Saturday, August 30, 2014

Noc-TEA-urnal Happenings

Written but not edited......

Friday, August 29, 2014

"Nigh-TEA-Night"

When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, (Psalm 8:3, NIV)
Set in place. Ordained. The work of His hands.*

As the darkness began to descend, a heavenly creation was prepared for us. A shadowy night loomed over a fiery sunset as we turned off US 380 onto Texas State Hwy 5 near McKinney and ended at Exchange Parkway in Allen.
It was as if the sun had become liquid and provided an edge between night and day.
Night fall coming in to cover the full glory of sundown.

A cuppa Nigh-TEA-Night at its finest.

This was not the entry that started in my head in Memphis----but a visual entry that poured forth from the heavens. What a treat!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

absurdi-TEA

And I set my mind to know wisdom and.....; I realized that this also is striving after wind. Because in much wisdom there is much grief, and increasing knowledge results in increasing pain. (Ecclesiastes 1:17-18, NASB)
Has pursuit of knowledge become somewhat of an all consuming past-time? Is the immediacy "to know" an addiction? Did such a pursuit change Google from a proper noun search engine company's name to a verb?
Google, as a verb, is known by every one from toddlers to seniors. Will "Just google it." be recorded in a baby book as a child's first sentence?


In Kipling's Jungle Book, "The motto of all the mongoose family is “Run and find out,” and Rikki-Tikki was a true mongoose." Curious to find out. 
Much like that mogoose mantra, we too seem like a member of said family. We all "run to find out!" We just call it googling.
Vexation and pain can be by-products of too much knowledge. Maybe, it's because amassing knowledge, just for the sake of more knowledge, isn't the answer to one's problems. The more we know isn't a cure-all---it's what we do with what we know that counts. Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. (1 Corinthians 8:1)

Definitely there are many "new-fangled" tech-oriented potential absurdities in life---from googling and tweets to selfies and instagrams. In an age of BYOD (bring your own device) it's all about immediacy and it seems highly addictive. But let's forgo those cuppas absurdi-TEAs and serve something more relational.
A cuppa humili-TEA, anyone.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

S-TEA-rength

I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13, NASB)
So many scriptures deal with the availability of God's strength---so why do I forget to appropriate it immediately? Why do I exhaust my own strength and then consider Him? Why is it sometimes hard to cry out to Him? Do I need to tattoo, "in my weakness, He is strong" on my forehead?
God's Word clearly says that His strength is there for the taking---maybe accepting is a better word choice.

His strength is offered.....
  • every morning (Isaiah 33:2) 
  • for renewal (Isaiah 40:31) 
  • for the weak (Isaiah 40:29) 
  • for help in trouble (Psalm 46:1) 
  • to the weary soul (Psalm 119:28) 
  • and is sufficient to handle insults, hardships, persecutions & difficulties (2 Corinthians 9:10) 
  • through his Spirit for one's inner being (Ephesians 3:16) 
  • along with His power (Ephesians 6:10) 
  • for everything (Philippians 4:13) 
In everything, He's there (Phil. 4:19)....including strength---
---which friend Ann can certainly attest to
these last six months.
I need to sip a cuppa HIS s-TEA-rength daily. Certainly, casing to strive in my own strength will enhance my joy in Him. (Nehemiah 8:10)

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Verbosi-TEA

Much dreaming and many words are meaningless.......(Ecclesiastes 5:7, NIV)
Yesterday after opening to the front flyleaf of my Jesus Calling, I saw the inscription from Sarah Young with the date 8/25/13. "It's lovely to meet you and talk over tea."
What a memory trigger! One year ago she had served me tea. Constant Comment tea. 
Constant comment is almost an oxymoron for Sarah, at least as an author. With all of her books, but especially her first "little" devotional book, Jesus Calling, she is anything but verbose. Certainly, not given to wordiness. No excess. 
She explained to me that when she writes she often sits before the Lord for long periods. Meditating on God's Word. Thinking. Limited writing. That must be what it takes to say the most with the fewest words. Words that seem to speak to each reader, right where she/he is in life. Words used by God to touch hearts. Meaningful words---not just words to fill space.

