Monthly Archives: August 2012

Thought For The Day 08/31/12

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The Sun Sets

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Shelter For My Soul by aramisfirefly

http://www.photographyblogger.net/beautiful-sunset-pictures/

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Nobody can do everything, but everyone can do something. 

Author Unknown

http://www.quotegarden.com/helping.html

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Today with God’s blessing (and man’s decision not to act irrationally or violently), the sun will set once more and with it comes the unofficial end to what many of us consider to be the last work week of summer. Yes, the Autumnal Equinox does not really occur until September 22, 2012 at 10:49AM EDT, however you all know what I mean. The kids, if not already back attending classes for the new school year, will be within the next few days. That last opportunity for a family summer adventure will be a thing of the past, put once again on hold until a brand new year and new summer season dawns bright and crisp once more. And yet, new adventures await us all even now as day light hours dwindle and nighttime skies, hazy and star hidden, overcast with the humidity that is to be found on an August night, gives way to the freshening cooling breezes and the clear, star twinkling scene that awaits our view in September! Yes, there is a season for everything that happens under heaven.

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The changing season. His example of the proof He offers that there is no time like the present to rewrite our story. A chance to rectify and atone for past sins because He is a merciful God. In His infinite wisdom, God opens the door for us all, to get things right once more, not just with ourselves, but with Him, as well! Second chances! A treasure right there in front of our faces, just for the taking! And while we might sometimes question the view of God as merciful as we see bad things happening in the world all around us, mercy is, indeed His nature. After all, He sent His son to earth to die for the sole purpose of paying the penalty for the sin of the rest of us so that we have the opportunity of grabbing those second chances that are right in front of our noses. It is a deal He offers to every one of us. Whether or not we choose to seize the opportunity is another matter entirely. That choice rests solely on our own shoulders because of the decision He made to allow us free will. And I know that the times we see the heartbreaking things that happen around us, it is because we that have turned away from Him, not He from us! Just think about this one thing when you doubt! In Psalm 136, God tells us 26 times that His love and mercy endures forever. 26 times!

Psalm 136

(TNIV)

1 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.    His love endures forever.

2 Give thanks to the God of gods.     His love endures forever.

3 Give thanks to the Lord of lords:     His love endures forever.

4 to him who alone does great wonders,     His love endures forever.

5 who by his understanding made the heavens,     His love endures forever.

6 who spread out the earth upon the waters,     His love endures forever.

7 who made the great lights—     His love endures forever.

8 the sun to govern the day,     His love endures forever.

9 the moon and stars to govern the night;     His love endures forever.

10 to him who struck down the firstborn of Egypt     His love endures forever.

11 and brought Israel out from among them     His love endures forever.

12 with a mighty hand and outstretched arm;     His love endures forever.

13 to him who divided the Red Sea asunder     His love endures forever.

14 and brought Israel through the midst of it,     His love endures forever.

15 but swept Pharaoh and his army into the Red Sea;     His love endures forever.

16 to him who led his people through the wilderness;     His love endures forever.

17 to him who struck down great kings,     His love endures forever.

18 and killed mighty kings—     His love endures forever.

19 Sihon king of the Amorites     His love endures forever.

20 and Og king of Bashan—     His love endures forever.

21 and gave their land as an inheritance,     His love endures forever.

22 an inheritance to his servant Israel.     His love endures forever.

23 He remembered us in our low estate     His love endures forever.

24 and freed us from our enemies.     His love endures forever.

25 He gives food to every creature.     His love endures forever.

26 Give thanks to the God of heaven.     His love endures forever.

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I posted this once before but it is worth seeing and hearing once more.  Uploaded on May 15, 2007, it is a video a student made for his World Geography Class project using the song “Turn! Turn! Turn! (to Everything There Is A Season)” By the Byrds. Click the link to view the YouTube video!

http://youtu.be/fHvf20Y6eoM

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4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.

Ephesians 2:4-5 NIV

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Copyright © 2011-2012 “MandysPath” Ministry

Thought For The Day 08/30/12

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Woodwork Angels

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Act as if what you do makes a difference.  It does. 

William James

http://www.quotegarden.com/helping.html

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I once read a story that is as fresh in my mind today as it was the day I read it for the first time. My memory of the tale was not because it was exactly an earth shattering and memorable story, but because to an extent, it mirrored my life,  when I was young and newly married and struggling. It was called “The Woodwork Angel”. It is a true story.

