Posted in Family, friends, gratitude, life, love, priorities, Scripture, thankful

Boom! Problem Solved

Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy.” 1 Timothy 6:13

I like coffee…a lot.  Coffee has been a best friend of the Taylor tribe for as long as I can remember.  I grew up with my Daddy’s words, “Dewayne, get me a cup of coffee” ringing in my ears.  One of my favorite memories of my parents is Daddy coming home about 4:00 pm and Momma having a fresh pot of coffee waiting.  She would pour up two cups and they would sit under the tree in the back yard and visit and drink coffee.  Now I am one of those coffee drinkers who likes their coffee bold and strong.  Someone said drinking weak coffee is like drinking brown dishwater.  I agree.

Now this is one area that my wife Judy and I don’t quite agree on.  She likes her coffee, well, mild.  You might say I like man coffee and she likes lady coffee and that works because I am a man and she is a lady.  The only time that doesn’t work is when I am downstairs and the only coffee is her lady coffee.  It is something called breakfast blend and it is pretty mild. So, when I am downstairs, what am I to do?  Well, I stumbled on the answer awhile back.  Less.

That’s right…less.  You see we have one of those Keurig coffeemakers.  I know, I know…you purest coffee drinkers out there are probably gagging, but it is a good compromise for flavor and a fast cup of coffee.  One of the features on the Keurig is that you can easily adjust the amount of water in the cup.  You can set it on anywhere from four to twelve ounces.  So, if the coffee is a little on the lady side, well, I just set it to use less water.  Less water equates to stronger coffee.  Boom…problem solved.

You see, when it comes to how big the cup of coffee, sometimes more water is just more.  The coffee may still look black (which is how I drink it) but the amount of water vastly affects the flavor.  More water equals less flavor.  And that is not only true in coffee (or tea I suppose…though I am not a hot tea drinker) it is true in life.  Sometimes we just think if we can pour in more of this or more of that we will be happier.  Often, we are not any happier…we are just a lot busier.  Often, we are not any happier…we are just further into debt.  Often, we are not any happier…we are just in greater need for a larger wardrobe.

Along with more is better (and often it is not) comes the thought that, “If I only had…” and in our “culture of much”, that is often thought and often believed.  Well, take it from someone who often looked for happiness at Best Buy or Target…it just isn’t so.  The thing that can make life worth living is not found in a store…it is found in the people we love most…that matter the most.  The thing that makes life worth living is not found in a store…it is found by looking to the Heavenly Father.  The fact is, He made all things for us to enjoy…yup, it’s in the Bible.  But keep in mind that He has given us nothing to worship.  That belongs to Him and Him alone.

Remember, you can adjust your coffee flavor in your Keurig with the amount of water you choose. If you like stronger coffee…more isn’t better…it’s just more.  And when it comes to life, learn to appreciate, to love those around you.  Take the time to enjoy them.  In that case more is not only more…it is abundant. And when you need to add some richness to life, you’ll find no better source than God.  He loves you so much and wants you to experience life to the fullest.  In fact, He said, “I have come that you might have the life that is truly life.”  And to help you along the way, He will be right there beside you, ready to help, ready to assure, ready to let you know, “He’s got this.” Bro. Dewayne

Posted in Family, fear, forgiveness, Grace, gratitude, life, love, loving others, Scripture, thankful, Trials

Scars are Stories

When Jesus stood up, he said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, Lord,” she answered. “Neither do I condemn you,” said Jesus. “Go, and from now on do not sin anymore.” John 8:10-11

It’s a great setup.  I’ve written several times about my early morning routine. It involves coffee, the weather report and Jesus.  I am a creature of habit and mess with my habits, and it messes me up. But sometimes I do something a little different that just works better.  When I fell a couple of months ago and messed up my hand, my wife Judy donated a little lap desk to help me study and write.  Well, she never took it back, so it became…mine.  I also found out that this little desk made a great addition to my routine as it is a great place to put my iPad and my coffee cup. Boom.  Things just got better.

