God’s Kingdom Versus Man’s Tradition

I loved reading this post today by a blogger Friend….
“Pursue the presence of God and refuse to live in yesterday.”

Pure Glory

by Apostle Gabriel Cross

We can’t afford to stay in the same old wineskin–mindskin of yesterday, it will not hold or advance the new wine of the Holy Spirit, the present truth of God. My heart bleeds this morning; I can’t live in yesterday.

No one after drinking the old wine wants the new, for he says, ‘”the old is better.” The old is rooted in the old systems of man, comfortability and familiarity. The new is rooted in the Kingdom of God, it’s uncomfortable and unfamiliar.

They pour new wine into new wineskins, so that both are preserved. How can we maintain the same comfortable routine, sing the same familiar songs and minister from the same old systems and keep the new? We find more important our song selections, our pre-selected sermons, and what impresses us, versus the fresh wineskin presence of the Lord and what impresses God. Pursue…

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When You Brood More Than You Write

As writers we may find ourselves in this place…… please read the full article written not only by a great writer, but my daughter-in-law. She nailed exactly what I am facing daily…….

View from Gramarye

oyan-blog-brooding-facebook

Today I wrote about brooding. Surprising, right?! 😉 If you’ve ever felt as though all you do is obsess about creative projects instead of getting anything accomplished, I would like to hope this post would offer you some encouragement. It considers brooding from a different angle. 

I’m sharing it here, on my own blog, because I think some of you may also like to read it because I delve into my motivations for writing.

The post, “When You Brood More Than You Write,” is on the blog of the press I work for. Here is a snippet.

Brooding is uncomfortable. Embarrassing. It’s difficult to see the point, and while I wonder what the point could be, I brood some more. What should I do with my book? Should it be fiction or nonfiction? Should I scrap the manuscript and start over?

More than anything, I wrestle with what it means to write in…

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More, Please

I’ve been thinking about what I have. I have a great family and wonderful friends. I have a relationship with a living God that is fantastic.

I feel loved. I feel accepted by my God and by my closest friends and of course, my family.

But what do I have? Particularly, what do I have in the relationship I have with my God, Jesus and Holy Spirit?

I could list what I potentially have, but do I use those things to the fullest? I do not. Ashamedly, I do not. Most of what I have I am most likely not aware of.

Here’s a true story that happened to me along the lines of what I possess as a Christian. We lost our daughter, suddenly, in 2005. It was the worst of times and the best of times. I needed my Father God to bring out all of His power to get us through this time, this life.

He did. He does. I never knew grace until this tragedy. I thought I did. But when I found myself in a place of total weakness He came and picked each of us up and held us tight and carried us through. It truly is amazing grace.

But did you know that there are some of us who do not believe that for themselves? I’ll tell you how I know this. A friend talked to me during this horrific time in our life and said, “I don’t know how you do this. I don’t know how you go through such a thing. I couldn’t do it.”

I was shocked at what they said. This was a person who hears from God on a regular basis. A person who received a miraculous healing from God when medical professionals saw no way to fix them.

Now I was in heavy grief at the time and shock of what happened to our family. But do you know what I wanted to say? I wanted to ask if they knew Jesus? If they actually knew what He did for them at the cross.

What are we doing? Are we just thanking Him for salvation on the cross and His resurrection, etc? Just? And then taking that gift of salvation and not opening it? Putting it on the shelf somewhere hidden within to only open when we need it or saving for a rainy day or perhaps, never opening it and seeing the fullness of His gift to us?

Come on Dear Reader. He has given you so much more than a mansion in heaven. So much more than eternal life with Him. It doesn’t begin when we pass this life and go to His arms. It begins here. In this life. He has mysteries to unravel in that gift you didn’t fully open. He has dreams and blessings on this earth for you to open now. Life isn’t just to survive until we get there.

I want it all. I want as much of Him that I can possibly get. I fall short of this every second of my day but I know He is still with me. He knows I fall short. He knows I can only handle so much at a time.

The beauty of His love is that He waits for us. He waits with gentle prodding and I  believe anticipation. He loves and longs to spend time with us. To walk with us. To be part of our decisions (even when it involves insane presidential candidates – LOL). He wants to be a part of all our decisions. He wants to be one with us.

But we have to allow Him. Welcome Him in. Let’s do it. I’m sure you all want a fuller life. A closer walk with God. It’s scary. I think mostly it’s the hardest thing to do – to let go and let God. Yet, it’s the simplest. Find kindred spirits so you don’t walk alone. Easter is coming and it’s a great time to turn around and open the gift of our Savior.

