26 May 2013

posted 23 May 2013, 20:42 by C S Paul
26 May 2013

Quotes to Inspire


  • "When your work speaks for itself, don't interrupt." – Henry Kaiser
  • "Even a mistake may turn out to be the one thing necessary to a worthwhile achievement." – Henry Ford
  • "We can let the circumstances of our lives harden us so that we become increasingly resentful and afraid, or we can let them soften us and make us kinder. We always have the choice." – Tenzin Gyatso
  • "Opportunity knocks but once; temptation leans on the doorbell." – Unknown
  • "Lack of forgiveness causes almost all of our self-sabotaging behavior." – Mark Victor Hansen
  • "Anybody can become angry—that is easy; but to be angry with the right person, and to the right degree, and at the right time, and for the right purpose, and in the right way—that is not within everybody's power and is not easy." – Aristotle
  • "Your character is what you really are while your reputation is merely what others think you are." – John Wooden
  • "Character is much easier kept than recovered." — Thomas Paine
  • "Wisdom doesn't automatically come with old age. Nothing does— except wrinkles. It's true some wines improve with age. But only if the grapes were good in the first place." — Abigail Van Buren
  • "As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them." — John Kennedy
  • "Wisdom is being able to see things through God’s eyes or being able to see things as God sees them." — Unknown
  • "Do what you can, with what you have, where you are." — Theodore Roosevelt
  • "You will know the truth and the truth will set you free." — Jesus

The Invisible Letter
-- Author Unknown

Sally jumped up as soon as she saw the surgeon come out of the operating room.  She said: "How is my little boy?  Is he going to be all right? When can I see him?"  The surgeon said, "I'm sorry.  We did all we could, but your boy didn't make it."  Sally said, "Why do little
children get cancer?  Doesn't God care anymore?  Where were you, God, when my son needed you?"  The surgeon asked, "Would you like some time alone with your son?  One of the nurses will be out in a few minutes, before he's transported to the university."  Sally asked the nurse to stay with her while she said goodbye to her son.

She ran her fingers lovingly through his thick red curly hair.  "Would you like a lock of his hair?" the nurse asked.  Sally nodded yes.  The nurse cut a lock of the boy's hair, put it in a plastic bag and handed it to Sally.  The mother said, "It was Jimmy's idea to donate his body to the University for Study.  He said it might help somebody else.  "I said no at first, but Jimmy said, "Mom, I won't be using it after I die. Maybe it will help some other little boy spend one more day with his Mom."  She went on, "My Jimmy had a heart of gold.  Always thinking of someone else.  Always wanting to help others if he could." 

Sally walked out of Children's mercy Hospital for the last time, after spending most of the last six months there.  She put the bag with Jimmy's belongings on the seat beside her in the car.  The drive home was difficult.  It was even harder to enter the empty house.  She
carried Jimmy's belongings, and the plastic bag with the lock of his hair to her son's room.  She started placing the model cars and other personal things, back in his room exactly where he had always kept them. She laid down across his bed and, hugging his pillow, cried herself to sleep.

It was around midnight when Sally awoke.  Lying beside her on the bed was a folded letter.  The letter said: Dear Mom, I know you're going to miss me; but don't think that I will ever forget you, or stop loving you, just 'cause I'm not around to say I LOVE YOU.  I will always love you, Mom, even more with each day.  Someday we will see each other again.  Until then, if you want to adopt a little boy so you won't be so lonely, that's okay with me.  He can have my room, and old stuff to play with.  But, if you decide to get a girl instead, she probably wouldn't like the same things us boys do.  You'll have to buy her dolls and stuff girls like, y'know.

"Don't be sad thinking about me.  This really is a neat place.  Grandma and Grandpa met me as soon as I got here and showed me around some, but it will take a long time to see everything.  The angels are so cool.  I love to watch them fly.  And, you know what?  Jesus doesn't look like any of his pictures.  Yet, when I saw Him, I knew it was Him.  Jesus
himself took me to see GOD!  And guess what, Mom? I got to sit on God's knee and talk to Him, like I was somebody important.  That's when I told Him that I wanted to write you a letter, to tell you goodbye and everything.  But I already knew that wasn't allowed.  
  
