I EAT ONCE A WEEK

Standard

 

And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger,                          and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.”  John 6:35

 

I lied.  I don’t eat once a week, but I thought it was a catchy title.  There are, however, some people that really do.  Sunday after Sunday we fill seats in churches and are spiritually fed the Word of God, but that’s the only day we eat and that’s just not healthy.

When I was first saved, I was heavily involved in church.  I was there every time the doors were opened.  I loved the fellowship, the camaraderie, the newness of life found in giving my life to Christ, but it never occurred to me to “partake” of Jesus daily.  I would have random seasons where I would study the Bible and pray regularly but that was not the “norm”.  I could see a dramatic change in my behavior and attitude when I stuck to the regiment, but I wouldn’t stay committed and the yucky old me would resurrect and take over again.  Yes, I know the scripture:

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 2 Corinthians 5:17.

But quite honestly it takes a while.  Yes, we are reborn instantly into the Kingdom of God when we are saved, but it takes years to undo what we’ve become. Our spirits are saved instantly, but our souls take some time to be transformed. It’s not just holding to a new code of ethics, it’s being moved by His kindness to become the people of God we are called to be.  It’s waking up morning after morning being fed the living Word of God.  With every Koffee with the King moment, we have the opportunity to hear from God daily, be led to hand-picked passages of scripture by God to help sustain us for that day.  Every word He speaks gives us the power to stand strong when the wiles of the enemy come.

bread of lifeUnlike a snake, we can’t eat one big meal a week and live.   I would love to cook a feast a week for my husband and be done.  But feeding him once a week won’t fly around here, and it doesn’t fly in the Kingdom of God either.  In the model prayer Jesus said to God, “Give us this day our daily bread.” Daily bread is the key.  We’ve got to be women of the Word of God, both the spoken and written word.  We’ve become a people that are moved by our passions and emotions, so whatever feels good must be right.  We’ve drifted away from standing firm on the Word of God.   There is a lack of knowledge of what His Word says by those who profess to belong to Him.  I’m in awe at some of the stances some professing believers are taking that are completely contrary to the character and nature of God and to His written Word. We are being led astray by every wind of doctrine, by cunning false teachers that teach another Gospel, that teach man’s own interpretation of God.  But what does the Word of God say? We don’t know because we’ve stopped studying it!  We let people tell us what it says. We should be reading and studying it for ourselves.  We should be having daily times with Him, hearing Him speak and seeing His truth revealed to us.

Look, I’m guilty too!  I’ve slacked off on studying His Word.  I don’t study it near like I used to, but I’m challenging us all to go deeper…to get back to the basics of studying His Word…to spending daily, quality time with Him.  Will you join me?  Will you commit to sitting with Him daily and receiving your daily bread, to giving more time to the study of His written Word?  Let’s become Women of His Word!  But I want to encourage you, if you don’t have a hunger to know Him more, pray for it, God will give you the desire.  Are you ready?

________________________________________________________________________________________

YOUR KOFFEE WITH THE KING: 

God is bursting at the seams to talk to you today!  There are so many wonderful things that He wants to teach you about Himself through this time…things He’ll speak to you directly and things He’ll prompt you to read in scripture.  I’ve included an instrumental song to get you started.  Play it, and talk to Him like you would a friend over coffee.  I can’t wait for you to hear Him today!

_______________________________________________________________________________________

FURTHER STUDY:  

Ready to love the Word like King David?  Ponder these verses over the next week and make a plan to go deeper on your own with the Holy Spirit as your guide.

Day 2:   Read the model prayer about daily bread Matthew 6:9-13

Day 3:  Read about the bread we live off of Matthew 4:3-4

Day 4:  Read about King David’s love for God’s Word Psalm 119:97

Day 5:  Read about excitement of God’s Word Psalm 119:162

 

THIS IS NOT THE END OF YOUR STORY

Standard

 

 

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”    – Jeremiah 29:11

All or nothing, that’s me.  I’m all in or I’m all out and there’s no room for anything in-between.  If I know where I’m going then I just want to get there, and get there quickly.  That means I want a good healthy marriage, no time to wrestle with petty differences; I’m quick to own up to my part and make the godly changes that need to be made.  I want to see the promises of financial blessing immediately in everything I put my hands to because I follow God’s principles with my whole heart.  I want to see the favor of God when I take huge leaps of faith in ministry because I believe in the big things of God.  But expediency never makes for a great story, does it?  The best stories take time to develop.  They have rich
bigstock-Old-rusty-typewriter-39007552meaningful themes, thick fascinating plots with unexpected twists and turns, dynamically interesting (but not perfect) main characters,  wicked and cruel antagonists and by all means, happy endings.  Our lives are stories, are they not?  They twist and turn in unexpected ways and some days (seasons even) seem to last forever.  Some chapters seem to never end but the character that we see developed during them is what makes for great heroes, it’s what makes for great stories.

The evil antagonist in my story, aka Satan, bombarded me with horrific thoughts of suicide most of my life.  With every hardship, like clock-work, the thoughts of giving up came racing in.

“Why do you trust in a God you can’t see?  He hasn’t ever really done anything for you?  How can He be good if He let this happen to you?  Don’t you know that things are never going to change and you are never going to see any of the promises He’s made to you?  Why don’t you just end it now and spare yourself the pain of being such a failure?”

