Monthly Archives: January 2013

Thought For The Day 01/31/13

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Children 

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Landon 12 25 12

Landon John

December 23, 2012

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I have been recently reminded, in a tremendously profound way (through my Guardian training), just how precious a gift our little ones are to the human race.  I have also had my eyes opened as to just how underappreciated the value of a child’s life has been over the last few centuries. And even today, when we have supposedly evolved in a more socially responsible and spiritual way, we are still bearing witness to a time when too many adults not only deprive these little blessings God has given to us, of not just a childhood, but, in some cases, their very life as well.

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Luke 18: 15-17 ESV should serve to remind us as to their value. 15 Now they were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them. And when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. 16 But Jesus called them to him, saying, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. 17 Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” And Jesus looks and view the lives of these little ones, not on man’s terms. No, he sees the value of their lives and hearts on a much higher plane that adults who have allowed their own willful aims and desires to come above their need to act in a way that honors God and the responsibility He demands that we provide to those innocent little ones.

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Notice that Jesus does not tell His disciples to wash grimy and faces and grass stained clothes before allowing children to come to Him. Instead, He welcomes them complete with frogs in pockets, runny noses and teddy bears clutched in tiny arms. You see, Jesus knew that it is the pristine nature of a child’s heart, that makes them ready for God’s kingdom, not the pristine cleanliness of their clothes. And Jesus wanted man to understand that to attain the same end, that man would need to sometimes understand the context of the lesson given in 1 Corinthians 13:11 NIV, “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.”

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It is not the daily responsibilities of adulthood that need to be put behind us. Instead it is the selfishness and pettiness of our immature selves we must put behind us and in its place, put in front of us the awe and wonder and curiosity of the heart of that innocent child! It is that we truly see God as a Father in terms of one who loves, protects, provides for, instructs and corrects us so that we become, as His children, better people. And isn’t love like this the greatest love of all?

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The Greatest Love of All

Vocals: Whitney Houston

Written by:  Michael Masser and Linda Creed

(Linda Creed was recovering from breast cancer when she wrote the song.)

http://youtu.be/55476dCgSsw

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1 John 4:9 NIV

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.

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Well, it is now 2013, and while it may be hard for you to believe, there are still people living in the area devastated by Superstorm Sandy back on October 29th, 2012, that remain without essential services that you and I are taking for granted today! Please remember the millions of our brothers and sisters who continue to suffer from the effects of this horrific storm. Lives will continue be impacted for years to come. But you can help! Please consider sending a Gift Card to the organization listed below. Thousands of cards have been distributed since November but millions more are needed. Give as much as you can, as often as you can! Your gift might just mean a family who has lost everything might just have something to smile about!

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Staten Island Gift Cards For Relief
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~
For information, visit
or

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Copyright © 2011-2013 “MandysPath” Ministry

Thought For The Day 01/30/13

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A Mother’s Love 

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mother-1

http://rishikajain.com/2012/05/03/mother-quotemothers-day/

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When you are a mother, you are never really alone in your thoughts. A mother always has to think twice: once for herself, and once for her child.

Sophia Loren

http://www.inspirational-quotes-cafe.com/mothers-love-quotes.html

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I once read an inspiring quote that is “Author Unknown”, which I shared with my Facebook page. It is about motherhood, something I am intimately familiar with, having given birth to both a daughter and a son and having witnessed the circle of life continue again in a tiny face that I see everyday, whether he is with me or not, because it is a face that I see in my dreams, as well…..my grandson. But the quote, which I share with you now, sums up perfectly what every mother in the world knows to be true, given that in this day and age, mankind all too often chooses to measures the degree and depth of love, in terms of tangibles we can see, feel and touch, no matter how wrong that might be.

