Fun vs. Folly: Are YOU Deceived?

fun – amusement, pleasure, entertainment, merriment, diversion
folly – foolishness, madness, idiocy, craziness, recklessness, imprudence, foolhardiness
deceived – tricked, misled, betrayed, swindled, double-crossed, cheated, defrauded, duped, deluded, conned, two-timed, misinformed

The spirit of this “trick or treat” season is deceiving and is motivated by deception. Jesus operates in light and truth – because He IS Light and Truth! So obviously this month’s “holiday” is not about Him, no matter how people may try to frame, twist, revise, or rewrite it. Many folks think it’s relatively harmless to partake of the “festivities,” perhaps by distributing a little candy here or allowing their children to dress-up in costumes (maybe at school) there.

If you can even slightly contemplate compromise by participating in the idleness and fruitlessness of the season, take a moment to sincerely pray and ask the Lord for discernment and direction. Before you counter with “it’s not really that bad” or “everyone else is doing it,” consider the source of your counsel according to Proverbs 16:22b “the instruction of fools is folly” and Proverbs 14:24b “the foolishness of fools is folly.”

A crack in the foundation can open up to become a gaping breach. Saints of God, it’s time for us to rise up in righteousness, get our houses in order, and live like our God is watching for us to be a righteous reflection of Him in the Earth – because He is. If you’re righteous, be righteous and do righteousness – it’s pretty clear. Let no man deceive you – and don’t deceive yourself! We cannot allow contamination or confusion in because we didn’t take a bold and firm stand against unrighteousness. Make a deliberate decision to let the light of Christ shine brightly through YOU today…

Folly is joy to him that is destitute of wisdom: but a man of understanding walketh uprightly.”
(Proverbs 15:21)

“But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.”
(II Timothy 3:13)

7 Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.
8 He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.
9 Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.
10 In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.
(I John 3:7-10)

© Copyright 2015 by Kayren J. Cathcart

Dressed Up…For Battle or For Compromise?

Philippians 4:8 tells us as Christians to meditate on things that are honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report; virtuous and praiseworthy. Does a “holiday” that exploits instilling fear and worshipping death meet any of these criteria? If we turn the channel so little eyes and ears aren’t subjected to zombies, vampires, witches, or other images that might give them nightmares, should adult vessels of honor fit for the Master’s use partake of them?

This one is short and sweet (with no calories or cavities!) because the Word does all the talking. Read the scriptures below, and then check your outward attire as well as how your inner man is clothed. May we repent for the areas we’ve allowed complacency to turn into compromise, and concessions to turn into cooperation with the world. James 4:4 admonishes, “…know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God..”

Are you destroying the works of the devil, or serving as his walking billboard? A “free” bag of candy is a terribly unwise unit of exchange for an eternal soul…and why costume yourself to identify as someone you’re not?

“10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”
(Ephesians 6:10-13)

7 Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.
8 He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.
9 Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.
10 In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.
(I John 3:7-10)

© Copyright 2015 by Kayren J. Cathcart

Matters of the Heart: Recognizing the Un-Gift

Kayren’s generic definition of “un-gift” – a masquerading “blessing” that will likely end up being a curse due to its intrinsic or inherent value (or lack thereof)

The other day, a restaurant near my job e-mailed me some coupons. Now anyone who knows me is aware of how much I love getting a deal, a perk, or a freebie. However, as I looked at the nutritional info for the lunch item to be discounted, I realized that in my right mind, I can’t afford to receive and use their coupon because it makes no sense for a person on blood pressure medication to knowingly ingest over 1200mg of sodium in one entree. “But it’s on sale…yeah, but it’s gonna take you somewhere you don’t need to be, fool!” Back and forth I argued in my mind, until I tentatively scheduled when I’d cross the street to try this disaster of a meal choice (since the coupon expired within 2 weeks – of course, creating an urgency to hop aboard this train wreck of an externally-influenced decision). Finally, I confessed to my family when I got home that I had been tempted by this cleverly-disguised, flesh-tickling “offer.” However, knowing that it wouldn’t benefit me (or my family if my blood pressure skyrocketed), I asked for their support as I made myself accountable to them (once again) with my personal health stewardship. 

