Friday, August 25, 2006

Trashy Clutter

We have a roving trunk. I’ll explain. It’s a child’s trunk, from the late 1800’s. Nearly 40 years ago, I scavenged in the family’s barn and found this discarded treasure.

I brought the chest indoors, most likely a child’s camel back trunk. It became serviceable after the leaf and vine tin motif, leather handles, metal latches and wooden tray were cleaned. The trunk stored a passel of books, antique linens, and family mementos.

A trunk travels, right? So, it relocated in our house more times than an Army brat. Why? Because we kept stubbing our toes on it.

After a night of painful toe whacking, I’d relocate it. Then other moonless nights came along. Thirsty, dear hubby or I went to get a drink of water, and groggy we collided with the trunk. OUCH!

For the past few years, the little chest has given us no trouble because it’s no longer near our house-paths. It’s been delegated out-of-the-way. Our carpet-ways are clear, no obstacles.

A proverb is quoted in Hebrews 12:13: “‘Make level paths for your feet,’ so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.”

A call is made to clear a path to make travel easy. I’ve especially been thinking about the youth in our nation and the many obstacles that greedy adults deliberately place on their paths through the media or bad life choices.

In regard to that, one scripture is especially potent: “But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God's holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place” Ephesians 5:3-4.

For Christian young, old or married, the task of remaining sexually pure and greed-free is a challenge. Media, the work world, and school are strewn with course talking, joking, and blatant acts of sexual immorality and greed gone wild.

The Christian life is to be counter culture. Not even an insinuation of sexual immorality or greed is to mar Christian homes. They can be the sanctuaries where “hints,” insinuations, innuendos can be removed from the path. No more stubbed toes.

What happens when steamer trunks full of trashy clutter leaves the home path? The writer of Hebrews said healing occurs. Let the healing begin.

You may contact Cathy at

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Worry Warts

Do not fret because of evil men. Psalm 37:1

Are you a worry wart? I am at times.

The original meaning of the word “worry” is to strangle or choke. Anxiety attacks, agitations, fretting, hand wringing, sleepless nights, illnesses — all may be seedlings of worry.

Many Bible heroes had difficult tasks; did their faith ever wobble, causing them to agonize? Did Noah worry in the years he prepared the ark of refuge? Did Mrs. Noah fear losing her solid-foundation house? Was she disturbed about shipmates, about floating with elephants and tigers? Oh, my!

God gave an exact blueprint for the huge ark but did Noah’s clan doubt their ship building skills? And, water falling from the sky, what would that be like? Worry invades and destroys.

A friend shared an observation from their cardiologist friend Lindsay. In his home for 13 years he cared for his wife Mary Jo, who had Alzheimer disease since her late 40s. Right before her death at age 62, he wrote: “It is truly amazing how well a youthful appearance is preserved in the absence of stress and worry.” He explained, “She has no gray hair or wrinkled skin and looks to be 20 years younger.”

Jesus wasn’t simply instating an eleventh commandment when he said, “Do not worry about this life.” He assured his listeners and today’s readers that the heavenly Father knows exact needs of food, drink and clothing. Jesus encouraged trusting God for the bread, so minds, hearts and hands could seek the will of God on this earth.

To eliminate worry, use the preventive measures of daily Bible study and prayer. The Bible is busting at its seams with stories of God’s saving interaction with mankind, often prompted by a prayer-knock on God’s door.

Jesus gave excellent advice: “Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (7:34). A wise person quipped, “Worry is like a rocking chair. It will give you something to do, but it won’t get you anywhere.”

Worry warts are contagious. Don’t inflict friends and family. Songwriter Bobbie McFerren had a hit when he wrote “Don’t worry, Be happy.” Or as Charles Schultz said, "Don't worry about the world coming to an end today. It's already tomorrow in Australia.”

You may contact Cathy at

Friday, August 11, 2006

Training for Christ

This week in a college town, three pleasant young men sat at the restaurant table next to us. With no music in this eating establishment, my husband and I couldn’t help but overhear their clean conversation.

At first they talked of ordinary things: favorite foods and entrées at restaurants. When the conversation turned to furnishing their apartments, they agreed that a fabulous place to get furniture is curbside on garbage day.

One boy said, “Dude, that’s exactly how I got my couch.” He gave details: After a drenching thunderstorm, he saw someone about to pay to have a soaked lime green sofa hauled off. He offered the sofa a good home, and loaded it into his truck. Later, he dried out the cushions and aired the rest of it. He heralded its value, “It’s so comfortable I’d rather sleep on it than my bed.”

The next table topics were classes, scuba diving, and getting certified to dive. Then one young man asked if, that evening, the rest would like to hang out with some “dudes from China.” He said the students and their professor would likely never travel to the states again due to costs.

Then the college men surprised us. They talked about God and sharing their faith. One of them told how he’d befriended a student while abroad, answered hundreds of his questions about God, and the questioner became a believer. To this day, he stays in touch with the Texas student.

