"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, November 27, 2012

Regrets Only

               Regrets Only the invitation read in the space where RSVP normally resided. Trying to meld this phrase which conjures up negative emotions and the festivity of a party or wedding left me puzzled. So few people respond to an RSVP these days , I can’t imagine anyone would call saying, “No, we’re not coming.” The interaction would force an excuse. I had a pastor years ago who said he had quit telling people he missed seeing them in church on Sunday because it seemed to obligate a response and he didn’t want to be the cause of folks having to lie to him.
               Regrets Only can apply to relationships. A former dear friend died recently and I felt deep regret at her passing. She was still a young woman at age fifty-five and I regretted her seven-month battle with cancer. A few months before her diagnosis, she had retired and was excited to see where God would lead her next. I knew something was amiss when her treatments started the day she was diagnosed. My main regret was the fact that our friendship had waned a few months before she was diagnosed.

Disciple Bible Studies
               We became fast friends when we rode to a Lay Speaker Training together. Over the next four years, we were in two intense Bible studies together and my husband and I attended the Couples Bible Study she hosted in her home. We led worship together at a local nursing home on the Second Sunday of each month and were both part of a year-long leadership development program for small membership Methodist churches.
               And then the unthinkable happened. My pastor felt I needed to be disciplined because I reported some worldly activities taking place in the church and a violation of the Safe Sanctuary policies. Against the guidelines of the Methodist Book of Discipline, he called together the Pastor-Parish Relations Committee and the Lay Leaders from all three churches in our Charge. My friend was a member of the PPRC and decided to stand with the pastor and seven other people as they took an approach that was neither Biblical nor according to the Discipline.
I was devastated and my family ended up leaving the church I had loved and supported and been an active part of for thirty-three years. I could not sit under this man who told me he was higher than God in these three churches. I could not sit in the pew and worship with people who thought taking the Biblical approach to reconciliation was NOT the right thing to do.
Although my friend and I made an attempt to save our relationship, it was never the same again. I forgave her, we had lunch together, were friendly toward each other but we had lost the depth in our relationship. I offered my services for any needs she had during her illness and was told, “I have a whole list of people who have offered to help.”
The Greek word for regret is metamelomai (#3338 in the Strong’s) and occurs six times in the New Testament. It means to experience a change of concern after a change of emotion, usually causing us to fall into emotional remorse afterwards. Repentance is tied to regret, causing us to understand that the thing we regret included some sort of sin.
Per Isaiah 9:6, Jesus has been my Wonderful Counselor and Prince of Peace through all of this. Do you have regrets in your life? I suppose we all do. How did you work through yours? Did you find that there was sin involved in the situation causing your regret? Did you repent and find freedom?
Be blessed, Dear Ones and allow God to give you renewed joy today-

Isaiah 9:6 ESV     For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

Monday, November 19, 2012

Never Too Old to Learn

            Forty-seven years ago I was baptized by sprinkling in a little Lutheran Mission Church. I acted out of obedience to Biblical truth as I understood it. It is a day I will never forget. God did a work in my heart that day that changed me. I have lived out that change every day since then.
            When I met my husband and we married, the subject of baptism was one we had to agree to disagree on. He was raised Baptist and was convinced that baptism by immersion was the only true baptism. I, on the other hand, had the example of Catholicism (baptism by pouring) on my father’s side and Lutheran and Methodist (pouring or sprinkling) on my mother’s side.
            A year and a half ago, my family left the Methodist Church we had been members of for thirty-plus years. Several months earlier my husband’s uncle had passed away. After his service, I remarked that I’d like to go hear the minister preach sometime. That first Sunday after we left the church, we got up not knowing where we would worship that day. Hubby suggested we go hear that pastor, Rev. William Swink at Pleasant Hill Baptist Church.
            From the moment we entered the church, we were made welcome by people with a genuine love of others. I entered the service feeling like a dried up old sponge. As we left the church, I felt as though I had been soaked in a bucket of water, full to overflowing, revived again by being in the living presence of the Holy Spirit.
            Over the year and a half we visited and became a part of the church, I had been praying about joining the church. Years ago I had said I would never join a Baptist church because they wouldn’t recognize my baptism. I struggled with the notion I would have to be re-baptized. I couldn’t discount what God had done in my life that day long, long ago. I talked to people who might give me insight to help in my decision making. Nothing helped. The turmoil was still there in my spirit.
            Then about a month ago I heard a radio sermon on baptism by a well known preacher. I felt a crack in my resolve. How could I have been buried with Him by baptism into death if I was sprinkled? His text, from Romans 6:3-5, spoke to me:
3 “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.” Romans 6:3-5 ESV
            A few mornings later, after He had given me time to ponder and process this information, I felt God ask me, “Could your ideas about baptism be flawed?” When I responded, “Of course they could be,” a peace flooded over me. I knew what I needed to do. The next Sunday, we joined the church and, on Sunday, November 18, 2012, I was baptized by immersion. It was another great, joy-filled day on my journey to eternity.
            In 1960, I was obedient in baptism by the truth that was available to me at that time. In 2012, I was obedient in baptism by the new truth God allowed me to see as I matured in the faith. I am so thankful for a God who doesn’t think I am too old to learn new scriptural truths.
May you experience peace and joy on your journey-