"Well, y'know what Mom?  God handed me some paper and His own personal pen to write you this letter.  I think Gabriel is the name of the angel who is going to drop this letter off to you.  God said for me to give you the answer to one of the questions you asked Him - 'Where was He when I needed him?'  God said He was in the same place with me, as when
His son Jesus was on the cross.  He was right there, as He always is with all His children. 

"Oh, by the way, Mom, no one else can see what I've written except you. To everyone else this is just a blank piece of paper.  Isn't that cool? I have to give God His pen back now.  He needs it to write some more names in the Book of Life.  Tonight I get to sit at the table with Jesus for supper. I'm sure the food will be great.  Oh, I almost forgot to tell you.  I don't hurt anymore.  The cancer is all gone.  I'm glad because I couldn't stand that pain anymore ... and God couldn't stand to see me hurt so much, either.  That's when He sent The Angel of Mercy to come get me.  The Angel said I was Special Delivery! How about that? 

Signed with Love,

God, Jesus & Me

The Pain of Forgiveness
By Rachel Tulloch

Wendell Berry tells the story of two friends who lived in a small community in Kentucky in the year 1912.  Ben Feltner and Thad Coulter were part of a close-knit agrarian community with strong ties to each other, to the land, and to hard work.  Yet tragedy ensued when Thad invested in a risky business deal with his son and lost out.  Humiliated and falling into despair, Thad drank himself into a stupor and then headed over to ask his friend Ben for help.  Ben did not want to discuss options with Thad in his condition, and so refused to talk with him until the next day when he was sober.  However, Thad succumbed to the darkness creeping over him and returned home to get his gun, which he then used to shoot Ben Feltner in a drunken rage.  The rest of the story was a beautiful tale of forgiveness and mercy offered by Ben’s family and the community.  Yet sadly, Thad himself was unable to experience that forgiveness because he could not bear to live knowing he had killed his best friend, and so ended his own life. 

The narrator then makes this profound comment: “People sometimes talk of God’s love as if it’s a pleasant thing.  But it is terrible, in a way.  Think of all it includes.  It included Thad Coulter, drunk and mean and foolish, before he killed Mr. Feltner, and it included him afterwards.”(1)

“God’s love is terrible, in a way.  Think of all it includes.”  I have often been asked, “Could God not have forgiven people without going through the pain and the violence of the Cross?”  As nice as that sounds, reality forces me to ask: When is forgiveness not painful?  True forgiveness cannot occur unless the hurt is acknowledged and called for what it is.  When you look a wrong full in the face but choose to accept the hurt instead of returning it on the one who did it, that is always painful.

Jesus illustrates forgiveness by telling the story of a servant who owes his master more money than he could possibly repay (See Matthew 18:21-35).  The master originally threatens to sell the servant’s family and possessions to get some return for the debt, but when the servant begs for mercy, the master is gracious and forgives the debt.  Yet the same servant not only refuses to forgive the debt of his fellow servant, but also has him thrown in prison as punishment.

Sometimes we treat forgiveness and justice as though they are mutually exclusive.  If we choose the way of justice, we think the options are reparations or retribution—either the guilty person makes up for a wrong or is punished for it.  These are the only options the servant offered his debtor.  Since the second servant could not repay, he was then punished.  However, the master chose the way of mercy when he forgave the debt, neither requiring reparation nor inflicting retribution.  If God has really forgiven us like the master forgave the servant, we ask, then why all the pain and death of the Cross?  Does the Cross undermine God’s mercy?  Is it merely an underhanded way for God to force repayment from humanity or exact punishment on us?

In asking these questions, we betray a misunderstanding of both justice and forgiveness.  Justice can never be achieved by reparation or retribution alone because like the servants’ debts, true wrongs can never be repaid.  The hurt and pain caused are not reversible.  Punishing the guilty person does not undo the hurt either, even if it brings brief satisfaction to the victim, just as the first servant did not get his money back simply because the other man was in jail.  Justice must be about much more than balancing out the wrongs of the world.  It must be about making things right, about the kind of restoration that does not reverse the pain, but moves beyond it toward something new.

