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    Thanks for dropping by Coffee Cup Friends, your Online Reading Room! Here, you will find stimulating writings by our top-notch team of writers. You'll find everything from short inspiring devotionals to life-changing articles. So grab your favorite beverage and enjoy the time you spend with us. Be encouraged, restored, and informed. Blessings on your day, Cinda

    P.S. After you have explored Coffee Cup Friends, be sure to visit my other website, www.mrsprep.com where you'll learn what to do in times of crisis and be prepared for whatever life brings!

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Archive for the ‘Contributor: Cinda’ Category

Life is Short! How Are You Living It?

Posted by Cinda On June - 11 - 2013ADD COMMENTS

This article is possibly one of our most requested so I’m including it here, again, as we move into summer. Consider it a must-read as you draw closer to God and your family.

skipping_pebbles

Remember the days of “yesteryear” when you skipped pebbles on the lake or hiked mountains to unknown destinations and then sat around the evening campfire, roasting flame-kissed marshmallows? How about the long hours sitting on the back porch sipping root beer floats and listening to the cheers of a distant ball game or crickets chirping in the night air? What about the times you packed a picnic lunch and went out to the park just to throw a Frisbee and celebrate being a family? Each of us has our own special memories of yesteryear. Are they just distant memories that you’ve tucked away in a dusty scrapbook, or have they become a legacy for your own children?

We travel this life in the fast lane because we want more, feel the need to do more, and think we’re better for it. But, are we really? Are we truly enjoying the journey that God intended for us?

prayingchild01We’ve traded Sunday morning worship for competitive soccer games. We’ve sacrificed the pleasures of an evening walk for that must-see TV show.  We’re missing the spectacular sunrises of daybreak and the breath-taking sunsets of nightfall because we’ve scribbled in one more activity in our day-timers (for us and our kids!). We’ve exchanged quiet sit-down dinners for over-extended hours at work. We’re even too exhausted to fall on our knees with our little ones at night to express our thanks to God for His blessings throughout the day. Sadly, we were too busy to even recognize most of those blessings, anyway.

campingAsk yourself, “Am I modeling to my children a life that truly pleases God or one that only satisfies my own desires and gratifications? Am I modeling a life that values and protects a focused quiet time in my day and welcomes the refreshing silence… a time when I just might hear the voice of God? Can I expect my children to know the power of prayer or fall in love with God’s Word without exemplifying it in my own life? And, am I showing my children what it means to have a servant’s heart? To be the light and love of Jesus to a lost and hurting world?”

Jesus said it best in Matthew 11:28-30 (The Message), “Are you tired? Worn out? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me – watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live feely and lightly.”

Don’t miss opportunities to strengthen your relationship with Christ.

Don’t miss opportunities to celebrate Him with the ones you love.

All Rights Reserved / CL
Coffee Cup Friends
www.coffeecupfriends.com

Change: God’s Way!

Posted by Cinda On April - 16 - 2013ADD COMMENTS

womensharing2Do you have a friend where neither time nor distance could ever diminish the closeness or Christ-like love you have for one another? And when you do come together after a long period of separation, it’s as though no time had lapsed at all. There’s always lots of laughter, memories relived, and a bond that few could understand. And when it comes time to part, you share a hug with the promise of seeing each other again. I know of such friends. But the last time they bestowed the “see you again” promise, it was different. You see, in less than 24 hours, one of them would be on a plane flying cross-country, moving to be closer to her two grown sons and their young families. She was leaving a town she’d known for over eighteen years and friends that she saw as family.

They decided to meet in a restaurant they had frequented from time to time for coffee to say their good-byes. Ellen sat at a table facing the door anxiously awaiting her friend’s arrival. Moments later, she walked through the door looking radiant; so different from the last time Ellen saw her when she looked so tired and uncertain of the future. The worry lines that defined her face had been erased and were replaced by a beaming smile. Staring back at Ellen was the face of someone who had struggled with indecision and was now savoring a certain kind of victory.

contemplation3During my quiet time that evening, I thought about some of the changes in my own life and in the lives of my loved ones. Some of those changes were life-affirming and exciting, while others challenged the very core of our beliefs and understanding. Some of those changes we initiated, while others were thrust upon us. But, the ultimate impact of change on our lives was how we responded to those changes. Often the changes we choose to make are birthed from life experiences that include some level of unrest or dissatisfaction. Look at the number of self-help books in the library or at the bookstore that were written to help you weigh your choices as you contemplate change in your life and help you develop a strategy for making it happen. Bottom line, no book or person can truly help you with the biggest challenge of letting go of the old so you can grab hold of the new. There is only One who can.

