Christmas ‘Gift’|12 Days [v22]

DECEMBER 2000

Buon Natale; God Jul; Gloedelig Jul; Bonas Festas; Joyeux Noel…
MERRY CHRISTMAS!! — At Christmas we give gifts to those we love. We anguish over getting that ‘perfect’ gift—the one that will shown that person that we know them ‘intimately’ and that we care so deeply.

The ‘greatest’ gift we can receive is not contained in a box—it was ‘given’ to us over 2,000 years ago wrapped in simple swaddling clothes. Jesus Christ is God’s gift to you and His deep expression of unconditional love to us all and that He wants us to ‘know’ Him intimately.

The other ‘amazing’ thing about this gift is that it is free! There is no charge for it and there is nothing you can do to ‘earn’ it—just a decision of faith by putting your trust in Jesus Christ.

Money, good deeds, or social position cannot ‘buy’ your way into Heaven. The only ‘requirement’ to receiving God’s gift of eternal life is your acceptance. When you ask Jesus into your heart to become your Savior, your life begins anew. Your life will never be the same. This will be the best ‘gift’ you will ever receive. A gift that will satisfy far longer than one that will ‘wear out’, break, or sit in the corner of the garage after it loses its ‘sparkle.’ It is a gift that will ‘increase’ and become better as it gets older. It will satisfy that ‘hunger’ for meaning and purpose in life and ‘where’ you will go after you leave this earth. It will allow you to experience true forgiveness and a peace that will ‘transcend’ all understanding.

Sometimes, people are skeptical and find it hard to accept that there is anything, especially anything of value, that is free in this life. They think it all sounds too easy. Therefore, they think there must be some hidden ‘trap’ or catch. However, what they fail to realize is that, although it is free for us, it was not free for Jesus. He paid dearly for it with His own blood.

Just as it is when someone offers us a gift, we have the choice of accepting it, opening it, and enjoying it, or we can refuse it and say, “No thank you.” But no matter who you are, or what you believe, we all must make the choice of how we will ‘respond’ to Jesus when He said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through me” [John 14:6] and “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes Him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.” [John 5:24]

God’s gift of salvation is for everyone—no one is excluded when it comes to the love of God. He loves each of us equally. Jesus willingly laid down His life so that we could have freedom from sin and have an eternal relationship with Him. If you would like to sincerely invite the Lord Jesus into your heart, find a quiet place and pray something like the following:

“Lord Jesus, I need you. I want to know You personally. I am sorry for the things I have done wrong in my life. Please forgive me. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life and receive You as my Savior and Lord. Thank You for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Please take control of my life by Your Holy Spirit, to make me the person You want me to be.”

If you sincerely prayed this prayer, or something similar, you have started a wonderful journey developing a deep personal understanding and experience of God’s matchless love and grace. Now, go tell someone of the most important decision you will ever make, someone who you think would be pleased to hear the news. Also, join a ‘lively’, bible-based church that will encourage you in your development as a Christian, and that provides a ‘unity’ of people desiring to hear what God has to say to them.

Blessings….
Mark

LIFE’S DEEP THOUGHTS (v22) for DECEMBER 2000
(NOTE: Please send your ‘thoughts’ to me at: mbesh@ameritech.net)

I am glad to organize and distribute more ‘stuff’ if y’all send it to me… Thank you’s to:

Joy Asashon
Linda Besh
Sandy Lerner
Julie Nordberg
Joe Roczniak
Laurie Westman

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From 1558 to 1829, Catholics living in England were not permitted to practice their faith openly.  During this period, “The Twelve Days of Christmas” was written in England as a Catechism song for young Catholics.

The hidden meanings of the song’s gifts were intended to help children remember lessons of their faith.  The “true love” mentioned in the song refers to God.  The “me” who receives the presents symbolizes every baptized person.  The “Partridge in a pear tree” is Jesus Christ.  In the song, Jesus is symbolically presented as a mother partridge which feigns injury to decoy predators from her helpless chicks.

The other symbols’ meanings are:

2 Turtle Doves – the Old and New Testaments
3 French Hens – Faith, Hope and Charity
4 Calling Birds – the Four Gospels
5 Golden Rings – the first five books of the Old Testament, which give the history of man’s fall from grace.
6 Geese a-laying – the six days of Creation
7 Swans a-swimming – the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit
8 Maids a-milking – the eight Beatitudes
9 Ladies Dancing – nine fruits of the Holy Spirit
10 Lords a-leaping – the Ten Commandments
11 Pipers Piping – the eleven faithful Disciples
12 Drummers Drumming – twelve points of belief in the Apostles’ Creed
[Received from Linda Besh]

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WHAT CHRISTMAS BRINGS

This night bestowed peace on the whole world;
so, let no one threaten;
this is the night of the Most Gentle One–
let no one be cruel;
this is the night of the Most Humble One–
let no one be proud.

