Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A Morning Cup of Tea: Jesus Speaks of Divorce

Today's reading is from Matthew 19:1-12. It's a strange morning for me, after so many weeks of being awake by myself. J was awake but has gone back to sleep. Jim is in the kitchen listening to music and beginning his day. Because he has third shift tonight I do believe he will be napping later in the day.
  Jesus left Galilee and is now in Judea.  Wherever he goes crowds follow -curiosity seekers, those truly interested in his message, and Pharisees are invariably there as well. They really are not happy that Jesus is getting all this attention and teaching what they don't wish to believe. Trying to trap him, they asked him if it was lawful for a man to divorce his wife. Jesus asked them, have you not read that God made man and he made them male and female, and a man shall leave his mother and father and cleave to his wife, and the two shall be one? They are no longer two, but one flesh. What God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. (verses 4 -6)
  Man and woman come joined together in matrimony. That is a very strong bond, or should be. 
 Not really satisfied with that answer, the Pharisees asked, why did Moses command to give a writing of divorcement?  And we think our divorce laws are easy. All they had to do was write it down and it was done. The man could go on his merry little way, single again.  But listen to what Jesus says to them:
  8. He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.
 9. And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.
 Did you catch that? God didn't tell his people they could give a writing of divorcement and be done with it. Moses allowed that because that is what they wanted. God's law and man's law are sometimes two different things. Just because the law of the land says something is okay does NOT make it okay in God's eyes.  In this case Jesus said that divorce for any other reason than fornication is not acceptable. If you choose to divorce for any other reason and remarry, you're committing adultery. And if the person who committed the sin in the first place remarries, they are in the wrong. 
  The disciples said, well if this is how things are maybe its not good to marry. But Jesus told them not all people can heed to that. Some are eunuchs by birth, some by man, and some choose to make eunuchs of themselves for the kingdom of heaven's sake. They want to focus purely on God. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it. (v12).  Meaning, if you can live a marriageless life and not sin, go ahead. If you can't, it is better to be married. 
  Marriage is the only place where God has sanctified sex. It is not something casual like a handshake. It is something wonderful, meant to be shared by two people who love each other and commit their lives together as one. When we keep our eyes only for our mate we save a lot of grief and heart ache. If we are not out having sex with multiple partners before marriage, we know that we won't get an STD and we won't get pregnant. We also don't get our hearts broken because he got what he wanted and moved on to the next conquest. These are just a few reasons I see why we should remain pure until marriage, other than God said so.    

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Gratituesday: Answered Prayer

Join us for Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers!

 Now for some, answered prayer always means "I got what I wanted". I'm reminded of a Garth Brooks song, Unanswered Prayer. In the song he met up with a young lady he thought at one time was the love of his life, but he realized how great he had it with his wife and family, and he was grateful for unanswered prayer. God hadn't led him to this other young lady as he'd asked, but to the one who became his wife. I beg to differ with Mr. Brooks on one little point --that wasn't an unanswered prayer. The answer was No, not her. I have someone else in mind for you.
  But today I don't want to focus on prayers that are answered with a no or a wait, although I am very grateful for those as well. Maybe not at the time, but I realize God's wisdom in His timing. I eventually see why I get the answers I do for certain prayers.
  Today however, some prayers were answered in the affirmative. My nephew, who had the ultrasound last week, is doing better. The test results came back with nothing wrong, which is great. His doctors are thinking now that his symptoms are caused by reflux, and he is now being treated for that. He is eleven and one of the sweetest young men you'll ever know so I'm really happy for that.
  Another prayer answered in the affirmative: a young man is either on his way or will soon be on his way to America to go to college. He posted a few years back online that he wanted to become a Christian. In his own family that could put his life in danger. Some online friends of mine were the ones to help him. I know him only through his posts online but I see his love of God, and his desire to be able to freely say I am a Christian. While waiting for his visa approval he worried a bit, but he didn't waver. When he was told to wait a bit, he said okay. He had his trust in God. And now, he will soon be here. I may never get to meet this young man here on earth. But I do pray I get to tell him in heaven what an example he has been to me. I am very happy to call him brother.
  Now what are you grateful for today? Feel free to share in the comments or join us at Heavenly Homemakers with your own link. I know very little about links so I can't yet add that to my page.

A Morning Cup of Tea : Forgiveness

Our reading today is Matthew 18: 21-35
  In verse 21 Peter asked Jesus, how often should we forgive when a brother sins against me? Seven times?  Jesus answered, not seven times, but seventy times seven. That's a lot of times of forgiving. I am reminded of a Veggie Tales video called the Grapes of Math, which discussed this subject. One of the characters asked how much is 70 times 7 and the little girl grape piped up "four hundred and ninety!" The point is, continually forgive.
 Jesus then told  the parable of the servant who owed his master ten thousand talents. His master wanted his money back but the servant could not pay.Of course the master ordered him and his family sold so he could get his money. But the servant pleaded with him for more time so that he could repay. The master had compassion on him, and forgave the debt.
  Later, the servant saw a fellow servant who owed him a hundred pence. He asked the man to repay him, but the man could not pay. He too asked for more time, but the first servant insisted on sending the man to prison until the debt could be paid.  His fellow servants saw this and reported back to the master. The master was angry because he had forgiven this man his debt, and he did not have the same compassion for someone else. He was delivered to the tormenters till the debt could be repaid.
  In verse 35 Jesus says: So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.

