Coffee Inspiration: Pour a Cup of Love

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On Tuesday, February 14, we will be celebrating the “love holiday”–Valentine’s Day. We have heard that “love makes the world go round”, “love and marriage come together like a horse and carriage”, and “all we need is love”; but what does the dictionary have to say about love: The Oxford Dictionary gives the following definitions:

“Love:
1) An intense feeling of deep affection
synonyms: fondness, tenderness, warmth, intimacy
2) A person or thing that one loves
synonyms: beloved, loved one, love of one’s life, dear, dearest”

Husbands and wives, boyfriends and girlfriends, and family and friends try to surprise one another with a special gift on Valentine’s Day in order to try and show/express their deepest feelings of love for that person or persons.

In Corinthians 13:4-8, Christ shows us His definition/teachings of what love truly is:

“Love is patient
Love is kind
It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It is not rude
It is not self-seeking
It is not easily angered
It keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails.”

He sums up the chapter by saying (verse 13):

“And now these three remain:
faith, hope, and love.
But the greatest of these is love.”

I don’t know about you, but whenever I read Jesus’ words regarding what love actually is and what it means to me as a Christian, I am immediately examining my heart and life so that I can truly show this kind of love to others each and every day. Sometimes I fail. Sometimes I let the “little things” bother me and I am not thankful for all that Jesus has blessed me with. However, I get down on my knees and ask His forgiveness if I have wronged someone or said something rude. We are not perfect. We are on a journey in this world and if we show the kind of love that Christ has shown us, then this world would be a better place. All we need to do is remember to ask for His help.

As we celebrate Valentine’s Day this coming week, remember to show our family/friends/loved ones that we love and care about them and how we can always “protect, trust, hope, and always persevere” because “love never fails.”

In “Thank Heaven for Coffee (and other little pleasures)” published by Barbour Publishing Inc., we are reminded of the following scripture:

A CUPFUL OF LOVE
“God has poured out His love into our hearts”–Romans 5:5 (NIV)
Since we have been so loved, let us not neglect sharing that love with others even in the simple offering of a cup of joe.”

Blessings to All,
Yvonne

Coffee Inspiration: Pour a Cup of Peace

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John 14:27: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

For the past couple of weeks as I have watched and listened to the news, I have thought a lot about the meaning of “peace.” The Oxford Dictionary states that peace is “freedom from disturbance; quiet and tranquility.” Jesus mentions peace a number of times in His word, but in John 14:27 this scripture talks about the Holy Spirit–the Counselor whom the Father will send in His name–who will “teach us all things” and “remind us of everything” regarding how we are to live our lives for Him.

In the book, “Thank Heaven for Coffee (and other little pleasures)” published by Barbour Publishing, I found the following quote by Henry Drummond which summons up and is a reminder of how we should live our lives each day:

ONE CHANCE
“I shall pass through this world but once.
Any good thing therefore that I can do,
or any kindness that I can show to any
human being, let me do it now. Let me not
defer it or neglect it, for I shall not
pass this way again.”–Henry Drummond

At the end of the Sunday service each week at the UMC Church where I have been playing the piano, the congregation sings the following parting hymn which I believe sums up the word peace as it pertains to our world today (live peacefully, in one accord, and in unity with one another):

LET THERE BE PEACE ON EARTH by Sy Miller and Jill Jackson
“Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me;
Let there be peace on earth, the peace that was meant to be.
With God our creator, children all are we.
Let us walk with each other in perfect harmony.
Let peace begin with me; let this be the moment now.
With every step I take, let this be my solemn vow:
To take each moment and live each moment in peace eternally.
Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me.”

May God help each one of us to allow the peace that “passeth all understanding” begin in our own hearts this coming week.

Blessings,
Yvonne

Coffee Inspiration: Pour A Cup of Blessing

“Bless the Lord Oh my soul, and forget not all his benefits…” (ESV) Psalm 103:2

How do we always know that Jesus is readily seen in our lives by others? Is it by our deeds and actions? Is it by our words of encouragement and sharing our faith in Jesus Christ?

On January 1, 2017, this was the question that the minister posed to the congregation as we pondered what it meant to each of us. He asked for individuals to share their experiences of how and when God made it clear that He was using them as a testimony of their faith to reach individuals who perhaps were struggling and who needed to learn more about God’s grace and faithfulness.

