Monthly Archives: October 2012

Thought For The Day 10/21/12

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Faith and Friendships

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A true friend unbosoms freely, advises justly, assists readily, adventures boldly, takes all patiently, defends courageously, and continues a friend unchangeably. 

William Penn

http://quotegarden.com/friendship.html

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I don’t know about you all, but friendships are extremely important to me. Like family, friends generally don’t stay in your life because of what they can get from you. In fact, they don’t even stay because of what they can give to you! They stay JUST BECAUSE! There is no rhyme nor reason that explains why friends are always there…as integral a part of our lives as are those we are related to! And in thinking about the whys and wherefores of friendships, suddenly, I began to have visions in my head of Imelda Marcos, and her infamous shoe collection, which in turn, made me think about my own closet and your closet, as well!
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Think about the shoe collection that holds a place of honor in your closet. Now I am not in any way a shoe fanatic and yet, if I were to hazard a guess, I would probably have to say that I have at least 25 different pairs of shoes there. And not two are the same. Some are broken in comfy ones I wear when I do yard work or go our fishing. Others are casual comfortable. They are the kind that are perfect for strolling the outlet shops or local mall. There are others that are perfect for exercise which are the ones that probably see the least amount of daylight, come to think of it. There are others that are summer wear and more that are my go-to cold weather wear and of course, there are the ones you wear on special, dress-up occasions! All different colors, shapes, functions, but all essential to our day-to-day living. Well, although I hate to say it out loud for fear that I might just have to begin ducking  some tomato chucking in my direction, but our collection of friends is exactly like our collection of shoes! None is exactly the same. They are not the same size or shape. They do not do or like the same things. Some work full-time, some are retired and work part-time and some are fully retired. Some like to travel, others like to golf. In fact, with few exceptions, there are few who share most of those interests that captivate my attention every day. And yet, they all are as important to my life as is my spouse and my children. And it is because of our differences that we all have so very much to give each other as we spend those precious moments together!
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Did you know that someone has suggested that we all need at least five types of friends? They actually broke the list down into the following descriptions:
  • A work friend.  People who completely understand what is involved in the career you’ve chosen. These people spend a tremendous amount of time with you and when there is a camaraderie present, the time away from home passes more quickly and a happy worker becomes a more productive worker, as well!
  • A friend such as a parent of a child in your class or a neighbor.  These are people who are as invested in the part of your life that involves common interests and property but may not be people you choose to be social with on a more intimate level.
  • A childhood friend.  These people share and help you to keep alive the history that was responsible for your formative development.
  • A good time fun pal. These people are the ones you are comfortable having fun or sharing a common leisure activity with such as your bowling buddy, a fellow quilter or a person from your book club.
  • A straight-shooting, “tell it like it is” friend. These friends are the ones who dare to point out both your strengths as well as your weaknesses! But these friends might just be your closest allies because if they were not, their honesty might just be hurtful, on some level.

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Now as much as I must agree with the list that has been compiled, there is one friendship that was omitted. It might just be the most important friendship of them all because it is a friendship born of pure love and devotion that captures the best of all of the others and combines them into a cohesive and perfect relationship. That is the love our Lord has for us all and we Him! And yet they are so very different. His love for us is unconditional while ours is conditional, based on the state of our feelings and emotions as they exist from moment to moment. And just as the thermostat rises and falls as the seasons change, so can the love that man feels, which is why we find ourselves falling in and out of relationships continually our entire lives. Man constantly falls in and out of love. However, God’s love is not based on feelings or emotions. He loves us because HE IS LOVE, in its most perfect and ideal form! Not only is it the reason He created us in the first place in the Garden, but it is also the reason it was recreated and restored by a willing sacrifice made for us all with the gift of His son, Jesus Christ! And I don’t know about you, but this is, most definitely, the best and most enduring of any relationship I have ever experienced in my life!

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8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.

1 John 4:8 NIV

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Copyright © 2011-2012 “MandysPath” Ministry

 

Thought For The Day 10/20/12

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More Mixed Nuts!

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http://www.123rf.com/photo_8885369_mixed-nuts-with-shells.html

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The purpose of all major religious traditions is not to construct big temples on the outside, but to create temples of goodness and compassion inside, in our
hearts.

Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama

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

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The name mixed nuts has stuck with me ever since yesterday’s blog was published and not just because I crave a salty, chewy snack (which, by the way, I do)! The words are echoing over and over in my head and that can mean only one thing. I guess I am being guided to consider another way of thinking about this title that lends itself to a bit more serious take on the concept! And there can be nothing more serious that thinking about all of the many different faiths that exist in our world today and how they collectively tie us all together as a people of faith. And I do not mean the Protestant Faith or the Catholic Faith, or the Islamic Faith or the Jewish Faith or the Hindu Faith. I mean, simply, F-A-I-T-H !

