Tag Archives: collective group

Thought For The Day 02/11/15

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It’s A Neverending Story

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 The-Neverending-Story

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Our death is not an end if we can live on in our children and the younger generation.  For they are us, our bodies are only wilted leaves on the tree of life. 
 
Albert Einstein
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I talked a while ago about being a member of the club that none of us wishes we had to belong to. But just as surely as the sun rises in the morning and sets in the evening, so is this membership a mandatory part of being a human being.
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I learned the other day, of another of my friends losing a loved one… her mother, in fact. And while the grieving process is such a very personal one and very different from person to person, I have walked in her shoes. I remember from a personal perspective, that when my mother passed away, 25 years ago, I actually felt like I was 1/2 of an orphan. And that thought was extremely surprising to me, as I mused about it later on. When I lived at home my mother and I were always embroiled in some dispute or other, almost never agreeing on anything through my teen and young adult years. But, it was also my mother that was the first one that I turned to share my joys as well as my sorrows, in the years following my marriage and when distance made our connection together a phone call rather than a walk from one room to the next.
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And then I realized that we were, in reality, a part of “The Neverending Story”. In case you don’t know, this is a story, first published in 1979 and made into a movie in 1984, about a bullied boy, whose mother had recently passed away and whose father was so engrossed in his own mourning that he neglects to recognize the pain his son is going through.  And it was when Bastian was running away from the bullies that he enters a magical book store, discovers the book “The Neverending Story”, and absconds with it. Seeking refuge in a closed off part of his school, he begins reading and is transported into another place and time, where he becomes enmeshed within the lives as well as the storyline of the characters contained within the book. Many tragedies occur but it is when Bastian actually realizes that it is he and his life force that is actually directing the course of the story, that he realizes the degree of control and power that he has to help not just his new friends in Fantasia, but his father, and himself, as well. And we find that one little boy has been given the opportunity to bring hope to the world in which he lives.
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My point is that everything in our lives is intermingled with every aspect of the lives of those we are close to and even with those whose encounters with us are but casual occurrences. “The Neverending Story” is the story of life. And every single movement we make and thought we have directs the course of our own journey as part of our very own never-ending story. It may be considered no more that a hiccough in the road of life for the universe when it presents as a sinkhole in our own. But each adds to the wisdom we are blessed with and adds one more layer to our character as a human being. And when we turn to God to help us along this journey that is our never-ending story, we can be certain that we are blessed with the resources to meet head on, all those challenges with the knowledge that we are not facing them alone!
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A funeral service I once attended was officiated by a minister I do not know, but who shared a wonderful poem that moved me to my very core! And every time I read or share it’s beauty, I am reminded that even in death, we each forever remain part of “The Neverending Story” of life.
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Do Not Stand By My Grave And Weep 

by
Mary Elizabeth Frye
  

Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there; I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sun on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there; I did not die.

http://www.familyfriendpoems.com/poem/do-not-stand-by-my-grave-and-weep#ixzz3RHwmWbXl

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Then, when our dying bodies have been transformed into bodies that will never die, this Scripture will be fulfilled: “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 15:54-57  NLT

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Mandy 2014

Copyright © 2011-2015 “MandysPath” Ministry

Thought For The Day 08/12/14

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Amazing Grace

Thought 1247

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http://thebluegrassspecial.com/archive/2010/september10/imagessept10/gospel-news-logo.jpg

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A painter paints pictures on canvas.  But musicians paint their pictures on silence. 

Leopold Stokowski

http://quotegarden.com/music.html

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I am finding that my tastes in music, just as my tastes in most things, come to think of it, are evolving. At one time listening to the twang of country was like fingernails across a blackboard to me, setting my nerves on edge and my teeth grinding! But perhaps it is because I live in the south where every other radio station features country at its finest, that my appreciation for the genre’ is beginning to come around. I’m not saying its my favorite but 10 years ago, on a scale of 1 to 10, I would have placed country at negative 100 whereas today, it ranks more at a 5 or 6 out of 10! And the same can be said of Gospel music. There is something so rustic and compelling about Gospel and I am finding that I like this approach to sharing a heart-felt message of faith. In fact, when I close my eyes, it seems to take me to a simpler and yet visceral time when the world was in such flux and yet problems seemed less, in my own life even as the world turned upside down for the others whose roots laid the foundation for what we now recognize as true inspirational Christian Gospel.

