Showing posts with label True Story. Show all posts
Showing posts with label True Story. Show all posts

Monday, August 18, 2014

Benjamin Franklin's own epitaph


During one of his lighter moments, Benjamin Franklin penned his own epitaph. It seems he must have influenced by Paul's teaching of the resurrection of the body. As a young man, Franklin confided to his diary what he wanted written on his tombstone:

The Body of
B. Franklin
Printer;
Like the Cover of an old Book,
Its Contents torn out,
And stript of its Lettering and Gilding,
Lies here, 
Food for Worms.
But the Work shall not be wholly lost:
For it will, as he believ'd, appear once more,
In a new & more perfect Edition,
Corrected and Amended
By the Author.
He was born on January 6, 1706.
Died 17xx

Franklin was surprisingly modest when he made his final wishes known - his grave in Philadelphia’s Christ Church cemetery simply reads, “Benjamin and Deborah Franklin.”


Friday, July 25, 2014

A life altering question


Flight journey can sometimes be life altering. Once in a while we get to meet an interesting character and strike a conversation that turns out to be life altering. Stan Toler documents such an incident in his book, "God Has Never Failed Me, but He’s Sure Scared Me to Death a Few Times."

Missionary Milton Cunningham was flying on a plane from Atlanta to Dallas. He happened to have the middle of the three seats on one side of the aisle. To his right, sitting next to the window, was a young girl who had Down’s syndrome. She began asking him very-simple-but-almost-offensive questions.

“Mister, did you brush your teeth this morning? That’s what you’re supposed to do!”

He smiled and answered, “Yes”.

“Mister, do you smoke? You’d better not, because it can make you die!”

He said, “You’re correct. You are one smart girl.”

“Mister, do you know Jesus? We should all love Jesus!”

Just before take off, another man took the seat on the aisle. As he began to read the in-flight magazine, the little girl nudged Cunningham. “Mister, ask HIM those questions!”

Oh, sure. He was really uneasy with that one. He finally told her he didn’t want to do it. But she kept poking him and saying, “Do it. Do it!”

Finally Cunningham turned to the man seated next to him and said apologetically, “Sir, I don’t mean to bother you, but my little friend here wants to know if you have brushed your teeth today and whether or not you smoke!” The man looked startled, but he smiled at the girl and took her questions in stride.

As the plane lifted off, the girl nudged Cunningham once again and said “You forgot to ask him if he knows Jesus! Ask him. Ask him!” So he interrupted the man once again. “Now she wants to know if you know Jesus.”

The man could have responded like he had to the two previous questions–with a smile on his face and a chuckle in his voice. And he almost did. But then the smile disappeared, and his expression became serious. “You know, in all honesty, I can’t say that I do know Jesus. It’s not that I don’t want to; it’s just that I don’t know HOW to know Him. I’ve wanted to become a person of faith all my life, but I haven’t known how to do it. And right now I’m at a time in my life where I really do need faith very much.”

As the plane soared through the skies between Atlanta and Dallas, Milton Cunningham listened to the fellow talk about the brokenness in his life and shared his own personal testimony. He explained how to become “a person of faith” as he sweetly presented the Gospel message. All the while the girl sat there nodding and smiling from ear to ear.

She leaned over to the other man and said, “Mister, you should do it. Do it!” The man responded and was wonderfully transformed as a Christian.

Yes, God used the little girl with a brave heart to prod Cunningham to ask the fundamental question that ALL of us should be busy finding ways to communicate everywhere and anywhere: “Do you know Jesus?”


Thursday, October 3, 2013

Who is your father


A seminary professor was vacationing with his wife in Gatlinburg, TN. One morning, they were eating breakfast at a little restaurant, hoping to enjoy a quiet, family meal. While they were waiting for their food, they noticed a distinguished looking, white-haired man moving from table to table, visiting with the guests. The professor leaned over and whispered to his wife, "I hope he doesn't come over here." But sure enough, the man did come over to their table.

"Where are you folks from?" he asked in a friendly voice.

"Oklahoma," they answered.

"Great to have you here in Tennessee," the stranger said. "What do you do for a living?"

"I teach at a seminary," he replied.

"Oh, so you teach preachers how to preach, do you? Well, I’ve got a really great story for you."

And with that, the gentleman pulled up a chair and sat down at the table with the couple. The professor groaned and thought to himself, "Great ... Just what I need ... another preacher story!"