Now is the day of joy–
let us not revenge;
now is the day of good will–
let us not be mean-spirited.
In this day of peace let us not be conquered by anger…
Today the Bountiful impoverished Himself for our sake;
so, rich one, invite the poor to your table.

Today we received a gift for which we did not ask;
so let us give alms to those who implore us and beg.
This present day cast open the Heavenly door to our prayers;
let us open our door to those who ask our forgiveness.

Now the Divine Being took upon
Himself the seal of humanity,
in order for humanity
to be adorned by the seal of Divinity
[Saint Isaac of Ninevah]

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CHRISTMAS SYNONYMS
Translate the following statements back into ‘recognizable’ English—
each one is a common Christmas saying or song
(answers at the end of the newsletter)

1. Move hither ward the entire assembly of those who are loyal in their belief
2. Listen, the celestial messengers produce harmonious sounds
3. Nocturnal time span of unbroken quietness
4. An emotion excited by the acquisition or expectation of good given to the terrestrial sphere
5. Embellish the interior passageways
6. Exalted heavenly beings to whom harkened
7. Twelve o’clock on a clement night witnessed its arrival
8. The Christmas preceding all others
9. Small municipality in Judea southeast of Jerusalem
10. Diminutive masculine master of skin-covered percussionistic cylinders
11. Omnipotent supreme being who elicits respite to ecstatic distinguished males
12. Tranquillity upon the terrestrial sphere
13. Obese personification fabricated of compressed mounds of minute crystals
14. Expectation of arrival to populated area by mythical, masculine perennial gift-giver
15. Natal Celebration devoid of color, rather albino, as a hallucinatory phenomenon for me
16. In awe of the nocturnal time span characterized by religiosity
17. Geographic state of fantasy during the season of mother nature’s dormancy
18. The first person nominative plural of a triumvirate of far eastern heads of state
19. Tintinnabulation of vacillating pendulums in inverted, metallic, resonant cups
20. In a distant location the existence of an improvised unti of newborn children’s slumber furniture
21. Proceed forth declaring upon a specific geological alpine formation
22. Jovial Yuletide desired for the second person singular or plural by us
[Received from Joe Roczniak]

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TWAS THE NIGHT…..

Whereas, on an occasion immediately preceding the Nativity festival,
throughout a certain dwelling unit, quiet descended, in which could be heard no disturbance, not even the sound emitted by a diminutive rodent related to, and in form resembling, a rat; and

Whereas, the offspring of the occupants had affixed their tubular, closely knit coverings for the nether limbs to the flue of the fireplace in expectation that a personage known as St. Nicholas would arrive; and

Whereas, said offspring had become somnolent, and were entertaining re:
saccharine-flavored fruit; and

Whereas, the adult male of the family, et ux, attired in proper headgear, had also become quiescent in anticipation of nocturnal inertia; and

Whereas, a distraction on the snowy acreage outside aroused the owner to
investigate; and

Whereas, he perceived in a most unbelieving manner a vehicle propelled by eight domesticated quadrapeds of a species found in Arctic regions; and

Whereas, a most odd rotund gentleman was entreating the aforesaid animals by their appellations, as follows:

“Your immediate co-operation is requested. Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, and
Vixen; and collective action by you will be much appreciated, Comet, Cupid, Donder, and Blitzen”; and

Whereas, subsequent to the above, there occurred a swift descent to the
hearth by the aforementioned gentleman, where he proceeded to deposit gratuities in the aforementioned tubular coverings.

Now, therefore, be ye advised: that upon completion of these acts, and upon his return to his original point of departure, he proclaimed a felicitation of the type prevalent and suitable to these occasions, i.e.,

Merry Christmas to All and to All a Good Night!
[Forwarded by Steve Roder]

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‘Twas the night before Jesus came…and all through the house,
Not a creature was praying…not one in the house.

Their Bibles were lain…on the shelf without care,
In hopes that Jesus…would not come in there.

The children were dressing…to crawl into bed,
Not once ever kneeling…or bowing a head.

And Mom in her rocker…with baby on her lap,
Was watching the Late Show…while I took a nap.

When out of the East…there arose such a clatter,
I sprang to my feet…to see what was the matter.

Away to the window…I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters…and threw up the sash!

When what to my wondering eyes…should appear,
But angels proclaiming…that Jesus was here.

With a light like a sun…sending forth a bright ray,
I knew in a moment…that this must be THE DAY!

The light of His face…made me cover my head,
It was Jesus returning…just like He had said.

And though I possessed…worldly wisdom and wealth,
I cried when I saw Him…in spite of myself.

In the Book of Life…which He held in His hand,
Was written the name…of every saved man.

He spoke not a word…as He searched for my name;
When He said, “It’s not here,”…my head hung in shame.

The people whose names…had been written in love,
He gathered to take…to His Father above.

