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Archive for the ‘Contributor: Ann’ Category

How Do You Spell Relief?

Posted by Cinda On May - 13 - 2013ADD COMMENTS

acid_relieverDo you remember that commercial about Rolaids? How do you spell relief? R-O-L-A-I-D-S! Evidently the product Rolaids worked for the problem of indigestion. It brought relief from the symptoms of that condition. How about the condition our lives can be in sometimes. At times living here on this Earth, beautiful and wonderful though it is, can throw us for a loop. How do we spell relief? Some spell it “give me a D-R-I-N-K” others may spell it D-R-U-G-S. Some may think that as long as they continually surround themselves with friends, they will be OK. Others take the opposite approach and escape (literally) from everyone and everything. (My son calls that “hermitizing”.)

Now, know that I am not condemning the use of medicines or the fellowship of friends, or even getting off by yourself for some “alone time”. What I am saying is that the ultimate relief for any of life’s problems is not something that we can conjure up and do. I spell relief J-E-S-U-S. Jesus himself tells us that He is our relief. (Matthew 11:28-30) He is our relief in several ways. First, He died in our place, taking the punishment that rightfully should have fallen on us for our failure to attain the mark of obedience and sinless perfection. He provides relief from eternal separation from our loving God and Father. Secondly, Jesus living within us provides us with daily advice and comfort in our encounters of everyday life.

Comfort is a funny thing, however. Having children, you can learn something about comforting. Sometimes your child knows he needs comfort. He knows that if he can just reach the folds of mother’s skirts or daddy’s pant leg, and bury his face in it, he will be alright. Things will be better. If things are too overwhelming, he can press his head into mother or father, and even though he is scared to death, everything will be alright in their embrace. But on some occasions, that hurting child is too angry or too embarrassed or hurt or proud to accept the comfort of his parent. Mom reaches out to console and soothe, but the child turns his shoulder to sulk alone in misery, saying, “Leave me alone,” or “I’m alright.” But he isn’t… and the hurt deepens. I’ve been on that side of the shoulder too, and I do not know who hurts more, the child who is devastated or the parent whose comfort is rejected. Oh, the parent hurts a little for himself and the rejection, but he hurts for his child who will not accept help in his suffering. It hurts God’s heart to see His precious child in turmoil and pain turn away from the comfort and safety of His mighty arms. Those hard times call for us to grip His awesome hand tighter and press closer to his mighty, yet soothing presence.

Has God been reaching to you in your pain, but you have been saying, “Go away, I’m alright.” Have the circumstances He has allowed to try to draw you closer to Him caused you to be angry with Him, too embarrassed to confide in Him, or questioning His ability or desire to help you?

contemplation1If you are hurting, come out of your sulking corner and let Him help. Show Him your wound and let Him kiss it and make it better. Let Him put His healing balm on your wound and bandage it with his love. Some hurts are deep and require stitches. But, guess what? He can do that too! He is great at taking broken things and putting them back together. Just look in the Gospels for incident after incident of Jesus taking impossible situations, broken lives, dead people (not just physically), and fixing them. He is great at stitching wounds without leaving scars. Run to Him with your pain and tears! Run to Him! Run into the hiding place and realize His immense and intense love for you!! Discover how to spell relief – J-E-S-U-S!

Author: Ann / CCF Contributor
All Rights Reserved


Posted by Cinda On April - 23 - 2013ADD COMMENTS

I don’t like good-byes. The first thing I want to do when I arrive somewhere is plant those perennial flowers, and stay put. Who knows? Perhaps I went through a traumatic experience somewhere in my childhood that has really crippled my abilities to deal with good-byes. Whatever the reason, I do not do well with good-byes.

partnersinexerI remember doing my student-teaching in Chicago through a Program at my college. There were about 20 student teachers total from 6 other mid-western colleges but I had become especially close to the girl who was teaching in the same school as I was. Towards the end of December, our student teaching was over, and it was time to say good-bye. What a difficult task. It was hard enough to part with the 19 other comrades and our 3 wonderful professors, who had overseen the Program, but parting with Georgina was something else. After all, we had been through a lot together – our daily City bus rides to school, an attempted assault on the school playground in which an unmarked police car suddenly screeched into the playground and plain clothed policemen jumped out everywhere (just like on the old TV show “Baretta”), and evenings in our apartment watching a 9-inch black and white TV, throwing our shoes at the resident mouse (or mice) we would see racing across the floor. We both decided that neither of us were good at good-byes. We took a long walk along the Lakeshore, cried our eyes out, poured our hearts out, and promised to keep in touch.