The man started, "See that mountain over there? (pointing out the restaurant window). Not far from the base of that mountain, there was a boy born to an unwed mother. He had a hard time growing up, because every place he went, he was always asked the same question, ’Hey boy, Who’s your daddy?’ Whether he was at school, in the grocery store or drug store, people would ask the same question, ’Who’s your daddy?’

He would hide at recess and lunchtime from other students. He would avoid going in to stores because that question hurt him so bad.

"When he was about 12 years old, a new preacher came to his church. He would always go in late and slip out early to avoid hearing the question, ’Who’s your daddy?’ But one day, the new preacher said the benediction so fast he got caught and had to walk out with the crowd.

Just about the time he got to the back door, the new preacher, not knowing anything about him, put his hand on his shoulder and asked him, Son, who’s your daddy?

The whole church got deathly quiet. He could feel every eye in the church looking at him. Now everyone would finally know the answer to the question, ’Who’s your daddy?’

"This new preacher, though, sensed the situation around him and using discernment that only the Holy Spirit could give, said the following to that scared little boy ... "Wait a minute! I know who you are. I see the family resemblance now. You are a child of God. "

With that he patted the boy on his shoulder and said, "Boy, you’ve got a great inheritance. Go and claim it."

"With that, the boy smiled for the first time in a long time and walked out the door a changed person. He was never the same again. Whenever anybody asked him, ’Who’s your Daddy?’ he’d just tell them, ’I’m a Child of God.’"

The distinguished! gentleman got up from the table and said, "Isn’t that a great story?"

The professor responded that it really was a great story!

As the man turned to leave, he said, "You know, if that new preacher hadn’t told me that I was one of God’s children, I probably never would have amounted to anything!" And he walked away.

The seminary professor and his wife were stunned. He called the waitress over & asked her, "Do you know who that man was who just left that was sitting at our table?"

The waitress grinned and said, "Of course. Everybody here knows him. That’s Ben Hooper. He’s the former governor of Tennessee!"

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Christmas gift in September


Terry Schafer, a young wife, lived with her husband in the small city of Moline, Illinois. She had a special gift she wanted to give to her husband for Christmas but was afraid that they would not be able to afford it. She started shopping for it in September, knowing it was a specialized piece of equipment and not every store would sell it. She finally found it -- and to her dismay it was way beyond their budget. But she came up the idea of laying it away and making payments to the storekeeper. She pitched her idea to the store manager. The business man sympathized with her situation and said, "Since your husband is a policeman, I doubt that you're going to take advantage of me. Why don't you give your first payment today - and I'll let you take the gift home. Make sure you make the other payments and pay it off before Christmas." She agreed.

The only problem was she was one of those people who couldn't keep a secret. She couldn't wait till Christmas to give the gift to her husband. That September night she stood there beaming with a wrapped present on the table of their small home. She said Merry Christmas and gave her husband a peck on the cheek.

Neither one of them realized at that moment how significant that gift would end up being. In fact in the not-to-distant future it would mean the difference between life and death for her husband.

On Oct. 1 of that same year Patrolman David Schafer was working the night shift and got a call on his police radio. A drugstore robbery was in process. Racing to the scene he arrived just in time to observe the suspect getting into his car, starting the engine and speeding away. Quickly David switched on his siren and began the pursuit. Three blocks later the getaway car suddenly pulled over the side of the road and stopped. The suspect was still behind the wheel of his car as David cautiously approached. He got about three feet from the window when the suspect fired an automatic pistol sending a .45 caliber slug into David's abdomen.

7:00 AM the next morning -Terry answered the door of their home to face a police officer telling her that her husband had been shot trying to apprehend a robbery suspect. As he detailed the news, he said he had bad news and good news. As she listened, she was glad that she didn't wait till Christmas to give her husband the gift. David had been shot point blank with a 45 caliber pistol and survived. She was very glad the shopkeeper had let her take that gift home that day. The gift Terry had purchased for her husband was a bullet proof vest -- and it had saved his life. He was in the hospital with deep bruises to his chest, not a bullet wound. She had given her husband the gift of life.


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Never withhold a gift too long, as we never know what tomorrow has in store for us.

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Monday, June 10, 2013

Dr. Goldsmith


There was once a kind man whose name was Oliver Goldsmith (1730 - 1774). He had a gentle heart and wrote many delightful books. He was always ready to help others and to share with them anything that he had. He gave away so much to the poor that he was always poor himself. He was sometimes called Doctor Goldsmith; for he had studied to be a physician. This is the story of a true physician.

One day a poor woman asked Doctor Goldsmith to go and see her husband, who was sick and could not eat.

