Monthly Archives: June 2013

Thought For The Day 06/30/13

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A Reading For Sunday, June 30, 2013

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Now we see things imperfectly as in a cloudy mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.

The Apostle Paul
1 Corinthians 13:12 NLT

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A History and Background

for the lesson

Paul is credited with writing a number of letters or dissertations to the Church in Corinth. These letters dealt with a number of concerns he had been made aware of. The first letter, which dealt with fornication, has been lost (see 1 Corinthians 5:9). The second covered additional issues and his third was a harsh and critical “comeuppance” which showed him to be a rather stern disciplinarian. This one is also lost ( 2 Corinthians 2:3-4; 2 Corinthians 7:8-9). But Titus’ response to him indicated that this third letter had served as a wake up call to the church and that many of the issues of concern were resolving, if not resolved. Which then prompted his fourth letter which served 2 purposes:
  1. It was intended to be a comforting one to those who had realized the error of their ways and were choosing a path to salvation according to what were the wishes of Christ. (2 Corinthians 1-9)
  2. It also served to defend his status to those who continued to oppose his authority with respect to both the church and his ministry, as well. (2 Corinthians 10-13)

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Of all of his letters, 2 Corinthians is, perhaps, the most autobiographical and details what his expectations were for this fledgling church. And while he really did not outline specific doctrine per se, 2 Corinthians contains many doctrinal truths that he held to be absolute for his followers, especially relating to his expectations for behaviors, and character. It also addressed those who would teach false doctrine and detailed what he believed was Satan’s role in all of the sins of the Church of Corinth!

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Brothers and sisters:
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As your fellow workers, we appeal to you
not to receive the grace of God in vain.
For he says: In an acceptable time I heard you,
and on the day of salvation I helped you.
Behold, now is a very acceptable time;
behold, now is the day of salvation.
We cause no one to stumble in anything,
in order that no fault may be found with our ministry;
on the contrary, in everything we commend ourselves
as ministers of God, through much endurance,
in afflictions, hardships, constraints,
beatings, imprisonments, riots,
labors, vigils, fasts;
by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness,
in the Holy Spirit, in unfeigned love, in truthful speech,
in the power of God;|with weapons of righteousness at the right and at the left;
through glory and dishonor, insult and praise.
We are treated as deceivers and yet are truthful;
as unrecognized and yet acknowledged;
as dying and behold we live;
as chastised and yet not put to death;
as sorrowful yet always rejoicing;
as poor yet enriching many;
as having nothing and yet possessing all things.
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2 COR 6:1-10 KJV
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Copyright © 2011-2013 “MandysPath” Ministry

Thought For The Day 06/29/13

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Home Sweet Homecoming

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home sweet home

My Home sweet Home in SC

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“Every traveler has a home of his own, and he learns to appreciate it the more from his wandering.”

Charles Dickens

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

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Is there a place for you where the very thought of it sings to you in both your waking and your dreaming moments? You know the kind of place I mean. When you are there, you feel all warm and fuzzy…..and safe…..as if you were wrapped in a cocoon or your softest pajamas! I know that when I was a little girl, that place was my paternal grandparents home. Not because I did not love my very own room in my very own house with my parents. No, it was because when I was with my grandparents, they were ever the doting and loving people every child dreams of. I was the center of their universe when I was there and they showed me this care with every single thing they gave me, whether it was my favorite dinner, or a hug and they showed me the same thing with all that they did with me, whether it was simply a car ride to see the sights or a trip to the beach! And there was something else too. I knew that when I saw something new and exciting when I was with them, it was as if they were seeing it for the very first time with me, through me and because of me!

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As I’ve gotten older, that “Home Sweet Home” that played notes on my heart-strings, became where I live now! You see, this was the place where Dan and I came to decompress every year (sometimes more than once a year) and so when we drove into town, and as we would pass the sign that says, “Welcome to Myrtle Beach”, simultaneously, we would say, “Honey, I’m home!” And I am happy here. It is the place of some of my greatest joys now that I am lucky enough to be able to see the world through my own pair of baby blues which sit under a mop of the most beautiful red hair imaginable.

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Landon 05 2013

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And yet, there is increasingly, another place that sings to me, and I suspect that getting older accounts for that song which resonates in my heart! Of course you all know where of I speak now. And because it is a reality that we all must prepare for from our first breath, rather than fear the unknown that it brings, perhaps now is the time to really think about it and get to know more about the promises that will be ours to have by that homecoming. Going home when my living is completed, and coming home to my Lord and Savior’s side!  Now the Bible does not really promise us Heaven in the sense of a place as much as it does, the eternal life we will share with Him. You see, just as He changed following his death, resurrection and ascension, so will we be changed. We will be changed from mortal to immortal. This change for us from mortal to immortal also changes us from “flesh and blood” to incorruption”. In 1 Corinthians 15:50-53 NIV, Paul tells us, “I declare to you, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality.”

