Archive | May 2014

The Forgotten Can of Vegetables

Memorial Day is just about over. The flags have been brought in and it’s back to school or work tomorrow.  For a few hours, this country took time out to honor our fallen heroes; the ones who gave their all so that we can have it all.  These brave men and women gave their lives for our freedom and Christ gave His all so that we may have eternal life.  This is what Jesus said as stated in the book of John, chapter 10 I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.  10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.  11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.”

Will anyone remember those fallen heroes tomorrow or next week, or will it be another year when Memorial Day rolls around again before we stop for a few moments to honor those lost lives?

In the 1940’s, it was WWII and Pearl Harbor.  Our Naval base in Hawaii was brutally attacked. Lives were lost. And we erected memorials and I’m sure many prayers were said.

And then, all was forgotten.

Then there was Korea.

And Vietnam.

Not only were those “conflicts” buried, the returning soldiers were badly treated.

In the 1990’s, the US Military struggled with Gulf Storm and the Gulf war. I remember it like it was yesterday.  During that time, I worked at a Christian Radio Station.  All of us were seriously tuned in to the spiritual warfare that was going on in the mid east. And we prayed. And our listeners prayed. And our various program ministries prayed. We even recorded some heart-felt prayers from some of the pastors and aired them throughout the days and weeks.

And then, all was forgotten.

Then, in 2001, the unspeakable happened. The United States was viciously attacked at home on our own soil. NINE – ELEVEN happened. 9/11. Terrorists tried to break us. Terrorists tried to destroy us. Terrorist flew into our Twin Towers. Terrorists flew into the Pentagon. Let’s Roll© was uttered. Terrorists took many lives that day. We prayed and we cried. Many memorials were erected all over the country.  Numerous songs were written and sung.

And then, nearly all was forgotten.

So much has been forgotten; so much has been stuck up on a high cabinet shelf like an unwanted can of vegetables.

Let us not put Christ up on that shelf and forget Him.

Run to God when times are rough .. absolutely! See Matthew 11:28, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”  The Message says it very well, “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. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

But remember to praise God in the good times, too. In I Thessalonians 5:18, Paul exhorts us, “In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” And in the old testament, 1 Chronicles 16:25a, “For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised.”

I’ve heard it said the best way to keep a bible dusted it to use it. Let’s take our bibles down off the high shelf and use them!

Thank You, Father, that you patiently wait for us to run to you again and again. Forgive us Lord, for stowing you away like a can of green beans.  Thank you for life, life more abundant than we can ever imagine.

 

All scriptures are from the King James Version unless otherwise stated.

©2014 Cat Brennan

What’s Down in Your Well?

What you think of me is none of my business!  That’s a mouth full of wisdom!

This short quote served to turn around and improve much of my thinking. I was raised with a lot of the old south traditions, many of which are just down right harsh. I have difficulty ridding myself of some of them, but I’ve learned that I don’t need to tell you or anyone else, for that matter, what I think.

One of the “rules” that was pounded into my being was, “do not wear white shoes after Labor Day or before Easter!” Sound familiar?

Do you call someone mean? Do you suggest that a certain person gossips relentlessly? Have you said that so-and-so is a liar?

Be very careful with your judgments. If you’re drawing a conclusion about someone’s behavior, that is judging! And judging is not ours to do!

Jesus was very clear about this in Matthew, Chapter 7:1-5, “Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults— unless, of course, you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging. It’s easy to see a smudge on your neighbor’s face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own. Do you have the nerve to say, ‘Let me wash your face for you,’ when your own face is distorted by contempt? It’s this whole traveling road-show mentality all over again, playing a holier-than-thou part instead of just living your part. Wipe that ugly sneer off your own face, and you might be fit to offer a washcloth to your neighbor.” (The Message)

My own example is beyond “the ridiculous”.  I am the first to admit that I’m an impatient driver.  I get upset and fuss at drivers who don’t let me in, or cut me off or daydream at a green light!  Seems like every single time I gripe at a driver for, let’s say, cutting me off, guess what? In the next few minutes, invariably, I’ve cut off another! (Grrrrr). And every time, the Holy Spirit gently reminds me not to judge the next driver who infringes on ‘my’ territory.

Think about it and think hard on it. The next time you decide to judge someone a gossip, stop and listen to your next conversation.  Are you repeating something you have been told in confidence? Or, worse yet, are you suggesting to a third-party that so-an-so was at such-and-such a place and guessed at what bad thing that person was doing? The next time you judge someone mean, how have you just treated your husband or wife or sister or best friend (Did you just say ouch?).

Gossip, lying, bossing and judging another will bite you every time.

You’ve heard this one, “What goes around, comes around.” And here’s another, “What is down in the well, comes up in the bucket.”  It’s true! If you give good gifts and use good words, these good things will come back to you. If you are harsh or mean or bossy or cruel or stingy, those negatives will return to haunt you! It is one of God’s universal laws that affects all people in all walks of life all of the time.