Goldsmith did so. He found that the family was in great need. The man had not had work for a long time. He was not sick, but in distress; and, as for eating, there was no food in the house.

"Call at my room this evening," said Goldsmith to the woman, "and I will give you some medicine for your husband."

In the evening the woman called. Goldsmith gave her a little paper box that was very heavy.

"Here is the medicine," he said. "Use it faithfully, and I think it will do your husband a great deal of good. But don't open the box until you reach home."

"What are the directions for taking it?" asked the woman.

"You will find them inside of the box," he answered.

When the woman reached her home, she sat down by her husband's side, and they opened the box. What do you think they found in it?

It was full of pieces of money. And on the top were the directions:

"PRESCRIPTION: TO BE TAKEN AS OFTEN AS NECESSITY REQUIRES"

Goldsmith had given them all the money readily available at his house.


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It took wisdom to understand the true medicine the woman's husband required and an even bigger heart to share his fortune.

As many of you aspire to be physicians one day, remember this story and try being like Dr. Goldsmith at least once during your lifetime. Experience the true 'joy of giving' to a needy, and I bet you'll love the feeling.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Boy Wanted - advertisement


This "want ad" appeared in the early part of the 20th century.

Wanted - A boy that stands straight, sits straight, acts straight, and talks straight;

A boy whose fingernails are not in mourning, whose ears are clean, whose shoes are polished, whose clothes are brushed, whose hair is combed, and whose teeth are well cared for;

A boy who listens carefully when he is spoken to, who asks questions when he does not understand, and does not ask questions about things that are none of his business;

A boy that moves quickly and makes as little noise about it as possible;

A boy who whistles in the street, but does not whistle where he ought to keep still;

A boy who looks cheerful, has a ready smile for everybody, and never sulks;

A boy who is polite to every man and respectful to every woman and girl;

A boy who does not smoke cigarettes and has no desire to learn how;

A boy who is more eager to know how to speak good English than to talk slang;

A boy that never bullies other boys nor allows other boys to bully him;

A boy who, when he does not know a thing, says, "I don't know," and when he has made a mistake says, "I'm sorry," and when he is asked to do a thing says, "I'll try";

A boy who looks you right in the eye and tells the truth every time;

A boy who is eager to read good books;

A boy who would rather put in his spare time at the YMCA gymnasium than to gamble for pennies in a back room;

A boy who does not want to be "smart" nor in any wise to attract attention;

A boy who would rather lose his job or be expelled from school than to tell a lie or be a cad;

A boy whom other boys like;

A boy who is at ease in the company of girls;

A boy who is not sorry for himself, and not forever thinking and talking about himself;

A boy who is friendly with his mother, and more intimate with her than anyone else;

A boy who makes you feel good when he is around;

A boy who is not goody-goody, a prig, or a little pharisee, but just healthy, happy, and full of life.

This boy is wanted everywhere. The family wants him, the school wants him, the office wants him, the boys want him, the girls want him, all creation wants him.





Credits: Frank Crane

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Tablecloth



Sharing miracles is one of the greatest blessings we human have in this journey.  Here is one that never tires of being told.

The brand new pastor and his wife, newly assigned to their first ministry, to reopen a church in suburban Brooklyn, arrived in early October excited about their opportunities. When they saw their church, it was very run down and needed much work. They set a goal to have everything done in time to have their first service on Christmas Eve.

They worked hard, repairing pews, plastering walls, painting, etc, and on December 18 were ahead of schedule and just about finished. On December 19 a terrible tempest – a driving rainstorm hit the area and lasted for two days.

On the 21st, the pastor went over to the church. His heart sank when he saw that the roof had leaked, causing a large area of plaster about 20 feet by 8 feet to fall off the front wall of the sanctuary just behind the pulpit, beginning about head high.

The pastor cleaned up the mess on the floor, and not knowing what else to do but postpone the Christmas Eve service, headed home. On the way he noticed that a local business was having a flea market type sale for charity so he stopped in.

One of the items was a beautiful, handmade, ivory colored, crocheted tablecloth with exquisite work, fine colors and a Cross embroidered right in the center. It was just the right size to cover up the hole in the front wall. He bought it and headed back to the church.
….
By this time it had started to snow. An older woman running from the opposite direction was trying to catch the bus.. She missed it. The pastor invited her to wait in the warm church for the next bus 45 minutes later.

She sat in a pew and paid no attention to the pastor while he got a ladder, hangers, etc., to put up the tablecloth as a wall tapestry. The pastor could hardly believe how beautiful it looked and it covered up the entire problem area.

