The Power of Active Choice vs. Default

default – failure to act; course of action that a program or operating system will take when the user or programmer specifies no overriding value or action

Saturday afternoon, I had a great conversation with another mom of growing adolescents. Our chat meandered from grocery store budgeting tips for keeping our giants nourished to specific foods they like. As we talked about the weeknight (anytime!) lifesaver known as ramen noodles, I told her I didn’t eat them anymore because of the high sodium content of the flavor packets. She quickly assured me that she enjoys hers with reduced sodium chicken broth…and I saw sunbeams emitting from the heavens.

Sunday afternoon, my hubby grilled hot dogs for the family. Knowing I didn’t need the excess sodium, I skipped the hot dogs, but wasn’t sure what I wanted for lunch. After my nap, I thought about those ramen noodles and pulled out my low-sodium chicken broth. Three minutes and three dashes of pepper later, I was enjoying some tasty soup on my front porch while birdwatching. It wasn’t until halfway through the bowl that I realized, “Hey, I made a better decision instead of just going along with what everyone else was doing!” I also took a 20 minute walk with my children instead of perfecting my couch potato skills all afternoon.

Fresh off of yesterday’s triumph, I ordered a salad today for lunch. When I opened the box, nestled right next to the wheat crackers and the pickle spear, I noticed a frosted sugar cookie (that I didn’t order) wrapped in cellophane…staring at me…summoning me to take a tiny nibble. I refused the invitation and promptly took the cookie intruder to our office break room so someone else could give it a new home.

So many times I just gave in to the thing in front of me because it was easier than politely declining or steadfastly refusing something that looked/smelled/sounded/seemed soooo good – but really wasn’t. Yet, these past couple of days have been different. So I guess the “Shake Up Your Routine” speech I gave this week at Toastmasters is having an impact on ME. And I’m proud of myself for finally making some necessary changes. Sure, it was “just one meal,” “just one walk,” and “just one cookie that didn’t slide down my gullet.” But it was a start. And it was MY fresh start of commitment to continue down a better path so I can see positive results and experience improved health. This week, challenge yourself not to yield to the default…leave a comment if you’d like some support on your journey – because you’re certainly not the only one who has to put effort into actively making righteous choices!

“I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:”
(Deuteronomy 30:19)

© Copyright 2018 by Kayren J. Cathcart


Salt in the Wound: A Potential Prescription for Healing

At my recent dental cleaning, the hygienist asked the standard question about any changes in health. I mentioned that a small (yet painful and unwelcome bump) had risen between my lip and gum, and that I was swishing with hydrogen peroxide to hasten its departure. She responded, “If you really want it to go away more quickly, put salt on a cotton swab and hold it there for a few moments. It will sting, but if you can take the initial discomfort, the bump will heal faster. Also, swish with salt and warm water.”

She gave me a wise recommendation and prescription for healing – if I chose to apply it. Well, I applied it, and it did indeed sting! However, after the initial shock and burning sensation, I realized that a few days later, the bump was going down. I wanted to be healed more than I wanted to be comfortable. And when we reach that crossroads in everyday life, we will change.

Salt has curative and healing properties. So does the truth of God’s Word. May we apply His Word to the areas of our lives He illuminates in this season and see His healing hand at work.

“Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.”
(Matthew 5:13)
“Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his saltness, wherewith will ye season it? Have salt in yourselves, and have peace one with another.”
(Mark 9:50)
“Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.”
(Colossians 4:6)

© Copyright 2017 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

Be Holy…Just Do It!

As I prepare to minister in song today at my 94 year-old great-aunt’s funeral (she was the only living sister of my grandma, who was the baby of 11 children), I’m reflecting on the fact that my flesh just has to DIE.  Nothing like a funeral to remind you of how finite you are, eh?  There’s no way around it.  There’s no cute or politically correct way to deal with it.  The flesh just has to be subdued, overcome, and obliterated.  Because given one inch, that joker will take 2 miles and try to take me back to that familiar place that I left behind.  I have no business going back to Egypt, so I must make a conscious, intentional, deliberate decision to consecrate myself to the holy things of God.

I was also reminded that I won’t “just happen to fall into” consecration – I must plan to make holy choices, then execute them (ironically, execute means “to carry out or perform,” but it also means “to kill or put to death”).  Proper planning with poor implementation or execution does not lead to ultimate success.  Only when I walk faithfully in a God-given plan can I expect for Him to be glorified.  Once again, the outcome is contingent on my obedience – not my desires, intentions, or what I wish would happen, but just good, ol’ fashioned, nose-to-the-grindstone walking in agreement with God’s will and His Word.

