Monthly Archives: August 2013

Thought For The Day 08/31/13

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Remade Treasures

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garbageopen

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We are not to throw away those things which can benefit our neighbor. Goods are called good because they can be used for good: they are instruments for good, in the hands of those who use them properly.

Clement of Alexandria

http://www.backyardwildlifehabitats.com/id119.html

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I am perhaps the worst person on the face of the earth when it comes to recycling. Now part of the reason is that where I live now, recycling is voluntary, unlike where I came from up north, when our bi-weekly curbside recycling pickups meant I only needed to carry my “trash to treasure” recyclable’s 100 yards to the street in front of my house. But here, we have to gather our plastic, metal, glass and paper, and then we have to get into the car, and drive to the Solid Waste Authority recycling center. Now there are numerous locations throughout the county. In fact, there are several within a 5 mile radius of my house. But like so many things that we are challenged with in life, because recycling here requires effort, I often forget to gather all of these things that could be remade into another, worthwhile article. I guess you might just start calling me Mandy “Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind” Bruscella! Then suddenly, something happened that changed my perceptions of things!

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Yesterday I turned on my TV in the morning, as I was stumbling in the general direction of my coffee pot. Now the particular channel that appeared was not the one I had been watching the night before. Could it have been God’s finger on the remote, or did the cat simply walk over the buttons? Anyway, what appeared right in front of my eyes was a show that focuses on repurposing those things we think are unusable pieces of junk, into beautiful creations of art that will be adorning the wall of a multi-million dollar property somewhere! And I began to wonder something. If I could be so obtuse in my mindset about recycling, what else am I really missing when I look at something……or someone?

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Most of us strive to do all we can to improve the life we live. We educate ourselves and we ask questions because of our need to learn and understand everything we possibly can. After all, God endowed us with an insatiable appetite for knowledge. But sometimes in our search for the next, great thing to drop into our laps, we overlook the simple and often mundane things that are right in front of our eyes. And before we know it, what could have been something life transforming for us evaporates, like a puff of smoke! This is also true when it comes to matters of faith.

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It is frequently the little things in our lives that serve to remind us of all of the little gifts God gives us every day. And yes, some of them are even one of God’s remade treasures! For example, think of that furry and rather unattractive caterpillar crawling on the screen of your sun porch. I do not know about where you live, but they are a staple every summer here in South Carolina. Any way, I had the best time sharing this small wonder with Landon this year, now that he is old enough to appreciate the miracle of life….in all its varied forms. Then I explained to him that soon, that caterpillar would be remade into a beautiful, colorful and delicate butterfly! Which all goes to prove that God is the ultimate at repurposing the wonders of our world.

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Does he not clothe the naked branches of the trees with their green finery every Spring? Certainly this is an example of one of His remade treasures! Is His hand nor responsible for the bloom on the bush that would spring to life as a rose, complete with a fragrance that was prized by royalty throughout the ages? Another remade treasure by His hand! And what of the sinner that is all of us, who are transformed the moment we allow the miracle of God’s grace to enter our hearts? We fragile and sinful humans are, perhaps, His greatest remade treasure!

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Think for a moment about the Bible verse from 1 Corinthians 1:27 NIV, which states, “But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.” And remember how mighty is the hand of the one that can transform so many things…..AND PEOPLE…..that some see as trash, and create all of the treasures that are His gift to us in this world. Yes, some of them are small. but they are mighty! So should our gratitude to Him be any less?

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By the way, I doubt I will ever look at those things I need to recycle, quite the same way!

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For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.

Colossians 1:16 NIV

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Copyright © 2011-2013 “MandysPath” Ministry

Thought For The Day 08/30/13

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Looking Inside The Heart

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looking inside the heart

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It is wonderful how much time good people spend fighting the devil. If they would only expend the same amount of energy loving their fellow men, the devil would die in his own tracks of ennui.

Helen Keller

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

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We are living on the brink right this very moment. And I am scared! No, I am not scared because I am worried for myself, but because I am worried for the lives and well-being of people everywhere whose eyes see only the outside of people rather than looking deeper and discovering what lies within each heart.

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What is the result of this disease of the mind and heart called intolerance, that is as infectious to the well-being of man as was the Black Death that killed 1.5 million people in the mid 14th century? Well, intolerance proves to the many that a few are incapable of accepting individuality and other unique qualities that are the signature of every single human being ever created by the Almighty!