Naturally, being the mature adult that I am now, I have had to learn how to cope with good-byes, since they are an inevitable and unavoidable part of life. But I still do not care for them.

A friend called not too long ago, and said, “I just had to call – I have been missing you all. I know I just saw you Sunday, but it is already Thursday, and I miss you.” How did they know I had been feeling the same? That call came the same week that I had to miss the mid-week prayer meeting on Wednesday, and was already feeling out-of-sorts over that. Thank goodness for the telephone, for you see, when I don’t see my church family for a few days, I get to missing them. Why? Because they are family and I love them and love being with them. Family bonds are strong bonds. I have biological family (I was going to say blood family, but let’s talk about that in just a minute) scattered from the East to the West, and I miss them terribly. Some families are privileged to live all together in the same general location for generations. Their strong family bonds keep them together.

groupofwomenUCLSimilarly, because of the shed blood of Jesus Christ, anyone born again into the Kingdom of God also is birthed into the family of God. If you are a Christian, you are part of the family of God, and hence my brother or sister! (I know some of you are rolling your eyes or gasping at that.) We are blood brothers and sisters- brothers and sisters due to the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ! No wonder I have been missing you all through the days between Sundays!

In the days of my early Christianity, I was involved in groups and churches that had Sunday morning and evening meetings, Wednesday meetings, and usually every other day through the week, a group of Christians was gathered at someone’s house or somewhere, just “hanging out” or being together. We didn’t necessarily talk about the Lord all the time, but we could sense Him, feel His presence in our midst as we went about doing whatever we were doing together. We went camping, shopping, driving, riding, picnicking, eating–whatever… together. We were one big happy family.

We are still all family. When someone is not able to make it to the church meetings for awhile, we all miss them. If I have to miss a meeting, I feel out-of-sorts. I miss my family. When the church service and pot-luck ends, I feel sad, because everyone has to leave. One of the things that help me through it is the hope that we will all gather again soon.

God created us with the need for fellowship and for each other. That is how we are made. God’s written word says that we are known, or able to be identified, by our love for one another. (John 13:35) And that doesn’t just mean that we give each other a little hug on Sundays. That is our identification mark to the world- true and deep family love. We also read in Matthew 24:12 that in the last days, people’s love will grow cold. (Hmmm… We will have an easier time of saying goodbye?- just a thought.)

Maybe that is why the Lord moved Paul to write in Hebrews 10:25,“Do not forsake the assembling of yourselves together.” The temptation will be to grow cold in our love and family bonds, but the scripture says don’t do it. Don’t let that love and family bond grow weaker, to the point that you do not desire or care if you have fellowship with the family or not.

So, don’t get nervous if I or someone else calls you through the week, or stops by. It’s just that I miss you. Like I said, I don’t do well with good-byes. Maybe that is why I’m so looking forward to eternity.

Know you are loved.

A Reason for Good-byes
In one of the recent comments received from the last Women’s Corner, a reader who has moved quite a bit throughout her life remarked that she did not like “good-byes” either, but as a result of the many moves, she has had to say good-bye many times. She also commented that, with those good-byes also came many “hellos”, and “that made it all worth while.” I immediately thought of the apostle Paul in his many voyages and trips for the Gospel, as detailed in the book of Acts. He, too, had to say many “good-byes”– some in the middle of the night, while hanging over the city wall! See Acts 9:25. Although the “goodbyes” were sad, the book of Acts also reveals that Paul went back to those places to encourage the believers he had left behind. Can you imagine the sweet “hellos” upon his return to the places where he had left a budding church and returned to a bigger and better one?

