Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Can We Talk?

How are you at communication? Do you tell others how you feel? Do you, out of love and concern, take someone aside to discuss a matter that has been brought to your attention? Or do you make a general comment, hoping that the one who needs most to hear those words will get the idea? Furthermore, would you be open to talk about something other than the weather and other "safe" subjects? I'm asking these questions not only of you, the reader, but of myself as well. One who is perfectly content to hide behind the keyboard, so to speak, and let my feelings be known in this manner.
    I'm  a shy person by nature. I blush when I talk to more than one person at a time unless I've known them for a long while. Even then, my deepest thoughts and feelings are known only to those I deem closest to me -God, my husband, and my sister. Or I pour my heart out in my writings, most of which the world has yet to see.
   I've noticed though, an alarming trend in the world, and it has crept into the church to some degree as well. Hiding behind the keyboard or a "general statement" made in a group of people when there is a problem or a perceived problem. A perceived problem is when you misunderstand what a person has said or done. Either way, whether perceived or real, how is the person or persons to whom you were referring, supposed to know that you have issue with the situation unless you speak up? Not to the world at large, but individually.
King James Bible (Cambridge Ed.)
Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. Matthew 18:15
 I consider this statement to be true even if it isn't necessarily a sin. Sisters and brothers (I know there are a few who read this from time to time), we ought not to be calling out individuals in general. If it is something that a lot of people have been doing then fine. Point out exactly what the problem is and suggest in appropriate ways that it stop. But if your intent is to to truly help someone grow, rather than "read" them from a distance, go to them in private. 
  I don't know the person well enough.  Is she your sister in Christ? That means you are family. Pray about the situation. Discuss it with her. Better yet, get to know her. Speaking as one who would rather hear the truth in love on an individual level when someone is upset with me, it works better this way. The truth may sting a little, but the pain of truth is far easier to take than the thought that you aren't loved enough to hear the truth.
  I dont want to hurt her feelings. See above. Don't just come out and say "You're wrong, sister". Discuss it. Say what's on your mind in a loving manner and get her side of things. Go from there.
   Ladies, there are numerous reasons why we feel we can't talk one on one with one another. Most are just excuses. The simple truth of the matter is we don't know if we haven't been taught. Throwing a general statement out into the crowd like a fisherman casts his net may catch a few. Sometimes though, to catch "the big one" you have to use a rod and reel. 
   In closing, I'd like to say this: As a writer, I like having my ears tickled with praise. But I also know that not everyone agrees with what I have to say. Comments are always welcome, good and bad, as long as they are respectful. If you feel the need to contact me privately on a matter, please do. I have an open door policy with my email if you can't find me any other way. Let's Talk! 

Monday, March 25, 2013

A Morning Cup of Tea: A Study of Ruth part 4

Well, it's past morning, but today was not a regular day. I think that's okay sometimes. Right now I'm just enjoying hearing my happy boy. I am so thankful for days like today --busy but easy and fun. He's had such an awesome day, I hope it stays like that all day. I love when things work out.

  Because of Ruth's love for Naomi and her faith, things worked out there as well. Boaz gave the opportunity to buy the land and take Ruth as wife to the nearer kinsman, who turned it down. Boaz took her to wife, with the blessing of the elders. Ruth gave birth to a son, Obed, who would be the heir for Elimelech and his son, and also was the father of Jesse, who was the father of king David, and thus, part of the lineage of Jesus.
  When we take the time to pray and follow God's path for us, things work out so much better. It may not always be easy, as in the case of Naomi and Ruth;for a time they had no male heirs to take care of them or inherit, but they were taken care of in the end. All according to God's plan. I think this is one of my favorite lessons in the bible, yet I'm still learning to follow.

