Monthly Archives: March 2013

Thought For The Day 03/31/13

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Alleluia

(Hallelujah)

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He_Is_Risen_

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Today is the day we sing alleluia (hallelujah)! Today is the day we celebrate the empty tomb of the Son of God, whose crucifixion on Good Friday, burial and resurrection this day, was foretold   in many books of the Old Testament! Here are a few of the prophetic passages that speak of these holy days!

  • He will enter Jerusalem riding a donkey (the colt of an ass) (Zechariah 9:9)
  • He will be hated for no reason (Psalm 69:4)
  • He will be betrayed by a friend (Psalm 41:9)
  • The price of his betrayal will be thirty pieces of silver (Zechariah 11:12)
  • The betrayal money will be cast onto the floor of the Temple (Zechariah 11:13)
  • The betrayal money will be used to buy a potter’s field (Zechariah 11:13)
  • He will not open his mouth to defend himself (Isaiah 53:7)
  • He will be beaten and spat upon (Isaiah 50:6)
  • He will be “numbered with the transgressors” (Isaiah 53:12)
  • He will be pierced (Zechariah 12:10)
  •  His hands and feet will be pierced (Psalm 22:16; cf. Zechariah 12:10; Galatians 3:13)
  • They will divide his clothing and cast lots for them (Psalm 22:18)
  • He will be given vinegar and gall to drink (Psalm 69:21)
  • He will say: “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Psalm 22:1)
  •  He will not decay (Psalm 16:10)
  • He will be resurrected from the dead (Psalm 16:10)
  • He will ascend into heaven (Psalm 68:18)

And as prophesied, all of these things were the reason he was sent to earth as the immaculately conceived Son of the Father! Mary was virginal and  from the first moment when Our Blessed Lord is conceived and the Archangel Gabriel greets her with the salutation “full of grace”, she became untouched by the taint of original sin that mars the soul of us all. All of this was necessary for Him to don the mantle  and carry the weight of the sin of humanity on His shoulders. Yes, He paid a heavy price for your sin and my sin and the sin of all who believe in him but without this gift, we could not know  the promise of salvation and of eternal life!

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I was active during my teenage years, in the movement that would become known as Contemporary Christian Music, although in those days, it was more commonly thought of as Folk Mass in the Roman Catholic Church, and Christian Folk Music in the Protestant denominations. I wish I could take credit for the concept, but that honor rests with a singer/songwriter by the name of Ray Repp, whose “Mass for Young Americans” opened the door for this genre in 1965. One of his early songs was one I performed on guitar frequently in my own church growing up. It is an appropriate tribute for the day we celebrate today! And whether I am sharing it with someone for the very first time, or I am offering you a glimpse of yesteryear, it was music like this that opened the door for such 21st century greats as Amy Grant and Hillsong!

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ALLELU

by Ray Repp

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Chorus

Allelu, Allelu,
Everybody sing Allelu,

For the Lord is risen, it is true, 
Everybody sing Allelu

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30 years He walked the land,
Allelu, Allelu
To all in peace He leant His hand, 
Alleluia

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Allelu, Allelu,
Everybody sing Allelu,

For the Lord is risen, it is true, 
Everybody sing Allelu

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Some believe, some deny,
Allelu, Allelu
For His message that He died, 
Alleluia

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Allelu, Allelu,
Everybody sing Allelu,

For the Lord is risen, it is true, 
Everybody sing Allelu

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On the 3rd day, He did rise,
Allelu, Allelu
Now He lives no more to die,
Alleluia

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Allelu, Allelu, e\
Everybody sing Allelu,

For the Lord is risen, it is true, 
Everybody sing Allelu

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Now we too can live anew, 
Allelu, Allelu
Live in Him need all we do,
Alleluia

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Allelu, Allelu,
Everybody sing Allelu,

For the Lord is risen, it is true, 
Everybody sing Allelu

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Allelu, Allelu,
Everybody sing Allelu,

For the Lord is risen, it is true, 
Everybody sing Alleluia!

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For the music to this song, recorded by composer Ray Rep, click the link below
(there is no actual video)

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18 For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.

1 Peter 1:18-19 NIV

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Copyright © 2011-2013 “MandysPath” Ministry

Thought For The Day 03/30/13

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Holy Saturday

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holy-saturday

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Never believe that true prayer consists in mere babbling, reciting so many psalms and vigils, saying your beads while you allow your thoughts to roam.

Johannes Tauler

http://www.relationshipquotes4u.com/quotes/vigil/

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THE APOSTLES CREED

I believe in God the Father, Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth: 
And in Jesus Christ, his only begotten Son, our Lord: 
Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary: 
Suffered under Pontius Pilate; was crucified, dead and buried: 
He descended into hell: 
The third day he rose again from the dead: 
He ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty: 
From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead: 
I believe in the Holy Ghost: 
I believe in the holy catholic church:
The communion of saints: 
The forgiveness of sins: 
The resurrection of the body: 
And the life everlasting.

Amen.

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For the Jewish people, this was the Sabbath and a day of rest and this is as it should be for us as well, as we await with all reverence and awe, the miracle that tomorrow brings! But for today, it is a mournful day…a day of death.

