The Story of the Box of pencils
The chief pencil stood up every morning, before the shop opened and addressed his fellow pencils thus: ‘Friends, we must never forget five most important features of our lives:
1. We were created to leave a mark.
2. What is within us is far more important than the exterior.
3. We must be constantly paired down to be truly effective.
4. We are of no use whatsoever until we are held in someone’s hand.
5. We have been crowned with an eraser; so that our mistakes can be wiped out
Reflecting on this story in a prayerful way…
1. We have been created by God to leave a mark. Each of us is unique.
2. Our exterior gifts “good looks, smile, charm of manner etc.” are good, but it is our inner relationship with God in prayer…with our nobler selves (with truth, integrity, unfeigned charity) and with others in service and charity, that is far more important.
3. We must accept “the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune” … “if you want to be a follower of mine, you must deny yourself and take up your cross and follow me,” – these we must accept if we are to be confirmed to the likeness of Christ, and so be effective witnesses of His in the world.
4. We must place ourselves in God’s hands. Of myself I am nothing, but God and me – we are a daunting majority.
5. An eraser wipes out mistakes. Jesus, by his death on the cross has wiped away our sins. ‘By his wounds We are healed, His punishment leads to our peace and our freedom.’
THE TWO POTS
An elderly woman had two large pots, each hung on the ends of a pole which she carried across her neck. One of the pots had a crack in it while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water. At the end of the long walks from the stream to the house, the cracked pot arrived only half full. For a full two years this went on daily, with the woman bringing home only one and a half pots of water.
Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it could only do half of what it had been made to do.
After two years of what it perceived to be bitter failure, it spoke to the woman one day by the stream. 'I am ashamed of myself, because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your house.' The old woman smiled, 'Did you notice that there are flowers on your side of the path, but not on the other pot's side?' That's because I have always known about your flaw, so I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back, you water them. For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate the table. Without you being just the way you are, there would not be this beauty to grace the house.'
Each of us has our own unique flaw. But it's the cracks and flaws we each have that make our lives together so very interesting and rewarding. You've just got to take each person for what they are and look for the good in them.
One night I had a dream, I dreamed I was walking along the beach with God, and across the sky flashed scenes from my life. For each scene I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand, one belonged to me, and the other to God.
When the last scene of my life flashed before us I looked back at the footprints in the sand. I noticed that at times along the path of life there was only one set of footprints.
I also noticed that it happened at the very lowest and saddest times of my life. This really bothered me and I questioned God about it.
“God, you said that once I decided to follow you, you would walk with me all the way, but I noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life there is only one set of footprints. I don’t understand why in times when I needed you most, you would leave me.”
God replied, “My precious, precious child, I love you and would never, never leave you during your times of trials and suffering. When you see only one set of footprints it was then that I carried you.”
Margaret Fishback Powers
FLORIDA COURT SETS ATHEIST HOLY DAY
In Florida, an atheist created a case against the upcoming Easter and Passover Holy days. He hired an attorney to bring a discrimination case against Christians and Jews and observances of their holy days. The argument was that it was unfair that atheists had no such recognized days. The case was brought before a judge. After listening to the passionate presentation by the lawyer, the judge banged his gavel declaring, “Case dismissed!"
The lawyer immediately stood, objecting to the ruling saying, "Your honour, how can you possibly dismiss this case? The Christians have Christmas, Easter and others. The Jews have Passover, Yom Kippur and Hanukkah, yet my client and all other atheists have no such holidays.”
The judge leaned forward in his chair saying, "But you do. Your client, counsel, is woefully ignorant."
The lawyer said, "Your Honour, we are unaware of any special observance or holiday for atheists."
The judge said, "The calendar says April 1st is April Fool’s Day. Psalm 14:1 states, 'The fool says in his heart, there is no God.' Thus, it is the opinion of this court, that, if your client says there is no God, then he is a fool. Therefore, April 1st is his day. Court is adjourned.”
A light-hearted legend from Heaven
The angels had ceased from their singing
Strange whispers were filling the air
The saints seemed perturbed over something
And gathered in groups here and there.
