Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A Morning Cup of Tea

Good morning! Today we begin chapter 8 of Luke. In this chapter Jesus tells the parable of the sower - some seed landed on rocky soil, some fell among thorns, and some fell on good soil. And some fell by the wayside.  Some of us let the seed get trampled before it has a chance to grow. Others start out great, but having no soil take root in --studying, and learning more , the light goes out as quickly as it came in. Still others hear the word joyfully and take root, but the cares of the world choke them out as weeds do in a garden. Then there are those who fall into good soil --they've studied, and continue to study, and pray to take out the weeds or thorns that could choke out the light of God, and they bear fruit. I've greatly paraphrased verses 5 through 18 so I hope you will take the chance to read it for yourself.
  I am not a farmer, and I haven't done well with even simple gardening. I do understand that for plants to grow and thrive there must be sunlight, water, and nutrients in the soil. Weeds must be kept at bay as well. My son and I are quite a pair. If I have plants indoors, I tend to forget to water them. J tends to believe they do not belong in the pots and takes them out. Neither of these things are good for plants. Our souls also need TLC in order to grow and thrive. Our souls need good soil -a tender heart with a thirst to know God. We also need Son light. We need to hear and read the word of God, and commit it to memory, and live as closely as we can to his word. We need water and nutrients --this comes by living faithfully, participating in worship and fellowship with other Christians regularly, so that we might encourage and be encouraged, and learn more than just what we might read. We must keep the weeds out as well. When we have a problem, we should be able to go to our Christian brothers and sister for guidance, for assistance, for prayer. And we should be able to go to one another in love --and accept when they come to us in love- to point out something that may be amiss. We do this not because we think we are living better than someone who has fallen, but because we love one another and want others to not miss the opportunity to reach heaven because a sin was ignored blatantly.

Should We Keep Christ in Christmas?

Hallee the Homemaker  linked an article on Christmas  that got me to thinking. I don't want to tell anyone whether they should or shouldn't celebrate Christmas, nor do I wish to tell anyone how it must be done. I simply wish to share some of my thoughts on the matter.
  Long before Thanksgiving I began seeing on facebook diatribes on Christ in Christmas --from both sides. Non Christians (and even some Christians) asserting that Christmas is a pagan holiday, those of faith insisting that Christmas must have Jesus as the centerpiece. Some that I've begun deleting as soon as I see them start out with, I don't care if this offends anyone. That's great, if that is how you feel about it. Personally I think the politically correct business needs to stop. On both sides. If someone says Merry Christmas to me, I say it back. If someone says Happy Holidays, I return Merry Christmas to them, also with a smile. If I know the person celebrates Hannukah or Kwanzaa I extend greetings to them for their holiday. And yes, sometimes I do say happy holidays because there is more than one being celebrated during this time of year.
  As a Christian, I do celebrate Christmas, but although I enjoy the Christmas carols speaking of Jesus birth, I don't celebrate it as a religious holiday.  Nor do I think we should spend every penny we have plus burn plastic to make everyone's wishes come true. It is great to want to spoil the children (and adults, lets be honest here) a little. Mom's had her eye on a Kindle Fire,  Dad wants a new set of golf clubs, Suzy wants an electric guitar and a doll and five hundred other things that catch her eye. One popular store sent out a catalog of nothing but toys all with little boxes beside each one. Hand the booklet to your child and let them check off all the toys they want. Easy shopping! I can imagine that most kids would have marked off most of the items in the thing. Or, as I like to tease my husband with a catalog of rubber stamps and papers and the like, hand it back with the answer Yes please. One of each, thanks. 
  There is absolutely nothing wrong with one or two gifts per person. Take some time, realize what you can realistically afford to spend, and figure out what the person really wants. If you can't afford to spend money, either go in with one or more loved ones to buy just one special gift, or make something. As much as I like gadgets  and pretty things, I adore items that took more time than money. Can't sew or craft but everyone loves your desserts? Bake one up and maybe tuck in a coupon for a free cooking lesson or two from you. 
 To get back to the main subject of this piece ( i do tend to get sidetracked on certain things, sorry) I've been thinking that sometimes we tend to get so focused on keeping Christ in Christmas, that he may lie dormant in our hearts until the obligatory time to think of his death and resurrection --Easter. Also a holiday with pagan roots. Although we pretty it up as well with chocolate crosses and religious stickers for the eggs, what do bunnies and eggs have to do with Christianity? Again, nothing wrong with the Easter Bunny as long as we aren't worshiping him.  But....But. Shouldn't we be reflecting on Jesus and why he came here on earth more than just twice a year? 
  The bible tells us we should be commemorating his death, burial and resurrection each first day of the week (Sunday.) There are more than one Sunday each year, usually 52. Scholars tell us that Jesus was most likely born in the spring or the fall. I have no idea because I haven't studied it enough. I'm content with the knowledge that the bible does not tell us the date, and since the date for many other things are mentioned, there must be a purpose for the omission. We can reflect on his birth at any time of the year, certainly at this time, but any other time as well. While we think of his birth, let's remember why he was born. He didn't stay a baby. He grew up to teach, and to heal, and ultimately, to give his life in exchange for ours if we will only accept that gift by hearing, believing, repenting, confession, being baptized, and living the life. 
  This year, my family will be at worship service on Christmas, barring any reason such as illness. We wont be there because it is Christmas but simply because it is the first day of the week. We will be with the church (the people) to worship, to partake of the memorial feast (the bread and the fruit of the vine) and to fellowship with other Christians for a bit. To gain spiritual strength for the week. Then we will go home and enjoy time with family, and friends too hopefully.The more the merrier. Bottom line? Keep Christ in every day.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Gratituesday: Being Thankful in All Circumstances

I'll be perfectly honest with you: I don't want to be thankful right now. I want to complain. Something happened and I want to whine. It's not fair! That's true, because life isn't fair. It shouldn't have happened! True again, but this could have been prevented; it just wasn't.
 This particular instance  has some negatives to it, but there is a positive to it: I can use this instance to whine and complain, or I can use it as a learning experience. I know how to fix it and I know how to prevent it from happening again.  
   The bible tells us in 1 Thessalonians 5:18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (English Standard Version). Does this mean God wants us to be stuck in a rut in the road? No, not really. He wants us to understand that although we find ourselves stuck in a rut -by choice or out of the blue--He is there with us! We aren't alone in this, and its okay. Sometimes, as in my case, he allows us to mess up so that we will learn a lesson. I confess, there are times I remind myself of the mule tied to the sorghum mill. I'm putting one foot in front of the other and I'm logging miles, but I'm not really getting anywhere. I'm just plodding around in circles. It takes me awhile to get the message I'm supposed to learn sometimes.
  Yes, I have a setback today. But it is  inconvenient , not life threatening. I have many blessings to focus on --a roof over my head, a healthy family, my mother in law's birthday.How wonderful to be able to say Happy Birthday to her one more time! 
 So today I am grateful for a few lessons learned and for one more day with a special lady. What are you grateful for today? 
Join us for Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers!

