Monthly Archives: September 2014

Thought For The Day 09/23/14

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Wisdom And The Ark!

Thought 1291

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wisdom

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“When we least expect it, life sets us a challenge to test our courage and willingness to change; at such a moment, there is no point in pretending that nothing has happened or in saying that we are not yet ready. The challenge will not wait. Life does not look back. A week is more than enough time for us to decide whether or not to accept our destiny.”

Paulo Coelho

“The Devil and Miss Prym”

http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/62867-when-we-least-expect-it-life-sets-us-a-challenge

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The lessons we learn from life sometimes come to us from an improbable source, when we least expect it. We know how very complicated is this human mind, body and spirit, that we carry around for the days we walk the earth. The smallest of challenges that come our way might just completely derail us on the journey we are undertaking. The important thing to remember is that, despite life’s best efforts to undermine us, we all have that inner “special something” that keeps propelling us forward. I call this sense of self. Others might call it our character. But whatever label you choose to affix to this gift, it is the thing that will help us to succeed in life, no matter what it is we are searching for. USUALLY! The thing is that there are times when we allow that fabric that comprises our sense of self to become eroded by others. And unless we reach deeply within to that place where our sense of self lives, insulated from most of the seemier things in life, we might just find ourselves becoming lost! And when that happens, although we can, and usually will, find our way back, the journey becomes exponentially harder. However when we are confident in ourselves, and in our capacity to succeed, then we are usually prepared to take that leap of faith that is often needed, to make the changes within that we need, to continue that journey forward and reach all of those new horizons that await us.

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How much courage do you think it took Noah to listen to the things God was telling him and then to turn these words into the actions necessary to build an Ark? God’s plan was simple….He was going to cause it to rain…..to rain so much that the earth would be flooded. RAIN! This concept was especially difficult to comprehend by people since it had NEVER happened before! But Noah and his family believed and even more than that, they had the courage to hold true to their faith when every other person on earth, naysayers all, had lost theirs. And so, slowly but surely, board by board and peg by peg, day after day and month after month, and decades after decades the work at hand continued (not the 120 years some believe, by the way). I am certain the un-kindness from others in their land must have been terrible for Noah and his family to bear, and yet wielding faith as their armor against the barbs, they continued on. And, of course, we all know how this ends, the rainbow painted by God in the sky, His promise that He would never again, seek to punish humankind in this way!

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There is a “Pearl of Wisdom” to be learned from everything that touches us. The thing is that all to often, we fail to recognize the things that are to be learned from the experience. The key is to firstly recognize that a lesson exists, secondly, to listen to the message it shares, and then thirdly, be able to take action and to apply the lesson to the life you live. And the same thing can be said whether the lesson we are learning is one that will nurture our faith, or nurture the life we lead. And while I believe that there is nothing greater for us than to nourish faith as it grows within, when you really think about it, both are important if we are to become a happy, healthy and productive person! And since I referred to Noah earlier, and to add a bit of levity to an otherwise somber message, I thought it might be fun to look at some “Pearls” that might just serve us well, all drawn from the leap of faith Noah and his family made, “way back when”!

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A Little Wisdom From Noah’s Ark

Everything I need to know, I learned from Noah’s Ark

1) Don’t miss the boat.
2) Remember that we are all in the same boat.
3) Plan ahead. It wasn’t raining when Noah built the Ark.
4) Stay fit. When you’re 60 years old, someone may ask you to do something really big.
5) Don’t listen to critics; just get on with the job that needs to be done.
6) Build your future on high ground.
7) For safety’s sake, travel in pairs.
8) Speed isn’t always an advantage. The snails were on board with the cheetahs.
9) When you’re stressed, float awhile.
10) Remember, the Ark was built by amateurs; the Titanic by professionals.
11) No matter the storm, when you are with God, there’s always a rainbow waiting.

http://www.bible4today.org/bible-bloopers/a-little-wisdom-from-noahs-ark/

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After forty days Noah opened a window he had made in the ark and sent out a raven, and it kept flying back and forth until the water had dried up from the earth. Then he sent out a dove to see if the water had receded from the surface of the ground. But the dove could find nowhere to perch because there was water over all the surface of the earth; so it returned to Noah in the ark. He reached out his hand and took the dove and brought it back to himself in the ark. He waited seven more days and again sent out the dove from the ark. When the dove returned to him in the evening, there in its beak was a freshly plucked olive leaf! Then Noah knew that the water had receded from the earth. He waited seven more days and sent the dove out again, but this time it did not return to him.

