Featured
Posted in Bible Activity/Discussion/Thoughts/Trivia, Origins

Did three wise men really visit Jesus?

The birth of Christ is wrapped up in folklore and tradition (man’s) and marketed to the world as Christmas. The nativity scene takes the center of attention in window displays, schools and offices, often misleading believers.

Image result for Nativity of Jesus"

The Nativity Scene Origin

The first nativity scene was created in 1223 in Greccio, central Italy by Saint Francis of Assisi. It is said to represent the true “spirit” of Christmas. However, many depictions of Jesus’s birth are filled with inaccuracies and it conflicts with the true Biblical account. We often see the little family, three wise men, sometimes a shepherd or two, a few animals, huddled around a newborn, the scene illuminated by the light of a lone star. Pretty wonderful and harmonic, right? But this is most unlikely.

Why can’t we be satisfied with the Biblical account? The true account?

The visiting Wise Men 

Image result for Wise Men gif"

The wise men came from the east to see the infant after following a star (Matthew 2:2). Magi or wise men originally referred to a class of priests from Persia. They were said to be students of astrology, hence why they noticed the strange star, to begin with, and followed it.

It’s unclear how many wise men were there as the Bible doesn’t speculate, but because they brought three gifts – gold, frankincense, and myrrh (Matthew 2:11) –  it’s assumed that it was three wise men. It could’ve been two wise men bringing those gifts. It could’ve been as much as five, six or even ten wise men.

Manger or house?

Image result for Manger"

We’re told that the wise men visited Jesus in the stable while He was in a manger. Luke 2:8-20 shows that the shepherds who were watching over their flock in the field by night were given the news of Jesus’s birth by angels and they visited Jesus as He lay in a manger. It’s most likely that they saw the newborn Savoir before the Magi. And it’s no coincidence that the angels broke the news to the shepherds first, for it foreshadowed Christ as the good Shepherd.

In Matthew 2:11, by the time the wise men arrive, Mary and Joseph are not in a stable anymore, but in a house. It’s likely that it took the wise men, days, months or even a few years to arrive on the scene.

The gifts the Wise Men brought.

The Magi brought three significant gifts that bore spiritual meanings. 

Gold recognizes Jesus as the King of Kings and the great High Priest. The Magi acknowledged that they were in the presence of a King. Gold was highly valued by kings as we see with Solomon in 2 Chronicles 9:20. Gold was also woven into the fabric of the high priest (Exodus 28). 

Image result for gold"

Frankincense recognizes Him as the perfect Lamb sacrifice and it has a wonderful fragrance. It was used for making incense (Exodus 30:34), was an ingredient in sacrifices (Leviticus 2:1-2) and it was also an ingredient in perfumes (Song of Solomon 3:6; 4:14).

Image result for Frankincense"

Myrrh recognizes His death and resurrection. It was first mentioned in Genesis 37:25 where it was carried by camels in a caravan. It was used for burial embalming (John 19:39), as an ingredient in anointing oil (Exodus 30:23-25) and as a perfume (Song of Solomon 1:13; 3:6; 4:6, 14; 5:1, 5, 13). It was also used in Jesus’ burial (John 19:39).

Image result for Myrrh"

The frankincense and myrrh trees are cut and bruised to bleed out the resin to use for healing, perfumes, incense, and anointing. Do you see the spiritual symbolism when it comes to Christ, Who suffered and shed His blood for humanity? By His stripes, we’re healed!

In conclusion

Image result for gif wise men star"

Matthew is the only Gospel writer that mentions the wise men visiting Christ after His birth. The account states that after Jesus’s birth, the wise men visit King Herod to inquire about Jesus’s actual location. However, Herod doesn’t have a clue though he’s troubled, and seeks the services of the wise men to locate the newborn Savior under the guise of wanting to worship Him. After leaving Jerusalem, the wise men see a star, follow it, and comes to worship the King of Kings in a house and not in a stable.

The Magi read and believed God’s Word, they sought Jesus, recognized His worth, and humbled themselves before Him in worship. We should come into God’s house with such reverence when we’re in His presence.

