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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 ‘Spiritual Growth’ Category

My Journey

Posted by Cinda On June - 26 - 2013ADD COMMENTS

Remember the movie, “Eat, Pray, Love” with Julia Roberts? Some of the gals in our family went and saw it. It was a good movie and the places she visited were fascinating. However, upon leaving the theater, I had the emptiest feeling and was actually sad for Julia Robert’s character. She believed to have found love and peace in the end, but to me, she found very little and was even misdirected. What she found was temporal and fleeting. And what saddened me even more was wondering how many other women might attempt the same journey, trying to find meaning and purpose in their own lives but in all the wrong places. The ultimate destination doesn’t come through traveling around the world, or experimenting with different religions, or eating your way to happiness. Lasting peace and contentment can only come in seeking the One who is LIFE, Himself …  the person of Jesus Christ. John 14:6

luggage3I’m embarking on a journey of my own. I won’t be going to Italy, India, or Indonesia (although I wouldn’t mind visiting these places). Instead, it’s a journey toward the abundant life that Jesus promises in the Bible. Romans 5:17; John 6:51 and John 10:10. Spiritual? Absolutely. Balanced and joy-filled? Definitely. Drawing out the best of this world, yet, not be “in it”? I hope. My ultimate desire is to know, really know, the character of Jesus Christ and to know the fullness of Mark 12:30-31. I want to know what it is to live a life of simplicity so I can be free of “things”, to realize joy and laughter in everyday living, practice a healthy lifestyle that honors God, and SO MUCH more.

So my pray is that God would protect me along the way and bless me as I go. And in the process of discovery, I hope I can encourage others along the way. Journeys are not always easy, but are necessary if we want to take hold of what God has called us to, and ultimately, the prize that awaits us. Philippians 3:14; 1 Corinthians 9:24-27.  Eat? Pray? Love? Oh, yes! But I’m going to do it God’s Way!!

Put Some Pep In Your Walk!

Posted by Cinda On March - 18 - 2013ADD COMMENTS

It’s more important than ever to nurture the spiritual side of your life.”  Victor M. Parachin

Look around. Look at the culture we live in. It’s bombarded with commercialism, secularism and materialism. We live in the fast lane and are constantly penciling more and more things to do in our day-planners. When was the last time you were able to embrace complete solitude? Just you and God? Wouldn’t you agree, it’s increasingly harder to keep your soul nourished? “The challenge of these days, when times are not hospitable to spiritual growth, is how to nurture, feed, heal, restore, and renew the soul.”

Victor Parachin shares
21 PRACTICAL SUGGESTIONS FOR BUILDING
A STRONGER, SPIRITUAL LIFE
:

river1. Be a river, not a swamp.  The Bible says: “Rivers of living water will flow from the heart of those who believe in me” (John 7:38). Remember, it is the mountain stream that carries fresh, life-giving water because it flows out. However, the swamp is stagnant and life-devouring. A swamp collects and retains water that comes its way. Don’t be the kind of person who seeks to accumulate much before allowing a little to flow through.

As Christians we are to let blessings flow through us and on to others. When we hoard and dam the blessings in our lives we are in danger of becoming spiritually stagnant, emotionally detached, and intellectually cynical. Resolve to break up the dam and let blessings flow like a river. The freshness is in the flow.

2. Identify blessings. Too often we go through life oblivious to the good that comes flowing into our lives. Try this spiritual exercise for one week: At the end of the first day, identify a blessing that came to you from a family member. At the end of the second day, a blessing from a neighbor. Third day, from a friend. Fourth day, from a work colleague. Fifth day, from a stranger. Sixth day, from a child. On the seventh day, a blessing that came from an “enemy.”

3. Be like Moses—speak words of blessing. One of the most beautiful and compassionate passages in the Bible contains these words of blessing pronounced by Moses: “May the Lord bless you and protect you. May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord show you his favor and give you his peace.” (Numbers 6:24-26).

