Archive | March 2014

Have You Been Thrown Away? Fear Not!

Many years ago, I saw a television show starring Tony Franciosa. His character was a handsome, private detective who often got into serious trouble. In one episode, he messed with the wrong people and after a sound beating, landed in a dumpster.  When his character came to, his line that I will never forget was, “I’ve been thrown away.”

Have you ever felt this way? Perhaps felt as though no one loved you? Maybe a relationship has gone sour and you felt tossed aside? Maybe life in general is just hard!  I have good news for you.

God will never leave you or forsake you.  It’s true!  In Hebrews 13:5b, we read, “for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”  The Message translation reads like this: “Since God assured us, ‘I’ll never let you down, never walk off and leave you,’ we can boldly quote.”
If ever there were a good promise, this is one! You can take it to the bank!

How many times have you wondered to yourself, “God, are you there?” Or have you just asked out loud, “Where are you God?”  STOP! Stop and listen.

Personally, I don’t ask God rhetorical questions.  When I ask Him something, it’s because I want an answer. Okay, so He hasn’t yet explained where all the dinosaurs went, or if there ever were such a thing as a unicorn.   And He hasn’t EVER told me who will win the World Series, but He does respond to the important things in life.

There is so much pain and suffering in the world and I surely don’t have all the answers, but I do know Who does .. every time .. all the time.

When Moses was about one-hundred and twenty years old, his time was almost up; he would not lead Israel into the Promised Land.  Moses wanted to make sure the Israelites were ready to go in with Joshua.  In the Old Testament in the book of Deuteronomy 31:6, Moses told his people, “Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.”

After the death of Moses, the Lord God spoke to Joshua and told him to take the people and cross over the Jordan into the land He had given them. And yet again, God promised in Joshua 1:5 “There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.”

Do you see what God is telling His people?  He is saying that He will never leave us or forsake us and He is telling us to FEAR NOT.

Over and over in the scriptures we are reminded that He is with us.  Why, the Old Testament prophet told us that Jesus would be named Immanuel in Isaiah 7:14, and Matthew quoted that scripture in chapter 1 and verse 23: “Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.” 

Jesus’ name tells us He is with us.

These are promises we can grab for ours and hold onto.

I’ve heard it said there are over 365 “fear nots” in the bible; some go on to say that is one for every day of the year. I’ve not counted them, but if there are so many, it’s a foregone conclusion that to fear not must be important.

Moms and Dads tell their little ones not to be afraid of the dark or the storm because “I am here and I won’t go off and leave you.”

This is exactly what God is saying to His people.
Fear not, for I am with you. I will never leave you or forsake you.

Take these Words and make them yours.

When the world is coming down on you, the bills are piling up, you see no hope and no way out . . . you might want to pray something like this:

Dear Lord, Your Word says that you will never leave me or forsake me.  Right now, I stand on your word, I claim your word that tells me to fear not, for You are with me.  Thank you, Father for your love and mercy, and it’s in your Son’s name I pray, Amen.

And then, wait upon the Lord.

 

All scriptures taken from the King James version unless otherwise noted.

Immanuel and Emmanuel are interchangeable.

© 2014 Cat Brennan

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Chocolate or Calico

Vegetable Soup, A Crazy Quilt, Trail Mix, United States of America, Smorgasbord; what do all of these have in common?

Each one requires a number of different things to make the whole or the sum.

Take vegetable soup, for instance. It’s made up of a variety of vegetables, including potatoes, onions, carrots, tomatoes and celery and maybe even a beef soup bone. It is slowly simmered in liquid, salted and peppered, and after a few hours, it becomes soup. Each one of the ingredients is good by itself, but all together they create a hearty and savory winter meal.

Then, imagine a quilt; in particular, a crazy-patch-quilt. You can choose colors from blue, red, pink, yellow, green and maybe even some orange or purple; lovely cotton fabrics in solids or pretty little prints, calicoes and checks.  Each is lovely. All put together with tiny and careful, perfect stitches and an heirloom has been created.

