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Christianity 0ut of the Box


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Upstairs or Downstairs?


Getting hooked on 18th- to 19th century protocol is easy if you watch “Downton Abbey.” Admitting this backdrop of history has taken America by storm is an understatement.  Here we are at the end of football season and “Carson” brings as much attention as does the playoffs.abbey house

The storyline is tense and at times “quirky” but very old English at its core. Interestingly is the downstairs servants quarters is as exciting as the Aristocratic “Crawley” family drama upstairs. Either way there are few dull moments even with an elaborate table of exquisite china set for a bunch of prudish, gossiping, wealthy tea lovers.

When my husband and I began watching this sequel of histrionic theater I began questioning the “class” system that is so prevalently displayed.

Upstairs were the lives of the rich and famous.
Downstairs were the lives of those born to serve those rich and famous.

Upstairs were the affluent and educated of society. The men spent their time hunting, playing poker and smoking smelly cigars. The women strolled around in ugly hoop skirts eventually becoming the very unflattering “Flapper Dress.”  Hair was covered in a Pompadour Hair Frame that worked well with the Edwardian Hats. Evening wear included ornamentation such as feathers. Sorry, but the “fashion designers” would not have sold much to me.Lady with an Ostrich feather hat

Downstairs the servants and maids worked long hard hours making sure the upstairs was fit for the elite crowd. .  As employment went, many preferred to work in these great homes of the wealthy opposed to farm labor or worse.

The difference in living upstairs or downstairs depended a great deal on your inheritance or quality. Whatever your status was when you were born became your legacy.  Great emphasis was placed on keeping the sacred family line a tradition. Unfortunately the Christian church encouraged these classifications to continue blood lines. Due to such a breach of life, thriving any higher for those who were born downstairs was almost impossible.

downton-abbey-servants

The truth statistically was only 2-3% of the general population were considered aristocratic or of noble descent.

“Lifestyles of the rich and famous” was not advocated in the Bible, but neither was class warfare.

Galatians 6:10 “So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.”

It is no secret Jesus fondness for the Pharisees was less than desirable. His unique responses or reactions to their accusations left these men of educated fervor constantly wondering what he was going to do next. He referenced his wisdom with mystery.

The scene he made in the temple revealed “justified anger.” His emotional love for the Father and his House wasn’t questioned once he began turning over tables of money. (Matthew 21:12)

The actions Jesus mirrored when he rescued the woman caught in adultery were priceless. Who would think to bend over in the middle of a public accusation to write in the sand? What did he write? Was he passing time? Was he waiting for the other half of the accused to show up?

Hopefully one day we will know what he wrote. But his delay or pause created a sense of anxiety and frustration in the Pharisees.  Handing them a rock to be the first to throw at her was unexpected especially when he added “if none of you have ever sinned…”

Jesus was fair, balanced and the master of charismatic expression. His perfect oratory qualities could minister to the poor or shift the tone in a room full of hypocritical Jewish leaders.

His example of heeding the call to the truth lends to impartiality. No lie comes from the truth. When truth prevails there is no bias. Therefore what is true for one person is true for the next person.

In other words, there should never be an “upstairs or downstairs.”

God wants us all on the same floor; his floor.

“Jesus Told Us Where to Find Him. Just Look for an Outcast.”

Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove


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A Funny thing happened while trying to shop…


Shopping for clothes for me is a chore. Buying shoes is an activity I put off until my shoes are lined with holes and stripped of color.  This is a result of stores who buy few petites and size 5.5 shoes.

I have never understood how designers/clothing shops charge more for petite apparel when the amount of fabric used is minimal compared to Misses or Women’s fashions.

After surfing online stores for Jeans relentlessly with little or no good results I headed out to the Mall.a58606

By the 3rd or 4th stop, discouragement set in. Frustrated that 6 inches of extra denim hanging from my feet came with every pair I tried on was not my idea of a fun shopping spree. Buying new Jeans was a necessity and the only reason I attempted this hunt.

The decision to continue seemed useless, but on the way home my car pulled into the parking lot of TJ Maxx.

Scouring through racks of Jeans the story was the same. The extra denim covered my feet and dragged the floor. So much for a positive attitude.

No area was set aside as a Petite department. Searching for a clerk to aid me in my “nervous breakdown” the only one around was the cashier. The check- out counter is positioned so you have to get in line at least 10 feet from her.
In between me and the clerk was an added 5 feet so my only thought was to speak loudly so she could hear me.

Waving my hand at her like a clown, a spontaneous expression of my delusional state spewed forth.

“ARE THERE ANY STORES THAT SELL JEANS FOR SHORT PEOPLE ANYMORE?”

The 20 or so people standing around burst into laughter as if I was trying to be funny. Well, I wasn’t.
But at least the droll faces lit up and it made me feel better!

All of a sudden customers rushed to help me.

You will be happy to know 2 pairs of Jeans were found that didn’t trail behind me with denim to go.

