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The Catty Shack Club

cattyAre you a member? You might be and don’t even know it.

I’m not talking golf (caddy) here; I’m talking about running your mouth and being catty behind the scenes while on the surface you give all appearances of being the faithful friend, family member or co-worker. Yes, I’m talking about you, me and a host of others who are active members of this club.

The conversation:

“Isn’t he/she just so wonderful? They do so much for others through community & church donations, volunteering their time, energy and efforts – BUT…

It’s the BUT, DID YOU KNOW and DON’T TELL ANYONE that negates any positive comments previously shared. The moment you utter the words, you (and me) have enrolled in a ‘catty’ shack club membership.  We have deliberately made ourselves judge and jury as we indulged in comments that are hurtful and spiteful.

The why:

What compels us to share negative comments about those we love and care about? Good question.

Honestly, I believe it has more to do with acknowledging the success of someone we love and admire. It makes us more aware of our own weaknesses, limitations and failures to find gratification in life. God desires us to uplift, encourage and inspire others just as He does for us.

The outcome:

I can say with complete confidence that God doesn’t share any BUT, DID YOU KNOW and DON’T TELL ANYONE secrets about us with others. We should follow that same example.

To share tidbits and betray the confidence of others speaks volumes about us and the condition of our spiritual heart. Are we harboring envy or greed that needs to be reconciled? Maybe it’s jealousy or our own feelings of inadequacies.

Whatever, the reasons, we are not judge or jury to the decisions others make, the lifestyle they choose or the intents of their heart. That is God’s job. There will always be open enrollment to membership in the Catty Shack Club.

When the enemy of this world solicits you to engage in membership, remind yourself that it serves no purpose.  Our God-ordained purpose is to love at all costs.

“…but the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13

I think we have all heard: “If you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say it.” It’s applicable. If you want to share, then share with God in prayer.  Unlike us, He sees the whole picture, not just the conversation.

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THE DEVIL IN DISGUISE

overcomeevilI am a friendly person by nature. My husband has always joked that I could strike up a conversation with the devil. Well, recently, I did just that; unknowingly.

The woman had an energy level that put me to shame and for those who know me well, that’s a daunting comparison. All the signs of an bi-polar person not taking medication were evident from the get-go, but I ignored them.

My ‘giving’ disposition took the reins in an effort to mentor this woman toward business goals, that in the end, she would never realize.

Long story short, I had met the devil in disguise and all those red flags I had sensed were really the red horns of deceit and betrayal. This person had a hidden agenda to suck the life and money out of me and others; only, to discard us by the wayside in search of new prey.

What this so-called friend (turned enemy) didn’t know or understand is the protective power of God’s Word that surrounds me day and night. As a Christian and child of God, I know the wolves dressed in sheep’s clothing will be revealed in due time. Not my time, but God’s time.

Many of you reading this post may have encountered a wolf in sheep’s clothing. On a daily basis we find the enemy of God using others to cultivate destruction and devastation to Christians around the globe. Christians needs to rise to the occasion and pray daily for those who are spiritually blinded and being used unknowingly as instruments to orchestrate the eradication of all things JESUS.

In the meantime, my husband and I are pursuing all the legal avenues to reclaim lost business possessions and continue to prayer this person will allow God to claim her soul for something of true purpose.

 

“Let God arise, let his enemies be scattered.”
Psalms 68:1

“You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.”
Matthew 7: 16-20

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CHRISTIAN TAILGATERS

tailgateI am an opinionated woman, with strong moral, political and religious beliefs. Imagine that! I bet you are shocked.

When close friends and family members share opposing views, it’s OK; I take no offense (unless you are a member of some extreme group who behead and kill for religious differences). It is refreshing when views and opinions are not in agreement with mine because it indicates you have likely taken time to investigate the facts to form your own opinion.

It annoys me when individuals tailgate on the opinion of others while they contently sip on a cocktail of misinformation. Certainly we all know at least one friend or family member who embraces all things posted, written or shared online (or offline) about a topic they know nothing about.

Anyone can form an opinion, but the ability to defend that opinion is what separates a tailgater from a player. Without a solid defense of facts, you will never enter the playing field.

The news media has a monopoly on the information they feed to us. Sadly, we form our opinions based on constant news feeds influenced and purchased by those with a political agenda. If you disagree with that, you have your head buried in the sand and you should probably keep it there.

We are at the mercy of the media and their power to exacerbate or diminish newscasts at will (or under the direction of higher powers). It becomes difficult to seek the truth with so many hidden agendas. Perhaps this is what has given birth to a generation of ‘informational tailgaters’; Christians included.

