Tag Archives: positive thoughts

Thought For The Day 02/22/15

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Sunday, February 22nd, 2015

First Sunday Of Lent

Post #1444

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bible-reading

 

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Lent

In Christian teachings, this time is traditionally described as lasting 40 days which, according to the Gospels, commemorates the time Jesus spent before beginning his public ministry. The purpose for us is to prepare us through prayer, penance, repentance of sins, almsgiving, atonement and self-denial.

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 A Prayer For Today  

February 22nd, 2015

Our Gracious Heavenly Father,

We thank you for this Lenten time to gather in thought and prayer to honor you and to remember the life of your son, Jesus Christ.

Deepen our capacity to pray and to come to You during our times of both trial and triumph. Teach us so that we may better understand ourselves, to be reconciled one with the other and with you. Make that love one of profound joyfulness. Make our hearts and faith as simple and honest as the faith of a child, and help us to strengthen our faith so as to make it above temptation and so that it may be renewed by grace.

Father, we lift our voices, as well as our hearts, as we pray the prayer that your son Jesus taught us to pray, saying:

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.

Amen.  

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Author of Today’s Gospel Reading

St Mark the Apostle

st__mark_the_evangelist_by_lordshadowblade-d62zolm

The second Gospel was written by St. Mark, who, in the New Testament, is sometimes called John Mark. Both he and his mother, Mary, were highly esteemed in the early Church, and his mother’s house in Jerusalem served as a meeting place for Christians there.

St. Mark was associated with St. Paul and St. Barnabas (who was Mark’s cousin) on their missionary journey through the island of Cyprus. Later he accompanied St. Barnabas alone. We know also that he was in Rome with St. Peter and St. Paul. Tradition ascribes to him the founding of the Church in Alexandria.

St. Mark wrote the second Gospel, probably in Rome sometime before the year 60 A.D.; he wrote it in Greek for the Gentile converts to Christianity. Tradition tells us that St. Mark was requested by the Romans to set down the teachings of St. Peter. This seems to be confirmed by the position which St. Peter has in this Gospel. In this way the second Gospel is a record of the life of Jesus as seen through the eyes of the Prince of the Apostles. His feast day is April 25. He is the patron saint of notaries.

http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=305

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Our Old Testament Reading

Genesis 9: 8-15 ESV

Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him, “Behold, I establish my covenant with you and you and your offspring after you, and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the livestock, and every beast of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark; it is for every beast of the earth.

I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.”

And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: I have set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh. And the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. 

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Our Gospel Reading

Mark 1: 12-15 ESV
The Temptation of Jesus

The Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. And he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. And the angels were ministering to him.

Jesus Begins His Ministry

Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kind=gdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”

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Christian-Music1

Hymn For Today

Be Still And Know That I Am God

 The author and composer of this meditative/chant
style hymn based on Psalm 46:10 are unknown.
Harmony by Stephen Dean

Be still and know that I am God,
Be still and know that I am God,
Be still and know that I am God,
Be still and know that I am God.

I am the Lord that healeth me,
I am the Lord that healeth me,
I am the Lord that healeth me,
I am the Lord that healeth me.

In thee O Lord, I put my trust,
In thee O Lord, I put my trust,
In thee O Lord, I put my trust,
In thee O Lord, I put my trust.

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Thanks Be To God!

Amen

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Mandy 2014

Copyright © 2011-2015 “MandysPath” Ministry

Thought For The Day 02/20/15

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Cause And Effect 

Post 1442

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wheat2

http://www.freefoto.com/preview/07-45-6/Wheat

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You REAP what You SOW: Life is like a boomerang. Our thoughts, deeds and words return to us sooner or later, with astounding accuracy.

Grant M. Bright

http://quotationsbook.com/quote/34304/

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Your deeds, good or bad, will repay you in kind. And while we might sometimes wish that was not the case, if history has taught us any lesson worth remembering, it is the one we find in Hosea 6:7 NASB, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.”

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Just ask any farmer or rancher anywhere in the world and they will probably eagerly show you the evidence of these words by the quality of the product they produce. And I am sure you will admit that, given your druthers, you would most likely prefer to ingest foods that have been tenderly nurtured and cared for as they matured. Not a single one of you would jump up and say, “I’ll take the inferior food over there!” No, given a choice, we would choose only the crops and protein sources that were given the best feeds and fertilizers, because we know that these are the foods that will provide us with the biggest bang, nutritionally speaking, for our buck! So why is it we are not as particular about our lives? Why are we so often content to sit back and do nothing when we bear witness to people who treat others with less regard than a farmer, or a rancher or even a back yard gardener, treats the things they are cultivating?

