Master of …, #JusJojan

It’s a word than dons power or specialty as in “master of my house” or “jack of all trades and master of none”; then in golf there is the Masters Tournament each spring in Augusta Ga. or in biblical times and even up to current times there is the master/slave relationships of people. For today’s Jot in January we are following Linda and Sadje’s prompt of master and since it is also a Sunday my mind went only in one direction – The Master.

It is my belief that all people follow. Even those that lead, follow. They follow what they believe to be the truth according to their own priorities and these priorities are gain by things they have lived through and assessed to be the truth in their hearts and mind. And  that truth is their master.

Look at all the good and bad leaders of this world we have seen thus far. They lead from their hearts and were able to convince others that his/her priorities were correct and true until someone else came along with a better idea of what they believe to be true. I think in each person’s heart, whether it be for mastering his own life or mastering the hearts of a nation, it starts with being true to what he believes as the truth and that therein is the root of the problem.

In  John 18:37, Jesus explains to Pontius Pilate that he is the witness of the truth where Pilate retorted “What is truth”. Philippians 4:8 reminds us that “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think on such things.”

In my opinion when you take life and boil it down to the stickiness left in the bottom of the pan there are only two defining truths and therefore two defining masters – the Masters of Good and Evil and who those Masters are. You can walk in the gray matter between the two for a while but there will be a day where a choice will need to be made. The first choice you have to make and that choice will decide your direction of choices is do you even believe there really is a Good Master and Evil Master.

My beliefs are there is definitely a Good Master and an Evil being that wants to be a master but has already lost. He is just going to take as many as he can away from the Good Master through his trickery and lying by deceiving those into believing the Good Master is not the truth. The choice is intimately up to each individual as he searches for his own truth and that which makes him happy.

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The choice

 

Everything we do in life is a choice and my hope is that more of us choose the Good Master as he will bring to us the love, tenderness and kindness we are all so hungry for.

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Hope, Joy and Love

The fear and wonder the shepherds must have felt to see the heavens open with bright light and creatures they had only heard stories of but have never really seen. They knew from the prophets that He would come as a child from the lowly town of Bethlehem.

I wish you all the joy, wonder and love this season can bring us. A reminder of what did come and a foreshadowing of what is still to come. May you feel His love, peace and comfort and carry it with you to share with others as you go.

   Have a very Merry Christmas.

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Eyes, Windows to the Soul, A Photo a Week Challenge

Matthew 6:22 – The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be filled with light.

Nothing is quite as precious as the sparkle of a child’s eyes or the giggle of their laugh. These are my children and grandchildren. Yes all boys. But they are precious.

Nancy Merrill photo a week challenge is eyes. Come join in on the fun and enjoy each others photos.

Remember the joy of laughter of a child and carry that joy and smile with you as you go sharing that love with kindness freely. It make bring the same joy and smile to one who needs it.

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Beauty and Truth at Christmas

We have always heard that the measure of beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

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Nature has a beauty all its own

There are many forms of beauty from nature, or art, or music, or people, or animals…even in life itself.

Take for example any living thing and the ability of today’s technology to break down anything to a single cell…and the parts of that cell, the amazing beauty of creation. I have had conversations with people who don’t see this or who don’t see the reality of creation as I do. I even had one gentleman tell me he didn’t do the “G” word. I had to bite my tongue to keep my composure with someone who gets offended in saying “God”, really. How very sad. It is my opinion that God is very real and the creator of all things. It is also my opinion that He created all humans in His likeness to also be creators in the many forms we love to express and show the beauty of all creation. And I believe all of this to be a profound truth.

There is great beauty in truth. While this may be dipping into the philosophy realm a bit, truth like beauty is very much in the eye of the beholder as well because the world has muddied the waters of truth so to speak. For me, truth is perceived by each individual’s perception of what truth is to them and that is the basis on how they run their life.  For me, I base all truth on God’s word. In the bible, John 37:37, Jesus said “Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.” And Pilate asked Him “What is truth?” Clearly not on the same page as Jesus but on the side of the muddy waters.

I am not eloquent with words or a great biblical teacher but I do study the word of God and believe it to be the truth. We are now in the Christmas season, whether you believe it or not the season’s purpose is to celebrate Jesus’s birth…and our salvation from death. Because without Him we are forever doomed. He was born for a purpose – us – and he died for a purpose – us. It has always been about us, the people, the believers in God. We are God’s beautiful creation but we are not allowed to see God so he can’t come help us. So God sent us His son who can help us. He stands between us and God as a buffer. I ran across a picture of beautiful piece of art that explains the relationship between man and God so well that I felt lead to share with you here.

Truth

Jesus is kneeling in the arms of the cross while hanging onto God’s hand as He reaches down to us who are drowning. That is a truth we all can live by. We can’t get to the father without the son. And they both want us to succeed in reaching for the hand of salvation. I encourage you to celebrate the season of His love as God sent this gift to us and for us.

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Us and HIM

As you enjoy the love of the season, remember to be kind. Being kind to someone who is also being kind is easy. We need to remember to be kind to those who may not be showing kindness at that moment probably because this is also a season of deep sorrow. Reach out with a word of kindness, a hand of kindness, or maybe a gentle smile. You just may brighten someone world. I enclose my favorite smile. It makes me smile every time.

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You are my favorite person

Gentle Words vs. Flaming Tongue

It’s that time of year where those who are not that fond of the holidays recognize the kindness push factor of the holidays. Even Charles Dickens wrote a story of flaming tongue vs gentle words with Ebeneezer Scrooge, with the moral of the story showing the value of kindness being much more valuable to the heart than the non-value of a flaming tongue.

