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Saturday, October 31, 2009

Life is Like a Dirty Oven

The Internet Cafe is thrilled to introduce Kathryn Lang as our Guest Barista today!

Self-cleaning the oven seemed liked the perfect task for a Sunday morning. I knew that it would be cycled through by the time my crew got home from church so that I could have a nice, clean oven to cook lunch on. It has obviously been TOO long since I last cleaned the oven because the heavy smoke (that came from the small fire) has chased me out of my home. Now I have to let the over cool down before I can start the process of just cleaning it myself.

Life is a lot like my oven. There are so many tasks that I over look or put off as long as possible and then I try to find an “easy way out.” The result is a smoky mess that requires delays, changes and adjustments before I can begin the process of just doing what I should have done in the first place.

Tips for a Clean Life

Clean up the little messes when they happen. I noticed the small spills in my oven over the last few months of cooking but I was always too busy getting ready for a meal to bother with the small stuff. Things keep us distracted from dealing with issues when they come up but the truth is the small things only take a fraction of a moment.

Take time to take care along the way. The biggest mess in the oven came from cooking down an old ham to make treats for the dogs. I didn’t take the time to put anything under the ham while it was cooking so all of the drippings fell straight down to the bottom of the oven. Even after I realized what I had done I jus figured that I would clean it all up later instead of messing up a pan at that point.

Do things right the first time. Common sense told me that the mess at the bottom of the oven was not going to be pretty when the self-cleaning cycle started up. That is the reason I was going to do it when most of the clan would be out of the house. The question I am now asking myself if why I didn’t just clean it right in the first place. All of the time that I was saving myself by using the oven to do the cleaning has been wasted (and then some) because of the mess that the self-cleaning has caused.

Go with flow. The mess is made and the easiest thing to do would be to hide in the back room away from the smoke and watch some television – or go down to my FIL’s and eat some breakfast. Instead I have taken my laptop outside (where I can still get internet access) and am using the time to do a few articles.

Learn something from the experience. I know now that I need to clean up the oven as I go instead of waiting for one big cleaning (something I am learning about all aspects of life). I have also discovered that sitting on the front porch with my laptop is quite inspiring! Oh – and one not so nice lesson that I learned is that if I want my crew up and out of the house quickly all I need to do is set a little fire in the oven.

Life doesn’t get to be a mess overnight. Every issue that I have to deal with – from losing weight to changing sleeping habits to cleaning the oven – all start with just a little here and there and work up to a mess that can no longer be ignored. Dealing with the little things along the way will help me keep my whole life clean and shiny.


Kathryn Lang is a freelance writer and inspirational speaker. She lives with her husband of 16 years and three boys in a little cabin in the woods in Guntersville, Alabama. Her time speeds by as she works with others to unlock their passions in order to pursue their purpose.

You can email your comments, questions and suggestions to her at You can read more of her inspirational writing at Kathryn Lang is available to speak to your group or organization.

Contact her at

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Friday, October 30, 2009

On Wearing Bras...

My oldest daughter, “Boog” wants to wear a "bra." It's not a real one and it's not like she even needs one. She's 9 and only 9 and there is nothing that shows she is anything but 9. Doesn't sound like a big deal does it? But, my husband (whom I affectionately call in the Blogosphere, Pastor JT) sees it as such. At first I didn't really agree. I mean, what's the harm in wearing a little "bra?" No one can see it and it makes her feel kind of older. Aha, that's the problem. Well, that's part of the problem. In fact, it's not really the problem. wait...

My husband couldn't really figure out why it bothered him so much, he just knew that he didn't want her wearing one.

Modesty? No.

Too "grown up?" Kind of.

It wasn't until he was talking about it with my brother-in-law about the whole thing that it snapped into the real reason why.

Boog wants to be someone she isn't.

She isn't a girl with "girls" yet, but she wants to be one. She isn't a girl who can wear make-up, but she wants to be. She wants to be someone else. Not that she isn't happy being Boog, she just wants what other people have.

Be older.
Wear this or that.
Have what they have.

Is it not the ageless dilemma, dare I say bondage, that women struggle with even as adults? We think we'd be happier if we had a job, or if we stayed home with our kids. We'd sure feel better about ourselves if we had the house she does, or a husband like that. We would most certainly feel better if we had her body or her hair.

"If only I had_____________."
"If only I was_____________."

You fill in the blank.

I want to train her to live in the moment God has for her. It's not so much about her acting out being and feeling "older." It's about her living in the moment of her age, purpose, and calling. Even at 9.

Not that there is anything with dreaming and having goals. No, that's good and right. But, I don't want her dreaming about the latest look, fashion, or boy. So, if that means the bra goes in the trash and some tears are shed, then so be it.

What about at 34? How often have I wished I wore a different bra size, so to speak. Lived on someone else calendar? Had someone else's opportunities? How often have I fallen for wishing I lived on that other, greener grass?

