Monthly Archives: December 2014

Thought For The Day 12/17/14

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Why Is The Law Not Always The Law?

Post  1376

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Moses with the 10 commamdments

Moses with the Ten Commandments by Rembrandt

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Rembrandt_Harmensz._van_Rijn_079.jpg

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God  and Nature first made us what we are, and then out of our own created genius we  make ourselves what we want to be. Follow always that great law. Let the sky and  God be our limit and Eternity our measurement.

Marcus Garvey

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

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I am a person who is always curious about the rules of something. I think that is because of my “Obsessive Compulsive” side which seems to dictate to me that to operate in the most efficient manner, things need to be maintained in some type of order. And for me, that applies to my belongings, my daily routine and my faith. Now this may well be my way of compensating for the fact that I have a mind like a sieve, which is the bane of my very existence! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again….one day if you fail to read one of my thoughts, it may be because Dan got mad about something and decided to drop me off in the backwoods somewhere, and I couldn’t find my way home! Now you are laughing….I know because I can hear you all the way here in South Carolina….but like it or not, it remains an undisputed fact that I am hopelessly forgetful! Which is why when it comes to some of those absolutes of my faith that I hold dear, I tend to be a bit of a stick in the mud about following most of the rules! Now I will be the first to admit that there are some things that most probably made more sense in days of yore…when they were first given to man. Nevertheless, there is a tremendous amount that can be learned about the way we life today, by remembering that there are absolutes about accepted and acceptable behavior for man that are exactly the same today as they were 5,000 years ago!

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Humankind had always needed the companionship of other humans. The fact that the survival of the species is dependant on procreation aside, man by his very nature was meant to interact and bond with others like him. However, man has always been of the mind that he, and only he, knows what is best for his life and, by association, what must be best for those around him. And, of course, when everyone thinks they know best, disputes are bound to happen until suddenly, violence erupts within the community. Which is why laws are needed to guarantee a state of harmony and détente. And this need is no different today than it was when Moses carried the tablets from the top of Mt Sinai. Yes, God wrote with His very finger, His expectations for man’s behavior, and it became law. And interestingly, those first laws have continued throughout the ages to set the tone for many of the laws that societies have adopted to assure the smooth running of their affairs, even today! We read in Deuteronomy 28:15, “But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee”, and indeed, breaking the laws of 21st Century man often results in the most dire of consequences just as breaking the laws given to Moses did when the children of Israel wandered, seeking the promised land!

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Now there are always the exceptions to the rule. For example, today I am preaching to you in my own way, through the words of this post, despite the fact that the Bible tells us that women are forbidden to speak in church!  Yes, it was the law of the time! All you need do is read I Corinthians 14:34-35 which was written by the Apostle Paul! “Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.”. This is an example of how the changing times has served to alter one absolute, just as society has altered the expectations we hold for both ourselves and our faith! I wonder how many of you were also aware that the festive trees which Christians decorate every December, are forbidden in the following Bible passage found in Jeremiah 10:2-5. “Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them. For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not. They are upright as the palm tree, but speak not: they must needs be borne, because they cannot go. Be not afraid of them; for they cannot do evil, neither also is it in them to do good.” Another law whose time has come and gone, just as the turning calendar pages have served to herald the coming of a new age!

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There are some Fundamentalists out there who hold that there are no shades of “grey” when it comes to truth in the Bible. They hold that we must all accept every word as a literal interpretation of what we must do and how we must behave. However, that is the same thing as saying that we must allow someone to die of an infection that is easily managed with an antibiotic created during the last century because that was not the way it was done during the time of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob! And while I can understand their need for these absolutes, because I myself am a creature that looks to absolutes for my own life, I also hold that God has gifted man with the capacity to dream and to think and to work toward making the world a better place. And is that not the gift we have been given by living in this age of modern technology? If God wanted man’s life to be otherwise, wouldn’t He have taken measures to prevent initiative and curiosity, instead of gifting us with these strengths?