This is the account that is given in Matthew 2:1-12. The Bible doesn’t mention how many Magi (even if there was really 3) so we shouldn’t take away or add to the Word.

***GIFs/Images that don’t belong to LPM are via Google Search (Right-click for original source)

Disclaimer

Featured
Posted in Bible Activity/Discussion/Thoughts/Trivia

Bible’s Most Asked Questions #4: Was Jesus born on December 25?

There’s a light that shines on every flower
And it shines every minute, every hour
And always guides me on my way
This light was born on Christmas Day
His name is Jesus.

Laughing Children by Lennox Grey

This used to be my favorite season song when I was really young. I grew up believing that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ was born on December 25th when scriptures plainly do not state so. This question tends to pop up around this time a lot, but it’s hardly addressed in full for many are afraid of upsetting Christians. Today, we’re going there.

Image result for gif history

It was the 3rd century, people started to speculate about the birth of Jesus when Hyppolytus (ca.170-236) claimed that Jesus was born on December 25. Much later on, Cyril of Jerusalem (348-286) said that Jesus was born on December 25th because of the original Roman birth census which he had access to said so. But did the Bible say so? And yes, I know the Bible does not have to record every event, but this was the birth of the Savior. This was the birth of the Man Who’ll eventually die for our sins. Wouldn’t the Bible have dedicated at least a portion in His honor telling us the exact date of His birth? Wouldn’t the disciples have celebrated His birthday? So if December 25th was not the birth of our Savior, what is the significance of the day? Let’s dig in deeper.

The significance of December 25

Image result for gif history

At the time of Christ, the Romans celebrated a holiday in December known as Saturnalia that honored the god Saturn from December 17-24. Later, the Romans began celebrating Sol Invictus/”Unconquered Sun” (sun worship) on December 25. This was associated with the winter solstice. In the 4th century, Rome instituted Christianity thus converting Saturnalia and Sol Invictus to a Christian holiday. This provided a spiritual alternative to the pagan celebration and it was called the Feast of Nativity.

But did Jesus asked for a commemorative birthday which had its origins steeped in paganism? A few gods are celebrated on or associated with December 25th including Apollo, Attis, Tammuz, Helios, and of course, Nimrod (the Christmas tree can be traced back to him). Some of these so-call gods were born to “virgins” including Ra.

In Luke 2:7-8, we see the shepherds in the field watching over their flocks at the time of Jesus’s birth. Scholars and historians agree that this couldn’t be December for Judea were cold and rainy around this time and it’s most likely that the shepherds would’ve sought shelter for their flocks. In Luke 2:1-4, Jesus’s parents came to Bethlehem to register in a Roman census and such were not taken in the winter. Luke 1:24-36 tells us that Elizabeth, John’s mother was in her 6th month of pregnancy when Jesus was conceived. Zacharias, John’s father, was a priest serving in the Jerusalem temple during the course of Abijah (Luke 1:5) and according to historical calculations, this service took place on June 13-19 in that year.

If John was conceived at the end of June, and you add 9 months, that’ll bring us to March when John was most likely born. John and Jesus have a 6 month age difference between them, so if we were to add 6 months after John’s birth, Jesus would’ve been born in the month-end of September. But it’s all assumption, for He could’ve been born in October as well. 

Related image

In conclusion

The early Christian church did not celebrate the birth of Jesus. We do not know the exact date on which He was born and if God wanted us to know, He would’ve told us in His Word. And if December 25th was really the birth of our Savior, why is it people do the most unholy things on this day such as being gluttonous, debauchery, selfishness, etc?

To put, this is a tradition of man. Rome did not celebrate Christmas until 300 years after the death of Christ. 

***GIFs via Google Search

Posted in Song Sunday 🎶🎷🎺🎻

How MUCH does He LOVE us? 💙

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

John 3:16

Too much!

Excessively!

More than words can say or we can ever comprehend!

Image result for gif love

God loves us so much that He sent His only Son into this wicked world to be a sacrifice for the salvation of humanity. This self-sacrificial love can explain itself, yet, we still cannot comprehend why or how much He loves us. And we’ll never be able to come to a sufficient or pleasing answer because we’re unworthy.