With those who were ready…He rose without sound,
While all of the rest…were left standing around.

I fell to my knees,…but it was too late;
I has waited too long…and thus sealed my fate.

I stood and I cried…as they rose out of sight,
Oh, if only…I had been ready tonight.

In the words of this poem…the meaning is clear;
The coming of Jesus…is soon drawing near.

There’s only one life…and when comes the last call–
We’ll find that the Bible…was true after all!

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THE JOURNEY…

Their journey would have taken most of a year at best, likely longer. Tradition claims there were three wise men, or Magi. If there were indeed three of these men, advisors to the royal court, the group traveling with them would have been at least forty men strong. There would have been cooks, and soldiers. There would be someone with some medical experience. There must have been a number of animals loaded with food and valuable items to use for barter for more food. It must have been quite an entourage.

They would have come from the area of the old Babylonian Empire making the trip hundreds of miles through rough terrain and desert. This trip was not free of danger. The group made this journey in peril of their lives from bands of robbers and thugs who might attack the convoy of mules and horses and men on foot. There was also harsh weather, injury and disease to contend with living in the open as well.

So why did they come? What could motivate men who lived the life of ancient court to literally put their lives on the line to make this trek? They would be gone for about two years of their lives living in far less than luxurious conditions. At least some of these Magi were court astronomers. They had seen a new star in the sky over Judea. Changes in the heavens were often considered omens. After some research, someone had come across the ancient texts left by Daniel centuries before. God’s hand is seen in the capture and exile of the Jewish people into Babylon. Daniel had been an enormous influence in the kingdom; he had left his mark.

It is interesting that no one in Judea had made the connection of the new star with the Messiah. Within a few short years of the birth of Jesus, the Roman Empire had subjugated the region. The power of self-rule had been taken from the leadership of Israel. Another interesting note was that they no longer held the power to impose the death sentence on a criminal. That sentence had to be issued by Rome, as it would be some 33 years later to an itinerant Rabbi named Jesus bar Joseph. The Chief Priest had gone wailing through the streets with his robes torn mourning that the Word of God had been broken. The scepter had been taken from Israel before the Messiah had come. It should have been a sign that Messiah was here, but that thought was missed just like the star.

God had moved Daniel, and Daniel remained faithful. Daniel had left his mark of faith and moved the Magi centuries later to announce to the world that a new King was born.
[Mike Hoskins]

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HANUKKAH (CHANUKAH)

Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, is celebrated for eight days, commencing on the 25th day of the month of Kislev (22-29 December this year), to commemorate the victory of the Jews over the Hellenist Syrians in 165 BCE.

Following their victory, the Maccabees, sons of the Priestly Hasmonean family which led the Jews in their revolt against the Syrian overlords, entered the Holy Temple in Jerusalem defiled by the Syrian invaders, cleansed it and dedicated it anew to the service of God. Then, in memory of their victory, the Maccabees celebrated the first Hanukkah. (Hanukkah is the Hebrew term for dedication).

The Talmud, the body of Jewish oral law, relates how the Judean heroes, led by Judah Maccabee, were making ready to rededicate the Temple and were unable to find enough undefiled oil to light the lamps. However, in one of the Temple chambers, they finally came upon a small cruse of oil which, under normal circumstances, would have lasted only one evening. Miraculously, this small amount of oil kept the Temple lights burning, not for one night, but for all the eight nights until new oil fit for use in the temple could be obtained. This is the miracle commemorated by the kindling of the Hanukkah lights.

The most important Hanukkah ritual is the candle lighting. Jews light candles in a special candleholder called a “menorah” or a “hanukkiah”. Each night, one more candle is added. The middle candle, called the “shamash”, is used to light each of the other candles and it is lit every night. Therefore, on the first night of Hanukkah, two candles are lit (the shamash and the candle for the first night) and on the last night, there are nine lit candles.

It is traditional to eat foods fried in oil during Hanukkah. Some common foods are potato latkes and “sufganiot” (jelly doughnuts).

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IS THERE A SANTA CLAUS?

Many years ago an eight-year-old American girl wrote, with her father’s help, a letter to the editor of the New York Sun in which she asked, “Is there really a Santa Claus?” An open letter in reply was published – the now famous “Answer to Virginia” It was written by a hitherto unremarkable reporter named, Frank Church,

The reply has become one of the most famous editorials ever written. It has been reprinted millions of times in more than 20 languages. So here it is again. You may like to read it to your children or grandchildren. The sentiments are as true now as they ever were.

“Virginia; your little friends were wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except what they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they are men’s or children’s are little. In this great universe of ours, man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist and you know that they abound and give to your life it’s highest beauty and joy. Alas! How dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no childish faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus? You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see.

Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not? But that’s no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world. You tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance can push aside, that curtain and view and picture the supernatural beauty and glory beyond.

Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding. No Santa Claus! Thank God, he lives and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia — nay, ten times ten thousand years from now – he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.”
[Frank Church]

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‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, except Papa’s mouse.
The computer was humming, the icons were hopping,
As Papa did last minute Internet shopping.

The stockings were hung by the modem with care
In hope that St. Nicholas would bring new software.
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of computer games danced in their heads.

PageMaker for Billy, and Quicken for Dan,
And Carmen Sandiego for Pamela Ann.
The letters to Santa had been sent out by Mom,
To santaclaus@toyshop.northpole.com

Which has now been re-routed to Washington State
Because Santa’s workshop has been bought by Bill Gates.
All the elves and reindeer have had to skedaddle
To flashy new quarters in suburban Seattle.

After centuries of a life that was simple and spare,
St. Nicholas is suddenly a new billionaire,
With a shiny red Porsche in the place of his sleigh,
And a house on Lake Washington that’s just down the way

From where Bill has his mansion. The old fellow preens
In black Gucci boots and red Calvin Klein jeans.
The elves have stock options and desks with a view,
Where they write computer code for Johnny and Sue.

No more dolls or toy soldiers or little toy drums (ahem – pardon me)
No more dolls or tin soldiers or little toy drums
Will be under the tree, only compact disk ROMS
With the Microsoft label. So spin up your drive,
From now on Christmas runs only on Win95.

More rapid than eagles the competitors came,
And Bill whistled, and shouted, and called them by name.
“Now, ADOBE! Now, CLARIS! Now, INTUIT! too,
Now, APPLE! and NETSCAPE! you are all of you through,

It is Microsoft’s SANTA that the kids can’t resist,
It’s the ultimate software with a traditional twist –
Recommended by no less than the jolly old elf,
And on the package, a picture of Santa himself.

Get ’em young, keep ’em long, is Microsoft’s scheme,
And a merger with Santa is a marketer’s dream.
To the top of the NASDAQ! to the top of the Dow!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away – wow!”

And Mama in her ‘kerchief and I in my cap,
Had just settled down for a long winter’s nap,
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
The whir and the hum of our satellite platter,

As it turned toward that new Christmas star in the sky,
The SANTALITE owned by the Microsoft guy.
As I sprang from my bed and was turning around,
My computer turned on with a Jingle-Bells sound.

And there on the screen was a smiling Bill Gates
Next to jolly old Santa, two arm-in-arm mates.
And I heard them exclaim in voice so bright,
Have a Microsoft Christmas, and to all a good night.

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You don’t judge a man for the times he has fallen, but how many times he gets up
[Gene Besh]

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THE TRUTH OF IT

When I look at a patch of dandelions, I see a bunch of weeds that are going to take over my yard.

My kids see flowers for Mom and Dad and blowing white fluff, you can wish on.
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When I look at an old drunk and he smiles at me, I see a smelly, dirty person, who probably wants money and I look away.

My kids see someone smiling at them and they smile back.
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When I hear music I love, I know I can’t carry a tune and don’t have much rhythm so I sit self consciously and listen.

My kids feel the beat and move to it. They sing out the words. If they don’t know them, they make up their own.
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When I feel wind on my face, I brace myself against it. I feel it messing up my hair and pulling me back when I walk.

My kids close their eyes, spread their arms and fly with it, until they fall to the ground laughing.
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When I pray I say Thee and Thou and grant me this, give me that.

My kids say, “Hi God!!!  Thanks for my toys and my friends.  Please keep the bad dreams away tonight. Sorry, I don’t want to go to Heaven yet. I would miss my Mommy and Daddy.”
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When I see a mud puddle I step around it. I see muddy shoes and clothes and dirty carpets.

My kids sit in it. They see dams to build, rivers to cross and worms to play with.
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I wonder if we are given kids to teach, or to learn from? Perhaps the same might be said for our dogs.
[Received from Sandy Lerner]

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Worrying about something is like paying interest on a debt you don’t even know if you owe.
[Mark Twain]

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DAFFYNITION:
Budget: An attempt to live below your yearnings.

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MY DREAM

With all the hurry scurry things in life
that are full of toils and strife
My dream would be to seek a
Solomon place to sit at ease
and meditate in quiet peace

There are so many things I want to do
To have a peaceful time
Like travel to the highest
mountain calm and clear
And listen to the beautiful
sounds that will come to my ear

If we all could just take a little while
from our busy lives
Don’t you think we could find the
peace that God offers without all the strife
If our heads were turn toward God
and not to evil things.

