Flee and Follow // Coffee Series

Flee youthful lusts but follow ...

I love this passage of Scripture. It’s message is to the point: flee! Flee youthful lusts. Run away from sins that tend to ensnare us younger folk, things like anger, lust and greed. Paul not only instructs Timothy not play with sin but to race away from it.

I like simple, practical lessons like that.

I also like how it doesn’t stop there.

Have you ever noticed that telling someone no isn’t enough? When we’re young it’s important to know that obedience, without explanation, is necessary. But as we grow and mature we need to gain understanding; as Christians we need to know what to replace youthful lusts with. Maturing in Christ isn’t about avoiding sin but replacing it with good works.  

“Follow righteousness”

Let’s make this practical. In what ways can we, the Christian Body, follow righteousness? More acutely, how can Believers who subscribe to different creeds, denominations, dress codes and conduct follow righteousness in a way that says we are unified in obeying Jesus? How can we make this more about Jesus than rules?

Simply, let’s follow Him.

For me, that means to do what He says, live holy and drop the rules I mistake for righteousness and follow my Righteousness. It means that I can believe in wearing a headcovering while fellowshipping with those who don’t. Following righteousness means loving God’s people and following Jesus without trying to be the standard, the measuring stick, for it.

“Follow faith”

Faith is something we have to follow every day, something that needs to be pursued and fed. Admittedly, faith hasn’t been my strong suit this last year. I had forgotten that I need to follow after faith, to encourage it. I have struggled with fear and doubt because I left off that pursuit.

Thankfully, my Heavenly Father is working gently in my doubting heart through simple means.

He helped me “follow faith” through Sunday morning worship. Instead of focusing on my fears and doubts the Lord encouraged me to focus on truth. Words like these reminded me in what and Whom I believe.

“Follow charity”

Do you ever feel like a failure? Like you do not love enough?

Don’t worry. If Paul had to instruct Timothy, a model New Testament leader, to follow after love then I think it’s safe to say that he failed sometimes.

Let’s follow after charity. Real charity, not the fake, superficial kind I tend to favor. For me, I need to follow after the hard kind of love; the kind that speaks truth meekly and prays earnestly. To follow after love means we get to love the dickens out of the people God brings our way.

“Follow peace”

I love this encouragement.

Lately, my Lord has been reminding me how sinful my flaring temper really is; how He died for my sly tongue and rose to redeem me from it. Following peace isn’t easy … especially when writing scathing comments on Facebook seems to be the only way to get our point across these days (on point, eh?).

But it isn’t right.

Following peace means following Jesus. How would our Savior wants us to respond to irritating people and situations? How can we follow peace? Maybe by asking ourselves if our actions are all they need to be … do they reflect righteousness? Faith? Love? Peace? If not then perhaps it should be put in the category of a youthful lust?

For me, following peace can be as practical as letting my husband’s occasional quirks go without my getting irritated or flustered. It means choosing to pray for family members who hurt me instead of stewing over their offense. It means consciously and daily forgiving others because I have been forgiven myself.

I love that Scripture is incredibly practical and down to earth. God is pretty amazing like that. One of my recent favorite quotes comes from the book Stepping Heavenward. “God is just as willing, and just as able to sanctify, as He is to redeem us.” So incredibly true; so, sweet Reader, let’s allow God to make 2 Timothy 2:22 a beautiful reality in our lives. he is more then willing and able.

With love, coffee and alotta blessings,

Frannie

Stormy Skies // Coffee Series

Coffee With You Series

 Friend, why not take a few moments to pour a fine cup of coffee and visit with me? Let’s be refreshed with the goodness of the Lord together. I won’t be long.

Lately, life has been hard for a lot of folk I love. There have been storms which toll on friends and gray skies which dampen even the cheeriest of people. Illness, disease, financial burdens, depression, heartbreak and loss weigh on my heart as I look around my friends and see so many struggling.

I myself struggle when the skies of my life are gray and dismal.

We were never promised a perfect, easy life.

But we were promised a Refuge.

Sweet Readers, rest in your Heavenly Father’s care. He knows them that trust in Him and He is a stronghold in the day of trouble.

You are loved unmeasurably by a good, strong God; rejoice, Dear One.

And, if you cannot gather the strength to outwardly praise Him, I encourage you to lift up your heart and thoughts and sing nevertheless, even if just a whisper. Rest in His unfailing mercy. Sing of His great redemption.

And take time to be quiet in His presence … maybe with a cup of coffee and some quiet worship music filling the air.

With love, blessings and coffee,

Frannie

Spiritual Blues and a Loving God // Coffee Series

Coffee With You Series

“You’re exhausted in the faith because you’re looking at you. The more you look at yourself and the less you look at God, the more you get frustrated at yourself.” -Matt Chandler

It’s a common complaint amongst my sisters in Christ. We’re tired, wore, exhausted of chasing Christianity. We’re good but it doesn’t make us happy and we’re spiritual but empty. It’s a road I know too well.

Sisters, what if life didn’t have to be that way? What if Jesus is big enough to carry your through and grace abundant enough to keep you close to your Savior? What if you’re exhausted because you focus too much on yourself than on your Savior?

My Darling Man is one of the best examples of a consistent Christ-follower. He stays even-keeled even when he hasn’t gotten enough sleep, the skies are grey and his schedule uncomfortably busy … things which can throw me off. I’ve asked him how he manages to stay in touch with his Lord, how he remains steady in the faith when I struggle week to week.

