Monthly Archives: September 2014

Thought For The Day 09/30/14

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Compassionate Hearts

Thought 1298

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Treat everyone with politeness, even those who are rude to you – not because they are nice, but because you are. 
 
Author Unknown

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Recent events that are happening in my life are reminding me that, while I prefer to see the good in people, there are still those in the world that are firmly convinced that their way is the only way. The thing is that acting under the guise of being Christians, these people seek to hurt others by damning them for behaviors or choices that do not quite fit their notions of how a Christian should act. And try as I might, I just can not seem to wrap my head around this. Why can we not all search within our hearts to find the light that is God’s grace that burn’s within every human heart? OK, in a nutshell, why can’t we lose our preconceived notions about what is right for another and simply see them with the same eyes as does our Heavenly Father?

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I am reminded of the story of two men in the Bible who were exceedingly unpopular fellows. Levi and Zacchaeus were both tax collectors, and viewed about the same way as we view the IRS on April 15th. Many people complained to Christ because He was friendly to them. Now His response to those critical of Levi was to offer perhaps what is one verse of the most sage advice that is to be found in the New Testament, Luke 5:31,-32 NIV:  Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” And of course, similarly with Zacchaeus,  the tongues began wagging when Jesus visited the home of this man. However, Zacchaeus told Christ that he believed in what the Lord was teaching, and Jesus accepted him into God’s family and described to them His purpose: Luke 19-10 NIV: For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

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Just as Jesus showed compassion and tolerance to others by His very actions, so are we given a choice to love and accept others despite behaviors that we might find objectionable. After all, it is each of us who will be called individually on Judgement Day, to give an accounting to God of our actions while we lived. And it is God and God alone who should be passing judgement on the way we lived our lives, not those Tom’s, Dick’s and Harry’s out there who delight in creating misery for so many!

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So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.

Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister. I am convinced, being fully persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for that person it is unclean. If your brother or sister is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy someone for whom Christ died. Therefore do not let what you know is good be spoken of as evil. For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives human approval.

Romans 14: 12-18 NIV

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Mandy 2014

Copyright © 2011-2014 “MandysPath” Ministry

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Thought For The Day 09/29/14

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Chasing Away The “Will-O’-The-Wisp”

Thought 1297

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Will_o___the_wisp_by_Timmetrius

http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=picture+of+the+will+o+the+wisp&qpvt=picture+of+the+will+o+the+wisp&FORM=IGRE#a

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What is true by lamplight is not always true by sunlight.

Joseph Joubert

"What is true by lamplight is not always true by sunlight."

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I was thinking about the boogeyman (AKA the Will-O’-The-Wisp) the other day. I know that’s an odd thing to come to the mind of an adult, but when my son was very little, he became obsessed with the idea of monsters in his closet. And it didn’t matter how much I reassured him that there were no monsters. He was so fearful that bedtime became a nightmare. Until I changed the players in the game.

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I spent one night reading to my children, as I tried to do as often as possible, but instead of a fairy tale that might have some characters that were frightening to young children, I selected only stories that were upbeat, happy and presented positive images of people and life. And if I was able to paint a picture in their minds that reinforced a message that they, too, could do absolutely anything they wanted, as long as it was good, would not hurt others and could have a positive impact in not only their lives but in the lives of those around them, then I knew they would learn a lesson that would last a lifetime….. and maybe, just maybe, get rid of the boogeyman.

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Well, it took a few more days of difficult bedtimes, me reading and sharing happy thoughts and reassuring that the rustling they thought they heard was only the wings of angels sent by God to watch over them, but before any of us realized it, bedtime became a much happier time of day for our family, and the boogeyman was no more.

