Posts by javafaith

Do They Know You At The Coffee Shop?

Do They Know You At The Coffee Shop?

I have a dear friend who regularly gets coffee and sometimes a breakfast sandwich at the same place every workday morning. For many years she has purchased and given away little “pass-along” cards that have words of encouragement and blessing. Usually she writes a note on the back and, when she knows the name of the individual, she personalizes it. Over the years this small gesture has given her the opportunity to sow hundreds of small faith seeds into the lives of people in all kinds of places. Because of this act of caring, she’s formed casual friendships with them. The coffee shop isn’t the only place she leaves her cards. Grocery stores, the local bank, restaurants and other locations are ripe for moments of personal connection. As a result, the people who work in these places have come to know and trust her—they look forward to getting these tokens. One told her, “I still have the first one you gave me.” Another said, “I have all of them.” Then she let her see where they were displayed in her work area. She’s an amazing example of finding a way not only to share the love of Jesus, but to demonstrate that these people matter to her. One time a person commented, “This is a great ministry. How did you come up with the idea?” God gives each of us ideas we can use to spread His love in ways suited to our personalities and lifestyles. As Colossians says, “Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity.” Think about it today. What can you do to sow the love of God into lives around...

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Another Cup, Another Day

Another Cup, Another Day

Does your routine wake you up or wear you out? Whether you rise early or late, how you start your day affects the way it goes. Most of us have times that we look forward to, even if we admit that the best part is arriving home from work and relaxing in a favorite chair with a hot or cold drink of our preference. Few of us escape the boundaries that we create with the patterns in our lives. When I reflect on the habits I indulge in, I discover a mixture of things I find pleasure or benefit in. A few are stumbling blocks I succumb to when I’m weary or bored. Because I’m an early morning person, I relish beating the sun up and waking before it’s light outside. My pre-rising pattern has been consistent for years. Before I turn on the light, I say internally or aloud the familiar words, “This is the day the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it.” That one thing helps set my heart and mind in a good place. Then I make coffee. Although at times I’ve chosen to forego it, coffee remains a morning ritual. I enjoy the pool of light my reading lamp makes, positioned so it shines over my shoulder onto my Bible or book I’m reading. I use a plain spiral notebook to jot down thoughts about pertinent passages. I even write down questions I have. Afterwards I go for a long walk in my neighborhood, continuing to think and pray about the day and people who are part of my life. I return and go to work. Another cup on another day represents the rhythm of my life. There’s richness in my ritual. How do you start your...

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Pieces

Pieces

My mother gave me a special coffee cup for my birthday years ago that had a handle shaped like two open hearts. Over the years I’ve received many gifts with that emblem because of my Valentine birthday. But I treasured it because it was from her and was decorated with my favorite design—hearts. Several years later, I made coffee and searched for it, but couldn’t find it. I asked my husband who said he had no idea where it was. A few days later, while sweeping the kitchen, the broom flicked a fragment of the handle from beneath the edge of the cabinet. I picked it up and set it on the counter. When he came home, I showed it to him. Sheepishly, he admitted he’d dropped it and disposed of the evidence, hoping I wouldn’t notice. Unimportant to him, irreplaceable to me. In a similar way careless acts and critical words shatter heart bonds. In the moment of offense, the wounded person might appear uninjured, leaving the offender oblivious. Once the two go their ways the pain pushes to the surface, ruining established trust. Left unrepaired, the relationship might end up discarded. Although I love to encourage people, sometimes I’ve blown it and said stupid, hurtful things. The New Testament says, “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” When I blow it, I clarify my offense, admit it and attempt to make amends. When I detected a rift in a friendship, I try to repair it, following his example. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t. What do you...

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What Do You Brew?

What Do You Brew?

I confess that I’ve fallen in love with my pod-style coffee maker, a gift from friends several Christmases ago. My addiction to the convenience was immediate. Those who share my preference know that the makers of these machines not only accommodate our desire, but create multiple ways to increase it. Flavors, seasonal and year-round, abound. From a small menu of choices only a few years ago, we find our appetite tantalized with increasing varieties available from grocery stores to Bed, Bath and Beyond. And let’s not forget the handy online ordering with deals offered on a regular basis. Right away, I honed in on Vanilla Biscotti, which remains a favorite, although I’ve ventured into caramel and alternate vanillas. I maintain pods of regular coffee and have tried several brands there as well. Because I’m naturally a bit “wired,” and too much caffeine makes my heart dance erratically, I keep decaf on hand at all times, so I can make and sip at a moment’s notice without “overloading my circuits.” Over the years I’ve followed a similar pattern with Bibles. Psalms tells us to “taste and see that the Lord is good.” Blessed to be in a country where multiple translations with a variety of study helps are available, I’ve tried many and found delight in them. As a result, I tend to center my reading and study on tried and true favorites. However, like new flavors of coffee, I never fail to experience insights from the Lord when I read different ones. This year, I chose a less familiar one to read through as my primary text in order to fully explore God’s voice in a fresh way. No matter which I choose, I start my day with “The Lord’s brew.” So what’s your...

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The Cup I Shattered

The Cup I Shattered

I owned a sleek, white ceramic mug imprinted with my name and its meaning—God is gracious. My absentmindedness demolished it. While standing in the driveway talking to my husband, I set it on the roof of the car. After finishing the conversation, he went inside, and I got in the car to run errands. I made it all the way to the end of the street before a bumping, clunking noise caught my attention. I glanced in the rear view mirror just in time to see the mug bounce down the back window and onto the trunk before it smashed into pieces on the road behind me. Spilled coffee streamed down the window. No point in going back—it was beyond saving. Sometimes a relationship can be damaged so badly, repair seems impossible, leaving behind only memories. Moving on appears to be the only option. Our most severed relationship is the broken one between the Lord and ourselves. Jesus fixed what we can’t fix and invited us to accept his eternal repair. His love is that great. Paul says, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” When a friendship breaks, seeking to mend it is the example Jesus gave us. After we evaluate our part in the situation and consider the other person, he’ll bring to our mind ways we can seek repair and restoration. A cooling off period allows reactive feelings to subside. Depending on the situation, a call, a text, or even a card in the mail could follow. Once you extend your olive branch of peace, you’ve done your part. We can ask for forgiveness, but not demand it. How do you extend an olive...

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