Let God’s Word Pressure Wash Your Heart

I’m watching my hubby pressure wash our deck and chairs.  Personally, I thought everything was okay “as is.”  Not so for him!  He has prepped and planned for this day for over a week – the precursor for staining it, applying protective water seal, and getting us more active outside as a family.  Until I saw the murky water running off the side, I didn’t realize how much dirt and grime had built up on the wood.  But he knew, and he wanted to get rid of it.

Now isn’t that like us when we consider the condition of our own hearts?  We reason and rationalize:  “I’m just fine…I don’t have to change…it’ll be okay if I wait until later to deal with that.”  And all the while, God (who has already examined us) is tugging on our heartstrings, encouraging us to allow Him to make much-needed change and adjustments in us.

A new-looking deck is now beaming back at me and beckoning me to spend time on it once it dries.  Yet, the wood had to yield to the pressure for cleansing – and somebody (my hubby) had to put in some elbow grease to “get ‘r done!”  This week, may we yield to the pressure God allows in our lives to remove the buildup and residue of the world – so we can be thoroughly cleansed.  Then He’ll apply the protective seal of the Holy Spirit to keep us in this “new and improved” condition.  You’ll likely be able to identify the “before and after” distinctions encountered when restoring a valuable work of art…after all, we are His workmanship. 🙂

“Now when I passed by thee, and looked upon thee, behold, thy time was the time of love; and I spread my skirt over thee, and covered thy nakedness: yea, I sware unto thee, and entered into a covenant with thee, saith the Lord GOD, and thou becamest mine. Then washed I thee with water; yea, I throughly washed away thy blood from thee, and I anointed thee with oil.”
(Ezekiel 16:8-9)

“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.”
(Ephesians 5:25-27)

“Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.”
(Hebrews 10:22)

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”
(Ephesians 2:10)

 © Copyright 2013 by Kayren J. Cathcart

You Choose: The Light of the World vs. The Weight of the World

encumber – burden, hinder, hamper, load, handicap

Do you ever feel heavy, weighed down, sluggish, ho-hum, blah, out-of-it?  Sometimes we get so busy doing stuff that we don’t place adequate focus on who we’re in the process of becoming – or on Who orchestrates that process for His divine purposes.

In this season of reflecting on the death, burial, and resurrection of our glorious Savior, let us truly see Him as the Light of the world Who takes away our sin.  As we look unto Jesus, we’ll see that many things we’ve allowed to weigh on us weren’t really ours to carry in the first place.  He went to the cross in our stead and conquered death and the grave so that we wouldn’t have to bear the burden of our own sin.

Because of the gift of salvation, we can experience the joy that freedom in Christ affords – on a daily basis!  Yet, it’s an intentional and deliberate choice.  So unpack your bag and offload some of the extra accumulations that you just don’t need for this leg of the journey.  Then rejoice!

“But Martha was cumbered about much serving…”
(Luke 10:40a)

“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
(Hebrews 12:1-2)

Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.”
(I Peter 5:7)

They looked unto him, and were lightened: and their faces were not ashamed.”
(Psalm 34:5)

“Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”
(John 8:12)

“I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.”
(Revelation 1:18)

 © Copyright 2013 by Kayren J. Cathcart

The Lord Has Haters? You Betcha – But Don’t Be One Of ‘Em!

oppose – resist, combat, compete with, do battle with, fight, counter, dissent, dispute, contradict

I read Psalm 81 and my jaw dropped. “Knowing the ultimate end of the matter, who in their right mind would be reckless enough to oppose God, the Father Almighty and Sovereign King of the Universe?!” I incredulously wondered aloud.  Then I realized that I had done just that on too many occasions.  Boy, was I convicted.  I don’t wanna be on the losing side in a fixed fight…

On a regular basis, people often test, challenge, and come up against us.  Some of us have outright haters.  But when being persecuted or rejected for righteousness’ sake, appreciate the fact that our Lord also suffered the same treatment – and to a more stringent degree.

Let us check ourselves to make sure we don’t fall into the category of “the haters of the Lord.”  It should make us shudder to even think about not walking in agreement with His way, His will, and His Word.  The New King James Version spells it out even more plainly: we should not pretend submission to God; the New Living Translation says those who do “would be doomed forever.”  Ouch.  That’s a mouthful.  Sobering, isn’t it?  Let the Word of God search out any remaining dark corners of your heart and lead you to swift repentance.

My contrite prayer:  Forgive us for harboring stubborn, rebellious, and contrary hearts, Lord!  May our love for You be evident in our obedience – even when it costs a great deal. What we go through cannot compare to the sacrifice You made at Calvary for our salvation and eternal life.  Thank You for cleansing us with Your precious blood!!!

“The haters of the LORD should have submitted themselves unto him: but their time should have endured for ever.”
(Psalm 81:15, KJV)

 “The haters of the LORD would pretend submission to Him, but their fate would endure forever.”
(Psalm 81:15, NKJV)

 © Copyright 2013 by Kayren J. Cathcart

Your Permissive Will vs. God’s Perfect Will

Have you ever contemplated and desired to know God’s perfect will for you in a given situation?  A dearly departed relative used to tell me, “I know what you’re saying, but God has a permissive will, too.”  While this may be true, she often said this coupled with something she was trying to influence (or manipulate – more accurately) me to do to her liking.

Out of His great love for us, God has given each of us a free will – we are not robots.  Yet, He desires that we would make the wisest godly choice – and then He generously lays out the best plan according to His perfect will for each of our lives that points out (with flashing lights, bells, and whistles), “Pick THIS ONE! This is the way, walk in it!”

