5 August, 2012

posted 2 Aug 2012, 05:54 by C S Paul
5 August, 2012



Mommy Bird


An article in National Geographic several years ago provided a penetrating picture of God's wings. After a forest fire in Yellowstone National Park, forest rangers began their trek up a mountain to assess the inferno's damage. 

One ranger found a bird literally petrified in ashes, perched statuesquely on the ground at the base of a tree. Somewhat sickened by the eerie sight, he knocked over the bird with a stick. When he struck it, three tiny chicks scurried from under their mother's wings. 

The loving mother, keenly aware of impending disaster, had carried her offspring to the base of the tree and gathered them under her wings, instinctively knowing that toxic smoke would rise. She could have flown to safety, but had refused to abandon her babies. 

When the blaze had arrived and the heat singed her small body, the mother remained steadfast. Because she had been willing to die, those under the cover of her wings continued to live. 

"He shall cover thee with His feathers and under His wings shall thou trust" (Ps 91:4). Learn to experience the warmth and protection of life beneath the wings of the Almighty."




My Father's Clothes

Provided by Free Christian Content.org

What my father wore embarrassed me as a young man. I wanted him to dress like a doctor or lawyer, but on those muggy mornings when he rose before dawn to fry eggs for my mother and me, he always dressed like my father.

We lived in south Texas, and my father wore tattered jeans with the imprint of his pocketknife on the seat. He liked shirts that snapped more than those that buttoned and kept his pencils, cigars, glasses, wrenches and screwdrivers in his breast pocket. My father's boots were government issues with steel toes that made them difficult to pull off his feet, which I sometimes did when he returned from repairing air conditioners, his job that also shamed me.

But, as a child, I'd crept into his closet and modeled his wardrobe in front of the mirror. My imagination transformed his shirts into the robes of kings and his belts into soldiers' holsters. I slept in his undershirts and relied on the scent of his collars to calm my fear of the dark. Within a few years, though, I started wishing my father would trade his denim for khaki and retire his boots for loafers. I stopped sleeping in his clothes and eventually began dreaming of another father.

I blamed the way he dressed for my social failures. When boys bullied me, I thought they'd seen my father wearing his cowboy hat but no shirt while walking our dog. I felt that girls snickered at me because they'd glimpsed him mowing the grass in cut-offs and black boots. The girls' families paid men (and I believed better dressed ones) to landscape their lawns, while their fathers yachted in the bay wearing lemon yellow sweaters and expensive sandals.

My father only bought two suits in his life. He preferred clothes that allowed him the freedom to shimmy under cars and squeeze behind broken Maytags, where he felt most content. But the day before my parents' twentieth anniversary, he and I went to Sears, and he tried on suits all afternoon. With each one, he stepped to the mirror, smiled and nodded, then asked about the price and reached for another. He probably tried ten suits before we drove to a discount store and bought one without so much as approaching a fitting room. That night my mother said she'd never seen a more handsome man.

Later, though, he donned the same suit for my eighth grade awards banquet, and I wished he'd stayed home. After the ceremony (I'd been voted Mr. Citizenship, of all things), he lauded my award and my character while changing into a faded red sweat suit. He was stepping into the garage to wash a load of laundry when I asked what even at age fourteen struck me as cruel and wrong.

"Why," I asked, "don't you dress 'nice,' like my friends' fathers?"

He held me with his sad, shocked eyes, and searched for an answer. Then before he disappeared into the garage and closed the door between us, my father said, "I like my clothes." An hour later my mother stormed into my room, called me an "ungrateful child," a phrase that echoed in my head for years to come. 

As I matured I realized that girls avoided me not because of my father but because of his son. I realized that my mother had scolded me because my father could not, and it soon became clear that what he had really said that night was that there are things more important than clothes. He'd said he couldn't spend a nickel on himself because there were things I wanted. That night, without another word, my father had said, "You're my son, and I sacrifice so your life will be better than mine."

