Thought For The Day 09/15/12

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Sharing The Faith

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What children need most are the essentials that grandparents provide in abundance.  They give unconditional love, kindness, patience, humor, comfort, lessons in life.  And, most importantly, cookies. 

Rudolph Giuliani

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

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I was putting on my thinking cap yesterday trying to think back to the Bible stories that I liked the best or which made the greatest impact on my life when I was a child! (Yes, that wasn’t a brush fire you smelled but rather, the aroma of brain cells long frozen in place from lack of use finally tasting unfettered freedom, working to recall things long ago lost in the dusty recesses of my memory!) Anyway, I was trying to figure out if  any of the stories I loved might just become part of the legacy I share with my grandson as I seek to pass on an introduction to what faith means to me to a little guy whose view of the world is defined by cartoons like “Octonauts” and “Doc McStuffins” and “Imagination Movers” and “Mickey Mouse”. Is it possible to make “Daniel in then Lions Den” or “David and Goliath” or “Noah and the Ark” or “Moses Parting the Red Sea” become super heroes to a 31 month old? Of course, we are also dealing with a diverse view of faith in my family since Landon’s Dad is not a Christian and it is important to me to be sensitive to his feelings on the matter! But sometimes baby steps are the things that set our lives in motion and I think I will start with two to four stories. I want to make it fun so we will download some Bible coloring pages and we will talk as we color about the picture that is in front of us. And if that ignites a tiny spark, as I hope, no I am certain it will, perhaps we will have the beginnings of an amazing fire of faith and love and goodness within a little heart.

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Ok, so now begins the time I compile my list. You probably will have your own favorites which may be very different from mine. There are, after all thousands of stories about faith that are to be found within the 66 books, the 1,189 chapters and the 31,102 verses that are contained within the pages of the King James version of the Bible. However, for me it was important to pick those stories that were not frightening or too overwhelming for such a little guy but were also things he could relate to because of the characters or the nature of the tale. The idea, after all, is to ignite that spark not throw a bucket of water over the entire endeavor. So let me tell you the ones that won my vote as the four most impactful and positive Bible stories from my childhood!

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Noah and the Ark

Noah's Ark

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There is something so special about the magnitude of this story. Imagine finding that you and your family are the only followers of God in the world and then being commanded to make, with the simple tools of the time, a HUGE sea worthy craft! Would you believe if you were told that rain would fall and flood lands where it had rarely, if ever, rained before? Would you be willing to go out and gather together all of the animals that live in your world? Think about the bullying that takes place in your community just because someone is a little different and then picture the abuse that this family must have been subjected to during a time in the history of the world when superstitions most likely ran rampant and there were no rational facts known that would explain many of the events that took place in the world! Yes, there is much to learn about faith and trust and strength and patience and endurance to be learned from this story!

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Moses and the Red Sea     

Moses Crossing the Red Sea

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There can be no more exciting story than the tale of the baby who grew into one of the  greatest prophets known to man as well as author of some of the earliest books of the Bible. Imagine being born to a slave, being raised in a palace knowing the sister of Pharaoh as you mother, and then discovering the truth and finding yourself being exiled in the desert. Suddenly you find yourself speaking with God who directs you to return to Egypt and give Pharaoh an ultimatum…..free the Hebrew slaves or face God’s wrath! We know that following the deaths of the first-born of the house of Egypt, Pharaoh frees the Hebrews only to change his mind, amassing his armies to return the exiting masses back into the bonds of slavery. And chasing them all the way to the water’s edge, and sure that there is no where for the Hebrews to go but back into bondage, God works through Moses to part the waters of the Red Sea so that the fleeing multitude could escape and, of course, the seas returned, covering and killing the pursuing army! And while many more triumphs as well as tragedies befalls the people, we know that they do, indeed, find their promised land although Moses himself is permitted only the briefest of glimpses, having barred because of his sin against God!