And just as wrongs cannot be erased by punishment or repayment, they cannot really be erased by simple forgiveness either.  When the master forgives the servant’s debt, the debt does not simply disappear.  The master takes the loss!  He accepts the full brunt of the debt himself.  Similarly, when a person forgives, he or she accepts the full brunt of the hurt or injustice rather than returning it on the one who caused it.  Although it is painful, this is the way that healing and restoration begin.  This is why there is no way to avoid the bloody Cross.  And this is why God’s love is terrible.  Think of what it includes: us, with our best and our worst, with our failed attempts and outright cruelty, with our wrong motives for right actions and our right motives for wrong actions... us, with the mess we have made of the world, with our brokenness and despair, with our rebellions and inadequacies.  We are the ones included in and redeemed by the deep and wide love of God.  Paul is astonished by this reality when he emphasizes that Christ died for us while we were still sinners (Romans 5:8)!

Instead of demanding that we pay what we cannot, instead of punishing us for not paying what we cannot, the God we see in Jesus Christ accepts the loss himself and opens his arms even to those who would murder him.  The Cross does not represent God’s mercy being tamed by his anger; rather, it demonstrates that God’s mercy is much bigger than we think.  The Cross is a graphic picture of God’s terrible love.  Think of all it includes.


Wright Opening Prayer
A True Story as presented by Rev. Joe Wright

Thought you might enjoy this interesting prayer given in Kansas at the opening session of their Senate. It seems prayer still upsets some people. When Minister Joe Wright was asked to open the new session of the Kansas Senate, everyone was expecting the usual generalities, but this is what they heard:

"Heavenly Father, we come before you today to ask your forgiveness and to seek your direction and guidance. We know Your Word says, 'Woe to those who call evil good,' but that is exactly what we have done. We have lost our spiritual equilibrium and reversed our values. We confess that we have ridiculed the absolute truth of Your Word and called it Pluralism.

We have exploited the poor and called it the lottery. We have rewarded laziness and called it welfare.

We have killed our unborn and called it choice. We have shot abortionists and called it justifiable.

We have neglected to discipline our children and called it building self-esteem.

We have abused power and called it politics.

We have coveted our neighbor's possessions and called it ambition.

We have polluted the air with profanity and pornography and called it freedom of expression.

We have ridiculed the time-honored values of our forefathers and called it enlightenment.

Search us, Oh, God, and know our hearts today; cleanse us from every sin and set us free. Guide and bless these men and women who have been sent to direct us to the center of Your will and to openly ask these things in the name of Your Son, the living Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen!"

The response was immediate. A number of legislators walked out during the prayer in protest.

In 6 short weeks, Central Christian Church, where Rev. Wright is pastor, logged more than 5,000 phone calls with only 47 of those calls responding negatively.

The church is now receiving international requests for copies of this prayer from India, Africa, and Korea.

Commentator Paul Harvey aired this prayer on his radio program, "The Rest of the Story," and received a larger response to this program than any other he has ever aired.

With the Lord's help, may this prayer sweep over our nation and wholeheartedly become our desire so that we again can be called "One Nation Under God."


A Story of God vs Science 
-- Author unknown

The university professor challenged his students with this question. Did God create everything that exists? A student bravely replied, "Yes, he did!"

"God created everything? The professor asked.

"Yes sir", the student replied.

The professor answered, "If God created everything, then God created evil since evil exists, and according to the principal that our works define who we are then God is evil". The student became quiet before such an answer. The professor was quite pleased with himself and boasted to the students that he had proven once more that the Christian faith was a myth.

Another student raised his hand and said, "Can I ask you a question professor?"

"Of course", replied the professor.

The student stood up and asked, "Professor, does cold exist?"

"What kind of question is this? Of course it exists. Have you never been cold?" The students snickered at the young man's question.

The young man replied, "In fact sir, cold does not exist. According to the laws of physics, what we consider cold is in reality the absence of heat. Every body or object is susceptible to study when it has or transmits energy, and heat is what makes a body or matter have or transmit energy. Absolute zero (-460 degrees F) is the total absence of heat; all matter becomes inert and incapable of reaction at that temperature. Cold does not exist. We have created this word to describe how we feel if we have no heat."