During my (admittedly long-overdue) Quiet Time this morning, I thought I was gonna read James 4:10 about humbling myself.  Well, did God ever have a different direction in mind – He led me to Ezekiel 22 and Ezekiel 23 and went Old Testament on me about the idolatry in my own heart – whoa!  It was sobering to say the least (and humbling, too).  I strongly urge you to read these chapters today, for they put into perspective why we can’t pretend these perilous times are “business as usual” – because they’re not.  This is not the time to “play crazy” with the instructions of God; we must clean up our acts and get in right standing with our Creator.  We can’t righteously judge sin and idolatry in others when we’re participating in it or harboring it ourselves!  We must stay in proper position to minister (effectively and with power) to others, for the time is short.

NOW is the time to cleanse yourself of whatever idols are lurking and lingering in your life.  I challenge you to admit what has drawn away your affections from your First Love – then repent and get back into intimate fellowship, communion, and relationship with Him.  I won’t let pride keep me from sharing my personal prayer of repentance – may you be blessed as you experience His cleansing holiness and His unconditional love for you today!

Lord, You are evermore faithful to speak, but I just hadn’t been tuned into Your righteous frequency.  Forgive me and cleanse me now, I pray, Dear Father.  Forgive me for my acts of unrighteousness, idolatry, and whoredom against Your holiness.  I repent for allowing myself to gradually, incrementally, and progressively slide away from Your straight and narrow path, compromising Your unbending standard of holiness.  Truly, You change not, so help me not to change in the face of temptation, unrighteousness, and the lure of temporarily pleasing the flesh, which leads only to destruction and death.  In Jesus’ holy name I pray, Amen.

“But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.”
(I Peter 1:15-16)

© Copyright 2012 by Kayren J. Cathcart

Are You Allergic to Sin?

allergic – sensitive to, affected by

allergy – reaction, aversion, hypersensitivity

antipathy – hatred, opposition, ill feeling

When she began to light up her cigarette, before I knew it, I told the lady I’d been casually chatting with from the train station, “I’m allergic, so I’m gonna cross the street here.  Have a good day!”  I don’t know if I’m really allergic to tobacco smoke, but I have such a strong aversion to it that I try to steer clear of it at all costs.  I’m not judging anyone, but I have a personal preference to be in a smoke-free environment 24/7.  When I see someone on the sidewalk ahead of me with a cigar, I’ll go out of my way to avoid walking through the revolting cloud.  At the very least, I’ll hold my breath as long as I can, so as not to get the ickiness in my lungs, throat, and nasal passages. Cigar smoke repulses (and literally nauseates) me.

As Christians, we should be the same way with sin – but are we?  Not just what we think of or categorize as sin (i.e., what we label as “the biggies” – though God doesn’t categorize sin), but what God Himself calls sin (unrighteousness; whatever doesn’t line up with His Word).  Not only the outwardly apparent stuff, but especially those inner matters of the heart that no one but God sees when we try (and miserably fail) to hide them.  The effect of sin (including our own!) in our presence should be an automatically righteous response – but this comes by disciplining ourselves with (and submitting consistently to) the Word of God.  We must constantly desire to walk in light and truth instead of getting comfortable in darkness and “grey areas” of compromise.

Do you hate sin – in yourself as well as in others?  Since sin blocks, pollutes, taints, and contaminates the flow of relationship with our Creator (and consequently impacts our relationships with our brothers and sisters), ask God to give you a hatred toward the things He hates.  As we 1) humble ourselves in His presence, 2) honestly admit the (numerous) areas we come up short, and 3) genuinely repent (evidenced by a change of heart and behavior), He is faithful to cleanse us so we can experience unbroken fellowship with Him.  Run (don’t walk!) to His refreshing well of pure, life-giving water and be cleansed today!

“Neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions: but I will save them out of all their dwellingplaces, wherein they have sinned, and will cleanse them: so shall they be my people, and I will be their God.”

(Ezekiel 37:23)

“But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.”

(John 4:14)

© Copyright 2011 by Kayren J. Cathcart

Redefining Sin?

This should have been posted the day after the last entry, but for the past few weeks, I’ve been working to “walk the talk.”  So the next few entries may be a catch-up.  I pray you’re also experiencing spiritual growth and maturity as you yield to the Holy Spirit.

After my food-induced “judgment blackout,” I repented to the Lord for allowing myself to lapse long enough to even pitch my tent in the direction of Sodom, though I was nowhere near the city limits when I began my “just a little taste, just this once” sham of a self-deception.

I buffeted my body (punished it, not like going to a buffet – LOL) and talked to myself the whole way to the gym for 30 minutes on the elliptical.  I had to PAY for the overindulgent caloric overages I’d permitted in the previous 7 days. In my past days of denial, I might have nervously laughed and said, “Oh goodness, I ate a bit too much!  How on earth did that happen?”  But now that I’ve matured, I’ve gotta walk in truth and admit, “Yep, it was the sin of gluttony – not at all pretty, but true.  Father, please forgive me!”

