9 December, 2012

posted 6 Dec 2012, 04:43 by C S Paul

9 December, 2012

The Christmas Envelope

It's just a small, white envelope stuck among the branches of our Christmas tree. No name, no identification, no inscription. It has peeked through the branches of our tree for the past 10 years or so.

It all began because my husband Mike hated Christmas---oh, not the true meaning of Christmas, but the commercial aspects of it-overspending... the frantic running around at the last minute to get a tie for Uncle Harry and the dusting powder for Grandma -- the gifts given in desperation because you couldn't think of anything else.

Knowing he felt this way, I decided one year to bypass the usual shirts, sweaters, ties and so forth. I reached for something special just for Mike. The inspiration came in an unusual way.

Our son Kevin, who was 12 that year, was wrestling at the junior level at the school he attended; and shortly before Christmas, there was a non league match against a team sponsored by an inner-city church, mostly black. These youngsters, dressed in sneakers so ragged that shoestrings seemed to be the only thing holding them together, presented a sharp contrast to our boys in their spiffy blue and gold uniforms and sparkling new wrestling shoes.

As the match began, I was alarmed to see that the other team was wrestling without headgear, a kind of light helmet designed to protect a wrestler's ears. It was a luxury the ragtag team obviously could not afford. Well, we ended up walloping them. We took every weight class. And as each of their boys got up from the mat, he swaggered around in his tatters with false bravado, a kind of street pride that couldn't acknowledge defeat.

Mike, seated beside me, shook his head sadly, "I wish just one of them could have won," he said. "They have a lot of potential, but losing like this could take the heart right out of them." Mike loved kids, all kids-and he knew them, having coached little league football, baseball and lacrosse. That's when the idea for his present came. That afternoon, I went to a local sporting goods store and bought an assortment of wrestling headgear and shoes and sent them anonymously to the inner-city church.

On Christmas Eve, I placed the envelope on the tree, the note inside telling Mike what I had done and that this was his gift from me. His smile was the brightest thing about Christmas that year and in succeeding years.

For each Christmas, I followed the tradition... one year sending a group of mentally handicapped youngsters to a hockey game, another year a check to a pair of elderly brothers whose home had burned to the ground the week before Christmas, and on and on. The envelope became the highlight of our Christmas. It was always the last thing opened on Christmas morning and our children, ignoring their new toys, would stand with wide-eyed anticipation as their dad lifted the envelope from the tree to reveal its contents.

As the children grew, the toys gave way to more practical presents, but the envelope never lost its allure. The story doesn't end there.

You see, we lost Mike last year due to dreaded cancer. When Christmas rolled around, I was still so wrapped in grief that I barely got the tree up. But Christmas Eve found me placing an envelope on the tree, and in the morning, it was joined by three more. Each of our children, unbeknownst to the others, had placed an envelope on the tree for their dad. The tradition has grown and someday will expand even further with our grandchildren standing around the tree with wide-eyed anticipation watching as their fathers take down the envelope.

Mike's spirit, like the Christmas spirit, will always be with us.

May we all remember Christ, who is the reason for the season, and the true Christmas spirit this year and always. 

The True Meaning of Christmas

Fill your life with love and you will have no room for selfishness.

It was Christmas Eve, and, as usual, George Mason was the last to leave the office. He walked over to a massive safe, spun the dials, swung the heavy door open. Making sure the door would not close behind him, he stepped inside. A square of white cardboard was taped just above the topmost row of strongboxes. On the card a few words were written. George Mason stared at those words, remembering...

Exactly one year ago he had entered this selfsame vault. And then, behind his back, slowly, noiselessly, the ponderous door swung shut! He was trapped entombed in the sudden and terrifying dark! He hurled himself at the unyielding door, his hoarse cry sounding like an explosion. No time clock controlled this safe, it would remain locked until it was opened from the outside. Tomorrow morning. Then the realization hit him. No one would come tomorrow, tomorrow was Christmas!

Once more he flung himself at the door, shouting wildly, until he sank on his knees exhausted. Silence came, high-pitched, singing silence that seemed deafening. More than thirty-six hours would pass before anyone came--thirty-six hours in a steel box three feet wide, eight feet long, seven feet height. Would the oxygen last? Perspiring and breathing heavily, he felt his way around the floor. Then, in the far right-hand corner, just above the floor, he found a small circular opening. Quickly he thrust his finger into it and felt, faintly but unmistakably, a cool current of air. 

