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Encouraging

Morning Story and Dilbert

Vintage Dilbert
October 25, 2004

I once had an alarm clock. It sounded crisp, clear and consistent every morning at 5 am from Monday’s to Fridays, an hour later on Saturdays and an hour earlier on Sundays. My alarm clock contrary to the modern alarm clock’s beep, buzz or ring is not as noisy. My alarm clock is my mother. She does not sound like that of the lifeless, robotic, catatonic hotel’s concierge “Good morning, this is your wake up call.” Nor was she like that of my aunt’s wake up shouts that could wake even the dead. Her alarm went like “Nicnic, Sandro, Hazel, Peter, Carin. If it will rain arrows today, you would all be dead! If it will rain money, you’d still be dead as you won’t be able to dodge the sack of coins that could possibly hit your head.”

At these words, 5 kids scrambled out of bed, competed for the single bathroom of the family, hurriedly ate breakfast before rushing to school. At that early age, my mother taught me that I could either join the mob of having to be the first to be using the single bathroom and squabble over who finished last in eating as the last one gets to wash the dishes, dry it and store it in the cupboard or I could get up earlier than usual and get things done with enough time to ready myself for another day, another excitement, another madness if not another step to things I that want to accomplish.

Alarm clocks are designed to remind us what we are about to do, what had we planned for the morrow. We used it to signal ourselves that we are to endeavor new things in life and as we plan for it, we include ensuring setting the alarm to when would we want things to be. Even Plato in 428 BC had a water alarm clock to signal the beginning of his lectures at dawn.

What is your alarm clock? Have you used it today?

I knew of a certain friend who uses 3 alarm clocks in a single event, just to be sure. As the alarm rings, she simply turns it off and sleeps again. On the 2nd ring, took it again and sleeps again. Even to the 3rd alarm clock. Why set it in the first place? Alarm clocks were to alarm us but need we be alarmed?

My mother’s daily chime about the arrows and the sacks of coin was with me when I left home and was on my own during college. Its absence did not hinder me because as far as I could remember, I always awoke earlier than that of my alarm clock. I had set my alarm clock one month before graduating college by sending my resume to various companies. Luckily, I was accepted by the current company that I worked for.

Visiting my parents’ home one time, I expected to hear my alarm chime but there was none. No wonder I woke late on that day. By being the alarm clock, I was taught of its use. I exclaimed “Ma, all these years, I had caught the arrows you spoke of and some sacks too. Thank you for teaching me discipline.”

Definitely, my alarm clock worked. Had your alarm clock worked for you? Or are you worked-up by your alarm clock? Go ahead set your alarm clocks. When it rings, snoozes or buzz, get up as it signals you are to accomplish something and that this something is what you look forward to.

Author Unknown - Please comment if you know the author
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Morning Story and Dilbert

Vintage Dilbert
October 23, 2003

Philosophical Discussion of Christianity (Excellent!) This is a fictional discussion between a philosophy teacher and two of his Christian students…

“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.”

“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. “Ahh! 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 them? “Would you try?” “Yes sir, I would.” “So you’re good…!” “I wouldn’t say that.” “Why not say that? You would help a sick and maimed person if you could… in fact most of us would if we could…God doesn’t.” [No answer.] “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?” [No answer] The elderly man is sympathetic. “No, you can’t, can you?” He takes a sip of water from a glass on his desk to give the student time to relax. In philosophy, you have to go easy with the new ones. “Let’s start again, young fella.”

“Is God good?”

“Er… Yes.”

“Is Satan good?”

“No.”

“Where does Satan come from?”

The student falters. “From… God…”

“That’s right. God made Satan, didn’t he?”

The elderly man runs his bony fingers through his thinning hair and turns to the smirking, student audience. “I think we’re going to have a lot of fun this semester, ladies and gentlemen.” He turns back to the Christian. “Tell me, son. Is there evil in this world?” “Yes, sir.” “Evil’s everywhere, isn’t it? Did God make everything?” “Yes.” “Who created evil? [No answer] “Is there sickness in this world? Immorality? Hatred? Ugliness? All the terrible things – do they exist in this world? ” The student squirms on his feet. “Yes.” “Who created them? ” [No answer] The professor suddenly shouts at his student. “WHO CREATED THEM? TELL ME, PLEASE!” The professor closes in for the kill and climbs into the Christian’s face. In a still small voice: “God created all evil, didn’t He, son?” [No answer]

