Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Cathy’s Corner


Being a Godly parent


Never underestimate the ponderings of a Christian parent. Never underestimate the power that comes when a parent pleads with God on behalf of a child. Who knows how many prayers are being answered right now because of the faithful ponderings of a parent ten or twenty years ago? God listens to thoughtful parents.

            Praying for our children is a noble task. If what we are doing, in this fast-paced society, is taking us away from prayer time for our children, we’re doing too much. There is nothing more special, more precious than time that a parent spends struggling and pondering with God on behalf of a child. Max Lucado -  Walking With the Savior


Know and believe today that the Lord is God. He is God in heaven above and on the earth below. There is no other god! Obey his laws and commands that I am giving you today so that things will go well for you and your children. Then you will live a long time in the land that the Lord your God is giving to you forever. Deuteronomy 4:39-40.


            I attended a conference this past week and the basis of the entire conference was on Deuteronomy 6. As parents and grandparents we have been given a command to teach our children and grand children who God is, that they should love Him with all their heart, mind, soul and strength, and to follow Him all of their days. We can’t do that if we aren’t walking with Him ourselves. If we tell them that they need to go to church, read their Bible and pray yet we drop them off at church and don’t attend ourselves, never crack our Bible or bow our head then we’ve taught them that it really doesn’t matter.

            Working with our young mom’s ministry has opened my eyes to so many things. I see these girls as lost souls searching for someone to love them and to show them some attention. They need a parent interceding on their behalf, someone praying fervently for them and over them. In most cases their parents have taught them they are unimportant and other things matter more than they do. Actions speak louder than words in most cases and when we model one thing and speak another, those actions usually have a much louder voice. Prayer however can speak volumes louder than anything else. The words of a parent interceding for a child go straight tot the heart of God. I began praying for my children before they were even born and for their future spouse. I started praying for the grandkids as soon as I knew they were on their way. I’ve seen God intervene many times in the lives of my children and I believe He heard my prayers. I’ve felt God’s presence and comfort so many times over the years as I have pleaded on one of my children’s behalf. My prayers may not have been answered the way I wanted every time but they were answered the way God thought best, and as Romans 8:28 states, He works all things out for good. You may still have children at home and are just beginning to grow your family; I encourage you to intercede on their behalf everyday. Those with older children lift them up to God everyday and your grandchildren as well. God hears are prayers and they make a difference in the lives of our children.


Have a great day in the Lord


Cathy’s Corner


Borrowed from - TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1, by Os Hillman


Today's Prayer
For every problem, every anxiety, every temptation, every sin in my life, there is a deliverer--Jesus Christ! Thank you, God, for Your sacrifice, Your love, Your way to reach down and pull me up. Please forgive me and help me to stand sure-footed and steady on the Rock of my salvation and not to slip and fall into the mire of the world. Please, be in control of my life...and I know everything will be all right. In Jesus' name, amen.

The Response of Faith
..."Everything is all right".... 2 Kings 4:26

The prophet Elisha often would travel through the town of Shunem, and in that town was a well-to-do couple who extended hospitality to him. At first, they simply offered Elisha a meal when he came through town. Then, seeing that Elisha needed a place to stay and study, they built a room for him above their house so that each time he came through town, he had a place to stay. He was so appreciative of their kindness that one day he asked the wife what he could do for her. His servant Gehazi later informed Elisha that the woman was barren and her husband was old. " 'About this time next year,' Elisha said, 'you will hold a son in your arms' " (2 Kings 4:16). A year later the son arrived.

One day the father was working in the field, and the son became ill and died. The woman ran to meet Elisha to inform him. When Elisha asked what was wrong, she did not panic and react in fear. Her response to Elisha seemed almost unnatural. "Everything is all right," she said. Elisha went to the boy and raised him from the dead. It was a glorious miracle. (See Second Kings 4.)

Faith looks at situations through God's eyes, not the eyes of our limited understanding. This woman did not panic, for she knew something more than the current circumstance. Faith does not panic, but realizes that what looks like devastating circumstances may be God's plan to bring glory to Himself by demonstrating His power. When Jesus appeared on the water to the disciples in the middle of the night, they exclaimed, "It's a ghost!" (see Mt. 14:26) First appearances can bring great fear upon us even to the point of paralyzing us. Find the Lord in your circumstance today. Exercise your faith today and trust Him for His outcome in the situation.

Today God Is First (TGIF) devotional message, Copyright by Os Hillman, Marketplace Leaders


How many times do our circumstances seem so overwhelming that we can’t see anyway that God can intervene and change them? How many times can we look back and see when He has? Recently I went through something that I knew there was no way the situation was going to be changed by me or anyone else and I was scared to death. So I fasted for a week and prayed more and more every day. I even went on prayer bike rides praying and interceding for the situation. What looked like devastating circumstances to me was indeed God’s way of bringing glory to Himself. The situation was rectified and some said “it was a sign;” but I believe it can only be explained as “it was God.” His power was demonstrated in such a way that it was obvious He was all powerful. While I would like to say I was completely calm through the entire thing, I was not. But I did trust that God was going to provide and protect and had faith He would work all things out for His good.


Have a great day in the Lord!


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Cathy’s Corner


Our lesson today is God is with me when I am afraid and God helped Moses. We learn how God provided for Moses though Aaron and how God was with Moses even though he was afraid. There are many times in our lives that we are in fear and we trust God for protection and provision and to calm those fears. The summer of 2007 our son, J was in Iraq for his second tour of duty. While we think it is hot here, it is usually eight to ten degrees hotter there, and it was no different three years ago. I checked and they are looking at anywhere from 116 to 118 every day this week. In August of 2007 we received a phone call from J; he began telling us one of their men had been killed by an IED two days before. Then he began to tell us about where they were and what had been going on that week. Here is an excerpt from the notes I took from that phone call.