It would be very easy without hard
work to catch lives golden rings.
May God bless us all and give us peace
This is my dream for you
And may you catch the golden rings
of love, peace and joy too.
[Judy Moore]

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If you can imagine it,
You can achieve it.
If you can dream it,
You can become it.
[William Arthur Ward]

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There is a story of a man who made a very wise choice.  The king of his country once said to him, “Ask whatever you want, and I will give it to you.”  The man thought about it, “If I ask to be made a general, I am sure I will get it; if for half the kingdom, he will give it to me.  I will ask for something to which all these things are added.”  So he said to the king,
“Give me your daughter as my wife.”  In doing this he was made heir to all the wealth and honors of the entire kingdom.  It is the same with Christ.
Choosing Christ makes us heirs to all the wealth, honors, and glory of God’s kingdom.
[Author unknown]

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THE SHEPHERD

A shepherd was herding his flocks in a remote pasture when suddenly a brand new Jeep Cherokee advanced out of a dust cloud towards him. The driver, a young man in a Brioni suit, Gucci shoes, Ray Ban sunglasses and a YSL tie leaned out of the window and asked our shepherd: “If I can tell you exactly how many sheep you have in your flock, will you give me one?”

The shepherd looks at the yuppie, then at his peacefully grazing flock and calmly answers “sure!” The yuppie parks the car, whips out his notebook, connects it to a cell-phone, surfs to a NASA page on the Internet where he calls up a GPS satellite navigation system, scans the area, opens up a database and some 60 Excel spreadsheets with complex formulas. Finally he prints out a 150 page report on his hi-tech miniaturized printer, turns round to our shepherd and says: “you have here exactly 1586 sheep!”

“This is correct. As agreed, you can take one of the sheep” says the shepherd. He watches the young man make a selection and bundle it in his Cherokee.

Then he says: “If I can tell you exactly what your business is, will you give me my sheep back?”

“Okay, why not” answers the young man. “You are a consultant” says the shepherd.

“This is correct” says the yuppie, “How did you guess that?”

“Easy” answers the shepherd. “You turn up here although nobody called you. You want to be paid for the answer to a question I already knew the solution to. And you don’t know anything about my business because you took my dog.”

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THE SERENITY PRAYER

God grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change
Courage to change the things I can, and the Wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardship as the pathway to peace.
Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it.
Trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life, and supremely happy with Him in the next.
[Reinhold Niebuhr]

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The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched, they must be felt with the heart.
[Helen Keller]

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MAXIMS

– Conflict is inevitable, but combat is optional.
– Greed I’ve often regretted. Generosity–never.
– Pursue forgiveness, not innocence.
– You’ll give up on yourself before God will
– We treat others as we perceive God is treating us.
– You will never forgive anyone more than God has forgiven you
– Succeed in what matters.
– Pray all the time. If necessary, use words
– God forgets the past. Imitate Him.
– Faith is the grit in the soul that puts the dare into dreams.
– Never underestimate a gesture of affection.
– As long as you can, give the benefit of the doubt.
– To see sin without grace is despair. To see grace without sin is arrogance.
To see them in tandem is conversation.
[Max Lucado]

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MY APPETITE IS MY SHEPHERD (POUND 23)

My appetite is my shepherd; I always want.
It maketh me sit down and stuff myself.
It leadeth me to my refrigerator repeatedly.
It leadeth me in the path of Burger King for a Whopper.
It destroyeth my shape.
Yea, though I knoweth I gaineth, I will not stop eating
For the food tasteth so good.
The ice cream and the cookies, they comfort me.
When the table is spread before me, it exciteth me
For I knoweth that I sooneth shall dig in.
As I filleth my plate continuously,
My clothes runneth smaller.
Surely bulges and pudgies shall follow me all the days of my life
And I shall be “pleasingly plump” forever.

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FIND YOUR PEACE

People spend a lifetime searching for happiness; looking for peace. They chase idle dreams, addictions, religions, even other people, hoping to fill the emptiness that plagues them. The irony is the only place they ever needed to search was within.
[Paulissa]

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Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope.
[Helen Keller-Received from Gene Besh]

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Life tends to respond to our outlook, to shape itself to meet our expectations.
[Richard M DeVos]

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VARIETY OF THOUGHTS ABOUT THE ‘HEART’

Many people will walk in and out of your life,
but only true friends will leave footprints in your heart.

To handle yourself, use your head;
To handle others, use your heart.

Anger is only one letter short of danger.

If someone betrays you once, it’s his fault;
if he betrays you twice, it’s your fault.

Great minds discuss ideas;
Average minds discuss events;
Small minds discuss people.

God gives every bird its food,
But He does not throw it into its nest.

He who loses money, loses much;
He who loses a friend, loses more;
He who loses faith, loses all.

Learn from the mistakes of others.
You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself.

The tongue weighs practically nothing,
But so few people can hold it.

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WE HAVE….

We spend more, but have less; we buy more, but enjoy it less.
We have bigger houses and smaller families; more conveniences,
but less time;
We have more degrees, but less sense; more knowledge,
but less judgment;
More experts, but more problems; more medicine,
but less wellness.
We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little,
Drive too fast, get too angry too quickly, stay up too late, get up too tired
Read too seldom, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom.