This morning over my cuppa Constant Comment, I meditated on verbosi-TEA. In both writing and talking, I often add words, out of nervousness, in order to fill empty space. Too many words. Yet, scripture teaches that such excess actually creates emptiness.
"In many words there is emptiness," is the NASB version of Ecclesiastes 5:7. 
Be sensible and keep your mouth shut. (Proverbs 2:19, NLT)
Constant comment is not necessary. 

Verbosi-TEA is a cuppa that one needs to temper with more thought. Too many words would weaken it. Stir in some med-tea-tation to strengthen it. That's the way to serve that strong cuppa which most believers desire. 

Monday, August 25, 2014

"op-Tea-mism"

Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one and calls forth each of them by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing. (Isaiah 40:26, NIV)
Striving to continue my optimistic approach to darkness, God uniquely offered a little help. The Sunday comics. "The Family Circus" (CA,8/24) has had lots of good theology for me lately. Served right alongside my cuppa op-TEA-mism. 
Billy saw the beauty in the backdrop of darkness---because of his optimistic attitude.
Then he shared that optimism with his siblings!
"Know what? We have beautiful stars in our neighborhood." AMEN, Billy!
The life lessons continued at church as Lincoln Brewster's lyrics to  "God You Reign" scrolled across the big screen.
You paint the night, You count the starsAnd You call them by nameThe skies proclaim, God, You reign.
I love it when I'm at the beach, in the country at Full Circle Ranch....or just like Billy, on my own doorstep and I can look up at the dark sky and see all those stars which God determined and named. (Psalm 147:4)

Darkness proclaims God.

Tonight I'm gonna take my cuppa op-TEA-mism out and see for myself.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

SABBATH SNAPSHOT : atroci-TEAs

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand is rife with atrocities---and if there is a cuppa I abhor, it's any cuppa with a blend of atroci-TEA. Thus, a lengthy span of time was created as I would pick this book up and put it down---again and again. BUT, I was drawn to this book, as both my dad and Larry's dad were stationed in the Pacific during World War II, with his dad actually in Japan for part of his deployment.

It's a real page turner, though I had to read it only during the daylight hours, as sleep would allude me after reading of the horrors and realities of war, in particular Japanese POW camps--where Geneva convention rules were not followed.  This lady did her homework and documented every smidge of detail---think, a 14 page index and 50 pages of notes and citations.
Definitely a work of non-fiction! If this were a work of fiction, you wouldn't believe it!
Starvation I have never known and torture I couldn't begin to imagine, chronicled in the book, changed my thinking. I may never dump leftovers in the sink again or read current newspaper stories of on-going wars with out a sickness in the pit of my stomach.

As strange as it sounds, I'm glad that I read it. Hillenbrand introduced me to real heroes. Regular guys just like my dad. Places mentioned awakened my Daddy's voice in my head recalling his story of basic training at Hickam Field in Honolulu, even though he was in the Army and not the Air Force. As a young married 19 yr. old, he had his first taste of "fresh" pineapple in fields near that base. He and some of his buddies pulled the fruit up right from the field. Daddy remembered how those pineapples they burned his mouth---not like the Del Monte canned ones on the shelf at Davenport's grocery in Clarksville, TN, owned by his father-in-law.

Later, he was shot by Japanese snipers on the island of Leyte in the Philippines, an event that would require hospitalization thus saving his life. The sergeant who replaced him, along with his entire platoon, was killed the next day. Having read the book, I understand why Daddy rarely spoke of those events. As the real life characters in the book, he, too, must have found it too painful to recall.
Unbroken is, as the subtitle suggests, a story of survival, resilience and redemption. Well-written and "needful" but a hard read all the same---not for complexities of text but because of topic. Atrocities of war!