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How many of you have ever heard of the “Law of Cause and Effect”? Basically, it refers to the fact that everything that happens in the universe is the direct result of something that happened just prior. The implication is that all that occurs in the universe is no more than a chain of events following one after another according to the law of cause and effect, just like a row of dominos will topple simply by nudging the first over! Well the same thing applies to our behavior. The events that follow an action will weaken or strengthen the likelihood it will occur again, which is why someone who has a history of abusing another is not likely to stop the behavior unless something occurs to intervene and prevent the activity from occurring!

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Now this philosophical musing of casualties is simply a fancier way of saying, “You Reap What You Sow”…..a fact of life for man that has existed since time immemorial! Take the Garden. Adam and Eve were created and perfect and had all they could want….save one thing. The fruit of the forbidden tree. So now “cause” comes knocking in the guise of Satan who tempts and through guile, talks Eve into committing the one thing that God had forbidden. And what was the “effect”? They became separated from God, which showed in their actions and their attitude. Adam and Eve knew that they were naked. Their perspective and the way they viewed everything in their world changed! They were ashamed and hid their bodies with fig leaves and themselves from God. Genesis 3:7-8 NIV, “Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves. Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden.”

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The Bible is rife with examples of the “Law of Cause and Effect”, or “You Reap What You Sow”, but you get the picture, I think. The thing is that there is a way to intervene and prevent the inevitable weakening of our characters which can be the result of allowing the laws to go unchecked! YOU! ME! ALL OF US! We are the solution to changing the fall of the dominos by refusing to sit by and do nothing. Every positive act and action we accomplish changes the outcome of the world. You see, just one random act of kindness leads to another and another and another. Perhaps you will never see the scope of power of the one thing you did. But make no mistake! It mattered! Perhaps not to many, but I can guarantee you that it mattered to one. So then try for a second to imagine what you might be able to accomplish if you actually made this type of thing your focus. Can you find it within to do one act of kindness every day? You will be amazed at the rewards you will sow!

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“But you have planted wickedness, you have reaped evil, you have eaten the fruit of deception. Because you have depended on your own strength and on your many warriors..”

Hosea 10:13 NIV

 

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Mandy 2014

Copyright © 2011-2015 “MandysPath” Ministry

Thought For The Day 02/19/15

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A Bucket List For Faith

Post 1441

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Bucket List

http://sogyeltobgyel.blogspot.com/2011/04/before-kicking-bucket.html

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The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss, but that it is too low and we reach it.

Michelangelo

http://mslistologist.com/2010/04/57-quotes-that-will-inspire-you/

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A few years ago, a movie was released that forever changed a common phrase we have all used musingly, at one time or another, when discussing the culmination of a life well lived…..”kicking the bucket”! For any of you who may not be familiar with the famous movie that starred Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, “The Bucket List”, released in 2007, is a comedy that follows two terminally ill men as they embark on a road trip with a list of zany and wonderful things they want to do/see/accomplish before they die! And since then, people everywhere have jumped on the “bucket list” bandwagon, compiling their dream “to do’s” for every time frame imaginable….. a bucket list for week, for the month, for the year, etc. Even corporations have joined in with a business model “bucket list” for employees to aspire to!  So today, I want us to think about creating a “bucket list” for our life of faith!

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Now I know that I am not the first to suggest a “bucket list” for faith. In fact, many churches complied such a list for congregants who participated in the “Year of Faith” a couple of years ago, which was an effort by the Roman Catholic Church (and adopted by many Protestant denominations, as well), of sharing the Gospel in an effort at adopting “New Evangelization” or the proclaiming of faith and the son of God to all people. Now history shows that many Roman Catholics have traditionally viewed this type of activity as an effort more suited to Protestant religions! So it is probably easy to understand how establishing a bucket list for this purpose, would facilitate the goals this movement is trying to effect. You see, sitting down and writing a list of the things that are the most meaningful as we explore what it is we hope to realize from embarking on the journey that brings us closer in terms of our personal relationship with God, helps each of us to discover just what our goals are. It allows us to decide what the things are that will be the most valuable to us in understanding the dynamics of our faith, and it also provides us a way to remember all of the things we hope to accomplish even as it acts as a catalyst to inspire us to do even more!

