Doubt|“The Wager” [v27]

MAY 2001

GREETINGS — Even though we “know” the answer to something, sometimes circumstances are such that we start to “doubt” if we are really right (like “when” Spring has really come to Michigan).

A friend of mine is a huge basketball fan and he was disappointed that he was not going to be able to watch the championship finals–so he taped it and would view it later without knowing the outcome. He then could have the suspense of viewing it as if it was live. But he was so anxious to see if his team won, he rewound the tape back just enough to see the final score. He was elated to find out that his team won! So he rewound the tape back to the beginning of the game and enjoyed the game “knowing” the final outcome. It turned out to be a very close and exciting game. In fact, with only a minute left, his team was down by six points and it looked like there was no way they would win—he began to “doubt” as to whether he read the final score properly. Did he want his team to win so much that he “flipped” the scores?

Well, he was right, and it took almost a miracle finish to win. Have you ever had an experience like that, where you begin to question something you know to be true? Some little doubts begin to creep into your head, and all of a sudden, you’re just not sure any more. (1)

I’ve got to believe that you have heard of, or even used, the term “doubting Thomas,” to refer to someone that won’t believe something unless they “see” it for themselves. The term originates with the skepticism of one of the disciples of Jesus that doubted the reports of the other disciples that had already been visited by the risen Christ. So when Jesus appeared again and invited Thomas to touch his wounds, to “see” that his hope had become a reality, Thomas’s faith, his certainty, had been “resurrected.”

Thomas serves as a reminder of the similarities between doubt and faith–both originate from the same place: a confrontation with the unknown. Doubt concedes defeat, while faith claims the victory. Hope became Thomas’s reality. The Resurrection renewed his confidence in God and motivated him to spend the rest of his life proclaiming the certainty of the risen Christ—helping to dispel other’s disbelief and spreading the Gospel all the way to India. (2)

Doubt is OK—if it spurs you on to look for a resolution. Webster defines trust or confidence as the “belief in the statement of another; fidelity of promises; honesty of intention; word or honor pledged; firm in adherence to promise, duty, allegiance; loyal, true to an original.”

So, if you are torn between the “twin” emotions of doubt and faith about the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, or what it should mean to you and your life—investigate. The Bible says “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him” [James 1:5]. If you are willing to “honestly” consider the facts and spend some time “looking” at life and person of Jesus, your uncertainties are bound to go away. A confidence in the righteous character of God will foster trust and hope, and that He will do what is best for us even when our circumstances foster doubt and despair.

It is probably the most important “question” you can ask yourself. Who was Jesus? Was He a great moral teacher or was He the Son of God? C.S. Lewis asked this: “A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would be either a lunatic–on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg–or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse.”

Pretty strong words. Blaise Pascal, a seventeenth-century mathematician, scientist, inventor and Christian apologist asked a question in his book “Pensees” that is now referred to as “The Wager.”  The question that demands to be answered, of course, is this: If our reason is inadequate to find God, even through valid evidences, how does one find God? Says Pascal: “Either God exists, or he does not. But which of the alternatives shall we choose? Reason cannot decide anything. Infinite chaos separates us. At the far end of this infinite distance a coin is being spun which will come down heads or tails. How will you bet? Reason cannot determine how you will choose, nor can reason defend your position of choice.”

At this point Pascal challenges us to accept his wager. Simply put, the wager says we should bet on Christianity because the rewards are infinite if it’s true, while the losses will be insignificant if it’s false. If it’s true and you have rejected it, you’ve lost everything. However, if it’s false but you have believed it, at least you’ve led a good life and you haven’t lost anything.

But the unbeliever might say it’s better not to choose at all. Not so, says Pascal. You’re going to live one way or the other, believing in God or not believing in God; you can’t remain in suspended animation. You must choose.

Doubt sees the obstacles,
Faith sees the way;
Doubt sees the darkest night,
Faith sees the day;
Doubt dreads to take a step,
Faith soars on high;
Doubt questions, “Who believes?”
Faith answers, “I”
[Author unknown]

[Excerpts by Ken Larson (1) and Jennifer Rosania (2)]

Blessings….
Mark

LIFE’S DEEP THOUGHTS (v27) for MAY 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:

Richard Bachman
Gene Besh
Jake Izatt
Donna Lenz
Nanci Lewis
Joe Olson
Tracy Pultorak

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NATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER – 50TH ANNIVERSARY
Our Theme for 2001 is “One Nation Under God”
(Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord…” Psalm 33:12a)

The National Day of Prayer (NDP) is an annual event established by an act of Congress, which encourages Americans to pray for our nation, its people and its leaders. The NDP Task Force concentrates on the need to pray for those in leadership on all levels of national, church, and educational areas of influence. In 2001, the NDP will be observed on Thursday, May 3. Officially, the NDP was established as an annual event by an act of Congress in 1952 and was signed into law by President Truman, so this year is its 50th anniversary.

For this special occasion, Billy Graham, the honorary chairman, has written a “Prayer for the Nation.”

Our Father and Our God,
We praise You for Your goodness to our nation, giving us blessings far beyond what we deserve.

Yet we know all is not right with America. We deeply need a moral and spiritual renewal to help us meet the many problems we face.

Convict us of sin. Help us to turn to You in repentance and faith. Set our feet on the path of Your righteousness and peace.

We pray today for our nation’s leaders. Give them the wisdom to know what is right, and the courage to do it.

You have said, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.” May this be a new era for America, as we humble ourselves and acknowledge You alone as our Savior and Lord.

This we pray in Your holy name, Amen.

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THOUGHTS ABOUT MOTHERS…
“All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel Mother.” — Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865)
“I remember my mother’s prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life.” — Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865)

“My mother was the most beautiful woman I ever saw. All I am I owe to my mother. I attribute all my success in life to the moral, intellectual and physical education I received from her.” — George Washington (1732-1799)

“There never was a woman like her. She was gentle as a dove and brave as a lioness… The memory of my mother and her teachings were, after all, the only capital I had to start life with, and on that capital I have made my way.” — Andrew Jackson

“Youth fades; love droops, the leaves of friendship fall; A mother’s secret hope outlives them all.” — Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809-1894)

“God could not be everywhere and therefore he made mothers.” — Jewish proverb

“Of all the rights of women, the greatest is to be a mother.” — Lin Yutang

“The heart of a mother is a deep abyss at the bottom of which you will always find forgiveness.” — Honore’ de Balzac (1799-1850)

“The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.” –Author Unknown
“In all my efforts to learn to read, my mother shared fully my ambition and sympathized with me and aided me in every way she could. If I have done anything in life worth attention, I feel sure that I inherited the disposition from my mother.”– Booker T. Washington

“Woman knows what man has long forgotten, that the ultimate economic and spiritual unit of any civilization is still the family.” — Clare Boothe Luce

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A STRONG WOMAN VERSUS A WOMAN OF STRENGTH

A strong woman works out every day to keep her body in shape …
but a woman of strength kneels in prayer to keep her soul in shape…

A strong woman isn’t afraid of anything …
but a woman of strength shows courage in the midst of her fear…

A strong woman won’t let anyone get the best of her …
but a woman of strength gives the best of her to everyone…

A strong woman makes mistakes and avoids the same in the future…
a woman of strength realizes life’s mistakes can also be God’s blessings
and capitalizes on them…

A strong woman walks sure footedly…
but a woman of strength knows God will catch her when she falls…

A strong woman wears the look of confidence on her face…
but a woman of strength wears grace…

A strong woman has faith that she is strong enough for the journey…
but a woman of strength has faith that it is in the journey that she

will become strong… [Marta S. Hardy]

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MEMORIAL DAY – “Eulogy for a Veteran”
Do not stand at my grave and weep.
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the Gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the mornings hush,
I am the swift uplifting rush
of quiet birds in circled flight,
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there, I did not die.
[Author Unknown]

