Peaceful Greetings Reader:) Thank You for taking the time to stop by this blog and read/consume it. Time is a precious investment. (In what/who am i making investments??)
“Make” …build/construct a worthwhile day (span of time to accomplish compassion aka invest in compassion) now!:)
Are You a skilled “tekton”?
Christ’s Carpentry…(my highlighted points of interest; excerpted readings)…
carpenter’s son: The Greek word teʹkton, rendered “carpenter,” is a general term that can refer to any artisan or builder. When it refers to a woodworker, it can mean one who works in the building trade, in the construction of furniture, or in the making of other types of wooden objects. Justin Martyr, of the second century C.E., wrote that Jesus worked “as a carpenter when among men, making ploughs and yokes.” Early Bible translations in ancient languages also support the idea of a woodworker. Jesus was known both as “the carpenter’s son” and as “the carpenter.” (Mr 6:3) Evidently, Jesus learned carpentry from his adoptive father, Joseph. Such an apprenticeship would typically have begun when a boy was about 12 to 15 years of age and would stretch over many years. [New World Translation Study Edition, Gems]
From a young age onward…Jesus learned the art of “yokes”…through physical work/labor. (And through spiritual/mental labors.)
To what or to whom am i yoked??
Successful Stress Management…contributes to inward (and outward Peace)/health: spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically…here/(inwardly), there(outwardly), everywhere, huh?
Relief from Stress a Practical Remedy w 01…excerpts:
Did you note that in the words quoted from Matthew 11:28, 29, Jesus said: “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me.” Back then, a common man might have felt as though he were working under a yoke. From ancient times, the yoke had been illustrative of slavery or servitude. (Genesis 27:40; Leviticus 26:13; Deuteronomy 28:48) Many of the day laborers whom Jesus met worked with an actual yoke on their shoulders, carrying heavy burdens. Depending on how a yoke was fashioned, it could be easy on the neck and shoulders or it could chafe. As a carpenter, Jesus may have made yokes, and he would have known how to shape one that was “kindly.”Perhaps he lined the contact points with leather or cloth to make the yoke as comfortable as possible.
10 When Jesus said, “Take my yoke upon you,” he could have been likening himself to one who provided well-made yokes that would be “kindly” to a workman’s neck and shoulders. Thus, Jesus added: “My load is light.” This signified that the yoke bar was not unpleasant to use, and the work was not slavish either. Granted, by inviting his listeners to accept his yoke, Jesus was not offering immediate relief from all oppressive conditions then current. Still, the change of viewpoint he presented would bring considerable refreshment. Adjustments in their life-style and way of doing things would relieve them too. More to the point, a clear and solid hope would help them find life less stressful.
Refreshment Can Be Yours
11. Why was Jesus not simply suggesting a trading of yokes?
11 Please note, Jesus was not saying that people would trade one yoke for another. Rome would still be in control of the land, just as today’s governments are in control where Christians live. First-century Roman taxation would not go away. Health and economic problems would remain. Imperfection and sin would continue to affect people. Still, refreshment could be theirs by adopting Jesus’ teaching, as it can be ours today.
12, 13. What did Jesus highlight that would bring refreshment, and how did some respond?
12 A key application of Jesus’ illustration of the yoke became apparent regarding the disciple-making work. There is no doubt that Jesus’ main activity was that of teaching others, with the emphasis being on God’s Kingdom. (Matthew 4:23) So when he said, “Take my yoke upon you,” that would certainly have involved following after him in that same activity. The Gospel record shows that Jesus moved sincere men to change their occupation, a major concern in the life of many. Remember his call to Peter, Andrew, James, and John: “Come after me, and I shall cause you to become fishers of men.” (Mark 1:16-20) He demonstrated to those fishermen how satisfying it would be if they did the work that he was putting first in his life, doing so under his guidance and with his help.
that there is a difference between agreeing with Jesus’ teachings and actively embracing them, thus reducing stress. If you truly want to overcome the effect of too much stress in your life, what is going to help? How can you be affected for the better if you increase your attention to spiritual matters, letting such occupy more of your thoughts? Is there some concern in your life that you need to attach less importance to, allowing for greater attention to spiritual issues? If you do so, it will add to your happiness now.