“We are living in a safe house and building the base around it. It has a wall of Bradley’s and trucks around it and on one side is a canal. Yesterday around 11am me and five guys were clearing some reed out of the canal by burning them with jet fuel, which is pretty powerful stuff. The canal has about a 10ft drop from where the water stops, it’s deep and steep. You can’t just walk out of it, you have to climb and crawl. The other guys were on top of the canal. Sgt Robinson was hanging on to me and I had the can of fuel and was flinging it everywhere and we had made a trail with it. Something sparked and all of a sudden you could hear this “whoosh” and the whole canal was on fire. It was a wall of fire. I started crawling to get out and the fire was just chasing me and it caught up with me. I got to the top and ran out and the guys were yelling at me to stop and drop. I was engulfed in flames. They said it was like this wall of fire and all of a sudden I came shooting out. I rolled around and put myself out. I had to throw my Kevlar off because it was on fire. I heard Sgt Robinson yelling and he was running and his legs were on fire. I jumped on him and tried to put the fire out and it wouldn’t stop. I took my shirt off and started trying to smother it and that didn’t work. Then Vega came and helped me throw dirt on him and we got it put out. I heard Scremo yelling “Jones, Jones!” I found him in the back of the truck just frozen with his legs and arms burned. I got in the truck and tore off to the house so the docs could get to him. They air lifted me, Robinson and Scremo to the ER in Baghdad. I burned my hands, oh by the way; I’m in the hospital in Baghdad. When jet fuel flares up it’s a bomb fire. Everyone said I just shot out of the flaming canal. No one knows why it went up either. They said that it just went up and everything was on fire. They knew I was down in it but they couldn’t even see me when it went up and they couldn’t believe it when I came out. No one can believe I wasn’t burned anymore than I was. You know I was holding the can, I was in the canal and I was the one engulfed in flames but I have the least amount of burns.” “You know why? Don’t you?” I asked. “Yes I know why.” J answered.  “There are all of these people praying for you over here and God is watching over you and protecting you.” I said. “I know.” J said. “You know how they cut your pants off when you are at the hospital? Well they started cutting mine and they just fell apart because they were so roasted and scorched. One second I was chunking gas and the next second there were flames everywhere.” He said. “That’s just insane.” I said. He said. “NO! What’s insane are the three holes left from those IEDs. They were huge” I just kept saying thank you God the rest of the conversation and Gary and J would say, “Yep.” 

I can’t even imagine how scared my son was nor if he even had time to be scared. I was scared for him listening to him tell us all that happened. We were so grateful to God for J’s protection. There is a song called Through the Fire and one line says, “If I trust the hand of God, I know He’ll shield the flames again and again.” Just as Moses trusted God and God provided for him, J trusted God and God shielded the flames, and we trusted God to help J and to protect him and God did.


Say a prayer today for all our military men and women and their families, after all, freedom isn’t really free.

Have a great day in the Lord


Cathy’s Corner


            So I started a new diet a couple of weeks ago. The first week almost killed me. I was so tired and exhausted and had no energy whatsoever. I felt horrible and I couldn’t figure out why. I’ve been doing a lot of extra praying asking God to help me stick with it. I realized from reading up on it that my body was in detox. I had to get rid of all of the bad stuff that was in my body, like Aspartame. Now I’m not knocking anyone who drinks diet drinks or uses Sweet N Low in their tea because I’ve done it for years. I’m just sharing my experience. I gave up drinking Diet Coke a couple of months ago, but started drinking more tea and yes I used Sweet N Low as my sweetener. I had no idea until I gave it up how addictive it really can be. I’ve read it before and knew it but I didn’t really believe it. I am a believer now. I’m using Truvia which is a natural sweetener and although it doesn’t dissolve like Sweet N Low it is much better for you. This week I’ve had more energy, I feel so much better than before I started the diet and I’ve noticed a lot of changes overall. Not just the weight loss and the clothes fitting better, but I’m not hurting in places I used to hurt, that’s major. Hopefully by the end of the diet I will have learned to eat healthier and eat smaller portions. Why do we think we need so much to eat and especially when we go to restaurants, they give us way too much food? Gary and I both have noticed that we can’t eat as much as we could when we were younger so why do I still try. Because it’s sooooo good. So I’m trying to eat healthier and take better care of myself because after all, I want to be able to play and keep up with my new grand children.

            So what does my diet have to do with anything? Well, I was thinking about it and we all know what sin is, but sometimes sin is disguised and it looks really, really good to us. Satan wants to get to us and so he uses good things to tempt us and make us sin that we don’t really think are that bad. We know that there are things we should stay away from, like drugs, alcohol, pornography, movies that have bad language and sexual content, going places we know corrupt us, taking a second look at that person who is attractive and the list could go on and on. We know its bad, we read about it in the Bible and it tells us to stay away from such things but we don’t really believe it. I mean come on; I’m not a murderer, or a child sexual abuser or anything like that, so I’m not a bad person. No, but I’m still a sinner when I don’t do what God wants me to do and I don’t stay away from the things He has told me to stay away from in His Word. We feel horrible when we do those things, it weighs us down, it burdens us and we can’t figure out why. When we do realize and we start getting rid of all the bad stuff and allowing our body to detox, it’s hard because our sin nature is naturally drawn to those things and it’s hard to pull away. Some of those things can be addictive. Then we notice we start feeling better about ourselves, and we feel like we fit better in our Christian walk. Changes are taking place like feeling closer to God, and that’s major. Hopefully then we realize that we don’t need those other things and we pray and ask God to help us be strong and resist and stay away from those things. 


I Corinthians 6:19 “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which is God’s.”          


Cathy’s Corner


This week we are teaching about Daniel and the Lion’s Den from Daniel 6:1-28. It isn’t always easy to do the right thing.

Daniel found himself favored by the king. Because of his integrity and his exceptional qualities the king planned to put him in charge over the whole kingdom. There were administrators who were trying to find grounds for having Daniel declared corrupt. They couldn’t because he was trustworthy, and neither corrupt nor negligent. They finally decided the only way they could get to him was to find charges that had to do with the law of his God. They were able to get the king to issue a decree that anyone who prays to any god or man except the king during the next thirty day period would be thrown into the lion’s den. King Darius put the decree in writing.

