2 December, 2012

posted 28 Nov 2012, 19:38 by C S Paul

2 December, 2012

Eagles In A Storm

Did you know that an eagle knows when a storm is approaching long before it breaks? The eagle will fly to some high spot and wait for the winds to come.

When the storm hits, it sets its wings so that the wind will pick it up and lift it above the storm.

While the storm rages below, the eagle is soaring above it. The eagle does not escape the storm. It simply uses the storm to lift it higher. It rises on the winds that bring the storm.

When the storms of life come upon us, and all of us will experience them, we can rise above them by setting our minds and our belief toward God.

The storms do not have to overcome us. We can allow God's power to lift us above them. God enables us to ride the winds of the storm that bring sickness, tragedy, failure and disappointment in our lives.

We can soar above the storm. Remember, it is not the burdens of life that weigh us down, it is how we handle them.

The Bible says, "Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles." Isaiah 40:31 


by Lew Wallace

Part Four

Judah Ben-Hur trains for five years in the Palaestra in Rome and becomes the heir of the deceased Arrius. Judah goes to Antioch on state business. On the voyage, he learns that his real father's chief servant, Simonides, lives in a house in this city, and that his father's possessions had been entrusted to him. He pays a visit to the house and tells his full story to Simonides, who demands more proof. Ben-Hur replies he has no proof, but asks whether they know the fate of Judah's mother and sister. He says he knows nothing and Judah Ben-Hur leaves the house with an apology. Simonides hires his servant Malluch to spy on Judah to see if his story is true and find more information. Malluch meets and befriends Judah in the Grove of Daphne and they go to the games stadium together. There, Ben-Hur finds his old rival Messala racing one of the chariots, preparing for a tournament.

A prosperous Arab of Antioch, Sheik Ilderim, announces that he is looking for a chariot driver to race his team in the coming tournament. Judah, wanting revenge on Messala, decides to drive the sheik's chariot and defeat Messala. Meanwhile, Balthasar and his daughter Iras are sitting at a fountain in the stadium. Messala's chariot nearly hit them but Judah intervenes. Balthasar thanks Ben-Hur and presents him with a gift. Judah heads to Sheik Ilderim's tent. The servant Malluch follows him there, and along the way they talk about the Christ and Malluch relates Balthasar's story of the Magi. They realize that the man rescued at the fountain was the same Balthasar that saw the Christ's birth.

Back at Simonides' house, Esther, Simonides and Malluch talk together, and conclude that Ben-Hur is who he claims to be, and that he is on their side in the fight against Rome.

Messala realizes that Judah Ben-Hur has been adopted into a Roman home and his honor has been restored. He threatens to take revenge.

Meanwhile, Balthasar and his daughter Iras arrive at the Sheik's tent. With Judah they discuss how the Christ, approaching the age of thirty, is ready to enter public ministry. Judah takes increasing interest in the beautiful Iras.

Part Four - Chapter VI continued

He hurried away through the thicket, and came to a stream flowing with the volume of a river between banks of masonry, broken at intervals by gated sluiceways. A bridge carried the path he was traversing across the stream; and, standing upon it, he saw other bridges, no two of them alike. Under him the water was lying in a deep pool, clear as a shadow; down a little way it tumbled with a roar over rocks; then there was another pool, and another cascade; and so on, out of view; and bridges and pools and resounding cascades said, plainly as inarticulate things can tell a story, the river was running by permission of a master, exactly as the master would have it, tractable as became a servant of the gods.

Forward from the bridge he beheld a landscape of wide valleys and irregular heights, with groves and lakes and fanciful houses linked together by white paths and shining streams. The valleys were spread below, that the river might be poured upon them for refreshment in days of drought, and they were as green carpets figured with beds and fields of flowers, and flecked with flocks of sheep white as balls of snow; and the voices of shepherds following the flocks were heard afar. As if to tell him of the pious inscription of all he beheld, the altars out under the open sky seemed countless, each with a white-gowned figure attending it, while processions in white went slowly hither and thither between them; and the smoke of the altars half-risen hung collected in pale clouds over the devoted places. 

Here, there, happy in flight, intoxicated in pause, from object to object, point to point, now in the meadow, now on the heights, now lingering to penetrate the groves and observe the processions, then lost in efforts to pursue the paths and streams which trended mazily into dim perspectives to end finally in-- Ah, what might be a fitting end to scene so beautiful! What adequate mysteries were hidden behind an introduction so marvellous! Here and there, the speech was beginning, his gaze wandered, so he could not help the conviction, forced by the view, and as the sum of it all, that there was peace in the air and on the earth, and invitation everywhere to come and lie down here and be at rest. 

Suddenly a revelation dawned upon him--the Grove was, in fact, a temple--one far-reaching, wall-less temple! 

Never anything like it!