We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values.
We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often.
We’ve learned how to make a living, but not a life;
We’ve added years to life, not life to years.
We’ve been all the way to the moon and back,
but have trouble crossing the street to meet the new neighbor.
We’ve conquered outer space, but not inner space.
We’ve done larger things, but not better things.
We’ve cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul.
We’ve split the atom, but not our prejudice.
We write more, but learn less.
We plan more, but accomplish less.
We’ve learned to rush, but not to wait.
We build more computers to hold more information
to produce more copies than ever, but have less communication.

These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion;
Tall men, and short character;
Steep profits, and shallow relationships.
These are the times of world peace, but domestic warfare;
More leisure, but less fun;
More kinds of food, but less nutrition.
These are days of two incomes, but more divorce;
of fancier houses, but broken homes.
These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throw-away morality,
one-night stands, overweight bodies,
and pills that do everything from cheer to quiet, to kill.

It is a time when there is much in the show window
and nothing in the stockroom;
a time when technology can bring this letter to you,
and a time when you can choose either to share this insight,
or to just hit delete.

*****************************
A TRUE LOOK AT LIFE!

Life can seem ungrateful ~ and not always kind…
Life can pull at your heartstrings ~ and play with your mind…
Life can be blissful ~ and happy and free…
Life can put beauty ~ in the things that you see …
Life can place challenges ~ right at your feet…
Life can make good ~ of the hardships we meet…
Life can overwhelm you ~ and make your head spin…
Life can reward those ~ determined to win…
Life can be hurtful ~ and not always fair…
Life can surround you ~ with people who care …
Life clearly does offer ~ its Up and its Downs…
Life’s days can bring you ~ both smiles and frowns…
Life teaches us to take ~ the good with the bad…
Life is a mixture ~ of happy and sad…

SO…Take the Life that you have ~ and give it your best…
Think positive be happy ~ let God do the rest…
Take the challenges that life ~ has laid at your feet…
Take pride and be thankful ~ for each one you meet…
To yourself give forgiveness ~ if you stumble and fall…
Take each day that is dealt you ~ and give it your all…
Take the love that you’re given ~ and return it with care…
Have faith that when needed ~ it will always be there…
Take time to find the beauty ~ in the things that you see…
Take life’s simple pleasures ~ let them set your heart free…
The idea here is simply ~ to even the score
As you are met and faced with ~ Life’s Tug of War.
[Author unknown]

*****************************
There are those who seek knowledge for the sake of knowledge; That is Curiosity. There are those who seek knowledge to be known by others; That is Vanity. There are those who seek knowledge in order to serve; That is Love.
[Bernard of Clairvaux]

*****************************
Are you outstanding? Or just out…standing?

*****************************
HIGH FLIGHT

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds–and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of–wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence.  Hov’ring there
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up the long delirious, burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or even eagle flew–
And, while with silent lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.
[John Gillespie Magee, Jr., 1941]

*****************************
THE BEST GIFTS TO GIVE

The best gifts to give:
To your friend, loyalty;
To your enemy, forgiveness;
To your boss, service;
To a child, a good example;
To your parents, gratitude and devotion;
To your mate, love and faithfulness;
To all men and women, charity;
and To God, your life.

*****************************
Your laws ignore our deepest needs,
Your words are empty air.
You’ve stripped away our heritage,
You’ve outlawed simple prayer.

Now gunshots fill our classrooms,
And precious children die.
You seek for answers everywhere,
And ask the question “Why?”

You regulate restrictive laws,
Through legislative creed.
And yet you fail to understand,
That God is what we need!

[Darrell Scott, the father of Rachel Scott, a victim of the Columbine High School shootings-Received from Julie Nordberg]

*****************************
“Courage is never to let your actions be influenced by your fears.”
(Arthur Koestler)

*****************************
When things go wrong as they sometimes will,
And the road you’re trudging seems all up hill,
When funds are low and debts are high,
And you have to smile, but you want to cry,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest if your must, but don’t you quit.
Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As everyone of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about,
When he might have won had he stuck it out.
Don’t give up though the pace seems slow,
You may succeed with another blow,
Success is failure turned inside out,
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far,
so stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit,
It’s when things seem worst that you mustn’t quit.
[Author Unknown]

*****************************
FRIENDS SHOULD BE…

Friends should be RADICAL, FANATICAL,
but most of all, MATHEMATICAL!

A friend should be radical –
Love you when you’re unlovable,
Hug you when you’re unhuggable,
and bear you when you’re unbearable.

A friend should be fanatical –
Cheer when the whole world boos,
Dance when you get good news,
and cry when you cry, too.