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So what do we want to include on our “bucket list”? Well, there are a few standards that should begin every “bucket list” of faith, such as:

  1. Remember to offer a prayer of thanks at least once each day to God for all of the blessings he has bestowed! And even if it seems as if there is nothing in your life to be thankful for, then simply thank Him for the fact that you woke this morning to a brand new day where you can begin again the process of discovering His wonders!  2 Timothy 1:3 (NLT), “… I thank God for you—the God I serve with a clear conscience, just as my ancestors did. Night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers.”
  2.  Make it a point to read one Bible verse every day. If you have trouble understanding what is being told in a particular version, such as the King James Version, there are many versions that have translated the texts into a format that is more easily understood. And you need not buy a copy. Simply enter http://bible.cc/ and the “Online Parallel Bible” will come up. Next, type in any book of the bible, and simply start with chapter 1, verse 1, and you will find the verse in nearly every translation right there, in front of your eyes. Psalm 119:105 (ESV), “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”
  3. Become a volunteer in your community so that you live and breathe Christ’s teaching to “Love Thy Neighbor”. What you give to help others and make your community a better place for everyone, will be returned to you many fold! 1 John 3:18 (ESV), “Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.”
  4. Visit a church or a cathedral that holds a place in history. Look around at the walls and the floor, and sit in a pew that has held thousands upon thousands of the faithful throughout history. Think about the master artist that created the unique and exquisite stained glass windows. Look at the baptismal font and envision the life of the untold numbers of babies who became part of God’s family on that very spot. Remember as you see, smell and touch the wonders of the history of the building, that a church is more than the structure. It is the people, all believers united together, one with the other under God! Acts 20:28 (NIV), “Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with.”

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There are a thousand of other things I can think of to include in my personal “bucket list”, but just as our faith and beliefs are somewhat subjective, so are the things we might choose to do in an effort at bringing us closer to the Almighty. But let that be my challenge to you today! Make a list of your own. It needn’t be long, nor must it include everything one might hope to discover, right off the bat. Let your list grow and grow, even as you grow closer to the Almighty, with each thing that you do. Let His love for you act as your compass as you seek to discover all that you can about not just God, but your own heart, as well!

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The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body-whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free-and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.

1 Corinthians 12:12-26 (NIV)

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Mandy 2014

Copyright © 2011-2015 “MandysPath” Ministry

Thought For The Day 02/16/15

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The Chaos He Delights In

Post 1438

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chaos

http://ecosocialismcanada.blogspot.com/2011/05/secret-life-of-chaos.html

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“He’s the only stable thing in the swirling chaos.”

Beth Revis

“A Million Suns”
http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/491161-he-s-the-only-stable-thing-in-the-swirling-chaos

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I don’t know about you all, but it seems that for me and my house, we exist amid a world of chaos. It is not what I would choose for any of us, if I had the capacity to do so, but I also understand that this is inherently what comes with being a part of the human race.

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We live, vulnerable to the pressures of one who not just delights in that chaos, but grows stronger, as if it is chaos that provides the nourishment he needs to sustain his existence here on earth. And make no mistake, he is as real as is the poverty we see in our inner cities, the breakdown of the family dynamic we see in the clash of brother against brother and the partisanship we see that tries to fracture our governments!

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Yes, Satan does all he can to insinuate himself between each heart and all that heart holds sacred and he enlists the help of many to accomplish the deed! A fellow blogger, Nancy Salazar (a former Missionary, and founder of the New Harvest Christian Fellowship), once wrote a post in which Satan speaks to his minions about how to gain victory over Christians. The instructions he gives are worth remembering, so that we do not fall victim his spell.

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12 THINGS SATAN DOES TO GET VICTORY OVER CHRISTIANS

Satan said to a convention of Demons, “As long as Christians stay close to God, we have no power over them. So here are 12 things you can do to get victory over Christians.”

1) Keep them busy with non essentials.

2) Tempt them to overspend and go into debt.

3) Make them work long hours to maintain empty life styles.

4) Discourage them from spending family time together, for when their homes disintegrate there is no refuge from work.

5) Over stimulate their minds with television and computers, so they can’t hear God speaking to them.

6) Fill their coffee tables and night stands with newspapers and magazines so they have no time to read the Bible.

7) Flood their mailboxes with sweepstakes promotions and get rich quick schemes to keep them chasing material things.

8) Put glamour models on TV and on magazine covers to keep them focused on outward appearances. That way they will be dissatisfied with themselves and dissatisfied with their mates.

9) Make sure couples are too exhausted for physical intimacy so they will be tempted to look elsewhere.

10) Make Santa and the Easter bunny bigger than Jesus to divert them from remembering the real meaning of the holiday.

