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Showing posts from December, 2017

You Never Know How Strong You Are

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As we wind down another year on the planet, how are you closing it out? They say that the way you leave one year will determine the way you enter the next. It's very important to bring closure and resolve to 2017 before saying hello to 2018. I know it's hard to forget things that happen to us that are bad. We usually like to keep replaying them over and over again in our heads as if the replay of the events will change the outcome. Life lessons are certainly found in each thing we endure but we must continually move forward towards the plan and purposes that our Creator had in mind when we arrived. For me it's important to keep moving. Traumatic events have a way of defining the inner strength that is in each one of us. You don't know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have. (Bob Marley)
People are amazing. This country is resilient. Storms, shootings, and evil may try to make life difficult, perhaps even unbearable, but you and I have power …

Christmas Hangover

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Is it possible to drink in too much joy and happiness? Are the sounds of laughter and the noise of celebration sending you over the edge? Sometimes we get so caught up in the consumerism and celebration that immediately afterwards we have one of the lowest lows of the season. I realize this may not resonate with everyone but some folks out there may just get too much at one time and the body, mind and spirit start to shut down. So how do you beat the Christmas hangover? Take a few moments for YOU and settle down with what else, a fresh cup of joe and relax. That's right, it's YOU time. Don't think about the presents, the food, the parties left or anything that is coming. Just relax. You are stronger than you think and you will rise up out of this little break to join back in the holiday festivities and use that gift of hospitality you so amazingly show! Jesus brings Joy and when you stop to catch your breath you will reboot your body and refresh your spirit. So what are y…

Merry Christmas

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We want to wish each of you a very Merry Christmas! Thank you for sipping and sharing "joe" all year long and helping us encourage and inspire people everywhere. May God's favor surround you and His glory fill your home. You are a blessing!



Christmas is Almost Here!

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Luke 2:8-10 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. I'm guessing that many of you may need some joy this weekend. It's the final shopping weekend before Christmas and chaos is in the streets and in the mall. If you're feeling overwhelmed by the season and all that is happening around you then you are probably missing the real reason for Christmas. An angel of the Lord appeared to the shepherds and the glory of the Lord shone around them. It was one of those moments that could bring fear and panic. But the angel said fear not for I bring you good tidings of great joy. Good news that will cause great joy! Of course we know the joy is Jesus and the joy of the Lord is our strength. So don't get o…

All the Ingredients

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A few years ago, I tried to make a batch of chocolate chip cookies at the same time that I was teaching a little Bible lesson at our church. It was the start of our annual Christmas Cookies series and the objective was to bring out four points in baking that also apply to living the life of a Christ follower: Follow the Recipe * Use all of the ingredients * Mix thoroughly* Let the heat “shape” you As I was using ALL of the ingredients and placing them in the bowl, I ran into a problem: the brown sugar had solidified and was as hard as a rock because it had been prepared days earlier. We had been snowed out on Sunday so this event was rescheduled for Wednesday night. I could not do a thing with the brown sugar and I was right in the middle of the lesson! At that moment I realized the terror of improvisation and the power of Jesus at the same time! Eventually we got some useable brown sugar and continued with the illustration. We got through it all but it got really "hot" up the…

For Unto Us...

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Throughout the country you see them, manger scenes with different figures placed in position around a baby. Some of them even have “live” people! This is called 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. I imagine that 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.
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given…God’s gift to the world…God’s gift to you.  Christmas is a wonderful time to gather at the nativity an…

Just 3 Questions

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Sometimes being quiet is a good thing. The older I get, the more I find that life has a way of humbling me. Many times I have opinions that I want desperately to share but...I find it best to remain silent and simply pray:) Getting close to the end of another year, I always take a look back to take inventory and ask myself 3 questions: 1- How much did I grow? 2- How much more do I know? 3- How's your heart, Joe?  Life is too short to waste time on things that just don't matter. I always want to see growth-spiritually and mentally, not necessarily physically!  What do you ask yourself at the end of the year? Are you ready for the start of a brand new one? #nononsense #imready

