Mom’s Visit

My Mom came for a visit today. Neither one of us was feeling particularly energetic but as it was a beautiful day we decided to toddle around the arts and crafts show happening in our town square (really it’s more of an octagon).

We ended our time together relaxing in the living room while enjoying cool and sweet chai tea frappes. YUM!

Before Mom got into her car, she drew me into her arms and said, “let me enfold you in an embrace of great love and affection”. I thought that sounded so much more poetic than “give us a hug”.

I liked the saying so much that I just had to share it!

I think that is what God, through His son Jesus Christ, is saying to us – “Come to me my child, and let me enfold you in an embrace of great love and affection.”

Mar 10:15 Truly I say to you, Whoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter into it.
Mar 10:16 And taking them up in His arms, He put His hands on them and blessed them.

 

(Image from http://<a href=’http://wori88.com’>http://wori88.com</a>

Forget-me-nots

 

 

As I came out of the grocery store the other day, I noticed a lady sitting at a small table. She was volunteering her time to raise funds for the Alzheimer Society. Since my background is in Long Term Care nursing, this is a subject of both interest and concern to me. After I  deposited my ‘widow’s mite’ (lol) she gave me a package of Forget-me-not seeds – which I think is a great symbol for that worthy cause.

Later in the day, I was weeding in my garden. Along with the weeds, I pulled  several old Forget-me-not plants that had finished flowering and had gone to seed (they are great self-sowers). I dumped everything onto the compost pile and as I looked down, I noticed that my pants were absolutely covered with Forget-me-not seed pods! 

The tiny pods are covered with minuscule velcro-like hooks which do an excellent job of sticking to whatever they brush against. There was no simple brushing off the pant legs for me! I had to pluck each one off by hand only to have them stick to the ridges of my fingers! And the more I looked, the more I found – including between my toes!! I think it took me about 10 minutes to become ‘seedless’.

The seeds of this plant are an excellent physical match for their name – they make sure that no one will forget them!

Both the plant’s name and the nature of the seeds led me to think about God and His Word.

Deu 8:11 Beware that you do not forget Jehovah your God, in not keeping His commandments, and His judgments, and His statutes, which I command you today,

The clinging seeds reminded me of the following Bible verses:

Pro 7:2,3 Keep my commandments and live; and keep my law as the pupil of your eye. Bind them upon your fingers; write them upon the tablet of your heart.

Deu 11:18 Therefore you shall lay up these my words in your hearts and in your souls, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, so that they may be as frontlets between your eyes.

At some point in time, perhaps as early as the 4th or 3rd century B.C., the above scripture was taken to be a literal command and so began the tradition of the wearing of phylacteries or tefillin by Jewish men.

Wikipedia explains:

“Tefillin (Askhenazic: /ˈtfɪln/; Israeli Hebrew: [tfiˈlin], תפילין), also called phylacteries (/fɪˈlæktərz/ from Ancient Greek φυλακτήριον phylacterion, form of phylássein, φυλάσσειν meaning “to guard, protect”), are a set of small black leather boxes containing scrolls of parchment inscribed with verses from the Torah. They are worn by male observant Jews during weekday morning prayers.Image result for tefillin clipart

The arm-tefillin, or shel yad, is placed on the upper arm, and the strap wrapped around the arm/hand, hand and fingers; while the head-tefillin, or shel rosh, is placed above the forehead. The Torah commands that they should be worn to serve as a “sign” and “remembrance” that God brought the children of Israel out of Egypt.” 

 

 

For an excellent article on the history and usage of phylacteries, check out:  http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/12125-phylacteries

In doing a word study of “forget” as it pertains to God, I found it interesting to note that all of the scripture verses I found were in the Old Testament. In His Word, God was constantly reminding the Israelites to not forget His commandments and to remember His deliverance of, and, goodness to them.

Deu 4:23 Take heed to yourselves, lest you forget the covenant of Jehovah your God, which He made with you, and make you a graven image, a likeness of anything which Jehovah your God has forbidden you.

Deu 6:12 you shall be on guard lest you forget Jehovah who brought you forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of slaves.

Psa 78:7 so that they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep His Commandments;

Psa 103:2 Bless Jehovah, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits;

Psa 119:16 I will delight myself in Your Precepts; I will not forget Your Word.

Psa 119:83 For I am like a wineskin in the smoke; I do not forget Your Precepts.

Psa 119:93 I will never forget Your Commandments; for with them You have given me life.

Psa 119:153 RESH: Look on my affliction, and deliver me; for I do not forget Your Law.

