Thursday, October 30, 2014

Why I Know Jesus Understands

There was a time when I hated to bother Jesus with my earthly worries and troubles. I knew he was the son of the Most High, seated at his right hand. How could he care about my somewhat minor, in the grand scheme of things, issues?

Then I remembered how he changed the water into wine for family friends at a little wedding feast so that the groom would not be embarrassed. Embarrassment - now that is certainly minor, right?

And then I remembered how he changed the few loaves and fishes into enough to feed the huge crowd who had gathered to hear his words of wisdom and love. A snack for the audience - now some would consider that to be minor, too, right?

And even better, the time he and Peter were approached to pay temple taxes and had no cash. He told Peter to catch a fish and the fish had a coin in its mouth, enough to pay those taxes. Not a fortune, but what they needed - some would consider that minor, too, right?

There is another angle to this. I remembered, too, that Jesus walked this earth for 33 years. He was a kid, he was a teen, he became a man. He ate, slept, washed, and worked with his father. He most likely had some cranky neighbors and some cranky customers. He saw all of life’s emotions and understands them - those pesky seven sins: anger, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony. I am sure he heard crude language, gossip and more. He felt hunger, exhaustion, and overwhelming burden.

He even asked his father to relieve him of his burden when he prayed before his capture.

Even more - he had no modern conveniences. Can we even imagine living without indoor plumbing, our gadgets, our fridge, our cars?

So now I do not hold back. Even the simplest of issues are none too simple to take to him. He is my Savior, in, oh, so many ways.

Sweet Loving Lord Jesus, thank you for what you did for us, for me. You gave the ultimate sacrifice. But you also lived a life here, just like I am doing. You know what people are like; you know what life here is like. Thank you so much for understanding my every want, need, fear, guilty pleasure, and emotional issue, and for helping me through them in wondrous ways.  

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Christian and Jewish Views on Tithing

Now that I am on indoor antenna/analog-to-digital-converter-box TV, I am limited in Sunday morning viewing choices. This morning I accidentally tuned in to Rabbi Vitz Wyne’s show and he was discussing giving to charity.

After I watched the entire episode, I became interested in the fact that never once did he refer to giving as a “tithe.” He kept referring to it as “giving to charity.”

Another thing I noticed was a reference to how much to give. Most Christian discussions advise that we give 10% off the “top” - the gross. However, Rabbi Wyne seemed to be saying it should be the “net.” In one case, he said that if we get $4000 a month and after taxes, have $3500 a month, we should give away $350. 

I then took it a step further and did an online search regarding the difference in Christian and Jewish concepts in tithing. I especially found these two links of great help in understanding those differences, and to me they make sense.

I had been trying to focus on the “gross” method because Jesus advised that we give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God, what is God’s, and I felt that the gross was what I got and needed to give the Lord 10% off of that. 

However, I now realize that today’s life is different than it was in the days when Jesus walked our world. Back then, they received their income - money for crops, for services rendered, for wages. They gave taxes “after” they received their funds.

Today, we have no choice in most cases. Our taxes come out before we even see the funds, and we do not have a choice in that amount. That changes the picture somewhat.

Also, having checked the two discussions in the links above, I also have a slightly different impression of what is expected of me. So I come away with a mixed decision.

I will still attempt to tithe, but off the “net.” And I will deal with tangible income, not intangible “gifts” which was beginning to make me crazy in the head trying to figure that out. 

I also give in other ways - the little group of seniors who I organized five years ago in our mobile home park who lovingly crochet and knit things for our local needy, and I split some of my food pantry blessings with a neighbor who has great difficulty getting out to go shopping, and so on.

Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, help me to grow in understanding regarding what you expect of me, and the differences between that and what I should additionally freely give from my heart. I am grateful for the internet these days and for the easy access to discussions on your teachings. Please continue to guide me while I grow in this area of my life. And thank you for any blessing that comes my way, tangible or intangible, as well as those who send it my way.   