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Remembering the words from the Apostles Creed, look closely at the fifth line (“He descended into Hell”). Omitted from the Apostles Creed of many Protestant denominations, this line from the original (and still maintained in most Orthodox and Roman Catholic versions), reminds us of the time, this very day 2000 years ago, in fact, when our Lord remained suspended between the two worlds.

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The first is the world of darkness of which sin and death remain a part of life, and afterlife for mankind…the time before the gift of salvation was promised. The second is the world of light when the gift of His resurrection would restore to mankind the promises of a life everlasting which was lost at the beginning by the sin in the Garden! Indeed, it is the world in which He is and always will be, the “Light of the World”.

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It is a quiet day. It is a day of contemplation and prayer and remembering all of the components of God’s laws and promises that comprise what it is that faith means for each of us. It is a time to look into our hearts and to decide what we hope to give back to the world, just as Christ gave to us. It is a time to remember some of the greatest teachings shared by the Son, where great truths were given in the simplest of ways…..through His parables and especially, in what we know as “The Beatitudes” which is an integral part of what we know as “The Sermon on the Mount”!

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Matthew 5:1-12 NIV

5 Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them.

The Beatitudes

He said:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
    for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
    for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
    for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
    for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
    for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
    for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

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Holy Saturday

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Copyright © 2011-2013 “MandysPath” Ministry

Thought For The Day 03/29/13

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Good Friday 

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Good-Friday-

http://www.turnbacktogod.com/good-friday-wallpapers/#jp-carousel-11183

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THE RULE OF 4’s

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1 – Man

2 – Pieces of Wood

3 – Nails

4 – Given

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This is my slant on a piece that has been circling the internet for years!

Mandy

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Good Friday, which honors the day Christ was crucified and died, is perhaps the third most important of days in the history of Christianity. Only Easter Sunday, the day of His resurrection and Christmas Day, the day we remember Christ’s birth, are considered to be greater, or at least as great as, this day!

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The celebration of the day is ancient with evidence existing of special practices commemorating the day occurring as early as the 4th century. Marking the sacrifices and suffering in Jesus’ life, Good Friday has become a day of penance and fasting for many and the practice venerating the cross was also begun, most likely in Jerusalem, in the 6th or 7th century. (The “Veneration of the Cross” is a specific ceremony in the Good Friday liturgy as well as a simple devotional practice that can be performed by the faithful, usually members of the Roman or Orthodox Catholic Churches. Venerating a cross is simply the humble act of kissing a crucifix. It must be a crucifix and not a bare cross; if the body of Jesus Christ  is not represented on the cross, then it is not considered to be a crucifix and therefore, you cannot make a true veneration!)

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As the day Christ died on the cross, the Friday before Easter is the most somber day in the Christian calendar. Even if you’re not a practicing Christian, you can understand the need to symbolize His death and resurrection, by sharing with me a few of the traditions observed by the faithful, yet today!

  • Cover all crosses, pictures and statues in black and extinguish all candles to symbolize mourning for Christ’s death.
  •  Attend your church’s Good Friday service. Many churches reenact the Passion of Christ on Good Friday, traditionally held in mid-afternoon at Catholic churches, although some churches have moved it to later in the day to enable more people to attend. In other churches, the drama occurs on Palm Sunday and the Good Friday services are more simple and solemn.
  • Participate in the Holy Communion, given at Catholic and other churches. Keep in mind that only baptized Catholics who have made their First Communion should receive communion in a Catholic church.
  • Consider attending the Stations of the Cross (a Catholic tradition) at the Good Friday service, where paintings and banners are used to represent scenes depicting the end of Jesus’s life, from his betrayal to his death. Participants can sing hymns and pray as they move from station to station.

http://www.ehow.com/how_12838_observe-friday.html

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Last year at this time I shared a piece that I found online in the March 16th, 2012 edition of the newsletter@Godvine.com. It was shared again recently by a colleague on his website which seemed to me a prophetic reminder of the need to re-post it once more, here on my page. It examines the last moments of Christ from a scientific slant, and reading it might give you some insight into exactly what the Son of God suffered physically, that day two thousand years ago!

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THE (SCIENTIFIC) DEATH OF JESUS

