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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

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Archive for the ‘Contributor: Kirsten’ Category

Seeking God

Posted by Cinda On July - 3 - 2013ADD COMMENTS

“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”
Jeremiah 29:13

babyswingI flopped down onto the couch with a plate of nachos and a contented sigh. My three-and-a-half month old daughter, comfortable with a full belly and an empty diaper, rocked gently in her swing nearby.

“Thank you, Lord”, I muttered, as much for the blessed moment of silence as for the food. I shoveled a salty corn chip into my mouth. My mind drifted with the rhythmic click-click of the swing until the feeling that someone was watching me overtook me. I paused with a chip halfway to my mouth and glanced over at Rachel, who stared at me with the intensity of someone trying to dismantle an atomic bomb. Her silky brows furrowed slightly over her round, blue eyes as I crunched into the chip. It was as if she could see the meaning of life written on the blob of cheddar hovering near my lips.

Near, far, near, far. The swing took her back and forth as I ate, and still her gaze never wavered. I was by far, the most fascinating and important presence in her little life. Halfway through my plate of chips it hit me.

Oh Father, I thought. If only I gazed at your face with such intensity. If only I craved your presence and studied you with the same adoration as this little child.

I made eye contact with Rachel again. She gurgled with delight and flapped her arms. I picked her up out of the swing and cuddled her in my lap. “Let’s pray, Sweetie.” I said. “Let’s thank God for what He has given us today.”

Going Deeper: • Can you think of a time when you sought the Lord with all your heart? What was the circumstance? What was the result? • What distracts you most from focusing on the Lord? • What can you do today to enjoy the Lord’s presence more?

Dear Lord, thank you for loving me so completely and unconditionally. I’m sorry that I become busy and forgetful of your presence at times. Please help me to keep my eyes always on your face. Help me to find my delight in You alone, and help me to rest in Your presence with the peace of a little child. I love You. Amen.

Originally submitted: March 29, 2006
Author: Kirsten / CCF Contributor
Coffee Cup Friends © All Rights Reserved

My Joy and Delight

Posted by Cinda On June - 26 - 2013ADD COMMENTS

Holiness is being so happy in God that sin loses all appeal. – Unknown

Rachel ElizabethRachel squeals with laughter as I run my fingers along her ribs. Her eyes scrunch into half-moons of delight and her cheeks flush pink as we play on the floor. Never in my life have I seen such an exquisitely happy creature. As I kiss her neck and listen to her chortle I wonder: is this what Jesus meant when he said that we must receive God like a little child?

I rock back on my heels for a moment and let this thought sink in. If the presence of the Lord is my greatest delight and His love the answer to my deepest longings then in theory I should never sin. I shouldn’t even be tempted to stray from His ways. Why then do I fail? I glance back at my baby girl who is waiting with great anticipation for me to pounce on her again, and it dawns on me. I stray when I forget that I am always in His presence, when I fail to let Him satisfy my needs, when I seek my joy in a temporal thing instead of Eternal God. I fail when I treat my relationship with the Lord like another item on my “to do” list instead a passionate relationship with my greatest Love.

As I kiss the bottom of Rachel’s feet my heart sings a song of praise to God for renewing the joy of a child in me.

Father God, help me to find delight in You today. Open my eyes to see Your wonder and Your beauty and Your power in the world around me. I know that sometimes I let my relationship with You grow stale, and I’m sorry. Please renew my passion for You today, and help me to love you with the simplicity of a little child. I love you.

Author: Kirsten / CCF Contributor
Coffee Cup Friends © All Rights Reserved

The Backseat Driver

Posted by Cinda On June - 26 - 2013ADD COMMENTS

“Jesus never measured His life by how or where He was of the greatest use.
God places His saints where they will bring the most glory to Him,
and we are totally incapable of judging where that may be.” – Oswald Chambers

“Christian contentment is the direct fruit of having no higher ambition
than to belong to the Lord and to be entirely at His disposal.” – Allistair Begg 

irritated_driverIs there anything more annoying than a backseat driver? Someone critiquing your every flick of the blinker signal or turn of the wheel. Commenting on your chosen route and asking why you insist on driving so fast or so slow. It’s enough to try the patience of a saint.

I realized recently that when it comes to submission I am God’s backseat driver. Technically, the Lord is in control of my life. I make a point of it every morning to consciously submit my life to His authority. I ask Him to sit in the driver’s seat and man the wheel and the gas pedal and the brakes.  Then I spend the rest of the day leaning over his shoulder offering suggestions.

As Hannah Hurnard wrote in her classic, Hinds Feet on High Places, I am to be the Lord’s handmaiden named “Acceptance with Joy.” I am to sit in the passenger seat, close to the Lord, and enjoy, yes enjoy the ride no matter what the terrain. Jesus doesn’t need or want a backseat driver.

