‘Real’ New Millennium [v23]

JANUARY 2001

GREETINGS — Happy New Millennium!!!! The year 2001 is the ‘official’ beginning of the new millennium. Now may be a good time to evaluate our priorities. What is your ‘first’ priority? How will you ‘spend’ your time?

Here are nine vital questions to consider as you begin a new year full of possibilities….

Ask yourself:
* What are my options?
* What are my priorities?
* How can I grow?

Ask others:
* Will you forgive me?
* What can I do for you?
* Will you help me?

Ask God:
* Who am I?
* What is your will for me?
* What is eternal?

Consider last New Year’s Day. All of us were probably worried about Y2K. Today our worries about that are over, but, without being to melancholy, might this be your last New Year’s Day? If we try to consider that it could be, what types of things would you ‘worry’ about? How would this change how you ‘use’ your time?

Time, is the only ‘thing’ we can not make more of. So, are you making the most of it? Our time here on earth is very uncertain. What happens to us after we ‘leave’ here?

This is usually the time when many of us make resolutions. I urge you to make resolutions, if you are so inclined, that take into account what you truly believe about the “Christmas story.” Who was Jesus? What do you believe about what He said? Consider the following analogy……

“I learned about incarnation when I kept a salt-water aquarium. Management of a marine aquarium, I discovered, is no easy task. I had to run a portable chemical laboratory to monitor the nitrate levels and the ammonia content. I pumped in vitamins and antibiotics and sulfa. I filtered the water…and exposed it to ultraviolet light. You would think, in view of all the energy expended on their behalf, that my fish would at least be grateful. Not so, Every time my shadow loomed above the tank they dove for cover into the nearest shell. They showed me one ’emotion’ only: fear. I could not convince them of my true concern.

To my fish I was deity. I was too large for them, my actions too incomprehensible. My acts of mercy they saw as cruelty; my attempts at healing they viewed as destruction. To change their perception…I would have to become a fish and ‘speak’ to them in a language they could understand.

A human being becoming a fish is nothing compared to God becoming a baby. And yet according to the Gospels that is what happened at Bethlehem. The God who created matter took shape within it, as an artist might become a spot on a painting…God wrote a story, only using real characters, on the pages of real history. The Word became flesh.”

The author, Phillip Yancey, presents a ‘thoughtful’ analogy about why He sent His Son to earth. Why would God become a man and be born in such a ‘lowly’ manner? And why would He let men treat Him the way they did? The apostle Paul tells us clearly: “It was the Father’s good pleasure… through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross.” [Colossians 1:19-20]

God loves us so much that He gave His only Son to live on this earth, die on a cross, and bear our sins in His own body, suffering the full weight of God’s wrath, which should have been our ‘responsibility.’ Christ ‘paid’ our penalty and restored peace between us and God.

So Christmas is first of all the celebration of God’s love toward man…the sum of the Christmas message.

Blessings….
Mark

LIFE’S DEEP THOUGHTS (v23) for JANUARY 2001
(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
Richard Bachman
Gene Besh
Linda Besh
Sandy Lerner
Joe Olson
Cher’re Walters
Laurie Westman

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The story is told of a prospector in the last century who had to make a four-day journey across a burning desert. He couldn’t carry enough water to make the journey without dying of thirst, but he was assured there was a well halfway across the desert. So he set out and sure enough there was a well right where the map indicated. But when he pumped the handle, the well only burped up sand. Then he saw this sign: “Buried two feet over and two feet down is a jug of water. Dig it up and use the water to prime the pump. Drink all the water you want, but when you are done, fill the jug again for the next person.”

Sure enough, two feet over and two feet down was enough water for the prospector to prime the pump or to finish his journey. Should he pour the water down the well or should he drink it?

To tell you the truth, I’d drink the water that was buried! I don’t know who wrote the sign on that rusty old pump. It could be a cruel joke. I’d pour that water down a worthless well only to watch my life drain away for lack of water.

Faith always has an element of risk, but there is one factor in the above story that doesn’t exist when it comes to God. I know who wrote the sign. When I pour myself into a life of faith, I know that out of my inner being shall flow rivers of living water. God said so, history verifies it, and I, for one, can testify that it is true. In the final analysis, God is not only true, He’s right.

There is more than enough water in God’s well for everyone, but the pump is only activated by faith. Remember: “Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him” [Hebrews 11:6]

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IT’S ANOTHER NEW YEAR…BUT FOR WHAT REASON?

“Happy New Year!” That greeting will be said and heard for at least the first couple of weeks as a new year gets under way. But the day celebrated as New Year’s Day in modern America was not always January 1.

ANCIENT NEW YEARS
The celebration of the new year is the oldest of all holidays. It was first observed in ancient Babylon about 4000 years ago. In the years around 2000 BC, Babylonians celebrated the beginning of a new year on what is now March 23, although they themselves had no written calendar.

Late March actually is a logical choice for the beginning of a new year. It is the time of year that spring begins and new crops are planted. January 1, on the other hand, has no astronomical nor agricultural significance. It is purely arbitrary [I have to believe there was ‘some’ reason – MB]

The Babylonian new year celebration lasted for eleven days. Each day had its own particular mode of celebration, but it is safe to say that modern New Year’s Eve festivities pale in comparison.

The Romans continued to observe the new year on March 25, but their calendar was continually tampered with by various emperors so that the calendar soon became out of synchronization with the sun.

In order to set the calendar right, the Roman senate, in 153 BC, declared January 1 to be the beginning of the new year. But tampering continued until Julius Caesar, in 46 BC, established what has come to be known as the Julian Calendar. It again established January 1 as the new year. But in order to synchronize the calendar with the sun, Caesar had to let the previous year drag on for 445 days.

THE CHURCH’S VIEW OF NEW YEAR CELEBRATIONS
Although in the first centuries AD the Romans continued celebrating the new year, the early Catholic Church condemned the festivities as paganism. But as Christianity became more widespread, the early church began having its own religious observances concurrently with many of the pagan celebrations, and New Year’s Day was no different. New Years is still observed as the Feast of Christ’s Circumcision by some denominations.
During the Middle Ages, the Church remained opposed to celebrating New Years. January 1 has been celebrated as a holiday by Western nations for only about the past 400 years.