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Just look for a moment at the word F-A-I-T-H broken down into its definition, courtesy of “The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language”,  ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company:

FAITH (noun)

1. Confident belief in the truth, value, or trustworthiness of a person, idea, or thing.
2. Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence. See Synonyms at belief, trust.
3. Loyalty to a person or thing; allegiance: keeping faith with one’s supporters.
4. often Faith Christianity The theological virtue defined as secure belief in God and a trusting acceptance of God’s will.
5. The body of dogma of a religion: ie. the Muslim faith.
6. A set of principles or beliefs
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 Now I don’t know about you, but no where do I see proof positive that faith is limited to only a single set of beliefs that are upheld by a particular denomination or group.What I do see is a description which, when examined in its entirety and looked at collectively, illustrates core values which are the best examples of who and what we hope to be as human beings, in a perfect and ideal world. Alas, we do not live in an ideal and perfect world, which goes far in explaining why there is near constant warfare going on…..brother fighting brother…..all with the misguided notion that one set of beliefs is better and therefore trumps the other’s right to exist!
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So now back to the name of this piece, “Mixed Nuts” and think about what that title implies. In a can of mixed nuts, every single member belongs to the same genus of origin. All are nuts. And yet not a single one, even among the same kinds, is exactly the same. Type, size, shape, color, or taste. All unique and special and different. Some are tangy, others more bitter, some sweet, some soft, others hard. But when enjoyed as a collective group, mixed nuts proves to be a very satisfying experience because it is through these differences that each one adds to and complements the enjoyment of the one next to it. Each bite a little different and yet each bite a mesmerizing culinary experience which makes us want to go back for seconds! So then, why is it somehow beyond us to see these same traits in our fellow human beings? Because I find it a very sad testament of the human race if we can not find it within our hearts to exist as cohesively and perfectly as do mixed nuts in a can!

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For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?

1 Corinthians 4:7 NIV

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Copyright © 2011-2012 “MandysPath” Ministry

Thought For The Day 10/19/12

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Mandy’s Mixed Nuts!

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http://www.123rf.com/photo_13165419_varieties-of-nuts-peanuts-hazelnuts-chestnuts-walnuts–pistachio-and-others.html

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If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange these apples then you and I will still each have one apple.  But if you have an idea and I have an
idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas. 

George Bernard Shaw

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

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I was thinking about all of the blogs I have written since that very first post of mine published on March 25th, 2011, and I began to wonder whether any of them contained some of those profound one-liners like you see on those catchy church signs or bumper stickers. You know what I mean. I’m talking about things like the title of that 1945 movie starring Dennis Morgan and Raymond Massey, “God Is My Co-Pilot”. And so I decided to scan through the pages that have somehow become transformed from thought to idea to blog to see whether I could find a few gems to re-share with you. I was aiming for those one sentence pearls of wisdom and pretty much succeeded with a few exceptions, which I also included. Now there were many that I glossed over but these were a few that caught my eye as I was perusing all of my 578 blogs! Included is a new one I created especially for today based on a snippet from a post of mine from just a couple of days ago. I decided to alternate my words with a few of my favorite of those bumper stickers we have all seen in front of us at the neighborhood stop light, and all of those all come from a web site I found called “Christian Bumper Stickers” (http://www.ruighaver.net/bumperstickers/christian.htm ).

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 We forget to just enjoy….enjoy the fellowship of others, the beauty in the world and the sheer joy of play.

Mandy

04/12/11

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America needs a Faith Lift!

Christian Bumper Sticker

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Is the inner fever I feel really a burning from being struck by an issue of faith and God speaking to my soul or is it hot flashes?

Mandy

04/13/11

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Forbidden Fruits create many Jams!

Christian Bumper Sticker

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We wear our blinders and our N.I.M.B.Y. (not in my back yard) faces and choose to…ignore the anguish of a…human being.

Mandy

05/12/11

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A house is not a home without me — God.

Christian Bumper Sticker

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When did I become best friends with so many doctors? I can tell you if they’re married, how many kids they have and their office addresses are on my Christmas card list.

Mandy

05/31/11

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Before Sunday football why not come to my house — God.

Christian Bumper Sticker

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Now one thing I can state with certainty is that you never find/use “IT” without three basic fundamental steps:

a) searching for “IT  b) discovering how to use “IT  c) practicing “IT”.

Mandy

06/10/11

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God loves you whether you like it or not!

Christian Bumper Sticker

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Now my family is about as “White bread” as they come while Dan’s is pure “Semolina (Italian bread)”!

Mandy

06/16/11

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Believe those who seek the Truth. Doubt those who find it!

Christian Bumper Sticker

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 ….for clergy, conveying God’s word is not all “moon-light and canoes”….

Mandy

07/30/11

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God’s last name is not dammit!

