Sunday, July 31, 2011

A Morning Cup of Tea: He Spoke Just a Word

Good morning! How has your weekend been? Are you preparing for morning worship service?  I will be in just a few minutes. Everyone has slept late this morning, which is rare on any day lately.
  Today we are discussing chapter 8. Jesus has come down from the mountain and he has begun healing people. A leper worshiped him and Jesus healed him.  But he said something curious to the man. Matthew 8:4. And Jesus saith unto him, See that thou tell no man; but go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them. I'm guessing at this point he wanted to keep things fairly quiet.
   In Capernaum a centurion approached him about healing a sick servant. Jesus was willing to to the centurion's home, but he said that he wasnt worthy that Jesus should do that. Just say the word and it would be done. Jesus praised his faith.  (vv 5-13)
   Jesus healed Peter's mother in law (v14,15) and cast out devils.  Many people are following him during this time, and Jesus got into a boat to go to another place.  Jesus slept while a storm brewed. His disciples woke him up because they were sure they were all going to die on the sea. Jesus spoke and the wind and the sea died down. How amazing would it be to see a man who could just speak and the water and wind obey? His followers are just beginning to see what a great man Jesus really is.
  Once they reached the country of the Gergesenes they come upon two men who were possessed by devils. The devils themselves recognized who Jesus was. (v.29) "And they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee,, Jesus, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time?"
 Even the devils knew who Jesus was! Did you notice that they asked if he was going to torment them before the time? They knew their fate. Simply acknowledging who Jesus is would not and did not save them from an eternity in hell.  
  They asked to be cast into a herd of pigs and that is where Jesus let them go. The hogs then drowned in the sea.  Just who is this man who can heal the sick and cast out devils with just a word? Even the devils knew the answer to that : the Son of God.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

A Morning Cup of Tea: A Warning

Good morning! Its kind of a sleepy Saturday here at the house. J is getting used to a new medication and had a sleepless night, so dad and I had our share of the sleeplessness as well.
  Today we are finishing up chapter 7 of Matthew, verses 21 through 29. I won't copy them all, just the first few verses, but again I encourage you to read for yourself.

21. Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
22. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
23. And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

Jesus has some fairly sobering thoughts here. At the time of judgement there will be those who thought they were doing the will of God, but will find they haven't. How frightening it would be to hear Jesus say, I never knew you, depart from me.
 Jesus continues to say that those who do the will of the Father are like a wise man who builds his house upon the rock. A firm foundation will keep a house from being destroyed when storms come.  Those who do not do the will  of the Father are like a foolish man who builds his house on the sand. The rains come, and the house falls apart. There is nothing for it to stand on. 
 At the end of the chapter when Jesus ended his talk on the mountain, the people marveled because he taught as one having authority. 
  If Jesus tells us that not every one who says Lord Lord will enter the kingdom of heaven, then there must be a plan we are to follow. We must study to know for ourselves what this plan is.  I will blog about the plan of salvation soon, but for now I want to focus on studying through the New Testament.  

Friday, July 29, 2011

Storms Bring Forth Blessings

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God , to them who are the called according to his purpose.
                                                                               Romans 8 28
Its been a wild and wooly few days here at the house. We've hit a financial problem (that hopefully has been fixed), J has had a serious meltdown, my computer power supply bit the dust, making me change to this computer here. One thing at a time I can usually handle, but when they hit one right after the other, its a little harder to deal. But I managed. Not on my own, oh no. I had help. I prayed. I got mad and yelled at my husband online (arguing via email, such fun. I don't recommend it). I even had as my facebook status something to the effect of "All right Satan! You want a fight? Bring it!"  (Can you tell I was mad? )  
   But you know what?  I was shown that I have a support system out there. I had several people ask what's wrong, who offered prayers and love and strength. My sister, who I told in private specifically what was going on, supplied me wit bible verses (one of which I had that very day blogged on! How's that for a nudge from God?), inspirational music and wall postings. I love my sister very much and wish I could see her in person again. It's been too many  years. 
  God never leaves us alone when we have a problem. We may think he does sometimes, but He isnt the one who moved. He's always been there. I am so thankful that I have my family and my friends (some I've never met  except online.) who have been there for me. I hope that I am as much of a blessing to you as you are to me. 

Win a Grain Mill at Hallee the Homemaker!

The more I learn about nutrition and good food, the more I want to feed my family the freshest food possible. While I"m not baking my own bread yet, I have been looking into a grain mill.  Hallee the Homemaker is giving one away, plus most of what you need to make some bread, here.
 I've already entered, and maybe you will want to as well. Good luck!

A Morning Cup of Tea: Beware of Wolves in Sheep's Clothing

Good morning! Today's scripture is Matthew 7: 15- 20. Jesus warns us of false prophets, or those who teach false doctrine.

