His Work, His Way

Many who claim to wear the label of “Believer” and think they’re doing God’s work privately ascribe to the attitude, “I’ll do it my way.” However, as followers of Christ, we are called to do God’s will.

Even Jesus yielded and surrendered His will for the ultimate glory of the Father, “…nevertheless, not my will, but thine be done” (Luke 22:42b). Why do we think we can take shortcuts and create loopholes when our greatest Example was required to take the straight and narrow path of obedience? We are not exempt from doing God’s work in the way He instructs us to complete it!

During my morning devotions (on this day we honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.), I reflected on how grateful I am to be #FreeAtLast through the finished work of Christ on Calvary. I am free from the bondage of sin, free from the entanglements of my old hang-ups and mindsets, free to worship the Lord in spirit and in truth, free to obey Him fully and reap the rewards of delighting myself in the Lord. Hallelujah!

Yet, in some nagging, lingering areas, I still find myself struggling to fully surrender my will to the will of the Father – why? Is it a commitment issue? When I commit my way and my work unto Him, that commitment means I trust Him – completely and totally. My way is the road, course of life, or mode of action I find myself taking on this journey called life. My work  is a specific action, activity, or product. This means I have to yield ALL to His will – from the big things to the seemingly  inconsequential minutia of my day. In this, He will be well-pleased, and I will remain covered under the Shadow of the Almighty, safe and protected.

What do you need to commit to God afresh and anew this week so you can do His work in the way He’s instructing? You never know who is depending on you to be in proper position and right-standing with God. Don’t delay – the new year is well on its way, and you want to stay on His appointed schedule for every assignment He’s given you to complete.

Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.”
(Psalm 37:5)
“1 The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, is from the Lord.
2 All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the Lord weigheth the spirits.
3 Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established..”
(Proverbs 16:1-3)

© Copyright 2017 by Kayren J. Cathcart

A Mother’s Day Rebuke…and a Reminder of God’s Promises

rebuke (noun) – reproach, reproof, scolding, telling-off, lecture, criticism
rebuke (verb) – reprimand, reprove, scold, admonish, chide

Now that the title has grabbed your attention (‘cuz we ALL know a mama or two – or more – who can put down her share of a good ol’ piece of rebukin’! LOL – but we know it was ultimately for our benefit), I’ll give you the backstory…because I always have a backstory, right? 🙂

One of the Bible apps on my phone featured Isaiah 32:17 as the daily scripture this week (and since after the doozie of a week it’s been, I was longing for peace, quietness, and assurance like you wouldn’t believe!), so I decided to read the scripture verse in full context of the chapter this morning during my personal Quiet Time. Granted, I wanted to sleep late while my hubby was out cutting grass at church, but the irresistible draw of opening the blinds to watch the lively bird sanctuary in my backyard inspired me to take advantage of this morning time of solitude. While the children were still sleeping, I seized the opportunity to have some moments of meditation with my Creator.

17 And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever.
18 And my people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting places;
(Isaiah 32:17-18)

Sounds wonderful, eh? Yep, it just put me into a mindset of tranquility. So on I read from the beginning of the chapter, and I was a little surprised at what I found…but I shouldn’t have been, because God is full of surprises! I found some verses that addressed women…how timely in light of this being Mother’s Day weekend.

“9 Rise up, ye women that are at ease; hear my voice, ye careless daughters; give ear unto my speech.
10 Many days and years shall ye be troubled, ye careless women: for the vintage shall fail, the gathering shall not come.
11 Tremble, ye women that are at ease; be troubled, ye careless ones: strip you, and make you bare, and gird sackcloth upon your loins.
12 They shall lament for the teats, for the pleasant fields, for the fruitful vine.”
(Isaiah 32:9-12)

 Here’s a mini-breakdown from my study time:

Verse 9 – women at ease and careless daughters are called to attention and away from slothfulness (hence, the title of this post); it’s not saying that most women are “trifling,” but we all know that being a godly mother requires hard WORK – and lots of it!

Verse 10 – vintage = harvest of grapes; lack of productivity or harvest has long-lasting repercussions

Verse 11 – we must repent and change ALL ways that do not glorify God

Verse 12 – the things real godly mothers are supposed to provide, produce, render, and give include and are represented by:

  • Teats – for nurturing and nourishment
  • Pleasant Fields – homemaking is a lost art that must be rediscovered and recultivated for the continued perpetuity of a civilized society
  • Fruitful Vine – productivity (at home, in business, as a wife, in child-rearing, etc.) entails and encompasses ACTIVELY working in and pursuing the things of God (because we’re all virtuous Proverbs 31 women, right? Right!) 🙂
  • If any of these components are missing from our “mothering,” deficiencies will be evident.