But most of all,
A friend should be mathematical –
Multiply the joy,
Divide the sorrow,
Subtract the past,
and add to tomorrow.
Calculate the need
deep in the heart,
and always be bigger
than the sum of all it’s parts.
[Author unknown]

*****************************
The fruit of silence is prayer. The fruit of prayer is faith. The fruit of faith is love. The fruit of love is service. The fruit of service is peace.
[Mother Teresa of Calcutta]

*****************************
There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching out and lifting people up.
[Rosemary E. Winn]

*****************************
WHAT ANGELS LOOK LIKE

– Like the little old lady who returned your wallet yesterday.
– Like the taxi driver who told you your eyes light up the world when you smile.
– Like the small child who showed you the wonder in simple things.
– Like the poor man who offered to share his lunch with you.
– Like the rich man who showed you that it really is all possible, if only you believe.
– Like the stranger who just happened to come along, when you had lost your way.
– Like the friend who touched your heart, when you didn’t think you had one to touch.
– Angels come in all sizes and shapes, all ages and skin types.
– Some with freckles, some with dimples, some with wrinkles, some without.
– They come disguised as friends, enemies, teachers, students, lovers and fools.
– They don’t take life too seriously; they travel light.
– They leave no forwarding address; they ask nothing in return.
– They wear sneakers with gossamer wings.
– They are hard to find when your eyes are closed.
– But they are everywhere when you look, when you choose to see.
[Author unknown]

*****************************
The unexpected kindness from an unexpected place,
A hand outstretched in friendship, a smile on someone’s face,
A word of understanding spoken in an hour of trial,
Are unexpected miracles that make life more worthwhile.

We know not how it happened that in an hour of need,
Somebody out of nowhere proved to be a friend indeed.
For God has many messangers we fail to recognize
But he sends them when we need them
for his ways are wonderous, wise!

So keep looking for an “angel” and keep listening to hear,
For on life’s busy crowded streets
you will find God’s presence near.
[Helen Steiner Rice-Received from Joy Asashon]

*****************************
Success is when those who know me the best, respect me the most
[John Maxwell]

*****************************
CHARACTER

Consistency
Honesty
Authentic spirituality
Relationships
Attitude
Compassion
Truth-telling
Enthusiasm
Resilience

[Daniel Henderson]

*****************************
The greatest part of happiness or misery depends on our dispositions, not our circumstances
[Martha Washington]

*****************************
Lord,
Make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred,
Let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.

[St. Francis of Assisi-Received from Joy Asashon]

*****************************
The hardest of all is learning to be a well of affection, and not a fountain; to show them we love them not when we feel like it, but when they do.
[Nan Fairbrother]

*****************************
Do not follow where the path may lead.
Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.
Muriel Strode]

*****************************
It isn’t what the book costs; it’s what it will cost if you don’t read it.
[E James Rohn]

*****************************
THINGS TO PONDER…
Why do we say something is out of whack?  What is a whack?

Why does “slow down” and “slow up” mean the same thing?

*****************************
Decide what’s right before you decide what’s possible.
[Brian Tracy]

*****************************
Marriage is a journey towards an unknown destination — the discovery that people must share not only what they don’t know about each other, but what they don’t know about themselves.”
[Michael Ventura]

*****************************
When men believe God, they speak boldly. When they doubt, they confer
[A.W. Tozer]

*****************************
I DREAMED I HAD AN INTERVIEW WITH GOD….

“Come in,” God said. “So, you would like to interview
Me?”

“If you have the time,” I said.

God smiled and said: “My time is eternity and is enough to do everything; what questions do you have in mind to ask me?”

“What surprises you most about mankind?”

God answered: “That they get bored of being children, are in a rush to grow up, and then long to be children again.

That they lose their health to make money and then lose their money to restore their health.

That by thinking anxiously about the future, they forget the present, such that they live neither for the present nor the future.

That they live as if they will never die, and they die as if they had never lived…”

God’s hands took mine and we were silent for while and then I asked…”As a parent, what are some of life’s lessons you want your children to learn?”

God replied with a smile:

“To learn that they cannot make anyone love them. What they can do is to let themselves be loved.

To learn that what is most valuable is not what they have in their lives, but who they have in their lives.

To learn that it is not good to compare themselves to others. All will be judged individually on their own merits, not as a group on a comparison basis!

To learn that a rich person is not the one who has the most, but is one who needs the least.

To learn that it only takes a few seconds to open profound wounds in persons we love, and that it takes many years to heal them.

To learn to forgive by practicing forgiveness.

To learn that there are persons that love them dearly, but simply do not know how to express or show their feelings.

To learn that money can buy everything but happiness.

To learn that two people can look at the same thing and see it totally different.

To learn that a true friend is someone who knows everything about them…and likes them anyway.

To learn that it is not always enough that they be forgiven by others, but that they have to forgive themselves.”

