5 January 2014

posted 2 Jan 2014, 19:43 by C S Paul   [ updated 2 Jan 2014, 20:53 ]

5 January 2014

Quotes to Inspire

  • "The most important persuasion tool you have in your entire arsenal is integrity." – Zig Ziglar
  • "Emotional sickness is avoiding reality at any cost. Emotional health is facing reality at any cost." – M. Scott Peck
  • "One of the illusions of life is that the present hour is not the critical, decisive hour. Write it on your heart that every day is the best day of the year." – Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • "Humor is a rubber sword; it allows you to make a point without drawing blood." – Mary Hirsch
  • It's the action, not the fruit of the action, that's important. You have to do the right thing. It may not be in your power, may not be in your time, that there'll be any fruit. But that doesn't mean you stop doing the right thing. You may never know what results come from your action. But if you do nothing, there will be no result.– Mahatma Gandhi
  • Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking - Marcus Aurelius
  • A mother's love is patient and forgiving when all others are forsaking, it never fails or fathers, even though the heart is breaking - Helen Rice
  • Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. Love never fails. 1 Corinthians 13:4,8
  • Too much love never spoils children.Children become spoiled when we substitute "presents" for "presence." Dr. Anthony Witham

The Fatal Fortress

Once upon a time, a king, who read in a remote pattern of the scattered stars that a great calamity would overtake him on a certain day and at a particular hour. He, therefore, ordered a rock stronghold to be constructed, and when it was completed he had numerous armed guards posted outside.

Furious King On the day that the stars foretold his fate, he entered his fortress. But when he got inside, he found that he could still see daylight. He located the gap in the wall and filled it immediately to prevent misfortune from entering.

He enclosed himself completely, but by blocking out the last opening against disaster, he also imprisoned himself without light or air. Needless to say, without air the king soon died. There are countless building blocks that our minds use to construct our personal 
prisons: anger, resentment, hate, feelings of inferiority, guilt, impatience, prejudice, anticipation of calamities.…

And our spirits can be suffocated by the fortresses of fear that we build around ourselves.


By good fortune, I was able to raft down the Motu River in New Zealand twice during the last year. The magnificent four-day journey traverses one of the last wilderness areas in the North Island.

The first expedition was led by "Buzz", an American guide with a great deal of rafting experience and many stories to tell of mighty rivers such as the Colorado. With a leader like Buzz, there was no reason to fear any of the great rapids on the Motu.

The first half day, in the gentle upper reaches, was spent developing teamwork and co-ordination. Strokes had to be mastered, and the discipline of following commands without question was essential. In the boiling fury of a rapid, there would be no room for any mistake. When Buzz bellowed above the roar of the water, an instant reaction was essential.

We mastered the Motu. In every rapid we fought against the river and we overcame it. The screamed commands of Buzz were matched only by the fury of our paddles, as we took the raft exactly where Buzz wanted it to go.

At the end of the journey, there was a great feeling of triumph. We had won. We proved that we were superior. We knew that we could do it. We felt powerful and good. The mystery and majesty of the Motu had been overcome.

The second time I went down the Motu. the experience I had gained should have been invaluable, but the guide on this journey was a very softly spoken Kiwi. It seemed that it would not even be possible to hear his voice above the noise of the rapids.

As we approached the first rapid, he never even raised his voice. He did not attempt to take command of us or the river. Gently and quietly he felt the mood of the river and watched every little whirlpool. There was no drama and no shouting. There was no contest to be won. He loved the river.

We sped through each rapid with grace and beauty and, after a day, the river had become our friend, not our enemy. The quiet Kiwi was not our leader, but only the person whose sensitivity was more developed than our own. Laughter replaced the tension of achievement.

Soon the quiet Kiwi was able to lean back and let all of us take turns as leader. A quiet nod was enough to draw attention to the things our lack of experience prevented us from seeing. If we made a mistake, then we laughed and it was the next person's turn.

We began to penetrate the mystery of the Motu. Now, like the quiet Kiwi, we listened to the river and we looked carefully for all those things we had not even noticed the first time.

