Monthly Archives: December 2011

Thought For The Day 12/24/11

Standard

The Most Beautiful Story Ever Told!

___

___

I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round, as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys.

Charles Dickens

___

I wanted to do a post today of the true Christmas story and while doing my research I discovered something that astounded me, though perhaps not you all. Did you know that the story of the Nativity is not consistent through the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John? As a matter of fact, neither Mark nor John even reference the Nativity Story at all! And the true story seems to have been woven between the Gospel of Matthew and the Gospel of Luke…as if some finely woven tapestry of faith! And while the version from Matthew is essentially the same, it is, in fact, “The Nativity Story” that we read in Luke that, to me, is not just the most complete, but beautifully written, as well!

___

And so today, Christmas Eve, I want you all to take a journey with me to a time long, long ago ….2011 years, in fact, and to a country far, far away ….across a great ocean, many, many thousands of miles away, as I read to you the most beautiful story ever told! In fact, one of the most beautiful love stories ever told, as well!

___

 

Luke 1:26-38

The Birth of Jesus Foretold

26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”

29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”

34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”

35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called[a] the Son of God. 36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. 37 For no word from God will ever fail.”

38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.

 

Luke 2:1-20

The Birth of Jesus

1 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2 (This was the first census that took place while[a] Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 And everyone went to their own town to register.

4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

___

And so to you all, our loved ones, whether we are near or far, we want to wish to you, from our house to yours …..

“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”

Mandy & Dan Bruscella

Sabrina & Henry Hilliard & Landon

Danny & Melissa Bruscella

___

http://mandyspathministry-ulc.webs.com

Copyright © 2011 “MandysPath” Ministry-ULC

Thought For The Day 12/23/11

Standard

The Sacrifice!

___

___

Although no sculptured marble should rise to their memory, nor engraved stone bear record of their deeds, yet will their remembrance be as lasting as the land they honored.

Daniel Webster

___

Today I read a story that broke my heart. But I am very certain it is a story that is more “the norm” than “the exception”! It is a story of a true American hero who, now home on leave, is struggling, just like millions of us are these days! He is also a man who, determined to give his children as happy a Christmas as he can, has chosen to part with an honor bestowed upon him by a grateful nation!

___

The person making this sacrifice has asked that his privacy be respected and it has been. His name has not been released by the person to whom he went to for financial help. Although the story is now known, and he has been offered the opportunity of being interviewed to provide his side as well as his opinion on the plight of returning service members, he has declined despite the possibility that to accept might just have proven financially lucrative. Honor and self-respect such as this is not as common a commodity today as one might believe, which just might explain the very reason he had the opportunity of parting with the item I am about to reveal to you all.

___

In November, a serviceman on leave went to the A-Z Outlet in Holland, Michigan, a pawn shop owned by Bryan VandenBosch, and sold one of his two Purple Hearts. (The Purple Heart award was established in 1932 and is awarded by the President to anyone wounded or killed while serving in the armed forces.) He earned them after he was wounded while serving in Afghanistan. He told the same story to the shop owner that most tell when entering this particular business…..that he was falling on hard times! And, despite their service to our country, veterans struggle more than most. The veteran unemployment rate in Michigan, where this story takes place, is almost 30 percent, triple the state’s overall unemployment rate and higher than that of any other state.

___

Our military heroes give so much to us all and get so little in return. I know. My nephew and niece are both Marines and their commitment to service for their country has caused them months apart as a family, felt more acutely now that they have a child of their own. I admire the commitment and courage they show in the face of adversity such as this and I want you all to know how much I love them and how proud I am of them. And because they are my heroes, I am going to ask something of you all, in their honor.

___

For

 Cpl George Murphy, USMC

 &

Cpl Brittnye Hurt, USMC

___

Most of us know someone who is serving or has served at one time in our Armed Forces. So I am asking that each of you reach out to these people and thank them for what they have given to us all. And if you are able, I want you to do something special for them. Perhaps you can try writing a letter of thanks. Or perhaps you can give a token gift, such as a book. Or, perhaps, you might invite them to dinner one night. The size of the gift is of little consequence. The point is to let them know you are grateful and that you care! And I think that is a gift all of us can afford this Christmas!

___

“And he said to them, “Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God after it has come with power.””

Mark 9:1 ESV

___

http://mandyspathministry-ulc.webs.com

Copyright © 2011 “MandysPath” Ministry-ULC

Thought For The Day 12/22/11

Standard

A Spiritual Rebirth

___

___

A day is Eternity’s seed, and we are its Gardeners.

Erika Harris

___

Did you know it was possible to be reborn? I’m not talking about our original birth….the one which we celebrate yearly as we complete another revolution around the sun. I’m talking about spiritual rebirth!