The student continued, "Professor, does darkness exist?"

The professor responded, "Of course it does."

The student replied, "Once again you are wrong sir, darkness does not exist either. Darkness is in reality the absence of light. Light we can study, but not darkness. In fact we can use Newton's prism to break white light into many colors and study the various wavelengths of each color. You cannot measure darkness. A simple ray of light can break into a world of darkness and illuminate it. How can you know how dark a certain space is? You measure the amount of light present. Isn't this correct? Darkness is a term used by man to describe what happens when there is no light present."

Finally the young man asked the professor, "Sir, does evil exist?"

Now uncertain, the professor responded, "Of course as I have already said. We see it every day. It is in the daily example of man's inhumanity to man. It is in the multitude of crime and violence everywhere in the world. These manifestations are nothing else but evil."

To this the student replied, "Evil does not exist sir, or at least it does not exist unto itself. Evil is simply the absence of God. It is just like darkness and cold, a word that man has created to describe the absence of God. God did not create evil. Evil is not like faith, or love that exist just as does light and heat. Evil is the result of what happens when man does not have God's love present in his heart. It's like the cold that comes when there is no heat or the darkness that comes when there is no light."

The professor sat down.

That young man was said to be Albert Einstein in 1921 
(but this fact is disputed here)

--------

Einstein wasn’t a Christian. He was raised in a Jewish family... thus he believed in god. You don’t have to be Christian to believe in god.

Einstein published a paper in Nature in 1940 entitled “Science and Religion” in which says that: “a person who is religiously enlightened appears to me to be one who has, to the best of his ability, liberated himself from the fetters of his selfish desires and is preoccupied with thoughts, feelings and aspirations to which he clings because of their super-personal value … regardless of whether any attempt is made to unite this content with a Divine Being, for otherwise it would not be possible to count Buddha and Spinoza as religious personalities. Accordingly a religious person is devout in the sense that he has no doubt of the significance of those super-personal objects and goals which neither require nor are capable of rational foundation … In this sense religion is the age-old endeavour of mankind to become clearly and completely conscious of these values and goals, and constantly to strengthen their effects.” He argued that conflicts between science and religion “have all sprung from fatal errors.” “[E]ven though the realms of religion and science in themselves are clearly marked off from each other” there are “strong reciprocal relationships and dependencies … science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind … a legitimate conflict between science and religion cannot exist.” In Einstein’s view, “neither the rule of human nor Divine Will exists as an independent cause of natural events. To be sure, the doctrine of a personal God interfering with natural events could never be refuted … by science, for [it] can always take refuge in those domains in which scientific knowledge has not yet been able to set foot.” (Einstein 1940, pp. 605–607)


Did You Know ?
  • A acre of coffee trees can produce up to 10,000 pounds of coffee cherries. That amounts to approximately 2000 pounds of beans after hulling or milling. 
  •  A B-25 bomber crashed into the 79th floor of the Empire State Building on July 28, 1945. 
  • A Baboon called "Jackie" became a private in the South African army in World War I.
  • A cat uses it's whiskers to determine if a space is too small to squeeze through. 
  • A chameleon can move its eyes in two directions at the same time. 
  • A Dalmatian is the only dog that can get gout. 
  • A healthy individual releases 3.5 oz. of gas in a single flatulent emission, or about 17 oz. in a day.
  • A hedgehog's heart beats 190 times a minute on average and drops to only 20 beats per minute during hibernation.
  • A hedgehog's skin is so tough that when they get run over, its entrails come out of its mouth and its ass. 
  • A herd of forty-five thirsty, rambunctious elephants stampeded into a brewery in Midnapore, where they smashed vats and slurped up beer in a bender that went on for two days.
  • A Dutch court ruled that a bank robber could deduct the 2,000 Euros he paid for his pistol from the 6,600 Euros he has to return to the bank he robbed. 
  • The average child recognizes over 200 company logos by the time he enters first grade. 
  • Last December, the House of Representatives earmarked $50,000,000 to create an indoor rain forest in Iowa. 
  • Amusement park attendance goes up after a fatal accident. It seems many people want to ride upon the same ride that killed someone. 
 
