|Sunday, January 25, 2004|
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 per cent 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 per cent of the world's wealthy.
If your parents are still alive and still married........you are very rare.
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, you are more blessed than over two billion people in the world that cannot read at all.
Are you ready?
In her book Teaching a Stone to Talk, 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, cannibalised 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?
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 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?
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?
(Contributed by Steve Goodier)
Once the great Anthony of the Desert was relaxing with his disciples outside his hut when a hunter came by. The hunter was surprised to see Anthony relaxing, and rebuffed him for taking it easy. It was not his idea of what a holy monk should be doing.
Anthony replied, "Bend your bow and shoot an arrow." And the hunter did so. "Bend it again and shoot another arrow," said Anthony. The hunter did so, again and again.
The hunter finally said, "Abba Anthony, if I keep my bow always stretched, it will break."
So it is with the monk," replid Anthony. "if we push ourselves beyond measure, we will break. It is right from time to time to relax our efforts."
(Contributed by Brian Cavanaugh)
Maybe God wants us to meet a few wrong people before meeting the right one so that when we finally meet the right person, we will know how to be grateful for that gift.
When the door of happiness closes, another opens, but often times we look so long at the closed door that we don't see the one which has been opened for us.
The best kind of friend is the kind you can sit on a porch and swing with, never say a word, and then walk away feeling like it was the best conversation you've ever had.
It's true that we don't know what we've got until we lose it, but it's also true that we don't know what we've been missing until it arrives.
Don't go for looks; they can deceive. Don't go for wealth; even that fades away. Go for someone who makes you smile because it takes only a smile to make a dark day seem bright. Find the one that makes your heart smile
May you have enough happiness to make you sweet, enough trails to make you strong, enough sorrow to keep you human, enough hope to bring you joy.
Always put yourself in another's shoes. If you feel that it hurts you, it probably hurts the other person, too.
The happiest of people don't necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the most of everything that comes along their way.
The brightest future will always be based on a forgotten past, you can't get on well in life until you let go of past failures and heartaches.
When you were born, you were crying and everyone around you was smiling. Live your life so that when you die, you're the one who is smiling and everyone around you is crying.
(Contributed by Peter Gerhard)
(From the Net)