"Never man spake like this man."
Is this the first ever portrait of Jesus? The incredible story of 70 ancient books hidden in a cave for nearly 2,000 years
By NICK PRYER - Last updated at 3:02 PM on 4th April 2011
The image is eerily familiar: a bearded young man with flowing curly hair. After lying for nearly 2,000 years hidden in a cave in the Holy Land, the fine detail is difficult to determine. But in a certain light it is not difficult to interpret the marks around the figure's brow as a crown of thorns.
The extraordinary picture of one of the recently discovered hoard of up to 70 lead codices - booklets - found in a cave in the hills overlooking the Sea of Galilee is one reason Bible historians are clamouring to get their hands on the ancient artefacts.
If genuine, this could be the first-ever portrait of Jesus Christ, possibly even created in the lifetime of those who knew him.
Discovery: The impression on this booklet cover shows what could be the earliest image of Christ
The tiny booklet, a little smaller than a modern credit card, is sealed on all sides and has a three-dimensional representation of a human head on both the front and the back. One appears to have a beard and the other is without. Even the maker's fingerprint can be seen in the lead impression. Beneath both figures is a line of as-yet undeciphered text in an ancient Hebrew script.
Astonishingly, one of the booklets appears to bear the words 'Saviour of Israel' - one of the few phrases so far translated.
The owner of the cache is Bedouin trucker Hassan Saida who lives in the Arab village of Umm al-Ghanim, Shibli. He has refused to sell the booklets but two samples were sent to England and Switzerland for testing.
A Mail on Sunday investigation has revealed that the artefacts were originally found in a cave in the village of Saham in Jordan, close to where Israel, Jordan and Syria's Golan Heights converge - and within three miles of the Israeli spa and hot springs of Hamat Gader, a religious site for thousands of years.
Precious: This booklet shows what scholars believe to be the map of Christian Jerusalem
According to sources in Saham, they were discovered five years ago after a flash flood scoured away the dusty mountain soil to reveal what looked like a large capstone. When this was levered aside, a cave was discovered with a large number of small niches set into the walls. Each of these niches contained a booklet. There were also other objects, including some metal plates and rolled lead scrolls.
The area is renowned as an age-old refuge for ancient Jews fleeing the bloody aftermath of a series of revolts against the Roman empire in the First and early Second Century AD.
The cave is less than 100 miles from Qumran, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered, and around 60 miles from Masada, scene of the last stand and mass suicide of an extremist Zealot sect in the face of a Roman Army siege in 72AD - two years after the destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem.
It is also close to caves that have been used as sanctuaries by refugees from the Bar Kokhba revolt, the third and final Jewish revolt against the Roman Empire in 132AD.
The era is of critical importance to Biblical scholars because it encompasses the political, social and religious upheavals that led to the split between Judaism and Christianity.
It ended with the triumph of Christianity over its rivals as the dominant new religion first for dissident Jews and then for Gentiles.
In this context, it is important that while the Dead Sea Scrolls are rolled pieces of parchment or papyrus containing the earliest-known versions of books of the Hebrew Bible and other texts - the traditional Jewish format for written work - these lead discoveries are in book, or codex, form which has long been associated with the rise of Christianity.
The codices seen by The Mail on Sunday range in size from smaller than 3in x 2in to around 10in x 8in. They each contain an average of eight or nine pages and appear to be cast, rather than inscribed, with images on both sides and bound with lead-ring bindings. Many of them were severely corroded when they were first discovered, although it has been possible to open them with care.
The codex showing what may be the face of Christ is not thought to have been opened yet. Some codices show signs of having been buried - although this could simply be the detritus resulting from lying in a cave for hundreds of years.
Unlike the Dead Sea Scrolls, the lead codices appear to consist of stylised pictures, rather than text, with a relatively small amount of script that appears to be in a Phoenician language, although the exact dialect is yet to be identified. At the time these codices were created, the Holy Land was populated by different sects, including Essenes, Samaritans, Pharisees, Sadducees, Dositheans and Nazoreans.