For my high school graduation, my father arrived in a suit he and my mother had purchased earlier that day. Somehow he seemed taller, more handsome and imposing, and when he passed the other fathers they stepped out of his way. It wasn't the suit, of course, but the man. The doctors and lawyers recognized the confidence in his swagger, the pride in his eyes, and when they approached him, they did so with courtesy and respect. After we returned home, my father replaced the suit in the flimsy Sears garment bag, and I didn't see it again until his funeral.

I don't know what he was wearing when he died, but he was working, so he was in clothes he liked, and that comforts me. My mother thought of burying him in the suit from Sears, but I convinced her otherwise and soon delivered a pair of old jeans, a flannel shirt and his boots to the funeral home.

On the morning of the services, I used his pocketknife to carve another hole in his belt so it wouldn't droop around my waist. Then I took the suit from Sears out of his closet and changed into it. Eventually, I mustered the courage to study myself in his mirror where, with the exception of the suit, I appeared small and insignificant. Again, as in childhood, the clothes draped over my scrawny frame. My father's scent wafted up and caressed my face, but it failed to console me. I was uncertain: not about my father's stature - I'd stopped being an ungrateful little twerp years before. No, I was uncertain about myself, my own stature. And I stood there for some time, facing myself in my father's mirror, weeping and trying to imagine

... as I will for the rest of my life ...

the day I'll grow into my father's clothes. 



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 IV  continued

At a signal the fleet rested upon its oars. When the movement was resumed, Arrius led a division of fifty of the galleys, intending to take them up the channel, while another division,equally strong, turned their prows to the outer or seaward side of the island, with orders to make all haste to the upper inlet, and descend sweeping the waters.

To be sure, neither division was equal in number to the pirates; but each had advantages in compensation, among them, by no means least, a discipline impossible to a lawless horde, however brave.

Besides, it was a shrewd count on the tribune's side, if, peradventure, one should be defeated, the other would find the enemy shattered by his victory, and in condition to be easily overwhelmed.

Meantime Ben-Hur kept his bench, relieved every six hours. The rest in the Bay of Antemona had freshened him, so that the oar was not troublesome, and the chief on the platform found no fault.

People, generally, are not aware of the ease of mind there is in knowing where they are, and where they are going. The sensation of being lost is a keen distress; still worse is the feeling one has in driving blindly into unknown places. Custom had dulled the feeling with Ben-Hur, but only measurably. Pulling away hour after hour, sometimes days and nights together, sensible all the time that the galley was gliding swiftly along some of the many tracks of the broad sea, the longing to know where he was, and whither going, was always present with him; but now it seemed quickened by the hope which had come to new life in his breast since the interview with the tribune. The narrower the abiding-place happens to be,
the more intense is the longing; and so he found. 

He seemed to hear every sound of the ship in labor, and listened to each one as if it were a voice come to tell him something; he looked to the grating overhead, and through it into the light of which so small a portion was his, expecting, he knew not what; and many times he caught himself on the point of yielding to the impulse to speak to the chief on the platform, than which no circumstance of battle would have astonished that dignitary more.

In his long service, by watching the shifting of the meagre sunbeams upon the cabin floor when the ship was under way, he had come to know, generally, the quarter into which she was sailing.

This, of course, was only of clear days like those good-fortune was sending the tribune. The experience had not failed him in the period succeeding the departure from Cythera. Thinking they were tending towards the old Judean country, he was sensitive to every variation from the course. With a pang, he had observed the sudden change northward which, as has been noticed, took place near Naxos: the cause, however, he could not even conjecture; for it must be remembered that, in common with his fellow-slaves, he knew nothing of the situation, and had no interest in the voyage. His place was at the oar, and he was held there inexorably, whether at anchor or under sail. 

Once only in three years had he been permitted an outlook from the deck. The occasion we have seen. He had no idea that, following the vessel he was helping drive, there was a great squadron close at hand and in beautiful order; no more did he know the object of which it was in pursuit.

When the sun, going down, withdrew his last ray from the cabin, the galley still held northward. Night fell, yet Ben-Hur could discern no change. About that time the smell of incense floated down the gangways from the deck.

"The tribune is at the altar," he thought. "Can it be we are going into battle?"
He became observant.