At the end of the journey, we had overcome nothing except ourselves. We did not want to leave behind our friend, the river. There was no contest, and so nothing had been won. Rather we had become one with the river.

It remains difficult to believe that the external circumstances of the two journeys were similar. The difference was in an attitude and a frame of mind. At the end of the journey, it seemed that there could be no other way. Given the opportunity to choose a leader, everyone would have chosen someone like Buzz. At the end of the second journey, we had glimpsed a very different vision and we felt humble - and intensely happy.

1000 marbles
-- By Jeffrey Davis
A modern parable about Precious Time and appreciating life's finite nature

The older I get, the more I enjoy Saturday mornings. Perhaps it's the quiet solitude that comes with being the first to rise, or maybe it's the unbounded joy of not having to be at work. Either way, the first few hours of a Saturday morning are most enjoyable.

I'm a Ham radio operator and spend some time working with radios and electronics. So when I heard this story it really made me think! I hope that you will find some application in your own life as well...

A few weeks ago, I was shuffling toward the basement shack with a steaming cup of coffee in one hand and the morning paper in the other. What began as a typical Saturday morning, turned into one of those lessons that life seems to hand you from time to time. Let me tell you about it.

I turned the dial up into the phone portion of the band on my ham radio in order to listen to a Saturday morning swap net. Along the way, I came across an older sounding chap, with a tremendous signal and a golden voice. You know the kind, he sounded like he should be in the broadcasting business. He was telling whoever he was talking with something about "a thousand marbles."

I was intrigued and stopped to listen to what he had to say. "Well, Tom, it sure sounds like you're busy with your job. I'm sure they pay you well but it's a shame you have to be away from home and your family so much. Hard to believe a young fellow should have to work sixty or seventy hours a week to make ends meet. 

Too bad you missed your daughter's dance recital."

He continued, "Let me tell you something Tom, something that has helped me keep a good perspective on my own priorities." And that's when he began to explain his theory of "a thousand marbles."

"You see, I sat down one day and did a little arithmetic. The average person lives about seventy-five years. I know, some live more and some live less, but on average, folks live about seventy-five years."

"Now then, I multiplied 75 times 52 and I came up with 3900 which is the number of Saturdays that the average person has in their entire lifetime. Now stick with me Tom, I'm getting to the important part."

"It took me until I was fifty-five years old to think about all this in any detail," he went on, "and by that time I had lived through over twenty-eight hundred Saturdays. I got to thinking that if I lived to be seventy-five, I only had about a thousand of them left to enjoy."

"So I went to a toy store and bought every single marble they had. I ended up having to visit three toy stores to roundup 1000 marbles. I took them home and put them inside of a large, clear plastic container right here in the shack next to my gear. Every Saturday since then, I have taken one marble out and thrown it away."

"I found that by watching the marbles diminish, I focused more on the really important things in life. There is nothing like watching your time here on this earth run out to help get your priorities straight."

"Now let me tell you one last thing before I sign-off with you and take my lovely wife out for breakfast.

This morning, I took the very last marble out of the container. I figure if I make it until next Saturday then I have been given a little extra time. And the one thing we can all use is a little more time."

"It was nice to meet you Tom, I hope you spend more time with your family, and I hope to meet you again here on the band. 75 year Old Man, this is K9NZQ, clear and going QRT, good morning!"

You could have heard a pin drop on the band when this fellow signed off. I guess he gave us all a lot to think about. I had planned to work on the antenna that morning, and then I was going to meet up with a few hams to work on the next club newsletter. Instead, I went upstairs and woke my wife up with a kiss.

"C'mon honey, I'm taking you and the kids to breakfast."

"What brought this on?" she asked with a smile.

"Oh, nothing special, it's just been a long time since we spent a Saturday together with the kids. Hey, can we stop at a toy store while we're out? I need to buy some marbles."

HAVE A GREAT WEEK... and may ALL of your Saturdays be special!