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Now I don’t know about you, but I just love that word, homecoming! It is a frequently used word here in my neck of the woods these days. And while it reminds me that this is the place I have chosen to live my golden years with the man that I love, it also reminds me of something else. You see, here in the south, it is often used in the final biography most people will read about our lives. And it never fails to tickle my fancy when I read the word homecoming used in some of the obituaries I find in my local newspaper. But I think that is because I know that these were the people that lived and breathed faith during their living moments here on Mother Earth. And as much as the tug on our heart-strings of the other places we call home while we live seems so right, in reality, it is only this one…..this LAST one…..that really matters!

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“Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

John 3:5-8 NIV

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Copyright © 2011-2013 “MandysPath” Ministry

Thought For The Day 06/28/13

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Our Fundamental Right

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Fundamental-Rights

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Summertime,
And the livin’ is easy
Fish are jumpin’
And the cotton is high

Oh, Your daddy’s rich
And your mamma’s good lookin’
So hush little baby
Don’t you cry

One of these mornings
You’re going to rise up singing
Then you’ll spread your wings
And you’ll take to the sky

But until that morning
There’s a’nothing can harm you
With your daddy and mammy standing by

Summertime,
And the livin’ is easy
Fish are jumpin’
And the cotton is high

Your daddy’s rich
And your mamma’s good lookin’
So hush little baby
Don’t you cry

George Gershwin, DuBose Heyward, Ira Gershwin

“Porgy and Bess”
1935

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It’s summertime and for some folks the living is, indeed easy. But for most of us, winter, spring, summer or fall, our trials often seem to be the only thing that carries us through the seasons of our lives! I know that while some evenings, our dinner conversation is lighthearted and easy and as buoyant as those fish jumping from the pond and landing neatly into the frying pan in preparation for the divine moment when aroma and flavor merge to assuage the rumbles in our tummies! But more often than not, our conversations outline troubling workdays and frustrations with the systems that seem to sometimes hold us hostage and keep us mired in unhappy lives, instead of lives that are fulfilled and productive and satisfying. And perhaps I am looking at my history through rose colored glasses, but there are so many components to our living in the 21st century that seem to be a direct dichotomy to the way life was in this world 50 years ago, which makes me wonder something. How has the landscape of faith changed over the last half century?

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The greatest changes that seem obvious to me is that religion has become an increasingly polarizing platform. Gone are the days when nearly everyone you knew attended church every Sunday or Synagogue every Saturday. Today, faith is divided into two polar opposites with those middle of the road religious moderates disappearing with the same rapidity as is the disappearance of the honeybee! And I suspect that the reasons are twofold, but with both sides centered around the influences that culture and politics played during the 60’s. Yes, I well remember the 60’s, when sexual freedoms seemed to burst forth at the same moment that opinions about the way all of the the decisions that were made by our leaders in government came under fire by a generation who had been taught that to speak out and to take a stand was not just a fundamental right but almost a moral imperative! And yet, despite the days where religion was seen with a jaded eyes, there remained the counterbalance of those who were drawn to rebirth in faith and God. Yes, it was also an era of being “born again”! You see, for every nay that was shouted at religious denominations, most of them learned to roll with the punches, redefining the way they elected to promote their message to the common man. For example, think about the decision to change the Catholic Mass from Latin into English, and even the popularity of the rock musicals “Jesus Christ Superstar” and “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat”, to name just two.

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I guess there remains one absolute in the ever evolving landscape. Religion was, and always will be, adept at evolving. And, quite frankly, it is this fluidity that keeps it alive and vibrant and just as important and impactful to society today, as it ever was. Yes, it has been altered over the years, just a tad, exactly the same way we have altered our hemlines over the years from the mini’s of the 60’s to the maxi’s of the 70’s to the midi’s of the 90’s! But, as long as we are willing to invest a little sweat equity in the search, we will always find a place that seems to be the ideal fit for how we choose to practice the myriad of faiths that the world’s more sophisticated cultures have guaranteed as being our fundamental right! Assuming, that is, that we know what it is we hope God will deliver into our lives! And might that be something we find described in 2 Timothy 1:7 ESV, “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”? Or perhaps, it is this. from Titus 2:12 ESV, ” “Training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age..”! Or how about, Acts 1:8 ESV, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”?

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“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”

Romans 15:13 ESV

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Copyright © 2011-2013 “MandysPath” Ministry

Thought For the Day 06/27/13

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We Are A Beautiful Mosaic 

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melting pot

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We have become not a melting pot but a beautiful mosaic.
Different people, different beliefs, different yearnings, different hopes, different dreams. 

