Whine or Wine?

by Cherrilynn Bisbano

The effects of original sin permeate every crevice of our world. Trials, tribulations, illness, sexual immorality, and debauchery are some of the effects of this unwanted invader. There is no escape while sojourning on earth, so God sent the Holy Spirit to give us strength and wisdom amidst the storms.

Jesus is the perfect example of how to live with the effects of sin. He acted in wisdom and love. He never complained. I want to glean from His actions and walk in the power of the Spirit.

Jesus was crushed for our sin. “But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace…” (Isaiah 53:5 ESV).

When I read this verse, I think of grapes. I know it seems irreverent and a bit silly, but bear with me. When grapes are made into juice for wine, they are crushed. We reap the rewards when they are pulverized. A fragrant aroma arises only when they are pressed.

Jesus’ body was beaten, yet he said, “Father, forgive them.” His sacrifice reconciled the world to God.

So what happens when we are crushed? People watch when we go through trials.

One day at work, a few co-workers ridiculed me because I said I was offended by their dirty jokes. I found a quiet corner to sulk. Eyes were still on me. My heart broke; they knew I was a Christian. Why would they say such nasty things in my presence, then make fun of me?

The taunts continued.

“Oh, Cherrilynn’s here, we’d better be good, she’ll tell God on us,” Mike stated.

“God wouldn’t like our jokes, either would he?” Steve said.

“You guys are idiots!” I said as I left the room.

Laughter echoed throughout the office and followed me down the hallway as I escaped their harassment. I prayed and asked for wisdom. (I wanted God to call down lightning on them.)

But the Holy Spirit impressed this verse upon my heart instead: “For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing” (2 Corinthians 2:15 ESV). The Spirit continued, your choice is to whine or be wine when you are crushed. Do you want to complain or be a fragrant aroma?

I returned to the office. “I’m sorry for calling you idiots.” Mike and Steve’s mouths opened wider than their eyes.

“We thought you’d never talk to us again,” Mike said with his Cheshire grin.

“We accept the apology, and we will warn you next time we tell those kinds of jokes,” Steve said.

“Thanks, guys,” I said.

After the apology, the dirty jokes stopped. They even came to me privately to ask for prayer.

I’m not always a fragrant offering when I go through trials and tribulations, but God is there to lovingly remind me not to whine.

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: Cherrilynn Bisbano is an award-winning writer in both fiction and non-fiction. She is a coach, ghostwriter, editor, and speaker. She is honored to be a member of AWSA.You can find her published in several online magazines and blogs along with books.  Her latest book, Shine Don’t Whine, released in October 2020. Cherrilynn proudly served in the Navy and Air National Guard. She lives with her son, Michael, Jr., and husband of 22 years. Cherrilynn loves Christ, Chocolate, coffee, and Cats. You will often find her on the beach sea glass hunting.

Join the conversation. Do you find yourself complaining when you are crushed?

A “Cross” tic   Look at Calvary

by Cherrilynn Bisbano

“IT IS FINISHED!” Jesus cried when He hung on the cross.

“Mom what does this mean?” Michael, my then 10-year-old son asked as he pressed his cross between his fingers.

“Great question, I actually taught on the cross for a ladies event.”

“I bet it was an acrostic.” Michael giggles.

“Yes, it was.” I shared the acrostic with my son and now I desire to share it with you.

Please quiet yourself and allow God to speak to you through His Word about the

C.R.O.S.S.

C- Cancelled the Written Code

R- Redeemed Us

O- Obedience

S- Sufficient Sacrifice

S- Separated No More

C CANCELLED THE WRITTEN CODE

The written code is the Law and/or 10 Commandments. “But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code” Romans 7:6 (ESV).

R REDEEMED US

Redeem means to purchase back something that had been lost, by the payment of a ransom. Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree” Galatians 3:13 (ESV).

O OBEDIENCE OF CHRIST

“And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!” Philippians 2:8 (ESV).

