other than that they dig out of its ooze, would they not? And while they were feeding--ha! son of Hur!--what splendor there would be on exhibition in the Circus! Amusing the Roman people is a fine art; getting the money to keep them amused is another art even finer; and was there ever an artist the equal of the Lord Sejanus?"

Ben-Hur was not too much stirred by the evident baseness of the woman for recollection. Not unfrequently when all the other faculties are numb and failing memory does its offices with
the greatest fidelity. The scene at the spring on the way to the Jordan reproduced itself; and he remembered thinking then that Esther had betrayed him, and thinking so now, he said calmly as he could,

"To give you pleasure, daughter of Egypt, I acknowledge your cunning, and that I am at your mercy. It may also please you to hear me acknowledge I have no hope of your favor. I could kill you, but you are a woman. The Desert is open to receive me; and though Rome is a good hunter of men, there she would follow long and far before she caught me, for in its heart there are wildernesses of spears as well as wildernesses of sand, and it is not unlovely to the unconquered Parthian. In the toils as I am--dupe that I have been--yet there is one thing my due: who told you all you know about me? In flight or captivity, dying even, there will
be consolation in leaving the traitor the curse of a man who has lived knowing nothing but wretchedness. Who told you all you know about me?"

It might have been a touch of art, or might have been sincere--that as it may--the expression of the Egyptian's face became sympathetic.

"There are in my country, O son of Hur," she said, presently, "workmen who make pictures by gathering vari-colored shells here and there on the sea-shore after storms, and cutting
them up, and patching the pieces as inlaying on marble slabs. Can you not see the hint there is in the practice to such as go searching for secrets? Enough that from this person I gathered a
handful of little circumstances, and from that other yet another handful, and that afterwhile I put them together, and was happy as a woman can be who has at disposal the fortune and life of a man whom"--she stopped, and beat the floor with her foot, and looked away as if to hide a sudden emotion from him; with an air of even painful resolution she presently finished the sentence--"whom she is at loss what to do with."

"No, it is not enough," Ben-Hur said, unmoved by the play--"it is not enough. To-morrow you will determine what to do with me. I may die."

"True," she rejoined quickly and with emphasis, "I had something from Sheik Ilderim as he lay with my father in a grove out in the Desert. The night was still, very still, and the walls of the
tent, sooth to say, were poor ward against ears outside listening to--birds and beetles flying through the air."

She smiled at the conceit, but proceeded:

"Some other things--bits of shell for the picture--I had from--"


"The son of Hur himself."

"Was there no other who contributed?"

"No, not one."

Hur drew a breath of relief, and said, lightly, "Thanks. It were not well to keep the Lord Sejanus waiting for you. The Desert is not so sensitive. Again, O Egypt, peace!"

To this time he had been standing uncovered; now he took the handkerchief from his arm where it had been hanging, and adjusting it upon his head, turned to depart. But she arrested him; in her eagerness, she even reached a hand to him.

"Stay," she said.

He looked back at her, but without taking the hand, though it was very noticeable for its sparkling of jewels; and he knew by her manner that the reserved point of the scene which was
so surprising to him was now to come.

"Stay, and do not distrust me, O son of Hur, if I declare I know why the noble Arrius took you for his heir. And, by Isis! by all the gods of Egypt! I swear I tremble to think of you, so brave and
generous, under the hand of the remorseless minister. You have left a portion of your youth in the atria of the great capital; consider, as I do, what the Desert will be to you in contrast of life. Oh, I give you pity--pity! And if you but do what I say, I will save you. That, also, I swear, by our holy Isis!"

Words of entreaty and prayer these, poured forth volubly and with earnestness and the mighty sanction of beauty.

"Almost--almost I believe you," Ben-Hur said, yet hesitatingly, and in a voice low and indistinct; for a doubt remained with him grumbling against the yielding tendency of the man--a good
sturdy doubt, such a one as has saved many a life and fortune.

"The perfect life for a woman is to live in love; the greatest happiness for a man is the conquest of himself; and that, O prince, is what I have to ask of you."

She spoke rapidly, and with animation; indeed, she had never appeared to him so fascinating.

"You had once a friend," she continued. "It was in your boyhood. There was a quarrel, and you and he became enemies. He did you wrong. After many years you met him again in the Circus at Antioch."


