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Showing posts from December, 2016

Happy New Year!

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May you have a favor-filled New Year that goes far beyond anything you have ever imagined! I know that 2016 has been tough but God has used the good and the bad to fashion you into the person that He needs for 2017!  Get ready because the rest of your life is going to be the best of your life!
Happy New Year!

End of the Year SOS

It’s hard to believe that another year is almost in the books! As we get ready for the start of a fresh new calendar year, there are a few things that we should do in preparation. I call it the end of the year SOS: Simplify, Organize and Summarize. Before we can begin to create new ideas and launch a new year routine, we need to make certain that we have space for what is about to happen. Most of us probably have made some poor choices, been involved in some bad relationships and perhaps found ourselves overlooked for a new promotion. Whatever the case, we are stronger and much better because of it…no matter what it was! All of the good and all of the bad have a way of mixing together to bring about the absolute best for you. So here are three things you can do to get ready for 2017. 1-Simplify- as you went through 2016 you picked up some bags: habits, people, clothes, etc. that may not be the best choice for the fresh start you are about to embark upon. I seem to collect shoes, hats an…

WHEN You GIVE

Jesus taught many wonderful lessons in the short period of time he ministered on earth. In Matthew 6 we can see a few nuggets of wisdom. Each of these come after the words "when you" indicating that you and I should absolutely be doing these things. Matthew 6:2-4“So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,4 so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you." Again notice that this text says WHENYOUGIVE. Giving is a lifestyle, not an action or task. You and I are to be generous on every occasion. We are givers. But just being a giver isn't the only requirement. We know God loves a cheerful giver. God loves a generous giver. God loves a subtle giver...one who d…

Unwrap Your Gift!

Its easy to allow the holidays to take a toll on your emotions and your strength. This year you probably saw a lot of packages being unwrapped by little hands that were attached to faces of joy and squeals of excitement. At the same time, throughout the holidays you may also notice many people that were coming undone and unraveling right before your eyes as the stress and pressure of this time of year overwhelmed them. God sent Jesus, wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger according to the Christmas story in Luke 2. But it wasn't long before God began unwrapping Jesus and presenting Him to the world as the Prince of Peace, the Wonderful Counselor, and the Mighty God. And because Jesus was unwrapped for us, we don't have to become unraveled by life. The good news in this final few days of 2016 is that God wants to unwrap the special abilities He has placed in you. He is ready to present you to a world that needs what you have to become what you were designed to be.…

Some Have Entertained Angels

Keep on loving each other as brothers and sisters. Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it! Hebrews 13:1, 2 Have you ever thought about the fact that your actions and words may have been done in the presence of divine helpers that God has surrounded you with?  Maybe it was helping someone to cross a busy intersection? Or picked up something that someone had dropped? Imagine finding out that God had sent an angel into your world to see how you would respond! We never really know whether we have been in the presence of angels but many people, myself included, can attest that they have “felt” angelic moments.  Just be aware that this is always a possibility. The goal in this life is to let brotherly love continue and to watch what you are doing. Live life as if God’s special messengers were right there witnessing your devotion and faithfulness. Keep on loving each other!

Merry Christmas!

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May ya'll enjoy your day!
May the conversations be encouraging, the egg nog be cold,  the cookies be sweet and the fun never grow old!
Merry Christmas! 

I pray that your cup(of joe) always be filled to overflowing!

God's Gift to the World

Throughout the country you see them, manger scenes with different figures placed in position around a baby. Some of them even have “live” people! We call this the Nativity. It’s supposed to be a snapshot of that miraculous moment when Mary and Joseph gathered around the “promise” of God and welcomed in the Savior of the world. Each time I gaze upon a nativity scene I think about this humble and simple entry into the world and how interesting God’s plan was to rescue mankind from sin. I love looking at the generosity of the wise men as they offered their gifts. They were moved to give their best because they felt something greater than themselves coming forth. This beautiful scene captures the wonderful moment when life changed for all of us. The plan was set into motion and all we had to do was hear it and adopt it. Don’t allow yourself to be distracted by the arguments over language and phrases this year. One of the greatest tragedies we face is losing the awe and wonder of this seas…

Why areYou Treating Us Like This?

Luke 2:41-48 Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Festival of the Passover. When he was twelve years old, they went up to the festival, according to the custom. After the festival was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you. I have always loved this episode of A Day in the Life of the Boy Jesus. All of the powerful emotions of life are w…

A Transformation is in Your Future!