Life with Autism

Good morning y'all!  It is a chilly, windy day here in my little section of Georgia! And this is my second time waking up. Actually, it was a little earlier, but my brain is working now, I think. The first time we woke up this morning was about five-ish.  J was wide awake causing much mayhem at that time, which means he had been awake for a little while. This is never a good thing.
   Damage report was minimal, although my dish soap is MIA. Yes folks, when J is left to his own devices he turns into a cross between Christopher Lowell, Martha Stewart, and a Zen minimalist and decides what stays, what goes where, and what gets hidden. Because I sometimes forget to put the dish soap out of sight, I've learned to have a few more in reserve (hidden from him). I end up with a few half used bottles floating around once we locate the ones he's banished from his sight, but that's okay. I can deal with that for now.
   Soap (or lack thereof) wasn't the only thing I noticed when I stumbled into the kitchen at O dark thirty. Nope, my two darling felines decided to have an Ozzy Osbourne party sometime in the night. Yes folks, the mighty huntress, who has access to the outside world just as her brother does, decided she needed more protein in her diet and my kitchen just needed more feathers on the floor. Her brother lets her go get her prey then he fights her for it eventually. With the amount of feathers on my floor, more than one bird may have been sacrificed. Ugh. When the sun isn't up yet, it's not time to deal with such matters. My job was to fix a cheddar and mozzarella quesadilla for J Man and convince him to get some sleep. Yeah, apparently his sleep was interrupted shortly after I fell asleep last night. He's currently still slumbering as I write this. He will likely be up a little later tonight but that's okay. This is The Hubs' "Friday" so once he gets home tonight, if J is still awake, I'm not worried about it. They can have father-son bonding time.
   For now, it's time to get back into the kitchen to get some cooking going, prepare tonight's dinner (Ham and Potato soup!), clean up the stray feathers and get the final chapter of the study of Ruth typed up. Hope you have a wonderful day. :)   

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Tolerance or Love?

This evening perusing Facebook I saw a picture that a friend had on her page. I won't show it because I'd rather not give any company free advertising unless they deserve it.
  The picture stated that company A had a Mother's Day ad that was deemed offensive by some moms and the moms boycotted. The company responded by repeating the ad for Father's Day. Sort of a ha! Take that moment.  The friend commented, "Doesn't the bible teach tolerance? Why don't they start showing it?" I'm guessing "they" means Christians. 
  Okay, I'll bite. First, let's look at some definitions. 


Definition of tolerance (n)

bing.com · Bing Dictionary
 [ tóllərənss ]   
  1. acceptance of different views: the acceptance of the differing views of other people, e.g. in religious or political matters, and fairness toward the people who hold these different views
  2. tolerating of somebody or something: the act of putting up with somebody or something irritating or otherwise unpleasant
  3. ability to endure hardship: the ability to put up with harsh or difficult conditions
Synonyms: broad-mindedness, open-mindedness, lenience, acceptance, forbearance, charity, patience