Then he noticed the woman walking down the center aisle. Her face was like a sheet.. “Pastor,” she asked, “where did you get that tablecloth?” The pastor explained. The woman asked him to check the lower right corner to see if the initials, EBG were crocheted into it there. They were. These were the initials of the woman, and she had made this tablecloth 35 years before, in Austria.

The woman could hardly believe it as the pastor told how he had just gotten the Tablecloth. The woman explained that before the war she and her husband were well-to-do people in Austria. When the Nazis came, she was forced to leave. Her husband was going to follow her the next week. He was captured, sent to prison and never saw her husband or her home again.

The pastor wanted to give her the tablecloth; but she made the pastor keep it for the church. The pastor insisted on driving her home, that was the least he could do.. She lived on the other side of Staten Island and was only in Brooklyn for the day for a housecleaning job.

What a wonderful service they had on Christmas Eve. The church was almost full. The music and the spirit were great. At the end of the service, the pastor and his wife greeted everyone at the door and many said that they would return. One older man, whom the pastor recognized from the neighborhood continued to sit in one of the pews and stare, and the pastor wondered why he wasn’t leaving.

The man asked him where he got the tablecloth on the front wall because it was identical to one that his wife had made years ago when they lived in Austria before the war and how could there be two tablecloths so much alike? He told the pastor how the Nazis came, how he forced his wife to flee for her safety and he was supposed to follow her, but he was arrested and put in a prison.. He never saw his wife or his home again all the 35 years in between.

The pastor asked him if he would allow him to take him for a little ride. They drove to Staten Island and to the same house where the pastor had taken the woman three days earlier. He helped the man climb the three flights of stairs to the woman’s apartment, knocked on the door and he saw the greatest Christmas reunion he could ever imagine.

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Sunday, December 16, 2012

Mark Twain's letter



At one time in his varied career Mark Twain was not only poor, but he did not make a practice of associating with millionaires. The paragraph which follows is taken from an open letter to Commodore Vanderbilt. One paragraph of the "Open Letter" is worth embalming here:

Poor Vanderbilt! How I pity you: and this is honest. You are an old man, and ought to have some rest, and yet you have to struggle, and deny yourself, and rob yourself of restful sleep and peace of mind, because you need money so badly. I always feel for a man who is so poverty ridden as you. Don't misunderstand me, Vanderbilt. I know you own seventy millions: but then you know and I know that it isn't what man has that constitutes wealth. No--it is to be satisfied with what one has; that is wealth. As long as one sorely needs a certain additional amount, that man isn't rich. Seventy times seventy millions can't make him rich, as long as his poor heart is breaking for more. I am just about rich enough to buy the least valuable horse in your stable, perhaps, but I cannot sincerely and honestly take an oath that I need any more now. And so I am rich. But you, you have got seventy millions and you need five hundred millions, and are really suffering for it. Your poverty is something appalling. I tell you truly that I do not believe I could live twenty-four hours with the awful weight of four hundred and thirty millions of abject want crushing down upon me. I should die under it. My soul is so wrought upon by your helpless pauperism that if you came to me now, I would freely put ten cents in your tin cup, if you carry one, and say, "God pity you, poor unfortunate."

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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Confidence



Bobby Leach was a stuntman who performed amazing feats. Once, he went over Niagara Falls in a specially designed steel drum and lived to tell about it. Although he suffered minor injuries, he survived because he recognized the tremendous dangers involved in the feat, and because he had done everything he could to protect himself from harm.

Several years after that incident, while skipping down the street in New Zealand, Bobby Leach slipped on an orange peeling, fell, and badly fractured his leg. He was taken to a hospital where he later died of complications from that fall. He received a greater injury walking down the street than he sustained in going over Niagara. He was not prepared for danger in what he assumed to be a safe situation.

Moral: Confidence, coupled with negligence, can lead to bad consequences.


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Saturday, July 28, 2012

Dividing an empire by tossing a coin



Back in 2009, Henry Elghanayan marched into a conference room high above Third Avenue in Midtown Manhattan. After nearly four decades as partners, he and two of his brothers were dividing up their $3 billion real estate empire.

As if it were some neighborhood bet, the flip of a coin would determine how to split their 8,000 apartments and nine development sites in New York and nine office buildings in New York and Washington.

Click here to read the interesting story that appeared in New York Times, on how these brothers divided their empire.



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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Destroying Enemies


At the end of the Civil War, many Northerners were demanding that the South be punished for the devastation the war had caused the United States. In the midst of this issue, a group visited President Lincoln in the White House, feeling he was being too soft on the South. One man became so incensed that he pounded on Mr. Lincoln’s desk and he said, “Mr. President, I believe in destroying my enemies!”

