"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

Sunday, September 29, 2013

God is up to Something Good!

Rutherford County,
North Carolina
            God is up to something in Rutherford County, North Carolina. He is working in the hearts of women here to cause them to hunger and thirst for His Word. Here’s my evidence:

            I have taken on a new role this year as a Core Group Leader for CBS. CBS started in this county with a handful of women who met for prayer and Bible Study. They had a fire burning within them to fulfill the CBS Vision: “Making disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ in our communities through caring, in-depth Bible study, available to all.” Their heart’s desire today is the same: to allow women to experience the truth of the scriptures and the caring nature of CBS.

            At the end of May, 2013, one hundred and twenty women completed the study of Revelation begun in September, 2012. That was an amazing, unprecedented number of participants. In six years, it had grown from 47 women to 120!

            All through the summer, as the leaders met for training, the pre-registration report was given. The first report showed that 120 women had registered, then140 women. Leadership prayed they would be able to shepherd all these women and at the same time, we were praising God for each woman He sent our way.

 The study of First John began on September 11th with 160 women registered and 14 additional ladies showing up to register that day. Every Wednesday since then, we’ve had a few new sheep join the fold. We are currently at 180 plus ladies. God is up to something good!

            Monday I attended the Sister Chicks for Christ Ladies Night Out at our local college. Well known Christian author, Angela Thomas, brought the house down with her exposition on Hebrews 12:1-2. With transparency, vulnerability, humor and tenderness she pointed us to the truth of the scripture and to the feet of Jesus. Many accepted Christ as Lord and Savior. Many re-dedicated themselves to an everyday walk with Jesus. This ministry started as a circle of friends meeting in a living room to pray for women in our county.

About eleven years ago, the ladies decided to reach out to other women in the community through an annual Ladies Night Out. Twelve women came that first year. Undaunted, the founders prepared for the next year’s night out and prayed for more to attend. About six hundred attended last year. When I went to the box office to buy tickets for our writers group, I asked the attendant how sales were going. She answered, “They are going real well. We’ve had to open up balcony seating and we’ve never had to do that for this event.” We arrived on Monday night to signs saying SOLD OUT. Every one of the twelve hundred seats held a lady ready to worship and learn. From twelve to twelve hundred ladies in eleven years. God is up to something good!

He said, 1“And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” Our job is easy: speak the name of Jesus in our everyday conversations and God will do the work of wooing people to Himself. In another portion of scripture, 2He tells us His word will accomplish the work He sent it to do. If we will use scripture in our prayers and conversations with people, His words will make things happen. It cannot fail. The pressure is off of us so let’s get busy in our neighborhoods and communities.

I’d love to hear what God is up to in your community. Leave a comment so I can praise Him with you.

Going out with joy today, speaking His name-


1John 12:32 (ESV)

2Isaiah 55:11 (ESV)   so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
                                                          it shall not return to me empty,
                                               but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
                                           and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.”

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

He Said it Was Good

          Several months ago I went to the dentist for my regular six-month appointment. The hygienist cleaned my teeth and raved about the health of my gums. The dentist came in, did his exam, told me to keep up the good work and told me he’d see me in six months.

A lady came in and asked permission to talk to me. A little confused about her role in the office and what she could possibly want to talk about, I agreed to listen. She began, “I see you have several metal fillings. Some are in your smile line and cause your teeth to have a grayish cast. We can change those fillings to white fillings which will whiten up your smile line. When you pay for one, we’ll pay for one.”

          My head was spinning with one thought after the other. I’ve had these fillings since I was a child and they have given me no trouble. Do they really think I’d let them drill them out and replace them with white fillings just to improve my smile line after all these years? I could smell the acrid odor of the drilling as I pictured the scene. My toes wanted to curl in my shoes at the thought of voluntarily coming in to be tortured.

* * *

          My granddaughter, sitting in the backseat as we motored toward town, asked me, “Grandma, did your hair used to be black.” I said it was and asked why she was asking. Her reply, “I was just looking at your eyebrows.” My hair, once a dark, dark brown, turned gray while I was in my thirties. Over the years, I have been asked by more than one person why I don’t dye it. My response has always been, “I think God is doing a pretty good job of it all by Himself

* * *

          At my great granddaughter’s first birthday party I met a young man who introduced himself by saying, “My name is Charley* and I hate brown hair.” It seems this three-year old was born with blonde hair and as he’s gotten older, it has darkened. Some family members and others have commented on this in his presence and he processed it as being a negative thing. Now there is a little boy walking around thinking he is less than he should be because of the color of his hair.

* * *

          Have we become a society which values people based only on their pristine outward appearance?

* * *

          On the day God created you, He took extra care to choose all the parts that make you who you are. When He finished, He stood back and looked at you and said, “Um mmmmmm! She/he is good. This is some of my best work! Perfect, no corrections needed.” What happened between the perfection He saw and society feeding us the line, “your smile is imperfect? Let us fix that for you. Your hair is the wrong color. Let me dye it for you.”

          In 2011, $10 billion was spent on 9,200 plastic surgery procedures in America. Half a billion dollars is spent each year on hair dyeing and hair dyeing products. $40 billion is spent annually on weight loss systems and products. These are just a few of the costs associated with changing our outward appearance to make ourselves more appealing to those around us.

