Monthly Archives: January 2014

Thought For The Day 01/31/14

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Forgiveness = Empowerment

Post 1052

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Forgiveness 2

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“When you hold resentment toward another, you are bound to that person or condition by an emotional link that is stronger than steel. Forgiveness is the only way to dissolve that link and get free.”

Catherine Ponder

http://thinkexist.com/quotations/forgiveness/

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Forgiveness! Perhaps the hardest thing a human can do…..whether it is to forgive himself or another! I wrote the following post in 2011 but I was compelled to re-look at my previous posts that had to do with forgiveness, prompted by a very simple, but extremely compelling blog that a friend, FAITHFULNIBBLES, wrote today: (http://wordpress.com/read/blog/id/30136485/). So I have decided to re-share this writing from my early days of faith. You know….when dinosaurs roamed the earth!

Mandy

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Since the beginning of times, man has sought to live as part of a community. This was necessary for survival of what is truly a fragile life form…a human being. A community afforded its members added protection from predators and more individuals hunting or foraging meant greater success in finding food sources. A community also allowed for a safer environment for the rearing of children and for the exchange of information key to growing and learning and surviving in the world. And while, for the most part, we no longer need a community for life and death type of supportive nurturing, the emotional support afforded to the members of a community or extended family today, remains just as vital and necessary. Which is why there is no heartache more acute than the pain that is felt as the result of betrayal by a loved one, family member, or friend.

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Today, the organization and banding together of a group of people, all with a common purpose, remains a fundamental necessity today and it is why we have sought to establish ourselves into various communities, consisting of (but certainly not limited to) towns, churches, businesses, companies, etc. Even today, we grow and thrive physically, mentally and spiritually, because of the knowledge and wisdom we have gained from the free exchange of information within our group. However, there can come a time when we forget that the best things in life are the result of our affiliation with others. We begin to think only about ourselves and our own selfish needs and so we may betray the trust and confidences that others have placed with us as friends.

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Even our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ was not immune to betrayal by those who were closest to him and whom he dearly loved. Following the Last Supper, Jesus retired to the Garden of Gethsemane, to pray to God and to begin preparations for the events that would transpire. Jesus knew what the future would hold. He told the disciples of the betrayals and denials that were to come. And while Jesus was able to forgive all who caused Him such sadness, we who are all too mortal, often have a much more difficult time with the act of forgiveness.

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What is the real motive behind our propensity to hold onto anger? Are we secretly hoping to hurt the person who wronged us right back? Unfortunately, feeling that way usually hurts only one person….US! When we hold onto anger we are not happy…we are not contented…we are not at peace with ourselves.

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What we need to look for is the good that can often arise from the bad. That it exists is just as real and absolute as is a forest that becomes reborn, following the consuming flames of a wild-fire. And it is that re-birth that teaches us more about our inner resources and the “stuff” we are made of than almost any other conscious choice we can make in our life. The ability to forgive empowers us and keeps us from being a victim even though to do so may go against our nature. But forgiveness is what faith teaches us we must do and we must trust that God will give us the inner resources so that we can accomplish this usually difficult, often painful, but always empowering act that He expects.

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“My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.””

1 John 2:1 NIV

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Copyright © 2011-2013 “MandysPath” Ministry

Thought For The Day 01/30/14

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The Gifts That Matter

Post 1051

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present

http://wallpaperstock.net/present_wallpapers_16482_1600x1200.jpg

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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
“The Prophet”
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Almost 2 years ago now, I was reading my email copy of Godvine, a spirit filled publication that I still subscribe to today. Now back then, Godvine offered perhaps 5 sappy videos that required a box of tissues in hand to watch, which, by the way, is right up my alley. They also ended the  email then with a print story of some kind. And, like the videos, they were meant to impart an important lesson of faith in a way that compels your rapt attention to the message being shared. And, once again this is something I like so much because the style is so reflective of my own when I write my posts and thoughts every day. I have referred to these Godvine posts a number of times in the past because they never fail to leave me feeling just a bit more blessed and a lot more thankful each time I read them.
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The Godvine story that appeared back then made such an impact on me that I never forgot its wisdom. I looked at it and immediately fell in love with the ideas contained in the article, “8 Gifts That Don’t Cost A Dime”. But in typical Mandy fashion, I began to think up a few of my own that I think would be the perfect gift to present to your loved one on any occasion, but especially now, since Valentine’s Day will be here in just about 2 weeks. And it is especially appropriate today, since being fiscally frugal has become the norm these days, rather than the exception! So, for those of you that did not see this article, I am sharing Godvine’s gift list and will follow up with a few of my own!
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 8 Gifts That Don’t Cost a Dime

(Godvine)

 1. THE GIFT OF LISTENING… But you must REALLY listen. No interrupting, no daydreaming, no planning your response. Just listening.

2. THE GIFT OF AFFECTION… Be generous with appropriate hugs, kisses, pats on the back, and handholds. Let these small actions demonstrate the love you have for family and friends.