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  • At the age of 33, Jesus was condemned to the death penalty.
  • At the time crucifixion was the “worst” death. Only the worst criminals condemned to be crucified. Yet it was even more dreadful for Jesus, unlike other criminals condemned to death by crucifixion, Jesus was to be nailed to the cross by His hands and feet.
  • Each nail was 6 to 8 inches long.
  • The nails were driven into His wrist. Not into His palms as is commonly portrayed. There’s a tendon in the wrist that extends to the shoulder. The Roman guards knew that when the nails were being hammered into the wrist, that tendon would tear and break, forcing Jesus to use His back muscles to support himself so that He could breathe.
  • Both of His feet were nailed together. Thus He was forced to support Himself on the single nail that impaled His feet to the cross. Jesus could not support himself with His legs because of the pain, so He was forced to alternate between arching His back then using his legs just to continue to breathe. Imagine the struggle, the pain, the suffering, the courage.
  • Jesus endured this reality for over 3 hours.Yes, over 3 hours! Can you imagine this kind of suffering?
  • A few minutes before He died, Jesus stopped bleeding. He was simply pouring water from his wounds.
  • From common images, we see wounds to His hands and feet and even the spear wound to His side… But do we realize His wounds were actually made in his body. A hammer driving large nails through the wrist, the feet overlapped and an even large nail hammered through the arches, then a Roman guard piercing His side with a spear.
  • But before the nails and the spear, Jesus was whipped and beaten. The whipping was so severe that it tore the flesh from His body. The beating so horrific that His face was torn and his beard ripped from His face. The crown of thorns cut deeply into His scalp. Most men would not have survived this torture.
  • He had no more blood to bleed out, only water poured from His wounds. The human adult body contains about 3.5 liters (just less than a gallon) of blood.
  • Jesus poured all 3.5 liters of his blood; He had three nails hammered into His members; a crown of thorns on His head and, beyond that, a Roman soldier who stabbed a spear into His side.
  • All these without mentioning the humiliation He passed after carrying His own cross for almost 2 kilometers (1.242 miles), while the crowd spat in his face and threw stones. The cross was almost 30 kg (66.14 lbs) of weight, only for its higher part, where His hands were nailed.
  • Jesus had to endure this experience, so that we can have free access to God. So that our sins could be “washed” away. All of them, with no exception!

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“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

John 3:16 ESV

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Copyright © 2011-2013 “MandysPath” Ministry

Thought For The Day 03/28/13

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Maundy Thursday

Holy Thursday, Covenant Thursday, Great and Holy Thursday, Sheer Thursday and Thursday of Mysteries

 

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holy-thursday

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With respect to Holy Communion, it is up to the communicant to decide whether they are in a state of grace and worthy to receive the Eucharist. Each one of us makes that decision.

Roger Mahony 

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

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Today is Maundy or Holy Thursday which is the day we remember Christ’s celebration of the Last Supper with His disciples. And while some of the gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke) share the story of the Eucharist or of breaking of bread saying (using slight variations in wording), “this is my body which is given to you”, and the passing of the cup of wine saying, “this is my blood which is shed for you”, and finally, “take and eat and drink these things in remembrance of me”, John, instead, talks of Jesus washing the feet of His disciples. “The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.” John 13: 2-5 NIV. But each of the eye-witness reports of the evening contained in the Gospels, deal reverently of this last time all would be united in toto.

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It would be a few, short, hours until Judas Iscariot would betray his Master to the chief Sanhedrin Priest for 30 pieces of silver. It would be a few short hours until Jesus would ask of His Father in Heaven, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” (Luke 22:42 NLT), but it would be for naught! It would be a few short hours until Peter, his friend and second disciple (following after his brother, Andrew), would deny Christ 3 times before dawn. It would be a few short hours when He would be surrendered to Pontius Pilate, by the priests, eager to be rid of the threat to their beliefs. It would be a few short hours until He was branded a traitor and when Pilate would ask of the crowd to determine Christ’s punishment. It would be a few short hours when He would be abandoned by the people who had welcomed Him with palm fronds only 4 days earlier. It would be a few short hours when the mob would cry for the release of the murderer Barabbas instead of Christ. It would be a few short hours when He would be humiliated by being forced to carry his own means of execution. It would be a few short hours when He would have His flesh and beard torn by whips, His scalp pierced by a crown of thorns, stabbed in the side, wrists and feet punctured by spikes.

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He knew all that would come and still He asked of His Father in Heaven near His end, ‘Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.'”‘ (Luke 22.34 (a) NLT. How many of us could find it within our hearts to forgive friend and foe alike who turned their backs on us and who tortured us? Few, I am sure. I do not know if I could manage to forgive anyone were I in the throes of pain such as He must have experienced. However, it is how we must strive to live if we are to reach our reward for a life well and faithfully lived!

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 Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep.

Acts 7:60 NIV

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Copyright © 2011-2013 “MandysPath” Ministry

Thought For The Day 03/27/13

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Do You “KNOW” God

Or

Is It “NO” God For You?

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knowing-god

http://www.imanimcc.org/author/rev-phil/

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“Once you become aware that the main business that you are here for is to know God, most of life’s problems fall into place of their own accord.” 

J.I. Packer

http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/knowing-god

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I love thinking about language in terms of Synonyms (words with the same or similar meanings), Antonyms (a word opposite in meaning to another word) and Homonyms (words spelled and/or pronounced alike but different in meaning ). As a matter of fact, I often use a Thesaurus when I write, because I will often need another descriptive word to explain something that I am seeking to share! Which is why I reacted so strongly the other day when I saw a sign using the Homonym “KNOW” and “NO”. When thinking about matters of faith, there is a huge difference between these two individual words, and it is more than simply adding two little letters…..”K and W”. But how many of you have ever thought about these two words when thinking about faith? Which one of these two words, do you use when you think about your relationship with God? Do you “KNOW” God, or is it  “NO” God for you?

