Tag Archives: prejudice

Thought For The Day 10/29/14

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What Do You See?

A Sow’s Ear or A Silk Purse?

Thought 1327

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A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both. 

Dwight D. Eisenhower

 Inaugural Address

January 20, 1953

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What would your first thought be if you pulled into your church parking lot on a Sunday morning only to see a man in faded and baggy clothes rummaging through the dumpster  that houses garbage from the strip mall adjacent to the parking lot? Would you be shocked considering that your neighborhood is an upper middle-class one with $250,000.00 homes nearby? Would you become angry that your community was invaded from one of THOSE people? Would you shout your disapproval at the man? Would you call your local police department to send an officer to remove the miscreant? Or would you turn your head and pretend that you did not see what was right in front of your face? (All important questions worth thinking about!)

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Finally, choosing not to make a scene, you walk quickly, in the opposite direction of the man and through the church doors into the bright, clean and beautifully appointed sanctuary. You shake hands and greet your fellow parishioners as you make your way to your seat. The mumbling you hear from your friends who shield their mouths with their hands, echoes the thoughts that circulate through your own head about the stranger outside. You sit, close your eyes to pray when suddenly, the sanctuary is as quiet as a tomb. You open your eyes to find that same stranger slowly making his way down the aisle toward the altar. Now what do you do?

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A Sunday Stranger

The parking lot filled rapidly on Sunday morning as members of the large church congregation filed into church. As usually happens in a church that size, each member had developed a certain comfort zone — a block of space within those four church walls that became theirs after the second or third sitting. It was as much a part of their church experience as the recliner was to the television at home.

One morning a stranger stood at the edge of the parking lot near a dumpster. As families parked cars and piled out, they noticed him rummaging through the trash. “Oh no! I don’t believe it,” whispered a lady to her husband. “That’s all we need — a bunch of homeless people milling around here.”

One worried little girl tugged on her dad’s sleeve. “But Daddy…”. Daddy was busy sizing up the bearded stranger, whose baggy, outdated trousers and faded flannel shirt had dusted too many park benches.

“Don’t stare at him, honey,” he whispered, and hurried her inside. Soft music filled the high-ceilinged sanctuary as churchgoers settled into their usual spots. The choir sang an opening chorus, “In His presence there is comfort… in His presence there is peace…”.

Sunlight suddenly flooded the center aisle. The double doors swung open and the homeless man, sloppy and stooped, headed toward the front.

“Oh no, it’s him!” somebody muttered. “What does he think he’s doing, anyway?” snapped an incredulous usher.

The stranger set his bagful of dumpster treasures on the very first pew, which had been upholstered in an expensive soft teal fabric just three months ago. The music stopped. And before anyone had a chance to react, he ambled up the stairs and stood behind the fine, hand-crafted oak podium, where he faced a wide-eyed congregation.

The disheveled stranger spoke haltingly at first, in a low, clear voice. Unbuttoning and removing his top layer of clothing, he described Jesus, and the love He has for all people. “Jesus possesses a sensitivity and love that far surpasses what any of us deserves.” Stepping out of the baggy old trousers, the stranger went on to describe a forgiveness that is available to each and every one of us… without strings attached. Unconditionally He loves us. Unconditionally He gave his very life for us. Unconditionally and forever, we can have the peace and assurance that no matter who we are, where we’ve come from, or how badly we may have mistreated others or ourselves, there is hope. In Jesus, there is always hope. “You see, my friends, it is never too late to change,” the man continued. “He is the Author of change, and the Provider of forgiveness. He came to bring new meaning to ‘life’.” Men and women squirmed as reality hit them like an electrical current. The stranger tugged at his knotted gray beard, and removed it. “I’m here to tell you that we are loved with a Love far beyond human understanding, a Love that enables us to accept and love others in return.” Then tenderly he added, “Let’s pray together.”