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There was once a young person who was struggling to pay for a college education with no assistance from family when suddenly, calamity strikes in the form of a bad toothache. Needing dental work, but having no money to pay for the care, the student finds a clinic near campus, and makes an appointment. Now the dentist tells the student that his mouth is in bad shape (surprise, surprise) and he requires extensive treatment. The student begins to rise from the chair, eyes filling with tears, convinced he was going to be turned away. Instead, the dentist urges him to sit and he talks and asks the young man what is wrong. Pouring out his story to the kind man, the dentist looks into reddened eyes and asks the student if he plans on graduating from college. The student, of course, answers yes. And looking the young man in the eye, the dentist says, when you get a job after you graduate, you can pay me back! For many weeks he performs dental care on the student. And true to his promise, after graduating and securing a job, the young man repays the loan in full.

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My story was not so different. A student who had married before graduating from college, even though my tuition was paid by my family, my husband and I still needed to maintain a home and cover expenses. Unfortunately, upon returning from our honeymoon, we discovered that Dan had been laid off from his job with New York City in the fiscal crisis that struck the city in 1975. He was unable to find work and I was struggling to work full-time and attend my last year of college classes full-time. And then one day, I too developed a toothache. I had suffered for a number of days when one of my professors saw my distress and asked what was wrong. Tears in my eyes, I told her that I needed dental care and could not afford it. She asked me if I planned to continue working after I graduated and my answer was yes. And she told me she would loan me the money to pay for my care and I was to pay her back after I graduated and had been able to secure a better job in my chosen field. And like the young man in the story, I kept my word to this generous woman!

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I did not understand the title for the story whose words mirrored my own life until they were explained to me by the author but then I found it all making perfect sense. You see, a “woodwork angel” refers to someone who is part of the circle of people we interact with but whose importance is not really seen or felt. Like the woodwork in a home, we know it’s there. It may be beautiful but it seems insignificant in the general scheme of things relating to how we live our lives. And then something disastrous happens and we suddenly find ourselves not knowing which way to turn. And just as suddenly, these angels enter our lives and their generosity of spirit and kindness of heart serves to forever change the way we see the world and the people in it. Yes, I paid my angel back but even more than that, I determined that I would try to make a difference in the life of another lost and struggling someone, if ever the opportunity presented itself. And true to the promise I made to myself all those years ago, I had the opportunity of paying her generosity forward by helping a young person who was a family acquaintance, get on her feet after she found herself being abused at home.

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Do you remember the story related in John chapter 13 about Jesus humbling himself by washing the dust from the feet of his Disciples? Despite their protestations, he washes and dries each pair of feet, and tells them that they may not understand why he is doing this now but they will! The answer comes in John 13: 12-15  which tells us  12) When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. 13)“You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14)Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.  15)I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Just as Jesus showed kindness of heart and generosity of spirit as he washed dirty feet, so must we also render acts of kindness and service on behalf of others! It is what out Heavenly Father expects from us and I think it is the least we can do for all of the blessings He has bestowed upon us! Like a snowball rolling down a hill, you may never know the magnitude of what you will have started by paying your own blessings forward, but I guarantee that it might just be enough to change the world for someone else!

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 28) Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.

Matthew 20:28 NIV

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Copyright © 2011-2012 “MandysPath” Ministry

Thought For The Day 08/29/12

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Down Memory Lane!

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Susan_Bogert_Warner_002.jpg

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The church is the great lost and found department. 

Robert Short

http://www.quotegarden.com/religion.html

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If there is one song that nearly every Christian (and even some non Christians too) are familiar with it has to be the one I’m going to talk about. Originally written as a part of a novel written and published in two volumes by Susan Bogert Warner (July 11, 1819 – March 17, 1885) in conjunction with her younger sister, Anna Bartlett Warner, in the 1860 release of “Say and Seal”. The poem was included and intended as comforting words being related to a dying child. The music was added in 1862 by William Batchelde Bradbury, who also added the famous chorus to the song. And, of course, the song I refer to is “Jesus Loves Me”! For any of you who might be interested, the book is actually included as a free Google e-book (Here is the link to the book with 2 volumes in 1 edition)!

http://books.google.com/books/about/Say_and_seal.html?id=t201AAAAMAAJ

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Susan Warner was a writer of children’s books as well as theological fiction. Born the daughter of a wealthy lawyer (her mother died when she was a child), her father lost his fortune following the “Panic of 1837” following many lawsuits and bad investments. The family was forced from their New York City mansion and moved to a farmhouse on Constitution Island, near West Point. Because there was no change in their means, both Susan and  Anna began writing as a means of earning money.

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Originally praised for her Christian and moral teachings, Susan Warner was later dismissed by many critics as overly sentimental and lacking in literary value. Brought to faith as a teen, she and her sister first followed Presbyterian doctrine but later, Miss Warner began following the Methodist doctrine. Both she and her sister held Bible studies for West Point Cadets, who were found singing the song we have come to love, “Jesus Loves Me”, during their military duty. Soon becoming one of the most popular Christian hymns worldwide, Susan was, upon her death, honored by the institution whose students she ministered to and was buried in the West Point Cemetery.

