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Monthly Archives: September 2011

September 27th: A Day I Will Never Forget

As of this year, September 27th will always be a memorable day.  The funny thing about it is, this is not about something that happened yesterday.  It is something that came up in August.  I wanted to share it then, but I decided to wait.

I am currently reading through a One-Year Bible.  I have written before about why I am doing (with a follow-up) this and some of what I have been learning.  This is going to be about something awesome that happened while reading one morning last month.

I started my quest to read the Bible through in a year after reading the book Radical by David Platt.  This was one of the challenges given at the end of the book.  My journey with my One Year Bible began in March of this year.

I tried to pace myself and stick to the once-a-day readings and not try to play “catch up” for the sake of getting up-t0-date.  However, after a while I found myself wanting to read more.  Some days I would find extra time and do extra readings.  The more I read, the more I wanted to read.  Eventually I did catch up to where I was supposed to be (as far as the date in the One Year Bible).  I kept on just letting myself be led to read extra when I can.  Eventually I got pretty far ahead of the dates given in the Bible.

By the way, if you are unfamiliar with how a One Year Bible works. each day is given a passage from the Old Testament, New Testament, Psalms, and Proverbs. I believe you actually wind up reading through the Psalms twice.  There is not an attempt to line any of these up, they just break it into passages to read through each book by book (or Pslam/Proverb by Psalm/Proverb).

As I have been reading, I have been blown away by how well the Old and New Testaments (and Psalms) weave together.  It really is one story…the story of God’s relentless love, mercy, and grace.  If you haven’t ever read the Bible cover to cover, I highly recommend you give it a try.  It is completely changing my view of God, others, how I treat others, and myself.

I would like to leave you with a snippet from the One Year Bible.  This completely humbled me before the awesomeness of God.  The daily readings for September 27th (thus the blog post title).  If you had any doubt that the Bible is one story inspired by the Holy Spirit, this will help you clear it up a bit.  This is the end of the Old Testament passage and the beginning of the New Testament passage.  Read through and be amazed.  I am serious.  It is crazy how connected this seems to be!

Isaiah 53

Who has believed our report?
And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?
For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant,
And as a root out of dry ground.
He has no form or comeliness;
And when we see Him,
There is no beauty that we should desire Him.
He is despised and rejected by men,
A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.
And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him;
He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.
Surely He has borne our griefs
And carried our sorrows;
Yet we esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten by God, and afflicted.
But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
We have turned, every one, to his own way;
And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
He was oppressed and He was afflicted,
Yet He opened not His mouth;
He was led as a lamb to the slaughter,
And as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
So He opened not His mouth.
He was taken from prison and from judgment,
And who will declare His generation?
For He was cut off from the land of the living;
For the transgressions of My people He was stricken.
And they made His grave with the wicked—
But with the rich at His death,
Because He had done no violence,
Nor was any deceit in His mouth.
Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him;
He has put Him to grief.
When You make His soul an offering for sin,
He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days,
And the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in His hand.
He shall see the labor of His soul,[e]and be satisfied.
By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many,
For He shall bear their iniquities.
Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great,
And He shall divide the spoil with the strong,
Because He poured out His soul unto death,
And He was numbered with the transgressors,
And He bore the sin of many,
And made intercession for the transgressors.

 Ephesians 5

Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children.  Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.

How amazing in the Bible??  Hallelujah, what a Savior!

Have you ever come across an almost unbelievable connection like this in the Bible?  Share it with me.

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A-B-Cs and 1-2-3s

I have been checking out a lot of blogs here lately.  One has really caught my attention.  He writes in a very relatable way and still makes you think and challenges you.  Today’s post really got me thinking.  Here is the first couple of paragraphs.  If you want to read more, just click through to it.  Please comment your thoughts to him.  Do you agree?  Do you disagree?

I was listening to the Jackson 5 one day recently.  It wasn’t I’ll Be There or Baby, Give Me One More Chance.  No, it was ABC.  What happened when I heard it?  I immediately thought about the ABC’s of Salvation.

