Tag Archives: Paying it Forward

Thought For The Day 12/15/14

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The Other Wise Man

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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

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Thought For The Day 11/29/14

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Act Friday… And Saturday… And Sunday…

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Imagine what a harmonious world it could be if every single person, both young and old, shared a little of what he is good at doing.

Quincy Jones

http://www.dailycelebrations.com/service.htm

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Now that you’ve eaten your fill of your Thanksgiving Dinner and those neatly wrapped leftovers are at the ready for the requisite hot turkey open-faced sandwich planned for tonight’s dinner, what will you be doing with the rest of the, what for many, is a four day holiday weekend? Will you have been like the nearly 160 million other people throughout the country, hovering around the entrance of your local retail establishment in the wee hours of the morning like a plague of locusts hovers over crops just before annihilating the plants? Did you even wait that long given the new retail lure of Thanksgiving Day shopping? Are you guilty of trampling over the guy next to you to grab the last of the $1000.00 computers which they are offering for $250.00? Mark my words and listen to the wisdom of Mamma Mandy who learned some very valuable advice from my own mother more years ago than I care to remember…. “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is”.

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The hook has been baited by retail establishments. You are already in the door the moment you discover that the quantity of $250.00 computers that are available is 2 not 200! So before you become a Christmas Shopping “Humbug”, why not consider avoiding the mall entirely, and instead, think about establishing a new family tradition to kick off the Christmas season? Why not embrace the true reason for the season and change “Black Friday” and Saturday and Sunday into “Act Friday” and Saturday and Sunday!

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I actually was patting myself on the back thinking I had come up with perfect thing to light that inner fire of inspiration within your hearts, only to discover that churches actually encouraged something similar in 2010 called “Bless Friday”. And identical to the intent begun by those churches, I want to encourage you to take a moment and give some thought as to what God expects of us as we prepare to celebrate the birth of the Savior of the World! How about beginning the holiday season by thinking about service to others? And what better way can there be than to do something to banish hunger or want or despair that has become an epidemic, albeit an invisible one, in our communities here in the United States and throughout the world.

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Now I am not going to make any specific suggestions this morning. I would much rather you search your own heart to discover just where it is leading you. However, I do want to remind you that you are all intimately familiar with that miracle of miracles…..the internet. You are, after all, reading my post here thanks to the information highway that has become a part of your everyday existence in this, the 21st century! So why don’t you let your fingers do the walking across the keyboard or even across your very own yellow pages for some ideas of places that might need your help? The possibilities are endless!

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As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever.

Amen

1 Peter 4:10-11 ESV

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Mandy 2014

Copyright © 2011-2014 “MandysPath” Ministry

Thought For The Day 11/21/14

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I Cried Because……..

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http://www.thequotefactory.com/quote-by/wally-lamb/i-cried-because-i-had-no-shoes/33880

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I never lamented about the vicissitudes of time or complained of the turns of  fortune except on the occasion when I was barefooted and unable to procure  slippers. But when I entered the great mosque of Kufah with a sore heart and  beheld a man without feet I offered thanks to the bounty of God, consoled myself  for my want of shoes and recited:  ‘A roast fowl is to the sight of a satiated  man Less valuable than a blade of fresh grass on the table And to him who has no  means nor power A burnt turnip is a roasted fowl.’

Sheikh Muslih-uddin Sa’di Shirazi

The Gulistan (or Rose Garden) of Sa’di

 (circa 1259 AD)

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I cried because I had no hat till I saw a man who had no coat.
I cried because I had no coat till I saw a man who had no shirt.
I cried because I had no shirt till I saw a man who had no socks.
I cried because I had no socks till I saw a man who had no shoes.
I cried because I had no shoes till I saw a man who had no feet.
I cried because I had no feet till I saw a man who had no legs.
I cried because I had no legs till I saw a man who had no life.
Life is full of blessings…
Sometimes we are just too blind….
To see them…..

Original Wally Lamb. Adapted Version Author Unknown

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Unless you live in a cave somewhere, you are well aware of the trying economic times that face many throughout the world. However, unless you are a member of the growing circle of people who are struggling because of a  tangible such as a job loss, most of us are merely tightening our belts a tad and eliminating some of those little luxuries we take for granted. But despite the fact that most of us are not really suffering….. not really….. we are bemoaning our fate loudly and often to whomever will listen. Yes, we think we are owed the best we can get and the devil with the means by which we get it. We will often step over someone to grab those tangibles we think we are due, completely forgetting about the things we already have! Yes, we all too often miss seeing the blessings that are a part of the life we already live!