Get creative with language, and speak words that will uplift, encourage, hearten, and bless other people. As you build them up, your own spirit will get stronger.

4. Nurture a shared prayer life. Increase the amount of time you spend in prayer by sharing in prayer with others. Some ways to do this include: Letting friends know you are always available for prayer. Attending regularly held prayer groups. Participating in a prayer chain.

5. Take a step of faith. Spiritual growth means taking a leap of faith from time to time. Rather than trying to get everything in place before you start something important, why not follow God’s leading and allow the plan to evolve? This means taking a step of faith and trusting God to provide what may be needed for success.

6. Restore someone’s faith. Today, make time to heal a wounded heart, to extend kindness to someone who really needs a friend, or to help gather up pieces of a broken dream. Today, do whatever you can to radiate God’s unconditional love.

7. Be a grateful person. Start every day with a morning prayer of gratitude to God for the gift of a new day. Do this even if the day ahead appears ominous. Conclude every day with an evening prayer of gratitude to God for the gift of the preceding hours. Do this even if you’ve had a very tough day.

thoughtful8. Share the journey. Hook up with one other person who is seeking to grow spiritually. Agree to meet once a week for a period of time to study and reflect on spiritual matters. A friend of mine, who is a busy executive in Toronto, Ontario, met for six months with another man to do Bible study. “No matter how hectic our schedules, we always met each week during our lunch hour at a downtown church that kindly provided us with a room for our meeting. Those were good months when a lot of spiritual growth took place,” he says.

9. Serve. Look for ways to serve the community, especially tasks that promise no reward, such as picking up litter on the streets. Read and reflect on the action of Jesus in John 13:1-5. 10. Cultivate a little solitude. “Solitude makes us tougher toward ourselves and more tender toward others; in both ways it improves our character,” noted philosopher Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche. Spend some time away from the crowd and the noise of life. Set aside a few minutes to be alone—just you and God. In quietness we turn our minds away from the problems of life and fix our thoughts on the mind of God.

relaxation10. Cultivate a little solitude. “Solitude makes us tougher toward ourselves and more tender toward others; in both ways it improves our character,” noted philosopher Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche. Spend some time away from the crowd and the noise of life. Set aside a few minutes to be alone—just you and God. In quietness we turn our minds away from the problems of life and fix our thoughts on the mind of God.

11. Fast and pray. Prayer linked with fasting was often done by people in the Bible. Ezra 8:23 reports: “So we fasted and earnestly prayed that our God would take care of us, and he heard our prayer.” The next time you are asked to pray urgently for someone in difficulty, consider combining your praying with some fasting.

12. Turn worries over to God. This is a clear teaching of Scripture: “Give your burdens to the Lord, and he will take care of you” (Psalm 55:22). Do this each time a worry crops up.

13. Spread love -wherever you go. That is the advice of Mother Teresa of Calcutta, who advised: “Spread love everywhere you go: First of all in your own house. . . . Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God’s kindness; kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile, kindness in your warm greeting.”

downtime14. Keep your priorities straight. Know what is ultimately important and what is not. Consider the words of former President George Bush: “I am blessed with a close and wonderful family, and I want to spend the rest of my life letting them know how much I love them and appreciate them,” he said. “One of my most important accomplishments, one I am still working on, is to be a huge success in the grandfather business. I would like to be remembered for integrity, service, and family.”

15. Strive for excellence. The Bible tells us: “Whatever you do, do well” (Ecclesiastes 9:10). Be the best that you can be at whatever station in life God has placed you.

16. Use it or lose it. God has generously endowed each of us with unique gifts and talents. Make use of them or you will run the risk of losing them. “Use your gifts faithfully, and they shall be enlarged; practice what you know, and you shall attain to higher knowledge,” noted nineteenth-century poet Sir Edwin Arnold.

