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Shortly after my salvation experience in 1991, I came under conviction that I was not serving God in the way he wanted me to serve him. The only thing was I did not have that “burning bush” experience to give me the clarity I needed to serve God in the way that he intended. Instead, God put a lot of people in front of me to shape my vision, hone my skills, and develop the character necessary for me to ever write the devotions you are about to read.

Sometimes what we think is a curse from God is actually a blessing. After I was saved, I lost my job and was forced to move five hours away from my home. It was my “Isle of Patmos,” and I cannot tell you the number of times I asked God, “Why?” In hindsight, it was the best thing that ever happened to me; it is now a constant reminder in times of doubt that God’s plan for me is perfect.

Relocation allowed me to grow as a Christian. No longer did I have to face a sea of doubters who just would not believe one man could change so much. I could now focus solely on my Christian journey and explore what God had in store for me.

I remember reading a syndicated religion column in the newspaper in my newly adopted community of Griffin, Georgia. I just couldn’t help but think how much it fell short of what I knew the newspaper’s readers in my town needed. I prayed about it, discussed it with my wife, and went to visit our local newspaper’s publisher, a friend of mine. I told him I thought I could write something much more meaningful to his readers and would like to give it a try.

The column became popular. Interestingly, my publisher happened to know the publisher in my hometown. “You need to read this guys’ column,” he told him. “I cannot tell you the number of comments we have received since we started running it.” It’s been running in my hometown, Rocky Mount, since 1996. What a joy to minister to a community that was so good to me.

My column is also featured in a community where my son and daughter were born. It is a special place to me–one that was good to me. Again, I get the opportunity to give back in a way I could never have imagined. Indeed, God is good!

The biggest surprise, however, came from the Internet devotions website my wife and I created in 1997. We were fortunate to secure the name we did, In just twelve years, the website’s popularity has exploded due in large measure to its name. In fact, is Google’s #1 website when the key word “devotions” is used.

I could never have imagined that devotions I began writing in the form of a newspaper religion column in a small Georgia town would now reach hundreds of thousands of readers every year in over fifty countries around the world. It just goes to show what God can do when we let him lead the way.

I love to write, especially about God’s mercy and grace, and I believe the Bible is as relevant today as it has ever been. While most of my devotions are meant to encourage Christians, many of my readers could be characterized as unbelievers or at best what I refer to as “nominal Christians.” As far as I can tell, God is still in the salvation business, and I certainly do not want to shut them out! Encouragement has no room for condemnation.

Many of my readers have told me over the years that my devotions are written as if I am sitting across the table from them while they enjoy their morning coffee–hence the title, Coffee with God. It’s my way of acknowledging that I really don’t write these devotions. I am just holding the pen and hope that God is glorified through them.

It’s my prayer that you will enjoy the devotions that follow. I can assure you that they were written with you in mind. May you be encouraged and reminded that hope is never lost for Christians.

Mike Ruffin

August 30, 2009