The tension release was so sudden that he burst into tears. At last he sat up. Surely he would not have to stay trapped for the full thirty-six hours. Somebody would miss him. But who? He was unmarried and lived alone. The maid who cleaned his apartment was just a servant, he had always treated her as such. He had been invited to spend Christmas Eve with his brother's family, but children got on his nerves, and expected presents, so he had declined the invitation. A friend had asked him to go to a home for elderly people on Christmas Day and play the piano, he was a good musician. But he had made some excuse or other. He had intended to sit at home with a good cigar, listening to some new recordings he was giving himself. Nobody would come and let him out. Nobody, nobody....

Miserably the night passed and the whole of Christmas Day went by and the succeeding night. On the morning after Christmas the head clerk came into the office at the usual time, opened the safe, then went into his private office. No one saw George Mason stagger out into the corridor, run to the water cooler, and drink great gulps of water. No one paid attention to him as he left and took a taxi home. There he shaved, changed his wrinkled clothes, ate breakfast and returned to his office where his employees greeted him casually. That day he met several acquaintances and talked to his own brother. Grimly the truth closed in on him. He had vanished from human society during the great festival of brotherhood, yet not one had missed him at all. Reluctantly, he began to think about the true meaning of Christmas. Was it possible that he had been blind all these years with selfishness, indifference and pride? Wasn't giving, after all, the essence of Christmas because it marked the time God gave his own Son to the world? All through the year that followed, with little deeds of kindness, with small, unnoticed acts of unselfishness, George Mason tried to prepare himself..... Now, once more, it was Christmas Eve.

Slowly he backed out of the safe, closed it. He touched its grim steel face lightly, almost affectionately, and left the office. There he goes now in his black overcoat and hat, the same George Mason as a year ago. Or is it? He walks a few blocks, then flags a taxi, anxious not to be late. His nephews are expecting him to help them trim the tree. Afterwards, he is taking his brother and his sister-in-law to a Christmas play. Why is he so happy? Why does this jostling against others, laden as he is with bundles, exhilarate and delight him? Perhaps the card has something to do with it, the card he taped inside his office safe last New Year's Day. On the card is written, in George Mason's own hand:

"To love people, to be indispensable somewhere, that is the purpose of life. That is the secret of happiness."


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 VII

In front of Ben-Hur there was a forest of cypress-trees, each a column tall and straight as a mast. Venturing into the shady precinct, he heard a trumpet gayly blown, and an instant after saw lying upon the grass close by the countryman whom he had run upon in the road going to the temples. The man arose, and came to him.

"I give you peace again," he said, pleasantly.

"Thank you," Ben-Hur replied, then asked, "Go you my way?"

"I am for the stadium, if that is your way."

"The stadium!"

"Yes. The trumpet you heard but now was a call for the competitors."

"Good friend," said Ben-Hur, frankly, "I admit my ignorance of the Grove; and if you will let me be your follower, I will be glad."

"That will delight me. Hark! I hear the wheels of the chariots. They are taking the track."

Ben-Hur listened a moment, then completed the introduction by laying his hand upon the man's arm, and saying, "I am the son of Arrius, the duumvir, and thou?"

"I am Malluch, a merchant of Antioch."

"Well, good Malluch, the trumpet, and the gride of wheels, and the prospect of diversion excite me. I have some skill in the exercises. In the palaestrae of Rome I am not unknown. Let us to the course."

Malluch lingered to say, quickly, "The duumvir was a Roman, yet I see his son in the garments of a Jew."

"The noble Arrius was my father by adoption," Ben-Hur answered.

"Ah! I see, and beg pardon."

Passing through the belt of forest, they came to a field with a track laid out upon it, in shape and extent exactly like those of the stadia. The course, or track proper, was of soft earth, rolled and sprinkled, and on both sides defined by ropes, stretched loosely upon upright javelins. For the accommodation of spectators, and such as had interests reaching forward of the mere practise, there were several stands shaded by substantial awnings, and provided with seats in rising rows. In one of the stands the two new-comers found places.

