"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, October 30, 2012

What I Learned from Little People - Part Two

               Last week you joined me for Part One of my week devoted to interacting with children, Little People, as I call them. On Tuesday and Thursday, I was a substitute Grandma for two young men whose Grandma died a few years ago. This week I will recount the Part Two of the adventure.
               My daughter and her husband were out of town on business so the rest of the family fought over who would get to keep Emma, my four-year old granddaughter. Several weeks before she had called me to see if I would like to go on a field trip with her class because Mommy would be gone that day. I asked where they were going, not that it made any difference to me, but I love talking to Emma. She is like talking to an adult. She is very logical and is never without a comeback, no matter where the conversation leads.
               She spent the night with me on Thursday night and early Friday morning we left in time to get to her school by 8:30. She knew I was tentative about the directions, but I put on my best face and we made it just fine – and on time. When we pulled into the school parking lot and undid our seat belts she burst out of her booster seat and with great expression, her beautiful eyes sparkling, and her arms in the air, she yelled out, “Grandma, you did it!”
Emma on the Bus
               We went to her classroom where the teacher was dressing each child in a blue vest with the school’s name on it and sending them to the bathroom one last time. Once on the bus, Emma very carefully selected our seat. It had to be just the perfect one to be able to see the little screen where movies would be shown. As soon as the wheels started rolling, a Dora the Explorer movie came on and all the kids reached for their backpacks.
Out came the gosh-awfullest assortment of electronic gadgets I’d ever seen In one place. I-pods, Leap Frog games, handheld games, and as a last resort, they played games on their mother’s cell phone. The thing I thought was most amazing was they all shared with each other and especially with the kids who didn’t have a device. Remember, this was a busload of four-year olds. Emma’s I-pod is engraved on the back with, This I-pod belongs to Rock Star Princess Emma, because that is who she thinks she is. She even has an alternate name for the times when the Rock Star Princess thing kicks into high gear, Haley McCaley.

Ariel and Flounder
We had a grand time watching Disney on Ice, my Emma rarely taking her eyes off the performers. She especially liked the undersea section Ariel starred in. I spent a lot of my time watching Emma. At intermission the teachers handed out lunch – a peanut butter and grape jelly uncrustable, a bag of apples cut up and ready to eat, a bag of chips, and a carton of milk. Thanks to the organizational skills of Emma’s teachers, the whole trip went off like clockwork and everyone enjoyed the day and came home full of exciting tales to tell whoever will listen to them.
I have one more adventure to share next week and then will summarize some of the things I’ve learned from my time with the Little People I am blessed to know.
Until next time, be filled with joy-


Monday, October 22, 2012

Lessons I Learned from Little People - Part One

               I have a young friend whose Mom died several years ago. Since then I’ve tried to do some of the things her mother would have done for her. The Elementary School her boys attend had days last week where Grandparents could come and eat lunch with their grandchildren. The night he brought the invitation home, her third-grader asked her if she would call me and see if I could come be his grandma.
Chicken McNuggets
and Fries
               I was touched to tears that he chose me to be his substitute Grandma. On the big day, I went to McDonald’s to get his favorite lunch and made my way to the school to stand in the lobby with other grandparents. We waited until our child came around the corner on the way to the lunchroom and joined them. Justin welcomed me with a hug.
               We walked down the hallway to the lunchroom and sat at the table reserved for his class. I was surrounded by third graders; some with lunch boxes packed at home, some with a school lunch tray holding a fish cake, fries, an apple and milk. Eight of the sixteen kids at the table had a school lunch. I saw a lot of waste as they finished eating and went to the trash cans to clean off their trays.
               Conversation around the table centered on the McDonald’s Monopoly game pieces on the drinks and food I brought. Justin is collecting the game pieces and knows which ones he has and which ones he still needs. Of the six we collected from our meal, none were new for him but he did get a free order of fries on his next visit. One little girl told a wild story about someone in her family winning $1,000.00, but when the lady went to claim it, they only gave her $100. Much drama ensued as the kids hearing this story began sharing what they would do if that happened to them.
               On Thursday, I repeated this routine and went to eat with Justin’s brother who is in the fifth grade. Cameron was glad to see me, and I received a beautiful smile as a welcome gift. The Fifth Graders are the Upperclassmen at the Elementary School and have extra privileges such as choice of seating at lunch. It was a lovely autumn day so we went outside to a patio filled with picnic tables.
We were soon joined by another classmate. I listened as the two of them joked playfully with each other and recounted tales of sleepover adventures. I asked other boy if he had any brothers or sisters. His reply broke my heart, “I have two sisters but I haven’t seen them in five years. I haven’t seen my birth Mom in five years either. They live away from here. I live with my Dad, but my Grandma takes care of me most of the time because Dad goes over to Anna’s house.”Anna is his girlfriend.