"Yes, Messala. You are his creditor. Forgive the past; admit him to friendship again; restore the fortune he lost in the great wager; rescue him. The six talents are as nothing to you; not so
much as a bud lost upon a tree already in full leaf; but to him-- Ah, he must go about with a broken body; wherever you meet him he must look up to you from the ground. O Ben-Hur, noble prince! to a Roman descended as he is beggary is the other most odious name for death. Save him from beggary!"

If the rapidity with which she spoke was a cunning invention to keep him from thinking, either she never knew or else had forgotten that there are convictions which derive nothing from
thought, but drop into place without leave or notice. It seemed to him, when at last she paused to have his answer, that he could see Messala himself peering at him over her shoulder; and in its expression the countenance of the Roman was not that of a mendicant or a friend; the sneer was as patrician as ever, and the fine edge of the hauteur as flawless and irritating.

"The appeal has been decided then, and for once a Messala takes nothing. I must go and write it in my book of great occurrences--a judgment by a Roman against a Roman! But did he--did Messala send you to me with this request, O Egypt?"

"He has a noble nature, and judged you by it."

Ben-Hur took the hand upon arm.

"As you know him in such friendly way, fair Egyptian, tell me, would he do for me, there being a reversal of the conditions, that he asks of me? Answer, by Isis! Answer, for the truth's

There was insistence in the touch of his hand, and in his look also.

"Oh!" she began, "he is--"

"A Roman, you were about to say; meaning that I, a Jew, must not determine dues from me to him by any measure of dues from him to me; being a Jew, I must forgive him my winnings because he is a Roman. If you have more to tell me, daughter of Balthasar, speak quickly, quickly; for by the Lord God of Israel, when this heat of blood, hotter waxing, attains its highest, I may not be able longer to see that you are a woman, and beautiful! I may see but the spy of a master the more hateful because the master is a Roman. Say on, and quickly."

She threw his hand off and stepped back into the full light, with all the evil of her nature collected in her eyes and voice.

"Thou drinker of lees, feeder upon husks! To think I could love thee, having seen Messala! Such as thou were born to serve him. He would have been satisfied with release of the six talents;
but I say to the six thou shalt add twenty--twenty, dost thou hear? The kissings of my little finger which thou hast taken from him, though with my consent, shall be paid for; and that I
have followed thee with affection of sympathy, and endured thee so long, enter into the account not less because I was serving him. The merchant here is thy keeper of moneys. If by to-morrow at noon he has not thy order acted upon in favor of my Messala for six-and-twenty talents--mark the sum!--thou shalt settle with the Lord Sejanus. Be wise and--farewell."

As she was going to the door, he put himself in her way.

"The old Egypt lives in you," he said. "Whether you see Messala to-morrow or the next day, here or in Rome, give him this message. Tell him I have back the money, even the six talents, he robbed me of by robbing my father's estate; tell him I survived the galleys to which he had me sent, and in my strength rejoice in his beggary and dishonor; tell him I think the affliction of body which he has from my hand is the curse of our Lord God of Israel upon him more
fit than death for his crimes against the helpless; tell him my mother and sister whom he had sent to a cell in Antonia that they might die of leprosy, are alive and well, thanks to the power of the Nazarene whom you so despise; tell him that, to fill my measure of happiness, they are restored to me, and that I will go hence to their love, and find in it more than compensation for the impure passions which you leave me to take to him; tell him--this for your comfort, O cunning incarnate, as much as his--tell him that when the Lord Sejanus comes to despoil me he will find nothing; for the inheritance I had from the duumvir, including the villa by Misenum, has been sold, and the money from the sale is out of reach, afloat in the marts of the world as bills of exchange; and that this house and the goods and merchandise and the ships and
caravans with which Simonides plies his commerce with such princely profits are covered by imperial safeguards--a wise head having found the price of the favor, and the Lord Sejanus preferring a reasonable gain in the way of gift to much gain fished from pools of blood and wrong; tell him if all this were not so, if the money and property were all mine, yet should he not have the least part of it, for when he finds our Jewish bills, and forces them to give up their values, there is yet another resort left me--a deed of gift to Caesar--so much, O Egypt, I found out in the atria of the great capital; tell him that along with my defiance I do not send him a curse in words, but, as a better expression of my undying hate, I send him one who will prove to him the sum of all curses; and when he looks at you repeating this my message,
daughter of Balthasar, his Roman shrewdness will tell him all I mean. Go now--and I will go."

He conducted her to the door, and, with ceremonious politeness, held back the curtain while she passed out.

"Peace to you," he said, as she disappeared.

to be continued