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So now that we have identified the disease, what then is the end result of this infection? Well, intolerance of others breeds aggression. Aggression breeds anger. Anger breeds hatred. Hatred breeds violence. Violence breeds war. And war breeds even more intolerance! And I do not believe I am alone in praying that the human race can find a way to avoid that horrible three-letter word that has the potential to forever alter existence as we know it to be. But how? What can we do?

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Well imagine what we might just discover if we were able to burrow our way into the heart and mind of others! I suspect we would discover that for every single thing that is different about us, we would find perhaps a million other things that are EXACTLY the same. And isn’t that alone enough of a reason to try, at all costs, to end the mindset of power-hungry leaders who seek only to enhance their own position within their countries by choosing to totally disregard the lives of the people whose welfare they were entrusted with protecting?

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Now, please know that I do not, under any circumstances, seek to have any country employ violence if there is a possible diplomatic option available, because I know that sitting down and talking and even more importantly, LISTENING, can work miracles. It has done so in the past and I am certain that it will, in the future. But like so many in the international community, I can not see the face of another toddler with glazed eyes, gasping for breath, while a pile of others who have died lie in the same room just feet away.

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Yes, God commands that we not kill. And yet, we find again and again in the Bible, evidence that lives were taken by His chosen people, as He commanded. But what this shows us that there is a difference between taking a life with malice in one’s heart, and following His call for bloodshed as payment for crimes. And death under these circumstances, while never wanted, is, at times, wholly warranted! It is this difference that He shares with us in Samuel 15: 1-3 NIV, which is an affirmation, of sorts, that while war is never a good thing, it is sometimes inevitable given the sinful nature that is man’s curse to bear! “Samuel said to Saul, “I am the one the Lord sent to anoint you king over his people Israel; so listen now to the message from the Lord. This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘I will punish the Amalekites for what they did to Israel when they waylaid them as they came up from Egypt. Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy all that belongs to them….” Still….what would we really see in the heart of others, if we but take a moment to really look?

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There is a video that has circulated throughout the internet, that seeks to answer that very thing! It shares with us that we can never really know what is transpiring in the heart of another which is why we must always try to see the best in others, even if we doubt that the best even exists. But seeing through new eyes is only half the battle. Yes, we must see, but we must also live our convictions, and be an example to the world of what having a Christ filled heart can offer to humanity!

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This wonderful video is entitled, “IF WE COULD SEE INSIDE OTHERS’ HEARTS”: LIFE, and you may view this video by either clicking the URL or by pressing the embed arrow on the screen below.

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Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men’s hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God.

1 Corinthians 4:5 NIV

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Copyright © 2011-2013 “MandysPath” Ministry

Thought For the Day 08/29/13

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Practice What You Preach

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Practice what you preach

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“You can preach a better sermon with your life than with your lips.”

Oliver Goldsmith 

http://www.dictionary-quotes.com/practice-what-you-preach-proverb/#zkAq8WoIV1zIXmht.99

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I will be the first person to admit that I have told my children to do things because I knew they were the right things, and yet, I so often fail to do them myself! Case in point: I have always counselled about the importance of never saying something that could be hurtful just because we were not feeling our best. And yet, if one little thing happens when I am dining in a restaurant, and it causes me to become upset or frustrated, not only might I find myself snapping at the server, but I am also forgoing what would most likely be a fantastic dining experience with those I care for! And who suffers because I have mounted that high horse? Well it is always me but more than that, unfortunately, it is also the people who were with me and who I have, if not exactly made embarrassed by my display, have, at the very least, been made uncomfortable by it. So instead of spoiling one person’s evening (myself), now I have spoiled their evening, as well! And for doing that……SHAME ON ME!

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Ephesians 4:29 NIV says, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Now literally, this verse warns us about the words we say and the hurt they cause rather than the behaviors we display. However, nearly every snit I have gotten into was because of some verbal exchange rather than a non verbal display. And like the WW II slogan warned, “Loose Lips Sink Ships”!

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How can I try to have someone respect me as a person if I do not take care with how I show them respect first by the way I respond to them or censure the way I offer my opinion? Yes, it is absolutely essential to be honest, and in fact, it is a commandment and a moral imperative, as well. But we can always find a way of saying something in a way that does not condemn nor make another feel inferior or stupid. We who write call it “creative writing”. But I think we should rename it if we are going to apply it to what we say. How about “creative speaking”?

