Are You Ready ? 2016…..

2016_areuready

In her book Teaching a Stone to Talk (New York: Harper Collins, 1988) Annie Dillard reveals a sad, but poignant story about what happens when we set out unprepared. She tells of a British Arctic expedition which set sail in 1845 to chart the Northwest Passage around the Canadian Arctic to the Pacific Ocean. Neither of the two ships and none of the 138 men aboard returned.

Captain Sir John Franklin prepared as if they were embarking on a pleasure cruise rather than an arduous and grueling journey through one of earth’s most hostile environments. He packed a 1,200 volume library, a hand-organ, china place settings for officers and men, cut-glass wine goblets and sterling silver flatware, beautifully and intricately designed. Years later, some of these place settings would be found near a clump of frozen, cannibalized bodies.

The voyage was doomed when the ships sailed into frigid waters and became trapped in ice. First ice coated the decks, the spars and the rigging. Then water froze around the rudders and the ships became hopelessly locked in the now-frozen sea.

Sailors set out to search for help, but soon succumbed to severe Arctic weather and died of exposure to its harsh winds and sub-freezing temperatures. For some twenty years, remains of the expeditions were found all over the frozen landscape.

The crew did not prepare either for the cold or for the eventuality of the ships becoming ice-locked. On a voyage which was to last two to three years, they packed only their Navy-issue uniforms and the captain carried just a 12-day supply of coal for the auxiliary steam engines. The frozen body of an officer was eventually found, miles from the vessel, wearing his uniform of fine blue cloth, edged with silk braid, a blue greatcoat and a silk neckerchief — clothing which was noble and respectful, but wholly inadequate.

Historians may doubt the wisdom of such an ill-prepared journey. But more important for us is the question, “Are we, too, prepared for the lengthy voyage we’ve embarked upon, that journey we call “life”? Have we made ourselves ready for all that will surely await us?

Another question comes to mind: Should they have even made such a journey? Who or what were they listening to when all agreed to this doomed journey? Could it be those moments in life we regret could have been avoided had we been listening to the right sources? We can be prepared when the time arises that we must tackle the journey.

But, will we be ready? Physically and mentally, are we prepared to handle what may come? Do we regularly stay fit through daily study and exercise? Will our minds and bodies be ready to cope with challenges which will arise?

Emotionally and spiritually, are we ready? Do we place faith and obedience to the One true God? Do we practice such virtues as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, goodness and self-control? Will we be emotionally and spiritually ready to embrace an unknown future?

Rest assured, a journey; a journey in this present age awaits. Are you ready for this time, and the time to come?

To embark on a journey unprepared can set us up for disastrous results. But the good news is, we can still prepare for ours. And in large part, the success of our voyage will be determined by our regular and systematic preparation.

Are you ready?

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Are You Blessed ?

baddays

As we move into another year, hopefully with real and newer changes that bless and not oppress; let us remember how blessed we were in 2015. For me, it was a trial…feels like it still is…nevertheless, there will be more challenges for us all. With that said, let us think about those who need us, who still need support. As we help others, it will return back to us. Most of us know, the things we do and say come back on us….sometimes immediate, sometimes in the future. And, with that said, lets speak true, powerful and meaningful things that reflect a reality seldom seen. Lets pray more, seek God more; love and forgive more. Why? Because in 2016, we too will need others to do the same for us. Let the blessing flow, lets share our extra with those less fortunate (don’t send it to a company or charity) DO IT FOR THEM ONE ON ONE.  That’s how we all would want it towards us. Not everyone is the enemy- do good and good will come to you. Make blessing others in 2016 your priority and you will always have enough. If you have one hand to give the other hand will always be full. -MN

Are You Blessed ?

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 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.

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 prayed yesterday and today……..you are in the minority because you believe God does hear and answer prayers.

If you can read now, you are more blessed than over two billion people in the world that cannot read at all.

The Watermelon Slayer

watermelon_monster

Once upon a time there was a man who strayed from his own country into the world known as the Land of Fools. He soon saw a number of people flying in terror from a field where they had been trying to reap wheat. “There is a monster in that field,” they told him. He looked, and saw that the “monster” was merely a watermelon.

He offered to kill the “monster” for them. When he had cut the melon from its stalk, he took a slice and began to eat it. The people became even more terrified of him than they had been of the melon. They drove him away with pitchforks, crying, “He will kill us next, unless we get rid of him.”

It so happened that shortly afterward another man also strayed into the Land of Fools. But instead of offering to help the people with the “monster,” he agreed with them that it must be dangerous, and by tiptoeing away from it with them he gained their confidence. He spent a long time with them in their homes until he could teach them, little by little, the basic facts which would enable them not only to lose their fear of melons, but eventually to cultivate melons themselves.

We all need to be taught about the dangers in life and to stay away from them. However, not everything that is taught and said to to terrible…is. In this instance with watermelons…well, not sure about you, but I’ll have another slice! Remember, not everything you’re afraid of can hurt you 😉

Oh, and if any of you seem to be watermelon slayers before the people…well, you have your reward; it won’t last….but there will always be watermelons…LOL!

Forest Of Learning and Wisdom

forest of learning

There once was a new student starting her freshman year at the “College Among the Pines”. She seemed lost, or maybe, searching for something.

A passing senior asked if she could be of any help. “Tell me,” asked the freshman, “Where can I find the shrine of learning and wisdom? I’ve looked on my campus map, but I can’t locate it.”

