Weekly Image of Life: Happy Holidays (Jesus is the Reason!!)

I love the holiday season!  The parties, delicious food, songs of the season, Christmas cards, decorations, giving, family fun and most of all, celebrating the birth of JESUS!!!

Please remember the real reason for rejoicing this season, and I hope you like our Christmas tree!! 🙂

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The star is my favorite part. It used to be my dad’s and it still shines brightly!

Luke 2:1-20 (NKJV)

Christ Born of Mary

2 And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. 3 So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.

4 Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife,who was with child. 6 So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. 7 And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

Glory in the Highest

8 Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. 10 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”

13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:

14 “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

15 So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. 17 Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. 18 And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.

HAVE A VERY, MERRY, CHRISTMAS!!!

The Weekly Image Of Life challenge is issued every Wednesday by The Island Traveler at This Man’s Journey. If you would like to participate and see other entries please visit here!

Monday Motivation: The Joy in Persecution

Persecution is certainly the last word that comes to mind when I think of a having a good time.  It’s no fun to have people falsely accuse you, lie about your character, or degrade your efforts and good intentions.  But believe it or not there is JOY in being persecuted for the Lord’s sake!  Jesus was loathed and despised, yet He pressed on and completed what He set out to do.  He honored the Father with His death on the cross, and saved our lives with His resurrection.  This motivates me to continue on for Him!  I’m glad to be in Christ and I will rejoice when opposition comes my way!! 🙂

James 1:2-4 (NKJV)

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.  But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

1 Peter 1:6-7 (NKJV)

In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ,

1 Peter 2:20 (AMP)

[After all] what kind of glory [is there in it] if, when you do wrong and are punished for it, you take it patiently? But if you bear patiently with suffering [which results] when you do right and that is undeserved, it is acceptable and pleasing to God.

1 Peter 2:21-24 (NLT)

 For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you. He is your example, and you must follow in his steps. He never sinned, nor ever deceived anyone.  He did not retaliate when he was insulted, nor threaten revenge when he suffered. He left his case in the hands of God, who always judges fairly. He personally carried our sins in his body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. By his wounds you are healed.

Hebrews 12:2-3 (AMP)

Looking away [from all that will distract] to Jesus, Who is the Leader and the Source of our faith [giving the first incentive for our belief] and is also its Finisher [bringing it to maturity and perfection]. He, for the joy [of obtaining the prize] that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising and ignoring the shame, and is now seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Just think of Him Who endured from sinners such grievous opposition and bitter hostility against Himself [reckon up and consider it all in comparison with your trials], so that you may not grow weary or exhausted, losing heart and relaxing and fainting in your minds.

Luke 21:17 (AMP)

And you will be hated (despised) by everyone because [you bear] My name and for its sake.

Mark 13:13 (AMP)

And you will be hated and detested by everybody for My name’s sake, but he who patiently perseveres and endures to the end will be saved (made a partaker of the salvation by Christ, and delivered from spiritual death). 

Acts 5:41-42 (NLT)

The apostles left the high council rejoicing that God had counted them worthy to suffer disgrace for the name of Jesus.  And every day, in the Temple and from house to house, they continued to teach and preach this message: “Jesus is the Messiah.”

Will you praise the Lord in spite of your suffering?

Be encouraged today, and always!!

Photo Credit: amodernreformation.blogspot.com

Think Before You Speak Part 2: The Untamable Tongue

Photo Credit: Aaron Evans
tongue (noun)
1. Anatomy; the usually movable organ in the floor of the mouth in humans and most vertebrates, functioning in eating, in tasting, and, in humans, in speaking.
2. the human tongue as the organ of speech
3. the faculty or power of speech

In Part 1 of the Think Before You Speak Series, I addressed The Problem With Venting It’s time to take a closer look at the small, yet critical force that is our tongue, and I’d like to begin with a story…

“Well, ya know, I mean the Bible tells us to love everybody.  So yeah, I guess I love her.”  Ouch.  Those were the words I heard when my former Pastor asked my boyfriend at the time if he loved me.  We’d been having problems, and with talk of marriage it was imperative that we ironed our issues out.  Needless to say this comment was the nail in the coffin, and I cut ties with this individual almost immediately. I should’ve felt free and confidant, knowing that I would no longer have to spend any energy on someone who wasn’t worthy of my love and devotion.  I should’ve been relieved to have this toxic person out of my life.  I should’ve been able to shrug my shoulders and forget the hurtful things that were said, with as much ease as the shoulders shrugged who said them.  Alas, the story didn’t go that way.  His statement (among other unpleasant ones) left me feeling empty, insecure, and inadequateThe harsh words could not be taken back, and the pain I experienced was not easily overcome.

Friends, did you know that our words have the potential to cause harm?  I shared this with you to clearly illustrate what can happen when we underestimate the power of this tiny member of our body.  For all intensive purposes it’s nothing more than a necessary organ for eating and speaking, but used in the wrong way unspeakable damage can be done.

Proverbs 18:21 (NKJV)

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.

Have you ever said how broke you were financially and wondered why your income never increased?  Maybe you’ve been sick and instead of claiming your healing you cling to your miserable state as that cough or sore throat sticks with you for days. I’ve heard teachers or parents refer to a struggling child as slow or stupid (breaks my heart!) ,yet they act surprised when they bring home a failing grade.  The reason for this cause and effect is because we’ve turned our thoughts in to action and given place to those actions by the power of our words.

Luke 6:45 (NKJV)

A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.

When we speak death in our circumstances (negativity, defeat, hopelessness) that’s exactly what we’re going to receive.  On the other hand we can speak life (faith, love, and hope with a Godly perspective) and reap the benefits of using our words wisely.  This is not only true when dealing with our personal situations, but also in what we share with others. Are you bringing joy and peace, or harm and destruction into the life of someone else? I’ve been on the receiving end of both (as I’m sure we all have), and as much as the words of exhortation have lifted me up, words of devastation have also caused my spirit to come crashing down.

Ephesians 4:29 (NLT)

Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.

Proverbs 15:4 (NLT) Gentle words are a tree of life; a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.

I once heard a Pastor say the fork in the tongue is like the road.  We choose which direction to travel, and with the help of Holy Spirit we can be kept on the right path.  I understand that this message is not a new one, but I’m trusting it’s one that’s being shared in due season.  Each and every day we’re given numerous opportunities to use our words for good or for evil, and as James describes below, we ought to show the tongue the respect it deserves.  Let us all take a moment and consider how we can do more to “tame” the untamable tongue!

James 3:5-12 (NLT)

5 In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches.  But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire. 6 And the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself. 7 People can tame all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and fish, 8 but no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison. 9 Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God. 10 And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right! 11 Does a spring of water bubble out with both fresh water and bitter water? 12 Does a fig tree produce olives, or a grapevine produce figs? No, and you can’t draw fresh water from a salty spring.

Be blessed and stay tuned for Part 3!

Are you speaking life or death into your circumstances?

Do you encourage or discourage others when you speak to them?

Related Articles:

http://virtuouswoman73.wordpress.com/2012/06/22/sticks-and-stones-may-break-my-bones-but-words-will-never-hurt-me/

http://joelstory.com/2012/08/07/james-review-part-2/

http://faith1stministries.com/2011/11/26/the-words-we-speak/

http://simplyjuliana.wordpress.com/2012/06/03/a-word-spoken-in-due-season-how-good-is-it-proverbs-1523/