One lucky owner: Hassan Saida with some of the artefacts that he says he inherited
There was no common script and considerable intermingling of language and writing systems between groups. Which means it could take years of detailed scholarship to accurately interpret the codices.
Many of the books are sealed on all sides with metal rings, suggesting they were not intended to be opened. This could be because they contained holy words which should never be read. For example, the early Jews fiercely protected the sacred name of God, which was only ever uttered by The High Priest in the Temple in Jerusalem at Yom Kippur.
The original pronunciation has been lost, but has been transcribed into Roman letters as YHWH - known as the Tetragrammaton - and is usually translated either as Yahweh or Jehovah. A sealed book containing sacred information was mentioned in the biblical Book of Revelations.
If genuine, it seems clear that these books were, in fact, created by an early Messianic Jewish sect, perhaps closely allied to the early Christian church and that these images represent Christ himself.
One plate has been interpreted as a schematic map of Christian Jerusalem showing the Roman crosses outside the city walls. At the top can be seen a ladder-type shape. This is thought to be a balustrade mentioned in a biblical description of the Temple in Jerusalem. Below that are three groups of brickwork, to represent the walls of the city.
A fruiting palm tree suggests the House of David and there are three or four shapes that appear to be horizontal lines intersected by short vertical lines from below. These are the T-shaped crosses believed to have been used in biblical times (the familiar crucifix shape is said to date from the 4th Century). The star shapes in a long line represent the House of Jesse - and then the pattern is repeated.
This interpretation of the books as proto-Christian artefacts is supported by Margaret Barker, former president of the Society for Old Testament Study and one of Britain's leading experts on early Christianity. The fact that a figure is portrayed would appear to rule out these codices being connected to mainstream Judaism of the time, where portrayal of lifelike figures was strictly forbidden because it was considered idolatry.
If genuine, it seems clear that these books were, in fact, created by an early Messianic Jewish sect, perhaps closely allied to the early Christian church and that these images represent Christ himself. However another theory, put forward by Robert Feather - an authority on The Dead Sea Scrolls and author of The Mystery Of The Copper Scroll Of Qumran - is that these books are connected to the Bar Kokhba Revolt of 132-136AD, the third major rebellion by the Jews of Judea Province and the last of the Jewish-Roman Wars.
The revolt established an independent state of Israel over parts of Judea for two years before the Roman army finally crushed it, with the result that all Jews, including the early Christians, were barred from Jerusalem.
Wonder: The cave in Jordan where the metal books were discovered
The followers of Simon Bar Kokhba, the commander of the revolt, acclaimed him as a Messiah, a heroic figure who could restore Israel. Although Jewish Christians hailed Jesus as the Messiah and did not support Bar Kokhba, they were barred from Jerusalem along with the rest of the Jews. The war and its aftermath helped differentiate Christianity as a religion distinct from Judaism.
The spiritual leader of the revolt was Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, who laid the foundations for a mystical form of Judaism known today as Kabbalah, which is followed by Madonna, Britney Spears and others. Yochai hid in a cave for 13 years and wrote a secret commentary on the Bible, the Zohar, which evolved into the teaching of Kabbalah. Feather is convinced that some of the text on the codices carry the name of Rabbi Bar Yochai.
Feather says that all known codices prior to around 400AD were made of parchment and that cast lead is unknown. They were clearly designed to exist for ever and never to be opened. The use of metal as a writing material at this time is well documented - however the text was always inscribed, not cast.
The books are currently in the possession of Hassan Saida, in Umm al-Ghanim, Shibli, which is at the foot of Mount Tabor, 18 miles west of the Sea of Galilee.
Saida owns and operates a haulage business consisting of at least nine large flatbed lorries. He is regarded in his village as a wealthy man. His grandfather settled there more than 50 years ago and his mother and four brothers still live there.
Saida, who is in his mid-30s and married with five or six children, claims he inherited the booklets from his grandfather.