By the first day of the first month of Noah’s six hundred and first year, the water had dried up from the earth. Noah then removed the covering from the ark and saw that the surface of the ground was dry. By the twenty-seventh day of the second month the earth was completely dry.

Then God said to Noah, “Come out of the ark, you and your wife and your sons and their wives. Bring out every kind of living creature that is with you—the birds, the animals, and all the creatures that move along the ground—so they can multiply on the earth and be fruitful and increase in number on it.”

Genesis 8:6-17 NIV

 

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Mandy 2014

Copyright © 2011-2014 “MandysPath” Ministry

Thought For The Day 09/22/14

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Stop! Listen! Understand! Change! 

Thought 1290

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Listen-And-Silent

http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=picture+of+stop%2c+listen+and+learn&qpvt=picture+of

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Each generation goes further than the generation preceding it because it stands on the shoulders of that generation. You will have opportunities beyond anything we’ve ever known.

Ronald Reagan

http://www.cartoonmotivators.com/blog/theres-opportunities-all-around-us-so-grab-them-when-they-come-along/

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Every one I know has met someone in their daily encounters that is the first one to criticize the things around them that they are unhappy with. Some criticize quietly but many of these people are notorious for shouting their displeasure from the rooftops. And yet, ask them for a solution or an idea to change the dynamics of the thing that is upsetting, and more than likely, they will be struck dumb, mouth agape and confused.

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A friend of mine recently said, “If you have no will to change it, you have no right to criticize it.” Wise words, indeed, and worth repeating daily to ourselves as a reminder that it is we alone who are responsible for changing the things in our life that do not meet our expectations of exactly what we want for ourselves. Isn’t it exactly this philosophy that has become the mantra for AA members who look to the Serenity Prayer daily as a source of strength as they fight the battle of their own unseen demons?

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We are very lucky to live in the times that we do. The number of opportunities afforded to us all is phenomenal….but only if we have the wisdom and fortitude to not only recognize those opportunities, but to seize them with both hands and put them to work in our lives.

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Certainly Jesus understood this concept. We read the words he preached in the Bible but more that his words, we are given the opportunity to bear witness to the opportunities he gave to people as he encouraged the multitude to carry forth his message and to minister to others. This gift was continual and ever-changing. Jesus worked WITH others, not OVER others.

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Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Mark 10:42-45 NIV

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Mandy 2014

Copyright © 2011-2014 “MandysPath” Ministry

Thought For The Day 09/21/14

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Sunday, September 21st, 2014

Post #1289

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bible-reading

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 A Prayer For Today  

Bountiful God, we praise your Holy Name.

We come before You as little children. Our eyes are wide open in the presence of Your majesty. Our hearts are astonished at Your magnificence. Our minds are amazed at the miracles You perform. Make us innocent by Your grace, and help us restore peace in our world. In the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.  

Amen.

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

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Author of Today’s Reading

St Matthew the Apostle

St. Matthew, one of the twelve Apostles, is the author of the first Gospel. This has been the constant tradition of the Church and is confirmed by the Gospel itself. He was the son of Alpheus and was called to be an Apostle  while sitting in the tax collector’s place at Capernaum. Before his conversion he was a publican, i.e., a tax collector by profession. He is to be identified with the “Levi” of Mark and Luke.

His apostolic activity was at first restricted to the communities of Palestine. Nothing definite is known about his later life. There is a tradition that points to Ethiopia as his field of labor; other traditions mention of Parthia and Persia. It is uncertain whether he died a natural death or received the crown of martyrdom.

St. Matthew’s Gospel was written to fill a sorely felt want for his fellow countrymen, both believers and unbelievers. For the former, it served as a token of his regard and as an encouragement in the trial to come, especially the danger of falling back to Judaism; for the latter, it was designed to convince them that the Messiah had come in the person of Jesus, our Lord, in Whom all the promises of the messianic  Kingdom embracing all people had been fulfilled in a spiritual rather than in a carnal way: “My Kingdom is not of this world.” His Gospel, then, answered the question put by the disciples of  St. John the Baptist, “Are You He Who is to come, or shall we look for another?”