Now he had been in many battles without having seen one. From his bench he had heard them above and about him, until he was familiar with all their notes, almost as a singer with a song. So, too, he had become acquainted with many of the preliminaries of an engagement, of which, with a Roman as well as a Greek, the most invariable was the sacrifice to the gods. The rites were the same as those performed at the beginning of a voyage, and to him, when noticed, they were always an admonition.

A battle, it should be observed, possessed for him and his fellow-slaves of the oar an interest unlike that of the sailor and marine; it came, not of the danger encountered but of the fact that defeat, if survived, might bring an alteration of
condition--possibly freedom--at least a change of masters, which might be for the better.

In good time the lanterns were lighted and hung by the stairs, and the tribune came down from the deck. At his word the marines put on their armor. At his word again, the machines were looked to, and spears, javelins, and arrows, in great sheaves, brought and laid upon the floor, together with jars of inflammable oil, and baskets of cotton balls wound loose like the wicking of candles. 

And when, finally, Ben-Hur saw the tribune mount his platform and don his armor, and get his helmet and shield out, the meaning of the preparations might not be any longer doubted, and he made ready for the last ignominy of his service.
 to be continued

The Tip

Two Nickels and Five Pennies In the days when an ice cream sundae cost much less, a 10-year-old boy entered a hotel coffee shop and sat at a table. 

A waitress put a glass of water in front of him. "How much is an ice cream sundae?" "Fifty cents," replied the waitress. The little boy pulled his hand out of his pocket and studied a number of coins in it. "How much is a dish of plain ice cream?" he inquired. 

Some people were now waiting for a table and the waitress was a bit impatient. "Thirty-five cents," she said brusquely. The little boy again counted the coins. "I'll have the plain ice cream," he said. The waitress brought the ice cream, put the bill on the table and walked away. 

The boy finished the ice cream, paid the cashier and departed. When the waitress came back, she began wiping down the table and then swallowed hard at what she saw. There, placed neatly beside the empty dish, were two nickels and five pennies - her tip.


Power of Positive Thinking

 by Norman Vincent Peale


Chapter 7 continued

You can overcome any obstacle. You can achieve the most tremendous things by faith power. And how do you develop faith power? The answer is: to saturate your mind with the great words of the Bible. If you will spend one hour a day
reading the Bible and committing its great passages to memory, thus allowing them to recondition your personality, the change in you and in your experience will be little short of miraculous.

Just one section of the Bible will accomplish this for you. The eleventh chapter of Mark is enough. You will find the secret in the following words, and this is one of the greatest formulas the Book contains: "Have faith in God (that's positive, isn't it?) for verily I say unto you, that whosoever shall say unto this mountain (that's specific) be thou removed (that is, stand aside) and be thou cast into the sea (that means out of sight—anything you threw into the sea is gone for good. 

The Titanic lies at the bottom of the sea. And the sea bottom is lined with ships. Cast your opposition called a "mountain" into the sea) and shall not doubt in his heart (Why does this statement use the word heart: Because it means you are not to doubt in your subconscious, in the inner essence of you. It isn't so superficial as a doubt in the conscious mind. That is a normal, intelligent questioning. It's a deep fundamental doubt that is to be avoided) but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass, he shall have whatsoever he saith." (Mark 11:22-23)
This is not some theory that I have thought up. It is taught by the most reliable book known to man. Generation after generation, no matter what develops in the way of knowledge and science, the Bible is read by more people than any other book. Humanity rightly has more confidence in it than any other document ever written, and the Bible tells us that faith power works wonders.

The reason, however, that great things do not happen to some people is that they are not specific in their application of faith power. We are told, "Ye shall say to this mountain."

That is to say, do not address your efforts to the entire mountain range of all your difficulties, but attack one thing that may be defeating you at the moment. Be specific. Take them one by one.

If there is something you want, how do you go about getting it? In the first place, ask yourself, "Should I want it?" Test that question very honestly in prayer to be sure you should want it and whether you should have it. If you can answer that question in the affirmative, then ask God for it and don't be backward in asking Him. And if God, having more insight, believes that you shouldn't have it, you needn't worry—He won't give it to you. But if it is a right thing, ask Him for it, and when you ask, do not doubt in your heart. Be specific.