When we were through dining, I introduced myself to the young men, and told them they’d furnished info and a slant for this newspaper column. Their response: “Awesome. Cool.”

Greg Steir, founder of the Dare 2 Share Ministries in Colorado, reports an estimated 50 per cent of teens will abandon their family’s faith by their senior year of high school.

To avoid this high failure rate, he advises covering teens with prayer. Second, he counsels adults to model Christianity because “more is caught than taught.”

His third recommendation is for parents to teach Bible in their homes. Too many parents outsource this responsibility to Sunday school teachers. The fourth recommendation is to “unleash” teens to be evangelistic. In China, 80 percent of the evangelists are 18 years and younger. Their passion is to reach others for Christ.

From what we heard, the three college men had disproved the 50 percent failure rate. Instead, they proved the proverb: “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it” (22:6).

Cathy Messecar

Monday, August 07, 2006

Help me meet them

I'm home a lot. No, I'm not ill, unable to drive (but when gasoline is five dollars a gallon, who knows), or have agoraphobia, the fear of crowded places. We operate our trucking business from our home and I write here, too.

I'm not fond of shopping, even grocery shopping. And I always feel a bit guilty that I don't swoon when it's time to go to the market. We have money, transportation, and appetites, shouldn't I be eager to go? I usually say a prayer of thanksgiving at some juncture of the trip.

Anyway, all that to say I'm home a lot. I don't get a lot of opportunities to meet people outside our church fellowship who are seekers. One day recently, I told God that if he had anyone in mind that needed help, if he could send them by, I'd pay attention.

A few days later, I walked out my door and a woman was coming up the back sidewalk. Now, we live in the country, and strangers on your backdoor steps is a rare occurrence. She was looking for an address of a cousin. From her description, he should have lived right next door to me. Nearby neighbors I know, and he wasn't one of them.

She was upset to not find him. Didn't seem to want to say why. She finally admitted that he was to loan her money for gasoline that week. I invited her in, and I gave her enough money to buy a bit of gasoline. When I went to get the money, I also grabbed my book and signed it and gave her a copy. Her hug and profuse thanks stayed with me, is still with me a month later.

I really don't know who needed to be reminded of God's part in our daily happenings, me or her. I've been praying for Angie J. I've also been asking God to place more Angies on my back door steps, or even in a grocery store aisle.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Backwards Day

Three grandchildren were coming for a day-visit, and I wanted to make it special. In the ‘50’s my mom and dad were invited to a Backwards Party. The words on the invitation had to be held in front of a mirror to read the date, address, and time.

The night of the party Mom wore a yellow blouse backwards. I’m not sure how Dad got into the theme. I don’t think he drove to the party in reverse. Also, I recalled a fun fiction story by Guida Jackson, the theme, a backwards day at grandma’s house. My plan jelled.

The morning I picked my grandchildren up, the front motif of my blouse faced the back. When Jack age 8, Adam age 6, and Jolie age 2, greeted me, Jack said, “Grandma! Your shirt is on backwards.”

“Yes, because it’s backwards day at my house.” Each child got a hug, kiss and greeting, “Goodnight. I’m happy to see you.” Although it was early morning, I further teased them. “We need to get back to my house because it’s almost supper time.”

When we arrived home, I announced it was time for evening prayers. Eager little boys, right then, in the middle of the kitchen, said their prayers aloud. Even little Jolie folded her hands. Then at the breakfast hour, we had macaroni and cheese, juice, and steak fingers.

Our grandsons are known to get into a tussle from time to time. Imagine that. On this day, I warned if any punches flew, we’d implement the opposite. Yes, I told them they’d be hugging each other, a kiss included. No punches were thrown that day.

When the noon hour arrived, Jack said, “It’s time for our midnight snack.” Throughout the day, we reversed “Thank you” and “Your Welcome.” Six o’clock in the evening found us seated at the breakfast table dining on scrambled eggs, toast, strawberry jam, bacon and applesauce.

Our fun day with the grandchildren didn’t cost a lot of money. I’m not against spending money to have fun, but I am against spending money on entertainment and substituting the bought amusement for family fun.

Home settings and quiet times create sanctuaries where God’s values can be passed down. One of the main conduits for growing faith is families. God wants “generational goodness” passed down, not hate, bitterness and bad habits.

The psalmist Asaph said, “We will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, his power, and the wonders he has done” (Psalm 78:4).

When I drove the children to their Grandma Olga Bazan’s house that evening, I looked in my rear view mirror, exclaiming. “This was the worst day of my life! You boys behaved miserably!” At first, shock registered, and then Adam said to his brother, “Jack, that means we were good.” Cute grins covered their faces and lit their eyes with delight.

At their other grandma’s house, I kissed them goodbye and said, “Good morning.” Later, I discussed backwards day with the boys, telling them that next time we’ll even take the day one step further. Early in the morning at our breakfast meal, we’re going to have dessert first!

A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. Proverbs 17:22

You many contact Cathy at