Well, the other morning I was sipping coffee and using my iPad to read a couple of devotions.  The guy I was reading wrote about scars and as I was reading…I was looking.  You see, my hands have several scars and each one is a story.  On my right thumb is one that reminds me of the ten year old (or so) who was cutting watermelon and ignored his Daddy’s advice about how to use a knife. On my middle finger of my right hand, right on the knuckle, is an inch long scar caused by my careless use of an X-Acto knife I was using to build a model car or plane.

Let’s look at my left hand.  On my index finger are two scars…close together.  One was caused when I was riding with my sister and her then boyfriend in his car.  The car in front of us stopped…and he didn’t.  This was before seatbelts and when I headed for the windshield, I threw my hand up to protect my head.  I guess it worked but I did cut my hand up in the process.  I guess hand is better than head.  The other scar was a woodcutting thing.  I didn’t cut it with the saw or you might be calling me “Three Fingers.”  No, a piece of wood that was in a bind slipped and whacked my hand leaving a nasty gash.

There are a couple of smaller scars on both hands but their birth didn’t garner a memory.  I do have a couple of scars in other places, like the one by my eye which happened on a racquetball court.  A guy hit me with his racket on that one.  But by and large most of my physical scars are on my hands because that is where all the action is.  In other words, whatever you put out there in life will probably get scarred…like our hearts.  All of us probably have some scars left when we put our heart out there and someone wounded us.  It’s just life.

But now for the bigger story.  Remember that scars may be a sign of a painful wound…but they are also a sign of healing.  The scars that are on my hands were bleeding and painful when they happened but gradually they healed over and the bleeding stopped and they healed over. That’s a good thing.  Now you know and I know that wounds on our heart are a whole different animal.  They may heal but it often takes more than some antibiotic cream and a Band-Aid. They say that time heals all wounds and that might be partially true.  Time does help but time can’t always heal.  The good news is there is something…Someone…who can heal and His name is Jesus.

My friend Jesus is a healer of hearts.  When He walked the earth, He amazed the people in many ways…twice He gave everyone a free lunch.  But countless times He would take the broken, the castaways and lovingly put their lives back together.  I love the story when a woman was caught in adultery.  The religious people wanted to stone her but Jesus chose to love her.  I suppose in my life, and in yours, there have been some stoning opportunities but here is one thing I know.  Jesus isn’t a rock chucker—He is a heart healer and He wants to help heal yours today.

So, how about it?  Do you have some wounds on your heart that time just hasn’t taken care of? Are you still hurting from a train wreck in life years ago?  Why not give Jesus the opportunity to help?  “How” you ask?  Well, why not try asking?  It is called prayer and trust me it is worth a shot.  The other key element is faith—believing that He is there listening.  Don’t be surprised if the first thing you hear is Him asking you to forgive because forgiving others always helps heal our own wounds.  So, when you are done reading, why not start praying.  He is waiting and He is willing.  He’s got this. Bro. Dewayne

Posted in Family, gratitude, life, Scripture, sovereignty of God, thankful

Good Job, Mister Sun

The heavens declare the glory of God, and the expanse proclaims the work of His hands.” Psalm 19:1

Good job, Mister Sun.  I love beautiful sunrises and sunsets.  Everyone talks about the beautiful ones down on the Gulf of Mexico but hey…save the gas and enjoy the ones right here in Southern Illinois.  It is common here in our neck of the woods to have both sunrises and sunsets that are just awesome.  These masterpieces are enhanced by different things in the atmosphere but are created by the Masterpiece Maker…the God who made it all.

Well, yesterday morning, this Masterpiece Maker decided to show off.  Let me explain.  I get up long before sunrise but by the time I drink a couple of cups of coffee and have some time with Jesus, the sun is just about ready to say good morning.  So yesterday, I opened the door of my office at home and paused at a table we have in our hallway.  It has a window that faces east and that is where and when I saw it.  There, peeking through the trees, was the most magnificent sunrise I have seen in years. The sun was just above the horizon, and it was a flaming ball of color…a combination of intense red and orange.