11) Involve them in good causes so they won’t have time for eternal ones.

12) Make them self-satisfied. Keep them busy working in their own strength so they’ll never know the joy of God’s power working through them.

(http://loveyourspouse.org/2011/05/15/12-things-satan-does-to-get-victory-over-christians/)

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Yes, Satan thrives on chaos because chaos fractures our resolve to live by what is right. And when we break, Satan burrows into the tiny cracks that develop, infecting our soul like an invading micro-organism finds entry into our cells, infecting our body. And it is when we are vulnerable that we find ourselves falling victim to the lies of one who wants to possess the part of us that rightfully belongs to only two; ourselves and God.

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Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.
 
1 Peter 5:8 NLT

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mandy and melissa

Happy Birthday to my sister Melissa! Once again, you’re only one year younger than I am! LOL! Have a wonderful day!

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Mandy 2014

Copyright © 2011-2015 “MandysPath” Ministry

Thought For The Day 02/14/15

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Number 10! 

Post 1436

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ten commandments

http://beta.photobucket.com/images/ten%20commandments/

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“Whatever worldly thing we may covet – zealously striving to obtain and then retain – never seems to bring an end to our desires. Covetousness, envy, jealousy, and greed always escalate into a vicious spiral, as we seek greater and greater gratification but find less and less contentment. . . . Striving to acquire the things of the world not only does not bring lasting happiness and peace, but it drives us to seek more. When “all we’ve ever wanted” is grounded in the temporal trappings of this world, it is never enough!”

Brent Top

http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/coveting

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It would have been easier for me to write about love since today, Valentine’s Day, is a time when we focus on the things that tie our hearts to that of another. And then I saw something and I said the words that changed what I knew I would write today. They were words that I wished I could have taken back the moment they left my lips. In a single thoughtless utterance, I committed a sin that has been an absolute since the moment Moses carried the Ten Commandments down from Mt Sinai! The fact that it is also a sin that perhaps 95% of the human race has probably committed at one time or another, brought me little comfort! You see, I desired something that I had seen and I was very vocal about how much I would love for it to be mine! Dare I say the word? I “coveted”!

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The tug at my heart was immediate because, the very moment the words left my mouth, the vision of a tiny face we all know from a wonderful story about how a miserly man learns some hard lessons from the Ghosts, came instantly to mind. And it was not the “Bah-Humbug” of Ebenezer that I recalled, but the wide-eyed wonder of the wee Cratchit children the moment they spied the tiny goose that would fill not just their tiny tummy’s but their spirit, as well. You see, they knew something I had forgotten…. they knew gratitude for what they had. They were grateful despite having only the barest of life’s necessities, whereas I, who live a comfortable, middle-class life, wanted not just that which I did not need, but something that, in hind sight, I really had no use for! “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.” Exodus 20:17 ESV.

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The fact that it is the very last of God’s commands does not diminish its importance. In fact, we all know that in life, it is usually the best that is saved for last, and so I must wonder if He chose this place on the tablets to discuss the sin of COVETING, because He knew that this last one would be the hardest for the heart of man to remember! But remember we must, because we are told that its sin has the capacity to keep us from collecting our Heavenly reward when our earthly lives are over! (1 Corinthians 6:10, “…nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”) It is perhaps His only command that looks to our heart….not by forbidding the act, but by forbidding the desire to commit the act!

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So how do we correct this very human flaw of our nature as human beings? By remembering that because we are human, not committing the sin is more than we can manage on our own. However, what we can manage is not continuing the sin once we have realized our error! We can look to Him and His Spirit, to empower us in our efforts as we try to live the lives we must, that follow His laws. It is the reward we received from the sacrifice His Son made, which reconciles us to God and allows us to overcome our human faults by relying on His spirit rather than our own strengths!

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Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we may boldly say: “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?”

Hebrews 13: 5-6 NKJV

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Mandy 2014

Copyright © 2011-2015 “MandysPath” Ministry

Thought For The Day 02/13/15

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When People Talk….

Post 1435

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deeper-conversation

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Each generation of the church in each setting has the responsibility of communicating the gospel in understandable terms, considering the language and thought-forms of that setting. 