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MOTHER’S LOVE

A little boy came up to his mother in the kitchen one evening while she was fixing supper, and handed her a piece of paper that he had been writing on. After his Mom dried her hands on an apron, she read it, and this is what it said:

  • For cutting the grass: $5.00
  • For cleaning up my room this week: $1.00
  • For going to the store for you: $.50
  • Baby-sitting my kid brother while you went shopping: $.25
  • Taking out the garbage: $1.00
  • For getting a good report card: $5.00
  • For cleaning up and raking the yard: $2.00
  • Total owed: $14.75

Well, his mother looked at him standing there, and the boy could see the memories flashing through her mind. She picked up the pen, turned over the paper he’d written on, and this is what she wrote:

  •  For the nine months I carried you while you were growing inside me: No Charge
  • For all the nights that I’ve sat up with you, doctored and prayed for you: No Charge
  • For all the trying times, and all the tears that you’ve caused through the years: No Charge
  • For all the nights that were filled with dread, and for the worries I knew were ahead: No Charge
  • For the toys, food, clothes, and even wiping your nose: No Charge
  • Son, when you add it up, the cost of my love is: No Charge.

Read the rest of this entry

Thought For The Day 01/29/13

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Goodbye Old Me, Hello New Me! 

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letting-go

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-P9LEIPCjNkA/TY-831t6w-I/AAAAAAAAAfs/1PIhb3qafUQ/s1600/letting-go.jpg

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Letting go has never been easy. But holding on can be as difficult. Yet strength is measured not by holding on, but by letting go.

Author Unknown

http://www.quotesarelife.com/sayings/love-quotes/767/moving-on-quotes.html

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Not long ago I talked about “Let Go, Let God” and I wanted to expand on that thought a bit in light of the recent nightclub fire tragedy in Brazil. Now, in doing so, I am thinking more in terms of the survivors, not those lost, because if you are a person of true faith, you know in your heart that the time of pain and agony suffered by the lost is at an end. You know they are now held in the love and safety of the arms of the Almighty. Yes, that may be small comfort today for those they leave behind and who are just beginning to mourn their loved ones and a life forever changed by the absence of those they love. But it is the physical, mental and emotional lives of the survivors, many of whom have suffered horrible burns, who will bear forever more, a physical reminder of the day that they can never be rid of! They are the ones who look into the mirror at a body changed by scars and wounds and even, perhaps, a lifetime of physical pain! And once they pass beyond the stages of anger, denial, bargaining, and depression, it will likely be harder to reach the point of acceptance because to do so means looking in that mirror one last time and saying goodbye forever to the person they once were and saying hello to a stranger they have yet to really know and understand!
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Now if the stages I mentioned seem vaguely familiar it is because they are the very same stages those who are dying must pass through, and for that matter, those the dying leave behind, as well. However, the difference is that, while life is changed for all of these people, those who bear the scars of a “disfigurement”, especially when it comes upon them suddenly and unexpectedly, must learn to like and love themselves all over again! And when we are used to a particular appearance and body image, being forever changed is a life altering experience. Now this can refer to any major change of self such as an amputation or a mastectomy or even a paralysis due to accident or illness. And that is one that I can wholly commiserate with, having suffered from a paralysis as the result of a neurological disease, myself. Yes, I have recovered, through hard work and medication and therapy, although I will never feel my legs again, but it was the looks and preconceived notions I elicited from others, especially strangers, that drove me to want to hide myself away from the prying eyes that seem compelled to stare.
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I was incredibly lucky. I had a loving and devoted support system who continued to validate my worth, especially during the times when I could not see it myself. But not everyone is as lucky as I was and these are the ones that must turn to another support system to help them rediscover their worth! I once read in a mentoring publication the following: God makes each one of us with an ability; society creates the “dis”. So often, society seems to need to apply a “dis” label to someone in the misguided belief that this will automatically make them both know and acknowledge what “caste” they belong to. But, rather than somehow diminishing the one it was aimed toward, labels only diminish the one casting the aspersions in the first place. Fortunately for man, God sees no such distinction nor did his son, Jesus Christ.
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There are two phrases that came from the mouth of Christ himself when men wanted to stone the the audulteress, which have endured the test of time. Both “let him who is without sin, cast the first stone” (John 8:7) and “go, and sin no more” (John 8:11) have found their way into common usage, which reminds us that we are all created equally in His eyes, whether scarred somehow, in body or mind. And if the Bible can tell us about our worth as often as it does (from Psalm 139:13-14 ESV, “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.” to Luke 17:3-4 ESV  “Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.”), why do we not see it for ourselves? We need only turn God’s faith in us inward and regain the faith and love we must have within ourselves! And when we are changed on the outside, there is one thing that never changes…our heart and our soul. And it is these two things, after all, that are the measure of a person! And when we bid the old physical us goodbye, we really are saying hello to an old friend!
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Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully. He will receive blessing from the Lord and righteousness from the God of his salvation.