Writing for his countrymen of Palestine, St. Matthew composed his Gospel in his native Aramaic, the “Hebrew tongue” mentioned in the Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles. Soon afterward, about the time of the persecution of Herod Agrippa I in 42 AD, he took his departure for other lands. Another tradition places the composition of his Gospel either between the time of this departure and the Council of Jerusalem, i.e., between 42 AD and 50 AD or even later. Definitely, however, the Gospel, depicting the Holy City with its altar and temple as still existing, and without any reference to the fulfillment of our Lord’s prophecy, shows that it was written before the destruction of the city by the Romans in 70 AD, and this internal evidence confirms the early traditions.

http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=84

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Our Old Testament Reading

Isaiah 55:6-9 NIV

Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts. Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will freely pardon.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.
 “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

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Our New Testament Reading

Matthew 20: 1-16 NIV

The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard

“For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard. He agreed to pay them a denarius for the day and sent them into his vineyard.

“About nine in the morning he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing. He told them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ So they went.

“He went out again about noon and about three in the afternoon and did the same thing. About five in the afternoon he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, ‘Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?’

“‘Because no one has hired us,’ they answered.

“He said to them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard.’

“When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.’

“The workers who were hired about five in the afternoon came and each received a denarius. So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius. When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner. ‘These who were hired last worked only one hour,’ they said, ‘and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.’

“But he answered one of them, ‘I am not being unfair to you, friend. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? Take your pay and go. I want to give the one who was hired last the same as I gave you. Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’

“So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”

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Hymn For Today

Though I May Speak with Bravest Fire

by: Hal H. Hopson
(born 12 June 1933)

Mr Hopson is a full-time composer and church musician residing in Dallas, Texas.
He has over 1000 published works, which comprise almost every musical form in church music.

1 Though I may speak with bravest fire,
And have the gift to all inspire,
And have not love, my words are vain,
As sounding brass, and hopeless gain.

2 Though I may give all I possess,
And striving so my love profess,
But not be given by love within,
The profit soon turns strangely thin.

3 Come, Spirit, come, our hearts control,
Our spirits long to be made whole.
Let inward love guide every deed;
By this we worship, and are freed.

Bon Voyage performance at Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Columbia, SC on 5-4-14

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Thanks Be To God!

Amen

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Mandy 2014

Copyright © 2011-2014 “MandysPath” Ministry

Thought For The Day 09/20/14

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Seeing The Answer 

Thought 1288

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prayer_poster_350

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

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God speaks in the silence of the heart. Listening is the beginning of prayer.

Mother Teresa

http://www.quoteworld.org/quotes/11159

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Someone once wrote and asked me if there was a way they could tell if God answered their prayers. And of course, my first inkling was to respond to them that faith is believing with all your heart  even in the absence of concrete, tangible, physical evidence. And then I stepped back and thought for a moment about the question. And the more I thought, the more I realized that sometimes seeing God’s answer may be a bit easier than we think assuming we are prepared to consider and reflect on the matter in a couple of ways. First, remember that sometimes “NO” is an answer. Secondly, we, in our haste, seek out instant gratification. It seems these days, the one thing we lack is patience. But sometimes God’s answers need both time and opportunity to be revealed.

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A suggestion I thought of was to think about keeping a journal of our prayers. If we see, re-read and contemplate the things we are asking for God’s help with, perhaps the answer is there… a part of your life, already. Try looking at the  list every day with an open mind and heart. Then see if that still and quiet openness leads you to your answer. I think you may well be surprised. Just remember that the answer to your entreaty may not always be the one you are expecting.

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When there are things we hope will come to pass, and we share these things with God, we are not praying. Instead, we are thinking about prayer in the wrong way. Hoping and wishing that God will do what we ask involves more of the baseness of the human mind and selfishness of the human heart! When our wishes come true, I’ll wager that it is not with any assistance from the Almighty, helping them along. Wishes are the by-product of man’s schemes and the human will to control the things in his life. Wishes are described in John 3:8 NLT, “The wind blows wherever it wants. Just as you can hear the wind but can’t tell where it comes from or where it is going, so you can’t explain how people are born of the Spirit.”