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It all in how we choose to rationalize the things in our lives that we find troubling, and even frightening. If we turn our minds to the joyful message that our faith and our belief in promises given to us by the Almighty, we can transform those fears into positive action with the net result being that we live a happy and fulfilling life. If, on the other hand, we keep our minds mired in fear and a sense of hopelessness, we will find that the boogeyman or Will-O’-The-Wisp never leaves our closet! That is why God has chosen to frequently  spread words of encouragement against fear throughout the Bible. From Genesis to Revelation, God reminds us to “Fear not.”

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Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Deuteronomy 31:6 NIV

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Mandy 2014

Copyright © 2011-2014 “MandysPath” Ministry

Thought For The Day 09/28/14

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Sunday, September 28th, 2014

Post #1296

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bible-reading

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 A Prayer For Today  

September 28th

26th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Father, you show your almighty power above all by pardoning and showing us your mercy. Continue to fill us with your gifts of love. Help us to hasten to attain your promise toward eternal life and share in the joys of your kingdom. Grant this through Christ our Lord.

Amen.

http://www.prayersong.net/sundayprayer.htm

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Author of Today’s Gospel Reading

St James the Apostle

James, son of Zebedee (Greek Ἰάκωβος, from Hebrew/Aramaic Yaʿqob; died 44 AD) was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus, and traditionally considered the first apostle to be martyred. He was a son of Zebedee and Salome, and brother of John the Apostle. He is also called James the Greater or James the Great to distinguish him from James, son of Alphaeus. James the Greater is the patron saint of Spain.

The son of Zebedee and Salome, James is styled “the Greater” to distinguish him from the Apostle James “the Less”, who was probably shorter of stature. We know nothing of St. James’s early life. He was the brother of John, the beloved disciple, and probably the elder of the two.

His parents seem to have been people of means. Zebedee was a fisherman of the Sea of Galilee, who probably lived in or near Bethsaida, perhaps in Capharnaum; and had some boatmen or hired men. Salome was one of the pious women who afterwards followed Christ and “ministered unto him of their substance”. And his brother John was personally known to the high-priest, and must have had wherewithal to provide for the Mother of Jesus.

It is probable that his brother had not received the technical training of the rabbinical schools; in this sense they were unlearned and without any official position among the Jews. But, according to the social rank of their parents, they must have been men of ordinary education, in the common walks of Jewish life. They had frequent opportunity of coming in contact with Greek life and language, which were already widely spread along the shores of the Galilean Sea.

James is described as one of the first disciples to join Jesus. The Synoptic Gospels state that James and John were with their father by the seashore when Jesus called them to follow him. James was one of only three apostles whom Jesus selected to bear witness to his Transfiguration James and his brother wanted to call down fire on a Samaritan town, but were rebuked by Jesus. The Acts of the Apostles records that “Herod the king” (traditionally identified with Herod Agrippa) had James executed by sword. He is the only apostle whose martyrdom is recorded in the New Testament. He is, thus, traditionally believed to be the first of the twelve apostles martyred for his faith.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James,_son_of_Zebedee

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Our Old Testament Reading

Numbers 11:4-6, 10-16, 24-29 NIV

Quail From The Lord

The rabble with them began to crave other food, and again the Israelites started wailing and said, “If only we had meat to eat! We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost–also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic. But now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna!”      

Moses heard the people of every family wailing, each at the entrance to his tent. The LORD became exceedingly angry, and Moses was troubled.   He asked the LORD, “Why have you brought this trouble on your servant? What have I done to displease you that you put the burden of all these people on me? Did I conceive all these people? Did I give them birth? Why do you tell me to carry them in my arms, as a nurse carries an infant, to the land you promised on oath to their forefathers? Where can I get meat for all these people? They keep wailing to me, ‘Give us meat to eat!’   I cannot carry all these people by myself; the burden is too heavy for me.   If this is how you are going to treat me, put me to death right now–if I have found favor in your eyes–and do not let me face my own ruin.”   The LORD said to Moses: “Bring me seventy of Israel’s elders who are known to you as leaders and officials among the people. Have them come to the Tent of Meeting, that they may stand there with you.   

