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Showing posts from November, 2012

I Thank God

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2 Timothy 1:3 Every time I say your name in prayer—which is practically all the time—I thank God for you, the God I worship with my whole life in the tradition of my ancestors. I miss you a lot, especially when I remember that last tearful good-bye, and I look forward to a joy-packed reunion. As a pastor, I find myself thinking about the folks at our church all the time. I realize that when someone comes to my mind there is a specific reason for it and I should always take a few moments to acknowledge this thought and seek the Lords guidance in prayer.
It's easiest for me to stop and pray the moment that I think about them if at all possible. And then, just like this scripture says, I call out their name, thank God for them and ask Him to orchestrate the happenings of life in their favor.
Who comes to your mind when you read this? Have you thanked the Lord for them and asked Him to bless them? Maybe you have felt the pain of losing someone close or you are far away from their c…
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Have you ever felt like you just didn't measure up to the task that the Lord had in store for you? Ever made an excuse to NOT do something that you really felt like you should do?  Do you seriously think God can't use you?  Well, you are in some great company! God chooses whomever He desires to use and He wants to use you. He doesn't always choose the ones that you and I would think. In fact, many times, His choice may go against all of our natural reason.
Someone once said that He doesn't call the qualified, He qualifies the called.
So, pick yourself up, forget what you have done and what you've been through and surrender yourself to the incredible plan that He has in store for your life!                     God can and will use YOU!

See the World Baby!

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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..."  
It’s a line out of the most popular Christmas movie of all time, “It’s a  Wonderful Life”. I like George’s enthusiasm and excitement. I think it’s because I like dreamers and builders. I love to see ideas and creativity when it collides with passion. 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 wonderful AND 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 th…
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It's beginning to sound and feel a lot like Christmas. When you think about this season what comes to your mind? For many young children its Santa and presents. Snow days from school and the possibility of making snow angels. For others it's time off work and family gatherings. Still others will talk of jingle bells, a red-nose reindeer and pointed eared elves. When I speak about Christmas I usually speak of the story of Christ found in Luke 2. Angels, praising God and the start of a life that even today turns our lives around seems to make everything else insignificant. It's perfectly natural to enjoy all of the wonderful and cheerful things associated with this season. Just don't forget the reason for joy, peace and love that we enjoy. You can't spell CHRISTmas without CHRIST.

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Whenever I feel discouraged or depressed I have a few ways to pull myself out of the doldrums. 1- pray. There is no better way to alleviate pressure and stress than to give it to someone else. I give mine to the Lord. 2- engage. The worst part of being discouraged is feeling alone or isolated. So I go to a place that has lots of people like a coffee shop or a store. Walking around and being in a space with other people is very therapeutic. 3- pandora. I love the Pandora music app. I have a praise and worship station that will shake off all of the anxiety and set me free again. Without music my life would b flat. Without people my life would be dull. And without Jesus, my life would be nothing at all.                                                                                How do you get out of a rut?

Hope Overflowing

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13 NIV)Last night I was completely surprised as I dashed into the store for something only to run head first into the Black Friday sale that had started at dinner time Thursday! It was clear that people were on a mission. They were looking for a great bargain and a way to stretch their money for holiday gifts. As I passed through my usual glance at the electronics department someone yelled my name and after a brief conversation, I realized how easy it is to get caught up in the "experience" that was happening. By this time the store was filled with people lining up and getting ready for something special. Today, you may still be out looking for deals or you might have just returned home and be headed for some rest. My prayer for you is the prayer that I pray for myself. To be filled with hope by the power of the Holy S…

Happy Thanksgiving!

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16-18Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live. 19-22Don't suppress the Spirit, and don't stifle those who have a word from the Master. On the other hand, don't be gullible. Check out everything, and keep only what's good.      Throw out anything tainted with evil. 23-24May God himself, the God who makes everything holy and whole, make you holy and whole, put you together—spirit, soul, and body—and keep you fit for the coming of our Master, Jesus Christ. The One who called you is completely dependable. If he said it, he'll do it! Be cheerful, prayerful and thankful. It's a blessed life! Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family! May your "cup of joe" always be running over!