I cannot express, in words, the depth of the devastation I would feel when the rush of tormenting anguish would press down on me.  I thought of every way possible to end my life.  And yes, I was a Christian and loved God with all of my heart at the time.  But still the torment came.  And as overwhelming as the pressure was, I thank God I couldn’t go through with it.  I couldn’t fathom leaving behind two boys to fend for themselves.  How could I have taught them to hope in God all of their lives and yet take my own?  I couldn’t leave them that way.  So I endured the pain of so many failed ventures and remained captive to the oppression… until I had a life-changing conversation with God about it.

Several years ago in the midst of one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen,  the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, I pulled my car over on the side of the road and threw a fit.  I screamed and yelled at God and threw the biggest tantrum ever.

“Why? Why have You not answered any of my prayers?  I’ve done everything You’ve asked of me.  I’ve given You my whole life.  I can’t take this pain anymore!  I can’t keep believing You and not see any of the promises You’ve made. Where are You in all of this?  I don’t want to live like this anymore!”

His answer changed me and gave me a new found hope and perspective on the story of my life.

This is NOT the end of your story, Melonie.  I’m still writing it.  You have to trust Me.  This pain won’t last forever, I promise, this too shall pass.  Keep holding on and keep believing in Me.  This is NOT the end!

I don’t wrestle with the overwhelming thoughts of suicide anymore.  You see, I’ve come to realize that He really is writing my story.  And it’s a beautiful story.  It’s full of ups and downs and unexpected twists and turns but there is a common thread.  That thread is the goodness of His hand in every chapter, in every sentence, in every word.  I see His faithfulness.  He’s there writing, orchestrating an amazing story of grace, and I simply have to trust His unseen hand, in His goodness and in His faithfulness.  This is not the end of my story and there isn’t any mistake that I’ve made that He can’t turn into something beautiful, something awe inspiring, something miraculous.  And the pain that some chapters bring really doesn’t last forever but His grace does.  Endurance and perseverance are what this heroine is learning.

So many chapters have since passed since that inspiring conversation with God.  I’ve now seen so many of the promises fulfilled, but you want to know something crazy?  I was okay without seeing them.  Sure seeing those wonderful things come to pass is great, and I’m thankful, but I was thankful before I saw them.  I was complete and whole before they came.  God’s grace carried me through those difficult chapters and God’s grace will carry you too.  This is not the end of your story either.  God is still writing it and it’s a beautiful story!

This is not the end

________________________________________________________________________________________

YOUR KOFFEE WITH THE KING: 

God can give you hope for the chapter you’re in right now.  Spend some time listening to His voice today.  He wants to encourage you to hold just like He did for me.  Start the audio track below, sit still before Him and get ready to hear the words of life from the Author of your story.

_______________________________________________________________________________________

FURTHER STUDY:  

Study these scriptures this week to learn more about your story and its Author.

Day 2:   Read Isaiah 46:10

Day 3:  Read Ecclesiastes 3:11

Day 4:  Read 2 Corinthians 3:3

Day 5:  Read Hebrews 12:2

 

BUSY BUT BARREN

Standard

 

The Lord directs the steps of the godly.  He delights in every detail of their lives. Psalm 37:23

 

How would our lives be different if we actually took this scripture literally?  If we applied it every day?  If we really believed that God delights in every tiny detail of our lives?   That He has promised to help us accomplish the things that concern us?

Jane Austen said “Life seems but a quick succession of busy nothings.”  We run a rat race day in and day out but do we ever really get anywhere?  There is never enough time in one day to accomplish all the things we ought.  We juggle long lists of responsibilities that seem to repopulate upon the crossing off of a single item.  We face real pressures and deadlines in every area of our lives…work, children, husbands, family, and not the mention the extra tasks that we take on at church.  We either feel guilty for not spending enough time doing the right things or we give up trying all together.  We go to bed night after night wishing we could have done more but believing it’s impossible.

Can I let you in on a little secret?  Since the devil can’t pluck us out of the hand of God, then he’s certainly going to try and make us so busy we are ineffective for the kingdom.  Busy but barren!  I’m a woman with many passions.  There are a lot of things I’d love to do, a lot of things can do, a lot of things I’d like to change in this world, people I’d like to help, gifts and talents I’d like to use but I’m careful not to overload myself.  I may have the best intentions in doing godly tasks but even that can be a sin if God’s not leading me in that direction.

footsteps happy is sheI love what Jesus said in John 5:30:

I am able to do nothing from Myself [independently, of My own accord—but only as I am taught by God and as I get His orders]. Even as I hear, I judge [I decide as I am bidden to decide. As the voice comes to Me, so I give a decision], and My judgment is right (just, righteous), because I do not seek or consult My own will [I have no desire to do what is pleasing to Myself, My own aim, My own purpose] but only the will and pleasure of the Father Who sent Me.” [Amplified Version] 

Okay, did y’all catch that?  Jesus said “as I get His orders.”  God the Father was directing the steps of Jesus! What was He thinking?  People were dying, going to hell, and in a real need of a Savior!  He was only there to minister for 3 years for crying out loud; if anyone needed to be busy, it was definitely Him!