3. THE GIFT OF LAUGHTER… Clip cartoons. Share articles and funny stories. Your gift will say, “I love to laugh with you.”

4. THE GIFT OF A WRITTEN NOTE… It can be a simple “Thanks for the help” note or a full sonnet. A brief, handwritten note may be remembered for a lifetime, and may even change a life.

5. THE GIFT OF A COMPLIMENT… A simple and sincere, You look great in red,” “You did a super job,” or “That was a wonderful meal” can make someone’s day.

6. THE GIFT OF A FAVOR… Every day, go out of your way to do something kind.

7. THE GIFT OF SOLITUDE… There are times when we want nothing better than to be left alone. Be sensitive to those times and give the gift of solitude to others.

8. THE GIFT OF A CHEERFUL DISPOSITION… The easiest way to feel good is to extend a kind word to someone. Really, it’s not that hard to say, Hello or Thank You.

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8 Gifts That Don’t Cost Much….If Anything!

(Mandy)

1. THE GIFT OF YOUR TIME… Today we live such busy lives that we all too often forget that it is our life partner that will still be here with us when our days end and when our working years are over. Don’t let that become a time when we discover, sadly, that we have somehow, drifted apart.

2. THE GIFT OF MEMORIES CREATED… Don’t put off making wonderful memories with your loved ones. Entice your partner to join you in the kitchen and make an ice cream sundae for each other. Or sit and listen to some favorite music and sing along at the top of your lungs….. TOGETHER!

3. HIDE LITTLE LOVE NOTES AROUND THE HOUSE… Tape a note or card to the bathroom mirror or hide one in the refrigerator or put it under that first steaming cup of morning coffee or tea. It doesn’t matter where you decide to put it, just as long as it’s an unexpected surprise for the one you love, to start their day!

4. SURPRISE YOUR PARTNER WITH AN UNEXPECTED LUNCH… Clearing this with the boss first usually helps, but arrive, picnic basket in hand, with fruit and cheese and crackers or some other treat you both enjoy. You needn’t dine in a 4 star restaurant to make a lasting memory!

5. PLAN A SURPRISE GET TOGETHER WITH FRIENDS FOR NO REASON AT ALL… We all enjoy the time we spend together with our friends but all too often, we reserve these hosting duties for special occasions. Why not make Tuesday night your special occasion?

6.  GATHER THOSE PHOTOS THAT ACCUMULATE AND BUY A DOLLAR STORE ALBUM OR FRAME… We are all guilty of storing so many special memories in a drawer. Why not dig them out, organize them and put them in your living room where you can share them with others.

7. TAKE A RIDE IN THE CAR… Just take your partner’s hand, say we’re going out together, and just drive. No cell phones, no music, no children, no distractions, no destination. Just drive….at least 30 minutes round trip….and talk! The fresh air and time spent holding hands in the car, might just evoke memories of a time of courtship, and can be so therapeutic to a relationship.

8. PRAY TOGETHER… Make sure to set apart at least one time each day, to pray together. Hold hands, close your eyes and bow your heads and thank God for all the blessings he has bestowed upon you as a family. It needn’t be long but it must be heartfelt! Sharing the intimacy of prayer as a family cements the values so carefully cultivated and assures that the one who has provided for those blessings is not forgotten!

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Let’s all try to give at least one of these gifts every day,  to someone whose life touches our own. I know it is often easy to overlook the seemingly simple things in these complex times in which we live. But while we might just be tempted to brush off the significance of the gift, make no mistake. That effort has the potential to make a  life altering difference to the recipient of your special gift!

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“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Matthew 6:19-21 ESV

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Copyright © 2011-2013 “MandysPath” Ministry

Thought For The Day 01/29/14

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It Is As It Must Be…

Post 1049

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If man were immortal he could be perfectly sure of seeing the day when everything in which he had trusted should betray his trust, and, in short, of coming eventually to hopeless misery.  He would break down, at last, as every good fortune, as every dynasty, as every civilization does.  In place of this we have death. 