story found in the 10/28/12 copy of the newsletter@godvine.com

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That wise pastor, under the guise of a homeless “nobody”,  did not preach a sermon that day, but every person left with plenty to think about. Who was the poor one in the story? You see, despite having all of the resources they could ever want, it was always the members of this congregation who were poor. No, they were not poor monetarily but that is not the only kind poor in the world. Because what they were was poor in spirit!  They displayed all manner of the “deadly sins” by not just their actions but by their inactions, as well, including the sins of wrath, pride, envy, greed, sloth and gluttony. And while God sent His Son to earth for many reasons including healing physical poverty, that was  not the primary reason. As He traveled and healed and shared his Father’s message with people everywhere, He taught lessons intended to heal mankind of the spiritual poverty that they suffered from. And I don’t know about you, but I guess man must be a VERY slow learner, because spiritual poverty is just as pervasive in the world today, some 2000 years later!

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Jesus left the synagogue and went to the home of Simon. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was suffering from a high fever, and they asked Jesus to help her. So he bent over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her. She got up at once and began to wait on them.

At sunset, the people brought to Jesus all who had various kinds of sickness, and laying his hands on each one, he healed them. Moreover, demons came out of many people, shouting, “You are the Son of God!” But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew he was the Messiah.

At daybreak, Jesus went out to a solitary place. The people were looking for him and when they came to where he was, they tried to keep him from leaving them. But he said, “I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.” And he kept on preaching in the synagogues of Judea.

Luke 4:38-44 NIV

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Mandy 2014

Copyright © 2011-2014 “MandysPath” Ministry

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Thought For The Day 10/14/14

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Judge Not…

Thought 1312

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http://www.thepublicinsuranceoption.com/thepublicinsuranceoption/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/gavel-hand.jpg

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In the last analysis we must be judged by what we do and not by what we believe.  We are as we behave – with a very small margin of credit for our unmanifested vision of how we might behave if we could take the trouble. 

Geoffrey L. Rudd

The British Vegetarian, September/October 1962

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

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Here we go again! No matter how hard I try, I am faced every day seeing with my own two eyes (or reading it in news articles) one fundamental truth…. man’s propensity to judge his brother. And the funny thing is that there are many of you out there that see it as a non-issue while I view the exact same thing as a testament as to how we have managed to somehow devolve in the “love thy brother” and compassion department. This was made especially poignant when it was reported that a church (we all know the name) once planned a protest for the funeral of Sgt. Donna Johnson in Raeford, NC, not just because she was a soldier killed by a suicide bomber in Afghanistan, but also because she is survived by her wife, Tracy (http://guardianofvalor.com/westboro-baptist-church-to-protest-fallen-soldiers-funeral-in-raeford-north-carolina-today/) . Or how about the lesbian couple who got married on a beach just a few miles from my home here in South Carolina on October 4th, 2014, just days before the Supreme Court effectively brought marriage equality to a halt just as it began, and which was written about yesterday by columnist Isaac Bailey (http://www.myrtlebeachonline.com/issac-bailey/), the story link of which can not even be pulled up today! So once more I am forced to re-evaluate the question: Why do we judge people?

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Judgement has become so widespread these days that I really have to wonder how it is that we have allowed it to become almost programmed into our very DNA! Perhaps once upon a time judging others was needed. I am thinking about the days early in mankind’s very existence, before time found us living in what constitutes civilized society. I am thinking about the days when man lived a nomadic existence, roaming from place to place in search of food and shelter and other basic necessities of existence. At that time, judging others was necessary to assure survival. And even today, in less educated or civilized societies, I can somehow manage to reconcile the sense that this type of behavior continues to guarantee safety to a small segment of people in the world. However, most of those who practice this behavior do not live in third world countries! For the most part, we are not talking about people who never received the benefit of an education! For the most part, we are not talking about people who must forage and hunt food to survive! Instead we are seeing this in your average citizen who has completed at least High School and perhaps even College. We are seeing this in people who are employed or at least able to provide for food, clothing and shelter. And even more frightening, we are seeing this in people who have both an expansive religious background as well as a fundamental understanding of God’s purpose and plan for mankind…. which, I daresay, is not really ours to know anyway!