___

 We enter this world an innocent and live and grow into the purpose we are given for our lives at the time we emerge from our mother’s bodies! But that is not the only nor the final purpose we are afforded in the course of that yearly solar revolution that we make.

___

We are given the opportunity of spiritual rebirth if we choose to take within us and forever hold close in our hearts, a belief in God the Father. This does not free us from the part of us that keeps us fixed as part of our birth families. But rather, it extends to us a new family to hold close. A family that is bonded by a love greater than the mortal love that we know as sons, daughters, sisters and brothers. For we are reborn into the arms and into the love one can only feel and know as a child of God! And that is the greatest love story there can ever be!

___

“Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

John 3:3-8

___

http://mandyspathministry-ulc.webs.com

Copyright © 2011 “MandysPath” Ministry-ULC

Thought For The Day 12/21/11

Standard

The Christmas Angels

___

___

Angels have no philosophy but love.

Terri Guillemets

___

The following story has been hitting the internet like a house on fire and I have done my part to see that it continues to move at lightning speed from reader to reader by sharing it every time I possibly can. It is generosity of the human spirit demonstrated at the highest level humanly possible and I am in awe of these many mysterious men and women who are bringing the true meaning of Christmas to so many who truly deserve to have a happy Christmas!

___

Anonymous Donors Pay Off K-Mart Lay-away Accounts

___

 By Margery a. Beck, Associated Press/AP

Friday, December 16th, 2011 11:33 AM EST

___

 OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — The young father stood in line at the Kmart layaway counter, wearing dirty clothes and worn-out boots. With him were three small children.

He asked to pay something on his bill because he knew he wouldn’t be able to afford it all before Christmas. Then a mysterious woman stepped up to the counter.

“She told him, ‘No, I’m paying for it,'” recalled Edna Deppe, assistant manager at the store in Indianapolis. “He just stood there and looked at her and then looked at me and asked if it was a joke. I told him it wasn’t, and that she was going to pay for him. And he just busted out in tears.”

At Kmart stores across the country, Santa seems to be getting some help: Anonymous donors are paying off strangers’ layaway accounts, buying the Christmas gifts other families couldn’t afford, especially toys and children’s clothes set aside by impoverished parents.

Before she left the store Tuesday evening, the Indianapolis woman in her mid-40s had paid the layaway orders for as many as 50 people. On the way out, she handed out $50 bills and paid for two carts of toys for a woman in line at the cash register.

“She was doing it in the memory of her husband who had just died, and she said she wasn’t going to be able to spend it and wanted to make people happy with it,” Deppe said. The woman did not identify herself and only asked people to “remember Ben,” an apparent reference to her husband.

Deppe, who said she’s worked in retail for 40 years, had never seen anything like it.

“It was like an angel fell out of the sky and appeared in our store,” she said.

Most of the donors have done their giving secretly.

Dona Bremser, an Omaha nurse, was at work when a Kmart employee called to tell her that someone had paid off the $70 balance of her layaway account, which held nearly $200 in toys for her 4-year-old son.

“I was speechless,” Bremser said. “It made me believe in Christmas again.”

Dozens of other customers have received similar calls in Nebraska, Michigan, Iowa, Indiana and Montana.

The benefactors generally ask to help families who are squirreling away items for young children. They often pay a portion of the balance, usually all but a few dollars or cents so the layaway order stays in the store’s system.

The phenomenon seems to have begun in Michigan before spreading, Kmart executives said.

“It is honestly being driven by people wanting to do a good deed at this time of the year,” said Salima Yala, Kmart’s division vice president for layaway.

The good Samaritans seem to be visiting mainly Kmart stores, though a Wal-Mart spokesman said a few of his stores in Joplin, Mo., and Chicago have also seen some layaway accounts paid off.

Kmart representatives say they did nothing to instigate the secret Santas or spread word of the generosity. But it’s happening as the company struggles to compete with chains such as Wal-Mart and Target.

Kmart may be the focus of layaway generosity, Yala said, because it is one of the few large discount stores that has offered layaway year-round for about four decades. Under the program, customers can make purchases but let the store hold onto their merchandise as they pay it off slowly over several weeks.

The sad memories of layaways lost prompted at least one good Samaritan to pay off the accounts of five people at an Omaha Kmart, said Karl Graff, the store’s assistant manager.

“She told me that when she was younger, her mom used to set up things on layaway at Kmart, but they rarely were able to pay them off because they just didn’t have the money for it,” Graff said.

He called a woman who had been helped, “and she broke down in tears on the phone with me. She wasn’t sure she was going to be able to pay off their layaway and was afraid their kids weren’t going to have anything for Christmas.”

