Goodbye 2016

How was 2016 for you?

I can’t complain. The political stuff that filled my Facebook newsfeed was quite annoying and tiring. I really just want happiness on my newsfeed……live puppies safe at home, as opposed to lost puppies or abused puppies. I want flowers and birds, as opposed to dead rainforests and killing the bees posts. I want images of people enjoying the life they’ve been given as opposed to dead or bloodied bodies in war torn nations or children crying in the streets.

I know I sound like I want to avoid all conflict. I don’t and I can’t. BUT I just don’t want it on my Facebook page. The hate is real. The wars are real. The lost kids and dogs are real. I can find those reports on the news. I know there is stink in this world.

But what I also know is that exposing myself constantly to negativity makes me sad, can bring on depression and hopelessness, and even poor health.

So why do we do it? Why complain about your health, etc., and keep on filling your eyes and mind with the negatives??

Just words for you to ponder.  It’s a New Year upon us, 2017. Do you want to change? I do. I’m trying and it is not easy. Not for anyone. It takes hard work and concentration and deliberate actions to change our thinking, our eating, our exercising. But the results of the hard work will be amazing!

Here are some wise words to repeat often that will help:

Philippians 4:8-9The Message (MSG)

8-9 Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.

Isn’t that beautiful? That pretty much sums up my thoughts on this last day of the year.

Now here are some photos I grabbed on an intentional, refreshing drive yesterday. Enjoy! And may you have a prosperous and healthy New Year!

Cate B

A house is not a home…when you’re not there

“During the time when Israel was deprived of land and Temple, God- according to the traditional criteria-could not compete with other gods, for a god who had no land and could not be worshiped was not a god at all.”

Pope Benedict XVI, Jesus of Nazareth, From the Baptism in the Jordan to the Transfiguration, p.347


Pause thought. There’s another half to that thought that Pope Benedict XVI had, but not      just       quite      yet. When God wakes you up to finish a book, you do it. And this book has been difficult for me to finish. Not because it’s not fantastic, because oh it is. But because it’s savory, and I eat books, fast, some would say (some being my husband) I eat them with my hands like an animal at a table without the use of fork and knife. But no, not this one. I think I’m ready to do a dissertation on it I took so many notes, so many pauses. It didn’t hit me like the light on Paul’s Damascus Road, it came in a long Elijah- like subtle whisper, begging me to read more, begging me to stay.

So 5 am, in the closet, on the floor, tired eyes, ok Lord, hair messy no coffee, I snuck away there like I was about to rob the place. I have been desperate, searching, slap me God do something. I’ll only run to Him. He is my source and my destiny and He likes when I am crazy over Him. And I am crazy over Him.

So when He invited me away with Him I jumped and smiled and I didn’t have to get ready or look my best. He took me, the mess that I was from being awake from my youngest.

“Don’t go back to sleep, don’t go,” it was deep within my soul. I was so ready for a stolen moment, an adventure, even in my closet.

“Finish the book,” He says.

I did. I finished the book. But read every page this time like He was there. And I found treasure, and romance and Him. And it led off with the thought I started with above.

“During the time when Israel was deprived of land and Temple, God- according to the traditional criteria-could not compete with other gods, for a god who had no land and could not be worshiped was not a god at all.”

Oh, I was in it. Drawn in. I felt His pull. My pulls are a knee-jerk let’s go! His;   his are subtle, small, gentle, gliding. Hold my hand and take me. Like a little girl. I was inside that sentence. He was showing me how to be a child, how to be inside what he was showing me. I listened… calm, peaceful. I was with Him yesterday before the Blessed Sacrament in adoration. It was still penetrating my being.

Inside, God was not there. No temple, no land, no place to rest his head. A wanderer, a sojourner. Nothing to look at. Open space and movement. But He, he was still living and breathing. In this closet. Far from Jerusalem. Far from my church. I realized it then. Even in my longing to pray daily in His church, He’s made a space for me, a place for me. I live in God’s house or rather, He’s made His house inside of me.

“It was during this period that the people learned to understand fully what was different and new about Israel’s God, the god of one people and one land, but quite simply God, the God of the universe, to whom all lands, all heaven and earth belong, The God who is master of all…Once again: Israel came to realize that its God was simply “God” without qualification.” (Pope Benedict XVI pp.347-348).

Inside that closet was me and Him and silent worship. It was time away with Him. I had no shrine or offerings but myself. Like St. Peter exclaimed during the transfiguration, I was so overcome and had nothing to say but, “It is so good that we are here.” Sounded more in my mind like a nervous uttering on a first date, but it was all I had. I was in open territory, free, free at 5 am with an invitation from God to read and sit with him. And I could care less if the rest of the world doesn’t understand me.

Are you deprived of land and temple? Space or place? Nowhere to go? Roaming in physicality or even in spirit? In wide open spaces that are just too big? The God of the universe had no place to rest his head, so you are in excellent company! And I’m there with you saying, Yes! Yes! Me too! I am shouting Yes! I have nowhere to go than to Him. Always searching, always traveling, continuously finding my way back to Him. This lover will never leave me, never let me go. We are two hippy purveyors of land, He’s there, He’s always there. Still in love with me.