However, The Mail on Sunday has learned of claims that they first came to light five years ago when his Bedouin business partner met a villager in Jordan who said he had some ancient artefacts to sell.
The business partner was apparently shown two very small metal books. He brought them back over the border to Israel and Saida became entranced by them, coming to believe they had magical properties and that it was his fate to collect as many as he could.
The arid, mountainous area where they were found is both militarily sensitive and agriculturally poor. The local people have for generations supplemented their income by hoarding and selling archeological artefacts found in caves.
More of the booklets were clandestinely smuggled across the border by drivers working for Saida - the smaller ones were typically worn openly as charms hanging from chains around the drivers' necks, the larger concealed behind car and lorry dashboards.
In order to finance the purchase of booklets from the Jordanians who had initially discovered them, Saida allegedly went into partnership with a number of other people - including his lawyer from Haifa, Israel.
Saida's motives are complex. He constantly studies the booklets, but does not take particularly good care of them, opening some and coating them in olive oil in order to 'preserve' them.
Masterpiece: Later versions of Christ, including Leonardo Da Vinci's interpretation in his fresco The Last Supper, give Jesus similar characteristics
The artefacts have been seen by multi-millionaire collectors of antiquities in both Israel and Europe - and Saida has been offered tens of millions of pounds for just a few of them, but has declined to sell any.
When he first obtained the booklets, he had no idea what they were or even if they were genuine.
He contacted Sotheby's in London in 2007 in an attempt to find an expert opinion, but the famous auction house declined to handle them because their provenance was not known.
Soon afterwards, the British author and journalist Nick Fielding was approached by a Palestinian woman who was concerned that the booklets would be sold on the black market. Fielding was asked to approach the British Museum, the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge and other places.
Fielding travelled to Israel and obtained a letter from the Israeli Antiquities Authority saying it had no objection to their being taken abroad for analysis. It appears the IAA believed the booklets were forgeries on the basis that nothing like them had been discovered before.
None of the museums wanted to get involved, again because of concerns over provenance. Fielding was then asked to approach experts to find out what they were and if they were genuine. David Feather, who is a metallurgist as well as an expert on the Dead Sea Scrolls, recommended submitting the samples for metal analysis at Oxford University.
The work was carried out by Dr Peter Northover, head of the Materials Science-based Archaeology Group and a world expert on the analysis of ancient metal materials.
The samples were then sent to the Swiss National Materials Laboratory at Dubendorf, Switzerland. The results show they were consistent with ancient (Roman) period lead production and that the metal was smelted from ore that originated in the Mediterranean. Dr Northover also said that corrosion on the books was unlikely to be modern.
Meanwhile, the politics surrounding the provenance of the books is intensifying. Most professional scholars are cautious pending further research and point to the ongoing forgery trial in Israel over the ancient limestone ossuary purporting to have housed the bones of James, brother of Jesus.
The Israeli archeological establishment has sought to defuse problems of provenance by casting doubt on the authenticity of the codices, but Jordan says it will 'exert all efforts at every level' to get the relics repatriated.
The debate over whether these booklets are genuine and, if so, whether they represent the first known artefacts of the early Christian church or the first stirrings of mystical Kabbalah will undoubtedly rage for years to come.
The director of Jordan's Department of Antiquities, Ziad al-Saad, has few doubts. He believes they may indeed have been made by followers of Jesus in the few decades immediately following his crucifixion.
'They will really match, and perhaps be more significant than, the Dead Sea Scrolls,' he says. 'The initial information is very encouraging and it seems that we are looking at a very important and significant discovery - maybe the most important discovery in the history of archaeology.'
If he is right, then we really may be gazing at the face of Jesus Christ.
Girl Traces US Presidents' Family Tree, All Related But One -
Paso Robles, CA -- Their political party lines maybe different but one thing United States presidents could share is their family line.
A young girl in California has put together a Presidential Family Tree. Twelve-year-old BridgeAnne d'Avignon found that all the presidents but one are related to King John of England through a common ancestor.