Just for Laughs

You Thought You Were a Poor Speller?

Don't delete this because it looks weird. Believe it or not you can read it, and fast:

I cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdgnieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer inwaht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.

Amzanig huh?

Yaeh and I awlyas thought slpeling was ipmorantt!

 Oxymorons

• wise fool 

• only choice 

• jumbo shrimp 

• almost exactly 

• same difference 

• pretty ugly 

• definite maybe 

• original copy 

• found missing

Reminds me of the name of a church in Michigan I once drove past, the name of the church being: "The Second Original Church of the ...."

Source: Unknown



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 V  continued

The sheik held his peace, listening closely, until Ben-Hur came to the paragraph in which he was particularly mentioned: "'I saw the Jew yesterday in the Grove of Daphne;'" so ran the part, "'and if he be not there now, he is certainly in the neighborhood, making it
easy for me to keep him in eye. Indeed, wert thou to ask me where he is now, I should say, with the most positive assurance, he is to be found at the old Orchard of Palms.'"

"A--h!" exclaimed Ilderim, in such a tone one might hardly say he was more surprised than angry; at the same time, he clutched his beard.

"'At the old Orchard of Palms,'" Ben-Hur repeated, "'under the tent of the traitor Shiek Ilderim.'"

"Traitor!--I?" the old man cried, in his shrillest tone, while lip and beard curled with ire, and on his forehead and neck the veins swelled and beat as they would burst.

"Yet a moment, sheik," said Ben-Hur, with a deprecatory gesture. "Such is Messala's opinion of you. Hear his threat." And he read on--"'under the tent of the traitor Sheik Ilderim, who cannot long escape our strong hand. Be not surprised if Maxentius, as his first measure, places the Arab on ship for forwarding to Rome.'"

"To Rome! Me--Ilderim--sheik of ten thousand horsemen with spears--me to Rome!"

He leaped rather than rose to his feet, his arms outstretched, his fingers spread and curved like claws, his eyes glittering like a serpent's.

"O God!--nay, by all the gods except of Rome!--when shall this insolence end? A freeman am I; free are my people. Must we die slaves? Or, worse, must I live a dog, crawling to a master's feet? Must I lick his hand, lest he lash me? What is mine is not mine; I am not my own; for breath of body I must be beholden to a Roman. Oh, if I were young again! Oh, could I shake off twenty years--or ten--or five!"

He ground his teeth and shook his hands overhead; then, under the impulse of another idea, he walked away and back again to Ben-Hur swiftly, and caught his shoulder with a strong grasp.

"If I were as thou, son of Arrius--as young, as strong, as practised in arms; if I had a motive hissing me to revenge--a motive, like thine, great enough to make hate holy-- Away with disguise on thy part and on mine! Son of Hur, son of Hur, I say--"

At that name all the currents of Ben-Hur's blood stopped; surprised, bewildered, he gazed into the Arab's eyes, now close to his, and fiercely bright.

"Son of Hur, I say, were I as thou, with half thy wrongs, bearing about with me memories like thine, I would not, I could not, rest." Never pausing, his words following each other torrent-like, the old man swept on. "To all my grievances, I would add those of the world,
and devote myself to vengeance. From land to land I would go firing all mankind. No war for freedom but should find me engaged; no battle against Rome in which I would not bear a part. I would turn Parthian, if I could not better. If men failed me, still I would not give over the effort--ha, ha, ha! By the splendor of God! I would herd with wolves, and make friends of lions and tigers, in hope of marshalling them against the common enemy. I would use every weapon. So my victims were Romans, I would rejoice in slaughter. Quarter I would not ask; quarter I would not give. To the flames everything Roman; to the sword every Roman born. Of nights I would pray the gods, the good and the bad alike, to lend me their special terrors--tempests, drought, heat, cold, and all the nameless poisons they let loose in air, all the thousand things of which men die on sea and on land. Oh, I could not sleep. I--I--"

The sheik stopped for want of breath, panting, wringing his hands. And, sooth to say, of all the passionate burst Ben-Hur retained but a vague impression wrought by fiery eyes, a piercing voice, and a rage too intense for coherent expression.

