“A Morning With God and Good Coffee”

Each morning as many Americans get up out of bed and head out to the kitchen, one of the first things that they reach for are the ingredients used in making one of the most popular morning beverages found in this country and many others; Coffee.

For many of us we cannot even think remotely close to straight until the first cup of coffee has been consumed. With some of the fumbling around witnessed by many a spouse or significant other, we could probably come up with some pretty funny episodes for a comedic stage-play.

Next after the coffee might be some sort of breakfast, whatever the makeup or even none at all.  Whatever the order, Coffee is used to start the day off. I believe there are also some studies out there that prove the fact that most people on the highway going to work are compared to being “buzzed” from alcohol because of their morning fogginess even after drinking coffee. Fact-check anyone?

Now that many of you are shaking your head north and south I want to take this to the next level.  Should we be starting our day with God first, before the Coffee?  By now some of you have caught on to the fact that I have been capitalizing the word Coffee.  Why?  Because we capitalize the name of God.  Has coffee become our god rather that the God we all know and serve?  Believe me when I say that I am right there with you.  My body’s first actions or muscle memories are to go straight to the coffee pot so I must also ask the same questions of myself and I am.

So as a Christian living today what tells us that God should come before my morning coffee? Now it might easy to turn to the Ten Commandments and recite the First Commandment, but there are some verses in Matthew that make it pretty clear where God and coffee are prioritized for Christians.  Matthew 22: 36 – 40 “36. ‘Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the law?’ 37. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind. 38. This is the first and great commandment. 39. And the second is like it; ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’. 40. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (NKJV).

My challenge to any of the followers of this blog is to first pray and worship God in the morning before our morning coffee. I would even offer that our morning coffee will taste much better after recognizing God in our lives first and it will also put our soul, mind, and body in a state ready to go through our day glorifying God.  The by-product of that being joy.

Tomorrow in my coffee I will be adding a heaping spoonful of joy because a good cup of coffee does not contain sugar, creamers or any other worldly additive; it takes God first to make it great.

“A What In The Room?”

The meeting began just as any other meeting with some small talk at the onset and then it was into the business at hand.  As the discussion commenced and the ideas flowed there was a point made as to the ownership of a certain item within a system.  This is when it happened, someone said; “You don’t want to make Satan mad.”

Once that statement was made there were giggles and additional statements about Lucifer with more giggles, laughter and a general acceptance of the name being used in the room made for business; secular and usually politically correct.

To say that whether this blogger was offended is actually irrelevant.  What is relevant is what would have happened if the name of Jesus Christ had been used; what then?

Actually I have seen it before in other meetings years past where the name of Jesus Christ has come up, but usually it was saved for cursing and not for edification.  I have heard the name used in a positive conversation, but it was soon stopped when other members to the meeting showed up because of either secular laws or policies.

Concerning the most recent meeting mentioned earlier I am quite certain that the name of Jesus would have not received the same attention that Satan’s did and this is what I find ironic.  Jesus died for every human being before during and after; what did Satan give – nothing.  I would also guess that almost everyone in that room calls themselves “Christian” and should know better if they do.

Additionally, when we as Christians find ourselves in these situations we must choose love and patience before we act.  Our cutoff should come when the name of God or Jesus Christ is taken in vain; it is then that we should again use love and patience to let it be known that not only do we find it inappropriate, but that God finds it unacceptable.  Either way it is a chance to talk to someone about Jesus Christ; use it.

Today, everyday and in every moment we owe Jesus Christ everything, because through Him we are able to connect to God.  Jesus Christ should not have a place in our society as “the elephant in the room”, rather He should be the cornerstone of everything we do, whether at work or at home.

Thankfulness and Praise to God Always!!!

“A Perspective of Salvation”

Today the world took another spin as we attempted to keep up with the momentum of time.  Each of us sees that rotation in many varying ways, which make us the unique species on this planet.