Daniel was not moved and he went home and opened up his windows and prayed three times a day, giving thanks to God, just as he had done before. Then the men reported him to the king and the king was saddened to learn it was Daniel. He was determined to rescue Daniel and made every effort to save him. But the men were insistent that he follow his own law. So the king had Daniel thrown into the lions den but he also said. “May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!”  The king then spent the night without eating and without any entertainment being bought to him, and he could not sleep.

The next morning the king rushed to the lion’s den and called out to Daniel to see if God had rescued him. Daniel was unhurt and the king was overjoyed. He had Daniel’s accusers thrown into the lion’s den. Because of what happened King Darius wrote to all the peoples, nations and men of every language issuing decrees that in every part of his kingdom people must fear and revere the God of Daniel.


I received this in an email devotion this week and thought the part on obedience went along with our lesson.


A Faithful Man "A faithful man will be richly blessed, but one eager to get rich will not go unpunished." Proverbs 28:20

There is a distinct difference between the workplace believers who operates based on living in the Promised Land versus the one who operates in Egypt. In Egypt, the workplace believer sweats and toils to generate an outcome. The final objective is foremost in their mind. Outcome is everything.

In the Promised Land, we learn that obedience is the only thing that matters. We are called to execute, and leave outcome to God. Sometimes that outcome is very positive, yielding a return. In other cases, we may not yield a corresponding return. We may even get a negative outcome. The difference is that we know that we have been faithful to what God has called us to and we yield results to God. God often blesses obedience beyond what we deserve. If God brings wealth to your life, it should come as a by-product of obedience, not an end in itself.

God may call each of us to be obedient to situations that may not yield immediate, positive results. It is in these times that our faith must be obedience-based versus outcome-based. What if Jesus had considered the immediate ramifications of whether he would go to the cross? Based on the immediate outcome, the decision would have been an easy one. Who wants to die on a cross? However, for Him there was a higher purpose in that obedience. We are called to this same kind of obedience. This means putting our own flesh on the line daily, dying to our own self-will. This is what it means to be a faithful man. I pray that God will make us all faithful men and women today.

Today God Is First (TGIF) devotional message, Copyright by Os Hillman, Marketplace Lead


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Cathy’s Corner


This month we’ve been teaching about doing the right thing. There is a saying, “It’s never wrong to do the right thing.”  At least I think there is a saying like that.  If there isn’t, then it still is true. There was a show I ran across last week about a hidden camera crew who was watching people to see how they would react to certain situations and if they would do the right thing in certain situations. In one of those it was set up for a guy to take the gas pump from someone else’s car and fill his tank up while they were inside. Those who were outside watching this happen were being observed to see what their reaction would be. Some people just looked on in amazement, not saying a word. Others might tell him he shouldn’t be doing that, but for the most part, no one really got involved. Then there was the woman who saw what he did, told him to stop and then stood in front of his car so he couldn’t leave. When the person who was stolen from came out, she told them what had happened. She was indignant that he would be so bold as to do something like that.


It says a lot about us and our character when we do the right thing. Some people are just in shock when they see something happen and just stand around like they can’t believe what they are seeing. They don’t respond because they are processing what’s going on in front of them. In this day and age, we’ve also learned that we can actually be putting ourselves and possibly those around us in danger if we do step in to intercede when something is happening. Fear is definitely a motivator for not interfering.


What about when you have information concerning something that you know shouldn’t be happening or you know something that should happen and isn’t? We all see things, hear things and have a gut instinct about certain things. But what do you do when you’ve been enlightened and you have the information? There is no turning back; you can’t just ignore it or put it out of your mind. By divulging the information you have, it’s probably going to cause you some stress and aggravation or maybe even the loss of your job. No one’s going to know if you don’t tell; it probably won’t even come out.


What’s your response? It’s easy to say we would do the right thing, but when faced with the situation, it may not be that easy. I honestly have to say that I’ve been faced with that situation more times than I can count and unfortunately, in church work, just as often as in the secular world. Disappointingly, sometimes the reactions weren’t any different from those involved in the church and secular world. All you can do is what your conscience is telling you to do - which is what the Holy Spirit is telling you to do. It doesn’t matter that you may get a lot of grief from your superiors or the person that is in the wrong. You have to do what you know God wants you to do. I feel very responsible for our preschoolers and their families and for my teachers. I am obligated to protect them, as well as to teach and minister to them. We answer to someone higher than our spouse, our boss or the people we work with.


I can only imagine how hard it must have been for Daniel to stand up for what he believed in and to refuse to eat the king’s food. He probably got all kinds of grief and pressure to give in, but he chose to do the right thing. Joseph could have retaliated against his brothers because of all the grief they caused in his life, but he chose to forgive them and to do the right thing. Deuteronomy 6:18 says, “And you shall do what is right and good in the sight of the Lord, that it may go well with you, …”  Sometimes its not easy to do the right thing but its always what God wants us to do.


Have a great day in the Lord!


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Cathy’s Corner


So, in May we were again waiting on a baby. Our son and daughter-in-law were expecting at the end of June. J called me on May 18th and said they put Lindsay in the hospital because she had high blood pressure and preeclampsia. With our family history of having babies early and having preeclampsia, I wasn’t surprised.  I really had hoped since Lindsay was not blood related that she wouldn’t have any of the same problems that seem to plague our family. But that didn’t seem to be the case and there we were facing another high risk pregnancy. They were trying to determine if they were going to have to take the baby early. Hopefully they would be able to get Lindsay’s blood pressure under control and just send her home on bed rest for the duration of the pregnancy.


The baby was measuring at thirty-one weeks instead of thirty-four weeks. They were concerned about small birth weight since at Lindsay’s previous check up the baby was right on target. Six weeks doesn’t sound like a long time until it means that’s how long a baby needs to finish developing. There are organs that still need to develop, especially the lungs.