Psalm 24:3-5 ESV

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Well, it is now 2013, and while it may be hard for you to believe, there are still people living in the area devastated by Superstorm Sandy back on October 29th, 2012, that remain without essential services that you and I are taking for granted today! Please remember the millions of our brothers and sisters who continue to suffer from the effects of this horrific storm. Lives will continue be impacted for years to come. But you can help! Please consider sending a Gift Card to the organization listed below. Thousands of cards have been distributed since November but millions more are needed. Give as much as you can, as often as you can! Your gift might just mean a family who has lost everything might just have something to smile about!

___

Staten Island Gift Cards For Relief
~
~
For information, visit
or

___

Copyright © 2011-2013 “MandysPath” Ministry

Thought For The Day 01/28/13

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Our Strengths And Our Weaknesses

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Girls can do anything!

http://www.thefitnesschronicles.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/Being-Strong.jpg

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 Prayer of an Unknown Confederate Soldier *

I asked God for strength that I might achieve. I was made weak that I might learn humbly to obey.

I asked for health that I might do greater things. I was given infirmity that I might do better things.

I asked for riches that I might be happy. I was given poverty that I might be wise.

I asked for power that I might have the praise of men. I was given weakness that I might feel the need of God. 

I asked for all things that I might enjoy life. I was given life that I might enjoy all things.

I got nothing that I asked for, but everything I hoped for.

Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered. I am, among all men, most richly blessed.

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* This poem is also known as “The Creed for the Disabled”, thanks to Dr. Howard Rusk, who is considered to be the founder of rehabilitation medicine, and who established what is now known as the Rusk Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine at New York University Medical Center.

http://askville.amazon.com/Poem-asked-God-strength-made-weak-I——-poem-author/AnswerViewer.do?requestId=2381088

