Monthly Archives: September 2012

Thought For The Day 09/30/12

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Breaking Bread With Jesus

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The ornaments of your house will be the guests who frequent it. 
Author Unknown

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What would you do if suddenly and without warning, you received a message that Jesus was coming to dinner? Would you immediately rush out and buy all kinds of wondrous and savory delights to offer Him? Would you rush “pell -mell” cleaning and polishing every surface in your house until they gleamed and you could see your reflection staring back at you from its surface? Think about it. How would you prioritize you “TO DO” list? Now think about this. As you are out and about, suddenly something falls in front of your face, blocking your journey. Would you simply walk around the obstacle, intent on continuing your journey, or would you stop and look and think about whether or nor you might just be able to act and make a change that not just makes your journey easier, but also makes the journey of others easier, as well? That is the question that is asked by the story I am going to relate. Used as material for sermons and published in many websites, “When Jesus Came To dinner” is eye-opening and will, most likely, touch your soul!

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WHEN JESUS CAME TO DINNER

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Ruth looked at the envelope again. There was no stamp, no postmark, only her name and address. She read the letter one more time…

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Dear Ruth,

I’m going to be in your neighborhood Saturday afternoon and I’d like to stop by for a visit.

Love Always,
Jesus

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With that thought, Ruth remembered her empty kitchen cabinets. “Oh my goodness, I really don’t have anything to offer. I’ll have to run down to the store and buy something for dinner.”

She reached for her purse and counted out its contents. Seven dollars and forty cents. “Well, I can get some bread and cold cuts, at least.” She threw on her coat and hurried out the door.

A loaf of french bread, a half-pound of sliced turkey, and a carton of milk…leaving Ruth with a grand total of twelve cents to last her until Monday. Nonetheless, she felt satisfied as she headed home, her meager offerings tucked under her arm.

“Hey lady, can you help us, lady?” Ruth had been so absorbed in her dinner plans, she hadn’t even noticed two figures huddled in the alleyway. A man and a woman, both of them dressed in little more than rags.

“Look lady, I ain’t got a job, ya know, and my wife and I have been living out here on the street, and, well, now it’s getting cold and we’re getting kinda hungry and, well, if you could help us, lady, we’d really appreciate it.”

Ruth looked at them both. They were dirty, they smelled bad and, frankly, she was certain that they could get some kind of work if they really wanted to. “Sir, I’d like to help you, but I’m a poor woman myself. All I have is a few cold cuts and some bread, and I’m having an important guest for dinner tonight and I was planning on serving that to Him.”

“Yeah, well, OK lady, I understand. Thanks anyway.” The man put his arm around the woman’s shoulders, turned and headed back into the alley.

As she watched them leave, Ruth felt a familiar twinge in her heart. “Sir, wait!” The couple stopped and turned as she ran down the alley after them. “Look, why don’t you take this food. I’ll figure out something else to serve my guest.” She handed the man her grocery bag.

“Thank you lady. Thank you very much!” “Yes, thank you!” It was the man’s wife, and Ruth could see now that she was shivering.

“You know, I’ve got another coat at home. Here, why don’t you take this one.” Ruth unbuttoned her jacket and slipped it over the woman’s shoulders. Then smiling, she turned and walked back to the street . . .without her coat and with nothing to serve her guest. “Thank you lady! Thank you very much!”

Ruth was chilled by the time she reached her front door, and worried too. The Lord was coming to visit and she didn’t have anything to offer Him. She fumbled through her purse for the door key. But as she did, she noticed another envelope in her mailbox. “That’s odd. The mailman doesn’t usually come twice in one day.” She took the envelope out of the box and opened it.

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Dear Ruth,

It was so good to see you again. Thank you for the lovely meal. And thank you too, for the beautiful coat.

Love Always,
Jesus

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The air was still cold, but even without her coat, Ruth no longer noticed!

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jesus heart

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37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

Matthew 25:37-40 NIV

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Copyright © 2011-2012 “MandysPath” Ministry

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Thought For The Day 09/29/12

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Compassionate Hearts!

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http://i27.photobucket.com/albums/c173/reelstuff/heartsTwoTwo.jpg

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Treat everyone with politeness, even those who are rude to you – not because they are nice, but because you are. 
Author Unknown

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Recent events that are happening in my life are reminding me that, while I prefer to see the good in people, there are still those in the world that are firmly convinced that their way is the only way. The thing is that acting under the guise of being Christians, these people seek to hurt others by damning them for behaviors or choices that do not quite fit their notions of how a Christian should act. And try as I might, I just can not seem to wrap my head around this. Why can we not all search within our hearts to find the light that is God’s grace that burn’s within every human heart? OK, in a nutshell, why can’t we lose our preconceived notions about what is right for another and simply see them with the same eyes as does our Heavenly Father?