Strange people were walking through Heaven
With shadowy garments and face
St. Paul to Saints Peter and Andrew
“Who left these queer folk in this place?”
But no one could answer the question
He set out to look for his mate
For surely Saint Peter could tell him
He’d know if they passed through the gate.
But Peter knew nothing about it
So off they both went to explore
And hunted in vain through the heavens
Until at the very last door.
They heared such a terrible racket
Both looked at each other and stopped
Says Paul “What can St. Joseph be doing?”
For this was his carpenter’s shop.
Then opening the door kind of slowly
Sure, what do you think they did see?
A hole in the flagstones of Heaven
And St. Joseph down there on his knees.
Till spying a ladder descending
They saw the whole mystery unfold
He’d built a back doorway to Heaven
To rescue poor suffering souls.
St. Peter got mad as a hatter
“Old man, this all has to stop
Or else you’ll get put out of Heaven
We’ll close the carpenter’s shop!”
St. Joseph got up from his ladder
And drew himself up, full of pride
If you dare to put me out of Heaven
I’ll take with me Mary my Bride.
And since she is truly God’s Mother
She’ll take with her Jesus, her Son
Then, there won’t be any Heaven
Says Peter… “St. Joseph, you’ve won!”
Rev. Hugh J.X. Sharky.
Right of passage
This is a lovely story to start the day with.
Have a great one!
Do you know the legend of the Cherokee Indian youths' rite of passage?
His father takes him into the forest,
blindfolds him and leaves him alone.
He is required to sit on a stump
the whole night and not remove the blindfold until the
rays of the morning sun shine through it.
He cannot cry out for help to anyone.
Once he survives the night, he is a MAN.
He cannot tell the other boys of this experience,
because each lad must come into manhood on his own.
The boy is naturally terrified.
He can hear all kinds of noises.
Wild beasts must surely be all around him.
Maybe even some human might do him harm.
The wind blew the grass and earth,
and shook his stump, but he sat stoically,
never removing the blindfold.
It would be the only way he could become a man!
Finally, after a horrific night the sun appeared
and he removed his blindfold.
It was then that he discovered his
father sitting on the stump next to him.
He had been at watch the entire night,
protecting his son from harm.
We, too, are never alone.
Even when we don't know it,
Our Heavenly Father is watching over us,
sitting on the stump beside us.
When trouble comes,
all we have to do is reach out to Him.
If you liked this story, pass it on.
If not, you took off your blindfold before dawn…
Carl was a quiet man. He didn't talk much.
He would always greet you with a big smile and a firm handshake.
Even after living in our neighbourhood for over 50 years, no one could really say they knew him very well.
Before his retirement, he took the bus to work each morning. The lone sight of him walking down the street often worried us.
He had a slight limp from a bullet wound received in WWII.
Watching him, we worried that although he had survived WWII, he may not make it through our changing uptown neighbourhood with its ever-increasing random violence, gangs, and drug activity.
When he saw the flyer at our local church asking for volunteers for caring for the gardens behind the minister's residence, he responded in his characteristically unassuming manner. Without fanfare, he just signed up.
He was well into his 87th year when the very thing we had always feared finally happened.
He was just finishing his watering for the day when three gang members approached him. Ignoring their attempt to intimidate him, he simply asked, 'Would you like a drink from the hose?'
The tallest and toughest-looking of the three said, 'Yeah, sure,' with a malevolent little smile.
As Carl offered the hose to him, the other two grabbed Carl's arm, throwing him down. As the hose snaked crazily over the ground, dousing everything in its way, Carl's assailants stole his retirement watch and his wallet, and then fled.
Carl tried to get himself up, but he had been thrown down on his bad leg. He lay there trying to gather himself as the minister came running to help him.
Although the minister had witnessed the attack from his window, he couldn't get there fast enough to stop it.
'Carl, are you okay? Are you hurt?' the minister kept asking as he helped Carl to his feet.
Carl just passed a hand over his brow and sighed, shaking his head.
'Just some punk kids. I hope they'll wise-up someday.'
His wet clothes clung to his slight frame as he bent to pick up the hose. He adjusted the nozzle again and started to water.
Confused and a little concerned, the minister asked, 'Carl, what are you doing?'