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There is an interesting definition of common sense that I once read. Attributed to Albert Einstein, the definition was this: Common sense is the sum of all of our prejudices we have acquired by the age of 18. (http://www.cracked.com/article_17142_5-ways-common-sense-lies-to-you-everyday.html). And I think this might just be the bottom line as to why we are so quick to judge the worth of another. Our negative opinion somehow supports the acquired prejudices we have formed about others even before we have taken the opportunity of getting to know them and it is this that seems to somehow become the stylus which etches the worth of others in our psyche!

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Why do we not choose to expand our horizons and first ascertain the degree with which others might just add some measure of value to our lives? People do not fit into an ideal mold, and, when you think about it, the world would be a sad place if they did. Because it is all that others bring into our lives, both the good as well as the bad, that serves to enrich the person we are! And I can think of no more special gift from God to mankind than that! So the next time you want to jump to a conclusion about someone, why not get to know them and give them the opportunity of proving themselves to you. And should you find that they do not complement what your preconceived notion of value might be, then say your farewells and move on. Leave the judging of the worth of others to one whose job it really is!

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A Brown Bag

On a dark winter’s night as the chill wind blew
on a park bench an old man there lay

Tattered and torn, tired withered and worn
he’d not eaten for more than a day

Heartache and fears and much sadness and tears
was his life – fate had dealt a poor hand

He thought once or twice of the terrible price
he’d paid not obeying God’s command

Way back in his youth he was taught gospel truth
and the Spirit had led him to preach

But judging was he – the way things ought to be
so instead he decided to teach

He made a good start and he had a kind heart –
untold were his many good deeds

Yet often he found – one who’d pray and kneel down
but he couldn’t attend their soul’s needs

A college professor he’d been for a while
but soon the years took a sad toll

Divorce – loss of wealth – no job and poor health
had left just a bum – growing old

He lay there in pain – a slight drizzle of rain
most certain he’d freeze to the bone

As he thought of the past, a deep sigh came at last
he guessed he’d just die there alone

Then, strangely appeared, a man standing quite near
He asked, “may I sit for a while?”

And though it was dark – in his eye was a spark
and his face bore a kind loving smile

He said, “Sir I perceive that you didn’t receive
all the good things God planned for your life;

By the look on your face I can somehow retrace
that you’ve lived through much anguish and strife.”

“God’s judgment won’t count all the sins you repent
and it’s never too late to restart –

So kneel here with me and together let’s see
if God will re-enter your heart;

Together they prayed and a long time he stayed –
A soul was reborn on that night

Then as suddenly he came – he was gone with no name
He’d vanished completely from sight

A brown bag he’d brought of food the old man sought
was all that remained at his side

The food warmed his body – the words fed his soul
Now Christ. . . . within him . . . . did abide

The brown paper sack on the park bench there
had these words – written with love

“God sent His Son and He also sent me”
“And a little mana from above.

(found in a 2012 edition of http://www.godvine.com/)

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There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?

James 4:12 ESV

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Mandy 2014

Copyright © 2011-2014 “MandysPath” Ministry

Thought For The Day 08/30/13

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Looking Inside The Heart

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looking inside the heart

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It is wonderful how much time good people spend fighting the devil. If they would only expend the same amount of energy loving their fellow men, the devil would die in his own tracks of ennui.

Helen Keller

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

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We are living on the brink right this very moment. And I am scared! No, I am not scared because I am worried for myself, but because I am worried for the lives and well-being of people everywhere whose eyes see only the outside of people rather than looking deeper and discovering what lies within each heart.

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What is the result of this disease of the mind and heart called intolerance, that is as infectious to the well-being of man as was the Black Death that killed 1.5 million people in the mid 14th century? Well, intolerance proves to the many that a few are incapable of accepting individuality and other unique qualities that are the signature of every single human being ever created by the Almighty!