And Trail Mix. Well, that one is easy. Trail mix is generally a collection of dried fruit and a lot of nuts. No further explanation is needed here beyond recognizing the sweet fruits and the salty nuts!  Sounds like a family to me!

Now, look to the United States. We are fifty separately-bordered communities called States.  We have people from every walk of life, nationality, color, size and shape. Most of us speak “English”, and yet we don’t. We have accents and diction and crazy-speak and trash-talk. We have deserts and beaches, frigid conditions and sunny skies, mountains and sand dunes, prairies and dense forests. But the sum of all the parts makes up this land of the free and the home of the brave!

If life gives you lemons, make lemon-aide. It life hands you scraps, make quilts.  These aren’t original, but they are good lessons.

The Scriptures teach us ‘to come out of the world’ and yet ‘forsake not the assembling of yourselves’.  Read Romans 12:2 “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.  And in Hebrews, 10:25 “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”

Our Christian gatherings are these smorgasbords of many parts. The Church isn’t a building or a fancy cathedral. The Church is the Body of Christ; the body or collection of believers. We are black and white, brown and yellow, red and tan. We are rich and poor and we are male and female.

No one, no not one of us, is perfect, yet together we make up an amazing force.

Have you ever made a chocolate cake? Your basic recipe calls for cocoa, eggs, oil, liquid, salt, baking powder, vanilla and flour. Now, if you make this cake with only 2 teaspoons of flour, it’s going to be a soupy mess! If you leave out the baking powder, the cake will be flat and with no cocoa, your cake won’t be chocolate.  However, all of these ingredients in appropriate portions make a scrumptious dessert.

The church is the sum of its parts. Not soupy or flat or flavorless. The church needs all of its parts to function as a whole. It needs all the cotton fabrics of every shape and design, every color under the sun. The church is made of all these differences; potatoes and carrots, calicoes and solids, chocolate and flour.

With all these differences, we still are one body; Jesus calls unto all of us. Listen, can you hear Him? He’s calling out in Matthew 11:28 “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”  So very simply, The Message tells us, “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest.

 

Unless otherwise noted, all Scriptures are taken from the King James Version.

© 2014 Cat Brennan

FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE

“From Russia with Love” conjures up many images, such as James Bond played by Sean Connery or M16, or SPECTRE or Dr. No.  You’re not alone with this piece of mind-painting on an imaginary canvass. 

However, that’s not where we’re going, nor are we off to the Winter Olympics or to see Vladimir Putin.  We’re serving tea!

Back in the late ‘60’s, I discovered a recipe for what was then called Russian Tea. Anyone who ever came to my home was introduced to ‘my’ tea.  Over time, I adjusted the recipe with a bit of this and a dab of that to make it mine.  One of my nieces asked if I could make it decaf and I did.  What an excellent suggestion that was.

To this very day, I give gifts of the tea in plain plastic bags or pretty containers or even glass jars. I like to present a bride-to-be with ‘my tea’ and 2 mugs for the newlyweds to enjoy; in the winter, I include my special Hot Cocoa mix (but that’s a different story for another day).

A few years ago, I gave some of my ‘Spiced Tea’ (as I had begun to call it) to a sweet friend whom I knew at my church.  One day, the lovely Sabrina sent me a note referring to the tea she was now calling her Serenity. Time for another name change; I now call it SereniTea©.  But that’s not the end of the story.

Not only did Sabrina love my tea, but she shared it with her cousin, Bryant who was in the Military serving in Iraq.  Sabrina says, “Although Bryant is now retired, he still loves the tea and he wants more.”

There are many ways to ‘love your brother’, and I liked the way Sabrina showed her cousin the love of Christ half way around the world by sharing her tea.