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Will we always succeed? Absolutely not for two reasons. The first is that we are human and if there is one thing I know, it is being human guarantees that despite our best intentions, we WILL screw up! The second is because we generally do not have an intimate knowledge of exactly how the person we are addressing is feeling, which always affects how they interpret our words and deeds. (For example, suppose they have a sick child and did not sleep well the night before!)

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Now understanding all these things, there is another absolute to remember. Failing to take care with what we say can cause long-term hurt, and it can even destroy not just friendships but relationships within the family, as well. I have seen the effects that a careless word caused within my own family. Can you imagine siblings holding grudges that would last decades? Well, I assure you it happens…..all the time! Members of my family have remained estranged for decades because of something that seemed relatively unimportant at the time, but it was something that was blown out of proportion! Now try to imagine not being able to share special events like weddings and birthdays and yes, even funerals, with the person/people you grew up in the same home or family with!

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Before things happen that can not be taken back, always temper what you say with how you would feel if the same thing were said to you, and them apply “The Carpenter’s Rule” (slightly amended) to your speech…….THINK TWICE, SPEAK ONCE! I promise you it is a lesson I will personally remember and apply to myself from this day forward, although of all of the frail human beings that live, sometimes I am the frailest!

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There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him:  

  • haughty eyes, 
  • a lying tongue, 
  • hands that shed innocent blood, 
  • a heart that devises wicked schemes, 
  • feet that are quick to rush into evil, 
  • a false witness who pours out lies 
  • and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.

Proverbs 6:16-19 NIV

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Copyright © 2011-2013 “MandysPath” Ministry

Thought For The Day 08/28/13

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Day To Night To Day Again! 

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http://www.petapixel.com/2011/08/15/incredible-photos-that-capture-day-turning-into-night/

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It’s like this.  Father Time keeps pitching the years at us.  We swing and miss at a few.  We hit a few out of the park.  We try not to take any called strikes. 

Robert Brault

www.robertbrault.com

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Today the spirit is willing but the flesh……not so much, so I am re-sharing a post from exactly one year ago….August 28, 2012! Hopefully I will be feeling better tomorrow and can create a brand new inspiration to share with you all! Thanks to you for stopping by, reading my thoughts and giving me your support each and every day!

Mandy

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If there is one thing most of us find difficulty in reconciling, it really has to be the fact that, as much as we might like for it to be otherwise, we can not stop the revolutions around the sun that herald yet another birthday. And speaking from my own perspective as a middle-aged female living in a society the seems to dote on and idolize youth, I know that there are more times than I care to admit, where I can feel myself becoming lost in the avalanche that is the tendency to focus solely on those whose lives give us a glimpse of the promise of what our future will be.

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So many of our young people will get right in our faces as they proclaim that we’ve had our chance to set the world we live in to rights and we have failed abysmally. They are also equally fast to proclaim to us that “we ain’t seen nothin yet” as they offer assurances that they will be able to fix the things we have been unable to repair ourselves, so far. And while I may be among the generation they stick up their noses to, it is my fervent hope and prayer that they will, indeed, succeed where we have not. But I offer a caveat to all of those who seem to be unable to wait for the day when the fight becomes theirs. Only promise what you can deliver and then deliver more than what it is you promise!

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Pay close attention to the successes and failures of those of us that go before you. Build on the successes you see and pay close heed to the failures. Because everything we witness serves to provide for us the wherewithal to become not just successful but to thrive in days that will be fraught with the propensity for failure. Just because our hair is grey, our eyesight dimmed, our hearing sporadic, and our step slowed,  do not for a single minute underestimate the value of what we have shared up till now and will continue to share with the world until the moment we no longer draw breath.

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In 1 Peter 5: 1-14, we are told, “So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” 

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Now, before you criticize me for quoting scripture, stop and really think about the words. We, an older generation, are being told that we must help you to temper the impulses to act rashly in your approach to what you do. We have been there done that and as such, know the perils of choosing to move forward without meticulous care and planning. And yes, the passage refers to matters of faith but does not life require our faith in the things we want to effect change in? Do we not hope that through the actions we undertake, that the things we do will be the best for all and, more importantly, make the world a better place for future generations?