15. Beware of false prophets, which come  to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravening wolves.
16. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or or figs of thistles?
17. Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
18. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
19. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
20. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

Jesus is pretty straight forward here. Watch out. There are people who want to mislead you. Study God's word on your own, don't just take anyone's word for it. Watch and pray , and know what the Bible says. There are trustworthy preachers and teachers out there. But you will learn there are some not so good.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

A Morning Cup of Tea: The Golden Rule and the Straight Gate

Good morning! I so look forward to this time each morning, because I learn so much taking it slower. One effect from doing my bible study online is that my spiritual appetite has increased! I want to read more and more of the bible at a time and I pay more attention in worship. When I read or hear someone mention a scripture I want to look it up immediately and read it for myself. There is so much I have yet to learn and sometimes I feel I have such a short time to learn it all.
 Today's scripture is Matthew 7:12-14
12. Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.
 You may recognize this as the "golden rule" : Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.  Among other things, I think it means treat each person kindly, and with respect. This does not mean we have to be a pushover. I'll tell you a little secret here, this is something I need to work on a bit. Not so much with strangers as it is with the ones I am closest to. Instead of snarling and wanting to bite someone's head off when things aren't going right, we need to step back and realize that our attitude, words and actions either show Christ within us, or it doesnt. And even if the other person "set us off" we may not always know what is going on in their lives. Maybe they really are just a horrible, horrible person. But more likely, they are dealing with some hard knocks of life as well. Deal firmly with someone if you must, but do so gently. Think about how you would like to be treated and act accordingly.

13. Enter ye at the strait gate: for wide the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat;
14. Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.  
Jesus is issuing a warning here: Don't follow the crowd. Think about what it is you are doing. God has given us a path that he would like us to follow if we wish to do his will. The guide is God's word. If we do not study for ourselves, how will we know when we are being led astray?  We will read more about that tomorrow.
  Thank you for joining me. I hope you have a great day.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A Morning Cup of Tea: Ask in Prayer

Some days I really don't know where to begin. My mind is such a jumble of thoughts and emotions. I need our Father all the time, and there are times I need him more than ever. This is one of those times. My heart is heavy, with care for this country and its leaders, with how a friend deep in depression is doing, and to be honest, I'm fighting a battle within myself over worrying about the rest of the week. I already know, because we discussed fear and worry.
  Today's lesson ties in with this. Our scripture is Matthew 7:6-11.

I'm going to copy verses 7 and 8, but I encourage you to read the passage yourself.
7.Ask, and it shall be given you: seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you;
8. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
   Put rather simply, God wants us to go to Him when we need something. Just as we would go to our earthly dads and ask for what we want, our heavenly Father wants us to do the same with him. We all want what's best for our kids and as long as we can provide and its not something they should not have, we provide for our children. God, who is perfect, really wants to do this for us. We simply have to ask. 
 I'll leave you with that thought. Have a great day.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

GratiTuesday : Memories and Life

Join us for Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers!

Today, as some may know, would have been my oldest son's 20th birthday. Yesterday was the anniversary of his death here on earth. Today I'm grateful for many things..
  I am grateful for the time that I had with Chris. I cherish the moments.  He was my first child, and i was very happy to have him. I remember his first birthday, and the grandparents came to our house after church for cake and ice cream. I had made him a cake in the shape of a bear and he got chocolate everywhere.  I remember his laughter when he thought something was funny. I remember the sight of him sitting in my lap or on my brother's bed watching a video: always clutching a blanket or shirt and his thumb in his mouth. My little Linus. I remember when we were watching Prancer on video. He pointed to the reindeer and said "dog." I corrected him and said no, that's a reindeer. I could not have been more wrong in his eyes. He rolled those sweet eyes of his and said more forcefully, DOG! I stood corrected. Prancer was a big dog.
  I am thankful for the time I was given with this little man. In my mind, it was not enough. Would never have been enough, no matter how many years I'd been given with him. But I learned so much with him. And he blessed others who knew him as well. 
  I'm also thankful for those friends who were there for my family and me during the time we lost Chris, and those who showed love yesterday. Some, barely knowing me, offered their time to talk with me. I may not have acknowledged it yesterday, but I am indeed grateful for their friendship and kindness.
  Last but not least, I'm grateful that life goes on. I have one son as a treasure in my heart, and one who is still with me, who still needs me. He's been fed this morning  once already so I could get out my Morning Cup of Tea but he's (not so) patiently in the background letting me know he needs attention and possibly more to eat. This eighteen year old young man who is my baby is a challenge, a source of strength and love, and a blessing. 

A Morning Cup of Tea: Judge Not

Today's scripture, I feel, is one of the most quoted and misused verses in the bible. Please read Matthew 7: 1-5.

1.Judge not, that ye be not judged.
2.For with what judgement ye judge, ye shall be judged:and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
3. And why beholdest thou the mote in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is  in thine own eye?
4. or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?
5.Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.

I used to be on a website that is supposed to be helpful for mothers. However, I soon began calling it the Drama Mamas site because on certain parts of the place that is all you would see. Everyone it seemed was of the opinion that they were right and everyone else was wrong. And when it came to lifestyle or behavior, always someone would say, The bible says don't judge! I noticed, however, the ones quoting that scripture didn't feel that it applied to their assessment of another person.
  When we see a fellow Christian doing wrong, we should go to them in love and talk with them. We should not be gossiping with others about what sister so and so is doing. And we should take the time to examine ourselves first. Are we trying to help clean someone else up when we have a fire to put out at home first?
 We are none of us perfect, and we are here to help one another. When we see wrongdoing we should speak up. But we need to go about it the right way.  