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We live our lives as mortal creatures trying to maintain our footing as we balance precariously on a steep slope on the side of a huge mountain. Now at the top of this mountain rests all of our goals and aspirations which we attain utilizing all of the strength that God has endowed us with.  And at the foot of this mountain lies their counterpart, our dashed hopes and failures which are often the result of our weakness, also divinely endowed! And as a rule, it is as we make our life’s journey that most of us find ourselves standing smack dab between these two polar opposites, seeking the one but often discovering the other.
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When we begin our journey in life, we devote much of our time trying to reach the top…. an accomplishment often of monumental proportions! But the climb up is both a steep and rocky one, and if we have learned anything from history, it is that more likely than not, we are probably going to lose our footing as we make our climb, no matter how much safety gear we have brought along with us! The funny thing is that we often learn much more about ourselves and what we are capable of from the tumbles we take that bring us to the bottom. After all, as we are reminded by the popular saying, “The only place to go when you hit rock bottom is up”!
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It is fair to say that we can not hide from the many falls that carry us to the bottom. Someone always knows and if it happens to be someone who delights in pointing fingers, our secret is soon out in the open anyway. Now I don’t know about you, but I would much prefer to make sure the story of my tumble is an honest accounting of what happened, instead of a lot of half-truths or outright falsehoods. To guarantee this, the only logical answer is to be upfront and honest about these failures. And yes, I realize that it often means there might just be a few more eyes staring a hole in our back as we pick ourselves up and dust ourselves off, and begin our climb once more. But there may also be a few more people who might just volunteer a hand up as we begin the climb once more! And therein lies the proof of the strength of character and determination God has endowed us with, and which continues to exemplify the very best part of who and what we are as people. It speaks to others, ourselves, and God, as well, about the special gifts we have to share with them, should we be willing to do so, as we live our lives, and it affirms our trustworthiness, our honor and our dependability.
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Now this presumes that our heart cares about where it is and what it is, we hope to accomplish. But even when we have reached the point where our downward spiral has pushed us to the point where one more step back up is beyond our will, there is one other thing worth remembering. When we hit bottom, and there is no one left to turn to or to lean on, God remains ready, willing and able to lend us that hand up, even when our contemporaries aren’t. You see, He understands the strength of will and character it often requires for us to begin the climb all over again, for perhaps the millionth time. And even during the moments when others, and sometimes even ourselves, doubt that we have it within to get up and start that climb again, God never doubts our abilities and capabilities. Just take a look at Isaiah 40:28-31 ESV, which says, “Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”
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He is the rock upon which we can gain a foot or hand hold, as we start the climb up once more and I, for one, am very happy to find Him in my corner, there for me to lean on, as I rest, regroup and regain the strength I need to start my journey anew. And while our family and friends are important to the lives we lead, it is really only God to whom I owe any explanation for the manner in which I accomplish my journey up and down the side of that slippery slope, because as long as I make that journey keeping Him close to my heart, I will, one day, be able to reach the stars!
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For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

2 Timothy 1:7 ESV

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Well, it is now 2013, and while it may be hard for you to believe, there are still people living in the area devastated by Superstorm Sandy back on October 29th, 2012, that remain without essential services that you and I are taking for granted today! Please remember the millions of our brothers and sisters who continue to suffer from the effects of this horrific storm. Lives will continue be impacted for years to come. But you can help! Please consider sending a Gift Card to the organization listed below. Thousands of cards have been distributed since November but millions more are needed. Give as much as you can, as often as you can! Your gift might just mean a family who has lost everything might just have something to smile about!

___

Staten Island Gift Cards For Relief
~
~
For information, visit
or

___

Copyright © 2011-2013 “MandysPath” Ministry

Thought For The Day 01/27/13

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Making A Joyful Noise

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Music rainbow

http://leadership.uoregon.edu/upload/images/music.jpg

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“Life is one grand, sweet song, so start the music.”