President Lincoln sat and reflected a moment, and then he slowly stood and this, “Do we not destroy our enemies when we make them our friends?”

This type of love can literally change the world. If there is a will, God will show the way.

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Monday, April 16, 2012

Objective of a Church


Eastern Airlines Flight 401 was bound from New York to Miami with a load of holiday passengers on December 29, 1972. As the huge aircraft approached the Miami Airport for its landing, a light that indicates proper deployment of the landing gear failed to come on. The plane flew in a large, looping circle over the swamps of the Everglades while the cockpit crew checked out the light failure. Their question was this, had the landing gear actually not deployed or was it just the light bulb that was defective?

To begin with, the flight engineer fiddled with the bulb. He tried to remove it, but it wouldn't budge. Another member of the crew tried to help out, and then another. By and by, if you can believe it, all eyes were on the little light bulb that refused to be dislodged from its socket. No one noticed that the plane was losing altitude. Finally, it dropped right into a swamp. Many were killed in that plane crash. While an experienced crew of high-priced and seasoned pilots messed around with a seventy-five-cent light bulb, an entire airplane and many of its passengers were lost. It was the first crash of a wide-body aircraft and at the time, the deadliest in the United States.The crew momentarily forgot the most basic of all rules of the air - "Don't forget to fly the airplane!"

The same thing can happen to our church. The preacher and elders can be so busy fighting petty fires and focusing so much of their attention on insignificant issues that they lose sight of what church is all about. The church can have so many activities, programs, projects, committee meetings, fund-raisers, and community involvements - so many activities without really accomplishing anything of eternal significance, that the congregation forgets its primary objective.

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Saturday, March 24, 2012

Coining buzz words

While consulting for various companies, I have to be in numerous meetings with scores of people and as a lead consultant, I get pulled into certain meetings I don't even have a clue about.  They will explain their problems and look at me for solutions. Most of the time, it's a common sense issue and the solution pretty straight forward. All I have to do is present the solution to the team in a complex fashion, during the meeting.

Meetings are fun, and any given meeting will have people who love to hear their own voice. The decision makers chant industry buzzword and I've noticed these poor workers having no clue of what their boss is saying.  Now, as a consultant, I always observe the poor worker who's supposed to be doing the actual work  in total disagreement with his/her senior management simply because he/she knows the reality. The chances are, this poor worker has tried numerous times to convince his/her boss about the situation and the management is not impressed.  That's when they bring in the consultants in the first place.

Now, here's how I go about taking care of the situation. At first I try to get the true picture (we call it problem assessment) from those 'worker bees' and assess the situation.  Then, while in the meeting room - usually hour long meetings, I keep quiet for the first 40 minutes giving chance to the senior management folks to narrate their version (who in most cases are nowhere near the reality) using their vocabulary and buzz words. I prolong it by asking simple questions and it's fun to see how these managers explain it without giving a chance to the person who's doing the actual work. By the 30th minute, I'll start preparing what I am supposed to say and check my notes for the next 10 minutes. By the 40th minute, everyone who has authority would have made their voice heard, and I would get a chance (finally).

From the 40th till the 45th minute, I'll say, "this is my understanding of the situation" - basically echoing back what I heard.  No disagreement there, since it's the same thing what they just told me.

From the 46th till 50th minute, is the interesting part. I have this matrix below and I pick appropriate buzz words from the table and use it at least 3 times. For instance, if the meeting is about hardware, I start with the last column and pick 'hardware' as the last word. Based on the situation, I also pick a suitable word from column 2. In this case, if they are using old hardware, 'third generation.' And finally assessing the situation, either 'integrated', 'synchronized' or 'compatible'. Using these, I'll coin a new buzz word - 'Integrated third generation hardware' and say that it'll solve the problem. When it's presented with a knowledgeable authority, they'll listen to it.   

123
integratedmanagementoptions
heuristicorganisationalflexibility
systematizedmonitoredcapability
parallelreciprocalmobility
functionaldigitalprogramming
responsivelogisticalscenarios
optionaltransitionaltime-phase
synchronizedincrementalprojection
compatiblethird-generationhardware
futuristicpolicycontingency

The management folks sitting in the room will have no clue about this new buzzword and never will admit that they don't know about it. The poor 'worker bee' will be happy that the management is not talking much (for now). 