You know the ABC’s of Salvation, right?  It’s A for Admit that you’re a sinner.  B for Believe that Christ is God’s Son.  C for Confess your sins.  It’s a neat little formula for salvation.  There’s just one problem from my perspective.  I don’t see in the Bible what I’ve heard all of my life as the “Plan of Salvation.”

Keep reading…

Happy reading!

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Happy Two Month-iversary, OneCupOfJoe!

Tomorrow will mark the two-month mark for my blog.  I have kept at it!  For a classic non-finisher, two months is a pretty cool milestone!  Maybe I am finally seeing some growth in my persistance.  This blog is helping me.  More than that, my wife supporting my blogging habit and the Spirit teaching me lessons to share is all keeping this thing together and sustaining me in this endevor.

To mark this milestone, I have decided to do a post round-up from the last two months.  I am going to highlight a few posts that stand out to me for various reasons.  Maybe you will find one you missed that you might like!  Pick one from the round-up, read it, re-read it, comment, and share it with someone.

  • My orginial post, The Great Coffee Famine of 2011, started this whole thing off.  It is the story of how coffee addiction taught me more about myself and God.
  • The Monitor and the Incredible Yelling Boy was the first of the lessons from being my son’s father that I have shared on here.  This one is about how we approach God and what he might be teaching us about himself when we think he is not answering.
  • The Chronicles of OneCupOfJoe: The Lion, The Snake, and The Crawl Space is a lesson I learned while going through the study called The Lord’s Table.  It is about sin and how we sometimes overlook it in our lives.
  • Action Hero Jesus is one of my personal favorite posts.  This is the picture of Jesus that helps put the view of my life and my place in Jesus is to the right perspective and pushes me to a spirit of worshiping our Savior!
  • My Time Travel Testimony is my most personal post.  This is my testimony.  It is my story of how Jesus utterly and completely changed my life and I will never be the same again.  If you only read one post of mine ever in your life, this would be the one I hope you read.  I love to share the story of my salvation!
  • The Prodigal Toddler and the Sad Daddy is about how a situation with my son reminded me of the story of the prodigal sons.  There are two sons in the parable.  The younger son accepted the father’s love, and the older didn’t.  My life is the story of the older brother.  I have joined the party now, though, and I love to share about this.
  • Poverty: An Imbalance of Opportunity was a guest post by my friend, Joey Espinosa.  He is giving his life away in the service of others in the poorest county in my state, and this is some of his reflections on why he is there.
  • Weed Known This for a Lawn Time is one of the least viewed post.  Please check it out and show it a little love.  It is about the sin in our lives and what we do and don’t do about it.
  • September 10th is a lesson learned from the tragic events on 9/11.  This has been, by far, my most viewed post.  Check it out again and share it with others.
  • Something Better Than 5 Hour Energy was the most popular post of the past week.  It is about pouring out your life for the sake of others.

Thank you, all my readers, for your supporting my need to write and share what God teaches me!

 

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Posted by on September 25, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Top Ten Signs You Might Just Be a Nerdy and/or Geeky Parent

We had a little fun at breakfast this morning, and this idea started there from a conversation my wife and I had. Decided to do a completely up-beat, fun, non-spiritual blog this morning. Have fun, add some of your own, and share this. Let’s have a day to laugh!

The signs of nerdy/geeky parentdom:

10. You have ever fed your child with the airplane/hangar thing but changed it to: “Here comes the TIE fighter flying to the Death Star.”

9. Your child knows medical/scientific terms for parts of their face. My son can identify his eyes, nose, and mandible. Yes I am serious.

8. You tell the story of Goldilocks as “Bumblebee and the Three Decepticons.”

7. You refer to colors as frequencies of the Visible Light Spectrum with your child.

6. Your child is afraid of the Klingons under his/her bed.

5. You have ever turned parts of the plot(s) of LOST into bedtime stories.

4. Your son/daughter makes phasers and/or blasters with legos.

3. The story of the “Three Little Hobbits” has replaced the one about the pigs.

2. If your children only know the “Weird Al” lyrics to songs from the 80s and 90s.

1. If you completely annoyed your wife by coming up with this list and running ideas by her.

Can you add to my list?

