Angels on High, Reflections of Christmas

“And the angel answered him saying ‘I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God and I was sent to speak to you about the good news’.” Luke 1:19

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Gabriel

Gabriel was the main messenger angel that is mentioned several times to tell the world the good news of the coming Christ. Angels are personal creations of God that serve Him and carry out His purposes.

I believe angels are around us today and that sometimes we engage with them, not realizing it, until after the fact, as somethings the outcome can be explained no other way. I have had one major event in my life that can be explained no other way but I am sure there are others that I did not recognize. I am also sure and for certain that my oldest son’s guarding angle worked overtime when he was young and very possibly my youngest as well. Boys!

We see a lot about angels at this time of year as we reflect on the scriptures, Luke 2:9-14 telling the story of the angel of the Lord announcing to the shepherds of the birth of Christ and the sky being filled with heavenly hosts singing and praising God. Debbie Smyth posted a magnificent article of the Angels in London. If you have not see it, please go review. It is truly marvelous.

I am a major collector of angels and some of these creations stay out year round to remind me of their love of God, their love of me and their focus on the purpose of God’s ways.

Some people like stars on their tree top as the reminder of the star over Bethlehem but I like angels. I have several that I use, some are beautiful and ethereal but I like the one I call Gabriel with his robe flowing around him. Some have told me I should call him Michael but Michael is an archangel. An archangel is a leader of angels and Michael is listed as a warrior archangel and is his story is told during battles with satan and during the end times of Revelation. Gabriel not an archangel, he is a messenger angel and very prominent in the birth of Christ. Therefore…

My children know of my love for angels and have given me several over the years. My oldest made me one when in high school, art class.

The picture of the three at the top were given to me by my youngest representing his love for me as he thought I was his angel during a very hard time when they were young. It shows angels with all three of my children, the oldest son, the girl in the middle and the baby boy. That group stays out year round. Below are other pictures of my angels that I thought you may enjoy. Later I will share all of my nativity scenes….yes I have lots of Christmas. It’s the most wonderful time of year.

Baby Angels…..

Kissing Angels…these were my moms, so they hold an extra memory.

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Table Top Angels….

Ornaments…too many to show but here are a couple. Several styles of hand blown glass.

 

And as always I throw out my encouraging thought on being kind. Instead of the hustle and bustle of the holidays control your energy, let kindness be a large part of it. It will make the holidays seem brighter. Follow suit and be part of being RACK.

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The ABC’s of Christ’s Love for Me

I ran across this the other day and it helped me understand and reflect on “My Identity in Christ” listing many of the ways we can see how we are a new creation of His making as  we go through the ABCs of His guidance for us. I did not write this but I am sharing it as I think it is so much worth the share. Hope you enjoy and realize how you too are blessed with the same love and guidance given by Him to you.

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His true love for us

I AM…

  • Accepted in His beloved grace
  • Blessed with all spiritual blessings
  • Chosen in Him before the world’s foundation
  • Delivered from the powers of darkness
  • Elevated to heavenly places
  • Forgiven from all my sin
  • God’s masterpiece
  • Healed by Jesus’ stripes
  • In Him…forever
  • Justified by faith
  • Kept by the power of God
  • Loved unconditionally
  • More than a conqueror
  • Not condemned
  • Overcoming the world through faith
  • Predestined to Sonship
  • Quickened together in Christ
  • Redeemed from the curses of the law
  • Sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise
  • To His praise
  • Unto His glory
  • Victorious through Him
  • Washed from my sin through His own blood
  • X “Crucified” with Christ
  • Yoked together with other believers
  • Zealous to do good works

 

And as I remind myself and anyone else, remember to be kind. Kindness is a gift to be shared and spread thick wherever you go.

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The Dark Side of the Moon

The moon is our satellite and reflects the light of the sun to the earth. I like to refer to the moon as God’s night light for the earth. The light side temperatures from the suns heat reaches around 100c and since the moon having no atmosphere to either protect the surface from sun’s heating, or guard the dark side from freezing, the dark side drops quickly to -173c. A major contrast from side to side.

moon

When the astronauts landed on the moon, they were marveled at the beautiful blue marble that was their home. And knowing what we know today of earth and space, earth has the perfect atmosphere to support life while using the values of the sun yet being protected from it dangerous rays at the same time.

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Its a perfect world for all of us to live on…as long as we as humans don’t destroy it, which we seem to want to do. Not on purpose mind you but in striving to do what each person thinks is the better way and we all have a different opinion on what that is.