So Moses went out and told the people what the LORD had said. He brought together seventy of their elders and had them stand around the Tent. Then the LORD came down in the cloud and spoke with him, and he took of the Spirit that was on him and put the Spirit on the seventy elders. When the Spirit rested on them, they prophesied, but they did not do so again. However, two men, whose names were Eldad and Medad, had remained in the camp. They were listed among the elders, but did not go out to the Tent. Yet the Spirit also rested on them, and they prophesied in the camp. A young man ran and told Moses, “Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp.” Joshua son of Nun, who had been Moses’ aid since youth, spoke up and said, “Moses, my lord, stop them!” But Moses replied, “Are you jealous for my sake? I wish that all the LORD’s people were prophets and that the LORD would put his Spirit on them!” 

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Our New Testament Reading

James 5:13-20 NIV

The Prayer of Faith

Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops. My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins.

 

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Hymn For Today

My Faith Looks Up To Thee

Music video by Bill & Gloria Gaither

My faith looks up to thee, thou Lamb of Calvary, Savior divine! Now hear me while I pray, take all my guilt away, O let me from this day be wholly thine!

May thy rich grace impart strength to my fainting heart, my zeal inspire! As thou hast died for me, O may my love to thee  pure, warm, and changeless be, a living fire!

While life’s dark maze I tread, and griefs around me spread, be thou my guide; bid darkness turn to day, wipe sorrow’s tears away, nor let me ever stray from thee aside.

When ends life’s transient dream, when death’s cold, sullen stream shall o’er me roll; blest Savior, then in love, fear and distrust remove; O bear me safe above, a ransomed soul!

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Thanks Be To God!

Amen

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Mandy 2014

Copyright © 2011-2014 “MandysPath” Ministry

Thought For The Day 09/27/14

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Are We (Am I) Self Absorbed?

Thought 1295

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self absorbed

http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=picture+of+being+self+absorbed&qpvt=picture+of+being+self+absorbed&FORM=IGRE#a

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Before my accident I was a little too… selfish and self-absorbed and for me, to now be at the place where I can kinda give back and inspire people. I’m blessed. I’m really blessed.

Rick Allen

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self-absorbed

adj:     preoccupied with one’s own
thoughts, emotions, life, etc.

synonym:     self-involved,
egocentric, egoistic, egotistical,
self-centred

(limited to or caring only
about yourself and your own needs)

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A friend challenged me a while ago to look at the things I write in my “Thought For The Day” section because of their concern that at times my writings seemed self-absorbed. Now my first reaction was to feel surprise that this would be the perception I was generating and then my second thought was to really look back at my writings with more than my heart and mind’s eye, so to speak!

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I guess any time we discuss of issues of faith, there is a somewhat self-centered slant to the notion of just exactly what faith means. Faith is a very personal matter. What I define as faith for me may differ tremendously from what your definition is. Some see faith as being opposed to reason while others view faith as merely a positive assumption as a result of logical reasoning. I see faith as reality which is beyond the range of what many would see as normal experience and understanding.

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The things I write every day are simply my  view of how the spirituality that God ignited within my being is changing the way I conduct my life every day. Now I try to share a message with you that challenges you to think about what I am saying as it applies to your own life too. I try not to be too “in your face” about that message. I’d rather nudge you with an idea and then hope that it ignites something within you to change one tiny way in which you live. Some times that nudge may be a bit harder than at other times, and sometimes I might just fall flat on my backside as I poke you. But either way, my hope is that you reach the end of my story thinking about my words and hopefully, my message! And to quote Katherine Graham, “To love what you do and feel that it matters – how could anything be more fun? ” And I also would add, how could anything be more impactful and important?