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Gospel music can, of course, trace its roots to African-American spirituals, and spirituals  can trace their roots back to the tunes sung by early slaves. Even as the  slaves developed this new musical tradition for themselves, their life was a turmoil of racial tensions and the hardships of slave life. And it was this angst that compelled them to seek solace in the only way that was available to them. Slaves were given something by owners that was not of their choosing and yet it was a source of strength which they embraced. Christianity. And even as they turned to the Bible as a balm to the spirit, so did it give them food for the soul as a source of musical inspiration. And yet, this too evolved as the years and the songs which were rooted in slavery became an uncomfortable reminder to them of terrible days past, and a new type of gospel was born, And as is the way of all things, they began being accepted by nearly everyone as not just a musical genre’ but as representational of all African-American heritage. AND, as a wonderful form of praise and worship to our Heavenly Father!

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Amazing Grace

performed by the Harlem Gospel Choir

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“And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD.”

Psalm 40:3 KJV

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Mandy 2014

Copyright © 2011-2014 “MandysPath”

Thought For The Day 07/03/14

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Who Is The Animal Here?

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http://manifestedharmony.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/Reiki-on-Oscar.jpg

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Lots of people talk to animals…. Not very many listen, though…. That’s the problem. 

Benjamin Hoff

 “The Tao of Pooh” 

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We are as imperfect a creation as perhaps any living being designed by the hand of God. Look for a moment at man’s best friends (and I do not refer to the two-legged human variety).

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Think about our canine companion. He does not know grief or anger or hatred or greed. All he wants and needs to live a happy existence is simply a kind word and a gentle caress of human hand. And, even when that hand strikes a painful blow, the love is not diminished in the eyes of that dog. Consider for a moment, the aloofness of the cat. Cats appear to be distant….loners….who need nothing more than to be ignored…..as long as the food and water dishes are maintained. But just look at the way they nuzzle their human caretakers when they are inclined to do so. Can there be anything more delightful than that motorboat purr reserved for the one person the cat loves the most? Even a fish will swim to the glass as it spies us drawing near because they know we bring with us delightful, edible surprises.

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Mark Twain certainly recognized the plain and simple truth of the matter as to which of us is the real animal! Twain wrote that it seemed likely man descended from the higher evolved race of the beasts, rather than the other way around (assuming you can reconcile with the Darwinian views that are prevalent in the Scientific community)! Consider that Man is the only creature that takes from the bounty of the world, often with no intention of giving anything back. Many members of the human race consume voraciously without ever producing. Case in point: when was the last time we saw man give milk or eggs or protein for food?

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Man is the only living being with not just consciousness but the capacity to stretch that consciousness in limitless directions. Man is blessed with the capacity to not just dream, but to bring those dreams to fruition and give them life! And yet we are, all to often, bound by our fears which, in effect, wraps us in a straitjacket that keep us from fulfilling the potential we have been blessed with by our creator. We often take the welfare of our fellow man if not for granted, then with a callous indifference that belies the existence of our superior intellect. Professing themselves to be wise, they become fools instead…..a sad commentary, indeed!

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Yes, who, indeed is the animal here? Man is an animal with a soul and as a freely thinking creature, is capable of sinning. And while a human is an animal, an animal is by no means human in that they are incapable of sin, lacking all understanding of even the concept of sin! However, man is not bound or defined by sin because he is equally capable of remorse and with that, is able to be redeemed and forgiven of his transgression. The only requirement is that he ask our Heavenly Father for this forgiveness with an open and honest heart. Make no mistake that it does not just happen.

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We can not feel sorry that we made a boo boo and poof…..all is forgiven. God sees all and knows when our plea is in earnest. If we are not prepared to honestly repent, we might as well find some way of living with our regrets because they will be imprinted on our soul, as glaringly obvious to God, and usually other people, as they would be if we were forced to wear a “Scarlet Letter” upon our breast!

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If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

2 Chronicles 7:14 ESV

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Mandy 2014

Copyright © 2011-2014 “MandysPath”

Thought For The Day 06/26/14

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Hellfire and Brimstone

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But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.

Revelation 21:8 NIV

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A recent viewing of the movie “Pollyanna” always seems to lead me to think about the “Hellfire and Brimstone” style of preaching that was so very common in days of yore. Who can ever forget the sermon in that movie that caused the church chandelier crystals to quiver and make a sound somewhere between a tinkle and a rattle, as Reverend Ford shouted at the congregation from his pulpit high above the pews, “Death comes unexpectedly”! It was readily apparent that Reverend Ford thought that the only way to get his flock to understand his message was by pontificating. This was the accepted style of the day, when church services lasted hours and left bottoms and backs stiff and sore from sitting so long in one attitude!