Charles Sanders Peirce

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The other day I was hunting through my purse for my keys which always seem to become lost in the bottomless pit that is my pocketbook. Finding my keys there is my job and mine alone these days. Once, if I asked Dan to get them, he’d take one look inside, perhaps even put his hand in and gingerly feel around, only to give me his exasperated look as he would carry my purse over to me to do the honors. And today, now that I think about it, he doesn’t even bother anymore with the attempt at searching…..he simply smiles that smile that says to me that a bout of dysentery would be preferable to actually putting his hand into my pocketbook, and he simply thrusts my bag into my outstretched arms! (Ahhhhhh, ain’t love grand?) Anyway, getting to the point here….is that the other day I actually found my keys by grabbing a fist full of little plastic cards that seem to challenge my keys as the rightful residents deserving of a place on my key ring.
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Now at last count, I have about 17 of these little cards verses 4 keys that are attached to my key ring. Each and every one heralds me as a member of the club. I have cards for supermarkets, appliance stores, home improvement stores, business stores and restaurants all vying for top billing on my key ring! Each and every one announces to the cashier as I check out, that I am a member of the club!
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I am a member of another club too. It is a club whose membership I joined the moment I drew my first breath. Now while you may be thinking that I’m referring to the club of Christianity, I am not, although I am proudly a member of that one too. But unlike the other one I’m thinking about, the Christianity Club is not one that allows for an automatic membership to every mortal being. The Christianity Club is one where you seek membership only after accepting Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior. And the acceptance of your application to that one rests with God the Father, alone. No, the club I’m referring to is a club that is each and every human being’s birthright. And when you reach my age, it is a club of constant goodbyes, and sometimes a sadness so profound that it wants to swallow you up. It is the club of grown adult children bidding farewell to the ones who created the being that we are, raised us, instilling the values by which we live, educated us, clothed us and fed us, nourishing both our bodies and by introducing us to faith, our spirits, as well.
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Within the last couple of weeks, I have had 4 friends lose a parent. The latest to suffer this loss was my best friend from High School. I remember marveling at her dad, his accomplishments and finding him a very fascinating person as I was growing up. And since the two of us were joined at the hip back then, I spent nearly as much time at her house as I did my own! His death was expected although the actual occurrence still rendered emotions of bewilderment and shock and a profound sadness. Some of these losses other friends suffered, were unexpected.  But all have united us as charter members of a club none wish was our singular honor! Yesterday, Dan and I witnessed “the Homecoming” of the wife of one of Dan’s closest golfing buddies. The service was a wonderful tribute, to a special woman, whose life, in all reality, had passed away earlier in her illness as she lost the ability to play golf and travel, something she dearly loved to do!
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 It is as it must be. This is something that each member of the Baby Boomer generation will be joining, like it or not, in the years to come. It is a club that I joined on January 31st, 1990 when my mother, Elaine Stafford Pierce, passed away! I was not quite ready to join but it was not within my power to delay my investiture. Our earthly time is finite and in the cessation of a heart beat, my mother was gone, and I was a member!
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From the moment we draw that first breath there is only one absolute for our lives. And that absolute is that our days are enrolled on some heavenly calendar we are not privy to and that is when we realize that the sole purpose for our lives is that we will, one day, be leaving those who love us so dearly here on earth.
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If we knew the time we each had, would we live our lives differently? Perhaps some would. But I believe that most of us would choose to seize the life force we are blessed with, and run with it. I believe each of us would want to live our lives to the fullest. I believe, however, we most probably would seek out an even more personal relationship with our Heavenly Father. I hope we would, because it is only through Him that our place is reserved and awaiting us in our next destination…..Heaven. And this too, is as it must be!

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Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

Revelation 24:1-5 NIV

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Copyright © 2011-2013 “MandysPath” Ministry

Thought For The Day 01/28/14

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What Is The Face In The Mirror Teaching Me?

Post 1048

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Mandy and Dan 01 18 2014

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People are like stained-glass windows.  They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in their true beauty is revealed only if there is light from within. 

Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

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

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We spend some time nearly every day inspecting the person whose eyes, a mirror image of our own, stare back at us from the reflection of the looking-glass. But what exactly is the message we see in that face looking back at us? And is that message being conveyed to us today in the same way it was yesterday? Will it be the same one tomorrow?

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When I was 20 years old I saw the world and all its possibilities, bright and beautiful in front of me. I liked me, both inside and out. I was in love and about to marry what I fully expected would be my knight in shining ’68 Chevy SS. I would soon be graduating with my BS degree in nursing, something I had wanted with every fiber of my being since I was just a little girl. I could wear a 2 piece swim suit with pride and I could run and play with the best of them. And I was shallow. I had faith and yet I had chosen not to pursue my relationship with God. I was hedonistic, choosing many things in my life for the sheer pleasure they afforded to me. But I was young, the years not yet performing their magic on me!

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When I was 30 I was married and a mother. I had already found my first grey hair and I had definitely found a few pounds to boot. I seemed to spend more time working and a whole lot less time playing and enjoying my children. I wanted to be able to give them everything I could possibly manage and in the process, actually failed to give them me! The first worry wrinkles graced my eyes and I wondered what tomorrow would bring as I struggled to balance the demands I had placed on my life with the reality of that which I was managing to accomplish. And I found myself wanting…..in everything. Faith still played a role for me, if only to begin to convey its importance to my children. But for me, it was a bit like lip syncing a song. My intentions were there but I was only mouthing the words and not really allowing the music of it to enter my soul. But, then again, I was but a young woman with time still ahead!

