Here is Your Cup of Tea, Lord!

Morning Cup of TeaThis cup of tea, too, belongs to God.

I’m sitting here enjoying an afternoon cup of mint tea and thinking about how enjoyable it is to sit at my laptop, with steam rising from my favorite mug.

Mine. NOT! This cup of tea belongs to God, as does the mug my daughter presented to me. The laptop I write upon…God’s. Why even I belong to God.

The earth and everything in it belongs to God. Scripture declares it to be so.

How easy it is to forget that God is the creator and orchestrator of the world and everything in it. We humans work to achieve goals…houses, cars, appliances, electronics…the list goes on. We seek to better ourselves, but we tend to measure that level of “better” with what our neighbors have.

When I was young, we didn’t have running water or a shower. As a family, we had one car, not a brand-new shining automobile, but a serviceable auto that could get us from point A to point B. I was not embarrassed about having to go outside with a flashlight at night to use the bathroom at the end of the path. I was not ashamed to pump water from the well and carry it inside and hang a dipper on the side from which we could all get a drink. This was life. I accepted it.

Yes, most of my friends lived in town and had the luxury of running hot and cold water, a flush toilet, a bathtub! They were able to catch a bus outside their house to ride to school. I, truly, had to walk a mile to catch the bus. And in the summertime, I walked five miles to visit a friend, or to go to the local five and dime.

This didn’t hurt me. I didn’t think twice about it.

God has moved me from my humble beginnings and brought me to a “better” station of life. I have forgotten, it is only by His grace I am here. He has provided a comfortable, safe home, food to nourish me, a vehicle to transport me, and a hot cup of mint tea in a beautiful mug.

I forget the humble roots from which I came.

I look at the laptop and think, I worked hard to buy this. I smile at the mug my daughter spent her money on to give me.

But none of this is spiritually true. God gave me the means to get the money to purchase a laptop so I could use it to glorify Him. He gave my daughter the means to present a gift to me. And He provided, too, the delicious mint tea.

Here, Lord is your cup of tea. Thank you for your gift.

Blessings,


 

 

Guilty! No Second Chances! Stone Him!

out of the darkness walk

“Look, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing in the place of honor at God’s right hand!”

Then they put their hands over their ears and began shouting. They rushed at him and dragged him out of the city and began to stone him.

As they stoned him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” He fell to his knees, shouting, “Lord, don’t charge them with this sin!” And with that, he died.

You can read the full account about Stephen in Acts 6 & 7. I’ve been thinking a lot about how things haven’t changed much from the time when the Jews were persecuting Christians to how we persecute today. Close your eyes and imagine being an innocent person standing in the midst of a crowd throwing stone after stone, each hitting your body with a terrible force. The pain grows. You have nowhere to turn. Your legs give out. A huge stone hits your head and you can no longer even kneel upright. You are down on the ground, your body twisted in pain, blood blinding you. But still stone after stone heap upon your body burying you as you slowly lose the battle and then draw your last breath. Do you forgive your attackers like Stephen did?

The Jews believed they were right. They believed the prophets were blaspheming God. They felt justified in casting stones.

But we Christians today look back and can’t believe how something like this could happen. We believe it couldn’t happen in this day and age.

Let me ask you a question. Do you believe in second chances?

As I sip my cup of tea, let me tell you about my brother and sister in Christ. I’ll call them Jerry and Hannah. Jerry and Hannah grew up as neighborhood children who played together. Life took them in different directions. Jerry made some wrong decisions and so did Hannah. When Jerry was drawn into the world of drugs, he made some very bad decisions. He was at rock bottom when God brought Hannah back into his life. She stood by him when no one else would.

Fast forward. Jerry got clean. Jerry found God, Who had been waiting for him to reach out and be saved. Hannah went on her Emmaus walk while Jerry went to prison. When Jerry walked out of the prison early for good behavior, he, too, went on the Emmaus walk. Jerry and Hannah got married in the church. Then hard times hit and they were homeless. Hannah was pregnant. Jerry couldn’t find a job because he was a convicted felon. The only family they had was their church family.