NEW YEAR TRADITIONS
Other traditions of the season include the making of New Year’s resolutions. That tradition also dates back to the early Babylonians. Popular modern resolutions might include the promise to lose weight or quit smoking. The early Babylonian’s most popular resolution was to return borrowed farm equipment.

The Celts were the people who lived in Gaul, now called France, and parts of Britain before the Romans arrived there. Their New Year festival was called Samhain. It took place at the end of October, and Samhain means ‘summer’s end’. At Samhain, the Celts gathered mistletoe to keep ghosts away, because they believed this was the time when the ghosts of the dead returned to haunt the living.

The Jewish New Year is called Rosh Hashanah. It is a holy time when people think of the things they have done wrong in the past, and they promise to do better in the future. Special services are held in synagogues, and an instrument called a Shofar, which is made from a ram’s horn is played. Children are given new clothes, and New Year loaves are baked and fruit is eaten to remind people of harvest time.

The Tournament of Roses Parade dates back to 1886. In that year, members of the Valley Hunt Club decorated their carriages with flowers. It celebrated the ripening of the orange crop in California. Although the Rose Bowl football game was first played as a part of the Tournament of Roses in 1902, it was replaced by Roman chariot races the following year. In 1916, the football game returned as the sports centerpiece of the festival.

The tradition of using a baby to signify the new year was begun in Greece around 600 BC. It was their tradition at that time to celebrate their god of wine, Dionysus, by parading a baby in a basket, representing the annual rebirth of that god as the spirit of fertility. Early Egyptians also used a baby as a symbol of rebirth.

Although the early Christians denounced the practice as pagan, the popularity of the baby as a symbol of rebirth forced the Church to reevaluate its position. The Church finally allowed its members to celebrate the new year with a baby, which was to symbolize the birth of the baby Jesus.

The use of an image of a baby with a New Years banner as a symbolic representation of the new year was brought to early America by the Germans. They had used the effigy since the fourteenth century.

FOR LUCK IN THE NEW YEAR
Traditionally, it was thought that one could affect the luck they would have throughout the coming year by what they did or ate on the first day of the year. For that reason, it has become common for folks to celebrate the first few minutes of a brand new year in the company of family and friends. Parties often last into the middle of the night after the ringing in of a new year. It was once believed that the first visitor on New Year’s Day would bring either good luck or bad luck the rest of the year. It was particularly lucky if that visitor happened to be a tall dark-haired man.

Traditional New Year foods are also thought to bring luck. Many cultures believe that anything in the shape of a ring is good luck, because it symbolizes “coming full circle,” completing a year’s cycle. For that reason, the Dutch believe that eating donuts on New Year’s Day will bring good fortune. Many parts of the country celebrate the new year by consuming black-eyed peas. These legumes are typically accompanied by either hog jowls or ham. Cabbage is another “good luck” vegetable that is consumed on New Year’s Day by many.

AULD LANG SYNE
The song, “Auld Lang Syne,” playing in the background, is sung at the stroke of midnight in almost every English-speaking country in the world to bring in the new year. At least partially written by Robert Burns in the 1700’s, it was first published in 1796 after Burns’ death. Early variations of the song were sung prior to 1700 and inspired Burns to produce the modern rendition. An old Scotch tune, “Auld Lang Syne” literally means “old long ago,” or simply, “the good old days.”

Auld Lang Syne

Should auld acquaintance be forgot
and never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot
and days of auld lang syne?
For auld lang syne, my dear,
for auld lang syne,
we’ll take a cup of kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.

Should auld acquaintance be forgot
and never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot
and days of auld lang syne?
And here’s a hand, my trusty friend
And gie’s a hand o’ thine
We’ll tak’ a cup o’ kindness yet
For auld lang syne

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A candy maker in Indiana wanted to make a candy that would be a witness, so he made the Christmas Candy Cane. He incorporated several symbols for the birth, ministry, and death of Jesus Christ.

He began with stick of pure white, hard candy. The white symbolizes the Virgin Birth and the sinless nature of Jesus. The hardness symbolizes the Solid Rock, the foundation of the Church and firmness of the promises of God. The candy maker made the candy in the form of a “J” to represent the precious name of Jesus, who came to earth as our Saviour. It could also
represent the staff of the “Good Shepherd” with which He reaches down into the ditches of the world to lift out the fallen lambs that like all sheep
have gone astray.

Thinking that the candy was somewhat plain, the candy maker stained it with red stripes. He used three small stripes to show the stripes of the
scourging Jesus received by which we are healed. The large red stripe was
for the blood shed by Christ on the cross so that we could have the promise
of eternal life.

Unfortunately, the candy became known as a Candy Cane – a meaningless decoration seen at Christmas time. But the meaning is still there for those who “have eyes to see and ears to hear” I pray that this symbol will again
be used to witness To The Wonder of Jesus and His Great Love that came down at Christmas and remains the ultimate and dominant force in the universe today. [Author unknown]

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EPIPHANY: YOU CAN’T GO HOME AGAIN

“Were we led all this way for Birth or Death? This was a Birth, certainly, we had evidence and no doubt. I had seen birth and death, but had thought they were different…I should be glad of another death.”
Journey of the Magi, by T.S. Eliot

“The Magi set out on a trip that would change them forever. Each of us is challenged to do the same.” by Richard Rohr, O.F.M.

An epiphany is not an idea. As D. H. Lawrence said, people can do anything they want with an idea, but a truly new experience changes everything. Before you can do anything with it, it does something with you!

Most of us prefer ideas and words; we are afraid of any authentically new experience. Unlike the Magi, we do not tend to allow stars to divert us to a new and unknown place. Most of us stay inside our private castles and avoid such questionable adventures. Yes, we avoid death supposedly, but we also avoid birth. We miss out on the great epiphany.

An epiphany is not an experience that we can create from within, but one that we can only be open to and receive from another. Epiphanies leave us totally out of control, and they always demand that we change. We would rather have objectified religion, which leaves us potentially in control and never having to change at all.

Religion without epiphanies becomes digging in your heels; religion with epiphanies becomes living ‘on your heels’, ready to go wherever God manifests. One wonders if the Magi ever went back home at all. Home base had been taken from them.

