“Coffee, Tea or Me?” (Angel in the Kitchen)

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Recently, one of us got a drink from the tap. Little did we know that just minutes before, one of us had been doing the dishes — with the hot water running. But now the water in the line was no longer hot. Now it had cooled a bit, so it was only lukewarm. One sip was all it took to realize IT WAS DISGUSTING! A cool glass of water is so refreshing, and hot water is truly useful for so many wonderful things — but it was hard to resist spitting out this “in between” drink!

We started thinking about other beverages that are great either HOT or COLD — but rarely in between. Hot cocoa is delicious when piping hot. And if you refrigerate what’s left over, it makes a frosty chocolate drink.

We all know nothing beats a cold glass of lemonade on a scorching summer day; and although we’ve never tried it, we’ve heard of people drinking hot lemonade to remedy colds and sore throats.

We suppose there are those who’ll drink tepid tea or coffee, but most of us can’t stand either of these mainstays when they’re lukewarm. Coffee or tea that’s sat around is gross! On the other hand, both coffee and tea at either end of the “temperature taste” scale are enticing and invigorating. Both are hot libations that comfort us and help us face the day. Iced tea is a mealtime favorite and iced coffee is a guilty pleasure. But in between, neither of these drinks are very palatable.

There’s a silly but cute old made-for-TV movie called Coffee, Tea or Me?, which starred Karen Valentine as a daffy airline stewardess looking for a husband. The 1973 movie was loosely based on the novel of the same name, a highly-fictionalized account of the “swinging” life of stewardesses, which managed to unfairly stereotype women in this demanding job — and which led to the mainstream adoption of the expression “coffee, tea or me?”

We mention this because the phrase is perfect for the point we wish to make. Some things, like coffee and tea, are great if they are either HOT or COLD. Otherwise they’re a bit repulsive. In God’s eyes — and here’s where the “me” part comes in — people are the same way!

Our Heavenly Father delights in us when we’re on fire (extremely passionate) for Him. This doesn’t mean we go around acting like dorks who can’t talk about anything but God. But it does mean our focus is on Him and doing His will, and on being pleasing in His sight. It means loving God, and if we love God, then we demonstrate it by doing our utmost to obey Him, and to love others. We’ll come up short time and again, but we’re constantly trying to rise higher.

If we’re cold, God looks down upon us and sees great potential. He loves the non-believer, but He doesn’t expect anything from him or her; because God understands that the non-believer doesn’t yet know the basics. The believer doesn’t get off quite so easily. God expects more because we know more and have more. When we accept Christ as our redeemer, we become a member of God’s family — and He hopes we’ll behave ourselves and not act like a bunch of black sheep.

God can work with people who are HOT (on fire for God) or COLD (non-believing with awesome potential), but He doesn’t have much use for those of us who are in-between. He actually finds a “lukewarm” believer distasteful: “…Because you are lukewarm–neither hot nor cold–I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” (Revelation 3:16 NIV) Scary, right? Like a drink of tepid tea or room temperature coffee, a half-hearted, unenthusiastic, apathetic, indecisive, wishy-washy believer is NOT palatable to our Lord.

Luke warm! Yuck!

Are you hot, cold or lukewarm to God? If your answer is lukewarm, then ask yourself, “What happened to cause me to grow lukewarm?” Have you allowed hurts and disappointments to cool your passion for God? Have you simply grown weary in well-doing? Or have you lost your first love?

You may be attending church religiously; you may be active in ministry. These things are important, but what God really wants from you is a RELATIONSHIP, not RELIGION. He wants you to love Him, trust in Him, and abide in Him — to do the right thing to please Him, not to fulfill a formula or follow a ritual or be seen by somebody.

If you’ve allowed your relationship with our Heavenly Father to get tepid, ask Him to relight the fire that was once in you. Return to your first love, and the enthusiasm you once had. Stop sitting on the fence. You can once again be hot-stuff for the Lord. “Coffee, tea or ME!”

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Spit the Seeds! (Angel in the Kitchen)

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 We recently faced one of life’s cold hard facts: there are no perfect foods.

For instance, honey, often called “the perfect food,” can be fattening and promote tooth decay. And drinking too much water can strip away beneficial electrolytes. Seriously! And although it seems overly critical to complain about the downside of water and various foods, which are otherwise delicious and which have great nutritional value, we usually don’t hesitate to approach life with a similar critical eye. LIFE, LOVE, RELATIONSHIPS — will never be perfect! Like food, most aspects of life here on earth are enjoyable and beneficial. Life has great “nutritional” value; but often we focus on the imperfections, the “seeds” in the heart of our relationships, in our jobs, our churches.

Interestingly, we frequently hear friends and coworkers grumbling about life and people, but we rarely if ever hear them complaining about what they’re eating. Probably because most of us tend to expect more from life, love, and relationships, than we do from what we eat. (Picky eaters aside.) We previously stated one remedy to this: keep your high expectations, by all means. Always hope for the best, but don’t put your high (and mighty) expectations on your spouse, your pastor, your boss, your parents, or your kids. Face it, no one can meet our lofty expectations — including us!

None of us are perfect, so why should we expect others to be? And by the way, almost assuredly, at even given moment, we’re not living up to someone else’s expectations. In other words, somewhere, at sometime, we’re letting someone down! Oh well. C’est la vie! Anyway, don’t put your expectations on people. Instead, put your expectations on God. He’s perfect, and He’ll never let you down.

Another remedy for avoiding disappointment in life? Read on, as we further discuss a favorite topic — FOOD!!

Crab legs: ever notice that people who love them REALLY  love them? Personally, we’ve never enjoyed fighting with our food, and crab is one dish that manages to put up a struggle long after its days are over. Sort of like the crab’s last-ditch effort to get revenge. But people who love crab don’t seem to mind, at all. Armed with those heavy-duty cracker gizmos, they happily snap, crack and pop shells until their knuckles are white and their fingertips red — all this work to secure a tiny piece of crab meat.

Onions: these weird veggies manage to get around, and often end up being the life of the party. We invite them into our soups and stews, welcome them in our salads and subs. And we usually include them when we’re having steaks or burgers. We absolutely adore onions, but dealing with them often makes us cry! But a few tears never stop us from hanging out with onions! Watermelon: a summertime favorite. Cool, refreshing, and loaded with a gazillion seeds. But the seeds don’t seem to bother most people. We doubt they even notice the seeds. They merrily chomp away at huge bites of crisp red fruit, and their dispositions don’t change when they encounter a few seeds. They keep smiling and eating, and just spit the seeds — hopefully not in our direction!

Foods aren’t perfect. Neither are people. Why can’t we deal with the imperfections of life and people in the same manner we deal with hard shells and tears and seeds? Happily,  cheerfully, eagerly. Why aren’t we willing to work as hard on our relationships as we do on cracking crab legs?  Well, we can. It just takes a little willingness, prayer, and God’s grace, to penetrate the shells people hide within.

Why do we run from people and relationships after we shed a few tears? Life can be painful. People disappoint and hurt each other constantly. It’s a consequence of the imperfection of the human race. But relationships are worth it. We all have strengths and weaknesses. Each of us has something to offer; but we also, by our very nature, come loaded with “seeds”: faults, blindspots, bad habits. Since we all have seeds, shouldn’t we be willing to overlook them in others? Better yet, why not enjoy the good things we can find in each and every individual; and simply spit the seeds out? It’s Food for thought. Think and pray on it.

“Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.” (Colossians 3:13 NLT)

“Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8 NLT)

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