A Morning Cup of Tea: The Pharisee's Hous

Today we are finishing chapter seven of the book of Luke.  Beginning in verse 36.  A Pharisee wanted Jesus to come to dinner. A woman, who was a known sinner, came in and stood behind Jesus. She carried with her an alabaster box of oil. With her tears she washed Jesus' feet, and dried them with her hair. She used the oil to anoint Jesus' head.
  The Pharisee saw all of this and could not understand why Jesus would even let this woman touch him. Surely if he knew this woman was a sinner he would not! (Paraphrase)
  Jesus told the man a parable about a man who had two debtors. One owed 500 pence, the other owed him 50. Neither man could pay their debts, and the man forgave them both. Jesus then asked, which will love the creditor more? Of course the Pharisee answered, the one who owed the most.
  Then Jesus explained that while the Pharisee did give him water with which to wash his feet (as was customary at the time), the woman did so much more.  Jesus forgave her sins. This made those at the table wonder more about who Jesus is, that he could forgive sins.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Monday Morning Report

Good morning! It is indeed a Monday morning and started out at an hour than can only be described as "O Are You Kidding Me?" A.M. Yes ladies, the laziness (!!) of the holiday is over and we are back to "normal."
 The hubs has first shift at work this morning, and he was not the only one awake at that early hour. I heard not only the alarm but also the voice in the next room, singing happily and assuring me that he was not about to drift back off into dreamland any time too soon. No, dear J was on a mission and his mission was food! So, food he got. The furballs also thought early morning was a great feeding time so they got an early breakfast as well. J was presented with boiled eggs, the easiest thing I can think of without resorting to "Let him eat cake!" That will not happen on my watch. Things can get quite ugly when J is coming off of a sugar high. That tends to regress into meltdowns and we don't need those at any time, much less very early in the morning.
 J wasn't too thrilled with boiled eggs first thing in the morning. He held one aloft and proclaimed "food!" Yes son, boiled eggs are indeed food. Mommy's brain is mush at the moment despite being a morning person. Definition of morning: the sun must be up. Otherwise it is still night time to my brain.
 At any rate, I'm sure you didn't come here to read the breakfast menu. I hope you had a great Thanksgiving weekend. The thankfulness is still there, and I hope I remember to be thankful everyday, not just on or near a specified holiday. We were blessed to spend Thanksgiving with my mother and brother, and then a few days later, we had Thanksgiving with my mother in law, sister in law, and her husband's family. It was good to enjoy the time together.
  My sisters both have their Christmas trees up already. I haven't gotten that far yet. In fact, there are no decorations up yet, but within the next two weeks I hope to have that remedied. This week I need to be cleaning and organizing, maybe making a few cards. I like making my own Christmas cards, but I just haven't had the time or energy to do much of that, although I did make a few on Thanksgiving while my family napped. This year only a few people will get the handmade cards, and all others on my list will get a regular Christmas card. All will be sent with love, though. 
  What about you? Are you ready for the Christmas /holiday season? Have you begun shopping? Are you already done? Or do you make your gifts? I think a lot of ours will be handmade this year. I adore gifts that take some thought and time. 
  What does your week look like? Are you excited for the next few weeks, or are you ready to scream in horror?  I'm sort of in the middle, myself. There is so much that needs to get done and things I want to get done. The one thing I have a hold on is Christmas day itself. Christmas falls on a Sunday this year and my husband actually has the day off!!! I'm very excited about that, although truth be told I'm holding my breath, half expecting a schedule change at hubby's work. I pray that doesn't happen. 
  My mother wants a ham for Christmas dinner, so that makes the menu fairly easy. Cooking is also easier. She can handle that one, and if she decides to go to worship with my brother that day, the ham will be fine until they get home.  I will spend a day before hand cooking most of the side dishes and desserts at her house, and on Christmas day my husband, son and I will worship with the church at Statesboro and then go to my mom's house. We will have dinner and then the rest of the festivities, or the other way around, depending on the rest of the family. That's the plan, anyway. 
  I hope you have a wonderful day.

A Morning Cup of Tea: Jesus Speaks of John the Baptist

Good morning! For anyone who reads this on a daily basis let me apologize. It's been five days since I've last written the Cup of Tea posts, or anything for that matter, other than a short blurb about the puzzle piece Christmas tree ornament.
Sadly, it's been five days since I have done my bible reading as well. The two are connected, and this part of my blog is supposed to keep me accountable and make sure I read every day. I let other things get in the way for a few days. But I won't let this bump in the road become a major roadblock. I will just start back where I left off and continue forward. How wonderful it is that we don't have to continually beat ourselves up for our sins and mistakes. Even after baptism we will continue to stumble at times, but now we can acknowledge it, repent, and move forward. 
  Today we are reading a few verses in chapter seven of Luke; verses11 through 28.  Jesus was coming to a city called Nain, and near the gate of the city Jesus and his disciples saw a funeral procession. A young man had died. His mother was a widow, and he was her only son. Jesus spoke to the woman and told her not to cry. Then he spoke to the young man and commanded him to arise. The young man rose from the dead at Jesus' words. Many people in the city were witness to this , and they had much fear (respect) of God, and glorified God at this miraculous site.  They spoke much of the prophet who visited and did this wondrous thing, and word spread throughout all of Judea and and the region around it.
  John the baptizer heard about this, and he sent some of his own disciples to Jesus, asking, Are you the one we've been waiting for? Or should we look for another? 
 Jesus gave them the answer in verses 22 and 23, that yes, he was the one.
Once John's disciples had left to give the answer to John, Jesus spoke of John to his own followers.  Jesus had much good to say about John, but also said that he who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than John. I think he said that so that others would not decide that John should be worshiped.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Puzzle Piece Christmas Ornament.