So how do we find truth amidst all the news hype being presented 24/7, hidden political agendas and deception thrown in our face daily? For me, the starting point is the BIBLE because it offers hope, not just for today, but for eternity. Even more importantly, God’s Word makes us accountable to a higher power who rules with truth and grace.

Christian tailgaters will never enter God’s playing field until they align their views and opinions to God’s Word rather than the popular opinions and views of today’s world. The only way to do that is to read and research the Book of Truth. Only then will you know when you are listening to the Voice of Truth.

“The sum of your word is truth, and every one of your righteous rules endures forever.” Psalm 119:160

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LEANING AGAINST THE WIND



sailboatSome of my best life lessons have been learned while leaning against the wind with my sails pointed in the opposing direction because I refused to be navigated by the tailwinds of popular opinions.

In my mid- twenties, I participated in catamaran races at Higgins Lake in Northern Michigan. There were times tailwinds were so strong you would glide across the lake on one pontoon. It was smooth sailing. Then, there were races where it was a struggle to reach the next marker because head winds forced you to sail in a zigzag pattern. It was a struggle to move forward, but there were no other options other than sit, sink, or sail.

In today’s world, Christians are continually faced with views that oppose and challenge our faith and moral beliefs. We find ourselves leaning against the wind while others glide forward on one pontoon; they appear to be winning the race. But are they?

Whether by choice and or an unexpected change in wind direction, our Christian faith grows when we are faced with adversity. It’s easy to sail through life with a belief system based on popular opinions, liberal attitudes and no regard for biblical principles. But being the first to the finish line doesn’t guarantee a trophy. Unless we point our sails toward God’s finish line, we lose the race.

Are you currently leaning into the wind because your Christian beliefs are being challenged? Hold tight to the ropes of your sails and know that when you ‘come about’ you will be pointed in the right direction. Allow the Word of God to navigate your direction in life; it’s your only GPS in a world ripe with opinions and beliefs that contradict fundamental Christian values.

Don’t fail to lean against (or into) the wind when necessary to stay on course to the finish line. Let Jesus guide your sails when faced with adversity. You may not take first place, but you will finish with your integrity and Christian beliefs intact.

“And a tiny rudder makes a huge ship turn wherever the pilot wants it to go, even though the winds are strong” (James 3:4).

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GOING TOPLESS

topless driving“I’m headed to the grocery store,” I shouted to my husband, “I think I’ll go topless today. “
“Great idea,” he replied, “I would join you if I didn’t have to mow the lawn.”

I grinned as I walked out the door; I knew going anywhere topless was a favorite for my husband. Throwing my handbag onto the passenger seat, I put on my favorite sunglasses and applied sunscreen in anticipation of my topless drive.

Seated in the driver’s seat, the top was removed, the parking brake disengaged and the shift stick positioned into first gear. I was ready to rock some tunes in the open air with no barriers between me and the warm sunshine; every pore of my body was tantalized by the freedom of going topless.

I circled the grocery store parking lot and found a spot near the entrance. As I exited the car, an older gentleman called out, “You might want to pull up the top, you know…just in case.”
“In case of what,” I queried, it’s a beautiful day to be topless. I clicked the remote to lock the car, grabbed a shopping cart and entered the store.

With grocery bags loaded in the trunk and still feeling adventurous, I entered the freeway for a short, topless joy ride home. My husband greeted me in the driveway to help carry in the groceries.

“How was the topless drive?” he asked as he pulled up the convertible top of our roadster. “Invigorating, as usual,” I replied. We clasped hands, brushed lips and walked into the house knowing that ‘going topless’ was a private joke between us. Eyebrows are raised and intrigue ignited whenever we speak of our topless driving excursions and the sense of freedom we experience each time we drop our top.

To my husband and I, the expression ‘going topless’ is our way of saying we are going to take our BMW roadster for a drive with the rag top down. Of course, there are those who perceive our conversation in a much different way.

In the New Testament, the Pharisees are a good example of how others can seek to misinterpret the true meaning of our words. The Pharisees listened to Jesus, but not without preconceived ideas about the message He conveyed. Ruled by human nature, they twisted His Words to fit their agenda and cause.

When human nature rules, we stand ready to discredit and fault anyone or anything that opposes our mindset. On the other hand, when ruled by our spiritual nature, we seek to comprehend, understand, and accept others in the same way Christ accepts us; we forgo assumptions.

