Tag Archives: collective group

Thought For The Day 06/05/14

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A Pied Piper And The Power Of Prayer

Post 1179

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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

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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

 

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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

Thought For The Day 02/21/14

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Evangelism

Post 1074

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Evangelism

https://dbcmedia.org/sermons/images/86

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I am convinced, by the way, that friendships provide the most fertile soil for evangelism. When the reality of Christ is introduced into a relationship of love and trust that has already been established, the effect is powerful. And it seems that invariably, when someone becomes a true follower of Christ, that person’s first impulse is to want to find a friend and introduce that friend to Christ.
 
John MacArthur
Source: Twelve Ordinary Men

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I am always amazed when I read about the new efforts at “Evangelism”. Even the efforts of Pope Emeritus Benedict at encouraging an age whereby the fostering of love in the world is accomplished by what he refers as “The New Evangelization”, is anything but new! After all, was not the greatest of all evangelists the Son of God himself? Did Jesus not focus on the most important components of “Evangelization” by teaching the fundamental tenets of the Christian faith, and then courageously foster every time He spoke, a deeper understanding of its components and applications? And was not all of the ideas of faith that ended with Christ’s death not carried forth even further by the Apostles who continued living, loving and leading with both joy and the strength of conviction as the years progressed? “And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.” Acts 13:52 NIVAnd while we may not have actually named the process itself for perhaps 1300 more years, that does not change the fact that what was, is, and always will be by the intent of the Christian heart in sharing our beliefs, an ongoing effort at “Evangelization”?

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Today the process by which we effort our “Evangelism” is vastly different that it was in its early days. While we may at times curse the technologies that the modern age has afforded man, the fact of the matter is that we can now reach the four corners of the globe in a nanosecond! My blog is one example of the miracle technology has gifted to us. For example, for one week in 2013, the chart below (part of the statistics WordPress maintains for me) shows you the scope of the countries my words have touched, and the number of people who have shared my thoughts. Pretty amazing for a housewife from South Carolina, don’t you think?

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Country Views
United States 106
Canada 18
United Kingdom 14
Germany 9
India 9
Indonesia 4
South Africa 4
Philippines 3
France 3
Australia 2
Lithuania 2
Spain 2
Singapore 1
Israel 1
Uruguay 1
United Arab Emirates 1
Sri Lanka 1
Italy 1
Malaysia 1
Peru 1
Finland 1
Thailand 1
Hong Kong 1
Latvia 1

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So now think about the lives that were touched by the mini-series that aired on “The HISTORY CHANNEL” last night, “THE BIBLE”! The celebrity “Twitter” accounts of many unlikely notables were abuzz with messages urging their followers to tune in, including Rapper P. Diddy; Glee TV star Jane Lynch; Singer Christine Aguilera; The Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson; Maroon 5 singer Adam Levine; Reality notable Kate Gosselin and Shannon Tweed, wife of KISS star Gene Simmons! And while it is too early to check out the ratings numbers, polls taken were universally positive. I watched it with my father, and while there were a few liberties of poetic license, it was a remarkable undertaking which, when it is over, will have numbered 10 hours of historically accurate tales from the Bible and I suspect, will have a viewership of several hundred million people! Yes, “Evangelization” at it’s finest, and all because a devout Roman Catholic actress, Roma Downey, and her famed reality show producer husband, Mark Burnett, dared to dream of a way to bring history to life and share faith’s tale. And so the effort at using the tools of modern technology at fostering “Evangelization” continues!

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I am going to share with you some Bible verses that will focus on the words of Jesus and tell you some of the reasons He believed “Evangelization” was absolutely necessary. Read them and then remember that sharing God’s message to others is what is asked of all of us. So, if I can do what I do every day in writing my thoughts, what can each of you do?

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Matthew 9:37-38 

Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. “Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.”

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Luke 19:10 

“For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

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Acts 1:8  

but you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”

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Matthew 28:19-20  

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

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2 Corinthians 6:2

for He says, “At the acceptable time I listened to you, And on the day of salvation I helped you”; behold, now is “the acceptable time,” behold, now is “the day of salvation “

 
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“Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison— that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak. Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.”
 
Colossians 4: 2-6 ESV

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Copyright © 2011-2013 “MandysPath” Ministry

Thought For The Day 02/05/14

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Being Color Blind

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http://www.123rf.com/photo_6683615_diverse-group-of-preschool-5-year-old-children-playing-in-daycare-with-teacher.html

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One day our descendants will think it incredible that we paid so much attention to things like the amount of melanin in our skin or the shape of our eyes or our gender instead of the unique identities of each of us as complex human beings. 

Franklin Thomas

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

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I clearly remember the singular moment when I discovered an amazing phenomenon. It is something that transcends all cultures and countries and religions and sexes. Did you know that every single child born into the world is color blind? Now I’m betting there are some of you reading this and shaking your head and saying “NO WAY. Mandy’s lost her marbles!” Well, just to make this absolutely, positively clear…..this is not just my opinion. This is an absolute fact! Now I knew this truism already, but I decided to look up some supporting evidence for you doubting Thomas and Thomasina’s out there. While surfing the web, I happened upon a You Tube clip that supports this fact and, indeed, actually explains this phenomenon in clear and concise terms. It’s very short and well worth seeing, just in case you don’t believe me.

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Now should you need more proof, I invite you to go to any playground or better yet, visit a day care facility during a warm and sunny afternoon. You are apt to view running and chasing and throwing balls and sliding on slides and swinging on swings and climbing and laughing……much, much laughing. I promise you that you will be witnessing a pure and unadulterated joy for joy’s sake alone!

