24 June 2012

posted 21 Jun 2012, 23:27 by C S Paul   [ updated 21 Jun 2012, 23:30 ]
24 June 2012

Joe Helps

Author unknown

He was driving home one evening, on a two-lane country road. Work in this small Midwestern community, was almost as slow as his beat-up Pontiac. But he never quit looking. Ever since the factory closed, he'd been unemployed, and with winter raging on, the chill had finally hit home.

It was a lonely road. Not very many people had a reason to be on it unless they were leaving. Most of his friends had already left. They had families to feed and dreams to fulfill. But he stayed on. After all, this was where he buried his mother and father. He was born here, he knew the country. He could go down this road blind, and tell you what was on either side, and with his headlights not working, that came in handy.

It was starting to get dark and light snow flurries were coming down. He'd better get a move on. You know, he almost did not see the old lady, stranded on the side of the road. But even in the dim light of day, he could see she needed help. So he pulled up in front of her Mercedes and got out. His Pontiac was still sputtering when he approached her.

Even with the smile on his face, she was worried. No one had stopped to help for the last hour or so. Was he going to hurt her? He didn't look safe, he looked poor and hungry. He could see that she was frightened, standing out there in the cold. He knew how she felt. It was that
chill that only fear can put in you. He said, "I am here to help you ma'am. Why don't you wait in the car where it's warm? By the way, my name is Joe."

Well, all she had was a flat tire, but for an old lady that was bad enough.Joe crawled under the car looking for a place to put the jack, skinning his knuckles a time or two. Soon he was able to change the tire. 

But he had to get dirty and his hands hurt. As he was tightening up the lug nuts, she rolled down her window and began to talk to him. She told him that she was from St. Louis and was only passing through. She could not thank him enough for coming to her aid. Joe just smiled as he closed her trunk.

She asked him how much she owed him. Any amount would have been all right with her. She had already imagined all the awful things that could have happened had he not stopped. Joe never thought twice about the money. This was not a job to him. This was helping someone in need, and God knows there were plenty who had given him a hand in the past. He had lived his whole life that way, and it never occurred to him to act any other way. He told her that if she really wanted to pay him back, the next time she saw someone who needed help, she could give that person the assistance they needed, and Joe added, "And think of me."

He waited until she started her car and drove off. It had been a cold and depressing day, but he felt good as he headed for home, disappearing into the twilight.

A few miles down the road the lady saw a small cafe. She went in to grab a bite to eat, and take the chill off before she made the last leg of her trip home. It was a dingy looking restaurant. Outside were two old gas pumps. The whole scene was unfamiliar to her. The cash register was
like the telephone of an out of work actor-it did not ring much.

Her waitress came over and brought a clean towel to wipe her wet hair.She had a sweet smile, one that even being on her feet for the whole day could not erase. The lady noticed the waitress was nearly eight months pregnant, but she never let the strain and aches change her attitude.
The old lady wondered how someone like her who had so little could be so
giving to a stranger. Then she remembered Joe. After the lady finished her meal, and the waitress went to get her change from a hundred-dollar bill, the lady stepped right out the door.

She was gone by the time the waitress came back. She wondered where the lady could be, then she noticed something written on a napkin. There were tears in her eyes, when she read what the lady wrote. It said,"You don't owe me a thing. I have been there too. Someone once helped me out, the way I am helping you. If you really want to pay me back, here's what you do.
Do not let the chain of love end with you."

Well, there were tables to clear, sugar bowls to fill and people to serve, but the waitress made it through another day. That night when she got home from work and climbed into bed, she was thinking about the money and what the lady had written. How could she have known how much she and her husband needed it? With the baby due next month, it was going to be hard. She knew how worried her husband was, and as he lay sleeping next to her, she gave him a soft kiss and whispered low, "Everything's going to be all right. I llove you, Joe."