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Joseph and his coat of many colors

    

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One of my favorite stories was about a coat of many colors given to Joseph, the favorite child in Jacob’s family who lived in Canaan. Joseph’s brothers resented the gifts and doting attentions that were bestowed upon him, thinking that the attention meant he would one day be named to head to household.  so together, the brothers plotted against Joseph, intent at first on killing him but then choosing to sell him to a group of passing traders. Upon arriving in Egypt he was enslaved, but continued to carry God within his heart and soon the hard-working Joseph was made the head of the household of his master. He was imprisoned on trumped-up charges because he spurned the advances of his master’s wife. And yet even in prison, Joseph becomes a leader of men and soon word of his deeds reaches Pharaoh. Famine spreading across the land, Pharaoh seeks Joseph’s counsel and entrusts him with planning a highly successful strategy for the country to avoid starvation.  Naturally, Joseph’s brothers travel to Egypt to buy food, unaware they are dealing with the young man they betrayed years before. He finally reveals his true identity and Jacob and the rest of the family are all given the best lands in Egypt.

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Daniel in the Lion’s Den        

Daniel in the Lions Den, Mezzotint by J. B. Pratt, with Hand Colouring

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The last one I think I will introduce to Landon is the tale “Daniel In The Lions’ Den”. This story has a song that I remember vividly learning in Sunday School and since my little guy loves music, this will be another way of teaching him this wonderful tale of the man who defied the laws of the land by continuing to pray to God. Found guilty for this defiance by King Darius, who was urged to reach this decision by the cajoling of some people in the kingdom, Daniel was entombed in a cave with fierce lions. Daniel’s faith was strong and indeed, his faith was rewarded.  God saved Daniel by shutting the lion’s mouths. Darius, seeing that the man he liked had survived the night, freed him and instead, entombed those who had turned him against his friend in the same cave. They did not have Daniel’s faith, and all met their ends!

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These are my select four tales. I have already printed up coloring pages and I will try to capture Landon’s drawing skills with my camera which might just become a picture in a future blog. I think this could be fun for us and it just might be something you want to undertake with the children in your own lives as well. And now that you know which stories I picked, I would love to hear about any favorites you might have and think I should share. I have others in my repertoire including the crucifixion and resurrection, but I think they may need to wait until a time when maturity will allow for a better understanding of what I want him to gain from the experience. However, please reply to this blog with your suggestions or you can email me at MandysPath2011@aol.com and I will make sure to check out what you all have to say!

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All your children shall be taught by the LORD, and great shall be the peace  of your children.

Isaiah 54:13

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Copyright © 2011-2012 “MandysPath” Ministry

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About Mandy Bruscella

Mandy's Story: As a Registered Professional Nurse with Certification in a number of specialties including home care, I was afforded the opportunity of working closely with various Social Service Agencies in NY and NJ. ~ A lifelong Christian, I was ordained as a Presbyterian deacon in 1993 and, after relocating to SC in 2000, elected to become ordained as a non-denominational minister. ~ I established "MandysPath" Ministry in 2011. "MandysPath" Ministry is a member of Pacific Life Church, El Sobrante, CA, network of ministries. ~ I direct an outreach ministry in an alternative setting, providing spiritual care to a congregation of more than 500 people from around the world via the Internet. ~ As part of this outreach, I write a daily faith based blog. In March, 2012 I was asked to become a board member of Heroes For Children which is a non-profit foundation, established to assists the Guardian ad Litem program of Horry County, SC. Guardians ad Litem are a group of court appointed advocates who represent the best interests of children in Family Court proceedings involving allegations of abuse or neglect. Working closely with these men and women who make a difference in the lives of children, I completed training and have been sworn in to serve as a Guardian ad Litem for the state of South Carolina . ~ I have been married since 1975 to a wonderful man, Daniel. I have a son Daniel and his wife Melissa who live in NYC. My daughter Sabrina and my grandson Landon live here in SC. ~ My father Harold continues to share his wisdom with me and is responsible for many of the ideas I write about!

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