During this one hour service, I received a text message from our former foster son who is married and lives quite a distance away from our current residence. He shared that while they were in their church service–at the same time as ours–they began singing the song, “Make Me A Blessing” and he remembered “the blessing you are in my life” and wanted to share that thought at that exact moment. Talk about God’s timing!

Needless to say, it touched my heart and I shared that with him after the service. As I shared my thoughts with the congregation on “how do we know if God is seen in our lives by others”, I was overcome with memories and thoughts of having had our former foster son in our home for a number of years and how truly thankful I was that God had used my husband and I to show him the love of Christ.

We never know during our life’s journey what effect and/or impact we will have on others at the time; however, my husband and I have been shown and blessed with knowing that God has truly used us throughout our 40+ years in ministry and that we actually got to see some of the “fruits of our labor” with the many lives that God has brought us into contact with. Even a small word of encouragement could leave a significant impact without our realizing it as well.

“Eternal Blessings: A man may lose the good things of this life against his will; but if he loses the eternal blessings, he does so with his own consent.”–Augustine, “Thank Heaven for Coffee and other little pleasures”

May the God of grace and glory bless your lives and use you as a blessing to others.

Blessings,
Yvonne

Coffee Inspiration: Pour A Cup of Joy

“…for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”–Nehemiah 8:10

“Clap your hands all peoples! Shout to God with songs of joy.”–Psalm 47:1

How many of you remember the coffee jingle from the ’60’s, “Chock full of nuts is that heavenly coffee” or the expressions “pour me a cup of joe” and “…good til the last drop?” I was recently reminded of these expressions and my heart was full of joy.

During the holidays, I ordered two special mugs and added a personal touch with the individual’s name on each one. They didn’t come in time for Christmas but I sent them a few days later. The individual text’d me and said they loved them, and that she was “pouring a cup of joe” in her new mug. I text’d back saying, “Now you will always think of me.” She replied, “I think of you all the time. I don’t need a mug for that.”

As soon as I saw her message, my heart was full of joy at her words and we agreed to talk on the phone at a time that was convenient for her. When we did talk, I had my cup of coffee in hand. My cup has the words, “Be strong…the strength you need comes from God.” Nehemiah also reminds us of being strong and that the “joy of the Lord is our strength.”

Right now, everything is going along smoothly; but I have no doubt that my faith will be tested by life’s circumstances and that God will continually remind me that the joy we need to have in our hearts comes from Him. Joy plus an attitude of gratitude is my new motto for this coming year. It is a reminder that God is with us–that our lives matter–and that we can make a difference in others’ lives as well.

“Coffee is best served…black
…or with cream
…or with sugar
…or flavored with vanilla, chocolate,
hazelnut, peppermint, spice, etc.
…or with dessert
…or with breakfast
…or with a SMILE.”–From “Thank Heaven for Coffee and other little pleasures” by Barbour Publishing, Inc.”

May God richly bless and keep you in His loving care and enjoy your special “cup of joy” each and every day.

Blessings,
Yvonne

Coffee Quotes: Jump Start Your Day Inspirations

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Who doesn’t like a fresh cup of coffee in the morning after a long-night’s sleep? I can answer a resounding “yes” to that. Every morning like clockwork, I begin my day by making a cup of hot, brewed black coffee to wake up my mind and my soul. A time to be spent looking over the day’s list of things to do, but better yet, a time to reflect upon God’s direction and inspiration for the day.

“The Best Time of Day for Coffee Is…
…breakfast for a jump start
…mid-morning for inspiration
…lunch for good measure
…mid-afternoon for a restart
…dinner for a conversation starter
…evening for a happy ending.” Quote from: “Thank Heaven For Coffee and Other Little Pleasures.” Published by Barbour Publishing Inc.

God can speak to our hearts in a still small voice even in the midst of drinking coffee and/or tea. We just need to be aware of His presence in what we are doing at the moment.

Psalm 37:4 (NIV) says, “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.”

May you feel “plugged in” to His voice today.

Blessings,
Yvonne

Nana’s Corner: Christmas 2016

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This is officially Christmas week and it is half over. Today my daughter, along with her dad and I, took the two grandsons off to Woodbridge, VA where we ate at a Denny’s Restaurant and then stopped by Hobby Lobby for some last minute gifts.

