coffee cup sitting on coffee beans

The Story of the Coffee Droplets

National Espresso Day!

Two national coffee days in November. Who knew!?

This morning, a small array of coffee droplets pooled on my desk, forming a rough outline of Lake Michigan. They had arrived when I sloshed coffee from my morning coffee cup. Of course, the droplets didn’t land someplace I could easily ignore, a place where I could clean them up later. Instead, they were positioned directly in front of my keyboard. I was thankful they had dodged my keyboard, but I was annoyed that I had to deal with them before getting down to business.

Looking around, I discovered I didn’t have a single napkin, paper towel, old rag, or even a shirttail to remove Lake Michigan from my desk. 😟 So I made my way back to my home; you see, my office is separate from my house and I don’t walk well. Retrieving a bit of paper towel, I hobbled back to my office.

Sitting down, paper towel in hand, I looked at the droplets and saw a life lesson. How amazed I was that four or five drops of coffee, in just the right place, stopped my work, sending me off on an errand and disrupting my morning plans. Every day Godless people make plans. Some own lots of stuff and have lots of people at their disposal. But you and I can be those few drops of coffee that change the trajectory of evil. 

The plans of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord. All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the spirit.

Psalms 16:1-2 ESV

Prayer: God guide us, I pray, so our prayers and actions disrupt the world’s plans of iniquity. Help us to be bold and allow You, our God, to use us like drops of coffee. In the Name of Your beloved Son, Father, we pray.

Photo by Mike Kenneally on Unsplash

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Are You Stupid?

“Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge,
but he who hates reproof is stupid.” Proverbs 12:1

The New Living Translation states this verse as: “To learn, you must love discipline; it is stupid to hate correction.” Proverbs 12:1

Imagine if you never learned from the corrections your parents and teachers tried to teach you when you were in K–12 schools. You would be of little value to yourself or society. As my dad would threaten me when I was obstinate, “You’ll grow up to be a ditch digger!” [Ditch digging is now a profitable profession, but back then, it was the bottom rung of work.]

This same truth needs to be embraced by every Christian. Besides local church congregations, there are just many Christians in leadership positions who have rejected discipline. As a result, their understanding of Christianity is like Swiss cheese; it’s full of holes.

Consider these statements from Proverbs, chapter twelve:

12 … but the root of the righteous bears fruit.
13 … but the righteous escapes from trouble.
15 … but a wise man listens to advice.
16 …but the prudent ignores an insult.
18 … but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
20 …but those who plan peace have joy.
22… but those who act faithfully are his [God’s] delight.

God has given us marvelous promises, but they all depend on His conditions. We must be righteous. We must be wise. We must be sensible. We must act faithfully. We must have the foresight to make plans that we accomplish. All of these promises are predicated (dependent) on a history of faithful service to God from the person.

It amazes me how many Christians don’t know their own local church’s statements of faith. Or they don’t know that Christianity grew from a handful of believers in Jerusalem to millions of Christian believers when, for the first 1,500 years of the Church’s history, the average Christian didn’t have a Bible and may never have owned even a single copy of one of Apostle Paul’s letters. And they don’t know that there were times when the Protestants and Anabaptists killed people for their Christian beliefs, just as the Catholic inquisitions did. There is so much we, as Christians, need to learn!

For us to learn and grow, God’s conditions require us to receive correction from Christ and His leaders He has placed in His Church – pastors, teachers, elders, deacons, and others that God has anointed to mentor His children. If we try to go it alone, if we try to be our own council, if we reject the people that God puts in our lives to correct us and disciple us through sermons, teaching, and cleaning toilets, then we are stupid.

Image by salmerf from Pixabay

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a pic full of rocks with a question mark painted on one of them

Between My Ears

As I was reading the book of Matthew, chapter ten, I realized that our fear belongs to God (Matthew 10:28). It is the root of wisdom (Proverbs 9:10). Godly fear is a “saving” fear. If we walk through the woods and spot a mama bear with her cubs, we experience a “saving” fear. It triggers our fight-or-flight nature. Fear that comes from domestic abuse is a “saving” fear. It tells us to get out and seek refuge. And when the Holy Spirit confronts a lost person with his or her sin, that person’s fear may lead them to repentance and salvation in Jesus. That is a “saving” fear.

However, the fear we experience after making our own decisions instead of exercising faith in God and using godly reason is sinful fear. This sinful fear “has to do with punishment” (1 John 4:18).

for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” 2 Timothy 1:7

God has blessed us with the ability to fear. His intent is for our fear to always be a “saving” fear. “So don’t be afraid.” (Matthew 10:31) When we yield our gift of fear to anyone or anything other than God, we are headed for trouble.

Photo by Ana Municio on Unsplash

Older and younger women walking together

Walk With The Wise

Thankfully, God doesn’t say a lot about our need to be smart, though the Bible does tell us, “Study to show yourself approved to God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15) The Bible certainly doesn’t tell us to be witty (whew). However, from the Bible, it’s clear that God desires and expects us to be wise. 

We know that Solomon asked God for wisdom and knowledge (2 Chronicles 1:11). And we know, “ If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” (James 1:5) However, if you look closely at James 1:5, it doesn’t tell us how wisdom will be given to us.

So often, we think God’s answered prayer comes completely immediately, but immediately is not mentioned in James 1:5. Let me rush to say that God may give you wisdom instantly, but if He doesn’t, then practice Proverbs 13:20Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.

Wisdom is so important that God set aside an entire book of the Bible (i.e., Proverbs) to help us learn wisdom. And from Proverbs 13:20, we know that an effective way to become wise is to spend time with believers that possess wisdom. If we spend time with wise believers and observe and emulate them, then we will grow wise. 

I hope you will take four minutes and listen to Steve Curtis Chapman’s song “Walk with the wise.”

Youtube: Steven Curtis Chapman singing "Walk with the Wise"
Youtube: Steven Curtis Chapman singing “Walk with the Wise”

Photo by Alex Motoc on Unsplash

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