He’s a Good God!

Overdrew your account and bounced five checks before you got the funds to cover it and all those overdraft charges cost you a small fortune?

Your brother heisted an old jalopy, swiped some candy bars, stole a few cartons of smokes, drove off without paying for a tank of gas, ran a red light, was chased down by the cops and arrested? After all was said and done, young Billy is in prison, and you’re going to tell me that God did this to straighten him out?

Oh puhhhleeese! Your foolish little brother got busted for his stupid, careless and dishonest behavior; these are called natural consequences.

You steal – you go to jail.

You lie – you lose trust.

You cheat – you suffer consequences.

You stick your finger on a hot skillet, you get burned.

God does NOT do bad things!!

Repeat after me: “God. Does. Not. Do. Bad. Things”.

(You fill in the blank: God does not _________”).

How do I know this? I know this because He is a LOVING God. He will NEVER leave you nor forsake you. You may insist on YOUR own way and get into tons of trouble, but He is always there. He is with you always. He sent His Son to die for us so that we may have eternal life when we deserved to die.

Back in the day, God knew, even then, that some well meaning, self-righteous person would suggest that God put little brother Billy in jail, “to teach him a lesson”. Think about it: Today, if an earthy father put his child’s finger on the stove “to teach her a lesson”, that would be deemed CHILD ABUSE! Why then do we say that God is cruel like this? He addressed such foolishness in the book of James, “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man.” (James 1:13). Why is it so hard to believe we serve a LOVING God?

When little brother Billy was sent to prison, he began to see the error of his (foolish, stupid) ways and THEN, he turned to a loving God. This young man made some very bad choices, and he landed in the pokey. But God met him where he was. God’s goodness is attractive!

My former pastor taught that God meets us where we are. If life has beaten you to pulp, God is there in the midst; turn to Him. He has never left you, and He never will.

Abba Father,

As I go about my day, thank you that you are always here, always with me. Please guide me to                     make the right choices, but when I don’t, please remind me to come back home.

I pray this in Jesus’ name, Amen.

All scripture is taken from the King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

© 2015 Cat Brennan

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FLOOD WALLS or FAITH WALLS?

Many years ago, I lived in Huntington, West Virginia.  The Ohio River separates West Virginia and Ohio; normally that mass is calm, wending its way northward and staying within its banks.

However, one year we had an abundance of rain. As one who grew up in New Mexico where we measured our rainfall in drops, rather than inches, the idea of a flood was something new. There were flood walls here and there to contain the outrageous excess of water that accumulated from a flood.

I remember being in total awe of God in that man really thought he could contain billions of gallons of water with flood walls. And to this day, man thinks he knows better than God what can be controlled and legislated and ruled.

Along this same thought process of flood walls, I am reminded me that God had the foresight to set up a system of “flood walls” for His children.  He called it ASSEMBLING (gather together, fellowship, meeting, church).

“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.”  KJV Hebrews 10:25 and in The Message: “Let’s see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on, especially as we see the bid Day approaching.”

Think about the enormous Ohio River! One lone brick (one Christian) will be swept away with a normal river flow (everyday life), not to mention FLOOD waters. But put a number of bricks (saints) together with good mortar (prayer) and the flood (adversity, pain, fear) will be pushed back or held at bay.

Jesus didn’t command us to get together on Sunday morning for His sake; He said if for ours.

Are your flood walls in place? Do you share your burdens with your brothers and sisters, or do you sit home alone with your problems and thoughts and let the flood of misery overtake you?

Are you denying someone the ability to share his or her gifts of faith or prayer or encouragement?  Or …

Do you want to find Peace that passes all understanding? Call a friend. Reach out. Ask for help. Give the family of God the opportunity to be the bricks and cement in your wall.

One or two bricks have no strength against a flood (of problems, concerns, fears, doubts), but a huge wall (your Christian friends) against this flood will help the one brick to stand strong, resist the flood and deflect the crash of waves of _______ (you fill in the blank).

© 2015 Cat Brennan (all rights reserved)

I lost a friend, but only for a little while . .