Preeclampsia causes the blood vessels to constrict, resulting in high blood pressure and a reduced blood flow that can affect organs throughout the body, including the liver, kidneys, and brain. When less blood is being delivered, it can mean problems for the baby, such as poor growth and too little amniotic fluid. Changes in the blood vessels caused by preeclampsia may cause the capillaries to "leak" fluid into your tissues. This results in swelling, known as edema. When the tiny blood vessels in the kidneys leak, protein from your bloodstream spills into your urine. A few studies have found an association between high levels of stress and preterm birth. The theory is that severe stress can lead to the release of hormones that can trigger contractions and preterm labor. Experts have also been studying occupational factors to see what effect having a physically demanding job or working long hours has. One study showed that moms-to-be who had to stand for more than 40 hours a week or who had extremely tiring jobs were more likely to have preterm deliveries.


Finally, some researchers are studying the role of genetic factors because preterm birth seems to be more common in some families. Hello, that seems to be our family and the only way to get the blood pressure under control is to get the baby out.  So they delivered the baby by C-section on May 28th. Grace Lynn Jones weighed 4 pounds and 9 ounces and was 16 ¾ inches long. She was the tiniest little baby and I fell in love with her immediately. Okay, I already loved her but now I had a face to go with that love. Since we have been used to some big babies these last six months, it was a change to have such a tiny baby in the family. She and Lindsay had to stay in the hospital for a week but are home and everyone, including dad, is doing fine. Gary and I got to go there the week after VBS and stay and help out. I loved getting to hold her, change her diapers, talk to her and sing to her, as with my grandsons. Last week at her check up, which was her original due date, she weighed 7 lb 10 ounces; she’s catching up fast.


This week Kiersten and Tex are coming in from Virginia Beach. Her husband Jay is in the Navy and couldn’t come this time. It will be the first time Kiersten will meet her new niece and nephew. So Gary and I, Cassandra, Scott and Jackson, J, Lindsay and Grace, Kiersten and Tex and Caitlin will spend a few days together. It will be the first time for Gary and me to have all three grandbabies together and we can’t wait. I’ve bought matching outfits - and yes two boys’ and one girl’s. I wouldn’t do that to Grace. We plan to have a great time and take lots of pictures.


My blessings are over flowing and I am thankful for three healthy grandbabies. I’ve prayed for them since I first knew they were on their way and I pray for them everyday. I ask God for Gary and me to be a strong spiritual influence in their lives. There is so much I want to teach them, but most of all it is for them to know how much Jesus loves them and for them to love Him with all they have.


Have a great day in the Lord!


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

I was reading a book on parenting and wanted to share some of it with you. I’ve italicized the things from the book; the other statements are my own thoughts.


“Becoming a parent means your heart is never your own again. Becoming a Mother will leave you with an emotional wound so raw that you will be forever vulnerable.” Dale Hanson Bourke


God gives us the gift of family. As parents we are constantly working ourselves out of a job. We raise our children to leave us. We take care of them while we’re teaching them to take care of themselves. We transfer freedom and responsibility from our shoulders to theirs in a slow and orderly process as they grow up. Then we let them go. God does not take family away. He merely changes its shape. And in the changes, we have a choice. We can resist, clinging to the past and moaning over our losses. Or we can turn our faces toward this new season with hopeful expectations.


Anticipation is worse than reality. When our children are young and desperately in need of our constant love and protection, we dread the thought of their leaving home one day. “They won’t be ready, and I won’t be ready,” we tell ourselves passionately and rationally. Experience has shown that dread and worry are the paralyzing emotions one conjures up while standing in the present and fretting about the possibilities of the future. God gives us what we need at just the right time we need it. When the day comes for children to leave home, we’re given the strength to cope—just in time.


Transitions are tough. When we love passionately, we can hurt deeply. The exit of a child, especially a first or last child, forever altars the structure of a family and the definitions of individuals. The child’s physical absence leaves a gaping hole in our lives for a time and often catches us by surprise, as if we never saw it coming. Our grief is real and a necessary part of a family’s journey through transition. Some of us respond to losses more deeply than others. Transitions are tough for us; we grieve greatly, but the feelings are temporary. They do pass.


God’s plan is perfect. Our Creator, who divided the year into seasons and the days into mornings and nights, also divided people into families. Families are the safe haven where children are born and raised, a place where the tender shoots are nurtured until their roots grow strong and deep. God willing, I’m apt to spend twice as many years with my adult children in other seasons as I spent actively parenting them in the child-rearing season. That motivates me to let go of the parent-child mode and move toward a mutually satisfying adult-to-adult relationship. God’s timing and plan are perfect, even if I don’t feel that way in the midst of a tough transition, I have to let go of the old and make way for the new.


God promises new beginnings. Something is ending but something new is beginning. As my children have married and embarked on a life with a family of their own, I miss them, their laughter, their voices and their touch. I’m excited for them and happy for their new babies and for the families they have started. I am grateful to God to be included in this new season of their lives. It also brings a new beginning for me and a new season for me, full of potential and opportunity and a chance to grow ever closer to Him.


Each of life’s seasons has its challenges. One is dealing with the unrealistic expectation that when the children are gone we won’t worry about them anymore. The truth is we never cross the goal line. It goes on forever. Though our children are out of sight they are never out of our mind. Once a parent, always a parent. No matter how many miles separate us, we’re forever connected by invisible but powerful bonds, and their concerns are still our concerns.


Father's Day is a day of commemoration and celebration of Dad. It is a day to not only honor your father but all men who have acted as a father figure in your life - whether as Stepfathers, Uncles, Grandfathers, or "Big Brothers."


