A little break here, because of a little tear there. ;)

Coffee Break. SmellingCoffee.com

Hi everybody. By the time you read this post, I’ll either be in the midst of or have completed rotator cuff surgery in my right shoulder. It tore a few weeks before Christmas. {It’s all the athletic activities I do every day… You know me… I just wear my body out by being so exercizy!… (Not!!! Though I do plan to be a little more exercizy in 2017 than ever before! Haha} Actually, I fell over a year ago and a bone spur caused by that fall eventually cut through my rotator cuff. Anyway… I’ll be out for a while, and since it’s my right shoulder and I’m right handed, and my right arm will be bound for a bit, I won’t be writing or typing any time soon. 

So…SmellingCoffee.com will be on a little break while I recover. I’ll miss you. This certainly wasn’t in MY plans for the new year… but I’m trusting that The Lord is working this out for my good and His glory. Somehow. Someway. Someday. No matter what happens, GOD IS GOOD AND FAITHFUL, AND WE TRUST HIM. 

How about you? Is your new year beginning the way you had planned? We can plan all day long, but the Lord who loves us so is the One who sets those plans into motion… or not. His plans are actually higher and even better for us and this world than ours. Do you believe this??  


Isaiah 55:8-9

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord.

    “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.

For just as the heavens are higher than the earth,

    so my ways are higher than your ways

    and my thoughts higher than your thoughts. (NLT)

This Truth brings me much comfort when life takes an unexpected turn. I pray that it blesses you, too.  GOD IS ALWAYS GOOD AND FAITHFUL AND CAN BE TRUSTED!
God is always good. SmellingCoffee.com

May the Lord bless and keep you, my friends, and make His face to shine upon you. Until we meet again ~
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Happy 2017!!! What Will You Do With Your Next God-given 365 days?

Jennifer Happy New Year. SmellingCoffee.com  

Happy New Year, everybody!  I just love the beginning of a new year!!  To me, a fresh clean crisp-paged calendar means tons of open spaces available and waiting to be filled with with opportunities for growth, fellowship, ministry, and fun!  However, along with those open spaces, there is always a question to be asked and answered:

What will I do with next 365 days God gives me (if He tarries or allows me to tarry that long)?

You may be like me… I have plenty of things on my “To Do” list… lots of them I’ve been putting off until this present season of life.  But I can’t help but wonder… are those things really the most important?  When I think about having a blank slate of a whole new calendar year before me, I want to make sure that what I do with these days ahead are done within the purposes of the Kingdom of God.

I deeply desire that what I do with my next 365 days has eternal impact.  I want them to be about the progress of God’s Kingdom here on earth. Don’t you?

So… The next question is: What does “being about the progress of God’s Kingdom” look like?  It certainly doesn’t mean that everything we do must be done at church!  Or, that everywhere we go we should bang people over the heads with our Bibles.  😉

Being about the Kingdom of God isn’t reserved for paid missionaries or church staffers.  It’s a calling – actually a command – to all of us who call Jesus Christ the Lord of our lives.

It’s the calling of the man /woman overwhelmed.
It’s the calling of the business person in the high-rise.
It’s the calling of the farm worker in the fields.
It’s the calling of the community volunteer.
It’s the calling of the parent struggling to provide and protect the family.
It’s the calling of the single person.  The married person.  The widowed person.  The working person.  The retired person.  The well person.  The sick person.  The full person, and the empty one.

It’s the beautiful truth and calling of all of us as we go about the daily lives in which God has wisely placed us:

“… anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ.

And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him.

For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. 

So we are Christ’s ambassadors;

God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!”

For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin,so that we could be made right with God through Christ.”

2 Corinthians 5:17-21  NLT

 

We are Christ’s ambassadors... The Message translation words it this way:

“God has given us the task of telling everyone what he is doing. We’re Christ’s representatives. God uses us to persuade men and women to drop their differences and enter into God’s work of making things right between them.” (2 Cor. 5:19-20)

 

HOW we respond to this calling and WHAT it will entail will look entirely different on every one of us.  But THAT we respond in obedience is the key.