I should’ve gotten a clue when that same week, I got a separate “congratulatory” message from this same restaurant telling me I’d “earned” a “reward” for a dessert I don’t even like (they are few and far between, but they do exist – LOL). So let’s see here, I’m getting the “opportunity” to pay 99 cents for a food item I don’t like, one I probably wouldn’t eat even if it was free, and I’m ingesting extra calories and sugar I’ll have to work off in the meanwhile? No thank you! Honestly, I’d been contemplating whether to unsubscribe from this restaurant’s e-mails because their suggestions for food I hadn’t even been considering is moving from slight annoyance to constant bombardment. I can turn off the faucet to their cleverly-marketed “gifts” with one click – that may be the best gift for my health!

It seems simple, but every day, we’re faced with innumerable choices to receive “gifts” offered to us. It’s helpful to remember that just because something is offered doesn’t mean we have to accept it! If we actually take a moment to evaluate the pros AND cons before receiving an offer, it will help us stay aligned with the will of God for our lives instead of getting sidetracked, derailed, or distracted by ungodly, untimely, unwanted, or unwarranted options sent on assignment by the enemy of our souls. Whether well-intentioned or not, if a gift isn’t of value or benefit, it’s not really a gift. My prayer is that we stay alert and aware to keep and guard our hearts with all diligence (Proverbs 4:23) – not only in this Valentine’s Day season when emotions may be more vulnerable than usual, but each and every day. There’s no sin in responding “Return to Sender” for some gifts (or un-gifts)! 

“He that blesseth his friend with a loud voice, rising early in the morning, it shall be counted a curse to him.”
(Proverbs 27:14)

© Copyright 2015 by Kayren J. Cathcart

Back to Basics: Sufficiency, Satiety, and Satisfaction

satiety – the quality or state of being fed or gratified to or beyond capacity; the revulsion or disgust caused by overindulgence or excess

Do we really believe that God is big enough to supply all of our needs, fulfill us, and satisfy us? Do we rest in the fact that He is able to provide for us spiritually, emotionally, financially, and physically – in an all-encompassing way? If so, we have a strange way of walking by faith in the fact that what we currently have is a-plenty. When we’re honest with ourselves, we can admit that we often see inconsistencies in ourselves before others do.

In today’s American culture, I’m not sure how much “revulsion or disgust” we have for overindulgence or excess. On the contrary, we’re infatuated and obsessed with obtaining “more.” If we watch a 30-minute TV program, we’re tempted by the offer to “binge watch” the entire season of episodes with one effortless download. No consideration of wasting an entire day (or more!) of productivity when we can have a glut of what we just tasted…it’s within easy reach. We want everything better, faster, in greater quantities – and we want it NOW. Even infomercials that offer us “the next big trinket” hook us with the promise of something EVEN BETTER than the fantabulous deal we’re already salivating over, baiting us with the nauseatingly predictable “but wait – there’s MORE…we’ll double your order for FREE if you call within the next 8 minutes!” And you know when they suggest that you give the extra one away as a gift, most of us end up with it sitting in a drawer, under a cabinet, or on a shelf collecting dust for months (or years). Even though we can only use one item at a time, we want more…because we’re never grateful enough to be satisfied with what we already have.

Godliness with contentment is great gain (I Timothy 6:6), but are we ever really content with what we have? Or are we subconsciously striving for “the next thing” instead of valuing our present state? My church’s theme for the past year has been “Looking Unto Jesus to Maximize and Strengthen What We Have.” If we thoughtfully and thoroughly count our blessings, we must realize and conclude that we need to take better stewardship to be effective with what we already have before we receive an additional drop of anything. Before lusting after that new pair of shoes/boots/outfit/purse/jewelry/home décor item, evaluate what we’re doing with the pile of similar items currently occupying our closet or running out of our drawers. I was particularly convicted when I acknowledged that before we’d finished our plenteous Thanksgiving meal leftovers, I was already wondering what we’d have for our Christmas feast. And yes, that type of overindulgence and excess will be taking me straight to the gym next week…and for MANY weeks to come…

As we reflect on the entirety of 2014 rapidly coming to a close, my prayer is that 2015 will be a year in which we fully and wholeheartedly embrace what God has for us – and appreciate it – no matter how it looks. In spite of whatever warped, perverted messages or misrepresentations advertisers and marketers attempt to bombard us with, may we receive the truth in our hearts that Jesus is the only One Who can satisfy, fulfill, and complete us. 

