9 February 2014

posted 7 Feb 2014, 21:06 by C S Paul

9 February 2014

Quotes to Inspire

  • "Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every New Year find you a better [person]." — Benjamin Franklin
  • "No one can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending." — Unknown
  • "Vanity is the quicksand of reason." — George Sand
  • "Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change." — Jim Rohn
  • "The happiest people in the world are those who feel absolutely terrific about themselves, and this is the natural outgrowth of accepting total responsibility for every part of their life." — Brian Tracy
  • "Character: The willingness to accept responsibility for one's own life is the source from which self-respect springs." — Joan Didion
  • The most important choice we make every day is whether we'll be happy or disgruntled about the life we live. Whatever we do, we always have that choice. Even the person working for a minimum wage at some fast food place has a choice about whether to enjoy her work and treat customers with a smile and a joyful presentation, or to be grumpy and begrudge every moment. While the low paying job is a fact, the attitude we choose is variable. - Marie T. Russell
  • Your personal philosophy is the greatest determining factor in how your life works out. - Jim Rohn
  • Life at any time can become difficult: Life at any time can become easy. It all depends upon how one adjusts oneself to life. - Morarji Desai
  • There are enough genuine difficulties in life to encounter, don't allow your imagination to increase the number. - Neil Eskelin
  • Life can only be understood backwards but it must be lived forwards. - Soren Kierkegaard
  • Self-confidence comes naturally when your inner life and your outer life are in harmony. - Brian Tracy
  • My life is an indivisible whole, and all my attitudes run into one another; and they all have their rise in my insatiable love for mankind. - Mahatma Gandhi

One Day

One day, when I was a freshman in high school, I saw a kid from my class was walking home from school. 

His name was Kyle. 

It looked like he was carrying all of his books. 

I thought to myself, 'Why would anyone bring home all his books on a Friday? 

He must really be a nerd.' 

I had quite a weekend planned (parties and a football game with my friends tomorrow afternoon), so I shrugged my shoulders and went on. 

As I was walking, I saw a bunch of kids running toward him. They ran at him, knocking all his books out of his arms and tripping him so he landed in the dirt. His glasses went flying, and I saw them land in the grass about ten feet from him. 

He looked up and I saw this terrible sadness in his eyes. My heart went out to him. So, I jogged over to him as he crawled around looking for his glasses, and I saw a tear in his eye. 

As I handed him his glasses, I said, 'Those guys are jerks.’ 

They really should get lives. 

'He looked at me and said, 'Hey thanks!' There was a big smile on his face. It was one of those smiles that showed real gratitude. I helped him pick up his books, and asked him where he lived. As it turned out, he lived near me, so I asked him why I had never seen him before. He said he had gone to private school before now. 

I would have never hung out with a private school kid before. We talked all the way home, and I carried some of his books. He turned out to be a pretty cool kid. I asked him if he wanted to play a little football with my friends and he said yes. 

We hung out all weekend and the more I got to know Kyle, the more I liked him, and my friends thought the same of him. Monday morning came, and there was Kyle with the huge stack of books again. 

I stopped him and said, 'Boy, you are gonna really build some serious muscles with this pile of books everyday! 'He just laughed and handed me half the books. Over the next four years, Kyle and I became best friends. When we were seniors we began to think about college. Kyle decided on Georgetown and I was going to Duke. I knew that we would always be friends, that the miles would never be a problem. 

He was going to be a doctor and I was going for business on a football scholarship. Kyle was valedictorian of our class. 

I teased him all the time about being a nerd. He had to prepare a speech for graduation. I was so glad it wasn't me having to get up there and speak.

Graduation day, I saw Kyle. He looked great. 

He was one of those guys that really found him-self during high school. He filled out and actually looked good in glasses. He had more dates than I had and all the girls loved him. Boy, sometimes I was jealous and today was one of those days. 

I could see that he was nervous about his speech. So, I smacked him on the back and said, 'Hey, big guy, you'll be great!' He looked at me with one of those looks (the really grateful one) and smiled. 

'Thanks,' he said. 

As he started his speech, he cleared his throat, and began. 

'Graduation is a time to thank those who helped you make it through those tough years; Your parents, your teachers, your siblings, maybe a coach, but mostly your friends. 