The student tries to hold the steady, experienced gaze and fails. Suddenly the lecturer breaks away to pace the front of the classroom like an aging panther. The class is mesmerized. “Tell me,” he continues, “How is it that this God is good if He created all evil throughout all time?” The professor swishes his arms around to encompass the wickedness of the world. “All the hatred, the brutality, all the pain, all the torture, all the death and ugliness and all the suffering created by this good God is all over the world, isn’t it, young man?” [No answer] “Don’t you see it all over the place? Huh?” Pause. “Don’t you?” The professor leans into the student’s face again and whispers, “Is God good?” [No answer] “Do you believe in Jesus Christ, son?” The student’s voice betrays him and cracks. “Yes, professor. I do.”

The old man shakes his head sadly. “Science says you have five senses you use to identify and observe the world around you. Have you 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…in fact, do you have any sensory perception of your God whatsoever?”

[No answer]

“Answer me, please.”

“No, sir, I’m afraid I haven’t.”

“You’re AFRAID… you haven’t?”

“No, sir.”

“Yet you still believe in him?”

“…yes…”

“That takes FAITH!”

The professor smiles sagely at the underling. “According to the rules of empirical, testable, demonstrable protocol, science says your God doesn’t exist. What do you say to that, son? Where is your God now?” [The student doesn't answer] “Sit down, please.”

The Christian sits…Defeated.

Another Christian raises his hand. “Professor, may I address the class?”

The professor turns and smiles. “Ah, another Christian in the vanguard! Come, come, young man. Speak some proper wisdom to the gathering.” The Christian looks around the room. “Some interesting points you are making, sir. Now I’ve got a question for you.

Is there such thing as heat?”

“Yes,” the professor replies. “There’s heat.”

“Is there such a thing as cold?”

“Yes, son, there’s cold too.”

“No, sir, there isn’t.”

The professor’s grin freezes. The room suddenly goes very cold. The second Christian continues. “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. 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.

A pin drops somewhere in the classroom.

“Is there such a thing as darkness, professor?”

“That’s a dumb question, son. What is night if it isn’t darkness?

What are you getting at…?”

“So you say there is such a thing as darkness?”

“Yes…”

“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 and give me a jar of it. Can you…give me a jar of darker darkness, professor?” Despite himself, the professor smiles at the young effrontery before him. This will indeed be a good semester. “Would you mind telling us what your point is, young man?” “Yes, professor. My point is, your philosophical premise is flawed to start with and so your conclusion must be in error….” The professor goes toxic.

“Flawed…? How dare you…!”

“Sir, may I explain what I mean?”

The class is all ears. “Explain… oh, explain…” The professor makes an admirable effort to regain control. Suddenly he is affability itself. He waves his hand to silence the class, for the student to continue. “You are working on the premise of duality,” the Christian explains. “That for example 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 cannot even explain a thought. It uses electricity and magnetism but has never seen, much less fully understood them.

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, merely the absence of it.”

The young man holds up a newspaper he takes from the desk of a neighbor who has been reading it. “Here is one of the most disgusting tabloids this country hosts, professor. Is there such a thing as immorality?” “Of course there is, now look…” “Wrong again, sir. You see, immorality is merely the absence of morality. Is there such thing as injustice? No. Injustice is the absence of justice. Is there such a thing as evil?” The Christian pauses. “Isn’t evil the absence of good?”

The professor’s face has turned an alarming color. He is so angry he is temporarily speechless. The Christian continues. “If there is evil in the world, professor, and we all agree there is, then God, if he exists, must be accomplishing a work through the agency of evil. What is that work, God is accomplishing?

The Bible tells us it is to see if each one of us will, of our own free will, choose good over evil.” The professor bridles. “As a philosophical scientist, I don’t view this matter as having anything to do with any choice; as a realist, I absolutely do not recognize the concept of God or any other theological factor as being part of the world equation because God is not observable.” “I would have thought that the absence of God’s moral code in this world is probably one of the most observable phenomena going,” the Christian replies. “Newspapers make billions of dollars reporting it every week!

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 makes a sucking sound with his teeth and gives his student a silent, stony stare. “Professor, 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 priest?”

“I’ll overlook your impudence in the light of our philosophical discussion. Now, have you quite finished?” the professor hisses.

“So you don’t accept God’s moral code to do what is righteous?”

“I believe in what is – that’s science!”