For the first time in years, the desolate youth heard himself addressed by his proper name. One man at least knew him, and acknowledged it without demand of identity; and he an
Arab fresh from the desert!

How came the man by his knowledge? The letter? No. It told the cruelties from which his family had suffered; it told the story of his own misfortunes, but it did not say he was the very victim whose escape from doom was the theme of the heartless narrative. That was the point of explanation he had notified the sheik would follow the reading of the letter. He was pleased, and thrilled with hope restored, yet kept an air of calmness.

"Good sheik, tell me how you came by this letter."

"My people keep the roads between cities," Ilderim answered, bluntly.

"They took it from a courier."

"Are they known to be thy people?"

"No. To the world they are robbers, whom it is mine to catch and slay."

"Again, sheik. You call me son of Hur--my father's name. I did not think myself known to a person on earth. How came you by the knowledge?"

Ilderim hesitated; but, rallying, he answered, "I know you, yet I am not free to tell you more."

"Some one holds you in restraint?"

The sheik closed his mouth, and walked away; but, observing Ben-Hur's disappointment, he came back, and said, "Let us say no more about the matter now. I will go to town; when I return, I may talk to you fully. Give me the letter."

Ilderim rolled the papyrus carefully, restored it to its envelopes, and became once more all energy.

"What sayest thou?" he asked, while waiting for his horse and retinue. "I told what I would do, were I thou, and thou hast made no answer."

"I intended to answer, sheik, and I will." Ben-Hur's countenance and voice changed with the feeling invoked. "All thou hast said, I will do--all at least in the power of a man. I devoted myself to vengeance long ago. Every hour of the five years passed, I have lived with no other thought. I have taken no respite. I have had no pleasures of youth. The blandishments of Rome were not for me.

I wanted her to educate me for revenge. I resorted to her most famous masters and professors--not those of rhetoric or philosophy: alas! I had no time for them. The arts essential to a fighting-man were my desire. I associated with gladiators, and with winners of prizes in the Circus; and they were my teachers. The drill-masters in the great camp accepted me as a scholar, and were proud of my attainments in their line. O sheik, I am a soldier; but the things of which I dream require me to be a captain. With that thought,
I have taken part in the campaign against the Parthians; when it is over, then, if the Lord spare my life and strength--then"--he raised his clenched hands, and spoke vehemently--"then I will be an enemy Roman-taught in all things; then Rome shall account to me in
Roman lives for her ills. You have my answer, sheik."

Ilderim put an arm over his shoulder, and kissed him, saying, passionately, "If thy God favor thee not, son of Hur, it is because he is dead. Take thou this from me--sworn to, if so thy
preference run: thou shalt have my hands, and their fulness--men, horses, camels, and the desert for preparation. I swear it! For the present, enough. Thou shalt see or hear from me before night."

Turning abruptly off, the sheik was speedily on the road to the city.

to be continued

The Power of Positive Thinking

by Norman Vincent Peale

Chapter 17 continued


I sat one day under swaying palm trees in Florida listening to the story of a demonstration of Higher Power activity in the life of a man who narrowly escaped tragedy. He told me that he started drinking at the age of sixteen, "as it was the so-called smart thing to do." After twenty-three years, beginning as a social drinker, he "came to the end of the road
on April 24, 1947." A growing hatred and bitterness toward his wife who had deserted him and toward his mother-in-law and sister-in-law culminated in his decision to kill these three women. I relate the story as he told it to me, in his own language.

"To strengthen myself for this gory task I went into a bar. A few more drinks would give me the courage to commit this triple murder. As I entered the bar I saw a young man by the
name of Carl drinking coffee. Although I had hated Carl from boyhood I was utterly astounded to note his immaculate appearance, and I was also astonished to see him drinking coffee in a bar where he had spent on an average of $400 a month for drinks alone. Also I was mystified by what seemed a strange light on his face. Being fascinated by his appearance, I approached Carl and asked, 'What happened to you that you are drinking coffee?'

'"I have not had a drink for a year,' Carl replied.

"I was utterly amazed, because Carl and I had been on many drinking bouts together. A strange incident in this affair is that even though I hated Carl I was strangely moved. I could not help but listen when he asked, 'Ed, did you ever want to quit drinking?'