Ben-Hur counted the chariots as they went by--nine in all.

"I commend the fellows," he said, with good-will. "Here in the East, I thought they aspired to nothing better than the two; but they are ambitious, and play with royal fours. Let us study their performance."

Eight of the fours passed the stand, some walking, others on the trot, and all unexceptionably handled; then the ninth one came on the gallop. Ben-Hur burst into exclamation.

"I have been in the stables of the emperor, Malluch, but, by our father Abraham of blessed memory! I never saw the like of these."

The last four was then sweeping past. All at once they fell into confusion. Some one on the stand uttered a sharp cry. Ben-Hur turned, and saw an old man half-risen from an upper seat, his hands clenched and raised, his eyes fiercely bright, his long white beard fairly quivering. Some of the spectators nearest him
began to laugh.

"They should respect his beard at least. Who is he?" asked Ben-Hur.

"A mighty man from the Desert, somewhere beyond Moab, and owner of camels in herds, and horses descended, they say, from the racers of the first Pharaoh--Sheik Ilderim by name and title."

Thus Malluch replied.

The driver meanwhile exerted himself to quiet the four, but without avail. Each ineffectual effort excited the sheik the more.

"Abaddon seize him!" yelled the patriarch, shrilly. "Run! fly! do you hear, my children?" The question was to his attendants, apparently of the tribe. "Do you hear? They are Desert-born, like yourselves. Catch them--quick!"

The plunging of the animals increased.

"Accursed Roman!" and the sheik shook his fist at the driver. "Did he not swear he could drive them--swear it by all his brood of bastard Latin gods? Nay, hands off me--off, I say! They should run swift as eagles, and with the temper of hand-bred lambs, he swore.

Cursed be he--cursed the mother of liars who calls him son! See them, the priceless! Let him touch one of them with a lash, and"--the rest of the sentence was lost in a furious grinding of his teeth. "To their heads, some of you, and speak them--a word, one is enough, from the tent-song your mothers sang you. Oh, fool, fool that I was to put trust in a Roman!"

Some of the shrewder of the old man's friends planted themselves between him and the horses. An opportune failure of breath on his part helped the stratagem.

Ben-Hur, thinking he comprehended the sheik, sympathized with him. Far more than mere pride of property--more than anxiety for the result of the race--in his view it was within the possible for the patriarch, according to his habits of thought and his ideas of the inestimable, to love such animals with a tenderness akin to the most sensitive passion.

They were all bright bays, unspotted, perfectly matched, and so proportioned as to seem less than they really were. Delicate ears pointed small heads; the faces were broad and full between the eyes; the nostrils in expansion disclosed membrane so deeply red as to suggest the flashing of flame; the necks were arches, overlaid with fine mane so abundant as to drape the shoulders and breast, while in happy consonance the forelocks were like ravellings of silken veils;
between the knees and the fetlocks the legs were flat as an open hand, but above the knees they were rounded with mighty muscles, needful to upbear the shapely close-knit bodies; the hoofs were like cups of polished agate; and in rearing and plunging they whipped the air, and sometimes the earth, with tails glossy-black
and thick and long. The sheik spoke of them as the priceless, and it was a good saying.

In this second and closer look at the horses, Ben-Hur read the story of their relation to their master. They had grown up under his eyes, objects of his special care in the day, his visions of pride in the night, with his family at home in the black tent out on the shadeless bosom of the desert, as his children beloved. That they might win him a triumph over the haughty and hated Roman, the old man had brought his loves to the city, never doubting they would win, if only he could find a trusty expert to take them in hand; not merely one with skill, but of a spirit which their spirits would acknowledge. Unlike the colder people of the West, he could not protest the driver's inability, and dismiss him civilly; an Arab and a sheik, he had to explode, and rive the air about him with clamor.

Before the patriarch was done with his expletives, a dozen hands were at the bits of the horses, and their quiet assured. About that time, another chariot appeared upon the track; and, unlike the others, driver, vehicle, and races were precisely as they would be presented in the Circus the day of final trial. For a reason which will presently be more apparent, it is desirable now to give this turnout plainly to the reader.