“Ahh! SCIENCE!” the student’s face splits into a grin. “Sir, you rightly state that science is the study of observed phenomena. Science too is a premise which is flawed…”

“SCIENCE IS FLAWED..?” the professor splutters. The class is in uproar. The Christian remains standing until the commotion has subsided.

“To continue the point you were making earlier to the other student, may I give you an example of what I mean?” The professor wisely keeps silent.

The Christian looks around the room. “Is there anyone in the class who has ever seen the professor’s brain?” The class breaks out in laughter. The Christian points towards his elderly, crumbling tutor. “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. The Christian shakes his head sadly. “It appears no-one here has had any sensory perception of the professor’s brain whatsoever.

Well, according to the rules of empirical, stable, demonstrable protocol, science, I ..DECLARE that the professor has no brain.” The class is in chaos. The Christian sits… Because that is what a chair is for….

Author Unknown - Please comment if you know the author
 so credit can be given
Morning Story and Dilbert

Vintage Dilbert
October 22, 2002

Suppose that tomorrow morning your phone rings and the operator informs you that you have a call from Buckingham Palace, London, England. The person in England comes on the line, identifies himself as an administrator in charge of the education of the children of the king of England.

He proceeds to tell you that he has had observers around the United States looking for the perfect tutor for the king’s children. After many months of evaluation, he has determined that you are the one best qualified to tutor the royal offspring. Would you please fly to England at your earliest convenience to discuss assuming these responsibilities? Now, as a matter of fact, you just happen to have some ideas about raising children and you are excited and eager to take the job.

You fly to England and sign a contract. But before you begin your job, the administrator says you are going to have to take two weeks of intensive study to learn the finer points of raising the king’s children.

During this time, you learn that children of royalty adhere to a different curriculum than most other children. They must not only learn to read and write, gain maturity and be proficient in many fields of academic endeavor. They must also be familiar with the history of their country and of western civilization. They must learn how to function in the royal court. They must know how to treat their subjects with consideration and tact. They must learn to relate to the heads-of-state of other countries. They must learn about political amenities and that their time is not always their own. They may not get to play in the street with other children. They will not be exposed to crudity or vulgarity. They will learn to be moral, true, honest, gracious, kind, gentle, and yet strong in their convictions.

When the two weeks are completed, you begin a successful career of raising the children of the king. In later years, you are honored for having attained your goals. The king commends you and his children commend you for your devotion and hard work.

A fanciful story, you may say. But let me suggest this: if you have children in your home, you have already received a call to raise royal offspring. The call did not come from Buckingham Palace, it has come from the throne of Almighty God. You do not have to go to London to do your tutoring, you can do it in your own home with the children God gave you to raise.

Your children may not serve in English courts, but they have the potential to serve in the kingdom of God as sons of God. When your children accept Jesus Christ as Savior, they become members of the Kingdom of God. There is no higher ranking in all the world. You may not live in a palace on earth, but you children can live in palaces in heaven if you do your job right.

Give your children the very special training God’s children ought to have. Teach them to obey, to be gentle and kind, but powerful for righteousness and morality. Teach them the Bible, teach them how to pray, teach them to put others before themselves as Jesus did. Teach them to obey God’s commands and to have a perfect heart before God.

Morning Story and Dilbert

Vintage Dilbert
October 20, 2001

I am God. Today I will be handling all of your problems.

Please remember that I do not need your help.

If the devil happens to deliver a situation to you that you cannot handle, DO NOT attempt to resolve it. Kindly put it in the SFJTD (something for Jesus to do) Box. It will be addressed in MY time, not yours.

Once the matter is placed into the box, do not hold on to it or attempt to remove it. Holding on or removal will delay the resolution of your problem.

If it is a situation that you think you are capable of handling, please consult me in prayer to be sure that it is the proper resolution.

Because I do not sleep nor do I slumber, there is no need for you to lose any sleep.

Rest my child. If you need to contact me, I am only a prayer away.

Author Unknown - Please comment if you know the author
 so credit can be given
Morning Story and Dibert

Vintage Dilbert
October 19, 1992

He placed one scoop of clay upon another until a form lay lifeless on the ground.

All of the Garden’s inhabitants paused to witness the event. Hawks hovered. Giraffes stretched. Trees bowed. Butterflies paused on petals and watched.

“You will love me, nature,” God said. “I made you that way. You will obey me, universe. For you were designed to do so. You will reflect my glory, skies, for that is how you were created. But this one will be like me. This one will be able to choose.”