Christian Bumper Sticker

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 …I told her (Sabrina, my daughter) that she would see him (our cat) again one day in heaven. Looking at me as if I had lost my mind, Sabrina replied back, “Yes, mommy but I’m only 5. I’m not going to see heaven for a very long time!”

Mandy

08/21/11

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CAUTION! God At Work! Person In Progress!

Christian Bumper Sticker

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Always remember that the common sense of a thing does not always make that thing right or desirable!

Mandy

09/24/11

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For all you do, His blood’s for you!

Christian Bumper Sticker

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I wish I had the pope on speed dial because if he managed to get me on the air, we would all be seeing a miracle in South Carolina…

Mandy

11/06/11

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Don’t blame God for the things that people do.

Christian Bumper Sticker

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(Aah) the music of the ice cream truck which drives every parent on the face of the earth crazy at the same time it causes the Pavlovian drooling response in children, begin its rounds throughout your neighborhood just as the sun winks below the horizon…

Mandy

04/30/12

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CAUTION! Non-exposure to the Son will cause burning.

Christian Bumper Sticker

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Now life is like a beautiful waltz…a delicately choreographed movement meant to perfectly compliment the person you are dancing with. Unfortunately I am a child of the “frug” and “watusi” and “mashed potato” era.

Mandy

10/10/12

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Even Darwin KNOWS God created earth (now).

Christian Bumper Sticker

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But my very first thought was….OK, my first thought was “if only you were my kid”! But my second thought was, what has happened to good old-fashioned common courtesy?

Mandy

10/11/12

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The way I drive, I’ve gotta have Faith!

Christian Bumper Sticker

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Faith is like a football team. While some players are Linebackers (Protestants) and others are Wide Receivers (Catholic), the goal is still to get the ball into the end zone (Heaven)!

Mandy

10/17/12

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Don’t leave without life support!

Christian Bumper Sticker

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On Judgement Day, will you pass through the “Pearly Gates” or will you be sent packing to a warmer climate for all eternity?

Mandy

10/19/12

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God’s One Liners!

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1 John 4:9-10

We love Him because He first loved us.

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Psalm 34:19

A righteous man may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all;

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 Proverbs 2:7

He holds victory in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless.

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Psalm 5:12

For surely, O LORD, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield.

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Psalm 9:9

The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.

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Hebrews 10:24

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.

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Lamentations 3:25

The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him;

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Psalm 16:11

You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

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Proverbs 16:3

Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.

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Copyright © 2011-2012 “MandysPath” Ministry

Thought For The Day 10/18/12

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And That’s Why I Believe in God!

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http://www.turnbacktogod.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/10/thanks-giving-prayer-0112.jpg

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Every child comes with the message that God is not yet discouraged of man. 

Rabindranath Tagore

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

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Please note that I can not prove the truth of the history of the following piece I am sharing with you today. I checked “Snopes” and the status of the piece is listed as undetermined! But I do not think proving the truth of the authorship of the piece matters one single bit. This is being reprinted from an email I received on Tuesday. I am not going to editorialize or add anything else. This post is exactly as I received it!

Amanda Bruscella

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THIS IS FABULOUS!!! It was written by an 8-year-old named Danny Dutton, who lives in Chula Vista , CA . He wrote it for his third grade homework assignment, to ‘explain God.’ I wonder if any of us could have done as well? (and he had such an assignment, in California , and someone published it, I guess miracles do happen!)

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EXPLANATION OF GOD:

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‘One of God’s main jobs is making people. He makes them to replace the ones that die, so there will be enough people to take care of things on earth. He doesn’t make grownups, just babies. I think because they are smaller and easier to make That way he doesn’t have to take up his valuable time teaching them to talk and walk. He can just leave that to mothers and fathers.’
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‘God’s second most important job is listening to prayers An awful lot of this goes on, since some people, like preachers and things, pray at times beside bedtime. God doesn’t have time to listen to the radio or TV because of this. Because he hears everything, there must be a terrible lot of noise in his ears, unless he has thought of a way to turn it off.’
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‘God sees everything and hears everything and is everywhere which keeps Him pretty busy. So you shouldn’t go wasting his time by going over your mom and dad’s head asking for something they said you couldn’t have.’
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‘Atheists are people who don’t believe in God. I don’t think there are any in Chula Vista . At least there aren’t any who come to our church.’
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‘Jesus is God’s Son. He used to do all the hard work, like walking on water and performing miracles and trying to teach the people who didn’t want to learn about God. They finally got tired of him preaching to them and they crucified him. But he was good and kind, like his father, and he told his father that they didn’t know what they were doing and to forgive them and God said O.K.’
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‘His dad (God) appreciated everything that he had done and all his hard work on earth so he told him he didn’t have to go out on the road anymore. He could stay in heaven. So he did. And now he helps his dad out by listening to prayers and seeing things which are important for God to take care of and which ones he can take care of himself without having to bother God. Like a secretary, only more important.’
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‘You can pray anytime you want and they are sure to help you because they got it worked out so one of them is on duty all the time.’
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‘You should always go to church on Sunday because it makes God happy, and if there’s anybody you want to make happy, it’s God! Don’t skip church to do something you think will be more fun like going to the beach. This is wrong. And besides the sun doesn’t come out at the beach until noon anyway.’
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‘If you don’t believe in God, besides being an atheist, you will be very lonely, because your parents can’t go everywhere with you, like to camp, but God can. It is good to know He’s around you when you’re scared, in the dark or when you can’t swim and you get thrown into real deep water by big kids.’
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‘But…you shouldn’t just always think of what God can do for you. I figure God put me here and he can take me back anytime he pleases.
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And…that’s why I believe in God.’