The mouse trap

A mouse looked through the crack in the wall to see the farmer and his wife open a package. "What food might this contain?" the mouse wondered. He was devastated to discover it was a mousetrap.

Retreating to the farmyard, the mouse proclaimed the warning: "There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!"

The chicken clucked and scratched, raised her head and said "Mr.Mouse, I can tell this is a grave concern to you, but it is of no consequence to me. I cannot be bothered by it."

The mouse turned to the pig and told him "There is a mousetrap in the house! 

There is a mousetrap in the house!" The pig sympathized, but said "I am so very sorry, Mr.Mouse, but there is nothing I can do about it but pray. Be assured you are in my prayers."

The mouse turned to the cow and said "There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!" The cow said "Wow, Mr. Mouse. I'm sorry for you, but it's no skin off my nose."

So, the mouse returned to the house, head down and dejected, to face the farmer's 
mousetrap alone.

That very night a sound was heard throughout the house - like the sound of a mousetrap catching its prey. The farmer's wife rushed to see what was caught. In the darkness, she did not see it was a venomous snake whose tail the trap had caught. The snake bit the farmer's wife. The farmer rushed her to the hospital and she returned home with a fever.

Everyone knows you treat a fever with fresh chicken soup, so the farmer took his hatchet to the farmyard for the soup's main ingredient. But his wife's sickness continued, so friends and neighbors came to sit with her around the clock. To feed them, the farmer butchered the pig. The farmer's wife did not get well; she died. So many! people came for her funeral, the farmer had the cow slaughtered to provide enough meat for all of them.

The mouse looked upon it all from his crack in the wall with great sadness. So, the next time you hear someone is facing a problem and think it doesn't concern you, remember: when one of us is threatened, we are all at risk. We are all involved in this journey called life. We must keep an eye out for one another and make an extra effort to encourage one another. Each of us is a vital thread in another person's tapestry.

Just for laughs

The Army of the Lord 

A friend was in front of me coming out of church one day, and the preacher was standing at the door as he always is to shake hands. He grabbed my friend by the hand and pulled him aside. 
The Pastor said to him, "You need to join the Army of the Lord!" 
My friend replied, "I'm already in the Army of the Lord, Pastor." Pastor questioned, "How come I don't see you except at Christmas and Easter?" 
He whispered back, "I'm in the secret service."

 A Sure Cure 

Three Pastors in the south were having lunch in a diner. One said "Ya know, since summer started I've been having trouble with bats in my loft and attic at church. 

I've tried everything--noise, spray, cats--nothing seems to scare them away.  
Another said "Yea, me too. I've got hundreds living in my belfry and in the narthex attic. I've even had the place fumigated, and they won't go away." 
The third said, "I baptized all mine, and made them members of the church... Haven't seen one back since!!!"

Did you know ?

  • World’s first motor-accident was in 1769. The vehicle is still preserved in the Conservatoire Nationale des Arts et Metiers in Paris 
  • The first engine powered car was built in Mannheim, Germany by Karl Benz in 1885. 
  • Blinking helps to wash tears over our eyeballs.That keeps them clean and moist.
  • The tips of your fingers have enough strength to support the weight of your whole body
  • When you are born with 300 bones in their body, but as an adult you only have 206 bones. This happens because many of them join together to make a single bone.
  • ATOMIC COLLAPSE - The atoms that make up your body are mostly empty space, so despite there being so many of them, without that space you would compress into a tiny volume. The nucleus that makes up the vast bulk of the matter in an atom is so much smaller than the whole structure that it is comparable to the size of a fly in a cathedral. If you lost all your empty atomic space, your body would fit into a cube less than 1/500th of a centimetre on each side. Neutron stars are made up of matter that has undergone exactly this kind of compression. In a single cubic centimetre of neutron star material there are around 100 m tons of matter. An entire neutron star, heavier than our sun, occupies a sphere that is roughly the size across of the Isle of Wight.
  • It only takes 7 lbs of pressure to rip your ear off.
  • When you sneeze, all your bodily functions stop - even your heart.
  • Human teeth are almost as hard as rocks.
  • You burn more calories sleeping than you do watching T.V.


