About David Porter

When he was in college, David Porter wanted to be a journalist. Today he is a preacher. In Coffee Stains, the preacher and journalist meet to bless everyone who likes a funny East Texas story with a spiritual kicker at the end!

Multiplying God’s Investment In You

When someone speaks of signs of the Lord’s coming we get excited. The Lord noted a few signs of the times of His appearing, but He bore down on two things–staying alert and giving Him a good return on the gifts He’s placed in you.

We need to be busy using what He’s given us to grow the Kingdom. Jesus told a story about a master who entrusted three different men with different amounts of his money (Matthew 25). He didn’t expect five talent results from the one and two talent servants. But, he expected at least interest on his money. They could do that with no effort at all.

Get With It!

The five-talent guy went AT ONCE and started trading. It doesn’t say this about the two others. One of the things that separate those who are fruitful from others is that they don’t procrastinate.

The coming of the Lord also promises a “settling up.” “the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them.” (Matt. 25:19, ESV). God isn’t going to simply verify that “we didn’t smoke and we didn’t chew and we didn’t go with girls who did.”

He’s looking for a return on His investment in us! Uh, oh!

The five-talent guy was happy because he could report that he had doubled his master’s money. The two-talent guy, too. Both were commended. “Well done good and faithful servant.” There was joy and more responsibility awaiting them. He didn’t berate the two-talent fellow because he didn’t gain as much as the five-talent guy. He didn’t expect him to. He maximized what he had.

Another Fellow Slinks In

The one talent guy, though. In fear he dug a hole and hid his talent. Fear was only part of the problem. Laziness and poor character figured into the equation also. (25:26) He described the others as good and faithful. This bird was wicked and slothful.

If we’re not making our talent work for the Lord we’re a negative and not a positive. If someone gives me $1000 to invest and I do nothing with it but I give it back at the end of a year I’ve lost money for that person. Inflation! Recently, he would have lost 3-9% of the value of his money if Ihad done nothing because of inflation.

Look at the audacity of this guy. He accuses his master of wrongdoing and supposedly that was the source of his fear. Baloney! His wicked and lazy heart was the problem, not the master who trusted him.

A Violation of Trust

That’s it isn’t it? Failure to invest what God has given us is a violation of His trust. It’s putting our ways and business before the Lord’s business. He is the Lord. He “pays our salary.” If we’re on the phone all the time and surfing the Internet while never doing anything for the Kingdom we’re taking from the Lord.

So, there are at least three enemies to productivity in the Kingdom—wickedness, laziness, and fear. 25:26, NLT “But the master replied, ‘You wicked and lazy servant!”

Even a minimal, safe investment would have given some interest. But, all he did was brush the dirt off the money and offer it back to his master. What was he doing all this time? Nothing? Most likely he was full of his own business. Maybe the master provided food and board. This fellow was going to be out on his ear. Fired!

Burying Potential

Lord, I don’t want to bury what You’ve given me to invest. That’s it, isn’t it? We say, “I don’t want to bury my talent,” but this talent is the Master’s, not ours. He entrusted us with it to use in His Kingdom and make it grow.

What is the “least we could do?” Maybe tithe, attend services regularly and encourage our brothers and sisters. Spend some time each day in worship and prayer because that makes a difference in heavenly places.

Fruit-bearing isn’t that complicated. You don’t have to go to Lower Slobovia as a missionary to bear fruit (unless the Lord calls you).
You can:

ESV Matt. 10:42
“And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.” That covers nursery workers and lots of others.

“The one who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and the one who receives a righteous person because he is a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward.” Matt. 10:41

If You Want More, Be Industrious With What You Have?

So, they take away the lazy guy’s talent and give it to the 10-talent guy. Unjust? If you had money to invest, which one of these fellows would you want to invest it? Would you leave it with the lazy fellow out of “kindness” or would you give it to an investment person who could make some money for you?

Sometimes we criticize people for some of their ways of doing things, (and we should stay true to the Word), but those people are doing something while the other fearful, lazy, preoccupied-with-their-own business ones only criticize.

Unless the critic is in the battle for the Lord, does he have the right to an audience for his grumbling?

