Category Archives: HIGHER POWER

For the JOY…

 Who, for the JOY set before Him, endured the Cross
Hebrews 12:10

Almost 30 years ago, I was lying in a hospital surgery room for the specific purpose of donating my left kidney to my then – 18 year old son. A few years later, on Easter morning, sitting in a Sunday School Young Married Class, I wrote this poem: FORSAKEN? The failure of my son’s kidneys and subsequent transplant process taught me an important and very personal lesson about why GOD allowed his Son to be nailed to that tree.

It’s easy to hear or read or even memorize John 3:16, For GOD so the WORLD He gave…and accept the truth of it. After all, He was dying for all mankind! But these next two phrases take it to a whole different, very personal level:

*I* was on His Mind, when He was on The Cross.” and:
“If I was the ONLY person on earth, Christ would have died for ME
!”

I was awake before 5am this morning in order to pick up my friend and take him to his appointment for surgery. When I met him 3 years ago, he explained he was an agnostic. He accepted the thought of “something or someone being in charge,” but he also acknowledged serious doubts of ever being able to know who or what that could be. (An atheist makes the claim “There is nothing or no one in charge, it all just came to be.”) In spite of our declared differences, we made a connection. Later, he commented to me… “Jim, you give me a lot to think about.” Months later, he began describing himself as a “praying agnostic with an open mind.” My daughter has since said: “Dad, you and Ronnie are good for each other.

This morning, as we neared the surgery center, I posed this Query to him: “So, let me ask you, what are your current thoughts about this JESUS Guy?” He said he has accepted the historical truth that Jesus walked this earth, and died on The Cross, but he’s not sure what that means to him today.

As we sat in the parking lot, I told him; “Scripture says ‘For the JOY set before Him, He endured The Cross.’ Ronnie, I’ve come to realize that I AM THE JOY, FOR WHICH JESUS ENDURED THE CROSS! The possibility of having a personal relationship with ME brought Him a Joy that surpassed the agony.

It was not the Son’s obedience to the will of His Father that brought Him Joy. It was not finally gaining victory over His arch enemy, Satan that made Him want to dance with joy. It was not the possibility of finishing His work on earth and finally going home. Jesus was looking forward some 2000+ years into the future to the possibility of having an ongoing, growing relationship with JIM CATLETT! It’s TRUE, *I* was on His mind as He drew His last breath and declared: “IT IS FINISHED!”

Pssst… He wants me to tell you… YOU were on His mind, too!

I can in no way compare the kidney transplant surgery my son and I experienced to the absolute agony of Christ’s Death. But the fact that I gave life to him (again) has connected my son and I in a way we did not have before. The morning after the surgery, as I agonizingly lay in bed and watched My Son bounce into the room with a new color in his face and a brightness to his eyes that he had not had for 10 years, my JOY knew no limits. He grabbed the crossbar of the bed next to me, swung across and plopped down on the bed with a huge grin.  Today, almost 30 years later, he still has that part of me living in him, doing its job!.

Today, I have CHRIST  living in me. Simply because God Loved Me enough to
offer me the Gift of His Son’s Death. And… I said “YES!”

He makes YOU the same offer!!
Have you given an answer?

“Almost Done, But First…”

‘Twas late afternoon on the 6th day. God knew it was time to send His Son into the garden to spend the evening walking with Adam’n Eve. But first…

He called His arch angels to His side, because He had just one more quick idea.

He stepped to the edge of heaven and said: “Watch this”… Extending His hand way up into what centuries later would be called Utah, He scratched a line in the earth with His little finger.

As Gabriel watched in Awe’n Amazement, (this may have been the first ever A.A. meeting) Micheal declared: “WOW! God, That’s GRAND!!”

The Bee in the Mirror

Several years ago, I was sitting in my Pacific Bell bucket truck having lunch, parked under the shade of a big tree. I looked out the window as a honey bee buzzed up to the rear view mirror. I sat there mildly fascinated as it flew up and touched the frame holding the glass.

It stayed there several minutes, flitting from the top to the bottom, from left to right, and from the front to the back. Occasionally I saw “two bees” as it flew across the front and I could see its reflection. I was surprised then, when it buzzed up to the bottom of the windshield and did the very same thing to the wiper. It was as if the bee was investigating my truck.