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Prayers are dealt with in an entirely different way because they are measured and then answered based on God’s guidelines for our welfare, rather than our own! If what we are praying for aligns with the things God wills for our lives, then usually (and I say usually, not always, because we can not know what God’s mind is as it relates to our welfare), we will receive His answer and it will be the thing we hope it will be and it will be something that serves to enrich our faith and deepen our relationship with Him. Which is as it should be, as He reminds us in 1 Corinthians 14:15 ESV, “What am I to do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will pray with my mind also; I will sing praise with my spirit, but I will sing with my mind also.” 

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Yes, a prayer journal might just be the perfect tool to use to distinguish between whether our entreaty is a prayer or a wish! And there is another gift a prayer journal can give. Think about what a wonderful tool to this could be to use with your family, and especially, your children, to help them understand about faith and prayer and what a true prayer is. Not only can this be a faith building experience but look at it as a family building experience as well! You and your loved ones can share not only a very intimate bonding experience but you will also be reinforcing the need of keeping an open line of communication between each other AND the Almighty!

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So God said to him, “Since you have asked for this and not for long life or wealth for yourself, nor have asked for the death of your enemies but for discernment in administering justice, I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be. Moreover, I will give you what you have not asked for—both wealth and honor—so that in your lifetime you will have no equal among kings.

1 Kings 3: 11-13 NIV

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Mandy 2014

Copyright © 2011-2014 “MandysPath

Thought For The Day 09/19/14

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The Game Of Life! 

Thought 1287

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http://boardgamegeek.com/image/288405/the-game-of-life

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Actually, we have no problems – we have opportunities for which we should give thanks… An error we refuse to correct has many lives. It takes courage to face one’s own shortcomings, and wisdom to do something about them.

 Edgar Cayce

http://www.sapphyr.net/smallgems/quotes-difficulties.htm

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Milton Bradley was a genius! Trained as a draftsman and a lithographer, he was once known for a lithograph he made of then, Presidential candidate, Abraham Lincoln. It was a best seller until Lincoln grew his famous beard! Anyway, it was while he was playing a board game with a friend that he came up with the idea of a game of his very own. Modeled after and played muck like checkers, labels were added to the white squares on the grid which, when landing on them, would direct you to follow the directions indicated and move your “man” where you were directed to. Calling it the “Checkered game Of Life”, landing on the square labeled “industry” transported a player to the square labeled “wealth”. “Gambling” led to “ruin”; “intemperance” to “poverty.” Itseems clear that Bradley’s aim was to teach a moral principle in a forum that was fun and would be enjoyed by the whole family. The game has changed through the years as houses made way for Tudor styled dwellings, but one thing has remained the same. Along with the chance for all of those successes, there remains, lurking on the fringes of life, pitfalls that threaten to swallow us whole, when we least expect it!

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Milton Bradley’s game board!

http://www.uh.edu/engines/epi2545.htm

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Now while accepting God and knowing faith does not free us from the pitfalls that life (Satan?) places in our way every day, it does teach us that there are two ways of seeing and learning from all of life’s experiences and challenges. Absolutely, navigating those pitfalls teaches us things that we must know to grow and move forward through the days to come. Try thinking of those things as wisdom from below. But with faith, we are given a promise of everlasting life which awaits all of those who choose to embrace God’s gift of His only begotten son and the gift he bequeaths through His sacrifice! Think of this promise as the wisdom from above! Looking at life with new eyes that faith gives allows us the capacity to recognize that the wisdom from below is ALWAYS trumped by the wisdom from above!

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Life is not fair, as much as we wish that it might be otherwise. A long running post that has made its way around the internet, and which has been attributed to Bill Gates, although the true authorship continues to be debated, is called the “11 Rules of Life”. Now of all 11 rules, number 2 is the one that I remember the most: “The world won’t care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself”. There is a profound truth that is to be found in that small sentence, whether you are thinking about work or the future, or children…..or God! God offers all the benefits to us but we must take the first step and be willing to reach out and grab the blessings He freely shares with those willing to see them, and then put those blessings to use everyday. It is the way we choose our path and the way we share those our blessings with others, that really allows us to feel good about ourselves! That is what a joy-filled heart that embraces faith gifts us with. That is how you play the game of life…..and how you win!