Jimmy Carter

http://thinkexist.com/quotation/we_become_not_a_melting_pot_but_a_beautiful/325232.html

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I am very blessed to have children who chose mates that I grew to love. And while I may not have always liked some of the things they have done, nor do I always agree 100% with everything they choose to do, I have learned to respect the diversity of ideas they brought to our family. And while my daughter’s marriage has known more than its share of stresses, mostly due to the fact that her spouse grew up not knowing what it takes to be a part of a family, and therefore, has had difficulty forging the bonds necessary to do what was needed to hold up his end of the promises made, that he loves my daughter and my grandson I have no doubt nor do I doubt that he has grown to love Dan and me, as well. On the other hand, my son’s wife brings a rich cultural heritage to our family. Melissa is a first generation American, the youngest child of parents who emigrated to the United States from Cuba, and who truly embody “the American dream”. (And, I might add, you haven’t really partied until you’ve combined a room full of Italians and Cubans, good food, great music and an open bar….it was truly an unforgettable wedding day!)

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I just love that word, diversity, for it truly is our differences that lend character to the people of the land of my birth…the land I call home…the United States. It was our differences way back when, that brought us to the shores of this new world in the 1400’s, forever changing the face of civilization on mother Earth, and it is those same differences that drives us to want to achieve the very best we can in today’s world….not only in ourselves but in what we expect from each other, as well. For all the terrible things that face our communities today, there is an underlying spirit of unity among us that is strong and unyielding, and which binds us all together, like a finely tempered steel. I call that spirit LOVE, and so does God, as we read in Colossians 3:14 NIV, which says it so beautifully. “And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”

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I am an American. I am particularly proud of the society that we have created here that assures me that the freedoms I hold dear will always be my fundamental right. And I will always keep my end of the bargain….I will be a good citizen. But whether or not this is your country of citizenship, our responsibilities remain essentially the same!  We must make sure that our voice is heard by the powers that be in our countries by embracing our right to help to choose the type of government and its representatives that embody the ideals and beliefs that we hold as sacrosanct. We must support those institutions that are so essential to the well oiled machine that comprise our communities, such as police, fire and emergency services. We must contribute to the betterment of our nations by volunteering and by helping others. We must financially support the institutions of learning so vital for the children of our nations who will be our leaders of tomorrow. And we MUST all offer thanks to God and ask that He continue to watch over our families, our communities, our countries and our world and that He continue to provide us with the wisdom to be vigilant caretakers of each and every single thing I have mentioned! After all, this is the only world we have….at least for now. And as we care for this tiny center of our universe, we must never forget remember the words told to us in Acts 20:35 ESV, “In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

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 “So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ..”

Ephesians 4:11-13 NIV

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Copyright © 2011-2013 “MandysPath” Ministry

Thought For The Day 06/26/13

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“God Bless The Broken Road”

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broken-road

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Musick has Charms to sooth a savage Breast,
To soften Rocks, or bend a knotted Oak.
I’ve read, that things inanimate have mov’d,
And, as with living Souls, have been inform’d,
By Magick Numbers and persuasive Sound.
What then am I? Am I more senseless grown
Than Trees, or Flint? O force of constant Woe!
‘Tis not in Harmony to calm my Griefs.
Anselmo sleeps, and is at Peace; last Night
The silent Tomb receiv’d the good Old King;
He and his Sorrows now are safely lodg’d
Within its cold, but hospitable Bosom.
Why am not I at Peace?

 William Congreve

 The Mourning Bride, 1697

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God Bless the Broken Road is another of the many songs of today that pass between the realm of love songs and songs of faith, which, when you really think about it, are in and of themselves love songs to God, anyway! Marcus Hummon co wrote the piece with Bobby Boyd, and with Jeff Hanna of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. It was that groups release of it in 1994 that became its first. However, the song did not achieve true notoriety until after being re-recorded by other stars, including Carrie Underwood (American Idol winner, Country and Gospel music star, Vegan and actively practicing Christian, whose rendition appears below) and, most notably, Rascal Flatts, whose version propelled in to the number 1 spot on Billboard-Country music charts in 2005, where it earned a Grammy Award for its writing team. The contemporary Christian music band, Selah, released it in 2006 where it rose to number 5 on the Hot Christian Song charts.

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Music has, and most likely always will, play such a huge role in the way we not just practice faith, but in the way we celebrate the bounty of blessings He bestows unto us. We lauded His birth with a heavenly chorus of angels singing Hallelujah! We celebrate His second coming with songs of praise during Easter. We know that some of God’s greatest victories in the Bible, such as the tumbling walls of Jericho, were preceded by the sounding of Ram’s horns. And even His most beloved leaders were so taken by song that there is an entire book of the Bible, that resonates with praise to Him and celebrating that praise by song! Psalm 98:4 NIV, “Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth, burst into jubilant song with music…” And whether you can find a measure of comfort in the lyrics of the song I am sharing today or not, make sure to take a moment every day to sing your praises to Him for all of the blessings He has given to you. It may seem like a small thing to do, but I promise you it is not. It’s measure is felt so much more to God than you can possibly imagine!