Ronald Reagan 

http://www.famousquotes123.com/songs-quotes.html

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Writing today’s post was a no-brainer when I happened upon an editorial response in news publication that was referring about the travesty that has been introduced into our worship services by including (dare I even write the words?) the heathen style of worship music made commonplace by today’s Christian rock bands. And suddenly I was transported in mind to the 1984 movie “Footloose” and to the infamous scene where Kevin Bacon’s character addresses the town council meeting in an attempt to change the local ordinance banning the rite of passage for High School students everywhere, the Senior Prom. But it was his use of Biblical passages to support his view that made the greatest impact in his address to these people. And, as we know, he fails to change the law, but he does succeed in opening some eyes to thinking about the possibilities that there is a time and a place for all things. Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (KJV) “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend, and a time to sow; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.”
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Why is it that the more life and times change, the more they stay the same? Why do some people not see that this form of praise is still praise and worship in the eyes of the Almighty? When so many young people are turning away from Him, why do some seek to drive still others away? And especially over an opinion about a medium that has celebrated every milestone and event in human life for thousands upon thousands of years? The notes of songs resonate with the magic of life. When you are experiencing the depths of despair, the magic can lift you up and help you to overcome your anguish! And even our moments of happiness can be transported to moments of sheer bliss through music!
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Almost 3500 years ago, a fair-haired shepherd boy lived and dreamed and wrote what might just be the greatest collection of songs of praise ever compiled into one literary masterpiece. In fact, the works are described in a way in 1 Chronicles 13:8 (NKJV), that resonates like a story of any conventional rock group of today. “Then David and all Israel played music before God with all their might, with singing, on harps, on stringed instruments, on tambourines, on cymbals, and with trumpets.” And yet, by today’s standards, David’s tributes which range from moments of utter despair to the moments of the ecstasy of his greatest joys, might just raise a few eyebrows. And yet, should we be able to peer into a crystal ball and see our world in another thousand years, I have no doubt that some of our more successful contemporary rock musicians such as  DC Talk, Newsboys, Jars of Clay and Audio Adrenaline, might well be viewed in the very same light.
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Instead of seeking to tear down the heart, mind and soul of today’s young people, who are just now discovering and reveling in the magic and joy that faith gifts us with, why not try for a moment to see the world through a new set of eyes….young eyes. What you discover might just surprise you! What these young musicians are striving to do is to give new believers the tools, in a language that they can understand, to strengthen their walk along the new pathways that faith is leading them to! And isn’t this the very same thing that evangelist and song-leader George Bennard tried to do in 1912 when he wrote, “The Old Rugged Cross”, and when Leonard Cohen wrote “Hallelujah” in 1984! These songs, both songs of praise, resonate differently with everyone but they each evoke emotions that draw us even closer to the Almighty. And isn’t that what compelled David to begin writing his psalms of praise more that 3 millenia ago?
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The most famous and popular of all of the Psalms of David!
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Psalm 23 (KJV)

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23 The 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.

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Well, it is now 2013, and while it may be hard for you to believe, there are still people living in the area devastated by Superstorm Sandy back on October 29th, 2012, that remain without essential services that you and I are taking for granted today! Please remember the millions of our brothers and sisters who continue to suffer from the effects of this horrific storm. Lives will continue be impacted for years to come. But you can help! Please consider sending a Gift Card to the organization listed below. Thousands of cards have been distributed since November but millions more are needed. Give as much as you can, as often as you can! Your gift might just mean a family who has lost everything might just have something to smile about!

___

Staten Island Gift Cards For Relief
~
~
For information, visit
or

___

Copyright © 2011-2013 “MandysPath” Ministry

Thought For The Day 01/26/13

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Our House

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Old Tennent

Old Tennent Presbyterian Church was the church I attended when my children were young.

I was ordained as a Presbyterian Deacon here in 1993.

Old Tennent was used as a field hospital during the Battle of Monmouth on June 28, 1778.

234 years later, the blood of wounded Continental Army troops can be found on the church’s wooden pews!

http://www.wdgordon.com/history/gordon20.htm

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Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. Go near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools, who do not know that they do wrong.

Ecclesiastes 5:1 NIV

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When I was a little girl, there were some rules that went hand-in-hand with visiting God’s house on Sundays! We were always well scrubbed and polished and wearing our finest attire, complete with hats and our Sunday white gloves. My mother had as many pill-box hats as Jacqueline Kennedy and looked even more beautiful wearing them, her head held high, when we entered the huge sanctuary doors. My dad sported his best suit. It was one that was a bit different that the ones he taught school in every day, and his Sunday shirt collars always had just the perfect amount of starch so that they could slice a cake into paper-thin slivers, should the need arise. And we were not out of the ordinary in those days, because every family treated their church with the same reverence and respect. There was even a book published in 1882 entitled, American Etiquette and Rules of Politeness, which went so far as to say as much in the following statement:

“The congregation who builds a church, build it and continue to regard it as the house of God. It is, then, a place where the greatest deference, respect and reverence are due.”

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The debate over this very topic rages on even today, and there are more that a few voices who loudly chastise those who dare to enter through those massive oaken doors wearing anything less that what has been designated as one’s “Sunday best” for the last 200 years! The problem is that it is sometimes mindsets like these that are rooted in the absolutes that was life in the days of yester-year, that cause us to forget that life is not the same for any of us today as it was 50 or 100 or 1000 years ago! What is becoming increasingly apparent is that it is this thinking and these attitudes that are responsible for the dwindling numbers of bright and shining faces sitting in the pews of church sanctuaries every Sunday!