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There is a saying that “faith lies in not getting what you thought you wanted but getting what you have” and then being smart enough to realize the significance of the lesson. In other words, be content with the gift of today’s blessings because we never know what tomorrow will bring. And to actually see and understand the message is not really all that difficult. All it takes is a bit of travel and the journey need not be a long one. In fact, you might not even need to leave your home. Just pick up a book and explore the side of God’s world where “plenty” is a virtual unknown. Or how about entering the word poverty on your web browser. Once you find a site, take a moment and read about true want and see pictures of those who truly have nothing. You may be surprised to discover pictures of want in not just third world countries, but in your own backyard, as well. Yes, read and look and then let the experience fill your heart. You may just find it to be life altering.

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Still not a reality to you? Still not something you can touch or feel or smell or taste? Well I’ll make it easy for you if you live here in the USA. Just click this link: http://www.foodpantries.org/, find and click your state and then your local county. You will find at least one listing for a local food pantry. Then go to your pantry and gather a few non-perishables in a bag and deliver them to the pantry. You will find the warmth of the spirit of good will just filling your heart and soul and I promise you that once you experience that feeling just once, you will never forget it. Doing for others and thinking about others, instead of bemoaning your own circumstances, becomes positively infectious! Yes, just like the catch-phrase and philosophy of the late 60s and early 70s;
TRY IT, YOULL LIKE IT!

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photo shared from Young Turks Facebook page

http://www.facebook.com/#!/TYTnation

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 He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. “Is that not what it means to know me?” declares the Lord.

Jeremiah 22:16 NIV

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Mandy 2014

Copyright © 2011-2014 “MandysPath” Ministry

Thought For The Day 11/18/14

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The Face Of Poverty

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Homeless and cold

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

 

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The poverty of our century is unlike that of any other. It is not, as poverty was before, the result of natural scarcity, but of a set of priorities imposed upon the rest of the world by the rich. Consequently, the modern poor are not pitied…but written off as trash. The twentieth-century consumer economy has produced the first culture for which a beggar is a reminder of nothing.

John Berger

http://quotationsbook.com/quote/31464/

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It’s been almost a year since I sat here broken-hearted, because I had seen a sight in my own back yard that I had not seen since my days of working in New York City, where the sight of tousled hair beneath a ragged blanket, all lying over one of the thousands of steam vents that dot the Manhattan landscape, was an all too common a sight.

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I remember the day perfectly. I was in North Myrtle Beach, SC and the afternoon temperatures had plummeted….at least 25 degrees in less than 2 hours. I was leaving WalMart after trying to find a Christmas gift for my little guy. And sitting on the median where the entranceway meets the main highway were two men. They were very ragged, dirty, thin, wearing a T-shirts and no shoes. Between them they were holding a sign that said they were hungry.

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Now I usually carried in my car individual bags with toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, towel, washcloth, comb, crackers and juice. But I remember that Dan had taken my stash out a few weeks ago. (He had said it made the car smell funny. Dare I point out that it was the clean smell of soap rather than the aroma of smelly golf shoes???????) Anyway, I remember shouting out the window saying I would be back and for them to stay put. I went home, grabbed the bags plus 2 pairs of new socks and 2 flannel shirts…. and headed back. They were gone. I drove around looking for them but could find no trace. It was as if they had evaporated into thin air. And I was left thinking something disturbing. How many had passed these 2 men with barely a glance, sniffing in disdain as they passed?

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There is no community that is immune from those who are disenfranchised. But how often do we pass without really seeing? Probably more often than not, if we really think about it. And we should be ashamed of ourselves! Especially this time of the year, as the weather is changing and becoming colder. But we are also approaching a joyous time of the year. A time of the year when we are compelled by some inner voice, to be just a bit kinder, gentler and more thoughtful to others. We are approaching a day to give thanks and another day to rejoice and celebrate a special birthday.

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So today I challenge you all to decide what you can do to make someone else’s life just a bit brighter! Can you give a gift to another in honor of a tiny being born in a manger some two thousand years ago? Can you clean the closet and find a wearable warm sweater or coat? Can you gather those bath towels you were planning on throwing away, wash them and put them in a plastic bag with a comb and a bar of soap? Or the next time you stop for fast food, can you add to your order a gift certificate for a burger and a drink, and then keep it in your wallet, just in case? Can you do something? Anything? Can you help another child of God to find something to be thankful for?