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11) He hath made  every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set  the world in their heart, so that no man can find out  the work that God maketh  from the beginning to the end.

Ecclesiastes 3:11 KJVA

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Copyright © 2011-2013 “MandysPath” Ministry

Thought For The Day 08/27/13

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The Spirit Is Willing But…..

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asleep-at-the-switch

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 “God makes three requests of his children: Do the best you can, where you are, with what you have, now”

African-American Proverb

http://thinkexist.com/quotation/god_makes_three_requests_of_his_children-do_the/161054.html

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How many of you know where the phrase “The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak” comes from? Well the tale is told in Matthew 26: 36-46 which recalls the night when the Son of Man would be betrayed. And as He prayed in the garden of Gethsemane, He asked those with Him,  Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, to keep watch during the time that the Son was communing with the Father. And upon His return to the men not once but three times, He found them asleep and the phrase “The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak” sprang from His lips as He admonished them!

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Matthew 26:36-46 GNT, 

36 Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” 37 He took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee. Grief and anguish came over him, 38 and he said to them, “The sorrow in my heart is so great that it almost crushes me. Stay here and keep watch with me.”

39 He went a little farther on, threw himself face downward on the ground, and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, take this cup of suffering from me! Yet not what I want, but what you want.”

40 Then he returned to the three disciples and found them asleep; and he said to Peter, “How is it that you three were not able to keep watch with me for even one hour? 41 Keep watch and pray that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

42 Once more Jesus went away and prayed, “My Father, if this cup of suffering cannot be taken away unless I drink it, your will be done.” 43 He returned once more and found the disciples asleep; they could not keep their eyes open.

44 Again Jesus left them, went away, and prayed the third time, saying the same words. 45 Then he returned to the disciples and said, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Look! The hour has come for the Son of Man to be handed over to the power of sinners. 46 Get up, let us go. Look, here is the man who is betraying me!”

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In the two millennia since that night, time and tide has altered our understanding of exactly the intent of the words as they were first uttered. What is meant in Matthew is that we humans find it difficult to live up to the high moral standards we have set for ourselves! But these days, it is less a moral standard we seek and more a human desire that we label with this phrase!

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Any time we hope and desire that something occur and yet we are unable to see that desire through to fruition or accomplish our aim, we are apt to speak these very same words. In fact, right now I know what it is I want to convey to you but the effects of a late summer cold have sapped my strength and have addled my brain! Yes, I am “The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak” personified right this moment, and this state is certainly not of my choosing, which is the entire point of the matter.

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The sleepy followers that night in the Garden did not deliberately set out to let Christ down. But despite our best efforts, we are human….complete with all the frailties and weaknesses each of us were given by the hand of our Heavenly Father when He created us! Yes we know what needs doing. Certainly Peter and the others did. We may even know what is needed to accomplish the deed. Those three certainly did. But we can no more guarantee the success of the matter. All we can do is our best. And while it may not be enough, if we have given our all…our entire heart and soul, then we have done the very best this very frail human body can endeavor. And we will be worshiping Him with a complete and willing spirit, despite the frail body we dwell in.

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“35 One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the first and greatest commandment.”

Matthew 22:35-38 NIV

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Copyright © 2011-2013 “MandysPath” Ministry

Thought For The Day 08/26/13

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Cleaning House

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office-cleaning-new-york-city

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AFFLUENZA

“A noun, meaning an extreme form of materialism in which consumers overwork and accumulate high levels of debt to purchase more goods (the word is a blend of affluence and influenza)”

WordSpy Website

http://www.unclutter-organize-transform.com/clutter-quotes.html

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It’s almost that time of the year once more. Yes, the days are becoming shorter and the lights are being turned on earlier in the evening….all signs that we are beginning our transition from summer to fall. And while our temperatures remain hot and humid during the day, the nights are freshening and cooling and you can practically smell the promise that cooler days will soon be here. But the change in seasons means another thing in my house. It’s almost time to do some heavy-duty cleaning and rid ourselves of any trace of Affluenza. After all, you know what they say….”Cleanliness is next to Godliness!”

