Monthly Archives: May 2013

Thought For The Day 05/31/13

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Overcoming The Unseen Handicaps

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Unseen handicaps

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In taking revenge, a man is but even with his enemy; but in passing it over, he is superior.

Francis Bacon

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

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Reaching out to those who are handicapped in faith and helping them in overcoming the invisible “disability” that accompanies that, is something that I try to do every day….but perhaps not for the reason you think. You see, it was after I became “handicapped” in body that I became “handicapable” in faith!

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Did you know I was confined to a wheelchair for an extended period of time because of a neurological disease? No? I’m not surprised! You see, today I walk erect, and on my own two feet. And most people who see me often notice the limp. Then they look down, and notice the brace on my right ankle and think, OK, she’s hurt herself. Most people don’t know that I lived my life as one paralyzed from the waist down for a period of time. Yes, I can walk today although I will never again have the sensation of a normal person from my knees to my feet, nor from my elbows to my fingertips. And yet it was every single day it took to overcome those limitations, that gave me the fortitude to take a chance on pursuing more when it came to God and sharing His word. It really is amazing what you find yourself capable of when you are really put to the test. And then I hear about something so heinous…..so callous……that even I have difficulty reminding myself that it is not my place to act as judge and certainly not to execute any judgement against a brother or sister in life!

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Two different occurrences come to mind in recent days. The first was the execution of a young man….a father of a two-year-old child, who was killed in the United Kingdom, simply because he was a soldier. He was slain by radicalism, which is the worst kind of perversion of all true interpretations of what God (or Allah) desires of those who embrace him as their divine being! The thing is that once we are faced with this kind of assault against the very sensibility of our humanity, suddenly we forget the basic lessons we are taught by our own worship of the Almighty. You see, from Genesis 4:1-26 through the Gospels of 2 Timothy 3:16-17, we are told again and again, to turn the other cheek! Can it be any clearer that in Matthew 5:39 (ESV), “But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.” And yet, who among us wants to pick up the first stone, and toss it right through the jail bars that now hold the alleged perpetrator of this heinous act? Most of us? Probably! I must confess that, for the briefest of moments, even my mind was drawn in that direction, which is why I have tried to share, through social media, that the moment we allow ourselves to be drawn to that mindset, we become just as fanatical as the ones who were compelled to destroy what their twisted mind had told them was a threat to the essential beliefs that Allah preached and which form the basics of the various Islamic faiths.

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The second was a story of some wealthy mothers who conceived the idea of hiring the handicapped when visiting Disney World because of the rule that says that someone who uses a wheelchair and the people that accompany them, can bypass the lines and enter the rides ahead of other waiting patrons. And presto….Dream Tours Florida, was born. All that’s needed is that you be able and willing to pay $130 an hour, or $1,040 for an eight-hour day, and voila…..your handicapped tour guide will lead you right to the front of the line! [a] And while this is not the same physically violent act that the first was, it is just as despicable, in the eyes of those who embrace the laws of God, and of right and wrong and morality!
[a] http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/manhattan/disney_world_srich_kid_outrage_zTBA0xrvZRkIVc1zItXGDP

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Everywhere we look we find people who live lives with little trace of what we might think of, as the basic tenets of faith. Instead, they embrace some mutated perversion of the teachings of their faith, disseminated by those who have even less sense of morality, than does an ant. (In fact, I even dislike insulting ants by associating them with some of these people that preach hate, instead of brotherhood, a core value known to every colony of ants, although not between some differing colonies come to think of it…..much like these differing fanatical sects!)

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Well, before we know it, someone envisions and then acts upon some new, dark dream, that can have only been conceived and then implanted into the womb for ideas that is the mind, by Satan himself. It’s amazing how frequently this seems to be happening these days. And whether the evil is an abomination of faith or simply an abominable choice, they all serve to undermine our character and the very fiber of our hearts and souls that serve as our moral compass along life’s journey! All a prime example of the worst kinds of unseen handicap man is guilty of…….man’s inhumanity to his fellow man! But we do not need to let it infect us! We can’t let it infect us. We are so much better than that, which is why we must, at all costs, find it within to forgo vengeance and embrace all the strength we can muster, and turn the other cheek! Again and again, if need be!