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JESUS LOVES ME

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Jesus loves me! This I know

As He loved so long ago

Taking Children on His knee

Saying, “Let them come to Me.”

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Chorus:

Yes, Jesus loves me!

Yes, Jesus loves me!

Yes, Jesus loves me!

The Bible tells me so!

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Jesus loves me when I’m good,

When I do the things I should,

Jesus loves me when I’m bad,

Though it makes Him very sad.

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Chorus:

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Jesus loves me still today,

Walking with me on my way,

Wanting as a friend to give

Light and love to all who live.

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Chorus:

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Jesus loves me! He who died

Heaven’s gate to open wide;

He will wash away my sin,

Let His little child come in.

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Chorus:

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Jesus loves me! Loves me still

Tho’ I’m very weak and ill;

That I might from sin be free

Bled and died upon the tree.

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Chorus:

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Jesus loves me! He will stay

Close beside me all the way;

Thou hast bled and died for me,

I will henceforth live for Thee.

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There have been some slight changes to update the wording of “Jesus Loves Me” throughout the years and in many later publications, the stanza about the ill child was eliminated completely because it was thought to be frightening for children to hear. However every revision remains true to the intent of the remarkable woman who authored it so long ago. And this includes a recent version I was given by a friend and colleague, Greg Marshall, and although I had heard these new words before, I thank him for reminding me of them just the other day! It is “Jesus Loves Me”, but with a twist, and it is a version that I find very comforting as I am not just growing in years, but growing in matters of faith, as well! It somehow serves to remind me that no matter how old we get and how much we change on the outside, true faith rests on the inside, in the child’s heart that we all have hidden, somewhere, within us!

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JESUS LOVES ME

(Senior Version)

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Jesus Loves me, this I know,

Though my hair is white as snow

Though my sight is growing dim

Still He bids me trust in Him.

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 Chorus:

Yes, Jesus loves me,

Yes, Jesus loves me.

Yes, Jesus loves me,

For the Bible tells me so.

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  Though my steps are oh, so slow,

With my hand in His I’ll go

 On through life, let come what may,

He’ll be there to lead the way. 

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Chorus:

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When the nights are dark and long,

In my heart He puts a song.

Telling me in words so clear,

“Have no fear, for I am near.”

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Chorus:

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 When my work on earth is done,

And life’s victories have been won.

He will take me home above,

Then I’ll understand His love. 

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Chorus:

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  I love Jesus, does He know?

Have I ever told Him so?

Jesus loves to hear me say,

That I love Him every day.

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Chorus:

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 I am including a powerful version of the song sung with a soulful twist by the late, great Whitney Houston, recorded during a live performance in Santiago Chile. Click to view and hear the YouTube video of the performance. (It is a low definition recording.)

http://youtu.be/uHm9Ggdanyo

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There is also a YouTube performance of the Senior Version, performed by a trio of talented seniors, Hilton Griswold (singing) on piano, John Wannemaker on cello and his wife Ethel on the organ. I am including the link for that, as well!

http://youtu.be/W2H7gSl9hGI

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6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates.

Deuteronomy 6:6-9 NIV

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 6 Let thy talk be with the wise, and all thy communication in the law of the most High.   

Ben Sira 9:6 KJVA

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Copyright © 2011-2012 “MandysPath” Ministry

Thought For The Day 08/28/12

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Day To Night To Day Again!

Together Making It A Better World

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http://www.petapixel.com/2011/08/15/incredible-photos-that-capture-day-turning-into-night/

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It’s like this.  Father Time keeps pitching the years at us.  We swing and miss at a few.  We hit a few out of the park.  We try not to take any called strikes. 

Robert Brault

www.robertbrault.com

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If there is one thing most of us find to be difficult to reconcile with, it really has to be the fact that, as much as we might like for it to be otherwise, we can not stop the revolutions around the sun that herald yet another birthday. And speaking from my own perspective as a middle-aged female living in a society the seems to dote on and idolize youth, I know that there are more times than I care to admit, where I can feel myself becoming lost in the avalanche that is the tendency to focus solely on those whose lives give us a glimpse of the promise of what our future will be.

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So many of our young people will get right in our faces as they proclaim that we’ve had our chance to set the world we live in to rights and we have failed abysmally. They are also equally fast to proclaim to us that “we ain’t seen nothin yet” as they offer assurances that they will be able to fix the things we have been unable to repair ourselves, so far. And while I may be among the generation they stick up their noses to, it is my fervent hope and prayer that they will, indeed, succeed where we have not. But I offer a caveat to all of those who seem to be unable to wait for the day when the fight becomes theirs. Only promise what you can deliver and then deliver more than what it is you promise!

