Holiday Memories

As we are approaching Christmas, I cannot help but remember the great times I had with loved ones who are no longer here on earth.  The one I miss the most is my grandmother.  She always made holidays special.  There would always be a sweet aroma coming from her kitchen.  My grandmother was always baking cookies and sweets during the holidays.  Her gifts were handmade rather than store bought which made it even more special.

I am thankful and blessed to have grown up with such a wonderful grandmother who I called, Maw-Maw!  She was loving and caring!  She gave the best hugs in the world!  It has been fifteen years without her and each year I miss her more and more.  I hold on to the memories I have with her and remind myself that this is not goodbye but see you soon!

Love you Maw-Maw!!!
Merry Christmas to you in Heaven!!!

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The True Meaning of Christmas!

CHRISTMAS…
Is a time that brings hope to a lost world.
That tells a story of a Savior’s birth.
It reminds us of God’s love for us.

What does Christmas mean to you?

Is it about the gifts? The hustle and bustle of the holidays trying to push through the crowds to buy the perfect gift for a loved one or friend.  Or the excitement of opening up your gifts on Christmas day.

Is it about the family gatherings?  The good food, laughter, and making new memories.

Is it about traditions?  Caroling and spreading good cheer.  Driving around town mesmerized by Christmas lights.  Playing games with family.

Christmas is a time for joy!   Giving and blessing others during the holidays is a way to spread God’s love. Spending time with loved ones is a time to cherish and create new memories.  Having traditions is a wonderful thing and something to look forward to each year.

The holidays can be a joyful and good time!  The world has created it to be chaotic and full of confusion.  Christmas seems like a burden and not something to enjoy.  Most people are grumpy, frustrated, and irritable during this time and ready for Christmas to be over.  So many of us have lost the true meaning of Christmas.

Christmas is about Jesus!  Jesus was born as our Savior!  He came to save the world!  Let us be reminded of the true meaning of Christmas as we shop, open our gifts, spend time with family, and enjoy our holiday traditions.  Jesus is God’s gift to us!!!

JESUS IS THE REASON FOR THE SEASON!!!

Defined By God

According to Genesis, chapter 1, Jesus is the author of all things. “God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). We tend to forget that God is all-mighty and powerful. He gives a command and it happens instantly. In six days, God created light, water, plants, animals and mankind. Genesis 1:27 states that God created “mankind in His own image.” Psalms 100:3 says “know that the Lord is God. It is He who made us, and we are His; we are His people, the sheep of His pasture.”

If we are created in God’s image, then why do we allow man to determine how we feel about ourselves? We allow man to tear us down with hurtful words and lies. The negative words spoken over us or the lies that are told about us become truth if we start to believe them.

Jesus is the only person who can tell us the truth of who we are and in Psalms 139:14, the Scripture tells us that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made.” We are made in God’s image and we were never meant to believe the lies that the devil tries to convince us of who we are. Jesus replaces the negative words with powerful words such as, “You are beautiful,” “You are worthy.” First John 3:1 declares “that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!”

Remove the Mask

There are many ways we can lose our identity in Christ. The world tells us that we should look or act a certain way to be accepted. As Christians, sometimes we are considered an outcast. The world will try to tempt us into doing something that goes against everything we believe in. Peer pressure is something that we have to face every day and resist. No one wants to be rejected and mocked. We all have the desire to be liked by others and to feel wanted. Hurtful words, rejection and loneliness are just a few things that can make us feel unworthy and doubt who we are in Christ.

These false mindsets lead us to being people pleasers and creating idols. People pleasing is when we try to be someone we are not. We allow others to create a new image for us. People try to change our personality and appearance. If a person expects us to be a certain way, we will try our best to not disappoint that individual, no matter the cost. Little by little, we lose our identity and forget who we are in Christ. People pleasing turns into creating idols. When we try to be like someone else, we begin to dislike ourselves in the process. We allow people to label us and define who we are rather than allow God to define us.