"They are all cousins and all grandsons of John Lackland," BridgeAnne told KCOY News. The girl searched more than a half million names for months. She started with George Washington, then traced both the male and female family lines to make the connection.
KCOY reports that before this, historians were only able to link 22 presidential family trees.
The teen also found out that she is the 18th cousin of President Barack Obama. She even wrote him a letter to let him know.
The only president not linked to King John: the eight president, Martin Van Buren.
WFMY News 2/KCOY
Former CIA officer blows lid off Libya fraud live on CNN
The American Dream - April 4, 2011
Every once in a while, establishment control of the mainstream media cracks for a moment. In an effort to achieve higher ratings, mainstream news programs will invite guests on that promise to be "interesting", but then they will say something that is not part of the script and the entire system will go into a state of chaos for a moment. One example of this happened recently when two CNN "infobabes" interviewed former CIA officer Michael Scheuer about the situation on the ground in Libya. They asked Scheuer some questions regarding the role of the CIA in Libya, but the interview rapidly moved in some directions that the "infobabes" were not anticipating. Instead of sticking to the "Republican" or the "Democrat" script, Scheuer ripped both parties and he detailed many of the reasons why we should have never gone into Libya at all.
The "infobabes" grew increasingly uncomfortable as Scheuer described how large numbers of the resistance fighters in Libya have fought against U.S. troops in the Balkans, in Afghanistan and in Iraq. They did not seem pleased at all when Scheuer declared that the civil war in Libya is "none of our business" and that to the rest of the world this conflict looks like "Americans killing Muslims for oil" all over again.
The funniest part of the interview was when Scheuer accused one of the "infobabes" of "carrying the water for Mr. Obama". After that statement, the female anchor that Scheuer was addressing was visibly flustered and quickly went to a commercial.
Video of this CNN interview with Michael Scheuer is posted below.
Wasn't that hilarious?
When a big time establishment news network such as CNN goes "off script" it can be a beautiful thing to watch.
Of course Scheuer was exactly right. We never should have gotten involved in the civil war in Libya. It was none of our business. When the rebels picked up arms and started shooting at government forces, they should not have been surprised when Gadhafi's forces started shooting back.
Over the past few decades, there have been some very real genocides happening all over Africa, but the U.S. never seemed to care about any of those.
But now the mainstream media has been trying really hard to spin the civil war in Libya into a "great humanitarian crisis".
Well, that might fool some of the American people, but as Scheuer aptly pointed out, the rest of the world sees this as just another U.S. war in the Middle East for oil (and banking).
But instead of getting a balanced view of the war in Libya, most of the time the corporate media has focused on an endless parade of establishment Republicans and establishment Democrats that fully endorse the war. Of course the Republicans all try to score some political points by questioning how Obama is going about doing things, but in the end most Republicans and most Democrats are fully on board with what is going on in Libya.
Nearly everyone in the mainstream media seems to be fully on board with this war as well.
Well, because virtually all of the major media outlets are owned by the establishment, and the establishment wants this war.
Have you ever noticed that the news seems to have the same "flavor" no matter what channel you turn to?
There is a very good reason for that.
In an article that I previously authoried entitled "Who Owns The Media?", I explained that six incredibly dominant corporations control most of the news that we see today....
Back in 1983, approximately 50 corporations controlled the vast majority of all news media in the United States. Today, ownership of the news media has been concentrated in the hands of just six incredibly powerful media corporations. These corporate behemoths control most of what we watch, hear and read every single day. They own television networks, cable channels, movie studios, newspapers, magazines, publishing houses, music labels and even many of our favorite websites. Sadly, most Americans don't even stop to think about who is feeding them the endless hours of news and entertainment that they constantly ingest. Most Americans don't really seem to care about who owns the media. But they should. The truth is that each of us is deeply influenced by the messages that are constantly being pounded into our heads by the mainstream media. The average American watches 153 hours of television a month. In fact, most Americans begin to feel physically uncomfortable if they go too long without watching or listening to something. Sadly, most Americans have become absolutely addicted to news and entertainment and the ownership of all that news and entertainment that we crave is being concentrated in fewer and fewer hands each year.