After seeing that analysis, I honestly couldn’t take much more and stopped reading to catch my breath after the wind was knocked outta me (“You said that for real, God?!”). But at the same time, I was overwhelmed with God’s miraculous love that gives mothers such a tremendous job, but it’s given along with His promise to never leave nor forsake us, and His promise to provide the wisdom and guidance we need daily. How comforting to know that we’re never alone as we face the challenges and joys of motherhood!

May your Mother’s Day weekend – and every day going forward – be filled with the joy of the Lord which is your strength. Do we get tired and weary sometimes? Absolutely! But we can walk in abundant blessings as we undertake every task and assignment associated with and required for building the foundation of future generations – no small feat, but one for which God has thoroughly equipped us (with His Word and His Spirit) to accomplish in excellence and for HIS glory. Be encouraged as you trust the Lord to guide you through every twist and turn along the journey of motherhood. I am! 🙂

“37 For with God nothing shall be impossible.
38 And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.”
(Luke 1:37-38)
“And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.”
(Psalm 1:3)
“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.”
(III John 1:4)

© Copyright 2015 by Kayren J. Cathcart

Mothering: There’s a Reward for Putting in the Work

mother (verb) – protect, nurse, tend, cherish, nurture, raise, rear

To me, mothering is a verb – an action word. In my experience, being a mother is not a passive pursuit or a mindless undertaking. Tough? Absolutely. Underappreciated? Usually. But rewarding? Definitely. However, we must bear in mind that the seeds we plant today won’t necessarily yield a harvest in 24 hours. On the contrary, it may be months, years, or even decades before we see what we’ve taught, invested, instilled, prayed about, or counseled come to full fruition. And for this, we have need of patience (Hebrews 10:36)!

Since mothers are always trying to “save here to spend there,” I called myself saving some money on a gel polish manicure by doing my own nails this week. Best of intentions, but after 2 days, the regular (and cheap since I got it “buy one, get one half off” at the drug store) polish was chipping and peeling horribly – just before it had time to match my dress for church on Mother’s Day Sunday. Perhaps I could get away with calling it a “reverse French manicure” if I hadn’t used red polish, and if it was more than 3 inconsistent nails on both hands impacted. All I could do was laugh – because after 11 years of “mommying,” I’ve settled in my heart that it’s not a professional manicure, a fresh hairdo, or a new outfit that makes me who I am. Sure, those are nice “extras” – bells and whistles, if you will – but it’s the inner man of the heart that makes a mother memorable and endeared to her children.

Back in the day, we’d all have to wear corsages for Mother’s Day – it seemed a bit over the top to me as a child, but those traditions have a way of sticking in your memory, especially when you remember special loved ones who have passed on to glory. I choose to celebrate in the mundane moments of everyday life. So forgive me for waxing poetic after my hubby and children went out of their way to get me some veggie hot dogs to put on the grill today with their meaty hot dogs (yeah, I think this vegetarian thing may be sticking – wonder of wonders; trust me, nobody’s more amazed than me).

What is a mother’s love to me today?

  • Watching a thunderstorm pass over while you’re nestled safe in the house with those you love,
  • Grabbing a package of pre-mixed oatmeal raisin cookie dough at the store because you’re too tired to whip up a homemade batch (that you know tastes better) – and not feeling guilty about not being Betty Crocker in an apron 24/7,
  • Seeing dust and a couple of cobwebs (eek!) beneath the computer monitor – and various other places that were overlooked for the past week…or maybe two…but probably three now that you think of it…and being ok with that (for the same reason listed above).
  • Pensively realizing that you’ve whizzed through the phases of changing diapers, teething, and the first day of school – but knowing you have yet to cross the bridge to middle school, puberty (as my 11 year-old reminded me today – YIKES!), driver’s licenses, etc. (help me, Lord!).
  • Investing time, energy, a listening ear, and a comforting touch when you feel like you don’t have another ounce, drop, or iota of ANYTHING left to give ANYBODY…

And then God sends the grace you need to put one foot in front of the other and make it through yet another day.
And you sink into your pillow (after everyone else in your household – of course!) with a satisfied smile, knowing that tomorrow, with its unexpected joys and hidden delights, will bring more of the same…
And you’re good with that – because it’s who you were created to be…a mother, a high calling in the kingdom of God.