Look at these definitions: to change in composition or structure, to change the outward form or appearance of, to change in character or condition. This is how the dictionary defines the word TRANSFORM. Romans 12:2 says, “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” Each one of us is being changed each and every day. The things we see and hear are shaping our thoughts and our actions are following through on what we think about.The challenge is to not allow things that are bad for you to shape you. We are not to copy the world’s behavior: we are to provide the world a great example of how to live. We do that by living as Christ did. By letting God transform you into the person He designed you to be. His way is good and pleasing and perfect! It all starts with control. Why not let the Lord begin to direct your steps, your…

Christmas Blend

I'm so grateful to Christ Jesus for making me adequate to do this work. He went out on a limb, you know, in trusting me with this ministry. The only credentials I brought to it were invective and witch hunts and arrogance. But I was treated mercifully because I didn't know what I was doing—didn't know Who I was doing it against! Grace mixed with faith and love poured over me and into me. And all because of Jesus. (1 Timothy 1:12-14 MSG) I'm sure all of us can relate to these words. We often feel inadequate or like we are in over our head. There's one recipe that can take all of your choices and behavior (good or bad) and bring something tasteful out of it. It's what I call a special Christmas blend of grace, faith and love.  Many times we become bitter and say things we don't really mean. We may even follow up the hurtful words with actions. When we hurt another person we hurt the Lord. He created us to lift up each other, to bring peace and joy to the circ…

Christmas Cookies

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2 Peter 1:3 His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. 5For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faithgoodness; and to goodness, knowledge;6and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. 8For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins. 10Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. F…

Away With the Manger

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A controversy in Boston developed several years over what to call their city’s 48 ft spruce tree in their December ceremony. The city’s website called it a “holiday tree” instead of a Christmas tree and it set off an angry backlash. The righteous indignation became the voice of the people and the city officials relented. Bostons longest serving Mayor Thomas Menino told the reporters that he would keep calling it a Christmas Tree. He explained, “I grew up with a Christmas Tree: I’m going to stay with a Christmas Tree.” The next year in Plano TX an independent school district banned students from wearing red and green at their winter break parties because they were considered Christmas colors. In Wisconsin students were asked to change the religious words in Christmas carols for their upcoming concert. You remember it was an atheistic movement that tried to eliminate the phrase “in God we trust” from the currency and “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance. I am always amazed at how muc…

Some Assembly Required?

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We need an answer to how to put life back together after an unexpected package of surprises.
First of all, you can’t really put it back together, it will take God. You will only frustrate yourself like all the kings horses and all the kings men. Remember Humpty Dumpty? Here are a few suggestions. 1- read the instructions…why do we always want a shortcut? If you are like me, I often look at the picture on the box and simply try to imitate that. When pieces are left over and it looks slightly different than that picture, that’s when I go to the English translation of those directions. There are so many translations and none of them help except the one I understand. The bible is life's blueprint. Find one you can read! Then read it…don’t look for a crib note version to get by…forget about the seminars and how you can be rich in 30 days by buying homes for no money down! As painful as it may be for you, read the instructions. That’s a great place to start.
In 2 Timothy 2:15 it says…D…

Symphony and Harmony

There is a psalm that says “how wonderful and pleasant it is when brothers (and sisters) live together in harmony.” Ps 133:1 Harmony is a beautiful thing. If you have ever heard the many instruments of a symphony playing one song you know how beautiful it can be. In fact, the word symphony comes from the word “symphoneo” which means "to agree with and to be in harmony". We have all been made to fit with a voice that was intended to blend with the rest of creation. Now, lets go back to that symphony thought for a moment and imagine that the clarinet player had left their instrument out in the rain and it was weather damaged. As they begin to play there is a sudden un-harmonious sound that takes your attention off of the melodic piece and places it right on that instrument. Suddenly the French horn starts bellowing and you realize that someone has stuffed a t-shirt in the end and the sound is muffled. To describe it is one word you would say it was, well, hideous! What was on…

How to Have a "Mary" Christmas

Luke 2:8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger." 13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 14 "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests." 15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about." 16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying i…

Getting Ready for 2017

I wanted to share a few thoughts to my Cup of Joe partners regarding what is on my heart as I pray about moving into 2017. Most of you are aware that I incorporated Cup of Joe last summer as a 501c3 that encourages others through written and spoken word. Presently we do that through a FREE media channel with nearly 700 audio/video files of messages I have shared as a pastor and teacher since 2000, a blog/website at cupofjoe.tv and 7 books, and a variety of consulting opportunities. Everything we do is to encourage and equip others to move towards all that God designed them to be. 
So for 2017 I feel like I am supposed to strategically place some of these resources in places/organizations/events where I can give them away or discount them for the greatest good. It's as if the Lord is saying to me that these words/books/messages cannot help others if they are not afforded the opportunity to see and hear them.  Strategic partnerships will be the key to "enlarging the vision" …