“1 Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.
2 Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:
3 Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases;
4 Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies;
5 Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”
(Psalm 103:1-5)

 © Copyright 2014 by Kayren J. Cathcart

Spammed!

spam – disruptive messages, especially commercial messages posted on a computer network or sent as e-mail; unsolicited, undesired e-mail; the e-mail version of junk mail

Thank goodness my self-esteem is intact enough today that I didn’t fall for a fake ego trip (again – LOL; it’s true what they say about being older and wiser…). I got a comment from an unknown poster complimenting my writing skills (go figure – that college degree is coming in handy) and blog layout (it’s a template, for heaven’s sake). Since it appeared to be a link to a bootleg online luxury products outlet (again, age and deliverance make a healthy combination), I decided to Google the link in the attempted flatterer’s signature instead of clicking on it. (I absolutely detest internet “cookies,” and the thought of getting unending pop-up ads for who-knows-what makes me livid). When that initial search didn’t give me adequate or specific details about my phony admirer from afar, I searched the text “I am really impressed with your writing skills” and lo and behold if that site wasn’t listed multiple times, and in various languages. My suspicious hunch was right. With a few clicks, I’d confirmed that the message wasn’t from someone who genuinely appreciated my literary prowess (ha!), but instead, it was a sham from someone who wanted to squat on my web property for free advertising. Kinda like realizing that you’ve gotten a photocopied “love letter…” and you feel just a bit less-than-special…Needless to say, I hit delete on that message.

Rather ironic, since I just retrieved an e-mail message I’d been awaiting since last month – only to find out yesterday that it had – unbeknownst to me – been relegated to my “Junk” folder – yikes! The sender had been awaiting my response…and I’d been completely unaware that the important information had been sent to my attention weeks ago. Then I felt horrible that my delay had impacted my ability to disseminate the information to other people who needed it. What a ripple effect – ugh!

The value of a message can be determined by the identity of the sender, right? Unwanted message gets received, desired message doesn’t get received…I’m no techno-whiz, but it’s nearly a herculean feat to keep track of my own electronic traffic these days. And who (or what algorithm) determines that I should get daily shoe sale e-mails in my Inbox, while important personal messages get condemned to the abysmal Junk folder?!?

How often do we get spammed in a spiritual sense? We’re having a great day, focused on the goodness of the Lord, then – WHAMMO! – something unauthorized and definitely not legit comes from outta the blue that sends us spinning off course. Saints of the Most High, we must be on guard for potential intruders and distractions that desire to run roughshod and ramshackle through our emotional and spiritual well-being, leaving overturned tables and broken vases in the wake of their forced entry. What disruptive, unsolicited, or undesired messages have been bombarding you lately? In these last and evil days, our recourse is in the Person of the Holy Spirit. We need His discernment, wisdom, guidance, and protection. I dare assert that He is the ultimate spam blocker!

“1 Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer.
2 From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
3 For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy.
4 I will abide in thy tabernacle for ever: I will trust in the covert of thy wings. Selah.”
(Psalm 61:1-4)

© Copyright 2014 by Kayren J. Cathcart

The Linguistics of Lyingese

fluent – smooth, cogent, natural, well-versed, eloquent, effortless, flowing

I recently reconnected with a young lady from the Democratic Republic of the Congo who speaks fluent French. I enjoyed taking 5 years of French in high school (merci beaucoup, Madame Burwell – je t’aime!), but that was a couple of decades ago, and it seems that Spanish is in greater use in this part of the country. So when her husband asked me, “Where did you learn your French?” I grinned broadly and with my best Southern Belle twang, I drawled, “Virginia! Why do you ask – do I sound country?” and we all laughed. After being in the US for just 2 years, she tells me, “Your French is good; I’m trying to get better at English,” as we both work to bridge the steadily narrowing communication gap.

We all know how important it is to speak the same language when you expect someone to understand you and comprehend the meaning of what you’re saying. So when God illuminated this statement to me, I did a double take: “Firmly REJECT the lies of the devil – truth is a foreign language that he cannot speak fluently!” This means that the enemy of our soul is miserably inarticulate and absolutely unintelligible in the language of truth – which is the only language God the Father speaks. There is no way to translate the devil’s foolishness into something acceptable in the kingdom of God! Therefore, we cannot afford to be passive about “not receiving” a lie – as saints of the Most High, we should proactively REJECT lies in every form and iteration.

We must be steadfastly convinced of the need to incorporate this mindset into our spiritual communications. When we don’t resolutely and decisively reject what the devil introduces, suggests, or implies to us (remember – it’s a lie, because the only language he can speak as the father of lies is Lyingese), then by default, we’re agreeing with our enemy instead of with God. And that’s a dangerous spot to be in. So ask yourself today who you rollin’ with…and who’s your daddy? If you need to repent and adjust your position in light of God’s Word, I encourage you to do so right now…

“42 Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me.

43 Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word.

44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.”
(John 8:42-44)

© Copyright 2014 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