I lost a friend in May.  I’ve never actually met Donna; at least not in “person”. We became friends on Face Book only four years ago.

From the pictures I saw posted on that social outlet, she was a beautiful woman with eyes that sparkled and golden hair that was pure glory.

I’ve learned that Donna was a missionary evangelist with her husband and ministered in nearly 60 countries and nations. Further she was a Doctor of Naturopathy.

She prayed in person for people and she prayed on Face Book.  She ministered the Word in such a beautiful way.  I grew to love this woman, all that she was and all that she believed. How is this possible?  I believe it’s because we are born of the same Spirit.  We are both part of the Body of Christ.

People have said of Donna that she had “Godly insights” and that “she shared her love so very freely”.

I glanced at her Face Book page again a little while ago. There are hundreds of notes from people she impacted all over the world; many of whom she knew personally, but like I, so many notes from people who knew her only on Face Book  All of us miss her and we join in praying for her husband, sons and their families.

For those of us left behind, in the book of Revelation, John said exactly what we need to hear: “I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Rev 21: 2-4)

I don’t know what was printed on her tomb stone, but I am betting that in the Spirit, it is imprinted, “Well done dear and faithful Servant”. (Matt 25:21.23)

© 2015 Cat Brennan

This entry was posted on June 2, 2015. 5 Comments

He’s Alive ! ! !

The Resurrection: Ultimate Life Giving Experience

As I began to write this morning, the day the Christian world celebrates Good Friday, I was drawn to some precious memories, specifically that old song we sang in the choir when I was a little girl; Were You There? I remember even before I knew “who or what” Jesus was, those words had a powerful impact on me. There was motion within my soul that only God could soothe. The song still blesses me. Were YOU there when they crucified MY Lord (author’s emphasis)?

As the Easter weekend progresses, I give pause to what this means to me. I see Resurrection Day as The Ultimate Life Giving experience. A pastor-friend referred to Resurrection Day (Easter Sunday) as the Ultimate Recovery because death was defeated.
I don’t have a problem with Easter eggs, Easter bunny, and baby chick-sorts of celebrations, either. These all represent Life and all point the way toward Life and the One who gave it.
During the period of the first day of Spring to Easter, I wear a pair of green Easter Bunny earrings that belonged to my late mother-in-law. That woman did “love her some holidays”. In her healthier days, she dressed herself, her poodle, her house and her front yard in keeping with the holiday of record. She and her son had an on-going battle regarding Easter bunnies and lambs during the Easter season. You see, he is a Christian and she was a Buddhist. She gleefully razzed him with bunnies and he returned the favor with lambs.
I’ve come to the conclusion that I can wear the green bunnies with a clear conscience as a Christian and can remember better times with her while doing so. If my life and actions don’t proclaim my Christian beliefs then the jewelry I wear won’t make any difference. Green is my favorite color, along with raspberry pink, and spring just works for me. Easter is such a wonderful occasion and so much more than a holiday. Whether you’re a believer or not, this event we call Easter seems to give license to all kinds of life-loving activities including church-going and fellowship with the Body of Christ, gardening, putting away the old and cold of winter, sprouts of life, baby chicks, even Peeps TM, water-intense shenanigans and wistful wanderings through garden centers. Life is in the air. Easter is the exclamation mark that issues forth the orders, “Skedaddle, Old Winter”!

Life is what Christ came to do … He told us that He came to give us life; life more abundantly (John 10:10b). He told us, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No man comes to the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) The book of John, in particular, is full of God’s love for you and me.

 My question for you is this: What if there really is a heaven and a hell? What if Jesus really is the ONLY way to heaven?

If you have asked Him to be the Lord of your life, you’re heaven bound. If Jesus is the real thing and you don’t choose Him as your Lord, you’ll spend eternity in the fiery pit of hell. If it’s all a big hoax, you’ve lost nothing! What have you got to lose? NOTHING! Call it fire insurance, if you will. The premiums are paid in full.

I won’t belabor the ugliness and hatred that makes the headlines all in the name of Him. This has been going on for centuries and the devil is still the same liar and isn’t worthy of any space.