How much effort do I put into my life to make it what I wish it was? Which of those wishes should I go after? Which ones need to come under God's authority? Which ones do I need to stop wishing for?

Needless to say, the bra is going in the trash simply because she got busted wearing it the other day when we went out. It was okay to wear it around the house, but since she lied and snuck it out of the house to go to a party with us, it's going in the big green bin. We will remove the very thing that pulls her to feel like someone she isn't and caused her to sin.

...let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith...Hebrews 12:1 NIV

Our value is in Jesus and what He has done for us. He has a calling on our lives and we will live it in confidence and with grace. We have to stop believing the enemy who whispers in our ear that we would be happy "if only..." Stop letting those "wishes" cause us to sin against God and lie to ourselves and other about who we really are.

Father, may we find all we need in You!

Is there a “bra” you need to get rid of?

In Him,



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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Cafe Chat

You all don't know it, but about 90% of the inspiration for my questions come directly from my life circumstances. Well, this week falls into the 90% :) I was able to attend a Women's Conference this past weekend at a Church, and Liz Curtis Higgs was the speaker. Liz is so darling, and she is a witty, funny, fun loving woman of God.
This weekend Liz talked about a few women from the Bible; Sarah, Hagar, and Leah. I want us to focus in on Leah this week. Actually, Leah and Rachel. I won't assume that everyone reading is familiar with the story of Leah and Rachel, and Jacob of course. So below I will post a portion of scripture from Genesis 29. Please read before you answer the questions, and I would encourage you to read even more of the story than I posted.

(From Genesis 29)

After Jacob had stayed with him for a whole month, 15 Laban said to him, "Just because you are a relative of mine, should you work for me for nothing? Tell me what your wages should be."
16 Now Laban had two daughters; the name of the older was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. 17 Leah had weak eyes, but Rachel was lovely in form, and beautiful. 18 Jacob was in love with Rachel and said, "I'll work for you seven years in return for your younger daughter Rachel."

19 Laban said, "It's better that I give her to you than to some other man. Stay here with me." 20 So Jacob served seven years to get Rachel, but they seemed like only a few days to him because of his love for her.

21 Then Jacob said to Laban, "Give me my wife. My time is completed, and I want to lie with her."

22 So Laban brought together all the people of the place and gave a feast. 23 But when evening came, he took his daughter Leah and gave her to Jacob, and Jacob lay with her. 24 And Laban gave his servant girl Zilpah to his daughter as her maidservant.

25 When morning came, there was Leah! So Jacob said to Laban, "What is this you have done to me? I served you for Rachel, didn't I? Why have you deceived me?"

26 Laban replied, "It is not our custom here to give the younger daughter in marriage before the older one. 27 Finish this daughter's bridal week; then we will give you the younger one also, in return for another seven years of work."

28 And Jacob did so. He finished the week with Leah, and then Laban gave him his daughter Rachel to be his wife. 29 Laban gave his servant girl Bilhah to his daughter Rachel as her maidservant. 30 Jacob lay with Rachel also, and he loved Rachel more than Leah. And he worked for Laban another seven years.

31 When the LORD saw that Leah was not loved, he opened her womb, but Rachel was barren. 32 Leah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Reuben, for she said, "It is because the LORD has seen my misery. Surely my husband will love me now."
33 She conceived again, and when she gave birth to a son she said, "Because the LORD heard that I am not loved, he gave me this one too." So she named him Simeon.
34 Again she conceived, and when she gave birth to a son she said, "Now at last my husband will become attached to me, because I have borne him three sons." So he was named Levi.
35 She conceived again, and when she gave birth to a son she said, "This time I will praise the LORD." So she named him Judah. Then she stopped having children.

So after reading part of the story (again, I encourage you to read more) who do you sympathize with more, Leah or Rachel? Who does your heart go out to? Does your answer reflect the fact that you can relate to your choice personally? Share if you feel so led.

I again look forward to seeing your answers. If you are new to the "Cafe Chat" please join in :)

Kim (I encourage you to use the MckLinky feature today)

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Make Him Want To Come Home

When my husband, Chris, used to call me to tell me he'd be home later than expected, I would make sure I let him know of my disappointment. I would muster up everything in me in order to project the biggest and loudest sigh over the telephone followed by a whatever.

Good one, Cindy. That'll make him rush home.

My first response was never about the strain he must have felt not only having to work longer, but then knowing he'd get the 3rd degree from me when he called to tell me of his plans. It took some time but eventually, I wised up.

I don't know if it has been the fact that I am getting older or because I don't want to make him feel bad for something that he usually cannot control or simply due to my desire to make his homecoming pleasant.

And that is what I work so hard to do.

In ministry, something always comes up. It just does. And instead of working my magic and using every manipulation trick in the box, I simply say, "Okay, baby. Looking forward to seeing you when you get home."

And boy, if that man of mine, who is singlehandedly bringing sexy back when he mows with our zero turn lawn mower, doesn't rush his little self home to lay a nice, juicy kiss on my lips.