I am here to tell all of you that being a friend to someone is the best gift you can give them. 

I am going to tell you a story.' 

I just looked at my friend with disbelief as he told the story of the first day we met. He had planned to kill himself over the weekend. He talked of how he had cleaned out his locker so his Mom wouldn't have to do it later and was carrying his stuff home. 

He looked hard at me and gave me a little smile. 

'Thankfully, I was saved. 

My friend saved me from doing the unspeakable.' 

I heard the gasp go through the crowd as this handsome, popular boy told us all about his weakest moment. 

I saw his Mom and dad looking at me and smiling that same grateful smile. Not until that moment did I realize its depth. Never underestimate the power of your actions. With one small gesture you can change a person's life - for better or for worse. God puts us all in each other’s lives to impact one another in some way. 

Look for God in others. 

Author Unknown 

You Never Know

Consumed by my loss, I didn't notice the hardness of the pew where I sat. I was at the funeral of my dearest friend, my mother. She finally had lost her long battle with cancer. The hurt was so intense; I found it hard to breathe at times. Always supportive, Mother clapped loudest at my school plays, held box of tissues while listening to my first heartbreak, comforted me at my father's death, encouraged me in college, and prayed for me my entire life. 

When mother's illness was diagnosed, my sister had a new baby and my brother had recently married his childhood sweetheart, so it fell on me, the 27-year-old middle child without entanglements, to take care of her. I counted it an honor. What now, Lord? I asked sitting in church. My life stretched out before me as an empty abyss. My brother sat stoically while clutching his wife’s hand. My sister sat slumped against her husband’s shoulder, his arms around her as she cradled their child. 

All so deeply grieving, no one noticed I sat alone. My place had been with our mother, preparing her meals, helping her walk, taking her to the doctor, seeing to her medication, reading the Bible together. Now she was with the Lord. My work was finished, and I was alone. I heard a door open and slam shut at the back of the church. Quick footsteps hurried along the carpeted floor. An exasperated young man looked around briefly and then sat next to me. He folded his hands and placed them on his lap. His eyes were brimming with tears. He began to sniffle. I'm late, he explained, though no explanation was necessary. 

After several eulogies, he leaned over and commented. Why do they keep calling Mary by the name of Margaret? Because, that was her name, Margaret, never Mary. No one called her Mary, I whispered. I wondered why this person couldn't have sat on the other side of the church He interrupted my grieving with his tears and fidgeting. Who was this stranger anyway? No, that isn't correct, he insisted, as several people glanced over at us whispering, Her name is Mary, Mary Peters. That isn't who this is. Isn't this the Lutheran church? No, the Lutheran church is across the street. Oh. I believe you're at the wrong funeral, Sir. 

The solemnest of the occasion mixed with the realization of the man’s mistake bubbled up inside me and came out as laughter. I cupped my hands over my face, hoping it would be interpreted as sobs. The creaking pew gave me away. Sharp looks from other mourners only made the situation seem more hilarious. I peeked at the bewildered, misguided man seated beside me. He was laughing; too, as he glanced around, deciding it was too late for an uneventful exit. I imagined Mother laughing. At the final Amen, we darted out a door and into the parking lot. I do believe we'll be the talk of the town, he smiled. He said his name was Rick and since he had missed his aunt's funeral, asked me out for a cup of coffee. 

That afternoon began a lifelong journey for me with this man who attended the wrong funeral, but was in the right place. A year after our meeting, we were married at a country church where he was the assistant pastor. This time we both arrived at the same church, right on time. In my time of sorrow, God gave me laughter. In place of loneliness, God gave me love. This past June, we celebrated our twenty-second wedding anniversary. Whenever anyone asks us how we met, Rick tells them, “Her mother and my Aunt Mary introduced us, and it's truly a match made in heaven.”


If you're spiritually alive, you're going to love this! 

If you're spiritually dead, you won't want to read it. 

If you're spiritually curious, there is still hope! 

A Church goer wrote a letter to the editor of a newspaper and complained that it made no sense to go to church every Sunday. "I've gone for 30 years now," he wrote, "and in that t time I have heard something like 3,000 sermons. But for the life of me, I can't remember a single one of them. So, I think I'm wasting my time and the pastors are wasting theirs by giving sermons at all."