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Pay close attention to the successes and failures of those of us that go before you. Build on the successes you see and pay close heed to the failures. Because everything we witness serves to provide for us the wherewithal to become not just successful but to thrive in days that will be fraught with the propensity for failure. Just because our hair is grey, our eyesight dimmed, our hearing sporadic, and our step slowed,  do not for a single minute underestimate the value of what we have shared up till now and will continue to share with the world until the moment we no longer draw breath.

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In 1 Peter 5: 1-14, we are told, “So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” And before you criticize me for quoting scripture, stop and really think about the words. We, an older generation, are being told that we must help you to temper the impulses to act rashly in your approach to what you do. We have been there done that and as such, know the perils of choosing to move forward without meticulous care and planning. And yes, the passage refers to matters of faith but does not life require our faith in the things we want to effect change in? Do we not hope that through the actions we undertake, that the things we do will be the best for all and, more importantly, make the world a better place for future generations?

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11) He hath made  every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set  the world in their heart, so that no man can find out  the work that God maketh  from the beginning to the end.

Ecclesiastes 3:11 KJVA

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3) When as therefore the first Jesus died, leaving this book almost perfected, Sirach his son receiving it after him left it to his own son Jesus, who, having gotten it into his hands, compiled it all orderly into one volume, and called it Wisdom, intituling it both by his own name, his father’s name, and his grandfather’s; alluring the hearer by the very name of Wisdom to have a greater love to the study of this book.  

Ben Sira 52:3 KJVA

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Copyright © 2011-2012 “MandysPath” Ministry

Thought For The Day 08/27/12

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The World Is A Very Small Place 

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http://www#mcclatchydc#com/2012/08/23/163282/whereabouts-of-journalist-austin#html

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News is history shot on the wing.

Gene Fowler

Skyline

http://www#quotegarden#com/media#html

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I am not a journalist in any sense of the word. I am merely one woman who began a rather extraordinary adventure 18 months ago and who has made a decision to share my heart and mind with you as I make this journey. Discovering faith when you thought it was lost is quite an amazing and rather humbling experience. It has become even more special since it has served to connect me to a group of very disparate people, all of whom I am now lucky enough to call friends. They are you all and the many people whose lives I touch through the social media site, Facebook. These friends hail from every continent except for Antarctica. and include at least one person from a country that has been in the news recently because of the internal political strife its people find themselves embroiled in. I hope that the person from Syria who has read my posts is OK. I have no way of knowing because I do not know more about them except that they have shared my thoughts. And it is to them that I have decided to share this essay that appeared on the Facebook page of Austin Tice, a law student and former US Marine, who had chosen to embed within Syria and to share his experiences with McClatchy, the Washington Post and other media outlets.  Austin’s Twitter and Facebook feed is now silent. Austin has not been heard from for the last week. He was sharing the journey God placed his feet upon with us all through his writings and we are all the better for having shared them. His family has allowed this last Facebook post shared by Austin on Wednesday, July 25, 2012 at 7:44 pm, to be published on editorial pages throughout the world. It is my fervent hope that he is safe and sound and to that end I am asking prayers from you all this day. In the mean time, here are Austin’s words!

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Don’t Tell Me To Be Safe

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Against my better judgment, I’m posting this on Facebook. Flame away.

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People keep telling me to be safe as if that’s an option, keep asking me why I’m doing this crazy thing, keep asking what’s wrong with me for coming here. So listen.

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Our granddads stormed Normandy and Iwo Jima and defeated global fascism. Neil Armstrong flew to the moon in a glorified trashcan, doing math on a clipboard as he went. Before there were roads, the pioneers put one foot in front of the other until they walked across the entire continent. Then a bunch of them went down to fight and die in Texas ’cause they thought it was the right thing to do.
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Sometime between when our granddads licked the Nazis and when we started putting warnings on our coffee cups about the temperature of our beverage, America lost that pioneering spirit. We became a fat, weak, complacent, coddled, unambitious and cowardly nation. I went off to two wars with misguided notions of patriotism and found in both that the first priority was to never get killed, something we could have achieved from our living rooms in America with a lot less hassle. To protect careers and please the politicians, we weighed ourselves down with enough armor to break a man’s back, gorged on RipIts and ice cream, and believed our own press that we were doing something noble. Our granddads would have whipped us.

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We kill ourselves every day with McDonald’s and alcohol and a thousand other drugs, but we’ve lost the sense that there actually are things out there worth dying for. We’ve given away our freedoms piecemeal to robber barons, but we’re too complacent to do much but criticize those few who try to point out the obvious. Americans have lost their sense of vision, mistaking asinine partisan squabbles for principles. When we do venture into space – the part of space we’ve gotten comfortable with, mind you – now we pay the Russians to give us a ride. That’s humiliating.