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“For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard. And after agreeing with the workers for the standard wage, he sent them into his vineyard. He went out about nine o’clock in the morning and saw others standing in the marketplace without work. And he said to them, ‘You go into the vineyard too, and whatever is right I will give you.’ So they went. When he went out again about noon and three o’clock that afternoon, he did the same thing. And about five o’clock that afternoon he went out and found others standing around, and said to them, ‘Why are you standing here all day without work?’ They said to him, ‘Because no one hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You go and work in the vineyard too.’ When it was evening the owner of the vineyard said to his manager, ‘Call the workers and give the pay starting with the last hired until the first.’ When those hired about five o’clock came, each received a full day’s pay. And when those hired first came, they thought they would receive more. But each one also received the standard wage. When they received it, they began to complain against the landowner, saying, ‘These last fellows worked one hour, and you have made them equal to us who bore the hardship and burning heat of the day.’ And the landowner replied to one of them, ‘Friend, I am not treating you unfairly. Didn’t you agree with me to work for the standard wage? Take what is yours and go. I want to give to this last man the same as I gave to you. Aren’t I permitted to do what I want with what belongs to me? Or are you envious because I am generous?’ So the last will be first, and the first will be last”

Matthew 20:1-16 NIV

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Mandy 2014

Copyright © 2011-2014 “MandysPath

Thought For The Day 09/18/14

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The B-I-B-L-E….

Yes That’s The Book For Me!

Thought 1286

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The%20Holy%20Bible_full

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By reading the scriptures I am so renewed that all nature seems renewed around me and with me.  The sky seems to be a pure, a cooler blue, the trees a deeper green.  The whole world is charged with the glory of God and I feel fire and music under my feet. 

Thomas Merton

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

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How many of you all think you know a lot about music? Now I can not count myself among that number by any stretch of the imagination! I only needed one contest of that Facebook craze two years ago, “Song Pop”, to teach me that lesson! But ask almost any young person to give you title and group who performed a song by giving them only the first line of lyrics (and if you are not tone-deaf and decide to sing the words…. all the better), and I bet you that they would know nearly every single answer! Even my dad can answer just as well if I were to challenge him with a song from his era! That is because music touches us at our very core and when we listen to that one special song that we love above all others (now admit it…. you have one I am sure), the feelings that it evokes are often not just indescribable but are also unforgettable, as well. You see, when lyrics combine in a certain way with melody, there is a rather magical melding of the two into a divine experience that seems to paint a beautiful portrait in our minds and hearts.

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Now ask any young person (or even an older one, for that matter) what book of the Bible follows Nahum and you are apt to find yourself hearing a bunch of “errs”, “hmmms” and “uhs”! And yet when the words that are contained within the worn leather cover of the Bible are shared in just the same special way, by someone who understands and knows within what they truly mean, our minds can envision those same beautiful images we experience from that very special song! The problem is that we do not spend the same amount of time reading and sharing His word as we do listening to our AM-FM or Sirius Satellite radios! And I really have to wonder how it is that we have gotten so far away from these basic components of faith, such as even learning the names and the order of the books, both New and Old Testaments, of the King James version of the Bible? In fact, now that I am thinking about it, how many of us not only HAVE a copy of the Bible but also know exactly where it is to be found in our house?

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My father is a rather unusual and special man. He carries his faith with him every day…… literally! He carries a Bible in his car so that when he goes to church on Sunday or to his weekly devotionals, he has it handy to reference during readings of the Scripture! I must admit that I do not do that although I do have a Bible application downloaded on my smart phone which is NEVER far from my side…. EVER! And while I am not blessed with a capacity to recall the exact passages in the Bible that relate to every single life experience there is, as some people are (and I will admit that I do envy their abilities), I do know where to go to find the answer I seek because I have read the entire King James version of the Bible cover to cover, and I DO know all of the books by name and order in which they are to be found, having learned them in Sunday School many years ago. And, much like that special song you never forget no matter how many years pass, so will I always remember these basics. Can you all say the same thing?

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But I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God; I trust in God’s unfailing love for ever and ever.