Try as I might, I can’t think of anything to compare it too.  It simply took my breath away.  I immediately went downstairs and spoke to Judy through an open the window. I told her, “You need to go and look at the sunrise. It is incredible.”  She mentioned something about getting a camera and I told her, “No, go right now.”  Well, she did, and she too was rewarded with this masterpiece.  We could only see it in one particular spot and through the trees, but it was sweet…very sweet.  And it didn’t last too long.  In just a few minutes the color was not as intense, and it went from beyond words to just plain old beautiful.  The truth is God had chosen that morning and that place to show off and we got to see it.

Well, in a few minutes, I had slipped on my walking clothes and headed to the cemetery for my morning walk.  By now the sun was up higher in the sky…still beautiful and still magnificent in its everyday glory.  But all that paled now because of what I had seen that morning.  And that morning, that early morning, I knew I had discovered perhaps the true purpose of the sun.

I know no sun would mean no life.  We would be a planet of cold and darkness like so many others, so I get the importance of the sun and its light. So, while all that is so very important, is it the true purpose of this heavenly light we call the sun?  Maybe not.  You see in the Old Testament part of the Jewish and Christian scriptures, there is a verse that says, “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the expanse proclaims the work of His hands.” When I think of that verse and remember that sunrise, I think I know the true purpose of the sun…to declare the glory of God.

You see, God is so great, so good, so loving, so kind, so caring, so holy, so magnificent that He is really beyond words.  So maybe, just maybe, He gives us sunrises like the one I saw that morning to help me, to help us understand just how awesome He is. The truth is there is no doubt in my mind that the God who made all of us and all of this is one incredible God.  So beyond words He gives us sunrises, and full moons and a sky filled with stars just to declare His glory and to let us know just how great He is.

I’ve shared many times that I believe God sends us love notes every single day. Often those love notes tell us how much He loves us and cares for us.  That includes sunrises and sunsets and beautiful mountains and flowers and even a precious newborn’s face.  Common? Not hardly. Each one is a love note from the Father.  So today take a moment and look at the splendor of creation. Go ahead and dare to be amazed at this God who loves us so much.  And then marvel at the thought that as we journey, as we do this thing called life, He loves us and gently whisperers, “I’ve got this.”  Bro. Dewayne

Posted in Family, friends, Grace, gratitude, life, love, loving others, priorities, Scripture, thankful, wisdom

Les Was More *

When He went ashore, He saw a great crowd, and He had      compassion on them.” Mark 6:34a

*Photo credit: used by permission Keith Cotton, keithcotton.com

Simply put…Les was more.  I had been the pastor of a church in the village of Cobden located in Southern Illinois.  When I went there in 1986, I didn’t know two things.  First, this would be my family’s home for the next fourteen years.  During that time our lives were bonded with the people of the church and the community in a way that I’m not sure I can describe.  Literally, we became family.  The memories and relationships of those days remain firmly stamped in our minds and hearts.  And, I guess, that is the second thing I didn’t know. So many of the people…young, old, rich and poor, single and married, in the church and out…were so very special.  And that leads us to Les.

Cobden had several iconic residents that lived in a local shelter care home.  Each one was special and each one was different.  But at the top of the heap was Les.  I officially met one day when he was walking by our church carrying his sickle.  He was old for his age and had more wrinkles than he should. Bent over, he would peer though his squinting eyes and occasionally have a conversation with himself…or maybe God.  Anyway, that day, I opened the office door and told Les hello and invited him to come to church.  He acknowledged me and asked if I happened to have any coffee.  Well, I did and invited him in to have a cup.  And that was the beginning.

From that day forward, almost every day, Les would show up at the office and ask, “You wouldn’t happen to have a cup of old, cold coffee, would you.”  I can still hear him today.  And usually, I could accommodate him.  It might be cold and sometimes it was old but to Les it didn’t matter one bit.  It wasn’t long before Les started coming to church.  Now you would be wrong to assume that Les was a slow thinker.  He was anything but that. No, he was just Les and I loved the way our people grew to love him…sickle and all.

