Monday, January 21, 2013

Kindness And A Cup Of Coffee

God's kindness leads you toward repentance
Romans 2:4

I like the coffee at Dunkin' Donuts and the ambiance at Starbuck's. Black coffee, no sweetener and no cream. Straight-up coffee. It's my morning friend.

Occasionally I am given a Starbuck's gift card, and I treat myself to a specialty coffee drink. My friend, Lauren, used to work at Starbuck's, so I told her what I liked and she taught me the proper way to order it at Starbucks: Quad venti no-foam extra-hot latte. Delicious.

So the other day, with a Starbuck's gift card from my boss in my wallet, I went through my favorite Starbuck's drive-thru on the way to my mom's.

Turning into the parking lot, I heard a car revving its engine behind me as I made my way to the drive-thru lane. Looking in my side view mirror, I saw a shiny, late model Mustang. The driver was obviously in a hurry to get his coffee, and guess I was moving too slow for his liking. So I stopped and motioned for him to pass me and get in front of me in the coffee line. Though I could see he was angry and frustrated, he did not take the offer to go in front of me. So I got in line and placed my order. He followed me.

As I moved up to the window to pay, the driver of the Mustang was yelling at me...loudly....cursing at me. Hand gestures and the whole shebang. Cursing. Loud cursing. Clearly, my mere existence was annoying him. Something I had done...or didn't do...bothered him. Or he was just having a really bad morning and I was feeling the brunt of it. Either way, it was unpleasant.

In those few moments, scriptures about God's kindness kept coming to my mind. This guy needed some heart softening, and God's kindness was just what I ordered for him. When I pulled up the window to pay for my latte, I told the barista I wanted to pay for the coffee for the guy behind me.

"Bless those who curse you,
pray for those who mistreat you."
Luke 6:28

"You want to pay for his coffee? He was cursing at you," the barista said.

"Exactly," I responded. "Bless those who curse you."

She looked at me funny and then rung me up for my latte and his coffee.

I told her, "Please tell him that God loves him and wanted to bless him today."

"Um, OK," the barista replied.

This man was very angry. He frightened me. I'll admit. I was a bit scared. But in the midst of the unsettling situation, God's peace filled my heart. 

God's kindness and love prevailed. 

This was not me. This was God's love through me. God gets the glory.

I knew I was to bless that man with God's kindness and a cup of coffee.

"Let your light shine before men
that they may see your good deeds
and glorify your Father in heaven."
Matthew 5:16

I pulled away from the window and never saw the man's reaction. But I prayed for him as I drove to my mom's and sipped on my latte. I prayed God would touch his heart with His perfect love, that He would heal any hurts in that man's heart and that His kindness would lead him to repentance.

God's kindness leads us, leads me, to repentance.

Maybe as that man drank his coffee that morning, just maybe he smelled the sweet aroma of Christ's love. Maybe, just maybe he heard the whispers of God's perfect love. Maybe, just maybe he came to know God's kindness through a cup of coffee.

Lisa Chadd is the winner of Serendipty Saturday's prize - 10 Unglued Participant Guides and the DVD teaching by Lysa TerKeurst! Lisa - Congratulations! Your group will LOVE the study! Praying for God to form your group of teachers and friends perfectly!

Amanda Steingiesser is the winner of the One-Year Bible and also the Unglued Devotional by Lysa! Congratulations Amanda! Contact me with your mailing address!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Serendipity Saturday - Sticking Together!

"Serendipity occurs when something beautiful breaks into the monotonous and the mundane. A serendipitous life is marked by 'surprisability' and spontaneity. When we lose our capacity for either, we settle into life's ruts." ~ Charles R. Swindoll

Hello! So delighted you have stopped by for Serendipity Saturday here at Joy In The Truth! My hope is that a little something beautiful breaks into the monotonous and mundane places of your day today! Surprisability and spontaneity are fun and revitalizing!

Today's serendipity is a package that encourages you in God's Word so you don't become UNGLUED! Serendipity Saturday is serving up 10 Unglued Participant's Guide and the DVD teaching video, all by one of my of my very sweet and fun friends ~ Lysa TerKeurst. This package is perfect for a small group Bible study!