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So that’s why I came here to Syria, and it’s why I like being here now, right now, right in the middle of a brutal and still uncertain civil war. Every person in this country fighting for their freedom wakes up every day and goes to sleep every night with the knowledge that death could visit them at any moment. They accept that reality as the price of freedom. They realize there are things worth fighting for, and instead of sitting around wringing their hands about it, or asking their lawyer to file an injunction about it, they’re out there just doing it.  They’re alive in a way that almost no Americans today even know how to be. They live with greater passion and dream with greater ambition because they are not afraid of death.

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Neither were the pioneers. Neither were our granddads. Neither was Neil Armstrong. And neither am I.

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No, I don’t have a death wish – I have a life wish. So I’m living, in a place, at a time and with a people where life means more than anywhere I’ve ever been – because every single day people here lay down their own for the sake of others. Coming here to Syria is the greatest thing I’ve ever done, and it’s the greatest feeling of my life.

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It is easy to live life safely. That is what most people choose for themselves. But living safely is not always what it is God wants for us. It was not what he asked of me. He asked for me to go out and share my heart with you. And I suspect this is the same thing he asked of Austin Tice. I have never regretted for a single moment this path I started, even when I have been subjected to the slings and arrows of others. I know, from reading these special words, that Austin has not regretted any part of the life he has been living either. Have we both been afraid of the things we might encounter on these journeys we have both set our feet upon? I know that I have been and I and betting Austin was, as well. But we did what it was we were compelled to do. And while I can not speak as to whether Austin considers his path to have been God driven, I can state with certainty that I believe it was, just as surely as mine has been for me. And for me, I must say thank you God!

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11) Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.

Psalm 16:11 KJV

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1) Then Judith began to sing this thanksgiving in all Israel, and all the people sang after her this song of praise. 2) And Judith said, Begin unto my God with timbrels, sing unto my Lord with cymbals: tune unto him a new psalm: exalt him, and call upon his name. 3) For God breaketh the battles: for among the camps in the midst of the people he hath delivered me out of the hands of them that persecuted me.

Judith 16: 1-3 KJVA

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Copyright © 2011-2012 “MandysPath” Ministry

Thought For The Day 08/26/12

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Amazing Grace Hymn

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http://media.photobucket.com/image/gods%20grace/MsIndependent58/GodsGrace.jpg?o=18

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God’s gifts put man’s best dreams to shame.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning

http://www.quotegarden.com/god.html

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We’ve all heard it. Many of us have been reduced to tears as the pipes share the mournful and yet soulful tune. And the lyrics…..it seems to me as if they had to have been written in the heavens by angels wings. If you think “Amazing Grace” is one of my very favorite hymns, you would be correct. But how many of you really know the history of the song?

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Amazing Grace” is a Christian hymn published in 1779….just 3 years after the American colonies became a one nation, under God! The words were penned by an English poet and minister by the name of John Henry Newton (July 24, 1725 – December 21, 1807), and it was intended as a sermon about forgiveness and redemption. He shared that no matter the offense, the soul could be cleansed and delivered from despair by God’s mercy!

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Newton was raised without the benefit of religious training, and had a very unhappy family life, as well. In 1743, while on the way to visit some friends, Newton was captured and pressed into the naval service by the Royal Navy. He became a midshipman aboard HMS Harwich. During a brutal storm which nearly tore his ship apart, Newton cried out to God asking for his mercy, and thus began his conversion. He suffered 20 lashes in front of the entire crew after trying to desert but he remained and later transferred service to the Pegasus, a slave ship. A problem for the crew while aboard the vessel, he was forcibly removed and abandoned in Africa where he was enslaved by an African duchess, and abused horribly. He later likened his experience to that of the slaves he had himself brutalized at one time.

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He made it to freedom in 1748. Ordained in 1764 by the Church of England, he was the curate in Olney, Buckinghamshire. In later years, he became a strong supporter of the abolition of slavery. Intended as a sermon to be delivered New Years Day of 1773, “Amazing Grace” most probably was intoned by the congregation as it was not yet set to music. It remained a relatively unknown poem in England but became used extensively in the United States. In 1835, a tune named “New Brittain” was married to the lyrics, thus giving birth to the beautiful melody we know today! It is estimated that the song is performed in the neighborhood of 10 Million times annually!

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Amazing Grace Hymn

(complete version of the lyrics)

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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.

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‘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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Through many dangers, toils and snares, I have already come; ‘Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far, And grace will lead me home.

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The Lord has promised good to me, His word my hope secures; He will my shield and portion be, As long as life endures.

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Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail, And mortal life shall cease, I shall possess, within the veil, A life of joy and peace.

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The world shall soon dissolve like snow, The sun refuse to shine; But God, who called me here below, Shall be forever mine.

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When we’ve been there ten thousand years, Bright shining as the sun, We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise Than when we’d first begun.