An observation from my own life experiences…equal/balanced amounts of challenging physical labor and challenging mental/spiritual labor…aka body/mind work or mind/body work…is healthy for me!:) The teachings of the Sermon on the Mount… such as “treat others the way you want to be treated” “freely forgive” “live a simple life and putting spiritual interests first instead of being anxiously consumed by materialism”…”be self-sacrificing vs. self-indulgent”…”love your neighbor as yourself” “Pay Caesar’s things to Caesar and God’s Things to God” “those who take up the sword, perish by the sword” (as well as his example of political neutrality) contribute greatly to joy and peace!! Jesus courageously taughtTRUTH!…by living it!! What he taught/lived…healed Others physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually…leading them to a multi-faceted wellness.
I encourage all Readers:) do “Your” own investigative-research on the AMAZING teachings of the Sage of Compassion, Jesus Christ…a great teacher! It’s interesting to note, from my studies, those who knew him well/best, his closest followers…viewed/respected him as a “teacher” vs. a carpenter and as “God’s Son” and NOT as God Almighty/Yahweh/Creator.
What a Great Man and Miracle Worker/Positive Teacher…who selflessly labored/worked tirelessly from youth onward on behalf of Others!!…Healing/helping both bodies and minds by compassionately changing dead-weight burdens to bear into transparent-bijoux to wear with dignity!:)
Positive Transformation, Peace & Transparent-Bijoux to You Reader!!:)
THE Christmas season is here. What does that mean to you, your family, and your associates? Is it a spiritual occasion, or is it only a festive and merry period? Is it a time to reflect on the birth of Jesus Christ or not to be concerned about Christian norms?
In considering those questions, bear in mind that Christmas traditions may differ according to where you live. For instance, in Mexico and other Latin-American countries, even the name is different. One encyclopedia points out that the English name Christmas “is derived from the medieval Christes Masse, the Mass of Christ.” However, La Navidad, or the Nativity, as it is called in these Latin-American lands, refers to the nativity, or birth, of Christ. Take a moment to consider some details from Mexico. This may help you to shape your own opinion about this holiday season.
The Posadas, “the Three Wise Men,” and the Nacimiento
The festivities begin on December 16 with the posadas. The book Mexico’s Feasts of Life comments: “It is the time of the posadas, nine magical days leading up to Christmas Eve, which commemorate the lonely wandering of Joseph and Mary in the city of Bethlehem and the moment when they at last found kindness and shelter. Families and friends gather together nightly to reenact the days preceding the birth of Christ.”
Traditionally, a group of people carries images of Mary and Joseph to a home and in song asks for shelter, or posada. Those in the house sing in reply until the visitors are finally given admittance. Then begins a party, where some—blindfolded and with a stick in hand—take turns trying to break the piñata, a large decorated earthenware pot that hangs from a cord. Once broken, its contents (candy, fruit, and the like) are gathered by the celebrants. This is followed by food, drinks, music, and dancing. Eight posada parties are held from December 16 through December 23. On the 24th, Nochebuena (Christmas Eve) is celebrated, and families make an effort to be together for a special dinner.
Before long comes New Year’s Day, celebrated with very noisy parties. On the evening of January 5, the Tres Reyes Magos (“three wise men”) are supposed to bring toys for the children. The climax is a party on January 6, when a rosca de Reyes (ring-shaped cake) is served. As this pastry is eaten, somebody will find in his piece a little doll representing the baby Jesus. The finder is obliged to organize and host a final party on February 2. (In some places there are three little dolls, representing “the three wise men.”) As you can see, the partying in connection with Christmas goes on and on.
Concerning the Christmas celebration as it is generally known all over the world, The Encyclopedia Americana says: “Most of the customs now associated with Christmas were not originally Christmas customs but rather were pre-Christian and non-Christian customs taken up by the Christian church. Saturnalia, a Roman feast celebrated in mid-December, provided the model for many of the merry-making customs of Christmas. From this celebration, for example, were derived the elaborate feasting, the giving of gifts, and the burning of candles.”