A nagging spouse is like the drip, drip, drip of a leaky faucet; You can't turn it off, and you can't get away from it. Proverbs 27:15-16 (MSG)

Visit Cindy daily at her personal site,

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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Solving the World's Problems

I find myself doing the most ridiculous things.

Just like this morning. I woke just after 5:00 a.m. and lay there in my soft cocoon of clean sheets, soft comforter and cozy pillow and I tried to solve the world's problems before I got up....well maybe not the world's...but mine felt like the problems of the world...AND THEN I was so depressed all I wanted to do was burrow deeper into the bed....but then...I crawled out from under and decided it'd be best if God handled it today!

Ever have one of those days?

When the stress of life gets too much?

That's what happens with me. I battle in my mind over the issues that are pressing in on me when----if I'd just stop and think----I don't need to! I allow heaviness to overtake my heart, and then I'm a mess for days and by the time I finally realize that the place I need to be is at the feet of the Father...I am crumpled in a heap. I need to be wearing Mary's shoes. Not Martha's.

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 10:40-42 NIV

Mary's feet led her to the Lord. Martha's feet led her to the kitchen sink. Back and forth from the stove to the table to the sink to the fridge to the sink to the table to the cupboard to the table to the sink to the stove ..... get the picture? Now, I am not saying that there wasn't a "need to feed". There was. There is.

But can you picture Sister Mary with me?

Sweating bullets because she can't find the serving platter that matches----biting her tongue almost off because of the anger she is feeling toward Mary, until she finally "voices" it just a bit....pulling out the best linen napkins for the "company", only to find one is missing! She was out of control. Just like me. Maybe even just like you sometimes?

I know my mother gets that way when a special deal is about to take place at her house. I come by it honest. You will find me days before guests are to arrive cleaning baseboards in the bathroom for crying out loud! AND in the hall...and just in case someone looks "behind" the doors...yep---I clean there too. I am not a neat freak....until we have company. Then I totally freak out. (There---I have let my guard down and showed you the "weird me".)

As a matter of fact, on Christmas Eve we were having my whole family at my house....and there I was just a couple of hours before, finally getting around to the bathroom (saved it for last on purpose) and I was cleaning the tub and tub walls as if we were serving food in it! That is a bit much! When it was all said and done I was too pooped to party! I was exhausted and ---AND---on top of that---I messed my back up again!

So, you see, me and Sister Martha have much in common. It's not that we don't love the Lord. We do ---with all our hearts, souls, minds and spirits! But we are excessive in some areas that really don't count as much. They have no "heavenly value". They will not "grow us" spiritually. Well, one point in my favor, I DO LISTEN to praise and worship music while I work. I do talk to the Lord as I'm busy. Sister Martha may have too. I'll ask if I remember when we get to heaven.

I had a discussion with my daughter just this week about her priorities. (Like I'm such a pro at prioritizing things!) God first---then family. She had her "love life" reversed. Love God first----with all your heart-soul-mind-strength---if He is the "Leader" in the marriage then it will work. If He's not, then---hmmm, well, that is something I'm not willing to try. When we love God first---then He can show us how to love that "sometimes" unlovable spouse. The unsaved spouse. The one that puts his wants-desires-activities ahead of everything else. But only with God's help can that be done. (My opinion for what it's worth!)

What am I saying in all this jumble of words? We can't solve the world's problems. Without God---I cannot solve mine. With God in charge---loving Him first....heading straight for the throne first---instead of trying my own way----we can find the peace we need in the midst of the problems of life. That is hard.

For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints. 1 Corinthians 14:33 KJV

And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7

I am thankful that I can have the "peace" I need....anytime....anywhere.

Now, before you try and solve the world's problems....make sure you have on the "right shoes" (as in Mary's shoes).

In Faith,


© Angie Knight at The Knightly News 2009. All rights reserved. Originally published 2007

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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Rest of the Story

Please welcome Ceele Spidel to the Cafe! She's serving up the devotional today!

My 10 year old son decided last year that during his reading time he was only going to read the Bible. I thought that sounded a little unusual, but wanted to encourage him in His spiritual life, so I told him to go for it. I mean, what could go wrong?

A few minutes later he yelled across the house, “Mom, what’s rape?” When I told my husband about it that evening, he decided that for now our son should read selections of Scripture approved by us, or a book of Bible stories when on his own.

Recently my son paused while reading in The Young Folk’s Bible by Josephine Pollard, looked up at me and said, “They really leave a lot of details out of these stories and I’m not so comfortable with that.” I told him he could go to his Bible for the rest of the story.

I’ve been thinking about that same thing in regards to our Christian walk, lately.

I love Ephesians 2:8-9 (NKJV) “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is a gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” But this is just the beginning, not the end of our walk with God.

The rest of the story is in verse 10. “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” Too often we are tempted to rest in Christ’s work and neglect the work that He has designed for us to do.