The Old Fisherman

by Mary Bartels Bray 

Our house was directly across the street from the clinic entrance of Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. We lived downstairs and rented the upstairs rooms to out patients at the clinic. One summer evening as I was fixing supper, there was a knock at the door. I opened it to see a truly awful looking man. "Why, he's hardly taller than my eight-year-old," I thought as I stared at the stooped, shriveled body. But the appalling thing was his face -- lopsided from swelling, red and raw. Yet his voice was pleasant as he said, "Good evening. I've come to see if you've a room for just one night. I came for a treatment this morning from the eastern shore, and there's no bus 'til morning."

He told me he'd been hunting for a room since noon but with no success, no one seemed to have a room. "I guess it's my face...I know it looks terrible, but my doctor says with a few more treatments..."

For a moment I hesitated, but his next words convinced me: "I could sleep in this rocking chair on the porch. My bus leaves early in the morning."

I told him we would find him a bed, but to rest on the porch. I went inside and finished getting supper. When we were ready, I asked the old man if he would join us. "No thank you. I have plenty." And he held up a brown paper bag.

When I had finished the dishes, I went out on the porch to talk with him a few minutes. It didn't take a long time to see that this old man had an oversized heart crowded into that tiny body. He told me he fished for a living to support his daughter, her five children, and her husband, who was hopelessly crippled from a back injury.

He didn't tell it by way of complaint; in fact, every other sentence was preface with a thanks to God for a blessing. He was grateful that no pain accompanied his disease, which was apparently a form of skin cancer.

He thanked God for giving him the strength to keep going. At bedtime, we put a camp cot in the children's room for him. When I got up in the morning, the bed linens were neatly folded and the little man was out on the porch. He refused breakfast, but just before he left for his bus, haltingly, as if asking a great favor, he said, "Could I please come back and stay the next time I have a treatment? I won't put you out a bit. I can sleep fine in a chair." He paused a moment and then added, "Your children made me feel at home. Grownups are bothered by my face, but children don't seem to mind." 

I told him he was welcome to come again. And on his next trip he arrived a little after seven in the morning. As a gift, he brought a big fish and a quart of the largest oysters I had ever seen. He said he had shucked them that morning before he left so that they'd be nice and fresh. I knew his bus left at 4:00 a.m. and I wondered what time he had to get up in order to do this for us.

In the years he came to stay overnight with us there was never a time that he did not bring us fish or oysters or vegetables from his garden. Other times we received packages in the mail, always by special delivery; fish and oysters packed in a box of fresh young spinach or kale, every leaf carefully washed. Knowing that he must walk three miles to mail these, and knowing how little money he had made the gifts doubly precious. 

When I received these little remembrances, I often thought of a comment our next-door neighbor made after he left that first morning. "Did you keep that awful looking man last night? I turned him away! You can lose roomers by putting up such people!" Maybe we did lose roomers once or twice. But oh! If only they could have known him, perhaps their illness' would have been easier to bear. I know our family always will be grateful to have known him; from him we learned what it was to accept the bad without complaint and the good with gratitude to God.

Recently I was visiting a friend who has a greenhouse, As she showed me her flowers, we came to the most beautiful one of all, a golden chrysanthemum, bursting with blooms. But to my great surprise, it was growing in an old dented, rusty bucket. I thought to myself, "If this were my plant, I'd put it in the loveliest container I had!" My friend changed my mind. "I ran short of pots," she explained, "and knowing how beautiful this one would be, I thought it wouldn't mind starting out in this old pail. It's just for a little while, till I can put it out in the garden."

She must have wondered why I laughed so delightedly, but I was imagining just such a scene in heaven. "Here's an especially beautiful one," God might have said when he came to the soul of the sweet old fisherman. "He won't mind starting in this small body." All this happened long ago -- and now, in God's garden, how tall this lovely soul must stand.


BEN-HUR: A TALE OF THE CHRIST 

by Lew Wallace


Part Three

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

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

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

Part three - 
CHAPTER II
 (Continued)

As to the rowers, those upon the first and second benches sat, 
while those upon the third, having longer oars to work, were suffered 
to stand. The oars were loaded with lead in the handles, and near the 
point of balance hung to pliable thongs, making possible the delicate
touch called feathering, but, at the same time, increasing the 
need of skill, since an eccentric wave might at any moment catch 
a heedless fellow and hurl him from his seat. 