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THOUGHTS ON FAITH:
– Faith is a plant which grows best in the winter
– Faith is caught– not taught
– Sorrow looks back, Worry looks around– Faith looks up!
– Trust says Jesus can– Faith says Jesus will!
– Extreme times demand deep faith
– Worry ends where faith begins
– He who loses money, loses much; He who loses a friend, loses more;
He who loses faith, loses all
– Faith is a journey, not a destination
– Feed your faith and your doubts will starve to death
– Faith is not jumping to conclusions; Faith is concluding to jump!
– God doesn’t call us to be successful– only faithful
– Faithfulness is God’s requirement… fruitfulness is His reward
– Perseverance is an indication of faith
– The rubber of faith meets the road of reality under hardship
– Fear knocked. Faith answered. No one was there
– Faith is daring the soul to go beyond what the eyes can see
– A Faith that Fizzles before the Finish had a Flaw before the First
– Faith goes where eyes can’t see
– If a man can be found faithful in hard places, he can usually be trusted in high places
– Faith is not a belief without proof, but trust without reservation
– He who loses money, loses much; He who loses a friend, loses more; He who loses
faith, loses all

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At times, when we hear a word from God, we tend to use our own intellect to decipher what He wants. Actually what God wants is just simple obedience and faith in Him. By all means, exercise the faith that moves mountains, but know that it is still God who moves the mountains.

When everything seems to go wrong… just P.U.S.H.!
When the job gets you down… just P.U.S.H.!
When people don’t react the way you think the should… just P.U.S.H.!
When your money looks “gone” and the bills are due… just P.U.S.H.!
When people just don’t understand you… Just P.U.S.H.!

P.U.S.H — Pray Until Something Happens!

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What could be worse than unanswered questions? A reflective person would answer, “Unquestioned answers.”…May we have the courage to never stop asking or searching!  [Chuck Swindoll]

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PORTRAIT OF A FRIEND
I can’t give solutions to all of life’s problems, doubts,
or fears. But I can listen to you, and together we will
search for answers.

I can’t change your past with all it’s heartache and pain,
nor the future with its untold stories.
But I can be there now when you need me to care.

I can’t keep your feet from stumbling.
I can only offer my hand that you may grasp it and not fall.

Your joys, triumphs, successes, and happiness are not mine;
Yet I can share in your laughter.

Your decisions in life are not mine to make, nor to judge;
I can only support you, encourage you,
and help you when you ask.

I can’t prevent you from falling away from friendship,
from your values, from me.
I can only pray for you, talk to you and wait for you.

I can’t give you boundaries which I have determined for you,
But I can give you the room to change, room to grow,
room to be yourself.

I can’t keep your heart from breaking and hurting,
But I can cry with you and help you pick up the pieces
and put them back in place.

I can’t tell you who you are.
I can only love you and be your friend.
[Unknown]

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THE MOST BEAUTIFUL FLOWER
The park bench was deserted
as I sat down to read
Beneath the long, straggly branches
of an old willow tree

Disillusioned by life
with good reason to frown,
For the world was intent
on dragging me down.

And if that weren’t enough
to ruin my day,
A young boy out of breath approached me,
all tired from play.

He stood right before me
with his head tilted down
And said with great excitement,
“Look what I found!”

In his hand was a flower,
and what a pitiful sight,
With its petals all worn –
not enough rain, or too little light.

Wanting him to take his dead flower
and go off to play,
I faked a small smile
and then shifted away.

But instead of retreating
he sat next to my side
And placed the flower to his nose
And declared with overacted surprise,

“It sure smells pretty
and it’s  beautiful, too.
That’s why I picked it;
here, it’s for you.”

The weed before me
was dying or dead.
Not vibrant of colors:
orange, yellow or red.

But I knew I must take it,
or he might never leave.
So I reached for the flower, and replied,
“Just what I need.”

But instead of him placing
the flower in my hand,
He held it midair
without reason or plan.

It was then that I noticed
for the very first time
That weed-toting boy could not see:
he was blind.

I heard my voice quiver;
tears shone in the sun
As I thanked him for picking
the very best one.

You’re welcome,” he smiled,
and then ran off to play,
Unaware of the impact
he’d had on my day.

I sat there and wondered
how he managed to see
A self-pitying woman
beneath an old willow tree.

How did he know
of my self-indulged plight?
Perhaps from his heart,
he’d been blessed with true sight.

Through the eyes of a blind child,
at last I could see
The problem was not with the world;
the problem was me.

And for all of those times I
myself had been blind,
I vowed to see the beauty in life,
And appreciate every second that’s mine.

And then I held that wilted
flower up to my nose
And breathed in the fragrance of
a beautiful rose

And smiled as I watched that young boy,
Another weed in his hand,
About to change the life of an
unsuspecting old man
[Author Unknown]

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One day a 6 year old girl was sitting in a classroom. The teacher was going to explain evolution to the children. The teacher asked a little boy: “Tommy do you see the tree outside?”

TOMMY: Yes.
TEACHER: Tommy, do you see the grass outside?
TOMMY: Yes.
TEACHER: Go outside and look up and see if you can see the sky.
TOMMY: Okay. (He returned a few minutes later) Yes, I saw the sky.
TEACHER: Did you see God?
TOMMY: No.
TEACHER: That’s my point. We can’t see God because he isn’t there. He doesn’t exist.

A little girl spoke up and wanted to ask the boy some questions. The teacher agreed and the little girl asked the boy: “Tommy, do you see the tree outside?”

TOMMY: Yes.
LITTLE GIRL: Tommy do you see the grass outside?
TOMMY: Yessssss (getting tired of the questions by this time).
LITTLE GIRL: Did you see the sky?
TOMMY: Yessssss
LITTLE GIRL: Tommy, do you see the teacher?
TOMMY: Yes
LITTLE GIRL: Do you see her brain?
TOMMY: No
LITTLE GIRL: Then according to what we were taught today in school, she must not have one!

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YOUR PERSONAL TITANIC
Titanic. After all we have heard and seen about the sinking of the “unsinkable” ship, there is still something hauntingly magnetic about her story. For the 700 survivors, the images of that horrific April night are unforgettable. The brightly lit ocean liner sinking lower and lower…the futile flares exploding in the sky…the ship’s last agonizing moments with her bow pointing upward, then sliding beneath the water…and the sudden near-silence as the ocean erased Titanic from her icy surface.

Moviegoers and book readers will remember all those images. But of all the mental pictures, none is more unsettling to me than what happened after the Titanic had sunk. There were only 20 lifeboats aboard–about half of what was required to fully evacuate the ship. So, as the Titanic was sinking, many passengers were able to put on a lifejacket, but they could not find an available lifeboat. They jumped or fell into the ocean, left floating in the frigid waters, crying into the night for help.

Yet, there was room in the lifeboats for hundreds of them! Though those in the water continued to cry out for someone to rescue them, the people in the lifeboats just kept rowing away. Only one finally turned back in time to save only six passengers.

Three days later when the funeral ships arrived from Nova Scotia, they were greeted by a ghostly sight: 328 lifejacketed men, women, and children, floating in the water, frozen to death. And why did they die? Not because the Titanic sank, but because the people who were already saved would not go back for the people who were not…. [Ron Hutchcraft]
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DAFFYNITIONS:
ADULT: A person who has stopped growing at both ends and is now growing in the middle.
BEAUTY PARLOR: A place where women curl up and dye.
CANNIBAL: Someone who is fed up with people.
CHICKENS: The only creatures you eat before they are born and after they are dead.
COMMITTEE: A body that keeps minutes and wastes hours.
DUST: Mud with the juice squeezed out.
EGOTIST: Someone who is usually me-deep in conversation.
GOSSIP: A person who will never tell a lie if the truth will do more damage.
HANDKERCHIEF: Cold storage.
INFLATION: Cutting money in half without damaging the paper.
RAISIN: Grape with a sunburn.
SECRET: Something you tell to one person at a time.
TOOTHACHE: The pain that drives you to extraction.
TOMORROW: One of the greatest labor saving devices of today.
YAWN: An honest opinion openly expressed.
WRINKLES: Something other people have. You have character lines.
[Received from AH Burnell, MD.]

