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Tis the Season to Be Jolly?

 

One of the most anticipated times of the year is, Christmas. The season of giving, joy and spending time with your family. It just makes individuals feel so loving and warm inside. However, that is not the case for everyone.

There are some people who dread this occasion for various reasons:

-Some individuals may be away from their family and are experiencing loneliness.

-This time of year allows one to reflect over the year and be reminded of the negative events that transpired. For example, a called off engagement, break up, loss of job, or something else.

-Buying gifts, can cause the serious “buh humbug” feeling. People feel like they let others down because they cannot purchase presents, due to their finances.

Whatever the case may be, we have to be sensitive to the fact that everyone does not have the same feelings regarding holidays.

If you happen to be the individual that is having a rough time during this Christmas, I want to encourage you to find the joy within it.

HOW?

  1. If you are away from your family, try surrounding yourself with friends. Hang out with their family for the holidays. Of course there is nothing like being around your own loved ones, but it can sure lighten your mood.
  2. Indulge in something you enjoy. Finish that book, take that class you wanted, or volunteer at a local shelter…etc.
  3. In continuation from number two, give to others. Contributing to another persons life can definitely transfer you energy from gloom to joy. There is something about pouring into others that just will heighten your day.
  4. Most importantly, focus on Christ. He is the only one that can fill your voids.

 “God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3

“Blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted.” Mathew 5:4

“Come to me, all you who labor and are heaven laden, and I will give you rest.” Mathew 11:28

“The Lord is near to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6

“For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.” Romans 15:4

I hope the tips above bring you immediate comfort during this time. Remember, we are all in this journey together!

Love,

C. Allen

 

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Message in a Bottle

To the dear person that receives this letter,

      I just want you to know, HANG ON. I understand that times can be difficult, and you feel like giving up. However, hold on tight! Life is similar to a rollercoaster and there will be highs, lows, turns and twists. Yet, when the hard situations arise, do not lose hope and faith.

You may never understand why certain trials are tossed your way, but you can persevere. James 1:2-4 states, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” Through it all, you will overcome and be better than you were before.

So, I encourage you to push beyond your circumstance. Continue to depend on God and know that he truly cares for you. You will come out of this season stronger than ever and will not be defeated. GOD’S GOT YOU!

 

Love,

C.Allen

Israel (Part 2)

I stated in my previous blog, Israel Trip (part 1), that this gem will show adventures that transpired over my 10 day trip. It was difficult to choose highlights out of the hundreds of pictures and memories that I have. Please note, that this is not nearly, all of the places I visited. I literally only touch the surface with how impactful Israel is and the many destinations and history that is within the country. However, to keep this blog at a decent length, I was able to narrow it down to the top features, I know you wanted to see. You will be going on a journey viewing Israel, through my lens. I hope you enjoy! 

FYI: Explanations are under the pictures 🙂

capher

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Capharnaum, the hometown of Jesus. We visited his home that he lived in during his central Galilean Ministry.

tomb 2tomb

We were able to view the tombs where Jesus was “possibly” buried in. Many scholars believe this particular image is where he was buried because the bible says, “As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side and they were alarmed” -Mark 16. The way tombs were made during that era, you would walk in and the body would be laying right in front of you.  However, in this situation, you had to turn to the right just as it stated in the bible. HE IS NOT DEAD, FOR HE IS RISEN!

tomb 3

This is another “possible” tomb that Jesus’s body was laid in.  This particular burial site was cut out of the mountain side and placed inside the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, for viewing. The line to examine the inside, would have been a 2 hour wait.

church of hs

Inside the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, this particular site is the traditional place where the cross was placed as Jesus was crucified.

jordan riverBaptism sites on the Jordan River.  This was not the actual place where Jesus was baptized because it is no longer conducive for individuals to be in. However, we all got the opportunity to be baptized in the Jordan River just as he was.

The Mount of Beatitudes, is a hill in Israel where Jesus is believed to have delivered the sermon ( Mathew 5-7 and Luke 6). It is accepted that Jesus was standing at the bottom of the hill and the spectators sitting where I am in the picture. Now the question is, how did the thousands of individuals hear his voice? At a certain point in the day, the winds would blow which would carry Jesus’s voice to the top of the hill. Pretty amazing, right?

cruise

Cruised the Sea of Galilea, which was a beautiful site.  We had a moment of quiet time with various worship songs playing in the background.  This was actually day 3 of our journey and was extremely endearing. During this reflections time, I felt like I was finally able to take everything in.  With our day starting at 6am and ending around 9/10pm, it was nice to just silence your mind and evaluate this once in a lifetime experience. I was reminded of Peter having to trust God, and walk on the water to him.  Once he began doubting, he started to sink. As I was reminiscing on that verse, I could sense God saying, “Just as Peter had faith, I want you to continue to trust that I have your life in control.” WOW! Amen God!

port 3

We explored the port where Jonah fled from God.

house of tanner

This is the place where Peter restored the life of Tabitha and stayed with Simon the Tanner

mt. p

Mt. Precipice the site where Jesus was rejected which was described in Luke 4:29-30. The people of Nazareth did not accept Jesus as the Messiah. Therefore they tried to push him off the mountain side. However, “he passed through the midst of them and went away”.