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“God Bless The Broken Road”

Marcus Hummon, Bobby Boyd and Jeff Hanna

I set out on a narrow way many years ago
Hoping I would find true love along the broken road
But I got lost a time or two
Wiped my brow and kept pushing through
I couldn’t see how every sign pointed straight to you

[Chorus:]
Every long lost dream led me to where you are
Others who broke my heart they were like Northern stars
Pointing me on my way into your loving arms
This much I know is true
That God blessed the broken road
That led me straight to you
(Yes He did)

I think about the years I spent just passing through
I’d like to have the time I lost and give it back to you
But you just smile and take my hand
You’ve been there you understand
It’s all part of a grander plan that is coming true.

[Chorus]
Every long lost dream led me to where you are
Others who broke my heart they were like Northern stars
Pointing me on my way into your loving arms
This much I know is true
That God blessed the broken road
That led me straight to you
(Yes He did)

Yeah.

Now I’m just rolling home
Into my lover’s arms
This much I know is true
That God blessed the broken road
That led me straight to you.

That God blessed the broken road
That led me straight to you.

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 “Sing for joy, you heavens, for the LORD has done this; shout aloud, you earth beneath. Burst into song, you mountains, you forests and all your trees, for the LORD has redeemed Jacob, he displays his glory in Israel.”

Isaiah 12:41-23, NIV

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Copyright © 2011-2013 “MandysPath” Ministry

Thought For The Day 06/25/13

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Zacchaeus

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Zacchaeus in the Scyamore Tree Luke 19:2-5

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“You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.”

 Kahlil Gibran

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

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We have come to understand that one of Christ’s Disciples was a Tax Collector. We read this in the Gospel of Mark, where Levi, son of Alphaeus, is discussed. Interestingly though, Mark never again speaks of Levi, instead introducing Matthew and James as the sons of this very same man…Alphaeus, as disciples in the list of the twelve disciples Mark 3:14-19 KJV, 14 And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach, 15 And to have power to heal sicknesses, and to cast out devils: 16 And Simon he surnamed Peter; 17 And James the son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James; and he surnamed them Boanerges, which is, The sons of thunder: 18 And Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddeus, and Simon the Canaanite, 19 And Judas Iscariot, which also betrayed him: and they went into a house. Luke’s Gospel pretty much says the same thing. And since we know that the disciples did not just disappear, the issue seems to be clarified in the Gospel of Matthew when the name by which the Tax Collector is introduced is none other than that of Matthew, himself!

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Now whether you accept Matthew as Levi or Levi as Matthew, it is clear that this man is not the only Tax Collector that is spoken of when it comes to Christ’s converts, which prompts me to ask THE question; why were Tax Collectors so hated then? Tax Collectors exist even today, and yet, these people are loving and productive and usually hardworking members of families and society. And while they may not be our favorite people here in the United States come every April 15th, what was the difference back then? Why were they detested so?

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Of the three tax types that existed then, the same are mirrored today. Land Tax (AKA Property Tax), Head Tax (AKA Income Tax), and the Customs System (AKA Sales Tax) were the primary systems enforced to generate revenue for the Roman Empire. But, unlike today, the way the Customs System was managed, lent itself to corruption since the “independent contractors” hired by Rome to enforce this part, implemented strong armed tactics to see to it that the moneys were collected…..OR ELSE! Sound familiar? Yep, those men and our modern underworld empires were at the very least, kissing cousins, if not downright “brothers by another mother”! So when we read of the conversion of a Tax Collector by the words and example given by our Lord and Savior, it is easy to understand the skepticism and doubt held by the population, at large. Consider Zacchaeus, for one!

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Did you know that the name Zacchaeus, in Hebrew, means pure and innocent? Which, if looking at the life of this man, was anything but! Now Zacchaeus was the chief Tax Collector for Jericho. And as was common for the day, the amount Rome expected was fixed, but any moneys collected above and beyond that became the property of the collector. And since we know this man was very wealthy, we can presume his methods for doing so were very bad, indeed! But as wealthy as he was, Zacchaeus was just as short, and while Christ was passing through Jericho, the curious Zacchaeus had to resort to climbing a tree to get a better look. Christ spied him, bade he come down and announced he was going to have dinner at Zacchaeus’ house. Positively scandalous, according to the masses, but the moment his eyes locked with Christ’s, the promises were made. Luke 19:4-8 ESV, 4 So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was about to pass that way. 5 And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.” 6 So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully.7 And when they saw it, they all grumbled, “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.”8 And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.”

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Can we all say that we would do the same? Doubtful! We have a difficult enough time, sharing the message and giving back in our own communities, where the need is so great and want is to be found in the most unlikely of places. But while we do not hear again of Zacchaeus, that he kept the promises he made, I do not doubt. And so I ask of you to do something proactive for those in need in your own part of the world. Yes, if you can, give of your property. So many who are in want need the tangibles we can offer. However, I would be just as happy hearing that you gave of your time or your talents! Do you think this is something you can manage? Challenge yourself to do something wonderful for others in the days ahead and live your life as one who knows, appreciates and pays homage to the sacrifice made all those thousands of years ago! And always remember that the gifts you give today will reap rewards far beyond that which can be imagined!

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41 And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much. 42 And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing. 43 And he called [unto him] his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: 44 For all [they] did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, [even] all her living.