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I am reminded of the story of two men in the Bible who were exceedingly unpopular fellows. Levi and Zacchaeus were both tax collectors, and viewed about the same way as we view the IRS on April 15th. Many people complained to Christ because He was friendly to them. Now His response to those critical of Levi was to offer perhaps what is one verse of the most sage advice that is to be found in the New Testament, Luke 5:31,-32 NIV:  31 Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 32 I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” And of course, similarly with Zacchaeus,  the tongues began wagging when Jesus visited the home of this man. However, Zacchaeus told Christ that he believed in what the Lord was teaching, and Jesus accepted him into God’s family and described to them His purpose: Luke 19-10 NIV: 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

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Just as Jesus showed compassion and tolerance to others by His very actions, so are we given a choice to love and accept others despite behaviors that we might find objectionable. After all, it is each of us who will be called individually on Judgement Day, to give an accounting to God of our actions while we lived. And it is God and God alone who should be passing judgement on the way we lived our lives, not those Tom’s, Dick’s and Harry’s out there who delight in creating misery for so many!

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12 So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.

13 Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister. 14 I am convinced, being fully persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for that person it is unclean. 15 If your brother or sister is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy someone for whom Christ died. 16 Therefore do not let what you know is good be spoken of as evil. 17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, 18 because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives human approval.

Romans 14: 12-18

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Copyright © 2011-2012 “MandysPath” Ministry

 

Thought For The Day 09/28/12

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My Favorites!

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http://escapetoreality.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/tim_tebow.jpg

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When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced.  Live your life in such a
manner that when you die the world cries and you rejoice. 
Indian Saying

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Did you know that there are more than 31,000 verses in the Bible? Actually, according to Wikipedia, there are 23,145 verses in the Old Testament and 7,957 verses in the New Testament. Now I am certain that if I were to ask you which one was number 1, you most likely would know the answer. We have seen lucky number one on billboards, and even painted on the face of a particular football player who is pictured above! But do you have any idea which ones might be second or third or fourth? Well if you enter it into your web browser, you can pull up many lists compiled by people using different tools, and even using different versions of the Bible. One person checked hits on a kindle which offers a free download of the English Standard Version. And yet another compiled a list based on a survey taken of people who were between the ages of 40 and 70 and who preferred reading the King James version. I guess the real answer lies in whom you ask. Yes, there may well be tools available to measure this but the bottom line is, verse preference is subjective. The verses that touch my heart may not be the same ones that touch yours. However, rest assured that the verses that hold a special place within your heart will most likely stay with you for your lifetime! So rather than try to narrow down this subjective list for you, I will just take a moment to share with you the ones that mean the most to me!

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  • John 3:16 NIV    For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
  • Genesis 1:1 NIV    In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.
  • Genesis 1:27 NIV   So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
  • Philippians 4:13 NIV  I can do all things do through him who strengthens me.
  • Psalm 100:5 KJV   For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.
  • Matthew 6:34 ESV   Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

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I challenge you all to give some thought as to which ones are your favorite verses from the Bible. Which verses are the ones that come to your mind when you are talking with God as you pray? Which ones give you comfort when you are troubled? Can you think of the one you might choose when you want to say thank you to God for a special blessing? No doubt your choices will be much different from mine are and that is as it should be. I believe we all take from His word the things that we need for what it is He asks of us. You may feel special about verses relating to children if you are a teacher. Perhaps healing verses resonate with you doctors, nurses or other medical professionals out there. Whatever ones they are, they certainly hold an honored place in your heart and will always be there when you need the comforting caress that only they can provide. And perhaps now you might just be inspired to think about expanding your horizons a bit and choose a new verse to memorize. How about blowing the dust off your Bible, closing your eyes, opening to a random book and then just put a finger somewhere on the page. Now open your eyes, and read the wondrous thing you have discovered. Now expand your horizons! Memorize the verse and add it to your list of favorites that you hold within your heart! Grow with and in God’s word!

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 1The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

Psalm 23: 1-6 KJV

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Copyright © 2011-2012 “MandysPath” Ministry

Thought For The Day 09/27/12

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When God Works Miracles!

