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WITandWISDOM(tm) - September 7, 2005
Hope... is the companion of power, and the mother of success for who so hopes has within him the gift of miracles. - Samuel Smiles
Source: Quote Lady's Quote of the Day, mailto:email@example.com
~~~~~~~ SPECIAL THOUGHTS:
My dad was an agnostic for most of his adult life. When I decided to become a preacher, he hit the roof. He thought I was wasting my life and talents, and he would have preferred that I had chosen to become an engineer like him, or a teacher, or an historian.
His battle with God was surprising to me. As a teenager, he had excelled in Bible School and even had "First in the Class" certificates. His knowledge of the Bible was amazing, and throughout my years in seminary, he would deliberately argue with me about the existence of God. In fact, whenever I visited him at home, it would take us only about ten minutes to get into a theological tussle. Any peace that was in the house before I appeared was broken, and I usually left bitter and resentful.
I guess my dad felt let down by God. He had to care for my mom for many years without a break. As her insanity and ill health grew progressively worse, I could see the pain in his eyes and the stress across his face. I finally came to the resolution that when dad berated my beliefs, he was expressing his inward anguish and voicing his struggle with a loving God, who allowed innocent people to suffer.
In the last year of his life, my dad was diagnosed with a stomach cancer, which had progressed too far for treatment. The years had mellowed him, and our relationship was a lot better, even though we were separated by the Atlantic. When the hospice chaplain came to visit him and asked to pray, dad said, "Don't bother, minister. My son John's prayers are all that I need."
A couple of days before he died, we shared a phone call. He didn't want me to come over to Scotland until after he was dead. We talked about many things, and I told him how proud I was of everything that he did for our family. At the end of the conversation, Dad usually said, "Take care of yourself, son." This time, he spoke three precious words, "God bless you."
Those were his final words to me. He had made his peace with God at the very last, and in that acceptance, he was given life from the dead. We never know when the seeds of faith will bear fruit, but we share what we know of God with those we love and cherish, in the hope that one day acceptance of God will come.
John Stuart mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
Knoxville, Tennessee, USA
Source: Illustrator, http://www.answers2prayer.org
~~~~~~~ THIS & THAT:
By Josh Meyer
August 23 2005
WASHINGTON — After their wedding guests had streamed into Atlantic City, N.J., for the festivities Sunday aboard the yacht Royal Charm, the happy couple surprised them all — by having them arrested as part of an alleged international Asia-based organized crime syndicate.
Unbeknown to the attendees, many of whom came from China for the occasion, the supposed bride and groom were FBI agents. The government said Monday that the pair had spent four years investigating a sophisticated racketeering enterprise suspected of smuggling into the United States vast quantities of black-market cigarettes, high-tech weapons, Ecstasy, counterfeit Viagra and virtually undetectable counterfeit $100 bills.
The operation had a large Southern California presence, authorities said, and much of the contraband was moved in shipping containers through the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.
The wedding, Justice Department officials said, was part of an elaborate trap designed to entice overseas-based alleged members of the crime syndicate into the U.S. so they could be arrested and charged. Several dozen of them were taken into custody while on the way to the dockside "wedding ceremony," dressed in their wedding finest and apparently shocked at the turn of events, according to one Justice Department official.
"They were literally being taken out of their limos and into custody," one Justice Department official said. "Some of them were bearing gifts — expensive ones like Rolex watches."
By Monday morning, at least 59 people had been arrested in Atlantic City, Los Angeles and nine other U.S. locations. Authorities were searching for at least 28 other people indicted by federal grand juries on both coasts.
~~~~~~~ KEEP SMILING:
While at the mall, I saw an elderly couple holding hands while they were walking. As they approached, I commented on how romantic it was.
He replied, "We have been holding hands when we go out in public for over thirty years. I have to. If I let go, she shops."
Source: Cybersalt Digest, http://www.cybersalt.org/
Beginning Sept. 1, all U.S. adults will be able to request one free copy of their credit report from each of the nation's three credit bureaus. Consumers were granted the free reports as part of the Fair and Accurate Transaction Act, passed by Congress in December 2003.
The site consumers visit to obtain their free report, AnnualCreditReport.com, went live back on Dec. 1, but the credit bureaus engaged in a rolling release of the reports from West to East -- the Northeast region was the last in line. So on Thursday, New Yorkers, Washingtonians, Bostonians, and others in the Northeast get their first crack at the Web site.
Consumers can also call a toll-free number, 1-877-322-8228, to get their report, or they can send for it via snail mail or visit: https://www.annualcreditreport.com/cra/index.jsp
Source: MSNBC, http://msnbc.msn.com/id/9120681/