Mark 12:41-44

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Copyright © 2011-2013 “MandysPath” Ministry

Thought For The Day 06/24/13

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A Village 

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 You need a village, if only for the pleasure of leaving it.  A village means that you are not alone, knowing that in the people, the trees, the earth, there is something that belongs to you, waiting for you when you are not there. 

Casare Pavese

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

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While many of us first heard the title of today’s post because it is the title of former First Lady and now Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton’s book, which was written in 1996, in fact, this is an ancient African proverb whose goal was to impart wisdom and truth. The intent was to tell everyone that no man (or woman or child, for that matter) is an island! The well-being of the one is dependent on the capacity of the whole to be supportive and nurturing. And yet, this seems to be something that is often lacking in today’s society! While we like to think we all are part of a collective that cares for and about each other, in fact, we are increasingly finding that this is seldom the case. We no more would leave our doors to our homes unlocked at night or when we are away than we would consider diving from the top of Niagara Falls to be a safe thing to do. Now some of this is due to the effects modern technology, and what this has brought to our doorstep. After all, we now hear about all of the horrors that assail humans only a nanosecond after they occur. We view our leaders with a jaundiced eye, wondering what their motivation is for what they say since history seems to prove that it is seldom the welfare of the collective community!

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Now perhaps I seem to be viewing the world with a jaundiced eye by what I am writing. Perhaps I seem to have lost hope for the community, the country and the world. In fact, nothing could be farther from the truth. You see, I know that the thing that will “un-harden” the hearts of men is not something mysterious or unknown. In fact it can be summed up in two words…..LOVE and FAITH! I join the two together because each is, in many way, co-dependent upon the other, and I like to think that despite all of the horrors we see today that, just as Anne Frank said so brilliantly in her diary, “I keep my ideals, because in spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart.”

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It really does take a village and the individuals that live in that village. And like the saying goes, community, like charity, begins at home. But it doesn’t just happen. It takes not just seeing ourselves with a clear eye but looking clearly at the others who live in your community, as well. If you do not know how to be a friend and neighbor then you can’t possibly expect that others will treat you accordingly. So take a moment to think about just what being a friend and neighbor, indeed, a good member of society, entails. What should we do to help our village become a place where the good of the whole becomes at least as important as the good of the one?

  1. Respect the people who live near you. Not everyone works the same hours. Not everyone has young children. So think about all of these things and be conscientious about noises that might disturb your neighbors, such as vacuum cleaners, music, loud talk and barking dogs.
  2. Keep your home and yard presentable. Taking pride in the place you live shows others that you take pride in yourself and that you care.
  3. Welcome new neighbors with an introductory note or a friendly chat. Invite them over for an iced tea or offer to help them as they become acclimated to the community. Share with them things like information about recycling all their moving cartons and tell them the best way to get the newspaper or to the supermarket.
  4. Respect your neighbor’s privacy. Not everyone is open and gregarious. Many are quiet and subdued. Recognizing the differences between people paints you as a sensitive and caring person.
  5. Offer to collect mail, water plants and watch the pets while your neighbors are  away on a trip. Offer….don’t wait to be asked.
  6. Keeps the lines of communication open. Seek to share both good news as well as concerns over a cup of coffee or a light lunch.
  7. Throw a house party or open house once a year. And while you can wait for the holidays, why not make it a special event, in and of itself, by hosting that gathering during a month when there are no special holidays or celebrations! Don’t forget to include those that live alone or who are elderly and may need your help to attend!

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There is a reason that our founding fathers adopted the phrase believed to have been first coined by Aesop, “United we stand….Divided we fall”And yet, do we not read nearly the same thing in the Bible in  Mark 3:25, “A house divided against itself cannot stand”? It seems that throughout history, wise people recognized that it would take a village to raise a child, but somehow,  years of apathy and entitlement have caused us to forget the wisdom of these words. Let’s change this today! Let the buck (and apathy) stop with us!

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 31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.   32 “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you?   Even sinners love those who love them.   33 And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that.   34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full.   35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.   36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. 

Luke 6:31-36 NIV

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Copyright © 2011-2013 “MandysPath” Ministry

Thought For The Day 06/23/13

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King David

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“Tell this to ladies: how a hero man
Assail a thick and scandalous giant
Who casts true shadow in the sun,
And die, but play no truant.

This is more horrible: that the darling egg
Of the chosen people hatch a creature
Of noblest mind and powerful leg
Who cannot fathom nor perform his nature.” 

John Crowe Ransom

“The Complete Poems of John Crowe Ransom”

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A History of King David

(subject of today’s Reading, provided below)

http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/biography/David.html

The biblical King David of Israel was known for his diverse skills as both a warrior and a writer of psalms. In his 40 years as ruler, between approximately 1010 and 970 BC, he united the people of Israel, led them to victory in battle, conquered land and paved the way for his son, Solomon, to build the Holy Temple. Almost all knowledge of him is derived from the books of the Prophets and 1 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings and 1 Chronicles.