How much simpler could it be?  It’s not rocket science – find out what God is instructing you to do, and do that.  Ta-dah!  Save yourself some heartache – even though you have a wide array of choices, choose the way God instructs.  His blessed path leads to life everlasting.

Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”
(Hebrews 13:20-21)

 “And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.”
(Isaiah 30:21)

 “Oh that my people had hearkened unto me, and Israel had walked in my ways!”
(Psalm 81:13)

 “Blessed is every one that feareth the LORD; that walketh in his ways.”
(Psalm 128:1)

© Copyright 2013 by Kayren J. Cathcart

Chronic Disease Alert: Conquer DLS by Resting in the Lord!

Have you ever suddenly snapped back to consciousness after realizing that you hadn’t been paying attention for the last couple of minutes?  I have.  “Zoning out” can happen when you’re driving, in the midst of a conversation, sitting in a meeting, or in any other variety of scenarios.  Breaking news: you can overcome chronic DLS (Distracted Living Syndrome) by focusing on the Word of God – I’m a witness!

This may not be an earth-shattering report in your opinion, but for me, it was life-changing.  And I only started to notice when I voluntarily cut out some familiar distractions.  You see, as an extremely detail-oriented person, I knew that I was easily distracted by “little things.”  However, I didn’t realize how many “little things” I had allowed to invade my atmosphere…nor was I aware that they were rapidly accumulating.  At that point, I had to decide (consciously or sub-consciously) which distractions to filter out or pay attention to.  That led to a lot of mental exhaustion (and some admittedly ADD/ADHD tendencies), because our minds aren’t designed to constantly process information – at some point, they need to rest.

But in our “24/7 on” society fueled by TV news (or gossip), internet connectivity, roadside billboards, magazine advertisements, computer pop-ups, automated phone calls, text messages, instant messages – and the list goes on – only YOU can draw the line and say when “enough is enough.”  And when you do realize that your cup is about to overflow, I pray that you’ll run to the arms of the Lord to lay every burden at His feet, in exchange for receiving the rest that only He can give.  When we cut out some of the other voices in our ears, we can hear the voice of the Lord with astonishing clarity.  Try it today – unplug from the world and reconnect with your Creator – He’s waiting for you…

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
(Matthew 11:28-30)

 “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.”
(Isaiah 26:3)

“You will guard him and keep him in perfect and constant peace whose mind [both its inclination and its character] is stayed on You, because he commits himself to You, leans on You, and hopes confidently in You. So trust in the Lord (commit yourself to Him, lean on Him, hope confidently in Him) forever; for the Lord God is an everlasting Rock [the Rock of Ages].”
(Isaiah 26:3-4, AMP)

 © Copyright 2013 by Kayren J. Cathcart

Change Your Mind: It’s Not a Sin to Be Early!

This morning, I leisurely sailed through a series of green lights, which put me on the early commuter train.  This opportunity was provided compliments of my children’s bus driver who arrived EARLY.  Since I purposed in my heart to be early this morning, I didn’t have to “run the bus down” (literally) to get my children on it – what a blessing, because I’ve done that on more occasions than I care to admit!  Our regular bus driver is always punctual – and quite often, she is early.  Conversely, our substitute bus driver is always late – consistently and without fail.  Which would you rather be said of you – that you’re dependably timely or that you’re regularly late?

I used to think it was a sin to be early – I know it sounds ridiculous, but in my mind, I thought, “Surely things can’t get started without ME being up in the mix!”  As I’ve matured, I’ve learned that things will pass me right on by if I’m not in proper position on time and prepared, and that I’m not as integral to the world continuing to rotate and revolve as I thought I was.  How humbling!

Challenge yourself to be early for everything you do for an entire day.  Then try it again the next day.  Before you know it, this good habit will have become part of your character – and a strong part of your silent testimony for our faithful God.  Don’t damage the credibility of your witness by “skidding in by the skin of your teeth” or “barely making it in just under the wire.”  Let God give you a transformative “mind makeover”…because you never know who’s watching and taking notice of your actions – and you may enjoy less stress and lower blood pressure, too!

“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
(Romans 12:2)

“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:”
(Philippians 2:5)

 © Copyright 2013 by Kayren J. Cathcart

Whoa…Stop Calling Evil Good – It’s NOT!

I’m speechless…nearly.  Because I saw something today that just wasn’t right.  A young lady was getting on the train as I exited, and I noticed her attire.  What caught my attention was the fact that she had gold cross symbols printed all over on her pants.  A good witness for Jesus during this season of celebrating the Resurrection, right?  Not so fast…

They were skintight leggings that hugged her every curve (and I do mean every, eww, Lord have mercy).  The saving message of the cross of Calvary was likely drowned out by those screaming bulges.  Yikes!

I take issue with the folks who designed, marketed, sold, and profited from creating that mess of a so-called fashion nightmare.  Yet, I say unto you, people of God, “Just because they make it in your size doesn’t mean you should A) buy it, or B) wear it outside your home.”

Choose to dress in tasteful modesty to conceal, not in lust-filled flamboyance to reveal; trust me, some stuff is better left to the imagination.  May the truth of God’s Word open your eyes to see what image is really staring back in the mirror before you (or your family members) step outside the door as a reflection of and ambassador for our precious Lord and Savior…

Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!”
(Isaiah 5:20-21)

“I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.”
(I Timothy 2:9-10, NIV)

“Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil. And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
(I Thessalonians 5:21-23)

© Copyright 2013 by Kayren J. Cathcart