Image result for gif love

So why does God love us? Simple. He is love (1 John 4:8,16). The essence of His being is love and because He loves, we can love for He first loved us. He loves the sinner (but hates the sin) hence why we can come to Him as we are, so He can forgive us of rebelling against Him and make us clean.

Image result for love you cute gif"

His love is not limited for it has no beginning or end.

Reflect on His love today and thank Him for loving you.

Image result for gif hearts

Your love is kind
Your love is patient
You fill my heart
With so much peace and joy

Jesus You love me too much ooo
Too much ooo, too much ooo
Excess love ooo

***GIFs/Images that don’t belong to LPM are via Google Search (Right-click for original source)

Disclaimer

Posted in Challenges/Tags/Fun Stuff

꧁ Blue Sky Tag ꧂

Grace over at followinghimbesidestillwaters nominated me to do this tag since September and I am just now getting to it. *sighs* That’s me. Always late to the party. Thank you once again, Grace, and now, to the questions. 

1. What is a book you have read recently?

I’m currently reading four books including one about the history of Port-of-Spain and a dead musician’s courtroom drama. I’m on a reading roll lately and loving it for I’m hoping to finally get rid of my TBR. That will be a huge accomplishment in itself!

Image result for gif spencer reid reading

2. Do you like thunderstorms?

Oui! Si! Ja! Ndiyo! Jes!

Image result for gif watching rain

3. What is your favorite genre to read?

At the moment, history, law, languages, and certain fiction.

Image result for gif spencer reid reading

4. Do you have a pet?

Yes, I have two beautiful fur babies!

Image result for gif cats

5. Do you have a favorite song or a song you’ve been listening to on repeat?

Yes; “Peace” by Depeche Mode and “Oh Lord You’re Beautiful” by Keith Green. These songs mean everything to me! 💙

Image result for gif listening to music

6. Do you like to travel?

I love the idea of traveling around the world, but I don’t have the finance for it so I settle for traveling locally and through other people’s experiences in books or blogs.

Image result for gif travel

7. Cats or dogs?

Both. 💙

Image result for gif cats and dogs

8. Would you rather take a walk in nature or a walk in the city?

I like taking walks in nature be it in the city or country for God is always present no matter where I go. 

Image result for gif nature walk

9. Favorite book or chapter in the Bible?

Every book is special for Jesus’ presence is written and felt on every page from Genesis to Revelation. My favorite books are written by Solomon and my all-time favorite verse is Proverbs 18:10. 💙 My favorite chapter at the moment is Psalm 45.

Image result for gif proverbs 18:10

10. What is your favorite season?

Image result for gif seasons

11. What has God taught you lately?

To be patient in ALL things. In learning to be patient, I learn to trust Him more. In learning to trust Him more, my faith grows bigger and stronger. With my faith growing bigger and stronger, I worry less. As I worry less, I am more at peace. The more peace within me, the more humble I become.

Image result for gif patrick jane listening music

This was fun! Check out Grace’s entry here:

The Blue Sky Tag

***GIFs/Images that don’t belong to LPM are via Google Search (Right-click for original source)

Disclaimer

Posted in Books & Reviews 📚

꧁ TBR Book Tag ꧂

Madame Writer always discovers the best book tags around and although I’m not as invested in books as I used to be, I couldn’t let the TBR Book Tag pass me by! Let’s do… wait, let me grab a coffee first… okay, let’s do this!

Related image

How do you keep track of your TBR pile?

I actually don’t. I used to keep a notebook, now, I read whenever the impulse to do so kicks in and when I do, I choose a book at random.

Related image

Is your TBR mostly print or ebook?

The printed format suits me better as I’ll devour it faster than an E-book!

Image result for gif tom cruise reading a book

How do you determine which book from your TBR to read next?

Refer to Q. 1.

A book that’s been on your TBR list the longest

This book:

Image result for sixty million frenchmen can't be wrong

And this one:

Image result for courtroom 302

There are others that have been in my TBR even longer, but every time I look at the bookshelf, I keep wondering why I haven’t read those books as yet. The first one was a gift; the second one I bought when I was going through my lawyer phase.

Hopefully, I’ll get to them sooner rather than later.

