Sunday, February 15, 2009

Sunday Morning Reflections

It is a beautiful morning here in the NE Georgia and crisp, partly cloudy with the promise of a beautiful day. Living here is a constant reminder to me of all of the wonderful gifts our Heavenly Father has given us...I am privileged to observe the beauty of nature and to feel the Father's presence and feel His great love surrounding me here.
This past week I came upon a book I would like to share with all of is called "So You Don't Want To Go To Church Anymore". The title alone spoke volumes in regards to my current feelings about 'attending' church in the traditional way. From childhood through my early 20's I was a regular an adult I have become increasingly dissatisfied and disillusioned with the church and religion although my faith in God and my relationship with him remains strong.
At times I have felt somewhat ashamed of not regularly attending church and have 'tried out' a few, never really fitting in for long and eventually becoming dissatisfied and finally drifting away again.
I'm sure there are many other's out there who feel the same...I hope that this book will be an inspiration to all...

Our Father's love is big and constant and COMPLETELY UNCONDITIONAL.

God Bless You.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Tuesday Tea Time

This week's Tea Time post is going to take a different direction...

As many who read here know I work in a small Tea Room, what you may not know is that my friend who owns it is also a pastor's wife. This past Sunday she was involved in a book signing for a book called "From My Heart To Yours", a collection of inspirational messages written by women whose husbands are in the ministry...she made several contributions to the book and brought me a signed copy yesterday. Last night as I was realizing that I had not posted here on my blogspot in 2 weeks, and trying to decide what I would write, I remembered the book and took a 'detour' to spend some time reading. And there is was, the first message on the first page of the book was written by my friend and it was about Tea. Not only that, it blended in quite well with other happenings in my life recently as well as things that have been happening in the lives of many of my friends...things that have led to questions for which I have been seeking answers...questions like 'Why does God allow us to experience so much pain in our lives?' or 'How can a loving God allow such tragedy to happen to His children?', and 'If God is in control and all knowing, why is our world so out of control...why doesn't he fix it?'

And so, for today's Tea Time 'The Agony of the Leaf'...(part of the following comments are my own, some are quotes from my friend's message)...

This past week some troubling times arose for several friends I talk with daily on another site...prompting questions like those above. Hoping to help I posted a quote which has become somewhat of a mantra to me "There is no such thing as a problem without a gift for you in it's hand. You seek problems because you need their gifts." (Richard Bach...'Illusions'). Several of my friends immediately commented that they could not see any 'gift' in the troubles or sorrows they were encountering (or had encountered) in their lives, or knew other's had encountered. Now I admit, sometimes the answers to the questions and the 'gifts' in the problems are not so easy to see, however, I still contend that they are always there...we need simply to open our eyes and our hearts to see them.
'So,' I hear some of you saying 'what has all of this got to do with tea?' Well, to quote my friend, Dea...
"In learning the art of making tea, I discovered each tea requires a specific temperature of water and length of steeping to bring out the best taste. The term used for the tea in hot water is 'agony of the leaf'...It is not until the leaf goes through the agony of hot water that it's flavor and health benefits are released. Isn't that how it is with us? We do not yield the peaceful fruit of righteousness without going through hot water. The fragrance of the tea reaches the nose before the flavor touches the tongue. Our lives give off an aroma of righteousness when we are trained by our discipline. We are flavorful to the world around us when we come through trials."

So perhaps the 'gift' in the trials and tragedies we suffer in our lives is that it brings out our true 'aroma' or 'fragrance' allows our 'flavor' to be experienced by those around other frees us to be who we are intended to be, allows us be real and gives those around us the opportunity to experience knowing us in a deeper, more meaningful way.

I will end today's Tea Time with another quote from Dea along with her short prayer at the end of her message...

"May I suggest you prepare yourself a cup of loose leaf tea(whole leaf if possible) and watch the leaves unfurl and release their treasures. As you sip your 'cuppa' praise God for his discipline that will end in righteousness.

Father, help me to be thankful for trials and to be trained by them that I may yield the peaceful fruit of righteousness. Amen."