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When I was 40 my children were teens and with that came the challenges of phone calls from the principal asking for yet another meeting to discuss disciplinary issues. The grey, now fairly plentiful, was readily disguised by Miss Clairol but nothing could disguise the need for tri-focal eyeglasses and the deep “V” seemingly tattooed onto my forehead, right between my eyes. Dan and I were still happily married though our conversations now centered on more mundane issues and less heartfelt conversations. This same was to be found in the privacy of our room at night. But this was understandable. In an effort to keep our heads above water, we both embarked on lives that saw us traveling on the NJ Turnpike at 5AM every day heading into work, and the reverse happening at 6PM. I cooked dinner, helped with homework , threw laundry in and fell asleep in the chair waiting for the dryer buzzer to awaken me, sending me up the stairs, arms laden with clean clothes. I fell into bed and fell down on my faith. Oh it was there still but relegated to only a couple of hours Sunday when, instead of listening to the sermon, my mind was listing everything I should be doing instead of sitting there! But I was just an early, middle-aged woman. I still had time to fix it!

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Then my life screeched to a halt! When I was 44 years old, life as I knew it changed. My husband developed Cancer. I became paralyzed from the waist down from a neurological disease. All of this descended upon us at the same time. I spent nearly 6 weeks hospitalized and Dan began, what would prove to be the first of so many surgeries, that I have lost count. We both found ourselves depending more and more on our children to pick up the pieces of everyday living….from shopping and cooking and laundry to schlepping us to MD appointments. My children became as adept at slinging my wheelchair in and out of the car as they did vacuuming the rugs and washing the floor. If ever there was a year from Hell, it was 1998. And it was also a year from Heaven! I still had not quite made my peace with God, Indeed, I was pretty much pissed off at Him for allowing this to happen to us. I was angry that my children needed to do a lot of growing up in a very short time! I was scared I was going to lose my husband. I was terrified I would never walk again. But the days passed, the months passed, and we could glimpse a light at the end of the tunnel. With therapy and hard work and a lot of love, I began to walk again. And I was still just middle-aged and had the time to stop being angry at God!

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Age 50 found me looking back at my reflection from a different mirror in a different house in a different state. We decided to retire and leave NJ for a much quieter life where things move at a snail’s pace compared to the way things moved when we lived up north. My anger with God began to dissipate, like a mist does when touched by the rays of the sun. Dan and I survived and while we both are forever scarred by the things that happened in 1998, with each sun rise we face, the road that is our lives is, once again, being paved anew. We rediscovered the passions that brought us together in the first place and we healed. And as we healed, we made room within our hearts for faith to re-enter our lives. This did not happen overnight and, much like Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel masterpiece which took many, many years to create, we have discovered that it is time that is the key to seeing that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. We are again finding within ourselves the masterpiece of a love whose brush strokes began coloring our souls in 1972.

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This year I will be greeting 60 with a slower step, grayer hair and “creakier” joints. Yet I still see the passions and the joys that I viewed throughout all those previous decades and I see them with a much less jaded eye these days. You see, the tragedies that are part of daily life did not kill or even incapacitate me along the way. I have triumphed and I have discovered a strength through a faith that only grows stronger with each passing day…..a faith that I have incorporated into my daily living. You see, it is my own personal penance which I offer faithfully and cheerfully to the Almighty because He has not only led me to it, but He has seen me through it, as well! Yes, I know that I have made things right with God. It is what we all MUST do because none of us knows with certainty what tomorrow will deliver into our life!

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And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.

1 Peter 5:10 NIV

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Copyright © 2011-2013 “MandysPath” Ministry

Thought For The Day 01/27/14

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Asking God

Post 1048

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Girls can do anything!

http://www.thefitnesschronicles.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/Being-Strong.jpg

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 Prayer of an Unknown Confederate Soldier *

I asked God for strength that I might achieve. I was made weak that I might learn humbly to obey.

I asked for health that I might do greater things. I was given infirmity that I might do better things.

I asked for riches that I might be happy. I was given poverty that I might be wise.

I asked for power that I might have the praise of men. I was given weakness that I might feel the need of God. 

I asked for all things that I might enjoy life. I was given life that I might enjoy all things.

I got nothing that I asked for, but everything I hoped for.

Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered. I am, among all men, most richly blessed.

 

* This poem is also known as “The Creed for the Disabled”, thanks to Dr. Howard Rusk, who is considered to be the founder of rehabilitation medicine, and who established what is now known as the Rusk Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine at New York University Medical Center.

http://askville.amazon.com/Poem-asked-God-strength-made-weak-I——-poem-author/AnswerViewer.do?requestId=2381088

