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Showing posts from December, 2011

Just a thought...

Are you one of those people that always tries to get the upper hand? May be you even use people to get your way. Let me share a simple cup with you today that you can share with someone else...
it really is about control...take a look at this acronym...


T he
Secret
I s
R eally
H aving
Control


CHRIST in control changes everything! Let Him take control of YOUR life today!

3 Things I Learned From Mickey

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It's been called the most magical place on earth: a place where dreams come true. Walt Disney World is filled with activities, music and of course, all of our favorite Disney characters. Christmas at Disney is another experience altogether. And when you add to the mix a Bowl Game and the Orlando Magic playing in town, the city is jammed with people. So many in fact that all of the theme parks had to restrict access due to there being too many people trying to get in!
In the midst of the hustle and bustle, the theme park rides and character sightings, I began to notice some things. There are 3 things that Mickey taught me.
1-our country's people do not appear to be broke
Either the recession is a myth or you and I will always pay for entertainment, regardless of our financial condition. As I ponied up my nearly one C note to get into the park, eat food and quench my thirst, I was "feeding the mouse" all day. And thousands of us were doing it! Maybe we still need an e…

Holy Experience

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Yesterday I visited a place where many spiritual moments in history are re-enacted. It was the Holy Land Experience in Orlando.
Walking the grounds you get a visual sense of the times and life of Jesus. Special programs helped to remind how you and I have been forgiven and loved by our heavenly Father.
I'm grateful today that I have come to the place where I realize God loves me and has great plans for my life. I encourage you to embrace that thought as well and let the Lord live through you and bless your life, your family and friends. Use these last few days of 2011 to thank God for another year. Even if you went through some challenges let me remind you that you are here today: pressing through and your victory may be today!
You too can have a "holy experience" right where you are!

Great Expectation

All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation... (1 Peter 1:3 NLT)
Are you filled with expectation today? How are you planning on crossing the threshold from 2011 into 2012? It is because of great mercy that you can have great expectation. Gods mercy is poured out upon all of those that pursue Him and choose to live for Him.
The same spirit that raised Jesus from the dead also lives in you! Draw close to the Lord as you come to the end of this year and let His great mercy cause you to expect great things!

Christmas Joy

Each day I like to take a walk wherever I may be. This past week I spent some time in South Florida. The weather was perfect and I embarked on my power-walk on Christmas Eve. 
I decided at one point in my walk to be adventurous and add another few blocks to he trip. After I walked use additional steps I realized that I was a bit lost. The only way I could find my way home was to follow the course that got me to where I was. 
This made he walk much longer but I enjoyed it all the same.  As I got back to the condo a lady in an SUV pulled right in front of me, rolled down her window and said, "somebody told me to give this to somebody and you are it!" she handed me a card that said CHRISTMAS JOY on the front and inside was a fifty dollar bill! Talk about joy!
I learned something that at that you may need to hear. Even though you may find your self in. Place where you feel lost, there may be another reason for the detour. You see if I had not added the blocks and time to my walk…
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It's the Most Wonderful Time...

As most of you already know I have been in full CHRISTmas mode for sometime now. I have been enjoying time with friends and family, wonderful performances filled with the story of the season and my heart has been filled with the joy that comes from singing the songs of the holidays.
As I was driving through south Florida this week, lost in the wonder that is CHRISTmas, I was startled with something that happens here all the time: impatient people in a hurry to get wherever! whenever a light changes here, if you are not taking off instantly, they honk at you to get moving! They honk so fast! And it happens over and over again.
As I made my turn I thanked the Lord that patience is having its way with me. I'm glad I have no place that I have to get to that fast. And I pray for all of those quick horn blowers!
How about you? Are you in a hurry and stressing out over the shopping, the meals or the family visits? Take a few deep breaths and ask God for some perfecting patience to help y…