That bee began to experience, in its own extremely limited way, all it could know about the mirror, and the the wiper blade. I imagined it’s thoughts, as it flew away, “I always wondered what that big, noisy contraption was, as it passed by everyday. I’m so thankful it stopped and I finally got a chance to find out for myself.” Can U imagine the story it shared at the hive meeting that evening!?!

As I sat there chewing down on my burrito and watching the bee, this thought crossed my mind… “Perhaps that bee is somewhat like me, in my life-long quest to understand Who / What God is.”

The more I learn about God, the more aware I become of how limited is my understanding of Him.

The more I realize how extremely limited I am in my own understanding of Him, His Ways and His Purposes in, for and through me, (us) the more I recognize my need to rely on and trust Him. He’s taught (teaching) me that my understanding BEFORE TRUSTING (Him) is not as important as my ego always told me it was!! 

He delights in and honors my request – “Teach me your ways, Lord… Search me, see if there be any way in me that is not of you!” Ps 139:23,24

HIS TAPESTRY

Can I Trust w/o Understanding?

Psalms 139

 Isaiah 55:8,9

Job 38

Psalm 119:33,34

A MATTER of the HEART!

As I’ve said before, the problem is not the guns in the hands, but the “stuff” in the hearts. 

Matthew 12:34 states: 

For from the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks!” (or the hand strikes) parenthesis mine

We’ve all been SO devastated by this latest school shooting in Oregon. It just keeps happening! But it’s good for us to express our sorrow and grief, and yes, even anger and frustration at what seems to be an ever-increasing level of violence.  

There is healing to be found in sharing. We must also have compassion on those involved and their families. My daughter just informed me that over 3/4 MILLION dollars has been go-funded for Chris, the vet that ran TO the danger and as a result was shot 7Xs. I choose to think this generosity is a more accurate reflection of the heart of our nation than the acts reported over and over and over in the news. 

We state our position on either side of the discussion as to what the solution might be, with neither side having much of an affect on the opinions of the other. And yet, we still discuss. Fortunately, I think (and hope) arguing about such things is in my past. If not, I apologize. (But not for being right…) lol

Allow me to take a slightly different slant this morning. 

I am absolutely certain that I will NEVER walk into a church or school, playground or grocery store and commit such a horrible act of violence.

But I’ll wager dollars to donuts that I’ll yell at the guy who cuts me off when I’m driving my family to church this morning. (Oh, wait, my WW drives on Sunday morning…) well, U get my point! 

How many of us go thru life using our mouths and attitudes in ways that damage others? The old “…but words will never hurt me” is as much a lie today as it was when we were in the 4th grade. If we use our middle finger instead of our trigger finger, and we strike with words instead of bullets, if we wound the spirit of a child with our harshness instead of killing the bodies of innocents, is there an ultimate difference? Yes, o’course there is! BUT – also, alas, NO!

Today I need to take time to evaluate my heart. I need to examine my thoughts, listen to my words, both spoken and not, to “see if there be some wicked way in me“! Am I “nice” because society has placed a sign in front of me that says “No ____ allowed” all the while hiding the ugliness inside me?

Am I that much different than the gunman because the wounds I cause are hidden inside my victims and don’t bring blood?? Yes, o’course, BUT… Also, alas, NO

I think there’s a lesson for us all!  Psalms 139:23,24 comes to mind;

 
The ultimate healing of our nation, our college campuses, our families and cities lie not in more laws and the proper enforcement of them, but in the changing of our hearts.

The more I discuss this with friends and on FaceBook, the more I’m realizing the only really helpful response I can have is to examine myself, my heart, my own ways, and change accordingly. 

I’ve been challenged by the Q posed by the shooter and the now popular – #IamAChristian! If faced with the same threat, would I declare the truth? I know in the past, I have not always done so, even when faced with much less a consequence than being shot in the head. 

For too long my Christianity was measured by my ability to refrain from that which I declared was wrong. As a result, I became the judge of others. In that judgement, I lost my ability to love. 

Then I became friends with someone who helped me face some issues in my life over which I had lost control. (U know who UR!) A man whose political and social beliefs were as different from mine as night and day. The more we talked, the more I came to respect his Christianity. 