S SUFFICIENT SACRIFICE OF CHRIST

“You have neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings” (these are offered according to the law), then he added, “Behold, I have come to do your will.” He does away with the first in order to establish the second. And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. Hebrews 10:8-10 (ESV)

S SEPARATED NO MORE FROM GOD

Separated means apart from, without. “Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Hebrews 10:22 (ESV)

My son and I read the verses and prayed. We thanked Jesus for his obedience and praised God for the Holy Spirit living in us.

“I’ll never forget what Jesus did at the cross, Mom.” Michael said as he kissed his now favorite necklace.

Oh, the love that was expressed at the cross.  I will never fully comprehend it until I see my Savior face to face.  My desire is that every man experience the joy of knowing Jesus.

The Cross is a crossroad for every man.  You have to make a choice when you encounter the cross. If Jesus is calling you today, accept what Jesus did for you; do not spit in his face and walk away like some of the Roman soldiers. 

So, you already know Jesus; that is wonderful. Let the Holy Spirit refresh you as you bathe your mind in these Scriptures. May you be drawn ever so close to Christ.

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: Cherrilynn Bisbano is an award-winning writer and speaker. As a certified Christian Life Coach Minister, and Ordained Minister, she aims to share the love of Christ wherever God leads. Cherrilynn is a speaker with Women Speakers. She contributes to the Blue Ridge Writers blog, is published in four compilations books, and her book Shine Don’t Whine released in 2020. Cherrilynn served in the military for twenty years, earning the John Levitow Military leadership award. She lives with her 19-year-old son Michael, Jr., and her husband of 22 years, Michael. She fondly calls them her M&M’s.

Join the conversation: What does the cross mean to you?

Worrier or Warrior?

by Cherrilynn Bisbano

“But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves.” Luke 21:14 NIV

“Worrier,” I said into my phone. I needed the definition for a bible study. The voice search activation came up with “Warrior.”

I did it again. Same results.

“Third times a charm,” I thought to myself.

“Warrior!”

Either I do not know how to pronounce the word, or God is sending me a message.

During that year, I became physically ill because of worry. My fibromyalgia grew worse, and I could not sleep. I was a new follower of Jesus.

I spent many years thinking for myself, and I was good at solving problems. If I could not solve them, I was excellent at worrying about them, along with others’ problems. I knew God wanted me to trust Him, so I turned to Scripture. In Luke 12:22-34, Jesus told the disciples not to worry.

I felt like I was in good company. The Disciples worried. They worried about how to feed the multitudes, they worried about who was the greatest, and they even worried about dying.

Seem like good things to worry about, right?

Jesus told them on more than one occasion not to worry. “But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves” (Luke 21:14 NIV).

Lord, you need to teach me how to “make up my mind beforehand so I won’t worry.

I lived with a couple from our church for almost a year. I spent holidays with the families and shared hurts, trials, and triumphs. Jan never seemed to worry about anything. I asked her why.

“I chose not to worry” she told me, and she shared this verse with me: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7 NIV).

I committed that verse to memory.

My sleepless nights trying to solve the world’s problems lessened as I continued to give my worries to God.

I envisioned approaching the throne, leaving the person or situation with Him, and walking away. Every time worry tried to return, the Spirit impressed on my heart, “Do you really want this back?”

Absolutely not! I replied. Freedom from worry gave me more time to pray for others and praise the Lord. My body and spirit grew stronger as I left my concerns with God.

I became a Prayer Warrior instead of a worrier!

A warrior storms the gates of Heaven with full assurance God will fulfill His promises, according to His good will and purpose. “Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete” (John 16:24 NIV).

When we pray, “In My Name,” we approach God in Jesus’ name, not in our own. We are praying for the Lord’s will. Prayer is not a verbal vending machine. God gives us what we need, not necessarily what we want.

Prayer is entering the throne room of the Almighty asking Him to intervene.  Prayer is a battle cry asking God to release the forces of good to demolish the forces of evil!

When God is on our side, we have NOTHING to worry about. Will you join me and become a Warrior and leave worry behind?