Take a Step

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This Christmas I enjoyed the opportunity of recording with my youngest son. He had told me he had written a couple of songs and so I decided to take him into the studio to try and make a memory for all of us. Little did I know just how rewarding this would be for me and for Justin.
To watch the creation of something so important to him go from conception to realization was life changing.
It makes me think today of you and your dreams and desires. We know that the Lord wants to give you the desires of your heart. Still most of us fail to take steps forward to help bring those dreams about. Everything starts with a single step. You can't win if you won't begin.
What dream is asleep within you that God could help expose to the world? Take a step right now in the direction of your dreams. This may be your moment!
Take a moment today to check out Justin in the studio as his dreams came true! A double blessing occured as Brandon, my oldest son, took some video and put together th…

A Novel Idea

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Yesterday I encouraged you to spread some cheer or as my fav coffee shop says, let's merry! Today, as we close in on the home stretch of this CHRISTmas season, let me offer some other holiday tips.
Let me begin by asking you a question...what are you expecting this Christmas? Do you realize that it takes more out of you being negative than it does to be positive? This holiday is all about people...the people that God has surrounded you with. The first Christmas brought people from all backgrounds together for a wondrous event. People matter to God. Invest in relationships rather than stores. Play games rather than buying them. When you invest in people you always get interest.
Your return on investment will be great when you spend your time on the things that really matter. Don't let the hustle and bustle cause frustration to silence your silver bells. It's CHRISTmastime in your city! The announcement of the birth of our Savior drew people close that day in Bethlehem. …

Spread Some Cheer!

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But charge Joshua, and encourage him, and strengthen him: for he shall go over before this people, and he shall cause them to inherit the land which thou shalt see. Deut 3:28
 Everyone needs to be encouraged. Strength comes to us through the encouragement of others. Joshua was the one chosen to take the people into the land of promise and even he needed to be lifted up. Many people will not feel happy during this season because of broken relationships, lost loved ones and difficult times. It's up to YOU and ME to be a word of hope, a smile to those that need to be strengthened so desperately this Christmas. This is the time of miracles and amazing things. As we get ready for the holiday weekend, spread some cheer and lift up the hearts and hopes of someone else:)

Talk to Your Father!

James 1:5 says, "If you don't know what you're doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You'll get his help, and won't be condescended to when you ask for it?" MSG
All of us need help every now and then. Where we get that help determines whether or not we are fulfilled by the answer. 
I would usually go to the people that were closest to me...not close relationship wise but close geographically. It always felt comforting to grab the closest person to ask or vent to. Even after accepting Christ as my Lord and Savior I was still disciplined and conditioned to the proximity of the help and not the promise of it. Today, I keep reprogramming myself to do what James suggested, talk to the Father, God, and let Him answer because He wants to help...He's always right and He will never make you feel small or guilty!
So, with what's left this year, why not join me in changing the way, I mean the person you seek your help from? If you don't know, talk to G…

More Text, Less Talk?

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I read an article yesterday with this title and I could not shake the thought all day. We have so many things in our lives that make it too easy for us to stop talking to each other. You can do all of your shopping online now and never even have an interaction with another human being! I've heard my daughter talking to her friends on the phone and say, "I can't talk right now, text me." as she continues to have instant messaging conversations over real ones.
The older I get the more important it is to me to develop real, genuine relationships with real, genuine people. We were made for fellowship and to connect to each other...not by text messages and phone calls but up close and personal. Imagine what it would have been like if all of this technology existed when Jesus was born. The wise men would have been excited but simply said,"omg...gr8 news..txt pix!"
And Joseph could have used the Hotel Tonight app and found a place to stay for sure! Even blasted ou…

I Got the Joy, Joy, Joy, Joy!

