4 November, 2012

posted 1 Nov 2012, 06:59 by C S Paul
4 November, 2012

Ice Cream For The Soul

 Author Unknown

Last week I took my children to a restaurant. My six-year-old son asked if he could say grace. As we bowed our heads he said, "God is good. God is great. Thank you for the food, and I would even thank you more if mom gets us ice cream for dessert. And Liberty and justice for all! Amen." 

Along with the laughter from the other customers nearby, I heard a woman remark, "That's what's wrong with this country. Kids today don't even know how to pray. Asking God for ice-cream! Why, I never! "Hearing this, my son burst into tears and asked me, "Did I do it wrong? Is God mad at me?" As I held him and assured him that he had done a terrific job and God was certainly not mad at him, an elderly gentleman approached the table. He winked at my son and said, "I happen to know that God thought that was a great prayer."  

"Really?" my son asked. "Cross my heart."  

Then in a theatrical whisper he added (indicating the woman whose remark had started this whole thing), "Too bad she never asks God for ice cream. A little ice cream is good for the soul sometimes."  

Naturally, I bought my kids ice cream at the end of the meal. My son stared at his for a moment and then did something I will remember the rest of my life. He picked up his sundae and without a word walked over and placed it in front of the woman. With a big smile he told her, "Here, this is for you. Ice cream is good for the soul sometimes, and my soul is good already. 

An Unspoken Bible

Author Unknown

His name is Bill. He has wild hair, wears a T-shirt with holes in it, jeans and no shoes. This was literally is wardrobe for his entire four years of college. He is brilliant. Kind of esoteric and very, very bright. He became a Christian recently while attending college.  

Across the street from the campus is a well-dressed, very conservative church. One day Bill decides to go there. He walks in with no shoes, jeans, his T-shirt, and wild hair. The service has already started and So Bill starts down the aisle looking for a seat. 

The church is completely packed and he can't find a seat. By now people are really looking a bit uncomfortable, but no one says anything. Bill gets closer and closer and closer to the pulpit and, when he realizes there are no seats, he just squats down right on the carpet.(Although perfectly acceptable behavior at a college fellowship, trust me, this had never happened in this church before! By now the people are really uptight, and the tension in the air is thick. 

About this time, the minister realizes that from way at the back of the church, an Elder is slowly making his way toward Bill. Now the Elder is in his eighties, has silver-gray hair, and a three-piece suit. A godly man, very elegant, very dignified, very courtly. He walks with a cane and, as he starts walking toward this boy, everyone is saying To themselves that you can't blame him for what he's going to do.  

How can you expect a man of his age and of his background to understand some college kid on the floor? It takes a long time for the man to reach the boy. The church is utterly silent except for the clicking of the man's cane.  

All eyes are focused on him. You can't even hear anyone breathing. The minister can't even preach the sermon until the Elder does what he has to do. And now they see this elderly man drop his cane on the floor. With great difficulty he lowers himself and sits down next to Bill and worships with him so he won't be alone.  

Everyone chokes up with emotion. When the minister gains control, he says, "What I'mabout to preach, you will never remember. What you have just seen, you will never forget.  

Be careful how you live. You may be the only Bible some people will ever read." 



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 IV

One day I was a guest in his house in Jerusalem. A servant entered with some sliced bread on a platter. She came to me first. It was then I saw thy mother, and loved her, and took her away in my secret heart. After a while a time came when I sought the prince to make her my wife. He told me she was bond-servant forever; but if she wished, he would set her free that I might be gratified. She gave me love for love, but was happy where she was, and refused her freedom. I prayed and besought, going again and again after long intervals. She would be my wife, she all the time said, if I would become her fellow in servitude. Our father Jacob served yet other seven years for his Rachel. Could I not as much for mine? But thy mother said I must become as she, to serve forever. I came away, but went back. Look, Esther, look here." 

He pulled out the lobe of his left ear.

"See you not the scar of the awl?"

"I see it," she said; "and, oh, I see how thou didst love my mother!"

"Love her, Esther! She was to me more than the Shulamite to the singing king, fairer, more spotless; a fountain of gardens, a well of living waters, and streams from Lebanon. The master, even as I required him, took me to the judges, and back to his door, and thrust the awl through my ear into the door, and I was his servant forever.

So I won my Rachel. And was ever love like mine?"

Esther stooped and kissed him, and they were silent, thinking of the dead. 

