The main ingredient of these devotionals is scripture, but my favorite part of this morning devotional-writing routine is making that first cup of coffee and sitting down in my chair by the corner windows that overlook the harbor. With a steaming cup of joe in one hand, I begin to pray-write, and look to see where God is taking us each day. I know that many of you read these writings first thing in the morning, and I imagine you in a comfortable spot with your own cup of “cawfee regulah,” as they say in New York. BTW, “coffee regular” is caffeinated coffee with two sugars and two creams. That’s what it takes to wake up in New York.
And since we’re learning about all things coffee this morning, the phrase “cup of joe” comes from the morphing of “java” and “jamoke,” according to Snopes:
“Of the two best theories, jamoke morphing into joe is the strongest contender thanks to this find by linguist Michael Quinion: “It is significant that an early example appears in 1931 in the Reserve Officer’s Manual by a man named Erdman: ‘Jamoke, Java, Joe. Coffee. Derived from the words Java and Mocha, where originally the best coffee came from.’”
We only do serious research here at At Water’s Edge, people.
Coffee is an amazing industry now. Back in the ancient of days, during a period of history before Starbucks (known as B.S.), folks usually made a cup of something called “Chock Full of Nuts” or “Maxwell House” at home and then got on with their day. Now we have Starbucks beckoning us from every corner, and the Starbucks culture has become prevalent everywhere. Children now learn to say Caramel Macchiato and Grande, Iced, Sugar-Free Vanilla Latte With Soy Milk before they say dog and cow. Next time you are in a public setting, take note of how many people are carrying the famous Starbucks cup with their names misspelled on the side. Starbucks reported 4.52 billion dollars in sales last year. We prize our caffeine, depend on our caffeine, need our caffeine, and kinda worship our caffeine. And coffee shops everywhere are at our service.
Apparently there was no coffee in Biblical times, which may explain all of the fighting that went on in the Old Testament. The writers of the Psalms, however, were very in touch with their need for a morning cup of God:
A psalm of David.
1 Lord, hear my prayer,
listen to my cry for mercy;
in your faithfulness and righteousness
come to my relief.
2 Do not bring your servant into judgment,
for no one living is righteous before you.
3 The enemy pursues me,
he crushes me to the ground;
he makes me dwell in the darkness
like those long dead.
4 So my spirit grows faint within me;
my heart within me is dismayed.
5 I remember the days of long ago;
I meditate on all your works
and consider what your hands have done.
6 I spread out my hands to you;
I thirst for you like a parched land.
7 Answer me quickly, Lord;
my spirit fails.
Do not hide your face from me
or I will be like those who go down to the pit.
8 Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love,
for I have put my trust in you.
Show me the way I should go,
for to you I entrust my life.
9 Rescue me from my enemies, Lord,
for I hide myself in you.
10 Teach me to do your will,
for you are my God;
may your good Spirit
lead me on level ground.
11 For your name’s sake, Lord, preserve my life;
in your righteousness, bring me out of trouble.
12 In your unfailing love, silence my enemies;
destroy all my foes,
for I am your servant.
Out of everything that is beautiful in this passage, this verse absolutely sings:
Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my faith in you.
What might your day look like if you made that your prayer? Think about all the routine tasks you have to do today: work, relationships, chores, child-rearing, etc. How might all of these things be if you woke up every day and asked God to teach you his will, and to use his good spirit to lead you on level ground? What if you poured a hot, steaming cup of asking God to show you the way to go every morning with the same faithfulness and regularity you apply to drinking coffee?
Prevenient grace assures us that God is already present in your day, waking you up and wooing you to his side. So take a sip, savor the flavor, and settle into his promises. In God, we find our hiding place, our life preserver, the silencer of our enemies, the one who brings relief, and the one who hears our cries for mercy. And that, my friend, is better than caffeine.
My mother-in-law gave me this favorite mug. She carried it back from Harrod’s in London.