Love you guys.

Cate B

You’ve Got A Friend

One of the beauties of humanity is when you find people of like mindedness. Kindred Spirits. Someone who thinks similar to you and even understands what you just told them.

For me that seems few and far between. But when I find one it is like a bowl full of gems and jewels and chocolate!

The church we attend has a Wednesday night meeting. I do not always go to the midweek meeting but the last three weeks they have invited three different young adults from a college in the Kansas City area. These kids (I call them) get the opportunity to share what they are learning and going through with the intent of helping others. Youth. So refreshing.

Last night a young man walked up to my husband and I and introduced himself as the guest speaker for the evening. He proceeded to say that he likes to get to know his audience by asking what it is they have been going through lately. Well, having just posted my last blog about the seasons of my life I jumped right in and talked about that. Bam! He totally understood what I was talking about.

Don’t you just love it when you find someone who gets you? It is so important. We all have friends and acquaintances of different degrees. It is important we know that. Some are friends and the relationship may be more one sided. Those are good. Some, well, some are just “hey, how ya doin'” kind of relationship and you keep on walking. That’s ok too.

I’m not saying that this young man is now my deepest friend. I may never see him again. What I am saying is that we all need someone or a few someone’s we can rely on. The someones that don’t question your every look or move. The someones that have your back. The someones that hand over their back to you. The trust that no matter what you go through or how you go through it they will not judge or walk away, even if they don’t understand totally. The love.

As Christians we need to stand with others. We cannot do this life alone. We not only have the power of God within and without but we have others that need us and us them.

Recently, my husband and I saw the need for others to come alongside and hold us up through changes in our life. It’s all good things. He travels from time to time and I cannot always go along. We needed prayer support and friend support while he goes and I stay or when we both go.

So. We formed “Our Posse”. A group of friends of like heartedness and like mindedness. A group of loving and caring friends from quite the variety of life. A Motley Crew. We send out group messages when we have upcoming things we may need wisdom about and they pray. What a difference our life has become. We feel so much lighter. So less burdened.

I recommend this for everyone. It is not good for man to live alone. We were born for relationship. First one with God and then others.

I had a call from a friend of twenty plus years. We use to take nature walks or just gab over coffee and tea. Instant friends. Now she lives in Puerto Rico. But we are still strong together and always will be. It’s as if we never parted geographically.

Don’t stand alone, Dear Reader. There are people out there for your back. Even this blogging community has someone or someones for you to connect with.

Enjoy!

Cate B

Seasons of My Heart

Today I was sitting in my friends business having a wonderful time catching up and sipping coffee. They have a Quilt Shop. They sell all the supplies you need to make your own quilts from material and threads to the machines that assist you. There is an atmosphere of peace there.

I love businesses that bring out the creativity in people. I always get inspired without anyone saying anything to me. Even home improvement stores do that to me. But I am one to not always succumb to the long arms of creativity that reach out and taunt you until you say yes to their biddings. Then, before you know it, the tentacles grab you and lure you to buy all the supplies you need to make the perfect item you see displayed in all its finished glory before you.

I’m being funny here. I have learned my limitations of talents and abilities in the crafts department. And that is why I can say no to the taunts. I still get tempted but manage to pull away just in time. Quilting is beautiful and I love to cuddle under a lovely quilt……that someone else made. I lack patience in such a project. Maybe some day.

When my husband and I left the store we decided to take the country route home. It’s pretty brown here and gray in the winter months. But I noticed this barn with a “quilt” painted on the front:

IMG_2948

My mind wandered from that point on. While with our friends we talked about seasons. How cold the mid-west winters are and how we long to be on a beach in a tropical paradise during those days.

We talked how the seasons in nature are similar to the seasons of our lives. I’ll tell you what I mean.

There is a purpose for winter. A time to die and lay hidden to bring forth life when the time to right. Sometimes those hidden things can never come forth or come forth stunted if they do not pass through the cold winter season.

Spring. New life. New colors. New blossoms. Multiplied beauty from the last year. Fresh and warm and welcomed.

Summer. Fun! Enjoyment of the fruits of a long cold winter. The fruits of spring rains and melting snow.

Autumn. The beauty of life slowing and changing into glorious colors once more before the frosty winds take over and put the seeds to sleep for another season of dying only to bring forth life once again.