After the 50th minute, I'll open the floor for questions and that's when the management folks are getting ready to rush for their next meeting. So, during the Q&A session, it's the workers asking most of the questions with a true intention of solving the problem. The management folks after noticing that the workers are interested in solving the problem will usually say, "Ok, now that you know our problems, work closely with the 'worker bee' and make it happen. Let us know if we can be of help."

Dealing with the worker bees - that's lot easier.  They themselves will suggest the solution. 
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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Influence


 
Who has the greater influence on the other - you or the world? That is to say, has the world around you shaped you and made you what you are today, or have you changed the world around you by your influence on it?
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Here's a true story that Thomas Wheeler, CEO of the Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company, tells on himself. He and his wife were driving along an interstate highway when he noticed that their car was low on gas. Wheeler got off the highway at the next exit and soon found a rundown gas station with just one gas pump. He asked the attendant to fill the tank and check the oil, then went for a little walk around the station to stretch his legs.

As he was returning to the car, he noticed that the attendant and his wife were engaged in an animated conversation. The conversation stopped as he paid the attendant. But as he was getting back into the car, he saw the attendant wave and heard him say, “It was great talking to you.”

As they drove out of the station, Wheeler asked his wife if she knew the man. She said that she did. They had gone to high school together and had dated steadily for about a year. “Boy, were you lucky that I came along,” bragged Wheeler. “If you had married him, you’d be the wife of a gas station attendant instead of the wife of a chief executive officer.”

“My dear,” replied his wife, “if I had married him, he’d be the chief executive officer and you’d be the gas station attendant!”

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A Christian woman can be a wonderful inspiration and motivation to her husband with his career. God has blessed women with this amazing ability and potential to nurture and navigate her family in the right direction by being in a supportive role. She can steer the course of her family even by 180 degrees, using her God given blessings and influence.

We Christians are called by God not to be transformed by the world, but to be a trans-forming influence on the world. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus described our calling in this way: “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”(Matthew 5:13-16)

Make a decision today not to let the world pull you away from God. Rather determine to live in such a way that will draw the people around you closer to God.

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Countdown: 25 days till Easter.
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Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Christmas Truce of 1914

File:Christmas day football WWI 1915.jpg


This is another Christmas miracle - a story of how Christmas managed to bring enemies together as friends for a time during World War I..

On the Christmas Eve of 1914, in the middle of fierce battle, the British and German troop stood face to face in trenches divided by “No Man’s Land.” Soon their hands went out and tightened in the grip of friendship. That night, not a shot was made. All is calm. Violating order, soldiers from both sides put down their weapon, sang Christmas carols together, exchanged gifts and helped bury each other’s dead. It was the most memorable Christmas Eve in history.

The war had been going on for one year and nearly a million had died. The trenches were poorly constructed and in bad winter weather of 1914, it were flooded and turned into mud holes. The soldiers wallowed in freezing mud and decaying bodies. They were miserable and can help but feeling sympathy for each other. As Christmas approached, they started remembering the warmth of their home and love of families. The desire for a break in the fighting increased as well as the festive mood. This finally gave way for temporary peace.

The German troops began singing O Stille Nacht (Silent Night) after they finished decorating their so-called Christmas tree and placing candles on the edge of their trenches. The British troop on the other side of the trenches responded by singing English carols. Applause was heard from both sides. The two sides then began exchanging Christmas greetings and gifts - whiskey, cigarettes, jam, chocolates etc.. The German soon called the British as “comrade” and that night the artillery fell silent.

It was a foggy cold Christmas morning. Songs continuously were sung.  With Christmas spirit on the air, the soldiers were running about on top of the trenches instead of keeping their head down in it. Invitations were made once again to visit the “no man’s land”.  The land soon became a playground. The parties played football. The German won 3-2. Exchange of gifts continued afterwards. Balaclavas, hats, buttons, tunics, smokes and autographs were exchanged. Soldiers who had been barbers before the war gave free haircut. A German juggler gave an impromptu. Many British and German were chatting in no-man’s land. Cigarettes were offered and photographs of family members were shown. Bodies of recently-fallen solders brought back behind their lines for proper burials. Some of the British helped the German bury a sniper. At night, each troop returned to the trenches to have dinner.

With this weird situation, many soldiers started thinking and hoping that the war will be over in no time.

A shudder ran through the high command on either side when the leaders heard this. Here was disaster in the making - soldiers declaring their brotherhood with each other and refusing to fight. Generals on both sides declared this spontaneous peacemaking to be punishable by court marital. The leaders did not like this truce and thus the war stretched out for four more years and claimed the life of another 16 million human lives.