Is it always easy to forgive? No. Speaking from experience, it's not. Our  human instinct is to want retribution. But while some things should be punished, we should forgive anyway because the bible tells us if we choose not to forgive others, God may choose not to forgive our trespasses. It's our choice. 
  Living with hatred and unforgiveness in one's heart does nothing to the one who wronged us. We pay the price on that one. It eats at the soul and makes one bitter. You've seen people like that. Sister I'mRight who sits in the corner with a frown on her face because back in 1976 Brother Made a Mistake said something that upset Sister I'mRight. He has asked forgiveness and has gone on with life, but she just wont give up that grudge. 
  We know that when we choose not to forgive its usually for something that was a bit more serious than that. But forgiveness can be achieved. Sometimes you have to pray to God to help you, and sometimes that means asking God to change YOUR heart. I've been there. If the person could be prosecuted for what he did after all this time I'd want to see it happen, but I also know that his childhood wasn't the greatest and he has many issues I hope he deals with before his time here on earth is done. I hope that someone may reach him so that he may know God's forgiveness and salvation. It's taken me a long, long time to get to that point. I still struggle with it at times. But I know I can be in the same room with him and be a Christian. It was when I chose to begin to forgive him that a lot of my anger and depression began to lift. When I held on to anger and resentment for what he did, he controlled my life. I didn't like that. I much prefer that I be guided by God's Word rather than hatred of a man who did something a long time ago and is no longer in my life. 

Monday, August 29, 2011

A Morning Cup of Tea :Matthew 18: 11 - 20

Good morning! I'm a little anxious today. Hopefully my nephew will have results back from his ultrasound last week.
  Today we find Jesus talking about lost sheep. In verses 12 through 14 he tells the parable of the lost sheep. A man had one hundred sheep. One went astray so the man left the ninety nine to find the one sheep that was lost. The ones that aren't lost are in the fold. They are safe. When the lost sheep is found, the man rejoices! That's the way God is with us. He doesn't want any of us to be lost. He gives us the decision, however. 
 The next few verses deal with church authority. If someone did wrong, you should go to them privately and in love. Discuss the problem with the person. If he will not listen, come back with one or two others so there are witnesses to what is going on. If this does not help, the matter needs to be brought before the church. 
  Jesus said if two of you shall agree, then whatever you ask shall be given you. (v 19) Where two or three are gathered together, Jesus said he is there in the midst of them. (v 20)
  I have heard verse 20 misconstrued as a reason to miss worshiping with the saints (the church). While Jesus is there with them when they are in agreement with one another, wasn't he speaking of church authority and discipline? And in prayer, if you are in agreement, whatever is asked will be given?  Yup, I'm asking questions again. I think it could apply to all of the above actually, but in terms of deliberately missing worship with others (as in no one is sick, the weather hasn't prevented you, or some other reason) I can't help but think of things missed when you decide to stay home.
  You miss the fellowship of other Christians. I feel so much better when I am with others who know and love me. You miss being able to teach others. Even if you are not actively teaching a class , your presence teaches someone. We teach others through singing, talking, just being there because we all have things that we are going through. You miss the opportunity to ask for prayer and to pray for others.  And others miss you. 
  Take time to care for one another. If a brother or sister is missing, take the time to call, email, or drop a note in the mail. While ultimately it's up to them to make the decision to come back or not, it helps to know someone cared enough to come looking for them.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

A Morning Cup of Tea: Become as Little Children

 Today's reading is Matthew 18: 1-10
The disciples asked Jesus, Who is the greatest in heaven? Jesus set a small child in front of them. 
 3. And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
 4. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

Why a child? Why wouldn't he want us to be like adults? Let's look at little children. They are innocent. Yes, depending on their age they sometimes get into trouble, but when they realize it, they are truly sorry for it. Their belief is almost unshakable.  
 When someone harms a child, people become very angry and want justice done. We see that all too often in the news. So should it be for those who place stumbling blocks in front of babes in Christ, those whose faith is new or weak. Things are going to happen in this world that test our strength, but there are those who would deliberately try and shake the faith of young or weak Christians.  Those who are older in the faith should be there to encourage and teach the younger. We should watch our own words and actions so that we don't cause a younger one to stumble. Just as our children follow our example, so too do the young in Christ.
  Jesus said watch yourself! If your eye causes you to fall, pluck it out! (v8-10).  I think it would be very extreme measures to take out an eye or cut off a hand literally, but in your life, if something or someone is causing us to sin, we should amputate it from our lives. If you for example have a problem with pornography, sometimes it is better not to have a computer in the house, where access to such filth is too easy. If your friends encourage you to go drinking, perhaps it's time to find new friends. 
 We must be like little children--blameless, pure, innocent.  

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Thoughts on Life

Its a fairly quiet day today; at least as quiet as you can get with J. He's chattering away in his language, watching me and teasing me. His personality peeks out more on some days than others. Today I noticed that lately he's paying attention to which side of his shirt is the front and which is the back, and wearing them properly. This is huge for him. I know most people won't "get" that, but when you have a child with autism or another form of different learning abilities, it's major. 
  I got to see his playful side again. He used to play "ghost" a lot, where he covered his head with a sheet and howled, or just sat pretending he wasn't there under the sheet. He did that today some, along with placing a small plastic storage bin on his head. He's exploring his world again and I rejoice in that. 
  While he goes in and out of the room doing his thing, Dad is in the bedroom sleeping. He works tonight. I am grateful that he works hard. We don't have a lot of money, but it pays the bills for the most part and keeps a roof over our heads. It's not always easy but God provides. 
  There are times when I really wish I could work and provide an income to help out the family. In order for me to be able to have a "regular" job, I'd have to put J in some sort of care, possibly a residential home. I'm not willing to do that. I know we will have to come up with a plan for him soon. Hubby and I won't live forever --not here, anyway. At this point I don't know if anyone in the family would be willing to care for J the way we do. It's a lot of work, a lot of responsibility. At the same time, I cringe at the thought of him languishing in a residential home. I know there are some good ones out there, but will they give him the love and attention he needs?
  There is so much going through my mind these days. I know there is much housework to be done, a lot of repairs to be made. There are projects I'd like to work on, books I want to read. Yet here I sit, reading blogs, making lists, writing, wanting a nap but staying up because J needs me. 
     I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.
     2. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.
                                                              Psalm 121:1,2

A Morning Cup of Tea : Finishing Up Chapter 17

Thank you for your patience and understanding yesterday. I spent most of the day with my son and husband, and was able to get  a very good night's rest in, even if J did decide that morning started at 6 am today. (smile) It was very nice, both of us sitting here in the living room quietly for awhile. 