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So now that we have identified the disease, what then is the end result of this infection? Well, intolerance of others breeds aggression. Aggression breeds anger. Anger breeds hatred. Hatred breeds violence. Violence breeds war. And war breeds even more intolerance! And I do not believe I am alone in praying that the human race can find a way to avoid that horrible three-letter word that has the potential to forever alter existence as we know it to be. But how? What can we do?

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Well imagine what we might just discover if we were able to burrow our way into the heart and mind of others! I suspect we would discover that for every single thing that is different about us, we would find perhaps a million other things that are EXACTLY the same. And isn’t that alone enough of a reason to try, at all costs, to end the mindset of power-hungry leaders who seek only to enhance their own position within their countries by choosing to totally disregard the lives of the people whose welfare they were entrusted with protecting?

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Now, please know that I do not, under any circumstances, seek to have any country employ violence if there is a possible diplomatic option available, because I know that sitting down and talking and even more importantly, LISTENING, can work miracles. It has done so in the past and I am certain that it will, in the future. But like so many in the international community, I can not see the face of another toddler with glazed eyes, gasping for breath, while a pile of others who have died lie in the same room just feet away.

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Yes, God commands that we not kill. And yet, we find again and again in the Bible, evidence that lives were taken by His chosen people, as He commanded. But what this shows us that there is a difference between taking a life with malice in one’s heart, and following His call for bloodshed as payment for crimes. And death under these circumstances, while never wanted, is, at times, wholly warranted! It is this difference that He shares with us in Samuel 15: 1-3 NIV, which is an affirmation, of sorts, that while war is never a good thing, it is sometimes inevitable given the sinful nature that is man’s curse to bear! “Samuel said to Saul, “I am the one the Lord sent to anoint you king over his people Israel; so listen now to the message from the Lord. This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘I will punish the Amalekites for what they did to Israel when they waylaid them as they came up from Egypt. Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy all that belongs to them….” Still….what would we really see in the heart of others, if we but take a moment to really look?

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There is a video that has circulated throughout the internet, that seeks to answer that very thing! It shares with us that we can never really know what is transpiring in the heart of another which is why we must always try to see the best in others, even if we doubt that the best even exists. But seeing through new eyes is only half the battle. Yes, we must see, but we must also live our convictions, and be an example to the world of what having a Christ filled heart can offer to humanity!

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This wonderful video is entitled, “IF WE COULD SEE INSIDE OTHERS’ HEARTS”: LIFE, and you may view this video by either clicking the URL or by pressing the embed arrow on the screen below.

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Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men’s hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God.

1 Corinthians 4:5 NIV

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Copyright © 2011-2013 “MandysPath” Ministry

Thought For The Day 07/17/13

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The Great Divide

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children of color

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“THESE YET TO BE UNITED STATES”

by Maya Angelou

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Tremors of your network
cause kings to disappear.
Your open mouth in anger
makes nations bow in fear.

Your bombs can change the seasons,
obliterate the spring.
What more do you long for ?
Why are you suffering ?

You control the human lives
in Rome and Timbuktu.
Lonely nomads wandering
owe Telstar to you.

Seas shift at your bidding,
your mushrooms fill the sky.
Why are you unhappy ?
Why do your children cry ?

They kneel alone in terror
with dread in every glance.
Their nights [“rights” ] are threatened daily
by a grim inheritance.

You dwell in whitened castles
with deep and poisoned moats
and cannot hear the curses
which fill your children’s throats.

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It is 2013. It is 150 years since the land that I love engaged in hostilities that pitted brother against brother over certain inalienable rights which our fore fathers guaranteed in language used to define our country. And yet, today, the battle over issue related to skin pigmentation continues to shout to the world, how little we here have not just learned, but also choose to hold within our hearts, in all these years. Yes, like it or not, and for right or wrong, depending on your personal perspective, faith and God’s directive to love one another, seems to be colored by color! When did we forget Luke 10:27, “…You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”? YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF!