Look, even if you have great gifts, talents, and abilities to do extraordinary things doesn’t mean you should do them.  Reminds me of something my older son says, “Just because they make it in your size doesn’t mean you should wear it.” Just because it fits doesn’t mean it’s what you should wear.  Let God direct your steps.  I see so many women bouncing around from one busy activity to another yet they are completely ineffective, fruitless.  Eventually they experience burn out altogether.  But if God directs you, then He will sustain you and through Him (because of your obedience) will cause you to have abundant fruit.

So how does this work in the day to day stuff?  Sitting with Him each morning and letting Him tell you what He’d like for you to accomplish for that day.  Now I’m not talking about common sense responsibilities like: go to work, care for your kids, cook dinner…yes, you heard me, cook dinner! 🙂  I’m talking about big things like:  what activities to be involved in, what activities your children should be involved in, ministry and serving positions, and where to work, etc.  But even the small things like work related tasks to accomplish for the day, what projects to focus on, what book of the bible to study, and so on.  He’s even told me, after completing some tasks, to take a break and enjoy myself.  And I do!  I enjoy my life, every aspect of it.  I work when He says work, I rest when He says rest, I study when He says study, and I lay my head down on my pillow night after night with no regrets.  My days are not wasted, but accomplished.  By my standards? No, by His and by His direction.  Are you ready for that?  Are you ready to let God lead in the day to day tasks?  Are you ready to seize each day and be successful?  Because He’s ready to take the burden off of you and lead you to daily!

________________________________________________________________________________________

YOUR KOFFEE WITH THE KING: 

God desires for you to walk in clarity and peace.  He never meant for you to carry the load of accomplishing things without Him.  You don’t have to have everything figured out.   A huge promise that belongs to His children is that we will be led by His Spirit.  He wants to be involved in the daily things that concern you.  He wants to help you be successful.  Take this time to ask Him what you should be involved in and what you should let go of.  Ask Him what He wants you to focus on today.  And get into the habit of asking Him that daily.  Live a life of success from day to day!  Take the next 20-30 minutes talking to Him about all you’ve learned today.  Ask His input and direction in this area of your life.

_______________________________________________________________________________________

FURTHER STUDY:  

Look over these scriptures this week.  See the beauty in God’s direction and guidance.  And relax in the peace of knowing the One who knows all things and trust in His counsel.  There’s no better place to be than beside Him, happy, and stress-free!

Day 2:   Read about our plans :  Proverbs 19:21, Proverbs 16:9

Day 3:  Read about God’s plans:  Jeremiah 29:11, Psalm 33:11

Day 4:  Read about being led by the Spirit:  Luke 4:1, Romans 8:14   

Day 5:  Read more on God’s guidance:  Isaiah 30:21, Psalm 32:8

 

 

HOW DO YOU SEE GOD?

Standard

 

So the Lord was sorry He had ever made them and put them on the earth. It broke His heart.                        Genesis 6:6 NLT

What you think about God matters.  Your concept of Him is the foundation for every decision you will make in your life.  You worship your concept of God, your faith is in your concept of Him.  Your hope is in who you believe God to be.  How you approach Him is based on your view of Him.

 

When I was younger I believed in God’s existence but that’s about it.  I was afraid of Him.  I believed that if I were to die in the midst of all that I was involved in at the time, I would burn in hell for sure.  My concept of God?  Harsh, cruel, judgmental and full of rules!  I felt like He was going to strike me dead at any moment.  Jesus, well I didn’t view Him like that as much.  I felt more guilty than anything when I thought of Him.  But guilt and fear were not enough to cause me to want to have a relationship with either one of them.  I knew the day I did I wouldn’t be able to “keep my options open”.  I would have to give up my way of life and that didn’t sound fun.

I never thought of God as being a person; not a flesh and blood person as He is a spirit, but a person, with a personality.  He has a mind, will, and emotions.  Yes, God has emotions!  We often associate emotions with emotional or moody, but not the case with Him.  He has feelings, and He feels very deeply but He’s not led into sin with them.  He laughs, has joy, gets angry, has sorrow, weeps, and even grieves.  Why would a God who knows all things, grieve?  It’s because He’s fully engaged in every detail of our lives.  He’s not the aloof Man Upstairs that some think.  God, who created a world full of humans with the power to choose to love Him, let’s Himself fully feel both the joy and pain of all of our decisions.

We are created in His image, so we can see God’s heart in so many of the things we do, well the good things at least.  It’s a desire for every person on the planet to have healthy relationships. Yes, I know we don’t live in a perfect world, and most of our relational experiences have pretty bad.  It’s sad, relationships have the power to teach us more about the heart of God than anything else…as a father, mother, brother, friend, boss, and lover.  Each one of these relationships has the ability to help us relate to and understand God better.  But unfortunately, most of our relationships have skewed our image of God.  We see Him through the lens of all of our broken relationships…fathers who were not there for us, mothers who did not love us, friends who betrayed us, bosses who were harsh on us, lovers who hurt us.

The first encounter Satan had with man in the garden involved him attacking the character and nature of God.  It caused Adam and Eve to question God’s goodness.  Seven thousand years later, he’s still doing the same thing.  He knows that how you view God is crucial to your relationship with Him.

To see Jesus, is to see God.  In John 14:9 Jesus told Philip “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father.” If you want to see God more clearly, study Jesus.  Read the words in red.  Read the book of John to see the Son of God’s heart revealed.  It will change your concept and view of God.