I sat there for a while enjoying the moment. I thanked Him for his time and for all that He has done for me and my family, and He replied,

“Anytime. I’m here 24 hours a day. All you have to do is ask for me,and I’ll answer.”

People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel
[Received from Sandy Lerner]

*****************************
Friends are angels who lift us to our feet when our wings have trouble
[Author unknown – Received from Laurie Westman]

*****************************
“The highest reward for man’s toil is not what he gets
for it, but what he becomes by it.”  — John Ruskin]

*****************************
AND…AFTER THE HOLIDAY…

Twas the night before finals, and all through the college,
The students were praying for last minute knowledge.
Most were quite sleepy, but none touched their beds,
While visions of essays danced in their heads.

In my own apartment, I had been pacing,
And dreaded exams I soon would be facing.
My roommate was speechless, his nose in his books,
And my comments to him drew unfriendly looks.
I drained all the coffee, and brewed a new pot,
No longer caring that my nerves were shot.

I stared at my notes, but my thoughts were muddy,
My eyes went a blur, I just couldn’t study.
“Some pizza might help,” I said with a shiver,
But each place I called refused to deliver.
I’d nearly concluded that life was too cruel,
With futures depending on grades had in school.

When all of a sudden, our door opened wide,
And Patron Saint Put-It-Off ambled inside.
Her spirit was careless, her manner was mellow,
She wore a white toga, she started to bellow:
“What kind of student would make such a fuss,
To toss back at teachers what they tossed at us?”

“On Cliff Notes! On Crib Notes! On last year’s exams!
On Wingit and Slingit, and last minute crams!”
Her message delivered, she vanished from sight,
But we heard her laughing outside in the night.
“Your teachers have pegged you, so just do your best.
Happy finals to all, and to all, a good test!”
[Forwarded by Carie Klassen]

*****************************
Nestled deep in the Rocky Mountains of North America stands a rugged peak. For nine months each year it lies robed in snow, indistinguishable from a dozen others surrounding it.

But as summer arrives and the air warms, the mountain slowly sheds its blanket of white, revealing a massive emblem. High above the neighboring valleys, an 1,100 foot vertical gouge bisects a 400 foot horizontal groove, forming an almost perfect image of the cross of Christ.  This sight is so impressive that famous American artist Thomas Moran visited the mountain to paint it in 1875. The peak is aptly named “The Mountain of the Holy Cross.”

In winter, only an expert could single out this particular peak from those around it.  But in summer, any child could look at these mountains and easily choose “the one with the cross on it.” The only real difference in this mountain and the all the others is the enormous image etched into its face.

We spend much of our lives creating a thick layer of “achievements.”  We climb the career ladder, push our kids to excel, move to a better neighborhood, pursue another degree, all in the hope that we will somehow become more popular, wealthy, powerful, or influential.  Like a thick blanket of snow our conquests and achievements cover us, deposited one tiny flake at a time until we are totally obscured.  For many of us, self- esteem and self-worth come from what we have accomplished or how much we can buy or who we know.

Yet one day we will awaken to a new reality, an endless day in which all our values will be turned upside down.  All that we have done, said, created, bought, and built will be brushed away, melted like snow under the gaze of our eternal Father.  Deep within each one of us he will seek the one thing, the only thing he truly cares about: the imprint of the cross, the mark of his Son.

Nothing else matters to Him. And on that day, nothing else will matter to you. Do you possess the one thing that really matters?
[Mark Phillips]

*****************************
Answers to the ‘translations’:

1. O Come All Ye Faithful
2. Hark the Herald Angels Sing
3. Silent Night
4. Joy to the World
5. Deck the Halls
6. Angels We Have Heard on High
7. It Came Upon a Midnight Clear
8. The First Noel
9. O Little Town of Bethlehem
10. Little Drummer Boy
11. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
12. Peace on Earth
13. Frosty the Snowman
14. Santa Claus is Coming to Town
15. White Christmas
16. O Holy Night
17. Winter Wonderland
18. We Three Kings of Orient Are
19. Jingle Bells
20. Away in a Manger
21. Go Tell It on the Mountain
22. We Wish You a Merry Christmas

*****************************
DEEP THOUGHT:
If a word is misspelled in the dictionary, how would we ever know?

*****************************
Hope you enjoyed some of these insights—share them with your friends and colleagues—so we can have a larger ‘pool’ to receive from, and more to share with!

Also, remember to include your name as the “source,” if some of this wisdom is of your doing—I would like to give credit where credit is due!

I WISH YOU TIDINGS OF GOOD CHEER, JOY, AND THE PEACE THAT TRANSCENDS ALL UNDERSTANDING….

Mark

*****************************
*****************************
Disclaimer: All the above jokes & inspirations are obtained from various sources and copyright are used when known. Other than our name and headers, we do not own the copyright to any of the materials sent to this list. We just want to spread the ministry of God’s love and cheerfulness throughout the world.

*****************************

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