The next time you are privy to a conversation, a sermon, or directives you don’t quite understand, I invite you to step back and listen with the heart. Digest the words spoken without judgment; you might be surprised at how wrong you are in your assumptions; I speak from experience.

“Be honest in your judgment and do not decide at a glance (superficially and by appearances); but judge fairly and righteously.” John 7:24 AMP

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WHEN WRONG IS RIGHT

rightwrongYou lose your job, your spouse wants a divorce, the promised job didn’t come through, you face a debilitating disease; these are just a few examples of what life dishes out to us. None of us are free from disappointments, heartache, and grief or health issues. However, we are free to determine how we will accept and manage our life situations.

I have come to accept there are times when a wrong is right. Consider this:

A spouse files for divorce, you’re barely able to make financial commitments and overwhelmed by the injustice of it all. Maybe you’ve been unfairly fired from a job; unable to provide health care or an income for your family. There are times in life we are wronged for all the right reasons; God’s reasons.

Like it or not, our life operates in a God-ordained cycle and every choice we make affects us in a positive or negative way. Yet, there are times we encounter situations out of our control; when choices made by others impact us in negative ways and we are powerless to change them. I call them life’s “wrong is right” moments.

Sometimes wrong things happen for all the right reasons even though we may not understand those reasons; but in the end, the wrongs work out in our favor. That is so like God. He takes our ashes and turns them into something of beauty; He turns our mourning into joy.

“To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the LORD has planted for his own glory.” Isaiah 61:3
“…I will turn their mourning into joy; I will comfort them, and give them gladness for sorrow.” Jeremiah 31:13

Have you been unjustly wronged by someone? Look to God to make the wrong a right. Lean not to your own understanding and trust Him in all things because His ways are not our ways.

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the LORD. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.” Isaiah 55:8 (NLT)

 

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LET’S TALK KARMA

I believe karma goes hand-in-hand with scripture,

fired

“Be not deceived; God is not mocked for whatever man sows that shall he also reap.”
Galatians 6:7

Each of us have faced situations that resurrect thoughts about Karma and how each of us has the potential to willfully use deceit to serve a personal agenda or vendetta. What might surprise you is what scripture has to say about our reaction to this bad karma.

“But I say unto you who hear, love your enemies and do good to them which hate you…”
Luke 6:27

“If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you.”
Matthew 6:14

Let me share a story:

At one time they were close friends. They worked together, shared family weekend excursions and had built a friendship on camaraderie and common interests. As educators, they considered themselves equal and gave no consideration to the power struggles that often occur in parallel careers.

But over time, one friend allowed envy to enter her soul. She noticed her friend’s leadership and administrative skills far surpassed her own. Staff and students loved her friend more than her and she quietly opened the door to jealousy.

Hanging out after work slowly ceased as did invites to social events.

As the jealous friend became self-absorbed a power struggle began to erupt within her and anger consumed her; it was her constant companion. Her good friend continued to have a heart bent toward goodness, kindness and forgiveness, but there was one thing her friend didn’t have and that was POWER.

The jealous friend held the reins of power with the decision makers. She would conveniently keep upcoming meeting dates, important emails and shared information from her friend to make her appear uninformed before peer groups.

But the jealous friend’s best revenge was not coming in to work, or responding to phone calls and emails. She left her friend alone to oversee two buildings, staff and students for days at a time; only to find her friend seemed to handle all the administrative duties without a glitch. In fact, no one missed the jealous friend at all; it was a welcomed reprieve from her angry verbal assaults and inept administrative skills.

I would love to tell you my story has a happy ever after ending, but it doesn’t.

In the end, the jealous friend dismissed her loyal friend. Of course, she lacked the backbone to do it herself and found it much easier, or perhaps it was to ease the guilt, to have her hand-fed HR members handle the duty. She stood nearby as her friend was summoned to a mock meeting. It was like a lamb being led to slaughter.

The sacrifice was to compensate for the jealous friends lack of integrity, leadership skills and administrative abilities. But the blood spilled that day will never atone for the lies, deceit and jealousy that brought an innocent person to slaughter. Only the blood of Jesus can do that.

So where does that leave the loyal friend?

In the hands of God who is faithful to those who believe upon His name. When God closes a door it means He is ready to open the flood gate on the dam. And with all this Michigan rain, the river is up and a flash flood is roaring. WATCH OUT, the floodgates of Heaven are about to open.

“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.” Malachi 3:10

God’s blessing reigns in our life when we are obedient to his call, seek to forgive others and give from the heart. As for karma, it is best left in the hands of God.