Today is World Kindness Day. It’s the opportunity for us to all come together for 1 day to try to make a difference through all cultures across the entire world. We as a single person showed kindness to one person, then  kindness would grow to the next person, then it could grow through the neighborhood, the town, the sate, the country…to the entire world. What an amazing concept that would be to have 1 day of total kindness across the entire world. Then maybe we could stretch it to 2 days….

If we would be more like the light side of the moon, reflecting the warmth and love of life, instead of being cold, closed off, dark or even scary like the dark side of the moon…think of how much better that would be for all of us.

A single act of kindness is NEVER wasted. While you may think you would not do much good, you may be the spark that is needed to warm a cold scared heart. It has been proven that a single smile can reflect an inner love that can change that sad or scared feeling of a person or animal. It can be contagious. Like a yawn, a smile prompts a response so smile today and show kindness. Kindness is one of the fruits of the spirit spoken of in scripture.

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My Living Room Tree

I think we all have hobbies or things we collect that make us smile. Mine is Christmas and decorating for it. Unfortunately, my daughter suffers from the same collecting hobby. We are major college football fans and we use the off weekend of play to go shopping for new and interesting decorations. I have three large trees, three small table trees and 4 larger nativity scenes. Then there is the remaining table decor that is spread throughout the house. It’s a lot but evidently not enough as we still go shopping. My daughter also has 3 trees downstairs in her portion of the house. It’s a wonderful bonding time that we enjoy together. In two of my previous posts I shared my dining room tree with the village, the fun tree in my bedroom so now its time for the more formal tree of the living room. If you wish to see the other posts click on the highlighted sections for review. And I do apologize if all this Christmas is just not your thing or way to early for you to get into it. I am temporarily “benched” so I decorated early.

In most homes, the living room/family room is where the main tree is if there is more than one tree in the home. And that is how it is in my home, however I do not have exquisitely formal ornaments. That is just not my style. I do love going to other peoples houses and looking at all of there decorations and seeing their personalities. The decoration styles reflect on the things that we believe are important, so I am doing my reflecting here.

So now that I have displayed all trees, let’s dissect the tree itself to gather its full meaning. It is not just a decoration for the season, there is meaning behind all of it.

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Tree including benches to keep Mimi from running into the tree

The tree itself represents the cross of which Jesus was hung on when crucified. There are 18 reference in the bible that specify that he was hung on a tree due to the way the scriptures were translated. Even the old testament refers to the Holy One being hung on a tree. We know it was not a tree in itself but it was wood from a tree. I placed a square nail on my tree near the trunk to remind me of the love and sacrifice Jesus made for me and everyone else.

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Christmas nail

The lights on the tree represent Jesus’ light that he leaves with us. Numbers 6:24-26 – May His light shine upon you and bring you peace.  We talk a lot about peace at Christmas time and try to always be peaceful and kind during this time of year. The colors of the lights also have a significance in the Christian faith, similar to the Christian beads we make for our children to understand more about Christ’s love for us.

The red lights represent Jesus’ blood shed for us. Romans 5:8-9

The white lights represent our cleansing from sin as we turn from our sin to God. Psalm 51:1-2

The blue lights represents out faith in baptism; 1 Lord, 1 faith, 1 baptism. Romans 8:9

The green lights represent our growing in faith. Colossians 1:10

The gold lights represent eternal life in Heaven with God. John 3:16

The beauty of the tree is then added to by the ornaments we place on it that reflect our personalities, our love, and the beauty of the season.  Below are a few of my favorites that are on this tree that reflect family love and the beauty of the season.

 

I have sincere hopes that as you approach this wonderful holiday season that you are filled with the love of family, friends and the fullness of Christ.

And please remember that tomorrow is November 13, the internationally recognized day of World Kindness Day. There is no act of kindness that is ever too small.

Even animals know, understand and use kindness.

