Saturday, February 21, 2009

Happy Saturday! I did several of my Saturday things on Friday night this week because I needed to get caught up on my grading and posting. I also picked up our taxes today. That means I can get started getting three FAFSA (financial aid) applications ready for the year 2009-2010 school year. There will be three of us in college next year. We are going to need all of the assistance we can get!!

Proud Mom and Dad moment!!! Geni has been invited to become a member of the Tau Sigma National Honor Society. We are so excited and so very proud of her and her achievements at UNT. She is a bit nervous that she will not be able to keep up the GPA required to maintain her membership. We are encouraging her to work as hard as she can and continue to do her best. She has not decided to accept membership as yet and still has a window of time to make her decision. We are proud of her in whatever decision she makes.

Psalm 27:5 says, “For in the day of trouble he will conceal me in His tabernacle; In the secret place of His tent He will hide me…”

I love the feeling of safety. Each day when I have my prayer time I pray for the safety of Bruce, Geni, Travis, my parents and others. I place my hope in Christ that we will all come back together again at the end of the day (or with Geni, at the end of the week.) I sometimes worry that something will happen to Bruce, Geni or Travis and I will lose them as we lost Casey. I was talking to Bruce about this today and he, in his wisdom said, “Gaylene, stop worrying. Scripture says we are not supposed to worry. God holds Geni and Travis just as He holds Casey.” And of course Bruce was right.

When the children were babies and we would visit someone at their home, sometimes we would place them on a bed asleep. They would invariably wake up shortly in unfamiliar surroundings crying for the safety, familiarity and comfort of our arms. We finally figured out if we took a shirt out of the dirty clothes hamper and one of our jackets with us we could lay the shirt on the host’s bed and lay our jacket over the baby and they would sleep quietly and very peacefully surrounded by our scent surrounding them.

God came to earth and into our lives in the form of Jesus 2000 years ago. We are living in a time when Jesus no longer physically walks among us. God provided us with a familiar shirt and jacket to protect us, calm us and provide the security of His presence in our lives 24/7. He sent the Holy Spirit. God sent His love and eternal presence to remain with us always so we would always feel at home. We can always feel safe in the assurance of the love of God through Jesus because of the ever-present Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is within each of us who believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

Friends, let us go to the One who will keep us in safety and hide us in the day of trouble. Let us go to Jesus and pray His blanket of assurance and grace to cover us in the familiar surroundings of His love. See you in worship.

Love you all, Bruce, Gaylene, Geni and Travis.

I am not moved by what I see. I am not moved by what I feel. I am moved only by what I believe and I believe God.

PS Happening Team meeting tomorrow. Applications are due in by February 28. Hurry! Hurry! It is going to be an awesome weekend. gc

Friday, February 20, 2009

Happy Friday!!!

Colossians 3: 8 and 10 say, “But now put these things out of your life: anger, bad temper, doing or saying things to hurt others and using evil words when you talk. You have begun to live the new life, in which you are being made new and are becoming like the One who made you. This new life brings you the true knowledge of God.”

I think I have shared about the class I am teaching this school year. This has been the most difficult class I have been presented with in many, many years. Six of these children have biblical names. In my classroom this year I have: Ezra, Genesis, Nahum, Ismael, Elijah and Leah. I thought at the beginning of the year that with all of these prophetic names that I was going to have a fairly well behaved class that would not take long to whip into shape and move them along quite nicely through the year. O-h-h-h-h-h-h-h-h-h no-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-! We have spent 107 school days together and they still do not have their collective act together.

Consequently I pray for and about this class daily as well as praying for myself as their teacher. I have tried countless strategies, tactics, rewards, consequences, parent conferences and other opinions. As a result of their actions they have bad press throughout the building. Frustration has reached a boiling point and today we had the “come to Jesus” meeting.

I spent quite a bit of time in prayer this morning about this class and then it occurred to me that here I am, studying for the ministry, and the group I am working with is just like the world that God deals with every moment of every day. These children are stubborn, willful, back talking, untruthful at times and do the exact opposite of what I have asked them to do. The consequence of their actions is that they are not progressing as they should by their own volition. Their greatest hindrance is that they do not listen.

Then it really hit me. How much am I like the first graders I teach? I would love to tell you that I am not at times stubborn, willful, (I am not much of a back talker) but there are times I am not as honest with myself as I should be. And how does God deal with me? God is patient, kind, forgiving, merciful and never gives up on me.

