"Welcome to my blog space. I believe that God has carefully placed gems in our paths to fill our days with joy. The challenge for us is to take the time to notice them. My desire is to share the gems in my life so that, hopefully, you will see the ones He's placed in yours. I hope what you read here will be worth your time and you'll want to return often." - Cathy

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Living in the Not Yet


Have you been praying for a specific request for what seems like forever and wonder if God is ever going to answer it? I have.

If God came to you, as He did to some in the Bible, asking, “What do you need,” do you know how you would respond?

I’ve been praying for my brother’s healing for over twenty years. He is disabled due to a degenerative disease of the spine complicated by a car wreck years ago. He’s had four neck vertebrae fused and has limited range of motion in his neck. He is in constant pain even with a pain medicine pump surgically inserted into his abdominal cavity with leads that run to his spine. The combination of medications it pumps out lessen the pain but don’t remove it. Some of the medicines have caused him to be diabetic and are now causing liver issues.

I’ve prayed for my sister’s salvation for decades.

I know God hears my prayers, and some prayers have been answered in miraculous ways. The truth is, God can answer our prayers by saying yes, no or not yet. That’s where I’m living with these two desires of my heart, in the not yet. God hasn’t chosen to heal them (physically for one and spiritually for the other), but He hasn’t said no either. So I’m living in the not yet.

There are others living here with me; several friends who are praying for their marriages, three women I know who are yearning to be totally healed from the effects of child sexual abuse, some who are trying to move on from failed marriages but the spouse is causing havoc in their new lives, and a couple of singles who are praying for the mate God has reserved for them.

What do we do while living here in the not yet?

1) We keep praying, just as fervently as ever, while we keep our eyes and ears tuned to God so we don’t miss even the tiny miracles He performs in answer to those prayers. Sometimes the answer requires multiple steps to get everything lined up for the big reveal.

2) We search ourselves to see if there is a lesson we need to learn along the way and try to discover what it is and learn it quickly so as not to prolong the answer.

3) We keep loving God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength because we know He loves us and is working out a perfect future that will be for our good and His glory.

4) We support each other knowing that living here is not easy and can drain us of our strength. It’s during those times that we take on the prayers of someone else so they can rest from the labor for a while and be refreshed for the battle. If we constantly pour out of ourselves and don’t take time to refill, we won’t be able to fight to the end.

Are you living here with us in the not yet? What is your heart’s desire? How can I help you in the battle?

Going out with joy today –

Cathy



Saturday, February 6, 2016

An Unlikely Missionary


In September, 2015, I was privileged to be part of a Lay Witness Weekend at a church about 200 miles from my home. Lay people from other churches volunteered to be part of a team of witnesses who spent the weekend sharing their faith stories with the host church’s members in various settings. The article below came out a few weeks ago telling about one ministry that sprung from the weekend. I’m thrilled that I was able to be a part of this amazing work of God in the Rocky Mount, NC, Community.

An Unlikely Missionary
January 12, 2016

FUMC Rocky Mount has hosted a “Monday Morning Community Breakfast” for the past five years. Every Monday at 7 a.m. homeless people, housing-challenged individuals, working poor, and members from FUMC gather for a hot breakfast, fellowship and devotion. We sing, pray, share, listen, and experience God’s presence. Over the past year, one particular church member has been very intentional about bringing her six-year-old daughter, Annie, to sit and interact with those gathered.

In September of this year, FUMC had a “Discipleship Weekend” that focused on what it looks like to become an apprentice of Jesus Christ—someone imitating the ways of the Master. To our surprise and delight, a dozen individuals who normally only come to the Monday Morning Community Breakfast came to this retreat. At the closing lunch on Sunday, several of them were sitting together at a table. But they weren’t the only ones at that table for six. There, sitting by herself with them, was six-year-old Annie. Across from her sat Tom, a middle aged-man with a long, white beard. Beside her sat Debra, an African American grandmother and her granddaughter. Across the table diagonally sat Richard, who had just come out of the homeless shelter, and Bob, dressed in jeans with holes in the knees. There was no sense of insecurity, no look of discomfort on her face—just joy. Annie sat there at that table like it was the most natural thing in the world–making conversation and smiling at her friends as they all ate together. It was one of those “Kingdom moments”—the kind I imagine brings a smile to God’s face. This was just the beginning.
The Kitchen Crew of

First United Methodist Church, Rocky Mount, NC

A few days later, I received an email from Annie’s mother. It said that later Annie had asked her if they could let some of her new friends stay at their house where they “could be warm during the winter. “After some back and forth conversation in which her mother had to explain to a perplexed six-year-old why they couldn’t have everyone live with them, Annie decided that she could help by collecting warm blankets, jackets, and socks. Annie then shared her idea with her elementary school teacher. The elementary school teacher was so moved that she invited the whole class to be involved. In the teacher’s lounge, that teacher shared what her class was doing. The principal was so moved that the whole school decided to participate in the drive. “Can we set up a bin in the church to collect?” the email concluded. How incredible! From a six year old sitting at a table making friends…to a classroom…to an entire school and church!