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Posted by on September 24, 2011 in Randomness and/or Funny

 

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The Christian F-Bomb: Forgiveness Challenge

This morning I stumbled upon this blog post about the Christian F-bomb. As I read this 140-word (or less) blog, two things occured to me. One is that I should probably try to do quick blog posts like this from time to time. More importantly though, is thing two: I did not come upon this blog by chance, I was probably going to need to forgive someone today and not want to.

What this spurred me to do was to pray this morning that I would be challenged to forgive. I actually prayed that I would need to forgive. What I prayed was, “Please give me opportunities to have to forgive today…and make it hurt, make me have to trust you to forgive.” I have no idea what made me pray for that!

When I got to school I was greeted by the power being out! It was out for about an hour, and craziness filled this time. I was expecting to have to forgive people (which I did…I am a teacher…we have to be forgiving), but what I found that I needed most was a forgiving attitude.

Forgiveness as an attitude changes your perspective on things. You are not rushed. You listen more. You talk less. You serve others more genuinely. Basically, you love more.

The challenge was just that. A challenge. I had to trust the Spirit to help me to be forgiving. It changed the way I approached others all day. I trusted God. Just like I should.

Will you take the challenge?  Will you pray tomorrow to have to be in situations to forgive?  Will you pray and ask the Spirit to help you to have a forgiving attitude?

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Something Better Than 5 Hour Energy

I am tired. Very tired. So tired that I can’t believe my eyes are still open.

Last night I stayed up late working on a video for my students (I am a middle school teacher). Did I have to do this? No and yes. I did not have to make this video. However, I felt like it was something that my students needed to help them understand what I am teaching, and therefore I needed to do this.

I am a perfectionist, of sorts, when I do projects like this. This fact, coupled with a slow computer that kept crashing the editing, kept me up to WAY past my bedtime. I was able to talk LA into getting ready first, and this let me get a whopping 4 hours of sleep (I need at least six to feel functional and 7-8 to feel rested). So, like I said, I am tired.

Usually, given these type of circumstances, I would turn to the help of an energy shot like 5 Hour Energy, or the like. For those that are skeptical, they do work. You have non-jittery energy for about five hours with no crash at the end. When it is over, you feel tired like when you started, but no crash. At least this is the experience for me. I do wonder about the side effects. This stuff is too good to be true. I keep waiting for a study to link it to something bad. That is why I try to use it sparingly.

Today I did not have time to buy any. So I have spent the day on the rest that comes from four hours of sleep. And you know what? To quote REM (rest in peace…they announced their break-up today), “I feel fine.” Though, I did barely get through our faculty meeting after school.

As we were driving to get NB from daycare, my wife and I were talking about this. The thought came to me that the times that I stay up late or use my energy in serving others, somehow I have just enough energy for the next day though I shouldn’t. I thought of several other times when I had the same experience.

The Spirit started to speak to me with the idea that this is the way it is supposed to be. We are supposed to pour ourselves out in service of others, doing what we know is right, and then rely on God through the Spirit to give us strength to keep going. We are supposed to offer ourselves up for the cause of others and wear oursleves out for them. This, in turn, should turn us to the Spirit in trust that he will give us the energy that we need for our daily lives.

As I have been reading through the Bible, it has become very clear that one of God’s main “deals” is service to others and justice for others. Doing what is right and fair for the sake of others. It is talked about constantly in both the Old and New Testaments, and it is exemplified in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Becuase Christ died, was raised, and went to live at the right hand of God the Father, the Spirit was poured out on us. As we pour our lives out for others, the Spirit sustains us. He fills us back up. Once we our full, we can pour ourselves out again and start the cycle over.

Paul said it best in Philippians 2, in verses 14-18.  He was talking about how there should be joy in the fact that we are wearing ourselves out in service to others. We shouldn’t complain about it. There is joy in this that comes from the Spirit (I added this part, but it where we get our joy). He said that even though he could die, he doesn’t think it is in vain because it was in the service to others (the Philippians and other churches like theirs). The “drink offering” is a referance to the Old Testament laws that governed Temple worship. Wine was poured out as a offering of worship to God. And this is what we do now. We pour ourselves out as a drink offering…we pour our lives out in service to others.