One day, at the office, getting his cup of “old, cold, coffee,” he said to me, “I want to be baptized.”  Well, that surprised even me.  So, I gave him my full attention and explained that to be baptized you needed to believe that Jesus had died for your sins and believe that He was the Son of God. And that wasn’t all. I explained a person needed to be willing to follow Jesus…kinda making Him the new “boss” of their lives.  Well, without a moment’s hesitation, Les assured me he understood all of that.  So right there, right then, Les became a Jesus follower.

He then circled back to what had started the conversation…he wanted to be baptized.  I asked Les if he understood that to be baptized, he would have to go under the water…all the way under the water. I really wasn’t surprised when he said he did. Now Les was one of those fellows that with age and life had become pretty bent over.  To look out, Les had to look up.  So, I knew this baptism thing might be a bit of a challenge, but I also knew this was going to be special and it was.  So, in a couple of weeks, on a Sunday morning, I stood in the baptistry and took Les’ hand as he came down into the water.  I can’t remember but I may have called in reinforcements.  But, regardless, I smiled as he gently slipped beneath the waters and came up again.  And the church…well…it exploded in applause.

Years later, in fact nine years after I had left our friends and family in Cobden, I received a call from the local funeral home there letting me know Les had died.  They wanted to know if I would be willing to come back and do the funeral.  I assured them it would be an honor.  On that day we said goodbye to Les but really it was more of a “see you later.”  You see, Les, because of his commitment to follow Jesus had left the shelter care home in Cobden for a new home in heaven.  I also knew that he was no longer bent over by age and life…that he could now look out and not have to look up.  Now when he looked up it was to see the face of the Man who loved him and died for him.

As we journey through life, we need to realize that all around us are people like Les. Oh, not necessarily because they might live in shelter care, but more because they are just…special.  You see, God’s world is filled with special people…all we must do is learn to see them.  They might be a guy at the grocery store or the lady who brings the mail.  They might be our doctor or the guy on back of the truck that gets our trash.  Why not determine, starting today, to see people as God sees people?  Jesus did.  When He looked at people, and He did that a lot, He saw them as special and had compassion on them…loved them.  We all might need a little help in this department, but the good news is, our Dearest Father is just waiting to help.  Just ask…because you know, “He’s got this.”

Posted in Family, friends, gratitude, life, loving others, prayer, priorities, Scripture, thankful

Good Morning!

This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.”  Psalm 118:24

Good morning, Sunshine! Ok…that might be an overstatement…especially as I get a little older.  But, regardless, I love mornings…especially the early mornings. All my adult life I have been an early riser—like 4:30 am early. With few exceptions, I don’t use an alarm clock and after a wake-up ritual, I am ready to go.

As you probably know older people tend to lean toward two extremes. One group is sleeping in—they revert back to their teen times. The other group wakes up before the crack of dawn—they revert back to when they were babies. That is me. I normally wake up when the first number is a four. I say good morning to the bathroom and head to my favorite room in the house—my man-cave or home office. I usually spend an hour or so with the door closed—it is my domain. You might wonder, “what do you do in there?”

Well, here is a look into the inner sanctum. First, I turn on the lights—all of them.  I found out a long time ago the best way to jumpstart your brain is to flood the room with light.  So, I do. Then, I make a cup of coffee with my Keurig. We are very close friends.  It took me a while to become friends because he had expensive tastes.  But when Sam’s started offering cheaper coffee—we buddied up. Next, I also turn on the fireplace, regardless of the season, light a candle and sit back for a few minutes of news and weather.

After those preliminaries, I pull out my iPad and open YouVersion and read several devotionals.  If you are a Jesus follower or a Jesus searcher, you really need to go to your app store and download YouVersion—it for free.  Whether you are growing in Him or searching for Him…it is a go to place. After YouVersion, I read several email devotionals to get some more insight for the day. I also read some scripture—either for study purposes or just to read. Then, either at my desk or back in my chair I usually pray thanking God and asking Him to watch over the one’s I love and the upcoming day. So, there you go.  This best part of waking up is a little coffee and a little more of God.

