Jo is To Go, Girlfriends Are Forever

I love seeing girlfriends getting together for coffee.  In all great intentions to frequent the coffee shop and focus on another day’s study of Philippians, I was once again distracted!  This time, two women leaving from their coffee date.  Doubtful this wouldn’t have stuck as such a cord with me if it wasn’t something also near and dear to my own heart.  It’s not even about the coffee, it’s the experience.  There is something special about sitting in a quaint place (Starbucks works, but it can be very busy and noisy) with a dear friend chit chatting over a cup of jo.

Y’all, girlfriends are important! “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: 10 If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!” (Eph. 4:9-10)  What’s even better is making Jesus the center of your conversation.  When you have a sister in Christ, and you can make it a focus to have Jesus central, your conversations will be meaningful, impactful, memorable, and productive.  Something tells me sharing a heart-girlfriend moment over a bowl of spaghetti just isn’t the same as over a frothy latte, the kind they make pretty leaves or other art in (can we say adds to the experience?)!

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This frothy gem is something I created on my own this weekend.  My secret weapon to make this happen?  (The microwave… shhhh!)  The trick from Fox’n Friends really worked!  You heat up milk in the microwave for approx. ~1 min, put a lid on it and give it a good shake to foam it up, then add to your espresso or coffee.  (Best to use a glass bottle with screw on lid, plastic containers will burst on you, promise *wink*).

Back to girlfriends, I truly pray you are blessed with quality over quantity of friends.  There are times when quantity wins based on circumstance, but please know how important it is to have quality.  I’ve had my share of quality bonding times with my dearest and closest friends.  Since many of us have since changed careers and even relocated it’s no doubt a missing piece in my routine.  It’s  not the coffee I so dearly miss (although our little coffee shop sure made a great Congelatto!), it’s the moments we shared over and through that straw of goodness that leaves a void in my heart.  Getting to witness other women enjoy this experience brings me joy.  In our days of social media, texting, Face-booking, and being too busy with our corporate lives, please don’t ever give up the chance to un-plug, sink into a couch, and hold a hot beverage with your dearest friend by your side.

Father, we thank you for friends.  Even though we may be married to our best friend, it’s equally important that we continue to have friends in Christ we can talk, share, laugh, cry, and work with.  Please come into our hearts and give our busy brains a time-out to rest and unplug from the daily busy’ness we get so caught up in.  We pray you are center in our conversations and interactions with people.  Bless every hot cup of joe being held in this moment, everything we have is from you Lord, and we praise you for the smallest of things that bring smiles to our faces.  Until the day we can drink a cup with you, our best friend of all.. Amen.

Shine Shine Shine!

In ancient times salt was rubbed into meat to keep it from spoiling   When Jesus said that we are the salt & the light, He was implying that the world is decaying and dark, it needs salt rubbed into it and light shined upon it (Matt. 5:3-16).  Wherever salt and light are, they change their environment.*

We are called to be the light in the world.  Not only does light expose those things that are in the dark but it also provides warmth and happiness.  Have you ever looked at someone with a genuine smile or heard a deep belly laugh and not feel compelled to smile back or laugh with them?  There is something contagious about the “light”.  Smiling – it’s like having a Million dollars in the bank but not having a checkbook to use it.  I dare you to give it a try sometime, whether you feel like it or not, smile.  It physically causes your chemicals in your body to react differently.  Not only, it’s contagious!  Just as negativity attracts negativity, positivity will attract positivity.

Salt – A pinch of this magical spice can turn a bland and dull meal into something savory and mouthwatering.  We, too, are to be salt.  Who among us remembers christian character, Psalty?

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He sang, he danced.. To think then knowing what we know now of this special message.  Combined with light, let’s be the added dash of savory flavor to those around us.  Let’s leave people wondering, “What is it that’s different?”  And, “I want what they have! Where do I sign up?”.