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Enjoy this performance by a wonderful 7-year-old Gospel singer, Rhema Marvanne

http://www.RhemaMarvanne.com

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click to view her You Tube video of the song

http://youtu.be/DDDlxmsciqY

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7) But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift.

Ephesians 4:7

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59) And said, From thee cometh victory, from thee cometh wisdom, and thine is the glory, and I am thy servant. 60) Blessed art thou, who hast given me wisdom: for to thee I give thanks, O Lord of our fathers.

1 Esdra 4: 59-60

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Copyright © 2011-2012 “MandysPath” Ministry

Thought For The Day 08/25/12

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Chaos And Violence 

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http://alqatrah.net/en/edara/pic/violence.jpg

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And so, to the end of history, murder shall breed murder, always in the name of right and honor and peace, until the gods are tired of blood and create a race that can understand. 

George Bernard Shaw

“Caesar and Cleopatra”

http://quotegarden.com/violence.html

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Violence in today’s society seems to be, as sad as it may be for me to admit and us all to hear, nearly as common as is the common cold! In my recollection, I can not remember the last time I did not read in the paper or see on the TV the names of innocent people who have been struck down by the violent actions of someone or many someones who are either very disturbed or driven by the misguided belief that what they do is right. And while many times the report of victims contains but a single name, lately it seems to contain the names of multiple individuals who have been struck down. And more and more often, it seems that it is public places that are the scene of this violence. They are happening in places where we used to believe we were somehow insulated from such things touching our lives….movies, schools, churches and our workplace. We can no more prevent most of these tragedies from happening than we can crawl inside the head of the perpetrator of the violence to discover what it was that triggered the snap…and eruption of such total senselessness. We can but remain vigilant and concerned for those whose lives touch our own. And this does not require that we become heroes in the sense that heroism is generally recognized. All it means is that we be kind and caring in our dealings with others. We must be our brother’s keeper.

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We’ve all heard the phrase but do we really understand how it came to be and what it means? The phrase our brother’s keeper comes from Genesis. After Cain murders Abel, God questions him  about his brother, asking “Where is Abel thy brother?” And Cain’s response are these words, “I  know not: Am I my brother’s keeper?” (Genesis 4.9 KJV). Cain’s response has since become not just one of the most famous phrases in the Bible but it also has also become synonymous with how it is we are expected to behave towards the others who share our world with us. Did you know, for example, that the word “keeper” comes from the Hebrew word “shaw-mar” which means caretaker or custodian? It means more that one who simply acts as a baby-sitter. It implies a much higher level of responsibility such as might be rendered by a parent or other trusted nurturing figure. And indeed, that is what we must be! We must watch for those among us who are among the world’s downtrodden. We must tend to those who live in our communities. Do you have an elderly neighbor who lives alone? I know I do! Is there something we might do such as bring some fruit and a moment of our time to sit and have a cup of tea and make sure all is well? Or what about the child who seems to be crying for no reason that we can see on our street corner. Do we go to them and stop a minute and check to make sure that there is nothing seriously wrong? Or do we close our door and our hearts, to the plight of our brother? And even if we are reticent to act directly, have there been any other times when we see something that we know in our hearts, is just not right, but instead of reporting our fears to another agency such as the Police or Department of Social Services, we simply ignore the inner voice that is speaking to us? I must admit that I have been guilty of this myself. And yet, we ARE our brother’s keeper and if we do not act, who will? Is it not better to have been mistaken than it is to not have acted and have to live with a lifetime of regrets? I know I prefer the former choice because regrets become but a millstone around our necks and often affect not just our present happiness but can become barrier to enjoying our lifetime of tomorrows!

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“When a man makes a vow to the LORD or takes an oath to obligate himself by a pledge, he must not break his word but must do everything he said.”

Numbers 30:2 (NIV)

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Copyright © 2011-2012 “MandysPath” Ministry

Thought For The Day 08/24/12

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Where The Truth Lays

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“We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.”

Anais Nin

http://www.gardendigest.com/see.htm

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How many of you all have heard this expression…..”There’s one side and then there’s the other side and somewhere in the middle lies the truth“? Now I think that statement has become so pervasive AND accepted today because we have come to, somehow, see the truth (just 5 little letters) of something as a subjective thing. Now I have used the word subjective before but the truth (there’s that word again) of the matter is that you may not really know what I mean by the word. When we see something as subjective, we are basing our opinion of the thing by what we believe. And, of course, our beliefs are shaped by our attitudes or opinions without benefit of verifiable evidence. Which is why the truth (funny how often we find ourselves using that word) really doesn’t become an absolute for any of us, as it somehow exists out in some hazy place on the outskirts of reality! And so we travel through life seeing only our version of things usually without benefit of having another person with whom we have shared the exact same thing at the same time! Even when we appear in court to testify, we are brought to the front, we place our hand on the Bible and we take an oath to “tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help us God” and once again, while we are relating things from our own perspective which may not contain absolutes, we are threatened with a penalty if our version somehow is disproved by the evidence.