Mornings are my most productive time. Almost all of these stories are written early in the morning. My most productive study time is early in the morning. Most of my sermons are born then. If exercise is going to happen—it has to happen in the morning. Truth be known, half of my day happens in the first three or four hours of the new day. I often find what didn’t make sense at 4:00 pm makes plenty of sense at 5:30 am. What’s seemed overwhelming at 7:00 pm is no problem at 6:00 am.

Another of my favorite morning things, if the season is right, is to go out and sit on the patio and watch the sun rise—for the dawn to break and for the day to begin. I never ceased to be amazed at creation—the birth of another day. As darkness gives way to dawn, as night slips away to day, it is a visual promise from my Dearest Daddy that He is not done yet.  Psalm 118:24 says, “This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.” His job is to make them, and our job is to enjoy them.  Even the more difficult days have lessons to learn…He’s not a waster…He is a provider.

Well, out on the patio I finish my last cup of coffee and sit back and take it all in.  A new day, a fresh promise, another opportunity to enjoy my Dearest Father.  So, what is your fresh start like?  It really doesn’t matter if it starts with a four or a nine.  It doesn’t matter if it is coffee or tea (but I can’t imagine that). It doesn’t matter if it is rain or sunshine…just make sure you know and remember that as you stroll with Him today…He’s got this.  Bro. Dewayne

Posted in Family, Integrity, life, priorities, Scripture, wisdom

Habits and Me

For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.” Proverbs 23:7a

I am a creature of habit.  I love a good adventure but also love routines.  You know, like this morning and every morning. I wake up (that one is definitely essential), head to my man cave office, have a cup of coffee, and take a glance at the weather on a local channel. Then comes more coffee, my time with God, then time with my wife Judy, exercise (well, at least some of the time), breakfast, shower/dress and start the day.  Any change in my routine has the domino effect and the whole morning can get off course.

Habits can be really good or really bad.  If it is a good habit, it keeps us on course doing the right thing.  However, if it is a bad habit, it can lead to everything from a bad day to a bad life filled with consequences and regrets. One of the things most of can identify with is our eating habits.  If we have a lifetime of poor eating habits, it can have dire consequences as we age.  Smoking, drinking and drug abuse all are habits that can wreak havoc with our lives—and that is just the short list.

Habits can be changed. They say when you do something consecutively for 30 days it becomes a habit.  In other words, if you start to exercise and can make it 30 days; it should be ingrained in you enough that you will continue it.  If you start eating less sweets and hang with it for 30 days or so, well, they say it just might stick. I’m sure there is some truth to the 30-day thing but I also know that habits have to be maintained or else they can go to “habit” heaven.

The best way to maintain a habit is to do it.  Sometimes, though, it seems nothing works. Let me tell you about something that I have battling for years…and still don’t have a solution.  Now, hang with me! First, I spend a lot of time at the keyboard.  Between writing sermons and writing blogs…I type a lot. So, as you probably know, when a person types a scripture reference it looks something like this–John 3:16.  Well, I do all my sermons in Pages—a word processing program for Apple computers.  When I save the file, it asks me to name it. So, by habit, I always name the file with the word Sermon followed by the reference–so it might look like this:  Sermon – John 3:16.

And that, dear friends, is the problem. You see, Pages will absolutely not allow you to use a colon as part of the file name.  Every time it slaps my hand and replaces the colon with a dash.  So, the name becomes Sermon – John 3-16. As hard as I try, I just can’t accept the change. No, No, and No.  So, Pages and I are at an impasse.  I forget the colon thing and I do not like the dash thing.  It is habitual battle that I fight every time I write a sermon. Try as I may…I can’t seem to break the habit.