For the next few moments, evaluate your life to see how you have allowed others to define you. Majority of my life I was a people pleaser and, as a result, created idols. If I knew people disapproved of me, I would be very distraught and was persistent for them to like me. I would try to change my personality or appearance to get their approval. Instead of putting God first in my life, I would try to mimic others in their spiritual walk. I never felt like I was a good enough Christian because I was told I did not worship God correctly and not spiritual enough in my Christian walk. I was judged harshly by others and believed what they told me. It has taken me years to change my mindsets to see the truth in that situation.

Some people will try to convince us that we have no worth. Others may even try to quench our dreams by telling us that it is impossible to achieve. We never want to lose our identity in Christ because someone does not agree with our lifestyle, beliefs and appearance. We need to always be true to ourselves and be proud of who we are.

Be True to Yourself

God has created all of us with different talents and skills to do His Kingdom work on earth. Our purpose in life is to be ourselves. We try to have someone else’s talents because we think our God-given talents are insignificant. We need to be proud of who we are and use the talents that God has given us to the best of our ability. God created you to be “you” and nobody else.

Below are several quotes that will encourage all of us to be ourselves and not try to be anyone else:

“When you are living the best version of yourself, you inspire others to live the best versions of themselves.” ― Steve Maraboli

“Whomever you truly are… honor that person. No dream was ever realized by disappearing into the shadows of self-deceit and doubt.” ― Jaeda DeWalt

“Stand strong in your worth and don’t let anyone talk you out of it.” ― Mandy Hale

God did not make a mistake. We are all God’s creation. I encourage you to be yourself, at all times, and do not let others dictate who you are. Your identity is in Christ.

In The Potter’s Hands

As we grow in our relationship with Christ, God will continue to shift us and remold us into His image. The closer we walk with God, the more refined we become as Christians. We all have to walk through different stages in our lives to mature and learn how to trust God. As we mature in Christ, God gives us tasks to complete for His Kingdom. Isaiah 64:8 says that “we are the clay; You [God] are the potter; we are all the work of Your hand.” If we remain stagnant, we will never experience new things or learn new talents. If we do not continue to grow in Christ, we will never live to our fullest potential.

Our growth in Christ is much like a sculptor with a potter’s wheel. Let us go back to the first time we accepted Christ into our hearts. Technically, we were just a lump of clay full of sin and needed a guiding hand to get our lives back on track. I would like for you to imagine yourself on a potter’s wheel as a lump of clay. The clay must be placed on the wheel to be molded and recreated by the sculptor. The sculptor I am speaking of is God Himself. First, God gently placed you at the center of the wheel so you are evenly balanced and can be reshaped into something solid and beautiful. After He has worked diligently, to His perfection, He puts you through the fire multiple times to refine you. God only wants the best for you! Just like clay, there is a process before beauty is revealed. You are His masterpiece. He gives you purpose in your life. God created you to be unique and you have a God-given talent that He wants to use through you for His glory.

For us to fully go through the process of being reshaped, refined and beautified, we must understand that we have to allow God to have full control over our lives. We have to accept change and not resist God when He is asking us to make sacrifices. It is vital to allow growth and learn how God is remolding us into His image while on the potter’s wheel. Growth can be a painful process and even dreadful at times but it is necessary so we can build our trust in our heavenly Father. The more He reshapes us and refines us, the more we learn how to fully trust Him with our lives.

Change is inevitable. No matter if we live in the world or with Christ, change will happen. Today, the world is living at a fast pace that demands us to shift and embrace new things. For example, we must stay up to date with top-of-the-line technology for our day-to-day needs in our careers as well as in our homes. When we are Christians, there are many changes in the way we live and the way we act. Once we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior, change happens immediately. As we grow spiritually, we will continue to be reshaped by God. Each new season gives us a new purpose for our lives.

The best place to be is in the Potter’s hands!