1timothy6_7-8

Copyright @ 2013 All Rights Reserved


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That One Sock


You know. The sock that gets lost in the washer or dryer. The sock you can’t find which leaves its partner all alone and sad.

Hours or days may go by before the lone sock re-appears. You have searched high and low, through the dirty clothes basket, or better yet behind the junk in your husband’s closet. After all, it is his sock that has gone missing.

Who knows what he does with his socks?

Leaves them in the car?

Takes them hunting?

Goes on a business trip?

The lone sock could be anywhere from hiding in his closet floor to Missouri.

What do you do?

Give up?

Keep looking?

Pray?

Or place the sock you have in the open where you are reminded of the lost sock?

The sock is not rendered completely useless;  it has just gone on a trip. Temporarily.

As you unload the dryer and dump the clothes on the bed, you begin to fold them.

The husband’s t-shirts are crumpled up so you shake them. All of a sudden the lone sock falls out of the sleeve. What or how did it get in there?

Who cares? You found the lost sock.

So, if you think about it, the sock really wasn’t missing. It was tucked away in a shirt. Safe. Warm. Protected.

But now, the sock is clean and ready to be re-united with its obvious match.

These two socks are like people and God. Just when we think God has taken a very long vacation, he re-appears wearing sunglasses and tanned.

God says, “I didn’t think you wanted me around so I took some much needed time off.”

People: “God, we are so sorry. We somehow missed the turn off and got lost. Will you forgive us? We know we goofed up and sinned, but we really need you to stay.”

God: “The truth is I was never far away from any of you. I don’t hang around making myself known where I am not wanted.  And a little sun is good for all of us. We all need that Vitamin D.”

People: “So, God, you aren’t angry with us? We walked away; turned the other cheek.”

God: “No, I’m not angry. I am your Heavenly Father who loves you more than you can imagine. That is why I always know where you are even if you don’t know where you are.”

People: “God, you got that right! We never want to go there again. Misery, anguish, hate; evil was all around us. That’s why we cried out to you. We went looking for you behind podiums, trees, deserts and green fields. We searched for you in the middle of the protests, riots and wars. Where were you?”

2 Chronicles 7:14 “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

God: “Oh, I was in all those places, but the noise and hate filled words kept you from finding me. So, I came back here.”

People: “Yeah, God, we never expected to find you here. You’ve been gone from this place for many years. Why here now?”

God: “You know this is my throne. Always was and always will be. But when my people go astray I basically leave them to do their own thing. It may look like someone else has been on my throne, but this chair isn’t large enough for anyone else but me.”

People: “But God, you’re sitting in the President’s chair in the Oval Office of the White House. What does this mean?”

God: “Well, you know you kicked me out of the schools some 40 years ago and it was downhill after that; but many of you have been diligently praying and asking me to return. I have heard your cries and as I did with the Israelites, I will do for you. After all this became my home in 1776, I believe. So I have come home.”

People: God, does this mean you are going to be running things again?”

God: “Oh, my dear children; you do make me laugh! I was always running things; I just let you have your way for a while, so I took a break by moving out of your way.”

People: “But God, what about all these people in the White House now? They are still here.”

God: “Oh, my dear children. Again you make me laugh. They won’t be here for long. I promised you great blessings if you repented and prayed. I promised I would heal your land and that is in the process right now. Do not worry my children, for this chair is meant for someone else, come November. In fact, I will be bringing in a whole new crew.”

http://jonesingafter40.wordpress.com/2012/09/27/occupied/

http://theriverministries.net/2012/09/27/how-big-is-your-faith/

http://samuelatgilgal.wordpress.com/2012/09/26/morality-and-religion/

http://thefaithbook.wordpress.com/2012/09/27/40-days-of-prayer/

Copyright @ 2012 All Rights Reserved


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“These Shoes Were Made for Walkin”


These shoes were made for “walkin” and that is what they’ve done.

Some shoes are meant to last. As you can see from this picture, this pair is as old as our cat and she is 10.

This pair of tennis shoes were designed especially for my weakened ankles. After a bad sprain, I splurged on this expensive investment.

However no one can say I haven’t gotten my money’s worth out of this pair of beat up, worn out, and torn shoes.

As dilapidated as they appear, I can’t seem to dispose of them. Like a fixture, these shoes hold more than years of wear and tear.

In their day they were quite sharp looking. Still quite comfortable and supportive, these shoes have more than done their job. It is apparent by their creases, wrinkles and loss of color I have worn them a great deal.

Besides the fact these shoes have been worth the extra cost; attached to them are memories; trips, people, places and hardships.

How long do I hold on to them? Until they fall apart? Or when they no longer support my ankles?

One reason to keep them is finding shoes to fit me is not easy. Wearing a size 6 medium or 5.5 are hard to find. Shoemakers don’t make as many as the larger sizes so fewer are made in the smaller ones.

Another reason to keep them is they still have some life left to bum around in.