There were numerous cars on the road and even Denny’s was very busy. In fact, it took a lot longer to get our meals than normal. Guess everyone was out shopping and got hungry so they all stopped to eat as well!

It was a fun morning and Gryphon, and I got to watch the movie, “Minions”, in the car on the way up and on the way back. We also enjoyed the Christmas decorations and lights that adorned outside houses and businesses. The baby slept most of the time on the way up, in the restaurant, and on the way home. Gryphon fell asleep just before we got home but awoke after we went inside, and he didn’t want Nana or Pap (as he calls Roger) to leave either. So sweet to watch him interacting with his Pap!

In the hustle and bustle between shopping, parties/dinners, and additional church services this week, it is easy to forget that “Jesus is the reason for the season.” Does Christmas come but once a year? Technically, it does to many people during this time of year. But let us not forget to celebrate and be giving throughout the entire year as well. We need to support and encourage each other all year long and not just during one week in December.

Let us continue to show the love that God has shown us not only to our friends and family in the new year, but may we also be made aware of the needs of those around us and show them love and kindness throughout 2017 as well. May you feel blessed as you open up your hearts to others. Jesus taught us to “love one another as He loved us” and may we also do the same.

Blessings,
Yvonne

Mary’s Journey (From Ordinary to Extraordinary)

Since the Advent season began on Sunday, November 27, our pastor has asked for volunteers to speak on each of the Sunday mornings leading up to Christmas Sunday morning about specific Bible characters who have had a special impact on leading up to the Birth of Jesus Christ. Last week my husband, Roger, spoke about John the Baptist who was born to Zechariah and Elizabeth. John’s life would “prepare the way” for our Lord Jesus Christ and His ministry.

This past Sunday I spoke about Mary, the Mother of Jesus, and want to share some insights into her humble life with all of you.

INTRODUCTION

. Mary is the best-known female character in the Bible and, of course, everyone knows her as the “Mother of Jesus”.
. In Matthew 1:16 her name appears in the geneology of Matthew–“…and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called the Christ.”
. It has been told that she was a peasant woman, a young adolescent, and probably poor, from the descendant of Aaron (priests).
. Her parents and/or siblings are not mentioned in the scriptures, but it is assumed that she came from a Godly home of devout Jews–she lived in the Village of Nazareth.
. During Mary’s time period, it was a Jewish custom that girls were not trained in the Holy Scriptures but were trained to run the household; however, as seen in her praise to God in the “Magnificat” or “Mary’s Song” in Luke 1:47-55, Mary was well-versed in scriptures.
. Mary became betrothed to Joseph, son of Heli and a descendant of King David, at a very young age. Although we don’t know the exact age that she was pledged to be married, the minimum age for girls to be betrothed during this time period was 12 years old, and this generally took place one year before the marriage which was legally binding and could only be dissolved by a legal divorce.

OVERVIEW OF OTHER PLACES IN SCRIPTURES WHERE MARY IS MENTIONED

. Luke 1:26-38: Mary was visited by the Angel Gabriel and then she visits Elizabeth for three months.
. Matthew 1:24 and Luke 2:1-7: Both gospels tell about the Birth of Jesus–Mary and Joseph traveled to Bethlehem per the decree by Caesar Augustus for the census, and this is where Mary gives birth to Jesus.
. Luke 2:21: Jesus is presented in the temple at 8 days old to be circumcised and is blessed by Simeon.
. Luke 2:41: Feast of the Passover each year–During one of their travels when Jesus was 12 years old, his parents were returning home, and it was discovered that Jesus had stayed behind so they went back to get him. In VS 48, Mary tells Jesus that she and his father had been anxiously searching for Him; and His reply in VS 49 was, “Didn’t you know that I had to be in my Father’s house” but they did not understand.
. John 2:1-11: Wedding Feast in Cana—On the third day of this celebration, the wine ran out. Mary asks Jesus for His help and He turns the water into wine.
. John 19:26: Crucifixion–Jesus sees His mother and says, “Dear woman, here is your son” and to John, His disciple, He says, “Here is your mother” so John cared for Mary the rest of her days.
. Luke 24:9: Resurrection–Mother of James (Jesus’ mother), plus Mary Magdalene and Joanna run to tell the 11 disciples that Christ was risen.