I’ve been forced to examine and redefine my Christianity. It’s no longer as much a product of my behavior that makes me one, but a relationship with – as AA says, “My Higher Power” whom I call Jesus, The Son of the Living God

     That relationship keeps affecting my behavior in ways I do not expect. 

Do U not believe as I do? Let’s talk it over. I’m finding we are more alike than we are different. Let’s focus on that. And stay together. And treat each other with respect! And Love! 

P.S.  Psalms 139 is an amazing chapter! U can read it HERE

7 THINGS I LEARNED IN AA – that I should’a learned in church…

4 years ago TODAY I attended my 1st ever AA meeting. That was July 6, 2011

Please read yesterday’s post – 4YEARS

These are a few of the things I learned there

In the next few (7?) posts, I hope to unpack (ugh, I hate that word…) these a bit more, and try to explain why I feel AA expanded and deepened my relationship with “My Higher Power” Whom I call Jesus

Note : these are my thoughts and experiences. If Ur path is different, feel free to comment / share. AND – don’t take the title the wrong way, I love church! I grew up there. But there were some things I “just didn’t get.”

1) EVERYONE is welcome! Come! Just as U.R.

2) All I need is a desire…

3) EVERYONE is BROKEN! 

4) I will never get so sober/well that I will outgrow the benefits of going to meetings

5) I’ll NEVER understand GOD… And that’s OK!

6) Sharing my brokenness in a place I discovered is safe provides an opportunity to heal 

7) GOD is Bigger! and more Loving than I ever knew. Or imagined!

THE L.O.N.G VIEW

 What if today’s difficulty is the one U look back upon
in 6months, 2years, 5years and recognize it as

THE M.O.M.E.N.T

that changed Ur life for the better?
The one God used to make U
Just a little bit more like Him?

We don’t get better(or worse) in one giant leap.
It’s baby step by baby step, repeated daily.

 When we recognize God using our past for His Glory,
it changes forever how we see our PAST
it changes forever how we see our FUTURE
it changes how we see OTHERS
BUT – most of all, it changes FOREVER how we see GOD

This post was originally shared on January 14, 2014. (revised)

I shared this thought with “my Teen Challenge ‘Boys'” on Tuesday. Then I asked them about a “moment” in their lives that God is using to change them. 

I won’t share details, but there were tears, laughter, gratitude, heartbreak, regret, resolve, prayer, even joy. 

Most of the moments that change me are not earth-shattering. THE Moment was, and U can read about that here.

God is now able to use softer, gentler nudges to alter my path. (most days) He’s taught me, I’m discovering – He REALLY DOES care about me. and You!!… 

In the words of Steve  Brown, “God ain’t mad at me! (‘nU)”

#TeenChallengeTuesday@N.L.C.  –  My favorite day of the week!

  

SOBRIETY part 2

This morning I was reading and replying to some of the comments made on yesterday’s post. 

ThkQ, BTW, for reading and entering into dialogue with me. I’m amazed, I’m only 50 views short of having as many views as I had in all of 2014. 

One of my followers is “The Snarky Blonde” I LOVE this post I found on her blog and the way in which it describes my journey – p.s… If U don’t care for “snarkiness,” don’t go there. But she shared some TRUTH about discovering the diamond buried in the mud. 

http://thesnarkyblonde.com/2015/06/23/diamond-in-the-mud/

This was my reply to her comment:

           ******

I‘ve said it before… It’s become one of the fundamental beliefs of my existence. THERE ARE ONLY TWO GROUPS OF PEOPLE IN THE WORLD. THOSE IN RECOVERY AND THOSE WHO HAVE NOT YET DISCOVERED / ADMITTED THEY NEED TO BE. 

I love the way U put it: “In reality our self defeating patterns. Every single one of them, Began as survival strategies in response to our dysfunction…” It was in recovery I discovered THE REAL ME and learned to like living with that person 

        *********

Let me add this postscript….

Psalm 139, 13:18 begins like this… “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand— when I awake, I am still with you. (‭Psalm‬ ‭139‬:‭13-18‬ NIV)

Most of my recovery has been discovering who God made me to be and letting Him heal the damage living caused in me.