So are we that unique?  Well I think the answer is pretty obvious; we have a soul.  Even for those who say they don’t do and according to what we know in God’s Word to us, we are held responsible for the care and welfare of this planet. That should makes us qualified to carry out God’s wishes along with His ordnances.

This might be a point of disagreement and that is okay if it is, but our lives as Christians should not be to only wait patiently for Christ’s return or even death to carry us away to Heaven.  Actually we should be very busy to take care of Christ’s Kingdom here on earth as we were left as its caretakers until His return; whenever that may be.  Christ never tells us when; only to be ready.

So if we are to be busy prior to Christ’s return, then what exactly are we supposed to be doing?  We know that we are not saved by works, so then I must assume that we are “Saved for works” as stated by Dr. Joel McDurmon.  Knowing that Dr. McDurmon is a Theonomist makes my point more interesting.

Dr McDurmon comes from the idea that God’s Law must also be the civil law and we know that it is also the basis for our moral law.  This law also tells us that we are to care for God’s Kingdom along with its inhabitants.  We already know that the laws of God are just, but some may view them as “old”, “Jewish” or “no longer applicable”.  With the degraded society we live in that claims to be “modern”, “well-rounded” or even “fair”, for those descriptions I will simply disagree.

God’s Laws were and are fairly simple; yet difficult for even the best Jew to follow.  Considering the best and perfect Jew was Jesus Christ; perfection does not fall on any human being’s resume.  With this I am simply trying to understand how I as a Christian can be a better one and a proper steward of Christ’s Kingdom here on earth.

I greatly respect those whose knowledge of God far surpasses mine and for them I am grateful to God.  From these our faith is measured in how well we receive and discern their words concerning their interpretation of God’s Word, its meaning and symbolism.  Whatever God has wished me to glean from their teaching I will use it to strengthen my faith and my stance for Christ’s Kingdom.

As there are too many to mention I will thank Jeff Durbin, Dr Joel McDurmon and my current pastor for their teaching; they bring my soul the freshness and nearness of God each time I hear them speak.

“As the Sun Sets”

As the world turns yet again for another day and the sun goes under the horizon, my mind takes me into a place where everything and everyone I see I must give thanks. This might sound easy on the surface, but I also have to be thankful to those who were not necessarily nice to me or worth, in my mind, giving thanks to.

This might be the thoughts of others as well; not sure.  To give thanks or even forgiveness is not always easy, as human nature dictates that these two things can be considered as optional. However it works for any of us is, well…, up to us. But is it really?

We say that we have “free will”, but do we really? If sin is controlling certain aspects of our lives, do we truly have enough control to say that the decisions we make are actually free from anything, other than the sin that permeates our total being?  The only way to let these go is to not only give our sins up to God, but we have to remember forgiving others must be done first before we approach God with the burden we want lifted from us.

Jesus speaks in the parable of the Unforgiving Servant about forgiving others first. Matthew 18:32″Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. 33. Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you? 34. And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him. 35. ‘So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.”

As we go through our day as Christians, we know that not everyone we encounter believes what we do. Although this wall does exist, thankfulness and forgiveness are still understood by non-Christians.  Living for God is not easy and I too struggle with the secular challenges, so with that being said I do know that the days of not forgiving and keeping Jesus Christ under a rug of social acceptability are over.

So as the sun sets at the end of each day, take a moment to think about how to best thank someone or give forgiveness if needed. God’s judgements may sound harsh concerning forgiveness, but in reality the potential pain we can cause others by not following through with what God expects of us could actually be our last chance to do so since none of us are guaranteed tomorrow, but being judged before His seat is.

Matthew 16: 24,25;  “Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. 25. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.”

“A Piece of My Heart They Shall Forever Have”

Many of us have walked through stores and seen employees who live with limitations and must work harder than anyone else in the store to come up to what most of us consider normal or average.

For some people it is a momentary passing and a fleeting thought that appears or some of us think of how good it is that they are working and trying to be part of society and not a burden.  And then there those of us who either know are a family member to them.

For me as a father of a young adult with limitations, not only do I have thoughts into their trials in life, it is my heart that pulls so hard that it could come out of my chest because of the love I have for all of them.