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“For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass;
he shall have whatsoever he saith. Therefore I say unto you, what things soever ye desire, when ye pray,
believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.”

Mark 11:23-24 KJV

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Mandy 2014

Copyright © 2011-2014 “MandysPath” Ministry

Thought For The Day 12/16/14

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I Bring You Good News Of Great Joy

Post  1375

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heavenly Host

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To see an angel, you must see another’s soul. To feel an angel, you must touch another’s heart. To hear an angel you must listen to both. 

Author Unknown 

http://www.great-inspirational-quotes.com/angel-quotes.html

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I was thinking about what to write today when it occurred how completely all-encompassing music has become with this time of the year. Everything from “Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer” to “Silent Night” can be heard everywhere we go. My bank plays Christmas music. The stores I frequent, from my local Dollar type store to those more upscale retail establishments for which those Platinum type of credit cards are mandatory, play it. Even our favorite fast food business and my doctor’s office have Christmas music playing in the background. And then it occurred to me that there really had to be some subliminal undercurrent also programmed into the thread telling me to spend, spend, spend. You see,I know darned well that most of these places have no more idea of, nor do they really care about, the true reason for the season.

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Those many retail establishments simply see this time of the year as the cash cow on which their bottom line for every year rests! However, you and I both know that the real story and the real bottom line is so much richer, so much more vibrant and so much more beautiful, than any magical display in Macy’s or Bloomingdale’s window. You see, it all begin’s with a call to pay taxes imposed by Rome. And it involves a young couple who heed the edict to appear to be counted. Their names were Mary and Joseph.

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Now Mary was very pregnant. In fact, she was almost 38 weeks pregnant. But Mary did not want to be parted from her husband, Joseph who needed to go to Bethlehem, and she was also hoping to have the opportunity of seeing her cousin Elizabeth during their journey. And so travel they did.

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The journey was an arduous trek, lasting perhaps more than a week. It would have been impossible for Mary, heavy with child, to walk, so it does appear likely that she did ride atop a donkey. Traveling  in a mountainous region would not have been an easy journey for a well prepared, modern-day hiker, but Joseph was a resourceful man who planned as well as he could, given the information he had available. But nowhere, nohow, could he have imagined that sheer numbers of people descending on the city of Bethlehem, nor could he make advance arrangements for accommodations for the two of them. And so, having no other choice, Joseph and Mary took refuge in a stable.

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Smelling of fresh hay, it was a cozy and warm place for them to rest. But then something wonderful happened. “While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.” (Luke 2:6-7 NIV) 

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Amazingly, the word spread with the efficiency of  teenaged girl’s texting, except that it was heralded not by text, but by a heavenly host appearing in the sky…appearing to a group of shepherds keeping watch over their flocks of sheep and goats. And that host sang as it proclaimed the miracle that the Son of God had been delivered.

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Now these verses from Luke were certainly not the first to reference music. No, the first was in Exodus 15:20-21, and it was referenced again in Numbers, and again in Deuteronomy, and again in II Samuel and again and again and again! Yes, throughout both the Old and the New Testaments, music had played a significant role in the life and times we celebrate when we worship. But it seems to take on a special….almost magical quality when singing the songs associated with this time of then year.

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So the next time you are listening to a song, remember the true reason for the season, and begin humming, or singing one that we so closely associate with faith! Perhaps “Silent Night”, or “The Little Drummer Boy”. Then ask yourself a question. Am I truly happy this Christmastide? If not, why not? And if I am not, what measures can I take to make myself happy? You see, we….each of us….control the degree of the happiness we wear as we travel life’s path. And know that happiness is infectious and spreads almost without our doing anything! And I am certain that this is a type of infectious entity that we can all live healthy lives with, once we have been infected by its special magic!

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“Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; let the sea roar, and all that fills it; let the field exult, and everything in it! Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy before the LORD, for he comes, for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples in his faithfulness.