Hannah is currently sleeping in a homeless shelter. Jerry is sleeping in their car at night in the church parking lot. He works part time cleaning the church. But good Christian people look down their noses. They don’t believe he should be working in the church. He is a felon! He is not to be trusted! He was a drug user! Maybe he was a drug dealer!

Jerry and Hannah are trying to get help through the system, but things are moving slowly. When the baby is born, the Salvation Army will help to get them into a house, but Jerry has to have a job which pays enough to cover the rent. But few companies wants to hire a felon.

I hired Jerry to do yard work for me. He cleaned my front garden area, which is HUGE, of every single weed. He raked up all the old mulch and leaves. Then spread mulch. My garden looks fantastic. During the five hours it took for him to do this, Hannah and I sat in lawn chairs and talked. I learned more about them and their childhood. I heard stories about when Jerry was down and out. Jerry shared funny stories and some sad stories about prison life. We laughed together and became better friends. Better Christian friends.

They are not making excuses for the mistakes they made. They love God and are trying to make a new and better life for themselves. Jerry has health issues and most likely won’t live to be an old man. He wants to do right by his wife and the son she carries. He works hard at whatever job he is given to do. He takes pride in doing things right. He needs a break. He needs a second chance.

It breaks my heart to see friends who claim to be loving, caring Christians…those who go home to a nice warm and safe place to sleep…those who have food to eat and don’t worry when they will get their next meal…use their tongues to stone Jerry, just like the Jews used stones to kill Stephen.

I wonder if they ever think about what Jesus would do?

Blessings,


What Do You Do With Unexpected Time Off?

What do you do with unexpected time off? You know, a day when you don’t have any commitments and the hours are like a gift…a day like I was given yesterday.Morning Cup of Tea

It was a dark and stormy morning (forgive me, I am a writer, you know) when my cell phone rang and the Pastor told me not to come in to work. There I stood in the bathroom with my blow dryer in hand, in final preparations to walk out the door. I couldn’t quite grasp the fact that I was being given a free day at home. A day when the thunder rolled, the lightning flashed and the rain was pouring down. After finishing our conversation, I changed out of my work clothes, all the time feeling a bit guilty for having this unexpected time off work.

What to do? I fixed a second cup of tea and carried it down to my office. In my emails I had notifications that all my books were available in the Amazon bookstore. (Yes, another change of mind!) So I zapped over to my website and added a page for my books.

With some anticipated changes coming, I decided to work on my budget next. Have you ever delved so deeply into your budget that you begin to feel like you are in a whirlpool being sucked into a void? Yes, that’s the feeling. But after some prayerful time, I was comfortable with the result. But what would I do now?

I had been a stay at home retired person for six and a half years before I took the part-time job at our church, so I should be used to this. Amazing how our perspective changes when our hours are rearranged!

I decided to place an order for a few summer clothes. Nothing major, just some lightweight slacks, capris, and tops. Just a few, but enough to keep me from looking like a bag lady when I go out. By now the rain had diminished to a light drizzle, so I grabbed my purse and headed to the grocery store. What a treat! I forgot how nice it was to go to the store when it wasn’t crowded! Bought a few weeks groceries for less than $65.00. Major coup!

When I got into the car, I looked at my phone and saw the noises I heard had been two phone calls coming in. Didn’t recognize the number, but the voicemail gave me the answer. Two of my male friends from church were in front of my house waiting to look at my lawnmower which wouldn’t start. Really? On a rainy day like this? But I was overjoyed at their generosity. Of course, they had already left my house and headed to the church to fix a problem toilet, but when they were finished, they’d head back over.

And so they did! After emptying the old gas out, cleaning the spark plug, and still not having any luck, I handed them some starter fluid. A quick squirt in the carburetor and it fired up. I guess I’ll have to make sure to get new gas and add cleaner to it if I want to keep it running good from year to year. It’s amazing the things a gal can learn when she loses the man who took care of everything like that.

I never cease to be in awe of what God can do. Having church family to help out in all kinds of situations, especially when you are a widow, is a huge blessing. God is good!

I finished the afternoon by making a dinner which was one of my hubby’s favorite…our brand of goulash. Yummy!

