Monday, September 29, 2014

Timelessness of God's Word : Essential guide for all humani-TEA

Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the whole world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God. (Psalm 90:2, NIV)
Dusting the console cabinet in the den, I reset my Pap's Illinois railroad pocket watch for the umpteenth time. It's stemwound and though it's old, it still works----for awhile. Actually, it would probably continue to work if I would continue to rewind it. The watch's timekeeping is dependent on my efforts, because it does not plug-in to any source. It is such a picture to me of my own inability to be consistent in my spiritual timekeeping. If I'm not "plugged in" to the word of the One who is my source of power and hope, my hope for spiritual growth is stymied.

The Bible is by no means a book just of the past. It contains a timeless message of hope. Hope for the day and hope for the future. God, the author of the Bible, (2 Timothy 3:16) is timeless and wishes to share eternity with the people who love Him.

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23)
God's truth is always relevant. Even, many of God’s promises recorded in the Bible are relevant for all times.
God's Word is timeless (Psalm 119:89) and therefore the Bible is still humanity’s most essential guide.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

SABBATH SNAPSHOT : hometown partiali-TEA

Lisa Patton's "Dixie" series books are not exactly "high-brow" literature. Chick-lit might be a more appropriate label. But....folks who grew up in Memphis, will find lots of references to places they once frequented, Justine's, being one. Readers with an Ole Miss connection, will find that Patton has her finger on the pulse of tailgating in "The Grove" as football fans gather early for the Rebels traditional "Walk Through the Grove" 2 hours before kick-off the 3rd book in the series.!

Patton also puts a little south in the mouth of her characters, that folks north of the Mason-Dixon might have a little trouble interpreting. 
For a fluff, predictable read, Patton keeps it clean, which is rare these days. In Whistlin' Dixie in a Nor-easter, (#1) protagonist Leelee Satterfield, is a southern belle in who more than once has to draw on her southern grit, while maintaining her manners when her life seems to go awry at an inn in Vermont.  Yankee Doodle Dixie's (#2) rating is not quite as high as her debut book & finds LeeLee back in Memphis. Southern as a Second Language (#3) has LeeLee and her girls with Kissie, who raise her and continues to "watch out for her" as LeeLee frequents more places in Memphis----Central BBBQ, Rachel's Flowers and St. John's Episcopal to name a few. 
Ms Patton grew up in Memphis and now lives in Franklin, so she knows her subject. So if your drawn to an easy read set in Memphis with flashbacks to the 60s as well as more recent times, these books might fit your bill. 

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Commi-TEA-ment

No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier. (2 Timothy 2:4, NASB)

Week 7's topic for our Heart to Heart Bible Study in 2 Timothy, is "Be committed." I am the scheduled teacher for that session. Once I got past taking that "phrase" a little too personally, envisioning an Alzheimer play-day type setting, my next step also proved personally difficult.

The first direction was: Write "below" a favorite version of 2 Timothy 4:2 to commit to memory.
That alone took days as I kept trying different versions on for my "spiritual size." I wanted the one that fit my heart just right since memorization these days is not my strong point. I never even went to the questions segment of the lesson because I knew I wouldn't be teaching it for another 6-7 weeks.
After the trouble of committing to a favorite version, I realized that I had transposed my numbers and was seeking to memorize the wrong verse.

How like me! I really do need to "be committed" to the home.
But God had used those translations of 2 Timothy 2:4---very NEEDFUL ---as once again I was getting caught up in the minutia of daily life. Those tyrannical urgencies that drive the "already driven" to distraction. I needed to "be committed" to the Lord, my commanding officer. Committed to pleasing Him! Not spinning my wheels in busyness and wasting time.

Maybe I do need to be committed to a facilit-TEA with a memory unit, but if I do end up there, I hope they allow me daily cuppas of  commi-TEA-ment to the One true God. My Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, as I take to preachin'! (2 Timothy 2:4)