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I bet most of you think that you KNOW God’s plans for your life, and what he means to you! However, it seems in this day and age, more people look at their relationship with God using the word NO instead of KNOW! NO, I won’t honor my promises to others! NO, I won’t love my neighbor as I love  myself. NO, I won’t do unto others as I would have them do unto me! NO, I won’t stop taking the name of the Lord in vain. NO, NO, NO,NO,NO! In other words, YES, I love my sin and my sinful ways more than I love God! Well guess what everybody? We can’t just rest on our laurels when it comes to matters of faith! Our road to Salvation is promised and was already paid for but is not absolute without a little sweat equity on our part!

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Knowing God is always an interactive journey between us and Him. It requires that we filter out all of the promises we are bombarded with every day. From Social Media to TV advertisements to Billboards, we are told if we do this, act this way or buy this, we will reap rewards…..perhaps even realize our wildest dreams! But you and I both know that these things are no more real than any other “get rich quick” scheme that falls into our laps! Empty promises do not make us happy, nor do they build relationships or put a roof over our head or food into our mouth, come to think of it. But if we trust and seek to bring Him into our hearts and into our lives, He will meet with us and open our hearts and minds to a new way of thinking and living. Yes, the offer of Salvation is free, but never forget that it is our sin that keeps us apart from Him and unless we work to live better lives and keep His commandments, that which was free for our taking will become but a puff of smoke! Yes, “…all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” Romans 3:23 , NKJV, but to understand God’s essence and character, we must seek to become closer by contemplation of that which is greater than the act of any man. We must pray and it must be heartfelt and meaningful. And we must read His words and testimony that is contained in the scriptures. It’s not difficult. It just take our accepting and surrendering our lives over to Him! But don’t forget, we must add a little sweat equity to the mix by becoming active participants as we seek to join our hearts and minds with His!

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“You have done all these great things, to make Your servant know them. Therefore You are great, O Lord God. For there is none like You, nor is there any God besides You….” 

2 Samuel 7:21-22

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Copyright © 2011-2013 “MandysPath” Ministry

Thought For The Day 03/25/13

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I Don’t Know How To Love Him…

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Jesus Christ Superstar Broadway 2012

Photo from the 2012 Broadway revival of “Jesus Christ Superstar”

http://www.broadway.com/shows/jesus-christ-superstar/photos/

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Christ came for the people who knew they are the worst of sinners.
The  relationship of Jesus and Mary Magdalene illustrates the souls who appreciate a  Savior.

Brad Johnson

http://www.graspinggod.com/jesus-and-mary-magdalene.html#ixzz2OUnz8jjD

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I have said it before….and I’ll say it again! I am a child of the 60’s and 70’s and as such, Rock Operas such as “Hair” and “Tommy” strike a chord within my heart! I love the passion and joy and vibrancy these talented singer/songwriters introduced to the mainstream population throughout the world. But, there is one Rock Opera that touched me in a way none other could!  Of all of these musical productions, my very favorite of them all, is “Jesus Christ Superstar”. Although the original show on Broadway only ran for 711 performances, opening October 12, 1971, and the curtain falling for the final time June 30, 1973, I was one of the lucky ones who managed to see the production, because it was only a brief ferry and subway ride from my college campus.

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A modern-day (70’s) Passion Play, the concept focused on the psychological interactions between the characters….most notably Jesus and Judas Iscariot. The production was widely condemned by religious groups who were critical of not just the concept but the way Judas was portrayed. There were some who considered that the dialog as written, was blasphemous. Still, the production toured all over the world, was made into a feature film not once but twice (that I know of) and sparked an attempt at a revival on Broadway in 2012. And although the 2012 show was unsuccessful, running only from  March 1, 2012 until July 1, 2012, a mere 116 performances, throughout its history,  “Jesus Christ Superstar” is still credited with drawing many young people who had fled organized religious denominations, back to faith and back to God. And for my money, anything that does that is a wonderful thing!

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One of the most popular songs was the one sung by Yvonne Elliman, who played Mary Magdalene. It is a love song, but does not talk of physical love, despite the fact that some people of the day believed this Mary was a prostitute (and there are some today who hint that the relationship between Christ and Mary was more than platonic)! Instead, this beautiful and moving piece is a tribute to the spiritual love shared by Mary and Christ. It is a love that transcends any physical one that has ever existed, and it is a love of the most sacred kind!

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“I Don’t Know How To Love Him”

from “Jesus Christ Superstar”

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Music & Lyrics by:

Andrew Lloyd-Weber & Tim Rice

Performed by:

Yvonne Elliman as Mary Magdalene

(“I Don’t Know How to Love Him”  was originally featured on the #1 album “Jesus Christ Superstar” which was released in October of 1970. Yvonne Elliman was the original recording artist.)

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Close your eyes, Close your eyes, and forget all about us tonight

I don’t know how to love him
What to do, how to move him
I’ve been changed, yes really changed
In these past few days
When I’ve seen myself
I seem like someone else

I don’t know how to take this
I don’t see why he moves me
He’s a man
He’s just a man
And I’ve had so many
Men before
In very many ways
He’s just one more

Should I bring him down
Should I scream and shout
Should I speak of love
Let my feelings out?
I never thought I’d come to this
What’s it all about?