And that, dear readers, is what I did with my unexpected time off yesterday. Thanks for stopping by and having tea with me today.

Blessings,

The Unwelcome Guest – Saying Goodbye (Final Installment)

As we prepared to vacate the house, whatever spirit inhabited the house escalated in making us anxious to say goodbye!

The picture shows the two doors at the end of the hallway off the kitchen. The door on the right opened into the back yard. The door on the left was the bathroom.

Two days after the rat incident, we came home, walked into the kitchen and then the toilet flushed! Sure we would find someone in the bathroom, we investigated with caution. We opened the door and saw…Nothing!!!

That was pretty creepy. We began to box up things that very night. Our final goodbye couldn’t come quick enough.

The next evening, we came home and everything was quiet. What a relief! After the kids were settled in bed, I decided to take a nice, relaxing bubble bath. I added bubbles as the water slowly filled the tub. I stepped in and settled into the wonderful aroma and warmth. As I reached to shut off the water, a HUGE orange and cream striped spider with long legs and a bulbous body literally washed out of the faucet!

I began to scream…as I think back on this moment, I realize this might be where my terror of spiders came from.

I jumped out of the tub and my husband came running to see what happened. The spider was walking, yes, literally walking on the bubbles! He pulled the plug and the water drained out, leaving the evil eight-legged spider in the tub. I shudder as I remember how it tried to avoid the swatter, but eventually the spider was dead.

None of us took another bath in that tub!

The next night, we carried boxes with us to the new house. We were ready to move in.

We came home exhausted, later than usual, and when we reached the kitchen, the bathroom door was ripped off its hinges and lying across the hallway at an awkward angle. The hinges were bent with the force used to yank it free!

Terrified, we all slept in the living room and front bedroom. The next day we moved all our things out of the house and said our final goodbye.

Now many people don’t believe in ghosts or evil spirits. I’m a Christian. I know there are evil spirits in this world. Why one chose to manifest in that house is something I’ll never know. Perhaps something horrible happened there in the past. I still don’t understand if the spirit wanted us to stay or not, and if so, why? What would have happened if we did stay? Those are the things nightmares are made of.

Thank you for reading!

When God Rearranges Your To-Do List

Cup of TeaEver had God rearrange your to-do list?

As I sip my cup of tea, I’m thinking back to last Wednesday and remembering how blessed I was at the end of the day. Wednesday is prayer circle day at church and I participate knowing that phone calls are usually handled by our receptionist.

However, this day, our receptionist couldn’t make it in. Also, the only two people who were participating in the circle were the Pastor and me. We were just getting ready to pray when a member who had recently lost his wife came into the Narthex area where we were seated. He came to bring something to the Pastor, but I could see he needed to just have someone to talk with.

He was hurting and just needed to talk about his beloved, his loneliness, and some pictures he’d found. We chatted for a few minutes, and I held his hands and let him talk, occasionally giving a word of encouragement and hope.

After he left, we settled back to begin our prayer, when the phone rang. I hurried to answer it and was thrilled to hear the voice of a dear friend and member who is battling a rare form of leukemia. She had called to get some information which I needed to look up for her, but we chatted for a few minutes first and then I asked if she’d like to talk to the Pastor. While they talked, I gathered the information and went back to the Narthex to wait. But the second line of the phone rang.

Yes, God rearranges when we least expect it!

I hurried to get that call and it was another dear parishioner who was in a nursing home undergoing dialysis. She wanted to thank everyone at church for the cards, phone calls, visits, and gifts, and especially for the prayer shawl Pastor had delivered. It was wonderful to talk with her and offer words of hope and caring.

Pastor and I had a few minutes to pray about the concerns of the members that were turned in on Sunday, but it was time to get back to work.

However, two more church members came in seeking assistance. They had come in to discuss some issues they were having and while listening I realized how they trusted God despite their plight, which now included being homeless. When they were finished talking with Pastor, I left with them and filled their gas tank to help them out.

When I returned, Pastor had left for her lunch appointment.

Though I didn’t accomplish a lot of things on my to-do list that day, my heart was blessed because God’s plans were much better than mine. These are the days when I really love working as a church secretary. The days when God rearranges my to-do list!

Blessings,