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If you have ever walked through a season of unhappiness or loneliness and you are surrounded by people of faith, then someone has probably told you to the following:
Keep your chin up remember that the joy of the Lord is your strength!
That type of encouragement used to get under my skin because it was like telling someone who ran out of gas on the side of the road that they need gas. Add to that the fact that I did not truly understand what the joy of the Lord was.
I always took that to mean that my happiness would come if I would just get into God. I am learning that my happiness only comes when God gets into me!
I was burdened by the pressure of not being good enough the way I used to see it. Now I realize that all I have to do is let the Lord in and stop beating up myself. If I think about what He says about me and what He thinks of me I can get happy. When He arrives He brings His peace,His love and His joy. And the joy that comes in with Him gives me the strength to …

Christmas Cookies

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During this time of the year I always sample the sweetest cookies our church ladies can bake. I also refer to  a"cookie" as those tasty treats from scripture that fill you up and make you smile. I made a little treat for The Landing during one of the sessions we had that was so simple. It consisted of a pretzel, a Rolo and a pecan half. You put a Rolo on the pretzel and then in the oven at 350 for 5 minutes. When you pull them out of the oven you press down the pecan on top of the Rolo. Can I tell you they are great!
As I thought about this simple and tasty treat I thought about the variety of people that God connects us too. Like the pretzel, many are wrapped up in other things and even get themselves all twisted up at times. Others are hard on the outside but soft and sweet inside like the Rolo. And still others are just plain nuts...well half nuts anyway:) And God uses ALL of us to bring smiles to others!
And even though we may put the FUN in dysfunction, when we come tog…

Shake Off the Dust

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"Oh, not just one wish. A whole hatful. Mary, I know what I'm going to do tomorrow, and the next day, and next year, and the year after that. I'm shakin' the dust of this crummy little town off my feet and I'm gonna see the world. Italy, Greece, the Parthenon, the Coliseum. Then, I'm comin' back here to go to college and see what they know. And then I'm gonna build things..." --George.
It’s a line out of the most popular Christmas movie of all time, “It’s a Wonderful Life”. I like George’s enthusiasm. I think it’s because I like dreamers and builders. I prefer to hang out with people that see things others miss. People today do not seem to get excited about much, especially things that are spiritual. In this most spiritual time of the year, we need to not curb our enthusiasm...we need to express it. It all starts with our outlook. When was the last morning that you got up and expected things to turn out for your benefit? When was the las…

Just Believe

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James 1:6But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.7 Those who doubt should not think they will receive anything from the Lord...
There are many times that I find myself praying and talking to God only to sometime shortly thereafter, act or talk as if what I was believing for was not really possible. Maybe you are like me. How many times do we allow our words to diminish our beliefs and redirect our actions? Are you your worst enemy?
The Bible is clear about this...BELIEVE and do not doubt for the person that doubts is double-minded and unstable. Doubt cause us to waver and be unsettled in every area of our lives. The warning goes on to say that the person who has doubt in his heart should not even expect God to answer!
So the prayers that you are praying this morning...do you REALLY believe that God is able to bring you through your trial and deliver you from all of that office drama? Is God big…

Gazing or Praising?

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This is the season of hope. Hope is defined as a cherished expectation that something good is going to happen. I had a difficult time separating myself from His mission as I often feel unworthy to deliver inspiring, life changing messages. There are so many folks struggling with the holidays because of fragmented families and a weak economy. For me I find that its when I reach my darkest hour that God whispers words into my ear...
Joe, stop gazing at what has left you and start praising Me for what is about to come. The season of advent is about hope, expectation and the arrival of Christ. It's what advent means: the coming and arrival of Christ. The first advent was as a baby. The second will be as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!
Maybe you have struggled to hold on to hope. The bible tells us that HOPE does not disappoint...that is if we are hoping in CHRIST. Maybe together, you and Cup of Joe can look forward to what God has in store for us in this special season …

The Layered Look

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For many people the idea of getting saved is overwhelming because they feel like they have to take off so many things in order to be good enough. Being saved is not so much about what you take off as it is what you put on. Colossians 3 gives us a short list of things to add to our new wardrobe:
Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.13 Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.14 Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. Now that winter is upon us you will need to be ready for the bitter cold winds that blow. They tell you to put on layers of clothing to fight the chill of the air. Well, when you want to fight the winds of adversity that attack you spiritually, you can put on the layers listed above and know that no weapon formed against…

You Better Watch Out!