Many times good-byes move old sticks-in-the-mud like me to new places to share the priceless Treasure we gave found in Jesus with others in places we in our flesh would normally not go. That is what persecution in the early church did. The Gospel taken to all parts of the ancient known world was due to painful and no doubt wrenching good-byes.

When our eyes are focused on Jesus and His will in our lives, we can be encouraged and take comfort in the fact that even our most painful good-byes, in His hands, will result in wonderful hellos that He will orchestrate for our good, and the furtherance of the Good News of Christ.

As it is written, “ How lovely on the mountains are the feet of those who bring Good News.” Isaiah 52:7

Author: Ann / CCF Contributor / All Rights Reserved


Spring Cleaning

Posted by Cinda On March - 28 - 2013ADD COMMENTS

OK… Let’s do a little association game here. I say “snow” …you say “cold”. I say “rain” … you say “mud”. Oh, let’s be a little more positive. I say “rain” … you say “good grass for the cattle in a month or so.” Better. I say “winter” … you say “OVER!” I say “spring” … you say “windy!” OK, a little more positive again… “CLEANING!”

kitchen“Watch out,” I hear my child mumble to another in the hallway. Actually it is louder than a mumble, and really intended for my ears. “Mom is on a thing, again, you can’t get a drink or dirty a plate.” Now, the truth of the matter is that they can get a drink and eat; they just can not use a cup or plate! After all, I had just gotten all the dishes done and put away. I could actually see the countertop again- it is white, by the way. I have a tendency to forget what color it is- I see it so seldom. The kitchen was clean, from the formerly greasy stove to the sink, to the countertops and cupboards, and I just wanted to relish all this cleanliness for just a few minutes. That is all I asked. And, why is it, anyway, that as soon as the last dish is done and put away, someone wants to get a drink? Maybe I should install a water fountain (or bubbler, for those of you with roots in Wisconsin).

The spring cleaning frenzy extended to the bathrooms, and just as I managed to get all the soap crust off of the tub- you guessed it- someone feels the need to take a bath. They are, however, not nearly as upset about not taking a bath as not dirtying dishes, which brings me to my wondering (NO, not wandering) if the Lord ever sees us that way.

He saves us, washes away all of our sins in the life blood of His only Son, and yet, we don’t stay “clean” very long. Our propensity for sin puts us in a situation where we daily have to confess our sins and receive God’s forgiveness of them. For some of us, that daily turns into a moment by moment confession, since about all it takes for us to get off track is one bad thought. Thoughts give way to a pattern of thoughts, which gives way to actions. When it (sin) is conceived, it gives way to actions. Sin starts off there- in the thought life (James 1:15). If we don’t buckle down on the thought life, we can count on falling prey to a myriad of sinfulness.

In 2 Corinthians 10:5 we read that we are to “take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.” Ever wonder how we are supposed to do that? Sometimes thoughts fly through my mind so quickly. Other times I have mulled on things way too long, before catching myself and moving those thoughts along.

biblereadingThere is a way to take every thought captive. First, we can fill our minds with the Word of God. Filling our thoughts with God’s thoughts is essential to taking every thought captive. When we know what is important to God, we can filter every thought that enters our mind through God’s thoughts so we can immediately decide whether or not to keep that thought around. The second part to “taking every thought captive” is to ask God to fill us with His Holy Spirit. The filling of the Holy Spirit is what makes the first step possible. One of the Holy Spirit’s jobs is to convict us of what is not good. (John16:8) With the filling of the Holy Spirit, we have a measure available to us to weigh those thoughts coming into our minds, and decide whether they should go or stay. The closer our relationship to the Holy Spirit, the quicker we will be able to recognize and deal with potentially damaging (to our souls and our relationship with God) and harmful thoughts. The third step of “taking every thought captive” is to fill our will with God’s will. We have to choose to recognize God’s will in our thought life. We must choose to choose His will for our thoughts. Drive out, with His Word and His Spirit, what He does not want there. Driving out- taking captive- is active, not passive. In the Greek text, that is a continuous, active action. We have to take action constantly and be vigilant about it.