Monday, July 25, 2011

Treasure in Paradise

Eighteen years ago today I was a mom with two precious little boys. One about 6 months old, the other would turn 2 years the next day. My husband had to work that day; he was scheduled for guard duty, a 24 hour job. We picked up my car and he followed me to church where he said goodbye and went on to work. I was going to stay for the dinner and go home with the boys afterward. The next day, Chris's birthday, we'd go to the park and have a picnic, get the boys' picture taken. 
  Worship went as it normally does. One of the teenagers took Chris to his class for me and I took J to the nursery and sat with him. The teenagers had asked earlier if Chris could eat with them later and i said it was okay.
  Being summer, several families were out on vacation. Very few younger kids were there that day, especially any Chris's age. One of the older men, who was like a grandfather to my boys, offered to hold J after service was over. That way I could get plates fixed and keep an eye on Chris, who played beside me.
  It was a small congregation but there was much action going on as the final preparations were being made for dinner. When it was time to get the food, Chris was beside me. I turned to fix his plate. When I turned around, maybe a minute or two later, he was gone. At first I didn't worry. The teens had already said they wanted him to be with them, so I figured they had come to get him. Another parent said no, she had just seen the teenagers and Chris wasn't with them. 
  My heart stopped. I put down the plate and we all began looking. Both back doors were open. Could he have gone outside? We searched everywhere, inside and out. All I could do was cry. We searched up and down the road.Others, (not me) looked in the baptistry area. No sign of him.
  The men of the congregation convinced me to call my husband at work. He didn't think he would be let off work so the men talked to the sargent or whoever it was in charge of the shift, and Jim was sent home. The men called the police and search and rescue. No stone was left unturned. 
  As they often do, a local news team heard what was going on and came in. I allowed myself to be filmed because I had no idea where my boy was. He was a friendly soul who did not know a stranger.
  Several hours later i went outside because i thought I heard Chris. I was outside the door by the baptistry area. I heard one of the women wail OH NO! and i rushed back inside. One of the men had gone back to check again and found my little boy.
  During that time, work was being done in the baptistry area. The lighting was dim back there, and wooden boards were on one side of the pool. Only a plastic sheet of bubble wrap covered the water to keep any bugs out. He probably had wanted to simply go and stand where he could see everyone. He did not know the bubble wrap would give way. They think he somehow was under the boards or in a shadow and that was why they didn't see him other times when they looked.
   Chris was life flighted to the hospital but he was never revived. 

  The church had been there many years. No one thought there was any danger because nothing had ever happened like this before. Afterward, however, among all the things the congregation did , doors were put in place at the baptistry and they were kept locked, with only a few having access to the key. Other churches across the country heard what happened and they too took a closer look to see that their buildings were safe for little ones. 
  I still do not know how this ever could have happened, or why I or someone else didn't hear anything when the baptistry was maybe 5 feet from where dinner was set up. I've wished that I'd stayed home that day, others said they wished they'd offered to tend Chris for me while i got his plate. 
  Although its been many years, it still hurts, some days are just better than others. The comfort i have in this is my baby boy is in paradise. He doesn't have to worry about whether or not he will make it to heaven. He is secure. He is one of my treasures in heaven. I want to be able to see him again. I love God enough to want to do His will and live right. One of the rewards of living right is seeing loved ones who have gone on before. I'm not perfect nor will I ever be here on earth, but I can live the best I can.
  I tell J about his brother all the time. I wonder what he would have looked like growing up, how he would have turned out, if J would be the way he is now had his brother lived. Yes, I think things like that. The only answer I have and hold on to is he is in paradise with Jesus. That's all that matters. I'm sad for me still some, because i can't hold him here. But he doesn't have to deal with the things of this world.

A Morning Cup of Tea: Stop Worrying

Today we are finishing up chapter 6 of Matthew. We are reading verses 25-34. I wont copy the whole passage, but I will encourage you to read it. I think one of my goals should be to commit this passage to memory because I inherited the "worry gene" from my mother. I understand what Jesus is saying here, and I have read many times  Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? (v 27.) My mother's answer? I've GOT to worry! No, you don't. God doesn't want us to worry! While I don't think or say I've got to worry, I do gnaw on a situation like a bone sometimes. What I should be doing is praying to God. He knows my needs! And He will make sure my needs are met.
  Does this mean all I have to do is sit back and let the blessings flow? No. I need to continue to work my part. While I may not ever end up with the 3 story Victorian home that's been my dream home forever, I will have a place to live that I can be happy and content in. While my pantry may not be overflowing, we have yet to starve. Somehow my husband's check stretches or God provides another source. 
31. Therefore take no thought, saying: What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
32.(For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that you have need of these all these things.
33.But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
34. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.
 My translation on those two? Look to God first in all things. He will take care of you. Stop borrowing trouble from tomorrow. Each day has enough of its own problems to deal with. 
  Above all, seek first the kingdom of God. He knows your needs, wants, desires. He still wants to hear from you. While we aren't promised everything we want in this life, our needs will be met. Have a wonderful day.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