It is amazing what God can bring into being from just having the courage to develop relationships with people—especially with those different from you. Part of what drives a missional community and a missional church is the persistent effort to develop relationships with people. It sounds simple and obvious, but relationships lead to new and relevant ideas. We often try forcibly to manufacture an idea and hope that it leads to relationships, growth, or a desired outcome. (“If we build it, they will come.”). Instead, they can miss the mark because they are not grounded in the reality of the neighborhood or the community they are supposed to influence. Annie’s story reminds me that it often works better the other way around. We are, after all, a sent people. When we first develop relationships with people with nothing more than an agenda of just getting to know them and befriend them, God uses those developing relationships as a kind of fertile ground to grow ideas and vision. Who knows where this blanket and sock drive will lead next? It has certainly united a church and a school around a particular mission. What if more churches operated on a large scale like Annie did? What missional ideas and visions might sprout from the fertile ground of relationships?

Author, Tyler Williams is the associate at FUMC: Rocky Mount. He is a participant in the New Faith Community’s AXIS Learning Community for Spiritual Entrepreneurs.

Going out with a heart full of joy today,

Cathy

Saturday, January 23, 2016

O, Come, All Ye Faithful



Welcome to my Joyful Journey, 2016!


I know, I’m a little late with my greeting, but the new year slipped right on in, whether I was ready for it or not.

Shortly before the end of the year, when people were thinking about the new year looming ahead and making a list of resolutions, I got my instructions for marching ahead into 2016. Lots of times if God wants to speak to me, He’ll do it through a song. That day, I heard the Christmas carol, O Come All Ye Faithful, playing on the radio while I was driving toward town and the day’s errands. Here’s what I heard as the choir sang:


O, come, All Ye Faithful,

          Do you hear my call, my yearning to have you spend time with Me? Can I call you faithful? Will you come?


Joyful and triumphant!

          I have given you everything you need to approach life joyfully and triumphantly? Do you? My son’s death on the cross allows you to live life from a position of victory.


O, come, ye, oh, come ye to Bethlehem;

          The little town of Bethlehem was known in scripture as the House of Bread. Are you hungry, thirsty, lacking anything? Come to Me and I will supply all your needs. Stop your weeping, receive My blessing, anointing, refreshment, salvation.                  


Come and behold Him, Born the king of angels;

          Will you recognize My authority and worship Me?


O, come, let us adore him,

O, come, let us adore him,

O, come, let us adore him, Christ the Lord.

          This is worth repeating. When you focus your adoration on Me, everything about you is changed: your vision, your mind, your actions, your habits, your time.

Come, Faithful One, spend the year with Me. I will supply everything you need.



What about you, His faithful One? Will you scratch and dig yourself through another year or will you allow Him to change you into all He wants you to be?

He wants to spend time with us. He wants to provide all of our needs out of His great bounty. He wants to meet us in worship and adoration. And, yes, that adoration is mutual. He loves us.

You, O faithful One, are His favorite child! He is your best cheerleader.

Going out with joy today! I hope you are, too.

Cathy







O, Come, All Ye Faithful Copyright
Text: Attributed to John F. Wade c. 1711-1786; tr. Composite
Tune: Attributed to John F. Wade c. 1711-1786;

Monday, August 10, 2015

Joyful Journey: On Mission in Canada - Part Two

Joyful Journey: On Mission in Canada - Part Two:   Read these stories of persecuted Christian brother and sisters I met in Canada.

On Mission in Canada - Part Two

 

While on mission in Canada last month I met Christian brothers and sisters who had been persecuted in their home countries. Rather than being driven to fear and silence, their trials served to make them more boisterous about their faith. They eagerly tell about God’s love and faithfulness during their darkest days. They express their thankfulness for the way the Holy Spirit comforts them and guides their paths. They sing praises to Jesus for all that He does for them daily and they share their stories readily with anyone who will listen.

Ninety-four year old Arthur laments the fact that he can’t share Jesus the way he did when he was younger. His recent heart trouble has forced him to slow down but he is still on fire for Jesus and wants the world to hear about his Savior. He gets up early in the morning and goes to a neighborhood right after the morning newspapers have been delivered. He gathers the papers up, puts a tract about Jesus in each one, and then redistributes the papers to their rightful owners. He includes his name and number so they can call him if they want further information. Some
days he sits at a bus stop and waits for someone to sit down next to him. He begins a conversation with them and soon is telling them about Jesus. If no one comes to sit beside him, he leaves a Gospel of John in the predominant language of the neighborhood laying there in a plastic bag. Again, he includes his name and number so they can contact him.

Mussaret acted as an interpreter for one of our teams as they went door-to-door in one community giving out Bibles and Jesus DVDs in the homeowner’s language. Between houses, she shared her testimony and told stories about her past. She quickly jumped in as needed to share Jesus with homeowners who couldn’t speak English. Mussaret and Anwar opened their home to the team on Thursday evening for a meal. They are members at LEAF Canada, the church we partnered with while we were there. The buffet meal prepared by Mussaret was scrumptious, a real feast of Pakistani delights. After the meal there was a spirited recounting of the day’s blessings followed by prayer. Anwar closed out our prayer time with a prayer of thanksgiving and blessing that left many of us in tears.

Richard grew up unable to read. One night he went to a healing service seeking help for a wounded leg. A lady there prophesied over him telling him that he would go to the nations. He passed it off as nonsense; after all, how could a man who couldn’t read take the Gospel to the nations? Later in the evening when he went forward for prayer, he was told that God would come to him if he wanted Him to. He went home and prayed for three days for God to come to him. God showed up and asked him what He could do for him. Surprised, and unprepared for the meeting, Richard replied, “Maybe teach me to read.” Richard now speaks five languages and travels with his car trunk loaded with Bibles in many languages. He is always at the ready to share Jesus and God’s Word.

We all have a story to tell. What is your faith story? Please share it with me in the comments section.

Going out with joy today-

Cathy