The feast of the Epiphany tells us that from the very beginning Jesus was someone to be personally experienced, and not just mentally agreed upon, proven, accepted or argued about. The categories are entirely different: True human experience demands that the whole person be present and active. In that light, one wonders how many people really experience things since we are hardly ever present to experience our own experiences.
If you are like me, you are usually somewhere else than here. God wants more than our mind, it seems. As Jesus put it, we are to give God “our whole mind, our whole heart, our whole soul and our whole strength” [Mark 12:29-30]. In other words, we offer not just our assent to proper ideas about God, but our very selves as persons. It’s love rather than mere duty; surrender and trust rather than mere obedience.

The Magi bring themselves and their assumptions on a perilous journey, and only then can they offer their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. And it all leads to an encounter that rearranges their lives, their self-images and seemingly even their pocketbooks.

Ideas can be weighed, proven and dismissed, but how do you know if you carry the encountered spirit of another? How do you know if the God encounter has rubbed off on you, or if it was an authentic God encounter at all? The fact is, you never do know. You only seek, hope, trust and seek again, which is probably why most of us prefer words to faith. That’s exactly why the Word became flesh.

This is probably why Jesus’ only category for judging persons is by what comes out of them (see Mark 7:20). Jesus never seems to judge people by the mere words they say, or even by what group they belong to, but by the very quality of their being, their spirit. Holiness refers to the ‘who’ that is acting more than the ‘what’ that they do. One can tell the difference when it is Jesus who is acting, and when it is merely defensive ego.

No surprise that we often settle instead for the apostles’ tribal mentality (see Mark 9:38), or for the moralisms of the scribes and Pharisees (see Mark 7:5). Language and group symbols we can control. Ideas we can police. The spirit of another only God knows. Epiphanies we have to wait for, discern, trust and honor. The word became flesh but, to be honest, we would rather just have the word.

The mystery of the Epiphany is saying that God is perfectly hidden and perfectly revealed in the same physical place! God is shining forth in the most unwanted and unsuspected of places: the material and even vulnerable world. Here God is no longer dangerous, threatening or brandishing punishments, but, believe it or not, a helpless baby! I cannot think of any other religion which puts God in such a compromised position.

What happened to “Omnipotens Deus”? Suddenly, as Augustine put it, “Christ is the bread seeking hunger.” History had always thought that we were the food for God. History had always thought that we were the helpless children and God the parent. The surprise was so shocking that, after 2,000 years of the manifestation, we have only been able to paint it and experience it, but hardly ever formulate it in acceptable words.
That’s why so very many saints, like our own St. Anthony, are so often pictured holding the baby Jesus. It could not have happened historically, but we had to paint it because we are still trying to comprehend the impossible mystery of a God who is weak instead of strong. Religion is effectively turned on its head in such imagery. Those baby Jesus images remained in our psyche for a necessary reason. To appreciate the image, we must examine the previous history.

God, I am sorry to say, has not been a very likable figure in most of human history. This is so consistently true that it is seldom talked about. The violent and almost sadistic character of God was taken for granted until history changed by a new manifestation, a showing-forth that began with the Jewish consciousness of their God, and reached its fulfillment in Jesus, who took his own Jewish tradition to its full and logical conclusion. We have come to take a warm and inviting God for granted ever since Jesus—so for granted, some might say, that we are no longer overcome by a wondrous confidence and gratitude.

The Romans said that the corruption of the best is the worst, and maybe that explains why Christianity can be both amazingly transformative and embarrassingly trivial and trite when it dares to speak of God. It all depends on if you have undergone the necessary epiphany. In this case, the Epiphany humbles you to the core, and makes you fall in love with God forever.

All of the epiphanies in the Bible invariably begin with the exact same words, “Do not be afraid.” That’s because people have always been afraid of God! God was never someone that people sought after for God’s own sake. God was not someone whose presence you relished or whose judgments you liked. You kept your distance, out of God’s way if possible, and looking for any way to appease this capricious and always demanding deity.

Religious history is a history of human sacrifice, animal sacrifice and many disguised attempts at self-flagellation. It’s not a love affair (except among the mystics of all religions!), but usually a cautious standoff accompanied by ritual attempts to placate a distant and demanding God. This is so embedded into the human hardwiring now that it is very hard to eradicate.

History has been askew ever since Jesus. We are on a tilt since history heard about the Incarnation, and we cannot easily find our new balance. I think the gospel leaves us deliberately off-balance, so we have to stay on that same astrologer’s journey, seeking a star outside of our own little kingdoms. Be careful not to rebalance yourself too quickly, or you will probably miss the transformative power of the Good News.

We can no longer separate, exclude or avoid anybody or anything, especially under the guise of religion. We all, like the Magi, must now kneel and kiss the ground, throwing our own kingships to the wind.
The Epiphany we celebrate is Incarnation itself, the Incarnation of God in Christ, which allows us to see God’s image and incarnation everywhere else too. Paul is pure poetry and song when he writes about this mystery in Colossians 1:15-17: “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For in him were created all things in heaven and on earth…. [A]nd in him all things hold together.” Our Christ is the magnificent showing forth of what has always been happening, but what we were afraid or unable to see. John Duns Scotus and the Franciscan school called this the doctrine of the primacy of Christ: The mind of God first created a prototype, Jesus—and what God did there perfectly, he used as a model for the rest of creation.

Get Jesus right, and all the rest makes sense, even if it is often still painful. Such a colossal Christ is indeed the savior of the world, but not in an imperialistic or exclusionary way—because that is not how epiphanies work. Epiphanies just manifest the mysteries that are always beyond words.
Afterwards, we are out of control, going back home by a different route, yet realigned correctly with what-is. Reality is still the best ally of God, and God always comes disguised as our life. [Richard Rohr]

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On the twelfth day of the holidays, January 6th (Epiphany), a kindly old witch known as “La Befana” brings gifts to the children. Legend has it that when Christ was born, the shepherds told La Befana of the wondrous happenings and the guiding star, but she delayed setting out. Every Christmas since, she wanders in search of the Holy Child, leaving gifts at each home in hopes of finding Him inside.

La Befana is often shown as being old and ugly, but the children of Italy love her very much. That is, unless they have been naughty, for then their shoes will be filled with coal and ashes instead of candy and gifts.

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MARTIN LUTHER KING. JR. DAY

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.

Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step. – Martin Luther King Jr.

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.