Today I'm posting this one, which covers verses 22 through 27 in Matthew, and I will try to work on chapter 18 as well a little later in the day.

Jesus told his disciples while they were in Galilee that he would be betrayed, killed, and rise again on the third day. (v22 and 23). The bible says in the same verse that the disciples were very sorry. I wonder though, at this point do they really understand what is going to happen? They've seen people raised from the dead but do they really understand what is going to happen? It's a little easier for us because we can see what happened and why, but to be told that your friend, mentor, teacher, the son of God is going to be killed yet raised in three days --they had to be going through a lot of emotions. I think I would be confused and fearful.
  But as far as we know Jesus doesn't dwell on the subject just yet. He's trying to prepare them for what is to happen, but still there is work to be done. 
  When they came to Capernaum  a tax collector asked Peter if Jesus pays tribute (taxes). Peter said yes. 
  Jesus asked him who do the kings take taxes from, their own children or strangers? Peter answered, strangers. Then Jesus said something that made me wonder. Then are the children free. (v26) Is he saying there that the ones who don't pay taxes are not slaves? I'm just wondering there what he meant.
 But the next verse tells us he paid the tax. He told Peter to go fish. Inside the mouth of the first fish he catches there would be a coin. That would be used for the tribute.

Friday, August 26, 2011

A Morning Cup of Tea: An Apology, A Disruption, A Talk

Today we should be finishing up chapter 17 of Matthew. Perhaps I will at a later time today write that. I've sat here for a little while now, trying to get my head in the right frame of mind and write. I don't think I could do it justice at the moment. I'm sorry I failed today in continuing this. 
  I have no idea if anyone reads the Cup of Tea posts I write. I write them mostly to keep myself reading and it has worked. And I did read what I was supposed to write about today --verses 22 through the end of the chapter. Jesus speaks to his disciples again about being killed and in three days rising again, and  paying taxes with money that Jesus told Peter would be in a fish's mouth. God does supply our needs. That's what I get from that.
  I suffer from depression now and then. Most of the time I am upbeat or at least try to be. If I'm not, I fake it. Well, yesterday I went on overload. Everything was too much. I went to bed early, and slept fitfully because J had insomnia. I had weird dreams of babies and not being prepared for one --forgetting I had one, not having diapers for it, and then it switched to people not comfortable in their own skin and having surgeries, getting tattoos, etc. My brain is telling me I'm not paying attention to something in my life and i'm not happy with the way my own body looks.  
  When I get depressed I tend to hide. I'll probably be doing some of that today while I try to snap out of it. Please bear with me. I'll be back on track soon. 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

A Morning Cup of Tea : Faith

Today's reading is from Matthew 17: 14 -21
  Where ever Jesus and his disciples went there were many who found him there. They came to listen to Jesus' teachings and they came to be healed or have a loved one healed. They knew with utmost certainty, that all Jesus need do is speak or touch and they would be whole again. 
  A man came and kneeled at Jesus' feet, asking Jesus to heal his son. His son was described as "lunatick and sorely vexed", and fell into fires and water a lot (self harm). He said that Jesus' disciples couldn't heal him.
  Jesus rebuked the devil and it came out of the boy and he was healed that very same hour. Afterwards the disciples came to Jesus privately and asked why they had not been able to cure the boy.
  20. And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.
 21. Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.
  If you have faith as a mustard seed...  those things are very, very tiny. It takes only that much faith to move mountains. Yet sometimes when we (I) try to move the mountains in our lives, how often do we allow doubt to hinder our prayers? But notice verse 21. If we are going to move mountains --a better job, a loved one's healing, we must do something. We can't just sit back, and passively think that God is like Santa with his magic sack of toys or a genii in a bottle. Ask and its yours. We must have the faith and we must pray. And if the prayer is for something we really want in life, we must also do our part. If we pray for a job yet never move from the couch, I can just about guarantee the answer to that prayer is going to be no.  A young man from another country became a Christian. His life is in danger in his homeland if his family finds out he is a Christian. He has wanted to come here to study in college and be able to freely and openly speak of his new life. He worked hard on his studies there so he could pass the tests he needed in order to come here, and he went to the appointments to apply for the visa. If he had just hung out with friends and not done these things, he might not have gotten the answer that made many of his friends here very happy. He will soon be here in America.

Blessings and Prayers

 I use my blog as a place to study the bible, to lay out my thoughts on things such as modesty, to discuss autism in a young adult. I know because of my views I sound hard hearted and prissy. It's not meant to be that way because I have love for all. I just don't have love for sin and my frustration comes out in my writing.
  Right now, however, I'd  like to focus on something more positive : blessings and prayers.
  Praise: A young man from another country who became a Christian has gotten his visa and will soon be studying here in the United States. In his own country he could be killed for his beliefs. I am very, very thankful that he has the opportunity to come here even though I may never meet him.
 Praise: It's a beautiful day here, and we have the opportunity to learn more about God and how he wants us to live; to be an example to others. 
 Prayer:  My young nephew has been dealing with stomach pain and other ailments for a little while now. Today he is having ultrasound done to see if they can find what is going on. He's 11. My prayer is that God will guide the hand of the physician and the techs, and they can find the problem and fix it. For my boy Alex I pray that the ultrasound and any other tests they do are bearable for him and that he feels better soon.
 Prayer: Irene hasn't struck yet but there has already been much talk about her, where she's going to land and what destruction may follow. My prayer is that her path can be determined for sure before she hits and that people stay safe and damage is minimal. 