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30 And Jesus answering said, A certain [man] went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded [him], and departed, leaving [him] half dead. 31 And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked [on him], and passed by on the other side. 33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion [on him], 34 And went to [him], and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35 And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave [them] to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee. 36 Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves? 37 And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise. 

Luke 10:30-37 (KJV)

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Copyright © 2011-2013 “MandysPath” Ministry

Thought For The Day 05/30/13

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I, Too, Am Human

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anatomy

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I am not a human being; I am a human becoming.  

Author Unknown

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

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I often have said (to myself, anyway), “Woe to the person who might want to climb into my head and invade my mind!” You see, I am known to have my share of dark thoughts, hidden away from the prying noses of many. I know you may think just the opposite to be true, because most of you know me solely because of what I share here. And while I have been known to venture down a dark path now and again, it generally ends up spinning itself into a fable much like Aesop’s, complete with an up-beat and faith filled lesson, given at the end, for you to ruminate over. The thing is that my all too human side is often the ever-present albatross slung round my neck, in so much of my life.

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  • I worry,  even though I know these words:

    Matthew 6:34 KJV, “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

  • I am often frightened, even though I know these words:

    Deuteronomy 31:8 ESV, “It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”

  • I am sometimes poor in spirit, even though I know these words:

    Matthew 5:3 KJV, Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

  • I hate sometimes, even though I know these words:

    1 John 4;20 ESV, If anyone says, ‘I love God’, and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.

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I am human, and just like everyone else, I often hide the things that I do not want others to see…..and I hide it very well! So do you. So does everyone! Because I do not want you to think less of me because of my humanness! And then I remember my Lord and Savior, the human. And suddenly I can breathe once more. Because indeed, He was a human. Yes, Jesus was born sinless, as was Adam before the forbidden fruit. But unlike Adam who lost himself, Jesus did not. But that does not mean he remained ALWAYS both God and Man, in one. If He had, how would He have been able to really understand and sympathize with the very people He was sent to touch? Of course, the answer is, He couldn’t have!

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Christ lived and breathed and ate and talked and fought and yes, wept all too human tears during His lifetime. You see, He walked and talked and did everything else within the limitations of the human body that He was given. And even after suffering and dying and being resurrected, He remained a man….albeit, a changed man from the days before His sacrifice was made….but still, a man. Which is why we see his ascension into heaven to sit at the right hand of His Father, as so exalted! You see, once He ascended, He became God once more! And yet, it is the time when He was man that makes the journey He made as He walked the earth so special, and one which we all can readily identify with! And I am so glad, because it teaches me that, in my very humanness, I too can look forward to the promise that I will one day dwell there, along side of Him! But for now, I still worry, I am still scared, I still hate sometimes and I am sometimes poor in spirit. Because I, too, am human. But one day……………………………

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9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name,

10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,

11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Philippians 2:9-11 (NIV)

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Copyright © 2011-2013 “MandysPath” Ministry

Thought For The Day 05/29/13

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Dear God,

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dear-god-its-me-again-1

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What a lot we lost when we stopped writing letters. You can’t reread a phone call.

Liz Carpenter

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

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A researcher in London has been testing children’s thinking skills since 1976. Now I am not referring to cognitive skills which is the process of knowing, perceiving and remembering. I am referring to testing to determine actual rational reasoning to produce thoughts. Their findings, and I quote, were that “children appear to be becoming dumber”! [a]. On what planet do these researchers live? Certainly not this one! I see evidence from all walks of life that there is a greater attention these days to stimulate and expose children to all manner of wondrous experiences in this, the 21st century. And for my money, attitudes and rot, like this, are the root for undermining and eroding the self-esteem of youngsters everywhere! When someone as learned as a man of science can produce data telling someone they are dumb, what reason can there possibly be, for their striving to be the very best they CAN and, even more importantly, SHOULD be! Then I remember a man that proves that the things God endows are ours, always! For a moment, consider Albert Einstein (1879-1055).

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I am going to share a few facts about Albert Einstein that you may not know, or may have forgotten, along the way!