Can I do it on my own?

Absolutely not, but I can do it! I can do nothing good without Him, but “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13 (NKJV) One of the ways He strengthens me is through the study of His Word. I am made complete and “thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:17b NKJV) through the study and application of the Bible.

Heavenly Father, let me not neglect so great a salvation! Teach me, correct me, and instruct me through Your Word so that I can better live for You.

In Him,


Ceele is a stay at home homeschool mom to five fabulous kids. She has a doctorate in Pharmaceutical Sciences/Cancer Biology and has taught at the college and graduate level. Her and her husband adopted what they thought was their last child, but God blessed them with another blessing last October. She lives in Amarillo, Texas with her husband who pastors a small church.

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Monday, October 26, 2009

Girlfriend, Don't Eat the Cake!

For a couple of years now I have been on this health kick. We have been taught over and over again that we must watch what we eat. The bad stuff may taste ever so sweet when you’re savoring it on your tongue but when you are carrying that weight around afterwards it just doesn’t seem worth it, does it?

Well, on Saturday my sister and I went shopping at the health foods store. I had a simple list: bread, chocolate milk, honey, chicken, and pineapple. Yes, chocolate milk. A girl has to have her daily intake of calcium and flavanoids. I’m sure I read that somewhere. So we perused through the store admiring the organic, non-harmful nail polish and body lotion all the while gathering my groceries. I even brought my reusable grocery totes to enhance the experience. There were goodies everywhere and the word "organic" seemed to make the calories disappear but I knew better. We were almost done browsing and shopping when we got to the bakery department and I turned around and noticed my sister was missing. Knowing someone wouldn't mistake her for a dessert, I looked all over to find her.

I went back to the cracker aisle, down the freezer section, looked again in the dairy department and finally got back to the baked goods. Then a really big guy moved on with his cart, cleared the view, and there she was, all 4 foot 11 inches of her. She was staring intently into the case that held the cakes and pies.

"What is she doing?" I thought. “I am trying to change my lifestyle and she is looking at calories, and lots of them! I have avoided temptation for the last hour and she is caving in?” So, I took a deep breath and started making my way towards her. She was going to get a piece of my mind if she was thinking about buying a piece of that cake! I wasn't going to stand for this. I even thought of lots of clever and witty things to say while en route to that dessert case. A bit of anger began to swell up inside of me and I was going to let her know it.

I got to the case, stopped my cart, looked her in the eye, opened my mouth, and said it....

"How much is it?"

It was Chocolate Eruption Cake, folks! And it was labeled organic so it must have some nutritional value, right? Two pieces and one full glass of chocolate milk later I can tell you that the word organic means nothing when they are placed in front of ingredients like butter, whipping cream, and sugar. It turns out that cake has more calories than a boxed non-organic cake. Oh the deception!

Weeks later as I strolled on into to a local book store to have coffee with some friends this cake came back to haunt me.

We sat down and began laughing and discussing the latest stories of our life. I got so caught up in hanging out and having fun with my girls that I never even saw it coming.

“While we are on that subject we need to pray for Kara’s marriage.”

Immediately I became concerned and curious. Then I said it, “Well what should we specifically pray for?”

The door was opened and I invited that gossip in. The tongue was loosed and assumptions were made. Everyone was completely tuned in to get the latest dish on what this seemingly perfect family in our church was going through. I had sworn that I would never get sucked into that again and that any friend of mine who dared speak that way in front of me would get a piece of my mind but the word “prayer” made it all seem fine. We had been spoon fed gossip and every juicy bite was savored.

Proverbs 18:8 – “The words of gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to a man’s inmost parts.” (NIV)

On the way home I thought about that organic cake. I thought about how sick it made me and how many extra minutes I had to spend on the treadmill to get rid of it. This gossip made me sick too and the weight of that conversation haunted me. I knew I'd have to spend some time on my knees in repentance. Just because something is given a fancy and “good” label doesn’t mean that it is beneficial to us. We have to be prepared at all times and consistently walk in the spirit so that we can recognize the tactics of the enemy. The Holy Spirit and I now have an inside joke. When I am about to encounter a similar situation I hear him whisper to my heart, “don’t eat the cake!” It works!

I'd love for you to visit me at my personal blog:

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Sunday, October 25, 2009

Have You Worked Out Today?

A few years ago someone GAVE me a treadmill that had become a "coat rack" in their bedroom! It was such great timing because my doctor told me that one of the best things for me, in dealing with some of my health issues, would be to exercise hard and to SWEAT!!! So..that is what I do. Every day I get on the treadmill and walk/run really hard. I feel so good after I'm done. To be honest, I have to push myself to do it every day. I am not an athlete at heart and have never done much in the way of exercise. Almost every day I am tempted to skip it. (How did I marry an athletic director who played every sport in the book during high school AND college!?) I am drawn to the benefits of the exercise, but don't naturally like the discipline it takes or the process I need to go through to get those benefits!