Don’t you think it’s rather funny
I should be in this position?
I’m the one
Who’s always been
So calm so cool
No lover’s fool
Running every show
He scares me so

I never thought I’d come to this
What’s it all about?

Yet If he said he loved me
I’d be lost I’d be frightened
I couldn’t cope
Just couldn’t cope
I’d turn my head
I’d back away
I wouldn’t want to know
He scares me so


I want him so


I love him so

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To view this performance from the 1973 movie, “Jesus Christ Superstar” click the link below

http://youtu.be/G9S072UBKYs

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The entire production of “Jesus Christ Superstar” has endured the test of time, and, I suspect, the criticisms that once hoped to undermine its popularity have softened over the years, as young people who were among the biggest supporters of the work have now become the backbone of mainstream religious groups! Funny how 40 years does that to people!

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John 20, 11-18 KJV 

11 But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, [and looked] into the sepulchre,

12 And seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain.

13 And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him.

14 And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus.

15 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away.

16 Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master.

17 Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and [to] my God, and your God.

18 Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and [that] he had spoken these things unto her.

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Copyright © 2011-2013 “MandysPath” Ministry

Thought For The Day 03/24/13

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Passion Sunday

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palm-sunday2-e13025822706921

http://preachingthenewlectionary.com/

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On Palm Sunday, Jesus had the bigger picture in mind. He looked beyond the present and thought about the world’s future.

Author Unknown

http://www.searchquotes.com/search/Palm_Sunday/

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We think of the Greatest miracle attributed to Jesus as being the miracles of His resurrection from the dead and ascension into Heaven to sit at the side of His Heavenly Father, three days after He was crucified. However, it was another miracle, the last performed by the Son while still in corporeal form, that is the one that leads us to the day we celebrate today.

It was the raising of Lazarus from the dead in the town of Bethany (traditionally identified with the present-day West Bank city of al-Eizariya, although some feel it was higher up, in the Mount of Olives), shortly before the celebration of Passover, which would bring a multitude of the faithful to Bethlehem (just a few miles distant).

Now this miracle was the last one by His hand prior to the crucifixion, and people, having heard of Jesus because of His teachings and works, wanted the opportunity of seeing and hearing Him speak for themselves. Wanting to show Him their admiration and love, they welcomed Him with pomp and circumstance, into Bethlehem, spreading their cloaks and palm fronds before Him, and shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!” John 12: 13(b) ESV. However, as we all know, the jubilation would be short-lived when, just five days later, He would shed His blood for you and for me and for many others

Interestingly, since the four gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) each contain a unique perspective from each of those four Disciples, regarding the days Christ spent traveling, teaching and sharing the Word of His Farther, not all of the stories are contained in each one nor are the ones that they share in common exactly the same. However, the story of the triumphant ride into Bethlehem is a story that is related in each book and the words used to describe those moments, extremely similar. Which serves to prove the significance of this day in the history of Christ’s days here on earth as a son, man, servant, scholar, teacher and lastly, SAVIOR!

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Matthew 21:1-11 RSV

1 And when they drew near to Jerusalem and came to Beth’phage, to the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, 2 saying to them, “Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find an ass tied, and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to me. 3 If any one says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord has need of them,’ and he will send them immediately.” 4 This took place to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet, saying, 5 “Tell the daughter of Zion, Behold, your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on an ass, and on a colt, the foal of an ass.” 6 The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them; 7 they brought the ass and the colt, and put their garments on them, and he sat thereon. 8 Most of the crowd spread their garments on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 And the crowds that went before him and that followed him shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” 10 And when he entered Jerusalem, all the city was stirred, saying, “Who is this?” 11 And the crowds said, “This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth of Galilee.”

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Mark 11:1-11 RSV

1 And when they drew near to Jerusalem, to Beth’phage and Bethany, at the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples, 2 and said to them, “Go into the village opposite you, and immediately as you enter it you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever sat; untie it and bring it. 3 If any one says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord has need of it and will send it back here immediately.'” 4 And they went away, and found a colt tied at the door out in the open street; and they untied it. 5 And those who stood there said to them, “What are you doing, untying the colt?”6 And they told them what Jesus had said; and they let them go. 7 And they brought the colt to Jesus, and threw their garments on it; and he sat upon it. 8 And many spread their garments on the road, and others spread leafy branches which they had cut from the fields. 9 And those who went before and those who followed cried out, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! 10 Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that is coming! Hosanna in the highest!”11 And he entered Jerusalem, and went into the temple; and when he had looked round at everything, as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve.