  1. Albert Einstein did not talk until he was three years old.
  2. It was initially suspected that he was mentally retarded.
  3. He failed abysmally in primary school in Germany.
  4. His teachers characterized him as slow and lazy.
  5. His only educational strength lie in Mathematics.
  6. He quit school at the age of 15, having been told by his teacher there was nothing left to teach him.
  7. In 1905, he proposed the theory of relativity.
  8. Later in 1905, he proved how mass and energy were equivalent (E=mc2, i.e. energy equals mass times the velocity of light squared).
  9. In 1921, at the age of 42, he won the Noble prize for Physics.
  10. In 1952, the Israeli government offered him the position of President, which he turned down, in embarrassment.
  11. Just one week before his death, he agreed his name should go on a manifesto urging all nations to give up nuclear weapons. He wanted one of his last earthly acts to argue, as he had done his whole life, for world peace!

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So, do you still think that we should go around believing that children are becoming dumber? (Well, if you do, I have some very nice swamp land available for sale! It was a legacy from Albert Einstein! ) In all honesty though, for many things, we’re only along for the ride, anyway, so we might as well sit down and hold on!! But we can control some things, especially when it comes to our little ones!

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We need to cultivate all things that we can, within the hearts and minds of our children. Children are like sponges and they trust, from the earliest age, all of the things we as adults (but parent’s, especially) teach them. If we teach them they are valueless, they will grow with no sense of self or of their own importance. But if we teach them faith, and to respect, and to honor, and to be loyal, and to be trustworthy, and to be kind, and to be brave, and to be reverent…….and to LOVE……..most especially, to LOVE, anything is possible. Make them excited for all things in life….whether it is reading a book, or writing a letter or dreaming a dream or believing in God (especially this last one), because if we are to have a future, it lies with them…….not us!

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[a] http://www.blcu.edu.cn/ielts/reading/A%20decline%20in%20children’s%20thinking%20abilities%20%20Dimming%20%20The%20Economist.htm#page-content

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THESE ARE REAL LETTERS WRITTEN TO GOD BY CHILDREN!

Dear GOD,
Are you really invisible or is that just a trick?
Lucy

Dear GOD,
Is it true my father won’t get in Heaven if he uses his bowling words in the house?
Anita

Dear GOD,
Did you mean for the giraffe to look like that or was it an accident?
Norma

Dear GOD,
Instead of letting people die and having to make new ones, why don’t You just keep the ones You have now?
Jane

Dear GOD,
Who draws the lines around the countries?
Nan

Dear GOD, I went to this wedding and they kissed right in church. Is that okay?
Neil

Dear GOD,
I think about You sometimes even when I’m not praying.
Elliot

Dear GOD,
I didn’t think orange went with purple until I saw the sunset You made on Tuesday.

Margaret

Dear GOD, What does it mean You are a Jealous God? I thought You had everything.
Jane

Dear GOD,
I read the Bible. What does “begat” mean? Nobody will tell me.
Allison

Dear GOD,
The bad people laughed at Noah, “You made an ark on dry land you fool.” But he was smart, he stuck with You. That’s what I would do.
Eddie

Dear GOD,
You don’t have to worry about me. I always look both ways.

Dean

Dear GOD,
Of all the people who work for You, I like Noah and David the best.
Rob

Dear GOD, My brother told me about being born but it doesn’t sound right. They’re just kidding, aren’t they?
Marsha

Dear GOD,
If we come back as something, please don’t let me be Jennifer Horton because I hate her.
Denise

Dear GOD,
Did you really mean “do unto others as they do unto you”? Because if you did, then I’m going to fix my brother!
Darla

Dear GOD,
Thank you for the baby brother, but what I prayed for was a puppy.
Joyce

Dear GOD,
It rained for our whole vacation and is my father mad! He said some things about You that people are not supposed to say, but I hope You will not hurt him anyway.
Your friend (but I am not going to tell you who I am)

Dear GOD,
Why is Sunday school on Sunday? I thought it was supposed to be our day of rest.