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The Bible is not quite as generous at allowing for the shades of grey that truth (again that little word) seems to be colored with. From the earliest days of the Old Testament, the taking of an oath is mentioned several hundred times. An oath, or a promise to be truthful, was not yet part of the law but part of the morality we all were programmed with by God when we were created, and was evidenced as early as the days of Abraham, when God made His covenant with him!

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1. “To you and your descendants I will give the land of Canaan — from the river Nile to the river Euphrates — for an ‘everlasting’ possession.” (Gen 12:7; 13:15; 15:19; 17:8)
2. “I will make you a great nation, and multiply you exceedingly, and bless you so.” (Gen 12:2; 13:16; 17:2)
3. “I will bless those who bless you, and curse those who curse you.” (Gen 12:3)
4. “Through your Seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, for I will make you the ‘father’ of a multitude of nations.” (Gen 12:3; 17:5; 22:18)

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God always keeps His word to us and in return, He expects the truth (at least what our heart holds as the truth) from us! And while we may think that He doesn’t keep those promises because we do not see the evidence of them when we expect to, He does, all the same. It is just that his timing for the answer is a bit different. God’s clock is different from ours. We are an “I want it NOW” society composed of people who expect instant gratification. But remember God’s promises to Abraham? We know they did not occur in a time frame that would have been acceptable to people who live in the 21st century. But happen they did, in God’s timing for them to happen, as Abraham and Sarah welcomed Isaac at the advanced age of 90 and 100! And He will keep his promises to us as well but He does ask that we return to Him the same honesty He offers us with the promises we make to Him. He knows that the human race is mortal and as such, He knows our opinion of the truth (our truth) is subjective. But as long as we act toward Him with all the honesty that our hearts can hold, and with what we believe with every fiber of our being, I hope…..no I BELIEVE…..He is content with our gift!

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“When a man makes a vow to the LORD or takes an oath to obligate himself by a pledge, he must not break his word but must do everything he said.”

Numbers 30:2 (NIV)

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Copyright © 2011-2012 “MandysPath” Ministry

Thought For The Day 08/23/12

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‘ With This Ring, I Thee Wed… ‘

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Mandy & Dan

June 7th, 1975

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In a time when nothing is more certain than change, the commitment of two people to one another has become difficult and rare.  Yet, by its scarcity, the beauty and value of this exchange have only been enhanced. 

Robert Sexton

http://quotegarden.com/marriage.html

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With this ring….. For most people, those three words are the result of a lifetime of dreams and ultimately, the culmination of many months of planning and preparation. As Christians, marriage has been proclaimed to be one of the most solemn of rites that can be observed by human beings. According to most Catholic and many Protestant sects, as well, the rite represents an ecclesiastical, or church tradition which has at its core an essential process which must be satisfied for the sacrament to be conferred and ultimately, recognized as valid. But valid it becomes and when the religious binding of two hearts is combined with the legal binding of hearts that occurs in untold court houses, backyards, beaches and resorts, it is estimated that approximately 2.3 million couples in the US alone, exchange vows and promises, most of which are bound by the three little words… With this ring….. But how many people have thought about the history that has led to the exchange of this little band worn proudly as evidence of those promises made?

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We really do not know how the ring as a symbol of betrothal came to be accepted. There is no mention of the exchange of them in the New Testament. However we do know that the custom of betrothal rings was common among Roman citizens, having been found adorning remains located in the catacombs. However, there are documented reports during the second and third centuries of rings being used during Christian unions and unlike Pagan adornments of rings on many fingers, Christians wore only one. And, as it is today, they were used to represent the affirmation of mutual love! The perfect circle, without beginning or end, symbolizing that the union will also be one of an endless love and an unbreakable bond of the two. And while it is doubtful that the rings adorned the third finger of the left hand, the Greeks believed that a vein ran from that finger directly to the heart, guaranteeing that this would be the perfect place to bear a ring symbolizing eternal love and commitment. And so the tradition continues…. With this ring…..