While browsing through facebook I noticed a cute ornament in the shape of a Christmas tree --made with puzzle pieces. To learn more on how to make one for yourself (and to see what it looks like) go here.
  Although the ornament is found on, I found it on Autism Creations.  Having a son with autism, I was immediately drawn to this. I hope you like it as well.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A Morning Cup of Tea: Faith of the Centurion

Good morning!
 Today we begin chapter seven of Luke. Verses one through ten give the account of a centurion in Capernaum, who who asked that Jesus come and heal his servant.  This servant was very dear to the man (v2) and at the point of death.  The centurion had sent some of the elders to go to Jesus, asking him to come and heal the servant. The elders spoke highly of the centurion, noting that he loved the nation and built a synagogue. When Jesus came close to the man's house, the centurion sent friends to speak with him.
   The centurion felt that he was not worthy enough to have someone such as Jesus to come into his home, but if he would only speak the servant would be well. Having authority over others, he knew that all he had to do was say come and those under him would come, do this and the person would do it.
  9.When Jesus heard these things, he marvelled at him, and turned him about, and said unto the people who followed him, I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.
 10. And they that were sent, returning to the house, found the servant whole that had been sick.
  The centurion knew the power of his authority over man. He also understood Jesus' authority over all. He knew that Jesus did not even have to visit his sick servant in order to heal him. He knew Jesus had the ability to heal him. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Gratituesday: An Abundance of Blessings

Join us for Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers!

I'm not rich by today's standards. Not even close. We've had our share of financial problems. Indeed, we've had many troubles and difficulties come our way in the twenty one plus years my husband and I have been together. More will come, I'm sure. It's part of life. However, if I sat down to count my blessings, I'd be sitting here for a long while. 
  I am the child of God. Way back in time He knew the faults I would have --the stubbornness, failing faith at times, lack of "want to" in being submissive --and yet he loved me enough to send his only Son to die one of the most cruel deaths imaginable, so that I might live. He gave this gift to us all.
  I have a husband who is a hard worker, a Christian, passionate about what he believes in. I know where he is at night and he loves me.
  I was blessed with two beautiful children, one of whom died early, and one who has autism. Both have been huge blessings to me. One is my treasure in heaven; the other is my treasure here and continues to teach me about life.
  I have a good family, on both sides. They are all for the most part healthy and happy. They are there in good times and bad for the most part, and I am blessed to have them all in my life. My greatest joy would be for all of them to become baptized believers.
 I have friends who care about me. Some I've never met in person but they make a huge impact on my life. One in particular cares enough to nag me about my health and other matters, because she wants what's best for me. I in turn, do the same for her. I doubt she'll read this, but I'll say it anyway: I love you, woman! 
  My health is much improved from several weeks ago. I am thrilled of that. 
  This year as we are preparing for a day of feasting, and family and friends and football  and shopping (for some), I realize I have much to be thankful for. The people and things mentioned here don't even begin to cover it. It's only the tip of the iceberg. What are you grateful for this year?

Count your blessings, name them one by one. Count your blessings, see what God hath done.. 

A Morning Cup of Tea: The Blind Leading the Blind

Good morning! Please forgive me for not posting yesterday. I really have no excuse, it just didn't happen. I will try not to let that happen again.
  Today we are finishing up Luke chapter six, specifically verses 39 to 49.
   Jesus had been speaking of judging, and being merciful toward one another. He continued this line of thought in a parable.
  Can the blind lead the blind? shall they not both fall into the ditch? (v39)
  41.And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eyes, but perceivest not the beam that is in thine own eye?her
 42. Either how canst thou say to thy brother, Brother, let me pull out the mote that is in thine eye, when thou thyself heholdest not the beam in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to  to pull out the mote that is in thy brother's eye.
  Now notice, he did not say don't you dare try to help someone at all by showing them they have a sin that needs to be repented of. He didn't say, mind your own business. What Jesus said was,  take care of your own life first. None of us are without fault, but that shouldn't stop us from loving  one another enough to say You're wrong.  We just need to examine our own lives first, and honestly, and take care of that glaring sin of our own so that we can help someone else. 
  If you've ever been on an air plane, you know the safety spiel they go through every time. When a situation demands that the oxygen masks drop down, what do they tell you? Put the mask over your own nose and mouth first before you help your kids or anyone else. Otherwise you are not going to be able to properly help.
  Children, especially our own, are very observant. Telling them to live one way while they know you are living another just isn't going to fly. 
  46. And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?
  47. Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like:
  48. He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock.
  49. But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the streams did beat vehemently, and immediately if fell; and the ruin of that house was great.
  None of us are perfect, but we should strive toward the goal of being more like Jesus every day. We should help our brothers and sisters out, lovingly, if we have examined ourselves first.  And finally, do we have that firm foundation built upon the rock of Jesus and his teachings? Or have we built our house on the earth --not focusing as much on God as we are what others say or do?   

Monday, November 21, 2011

$600 Vision Forum Gift Card GiveAway at The Modest Mom!

With Christmas just around the corner, how would you like to win  a $100, $200, or $300 gift card to Vision Forum ?  They have great toys for boys and girls, and even Christian books  for adults as well as the children.  For full details and to enter to win, please visit The Modest Mom . 
   Good luck!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

A Morning Cup of Tea: Judge Not

Good afternoon! 
 Today we are focusing on three verses in chapter six of Luke: 
 36. Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father is merciful.
 37. Judge not, and ye shall not be judged; condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned; forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:
 38. Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.
  The words do not judge, to some, mean, don't tell me when I am doing wrong, period. As a mother, when I see my son doing something wrong, especially something that can hurt him, I let him know, quickly. As a Christian, if I know someone is doing wrong, especially if the person is a Christian, then I need to go to her or him and discuss the matter. 
  If we read all three verses together we see that whatever I put out into the world will come back to me, whether goodness or evil. So I should be careful how I broach a subject. If I handle a situation in a manner that suggests I am better than the person I am trying to counsel, then I am wrong.  The fact of the matter is we all sin. In God's eyes sin is sin. Doesn't matter that for example, I lied to a friend while Susy committed adultery. Both are sins. I need to take care of my own sin before talking with Susy about hers, and I should do it in love. 
   Judging also has what seems to be a more acceptable (to the world) connotation. Somehow it became wrong to tell a person they were in danger of hellfire because that is "judging" but its perfectly okay to decide that Alice is a horrible person because her house isn't as spotless as I believe it should be, or that Joe should have his kids taken away because he is obese and may teach bad eating habits to his children. One woman judged many, including me, on a forum that should have brought us together. A hot button issue was brought up --vaccination -- and she proclaimed to the world that she hoped the children of those of us refusing vaccination would die because of that decision. That, my friends, is standing in judgement and is absolutely wrong. I think that is the judgement Jesus is saying is wrong. I would like to do a study on judging, and will probably do so after the study of Luke and John , and before we start on Acts.
  Judging is a hard topic to write about because so many (self included at times) believe  in don't you dare judge me but its okay for me to judge you. Truth is, whether we try to (lovingly) point out a sin that needs to be taken care of or standing in judgement on a personal matter, we need to understand that either way we put ourselves in the spotlight so that others can point out our own faults, whether sin or difference of priority. Focus on your own life before you speak, and remember to be merciful. Forgive those who need to be forgiven, help those who need help, but keep in mind your own imperfections. Discuss without attacking. While sin can't and should not be ignored, do so in such a way so as not to push the person away. Have a wonderful day. 

