A List of ONE: How Not to be Miserable

A little while ago, I read a delightful article in Guidepost™ Magazine’s online newsletter titled, Be still and know that I am God. It was one of those moments. You know, one of those times when I knew that God was speaking to me to change my mind; perhaps my attitude also. Actually, He got my attention quite easily (this time).

While being still, I remembered that one thing that always draws me closer to God; that always instills peace. That list of ONE.

It’s really rather easy, if one has the courage to break an old and very bad habit of complaining or grumbling or griping or, or, or . . .

Are you ready for it? Okay, here goes: G R A T I T U D E!! Being thankful (grateful) in the midst of daily life or messes and finding something for which to be grateful. I talked to my “in-Illinois” daughter recently and we lamented about some people who are negative and constantly complaining. Let’s face it; we all know people who have a problem for every solution or a dilemma for every act. Here in America, we have so much – we are so wealthy – that we overlook the obvious. Let’s see what that looks like.

You have a bed to sleep in.

You woke up this morning.

You had food for breakfast.

Get the idea? Sound too simple?

To get rid of a bad habit, you must create a new one. There are all kinds of statistics that indicate how long and how often one must do x-y-z to accomplish a-b-c, but that’s not important. Just. Do. It.

Put a sticky note or a sign on your bathroom mirror, or on the coffee maker or tea kettle, or on your laptop, or on your phone or on the dashboard of your car to remind you to be grateful. If you can’t think of anything new, it’s okay to repeat the gratitude from yesterday. The point is to change your attitude of goofy grumbling and thinking, to one of joyful gratitude. And it will happen. EVERY time you start to grumble, change it into thanks or gratitude.

Scripture is clear about this. In I Thessalonians 5:18, we read:  In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you (KJV). Look at this lighter interpretation of the same verse from The Message:  Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live.

If you wake up in the morning with a backache, be grateful you can get out of bed.

If that noisy alarm clock woke you up on time, be thankful you have a job to go to.

If the kids were too noisy, be grateful for those little beings.

Remember these bits of wisdom: If life gives you lemons, make lemonade. If life gives you scraps, make a quilt. And, my own: If life throws mud at you, make pottery – better yet, make mud bricks and build a house.

Try it. See if your heart isn’t lighter. Regularly check to see if you need a gratitude adjustment.

Here’s my gratitude list for today:

I’m thankful for this Joyful Christmas season.

I’m grateful for all of my grandchildren.

I’m thankful for my great granddaughter.

I’m grateful for my children.

What are you grateful for?

 

© 2015 Cat Brennan

FOUR (4) Names God Has Given You

When a baby is born, he is usually given a first and a middle name. Occasionally only a first name, and sometimes he is saddled with a hyphenated last name. And just think! God knew your name from the beginning of time and He has added more.

To clarify, there are many names that God has given you, but for this devotion, I will concentrate on one (1) verse and one verse only. The King James (KJV) name is the lead quote and the New International Version (NIV) is in parentheses.

1.) Chosen generation (chosen people)

2.) Royal priesthood (royal priesthood)

3.) Holy nation (holy nation)

4.) Peculiar people (God’s special possession).

In olden times, names were chosen for whom the parents believed that baby would be. (For instance, God told Sarah to name her baby Isaac, which means laughter, because she laughed when the angel told her she would conceive – Sarah was very old when Isaac was born). YOU were chosen by God, to be a royal priest in a holy nation and you are peculiar/special.

Think about it! The God of the universe has given you four different names in one verse. He called you these wonderful names so that you will praise Him because He has called you out of the dark and into the light. He has many more wonderful monikers for you and we’ll adress those at a later date.

If you struggle with your identity or if you have come to believe that you are worthless, please read this short list again.

“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” 1 Peter 2:19 (KJV)

“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”1 Peter 2:9 (NIV)

© 2015Cat Brennan

His Plans

Do you know what your life plan is? Have you come up with a plan on your own, or have you consulted God? There’s a country song with a cute line that seems to be apropos: “If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans.”

God wants only good things for you. Ask Him what you should be doing and tell Him what you want; remember what Jeremiah said: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)

Sometimes you simply have to press in until you hear from God. Sometimes you have to stay on the path you have begun and continue until you hear differently. Sometimes you wait.

But know this: God will not strike you down or smack you in the head at a mistake! If you start down the wrong path, He will let you know,He will gently nudge  you; it’s YOUR choice to listen and follow or listen and ignore, but it IS your choice. Don’t mistake your errors for Him testing you. 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 King James Version)

Don’t flippantly say that the devil made you do it. If you are a follower and lover of Christ, the devil CANNOT make you do anything. He has no more power over you other than that which YOU allow. Remember, the lying weasel was defeated at the cross.

Father God, Thank you for your love, mercy and grace. I pray that Your will is accomplished in my life and all of those who will ask You. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

*Tempted, tested, tried, scrutinized, enticed. Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance #3985

© 2015 Cat Brennan

Four Steps to His Peace That Passes All Understanding

“And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:7 KJV)

Anxiety seems to infiltrate our daily lives like mold after a flood; make no mistake! Anxiety, if left unchecked, can be as insidious as black mold.

How can I not be anxious? In Scripture, we read: Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. (Philippians 4:6 NIV)

(1)           Pray in EVERY situation.

(2)           Yes, in E V E R Y situation, pray

(3)           Yes, in every situation, place your petitions before God

(4)           Pray with thanksgiving, As you present your requests to God.

If it sounds simple and easy, that’s because it is! You need not approach God as though He were unapproachable: “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16 KJV)

You’re His child, made in His image and set free by His only begotten Son: So God created an in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” (Genesis 1:27)

As a Christ Follower, you have every right to ask God for your needs. “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6 KJV)

Let us pray.

Father, thank you for the life you’ve given me, for my home, my children, my grandchildren, great grandchild and all of their families. Thank You, Lord that you love me and care for me; that you love them all even more than I do. Please watch over all of my children. You know their needs, their hurts and their desires. Bless them with your wisdom. It’s in Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

All Scriptures is quoted from the King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

© 2015 Cat Brennan

This entry was posted on October 10, 2015. 2 Comments

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

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