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The following is also something to ponder….
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 religious 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 your parents are still alive and still married — you are very rare, even in the United States and Canada.

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 them, 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 who cannot read at all.  [Received from Richard Bachman]

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PRACTICE WHAT YOU PREACH
You can know all the Scriptures,
Have all the Bibles you can reach,
But when push comes to shove
Do you practice what you preach?

Anyone can go to church
And collapse on the floor,
But when Judgment Day comes
Will you be at Heaven’s door?

You can have the biggest of fits
And say the Holy ghost passed through,
But is that really reflected
In the things you do?

You can yell far and wide
Proclaiming your love for Christ,
But what have you given him
When for you He gave his life?

You can lecture others
About the wrong things they do,
But before you look at others
You need to look at you.

You can damn all the sinners
Tell them they’re headed south,
But what have you done lately
Besides run your mouth?

You can call yourself a Christian
Spend all your days at church,
But while you are praising His name,
Have you been doing the Lord’s work?

You can boast of good deeds
To show us the spirit is within
But why show it to us?
You should show it to Him!

You can memorize the bible
Know it from front to back,
But you don’t use it to regulate others
Regulate how you act!

Take a good look at yourself
Not at what others do,
Because when He comes to get his children …
Will He be coming for you too?
[Author unknown]

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IF I KNEW
If I knew it would be the last time
that I’d see you fall asleep,
I would tuck you in more tightly
and pray the Lord, your soul to keep.

If I knew it would be the last time
that I see you walk out the door,
I would give you a hug and kiss
call you back for one more.

If I knew it would be the last time
I’d hear your voice lifted up in praise,
I would video tape each action and word,
so I could play them back day after day.

If I knew it would be the last time,
I could spare an extra minute or two
to stop and say “I love you,” instead
of assuming you would KNOW I do.

If I knew it would be the last time
I would be there to share your day,
well I’m sure you’ll have so many more,
so I can let just this one slip away.

For surely there’s always tomorrow
to make up for an oversight,
and we always get a second chance
to make everything right.

There will always be another day
to say our “I love you’s”,
And certainly there’s another chance
to say our “Anything I can dos?”

But just in case I might be wrong,
and today is all I get,
I’d like to say how much I love you
and I hope we never forget,

Tomorrow is not promised to anyone,
young or old alike,
And today may be the last chance
you get to hold your loved one tight..

So if you’re waiting for tomorrow,
why not do it today?
For if tomorrow never comes,
you’ll surely regret the day,

That you didn’t take that extra time
for a smile, a hug, or a kiss
and you were too busy to grant someone,
what turned out to be their one last wish.

So hold your loved ones close today,
whisper in their ear,
Tell them how much you love them
and that you’ll always hold them dear,

Take time to say “I’m sorry,” “please forgive me,”
“thank you” or “it’s okay.”
And if tomorrow never comes,
you’ll have no regrets about today.
[Author Unknown]

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The eye sees only what the mind is prepared to comprehend  [Henri Bergson]

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Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.
[Arnold Schwarzenegger]

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YOUTH
Youth is not a time of life, it is a state of mind. You are as old as your doubt, your fear, your despair. The way to keep young is to keep your faith young. Keep your self-confidence young. Keep your hope young  [Luella F Phean]

It takes a long time to become young  [Pablo Picasso]

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The Seven Ages of Men – Spills, drills, thrills, bills, ills, pills & wills.  [Richard Needham]

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Be like a postage stamp. Stick to it until you get there. [Harvey Mackay]

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Men always want to be a woman’s first love..Women like to be a man’s last romance.
[Oscar Wilde]

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PARENT DEFINITIONS…
AMNESIA: condition that enables a woman who has gone through labor to have kids again.
DEFENSE: what you’d better have around the yard if you’re going to let the children play outside.
DROOLING: how teething babies wash their chins.
DUMB WAITER: one who asks if the kids would care to order dessert.
FAMILY PLANNING: the art of spacing your children the proper distance apart to keep you from falling into financial disaster.
FEEDBACK: the inevitable result when a baby doesn’t appreciate the strained carrots.
FULL NAME: what you call your child when you’re mad at him.
GRANDPARENTS: the people who think your children are wonderful even though they’re sure you’re not raising them right.
HEARSAY: what toddlers do when anyone mutters a dirty word.
INDEPENDENT: how we want our children to be as long as they do everything we say.
LOOK OUT!: what it’s too late for your child to do by the time you scream it.
OWWW: the first word spoken by children with older siblings.
PRENATAL: when your life was still somewhat your own.
PREPARED CHILDBIRTH: a contradiction in terms.
PUDDLE: a small body of water that draws other small bodies wearing dry shoes.
SHOW OFF: a child who is more talented than yours.
STERILIZE: what you do to your first baby’s pacifier by boiling it and to your last baby’s pacifier by blowing on it.
STOREROOM: the distance required between the supermarket aisles so that children in shopping carts can’t quite reach anything.
TEMPER TANTRUMS: what you should keep to a minimum so as to not upset the children.
TOP BUNK: where you should never put a child wearing Superman jammies.
TWO-MINUTE WARNING: when the baby’s face turns red and she begins to make those familiar grunting noises.
WHOOPS: an exclamation that translates roughly into “get a sponge”.

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WHOSE FLOWERS ARE THESE?
Whose flowers are these growing wild
along the path not taken?
Whose unseen hand has sown the seeds
that made these hills awaken?

Who sends the rains in Summer
to make the poppies grow,
Then keeps their birth a secret
from the villagers below?

Whose flowers are these within the woods
where few have dared to trod,
Unseen throughout the ages
known only unto God?

With such beauty all around us,
I wonder what I’ll see
In God’s celestial gardens
when angels come for me?
[Clay Harrison]

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BE MY GUEST!
A few weeks back our family enjoyed Disney’s Broadway musical, Beauty and the Beast at The Bass Hall. We went all out, paying top dollar for some seats near the front. In fact, this special treat was our Christmas gift to one another.

Halfway through the show our six year old daughter started to close her eyes and nod off. Suzanne gently elbowed her and said, “We paid too much for you to sleep! Wake up!”

I told that story to a friend here at church who said, “That’s how I feel during your sermons! I paid too much to go to sleep!” He was kidding, I think.

Most everybody knows the storyline of Beauty and the Beast. A selfish young prince has been changed into a monster. He holds a young maiden against her will. The real show stopper is when the Beast and Belle, his beautiful hostage, are finally going to share a meal together. It’s the moment when she begins to no longer be his captive, but becomes his guest.

Dishes dance, spoons and forks promenade, and exploding fireworks come cascading down. A candelabra sings with a heavy French accent, “Be our guest, be our guest, put our service to the test. Tie your napkin ’round your neck, cheri, and we provide the rest…”

When Jesus becomes the Lord of my life, it doesn’t mean Christ holds me hostage. He doesn’t force me to wear His clothes, live in his house, or sit at His feet. He never forces me to a table to share a meal with Him.

When God is the sovereign Lord of my life, it means I’ve willingly invited Him to be in control. He’s no monster demanding my attention. He’s my Master when He’s center stage and most important in my heart, soul, mind, and strength. Lordship is a decision I make, not a demand my Lord makes.

I can choose Him, or I can walk away at any moment. It’s up to me to sing that line to Jesus Himself, “Be my guest, be my guest…” and make Him Lord of all.  [Danny Sims]

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ADVERSITY
A daughter complained to her father about her life and how things were so hard for her.  She did not how she was going to make it and wanted to give up.  She was tired of fighting and struggling.   It seemed as one problem was solved a new one arose.