Psalms 96:11-13

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Mandy 2014

Copyright © 2011-2014 “MandysPath” Ministry

Thought For The Day 12/15/14

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The Other Wise Man

Post 1374

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wise-men-still-seek-him-1-728

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

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“I do not know where this little story came from–out of the air, perhaps. One thing is certain, it is not written in any other book, nor is it to be found among the ancient lore of the East. And yet I have never felt as if it were my own. It was a gift, and it seemed to me as if I knew the Giver.”

Henry Van Dyke

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Have you ever wondered why it seems like you are always late for the party? I know I have! Couple that with the feeling that so much of what we do is not just too late, but too little, as well, and it is no wonder that we so often doubt ourselves and whether we are really making a difference in the world. Which is why I wanted to share with you a synopsis of story I once read. Written by Henry Van Dyke in 1895, it seems to put into perspective so much of what we think we accomplish and change versus the impact of what our actions really do accomplish! And since it is during this time of the year that we think about one very special gift given to all of mankind…. and of the gifts that were given to this very special child by some who came to honor him and celebrate his birth, it seems very appropriate to share this story now!

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The Fourth Wise Man

The story is an addition and expansion of the account of the Biblical Magi, recounted in the Gospel of Matthew in the New Testament. It tells about a “fourth” wise man (assuming the tradition that the Magi numbered three to be true), a priest of the Magi named Artaban, one of the Medes from Persia.

Like the other Magi, he sees signs in the heavens proclaiming that a King had been born among the Jews. Like them, he sets out to see the newborn ruler, carrying treasures to give as gifts to the child – a sapphire, a ruby, and a pearl of great price. However, he stops along the way to help a dying man, which makes him late to meet with the caravan of the other three wise men.

Since he missed the caravan, and he can’t cross the desert with only a horse, he is forced to sell one of his treasures in order to buy the camels and supplies necessary for the trip. He then commences his journey but arrives in Bethlehem too late to see the child, whose parents have fled to Egypt. However, Artaban continues his search, and in the process, saves the life of another child at the price of another of his treasures.

Artaban arrives in Egypt, only to find that, once again, he is too late to honor the Christ Child.  Traveling to many other countries, searching for Jesus for many years and performing acts of charity along the way, consumes the life of this pilgrim. After thirty-three years, this seeker after light arrives in Jerusalem just in time for the crucifixion of Jesus. But while there, he spends his last treasure, the pearl, to ransom a young woman from being sold into slavery.

He is then struck in the temple by a falling roof tile Artaban is about to die, having failed in his quest to find Jesus, but having done much good through charitable works. Suddenly, a voice tells him “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” (Matthew 24:40 NIV). 

Artaban draws his last breath and dies in a calm radiance of wonder and joy. His treasures were accepted, and the Other Wise Man found his King.

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So never doubt or wonder if what you do is enough because a single act of kindness can and will change the life of that one person, and, ultimately, WILL change the world!

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But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.”

Luke 10:29-37 ESV

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Mandy 2014

Copyright © 2011-2014 “MandysPath” Ministry

Thought For The Day 12/14/14

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Sunday, December 14th, 2014

The Third Sunday in Advent

Post #1373

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adventwreath_3c

http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=picture+the+third+sunday+of+advent&id=1CA9D251F231FE4DB7F21305149967C8874F2F1F&FORM=IQFRBA#a

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 A Prayer For Today  

December 14th, 2014

Our Gracious Heavenly Father,

You see how your people faithfully await the feast of the Lord’s Nativity. Enable us, we pray, to attain the joys of so great a salvation, and to celebrate them always with solemn worship and glad rejoicing. Make us worthy of receiving this most precious gift you chose to bestow upon humankind.

Allow our hearts to be open to the magic that this blessed time of the year gifts to us. Allow us, in turn, to share these blessings with others!

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Amen.  