In Latin America, those basic Nativity customs may be followed, along with additional ones. ‘From what source,’ you might wonder. Frankly, many who want to adhere to the Bible recognize that some customs are nothing but Aztec rites. El Universal, a newspaper in Mexico City, commented: “Friars from different orders took advantage of the fact that festivities of the Indian ritual calendar coincided with the Catholic liturgical calendar, so they used this to support their evangelizing and missionary work. They replaced the commemorations to the pre-Hispanic divinities with festivities to Christian divinities, introduced European festivities and activities, and also took advantage of the Indian festivities, which resulted in a cultural syncretism from which authentically Mexican expressions have arisen.”
The Encyclopedia Americana explains: “Nativity plays early became a part of the Christmas celebration . . . The representation in church of the crèche [the manger scene] is said to have been begun by Saint Francis.” These plays featuring the birth of Christ were performed in the churches during the beginning of the colonization of Mexico. They were organized by Franciscan monks in order to teach the Indians about the Nativity. Later the posadas became more popular. Whatever the original intention behind them, the way the posadas are held today speaks for itself. If you are in Mexico during this season, you can see or sense something that a writer for El Universal highlighted in his comment: “The posadas, which were a way to remind us of the pilgrimage of Jesus’ parents looking for a shelter where the Child God could be born, are today only days of drunkenness, excesses, gluttony, vanities, and more and more crime.”
In Latin America, the three wise men replace the idea of Santa Claus. Still, as is done in other lands, many parents hide toys in the home. Then on the morning of January 6, the children look for them, as if the three wise men brought them. This is a money-making time for toy sellers, and some have made a fortune on what many honesthearted people recognize is just a fantasy. The myth of the three wise men is losing credibility among a goodly number, even among little children. Though some are displeased that this myth is losing believers, what can anyone expect of a fantasy maintained only for the sake of tradition and for commercial convenience?
Christmas, or the Nativity, was not celebrated by early Christians. One encyclopedia says about this: “The celebration was not observed in the first centuries of the Christian church, since the Christian usage in general was to celebrate the death of remarkable persons rather than their birth.” The Bible links the celebration of birthdays with pagans, not with God’s true worshipers.—Matthew 14:6-10.
This does not, of course, mean that it is not beneficial to learn and remember the actual events involved in the birth of the Son of God. The factual Bible account provides important insights and lessons for all those who want to do God’s will. [excerpted: Christian Customs: Are They Christian? w 00]
“RELIABLE” information… aka “accurate” (aka Truth)… is very useful in making sound aka wise decisions. What about the Gospel Accounts?… aka “good news” accounts of Jesus… aka Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John…
There are benefits to having these separate accounts of what Jesus said and did. To illustrate, imagine that four men are standing near a famous teacher. The man standing in front of the teacher has a tax office. The one on the right is a physician. The man listening from the left side is a fisherman and is the teacher’s very close friend. And the fourth man, located at the back, is an observer who is younger than the others. All four are honest men, and each has a distinct interest or focus. If each writes an account of the teacher’s sayings and activities, the four records would likely feature different details or events. By considering all four accounts, bearing in mind the varying perspectives or objectives, we could get a complete picture of what the teacher said and did. This illustrates how we can benefit from having four separate accounts of the life of the Great Teacher, Jesus.
Continuing the illustration, the tax man wants to appeal to people of a Jewish background, so he groups some teachings or events in a way to help that primary audience. The physician highlights the healing of the sick or crippled, so he omits some things that the tax man recorded or presents them in a different order. The close friend emphasizes the teacher’s feelings and qualities. The younger man’s account is briefer, more succinct. Still, each man’s account is accurate. This well illustrates how having all four accounts of Jesus’ life enriches our understanding of his activities, teachings, and personality.
