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Saturday, December 31, 2005

Your New Year

Positive Practice

You are
busy becoming whatever you practice most.

Every moment is it’s own reward and is practice for the moments that are to come.

Practice bitterness and you will become embittered, or practice love and you will become more loving. Practice patience, focus, compassion and commitment and these things will become valuable, powerful aspects of your life.

The negative habits you follow now are destructive not only in the present moment. They also set you on course to be increasingly disappointed with the way your life tuirns out. So instead of practicing to achieve disappointment and despair, decide to practice fulfillment and joy. At every opportunity, replace the negative thought patterns with positive, empowering, productive ones.

Give your best to life in the present moment. Not only will you enjoy the immediate rewards of your positive focus, you’ll also be practicing to make the future even better.

-- Ralph Marston

Grace and peace,

Sunday, December 18, 2005

The Christmas Truce

This story has been told in a variety of ways, but this is the researched version that appeared in newspapers nationwide on December 25, 1994 from the Associated Press, dateline London.

Eighty years ago, on the first Christmas Day of World War I, British and German troops put down their guns and celebrated peacefully together in the no-man’s land between the trenches.

The war, briefly, came to a halt.

In some places, festivities began when German troops lit candles on Christmas trees on their parapets so the British sentries a few hundred yards away could see them.

Elsewhere, the British acted first, starting bonfires and letting off rockets.

Pvt. Oswald Tilley of the London Rifle Brigade wrote to his parents: “Just you think that while you were eating your turkey, etc., I was out talking and shaking hands with the very men I had been trying to kill a few hours before!! It was astounding.”
Both armies had received lots of comforts from home and felt generous and well-disposed toward their enemies in the first winter of the war, before the vast battles of attrition began in 1915, eventually claiming 10 million lives.

All along the line that Christmas Day, soldiers found their enemies were much like them and began asking why they should be trying to kill each other.

The generals were shocked. High Command diaries and statements express anxiety that if that sort of thing spread it could sap the troops’ will to fight.

The soldiers in khaki and gray sang carols to each other, exchanged gifts of tobacco, jam, sausage, chocolate and liquor, traded names and addresses and played soccer between the shell holes and barbed wire. They even paid mutual trench visits.

This day is called “the most famous truce in military history” by British television producer Malcolm Brown and researcher Shirley Seaton in their book “Christmas Truce,” published in 1984.*

Morgan, R. J. 2000. Nelson's complete book of stories, illustrations, and quotes (electronic ed.) . Thomas Nelson Publishers: Nashville

Grace and peace,

Monday, December 12, 2005

The end is near....

Awhle back I posted about books, and how much I love reading. In my original post, I said that although I have tried e-books, and spend alot of time on the computer reading news, getting nfo, etc., I think the traditional book is still the best way to read.

Well, Mike Hyatt, President and CEO of Tommy Nelson Publishers has just posted about end times ... for the traditional book, that is.

Mike says:

"While most publishers will admit that reference content is better accessed on the computer, almost all believe that the traditional non-fiction book or novel will never be replaced with a digital equivalent. I say, “baloney.” It's coming. The sooner publishing executives get their collective heads out of the sand and face the future, the better prepared they will be to meet it."

I like Mike's vision, and if technology goes the way Mike imagines it will, I may become a fan of the e-book after all.

Read his post, The Death of Traditional Book Publishing here.

Grace and peace,

Are you bored yet?

"materialism begets monotony; and boredom is one of the major obstacles to the good life. Life quickly becomes monotonous. Things rapidly bore us. That is why styles have to change periodically. There has to be the long look, the short look, the baggy look, the sacky look, or the bloated look, but there has to be a new look, always. So we have to reupholster, replace, redecorate, or at least rearrange the furniture. Things bore us......because "things" are dead. They do not talk, or laugh, or love. Man was born for fellowship." -- excerpt from "A Boring Life", by Dr. Robert Schuller

Same can be said for a over dependence to technology, nature, animals as substitutes for human relationship. We scour the heavens searching for the next new thing. Always looking for the next high. We can be thrilled, enamored by, and use these things for great purposes, but they can't ever take the place of human relationships.

This also reminds me of a way to understand and appreciate our God. Our God is not a God made by human hands, or a son of man. Those things will all perish. They have an inherent shelf life and can become boring.

A true living God is always and everywhere. He can't reside in a temple, or in certain Holy places. We can't shape, control, or tame Him. Though formless, He is ever before us constantly moving, directing, and guiding, responding within us, and without us.

God causes us to be challenged.

He frustrates us as we try to box Him in, and we don't ever get the whole picture. God isn't some kind of cosmic kill-joy, taking away all the fun out of life. God moves inand through us to do what we were created for, our purpose. Loving and understanding Him takes us into an adventure.

Jesus said, "I have come so that they may have life and have it to the full." John 10:10.

That may be why one can be so filled up in our life 'in' Christ, we have the ultimate, eternal fellowship with the one who is life.

Grace and peace,