African American woman in a wheat field - African people

So can you see Him as a person?  Can you see how deeply He loves and desires to share His goodness with you?  Do you know how much joy your love brings Him?  Do you see the tender, soft, compassionate side of Him that longs to be close to you?  Can you also see the pain that He allows Himself to feel with each rejection?  We are not emotionless robots and neither is He.  Can you see Him now?  Can you relate to Him?  And can you live for Him in this new light?

________________________________________________________________________________________

YOUR KOFFEE WITH THE KING: 

God desires for you to see Him clearly.  He longs to reveal His true nature to you so that you can live the abundant life He has for you.  He wants you to trust Him completely and to love Him deeply.   The good news is that over time, the more you see Him and spend this time with Him, the more you’ll trust and love Him.  It’s hard to trust and love someone you don’t know very well.  And even if you have walked with Him for years, there’s still more to know and love about Him.   So spend this precious time whole heartily devoted to Him.  I believe He has amazing things He wants to speak to you today!  So are you ready?  You can start you conversation by listening to the track below, and keep talking to Him for as long as you like.  I recommend 20 to 30 minutes at least.

_______________________________________________________________________________________

FURTHER STUDY:  

Take some time this week looking at the different types of emotions that we see God experience throughout scripture.  Remember, God is not weak, nor does He change, but He does experience the fullness of sorrow and joy and other emotions.  He is still unable to sin and is always Holy, but I think seeing Him in this light helps us relate to Him so much better.  Enjoy!

Day 2:   Read about God and Joy  Zephaniah 3:17, Isaiah 62:5 

Day 3:  Read about God and Grief Psalm 78:40,  Luke 19:41-42

Day 4:  Read about God and Love 1 John 4:8, Jeremiah 31:3

Day 5:  Read Righteous Anger of God Matthew 21:12-13,  Psalm 7:11

WHAT DOES GOD WANT FROM YOU?

Standard

 For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. John 3:16

This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. John 17:3

  • Beth Moore Bible Study? Check.
  • Various Bible Translations? Check.
  • Journal? Check.
  • Bible Dictionary? Check.
  • Colored Pens & Pencils? Check.
  • Highlighters? Check.
  • Cup of Coffee? Check.
  • Ticked all of the boxes on the “What God Expects From Me List”?  Check.

As I ran my finger over the gold embellished edges of my worn bible, I began to make my plan for the day’s time with God.  First I’ll study… “Melonie,” I heard God say, “I don’t want you to read anything this morning, but sit still before Me.”  Well, okay, I guess I will just pray then, I thought.  So I began to pray out loud.  It was a little awkward at first, because I couldn’t understand why He’d tell me not to study but sit still.  My morning times had always consisted of studying and highlighting scripture.  But I pressed on and continued praying, even though I didn’t really feel anything.  The more awkward silence I heard, the louder I prayed. And just when I was about to bring down the fire from heaven, [insert sarcasm] I saw Jesus sitting on the arm of the couch beside me.  (Spiritually speaking of course.)  He said, “Why are you yelling at me? I’m right here.  What do you want to talk about?” “Um, I, uh, don’t really know,” I jabbered.  I’d never really thought of prayer like that before.  My times with God had always consisted of cramming scripture and bible study for hours and of course, asking Him to work out some things for me.  I had never sat still before and chit-chatted but I had a feeling God was about to develop something new in me.  He was about to birth an intimate friendship and the vision for Koffee with the King.

I can honestly say that it was a bit of a struggle not to pull in tons of reading the first several months He had me sit still.  Oh, I still studied the Word, but not during these morning times with God.  One particular day, I reached over to pick up the bible because I had some seriously conflicting and guilty feelings about not reading.  The Holy Spirit said, “You reach for the scriptures, but the scriptures point you to Me, and I am here with you.”  Now was He saying that the bible was not important anymore?  No!  He was teaching me to make His Presence my priority every morning; to sit still and enjoy waking up with Him while getting to know Him.

cozy coffee nookJust as the ambiance of the radiant morning sun bursts through the wall of windows in my office filling my eyes with light, He awakens my soul with His Presence morning after morning.  Warm cup of coffee in hand, snuggled down and rocking in my grandpa’s old green chair, He unravels the mysteries of His goodness before me.  Sip by sip, word by word I’m getting to know Him more each day, and my love grows deeper, stronger.  He is my best friend and this has been His desire for me all along.  Just like in the garden, before sin, He walked and talked with man.  They were friends.  That’s what He wants from us, a friendship.  Jesus said in John 15:13, “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”  That’s what He did for us, laid His life down so that we could be reunited with God if we choose to be.

 

bigstock-beautiful-girl-riding-bicycle--12155192what does god want

What does God want from you?   Intimacy, a close friendship, quality time together.  You will be compelled by your love for Him to make the right choices in life once you really get to know Him.  The more you know Him, the more you’ll love Him.  God is not seeking religiously devout people, He’s seeking people after His own heart.  People who take the time to get to know Him, spend quality time with Him and then are changed from the inside out because of His love and mercy.  Are you ready to know God like that?  Are you ready to be friends with God like this?  Are you ready to live your life from this perspective?  You will be changed forever.  This is eternal life.  It starts now, not later in heaven, but right now.

