As a child faith was so easy, especially if you had loving and supportive parents to lay down the foundation. Christmas was always such a magical time for me. In other cultures it may be another holiday or event that renews the faith of a child. Whatever holiday or event it may be let us hold onto that sparkle that ignites our heart and spirit. May we all be grounded in our belief of love and kindness. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
Posts tagged ‘religion’
Tonight begins the Jewish eight-day festival of light and purity, Chanukah (Hanukkah). This is a celebration of triumph of light over darkness, of purity over adulteration, and of spirituality over materialism. The history of Hanukkah begins more than twenty-one centuries ago. The Holy Land was ruled by the Seleucids (Syrian-Greeks), who sought to forcefully Hellenize the people of Israel. Against all odds, a small band of faithful Jews defeated one of the mightiest armies on earth, drove the Greeks from the land, reclaimed the Holy Temple in Jerusalem and rededicated it to the service of God.
When they sought to light the Temple’s menorah (the seven-branched candelabrum), they found only a single cruse of olive oil that had escaped contamination by the Greeks; miraculously, the one-day supply burned for eight days, until new oil could be prepared under conditions of ritual purity.
To commemorate and publicize these miracles, the sages instituted the festival of Chanukah. At the heart of the festival is the nightly menorah (candelabrum) lighting: a single flame on the first night, two on the second evening, and so on till the eighth night of Chanukah, when all eight lights are kindled.
On Chanukah the Jewish people also add the Hallel and Al HaNissim in their daily prayers to offer praise and thanksgiving to God for “delivering the strong into the hands of the weak, the many into the hands of the few… the wicked into the hands of the righteous.”
Chanukah customs include eating foods fried in oil — latkes (potato pancakes) and sufganiot (doughnuts); playing with the dreidel (a spinning top on which are inscribed the Hebrew letters nun, gimmel, hei and shin, an acronym for Nes Gadol Hayah Sham, “a great miracle happened there”); and the giving of Chanukah gelt, gifts of money, to children. Click here for the complete story of Chanukah.
(My gratitude to Chabad.org for the information posted.)
Share joy and sorrow alike. ~ Duke Shanxiang, Zhou Dynasty
People want to be a shoulder for you to cry on when you have sorrow, just as much as they wish to share in your joys. Do not feel you are a burden to others when you have trying times in your life. Let others lift you up. Share your joy and sorrow alike.
Most of you intellectually know that you cannot control the feelings of others. You simply cannot make someone happy if they have decided they are not. The only ones we need to try to please is ourselves and God. When we are in joy, guess what? Your joy will infect others! You will have more positive energy and it will show! Really! In delighting ourselves, we ultimately delight others.
However, when you spend all your energy trying to please others, that positive energy wanes. You will feel tired and unappreciated when your expectations of pleasing others is not met. Why put yourself through that. Case in point, you are expecting out-of-town family, so you go out of your way to clean your home from ceiling to floor, detailing every nook and cranny. Why? Are you doing this to make yourself happy or your guests?
Nine and a half out of ten, your out-of-town guests are there to visit you, not your spick-and-span house, right? Do what makes your happy and joy-FULL. Make your guests feel comfortable, but don’t dampen your spirits and positive energy by burdening yourself with detailing your home. That will certainly ZAP the JOY out of you; and, it would be counterintuitive. By pleasing yourself, you will please others. Do everything in love and joy. Please yourself and God.
1 Corinthians 10:31
“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” (ESV)
No one is like the Lord our God, who rules from the heaven. Psalm 113:5
Today’s post is directly from Max Lucado’s Grace For the Moment Volume 2 devotional:
Max Lucado told his story: On a trip to the United Kingdom, our family visited a castle. In the center of the garden sat a maze. Row after row of shoulder-high hedges, led to one dead-end after another. Successfully navigate the labyrinth, and discover the door to a tall tower in the center of the garden. Were you to look at our family pictures of the trip, you’d see four of our five family members standing on the top of the tower. Hmm, someone is still on the ground. Guess who? Yes, me. I was stuck in the foliage. I just couldn’t figure out which way to go.
Ah, but then I heard a voice from above. “Hey, Dad.” I looked up to see Sara, peering through the turret at the top.” You’re going the wrong way,” she explained. “Back up and turn right.”