There should be no difficulty in understanding the carriage known to us all as the chariot of classical renown. One has but to picture to himself a dray with low wheels and broad axle, surmounted by a box open at the tail end. Such was the primitive pattern. Artistic genius came along in time, and, touching the rude machine, raised it into a thing of beauty--that, for instance, in which Aurora, riding in advance of the dawn, is given to our fancy.

The jockeys of the ancients, quite as shrewd and ambitious as their successors of the present, called their humblest turnout a two, and their best in grade a four; in the latter, they contested the Olympics and the other festal shows founded in imitation of them.

The same sharp gamesters preferred to put their horses to the chariot all abreast; and for distinction they termed the two next the pole yoke-steeds, and those on the right and left outside trace-mates.

It was their judgment, also, that, by allowing the fullest freedom of action, the greatest speed was attainable; accordingly, the harness resorted to was peculiarly simple; in fact, there was nothing of it save a collar round the animal's neck, and a trace fixed to the collar, unless the lines and a halter fall within the term.

Wanting to hitch up, the masters pinned a narrow wooden yoke, or cross-tree, near the end of the pole, and, by straps passed through rings at the end of the yoke, buckled the latter to the collar. The traces of the yokesteeds they hitched to the axle; those of the trace-mates to the top rim of the chariot-bed.

There remained then but the adjustment of the lines, which, judged by the modern devices, was not the least curious part of the method. For this there was a large ring at the forward extremity of the pole; securing the ends to that ring first, they parted the lines so as to give one to each horse, and proceeded to pass them to the driver, slipping them separately through rings on the inner side of the halters at the mouth.

With this plain generalization in mind, all further desirable knowledge upon the subject can be had by following the incidents of the scene occurring.

The other contestants had been received in silence; the last comer was more fortunate. While moving towards the stand from which we are viewing the scene, his progress was signalized by loud demonstrations, by clapping of hands and cheers, the effect of which was to centre attention upon him exclusively. His yoke-steeds, it was observed, were black, while the trace-mates were snow-white. In conformity to the exacting canons of Roman taste, they had all four been mutilated; that is to say, their tails had been clipped, and, to complete the barbarity, their shorn manes were divided into knots tied with flaring red and yellow ribbons.

In advancing, the stranger at length reached a point where the chariot came into view from the stand, and its appearance would of itself have justified the shouting. The wheels were very marvels of construction. Stout bands of burnished bronze reinforced the hubs, otherwise very light; the spokes were sections of ivory tusks, set in with the natural curve outward to perfect the dishing, considered important then as now; bronze tires held the fellies, which were of shining ebony. The axle, in keeping with the wheels, was tipped with heads of snarling tigers done in brass, and the bed was woven of willow wands gilded with gold.

The coming of the beautiful horses and resplendent chariot drew Ben-Hur to look at the driver with increased interest.

Who was he?

When Ben-Hur asked himself the question first, he could not see the man's face, or even his full figure; yet the air and manner were familiar, and pricked him keenly with a reminder of a period long gone.

Who could it be?

Nearer now, and the horses approaching at a trot. From the shouting and the gorgeousness of the turnout, it was thought he might be some official favorite or famous prince. Such an appearance was not inconsistent with exalted rank. Kings often struggled for the crown of leaves which was the prize of victory. Nero and Commodus, it willbe remembered, devoted themselves to the chariot. Ben-Hur arose and forced a passage down nearly to the railing in front of the lower seat of the stand. His face was earnest, his manner eager.

And directly the whole person of the driver was in view. A companion rode with him, in classic description a Myrtilus, permitted men of high estate indulging their passion for the race-course. Ben-Hur could see only the driver, standing erect in the chariot, with the reins passed several times round his body--a handsome figure, scantily covered by a tunic of light-red cloth; in the right hand a whip; in the other, the arm raised and lightly extended, the four lines. The pose was
exceedingly graceful and animated. The cheers and clapping of hands were received with statuesque indifference. Ben-Hur stood transfixed--his instinct and memory had served him faithfully--THE DRIVER WAS MESSALA.

By the selection of horses, the magnificence of the chariot, the attitude, and display of person--above all, by the expression of the cold, sharp, eagle features, imperialized in his countrymen by sway of the world through so many generations, Ben-Hur knew Messala unchanged, as haughty, confident, and audacious as ever, the same in ambition, cynicism, and mocking insouciance.

to be continued

Is Santa Real?