The master gives that one talent to the man who is going to use it and make him a profit. The no-return-on-the-master’s-investment servant? Out on his ear! “25:29 To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away. 30 Now throw this useless servant into outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’” NLT

This is serious. Serious! I had better be working to make the Master a profit on his investment. (And because I am saved, why shouldn’t I want to be fruitful?)

Those three enemies always confront you when I want to multiply the Lord’s investment in me—fear, preoccupation with my own advancement, and laziness. Push past them.

It’s better to fail than to hide your talent and do nothing.

The Heart-Mouth Highway

I love the old spiritual, the “Dry Bones” Song. You remember — “Toe bone connected to the foot bone, foot bone connected to the heel bone, heel bone connected to the ankle bone, ankle bone connected to the shin bone, now hear the Word of the Lord.” (click to hear)

When I sing it to myself, I like to mix up the bones and even add a few. “The head bone’s connected to the knee bone, and the knee bone’s connected to the ear bone.” Or something like that.

If you want your skeleton to work right, though, the correct bone has to be connected to its corresponding bone.

Bone Surgery

There is a surprising connection that often determines how well our life works: the heart bone connects to the mouth bone.

Now at first glance that seems weird, but I didn’t make it up. Check out God’s x-ray:

“… For whatever is in your heart determines what you say. A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. And I tell you this, you must give an account on judgment day for every idle word you speak. The words you say will either acquit you or condemn you.” (Matt. 12:34-37, NLT)

So, remember this: If you question if someone is good or bad, study the fruit of his life. Listen to what comes out of the mouth—yours and others. It’s the best sign of what is in the heart. The heart is KEY!

“My son, be attentive to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Let them not escape from your sight; keep them within your heart. For they are life to those who find them, and healing to all their flesh. Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life. Put away from you crooked speech, and put devious talk far from you.” (Proverbs 4, ESV)

If the motor of your car spits, sputters, and pops, you need to head for the mechanic. You hear what’s going on in the motor.

It’s the same with our heart. We constantly do a “mouth check” because it reveals what is in our heart. When we’re humming along with praise, encouragement, and faith-filled self talk, we’re getting about 50 miles per gallon.

But, if negativity, doubt, criticism, judgement and vulgarity typify our words, we better stop and peek under the hood. Something is wrong.

I Say What I Think

A lady in a church far away once told me, “I’m just a country girl. I say what I think.” I concluded that is okay if what you think is worth saying. In her case, a lot of things that came out of her mouth caused confusion, hurt, and division.

Let’s try this for a day. Keep a diary of what you say (or what you would say if you weren’t keeping track of it and planning to study the results.)

Are you speaking well of others? Are you expressing faith or doubt? Do you praise God often during the day? Speak up for the Lord? Do your words encourage or discourage? Unite or divide? Any curses?

Do you discourage yourself with all your “poor mouthing” about yourself?

Is your mouth the exit point for a lot of “everything is going to the dogs,” “that fellow is just sorry, there’s no hope for him.” Are you “trash talking” or praising and lifting others with the product of your heart coming out of your mouth?

Do you speak in faith and give God the glory or do you whine like you didn’t have a powerful, living God?

Do the words you hear coming out of your own mouth encourage you or discourage you?

If the product is nasty, bring your heart before God and ask Him to cleanse it, to give it faith and courage, to fill it with patience for others and yourself.

“Dem bones, dem bones gonna walk around,” says the old spiritual. And strangely, the heart bone’s connected to the mouth bone and when the connection functions the way it should, you don’t walk. You run!

illustration: dall-e


Why Is God Hiding?

When my grandson Matthew was about two years old, he loved to play hide and seek with me. Hard-core fans of the game would have found something to be desired in his “hiding,” though.

Papa would count to ten and little Matthew would scurry off to hide behind his open bedroom door. Of course I knew where he was but I would pretend to search. (I may have peeked).

“Where’s Matthew?” I would call. “Where’s Matthew?”

And from behind the door I would hear a little voice giving me a hint. “Woo-hoo! Woo-hoo!” And, wonder of wonders, I found him. Amazing, huh?

He would either run off giggling or I might snatch him into my arms for a hug. You see, when you’re two, the game of hide and seek has a different goal. Ten-year olds want to hide so well that you can’t find them.

For two-year olds, the goal is to be found. Hold that thought.

Hide And Seek With God?