Do you think I trusted her? I didn’t have to. But do you know what I did? I listened. Her vantage point was better than mine. She was above the maze. She could see what I couldn’t.
God has a different vantage point than we do. This story beautifully illustrates that God sees what we cannot. What is the lesson in this? When we are stuck in our labyrinth of life challenges, trust and listen to God. God will point us in the right direction. We only need to ask through prayer. God will give us courage and signs by putting encouraging, helpful people and/or information in our path.
- Courage (sabinianabalagtasbaliba.com)
I am not one that follows astrology with any conviction; but, I am intrigued by its influence on personalities of people and eras/ages. As it turns out, each of the twelve different (western) astrological signs has an age associated with it. These ages change over time depending on which of the signs appears during the morning of the spring equinox. I discovered tonight that we are currently in the Age of Pisces and shall soon enter the Age of Aquarius.
It’s assumed that we shall bid farewell to the Age of Pisces and shall welcome the Age of Capricorn/Aquarius compatibility during the year 2012, a lot more specifically, on December 21. The Aquarian age is thought to begin in 2012 and to last till 4172. (Ages span for 2,160 years; so if you start the calendar at the birth of Jesus Christ, then the Age of Aquarius would start in the year 2160; so all this information may be viewed as speculative.) According to the Mayan calendar we will have come a full circle of 25, 625 years. When you multiply 2160 years with the 12 astrological signs you get 25, 920 years. I find that interesting. Most of the information for this article came from: (Spiritual Growth Prophecies); I am sharing those things in their article about “our times” (as explained through the lens of astrology) that intrigued me.
The more dominant core values of the Piscean Age of money, power and control must go to make room for the Aquarian Age values of love, unity, brotherhood and integrity. Pisces is the ruling constellation in the eastern pre-dawn night sky. But, the effects or influences of the Aquarian Age have been felt powerfully for as much as 800 years. The influences of Aquarius began around the French Revolution when their slogan was “freedom, equality, fraternity.” These values represent the Aquarian Age. (Spiritual Growth Prophecies)
Change in Astrological Ages is gradual, but the push comes to complete the change long before the next Age begins. Our technology booms, especially in electricity, are actually spawned by the Age of Aquarius to come. Modern man thinks it’s because we are so much more “advanced” than our ancestors. Technology went into an unprecedented trajectory in the Age of Pisces. It will continue to escalate; moreover, methods that are in harmony with the Earth will become a prerequisite to all new inventions. Harmony and for the good of the whole will be mandatory and innate. Nothing will flourish unless it satisfies the values of the Aquarian Age.
The Age of Pisces is – The Age of Monotheism (one God), Spirituality, and the Fish. It is characterized by the rise of many religions such as Christianity, Islam and Buddhism. This represents the “spiritual” nature of Pisces. Throughout most of Pisces though this spiritual side is for the most part seen as the truth hidden behind the five senses. Spirituality was seen in relation to the world, not through an innate knowing of divinity.
The Fall of Rome began at the beginning of this Age. As with all great cycle changes the Age of Pisces began with chaos. Rome fell and chaos was rampant as the great change of power began. It was the birthing of the Middle Ages. The Age of Pisces is considered the Age of Jesus. Egypt’s Isis was dropped and Mary mother of Jesus comes into being replacing her near the close of the Age of Aries. Jesus is said to have been born of the Virgin Mary. Virgo is the polar opposite sign of Pisces. The Age of Pisces represents charity, mercy, sacrifice, compassion and pardon, which are the virtues taught and lived by Jesus.
Water played a prominent role in the teachings of Jesus, and Pisces is a water sign. The fish is the symbol of Pisces. Many of Jesus’ gatherings were near lakes and water. Fish were a big part of the diet of Jesus, his disciples and the multitudes. Water was used to baptize the people. Jesus was sacrificed because he was the “Lamb” of God. This represents the sacrificing of the RAM of Aries, which ended the Age of Aries the astrological age before Pisces.