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And this is exactly the same reason that I believe in God too!

Amanda Bruscella

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Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

Matthew 19:14 NIV

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Copyright © 2011-2012 “MandysPath” Ministry

Thought For The Day 10/17/12

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The Great Equalizer!

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Being a man or a woman is a matter of birth.  Being a man or a woman who makes a difference is a matter of choice. 

Byron Garrett

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

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Yesterday a breaking news alert came across my phone. It seems that another leader of a multinational, billion dollar company is waving the white flag of surrender. And no doubt he is abandoning ship with a healthy multi-million dollar severance package as well. Wouldn’t it be nice if we working class citizens had the same luxury? Now there are many who say people like this deserve what they get paid. After all, more responsibility equals bigger headaches! But then I think about all of those with multimillion dollar signs next to their signatures on all of those NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL. and PGA contracts, and I have to wonder why it is that they deserve this kind of compensation for what it is that they do!

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As of the last quarter of 2011, the median American income was $51,413.00 versus $770,000.00 for an NFL player and somewhere in the neighborhood of $25,706,500.00 for your CEO (this figure includes benefit packages, stock options, productivity clauses as well as salary). And with all of that money, everyone must pay the same for the basic necessities of life. Yes, housing amounts, utilities and property taxes are vastly different between the South Carolina low-country and California’s Beverly Hills. But still, no matter the salary, food and shelter and transportation remain at the top of our list of priorities for existing in the world as we know it. However, the disparity of it all should remains glaringly obvious to each of us. And, unlike the CEO of Citigroup, whose name splashed across TV news banners yesterday, for most middle-class Americans, throwing in the towel is not just unthinkable but impossible. And it is while I think about this that I remember that God is the great equalizer of all things in the world.

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There is nothing that occurs in life that is not known to God. He even knows the times we’ve hidden our light behind a bushel built from the secrets that are our past or our insecurities. In fact, in reality, he loves us completely and doesn’t give a hoot what anyone else might just think of us. And when people who would take advantage of those of us who are the most vulnerable, such as the mortgage banker sought out by the young couple seeking to better themselves by buying a home when their economic status really could not justify the decision, or people like Ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff, who made billions on the backs of both rich and not so rich alike, when their walk upon the earth is completed, are all called to face the Master on judgement day, I doubt that God will view their life quite the same way that they do. Now that does not mean that they will automatically be sent packing to a warmer climate for all eternity. They also have an equal opportunity of begging God’s forgiveness for those trespasses that the rest of us have. So those of you who bemoan the fact that God has forsaken you, JUST STOP! It was because of the gift He gave us in the sacrifice of His only begotten son that makes our lives just as significant and valuable to Him if we choose the pathway He directs us toward. And he will not give greater consideration to that CEO or that professional athlete over the rest of us come judgement day!

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None of us are perfect nor do we come from perfect backgrounds or perfect families. But what we do have that is perfect is the Savior who lives within the hearts of those who allow Him entrance! God’s love is the greatest equalizer there is. We all have our feet placed on the same playing field in God’s eyes. How do we know this? He tells us again and again!  In Colossians 1:21-22 NIV, He says, 21 Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. 22 But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation. And how about Christ’s words in John 10:10 NIV, where we read, 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. Proof positive in black and white from the one who has the final say about where we will spend eternity!

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This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him

1 John 4:9 NIV

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Copyright © 2011-2012 “MandysPath” Ministry

Thought For The Day 10/15/12

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What Are The Dividends?

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And this, our life, exempt from public haunt, finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, sermons in stones, and good in everything. 