What's Wrong With You? : Or What NOT to Ever Say

What's Wrong With You? is what I heard a little old lady say to my son. I was trying to decide whether to buy some grass fed beef (didn't happen this time) and i heard those words. I looked up and saw him standing very close to her and smiling.
 I can understand that this would make a lot of people uncomfortable, especially if you dont know the nearly 6 foot tall young man. But J favors only a select few with that fabulous smile of his, so there must have been a reason in his mind. Perhaps she reminded him of his granny.
  My  husband, bless his heart, spoke kindly and apologized to the woman. I kept my mouth shut (other than to say fairly loudly that its not only the young who need lessons on manners) and narrowed my eyes. Not the greatest of responses for a Christian. 
  I've since calmed down a bit, but it is rather frustrating. First off, he was not upset nor was he bleeding or otherwise hurt. There was and is nothing "wrong" with him. J simply has autism. 
  One aspect of autism is not understanding social aspects of life. We are doing our best to teach him, but sometimes he does end up in someone's personal space. Usually the person says hello or hi, which is enough to alert me or dad, if we haven't already seen the situation. I prefer it that way. J gets a chance to interact with someone other than us and we explain his diagnosis and apologize for his social blunder. Most shrug it off and are fine once they know. 
  Autism, Down's Syndrome, and a host of other disabilities should not be seen as something "wrong". They are simply children and adults who just happen to have what most call a disability.

A Morning Cup of Tea: Matthew 6:22-24

Good morning! What a beautiful Lord's day! 

22. The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.
23.But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!
24. No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love, the other, or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

  We choose with each decision we make to be filled with light or darkness.If our lives are dark, is it because our spiritual light has gone out? Food for thought as we ready ourselves for worship.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Truth About Autism, Part I

As a mom I have dealt with autism for many years now. Does it make me an expert? Maybe. But mostly know. Autism covers a huge field and my range of expertise is my son. I'm hoping this will help people understand a bit more though. If this helps, feel free to share the link to this page with others.

At this point in time There. Is. NO. Cure. for autism. With early intervention, a whole lot of hard work, patience and perseverance, many kids do improve. Some lead fairly normal lives. But they still have autism. 

Kids with autism grow up to be adults with autism. Don't be so quick to judge someone you think acts strangely for their age. You don't know the whole story.

NO, they are not all savants like Raymond in Rain Man. Yes, some do have an exceptional gift in one area or another. A lot don't. But conversely, they aren't dumb. They can learn. Some are quicker, some are slower, just like the rest of us.

Autism is a neurological disorder. It is not a disease you can catch, it is not a mental illness,  it does not necessarily mean there is mental retardation. If you place 100 kids with autism in a room, you would likely notice two things: There are more boys than girls, and there is a wide variety of symptoms/ behaviors going on. They don't all share the same.

If the mom or dad nearby is cool with the behavior going on and there is no danger, then nine times out of ten it's okay. The situation is under control so there is no need to stare.

FYI, staring is rude. Ask questions, make a comment if you must. I'm very happy with questions.  And yes, I know when you make comments behind my back. Either tell me what you think or shut up and mind your manners.

Autism doesn't necessarily mean oblivious. Do not ignore my son and talk around him as if he wasn't there. Speak to him! He may very well not respond, but he also may just surprise you with a smile or other acknowledgment.

These are just a few things off the top of my head. I'll add to it later, especially if there is interest. I know I sound like a Debbie Downer at this point, but honestly, it's a joy to get to know my son and others like him. It saddens and angers me when people refuse to take the time to really get to know him or dismiss him or treat him badly. It hurts more when family members are the ones who do this. Thanks for listening.

A Morning Cup of Tea: Where is Your Treasure?

Are you a collector? I am, somewhat. I collect ducks that friends have given me because of my online name, and I love books and old blue canning jars. I like pretty things that catch my eye. Sometimes I bring them home, sometimes I don't. If something gets broken or messed up, sometimes I get upset, but I try not to let it bother me too badly. I try to remember Matthew 6:19-21 to help keep things in perspective:
19. Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
20. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
21. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

I think it is fine to have nice things here, and enjoy pretty things. But eventually all these things will fade away. Things like God's love, God's Word, those things will not fade away. When we lose a loved one here on earth, someone who has been faithful in his or her walk with God, or a child who passes away, I count them as treasures in heaven as well. I look forward to seeing faithful loved ones again. 

Friday, July 22, 2011

A Morning Cup of Tea: Fasting

Good morning! I'm a little late getting this post out today. J had a hard time getting to sleep last night.Usually when he wakes before I do I hear him singing or giggling. This time he was sitting quietly in the living room playing with a toy car meant to be put together and taken apart. I am thankful for moments such as these, not so much that I was allowed to sleep a bit, but that he was showing patience and self reliance and a host of other things I may blog about later.
Today's scripture is Matthew 6:16-18
16. Moreover, when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
17. But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head and wash thy face;
18. That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto they Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.