Pisces marks the merging of east and west to give birth to the New Age of Aquarius. In fact that’s what has happened. Earlier on in the Age of Pisces, the Europeans, the Vikings, and more integrated with other cultures on mass. In recent history, China, India and much of the East have found their economic might and now the economies of the West are totally reliant on this trade. The East and West have merged as never before making it difficult for wars and other negative activities to continue.
The Piscean Age is a time of gentleness, materialism and artistry, but also it’s impracticability. This is possibly due to the rise in the European empires. To the spiritually undeveloped person Pisces represents “servitude.” To the disciple or aspirant, the vision of “service to humanity…world savior” as Jesus, came to the forefront. Good examples are Mother Theresa and the Dali Lama.
During the Age of Pisces, we were TOLD what to believe through religions, authority figures, dictators, etc. These powers have lost ground and the shift is now away from “power over others.” The emphasis will now be “power over self.” This debacle of power will escalate as we near the end of the Age of Pisces. The dawning of the Age of Aquarius encourage us to look beyond the five senses and experience true living by relying on guidance from the creator. Aquarius will be an Age when we truly realize that the love we show towards our brothers is the love we feel towards ourselves. This represents the oneness of all things which fosters unconditional love.
Science and technology will be used to improve human and environmental situations on earth, and not for monetary gain. We will finally know the true meaning of “progress.” In the Aquarian Age progress will represent decisions or activities where ALL things and people gain from the change. Sound impossible? It’s not.
We will finally KNOW we are not “victims” of circumstances, but the “creators” of our experiences. And, we will also know how to change our earthly situation. The focus will be on making our lives a heaven on earth. It will be the second coming of Christ, but this time we will KNOW he never left us. He was always within us trying to guide us, but we wouldn’t listen. Why? Because we thought we knew better, and listened to the voice of our ego instead. We will finally know and live the heavenly lives God intended for us from the beginning.
I do have profound faith in Jesus Christ, God and the Holy Spirit whose presence have always been in my heart. Christ inspires most of my actions when I am not giving into my emotions or acting in haste. Haste makes waste. The parallels between history and the characteristics of astrological ages is fascinating; however, as with statistics, it can be interpreted many ways. However, it does seem we are moving towards a climax in history and there does seem to be more of a spiritual awakening among my circles. Only time will tell.
As in the lyrics to Aquarius: When the moon is in the Seventh House; and Jupiter aligns with Mars; then peace will guide the planets; and love will steer the stars. This is the dawning of the age of Aquarius! Harmony and understanding; sympathy and trust abounding; no more falsehoods or derision; golden living dreams of vision; mystic crystal revelation; and the mind’s true liberation. Aquarius! With Peace, Love and Harmony! ♥ Angi
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10 (NIV)
Today was a day filled with activity. I spent 4 hours volunteering time at the local library helping to prepare for their annual used book sale. All the proceeds will go to enhancing our library and it programs. I could feel the positive energy that we had in sorting the books, setting them out, and arranging them.
Teamwork was abundant and it felt great to be part of it. We used our time effectively and it looks like everything will be ready for the preview sale for the Friends of the Library tomorrow night and the kickoff sale for the public on Friday morning.
Later, I prepared my materials so I could teach my Art for the Creative Heart class. Unfortunately, enrollment was too low at this time and it will need to be postponed until I can have a full class to make it worthwhile for everyone involved. I have so many wonderful activities planned that will allow the students to explore in a nurturing way their creative spirit with joy, free of fear and anxiety of not being good enough. Art is not about perfection, it is about expression. Art is an extension of who we are and allowing our creativity to flow in that very moment we hold a pencil, pen, paintbrush, marker or crayon.
I used my extra time this evening to finish 3 more Gifts of Love. The images are shared below.
What a beautiful day! I was able to interact with quite a few people today as I went to the library to renew my books and I went to Good Friday church service. Good Friday service always touches my heart and soul in such a significant way. It is a profound reminder of how our Saviour Jesus Christ sacrificed his earthbound life to pay for the sins of humanity because God’s love for us is so immense and wonderful. Below are more pictures of my progress with my Gifts of Love campaign. I feel I will be able to start distributing these Gifts next week.
Togetherness is the sense of being close to another person emotionally and physically. When a person is in the presence of another person, there is a definite connection and a field of energy. If it is a benevolent connection then it is togetherness. In kindergarten children learn to play nicely together and to share. Through this continued nurturing, teamwork is developed in children and beyond into adulthood.