________________________________________________________________________________________

YOUR KOFFEE WITH THE KING: 

God desires to speak to you today.  He has paid such a high price to be reconciled with you, to have a close friendship with you.  He doesn’t desire religious acts to be close, He simply wants a friend who’s heart desires closeness with Him.  Every good thing you will ever do should be because of your love for Him, not religious obligation.  Take some time today to get to know Him better than you already do. Spend the next 20 or so minutes talking to Him and listening as He shares His heart and love for you.  

_______________________________________________________________________________________

FURTHER STUDY:  

Spend some time this week seeing what the Word of God says about eternal life.  John 17:3 says that eternal life is knowing God and Jesus.  That eternal life brings us into fellowship with God, it brings us into intimate friendship with Him.  This, my friends, is life changing!

Day 2:   Read and meditate on John 15:15

Day 3:  Read and mediate on John 6:26-27

Day 4:  Read and mediate on John 10:27-29

Day 5:  Read and mediate on 1 John 2:24-26

YOU ARE NOT ALONE

Standard

 

Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.  –Deuteronomy 31:6

 

A Love Junkie, that’s what I was.  I ran from relationship to relationship, and from marriage to marriage hoping that the next “hit” would fix my loneliness.  I got married at 16 and had a sweet baby boy (10 months later) who never deserved to go down a road of turmoil and abuse with me.  After the divorce of my first marriage, I became even more desperate.  I was18 with a child in tow.  I was afraid that no one would love me, that no one would love my son.  I needed to find security so I ran to the first person who’d have me.  I went straight from one abusive marriage to another violently explosive marriage (mutually violent, I might add) all because I was afraid of being alone.  That marriage ended and I had another sweet baby boy that didn’t deserve a broken home or turmoil either.

The dismal thought of being alone causes some of us to make desperate irrational decisions, does it not?  We see women and men bounce around from relationship to relationship believing wholeheartedly that “they have just not found the right one yet”.  The human soul cries out for companionship, it’s the way God created us.  God created man and saw that there wasn’t a suitable helper for him. His response?  It’s not good.  So He made Adam a companion, a friend, a lover, someone to do life with.  And isn’t that what we are all looking for?

It breaks my heart to see so many women throw themselves out there so desperately. They are seeking to be loved; longing to find someone to share their lives with.  Sad broken women going from one fix to the next hoping that this “hit” will be the one that fixes them.  I used to be that broken woman.  I was so afraid of being alone that I would do anything to make someone stay.  Yes, I’ve been both single and alone AND I’ve been married and alone too.

The responsibility of meeting all of our needs and making us completely happy should never be placed on another person.  It’s an impossible task!  Are there good godly marriages?  Absolutely, but even those aren’t perfect.  Even those won’t fulfill all of our needs.  Every position in life, married or single, still leaves a wide open hole that only God can fill.  God didn’t create us to be whole without Him.  Did He create marriage?  Of course, but He didn’t create marriage and relationships as replacements for a relationship with Him.

bigstock-Grunge-Styled-Interior-12565091you are not aloneSomewhere after my second divorce, I stopped the insanity.  I stopped reaching for another person to make me whole and reached for God alone.  I had honestly come to a place of contentment.  A place where I was NOT lonely because I had the fullness of God in my life.  I cannot express in words the security I found in Him.  Even to this day, I can’t make sense of how God provided for me and my children.  Month after month I had more than enough financially.  God sent men from church to pour godly wisdom into my sons.  God has given me incredible earthly parents who have been there for me and my sons in every season of our lives.  God sent the boys a compassionate uncle who’s loved them like his own.  God surrounded me with people that He allowed to be His hands and feet to take care of us.  That’s the goodness of God.

I’m not an exception, I’m a living testament to the rule of God’s goodness.  When we are in covenant with Him, it’s His job and responsibility to take care of all of our needs.  Sitting with Him morning after morning fills a void in our souls and we’re never alone.  He’s created a body of believers, the church, to be His hands and feet and to be our family.  There is NEVER a moment that we are alone.  NEVER a moment when God’s not there.  NEVER a moment when He doesn’t meet every need deep inside or send someone to help us when we trust Him.  YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

________________________________________________________________________________________

YOUR KOFFEE WITH THE KING: 

Spend the next 20 to 30 minutes letting God speak to you.  You’ve got to lay as part of your foundation the truth that God has and never will abandon you.  He’s ALWAYS been there.  Listen to today’s song and give God permission to speak His words of love and security to you.  He’ll speak, but you have to believe what He says.  Don’t listen to the voice of the enemy any longer that says you’re alone and no one cares.  God cares!  Let Him tell you…

_______________________________________________________________________________________

FURTHER STUDY:  

Over the next week, study the following passages to increase your knowledge and build your faith that God is always with you so that you can stand secure and confident in Him.

Day 2:   Read and meditate on Joshua 1:5

Day 3:  Read and mediate on John 14:18 

Day 4:  Read and mediate on John 16:32

Day 5:  Read and mediate on Isaiah 41:10

SO, HOW IS THIS A GOOD THING?