My dad grew up dirt poor in the Piney Woods of east Texas. He really did walk to school in the snow up hill both ways and had one pair of shoes. He lied about his age so he could join the Coast Guard during WWII. He served as a Gunners Mate on an escort ship. He, like so many other WWII Veterans, never talked too much about his time in the war. My daddy was bigger than life and everyone respected him and all the boys were scared to death of him. The ones that chose to brave asking me or my sister out on a date had to suffer the silence of M.L. while they waited for us to get ready, and we were never ready. Having grown up so poor, I think his heart’s desire was for his children to have everything he never had. We weren’t spoiled by any means, at least in our opinion, but we did have more than some we grew up with. My daddy taught us a strong work ethic and he wasn’t afraid of a good hard days work. When my sister and I were about fourteen and fifteen, he got us a job hoeing (chopping) cotton. We were up and in the field before the sun came up and we left just before the sun went down. Let me tell you, that’s a hard way to earn a living, but we had great tans. My dad loved to watch my brother play football and my sister and me play basketball. He tried to make most every game. He was a man of few words but when he spoke it was with authority and you better listen. The rare times when he would let his guard down and be funny were priceless, and we savored those times.


I remember my dad walking the aisle of the church as well as when I accepted Christ myself. I remember exactly what I was wearing and where we were sitting. I didn’t pay much attention to the sermon that day, as most eleven and twelve year olds, but when my daddy started walking down the aisle to the Pastor, I was paying attention. I guess I never thought about whether or not he was even a Christian. My mom had taken us to church most of our lives and he rarely came. But we had a new Pastor that had been there a few years and he had made it his mission to work on my dad, and God used him to reach that West Texas farmer. The preacher actually left our church not too long after that because he said he felt like he had done what God had sent him there for.


My Father died when I was twenty five years old. I had never lost anyone that was that close to me other than a Great Grandmother and a Grand Dad. I had just started going back to church a few months before my dad was diagnosed with cancer. I was a single mom three hundred miles from family and I felt totally alone. When my dad became ill and we knew he was dying, I was really mad at God, but quickly saw if I gave up on God then I really had nothing. The three month journey I took from my dad’s surgery to his funeral was when God drew me closer than ever to Him and it was a major turning point in my life. I began to have a relationship with Christ that was much more meaningful and I desired to grow closer to Him. There were people in the church I had just begun attending that took me under their wings and I consider them mentors who had a powerful influence in my life. They were instrumental in Gary and me remarrying. I miss my dad so much and wish he could be around to know that our marriage was restored and to see the wonderful young woman Cassandra has become and introduce him to his other grandchildren and now great grandchildren.


I don’t always understand what God is doing in my life and all around me. I sometimes even question some of the things that happen but know that God has a plan and a purpose for all of us. I am grateful that one day I will see my earthly father again and we will spend eternity together because of what my Heavenly Father did for both of us.  


Thursday, June 24, 2010

Cathy’s Corner


It’s already looking like a busy summer and I’m sure yours is no exception. Vacations are a break from the normal things going on in our day to day lives and a time to relax and just forget about the every day stress of life. That’s what vacations are supposed to be like anyway. I’ve been on a few that would have tried the patience of Job. I mean really how much of a vacation is ten hours in a mini van with five, seven, nine and fifteen year old children? How many times can they ask, “Are we there yet?” How many times can four children say, “I have to go to the bathroom” and never at the same time? After arriving at the condo on the beach that a very gracious friend loaned you it’s time to unload all the suitcase, the ice chest, the floaties, the sun screen, the toys brought to entertain and everything else that wasn’t nailed down back home. You would have thought you were moving across country. The condo has a pool so as soon as the kids see it they ask if they can go swimming. “Of course not” you say, “We have to unload everything and unpack.” Once inside the condo and they realize the beach is just outside they ask if we they go to the beach. “Of course” you say, “as soon as we unload and unpack everything.” Then come blowing up all of the floaties, air mattresses and digging out the boogie boards from the closet. Everyone then needs to put on their swim suits and lather down with sun screen. Of course there are those who say they put it on and you are sure they did. Then the trek down to the beach with the air mattresses, boogie boards, floaties, ice chest and oh yeah the kids. Set up on the beach and get things fixed just right so you have a birds eye view of the ocean that will wash all of your cares away. The kids are running to the water as you remind them to put on the floaties, of course the seven and nine year old are incredulous that you would even suggest they wear them. Dad is halfway to Florida before you can remind him to hold their hands and not let them go out too far. The fifteen year old is basking in the sun working on her tan; she’s not even going to put a toe in the ocean while there Finally after everything and everyone is in place you sit down under the umbrella with a nice cold drink and a book you will never read because you are constantly counting the heads of your children and looking for your husband. You notice that they are very far out, too far out for you so you get up and go to the water and yell at the top of your lungs where everyone on the beach except your family hears you. Not too happy about the fact that they have to come back closer they let you know their displeasure by grabbing you and pulling you into the water, that you had no intention of getting any farther in that your knees. Once back on the safety of the beach you sit once again only to have the five year old come tell you, “I have to go to the bathroom.” After arriving back in the condo as everyone showers and you get supper ready, you notice that your children are turning redder and redder by the minute especially the five year old. Out comes the aloe vera and no one wants to venture out in the sun the next day. After all SPF 15 doesn’t quite protect as well as SPF 50. After a week of enjoyment and bonding with your family it’s time to pack up and go home.  It’s always great to get there and have fun but packing things up and that ten hour ride home can be a killer. But you make it only to find when you clean out the van that several missing crayolas are melted and stuck to the carpeting. Ah the joys of the family vacation. Hope you have some good ones this summer, as for me I’m going to be visiting all the grand children this summer and I have a nice big seventy two count box of crayolas for each one of them. 


Have a great day in the Lord and a great summer


Cathy’s Corner

I wanted to share this from Oswald Chamber’s My Utmost for His Highest. Chambers had such insight into the Person of Christ and a unique way of applying it to every day life.

The Call of the Natural Life

“When it pleased God … to reveal His Son in me…” (Galatians 1:15-16).

The call of God is not a call to serve Him in any particular way. My contact with the nature of God will shape my understanding of His call and will help me realize what I truly desire to do for Him. The call of God is an expression of His nature; the service which results in my life is suited to me and is an expression of my nature. The call of the natural life was stated by the Apostle Paul—“When it pleased God… to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him (that is, purely and solemnly express Him) among the Gentiles….”