Her father, a chef, took her to the kitchen.  He filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire.  Soon the pots came to a boil.  In one he placed carrots, in the second he placed eggs, and the last he placed ground coffee beans.  He let them sit and boil, without saying a word.

The daughter sucked her teeth and impatiently waited, wondering what he was doing.  In about twenty minutes he and turned off the burners.  He fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl.  He pulled the eggs out and placed them a bowl.  Then he ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl.

Turning to her he asked. “Darling, what do you see.”

“Carrots, eggs, and coffee,” she replied.

He brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots.  She did and noted that they were soft.  He then asked her to take an egg and break it.  After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard- boiled egg.  Finally, he asked her to sip the coffee.  She smiled as she tasted its rich aroma.

She humbly asked. “What does it mean Father?”

He explained that each of them had faced the same adversity, boiling water, but each reacted differently.

The carrot went in strong, hard, and unrelenting.  But after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak.

The egg had been fragile.  Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior.  But after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened.

The ground coffee beans were unique however.  After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water.

“Which are you,” he asked his daughter.  “When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond?  Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean? ”

*****************************
An archaeologist was digging in the Negev Desert in Israel and came upon a casket containing a mummy. After examining it, he called the curator of a prestigious natural-history museum. “I’ve just discovered a 3,000 year-old mummy of a man who died of heart failure!” the excited scientist exclaimed.

To which the curator replied, “Bring him in. We’ll check it out.”

A week later, the amazed curator called the archaeologist. “You were exactly right about the mummy’s age and cause of death.  How in the world did you know?”

“Easy. There was a piece of paper in his hand that said, ‘10,000 Shekels on Goliath.'”

*****************************
A musician who joined an orchestra on a cruise ship was having a terrible time keeping time with the rest of the band.

Finally, the band leader said, “Look, either you learn to keep time or I’ll throw you overboard. It’s up to you, sync or swim.”

*****************************
THE LATEST BEST-SELLER LIST:
“Split Personalities” by Jacqueline Hyde
“Home Maintenance” by Duane Pipe
“Growing up in the Balkans” by Hugo Slavia
“Irish Winter Tales” by Pete Moss
“Increase Your Brain Power” by Sarah Bellum
“The Outboard Motor Died” by Rhoda Shore
“Sitting Outside in Ireland” by Paddy O’Furniture
“At the Bottom of the Wishing Well” by Eileen Dover
“Answering the Questions of the Universe” by Howard I. Know
“How to Write a Mystery Novel” by Page Turner
“The Great English Breakfast” by Chris P. Bacon
“I Got Away with It” by Scott Free
“Winning Big” by Jack Pott
“Vacation Spots in the Tropics” by Sandy Beech
“Dealing with Debt” by Owen Munny
“I always enjoy the darkness” by Gladys Knight
“Doorway to the Haunted Castle” by Hugo First
“Wearing Earrings” by Pierce Deare
[Received from Richard Bachman]

*****************************
GREAT IDEAS
– Stuff a miniature marshmallow in the bottom of a sugar cone to prevent ice cream drips.
– Use a meat baster to “squeeze” your pancake batter onto the hot griddle and you’ll get perfectly shaped pancakes every time.
– To keep potatoes from budding, place an apple in the bag with the potatoes.
– To prevent egg shells from cracking, add a pinch of salt to the water before hard-boiling.
– Run your hands under cold water before pressing Rice Krispies treats in the pan and the marshmallow won’t stick to your fingers.
– To get the most juice out of fresh lemons, bring them to room temperature and roll them under your palm against the kitchen counter before squeezing.
– To easily remove burnt on food from your skillet, simply add a drop or two of dish soap and enough water to cover bottom of pan, and bring to a boil on stove top.
– Spray your Tupperware with non-stick cooking spray before pouring in tomato based sauces and there won’t be any stains.
– When a cake recipe calls for flouring the baking pan, use a bit of the dry cake mix instead and there won’t be any white mess on the outside of the cake.
– If you accidentally over-salt a dish while it’s still cooking, drop in a peeled potato and it will absorb the excess salt for an instant “fix me up.”
– Wrap celery in aluminum foil when putting in the refrigerator and it will keep for weeks.
– Brush some beaten egg white over pie crust before baking to yield a beautiful glossy finish.
– Place a slice of apple in hardened brown sugar to soften it.
– When boiling corn on the cob, add a pinch of sugar to help bring out the corn’s natural sweetness.
– To determine whether an egg is fresh, immerse it in a pan of cool, salted water. If it sinks, it is fresh, but if it rises to the surface, throw it away.
– Cure for headaches: Take a lime, cut it in half and rub it on your forehead. The throbbing will go away.
– Don’t throw out all that leftover wine: Freeze into ice cubes for future use in casseroles and sauces.
– If you have a problem opening jars: Try using latex dish washing gloves. They give a non-slip grip that makes opening jars easy.
– Potatoes will take food stains off your fingers. Just slice and rub raw potato on the stains and rinse with water.
– To get rid of itch from mosquito bites, try applying soap on the area and you will experience instant relief.
– Ants, ants, ants everywhere … Well, they are said to never cross a chalk line. So get your chalk out and draw a line on the floor or wherever ants tend to march. See for yourself.
– Use air-freshener to clean mirrors. It does a good job and better still, leaves a lovely smell to the shine.
– When you get a splinter, reach for the scotch tape before resorting to tweezers or a needle. Simply put the scotch tape over the splinter, then pull it off. Scotch tape removes most splinters painlessly and easily.
– Now look what you can do with Alka Seltzer. Clean a toilet. Drop in two Alka Seltzer tablets, wait twenty minutes, brush and flush. The citric acid and effervescent action clean vitreous China.
– Clean a vase. To remove a stain from the bottom of a glass vase or cruet, fill with water and drop in two Alka Seltzer tablets.
– Polish jewelry. Drop two Alka Seltzer tablets into a glass of water and immerse the jewelry for two minutes.
– Clean a thermos bottle. Fill the bottle with water, drop in four Alka Seltzer tablets, and let soak for an hour (or longer, if necessary).
– Unclog a drain. Clear the sink drain by dropping three Alka Seltzer tablets down the drain followed by a cup of Heinz White Vinegar. Wait a few minutes, then run the hot water.
– Do your friends a favor. Pass this timely (and some not-so-timely) information on to a friend or two.   [Received from Gene Besh]

*****************************
BELIEVE IN YOURSELF
Set your standards high
You deserve the best.
Try for what you want
And never settle for less.

Believe in yourself
No matter what you choose.
Keep a winning attitude
And you can never lose.

Think about your destination
But don’t worry if you stray
Because the most important thing
Is what you’ve learned along the way.

Take all that you’ve become
To be all that you can be.
Soar above the clouds
And let your dreams set you free.

*****************************
SOMETHING TO PONDER:
“I am” is reportedly the shortest sentence in the English language. Could it be that “I do” is the longest “sentence”?

*****************************
GOD KNOWS BEST
Our Father knows what’s best for us,
So why should we complain …
We always want the sunshine,
But He knows there must be rain.

We love the sound of laughter
And the merriment of cheer;
But our hearts would lose their tenderness
If we never shed a tear.

Our Father tests us often
With suffering and with sorrow;
He tests us, not to punish us,
But to help us meet “tomorrow.”

For growing trees are strengthened
When they withstand the storm;
And the sharp cut of the chisel
Gives the marble grace and form.

God never hurts us needlessly,
And He never wastes our pain;
For every loss He sends to us
Is followed by rich gain.

And when we count the blessings
That God has so freely sent;
We will find no cause for murmuring
And no time to lament.

For Our Father loves His children,
And to Him all things are plain;
So He never sends us “pleasure”
When the “soul’s deep need is pain.”