All were silent as the Creator reached into himself and removed something yet unseen. A seed. “it’s called ‘choice.’ The seed of choice.”

Creation stood in silence and gazed upon the lifeless form.

An angel spoke, “But what if he …”

“What if he chooses not to love?” the Creator finished. “Come, I will show you.”

Unbound by today, God and the angel walked into the realm of tomorrow.

“There, see the fruit of the seed of choice, both the sweet and the bitter.”

The angel gasped at what he saw. Spontaneous love. Voluntary devotion. Chosen tenderness. Never had he seen anything like these. He felt the love of the Adams. He heard the joy of Eve and her daughters. He saw the food and the burdens shared. He absorbed the kindness and marveled at the warmth.

“Heaven has never seen such beauty, my Lord. Truly, this is your greatest creation.”

“Ah, but you’ve only seen the sweet. Now witness the bitter.”

A stench enveloped the pair. The angel turned in horror and proclaimed, “What is it?”

The Creator spoke only one word: “Selfishness.”

The angel stood speechless as they passed through centuries of repugnance. Never had he seen such filth. Rotten hearts. Ruptured promises. Forgotten loyalties. Children of the creation wandering blindly in lonely labyrinths.

“This is the result of choice? the angel asked.

“Yes.”

“They will forget you?”

“Yes.”

“They will reject you?”

“Yes.”

They will never come back?

“Some will. Most won’t.”

“What will it take to make them listen?”

The Creator walked on in time, further and further into the future, until he stood by a tree. A tree that would be fashioned into a cradle. Even then he could smell the hay that would surround him.

With another step into the future, he paused before another tree. It stood alone, a stubborn ruler on a bald hill. The trunk was thick, and the wood was strong. Soon it would be cut. Soon it would be trimmed. Soon it would be mounted on the stony brow of another hill. And soon he would be hung on it.

He felt the wood rub against a back he did not yet wear.

“Will you go down there?” the angel asked.

“I will.”

“Is there no other way?”

“There is not.”

“Wouldn’t it be easier to not plant the seed? Wouldn’t it be easier to not give the choice?”

“It would,” the Creator spoke slowly. “But to remove the choice is to remove the love.”

He look around the hill and foresaw a scene. Three figures hung on three crosses. Arms spread. Heads fallen forward. They moaned with the wind.

Men clad in soldier’s garb sat on the ground near the trio. They played games in the dirt and laughed.

Men clad in religion stood off to one side. They smiled. Arrogant, cocky. They had protected God, they thought by killing this false one.

Women clad in sorrow huddled at the foot of the hill. Speechless. Faces tear streaked. Eyes downward. One put her arm around another and tried to lead her away. She wouldn’t leave. “I will stay,” she said softly, “I will stay.”

All heaven stood to fight. All nature rose to rescue. All eternity poised to protect. But the Creator gave no command.

“It must be done…,” he said, and withdrew.

But as he stepped in time, he heard the cry that he would someday scream: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” He wrenched at tomorrow’s agony.

The angel spoke again. “I would be less painful…”

The Creator interrupted softly. “But it wouldn’t be love.”

They stepped into the Garden again. The Maker looked earnestly at the clay creation. A monsoon of love swelled up within him. He had died for the creation before he had made him. God’s form bent over the sculptured face and breathed. Dust stirred on the lips of the new one. The chest rose, cracking the red mud. The cheeks fleshened. A finger moved. And an eye opened.

But more incredible than the moving of the flesh was the stirring of the spirit. Those who could see the unseen gasped.

Perhaps it was the wind who said it first. Perhaps what the star saw that moment is what has made it blink ever since. Maybe it was left to an angel to whisper it:

“It looks like … it appears to so much like … it is him!”

The angel wasn’t speaking of the face, the features, or the body. He was looking inside – at the soul.

“It’s eternal!” gasped another.

Within the man, God has placed a divine seed. A seed of his self. The God of might had created earth’s mightiest. The Creator had created, not a creature, but another creator. And the One who had chosen to love had created one who could love in return.