I reflected on the joy of today – not technically a holiday, but definitely a “Mommy-day.” And what could be better than that? Yeah, in my humble opinion, pretty much EVERY DAY is Mother’s Day. Today, I salute those of you who are mothers in the natural and/or in the spirit, providing support, nurturing, truth, discipline, and love to those who need it. It’s a big job, but hey – somebody’s gotta do it. 🙂 Stay encouraged, and don’t be weary in well-doing – when done God’s way, the work of mothering yields great fruit that will endure for generations to come. Blessings, peace, love, and joy to you…today and every day.

“4 Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.

5 Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.

6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

9 Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.”

(Philippians 4:4-9)

© Copyright 2014 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

A Joyful Heart, A Right Attitude

While waiting for this morning’s train, I saw an older gentleman doing his job.  It’s not what he was doing that caught my attention as much as how he did it. You see, he wore plastic gloves and a fluorescent safety vest for visibility, and he was wiping down the railings near the train stop.  It wasn’t a particularly prestigious task, and he was hardly noticed by most of the waiting commuters.  However, the vigor and intention with which he wiped down those posts really ministered to me!

I thought, “If I had this brother’s positive outlook while doing my own work, what could I accomplish today that would bring honor to God?”  In that moment, that man was engaged in pure worship to his Creator. He was thankful for having a job, and that was evident in his purposeful actions, pace, upbeat attitude, and demeanor. He commanded respect; he was so focused that I wanted to greet him with a hearty, “Good morning, sir!”  It didn’t matter that he wasn’t wearing a 3-piece suit or working on a job making a 6-figure salary.  He carried himself in a way that exuded gratitude, and that was a great practical devotion for me!

Today, check what you’re emitting.  If it’s time for an attitude adjustment because others don’t see the joy of the Lord in you as you progress through your workday, give God full access to your control panel – and allow Him to tweak you for His glory.

“Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in his holy place?

He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.

He shall receive the blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of his salvation.”

(Psalm 24:3-5)

 “Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God;

And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;

Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.”

(Colossians 3:22-24)

 © Copyright 2011 by Kayren J. Cathcart

Success = Consistent Progress (and vice versa)

I have each child’s report card in front of me, and I‘m so proud that both of them received straight 3s (consistently meets expectations) for all 4 consecutive quarters of the school year!  Not that it was easy, but my hubby and I kept prodding them, and they kept pressing.  Their stellar report cards (along with quarterly awards recognition for Academic Excellence, Exemplary Citizenship, Perfect Attendance, and Accelerated Reader) provide an accurate reflection of the hard work they did all year long.

As a self-described “artistic type,” I had great disdain for consistency in my younger years; truthfully, I thought it was boring.  However, maturity has taught me that some achievements only come as a result of consistent effort and execution.  I relied too heavily on chance or being fortunate when I could’ve been assured of my outcome from the beginning if I’d been willing to do the same thing each time – start early (instead of waiting until the last minute), take time to study and do research (instead of cramming and flying by the seat of my pants on what I thought sounded good), and apply myself consistently (instead of being sporadic, unpredictable, and driven by whatever mood I happened to be in).

Funny how it took my own children in elementary school to drive this lesson home to me, but I’ve finally “got it” and I understand the importance of consistency.  I believe God uses our children to help bring us to where we need to be.  There was no way I could help my son do well with his Science Fair project if I didn’t face my own anxiety over the subjects of Math and Science.  I really can’t stand to dust and ironing is a foreign concept (though I love to vacuum), but that matters not since I’m responsible for training my children in proper housekeeping techniques.  So in order to accurately demonstrate the skills and provide a credible example, I have to get over myself.  May we as parents and leaders be ever mindful of the critical role we play in developing those following in our footsteps.

Congratulations to all graduates celebrating the fruit of your labor – job well done!  Be richly blessed as you advance to the next level of applying yourself to be excellent in Christ.  🙂

“Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper withersoever thou goest.

 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.”

(Joshua 1:7-8)

“I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”

(Philippians 3:14)

© Copyright 2011 by Kayren J. Cathcart