noun \ˈləv\

Definition of LOVE

a (1) : strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties love
for a child> (2) : attraction based on sexual desire : affection and tenderness felt by lovers (3) : affection based on admiration, benevolence, or common interests <love for his old schoolmates>
b : an assurance of affection love
: warm attachment, enthusiasm, or devotion <love of the sea>
a : the object of attachment, devotion, or admiration love
b (1) : a beloved person : darling —often used as a term of endearment
(2) British —used as an informal term of address
a : unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another: as (1) : the fatherly concern of God for humankind (2) : brotherly concern for others
b : a person's adoration of God
: a god or personification of love 
As a writer, I am surrounded by words. I can't get enough of them. But in our (American) English world, there are some words I would like to drop kick off the face of the earth and would be quite pleased never to hear them uttered ever again. Ever. Some words are like certain top 40 songs. They are played over and over and over; overused, misused, and they take on the attitude of the user. Ones that come to mind are the "r" word (sorry, won't even use it, the "n" word (another one that is wrong no matter who says it, in my opinion) and tolerance. 
   Yes, I said I'm tired of the "t" word. The way it gets thrown out so casually by individuals and groups in indignation is annoying to me. It's a curse word these days and it's volleyed back and forth between two groups. Folks, back away from the net and call it a day. No one is going to win that game. Each side just insists they are right. Just remember, if you throw that word, you are in fact saying that it is okay to spew intolerance from your lips. The person or group you are yelling at is supposed to tolerate you and/or your actions or thoughts, but you won't give them the same respect? 
  This brings me to love. Love gets thrown about quite a lot. I love God. I love my husband. I love my kids. I love baseball. I love pizza. Love love love love love. And my favorite, Love the sinner, hate the sin.  I've wrestled with that one for awhile. I've said it myself quite a few times. Something for us to consider: how many times in the bible did Jesus turn away from sinners spouting either hate the sin love the sinner or show some tolerance? Give up? None. 
    Not one time did Jesus shun someone because of their sinful life if they were willing to speak to him. Nor did he tolerate sin. "Go and sin no more" was what he told them. John 8:1-11 is a classic example. A woman caught in adultery was brought to Jesus by the scribes and Pharisees. It was a setup and Jesus knew it. He didn't give them the answer they were looking for. He told them, He who is without sin, cast the first stone. They all left because none of them fit that description. Does that mean we are to turn a blind eye to sin? No. He told the woman not to sin again.
   You know what though? He befriended sinners. He let them know that someone cares. He fed them. He ate with them. He taught them. He loved them and had compassion for them.
  Jesus told us to love your neighbor as yourself.(Matthew 19:19). I think that's one we've forgotten. It doesn't mean you have to go with them to bars or agree that a sin is okay. If a sin is a stumbling block to you, stay away from it. But don't think you're helping someone to learn by avoiding them. People don't care what you know until they know you care. That goes for anyone. Be friendly. Be gracious. Talk. The world needs more compassion.     

A Morning Cup of Tea: A Study of Ruth Part 3

Good morning! It's a beautiful, rainy Lord's day today and I'm here at home. Not exactly where I want to be, but there isn't much help in it today.

Because it's Sunday and this is a day for worship and family, I'm keeping this short and sweet.

Today we are in chapter 3 of Ruth. Ruth has been gleaning from fields that Boaz, relative of her dead Father in law, owns. He has made it clear to his workers that she is not to be bothered and has sent her home with extra grain.  Ruth has shown she loves Naomi and wants to do well by her. She certainly could have listened to Naomi in the beginning and gone back to her family, but she chose to be with her Mother in law.
     Naomi wants to do well by her daughter in law as well. She knows that Boaz is a relative and she's seen that he is kind to Ruth. Law at this time indicates that if a woman is left a childless widow, then the brother of her husband can marry her so as to continue the family line. If there is no brother, then the next closest relative can fulfill this duty. Ruth is young still and Naomi wants her taken care of, so she tells the young girl to bathe and get dressed --make yourself pretty!--and go down to the threshing floor where Boaz will be. Don't let him know you're down there though. When Boaz goes to lie down, watch where he goes. Then later go lie down at his feet.
   Ruth obeys Naomi. She went in and lay at the man's feet. He wakes up, alarmed that someone is near him, but she tells him who she is. He cares enough for her that he wants to protect her. He tells her that there is one who is a closer relative and could marry her. However, if this one will not, Boaz will. He allows her to sleep where she is, but before dawn, so that no one sees her, she wakes and goes home. Before she leaves, he gives her six measures of barley to take home. Ruth takes the barley to Naomi, who assures her that she will have an answer before the end of the day.

What are your thoughts on Ruth?    

Saturday, March 23, 2013

A Morning Cup of Tea: A Study of Ruth part 2

Good morning! We are looking at chapter 2 of Ruth today. If you missed yesterday's post you can find it here.   