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‘ With This Ring, I Thee Wed… ‘

With This Ring, I Thee Wed
And Bravely Go Where Love Has Led
A Journey Unto The Unknown
But With Hope Always Coming Home
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With This Ring, I Thee Wed
Accepting Joy and Tear drops Shed
Facing Whatever The Future Hides
Walking Side By Side
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With This Ring, I Thee Wed:
Especially When Our Hearts Have Bled
Especially If We Are Afraid
Especially When We’re Old and Grayed
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Remember We Have Said …
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With This Ring, I Thee Wed
Until Either You or I, Are Dead
And Our Legacy Lives On Instead
In The Babies That We Bred
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With This Ring, I Thee Wed
Joining Hands and Bowing Heads
Giving  GOD, Our Mortal Thread
May GOD Give Daily Bread
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With This Ring, I Thee Wed
And Taste The Sweetness, We Have Fed
In Wedded Bliss, Long May We Live …
But If Bitterness, Let’s Forgive
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And Give Due Honor and Respect
And Trust and Romance Not Neglect
And Form A Fantastic Reality
Forever, You and Me …
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With This Ring, I Thee Wed
And As We Lay Tonight In Bed
And Gaze Out At The Brilliant Stars
Their Symbol Now Is Ours …
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A True-Love Sparkling Tradition
Inside Matching Bands’ Inscription
Matching Vows Written and Read …
With This Ring, I Thee Wed

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MoonBee Canady
Written & ©:  6/25/10

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18) The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”   19) Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name.   20) So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals. But for Adam no suitable helper was found.   21) So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribsand then closed up the place with flesh.   22) Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.   23) The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man. ”   24) That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.

Genesis 2: 18-24 NIV

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Copyright © 2011-2012 “MandysPath” Ministry

Thought For The Day 08/22/12

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Life Is Not One Sided!

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http://tamannasagar.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/face-of-god.jpg

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People see God every day, they just don’t recognize him. 

Pearl Bailey

http://quotegarden.com/god.html

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I saw the movie “Oh God, Book 2” the other day. At least I saw a smidgen of it when I woke up at 3 AM. But the snippet I saw has stuck with me for 3 days now and so I guess that by utilizing His best George Burns impersonation, God is trying to tell me I better write something about the part of the movie I did see before falling back into dreamland. Now to make everything a bit more clear in case any of you have no idea of what I am talking about,  “Oh God, Book 2”  is a story about what happens when God chooses a little girl named Tracy to be His messenger on earth. (I think the fact that He chooses a child should not be lost on any of us. He did, after all, send a little child into the world to be His messenger and our salvation 2 millenia ago.) The reason He has chosen a child (as it is written in the script), is that he wants for the innocence and faith of children to serve as a wake up call to adults who often fail to see or hear Him because they no longer view the world through the same eyes and with the same pureness of heart that a child does. Now Tracy is attacked by well-meaning experts who believe her vision of God to be nothing more that the hallucinations of a disturbed child. But her classmates rally to her defense and together, they create the way they will promote Him, complete with the slogan…….”THINK GOD!”, which they plaster everywhere they can, on posters and through the art of graffiti.

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The particular part of the movie that I actually saw the other night was when a distraught Tracy pleads with God to show himself to her because she feels abandoned by Him even as she is being subjected to the scrutiny of all those many experts of mental health whose questioning of her begins to erode her faith. And it is when God finally comes to her again that she is able to ask Him THE question. It is the very same question which we continue to ask of Him every day in the here and now. Why does He let bad things happen to good people? And the answer God gives to her in the movie is just as impactful and as relevant to us all today as it was when this movie was released in 1980!

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God’s Response to Tracy

(God is portrayed by George Burns in the movie)

“I know it sounds like a cop-out but there’s nothing I can really do about pain and suffering. My problem was that I could never figure out how to make anything with just one side to it. Ever see a front without a back, a top without a bottom, an up without a down? O.K. There can’t be good without bad, life without death, pleasure without pain. That’s how it is. If I take sad away, happy has to go with it. If anyone knows another way, I wish they’d put it in the suggestion box.”

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Life is hard and does not come complete with its very own “Little Handbook for Living”. If life was all moonlight and canoes, we would, I think, find ourselves and our very humanity somehow wanting. We are not robots, devoid of emotion. Every emotion we experience, both the good as well as the bad, is what helps to define the very unique individual we are and serves to build our character. Each new life experience built upon the lessons learned from the last one is what makes us human and special. And the movie says it perfectly. Would we appreciate the beautiful blue skies of a sunny summer afternoon if we hadn’t also been faced with the thunder and lightning of the storm clouds at least once? And isn’t it the times when we have felt the bitterness of loneliness that makes the warmth of an embrace or the kiss of the one we love so sweet? I don’t know about you all, but I’m somehow very glad that God couldn’t figure out how to make all things in life one-sided!

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15) Hate evil, love good; maintain justice in the courts. Perhaps the LORD God Almighty will have mercy on the remnant of Joseph.

Amos 5:15 NIV

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24) For thou lovest all the things that are, and abhorrest nothing which thou hast made: for never wouldest thou have made any thing, if thou hadst hated it.

Wisdom 11:24 KJVA

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Copyright © 2011-2012 “MandysPath” Ministry