Cat Prayers

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I have had a number of prayers answered. Meaning–according to Scripture–God said “yes.” God does say “no” too, but when the Bible talks about Him answering prayers it means in the affirmative. (Of course He has good reasons for not answering prayers too.)

A lot of the memorable ones have been about domestic felines. My own or somebody else’s beloved pet.

When I was going through a rough patch and had relocated to leave an abusive, cult-like group our cat Little Wolf became deathly ill with pneumonia. He almost died. Desperately I prayed that God would save him. When it seemed He wouldn’t, I said, “All right Lord. Take him if You will, since Wolf is your creation gifted to us for a time in this brutal, fallen world. Thank You for letting us have him for 7 years.”

God responded by adding more than 10 years to his life.

More recently, Dad’s barn cat Abby disappeared. We all prayed for her, concerned she had been injured by a large dog wandering my parents’ property.

Three days later Mom found her dragging a broken leg and crying weakly for help. Now Abby is a house cat and lives with me. (Mom has three cats already, and they bullied Abby as an outsider.) She always wanted to be a house cat and I wanted to have one. The only thing noteworthy about that prayer was the persistence used.

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More recently I prayed for my friend Vernon’s cat. Astrophe had disappeared. (Yes. Vern named his cat Astrophe.) He had been missing for a couple days. If a cat is missing more than 12-24 hours that is not a good sign. I begged God to spare him the loss of this pet since he had lost two beloved dogs recently and is a lonely man. That very night Astrophe showed up.

Another time I prayed for the cat of an online friend. This cat had suddenly grown ill. Like Vernon, this man lives alone and depends on the cat for company.

Before bed I prayed, “Lord, not just to spare this man grief, but also for Your Name’s sake, please heal his animal friend.” This friend is not a believer. God healed his cat soon after and he’s willing to consider prayers to God can make a difference.

I notice looking over these “cat prayers” that there were principles at work.

  • The prayer of relinquishment that Catherine Marshall has written about in several of her nonfiction books and even the climax of her novel Christie.
  • Reminding God that His reputation is at stake. Moses did that when God wanted to let the Hebrews enter the Promised Land in their own strength. God said He would go with them because Moses asked.
  • Praying with persistence.

But my first cat prayer was not answered. When I was 8 our beautiful black cat Cherry vanished near Halloween and never returned.

This taught me God is not my cosmic bell hop. Yet, I continue to petition Him. Even if He refuses to give us what we ask for, it’s right to ask Him. He didn’t scold the Apostle Paul for his prolonged periods of prayer after all. Just told him, “My grace is sufficient for thee.” Paul needed his thorn to keep his ego in check. The Lord knows best.

Keep praying Christians!

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Cat Prayers

Bad Reasons to Switch Churches and Good Reason

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I’m switching churches now. My main reason is I am hoping for a place I can serve God better. Nice as my current church home is they seem to have no need of my gifts. I carpool with my parents and they also feel this way.

Here are some bad reasons to look for a new church home followed by some legitimate reasons.

Bad Reasons

  • Petty offenses you have not sought to iron out in a Biblical manner according to Matthew 18:15-17.
  • The preacher you like left. The church is about Christ. Not Pastor Smith. Too many churches are functioning like personality cults.
  • You are lovingly rebuked for sin and urged to repent. If a church won’t call you out on your sins they are not a loving church since they don’t care about your soul.
  • Minor disagreements in regards to worship service and the decor of the church sanctuary.
  • Feeling left out or ignored. Make sure you aren’t imagining it. Then gently tell someone behind the neglect how you feel. Chances are they don’t know.
  • Being passed up for a high status position at church to boost your ego. (Not having the lead aria in the Christmas cantata, not being sufficiently honored for your role in VBS, not being called upon to lead adult Sunday school but asked to teach children instead.

Good Reasons

  • The church is teaching false doctrine and refuses to correct it.
  • The preacher is guilty of adultery or something at least as bad and refuses to step down from his prominent position. Perhaps he won’t repent and goes so far as to kick out his wife and move his girlfriend into the parsonage in full view of everyone.
  • The church is torn apart by inner feuds and the members are too busy fighting each other to care about discipleship or reaching the lost.
  • The church is controlling and emotionally abusive. Like a cult more than a family. These cult-churches often enable abuse in families that attend.
  • Cliques and snobbery abound. When anyone points out how currying favor with the rich and ignoring “the wrong sort” people become defensive and angry.
  • The Cross is ignored and passed over for banal feel good worship and sermons. Nearly everything is banal, feelings focused and nothing is taken seriously.
  • Or you really aren’t needed at church and feel called to serve the Lord at another place.
Bad Reasons to Switch Churches and Good Reason

The Best Medicine for my Chronic Pain

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The past seven months I have been living with my parents. The year before that in subsidized housing.