The architect had not stopped to pother about columns and porticos, proportions or interiors, or any limitation upon the epic he sought to materialize; he had simply made a servant of Nature--art can go no further. So the cunning son of Jupiter and Callisto built the old Arcadia; and in this, as in that, the genius was Greek. 

From the bridge Ben-Hur went forward into the nearest valley.

He came to a flock of sheep. The shepherd was a girl, and she beckoned him, "Come!"

Farther on, the path was divided by an altar--a pedestal of black gneiss, capped with a slab of white marble deftly foliated, and on that a brazier of bronze holding a fire. Close by it, a woman, seeing him, waved a wand of willow, and as he passed called him, "Stay!" And the temptation in her smile was that of passionate youth. 

On yet further, he met one of the processions; at its head a troop of little girls, nude except as they were covered with garlands, piped their shrill voices into a song; then a troop of boys, also nude, their bodies deeply sun-browned, came dancing to the song of the girls; behind them the procession, all women, bearing baskets of spices and sweets to the altars--women clad in simple robes, careless of exposure. As he went by they held their hands to him, and said, "Stay, and go with us." One, a Greek, sang a verse from Anacreon:

  "For to-day I take or give;

  For to-day I drink and live;

  For to-day I beg or borrow;

  Who knows about the silent morrow?"

But he pursued his way indifferent, and came next to a grove luxuriant, in the heart of the vale at the point where it would be most attractive to the observing eye. As it came close to the path he was travelling, there was a seduction in its shade, and through the foliage he caught the shining of what appeared a pretentious statue; so he turned aside, and entered the cool retreat.

The grass was fresh and clean. The trees did not crowd each other; and they were of every kind native to the East, blended well with strangers adopted from far quarters; here grouped in exclusive companionship palm-trees plumed like queens; there sycamores, overtopping laurels of darker foliage; and evergreen oaks rising verdantly, with cedars vast enough to be kings on Lebanon; and mulberries; and terebinths so beautiful it is not hyperbole to speak of them as blown from the orchards of Paradise. 

The statue proved to be a Daphne of wondrous beauty. Hardly, however, had he time to more than glance at her face: at the base of the pedestal a girl and a youth were lying upon a tiger's skin asleep in each other's arms; close by them the implements of their service--his axe and sickle, her basket--flung carelessly upon a heap of fading roses. 

The exposure startled him. Back in the hush of the perfumed thicket he discovered, as he thought, that the charm of the great Grove was peace without fear, and almost yielded to it; now, in this sleep in the day's broad glare--this sleep at the feet of Daphne--he read a further chapter to which only the vaguest allusion is sufferable.

The law of the place was Love, but Love without Law.

And this was the sweet peace of Daphne!

This the life's end of her ministers!

For this kings and princes gave of their revenues!

For this a crafty priesthood subordinated nature--her birds and brooks and lilies, the river, the labor of many hands, the sanctity of altars, the fertile power of the sun!

It would be pleasant now to record that as Ben-Hur pursued his walk assailed by such reflections, he yielded somewhat to sorrow for the votaries of the great outdoor temple; especially for those who, by personal service, kept it in a state so surpassingly lovely.

How they came to the condition was not any longer a mystery; the motive, the influence, the inducement, were before him. Some there were, no doubt, caught by the promise held out to their troubled spirits of endless peace in a consecrated abode, to the beauty of which, if they had not money, they could contribute their labor; this class implied intellect peculiarly subject to hope and fear; but the great body of the faithful could not be classed with such.

Apollo's nets were wide, and their meshes small; and hardly may one tell what all his fishermen landed: this less for that they cannot be described than because they ought not to be. Enough that the mass were of the sybarites of the world, and of the herds in number vaster and in degree lower--devotees of the unmixedsensualism to which the East was almost wholly given. Not to any of the exaltations--not to the singing-god, or his unhappy mistress; not to any philosophy requiring for its enjoyment the calm of retirement, nor to any service for the comfort there isin religion, nor to love in its holier sense--were they abiding their vows. Good reader, why shall not the truth be told here?

Why not learn that, at this age, there were in all earth but two peoples capable of exaltations of the kind referred to--those who lived by the law of Moses, and those who lived by the law of Brahma. They alone could have cried you, Better a law without love than a love without law.

Besides that, sympathy is in great degree a result of the mood we are in at the moment: anger forbids the emotion. On the other hand, it is easiest taken on when we are in a state of most absolute self-satisfaction. Ben-Hur walked with a quicker step, holding his head higher; and, while not less sensitive to the delightfulness of all about him, he made his survey with calmer spirit, though sometimes with curling lip; that is to say, he could not so soon forget how nearly he himself had been imposed upon.

to be continued

A Nice Way To Start the Day!