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: Cherrilynn Bisbano is an award-winning writer and speaker. As a certified Christian Life Coach Minister, and Ordained Minister, she aims to share the love of Christ wherever God leads. Cherrilynn is a speaker with Women Speakers. She contributes to the Blue Ridge Writers blog, is published in four compilations books, and her book Shine Don’t Whine released in 2020. Cherrilynn served in the military for twenty years, earning the John Levitow Military leadership award. She lives with her 19-year-old son Michael, Jr., and her husband of 22 years, Michael. She fondly calls them her M&M’s.

Join the conversation: What worries keep you from peace?

When Love Requires Discernment

by Cherrilynn Bisbano

And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ.  Philippians 1:9-10 ESV

“She needs you to back off.”

My friend Lisa had called to discuss our mutual friend Mary.

“Mary throws this party every year. She is too afraid to say anything to you. She loves you and does not want to hurt your feelings.”

 My heart broke as Lisa shared.

I was new to the church and wanted to serve. Lisa and I became instant friends. She introduced me to Mary. Mary lived close to me and was sweet and kind. Mary and I decided to plan a get together at her house. She was eager for me to help. Little did I know she orchestrated a party every year.

 Being a zealous party planner and wanting to fit in and carry my load, I called her to offer ideas and assistance. The next Sunday we brainstormed party ideas after church. The following week I called her to discuss the details of the upcoming gathering. She seemed hesitant about my ideas and rushed me off the phone. I was confused and wondered if I had done something to offend her.

 Are we planning this together?

After my phone conversation with Lisa, and much prayer, I realized my motive was to be admired and accepted. I never inquired about Mary’s ability to plan a party. I assumed she needed me to take on more responsibility.

I picked up the Bible and through tears of repentance I researched verses on love.

God poured his love into my heart. (Romans 5:5) I need to love like Jesus and think of others more highly than myself. (Philippians 2:1-4). As I read Philippians 1:9-10, my inner-being felt a piercing. I prayed my love for others would abound, and I asked God for His discernment is all situations, especially with Mary,

I called her and apologize for my selfishness and pride. She apologized for not speaking with me first. We prayed together and committed to honesty in our relationship.

The party was wonderful. We sang, ate great food, and praised God. Mary and I are still great friends. Lisa too.

The evil one desired us to remain in unspoken hurt and pain, placing an unseen wall between us. But when love meets discernment, the fruit of God’s glory and righteousness is revealed, walls are destroyed, and love prevails.

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

Shine Don't Whine

About the author: Cherrilynn Bisbano is an award-winning writer in both fiction and non-fiction. She is a coach, ghostwriter, editor, and speaker. You can find her published in several online magazines and blogs along with books.  Her latest book, Shine Don’t Whine, released in October 2020. Cherrilynn proudly served in the Navy and Air National Guard. She lives with her son, Michael, Jr., and husband of 22 years. Cherrilynn loves Christ, chocolate, coffee, and cats. You will often find her on the beach sea glass hunting.

Join the conversation: When did you need discernment? Please share!

When to Let Go

by Cherrilynn Bisbano

 No, my lord, I am a woman troubled in spirit. I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink,  but I have been pouring out my soul before the Lord. 1 Samuel 1:15 ESV

My adult son needed restoration physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I begged God daily to help Michael overcome his challenges. I’d cry myself to sleep worrying about his future. After many phone calls and website searches, we found another place to hopefully help my cherished boy. But could I handle having him so far away—800 miles from home?

I needed to let go and allow God to work in my son through this program, even though he had tried two others. We removed Michael from one and he was asked to leave another due to his lack of impulse control. I had the habit of rescuing my son from difficult places because of his autism and ADHD.

The Holy Spirit encouraged me to study Hannah, whose story is found in the first two chapters of 1 Samuel. Hannah prayed boldly and with all her might. Her prayer moved the heart and hand of God.

Now, with this program as our last hope, I prayed the staff would understand my autistic son and work with him.

Three days after I dropped off Michael, I walked and listened to an audio book on living a life for Christ. The narrator told a story about a young boy who found a caterpillar and brought it home, where his mother placed it in a jar with leaves.

The boy watched the caterpillar weave a chrysalis. He observed it every day for a week, until he saw the cocoon move. Realizing the creature was struggling, he ran to get scissors, which soon revealed a wet butterfly. The boy watched the insect struggle to fly—then die.