Francis Schaeffer

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

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We spend entirely too little time really talking to one another these days, and that is, indeed, a sad commentary on the times in which we live. All too often, we either ASSUME or we PRESUME to know what the other person will say, so we simply skip the dialog that might unite us both, in learning  from each other! And even when we do talk, we do so like a “bobble-head”. Our mouths seem to go at warp speed, but then we have only half an ear tuned into the conversation anyway…. ESPECIALLY when that conversation turns to our beliefs in God and the essentials that comprise the things about faith that we hold to be absolute. And while it is good to have strong convictions, when it comes to something as potentially unifying as well as divisive as faith can be for many, it is only possible to grow when we allow for the fact that there is ALWAYS something to learn about it when we talk to others and share our “take on the matter”. You see, when people talk…..AND LISTEN…..great things can happen!

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Who has ever heard this particular Bible verse? Well, if you’ve read my posts for very long, I’ve cited it on more than one occasion! “A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit”  Proverbs 15:13 NIV. But have you ever really thought about why it holds such significance to me? Well, it’s because when you are lighthearted and your heart is merry, you can’t help but approach everyone you meet in everything you do, in a positive manner. And when you have joy within, somehow people just seem to want to lean in and listen, if only to understand what has transformed you and led you to this point in life! And suddenly, those cold feet we get, which is often the sole reason we don’t open up, in the first place, disappear and suddenly, the prospects of sharing becomes less frightening and uncomfortable! Indeed, the old adage is true….practice really does make perfect! Suddenly, you find that it is much easier to engage in a conversation about things that might just be potentially difficult, such as is often the case when it comes to matters of faith. 

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Just one caveat to sharing things with others. Do your homework first! If you are choosing to discuss something technical, do a quick scan of a reference book or on the internet, to make sure the things you are bringing to the table really have merit and make sense, otherwise others may not take your suggestions seriously the next time you want to interact. If you are talking about baking a cake but don’t know that a cup is 8 oz, no one will want to eat the cake you make. It just won’t taste good! The same holds true for matters of faith.

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Now this does not mean that we all will be expert in all things we discuss. The good Lord knows I’m not, nor do I try to be! But what I try to do is learn myself, the same time I’m sharing with you! If you or I were all experts, there would be little need for us to talk in the first place, don’t you think? Just consider the opinion you are conveying, then try to bone up to make sure you can defend it adequately, should the need arise! Then have at it, and open up! Just make sure it is a dialogue you engage in, not a monologue!  2 Timothy 2:15 NIV, says “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” But Jesus also says in Matthew 11:15 KJV, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” You see, really hearing requires a conscious effort otherwise we are merely listening, not hearing and definitely not learning!

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So go ahead and take a “leap of faith” about your faith! Share your heart’s desires about the things that matter to you and you might just help someone who was on the fence, decide to want to learn just a little more about your take on things. Who knows….. you might just be God’s catalyst, without even knowing that you are! Yes, indeed, when people talk….. AND LISTEN….. great things can….. and DO….. happen! EVERY DAY!

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 “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Matthew 28:19 NET

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Mandy 2014

Copyright © 2011-2015 “MandysPath” Ministry

Thought For The Day 02/12/15

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Small Mindedness

Post 1433

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close minded

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_YRvl5fLZQvc/TGO_QiFNbTI/AAAAAAAAAUQ/La3STUa1u_Q/s1600/close+minded.jpg

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Some people need to open their small minds instead of their big mouths.

Author Unknown

http://www.searchquotes.com/search/Small_Minds/

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How often do we observe the actions of people and ask ourselves how is it possible that, in this day and age, there can exist such an attitude of small-minded entitlement? These people speak and behave as if theirs is not just the only correct but perhaps even the only morally acceptable standard there is! And then suddenly, before you even realize that it has happened, we begin to doubt something as absolute as perhaps even the very fabric of our faith. Such is the power the opinion of the small-minded person can wield, unless we ourselves feel confident enough to persevere on our own path and by our own convictions! James 1:4 NIV says, “Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

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We are all like the fertile loam in any carefully tended field. Our aim is to produce a copious bounty of a product that will either nourish our bodies, such as fruit and vegetables which are so important for our physical health, or nourish our senses through the glorious beauty that springs from plants and flowers! We do not doubt the ability of our field to grow these wonders because we have taken care to fertilize the ground so that our crop can flourish. Isaiah 55:10 NIV supports this. “As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater…” Then suddenly, without any warning, a bird flying over the land drops the seeds of a weed onto the land, and before we know it, the weeds spring forth, choking out the things we have so carefully cultivated!