The cause of this madness is simple and revealing.  You see, all the other times I write a scripture reference I always use a colon.  Consequently, it is reinforced in my brain to do the wrong thing when I save a file.  Now in this case, I’m not sure what the answer is–do I keep beating my head against the wall when I save a file or learn to write the scripture reference in a new way.  Who knows?

While this one is annoying, there are other habits in our lives that are destructive or at least unproductive?  Is there a bad habit either consciously or subconsciously that you are consistently reenforcing?  Are you finding yourself unable to get up early for an exercise or quiet time because of late night television viewing?  Are destructive habits being fed by destructive reading or viewing habits?  Hmmmm.

One thing remains sure–if we sow corn–we will reap corn.  There is a small part of a verse from a very wise man that has a big truth.  It says, “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.” In other words, as long as we are feeding our brains the same thoughts and arguments—we will get the same results.  If we want different results–we must do something different.  They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results–it just doesn’t work.

Well, the good news is that God wants to give us a hand.  His Word is great handbook for life and if we will read and heed—we can, with His help, change. Remember those signs on the road that warn you of a sharp curve?  They really can help us have a better day.  So, dive into His Book and watch as things change.  It may not happen overnight, and you might be tempted to throw in the towel but before you do remember two things.  One, why you started in the first place and two, He’s got this.  Bro. Dewayne

Posted in Family, food, gratitude, life, love, loving others, priorities, Scripture, Southern born, thankful

Sometimes More is Just More

Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy.” 1 Timothy 6:13

I like coffee…a lot.  Coffee has been a best friend of the Taylor tribe for as long as I can remember.  I grew up with my Daddy’s words, “Dewayne, get me a cup of coffee” ringing in my ears.  One of my favorite memories of my parents is Daddy coming home about 4:00 pm and Momma having a fresh pot of coffee waiting.  She would pour up two cups and they would sit under the tree in the back yard and visit and drink coffee.  Now I am one of those coffee drinkers who likes their coffee bold and strong.  Someone said drinking weak coffee is like drinking brown dishwater.  I agree.

Now this is one area that my wife Judy and I don’t quite agree on.  She likes her coffee, well, mild.  You might say I like man coffee and she likes lady coffee and that works because I am a man and she is a lady.  The only time that doesn’t work is when I am downstairs and the only coffee there is her lady coffee.  It is something called breakfast blend and it is pretty mild. So, when I am downstairs, what am I to do?  Well, I stumbled on the answer awhile back.  Less.

That’s right…less.  You see we have one of those Keurig coffeemakers.  I know, I know…you purest coffee drinkers out there are probably gagging, but it is a good compromise for flavor and a fast cup of coffee.  One of the features on the Keurig is that you can easily adjust the amount of water in the cup.  You can set it on anywhere from four to twelve ounces.  So, if the coffee is a little on the lady side, well, I just set it to use less water.  Less water equates to stronger coffee.  Boom…problem solved.

You see, when it comes to how big the cup of coffee, sometimes more water is just more.  The coffee may still look black (which is how I drink it) but the amount of water vastly affects the flavor.  More water equals less flavor.  And that is not only true in coffee (or tea I suppose…though I am not a hot tea drinker) it is true in life.  Sometimes we just think if we can pour in more of this or more of that we will be happier.  Often, we are not any happier…we are just a lot busier.  Often, we are not any happier…we are just further into debt.  Often, we are not any happier…we are just in greater need for a larger wardrobe.

Along with more is better (and often it is not) comes the thought that, “If I only had…” and in our “culture of much”, that is often thought and often believed.  Well, take it from someone who often looked for happiness at Best Buy or Target…it just isn’t so.  The thing that can make life worth living is not found in a store…it is found in the people we love most…that matter the most.  The thing that makes life worth living is not found in a store…it is found by looking to the Heavenly Father.  The fact is, He made all things for us to enjoy…yup, it’s in the Bible.  But keep in mind that He has given us nothing to worship.  That belongs to Him and Him alone.