“You know, 50 bucks may not sound like a lot, but I tell you what, at the right time, it may as well be a million dollars for some people,” Graff said.

Graff’s store alone has seen about a dozen layaway accounts paid off in the last 10 days, with the donors paying $50 to $250 on each account.

“To be honest, in retail, it’s easy to get cynical about the holidays, because you’re kind of grinding it out when everybody else is having family time,” Graff said. “It’s really encouraging to see this side of Christmas again.”

Lori Stearnes of Omaha also benefited from the generosity of a stranger who paid all but $58 of her $250 layaway bill for toys for her four youngest grandchildren.

Stearnes said she and her husband live paycheck to paycheck, but she plans to use the money she was saving for the toys to help pay for someone else’s layaway.

In Missoula, Mont., a man spent more than $1,200 to pay down the balances of six customers whose layaway orders were about to be returned to a Kmart store’s inventory because of late payments.

Store employees reached one beneficiary on her cellphone at Seattle Children’s Hospital, where her son was being treated for an undisclosed illness.

“She was yelling at the nurses, ‘We’re going to have Christmas after all!'” store manager Josine Murrin said.

A Kmart in Plainfield Township, Mich., called Roberta Carter last week to let her know a man had paid all but 40 cents of her $60 layaway.

Carter, a mother of eight from Grand Rapids, Mich., said she cried upon hearing the news. She and her family have been struggling as she seeks a full-time job.

“My kids will have clothes for Christmas,” she said.

Angie Torres, a stay-at-home mother of four children under the age of 8, was in the Indianapolis Kmart on Tuesday to make a payment on her layaway bill when she learned the woman next to her was paying off her account.

“I started to cry. I couldn’t believe it,” said Torres, who doubted she would have been able to pay off the balance. “I was in disbelief. I hugged her and gave her a kiss.”

___

“And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”

Matthew 24:31

___

http://mandyspathministry-ulc.webs.com

Thought For The Day 12/20/11

Standard

Putting Your Money Where Your Mouth Is!

___

___

We have a choice every day – to act on yesterday’s good intentions or get an early start on tomorrow’s regrets.

Robert Brault

 www.robertbrault.com

___

Yesterday Dan and I decided to increase the community economy here where we live in SC. Now as I have mentioned before, we live near Myrtle Beach, which is definitely a tourist driven community. Summer weeks sees our highways filled with tourists eager to part with their hard-earned dollars at our resorts and many entertainment venues that dot not just Highway 17 along what we locals lovingly refer to as “The Grand Strand” but the entire length of Highway 17 which begins at the North Carolina state line and ends at the Georgia border. Yes, our economy is wonderful from May to October but come the colder months of November through April, our shopping malls sit mostly empty of shoppers…..except for those of us locals who do what we must to boost our cold weather economy! And so today, Dan and I explored our community.

___

We first of all had our oil changed by a local dealership manned by hard-working local men and women. Always smiling, we returned the greeting at every opportunity. We then made our foray through our local supermarket, spending even more as we purchased what we would need for our holiday dinner. We capped our adventure going to our local car wash where we decided to have our car cleaned from stem to stern by a team of hard-working, mostly younger people.

___

We tried to be as generous at each place we stopped not just with our dollars but with our smiles and words of praise for jobs well done by hardworking men and women. And  boy did my heart feel good at the end of the day, because I knew we were trying to give back to so many who give us so much all year long. It’s very easy to be generous of heart and spirit at Christmas time. The important thing is not to forget to be the same way the rest of the time…..something that is, perhaps, not as easy to do as one might think! But hey, taking baby steps is the place to start and once you do, that same spirit can follow you every day and every where you journey!

___

Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellow man has fulfilled the law.

Romans 13:8

___

http://mandyspathministry-ulc.webs.com

Copyright © 2011 “MandysPath” Ministry-ULC

Thought For The Day 12/19/11

Standard

Change Your Thinking

___

___

___

If nothing ever changed, there’d be no butterflies.

Author Unknown

___

You’ve all heard the old saying “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure” but how many of you have actually sat down and thought deeply about just what the message of that saying really is? I, for one, really haven’t nor has any person in my family when I asked them about it. However, I read this next post which definitely gave me pause to consider my very own trash to treasure conversions and I just knew it was something I needed to share with you all as well. So the next time someone you know decides to throw something away, whether it’s something tangible or intangible, why not grab it up and see what miraculous transformation you can recreate that trash into. I’m betting you will surprise yourself at your ingenuity and once you effect this metamorphosis, give a second to thank the man upstairs that gave you that little nudge to re-evaluate the worth of the thing in the first place!