William Shakespeare

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

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Today our economic climate is slowly beginning to recover. Now for some in our world, that recovery might just serve as a forum for debate, while others choose a different perspective by seeing the economic glass as “half full”. And whether or not you agree with the current policies we have in place from “the powers that be”, I think there is little doubt but that we all hope to reap the benefits from the turning tide! Because the world market remains one of the most combustible in what constitutes recent memory for most of us, I think we are somehow compelled to really examine many of the other things that make up the things we hope will bring meaning to our lives! And from my viewpoint, faith must be a huge part of the equation for us. The thing is that with faith, we generally see little in the way of tangible proof or dividends for the amount we each choose to invest!

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When I think about my faith this way, I seem to somehow be drawn to the Book of Proverbs for the inspiration and wisdom, especially from the son of David, King Solomon. Proverbs 8:35 NLT sums things us quite well. “For whoever finds me finds life and receives favor from the LORD”. God’s favor…..seems like quite a dividend to me! There is something quite profound in knowing the God’s promise of heaven exists despite the fact that I still have a lot of living yet to accomplish. Which is why I choose to view life as a gift with each new day a surprise just waiting for me to discover. Another dividend, as far as I can see! Which reminds me of another quote I remember from somewhere…..”Hang onto Heaven but keep both feet on  the ground.” God tells us over and over that it is His desire that our lives be lived fully and successfully. However these dividends He gives to us with one caveat. He expects that we will keep his commandments. In 1 John 3:22 NLT, “And we will receive from him whatever we ask because we obey him and do the things that please him.”

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Seems like a pretty fair trade-off as far as I’m concerned. Is it easy to do? Well, half of His commandments are clearly within the purview of most people. There are few who would commit murder (number 6), adultery (number 7) or theft (number 8). And worshipping only God (numbers 1 and really number 2) should not be difficult for anyone, even those who have chosen a different name for God as He exists for them. (I am one who believes that God takes many forms as He enters the hearts of people of faith.) But then comes the challenging other half of His commandments. You know the ones to which I refer. They are the ones that seem to lurk just below the surface of most people….even people of faith, just lying in wait for the perfect moment to spring forth. They are the ones that include not taking God’s name in vain (number 3) and keeping the Sabbath entirely unto God (number 4). And what teen alive (me included way back when) hasn’t broken the promise we make to God to honor our parents (number 5)!  And I have also been guilty of telling those little white lies that we think will not hurt another (number 9). Now I believe that I am truly a woman of faith but there have also been times when I envied another’s talents, wishing I had been so blessed (number 10). Yes indeed, it is these that most will find springing forth, like a volcanic mountain just waiting to erupt, when we momentarily forget their importance under the weight of the mantle of our every day existence. But, bless Him, He knows that we are not perfect. He knew we would each need that helpmeet to deal with life and that is the sole reason He gave us someone who would wear that heavy mantle that are our transgressions, if….and only if…..we allow Him entrance into our heart.

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Wouldn’t our world be a spectacular place if everyone worked diligently at obeying His commandments…..all of them? There would be no war or crime or violence. There would be no lying or cheating or even divorce and disrespect in the family dynamic. Life would be so very different. And yet we can not wave a magic wand and somehow transform the hearts of everyone. However we can start with one. Lets start with the one whose skin we walk in and whose essence is our spirit. Let the miracle of change in the world begin with each of us. And then just try to imagine what the dividend for that effort that you make will be!

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In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.

Proverbs 3:6 NAS

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Copyright © 2011-2012 “MandysPath” Ministry

Thought For The Day 10/15/12

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Finding The Meaning

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

Author Unknown

http://quotegarden.com/change.html

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Most of us do something during the last and first months of every year. And while I can understand our choosing this as the time to take a moment for those self-evaluations and reflections of the lives we have led during the preceding 12 months so that we can plan our strategy for the things we want to accomplish in the new year ahead, I have to wonder if it might not be a matter of too little too late! After all as we ponder the successes and failures that have comprised each life story, doesn’t it make more sense to take a long look at our story a bit more often so that the changes we want to make can be given the true attention they deserve, instead of finding it as number 18 on our itemized list of everything we hope to change? I think we are missing on a real opportunity for positive growth on a continuing basis by choosing this model, especially when those reflections are intended to help us to find our true purpose for living!

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How many of you have given some thought to the fact that finding that purpose really is dependent on first living that purpose so that you are able to recognize the right direction you want to aim for tomorrow? Have you thought that sometimes purpose doesn’t simply happen but that it might just be a part of something that you have already succeeded in and it is because of that success, you are able to plan for an even bigger and stronger next step? But how do you first recognize that something is worthwhile continuing? Well, ask any life coach, and you will most likely find them telling you to make a list. And regardless whether the direction you want to aim for is with regards to your faith or your job or your family and friends, organizing your thoughts in a way that allows you to review them is really a positive step we all should consider. But how? What are the things we should look at? Well there are a myriad of questions, each different depending on who you are talking to. However, there are a few key things that, in my opinion, really warrant consideration. And while you may decide on a slightly different list, these are some that I think might be the most helpful! They are all things that I gave serious consideration to when I first began that decision of following the calling I felt that led me to re-examine my faith and what I wanted it to add to my life!