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We live our lives as mortal creatures trying to maintain our footing as we balance precariously on a steep slope on the side of a huge mountain. Now at the top of this mountain rests all of our goals and aspirations which we attain utilizing all of the strength that God has endowed us with.  And at the foot of this mountain lies their counterpart, our dashed hopes and failures which are often the result of our weakness, also divinely endowed! And as a rule, it is as we make our life’s journey that most of us find ourselves standing smack dab between these two polar opposites, seeking the one but often discovering the other.
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When we begin our journey in life, we devote much of our time trying to reach the top…. an accomplishment often of monumental proportions! But the climb up is both a steep and rocky one, and if we have learned anything from history, it is that more likely than not, we are probably going to lose our footing as we make our climb, no matter how much safety gear we have brought along with us! The funny thing is that we often learn much more about ourselves and what we are capable of from the tumbles we take that bring us to the bottom. After all, as we are reminded by the popular saying, “The only place to go when you hit rock bottom is up”!
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It is fair to say that we can not hide from the many falls that carry us to the bottom. Someone always knows and if it happens to be someone who delights in pointing fingers, our secret is soon out in the open anyway. Now I don’t know about you, but I would much prefer to make sure the story of my tumble is an honest accounting of what happened, instead of a lot of half-truths or outright falsehoods. To guarantee this, the only logical answer is to be upfront and honest about these failures. And yes, I realize that it often means there might just be a few more eyes staring a hole in our back as we pick ourselves up and dust ourselves off, and begin our climb once more. But there may also be a few more people who might just volunteer a hand up as we begin the climb once more! And therein lies the proof of the strength of character and determination God has endowed us with, and which continues to exemplify the very best part of who and what we are as people. It speaks to others, ourselves, and God, as well, about the special gifts we have to share with them, should we be willing to do so, as we live our lives, and it affirms our trustworthiness, our honor and our dependability.
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Now this presumes that our heart cares about where it is and what it is, we hope to accomplish. But even when we have reached the point where our downward spiral has pushed us to the point where one more step back up is beyond our will, there is one other thing worth remembering. When we hit bottom, and there is no one left to turn to or to lean on, God remains ready, willing and able to lend us that hand up, even when our contemporaries aren’t. You see, He understands the strength of will and character it often requires for us to begin the climb all over again, for perhaps the millionth time. And even during the moments when others, and sometimes even ourselves, doubt that we have it within to get up and start that climb again, God never doubts our abilities and capabilities. Just take a look at Isaiah 40:28-31 ESV, which says, “Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”
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He is the rock upon which we can gain a foot or hand hold, as we start the climb up once more and I, for one, am very happy to find Him in my corner, there for me to lean on, as I rest, regroup and regain the strength I need to start my journey anew. And while our family and friends are important to the lives we lead, it is really only God to whom I owe any explanation for the manner in which I accomplish my journey up and down the side of that slippery slope, because as long as I make that journey keeping Him close to my heart, I will, one day, be able to reach the stars!

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For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

2 Timothy 1:7 ESV

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Copyright © 2011-2013 “MandysPath” Ministry

Thought For The Day 01/26/14

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This Is The Word Of The Lord

 Sunday January 26th, 2014

Post #1047

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St Matthew the Apostle

http://ts4.mm.bing.net/th?id=H.4601977103911295&pid=1.7

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Born in Palestine sometime in the 1st century, St. Matthew is recorded in all four gospels and in the book of Acts, as being one of Jesus’s 12 apostles and also one of the four Evangelists. In the gospel of Matthew, he is described as a tax collector. However, parallel accounts refer to the tax collector that Jesus meets in Capernaum as Levi. Christians have long held that this was an example of “double naming”.

It is believed that Matthew authored the first Gospel of the Bible’s New Testament, known as the Gospel of Matthew.

Matthew is the patron saint of tax collectors and accountants. The Feast of St. Matthew is annually celebrated on September 21.

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Today’s Gospel Reading 

Matthew 4:12-23 NIV

 

Jesus Begins to Preach

When Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, he withdrew to Galilee. Leaving Nazareth, he went and lived in Capernaum, which was by the lake in the area of Zebulun and Naphtali — to fulfill what was said through the prophet Isaiah:

“Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles — the people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.”

From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”

Jesus Calls His First Disciples

As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed him.

Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.

Jesus Heals the Sick

Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people.

 

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What Does Matthew Mean?

Our reading refers to the very beginnings of Christ’s actual ministry and sharing His father’s word. But He can not accomplish the task alone, and so he sets out to gather those who would share this journey and mission with Him. He certainly knew what the future held for Him and I am certain He chose those who would serve God’s purpose for what would happen in not only the days ahead, but in the days following the moment when His mortal life would come to an end.  

We read “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near – Matthew 4:17. And this is our instruction that we must come to God and beg His forgiveness. And we must not wait a moment longer than necessary, because we are not promised another minute in our own lives. Which is why we must treat each day we have as a gift and a blessing! We must never forget that the kingdom of heaven is at hand…..for each of us!

Mandy

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Our Second Reading

1 Corinthians 1:10-13 and 17

 

A Church Divided Over Leaders

I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought. My brothers and sisters, some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. What I mean is this: One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Cephas”; still another, “I follow Christ.” Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized in the name of Paul? 

For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—not with wisdom and eloquence, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.

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Thanks Be To God!

Amen

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Copyright © 2011-2013 “MandysPath” Ministry

Thought For The Day 01/25/14

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Paid In Full….

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Love the earth and sun and animals,
Despise riches, give alms to everyone that asks,
Stand up for the stupid and crazy,
Devote your income and labor to others…
And your very flesh shall be a great poem.