I remember my first Christmas party with Grandma. I was just a kid. I remember tearing across town on my bike to visit her on the day my big sister dropped the bomb: "There is no Santa Claus," she jeered. "Even dummies know that!" My grandma was not the gushy kind, never had been. I fled to her that day because I knew she would be straight with me. I knew Grandma always told the truth, and I knew that the truth always went down a whole lot easier when swallowed with one of her world-famous cinnamon buns. Grandma was home, and the buns were still warm. Between bites, I told her everything. She was ready for me. "No Santa Claus!" she snorted. "Ridiculous! Don't believe it. That rumor has been going around for years, and it makes me mad, plain mad. Now, put on your coat, and let's go"

"Go? Go where, Grandma?" I asked. I hadn't even finished my second cinnamon bun. "Where" turned out to be Kerby's General Store, the one store in town that had a little bit of just about everything. As we walked through its doors, Grandma handed me ten dollars. That was a bundle in those days. "Take this money and buy something for someone who needs it. I'll wait for you in the car." Then she turned and walked out of Kerby's. I was only eight years old. I'd often gone shopping with my mother, but never had I shopped for anything all by myself. The store seemed big and crowded, full of people scrambling to finish their Christmas shopping.

For a few moments I just stood there, confused, clutching that ten-dollar bill, wondering what to buy, and who on earth to buy it for. I thought of everybody I knew: my family, my friends, my neighbors, the kids at school, the people who went to my church. I was just about thought out, when I suddenly thought of Bobbie Decker. He was a kid with bad breath and messy hair, and he sat right behind me in Mrs. Pollock's grade-two class. Bobbie Decker didn't have a coat. I knew that because he never went out for recess during the winter. 

His mother always wrote a note, telling the teacher that he had a cough, but all we kids knew that Bobbie Decker didn't have a cough, and he didn't have a coat. I fingered the ten-dollar bill with growing excitement. I would buy Bobbie Decker a coat. I settled on a red corduroy one that had a hood to it. It looked real warm, and he would like that. "Is this a Christmas present for someone?" the lady behind the counter asked kindly, as I laid my ten dollars down. "Yes," I replied shyly. "It's ... for Bobbie." The nice lady smiled at me. I didn't get any change, but she put the coat in a bag and wished me a Merry Christmas.

That evening, Grandma helped me wrap the coat in Christmas paper and ribbons, and write, "To Bobbie, From Santa Claus" on it-Grandma said that Santa always insisted on secrecy. Then she drove me over to Bobbie Decker's house, explaining as we went that I was now and forever officially one of Santa's helpers. Grandma parked down the street from Bobbie's house, and she and I crept noiselessly and hid in the bushes by his front walk. Then Grandma gave me a nudge. "All right, Santa Claus," she whispered, "get going." I took a deep breath, dashed for his front door, threw the present down on his step, pounded his doorbell and flew back to the safety of the bushes and Grandma. Together we waited breathlessly in the darkness for the front door to open. Finally it did, and there stood Bobbie.

Forty years haven't dimmed the thrill of those moments spent shivering, beside my grandma, in Bobbie Decker's bushes. That night, I realized that those awful rumors about Santa Claus were just what Grandma said they were; ridiculous. Santa was alive and well, and we were on his team.

Power of Positive Thinking

 by Norman Vincent Peale

Chapter 11 continued 


Over a period of time I have received from many readers and radio listeners as well as from my own parishioners accounts of healings in which the element of faith has been present. I have meticulously investigated many of these to satisfy my own mind as to their truthfulness. Also I wanted to be able to declare to the most cynical that here is a way of health, happiness, and successful living which is so buttressed by evidence that only the person who wants to remain ill because of some subconscious will-to-fail attitude will ignore his possibilities for health implied in these experiences.

The formula which these many incidents together present is briefly stated—the employment of all the resources of medical and psychological science combined with the resources of spiritual science. This is a combination of therapies that can surely bring health and well-being if it is the plan of God for the patient to live. Obviously for each of us there comes a time for this mortal life to end (life itself
never ends, only the earthly phase of it).