Friday, September 26, 2014

Veloci-TEA Continued, Rationale Considered, at-TEA-ributes Concluded

When You said, "Seek My face," my heart said to You, "Your face, O LORD, I shall seek." (Psalm 27:8, NASB)
Run to God's Word. That's always the right "speedy" decision. What takes some contemplation is what you do with it once you get there.
Reading God's Word just for the sake of reading God's word has merit. Searching God's word for answers to questions is a worthy pursuit as well. Yet, lately I have been convicted that God's word, at its best, is as an impetus and aid in worship.
I had just typed this and then I opened an email from Mary B. 
Have you read Women of the Word by Jan Wilkin? Cathy C. mentioned something from it in her BSF lecture Monday night.  She said that the author challenged her readers to study the Bible  to worship God, not to see what you can get for yourself from it. 
Hm-m-m sounds like all that's been on my heart lately. It's a "how-to book about studying the Bible with both heart and mind. I think I need to "check it out." Certainly I know how to use veloci-TEA to my advantage when it comes to acquiring a book. 
I hope this one will equip me to engage God’s Word in a way that "trains my mind and transforms my heart" as the book blurb indicates. Then, I will be able to wholeheartedly answer the question,

"Am I a God-worshipper or a Bible-worshipper?"
I need to fill my cuppa with at-TEA-ributes of God, that I might love the person and not the object as I speedily turn to Him.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

rou-TEA-ine

But all things should be done decently and in order. (1 Corinthians 14:40, ESV)
Routine enhances order---at least these days that is true in my life.
Is that an aging thing? A "sot in your ways," control issue. Is it hereditary?

Certainly a cuppa rou-TEA-ine is preferred by lots of my family members, especially my brothers. It was modeled by our parents, whom you could set your clock by. As Daddy aged I watched him put his day in order more than ever, as if routine helped him keep a handle on things, that were trying to slip away.

Walking with Ellen has been a part of my exercise routine for over 24+ years. It's a routine that goes beyond physical exercise because I never know what gem I will glean from her. This morning was no different as she shared a Shane Stanford "jewel" from her last night's CUMC Bible Study. A reminder that being in His presence is a "spiritual routine" one should not neglect.
"One's joy is directionally proportional to the amount of time spent practicing the Presence of God in the midst of all his /her circumstances."
That's certainly biblical---Fulness of joy comes from being in His Presence. (Psalm 16:11)
The Bible----a great threshold that leads one into God's Presence.
A 3/2/10 original “Tea with Thee” blog, described my best “routine” for  morning quiet times----"like my tea---steeped just right, not rushed. An ordinary cup of tea, my daily Jesus Calling reading, simple scripture verses at my fingertips----ordinary beginnings can make a day extraordinary."
Now,  I would add.....a cuppa "rou-TEA-ine" in His Presence over flows into joy for a truly extraordinary day, regardless of the circumstances.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

s-TEA-rife tempered by captivi-TEA

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:5, NIT)
Strife. What is it? What causes it? What can one do about it?
My life must have it as I often realize my teeth are clenched. Even my shoulders seem to stay "clenched" lately. Up around my ears----until I intentionally pull them down, willing myself to calm down and relax.
Then, yesterday my iPad notes from 2 years ago opened wide for me to see:

  • Strife---an inside job---it springs from within
  • Strife---the enemy of peace and calm
  • Root of strife = SELF-Worldiness, aka pride (opposite of pride is humility)
  • Strife is conflict between our thinking and God's word.
  • Mood-induced thoughts can keep me in turmoil, aka strife.
  • Real issue--Whom will I love? God or the world? James 4:4 asks, "don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God?"

Good riddance for strife---submit to God, draw near to Him and as He reciprocates by drawing near as well, it becomes much easier to take every "rebellious self" thought captive.
(Continue reading).....God's word, that is.
God gracefully serves us cuppa after cuppa of humili--TEA, puri-TEA, and in-TEA-macy once we pour out the dregs of enmi-TEA and s-TEA-rife that have stained the insides of our former cuppa.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Mammogram TEA-nsion

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.(2 Corinthians 12:9, KJV)
'Tis the season for my annual mammogram and my anxiety is trying to creep  back up. There's just something about sitting in a mammogram waiting room that serves up a cuppa anxi-TEA, whether one sips from it or not. Anyone who has ever received the "dreaded call back" understands.
Today I am choosing not to allow the tension of the exam to result in my ingesting any anxie-TEA. 
Trust me, I couldn't conjure this courage up. But God had a verse for me....allowing His power to work best in my weakness. 
I really thought of God's strength as the pressure pusher that squooshed me digitally registered 9.4 pounds and then 12.0 pounds on the pull backs. How low can it go???