Thank You!

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Thank you is expressed in many languages. Today I want to say thank you for those of you that enjoy a cup of joe with me each and every day. With so many people struggling in our nation and with all of the bad news swirling around us it is imperative that you and I do all that we can to get some good news each and every day. Feed your spirit and strengthen your life! I love to encourage others just like I love to be encouraged.
Oftentimes, you and I have dreams and visions of things to do in the future. I have watched people abandon a good idea, perhaps even a God one because their friends or family were not in favor of it. Our cemeteries today are filled with dead dreams and visions that were never realized.
Let me say to you today that YOU can do anything that God says you can do...YOU can be anything that He says you can be. God has an amazing plan for YOUR life! So it's time to go and do it!
Gracias for your comments here, your feedback on my personal Facebook page (cupofjoet…

What's Your Plan?

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I was reading some words from Galatians 1 this week where it talks about a plan...a plan that God has for everyone. It says in chapter 1 and verse 4 that the purpose and plan of God was that we would all come to the realization that we need saving. We need a Savior!
Paul was surprised and astonished that people could walk away from faith so easily and start to chase other belief systems. He could not wrap his head around the fact that anyone could desert Christ and pursue something else.
Once you have had a taste of grace, once you have digested it and learned to live off of its power, you can never abandon the God that gives grace. Grace is "unmerited favor". Unfortunately in our culture the unmerited favor of God often gives way to the instant gratification of self. You can't earn grace; it is a gift. A gift from God. And because of that gift you have the reassurance that everything that happens in your life will somehow be utilized in making you stronger, more lovi…

Spilling Over

Colossians 1:3 Our prayers for you are always spilling over into thanksgivings. We can’t quit thanking God our Father and Jesus our Messiah for you! We keep getting reports on your steady faith in Christ, our Jesus, and the love you continuously extend to all Christians. The lines of purpose in your lives never grow slack, tightly tied as they are to your future in heaven, kept taut by hope. My prayers today are spilling over into thanksgivings for your Thanksgiving week! Being thankful is a lifestyle that you and I must learn to activate if we ever want true peace at work in our lives. Thankfulness ushers in the peace of God that goes beyond anything we can comprehend.

I find the best way to start living thankfully is to simply start thanking the Lord for ALL of the people that are part of my life. There have been numerous people that have spent many seasons involved in my life story. Some remain and some have moved on but each one of them was significant and each relationship was …

Joy,Joy,Joy

I've been spending quite a bit of time studying the importance of the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23. Today I thought I would share a piece called JOY. After all, it is Friday! One definition of JOY is an intense and especially ecstatic or exultant rejoicing. The word JOY in its original language(chara) means to be cheerful, well-off, glad and joyful.Its important to remember that joy and happiness are not the same thing. The Bible mentions JOY or REJOICING 330 times and happiness is mentioned only 26 times. Happiness is a feeling that changes rapidly. Happiness depends on what’s “happening”. JOY is not MANufactured…it is God-induced. Joy is not some enthusiastic state I have to work myself into. JOY is not dependent on the circumstances. Joy is a choice I have to make every day. JOY… is an indicator that there is a genuine and growing relationship with God in your life. So what's your JOY level today? The JOY of the Lord will strengthen you in every area of your …

Finish Strong

2 Chronicles 1:7-10 That night God appeared to Solomon and said, “What do you want? Ask, and I will give it to you!” Solomon replied to God, “You showed faithful love to David, my father, and now you have made me king in his place. O Lord God, please continue to keep your promise to David my father, for you have made me king over a people as numerous as the dust of the earth! Give me the wisdom and knowledge to lead them properly, for who could possibly govern this great people of yours?” Solomon could have asked for anything. A large temple filled with expensive artifacts. A new chariot or maybe thousands of acres of land to develop his own place. But Solomon wasn't interested in "things". He knew that He had a legacy to live out and He realized that he could not do it on his own. He needed some "special assistance". So he asked for a discerning heart and more wisdom to lead properly. He asked to finish strong.