Standard

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. –James 1:2-3

Death darkens every door sooner or later.  Pain persistently pursues as we make our way through this life.  We lose jobs, health, spouses, children, friends, churches. We’re crushed by harsh unkind people that are sometimes the closest.  We are abandoned, rejected, neglected, abused, alone.  Ash of the aftermath covers our tear-streaked faces from all of the bad choices those we’re tied to make.  It’s one thing to pay for the sins we’ve committed, but to painfully pay for the sins of another is almost too much. We try to do the right thing, to have the faith we are supposed to, but our strength fails us.  What would cause anyone in their right minds to see joy in any of these things?  And so, how is this a good thing again?

Is there a bogus unwritten rule somewhere that says we won’t go through heartache after we’ve been saved?  We seem to think that our problems will magically disappear.  But nothing could be further from the truth.  In most cases, things get worse before they ever get better.  Because now, we’re not only battling all of hell, add to that our carnal-fleshly-selfish-what-about-me-mindsets that are still lingering and things get disastrous.

It’s easy to have faith for others because we are not feeling the full weight of the trial they are experiencing.  But when all hell breaks loose in our lives, we quickly fall off the spiritual high horse we’re riding.  We decide we are exceptions to God’s goodness rather than the rule; that we could quite possibly be the only person on earth going through this particular situation. So God must have overlooked us somehow.

When I met my future husband 8 years ago, I dreamt of a perfect Utopia.  He was the one I’d waited for for so long. And after our blissful wedding day, I just knew we’d blow up the gates of hell on mission for God.  Yeah, well, that’s not exactly how it went down.  I’m going to be brutally honest here, but it’s because I want you to see something.  There were long barren seasons in my marriage that were so unfathomably bad that I prayed some pretty drastic things.  Divorce wasn’t an option, but death certainly was.  I prayed that God would take me out.  Seriously.  I really wanted to die, but if He wasn’t going to take me, then He needed to take my husband out.  Now don’t judge me.  I know some of you wouldn’t dare say something like that.  It’s so “unchristian”.  And even though I knew this was the man God told me to marry, I just couldn’t piece together why it was so hard.  I tried everything to make it work.  And when I mean make it work, I mean I tried controlling everything.  Funny thing about control is that we really can’t control anything but ourselves, and I wasn’t doing such a great job of that. 

bigstock-Rose-Hanging-From-An-Old-Key-48888527 trialsNow here I am 7 years later, and I have died by degrees to some of the darkest areas of my soul and I can truly say…I am a better person for marrying him and for walking this out.  Through weeping and gnashing of teeth, I intimately saw the face of God peering at me through my despair, drawing me with soft, gentle, loving whispers.  He taught me how to be like Him through His love. He gave me eyes to see the treasure that was locked up inside me: the gentle, patient, find-joy-even-when-I-don’t-get-my-way kind of treasure.  Taught me that trials are keys to treasures of godly character stored within, we choose which way to turn the key.  And I choose to unlock it and let the glory of God shine through me.

I’ve learned this lesson on so many different fronts.  But it’s all the same.  Consider everything joy that comes your way especially the hard stuff.  It has the potential to make you stronger, to increase your faith and to be resolute in your walk.  Remember that the brokenhearted see the face of God.  That’s who He came for.  Don’t let your trial be for nothing.  See it for the potential it has…to make you more like Him by spending more time with Him.

________________________________________________________________________________________

YOUR KOFFEE WITH THE KING: 

Spend the next 20 to 30 minutes letting God renew your mind.  Every hardship that you are facing right now, lay before Him.  Ask Him for understanding in it.  Ask Him for grace to persevere.  Even if you receive limited understanding in what you are going through, resolve to the fact that God is good. PERIOD. Sometimes we can’t see clearly when we are in the midst of such heartache, so God may give you one bite of truth at a time.  Write it down, believe it, and trust Him.  This trial won’t last forever.  You will make it through this, I promise!

_______________________________________________________________________________________

FURTHER STUDY:  

Over the next week, study the following passages to learn more about persevering through adversity and the joy that awaits you on the other side.  It’s so worth the price!

Day 2:   Read and meditate on 1 Peter 1:6-7

Day 3:  Read and mediate on Romans 8:16-18

Day 4:  Read and mediate on 1 Peter 5:8-10

Day 5:  Read and mediate on Romans 5:1-4

RUN YOUR RACE & WIN

Standard

Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it.  1 Corinthians 9:24

 

Who hasn’t wished that they were someone else at least once in their lifetime?  We look through small smudgy windows into the lives of people who we pretentiously think have it all together.  We look at what they have and see what we don’t have.    They are the measuring stick by which we measure our worth, our success.  We are constantly comparing ourselves to women who have what we want, or are doing what we want to do and we always find ourselves lacking.

Is it an affirmation-starved fatherless world that causes us to wish we were someone else, that keeps us from seeing our true value? What is lacking in our lives that causes us to question our own self-worth?  Why are we plagued with overwhelming thoughts of not being good enough and why do we believe them?  Why isn’t what we have enough?  Why isn’t who we are enough?

For most of my formative years I struggled with being average.  I was never good at anything, really.  I stunk at sports, I was an average student (mostly because I didn’t try), and I had no real remarkable talents.   I was mediocre in every way.  I think somewhere deep down inside we all want to be really good at something, just one thing.  We want to make people happy and feel as though the world is a better place because we contribute something to it.  Not in an arrogant, egotistical way, we just want to feel valuable.  Do you want to know what I think the real root is?  We are not confident in who we are, in Who’s we are and how valuable we are to Him.  And without that confidence we buckle and we strive to be what we are not, always ending up short.