Despite being taught early that idleness is a sin and developing a strong work ethic that earned praise from job supervisors in my teens damage from a botched medical procedure forced me out of the workforce while very young.

So I live on less than $10,000 a year and have to live in HUD apartments or with family. It could be a lot worse.

Nevertheless I struggle with bitterness at the life I was “cheated” out of. This is based on the faulty assumption that God owed me a better life and is holding out on me. I also have brooded over whether He is punishing me since I have sins in my life. Then I see others with (seemingly) better lives who seem no more righteous than I. An exercise in futility. Both temptations from the Enemy.

Grief and sorrow are not sins according to the Bible. Instead of stewing in bitterness when suffering I have learned to take it to the Lord directly. He hears the prayers of the poor, the disabled, the weak, and the lonely.

And mourning for past foolishness and sinful behaviors is good. “Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted.”

As I wept and prayed one night He pointed out through the Holy Spirit that I had let the root of bitterness grow in my heart. I repented. Since I was alone I rebuked the demon of bitterness out loud. Immediately I felt relief; like an inflamed abscess being drained.

Every morning I pray that God will protect me. Not just from the devil but my own stubborn, wandering heart.

Consciously I choose the way of life. Not death.

His way. Not mine.

The physical pain is much better after that night. My energy levels are also higher so I can work from home now.

A merry heart is the best pain killer. With no side effects.

 

The Best Medicine for my Chronic Pain

St. Patrick and Joseph

St. Patrick’s Day has come and gone. Aside from green beer and parades we don’t do much to celebrate this holiday.

But this saint’s story has fascinated me since I read about him in a children’s biography at age 7.

St. Patrick’s story reminds me of a Bible story I also heard a lot as a child. Joseph and his brothers.

Both started out as kids with attitudes and were suddenly taken into slavery. Both were saved from slavery by odd coincidences that were nothing less than divine. Being put in prison where he met the pharaoh’s butler who told the pharaoh about him at just the right time. Hearing a voice at night telling him to go to the shore where a boat just happened to be with people willing to take him.

And once they were delivered from slavery they forgave those responsible for their hurt. Joseph saved his brothers–who sold him to the slave traders–from starvation. St. Patrick taught the race who enslaved him about Jesus’ love in the Gospel message.

Like Joseph and St. Patrick someday we can look back to those who wronged us with love in our hearts. They may have meant it for evil. But God meant it for good.

On the lighter side….

https://youtu.be/wHr02U1OYVk

St. Patrick: the Musical

 

 

St. Patrick and Joseph

My Cure for Low Self Esteem

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Since I was a child of 10 or 11 I have struggled with “self esteem” issues. I was not fat, but curvy in a world that held up Calista Flockhart and Kate Moss as icons of female beauty. In the Christian college I attended, the ideal girl to date/marry had a figure like Olive Oyl. Not Raquel Welsh. Often I tearfully asked God why He made my body ugly and unloveable since it kept me from finding a husband or family. (Not the only issue but the Perfect Body would have helped.)

I also had the “wrong personality.” Too introverted, deep, and “open.” What the Perfect Christian Girl–later wife and mother–was supposed to be was very extroverted, obsessed with doilies and other fluff, and conformist.

In my subculture it seemed there was a cookie cutter. Since none of us could fit it exactly we would force ourselves through the mold, even though it meant cutting off parts of ourselves to be Perfect Women God never intended us to be.

Like the wicked stepsisters in Cinderella as told by the Grimm brothers. Mutilating their feet for Prince Charming but in the end it was all for nothing.

I have wrestled with loathing my looks and personality. Having failed to marry and have kids at 45 it’s easy to write myself off as a failure.

Poor health has precluded a career to compensate for my “loser” status as the unwanted old maid rejected by the world for virginity and the church for singleness.

Then I realize just because He has withheld some blessings–a family, health, enough money to live on without having to depend on the charity of relatives–does not mean God has withheld salvation.  It doesn’t even mean He has a low opinion of me.

The real cause of my low self esteem is pride. If I were content to be the lowest of the low I wouldn’t hate myself for failing standards God never imposed. (I’m talking about failures as opposed to sins.)

In the end I know He loves me and that’s the only reason I need to treat myself decently. My obsession over what others think is pride. Pure and simple.