“Open your eyes, breathe deeply, listen carefully, and focus your attention,” the senior told the freshman. She continued, “There is no shrine for learning and wisdom. It is all around you, among the people, the classrooms, the pines, You are already at the place of learning and wisdom!”

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/brazen-life/the-real-reasons-college-is-a-bad-investment_b_3423566.html

Nothing new under the sun. All you need to learn you will learn along the journey. Scholars only know and understand (barely) what others have experienced or shared; and with their personal opinion and perception and to the degree they understand- write it down which still must be learned and understood by others. Most times, we must walk the same path in order to do such. Drop the books, and get out there- experience life, then share it with others….just as you have read in those old worldly books. Prove all thing whether they be true!

Science And God

God_science

Science & God

“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?”

“Absolutely.”

“Is God good?”

“Sure! God’s good.”

“Is God all-powerful? Can God do anything?”

“Yes.”

“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 falters. “From…God…”

“That’s right. God made Satan, didn’t he? Tell me, son. Is there evil in this world?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Evil’s everywhere, isn’t it? And God did make everything, correct?”

“Yes.”

“So who created evil?”

Again, the student has no answer.

“Is there sickness? Immorality? Hatred? Ugliness. All these terrible things, do they exist in this world?”

The student squirms on his feet. “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 betrays him and cracks. “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 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?”

“Yes.”

“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, white heat, a little heat or no heat, but we don’t have anything called ‘cold’. We can hit 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 -458 degrees. 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 smelt 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.”

pasteur

He Became Man and Dwelt Among Us

The-Nativity

Once upon a time, there was a man who looked upon Christmas as a lot of humbug. He wasn’t a scrooge. He was a kind and decent person, generous to his family, upright in all his dealings with other men. But he didn’t believe all that stuff about incarnation which churches proclaim at Christmas. And he was too honest to declare that he did.

“I am truly sorry to distress you,” he told his wife, who was a faithful churchgoer. “But I simply cannot understand this claim that God became man. It doesn’t make any sense to me.” On Christmas Eve, his wife and children went to church for the midnight service. He declined to accompany them. “I’d feel like a hypocrite,” he explained. “I’d must rather stay at home. But I’ll wait up for you.”

Shortly after his family drove away in the car, snow began to fall. He went to the window and watched the flurries getting heavier and heavier. “If we must have Christmas,” he thought, “It’s nice to have a white one.” He went back to his chair by the fireside and began to read his newspaper. A few minutes later, he was startled by a thudding sound. It was quickly followed by another, then another. He thought that someone must be throwing snowballs at his living room window.

When he went to the front door to investigate, he found a flock of birds huddled miserably in the snow. They’d had been caught in the storm, and in a desperate search for shelter had tried to fly through his window.

“I can’t let these poor creatures lie there and freeze,” he thought. “But how can I help them?” Then he remembered the barn where the children’s pony was stabled. It would provide a warm shelter. He put on his coat and galoshes and tramped through the deepening snow to the barn. He opened the doors wide and turned on a light. But the birds didn’t come in. “Food will bring them in,” he thought. So he hurried back to the house for bread crumbs, which he sprinkled on the snow to make a trail into the barn.

To his dismay, the birds ignored the bread crumbs and continued to flop around helplessly in the snow. He tried shoeing them in the barn by walking around and waving his arms. They scattered in every direction–except into the warm, lighted barn. “They find me a strange and terrifying creature,” he said to himself. “And I can’t seem to think of any way to let them know they can trust me. If only I could be a bird myself for a few minutes, perhaps I could lead them to safety…”

Just at that moment, the church bells began to ring. He stood silently for a while, listening to the bells pealing the glad tidings of Christmas. Then he sank to his knees in the snow. “Now I do understand,” he whispered. “Now I know why you had to do it.”

Jesus, the Son God God left Heaven, and became as we are so that we could become like He is.

Luke 2:11 “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.”

Phil 2:8 “And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

John 1:14 “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”

Patience To Learn

jaded lesson

A young man presented himself to the local expert on gems and said he wanted to become a gemologist. The expert brushed him off because he feared that the youth would not have the patience to learn. The young man pleaded for a chance. Finally the expert consented and told the youth, “Be here tomorrow.”

The next morning the expert put a jade stone in the boy’s hand and told him to hold it. The expert then went about his work, cutting, weighing, and setting gems. The boy sat quietly and waited.

The following morning the expert again placed the jade stone in the youth’s hand and told him to hold it. On the third, fourth, and fifth day the expert repeated the exercise and the instructions.

On the sixth day the youth held the jade stone, but could no longer stand the silence. “Dear Sir,” he asked, “when am I going to learn something?”

“You’ll learn,” the expert replied and went about his business.

Several more days went by and the youth’s frustration mounted. One morning as the expert approached and beckoned for him to hold out his hand, he was about to blurt out that he could go on no longer. But as the expert placed the stone in the youth’s hand, the young man exclaimed with-out looking at his hand, “This is not the same jade stone!”

“You have begun to learn,” said the expert.

Rom 5:4 “And patience, experience; and experience, hope: …”

There are many things we lean through experiences. Some we need not learn, for we know. As this young man learned through repetitive relationship with the stone, so our lives should reflect some “learned” knowledge through our everyday lives. When you realize what you have learned, share it with someone….but don’t keep secrets. If you attained, help someone else avoid the pitfalls. While it’s alright to teach….our example should be how we live our lives; pure, good and honest. Have hope today- You’ll learn something soon.:)