I tried most of my life to be someone that I was not and failed miserably at it.  You see, God will not help you become someone else.  He’ll help you be the best you, you can be. It wasn’t until I started sitting with Him, and hearing Him say what He loved about me that I began to embrace who He made me to be.  God is an affirmer.  And He wants to affirm you.  Your past doesn’t matter, your future can be amazing.  It’s time we start living a life of gratitude for all He’s given us.  It’s time to stop letting a victim mentality steal all that God has for us.  It’s time to stop being jealous of what others have and embrace what we’ve been given.  Sitting with Him day after day after day instills value and confidence.  You won’t need the world to say a word to you for you to carry out the call of God on your life.

bigstock-Athlete-runner-feet-running-on-34709693liarIt’s hilarious to me how God works sometimes.  My love language is words of affirmation, which is probably the one thing that I get the least.  I sought for so many years for someone to say “wow, you are really good at that” or “I believe in you”.  And other than my super amazing mom, I don’t hear positive things like that very often.  So you know what I do? I do it anyway, and I do it with everything I’ve got.  I run this race fiercely, boldly, and with the utmost confidence that I am enough because He says so.   I run to win the prize of hearing Him say “well done sweetie”.  The confidence I have in who I am in Him has come from years of sitting in His presence, from years of listening to Him tell me how valuable I am to Him.  Those truths dispel the lies of the enemy that I am not enough and that no one believes in me.  I no longer need anyone to say anything to me.  He says it all and that is enough.  So I run my race in my lane as me and I love me.  I love what God has given me to do.  I love what God has gifted me to do.  If I could be anyone else in the world, I would choose to be me.  Isn’t it time you loved yourself the way God loves you?  Are you ready to see yourselve the way He sees you?  Are you ready to run the race He’s given you to run?  Are you ready to win?  Because you can.

________________________________________________________________________________________

YOUR KOFFEE WITH THE KING: 

Spend the next 20 to 30 minutes soaking in His presence.  We are going to let Him do a lot of the talking today.  We are going to be still and let Him tell us what He thinks about us.  We are going to let Him speak to us so that we can be free in who He’s called us to be.  When He speaks to you, apply your faith to it.   Receive it wholeheartedly and walk confidently in it from now on.  He believes in you!

________________________________________________________________________________

FURTHER STUDY:  

Over the next week, study the following passages to learn more about running this race with confidence, refusing to compare yourselves to others and understanding who we are in Christ.

Day 2:   Read and meditate on 2 Corinthians 10:12

Day 3:  Read and mediate on Ephesians 2:10

Day 4:  Read and mediate on Philippians 3:14

Day 5:  Read and mediate on Galatians 1:10

LIVE OR DIE? YOU CHOOSE

Standard

We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.  2 Corinthians 10:5

Deep dark desperation numbed down into despondence as we sat lifeless in the marriage counselor’s office.  We were miles apart. No, we were more like light-years apart except there was no light, only years of darkness. How did we get here? Was this not the “one” God told me to marry? This was never a place I thought we’d be.  Never a place for two professing Christians…or so was it?

We’d tried getting help before.  I’d tried everything but nothing seemed to work.  And here we were…at the absolute bottom.  Loveless.  I honestly couldn’t have cared if I lived or died at that moment.   I had swallowed the 2 ton brick of hopelessness that my body could not digest and I was dying from the inside out.  Every lie that slithered its way into my mind, I’d given permission to suck the life out of me one hopeless whisper at a time.

Bi-polar Depression,  that’s what she said was wrong.  I needed medication she said.  You know those scenes in action movies where the music drops, everything goes into slow motion, and things are suspended in mid-air? Yeah, it was like that, except during my slow mo reel  I heard God.  “You need to choose this day who you believe,” He said.  “You either believe the truth and live or believe the lies and die.  But you choose.”  Light flipped on with the snap of truth.  I was sitting in that chair in a hopeless frame of mind because of what I allowed myself to believe.  You see, a lie is as strong as the truth if you believe it. bigstock-thistle-close-up-26347376simply believe The only power the enemy has over us is what we give him.  And I had given him full reign of my mind.  At the time it was easier to roll downstream with the negative thoughts than to fight the current and trust that God could heal my marriage.  And it wasn’t just my marriage that was falling apart, it was everything. Family, finances, ministry, all had flopped.  Failure was stamped on everything that had my name associated with it, or so I believed.  Yes, I believed in God’s goodness for short spurts but the long seasons of drought brought doubt that I couldn’t overcome any longer on my own.

Most any lay person would have diagnosed me as a manic depressant.  I was high one minute then down the next.  High when I believed God’s truth, and low when I agreed with the barrage of hopeless thoughts of failure sent to torment me.  Up and down, and up and down, over and over until I lost my mind.