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Today, I often think that church is merely an obligatory destination on a Sunday for many who listen half asleep as the sermon is being given, then rise from comfortably padded pews, and after sharing a quick, perfunctory handshake with the minister,  leave skid marks as they rush out the doors,  in search of other activities they would much rather be engaged in on a Sunday afternoon! Is this because so many who preach have lost touch with their flock? How many people reading this share their Sunday with a minister whose preaching technique seems to be to frighten their congregation into believing they will encounter the devil just around the next corner they come to? And while that may well be the case, is it necessary to beat the congregation over the head with this message?

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I am left to wonder and ask a very important question. Do you believe that those who seek to sow fear into God’s message have ever really experienced the grace and love of the Almighty? Now I can only speak for myself, but that is why I have tried over these last months, not to pontificate in my writings. It is my goal to try to share the Gospel (and by the way, when you translate the word gospel from its Greek roots, it translates as “good news”), and my message of faith, in a positive and enlightening way. And while there is a time and a place for a serious message from our religious leaders, never forget to temper the fire and brimstone with the cooling and refreshing waters that lead us to salvation. After all, wasn’t it the joyous news of his Father’s message to mankind that Jesus told his Disciples to impart?

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I am reminded, in particular, of Acts 2: 25-28 NIV:   David said about him: “I saw the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest in hope, because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, you will not let your holy one see decay. You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence.” And yes, this most probably is one of Pollyanna’s “Glad Texts” which she told Reverend Ford about in the movie, but it is definitely a text I can share with a joyful heart because I have experienced the grace and love of the Almighty!

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There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

1 John 4: 18 NIV

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Mandy 2014

Copyright © 2011-2014 “MandysPath”

Thought For The Day 06/24/14

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It Takes A Village

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 You need a village, if only for the pleasure of leaving it.  A village means that you are not alone, knowing that in the people, the trees, the earth, there is something that belongs to you, waiting for you when you are not there. 

Casare Pavese

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

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While many of us first heard the title of today’s post because it also happens to be the title of former First Lady and former Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton’s book, which was written in 1996, in fact, this phrase is an ancient African proverb. And as with all proverbs, its goal was to impart wisdom and truth. The intent was to tell everyone that no man (or woman or child, for that matter) is an island! The well-being of the one is dependent on the capacity of the whole to be supportive and nurturing. And yet, this seems to be something that is often lacking in today’s society!

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While we like to think we all are part of a collective that cares for and about each other, in fact, we are increasingly finding that this is seldom the case. We no more would leave our doors to our homes unlocked at night or when we are away than we would consider diving from the top of Niagara Falls to be safe thing to do. Now some of this is due to the effects modern technology, and what this has brought to our doorstep. After all, we now hear about all of the horrors that assail humans only a nanosecond after they occur. We view our leaders with a jaundiced eye, wondering what their motivation is for what they say since history seems to prove that it is seldom the welfare of the collective community!

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Perhaps I am viewing the world with a jaundiced eye by what I am writing, you ask? Perhaps I seem to have lost hope for the community, the country and the world, you wonder? In fact, nothing could be farther from the truth. You see, I know that the thing that will “un-harden” the hearts of men is not something mysterious or unknown. In fact it can be summed up in two words…..LOVE and FAITH! I join the two together because each is, in so many ways
, co-dependent upon the other, and I like to think that despite all of the horrors we see today that, just as  Anne Frank said so brilliantly in her diary, “I keep my ideals, because in spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart.”

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It really does take a village and the individuals that live in that village. And like the saying goes, community, like charity, begins at home. But it doesn’t just happen. It takes not just seeing ourselves with a clear eye but looking clearly at the others who live in your community, as well. If you do not know how to be a friend and neighbor then you can’t possibly expect that others will treat you accordingly. So take a moment to think about just what being a friend and neighbor, indeed, a good member of society, entails. What should we do to help our village become a place where the good of the whole becomes at least as important as the good of the one?