Now That's a Different Gospel

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2 Cor 11:2  For I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy; for I betrothed you to one husband, so that to Christ I might present you as a pure virgin.   But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.  For if one comes and preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted, you bear this beautifully. Could Paul have recognized a common trouble we have in the Church universal? A different gospel that takes us away from the simplicity and purity of a Jesus centered life? Things like “if we behave the right way, the Lord will bless us?” As if our performance, our act is going to make Him love us more? Our leadership team has gone back to basics to take a good look at the Gospel of Jesus Christ and what Jesus did for us. He will never love you any more than He does right no…

Tend to Your Orchard

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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. There are some amazing things in this word. Affection, excited about life, serenity, stick-to-it-ive-ness and a general belief that people are good. Take a moment today to see how much of this fruit is growing in your orchard. Don't…

Christmas Blend

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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; 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 circle…

We Can Rejoice

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Romans 5:3-4 We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment.  It's hard to learn how to rejoice when we are in the midst of tough times. No one is naturally happy when things are not going well. To rejoice when we run into problems is a learned skill. Why is it so important to learn this? Its important because some crucial parts of your spiritual DNA are developed by rejoicing in trials: endurance, character and hope. People quit too easy these days. They have a lack of "stick-to-it-iveness". Staying joy-filled will help strengthen your ability to endure. The Bible tells us that our gift, our abilities will take us into great opportunities. Our character will determine how well we do those opportunities. Hope will fuel us with the energy and stamina we need by k…

Are There Gaps in Your Faith?

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How we thank God for you! Because of you we have great joy as we enter God’s presence. Night and day we pray earnestly for you, asking God to let us see you again to fill the  gaps in your faith.        (1 Thessalonians 3:9, 10 NLT) As I read this verse I started to think about gaps; gaps in my faith. Each of us strives to walk by faith and to use that faith to live lives worthy of our calling. Gaps in our faith could develop from things like double-mindedness or negativity. It's hard to remain faith-full if you find yourself using negative words all the time. Gaps could also be caused our limited knowledge or understanding in dealing with life circumstances. The bottom line is that we need to fill the gaps. You fill gaps with things like prayer, praise and teaching from the Word of God. Reading the Bible on a consistent basis and speaking it out loud is a great way to start closing those gaps in our faith. The Bible says faith comes by hearing! We need to listen to the right thin…

When You've Done Everything You Can Do

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"I'm at my wits end." "I've come to the end of my rope." "I just can't do this anymore." "I've done everything that I can do!"
These are just a few phrases that seem to be spoken when we feel that we have exhausted all of our resources. The good news is that you have available power that may be untapped in your life. When Jesus has been allowed into your daily routine, suddenly there is an abundance of strength and power that may have never been utilized before. Call it a reserve, just waiting for you to activate it. I remember driving a borrowed pickup to Texas one time. The drive was quite a distance and I was frustrated because I had to stop several times for gas. When I arrived at my destination, the owner asked me how the trip went and I shared my sob story. Then he said, "did you use the reserve gas tank?" Say what? The truck I had driven had a second tank that could be activated with a simple switch! Knowing tha…

Three Ways to Get it Together

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How do we put our lives back together after an unexpected package of surprises? First of all, you can’t really put it back together, but God can:) You will only frustrate yourself like all the kings horses and all the kings men. Remember what happened to Humpty Dumpty?
Let me give you 3 ways to help "get it together":

1- read the instructions…why do we always want a shortcut? I often look at the picture on the box of the puzzle or item and simply try to imitate that. When pieces are left over and it looks slightly different than that picture, well 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 that you can read! Then read it…don’t look for a crib note version to get by…forget about the seminars and how to get rich quick with little or no work! It just doesn't happen that way! Podcasts are good...God blasts are better! Read the W…