Saturday, November 19, 2011

A Morning Cup of Tea: Love Your Enemies

Good morning! I'm a bit late getting my study in this morning. Today we are beginning in verse 20 of the sixth chapter of Luke. Jesus began to preach to his followers, and he gave quite a large number of lessons in this passage: blessed be ye poor, for yours is the kingdom of God; Blessed are ye that hunger now, for ye shall be filled;blessed are ye that weep now, for ye shall laugh. (verses 20, 21)
  I don't know whether Jesus is speaking literally or figuratively of hunger here, but both fit. We may not have riches untold here on earth; we may go to bed with a not so filled belly sometimes, and things may be bleak for a time, but it will not always be so. Things will get better, whether here on earth, or in heaven, where there will never ever be sadness or hunger or anything bad. There will always be hardships to face here, but those of us who look to God will be rewarded.
  The verses I want to focus on today are 27 through 35. There is a lot that Jesus says in these verses, and I won't copy all of them, but I hope that you will take the time to read them for yourself.
  These verses tell us to love our enemy.  Indeed, listen to verses 27 and 28:
 27. But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you,
 28. Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.
 Notice the first thing he says:  "to those who hear". This was rather important and he wanted those who were there to learn to pay attention and understand. Jesus went on to say that if someone hits us on the cheek we should offer him the other cheek as well. If someone wants our jacket he should take our coat as well. It is easy to love someone who loves us; easy to give to someone from whom we expect something in return. But truly loving others means we put aside our feelings. Anyone can love her friends and family--almost everyone does that automatically. But to love someone who hates you takes having a relationship with God.  When we give something, we should not expect something in return; otherwise it was not freely given with a loving heart but with strings attached, a what's in it for me attitude. 
   It is not easy to love someone who does not love us. But if we treat others as we would like to be treated and leave it at that --feeding those who are hungry, giving clothing to those who need it, tending the sick --and doing it out of love and compassion, not in such a way that says I'm better than you or I want recognition for this act --we will receive a great reward in heaven. It was never meant for our government to take care of our neighbors. We should take care of one another.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

A Morning Cup of TEa: Jesus Prayed

Good morning!  Today we begin chapter 6 of Luke. The first few verses tell about different Sabbaths in which the Pharisees are not happy with Jesus or his followers' actions, and question him on it. Taking and eating corn from the field (v 1-5); healing a man's withered hand (v6-10).  Jesus did what needed to be done, no matter the day. The Pharisees did not like this and Luke says they were already angry and talking amongst each other trying to decide what to do with him.
  Luke brings up in verse 12 that Jesus went to a mountain to pray, and stayed there all night in prayer to God.When  it was day, he called the disciples to him and from those he chose twelve, known as the apostles:
 Simon, called Peter
 Andrew, Peter's brother
 James the son of Alphaeus
 Simon called Zelotes
 Judas the brother of James
 Judas Iscariot, who is named as the traitor (v 17)
  This is a great example to us, how important prayer is. This was a serious decision, choosing the ones who not only would help in his ministry, but to carry on the teachings later when his job here on earth was done. I like that he was consistently in communication with the Father.
Have a wonderful day.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A Morning Cup of Tea: Questions of the Phariseees

Good morning! Today we are finishing chapter 5 of Luke.  As Jesus' fame became greater, more people came to him as he went into towns, many wishing to be healed. A man with leprosy sought him out in a certain city (v 12) and beseeched Jesus to heal him. Jesus did, and told him not to tell others what happened, only to go present himself to the priests.
 But Jesus' fame was already wide spread by this time. Even the Pharisees and the doctors of the law had taken notice. They were in the same place with Jesus when some men, seeking to bring a bedridden man stricken with a palsy came to Jesus by means of a hole in the roof of the house. There were so many people milling about there was no other way in! Jesus saw this and told the man, your sins are forgiven (v20). 
  The Pharisees immediately demanded to know how such blasphemy could be spoken! Just who does this person think he is, forgiving a man's sins! Only God can forgive sins  (outright paraphrasing here).
  Jesus knew their thoughts, and addressed them. Which is easier, he asked, to say your sins are forgiven or to rise and walk? But to show you that the Son of man has power to forgive sins, Arise, take your bed and go to your house, he spoke to the sick man. Immediately the man got up and took his bedding with him, praising God the whole way.
  Those who saw this were amazed, and glorified God.
 During this time Jesus saw another man, Levi the tax collector, and called him to follow Jesus, which he did. Levi invited Jesus and his followers to his house for a great feast, and there were many publicans (tax collectors) there. The scribes and the Pharisees could not believe that Jesus would dare be seen with these people. After all, they would not do such a thing. Publicans were sinners!
  Jesus told them, those who are not sick don't need a physician. I haven't come to call the righteous, sinners to repentence.  
  When asked why Jesus' followers did not fast and pray as John's followers did, Jesus replied, Can you make the children of the bridegroom  fast while the bridegroom is with them? But there will be a time when the bridegroom is away, and then they will fast. (Paraphrased). While Jesus was with them, there was no need to fast.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Gratituesday: Morning Routines

Are you a morning person? I am. I like being awake by seven or seven thirty to start the day. I've tried being up earlier than that, but I wilt too early in the day when that happens. I think I've always been an early riser, even as a child. I remember waking up, especially on Saturdays, to watch my favorite shows and to see if there by chance would be leftover cold pizza to have for breakfast, hee hee. 
  These days my morning routines are different. If my husband is home he generally takes over breakfast for me so I can do my writing. On days like today, when Jim is either at work, or stopping by his mom's after work, the routine is a little different. I wake up either on my own or when I hear J stirring. His routine is rather simple --wake up, take a bath, take meds and wait paitiently (and sometimes not so patiently) for breakfast. Once I'm up, I check on J and let him know breakfast will be coming soon, take my thyroid medicine, feed the cats (which includes a few strays), and then hand J some cheese or something to hold his strength while I'm doing my thing. Sometimes I will start some boiled eggs, other times I'll let J know that breakfast will be cooked in just a bit. That is when I come to my spot in the living room and do my bible reading and blog time. Afterwards is when I get going on the day. I love quiet, easy mornings. 
  Each Tuesday Laura at Heavenly Homemakers  invites us link up with her and tell what we are grateful for. This post is linked up. What are you grateful for today?  Please feel free to share. I love hearing from my readers. :)  Have a wonderful day.

