Monthly Archives: August 2011

Thought For The Day 08/31/11

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Chaplains During Wartime

 “That the man of God may be competant, equipped for every work.”

2 Timothy 3 : 17

I live in South Carolina and I am very familiar with Fort Jackson, the
military training center near Columbia, the capital of South Carolina. You
probably know Fort Jackson too, though you might not realize it. If you saw the
movie “Renaissance Man” starring Danny Devito, you saw the training arena at
Fort Jackson up close and personal!

Fort Jackson also houses the US Army Chaplain training Center which trains
chaplains of all faiths who serve the religious needs of our soldiers the
survival skills needed to survive in combat. These men and women also serve on
every US military installation here and abroad.

These blessed people of faith must all receive an abbreviated military
training just as any other service member does. With one big exception. No
service chaplain carries any weapon but are, instead, accompanied at all times
by an armed assistant whose sole job it is, is to protect the chaplain when
serving in a combat zone.

Recently Eric Marrapodi and Chris Lawrence of CNN did an article about this
very topic and described in length the dangers that face our men and women of
faith who are nearly unrecognizable in camouflage gear that mirrors those of
infantry personnel. The sole exception….a 3 inch cross (Christian
Chaplains) or tablet of the 10 Commandments (Jewish Chaplains) or a crescent
(Muslim Chaplains) on the breast pocket.

The U.S. Army employs around 2,900 chaplains. About half are active duty and
the other serve in the reserves. Eight-hundred chaplains and chaplain assistants
are deployed in the war on terror and 300 of them serve in the Middle East and
Afghanistan.

Today army chaplains minister to soldiers of all faiths regardless of their
own and they hold services in remote areas, connect a soldier of another faith
with a chaplain of their own.

It is a painfully difficult but necessary calling that only some are
compelled to do. They are there for happy times as well as those of crisis. They
minister to the injured whether the injury is physical or one of faith. And they
offer the final rites afforded to those who have paid the ultimate price. But
another thing they do is offer hope….that even in the darkest of days, the
clouds part and the sun shines again. Life continues on.

In war, there are no unwounded soldiers.

Jose Narofsky

Thought For The Day 08/30/11

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Are There Steps To
Salvation?

Prayer is communication with the Divine. It can be
whispered or chanted or written or expressed in the work you do. However it is
expressed, it is never in vain.

Donna Wilk Cardillo

 

Human beings seem to like the idea of having instruction manuals to explain
those things we find particularly tricky and are useful tools that help us to
organize and understand things that need to be assembled in a particular order.
I can’t imagine anyone but a master builder who would ever try to assemble a
piece of furniture without first reading the instruction manual cover to cover.
And then I began to wonder if following specific steps as Christians would
assure that we earn salvation.

We often read that in the Islamic faith, there are 5 pillars that, if obeyed,
will result in salvation. However with Christianity, specific steps are not
defined. Yes, we believe in baptism and we also believe that we must confess and
pray to God and yes, we should reject and turn from sin and commit to obeying
God. But I don’t think these are steps to salvation but rather, are the result
of salvation. We mortals are incapable of cleansing ourselves from sin, our gift
from the Garden, and so Jesus completed those steps for us. He did all the hard
work and left us with the responsibility for only one step….receiving Jesus
Christ as Savior and trusting that He alone, will lead us to salvation.

30: Then he brought them out and said,
“Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31: And they said, “Believe in the Lord
Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.”

Acts 16: 30-31

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Thought For The Day 08/29/11

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Selling Bibles

 

 

It’s time for another ha, ha posting. I know I need
one, having borne witness to the effects of Hurricane Irene here in the northern
tip of SC! So read, laugh and forget, for a minute, God’s challenge to us
all!

 

 

A pastor concluded that his church was getting into very serious financial troubles. While checking the church storeroom, he discovered several cartons of new Bibles that had never been opened and distributed. So at his Sunday sermon, he asked for three volunteers from the congregation who would be willing to sell the Bibles door-to-door for $10 each to raise the desperately needed money for the church.