One day while on the treadmill I was thinking about how hard it is for me to step on the thing every day. I started to think about how I am the same way spiritually. I am drawn to the Word, know how important it is for me to be in it, and love the "benefits" of spending time with the Lord. Unfortunately, my flesh does fight the discipline of sitting down, quieting my mind, and listening to the Lord. It seems like it is a battle every day to not get distracted and to choose to spend the time I need in the Word!

I heard someone say once that American Christians are "lazy, fat, and happy!" Just like I would probably be lazy and fat if I didn't discipline myself to get on the treadmill every day, the same would happen if I didn't discipline myself to be in the Word. As I age, I will become more vulnerable to disease and obesity if I don't exercise. The same will happen if I am not in the Word, learning how to discern between biblical and unbiblical thinking. I will become lazy and fat spiritually, and will open myself up to wrong ways of thinking, if I don't discipline myself to spend time with the Lord, nurturing our relationship.

I am finding it is necessary to turn everything I do into a way of nurturing my relationship with God and drawing near to Him. Not because I am so spiritual...but because I am NOT! When I wake up, I try to read some scripture. Then my family and I have breakfast and bible time. Next, I get on the treadmill and listen to worship music on the i-pod that my kids gave me for Valentines Day! As I am showering and dressing, I try to turn the thousands of thoughts going through my mind into prayers. As I'm working in the house, or driving somewhere, I like to listen to doctrinally sound, uplifting music. As our family interacts, we try to constantly direct the conversation towards how God would have us respond to different situations. If I sit down to rest, I read a chapter from a book I'm working through, or pray through some of my prayer list, rather than turning on the TV. I am working at doing something before bed as well. It seems like it is a constant battle to choose what I'm going to fill my mind with and how I am going to spend my time. Everything I do can be used to nurture my relationship God, and every part of the day can be an opportunity to hear from Him. I am not perfect in this, but it is becoming more of a habit.

I find the following verses very convicting:

I Corinthians 9:26-27 " Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim;I box in such a way, as not beating the air; But I buffet my body and make it my
slave, lest possibly, after I have preached to others I myself should be disqualified."

Romans 12:1,2 "I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present our bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good, and acceptable and perfect."
Old lessons.

Great reminder.

"Father, I pray that I would draw from the strength You have already provided for me, and that I would choose to do what is most needed and most important!"

Come visit me for some coffee and a chat, at Chats With An "Old Lady"!

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Saturday, October 24, 2009

Happily Ever After

Predictable happy endings, walking off into the sunset, happily ever after etc., etc. That's what I like. Not so much the mushy emotional stuff (I'm a little left-brained) just the predictable, every-situation-gets-solved, no loose ends, explanations-all-around kind of scenario - ta da! THE END.

When I was introduced to Jesus and the "Christian Walk", I naturally believed that, "This, now, finally, will be the beginning of eternal bliss, predictability, no problems, sunsets, and happily ever afters - batteries included!" (Who knows that I needed just a little discipling?)
Yes, into every new believer's life some rain must fall, and all of the silver linings come equipped with dark clouds, and (quoting my friend Jeff,) "What don't kill ya, makes ya stronger!"

I remember, after trying to walk with Christ for a few months, I kind of started wishing I'd never heard about Him, salvation OR eternity. It was just hard. All these "trials" (as they were now called) popping up everywhere. . . "letting go and letting God" . . . trusting someone you can't see . . . putting your life in the hands of another. Giving up control of your life is NOT easy - especially if you're not yet certain about the motives of the Person to whom you are relinquishing control. And then, the icing on the cake - learn to be happy about the "trials!"

Consider it all joy my brethren, when you encounter various trials. (James 1:2)

Joy. Really.

In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials. (1 Peter 1:6)

If necessary?

The sufferings of this present time. . . (Romans 8:18)

OK, OK, I get it! Suffering, trials, loose ends, and sometimes, not-so-happy endings with no explanations. Got it.

But, as with all things concerning our Creator, it is all for a purpose, as I finally discovered. Nothing is done without perfect wisdom, absolute justice, and unconditional love on His part. Not one situation, large or small, escapes Him. Every bit of the 'heat' He allows in our lives is for a purpose, and as His children, we're wise to learn to trust that. And though no ONE explanation can adequately "explain" the ways of the Lord of the Universe, today I read something that I think comes close. It's from the book, The Fire of God by Joy Dawson - she quotes an anonymous poet:

He sits by a furnace of sevenfold heat
As He watches by the precious ore.
Closer He bends with a searching gaze
As He heats it more and more.
For He knows He has ore that can stand the test
To mold as a crown for the King to wear
So He lays our gold in the burning fire,
Tho' we fain would say to Him "Nay"
And He watches the dross that we could not see,
As it melts and passes away.
The gold grows brighter and brighter it grows,
And our eyes grow dim with tears,
We see but the fire . . . not the Master's hand,
And question with anxious fears.
Yet our gold shines out with a richer glow
As it mirrors a form from above
That bends over the fire tho' unseen by us,
With a look of ineffable love.
Can we think it pleases His loving heart
To cause us a moment's pain?
Ah, no! but He sees through the present cross
The bliss of eternal gain.
So He waits there with a watchful eye,
With a love that is strong and sure,
And His gold did not suffer a bit more heat
Than was needed to make it pure.