So, what do we do with this mind that is cleaned up? Do we just leave it empty and sparkling clean, and look at it? No, Scripture warns us about cleaning out our house and leaving it clean, yet vacant. (Matthew 12:44-45, Luke 11:24-26) We have to continuously fill our minds with the thoughts of God. Memorize His words of promise to you. Memorize His words of comfort and encouragement to you. A good place to continue with “taking every thought captive” is to replace the ones we took captive and fill our minds with the things of God spoken to us by God through Paul in Philippians 4:8: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence, and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell (camp there!) on these things.”

Of course the parenthetical phrase above is mine. So, perhaps we should start afresh this spring on cleaning our minds, “taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ”, and filling it with the good mentioned in Phil. 4:8. As for the clean counters and baths, I don’t sweat them any more. Cleanliness is next to Godliness (No, that is not in the Bible, but it is a good concept), drink all you want, kids, snack if you wish. I can already see a day in the future when there will not be enough cups and dishes from the day to fill the sink… and it is way to close!

Author: Ann / CCF Contributor
All Rights Reserved
Coffee Cup Friends

Lord, Cut Me Some Slack!

Posted by Cinda On March - 17 - 2013ADD COMMENTS

worryThe Lord never cuts me any slack. The day got off to a poor start, not long after I got out of bed and by the time I was in the kitchen cooking breakfast, I was in the middle of a pretty good “feeling sorry for myself” morning. I glanced over at my Chuck Swindoll perpetual calendar and noticed I was a couple of pages behind, so I flipped to the right day, and…


“Self-pity is the smog that pollutes and obscures the light of the Son. The more you’re in it, the deeper it hurts. The more your eyes shed tears, the greater the sting of loneliness.”

Taken from his book Growing Strong in the Seasons of Life, the words hit me straight between my teary eyes. I know better than to fall into the self-pity trip. My mind knows better, my heart knows better, but that day it was one of those Romans 7:15 things.

Later in the day, I was reminded by the Lord through a book I received in the mail from a long lost friend (Proverbs for the Family by Lynda Savage), that “that someday” when there will only be calmness, peace, and no worries, is not going to come.

I spent most of the day talking to the Lord and asking for His help in getting through (and over) this pity attitude about my circumstances. As usual, He was and is ready, willing, and able to go through our trying days with us.

Some suggestions on how to get through these days are: 
Prayer… LOTS of it. Talk it all out with the Lord. Not only is He a good listener, He has some great suggestions. And, His arms are open wide to give the comfort and shoulder you need.

Listening to praise and worship music also helps. It gets our focus off of ourselves and on to God. In addition to listening to it, sing it yourself. If you can’t sing it out loud, sing it to yourself. The Bible says that God inhabits the praises of His people (Psalm 22:3). In our praise, His presence is with us, empowering us to be victorious even on one of “those days”.

And most importantly (and I think this was my particular problem) stay in the Word of God!  On Sunday, I listened to the song, “Doesn’t Anybody Read the Bible Anymore?”  That was the key for me! I can sure tell when I haven’t spent my time in God’s Word. Things just don’t go right. Everything is off. That is because we need the truth of God’s Word to counteract all of the “stuff” in the world and the lies that the enemy constantly tries to get us to believe. The more of the Truth (God’s Word) you receive and have within you, the easier it is to recognize and reject the lies and half-truths that the enemy of our souls would like us to fall for.

So, I’m glad that the Lord doesn’t cut me any slack. He cares enough about me to correct me from engaging in behaviors and thought patterns that are destructive to me and our relationship. He continues to remind me that it is not about me, but rather it is about Him, and what He would like to do in and through me.

I know God will continue not to cut me too much slack, because I would just grow up to be a bratty kid… and who wants to be a bratty kid of the King?

Ann Jenkerson | Used with permission. All Rights Reserved. Copyright 2007 Coffee Cup Friends

Appearance is Everything

Posted by Cinda On February - 28 - 2013ADD COMMENTS

closeupAPPEARANCE IS EVERYTHING. Say what? OK, it isn’t everything, but it certainly is important. I can’t believe that someone who has been told all her life, “ It’s not what you see on the outside that matters, (i.e. It doesn’t matter if you are not pretty) it’s what’s on the inside that matters”. In other words, it’s OK if you’re ugly, just make sure you have a good heart and character. We can debate all day about personal appearance, but what about the appearance of circumstances and situations.