If you are interested in hosting or participating an Unglued small group Bible study, just leave a comment with your contact information. The winner will be announced next week!

"Let us not give up meeting together
as some are in the habit of doing,
but let us encourage one another --
and all the more as you see the Day approaching."
Hebrews 10:25

And for some serendipitous 'surprisability' on this mid-January Saturday, click here to go to yesterday's post for an opportunity to win a One-Year Bible and the Unglued Devotional! It's a challenging and refreshing 60-day devotional in which Lysa's consistent and authentic pursuit of holiness encourages the readers in God's Word.

Enjoy your Saturday! I hope it is filled with many sweet and unexpected blessings from God's gracious hand.

" on the look out.
God may very well be planning 
a serendipity in your life."
~ Charles R. Swindoll

"I will once again deal marvelously
with this people; wondrously marvelous."
Isaiah 29:14

Ser-en-dip-i-ty  [ser-uh n-dip-i-tee]
1.  an unexpected desirable discovery
2.  a pleasant surprise

Friday, January 11, 2013

Progress and Expectations for 2013

"I have treasured the words of His mouth
more than my daily bread." 
~ Job 23:12

We are only eleven days into this new year, yet it seems like the freshness of a new year is already disappearing. Before any more days flip over on my desk calendar, I want to let you know what I will be up to this year. It has become my commitment at the beginning of every new year to decide what I will be doing to make progress in my Christian walk that year. So I often share my goals here at Joy In The Truth for the purpose of accountability. If I put it out there for friends to see, it helps me stay authentically on track.

Recently I read this in "Dear Sister" by Gisela Yohannan, and I wholeheartedly agree!

Do you have any specific prayer requests and expectations
for this year? I am not talking about a “wish list” of material
things or ambitions you might have for your life, family and ministry.

What I want you to consider is your spiritual life: the depth of
your personal walk with the Lord, your growth as a Christian, the
progress you have made toward developing a Christlike character
and, most of all, how real your relationship is with Jesus—if the
things you proclaim can be seen in your life.

Our time here on earth is so limited, and the years we have to
serve our God are so few, that it would be tragic if we let them pass
by carelessly and simply live each day without being conscious of
our purpose.

It takes God many years to train us and make us useful. The
quality and depth of work we will be able to accomplish largely
depends on the quality and depth God is able to work into our
personal life and character. Our steadfastness, genuine love and
trust in God’s Word—and conversely, our shallowness, lack of
faith and worldly mind-set—will all be reproduced in our disciples.
May God give us grace to realize the seriousness of submitting to 
His hand when He works on our hearts.
~Gisela Yohannan

So here is my commitment for 2013. Feel free to stop by unexpectedly and see how I am doing! I welcome your loving, gentle, steady accountability.  

I will be reading the New Testament through in 2013. I have read the entire Bible through in one year twice. With other studies I am doing this year, I knew just doing the New Testament was best for this year. Here is a great link for Bible reading plans. It is never too late to start!!

My boss gave me this devotional by Charles Spurgeon, which I actually began in October 2012. So I will be finishing it January - September 2013.
You can read it here also:

I am reading a wonderful book "Dear Sister" by Gisela Yohannan (wife of K.P. Yohannan, President of Gospel For Asia). Gisela's honest and loving encouragement to Christian women is amazing!

For the next 6 weeks I am doing the "Faithful, Abundant, True" Bible study by Kay Arthur, Priscilla Shirer and Beth Moore (what a line-up!). I am very excited to dig deep into God's Word through this study.

Last, but certainly not least, I will be reading this challenging and encouraging Unglued 60-Day Devotional by my friend Lysa. Lysa's honest and consistent pursuit of holiness is shared in her down-to-earth girlfriend style in this call-to-action devotional. 
Lysa wrote this recently about daily quiet time, and I feel like she was writing my heart. This sums up how God has ordained my morning quiet time for quite a while. 
*Read God's Word every day
*Read something by someone you admire
*Read something by someone you trust

As I read Lysa's word and looked around at my dining room table, that is exactly how I spend my quiet/listening time each morning. I am excited for 2013 and how God will grow His character in me.

What are your Bible study plans for 2013? Do share! 


Blessings to you and yours!

Happy, Blessed New Year from our family to you!