 

 

Jack, Paul and Louie all raised their hands to volunteer for the task.The minister knew that Jack and Paul earned their living as salesmen and were likely capable of selling some Bibles. But he had serious doubts about Louie who was a local farmer, who had always kept to himself because he was embarrassed by his speech impediment. Poor Louie stuttered badly. But, NOT WANTING TO discourage Louie, the minister decided to let him try anyway.

 

 

He sent the three of them away with the back seat of their cars stacked with Bibles. He asked them to meet with him and report the results of their door-to-door selling efforts the following Sunday.

 

 

Anxious to find out how successful they were, the minister immediately asked Jack, “Well, Jack, how did you make out selling our Bibles last week?” Proudly handing the reverend an envelope, Jack replied, “Using my sales prowess, I was able to sell 20 Bibles, and here’s the $200 I collected on behalf  of the church.” “Fine job, Jack!” The minister said, vigorously shaking his hand…”You are indeed a fine salesman and the church is indebted to you.”

 

 

Turning to Paul, “And Paul, how many Bibles did you sell for the church last week?” Paul, smiling and sticking out his chest, confidently replied, ‘I am a professional salesman. I sold 28 Bibles on behalf of the church, and here’s $280 I collected.’ The minister responded, “That’s absolutely splendid, Paul. You are truly a professional salesman and the church is indebted to you.”

 

 

Apprehensively, the minister turned to Louie and said, “And Louie, did you manage to sell any Bibles last week?” Louie silently offered the minister a large envelope. The minister opened it and counted the contents. “What is this?” the minister exclaimed. “Louie, there’s $3200 in here! Are you suggesting that you sold 320 Bibles for the church, door to door, in just one week?” Louie just nodded.

 

 

“That’s impossible!” both Jack and Paul said in unison. “We are professional salesmen, yet you claim to have sold 10 times as many Bibles as we could.” “Yes, this does seem unlikely,” the minister agreed. “I think you’d better explain how you managed to accomplish this, Louie.”

 

 

Louie shrugged.. “I-I-I re-re-really do-do-don’t kn-kn-know f-f-f-for sh-sh-sh-sure,” he stammered. Impatiently, Peter interrupted. “For crying out loud, Louie, just tell us what you said to them when they answered the door!”

 

 

“A-a-a-all I-I-I s-s-said wa-wa-was,” Louis replied, “W-w-w-w-would y-y-y-you l-l-l-l-l-like t-t-to b-b-b-buy th-th-th-this B-B-B-B-Bible f-f-for t-t-ten b-b-b-bucks—o-o-o-or— wo-wo-would yo-you j-j-j-just l-like m-m-me t-t-to st-st-stand h-h-here and r-r-r-r-r-read it t-to y-y-you?”

 

 Nobody trips over mountains.  It is the small pebble that causes you to
stumble.  Pass all the pebbles in your path and you will find you have crossed
the mountain. 

Author Unknown

 

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Thought For The Day 08/28/11

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The Few. The Proud!

Peace I leave with you; My peace I give
to you ; not as the world gives, do I give to you. Let not your heart be
troubled, nor let it be fearful.

John 14 : 27

I am the aunt of a proud and patriotic American. I have a “Blue Star Mother”
flag hanging in my front window. The fact that you don’t know his name nor do
you know his face does not matter. In fact, his visage could be confused with
thousands of young men and women who resemble him. He is a United States Marine.
He is the reason we all sleep peacefully, secure in the knowledge that we are
guarded and protected and safe. Every single day young men and women just like
him take an airplane ride that lands in Dover AFB in Delaware. We don’t know
what they liked to snack on, what books they read, if they had a large family,
or they were black or white. It doesn’t really matter anyway because they knew
us. They knew that it was because of the food we liked and the books we read and
the religion we believed in that they were far from home, making a sacrifice for
you and me. Some moved from Dover into veterans facilities all over the US.
Others moved only when others assisted them, carrying them for a final journey
home. Each and every one of us needs to offer a prayer for the continued safety
of my nephew and every other American service member. It is the least that we
can and should do to honor them!