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You are just as apt to see 2 little boys (or girls) hugging one another as you would a boy AND a girl hugging. To these children, they are playing with their “bestest friends” in the whole wide world. They are not playing with their black friend or their white friend or their brown friend or their purple or green or Chartreuse colored friend. They are playing with their friend. In fact, there is not a single nerve or cell in the being of these little children that can even conceive the evil that is hate or bigotry. It is not until our children become exposed to darker and more sinister side of life, usually passed onto them like some evil and malignant tumor by the ignorance and intolerance of the adults in their life, that all of this amazing innocence of childhood changes.

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This fact was brought home to our family in a hard way nearly 2 years ago. You see, it was then that an important little one in my life lost his best friend. The fact that they are separated is through no fault of theirs. In all truth, what it is, is a sad commentary on the state of my community. I can tell you that everywhere I look here, despite living in the heart of Dixie, I am finding that interracial couples are more the norm than the exception.  But suddenly, surprisingly, bigotry rears its ugly head when we are least prepared to deal with it. And with its intolerance came the need to explain it all to a little guy who only knew that his “bestest friend” was gone from his life.

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Even though 2 years have passed, and I am no longer certain whether the memory of his “bestest friend” lingers in his heart or mind, the explanation will have to wait a few years more. You see, we do not know yet how to explain racism to a child whose eyes still do not see the differences in the color of a person’s skin. And all I can do is say a prayer that maybe…..just maybe…..the explanation won’t be needed at all by then!

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But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.

Galatians 3:25-29 ESV

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Copyright © 2011-2013 “MandysPath” Ministry

Thought For The Day 12/12/13

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And So It Begins Where All Things Must…

Post # 1000

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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

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Since November 15th, 2013, I have rested on my laurels (so to speak), by sharing what I lovingly referred to as a “THROWBACK”. I wanted 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 I begin at the beginning, once more. I do not know where this new journey will take me, but I do know that there is one who does! And you all are not just welcome to join me as I travel to new horizons, but you are also an essential part of that new journey. And with His help, perhaps we will reach out next goal…..attaining the next milestone of #2000!

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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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Copyright © 2011-2013 “MandysPath” Ministry

Thought For The Day 11/01/13

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Who Are You Turning Your Back On?

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http://slodive.com/inspiration/pictures-of-a-cross/

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The twentieth century seems afflicted by a gigantic… power failure.  Powerlessness and the sense of powerlessness may be the environmental disease of the age. 

Russell Baker

New York Times, 1 May 1969

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

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I was sent an email yesterday and it was one I knew needed to be shared. I read it over…..once, twice, three times. And as I let the words wash over me I realized that they were ones I had read before. So I decided to enter a few of them into my WordPress search engine, and I discovered that I did know them quite well. In fact, they were part of a post I wrote in 2012. And it was then that I knew that I needed to share them with you all once again. So here is an encore posting of “Who Are You Turning Your Back On?”

Mandy

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Once upon a time there was a church in a middle class community. It was small but beautiful with the most beautiful stained glass windows imaginable and a marble baptismal font lined with a silver bowel. The adult choir wore crimson robes made of satin and embroidered with golden threads. A golden cross adorned the altar and engraved on its face were the initials I.N.R.I. which means “Iesvs Nazarenvs Rex Ivdaeorvm” in Latin and translated into English means JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS. No expense had been spared.

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It was a Sunday in early fall and worshippers were entering the sanctuary, dressed in their warmest Sunday best, well protected against the cooler temperatures. They were all greeted at the door by one of the church elders serving as an usher this day. Services were due to begin when an older man wearing a threadbare jacket  and scuffed shoes with no socks opened the door. You see, he had seen the sign in front of the building announcing a special musical presentation featuring both the adult and children’s choirs. He dearly loved hearing the melodic voices of youngsters singing their praises and he decided to enter and worship with the rest. Finding his way barred by the elder, he was told that this was a special occasion and that his presence might just be a distraction to the children and that he would therefore need to leave the building.

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Face crestfallen and shoulders hunched, he turned around and left the sanctuary without a word. However he decided to sit on the steps in front. Perhaps he would be able to hear just a bit of the service! Shivering against the cold, and hearing very little of the service, he had finally decided to leave and find some place warm when a young man suddenly appeared and sat down on the steps next to him. Glancing over, he noted that the young man had longish hair and his toes peeked from beneath his long outer garment which was tied by a cord around his waist. His sandals were worn and his feet were dusty as well!

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The young man greeted his companion on the stoop and asked the older man what he was doing there. The man replied that he had so wanted to hear the church service and listen to the beautiful music but that he had been prevented from entering the church. The young man looked deeply into the beaten face of his companion, he sighed deeply and turning to the older man, replied, “I know exactly how you feel, my friend. My name is Jesus and I’ve been trying to get inside this church for years!”

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So consider the next time you make a conscious decision to turn your back on your fellow man for any reason at all. Make sure you take a second to ponder just who it might be you are choosing to ignore. You may well not recognize the face of an angel or of Christ himself, should He decide to confront you. In fact, we know that the face of God is hidden from all except His Son. In John 6:46 CEBwe are told, “Not that anyone has seen the Father, except the One who is from God; He has seen the Father.” However, make no mistake whatsoever. The face of the Almighty and His Son, Jesus Christ, will become crystal clear to us all come judgement day!

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God also said to Moses, “I am the LORD. I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob as God Almighty, but by my name the LORD I did not make myself known to them.

Exodus 6:2-3 NIV

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