Each oar-hole was 
a vent through which the laborer opposite it had his plenty of 
sweet air. Light streamed down upon him from the grating which 
formed the floor of the passage between the deck and the bulwark 
over his head. In some respects, therefore, the condition of the 
men might have been much worse. Still, it must not be imagined that 
there was any pleasantness in their lives. Communication between 
them was not allowed. 

Day after day they filled their places 
without speech; in hours of labor they could not see each other's 
faces; their short respites were given to sleep and the snatching 
of food. They never laughed; no one ever heard one of them sing.

What is the use of tongues when a sigh or a groan will tell all 
men feel while, perforce, they think in silence? Existence with 
the poor wretches was like a stream under ground sweeping slowly, 
laboriously on to its outlet, wherever that might chance to be.

O Son of Mary! The sword has now a heart--and thine the glory! 
So now; but, in the days of which we are writing, for captivity 
there was drudgery on walls, and in the streets and mines, and the 
galleys both of war and commerce were insatiable. When Druilius won 
the first sea-fight for his country, Romans plied the oars, and the 
glory was to the rower not less than the marine. 

These benches which 
now we are trying to see as they were testified to the change come 
with conquest, and illustrated both the policy and the prowess of 
Rome. Nearly all the nations had sons there, mostly prisoners of 
war, chosen for their brawn and endurance. In one place a Briton; 
before him a Libyan; behind him a Crimean. Elsewhere a Scythian, 
a Gaul, and a Thebasite. Roman convicts cast down to consort with 
Goths and Longobardi, Jews, Ethiopians, and barbarians from the 
shores of Maeotis. Here an Athenian, there a red-haired savage 
from Hibernia, yonder blue-eyed giants of the Cimbri.

In the labor of the rowers there was not enough art to give occupation 
to their minds, rude and simple as they were. The reach forward, 
the pull, the feathering the blade, the dip, were all there was of 
it; motions most perfect when most automatic. Even the care forced 
upon them by the sea outside grew in time to be a thing instinctive 
rather than of thought. So, as the result of long service, the poor 
wretches became imbruted--patient, spiritless, obedient--creatures of
vast muscle and exhausted intellects, who lived upon recollections 
generally few but dear, and at last lowered into the semi-conscious 
alchemic state wherein misery turns to habit, and the soul takes on 
incredible endurance.

From right to left, hour after hour, the tribune, swaying in 
his easy-chair, turned with thought of everything rather than 
the wretchedness of the slaves upon the benches. Their motions,
precise, and exactly the same on both sides of the vessel, after a 
while became monotonous; and then he amused himself singling out 
individuals. With his stylus he made note of objections, thinking, 
if all went well, he would find among the pirates of whom he was 
in search better men for the places.

There was no need of keeping the proper names of the slaves brought 
to the galleys as to their graves; so, for convenience, they were 
usually identified by the numerals painted upon the benches to 
which they were assigned. As the sharp eyes of the great man 
moved from seat to seat on either hand, they came at last to 
number sixty, which, as has been said, belonged properly to the 
last bank on the left-hand side, but, wanting room aft, had been 
fixed above the first bench of the first bank. There they rested.

~Just Checking In~

A minister passing through his church in the middle of the day,
Decided to pause by the altar and see who had come to pray.

Just then the back door opened, a man came down the aisle,
The minister frowned as he saw the man hadn't shaved in a while.

His shirt was kinda shabby and his coat was worn and frayed.
The man knelt, he bowed his head, then rose and walked away.

In the days that followed, each noon time - came this chap,
Each time he knelt just for a moment, a lunch pail in his lap.

Well, the minister's suspicions grew, with robbery a main fear,
He decided to stop the man and ask him, "What are you doing here?"

The old man said, he worked down the road - Lunch was half an hour.
Lunchtime was his prayer time, for finding faith, strength and power.

"I stay only moments, see, the factory is so far away;
As I kneel here talking to the Lord, this is kinda what I say:

"I just came again to tell you Lord, how happy I have been,
Since we found each other's friendship and you took away my sin.