Pro 3:1 My son, forget not my law; but let your heart keep my commandments;

Although the above scriptures were written to the people of the Old Testament, they still serve as excellent reminders of the important things that we should not forget about our Heavenly Father – His covenant with us; His deliverance; His mighty works; His benefits; His Word; His precepts and commands; and His law.

I would also add that we should never forget His love for us, nor His grace or mercy.

Perhaps the New Testament does not use “do not forget” in the same manner as in the Old Testament because, rather than having instructions from and about God written on external things like stone and paper, as in the Old Testament times, we, who have received Jesus Christ as our Saviour, have these things ‘written’ on our internal ‘hearts’ through the indwelling presence of God’s holy spirit.

Alzheimers can have a devastating effect on our physical lives. Forgetting God, who He is and what He has done, as well as all His goodness, also has drastic consequences!

Job 8:13 So are the paths of all who forget God; and the hope of the ungodly shall perish. 

Psa 9:17 The wicked shall be turned into hell, all the nations that forget God. 

This is my prayer for you:

Rev 3:3 Remember then how you have received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. 

 

Blessings

 

Edit note: Although I tried my best to find an image of forget-me-nots that was copyright free, I guess the one I chose was not as I see that it was replaced by a notice of “no hot-linking” (whatever that is). My apologies to all concerned.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Father’s Day re-blog

 

 

I was going to write about Father’s Day today when I realized that everything I had wanted to say, I had already said in last year’s post on Father’s Day. So here is the link to last year’s post: Father’s Day

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY 🙂

Pro 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old, he will not depart from it. 

Col 3:21 Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they be discouraged. 

Eph 6:4 And fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. 

(Image from fathersdayprintables.com)

 

Grace vs. Mercy

Image result for grace and mercy

In a recent Bible study of the Book of Job, the question arose as to the difference between God’s mercy and God’s grace.

A word study of the definitions of both those terms may lead one to believe that they both mean one and the same thing. Although there are similarities, there are some major differences.

Webster’s Dictionary of 1828 defines grace as:

1. Favor; good will; kindness; disposition to oblige another; as a grant made as an act of grace.

2. Appropriately, the free unmerited love and favor of God, the spring and source of all the benefits men receive from him.

Whereas mercy is defined as:

1. That benevolence, mildness or tenderness of heart which disposes a person to overlook injuries, or to treat an offender better than he deserves; the disposition that tempers justice, and induces an injured person to forgive trespasses and injuries, and to forbear punishment, or inflict less than law or justice will warrant. In this sense, there is perhaps no word in our language precisely synonymous with mercy. That which comes nearest to it is grace. It implies benevolence, tenderness, mildness, pity or compassion, and clemency, but exercised only towards offenders. Mercy is a distinguishing attribute of the Supreme Being.

 

In simpler terms,” grace is God giving us something we do not deserve; while mercy is God not giving us something we do deserve.” [in a punishment sense] (Compelling Truth )

Rom 5:15 But, not as the offence so also is the free gift; for if by the offence of the one the many did die, much more did the grace of God, and the free gift in grace of the one man Jesus Christ, abound to the many;

Rom 6:14 For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under Law, but under grace. 

Grace has often been defined as “unmerited favour”, meaning that we have done nothing to earn or deserve it.

Rom 11:6 But if by grace, then it is no more of works; otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it is of works, then it is no more of grace; otherwise work is no more work. 

 

Mercy basically means that God does not give us “our just desserts” – or the punishment we deserve when we have done something that we shouldn’t have or not done something we should have.

Psa 103:10 He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.
Psa 103:11 For as the heavens are high above the earth, so is His mercy toward those who fear Him.

Eph. 2:4,5 His great love with which He loved us, (even when we were dead in sins)


The apostle Paul says this about himself and the mercy extended to him:

1Ti 1:12 And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who strengthened me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry–
1Ti 1:13 the one who before [as Saul] was a blasphemer and a persecutor and insolent. But I obtained mercy, because being ignorant, I did it in unbelief.

 

Grace and mercy are two important aspects of God’s character.

Psa 86:15 But You, O God, are God full of pity, and gracious, long-suffering, and rich in mercy and truth.

Psa 103:8 Jehovah is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and rich in mercy.

Eph 2:4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love with which He loved us
Eph 2:5 (even when we were dead in sins) has made us alive together with Christ (by grace you are saved),
Eph 2:6 and has raised us up together and made us sit together in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus,

 

I pray that you will acknowledge God’s mercy and accept His grace in your life.

