Monday, October 20, 2014

Boun-TEA-ful Harvest

While the earth remains, Seedtime and harvest, And cold and heat, And summer and winter, And day and night Shall not cease. (Genesis 8:22, NASB)

Autumn is visually my favorite season---the cooling temps also add to its seasonal charm, especially in the mountains. God's offering.
Roasted veggies. Caramel apples. Gingerbread. Pumpkin Roll. An autumn abundance.
What a bounty---apples , nuts and a canopy of leaves in the mountains of western North Carolina this past week. Everything in abundance.

Honey Crisp apples offering a snap and tingle in one's mouth from Barber Orchard off of Hwy 74N on Old Balsam Road just south of Waynesville, NC. Pecans and almonds from the "nut man's" white panel truck at the corner of Hwy 19 and Hwy 276 at the turn to Lake Junaluska, NC and a carpet of leaves as well as a canopy of color above us on the Henize property off of Walnut creek Road and Hwy 64 between Franklin and Highlands, NC.

"The earth has yielded its produce; God, our God, blesses us." (Psalm 67:6) 
How this verse rang true for us and dear friends as we soaked up the crisp, clean mountain air of North Carolina. Carolina blue skies seem to emit a keeness of sorts as the temps begin to fall.

A boun-TEA-ful cuppa blessings for me......and my dear friends!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

SABBATH SNAPSHOT : heartfelt hilari-TEA

Bob Goff's NYX bestseller, Love Does, is a book which celebrates the ordinary and the whimsies of life. 
I loved this book---to pieces and in pieces. Part was shared in an after dinner read aloud. Part was read alone. Part was read to hubby. It's a perfect book to read in parts! 
Each of the 31 chapters are a complete story---perfect for a bedside table. You could go to school, especially Sunday School, on the chapter subtitles. "I used to think........but now I know.....!
  • I used to think....you had to be special .....but now I know....you simply need to say yes.
  • I used to think.....religion tasted horrible....but now I know....I was just eating the fake stuff.
  • I used to think.....I could shape the circumstances around me......but now I know God uses the circumstances to shape me.
  • I used to think.....I had to be somebody important to accomplish things....but now I know....Jesus uses ordinary people more.
Chapter 10 alone, is worth the price of the book to me. (And I'm frugal---I use the library!) "The Interviews" is worth a read by all heads of state.
Chapter 11, "Wow, What a Hit," was a favorite because it emphasized the importance of using encouraging words throughout life. It tugged at hubby's heart as well as mine. 
"Words of encouragement are like that. They have their own power and when they are said  by the right people, they can change everything.....Words people say to us not only have a shelf life, but have the ability to shape life." (Goff)

One review stated, "Its like you are just sitting there having a cup of tea with him (Goff) while he describes for you how he feels he is supposed to live like Jesus."

This book, a quick, easy read grabbed my funny bone, my heart and my tear ducts! 
That my friends is a recommendation!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Fideli-TEA : a re-brew

I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. (Luke 22:32, NASB)

Faithful in faith. One needs to remain true to  the calling of his faith. A faith secured at the cross.
Such faithfulness keeps the lines of communication open----think prayer---between earth and heaven. Without faith there is a BIG block in the communication between my soul and God's heart.

Faith is active. A cuppa gramma-TEA-ically correct "active" verbs overflows from loyalty to one's faith.
  • Faith leans.....on God.
  • Faith links....the Lord.
  • Faith clothes......with the righteousness of Christ.
  • Faith defends.....with the sword of the Spirit.
  • Faith gives......victory to His own through His love.
  • Faith honors.....God.
So.....fideli-TEA needs to be a regular cuppa for all believers.

Friday, October 17, 2014

"eterni-TEA"

 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. (1 John 5:13, NIV)

How does one "stamp eternity on my eyeballs" as Jonathan Edwards was purported to have asked the Lord?
Start your morning with a verse of eternal significance to accompany your cuppa eterni-TEA!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

"res-TEA-tution"

My companion stretched out his hand against his friends; he violated his covenant. His speech was smooth as butter, yet war was in his heart; his words were softer than oil, yet they were drawn swords. (Psalm 55:21-22, ESV)
Have you ever stolen someone's joy? Their encouragement in life? Has someone ever robbed you of your joy as his/her action took life, as you had known it and turned it upside down? Was a relationship damaged?


What does it look like to say you're sorry and try, in as much as you're able, to do right and make up for it?
Memories stolen  or stained them. Stolen hope. Stolen encouragement. Stolen joy.

What does restitution require? 

Zacchaeus’s story in Luke 19 gives us a godly pattern for restitution. He admitted his sin and guilt of defrauding people, having cheated them out of what was rightfully theirs. He was truly remorseful over those past actions. Not just in admittance.....but in willingness to change. Such repentance led to restitution.

Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, ‘Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.'
As a tax collector, he had been 1) guilty of defrauding people, 2) remorseful over his past actions, and 3) committed to making restitution. 
Restitution that demonstrates repentance. (when possible)

We should do the same.

Repentance and restitution are two more tenets of the Christian faith. Fundamentals. Basic Truths.



Repentance + Restitution = Rejoicing.
Repentance served with a cuppa res-TEA-tution brings rejoicing. 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Nos-TEA-algia

A good [man] leaveth an inheritance to his children's children: 
(Proverbs 13:22, KJV)

Memories can warm you from the inside out. Other memories hold the pain of loss or loneliness.
Today's arrival of my class of '64 group picture, had recent memories of that "fun" event flood my mind. But recalling those whose faces were missing from the picture, tugged at my heart.
Not only that, but the memories, from that place where so many of my yesteryears were spent, are buried deep......but not so deep that they don't surface. Family memories.