'I've got to finish my watering. It's been very dry lately,' came the calm reply.
Satisfying himself that Carl really was all right, the minister could only marvel. Carl was a man from a different time and place.
A few weeks later the three returned. Just as before their threat was unchallenged. Carl again offered them a drink from his hose. This time they didn't rob him. They wrenched the hose from his hand and drenched him head to foot in the icy water.
When they had finished their humiliation of him, they sauntered off down the street, throwing catcalls and curses, falling over one another laughing at the hilarity of what they had just done.
Carl just watched them. Then he turned toward the warmth giving sun, picked up his hose, and went on with his watering.
The summer was quickly fading into Fall. Carl was doing some tilling when he was startled by the sudden approach of someone behind him. He stumbled and fell into some evergreen branches. As he struggled to regain his footing, he turned to see the tall leader of his summer tormentors reaching down for him. He braced himself for the expected attack.
'Don't worry old man, I'm not gonna hurt you this time.' The young man spoke softly, still offering the tattooed and scarred hand to Carl. As he helped Carl get up, the man pulled a crumpled bag from his pocket and handed it to Carl.
'What's this?' Carl asked.
'It's your stuff,' the man explained. 'It's your stuff back. Even the money in your wallet.'
'I don't understand,' Carl said. 'Why would you help me now?'
The man shifted his feet, seeming embarrassed and ill at ease. 'I learned something from you,' he said. 'I ran with that gang and hurt people like you We picked you because you were old and we knew we could do it But every time we came and did something to you, instead of yelling and fighting back, you tried to give us a drink.You didn't hate us for hating you. You kept showing love against our hate.' He stopped for a moment. 'I couldn't sleep after we stole your stuff, so here it is back.'
He paused for another awkward moment, not knowing what more there was to say. 'That bag's my way of saying thanks for straightening me out, I guess.' And with that, he walked off down the street.
Carl looked down at the sack in his hands and gingerly opened it. He took out his retirement watch and put it back on his wrist. Opening his wallet, he checked for his wedding photo. He gazed for a moment at the young bride that still smiled back at him from all those years ago.
He died one cold day after Christmas that winter. Many people attended his funeral in spite of the weather. In particular the minister noticed a tall young man that he didn't know sitting quietly in a distant corner of the church. The minister spoke of Carl's garden as a lesson in life. In a voice made thick with unshed tears, he said, 'Do your best and make your garden as beautiful as you can. We will never forget Carl and his garden.'
The following spring another flyer went up. It read: 'Person needed to care for Carl's garden.'
The flyer went unnoticed by the busy parishioners until one day when a knock was heard at the minister's office door. Opening the door, the minister saw a pair of scarred and tattooed hands holding the flyer. 'I believe this is my job, if you'll have me,' the young man said.
The minister recognized him as the same young man who had returned the stolen watch and wallet to Carl. He knew that Carl's kindness had turned this man's life around. As the minister handed him the keys to the garden shed, he said, 'Yes, go take care of Carl's garden and honour him.'
The man went to work and, over the next several years, he tended the flowers and vegetables just as Carl had done. In that time, he went to college, got married, and became a prominent member of the community. But he never forgot his promise to Carl's memory and kept the garden as beautiful as he thought Carl would have kept it.
One day he approached the new minister and told him that he couldn't care for the garden any longer. He explained with a shy and happy smile, 'My wife just had a baby boy last night, and she's bringing him home on Saturday.'
'Well, congratulations!' said the minister, as he was handed the garden shed keys. 'That's wonderful! What's the baby's name?'
'Carl,' he replied.
That's the whole gospel message simply stated.
Take 60 seconds give this a shot! Let's just see if Satan stops this one.
All you do is:
1. Simply say a small prayer for the person who sent you this.
Father, God bless this person in whatever it is that You know he or she may be needing this day!
2. Then send it on to other people. Within hours people have prayed for you, and you caused a multitude of people to pray to God for other people.
Then sit back and watch the power of God work in your life for doing the thing that you know He loves.
GOOD FRIENDS ARE LIKE ANGELS, YOU DON'T HAVE TO SEE THEM TO KNOW THEY ARE THERE.