Walt Whitman

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

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Every day of our lives presents us with choices. Some of those choices may be relatively inconsequential. The decision of what will grace the dinner table or whether today will be slacks and sweater casual or a skirt and blouse dressed down day are a couple of examples of these less earth shattering decisions that we all pour over every day. Then there are the choices we face that have the capacity to be life altering in their significance. For example, you become angry with your child and almost without thinking, slap their face so hard that their lip is split.
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Now while I would hope that this is an extreme example, I think you all know what I am saying by using this particular illustration. Because just as the wise man built his house upon the rock, so do we need to constantly take a moment to think about our actions despite the fact that the heat of the moment might just tend to want to take over where common sense must prevail. Perhaps it is easier to think of this in terms of choosing which bridges we must cross and which ones we must gather the kindling for!
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Becoming a person of worth and living a life that you can be proud of is something that is very difficult for most of us. It is easy to be full of pride for another persons accomplishments but it is much harder to recognize the same positive attributes when they are attached to our own character. In other words, I can say without reservation that my daughter is an excellent mother while it is more difficult to think of myself in those very same terms. And yet I might want to be just as effusive with my negative assessments of the character of someone I dislike intensely but I will purposefully restrain myself from  making my negative feelings known because for me to share them might just cause the other person to be hurt and that diminishes me much more than it does them. A prime example of crossing the bridge but not roasting marshmallows on the embers of that same structure.
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Now on the “off-chance” that I have achieved a milestone epiphany for my life…..one that I know will have a lifelong impact on me for the better, well then just hand me the lighter fluid and a match because I will never look back. That does not preclude me from remembering the experiences that were my past life, but it prevents me from being tempted to rethink my choice and the potential to derail the positives and progress I have introduced to my life. And it also is what compels me to want to pay those blessings that I have been gifted with forward as I live my life. And it was exactly this message I was given in after receiving an email from a friend a while ago, and which I am going to share with you all right now.
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PAID IN FULL WITH ONE GLASS OF MILK
 
One day, a poor boy who was selling goods from door to door to pay his way through school, found he had only one thin dime left, and he was hungry. He decided he would ask for a meal at the next house. However, he lost his nerve when a lovely young woman opened the door. Instead of meal he asked for a drink of water! She thought he looked hungry so she brought him a large glass of milk. He drank it so slowly, and then asked, How much do I owe you?” You don’t owe me anything,” she replied. “Mother has taught us never to accept pay for a kindness.” He said …”Then I thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
 
 
As Howard Kelly left that house, he not only felt stronger physically, but his faith in God and man was strong also. He had been ready to give up and quit. Instead he found his faith and his spirit renewed just as his thirst had been assuaged.
 
 
Many year’s later that same young woman became critically ill. The local doctors were baffled. They finally sent her to the big city, where they called in specialists to study her rare disease. Dr. Howard Kelly was called in for the consultation. When he heard the name of the town she came from, a strange light filled his eyes. Immediately he rose and went down the hall of the hospital to her room. Dressed in his doctor’s gown he went in to see her. He recognized her at once. He went back to the consultation room determined to do his best to save her life. From that day he gave special attention to her case. After a long struggle, the battle was won.
 
 
Dr. Kelly requested the business office to pass the final bill to him for approval. He looked at it, then wrote something on the edge, and the bill was sent to her room. She feared to open it, for she was sure it would take the rest of her life to pay for it all. Finally she looked, and something caught her attention on the side of the bill. She read these words:
       
 

Paid in full with one glass of milk.

Dr. Howard Kelly

 

Tears of joy flooded her eyes as her happy heart prayed: “Thank You, God, that Your love has spread broadly, through the kindness of human hearts and the deeds of human hands.”

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There’s a saying which goes something like this: Bread cast on the water comes back to you”, which is why we must all pay our blessings forward every chance we get! The good deed we do today may benefit us or someone we love when we least expect it to. And even if we never receive a return for our efforts, at least we will have made the world a better place, and, after all, isn’t that what life is all about?

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There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit is the source of them all. There are different kinds of service, but we serve the same Lord. God works in different ways, but it is the same God who does the work in all of us.

1 Corinthians 12:4-6 NLT

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Copyright © 2011-2013 “MandysPath” Ministry

Thought For The Day 01/24/14

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Growing Old Or Growing Up

Post 1045

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Rose

http://www.livelifehappy.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/404429_417139398369208_1766794971_n.jpg

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Remember, growing older is mandatory. Growing up is optional. We make a Living by what we get, We make a Life by what we give.

Author Unknown

http://www.scrapbook.com/quotes/doc/13119.html

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Yesterday I was bemoaning my physical ailments. I was alone and my bones creaked loudly and ached badly as I got out of bed. And before I even opened my eyes, I said to myself that it would be a very long, and most likely, a very miserable day!

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Now even though I posted one of my “feel-good inspirational” pictures, as I have done every day for months now, on my social media page, I was far from living what I was reading and writing. In fact, I shared a picture with a quote from Thomas A. Edison (yes….that Thomas Edison!) that said, “What man’s mind can create, man’s character can control.” And I followed the picture with some sage words of my own. “Make up your mind that today will be great and then do what you need to follow through on that choice!”  The problem was, I had already made up my mind what kind of day I would have, before I had even put my feet on the floor!

