Tag Archive | God

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)

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Pickles to Promises

Do you know why the Bible has survived for so many years? It’s simple, really. Unlike so much “literature”, the Bible is a living document, an agreement or testament to God’s faithfulness; of His love for the people He created.  Think of it this way.  If you enter into a covenant of marriage with another, that is a sealed statement and cannot be broken outside of a divorce court.  The covenant God made with His people has not yet been ‘fulfilled’ or and until such a time, it cannot be broken.

On November 11, 1620, the colonists entered into an agreement* with God, dedicating this continent to Him.  Men have said we are not a Christian country, and, while it’s true that many have denied and even cursed God, as long as there is one living, breathing Christian in this land, God WILL honor this covenant.  According to His holy word, He has to!  Numbers 23:19a states,“God is not a man, that he should lie;”

Have you read the scriptures?  They are all true. All of the promises made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob belong to Christ and if you are in Christ, if you have accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior of your life, all of these promises are yours also.  READ the scriptures carefully. If you have difficulty with the King James Version, and many people do, select the New King James or the New International Version. The Message is excellent for understanding the heart of the words.

I got into a financial pickle a while back and I chose the way of the Lord. I reminded God that His word says that He will supply everything I need; read it in Philippians 4:19 “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Rather than whining or fussing, I just “prayed His Word”.  In Hebrews 4:16  He also tells us to BOLDLY approach Him “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”

No, money didn’t float down from the sky; that would interfere with the economy of the day. And, no, I didn’t win the lottery (I understand you have to buy a ticket for a chance to win).  What happened was that He used people who were able to help me, and through them, He did supply all my needs.  Through Him we were all blessed.  The pickles were put back into the jar, my needs were met and I have four new tires on my car!

Then, the special touches, the little extras, the lagniappe began to arrive. After my needs were met, it seemed as though God wanted to make sure that I knew He cared about me in the little things too!  I got a birthday discount and went out to lunch with a friend at a cost of next to nothing. I got a gift certificate from my favorite Quilting Store (whoopee!!!).  Just a few days ago, I met a friend “for coffee” and when I handed my rewards card to the cashier, she said that I was eligible for a free birthday pastry and a free beverage, so that “coffee” cost me nothing!

Coincidence? I don’t think so. I know the Word of God is alive and well today and I believe that God is just waiting to bless us with His love and His presence. I believe that His presence is full of His presents!

Do you have some ‘pickles’ of your own? God will see to your needs too! Run to Him.

All scriptures are King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

© 2014 Cat Brennan

*to read the full context of the document, go to this link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mayflower_Compact

SMOKE and MIRRORs

It seems to me that God is on a mission to improve me.  Me, Catherine. It’s true!  Because God created me, He loves me just the way I am. However, He loves me too much to leave me the way I am.  I’m a willing subject; I’m not going kicking and scratching (at least not yet).  I’m not even holding on tightly to my pan of Applesauce Bars, the likes of which I can devour in two days!  Or Christie’s Chocolate Sheet Cake that might last maybe three days.  I’ve even avoided the two delicious, glazed original Krispy Kreme™ donuts when the *hot* light is on.

He and I have begun some new and exciting challenges in the beginning of the year 2014. I’ve discovered that not only does He listen to my innermost thoughts and my vocal prayers, He acts on them, in His perfect time.

I’ve never made any New Year’s resolutions, at least none that I recall.  I never saw the point. In my experience, no one I knew kept them, so why bother lying to myself?  If you make New Year’s resolutions, that’s great!  However, I’ve found myself doing some things differently.

God has an almost ‘magical’  way of listening to my prayers, then acting on them and implementing His Plan oh-so-gently.  These changes are not about vanity; they are all for my good, and include better and healthier eating choices and habits, goal setting and better time management. No! that’s a stretch. Delete “better”.. and simply write, Time Management.

I mentioned vanity.  I don’t believe there is anything wrong with wanting to look good, feel good and be happy.  These are innate behaviors among human beings. But there comes a point when the ridiculous just takes over.