If for no other reason, keeping them reminds me of lessons learned.

For instance. The person who bought these shoes 10 years ago is completely different than the one wearing them today. And that is a good thing. Isn’t that strange? When I walk down EasySpirit memory lane, my spiritual journey took off during year 4 of their usefulness.

The time frame is recognizable.

The left shoe had no hole in it.

There were few creases or wrinkles.

EasySpirit walked me through getting to know God.

Just as these battered and broken down shoes had a life of their own, it is a vague remembrance of the first few years of wearing them. Fresh and new,
I wouldn’t recognize them now.

And so it has become with me.

As tennis shoes are made for “walkin” so are we made for a purpose. Everyone has assignments from God. It is up to us to discover it. Uniquely planned, early on glimpses are revealed.

One thing is for sure. No one will ever understand what God has told you to do with your life. No one.

There is no need for explanation. There is no need for clarity.

Our particular assignments, should we wish to accept them, will intimidate, anger, infuriate and cause discomfort in those who have never found their destiny.

The general public cannot wrap their minds around the bigness of God and the future he lays forth for those who seek him. Yet, it is there, hiding in the background of every conversation and action.

In the purpose arises disappointment due to a lack of approval from those around us. Disappointment makes us reach for God because it breaks the dependency on another human being.

God knew we would need to depend solely on him to survive. False security is found elsewhere.

So….as these shoes continue walkin’ in their shabby, frayed state, the destination is now clear.

These shoes were made for walkin’ behind a brand new pair of brown sandals; the sandals of the King.

http://samuelatgilgal.wordpress.com/2012/09/02/daily-triumph/

http://theteentheme.wordpress.com/2012/09/01/behind-the-scenes/

http://settledinheaven.wordpress.com/2012/09/02/find-comfort-in-gods-word/

http://www.poetseers.org/the-great-poets/misc-2/footprints-in-the-sand/

Copyright @ 2012 All Rights Reserved


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A Tub Full of Garments of Praise


Laundry is never-ending.
Once you get a load finished mysterious
items get thrown into the basket to be washed.
The culprit is never seen adding to the dismal workload;
only the remnants of their dirty life.

Remarkably washing certain items such as money, pocket knives, cell phones, wallets, receipts, or foreign objects you have never seen before manage to escape the ocean in the machine. Or almost.

If you ever wash a cell phone let me know. The discovery made was a perilous moment but saving the phone was acquired through quick thinking and of course google.

Pocket knives have also made it into the tub. These tricky little tools manage to hide deep down in the pants pockets camouflaging their existence. This little mistake we will keep to ourselves. What some people don’t know won’t hurt them unless it begins to rust or fall apart.

In the summer clothes get thrown on the floor after the farmer has been to his garden. After a few hours in the dirt with the sun beating down on you, clothes begin to take on a dingy color, a pungent odor and are drenched in sweat. Whew……..the vegetables he brings home help to make up for the raunchy garb.

A great time of year for laundry is “deer season.” Yep. I have nothing to do with hunting anything unless it is my glasses or feisty cat.  Deer hunting season is about to start and with it comes a ritual of Camo wearing overalls, matching hat, gloves and long underwear in winter. Only these particular pieces of clothing have to be washed separately from everything else in “Scent Away.”

Evidently deer have a very keen sense of smell. Once given a lesson in deer hunting that I didn’t ask for I was taught you can’t wear anything on your clothes or body that has a scent, odor or smell. The deer will run the other way.

Not that I would think of doing this, but being a lover of all animals as I am, accidentally washing hunting clothes in Fresh Spring Lilac detergent would never cross my mind.

However nothing compares to the offensive stench of deep-sea, damp fishing clothes left in the sweltering oven like garage. This occurs when one forgets to inform the maid of the putrid smelling apparel. Once discovered, don’t ever wash with anything else and expect to use double amounts of detergent and hot water.

The question, “why do fish smell so bad?” is one for God.

Filthy, nasty clothes are not on my “favorites” list, but it is no match for our hearts.

God sees transparently through each one of us. What is the Bible verse?

Matthew 6:21 “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

When God looks at your heart what does he see?

Isaiah 61:3 says, “They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.”

The Prophet was referencing the “Oaks of Righteousness” as representative of the
Israelites growing and receiving all that is good from God.

God wants comfort given to those in mourning.

Joy and beauty for ashes.

A garment of praise instead of despair.

And oak trees with firmly planted roots to grow and flourish for his own display.

Sounds like God is in the business of cleaning things up.

Sounds like God owns a Kenmore.

http://samuelatgilgal.wordpress.com/2012/07/25/the-kingdom/

http://theriverministries.net/2012/07/25/symbols-of-the-word-fire/

http://larrywho.wordpress.com/2012/07/25/im-a-radical-what-about-you-part-4/

http://highlyfavored74.wordpress.com/2012/07/25/are-you-full-of-yourself/

Copyright @ 2012 All Rights Reserved