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Yes indeed, cleaning up and tossing out is very good for both the body and the soul, which is why those of the Jewish faith clean their houses thoroughly before Passover. You see, before Passover, the house needs to be cleaned so that all chametz (leavened products) are removed. And yes, while I know that this happens in the spring, still the ritual is more than just Spring Cleaning. You see, the chametz, which puffs up and rises from the leavening, symbolizes egotism and haughtiness within each heart. Then think about the Matza, which is allowed fare during Passover. It is low, flat and simple. Even its flavor is humble, which is the way we must be to really allow God to enter us! So whether Jew or Gentile, cleaning is symbolic in that it allows us to empty ourselves of the clutter that we accumulate and which stands between us and God.

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Don Aslet, an author whose quotes I often use as part of my thoughts, wrote a book entitled CLUTTER S LAST STAND”. If you never heard of it, you have to look it up, because with humor, he is able to convince us that it is all of the clutter in our lives, mental, emotional and physical, that is a BIGGEST reason we suffer from both inefficiency in our homes, our jobs and almost every other thing that is a part of what constitutes modern life. AND, he contends that it is also a cause of depression!

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Now while I agree with him wholly regarding the things he cited, I also know that it is the clutter that comes with our misplaced priorities, that is what often separates us and God! We so often place the things in our life above Him, and just like the Jewish people have known for centuries, when we have too many things, we fail to really appreciate the “specialness” of them. But we appreciate more the things that we must work hard to obtain and having a true faith takes commitment and hard work. But the end result of our efforts are worth the sacrifices we have to make!

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Yes, whether it is Spring or Fall in the air, It is exhilarating to realize that under the layers of grime in our homes, our hearts and our minds, there is often something incredibly beautiful just waiting to be discovered. Turning our chaos into something ordered is incredibly therapeutic, and even though this order in our homes and our lives never lasts long, it is still very satisfying while it does last! And when it has revealed to our souls the mind of God and the beauty of faith, it can be life changing!

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“How lovely are your tents, O Jacob, your encampments, O Israel! Like palm groves that stretch afar, like gardens beside a river, like aloes that the Lord has planted, like cedar trees beside the waters. Water shall flow from his buckets, and his seed shall be in many waters; his king shall be higher than Agag, and his kingdom shall be exalted.”


Numbers 24:5-7 ESV

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Copyright © 2011-2013 “MandysPath” Ministry

Thought For The Day 08/25/13

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The Word Of The Lord

Sunday August 25th, 2013

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Jesus-healing-woman

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GOSPEL: Luke 13:10-17

Now he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. And just then there appeared a woman with a spirit that had crippled her for eighteen years. She was bent over and was quite unable to stand up straight. When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said, “Woman, you are set free from your ailment.” When he laid his hands on her, immediately she stood up straight and began praising God. But the leader of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had cured on the Sabbath, kept saying to the crowd, “There are six days on which work ought to be done; come on those days and be cured, and not on the Sabbath day.” But the Lord answered him and said, “You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger, and lead it away to give it water? And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen long years, be set free from this bondage on the Sabbath day?” When he said this, all his opponents were put to shame; and the entire crowd was rejoicing at all the wonderful things that he was doing.

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What Does Luke Mean?

 

The healing of the woman who was crippled was in and of itself a good thing. However, the debate becomes not so much that it happened but when it happened. The leader of the synagogue held that this act, was work, which violated the command to observe the Sabbath and keep it holy by refraining from work. However, Jesus counters by reinforcing that there are some things that people do that reflect the purpose of the Sabbath. There can be no objection when people tend to their livestock because it is an act of compassion. His healing of this woman was just as compassionate an act and was, in fact, even more in keeping with God’s instruction that the wholeness of all of creation be maintained!

Mandy

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Hebrews 12:18-29

 

You have not come to something that can be touched, a blazing fire, and darkness, and gloom, and a tempest, and the sound of a trumpet, and a voice whose words made the hearers beg that not another word be spoken to them. For they could not endure the order that was given, “If even an animal touches the mountain, it shall be stoned to death.” Indeed, so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I tremble with fear.” But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.See that you do not refuse the one who is speaking; for if they did not escape when they refused the one who warned them on earth, how much less will we escape if we reject the one who warns from heaven! At that time his voice shook the earth; but now he has promised, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heaven.” This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of what is shaken — that is, created things — so that what cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us give thanks, by which we offer to God an acceptable worship with reverence and awe; for indeed our God is a consuming fire.

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Copyright © 2011-2013 “MandysPath” Ministry