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My Questions?

Who am I?

What makes me special?

What is missing in my life right now?

What do I need to do to make me truly happy?

What is the biggest thing I need to change?

What thing defines what I see as the best me?

What things have I worried about the most over the years?

Am I a good wife, mother, daughter and friend?

What frightens me the most?

Where do I see myself as being next week? Next month? Next year?

How do I want to be remembered when I am gone?

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I have read the lists of others. One person even went so far as to list 95 questions everyone should know the answer to when trying to decide whether or not their life plan needs altering. I may have glossed over things a bit with my strategic planning. After all, I tailored it for what I needed answers to. As I said, you may choose an entirely different set of questions since no two people choose the same goals nor do we share the same hopes or dreams, for that matter. But spending some time doing a true self assessment really can help us to become the best person we want to be. And for me, my goals are to be the best person I can be for God, for me, for my family, for my community, for my country and for my world!

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But rise and stand upon your feet, for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and witness to the things in which you have seen me and to those in which I will appear to you,

Acts 26:16 ESV

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Copyright © 2011-2012 “MandysPath” Ministry

Thought For The Day 10/14/12

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Judge Not That Ye Be Not Judged…..

Matthew 7:1

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http://www.thepublicinsuranceoption.com/thepublicinsuranceoption/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/gavel-hand.jpg

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In the last analysis we must be judged by what we do and not by what we believe.  We are as we behave – with a very small margin of credit for our unmanifested vision of how we might behave if we could take the trouble. 

Geoffrey L. Rudd

The British Vegetarian, September/October 1962

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

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Here we go again! No matter how hard I try I am faced every day seeing it with my own two eyes or reading it in news articles. And the funny thing is that there are many of you out there that see it as a non-issue while I view the exact same thing as a testament as to how we have managed to somehow devolve in the “love thy brother” and compassion department. This is especially poignant in that Westboro Baptist Church was planning a protest yesterday at the funeral of Sgt Donna Johnson in Raeford, NC, not just because she was a soldier killed by a suicide bomber in Afghanistan, but also because she is survived by her wife, Tracy! (http://fortbragg.patch.com/articles/westboro-baptist-church-set-to-protest-saturday-at-sgt-donna-johnson-s-funeral?icid=maing-grid10%7Chtmlws-main-bb%7Cdl4%7Csec3_lnk1%26pLid%3D219875)  So once more I am forced to re-evaluate the question: Why do we judge people?

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Judging our fellow man! It has become so widespread these days that I really have to wonder how it is that we have allowed it to become almost programmed into our very DNA! Perhaps once upon a time judging others was needed. I am thinking about the days early in mankind’s very existence, before time found us living in what constitutes civilized society. I am thinking about the days when man lived a nomadic existence, roaming from place to place in search of food and shelter and other basic necessities of existence. At that time, judging others was necessary to assure survival. And even today, in less educated or civilized societies, I can somehow manage to reconcile the sense that this type of behavior continues to guarantee to a small segment of people in the world. However, most of those who practice this behavior do not live in third world countries! For the most part, we are not talking about people who never received the benefit of an education! For the most part, we are not talking about people who must forage and hunt food to survive! Instead we are seeing this in your average citizen who has completed at least High School and perhaps even College. We are seeing this in people who are employed or at least able to provide for food, clothing and shelter. And even more frightening, we are seeing this in people who have, if not an expansive religious background, then at least a fundamental understanding of God’s purpose and plan for mankind!

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There is an interesting definition of common sense that I once read. The definition was as follows: Common sense is the sum of all of our prejudices we have acquired by the age of 18. And I think this might just be the bottom line as to why we are so quick to judge the worth of another. Our negative opinion somehow supports the acquired prejudices we have formed about others even before we have taken the opportunity of getting to know them and it is this that seems to somehow become the stylus which etches the worth of others in our psyche! Why do we not choose to expand our horizons and first ascertain the degree with which others might just add some measure of value to our lives? People do not fit into an ideal mold, and, when you think about it, the world would be a sad place if they did. Because it is all that others bring into our lives, both the good as well as the bad, that serves to enrich the person we are! And I can think of no more special gift from God to mankind than that! So the next time you want to jump to a conclusion about someone, why not get to know them and give them the opportunity of proving themselves to you. And should you find that they do not complement what your preconceived notion of value might be, then say your farewells and move on. Leave the judging of the worth of others to one whose job it really is!