The other morning I woke up and for some reason I felt the Lord was a bit distant from me. I know this is all subjective, but I asked myself, “Did I do something wrong? It must be me, the problem.”

As I read the Bible that morning a verse leaped out, “Truly, you are a God who hides himself, O God of Israel, the Savior.” (Isaiah 45:15, ESV).

“A God who hides himself?” That’s weird, I thought.

Then I remembered little Matthew hiding behind the door. He was hiding, but he wanted to be found. Now, I may be taking the verse out of context, (it won’t be the first time I’ve been guilty of that), but the principle is true.

Maybe the feeling of estrangement I felt from God that morning wasn’t that I had done something wrong or that God was upset with me. Maybe He was hiding so I would get up and go find Him.

When a fellow finds the love of his life, he seeks to be with her. If this lover quits seeking his beloved the relationship grows stale (a word from God for some of us?) The object of his love wants him to desire to be with her.

God is like that. He wants to be wanted.

“Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord…” (Jer. 29:12, 13, ESV)

Do you feel dry spiritually, separated from His presence? Stop and listen. You hear that voice? I think it’s God.

“Woo-hoo. Woo-hoo!”

The Blue Moon Humility Service

I’m thinking of starting a new business called the Blue Moon Humility Service. I’m going to teach people how to be humble. I haven’t decided if my teaching method will coaching, mentoring, or just swift kicks in seat of the pants.

To begin, I’ll need a colorful van with Blue Moon Humility Service emblazoned on the side, several thousand business cards and maybe a secretary or two. And television commercials. Gotta have commercials.

 Why Blue Moon? I just like the name.

Why humility? Scarcity. There’s a need. If I asked a room of one hundred people, “Who wants to be more humble?” do you think many would raise their hand? Most of us are like my pastor friend who declared, “I’m proud to be so humble.”

“Not to brag, but I’m humble enough,” we think (or at least, we’re as humble as we want to be).

But, when God’s promises to the humble rumble through my soul, my hand shoots up. I will confess that I may have a little way to go before my humble meter reads 100%.

What Is Humility, Really?

One problem is we don’t know what humility is. Even some dictionaries stumble in their definitions. The Oxford Languages Dictionary says humility is “a modest or low view of one’s own importance; humbleness.”

Can I partially disagree with that? I think Merriam-Webster gets closer.

“Freedom from pride or arrogance …”

Truth be told, we often think synonyms for humble are “wimpy, doormat, weak, and poor.” I don’t know about you, but I don’t particularly want to be any of those.

Let me humbly tell you what I think humility is. It’s having a correct opinion of God, of yourself, and those around you. We don’t say that we can’t when we know we can. It’s knowing that if God said to do it, we can, if we will. Without Him, we can do nothing.

It’s not an underestimation of one’s self. It’s a correct estimation.

Sometimes our feigned “humility” is just a mask for laziness (I don’t want to do it!), fear (I’m afraid to do it), or some other unsavory state of mind.

“We will also need to understand what Jesus meant when he called men and women to humble themselves. We discover that the Greek word Jesus and the apostles used, tapeinos, conveys the idea of having a right view of ourselves before God and others. If pride is an exalted sense of who we are in relation to God and others, humility is having a realistic sense of who we are before God and others. We must not think too highly (or too lowly) of ourselves. Rather, we must be honest and realistic about who and what we are.” Thomas A. Tarrants (https://www.cslewisinstitute.org/resources/pride-and-humility)

If this isn’t true, how in the world could Paul have proclaimed, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” C’mon Paul. All things? Yep. He knew who he was, and He knew who God was and what God had called him to do.

Numbers 12:2  says, “(Now the man Moses was very humble, more than all men who were on the face of the earth.)” (NKJV) Many believe that Moses wrote the book of Numbers, so did he proclaim himself the most humble man on earth? He acknowledged the truth.

Paul claimed humility (Acts 20:19).

So, I feel safe in proclaiming my humility. I feel I’m about 65% humble. There is still a bit of work to do.

Is God humble?

And God! He’s the gold standard for humility. Jesus said it out loud, “…I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matt. 11:29b NLT) Jesus humbled himself, emptied himself. (Phil. 2:8) Jesus knew who He was, yet he was humble. 

What Do I Get If I’m Humble?