Ruth is now in Bethlehem with her mother in law, Naomi. Because they are both widows and have no male children to provide for them, it's up to Ruth to go out to the fields to glean from the harvest so they would be able to eat. God had commanded his people to leave the corners of the fields when harvesting so that poorer families could come in and take  what they needed. 
   It turned out that the field Ruth ended up at belonged to Boaz, who was related to Elimelech, Ruth's deceased Father in law. Once he found out who Ruth was, he instructed his workers to let her alone, and even told them to 'drop' some of the barley so she could get to it. He wanted her to have plenty to take home with her. And at dinner time she was given food so that she would not go home hungry.
   Ruth asked Boaz why he was so kind to her. His reply was that because she trusted God enough to come to a land that was unfamiliar to her so that she could continue to care for her mother in law, she was being rewarded. 
  In our own lives, we may not know what is in store for ourselves, whether we go to a foreign land or step out in faith to do something that is pressed upon our hearts. If we trust God, he will take care of us.    

Friday, March 22, 2013

A Morning Cup of Tea: Studying Ruth

Good morning! For the third day of spring, it's a bit chilly here, but that's about par for the course I think. Even so I take my walks and see the trees and bushes in the neighbors' yards blooming, and I see the yellow-green pollen ...everywhere...and I make the allergy medicine makers very happy this time of year. Still though, I enjoy it. I know that warmer weather is just around the corner and will settle in and stay a good long while.
   It took me a little while to settle my men enough to think about this morning's writing, and then I had to settle on what I wanted to study. I decided on Ruth this time because it's a book in the bible that I've read, but haven't really taken time with, and also, I have wanted for awhile now to look at the women of the bible. I'm kind of hop scotching around as I feel my way through this, but bear with me, please. I think there is much to learn from the ladies of the bible, both good and bad. There will be some, such as Ruth and Esther, where we look at the whole book and the story that surrounds them, and many where we look at the verses in which they are mentioned to get at what they have to teach. I do hope you'll join me.

   In the book of Ruth, there are two ladies that get our attention: Ruth of course, and her mother in law, Naomi. Today we are focusing on chapter one.

Naomi and Ruth and their family lived during the time that judges ruled Israel. There happened to be a famine, and Elimelech took his wife, Naomi, and their two sons, Mahlon and Chilion, to live in Moab.  Elimelech died there, and the two sons married Orpah and Ruth. After awhile the two sons died as well. 
  In today's world women have many options. We can work outside the home and have been taught by society to take care of ourselves. In some cases, there is government assistance if the woman has young children and the father is not around, for whatever reason. There is always somewhere we can turn if our husband were to die. Naomi, Orpah and Ruth didn't have those choices. There was no government help and women, as a rule, did not work. They depended solely on their father, brother, husband or son to provide for them.
  Let's look at Naomi. Here she is in a foreign land because her husband brought her there. He died, leaving her with two sons who eventually married Moabitess women, but they too died, leaving three widows this time. Naomi is quite bitter, as we see in verse 20, when she tells her people that she doesn't want to be called Naomi. Call me Mara. God has treated me badly.
   She has been dealt a rather harsh hand, it seems, and she is angry. Probably scared as well. Things are looking up in Israel plus she has family there still. She is done with Moab and wants to go home.
   Knowing what she went through, and possibly figuring that it's going to be harder to take care of three women's needs while traveling and settling in back at Bethlehem, Naomi tells Orpah and Ruth to go back to their family homes.
  It's not an easy choice for either of the young ladies, after living with Naomi for awhile, and they both cry and protest. Naomi tells them she's too old to remarry, and even if she did, what were they going to do, sit around and wait for any sons born in the new marriage to grow up so they could marry? No, it would be best for Orpah and Ruth to go back to their families. Orpah went back, but Ruth was steadfast. 
  16. And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge; thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God.
    Ruth is a young woman. Being a Moabitess she didn't grow up serving the Lord as Naomi did. She learned all this when she married Naomi's son. She could have gone back to her childhood home and gone back to all she knew, but her love of Naomi and love of God (I'm guessing here, since she said your God will be my God) showed through in her decision to continue with her mother in law.  She does not know what is in store for her in Bethlehem, but she is determined to stay with Naomi. This tells so much strength Ruth has.
   We will leave the story today as Naomi and Ruth together travel back to Bethlehem. I'd love to hear your thoughts on this lesson.           