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Indeed, I was feeling somewhat guilty for misleading everyone with my “Pollyanna” words when my head was lifeless, apathetic and spiritless! So I decided to do something about it. I had to have some maintenance work done on my daughter’s car (after all, I had stressed it driving 626.21 miles in 9 hrs and 45 minutes!), so I decided that I would not watch the TV in the waiting room at the dealership. I would, instead, search for some inspiration for ME. So I let my phone do some walking down the information highway, and I happened upon the story I want to share. AND, I received a wake up slap to the brain like none I had ever felt before. Yes, I knew for certain that I had not happened upon this story by chance. No, I was led to it by a divine hand who knew I needed to read it, if only to put my own blessings into perspective. And clarity I received!

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An 87 Year Old College Student Named Rose

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The first day of school our professor introduced himself and challenged us to get to know someone we didn’t already know.

I stood up to look around when a gentle hand touched my shoulder. I turned around to find a wrinkled, little old lady beaming up at me with a smile that lit up her entire being.

She said, “Hi handsome. My name is Rose. I’m eighty-seven years old. Can I give you a hug?”

I laughed and enthusiastically responded, “Of course you may!” and she gave me a giant squeeze.

“Why are you in college at such a young, innocent age?” I asked.

She jokingly replied, “I’m here to meet a rich husband, get married, and have a couple of kids…”

“No seriously,” I asked. I was curious what may have motivated her to be taking on this challenge at her age.

“I always dreamed of having a college education and now I’m getting one!” she told me.

After class we walked to the student union building and shared a chocolate milkshake. We became instant friends. Every day for the next three months, we would leave class together and talk nonstop. I was always mesmerized listening to this “time machine” as she shared her wisdom and experience with me.

Over the course of the year, Rose became a campus icon and she easily made friends wherever she went. She loved to dress up and she reveled in the attention bestowed upon her from the other students. She was living it up.

At the end of the semester we invited Rose to speak at our football banquet. I’ll never forget what she taught us. She was introduced and stepped up to the podium.

As she began to deliver her prepared speech, she dropped her three by five cards on the floor. Frustrated and a little embarrassed she leaned into the microphone and simply said, “I’m sorry I’m so jittery. I gave up beer for Lent and this whiskey is killing me! I’ll never get my speech back in order so let me just tell
you what I know.”

As we laughed she cleared her throat and began, “We do not stop playing because we are old; we grow old because we stop playing. There are only four secrets to staying young, being happy, and achieving success. You have to laugh and find humor every day.

You’ve got to have a dream. When you lose your dreams, you die. 

We have so many people walking around who are dead and don’t even know it! There is a huge difference between growing older and growing up.

If you are nineteen years old and lie in bed for one full year and don’t do one productive thing, you will turn twenty years old.

If I am eighty-seven years old and stay in bed for a year and never do anything I will turn eighty-eight.

Anybody can grow older. That doesn’t take any talent or ability. The idea is to grow up by always finding opportunity in change. Have no regrets.

The elderly usually don’t have regrets for what we did, but rather for things we did not do. The only people who fear death are those with regrets.”

She concluded her speech by courageously singing “The Rose.” 

She challenged each of us to study the lyrics and live them out in our daily lives.

At the year’s end Rose finished the college degree she had begun all those years ago. One week after graduation Rose died peacefully in her sleep.

Over two thousand college students attended her funeral in tribute to the wonderful woman who taught by example that it’s never too late to be all you can possibly be .

http://www.livelifehappy.com/stories/

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So, my friends. I want you to always remember this one last thing! When you finish reading this, please send the peaceful word of advice that appears in the quote above, to your friends and family! And if you wonder whether or not you can take one more step forward in life, remember this remarkable 87 year young woman named Rose. Remember what she accomplished. And even more, remember what her impact was on the lives of thousands of other young….and not so young….people who were blessed to be touched by her special gift of self! And then ask yourself, what you can give to others each and every day of your life!

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THE ROSE

BETTE MIDLER

Some say love, it is a river 
that drowns the tender reed. 
Some say love, it is a razor 
that leaves your soul to bleed. 

Some say love, it is a hunger 
an endless aching need. 
I say love, it is a flower 
and you its only seed. 

It’s the heart afraid of breaking 
that never learns to dance, 
It’s the dream afraid of waking, that never takes the chance. 
It’s the one who won’t be taken, 
who cannot seem to give 
and the soul afraid of dying, that never learns to live. 

When the night has been too lonely 
and the road has been too long, 
and you think that love is only 
for the lucky and the strong. 

Just remember in the winter, far beneath the bitter snows 
lies the seed 
that with the sun’s love 
in the spring 
becomes the rose

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One person gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.

Proverbs 11:24-25 NIV

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Copyright © 2011-2013 “MandysPath” Ministry

Thought For The Day 01/23/14

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What Awaits?