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For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

“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 25:35-40 NIV

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Mandy 2014

Copyright © 2011-2014 “MandysPath” Ministry

Thought For The Day 11/17/14

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The World Rests In Our Hands

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http://payitforwardday.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/945242_15692282.jpg

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A sacrifice to be real must cost, must hurt, must empty ourselves. The fruit of silence is prayer, the fruit of prayer is faith, the fruit of faith is love, the fruit of love is service, the fruit of service is peace.

Mother Teresa

http://www.ewtn.com/motherteresa/words.htm

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Considering the fact that the earth upon which our feet walk is really a whopping  7,926 miles in diameter at the equator, which makes it the largest of all of the terrestrial planets (the ones located closest to the sun that have physical mass), it is still a pretty small place when we consider the universe in which it rotates. Why then do we find such a diverse collection of people, cultures and beliefs? After all, considering that our farthest neighbor lives only a little less than 4,000 miles from us, wouldn’t you think there would be a few things we can find some commonality in?

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Ok, yes, we speak different languages and have different forms of government and yes, even differing ways to worship. But isn’t the bottom line for everyone that we live the best life it is possible for us to live, given those other differences I mentioned? Can’t we find a way to serve and love God and save our world and love our brothers and sisters, no matter where they come from, at the same time? 1 John 3:16-18 NIV: This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.

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We all have a similar tale of our ancestry in some way. Whether it is from Europe or Asia or Latin America, we all have arrived where we are because of a journey someone made searching for a better life. And even if your family has been a part of the USA for generations upon generations, as mine has, still, our roots are not from here. For that matter, even the earliest native population to these shores traveled here from another place, traversing over land bridges that no longer exist.

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Now I am not a geneticist, but I’m betting if we were to somehow manage to do a genetic test on man today, more likely that not, even despite the differences in our skin pigmentation or eye color, we would discover that we are all related in some way. We are, indeed, brothers and sisters of a shared life from the beginning of time. And that alone is reason enough to see why we all must take care of each other…. stewards of human life, if you were…. just as we must be stewards of the planet we all walk upon! Galatians 6:10 NIV says, Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.

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God has entrusted each of us with the business at hand of keeping things running here on good ole’ terra firma! But never forget whose it all is in the first place! So we must each make it our personal responsibility to do something good with the faith He is showing in us all, by not just making our world a better place, but by making our relationships one with the other better, as well! And there is no waiting for the other guy to make the first move. Let our world become a better place and mankind become a better group of people, and let the creating of this begin with each of us!  It is what He expects and asks, in 1 Corinthians 4:1 NIV. This, then, is how you ought to regard us: as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the mysteries God has revealed.

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So, how about listening, feeling and understanding. Just three little things on the surface but what power they wield. They are three simple things that have the capacity to change the world in a HUGE way, one heart at a time!

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Since an overseer manages God’s household, he must be blameless—not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain. Rather, he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined. He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.

Titus 1:7-9 NIV

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Mandy 2014

Copyright © 2011-2014 “MandysPath” Ministry

Thought For The Day 11/15/14

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Scattering Seeds Of Wisdom

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http://www.ehow.com/list_7330671_seed-scattering-plants.html

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It’s not what you gather, but what you scatter, that tells what kind of life you have lived.

Author Unknown

http://spiritteaching.com/words%20of%20wisdom.html

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I was sent a cartoon the other day from a friend who can completely commiserate with the creaky joints I have as well as the sheer joy I feel when I successfully rise from a couch unassisted and in one smooth movement since more often than not, I’m usually doing the rock-to-rise dance as I stand. Anyway, the cartoon she sent me had a message under it that was so profound, I knew it needed to be shared. Let me know if you agree!

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“TODAY IS THE OLDEST YOU’VE EVER BEEN, YET THE YOUNGEST YOU’LL EVER BE, SO ENJOY THIS DAY WHILE IT LASTS!”

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That’s how my world rocks! You never know exactly where that next thunderbolt of inspiration might originate from. But  since it is what you choose to gift to others that shows the true content of your character, I then I find myself challenged to  share with you any pearls I can harvest from whatever source I discover them, even when the source is a cartoon! And considering how profound the above quote really is, I am thinking you probably agree.