Don't know much of how to pray, but I think about you everyday.
So, Jesus, this is Jim - just checking in."

The minister feeling foolish, told Jim that was fine.
He told the man he was welcome to come and pray anytime.

"Time to go", Jim smiled, and said "thanks" as he hurried to the door.
The minister knelt at the alter, he'd never done that before.

His cold heart melted, warmed with love, and met with Jesus there.
As the tears flowed, in his heart, he repeated old Jim's prayer:

"I just came again to tell you Lord, how happy I have been,
Since we found each other's friendship and you took away my sin.

Don't know much of how to pray, but I think about you everyday.
So, Jesus, This is me - just checking in."

Past noon one day, the minister noticed that old Jim had not come.
As more days passed with no sign of Jim, he began to worry some.

At the factory, he asked about him, learning he was ill.
The hospital staff was worried, but Jim had given them a thrill.

The week that Jim was with them, he brought changes in the ward.
His smiles, a joy contagious - changed people, were his reward.

The head nurse couldn't understand why Jim was so glad,
When no flowers, calls or cards came, not a visitor he had.

The minister stayed by Jim's bed, he voiced the nurse's concern.
No friends came to show they cared, he had nowhere to turn.

Looking surprised, old Jim spoke up and with a winsome smile -
"The nurse is wrong, she couldn't know, that in here all the while,

Everyday at noon - He's here, a dear friend of mine, you see,
He sits right down, takes my hand, leans over and says to me:

"I JUST CAME AGAIN TO TELL YOU, JIM,
HOW HAPPY I HAVE BEEN,
SINCE WE FOUND THIS WONDERFUL FRIENDSHIP,
AND I TOOK AWAY YOUR SIN.
I ALWAYS LOVE TO HEAR YOU PRAY,
AND I THINK ABOUT YOU EVERY DAY,
AND SO JIM, THIS IS JESUS ... CHECKING IN."

 Author unknown

Did you Know ?

  • The tallest nation in the world is the Watusis of Burundi: 1.98 m (6 feet 6 inches) tall.
  • If the amount of water in your body is reduced by just 1%, you’ll feel thirsty.
  • It is impossible to sneeze and keep one’s eyes open at the same time.
  • 55% of people yawn within 5 minutes of seeing someone else yawn.
  • Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine, suggested that a woman could enlarge her bust line by singing loudly and often.
  • A person can live without food for about a month, but only about a week without water.
  • The Beatles song “Martha My Dear” was written by Paul McCartney about his sheepdog Martha.
  • A million dollars’ worth of $100 bills weighs only 10 kg (22 lb).
  • One million dollars’ worth of one-cent coins (100 million coins) weigh 246 tons.
  • The first instance of global electronic communications took place in 1871 when news of the Derby winner was telegraphed from London to Calcutta in under 5 minutes.
  • In 1898, one of the first programs to be broadcasted on radio was a yacht race that took place in British waters.


Power of Positive Thinking

 by Norman Vincent Peale


Chapter 7

Expect the Best and Get It

"WHY DOES MY boy fail in every job he gets?" asked a puzzled father about his thirty-year-old son.

It was indeed difficult to understand the failure of this young man, for seemingly he had everything. Of good family, his educational and business opportunities were beyond the
average. Nevertheless, he had a tragic flair for failure.

Everything he touched went wrong. He tried hard enough, yet somehow he missed success. Presently he found an answer, a curiously simple but potent answer. After practicing this newfound secret for a while he lost the flair for failure and acquired the touch of success. His personality began to focus, his powers to fuse.

Not long ago at luncheon I could not help admiring this dynamic man at the height of his power. "You amaze me," I commented. "A few years ago you were failing at everything. Now you have worked up an original idea into a fine business. You are a leader in your community. Please explain this remarkable change in you."

"Really it was quite simple," he replied. "I merely learned the magic of believing. I discovered that if you expect the worst you will get the worst, and if you expect the best you will get the best. It all happened through actually practicing a verse from the Bible."

"And what is that verse?"