A Morning Cup of Tea: Fishers of Men

Good morning! Today we are beginning chapter 5 of Luke, specifically verses 1 through 11. Jesus had gained a lot of popularity by this time. People are wanting to hear him preach, and to heal. When he was by the lake of the Gennesaret, he saw some ships by the shore. They were empty, as the men were washing their nets. One belonged to Simon (Peter), and Jesus stepped into that ship to teach the people on the shore.
  Afterwards, Jesus spoke with Simon and told him to go out into the deep and cast down his nets to catch some fish. Simon had already been out all night, and had caught nothing, but he did as Jesus asked. He let down the nets and they became so full of fish that the nets broke! He had to call the other ship, his partners James and John, sons of Zebedee for help. Both ships became so full of fish that they nearly sank!
  In verse 9, Simon Peter had a reaction to all of this that made me stop. He fell down at Jesus' knees and said, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord.  He had a true humble, contrite heart. I wonder how I would be if Jesus stood near me like that and I realized who he was. 
  Jesus told Peter, Fear not, from henceforth  thou shalt catch men.(v 10). And when Peter, James and John reached the shore, they forsook all and and followed him. 
  In order to do these things -going out to cast nets where they had already been with no fish to show, and leaving everything behind to follow Jesus, these men had to have faith. I would venture to guess that there was slight doubt in Peter's mind when Jesus asked him to cast his nets, but he did it anyway. That's what sticks out in my mind.  And although each path is different, we do give up things when we choose to follow Jesus. Some may give up home and family and country to go into other countries to be missionaries. Others of us give up life styles and sins. While we women are not called to be preachers or missionaries really, we have our ministries which are just as important to the church, and we can teach as long as we do not usurp the authority of a man.  We each have our place in the body of Christ, our own ways to be "fishers of men." 
 Have a wonderful day.

Monday, November 14, 2011

A Morning Cup of Tea: Preaching and Casting Out Devils

Good morning! Today we are going to finish chapter four of the book of Luke. After those in the synagogue at Nazareth had wanted to throw Jesus out of the city (v29), Jesus went to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and preached there on the Sabbath. In the synagogue there was a man who was possessed by a devil. This demon knew who Jesus was and what he could do to him. He said, Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art; the Holy One of God (v34). 
  Even the demons know who Jesus is. 
 Jesus rebuked the demon and called him out of the man, and the spirit obeyed. People were astonished at this, and word spread quickly. 
  During his time in Capernaum  Jesus spent time at Simon (Peter's) house. Peter's mother in law was sick with a horrible fever. Jesus healed her and immediately she rose and ministered to those in the house.   While in the city, Jesus healed many sick and cast out many devils. The people of Capernaum would have loved to keep him there, but Jesus reminded them that his job was to preach the kingdom of God to other cities as well.
  Wherever Jesus went, he preached, taught, healed, and cast out devils. Some accepted him and his word gladly, others wanted to throw him out. He did not get angry when the people of his hometown rejected his words, but simply moved on.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

A Morning Cup of Tea: Jesus Talks in the Synagogues

Good morning! Today we are reading Luke 4:14 through 29.  If you grow up in a town, especially a small one, it seems everyone knows who you are, who your parents are, and they know the mistakes you made as you grew up. Even if you were a good kid, most people will have a hard time looking on you as an adult. Jesus saw this to be true in Nazareth, where he grew up.
  Wherever Jesus went in his travels, he could generally be found in the synagogue on the Sabbath. He would talk or he would stand up to read. This time he was in his home town. He was brought the book of the prophet Isaiah, and he found this passage to read:
  18.The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,
 19. To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.
 Jesus closed the book, handed it to the minister and sat down. 
  21. And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.
  This is Joseph's son! We know Jesus' family! They were all thinking. Jesus knew this. He knew they didn't believe him. He told them that a prophet is never accepted in his own country  (v 24). 
  He continued telling them of the days of Elijah, during the drought when there were many starving widows, but  Elijah was not sent to any except the widow in Sarepta, a city of Sidon.
  And Elisha helped only Naaman the Syrian, even though many lepers were in Israel during that time. 
  The people in the synagogue were angry, to say the least. They took Jesus and bodily threw him out of the city. Or at least, that is what they wanted to do. Jesus simply went through the midst of them and went on his way. 
  If one person does not want to hear what you have to say, go on to another person. There is someone out there who wants to hear your message.We must not give up on teaching others about Jesus and the plan of salvation. Have a wonderful Lord's day. 

Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Potty Wars, and Other Fine Whines

Ok, the title warned you. It's been one of those days. Some people drink to deal with a bad day. Some eat. I'm usually in that last category, but not tonight. Some throw things, curse, stomp their feet and carry on. Some deal with frustration by going on a cleaning frenzy...anyone who does that and lives near me, feel free.(the cleaning, not the throwing, cursing, etc). Just sayin.. ahem. I write.
  The economy has many of us scratching our heads, trying to figure out how to pay the bills and live day to day life. I won't bore you with the details of what's going on here at home, but let's just say it ain't easy. The frustration level is pretty high and although I'm praying and trying to trust God and my husband, I feel like I'm screaming in the middle of a hurricane. It gives me something to do but it doesn't accomplish much and no one is hearing my voice. God hears me, I know he does. But Little Miss Impatient needs to learn a little self control.
  I have five very hungry little vultures -er, cats who are my fur babies. Yes, I know part of the above problem is the number of those little darlings. I won't take them to a shelter that will end their lives in three days or less, and most no kill places aren't taking cats at the moment from what I can tell. Our county doesn't even have an animals shelter (whine whine whine) and most animal loving neighbors are just as poor as we are. Other than mine (most of whom are indeed looking for good homes in case you want a pet or know someone in the vicinity who wants a lap warmer/mouser combo) there are several homeless fur balls. I know because at least three of them know when its time to eat here. They come boldly into the yard, but not too close to the porch, because two or three of mine are quick to remind their guests just who gets to eat first and who truly belongs here. They get the cheap stuff here at home, and they are pretty happy about it. 
  While feeding the cats, J was setting me up for a nice surprise inside. I come and I smell The smell.  You know the one. It goes by many names which shall not be named here. I pray the present has not been left in his room. I check. Woohoo, not there! Is it in the bathroom? Yup! Great, right? Enh!  It's right in front of the toilet. And there is some in the tub. (Can you hear the Psycho music in the background? Shudder)! Yes sir, ladies and gents, its fun with autism once again. He has the first part of pottying fairly well in control ... with some accidents. The second part however..... ick. At least he's taking care of it in the bathroom and not other rooms at this point. I've tried teaching him how to go and where to go, every which way I can think of. I am grateful that this situation does not occur in other homes by my darling boy, but I would love ever so much if this particular thing would click in his brain so that he has that "Aha!" moment  and it didn't happen here. Ever. Again.  Please pray we get complete potty training soon. And if there is any advice, I'll gladly listen.
  I know it seems (to me anyway) that any time I mention autism and J, I only mention the bad side of things.  At the moment I'm listening to him in his room, bouncing on his mattress and singing. That's a cue that he's almost ready for sleep, but he doesn't really want to rest just yet. He's not been told he needs to go to bed, it's just his routine: supper, meds, bath, bed. He's content with it. He'd rather settle in at home where he is most comfortable. He doesn't like late nights, and to him, anything past 8:30 pm is too monstrously late to be away from home. He has only a few exceptions in which he is okay with not being home by then. J has popped into the living room a few times, to see what I'm doing, and checking to see if my shoes are off. They are. 
  In J's mind, shoes are needed only if you're going somewhere, and even then, not necessarily while in the car. He knows that shoes must be worn at church (although many times we've found his shoes in the hallway or under a pew instead of on his feet). He also understands by now that Grandma's need their shoes on. He isn't happy with that one, but he gets it. But I'm a mom. Moms don't need shoes on at home. It certainly can't be comfortable. If I don't take my shoes off in the house, he will! In his impatience to remove the offending items (wonder where that impatient streak comes from?) I have had to grab hold of anything stable lest he sweep me off my feet. Thankfully that doesn't happen often and he's mostly okay to wait until I sit before the shoes need to come off. Same for socks. Socks are only for use with shoes. I don't blame him in any of the sock and shoe business tho. I feel so much better with them off.
  I'm smiling now. Although he's a little early in his going to sleep, I think he's almost there. My whine fest is over for the evening. Time to settle in a bit myself. Get cozy under some covers and read or watch a movie. If you made it this far with me, thanks for listening (reading). Have a great night.