I HAVE A DREAM (end portion of speech)

………I say to you today, my friends, [Applause] so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. (Yes) It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day (Yes) this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.” (Yes) [Applause]

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering
with the heat of injustice, (Well) sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream (Well) [Applause] that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. (My Lord) I have a dream today. [Applause]

I have a dream that one day down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, (Yes) with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of “interposition” and “nullification,” (Yes) one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers. I have a dream today. [Applause]

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, (Yes) every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, (Yes) and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together. (Yes)

This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. (Yes) With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith (Yes) we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. (Talk about it) With this faith (My Lord) we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day. [Applause] This will be the day, [Applause continues] this will be the day when all of God’s children (Yes) will be able to sing with new meaning:

My country, ’tis of thee, (Yes) sweet land of liberty, of thee I
sing……………………From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, [Applause continues] when we allow freedom ring,
when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, (Yes) we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s
children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and
Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro
spiritual:

Free at last! (Yes) Free at last!

Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! [Applause]

[Martin Luther King, Jr.—Address at March on Washington, D.C.,
28 August 1963]

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CHRISTMAS LOVE

Each December, I vowed to make Christmas a calm and peaceful experience.

I had cut back on nonessential obligations — extensive card writing, endless baking, decorating, and even overspending.  Yet still, I found myself exhausted, unable to appreciate the precious family moments, and of course, the true meaning of Christmas.

My son, Nicholas, was in kindergarten that year.  It was an exciting season for a six year old.  For weeks, he’d been memorizing songs for his school’s “Winter Pageant.”  I didn’t have the heart to tell him I’d be working the night of the production.

Unwilling to miss his shining moment, I spoke with his teacher.  She assured me there’d be a dress rehearsal the morning of the presentation.
All parents unable to attend that evening were welcome to come then.
Fortunately, Nicholas seemed happy with the compromise.

So, the morning of the dress rehearsal, I filed in 10 minutes early, found a spot on the cafeteria floor and sat down.  Around the room, I saw several other parents quietly scampering to their seats.  As I waited, the students were led into the room.  Each class, accompanied by their teacher, sat cross-legged on the floor.  Then, each group, one by one, rose to perform their song.  Because the public school system had long stopped referring to the holiday as “Christmas”, I didn’t expect anything other than fun, commercial entertainment — songs of reindeer, Santa Claus, snowflakes and good cheer.  So, when my son’s class rose to sing, “Christmas Love”, I was slightly taken aback by its bold title.

Nicholas was aglow, as were all of his classmates, adorned in fuzzy mittens, red sweaters, and bright snowcaps upon their heads.

Those in the front row — center stage — held up large letters, one by one, to spell out the title of the song.

As the class would sing “C is for Christmas”, a child would hold up the letter C.  Then, “H is for Happy”, and on and on, until each child holding up his portion had presented the complete message, “Christmas
Love”.

The performance was going smoothly, until suddenly, we noticed her– a small, quiet, girl in the front row holding the letter “M” upside down– totally unaware her letter “M” appeared as a “W”.

The audience of 1st through 6th graders snickered at this little one’s mistake.  But she had no idea they were laughing at her, so she stood tall, proudly holding her “W”.

Although many teachers tried to shush the children, the laughter continued until the last letter was raised, and we all saw it together.

A hush came over the audience and eyes began to widen.  In that instant, we understood — the reason we were there, why we celebrated the holiday in the first place, why even in the chaos, there was a purpose for our festivities.

For when the last letter was held high, the message read loud and clear:  CHRISTWAS LOVE.

And, I believe, He still is. [Candy Chand]

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THE OPTIMIST’S CREED

Promise yourself….
…to be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind;
…to talk health, happiness and prosperity to every person you meet;
…to make all your friends feel that there is something in them;
…to look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true;
…to think only of the best;
…to work only for the best;
…to expect only the best;
…to be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own;
…to forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future;
…to wear a cheerful countenance at all times and give every living creature you meet a smile;
…to give so much time to improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others;
…to be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.
[Christian D Larson-Received from Gene Besh]

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THEY MISSED HIM!

They were looking for a lion,
He came as a Lamb, and they missed Him.

They were looking for a warrior,
He came as a Peacemaker, and they missed Him.

They were looking for a king,
He came as a Servant, and they missed Him.

They were looking for liberation from Rome,
He submitted to the Roman stake, and they missed Him.

They were looking for a fit to their mold,
He was the mold maker, and they missed Him.

What are you looking for? Lion? Warrior? King? Liberator?
What are you looking for?

They were looking for their temporal needs to be met,
He came to meet their eternal need, and they missed Him.

He came as a Lamb to be sacrificed for your sin.
Will you miss Him?

He came to make peace between God and man.
Will you miss Him?

He came to model servanthood for all mankind.
Will you miss Him?

He came that we might have true liberty.
Will you miss Him?

He came to give you eternal life.
Will you miss Him?

When we submit to the Lamb, we will meet the Lion.
Join with the Peacemaker, and we will meet the Warrior.
Work with the Servant, and we will meet the King.
Walk with the Submitted, and we will meet the Liberator.
Concern ourselves with the eternal, and we will have the temporal.

If Jesus is not fitting into the mold you have, then come to the mold maker and get a new one. Submit to His plan for your life and you will see the eternal need met first; then all the other things you have need of will be taken care of as well. [Author unknown]

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ONE DAY AT A TIME

There are two days in every week about which we should not worry. Two days which should be kept free from fear and apprehension.

One of these days is yesterday, with its mistakes and cares, its faults and blunders, its aches and pains. Yesterday has passed forever beyond our control. All the money in the world cannot bring back yesterday. We cannot undo a single act we performed. We cannot erase a single word we said. Yesterday is gone!

The other day we should not worry about is tomorrow, with its possible adversities, its burdens, its large promise and poor performance. Tomorrow is beyond our immediate control. Tomorrow’s sun will rise, whether in a splendor or behind a mask of clouds. But it will rise, until it does we have no stake in tomorrow, for it is yet unborn.

This leaves only one day: Today.

Any man can fight the battles of just one day. It is when you and I add the burdens of two awful eternities – yesterday and tomorrow, that we break down.

It is not necessarily the experience of today that disturbs one’s peace of mind. It is oftentime the bitterness for something which happened yesterday and the dread of what tomorrow may bring.

Let us therefore live one day at a time. [Author Unknown]

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BEAUTIFUL PRAYER

I asked God to take away my pain.
God said, No. It is not for me to take away, but for you to give it up.