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You better not cry, you better not pout, I'm telling you why....
Cause if you keep talking negatively God might just take away your voice! Zechariah was listening to the angel of the Lord tell him about the child that he was about to have...to be known as John the Baptist...to be born to his wife Elizabeth who was told she could never have kids. Listen to what the angel says in Luke 1...
17He will be a man with the spirit and power of Elijah. He will prepare the people for the coming of the Lord. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children,t and he will cause those who are rebellious to accept the wisdom of the godly.”
And after that amazing news, this was Zech's response:
18Zechariah said to the angel, “How can I be sure this will happen? I’m an old man now, and my wife is also well along in years.”19 Then the angel said, “I am Gabriel! I stand in the very presence of God. It was he who sent me to bring you this good news!
 Now I believe that this is only part of …

Changing Direction

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At some point in your life, your plans are going to change and the way you thought you were headed will be different. Like that annoying GPS voice that bellows "recalculating", you will need to make some adjustments to get to where you were supposed to be while taking this different route. What do you do when there is a dramatic change of plans? Let me offer some suggestions using one word that can sum it all up: TRUST.

T-trusting God in the midst of change is not only wise, it is imperative. He knows what you are going through and where you will end up so the best thing to do is let Him take you there: any way He desires!
R-redirect your attention...start to think about others and what they may be going through. When you think about others you don't get selfish, you become self-less.
U-understand that there is a plan to what is going on and even though it may seem tough, there will be valuable life-giving lessons in the midst of all that you endure.
S-stand under the pressu…

Three Things You NEED to Remember This Christmas

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The city streets are buzzing with the sights and sounds of Christmas already! You can feel it in the air...I believe this is going to be the best Christmas ever:)
I have to tell myself to settle down and relax many times during the month of December and to stay focused on keeping Christ up front and at the center of everything. In Luke Chapter 1 you can find some wonderful scriptures that take you through the set up for the birth of Christ in Luke 2. In the exchange that Mary has with the angel Gabriel, there are three things that you and I need to remember this Christmas. Grab your cup of joe and take note of these. 1-the Lord is with YOU! Many people become discouraged and sad during the holidays. Some experience these feelings because they think they are alone. Part of the revelation of Christmas is to remember that you are never alone. You will never be abandoned or rejected by the Lord. The Lord is with YOU! 2-You have found favor with God I know that the angel said Mary had "fou…

Christmas Mode

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Yes, I am officially in Christmas Mode! Wednesday night I treated our church to a special little cookie I made and then shared the story of how God named his baby...wonderful counselor, mighty God, everlasting Father and the Prince of Peace. Tomorrow we will decorate our church:)  Tonight I will enjoy a Christmas concert by Kenny Rogers! Life is good. All because of Jesus.
Have your ever wondered what life would be like if Jesus had not been born? There would be no Christian churches or hospitals, no Billy Graham, no New Testament and no reason or cause for Charles Darwin to fight against! Now JOY to the World! Everything that has been encouraged and promoted by Christ would not ever have happened. Life would be much different. We would not be free, we would be overwhelmed by our carnality and not have any way out so all hope would be gone. Fact is, our hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness!
Why don't you join me and get into Christmas Mode today! Hang s…

Someones Looking for You

"For the eyes of the Lord go to and fro, throughout the whole earth, that He may strongly support those whose hearts are completely His" 2 Chronicles 16:9
Think about that today. God is looking for people. He is looking for people who are surrendered to Him. People that have given Him a place to rule and reign in their heart. And His desire is to strongly support those people. If God is on your side, it really does not matter who your fighting or what the score is...you are a winner! It was so sad last weekend to hear all of the reports about violent behavior during Black Friday events. How could we allow ourselves to be seduced by things to the point that we would harm someone else to get them? Are those items really that important? Of course not. The root problem is that our hearts are not yet "completely" His. We are on our own with little to no support until we allow Him to be Lord. Your heart will always be found where your "treasure" is. Our goal…