This year our churches keyword has been "t…

Fishing for People

Matthew 4:18-20 One day as Jesus was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers—Simon, also called Peter, and Andrew—throwing a net into the water, for they fished for a living. Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!” And they left their nets at once and followed him. Evangelism used to be very hard for me. Personally telling someone about the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ was something that I had to learn,develop and practice. Maybe it was hard for me because Jesus spoke about it by comparing it to fishing. He said "I will make you fishers of men". But he said this to "real" fisherman!

I have never been a big fan of fishing. It seems a bit boring to me especially if you are by yourself. Perhaps it was the all-night fishing trips I took with my dad as a child. Or those times someone wanted to go out at 6am because thats when the fish bite! There's not a great deal of "good…

Overwhelmed?

Habakkuk 1:2-4 How long, O Lord, must I call for help? But you do not listen! “Violence is everywhere!” I cry,but you do not come to save. Must I forever see these evil deeds? Why must I watch all this misery? Wherever I look,I see destruction and violence. I am surrounded by people who love to argue and fight. The law has become paralyzed,and there is no justice in the courts.The wicked far outnumber the righteous,so that justice has become perverted. Do you ever complain? Have you ever spent part of your day whining about the way that your life was going? As I read the words of this scripture today I began to see a bit if myself in these words. I have moments where I wonder why terrible things are happening and yes, I may even ask God if He is still there! I whine about aches and pains, lack of what I want and I even complain about the injustices in this life. I wonder why God won't just come and save me. Is He even listening?Jesus never said that the world would be fair. He nev…

Thank God for You

2 Thessalonians 1:3-4 Dear brothers and sisters, we can’t help but thank God for you, because your faith is flourishing and your love for one another is growing. We proudly tell God’s other churches about your endurance and faithfulness in all the persecutions and hardships you are suffering. Flourishing faith and growing love...a recipe for some supernatural success. Life can be full of things that are not pleasant and even harmful. But YOU were made to succeed. You have strength to endure and a deep rooted determination that will turn the hardships to spiritual muscle in your life. I thank God for you!

God will use the tough times you are going through to encourage others that are connected to you. Your endurance and faithfulness is showing.

So hang in and hold on. I've got a feeling this is going to be a great week!

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Thank you to all of those individuals that have fought
 and are still fighting for the freedom that we enjoy today.
We bless you in the name of the Lord and pray for your
loved ones and families that God would surround you with
 His favor and that His grace would be more than enough
 for every emotion and circumstance in your life.

Thank you!

Patience...Now!

Colossians 1:9-12 For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. The Bible talks about letting "patience" have her perfect work. Most of us want patience in our lives and we want it now! Living a life that bears fruit, raising a family, working a job...all of this requires great endurance and patience. Mastering the way to hang in and hold on leads to a life worthy of the Lord and pleasing to Him in every way. Today, …

Tend to Your Orchard

But what happens when we live God's way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life(the emotion of great happiness/excitement), serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely. Gal 5:22-23 MSG I would like to encourage you to think about your life, your home, your office as your own personal orchard. An orchard is a place where fruit is cultivated.  Your fruit should look like the things listed in this scripture. Take a moment today to see how much of this fruit is growing in your orchards. Don't allow bad conditions to spoil the fruit on the vine. You are given the ability by God to be fruit bearing believers. Today, take some time and tend…

Time to Exhale

OK, its time to exhale, smile and say thank you Jesus THAT is over! Now we can get back to doing what we always do: rising above adversity and uniting together to bring out the very best in each other. America is still the land of the free and the home of the brave. The best thing that we could do is stand on something solid, positive and encouraging. So today, take a moment and read the words of David from Psalm 121...and then exhale:)
I look up to the mountains—
does my help come from there? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth! He will not let you stumble; the one who watches over you will not slumber. Indeed, he who watches over Israel never slumbers or sleeps. The Lord himself watches over you! The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade. The sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon at night. The Lord keeps you from all harm and watches over your life. The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever.