Lord, thank you for helping me to understand what it means to submit my life to you. Forgive me for the many times I’ve tried to go my own way, and please help me to trust your direction for my life, even when I don’t under- stand it. I love you, and I’m excited about where you’re going to take me. Amen

Author: Kirsten / CCF Contributor
Coffee Cup Friends • All Rights Reserved

More Like Jesus

Posted by Cinda On June - 26 - 2013ADD COMMENTS

“(vs. 28) And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. (vs. 29) For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.” Romans 8:28-29

woman14I must confess, for many years I read the first verse of this passage without really understanding what it meant. I heard it quoted and clung to by Christians (myself included) like some sort of divine contract, a guarantee that everything would eventually turn out okay.

Yet there have been many times when I haven’t seen the promise of this verse fulfilled: lost jobs, lost friends, cancer and divorce and betrayal. Sometimes things don’t seem to work out for good, no matter how long I wait or how sincerely I believe.

Recently I was meditating on this passage when I realized that in my familiarity with verse twenty-eight, I had been glossing over verse twenty-nine. According to verse twenty-nine, all believers have the same destiny: to be conformed to the image of Christ. Verse twenty-eight promises that all circumstances in my life will work together for the good of my destiny. They will work together for the ultimate goal of making me like Jesus. And what is Jesus like? The prophet Isaiah describes him as a “man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering…”

It is through difficulty and hardship that I begin to resemble my Savior. The problem comes when I want God to work things together for my definition of good. In this scenario, I get the job I want, I have plenty of money to pay that unexpected medical bill, my loved one recovers from a dreaded disease and my friendships never struggle.

My definition of good means that every dilemma will have a prompt and happy ending. God envisions a happy ending for me as well, but one in which I don’t necessarily get what I want.

Instead, I grow a little stronger, a little more faithful, and a little more like Jesus. Dear Father, I praise you and thank you for the perfect plan you have for me. Please help me to trust in Your love and faithfulness, even when I don’t see the good in my circumstances. I ask for Your best in my life, and I joyfully give my life to you. Amen.

Author: Kirsten, CCF Contributor
All Rights Reserved
Coffee Cup Friends.

Pressures of Life

Posted by Cinda On May - 13 - 2013ADD COMMENTS

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:38-42

dirtydishesMy sink overfloweth. The crusty dishes from last night’s lasagna are just one more thing I need to finish today and as I look around the apartment, I begin to wonder if cloning is such a bad idea after all. As I dive into a mound of clean laundry that needs folding, I see my Bible on the dining room table.

Later. I think. There are more pressing things at hand. There were more pressing things yesterday. A gentle voice reminds me. And the day before too. And suddenly I’m reminded of two sisters who both loved the Lord.

Martha showed her love by doing for the Lord. Mary showed her love by being with him. He gently told them which way he preferred. Jesus didn’t tell Martha that her work was bad, but he pointed out that Mary’s quiet desire to sit at his feet and listen was better, and it was the one thing that wouldn’t be taken from her. I realize that God won’t be handing out plaques for good housekeeping in heaven, and although the dishes and the laundry are important they’re not eternal. Only one thing is.

I leave the laundry in a mound and pick up my Bible.

Dear Jesus, my Lord, my everything, I am so amazed that you would want to spend time with me. Help me to put down the less important things in my life today so I can grab hold of you. Help me to delight in your presence and sit at your feet. I give you all of me today. I love you. Amen.

Author: Kirsten / CCF Contributor
All Rights Reserved
www.coffeecupfriends.com

Missing God’s Best

Posted by Cinda On April - 29 - 2013ADD COMMENTS

“I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in His word I put my hope.” Psalm 130:5

duckpuddleWhen we try to do things in our time instead of God’s we often short-circuit God’s perfect plan for us, accepting what we decide is good and missing what God knows is best. I recently saw a pair of ducks splashing in a puddle after the rain. That’s odd. I thought.

Didn’t they see that beautiful lake around the corner? Why would they settle for so much less?

Delay will never destroy God’s purpose in your life. In fact, it’s often during the times of waiting that God does the most work in us. David, who wrote the above Psalm, spent years of his life running from Saul before he took his rightful place as the King of Israel.

You can be sure that God used this time in David’s life to prepare him for what lay ahead.

What does it mean that God is sovereign? It means that He will do everything for our good and His glory.*

Going Deeper:
• Do you find it difficult to wait on God?
• Is there a situation in your life right now in which God is asking you to wait?
• What do you tend to put your hope in?
• Where in your life is God trying to show His sovereignty?
• Can you think of a time when God asked you to wait on Him? What was the result?

* Jerry Bridges, Trusting God Even When Life Hurts, Navpress Publishing Group, 1990

Author: Kirsten / CCF Contributor
Coffee Cup Friends © All Rights Reserved

Be Anxious for Nothing

Posted by Cinda On April - 16 - 2013ADD COMMENTS

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

contemplation1How much time do you waste being anxious? In this passage, Paul doesn’t say, “don’t sweat the small stuff.” He says, “don’t sweat anything.” This from a man who, over the course of his life, was shipwrecked, beaten within an inch of his life on several occasions, imprisoned for years on end, betrayed by friends, threatened by authorities, blinded by God, and ultimately beheaded.