Six-year-old Brandon decided one Saturday morning to fix his parents pancakes. He found a big bowl and spoon, pulled a chair to the counter, opened the cupboard and pulled out the heavy flour canister, spilling it on the floor. He scooped some of the flour into the bowl with his hands, mixed in most of a cup of milk and added some sugar, leaving a floury trail on the floor which by now had a few tracks left by his kitten. Brandon was covered with flour and getting frustrated. He wanted this to be something very good for Mom and Dad, but it was getting very bad. He didn't know what to do next, whether to put it all into the oven or on the stove (and he didn't know how the stove worked!). Suddenly he saw his kitten licking from the bowl of mix and reached to push her away, knocking the egg carton to the floor. Frantically he tried to clean up this monumental mess but slipped on the eggs, getting his pajamas white and sticky. And just then he saw Dad standing at the door.

Big crocodile tears welled up in Brandon's eyes. All he'd wanted to do was something good, but he'd made a terrible mess. He was sure a scolding was coming, maybe even a spanking. But his father just watched him. Then, walking through the mess, he picked up his crying son, hugged him and loved him, getting his own pajamas white and sticky in the process.

That's how God deals with us. We try to do something good in life, but it turns into a mess. Our marriage gets all sticky or we insult a friend or we can't stand our job or our health goes sour. Sometimes we just stand there in tears because we can't think of anything else to do. That's when God picks us up and loves us and forgives us, even though some of our mess gets all over Him. But just because we might mess up, we can't stop trying to "make pancakes," for God or for others. 

Sooner or later we'll get it right, and then they'll be glad we tried... I was thinking... I could die today, tomorrow or next week and I wondered if I had any wounds needing to be healed, friendships that need rekindling or three words needing to be said, sometimes, "I love you" can heal & bless. Let everyone of your friends know you love them, even if you think they don't love back, you would be amazed at what those three little words and a smile can do.

Just in case I die tomorrow...


Benny: the Man on the Bus 

By Michael Josephson

This is a parable about leadership.

A teacher assigned her 12th graders to pick a leader and write an essay. Most kids wrote about famous people, but a student named Julius titled his paper "Benny: The Man on the Bus."

Julius wrote that he'd been taking a public bus to school for years. Since most passengers were going to work, almost no one ever talked to anyone else.

About a year ago, an elderly man got on the bus and said loudly to the driver, "Good morning!" Most people looked up annoyed and the bus driver just grunted. The next day the man got on at the same stop and again he said loudly, "Good morning!" to the driver. By the fifth day, the driver greeted the man with a cheerful "Good morning!"

Soon, the man added, "My name is Benny. What's yours?" The driver said, "Good morning, Benny. I'm Ralph."

That was the first time the riders knew the driver's name and now people began to talk to each other and say hello to Ralph and Benny. Soon Benny extended his cheerful "Good morning!" to the whole bus. After a week, his "Good morning" was returned by a whole bunch of "Good mornings" and the entire bus seemed to be friendlier.

"A leader is someone who makes something happen," Julius said. "Benny was a leader in friendliness."

But last month Benny stopped getting on the bus. Everyone thought, "Maybe he died," and no one knew what to do. The bus got awful quiet again and Julius didn't like that.

"So," he wrote, "I started to say 'Good morning' to everyone and they cheered up again. I guess I'm now the leader."

Power of Positive Thinking

 by Norman Vincent Peale

Chapter 11 continued

The manager of a Birmingham, Alabama, bookstore sent me a prescription form made out by a physician of that city to be filled not at a drugstore, but at her bookstore. He prescribes specific books for specific troubles.

Dr. Carl R. Ferris, formerly president of the Jackson County Medical Society of Kansas City, Missouri, with whom I had the pleasure of appearing on a joint health-and-happiness radio program, declared that in treating human ills the
physical and spiritual are often so deeply interrelated that there is often no clearly defined dividing line between the two.

Years ago my friend, Dr. Clarence W. Lieb, pointed out to me the effect on health of spiritual and psychiatric problems, and through his wise guidance I began to see that fear and guilt, hate and resentment, problems with which I was
dealing, were often closely connected with problems of health and physical well-being. So profoundly does Dr. Lieb believe in this therapy that he with Dr. Smiley Blanton inaugurated the religio-psychiatric clinic which for years has ministered to hundreds at the Marble Collegiate Church in New York.

The late Dr. William Seaman Bainbridge and I worked closely together m the relationship of religion and surgery, and we were able to bring health and new life to many. Two of my medical friends in New York, Dr. Z. Taylor Bercovitz and Dr. Howard Westcott, have been of inestimable help in my pastoral work through their wisely scientific and yet deeply spiritual understanding of the ills of
the body, mind, and soul as related to faith.

"We have discovered the psychosomatic cause of high blood pressure as some form of subtle, repressed fear—a fear of things that might happen, not of things that are," says Dr. Rebecca Beard. "They are largely fears of things in the future. In that sense, therefore, they are imaginary, for they may never happen at all. In the case of diabetes, it is grief or disappointment which we found uses up more energy than any other emotion, thereby exhausting the insulin which is manufactured by the pancreas cells until they are worn out.