If you have prayers or praise please feel free to add them in the comments.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A Morning Cup of Tea : The Transfiguration

Today we are in chapter 17 of Matthew. Please read the first 13 verses.

Jesus took Peter, James, and John up on the mountain. There he shone with a bright light and Moses and Elijah stood with him, talking. Can you imagine seeing that sight? The three disciples were in such awe they wanted to build three tabernacles right on the spot--one for Jesus, one for Elijah and one for Moses.
  But then a cloud overshadowed them and they heard a voice say "This is my son in whom I am well pleased. Hear him."  The three disciples fell on their faces and were afraid! I'm not sure I wouldn't have fainted after that.Jesus told them not to be afraid, and let them know it was okay. When the three looked up, Moses and Elijah were gone. 
  They asked Jesus Why do the scribes insist that Elijah must first come again?
  Jesus said it was true, and he did. People didn't believe him, and treated him badly. He, Jesus, would suffer at their hands as well. The disciples knew he was talking of John the baptizer.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Gratituesday: My Husband's Work Schedule

Join us for Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers!

I never really know what I'm going to write about for gratituesday until I sit down. So much goes through my mind. I know other writers plan out what they will talk about each day, but I tend to fly by the seat of my pants these days. It works for me, and that's good because it has to.
  Today I'm grateful most for my husband's schedule. There are many days I complain (loudly) about it, especially if he's working second shift. You see, these days my husband works a rotating shift. One week he's on first shift (love it), another week he is on third shift (not my favorite, but I can deal with it. Once J is asleep I'm free to go on to bed myself or watch a movie or tv show on netflix. Then there is second shift. It takes up most of the day and into the night. J tends to have his meltdowns during those hours if he is going to have them. It splits up the day wrong and if I fall asleep before my husband gets home, I'm awake when he comes through the door. I could go on and on, but I think I'll spare you my whining diatribe on why I don't like second shift. Although if you really want to hear it , I'd be happy to tell you another time.. (wink).
  I really am grateful for my husband's schedule though. First and foremost it means he has a job. We can pay the bills and manage through the week. Also, it means I get a break on different days.  My husband is currently on his weekend until tomorrow night so yesterday I was able to visit a friend for her birthday. 
  And during the week days if Jim has mornings off I know that he and J can spend time together and I can focus on my writing or hosting for pogo without interruption. Or we can go run errands or clean together. The schedule fits. It has its drawbacks, such as Jim not getting enough rest sometimes before work because of other things, but we're working on that.  
  What are you grateful for today? 

A Morning Cup of Tea : "Upon This Rock..."

 Today's reading is Matthew 16: 13-28
When Jesus and his disciples were on the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked them, who do people say I am?
  They answered John the baptizer, Elijah, Jeremiah, or some of the other prophets.
 He asked, Who do you say that I am?
  16. And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the son of the living God.
 17. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.
 18. And I say also unto thee,That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell will not prevail against it. 
 19. And I will give unto the the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
 Peter was one of the first to confess that Jesus is the Christ, the son of God. It was on that rock --that statement that Jesus built his church. 

Jesus spent time letting them know that he would soon be going to Jerusalem and he would suffer at the hands of the elders and the chief priests, and that he would be killed and be raised again on the third day.
  Peter did not want to hear this. Oh no, this isn't going to happen!
  Jesus rebuked him, and told Peter and the other disciples a little of what they would face as followers of Jesus. 
  23. But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offense unto me: for thou savorest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.
 24. Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
 25. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.
26. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
27. For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.
28. Verily, I say unto you, There be some standing here which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming into his kingdom.
 Jesus had a lot to say there. Peter obviously loved Jesus very much and of course did not want to see him die. But he did not understand at this time what Jesus had come to earth to do. He also explained here that it is not going to be easy to be a follower of Jesus. It wasn't easy at all for early Christians. They were fed to lions, imprisoned, exiled to desert islands, put to death in many ways. 
  It is not easy to be a Christian in today's world either. While we may not know the type of persecution in this country that the early Christians did, we do know that sometimes even family and friends scorn and ridicule us for our beliefs. The country may tell us they do not want the ten commandments displayed in the courtrooms, hiding behind the ever popular "separation of church and state" which is not in the Constitution but a statement made in a letter from Thomas Jefferson to someone asking if the government could ever tell him what religion to practice, but of that, we should have the words of God in our heart where we can put them into practice. We should not be silent when things are wrong, but we should speak the truth in love. 
  I do not know what the future holds for this country. I do know it is not easy in our eyes to be Christians here. But there are Christians in other countries whose lives are in danger because they are Christians. Missionaries who dare to teach others. Some who have searched for the truth and become Christians have the fear of their own families who believe in honor killings if their families find out. No, it is not an easy life we choose. But our reward in heaven will be well worth all that we deal with here on earth if we just continue forward in the faith.   

Monday, August 22, 2011

A Morning Cup of Tea : Beware of False Doctrine

Good morning! We are beginning chapter 16 of Matthew today. J is awake and raring to go so today's lesson will be short and sweet.
We are reading verses 1 through 12.
  At this time, the pharisees and the sadducees  are together trying to tempt Jesus. Show us a sign from heaven, they told him.
  Jesus rebuked them, telling them they knew how to read the weather but they could not see what is right there in front of them. He told them that a wicked and adulterous generation will never have a sign except for that of Jonah. (v4). Then he left.
   When they had reached the other side, the disciples realized they had brought no food with them. Jesus told them to beware of the leaven of the pharisees and sadducees. The disciples thought he was telling them this because they hadn't brought any bread. 
   11. How is it that ye do not understand that I spake it not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the pharisees and of the sadducees?
  12. Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the pharisees and sadducees.