Tom

Dear GOD,
Please send me a pony. I never asked for anything before, You can look it up.
Bruce

Dear GOD,
If You give me a genie lamp like Aladdin, I will give you anything you want except my money or my chess set.
Raphael

Dear GOD,
My brother is a rat. You should give him a tail. Ha ha!
Danny

Dear GOD, Maybe Cain and Abel would not kill each other so much if they had their own rooms. It works with my brother.
Larry

Dear GOD,
I want to be just like my Daddy when I get big, but not with so much hair all over.
Sam

Dear GOD,
I think the stapler is one of your greatest inventions.
Ruth M.

Dear GOD,
I bet it is very hard for You to love all of everybody in the whole world. There are only 4 people in our family and I can never do it.
Nan

Dear GOD,
If You watch me in church Sunday, I’ll show You my new shoes.
Mickey

Dear GOD,
I would like to live 900 years like the guy in the Bible.
Chris

Dear GOD,
We read Thomas Edison made light. But in school they said You did it. So I bet he stoled your idea.
Donna

Dear GOD,
I do not think anybody could be a better God. Well, I just want You to know but I am not just saying that because You are God already.
Charles

Dear GOD,
In school they told us what You do. Who does it when You are on vacation?

Jane

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He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

Matthew 17:20 (NIV)

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Copyright © 2011-2013 “MandysPath” Ministry

Thought For The Day 05/28/13

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The Children’s Bible

(In A Nutshell)

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Children's Bible

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There is nothing more precious or funnier than the things kids say when they’re not trying to be precious or funny!

Amanda Bruscella
May 28, 2013

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The internet is a Godsend, in so many ways. It brings both, the wisdom of Solomon and of the ages, and the wisdom (and faith) of a child, right into our homes. And since we spent our Memorial Day holiday as a family, doing the things that families do during these rare but special times shared, I am posting some pearls that only the heart, mind and mouth of a child can be responsible for. I tucked this gem away for just an occasion like this!

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Many of these writings have been cited individually. In fact, if you enter the phrase “kids say the darndest things about faith” in your web browser, many of them will pop up! But when collected and joined together, as these were, and then offering them up as a Sunday School report, well, they become magical and take on a life of their own! And while there are some of you out there who might try to claim that these could never have been made up by children, my answer is this …..only a child could come up with answers as wonderfully innocent as some of these are!

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A child was asked to write a book report on the entire Bible. Here is what he wrote

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The Children’s Bible in a Nutshell

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In the beginning, which occurred near the start, there was nothing but God, darkness, and some gas. The Bible says, “The Lord thy God is one,” but I think He must be a lot older than that.

Anyway, God said, “Give me a light!” and someone did.

Then God made the world.

He split the Adam and made Eve. Adam and Eve were naked, but they weren’t embarrassed because mirrors hadn’t been invented yet.

Adam and Eve disobeyed God by eating one bad apple, so they were driven from the Garden of Eden … Not sure what they were driven in though, because they didn’t have cars.

Adam and Eve had a son, Cain, who hated his brother as long as he was Abel. Pretty soon all of the early people died off, except for Methuselah, who lived to be like a million or something.

One of the next important people was Noah, who was a good guy, but one of his kids was kind of a Ham. Noah built a large boat and put his family and some animals on it. He asked some other people to join him, but they said they would have to take a rain check.

After Noah came Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Jacob was more famous than his brother, Esau, because Esau sold Jacob his birthmark in exchange for some pot roast. Jacob had a son named Joseph who wore a really loud sports coat.

Another important Bible guy is Moses, whose real name was Charlton Heston. Moses led the Israel Lights out of Egypt and away from the evil Pharaoh after God sent ten plagues on Pharaoh’s people. These plagues included frogs, mice, lice, bowels, and no cable.

God fed the Israel Lights every day with manicotti. Then he gave them His Top Ten Commandments. These include: don’t lie, cheat, smoke, dance, or covet your neighbor’s stuff.  Oh, yeah, I just thought of one more: Humor thy father and thy mother.

One of Moses’ best helpers was Joshua who was the first Bible guy to use spies. Joshua fought the battle of Geritol and the fence fell over on the town.

After Joshua came David. He got to be king by killing a giant with a slingshot. He had a son named Solomon who had about 300 wives and 500 porcupines. My teacher says he was wise, but that doesn’t sound very wise to me.