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Author of Today’s Gospel Reading

St John the Apostle

St. John, the son of Zebedee, and the brother of St. James the Great, was called to be an Apostle by our Lord in the first year of His public ministry. He became the “beloved disciple” and the only one of the Twelve who did not forsake the Savior in the hour of His Passion. He stood faithfully at the cross when the Savior made him the guardian of His Mother. His later life was passed chiefly in Jerusalem and at Ephesus. He founded many churches in Asia Minor. He wrote the fourth Gospel, and three Epistles, and the Book of Revelation is also attributed to him. Brought to Rome, tradition relates that he was by order of Emperor Dometian cast into a cauldron of boiling oil but came forth unhurt and was banished to the island of Pathmos for a year. He lived to an extreme old age, surviving all his fellow apostles, and died at Ephesus about the year 100.

St. John is called the Apostle of Charity, a virtue he had learned from his Divine Master, and which he constantly inculcated by word and example. The “beloved disciple” died at Ephesus, where a stately church was erected over his tomb. It was afterwards converted into a Mohammedan mosque.

http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=228

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Our Old Testament Reading

Isaiah 61: 1-2a, 10-11 NIV

The Year of the Lord’s Favor

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed m to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn

I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. For as the soil makes the sprout come up and a garden causes seeds to grow, so the Sovereign Lord will make righteousness and praise spring up before all nations.

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Our New Testament Reading

 John 1: 6-8 & 19-28 NIV

There was a man sent from God whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.

Now this was John’s testimony when the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him who he was. He did not fail to confess, but confessed freely, “I am not the Messiah.”

They asked him, “Then who are you? Are you Elijah?”

He said, “I am not.”

“Are you the Prophet?”

He answered, “No.”

Finally they said, “Who are you? Give us an answer to take back to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?”

John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet, “I am the voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.’”

Now the Pharisees who had been sent questioned him, “Why then do you baptize if you are not the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?”

“I baptize with water,” John replied, “but among you stands one you do not know. He is the one who comes after me, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.”

This all happened at Bethany on the other side of the Jordan, where John was baptizing.

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joy-candle

We Light The Candle Of  Joy….

Each Sunday, we light candles in the midst of all the darkness in our lives and in the world.  The flames symbolize our longing, our desire, our hope, and our love. We want to be renewed in a sense that Jesus came to save us from our sin and death. 

On the third Sunday of Advent, the rose candle is lit. The rose candle symbolizes joy. It comes from the first word of the Introit, “rejoice”. In an otherwise penitential season, it is heralding the nearness of this gift of “His Only Begotten Son”!

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Song For Today

“While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks”

This week’s featured hymn was written by Nahum Tate (1652-1715)
Performed by  performed by soprano Heather Prusse; additional lyrics by Sally DeFord

 

1. While shepherds watched their flocks by night,
all seated on the ground;
the angel of the Lord came down,
and glory shone around.

2. “Fear not!” said he, for mighty dread
had seized their troubled mind.
“Glad tidings of great joy I bring
to you and all mankind.”

3. “To you, in David’s town, this day
is born of David’s line
a Savior, who is Christ the Lord,
and this shall be the sign.”

4. “The heavenly babe you there shall find
to human view displayed,
all meanly wrapped in swathing bands,
and in a manger laid.”

5. Thus spake the seraph and forthwith
appeared a shining throng
of angels praising God on high,
who thus addressed their joyful song.

6. “All glory be to God on high,
and to the earth be peace;
good will henceforth from heaven to man
begin and never cease!”

7. Then with all haste the shepherds came
To see the wondrous sight
Amid the strains of heav’nly praise
That lingered on the night

8. “All glory be to God on high,
And on the earth be peace,
Good will henceforth from heav’n to man
Begin and never cease.”

 

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Thanks Be To God!

Amen

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Mandy 2014

Copyright © 2011-2014 “MandysPath” Ministry

Thought For The Day 12/13/14

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Woe-is-meing! 

Post 1372

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what am I to do

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Ninety  per cent of the world’s woe comes from people not knowing themselves, their  abilities, their frailties, and even their real virtues. Most of us go almost  all the way through life as complete strangers to ourselves – so how can we know  anyone else?