OTHER CHILDREN OF MARY AND JOSEPH

. In both Mark 6:3 and Matthew 13:55-56, it mentions Mary’s other children: James, Joses (Joseph), Judas, and Simon, plus two other sisters (whose names are not mentioned).

THE BIRTH OF JESUS FORETOLD IN LUKE 1:26-38

. VS 26-28: The Angel Gabriel greets Mary telling her that she is highly favored by God (favor means gaining approval, aceptance, or special benefits or blessings).

. VS 29: Mary’s reaction was that she was troubled and afraid. BUT as we continue to read the rest of their conversation, we get a better picture into Mary’s character. She exhibits a:

Humble Heart:

. That God had chosen her to carry His Son.
. She probably thought to herself: Who am I that God would think so highly of me for this blessed event. After all she was not wealthy or noble, but just an ordinary young girl and a chaste virgin.

Willing and Open Heart:

. She listened to what the Angel told her about what was going to take place and how the Holy Spirit would come upon her and she would be with child.
. She then accepted and trusted God and she was willing to be used by God

Obedient Heart:

. Mary was an obedient follower of God. God didn’t look at her outward appearance or her circumstances, but He knew her heart and that she would be obedient in what He asked of her.
. The Angel tells Mary about her cousin Elizabeth and how that even in her old age, she was going to have a baby (now in her sixth month).
. And in VS 37, the Angel concludes his time with Mary by saying, “For nothing is impossible with God.”

Servant Heart:

. Mary was a woman of faith and in VS 38, she said, “Let it be to me as you have said.” (If God said it, then I believe it mentality.)
. Mary proves that she is humble, willing, and obedient to become God’s servant and believed God’s destiny for her life.

MARY’S VISIT WITH ELIZABETH

. After Mary’s visit with the angel, she goes to the hill country of Judea to visit with her cousin Elizabeth to see for herself that Elizabeth was with child.

. Luke 1:40: says that when Mary greeted Elizabeth, her baby leaped in her womb and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In VS 42-45 Elizabeth confirms to Mary that which would take place in her own life: She was chosen to carry the Son of God and would be blessed among all women.
. Mary then begins to praise God.

MAGNIFICANT–MARY’S SONG

. VS 46-55: In this passage, Mary definitely shows that she knows the scriptures. This is a song of strength, trust, obedience, and power to believe that what God said He would do, and what He would now accomplish in Mary’s life.
. VS 48: Mary declares: “For He has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed.” (A humble servant)
. Mary then stays with Elizabeth for three months before returning home, indicating that she was probably there for the birth of John.

CONCLUSION: How can we apply the events in Mary’s journey to our own lives today???

. I Samuel 16:7says: “…The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (Remember this was how King David was chosen)
. When God chose Mary, He looked at her heart, not her appearance or circumstances.

. When God wants to use individuals like ourselves, He is looking at our hearts–our love for Him–and not at our outward appearance or circumstances.

. Colossians 3:23 says: “Whatever you do, do it from the heart for the Lord, and not for people.”
. Mary wasn’t thinking about “what will people think” (especially Joseph), but only that she was highly favored and chosen by God to carry His Son.

. God asks that whatever He asks of us that we do it with our whole heart for Him and not for men AND FINALLY…

. Luke 1:37 says: “For nothing is impossible with God”

. Just as Elizabeth conceived in her old age, and Mary miraculously bore the Son of God–Jesus Christ who would end up bearing the sins of the world and saving us all–they both understood and saw firsthand in their lives that “nothing was impossible with God.”

. SO SHOULD WE: “When God speaks to each of us and we listen to Him, let us all be willing to step out in faith so that He can show us His continued plan for our lives, because “nothing is impossible that God can’t do in and through our lives today for His honor and glory”.
. Just believe and trust Him, and He will guide you on your life’s journey every step of the way!

I concluded my time of sharing about Mary’s Journey by singing “Breath of Heaven” which solidified perhaps what Mary further thought as she traveled to Bethlehem and where she gave birth to Jesus Christ and “laid Him in a manger.”

During this Christmas season, may we find ourselves most grateful and thankful for the blessings that we have received throughout the year and enjoy our precious time with family and friends. And most of all, for the birth of our Saviour, God and King!

Blessings,
Yvonne