Remember, you can adjust your coffee flavor in your Keurig with the amount of water you choose. If you like stronger coffee…more isn’t better…it’s just more.  And when it comes to life, learn to appreciate, to love those around you.  Take the time to enjoy them.  In that case more is not only more…it is abundant. And when you need to add some richness to life, you’ll find no better source than God.  He loves you so much and wants you to experience life to the fullest.  In fact, He said, “I have come that you might have the life that is truly life.”  And to help you along the way, He will be right there beside you, ready to help, ready to assure, ready to let you know, “He’s got this.” Bro. Dewayne

Posted in Family, food, forgiveness, Grace, gratitude, life, love, loving others, Scripture, Southern born, thankful, wisdom

The Best Part

For God loved the world in this way: He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

I like it straight black—plus nothing, minus nothing.  Coffee has long been a part of my life.  It all started when I was growing up.  The name Taylor and the word coffee have gone together for a long, long time.  I can remember every day my Daddy would get home from work about 4:00 in the afternoon. He carpooled with three other men and just like clock work they would pull up and he would get out.  It was a certainty.  The other certainty was the coffee.  Mama would have a fresh pot percolating on the stove and perfectly timed to be ready when he got home.  She would meet him in the yard, and they would share the day and have a cup of coffee.

He didn’t just drink coffee then either.  It was not unusual for him to say, “Dewayne, go get me a cup of coffee.”  The please was implied and it seemed there was always a pot on the stove.  One time there wasn’t so I improvised.  I didn’t understand the in and outs of coffee making, so I just spooned in some coffee grounds in the cup and added some lukewarm water.  That day I learned how not to make coffee!  As I remember it, Daddy liked his coffee with sugar and cream and always drank it from one of those thick Victor coffee cups made after World War II.  It didn’t hold much but it was a good cup to drink from.

I can’t even remember not drinking coffee though I can remember Mama telling me about coffee stunting my growth.  Since I ended up on the shorter side, she must have been telling the truth.  And, like my Daddy, I drank mine with sugar and cream—lots of sugar and lots of cream.  Eventually I switched to a powered creamer called Cremora along with a hefty dose of artificial sweetener.  Somewhere along the road they said that Cremora was bad for you, so after much consternation I went to having my coffee with just the sweetener—three packs please.  It was so sweet it would make you pucker.

Well, you know how it goes.  They (whoever they are) then determined that the sweetener was bad for you, too.  I talked it over with the guys at work and one of them said, “If you will drink coffee black for three weeks, you’ll never drink it any other way.”  Well, I did and he was right.  Ever since then, I drink my coffee strong and straight black.  And the amazing part is for the first time I began to taste the coffee and not the stuff I added to it. It was just about then I began to understand the Folger’s commercial that said, “The best part of waking up is Folger’s in your cup.”  I take one exception to that though—it is always best to wake up—breathing.

I think if I learned anything from my coffee journey it was that sometimes more is just more.  It seems most of us are tempted to add something to whatever we are doing at the time.  Have a great recipe—we are tempted to add this or that.  Have a truck pretty tricked out?  Well, hey, why not add one more thing?  I know my office is stuffed to the gills with stuff from all over the world but sometimes, well, more is just more.  Instead of seeing things, you start seeing a wall full of stuff. I have a box on the floor in my church office.  It is full of things that I’ve decided can go home…the problem is it has been there for, uh, several weeks.

Now one thing we must be careful not to mess with is God’s grace.  It is fine just the way it is.  When you start messing with grace you end up with something that is not very “gracy and when something is not very “gracy” it loses it “graciness” and that is never a good thing.  I love the fact that God got it right from the start.  There has never been a grace 2.0 because version 1 was just exactly right.

When it comes to God stuff, it seems we want to make it harder and more complex than it really is.  That’s why I like John 3:16 that says, “For God loved the world in this way: He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” Boom…perfection.

Well, I think I’ll have a cup of straight black coffee a little later on and I think I’ll rewrite that Folger’s jingle to say, “The best part of waking up is Jesus in your cup.”  It doesn’t get any better than that. Just knowing Him makes it worthwhile…because always, “He’s got this.” Bro. Dewayne