Sydney  J. Harris

 http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/woe.html#0WUMvSY6f5YsJ0w8.99

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‘woe-is-me’ing (v.)

The act of feeling sorry for yourself for no particular reason, save for the fact you have nothing to keep your mind off your past

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=’woe-is-me’ing

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They say that there are only two absolutes in life. DEATH and TAXES! But I must disagree with this. And while I can actually think of a hundred other things to add to a list of “life’s absolutes”, I think sorrow ranks right up there at the top! A heart that is wounded in some way can be a terrible thing to bear or to bear witness to. But I think you have to agree that sorrow is an essential part of living life! The more living and loving you do as you travel the road of life, the more likely it is that you will experience the heartache of sadness and loss. Yes, sorrow is very much proof positive of a life well lived! The key is seeing sorrow for what it is, learning from it and then using that knowledge to enrich your life. Unfortunately so many people are content being rooted in sadness as evidenced by the sheer number of “pity parties” we see every day! Yes, they have become a charter member of the “woe-is-me” brigade!

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In my humble opinion, self-condemnation is absolutely the worst way to atone for those mistakes we might be responsible for, which may have contributed, in some way, shape or form, to the sorrow and despair we feel. And while we may not always be at fault for the events that lead to our heartbreak, when you think about it, there is absolutely no difference in the depth of the sorrow one feels, whether we believe we have failed another, or ourselves, in our personal life or our life of faith. But all that perpetual “pity party” accomplishes is to erode self-esteem and create continuing self-doubt. Self-condemnation keeps you mired in the quicksand that is sorrow rather than freeing you to learn from the experience, and to grow in body, mind and spirit, as a result! The Bible says in Colossians 2:23 NIV, “Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.

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Why doesn’t feeling sorry for yourself help? The author of the best seller, “Letting Go”, Guy Finley, has come up with a list of things that a perpetual state of sorrow can burden us with! Read them and then really spend some time thinking and looking deeply within, and then decide if you see your life reflected in any of the things listed here!

 The only thing feeling sorry for yourself changes about your life is that  it makes it worse.

 No matter how you look at it, you involve yourself with whatever you  resist!

 Being wrapped up in self-pity completely spoils any chance of being able  to see new possibilities as they appear; besides, no one likes sour milk!

 The only thing that grows from cultivating any dark seed of sorrow is more  bitter fruit.

 Feeling sorry for those who want you to feel sorry for them is like giving  an alcoholic a gift certificate to a liquor store.

 Anytime you embrace a dark inner state, you increase the size of its stake  on your heart and mind.

 Feeling sorry for yourself is a slow acting poison; it first corrupts, and  then consumes the heart…choking it with dark and useless emotions.

 You cannot separate the reasons you have for feeling sorry for yourself  from the sorry way you feel.

 The heart watered by tears of self-pity soon turns to stone; it is  incapable of compassion.

 Agreeing to live with sad regrets only ensures they’ll still be with you  tomorrow.

http://blog.beliefnet.com/lettinggo/2012/03/10-reasons-why-its-stupid-to-ever-feel-sorry-for-yourself.html

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Now this list does not really focus on the positive things we can do to move past the unhappy times in life that leave us asking the question, “what should I do”. The answer, in fact, is a very subjective one, because what might work for one person may not work for someone else. But there is one universal absolute that I do know can help. We are all afforded the opportunity of turning our ponderous burdens over to one whose shoulders are broad enough to carry them all for us. God! However, there is another huge lesson God asks us to understand and to remember. I think of it as God’s “Yin-Yang”! Without sorrow, there can be no joy or rejoicing! So give Him thanks and praise for helping you through the dark moments. “Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall”. (Psalm 55:22 NIV).