Jesus is all about Love, and before He left, he issued The Great Commission (John 16:15-16) .. go spread the good news. The good news, or Gospel, tells us God loves us. In fact, He loves us so much that He sent His son to die for us (John 3:16). He created us and wants fellowship with us. We’re His kids.

We, as parents, desire to spend time with our kids, don’t we? God is The Ultimate Father and head of the family, and He beckons us to come and spend time with Him.  

Come … linger … sit on the front porch and talk with Him. Wander out in the forest and take in His splendor. Step out in the moonlight along the beach and just listen for Him.  Hike a mountain top and hang out with Him.

I pray that you will realize the full impact of this beautiful season of new life. Watch as it unfolds and drink in its splendor. May you experience a Happy Easter. Enjoy the kids and their sweet frolics; be sure to save a chocolate bunny for me!  Easter Blessings to you all.

© 2010 – 2015 Cat Brennan Originally published at Cat’s Country Place (www.CatWest.Blogspot.com)

This entry was posted on April 3, 2015. 1 Comment

But God !!!

Have you ever received a promise that wasn’t kept?

Did you ever make a promise that you couldn’t keep?

Often, the one leads to disappointment; perhaps even distrust. The other can drive us to shame and guilt.

But God!!!  This is a complete thought – a complete sentence. Perhaps, “But God” is not grammatically a complete sentence or thought, but it’s all I need in times of despair, in fits of fear or in situations of sadness and in days of depression.

But God!!!

Paul wrote to the church at Ephesus about the blessings of redemption in Ephesian 2:4 – 10,

But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,  Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)  And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:  Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

Now, read these verses in The Message:

   “It wasn’t so long ago that you were mired in that old stagnant life of sin. You let the world, which doesn’t know the first thing about living, tell you how to live. You filled your lungs with polluted unbelief, and then exhaled disobedience. We all did it, all of us doing what we felt like doing, when we felt like doing it, all of us in the same boat. It’s a wonder God didn’t lose his temper and do away with the whole lot of us. Instead, immense in mercy and with an incredible love, he embraced us. He took our sin-dead lives and made us alive in Christ. He did all this on his own, with no help from us! Then he picked us up and set us down in highest heaven in company with Jesus, our Messiah.  Now God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It’s God’s gift from start to finish! We don’t play the major role. If we did, we’d probably go around bragging that we’d done the whole thing! No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and saving. He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing” (vv 1 – 10).

Think about it! Before you were born or were thought about; before your parents, even your great grandparent were born, you were “made right” with Christ.

Before you cheated on your wife.

Before you stole that ream of paper from the office.

Before you lied to your boyfriend.

Even then… you were made right in Christ. You were made clean to stand before a Holy God.

There are no strings attached to God’s promises and there is ONLY ONE thing you must do to receive – only ONE thing you can do:

You must accept this gift; this gift that is freely offered and freely given.

It cannot be bought and it cannot be sold.

The world says you must work for your salvation. God says the work has already been done.

The world says “you get what you pay for”. God says what you get has already been paid for.

All of God’s promises are Yes!!! and Amen!!!  Paul was very clear when he wrote to the church at Corinth in his second letter, Chapter 1, verse 20, For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.”  The Amplified Bible reads, “For as many as are the promises of God, they all find their Yes

in Him [Christ]. For this reason we also utter the Amen (so be it) to God through Him [in His Person and by His agency] to the glory of God.” And The Message simply states, “Whatever God has promised gets stamped with the Yes of Jesus. In him, this is what we preach and pray, the great Amen, God’s Yes and our Yes together, gloriously evident. God affirms us, making us a sure thing in Christ, putting his Yes within us. By his Spirit he has stamped us with his eternal pledge—a sure beginning of what he is destined to complete” (vv 20 – 22).

Does God love you? YES!!! Did Jesus freely die that you may spend eternity with Him? Yes!!!

Please, stop whatever you’re doing and ask God to forgive you of all your sins. Simply tell God you want to accept what Jesus did for you.

Yes, your eternal place with God in heaven is as simple as that.