The Atheist Professor
'Let me explain the problem science has with Jesus Christ.' The atheist professor of philosophy pauses before his class and then asks one of his new students to stand.
'You're a Christian, aren't you, son?'
'Yes sir,' the student says.
'So you believe in God?'
'Is God good?'
'Sure! God's good.'
'Is God all-powerful? Can God do anything?'
'Are you good or evil?'
'The Bible says I'm evil.'
The professor grins knowingly. 'Aha! The Bible!' He considers for a moment.
'Here's one for you. Let's say there's a sick person over here and you can cure him. You can do it. Would you help him? Would you try?'
'Yes sir, I would.'
'So you're good...!'
'I wouldn't say that.'
'But why not say that? You'd help a sick and maimed person if you could. Most of us would if we could. But God doesn't.'
The student does not answer, so the professor continues. 'He doesn't, does he? My brother was a Christian who died of cancer, even though he prayed to Jesus to heal him How is this Jesus good? Hmmm? Can you answer that one?'
The student remains silent.
'No, you can't, can you?' the professor says. He takes a sip of water from a glass on his desk to give the student time to relax.
'Let's start again, young fella Is God good?'
'Er.yes,' the student says.
'Is Satan good?'
The student doesn't hesitate on this one. 'No.'
'Then where does Satan come from?'
The student : 'From...God...'
'That's right. God made Satan, didn't he? Tell me, son. Is there evil in this world?'
'Evil's everywhere, isn't it? And God did make everything, correct?'
'So who created evil?' The professor continued, 'If God created everything, then God created evil, since evil exists, and according to the principle that our works define who we are, then God is evil.'
Without allowing the student to answer, the professor continues: 'Is there sickness? Immorality? Hatred? Ugliness? All these terrible things, do they exist in this world?'
The student: 'Yes.'
'So who created them?'
The student does not answer again, so the professor repeats his question. 'Who created them? There is still no answer. Suddenly the lecturer breaks away to pace in front of the classroom. The class is mesmerized.
'Tell me,' he continues onto another student. 'Do you believe in Jesus Christ, son?'
The student's voice is confident: 'Yes, professor, I do.'
The old man stops pacing. 'Science says you have five senses you use to identify and observe the world around you. Have you ever seen Jesus?'
'No sir. I've never seen Him'
'Then tell us if you've ever heard your Jesus?'
'No, sir, I have not.'
'Have you ever actually felt your Jesus, tasted your Jesus or smelt your Jesus? Have you ever had any sensory perception of Jesus Christ, or God for that matter?'
'No, sir, I'm afraid I haven't.'
'Yet you still believe in him?'
'According to the rules of empirical, testable, demonstrable protocol, science says your God doesn't exist. What do you say to that, son?'
'Nothing,' the student replies. 'I only have my faith.'
'Yes, faith,' the professor repeats. 'And that is the problem science has with God. There is no evidence, only faith.'
The student stands quietly for a moment, before asking a question of his own. 'Professor, is there such thing as heat?'
'Yes,' the professor replies. 'There's heat.'
'And is there such a thing as cold?'
'Yes, son, there's cold too.'
'No sir, there isn't.'
The professor turns to face the student, obviously interested. The room suddenly becomes very quiet. The student begins to explain.
'You can have lots of heat, even more heat, super-heat, mega-heat, unlimited heat, white heat, a little heat or no heat, but we don't have anything called 'cold'. We can hit up to 458 degrees below zero, which is no heat, but we can't go any further after that. There is no such thing as cold; otherwise we would be able to go colder than the lowest -458 degrees. Every body or object is susceptible to study when it has or transmits energy, and heat is what makes a body or matter have or transmit energy. Absolute zero (-458 F) is the total absence of heat.
You see, sir, cold is only a word we use to describe the absence of heat. We cannot measure cold. Heat we can measure in thermal units because heat is energy. Cold is not the opposite of heat, sir, just the absence of it.'
Silence across the room. A pen drops somewhere in the classroom, sounding like a hammer.
'What about darkness, professor. Is there such a thing as darkness?'
'Yes,' the professor replies without hesitation. 'What is night if it isn't darkness?'
