Monday, July 20, 2009

Tea and Devotions

I have begun something I'm almost ashamed to have to admit; and, yet, young Christians need to know that even those who have been saved a long time can fall by the way side. I have been, to my shame, a lazy Christian. I grew up in church, I heard the Bible "stories" all my life and could tell you all about Daniel and the Lion's Den or the Three Hebrew Children in the Fiery Furnace; I can talk about King David and how Jesus, the Messiah, is of the direct lineage of David through His mother, Mary.

But.... I don't know my Bible. Therefore, I don't know my heavenly Father.

Until recently, this hasn't bothered me too much. I could teach Sunday school (I can only be glad God promised His Word would not return unto Him void) and I would feel the pinch of the Holy Spirit from time to time as I would point out how God wants His children to live, but I was able to rationalize it away or ignore it or procrastinate it into oblivion.

How wrong of me.

I don't teach Sunday school right now, and this is a good thing because I'm going to Sunday school. And, BOY, has God used my teacher recently. My toes have been turned into MUSH from her recent lessons and the Holy Spirits gentle stomping (remember, in the Old Testament, He came to Elija, not in the thunder or the wind, but in a still, small voice). Mrs. Teacher has been giving us lessons entitled "What's On YOUR Plate?" Yes, that's a deliberate play on the credit card commercial. The first lesson I remember well, she gave each lady two paper plates, a tissue, a Q-tip and a cookie. Then, she had us take one plate and lick it.

Then kiss it.

Then blow our noses on the tissue and wipe it on the plate.

Then clean our ears and wipe it on the plate.

Then put it on the floor and step all over it.

Then, she told us to take the cookie, put it on either the clean or dirty plate, and offer it to the lady on our left.... O_o*

Yes, we all chose the clean plate!

But, her point was, our lives are like those dirty plates. We have to "clean" them daily by confessing our sins to the Father. I missed the next couple of lessons due to being out of town, but I know she's been working on grounding us in Prov. 16:3 "Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established." as well as Matt. 22:37-38 "Jesus sayeth unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and greatest commandment."

I found myself asking me... do I? Do I love Him with ALL my heart, with ALL my soul, with ALL my mind? And I have to answer, no. I don't.

But, then, I can say, praise God that He's a loving and patient God. That He hasn't given up on me, yet. And that He's given me a wonderful woman like Mrs. Teacher who is willing to be used of Him to get His point across.

So, to the Toe Smooshing Episode, Part I:

Two Sundays ago, the lesson was on Sweet Christian Women (i.e. the type of Christian who's just there for the "feel good" part of God's love):

Her Bible Reading:

1. She likes the "empty calories" of God's Word, not the "protein" (i.e., just the "stories", not the lessons God has for her) (owie!)

2. She'll read the Bible quickly, but get nothing from it (just reads because "she should")

3. She "forgets" to read her Bible because she "gets it at church" (ouch!)

Her Prayer Life:

1. She doesn't take time to talk to God (just, "thankyoulordamen!") (smoosh!)

2. She puts it off until later (eep!)

3. She doesn't think she's unspiritual, but she doesn't care enough to put any effort into her/my relationship with God (Mrs. Teacher says to substitute "me, my, I" for all the points.... erg!)

Her Love for God:
1. Is good until she doesn't like what His Word has to say (Mark 4:16-17 - obedience)

2. Is iffy when obeying the law (well, it's just a few miles over the speed limit, no one will know I did [insert sin here] etc.)

3. Her fiscal responsibility/stewardship to God (Prov. 16:3!!!) (don't stop tithing because it doesn't seem like it should work! OBEY God's commands.)


A "Sweet Christian" blames God for whatever goes wrong rather than allowing Him to go through it with her. She doesn't have enough of a relationship with her heavenly Father to know He's right there, no matter what, and wants her to lean on Him.

Right after this lesson, I found a devotional called "The Tea Lover's Devotional" by Emilie Barnes. I'm enjoying it, and it's helping me read my Bible (I have to because Mrs. Barnes doesn't use just the KJV, and I do) but it's making me think, too. This is good. God wants me to think. In one devotional Mrs. Barnes titles "The Humble Shall Hear" she is pointing out how we need to make our praise to God public so that the unsaved can see and hear and know that God is good. And I agree...


The entire little chapter is about praising Him for all the good things in our lives. And we should. Every good thing comes from God. But, we should also praise God for the bad things that happen.

Yes, I said that. So did King David and, if ever anyone had low, low, low points in his life, it was King David. Yet almost the entire book of Psalms is praise to God, even for the seemingly bad things that occured in his life (the rest is a plea for cleansing from his sins "create in me a clean heart") In the New Testament, I Thess. 5:16-18 says "Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."

Rejoicing, praying and praising God go hand in hand in all situations. If the unsaved see me praise God only for the good, what good have I done?

(next post ~ Toe Smooshing Episode II: How Does A Christian Woman Know She Loves God?)

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