The validity of this law was impressed upon me by something that a friend of mine, a Midwestern businessman, told me. This man is a big, extrovertish, outgoing, lovable gentleman, a truly great Christian. He teaches the largest
Bible class in his state. In the town where he lives he is Mr. "Town" himself. He is head of a plant employing forty thousand people.

His office desk is full of religious literature. He even has some of my sermons and pamphlets there. In his plant, one of the biggest in the United States, he manufactures refrigerators.

He is one of those whole-souled, rugged individuals who has the capacity to have faith. He believes that God is right there in his office with him. 
 
My friend said, "Preach a big faith—not any little old watered down faith. Don't be afraid that faith isn't scientific enough. I am a scientist," he said. "I use science in my business every day, and I use the Bible every day. The Bible will work. 

Everything in the Bible works if you believe in it."

When he was made general manager of this plant it was whispered around town, "Now that Mr. ——— is general manager, we'll have to bring our Bibles to work with us."

After a few days he called into his office some of the men who were making this remark. He uses language they understand, and he said, "I hear you guys are going around town saying that now I am general manager, you will have to bring your Bibles to work with you."

"Oh, we didn't mean that," they said in embarrassment.

He said, "Well, you know, that's a ——— good idea, but I don't want you to come lugging them under your arms. Bring them here in your hearts and in your minds. If you come with a spirit of good will and faith in your hearts and minds, believe me, we'll do business.

"So," he said, "the kind of faith to have is the specific kind, the kind that moves this particular mountain."

Suddenly he said to me, "Did you ever have a toe bother you?" I was rather astonished by that, but before I could answer he said, "I had a toe that bothered me and I took it to the doctors here in town, and they are wonderful doctors, and
they said there wasn't anything wrong with the toe that they could see. But they were wrong, because it hurt. So I went out and got a book on anatomy and read up on toes. It is really a simple construction. 

There's nothing but a few muscles and ligaments and a bony structure. It seemed that anybody who knows anything about a toe could fix it, but I couldn't get anybody to fix that toe, and it hurt me all the time. So I sat down one day and took a look at that toe. 

Then I said, 'Lord, I'm sending this toe right back to the plant. You made that toe. I make refrigerators and I know all there is to know about a refrigerator. When we sell a refrigerator, we guarantee the customer service. If his refrigerator doesn't work right and if our service agents can't fix it, he brings it back to the plant and we fix it, because we know how.' So I said, 'Lord, you made this toe. You manufactured it, and your service agents, the doctors, don't seem to know how to get it working right, and if you don't mind, Lord, I would like to have it fixed up as soon as possible, because it's bothering me.' "

"How is the toe now?" I asked.

"Perfect," he replied.

Perhaps this is a foolish kind of story, and I laughed when he told it, but I almost cried, too, for I saw a wonderful look on that man's face as he related that incident of a specific prayer.

Be specific. Ask God for any right thing, but as a little child, don't doubt. Doubt closes the power flow. Faith opens it. The power of faith is so tremendous that there is nothing that Almighty God cannot do for us, with us, or through us if we
let Him channel His power through our minds.

So roll those words around on your tongue. Say them over and over again until they lodge deeply in your mind, until they get down into your heart, until they take possession of the essence of you:

"....whosoever shall say unto this mountain, be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea, and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass, he shall have whatsoever he saith." (Mark
11:23)

Rose

Author unknown

The first day of school our professor introduced himself and challenged us to get to know someone we didn't already know. I stood up to look around when a gentle hand touched my shoulder. I turned around to find a wrinkled, little old lady beaming up at me with a smile that lit up her entire being She said, "Hi handsome. My name is Rose. I'm eighty-seven years old. Can I give you a hug?" I laughed and enthusiastically responded, "Of course you may!" and she gave me a giant squeeze. "Why are you in college at such a young, innocent age?" I asked. 