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Yes, we are all at risk for becoming enslaved by the effects that sorrow brings to our lives. But I do have an answer to the question of “what am I supposed to do”! Within each breast beats a heart that has the capacity to love others unconditionally, even as God loves us unconditionally. That love is a remedy for sorrow. Also, choosing to find the center of joy and harmony that exists in every human heart, is another. We all have the power to decide which direction we will take when those times of sorrow come knocking! Do you know which direction you will choose?

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“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

Matthew 25: 31-40 ESV

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Mandy 2014

Copyright © 2011-2014 “MandysPath” Ministry

Thought For The Day 12/12/14

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And So It Begins… Each And Every Day!

Post 1371

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Yellow-Brick-Road

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“For nothing is fixed, forever and forever and forever, it is not fixed; the earth is always shifting, the light is always changing, the sea does not cease to grind down rock. Generations do not cease to be born, and we are responsible to them because we are the only witnesses they have. The sea rises, the light fails, lovers cling to each other, and children cling to us. The moment we cease to hold each other, the sea engulfs us and the light goes out.”  

James Baldwi

I share my THOUGHT’s with you every day. I have since March, 2011 because I want to share with you all the things and the ideas, of faith…. and not of faith…. that have brought me to this place in my life. You see, all of our life experiences, both the good, and perhaps even more, the bad, are what makes us who we are, and are what defines our place in our family, our community, our society….. and our congregations! But unfortunately, we do not always learn the lesson that the Almighty is trying to impart, by putting those trials and those learning experiences, in our way.

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Each and every one forces us to do one of 3 things. Either we vault ourselves over the hurdle, make our way around the hurdle, or we turn  back. But if we are wise, and if we heed the advice of God, in Isaiah 43: 18-19 NIV, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” Yes, it is then we must follow those words made famous for all time by in the classic, “The Wizard of Oz”. We MUST always keep moving forward. But that sometimes means starting anew….and that isn’t always a bad thing to do. After all, as Glinda tells Dorothy who is desperately trying to find her way back home, “It’s always best to start at the beginning — and all you do is follow the Yellow Brick Road”.

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Interestingly, there is something worth remembering about the journey that Dorothy and her companions make on the Yellow Brick Road. The walk is not easy, nor is the quality of the road consistent. No, the road reflects the essence of the place through which it passes. For example, it is an easy stroll through the areas that are settled and peaceful. And while the journey may be long, it is not bumpy or full of pitfalls. But have you ever noticed that those times of complacency are also the times when we grow the least? And there is always danger in being complacent! We are reminded of that in 1 Corinthians 9:24 ESV, “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.”

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Now, think about the Yellow Brick Road during the time when Dorothy meets the Cowardly Lion! The road becomes dark and dirty. It has bricks missing and weeds and all manner of infestations threaten to overrun its pristine beauty! It is threatening and scary! But then consider something else. Generally, it is during the times when we face those mountainous obstacles that life, time and tide place in front of us, that we are forced to look within, and to discover how much inner strength and fortitude we have been blessed with. Of course, that is His gift to us all! We are reminded of this in 1 Corinthians 10:13 ESV, “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”

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So, just as Dorothy did in the mind (and the heart, I suspect) of author L. Frank Baum , so must we all begin at the beginning, each and every day. We do not know where these new journeys will take us. Only one does, and He does not share the plan with the likes of me or you! But as long as He lets me, I will journey and I will invite you all along for the ride! Because you are all an essential part of that journey. Thanks for sharing it with me!

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“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

Matthew 6:25-29 ESV

 

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Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.

2 Timothy 2:15 ESV

 

Thought For The Day 12/11/14

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Quality or Quantity?

Post 1370

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Quality

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There’s no easy quick way out, we’re gonna have to live through our whole lives, win, lose, or draw.