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http://kittens.sytes.org/kitten38.jpg

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Why try to explain miracles to your kids when you can just have them plant a garden.
Robert Brault

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I find myself thinking frequently about all of the wonderful things that happen in the world for which we can offer no rational explanation for their having occurred. And naturally, my first thought is that it must happen because it is “other directed”. How often do the simplest of things somehow seem to magically transform us every day? We may want to doubt that they are the result of a higher power, but how many times do we search and search for a rational, logical explanation…..a human explanation, only to conclude that none exists? Just consider the bumblebee. It has a short and stubby body and the wispiest of wings. Those delicate wings really should not be able to support the bumblebee’s body mass long enough to lift it into the air, never mind propel it forward. And yet it does! The bee darts and sweeps from plant to plant and flower to flower, because it’s wings actually do not flap up and down like the wings of many other air-borne creatures. They actually propel the bee more like the arms of a swimmer doing the butterfly stroke, propels through the water…. by sweeping from front to back. And miraculously, this is enough to keep this tiny creature moving and flying as it completes the journey through life it is destined to make!

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A couple of weeks ago, a story caught my eye on Godvine (http://www.godvine.com/). It is as equally improbable as is the tale of the bumblebee. And yet it is a true tale about a little kitten! Read it and think about the miraculous things that take place within its sentences, and then ask yourself that million dollar question….does God exist and does he perform miracles everyday?

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The Pastor’s Cat

A man recently related this true story about the pastor of his church.

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There was once a kitten that climbed up a tree in the backyard of a pastor. However, having reached the top, suddenly it seemed that the kitten was afraid to climb back down. The pastor coaxed, offered warm milk…he did everything he could think of but still, the kitty would not come down.

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Now the tree was not sturdy enough to climb, and hands on his hips and surveying the situation, the pastor decided that if he tied a rope to his car and pulled it until the tree bent down, he could then reach up and get the kitten. So that’s what he did, moving ahead very slowly, all the while checking his progress in the car’s rear view mirror. Silently calculating his progress, he thought that if he went just a little bit further, the tree would be bent sufficiently for him to reach the kitten. But as he moved the car just a hair’s breadth, suddenly…..SNAP……the rope broke! The tree went ‘BOING!’ and the kitten instantly sailed through the air and out of sight. The pastor felt absolutely terrible and spent the rest of the day walking all over the neighborhood asking people if they’d seen a little kitten. Everyone he asked responded no….nobody had seen a stray kitten. So the pastor said a short prayer, ‘Lord, I must commit this kitten to your keeping,’ and went on about his business.

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A few days later the pastor was at the grocery store, and met one of his parishioners. He happened to look into her shopping cart and was amazed to see cat food. This woman was a very kind person, but also was a person that detested cats. Everyone knew it! Somewhat confused, the pastor just had to ask, ‘Why are you buying cat food when you hate cats so much?’ She replied, ‘You won’t believe this,’ and then she proceeded to tell him how her little girl had been begging her for a cat, but she kept refusing. Then a few days before, the child had begged again, so the Mom finally told her little girl, ‘Well, if God gives you a cat, I’ll let you keep it.’ She told the pastor, ‘I watched my child go out in the yard, get on her knees, and ask God for a cat. And really, Pastor, you won’t believe this, but I saw it with my own eyes. A kitten suddenly came flying out of the blue sky, with its paws outspread, and landed right in front of her.’

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Now was this something for which a logical explanation is to be found? Remember that this was, indeed, a true story. Was the outcome due to the action of man, or was it due to a higher power? I leave it to you to think about and decide. And on that note, all I can say to you all is one thing!

LESSON LEARNED!

Never underestimate the Power of God (and His unique sense of humor)!

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You are the God of great wonders! You demonstrate your awesome power among the nations.

Psalms 77:14 NLT

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Copyright © 2011-2012 “MandysPath” Ministry

Thought For The Day 09/26/12

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I Am A Christian!

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http://www.facebook.com/pages/Thank-You-God-for/111565594632?sk=photos#!/pages/Thank-You-God-for/111565594632

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Life is like a game of cards.  The hand you are dealt is determinism; the way you play it is free will. 