Admittedly, I do not know very much about fasting. Not enough to decide whether to implement it in my life or not. Sometime down the road I may do a study on it. 
 But here, Jesus tells us that when we fast, don't be a martyr. This should be something done in secret, between you and God. Otherwise it turns into an attention seeking device. Instead of going around looking as if you hadn't eaten in three days, put a smile on your face and continue on with your day. 
 Have a wonderful day! 

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A Morning Cup of Tea: Prayer and Forgiveness

Good morning! I hope you had restful sleep last night. Around here it seems to be one of those topsy turvy days where J wakes early, meaning naptime comes later in the day. 

Today's lesson is Matthew 6:5-`15. In this passage is the model prayer, commonly known as the Lord's prayer.

In the first few verses, 5-8, Jesus tells us how not to pray. He says to avoid being like those who speak loudly in public places when they pray, or those who use vain, repititious words. They are attention seekers and get their reward from what people think of them. We are to pray in private. Does this mean that prayer should not be led in church and other gatherings? Certainly not! During those times all minds should be of one accord. While one is leading the prayer, the others should be praying silently along with them.

The model prayer that Jesus prayed shows us how we should pray. We should come to our Father in heaven reverently. We should pray for the church, which is us, the people. We should ask for our daily needs. We should ask forgiveness of our own sins, and we should ask help in those who sin against us. And we should ask God to help us stay out of temptation. 
 He already knows what we need, yet he wants us to ask. He wants a relationship with us! 
  Once the prayer was over, Jesus reiterated a specific point:
14: For if ye foforgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:
15. But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
  Our goal here on earth is to become more and more like Jesus. We are no more perfect than our neighbor. If we will not forgive them and would rather hold a grudge, why should the Father forgive us?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

My Enigma

My Brother and my J.

J is my enigma. I am always trying to figure him out. he takes joy in the simplest of things. Play some music, especially Michael Jackson or disco music these days and he's thrilled. Feed him and he's your friend for life.

He intrigues me. When things are put together, he wants to take them apart. For whatever reason, he just does not see that some things stay together.
  And yet he sees the need for order in chaos. I constantly have a pen in my hand or by my side. If it is not in use at the moment, he picks it up and puts the cap back on. Or if he wants my attention he takes the pen and puts it away. His way of saying hey, take a break and look at me. I need to communicate. I want your attention.  The pen often goes back into my notebook. Never mind the fact that should the pen disappear, next time it shows up it may be stripped to all its tiny little pieces.
  Some see a weird kid who is too loud or immature when they look at my son. Or they may see the autism. I see an intelligent young man who sees the world as it should be. His needs are simple; to love and be loved.

A Morning Cup of Tea: Matthew 6;1-4

V1. Take heed that you do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven,
  2. Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before the,
as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

When we give, we should be doing so without fanfare. We've all seen the big corporations or movie stars or athletes who hold a big press conference every time they do something for the less fortunate-- the huge cardboard check, the handshake and smile.Their reward is here on earth. Oh look, so and so just gave that person a house.What a great person they are!
  When we give, it should be done quietly. We should do it because we want to give an amount to the church, or to help a family, not to get the pat on the back. 

Join me tomorrow, won't you? We'll be discussing a little about prayer and the model prayer. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Listening to Jesus: a Revisit of A Morning Cup of Tea

I am human and I messed up. 

Matthew 5: 38, 39: Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth;
   But i say unto you, That ye resist not evil; but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.

  have a soapbox or two that believe strongly in. More on those (possibly) later down the line. I was reading an online group that is divided on a subject and allowed myself to be sucked into the argument. I let anger get the best of me instead of letting it go. As soon as I hit enter, the very words I'd typed out this morning came rushing back to me. Ouch. Tough lesson to learn. I didn't use any foul language but I didn't have to. My anger showed through, not my love for my fellow man. In that, I was wrong.
  We can disagree with someone without letting our anger get in the way. 

GratiTuesday: Friends and Facebook

I know this is going to sound weird, but today I am grateful for Facebook. I'm a stay at home mom and of course I have a child with special needs. We have one car, which hubby usually has because of work, and so I am home. A lot. As much as I love my job, it can be very lonesome. 
  The internet has helped me create a neighborhood I can visit anytime. With my Pogo friends I can play games. On Facebook I can connect with some of them, and I have also found relatives I probably would have missed the opportunity to get to know. I've reconnected with friends and acquaintances from schools that I attended growing up. I've even met new friends through some of the games I play or have played on the social network. 
  i love seeing the messages online that my friends leave on my wall or in my inbox. I like being able to see what everyone is up to. I tend to think of that as today's version of sitting on your front porch and waving at the neighbors, maybe stopping for a chat. Granted , in my real life I know exactly 2 neighbors. I talk with one a lot more than the other and yet even that isn't much. We all seem to be so busy with our own lives.  But I do miss the Mayberry feel of getting to know the neighbors. So in today's world I am grateful for Facebook and friends.

A Morning Cup of Tea: Retaliation and Loving Your Enemies

Good morning! Today we are going to finish up chapter 5 of Matthew.Verses 38-48.I won't be copying all the verses this time, just a few.