So whenever we are troubled,
And when everything goes wrong,
It is just God working in us
To make “our spirits strong.”
[Helen Steiner Rice]

*****************************
The advantage of pain is that it teaches us compassion for others. One who has really experienced pain, can never again be insensitive to the suffering of others
[Thomas Merton]

*****************************
When you come to the edge of all the light you know, and are about to step off into the darkness of the unknown, faith is knowing one of two things will happen:
There will be something solid to stand on, or you will be taught how to fly.
[Barbara J. Winter]

*****************************
Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.
[Ralph Waldo Emerson]

*****************************
The purpose of life is to live a life of purpose  [Richard Leider]

*****************************
A happy person is not a person in a certain set of circumstances, but rather a person with a certain set of attitudes  [Hugh Downs]

*****************************
PUSH
Once, when President Eisenhower was lecturing on leadership at the United States Military Academy at West Point, took a piece of string from his pocket asking several students to push it across the desk. Of course he asked the impossible, because when the string was pushed it crumbled into a tangled mass and no one could push the string.

Then, the President pulled the end of the string across the desk with the string following his finger. His point being that people are like a piece of string. We can lead them and they will follow, but if we try to push them they crumble and rebel.  [Sir Lawrence Brotherton]

*****************************
A man was sleeping at night in his cabin when suddenly his room filled with light, and the Savior appeared. The Lord told the man he had work for him to do, and showed him a large rock in front of his cabin. The Lord explained that the man was to push against the rock with all his might.

This the man did, day after day. For many years he toiled from sun up to sun down, his  shoulders set squarely against the cold, massive surface of the unmoving rock, pushing with all his might. Each night the man returned to his cabin sore, and worn out, feeling that his whole day had been spent in vain.

Since the man was showing signs of discouragement, the adversary decided to enter the picture by placing thoughts into the man’s weary mind: “You have been pushing against that rock for a long time, and it hasn’t budged. Why kill yourself over this? You are never going to move it. Thus, giving the man the impression that the task was impossible and that he was a failure. These thoughts discouraged and disheartened the man.

“Why kill myself over this?” he thought. “I’ll just put in my time, giving just the minimum effort; and that will be good enough.” And that is what he planned to do, until one day he decided to make it a matter of prayer and take his troubled thoughts to the Lord.

“Lord,” he said, “I have labored long and hard in your service, putting all my strength to do that which you have asked. Yet, after all this time, I have not even budged that rock by half a millimeter.

What is wrong? Why am I failing?” The Lord responded compassionately, “My friend, when I asked you to serve me and you accepted, I told you that your task was to push against the rock with all your strength, which you have done. Never once did I mention to you that I expected you to move it. Your task was to push. And now you come to me with your strength spent, thinking that you have failed. But is that really so? Look at yourself. Your arms are strong and muscled, your back is sinewy and brown, your hands are callused from constant pressure, and your legs have become massive and hard.

Through opposition you have grown much, and your abilities now surpass that which you used to have. Yet you haven’t moved the rock. But your calling was to be obedient and to push and to exercise your faith and trust in My wisdom.

This you have done. I, my friend, will now move the rock.”

At times, when we hear a word from God, we tend to use our own intellect to decipher what He wants, when actually what God wants is just simple obedience and faith in Him….By all means, exercise the faith that moves mountains, but know that it is still God who moves the mountains.  [Received from Tracy Pultorak]

*****************************
It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity.
[Albert Einstein]

*****************************
SLOW DANCE
Have you ever watched kids on a merry-go-round
Or listened to the rain slapping on the ground?
Ever followed a butterfly’s erratic flight
Or gazed at the sun into the fading night?

You better slow down
Don’t dance so fast
Time is short
The music won’t last

Do you run through each day on the fly
When you ask “How are you?” do you hear the reply?
When the day is done, do you lie in your bed
With the next hundred chores running through your head?

You’d better slow down
Don’t dance so fast
Time is short
The music won’t last

Ever told your child,
We’ll do it tomorrow
And in your haste, not see his sorrow?

Ever lost touch,
Let a good friendship die
‘Cause you never had time to call and say “Hi”?

You’d better slow down
Don’t dance so fast
Time is short
The music won’t last

When you run so fast to get somewhere
You miss half the fun of getting there.
When you worry and hurry through your day,
It is like an unopened gift….
Thrown away…

Life is not a race.
Do take it slower
Hear the music
Before the song is over.
[Author unknown]

*****************************
CROCK-POT PORK CHOPS
5 to 6 pork chops
1/4 cup of brown sugar
1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
1 (29 oz.) can cling peach halves
1/4 cup vinegar
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
Salt and pepper

Place salted and peppered pork chops in crock-pot. Top with drained peach halves. Mix brown sugar, cinnamon, cloves, tomato sauce, 1/4-cup syrup from peaches, and vinegar and pour mixture over all. Cover and cook on low for 4 to 6 hours. Serves 5 to 6.

Check out our past recipes at: http://www.net153.com/Weekly/archive.htm

*****************************
God called down to Moses and said, “I’ve got good news and bad news. Which do you want first?”

Moses replied, “Most merciful God, if I have brought you any favor, please give me the good news first.”

“Moses, the good news is that I’ve chosen you to deliver my people from bondage,” God answered. “I will force Pharaoh to release my children by causing years of pestilence in Egypt. There will be plagues of locusts and frogs and incredible devastation upon the land. Pharaoh’s armies will chase you as you try to leave, but do not fear because I will part the waters of the Red Sea to aid in your escape.”

“And the bad news?” Moses inquired.

“You have to prepare the Environmental Impact Statement,” God replied.

*****************************
A good pun is its own reword.

*****************************
The outcome of the income depends on the outgo for the upkeep

*****************************
A COWBOY’S PRAYER
Jake the rancher went one day to fix a distant fence.
The wind was cold and gusty and the clouds rolled gray and dense
As he pounded the last staples in and gathered tools to go,
The temperature had fallen and the snow began to blow.

When he finally reached his pickup, he felt a heavy heart.
From the sound of that ignition, he knew it wouldn’t start.
So Jake did what most of us would do if we’d have been there
He humbly bowed his balding head and sent aloft a prayer.

As he turned the key for the last time, he softly cursed his luck.
They found him three days later, frozen stiff in that old truck.
Now Jake had been around in life and done his share of roamin’
But when he saw Heaven, he was shocked — it look just like Wyomin’.

Oh, there were some differences of course, but just some minor things,
One place had simply disappeared — the town they called Rock Springs.
The BLM had been shut down; there were no grazin’ fees
And the wind in Rawlins and Cheyenne was now a gentle breeze.

The Park and Forest Service folks — they didn’t fare so well,
They’d all been sent to fight some fire in a wilderness called Hell.
Though Heaven was a real nice place, Jake had a wondering mind
So he saddled up and lit a shuck, not know’n what he’d find.

Then one day up in Cody, on a cold fall afternoon,
He saw St. Peter coming, and he knew he’d be there soon.
Of all the saints in Heaven, his favorite was St. Peter,
Now, this line, it ain’t needed but it helps with rhyme and meter.

So they set and talked a minute or two, or maybe it was three
Nobody was keepin’ score — in Heaven time is free.
“I’ve always heard,” Jake said to Pete, “that God will answer prayers.
“But the one time that I asked for help, He just plain wasn’t there.

“Does God answer prayers of some, and ignore the prayers of others?
“That don’t seem exactly square — I know all men are brothers.
“Or does He randomly reply, without good rhyme or reason?
“Maybe it’s the time of day, the weather or the season.

“Now I ain’t trying to act smart, it’s just the way I feel,
And I was wonderin’, could you tell — what the heck’s the deal?”
Peter listened very patiently and when Jake was done,
There were smiles of recognition, and he said, “So, you’re the one!”