Thursday, March 21, 2013

A Morning Cup of Tea: The Power of the Persistence of Prayer

Please read Luke 18: 1-8.

Jesus used the parable of the widow woman to teach about the persistence of prayer. The widow in the story went to the judge time after time after time with her petition. He wasn't about to help her at first, but she did not give up. The judge did not believe in God, yet finally helped her. God indeed hears our pleas from the beginning, but sometimes the answer does not come right then. 
   Don't give up. Continually praying about something shows our continued dependence on the Lord. We should also remember that with God there is no time, and He answers prayer in his own timing. If we trust in him, our prayers will be answered. I know for me, I want things fixed right away. Patience isn't something I'm strong on. At least, not as strong as I'd like to be, so it's not easy waiting on an answer. 
  This was part of our bible study lesson last night as we study Elijah. In I Kings 18, after the proof that Baal was not the true God, Elijah was on the top of Mount Carmel praying for rain. He prayed several times until a small cloud appeared on the horizon, and he knew God had answered his prayer. 
  In waiting on God to answer our prayers, it can be easy at times to grow frustrated, or want to give up. Don't. Be like the widow woman petitioning the judge. One of the ladies in the class told us one of her favorite verses:

   I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging for bread.
                                                Psalm 37:25

God knows our needs, but continued prayer keeps us focused. We realize that we can't do it all on our own. I've struggled with that lesson myself. The friend who gave that verse also told of a saying that helps her: God sees your path, and he is the waymaker. If we just follow him instead of barging through ourselves (often blindly), it works better.
  Finally, I leave you with one of my favorite verses. We all have struggles, we have times when we pray and pray and pray and want to give up. Hang in there. This is why:
   But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
                       Isaiah 40:31

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

A Morning Cup of Tea: Psalm 4

*Author's note: A Morning Cup of Tea is twofold: It keeps me accountable to read the Bible each day and helps me to clarify my thoughts on what I read. If what I write teaches false doctrine please do not hesitate to correct me, in love of course. My hope is that each day I will write the Morning Cup of Tea, which in itself is to be an ongoing series, but also to write about autism, general daily life and such here as well.Some days are just a little easier than others to get more posts in. While right now the Cup of Tea  posts may jump from subject to subject at the moment, I do want to settle in and cover women of the bible, reading the bible through, and probably a hundred other topics I can think of. I'd just rather take those a bit more seriously and prepare before I start.

 Good morning and happy first day of spring! It's slightly chilly here in my area of Georgia, but looks to be a pretty day. At the moment my world is filled with the buzz of family life: preparing for a doctor appointment and hopefully bible study tonight; my sweet hubby is getting breakfast cooked so I can write; J is loudly vocalizing and stimming. More about that later.

    This morning in all the confusion of what to read, I finally settled on Psalms. Psalm 4 is the one I settled on for now:

  1. Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness: thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress; have mercy upon me, and hear my prayer.
  2. O ye sons of men, how long will ye turn my glory into shame? how long will ye love vanity, and seek after leasing? Selah
  3. But know that the Lord hath set apart him that is godly for himself: the Lord will hear when I call unto him.
  4. Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah.
  5. Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in the Lord.
  6. There be many that say, Who will shew us any good? Lord, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us.
  7. Thou hast put gladness in my heart, more than in the time that their corn and their wine increased.
  8. I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep; for thou, Lord, only makest me dwell in safety.
King James seems to be my "go to" translation of the bible. I grew up more or less using it and I feel more comfortable with it than any other translation. Even so, I end up asking a lot of questions and looking up words.
  This is a psalm of David. In the first verse he calls upon God, reminding Him of his protection when he's called before. Then he turns his words to others. "How long will ye love vanity, and seek after leasing?" I had to look up leasing. It means a lie, deceit. Too often we chase after things that promise to make us happy -relationships, status, toys that we collect. While all these things can be fine as long as we don't let them take over our lives, all too often we can see that they bring about five minutes of pleasure and then the realization that we were chasing after the wrong thing.
  Selah is another word that I looked up. According to my notes in the Thomson Chain Reference, selah is a pause or musical note in the psalms and in Habbakuk 3:3.  I also looked it up online and the only reference I could find there was Wikipedia, which had this to say:     Selah (Hebrew: סֶלָה‎, also transliterated as selāh) is a word used 74 times in the Hebrew Bible – 71 times in the Psalms and 3 times in Habakkuk – and is a difficult concept to translate. (It should not be confused with the Hebrew word sela‘ (Hebrew: סֶלַע‎) which means "rock.") It is probably either a liturgico-musical mark or an instruction on the reading of the text, something like "stop and listen". Selah can also be used to indicate that there is to be a musical interlude at that point in the Psalm.[1] The Amplified Bible translates selah as "pause, and think of that". It can also be interpreted as a form of underlining in preparation for the next paragraph.
   I like the idea of using Selah as a pause to reflect on what was just said. Look at what David says in verses 3 and 4:
   3.But know that the Lord hath set apart him that is godly for himself: the Lord will hear when I call unto him.
   4. Stand in awe, and sin not; commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah.
  To me, it was like David bracketed that thought. He wanted to focus on remembering that we as God's people are set apart. We should be taking the time to focus on God and pray so that we won't sin. 
  The rest of the psalm, to me, points out that we shouldn't be looking to the world to fill our hearts with gladness and peace. It's not going to happen. Only God can give real joy and safety. This psalm isn't so much a cry for help as it is, speaking of the joy and peace in David's life because he knows he belongs to the Lord. The last two verses say it all: (In my words) You've put joy in my heart, even more than in times of plenty. I'm able to sleep soundly, and rest knowing that you (God) keep me safe.
  That last verse I really would like to paint either directly on my wall or on a canvas to hang in my bedroom. Such words of comfort! I'd mentioned doing that once before and it's still on my to do list. In the meantime, even if those words never end up on the wall, we should fill our hearts with the word of God. Having them there, and letting those words influence our lives is much better.  

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Gratituesday: Thankful for Storms

 If my husband were to read the title of this post, he'd give me a strange look. He knows I can handle storms, I just don't like them very well.  Especially if I am alone and the power goes out. Yes folks, I am a huge chicken who is afraid of the dark. Never quite got over that fear.
   Last night was indeed a "rainy night in Georgia." My husband was at work an hour away, and I had seen online that there were tornado warnings in a few places. On facebook were messages of batten down the hatches. My niece was online  via her cell phone, asking if there were any confirmed sightings of tornadoes in her area (there weren't).  When the storm moved into my area, the wind picked up and the thunder was quite loud at times (though still not as loud as J, who apparently enjoyed it all). The lights flickered a few times, but we never lost power in my area.
  During all this time, I was keeping up with family. The brothers and sisters in Christ that can be found in various places all over the world. I kept up with my niece until I knew for sure that she and her family were safe. I continued talking with my husband, who is fortunate enough to have a messenger on his computer at work as long as he is able to continue his job. I traded messages with others who saw that I was afraid. And the storm blew over. 
  We got some high wind, thunder and lightning, hard rain, and some hail. But it did not last all night. It stopped, to me anyway, fairly quickly after it all started. I didn't pay attention to the clock, just kept praying for those around me that I knew were in the storm's path, as well as for my son and me. I continued talking on facebook. Peace took the place of fear.
    In my personal life I'm going through a different storm. There are aspects of my health that my doctor is showing concern for, and I'll be seeing a few specialists soon. At the same time, I'm dealing with behavior issues with my son. But the storm of last night taught me that I'm not alone in all this. God is here, holding me through the storm as he does every step of the way. I have support here on earth. No matter the outcome of the storms in my life I know that I'm not alone in this. Peace has taken the place of fear.
  What about you? What are you thankful for today? Join Heavenly HOmemakers   for more Gratituesday posts. Feel free to add your own.