  1. Respect the people who live near you. Not everyone works the same hours. Not everyone has young children. So think about all of these things and be conscientious about noises that might disturb your neighbors, such as vacuum cleaners, music, loud talk and barking dogs.
  2. Keep your home and yard presentable. Taking pride in the place you live shows others that you take pride in yourself and that you care.
  3. Welcome new neighbors with an introductory note or a friendly chat. Invite them over for an iced tea or offer to help them as they become acclimated to the community. Share with them things like information about recycling all their moving cartons and tell them the best way to get the newspaper or to the supermarket.
  4. Respect your neighbor’s privacy. Not everyone is open and gregarious. Many are quiet and subdued. Recognizing the differences between people paints you as a sensitive and caring person.
  5. Offer to collect mail, water plants and watch the pets while your neighbors are  away on a trip. Offer….don’t wait to be asked.
  6. Keeps the lines of communication open. Seek to share both good news as well as concerns over a cup of coffee or a light lunch.
  7. Throw a house party or open house once a year. And while you can wait for the holidays, why not make it a special event, in and of itself, by hosting that gathering during a month when there are no special holidays or celebrations! Don’t forget to include those that live alone or who are elderly and may need your help to attend!

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There is a reason that our founding fathers adopted the phrase believed to have been first coined by, ! And yet, do we not read nearly the same thing in the Bible in  Mark 3:25,? It seems that throughout history, wise people recognized that it would take a village to raise a child, but somehow,  years of apathy and entitlement have caused us to forget the wisdom of these words. Let’s change this today! Let the buck (and apathy) stop with us!

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Do to others as you would have them do to you.   “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you?   Even sinners love those who love them.   And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that.   And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full.   But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.   Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. 

Luke 6:31-36 NIV

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Mandy 2014

Copyright © 2011-2014 “MandysPath”

Thought For The Day 06/13/14

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Women Are From Venus & Men Are From Mars 

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06 07 14

Mandy “Venus”  &  Dan “Mars” Bruscella

Photo taken on 06/07/14. It was our 39th anniversary!

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 There is more difference within the sexes than between them.

Ivy Compton- Burnett

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

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The following was received via email

The Author is Unknown

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A woman arrived at the Gates of Heaven. While she was waiting for Saint Peter to greet her, she peeked through the gates. She saw a beautiful banquet table. Sitting all around were her parents and all the other people she had loved and who had died before her.

They saw her and began calling greetings to her. “Hello – How are you! We’ve been waiting for you! Good to see you.”

When Saint Peter came by, the woman said to him, “This is such a wonderful place! How do I get in?”

“You have to spell a word,” Saint Peter told her. “Which word?” the woman asked.

“Love.”

The woman correctly spelled ‘Love’, and Saint Peter welcomed her into Heaven.

About a year later, Saint Peter came to the woman and asked her to watch the Gates of Heaven for him that day.

While the woman was guarding the Gates of Heaven, her husband arrived.

I’m surprised to see you,” the woman said. “How have you been?”

“Oh, I’ve been doing pretty well since you died,” her husband told her.

“I married the beautiful young nurse who took care of you while you were ill. And then I won the multi-state lottery. I sold the little house you and I lived in and bought a huge mansion. And my wife and I traveled all around the world. We were on vacation in Cancun and I went water skiing today. I fell and hit my head, and here I am. What a bummer! How do I get in?”

“You have to spell a word,” the woman told him.

“Which word?” her husband asked.

” Czechoslovakia ..”

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Moral of the story:

Never make a woman angry… There will be Hell to pay Later!

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I am a women and in case you never noticed, the adage “Women are from Venus and Men are from Mars” is one of the most accurate descriptions to explain the differences in not just the emotional psyche but mental and perceptual capacities that exist between the sexes. We are as different as night and day. I use Dan and me as case in point. Dan is a big picture guy. Most men are. He notices only huge differences in things and then, only when they come over and jump on his head. Me, on the other hand, I notice the smallest change or alteration in something. And even when that change is but the faintest whiff of a promise of what is to come, I still seem to somehow, intuitively sense that something different is on the horizon. So now I must wonder whether “Mars” and “Venus” can both view matters of faith the same way?

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Women by their very essence as the more empathetic and sensitive of the sexes might seem to have a greater capacity for faith than their male counterpart. However, if you embrace the literal approach to the things the Bible states, women were always relegated to a more subservient place, not just within the family, but within the way faith was practiced. Women, except for a select few matriarchs, were rarely mentioned by name in the Bible. And the covenant formed between God and the Israelites, which bound both men and women in its intent, required that men act to assure that the members of his household (wives, children, and slaves) uphold it principles. In other words, women were bound to obey, but only indirectly.

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If there is one absolute that history has taught us, it is that things are constantly evolving. And if there can be anything discerned about life views today, it must be the eradication of sexual distinctions that have occurred during the gender revolution of the last 75 years. And I embrace the view that, while God created men and women differently, in reality, He created us as equals with a few gender defined differences such as childbearing. I believe men and women are equal in intelligence, dignity and worth, and as such, are both full members of the body of Christ, and with all that entails. And as such, we all must, each sex, grow in our faith, and use our gifts of spirituality to the best of our abilities, for the betterment of humankind!