Have you noticed how a stranger responds when you smile at him? Or how a lady responds when you give her an honest compliment? Men and women alike respond in kind to kind treatment.

Think long on Jesus words in Luke 6:45, “The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart.” (NAS)

And, James 3:11,“ Doth a fountain send forth from the same place sweet water and bitter?”  If your heart is in the right place, your words will be too.

What’s in your heart? Judgment or mercy? Harshness or Grace? Death of Life?  Darkness or Light?

I pray you choose Light.

 

Scriptures quoted are from the King James Version unless otherwise noted.

 

© 2014 Cat Brennan

Turn the Cat Around

Do you know what ‘nap’ is?  I’m not talking about an afternoon siesta or mommies resting time when baby takes a wee sleep. 

No, I’m referring to fabric nap. Some fabrics have a definitive nap or direction, such as corduroy, velvet or velveteen, suede and other plush fabrics.  If they are put together with the nap going opposite directions, the finished piece looks foreign, and almost as though it’s made from two different fabrics. 

Funny thing about nap; if the pieces are all cut with the nap going the same direction, the finished garment will look gorgeous, even fluid.

People seem to have nap, too. Put a few women together in a small group setting, and as long as they are all going the same direction, they will flow, but if one of those ladies is going elsewhere, you might have chaos.

Scripture teaches about the body of Christ. The body is a singular word, but when used in this manner, the body is made up of many parts all going the same direction, and is therefore singular in dimension.  These parts are not all the same and they don’t all come from the same place, but when they go toward Christ together, they flow and are fluid in motion.

If a person is out of sync, or rubbed the wrong way, like the nap of a piece of fabric, the group will suffer. If one person wants to go one direction, but the whole is going another, the Spirit may be quenched. 

In the first book of Thessalonians, Paul is speaking to the church in Thessalonica, admonishing them with some ‘common sense’. He says, in 1 Thessalonians, Chapter 5, “16 Rejoice evermore. 17 Pray without ceasing. 18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. 19 Quench not the Spirit. 20 Despise not prophesyings. 21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. 22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.”  Quenching the Spirit causes all kinds of havoc and peace is not attainable.

Human beings that we are, we will never agree on everything this side of heaven, but we must not be in such disagreement as to quench the Spirit.  We must not let discord creep in or false teaching to invade.

Are you in a small group? Perhaps your church has small groups, or you have simply found fellowship with other like believers.  Stay the course and keep your destiny in mind; the destiny to be One in Christ.  Strive for that perfect peace that is written about in Philippians 4:7 “And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

I once heard an old country preacher say it like this: If you’re not in agreement or don’t like the message, turn the cat around and stroke it the other way. 

 

All scriptures are taken from the King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

 

© 2014 Cat Brennan

Are you Grinding Gears?

Have you heard about Plan B?  Often, this is the first thing one hears when something doesn’t work out; let’s go to ‘Plan B’. God doesn’t have a Plan B. He had a PLAN! Actually, He has a PLAN!  Jeremiah 29:11 says so! I like the way the Amplified Bible reads, “For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome.” And The Message reads, “I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.” Knowing that God has a plan for me makes life simpler, easier and with so much less stress. Don’t look back at what ‘might have been’ or ‘what could have been’. As a sweet friend once told me, “Don’t should on yourself.” Shoulda-coulda-woulda gets me nowhere! God has a good and perfect Plan for each one of us. So, what about all those times I ran from or ignored God and did my own thing, you ask? Do NOT go back. Go TO God. He will set you straight and your journey can continue with Him. Think about it this way. While driving a car, you occasionally look at the rear view mirror(s), but your main attraction is in front of you. If you drive down I-70 at 70 MPH, always staring into the tiny rear view mirror, what do you think might happen?  There’s a reason the rear view mirror is small and the forward/front-looking-through-windshield is large. Keep your eyes on the road ahead and on the prize. In Philippians 3, we read in verses 13b and 14 not to look back, but to look forward. “..but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” It couldn’t be clearer than this.  If we dwell in the past, we will be downtrodden – we’ll be stuck in the muck and mire, but don’t let this beat you up or down.  Repent! Turn yourself around, talk to God candidly and go forward.  Let Him lead you to the goal and the prize(s) He has for you. A fun little car has a SINGLE gear for Reverse and perhaps 3 or 4 or 5 for going forward. Just like a car, we start out slowly, heading for the prize, changing gears as need be. As we get closer, we gain speed, climbing up that hill or around that curve. Choose God and go forward. You may “grind a few gears” but you’re still moving forward.

All scriptures are taken from the King James Version, except where otherwise noted.

 

© 2014 Cat Brennan