"'If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.' (Mark 9:23) I was brought up in a religious home," he explained, "and heard that verse many times, but it never had any effect upon me. One day in your church I heard you emphasize those words in a talk. In a flash of insight I realized that the key I had missed was that my mind was not trained to believe, to think positively, to have faith in either God or myself. I followed your suggestion of putting
myself in God's hands and practiced your outlined techniques of faith. I trained myself to think positively about everything.

Along with that I try to live right." He smiled and said, "God and I struck up a partnership. When I adopted that policy, things began to change almost at once for me. I got into the
habit of expecting the best, not the worst, and that is the way my affairs have turned out lately. I guess it's a kind of miracle, isn't it?" he asked as he concluded his fascinating
story.

But it wasn't miraculous at all. Actually what had happened was that he had learned to use one of the most powerful laws in the world, a law recognized alike by psychology and religion, namely, change your mental habits to belief instead of disbelief. Learn to expect, not to doubt. In so doing you bring everything into the realm of possibility.

This does not mean that by believing you are necessarily going to get everything you want or think you want. Perhaps that would not be good for you. When you put your trust in God, He guides your mind so that you do not want things that are not good for you or that are  inharmonious with God's will. But it does definitely mean that when you learn to believe, then that which has seemingly been impossible moves into the area of the possible. Every great thing at last becomes for you a possibility.


William James, the famous psychologist, said, "Our belief at the beginning of a doubtful undertaking is the one thing (now get that—is the one thing) that insures the successful
outcome of your venture." To learn to believe is of primary importance. It is the basic factor of succeeding in any undertaking. When you expect the best, you release a magnetic force in your mind which by a law of attraction tends to bring the best to you. But if you expect the worst, you release from your mind the power of repulsion which tends to force the best from you. It is amazing how a sustained expectation of the best sets in motion forces which
cause the best to materialize.

An interesting illustration of this fact was described some years ago by Hugh Fullerton, a famous sports writer of a bygone era. As a boy, Hugh Fullerton was my favorite writer of sports stories. One story which I have never forgotten concerned Josh O'Reilly, one-time manager of the San Antonio Club of the Texas league. O'Reilly had a roster of great players, seven of whom had been hitting over three hundred, and everybody thought his team would easily take the championship. But the club fell into a slump and lost seventeen of the first twenty games. The players simply couldn't hit anything, and each began to accuse the other of being a "jinx" to the team.

Playing the Dallas Club, a rather poor team that year, only one San Antonio player got a hit, and that, strangely enough, was the pitcher. O'Reilly's team was badly beaten that day. In
the clubhouse after the game the players were a disconsolate lot. Josh O'Reilly knew that he had an aggregation of stars and he realized that their trouble was simply that they were
thinking wrong. They didn't expect to get a hit. They didn't expect to win. They expected to be defeated. They were thinking not victory but defeat. Their mental pattern was not one of expectation but of doubt. This negative mental process inhibited them, froze their muscles, threw them off their timing, and there was no free flow of easy power through the team.

to be continued

Just for laughs

"I CAN'T PRAY?"

After being interviewed by the school administration, the teaching prospect said, "Let me see if I've got this right.................
 
 "You want me to go into that room with all those kids, correct their disruptive behavior, observe them for signs of abuse, monitor their dress habits, censor their T-shirt messages, and instill in them a love for learning.
 
 "You want me to check their backpacks for weapons, wage war on drugs and sexually transmitted diseases, and raise their sense of self esteem and personal pride.
 
 "You want me to teach them patriotism and good citizenship, sportsmanship and fair play, and how to register to vote, balance a checkbook, and apply for a job.
 
 "You want me to check their heads for lice, recognize signs of antisocial behavior, and make sure that they all pass the state exams.
 
 "You want me to provide them with an equal education regardless of their handicaps, and communicate regularly with their parents by letter, telephone newsletter, and report card.
 
 "You want me to do all this with a piece of chalk, a blackboard, a bulletin board, a few books, a big smile, and a starting salary that qualifies me for food stamps.
 
 "You want me to do all this and then you tell me... "I CAN'T PRAY?"

 

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