David was the eighth and youngest son of Jesse from the kingly tribe of Judah. He was also a direct descendent of Ruth the Moabite. David began his life as a shepherd in Bethlehem. One day, the prophet Samuel called him out of the field and anointed him without the knowledge of the King Saul who was the current monarch. David simply returned to his sheep. His first interaction with Saul came when the king was looking for someone to play music for him, and the king’s attendant summoned the skilled David to play for him. Saul was pleased with David and kept him in his service as a musician.

The first time David publicly displayed his courage was when, as an inexperienced boy armed with only a stick and a few stones, he confronted the nine-foot, bronze armored Philistine giant, Goliath of Gath. After skilled warriors had cowered in fear for 40 days, David made a slingshot, invoked God’s name, and killed the giant. After this, Saul took David on as commander of his troops and David formed a close friendship with Saul’s son, Jonathan.

David was successful in battle against the Philistines and this aroused the jealousy of Saul, who tried to kill David by throwing a spear at him. David stayed with Saul, however, and Saul offered him his own daughter, Merav, as a wife. He later reneged on his promise, but offered David his second daughter, Michal, in exchange for the foreskins of 100 Philistines, a price that David paid.

Saul’s jealousy of David grew and he asked his son Jonathan to kill David. Jonathan was a friend of David’s, however, and hid David instead. He then went to his father and convinced Saul to promise not to kill David. Saul promised, and David returned to his service. This promise did not last and, after Saul attempted to kill David a second time, Michal helped David run away to the prophet Samuel in Ramah. David returned briefly to make a pact of peace with Jonathan and to verify that Saul was still planning to kill him. He then continued his flight from Saul, finding refuge with the king of Moab. On the way, the priest Ahimelech of Nob gave David a weapon. When Saul heard this, he sent Doeg the Edomite to kill 85 of the city’s priests.

In the course of his flight, David gained the support of 600 men, and he and his band traveled from city to city. At one point, in Ein Geid, David crept up on Saul while he was in a cave, but instead of killing him, cut a piece from his cloak and confronted Saul. Saul broke down and admitted that David would one day be king and asked David to swear that he would not destroy Saul’s descendants or wipe out Saul’s name. David swore to this, but it did not stop Saul from continuing to pursue him. Finally, David and his supporters joined the service of Achish, the Philistine king of Gath who entrusted David with control of the city of Ziklag. Under Achish’s employ, David raided the cities of nomads who harassed the Jews and gave the spoils as gifts to the leaders of Judah to win their support for him against Saul.

Eventually, while David was out battling a tribe called the Amalekites, Saul and Jonathan were killed on Mt. Gilboa in a fight with the Philistines. David mourned, and then began a new stage in his life, as king of Judah. He moved to Hebron, along with his wives, Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail of Carmel, and his followers. The people of Judea were grateful to David for saving them from desert raiders while he was in Ziklag, and they appointed David king.

Meanwhile, Abner son of Ner crowned Ish-Boshet son of Saul king over the tribes of Israel. The kingdoms of Judah and Israel fought, with David’s dynasty growing stronger as Saul’s grew weaker. Finally, after Abner had a fight with Ish-Boshet, Abner approached David and made a pact with him, which allowed David to unite the two kingdoms and rule over all of Israel. As Abner was leaving David, however, David’s advisor and army commander, Joab, killed Abner without David’s knowledge. Soon, Ish-Boshet was also killed and the tribes of Israel anointed David as their king. David was 30 years old at the time, and had ruled over Judah for seven years and six months. Over the years, he had taken more wives and had many children. He had also made pacts with kings of various surrounding countries.

David’s first action as king was to capture what is now the City of David in Jerusalem, fortify it and build himself a palace. When the Philistines heard that David had been anointed king and was threatening their hegemony over all of Palestine, they attacked, spread out over the Valley of Raphaim and captured Bethlehem. David retaliated and, in three battles, forced the Philistines out of Israel.

Once David had established the safety of his kingdom, he brought the Holy Ark, which had been passed from city to city, to Jerusalem. He then wanted to build a temple to God and consulted Natan the prophet. Natan replied to David that God would always be with David, but it would be up to David’s son to build the Temple because David had been a warrior and shed blood.

David then began fighting wars against Israel’s neighbors on the east bank of the Jordan. He defeated the Moabites, the Edomites, the Ammonites and the Arameans. These wars began as defensive wars, but ended with the establishment of a Davidic empire that extended over both sides of the Jordan River, as far as the Mediterranean Sea. David enforced justice in his empire and established civil and military administrations in Jerusalem, modeled after those of the Canaanites and Egyptians. He divided the country into twelve districts, each with its own civil, military and religious institutions. He also established Jerusalem as the secular and religious center of the country. Each district paid taxes to Jerusalem and the people began to make pilgrimages to Jerusalem each year on the holidays of Passover, Shavout and Sukkot.