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Man has yet to lose the selfish gene that is part of the spiraling code of DNA that God has endowed. Well, perhaps not selfish, but most definitely egocentric. The thing is that when we think only about how actions and even thoughts impact on only us, we fail to grow and flourish in the same way we hope those painfully and carefully tended crops will. It takes the blending of the opinions of the many that produce the most glorious results….whether we are talking about gardens or our families and our communities. Isaiah 58:11 NLT sums it up, “The LORD will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength. You will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring.” When we consider only the good of the one rather than the many, we will fail as farmers and as human beings in the eyes of God! But eagerly hold fast to the things he has given and make room for a better way of thinking….His way of thinking! And make room for the glorious blooms that will await you in your relationships, and in your garden that is life!

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Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Romans 12:2 NIV

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Mandy 2014

Copyright © 2011-2015 “MandysPath” Ministry

Thought For The Day 01/27/15

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“Ah, You Don’t Believe
We’re On The Eve Of Destruction…”

http://www.metrolyrics.com/eve-of-destruction-lyrics-barry-mcguire.html

Post 1417

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nuclear_power_01

http://izismile.com/2008/12/22/nuclear_explosions_88_photos.html#pic3

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The atomic bomb made the prospect of future war unendurable. It has led us up those last few steps to the mountain pass; and beyond there is a different country.

J. Robert Oppenheimer

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

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It seems none of us can escape todays modern technology, and when those smart devices we have become addicted to decide to go toes up, we are thrust into a state of withdrawal akin to quitting smoking or drinking. Suddenly we find ourselves rushing out to get our fix at the nearest phone or big ticket item store. And that is how we found ourselves in the car today,  and how I suddenly found myself hearing in my mind, Barry McGuire’s song “The Eve of Destruction”. Suddenly, I was struck by the thought that even though this song was recorded and made popular in 1965, there are very few things about this song’s message that have changed in the 50 years since! Our fears about the unpredictability of both modern technology, AND man, especially when there seems to be a need to exert power and authority over others, above all else, seems to be the same today as it was in 1965. In fact, they’re the same fears man had in 1915 and 1776 and 1 BC!
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This is made crystal clear to me when I feel the same lump in my throat as I did when I was a kid going through the evacuation drill that required us to exit the school bus through the emergency doors and then to climb under the same bus and to, hopefully, some measure of safety against the threat the United States was facing as a result of the Cuban Missile Crisis. My 21st century throat lumps have come in many disguises in recent years. From a breaking news alert about the North Korean government threatening to continue to test fire missiles, to the beheadings of innocent people who are captives in the hands of ISIS fighters,  to the kidnapping of hundreds of young people from schools and even entire villages in Africa, to the murder of cartoonists in France, indeed it seems as if the Barry McGuire song is true… even though his reference was the Far East and not the Middle East! Yes, “The eastern world it is explodin’, violence flarin’, bullets loadin’ “
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Now we probably would have heard and reacted to this news differently, if the countries (and people) involved were a country (and people) open to negotiations and a communal dialogue of sorts. In fact, it’s possible we would not have given the news more than an initial, gut wrenching reaction after which we would most likely have continued on with our busy lives. But history supports that we see the threat posed by the leaders of these nations (and people), in a different light, and I am given pause to wonder why it is that one person, or a nation of people, find it not just necessary, but almost a moral imperative, to act in a manner that elicits fear in others! But lets take this idea one step farther and consider something else. Even among the world’s many faiths, we are seeing a time of the breakdown of our communications one with the other. Are we, indeed, abandoning interfaith dialogue in the 21st century? Is it “The Eve of Destruction” for faith?
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Consider for a moment what the term “interfaith dialogue” means. When we seek a dialogue within our family dynamic, do we not embark on discussions with a goal of effecting constructive and positive interaction with those we love? Do we not hope to strengthen the bonds of both love and trust by being receptive to new thoughts and ideas introduced in a positive spirit? Well, it means exactly the same thing whether we are seeking to open up the lines of communication within the family, or between nations, or even between differing faiths. It does not seek to change the existing dynamic of belief but instead, seeks to open the mind to the possibilities that new ideas might somehow infuse into the current level of thought!
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I am a Christian! I say this fact loud and proud! You see, it is through my acceptance and belief that Christ died for me and my sins that directs my heart and shapes the tenets of faith that I hold dear and by which I live my life. And it is this belief, my Christian belief, that colors my personal portrait of God and of my faith. It is what gives my portrait its vibrancy and primary colors as I add all if the shapes and forms and brush strokes that come from my life experiences. But now I want you to think about how I add some dimension to my portrait. I add some new and different hues and shades of color that come from learning about and understanding other parts of faith such as God’s early directives to mankind involving the Hebrew peoples. Now suddenly, my portrait of faith becomes even more brightly colored and vibrant and alive. Next add some of the ideals and thoughts of the esoteric religions to the mix, and now my brush strokes capture the beauty that is to be found in light and shadows intermixed with all of the other colors. Add the unique components of all of the other faiths that live in the hearts of man, and what results in a masterpiece of breathtaking beauty that captures the best parts of our humanity!
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I am not asking any person reading this today to necessarily alter any part of what they hold to be true in their hearts. What I do ask is that we all try to see beyond the part of each of us that is skin deep. What I ask is that we ask our questions and be receptive to the answers those questions elicit because it is God’s wish that we grow to be complete people… physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually! What I ask is that we each try to consider the impact our actions have on others, and that we try to discover some way we might assuage those fears through interfaith and intercultural dialogue with others. What I ask is that we work collectively as a race of human beings to look to a world on the horizon of wonder and not a world on the eve of destruction!