Kindness, the Sugar of God’s Love

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Yes, I am from the south where the oozy sweetness in tone, comment and action can easily be misused to be a sour experience and possibly filled with unkindness. That is not what Paul meant in Galatians when he explained the fruits of the spirit. He listed 8 attributes which over lap and reflect the love of God. Many times in scripture there are attributes listed with Love being the key one, after all God is love with all of the other attributes reflecting love in a different way. And with the different types of love, the ways of showing love grow exponentially. But when I take what I feel are the 4 top types of that love that radiate from the heart [ Eros – passionate love, Storge – Family love, Philia – Friendship love and Agape – Selfless/God’s love] they reflect all of the combining fruits of the spirit [Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Gentleness, Goodness, and Self Control]. But to  me you can  not have any of these without kindness. Kindness is a deliberate act by an individual to behave in such a manor that the recipient can feel the genuine love of God from the individual or at least be confused by the behavior as it was not deserved. For instance, if someone says or acts mean toward you and you choose to still be kind, it can diffuse a volatile situation or at a minimal create an opportunity to open a door for you to explain why kindness is so very vital. But if the door does not get opened, still continue to be kind. Kindness eventually wins when it is honest from the heart.

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All we need is a little kindness

True heartfelt kindness should be spread wherever you go. It doesn’t cost anything but your time and willingness to share it. So this week I challenge you to think about being kind to a friend, a stranger or even to an animal.

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The Value of Man-Fruit

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What type of fruit do you produce?

Have you ever thought of how you treat others as producing fruit? Think of how you feel when someone is rough with you. It hurts like a barb from a pine cone. If you are not familiar with that analogy I promise its no picnic. Then in the opposite direction you have someone who is over sweet in action but you can tell its not sincere, I smell a rotten orange here.

I find it interesting that there are 27 references in the bible (old testament and new) that compares how you treat others as ‘bearing fruit’. Fruit, back in biblical times, was probably not as abundant as it is today so it made a good reference to help people understand the sweetness of following God. Galatians 5:22 even list the Fruits of the Spirit – “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. Love, I believe is listed first as this is the binding agent of everything we do. All of these fruits overlap at times but consistent use of them only strengthens our trunk. Colossians 1:10 tells us to bear fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God. And Matthew 7:16 reminds us that by their fruit you will recognize them. And Jesus also reminds us in Matthew  12:33 “Make a tree good…for a tree is recognized by its fruit.”

We are God’s tree and must strive to only bare good fruit. Do we slip up and and produce rotten fruit periodically? Yes but God’s grace plucks that bad fruit and tosses it in the nearest trash can, pruning that branch to strengthen it where good fruit will again be produced. It’s a process that we must cultivate and fertilize daily.

Of all of the fruits listed, my favorite is kindness. Even when you are hurt or angry and in a dark place, if you can pull kindness from your tree, the rotten fruit trying to sprout will not be allowed to fester and grow. Sometimes your kindness may be all that is needed to break the ice of a frozen pond of fear and rejection.

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Remember…

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To the tiniest creature be kind

 

 

A Couple of Beliefs? from Old

October is a time when Hollywood throws out all the adrenaline rush garbage of horror movies. Me, I am not a fan but I know plenty who love a good horror movie and Hollywood keeps them coming as they make money. I saw recently on the science channel the stories of mythical beast, like flying dragons and bull/man type animals that walk on two legs.

When we see something we can not understand and try to describe it to others, they may not believe it and mythical tales can begin to take shape.Take for instance the book of Revelation and all the the things John saw that he could not explain easily where the readers would understand what he was seeing. So to some, Revelations is mythical and far fetched in nature. To Christian it is truth and we accept his vision on faith.

I want to touch on two stories that were believed truths of their time that I find almost humorous now due to our knowledge of today. One is biblical and one goes back to the 1400’s  or further.

The biblical story is the Tower of Babel as told in the book of Genesis in chapter 11:4 and it says “Come let us build a city with a tower to the heavens”. Now their purpose of this tower was not to honor God but to honor themselves which then created the story we now believe to be true.

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Babel

Knowing what we learned say 100 years ago, much less what we know about the heavens today, the tower would still be under construction, still not reaching even through the outer atmosphere. The size of the tower would have to cover the entire face of one side of earth and still not be big enough.

Every day we are learning more on how vast space is and just how tiny we are and for someone to think a tower could  be built that could reach the heavens makes me smile. The earth’s atmosphere from ground up is about 300 miles – that would be a tall building. These are currently the tallest buildings worldwide.

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Another ancient story we now scoff at is the theory of the world being flat and if you sailed to the oceans edge you will fall off and be eaten by huge monsters that live there.

Our world is a beautiful roundish ball of amazing complexity created for us to live on. If we were on Venus, we would burn up, if on Mars we would freeze.

What a magnificent blue marble we live on. May we always protect her as I feel she is very angry right now. We have not been good stewards of her beauty and resources.

And in closing I always remind us all the wonderful gift of Kindness. May we spread it like jelly on toast, thick and sweet.

toast