Election Day 2012

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Today we as Americans get to exercise a privilege that we have to choose a leader to take our country through the next four years. To be honest I must say that I have been greatly saddened by the negative advertising and slander and what its done to this nation. I even hear those that say if their candidate does not win, they will never vote again. We have missed the entire point of living in this land of the free and home of the brave. Personally, I have even doubted our system…what is truth and how do I know that I am getting it with all of the spin that is out there? And then I step back and look at everything and wind up confused, disappointed and discouraged. What now? Well I do what I always do when faced with a huge decision that may have a significant impact on my life…I research all that I can and then I go to a quiet place and pray. I quiet all of the voice but the still small voice that speaks to my heart. For millions of years God has directed people to be in the right pl…

A Free Life

Galatians 5:13 It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that you don’t use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do and destroy your freedom. Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love; that’s how freedom grows. For everything we know about God’s Word is summed up in a single sentence: Love others as you love yourself. That’s an act of true freedom. If you bite and ravage each other, watch out—in no time at all you will be annihilating each other, and where will your precious freedom be then?Buried right in the middle of this scripture is a simple truth that not only changes your life; it will change you! We know that Christ has given us freedom...a free life and we must choose to stand in that freedom.(ch5:1) But you can't choose to do whatever you desire just because Christ paid the price. You have freedom to serve others. Serving other people is the easiest way to find freedom like you've never experienced befo…

Make the Most of It(Special Saturday Edition)

Ephesians 5:15-16 Be very careful, then, how you live—. not as unwise but as wise making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. It's very important to remind ourselves each day that we need to strive to make the most out of every opportunity that we receive. How we redeem our time will determine our end result.

There was a song from a musical whose lyric said "525,600 minutes, how do you measure the life of a woman or a man". If we do not do something with "time" then time will do something with us. It's important to be wise and spend our time in the right ways.

Tonight the clocks change again and roll back one hour. You get 60 more minutes! Every time that we do this I start thinking about how I use each moment in my life. Am I redeeming my time? Am I making the most of each opportunity? I really do want to be w…

Your Body Will Glow

Often when I read the Word in the morning it will speak to me in very specific ways. There are times that it overwhelms me and there is nothing to do but just soak in all that it says. Today, as I read Proverbs 3 in the Message translation, I experienced one of those times. I pray that you too may experience your bones vibrating with life! Your body will glow:) Trust God from the bottom of your heart;don’t try to figure out everything on your own.Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go;he’s the one who will keep you on track.Don’t assume that you know it all.Run to God! Run from evil!Your body will glow with health,your very bones will vibrate with life!Honor God with everything you own;give him the first and the best.Your barns will burst,your wine vats will brim over.But don’t, dear friend, resent God’s discipline;don’t sulk under his loving correction.It’s the child he loves that God corrects;a father’s delight is behind all this. Pro.3:5-12MSG

My Heart is a Blob

Psalm 22:14 I’m a bucket kicked over and spilled,every joint in my body has been pulled apart.My heart is a blob of melted wax in my gut.I’m dry as a bone,my tongue black and swollen.They have laid me out for burial in the dirt. Remember that song they used to sing on the show "Hee Haw" years ago? Gloom, despair and agony on me? It's so easy to throw a pity party for one that often times I too can join in the chorus: "if it weren't for bad luck I'd have no luck at all!"

Those feelings are seen vividly in this psalm of David. Combine David's emotional trauma with the Message translation and you have some wild imagery. "I'm a bucket kicked over and spilled." I bet some of you can relate to that! And then he says, "my heart is a blob of melted wax in my gut". Now I know that David did not use these words but they sure do express these deep internal feelings that we must come to grips with and d…