"My master was drowned at sea, the first sorrow that ever fell upon me," the merchant continued. "There was mourning in his house, and in mine here in Antioch, my abiding-place at the time.

Now, Esther, mark you! When the good prince was lost, I had risen to be his chief steward, with everything of property belonging to him in my management and control. Judge you how much he loved and trusted me! I hastened to Jerusalem to render account to the widow. She continued me in the stewardship. I applied myself with greater diligence. The business prospered, and grew year by year. 

Ten years passed; then came the blow which you heard the young man tell about--the accident, as he called it, to the Procurator Gratus. The Roman gave it out an attempt to assassinate him. Under that pretext, by leave from Rome, he confiscated to his own use the immense fortune of the widow and children. Nor stopped he there. 

That there might be no reversal of the judgment, he removed all the parties interested. From that dreadful day to this the family of Hur have been lost. The son, whom I had seen as a child, was sentenced to the galleys. The widow and daughter are supposed to have been buried in some of the many dungeons of Judea, which, once closed upon the doomed, are like sepulchers sealed and locked. They passed from the knowledge of men as utterly as if the sea had swallowed them unseen. We could not hear how they died--nay, not even that they were dead."

Esther's eyes were dewy with tears.

"Thy heart is good, Esther, good as thy mother's was; and I pray it have not the fate of most good hearts--to be trampled upon by the unmerciful and blind. But hearken further. I went up to Jerusalem to give help to my benefactress, and was seized at the gate of the city and carried to the sunken cells of the Tower of Antonia; why, I knew not, until Gratus himself came and demanded of me the moneys of the House of Hur, which he knew, after our Jewish custom of exchange, were subject to my draft in the different marts of the world. He required me to sign to his order. I refused. He had the houses, lands, goods,ships,and movable property of those I served; he had not their moneys.
I saw, if I kept favor in the sight of the Lord, I could rebuild their broken fortunes. I refused the tyrant's demands. He put me to torture; my will held good, and he set me free, nothing gained.

I came home and began again, in the name of Simonides of Antioch, instead of the Prince Hur of Jerusalem. Thou knowest, Esther, how I have prospered; that the increase of the millions of the prince in my hands was miraculous; thou knowest how, at the end of three years, while going up to Caesarea, I was taken and a second time tortured by Gratus to compel a confession that my goods and moneys were subject to his order of confiscation; thou knowest he failed as before. 

Broken in body, I came home and found my Rachel dead of fear and grief for me. The Lord our God reigned, and I lived. From the emperor himself I bought immunity and license to trade throughout the world. To-day--praised be He who maketh the clouds his chariot and walketh upon the winds!--to-day, Esther,
that which was in my hands for stewardship is multiplied into talents sufficient to enrich a Caesar."

He lifted his head proudly; their eyes met; each read the other's thought. "What shall I with the treasure, Esther?" he asked, without lowering his gaze.

"My father," she answered, in a low voice, "did not the rightful owner call for it but now?"

Still his look did not fail.

"And thou, my child; shall I leave thee a beggar?"

"Nay, father, am not I, because I am thy child, his bond-servant? And of whom was it written, 'Strength and honor are her clothing, and she shall rejoice in time to come?'"

A gleam of ineffable love lighted his face as he said, "The Lord hath been good to me in many ways; but thou, Esther, art the sovereign excellence of his favor."

He drew her to his breast and kissed her many times.

"Hear now," he said, with clearer voice--"hear now why I laughed this morning. The young man faced me the apparition of his father in comely youth. My spirit arose to salute him. I felt my trial-days were over and my labors ended. Hardly could I keep from crying out.

I longed to take him by the hand and show the balance I had earned, and say, 'Lo, 'tis all thine! and I am thy servant, ready now to be called away.' And so I would have done, Esther, so I would have done, but that moment three thoughts rushed to restrain me. I will be sure he is my master's son--such was the first thought; if he is my master's son, I will learn somewhat of his nature. Of those born to riches, bethink you, Esther, how many there are in whose hands riches are but breeding curses"--he paused, while his hands clutched, and his voice shrilled with passion--

"Esther, consider the pains I endured at the Roman's hands; nay, not Gratus's alone: the merciless wretches who did his bidding the first time and the last were Romans, and they all alike laughed to hear me scream.