After Solomon there were a bunch of major league prophets. One of these was Jonah, who was swallowed by a big whale and then barfed up on the shore.

There were also some minor league prophets, but I guess we don’t have to worry about them.

After the Old Testament came the New Testament. Jesus is the star of The New Testament. He was born in Bethlehem in a barn. (I wish I had been born in a barn too, because my mom is always saying to me, “Close the door! Were you born in a barn?” It would be nice to say, ”As a matter of fact, I was.”)

During His life, Jesus had many arguments with sinners like the Pharisees and the Republicans. Jesus also had twelve opossums. The worst one was Judas Asparagus . Judas was so evil that they named a terrible vegetable after him.

Jesus was a great man. He healed many leopards and even preached to some Germans on the Mount. But the Democrats and all those guys put Jesus on trial before Pontius the Pilot. Pilot didn’t stick up for Jesus. He just washed his hands instead.

Anyways, Jesus died for our sins, then came back to life again. He went up to Heaven but will be back at the end of the Aluminum. His return is foretold in the book of Revolution.

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And, last but not least, an afterthought, the “pièce de résistance”. 

(As a reminder to you, Jeremiah, is also known as the “Weeping Prophet” and is considered a major prophet, who transcends our differing faiths. He is considered a prophet who is recognized by Judaism (in Hebrew his name is יִרְמְיָה), Islam (in Arabic his name is  إرميا or Irmiya) and Christianity!  Credited with authoring the books of Jeremiah, 1 Kings, 2 Kings and Lamentations, many scholars view Jeremiah as the one who redefined religion by insisting that there exists an individualized relationship between each person and God.)

Here is the song about Jeremiah.

“Jeremiah was a bullfrog, he was a good friend of mine, I never understood a  single word he said, but I helped him drink his wine!” 

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“3 And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven..”

Matthew 18:3 (NIV)

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Copyright © 2011-2013 “MandysPath” Ministry

Thought For The Day 05/27/13

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The 800th

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We look far ahead and call it ‘future’ but fail to realize the coming step is the closest milestone for future.

Suman Aakrosh.

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

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Today marks a milestone I never believed might be possible. Today marks the 800th posting of this serial I have come to know and to love as, simply, “My Thought”! Nearly every one of those 800 have been an original thought, conceived, given life and delivered right here, direct from my laptop right into your waiting arms! A few were not totally original, but I long ago made peace with the fact that there would be times when I just could not manage a new creation….such as the few posts I shared following surgery I had. My friend Friar Jeff was gracious enough to allow me to pre-load a couple of his writings, until I felt strong enough to begin again. And more recently, I was compelled to re-share a couple, albeit with some upgrading and editing, when Dan was in the hospital. But, by and large, and for better or worse, you all got the very best I could manage for that particular day. Actually, every single one of the last 800 days!

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The growth I witnessed within myself over these last 800 days has been astounding, to say the least. But then again, with the Almighty as my guide, and as I was learning more and more about myself and my faith, as I journeyed, the transition from, literally, an embryo to the young adult I am, in terms of faith these days, has been incredible. I say young adult, because it is my fervent hope that I will continue to evolve and to grow and to age gracefully, with God always by my side, in all the years that are yet to reveal themselves to me. And while I might wish that they would number 50 or 60 more, realistically, at my age and what it is that constitutes my likely life expectancy, I may just reach my golden years, in the general scheme of things, at the exact same time “My Thought” becomes a Golden Oldie, and it reaches its mandatory retirement age! But in the mean time, I continue on, because I can no more stop doing this that I can will my very heart to cease its beating in my breast. And as I ask that he continue to help me in my journey, I am reminded of this verse: “He asked life of you; you gave it to him, length of days forever and ever.” (Psalms 21:4 ESV).

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My husband once jokingly editorialized the following quip. “We are all born, life sucks, and then we die.” And while I am a testimony to the fact that life does not, nor ever will, suck, I do pause to wonder what I have given back to life and the world, as a whole, during the last 800 days when His purpose for my existence became clear to me. And what will I continue to be blessed to give over the next 800 or 8,000 days that are my tomorrow’s, God willing! I can not know the answer to that, but you know….you who share this unpredictable journey with me every day!