38.Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:
39. But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil:but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.
 Jesus goes on to say in the following verses that if a man sues you for your coat, give him your cloak also. It does not make you weak to resist fighting back. Fighting back, in my opinion, only escalates things. Both parties get angrier and hate grows stronger. What is accomplished?
  These next few verses I am going to copy and leave it at that. Jesus says it clearly and far better than I ever could:
43. Ye have heard that it hath been said; Thou shalt love thy neighbor , and hate thine enemy.
44.But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you'
45. That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven:for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
46. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?
47. And if ye salute our brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?
48. Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

I will end with this: God expects more of us because we are His children. He knows that we will never fully measure up to perfection here on earth, but that should never be an excuse for us to not try.  Each day I write this study, I see ways that my own life can be changed. I feel like I should be so much farther along in my Christian walk, but this race isn't about who finishes first. It's about continuing the race to the end, being encouraged by others to become stronger with each passing step.And when we stumble, someone is always there to lend a hand and pick us back up. Sometimes we don't see the hand because we aren't looking, but help is always there. Have a wonderful day.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Have Autism Will Travel

I am blessed to be able to stay home with J, and have enjoyed that blessing for many years. However, even us stay at home moms have to go to the grocery store , or just want to get out and visit someone else for a change. With any child there is usually some prep involved, especially the tiny ones. While J is a young adult, I still have some work involved to make trips that take longer than ten or fifteen minutes feasible. I get a little scatterbrained at times even though by now this should be second nature to me. But you know what? I've had to turn around and come home more than once because I wasn't prepared.
 If we are going to be gone anywhere for an hour or longer, I try to make sure the following items make it into the car:
  • An extra change or two of clothes for J, in case of accidents
  •  snacks. He gets hungry quite easily and if his blood sugar drops, so does his mood.
  • medication. J has seizures right along with the behavior issues and distractibility so keeping on time with those is a must.
  • Water. For J, he doesn't yet know how to limit his liquid intake at one time unless a straw is involved so what I'm thinking is getting the tiny four ounce water bottles for him. Not so great for my pocket book or the environment, but when the alternative is a sick child, I'll take the trade off.
  • Music. J loves music. It helps to have a couple different cds in the car in case the radio isn't cutting it.
  • For others I would suggest a toy or lovey the child is comfortable with, to have something familiar in an unfamiliar setting.
Did I leave anything out? Do you have items you can't leave home without?

Getting Organized: The Plan

In my quest to get better organized at home I've come to realize that autism plays a big part in this. J keeps me hopping. His methods of order are not always in sync with mine. In fact, there is a figurine of a lady in antebellum dress that has gone missing. I already knew that he'd been relentlessly searching for the correct place for it--out of his sight and off my kitchen counter--so I'm not a bit surprised it's disappeared. The fun part will be looking for it. 
 I've decided the whole house needs to deep cleaned and organized. Now seems to be as good a time as any. This will be challenging because J does not seem to care for empty spaces. He tries to fill them. Most of the time it is trash or clothes that he uses to fill the gaps. This cannot continue. I've been trying to figure this one out for several years now. 
  My plan:
  • write out a menu for the week
  • better schedule both my time and J's
  • deep clean the entire house
  • organize  all the clothes and send what we cannot use to the thrift store or trash.
  • reduce the number of books in the house
  • redo my home management notebook.
Why do I want to do all this? Because I want to make better use of my time. I want to be able to work on fiction stories that are buzzing around in my head, I want to play with my stamps and make cards again, maybe venture into scrapbooking again. I want more time with my family. I want less anxiety when I look around my home.  I want to be able to have friends and family drop in unexpectedly and not be frozen like a deer caught in the headlights. And it will keep me busy during a hard time in my life. 
 What about you? Are you gearing up for another year of homeschool or school? Still loving the lazy days of summer? Any tips for organization you'd like to share?

A Morning Cup of Tea: Jesus on Lying and Profanity and Swearing

Good Monday morning! Today's scripture is Matthew 5: 33-37. Let's get started, shall we?

33.Again ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths:
34: But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven , for it is God's throne;
35. Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King.
36. Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black.
37. But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.

 I looked up forswear in the glossary in the back of the Bible. It means to swear falsely, or perjury. In a court case, should a judge find you guilty of perjury (lying) you would face a stiff fine, jail time, or both.  In life in general, people around you learn whether they can take you at your word or whether to step outside and look for themselves if you were to say the sky is blue.
  In the old testament there are many examples of men swearing or making an an oath when they wanted to let it be known they were serious about a subject. Jesus is now saying , don't do it. Don't swear by anything or anyone. 
  Let your communication be Yea, yea, Nay, nay. Don't use all these superfluous words that ultimately mean nothing. Say yes and mean it. Say no and mean it. 

Sunday, July 17, 2011

A Morning Cup of Tea: Jesus on Adultery and Divorce

Good morning.It's a beautiful Lord's day here. My household is preparing to go to worship services in a bit.