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Then God said, “Let us   make mankind   in our image,   in our likeness, so that they may rule   over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky,   over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

So God created  mankind  in his own image, in the image of God  he created them; male and female  he created them.

God blessed them and said to them,“Be fruitful and increase in number;  fill the earth  and subdue it. Rule over  the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground. ”

Genesis 1:26-28 NIV

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Mandy 2014

Copyright © 2011-2014 “MandysPath”

Thought For The Day 06/11/14

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Unity In The Midst Of Diversity 

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http://reverandcjay.files.wordpress.com/2012/12/bible-quote-christs-love-creates-unity-in-the-midst-of-diversity.jpg?w=640&h=443

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“There is a Law that man should love his neighbor as himself. In a few hundred years it should be as natural to mankind as breathing or the upright gait; but if he does not learn it he must perish.”

Alfred Adler

http://www.betterworld.net/quotes/diversity-quotes.htm

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I was thinking today about all of the diverse denominations that comprise the body we refer to collectively as the Protestant family of churches! And even when we consider there are but a handful of major denominations including Lutheran, Anglican, Presbyterian, Methodist and Baptist, when you extend to scope to include Brethren, Friends (Quakers), Pentecostal, Charismatic, Restoration, Apostolic and the African initiated churches, to name but a few, the list begins to become mind-boggling. (For the purposes of this blog, I am not even considering the non-trinitarian groups.)

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Did you know that it is believed there are somewhere in the neighborhood of 33,000 denominations? All of these faiths, different in not just their applications but in some of their doctrines as well, and yet all united against recognizing the universal authority of Rome and the Papacy. And when you consider that the very definition of Protestantism, and the fact that the root foundation for the word is from the Latin, protestantem, meaning one who publicly declares or protests, you must come to the conclusion that those of us who are of this branch of faith, are most probably the first group of organized protestors known to the world! Now I don’t know about you, but the picture of Martin Luther in a tie-dyed t-shirt suddenly comes to mind.

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It could not have been easy breaking away from the absolutes of Roman Catholicism, but tied together by a desire to make matters of faith make sense to a people, a group of men emerged as the leaders of the Protestant Reformation. Suddenly, people began following the teachings of Martin Luther, John Calvin, Ulrich Zwingli and John Knox, as they sought to remove some of the mysteries of faith espoused by the Papacy. In other words, people were beginning to question Rome’s unique authority to interpret scripture and to establish doctrine as well as the claim of Papal infallibility when speaking “ex cathedra” or in the exercise of his office as pastor and teacher of all Christians. And so, armed with plans for the things that they believed needed to be amended, the five essential doctrines of the Protestant Reformation were drafted. They are:

  1. “Sola Scriptura,” or Scripture Alone: This affirms the Biblical doctrine that the Bible alone is the sole authority for all matters of faith and practice. Scripture and Scripture alone is the standard by which all teachings and doctrines of the church must be measured. As Martin Luther so eloquently stated when asked to recant on his teachings, “Unless I am convinced by Scripture and plain reason – I do not accept the authority of the popes and councils, for they have contradicted each other – my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not recant anything for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. God help me. Amen.”
  2. “Sola Gratia,” Salvation by Grace Alone: This affirms the Biblical doctrine that salvation is by God’s grace alone and that we are rescued from His wrath by His grace alone. God’s grace in Christ is not merely necessary, but is the sole efficient cause of salvation. This grace is the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit that brings us to Christ by releasing us from our bondage to sin and raising us from spiritual death to spiritual life.
  3. “Sola Fide,” Salvation by Faith Alone: This affirms the Biblical doctrine that justification is by grace alone through faith alone because of Christ alone. It is by faith in Christ that His righteousness is imputed to us as the only possible satisfaction of God’s perfect justice.
  4. “Solus Christus,” In Christ Alone: This affirms the Biblical doctrine that salvation is found in Christ alone and that His sinless life and substitutionary atonement alone are sufficient for our justification and reconciliation to God the Father. The gospel has not been preached if Christ’s substitutionary work is not declared, and if faith in Christ and His work is not solicited.
  5. “Soli Deo Gloria, For the Glory of God Alone: This affirms the Biblical doctrine that salvation is of God and has been accomplished by God for His glory alone. It affirms that as Christians we must glorify Him always, and must live our entire lives before the face of God, under the authority of God, and for His glory alone.

