Thought For The Day 02/24/13

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Choosing Your Sacrifice

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Lent

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God doesn’t want our pious or petty denials of self (be it food or creature comforts or whatever), he wants our hearts! Lent is not about fasting or self-denial; it’s about serious participation—here and now—in –=God’s divine forgiveness with all his people. It doesn’t change God, it changes us. It changes our heart.

The Rev. Kenneth Tanner

Pastor of Church of the Holy Redeemer in Rochester Hills, Michigan

http://klampert.com/2013/02/12/a-quote-on-lent/

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If you are a Christian, this journey that we begin 40 days before Easter (really 46 days if you count all of the Sunday’s) is likely not your first. It is a tradition so routine for some that there is no more meaning to the sacrifice that our faith encourages that we make. But do you know how it is that we have come to ask of these sacrifices, when it is not part of the scriptures that talk of the days before Christ’s crucifixion?

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Think about the early days of the church. This time in history was certainly not kind to those who practiced Christianity. It was accepted then that the people who desired to become Christian would study and pray for a time and because of the constant threat by Rome, it was an intense process which ended with a time of purification, after which, they would become baptized at Easter. In an effort at solidarity, others who were already Christian would use this time to recall their own commitment to their faith, and so they too, would pay penance and follow the example of sacrifice offered by Christ. Philippians 2:3-4 ESV, “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”

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This tradition of offering a sacrifice during Lent continues today, more than 2 millennia since that day on Calvary, especially among those who are Roman Catholic. However, even Protestant faiths recognize the significance of these days in their own history, and as such, many Protestant clergy encourage their followers to also consider offering a sacrifice, of some kind. But what will the sacrifice you are choosing be? What will help you to turn toward God this Lenten season? Does giving up that chocolate that calls your name work? Can you live without visiting your favorite barista, or coffee-house employee, for a latte? How about quitting smoking? Thinking about no Facebook (an addiction a friend gives up every year)? What will you choose? Ephesians 5:2 NIV, “And walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”

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A friend of mine shared something very interesting about the decision he is making this Lenten season. He has chosen not to give up but rather, to give more! “Friar Jeff’s Quiet Spot”,( http://warder5150.wordpress.com/2013/02/22/intake-or-outtake/) is an eye-opening twist on what might be considered sacrifice. But make no mistake, what he has chosen is, indeed, a sacrifice. You see, he is “giving up” of himself and “giving to” others and I have to think that the Almighty is pleased to find that one man is choosing to live a Christ-like life in this time, when mankind seems to be better known for living lives that are vicarious, self-indulgent, and anything but Christ-like! Romans 12:1 ESV, “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.”

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“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. …”

Hebrews 12:1-29, ESV

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It is now February of 2013, more than 3 months since Superstorm Sandy struck on October 29, 2012, and yet there are still people living in Staten Island that remain without the basic necessities for living that you and I take for granted. 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

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About Mandy Bruscella

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

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