The Holy Spirit was loud and clear. If you rescue your son from this program he will be just like the butterfly. He will die.

I shut off the audio book and cried. “Lord, I commit him to your care. You must help me be strong.”

I had studied butterflies in the past. I knew they needed to battle to free themselves from the darkness. The fight strengthens their wings to fly.

The next day I received a call from Michael. He was hysterical, saying, “Mom, you have to come get me. I have bug bites all over me, and I’m allergic. I hate this place. People are mean. I don’t feel safe. I’ll run away if you don’t come for me.”

I’d never heard him so frantic. I cried, yet I remembered what the Holy Spirit had communicated to me the previous day.

“Michael, I love you. I’m sorry you are going through this. Give me until tomorrow to figure this out.”

I sobbed. Lord you need to help them help my son. I want to take him in my arms and make it all better, but I can’t. It will kill him spiritually. Help him Lord!

That afternoon I shared what the Spirit had told me with a leader from the facility, who said, “I’ll speak with Michael and share this with him.”

The leader called an hour later, saying, “Michael is fine now. He had a fit, and now understands this is his home for the next year.”

I praised God and cried happy tears. I realized Michael belongs to God.

I continue to pray boldly for my son and those he journeys with through the program. Michael has been there for three months now, and I see a remarkable change in him already. My mama’s heart misses him, but he’s in the safest place—the will and hand of God!

Just like God heard Hannah’s prayer, he hears mine.

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

Shine Don't Whine

About the author: Cherrilynn Bisbano is an award-winning writer in both fiction and non-fiction. She is a coach, ghostwriter, editor, and speaker. You can find her published in several online magazines and blogs along with books.  Her latest book, Shine Don’t Whine, released in October 2020. Cherrilynn proudly served in the Navy and Air National Guard. She lives with her son, Michael, Jr., and husband of 22 years. Cherrilynn loves Christ, Chocolate, coffee, and Cats. You will often find her on the beach sea glass hunting.

Join the conversation: Do you have a child that you worry about?

Freedom in a Christmas Carol

by Cherrilynn Bisbano

“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because the Lord has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound.” Isaiah 61:1 (NKJV)

For twenty-five years I sang O Holy Night without understanding the words. Now that I am a precious child of God, the carol brings life and hope to my soul.  My favorite line in the song: “Chains shall He break, for the slave is our brother, and in His name, all oppression shall cease.”

The realization Jesus entered the world to break every chain still humbles me. I was in chains. Chains of self-doubt, worry and unbalanced expectations. I saw myself as unlovable, worthless, and I strived for perfection.

But through years of studying the Word, I understand the freedom found in Christ alone.

As we celebrate His birth, will you join me and compare my favorite verse of “O Holy Night” with Scripture? Take time to meditate on each Scripture below. I don’t want to tell you what to feel. Allow the Holy Spirit to speak to your soul.

Chains Shall He break

“He brought them out of darkness, the utter darkness, and broke away their chains.” Psalm 107:14 (NIV)

“I am your servant, LORD… you have freed me from my chains.” Psalm 116:16 (NIV)

For the slave is our brother

“… but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant (slave), and coming in the likeness of men.” Philippians 2:7 (NKJV)

“For He who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one source, which is why He is not ashamed to call them brothers.” Hebrews 2:11 (ESV)

And in His name, all oppression shall cease

“Then we cried to the LORD, the God of our fathers, and the LORD heard our voice and saw our affliction, our toil, and our oppression.” Deuteronomy 26:7 ESV

“From oppression and violence, He redeems their life.”  Psalm 72:14 (ESV)

Jesus quoted the prophecy from Isaiah, closed the book, and declared, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” Luke 4:21 (NKJV)

I envision people walking out of jail cells with no shackles, leaping for joy at their newfound freedom. Their heads lifted high to greet the sun. Hearts that once craved love now possess complete acceptance in Christ, the embodiment of Love. I’m in that crowd of people.

He is the chain breaker who heals the wounded, and releases the captives from the bondage of sin. We are now free to love one another as equals and joint heirs in Christ.