As far as my life goes, my heart issues, I thought long and hard on this and still am. How often I, Cate B, reflect on the warmth of summer. How often I want the winter of my life to be finished and brought into spring way faster than it feels like it’s happening. I want it now. But, why do I want that so much? What is my hurry?

Sometimes winter is painful. Sometimes I can feel frostbitten on the inside and want so much to be blossoming like a field of wild flowers. But the more I listened to my friend talk with us from his heart the more I felt that I need to not rush this winter season of my life. Or any season of the heart. I really do want all of what God has for me in this life on this earth. So if going through the “winter of my heart” is what will bring me out blooming beautiful then so be it. After all, several times I have told my Lord that I just want all He has for me. I gave Him permission to make me into the person I’m to be.

So I will keep layering my clothes to stay warm against the elements. I will prepare myself for the coming seasons so I can listen and receive all the dying and blooming on the inside that needs to be done. And I will gladly grab those warm surprise days that pop up now and then or the trip to the warmer climate for a week to help get me through. It is worth it. Being alive and aware and becoming me is so worth it.

Enjoy!

Cate B originally posted on www.wingedprisms.com

Kitchen Table Conversation: Just What? (Justice)

The topic this day in Kitchen Table Conversation is Justice. I was excited when I first found this out about a month ago. I just happen to despise injustice.

So I began to think deeply about justice.  And I thought and I thought and I looked it up and I thought and I thought some more.

Good grief.  Justice is quite the topic.  I mean, it’s so vast yet so single.

I’ve mentioned in the past that I am no great Bible scholar.  I find it much easier to speak from my heart.  So here goes.

Having worked for Law Enforcement and having the opportunity to listen and type out interviews between detectives and suspects, well, justice had slipped into my thoughts often. I would allow thoughts about these people, who weren’t yet convicted, to swirl through my head.  I had to stop that before they entered my heart. I found a way, through prayer, to delete these thoughts so I wouldn’t bring these people home with me.

I realized that I was  just the paper filer, the records keeper and distributer of such documents. That was my place at the PD. I was not a Judge or even a Jury. The Officers were not those roles either.  I felt for the victims. Big Time! I often prayed for Justice.

So, how do I feel about Justice? Eye for an eye? Throw them away for life or even death…….before they even have a trial? These are thoughts I struggle with every time I listen to the News. But who am I to pass sentence on people?

Recently I was unjustly accused of something that I did not do. I’ll tell you that story. It was small and menial compared to breaking the law and committing an unthinkable crime. But I felt so betrayed. You see, someone I thought was a close friend decided that some things our family faced recently was all due to the fact that I read a series of literature books that, apparently, they did not approve of. Therefore, our family went through a difficult week with “life stuff”. Say what?

This may sound silly compared to the serious subject of Justice, but bear with me. You see, with my relationship with God, I know I had the liberty to ready this particular series. I even ran it by my husband just to see what he thought. I knew he would agree with me. My mistake was not knowing the depth of my friendship with these people. It was shallow and I thought it was deep. Not only did I feel betrayed and judged by them, but they didn’t even tell me, they told my husband. That was probably a good idea though, my husband is much kinder and merciful. He turned it around and they didn’t even see that. I, on the other hand, would have possibly gotten all “Jersey” on them and cried. 😀

I really hate the feeling of being misunderstood and accused of something I didn’t do. I have spent the last week looking into my heart and what I came up with was the fact that I trusted them as friends. That is where it failed. After I got over all the things I felt about them (not pretty) I realized that I should have seen it coming. The hints they dropped about themselves were there. I chose to dive in anyway. Bottom-line, I want to show them love and mercy. They wouldn’t look at me at church, I tried to make eye contact. Our friendship has dropped to another level on the friendship meter. It is sad, but we will try and work it out and most likely agree to disagree – at least I will.

You see, I decided, after I threw the book at them and unjustly attacked them before God, and threw away the proverbial key, that I would let their Father and Friend, Jesus and Holy Spirit speak to their hearts. Their choice to listen to Him or not. My choice? My choice is Mercy. I want to show Mercy every time a misunderstanding comes up. And as humans, we know how often that happens. I would rather err on the side of Mercy than Judgement any day, and let God be our Judge. And in the place of the Law on this earth, the powers that be.

There. I now need a cup of coffee and a piece of pie and a good book to read 😉

Cate B