What can we learn from this Christmas miracle? 
May our own hearts answer that question.





A German Christmas card depicting the truce.


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When I first read about this miracle I was asking myself, "Who was that one German solider - blessed with the Holy Spirit, who had the courage to spark this historic truce in the entire military history of mankind?"

Certainly the Heaven knows who that was! 

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Friday, December 16, 2011

Christmas Love



Here is a miraculous true story of finding the sacred meaning of Christmas, narrated by a parent, that took place during a school's holiday pagent.

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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 ten 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:

“C H R I S T W A S L O V E”


Credits: Candy Chand

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Drawings

Take a look at the picture below, and guess who it is.


If you guessed Angelina Jolie, you are right.

If I told you this is a pencil portrait of Angelina Jolie, would you take a second look at it?  Ok, go ahead and take a closer look.

The portrait was sketched using pencil by a young 18 year self taught artist Rajacenna, from Netherlands.  She draws the most realistic portraits.  Here are some of her works.



Taylor Swift


Lady Gaga


Captain Jack Sparrow.  

And finally, here is our artist, holding a miniature drawing of Johnny Depp - the drawing is the same size of a postage stamp.  Click here to go to her website 


Talk about people being gifted!!

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Here is how the Angelina Jolie drawing came to life.


The minature drawing of Johnny Depp.


Drawing Lady Gaga



Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Never ever give up

School was all but impossible for Sparky. He failed every subject in the eighth grade. He flunked physics, Latin, algebra and English in high school. He didn't do much better in sports. Although he did manage to make the school golf team, he promptly lost the only important match of the year. There was a consolation match and he lost that, too.

Throughout his youth, Sparky was awkward socially. He was not actually disliked by the other students; he wasn’t considered consequential enough for that! He was astonished if a classmate ever said “hello” to him outside school hours. He never found out how he would have fared as a “date.” In high school, Sparky never once asked a girl out. He was too afraid of being rejected.

Sparky was a loser. He, his classmates, and everyone else knew it, so Sparky simply accepted it. But one thing was important to Sparky: drawing. He was proud of his own artwork. Of course, no one else appreciated it. In his senior year in high school, he submitted some cartoons to the editors of his yearbook. They were turned down. Despite this particularly painful rejection, Sparky had found his passion.

Upon graduating from high school, he wrote a letter to Walt Disney Studios. He was told to send some samples of his artwork, and the subject matter for a cartoon was suggested. Sparky drew the proposed cartoon. He spent a great deal of time on it and on the other drawings. Finally the reply from the Disney Studios came. He had been rejected once again. Another loss for the loser.

Sparky wrote his own autobiography in cartoons. He described his childhood self, a little-boy loser and chronic under achiever. He was the little cartoon boy whose kite would never fly, who never succeeded in kicking the football, and who became the most famous cartoon character of all, Charlie Brown!

CharlieBrown.jpg

Sparky, the boy who failed every subject in the eighth grade and whose work was rejected again and again, was Charles Schulz.

File:Charles Schulz NYWTS.jpg

Charles Schulz persevered. He succeeded beyond his wildest imagination. He earned and deserved that success. He had failed at everything else he had tried. He endured rejection. It took a lot of trial and error to finally find out what it was that he was supposed to do. But he never quit. Because Charles Schulz persevered, the world is richer. Peanuts ran for nearly 50 years, almost without interruption. During the life of the strip, Schulz took only one vacation, a five-week break in late 1997 to celebrate his 75th birthday.

Schulz had been asked if, for his final Peanuts strip, Charlie Brown would finally get to kick that football after so many decades. His response: "Oh, no! Definitely not! I couldn't have Charlie Brown kick that football; that would be a terrible disservice to him after nearly half a century."

Yet, in a December 1999 interview, just two months before his death, holding back tears, he recounted the moment when he signed the panel of his final strip, saying, “All of a sudden I thought, 'You know, that poor, poor kid, he never even got to kick the football. What a dirty trick - he never had a chance to kick the football!'”

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Friday, September 23, 2011

Hair art

Hair is usually regarded as a very important part of the human body and is worn with pride - especially by women.

Kerry Howley, a creative art student, from Cambridge, England, is creating quite a buzz in the art world, with her collection of delicate necklaces made from human hair.

See some of Kerry's designs below.  Click here to go to her website which contains gallery and upcoming exhibitions.





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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The pudding guy



Let me share the story of the pudding guy.