Today's lesson is from Matthew 5: 27-32.
27. Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery:
28. But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery already with her in his heart.
 Now ladies, I'm going to stop right here for a second. We all know that this information goes both ways. I'm also going to say that that the old excuse "I can't help it if some guy looks at me. They're going to look anyway" does not fly. Sorry, that dog just don't hunt. 
  Yes, there are some out there who would wolf whistle at a woman covered head to toe. But that does not give us the right to dress immodestly. We don't necessarily have to go back to high neck blouses and skirts down to the toes unless you happen to like that look. But wearing the microscopic  shorts that barely cover the "essentials" and the tops that either show the belly or half your chest is like having a flashing sign over your head saying, Hey, look at me!
  Yes, I know it's hot outside. And I know the excuse, they shouldn't look. If you didn't want guys to look would you be dressing that way? honestly?  A tip, ladies: leggings are great for exercising and such. Out in public, please wear something else over your hips.  
  Dressing modestly applies to men as well. We need to teach our sons not to be wearing tight jeans or conversely, pants that are so loose that you have to walk funny to keep from losing them completely. 
  29. And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out , and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.
  30. And if they right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.
 Simply put, we should be keeping a tight rein on ourselves, and taking care of the "trouble spots." 
 31. It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement:
 32. But I say unto you,  That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to  commit adultery:  and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.
 I don't think Jesus could get any plainer than that. There is no biblical reason for divorce other than one partner straying from the marriage bed. Marriage should be sacred. NOTHING should get between a man and a woman who are married. Yes, I understand that people also divorce because of abuse. I would never , ever advocate staying where you are not safe. But scriptural divorce is only in that one case.
  One day i would love to do a post or series on marriage. But for now, if you would like to read some great husband/wife advice, please go to heavenly homemakers
   for Laura and Matt's series on Healthy Marriage Tips From A to Z. 

Have a wonderful day!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

A Morning Cup of Tea: Jesus Speaks of the Law

Good morning. I am so thankful for rain and cooler weather these days and evenings. I slept very well last night and hope you did too.

We are continuing slowly through Matthew 5, and today we are focusing on verses 17-26.

Here Jesus states that he is not here to destroy the law, but to fulfill it (v17). We know that the law was completely fulfilled when he died on the cross, which means that we are no longer under Old Testament law, but under New Testament Grace. We no longer have to sacrifice a lamb for our sins --Jesus was a willing lamb-- but we are given life ever lasting if we accept it. The steps of salvation are a post I would like to tackle on another day. At this point in Jesus' speech, he is going over laws that his his listeners know well. But he is refining them  a bit.
  21. Ye have heard it said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill' and whosoever kill shall be in danger of the judgment;
22 .  But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.
23. Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee;
24. Leave thy gift before the altar, and go thy way;first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.
25. Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him;  lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the  judge, and the judge deliver the to the officer, and though be cast into prison.
26. Verily I say  unto thee, Thou shalt  by  no means come out thence, till thou has paid the uttermost farthing.
 Jesus told us here, it's not just murder that is wrong. It is being angry with someone. We all have moments when we get angry at another. But most of the time we get over it and move on. When we let things fester, that is where our problem lies. Look at Cain and Abel (Genesis 4:1-15). Cain was angry. He let his anger boil to the point that he killed his own brother.
  Does that mean we will kill simply because we are angry? Maybe, maybe not. Sadly, we've seen in the news where husbands, wives, children, and significant others /exes have been killed. All because of anger. Or we get to the point where we are estranged from family members. In our hearts we are saying you are dead to me, I want nothing more to do with you. Isn't that the same as murder?
  Jesus tells us in the passage that if we have a problem that needs mending, we should go to that person we are angry with or who is angry with us and make amends. 

Likewise with our other adversaries. Take care of the problem before the courts get involved. It was almost like he was talking to this generation, eh?   

Again, I'd love to hear your thoughts and comments. Have a wonderful day. 

Friday, July 15, 2011

A Morning Cup of Tea; Salt and Light

Good morning! It's Friday, the week is almost over. I hope it's been a great week for you. 
  If you're just now joining me, we are doing a bible study of Matthew. For this chapter and the next two we are taking our time, letting it simmer. Jesus packs so much into his "Sermon on the Mount" I couldn't see rushing through it.

13. Ye are the salt of the earth; but if the salt have lost his savour,wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out and to be trodden under the foot of men.
14. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. 
15. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a  bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
16. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

Salt does two things: it flavors and it preserves. When cooking, you need a little salt to bring out the taste of some of the foods. In the olden days, and sometimes even now, things like pork were packed in salt to keep it from spoiling. When we are mixed in with other people, do we help bring out the goodness?
  Sin is sometimes referred to as darkness. As you've just read, we are to be the light. Did you notice that light does something? It brightens. It doesn't whistle at you to get your attention, but simply does its job and people take notice. We should be like the light- doing good for others and living our lives , not to be boastful, but so that someone will take notice and say, I want to live like that. I want to learn more about Jesus.
  My time for the morning is up. J has just let me know he is ready for breakfast. Have a wonderful day. : )

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Venturing into No Mama's Land