A book recently added to your TBR

Alex is some kind of wonderful, intelligent mathematical sciencey genius who makes cooking look easy. I used to watch his YouTube channel (Alex French Guy Cooking), so when I saw his book, I had to get it.

Image result for just a french guy cooking

I love how he experiments with food and cooking methods. I love it when he goes in-depth into a technique as he demystifies (or complicate) cooking. He made me appreciate food chemistry. The best part of his cooking journey? He was self-taught. 😄

A book in your TBR strictly because of its beautiful cover

Beautiful? What even is that?

Image result for gif patrick jane beautiful

Okay, you caught me. I bought like 4 books because of their pretty shiny covers, but to keep them strictly in my TBR? A no-no. I already read them and passed them on to new owners. 

A book on your TBR that you never plan on reading

I’ve gotten rid of a lot of books I don’t ever plan on reading recently, so I guess it’s safe to say that I plan to read what’s left of my TBR.

Image result for gif dr reid reading

An Unpublished book on your TBR that you’re excited for

I am not excited about books anymore for they end up being disappointments as authors are forgetting how to author and expectations end up shattering like a favorite tea or coffee cup.

Image result for gif patrick jane tea

However, I’ll like to get my hands on a copy of Antoine Griezmann’s freshly printed manga Goal

Image result for antoine griezmann manga

A book on your TBR that basically everyone’s read but you

A few years ago, I got this really awesome book “The Greater Journey: Americans In Paris” on sale at my favorite bookstore. One year later after the purchase, it starts trending everywhere even on Twitter! And I was like, “I’ve got that book and I’ll read it soon!” It still sits on my bookshelf to this day sadly wasting away.

Image result for the greater journey

A book on your TBR everyone recommends to you

I don’t recommend books anymore – unless it’s the Bible – so I don’t take recommendations from anyone for every time someone recommends a book to me, I end up disliking it greatly… I don’t know why. However, there is one book that people kept recommending to me because I used to read voraciously and that is “Evening Class” by Maeve Binchy. I have no idea what it’s about for I want it to be a surprise read.

Image result for evening class book

A book on your TBR you’re dying to read

Did Lestat ask this question? The brat!

Image result for Lestat gif

How many books are on your Goodreads TBR shelf?

I don’t do Goodreads. I live my TBR life through the bookshelf in my room and I refuse to count how many books left to read – over 300 I guess – but I’ll inform you when I get to 20.

Image result for gif spencer reid coffee

If you’re up to do this challenge, feel free to and don’t forget to check out Madame Writer’s entry here:

The TBR Book Tag

***GIFs/Images that don’t belong to LPM are via Google Search (Right-click for original source)

Disclaimer

Posted in ✈ Travel Tuesday ✈

Instagram’s Favorite Street! 🇫🇷

With its candy-coated pastel houses and weathered cobblestones, it’s easy to see why Rue Crémieux is a HUGE hit on Instagram. This car-free backstreet is the most Instagramable street in Paris, much to the annoyance of the locals. 

Image result for Rue Crémieux

Photo via aei-voyage.be

While the picturesque street in the 12th arrondissement is garnering a lot of attention, tourists also have to be mindful of the residents.

BACK STORY

The one-block pedestrian street was originally built as workers’ housing in 1857. From 1865-1898, it was known as Rue Millaud. It was renamed for Adolphe Crémieux, a French lawyer and politician. During the catastrophic Crue de la Seine de 1910 (1910 Great Flood of Paris), water from the Seine reached as high as 1.75 meters on one of the buildings. In 1993, the street was closed to vehicles.

TODAY

We live in a self-absorbed world. With the hashtag #ruecremieux now linking to over 31,000 images on Instagram, Rue Crémieux might be a paradise for Instagrammers, but they’ve taken away the residents’ privacy. They used to be able to take their tables outside to have lunch, but now, they can’t do so with yoga aficionados, dance sessions, and fashion shoots blocking their doorways. The residents are okay with people taking photos, but they’ve demanded that the city of Paris to protect their privacy by closing the street to visitors on evenings and weekends which is fair enough. Imagine looking out your window and seeing this:

View this post on Instagram

Dimanche 💃 #paris #ballet #streetdance

A post shared by Club Crémieux (@clubcremieux) on

Or this:

And this:

And even this:

It’s a beautiful street, but it’s rude to disturb the peace and snatch away privacy. Some even go as far as recording residents leaving their homes. People are sheep, literally, and when they see something goes viral online, they want to do it, too. You travel to experience, not to take pretentious photos of yourself.