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A Brown Bag

(found in the 10/13/12 edition of http://www.godvine.com/)

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On a dark winter’s night as the chill wind blew
on a park bench an old man there lay

Tattered and torn, tired withered and worn
he’d not eaten for more than a day

Heartache and fears and much sadness and tears
was his life – fate had dealt a poor hand

He thought once or twice of the terrible price
he’d paid not obeying God’s command

Way back in his youth he was taught gospel truth
and the Spirit had led him to preach

But judging was he – the way things ought to be
so instead he decided to teach

He made a good start and he had a kind heart –
untold were his many good deeds

Yet often he found – one who’d pray and kneel down
but he couldn’t attend their soul’s needs

A college professor he’d been for a while
but soon the years took a sad toll

Divorce – loss of wealth – no job and poor health
had left just a bum – growing old

He lay there in pain – a slight drizzle of rain
most certain he’d freeze to the bone

As he thought of the past, a deep sigh came at last
he guessed he’d just die there alone

Then, strangely appeared, a man standing quite near
He asked, “may I sit for a while?”

And though it was dark – in his eye was a spark
and his face bore a kind loving smile

He said, “Sir I perceive that you didn’t receive
all the good things God planned for your life;

By the look on your face I can somehow retrace
that you’ve lived through much anguish and strife.”

“God’s judgment won’t count all the sins you repent
and it’s never too late to restart –

So kneel here with me and together let’s see
if God will re-enter your heart;

Together they prayed and a long time he stayed –
A soul was reborn on that night

Then as suddenly he came – he was gone with no name
He’d vanished completely from sight

A brown bag he’d brought of food the old man sought
was all that remained at his side

The food warmed his body – the words fed his soul
Now Christ. . . . within him . . . . did abide

The brown paper sack on the park bench there
had these words – written with love

“God sent His Son and He also sent me”
“And a little mana from above.

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There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?

James 4:12 ESV

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Copyright © 2011-2012 “MandysPath” Ministry

Thought For The Day 10/13/12

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Battling Life’s Demons

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The symbol of

The Pink Ninja Supporters

http://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/475141302497899/

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During chemo, you’re more tired than you’ve ever been. It’s like a cloud passing over the sun, and suddenly you’re out. You don’t know how you’ll answer the door when your groceries are delivered. But you also find that you’re stronger than you’ve ever been. You’re clear. Your mortality is at optimal distance, not up so close that it obscures everything else, but close enough to give you depth perception. Previously, it has taken you weeks, months, or years to discover the meaning of an experience. Now it’s instantaneous.

Melissa Bank

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

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It is October once more and with the turning of the calendar page comes not just a change in the seasons but the month also asks of us to change our mindset about some things that we might just take for granted the other 11 months of the year. One thing October trumpets in is our reminder that we continue to battle the demons of disease even today….and especially one demon that continues to defy cure…..Breast Cancer! Did you know that Breast cancer was described 1800 years BC on what is referred to as the Edwin Smith Papyrus and that the Mastectomy was performed as early as 548 AD when the court physician proposed it as a treatment to Empress Theodora, wife of Roman Emperor Justinian I?

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Breast cancer throughout history was always discussed in hushed tones by people who were ashamed of the sexual connotation it brought out into the open, and because it was primarily a disease of women, history found women suffering in silence rather than seeking treatment. There were also many who, through ignorance, held that diseases such as this were the hand of God punishing women for some imagined sin because they were considered to be second class citizens and as such, had their physical as well as emotional concerns given short shrift to those of the male in society as it existed! But no more, thanks to education and an increasing in awareness of the true nature of the disease. In fact, the “Women’s Field Army”, run by the American Society for the Control of Cancer (which evolved into the American Cancer Society) was in fact, one of the first organized health awareness campaigns.

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Did you know that just under 2,000 men are also diagnosed with breast cancer every year versus the approximately 400,000 women who will be given the same news? And of those men, approximately 500 will die versus 20,000 women. Now while breast cancer in men is a rare disease that accounts for less than 1% of all cancers in men and less than 1% of all diagnosed breast cancers, still male deaths are nearly 25% versus 5% of women. So perhaps this might just serve as a wakeup call to us all, male and female alike, that the time is now for us all to do something about this disease.

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So what, you ask, does this have to do with faith and my travels through this beautiful world God has gifted us all with? Well I lived with this disease up close and personal. Two women that I loved very much suffered and died from the consequences of this insidious disease. The first was the woman who was my very first teacher about God and His love for all of us. She gave me my life and set my feet on the path that I began my journey on 58 years ago and it is the very same path, albeit with a few twists and turns along the way, that I travel today! The second was the woman who was my husband’s very first teacher about God and His love for all of us. She gave my husband his life, growing him in her heart, if not her body, and set his feet on the path that he began his journey on 62 years ago. Two women as different as night and day but two women of strength, character and filled with the Holy Spirit! Two women worth emulating and admiring for passing along all of those life lessons that we need to navigate this maze that is our world. And it is because I choose to follow one of God’s greatest commandments, part of the Decalogue which are the biblical principles and standards which define the principle of faith for those of us who believe, that I share this with you. Number 5, as found in Exodus 20:12 (NLT), Honor your father and mother. Then you will live a long, full life in the land the LORD your God is giving you. And it is to honor these brave women that I share what I do today!