I write most of my pieces while listening to music. The Holy Spirit leads me to songs that ignite me. I want to share this with you today as you will often see music associated with my pieces. Today, the music is crucial to understanding my piece. It is intended to be listened to while you read through it. I hope you see as deep and wide as I do today. Love you all-




It’s Not What You Know

It’s Who You Know

I’ve written many times before about our discipleship of love. About discarding the chains that bind us to legalism , judgment and division. Yet somehow, we cling to those chains as if our life – our salvation – depended on it.

As we study the Bible, attend Bible classes, or just listen to our own preachers, we become locked inside a bubble of self-righteousness. Day by day, we adopt an attitude cemented in being right about our perception of God, of right and wrong, of what He thinks. And really, if we are convinced we know what God thinks about anything other than ourselves, we don’t know the God who saved us.

As the apostle Paul said, “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known.” (1 Corinthians 13:12)

In other words, we only know part of the story. God only reveals to us through the Spirit what we are ready to know. No one knows the full measure of God’s thoughts or ways, and we won’t until we see Him face to face. Hopefully, as the Spirit helps us mature in our faith, He also reveals more of God to us. And as that happens, our hearts and minds continue to grow and transform to be more like Jesus.

God’s Word doesn’t change, but as we grow in our faith, our understanding of it should.

“As we receive more revelation by faith, our experience will begin to line up with what God says about us… Humility and staying teachable, along with realizing that we all only see in part and that there will always be more than one way to look at things until Jesus returns, are some of the hallmarks of spiritual maturity.” (©Mel Wild, 2015, Sonshift, Everything Changes in the Father’s Embrace, pp.186, 215)

It doesn’t really matter that our 33,000 doctrines and traditions are different; what matters is Who we worship, Who we receive unconditional love, grace and wisdom from. And it matters that we accept this love, grace and wisdom so we can, in return, give it to others. For if we can receive unconditional love from the Father, we can pour it out to our family, our neighbors, our enemies. If we can receive unconditional grace from Jesus, we can offer it to our family members, our friends, and those who offend or hurt us. If we can receive the wisdom of the Holy Spirit, we can truly know God and grow in His embrace.

“I am not asking solely for [the disciples’] benefit; this prayer is also for all the believers who will follow them and hear them speak. Father, may they all be one as You are in Me and I am in You; may they be in Us, for by this unity the world will believe that You sent Me.” (John 17:20-21)

Father, I pray for all us. May we please begin the New Year in You, in Him, in unity.

Free Download; Merry Christmas

Branches Devotional

Genesis: The Beginning

“I am the vine and you are the branches. If you remain in me and I and you, you will produce much fruit. Apart from me, you can do nothing.” John 15:5

When I first became a believer, I had no guide; well, I did, but I didn’t know it. No one told me about the Holy Spirit, or if they did, I didn’t get it. No one told me the Bible was the story of Jesus from Genesis to Revelation. No one told me accepting Christ wasn’t just about repenting of sin – that was only a small part of allowing Jesus to take my hand.

More importantly, it was about allowing him to lead me to the Father, and letting the Father embrace and restore me in His unconditional love and generous grace. It was about accepting His gift of inheritance – the inheritance of everlasting acceptance as His own. It was about growing in the acknowledgment that He walks with me through every circumstance. It was about His plan to restore all of us to Himself; His family.

For the last several years, I have been writing Branches Devotional Collection, a devotional Bible series for New Believers, Christian families and people who simply want to grow in their faith. I have been able to write this study through participation in a two-year course in Bible interpretation, my own experience in being open to the hearts and minds of others, and the prompting of the Holy Spirit who reminds me daily of the words of Jesus.

And as I wrote, I began to see the threads that connect it all into a giant, woven pattern that is the beautiful tapestry, from Genesis to Revelation, of God’s planned restoration for all of creation through Jesus. The more time I spend under the Father’s tutelage, the more I came to see and experience the depth of His love, the tenacity of His grace, and the extent of His compassion.

“The belief that God’s love is conditional is at the root of all performance-based Christianity. This is also probably one of the most demonic lies of all because it puts a question mark on God’s emphatic declaration of His love for us.” Mel Wild, Sonshift: Everything Changes in the Father’s Embrace, p.122, ©2015

That is why Branches takes small but significant portions of God’s Word and illustrates how they are not fear-based, but loved based, and are reoccurring themes throughout the Bible. As you allow the Spirit to take hold of your heart, you can become more familiar with your Bible. You can feel less uncertainty and apprehension about reading God’s Word. You can begin to understand things that only appear to be contradictions. You can also put certain passages you’ve become familiar with in the context of its purpose for being written. You can do all this and more if you allow your heart to remain open.

If you want to begin the New Year with Jesus from The Beginning, I invite you to download Branches: Genesis, The Beginning. May you be blessed with a closer relationship with Him.

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