2Jn 1:3 Grace will be with you, mercy and peace from God the Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.

Blessings

(Image credit: “56: Daily Inspirational Bible Verse” by Tito & Eva MarieBalangue (CC BY 2.0) via Pediaa.Com)

Sweet Fellowship

Act 2:42 And they were continuing steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine, and in fellowship and in the breaking of the loaves, and in prayers.

I really enjoy hosting a gathering of friends over a cup of tea and a plate of yummy baked goodies. Although I have wanted to host regular gatherings this past year, it always seemed like something would happen that interfered with my plans. Finally, this past week I have been able to host a tea on two separate occasions.

At the first one, I invited the gals from a home Bible study that I attend which is hosted by a dear friend and sister-in-Christ. She is a wonderful baker and always has some tasty treat for us to enjoy during study. (My waist says no-no but my mouth says yes-yes!)

I didn’t want to serve store bought goodies but I am not the best of bakers ( I blame it on my very temperamental oven) so I wasn’t sure what I should make. Since I don’t bake very often (called the “if I don’t have it I won’t eat it diet strategy”) I don’t have a wide variety of ingredients. I didn’t want to spend a lot of money so I wanted to find recipes using ingredients I had on hand. I decided to try some “no-bake” recipes that I had saved from Pinterest (gotta love Pinterest!).

I was able to “whip up” three different recipes in a couple of hours and re-use most of the same dishes and utensils without having to wash dishes in-between recipes. (Gotta love that!) I started with Chocolate Coconut Cups and while they were setting up in the freezer I made 3 Ingredient Peanut Butter Oat Squares. Then I got my hands dirty rolling  Pumpkin Spice Latte Bites . Plus, I already had a batch of gluten free Blender Banana Oatmeal Muffins in the freezer.

My second tea was more of a breakfast so I made a large pan of Baked Oatmeal with mixed berries. I served it warm topped with Astro Original Coconut Yogurt. We use this thick, creamy yogurt in place of whipped cream and it is absolutely delish! The Baked Oatmeal was a hit, even with two of the gals who dislike oatmeal!

Both teas were filled with sweet treats, sweet sisters-in-Christ and sweet fellowship. Fellowship with like-minded ladies is a real blessing to me.

For several reasons, I don’t attend church. Yes, as shocking as it may seem to some Christians, I am a Christian who doesn’t go to church. In the “good ol’ days” (??) I may have been labelled as “back – slidden” because I didn’t attend church. It would seem that regular church attendance is required in order to be considered a Christian. However, I have yet to find the scripture wherein God commands that we attend church.

Instead, I believe that Christians have been called to have fellowship – with God, with Jesus, and with one another.

1Co 1:9 God is faithful, by whom you were called to the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

1Jn 1:3 that which we have seen and heard we declare unto you, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.

“Fellowship” in these verses comes from the Greek word koinonia and means “partnership, participation, communication, distribution and fellowship”.

When I get together for tea with my “sistas”, we are partners in our faith in Jesus Christ and in praying for one another. We participate by bringing along goodies to share with one another. We enjoy a real good ol’ “chin wag” with one another as we discuss (communicate) a wide variety of subjects as they pertain to our daily walk of faith. We distribute love for one another, share wisdom, and offer encouragement.

All these things combine to give us sweet fellowship with one another.

Fellowship doesn’t need a specific day, time or place. It can take place anytime and anywhere our daily lives bring us together – street corners, Post Office, grocery store, playground, living room or around the kitchen table. I think that we can even enjoy a type of fellowship through the use of tools like social media. I use email, Messenger, Facebook and my blog to reach out to others with love, support, encouragement and hope. And I receive the same back from others.

God did not command , “Thou shalt attend church on Sundays”. Rather, He invited us to have a daily, personal fellowship with Himself, His son Jesus, and with our brothers and sisters in Christ.

And you may even get to enjoy some sweet treats along with the sweet fellowship!

Blessings

Heb 10:24, 25 and let us consider one another to provoke to love and to good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

Image result for free clipart baking

There’s Something in My Eye

In November, I wrote a post entitled “Ma Ee” in which I described how I have had some issues with my eyesight in the past.

In the last two months, I have once again been dealing with problems with my right eye. It started one evening when I suddenly lost most of the vision in the center of my eye and what I could see around the perimeter was like looking through jagged shards of glass.