No one is more cherished in this world
than someone who lightens the burden of another. Thank you.

Author Unknown

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Copyright © 2011 “MandysPath” Ministry-ULC

Thought For The Day 08/27/11

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The World is
God’s

Everywhere we look we are seeing God. He paints portraits in our landscapes
with colorful flowers and lush, green forests. He colors our world with
different hues of water in all the oceans that wrap the earth. And he shimmers
at night in the lights sparkling from the heavens and even in the lightning
bugs that dot the landscape. Everywhere we look is a miracle of His
creation….in every atom in every molecule and in every life and non life form
that makes up this beautiful planet! And for these gifts, we give Him thanks and
praise!

 

 

You alone are the LORD. You made the
heavens, even the highest heavens, and all their starry host, the earth and asll
that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. You give life to everything,
and the multitudes of heaven worship you.

Nehemiah 9:6

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Thought For The Day 08/26/11

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Miracles

Miracles happen every day in our lives. Often we don’t see them as miracles
but their appearance in our lives are miraculous never the less.

Someone I know lived a life that was a miracle. She managed to have 3
children when doctors told her that childbearing would be an impossibility. She
lived a life of faith and devotion caring for a neighbor who was developmentally
challenged, making this woman a part of her family. She cared for her sister in
law who was dying even when a family rift had caused most not to speak to her.
And when she left this earth at 90, her funeral was on September 11, 2001 and
because family members who worked in and around the world trade center were
attending her funeral, most were spared the horrors of that day.

Yes, miracles happen every day….we just have to know how to bear witness to
them!

 

 

“Miracles occur naturally as expressions of love.
The real miracle is the love that inspires them. In this sense everything that
comes from love is a miracle.”

Marie Loyd

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Thought For The Day 08/25/11

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 Thanksgiving!

Often when I hear the word Thanksgiving, I almost always want to partner it with the word Faith! I know that it is because of my faith that I have God’s guiding hand is on my shoulder as I move through my day. And by thanking God, I am humbling acknowledging that all that is good is a gift from Him and reaffirms to Him my gratitude.

We join hands and pray before eating together as a family. This is such an important ritual for us because as we join hands and bow our heads, we are sharing a wonderfully intimate moment, not only with each other, but with God as well.

I taught Sunday School to second graders many years ago and I knew that the things they were learning about the Bible and God’s message would be information they would carry with them for the rest of their lives. And during one class when I taught them the simple words of a grace they could say at the dinner table, a little one asked me why he should pray. Then I remembered a story I once heard when I was young and I used the same story to teach my class the importance of giving thanks to God by saying grace:

A Man Of Faith

A farmer who was a man of faith once had a cousin who did not believe in God come to visit
for a few days. At dinner, the farmer bowed his head and offered the same
prayer of thanks he had been taught as a child: “God is great, God is good, and we thank him for this food. By His hand
we all are fed; give us Lord our daily bread!”
Now his cousin rudely replied “There is no God. We are
enlightened in this day and age!”
And the farmer looked at him and replied, “There is one here on my farm that does
not give thanks before eating.”
 His cousin smiled and asked who this enlightened person was, to which the farmer replied, “My pig!”

The kids in my Sunday School class laughed but they got the message, loud and clear! Their parents came to me and told me that their children were reminding them to offer grace every day. And that was exactly the point….to instill an inner need to establish this important family tradition for thanking God every day! Children are sponges…..in a wonderful way!

And by thanking God in all circumstances we are fulfilling His will in our lives.

1 Thessalonians
5:18

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Thought For The Day 08/24/11

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Regrets

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 What have been some of the regrets you have had throughout your life? I know
for me, if I sat down and really thought about it, I could come up with a list
more ponderous and heavy to bear than Jacob Marley’s chains. And then when I
really thought about it I began to wonder if my regrets were the “noun kind” or
the “verb kind” of regrets. And what is the difference you ask? Well regret when
used as a verb, means mourning, missing or ruing a circumstance. But regret used
as a noun means to feel sorrow beyond a person’s ability to control or not
having the power to repair.