___

It will take just 37 seconds to read this and change your thinking..

___

Two men, both seriously ill, occupied the same hospital room.

One man was allowed to sit up in his bed for an hour each afternoon to help drain the fluid from his lungs.

His bed was next to the room’s only window.

The other man had to spend all his time flat on his back.

The men talked for hours on end.

They spoke of their wives and families, their homes, their jobs, their involvement in the military service, where they had been on vacation..

Every afternoon, when the man in the bed by the window could sit up, he would pass the time by describing to his roommate all the things he could see outside the window.

The man in the other bed began to live for those one hour periods where his world would be broadened and enlivened by all the activity and colour of the world outside.

The window overlooked a park with a lovely lake.

Ducks and swans played on the water while children sailed their model boats. Young lovers walked arm in arm amidst flowers of every colour and a fine view of the city skyline could be seen in the distance.

As the man by the window described all this in exquisite details, the man on the other side of the room would close his eyes and imagine this picturesque scene.

One warm afternoon, the man by the window described a parade passing by. Although the other man could not hear the band – he could see it in his mind’s eye as the gentleman by the window portrayed it with descriptive words.

Days, weeks and months passed.

One morning, the day nurse arrived to bring water for their baths only to find the lifeless body of the man by the window, who had died peacefully in his sleep.

She was saddened and called the hospital attendants to take the body away.

As soon as it seemed appropriate, the other man asked if he could be moved next to the window. The nurse was happy to make the switch, and after making sure he was comfortable, she left him alone. 

Slowly, painfully, he propped himself up on one elbow to take his first look at the real world outside. He strained to slowly turn to look out the window besides the bed.

It faced a blank wall.

The man asked the nurse what could have compelled his deceased roommate who had described such wonderful things outside this window.

The nurse responded that the man was blind and could not even see the wall. 

She said, ‘Perhaps he just wanted to encourage you.’

___

Epilogue:

There is tremendous happiness in making others happy, despite our own situations. Shared grief is half the sorrow, but happiness when shared, is doubled. If you want to feel rich, just count all the things you have that money can’t buy.

‘Today is a gift, that is why it is called The Present .’

___

The origin of this writing is unknown!

___

For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord — who is the Spirit — makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.

2 Corinthians 3:17-18

___

http://mandyspathministry-ulc.webs.com

Copyright © 2011 “MandysPath” Ministry-ULC

Thought For The Day 12/18/11

Standard

O Come All Ye Faithful!

___

___

May Peace be your gift at Christmas and your blessing all year through!

Author Unknown

___

I am giving both you and myself an early Christmas present today by sharing a video recorded and sung by my dear friend Michael Fawcett. Michael and I went to High School together, and were often rivals for solos in musical productions. Fortunately for us all, I did not continue to sing except for my own pleasure. However, Michael’s talent continues to this day as he brings so many beautiful Christmas songs to life on YouTube. Please check them out  by visiting http://www.youtube.com  and entering “michaelf12” in the search box!

___

Michael’s version  of “O Come All Ye Faithful” was his gift to someone very special in his life and was meant to transform this hymn into a very special rendition by incorporating the triumphal pageantry it so richly deserves!

___

English

___

O come, all ye faithful,

Joyful and triumphant!

O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem;

Come and behold him

Born the King of Angels:

___

Chorus:

O come, let us adore Him,

O come, let us adore Him,

O come, let us adore Him,

Christ the Lord.

___

Sing, choirs of angels,

Sing in exultation,

Sing, all ye citizens of Heaven above!

Glory to God

In the highest:

___

Chorus

___

Yea, Lord, we greet thee,

Born this happy morning;

Jesus, to thee be glory given!

Word of the Father,

Now in flesh appearing!

___

Chorus

___

Latin

___

Adeste fideles laeti triumphantes,

Venite, venite in Bethlehem.

Natum videte Regem angelorum.

___

Venite adoremus (ter)

Dominum.

___

Deum de Deo, lumen de lumine,

Gestant puellae viscera.

Deum verum, genitum non factum.

___

Venite adoremus (ter)

Dominum.

___

Cantet nunc ‘Io’, chorus angelorum;

Cantet nunc aula caelestium,

Gloria! Soli Deo Gloria!

___

Venite adoremus (ter)

Dominum.

___

Ergo qui natus die hodierna.

Jesu, tibi sit gloria,

Patris aeterni Verbum caro factum.

___

Venite adoremus (ter)

Dominum.

___

To see the video, click on the link below!

http://youtu.be/i5GFKfWY2KA

___

http://mandyspathministry-ulc.webs.com

Copyright © 2011 “MandysPath” Ministry-ULC