What will you do with your 365?  It’s something to carefully and prayerfully consider. 
If you and I are willing to be God’s representatives in whatever life we are living, He makes us this beautiful promise:

Don’t worry and ask yourselves, “Will we have anything to eat? Will we have anything to drink? Will we have any clothes to wear?” Only people who don’t know God are always worrying about such things. Your Father in heaven knows that you need all of these.  But more than anything else, put God’s work first and do what he wants. Then the other things will be yours as well.”

Matthew 6:31-33, CEV

 

So… What will you do with your upcoming 365?

Teach me your ways, O Lord,
    that I may live according to your truth!
Grant me purity of heart,
    so that I may honor you.”
Psalm 86:11 NLT

 

14-19 Our firm decision is to work from this focused center: One man died for everyone. That puts everyone in the same boat. He included everyone in his death so that everyone could also be included in his life, a resurrection life, a far better life than people ever lived on their own.

16-20 Because of this decision we don’t evaluate people by what they have or how they look. We looked at the Messiah that way once and got it all wrong, as you know. We certainly don’t look at him that way anymore. Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life burgeons! Look at it! All this comes from the God who settled the relationship between us and him, and then called us to settle our relationships with each other. God put the world square with himself through the Messiah, giving the world a fresh start by offering forgiveness of sins. God has given us the task of telling everyone what he is doing. We’re Christ’s representatives. God uses us to persuade men and women to drop their differences and enter into God’s work of making things right between them. We’re speaking for Christ himself now: Become friends with God; he’s already a friend with you.

21 How? you ask. In Christ. God put the wrong on him who never did anything wrong, so we could be put right with God.

2 Cor. 5:14-21 MSG

 

I’m praying for you and your next 365. God has a beautiful work to do in and through each one of us between now and this day next year. I just know it!
What will you do with your next 365? SmellingCoffee.com  thoughts as we ring in a new year.
“And I am convinced and sure of this very thing, that He Who began a good work in you will continue until the day of Jesus Christ [right up to the time of His return], developing [that good work] and perfecting and bringing it to full completion in you.” Phil. 1:6 (AMP)  🙂

Happy New 365 and 2017! With much love and thankfulness for you~

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Be Still: A Beautiful Realization of Christmas

My Dear friends~  May God use this writing as an encouragement to you on this Christmas Eve, written by my young friend, Abigail Krutz.

Be Still and Know that I am God this Christmas.  SmellingCoffee.com

Last night I was practicing with the handbell choir from my church. As we played through What Child Is This, the peaceful simplicity of Christmas struck me. In the sanctuary the lights were dimmed, outside the sun had sunk way below the horizon by now, & we just stood there ringing bells. Unless you love music, & were up there playing with us yesterday, you probably can’t comprehend the stillness that was in the air which literally filled my heart until the notes became heartbeats. I fell into the trance of music, & the breathtaking realization of what Christmas really is.

The wonder of a baby who came to Earth as fully God & fully man has turned into a commercialized, busy, & distracting time of year. Everyone is caught up in the gifts, programs, & activities that the world has let take over. But the story & the reason we celebrate is Jesus. The baby in the manger. Immanuel. God who became man to take away the sins of the world.

If you’ve grown up like I have, the Good News has become old news. The day after Thanksgiving doesn’t mean I crank up the celebration thermostat to 100% Happy Birthday Jesus mode, but that I’m now soley worried about all the new Christmas music albums, decorations, & my long lists of wants. Jesus is forgotten. He’s put behind it all. As the years go by, I almost feel as if Christmas is just like any other holiday. Obviously we do put a little more thought & effort into its productions, but like any other holiday, we’ve turned to celebrate people. Why else do we buy gifts? Why else to Santa’s fill our shopping malls? Why else are there parades & parties & gifts? But the whole big deal about this is bringing our attention back to what is supposed to always be the main focal point for our lives as Christians: our Savior. Not at all am I saying we shouldn’t get together & have a party with beautifully decorated trees & stockings & take pictures with the jolly ole guy in the suit, but we have to quit letting that take away the whole idea to be still.

Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still, and know that I am God.”

That should be our purpose in everything during the month of December as well as the rest of the year: to be still & know that the baby we celebrate & the reason we sing is because He is God. Of course we can make Christmas cards & buy loved ones gifts! But instead of pouring all our love into blessings, we should be in constant realization that we have these things because of the Giver of all blessings & good things.

How do we do that though? Because, like I’ve said, the story of a virgin named Mary & a baby born in a barn is getting dusty on our shelfs. We’ve heard it a million times. Nothing’s new. Well the truth is that God’s word is living & active, therefore when we read it we continually discover new truths. Never let yourself be satisfied with your knowledge of the Christmas story. If we would just allow ourselves the ability to hear & read the story with open ears & hearts we might just be able to admire it as if for the first time.

One of my favorite storys is “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” by Barbara Robinson. If you haven’t read it, put me on pause to go buy it – seriously. Basically it’s about these horrible kids (named the Herdmans) who have never heard about Jesus, & they get caught up in a church, with a bunch of people who hate them, & take over the kids Christmas pageant. By the end of the book you more than likely will cry, I will say that. But my favorite part is close to the end, when it seems that all of the Herdmans understand Christmas for the first time. It’s the end of the pageant & one of the girls, Imogene, just breaks down in tears; right there in front of the whole church, while holding the baby doll representing the baby Jesus.

That should be us. Horrible people who get caught up in the miracle of Jesus & His becoming man to save us. We should be completely taken aback. We should be able to sit, in the gap between all the unknowns of our lives, in complete stillness of Christmas. With our tear-streaked faces, & hearts overflowing with gratefulness, we should praise Him.

So be reminded, loved one, of the grace showered upon you in the form of a baby, your King & your Savior, who once apon a time was born in a broke down ole barn filled with smelly animals. Because that’s the wonder of Christmas.

& with so much joy in my heart I wish you a very merry one.

xoxo,
abigail

“Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us.'” Matthew 1:23

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6

About the Author – a delightful daughter of a precious friend of mine – would you believe she is only 13 years old???  Meet Abigail Krutz, daughter of Jason and Jennifer Krutz:


Abby Krutz.  GraceUponGrace8@weebly.com

Hey, I’m Abby.  I love my big family, music, ice-cream, Sprite, interior designing, new books, Food network, Fall, front porches, & walks around the block with my puppy, Delta.

Though I’m homeschooled, I’m really just your typical teenage girl who happens to love writing.  If I have to tell you one thing about myself it’s this: I’m totally not as put together as my writing may deceive you to think.  I’m a mess.  I continually break glass (many stories behind that), fall down (& up) stairs, and act extremely awkward in awkward situations. Truth is, 90% of the things I write I would never, ever say to you in person.  My Father has given me the ability to write out my thoughts somewhat beautifully, & it honors & humbles me to get to share it with you.  “Grace Upon Grace” blog {GraceUponGrace8.weebly.com} is that place where I store up and share all the nonsense, thoughts, and struggles of a 13 year old sinner who needs God’s grace every single second… All of this & all of me is from Him, through Him, & to Him.

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”  1 Corinthians 12:9


A merry merry Christmas to you all, from my family to yours! 

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What are YOU giving to Jesus for Christmas this year? It's His birthday. Here is an idea of what He might want. SmellingCoffee.com

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When it's Christmas and life isn't turning out like you planned, God has an even better plan! SmellingCoffee.com

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Seek and Find Jesus.  An alternative to Elf on the Shelf.  SmellingCoffee.com

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Advent Ideas. SmellingCoffee.com

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One Minute Thanksgiving Game SmellingCoffee.com

  In the hustle and bustle of Thanksgiving Day, the cooking, the gathering, the eating, the cleaning up, and fitting the other family traditions worked in… it’s often easy to become more frustrated than thankful (especially as the hostess). We don’t mean to be this way.  We have every intention to keep a thankful heart. […]

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