'You're wrong again, sir. Darkness is not something; it is the absence of something. You can have low light, normal light, bright light, flashing light, but if you have no light constantly you have nothing and it's called darkness, isn't it? That's the meaning we use to define the word. In reality, darkness isn't. If it were, you would be able to make darkness darker, wouldn't you?'
The professor begins to smile at the student in front of him. This will be a good semester. 'So what point are you making, young man?'
'Yes, professor. My point is, your philosophical premise is flawed to start with, and so your conclusion must also be flawed.'
The professor's face cannot hide his surprise this time. 'Flawed? Can you explain how?'
'You are working on the premise of duality,' the student explains. 'You argue that there is life and then there's death; a good God and a bad God. You are viewing the concept of God as something finite, something we can measure. Sir, science can't even explain a thought. It uses electricity and magnetism, but has never seen, much less fully understood either one. To view death as the opposite of life is to be ignorant of the fact that death cannot exist as a substantive thing. Death is not the opposite of life, just the absence of it.'
'Now tell me, professor. Do you teach your students that they evolved from a monkey?'
'If you are referring to the natural evolutionary process, young man, yes, of course I do'
'Have you ever observed evolution with your own eyes, sir?'
The professor begins to shake his head, still smiling, as he realizes where the argument is going. A very good semester, indeed.
'Since no one has ever observed the process of evolution at work and cannot even prove that this process is an on-going endeavor, are you not teaching your opinion, sir? Are you now not a scientist, but a preacher?'
The class is in uproar. The student remains silent until the commotion has subsided.
'To continue the point you were making earlier to the other student, let me give you an example of what I mean.'
The student looks around the room. 'Is there anyone in the class who has ever seen the professor's brain?' The class breaks out into laughter.
'Is there anyone here who has ever heard the professor's brain, felt the professor's brain, touched or smelled the professor's brain? No one appears to have done so. So, according to the established rules of empirical, stable, demonstrable protocol, science says that you have no brain, with all due respect, sir. So if science says you have no brain, how can we trust your lectures, sir?'
Now the room is silent. The professor just stares at the student, his face unreadable.
Finally, after what seems an eternity, the old man answers. 'I guess you'll have to take them on faith.' 'Now, you accept that there is faith, and, in fact, faith exists with life,' the student continues. 'Now, sir, is there such a thing as evil?'
Now uncertain, the professor responds, 'Of course, there is. We see it everyday. It is in the daily example of man's inhumanity to man. It is in the multitude of crime and violence everywhere in the world. These manifestations are nothing else but evil.'
To this the student replied, 'Evil does not exist sir, or at least it does not exist unto itself. Evil is simply the absence of God. It is just like darkness and cold, a word that man has created to describe the absence of God. God did not create evil. Evil is the result of what happens when man does not have God's love present in his heart. It's like the cold that comes when there is no heat or the darkness that comes when there is no light.'
The professor sat down.
The student was Albert Einstein.
Jesus and Satan were having an ongoing argument about who was better on the computer. They had been going at it for days, and frankly God was tired of hearing all the bickering. Finally fed up, God said, "THAT'S IT! I have had enough. I am going to give you a test that will run for two hours, and from the results, I will judge who does the better job."
So Satan and Jesus sat down at the keyboards and typed away. They moused, faxed, e-mailed (with attachments), downloaded, did spreadsheets, wrote reports, created labels and cards, created charts and graphs, did some genealogy reports and basically, did every job known to man.
Jesus worked with heavenly efficiency and Satan was faster than hell.
Then, ten minutes before their time was up, lightning suddenly flashed across the sky, thunder rolled, rain poured, and, of course, the power went off.
Satan stared at his blank screen and screamed every curse word known in the underworld.
Jesus just sighed.
Finally the electricity came back on, and each of them restarted their computers.
Satan started searching frantically, screaming: It's gone! It's all GONE!!" I lost everything when the power went out!"
Meanwhile, Jesus quietly started printing out all of his files from the past two hours of work.
Satan observed this and became irate. Wait!" he screamed. "That's not fair! He cheated! How come he has all his work and I don't have any?"
God just shrugged and said,
"Jesus saves ..."