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Luke 19:28-44 RSV

28 And when he had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. 29 When he drew near to Beth’phage and Bethany, at the mount that is called Olivet, he sent two of the disciples, 30 saying, “Go into the village opposite, where on entering you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever yet sat; untie it and bring it here. 31 If any one asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ you shall say this, ‘The Lord has need of it.'” 32 So those who were sent went away and found it as he had told them. 33 And as they were untying the colt, its owners said to them, “Why are you untying the colt?” 34 And they said, “The Lord has need of it.” 35 And they brought it to Jesus, and throwing their garments on the colt they set Jesus upon it. 36 And as he rode along, they spread their garments on the road. 37 As he was now drawing near, at the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen, 38 saying, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” 39 And some of the Pharisees in the multitude said to him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” 40 He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.” 41 And when he drew near and saw the city he wept over it,42 saying, “Would that even today you knew the things that make for peace! But now they are hid from your eyes. 43 For the days shall come upon you, when your enemies will cast up a bank about you and surround you, and hem you in on every side, 44 and dash you to the ground, you and your children within you, and they will not leave one stone upon another in you; because you did not know the time of your visitation.”

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John 12:12-19 RSV

12 The next day a great crowd who had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. 13 So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!” 14 And Jesus found a young ass and sat upon it; as it is written, 15 “Fear not, daughter of Zion; behold, your king is coming, sitting on an ass’s colt!” 16 His disciples did not understand this at first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that this had been written of him and had been done to him.17 The crowd that had been with him when he called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead bore witness. 18 The reason why the crowd went to meet him was that they heard he had done this sign. 19 The Pharisees then said to one another, “You see that you can do nothing; look, the world has gone after him.”

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Since the events in Bethany played such a significant part in the last weeks of Christ’s life, I thought you might want to put on your thinking caps and see if you know the answers to the following questions. I will list each answer next to the number of the corresponding question at the very bottom of this post, below my picture!

Ready? Set? Here we go!

  1. Lazarus had two sisters who cared a great deal for him; what were their names?

  2. All around the house of Lazarus were many Jews who had come to offer comfort and support. Jesus saw numerous of these people crying. In the midst of this Biblical story is John 11:35; this verse is the shortest verse in all of Scripture. What does this verse say (King James Version)?

  3. Christ asked where the body of Lazarus had been laid. He was taken to a cave with a large stone lain across the opening; this foreshadowed Jesus’ own place of burial. Christ asked for the stone to be rolled back. One of Lazarus’ sisters, unaware of the miracle soon to come, protested his request. What was her complaint?

  4. After the stone was rolled away, Jesus lifted up his eyes and prayed to God. He thanked his Father for hearing him always for the sake of his people. Then, what did Christ cry out in a loud voice?

  5. In John 12, we read that Jesus paid a visit to Lazarus some time after he had raised him from the dead. What activity did the two engage in together?

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12 The next day the great crowd that had come for the festival heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. 13 They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting,

“Hosanna!”

“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”

“Blessed is the king of Israel!”

John 12:12-13 NIV

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Copyright © 2011-2013 “MandysPath” Ministry

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Answers to the quiz

  1. Mary and Martha
          In the 10th chapter of Luke, we are fortunate to meet Mary and Martha in another scenario. Christ is visiting the two sisters while Martha is busy with the chores of serving food. Martha becomes frustrated that while she works her sister Mary sits at Christ’s feet and does nothing to help her. Martha asks Jesus to tell her lazy sister to start working. Here is what he says: “Martha, Martha, thou are careful and troubled about many things; But one thing is needful; and Mary has chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:41-42)
  2. Jesus wept.
        “Jesus wept.” How beautiful. How kind. For Christians, Jesus is not a distant superhuman; no, he is a real person, who feels and expresses the most tender human emotions. The only other place in the Bible that shows Jesus weeping is Luke 19:41. Here, as Christ entered Jerusalem, he cried for the Holy City, knowing the sad fate that awaited her.
  3. The body would stink.
        John 11:40-41 reports that Jesus said, “Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?” Then they took the stone away from the place where Lazarus had been lain.
  4. “Lazarus, come forth.”
        John 11:42 says what happened next: “And he that was dead came forth, bound head and foot with grave clothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, ‘Loose him, and let him go.'” Fantastic! Christ gave Lazarus new life and set Lazarus free!
  5. Supper
      John 12:2 says, “There they made him supper; and Martha served; but Lazarus was one of them that sat at the table with him.” While supper was being eaten, Mary, Lazarus’ sister, anointed Christ’s feet with perfumed oil and then wiped his feet with her hair. Clearly, Martha, Mary, and Lazarus were all close disciples of Jesus.

(http://www.funtrivia.com/en/subtopics/Lazarus-328087.html)

Thought For The Day 03/23/13

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Doing Right

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doing the right thing

http://marcestes.com/2011/02/

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Character is doing the right thing when nobody’s looking. There are too many people who think that the only thing that’s right is to get by, and the only thing that’s wrong is to get caught.

J.C. Watts

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

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Doing the right thing is seldom doing the easy thing. That is a fact that few of you would dispute, I think. But how many of you have taken idea one step further, thinking about it this way. Doing the right thing is not always doing what is right. Now you might read that line and think, “but it should be”! I know I did until I thought about something.

Think about a home where a single parent of a young child drinks to excess. They even admit to having a problem with alcohol. Now this behavior has never endangered the child and it is obvious that the parent loves the child very much. The home is nice. The child has food, a bedroom of their own and enough clothes to stock a rack in a children’s clothing store. And, the child is loved!