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Veteran's Day

Veteran’s Day.  My chest bursts with pride, love, patriotism, freedom, and blessing; and yet I experience loss, sacrifice and what-ifs as well. I have such mixed emotions about this day every year.
S/Sgt William T. John
My father died while serving in Vietnam. He proudly served his country, in a war that wasn’t officially a war, so that I would have the freedom to do what I am doing today – publicly voicing my thoughts. He died at age forty-five with almost thirty-years of military service. He and the military were a perfect fit for each other. He left behind a wife and four children, ages 21, 16, 11 and 6. Thanks to his sacrifice, I had the right to vote in the recent Presidential election. I am proud of my Daddy for his service.
My husband was wounded on March 8, 1968 by shrapnel from a mortar round. He healed from the physical wounds much faster than he healed from the emotional wounds he brought home from Vietnam. When his tour of duty ended, he came home to protesters blaming him for the war.
Larry Biggerstaff
Unlike today, there were no “Welcome Home Troops” signs posted in airports, or organized groups of volunteers to greet them with, “Welcome home and thanks for your service.”  We met when he came to his new duty station in Fort Gordon, GA. Exactly one year after he was wounded, we married. I am proud of Larry for his service. Thanks to his sacrifice, I was free to worship in the church of my choice this week.
These two men are heroes in my eyes. John 15:13 tells us, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”  These two men, and other military men and women, demonstrate a great love for fellow man and country. They not only lay down their lives for their friends, they lay them down for their enemies and for people they don’t even know.
Would you like to help me honor and encourage some young men and women who are currently protecting our freedoms in a combat situation? I have the address for a unit of twenty, fifteen men and five women. I am seeking a few people who will commit to sending a couple of cards a month for the next three months. If I get more than this unit needs, I’ll request another address from AnySoldier.com. Send me an e-mail at hiskid410@gmail.com to request the address.
Be a blessing and fill someone’s day with joy-

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

What I Learned from Little People - Part Three

Morgan and Matt
in Charleston
               Welcome back! Part One found me being a substitute Grandma for two boys whose Grandma had passed away. In Part Two, I was able to spend the day with my granddaughter Emma and her class at Disney on Ice. The final installment in my adventures with little people week takes me to Charleston, SC, where I visited with my grandchildren, Morgan and Matthew, from Tuesday through Saturday.
Love You Forever
by Robert Munsch
               Matthew asked his Kindergarten teacher if I could come to his class and read a book to them. I chose one of Matthew’s favorite books, Love You Forever, by Robert Munsch. I‘ve been reading this book to children for at least 19 years, improvising by singing the words of the lullaby in the story to a tune I created.

               Before reading time, I was allowed to help in the literary center. At this center the children pulled a sight word out of a plastic popcorn container, said the word, and then wrote it on their paper three times; once with pencil, once with crayon and once with a marker. We had a boy named Jack at our table acting as the teacher. He did an excellent job of explaining the project, keeping the others on track, and checking on their progress all while doing his own work. When time was up, everyone scurried to clean up the table and put the supplies back on the tray where they belonged.

Sight Word List
               At reading time, I got to sit in the place of honor, a comfy rocking chair just made for storytelling. Matthew sat in the assistant’s chair next to me. beaming with pride. Having me there gave him the right to select the children who would ask questions or make comments at the end of the story. I read the story in my best dramatic voice and sang the lullaby portions as though I was holding my own tiny baby. The first comment came from Sawyer, “I like the story and the illustrations and your singing. I think you should be part of the music at our school.”  The other five comments were all alike, “I liked the whole book.”
               Lunch was next on the agenda and then Recess.  On the way to the playground the teacher stopped them at a picnic table for a conference. The day before, Mrs. Raynor’s lunch had been interrupted thirty times by tattletales. She had used up most of the playtime talking to them about problem-solving techniques. She gave them some great advice that many adults could benefit from. Today she was reinforcing the lesson from yesterday. It only took a few minutes to find out that all but one problem during lunch had been solved using the tools she had given them the day before.
               In the course of the week with my little people, I have attended preschool, primary school and elementary school and I’ve gotten quite an education. Here’s part of what I learned:
1)      Kids are forced to deal with heart-breaking family issues earlier and earlier in life. My niece came home from her first day of Kindergarten crying and asking, “Where’s my other Mommy and Daddy?” On investigation my brother found out that most of the other kids in her class came from blended families and had two sets of parents. Ashley thought she had another set of parents who were hiding from her. Sounds funny, but it represents a serious breakdown of our society and in what God ordained for marriage and family.
2)      When children are showered with praise and encouragement as they reach their goals, they will reciprocate it naturally to others. Emma was so excited that I had accomplished the goal of getting her to school, she couldn’t hold in the joy she felt for me. You can be an encourager to a child today whether you know them or not. Will you join me in giving praise to a child when you see them doing good things? All it takes is open eyes and a few seconds of your time but it will make a long-range difference to that child.
3)      Given age-appropriate tools, children can solve problems without the intervention of an adult. I admire Mrs. Raynor for gifting these children with a skill that will last a lifetime. One advantage these kids have is that everyone in their class is operating with the same skill set. That won’t always be the case in life, but with the knowledge they have learned and applied so young, they will be flexible enough to handle the variations.
Thanks for joining me on my journey with some of my favorite little people. I hope you’ve learned something along the way that will help you make life better for the little ones in your life.
Until we meet again, be joy-filled-