The hubby, thinking I may be having a stroke, whisked me off the the hospital. The doctor gave me a pill to lower my blood pressure (which is usually VERY low) and after a brief examination of my eye, he told me that he thought that I had a detached retina. FYI – The retina is the light-sensitive layer of tissue that lines the inside of the eye and sends visual messages through the optic nerve to the brain. When the retina detaches, it is lifted or pulled from its normal position. If not promptly treated, retinal detachment can cause permanent vision loss. So – not a good thing.

I was told that I would probably have to have emergency eye surgery first thing the following morning. My hubby had to take the day off work and we made the early morning  1 1/2 hour drive down to the city.

It turned out that I did not have a detached retina (thank God)! The specialist thought that what I had experienced was an ocular migraine which didn’t require any treatment.

Two days later, my eye was red, swollen and aching. It felt exactly like it did the last time I had iritis (inflammation of the iris). I popped into the optometrist’s office to see if I could be seen that day or the next. No – they were too busy. I was advised to go to the Emergency Department. I asked if Emerg doctors could prescribe eye drops and was told “Oh yes”.

So off I went to the hospital to go through the whole rigamarole again. The doctor wanted to give me an injection for a migraine. I refused as I knew that I wasn’t having a migraine. Then after an hour of crazy questions he finally told me that I probably had iritis (big surprise) BUT – (wait for it) HE COULDN’T PRESCRIBE THE STEROID DROPS I NEEDED TO TREAT THE PROBLEM! He advised me to try to see the specialist again the following day – although the receptionist thought that the specialist was gone for the long weekend.

I called the optometrist’s office the following day, explained the issue and asked if I could please be seen on the following Tuesday after the long weekend. The receptionist told me that I shouldn’t wait that long and that I could be seen that very afternoon. (Remember – I had been told the previous day that there was NO WAY I could be seen before Tuesday – thus the futile Emergency visit).

So I was finally checked, diagnosed with iritis and prescribed not just one, but three separate medications. The receptionist told me that she was faxing the prescriptions to my pharmacy in a few minutes. I slowly walked around the town and to the pharmacy only to be told that they had not received any faxed prescription.

I called the pharmacy again that evening but they still had not received any fax. By then, the optometrist’s office was closed for the long weekend!

I was unable to get the medication until Tuesday and even then when I went in to pick them up I was told that one of them was no longer being made! I would have to wait until they could reach the optometrist for an alternative. AARGH!

The inflammation in my eye took quite a while to dissipate and while it has finally gone, I have been left with an eye whose vision is like looking through fog filled with millions of tiny particles of soot. This is accompanied by larger black spots on the periphery of my vision – I feel like I have a small swarm of fruit flies constantly buzzing back and forth. And just to make things interesting, there is a long, squiggly, wire-like, black “worm” floater right in the center of my vision.

Yesterday marked the fourth visit to the eye specialist and the news I received made me feel like having a bit of a pity party. Apparently, not only do I have scar tissue on my cornea (from previous infections) which has given me an atypical astigmatism (why can’t I be “typical” for once??), I also have a cataract forming on the lens (thus the fogginess) along with the floating “worm” and “fruit flies”!

We discussed the possibility of having cataract surgery but the specialist felt that due to the high incidence of inflammation in that eye, surgery may actually cause a severe flare up. And as for those annoying floaters – apparently they are permanent!

So to recap – 2 Emergency visits, 4 eye specialist visits, and 2 optometrist visits and I have scar tissue, a damaged iris, a cataract, and floaters. I don’t think that there is any more room in my eye for anything else!

But sometimes, I think that I may have something way more serious than fog and floaters in my eye; something that does not blind my actual vision but which may blind my spiritual one.

The Bible describes it as a “beam”.

Mat 7:3 And why do you look on the splinter that is in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the beam that is in your own eye? 

I know that I can be guilty of judging and criticizing others. I may be doing that at the risk of being hypocritical.

Oh, but isn’t it so much easier to notice the flaws in others than it is to see our own?

The Bible tells us that we must first look at ourselves and remove the offending/offensive parts from ourselves before we look to pointing out how to fix other people’s faults.

Mat 7:5 Hypocrite! First cast the beam out of your own eye, and then you shall see clearly to cast the splinter out of your brother’s eye.

While I pray for the vision to be restored in my right eye, more so I pray that God will help me see the times where there is a “beam” stuck in my spiritual eye.

As for you my readers – “Here’s mud in your eye”. 🙂

Joh 9:6 And when He had spoken these things, He spat on the ground and made clay from the spittle. And He anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay.

Joh 9:11 He answered and said, A man called Jesus made clay and anointed my eyes and said to me, Go to the pool of Siloam and wash. And going and washing, I received sight.

Blessings