“Your faithfulness extends to every generation, as enduring as the earth You created. Your regulations remain true to this day, for everything serves Your plans.” Psalm 119:90 New Living Translation
I had a customer attempting to pay by credit card today. While the card was processing, I asked if he wanted any receipts because I’m able to issue a Turnpike receipt and/or a receipt from his credit card company. He DECLINED any receipts.
After a minute or two, his credit card posted the dreaded message: DECLINED. I had to tell him. Not my favorite part of the job. He produced an alternate form of payment and completed the transaction without incident.
Ever try to pay by credit or debit only to have your card come up DECLINED? It can be an embarrassing moment, especially if you have no other funds.
Have you ever had an idea you thought was so great you submitted it somewhere for approval? You wait in anticipation of acceptance and moving forward with your idea, but your submission is declined.
What about you as a person, have you ever been declined? “Politely refused” as the definition goes? No matter how polite refusal arrives it remains a subtle form of rejection and embarrassment. It hurts.
Jesus is the only friend I know who never DECLINES giving me His time. When I need a listening ear HE is there for as long as I need Him. When I need help, He is there working things out for me according to the Father’s will which always includes what is best for me. He is my refuge, my hope and stay when all else gives way. With Jesus as my source I will never be DECLINED!
“He will cover you with His feathers. He will shelter you with His wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection.” Psalm 91:4 New Living Translation
Quote from a regular customer on the pike: “Try Turkish Coffee— It wakes up the camel!” Klassen’s say “Proceed with caution.”
How many coffee lovers out there? I happen to live with one. Dwight truly enjoys his coffee. Just a smidge of cream in his medium roast and he’s good to go. Vanilla Lattes at Star Bucks, Cappuccino at Turkey Hill convenience store and regular coffee from Dunkin Donuts. Those are his staples. Usually three cups a day. One in the morning before work. One a few hours later from Dunkin and then one when he gets home from work but NEVER with food. However, after a meal he might have a cup as his dessert.
I struggle to understand the attraction. If I drink coffee, it’s strictly for the stimulating properties it releases, not for the sheer taste of coffee. Bleh! I gotta add stuff to it to halfway enjoy it.
I never dreamed I would drink coffee. My first experience occurred while working at a fast food restaurant. The strong brew certainly did help me work faster. I was 17 and used 11 packets of sugar to wash down a very small cup of joe. I decided quickly that practice was rather unhealthy and quit drinking coffee altogether.
Fast forward 25 years later when I met Dwight who not only loves coffee at home but also delights in frequenting coffee shops. He likes modern chain shops and quaint private shops as long as the coffee is good. He’ll hang out and read an hour or two enjoying the brew. Truly it’s one of his pastime passions.
Not wanting to rain on his coffee consumption parade during our courtship, I started sampling the accompanying pastries sold at these java establishments, much to my waistline’s chagrin.
We had delightful times together and I grew to love especially the private coffee shops brimming with character and ambience. But I also grew in size. So not a kool part of my courtship experience but one I believe is common for those of us dating during our more, shall we say, ‘mature’ years.
In time and to fit into my wedding gown, I weaned myself off pastries, though not completely mind you, and began drinking coffee with cream and most times flavored cream laden with sugar and fat. Lord have mercy on me! I continue to battle for balance in this area even more so twelve years later.
Shortly after we were married, we took a trip to Disney World so our daughter could experience it while she was young. Strolling through downtown Disney one sultry evening, Dwight and I had a full blown fight in front of a Lego sculpture. What do you think we argued about?
Coffee is the correct answer! His desire for a Cappucino, which probably cost $5 or so back then caused a blow up. There we stood creating a public spectacle over coffee in what some think of as the happiest place on earth! All because my values were different from his. I worried about the budget.:(
I didn’t value coffee. I could spend $5 on a dessert but could not understand $5 for a coffee. And of course I thought I was right in the sight of God and man, except for this man I married who just happened to love coffee.
It’s humorous now but sure wasn’t that night or even a long time afterward. His desire for coffee had become a sore subject between us. I daresay even a source of resentment. Praise God, in time I was able to see I was being foolish and accepted his love and enjoyment of what I considered “Rocketjuice”. I now include extra funds whenever I budget for vacation, groceries, date night etc., there needs to be “coffee money” set aside for my Beloved.
These days I relish coffee time with my husband at home relaxing in our living room or on a jaunt in discovery of a new cafe. He clearly revels in his java jive, and I’ve honestly learned to have it no other way. My corrected attitude adjustment did wonders for our leisure life together. I’m grateful that I chose to compromise my view of coffee so I could enjoy my husband while he savors his brew. Now I look forward to our adventures in coffee and the openhearted discussions which often accompany them.
“Then Eli realized it was the Lord calling the boy. So he said to Samuel, ‘Go and lie down again, and if someone calls again, say, Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.’ ” I Samuel 3:8b+9a New Living Translation
How’s your self esteem? Do you feel good about how you are inside? A lot of us struggle with this for a good portion of our lives.