I know most people won’t listen to Christmas music until after Thanksgiving. However, will you join me and sing this verse all year, especially when feelings of darkness try to rob our joy and extinguish the light of God’s love.

 May our hearts rejoice, and may we fall on our knees in reverent worship to the One who gave our soul worth.

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

Shine Don't Whine

About the author: Cherrilynn Bisbano is an award-winning writer in both fiction and non-fiction. She is a coach, ghostwriter, editor, and speaker. You can find her published in several online magazines and blogs along with books.  Her latest book, Shine Don’t Whine, released in October 2020. Cherrilynn proudly served in the Navy and Air National Guard. She lives with her son, Michael, Jr., and husband of 22 years. Cherrilynn loves Christ, Chocolate, coffee, and Cats. You will often find her on the beach sea glass hunting.

Join the conversation: How has a Christmas carol changed your perspective on God? Please share!

Shine like an O Star

by Cherrilynn Bisbano

I love a clear night. 

The stars intrigue me. God’s speckled lights bring me joy as I admire how He orchestrated patterns for our enjoyment. The twinkle of a star is a God wink to me.

For fun, I researched star classifications. After all, God created them, and His Word states we will shine like stars: “…then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life.” Philippians 2:14 (NIV)

I love the thought of being light in the darkness.

I derived information from Atlas of the Universe: Stars are given classifications according to their surface temperature and brightness. The classes are O, B, A, F, G, K, and M. The O stars are the hottest, M stars the coolest. O stars are rare but bright. M stars are numerous but dim.         Our sun’s classification is somewhere in the middle.

I took the liberty and used these classifications to represent Christians as stars. Since O is the hottest and most rare, I classified it as Obedient. Complete obedience to God is rare—I know it is for me. Oh, to always be obedient to the Master, a bright light to lead many to righteousness.

“And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever” (Daniel 12:3 NIV).

The more numerous yet weaker stars are M-Mediocre. No one wants to be mediocre when serving God. Notice the word mediocre begins with the word “me.” I was a complacent believer focused on self. I chose mediocrity instead of obedience.

I knew God wanted me to call a friend to see how she was doing. I loved this girl and spent hours on the phone listening and trying to comfort her. I was tired and did not want to speak with her, because she complained and recited the same stories. Years with a counselor did not help her. 

Do you have a friend like that?

I sent an email instead of calling. An email was safe. You need to call her, the Spirit echoed in my head. I ignored his prompting. Call her!

“Lord, I don’t want to hear the same stories over and over.” A few days passed. Call her now! I said, “But Lord…”

The Spirit interrupted, I did not ask you to heal her, that is my job. Just listen, like I listen to you. I wanted to cry. I blatantly disobeyed and tried to justify my half-hearted attempt with an email. I remembered my pastor’s words, “Partial obedience is disobedience.”

I called.

She recited the same stories, but my attitude had changed. I wanted to listen to her like the Lord listens to me. God loved her through me, and she was thankful someone cared.

I prayed before all my conversations with her and the Holy Spirit empowered me with patience, kindness, and love. Complete obedience also brought peace and joy to my heart.

When it comes to serving God, I desire to serve with a wholehearted devotion and a willing mind, giving my best because he gave his best for me. I still fall short- I praise God for His grace and mercy.

One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned in my continued journey from mediocrity to obedience—the Holy Spirit gives the power to obey. “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence” 2 Peter 1:3 (ESV).

Now, when I observe the evening sky, I’m reminded the Creator of those stars loves me and empowers me to shine like an “O” star.

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

Shine Don't Whine

About the author: Cherrilynn Bisbano is an award-winning writer in both fiction and non-fiction. She is a coach, ghostwriter, editor, and speaker. She is honored to be a member of AWSA.You can find her published in several online magazines and blogs along with books.  Her latest book, Shine Don’t Whine, released in October 2020. Cherrilynn proudly served in the Navy and Air National Guard. She lives with her son, Michael, Jr., and husband of 22 years. Cherrilynn loves Christ, Chocolate, coffee, and Cats. You will often find her on the beach sea glass hunting.

Join the conversation: When has God called you to be a friend to someone?