Cameron and Justin
I bought both of them some ice cream to complete the meal and the teacher signaled it was time to go back to class. I got permission for Cameron to take me to Justin’s room so we could give him the six McDonald’s game pieces we retrieved from the day’s lunch. These brothers don’t see as much of each other now that Justin lives with his Mom and Cameron lives with his Dad. I took their picture together and we all went back to our regular routines.
I learned much from rubbing elbows with these young people, and this was just the beginning of my education. Tune in next week to hear the rest of the story and a summary of what they taught me.
In the meantime, bring joy to someone today-

Monday, October 15, 2012

A Unique Find

My granddaughter, Caitie, moved into a new home about a month ago. She and her husband had some trees cut down in the back yard that were leaning dangerously toward the house. While they were cleaning up some of the leftover brush, they found a class ring.
Once back inside the house, Caitie found a name engraved on the inside. The ring was from the Class of 1986 from Seton Catholic Central High School. Google provided the phone number of the school in Binghamton, NY. The school Secretary referred Caitie to the Alumni Association who listened to her story and took her contact information.
After doing some research, the Alumni Association found an address and phone number connected with this guy in his school records. The problem - the phone number was for his mother and from 1986. When the representative from the Alumni Association called the number, amazingly, the student’s mother answered.
She called Caitie and Caitie told the story again. Being satisfied this wasn’t some kind of scam, his mother gave Caitie his number. Oddly enough, he only lives about an hour and a half away. Caitie called him and told her story one more time. He was amazed. Caitie arranged to meet him and his family last Friday.
He told her the ring was lost twenty years ago. He went swimming at a pool in New York. He had the ring on when he went into the pool and when he got out the ring was gone. He looked all over the pool for the ring, but when he couldn’t find it, he assumed it was sucked into a drain. There is no explanation for how the ring got from a swimming pool in New York to her backyard in North Carolina. He has never been to this area.
This is a great lesson in hope, a never-give-up kind of hope. I recently talked to a woman who had been praying for healing for her husband for five years. Rather than give up on her quest for an answer to her prayer, she just said, “God hasn’t answered me - yet.”
In the Bible, the book of Romans tells us, “For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.”  Romans 8:24-25 ESV
How quickly do you give up on your dreams and prayers? What kind of a time limit do you put on God to work out all the myriad details it takes to make your prayer request happen – one year, five, ten? I hope these two stories will encourage you to let God work in His time and in His way to provide His best for you.
Have a blessed and joy-filled day-

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Whole Armor of God Daily Prayer

          I am taking a slight departure from my normal routine today and presenting a prayer I received from my sister-in-law. She received it from her Prayer Partner.

          It is authored by Charles Stanley, Senior Minister of First Baptist Church, Atlanta, GA. He is also the founder and President of In Touch Ministries.

          I was so touched by it I wanted to share it with you, my Readers. May you be as blessed by it as I was.  Cathy

The Whole Armor of God Prayer

by Charles Stanley

Want to start your day off right? Say this simple prayer by Charles Stanley every morning...

Good morning Lord. Thank you for assuring me of victory today if I will but follow Your battle plan. So by faith, I claim victory over_____________________(list some things you know you will face today).

To prepare myself for the battle ahead, by faith I put on the belt of truth.

The truth about You Lord—that You are a sovereign God who knows everything about me, both my strengths, and my weaknesses. Lord, You know my breaking point and have promised not to allow me to be tempted beyond what I am able to bear.

The truth about me Lord, is that I am a new creature in Christ and have been set free from the power of sin. I am indwelt with the Holy Spirit who will guide me and warn me when danger is near. I am Your child, and nothing can separate me from Your love.

The truth is that You have a purpose for me this day—someone to encourage, someone to share with, someone to love.

Next Lord, I want to put on the breastplate of righteousness.

Through this I guard my heart and my emotions. I will not allow my heart to attach itself to anything that is impure. I will not allow my emotions to rule in my decisions. I will set them on what is right and good and just. I will live today by what is true, not by what I feel.

Lord, this morning I put on the sandals of the gospel of peace.

I am available to You, Lord. Send me where You will. Guide me to those who need encouragement or physical help of some kind. Use me to solve conflicts wherever they may arise. Make me a calming presence in every circumstance in which you place me. I will not be hurried or rushed, for my schedule is in Your hands. I will not leave a trail of tension and apprehension. I will leave tracks of peace and stability everywhere I go.

I now take up the sheild of faith, Lord.

My faith is in You and You alone. Apart from You, I can do nothing. With You, I can do all things. No temptation that comes my way can penetrate Your protecting hand. I will not be afraid, for You are going with me throughout this day. When I am tempted, I will claim my victory out loud ahead of time, for You have promised victory even now because I know there are fiery darts headed my way even as I pray. Lord, You already know what they are and have already provided the way of escape.

Lord, by faith I am putting on the helmet of salvation.

You know how Satan bombards my mind day and night with evil thoughts, doubt and fear. I put on this helmet that will protect my mind. I may feel the impact of his attacks, but nothing can penetrate this helmet. I choose to stop every impure and negative thought at the door of my mind. With the helmet of salvation, those thoughts will get no further. I elect to take every thought captive. I will dwell on nothing but what is good and right and pleasing to You.

Last, I take up the sword of the Spirit, which is Your Word.

