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Coffee, God, and a message from the Lord

I was sitting here this morning drinking a very good cup of coffee. Oh, the peaceful feeling of just relaxing with a warm drink and a good book!  I had read a few chapters into the book, and reach over for another sip of coffee, only to find that was no longer warm.  In fact it was at that stage of cooling where it was not hot, not warm, but not cold either.
     I don’t know about you, but I like drinking hot coffee, warm coffee, and ice coffee, but I do not like drinking lukewarm coffee.  I mean, when I take a sip of coffee and it is lukewarm, I want to spit it out.  I don’t, but I want to!  So, now I had two choices, get up and warm it up again, or just push it away and forget about it.
     When I’m at work, and this happens, I just push the coffee aside until I can throw it out.  This morning I chose to get up and warm it up again, and return to read.  As I walked back to my chair, I could not help but think of God’s words to his church in Laodicea. The whole disgust with the lukewarm coffee just brought it to mind.  So, I turned to Revelations and read what God said.

“To the angel of the church in Laodicea write:

These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. 15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 17 You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.

19 Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. 20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.

21 To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”  (Rev 3:14-22 NIV)
     At the moment of the reading of this scripture, I am in the process of writing a series of blogs about the Church, the failure of understanding the balance of faith and works.  This morning God brings this passage of scripture to mind.  I cannot miss the relevance of the timing.  I have learned over the years that God’s timing is incredibly amazing.
     Why did you bring this to my attention now, God?  That was my prayer.  The answer came in a wave of awareness, that I, just like so many other Christians tend to spend too much time basking in the glow of grace, and not enough time, with our sleeves rolled up, in the trenches of life.
     Both those who think “works” are the way to salvation, and those who think “grace” is the way to salvation, have the message of Christ sidetracked.  Christ is driving his point home in Matthew 25, that it is first grace,  but then works.  It is NOT either/or.  It is both together.
     I’m with the camp that believes that we are saved by grace alone.  But I cannot, as the scripture above says, “say ‘I am rich; I have acquired [grace] wealth and do not need a thing’,” because Jesus is saying I need to buy “gold refined in the fire” from him.  I think that means I need to follow him into the fire [places out of my comfort zone] and work with his people to be Christ’s hands and feet as he meets their needs.
     So, God decided to rebuke me, and I have heard his rebuke.  It is just the exclamation point on a thought that has been drifting in and out of my awareness for several weeks now.
     Yes, this is God’s message to his church, but today it was my coffee and my lesson.  I have heard his voice, and I will open the door.
     So, as I journey into the fire, I will keep you informed.  I’d love to hear how you have been Christ’s voice, his hands, his servant. Please feel free to share.
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