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Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus,

To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the overseers and deacons: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the overseers I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

Philippians 2: 106 NIV

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Mandy 2014

Copyright © 2011-2014 “MandysPath” Ministry

Thought For The Day 09/26/14

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Oh, What A Ride

Thought 1294

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new_ohio_roller_coaster_05

http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=picture+of+oh+what+a+ride&qpvt=picture+of+oh+what+a+ride&FORM=IGRE#a

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You can have anything you want if you want it desperately enough. You must want it with an exuberance that erupts through the skin and joins the energy that created the world.

Sheila Graham

http://www.quotationspage.com/quotes/Sheila_Graham/

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When I was younger and active in the church where I worshipped, I felt as if I was riding a Merry-Go-Round. I liked the ride. The ride put a smile on my face. But the ride was not passionate, thrilling and one that would lead me to want to shout to the world that I had been on it. But suddenly 3 1/2 years ago, I listened to a still, quite voice that whispered in my ear.

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The message I was given was that there was more waiting for me in the world. The message told me to begin a journey on a special path. The message told me that as I walked, I would learn more and more about me. The message told me that I would learn more and more about the plan God had for my life. And just as suddenly, the faith in my heart was alive and vivid and purposeful.

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I knew that people who were struggling would look to me as I passed them during my journey and I knew that I would be compelled to stop each time, and offer my hand and help them if I was able. And suddenly, the picture painted in my mind was that of a Roller Coaster. I knew that my journey from that moment forward would be one of twists and turns. I knew there would be times where I would inch along slowly, going up hill, struggling to reach the summit. Then, just as suddenly, I would plummet and spiral downward….twisting and turning and heart pounding, reaching the end of one leg of the journey I was on. And then, just as suddenly, I would begin my ride again.

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Genuine and true faith is a roller coaster ride. Having a living relationship with God is one of constant twists and turns. Faith is never one of rainbows and happiness all of the time but neither is it one of oppression and struggle. We can not change the ride that is before us. What we can do is ask for God’s help in changing the rider…..us! And as we learn more, we understand that it is exactly this roller coaster ride of faith that will lead us to the final destination in our journey…at God’s side in the Kingdom of Heaven!

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And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.

Romans 8: 28 NLT

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Mandy 2014

Copyright © 2011-2014 “MandysPath” Ministry

Thought For The Day 09/25/14

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Seasons Change

(And So Do I!)

Thought 1293

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FallHarvest

http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=picture+of+the+harvest&qs=n&form=QBIR&pq=picture+of+the+harvest&sc=4-22&sp=-1&sk=#a

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If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, “thank you,” that would suffice.

Meister Eckhart

http://www.quotationspage.com/quote/30995.html

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The days are moving quickly to a time of quiet and peaceful rest here in the Northern Hemisphere of our world. We see the signs outside our window with each glance we take. The air is becoming chilled in the early morning and at night and the green canopy on the trees begins to fade from vibrant green to hues of red, yellow and gold.  We wait on darkened street corners early in the morning clutching tiny hands waiting for new adventures to begin in school and we cheer our favorite teams to victory on the football field.

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Our forefathers celebrated this time of the year… these days of harvest and reaping… as their just reward for all the hard work put forth during the summer making sure crops grew and flourished. And despite the fact that today, most of us get our food from the grocers, we still reap the bounty of all the hard work dedicated by men and woman in assuring that there will be no shortage during the long winter months. So it is appropriate… even necessary… that we still take a moment to sit down and give special thanks to the Lord for all the things we have been graced with in our lives. And of course, it comes as no surprise that we here in the Americas choose to celebrate Thanksgiving in the weeks that follow the autumn harvest!

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Perhaps this would be a wonderful time to begin establishing some new family traditions in giving thanks that will carry through the next couple of months until Advent arrives. Is there just one unusual and unique thing you can think of to be thankful for? Perhaps you have sacrificed to get a bill paid off and you can thank God for the fortitude and discipline that it took to reach this goal. Or perhaps your little one is making wonderful progress in school worthy of giving thanks. It doesn’t matter what you give thanks for. What matters is establishing a routine whereby you think about your blessings and spend time in celebration of those accomplishments with the power that allowed them to happen in the first place.