Jawaharlal Nehru

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

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Once upon a time I discovered I didn’t like the person I was, quite so much. I knew that there was more for me ahead. So I chose to close one door and take a leap of faith through another. I looked deeply and rediscovered who I am. I am a Christian! In fact, I can’t imagine living my life any other way anymore! I might just go so far as to say that life without God in it, holds no meaning for me. He is the sustenance that feeds my very soul. And even more than that, knowing and accepting His son, Jesus Christ into my heart, was a choice I made and one that has proven to be as necessary to my life as is food, shelter and companionship. Come to think of it, it is MORE necessary than those things. I challenge you all to think about what life would be like without those basic necessities! In a nutshell, think about trying to drive your car if there were no gasoline in the tank (assuming you do not have one of the new fangled modern 21st century hybrids)! You would be no more successful than if you were to try to log onto the internet without electricity or a computer!

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I am such a simple person and while I am headstrong about some things, the idea that I might have to plot my course through life without the perfect guiding hand that is the one that programs my actions every day, is an absolutely terrifying thought. I would be at the mercy of my baser instincts and I know that I would not like that person very much, nor would you either! However it is through my relationship with Him that I have learned about the things that matter in life, such as being faithful, giving, moral, kind, diligent and trustworthy. He has taught me that there is value in every human life and while I may not always like everyone, there is always something for me to discover about human nature and myself, as well, for knowing and having a diverse group of family members and friends who are an intimate part of my existence! And I consider each and every one of you who share my posts every day to be a part of that group. I would not be the person I am today without your unwavering support, trust, care and devotion and I wanted to say THANK YOU, from the bottom of my heart!

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I Am a Christian

by Carol Wimmer

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When I say … “I am a Christian”
I’m not shouting, “I’m saved”
I’m whispering, “I get lost!”
“That is why I chose this way”

When I say … “I am a Christian”
I don’t speak of this with pride
I’m confessing that I stumble,
and need someone to be my guide

When I say … “I am a Christian”
I’m not trying to be strong,
I’m professing that I’m weak,
and pray for strength to carry on

When I say … “I am a Christian”
I’m not bragging of success,
I’m admitting that I’ve failed,
and cannot ever pay the debt

When I say … “I am a Christian”
I’m not claiming to be perfect,
my flaws are way too visible
but God believes I’m worth it

When I say … “I am a Christian”
I still feel the sting of pain
I have my share of heartaches
which is why I seek His Name

When I say … “I am a Christian”
I do not wish to judge
I have no authority,
I only know I’m loved!

http://carolwimmer.com/about

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Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.

Revelation 3:20 ESV

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Copyright © 2011-2012 “MandysPath” Ministry

Thought For The Day 09/25/12

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And The Reward Goes To……..

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“You’re not obligated to win. You’re obligated to keep trying. To do the best you can do everyday.”

Jason Mraz

http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/winning

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Have you ever wondered just exactly what the reward is that we get for being a Christian? Now I’m just betting that the first thing that popped into your head was, eternal life, am I right? The thing is I am an impatient person. I would like to reap some benefits right this very instant! But try as hard as I can, I’m not really seeing any rewards right now in my day to day life! Which then begs the question; for all that I am investing into my faith, is it really worth it? I don’t know about you, but I work hard to live a good life and when I really think about it, it really would be so much easier for me to sit back and let life rush ahead full tilt while I simply grab onto it’s coat tails, holding on for dear life! After all, won’t I be just as likely to see the light at the end of the tunnel?

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God knows how often we all ask these questions and He also knows how important it is that we get the answers we seek. In fact, He speaks of these rewards over and over in the Scripture. In Ephesians 3:20 NIV, we are told, 20) “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21) to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” And indeed, most of those rewards are not going to be known to any of us in the here and now. You see, those promises are merely part of the whole package that He gives to us! Look out the window and see the beauty in the world. That is a reward! Listen with your ears at the sounds outside your open window. That is a reward! Feel the gentle touch of a baby’s hand on your cheek. That is a reward! Taste the chill of ice cream or a snow cone as the delicious sweetness melts on your tongue. That is a reward! Smell the aroma of fresh bread or a pie hot from the oven. That is a reward. Think about the way you feel in the pit of your stomach, when you catch sight of the person you love. That is a reward! You see, every single experience we savor and delight in, as we experience its magic through one of our senses, is a reward from God! They are those tangibles that we win in the here and now! And they are truly wonderful, each and every one of them. However, there is one thing that I can promise you all. As wonderful as His rewards are while we walk the earth, what awaits us as we transcend beyond our mortal world, will make those earthly delights pale by comparison!