“That day your truck, it wouldn’t start, and you sent your prayer a flying,
“You gave us all a real bad time, with hundreds of us a trying.
“A thousand angels rushed to check the status of your file,
“But you know, Jake, we hadn’t heard from you in quite a while

“And though all prayers are answered, and God ain’t got no quota,
“He didn’t recognize your voice, and started a truck in North Dakota.”
[Submitted by George Noble]

*****************************
What’s the difference between ignorance and apathy? “I don’t know and I don’t care.”

*****************************
Michael is the kind of guy you love to hate. He is always in a good mood and always has something positive to say. When someone would ask him how he was doing, he would reply, “If I were any better, I would be twins!” He was a natural motivator.

If an employee was having a bad day, Michael was there telling the employee how to look on the positive side of the situation.

Seeing this style really made me curious, so one day I went up to Michael and asked him, “I don’t get it! You can’t be a positive person all of the time. How do you do it?”

Michael replied, “Each morning I wake up and say to myself, you have two choices today. You can choose to be in a good mood or …you can choose to be in a bad mood. I choose to be in a good mood.

Each time something bad happens, I can choose to be a victim or…I can choose to learn from it.  I choose to learn from it. Every time someone comes to me complaining, I can choose to accept their complaining or…I can point out the positive side of life. I choose the positive side of life.

“Yeah, right, it’s not that easy,” I protested.

” Yes, it is,” Michael said. “Life is all about choices. When you cut away all the junk, every situation is a choice. You choose how you react to situations. You choose how people affect your mood. You choose to be in a good mood or bad mood. The bottom line: It’s your choice how you live your life.”

I reflected on what Michael said. Soon hereafter, I left the Tower Industry to start my own business. We lost touch, but I often thought about him when I made a choice about life instead of reacting to it. Several years later, I heard that Michael was involved in a serious accident, falling some 60 feet from a communications tower. After 18 hours of surgery and weeks of intensive care, Michael was released from the hospital with rods placed in his back.

I saw Michael about six months after the accident. When I asked him how he was, he replied. “If I were any better, I’d be twins. Wanna see my scars?” I declined to see his wounds, but I did ask him what had gone through his mind as the accident took place.

“The first thing that went through my mind was the well-being of my soon to be born daughter, ” Michael replied. “Then, as I lay on the ground, I remembered that I had two choices: I could choose to live or …I could choose to die. I chose to live.”

“Weren’t you scared? Did you lose consciousness?” I asked.

Michael continued, “…the paramedics were great. They kept telling me I was going to be fine. But when they wheeled me into the ER and I saw the expressions on the faces of the doctors and nurses, I got really scared. In their eyes, I read “he’s a dead man. I knew I needed to take action.”

“What did you do?” I asked. “Well, there was a big burly nurse shouting questions at me,” said Michael. “She asked if I was allergic to anything.

“Yes, I replied.” The doctors and nurses stopped working as they waited for my reply. I took a deep breath and yelled, “Gravity.”

Over their laughter, I told them, “I am choosing to live. Operate on me as if I am alive, not dead.”

Michael lived, thanks to the skill of his doctors, but also because of his amazing attitude. I learned from him that every day we have the choice to live fully.

Attitude, after all, is everything.

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” [Matthew 6:34]

After all today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday.
[Received from Donna Lenz]

*****************************
Black holes are where God divided by zero.  [Mike Atkinson]

*****************************
ODE TO SPELL CHECKERS
I have a spelling checker
I disk covered four my PC.
It plane lee marks four my revue
Miss steaks aye can knot see.

Eye ran this poem threw it.
Your sure real glad two no.
Its very polished in its weigh,
My checker tolled me sew.

A checker is a blessing.
It freeze yew lodes of thyme.
It helps me right awl stiles two reed,
And aides me when aye rime.

Each frays comes posed up on my screen
Eye trussed too bee a joule.
The checker pours o’er every word
To cheque sum spelling rule.

Bee fore wee rote with checkers
Hour spelling was inn deck line,
Butt now when wee dew have a laps,
Wee are not maid too wine.

And now bee cause my spelling
Is checked with such grate flare,
There are know faults in awl this peace,
Of nun eye am a wear.

To rite with care is quite a feet
Of witch won should be proud,
And wee mussed dew the best wee can,
Sew flaws are knot aloud.

That’s why eye brake in two averse
Cuz Eye dew want too please.
Sow glad eye yam that aye did bye
This soft wear four pea seas.

*****************************
It is when we forget about ourselves that we do things
that are most likely to be remembered

*****************************
Being defeated is often a temporary condition. Giving up is what makes it permanent.
[Marilyn vos Savant]

*****************************
WHAT’S IMPORTANT TO YOU
A Native American and his friend were in downtown New York City, walking near Times Square in Manhattan. It was during the noon lunch hour and the streets were filled with people. Cars were honking their horns, taxicabs were squealing around corners, sirens were wailing, and the sounds of the city were almost deafening. Suddenly, the Native American said, “I hear a cricket.”

His friend said, “What? You must be crazy. You couldn’t possibly hear a cricket in all of this noise!”

“No, I’m sure of it,” the Native American said, “I heard a cricket.”

“That’s crazy,” said the friend.

The Native American listened carefully for a moment, and then walked across the street to a big cement planter where some shrubs were growing. He looked into the bushes, beneath the branches, and sure enough, he located a small cricket. His friend was utterly amazed.

“That’s incredible,” said his friend. “You must have super-human ears!”

“No,” said the Native American. “My ears are no different from yours. It all depends on what you’re listening for.”

“But that can’t be!” said the friend. “I could never hear a cricket in this noise.”

“Yes, it’s true,” came the reply. “It depends on what is really important to you. Here, let me show you.”

He reached into his pocket, pulled out a few coins, and discreetly dropped them on the sidewalk. And then, with the noise of the crowded street still blaring in their ears, they noticed every head within twenty feet turn and look to see if the money that tinkled on the pavement was theirs.

“See what I mean?” asked the Native American. “It all depends on what’s important to you.”  [Author Unknown]

*****************************
Most people are so lazy, that they don’t even exercise good judgement!

*****************************
WHO’S FLYING THE PLANE?
A photographer from a well know national magazine was assigned to cover the fires at Yellowstone National Park. The magazine wanted to show some of the heroic work of the fire fighters as they battled the blaze.

When the photographer arrived, he realized that the smoke was so thick that it would seriously impede or make it impossible for him to photograph anything from ground level. He requested permission to rent a plane and take photos from the air. His request was approved and arrangements were made. He was told to report to a nearby airport where a plane would be waiting for him.

He arrived at the airport and saw a plane warming up near the gate. He jumped in with his bag and shouted, “Let’s go!” The pilot swung the little plane into the wind, and within minutes they were in the air.

The photographer said, “Fly over the park and make two or three low passes so I can take some pictures.”

“Why?” asked the pilot. “Because I am a photographer,” he responded, “and photographers take photographs.”

The pilot was silent for a moment. Finally he stammered, “You mean you’re not the flight instructor?”

When it comes to our spiritual lives, we better be certain that someone competent is in control. If we assume (as did the two men above) that someone else has the ability to guide us safely, we may well be headed for disaster (unless that someone else is Christ). “And He spoke a parable to them: ‘Can the blind lead the blind? Will they not both fall into the ditch? A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is perfectly trained will be like his teacher.” (Luke 6:39-40)

Take a moment to check the cockpit. Who’s in control of your life?  [Alan Smith]

*****************************
There are too many people praying for mountains of difficulty to be removed, when what they really need is courage to climb them.  [Cited in Bits & Pieces]

*****************************
WHAT GOD HATH PROMISED
God hath not promised
Skies always blue,
Flower-strewn pathways
All our lives through;

God hath not promised
Sun without rain,
Joy without sorrow,
Peace without pain.