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Appreciate and show gratitude for drawing breath and living this day. After all does not Psalm 118:24 ESV say this very thing? “This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Yes, feel gratitude for this very moment, when you are both as old and as young as you will ever be, for what will happen in the next second is never guaranteed to any of us.

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Consider for a moment just what a grateful heart creates in a person! Aside from the whole mind/body wellness that having a positive outlook gifts us with, gratitude, when accepted and then given back to others, acts as a magnet, attracting all manner of everything wonderful we hope for in life. Yes, gratitude yields an abundance of all of the positive things we need to live as productive and well-rounded human beings. Without gratitude and appreciation for things like hope, wisdom, creativity, courage, spirituality and responsibility, the life we live would be empty and hollow. And while it is not possible to live every moment with a sunny disposition, just remember things can always be worse.

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Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die;  so, let us all be thankful.

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The quote above which is attributed to Buddha really addresses the gift that we are given by living and learning and then scattering the seeds of wisdom and true thankfulness with others, even during the moments when we might just think we have nothing worth living for or worth giving to another! You see, as long as we have learned, are healthy, and are alive, there is ALWAYS something… anything… we can do for or give to others. And isn’t that the mark of a person’s true character and worth?

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A Psalm for giving thanks. Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations

Psalm 100:1-5 ESV

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Mandy 2014

Copyright © 2011-2014 “MandysPath” Ministry

Thought For The Day 11/10/14

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Random Acts Of Kindness

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http://now.msn.com/random-acts-of-kindness-photo-gallery

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Practice random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty
 
Anne Herbert

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Anne Herbert, is said to have once written “Practice random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty” on a place mat in a restaurant. And since that day, the feeling that is contained within this small sentence has blossomed into what is now seen to be almost a rallying cry for people everywhere. And there is something magical about embracing the philosophy of generosity of spirit and then turning it into overt action. It encompasses the very best of the essence of the Almighty which fills us with a light which, once lit, shines through and bathes the world in its glow. Performing those random acts brightens the day, and sometimes even the life, of the one who is the recipient of its magical properties. In fact, it has the capacity to forever change even someone who, by association, simply bears witness to it.

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Remember the stories that came out of the Northeast only 2 years ago following Hurricane Sandy? They were simply heartbreaking. And much like the response to the devastation from Katrina, and the earthquakes in Japan and Haiti, sometimes it was an example of actions that were simply a matter of too little, too late! It was not uncommon to discover people following Sandy, who were without power and even running water, for weeks and weeks following this storm, who were freezing as the fairly temperate climate of fall rapidly turned into the bone-chilling frost of winter in the region. Add to this the inevitable shortages that occur following any natural or unnatural disaster… the food shortages in stores, lines for fuel and in some cases, total homelessness, and it is easy to understand why the level of despondency in the regions of such horrors begins skyrocketing!

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I hear every day now the anger and frustration in the voices of people who are rapidly losing their grip on the rope that is barely, just barely, keeping them from completely falling over the edge of the cliff. And while I know that what I am trying to do by my personal response to the anguish that faces so many in our world,  is not all I would like for it to be, it is what I am able do. But more than what I must doing overtly, is that I must fan the flames of that need in your direction. Perhaps this will inspire you all to do your part to help out, as well. And as your near and dear witness your kindness, so will they carry that kindness farther still. Yes we each may be but a single person…..one…..but we stay one only when we choose to do nothing. But, when we choose to do something and act, we become that snowball rolling down hill, getting bigger and bigger as it travels!

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Ok, so what can we do, you ask? Well start in your own backyard! Yes there are thousands and perhaps millions who are suffering throughout the world, but so are many in your own communities. Charity that begins at home usually finds itself spread far and wide! And should you need even more inspiration or motivation, just think about some words whose ideas are far greater and at the same time, far simpler to accomplish, than any I might be able to share!

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Be kind.

Ephesians 4:31-32 ESV:

Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you

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Be thoughtful.
 
Ephesians 4:2-3 ESV:
 
With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
 
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Give out compliments.

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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Say thank you.

2 Corinthians 9:7 ESV:

Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

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Volunteer.

Proverbs 11:24 ESV:

One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want.

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Forgive somebody.

Matthew 6:15 ESV:

But if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses

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Mandy 2014

Copyright 2011 – 2014 MandysPath Ministry