by Lew Wallace

Part Seven

Biblical references: John 1:29-34

At a meeting in Bethany, Ben-Hur and his Galileans organise a resistance force, an army which will revolt against Rome. Judah asks Simonides and Ilderim for help, and they establish a training base in Ilderim's territory, deep in the desert. After training for some time, Malluch sends him a letter announcing the appearance of a prophet who he believes to be a herald for the Christ. Judah journeys to the Jordan to see the Prophet, and on the way meets Balthasar and Iras again, traveling for the same purpose. Judah does not accept Balthasar's reasoning of the Christ as a savior rather than an earthly king, and continues with his plan to fight. They reach Bethabara, where a group has gathered to watch John the Baptist. A man walks up to John, and asks to be baptized. Judah recognizes him as the same man that gave him water at the well in Nazareth many years earlier, and Balthasar worships and almost faints at once again seeing he Christ.

Part Seven - CHAPTER V

All those who before were but listeners became watchers also.

At the same instant, under the same impulse, Balthasar and Ben-Hur fixed their gaze upon the man pointed out, and both took the same impression, only in different degree. He was moving slowly towards them in a clear space a little to their front, a form slightly above
the average in stature, and slender, even delicate. His action was calm and deliberate, like that habitual to men much given to serious thought upon grave subjects; and it well became his costume, which was an undergarment full-sleeved and reaching to the ankles,
and an outer robe called the talith; on his left arm he carried the usual handkerchief for the head, the red fillet swinging loose down his side. Except the fillet and a narrow border of blue at the lower edge of the talith, his attire was of linen yellowed with dust and road stains. Possibly the exception should be extended to the tassels, which were blue and white, as prescribed by law for rabbis. His sandals were of the simplest kind. He was without scrip or girdle or staff.

These points of appearance, however, the three beholders observed briefly, and rather as accessories to the head and face of the man, which--especially the latter--were the real sources of the spell they caught in common with all who stood looking at him.

The head was open to the cloudless light, except as it was draped with hair long and slightly waved, and parted in the middle, and auburn in tint, with a tendency to reddish golden where most strongly touched by the sun. Under a broad, low forehead, under black well arched brows, beamed eyes dark-blue and large, and softened to exceeding tenderness by lashes of the great length sometimes seen on children, but seldom, if ever, on men. As to the other features, it would have been difficult to decide whether they
were Greek or Jewish. The delicacy of the nostrils and mouth was unusual to the latter type; and when it was taken into account with the gentleness of the eyes, the pallor of the complexion, the fine texture of the hair, and the softness of the beard, which fell in waves over his throat to his breast, never a soldier but would have laughed at him in encounter, never a woman who would not have confided in him at sight, never a
child that would not, with quick instinct, have given him its hand and whole artless trust; nor might any one have said he was not beautiful.

The features, it should be further said, were ruled by a certain expression which, as the viewer chose, might with equal correctness have been called the effect of intelligence, love, pity, or sorrow; though, in better speech, it was a blending of them all--a look
easy to fancy as the mark of a sinless soul doomed to the sight and understanding of the utter sinfulness of those among whom it was passing; yet withal no one could have observed the face with a thought of weakness in the man; so, at least, would not they
who know that the qualities mentioned--love, sorrow, pity--are the results of a consciousness of strength to bear suffering oftener than strength to do; such has been the might of martyrs and devotees and the myriads written down in saintly calendars. And such, indeed, was the air of this one.

Slowly he drew near--nearer the three.

Now Ben-Hur, mounted and spear in hand, was an object to claim the glance of a king; yet the eyes of the man approaching were all the time raised above him--and not to Iras, whose loveliness has been so often remarked, but to Balthasar, the old and unserviceable.

The hush was profound.

Presently the Nazarite, still pointing with his staff, cried, in a loud voice,

"Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world!"