I asked God to make my handicapped child whole.
God said, No.  Her spirit was whole, Her body was only temporary.

I asked God to grant me patience.
God said, No. Patience is a byproduct of tribulations;
It isn’t granted, it is learned.

I asked God to give me happiness.
God said, No.  I give you blessings.  Happiness is up to you.

I asked God to spare me pain.
God said, No. Suffering draws you apart from worldly cares And brings you closer to me.

I asked God to make my spirit grow.
God said, No. You must grow on your own,
But I will prune you to make you fruitful.

I asked for all things That I might enjoy life.
God said, No. I will give you life  So that you may enjoy all things.

I ask God to help me LOVE others,
As much as he loves me.
God said…Ahhhh
Finally you have the idea. [Received from Joe Olson]

*****************************
INSPIRATIONAL “THOUGHTS”

– A hug is a great gift, one size fits all. It can be given for any occasion and it’s easy to exchange.
– Anger is a condition in which the tongue, works faster than the mind.
– You can’t change the past, but you can ruin the present by worrying over the future.
– Love……and you shall be loved.
– Everyone needs to be loved, especially when they do not deserve it.
– God always gives His best to those who leave the choice with Him.
– All people smile in the same language.
– The real measure of a man’s wealth is what he has invested in eternity.
– Laughter is God’s sunshine.
– Everything has beauty but not everyone sees it.
– It’s important for parents to live the same things they teach.
– Thank God for what you have, TRUST GOD for what you need.
– If you fill your heart with regrets of yesterday and the worries of tomorrow, you have no today to be thankful for.
– Happy memories never wear out…. Re-live them as often as you want.
– Home is the place where we grumble the most, but are often treated the best.
– Man looks at outward appearance but the Lord looks within.
– The choice you make today will usually affect tomorrow.
– Take time to laugh for it is the music of the soul.
– If anyone speaks badly of you, live so none will believe it.
– Patience is the ability to idle your motor, when you feel like stripping your gears.
– Love is strengthened by working through conflicts together.
– The best thing parents can do for their children, is to love each other.
– Harsh words break no bones but they do break hearts.
– To get out of a difficulty, one usually must go through it.
– We take for granted the things that we should be giving thanks for.
– Love is the only thing that can be divided, without being diminished.
– Happiness is enhanced by others but does not depend upon others.
– You are richer today if you have laughed, given or forgiven.
– For every minute you are angry with someone, you lose 60 seconds of happiness that you can never get back.
– Do what you can, for who you can, with what you have, and where you are.

*****************************
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 form Joy Asashon]

*****************************
ONLY IN AMERICA…

A citizen of America will cross the ocean to fight for democracy, but won’t cross the street to vote in a national election.

In the office we talk about baseball, shopping or fishing, but when we are out at the game, the mall or on the lake, we talk about business.

We yell for the Government to balance the budget, then take the last dime we have to make the down payment on a car that will take 5 years to pay off.

We demand speed laws that will stop fast driving, then won’t buy a car if it can’t go over 100 miles an hour.

We know the line-up of every baseball team in the American and National Leagues but mumble through half the words in the “Star Spangled Banner.”

We’ll spend half a day looking for vitamin pills to make us live longer, then drive 90 miles an hour on slick pavement to make up for lost time.

We whip an enemy in battle, then give them the shirt off our backs.

We will work hard on a farm so we can move into town where we can make more money so we can move back to the farm.

We get upset we’re spending over a billion dollars for education, but spend three billion dollars a year for cigarettes.

We’re supposed to be the most civilized nation on earth, but we still can’t deliver payrolls without an armored car.

We have more experts on marriage than any other country in the world and still have more divorces.

We’re the country that has more food to eat than any other country in the world and more diets to keep us from eating it.
[Received from Richard Bachman]

*****************************
Life must be measured rather by depth than by length, by thought and action rather than by time. [John Lubbock]

*****************************
If you woke up this morning with more health than illness…you are more
blessed than the million who will not survive this week.

If you have never experienced the danger of battle, the loneliness of
imprisonment, the agony of torture, or the pangs of starvation … you are  ahead of 500 million people in the world.

If you can attend a church meeting without fear of harassment, arrest, torture, or death…you are more blessed than three billion people in the  world.

If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof overhead and a place to sleep…you are richer than 75% of this world.

If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish  someplace…you are among the top 8% of the world’s wealthy.

If you hold up your head with a smile on your face and are truly thankful…you are blessed because the majority can, but most do not.

If you can hold someone’s hand, hug him or her or even touch them on the shoulder…you are blessed because you can offer healing touch.

If you can read this message, you just received a double blessing in that someone was thinking of you, and furthermore, you are more blessed than over two billion people in the world that cannot read at all.
[Received from Sandy Lerner]

*****************************
Initiative is to success what a lighted match is to a candle.
[Orlando A. Battista]

*****************************
Snowflakes are some of nature’s most fragile things but look what happens when they stick together.

*****************************
I get plenty of exercise!!!!! Jumping to conclusions, pushing my luck, and dodging deadlines.

There is a guaranteed way to get what you want: want less

*****************************
BE THANKFUL

Be thankful that you don’t already have everything you desire.
If you did, what would there be to look forward to?

Be thankful when you don’t know something.
For it gives you the opportunity to learn.

Be thankful for the difficult times.
During those times you grow.

Be thankful for your limitations.
Because they give you opportunities for improvement.

Be thankful for each new challenge.
Because it will build your strength and character.

Be thankful for your mistakes.
They will teach you valuable lessons.

Be thankful when you’re tired and weary.
It means you’ve made a difference.

It’s easy to be thankful for the good things. A life of
rich fulfillment comes to those who are also thankful
for the setbacks.

Gratitude can turn a negative into a positive. Find a way to be thankful for your troubles and they can become your blessings.

*****************************
The method of the enterprising is to plan with audacity and execute with vigor. [Christian Bovee]

*****************************
Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers. Pray for powers equal to your tasks. Then the doing of your work shall be no miracle, but you yourself shall be the miracle. [Phillips Brooks]

*****************************
To speak gratitude is courteous and pleasant, to enact gratitude is generous and noble, but to live gratitude is to touch Heaven. [Johannes A. Gaertner]

*****************************
YESTERDAY (Sing to Beatles melody)

Yesterday,
All those backups seemed a waste of pay.
Now my database has gone away.
Oh I believe in yesterday.