Psalm 52:8 NIV

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Mandy 2014

Copyright © 2011-2014 “MandysPath

Thought For The Day 09/17/14

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Time Waits For No Man

Thought 1284

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through-the-ages-600

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

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Where did the time go?  Yesterday, I was a girl, and today, I suddenly find myself in the autumn of my years with the cold winds of winter breathing down my neck. 

Peggy Toney Horton

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

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I woke up yesterday morning and when every fiber of my being was telling me to turn on my side and push myself to a sitting position with an ultimate goal of standing up, I found that I could not budge, no matter how hard I tried. I gave it another 5 minutes, and tried again, and once more, without success. I finally had to give a holler to my hubby to come in and give me a hand. He obliged, laughing the entire time, gleefully reminding me that he had no such difficulty despite the 4 year age difference. (That is an inside joke that lasts from my birthday every year and continues for the next 3 months until his yearly revolution around the sun is complete, and a 5 years span separates us once again.) Anyway, this all lead me to the ugly realization that I am, in fact, getting closer to my very own, personal, meet and greet with Father Time. Yes, I knew it was approaching.  I see the truth of it every time I look in the mirror. And as much as I have the Mandy who was once 18 forever captured in my head, the face I see in front of my eyes just does not match the one that resides in my head. My joints are creaky, and my skin baggy, and I seem destined to view the inside of my eyelids in the shank of the evening. Can there be an upside to wrinkles and grey hair and hot flashes?

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According to experts, the answer is YES! Our memories become more acute as are the stories we have to share with others. This might explain the fact that I am writing these words as part of my blog postings and, except for a couple I borrowed from a friend when I was recovering from surgery, they have all been my very own thoughts, dreams, hopes, wishes, prayers and counsel, all captured in print for you to share every day! So it should not surprise you that experts also agree that our language skills do not just remain acute, but in fact, they improve, as we age! And of course, although we lack the agility and quickness that we had when we were younger, one thing we excel at is strategic planning, and a sensitivity to the needs of the people around us, both in our inner as well as outer circle of friends. Aging also seems to bequeath to us the gift of patience.  We are most certainly less rash and much more disciplined in our approach to doing all that we do! And something else I am finding to be true these days is that we do not just have the time but we also have the desire to cultivate a much broader network of friends that share the things that interest us. Just as these interests are very different from the interests we had as younger people, so are todays friends equally different and sometimes the friendships that proved so very important to us once upon a time, change as well, sometimes becoming less important.

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One area that I have not yet touched on and yet it remains one that aging touches rather gingerly, in fact, is our faith. Just as aging affects the spirit of the person we are, so it also affect our spirituality. Of course, you all know that I am a spiritual person. That means that I hold that my faith is the cement that supports the rest of the things that define who I am, such as my heart, and my compassion and my connection to the others in my life. But just as I see life through different eyes as I enter my 7th decade of life, so is the spirit that I carry within, seeing the world just a bit differently. I think that is one thing that may have led me to this spiritual re-awakening not so very long ago, and is, perhaps, the biggest thing that drives me in all that I try to accomplish with my life these days. I am not unusual in this regard. We often go through a dramatic spiritual transformation later in life because of the very things I described earlier as being the up-sides of growing older. Perhaps you’ve heard the phrase a “wisdom of the ages…”? In essence, it is the accumulated life experiences that serve to alter our perception of the things that we learn or read as part of our religious experiences. It is also the thing that has led me in a nontraditional direction for worshipping and sharing my faith with others these days. My shared congregation is one that is to be found through social media and while there are many out there who have a difficult time understanding the nature of what I do and the means by which I do it, nevertheless, it works for all of those who look to me for faith-based supportive care and nurture. It provides a practical solution for so many for whom physical obstacles or life obstacles serve to prevent them from worshipping in the traditional brick and mortar building every Sunday. As a result, I have an amazing group of new friends today who hail from the four corners of the earth, and as we join together, I am discovering that they gift me with far more in return, than I give to them! Perhaps this growing older stuff really isn’t so bad!

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However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace. “Now I know that none of you among whom I have gone about preaching the kingdom will ever see me again.  Therefore, I declare to you today that I am innocent of the blood of any of you. For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God.  Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood.

Acts 20:24-28 NIV

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Mandy 2014

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