But the grace that came to me in that moment of despair in the counselor’s office defined the answer for me.  The answer: to choose life,  to choose truth against all odds, to believe that God was good and to trust Him at all times.  With the snap of His finger was I healed?  No, I had to choose to take every thought captive.  Every one.  I asked myself  “does this encourage me, lift me up, agree with God’s word, agree with what God has already spoken?”  If not, I pushed it out of my mind and verbally said what God’s word did say.  Was it easy?  Not at first, but it gets easier.  Especially when I spend every morning waking up with the One who gently helps realign my thoughts to His.

bigstock-Girl-On-The-Lake-40084861perfect peaceKeeping company with Him will do that you know?  You’ll be so accustomed to His voice that you’ll refuse to listen to the voice of anyone else that speaks contrary to Him.  The one who lies, kills, steals and destroys your hope and peace will be easily recognized and easily refused.  Sitting in God’s presence, listening and believing His words has healed me.  It started the day I left the counselor’s office and continues daily over coffee.  Bi-polar?  Not anymore.  I’m balanced and secure in Him and in the thoughts I have about Him and about life.

________________________________________________________________________________________

YOUR KOFFEE WITH THE KING: 

Spend the next 20 to 30 minutes enjoying waking up your mind in God’s presence.  We all battle  thoughts that are sent to devour us.  What are some thoughts you battle regularly that weigh you down?  Tell those to Him today.  Ask Him what He thinks about those thoughts.  Ask Him to replace those lies with the truth.  Make sure to write down exactly what He says and memorize it.   Play the audio track below to get you started.

________________________________________________________________________________

FURTHER STUDY:  

Over the next week, study the following passages to learn more about having a mind stayed on Christ and truth.  Continue to have your daily Koffee with the King  and enjoy Him. These are not just random scriptures I’ve chosen.  These scriptures will help you defend off the lies of the enemy.  So read them, write them down, and quote them as needed.

Day 2:   Read and meditate on John 8:30-32

Day 3:  Read and mediate on Proverbs 23:7

Day 4:  Read and mediate on  John 14:6

Day 5:  Read and mediate on Isaiah 26:3

IT’S TIME TO GET NAKED

Standard

And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.    – Genesis 2:25

 

Breath blown lungs fill full of the life of God.  Unspoiled eyes open to beauty yet discovered.  Unveiled eyes behold a form of their Creator.  Naked and unashamed he stands before His Maker.  Nothing hidden, nothing covered up, a friendship forms.  Walks and talks in a garden in the cool of day, fill both the hearts of God and man.  For this is why he was born, and this is why He came.  God’s heart empty? No. It’s full to be poured out in this love but how sweet to have that love chosen to be returned.

bigstock-Spring-Nature-Beautiful-Lands-45772306The Garden of Eden, a perfect love validated by a perfect world of breathtaking beauty and intimacy with God.  What would a day in this paradise have been like?  What grandiose expeditions uncovered majesties with Creator as tour guide?  What deep rich conversations exchanged in a place where dreams are made?

And then entered sin.

The problem with free will is that you are, well, free to choose.  The incorrect choice, sin, has a price.  It’s effect? Shame and separation from God.  Adam and Eve decided that they knew better than God and chose to disobey Him.   And what happened next is heartbreaking.  Imagine, God coming down to fellowship with His friends and can’t find them…

And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?” 10 So he said, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.” Genesis 3:8-10.

I heard Your voice and I was afraid?  That had never happened before.  Adam had never been afraid of God’s voice, until now…until sin.

Is this not the same reaction we have today?  We sin and then run from the Presence of God because we are ashamed or maybe perhaps we don’t want to give up our “precious” sin.  We believe His reaction will be one of strict punishment, condemnation or even worse, He’ll ask us to stop sinning.  We may even love the sin more than we love Him.  We knew better than to “eat the forbidden fruit” but we did it, and now what?  Cover it up and stay hidden?  We’d like to think we can hide but God knows everything.

What sin is so great, so much greater than enjoying His full unconditional love and closeness? I am convinced that there is no such sin.  Nothing even comes close to the joy I’ve found in Him.

There is no area of my heart left closed off.  I’ve given it all to Him.  I’ve exposed every part of myself to Him.  I’ve allowed the light of truth to shine and permeate even the darkest parts of me.  I willfully submit to allbigstock-Book-old-key-and-envelope-on--56876456transparency that He asks.  The reward for such sacrifice? Intimacy. There is nothing separating us.  I am naked, unashamed and hear Him clearly.  Always.  Transparency is the key to intimacy with God.

So are you ready to get naked before God and bare all?  Being honest about the sin and struggles in your life?  Giving all of yourself in return for all of Him?  Purifying your heart so that you may see Him, hear Him?  If so, get ready to be swept away!

________________________________________________________________________________________

YOUR KOFFEE WITH THE KING: 

Spend the next 20 to 30 minutes imagining yourself in the Garden of Eden with God.  What would you and God talk about if you were free from shame and guilt? What would you say to Him if you knew He loved you without measure and nothing you could say to Him would cause Him to love you any less.  Talk to Him openly and honestly.  Be completely transparent.  Then listen to what He says back.  Write it down and treasure it.

________________________________________________________________________________

FURTHER STUDY:  

Over the next week, study the following passages to learn more about being honest with God.  Continue to have your daily Koffee with the King  and enjoy Him. This is NOT a duty, but a delight to sit with Him every morning waking up to the sound of His sweet voice over coffee.

bigstock-art-grunge-floral-vintage-back-16720973blessedDay 2:   Read and meditate on Matthew 5:8

Day 3:  Read and mediate on 1 John 1:9

Day 4:  Read and mediate on  Psalms 32:5

Day 5:  Read and mediate on  Psalms 15:1-3