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Now I am Protestant. I also happen to be married to a Roman Catholic who, interestingly, once attended Cathedral College in Manhattan, which is a Roman Catholic seminary. When we married, we made sure our marriage was recognized by both the Roman Catholic and Methodist churches. We underwent classes with Dan’s Parish priest, the Marriage Banns were read, and I promised to raise my children as Roman Catholics. We obtained the dispensations of faith and of canonical form. I only returned to my Protestant roots when my husband decided to abstain from involvement in matters of faith for the children, allowing me to make the final the decision regarding what doctrines we would teach them.

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Given this diversity of our family, I am just as comfortable attending mass as I am attending services. But in my heart, even today, I question many of the teachings of Roman Catholicism, preferring the doctrines I was reared to believe in. I come by this honestly enough. My family, more generations ago than I can count, was part of the first settlers to emigrate to the New World, having fled Mother England, in search of a place where they could practice their Protestant beliefs freely and openly, without fear of reprisal or censure. I am the product of a lineage of religious refugees and protestors who asked only that they be allowed to freely worship the way that their heart, their mind and their spirit led them to!

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There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 

To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.

1 Corinthians 12:4-11  NIV

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Mandy 2014

Copyright © 2011-2014 “MandysPath”

Thought For The Day 06/05/14

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A Pied Piper And The Power Of Prayer

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Adolescence is a period of rapid changes.  Between the ages of 12 and 17, for example, a parent ages as much as 20 years.

Author Unknown

http://izquotes.com/quote/290776

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I witnessed the most remarkable thing last night. I was on a social media site when, all of a sudden, within seconds, dozens of tweets that transitioned into posts on the page… right in front of my eyes. And these posts came from teenagers from all over the country. Now I don’t tweet. I’m not even sure what a tweet is except as a sound coming from a cage inhabited by a feathered creature. But there, in front of my eyes, kids were instantly connecting in heartfelt concern for a person I’m betting most of them hadn’t ever met. From Alabama, Indiana, Missouri, California and dozens of other states, teens from all over, many of them members of different Youth Ministry Teams, were connecting and praying together. What an amazing thing to witness!

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Today we tend to see our youth as hedonistic and egocentric. They are just beginning to learn the things they need to understand to assure a relatively smooth (and sometimes even a bumpy) transition into adulthood. Yes, the ultimate goal is to develop a generation of successful, caring, and nurturing adults. But as they learn these lessons, they are spreading their wings and sometimes the choices they are making at this time of their lives, are choices that might just curl your toes. You see, so many of today’s youth don’t have the proper guidance at home which we know is so essential at this time of raging hormones and impulsivity. And without that guidance, some will fall through the cracks and become a statistic in our criminal justice system. But……..every once in a great while, a special someone enters our lives……a someone with the gift to guide, inspire and teach.  Almost a “Pied Piper”, the people I am thinking about have some magical gift that enables them to connect with the youth of America. They are leading them to Christ! And they is succeeding…………..in spades!!!!!!!!!!

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Last night a plea was sent out. It was a plea to begin an avalanche of prayers. And pray they did! Dozens and perhaps even hundreds, of strangers, joined together and offered heartfelt prayers to the Lord on behalf of a person in need. And the prayers were answered, because this morning we have learned that things are much improved and that there has been a positive response to treatment.

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So, the next time I become frustrated at some action I witness by a young person and stranger alike, I will remember last night……a night when so many thought not of themselves, but rather, were thinking about another. I will remember the dozens that I saw, and the hundreds of others that I did not, all coming together in Christ….to effect a positive outcome in the life of one person… a stranger. And I will remember that there is hope for the future of mankind!!!!

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Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and he brought them out of their distress. He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea[a] were hushed. They were glad when it grew calm, and he guided them to their desired haven.

Psalm 107: 28-30 NIV

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Mandy 2014

Copyright © 2011-2014 “MandysPath”

Thought For The Day 04/22/14

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Sacrifices Made

Post 1136

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The Last Supper is a 15th century mural painting in Milan created by Leonardo da Vinci for his patron Duke Ludovico Sforza and his duchess Beatrice d’Este

http://resources1.news.com.au/images/2011/04/22/1226043/263053-the-last-supper.jpg

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For anything worth having one must pay the price; and the price is always work, patience, love, self-sacrifice. No paper currency, no promises to pay, but the gold of real service. 

