..........Contact me at Mom25dogs@gmail.com.........

Contact me at Mom25dogs@gmail.com

Saturday, April 05, 2008

A Rainy Day

It was a rainy day. The ending of a mostly rainy week. We had a thunderstorm last night that knocked a lot of the crabapple blooms off.

I got happy with the camera and taking photos with the crabapple blooms with water drops:

Here are some photos of my dripping wet, solid-with-blooms Carolina Jessamine.

To brighten the day, I made some comfort food. I made us some of my cabbage chowder and a tossed salad with slices of avocado on top.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Poison Ivy and Poison Oak

Poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac are plants that contain an irritating, oily sap called urushiol. Urushiol triggers an allergic reaction when it comes into contact with skin, resulting in an itchy rash, which can appear within hours of exposure or up to several days later. A person can be exposed to urushiol directly or by touching objects -- such as gardening tools, camping equipment and even a pet's fur -- that have come into contact with the sap of one of the poison plants. poison sumac is far more virulent than its relatives poison ivy and poison oak. According to some botanists, poison sumac is the most toxic plant species in the United States

Urushiol is found in all parts of these plants, including the leaves, stems and roots, and is even present after the plant has died. Urushiol is absorbed quickly into the skin. It can also be inhaled if the poison plants are burned. The smoke may expose not only the skin to the chemical but also the nasal passages, throat and lungs. Inhaled urushiol can cause a very serious allergic reaction.

The affected area will get red and swollen. A day or so later, small blisters will begin to form, and the rash will become very itchy. During this time, it's important to try to keep from scratching the blisters. Bacteria from under your fingernails can get into the blisters and cause an infection. After about a week, the blisters will start to dry up and the rash will start to go away.

Once a rash starts to develop, there are several over-the-counter medications you can use to relieve the itching, including:
Hydrocortisone creams (brand name: Cortizone-10)
Calamine lotion
Antihistamine tablets (one brand name: Benadryl)
Oatmeal baths

You should call your doctor if:
You have fever over 100 degrees
The rash covers large areas of your body
The rash is in your eyes, mouth or on your genital area
There is pus coming from the blisters
The rash does not get better after a few days

Poison Oak

Poison Ivy
*Notice the vine is "hairy" and you will see these vines even when the leaves are gone.

Poison Sumac

Stan and Persephone

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Want To Learn About SC?

I found this website. It can be used with any state.



Today, I visited Calvary Christian Fellowship in Boiling Springs, SC. The pastor had a message on "Tolerance" that made me think. He started off with a definition of the traditional meaning of the word "tolerance". He said traditionally the definition of "tolerance" was the respect you gave other people even if you didn't agree with their actions or thoughts. You valued the human being and and showed them respect and consideration. In the Christian world, we say, "Love the sinner, hate the sin." This means that you value, respect and have compassion for the sinner but you don't accept and embrace the sin. The pastor said the definition of "tolerance", in today's culture, has radically changed. People think "tolerance" means you agree with them and embrace their actions or thoughts taking them as your own, regardless of how wrong they are and if you don't, you are accused of being intolerant, bigoted, prejudiced, a hate monger, phobic, etc.

I looked up some modern definitions of "Tolerance" through online dictionaries.

Tolerance - The capacity for or the practice of recognizing and respecting the beliefs or practices of others; sympathy or indulgence for beliefs or practices differing from or conflicting with one's own; freedom from bigotry or prejudice; the act of allowing something; allowable deviation from a standard; the capacity of the body to endure or become less responsive to a substance (as a drug) or a physiological insult especially with repeated use or exposure; relative capacity of an organism to grow or thrive when subjected to an unfavorable environmental factor; the ability to endure. Some synonyms suggested are open mindedness, forbearance, indulgence, liberalism, understanding, compassion, etc. "Tolerance" and "Toleration" are terms used to describe attitudes and practices that prohibit discrimination against those practices or group memberships that may be disapproved of by those in the majority.

