What Jesus Means To Me

Jesus Freaks. Holy Rollers. Bible Thumpers.

If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, it is probably assured that you have heard these unflattering, unkind, judgmental descriptions of Christians. I know I have, way more times than I care to count.

If you are not a believer, you may have even used these terms yourself, whether in your thoughts or even spoken the words out loud.

But what does it really mean to be a Christian?

By its own definition, a Christian is someone that follows Christ. This is what my Microsoft Works Dictionary says is the definition of Christian: “believer in Jesus Christ as savior: somebody whose religion is Christianity”

While man’s view may be correct in one sense, it is wrong in another sense. Man has put that label on those that are not Buddhist, Muslim, Jewish or atheist, to name a few. But, just because you are not one of these other religions, it does not make you a Christian in the true sense of the word.

A ‘true’ Christian is a follower of Jesus. Someone that believes He is the Messiah, the Savior, God’s Only Son. Someone that believes He is God in human form who came to this earth for the sole purpose of taking the punishment for our sins on himself. Someone that has confessed their sins and has accepted Him as their Savior. Someone that believes the Bible is the inspired Word of God, given to us for doctrine, reproof, correction, edification, that we may be complete, thoroughly equipped to do God’s work.

I understand that these may seem like generalizations, something that may be shrugged off as Biblical mumbo-jumbo. So, let me get personal.

Let me explain to you exactly what being a Christian means to me.

To me being a follower of Christ is the most important thing I can do. It is the deciding factor on whether I spend eternity in heaven or hell. It is having the assurance that my sins are forgiven, to be remembered no more by the God that Created me.

Still too general? OK.

It is also having a best friend that loves me unconditionally. That will never turn away from me even though I may move away from Him. It is knowing I have Someone that will fill me with His power and might to enable me to do the tasks He asks me to do.

He will not get me out of all of my problems or trials. He will not always keep me from persecutions or tribulations. But I know when I am in those valleys of despair, I only have to look to Him to get me through them with a peace and joy that no one else can give me.

When I am weak or tired or in pain, He gives me the strength to go on. When I am hurt or angry because of something someone has done to me, He gives me the ability to forgive and love them as He loves me.

He helps me to pray when I don’t know what to pray. He stands in the breach and intercedes for me when words fail me.

A crutch you say? Maybe. And I thank God every day for it.

He knew me and loved me before the foundations of the world. He knows my thoughts, my heart, even the number of hairs on my head. I am precious in His sight.

No matter where I go, or what I do, I know He is there before me; loving me, guiding me, lifting me up, leading me ever toward Him.

Jesus is my all in all, my beginning and my end. He is my joy unspeakable, my peace eternal. He is the lover of my soul. He is my Brother, with whom I share in God’s eternal reward. He is my King and my Lord.

I love Him with everything that is in me, and am not ashamed to say I am His.

© Drusilla Mott and https://drusillamott.wordpress.com, 2017

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TEA BAGS AND FAITH LESSONS – A Short Story

Back in 2012, I joined Pam Ford Davis’ group Tea Pot Testimony on Facebook.  In one of her posts, Pam asked what one does with a cup of tea that is full of bits of tea due to a broken tea bag.  As I thought about my answer, the idea for this story was born.  The memory of that first cup of tea is my own, shared with my mom and my Gramma Olcott when I was small.

Gramma went home to be with the Lord many years ago, and this past Saturday marked two years since my mom’s death.   I miss them both so much, and while trying to decide what to post for today’s fiction, I chose to re-post this story in their memory.

MOM & GRAMMA O OCT, 1988 b - Copy2

*   *   *   *   *

I stared out the window as the tea kettle began to steam, lost in thoughts of past tea times.  It was on afternoons such as this that made the emptiness of my heart pulse with an ache born of loss and grief.

Many had been the days when the three of us would settle at the scarred farmhouse table with a steaming pot of tea and whatever baked goods Gramma had whipped up for our time together.  Three generations of Olcott women, sharing hopes and dreams over spicy ginger snaps, dark molasses cookies or scones.

Many were the lessons learned as I sat with my mother and grandmother.  Learning the proper way to brew a pot of tea, learning the lessons of being a Godly wife and mother.

I remembered the day I had first been invited to join the gathering, growing the number to the three of us.  I had been just a child, secretly thrilled with the tiny cup and saucer that had been set in front of me.  I had watched in awe as the cup was filled half full of steaming tea, then watched as a spoon of sugar and a liberal amount of milk had been added.

I smiled slightly as I relived the moment of that first sip, the unimaginable pleasure of being allowed to share in such an adult ritual.  All these years later, no other cup of tea ever equaled the taste perfection of that first cup.

The tiny hiss of sound steadily grew until it reached an ear-piercing whistle.  I reached out and turned the knob to shut off the burner.   As I lifted the kettle to pour the water into the pot, tears stung the backs of my eyes, even as I smiled mistily.

When I had filled the pot and set the kettle back on the stove, I lifted the tiny ceramic lid and settled it back on the pot, closing in the scent and heat.  Lifting the tray, I carried it across the large kitchen and set it on the same old table that had taken up the center of the room for generations.

Even as I settled into my customary chair across from my mother, the emptiness of Gramma’s chair pulled the tears from my eyes to run down my cheeks.  Swiping my hand across my face, I swallowed and lifted the pot to fill the three cups that rested in their matching saucers.

An indrawn gasp filled the kitchen as I looked at the tiny bits of tea which swirled in the cups.

“Oh, no!”

I lifted the bags out of the pot, shaking my head at the large hole in one of them.  I closed my eyes in exasperation, then looked across at my mother.

“Don’t worry about it,”  she told me.  “Just get the strainer.”

I did as I was bid, and poured the tea from the cups back into the pot before using the strainer to catch the tiny bits of tea leaves as I refilled the cups.  As I did so, I was reminded of one of the most prominent lessons that I had learned during our afternoon tea times.

I glanced at the newcomer to the gatherings and studied the young face.  Love swelled in me as I met my daughter’s eyes.

“Did I ever tell you about the time great-gramma had this happen?”  I asked.  When my teenage daughter shook her head in the negative, I recounted the story.

On that afternoon so long ago, the tea bag had also been ripped.  When my grandmother had gone through the same process, she held up the tea strainer and pointed to the tea leaves that lay therein.

“Do you see these tea leaves?”  When I  had nodded, Gramma had continued.  “These tea leaves are like our lives before we accept Jesus as Savior.  They are the sin that fills us and contaminates our souls.  But when we are saved, that sin gets strained from our lives, leaving us with a clean soul and heart, just like the tea in your cup.”

My daughter smiled as she studied the tea in her cup, then grinned.  “Who would have thought that you could learn something about faith just sitting and having tea?”

 

© Drusilla Mott and https://drusillamott.wordpress.com, 2012, 2017