She jokingly replied, "I'm here to meet a rich husband, get married, have a couple of children, and then retire and travel." "No seriously," I asked. I was curious what may have motivated her to be taking on this challenge at her age." I always dreamed of having a college education and now I'm getting one!" she told me. 

After class we walked to the student union building and shared a chocolate milkshake. We became instant friends. Every day for the next three months we would leave class together and talk nonstop. I was always mesmerized listening to this "time machine" as she shared her wisdom and experience with me. 

Over the course of the year, Rose became a campus icon and she easily made friends wherever she went. She loved to dress up and she reveled in the attention bestowed upon her from the other students. She was living it up. At the end of the semester we invited Rose to speak at our football banquet. I'll never forget what she taught us. 

She was introduced and stepped up to the podium. As she began to deliver her prepared speech, she dropped her three by five cards on the floor. Frustrated and a little embarrassed she leaned into the microphone and simply said, "I'm sorry I'm so jittery. I gave up beer for Lent and this whiskey is killing me! I'll never get my speech back in order so let me just tell you what I know." 

As we laughed she cleared her throat and began: "We do not stop playing because we are old; we grow old because we stop playing. There are only four secrets to staying young, being happy, and achieving success." You have to laugh and find humor every day. "You've got to have a dream. When you lose your dreams, you die. We have so many people walking around who are dead and don't even know it!" 

"There is a huge difference between growing older and growing up. If you are nineteen years old and lie in bed for one full year and don't do one productive thing, you will turn twenty years old. If I am eighty-seven years old and stay in bed for a year and never do anything I will turn eighty-eight. Anybody can grow older. That doesn't take any talent or ability. The idea is to grow up by always finding the opportunity in change." 

"Have no regrets. The elderly usually don't have regrets for what we did, but rather for things we did not do. The only people who fear death are those with regrets. She concluded her speech by courageously singing "The Rose." She challenged each of us to study the lyrics and live them out in our daily lives. At the years end Rose finished the college degree she had begun all those years ago. 

One week after graduation Rose died peacefully in her sleep. Over two thousand college students attended her funeral in tribute to the wonderful woman who taught by example that it's never too late to be all you can possibly be. If you read this, please send this peaceful word of advice to your friends and family, they'll really enjoy it!

We send these words in loving memory of ROSE Remember,

GROWING OLDER IS MANDATORY,
GROWING UP IS OPTIONAL.
Life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.



Just for Laughs

Me first !

A Preacher, a missionary, and an overweight tenor from the church choir are visiting Israel when, all of a sudden, they are captured by Arab terrorists. They are informed by these terrorists that they are going to be shot.

The Preacher said, "We are men of God. You can't shoot us!"

When the terrorists refused, the Preacher asked the terrorists for one last request each.

"Okay," said the terrorist chief, "one last request each - but keep it short."

The Preacher says, "I would like to give a two hour sermon and not have anyone in my audience leave or fall asleep."

The tenor says, "I would like to give a two hour concert of my favorite hymns."

"And what about you?" the terrorist chief asked the missionary. "Oh please!" said the missionary, kneeling with his hands raised in supplication. "Shoot me first!" 


Did You Know ?

  • If all your DNA is stretched out, it would reach to the moon 6,000 times.
  • Approximately two-thirds of a person’s body weight is water. Blood is 92% water. The brain is 75% water and muscles are 75% water.
  • The colored part of the eye is called the iris. Behind the iris is the soft, rubbery lens which focuses the light on to a layer, called the retina, in the back of the eye. The retina contains about 125 million rods and 7 million cones. The rods pick up shades of gray and help us see in dim light. The cones work best in bright light to pick up colors.
  • We actually do not see with our eyes – we see with our brains. The eyes basically are the cameras of the brain.
  • Our eyes can detect sound.
  • There are some 1 billion computers in use.
  • There are some 2 billion TV sets in use.
  • There are more than 4 billion cell phones in use. About 3 million cell phones are sold every day.
  • The first known cell phone virus, Cabir.A, appeared in 2004.
  • Since 2008, video games have outsold movie DVDs.
  • Amazon sells more e-books than printed books.

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