I believe God is in the balance. On this subject it is easy to stray too far to the right or the left of the center. We must love others as Christ loves us and, yet, people think "love" is all gooey, mushy, sentimental and marshmallowy. On the contrary, love is hard and you have to make hard decisions. If you truly love someone, you want what is best for them. Sometimes this means you have to do unpopular things. For instance, your teenager wants to go to a party but you know they shouldn't go and could get into real trouble. So you say, "No". As most parents of teens know, this will illicit screams, squals and dramatic statements like, "You don't love me!" ; "I hate you!" ; "You don't trust me!"; etc. Of course, it would be easier to give in and let your young person go to the party and just hope for the best. That way your teen will give you a kiss, a "Thank you", and you will feel all mushy and gooey with "love". But, later on that night, you might get a call from your teen who is in jail for drinking and driving and who now has a police record with a suspended license and a hefty fine. Because you didn't stand your ground, be the parent and do the right thing, your teen has consequences that will be with them the rest of their life.

God loves us more than any human being could ever imagine. Much more than we can even love our children or spouses. And, yet, He has to make hard calls sometimes because He knows the consequences of sin or how things affect us. He tailor made us so He knows everthing about us and what needs to be done in our life. He knows the future. He knows all the variables involved. He knows the right timing. He has to be the Father and sometimes we don't like it.

For instance, He knows that in the year 2008, you will find the mate that He has been grooming for you all your life. But it's only 2006 and you've met the person you think is the perfect person. You think you know better and this is THE ONE! But God allows this person to fall in love with someone else and you are devastated. You can't imagine why God would allow this and take away the one true love of your life. You get mad, stomp your feet, question God, cry, pitch a fit, etc. God, as the parent, knows He is doing what is best for you and what is going to bring about His purposes for your life. He doesn't cave in despite all your pleading, praying, crying and questioning. He does what is best and He does it at the right time. He would rather you cry awhile and have to wait because the wait will be worth it. If He gives in to your demands and gives you what you think you want you would be miserable for the rest of your life. You may never know, in this lifetime, why God did some things but you can trust it was for your best interests. Or, years later, you may find out that the person you were so in love with turned out to be a drunkard who molests children and you realize how close you came to ruination. Or, maybe the very next day, you find out a car wreck occurred about the same time you would have been going through an intersection if you hadn't been delayed by something that made you so mad at the time.

How does this pertain to "tolerance"? We are suppose to love people, care for them. but does this mean we should accept them as they are, sin and all? Do we pat them on the head, tell them we love them and let them continue on in their sin as though it didn't matter? Here is what the pastor (and I) think...You love and have compassion for the person, respect them as fellow creatures created by the same God in God's image. You are equally valuable to God. You can try to love them, help them, care for them but to do that you have to point them to Christ who can save them from the bondage of their sin. If we "love" them but never confront them about their sin and lead them to Christ, then we aren't really loving them. What kind of "love" would allow our friend to wallow in sinking sand knowing that they will continue to sink until they suffocate and die a horrible death? We may get yelled at (like the parent by the teen above), misunderstood (like God was misunderstood by the lover above), but we are trying to save them by pointing out their need for Christ, forgiveness and salvation. We are trying to insure their eternity in heaven. This is true love.

So we try to find the balance of respect, love and compassion for our fellowman and, yet, try to point them to the Lord. We don't embrace their sin and agree with them that it's right. We tolerate the person, we respect that they are different from us and yet, the same. Equally God's creations. We value their life. But we don't tolerate sin and accomodate it as normal and OK. If the Bible says it's sin, it's sin no matter what society thinks. My sin is just as sinful as the other person's sin so I must not be self righteous and hateful, proud or mean. I'm a sinner and I need repentance and forgiveness just as much as the other person. We must encourage each other to go to Christ and repent and recieve our forgiveness. I'm no better and they are no better. We are equally sinners.

Keeping this balance is hard and we all fall off the balance at some time because we are humans. But we should strive to show the right amount of tolerance and yet, be truly loving by directing fellow sinners to Christ.

Here are some scriptures. (italics mine)

II Timothy 2: 24, "And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will."