Know who you are dealing with. Know for yourself what the bible says so you can steer clear of false doctrine.   

Sunday, August 21, 2011

A Morning Cup of Tea: Matthew 15: 29 - 39

Good morning! Today we are finishing up chapter 15 of Matthew. Please read verses 29 through 39.
  Jesus went near to the sea of Galilee, and headed up into a mountain.Once again the multitudes followed him, and they brought with them sick to be healed, the lame, the deaf, dumb, and blind. Jesus healed them all. They were there three days, and Jesus told his disciples he did not want to send them away hungry. All they had were seven loaves of bread and some small fish. Once again, Jesus took the loaves of bread and the fish and blessed it, and fed the multitudes. This time there were about four thousand men, along with women and children.  When everyone had eaten and the leftovers picked up, there were seven baskets full. 
  Everywhere Jesus goes the people follow, and he always has compassion for them. He healed them, fed them, taught them.  There is much we can do for those around us. We can teach those who wish to learn about Jesus, we can take care of those around us. 
 Have a great day.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

What Are We Teaching Our Daughters? Another Look at Modesty

Ladies, especially teenagers, young adults, and mama's of little girls, can we talk a minute? Here in Georgia we are still in the middle of summer, despite what the school calendar says. I realize how hot it gets outside, particularly when I'm going through some of those all too fun "power surges" that are starting to pop up now and again as I get a little older. However, I am fairly certain we can dress a little cooler without becoming immodest. 
  I realize that my style is not necessarily your style, but I've been seeing some things that break my heart, and I've also seen some things my poor eyes should never have seen! If I'm seeing these things, I know men are seeing them. Our Christian brothers are trying to keep their thoughts pure. Being human, it's rather hard to do that when a young lady has revealing clothing on.
 Ladies, a few tips for dressing to out in public:
   If you have to pull clothing out of parts of your anatomy when standing after sitting awhile, it's too small and most likely too tight. 
   Leggings are great to exercise in or to wear underneath a skirt. No matter how great your body looks, it really doesn't look that great to wear just those in public.  
  People do make judgments about you based on your attire. 
  Mamas, little girls  DO NOT need to be wearing little adult clothes. Yes, I know. They're cute! It's harmless! Come on, ladies. Stop buying Little Princess clothing at Hoochies R Us.  First of all, it teaches her that it's okay to wear next to nothing and it will be harder later to teach her about modesty. Secondly, and just as important, there are men out there who will take advantage of your little daughter given the chance.  Yes you can take steps to stop perverts and dressing your daughters and yourselves properly will help.  
   I know also that part of the way little girls are dressed are because of pageants. I have a love hate relationship with those things. I can't help but think of JonBenet Ramsey when I see precious girls dressed up as little adults. There is no telling what horrors that child was put through before she was killed. What is wrong with dressing our little girls as little girls? Drop the make up except for dress up time at home. Do the pageants if it's fun for her, but choose wisely. You're parading in front of strangers your most precious gift in life --your daughter. At the same time, focus on her other attributes --her gift for math or spelling, her sports or art. Teach her that not everything is hinged on her looks.
  I'll probably be back on this subject again, especially after seeing seeing some ads directed toward teenagers, and magazines with tiny tots posed provocatively. For now, weigh in with your opinions on the matter. All I ask is that whether you agree or disagree, please keep comments civil and  clean.

What Are We Listening To?

Hubby, J and I are a very music loving family. Praise, gospel, country, bluegrass, rock, oldies as far back at last as the 40s and 50s, some newer stuff, almost anything out there we would listen to except gangsta rap or anything that degrades women and/or uses filthy language. 
 We usually have disco, sixties, or 80s music playing in the car if the radio isnt on. We've tried listening to sermons on cd or other things such as the Atlanta Braves, but J prefers music. 
 One of the newer songs we hear on the radio sometimes has a really catchy beat and I often catch myself singing along to some of it. But then you hear "...a God forsaken right to love..." wait what??  Just what is the singer trying to say here?
  My husband pointed this one out to me because I missed that phrase. Like so many I get in the habit of listening to the beat and being drawn in by it. There are other songs that make my do not play list, such as Uncle Cracker's  "Follow Me."  He makes light of fornication there. And a much older song, Bryan Adams' "Everything I do I do it for you". Beautiful love song but he mentions lying for his loved one. 
 One of the excuses I hear is, I don't pay attention to the lyrics, I just like the music. That would infer you don't hear the words, yet don't you still find yourself singing some of the words? And it sticks in your mind. The message comes in quite clearly. Even when my husband plays music I'm not particularly fond of I still know some of the lyrics. 
  Another excuse I hear (and have used) is, It's just a song. It doesnt mean anything. There are a few things wrong with that. First of all, in worship, we are commanded to sing. What happens when we sing? We are teaching others. We are teaching ourselves as well. And although we may not be worshiping while we are singing along to Adele or Aerosmith or the Beatles, we are filling our hearts with messages. Are they good messages or bad ones? 
Finally  brethren , whatsoever things  are  true, whatsoever things  [are] honest , whatsoever things  [are] just , whatsoever things  [are] pure , whatsoever things  [are] lovely , whatsoever things  [are] of good report ; if [there be] any  virtue , and  if [there be] any  praise, think  on these things.- Philippians 4:8. 