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Those I have lost:

my mother Elaine

my mother-in-law Margaret

my friend Jane

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Those who have fought and have won:

my friend Jennifer

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Those who continue to fight today:

my friend Bernadette

my friend Dawn

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The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

Psalm 18:2

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Copyright © 2011-2012 “MandysPath” Ministry

Thought For The Day 10/12/12

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Tickling Your Religious Fancy

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Humor is a reminder that no matter how high the throne one sits on, one sits on one’s bottom.

Taki

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

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It has been awhile since I took a moment to tickle everyone’s fancy here, and since I have a special young friend who is recovering in the hospital from some surgery, I thought what better way to speed her recovery along than to share a laugh. Now I share my blog with her nearly every day and although I don’t want her to open up an incision by laughing, I would like to hear that she managed a smile today! So for my special friend (and you know exactly who you are) here are some “Ha Ha’s” to make you smile and just remember…..they are stories that you can tell in church! Cross my heart!

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The Inexperienced Preacher

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An inexperienced preacher was to hold a graveside burial service at a pauper’s cemetery for an indigent man with no family or friends. Not knowing where the cemetery was, (and it being an era before those navigational systems many people have in their cars) he made several wrong turns and got lost.

When he eventually arrived an hour late, the hearse was nowhere in sight, the backhoe was next to the open hole, and the workmen were sitting under a tree eating lunch. The diligent young pastor went to the open grave and found the vault lid already in place. Feeling guilty because of his tardiness, he preached an impassioned and lengthy service, sending the deceased to the great beyond in style.

As he returned to his car, he overheard one of the workman say to the other, “I’ve been putting in septic tanks for twenty years and I ain’t never seen anything like that.”

~

http://www.swapmeetdave.com/Humor/Religious.htm

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The Atheist and the Bear

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An atheist was taking a walk through the woods. ‘What majestic trees! What powerful rivers! What beautiful animals!’, he said to himself.

As he continued walking alongside the river he heard a rustling in the bushes. Turning to look, he saw a 7 foot grizzly charging towards him.

He ran as fast as he could up the path. Looking over his shoulder he saw that the bear was closing in on him. His heart was pumping frantically and he tried to run even faster.

He tripped and fell on the ground. He rolled over to pick himself up but saw the bear raising his paw to take a swipe at him.

At that instant the atheist cried out: ‘Oh my God!…’

Time stopped.
The bear froze.
The forest was silent.

It was then that a bright light shone upon the man and a voice came out of the sky saying:

‘You deny my existence for all of these years, teach others I don’t exist and even credit creation to a cosmic accident. Do you expect me to help you out of this predicament? Am I to count you as a believer?’

The atheist looked directly into the light.

‘It would be hypocritical of me to suddenly ask you to treat me as a Christian now, but perhaps, could you make the BEAR a Christian?’

‘Very well, ‘said the voice. The light went out, and the sounds of the forest resumed.

And then the bear lowered his paw, bowed his head and spoke: ‘Lord, bless this food which I am about to receive and for which I am truly thankful, Amen.’

~

http://www.guy-sports.com/jokes/funny_religious_stories.htm

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Two Little Boys

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A couple had two little boys, ages 8 and 10, who were excessively mischievous. The two were always getting into trouble and their parents could be assured that if any mischief occurred in their town their two young sons were in some way involved.

The parents were at their wit’s end as to what to do about their sons’ behavior. The mother had heard that a clergyman in town had been successful in disciplining children in the past, so she asked her husband if he thought they should send the boys to speak with the clergyman.

The husband said, ‘We might as well. We need to do something before I really lose my temper!’ The clergyman agreed to speak with the boys, but asked to see them individually. The 8-year-old went to meet with him first. The clergyman sat the boy down and asked him sternly,’Where is God?’

The boy made no response, so the clergyman repeated the question in an even sterner tone, ‘Where is God?’ Again the boy made no attempt to answer. So the clergyman raised his voice even more and shook his finger in the boy’s face, ‘WHERE IS GOD?’

At that the boy bolted from the room and ran directly home, slamming himself in the closet. His older brother followed him into the closet and asked what had happened. The younger brother replied, ‘We are in BIG trouble this time. God is missing and they think we did it.’

~

http://gatewaytojesus.com/humorouschurchstories.html

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“There is a time to weep, and a time to laugh, a time to mourn, and a time to dance.”

Ecclesiastes 3:4

AND …

“A merry heart doeth good like a medicine.”

Proverbs 17:22

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Copyright © 2011-2012 “MandysPath” Ministry