Service is the overflow which pours from a life filled with love and devotion. But strictly speaking, there is no call to that. Service is what I bring to the relationship and is the reflection of my identification with the nature of God. Service becomes a natural part of my life. God brings me into the proper relationship, with Himself so that I can understand His call, and then I serve Him on my own out of a motivation of absolute love. Service to God is the deliberate love-gift of a nature that has heard the call of God. Service is an expression of my nature, and God’s call is an expression of His nature. Therefore, when I receive His nature and hear His call, His divine voice resounds throughout His nature and mine and the two become one in service. The Son of God reveals Himself in me, and out of devotion to Him service becomes my everyday way of life.

You have the opportunity to impact the next generation as you help lay a spiritual foundation in the life of children. You can be the first impression of what Christ is like in all you say and do.

Have a great day in the Lord!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Cathy’s Corner


Don’t Hurt the Lord


“Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip.” (John 14:9).


Our Lord must be repeatedly astounded at us – astounded at how “un-simple” we are. It is our own opinions that make us dense and slow to understand, but when we are simple we are never dense; we have discernment all the time. Philip expected the future revelation of a tremendous mystery, but not in Jesus, the Person he thought he already knew. The mystery of God is not in what is going to be – it is now, though we look for it to be revealed in the future in some overwhelming, momentous event. We have no reluctance to obey Jesus, but it is highly probable that we are hurting Him by what we ask—“Lord, show us the Father…” (14:8). His response immediately comes back to us as He says, “Can’t you see Him? He is always right here or He is nowhere to be found.” We look for God to exhibit Himself to His children, but God only exhibits Himself in His children. And while others see the evidence, the child of God does not. We want to be fully aware of what God is doing in us, but we cannot have complete awareness and expect to remain reasonable or balanced in our expectations of Him. If all we are asking God to give us is experiences, and the awareness of those experiences is blocking our way, we hurt the Lord. The very questions we ask hurt Jesus, because they are not the questions of a child.

            “Let not your heart be troubled…” (14:1, 27). Am I hurting Jesus by allowing my heart to be troubled? If I believe in Jesus and His attributes, am I living up to my belief? Am I allowing anything to disturb my heart, or am I allowing any questions to come in which are unsound or unbalanced? I have to get to the point of the absolute and unquestionable relationship that takes everything exactly as it comes from Him. God never guides us at some time in the future, but always here and now. Realize that the Lord is here now, and the freedom you receive is immediate.  

                                                                                                            Oswald Chambers


            My prayer is to be simple because I need discernment. It’s not that hard sometimes to discern between good and bad, most of the time it’s pretty obvious. But how do we determine what to do when it’s good and good?  What’s good and what’s best? I want to do what God wants me to and I want to be obedient, but sometimes I’m not sure what it is He wants me to do. I know it’s not Him and it’s me. I want to see the evidence where He is using me but I don’t.  While I have others who may tell me what they see, I’m guilty of wanting to be fully aware of what God is doing in me. That’s where my unreasonable and unbalanced expectations of Him come in. I don’t want experiences to block my way and I don’t want to dwell on my experiences. I truly do not want to hurt the Lord. I guess I am because my heart is troubled and I’m struggling with different things in my life right now. I don’t want my questions to be unsound or unbalanced. I do believe in Jesus and His attributes and I know He is guiding me right now. I just want to be simple and be able to discern the best from the good and then do what God wants.



Have a great day in the Lord!   


Cathy’s Corner


            I was reading in my Bible when I stumbled across this at the bottom of the page in the commentary. I really like what it said and wanted to share it with you.


            God’s Work In Our Lives – All people possess an inward desire that their work should have meaning and permanence. If man’s work is not to be lost in the vastness of eternity, however, it mush conform to the work God has designed for man. This work for the present day can be known only from God’s Word.

            According to the Word of God, the initial work of God is for us to believe in Jesus Christ. Apart from entering into this vital relationship with God, man cannot even begin to work for God. After coming to know Christ, the new Christian discovers God’s program for the present from the Scriptures. It is, first of all, His work in the Christian himself. Regeneration is only the beginning of God’s work in the believer. It actually introduces a process of becoming like Christ which God promises ultimately to bring to perfection. The Christian’s cheerful obedience to God’s will as revealed in His word helps speed this work along.

Second, no Christian can overlook God’s work in the world. Jesus’ command to spread the good news of the gospel to all men appears near the end of all four Gospels and at the beginning of the Book of Acts. God’s method is that men proclaim the gospel and that the Holy Spirit convict.

            Finally, God’s work is in and through the church, the organism ordained by Christ for this age. God works in the church through the spirit and through spiritually gifted people to strengthen and bless it.


What struck me was that all men possess an inward desire that their work should have meaning and permanence. How many “good” people do we know or know of that are doing good things, help people and truly want to make a difference in lives? But it is all in vain and lost if it doesn’t conform to the work God has designed for us. If we don’t read God’s Word and follow His guidance then we really don’t know what it is we are supposed to do for Him. And if we don’t have the relationship with Him that we are supposed to have with Him, we can’t even begin to work for God. Once we have that relationship with Him, He works in us and through us and regenerates us for His purposes. That’s only the beginning. He then begins to conform us to become like Him. Now that’s the hard part - all of those things we go through where He is shaping and molding and making us like Him. Just think of how hard you have to work to mold and shape a piece of play dough into what you want it to be. You pinch off a piece here or there, you smash it into the table to flatten it, you roll it, bend it and all kinds of things until you get it to be what you want it to be, that perfect piece you created. It’s not easy being made into His image.

God wants to use us to tell others about Him and spread the good news of what He did for us. He tells us to go and tell and it’s up to Him to convict the person we are telling, not us. He uses the church (the people) to serve His purposes. He gifts us each with different gifts and talents to be used by Him so that He can strengthen the church and bless it. I just love how God has it all worked out and how we all fit together in His master plan. We are all being used by Him and are all being made perfect and in His image if we have a relationship with Him. What a blessing it is to know how God works in our lives.  