The six corporations that collectively control U.S. media today are Time Warner, Walt Disney, Viacom, Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., CBS Corporation and NBC Universal. Together, the "big six" absolutely dominate news and entertainment in the United States.
Yes, there are always some minor differences in news broadcasts, and in recent years we have seen outlets such as Fox News attempt to become "the establishment Republican news" and outlets such as MSNBC attempt to become "the establishment Democrat news", but at the end of the day the kind of news that we get from all of them is pretty much the same.
Will Bretton Woods shock U.S. economy?
4-day George Soros event in New Hampshire aims to remake global system 'as they see fit'
April 04, 2011
By Aaron Klein - ©2011WorldNetDaily
Long-term and worsening unemployment, economic stagnation, labor revolt and a state of siege.
Those are just some of the descriptions of one country that received the kind of economic "shock therapy" crafted by Columbia professor Jeffrey Sachs, who sits on the board of an organization literally seeking to reorganize the entire global economic system.
That group is the Institute for New Economic Thinking, or INET.
Philanthropist George Soros is INET's founding sponsor, with the billionaire having provided a reported $25 million over five years to support INET activities.
This Friday, INET starts its four-day economic symposium in the mountains of Bretton Woods, N.H.
Get "The Fall Of America And The Western World," featuring more than eight hours of exclusive interviews with top experts offering their perspectives on why America and the Western World are headed for collapse.
The gathering of economic giants will take place at Mount Washington Hotel, famous for hosting the original Bretton Woods economic agreements drafted in 1944. That conference's goal was to rebuild a post-World War II international monetary system. The April gathering has a similar goal in mind - a global economic restructuring.
Reporting on last year's event, the Business Insider related, "George Soros has brought together a crack team of the world's top economists and financial thinkers."
"Its aim," continued the business newspaper, "to remake the world's economy as they see fit."
More than two-thirds of the slated speakers at this year's conference have direct ties to Soros.
One of the keynotes is Sachs, who sits in INET's advisory council.
Sachs, a special adviser to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, is founder and co-president of the Soros-funded Millennium Promise Alliance, a nonprofit organization that says it is dedicated to ending extreme poverty and hunger.
With $50 million in capital from Soros, Millennium promotes a global economy while urging cooperation and investment from international banks and the United Nations Development Program.
The group helped to found the United Nations Millennium Development Goal, a move that was advanced by Sachs. He served as director from 2002 to 2006.
The UN Millennium Development Goal has demanded the imposition of international taxes as part of a stated effort of "eradicating extreme poverty, reducing child mortality rates, fighting disease epidemics such as AIDS, and developing a global partnership for development."
Investor's Business Daily reported the Millennium goal called for a "currency transfer tax," a "tax on the rental value of land and natural resources," a "royalty on worldwide fossil energy projection -- oil, natural gas, coal," "fees for the commercial use of the oceans, fees for airplane use of the skies, fees for use of the electromagnetic spectrum, fees on foreign exchange transactions, and a tax on the carbon content of fuels."
Indeed, last September, a group of 60 nations, including France, Britain and Japan, propose at the U.N. summit on the Millennium Development Goals that a tax be introduced on international currency transactions to raise funds for development aid.
The proposed 0.005 percent tax on currency transactions would raise as much as $35 billion a year in development aid, claimed the proponents.
Sachs, meanwhile, is a renowned international economist best known for his work as an economic adviser to governments in Latin America, Eastern Europe, and the former Soviet Union.
He direct's Columbia's Earth Institute, which promotes the theory of global warming.
Sachs has been a World Bank consultant who formerly directed Harvard's Institute for International Development, which he turned into a major conduit advocating for World Bank and International Monetary Funds use for structural adjustment programs in the Third World and beyond.
Sachs is engineer of a "shock treatment" economic doctrine that he has applied to other countries, most notably Bolivia and Poland. In both countries, critics charge, Sach's doctrine led to economic failure.