Despite this flawless reign on a national level, David had many problems in his personal life. One day while the men were at war, David spied a beautiful woman, Bathsheba, from his rooftop. He discovered that she was married to Uriah the Hittite, but this did not stop him from sending for her and getting her pregnant. He then recalled Uriah from battle and pretended that Uriah was the father of Bathsheba’s baby. Uriah refused to go home to his wife, so David sent Uriah to the front lines of battle, where he was killed. David then married Bathsheba. When confronted by Natan the prophet, David admitted his sin. In punishment, Bathsheba’s child died and David was cursed with the promise of a rebellion from within his own house. Bathsheba and David soon conceived a second son, Solomon.

David’s personal strife continued when his son Amnon raped Tamar, Amnon’s half-sister. Absalom, who was David’s son and Tamar’s brother, then killed Amnon. Absalom fled, but David could not stop thinking about him. Finally, Joab convinced David to allow Absalom to return. Absalom was a handsome man and became popular with the people of Israel. Then, 40 years after Samuel had anointed David king, Absalom, along with 200 men, journeyed to Hebron with the intention of rebelling against his father and taking over his kingdom. He had the support of the men of Hebron who were insulted by the removal of the kingdom from Hebron to Jerusalem, the elders whose status was undermined by parts of David’s policy and the Benjamites who wanted to avenge Saul’s family.

David feared that Absalom would return and conquer Jerusalem, so he and all his followers fled the city, leaving only 10 concubines to guard the palace. David told the priests Zadok and Abiathar to remain in the city along with his friend and now spy Hushai the Archite. Meanwhile, Absalom reached Jerusalem, took over the city and slept with David’s concubines. Hushai befriended Absalom, advised him, and told the priests to send messengers informing David of Absalom’s plans. David gathered his troops and then killed 20,000 of Absalom’s Israelite soldiers, including Absalom himself. David returned to power. A second revolt broke out at the hands of Sheba son of Bichri, but with the help of Joab, David succeeded in crushing this rebellion as well, and in killing Sheba.

Eventually David grew old and had to stop fighting. He constantly felt cold and could not get warm. At this point, Adonijah, David’s oldest son, declared himself king. David, however, had promised Bathsheba that her son Solomon would be king, and publicly anointed Solomon. Fearful of retribution Adonijah ran to the altar in Jerusalem, but Solomon pardoned him and sent him home.

David delivered a last set of instructions to his son, telling him to follow the words of God and to repay in kind specific people that had either wronged David or helped him. David then died after 40 years as king, 33 of those in Jerusalem. He was buried in the City of David.

David was a poet and the rabbis believe that David wrote the Psalms (or at least edited it). Throughout his life, David prepared for the construction of the Holy Temple by setting aside the necessary physical materials, commanding the Levites and others in their duties for the Temple, and giving the plan for the Temple to Solomon. It is then fitting that according to tradition, the Messiah, who will build the third temple, will be from the Davidic dynasty. Today, Jews pray daily for the coming of the “Messiah, son of David.”

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A Reading For Sunday, June 23, 2013 

Nathan said to David: 
“Thus says the LORD God of Israel: 
‘I anointed you king of Israel.
I rescued you from the hand of Saul.
I gave you your lord’s house and your lord’s wives for your own.
I gave you the house of Israel and of Judah.
And if this were not enough, I could count up for you still more.
Why have you spurned the Lord and done evil in his sight?
You have cut down Uriah the Hittite with the sword;
you took his wife as your own,
and him you killed with the sword of the Ammonites.
Now, therefore, the sword shall never depart from your house,
because you have despised me
and have taken the wife of Uriah to be your wife.’
Then David said to Nathan,
“I have sinned against the LORD.”
Nathan answered David:
“The LORD on his part has forgiven your sin:
you shall not die.”
 
2 Samuel 12:7-10, 13

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 “MandysPath” Ministry

Thought For The Day 06/22/13

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30,000 Sunrises

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sunrise

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A new morning means a new beginning, a new struggle, a new endeavor, but with the Lord by our side we can overcome any challenges and turn obstacles into stepping stones.

Author Unknown

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

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A new commercial airing as a vacation destination lure says “75,000 sunrises is all you get…”. In all truth, that number is closer to 80,000 as of this year, but the bottom line is that while they are hoping that you will view your sunrise from the place that paid them to draw you to their doorstep, I prefer to think about it in terms of another chance to get it right! Yes, it’s a new dawn, a new day and it’s a new chance for a new life! Well, maybe not exactly new, but rewritten, for sure!

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We know that everyday our faith is being rewritten based on what God is giving to us as our purpose for living during the next 24 hours. Or, at least, until dawn breaks anew, once more. That means turning our backs on the mistakes we made the day before. I am not saying we forget those mistakes, because our growth is dependent on our learning lessons from every experience that comes before each next opportunity, even when the experience is an unfortunate one. But what we must do is learn from it, choose our next step, continue forward and grasp hold of the next chance for getting it right. And even if we do not ace the attempt, we must try to get it at least as close to right as a human being can manage, given that one absolute that governs all for us. We ARE HUMAN! Which is why we never face each new sunrise alone. We sometimes have our friends at our side. We usually have our family at our side. We ALWAYS have God at our side!