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“Standing On The Promises”

Alan Jackson

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Verse 1:

Standing on the promises of Christ my King,
Through eternal ages let his praises ring;
Glory in the highest, I will shout and sing,
Standing on the promises of God.
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Refrain:
Standing, standing,
Standing on the promises of God my Savior;
Standing, standing,
I’m standing on the promises of God.
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Verse 2:
Standing on the promises I cannot fall,
Listening every moment to the Spirit’s call,
Resting in my Savior as my all in all,
Standing on the promises of God.
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Refrain:
Standing, standing,
Standing on the promises of God my Savior;
Standing, standing,
I’m standing on the promises of God.
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Click the link below to view Alan Jackson’s video

http://youtu.be/PJ9ZJPIDkis

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29) He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. 30) Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; 31) but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

Isaiah 40:29-31 NIV

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Copyright © 2011-2012 “MandysPath” Ministry

Thought For The Day 09/24/12

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The Preacher’s Spouse

Clergy Families Of The 21st Century

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http://photo.net/photodb/photo?photo_id=6154144

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“Every minister worthy of the name has to walk the line between prophetic vision and spiritual sustenance, between telling people the comforting things they want to hear and challenging them with the difficult things they need to hear. In Oxford, Daddy began to feel as though all the members wanted him to do was to marry them and bury them and stay away from their souls.”

Timothy B. Tyson

 “Blood Done Sign My Name: A True Story”

http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/ministers

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One of my all time favorite movies was one that was released in 1947…..65 years ago, and before I was even a twinkle in my father’s eye. It starred Loretta Young, David Niven, and Cary Grant as Dudley, an angel sent to earth to help a Bishop who prayed for divine guidance to build a cathedral but instead, Dudley helps him to find his way back to his faith and back into the arms of his loving family. However, it is the character portrayed by Loretta Young, that I am thinking about with what I write today. In the movie, she plays the silently suffering wife who fears she has lost her husband, the Bishop, to a golden idol, one he zealously pursues at the expense of the things in his life that really matter. And I began to think how often it is that the spouse of those who minister God’s word are so often the forgotten piece of the puzzle that is the life of the person with whom we seek both time and counsel, at all hours of the day and night. Often acting the role that many single parents do, changing the hats they wear and the roles they perform with a speed that could rival Houdini’s speed at escape, if it were not for the self-sacrifice these spouses willing give, it would be impossible for the clergy member to function in his God-given role! And suddenly I began to wonder if the marriages of these couples survive the challenging life that they have chosen. Are marriage struggles as prevalent among this group of individuals as they are among mainstream marriages?

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According to an LA Times article written in 1995 (1), the marriages of members of the clergy have about the same change of survival as does the marriage of the two people whose union they are blessing as they stand at the altar making their “to have and to hold” forever promises. Especially today, when the clergy role may be just as likely to find either a husband or a wife or a life partner fulfilling the supportive role within the family dynamic. One interesting footnote to the studies done finds that women clergy were more likely to have been divorced before they were ordained, while more male clergy became separated after taking the pulpit. Now there are differences within denominations as to their policies regarding divorced clergy and the roles they are permitted to perform, so there may be inherently fewer divorces among more fundamentalist faiths. However, it seems that, like most people in the world, members of the clergy put their pants on one leg at a time!

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I write this to remind everyone that ministers are just as fallible as are the rest of the members of the human race. They have their warts and foibles and yes, some even wear their very own “Scarlet Letter” branded to their hearts. The one difference is that, unlike almost everyone else in the world, members of the clergy are expected to live exemplary lives and serve as role models for everyone else. Because of this, many will not seek help for their own personal, as well as interpersonal, struggles. Often there exists a degree of naivety regarding the demands that being a minister entails. However, just as it is with the rest of the population, those who willingly acknowledge their very human side, who accept criticism with grace, have a firm and realistic view of their egos, and finally, who have a high regard for the importance of interpersonal relationships, are more likely to not just have successful interpersonal relationships themselves but will also be a much more valuable member of society as a whole. So before you look for that halo above the head of your minister, take a long look in the mirror at yourself and then ask whether you hold unrealistic expectations for the person who seeks to share with you God’s plan for His people!

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3) He has enabled us to be ministers of his new covenant. This is a covenant not of written laws, but of the Spirit. The old written covenant ends in death; but under the new covenant, the Spirit gives life.

2 Corinthians 3:6 NLT

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Copyright © 2011-2012 “MandysPath” Ministry