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The fact that this anniversary is occurring on Memorial Day, here in the States, is not lost on me either. Were it not for my ancestors coming to this land to seek a capacity for free expression of their religious choices, coupled with the ongoing heroism of my family members who have served in the military, and continue to do so, to guarantee that this freedom continues to be mine to embrace, what you read every single day would, perhaps, have never been even a dream, never mind a reality! And it is to all of you courageous men and women, heroes all, but especially to my Uncle Warren, my mother’s brother, that I offer my thanks by sharing this verse from Psalm 3:6 (ASV), “I will not be afraid of ten thousands of the people That have set themselves against me round about.” Yes, it is in your debt I will always be, since your sacrifice allows me the capacity to be able to celebrate the freedom to follow the path my God has chosen for me!

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Uncle Warren

http://ts1.mm.bing.net/th?id=H.5053068681020080&pid=1.7

Warren Stafford, 2nd Lieutenant, US Army Air Forces
born: March 31st, 1920
missing in action: February 3rd, 1944

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Since I never have followed any hard and fast rules of sermonizing, my writings have, at times, taken directions other than a hard and fast exploration of God’s word. But that is OK by me. Aside from the fact that since this blog and “My Thought” are both mine and I can choose to run in whatever direction He guides me to each day, it is ALL of the things that I have shared, day in and day out, that have made me the Mandy of May 27th, 2013. And you want to know something? She ain’t half bad!

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For by me your days will be multiplied, and years will be added to your life.

Proverbs 9:11 (ESV)

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Copyright © 2011-2013 “MandysPath” Ministry

Thought For The Day 05/26/13

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Defending The Faith

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No defense

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“I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”

C.S. Lewis

http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/faith

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God may not need defending, but it seems more and more, that man does! Or, at least, people like me do! Why do so many people seem to have a need to fit everything within their existence into some ideal mold (or at least what they perceive as an ideal)?

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If someone’s body isn’t a perfect size or shape or color or if someone doesn’t have the same sexual preference or religious denomination or middle class income, people automatically scratch their heads and think, “What in the world is wrong with them?”! And I smile!!!! I can’t help myself!!!! The reason is that the song I share below is the very first thing that comes to my mine. And as I hum the melody, and I envision them living in the ticky, tacky box that their own narrow-mindedness entraps them in, I realize how much richer the existence is of those who manage to view things from outside the box!

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Just a bit of history about Little Boxes, which was written by Malvina Reynolds in 1962, and was a subsequent hit for a favorite singer of mine, and her friend, Pete Seeger, in 1963. The song was intended as a satirical take on the suburbia of my childhood, where the conformist mindset which included a little tract house on the edge of a Metropolis, was considered a person’s ticket to happiness! And considering what was known then, and perhaps even more importantly, what was not, this existence made us feel safe and protected and somehow insulated from the USSR, and Cuba, and China, and a million other cultures whose very differences of political ideology made us quiver…..and justifiably so, given the times. But times change and as they do, it is expected that people will change as will their hearts. It is the way He designed our existence to be, to make us happy. Then we discover someone who can’t or won’t change, preferring to remain in the comfort zone that has and always will be, their existence! And I have to ask why this particularly affects matters of faith?

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Religion of the 21st century seems to be caught up in dogma. Too many people profess belief in God, but know too little about who God is, or what He hopes for people! And while all faiths hold the same ideologies when it comes to good vs evil and peace and love, each attaches unique rituals for the expression of these core values and most of the time, refuse to part with the aggressive posturing that some, through their individual evolutionary history, have embraced. And it is this, more than any other thing (to my mind, at least) that refuses to allow each of us to be “free to be you and me”, to quote Marlo Thomas and her friends….at least to things they perceive as historically predetermined relating to faith, unlike other parts of life for which change is eagerly seized, such as technology. And in some ways, they are right!