A Morning Cup of Tea: Tempted by the Devil

Today we begin chapter four of Luke. Jesus had gone to the wilderness to be alone and fast and pray, and there the devil tempted him. Jesus had been there for forty days and had eaten nothing. Satan knew this so he told him in verse 3, If you are the Son of God, command this stone to be made bread(my words). 
  4. And Jesus answered him, saying , It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.
 If you go here you will see that Jesus was quoting Deuteronomy 8:2-3. We need not only to feed our physical selves in order to be healthy, but our spiritual selves as well. Reading and knowing the scriptures daily nourishes us, and keeps us healthy and strong, and better able to withstand temptations, as it is written in the old testament: I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. Psalm 119:11, English Standard Version.
  The devil tried again, this time taking him to a high mountain and showing him all the kingdoms of the world in a brief span of time. All of this can be yours, if you will just worship me, he told Jesus.  He was telling him, I have the power here, and to those I give the power to.  In essence he wanted Jesus to give up all his heavenly life for the riches and power of the earth.  Jesus had an answer for that as well.
 8. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan, for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. Jesus was quoting Deuteronomy 6:13 that time.
 One more time the devil tempted him. He brought Jesus to Jerusalem, to the pinnacle of the temple and set him there.  Don't be fooled; the devil can quote scripture too, although he tends to misquote it or twist the words, using scripture out of context to suit his needs.  If you are the son of God, hop on down from there. It is written, He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee. He quoted Psalm 91:11 and 12.
 12. And Jesus answering said unto him, It is said, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. Those words can be found in Deuteronomy 6:16.
  The bible does not tell us how many times the devil tempted Jesus, only that he did, and gave those three examples. Verse thirteen tells us that when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from him for a season. We know that he would indeed return to fight another time. The devil thought the cross would surely stop him, but we know it didn't. 
 God knew that we would fight for our spiritual lives here on earth where the devil reigns. He gave us the weapons with which to fight, and he assured us we would never be alone in the battle.  We are children of the Most High God. Have a wonderful day.

Saturday Morning Ramblings

Good morning!  It is a downright cold (!!) 47 degrees here in my little spot in Georgia. As much as I want to burrow under the covers all day with a good book or a movie or three. there is much to do. I need to clean my kitchen (never ending job), bring some semblance of order to my living room, and start organizing my craft supplies. I left out a Studio G stamp for a few days too long and my dear J decided the rubber die no longer needed to be attached to the wood. I found the wood base outside, underneath a window. The rubber die has yet to be found. Studio G's are very inexpensive; this one was less than a dollar at Wal mart, but still, not very happy to have to replace it.
  I love crafting, almost as much as i love reading and writing. I've tried different craft projects since I was a kid, and when I married my husband, my mother in law, who was a voracious crafter at one point, tried teaching me some needlepoint stitches and I learned how to make fabric yo yos 
for a project I wanted to do. I never did finish that yet, and want to get back to it now that J is older. Unfortunately I haven't even done much stamping and card making, which are some of my favorite things to do. Since I like making cards and I'd rather make than buy Christmas cards, it's past time I get my supplies ready and get back to work. Maybe I can get J to make a card or two with me.
  I've gotten so used to mild falls and winters here in the south, and gotten stuck with a painful electric bill or two during the summer months, that I've had my head stuck in the fall leaves about preparing for cooler weather.  When an overgrown three year old and several cats huddle up on your bed at three in the morning, you know it's time to give in. This old house  would keep a handful of handy men busy for awhile with the projects needed to be done, but we have J's window covered with plastic once again, and this morning I finally relented and turned on the heater. It's supposed to warm up a little this week, for which I am very grateful. I hope that doesn't change.
  As for this blog, I still need to do this morning's Cup of Tea post and I've been percolating a post on a subject that's been on my mind for awhile. Hopefully soon I will be able to get it written down, and make sense of the jumble of questions and comments and bible verses in my head. I also have a book review coming up on Monday. I was given the opportunity to read a fiction book in return for my thoughts on it. 
 As far as personal organization goes that is a stop and go thing for me. Sundays are especially hard because I'm not as watchful of the time as I should be, and sometimes it's not J's lack of cooperation that makes us late to church. That has to end, so I'm going to start doing at least the Morning Cup of Tea posts a few days in advance. They will show up one a day as they should, and I will still be doing my bible reading, but illness or doctor appointments or whatever that comes up shouldn't keep them from showing up on time. Others may follow as I find my way and decide just how I want this blog to really run, but some posts will always be off the cuff, especially the ones dealing with autism. And possibly organization. Those are two ongoing and sometimes intertwining subjects here in my life at home.
  We are creeping ever closer to Thanksgiving. As a Christian I feel I should be thankful all the time, and not just for the good things. The bible says to be thankful for all things  --  Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:18,  English Standard Version. I was reminded of this yesterday from the sign outside a local church building. I was in a really dark mood concerning finances and the upcoming holidays and all I could see was the negative. We drove past the building, and there was the sign: the exact same thing my husband had been trying to get me to understand. I was not in a rather receptive mood, I'm sorry to say, for either instance. But it stayed in my mind, and I prayed, and groused, and grudgingly gave thanks for the learning situation and the blessings we have. Blessings that sometimes go unappreciated unless they aren't there. 
  If you ever read my posts here or on facebook and think I have it all together or I'm holier than thou, I'm far from the  person God wants me to be. I'm taking it one step at a time, one verse at a time, trying to get it right. If I sound prideful or judgemental or holier than thou, please forgive me. I love people but I don't love sin. I get a little preachy on some subjects but only because people, especially children, are very dear to my heart. If you read this, and know that there is an area I need to work on, especially in my Christian walk, feel free to contact me. I'd love to hear from any of my readers, really, on any subject, whether you think I'm doing okay or you think something isn't right.  
  What are you doing today? Are you cuddling in front of a fire? Doing some pre holiday shopping to beat the rush? Trying to figure out a turkey recipe for Thanksgiving? Whatever you are doing today, I hope it is a wonderful day for you.