Have a great day in the Lord!


Monday, April 5, 2010

Cathy’s Corner


Today we celebrate the most important time for us as Christians. We celebrate the resurrection of our Savior and the Son of God, Jesus Christ. While the Cross Service on Friday evening reminded us of all that Jesus was willing to go through for us, today brings the celebration of a new life that we can have in Him. As I ponder all that means and thank Him for what He has done for me, I can’t help but think about the new life that was born into our family last week.  Jackson Scott Osterhoudt was born Thursday the 25th at 5:02 pm. He weighed 8lbs 12ounces and of course is a beautiful baby.


But as I think about Jackson and how he is just barely a week old, I marvel at the miracle of his birth. Every baby is a miracle from God. Just to stop and think about conception and all the intricate details of a baby being formed in his mother’s womb makes you know that it is a miracle from God. Psalm 139:13 says “for you have formed my inward parts.” Think of all those inward parts, the tiny heart that begins beating instantly, the lungs that one day will take that first breath of air and function outside the womb, and the many other organs that are so vital to our day-to-day living. Verse 13 goes on to say “you have covered me in my mother’s womb.” I think of Jackson all tucked away nice and neat in his mother’s womb and how God was covering him and keeping him safe until he was ready to come into the world. Verse 15says “my frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.” Jackson has a beautiful little body, perfect shaped head, all ten fingers and toes. God skillfully put him together.


Jackson has his whole life ahead of him and he will bring his parents and family great joy. Psalm 139:16 says.”… and in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them.” God already knows exactly what Jackson’s life will be like, He knows the plans He has for Jackson, He knows what Jackson’s personality will be like, what his bent will be and He has a purpose for Jackson’s life. Just as we celebrate Jackson’s new life (every day will be something new and fresh for him and the pages of his life are waiting to be written), as Christians we have the opportunity to start fresh every day as well. We have the opportunity to celebrate our new life we have in Christ and ask God to help us live each day for Him and for His purposes. God knows what will be written on the pages of our lives. If we choose to live for Him, then He can fulfill the purpose He has for our lives.


It is easy for me to see the miracle of a new baby especially when those new babies are my grandchildren and believe that God formed and fashioned them and He has a plan for their lives. Every week we have the opportunity to be used by God (one of our many purposes He has for us) to impact the lives of babies and children just like Jackson. I see parents bring their new babies for the first time to church and hand that baby over to a teacher like Stacie Edmiston and watch the way she reassures them that she will take the best possible care of their baby. I know that we are creating trust in that baby and those parents. I watch as Nancy Jackson sits on the floor of her class with a book telling those children about Jesus and know that we are planting seeds. I watch as Steve and Tracy Hall put their heart and soul into planning and acting out the many stories in the Bible and I know we are impacting the lives of those children and the world we are going to send them out to. When I sit in my office and counsel with a child that has come up through our preschool and listen to them tell me what they have learned and how they know that they need to be forgiven and want to ask Jesus to come into their heart, I know what we do makes a difference.


So, today as we celebrate Easter and what Jesus did for us, we celebrate too the miracle of birth and the unwritten pages of children’s lives that we have the opportunity and privilege to influence. Thank you from my heart for all you do, for being willing to serve Jesus by teaching children like Jackson that they can one day have a new life in Jesus.


Have a great day in the Lord!


Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Cathy’s Corner


Here we are waiting for a baby again. Cassandra is due March 25 but she was diagnosed with gestational diabetes several months ago and they told her she would probably be induced two to three weeks early. Last week the doctor put her to bed because of her blood pressure. The last two check ups they told her they would talk to her about inducing the next week. So each week she goes in expecting to be given a date but when you see a different doctor each time it seems like no one knows what the doctor the previous week told her. So here it is two weeks before her due date and we are waiting. There is nothing wrong with waiting and going to your due date, but when you are told all along that you will deliver two to three weeks early you kind of get that in your mind and expect it. So we are waiting. I think it would be awesome for him to be born tomorrow for several reasons which by the way I’m writing this on March 11th because I plan on taking spring break off. So tomorrow is actually March 12th and one of my very dear friend’s birthdays, I am off on Friday so I can be with her and it starts spring break which gives me an entire week to help her out after having the baby. So in my humble opinion March 12th seems to be a great day for Jackson Scott to make his debut.

Waiting for grandbabies is really a lot of fun. When you are waiting for the ones that live far off, there is a bit of added stress/excitement wondering if you are going to get there in time. You can make the baby showers and go shopping together when they are home or you go there but usually you don’t get to go to any doctor’s visits and you don’t really get to see them pregnant very much. Waiting for grandbabies that live close by you get to share in the baby showers, shopping, the doctor’s visits watch their changing shape and are fairly sure you will get to the hospital in time when the time comes. Just like when Kiersten would call close to her due date I find myself answering Cassandra’s phone calls with anticipation of her telling me it’s time or asking me if I think she is in labor. What a beautiful experience to share with my children and I can’t wait to be able to tell the grandbabies about the day they were born and what all went on. God has blessed us with three beautiful daughters and daughter-in-law, and a great son and two son-in-laws.

 This is one of the best parts of being a parent; you get to be a grandparent. You get to share the experience of the miracle of a child coming into the world with your own child. You get to watch that tiny little life disrupt your children’s life the way they did yours. Okay I was kidding somewhat on that one, but you get my drift. Everything you think you knew about parenting goes out the window and God teaches you all these wonderful new lessons through your children. Like how a simple little smile from their sweet face when you know they have recognized you can melt your heart. How material things that you thought were so important before they came don’t seem to matter as much anymore. How you can do without and on a lot less so that your child can have what they need. How someone can hurt you, insult you and treat you very bad but if they so much as look the wrong way at your child there will be serious consequences to pay. How teaching them about Jesus is the most important thing I could do. I love my children; and I didn’t deserve to get to be there Mother. But I am so glad that God chose me to have been blessed by each one of them. I am so blessed to be a Mema too and look forward to all those lessons God is going to teach me through the grandbabies. So right now, Tex, Jax and baby girl Jones I love you and can’t wait to teach you about Jesus and how much He loves you.