Yep, we can be quite whiny and complaining until we 'get it'. We can become completely absorbed in our own little world - trials AND treasures - until we grasp the fact that the God of all eternity has His ever watchful eye on us - always - and that " God
(actually) causes ALL things to work together for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28) Everything He allows, every bit of heat, is meant to purify us, to cleanse us from what we cannot see, to prepare us for an eternity that we can scarcely comprehend, to form us into the image of His Son, Jesus.


And then He gives the best promise of all:

"The sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that will be revealed in us!" (Romans 8:18)

Incredible! When the time comes, the sunset will never dim, every loose-end will be tied, every explanation given and every tear will be wiped away. Now that is a "happily ever after!"


Father, Your ways are high above our ways, and Your thoughts are higher than our thoughts. I ask you Lord to pour out Your grace and wisdom. Teach us to trust Your ways, Your timing, Your justice. Keep watch at the door of our lips and fill our mouths with Your praise. Give us strength to worship when we are afraid, and courage to trust You in all things. Above all else, fill our hearts with the reality of eternity in Your presence.

In Him,

Visit Darnelle at her personal blog:

All Things Work Together

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Friday, October 23, 2009

Walking in the Dark

The Internet Cafe is welcoming Guest Barista, Sarah Beyer, to the counter today!

In my high school senior yearbook, for the quote that would follow my name and define who I was at 18, I chose the verse 2 Corinthians 5:7: “We live by faith, not by sight.” I was looking for a way to say that I loved Jesus without actually saying that I loved Jesus.

Crazy bold, I know.

I didn’t have a clue at the time what that statement really meant. I don’t think I even understood the difference between faith and sight. I’m certain I had no clue how much faith daily life would require of me in the future and how much I would long to be able to see the path before me. The thing is, there’s faith that leads to salvation and then there’s faith to walk every moment after that. I understood the first kind of faith, but I didn’t even know I was missing the second kind.

Early in my middle school years, I took the step of faith to say, “Yes, I believe I am a sinner. I believe Jesus is the Son of God. I believe He died and then rose again to take the punishment that I deserve. Please, Lord, forgive me and make me clean.

However, in the years and decades that followed, even though I was ordering my life to God’s priorities, I didn’t really let Him have control.

I was seeking God and trying to be more like Him. I was praying and learning from His Word, but I never really let go and let Him have control. I worried like I was in control. I planned like I was in control. I managed people like I was in control. I didn’t exercise faith in my daily life that allowed me to walk in any direction unless I could see the outcome for miles ahead.

Contrary to what I had proclaimed so proudly in my high school yearbook, I was living entirely by sight. The problem with living by sight is that, at its very best, my sight is nothing more than a poor reflection in a mirror. I lived a couple of decades essentially squinting into my rearview mirror, thinking that my view was good enough to drive. While I thought I was living a safe, protected life by attempting to control my circumstances, I was really just living an unspiritual, fearful life.

However, around the time I turned 30, God began to do a work in my life that would forever alter the way I lived. He graciously turned out the lights and allowed me to stand in the pitch dark. He allowed circumstances and pain into my life that I could not overcome on my own. I can see now that it was His love for me that led Him to bring me to the place

where I had to face my own inability to solve, plan, control, and manage. I stood in the middle of the pitch dark that my life had become and I began to truly trust Him for the first time. I finally quit trying to get more “sight” and chose faith, believing that if God sent something my way, it must be good for me. I wish I could say that I chose to trust God before all else, but the honest truth is that I didn’t truly trust Him until there was no other option. But I think late is better than never.

The good news is that faith is a gift from God. We can’t conjure it up or fake it. We need only ask God to provide it, making sure it is not sight for which we are asking. And then we exercise it. I have found it to be like a muscle that gets stronger every time I use it. It starts out weak, but each time I choose to trust in the name of the Lord instead of freaking out because I can’t see the path in front of me, my blood pressure goes down and my faith muscle gets stronger. Then the next time I need it, it is more ready for action.

To be honest, it hasn’t all been smooth sailing since I discovered that I could live by faith instead of sight, but, by the grace of God, I have experienced slow, steady growth in the direction of trusting Him. And the peace and joy that comes with being on His agenda instead of my own is filling me up and carrying me through.

Friend, I know you may be standing in the middle of a really dark place right now. I know it is tremendously difficult to have peace when your circumstances appear bleak. But you can take comfort from the fact that darkness is as light to God.