Friday, November 11, 2011

A Morning Cup of Tea: The Lineage of Jesus

Good morning and happy Veterans Day to you. My gratitude and deep respect, not only for the service members themselves, but also the families who have celebrated or postponed birthdays, holidays and other happy occasions, who don't get to kiss their loved ones hello or goodbye every day, for those who had to sit or stand as they received news that a son or husband gave their all to this country.  I am the daughter of a retired Army serviceman, the  great something daughter of one who served in the Federal military during the war between the states, the wife of a husband who gave ten years to his country and would gladly have given more. While he never went to war, he was willing to do so. May God bless all our service men and women and their families.
  Now, why do I mention our veterans in a post reserved usually for the life and legacy of Jesus?  While Jesus was not in the military for his country, he was at war. He gave his life so that we may live. Our military give their time and sometimes lives for our freedoms; Jesus gave his life for our very souls.  And because of the freedom of choice which comes not from our government but from our heavenly Father, we have the choice to accept that most precious gift, or to set it aside and say, no thank you in word or deed.
  Today, in verses 21 to the end of chapter three in Luke, the beloved physician Luke tells of the beginning of Jesus' ministry as an adult. He was about 30 years of age, and had been baptized by John the baptizer. Verse 22 is a wonderful testament:
  22. And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven,  which said: Thou art my  beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.
  The bible does not say whether there were witnesses to Jesus' baptism. But can you imagine the awe one would have being a witness to this? Wow.
  The rest of the chapter goes into the genealogy of Jesus, from Joseph's family line. One would expect the lineage to go back as far as David, but Luke traces the family all the way back to Adam. This is very impressive because no one living can do that anymore. although we know that if we could go back that far, we would all find Adam and Eve in our family history. Truth be told, I skimmed through the genealogy and will have to go back and re read it to fully appreciate it. I hope you take the time to read the chapter. Have a wonderful day.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

A Morning Cup of Tea: John Teaches Baptism

Good morning! I've been MIA for a few days because of illness.  Still not one hundred percent yet but I'm able to sit up for longer periods of time. But I'm not here to whine about being sick, hee hee.
 Today we begin chapter three of the book of Luke. Jesus' cousin John was living in the wilderness and preaching baptism of repentence for the remission of sins (v3).
  Many came forth to be baptised by John, and they would ask him how they should live. His answer was if you have two coats, give one to someone who has none. If you have food, share with someone who has none. To publicans (tax collectors) who came to be baptised he told them, only collect what is appointed to you (tax collectors at the time had a reputation of gathering more than they should, and fattening their own wallets). To soldiers, he said do no violence to anyone;  don't falsely accuse people..  Be content with what you have.  In other words, treat others with kindness. Don't take what isn't yours. Don't be violent, don't bear false witness, and don't covet. Good advice for any person, and it comes from the scriptures.
 Not everyone was happy with John's teachings, however.  After baptizing Jesus he was imprisoned because Herod was angry with him. John had told him he was wrong for marrying his brother Philip's wife, among other things.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Monday Morning Report

 Beautiful morning out here in my neck of the woods, not too chilly at all. In fact, outside it already feels really nice. I've already been outside to drop off my netflix dvds in the mail --got some great ideas from Martha Stewart's Classic Thanksgiving. While I was outside a man stopped by, seeing my trail of kitties following me. His wife had been down in the dumps lately because her kitten died, so one of my younger ones got adopted. I'll miss the little guy, but I'm so thankful he's found a new home. Still looking for homes for one more kitten and a few adults.
  Speaking of being thankful, if you are on Face book, you may have noticed some of your friends posting each day in November what they are thankful for. You may be doing that yourself. I am, and while there is so much that I am thankful for each and every day, I think it helps to write things down, and it starts the day on a positive note. 
 The hubs is continuing to look around locally for a job. He has a job already, and we are thankful he has it, but right now we live 52 miles away from his work so financially we really need to either find a job closer to home or else find a home closer to work. We are trusting God that something will become available one way or the other. Truthfully, I like the area we live at now, and I love the congregation we are a part of. However, our plans are not always God's plans so we shall see what happens.
 I've got my list of chores I need to do for the day -cleaning the kitchen and laundry being at the top of the list. I think those are never ending things though. I also have to look for some paperwork that was mislaid. That should be fun. 
 Sometime this afternoon I will be going to my mother's house to talk a little about Thanksgiving and see what needs to be done. I know she's already bought some things, and we need to decide who is going to cook what. I think she's planning on making a pie or two, and maybe handle some of the veggies. I'll take care of the turkey and hubby will make his dressing. Yummy! I'm hoping to make a cheesecake as well. Oh, how I love all the foods for Thanksgiving!  I love having the family together even more than the food, though. My dream is to one day have a home big enough so that the entire family can be together for the day. 
 Well, I'd better get to moving if I'm going to get anything accomplished today. How is your day shaping up? Are you preparing for the holidays?