John Burroughs

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

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I had an idea for today’s blog based, once again, upon an email I got from my dad just the other day, which described the way each of the Apostles met their final moments. And as I  began reviewing the list of names from the Email, suddenly I was struck by the fact that it included more than the twelve most of us have come to associate with being a part of the original group hand selected by Christ himself. And as usual, this propelled me into researching some interesting facts about this special group of men and what I discovered was that the statement, “Jesus had Twelve Disciples or Apostles” is not an entirely accurate one.

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Perhaps leading the confusion as to who and how many there really were, is the fact that many have other names by which they are commonly known. For example Bartholomew was also known as Nathaniel and Peter was Simon Peter. Three names even pop up, such as Judas (AKA Thaddeus and Lebbaeus) versus Judas (Iscariot) and suddenly it begins to make perfect sense as to how it might just require the talents of a Biblical historian and a Playbill cast list to sort the matter out.

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There were only twelve Apostles in the strictest sense. And while we have come to commonly use the word Disciple and Apostle interchangeably, in fact, those chosen few were considered to be Disciples while Christ lived and did not become Apostles until after His death and ascension into Heaven.  And even that bears explaining because, in fact, there were some who were called upon to spread Christ’s message throughout the world who remained only Disciples throughout their lifetimes since they were not among those few who were hand chosen by Christ.

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Of those hand chosen twelve, one (Judas Iscariot) betrayed Jesus for 40 pieces of silver and afterward, was so distraught, that he hanged himself (Acts 1:18). This left eleven men who awaited the Holy Spirit in Jerusalem; their names are listed in Acts 1:13 and are as follows: Peter, James, John, and AndrewPhilip and ThomasBartholomew and MatthewJames the  son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot; and Judas the son of James. And we learn in Acts 1:26, that Matthias was chosen to replace Judas Iscariot, bringing the total number of apostles back to twelve. Then in Acts 14:14Barnabas and Paul are referred to as Apostles: “But  when the Apostles Barnabas and Paul heard this, they tore their clothes  and ran in among the multitude, crying out.” And then more confusion reigns when in Revelation 21:14, we see that there are yet more, 15 to be precise, men named as Apostles. As my friend and colleague Rev Michael Weissman might say, “Oy vey!”

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Now as I was trying to validate the post I received about the cause of death for the Apostles, I discover that from a historical biblical perspective, apart from James, son of Zebedee (brother of John), and Judas Iscariot, the Bible, in fact, shares very little insight into how any of the disciples died. Even the demise of Judas Iscariot is in dispute. Acts 1:18 describes Judas being brought a field and falling headlong, bursting  asunder.

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Now I am not a Rhodes scholar. In fact even trying to sort this much out today has given me a headache that might just measure a 10 on the Richter Scale. There are many who are much more scholarly than I am who might just be able to sort out the confusion so that it makes perfect sense to you. And if you are one or know of someone who is, please send me an email (mandyspath2011@aol.com) and I will make sure that I share it right here in the future. But, in the meantime, I will share with you the Email that started it all. Although there are no identifiers on the Email itself, it seems to have originated as part of a website that I have discovered and I will follow the post with the URL at the end should you want to do some more exploring yourself or contact them with questions you may have.

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Matthew
Matthew suffered martyrdom in Ethiopia killed by a sword wound.

Mark
Mark died in Alexandria, Egypt, after being dragged by horses through the streets until he was dead.

Luke
Luke was hanged in Greece as a result of his tremendous preaching to the lost.

John
Faced martyrdom when he was boiled in a huge basin of boiling oil during a wave of persecution in Rome. However, he was miraculously delivered from death. John was then sentenced to the mines on the prison island of Patmos. He wrote his prophetic Book of Revelation on Patmos. He was later freed and returned to serve as Bishop of Edessa in modern Turkey. He died as an old man, the only Apostle to die peacefully.

Simon Peter
He was crucified upside down on an X-shaped cross. According to church tradition it was because he told his tormentors that he felt unworthy to die in the same way that Jesus Christ had died.

James
The leader of the church in Jerusalem was thrown over a 100 feet down from the southeast pinnacle of the Temple when he refused to deny his faith in Christ. When they discovered that he survived the fall, his enemies beat James to death with a club. This was the same pinnacle where Satan had taken Jesus during the Temptation.

James (the Great)
Son of Zebedee, he was a strong leader of the church and was ultimately beheaded in Jerusalem. The Roman officer who guarded James watched amazed as James defended his faith at his trial. Later, the officer walked beside James to the place of execution. Overcome by conviction, he declared his new faith to the judge and knelt beside James to accept beheading as a Christian.