I love being a mama, don't get me wrong. But my sweet J has autism. No biggie, just type in autism and you can find blogs, books, and even movies (love you, Temple Grandin!) There are online and real life support groups, and those are wonderful. You know what I see and hear in most cases? Little Polly is a high functioning 8 year old. Tommy is 6 and has high functioning autism. Sigh.  As much as I'm thrilled it's all out there, there's just one teeny tiny hitch in this plan for me: J is not in the little kiddie age anymore. He is eighteen. His functioning, honestly, is mid to high in most cases. 
  He's my heart. I love him dearly. It's the autism I go head to head with most days. He's nonverbal so I play detective unless it's something directly food related (He's definitely a teenage boy!)  We still battle complete potty training. And things will suddenly upset him. No idea what a lot of times, which is uber heartbreaking for this mama. 
  Don't let all that scare you away from getting to know my sweet young man though. On most occasions he has a  precious smile for those he knows. He loves attending worship service, even if sometimes he is on the back pew, shoes off, letting the whole congregation know he's there with his giggles or outbursts. We have such a loving family there in Statesboro. They understand when he gets restless and i get a smile sometimes as his dad or I walk him outside or into the fellowship hall so he can pull it together a bit. 
  We have a dear friend who is an online dj for a country station. He's always sweet enough to say hello J and even me, and he's been known, on occasion, to play music specifically for J so that he could relax and go to sleep. Even now our favorite pirate dj's roommate dedicates a special song for J and me. I send love and hugs to that entire family over there. I've been blessed to get to know them. Jesse's love of music will keep us listening most days.
  Well, that's a brief look into J's life. His dad and I are having fun -and frustration-- treading this new land called teenager/young adult with autism.  Its definitely no mama's land at times.

Are you blessed with a teenager or young adult with autism? Do you work with them, related to someone?

A Morning Cup of Tea : Matthew 5: 7-12

Good morning! I trust you had a good night's rest and are looking forward to beginning your day. No matter what you have planned for the day, I pray it's a good one for you!
Yesterday we discussed Matthew 5:1-6. Today we begin with verse 7 "Blessed are the merciful; for they shall obtain mercy".    I cannot help but think of the Casey Anthony verdict that came out last week.I do not wish to start a blog about her (there are forums for that already I am sure if you wish to really discuss the case) I just wanted to bring up a point about the public outcry that came about after the verdict was read. Only God knows what happened when Caylee died. The jury, for whatever reason, chose not to convict. In this country the books are closed on the case. Instead of being angry at Casey we should pity her and pray she eventually comes to know God.  If we are not merciful with others, how can we expect mercy to be given to us? 
 V. 8 Blessed are the pure in heart; for they shall see God.  When I see that verse I think of young children. They haven't learned yet to be malicious in their words or actions. They are innocent and have a fresh smile for everyone. It is when we focus on the worldly things and let day to day living and sin intrude that we lose that purity we should strive for.
V. 9 Blessed are the peacemakers; for they shall be called the children of God.  Are you a peacemaker?  I try to be, but I'm not really sure I am that effective at it yet. My brother, I think, has always been a peacemaker. He has always tried to be a mediator. It breaks his heart when people argue. While we should stand up for what is right, we should know when to let things go. Is it really worth it to continue an argument just because you know you are right?
  V 10 & 11. Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.    
 And verse 12, which brings it home: Rejoice, and be exceeding glad;for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they they prophets which were before you. 
  These days we see people who do not like us and therefore would love to make us miserable simply because we are Christians. But in this country, though we deal with people wanting to take God out of everything, we have not nearly seen the persecution that those in biblical times had, or even in some countries today. There is a young man I know of in another country who cannot even tell his family he is a Christian because in his culture he could be killed. Some of our missionaries face torture or even death because of their beliefs if the wrong groups find them. Please keep our Christians in other countries in your prayers. I pray you have a wonderful day. 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Time: Under Pressure

Ok, I really hope no one is offended by the video, and if you are, I'm really sorry. But I got to thinking today about all that I need and want to do:
  •   Worship service/ fellowship/ Bible class
  • house work
  • writing
  • taking care of my family
  • hosting duties with my online league
  •  visiting with extended family
  • teaching my son
  • cooking
  • visiting with friends 
  • and all the other things that pop up unexpectedly like doctor vists (yep, even the ones that are scheduled) 
 We are all given 24 hours each day. That's it, no more, no less. What we do with that time is completely up to us. We can fritter the time away or we can be useful and productive. 
   With a child with autism I know he works better on a schedule. He likes knowing meals are at the same time each day, we go see Grandma on this day, and we go to worship on Sunday and Wednesday. When we miss for more than a week and then go back he tends to get antsy. Same with me, I guess. Although I'm a bit more flexible I like knowing that my hosting time is 3 mornings a week and when I can, 2 afternoons a week. I love waking up and knowing the first thing I'm going to do is open my Bible and read, and up next is writing for my Cup of Tea series. I enjoy that time. It cements what I've just read into my consciousness.
   I also like getting off track and spending time playing and having fun with my friends. Its just that when I do too much of that my household goes haywire. So, I need to construct a pattern for the day and stick relatively close to it. How about you?  Are you the type that needs her schedule or are you the fly by the seat of your pants type?