APPEARANCE IS IMPORTANT!   In Thessalonians 5:22, we read in Paul’s closing comments on Christian conduct that we are to abstain or stay away from every appearance of evil. Do you recall the quip that Christians may be the only Bible some people in the world ever read? Have you heard that a picture (what people see) is worth a thousand words? As parents we are often encouraged not to have the attitude of “do as I say and not as I do” with our children. What does it do to our witness when we say one thing and do something else?


Our Christian lives are lived out in public. Our lives as Christians are lived out before the world, which has a different outlook on things than we do (John 15:19). We may think we are not actually doing anything questionable, but if it even appears that we are doing something questionable, we need to realize it and stop the appearance of wrong. This does not mean we are to run around scared about our behavior and how it looks to others, but we do have to pay attention to the fact that people are always watching a person who proclaims to be a Christian. They may be watching to try to “catch” us in something, and therefore discredit our claim. The Bible speaks of us as “ambassadors of Christ”. We are His representatives in this world, and as such, we do need to pay attention to how we conduct ourselves. We are here for Him – not for us.

bibletimesLet’s look for a moment at Paul and Timothy’s situation. Timothy was raised in a Hebrew/Greek home. He became a follower of Jesus. He was a Christian Jew, but his father was a Greek. There was a problem in appearance. He was not circumcised. Did Timothy need to be circumcised to make him a legitimate Christian? No. Circumcision does not make you a believer. Yet, we read in Acts 16:1-3, that Paul took Timothy and circumcised him – “because of the Jews… for they all knew that his father was a Greek.” This was clearly an appearance issue. Paul did not do this, however, because he believed there was anything wrong with Timothy. He did it to dismiss any problem or reason to discredit him, before it could even come up. Timothy was a disciple of Christ – well spoken of by the Christians in Lystra and Iconium (v.1-2). There was no question of his commitment to Christ. Paul wanted to take Timothy with him in ministry. Like it or not, correct or not, people in leadership and ministry are held to a higher standard (James 3:1). Remember, Paul knew that the Jews of the area knew that Timothy’s dad was a Greek. And for that reason, took Timothy and circumcised him – an outward evidence of an inner commitment. APPEARANCE MATTERED.

Similarly, in Acts 18:18, Paul had his hair cut since he was keeping a vow. Again, Paul goes to Jerusalem and tells the elders of the church there everything that God was doing among the Gentiles through his ministry. If we look at Acts 21:20-21, we see that devout Jews in the area heard that Paul was teaching the Jews among the Gentiles to abandon the laws of Moses. And, they were concerned. Was it true? At this point the truth of the matter was irrelevant. They had heard it appeared to be a certain way. It appeared that Paul was trashing the law and that created a problem with the believers in Jerusalem. They could have had an “I did not.” – “Yes, you did.” stand-off about the whole thing. But notice that the solution was not to argue, defend, or dismiss those concerned (as just not being spiritual enough to understand all the intricacies of the faith). Paul simply showed by his behavior that he was not in favor of throwing out the law, which gave him a platform to speak about grace.

The point of it all is: People Are Watching! People are judging followers of Christ and the Christian faith based on what they see in the people who profess to serve Him. How things appear. Now, it is true that the Lord looks at the heart of matters and people, but the world that we live in looks at the outward appearance of a matter. I recently had a friend say to me, “If it looks like a duck, waddles like a duck, quacks like a duck… it is probably a duck!” That is why we have to avoid every appearance of evil. If it appears to be evil, it will be judged as such, and we are to be above reproach.

Now that we have touched on the appearance of evil, what about the other side of the appearance coin? (My husband always reminds me that there are two sides to every coin.) What about the appearance of good? Jesus addressed this when He confronted the Pharisees. Read Matthew 23, especially v.2-3,23-25, 27-28. They appeared to be wonderful, devout lovers of God, but Jesus said they were like white-washed tombs. They looked good on the outside, but inside they were not what they appeared to be. Remember, the wolf had to put on sheep’s clothing to be accepted (sheep may be dumb, but even they are not totally stupid). So what is the solution to the appearance dilemma?   WE MUST BE GENUINE.