***GIFs/Images that don’t belong to LPM are via Google Search (Right-click for original source)

Disclaimer

Posted in Bible Activity/Discussion/Thoughts/Trivia

Consider the Lily. 🌼

Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.

Luke 12:27

Image result for white lily gif

Go outside and look around. Take in the trees, the flowers, animals, and the way the wind blows. Look at the sky in the evening. Don’t you just marvel at the setting of the sun? Luke 12:27 reminds us that man does not have the ability to make things as beautiful as God. Not even Solomon’s majestic finery can compare for his was made by man. Solomon had to toil and spin despite his glory, but still couldn’t compare to the effortless lilies in the field. 

God’s creation reveals His beauty to the world. 

Let us consider the lilies.

200+ Free Lily Of The Valley & Spring Photos - Pixabay

The lily symbolizes devotion and humility; it is an emblem of loveliness or purity. Lilies have been most associated with King Solomon. It is mentioned 15 times in the Bible; 8 of those mentions occur in SOS (Song of Solomon). We’re first introduced to the lily in the building of Solomon’s temple (1 Kings 7:19; 1 Kings 7:22; 1 Kings 7:26; 2 Chronicles 4:5). I noted a few things about lilies while studying verses on this sweet flower: it grows in fields, in the valleys, and even among thorns. In SOS 2:2, the church is compared to a “lily among thorns”. In SOS 5:13 the young woman compares her beloved’s lips to lilies.

The lily is also a beautiful picture of Christ (SOS 2:1). I love the five comparisons between the lily of the valley and Christ, Benjamin Keach gives in his book “Preaching from the Types and Metaphors of the Bible”:

Image result for white lily gif

1. A lily is a sweet and a fragrant flower with a strong scent. Our Lord Jesus has a sweetness in His ministry especially when He gave “himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” (Ephesians 5:2)

2. A lily is white and very beautiful. White is a symbol of purity (Revelation 3:4). What better representation of the purity of Jesus Christ, the one “who knew no sin” (2 Corinthians 5:21), who “did no sin” (1 Peter 2:22), who was tempted “yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15). and who in him is no sin” (1 John 3:5), than a beautiful white lily?

Image result for white lily gif

3. A lily is very fruitful. One root may put forth fifty bulbs. Through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, He brings forth much fruit (John 12:24).

4. A lily, according to the ancient writer Pliny, is the tallest of flowers and yet hangs its head down. This a beautiful picture of the greatness of the Son of God matched only by the greatness of His humility (Philippians 2:6-8).

5. The lily has many medicinal qualities. According to ancient teaching, it could be used to restore a lost voice, help faintness, was good for the liver, and helped to reduce fluid retention. Our Lord Jesus Christ is the great physician and is fully capable of curing all diseases and maladies of the soul.

200+ Free Lily Of The Valley & Spring Photos - Pixabay

When Jesus gave the Sermon on the Mount, He tells us to consider the lilies (Matthew 6:28-29). When we’re anxious, He wants us to look at nature and He uses birds as an example in Matthew 6:26. We can’t look into tomorrow, neither can the birds. The birds don’t worry for the Great Provider always provides for them. We shouldn’t worry over things we can’t control for worrying cannot add an extra hour to our life (Matthew 6:27); rather, it shortens our lifespan. Besides, Jesus tells us to come out of the world and if we were to worry constantly, how are we any different from the world (Matthew 6:31-32)?

Image result for gif lily flower

Food for thought: If God can clothe and feed the flowers of the field and provide for the birds of the air, imagine what He can do for you! Rest easy, for, there’s no need to worry; He is in control. We have today; leave tomorrow up to God and don’t waste time worrying.

Consider the lilies.

***GIFs/Images that don’t belong to LPM are via Google Search (Right-click for original source)

Disclaimer