Garden of Gethsemane, the place where Jesus wept as his disciples slept. Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” ….”My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”  “My father if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me, Yet as I will, but as you will” Then he returned to see the disciples and found them sleeping. ” Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?” Mathew 26:36-46.

 tabghaTabgha, the site of Peter’s Primacy (John Chapter 21) Multiplication of Loaves and Fish and the calling of the disciples.

prayers

wailing wall

Western Wall, also known as the Wailing Wall, is the most holy place accessible to the Jewish people because of the Muslim control of the Temple Mount. The plaza is was created as an area for prayer in which thousands of people gather.  Many write their prayers on a piece of paper and leave it in the cracks of the wall.

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Just floating around in the Dead Sea

holocaust 2

Valley of Communities, living memorial to the Holocaust. We were all deeply moved as our tour guide shared personal stories of what his family members suffered through during this traumatic time. We also toured the Historical museum, The Children’s Memorial, and The Hall of remembrance. Our history books only grasp the surface of this horrific event.  Let us always shine light and remember the Holocaust.

gol h

Golan Heights, rocky plateau that straddles the border of Syria and Israel.

bomb dragon

We went to the Gaza Border and the neighborhoods surrounding. The houses are required to be built with bomb shelters. The dragon that you see in the picture is actually a bomb shelter, on a local playground.  Teachers educate children, as little as 3, with a song that describes what to do before and after they hear a siren. The lyrics, “Shake, shake, shake”, stood out to me most. The song tells the kids to shake because they have to check if they are missing any limbs. If so, the blood will scatter all over.  Therefore, they can quickly get help from bystanders.  It is definitely disturbing to hear about the beautiful individuals that have to endure these terrible events. Let’s continue to pray for Israel.

mt olivesStanding on Mt. Olives viewing the Temple Mount.

peace sg

Peace to the Middle East.

You made it through the brief voyage. Thanks for coming along! Have you ever been to Israel? Leave comments below and tell me what you think!  Remember, we are in this journey together!

Love,

C. Allen

Hello Fall

Fall or autumn, is the transitional period between summer and winter. The leaves start changing colors and plummet off of the trees. The temperature begins to drop and fashion begins to shift from tank tops to sweaters. Your favorite seasonal drinks hit the shelves and Starbucks.

Though fall is a season within a year, you can equate it to your personal life. Sometimes, you enter into a period where one loses friendships, relationships, jobs, etc.. It may seem like God has been removing everything from your life and you cannot comprehend the change. Letting go of people and opportunities that you desire, is difficult. However, it is important for your growth.

Leaves may die and whither but in spring, new flowers bloom. Allow God to rid your life of old conditions and provide his best. This juncture may bring extreme discomfort because it is not your familiar. Yet, in order to get to the next level, you must let go of some baggage.

During this fall season, be open to the transition that God is taken you through.

“Out with the old in with the new.”

If that friend stops hanging with you, understand it is for your growth. God may be tugging at your heart, to release an entity, that is keeping you bound. If so, listen to that warning. You are headed to higher heights and dead weight will hold you back.

Instead of fighting this shift, let’s welcome this term with anticipation. The blessings that will sprout forth, by obeying God, will not be in vain. You can trust that he knows the best pathway for you. The man that created you, heaven and earth, will not fail you!

fall 5.jpg

Remember, we are in this journey together.

Love,

C. Allen

STUCK

There will come a time in your life when it feels like you are stagnant. It may seem like everyone is progressing and accomplishing their dreams, while you are at a stand still.  You feel STUCK! There can be numerous reasons to why you are having this experience. Continue reading “STUCK”

What the Health

If you have not watched the documentary, What the Health, I highly recommend you to do so. It discusses how processed food effects the body. It is a life changing documentary and many individuals make drastic changes in their diet, after watching it. What we eat is very vital to our health. However, what about the products we put on our bodies or medicine we consume?  Continue reading “What the Health”

Happiness

What brings happiness into your life?

Money, job promotion, travel, clothes, luxury cars, house etc…the list can go on. The previous contents, can bring a source of joy into your life, when you purchase. There are also certain goals that bring an amount of satisfaction, once you achieve the mission. Continue reading “Happiness”

12 Life Lessons

I love to ask my elders and read articles on the following question.  What advice would you give to your younger self?  In return, that caused me to think about information I have learned over the years, and could pass on. Below you will find a list of lessons that I hold valuable and have implemented them in my own life. I hope that you can find any or all, useful for your life. 🙂  Continue reading “12 Life Lessons”

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