Two are better than one: they get a good wage for their labor. If the one falls, the other will lift up his companion. Woe to the solitary man! For if he should fall, he has no one to lift him up. So also, if two sleep together, they keep each other warm. How can one alone keep warm? Where a lone man may overcome, two together can resist. A three-ply cord is not easily broken. Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
Two or more are, indeed, better than one; however cooperation and mutual respect are also necessary components for successful outcomes of teamwork and other forms of togetherness. Where there is agreement, there is harmony and success in any endeavor or project.
Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them. Matthew 18:19-20
Ultimately, togetherness is more than meeting of the minds, it is mutual love and respect for each other. Togetherness will contribute to creating peace and harmony on earth.
Above all, let your love for one another be intense, because love covers a multitude of sins. 1 Peter 4:8
I, then, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love, 3, striving to preserve the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace: 4 one body and one Spirit, as you were also called to the one hope of your call; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
23 and that you be renewed in the spirit (of your minds), 24 and put on the new self, created in God’s way in righteousness and holiness of the truth. 25 Therefore, laying aside falsehood, SPEAK the TRUTH, each one to his neighbor, for we are connected (members one of another). 26 BE ANGRY but DO NOT SIN; do not let the sun set on your anger, 27 and do not leave room for evil thoughts (the devil). 28 The thief must no longer steal, but rather labor, doing honest work with his [own] hands, so that he may have something to share with one in need. 29 No foul language should come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for needed edification that it may impart grace to those who hear it.
32 BE KIND to one another, compassionate, forgiving one another, as God has forgiven you in Christ. (Eph 4:1-6, 23-29,32)
Each spring as the Easter season approaches, there is a period of time (Lent) where people prepare their heart and souls through meditation and fasting, as did Jesus did prior to His crucifixion and resurrection. This is the perfect time of the year to do some “Spring Cleaning” in our inner spaces in addition to our physical environments. It is a wonderful time for reflection, meditation and prayer as the days grow longer, the temperatures get warmer and flowers start blooming. Meditation and reflection is a fabulous way for people to examine their purpose. Are we doing everything we can to be love for others? How can we do more to forgive and help ourselves and others (as we have been forgiven)? How can we do less (affliction of stress on ourselves and others)? Nature’s renewal is the perfect setting for spiritual cleansing. I invite you to look inward with love and compassion as you clear out the cobwebs of hurt and regret from your heart. In the book of Ephesians, Paul offers a prayer that is befitting for this..
13 Wherefore I ask that ye may not faint at my tribulations for you, which are your glory. 14 For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, that ye may be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inward man; 17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; to the end that ye, BEING ROOTED and GROUNDED in LOVE, 18 may be STRONG to apprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the LOVE of Christ which passeth knowledge, that ye may be filled unto all the fulness of God. 20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, 21 unto him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus unto all generations for ever and ever. Amen. (Eph 3:13-21)
- Who Am I? (footsoldiers4christ.wordpress.com)
- What Are YOU Thinking? (rhondaburke.com)
- Sunday Sermon: What Story Are You Telling? (jimkane.wordpress.com)
- The Trinity: Equal Deity (jellybeanyee.wordpress.com)
- Spring Cleaning Is in the Air (5gsandacupofjoe.net)
- Spring Transformation Can Be Spiritual, Not Only Physical (chronicillnesspaindevotionals.wordpress.com)
- Take your mat and walk… (sunshinelittleone.wordpress.com)
- Beatitudes (menofmud.org)
- Don’t Be So Easily Distracted (menofredemption.wordpress.com)
- Speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men (bummyla.wordpress.com)
- Ephesians 4:17-32 Holiness (boynhillbiblestudies.wordpress.com)
- No Longer a Prisoner of Dysfunction (briancoatney.com)
- Forgiveness (elsewherebygrace.wordpress.com)
- Don’t let the sun go down on your Anger Ephesians 4:26 (prepareforthelamb.wordpress.com)
- Forgive Yourself!!! (bgtvmediaonline.wordpress.com)
- My Hope Is Built On Nothing Less (pjcockrell.wordpress.com)