But God hath promised
Strength for the day,
Rest for the labor,
Light for the way,

Grace for the trials,
Help from above,
Unfailing sympathy,
Undying love.

*****************************
A HUG
No moving parts, no batteries.
No monthly payments and no fees;
Inflation proof, non-taxable,
In fact, it’s quite relaxable;
It can’t be be stolen, won’t pollute,
One size fits all, do not dilute.
It uses little energy,
But yields results enormously,
Relieves your tension and your stress,
Invigorates your happiness;
Combats depression, makes you beam,
And elevates your self esteem!
Your circulation it corrects
Without unpleasant side effects
It is, I think, the perfect drug:
May I prescribe, my friend,….the hug!
(and of course fully returnable!)

*****************************
The preacher was wired for sound with a lapel microphone, and as he preached, he moved briskly about the platform, jerking the mike cord as he went. Then he moved to one side, getting wound up in the cord and nearly tripping before jerking it  again. After several circles and jerks, a little girl in the third pew leaned toward her mother and whispered, “If he gets loose, will he hurt us?”  [Received from Joe Olson]

*****************************
BEYOND THE STORM
It was evening as I climbed aboard the jumbo jet. I was tired. It had been a hectic, emotionally stormy week. I had endured more than the usual schedule changes, telephone calls, interruptions, children’s activities, and arguments.

I settled into my seat, relieved to see the plane was nearly empty. Maybe I could get some much needed rest. The giant plane took off and climbed up over the condominium complexes hugging the white stretch of beach bordering the deep blue sea of the Atlantic Ocean. As we passed over Fort Lauderdale, I looked down at the twinkling lights reflected in the many canals and waterways and realized why  our city is referred to as the Venice of America. I never tire of the beauty of South Florida.

I settled down, grateful for the quiet, Suddenly I noticed dark, ominous clouds off the left side of the wing. Soon bolts of lightning began to streak across the dark clouds.

I sat mesmerized by this vicious storm only a few miles away. It was frightening, yet fascinating. It brought to mind many of the tempests I had experienced in my life. Financial storms, physical storms, emotional storms, relational storms, So many different types of storms with varying degrees of intensity. Some had been as fearful and terrifying as this large thunderhead, others had been sudden, Some storms had resembled a weather front that moves in and wont go away.

As I sat there contemplating the severity of the weather outside the window, and the storm that had raged within my own life, I suddenly saw beyond the storm.

There, along the horizon, was one of the most magnificent sunsets I had ever been priveleged to witness, Brilliant gold blending with deep crimson fading into multiple shades of yellow, peach, apricot, and rose. What absolute, breathtaking beauty.

I watched with wonder and awe.

From the vantage point of 42,000 feet up, I knew that at any moment this formidable thunderstorm would probably hit our home west of Fort Lauderdale. But I could also see beyond the storm,  and knew that in just a short space of time, those who would be hit by the storm, would also experience incredible beauty. I was suddenly aware of how God must look upon the storms that hit our lives.

Often I have been in the midst of a fearful squall, and like the disciples, cried out, ” Lord don’t you care? Don’t you see that I can’t take any more?”

Of course He cares. In 1 Peter He reminds us that he cares for us. That we are his personal concern. But, from his vantage point, He also sees the glory that is to follow. His message? Don’t be discouraged in the midst of life’s storms. Be assured that God cares and that his plans for us include a future and a hope.

*****************************
STANDING FOR WHAT YOU BELIEVE IN
Standing for what you believe in,
Regardless of the odds against you,
and the pressure that tears at your resistance,
…means courage

Keeping a smile on your face,
When inside you feel like dying,
For the sake of supporting others,
…means strength

Stopping at nothing,
And doing what’s in your heart,
You know is right,
…means determination

Doing more than is expected,
To make another’s life a little more bearable,
Without uttering a single complaint,
…means compassion

Helping a friend in need,
No matter the time or effort,
To the best of your ability,
…means loyalty

Giving more than you have,
And expecting nothing
But nothing in return,
…means selflessness

Holding your head high,
And being the best you know you can be
When life seems to fall apart at your feet,
Facing each difficulty with the confidence
That time will bring you better tomorrow’s,
And never giving up,
…means confidence.
[Author Unknown]

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CONFINING REVELATION
If you put a buzzard in a pen six or eight feet square and entirely open at the top, the bird, in spite of his ability to fly, will be an absolute prisoner. The reason is that a buzzard always begins a flight from the ground with a run of ten or twelve feet.  Without space to run, as is his habit, he will not even attempt to fly, but will remain a prisoner for life in a small jail with no top.

The ordinary bat that flies around at night, a remarkable nimble creature in the air, cannot take off from a level place. If it is placed on the floor or flat ground, all it can do is shuffle about helplessly and, no doubt, painfully, until it reaches some slight elevation from which it can throw itself into the air. Then, at once, it takes off like a flash.

A bumblebee, if dropped into an open tumbler, will be there until it dies, unless it is taken out. It never sees the means of escape at the top, but persists in trying to find some way out through the sides near the bottom. It will seek a way where none exists, until it completely destroys itself.

In many ways, there are lots of people like the buzzard, the bat and the bee. They are struggling about with all their problems and frustrations, not realizing that the answer is right there “above” them.

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As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
[Nelson Mandela]

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PHRASE MYSTERY
What do these phrases have in common?  (Answer at the end of the newsletter)

Dennis sinned.
Live not on evil, Madam, live not on evil.
We panic in a pew.
Do geese see God?
God saw I was dog.
Dogma: I am God.

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You cannot live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you.  [John Wooden]

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

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PROFESSIONALS QUIZ
The following short quiz consists of 4 questions and tells whether you are qualified to be a “professional.” Scroll down for each answer.  The questions are not that difficult.

>1. How do you put a giraffe into a refrigerator?
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The correct answer is: Open the refrigerator, put in the giraffe and close the door. This question tests whether you tend to do simple things in an overly complicated way.
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>2. How do you put an elephant into a refrigerator?
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Wrong Answer: Open the refrigerator, put in the elephant and close the refrigerator.

Correct Answer: Open the refrigerator, take out the giraffe, put in the elephant and close the door.

This tests your ability to think through the repercussions of your actions.
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3. The Lion King is hosting an animal conference. All the animals attend except one. Which animal does not attend?
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Correct Answer: The Elephant. The Elephant is in the refrigerator.  This tests your memory. OK, even if you did not answer the first three questions correctly, you still have one more chance to show your abilities.
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4. There is a river you must cross. But it is inhabited by crocodiles.
How do you manage it?
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Correct Answer: You swim across. All the Crocodiles are attending the Animal Meeting. This tests whether you learn quickly from your mistakes.

According to Andersen Consulting Worldwide, around 90% of the professionals they tested got all questions wrong. But many preschoolers got several correct answers. Anderson Consulting says this conclusively disproves the theory that most professionals have the brains of a four year old.

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Read the below sentence carefully. What’s so special about this sentence?

“I do not know where family doctors acquired illegibly perplexing handwriting nevertheless, extraordinary pharmaceutical intellectuality counterbalancing indecipherability, transcendentalizes intercommunications’ incomprehensibleness.”
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Answer:
In this sentence the Nth word is N letters long. e.g. 3rd word is 3 letters long, 8th word is 8 letters long and so on…!

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One morning a guy called his girlfriend and said, “Please come over and help me. I have this awesome jigsaw puzzle, and I can’t figure out how to start it.” His girlfriend asked, “What is it a puzzle of?” He said “From the picture on the box, it’s a  tiger.”