Don’t be paralyzed by the act of indecision. Take the leap of faith and let God be God in your life. Seek Him through His Word, in prayer, and allow Him to direct your path. Proverbs 3:5-6 Remember, changes are a part of every day life but with the help of the Holy Spirit, you can face them courageously, with conviction, and with the confidence that “God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28

By the way, I asked Ellen if she ever learned what the defining moment was that moved her friend from defeat and uncertainty to hope and confidence in her decision. She said it was when she surrendered all of her tomorrows into the Lord’s hands. There were times when she took a step backwards into the old habits of worry and trying to handle things on her own, but she always held onto the belief that she could do all things through Christ who strengthened her. Philippians 4:13 And this led to an indescribable peace “that surpassed all understanding”. Philippians 4:7

Coffee Cup Friends • www.coffeecupfriends.com

Faded Snapshot

Posted by Cinda On March - 18 - 2013ADD COMMENTS

camera3BE HONEST … Is your life a faded snapshot or a beautiful portrait?
Proverbs 31 –
This chapter in the Bible is dedicated to women; women of beauty and grace; women who are wise with their time; women who are diligent, kind, and thoughtful of others. Trustworthy in all they do. Blessed as mothers and wives.

Yet as we read this, we need to keep in mind that this is our “goal”. All of these characteristics are what we strive to be. We will never be complete in all these areas. We work on the weak areas with the Holy Spirit’s help and move on to other areas. This journey of being a woman is a life-long process. We learn as we grow and we grow as we learn.  Remember, too, this can only be accomplished as we abide in Christ.

We make mistakes along the way. We fall down, but the wise woman will get back up. Life takes a toll on us at times but in those times, we can become bitter or we can grow. Life is too short for bitterness of any kind.

Think of the struggles in your life. Often, we ask the Lord, “Why has this or that happened to me?” Let’s look to a little chick and learn an important lesson. As a baby chick is ready to hatch, she has to struggle and use all her strength to break through the shell that has protected her up to that point. But now she must rid herself of the shell or she will die. The struggles that she has to go through in that process of leaving the shell are actually what she will need to survive on the outside. For us, going through the process of breaking free, we become stronger and hopefully wiser. Let’s look to the One who gives us the wisdom and strength to carry on and break free!

woman107LOOK AROUND YOU! Are there things in your life or environment that can be improved on? We often overlook the most obvious things that will enhance and better our lives. Of course, without a question, the most important thing we must do is focus on a growing, vibrant relationship with God, our Father, through His Son, Jesus Christ.  Everything else is a distant second.  Then, we should center our attention on our families, building lasting memories of love and respect. The world comes third. However, if we’re not feeling our best or taking care of our bodies, minds, or emotions (in perfect balance), then everything we do or the way we view life, will pale and grow out of focus. We need to refresh ourselves first through God’s Word and quiet periods of rest and prayer.

Visit WOWinspired and click on categories “Celebrate You!” / “Beautiful Portraits”
to bring color, light, and feel good tips into your life!

Author: Cinda and Janet / CCF Contributors
All Rights Reserved • Coffee Cup Friends

Principles vs. Miracles

Posted by Cinda On February - 27 - 2013ADD COMMENTS

PRINCIPLES ARE MORE IMPORTANT THAN MIRACLES!

“What?” How can anything be more important than a miracle from the hand of God?” Stay with me here for a minute. Many of us are spiritually depleted, physically sick, in financial disaster, or facing despair of one kind or another. We cry out to God to save us – from ourselves, our situation, or from others. We ask God to heal us, to relieve whatever it is we’re going through. We WANT a miracle!

fastlaneHonestly, I’d been asking God for a miracle, too. Okay, maybe several miracles, but, my biggest one concerns my frustration to lose some weight and my body to be healthy and toned. You know… having a body that glorifies God.  “Please, Lord, surround me with people who will encourage me and hold me accountable. Convict me of the things I should eat and the ones I shouldn’t. If You could help me lose just a little weight, maybe it’d be enough to get me motivated.” I can just see Him now… giving Himself the V8 tap on the head and say, “When is she going to get it?” (Of course, that would never be the case. Thank you, Lord!)

Then, I’m reminded of the sayings, “No pain. No gain.” Or … “You can’t have the victory without the battle.”  And then a biggie – “Laziness casts into a deep sleep, and an idle man will suffer hunger. He who keeps the commandment keeps his soul, but he who is careless of his ways will die.” Proverbs 19:15-16.

OUCH! My asking for a “miracle” was pure laziness – out of a sense of hopelessness!  Blessing without diligent, focused work. A work that glorifies God. First, it’s up to me to know God’s commands; His principles for living. Principles that were meant to protect me, not harm me. Principles that were given to “lift up, not tear down.” Then, out of obedience, it was up to me to follow them. This opens the door for God’s blessings and the Holy Spirit to do His work in my life.

