"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

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Rules, Rules, Rules - Part One

              A few years ago as the congregation entered the church service, we were handed a test on the Ten Commandments. Most of us would have received a failing grade if we’d been in a classroom. Anticipating these results, our Pastor asked us to concentrate on learning the Ten Commandments over the next month. We all made a much higher grade on the next test.

              Prior to God giving Moses the commandments on Mt. Sinai, the people lived under 613 Levitical Laws covering everything from personal relationships, health and worship. The people were overwhelmed by the number of rules they had to remember, let alone live by. God narrowed the list from 613 laws to just ten. The condensed list gave the Israelites a breath of relief even though all of the previous laws were rolled into those ten..

The Ten Commandments are both vertical and horizontal.
The first four are vertical, detailing our relationship with God.
 (Exodus 20)

            “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. “You shall have no other gods before Me.

You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.

“You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.

The last six are horizontal, helping us live peacefully with our neighbors.

12 “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.

13 “You shall not murder.

14 “You shall not commit adultery.

15 “You shall not steal.

16 “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.”

Many people are put off by the “You shall not” language in the commandments. In God’s dealings with His people, He found them to need specific instructions about what they could and could not do. He could not assume they would take His teachings and know innately what was required.

              By the time Jesus came along, the people and their understanding had changed somewhat. When Jesus was being tested by the religious leaders to name the most important commandment, He felt he could narrow even the ten down to just two: 1) Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and 2) love your neighbor as yourself. (Luke 10:27)

              The result is the same, whether you have 613, 10 or 2 laws to live by to please God. It calls for a desire to love God and love your neighbors. It calls for actions that demonstrate that desire in our everyday life.

              Are you one of those who gets turned off when told you can’t do this or that? Join me next week as I turn the negatives into positives. I think it will give you a new way to look at the commandments God gifted us with.

Going out with joy today-


Friday, August 16, 2013


Hello, my name is Cathy and I am a perfectionist. I have been plagued with being a perfectionist as far back as I can remember. Although I’ve mellowed in recent years, if there had been a Twelve-Step Program for perfectionists when I was younger, it would have been helpful.
Perfection: the quality of something that is as good or suitable as it can possibly be, or to strive for perfection as a goal.

When you are a perfectionist you:
Take on Extra Work – Delegation is a Biblical principle that began while the Israelites were wandering in the desert. I failed to appropriate this blessing because the evil gremlin on my shoulder shouted at me, “No one can do it like you can. Do it yourself so you’ll know it’s done right.” Here is how this manifested itself in my home:

              When my children were young I decided it was time for them to learn how to do some of the cleaning. I made a chart with step-by-step instructions on cleaning the bathroom. I took the two of them and the chart into the bathroom and demonstrated the ease of doing it the right way, a.k.a. “my way.” The next week, I sent them in to do it themselves. I nearly went berserk when they disregarded my chart and careful instructions and did the steps out of order and didn’t use my proven methods. I fussed at them until they started to cry. That’s when the wake-up call came from God asking me, “Is it important the cleaning gets done your way or that it gets done and they learn a life skill?” I had to apologize to both of them and repent to God for my behavior.

Take on Troubled Interpersonal Relationships – It’s odd how your best asset can also be your worst deficit. I held high expectations for myself but I expected the same thing from others. I was continually disappointed when they didn’t produce to my standards. I did great work, but, at the same time, I alienated people. When they offered to help on a project and I declined, they felt I didn’t have confidence in their work. Hurt feelings often ensued.

Take on Criticism – My mother, a perfectionist herself, told me many times, “I don’t know why you always do things the hard way” meaning I didn’t do them her way. In school, I was called St. John (my maiden name) because I always did all my assignments on-time, did more than was expected, and ruined the class grading curve. Other times when I was called out for excellent results on a project, I’d see someone in the room roll their eyes or say to the person next to them, “This really gets old. Who does she think she is?”

              Being a perfectionist takes a toll on a person. Thankfully, Jesus, my wonderful counselor, helped me adopt a new personal mantra a couple years ago – “Be gentle with yourself.” It has done wonders for me. I’ve shared it with people I encounter who are being hard on themselves and they are helped.

I hope when you find yourself stressed, you will take the advice Jesus gave me, and “Be gentle with yourself.”
Going out with joy and gentleness today-


Isaiah 9:6  Unto us a child is born and the government (order) will be upon His shoulders.

He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace.


Thursday, August 1, 2013

The Answer

Sixty-One days have passed since I began the 2013 Bible Reading Challenge. The challenge is to read through the whole Bible in ninety days beginning on June 1st and ending on August 31st. The Bible I am using is special to me because I received it at a Billy Graham Crusade in Charlotte, NC, in 1996. It is called, “The Answer to Happiness, Health and Fulfillment in Life” and is written in the easy-to-read New Century Version. I’ve used it so much the cover is tattered and torn and held together with clear tape. Sections of the book have come out and are held in place now with super glue, fingernail glue and other glues I had on hand at the time of need.

            I am 2/3s of the way to my goal with 405 pages left to read from Ezekiel 26 through the end of Revelation. I have to admit it hasn’t been smooth sailing this time. I have struggled to keep up and, at one point; I was eight days behind schedule. I did the challenge once before, in 2008. Since then I have retired from public work. It should be easier now than it was then, but that isn’t proving to be true. I heard a woman say, “Now that I am retired, I don’t know how I had time to work.” Maybe that is part of my dilemma. Or maybe the devil is working overtime to keep me from reading the Word. If it’s you, ole devil, you might as well give up. I am determined to finish on schedule and filled with the answers God has for me.

            At the pace you have to read during the challenge, you don’t have time for in-depth study but God is still showing me valuable nuggets along the way. In 2008, I felt the Lord wanted me to concentrate on the phrase “do not be afraid” and on places. I came away with every reference to fear marked in red in my Bible and a list of Bible towns and their names today. I reference both frequently.

            This time, He has me noting the use of stones as altars and places of remembrance for another project I am involved in. He has also brought to my mind memories of life situations and how those could be used as material for devotions. I have notes on five of those so far.

            I am always amazed at the number of second chances God gives His people in Old Testament scripture. As I read I see it vividly, second chance upon second chance ready and available for use like a crop of berries hanging full and low, ready for the picking. Still, the people reject His gracious offer to be in covenant with Him. They continue to do what is evil in His sight and then wonder at the severity of their punishment. His greatest desire is for them, and us, to be His people so He can be our God. Now that IS “The Answer” to all the world’s questions!

Going out with joy today -