She figures that she’s pretty good at puzzles, so she heads over to his place. He lets her in the door and shows her where he has the puzzle spread all over the table. She studies the pieces for a moment, then she studies the box. She then turns to him and says, “First, no matter what I do, I’m not going to be able to show you how to assemble these pieces to look like the picture of that tiger. Second, I’d advise you to relax, have a cup of coffee, and put all these Frosted Flakes back in the box.”  [Received from Jake Izatt]

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The movement from illusion (the illusion that we are in control) to dependence is hard to make since it leads us from false certainties to true uncertainties, from an easy support system to a risky surrender, and from many ‘safe’ gods to the God whose love has no limits  [Henri Nouwen]

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LIFE’S LITTLE REMINDERS
1. An apology is a good way to have the last word.
2. Pick your friends, but not to pieces.
3. Life is like a mirror; we get the best results when we smile at it.
4. Usually people are as happy as they make their minds up to be.
5. You cannot leave footprints in the sands of time while sitting down.
6. You will never offend a person by returning a smile.
7. Gentle words fall lightly, but have great weight.

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LEGEND OF THE DOGWOOD
At the time of the crucifixion, the dogwood had reached the size of the mighty oak tree. So strong and firm was the wood that it was chosen as the timber for Jesus’ cross.

To be used for such a cruel purpose greatly distressed the dogwood. While nailed upon it, Jesus sensed this, and in his compassion said.

“Because of your pity for my suffering, never again shall the dogwood tree grow large enough to be used for a cross. Henceforth, it shall be slender, bent, and twisted, and its blossoms shall be in the form of a cross- two long and two short petals.

“In the center of the outer edge of each petal will be the print of nails. In the center of the flower, stained with blood, will be a crown of thorns so that all who see it will remember.”
[The Inspired Buffalo]

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WALK A LITTLE PLAINER DADDY
Walk a little plainer daddy
Said a little boy so frail,
I’m following your footsteps and
I don’t want to fail.
Sometimes your steps are plain
Sometimes they are hard to see,
So walk a little plainer Daddy.
For you are leading me.”

I know that once you walked
This way many years ago,
What you did along the way
I’d really like to know
For sometimes when I’m tempted
I don’t know what to do
So walk a little plainer, Daddy,
For I must follow you.

Someday when I’m grown up.
You are like I want to be,
Then I will have a little boy
Who will want to follow me
And I want to lead him right.
And help him to be true
So walk a little plainer, Daddy
For we must follow you.
[Author Unknown]

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GOD WEAVES A PATTERN
Some years ago, I was visiting a place where some of the most beautiful saris are made. The sari, of course, is the garment worn by Indian women. Wedding saris are a work of art; they are rich in gold and silver threads, resplendent with an array of colors.

The place I was visiting was known for making the best wedding saris in the world. I expected to see some elaborate system of machines and designs that would boggle the mind. Not so!

Each sari was being made individually by a father-and-son team. The father sat above on a platform two to three feet higher than the son, surrounded by several spools of thread, some dark, some shining. The son did just one thing. At a nod from his father, he would move the shuttle from one side to the other and back again. The father would gather some threads in his fingers, nod once more, and the son would move the shuttle again. This would be repeated for hundreds of hours, till you would begin to see a magnificent pattern emerging.

The son had the easy task–just to move at the father’s nod. All along, the father had the design in his mind and brought the right threads together.

The more I reflect on my own life and study the lives of others, I am fascinated to see the design God has for each one of us, individually, if we would only respond to Him….
[Ravi Zacharias]

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JOY IS…
Our greatest joys do not result from our efforts toward self-gratification, but from a loving and spontaneous service to other lives. Joy comes not to him who seeks it for himself, but to him who seeks it for other people.  [J W Sylvester]

Joy will be ours in so far as we are genuinely interested in great ideas outside ourselves. When we have once crossed the charmed circle and got outside ourselves, we shall soon realise that all true joy has an eternal and divine source and goal… To do our duty in our own sphere, to try to create something worth creating, as our life’s work, is the way to understand what joy is in this life.  [W R Inge]

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When you shoot an arrow of truth, dip its point in honey   [An old Arab proverb]

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Wisdom is the quality that keeps you from getting into situations where you need it.
[Doug Larson]

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DID YOU KNOW…
If an electron were to be increased in size until it became as large as an apple, and a human being grew larger by the same proportion, that person could hold the entire solar system in the palm of his hand and would have to use a magnifying glass in order to see it!
[Haddon Robinson]

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LOVE
Listening when another is speaking
Overlooking petty faults and forgiving all failures
Valuing other people for who they are
Expressing love in a practical way
[Denis Waitley]

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A wealthy man and his son loved to collect rare works of art. They had everything in their collection, from Picasso to Raphael. They would often sit together and admire the great works of art. When the Vietnam conflict broke out, the son went to war. He was very courageous and died in battle while rescuing another soldier. The father was notified and grieved deeply for his only son.

About a month later, just before Christmas, there was a knock at the door.  A young man stood at the door with a large package in his hands. He said,  “Sir, you don’t know me, but I am the soldier for whom your son gave his life. He saved many lives that day, and he was carrying me to safety when a bullet struck him in the heart and he died instantly. He often talked about you, and your love for art.” The young man held out this package.  “I know this isn’t much. I’m not really a great artist, but I think your son would have wanted you to have this.”  The father opened the package. It was a portrait of his son, painted by the young man. He stared in awe at the way the soldier had captured the personality of his son in the painting. The father was so drawn to the eyes that his own eyes welled up with tears. He thanked the young man and offered to pay him for the picture. “Oh, no sir, I could never repay what your son did for me. It’s a gift”. The father hung the portrait over his mantle. Every time visitors came to his home he took them to see the portrait of his son before he showed them any of the other great works he had collected.

The man died a few months later. There was to be a great auction of his paintings.  Many influential people gathered, excited over seeing the great paintings and having an opportunity to purchase one for their collection. On the platform sat the painting of the son. The auctioneer pounded his gavel.

We will start the bidding with this picture of the son. Who will bid for this picture?” There was silence. Then a voice in the back of the room shouted, “We want to see the famous paintings. Skip this one.” But the auctioneer persisted. “Will someone bid for this painting? Who will start the bidding?  $100, 200?” Another voice shouted angrily. “We didn’t come to see this painting. We came to see the Van Goghs, the Rembrandts. Get on with the real
bids!” But still the auctioneer continued. The son! The son! Who’ll take the son? Finally, a voice came from the very back of the room. It was the longtime gardener of the man and his son. “I’ll give $10 for the painting.”

Being a poor man, it was all he could afford. “We have $10, who will bid $20?”
“Give it to him for $10. Let’s see the masters.”  “$10 is the bid, won’t someone bid $20?” The crowd was becoming angry. They didn’t want the picture of the son. They wanted the more worthy investments for their collections. The auctioneer pounded the gavel.

“Going once, twice, SOLD for $10!” A man sitting on the second row shouted,
“Now let’s get on with the collection!”

The auctioneer laid down his gavel. “I’m sorry, the auction is over.”
“What about the paintings?” “I am sorry. When I was called to conduct this auction, I was told of a secret stipulation in the will. I was not allowed to reveal that stipulation until this time. Only the painting of the son would be auctioned. Whoever bought that painting would inherit the entire estate, including the paintings. The man who took the son gets everything!”

God gave His son 2,000 years ago to die on a cruel cross. Much like the auctioneer, His message today is: “The son, the son, who’ll take the son?”

Because, you see, whoever takes the Son gets everything.
[Received from Nanci Lewis]

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PHRASE MYSTERY
What do these phrases have in common?

Dennis sinned.
Live not on evil, Madam, live not on evil.
We panic in a pew.
Do geese see God?
God saw I was dog.
Dogma: I am God.

They are all Palindromes – sentences spelled the same forward and backwards!!!

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DEEP THOUGHT:
Whoever said nothing is impossible never tried slamming a revolving door

If you get to thinkin’ you’re a person of some influence, try orderin’ somebody else’s dog around!

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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!

“Think of me as a fellow-patient in the same hospital who, having been admitted a little earlier, could give some advice.  [C.S. Lewis]

Mark

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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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