He can see just fine right where you are and He will lead the way if you allow Him to do so. He also says He loves you with an everlasting love and He will never, never leave you or forsake you. Don’t wait as long as I did to choose to trust Him with your daily life. Your own sight will never fulfill you or protect you the way the God who loves you will.

Let him who walks in the dark, who has no light, trust in the name of the Lord and rely on his God. Is. 50:10b

Additional references: Psalm 139:12, Jeremiah 31:3, Hebrews 13:5, Ephesians 2:8 (all NIV)

Lord, we ask you to give us the strength to trust you with our lives. We ask you to help us to rest in the fact that you can see when we cannot. Please bring good out of the difficulties we face and grow our faith in you. Thank you for sheltering us under your wing and for renewing our hope when we are weak. We ask for joy, Lord, and for an extra measure of patience as we wait for you to bring us through the darkness. Amen.

1. Are you walking in the dark right now? What has caused that darkness?

2. Have you truly let God have control or are you clenching your hands hoping to help out?

3. How do you see God using this darkness to increase your faith in Him?

In Him,


Sarah can be found daily at her little place on the web, Sarah Beyer, Graffiti

Where she describes herself, "Me? Goofy. Paying to stay a blonde. Former worrier, turned prayer warrior. Running hard after the Lord. In love with my man. Lucky mom to the Alfies. Wannabe runner. Lake girl. Boggle Champion, except when playing Rachel. Farkle. Friend. Loved. Forgiven. Grateful. Free."

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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Cafe Chat

Dishes, laundry, dusting, making beds, cleaning the bathroom...
I am sure that these words evoke some emotion in all of us, for me these are NOT a few of my favorite things..
Nonetheless, these are all things that need to be done, and for the most part on a daily basis.
There is a verse in 1 Corinthians (10:31) that reads "So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." I have an ESV study bible, and the study note for that verse reads, "Every aspect of every Christian's life has the potential to honor God." So I think our tasks above could be included as things we can do to bring honor to God.
So today, I ask you how can we bring glory to God in the midst of the repetitive everyday tasks that we have to do? Give examples
Don't be surprised if you hear about me putting into practice some of the answers you all share :)
Blessings, Kim

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A Spiritual Flu Shot

I bought a book from the religious section at Barnes and Noble a few years back. It looked like an interesting, encouraging read and the author on the cover looked smart and friendly. I went home and started reading it. As I read it, I felt very empowered. The book discussed deep, spiritual ideas, and I believed that I had found a hoard of valuable insight.

I read one quote from the author that I thought was brilliant, so I typed the quote word for word and massed emailed it to almost everyone on my address list. I wanted everyone to know what wonderful things I was reading. I wanted everyone to be encouraged by this author as I was.

After I sent out the email, I continued reading the book. I began to get a sinking feeling deep in my spirit. I noticed that I was already on the second chapter of the book, but the author had yet to write anything about Jesus. How could that be? Jesus is the highlight; He is the main attraction.

I quickly started thumbing through the book desperately looking for the name "Jesus," but I couldn't find His name. Then, I flipped to the back cover of the book to see which Christian leaders had supported her book, but I didn't recognize any of the names.

Finally, I got on line and looked up the author's name and the truth became evident:

I had an encounter with a false prophet.

Her words sounded beautiful, spiritual and right-on. I felt comforted and encouraged by her ideas about spirituality. Many things she touched on were based on biblical truth. I could probably back much of what she said with scripture. Yet, even with a ton of supporting evidence, she still purposefully skipped over Jesus and His sacrifice for us on the cross.

When I realized that I had been unknowingly tricked by a false prophet, I was so ashamed. Why didn't I research the author before I bought the book? Why did I mass email my friends with this author's spiritual emptiness? I knew what I had to do. I had to eat a big o' slice of humble pie and mass email all my friends back and tell them that I had made a mistake.

It was very embarrassing, but I did it. I explained what happened and apologized for not getting more information before spreading the false teaching.

I was so disheartened about this entire event for several years until God recently taught me something. God gave me the image of a spiritual flu shot. Sometimes God exposes us to a small dose of failure to prepare us for a greater victory.

I can say honestly say that now before I consume information and pass on information, I ALWAYS verify the creditability of the author. My false-prophet radar is constantly in high-gear, and I am now able to quickly recognize false teaching that glosses over the importance of Jesus Christ and the cross.

The amazing thing is that my email address list has multiplied greatly since my mass email several years ago. I am now a leader in several ministries, including writing ministries which emphasize the passing on of information. God was so good to me that He allowed me to stumble when the stakes weren't that high. If I were to stumble now, I wouldn't even want to think about the damage that could be done.

Has God ever allowed you to stumble?

Can you look back and see how God might have been giving you a spiritual flu shot?

Can you see a difference in your life today because of that spiritual flu shot?

"God, thank You for allowing us to stumble. No hurt, disappointment or failure comes without Your notice and design. Help us to get over our humiliation and look to Your instruction. Show us how to get rid of our pride and become wiser in You. For it is in Jesus' name we pray, Amen."