Have a great day in the Lord


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Ten Guidelines From God

Effective Immediately,
please be aware that there are changes YOU need
to make in YOUR life. These changes need to be
completed in order that I may fulfill My promises
to you to grant you peace, joy and happiness in
this life. I apologize for any inconvenience,
but after all that I am doing, this seems very
little to ask of you. Please, follow
these 10 guidelines

Life has dealt you a blow and all you do is sit
and worry. Have you forgotten that I am here
to take all your burdens and carry them for you?
Or do you just enjoy fretting over every little
thing that comes your way?

Something needs done or taken care of. Put it
on the list. No, not YOUR list. Put it on MY
to-do-list.  Let ME be the one to take care
of the problem. I can't help you until you turn
it over to Me. And although My to-do-list
is long, I am after all... God. I can take care
of anything you put into My hands In fact,
if the truth were ever really known, I take
care of a lot of things for you that you never
even realize.

Once you've given your burdens to Me,
quit trying to take them back. Trust in
Me. Have the faith that I will take care of
all your needs, your problems and your trials.
Problems with the kids? Put them on My list.
Problem with finances? Put it on My list.
Problems with your emotional roller coaster?
For My sake, put it on My list. I want to
help you. All you have to do is ask.

Don't wake up one morning and say,
"Well, I'm feeling much stronger now, I think
I can handle it from here." Why do you think
you are feeling stronger now? It's simple.
You gave Me your burdens and I'm taking
care of them. I also renew your strength
and cover you in my peace. Don't you
know that if I give you these problems back,
you will be right back where you started?
Leave them with Me and forget about
them. Just let Me do my job.

I want you to forget a lot of things.
Forget what was making you crazy.
Forget the worry and the fretting because
you know I'm in control. But there's one
thing I pray you never forget. Please, don't
forget to talk to Me - OFTEN! I love YOU!
I want to hear your voice. I want you to
include Me in on the things going on in your life.
I want to hear you talk about your friends
and family. Prayer is simply you having

a conversation with Me. I want to be your
dearest friend. 

I see a lot of things from up here that you
can't see from where you are. Have faith in
Me that I know what I'm doing. Trust Me;
you wouldn't want the view from My eyes.
I will continue to care for you, watch over you,
and meet your needs. You only have to trust Me.
Although I have a much bigger task than you,
it seems as if you have so much trouble just
doing your simple part. How hard can trust be?

You were taught to share when you were
only two years old. When did you forget?
That rule still applies. Share with those who are
less fortunate than you. Share your joy with
those who need encouragement. Share your
laughter with those who haven't heard any in
such a long time. Share your tears with those
who have forgotten how to cry. Share your faith
with those who have none. 


I managed to fix it so in just one lifetime
you could have so many diverse experiences.
You grow from a child to an adult, have children,
change jobs many times, learn many trades,
travel to so many places, meet thousands
of people, and experience so much. How can
you be so impatient then when it takes Me
a little longer than you expect to handle
something on My to-do-list? Trust in My
timing, for My timing is perfect. Just
because I created the entire universe in
only six days, everyone thinks I should
always rush, rush, rush. 

Be kind to others, for I love them just
as much as I love you. They may not dress
like you, or talk like you, or live the same way
you do, but I still love you all. Please try
to get along, for My sake. I created each
of you different in some way. It would be
too boring if you were all identical.
Please, know I love each of your differences.

As much as I love you, how can you not
love yourself? You were created by me for
one reason only -- to be loved, and to love
in return. I am a God of Love. Love Me.
Love your neighbors. But also love yourself.
It makes My heart ache when I see you
so angry with yourself when things go
wrong. You are very precious to me.
Don't ever forget......


 Touch someone with your love. 
Rather than focus upon the thorns of life,
smell the roses and count your blessings!

All the wealth in the world could not buy you a friend,
nor could it pay for the loss of one





Monday, February 8, 2010

Cathy’s Corner



What we all think we need more of is time. But really we don’t; we just need to make wise use of the time we have. Sometimes that means giving time to others. Here is an acronym I came across this week for time that might come in handy for you.


T is for Touch 

Being touched by the right person, at the right time, and in the right way can make a person feel very good. Human touch can actually improve mental and physical health. An appropriate touch can go a long way toward communicating love and acceptance. The well-timed touch on the arm, pat on the hand, squeeze of the shoulder or platonic hug can improve a person’s outlook. It may be the only touch they receive.


I is for inspiration

We all need inspiration. We need to know why we are toiling and sweating and sometimes putting up with difficult situations or people. Attending a class that encourages you, teaching these precious preschoolers or attending a worship service can be the inspiration you need to help you get through a difficult time. 


M is for Motivation

Two sources can be used to motivate people. The first is training that is specific to what they do or for what stage they are at in life. If you can find a good seminar, conference, book, class or CD that will help you do a better job, it can go a long way to help motivate you. The second is stories of life changes. All I have to do is look around at our Young Moms by Choice to see that there are life changes going on. I could tell story after story of the changes in these young men and women and the growth they are experiencing. Anytime someone can share about a challenging time in their life and how God got them through it encourages me. Knowing someone else has gotten through a difficult situation motivates me to hang in there.


E is for Encouragement

The best encouragement for any of us is when someone else takes the time to listen to us. Take the time to find out about people’s families, hobbies, and interests, and in the process, listen to their hearts. Listening makes a person feel special and valued. We all need someone who will listen to us. I have enjoyed getting to know some of the girls in our Young Moms group because I have been meeting with them one on one. I am learning about them, their families, their interests and what their needs are and how I can help. I’m giving them my time.


Have a great day in the Lord!