Birthdays Matter

by Cherrilynn Bisbano

Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. Hebrews 13:16 ESV  

August is my birth month.

My birthday was my day.  A special day set aside just for me. But something changed on my 45th birthday.  

We lived in New Hampshire.  My husband was out of work, money was tight.  My husband was sad because he could not get me a birthday present. We rarely exchange gifts anyway. I had a long talk with God about this whole gift giving idea. A person should never feel pressured to give a gift.

I continued my conversation with my Abba as I drove to the grocery store. 

While in line, I noticed the woman in front of me as she fumbled through her purse. She did not have enough money and looked embarrassed. I’ve been in that same situation and I usually put items back.

“Here, take this.” 

I handed a ten-dollar bill to the young man at the cash register. It was the rest of our food budget after I purchased the items in my cart. “No! I can just put the ice cream back.” the woman said without making eye contact.

“Not the ice cream, it’s my birthday today, the best present I could get is to buy ice cream for someone else.”  The words came out before I could stop them.

“Happy Birthday!”  The young man at the register and the woman said in unison.

“Thank you!  Now, you would not want to deny me this present on my birthday, would you?”

I loved the confused looks on both of their faces as the woman walked away, with her groceries, including the ice cream. I purchased my groceries and headed home. Joy filled my heart and I thanked God for the wonderful birthday gift.

I shared the story with my husband and son. “From now on I am going to give on my birthday.  The gift I get in return is far more precious than anything money can buy!”

I rarely tell anyone I do this. I am not trying to promote myself or get an “atta girl”.But, how can I keep such a wonderful blessing from you?

I want to challenge you to give on your birthday.

“Remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive’” (Acts 20:35 ESV).

The best part—don’t tell anyone you are doing it.  What an amazing secret between you and God. I know many of you already give to the poor and needy.  God sees that.  Will you go one step further? Will you join me and give on a day people least expect? All the Glory goes to God!

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: Cherrilynn Bisbano is an award-winning writer and speaker. As a certified Christian Life Coach Minister, and Ordained Minister, she aims to share the love of Christ wherever God leads. Cherrilynn is a speaker with Women Speakers. She contributes to the Blue Ridge Writers blog, is published in four compilations books, and her book Shine Don’t Whine released in 2020. Cherrilynn served in the military for twenty years, earning the John Levitow Military leadership award. She lives with her 19-year-old son Michael, Jr., and her husband of 22 years, Michael. She fondly calls them her M&M’s.

Join the conversation: How do you celebrate your special day?

Grounds for Addiction

by Cherrilynn Bisbano

So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. Revelation 3:16 ESV

I was stuck with the overnight shift in the Navy.

Sleep was an unwanted intruder. If I allowed myself to doze, I would go to jail (rules of the Navy).
I had to drink coffee to stay awake. I hesitated. I hated the taste. But after a few nights of fighting to stay awake, I had to succumb.

That jolt of Java promised to keep me awake. That slap in the face from a dark brew kept me alert.
Jail or Java? A simple decision for me. After a while, I began liking the taste. I even longed to go to work to get a drink. I confess, I am a coffeeholic. It seems I cannot get my day started without it. I look forward to my morning Joe the night before.

K-Cups are my favorite. Whoever invented the Keurig is my hero. Hot coffee at my fingertips one cup at a time. That is Genius!

I tried doing without that jolt of java, but I got a headache. I know that is a sign of addiction. I know I am not alone. Are we bad people for needing this wake-up call every morning? I don’t think so. Why there are shops created just for our addiction!

One morning, I had forty-five minutes to myself. I wanted to grab my cup and fellowship with God. I long for that time, before the sun rises, to read the Word and sip my coffee. I grabbed my cup from under the spout. What? An empty cup?
I forgot to put the water in the machine. Now I had to wait all over again.

UGH! My quiet time was disintegrating because I did not follow proper Keurig procedure! I made sure everything was set. K-cup in. Water added. Cup under the spout. Push the button. Wait…

Yes! A hot cup of pure joy. But at my first sip, I quickly spit it out. Rather than a warming swallow, it was lukewarm. Have you ever tasted lukewarm coffee? YUCK! No one likes lukewarm anything.

