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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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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