I want to be their knight, their crusader, and their shield.  But there are also times I wish to carry their sword.  These can be one of the toughest times for a Christian when we have to choose between forgiveness and correction for those who forget that people with limitations are not to be discriminated against.  We are our brother’s keeper and must know that for those who cannot always speak for themselves we must.

If it were not an important issue we would not have laws in this country to protect those who are not able to do for themselves the things we take for granted every day.  There is a reason the laws God gave, Moses communicated and Jesus fulfilled were created and they were for the good of all humans, not just for a privileged few.  I believe for us it is a matter of task that we try to take them seriously and not just let bad things happen without somehow enforcing them where possible.  If not the laws, then at least the idea they represent must somehow be presented.

So the next time we see a person with limitations working in the stores we frequent, take a moment, tell them they are appreciated and are doing a great job.  Know that they are always giving their best, just as we should always give them ours.

“Finding Your Humble”

There might be times in our lives when God places people or things in our path to help us in “finding our humble”.  For me, today it happened when I sat down to start working on the next blog I wanted to write today.

To start my work I normally turn to my Bible for some inspiration that connects to my day.  Today I picked up a hymnal first and opened the book near the middle and it opened to a hymn numbered #496 and named “I Asked…God Answered”.  It was written by an Unknown Confederate Soldier.

“I asked God for strength, that I might achieve; I was made weak, that I might learn humbly to obey.

I asked for health, that I might do greater things; I was given infirmity that I might do better things.

I asked for riches, that I might be happy; I was given poverty, that I might be wise.

I asked for power, that I might have the praise of men; I was given weakness, that I might feel the need of God.

I asked for all things, that I might enjoy life; I was given life, that I might enjoy all things.

I got nothing that I asked for – but everything I had hoped for.

Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered.

I am, among all men, most richly blessed” (Schrader,2003. p.496).

After the day I had on Monday and Tuesday I thought I needed to be uplifted rather than being reminded of being humble.  After reading the above hymn I am convinced that it is being humble that makes me the most happy.  I will admit that there are times when I am in a low place when it happens, but in this case I was actually quite the opposite.

I find it very motivating that I found this hymn just by opening the book.  Not a single page was turned to search for anything else. The message was clear and understood.  I am thankful for what it contains for me, but I am also grateful that I am able to share with someone else who might also need it help them on their walk with God.

So if you didn’t find it here; get out there and go “find your humble!”

 

 

Reference

Schrader, Jack. (2003). “Sing Joyfully”. Tabernacle Publishing Company. Carol Stream, Illinois, 60188.

“Feel the Burn!”

Words from Sergeants who lovingly punished us during our physical training sessions, from the personal trainer who gets a kick out of watching you sweat and strain, from the latest and greatest workout video you bought through an infomercial.

Some days I wish those were some of the things I was encountering.  Lately it has been some pretty intense back pain that no only permeates my physical body, but also my mental state.  With the pain comes the challenge of keeping up the smiles and an image of “everything is A-OK”.

Some might say that this would be the time you need to turn to God and ask Him to help you deal with the pain.  I can agree with this up to a certain point.  As we are human we do have emotions and do feel the pain at differing levels.

So of course I am going to pose a question and it is this; “How am I supposed to approach God as it pertains to pain?”  Just when I think of asking God for help with the pain I think back to what the Bible tells us about what Jesus went through.  How can I possibly ask God for relief when he gave His own son for me in the most painful way possible?

I am in no way saying that we should not ask God for help in these situations, but should the request be more about thanks, than relief?  What I know from the Gospel is that through our suffering and sacrifice good things will come.  For whatever God’s reason I must go through this and through this I will learn or someone else will benefit.  My prayer is to simply be obedient.

Ultimately, I do believe that God’s plan is at work and where I fit in will be revealed to me when it is my time to fulfil my part.  Until then, it will be prayer, meditation in the Word and trying share Christ whenever and wherever possible.  Always forward…