This started a real controversy in the "Letters to the Editor" column. Much to the delight of the editor, it went on for weeks until someone wrote this clincher:

"I've been married for 30 years now. In that time my wife has cooked some 32,000 meals. But, for the life of me, I cannot recall the entire menu for a single one of those meals. But I do know this... They all nourished me and gave me the strength I needed to do my work. If my wife had not given me these meals, I would be physically dead today. Likewise, if I had not gone to church for nourishment, I would be spiritually dead today!"

When you are DOWN to nothing....God is UP to something! 

Faith sees the invisible, believes the incredible and receives the impossible! 

Thank God for our physical AND our spiritual nourishment!  

Author unknown

Do the Just Suffer and Wicked Prosper? 

Rabbi Joshua Ben Levi fasted and prayed to God that he might be permitted to gaze on the prophet Elijah who had ascended alive into heaven. God granted his prayer, and Elijah appeared before him. 

“Let me journey with you in your travels through the world,” the Rabbi entreated Elijah; “let me observe your doings so that I may gain in wisdom and understanding.”

“No,” answered Elijah; “you would not understand my actions; my doings would trouble you. They are beyond your comprehension.” 

But still the Rabbi implored: “I will neither trouble nor question you; only let me accompany you on your way.”

“Come, then,” said Elijah; “but let your tongue be mute. With your first question, your first expression of astonishment, we must part company.”

So the two journeyed through the world together. They approached the house of a poor man, whose only treasure and means of support was a cow. As they came near, the man and his wife hastened to meet them, begged them to come into their house, eat and drink of the best they had and to pass the night under their roof. This they did, and they received every attention from their host and hostess. In the morning Elijah prayed to God that the cow belonging to the poor people should die, and the animal died. Then the travelers continued on their way.

Rabbi Joshua was amazed. “Why did you kill the cow of this good man?” he asked.

“Look, listen, and be silent,” Elijah replied; “if I answer your questions we must part.”

They continued on their way together. Toward evening they arrived at a large and imposing mansion, the residence of an arrogant and wealthy man. They were coldly received; a piece of bread and a glass of water were placed before them. They remained there during the night. In the morning Elijah saw that a wall of the house had collapsed and he immediately restored it.

Rabbi Joshua again was filled with wonder but said nothing, and they proceeded on their journey.

As the shades of night were falling they entered a city where there was a large and imposing synagogue. They went in at the time of the evening service and admired the rich adornments, the velvet cushions, and gilded carvings of the interior. After the service, the president arose and called out: “Who is willing to take these two poor men to his house?” None answered, and the traveling strangers had to sleep in the synagogue. In the morning, however, Elijah shook hands with the members of the synagogue and said: “I hope that you may all become presidents.”

Next evening the two entered another city. The sexton of the synagogue came to meet them and notified the members of the congregation of the coming of the two strangers. The best hotel of the place was opened to them, and all showed them attention and honor. On parting with them, Elijah said: “May the Lord appoint, but one president over you.”

Rabbi Joshua could resist his curiosity no longer. “Tell me,” he said to Elijah, “tell me the meaning of all these actions which I have witnessed. To those who have treated us coldly you have extended good wishes; to those who have been gracious to us you have made no suitable return. Even at the risk of parting, please explain to me the meaning of your acts.”

Elijah explained: “We first entered the house of the poor man who treated us so kindly. Now it had been decreed that on that very day his wife should die. I prayed the Lord that the cow might die instead. God granted my prayers, and the woman was saved.

The rich man, whom we visited next, treated us coldly and I rebuilt his wall. For had he rebuilt it himself, he would have discovered a treasure which lies underneath.

To the members of the synagogue who were not hospitable I said: ‘May you all be presidents,’ and where many rule there can be no peace. But to the others I said: ‘May you have but one president’; with one leader, no dissension will arise.

Now, if you see the wicked prospering, be not envious; if you see the righteous in poverty and trouble, be not doubtful of God’s justice.”

With these words Elijah disappeared, and Rabbi Joshua Ben Levi was left alone.