Ecclesiastes 1:1-3 The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem. Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity. What profit hath a man of all his labour which he taketh under the sun?” The Message™ Bible refers to vanity as “Smoke! All smoke”. Another calls it futility!

How about Smoke and Mirrors? Now there’s a mouthful! Deception? Fraudulent? Misrepresentation? Dishonesty? These may be strong words, but are they true?  Think about the ads you see on television for: wrinkle reducer, bust augmentation, hair color, lift up, push out, squish in, rearrange, shave this, cut that. Smoke and mirrors. Vanity of vanities .. all is Vanity.  Thus spoke Solomon and he was counted the wisest of all. 

I once knew a woman who got up early every morning before her husband to put on her makeup and fix her hair. He never ever saw her without her being perfectly groomed; she wouldn’t allow it.  I’ll be the first to acknowledge that I put my ‘best foot forward’ when meeting someone new or going out.  But, REALLY???  Not letting your husband see the real you? (No, the marriage didn’t last).

How does all of this relate in today’s world?  What can we do? I don’t think it’s all that difficult. Jesus taught, and we read in the book of Matthew 6:31-34  “Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?  (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.  But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”

 Paul spoke well of this, also, in Romans 12:2And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that goodand acceptableand perfect, will of God.”

Here is the reality of a life in Christ. When all is said and done, John said is all too well in Revelation 21:4 “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”

Take out my name, Catherine, and replace it with yours.  Put YOUR name above in the scriptures and let God show you His perfect way. Please remember that His perfect way is from PURE love and NOT condemnation.  If you ever feel condemnation, run to the nearest exit! do not pass go! That is NOT the voice of God.

Smoke and Mirrors?  Or a life IN Christ? You decide.

 

© 2014 Cat Brennan

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

Annie, The Pound Puppy

After a sixteen day vacation, I was ready to come home. I had such a wonderful time in New Mexico and managed to see nearly all of the people I wanted to see.  I spent a lot of time with family members and almost as much time with assorted friends.  The many reunions were blessings.   I experienced the Hand of God at work and prayerfully planted some Seeds.

One long-time friend provided fodder for this entry for Collateral Grace and I pray I can do it justice. My friend is Larry.  I’ve known him for about 20 years; he’s my brother from another mother.

My old friend was born, apparently, unwanted.  His birth mother dropped him off at an orphanage 60 miles away from her home town.  She told her mom that she miscarried and she told her husband the baby was still born.  She gave him no name, no clothing, no diapers – NOTHING!  This reminded me of someone dropping off an unwanted pup out in the middle of nowhere; up on the mesa or out in the country.  Can you imagine this kind of a start to life? Larry was just tossed into an orphanage ‘pound’ for unwanted children.

Somehow, Larry’s grandmother learned of his existence and went to the orphanage and claimed this baby boy.  Gramma adopted him, gave him an identity, a home, a mother’s love and raised him as her own.  Larry grew up thinking his birth mother was his sister.

In spite of this rocky start, Larry grew into a fine man and a good citizen; more importantly, Larry came to know he was a child of God.

Larry’s story doesn’t end here.  Sadly, Larry’s dog, Silver, aged and passed on.  He wanted another dog. He knew that he didn’t want a pedigree nor did he want a large dog. He did know that he wanted a kind and loving dog. After many attempts, Larry finally found the RIGHT dog. He found Annie.

Annie is a doe-eyed, sand-colored, not-too-large dog who has the temperament of a puppy and the gentleness of a kitten.  You see, Annie is just like Larry; she was a dropped off and unwanted pound puppy; that is until another pound puppy adopted her.

Just like God has adopted you and me, Larry adopted Annie.

Have you ever felt unwanted?  Are you one of those special ones who has been adopted? I’ve heard it said that (nearly) anyone can beget a baby, but it takes a special kind of love to adopt one who is not your very own flesh and blood.  Christians have a similar unique beginning.  Since Christ paid the price, we not only have an eternal home, but an eternal Father who adopted us; God chose us to be His.  That’s what adoption is all about; being chosen to be part of a family.  Romans 8:16 reads: The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.                                                                                             

                                                                                               © 2013 Cat Brennan