Post 1041

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hebrews9_28

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It is not because angels are holier than men or devils that makes them angels, but because they do not expect holiness from one another, but from God alone. 

William Blake

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

 

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One of my friends and colleagues, Friar Jeffrie Wallace, once selected as his question to answer on his “Quiet Time With Friar Jeff” segment, “Is There a Heaven” and “What Does It Look Like”! And coincidentally, it was my plan to write a blog about this very thing…way back in 2012! To my mind, brilliant minds truly do think alike, although it appears as if his brilliance preceded mine by a day! And so, I invite you to share his “Quiet Time With Friar Jeff” video, and then, after hearing his beautiful description of Heaven, spend a moment and consider that million dollar question for people of faith….IS THERE A HEAVEN?

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Whether you were brought up believing in St Peter opening the pearly gates for our dearly departed, or you embrace another version of the afterlife in accordance with your religious or faith preference, nearly all belief systems adopt a consistent view of what constitutes Heaven (or the place where those whose lives were pleasing to their particular revered deity would travel to, and reside, after death claimed their earthly physical vessel) and Hell (which must be viewed as the absolute opposite).

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Now my friend actually talked about and described what the Judeo-Christian version looked like, based on Biblical descriptions of the mansion of God found in Revelations 21:10-21. And, except for a handful of verses in earlier books of the Bible, it seems as if God has specifically intended that this information be revealed to man as part of the final part of his inspired word as told by John. What we are told and do know is that the things we will glimpse in heaven have never before been seen, heard or ever dreamed of by man. And we also know that even the most intimate of human relationships we share with those we love and whose lives we share on this earthly plane, will pale by comparison to the relationship we will share with Him in His house!

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God shared his vision of all that awaits man with John, the writer of the Book of Revelations, for what I think are several reasons:

  1. God wanted man to understand that Heaven is as real a place as any that man could ever live in or even envisioned here on earth.

  2. God chose someone who was being held and imprisoned, to be the vessel by which He would reveal this, knowing that because of the strength of John’s faith in Him, he would share the vision with man in an accurate and reliable way.

  3. God waited to reveal this information until a time arrived when man would be ready to hear it. Perhaps it was only at this time that the mind of man could fully grasp and comprehend the realities of eternity, as mapped out by the Master’s hand!

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Now knowing the appearance and size and configuration of this place known as Heaven as revealed to John aside, there are even more pieces of the puzzle that define Heaven for those of faith. Yes, its beauty will be a gift to the senses and the joy of sharing His mansion a gift to the soul. However, heaven will also gift believers with so much more, including freedom from pain and tears and sadness, the opportunity of reunion with the loved ones whose deaths have preceded our own, and we will be able to talk to Him, ask Him questions, and listen to Him speak. How wonderful is the idea of experiencing these things for all eternity?

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Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

Revelation 21:1-4 NIV

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Copyright © 2011-2013 “MandysPath” Ministry

Thought For The Day 01/22/14

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Blessed Are….

Post 1041

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Photo royalty free courtesy of

http://www.photobucket.com

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Empty pockets never held anyone back.  Only empty heads and empty hearts can do that. 

Norman Vincent Peale

http://www.quotegarden.com

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I spent time writing a blog the other day, talking about Peace and Peacemakers. And, of course, without even thinking about it, I was actually describing the 7th of the “Beatitudes” preached of by Jesus Christ. Now in case there are any that don’t know,  the beatitudes are eight statements/sermons given that are concerned with virtue and most especially, how a person of faith might achieve those virtues in leading their own lives.

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I am very fond of saying that God is the ultimate architect of all times. We see the creations conceived by this master designer nearly everywhere we look. And part of His plans include an index of all the parts of his blueprint of the human heart and soul. And it is this index which is meant to act as a guide as we navigate those blueprints which are God’s plans for how we are to lead our lives. And it is the Beatitudes that, in part, serve as that index and guide  in helping us along on our journey and so I thought we might want to look at this teaching and see what part of their message we can apply to the way we live.

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Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

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What exactly does this, the first teaching of the Beatitudes, say to you? Well to me, it says that there is NOTHING that should come first in our lives before our faith in God. And while we automatically associate the word poor with all things monetary, it is more than our money or our possessions that we must think about as we establish our order of priorities for the things in our lives.

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As much as we love our partner in life, God expects that we must love Him more. As much as we love ourselves, God expects that we must love Him more. He must be above our careers, our aspirations and even our hopes and dreams. Every single thing we value comes second to our Lord and Savior. And, when you really think about it, isn’t it the person who doesn’t have as much, the poor man, that is the most grateful for any gift that they are given?

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Make no mistake…..that is exactly what our place in heaven will be…..a gift given to us. It is not automatically bestowed upon just anyone nor are all guaranteed a place there. It is reserved for those who have learned the true value of the things that really matter and who understand where God’s place needs to be in their lives!

 

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  3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

 4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

 5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

 6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

 7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

 8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

 9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

 10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

 11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.

 12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

 Matthew 5: 3-12 KJV

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Copyright © 2011-2013 “MandysPath” Ministry