Being refilled by the Spirit, getting my strength and energy today from him, is WAY better than a 5 Hour Energy! I am tired, but I feel great. I will get some sleep tonight, and then pour myself out again from my students and coworkers tomorrow! I can’t wait!

What about you?  Do you know what I am talking about when I talk about getting strength and energy from the Spirit?  Do you pour yourself out for others?  How?  Do you feel energized by this because you know you are pouring yourself out in worship of Jesus, who poured himself out for us?

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Me and Steven Curtis Chapman: The Sequel

About three and a half weeks ago, I wrote about an experience in which God spoke to me about my attitude through the new Steven Curtis Chapman song, Everything You Do.  If you haven’t read that one yet, you need to or this one won’t make as much sense.  Me and Steven Curtis Chapman.

Christian radio has a tendency to overplay hit songs.  SCC’s (Steven Curtis Chapman) new song is poppy and fun, and it has a lot of JPMs (Jesus Per Minute…mentions of God or Jesus).  It should be getting a lot of play.  I have searched the Christian radio dial for it since that day I heard it, and to no avail.  I eventually stopped looking…yesterday.  So, of course, on the drive back from school the song comes on the radio.  This time God used the song to give me a new message.  Well, the same message but a new context.

Unlike last time that I heard the song, today was an awesome day.  It was a great day of teaching.  I had fun.  The students learned what I needed them to learn.  I had two great observations by assistant principals.  I was even picked for teacher of the week by one of the assistant principals (something our school does).  On top of that, I did not have to go pick LA up, and I was able to come straight home to rest a bit before needing to go get NB.  Oh, and I had a reprieve from my allergy attacks today.  All in all, a really good day.

As I drove, happy to hear the song again and singing along when I could remember words (I have heard it online since the first time), I really wasn’t trying to find a message from God.  I got one anyway.

The chorus came on, “Do everything you do to the glory of the One who made you…”  The thought came to me that I am good at knowing I need help to do this when I am having a “bad day.”  When my attitude is rotten I know that my thoughts are on me and that I need to change that.  But what about good days?  Where is my focus?  What is my attitude?  Am I doing what I am doing for the “glory of the One who made” me?  Or am I celebrating a triumph of self?

I think I felt as nailed by the song this time as my I-hate-driving day.   It is quite possible that I am more selfish and self-seeking on good days than bad (okay, not possible, but this is the actual reality).  When life is “coming up Joe,” I don’t always think about God’s glory…I think more about Joe’s glory.  Even when I do thank God for the day and know it is from him, I think the motivation still has some selfishness tied up in it.

I think this is evidence, for me, of what Paul meant when he quoted Isaiah (I think) in Romans when he said that “our righteousness is filthy rags” before God.  Even when we are doing right, it is not totally about God.  When things are going good in our lives, we are serving others, we are making right choices there is still selfishness and pride attached to it.  We still need the work of the Holy Spirit to help us truly give the glory only to God.

This did not destroy my “good day,” but it did help focus it.  It made me realize what I already know, I need Jesus.  I am unable to do this without his sacrafice and resurrection.  I can’t really give him glory outside of the purifying work of the Spirit.  And I am glad for this.  Becuase if I could do it on my own, I could take some of the glory.  I don’t want that ability.  That was the sin that got Satan kicked out of Heaven (I realize some people may have never heard Satan’s “back story”…maybe I will post on that some time).

Here is the video of the song, by the way.

What about you?  What do you think about this?  I have been pretty honest about my falling short in giving God glory.  Where do you fall short?  Do you notice it more on “good days” or “bad days?”  What is a time that you noticed this and what did God teach you through it?

Side Lesson: I had to stop writing this to go pick up NB yesterday and did not get to start back up until this morning.  In the meantime, God pointed something out to me about why I heard the song yesterday and why he gave me these thoughts specifically yesterday.  I posted in the morning asking for people to give me some feedback on my blog.  God spoke to my heart and told me that he gave me the song and message as a comment on that post.  He wants me to keep writing.  And to that I say, “Yes sir.”

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