Consider my broken body, and the years I have gone shorn of my stature; consider thy mother yonder in her lonely tomb, crushed of soul as I of body; consider the sorrows of my master's family if they are living, and the cruelty of their taking-off if they are dead; consider all, and, with Heaven's love about thee, tell me, daughter, shall not a hair fall or a red drop run in expiation?

Tell me not, as the preachers sometimes do--tell me not that vengeance is the Lord's. Does he not work his will harmfully as well as in love by agencies? Has he not his men of war more numerous than his prophets? Is not his the law, Eye for eye, hand for hand, foot for foot? Oh, in all these years I have dreamed of vengeance, and prayed and provided for it, and gathered patience from the growing of my store, thinking and promising, as the Lord liveth, it will one day buy me punishment of the wrong-doers?

And when, speaking of his practise with arms, the young man said it was for a nameless purpose, I named the purpose even as he spoke--vengeance! and that, Esther, that it was--the third thought which held me still and hard while his pleading lasted, and made me laugh when he was gone."

Esther caressed the faded hands, and said, as if her spirit with his were running forward to results, "He is gone. Will he come again?"

"Ay, Malluch the faithful goes with him, and will bring him back when I am ready."

"And when will that be, father?"

"Not long, not long. He thinks all his witnesses dead. There is one living who will not fail to know him, if he be indeed my master's son."

"His mother?" 

"Nay, daughter, I will set the witness before him; till then let us rest the business with the Lord. I am tired. Call Abimelech." 

Esther called the servant, and they returned into the house.

to be continued

The Jars

Author Unknown

The preacher placed two identical jars on the table next to the pulpit. He quoted 1 Samuel 16:7 " The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart."

These jars came from the same factory, were made of the same materials, and can hold the same amount. But, they are different he explained.

Then he upset one, and it oozed out honey. He turned over the other, and vinegar spilled out. When a jar is upset, whatever is in it comes out.

Until the jars were upset, they looked alike. The difference was within, and could not be seen. When they were upset, their contents were revealed.

Until we are upset we put on a good front. But when we are upset, we reveal our innermost thoughts, and attitudes, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.

What if someone tipped you over today?

What would flow out?

Would you reveal the honey of grace, and patience, or the vinegar of anger and sarcasm?

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. (Peter 4:8.)

Have a terrific day knowing that the one who upsets you may be just looking for some honey.

Power of Positive Thinking

 by Norman Vincent Peale

Chapter 10 continued

Christianity teaches that in all the difficulties, problems, and circumstances of this life God is close by. We can talk to Him, lean upon Him, get help from Him, and have the inestimable benefit of His interest, support, and help.

Practically everybody believes in a general way that this is true, and many have experienced the reality of this faith.

In getting correct solutions to your problems, however, it is necessary to go a step further than believing this, for one must actually practice the idea of presence. Practice believing that God is as real and actual as your wife, or your business partner, or your closest friend. 

Practice talking matters over with Him; believe that He hears and gives thought to your problem. Assume that He impresses upon your mind through consciousness the proper ideas and insights necessary to solve your problems. 

Definitely believe that in these solutions there will be no error, but that you will be guided to actions according to truth which results in right outcomes.

A businessman stopped me one day following a Rotary Club meeting in a Western city at which I had made a speech. He told me that something he had read in 
one of my newspaper columns had, as he put it, "completely revolutionized his attitude and saved his business."

Naturally I was interested and pleased that any little thing I had said would bring about such a splendid result. 

"I had been having quite a difficult time in my business," he said. "In fact, it was beginning to be a very serious question as to whether I could save my business. A series of unfortunate circumstances together with market conditions, regulatory procedures, and dislocations to the economy of the country generally affected my line profoundly. I read this article of yours in which you advanced the idea of taking God in as a partner. I think you used the phrase, 'effect a merger with God.'
"When I first read that it seemed to me a rather 'cracked-brain idea.' How could a man on earth, a human being, take God as a partner? Besides, I had always thought of God as a vast being, so much bigger than man that I was like an insect in His sight, and yet you were saying that I should take Him as a partner. The idea seemed preposterous. 

Then a friend gave me one of your books and I found similar ideas scattered all through it. You told actual life stories about people who followed this advice. They all seemed to be sensible people, but still I was unconvinced. I always had the idea that ministers are idealistic theorists, that they know nothing about business and practical affairs. So I sort of 'wrote you off,' " he said with a smile.