          There are no estimates available for the costs we incur to make ourselves more appealing to God.

Going out with joy today, satisfied to be who I am-

*Name changed 

Thursday, September 12, 2013

What Do You Smell Like?

My thirteen year old granddaughter, Morgan, has a heightened sense of smell. My father did, too. He claimed he could tell what we were having for supper three blocks away from home. Before I started having allergies, my nose used to be sensitive, but not nearly as fine-tuned as either of theirs.
          Morgan, who lives four hours away from me, sat next to me in our recliner on their last visit home. She leaned toward me and took a big sniff. It kind of repelled me at first, but then she explained she loved my smell. I asked what I smelled like, but got, “I don’t know. You smell like you.”
          Over the years I had heard that animals use their sense of smell to help them survive. My husband raises beef cattle so I focused my research on cows and I found some amazing facts:
·      Cows' highly sensitive noses can smell odors up to six miles away.
·      They use smell to recognize their herd mates, especially their babies, and to recognize humans.
·      Cows can smell fear in the urine of other cows.
·      When hit, slapped, or shouted at, the stressed cow will send a smell warning to other cows to stay away.
·      Milking time should remain calm and consistent, and be lacking in unpleasant odors. It’s true, happy cows do give more milk.

What do I smell like? Here’s what sent my thoughts in this direction this morning. My morning Quiet Time scripture was 2 Corinthians 2:14-17 (NCV):
14 But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s victory parade. God uses us to spread his knowledge everywhere like a sweet-smelling perfume. 15 Our offering to God is this: We are the sweet smell of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are being lost. 16 To those who are lost, we are the smell of death that brings death, but to those who are being saved, we are the smell of life that brings life. So who is able to do this work? 17 We do not sell the word of God for a profit as many other people do. But in Christ we speak the truth before God, as messengers of God.

              I went to church with a man who always wore a certain brand of after shave. He hugged me one Sunday during greeting time in the service and for the rest of the day, when there was the slightest breeze or hint of moving air, I could smell the scent he left behind.
          This verse makes me wonder what I smell like as I interact with people. Do I wear the sweet smell of abundant life that comes from my relationship with God? When I start my day hugging God, do I carry His scent with me all day for others to experience and desire? 

          What about you? What do you smell like? 

Going out with joy today-


Friday, September 6, 2013

Rules, Rules, Rules - Part Two

Moses with the Ten Commandments
My last post was about the Ten Commandments and how some people are put off by the negatives of the “Thou shall not” wording. This post, let's explore that thinking by examining the freedom that is ours when we follow the commandments.

Exodus 20, The Ten Commandments (NKJV)
 And God spoke all these words, saying: “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.

            Putting these two commandments first on the list addresses the issues that most perturbed God at the time of the wilderness journey. God had delivered the people and was meeting their every need, and yet, at every opportunity, they found or created objects to claim their attention. Even while Moses was on the mountain receiving the Commandments from God, the travelers were in the valley below melting their gold jewelry and worshipping the image of the calf they formed out of the gold.

            Positive #1 – I am free to place my full attention on God, my Guide, my Deliverer, and my Provider. I am free to receive God’s love and mercy and I am free from the threat of God’s curse on future generations of my family.

“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.

            The Hebrew word for vain translates as emptiness, vanity, falsehood. God’s name itself is holy. Any unholy use of His name comes with consequences.

            Positive #2 – I am free to call on God by any name that honors who He is. Within that broad range, I am free to be creative in my relationship with Him.       

“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.

            This commandment gives us a glimpse into God’s thought process as He created the human body. If God rested after His labors, and we are created in His image, then we need rest.

            Positive #3 – I am free to cease my labor one day a week without guilt because God designed my body to need rest.

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

This commandment is already stated positively and is the only one that comes with a promise.

13 “You shall not murder.

            Life is not ours to give or take. We overstep our bounds when we take this work of God into our hands.

            Positive #4 – I am free to support life by all means available to me. The Bible tells us the power of life and death is in the tongue. I am free to speak life to the people around me. I am free to share the good news of the abundant life Jesus came to give us.

14 “You shall not commit adultery.

            When we turn aside from our marriage partner to find sexual fulfillment with another or turn away from The God of Israel to idolatrous worship, we commit adultery.

Cathy and Larry 03/08/69
            Positive #5 – I am free to love God with my whole being - mind, body, soul, and strength. I am free to pour out my love and support to the one God gave me as a life mate.

15 “You shall not steal.

            Positive #6 – I am free to use my energy to work and earn a wage so that I can purchase what I need. I am free to use what I accumulate to bless others.

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

            Positive #7 – I am free and encouraged to always tell the truth. The truth will make me free (John 8:32 KJV). Truth is a powerful ally.

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.”

Positive #8 – I am free to be satisfied with the things that belong to me and free to be happy for my neighbor’s accumulation of worldly possessions.

The commandments God gave His people were not meant to bind us, but to give us freedom. Have you appropriated His freedoms for your life?

Going out with joy and freedom today-