If you do pick it up---you MUST read to the end---that's where hope lies!! The final chapters and the Epilogue make it "worth the read."

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Quotabili-TEA : a re-brew

But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. (James 3:17, NKJV)
Having been dunked last night in the ALS "ice bucket challenge," my brain is a little fuzzy....or frozen. 
Thus, not much wisdom is easily recalled.

But God....reminded me of a few notes in my marginalia that seem perfect for sharing on such a day.......
......Words of wisdom. Proverbs 2:6 says that the "Lord gives skillful and godly wisdom".....and I so appreciate those who take His wisdom and put it into succinct phrases or pithy grabbers, as I call them, that enable easier recollection for me.
Quotes are from famous folks, often via not so famous folks, and other quotes are out of the mouths of friends and family that have "stuck in my mind" for whatever reason. 

Enjoy----

  • Way we see God, shapes the way we see others. (Cole Huffman, 5/25/14)
  • Compare and you despair. (JoLynn)
  • When man works, man works; When man prays, God works (First Evan--World Prayer Focus w/ Operation World prayer guide)
  • To say "if" a man sins is like saying "if" a Memphian drives on Poplar Ave. No matter how hard you try to avoid it, eventually, you will end up on Poplar. (Taylor Park, 6/29/14)
  • "Bethel Moments"--God was there and I knew it not. (Cole, 8/17/14)
  • When "stuck"--"throw an escape party, not a pity party. (Ibid)
  • God always outlives the pallbearers. (Ibid) (Pallbearers are the church naysayers.)
  • Saint---a person whose life makes God believable. (C.S. Lewis, NKJV marginalia)
A delightful cuppa "quoatibili-TEA" shared.

Shug and PopPop's ALS Ice Bucket Challenge



In memory of Ellen Stewart's dad and Liz Curland.
A challenge to Hoptown High Class of 64 and the Brooklyn Liles.

Friday, August 22, 2014

"Positivi-TEA"

I create the light and make the darkness. I send good times and bad times. I, the LORD, am the one who does these things. (Isaiah 45:7, NLT)
Positivi-TEA. Sounds like a made up word to me. But....I knew that I had spent enough time on the negativi-TEA of darkness so a check with Merriam Webster showed that positivity is indeed a word.

Actually, it was an email last night from my son-in-law which reminded me of Corey's surety that God uses darkness. He began with his memories of night-watch comfort words from his dad and then went "fast forward" to the memory of hearing a radio pastor speaking on WCRV/Bott Radio about darkness being a result of the absence of light. The Corey concluded with some physical "uses" of the dark.
"I am sure The Lord has alot of reasons for darkness,...rest, cooling the earth and vegetation or to see His heavenly handy work." Corey even ended his email with Isaiah 60:20, and this comment, "a great verse that speaks about the two great lights, greater and lesser and how they won't be needed anymore because He is sufficient."

Those "dark affirming" reminders had me thinking of the importance of embracing darkness as from God's hand and to look for it in a more positive light. Certainly the darkness of the night sky provides the perfect backdrop to showcase the splendor of His "starry" creation.

Then, a scripture search offered a little more light on darkness....and I loved it!
And the people stood afar off, and Moses drew near unto the thick darkness where God was. (Exodus 20:21)
עֲרָפֶל, the Hebrew word for that thick darkness is araphel: cloud, heavy cloud. But it was there in that dark cloud that the Presence of God dwelt. God in the darkness!
Darkness is as sure a sign of God's Presence as is the brilliance of His glory.
My cuppa positivi-TEA was all the sweeter when combined with "collects" (prayers) from my Common Book of Prayer and night prayer, compline 133, " Look down, O Lord, from your heavenly throne and illumine this night with your celestial brightness,"
My cuppa didn't allow much light but I appreciated the rich darkness of both the tea and its translucent container. A step toward positivi-TEA.