Bartholomew
Also known as Nathaniel, Bartholomew was a missionary in Asia. He witnessed for our Lord in present day Turkey. He was martyred for preaching in Armenia where he was flayed to death by a whip.

Andrew
He was crucified on an X-shaped cross in Patras, Greece. After being whipped severely by seven soldiers, they tied his body to a cross with cords to prolong his agony. His followers reported that, when he was led toward the cross, Andrew saluted it in these words, “I have long desired and expected this happy hour. The cross has been consecrated by the body of Christ hanging on it.” He continued to preach to his tormentors for two days until he died.

Thomas
Thomas was stabbed with a spear in India during one of his missionary trips to establish the church in the sub-continent.

Jude (Thaddeus)
He was killed with arrows when he refused to deny his faith in Christ.

Matthias
The Apostle chosen to replace Judas Iscariot was stoned and then beheaded.

Paul
Paul was tortured and then beheaded by Emperor Nero in Rome in 67 AD. Paul endured a lengthy imprisonment, which allowed him to write many epistles to the churches he had formed throughout the Roman Empire. These letters, which taught many of the foundational doctrines of Christianity, form a large portion of the New Testament.

http://www.gospelsatellite.org/Bible%20Facts%209.htm

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Then I heard a voice from heaven say, “Write: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.”
“Yes,” says the Spirit, “they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them.”

Revelation 14: 13 NIV

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Copyright © 2011-2014 “MandysPath” Ministry

Thought For The Day 03/13/14

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Friendships

 

Post 1093

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friendship-56v

http://ts2.mm.bing.net/th?id=HN.608030939545010456&pid=1.7

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A friend is one of the nicest things you can have, and one of the best things you can be.

Douglas Pagels

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

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I discovered today, perhaps for the first time, and I’m saying this in all earnestness, what a real friend is. And that is something many of us may not really understand unless that kind of relationship happens to fall into our laps. What most of us think of as friends are probably more akin to the strongest bond of “acquaintance” that is possible to have with another person. These folks are the ones that telephone us, and pop over and have coffee and some light conversational time. But rarely is this someone we feel comfortable with the unburdening of our soul.

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Now, admittedly, time with them is something we cherish. Indeed, these people are the ones that help us travel through the minutes of our everyday times of angst. And then, suddenly, we meet that one in a million individual! You know the person I mean. It is as if their hearts have been touched by the very hand of God! They are the people who enter our lives on tiptoe and somehow manage to leave an imprint on our very soul the size of Mount Everest! We are witnessing the uniqueness of character of someone destined to become a person who changes the very essence of who we are for all time!

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Once in a great while this might just be someone we’ve never even seen face to face. And yet, they are the first ones that ask us not what we can do for them, but rather, they ask us what they can do for us! And they ask this of us before we even realize that there is something we need.

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They are the ones that come in to our homes when we feel sick and roll up their sleeves and pitch in straightening and offering coffee. They are the ones who somehow leap-frog ahead of those other acquaintances in our lives, and somehow, inexplicably, transform from being merely friends in our lives to being extended family members!

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Certainly we are not unique in finding such people and finding ties like these. There are a handful of stories in the Bible that tell of friendships like this. And I am not referring to the bonds forged by our Lord and Savior with the Apostles or any other devoted followers. I am thinking more about the bonds that existed between Ruth and Naomi, or the bonds between David and Jonathan. Now we know that there have been some who have speculated that these relationships were more than platonic and yet I do not believe these views in the least. Ruth and Naomi teach us how bonds born firstly of family ties somehow morph into a beautiful love story shared by mother and daughter-in-law. And the story of the special love shared by David and Jonathan was one that grew despite marriages of both men to women that seem to have been devoted mates.

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I searched through a myriad of search engines to see if I could find the author of the following poem. And though it has appeared in a multitude of sites, no where could I find the name of the author. And so I will share this as one of the “Author Unknown” treasures that somehow fell into my life just as that true friend has. And I dedicate it to those special people….those true friends…. who grace your lives today, tomorrow, and always! For my friend…………….

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Friendships!
 
As we walk our path of life,
We meet people every day.
Most are simply met by chance.
But, some are sent our way.
 
These become special friends
Whose bonds we can’t explain;
The ones who understand us
And share our joy and pain.
 
Their love contains no boundaries.
So, even we are apart.
Their presence enhances us
With a warmth felt in the heart.
 
This love becomes a passageway,
When even the miles disappear.
And so, these friends, God sends our way,
Remain forever near.

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“This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.”

John 15:12-15 NKJV

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Copyright © 2011-2014 “MandysPath” Ministry