James 5:19-20 My friends, if any followers have wandered away from the truth, you should try to lead them back. If you turn sinners from the wrong way, you will save them from death, and many of their sins will be forgiven.
-We are not accuse and exclaim against an erring brother, and seek to bring reproaches and calamities upon him, but to convert him: and, if we cannot do this, we are nowhere told to persecute and destroy him. We are to pray for them.

Jude 1:23 Rescue any who need to be saved, as you would rescue someone from a fire. Then with fear in your own hearts, have mercy on everyone who needs it. But hate even the clothes of those who have been made dirty by their filthy deeds.
-"We must watch over one another; faithfully, yet prudently reprove each other, and set a good example to all about us. This must be done with compassion, making a difference between the weak and the wilful. Some we must treat with tenderness. Others save with fear; urging the terrors of the Lord. All endeavours must be joined with decided abhorrence of crimes, and care be taken to avoid whatever led to, or was connected with fellowship with them, in works of darkness, keeping far from what is, or appears to be evil." Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary
We are to distance ourselves from evil, avoid sin and the appearance of sin. We can so easily get tempted and ensnared ourselves if we don't have a healthy fear of sin and do all we can to thrust it away from us. This does not mean we should hate the sinner but hate the sin and be afraid of ourselves falling into sin. And, if the sinner does not repent, after we do all we know to do, then we are to distance ourselves from them and pray for them.

Luke 7:36-50 A Pharisee invited Jesus to have dinner with him. So Jesus went to the Pharisee's home and got ready to eat. When a sinful woman in that town found out that Jesus was there, she bought an expensive bottle of perfume. Then she came and stood behind Jesus. She cried and started washing his feet with her tears and drying them with her hair. The woman kissed his feet and poured the perfume on them. The Pharisee who had invited Jesus saw this and said to himself, "If this man really were a prophet, he would know what kind of woman is touching him! He would know that she is a sinner." Jesus said to the Pharisee, "Simon, I have something to say to you." "Teacher, what is it?" Simon replied. Jesus told him, "Two people were in debt to a moneylender. One of them owed him five hundred silver coins, and the other owed him fifty. Since neither of them could pay him back, the moneylender said that they didn't have to pay him anything. Which one of them will like him more?" Simon answered, "I suppose it would be the one who had owed more and didn't have to pay it back." "You are right," Jesus said. He turned toward the woman and said to Simon, "Have you noticed this woman? When I came into your home, you didn't give me any water so I could wash my feet. But she has washed my feet with her tears and dried them with her hair. You didn't greet me with a kiss, but from the time I came in, she has not stopped kissing my feet. You didn't even pour olive oil on my head, but she has poured expensive perfume on my feet. So I tell you that all her sins are forgiven, and that is why she has shown great love. But anyone who has been forgiven for only a little will show only a little love." Then Jesus said to the woman, "Your sins are forgiven." Some other guests started saying to one another, "Who is this who dares to forgive sins?" But Jesus told the woman, "Because of your faith, you are now saved. May God give you peace!"
-Where this sinful woman had met with Christ before, or what words of His had brought life to her dead heart and a sense of divine pardon to her guilty soul, we don't know. The Pharisee did not tolerate her love of Christ and her way of showing her love, he was judgmental and intolerant in his thoughts and I'm sure it showed on his face. Christ, on the other hand, did not tolerate the sin but he tolerated the repentant sinner. He was interrupted by a woman in an all-male dinner of honor. She stopped the dinner, embarrassed Him by crying and anointing his feet before these town dignitaries. He knew the others were disgusted because she was making a scene and she was a woman, a notorious one at that. He could have reacted like the Pharisee and been indignant and intolerant. He could have commanded her to leave and meet him at a more appropriate moment or not to touch Him at all. But Jesus realized that her heart had been changed and she was full of love for Him because of her repentance. And He graciously allowed her to show her love as she felt compelled to. He didn't get embarrassed nor did He embarrass her. He had compassion for her and valued and respected her despite her gender, her awkward interruption or her former sins. Due to her humble repentance and sincere love for Him, He forgave her sins.