Now knowing all of these things, should the child remain in the home? Can we trust that simply because the issue with alcohol has never created a dangerous situation for the child before, that it won’t ever? And what if the problem affecting the one is something more subtle like depression or other mental illness, rather than an overt issue of addiction? Is love for the child enough for someone to conquer their demons?

What would you do if you saw situations like the ones I have described? Not always an easy thing to decide, since what may be the right thing for the child most likely will not be the right thing for the parent! So now begins the herculean task of weighing both sides and trying to decide on the best course for EVERYONE involved!

We are faced with situations like this every day. Life is never all black or white. Life is, instead, about a million different shades of gray, even within our own family dynamic. But sadly, all too often we miss the signs that something is amiss until it becomes too late. After all, most of us are not trained in any aspect of mental health, which is the specialty that all of these difficulties fall into, one way or another. However, not acting when reasonable suspicions exist is not the answer, as I have discovered in recent months. And I can’t speak for others, but I would never want to know I could have done something and didn’t because it may not have been “politically correct” to do so or that I would be stepping on someone’s toes!

Acting on our beliefs is not just desirable, but essential, as well, especially if we are to build bridges, move mountains and make a difference. Falling back on the knowledge that we must trust where it is He is leading and what it is He is telling us to do is perhaps the single thing that will help us as we act! Yes, we may question or hesitate. After all, we understand that we are human. But if we remain saddled by the fears that our humanness hands us, we will never make a difference.

What if Peter had refused to even consider doing the Lord’s bidding when the He told him to climb out of the boat? What if Peter’s response had been, “No! I am not you. Water will not hold me!”? No, he at first trusted and the water held him until he gave it a second thought and the doubts crept in! And what happened? “But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” (Matthew 14:30 NIV)

Are we like Peter was….people of little faith who doubt? Or do we listen to that quiet voice that counsels us as to what is right? Our answer should be to heed the messages we are given. When we partake of a guilty pleasure, don’t you get that nagging feeling inside that you’ve committed a huge “whoops”? And then suddenly, before we even realize it is happening, regret settles in where satisfaction once stood!

Failure, by any other name, is still failure, whether we have failed ourselves or another. On the other hand, one who does that which is right, in God’s eyes and his own, even if it displeases others, will always find his cup full with the blessings of the Almighty! Colossians 3:23 NIV, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.”

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And Jesus answered them, “Truly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ it will happen.

Matthew 21:21 ESV

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Copyright © 2011-2013 “MandysPath” Ministry

Thought For The Day 03/22/13

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A Conversation With God

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conversation with God

http://digitalcatharsis.wordpress.com/2012/02/19/god-can-i-ask-you-a-question/

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Certain thoughts are prayers.  There are moments when, whatever be the attitude of the body, the soul is on its knees.  

Victor Hugo

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

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How much time do you spend in honest conversation with God? That is exactly what prayer is, after all! And while you might not hear God’s answers in your ears, if you listen with your heart, instead, I can assure you that an answer is near! Now your conversation need not be long or complex. In fact, the best conversations with God are not ever spoken aloud to begin with. They are, instead, thoughts and feelings and wishes that are given birth in the mind, but somehow settle in the heart and follow you as you live your lives, waiting for the moment you surrender it up to Him. Which is less necessary than we might think, since God knows everything we hold in our hearts, whether or not the words ever escape our lips! Matthew 6:5-6 ESV teaches us about the error of some who offer their prayers aloud! “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”

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Now it never hurts to actually say a thing or two aloud as we are reminded in Romans 10:9 NIV, “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Sometimes saying things aloud gives them reality and substance. It also allows us to amend what we want to share, editing out the parts that are not as important, so that the things we really want to share with Him come shining through! After all, many of the things we want to ask are selfish and unimportant to our lives, and we only want Him to hear the things that are the most important to us, don’t we? I know that it works this way for me when I write! A concept forms in my head but it is not really born until I sit at the keyboard. I think, type, edit and type some more. Then I send it to be published, but even then, I will sometimes edit it at 2AM from my phone. Before most of you ever read it, it has been reworked over and over so that what I give makes the most sense and will have the biggest impact on you. Yes, not every one is perfect just as I am not perfect, but what you get is the very best I can manage, just as your prayers to God should be the very best you can manage!

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Finally, there is one more caveat to our “heart-to-heart” talks with God. Somehow, they just seem to work best when they are for another, rather than ourselves, which somehow seems to be an automatic edit to those selfish, impulse conversations we are tempted to have with Him! 1 Timothy 2:1-2 NIV reminds us of that! “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people; for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.”

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I read a story on Godvine yesterday, that is a perfect piece about talking to God, especially if we doubt that He has heard our words. He has. It’s just that His answer is not always what we might expect it to be, especially when our motives are not what He expects them to be when we chat!

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A Conversation with God

Author Unknown

 ~

Me: God, can I ask You a question?

God: Sure

Me: Promise You won’t get mad

God: I promise

Me: Why did You let so much stuff happen to me today?

God: What do u mean?