17. Meditate on Scripture. The Bible is loaded with verses of comfort, encouragement, and wisdom. Make it a habit to read and study your Bible in a regular, disciplined way. Highlight verses that speak to you. Meditate on those words. Memorize some of the passages so you can recall them from memory at a future time.

18. Be reliable. Do what you say you will do—whether it’s convenient or not. Follow through on all of your commitments, large and small. By your actions, show others you are a person who can be trusted and counted upon.

momanddaughter19. Ask God to make you a blessing today. A great way to grow in wonder and amazement is by asking God to turn your life into a blessing. Do this each morning before resuming your daily activities. Offer a short, simple prayer like this one: “Dear God, on this day make my life a blessing to someone, somewhere.” Then pay close attention to every person you encounter during the day, as God will honor your prayer, sometimes in surprising ways.

20. Spend time in nature. This was something done by the psalm writers, and they gleaned spiritual lessons from their time in nature. “The heavens tell of the glory of God. The skies display his marvelous craftsmanship” (Psalm 19:1). “When I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers—the moon and the stars you have set in place—what are mortals that you should think of us, mere humans that you should care for us?” (Psalm 8:3,4). “Mountains rose and valleys sank to the levels you decreed. Then you set a firm boundary for the seas, so they would never again cover the earth” (Psalm 104:8, 9).

21. Exercise your power of choice. No matter what happens to you, you always have the freedom to choose. You can select joy over despair. You can select love over hate. You can select forgiveness over revenge. You can select growth over stagnation. Remember that a crisis can evoke the best in us or the worst in us. The choice is ours!

Victor Parachin is an ordained minister and writer. Please Google his name for more inspirational writings and information on this insightful man. All Rights Reserved to the author. Not to be used or published for profit. All Rights Reserved

 

Emotional Meltdown

Posted by Cinda On November - 7 - 2012ADD COMMENTS

dreary_dayIt was a day wrapped in disappointment! I am most thankful that I don’t have many days like that. But not today…this was a dreary, gloomy (sensing winter’s approach) day of emotional let downs. Two of my friends recently lost their loved ones and my heart was heavy for them at their loss of mom and sister. Then to top it off, an opportunity came to bless some gals that went south and for whatever reasons it just could not happen. Well my emotions were already tender and I responded with an inward look instead of upward. I began to play around in the pity pool for a time getting splashed with more and more disappointed as my ‘woe is me’ thinking which are just downright untruths began to flooding into my mind. Wow, I was really beginning to drown myself in self-proclaimed despair. I am this and I am not that…! Suddenly I didn’t think I had a friend in the world and I even began to doubt my abilities, capabilities and boy, one thing streamed right into the next. Only God knows where it could have ended up!

romans_8Then, I received a revelation! Just maybe God was protecting me, doing exactly what Paul says in Romans 8:28 “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” I began to look at various scenarios that could happen if things went along as I desired for them to go and decided to–by faith–believe that these disappointments were not intended to discourage me but to protect and prevent dire things from happening? Then the Holy Spirit reminded me of that powerful Word from 2Corinthians 10:5 that ends with “taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ…” This certainly changed my entire outlook!

You see, God has empowered us, He has given us tools to help when we get all wrapped up in our own ‘stinkin’ thinkin” and although sometimes difficult, our part is to acknowledge the enemy’s lies and then counteract them with God’s truth about who we really are! I really believe that we can all get in a funk like this at some time or another in our ‘everyday’ living, but the key is admitting where we have landed, that our thinking is is incorrect according to God’s standard and what He says about His children and then be willing to do something about it! Start by applying 2 Corinthians 10:5 “We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God,” then finish by…”taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.”

Father, thank You for Your Holy Spirit that teaches us in the way in which we should go. Continue to give me listening ears to hear His voice and then a willingness to respond correctly when I am headed in a direction that spells out CALAMITY. My heart wants to please You and I ask for grace when I walk contrary to Your excellent way!

Author: Kimberly Dawn, CCF Contributor
All Rights Reserved
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