Author unknown 

Did you Know ?

  • The first electric car was built in 1891 by William Morrison. However, the increasingly popular electric cars fell out of favor once Henry Ford introduced the gas-powered Model T in 1908. The years 1899 and 1900 were the high point of electric cars in America, as they outsold all other types of cars. One example was the 1902 Phaeton built by the Woods Motor Vehicle Company of Chicago, which had a range of 18 miles, a top speed of 14 mph and cost $2,000. Later in 1916, Woods also invented a hybrid car that had both an internal combustion engine and an electric motor. Sound familiar?
  • The term “General Purpose Vehicle” or a G.P.  was used as a designation for the popular four wheel drive vehicle used during World War II. A popular character introduced in the Popeye comic strip series in 1936 named “Eugene the Jeep” was what influenced the term, and the only sound that Eugene made was “jeep“.  This connection made the new term stick and pushed it quickly into common usage.
  • Hong Kong is the city with the most Rolls Royce’s per capital. Hong Kong has historically been the city which has had the maximum number of luxury cars per capita in the world. In fact, the city-state of Hong Kong is considered to be the largest metropolis for luxury goods and status symbols in the world.
  • In 1898 the Panhard et Levassor cars came equipped as standard with steering wheels. The idea caught on and similar systems sparked across the world.  By 1899, the steering wheel arrived in the  US, where Packard introduced the steering wheel on one of its models. By the time the Model T arrived, the steering wheel was an essential part of the car.
  • The first traffic lights were installed on December 10th, 1868 to control the traffic in front of the British Houses of Parliament in London. The design combined three semaphore arms with red and green gas lamps for night-time use, on a pillar, operated manually by police constable. The gas lantern was turned with a lever at its base so that the appropriate light faced traffic. Although it was said to be successful at controlling traffic, its operational life was brief. It exploded on 2 January 1869, as a result of a leak in one of the gas lines underneath the pavement. With doubts about its safety, the concept was abandoned until electric signals became available.
  • The world’s worst city to drive in is Manila. Terrible roads, endless traffic and a disregard for stopping at red lights make this place truly awful for driving.
  • The most expensive city in the world to park in is London. Parking in central London can cost up to £578.87 per month. Plus you’ll have to pay the congestion charge just to get there.

Just for Laughs

Way to Heaven

The Rev. Billy Graham tells of a time early in his career when he arrived in a small town to preach a sermon. Wanting to mail a letter, he asked a young boy where the post office was. 

When the boy told him, Rev. Graham thanked him and said, “If you’ll come to the Baptist church this evening, you can hear me telling everyone how to get to Heaven.” 

“I don’t think I’ll be there,” the boy said. “You don’t even know your way to the post office.” 

Author Unknown

 A Joke Backfires

A preacher, who shall we say was "humor impaired," attended a conference to help encourage and better equip pastors for their ministry. Among the speakers were many well known and dynamic speakers. 

One such boldly approached the pulpit and, gathering the entire crowd's attention, said, "The best years of my life were spent in the arms of a woman that wasn't my wife!" The crowd was shocked! He followed up by saying, "And that woman was my mother!" - The crowd burst into laughter and delivered the rest of his talk, which went over quite well. 

The next week, the pastor decided he'd give this humor thing a try, and use that joke in his sermon. As he surely approached the pulpit that sunny Sunday, he tried to rehearse the joke in his head. It suddenly seemed a bit foggy to him. 

Getting to the microphone he said loudly, "The greatest years of my life were spent in the arms of another woman that was not my wife!" The congregation inhaled half the air in the room. After standing there for almost 10 seconds in the stunned silence, trying to recall the second half of the joke, the pastor finally blurted out, "...and I can't remember who she was!" 

Author Unknown



by Lew Wallace

Part Eight

Biblical references: Matthew 27:48-51, Mark 11:9-11, 14:51-52, Luke 23:26-46, John 12:12-18, 18:2-19:30

During the next three years, Jesus preaches his gospel around Galilee, and Ben-Hur becomes one of his followers. He starts to believe that Balthasar may be right, when he sees that Jesus chooses fishermen, farmers and similar people, considered "lowly", as apostles. Judah believes Jesus to be wasting valuable time by not proclaiming himself king immediately. Yet, he has seen Jesus perform miracles, and is convinced that the Christ really had come.