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“O Lord, You have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down, And are acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word on my tongue, But behold, O Lord, You know it altogether. You have hedged me behind and before, And laid Your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is high, I cannot attain it. Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning, And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, Even there Your hand shall lead me, And Your right hand shall hold me….How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand; When I awake, I am still with You.”

Psalm 139:1-10 & 17-18

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Birds flying high
You know how I feel
Sun in the sky
You know how I feel
Reeds driftin’ on by
You know how I feel
It’s a new dawn
It’s a new day
It’s a new life
For me
And I’m feeling good

Fish in the sea
You know how I feel
River running free
You know how I feel
Blossom in the tree
You know how I feel
It’s a new dawn
It’s a new day
It’s a new life
For me
And I’m feeling good

Dragonfly out in the sun
You know what I mean, don’t you know
Butterflies all havin’ fun
You know what I mean
Sleep in peace when the day is done,
That’s what I mean
And this old world is a new world
And a bold world
For me
Fooor me

Stars when you shine
You know how I feel
Scent of the pine
You know how I feel
Yeah freedom is mine
And I know how I feel
It’s a new dawn
It’s a new day
It’s a new life
huh

It’s a new dawn
It’s a new day
It’s a new life

It’s a new dawn
It’s a new day
It’s a new life

It’s a new life
For me

And I’m feeling good
I feel so good
I feel so good

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“I will be glad and rejoice in thee: I will sing praise to thy name, O thou Most High”

Psalm 9:2

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“My soul shall be joyful in the Lord: it shall rejoice in His salvation”

Psalm 66:16

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“I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for He hath clothed me in the garments of salvation”

Psalm 35:9

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“I will declare what he hath done for my soul”

Isaiah 61:10

 

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Copyright © 2011-2013 “MandysPath” Ministry

Applies only to the original writings contained herein.

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(I do not own this song or the copyright to this recording. All the credit goes to the creators and owners of this song. This video is for entertainment purposes only.)

Thought For The Day 06/21/13

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Joy Filled or Oy Vey?

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be-joyful

https://encrypted-tbn3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSVmZpecRZNhycjP3yhUvnSzgBa-zm8Jjp4eWYx_vgljJ_tPxtk5Q

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The real end of prayer is not so much to get this or that single desire granted, as to put human life into full and joyful conformity with the will of God.

Charles Bent

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

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How do we know? Know what, you ask? How do we know whether or not the thing we are about to embark on is the right thing for us? Is it time to add some “Joy” to your life instead of some “Oy”? (For those whose language does not encompass the term “Oy” or more specifically, “Oy Vey”, it is a Yiddish exclamation of dismay….something like “for Pete’s sake” or “oh woe is me”, but with a little more oomph behind the intent of the words!)

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Well, usually if the question has occurred to us that something is not as it should be in the first place, as far as I am concerned, this should probably be your first clue that something in your life is either absent or at the very least, worth a look-see! However, if you find yourself contented with things as they are progressing for you right now, then it is unlikely that the time is at hand to begin to seek a new pathway or set new goals for your journey. Actually, looking at things this way, it seems to boil down to contentment.

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When we are contented with life, we are secure in the provisions God is making for us. There is no who need to seek out more because we have if not most then at least some of what we desire and certainly most of what we need! And for most people this is enough. Then there are others, some of whom share our daily lives walking at our sides, day in and day out. I’m thinking about people who are like Eve was (yes, the Garden of Eden, Eve). She had most, if not all of what she needed, but it seems not all of what she desired! She wanted more and was not contented with things as they were. Well, look at what the result was of that sin of avarice!  

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But when it comes to feeling and experiencing “Joy”, well that is a word that should be part of everyone’s everyone’s existence, each and every day! You see, we need not necessarily feel contented to feel joy! John 17:13 KJV, speaks to this. 13 But now I come to You, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves. 

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Joy remains a tangible reality and can and should be with us all of the time. Yes, it may never be consistently the same. There will be some days that are just a bit happier and where we feel just a bit lighter in our living. But like the gentle ripples on the surface of a pond, the fact that the ripples exist, does not change the volume of water contained within its banks. Joy remains a constant presence in our lives! And why? Because an abundant amount of it is promised to us through the presence in our lives of His Holy Spirit.

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Despite the fact that we may think it is gone, especially when our trials threaten to overwhelm us, it never is! It is part of a true and unwavering faith which those who accept and believe know to be absolute. Romans 15:13 NKJV, says to us, 13 Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. So choose contentment and choose being “Joy Filled”! ALWAYS! It beats beating your chest with all the “Oy Vey’s” you can cry, hands down!

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22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 24 And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

 Galatians 5:22-25 NKJV

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Copyright © 2011-2013 “MandysPath” Ministry