We have to know within, who we really are, and live out who we are in Christ. We must also realize that the Lord is the only one who sees and knows our inner man and heart. People see how we act and what we do. Keeping this in mind, we do have to follow Paul’s urging to…  “admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with all men. See that no one repays another with evil for evil, but always seek after that which is good for one another and for all men. Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not quench the Spirit; do not despise prophetic utterances. But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good: abstain from all appearance of evil.”  Amen and amen!

Author: Ann / CCF Contributor  All Rights Reserved

What Will You Do With Jesus?

Posted by Cinda On February - 26 - 2013ADD COMMENTS

I don’t like it when anyone hurts my children. It is a parent thing. We think our children are the best and brightest, and to us they are. That is how it should be. But when somebody messes with kids, it gets my ire up. It doesn’t matter if it is verbal, emotional or physical.

bracesIn her most recent video, “Have I Got a Story For You”, Christian comedian Chonda Pierce relates when her 13-year-old son had to get braces. She watched as the doctor and nurses in the orthodontist office strapped her baby (yes, even at 13… it’s a mother thing!) in to the chair and proceed to shove all kinds of hardware into his mouth. Afterward, they were ushered into a room to watch a video on how to care for the braces. Of course, this little boy was stoic and did not let anyone see him cry. Only when everyone except his mom and dad had left the room, did he drop his face into his hands and sob. It hurt! When a mother sees her child in pain, she is ready to stop the world, if need be, to fix it and make it all better. Later, at home, that 13-year-old set his head in his mother’s lap and she rubbed his head as he finally went to sleep through the pain.

The point of relating that story was to bring out the incredible sacrifice that Jesus made for us, and also the incredible sacrifice and pain that His parents went through. How did Mary do it? How did the Father do it? Chonda states, and I agree with her, that if it were up to her, redemption would have never taken place…”we would all be toast.” We would have put a stop to the pain and suffering of our child. I suppose Mary did try to intervene, but she was a woman in a circumstance and situation that had no use for women. How did God the Father cope with the brutal crucifixion of His only Son? In the midst of the horrible event, the sun became dark in the middle of the day, the earth shook, and the Father turned away from the Son. See Matthew 27:45-46; Matthew 27:51; Mark 15:33-34; Luke 23:44-45 Some theologians and commentators will say that God the Father turned away because He cannot look upon sin, and at that moment in time, Jesus had all of the sin of the entire world upon Him.

cross4We can understand, perhaps, a little, why Jesus did not call for the legions of angels to stop the plan of redemption. Matthew 26:53-54 As children (even adult children) we desire to please our parents, to honor them, and to receive their approval and blessing. John 18:11 Jesus loved the Father and did it for Him. The Bible also states that Jesus did it for the joy set before Him. Hebrews 12:2 He knew that His suffering would mean the hope of the entire world in salvation. His death secured the redemption of His creation.

I am not a theologian, and I am quite sure that they know more than I do, but I think (and this is my opinion so don’t get nervous) that God the Father looked away from the whole situation because seeing His child in such a horrid situation was too much for Him to handle without intervening Himself, and sending those heavenly hosts to Earth to rescue Jesus. Forget about Chonda’s son’s swollen and bloody lips. Jesus’ entire body was bruised, bloodied, and swollen! Perhaps I try to put too much humanity on the Divine Creator of the universe, but we are made in His image, so maybe He relates to us more than we realize.

The fact remains that Jesus gave His life for us. He endured all of the anguish of that suffering, and the Father allowed the plan of redemption to be completed. It culminated in Jesus’ wonderful resurrection and later ascension to His rightful place at the right hand of God the Father.

So the question is… What will you do with Jesus? How can we ignore all that He went through…for US? How will we respond to the Father for all He went through in allowing His Son to be our sacrifice? Will we sacrifice our self for Him? Will we put aside ourselves to follow Him?

Author: Ann, CCF Contributor
All Rights Reserved