Now, ask God what He wants you to do; then sit quietly and listen. If you can trust God for your eternal life, you can trust Him to lead you today.

All His promises are yes and amen – if you have any questions, remember this simple and complete statement:

But God!!!

 

All scriptures are taken from the King James Version (KJV) unless otherwise noted.

© 2014 Cat Brennan

This entry was posted on August 4, 2014. 3 Comments

Plan ‘A’ or Plan ‘B’

I have been among the missing for the past 2 weeks in the writing world.  Life, that is L I F E , happened.  There aren’t enough esses in B U S Y  to describe the last 2 weeks.  However, lest you think otherwise, I am NOT complaining.  As a matter of fact, just the opposite.

My family celebrated the first birthday of my first great granddaughter, along with birthdays for 3 granddaughters, a niece and some friends. My first born will celebrate his 50th birthday the end of this month.

Additionally, my dad’s side of the family gathered in West Virginia at my cousin’s farm for our first reunion in 9 years. We are scattered from *New Mexico to New York* and many parts in between.  Our presence was four generations deep.

Still, my writing, my country blog and this web site, Collateral Grace, have suffered. Do I go to Plan B? or Do I go back to … ? Good question.

I believe that God has a single plan for my life and yours as well. Jeremiah 29:11 reads, For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”  Or, how about this translation from The Message, Jeremiah 29:10-11, “This is God’s Word on the subject: “As soon as Babylon’s seventy years are up and not a day before, I’ll show up and take care of you as I promised and bring you back home. 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.”

I don’t think that God has a Plan B.

I don’t think God is ever surprised when we do something that is out of His plan.

But, He is faithful and just to forgive …“ Jeremiah 31:34b reads: saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”

Come. Now. Come back to your calling. Just as the prodigal son came running back to his father, it is just and good and right for you to come running back to your Father.  Get on with The Plan.

Father, forgive me, for I have sinned.  Help me to stay on the path and the plan that You have for me. I am praying, in Your son’s precious Name, Amen.

*I just realized a mistake here – we are scattered from Washington State to New York*.  So sorry for this error, Kay.

This entry was posted on July 22, 2014. 1 Comment

There’s an App for That!

Smart Phones are among the latest and greatest technology.  There’s almost no end to what they can do (sans wash the dishes).  Some of the new phones are just totally amazing. Need directions to your boss’s home? There’s an app for that!  Need to know how to prepare Saltimbocca? There’s an app for that.  Insert slash pockets in a pair of slacks, throw some pottery or make adobe bricks? There’s an app for that. 

Head to the doctor for migraines or pneumonia or a sore throat? There’s a pill for that!  Coughing, sneezing and allergies? There’s a drug or a pill or a spray for that!

But, what about those other aches and pains?  The one you can’t see? Are you wounded beyond belief? Does your heart hurt? Are you lonely even in a crowded room? Are you so depressed that all you do is hide behind closed doors and hope no one comes by? Are you frustrated, annoyed, irritated or wounded? There’s an app for that!

That app is Jesus Christ, the Rock, the Son, Redeemer and Friend

The late Dotty Rambo wrote and recorded “I Go To The Rock” (you may remember the version that Whitney Houston covered in “The Preacher’s Wife).  The song celebrates who YOU can run to no matter what kind of junk this life throws at you.  In Matthew 11:28 – 30, Jesus beckons, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”  Or, read it in The Message translation, “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.”

Back in the Old Testament, David was being chased, hounded and running for his life, so he cried out, “The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.  I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.  The sorrows of death compassed me, and the floods of ungodly men made me afraid.” (Psalms 18:2-4). He knew whom to call on – He knew who the app was.

If you’ve been backed into a corner and you’re holding your heart in your hands, go to the only One who really knows exactly how you feel.  Isaiah wrote the prophecy 700 years before Christ walked out his own broken heart, “He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.” (Isaiah 53:3).

I pray that you run, don’t walk, to Jesus. You can do it right now! You don’t need to use fancy language or someone to “go between” – Jesus did that on the cross. If you don’t know where to begin or what to say, a simple, “Help me, Jesus” is a great Conversation starter.  That’s your app!