A Morning Cup of Tea: Jesus and the Canaanite Woman

 Today's lesson is from Matthew 15 : 21 -39. Jesus at this time was going into Tyre and Sidon. A woman from Canaan came out and asked him to heal her daughter who was possessed by a devil. Jesus didn't answer her and his disciples said send her away! She's bothering us! (Paraphrasing) Jesus said he was sent for the house of Israel. This woman did not give up. She came and worshiped, still asking for help. 
 26. But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs.
27. And she said, Truth Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters' table.
28. Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith; be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.
  During this time, their customs placed women on a different level than men. Men didn't normally speak to women during this time, particularly women who weren't Jewish. Women usually were not really educated. Yet this woman was persistent and she had great faith. She knew who Jesus was.
  Jesus was teaching his disciples here. He was showing them that although the main focus at that time was the Jews, they were to eventually reach out to the rest of the world as well. Also, he was showing them her faith. They had seen how some of his own people scorned his message, yet here was this gentile woman who was willing to take what little scraps of compassion he would give to her. She was unwavering in her faith. He rewarded her faith by healing her daughter.  
 She did not give up. And she didn't sit at home waiting for a miracle. She had faith that her daughter would be healed by Jesus and she acted on her faith. 

Friday, August 19, 2011

A Morning Cup of Tea : What Makes Us Unclean?

  Matthew 15: 1-20
The pharisees loved their traditions very much. As we will see in today's reading, they tended to put their traditions on par with if not higher than the law. The scribes and pharisees had to come to Jesus yet again, this time, to ask why Jesus' disciples didn't wash their hands before eating.
  They asked, Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? (v2)
 3. But he answered and said unto them,  Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?
4. For God commanded, saying, Honor thy father and mother, and He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death.
5. But ye say, Whosoever shall say to his father or mother, It is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me;
6. And honor not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus ye have made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition.
  In other words, the pharisees were fine with someone giving money to their parents and having no respect for them at all. Even then it seems that man thought throwing money at a person or a situation would solve problems. Some things never change. 
  Jesus warned them about giving lip service to worship and having nothing come from the heart. 
 8. This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoreth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.
9.  But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrine the commandments of men.
 It is very important to know what God says. The ONLY way to know is to read His Word for yourself. 
  Jesus went on to tell the people, come here and listen: Understand what I am telling you here (paraphrase of  v 10)
11. Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth  a man, but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man. 
 The disciples were worried that Jesus had offended the pharisees. Jesus told them to let the pharisees alone. They are blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind leads the blind, both fall.  So again,(my thoughts now) be careful who your spiritual leaders are. Know for yourself what the bible says. And I would be wary of anyone who encourages you not to read the bible. There are people out there who know the less you know of God's Word the more they can lead you astray. And most of them will seem so sincere. When Jesus was tempted of the devil in chapter four, he continually rebuked satan saying, "It is written, it is written." and quoted scripture. 
  Peter asked what Jesus meant by saying its not what goes into the mouth that defiles a man.
  Jesus explained that what goes into the mouth goes into the belly and is taken care of the natural way. But what comes out of the mouth (words) comes from the heart. What comes from the heart can defile us.
 19.For out of the heart proceed  evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:
 20. These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.


Thursday, August 18, 2011

A Morning Cup of Tea : Losing Sight of Jesus.

Have you ever begun to do something, then let something distract you to the point you couldn't do what you had planned in the first place? Say you wanted to go to college, and you found the right classes to go to, you looked into financial aid, the whole bit. But then the baby gets sick, the car won't start, and hubby decides he doesn't like your turkey lasagna and hey, could you iron my uniform for me?
  Okay, so that's an extreme example. But in today's  reading, Matthew 14 : 24 -36, Peter lost sight of his goal. I'll be paraphrasing the story a bit, but please take the time to read it.
  Jesus had already sent out the multitudes, and the disciples were on a boat, so that Jesus could go up on a mountain to be alone and pray. Sometime during the night, the wind picked up and sea started tossing the boat a little. About the fourth watch of the night (somewhere between 3 and 6 am) Jesus walked on water to meet the boat. The boat at this time is nowhere near the shore. His disciples see someone coming toward them, walking on water and their first reaction is fear. It's a spirit! But Jesus calls out to them. It's okay, he says. It's me, Jesus.
  Peter says Lord, if it's you, call me to come to you. Jesus says come. Peter steps out of the boat and begins to walk on water. As long as he keeps his goal in mind --reaching Jesus, he does fine. But then he starts noticing the wind blowing real hard, and the waves crashing, and he lets fear creep in. Peter began to sink. Lord save me! he cried. Jesus stretched out his hand and caught him.
   O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? (verse 31b) Jesus said to him. Jesus and Peter got into the boat and immediately the wind and the waves calmed down. If the disciples had doubted before, they understood now that Jesus was the Son of God. (v33)
  In our day to day lives things will always be there to distract us. Those things usually work themselves out with prayer and patience. In our spiritual lives, we do well when we keep our eyes on Jesus. We sometimes have to get out of the boat for things to happen, but if we trust, its going to be okay. If, however, we get distracted and worried like Peter, we're going to sink. But as with Peter, Jesus is there to pull us out of the water. When we commit our lives to serving Him, we learn daily to trust Him. 
  Now the boat has taken them to Geneseret. Like other places, once they knew Jesus could help, they brought to him all who needed healing.Some had such faith that all they had to do was touch his garment and be healed. And all that did were made perfectly whole. Do we have faith that Jesus can take care of us? 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

What Are We Teaching Our Daughters?

I have a niece who is fifteen years old, and tries to dress like she's twenty. She's been doing this since at least the age of thirteen. My other niece just turned twelve. For most of her life she's been influenced by the likes of Barbie, Hannah Montana, and others. So far i've seen her only dress in jeans. 
  In my area if you do not have cable, dsl, or a converter box, you do not have television. We choose to keep it that way in our home. We borrow dvds and we have netflix so I depend a lot on the internet for news. One of the first things I saw this morning was a clip from ABC news;
   *** Ok, there was supposed to be a video here, but all i got was a mess. I'm still learning about how to blog, so be patient with me, please. Unless it comes from You Tube I'm sort of clueless now how to post them here. 
Push up bras being designed for girls of about fifteen years. It promises to add 2 cup sizes to the wearer. Do fifteen year olds really need this? Is this the way we want to raise our daughters' self esteem? Or is it teaching that society only sees them as sex objects and if you are not a certain cup size or don't wear the right clothes or arent the right height or size, you are worth nothing? 
  Parents are the first line of defense here. We need to be teaching them that their self worth need not be tied to sexiness. How one looks may get attention we want, but it also may bring unwanted attention or something the girls are not ready emotionally to handle. Teach our girls that they have talents, such as sports or creativity. Encourage them to continue to study. Talk to them about what their favorite movie star or singer is wearing and weather or not it is appropriate for girls. They needn't show off a lot of skin to be popular or have high self esteem. I will be back to talk more on this later.