During this time Malluch, armed with the Hur fortune, has bought the old Hur house and renovated it, restoring it to splendor. He then invites Simonides and Balthasar, with their daughters, to live in the house with him, and they become regular occupants of the house. Judah Ben-Hur seldom visits the house. The day before Jesus plans to enter Jerusalem and, finally proclaim himself, Judah returns and gives them a full account of what has happened through the years he has followed Jesus. When he tells of the healing of ten lepers, Amrah realizes that Judah's mother and sister could be healed, and the next morning, alone, hurries to the lepers' cave to tell them the good news. The three wait along a road, and amidst all the rejoicing and din during the Triumphal Entry, they ask Jesus to heal them, and their request is granted. When they are cured, Judah sees them and Amrah and the family are finally re-united.

Several days later, Iras talks with Judah, saying he has trusted in a false hope, for Jesus had not started the expected revolution. She says that it is all over between them, saying she loves Messala. Ben-Hur remembers the "invitation of Iras" that led to the incident with Thord, and accuses Iras of betraying him and spying on him for Messala's gain. That night, he realizes how different Balthasar and his daughter are, and resolves to go to Esther.

While he is lost in thought, he sees a parade marching down the street, and falls in with it, confused. He notices that Judas Iscariot is leading the parade, and many of the temple priests and Roman soldiers are all marching together. They go to the olive grove of Gethsemane, which confuses Ben-Hur even more, and he sees, ahead of him, Jesus walking out to meet them. Ben-Hur understands the betrayal, is spotted by a priest who tries to take him into custody; he breaks away and flees. When morning comes, Ben-Hur learns that the Jewish priests have tried Jesus before Pilate, and although he was originally ruled "not guilty", has nevertheless been sentenced to crucifixion at the crowd's demand. Ben-Hur is shocked at how his legions have all deserted him in his time of need. They head to Calvary, and Ben-Hur resigns himself to watch the crucifixion of Jesus. The sky darkens. Ben-Hur offers Jesus wine vinegar to return Jesus' favor to him. Jesus utters his last cry.

Ben-Hur and his friends commit their lives to Jesus, who they now realize is not the earthly king they had previously hoped for, but a heavenly king and a savior of mankind.


Ben-Hur pitched two tents out on the Upper Cedron east a short space of the Tombs of the Kings, and furnished them with every comfort at his command; and thither, without loss of time, he conducted his mother and sister, to remain until the examining priest could certify their perfect cleansing.

In course of the duty, the young man had subjected himself to such serious defilement as to debar him from participation in the ceremonies of the great feast, then near at hand. He could not
enter the least sacred of the courts of the Temple. Of necessity, not less than choice, therefore, he stayed at the tents with his beloved people. There was a great deal to hear from them, and a
great deal to tell them of himself.

Stories such as theirs--sad experiences extending through a lapse of years, sufferings of body, acuter sufferings of mind--are usually long in the telling, the incidents seldom following each other in threaded connection. He listened to the narrative and all they told him, with outward patience masking inward feeling. In fact, his hatred of Rome and Romans reached a higher mark than ever; his desire for vengeance became a thirst which attempts at reflection only intensified. In the almost savage bitterness of his humor many mad impulses took hold of him. The opportunities of the highways presented themselves with singular force of temptation; he thought seriously of insurrection in Galilee; even the sea, ordinarily a retrospective horror to him, stretched itself map-like before his fancy, laced and interlaced with lines of passage crowded with imperial plunder and imperial travellers; but the better judgment matured in calmer hours was happily too firmly fixed to be supplanted by present passion however strong. Each mental venture in reach of new expedients brought him back to the old conclusion--that there could be no sound success except in a war involving all Israel in solid union; and all musing upon the subject, all inquiry, all hope, ended where they began--in the Nazarene and his purposes.

At odd moments the excited schemer found a pleasure in fashioning a speech for that person:

"Hear, O Israel! I am he, the promised of God, born King of the Jews--come to you with the dominion spoken of by the prophets. Rise now, and lay hold on the world!"