Nowhere in this passage is the promise that we will receive what we ask for when we petition God. What is promised is something far better; peace. An all-consuming peace that goes deeper than what we can understand. A peace that defies our circumstances and guards our hearts. Jesus Christ himself will guard our hearts from worry if we let him, but trusting God is a choice. It’s an act of the will we may have to repeat a hundred or a thousand times a day. Our loving Father won’t pry your worries from your hand if you’re determined to keep them. Instead He waits patiently for you to set them at His feet so He can wrap you in His true security and peace.

“The purpose of prayer is to get a hold of God not of the answer.” Oswald Chambers

Going Deeper: • What things do you worry about the most? •Have you ever experienced the peace that Paul describes? What were the circumstances and how did you feel? • Why do you think it’s important to have an attitude of thanksgiving when we come to God in prayer? • What anxiety do you specifically need to give up today?

Author: Kirsten, CCF Contributor Coffee Cup Friends All Rights Reserved

Freedom from Fear

Posted by Cinda On April - 16 - 2013ADD COMMENTS

“So you should not be like cowering, fearful slaves. You should behave instead like God’s very own children, adopted into his family–calling him ‘Father, dear Father.’ For his Holy Spirit speaks to us deep in our hearts and tells us that we are God’s children.”
Romans 8:15-16 (NLT)

comfortHave you ever tried to soothe a frightened child? Despite your assurances that there are no monsters in the closet or under the bed, he’s still afraid. Even with your arms around him he just won’t rest. How does his fear make you feel? Frustrated? Sad?

Before you were adopted into God’s family through Christ you were a slave: a slave to sin and a slave to fear. Now, as a follower of Jesus, the Bible says you have nothing to fear. The powers of sin, death, and hell have all been destroyed by our loving Father through the sacrifice of His Son, and he has promised us that he will never leave us alone.

What kind of slave, once freed, will run back into his cell and try to refasten his chains? Christ didn’t die so that you could continue in a life of fear. He offers you a life of power and peace and victory. If you’re living in fear today it’s time to claim the promises of God as your own.

Going Deeper:
1. What are you most afraid of in life? What prompts your fearfulness?
2. Do you think fear is ever a choice? Why or why not?
3. How do you think your fear makes God feel?
4. What can you do to overcome feelings of fear in your life?
(i.e. meditate on passages of Scripture, have others pray for you, etc.)

Author: Kirsten, CCF Contributor Coffee Cup Friends All Rights Reserved

True Contentment

Posted by Cinda On March - 28 - 2013ADD COMMENTS

“Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in abundance.” Isaiah 55:2 NKJV

pondering2Do you often find yourself running on empty? Unable to find rest and contentment in life? We live in the most prosperous country in the world, in the most prosperous time in history. Everything we need for daily life is easily within our grasp, and yet so often we still feel unsatisfied.

The prophet Isaiah reveals that our struggle for contentment hasn’t changed over the ages. We chase after a world of temporary pleasures when the true and only One who can satisfy waits patiently for a moment of our time. God created us to find our fulfillment in Him, and only He can satisfy our deepest needs. He wants us to know true joy and delight, but they can only be found in His presence.

Going Deeper: • Honestly ask yourself, “Am I spending my energy and the resources God has given me on ‘what does not satisfy?’ On temporary pleasures instead of eternal treasures?” • What things do you think you try to satisfy yourself with instead of God? Food? Shopping? Your career or achievements? • What do you think it means to “Listen carefully” to the Lord? How much time do you spend in quiet before the Lord each day? • Do you truly believe that the Lord wants your soul to “delight itself in abundance?” Why or why not?

Author: Kirsten / CCF Contributor
Originally Posted February 2006
© Coffee Cup Friends All Rights Reserved.

The Journey is the Destination!

Posted by Cinda On March - 10 - 2013ADD COMMENTS

“For this God is our God forever and ever; He will be our guide even to the end.” Psalm 48:14

mapI often find myself wishing I knew God’s plan for my life in its entirety. Wishing I could spread it out on my dining room table like a map and place my finger on it and say, “There! That’s the destination.”

So often I forget that with the Lord, the journey is the destination. God desires to teach me and mold me in the moments of everyday life. Sanctification isn’t some event I’m longing for in the distant future, but the day-by-day work of the Holy Spirit in me.

I may rush around trying to get “there,” but in reality I’m already where God wants me to be if I’m open hearted and willing to submit my will to His. I remember that today is all God has given me to focus on, and that loving Him with all of my heart is the command He has given me for today.

GOING DEEPER
• Why do you think we try to run ahead of God?
• Why are we so consumed with reaching our final destination?
• What would your life be like if you focused on each moment with Jesus instead of on what’s coming next?
• What can you do to help yourself remember that the journey is the destination?

Take a moment and ask the Lord to help you slow down and let Him lead.
Ask Him to make you more sensitive to His voice.

Originally submitted: March 1, 2006
Author: Kirsten • CCF Contributor
Coffee Cup Friends © All Rights Reserved