Without salt and light our world is dark, dreary, and will begin to spoil.  Nothing stinks more than dark negativity.  How can we have this salt and light of our own?  We know that no matter our trials, we have the Lord with us.  You see, many Christians today have a false sense of thinking that because of their faith there will be no struggles or hardships.  We couldn’t be ever the more wrong.  We must endure the suffering Christ suffered to be conformed into His image (Rom. 8:29).  Again, the reason why we can still find peace and joy through our suffering is because we know that all things work for the good of He who loves us (Rom. 8:28).  Satan will test our faith, but nothing could show God’s glory more than by overcoming these sneaky temptations.  God will never allow us to enter into anything He doesn’t already know we can’t endure.  He smiles upon us with great pride when we’ve chosen Him (Psalm 67:1).  You see, it’s all His will in ALL things anyways.

So let’s sing! Let’s dance! “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine shine shine!”

Heavenly Father, thank you for showing us what it means to be the salt and the light.  Even if it’s taken us a while to get there, but rest assure it’s in your timing and not our own.  We are not discouraged when others let us down for we know that as part of our walk we must endure trials and hardships.  We are all fallen and not deserving of the grace you so freely give to us and we thank you for this generous gift.  People will fail us but your love endures forever.  You never give up on us.  Let us learn to forgive and bless others in your name as your Son would do for us.  Anytime we can add a dash of salt and light into this world let it be because we want to share all of the great and amazing things we’ve learned from knowing you alone.  In your name we pray, Amen.

*Salt and Light – The Connection Devotional by Skip Heitzig

I Believe Because the Letter Says So

A young man was heading off to college and needed a new car.  His current vehicle was old and run-down.  Being a humble and hard-working young man he deserved to have a decent and reliable car for college so his aunt wrote him a letter stating that she would give him her daughter’s car.  The young man received the letter and told his parents that he now “has a car”.  They asked, “Where is it? We don’t see it?”  He simply replied, “I have one because it says so in this letter”.

You see, this young man understood the same thing that guarantees our righteousness by faith in Jesus Christ.  Just like a promise is made to us, a promise was made to him and he had faith enough to believe it.  We, too, have a letter.  We have the biggest, longest, love letter of all.  The Bible.  This letter promises us eternal life if we believe in the one and only Promise from our heavenly father.

Here’s a question to ponder:

Was it easy for you to simply believe in Christ for salvation rather than trying to work for it? Why?

My thoughts:

It’s hard to not think we need to “do” something in order to earn something in return.  By doing, we physically feel and see that something has taken place.  Thus, giving us the belief because we “know” it’s been done, and we know if it’s been done good or bad.  The key thing here is – giving up control.  The notion to control our thoughts, words, and deeds.  Instead of giving it up to the Lord and trusting in him to give us the right action and speech, we take it upon ourselves to try our hardest to do the right things.  Giving up this control is the ticket to our peace that is so freely offered to us.  When we have peace, we trust in God’s abilities alone to carry us, not in ourselves.

I like to explain it to people this way;  We cannot see the air we breathe, yet we breathe in and out everyday because we trust and know (faith) that it’s there.  Much like faith, we do not need to physically feel and see and hear God to know that he is there.  Faith by seeing is no faith at all (2 Cor. 5:7).

The Lord is who does the work within us to make us righteous, not ourselves by our own works (Romans 8:29).  Now know, that if we root ourselves in Christ, we will naturally do good works because we will bear fruit.  It won’t be that we force ourselves into doing these things, but because Christ lives in us we are on fire to do works for the glory of the Lord out of reverence and love.

Father God, we know that in all things you work for the good of those who love you, who have been called according to your purpose.  For those you foreknew you also predestined to be conformed to the image of your son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. (Rom. 8:28-29) Thank you Lord that it’s not up to the things we do that will determine if we are righteous enough to enter your kingdom, but that by our faith and trust in your son, Jesus Christ, that you are who works in us for your eternal glory in heaven and forever.  Amen!