Suddenly,
There’s not half the files there used to be,
And there’s a milestone hanging over me
The system crashed so suddenly.

I pushed something wrong
What it was I could not say.

Now all my data’s gone
and I long for yesterday-ay-ay-ay.

Yesterday,
The need for back-ups seemed so far away.
I knew my data was all here to stay,
Now I believe in yesterday.

*****************************
A PROOFREADER’S ‘TEST’

It’s is not, it isn’t ain’t, and it’s it’s, not its, if you mean it
is.  If you don’t, it’s its.  Then too, it’s hers. It isn’t her’s.
It isn’t our’s either.  It’s ours, and likewise yours and theirs.
[Oxford University Press]

*****************************
Something to Ponder: Good intentions die unless they are executed

*****************************
I WANT TO GO BACK TO THE TIME WHEN…

– Decisions were made by going “eeny-meeny-miney-mo.”
– Mistakes were corrected by simply exclaiming, “do-over!”
– “Race issue” meant arguing about who ran the fastest.
– Catching the fireflies could happily occupy an entire evening.
– It wasn’t odd to have two or three “best” friends.
– The worst thing you could catch from the opposite sex was cooties.
– It was unbelievable that dodge ball wasn’t an Olympic event.
– Having a weapon in school, meant being caught with a slingshot.
– Nobody was prettier than Mom.
– Scrapes and bruises were kissed and made better.
– It was a big deal to finally be tall enough to ride the “big people” rides at the amusement park.
– Getting a foot of snow was a dream come true.
– Abilities were discovered because of a “double-dog-dare.”
– Saturday morning cartoons weren’t 30-minutes ads for action figures.
– “Oly-oly-oxen-free” made perfect sense.
– Spinning around, getting dizzy and falling down was a cause for giggles.
– War was a card game.
– Water balloons were the ultimate weapon.
– Baseball cards in the spokes transformed any bike into a motorcycle.
– Taking drugs meant orange-flavored chewable aspirin.
– Ice cream was considered a basic food group.
– Older siblings were the worst tormentors, but also the fiercest protectors.

…If you can remember most or all of these, then you have LIVED!

*****************************
THE STORY OF YOUR LIFE

Don’t say you’re not important,
It simply isn’t true,
The fact that you were born,
Is proof, God has a plan for you.

The path may seem unclear right now,
But one day you will see,
That all that came before,
Was truly meant to be.

God wrote the book that is your life,
That’s all you need to know.
Each day that you are living,
Was written long ago.

God only writes best sellers,
So be proud of who you are,
Your character is important,
In this book you are the “Star”.

Enjoy the novel as it reads,
It will stand throughout the ages,
Savor each chapter as you go,
Taking time to turn the pages.
[Wanda Mitchell]

*****************************
Be more concerned with your character than with your reputation. Your character is what you really are while your reputation is merely what others think you are. [John Wooden]

*****************************
A diamond cannot be polished without friction, nor the man perfected without trials. [Chinese Proverb]

*****************************
Whatever you dwell upon in your mind, you give power to. So of course it makes sense to focus on what you want rather than what you don’t want. Yet there are many ways in which the things you don’t want can sneak into your thinking.

Worry and doubt focus your thinking on what you don’t want. Rather than worrying about the bad things that might happen, direct your actions toward making positive things happen.

Complaining can also get your mind sidetracked into thinking about what you don’t want. What do you complain about? The things you don’t like. Rather than complaining, take action. Action moves you toward what you do want.

Anger is one more way to get your thinking negatively directed. Rather than getting angry about what you don’t like, use that energy to give you determination for what you want to achieve.

Keep your mind positively focused on the good things that life can offer. Those things will grow stronger and more abundant in your world.
[Author Unknown]

*****************************
WHO SAID TEACHING ENGLISH IS EASY?

– To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.
– The wind was too strong to wind the sail.
– After a number of injections my jaw got number.
– Upon seeing the tear in my clothes I shed a tear.
– I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.
– How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?
– They were too close to the door to close it.
– The bandage was wound around the wound.
– The dump was so full it has to refuse the refuse.
– This was a good time to present the present.

*****************************
Patience is the companion of wisdom. [St. Augustine]

*****************************
I don’t know why they say “you have a baby.” The baby HAS you!
[Gallagher]

*****************************
We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of the magnificent enterprise that is God’s work.

Nothing we do is complete, which is another way of saying that the kingdom always lies beyond us.

No statement says all that could be said. No prayer fully expresses our faith.

No confession brings perfection, no pastoral visit brings wholeness.

No program accomplishes the Church’s mission. No set of goals and objectives includes everything.

This is what we are about.

We plant the seeds that one day will grow. We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise.

We lay foundations that will need further development. We provide yeast that produces effects far beyond our capabilities.

We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that. This enables us to do something, and to do it very well.

It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way, an opportunity for the Lord’s grace to enter and do the rest.

We may never see the end results, but that is the difference between the master-builder and the worker.

We are workers, not master-builders; ministers, not messiahs.

We are prophets of a future not our own!”
[Archbishop Oscar Romero-Received from Linda Besh]

*****************************
An open-air preacher had his address interrupted by a heckler who asked, “Preacher, do you believe Lot’s wife really turned into a pillar of salt?” “When I get to heaven I’ll ask her,” the preacher replied. “What if she isn’t there?” retorted the heckler. “Then you ask her,” the preacher said.