___

 

I like to think that there is nothing that I have come to regret in my life
that I can’t repair or manage to put to rights if I just apply a little elbow
grease and a true sense of remorse and perhaps some introspection and prayer.
And I guess we all need to remember that whatever happens in our lives, the
design of it has been undertaken by another….someone good, and powerful and
wise…and so the episodes in my life that I regret actually serve a purpose and
are driving God’s vision for not only me but humankind as well as he steers the
universe toward that which is ideal.

___

 

Philippians 3: 13-15

13: Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my
own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to
what lies ahead,    14: I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of
God in Christ Jesus.   15: Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in
anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to
you.

___

 John Newton was a man who discovered that the life he led as a slave trader
filled him with regret, and God revealed Himself to John Newton’s heart,
enabling him to see himself as God saw him and he recorded this life changing
experience of faith by penning a hymn know to every Christian alive:

Amazing Grace

Amazing grace how sweet the sound that saved a
wretch like me!

I once was lost, but now am found; was blind, but
now I see.

‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, and grace
my fears relieved;

How precious did that grace appear the hour I first
believed!

___

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Thought For The Day 08/23/11

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Fear and Faith

All people fear…..and mostly, we fear that which is unknown, such as the worsening of a situation or some future event. We are human and fear is programmed into each of us as a basic survival technique. It lets us recognize the things around us that present a threat to us and then allows us to respond in one of two ways…..confronting or fleeing….sometimes called the “fight or flight” response and it can result in an almost autonomic human response….as instinctive as pulling your hand away from a hot flame.

Even in Christianity, the issue of fear seems to be presented in the Bible in almost a bi-polar fashion depending on whether you are reading the Old or the New Testament.

Theologians teach that in the Old Covenant, fearing God was written about in many Biblical texts. The Old Covenant was a time of a harsher law…a time when God’s wrath rained down on the earth. It was the time for the hard laws of the Ten Commandments, and was a time that necessitated sacrifice by man. However, I believe this was intended to be temporary…until a time when humankind evolved and would be ready to accept new teachings that promised salvation and a place in the Kingdom of God.

The New Covenant promised just that….a time where there would be universal peace and brotherhood and all because of the birth of a tiny baby in Bethlehem. And as he grew and began his teachings,we were taught not to fear God, but to embrace Him and to live a life that does honor to Him. The time would come when we need not fear the uncertainties in life or the things that man can do because the birth of that tiny baby was for one purpose and one purpose alone…that of sacrificing his life so that we could be made right with God and be able to join with Him in the Kingdom of Heaven. But man would not get away without paying a price. And what is the cost to us to be given this key to Paradise? Only one thing! Accepting Jesus Christ into our hearts!

1st John 4: 17-19

 

17:    “Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgement because as he is, so are we in this world.   18:     There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.   19:     We love him, because he first loved us.”

Feed your faith and your fears will starve to death.

Author Unknown

 “MandysPath” Ministry

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Thought for The Day 08/22/11

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Can we as Christians be happy at all times?

               It seems as if Jesus was an expert when it came to suffering and sadness. We know from the Bible that Jesus wept and we read in John that Jesus was troubled and moved when he witnessed Mary, the sister of Lazarus weeping. And when he neared the tomb and instructed that the stone be moved, Martha hesitated because her brother had been dead four days. But Jesus reassured those gathered that “….if you believe, you will see the glory of God”! And the rock was moved. And Lazarus rose and came out, still wrapped in his burial clothes, when Jesus called to him!

                Life hurts! We meet obstacles all along the path we travel each day. And while we may feel sad as we face our trials, never the less, sadness is confirmation that something real is challenging us and, like it or not, either we deal with it or it will deal with us. Our emotions and fear are there to teach us and to guide us and to help us as we travel our path in life.

                And just as Jesus reassured those gathered at the tomb of Lazarus, so can we all take comfort in the fact that our faith, as long as we truly believe and accept Jesus, will comfort us every step we take each and every day!

A wise man can see more from the bottom
of a well than a fool can from a mountain top.

Author Unknown

_________

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