Walt Kelly

http://www.iheartquotes.com/tags/walt_kelly

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The other day I thought I would try a little experiment. Now let me preface this by first explaining that I have one of those new “smart phones” with the little wee person inside that you can talk to and ask questions of and she will look up the answer! Cool, huh? Well I got it into my head that if I had the capacity to dictate my emails, my Facebook posts and my instant messages, why not try dictating my blog in the built in note page that the phone has? Then I could cut and paste at least the word piece into my mobile WordPress link, which is also in my phone, and then all I would need to do is tweak it, add my pictures and then upload it using my laptop! Sounds easy, right? WRONG!!!!! Which just served to reaffirm the lesson that my mom spent years trying to drill into my head…..taking the easy way out is NOT the best way! Quality is what counts, not quantity!

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Now there were a couple of issues that came to light relating to me trying to dictate my thoughts in the first place. Simply put, I CAN’T! There is a reason I am not a preacher in a church! I can’t manage to convey my thoughts when they must come from my mouth. I think it is this in a nut shell….my brain works faster than my mouth does so by the time I say what I’m thinking, I am way past the thought and it has since been forgotten! Typing allows me the opportunity to think and refine my thought before it comes out via my fingers across the keyboard. I can also read it and edit as I go along, which for me, is usually every other word!

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Now I do have the power of speech! If you ask Dan, he is apt to say that if my mouth isn’t eating it’s talking. In fact, for about six months, I hosted a weekly internet radio show of faith called “Finding The Way”. But every word was perfectly scripted. I will never be capable of standing and speaking off the cuff, and present a credible message. But I accept this weakness of mine and instead, choose to transform it into a strength, by doing what I can do to share His message in a way that is more Mandy! It is the Mandy part that you are reading and sharing with me right now! It has been a struggle to get to this place, even though you probably thought my life and the way I express my view of faith was easy, am I right?

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Man by his inherent nature, and most especially me, is meant to live life at a certain pace. Yes, there are those who rush pell-mell through their days, and somehow, it all manages to work for them. I don’t know how they do it, but they actually manage to accomplish all that they set out to do from the moment they woke up! But I really have to wonder if we are seeing the best that they have to offer. Are they offering the world quantity or quality? What is the difference, you ask? Well for my money,  I believe that there is an eternal difference between the two, especially when we are thinking about building the stepping-stones of a life of faith!

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There are churches out there that proclaim that they have ordained thousands upon thousands of clergy who are now being entrusted with the tremendous responsibility of going forth into the world and making disciples of yet others, by sharing, through mission or another form, the word of God. And then I read the things they say and write about their work and their faith, and I often see many who can’t manage a cohesive thought on their best day. Now I do not doubt for a moment the depth of their faith. However, I must wonder who out there would trust the message shared by someone who seems like they can’t  fight their way out of a paper bag with two hands and a flashlight! This is a prime example of quantity versus quality.

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Do we trust our children’s minds to someone in the classroom who did not graduate from college? Would we want a scalpel to cut into our bodies if it is held in the hand of one who never graduated from medical school? Of course we wouldn’t! Now I am not saying that great spiritual leaders must have a Doctorate of Theology degree! In fact, did you know that the Rev. Dr. Billy Graham, perhaps one of the greatest religious leaders of modern times, had only an honorary Doctorate degree? Yes, there is much more that measures a person’s heart than book learning. Desire and passion for what someone does counts for far more, but that passion must also be coupled with a person’s very best effort, no matter what the goal is they are seeking to accomplish!

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What I hope to do is to create disciples who choose to think about God because of a seed that I have planted in their minds. I want to see that those who share my thoughts every day grow in faith and mature in spirit because they are choosing to join me as I make my very own journey to seek and to nourish the growing faith that is within my heart. And for me, this means not opting for the easy way as I make my journey. Paul talks about the master builder in 1 Corinthians 3:10-15 NASB ….. a perfect example of quality instead of quantity! “According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it. For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.”

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So the next time you believe that taking a short cut is best, think about what it is you want the world to know about you! Will they see your best effort when the see the way you attain your goals or will they know you did merely as much as you needed to do to accomplish your end? Then think about how much effort it took the Son of God to share His message with the world! Did He give us His very best or did He give just enough? You all know the answer to that one!

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Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.

2 Timothy 2:15 ESV

 

Mandy 2014

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