'"Yes, I have quit a thousand times,' I replied.

"Carl smiled and said, 'If you really want to do something about your problem, get sober and attend a meeting at the Presbyterian Church at nine on Saturday. It is a meeting of
Alcoholics Anonymous.'

"I told him I had no interest in religion, but that maybe I would come. I was unimpressed, but still I could not get that light in his eyes out of my mind.

"Carl did not insist that I attend the meeting, but repeated that if I wanted to do something for myself he and his associates had an answer to my problem. After making that statement Carl left and I stood up to the bar to order a drink, but somehow it had lost its appeal. So, instead, I went home, the only home I had remaining, my mother's home.

"May I explain that I had been married for seventeen years to a very fine girl, but being an impatient person and having no faith in me due to my drinking, she finally decided upon
getting a divorce, so not only my job and all my material assets but my home also were completely lost.

"Upon getting to my mother's home I wrestled with a bottle until 6 A.M., but still could not take the drink. I kept thinking of Carl's appearance. So on Saturday morning I went to Carl
and asked him what I could do to keep from taking a drink until nine o'clock that night when the meeting would be held.

"Carl said, 'Every time you come to a bar or whisky sign or beer garden, just say one little prayer—"Please, God, get me past this place,"' and then he added, 'Run like hell. That will
be cooperating with God. He will hear your prayer and the running will be your part.'
"I did exactly as Carl told me to do. For many hours, anxious and shaky, accompanied by my sister, I walked around the streets of the town. Finally at eight o'clock my sister said,
'Ed, there are seven drinking joints between here and the place where you are to attend the meeting. You go by yourself, and if you don't make it and come home drunk we
will still love you and hope for the best, but somehow I feel that this meeting will be different than any you ever attended.' With God's help I got by those seven places.

"At the church entrance I happened to look around and the sign over one of my favorite drinking places glared me straight in the eyes. The battle to decide whether to go into
that bar or into the Alcoholics Anonymous meeting is one I shall never forget, but a Power greater than myself pulled me to the meeting.

"Upon entering the meeting room I was utterly astounded to receive the firm handshake of my ex-hated friend, Carl. My resentment toward him was disappearing. A round of
introductions began to many men in all walks of life—doctors, lawyers, bricklayers, millwrights, coal miners, construction workers, plasterers, laborers—all types were there. I had been drinking with some of these men for the last ten to twenty-five years and here they were all sober on a Saturday night, and, above all, they were happy.

"What happened at that meeting is rather vague. All I know is that a rebirth had taken place. I felt different deep within.
 
"Happily leaving the meeting room at midnight, I went home with a glorious air-lifting feeling and slept peaceably for the first time in more than five years. Upon awakening the next morning, I recall something clearly saying to me, 'There is a Power greater than yourself. If you will turn your will and your life over to the care of God as you understand Him, He will give you strength.'

"It was Sunday morning, and I decided to go to church. I attended a service where the preacher was a man whom I had hated from childhood. (The author wishes to comment at this point how inevitably hate is associated with emotional and spiritual sickness. When the mind is emptied of hate, a long step has been taken toward recovery. Love is a tremendous curative force.) This preacher was one of those sedate, swallowtailed-coat-wearing Presbyterian ministers. I had no use for him, but that was my fault. He was all right really. I sat nervously through the singing and the collection taking.

Then the preacher read his Scripture, and his sermon was based upon the theme, 'Never belittle anyone's experience— he had it.' I shall never forget that sermon as long as I live. It
taught me a valuable lesson—never to belittle an experience because someone had it, for he and God know the depth and sincerity of that experience.

"Later I came to love this minister as one of the greatest, most sincere men I have ever known.

"Just where my new life began is a matter that is difficult to determine. Whether it was when I met Carl in the bar, or wrestling past the drinking places, or at the Alcoholics
Anonymous meeting, or at the church, I do not know. But I, who had been a hopeless alcoholic for twenty-five years, suddenly became a sober man. I could never have done this alone, for I had tried it a thousand times and failed. But I drew upon a Higher Power and the Higher Power, which is God, did it."

to be continued
 
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