The many standing still, arrested by the action of the speaker, and listening for what might follow, were struck with awe by words so strange and past their understanding; upon Balthasar they were overpowering. He was there to see once more the Redeemer of men.
The faith which had brought him the singular privileges of the time long gone abode yet in his heart; and if now it gave him a power of vision above that of his fellows--a power to see and know him for whom he was looking--better than calling the power a miracle, let it be thought of as the faculty of a soul not yet entirely released from the divine relations to which it had been formerly admitted, or as the fitting reward of a life in that age so without examples of holiness--a life itself a miracle. The ideal of his faith was before him, perfect in face, form, dress, action, age; and he was in its view, and the view was recognition. Ah, now if something should happen to identify the stranger beyond all doubt!

And that was what did happen.

Exactly at the fitting moment, as if to assure the trembling Egyptian, the Nazarite repeated the outcry,

"Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world!"

Balthasar fell upon his knees. For him there was no need of explanation; and as if the Nazarite knew it, he turned to those more immediately about him staring in wonder, and continued:

"This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me, for he was before me. And I knew him not: but that he should be manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water. I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him. And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. And I saw and bare record, that this"--he paused, his staff still pointing at the stranger in the white garments, as if to give a more absolute certainty to both his words and the conclusions intended--"I bare record,

"It is he, it is he!" Balthasar cried, with upraised tearful eyes. Next moment he sank down insensible.

In this time, it should be remembered, Ben-Hur was studying the face of the stranger, though with an interest entirely different. He was not insensible to its purity of feature, and its thoughtfulness, tenderness, humility, and holiness; but just then there was room in
his mind for but one thought--Who is this man? And what? Messiah or king? Never was apparition more unroyal. Nay, looking at that calm, benignant countenance, the very idea of war and conquest, and lust of dominion, smote him like a profanation. He said, as if speaking to his own heart, Balthasar must be right and Simonides wrong.

This man has not come to rebuild the throne of Solomon; he has neither the nature nor the genius of Herod; king he may be, but not of another and greater than Rome.

It should be understood now that this was not a conclusion with Ben-Hur, but an impression merely; and while it was forming, while yet he gazed at the wonderful countenance, his memory began to throe and struggle. "Surely," he said to himself, "I have seen the man; but where and when?" That the look, so calm, so pitiful, so loving, had somewhere in a past time beamed upon him as that moment it was beaming upon Balthasar became an assurance. Faintly at first, at last a clear light, a burst of sunshine, the scene by the well at Nazareth what time the Roman guard was dragging him to the galleys returned, and all his being thrilled. Those hands had helped him when he was perishing. The face was one of
the pictures he had carried in mind ever since. In the effusion of feeling excited, the explanation of the preacher was lost by him, all but the last words--words so marvellous that the world yet rings with them:

"--this is the SON OF GOD!"

Ben-Hur leaped from his horse to render homage to his benefactor; but Iras cried to him, "Help, son of Hur, help, or my father will die!"

He stopped, looked back, then hurried to her assistance. She gave him a cup; and leaving the slave to bring the camel to its knees, he ran to the river for water. The stranger was gone when he came back.

At last Balthasar was restored to consciousness. Stretching forth his hands, he asked, feebly, "Where is he?"

"Who?" asked Iras.

An intense instant interest shone upon the good man's face, as if a last wish had been gratified, and he answered, "He--the Redeemer--the Son of God, whom I have seen again."

"Believest thou so?" Iras asked in a low voice of Ben-Hur.

"The time is full of wonders; let us wait," was all he said.

And next day while the three were listening to him, the Nazarite broke off in mid-speech, saying reverently, "Behold the Lamb of God!"

Looking to where he pointed, they beheld the stranger again. As Ben-Hur surveyed the slender figure, and holy beautiful countenance compassionate to sadness, a new idea broke upon him.

"Balthasar is right--so is Simonides. May not the Redeemer be a king also?"

And he asked one at his side, "Who is the man walking yonder?"

The other laughed mockingly, and replied, "He is the son of a carpenter over in Nazareth."

to be continued