Luke 19:1-10 Jesus was going through Jericho, where a man named Zacchaeus lived. He was in charge of collecting taxes and was very rich. Jesus was heading his way, and Zacchaeus wanted to see what he was like. But Zacchaeus was a short man and could not see over the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree. When Jesus got there, he looked up and said, "Zacchaeus, hurry down! I want to stay with you today." Zacchaeus hurried down and gladly welcomed Jesus. Everyone who saw this started grumbling, "This man Zacchaeus is a sinner! And Jesus is going home to eat with him." Later that day Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, "I will give half of my property to the poor. And I will now pay back four times as much to everyone I have ever cheated." Jesus said to Zacchaeus, "Today you and your family have been saved, because you are a true son of Abraham. The Son of Man came to look for and to save people who are lost."
-Zacchaeus was also a notorious person in his town. Zacchaeus was a Jew and yet, he worked for the oprressive Roman government as a tax collector. Many Jews would see this as betrayal an would hate him just for this. Tax collectors were generally corrupt and took more in taxes than the government required and used it to feather their own nests. Much like corrupt government leaders today. But he had heard of Jesus Christ and he was desperate to meet Jesus. He became such a seeker that he forgot his dignity as Chief of Publicans and climbed a tree just to see Him. Jesus didn't come in a parade sitting on the back of an open convertible chariot with ribbons around Him that announced Him as King of the Jews. He did not have body guards, red carpet, etc. He was in a crowd and Zacchaeus couldn't get close enough to see Him. But something was happening in Zacchaeus' heart, he HAD TO SEE JESUS! Jesus opened Z.'s heart, and inclined it to receive Him. He that has a mind to know Christ, shall be known of him. Christ looked up into the tree, and saw Zaccheus. Z. came to see Christ, but he had little thought of being taken notice of by Christ. That was an honour too great. And Jesus knew him by name! Christ invited himself to Zaccheus's house. Z. joyfully made haste to recieve Jesus. His receiving him into his house was an indication of his receiving Him into his heart. During this dinner with Jesus, Zacchaeus evidently became a convert, a true believer, a sincere repentant.
Zaccheus gave proofs publicly that he is now a true convert. He does not look to be justified by his works, as the Pharisee; but by his good works he will, show the sincerity of his faith and repentance. He stood to be heard by all those in the room. He confessed with his mouth, publicly, with witnesses, but he spoke TO Christ. And Christ accepted his confession and repentance and Z. is saved. Did Christ tolerate sin? No. Did Christ tolerate the sinner? Yes. Did the murmuring complainers tolerate the sinner? No.

Luke 12:51-52 "Do you think that I came to bring peace to earth? No indeed! I came to make people choose sides. A family of five will be divided, with two of them against the other three. "
-"While Jesus fold us to love our neighbor and even our enemies, He did predict that Christianity would prove divisive...Now, the Scripture teaches we are to be at peace with all, inasmuch as it is up to us (Romans 12;18). But we are to put Christ first in our lives, even if that goes against the wishes of family members. True faith can elicit a hostile reaction, even when practiced with a gentle and humble spirit. The division that Christ talked about here is the natural outworking of unbelief reacting against godliness, or belief reacting against ungodlinesss." What If Jesus Had Never Been Born? by D. James Kennedy, 1994, pg 206

We must guard against self righteousness and meanness. But, despite all our good intentions, despite all our attempts to admonish others with a humble heart and to show them respect and yet show them Christ...we will still be misunderstood and treated with hostility simply because the message is about salvation through Jesus Christ. People react with hate because they hate Jesus. Some people are currently not saved and some people will refuse Christ to their dying breath. This means that you will be hated by those who are not saved at the time you are trying to win someone to Christ. Just like the Pharisee was disgusted by the woman who washed Jesus' feet. She was saved, but he was not (at that time). Hopefully, he later converted, but, at that time, he hated what was going on and despised Jesus for allowing it. Jesus warned us and we should not be surprised at the hatred and hostility that accompanies us. No one could have been more pure, good, loving and forgiving than Jesus and He was hated. He was ridiculously and deceitfully accused, tortured, reviled and executed.

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