Welcome to GSM’s brand new blog “Refill with Randy – 5 Cups of Coffee”
Every weekday morning, beginning September 13th, you will receive a digital cup of coffee in your inbox to kickstart your day! Some days it will be a straight forward devotional and other days it may be song lyrics, a poem, a testimony, a ministry musing, or even thoughts from a guest blogger.
The one thing that will always be the same though is our desire to inspire you, encourage you, engage with you, and sometimes even challenge you in order to better prepare you to be Christ’s hands, feet, and voice in the world today. As the author of Hebrews says in 10:23-25
“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”
I personally consider it a privilege to spur you in your spiritual walk in the days, weeks, and month ahead and I hope that you will respond by doing the same for others!
I took this photo at one of my favorite places to go for study, silence, and solitude… Holley Falls. The prayer that I have paired with it with was written by Richard J. Foster in his book Prayers from the Heart.
I find that whenever, and wherever, you are when preparing to start your day that a good practice is to go somewhere out of earshot of the noise and chaos of this world and to pray a prayer like this one.
I remember taking this photo a few years back while staying at The Abbey of the Genesee. Little things tend to catch my eye and so I was drawn to this one lone leaf holding on while all the others had already fallen.
As we prepare to say goodbye to the year 2020 I felt it fitting to pair this picture with this prayer. As we move into 2021 I would encourage you to cling to the good of the year past while letting go of all bitterness, anger, hurt, unforgiveness, and anything else that would keep you from moving forward.
“He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” (Revelation 21:4) (NIV).
Christmas is a time of giving, love, happiness, joy, peace, and so much more. There are always gifts we get or receive that have a lot more meaning than others. Lately with my aunts and uncles, instead of getting them a tangible gift, my wife and I decided that a donation on their behalf to a charity they support would be best. This has a lot more meaning and lasting impression than a box of chocolate, etc. As I get older, giving gifts that have meaning seem to be more important. There is something special about touching other people’s hearts and sparking true happiness inside of them. As we age, I truly believe that we find giving gifts of meaning go farther than many other gifts under the tree. One of the most meaningful gifts I have ever received was from my grandfather, who is no longer with us. When I talk about gifts that touch the heart, this was truly one that touched mine.
For those of you who don’t know, my grandfather lived a very long and healthy life. Towards the end of his life, he battled cancer. The doctors told him that he only had six months to live. Fast forward and he lived over ten years. God wasn’t done with him. He had a plan for him! Over those ten years of battling cancer, he struggled with pain, sickness, and bouts in the hospital. Through it all, my grandfather stuck close to Jesus and developed the strongest relationship he ever had with Him. Despite his circumstances, he exuberated happiness and positivity which touched so many lives. He was a shining light for all to see and an advocate for Jesus! My grandfather loved Christmas; I should mention!
My grandfather gave me his watch with a letter he had written. He held onto the watch as a Christmas present for me; it was his last Christmas. I didn’t receive the watch until February 1st 2019 as the letter was dated. Without actually typing out the whole letter or giving away too many details, I want to highlight what stood out to me. There are random times when I swear God nudges me to read the letter. I picture my grandpa telling Jesus to send his family members little reminders. This letter is the reminder for me! In the letter, my grandfather had mentioned wearing the watch to keep his memory alive and that he would always be around me. That watch is old, used, and worn, kind of like my grandpa was just before his passing. I should mention that the watch was part of many happy times too!
A watch and a letter from my grandpa have made me feel so special. When I get the nudge to go upstairs and sit quietly to read the letter and hold the watch, there is a special connection happening. To see his handwriting and remember his voice in my head, to know that something so special to him was passed on to me is such a beautiful and moving reminder for me. It helps his legacy live on. I know that he is with Jesus and that Jesus has wiped away his tears and promised him no more pain or death! But, oh, what I would give to hear him say, “I am so proud of you,” just one more time.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16) (NIV).
One of the most recognizable verses is found right in the Bible. Thinking about the watch and the letter that had meant so much to me, I couldn’t help but think of John 3:16. God gave His only Son to you and me. His most prized possession, the one He loves, was given to you and me. Have you ever actually sat down in the quiet and truly took in what Jesus did for us? Have you thought about the facts that He was beaten so badly, mocked, spit on, and hung on a criminal’s cross? None of it was done for Him. He did it for us. I am moved to tears when I truly take this thought in. I, Kyle Holz, don’t deserve any of it. Thirty plus years of my life I chose to do things my way. I chose to purposely mess up. I had repeatedly said ‘no’ to Jesus and ‘yes’ to sin. No matter how many times I messed up, Jesus was always there in the background. His selfless love allowed my chains to be broken and for my addiction to not have a grip on me. You know what? Jesus offered Himself on the cross because He loves me ever so dearly. That is a gift that means so much to me. He gave me the true gift of forgiveness. Just like the watch and the letter that my grandfather selflessly gave to me with meaning, Jesus selflessly gave up Himself to bear the weight of all of our sins. I’ve mentioned it multiple times before, but there is importance to the gift we can give to Jesus. That gift is ourselves, and I cannot reiterate that enough! No matter where you are or what you have done, Jesus loves you and He is waiting with arms open wide!
“My body and my heart may grow weak, but God is the strength of my heart and all I need forever” (Psalm 73:26) (NLV)
Like the watch that my grandfather had given me, he had grown old and worn. His body and heart had grown weak, but he relied on Jesus for his strength. Jesus gave him the gift of life. He chose to accept the gift and acknowledge what Jesus did on the cross. Will you choose to accept and acknowledge the meaningful gift that Jesus wants to give you? It is the most beautiful and significant gift that can make yours and His Christmas complete!
I hope you have enjoyed following us along this Advent journey together here at Go Scatter. From my family to yours, I hope that you have a wonderful Christmas that is full of cheer. Spend time with your loved ones and cherish these moments. Don’t forget to open the gift Jesus has for you. Go ahead and open the Christmas gift for him, that is your heart! Have a blessed Christmas!
Give someone a gift or do something nice for someone you may think doesn’t deserve it. That is where love and forgiveness come into play.