As I added the punctuation to that last sentence, the tech appeared and leaning down, she whispered in my ear, "We need to do an ultrasound. Okay?" What can one say but, "okay."
As the "Happy" song started playing in the background---I had to smile. If my gowntail would have stayed closed I might have gotten up for a "little dance." Even after the doctor had to come in to scrutinize ultrasounds 3 and 4, I sensed God's grace as discussions began.

My momentary fears and afflictions are just that. Momentary. Even in a call back or a less than perfect diagnosis. So, each year I go back because I have to. The alternative is not to know, and that is worse. This time I have to return sooner but today's event  has been better because I brought  God in with me. The reali-TEA station at the Methodist Hospital Breast Center was offering many a cuppa of uncertain-TEA to several of us ladies......
.......But God..... sweetened my cuppa by blending veraci-TEA from His word!
With a little background music!
......Because I'm happy
Clap along if you know what happiness is to you
Because I'm happy
Clap along if you feel like that's what you wanna do....(Pharrell Williams)
It's what I want to do---choose joy, not fear. 

Monday, September 22, 2014

Spiritual For-TEA-tude

My son, be attentive to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Let them not escape from your sight; keep them within your heart. For they are life to those who find them, and healing to all their flesh. (Proverbs 4:20-22, ESV)
I have prayed the Proverb that coincides with each of my kids' (and now their spouses and grands) birthdays for as long as I can remember.


Attentiveness comes from being in God's word. How else does one know what God is saying. "Incline your ear, and hear the words of the wise, and apply your heart to my knowledge," (Proverbs 22:17) is prayed often for those born on the 22nd.
Love the marks on the inside.
"A well worn Bible is sign of a well fed soul," as the saying goes. And when it's a son's Bible, it warms the mother's heart more than any cuppa.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

SABBATH SNAPSHOT : Genteeli-TEA

A southern lady is often seen as genteel, albeit sometimes with a little added pretense. However, to me, true gracious goodness is something to aspire to for this southern Kentucky gal. So my Southern Lady magazine, a gift from a sweet friend, is a bi-monthly +1 treat---any more issues than that and I lag behind. Plus, it has fewer ads than Southern Living, fewer pages than Good Housekeeping & no racy topics like Redbook started publishing a few years ago. Just  more beautiful pictures---perfect for an old lady on the go.
The most recent issue had an intro to a Christian author from Nashville and a cookbook review. Favorite sections include "Recipe Box," which included a pecan pie, which I'm made to share tonight at "pie on the patio" with neighbors, great southern cities' escape ideas, "Seasonal Settings," a verse of scripture on the editor's "Sincerely" page and as always, a great "Afterthought" section which has an inspirational quote.

 "By all these lovely tokens 
September days are here. 
     With summer's best of weather
And autumn’s best of cheer." 
Helen Hunt Jackson, "September"

Not a book review, but a Sunday "review," nonetheless.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

migh-TEA cuppa re-brew

So is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. (Isaiah 55:11, NIV)
Why do you start each of this year's "Tea with Thee" blogs with a scripture?
A mighty backbone for a Christian's blog is God's Word. For His word does not return unto Him void. Though I will pass away, His words will never pass away. (Matthew 24:35) His words will be there for my grands & great grands. Thus, I start each blog entry with a scripture---as His word not only saves us, it instructs us. (Titus 2:11-12)

What's with the "tea" wordplay?
Part of who I am is a hot tea aficionado.....so that makes it fun for me. It's what all my grandkids know about me. But also it gives me something to hang my hat on and jog my memory. Any memory jogging is useful at this age. I know some of them are a real stretch but emails and comments form folks have let me know that they too have amused themselves by coming up with tea words and sharing them with me. A connectivi-TEA in more ways than one.

Will you continue the "tea" theme next year?
Possibly, but only on occasion.  Frankly, I'm  hoping for a respite from the compulsion to post daily entries.  I do have a few "dance" ideas still floating in my head and friend Beth recommended that approach. But God....usually has His own ideas. I rarely know which way an entry will go as my fingers start typing.

God's word is the only "constant" so I keep blogging, and each entrywill be based on His truth that never fades. As Peter wrote, "people are as transient as the withering grass". (1 Peter 1:24)
The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever. (Isaiah 40:8)
Another cuppa of His word, which is migh-TEA to save and is from everlasting to everlasting.