We in the so-called old-line churches have, in my humble judgment, missed one of our greatest possible contributions by failing to point out with positiveness that there is a sound message of health in Christianity. Failing to find this emphasis in the church, groups, organizations, and other spiritual bodies have been created to supply this deficiency in Christian teaching. But there is no longer any valid reason why all the churches should not recognize that which is authenticated, namely, that there is healing in faith and more generally offer sound healing techniques to our people.

Fortunately everywhere today throughout our religious organizations thoughtful, scientifically minded spiritual leaders are taking that extra step of faith based on the facts (and the Scripture) and are making available to the people as never before the formulas of the marvelous healing grace of Jesus Christ.

In all of the investigations I have made into successful cases of healing, there seem to be certain factors present. First, a complete willingness to surrender oneself into the hands of God. Second, a complete letting go of all error such as sin in any form and a desire to be cleansed in the soul. Third, belief and faith in the combined therapy of medical science in harmony with the healing power of God. Fourth, a sincere willingness to accept God's answer, whatever it may be, and no irritation or bitterness against His will. Fifth, a substantial, unquestioning faith that God can heal.

In all these healings there seems to be an emphasis upon warmth and light and a feeling of assurance that power has passed through. In practically every case that I have examined, in one form or another, the patient talks about a moment when there was warmth, heat, beauty, peace, joy, and a sense of release. Sometimes it has been a sudden experience; other times a more gradual unfolding of the
conviction that the healing has occurred.

Always in my investigation of these matters I have waited for elapsed time to prove that the healing is permanent and those cases which I report are not based on any temporary improvement which might conceivably be the result of a
momentary resurgence of strength.

For example, may I relate a healing experience written for me by a woman 
whose reliability and judgment I profoundly respect. Documentation in this case 
is thorough going and scientifically impressive. This woman was told that an 
immediate operation was necessary to remove a growth which had been diagnosed as malignant.

I quote her exact words: "All precautionary treatments were taken, but the manifestations returned. As may be expected, I was terrified; I knew further hospital treatments were futile.

There was no hope, so I turned to God for help. A very consecrated and spiritual child of God helped me by prayer to realize that the right knowledge of God and His healing Christ would help me too. I was most receptive to this kind of thinking, and placed myself in God's hands.

"I had asked for this help one morning, as usual, and spent the day going about my household duties, which were many at that time. I was preparing the evening meal, all alone in the kitchen. I was aware of an unusually bright light in the
room and felt a pressure against my whole left side, as though a person were standing very close beside me. I had heard of healings; I knew prayers were being offered in my behalf, so I decided this must be the healing Christ who was
with me.

"I decided to wait until morning, to be sure; if the symptoms of the trouble were gone, then I would know. By morning, the improvement was so noticeable, and I was so free in my mind, that I was certain, and reported to my friend that the
healing had taken place. 

"The memory of that healing and the presence of Christ are as fresh in my mind today as then. That was fifteen years ago, and my health steadily improved until I am in excellent condition now."

In many heart cases the therapy of faith (a quiet, serene faith in Jesus Christ) undoubtedly stimulates healing. People who experience "a heart attack" who thereupon thoroughly and completely practice faith in Christ's healing grace, observing at the same time the rules prescribed by their physicians, report remarkable recovery histories. Perhaps such a person may even gain a greater degree of health than previously for having learned his limitations and, realizing the excess strains he has been placing upon himself, now conserves his

But more than that he has learned one of the greatest techniques of human well-being, that of surrendering himself to the recuperative power of God. This is done by consciously attaching himself to the creative process through mentally conceiving of recreative forces as operating within himself. The patient opens his consciousness to the tides of vitality and re-creative energy inherent in the universe which have been barred from his life through tension, high pressure, and other departures from the laws of well-being.

An outstanding man suffered a heart attack about thirty-five years ago. He was told that he would never be able to work again. The orders were that he must spend much of his time in bed. He would likely be an invalid the remainder of his
days, which days would be relatively few in number, so he was informed. It is doubtful whether such statements would be made to him in present-day medical practice. At any rate he listened to these dire prophecies about his future and
considered them carefully.