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A Newsweek poll conducted in 2012, sums it up clearly in its headline, “A Newsweek Poll Shows Americans Still Divided Over Race”. (a) And while this poll looked at many differing issues related to race, including both politics and those same news-worthy events that most of us here have seen 24/7 in recent days, the bottom line seems to be that, while a war was fought and won, and rights and freedoms were extended to all individuals the live here, regardless of skin pigmentation, little has changed in all of these years. Simply look at the violence that occurred at Wal-Mart just 2 nights ago in California!

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Racism and bigotry is not an innate trait that man is born with. It is LEARNED! And this means that it starts with you and me…..ALL OF US, in the hospital delivery room! And ignoring the problem, or worse, NOT teaching tolerance to our little ones, does not make it disappear nor does it promote racial harmony. So how do we heal our nation’s widening racial divide and build those bridges among the races, and by extension, between faiths and cultures?

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We ride a perpetual “See-Saw” as we are charged with teaching children that we are all created equal. You see, we must do so but at the same time, we must prepare our children for the harsh reality that not everyone they will meet will hold this same belief! This is why we must teach each child that it is within their capacity to each become an agent for social change in our world! And yes, that means opening the gate, and bringing the issue of race to the table from an early age. Now if we listen closely enough, the question about this will come to us first. There will be that first moment when our children come to us, curious as to why this or that friend looks different.

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Friends, if we have difficulty with this conversation, know that the problem is ours, and ours alone! We will be guilty of fostering complacency and worse, intolerance! Perhaps this will make it clearer! Civil Rights is not simply an “African American” issue. Gender Equality is not simply a “woman’s” issue. Gay Rights is not only a “gay/lesbian” issue. Each and every one of these examples of intolerance is a blow to every one of us, where ever we live, who stand for five little words… “Liberty and Justice For All”

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(a) http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2012/04/08/a-newsweek-poll-show-americans-still-divided-over-race.html

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“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

Matthew 22:36-40 ESV

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Copyright © 2011-2013 “MandysPath” Ministry

Thought For The Day 05/14/13

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The Island Of Misfit Toys

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Misfit-Toys

http://ts1.mm.bing.net/th?id=H.4741657804802032&pid=1.7&w=237&h=188&c=7&rs=1

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“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

Apple, Inc.

http://www.apple.com

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On Sunday, a friend and colleague, not to mention someone I consider a great mentor, Pastor Brian, posted his Sunday sermon to his WordPress site. It was entitled “Being A Misfit…..” (1). And while he was referring to the all too prevalent thought that Christians have always been misfits, especially those who seek to share His message in an alternative setting (such as the way I, and others like me, do), as soon as I read the title, my mind was instantly transported back to a time of my own childhood, and a Christmas TV special about a reindeer with a shiny nose. Rudolph made his television debut on NBC in 1964, which became a popular hit then, and which is re-broadcast annually, even today, some 50 odd years later. Then, in 2001, a fourth in the series was released entitled “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and the Island of Misfit Toys”, and it was always this episode that tugged at my heartstrings more than any other in the series, because it was the one that, even as an adult, I could empathize with the most, having spent a good portion of my own life feeling like a bit of an outcast. You see, I was the “Band Geek” in High School….a not unattractive but definitely 15 pounds heavier than what was considered normal, teenage girl who LOVED singing and playing music on the piano, clarinet and saxophone!

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By all adult standards, I was probably ideal, but not by teenage standards. And while the incidence of tormenting those who are different is more widespread and definitely more tied in with the proliferation of the information highway and cellular communication which can transmit messages and photos of hate in the blink of an eye, the feelings inside and the erosion of self-esteem was every bit as hurtful back then as it is today and as it will be, when experienced by another, tomorrow. And I must wonder how it is that we have devolved into a race of people who seem to sow disrespect and intolerance at every turn, instead of respect and tolerance for all? How is it that today, this verse is as profound as it was when it was written? “For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.” Jude 1:4 ESV.