Me: Well, I woke up late

God: Yes

Me: My car took forever to start

God: Okay

Me: at lunch they made my sandwich wrong & I had to wait

God: Hmmmmmm

Me: On the way home, my phone went DEAD, just as I picked up a call

God: All right

Me: And on top of it all off, when I got home ~I just want to soak my feet in my new foot massager & relax. BUT it wouldn’t work!!! Nothing went right today! Why did You do that?

God: Let me see, the death angel was at your bed this morning & I had to send one
of My Angels to battle him for your life. I let you sleep through that

Me (humbled): OH

GOD: I didn’t let your car start because there was a drunk driver on your route that would have hit you if you were on the road.

Me: (ashamed)

God: The first person who made your sandwich today was sick & I didn’t want you to catch what they have, I knew you couldn’t afford to miss work.

Me (embarrassed):Okay

God: Your phone went dead because the person that was calling was going to give false witness about what you said on that call, I didn’t even let you talk to them so you would be covered.

Me (softly): I see God

God: Oh and that foot massager, it had a shortage that was going to throw out all of the power in your house tonight. I didn’t think you wanted to be in the dark.

Me: I’m Sorry God

God: Don’t be sorry, just learn to Trust Me…. in All things , the Good & the bad.

Me: I will trust You.

God: And don’t doubt that My plan for your day is Always Better than your plan.

Me: I won’t God. And let me just tell you God, Thank You for Everything today.

God: You’re welcome child. It was just another day being your God and I Love looking after My Children…

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“So what shall I do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my understanding; I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my understanding.”

1 Corinthians 14:15 NIV

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Copyright © 2011-2013 “MandysPath” Ministry

Thought For The Day 03/21/13

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Spring Training

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spring training

http://mopupduty.com/spring-training-success-carrying-over-to-regular-season/

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“People who write about spring training not being necessary have never tried to throw a baseball.”

Sandy Koufax

http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/spring_training.html#cs5Pf3Ki8qFbJGeb.99

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Spring is in the air…..literally, since yesterday marked the official day when Winter whispered ‘adieu’ at the very same moment that Spring shouted ‘bonjour’…..as if any of us here in South Carolina needed the reminder. (A “Breathe Rite” strip has become a permanent adornment on the nose of yours truly for the last few weeks since the pine trees in my backyard began their annual shower of yellow-green pollen that covers all surfaces here.) Now before you say it…yes, I do know that northern states on my side of the “pond” are arguing whether the poor prognosticating of Punxsutawney Phil (of Groundhog Day fame) warrants he be impeached! But, whatever your feelings on the matter, the fact is that the days are passing and with the arrival of Spring also comes the promise of Summer, fast on the heels of his sister!

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Spring also heralds another popular tradition which begins in February, here in the states. Spring Training! For those who may not know, Spring Training is the annual gathering of major league baseball players who converge on Florida and Arizona to strengthen and re-condition those flabby, winter weakened muscles. Spring Training also serves to reunite and unify the minds and bodies of the many individual talents into what will become….again….a team. And like the lessons we learn from our own life experiences, we do not automatically become a part of the team unless and until we invest some sweat equity as an entry fee! It doesn’t matter if the team you seek to join is an athletic group, a club, or even a church.

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Great teams become great because they combine the diverse talents and backgrounds from a group of equally diverse individuals, each of whom brings something very unique and special to the mix. That is what transforms ordinary into extraordinary! Which side will you choose? Do you want to remain singularly alone and ordinary or do you want to become part of something greater that yourself….something extraordinary?

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No member of a group remains a part of it by simply sitting on their laurels. They must educate themselves about what the goals and purpose are for the group and then they must become active participants. You see, just like a baseball team is only as strong as its weakest player, the same can be said of a club or a congregation. So in thinking about the strength of your faith, are you secure in the knowledge that you have at least, a fundamental understanding as to what faith means and how we have arrived at the diverse collection of beliefs we have in today’s world?

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If you are reading this post, you already have, at your fingertips, one of the greatest tools for discovering everything and anything you want to learn about the various religions of our world. The Internet! You can read chapters, verses or the entire volume of God’s handbook for living….the Bible. Enter any word, phrase or theme into your search engines, and you will find perhaps dozens of references. All there, right in front of you. But always remember that there is something to be said for beginning at the beginning and ending at the end, when you are seeking a greater understanding of something. If this appeals to your hunger to learn more, you may want to read His inspired word all of the way through, from beginning to end!

Genesis Chapter 1, Verse 1

1. א בְּרֵאשִׁית, בָּרָא אֱלֹהִים, אֵת הַשָּׁמַיִם, וְאֵת הָאָרֶץ.

1. In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

to

Revelation Chapter 22, Verse 13
(I provided this Hebrew translation of the verse)

13. אני מאלף עד תו, את ההתחלה והסוף, הראשונה, האחרונה

13. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last

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So why not make today the day you grow closer to God by learning more about the history of all religions, especially Christianity. We are all empowered with a hunger to learn new things…a gift from the Almighty, in fact. So assuage that hunger by discovering some things you never knew before! But always remember one thing. If you want to become part of the team, you must earn your place. The choice to go to Spring Training is entirely up to you!

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17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.

1 Corinthians 12:17-20 NIV

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Copyright © 2011-2013 “MandysPath” Ministry