I’m often reminded of the saying, “Give him a fish and he’ll eat for a day. Teach him how to fish and he’ll eat for a lifetime.” This applies even to miracles vs. learning God’s principles. Yes, there is absolutely no doubt, God performs miracles – even today! He is most definitely able. And, nothing is impossible for Him. But, let’s pretend for a moment that He did give us a miracle of healing or rescue us out of some major financial situation. Did we receive the miracle without learning the principles? If so, we will more than likely end up in the very same crisis down the road. God wants us to learn how to fish so we’ll be able to eat for a lifetime! He wants us to learn His principles about healthy foods and right living so we can be healthy for most of our earthly years. Most of us have the run-of-the-mill problems, not considered life-threatening, but they are either bothersome or bring concern because they could turn into something more serious. The body is amazing. It was designed by God to heal itself… IF His principles are followed. Taking it one step further, if the principles were followed in the first place, many diseases might be avoided altogether.

coins_in_a_jarAlso, He wants us to learn His principles of good stewardship on money. Be honest, how did you get to this place of financial mismanagement in the first place? Poor decisions? Over-spending? Acquiring things we really don’t want or need? Putting our trust in something other than God to meet our needs? Learn the principles so you can be financially free of debt. Other areas of life can hold the same promise… if certain principles – God’s principles – are followed.

Note: I recognize that whether our problem is health, financial, or another area of our lives, there are most definitely calamities or circumstances that are beyond our control and can happen to “the best of us”. (It’s in these times that a miracle would be welcomed.) But, overall, I’m talking about the general, day-by-day, majority of things that are called “life”.

Okay, what are these principles, you ask? Everything we need for life (Ephesians 1:3) has been set forth already in the Word of God. All we need to do is discover those principles and with the help of the Holy Spirit, put them into practice. You might think, my problem isn’t mentioned in the Bible. Hmmm… Don’t let it be an excuse for not allowing God to be God in your life. He can purpose anything in your life through His Word.

Search the scriptures. Find out what God says about your predicament. For example, Genesis 1:29 gives us a clue about healthy eating when it talks about “plant yielding seed … good for you to eat.” Fruits, vegetables, whole grain, nuts and seeds. These are the things we should focus on if we hope to be healthy. Think about it, how can we possibly ask God to bless our food and pray it will provide good nutrition for our bodies when sitting before us is a plate of fatty, high-sodium, or sugary foods? News flash… it’s not going to happen!

It’s time we take ownership of our problems and stop blaming them on others or, more importantly, God. Instead of being a victim of our circumstances, we need to step up to the plate and take action. Everything we do for ourselves (beginning with prayer and digging into God’s Word) will help us take one more step toward our goal of wellness, financial freedom, or living the abundant life that Jesus promised.

We don’t live under the law anymore. Jesus came and fulfilled the law. We live under grace. However, the law – God’s commands, that were set down (particularly in the OT) were not to make our lives miserable, but to benefit us. God provided from the beginning (remember, He created us) all that we needed to live happy, healthy, spiritually prosperous lives. We are the ones that choose to ignore those principles.

There is one final question we must ask. Do you believe God and do you believe His Word to be TRUTH? Either God’s Word is ALL TRUE or none of it is.  You can’t pick and choose, saying “this is true, but I don’t believe this.” Get real!  GOD IS TRUTH! HIS WORD IS TRUTH!  Everything in the Bible is true! It all comes down to the question of faith. (Hebrew 11:1)   God honors faith.  And, God stands behind the principles He set forth in His Word. He will honor you for following those principles.

CL • All Rights Reserved. www.coffeecupfriends.com

Busy or Out-of-Control!

Posted by Cinda On January - 12 - 2006ADD COMMENTS

babyandmomWhat’s all the hype about being busy? Honestly! Sometimes I think we wear it like a badge of honor. I’ve been guilty of it myself before but looking back on it all, I ask, “What was I trying to achieve?” Did saying “I’m busy” make me feel more important or more valued by others? Was I esteemed more? Who was I trying to impress? Was my worth tied up in my doing or in my “being”? And, if I really was busy, did I ever stop to think who might be getting hurt in the process? Family? Friends? Co-workers? How about my relationship with God?

I am convinced that God is not impressed with our busyness – even when we’re “busy” for Him. Of course, there will be seasons of busyness, but when it’s an on-going lifestyle, then there could be serious cause for concern!  Many could even say that Jesus was busy  (crowds closing in on him or tending to the endless needs of His disciples), but even He escaped to the mountains for regular times of refreshment with His Father. No doubt about it, some of us are placed into positions where there is a lot of great responsibility. But it’s in these situations that we need to really examine our motives, our intent, ask ourselves the above questions, and then learn how to guard our private time while implementing the tools that will enable us to handle that responsibility without causing us to burn-out (delegating, being spiritually strong, etc.)

sitting_with_coffeeThere are three things I’ve learned over the years that have become my standard and way of life. 1) Time management is not a matter of managing time, but managing ME! 2) Just because I’m doing something “for God” doesn’t mean He necessarily called me to it. When God calls us to something, we will be doing it in the Spirit, not in the flesh. When we do things in the flesh, we are doing it in our own power and strength, not His. The results can be disastrous! and 3) In EVERYTHING we do, we should ask ourselves, “Does this glorify God?”, “Does it have eternal value?” “Does it benefit not only me, but also the ones I love and care about, or work with?” “Does this fit in with my priorities?” and “Is there balance in my life between work, play, service to others, and most importantly, allowing Christ to have preeminence in my life, beginning with prayer and spending time in His word?” Let these be your compass. Everything else pales in comparison.