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Spiritual Fullness in Christ

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.

Colossians 2:6-7 NIV

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Mandy 2014

Copyright © 2011-2014 “MandysPath” Ministry

Thought For The Day 09/24/14

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The Preacher’s Spouse

Clergy Families Of The 21st Century

Thought 1291

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The-Bishops-Wife--Cd-Cover-27685

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“Every minister worthy of the name has to walk the line between prophetic vision and spiritual sustenance, between telling people the comforting things they want to hear and challenging them with the difficult things they need to hear. In Oxford, Daddy began to feel as though all the members wanted him to do was to marry them and bury them and stay away from their souls.”

Timothy B. Tyson

 “Blood Done Sign My Name: A True Story”

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

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One of my all time favorite movies was one that was released in 1947…..67 years ago, and before I was even a twinkle in my father’s eye. It starred Loretta Young, David Niven, and Cary Grant as Dudley, an angel sent to earth to help a Bishop who prayed for divine guidance to build a cathedral but instead, Dudley helps him to find his way back to his faith and back into the arms of his loving family. However, it is the character portrayed by Loretta Young, that I am thinking about with what I write today. In the movie, she plays the silently suffering wife who fears she has lost her husband, the Bishop, to a golden idol, one he zealously pursues at the expense of the things in his life that really matter. And I began to think how often it is that the spouse of those who minister God’s word are so often the forgotten piece of the puzzle that is the life of the person with whom we seek both time and counsel, at all hours of the day and night. Often acting the role that many single parents do, changing the hats they wear and the roles they perform with a speed that could rival Houdini’s speed at escape, if it were not for the self-sacrifice these spouses willingly give, it would be impossible for the clergy member to function in his God-given role! And suddenly I began to wonder if the marriages of these couples survive the challenging life that they have chosen. Are marriage struggles as prevalent among this group of individuals as they are among mainstream marriages?

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According to an LA Times article written in 1995 (1), the marriages of members of the clergy have about the same change of survival as does the marriage of the two people whose union they are blessing as they stand at the altar making their “to have and to hold” forever promises. Especially today, when the clergy role may be just as likely to find either a husband or a wife or a life partner fulfilling the supportive role within the family dynamic. One interesting footnote to the studies done finds that women clergy were more likely to have been divorced before they were ordained, while more male clergy became separated after taking the pulpit. Now there are differences within denominations as to their policies regarding divorced clergy and the roles they are permitted to perform, so there may be inherently fewer divorces among more fundamentalist faiths. However, it seems that, like most people in the world, members of the clergy put their pants on one leg at a time!

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I write this to remind everyone that ministers are just as fallible as are the rest of the members of the human race. They have their warts and foibles and yes, some even wear their very own “Scarlet Letter” branded to their hearts. The one difference is that, unlike almost everyone else in the world, members of the clergy are expected to live exemplary lives and serve as role models for everyone else. Because of this, many will not seek help for their own personal, as well as interpersonal, struggles. Often there exists a degree of naivety regarding the demands that being a minister entails. However, just as it is with the rest of the population, those who willingly acknowledge their very human side, who accept criticism with grace, have a firm and realistic view of their egos, and finally, who have a high regard for the importance of interpersonal relationships, are more likely to not just have successful interpersonal relationships themselves but will also be a much more valuable member of society as a whole. So before you look for that halo above the head of your minister, take a long look in the mirror at yourself and then ask whether you hold unrealistic expectations for the person who seeks to share with you God’s plan for His people!

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He has enabled us to be ministers of his new covenant. This is a covenant not of written laws, but of the Spirit. The old written covenant ends in death; but under the new covenant, the Spirit gives life.

2 Corinthians 3:6 NLT

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Mandy 2014

Copyright © 2011-2014 “MandysPath” Ministry