 We’ve stumbled on a treasure trove here. Something that many people don’t value turns out to be more valuable than Rhodium (worth $15,250/troy ounce as of July 2022)

“Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.” (James 4:10).He will do you good after the humbling process in your life. “… that he might humble you and test you, to do you good in the end.” (Deut. 8:16, Matthew 23:12).

We fling rocks at the fellow who sits on the rooftop and chirps his greatness. God honors those who stay in His will, small or great.

Exalted by God? That sounds good. But won’t I get proud? Nope, because when you’ve humbled yourself, you create a state of heart where God can bless you and you won’t puff up and blow up.

—God saves a humble people. (2 Samuel 22:28)

—Humbling oneself can mitigate punishment, even for a wicked person. (1 Kings 21:29. Also 2 Chronicles 12:12)

—Humbling ourselves opens heaven’s floodgates of forgiveness and healing. “If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14)

He leads the humble in what is right and teaches the humble His way. (Proverbs 11:2, Psalm 25:9)

God favors the humble. (Proverbs 3:34)

—God keeps His eye on the humble. (Isa. 66:2   )

—The humble girl receives God’s grace. “But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’” (James 4:6)

—Honor follows humility.  (Prov. 15:33, Prov. 18:12, Prov. 22:4)

Let God Top You Off

I’ve got a theory: when you look for a good breakfast restaurant, don’t consider the building’s exterior. No, you count the number of pickup trucks in the parking lot, then you go inside and see how many old fellows with big bellies and baseball caps are telling tall tales.

If there are a lot of both, chances are you’re on to something good.

Another feature of good breakfast places is friendly waitresses who talk loudly, call you “honey,” and keep your cup of coffee topped off. Empty coffee cups are a “no-no” in a good breakfast place.

I think the Lrd has a lot in common with a waitress in a good breakfast restaurant (though I have my doubts if he calls us “honey.”) I’ll tell you why.

God Tops Them Off

In Acts 4:31, we see the infant Church in a tough spot. God healed a lame man who started walking, leaping and praising God. It was a busy time at the temple, so a crowd ran together. I imagine that thousands of them had seen this man begging at one of the temple entrances over the years.

Now, wow! What had happened?

They started praising God. Most of them, anyway. Some felt this miracle put their leadership and their doctrines in an unpleasant light. Peter and John, God’s instruments of healing in this case, ended up facing some hostile religious bigwigs.

“By what power or by what name did you do this?” they said, figuring their position and power would intimidate these simple men. Peter and John had a secret weapon, though—God’s Spirit filled them. We saw it happen to them and many others in Acts 2 and here the power of the Spirit shows up in them just as when the lame man was healed.

“Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them …” (Acts 4:8, ESV)

They had been filled with the Spirit in Acts 2, but here God “topped it off” like our friendly waitress tops off my coffee cup and they boldly spoke the truth to the pompous leaders.

Their boldness alarmed the leadership council, and they warned them to be silent. They left with the threats of what would happen to them if they kept speaking of Jesus ringing in their ears.

You know how well that worked.

The Place Shakes

So, the two disciples hurried to the brothers and sisters and tell them what had happened. It’s one thing when you face a battle and you stand, topped off with the Holy Spirit. But now the adrenaline of the moment has worn off and the council’s threats stirred the whole church. They needed help.

Look at their prayer. (Acts. 4:24-29). I would have prayed for protection. Not them. They prayed for boldness, and more healings and signs from heaven to affirm that their message was true.

It’s logical, isn’t it? Winning armies don’t simply ask for places to hide. They go on the offensive. These “crazy” folks ask God to do the same things through them that had gotten them into trouble.

And God answered! The place shook, and the Spirit filled them anew. I don’t think the Lord just topped them off. He filled them to overflowing … again!

Topped Off And Overflowing With the Lord

Maybe that’s the problem with us today. God’s Spirit fills us, but instead of getting “topped off” when the enemy challenges us, we depend on our own devices. Christians hide in church. The ballot box promises to help us vote the baddies out. We cower. Or we do nothing and simply live for ourselves.

These Christians knelt together and asked for boldness. Persecuted people asked for God to keep showing up. They announced the Good News of Jesus’ salvation.

And God topped them off. The result of God’s filling is boldness to speak for Jesus. “Top us off, Lord, until we overflow! Please!”

“And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.” (Acts 4:31, ESV)