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There are core values in Christianity, Judaism and even Islam, that are inviolate, such as God’s Commandments (yes, the Decalogue is also part of the Islamic Faith). However, the rightness of these remain as pure today as they were when they were given at the top of Sinai! That we seek to hold fast to these supports that they have transitioned through time with an intent that is not up for dispute or debate, for that matter. But through the ages, the fracturing of religion into differing denominations and sects, proves that the shifting of some things have not. But interestingly, it is those who remain fastly and absolutely aligned to the historical few original churches that seem to be the first to scream “Heretic!” at those who evolve! Well, all I can say is, “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean.” Matthew 23:27 (NIV).

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Things that are part of man’s control of his existence, are in a continual state of flux. Always have been and always will be! Things that are part of God’s domain and control really do not. Never have and never will! But it requires both sense as well as sensibility, to understand which part of this impacts our expression of the thing we call our faith system. Even the very inspired word, which originated from His mouth to the mind of the one recording it, has changed and been edited and altered and abridged over the millenia since they were first penned. And all because we presume to know better what does and does not matter, regarding His instructions to us. How is it we have become so presumptuous as to believe we know His will as it relates to His map for guiding us? And again, all I can say is, “Beware of the teachers of the law. They like to walk around in flowing robes and love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and have the most important seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets.” Luke 20:46 (NIV). You think you know everything but you know almost nothing. Neither do I. The difference is, I realize I don’t while some of you do not!

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Little Boxes

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Little boxes on the hillside,
Little boxes made of ticky tacky,
Little boxes on the hillside,
Little boxes all the same.
There’s a green one and a pink one
And a blue one and a yellow one,
And they’re all made out of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same.

And the people in the houses
All went to the university,
Where they were put in boxes
And they came out all the same,
And there’s doctors and lawyers,
And business executives,
And they’re all made out of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same.

And they all play on the golf course
And drink their martinis dry,
And they all have pretty children
And the children go to school,
And the children go to summer camp
And then to the university,
Where they are put in boxes
And they come out all the same.

And the boys go into business
And marry and raise a family
In boxes made of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same.
There’s a green one and a pink one
And a blue one and a yellow one,
And they’re all made out of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same.

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Click to view the YouTube video of “Little Boxes

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God is not human, that he should lie,
not a human being, that he should change his mind.
Does he speak and then not act?
Does he promise and not fulfill?

Numbers 23:19 (NIV)

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Copyright © 2011-2013 “MandysPath” Ministry

Thought For The Day 05/25/13

Standard

Religious Pluralism

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interfaith-harmony

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“We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided.”

J.K. Rowling

“Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire”

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A friend posted a beautifully written essay yesterday (and which I am sharing with you today, at the end of my words), on what, at the time, I thought of as Ecumenical Unity. But I quickly realized that in seeking to somehow engender respect for all types of religious expressions, it is much more that an Ecumenical attempt. You see, the very word Ecumenical is generally thought of as the embodiment of  the influence of an entire body of churches. But I was wrong in assuming that this meant all faiths, when, in fact, it refers to  worldwide Christian unity or cooperation. And while I heartily agree that this is an imperative for all Christians to foster, one denomination with the other, especially Roman and Greek Catholicism and Protestantism, what we must seek is so much more! And as I struggled to find just the words I really wanted to use to describe the religious tolerance for all faiths, I discovered the “Religious Pluralism”. So, for those who don’t understand what “Religious Pluralism” means, here it is, in a nutshell:

  • It means religious inclusivism:  “… the worldview according to which one’s religion is not the sole and exclusive source of truth, and thus that at least some truths and true values exist in other religions.”
  • It means religious tolerance:  “… the condition of harmonious co-existence between adherents of different religions or religious denominations.
  • It means religious ecumenism. “… the promotion of some level of unity, co-operation, and improved understanding between different religions or different denominations within a single religion.
  • It means religious diversity: “… the fact that in a given society there exist a multiplicity of religions together.”

http://www.religioustolerance.org/rel_plur1.htm

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We have long seen conflicts within religion. Those conflicts were glaringly apparent  in the earliest Biblical texts which found cultures pitted one against the other, solely because their religious traditions dictated that one was more worthy that the other. And it remains little changed in the many millenia since. Were it not so, there would be no conflicts in the Middle East today. Come to think about it, there would likely be no conflicts……PERIOD! Which makes me think that it is probably more appropriate we alter the sentiment to “Cultural Pluralism”, instead.