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The bible has only a few sections that warn of the wicked or meanness of the tongue yet the teachings of love and kindness filter all through the scriptures in some form. Galatians 5 is an example as it list the fruits of the spirit – love, joy kindness…etc. We have to be taught how to be kind. What?? Yes we all have a mean streak that has to be tamed.

Cecilia Bacon post today speaks very much on this along line with a “cause/effect” disclaimer of biblical teachings. A lot of us in my generation(baby-boomers) were taught a principle of common decency with scriptural truths called “The Golden Rule”. I remember it being printed on the school rulers we were given. The Golden Rules states – Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Do you want people being mean to you? Then cause effect of that tells us we shouldn’t be mean or others will be mean to us!! It’s how it works. Have you watched  children play and how some can be selfish and down right mean. If this behavior is not checked, it grows. Seen kids in middle school as they try to learn who they are. Wow.

James chapter 3:1-12 speaks profoundly about the wickedness of the tongue. How it is like a horse unbridled running a muck or the tiny spark of fire from the tongue can burn down an entire forest.  3:10 says – Out of the same mouth come praises and curses. The tongue is a part of the body that must be tamed and we generally don’t understand it’s power or pain until we have been consumed by the fire of someone’s spark.

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Words are powerful and the actions that can go along with these words only increase their value – either good or bad.

We must learn to be kind, gentle, good, peaceful…etc. Due to situations in our life those things may not be taught to us and we may have no clue how to use the gentle side of God. But if you will just scratch the surface if the scriptures – that is what they breathe with every word. Love…for God is Love.

The quickness way to diffuse someone who is being unkind to you is to be kind to them. They don’t know what to do with it. But I promise, they will be watching you. They want what you have, they just don’t know it or know what it is.

Jesus was constantly taunted by the teachers of the Law because they didn’t understand Him. Deep down I think they knew who He was but they feared He was going to take away their life style. And that was not acceptable. But people who were hungry for His gentle nature and followed Him, learned from Him and taught others His ways. His ways are love.

So I challenge you who may not really understand kindness, gentleness, basic love and compassion to look for it. Its strong this time of year. Get infected with it. Its a sickness that can spread with the softest touch and can lighten the darkest mood. Let the light of Jesus shine through you and He will lift you from the deepest pit.

Remember that Jesus said “whoever does these small kind things to the least of these are doing it to me.”  Let Jesus feel you hear you gentle words this season and feel the kindness only you can share.

Do You Read The Study Notes? #1LinerWeds

Do you ever really wonder what the Bible is? Where did it come from? Is it real, is it true? I have very strong, foot standing my ground beliefs to all of these questions and I think all of us need to think on these questions to figure out where we stand individually on these questions as it balances us on where our priorities lay.

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My answers are – The bible is the very word of God, given to His prophets by God and the disciples to tell the world who He is, what His plans are, the history of His people Israel and how to prepare the entire world for His abundant love.

The month of December I am reading through the book of Luke and trying to stay to one chapter per night as there are 24 chapters which carries you to Christmas eve. On Christmas eve we as a family always read Luke chapter 2 to praise the birth of Jesus.

To help me not read too far ahead, I also add on the study notes at the bottom of the pages as they give you a way to wrap your head around what was happening then and how I can apply it to today. I use the NIV study bible, studying first the word and then referencing the study notes to help me understand what I am reading. And for me, each time I read the same passages I have read many times before, I get different insights depending on what is going on in my life at the time. The bible is a living document, ever teaching and ever loving.

Chapter 5:36-39 of Luke has the parable of the old wine skins verses the new wine skins and while I vaguely understood what they were saying I went to the study notes to see what they could explain to help me correlate to today. What the parable tells us is not to put new wine in old wineskins as they will burst spilling you wine onto the ground. We all understand that things get worn out but lets study that for a second. Wineskins were goat skins where the edges were tightly sewn together to create watertight bags. As the bag ages, the skin becomes hardened and less pliable. The aging process of new wine requires expansion from the gases created so you need a pliable bag, therefore, you need a new bag. If you put new wine in old bag, it will be stiff leaving no access or room for expansion and the bag will split spilling it contents.

What Jesus was teaching with this parable was the comparison of the Pharisees being too rigid to accept His new teachings of Christianity. The old teachers of the Law could not turn lose their traditions and rules to be able to accept the new approaches and structures Jesus was explaining to the people. How does that apply to us today? Well, we as Christians must always follow the word and be careful that our hearts don’t get so hard and rigid with our traditions that it prevents us from from accepting the new way of thinking that Christ brings. We need to keep our hearts soft and pliable, always ready to accept His teachings of life changing messages. You can never tell when he may drop an opportunity to share Him in  your lap. Use wisdom, discernment and love in applying His truths so that others may want to come and learn.

Galatians 5:22-23 reminds us that God’s love and showing of His love to all is compared in my mind like sweet succulent grapes hanging from the vine for all to enjoy and share with others  – the Fruits of the Spirit. The top of the list is of course Love. Why love? Because God is love. My favorite of the fruits is kindness. To me you cant give kindness without love, so I always close with encouragements of kindness – for those needing it and for others to remember to share it.

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Kindness can be a small as a smile

Fruits of the Spirit = Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self Control

And thanks to Linda G Hill in allowing us to share fun, wisdom, peace and love through One Liner Wednesdays.

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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