Thank You for the precious gift of Your Word. It is strong and powerful and able to defeat even the strongest of Satan's onslaughts. Your Word says that I am not under obligation to the flesh to obey it's lusts. Your Word says that He that is in me is greater than he that is in the world. So by faith, I take up the strong and powerful sword of the Spirit, which is able to defend me in time of attack, comfort me in time of sorrow, teach me in time of meditation, and prevail against the power of the enemy on behalf of others who need the truth to set them free.

So Lord, I go now rejoicing that You have chosen me to represent You to this lost and dying world. May others see Jesus in me, and may Satan and his hosts shudder as Your power is made manifest in me.

In Jesus' name I pray... AMEN.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

A Revival of Biblical Proportions

Praying in Unity

            What would happen if your church gained 3,000 members in one day? Would you have the facilities to accommodate the new members? What about Sunday School literature, hymnals, choir music and devotional materials like the Upper Room or Open Windows? How long would it take to baptize all those people? Who would disciple these baby Christians?
            That is exactly what happened long years ago on the birthday of the Church, often referred to as Pentecost Day. The followers of Jesus, about 120 people including the disciples, Mary the mother of Jesus and His brothers, were gathered in a room praying in unity. What a prayer service that must have been.
The Holy Spirit showed up and showed out, filling all those gathered in the room. The crowd outside didn’t get left out of the filling either. Unknowing by-standers thought these people were drunk and they were, drunk on the Holy Spirit. The disciple Peter was empowered by the Holy Spirit to speak to the whole crowd, believers and detractors.
Peter recited scripture as he spoke. You can never go wrong quoting scripture. The Bible says it will never return void. It will always accomplish its purpose. He also used facts no one could refute because they had seen Jesus perform the acts he spoke about.
Those who heard Peter included people who followed Jesus one day and screamed, “Crucify Him,” the next. Their hearts were pierced as Peter spoke to them. They asked Peter what they needed to do, and he answered with the same message that Jesus had given to sinners, “Repent and be baptized.”
Water Baptism
That day 3,000 people felt the conviction of their sins, repented and were baptized. They became the first church and spent their time fellowship, each supporting the needs of the others, eating together, and meeting for singing and prayer.
In the Bible Belt of the South the Fall Revival season is approaching. What can we learn from that first revival meeting that would bring the same results?
Revival begins before the services start, with people praying in unity for:
the salvation of souls through the convicting work of the Holy Spirit,
a scripture speaking preacher with a Holy Spirit fire like Peter had,
believers who will come to be refilled, to remember their first love,
unbelievers who are invited by friends and are strangely drawn to the services.
Being a numbers person by career, it interests me that the first church grew from 120 members to 3,120 overnight, exactly 26 times bigger than it was. What would your church look like if the members got serious about revival and followed the prescription in Acts 2? Would God bless you with 26 times the number of members you have now? What a lovely problem to have here on earth and what rejoicing in Heaven!
Go with joy and start praying. Revival's coming!
P.S. Here’s a cool thought for you to process:  The Biblical meaning of the number 26 is “The Power of Salvation.” To write twenty-six in Hebrew, they wrote two Hebrew letters: kaph-vav. These signify an open hand with a nail. The Power of Salvation is pictured by Jesus’ hands being nailed to the cross. Do you think it is coincidence that God multiplied the church membership twenty-six times over?
Biblical Proof of my Basic Premise:
In the first book, O Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach, 2 until the day when he was taken up, after he had given commands through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. 3 He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God.
4 And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me; 5 for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” Acts 1: 1-5 ESV

12 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day's journey away. 13 And when they had entered, they went up to the upper room, where they were staying, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot and Judas the son of James. 14 All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers. 15 In those days Peter stood up among the brothers (the company of persons was in all about 120)   Acts 1: 12-14 ESV

The Coming of the Holy Spirit
2 When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3 And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.
5 Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. 6 And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own language. 7 And they were amazed and astonished, saying, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language? 9 Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, 11 both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians—we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.” 12 And all were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” 13 But others mocking said, “They are filled with new wine.”
Peter's Sermon at Pentecost
14 But Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them: “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and give ear to my words. 15 For these people are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. 16 But this is what was uttered through the prophet Joel:
17 “‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares,
that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh,
and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
and your young men shall see visions,
and your old men shall dream dreams;
18 even on my male servants and female servants
in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy.
19 And I will show wonders in the heavens above
and signs on the earth below,
blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke;
20 the sun shall be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood,
before the day of the Lord comes, the great and magnificent day.
21 And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’
22 “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know— 23 this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. 24 God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it. 25 For David says concerning him,
“‘I saw the Lord always before me,
for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken;
26 therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced;
my flesh also will dwell in hope.
27 For you will not abandon my soul to Hades,
or let your Holy One see corruption.
28 You have made known to me the paths of life;
you will make me full of gladness with your presence.’
29 “Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30 Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne, 31 he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption. 32 This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses. 33 Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing. 34 For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he himself says,
“‘The Lord said to my Lord,
“Sit at my right hand,
35 until I make your enemies your footstool.”’
36 Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.” 37 Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” 40 And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” 41 So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.
The Fellowship of the Believers
42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43 And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. 44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common. 45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved. Act 2:1-47 ESV