In 1985, Bolivia was plagued by hyperinflation and was unable to pay back its debt to the International Monetary Fund.
Sachs drew up an extensive plan for Bolivia, later known as "shock therapy," to drastically cut inflation by scrapping all subsidies, price controls, restrictions on exports, imports and private business activity.
He also called for the linking of the Bolivian economy with a more global currency, at the time the U.S. dollar.
Sachs acknowledged that a sudden shift to a market economy would initially result in huge price rises, especially in food and energy. But he has argued prices would level off as new supplies reached the market in response to the rises.
In Bolivia, the Sachs plan did beat inflation, but the price was continuing high unemployment, economic stagnation, labor revolt, a state of siege and a deepening involvement in the international drug market, reports noted.
To beat the hyperinflation under Sach's plan, Bolivia ensured a large number of workers were laid off while others' salaries were slashed, leading to widespread workers strikes.
The Bolivian government imposed a state of siege in response to a wave of strikes.
Sachs attempted a similar plan in Poland in the late 1980s, including the full convertibility of the zloty, the Polish currency, to U.S. dollars, and immediate suspension of debt repayment.
Another plan was deployed in Argentina, which has been plagued by an economic meltdown.
Looking back at Sach's effect on Poland, Jon Wiener, writing in The Nation in June 1990, charged, "Before Sachs, Poland had a problem of shortages. As soon as food and other basic goods showed up in the stores, people bought them at low, subsidized prices, so the shelves were usually empty.
"Now the shelves are full, which would seem to be evidence of prosperity. But says Marta Pretrusewicz, a Polish historian teaching at Princeton University, 'shortages don't exist anymore because prices are so outrageous people can't buy anything.'"
With research by Chris Elliott
It's Not Your AGE That Counts
By Frosty Wooldridge
Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan "Press on" has solved and always will solve, the problems of the human race. - A Wise Man
"Friends, you're not going to believe this, but two racers are still out on the course, and they're battling for second to- last place," he said. "Right now, 69 year old John Haglan is leading 71 year old Martha Gingrich. They're a half mile out, so if you would like to cheer them at the finish, let's line the race course."
Touring through Hobart, Indiana, one summer, I heard about a triathlon being run the next day. I decided to enter if they allowed same-day registration. The swim, bike and run event takes place worldwide, with a large following of people from many walks of life. I had run in several dozen myself and it was a great way to meet people who enjoyed physical fitness.
Even while touring, I like to run and swim at every opportunity along the route. I swim in rivers, lakes, pools and -oceans. Running is easy to do in the mornings before breaking camp. Bicycling is easy for me as I crank the pedals 70 miles a day, which includes a handicap of 70 pounds of gear. It would be fun to test my mettle in a triathlon.
The next morning, I was allowed to register when several competitors didn't show up. After stashing my bags and camping gear with a family from Indianapolis who came to race, I surveyed the course. It included a mile swim, 46-mile bike ride and finished with a six mile run.
The race was set in age group waves. More than 600 triathletes lined up on the beach. They ranged in ages from 18 -through 71. The oldest woman was 71 and the oldest man was 69. Knowing how tough a sport it is, I was amazed at the number of older people lining up for the swim.
When the gun fired, the first wave of triathletes dove in with arms flying through the water. When my age group came up, I stepped up to the line. I was nervous and full of expectation. I knew the next four plus hours were going to be tough. I couldn't help myself. I was going to push my body to its limits during the race.
In seconds, I pulled handfuls of water past my body as I swam toward the distant marker. Some guys were cruising past me, and I was passing others. I was in the thick of it. Rounding the marker eight minutes later, I felt good as my strokes were strong. I cruised into the beach with a good time.
After changing my clothes, I jumped on my bike, and flew down the road. Several people glanced at me on my mountain bike as if I were pretty strange compared to those sleek racers, but I didn't mind. My legs made up for a lot of their equipment. I kept picking them off, one by one. For the next hour, I was hammering down on them at 25 miles per hour, sometimes faster as I gained surges of strength. By the time I came into the transition area, I was in the top ten of my age group. A quick change of shoes and I rushed onto the running course.