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Unfortunately, it seems as if  we can not hope to change traditions that have been in existence in lands for thousands upon thousands of years, try as we might! We can not seem to somehow alter what is a literal view of those religious traditions that somehow keep the small word RESPECT outside of the mix. (And, by the way, thank you Aretha Franklin….every time I write that word, her song comes to mind!) The thing is that the core principles that define nearly all religions are identical. It is the way they are interpreted and applied, that are so different.

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Why do we allow fundamentalism and the politics of culture, which ALWAYS seem to combine with the explosive force of a nuclear bomb, to rob us of embracing the gifts that allow our hearts and souls to align with our faith? And more importantly, why must we always walk on egg shells when we talk of religion? What must we do to foster the right of each one to align their hearts and souls with the almighty power (for me, the ALMIGHTY) that lends them the most comfort? Well, I can muse all I want, but I do not have the magic key which will unlock the answer to that and which will, somehow solve our DIVERSITY and change it into UNITY. Then I keep returning to the thought of little children and color blindness…..or faith blindness, if you will, which is the one thing that gives me a ray of hope!

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Just as a dam can be undermined if a crack, but an inch long, forms, so can freedom of religion be undermined if we guarantee rights and privileges to one faith over another. But just as children play with everyone in a playground….happily….oblivious to the differences that adults would define them by, such as sex, race, or (yes, dare I say it?) faith, we do need to think outside the box in uniting cultures by embracing those principles we value so much, which offer choice. But until that day, sadly a long time coming, I fear, we can and will never know a time when the world is not at war. And I fear that it will be that inch long crack in the dam of our very humanity, that allows the victor’s spoils be handed over to Satan!

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“Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.

1 Peter 3:8 (ESV)

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The WordPress post from my friend that prompted my message today!

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…IN KEEPING WITH THE WORD….

Friar Jeffrie Wallace
posted 05/24/13

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Friar Jeff 05 24 13

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If you are Muslim, Hindi, Christian, Jew, Pagan, or “other”, I wish you PEACE….

“Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.” -2 Thessalonians 3:16

“The God of peace be with you all. Amen.” -Romans 15:33

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If you are Muslim, Hindi, Christian, Jew, Pagan, or “other”, I wish you LOVE…

“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.” -1 John 4:7

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” -John 13:34

“The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” -Mark 12:31

“For this is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another.” – 1 John 3:11

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If you are Muslim, Hindi, Christian, Jew, Pagan, or “other”, I wish you JOY….

“How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy we have in the presence of our God because of you?” -1 Thessalonians 3:9

“Indeed, you are our glory and joy.” -1 Thessalonians 2:20

“Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the Lord’s people.” -Philemon 1:7

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If you are Muslim, Hindi, Christian, Jew, Pagan, or “other”, I wish you BROTHERHOOD…

“Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brothers,” -1 Timothy 5:1

“Finally, dear brothers and sisters, we ask you to pray for us. Pray that the Lord’s message will spread rapidly and be honored wherever it goes, just as when it came to you.” -2 Thessalonians 3:1

“There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” -Galatians 3:28

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If you are Muslim, Hindi, Christian, Jew, Pagan, or “other”, I wish you HAPPINESS….

“Yet, by doing good, he has given evidence of his existence. He gives you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons. He fills you with food and your lives with happiness.” -Acts 14:17

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And finally…If you are Muslim, Hindi, Christian, Jew, Pagan, or “other”, I wish you THE FRUITS OF THE SPIRIT…

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law” -Galatians 5:22-23

“for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth” -Ephesians 5:9

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We are ALL OF US, Brothers, and Sisters under the shelter of God’s good hand…let us live together in peace, love, and respect for each other…so that when we stand before His Throne AS INDIVIDUALS, we may NOT BE FOUND WANTING……

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Peace be with you

שלום עליך

शांति तुम साथ हो

السلام يكون معكم

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http://warder5150.wordpress.com/2013/05/24/in-keeping-with-the-word/

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Copyright © 2011-2013 “MandysPath” Ministry