People may speak of ‘the Gospel of Matthew’ or ‘John’s Gospel.’ That is not inaccurate, for each contains “good news about Jesus Christ.” (Mark 1:1) However, in a larger sense, there is but one overall gospel, or good news, about Jesus—available to us in the four records. [excerpted: Why Four Gospels, The Way, The Truth, and The Life]
Matthew’s account mentions that astrologers from the East came to Jerusalem looking for the place where the King of the Jews was born. King Herod was very interested in this—but not with good intentions. “Sending them to Bethlehem, he said: ‘Go make a careful search for the young child, and when you have found it report back to me, that I too may go and do it obeisance.’” The astrologers found the young child and “opened their treasures and presented it with gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.” But they did not go back to Herod. “They were given divine warning in a dream not to return to Herod.” God used an angel to warn Joseph of Herod’s intentions. Joseph and Mary then fled to Egypt with their son. Next, in an effort to eliminate the new King, cruel King Herod ordered the killing of boys in the Bethlehem area. Which boys? Those two years of age and under.— Matthew 2:1-16.
What Can We Learn From the Account?
The visiting astrologers—however many of them there were—did not worship the true God. The Bible version La Nueva Biblia Latinoamérica (1989 Edition) states in a footnote: “The Magi were not kings, but fortune-tellers and priests of a pagan religion.” They came in line with their knowledge of the stars to which they were devoted. Had God wanted to guide them to the young child, they would have been led to the exact place without needing to go first to Jerusalem and to Herod’s palace. Later on, God did intervene to alter their course to protect the child.
At Christmastime this account is often surrounded by a mythical and romantic atmosphere that obscures the most important thing: that this baby was born to be a magnificent King, as was announced to Mary and to the shepherds. No, Jesus Christ is not a baby anymore, or even a child. He is the ruling King of God’s Kingdom, which very soon will eliminate all rulerships opposed to God’s will, and he will solve all problems of mankind. That is the Kingdom we ask for in the Lord’s Prayer.—Daniel 2:44; Matthew 6:9, 10.
Through the angels’ declaration to the shepherds, we learn that the opportunity for salvation is open to all who are willing to hear the message of the good news. Those who gain the favor of God become “men of goodwill.” There are marvelous prospects for peace in all the world under the Kingdom of Jesus Christ, but people must be willing to do God’s will. Is the Christmas season conducive to this, and does it reflect that desire? Many sincere people who want to follow the Bible feel that the answer is obvious.— Luke 2:10, 11, 14. [excerpted: Christian Customs: Are They Christian? w 00]
More reliable information about piñata…article:
The Piñata—An Ancient Tradition
BY AWAKE! WRITER IN MEXICO 2003
THE neighborhood children are having a fiesta. We can hear their excited voices crying out: “Dale! Dale! Dale!” (Hit it! Hit it! Hit it!) We peer over into the patio and observe a gaily decorated papier-mâché burro suspended between two trees. A blindfolded child is striking out at the burro with a stick, attempting to break it. The guests are shouting encouragement. At last, the burro bursts open, and candy, fruit, and toys spill out. Amid much laughter, all scramble to pick up the treats. It looks like fun. We are told that the burro is called a piñata and that breaking a piñata at fiestas is a tradition here in Mexico and some other Latin-American countries.
A widespread opinion is that the Chinese may have been the first to use something like a piñata as part of their New Year’s celebration, which also marked the beginning of spring. They made figures of cows, oxen, and buffalo, covering them with colored paper and filling them with five kinds of seeds. Colored sticks were used to break the figures open. The decorative paper that covered the figures was burned and the ashes gathered and kept for good luck during the coming year.
It is thought that in the 13th century, Venetian traveler Marco Polo took the “piñata” back with him from China to Italy. There, it acquired its present name from the Italian word pignatta, or fragile pot, and came to be filled with trinkets, jewelry, or candy instead of seeds. The tradition then spread to Spain. Breaking the piñata became a custom on the first Sunday of Lent.* It seems that at the beginning of the 16th century, Spanish missionaries brought the piñata to Mexico.
However, the missionaries may have been surprised (as we were) to find that the native people of Mexico already had a similar tradition. The Aztecs celebrated the birthday of Huitzilopochtli, their god of the sun and war, by placing a clay pot on a pole in his temple at the end of the year. The pot was adorned with colorful feathers and filled with tiny treasures. It was then broken with a stick, and the treasures that spilled out became an offering to the god’s image. The Maya also played a game in which blindfolded participants hit a clay pot suspended by a string.
