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Opinion | Faith & Inspiration

By Mike Gilland

I came by it honestly, growing up in a home of coffee drinkers.  It took a little while, but by the time that I was a young broadcaster signing on a radio transmitter at 5:30 in the morning, my transformation into a full-grown lover of the coffee bean became complete.  You just gotta love that wonderful warmth and comfort that we get from our morning cup of caffeine.

Fast forward to the days when Starbucks began to pop up all over the country. I remember the first time I ever opened the door to one of their shops, all decorated with the green-and-white logos, beautiful wooden cabinets and inviting music playing softly; that’s when it happened. The aroma was everywhere. Not just emanating up from the cup, it was in every cubic inch of the air that we were breathing. It was exhilarating, and I was hooked. Coming into those shops became a treat, because now, it was more than a cup of coffee; it was a java experience.

Now, while that might be an extreme way of looking at coffee, (I have been known to talk in superlatives), in a real way, that is exactly how we should view all of the blessings in life that we’ve been given. The Psalmists excelled in this very thing, giving us chapter after chapter of beautiful lyrics, amazing imagery, all crammed through and through with deep theological truths about the goodness of God and our need to be grateful and thankful to Him.

If you have ever studied the real stories of America’s history, you will have learned that the desire to worship our God freely in this manner is what drove our nation’s settlers to risk everything on the voyage to this new land where they could worship freely. That desire produced an immersive longing that was thicker and sweeter than the aroma from any coffee bar.

What began as a humble feast centuries ago became a national holiday. And while our country has changed in so, so many ways (and continues to do so), one thing should remain the same, unchanged in spite of time, and that is the need to recognize that we are recipients of mercy and grace. God’s grace, given freely. He has given us the privilege of living in a nation where we can, and should, worship freely, where we can receive the bountiful blessings from God and then, in turn, share our blessings with others. It really can happen. We will become more content, more peaceful, and less selfish when we merely stop and do an inventory, see what we have and all that we’ve been given. It will produce in our hearts a thankfulness, and we will enjoy the fragrance of love from our loving Father.

And that is better than all the coffee in the world.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Mike Gilland is Operations Manager for The Shepherd Radio Network, a group of radio stations in Florida that features the “Christian Teach/Talk” format. Mike hosts a daily talk radio show in the 2 PM hour called “Afternoons with Mike”, talking to local pastors and newsmakers.  In Orlando, The Shepherd is heard on WIWA, AM 1270.   In addition to his broadcast experience, Mike spent 36 years in full-time ministry as a pastor and worship leader.  As a guitarist, Mike performs at concerts, restaurants, private parties, etc. He is married to Cindy, the father of four grown children and grandfather to eight grandchildren.

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