Thank you, Bible Gate Way* for making the Scriptures so readily available, like this one from The Message:1 Peter 4L8-11  Everything in the world is about to be wrapped up, so take nothing for granted. Stay wide-awake in prayer. Most of all, love each other as if your life depended on it. Love makes up for practically anything. Be quick to give a meal to the hungry, a bed to the homeless—cheerfully. Be generous with the different things God gave you, passing them around so all get in on it: if words, let it be God’s words; if help, let it be God’s hearty help. That way, God’s bright presence will be evident in everything through Jesus, and he’ll get all the credit as the One mighty in everything—encores to the end of time. Oh, yes!”

Loving your neighbor and showing hospitality can be as simple as a cup of tea or sending a gift off to a faraway land, but do it!  You never know who might show up at your door, as Paul tells us in Hebrews 13:2, Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.”

 

 *www.BibleGateway.com

King James Version used throughout unless otherwise noted.

© 2014 Cat Brennan

Are There Worms in Your Apples?

O.M.G.  She’s so ugly. Man, he’s really way too loud. And those teeth; did he buy them at the Halloween store? Have you ever heard any of these things? We really hoped for a boy this time, but it’s another girl. You’re too skinny. You’re too pale, or too black or too smart or too stupid. Have you believed any one these things all your life and now wonder why you have no self esteem?

Life tells us to suck it up! Get over it! Deal! There’s a little ditty that I grew up with, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me.” Yeah, that’s another lie from the pit. Do you know why? Because, words do hurt.

Don’t take my word for it. Go back to the bible. God spoke the world into existence. The first chapter of the book of Genesis is full of phrases such as, “And God said” or “and God called.” When Jesus was in the wilderness, I’ve no doubt that He could have smacked the devil “upside the head’’, and been done with him, but no, He spoke The Word to the serpent. He said, “it is written”. Words. Spoken. Life giving words. Or Life taking words.

Scripture teaches us in Romans 10:17, “so then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Read and study the Bible. Then, use what you learn in the Bible. Speak it so you can hear it.

Have you heard of self-fulfilling prophecy? Or, shot himself in the foot? It can happen. Our words really are very powerful. You can talk yourself into something you may not want.

Conversely, have you ever come upon a total stranger, complimented that person on a hairdo, or a coat or the shoes? Did you see her face light up?

My firstborn son was given a brand new bike when he was 5, but he couldn’t ride it. After a few tries, he gave up, but he informed me that when he turned 6 he would ride it. And he did. The morning he turned 6, he got on the 2 wheeler and rode!

Sticks and stones can break your bones? I’ve never actually broken a bone, but my soul has been stepped on, mangled and twisted. Words DO hurt.

The minute you hear something hurtful, stop! That’s right, Stop. That. Very. Minute. Remind yourself OUT LOUD just who you really are.

Do you know who you are?

You’re a King’s kid. Galatians 3:26 tells us, “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.”

Your Big Brother sits at the right hand of Almighty God. In Hebrews 1:3, you can read, “Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.

You are chosen by the Father. Read it in Ephesians 1:4 “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love.”

You’re the head and not the tail, you’re more than a conqueror, you’re complete in Christ and you are righteous and holy. These are only a few of more than 100 scriptures that define who you are as a believer in Christ.

Speak out, but speak in love. “Say what you mean, mean what you say, but don’t say it mean.”

In Luke 6:45, Jesus said, “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.” The Message reads this way, ““You don’t get wormy apples off a healthy tree, nor good apples off a diseased tree. The health of the apple tells the health of the tree. You must begin with your own life-giving lives. It’s who you are, not what you say and do, that counts. Your true being brims over into true words and deeds.”

Ask God to remove those ugly words that have been spoken to you and then, the pain they caused. He will, you know.

I’m a King’s kid.

My big Brother sits at the right hand of God.

I am chosen by the Father.

Say it! Hear it! Believe it!

 

All scripture, unless otherwise noted, are taked from The King James Version

 

© 2014 Cat Brennan

 

This entry was posted on March 4, 2014. 4 Comments