I had some tea at my friend’s house the other day. I like tea but I had no idea how real tea really worked. I mostly just figured tea was tea. I never wondered about it, actually.
When my friend asked if I would like tea, she listed all the typical options. But then asked if I wanted real Chinese tea. She had been a missionary in Taiwan for over three years so she knew quite a bit more about how real tea worked. I was intrigued so that is what I chose.
First she tossed a few of these little things in a special teacup with a filter. I like strong tea so it didn’t really look like enough but she assured me it was. Then we added some hot water. We dumped out the water after a couple of minutes and then added more boiling water. This was all new to me! But it was a necessary part of the process.
We were waiting for the tealeaves to open. It takes several minutes.
It turns out she had dumped in a few too many because as the tealeaves kept relaxing from their dried state they nearly filled the filter. But the tea was delicious. I kept adding more water to the leaves and they continued to provide me with tea.
I am surprised how dried and compact tealeaves are. They look so small and unassuming but then open up to be five times their size. It takes time for them to move from the dried state to being able to steep and provide flavor but once they are ready, they can provide multiple pots of tea. I know there is much more to learn about tea but I am glad to have added to my knowledge. I am sure my friend thought I was crazy because it was so interesting to me. I am glad she took the time to teach me some of what she knew about tea.
Dried tealeaves don’t look like much. The process of getting tea from them seems a bit like some events in life. Sometimes what you have to work with doesn’t seem like much but God transforms that “little bit” to be sufficient or even abundant!
Do you recall a time in your life where God’s provision was more than you imagined?
“This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24
Yesterday is done. Tomorrow is yet to come. So today is what I have!
Starting the day with an attitude of praise helps my day get started on the right foot! Even when I am in the middle of challenging circumstances, I can choose joy because of the bigger picture of God’s mercy and grace!
Have you noticed that a crabby person can quickly infect others with their crabbiness? Happy people can do the very same thing.
Re-joy. (I know–that isn’t really a word but I like it — It reminds me that joy happens more than just once!)
Miriam-webster.com says this about rejoice, “Middle English, from Anglo-French rejois-, stem of rejoier, rejoir, from re- + joir to welcome, enjoy, from Latin gaudēre to be glad…”
My prayer is that you are able to find joy in your day and share that with those who come in contact with today!
“O Lord, the God who saves me, day and night I cry out before you. May my prayer come before you; turn your ear to my cry.” Psalm 88:1-2
Wow. If you read through Psalm 88 you will see it is full of a lot of loss. It is good to read through it and know that I am not the only one who has felt devastation.
Even though the circumstances are not identical, we each travel through seasons of loss and discouragement. If you are in a good place now, I am sure you can recall the emotions and grief of a difficult time. If you know someone going through a time of loss, please pray for them. Let them know you are praying for them. And, if you can, take time to walk alongside them.
I know my faith has grown in times of struggle but those times always seems to come with a “breaking point” where things are so difficult that I am not sure I can handle one more problem. Standing “in the gap” with someone (through prayer and encouragement and reminders of God’s provision) can be hard and yet so beneficial to the person struggling.
“Do not be overawed when a man grows rich, when the splendor of his house increases; for he will take nothing with him when he dies, his splendor will not descend with him.” Psalm 49:16-17
People often pursue success relentlessly. There are many different perspectives on what is considered successful and many of them have to do with money, position, and power. It is very easy to get caught up in the world’s definition of success because we are bombarded with so many messages about what the world considers successful.
Think for a bit about what you consider successful. Then take a few minutes to evaluate the path your are on and how it aligns with what you value. Then take some time to be in prayer and God’s Word to see if there are some adjustments you need to make. For me, it is easy to be swayed to believe what the world says about success because there are so many images and messages that are out there, trying to influence me.
Riches are not the problem….but riches at the expense of others definitely can be.
It is easy to look at others and think about how I would live my life differently if I was in their shoes. It is much more difficult to consider where I am and what I have and how to align my path to the things God considers of value.
I will be praying for God’s wisdom and discernment as I think about how I define success.
There is so much in Psalm 103 that I wanted to hang out here another day!
“For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” Psalm 103:11-12
Moving through Lent, a season of repentance, can be a little heavy. Reflecting on my need for a Savior is sobering and that is good, but when I am feeling really weighted down by confessed and forgiven sin, then I know God isn’t behind it. Will I have natural consequences from my sin that I live with? Likely yes, but the promise above reminds me He will not hold it over my head.
Now, that is a relief! Jesus went to the cross in my stead!
I do find it rather amazing that God can redeem our past.
Amazing and liberating!
I love how God transforms lives! Yes, there is a time to reflect, repent, and seek forgiveness and restoration.
“Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations. Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world; from everlasting to everlasting you are God.” Psalm 90:1-2
One thing I am always reminded of when I read Scripture is that it involves generations–time after time….from the beginning of time until the end of time…so many people and time periods….
You might not have generations of believers in your earthly family line, but you can look to the generations of believers and know you are a part of a spiritual family of believers. And, you can be the one God uses to impact your earthly family line with His message of love, mercy, forgiveness, reconciliation, and grace.
God has the big picture and uses all generations to share His Good Word. Today I am giving thanks for the many previous generations as well as those to come. May we each share the pieces of His-story to the generations!
“But you, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.” Psalm 86:15
I think Psalm 86 is full of comfort and encouragement that it was really hard to pick just one snippet to feature. You may find that a different one that speaks to you as you read through it. If so, don’t hesitate to share it!
I am including another song by John Michael Talbot because I really like it and I particularly this album. Enjoy!