Confession is good for the soul.  God hates sin – but He loves the sinner.  When we repent and ask Him to cleanse us, He is faithful to do so.  But we can’t wallow in what He’s lifted us out of.  I challenge you to call sin what it is (not a “weakness,” “deficiency,” “illness,” or “disorder” – just plain, outright SIN that goes against God’s holy Word.  Then repent and go another way.  We can’t keep coddling and making excuses for our sins if we expect to be delivered from them.

“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)

© Copyright 2011 by Kayren J. Cathcart


Desensitized, Numb, Oblivious – or Just Callous: What Are YOU Crying Out Against?

I wonder how you can effectively speak against something that still has a grip on you?  It’s virtually impossible – without being a hypocrite.  Selah.  It’s time to let God deal with the real, hidden matters of our hearts…

 “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.”

(Ezekiel 36:26)

 “That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;”

(Ephesians 3:16)

I recently experienced an abysmal descent into self-destructive behavior that lasted for a few days.  What did it start with?  One simple (unwise) decision that caused me to let my guard down.  I knew it didn’t even look innocent, but I took the plunge anyway…starting with a single faltering step.

For me, the trigger was eating some food items – in larger quantities – during some “free” business meals – over several consecutive days – that opened the door to me getting reacquainted with my old “comfortable” (over)eating habits so quickly it made my head spin.  I went from desensitized to numb to oblivious in a matter of minutes.  Three days later, I found myself reluctantly (yet giddily) buying 2 tubs of ice cream (because it was Buy One – Get One FREE, of course…no other reason…yeah, right!).  I convinced myself that I was disciplined enough to portion it out throughout the week…with it in the house with me…over a weekend…who was I fooling?  Only myself.  Within 3 days, I could see the bottom of the Rocky Road container.  At that point, it felt like a downhill slide, so I polished off the 2 remaining cones “to get rid of them” (yeah, right!)…and last night, I just went ahead and polished off the rest of the tub – in what amounted to one bowl.  Oh, for shame!

At any point, did exercise cross my mind?  Not for one exhilarating, chocolate-filled moment.  Not beyond opening the drawer to get yet another spoon…but I guess that doesn’t count, eh?  I got so sedentary by having a “day off” (which rapidly snowballed into several “days off”) of my routine and rigorous healthy regimen that I looked forward to watching my TV shows on DVR – for hours.  But that activity (or inactivity) opened a door that I obviously didn’t need to walk through, because the next day, I was feeling downright cruddy.

Only when I was asked to pray for two separate situations of serious need did I break outta my self-induced funk and see the stealthy trap of the enemy for what it was – a snare intended to get me out of position with Christ.  Before those “calls to intercession,” I was so sluggish I could hardly hear the voices of my family members, let alone the Lord.  I was just caught up in the euphoria of “doing what I was big and bad enough to do.”  In this case, it was eating what my flesh desired without regard to consequences.  And yes, the scale creeping up instead of down provides irrefutable evidence of my indiscretions…sigh.

What finally snapped me back to the reality of being who Christ called me to be (24/7/365 – not just when convenient or when I feel like it) was 1) a web search showing the link between glutton and idolatry (which I’d been putting off, but gee, is it undeniable!), and 2) a web search that turned up the base, depraved status of people who call themselves the Lord’s church but are far from it.  So I was reminded of the critical importance of remaining steadfast and prepared – a vessel of honor fit for the Lord’s use whenever He calls.

I felt the cloud of heaviness lift as I called on the power of God to help me walk in obedience.  I confessed my struggle to my husband, who graciously covered me in prayer and reaffirmed his commitment to support me (including help with slowing down my ice cream intake – thanks a lot, dude – no, really, I mean it).  After reminding me of last week’s Sunday School title (“Get Back on Track”), he even brought in some fresh cucumbers and tomatoes from the garden and presented them to me with gentle (yet firm) encouragement, “Go ahead and enjoy these today!” 

Whether you’re desensitized, numb, or oblivious in the midst of your own situation or struggle, there’s hope, friends!  Jesus came that we might reach out to Him and accept the lavish gifts of salvation, forgiveness, redemption, and restoration through His blood when we repent and receive Him – and of course, choose to turn from our sin.  When we receive Him, we are immersed in His extravagant, all-consuming presence.  Like a dry, brittle sponge getting saturated by the Holy Spirit, we are transformed and rejuvenated by His infinite power.  He is so refreshing.  Necessary.  Vital.  Imperative. 

Stay connected to your Source – your very life depends upon it.  I know mine does.

“Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.”

(Isaiah 58:1)

© Copyright 2011 by Kayren J. Cathcart