*****************************
Human life is a series of compromises and it is not always easy to achieve in practice what one has found to be true in theory. [Mohandas K Gandhi]

*****************************
Self-reform is the answer to world-reform. [Sebastian Miklas]

*****************************
TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE…

‘Twas the night before Certification, when all through the land
Not a ballot was counted, not even by hand;
The candidates were home, each saying his prayers,
In hopes that the White House soon would be theirs;
Little Tipper and Laura were all snug in their beds,
While visions of inaugural balls danced in their heads;
They each thought about their Thanksgiving bounty,
Predicated on nincompoops in Palm Beach County,
An insurrection started with saber and cannon,
Over thoughts that some seniors had voted Buchanan.
“The ballots confused us and this could mean war.
We thought we punched holes labeled Lieberman and Gore.”
When down in Tallahassee there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
I switched on the TV, it went on in a jerk,
Turned the dial to Cable News Network.
The flickering light from that cathode ray tube
Showed yet another partisan Congressman boob.
On the screen in full view of a nation of voyeurs,
Was a stack of court briefs, and eight tiny lawyers.
‘Twas a familiar announcer, that Florida kibitzer,
I knew in a moment it must be Wolf Bilitzer.
More rapid than falling chads his pronouncements came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;
‘Now, Baker! now, Christopher! now, Boies and Dailey!
This place is a circus, like Barnum and Bailey!’
Each telling his story to many deaf ears,
‘We’ll keep counting if it takes us another 4 years.’
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and spinning as each offered his proof.
As I drew in my hand, and was turning around,
Down the chimney Al Gore came in with a bound.
He was dressed in a flag, from his head to his foot,
And his Max Factor makeup was tarnished with soot;
A bundle of ballots were covering his face
And he looked like a shyster as he pleaded his case.
“I swear to you all, friends, foes, family, and kin,
You know I don’t care if I lose or I win.
I’ll take a vow in my church right up to the steeple,
The only importance is the will of the people.”
His eyes gave away he was being disingenuous
As he knew that his case was just barely tenuous.
He needed more votes to beat out George Bush,
To save us from a President with his brains in his tush.
Then Dubya came down with a grin on his face,
And that blank, vacant stare he wore all through the race.
“I’d-a been here much sooner if not for that police guy
Who stopped me for speeding and another D-W-I.”
The stump of a crack pipe held tight in his teeth,
The smoke circled his empty head just like a wreath;
He had a dumb face and a little round belly,
That got there from beer and from pb and jelly.
Great courtiers have served kings, pashas, and kaisers,
And Dubya’s got his coterie of Daddy’s advisors.
‘They told me I shouldn’t yet throw in the towel,
But to listen to Cheney and Baker and Powell.’
Then Al said, using phrases needlessly grand,
With words he knew Dubya would not understand.
“Let’s face it, y’all it’s time for my unction,
And the end of all this electile dysfunction.”
Then they each made a statement, Al with aplomb,
And George with some help from his Daddy and Mom.
“I’m going to DC, a writ in each hand,
The Supreme Court is highest in our great land.”
They sprang for the door as the tension got horrider,
There was plenty more work to be done down in Florida.
And I heard them exclaim, as they drove out of sight,
“Happy Certification to all, and to the counters Good Night.”

*****************************
What do you call a boomerang that doesn’t work?  A stick.

*****************************
We generally change ourselves for one of two reasons: inspiration or desperation. [Jim Rohn]

*****************************
A ship in the harbor is safe. But that’s not what ships are built for.

*****************************
THOUGHTS TO PONDER

-Heck is where people go who don’t believe In Gosh.
-I am a nutritional overachiever.
-I am having an out of money experience.
-I plan on living forever. So far, so good.
-I am in shape. Round is a shape.
-A day without sunshine is like night.
-I have kleptomania, but when it gets bad, I take something for it.
-Brain cells come and brain cells go, but fat cells live forever.
-Age doesn’t always bring wisdom, sometimes age comes alone.
-When did my wild oats turn to prunes and all bran?
-If at first you do succeed, try not to look astonished.
-I tried to get a life once, but they told me they were out of stock.
-Some day’s you’re the dog, and some day’s you’re the hydrant.
-It’s not the pace of life that concerns me, it’s the sudden stop at the end.
-Living on Earth is expensive, but it does include a trip around the sun.
-Never knock on death’s door, ring the bell and run (he hates that).
-Lead me not into temptation… since I can find the way myself.
-There are two kinds of pedestrians, the quick and the dead.
-I started with nothing. I still have most of it.
-Health is merely the slowest possible rate at which one can die.
-Politicians and diapers have one thing in common. They should both be changed regularly and for the same reason.
[Received from Laurie Westman]

*****************************
If your ship doesn’t come in, swim out to it. [Jonathan Winters]

*****************************
Money is like promises–easier made than kept.

*****************************
When Christmas is over,” said a store manager to a minister, “it’s over, and it’s my job to rid this store completely of Christmas in a day.”
“Well,” said the minister, “I have a bigger job…to keep Christmas in the hearts of people for the rest of their lives.” [Source unknown]

*****************************
Chuck Swindoll told a story of how a number of years ago a wealthy woman wanted to buy a $7,500 bracelet. Unsure of the purchase she wired her husband for approval. He wired her back with the message, “No, price too high.”

In the transmission, however, the comma was omitted and the message came back to the woman, “NO PRICE TOO HIGH.” Encouraged by her husband’s generosity she bought the expensive bracelet.

I’m so glad when God considered the cost to redeem mankind from sin, he omitted the comma, and communicated loud and clear through Jesus Christ, NO PRICE TO HIGH!”

*****************************
Something to Ponder:
If lawyers are disbarred and clergymen defrocked, doesn’t it follow that electricians can be delighted, musicians denoted, cowboys deranged, models  deposed, tree surgeons debarked, and dry cleaners depressed?

*****************************
THE WILL OF GOD WILL NEVER TAKE YOU…

Where the grace of God cannot keep you.
Where the arms of God cannot support you,
Where the riches of God cannot supply your needs,
Where the power of God cannot endow you.

The will of God will never take you,

Where the spirit of God cannot work through you,
Where the wisdom of God cannot teach you,
Where the army of God cannot protect you,
Where the hands of God cannot mold you.

The will of God will never take you,

Where the love of God cannot enfold you,
Where the mercies of God cannot sustain you,
Where the peace of God cannot calm your fears,
Where the authority of God cannot overrule for you.

The will of God will never take you

Where the comfort of God cannot dry your tears,
Where the Word of God cannot feed you,
Where the miracles of God cannot be done for you,
Where the omnipresence of God cannot find you.

The will of God will never take you….
[Unknown]

*****************************
“Vision without action achieves nothing. Action without vision just passes the time. Vision with action can change the world.” [Nelson Mandela]

*****************************
In prayer it is better to have a heart without words than words without heart. [John Bunyan]

*****************************
IF YOU THINK…

If you think you are beaten, you are.
If you think you dare not, you won’t.
If you like to win, but you think you can’t,
It is almost certain you won’t.
If you think you’ll lose, you’re lost.
For out of the world we find,
Success begins with a person’s will—
It’s all in the state of the mind.
If you think you’re outclassed, you are.
You’ve got to be sure of yourself before
You can ever win the prize.
Life’s battles don’t always go
To the stronger woman or man,
But sooner or later the one who wins…
Is the one WHO THINKS HE CAN!!!