The run was tougher because I hadn't been training, so I wasn't picking anyone off, but I wasn't losing places either. I ran into the shoot in the top third of the racers and ninth place for my age group. It was quite a feeling to have been at full -throttle for four hours.
Everyone stood around, cheering the racers as they came in from the run. Even though it was a race, everyone loved to see every competitor finish. Most of us congregated around the fruit, bagel and drink tent. I ate 30 pieces of cut-up orange- slices, watermelon and grapes. An hour later, most people were off the race course and race sponsors announced the awards -ceremony would be held in fifteen minutes.
People gathered around the platform while the times and awards were given out. By the time they were nearly finished, it was more than four hours since the start of the race. Many people were going home, when the sponsor made a special -announcement.
"Friends, you're not going to believe this, but two racers are still out on the course, and they're battling for second to- last place," he said. "Right now, 69 year old John Haglan is leading 71 year old Martha Gingrich. They're a half mile out, so if you would like to cheer them at the finish, let's line the race course."
In seconds, more than 500 people lined both sides of the course leading toward the finish. With only a 100 yards to go after the turn off the main road, the two triathletes rounded the corner not five yards apart. They were in a race for their lives, as it was apparent that neither wanted to be last. John Haglan was limping, but still holding on to the lead--while Martha was gaining. The crowd, caught up in the drama, screamed support for the two racers.
With fifty yards to go, Martha grabbed the lead from John. At that point, the aging triathlete seemed to lose his legs, but kept fighting to sustain his stride. The crowd cheered wildly and gave them high fives as they raced down the shoot. Martha was going to win by ten yards when just -before the finish line, she stopped, turned around, and waved to John to hurry up. When he reached her, she joined hands with him and they both ran across the finish in a tie. The crowd went wild.
There wasn't a dry eye at the race.
Two hours later, everyone was gone except the cleanup crews. I loaded my bike and filled my water bottles. That day was one of the greatest sports events I have ever witnessed. Martha and John showed everyone at that race that youth is a matter of attitude.
Samuel Ullman wrote: "Youth is not a time of life; it is a state of mind; it is not a matter of rosy cheeks, red lips and- supple knees; it is a matter of will, a quality of imagination, a vigor of the emotions; it is the freshness of the deep springs of life.
"Youth means a temperamental predominance of courage over timidity, of the appetite for adventure over the love of ease. This often exists in a man of 60 more than a boy of 20. Nobody grows old merely by living a number of years. We grow old by deserting our ideals. Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul. Worry, fear, self-doubt bows the heart and turns the spirit back to dust.
"Whether 60 or 16, there is in every human being's heart the lure of wonder, the unfailing childlike curiosity of what's next, and the joy of the game of living. In the center of your heart and mine there is a wireless station; so long as it receives -messages of beauty, hope, cheer and courage, you are young.
"When the antennas are down, and your spirit is covered with the snows of cynicism and ice of pessimism, then you have grown old, even at 20. But so long as your antennas are up, to catch the optimism and create enthusiasm, there is hope you may die YOUNG at 80."
John and Martha's enthusiasm generated more power and excitement than the winners of the race. In fact, in Latin, the word 'enthusiasm' means 'en theo' which means, 'with God'. When we look at emerging creative forces of God, then it means that anyone with 'enthusiasm' is continually renewing and creating energy and moving with the forces of life. They are, quite literally, forever young--until their very last breath on Earth.
Thank you Martha and John for your living proof of living with 'enthusiasm', because in the end, age doesn't count.
(But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. Isaiah 40:31 Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle's. Psalms 103:5)
Be sure to read Earthshaker so that you can be aware of coming events. "Take heed to yourselves, lest ... that day come upon you unawares." (Luke 21:34) You can also go to the Studies section on this web site to read the studies from the prophetic books of Daniel, Ezekiel, Zechariah, Matthew, Revelation, and more.
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