"Here we find the emotions involved in the past—reliving the past and not being able to go forward into life. The medical world can give relief in disorders like these. They can give something that can lower the blood pressure when it is high, or raise it when it is low, but not permanently. They can give insulin which will burn up more sugar into energy and give the diabetic relief. These are definite aids, but they do not offer complete cure. No drug or vaccine has been
discovered to protect us from our own emotional conflicts. A better understanding of our own emotional selves and a return to religious faith seem to form the combination that holds the greatest promise of permanent help to any of us.

"The answer," Dr. Beard concludes, "is in the healing teachings of Jesus."

Another efficient woman physician wrote me of her own development in combining the therapy of medicine and faith.

"I became interested in your straightforward religious philosophy. I had been working at top speed and getting tense, irritable, and at times beset with old fears and guilts, in fact in need of a release from morbid tension. At a low moment early one morning I picked up your book and began to read it. This was the prescription that I needed. Here was God, the great Physician, with faith in Him as an antibiotic to kill the germs of fear and render useless the virus of guilt.

"I began to practice the good Christian principles outlined in your book. Gradually there came a release of tension and I felt relaxed and happier and I slept well. I quit taking vitamin and pep pills. Then," she adds, and this is what I want to
emphasize, "I began to feel that I wanted to share this new experience with my patients, those who came to me with neuroses. I was surprised to find how many had read your book and others. The patient and I seemed to have a common 
ground to work on. It has been an enriching experience. To talk about a faith in God has become a natural and easy thing to do.

"As a doctor," she adds, "I have seen a number of miraculous recoveries due to Divine aid being given. In the past few weeks I have had an additional experience. My sister had to undergo a serious operation about three weeks ago.
Following the operation she developed an intestinal obstruction. On her fifth day she was very critically ill, and as I left the hospital at noon I realized that she must take a turn for the better very soon or her hope of recovery would be slim. I was very worried, so I drove slowly around for about twenty minutes praying for a relief of this obstruction.

(Everything that could be done medically was being taken care of.) I had not been home more than ten minutes when the phone rang and her nurse told me that the obstruction had relieved itself and that she had taken a definite turn for the
better, and since that time she has recovered completely.

Could I feel otherwise than that God's intervention had saved her life?"

So runs the letter of a successful practicing physician.

In the light of this viewpoint based on a strictly commonsense scientific attitude we may approach the phenomenon of healing through faith with credibility. If I did not believe sincerely that the faith factor in healing is sound I would certainly not develop the point of view contained in this chapter.

to be continued

Did You know ?

  • When you transport something by car, it’s called a shipment, but when you transport something by ship it’s called cargo.
  • The first parachute jump from an airplane was made by Captain Berry at St. Louis, Missouri, in 1912.
  • On 21 June 1913, over Los Angeles, Georgia Broadwick became the first women to parachute from an airplane.
  • The first written account of the Loch Ness Monster, or Nessie, was made in 565AD.
  • he world’s first skyscraper was the 10-storey Home Insurance office, built in Chicago in 1885. (During Roman times buildings were up to 8 stories high.)
  • It is impossible to out-swim a shark – sharks reach speeds of 44 mph (70 km/h). Humans can run about 21 mph (35 km/h).
  • The sailfish is the fastest swimmer, reaching 68 mph (109 km/h), although a black marlin has been clocked at 80 mph (128 km/h).
  • The slowest fish is the Sea Horse, which moves along at about 0.01 mph (0.016 km/h).
  • Dolphins can reach 37 mph (60 km/h).

Just for Laughs
Golf Trade of

A golfer is in a competitive match with a friend who is ahead by a couple of strokes. The golfer says to himself, "I'd give anything to sink this next putt."

A stranger walks up to him and whispers, "Would you give up a fourth of your sex life?" The golfer thinks the man is crazy and that his answer will be meaningless, but also that perhaps it's a good omen and will put him in the right frame of mind to make the putt. So he says,"OK." He sinks the putt.

Two holes later, he mumbles to himself, "Boy, if I could only get an eagle on this hole." The same stranger moves to his side and says, "Would it be worth another fourth of your sex life?" The golfer shrugs and says, "Sure." And he makes an eagle.

At the final hole, the golfer needs another eagle to win. He says nothing, but the stranger moves to his side and says, "Would you be willing to give up the rest of your sex life to win this match?" The golfer says, "Certainly." And he makes an eagle. As the golfer walks to the clubhouse, the stranger says, "You know, I've not been fair with you because you don't know who I am. I'm the devil, and from now on you will have no sex life."

"Nice to meet you," says the golfer. "I'm Father O'Malley."