A Morning Cup of Tea : Death of John the Baptizer, Jesus Feeds the Multitude

Good morning! Today we begin chapter 14 of Matthew. 

King Herod at this time (Herod the Tetrarch) had just begun to hear of Jesus. His thought was that Jesus was John the baptizer, come back from the dead to do miracles. Herod's conscious must have been bothering him a bit on that one.
  John the baptizer had been imprisoned because he told Herod that he should not be with Herodius, who was his brother Philip's wife. Herod didn't want to kill him because he feared retribution from the people who knew and loved John.

  On Herod's birthday, Herodius' daughter danced for the king and it pleased him so much he told her to ask and it would be hers. Mama had instructed her daughter well, and she asked for John the baptizer's head on a platter. Not wanting to break his oath and wanting to save face among those who had been at his dinner, Herod ordered him beheaded. (Matthew 14: 1-11 paraphrased)

 John's disciples came and took the body to be buried, then went to tell Jesus.  After hearing this, Jesus had wanted to be alone for a while, but of course he had his followers. But instead of sending them away, he had compassion and healed the sick among them (v 14). Toward evening his disciples came to him and said, Lord, send these people away so they can go buy some food.
 Jesus replied in vers 16 They need not depart, give ye them to eat. The disciples replied we have 5 loaves and two fishes. Jesus took the bread and the fish and blessed it, and the multitudes were fed, with plenty left over!
  20. And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the fragments that remained twelve baskets full.
21. And they that had eaten were about five thousand men, beside women and children.
  Can you imagine feeding so many people with so little? We have no idea how many there actually were because during this time women and children weren't counted. We know there were some there, just not how many.
  For me, this teaches me to share, no matter how little I have, and that the Lord will take care of us. He made sure all those people had plenty to eat.  
  Once they had eaten, Jesus sent the multitude away and even told his disciples to go on ahead of him in  a boat. He himself went up into a mountain to pray.  Another lesson there: He wanted time alone, and could have immediately sent everyone away, but he put others first. He took care of their needs, but did not neglect his own. He took the time he needed. How often do we just keep going and going and taking care of others and neglecting ourselves until we're worn to a frazzle? 
  Some days, especially as moms, the few minutes we take in the morning with our bibles and our cup of tea may be all we get that day! But we do need that time to collect our thoughts and prepare for the day ahead. Enjoy your quiet time. If all goes well, we'll return tomorrow and finish up chapter 14.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Polar Opposites

My friend L. and I have never met in person. We know each other only via internet. She's a California girl who loves the city. I'm a bonafide died in the wool country girl from Georgia. She votes democrat. I am more of a conservative independent. She believes in abortion. I believe in the sanctity of life. 
  We have had some heated discussions about what we believe and don't believe. Most of the time we tend to agree to disagree and leave it at that. But there are days when the moon is just right that we go head to head. And  yet we remain friends. I don't question that fact, just enjoy it. I enjoy her company online and hope to meet her one day. I like to believe that we learn from one another. She makes me think, hones the reason why I believe as i do.
  As much as we are different, we are very much alike. We are stubborn, hard headed, controlling, soft hearted, and just trying to make our way in life while figuring it out. I hope she'll be around for a long time. There aren't many I allow to know the deepest, darkest parts of me. She's one of the privileged few who knows me. I thank God for having her in my life.

A Morning Cup of Tea: Matthew 13: 44-58

The last few days we've been going over some of the parables of Jesus. Little stories that may seem entertaining or even confusing to some, but contain wisdom for those who seek the truth.
  He has a few more,smaller parables for us today. 
 44. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field.
45. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls:
46. Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it. 
47. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind"
48. Which, when it was full, they drew to shore and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away.
49. So shall it be at the end of the world; the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just,
50. And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Lots to think about there. The kingdom of heaven is something we should desire very much, and be willing to let go of earthly things to attain it.
 Once Jesus had finished his talk, he moved on to Nazareth, his own country. He taught in the synagogue, but they did not want to hear him. (Paraphrasing again!) We know him! We know his family! He's a carpenter's son. Who is he to be telling us these things?
  How sad that his own people did not wish to believe him. I think sometimes it is harder for us to teach our own families and longtime friends, because they have known us so long. They know all the mischief we were in as kids, the mistakes, all. But we should continue praying for them.

Gratituesday : My son and Medicine.

Join us for Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers!