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Times change as they must! No one reading this would ever hope to return to the days when polio crippled little ones for life and the common cold would kill, more often than not. So if we realize the importance of changing out thoughts about these things, why is it so difficult for us to expand our mind a bit and accept that God doesn’t care what church you show up to or what attire you are wearing when you do, just as long as you show up somewhere, wearing something (hopefully)? All He asks is that we all take some time out of our busy lives to pay him homage!

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I talk to people every day through social media. I post poems and pictures and stories and prayers and things that I hope might just bring you just a bit closer to the Almighty with each item that I share. I do this on my Facebook page, MandysPath. Is this any less a kind on ministry because I do it at all hours of the day, and night, and in all manner of attire, from business casual to pajamas? Does this mean that I have no respect for my God? Of course not! It means that I am comfortable enough with my faith to understand the God only cares about what He sees in my heart and not on my back!

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Jesus did not send away the poor and the ragged who sought Him out for his counsel and blessings. Think about one of His miracles of healing. Now today we know that Leprosy is not that dreaded disease that caused people to be banished into caves. However, 2000 years ago, there was perhaps no malady more feared. But Christ did not allow this to deter him from laying hands upon the man with Leprosy, and making him clean. Read the accounting of this miracle. 1 When he came down from the mountainside, large crowds followed him. 2 A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” 3 Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately he was cured of his leprosy. 4 Then Jesus said to him, “See that you don’t tell anyone.But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the gift Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.” Matthew 8:1-4 NIV. Interestingly, it is likely this act that was responsible for Christ sharing his message in the days that would follow in what would be constituted as lonely places…..places that were out-of-the-way. You see, Jesus told the man to remain quiet and tell only the priest, but instead, the man proclaimed the miracle everywhere and Jesus was not able to enter the town. But despite the need to share God’s word in the open air, where there were no protections from the elements, still, they came!

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When we seek to share His word with others, it is the message that matters and our willingness to want to learn from that message that matters. It is what we wear as the attire of our character that matters. It is the content of our hearts and not the content of our closets that matters. It is the robe of our faith that we wear openly and unashamedly that matters. It is that we take the time to do it that matters, not when and where and how and what we look like as we do it!

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If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town.

Matthew 10:14 NIV

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Well, it is now 2013, and while it may be hard for you to believe, there are still people living in the area devastated by Superstorm Sandy back on October 29th, 2012, that remain without essential services that you and I are taking for granted today! Please remember the millions of our brothers and sisters who continue to suffer from the effects of this horrific storm. Lives will continue be impacted for years to come. But you can help! Please consider sending a Gift Card to the organization listed below. Thousands of cards have been distributed since November but millions more are needed. Give as much as you can, as often as you can! Your gift might just mean a family who has lost everything might just have something to smile about!

___

Staten Island Gift Cards For Relief
~
~
For information, visit
or

___

Copyright © 2011-2013 “MandysPath” Ministry

Thought For The Day 01/25/13

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Are We Still On The Eve Of Destruction?

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nuclear_power_01

http://izismile.com/2008/12/22/nuclear_explosions_88_photos.html#pic3

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The atomic bomb made the prospect of future war unendurable. It has led us up those last few steps to the mountain pass; and beyond there is a different country.