He nonchalantly says that he just keeps in constant touch with God. Even on the days when he is unable to study God’s Word my man purposes to think on his Lord, be in constant conversation with Him and pursue Him. Me? I fall into a spiritual funk when I fail to schedule in a Bible study. My Man looks to his Savior more than himself and that is his key to consistent living.

I think my Hubby has it right.

Our Abba Father didn’t mean for our walk with Him to be so spiritually taxing. As A.W. Tozer wrote, “God is easy to live with.”

Some of us are religiously jumpy and self-conscious because we know that God sees our every thought and is acquainted with all our ways. We need not be. God is the sum of all patience and the essence of kindly good will. We please Him most, not by frantically trying to make ourselves good, but by throwing ourselves into His arms with all our imperfections, and believing that He understands everything and loves us still.

Sweet Friend, let’s stop looking at ourselves — our imperfections, failings and inner thoughts — and let’s look to the One Who loves us without fail and promises to work mightily in the weak. Let’s grow into consistent women of God by looking to Him always and rejoicing in the friendship He gives.

With much love, blessings and coffee,

Frannie

Peace, Love and a Finished Work // Coffee Series

Coffee With You Series

Ancient of Days! except thou deign

Upon the finished task to smile,

The workman’s hand hath toiled in vain,

To hew the rock and rear the pile.

Oh, let thy peace, the peace that tames

The wayward heart, inhabit here,

That quenches passion’s fiercest flames,

And thaws the deadly frost of fear.

And send thy love, the love that bears

Meekly with hate, and scorn, and wrong,

And loads itself with generous cares,

And toils, and hopes, and watches long.

Here may bold tongues thy truth proclaim,

Unmingled with the dreams of men,

As from His holy lips it came

Who died for us, and rose again.

— William Cullen Bryant, 1864

“Oh, let thy peace, the pace that tames … inhabit here. And send thy love, the love that bears meekly with hate and scorn and wrong, and loads itself with generous cares, and toils and hopes and watches long.”

I love those two phrases; how happy I was to discover such poetic lines which explained exactly my heart’s current cry. Oh, may the gentle peace of Jesus’ presence tame my wayward heart, quench my fiery passions and thaw my deadly fear. If, I were to choose three areas I struggle in, I would choose the same three above: a wayward heart (easily distracted from loving my Lord), a fiery passion (an irritable, angry spirit), and deadly fear (fear of man, of failure …).

But, oh, how good it is to know that He willingly supplies me with His love. His love which bears meekly when wronged, scorned and hated; his love which generously carries the burdens of others; his love which toils for right, hopes unendingly, and watches long.

Sometimes, I get discouraged. I spend too much time in introspective thought and forget that I am loved and pursued by a God who says things like, “This is the day the LORD has made — rejoice and be glad in it!” and “It is God which is always working in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.”

Friend, I hope you remember to rejoice in the good work God is doing in you today. Look up, sing, laugh and choose to rest in the peace and love which can end your faults and lead you to accomplishing more than you imagine.

With love and a hot cup of coffee,

Frannie

Absorbed With Me and Unhappy About It // Coffee Series

Coffee With You Series

It’s been a long, difficult week. I have been absorbed with me.

Absorbed with how I look, feel, dress.

Obsessed with what I want, desire and see.

In my heart the Holy Spirit was speaking to me. “Stop serving yourself, Frannie. Live for the Lord in every moment, this is the path to contentment and rest.”

Instead of listening to that still, soft voice I stuffed my heart with material, tangible self-pleasing things. I ate a little more, worshiped myself a little more, and focused on me a little more. As we all know living for oneself is miserable.  I’ve been discontented, restless, easily hurt and irritated, frustrated and lazy. Scripture reading was nipped in the bud, prayer stalled and love quenched.

Do you ever struggle with this? Does your earthly, old-nature ever make a comeback so strong you feel as lost, pagan and lonely as when you were originally? Before Christ?

We’ve had some difficulties that nearly knocked my socks off including a death in the family; later in the week we hear about another who is struggling with the bitterest of life’s struggles.

And I just can’t do it.

I cannot make myself happy when life gets so hard. I cannot be self-sufficient spiritually — I am drained. I am drained because I walked away from the fountain of living waters to drink from my own mediocre pond. Only after did I begin to feel the effects.  I remembered that I cannot satisfy soul.

Turn me again, O God, and cause Your face to shine; and I will be saved.

Hear me LORD in the day of trouble; the God of Jacob defend me; Send me help from Your sanctuary and strengthen me out of Zion. I trusted in chariots and I trusted in horses, but now I will remember the name of the LORD my God. Save, LORD; let the King hear me when I call.

Psalms 20 and 80

These are the verses I am crying out right now — verses I am praying personally because I know that the God of Zion does hear His people, even when they get distracted with their own selfishness.

I know that this post is a lot — a lot of ugly, self-centered bits you don’t see very often. But I believe in authenticity, being real and being honest. I also believe in virtue, the God given power to live life holy. Sometimes, I take my eyes off the One Who is my righteousness and focus on myself too much. And then life knocks me over and my Heavenly Father reminds me to build my life and worth on something more solid then my own abilities — Him.

So, here’s to directing my eyes to Him, choosing to serve Him over myself and enjoying the peace that obedience brings.  Here’s to loving others more than myself and helping them through the hard times.

With so much love and coffee,

Frannie