At that moment, the Spirit reminded me of the church of Laodicea in Revelation 3. God hates lukewarm.

Laodicea was known for its lukewarm water because it was located between the hot springs of Hierapolis and the pure, cold water of Colossae. Some scholars believe the metaphor for hot and cold came from Laodicea’s location. The Laodicean church was criticized for their lack of zeal for the Lord. The English language refers to those that are neutral or indifferent in matters of faith as “Laodicean.”

As I finished my new cup of hot coffee and pondered the message, I asked myself: Was I half-hearted in my service for Him? Was I giving God only portions of my life? I asked the Lord to show me where I’m lacking zeal for his kingdom. My little coffee fiasco had proven to be a great reminder to serve him with a wholehearted devotion and a willing mind.

Will you join me and be a zealot for Jesus?

This article has been brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: Cherrilynn Bisbano is an award-winning writer in both fiction and non-fiction. She is a coach, ghostwriter, editor, and speaker. She is honored to be a member of AWSA.

Shine Don't Whine

You can find her published in several online magazines and blogs along with books.  Her latest book, Shine Don’t Whine, released in October 2020. Cherrilynn proudly served in the Navy and Air National Guard. She lives with her son, Michael, Jr., and husband of 22 years. Cherrilynn loves Christ, Chocolate, coffee, and Cats. You will often find her on the beach sea glass hunting.

Join the conversation: In what do you struggle to be zealous for the Lord?

Forget Where You Live?

by Cherrilynn Bisbano

But our citizenship is in Heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior. Philippians 3:20 NIV

“I am so tired of moving,” I said to my son as we walked to the gym.

“I know Mom, can we stay in this house forever?”

We took a few more steps, and a smile came to my lips as reality set in. ” Michael, this is not our forever home, our citizenship is in heaven.”

“That’s right mommy, I forgot!”

I find it so easy to get caught up in my earthly address, consumed with daily mundane tasks.

God blessed us with a beautiful temporary home in Rhode Island. Although the winters can be harsh, I thank God this house has so much sunlight provided by skylights. Even on the dreariest day there is a glimmer of light.

But the glorious light we will see in our forever home…”And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever” (Revelation 22:5 ESV).

My earthy home has my wonderful pets. Two cats named Peach and Baxter. I love all cats; especially lions. I long for the day I will hug one without worrying that I will be his lunch.

The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together; and a little child shall lead them. Isaiah 11:6 ESV

I share this earthly dwelling with my husband and son.  Sometimes there is strife, misunderstanding, or chaos. We’ve experienced deaths of loved ones, cancer, mental illness and more.  We desire to love each other unconditionally, but we fail.  In Heaven, we will all be together with our spiritual family; no tears, anger, or infirmity. We will be with the Prince of Peace.

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. Revelation 21:4 ESV

I think of my friends in Togo, Africa, who live in straw huts with dirt floors. How much sweeter heaven will be for them. Now they walk on dirt. In Heaven, they will stroll on streets of gold.

…and the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass. Revelation 21:21 ESV

I could go on and on. But I digress. Although my earthly dwelling is comfortable, and I am surrounded by loved ones, nothing on earth can ever compare to our heavenly home.

As my son and I continued our walk to the gym, I thanked God for our temporary home. I praised Him for allowing me to be here to help further the kingdom.

I still long for heaven where our bodies no longer need exercise, food or healing. Worries with be exchanged for worship.  I will be face to face with Jesus; consumed by His love and light.

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: Cherrilynn Bisbano is an award-winning writer and speaker. As a certified Christian Life Coach Minister, and Ordained Minister, she aims to share the love of Christ wherever God leads. Cherrilynn is a speaker with Women Speakers. She contributes to the Blue Ridge Writers blog, is published in four compilations books, and her book Shine Don’t Whine released in 2020. Cherrilynn served in the military for twenty years, earning the John Levitow Military leadership award. She lives with her 19-year-old son Michael, Jr., and her husband of 22 years, Michael. She fondly calls them her M&M’s.

Join the conversation: What do you look forward to in Heaven?