"However, a funny thing happened one day. I went to my office so depressed that I actually thought perhaps the best thing for me to do would be to blow my brains out and get away from all these problems which seemed completely to floor me. Then into my mind came this idea of taking God as a partner. I shut the door, sat in my chair, and put my head on my arms on the desk. I might as well confess to you that I hadn't prayed more than a dozen times in as many years.

However, I certainly did pray on this occasion. I told the Lord that I had heard this idea about taking Him in as a partner, that I wasn't actually sure what it meant, or how one did it. I told Him I was sunk, that I couldn't get any ideas except panicky ones, that I was baffled, bewildered, and very discouraged. I said, 'Lord, I can't offer You much in the way of a partnership, but please join with me and help me. I don't know how You can help me, but I want to be helped. So I now put my business, myself, my family, and my future in Your hands. Whatever You say goes. I don't even know how You are going to tell me what to do, but I am ready to hear and will follow Your advice if You will make it clear.'

"Well," he continued, "that was the prayer. After I finished praying I sat at my desk. I guess I expected something miraculous to happen, but nothing did. However, I did suddenly feel quiet and rested. I actually had a feeling of peacefulness. Nothing out of the ordinary occurred that day nor that night, but next day when I went to my office I had a brighter and happier feeling than usual. I began to feel confident that things would turn out right. It was hard to explain why I felt that way. Nothing was any different. In fact, you might even say things were a shade worse, but I was different, at least a little different.

This feeling of peacefulness stayed with me and I began to feel better. I kept praying each day and talked to God as I would to a partner. They were not church prayers—just plain man-to-man talk. Then one day in my office, all of a sudden an idea popped up in my mind. It was like toast popping up in a toaster. I said to myself, 'Well, what do you know about that?' for it was something that had never occurred to me, but I knew instantly that it was just the method to follow. Why I had never thought of it before I haven't the slightest idea. My mind was too tied up, I guess. I hadn't been functioning mentally.

"I immediately followed the hunch." Then he stopped. "No, it was no hunch, it was my partner talking to me. I immediately put this idea into operation and things began to roll. New ideas began to flow out of my mind, and despite conditions I began to get the business back on an even keel.

Now the general situation has improved considerably, and I'm out of the woods."

Then he said, "I don't know anything about preaching or about writing the kind of books you write, or any books for that matter, but let me tell you this—whenever you get a chance to talk to businessmen tell them that if they will take God as a partner in their business they will get more good ideas than they can ever use, and they can turn those ideas into assets. I don't merely mean money," he said, "although a way to get a good return on your investment, I believe, is to get God-guided ideas. But tell them that the God-partnership method is the way to get their problems solved right."

This incident is just one of many similar demonstrations of the law of Divine-human relationship working itself out in practical affairs. I cannot emphasize too strongly the effectiveness of this technique of problem solving. It has produced amazing results in the many cases coming under my observation.

to be continued

Just for Laughs

About "reeding" and "righting!"

We'll begin with a box, and the plural is boxes;
but the plural of ox became oxen not oxes.

One fowl is a goose, but two are called geese,
yet the plural of moose should never be meese.

You may find a lone mouse or a nest full of mice;
yet the plural of house is houses, not hice.

If the plural of man is always called men,
why shouldn't the plural of pan be called pen?

If I spoke of my foot and show you my feet,
and I give you a boot, would a pair be called beet?

If one is a tooth and a whole set are teeth,
why shouldn't the plural of booth be called beeth?

Then one may be that,
And three would be those,+

yet hat in the plural would never be hose,
and the plural of cat is cats, not cose.

We speak of a brother and also of brethren,
but though we say mother, we never say methren.

Then the masculine pronouns are he, his and him,
but imagine the feminine, she, shis and shim.

Did You Know ?

  • Dinosaurs did not eat grass: there weren’t any at that time.
  • The coyote is a member of the dog family and its scientific name, “canis latrans” means barking dog.
  • A giraffe can clean its ears with its 50cm (20 in) tongue.
  • A group of geese on the ground is a gaggle – a group of geese in the air is a skein. More animal collective nouns
  • The South American giant anteater eats more than 30,000 ants a day.
  • Percentage of Africa that is wilderness: 28 
  • Percentage of North America that is wilderness: 38 
  • Percentage of American men who say they would marry the same woman if they had it to do all over again: 80 
  • Percentage of American women who say they would marry the same man: 50 
  • Percentage of men who say they are happier after their divorce or separation: 58 
  • Percentage of women who say they are happier: 85