The Bible says we must strive to conform ourselves to the image of Christ. Not Mrs. Mary Sue Jones across the street. God didn’t call us to be Mrs. Mary Sue Jones but Lizz Smith or Latoya Gray.

Quit competing with others and envying their lives. Quit jockying for the “top” position and fill the place where God has set you. If others don’t understand, pray for them. God understands your losses. Loss is not sin, but envy and bitterness are.

 

 

 

 

My Cure for Low Self Esteem

Why Johnny Can’t Sing Hymns: a book review

Been reading a book that offers a rational, balanced perspective on the “worship wars.”  Dr. J. T. Gordon points out that it’s not just a matter of individual tastes or preference.

He points out how the biggest value causing the shift in worship is contemporarianism. A portmanteau–meaning that only the latest, trendiest fad is worthwhile. This is summed up in pop culture and our society’s obsession with appearing hip and young.

As Gordon points out, if a hip youngster pops in and finds a bunch of old folks over 50 dressed like teenagers he or she will shake their head and laugh. God is certainly awesome but the music we praise Him with no longer is.

It’s not a matter of whether electric guitars and bass drums are lawful. Of course they are. (We could praise God with a kazoo on Sunday morning too.)

Just because something is not a sin does not make it of benefit in the long run. But our worship practices reflect and promote a shallowness. Our church is becoming banal like the culture surrounding us.

Gordon recounts how the old time hymns consoled him while his infant daughter died. Could those perky praise choruses have sustained him that way? (Doubtful.)

Out of 150 psalms, 74 are sad. Maybe our church songs need to seek a similar balance.

Why Johnny Can’t Sing Hymns: a book review

“Dear Jesus” a Ransom Note to our Lord

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Dear Jesus, if you ever want to see Your precious Church again…

Want to know why people are really leaving Your Church? Seeing the bride You gave Your blood and life for slowly dying stinks, don’t it?

I can imagine the panic on Your face Jesus.

I see You desperately trying to rekindle her first love, stir her from her lukewarm apathy, and end the bickering among her members.  I know the terror You must feel as You watch Your darling bride slip away inch by inch.

Here’s a list of our demands needed to get us back to save Your church.

  1. Higher quality entertainment on the Sunday mornings we feel like dropping in. The music is okay cause it almost never triggers us, doesn’t make us think hard, and sounds like the stuff we listen to all week. Except now and then you get a bibley sounding phrase snuck in. (Keep it relevant.) But the praise bands are all amateurs. And way older and uglier than Taylor Swift. The coffee is poor quality and no avocado toast. And the stand up comic usually does his routine too long. Yeah, he’s sometimes funny but he sure isn’t woke. Just because the entertainment is free is no reason  to set the bar so low.
  2. Stick to trendy, popular messages so we can keep all our friends. Seriously. What good is an unpopular virtue you’re afraid to post on Snapchat or Twitter? You let them preach this stuff that has nothing to do with pop culture or the latest fad. Just because You’re the same yesterday, today, and forever is no excuse for not keeping things relevant. Do You have any idea how much trouble we’ll have if we hold to ALL the teachings on campus? How we’ll be called haters, racists, bigots, and other stuff? Why don’t You just ask us to lop off parts of our bodies while You’re at it? I can’t even….
  3. Christianity’s not all about You. We need You to stay home from church a little more. Really. How are we gonna get our Buddhist, Muslim, and atheist friends to come to church when You and Your icky cross are there to trigger them? Way to embarrass us in front of our friends Jesus! Maybe only show once a month on the Sunday that isn’t seeker friendly so our friends won’t think Christianity is for losers. Just saying….
  4. Only fight battles with good press coverage. Fighting poverty is cool. So’s injustice–that is only the kinds classified under the 7 Deadly Isms–but standing up for the smallest and weakest of all is intolerant and misogynist. Forget that. We’ll fight pollution but don’t ask us to love on our Nazi enemies! Your whole Sermon on the  Mount reeks of intolerance.  Instead of reaffirming all expressions of sexuality You say we can’t even have sexy fantasies about anyone of any gender. Very judgmental of You. You say we need to give our own clothes away instead of voting for others to give to the poor. Way to hate on the poor! And if we turned the other cheek instead of punching the less woke we would be social justice PACIFISTS. Way less cool than warriors. And no mention of gun control laws either.

If You do not carry through on these demands Your church will die. As we all know without the rich young people in North America and Europe on Your side You are completely helpless. Not like You can use other races in other lands who aren’t into checking their privileges like us woke whites. Lol. Without our smarts and bravery You are nothing.

Signed~

Loving This World

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Dear Jesus” a Ransom Note to our Lord