David Phillips, is a clever consumer who earned a lifetime of free air travel by taking advantage of a Healthy Choice pudding promotion. Phillips, who teaches at the University of California, Davis, calculated while grocery shopping that the value of a mail-in promotion for frequent flyer points exceeded the cost of the entree on which it is offered. In May 1999, Phillips received 1,253,000 frequent flyer miles.
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David Phillips, a civil engineer at UC-Davis, has become a cult hero in the obsessive subculture of people who collect frequent-flier miles by converting $3,150 worth of pudding into 1.2 million miles.  Oh, yeah - he's also going to claim an $815 tax write-off.

Back in 1999, Phillips was pushing his shopping cart down the frozen-food aisle of his local supermarket when a promotion on a Healthy Choice frozen entree caught his eye: He could earn 500 miles for every 10 Universal Product Codes (bar codes) from Healthy Choice products he sent to the company by Dec 31. Even better: Any Healthy Choice bar codes mailed by the end of the month would rack up double the mileage, or 1,000 miles for every 10 labels.

"I started doing the math, and I realized that this was a great deal," he said. "I wanted to take my family to Europe this summer, and this could be the way."

Frozen entrees were about $2 apiece, but a few aisles away Phillips found cans of Healthy Choice soups at 90 cents each. He filled his cart with them, and then headed to his local Grocery Outlet, a warehouse-style discount store. And there he hit the mother lode.

"They had individual servings of chocolate pudding for 25 cents apiece," he said. "And each serving had its own bar code on it. I did some more math and decided to escalate my plans."

Phillips cleaned the store out - bought every last cup of pudding in the warehouse. He then asked the manager for the addresses of all the other Grocery Outlet in the Central Valley and, with his mother-in-law riding shotgun in his van, spent a weekend scouring the shelves of every store from Davis to Fresno.

"There were 10 stores in all," he said. "Luckily, most of them were right off the freeway."

He filled his garage to the rafters with chocolate pudding and stacked additional cases in his living room. But Phillips wasn't finished yet - he had the manager of his local Grocery Outlet order him 60 more cases.

"A few days later I went out behind the store," he said, "and there were two whole pallets of chocolate pudding with my name on them."

All in all, he'd purchased 12,150 individual servings of pudding. Around this time, Phillips began to reveal his scheme to fellow of the Webflyer Web site where he posted an account under the name "Pudding Guy." Phillips' tale was met with skepticism, if not outright disbelief, until he uploaded photos of his haul.

But then Pudding Guy discovered he had a problem on his hands: The deadline for earning double miles was quickly approaching, and there was simply no way Phillips and his wife could tear off all those bar codes in time. "I had to come up with something to do with all that pudding, fast" he said. Phillips trucked the pudding to two local food banks and the Salvation Army, which agreed to tear off the bar codes in exchange for the food donation. "We'd never seen anything like it," said Larry Hostetler, community relations director for the  Sacramento Salvation Army. "We've gotten some big donations, but always from companies and institutions, not individual people."

Phillips got his bar codes in the mail in time to beat the deadline, and then held his breath. The promotion specifically said I could get the miles for any Healthy Choice product," he said. "But still, it seemed like there was a good chance they'd get me on some technicality. "But then packages — large  packages — started arriving in the mail from Healthy Choice. In all, they contained 2,506 certificates, each good for 500 miles. That's 1,253,000 miles.

Under the terms of the promotion, Phillips could have the mileage posted in any airline account. He split 216,000 between his United, Delta and Northwest accounts and posted the rest 1,037,000 miles to his American Airlines account.

By surpassing the million-mile mark, Pudding Guy now has Aadvantage Gold status for life, entitling him to a special reservations number, priority boarding, upgrades and bonus miles.

While we talked on the phone, Pudding Guy did a little math - as you might have noticed by now, he's very, very good at math - and figured out that scheme netted him enough miles for 31 round-trip coach tickets to Europe, or 42 tickets to Hawaii, or 21 tickets to Australia, or 50 tickets anywhere in the U.S.

"Wow - 31 trips to Europe for a little over $3,000," I said. "That's less than $100 a ticket."

"Oh, it's better than that," Phillips said. "Since I gave the pudding  to charity I can take a tax write-off of $815. So that brings the cost of a ticket to Europe down to $75." As it turns out, Pudding Guy didn't donate all his stash to the food banks. He kept about 100 servings for himself, and he's just about finished them. "Actually," he said, "I really like the stuff."

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Phillips' pudding story received international attention from news outlets such as The Wall Street Journal and The Times. The story was re-created in the 2002 film Punch-Drunk Love.

Want to know more about him and his current activities - click here.

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Source: Snopes