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“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”

Jeremiah 29:11 NLT

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Mandy 2014

Copyright © 2011-2015 “MandysPath” Ministry

Thought For The Day 01/26/15

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Our House… Is A Very Fine House!

Post 1416

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Old Tennent

Old Tennent Presbyterian Church was the church I attended when my children were young.
Old Tennent was used as a field hospital during the Battle of Monmouth on June 28, 1778.
234 years later, the blood of wounded Continental Army troops can be found on the church’s wooden pews!

I was ordained as a Presbyterian Deacon here in 1993.

http://www.wdgordon.com/history/gordon20.htm

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“When every hope is gone, ‘when helpers fail and comforts flee,’ I find that help arrives somehow, from I know not where. Supplication, worship, prayer are no superstition; they are acts more real than the acts of eating, drinking, sitting or walking. It is no exaggeration to say that they alone are real, all else is unreal.”  

Mahatma Gandhi
The Story of My Experiments With Truth

http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/worship

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When I was a little girl, there were some rules that went hand-in-hand with visiting God’s house on Sundays! We were always well scrubbed and polished and wearing our finest attire, complete with hats and our Sunday white gloves. My mother had as many pill-box hats as Jacqueline Kennedy and looked even more beautiful wearing them, her head held high, when we entered the huge sanctuary doors. My dad sported his best suit. It was one that was a bit different that the ones he taught school in every day, and his Sunday shirt collars always had just the perfect amount of starch so that they could slice a cake into paper-thin slivers, should the need arise. And we were not out of the ordinary in those days, because every family treated their church with the same reverence and respect. There was even a book published in 1882 entitled, American Etiquette and Rules of Politeness, which went so far as to say as much in the following statement:

“The congregation who builds a church, build it and continue to regard it as the house of God. It is, then, a place where the greatest deference, respect and reverence are due.”

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The debate over this very topic rages on even today, and there are more that a few voices who loudly chastise those who dare to enter through those massive oaken doors wearing anything less that what has been designated as one’s “Sunday best” for the last 200 years! The problem is that it is sometimes mindsets like these that are rooted in the absolutes that was life in the days of yester-year, that cause us to forget that life is not the same for any of us today as it was 50 or 100 or 1000 years ago! What is becoming increasingly apparent is that it is this thinking and these attitudes that are responsible for the dwindling numbers of bright and shining faces sitting in the pews of church sanctuaries every Sunday!

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Times change as they must! No one reading this would ever hope to return to the days when polio crippled little ones for life and the common cold would kill, more often than not. So if we realize the importance of changing out thoughts about these things, why is it so difficult for us to expand our mind a bit and accept that God doesn’t care what church you show up to or what attire you are wearing when you do, just as long as you show up somewhere, wearing something (hopefully)? All He asks is that we all take some time out of our busy lives to pay him homage!

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I talk to people every day through social media. I post poems and pictures and stories and prayers and things that I hope might just bring you just a bit closer to the Almighty with each item that I share. I do this on my social media page, MandysPath. Is this any less a kind on ministry because I do it at all hours of the day, and night, and in all manner of attire, from business casual to pajamas? Does this mean that I have no respect for my God? Of course not! It means that I am comfortable enough with my faith to understand the God only cares about what He sees in my heart and not on my back!

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Jesus did not send away the poor and the ragged who sought Him out for his counsel and blessings. Think about one of His miracles of healing. Now today we know that Leprosy is not that dreaded disease that caused people to be banished into caves. However, 2000 years ago, there was perhaps no malady more feared. But Christ did not allow this to deter him from laying hands upon the man with Leprosy, and making him clean. Read the accounting of this miracle. When he came down from the mountainside, large crowds followed him. A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately he was cured of his leprosy. Then Jesus said to him, “See that you don’t tell anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the gift Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.” Matthew 8:1-4 NIV.