Those memories had started surfacing as we turned toward "home" at least 24 miles out. I felt them in the pit of my stomach. No longer was a family home available in "my hometown."
No longer would Daddy dance with me at my reunion as he had done just 5 years earlier. I would visit Riverside Cemetery, not 2211 South Virginia though I would drive by.

Yet, when I visited the Christian Village homes of my parents' friends, we shared memories of happy times with Mother and Daddy. Bittersweet, yet somewhat healing. I indeed had a rich inheritance and it was therapeutic as I shared and recalled special events and funny times with their friends. Sharing was a two-way street and I think each of us took a little edge off the loneliness we all felt.

Sometimes a cuppa nos-TEA-algia is easier to swallow than at other times. 
Sharing that cuppa with "old" friends helps.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Sereni-TEA : a BIG cuppa

Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves;
(Philippians 2:3, NASB)

Do you know someone who sips from a cuppa humili-TEA everyday? I do.
The Henizes---who put others first---always. Their door is aways open. Their humility spills over into the lives of every one they know.

They practice Ephesians 4:32. Kindness to others! Marge and Larry Henize exude it!
They embody the gospel and live it every moment of every day---at least every moment I've ever been with them.

For us, visiting in their home is as close to heaven as one can be. It's like a retreat. Blessings abound! Open-eyed prayers so you can face the ones you love. Yummy food. Table talk. Stories. LAUGHTER! Sharing. Peace. Serenity.
Reading aloud caps off a day in the mountains---nothing like it!!!
No better place---to sip a cuppa sereni-TEA. For me, it's the BIGGEST cuppa sereni-TEA available this side of heaven. 

Monday, October 13, 2014

Selectivi-TEA : a re-brew

After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. (1 Kings 19:12, NIV)

"Listening to the Lord" has continued to be in my musings. Is His voice so gentle and soft that I need a hearing aid? Or....am I not being still enough to sense His words?
Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him. (Psalm 37:7, NIV)

A chapter in book, Love Does, which Marge, my mountain hostess, shared with me, had a chapter dealing with this topic. Maybe, God speaks loud and clear through others.
Author, Bob Goff, definitely gave me some food for thought---or ear drops to clear my ears to aid my hearing. The intro to his "Hearing Aid" chapter said, "I used to think that God wouldn't talk to me but now I think I'm just selective with what I hear." (p. 137)
Other Goff gems:
  • God doesn't speak in a voice into make audio needles move. 
  • No cosmic whispers. No movie reels with subtitles.
  • Sense something down deep like a tuning fork to "ping" my soul.
  • God doesn't pass us messages, He passes us each other.

A great question is, "Am I just being lazy as I sip a cuppa selectivi-TEA while tuning out anything I don't want to hear?"

May I sit and "listen" just as Sarah Young did while writing Jesus CallingShe shared with me that it took lots of time sitting quietly and waiting.
Her cuppa selectivi-TEA provided impressions and scriptures on her heart and she jotted them down. A word. A phrase. a verse. A thought. She listened intentionally. Expectantly. Selectively. Blocking distractions. He filled her cuppa.

That's the best cuppa selectivi-TEA!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

SABBATH SNAPSHOT : gra-TEA-fyingly wholesome

Jan Karon's latest in her "Mitford series," Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good is indeed gratifyingly wholesome. Since it's been a while since a Father Tim book was set in Mitfor, Karon provides some flashback moments to jog our memories and give us insight, as we recall characters and situations of old.
Possibly, Father Tim's "station of life" as a retiree speaks to me. He desires to serve others but sometimes takes on too much, trying to do it all. Many retirees can relate to that. His friend Hoppy reminds him, "To do it all and deprive others of doing---is a misguided notion." (p. 163)
Few writers can weave a prayer into a well crafted book without it looking like an afterthought, as well as Karon. So many tenets of  faith are the fabric of the "less than perfect town" of Mitford---but Father Tim offers hope to many.

Yet, even he has to learn that, "Love is an act of endless forgiveness." (p. 511)

Dooley was their hope---a door opening to all that could be healing and genuine.
'Take it from here, buddy,' he said. 'Take it from here.' (p. 511)

Sounds like a sequel or a new series in the making----for which I am gra-TEA-fyingly excited!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

selectivi-TEA


....and the sheep listen to his voice...(John 10:3, NIV)

As I prepare to teach from 2 Timothy, I'm trying to come up with an intro which will grab the attention of my audience. Nowadays in our techy culture just getting anyone’s attention can be virtually (pun intended) impossible.  
Just as Paul was trying to get Timothy’s attention---or as a preacher teacher tries to get attention of his audience---iPhone vibrates---even if it is on mute and that little "tink" that indicates a text seems LOUD.
  
So many distractions it’s hard to tune in to God’s word. Hubby has lots of trouble hearing me--but has no trouble hearing that little “tinging” when he’s getting a text message on his cell phone ---now, at least he has it turned off between 10 and 7.

Do I tune out the Lord? Do I "listen" for Him only when it is convenient for me---not interrupting my schedules or distrubing my sleep?
One comes to know Him by tuning in at all times---by listening to Him through His word. Listening that penetrates the heart!

 “I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me," John 10:14
As John 10:27 states, we, who are His sheep, listen as to obey.
If we're choosing (selecting) NOT to listen, is that disobedience, in and of itself?

Is selectivity a euphemism for disobedience?

May I pour my self a cuppa selectivi-TEA today. A cuppa sweetened with obedience to His Word and accompanied by prayer, as Mother Teresa prayed.
Prayer is not asking. Prayer is putting oneself in the hands of God, at His disposition, and listening to His voice in the depth of our hearts. ~ Mother Teresa