Usually on Tuesday Mornings I write my Morning Cup of Tea lesson and then I think about what I'm grateful for this week, for the Heavenly Homemakers Gratituesday link up. This time, my fuzzy brain realized I'd already written what I was most thankful for this time. 
  J has been on a new medication for the past few weeks. There were some small adjustments made for timing and dosage, and more of his personality seems to come out these days.
  Let me be clear: I don't like medicine. I wish he didn't have to take it. But at the moment there are NO other alternatives for him that are safe and legal. Medical marijuana is gaining some interest for some kids with autism because of the lack of dangerous side effects. But the more I look at it, the more I see that J doesn't need it. He's no where near in danger of not eating enough. The only benefit I see would be that it would take care of his violent tendencies. Well, as his mom, I'm just not ready for something that would cause him to eat more. J has always, as a teen, had a healthy appetite. This medicine he's on now, like other medications, has its share of side effects that could happen. But he has me and his father and his doctor to watch out for these things. So far I'm happy with what I'm seeing with this new medication, except for the moments of rebellion.
  J knows when he is to get his medication and sometimes refuses to eat dinner until he gets his evening dose. On Sunday evening, he didnt want to take the pills. He threw them. I knew he threw one of his anti seizure meds and I made him pick it up and take it. Intelligent child that he is, he picked up ONLY that one and left the rest. Of course he was bouncing off the walls when he should have been asleep or going to sleep. Hubby went back to the car and sure enough, there were his meds. He cannot go without his meds. He could have seizures, he could become violent, and he would be off the charts unable to pay attention.
 I like him the way he is--a little calmer, more in tune with the world, showing me the medicine rebellion that lets me know he has an opinion on this matter as well, and especially this right here.  Yup, this all sums up what I'm grateful for on this beautiful day.  

Monday, August 15, 2011

You Tube and Crafting

  My name is Dottie and I am a Youtube junkie. I like to find the old music I used to listen to as I grew up, and sometimes listen to ones my husband points out, but I've also been a fairly big fan of Clara Cannucciari, of Depression Cooking with Clara fame Here  is where you can find one of her videos.
  But the biggest part of my time on Youtube is spent looking at card making techniques, junque journals, altered arts, craft store hauls, and craft rooms. Yes, I love seeing the deals other people get at craft stores --sometimes I'll see a stamp or gadget that I put on my wishlist. And although I don't have a whole room set aside for my crafting, (mine is more like a crafting corner!) I love getting ideas on how better to contain my supplies. I enjoy crafting so much!
  I had a friend once tell me, i'm so not into cutting and pasting and such. Shrug. To each her own, I guess. But to me, it's therapeutic. I love painting and stamping and embossing and gluing --all of it! I like making a mess of myself (it happens. i throw myself into my work) and having bits of paper and glitter in my hair (and everywhere else) and watching something emerge from the chaos. Am I the best at it? Nope, not by a long shot. But a lot of the time I can come up with something I'm happy to share with others.
  My sister just got married so I'm coming up with ideas for a gift for her and my new brother in law. And I'm working on a home decor project for my home. Last but not least, I'm already thinking Christmas cards. I haven't yet decided what type of  cards I'm going to make this year, but browsing through stamps, die cuts, and papers are part of the fun. If you are interested, hopefully I can get a camera or use a friend's camera to take pictures of the projects and I'll have instructions on how to do them yourself.
  What about you? Are you a crafter? Do you like trying your hand at new things? Are you the creative type who can take one look at a picture who says I can do that --and puts her own beautiful spin on it? What do you like to do?

A Morning Cup of Tea: The Mustard Seed

This morning we are discussing the mustard seed. In the first few verses of this passage, Jesus tells the parable of the mustard seed. He said the kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man sowed in his field (v31, paraphrasing). The mustard seed is a tiny, tiny little seed. Yet it can grow to be a big tree. Go here   to see what a mustard tree looks like. This is not the mustard plant from which we get our condiment and spice from, but something entirely different.  I thought that was pretty interesting, because I knew about mustard plants, but had never seen a mustard tree before.
  Before sending the multitude away, Jesus told them one more parable (v33) ... The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in 3 measures of meal, til the whole was leavened.
  God can take something so tiny, such as a mustard seed or yeast, and something big and wonderful comes from it. We as Christians are part of God's kingdom. If we work together, we can do wondrous things, such as bringing others to Christ.
  Once the multitudes had gone the disciples asked him to explain the parable of the tares and the field. (Verses 37-43) Again, paraphrasing. Please read this for yourself. The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of man (Jesus). The field is the world and the good seed are the children of the kingdom --those who do God's will. The tares are the ones who choose not to do God's will, and the enemy that sowed the tares is the devil.  The reapers are the angels.
  Jesus will send the angels to gather up his own, and the others will be cast into the fire.  
  In this reading I've seen Jesus say "He who hath ears to hear, let him hear." I'd like to do a study on that sometime, to see how many times he says those words. He wanted those who heard his voice to pay attention, really listen. We may not literally hear his voice today, but we have his words. He wants us to pay attention to what he says. But again, it's our choice. We can listen or not. We can do his will or not. But he is letting us know what happens when we do his will, and when we don't. It's a very sobering thought.
  I will leave you with this. Please, if you have any questions, comments, feel free to leave a comment. Tomorrow we will finish up chapter 13 of Matthew.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

A Morning Cup of Tea; Matthew 13: 10-30

 in these verses, Jesus had just told the parable of the sower. This confused his disciples a bit and they asked him why he was speaking in such a way. (v 10)
 11. He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom, but unto you it is not given.
Jesus goes on in verses 12 -14 why, and verses 15 and 16 sum it up rather well:
15. For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.
16. But blessed are your eyes, for they see; and your ears, for they see.

There are those who desire to know the truth, and are open to it, which the disciples were, and there are those like the multitudes he was speaking of here that couldn't understand because they really didn't want to know the truth. Today the same is true of people --some who see the truth when it's there in front of them, and those who refuse to see or hear. We are to teach everyone we can, in love.
  Jesus went on to explain what he meant about the seeds being sown in verses 18 -23. Then he told them another parable, this time of a man who sowed wheat. The man sowed good wheat in his fields and at night, an enemy came and sowed tares into the man's field.
  The workers saw what had happened once the wheat had started growing and asked if they should get rid of the tares. The man said no, because in doing so they might harm the wheat. Let it all grow together, then at harvest time gather up the wheat and then throw the tares into the fire (v 24 -30)
  My time is up for now. Have a great Lord's day.