As part of their strategy to evangelize the Indians, the Spanish missionaries ingeniously made use of the piñata to symbolize, among other things, the Christian’s struggle to conquer the Devil and sin. The traditional piñata was a clay pot covered with colored paper and given a star shape with seven tasseled points. These points were said to represent the seven deadly sins: greed, gluttony, sloth, pride, envy, wrath, and lust. Striking the piñata while blindfolded represented blind faith and willpower overcoming temptation or evil. The treats inside the piñata were the reward.
Later, the piñata became part of the festivities of the posadas* during the Christmas season and continues as such to this day. (A star-shaped piñata is used to represent the star that guided the astrologers to Bethlehem.) Breaking the piñata is also considered indispensable at birthday parties. Indeed, piñatas have become so traditionally Mexican that Mexico even exports them to other countries.
We found that for many people in Mexico, the piñata has lost its religious significance and is considered by most to be just harmless fun. In fact, piñatas are used in Mexico on many festive occasions, not just for the posadas or for birthdays. And piñatas can be purchased in many forms other than the traditional star shape. They are sometimes made to resemble animals, flowers, clowns.
When considering whether to include a piñata at a social gathering, Christians should be sensitive to the consciences of others. (1Corinthians 10:31-33) A main concern is, not what the practice meant hundreds of years ago, but how it is viewed today in your area. Understandably, opinions may vary from one place to another. Hence, it is wise to avoid turning such matters into big issues. The Bible says: “Let each one keep seeking, not his own advantage, but that of the other person.”—1Corinthians 10:24.
*In some religions, such as Catholicism, Lent is the 40-day period of penance that culminates in Holy Week celebrations at Easter time.
In Mexico the posadas is a nine-day celebration prior to Christmas, enacting Joseph and Mary’s search for posada, or lodging. A piñata is broken as the culmination of the festivities on each of the nine nights.
12/25/17 @ 11:52 a.m.
Breaking free… is an on-going-progressive-education… a spiritual lifestyle…
For me, i highly value “accuracy”… it provides protection/direction and “real” freedom!..🙂
Life Story as told by Antonio Jiménez: “The Streets Became My Home”
Some people take a long time to learn from their own bitter experiences. I was like that. I was born and raised in Barcelona, the second-largest city in Spain. My family lived in an area called Somorrostro, which occupied a large section of the city’s beachfront. Somorrostro had a reputation for crime and drug dealing.
My parents had nine children, and I was the eldest. Because we were very poor, my father sent me to work as a ball boy at a local tennis club. I was ten years old and worked for ten hours each day. As a result, I could not go to school like most children my age. When I was 14, I began working as a machinist at a metal shop.
In 1975, I was called up for military service, which was mandatory in Spain. I wanted to do something adventurous with my life, so I volunteered to join the Spanish Foreign Legion in Melilla, a Spanish enclave in North Africa. During that time, I plunged into the sordid world of drug and alcohol abuse.
When I left the Legion, I returned to Barcelona and formed a gang. We stole anything we could lay our hands on. We would then sell the stolen items for money to finance our drug addiction. I started taking LSD and amphetamines, and I immersed myself in a life of sex, alcohol, and gambling. This destructive lifestyle led me to become more and more violent. I always carried a knife, an ax, or a machete, and I was never afraid to use one of them if it seemed necessary.
On one occasion, my gang and I stole a car and were chased by the police. It was like a scene out of a movie. We drove the stolen vehicle for about 30 kilometers (20 mi), until the police started shooting at us. Finally, our driver crashed the car, and we all ran from the scene. When my father found out, he understandably threw me out of the house.
For the next five years, the streets became my home. I slept in doorways, in trucks, on park benches, and in graveyards. I even lived for a while in a cave. My life had no purpose whatsoever, and I felt that it did not matter whether I was alive or dead. I remember cutting my wrists and arms under the influence of drugs. I retain the scars to this day.