"Instruct a wise man and he will be wiser still; teach a righteous man and he will add to his learning" (Proverbs 9.9 NIV).

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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Determing Our Steps

The sun was sinking down over the horizon. The corn waved far above our heads, tall from a cool, wet summer. My husband, graph paper in hand, marked each turn we made as children called out, "I'll check this path!" and "I'll run ahead and see what's down here!". Littlest ones stayed close by as we tried to make sense out of the harvest maze we were hopelessly lost in.

I checked the graph path on my husband's sheet. It looked less than hopeful.

"I know what I'm doing," he said with a grin, glancing at me out of the corner of his eye.

"Hmmm," I replied, less than certain.

We trudged along, passing other searchers on our way. We passed flag markings of purple, yellow, white with black spots, blue, and then back to the spotted ones. We had come in a circle. No matter how he tried to mark our path, Jason couldn't get the grand plan just right. The turns faced the wrong way. The paper wasn't wide enough to see the whole maze. All directions were twisted, seen from the perspective of one inside the vast acreage of swaying corn.

We wandered through the maze, enjoying the sunset and each other's company, and eventually I noticed that my husband had given up on his graphed representation of our journey.

"It's just too confusing," he said, shrugging.

In his heart a man plans his course,
but the Lord determines his steps.

Prov. 16:9

After an hour we found our way to the exit, set the camera up for a family picture, and made our way home, a way we did know. The lessons of the evening weren't lost on me. For I am a planner, a controller, someone who desires to set my own path and chart my own course.

Yet I enjoyed not knowing exactly where we were, trusting the grand plan to eventually bring us through. With the sun setting behind us, throwing our shadows on the path in front of our steps, we weren't fearful, or belligerent as I so often was in making my own choices. Instead we enjoyed the journey, knowing home was in front of us, no matter how long it took us to get there.

Christine can be found daily at her personal blog:

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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Be All In for Him

This week we are thrilled to serve up a devotion by Laurel Simpson!

She was standing up now, shouting at the guest speaker, “So how do we set boundaries for our husbands?”


Noooo Lord, not now…. I groaned.

Psssssssttt, share your heart.

Lord, I’m not doing it! If you want to me to, you’ll have to make me!I thought smugly.

Laurel, why don’t you share the story of how you came tothis retreat with Betty.” The speaker broke the silence of my private conversation.

Groan… what was I thinking?!

I began to share how my husband was not saved and how when I’d asked him months before how he feel about me going to a retreat with all of the woman of my family, he was less than pleased at the thought. Who’d take care of our 3 children, including our 9 month old baby? This was a great time to practice what God had spoken to me about a meek and quiet spirit. I prayed…and prayed…and prayed.

The night before we were to go, my Mom called and asked if I was coming or what?

I said, “Well, if I’m not there in the morning, go without me.

My mom asked what I’d do if he really did say no?

I said, “He won’t. I know that God is in control. This is His plan.

Truth is, if he had, I’d have been totally okay with it because I had given it to Christ to do with as HE willed. Right after hanging up with Mom, the phone rang, calling my husband to work. I thought that was the answer since he couldn’t work and watch the kids. He got off of the phone and said, “That’s it! You can go!

I replied in utter astonishment, “WHAT?” He said, “I couldn’t commit to keeping the kids with work looming but if your Dad will keep them while I work, it will be great.” So my Dad and my brother (bless their hearts) kept our kids while all the wives headed off to the retreat.

At this point, she looks like she might come right across the room.

WHAT?” she yells. “You are a doormat, that is what you are! That’s just STUPID!” The little veins in her neck were bulging out and my knees were shaking now. I whispered, ‘um Lord, a little help here…’

Ps. 56:11

In God I have put my trust; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?

No it isn’t. It’s just what God asks me to do. Maybe He wouldn’t ask the same of you. We don’t set boundaries for our husbands, we give them to God and pray for the wisdom to follow His lead in our marriages.

Upon returning to my room I found, you can’t imagine, my roommate was Betty!! God looks down and giggles I am sure! I hurried to bed before she could see me.

A new day, I excitedly made my way outdoors for a bit of quiet peace by the lake. I sat down to gaze at the beauty.

I want to talk to you,”

The voice began, “About yesterday, I’m really sorry. God was speaking to my heart with what you said and I didn’t want to hear it. I was throwing a bit of a tantrum. Thanks for sticking with me. I really appreciate your heart.”

Yes, it was Betty.

See, while that was way out of my element – it wasn’t out of God’s element. I’m so thankful that He pushes me past myself, and into Him; moves me from emotion into faith. That is what He asks of us.

Next time I hear a ‘psst’, I’m all in!


Dear Jesus,

Thank you Father for loving us when we say no and when we want to throw a tantrum. Thank you for increasing our faith with your tender love. Continue to teach us how to move from emotion into faith, and then faith into action. AMEN

In Him,


You can meet me for coffee at my blog, From My Heart to Yours.

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