Saturday, October 25, 2014

The True Value of Hymns

Ever since I cut off my contract TV service, I have been enjoying my audio and visual entertainment in old-fashioned ways. Lately, I’ve been playing CDs I’ve had around as well as some gifted to me by dear friends in the past week or so. I pop them into my PC while I deal with emails, the blog, and such. 

I’ve got everything from easy listening to golden oldies and more. I’ve been enjoying Mel Torme (you’re probably too young to remember him), old Blue Eyes, Patsy Cline, John Denver and others.

Tonight, something made me put on Disc 2 of a collection of 50 Hymns. Most have the lyrics with them and just a few are instrumental. Tonight’s collection reminded me how much I love some of my old favorites. I’ve especially enjoyed Were You There When They Crucified My Lord, How Great Thou Art, Amazing Grace, Oh God Our Help in Ages Past, Abide with Me and others. 

I am so happy that Silkie, my 3-year-old rescue cat, does not mind me singing aloud at the computer tonight. In fact, it seems to have put her into a deep and peaceful sleep. I couldn’t even coax her into the living room for her beloved brushing-session.

When the disc ended, I just replayed again because it soothed me so much tonight. I think we sometimes think of hymns as having a place only when we are at services. But this isn’t the first time I’ve enjoyed the peace and love they pour into my heart and soul while I am at home. Many times, an old favorite will pop into my mind and I’ll enjoy replaying it, in my mind, throughout the day.

It’s a joyful way to help me stay focused on our real purpose here on earth - to do his will, stay on the right path as much as we can, and keep our eyes on eternal salvation. It’s not the moment that I need to be into, it is the reward at the end of the road that I need to keep in mind as often as possible.

Father, thank you for the simple blessings and joy I am receiving tonight with these hymns. Thank you that my electric is on and my computer is running and I can share my thoughts about this joy with others. Bless them, too, with opportunities to consider the inspiration within beloved hymns as often as possible. And bless the authors of the words and music of these hymns, and if they are now with you, bless their descendants here on earth.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Got Super Glue All Over My Fingers - More Fun & Games

So funny, really. I just posted about how my lower dentures broke in half again, and I would be gluing them together.

Well, the tube I used wasn’t in the best of shape. The one part of the top that usually is removed so that you can pinpoint the exact spot for the glue was itself glued to the next part. So I had to use the larger mouth of the tube to direct the glue.

And, by now you realize, I managed to get the glue smeared on all the fingertips of my left hand except for the thumb.

Normally, you can easily remove it with nail polish remover, the kind with the acetone in it. I don’t have any around. I did an online search and found 7 ways for removal, including such household items as margarine, WD40, petroleum jelly, and more. I tried several, in succession, and have at least removed about half of it, but the rest will have to wear off in time.

Oh, and yes, I did manage to get the dentures put together correctly - at least I did that right. 

It could be worse - at least I didn’t have some other objects stuck to my fingertips just from grabbing things to wipe them off. It’s time to close up shop for the day before I do something else equally clumsy. 

Sometimes you just do things that are so dumb or awkward that you have to laugh at them. Can’t you see me laughing?

Fun & Games Tonight - Dentures Broke Again

Lower dentures broke in half again tonight. This is the third time in recent months: 7/14, 9/14 and today, 10/22. I’m trying to be more careful with my Super Glue routine tonight. I’m making sure both edges are totally dry before I apply the glue. And I’m praying that the Lord helps me hold them together just so while they bond those few moments. They will have a chance to completely “cure” overnight.

I am so grateful that this happened tonight, at home. I'm also grateful that I had already finished meals for the day. And as Colombo always says, "One more thing...," I'm also grateful that I have the glue in the house and I don't have to run out for some as I sometimes do.

Sweet Jesus, I realize that while you walked the earth, you and your family had to deal with far worse dental issues than we do today. For this reason, I know you understand my needs and that you are working on the bonding even now. Yet not my will, but the Father’s be done.