Change & Transformation/New Beginnings…
When I was 28, my mother came looking for me and asked me to return home. I agreed and promised her that I would straighten out my life, but it took me a while to fulfill that promise.
One afternoon, two of Jehovah’s Witnesses called at our door. As I was listening to them, my father yelled from inside the house that I should shut the door in their faces. As I never liked taking orders, I decided to ignore him. They offered me three small books, which I gladly accepted. I asked them where their meeting place was, and a few days later, I turned up outside the Kingdom Hall.
The first thing I noticed was how neatly dressed everybody was. In contrast, I had long hair, a scruffy beard, and shabby clothes. It was evident I did not fit in, so I remained outside the hall. But to my surprise, I recognized a former associate and gang member named Juan, dressed in a suit. I later learned that he had become one of Jehovah’s Witnesses just a year earlier. His presence gave me the confidence I needed to go inside and attend the meeting. That was where it all started to change for me.
I accepted an offer to study the Bible and quickly realized that if I wanted God’s approval, I needed to change my aggressive nature and immoral lifestyle. Making those changes was not easy. I learned that to please Jehovah God, I needed to “be transformed by making [my] mind over.” (Romans 12:2) I was deeply touched by God’s mercy. Despite all my mistakes, I sensed that he was giving me the chance to begin again. What I learned about Jehovah God sank deep into my heart. It became clear to me that there was a Creator who cared for me.—1Peter 5:6, 7.
Moved to Make Changes:
This moved me to start making changes. For example, when the subject of tobacco came up during my Bible study, I said to myself, ‘If Jehovah God wants me to remain clean and undefiled in every sense, then these cigarettes will simply have to go!’ (2 Corinthians 7:1) And into the garbage bin they went!
I also needed to stop using and selling drugs. That took a little more time and effort. To achieve that goal, I knew I had to cut ties with my former associates. Their influence was not helping me to progress spiritually. In time, however, I began to rely more on God and on the help of my new friends in the congregation. Their love for and interest in me as a person was something I had never experienced before. As the months went by, I was finally able to break free from drugs and “put on the new personality,” which would help me to have God’s approval. (Ephesians 4:24) In August 1985, I was baptized as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
The Bible gave me a new lease on life. It freed me from a damaging lifestyle that was destroying my body and my dignity. In fact, more than 30 of my former associates died at a young age from AIDS or other drug-related illnesses. How grateful I am that by applying Bible principles, I was able to avoid the same tragic consequences.
The knives and axes that I used to carry as a violent young man are now a thing of the past. I never imagined that one day I would instead be carrying a Bible and using it to help people.
My parents never became Jehovah’s Witnesses, but they appreciated the benefits I received because I studied the Bible. In fact, my father even defended the Witnesses in front of all his colleagues. It was clear to him that my newfound faith had brought about a remarkable change for the better. My mother often said that I should have studied the Bible sooner. I could not agree with her more!
My experiences in life have taught me how senseless it is to seek satisfaction in drugs and other vices. I now get true satisfaction from introducing others to the teachings found in God’s Word—teachings that truly saved my life. [excerpted article: The Bible Changes Lives]
An Observation: mine…
To gain human’s approval… at times means unhealthy activities that are harmful or hurtful causing dignity lost at least or death-dealing at most! (What genuine HOPE can man offer me??)
To gain God’s approval… at times means healthy activities that benefit the mind, heart, and body on a deep wellness level… physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually… a refreshing nourishment of sustaining compassion and real love…a real life!
Divine perspective is an elevated vantage point… it can be breathtakingly beautiful… just try to see:)
Peace & Wellness & Respect & Dignity to You Reader:)
to do the right/accurate/compassionate thing, Reader:)
You can do it!–Make compassionate choices (based on accurate knowledge)… Live life within the parameters of agape (unselfish) love!:)
10/29/17 @ 10:28 p.m.
BREAK FREE… YOU CAN DO IT!!! from lies, fake mind food, fake media, fake holidays, fake religion…enslaving practices/rituals (e.g., smoking, over-drinking, over-indulging, over-consumerism, crimes against compassion, etc., violence).