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Interestingly, it is likely this act that was responsible for Christ sharing his message in the days that would follow in what would be constituted as lonely places….. places that were out-of-the-way. You see, Jesus told the man to remain quiet and tell only the priest, but instead, the man proclaimed the miracle everywhere and Jesus was not able to enter the town. But despite the need to share God’s word in the open air, where there were no protections from the elements, still, they came!

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When we seek to share His word with others, it is the message that matters and our willingness to want to learn from that message that matters. It is what we wear as the attire of our character that matters. It is the content of our hearts and not the content of our closets that matters. It is the robe of our faith that we wear openly and unashamedly that matters. It is that we take the time to do it that matters, not when and where and how and what we look like as we do it!

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Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. Go near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools, who do not know that they do wrong.

Ecclesiastes 5:1 NIV

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Mandy 2014

Copyright © 2011-2015 “MandysPath” Ministry

Thought For The Day 01/24/15

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O P E N — Walk Ins Welcome!

Post 1414

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Open-Walk-Ins-Welcome-Neon-Sign-Custom-Neon-Signs-37-20

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“Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts.”

R Talloni

http://rtalloni.hubpages.com/hub/Truth-Quotes-Everyone-is-entitled-to-their-own-opinion-but-not-their-own-facts

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I live in what is often fondly referred to as the Bible Belt. As I was driving the other day on a highway very near my house, the truth of my first sentence really hit home. You see, I suddenly realized that I was driving along a road with the most churches I had ever seen in my entire life…and at 60 years young, I have done my fair share of driving along country roads!

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Now I noticed that along the first 15 or so miles of this road, I actually lost count of the number of churches I passed, once I got beyond 12. And aside from looking to see whether they were Baptist, Methodist or another faith, the other thing that I made it a point to do was to check out all of those catchy signs complete with slogans meant to pique your interest and draw you inside, that are in the front yards of nearly every country (and not so country) church in America.

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Now most of these signs were your average “welcome to our church family” type of signs, but there was one that I particularly noticed because the words on it were the same ones I read on the windows of hair salons and other businesses these days. You see, in the need to generate increased revenue, many businesses, especially those with a personalized type of service, want you to know that they want YOU as a customer and that they will do everything they can to make you a happy, happy consumer! Yes, the sign in front of this church said “Walk-ins Welcome”!

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Now I was so surprised to see it that I even forgot to notice what the church name or denomination was but, once I finished laughing, I actually began to think about what the pastor meant when he posted it. Why was it that this particular sign struck me as being hilariously funny, when reading the same words in front of a business would not have been funny at all? Is it possible that I actually might find humor in the implied reference that any ole’ Tom, Dick or Harry was welcomed here and their presence be just as valued as would a King or a Saint? Well, shame on me for even contemplating such an insensitive thing…. even in a moment of jest!

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How sad it is, that instead of welcoming everybody with open arms, we find that we are all too often inclined to question not just their right to be there, but their motives for being there, as well. What I did, in a single thought, was to somehow need to raise or lower my standards to accommodate another, instead of looking at the situation in such a way, that it becomes my personal responsibility to raise the other person up, no matter how they got there, or what it was that drew them to come there, in the first place! And behaving and thinking this way is anything but Christian! You see, in that brief moment, I forgot that everybody was welcome to come and listen to Christ as he shared God’s message. And just as He ministered to everyone alike, so should we all seek to reach out today and draw people in and share the words of faith that dwell within our hearts! Romans 15:7 NRSV says, “Welcome one another, therefore, just as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.”

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In addition to all that I write here and as the Administrator or a number of faith-based social media pages, I also advocate for children who so often remain voiceless in society. So how is it that I would remove the very same right from someone, anyone, who was seeking to be enlightened by God’s voice?
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Remember when the disciples tried to keep the little children from coming up to Christ when he was preaching? Did Jesus Christ not chastise them, reminding them that it is everybody’s right to come and know Him and to receive His word and grace? Matthew 19:14 NIV, “Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” And suddenly, in my mind’s eye, I saw a picture of Jesus welcoming the multitudes to His gathering, especially children, and as they entered and drew near, they all passed his shingle, hung on a nearby tree, that proclaimed, “WALK-IN’S WELCOME”!

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There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

Galatians 3:28 NIV

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Mandy 2014

Copyright © 2011-2015 “MandysPath” Ministry