*****************************
A store owner was tacking a sign above his door that read “Puppies For Sale.” Signs like that have a way of attracting small children, and sure enough, a little boy appeared under the store owner’s sign. “How much are you going to sell the puppies for?” he asked. The store owner replied, “Anywhere from $30 to $50.” The little boy reached in his pocket and pulled out some change. “I have $2.37,” he said. “May I please look at them?”

The store owner smiled and whistled and out of the kennel came a dog, who ran down the aisle of his store followed by five teeny, tiny balls of fur. One puppy was lagging considerably behind. Immediately the little boy singled out the lagging, limping puppy and said, “What’s wrong with that little dog?” The store owner explained that the veterinarian had examined the little puppy and had discovered it didn’t have a hip socket. It would always limp. It would always be lame. The little boy became excited.
“That is the puppy that I want to buy.” The store owner said, “No, you don’t want to buy that little dog. If you really want him, I’ll just give him to you.”

The little boy got quite upset. He looked straight into the store owner’s
eyes, pointing his finger, and said, “I don’t want you to give him to me. That little dog is worth every bit as much as all the other dogs, and I’ll pay full price. In fact, I’ll give you $2.37 now, and $0.50 cents a month until I have him paid for.” The store owner countered, “You really don’t want to buy this little dog. He is never going to be able to run and jump and play with you like the other puppies.”

To his surprise, the little boy reached down and rolled up his pant leg to reveal a badly twisted, crippled left leg supported by a big metal brace. He looked up at the store owner and softly replied, “Well, I don’t run so well myself, and the little puppy will need someone who understands.

Remember, we’re all worth as much as each other…no matter what life has thrown at you don’t ever let anyone tell you you’re not as good as anybody else.

*****************************
Doubt is a pain too lonely to know that faith is his twin brother.
[Khalil Gibran]

*****************************
At first I saw God as my observer, my judge, keeping track of the things
I did wrong, so as to know whether I merited heaven or hell when I die.

He was out there sort of like a president. I recognized his picture when I saw it, but I really didn’t know Him.

But later on, when I met God, it seemed as though life were rather like a bike ride, but it was a tandem bike, and I noticed that God was at the back, helping me pedal.

I don’t know when it was that he suggested that we change places, but life has not been the same since. When I had control, I knew the way. It was rather boring, but predictable. It was the shortest distance between two points.

But when he took the lead, He knew delightful long cuts, up mountains, and through rocky places at breakneck speeds. It was all I could do to hang on! Even though it looked like madness, He said, “Pedal!”

I worried and was anxious and asked, “Where are you taking me?” He laughed and didn’t answer, and I started to learn to trust. I forgot my boring life and entered into the adventure. And when I’d say “I’m scared,” He’d lean back and touch my hand.

He took me to people with gifts that I needed; gifts of healing, acceptance and joy. They gave me gifts to take on my journey. And we were off again.
He said, ‘Give the gifts away; they’re extra baggage, too much weight.’

So I did, to the people we met, and I found that in giving I received, and still our burden was light. I did not trust Him, at first, in control of my life. I thought He’d wreck it; but he knows bike secrets, knows how to make it bend to take sharp corners, knows how to jump to clear high rocks, knows how to fly to shorten scary passages.

And I am learning to shut up and pedal in the strangest places, and I’m beginning to enjoy the view and the cool breeze on my face with God as my delightful constant companion. And when I’m sure I just can’t do anymore, He just smiles and says, “Pedal!” [Author Unknown]

*****************************
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To see where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that, the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black,
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how what leads onto way,
I doubted it I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence;
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I–
I took the one less traveled by,
and that has made all the difference
[Robert Frost]

*****************************
THE KING’S HIGHWAY

Once a king had a great highway built for the members of his kingdom. After it was completed, but before it was opened to the public, the king decided to have a contest. He invited as many as desired to participate. Their challenge was to see who could travel the highway the best.

On the day of the contest the people came. Some of them had fine chariots, some had fine clothing, fine hairdos, or great food. Some young men came in their track clothes and ran along the highway. People traveled the highway all day, but each one, when he arrived at the end, complained to the king that there was a large pile of rocks and debris left on the road at one spot and this got in their way and hindered their travel.

At the end of the day, a lone traveler crossed the finish line warily and walked over to the king. He was tired and dirty, but he addressed the king with great respect and handed him a bag of gold. He explained, “I stopped along the way to clear a pile of rocks and debris that was blocking the road. This bag of gold was under it all. I want you to return it to its rightful owner.”

The king replied, “You are the rightful owner.”

The traveler replied, “Oh no, this is not mine. I’ve never known such money.”

“Oh yes,” said the king, “you’ve earned this gold, for you won my contest. He who travels the road best is he who makes the road smoother for those who will follow.” [Author Unknown]

*****************************
Some people are wise, and some, otherwise.

*****************************
DAFFYNITIONS:

ADULT: a person who has stopped growing at both ends and is now growing in the middle.
COMMITTEE: a body that keeps minutes and wastes hours.
DUST: mud with the juice squeezed out.
HANDKERCHIEF: cold storage.
INFLATION: cutting money in half without damaging the paper.
RAISINS: grapes with a sunburn.
TOMORROW: one of the greatest labor saving devices of today.
BANKER: a fellow who lends you his umbrella when the sun is shining and wants it back the minute it begins to rain.
ECONOMIST: an expert who will know tomorrow why the things he predicted yesterday didn’t happen today.
PROGRAMMER: someone who solves a problem you didn’t know you had in a way you don’t understand.
CONSULTANT: someone who takes the watch off your wrist and tells you the time.

*****************************
It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare;
it is because we do not dare that things are difficult.
[Seneca]

*****************************
There are two ways of meeting difficulties: you alter the difficulties, or you alter yourself to meet them. [Phyllis Bottome]

*****************************
What gets wetter the more it dries?
A towel

*****************************
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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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!

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation;
the old has gone, the new has come!
[2 Corinthians 5:17]

Mark

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Disclaimer: All the above jokes & inspirations are obtained from various sources and copyright is 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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