When I was 8 years old I remember my uncle telling me, “There’s one thing you should never have: An INFERIORITY COMPLEX.” I remember thinking to myself back then, “Too late!” At the tender age of 8, I already felt “less than” and had a poor self image.
People who were supposed to be trustworthy told me I was fat, ugly, stupid etc., and for years I accepted it as a part of how I was expected to view myself although secretly inside I didn’t quite believe it. Because a small voice inside told me good things about myself. I wrestled conflicted feelings as a young girl.
Jesus had moved into my heart at age 7 and HE was the voice telling me good things through His Holy Spirit but I didn’t understand that as a child. I needed to listen to Him and trust Him fully by acting on HIS truth not the other voices swirling around in my world.
Unfortunately I had no one to explain the voice I heard inside my heart for many years. I needed an Eli to tell me what was going on in my heart and life.
Sometimes we believe something simply because we’ve heard it so many times. But does that make it true? Of course not but yet it happens all the time if we are not careful. What we hear, what we read, what we feel all send messages to our minds. If these messages do not line up with the Word of God, we have to reject them.
We have to fight against the negative voices or thoughts and trust only in the Lord who loves us. We must guard our minds from destructive messages so we are not exposed to defeatist ideas that drag us into harm.
“We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.” II Corinthians 10:5 New Living Translation
We as Christians need to look to our great God and Savior Jesus Christ for our self esteem rather than anywhere in this temporary world. We won’t find what we crave in people, status or accomplishments. Only by believing we are who God says we are brings true esteem.
One of the things I shared at the recent Women’s Conference was a sheet focussing on who we are in Christ. How much God treasures each of His children. Fourteen years ago a kind Pastor acted as an Eli encouraging me to study Ephesians chapter one to see God’s perspective on who I was. I read and studied it often until the truth made permanent residence in my mind. May it bless your soul as well.
Read Ephesians 1
Read a second time and mark or list how God loves us:
vs. 3 –blesses us with spiritual blessings
vs. 4–unites us with Christ
vs. 6 –pours out His glorious grace on us
vs. 7 –purchased our freedom
vs. 8 –showers us with kindness, wisdom, understanding
vs. 9–reveals His mysterious plan about Christ to us
vs. 11–chose us in advance
vs. 13–identifies us as His own
–gives us His Holy Spirit
vs. 14–gives us eternal inheritance
Pray verses 17-20 for yourself regularly and for those you love. HE will answer this prayer because of who HE is— verses 21-23!
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”
Isaiah 41:10 New International Version
Earlier this week Dwight and I had the pleasure of jet skiing on Lake Tyler in Texas. Pastor Samuel Priddy provided us with this exciting experience along with his lovely wife, Amy. I am so grateful we had this redeeming opportunity and blessed with such good friends.
You see, this happened to be my fourth time on jet skis. A bay in Honolulu in 2001 marked my maiden voyage. I drove the jet ski myself with trepidation around the still water at first but became somewhat confident after an hour. Weaving in and out of the buoys and gaining speed. I loved it.
Second time I rode with someone at a local lake in Southeastern Pennsylvania. This was on a high power jet ski with an experienced driver. We zipped and zoomed across the water at higher velocities than I can imagine. I hung on and what an adrenaline rush!
Third time arrived during my honeymoon in St. Lucia. I wanted to share the thrill of the jet ski experience with my new groom. He loved motorcycles so I figured a jet ski is like riding a motorcycle in the water, right? I talked him into renting a jet ski at our Sandals resort. The problem arose when we discovered that the area where we rented to ride involved only the open sea! Not a bay, not a lake, not calm waters! The swells were about four foot that day.
My precious new husband Dwight did not tell me he was scared to death but bravely took me out onto the open sea. I smiled as I expected a similar experience as I encountered previously, anticipating the fun and exhilaration. Instead, both of us clung on for dear life as we plowed through the gathering waves. Thank GOD for life jackets because Dwight never learned to swim. My heart pounded fearing all sorts of sea creatures lurking below waiting to get a nibble on us if we capsized.
After that harrowing episode I promised never to ask Dwight about jets skiing again. However, the desire never left my heart to someday share a positive jet ski escapade with him. So when Pastor Sam invited us to go on Lake Tyler I was so proud of Dwight for not letting past fear stop him. This time his experience was 100% different than in St. Lucia! He loved it and tore all over the lake! We had a blast!
By the grace of God and His goodness, the positive jet ski adventure has been redeemed! (Click on below)
Are there events in your life that scared you in the past? Things you’ve been avoiding due to fearful memories? Let God redeem the experience. Don’t allow the enemy to steal your opportunity because of fear. Fight back with your shield of faith, fully trusting in the Lord’s care and help. Pray now for His courage to overcome past fears. When occasions present themselves, you’ll be ready to meet and enjoy the challenge in Jesus’ Name!
“I sought the Lord and He answered me; He delivered me from all my fears.”
Psalm 34:4 New International Version