J. Robert Oppenheimer

http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/atomic.html

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This morning Dan and I were on our way to the courthouse to participate in proceedings for the at-risk children we advocate for, when suddenly, on the radio, I heard Barry McGuire’s song “The Eve of Destruction”. Suddenly, I was struck by the thought that even though this song was recorded and made popular in 1965, there are very few things about this song’s message that have changed in the almost 50 years since! Our fears about the unpredictability of man, especially when he seems to need to exert power and authority over others, above all else, seems to be the same today as it was in 1965. In fact, they’re the same fears man had in 1915 and 1776 and 1 BC!
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This fact was made crystal clear to me just the other night when I felt the same lump in my throat as I did when I was a kid going through the evacuation drill that required us to exit the school bus through the emergency doors and then to climb under the same bus and to, hopefully, some measure of safety against the threat the United States was facing as a result of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Well, my 21st century throat lump came in the form of a CNN breaking news alert the other night about the North Korean government threatening to continue to test fire missiles, despite censure from the United Nations Security Council.
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Now I probably would have heard and reacted to this news differently, if North Korea were a country open to negotiations and a communal dialogue of sorts. In fact, I most likely would not have given the news a second thought. But history supports that we see the threat posed by the leaders of this nation, in a different light, and I am given pause to wonder why it is that one person, or a nation of people, find it not just necessary, but almost a moral imperative, to act in a manner that elicits fear in others! But lets take this idea one step farther and consider something else. Even among the world’s many faiths, we are seeing a time of the breakdown of our communications one with the other. Are we, indeed, abandoning interfaith dialogue in the 21st century? Is it “The Eve of Destruction” for faith?
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Consider for a moment what the term “interfaith dialogue” means. When we seek a dialogue within our family dynamic, do we not embark on discussions with a goal of effecting constructive and positive interaction with those we love? Do we not hope to strengthen the bonds of both love and trust by being receptive to new thoughts and ideas introduced in a positive spirit? Well, it means exactly the same thing whether we are seeking to open up the lines of communication within the family, or between nations, or even between differing faiths. It does not seek to change the existing dynamic of belief but instead, seeks to open the mind to the possibilities that new ideas might somehow infuse into the current level of thought!
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I am a Christian! I say this fact loud and proud! You see, it is through my acceptance and belief that Christ died for me and my sins that directs my heart and shapes the tenets of faith that I hold dear and by which I live my life. And it is this belief, my Christian belief, that colors my personal portrait of God and of my faith. It is what gives my portrait its vibrancy and primary colors as I add all if the shapes and forms and brush strokes that come from my life experiences. But now I want you to think about how I add some dimension to my portrait. I add some new and different hues and shades of color that come from learning about and understanding other parts of faith such as God’s early directives to mankind involving the Hebrew peoples. Now suddenly, my portrait of faith becomes even more brightly colored and vibrant and alive. Next add some of the ideals and thoughts of the esoteric religions to the mix, and now my brush strokes capture the beauty that is to be found in light and shadows intermixed with all of the other colors. Add the unique components of all of the other faiths that live in the hearts of man, and what results in a masterpiece of breathtaking beauty that captures the best parts of our humanity!
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I am not asking any person reading this today to necessarily alter any part of what they hold to be true in their hearts. What I do ask is that we all try to see beyond the part of each of us that is skin deep.What I ask is that we ask our questions and be receptive to the answers those questions elicit because it is God’s wish that we grow to be complete people…physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually! What I ask is that we each try to consider the impact our actions have on others, and that we try to discover some way we might assuage those fears through interfaith and intercultural dialogue with others. What I ask is that we work collectively as a race of human beings to look to a world on the horizon of wonder and not a world on the eve of destruction!

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“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”

Jeremiah 29:11(NLT)

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Well, it is now 2013, and while it may be hard for you to believe, there are still people living in the area devastated by Superstorm Sandy back on October 29th, 2012, that remain without essential services that you and I are taking for granted today! Please remember the millions of our brothers and sisters who continue to suffer from the effects of this horrific storm. Lives will continue be impacted for years to come. But you can help! Please consider sending a Gift Card to the organization listed below. Thousands of cards have been distributed since November but millions more are needed. Give as much as you can, as often as you can! Your gift might just mean a family who has lost everything might just have something to smile about!

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Staten Island Gift Cards For Relief
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For information, visit
or

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