Saturday, January 11, 2014
My wife is a tea drinker. I used to always make her a cup of tea in the morning but then our schedules changed. I still make her tea occasionally on the weekends or on days off. My wife loves her tea! My wife loves her tea SO much that she has gotten a reputation as a "tea drinker." Shameful! People give her tea as gifts or even tea mugs or cups. She got a mug from her sister this past Christmas that said, "Everything tastes better with cat hair in it." Can you tell we have two cats? And that I have a very funny sister-in-law?
There are different types of teas. My wife likes regular Lipton's Tea. She likes to let the tea bag sit in her cup a long time, making her tea really strong. Then she squeezes out the teabag and puts a teaspoon of sugar in the cup. Mmm . . . I guess. I've never had hot tea.
My wife's parents like flavored teas - orange, spice, blackberry, there's all kinds of different flavors. Designer teas. There are all kinds of colors too - black, green, red, they have them all. Even WHITE tea which sounds like it might just be . . . water . . . but I'm not sure. Her parents brew their tea differently than my wife does though. Where my wife uses one tea bag per cup, her parents use one tea bag for an entire pot of tea. That makes their tea a lot weaker than my wife's, more diluted.
My brother and his wife like Chai tea. I guess it's tea with some other stuff in it. I've never had any of that tea either so I don't know. Everybody likes "their tea" because they make it themselves for themselves. Somebody else's tea just doesn't taste the same as "MY TEA."
The point is, there are so many different beliefs and faith, how do we know which on is the right one? Is there a "God-approved" version? Everyone will tell you that THEIR church is the right one. But if there is only one "right one" does that mean that all of the others are wrong? Or "less right"? If there even is such a thing.
As I read through the Bible there are many truths I can "take away" from my readings. The first this is that God is incredible, indestructible, all-knowing, all-seeing, and indescribable. We humans cannot even begin to understand Him. Yet we always seem to try. We always need an answer for everything and we always have to analyze the "whys" and the "how comes." God IS. He doesn't need to be defended. He simply IS!
Another thing I discovered while reading the Bible is that there are no "denominations." There are only believers . . . and those who do not follow The Way. Denominations, like most religions themselves, are man-made things. Except for when Jesus said of Peter, "On this rock I will build my church (Matthew 16:18)." In my opinion, denominations were formed by somebody disagreeing with somebody else. Therefore they, in effect, took their ball and went home. Something like that.
When Jesus told Peter, "On this rock I will build my church," notice Jesus didn't say churches, as in plural. He also didn't say, "On this rock I will build many churches with many different denominations whose number will be like the grains of sand in the desert." Nope. One church - the body of believers.
His Word also says this, spoken right before our instructions about taking communion.
"17 But in the following instructions I do not commend you, because when you come together it is not for the better but for the worse. 18 For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you. And I believe it in part, 19 for there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized." - 1 Corinthians 11:17-19
Although this instruction was not aimed at my topic for today, it speaks of how early and how easily we can stray from what God wants for us. For example, I know of churches who will not allow a non-church member to take communion because they are unsure of the visitor's faith. They also will not receive communion at another church because they feel the other church may be "inferior" to theirs. Not only is that judgmental but it goes against scripture and the very nature of God. Didn't Jesus die for the sins of all? They shouldn't ALL be allowed to profess their faith by participating in communion? NOT good.
Brothers and sisters, there is to be but ONE church. We are to follow ONE God, the God of the Bible. The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Not some "ala carte" God we made up of only the character traits WE like."
We are to be drinkers of Jesus Christ, and drink Him straight. Somewhere, long ago, someone dried some tea leaves, put them in water, and noticed they flavor was good. But then, just as we humans are want to do, we modified it, changed it, added things to it, until we arrived at something more to OUR liking. Different teas are okay, God placed all the other ingredients on earth for us to enjoy as well. But we are not supposed to change our beliefs from what God provided for us. We're not supposed to be adding things, trying this and that, until we arrive at a God we like more than the one that truly exists. God is God. Period. Exclamation mark!
My mother is a tea drinker. She drinks is straight. No added flavorings, no sweeteners. no additives - straight, hot, and often. Let the same be said of us and our faith.
So let us rejoice as we drink our tea, whether it be hot or cold, flavored or spiced. But let us ALWAYS worship the one, true God, straight. As is . . .
"8 Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him." - Psalm 34:8
"So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." - 1 Corinthians 10:31