A Morning Cup of Tea: Jesus the Child

Good morning! It's a beautiful Monday, isn't it? Today we are still in chapter two of the book of Luke. We begin in verse 21, with the circumcision of Jesus. 
 As was the Jewish law, Jesus was circumcised eight days after his birth. It was then that his name was announced. When Mary's days of purification were over, they took baby Jesus to the temple to present him to the Lord. There they met Simeon, who was a devout man in his faith. He had been promised that he would be allowed to see the Christ before he died. The Holy Spirit was upon him and he knew that Jesus was the one. Holding the babe in his arms, he praised God. He also mentioned in his praise that the Christ would be there for the gentiles as well as the Jews (v 32). 
  At the temple at this time also was a prophetess named Anna. She had been a widow for many years , and never left the temple. She stayed there, fasting and serving God. She too gave praise to God upon seeing the child.  
 Jesus was taken back to Nazareth to be raised. When he was twelve years old he went with his parents to Jerusalem for the Passover. When it was over, Mary and Joseph headed for home, not realizing that Jesus was not with them. They thought he was among their group of family and friends traveling with them. When they stopped after a day's journey, they could not find him. Any mother who has lost sight of her child for a moment knows the thoughts Mary had during the time they were searching for him. They found him in the temple, talking with those who had studied the law greatly. The men he was talking with were greatly impressed with his knowledge. Joseph and Mary were upset that he'd not been with them, but Jesus calmly answered, Why were you searching for me? Didn't you know I'd be doing my Father's business? He wasn't being disrespectful, he was just showing his ministry early. Mary and Joseph probably did not understand all of what was going on,  but Luke says Mary pondered all these things in her heart. She knew her son was special-the angel had told her so. But Jesus went back to Nazareth with his parents and grew up.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

A Morning Cup of Tea: The Birth of Christ

Good morning! What a beautiful, chilly Lord's day it is. Today we begin chapter two of Luke, and verses 1through 20, I think, are among the most well known in all of the bible. In the month of December, especially the Sunday before if not Christmas Eve or Christmas Day itself, preachers use this passage as part of their message. Parts of it are quoted in Christmas specials, including Charlie Brown Christmas, where Linus, the young theologian, quotes the passage in answer to Charlie Brown's question, Isn't there anybody who knows the real meaning of Christmas?
  The telling of Joseph and Mary going to Bethlehem to be taxed, no room at the inn and delivering the babe in a manger, then shepherds coming to see for themselves the baby whose birth had been announced to them by angels, is indeed a beautiful one. Although we do not know the true date of Christ's birth (the bible only alludes to the time of year in that shepherds were still outside in the fields at night with their sheep so it had to have been a warmer season, and an early pope decided that the catholic church would celebrate December 25 as the birth of Christ in order to sanctify a pagan holiday) this is the time most of the world even thinks of his birth. 
  While I think personally there is nothing wrong with celebrating Christ's birth, or keeping Christ in Christmas, I think that sometimes too much emphasis is put on the birth, and not enough on his mission here on earth:to fulfil the old covenant and to establish the New covenant by dying on the cross and being resurrected three days later.  While we are not told in the bible that we should celebrate his birth, we are instructed to memorialize his death and resurrection on every first day of the week (Sunday) : Jesus himself established it Mark 14:22. 
  But going back to the passage in Luke, Mary is with her husband, traveling while pregnant. Even though we have cars and planes and such today, we know that it is still very uncomfortable traveling for long periods of time while in the family way. The inns, if there were more than one in the city of Bethlehem, are all full and the only place they can find to rest is where the animals are kept. But it's clean, and with all those animals, it was most likely fairly warm. She gave birth to her first son there, and shepherds come, telling how angels had given them the news of his birth. I think any of us who has given birth know the feelings that swirl through our minds during this time-- excitement, wonder, joy, sometimes fear, can I really take care of a child properly? what if I don't know what I'm doing?, that sort of thing. And Mary herself has the added knowledge that Gabriel the angel told her how special her son would be. That angels would spread the glad tidings on the night it happened is wondrous. Her heart had to be full to nearly bursting with praise and thoughts.
 Have a wonderful day.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

A Morning Cup of Tea: A Prophet is born

Good morning! It's almost noon time here though. Today we are finishing up chapter one of Luke, beginning in verse 57.
  Elisabeth gave birth to a son, and everyone rejoiced. On the eighth day the child was circumcised and the neighbors and cousins took it upon themselves to name him Zacharias, after his father. Elisabeth said no, his name is John. Not so, said the others. No one in the family is named John! So they asked Zacharias what the child's name is. He asked for a writing tablet and he wrote, his name is John. At that point Zacharias could speak again! And speak he did! The holy spirit came upon him and he began to prophesy, praising God and foretelling that John would be a prophet who prepared the people for the Lord.

Friday, November 4, 2011

A Morning Cup of Tea: Behold the Handmaid of the Lord

In Elisabeth's sixth month of pregnancy, Gabriel the angel was sent to Nazareth to speak with Elisabeth's cousin, a young girl named Mary. We don't know how old Mary was, only that she was young. She was betrothed, or in modern terms, engaged to be married, to Joseph.
 28. And the angel cam in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favored, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.
 Mary didn't know what to think of this. It scared her, plain and simple! She wondered what this could mean. 
 Gabriel told her, Fear not, Mary. You have found favor with God. (Luke 1:30)  He told her that she would conceive a son, and his name would be Jesus. His kingdom would last forever.
  Mary, being the good girl she was, had never been with a man, not even the one to whom she was betrothed, so she was quite rightly confused as to how she could have a baby when she was a virgin.
  Gabriel explained to her how this would be, and told her that her cousin was with child. Mary accepted this honor with grace. She  was willing to accept God's plan for her, as she said in verse 38: Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.
 After the angel left, Mary went and visited Elisabeth for three months. Whether she was there when Elisabeth gave birth we do not know. But when Elisabeth saw her young cousin, the baby leaped in her womb. Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke praises.
 Can you imagine being Mary? Here she was, just a young girl preparing to marry. The angel of the Lord appears and tells her she is going to give birth to the Son of God. I think she understood that this was a wondrous thing, especially having never known a man at this point, but I wonder if she truly knew what was in store for her son? What truly makes Mary special is her willingness to accept God's will for her. This will be discussed at another point, but she had to have known that being pregnant during betrothal was not a good thing. Chastity was expected and fornication was not taken lightly during this time. But she accepted God's will.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

At Studio D's 30 Days of Christmas

While reading my blog today and yesterday you've seen the badge on  the right, proclaiming 30 days of Christmas. Have you checked it out yet? If you are a crafter or even love hand crafted items you're going to love it. At Studio D
has a contest going these days. Each day for 30 days Damaris is showing her hand made cards. If you are a blogger, you can have a chance to win one of the cards she made, plus a few other goodies. Go check out Damaris, At Studio D 
 and while you're at it, check out some of her earlier posts. She is one talented lady and seeing her cards is a reminder that I need to get busy coming up with some Christmas cards as well! I don't craft as much as I'd like, but I do like making cards, especially at this time of year.