Would the Nazarene but speak these few words, what a tumult would follow! How many mouths performing the office of trumpets would take them up and blow them abroad for the massing of armies!

Would he speak them?

And eager to begin the work, and answering in the worldly way, Ben-Hur lost sight of the double nature of the man, and of the other possibility, that the divine in him might transcend the human.
In the miracle of which Tirzah and his mother were the witnesses even more nearly than himself, he saw and set apart and dwelt upon a power ample enough to raise and support a Jewish crown over the wrecks of the Italian, and more than ample to remodel society, and convert mankind into one purified happy family; and when that work was done, could any one say the peace which might then be ordered without hindrance was not a mission worthy a son of God? Could any
one then deny the Redeemership of the Christ? And discarding all consideration of political consequences, what unspeakable personal glory there would then be to him as a man? It was not in the nature of any mere mortal to refuse such a career.

Meantime down the Cedron, and in towards Bezetha, especially on the roadsides quite up to the Damascus Gate, the country filled rapidly with all kinds of temporary shelters for pilgrims to the
Passover. Ben-Hur visited the strangers, and talked with them; and returning to his tents, he was each time more and more astonished at the vastness of their numbers. And when he further discovered that every part of the world was represented among them--cities upon both shores of the Mediterranean far off as the Pillars of the West, river-towns in distant India, provinces in northernmost Europe; and that, though they frequently saluted him with tongues unacquainted with a syllable of the old Hebrew of the fathers, these representatives had all the same object--celebration of the notable feast--an idea tinged mistily with superstitious fancy forced itself upon him. Might he not after all have misunderstood the Nazarene? Might not that person by patient waiting be covering silent preparation, and proving his fitness for the glorious task before him? How much better this time for the movement than that other when, by Gennesaret, the Galileans would have forced assumption of the crown? Then the support would have been limited to a few thousands; now his proclamation would be responded to by millions--who could say how many? Pursuing this theory to its conclusions, Ben-Hur moved amidst brilliant promises, and glowed
with the thought that the melancholy man, under gentle seeming and wondrous self-denial, was in fact carrying in disguise the subtlety of a politician and the genius of a soldier.

Several times also, in the meanwhile, low-set, brawny men, bareheaded and black-bearded, came and asked for Ben-Hur at the tent; his interviews with them were always apart; and to his mother's question who they were he answered,

"Some good friends of mine from Galilee."

Through them he kept informed of the movements of the Nazarene, and of the schemes of the Nazarene's enemies, Rabbinical and Roman. That the good man's life was in danger, he knew; but that there were any bold enough to attempt to take it at that time, he could not believe. It seemed too securely intrenched in a great fame and an assured popularity. The very vastness of the attendance in and about the city brought with it a seeming guaranty of safety.

And yet, to say truth, Ben-Hur's confidence rested most certainly upon the miraculous power of the Christ. Pondering the subject in the purely human view, that the master of such authority over life and death, used so frequently for the good of others, would not exert it in care of himself was simply as much past belief as it was past understanding.

Nor should it be forgotten that all these were incidents of occurrence between the twenty-first day of March--counting by the modern calendar--and the twenty-fifth. The evening of the latter day Ben-Hur yielded to his impatience, and rode to the city, leaving behind him a promise to return in the night.

The horse was fresh, and choosing his own gait, sped swiftly. The eyes of the clambering vines winked at the rider from the garden fences on the way; there was nothing else to see him,
nor child nor woman nor man. Through the rocky float in the hollows of the road the agate hoofs drummed, ringing like cups of steel; but without notice from any stranger. In the houses passed there were no tenants; the fires by the tent-doors were out; the road was deserted; for this was the first Passover eve, and the hour "between the evenings" when the visiting millions crowded the city, and the slaughter of lambs in offering reeked the fore-courts of the Temple, and the priests in ordered lines caught the flowing blood and carried it swiftly to the dripping altars--when all was haste and hurry, racing with the stars fast coming with the signal after which the roasting and the eating and the singing might go on, but not the preparation more.

Through the great northern gate the rider rode, and lo! Jerusalem before the fall, in ripeness of glory, illuminated for the Lord.

to be continued