Now it’s our choice.

by Max Lucado – from In the Eye of the Storm
Morning Story and Dilbert

Vintage Dilbert
October 17, 2007

Years ago, in a small fishing village in Holland, a young boy taught the world about the rewards of unselfish service. Because the entire village revolved around the fishing industry, a volunteer rescue team was needed in cases of emergency.
One night the winds raged, the clouds burst and a gale force storm capsized a fishing boat at sea. Stranded and in trouble, the crew sent out the S.O.S. The captain of the rescue rowboat team sounded the alarm and the villagers assembled in the town square overlooking the bay. While the team launched their rowboat and fought their way through the wild waves, the villagers waited restlessly on the beach, holding lanterns to light the way back.

An hour later, the rescue boat reappeared through the fog and the cheering villagers ran to greet them. Falling exhausted on the sand, the volunteers reported that the rescue boat could not hold any more passengers and they had to leave one man behind. Even one more passenger would have surely capsized the rescue boat and all would have been lost.

Frantically, the captain called for another volunteer team to go after the lone survivor. Sixteen-year-old Hans stepped forward. His mother grabbed his arm, pleading, “Please don’t go. Your father died in a shipwreck 10 years ago and your older brother, Paul, has been lost at sea for three weeks. Hans, you are all I have left.”

Hans replied, “Mother, I have to go. What if everyone said, ‘I can’t go, let someone else do it?’ Mother, this time I have to do my duty. When the call for service comes, we all need to take our turn and do our part.” Hans kissed his mother, joined the team and disappeared into the night.

Another hour passed, which seemed to Hans’ mother like an eternity. Finally, the rescue boat darted through the fog with Hans standing up in the bow. Cupping his hands, the captain called, “Did you find the lost man?” Barely able to contain himself, Hans excitedly yelled back, “Yes, we found him. Tell my mother it’s my older brother, Paul!”

Morning Story and Dilbert

Vintage Dilbert
October 16, 2006

***  Kleenex Alert  ***

A teenager lived alone with his father, and the two of them had a very special relationship. Even though the son was always on the bench, his father was always in the stands cheering. He never missed a game.

This young man was still the smallest of the class when he entered high school. But his father continued to encourage him but also made it very clear that he did not have to play football if he didn’t want to. But the young man loved football and decided to hang in there.

He was determined to try his best at every practice, and perhaps he’d get to play when he became a senior. All through high school he never missed a practice nor a game, but remained a bench. His faithful father was always in the stands, always with words of encouragement for him.

When the young man went to college, he decided to try out for the football team as a “walk-on.” Everyone was sure he could never make the cut, but he did. The coach admitted that he kept him on the roster because he always puts his heart and soul to every practice, and at the same time, provided the other members with the spirit and hustle they badly needed.

The news that he had survived the cut thrilled him so much that he rushed to the nearest phone and called his father. His father shared his excitement and was sent season tickets for all the college games. This persistent young athlete never missed practice during his four years at college, but he never got to play in the game. It was the end of his senior football season, and as he trotted onto the practice field shortly before the big play off game, the coach met him with a telegram.

The young man read the telegram and he became deathly silent. Swallowing hard, he mumbled to the coach, “My father died this morning. Is it all right if I miss practice today?” The coach put his arm gently around his shoulder and said, “Take the rest of the week off, son. And don’t even plan to come back to the game on Saturday.

In the third quarter, when the team was ten points behind, a silent young man quietly slipped into the empty locker room and put on his football gear. As he ran onto the sidelines, the coach and his players were astounded to see their faithful teammate back so soon. “Coach, please let me play. I’ve just go to play today,” said the young man. The coach pretended not to hear him. There was no way he wanted his worst player in this close.

Feeling sorry for the kid, the coach gave in. “All right,” he said. “You can go in.” Before long, the coach, the players and everyone in the stands could not believe their eyes. This little unknown, who had never played before was doing everything right. The opposing team could not stop him. He ran, he passed, blocked and tackled like a star. His team began to triumph. The score was soon tied. In the closing seconds of the game, this kid intercepted a pass and ran all the way for the winning touchdown. The fans broke loose. His teammates hoisted him onto their shoulders. Such cheering you’ve never heard! Finally, after the stands had emptied and the team had showered and left the locker room, the coach noticed that the young man was sitting quietly in the corner all alone.

The coach came to him and said, “Kid, I can’t believe it. You were fantastic! Tell me what got into you? How did you do it?” He looked at the coach, with tears in his eyes, and said, “Well, you knew my dad died, but did you know that my dad was blind?” The young man swallowed hard and forced a smile, “Dad came to all my games, but today was the first time he could see me play, and I wanted to show him I could do it!”

Author Unknown - Please comment if you know the author so credit can be given
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