Keep looking up; remember there is only mud under your feet.

* * *
An optimist sees an opportunity in every calamity; a pessimist sees a calamity in every opportunity.-Sir Winston Churchill

* * *
Ella Wheeler Wilcox gives us some wise counsel in her poem “Optimism”:

Talk happiness.
The world is sad enough
Without your woes. No path is wholly rough;

Look for the places that are smooth and clear,
And speak of those, to rest the weary ear
Of those so hurt by continuous strain
Of human discontent and grief and pain.

Talk faith.
The world is better off without
Your uttered ignorance and morbid doubt.

If you have faith in God, or Man, or self,
Say so. If not, push back upon the shelf
Of silence all your thoughts, till faith shall come;
No one will grieve because your lips are dumb.

Talk health.
The dreary, never-changing tale
Of mortal maladies is worn and stale.

You cannot charm, or interest, or please
By harping on that minor chord-disease.
Say you are well, or all is well with you,
And God shall hear your words and make them true.

A great and powerful lord once ruled over thousands of soldiers, and with them he conquered vast domains for his own. He was wise and brave, respected and feared by all, but no one loved him. Each year as he grew more severe he grew more lonely, and his face reflected the bitterness in his greedy soul, for there were deep, ugly lines about his cruel mouth which never showed a smile, and a deep frown permanently furrowed his forehead.

It happened that in one of the cities over which he ruled there lived a beautiful girl whom he had watched for many months as she went about among the people, and he loved her and wanted to make her his wife. He decided to go and speak to her of this love. Dressing in his finest robes and placing a golden crown on his head, he looked into his mirror to see what kind of picture he would make for the beautiful girl. But he could see nothing but what would cause fear and dislike for himself-a cruel, hard face which looked even worse when he tried to smile.

Then a happy notion came to him, and he sent for a magician. “Make for me a mask of the thinnest wax so that it will follow every line of my features, but paint it with your magic paints so that it will look kind and pleasant. Fasten it upon my face so that I shall never have to take it off. Make it handsome, attractive. Use your greatest skill and I will pay any price you ask.”

“This I can do,” said the magician, “on one condition. You must keep your own face in the same lines which I paint or the mask will be ruined. One angry frown, and the mask will be ruined forever, nor can I replace it.”

“I will do anything you say,” said the lord eagerly, “anything to win the admiration and love of my lady. Tell me how to keep the mask from cracking.”

“You must think kindly thoughts,” replied the magician, “and to do this you must do kindly deeds. You must make your kingdom happy rather than powerful. You must replace anger with understanding and love. Build schools for your subjects and not just prisons, hospitals and not just warships. Be gracious and courteous to all men.”

So the wonderful mask was made, and no one would have guessed that it was not the true face of the lord. Months passed, and though the mask was often in danger of ruin, the man fought hard with himself to keep it. The beautiful lady became his bride, and his subjects wondered at the miraculous change in him. They attributed it to his lovely wife, who, they said, had made him like herself.

As gentleness and thoughtfulness entered the life of this man, honesty and goodness were his also, and soon he regretted having deceived his beautiful wife with the magic mask. At last he could bear it no longer and he summoned the magician.

“Remove this false face of mine!” he cried. “Take it away! This deceiving mask that is not my true self!”

“If I do,” said the magician, “I can never make another, and you must wear your own face as long as you live.”

“Better so,” said the lord, “than to deceive one whose love and trust I have won dishonourably. Better that I should be despised by her than to go on doing what is unworthy for her sake. Take it off, I say, take it off!”

The magician took off the mask and the lord in fear and anguish sought his reflection in the glass. His eyes brightened and his lips curved into a radiant smile, for the ugly lines were gone, the frown had disappeared-and lo, his face was the exact likeness of the mask he had worn so long! And when he returned to his beloved wife she saw only the familiar features of the man she loved.

Yes, it’s an old story this legend tells: that a man’s face soon betrays what he is inside his soul, what he thinks and feels, the thoughts of his heart. The wise and true Scripture tells us, “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7), and “whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” (Philippians 4:8).

* * *
Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us, or we find it not.

- Ralph Waldo Emerson

* * *
Cheerfulness is what greases the axles of the world.

* * *
I was brought up to be very honest. It bothers me to be hypocritical or lie or deceive or cover up. So knowing I should act happy when I feel sad posed a problem for me. I wondered, “How can I put on a smile and look happy when I don’t really feel that way?” But the Lord helped me to resolve this question to my satisfaction. The answer is:

You have to realise that when Jesus is in your heart, it’s not you, it’s His happiness that you’re showing in your joyful countenance and happy smile. It is not being hypocritical to put on a happy face when you’re sad, and you are no t pretending, because it’s the Lord’s happiness that’s showing.

So you are not being hypocritical to show joy on your face when you don’t feel happy inside. To the contrary, you are being a wonderful example of Jesus shining through you.-”Not I, but Christ Who lives within me” (Galatians 2:20). You are showing His face, the beauty of Jesus being seen in you!

-Maria David

* * *

“Man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).

We are often discontented
and much dissatisfied
That our wish for recognition
has not been gratified.

We feel that we’ve been cheated
in beauty, charm, and brains,
And we dwell upon our “losses”,
forgetting all our “gains.”

The qualities we think we lack
make us miserable inside,
As we brood on supposed “deficits”
as seen by selfish pride.

We begin to harbor hatred
and envy fills our heart
That we do not possess the things
that make others “seem so smart.”

And in our condemnation
of the traits that we possess,
We magnify our painful plight,
sinking deeper in distress.

Oh, Lord, please do forgive us
for vanity and pride,
For desiring to please the eye of man
and not You Who sees inside!

Little do we realize
how contented we would be
If we knew that we are beautiful
when our hearts are touched by Thee!

-Author Unknown

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Jesus wouldn’t pay an infinite price for someone of no value.

* * *
God has two dwellings: one in Heaven and the other in a thankful heart.

- Izaak Walton (1593-1683)

The Art of Being Positive, Copyright © 1998-2012, The Family International