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Did you know that a study conducted in 1999 showed that four out of five middle school students say that they act like bullies at least once a month? (2). And despite the fact that there are not just laws and regulations in effect everywhere, from schools to our very streets, that are intended to stop this behavior, it is seldom enforced…..not really. People can and will find ANYTHING to make fun of you for, whether it be your looks, race, sex, religion, or even how wealthy (or poor, for that matter) you are. Bullying, both the perpetrators and the victims, are of both sexes, and come in all ages, shapes, sizes and socio-economic backgrounds. But what those who bully are doing is a cry for help because they can not or will not deal with and fix their own issues. And rather than working to solve their own problems, they hope to make themselves feel better by causing others to feel alone, isolated, miserable, scared, sad, small, worthless, unloved and stupid!

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Now in this movie, Rudolph chose to help all of the toys who were relegated to isolation on “the Island of Misfit Toys” by recognizing the worth and value of every one, thereby guaranteeing a place for them with a child who would love them, just the way they were. Just as Rudolph made it his responsibility to act, so must we become proactive in our communities by doing the same thing for all of the misfits out there. Let’s understand some of the things that make people bully in the first place such as the following (3):

  • It makes them feel better that they have power over others.
  • They get bullied by others.
  • They are stressed out and they don’t know any other way to let out their anger.
  • They are exposed to violence.
  • They don’t feel good about themselves.
  • They aren’t used to compromising and/or sharing.

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So what can we do? The next time you see a child or an adult being victimized by a bully, don’t let the abuse continue. If you feel you can not directly intervene, make it your personal responsibility to notify the proper authorities. Stop it cold. Then followup to make sure that there were consequences for the perpetrator, and help for the victim either through counselling or a referral to a church or social agency who can provide services, if any are needed. Your actions to stop bullying will help victimized people have hope again and will pave the way for yet others still, to stop letting senseless bullying harm the lives of their friends and neighbors. Make a difference. What you can do, does matter and can change the life of someone….perhaps even someone you know intimately well. It might be a son or daughter, brother or sister or a neighbor, but know that for that one person, you changed their world! “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Romans 12:2 KJV.

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(1) http://devotions4reallife.wordpress.com/2013/05/12/being-a-misfit-2/

(2) http://www.cnn.com/US/9908/20/bullies/index.html?_s=PM:US

(3) http://library.thinkquest.org/TQ0312169/intro.html

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And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

Matthew 25:40 ESV

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Copyright © 2011-2013 “MandysPath” Ministry

Thought For The Day 01/26/13

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Our House

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Old Tennent

Old Tennent Presbyterian Church was the church I attended when my children were young.

I was ordained as a Presbyterian Deacon here in 1993.

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!

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

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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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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 Facebook 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. 1 When he came down from the mountainside, large crowds followed him. 2 A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” 3 Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately he was cured of his leprosy. 4 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. 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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If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town.

Matthew 10:14 NIV

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Well, it is now 2013, and while it may be hard for you to believe, there are still people living in the area devastated by Superstorm Sandy back on October 29th, 2012, that remain without essential services that you and I are taking for granted today! Please remember the millions of our brothers and sisters who continue to suffer from the effects of this horrific storm. Lives will continue be impacted for years to come. But you can help! Please consider sending a Gift Card to the organization listed below. Thousands of cards have been distributed since November but millions more are needed. Give as much as you can, as often as you can! Your gift might just mean a family who has lost everything might just have something to smile about!

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Staten Island Gift Cards For Relief
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For information, visit
or

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Copyright © 2011-2013 “MandysPath” Ministry

Thought For The Day 11/23/12

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Changing “Black Friday” To “Act Friday”?

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http://cdn5.groovypost.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/black-friday.png

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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 today? 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”. 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 Black Friday “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” into “Act Friday”?

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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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1 Peter 4:10-11 ESVAs 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

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Please remember the millions of our brothers and sisters as well as furry companions today who are suffering from the effects of Superstorm Sandy. Give as much as you can, as often as you can to the following organizations or groups.

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The American Red Cross

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Text REDCROSS to 90999
or click
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Staten Island Gift Cards For Relief
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or
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The American Humane Association
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or by texting HUMANE to 80888

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Copyright © 2011-2012 “MandysPath” Ministry