One morning he awakened early and picked up his Bible and by chance (or was it chance?) opened it to the account of one of the healings of Jesus. He also read the statement, "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today and forever." (Hebrews 13:8) It occurred to him that if Jesus could and did heal people long ago, and that if He is the same as He was then,why couldn't He heal today? "Why cannot Jesus heal me?" he asked. Then faith welled up within him.

Therefore, with simple confidence, he asked the Lord to heal him. He seemed to hear Jesus say, "Believest thou that I can do this?" And his answer was, "Yes, Lord, I believe that You can."

He closed his eyes and "seemed to feel the touch of the healing Christ upon his heart." All that day he had a strange sense of rest. As the days passed he became convinced that there was a rising tide of strength within him. Finally one day he prayed, "Lord, if it is Your will, tomorrow morning I am going to get dressed, go outside, and within a few days I am going back to work. I put myself completely in Your care. If I should die tomorrow as a result of the increased activity, I want to thank You for all the wonderful days I have had. With You to help me, I shall start out tomorrow and You will be with me all day long. I believe I will have
sufficient strength, but if I should die as a result of this effort, I will be with You in eternity, and all will be well in either 
In this calm faith he increased his activities as the days passed. He followed this formula every day for the entire period of his active career, which numbered thirty years from the date of his heart attack. He retired at seventy-five. Few
men I have known have been more vigorous in their undertakings or have made a greater contribution to human welfare. Always, however, he conserved his physical and nervous strength. It was invariably his habit to lie down and rest after lunch, and he never allowed himself to get under stress. He was early to bed and early up, always employing rigorous and disciplinary rules of living.

In all his activities there was an absence of worry,resentment, and tension. He worked hard but easily. The doctors were right. Had he continued according to the debilitating habits of his earlier life he would probably have long since been dead or at least an invalid. The advice of the physicians brought him to the point where the healing work of Christ could be accomplished. Without the heart attack he would not have been mentally or spiritually ready for healing.

to be continued

Did you Know ?

  • There are more cars in Southern California than there are cows in India. 
  • The two-foot long bird called a Kea that lives in New Zealand likes to eat the strips of rubber around car windows. 
  • The province of Alberta, Canada is completely free of rats. 
  • Illinois has the most personalized license plates of any state. 
  • If a statue in the park of a person on a horse has both front legs in the air, the person died in battle; if the horse has one front leg in the air, the person died as a result of wounds received in battle; if the horse has all four legs on the ground, the person died of natural causes. 
  • Maine is the only state whose name is just one syllable. 
  • Americans on the average eat 18 acres of pizza every day. 
  • One person in two billion will live to be 116 or older. 
  • If you yelled for 8 years, 7 months and 6 days, you would have produced enough sound energy to heat one cup of coffee. 
  • February 1865 is the only month in recorded history not to have a full moon. 
  • More people are killed by donkeys annually than are killed in plane crashes. 
  • The dot that appears over the letter "i" is called a tittle. 
  • All major league baseball umpires must wear black underwear while on the job (in case their pants split). 

Just for Laughs 

Which verse was that ?

An uncle who could not make it to his niece's wedding instead sent her a telegram saying that she should read 1 John 4v18 which is about perfect love. 

Unfortunately and the 1 in 1 john had been missed off the page and when it arrived the service had just started. 

The best man was given it and he quickly looked up the passage and bookmarked it. 

When it came to his speech later at the reception he announced that the telegram had arrived and he was now going to read out a special message to the bride. 

He then read John 4v18 saying, "This woman has had 5 husbands and the man she is with now is not her husband." 

Thank You

A minister of a church loved an occasional nip of peach brandy. One of his congregants would make him a bottle each Christmas. One year, when  the minister went to visit his friend, hoping for his usual Christmas present, he was not disappointed as he unwrapped the homemade brandy. However, his friend told him that he had to thank him for the peach brandy from the pulpit the next Sunday.

So the next Sunday the minister suddenly remembered that he had to make a public announcement that he was being supplied alcohol from a member of the church. That morning, his friend sat in the church with a grin on his face, waiting to see the minister's embarrassment.

The minister climbed into the pulpit and said, "Before we begin, I have an announcement. I would very much like to thank my friend, Joe, for his kind gift of peaches... and for the spirit in which they were given!"