Today after I had really reamed these children out I read this scripture and thought how true this scripture was for me today. I need to remember these are children who need to be loved and cared for as well as taught. I am God’s child and I need those same things. I deal with 19 six and seven year olds and God deals with billions and keeps us all straight in His mind and heart. I think God had His own”come to Jesus” meeting with me in the scripture lesson today. I need to remember as a child of God I need to be more patient and less frustrated because God deals patiently with me and never gives up. He is relentless in His efforts to work his will in my life and to help me to grow in His likeness.

I have approximately three more months to effect change in the lives of these children. I, too, must be relentless in my efforts to prepare these 19 children for second grade. My prayer for myself is that God will place in me a spirit of creative endurance. I am praying for God to transform me into the teacher these children need. I will claim these verses, take a deep breath and ask God to work His will. Thank you for letting me vent a bit tonight.

Take joy in the journey. Love you all, Bruce, Gaylene, Geni and Travis.

I am not moved by what I see. I am not moved by what I feel. I am moved only by what I believe and I believe God.

PS Applications for Happening #39 (March 13-15)at Advent Lutheran Church (for 15-18 year olds)are available on the ntls( or from any Happening Team member. This is an ecumenical spiritual renewal weekend.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Happy Thursday! Lamar is so much better and thank you all for your prayers. He looks a bit ragged, but he feels so much better.

Also, we have several friends who are without current employments but who have been employed all of their adult lives. Let us pray for all who are seeking employment and their families who are supporting them spiritually, emotionally and financially.

Lamentations 3: 22-23 says, “The Lord’s love never ends; His mercies never stop. They are new every morning; Lord, your loyalty is great.” 2 Corinthians 9:8 says, “And God can give you more blessings than you need. Then you will always have plenty of everything—enough to give to every good work.”

Are these the most wonderful words of assurance you have ever heard or what?! I don’t know who needs to hear these words right now. Sometimes I need to hear these words each day. Each day is a brand new day. This is the cool part. God provides His love, His mercies and more blessings than we need. He did not say I will give you love, mercies and blessings if you go to church each week, or if you visit people in the hospital or if you help out at the local homeless shelter. The Word says, “The Lord’s love never ends. His mercies never end and His blessings are abundant.” The Word says He just gives us these gifts. All we have to do is make ourselves a receptacle to receive. We do not deserve these gifts. We cannot do anything to earn these blessings. We just have to be there to receive them.

So for all who are despairing, all who are seeking, all who are worried, remember how much God loves you. Remember His blessings and gifts are for all. Surrender yourself. Empty yourself and receive what God has to give to you, His child. And may your day be brighter in the knowledge that God’s love, mercies and blessings never end and they are for all. Let us pray for each other remembering that all of us are fighting some kind of battle.

Take joy in the journey. Love you all, Bruce, Gaylene, Geni and Travis.

I am not moved by what I see. I am not moved by what I feel. I am moved only by what I believe and I believe God.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Happy Wednesday! Bruce took Lamar to the vet this morning. The vet had to give Lamar a local anesthetic before working on him because the area of the hot spot was so sensitive. Lamar cried big basset hound tears. But they got it shaved and cleaned up. They sent him home with two kinds of pills and a spray. But when I arrived at home Lamar greeted me with a wagging tail and waiting for his hot dog treat. He is still not feeling up to par, but he is feeling much better. PTL!

Mark 1:17 says, “Jesus says, Come follow me.”

Have you ever noticed how Jesus issues invitations? Christ invites us to follow Him. He invites the fishermen to become fishers of men. He invites the adulterous woman to start over. And he opens up the palace, sets the table and invites all of us to “come” and join with Him and others at the table of grace to be loved, accepted, taught, blessed and fed abundantly.

This Sunday is Transfiguration Sunday. Jesus invites Peter and John to join Him on the mountain. When they arrive at the top Jesus is transfigured into His heavenly being and along with Him are Elijah and Moses. OMG! Peter and John looked on the face of God and were witness to a conversation between God, Elijah and Moses. The text tells us that Jesus’ garments changed into garments whiter than any white every seen and cannot be described. Peter and John were witness to a miracle.

What if Peter and John had said, “no?” What if they said, no we are going fishing or we are going to go a play basketball with Matthew and Thomas or the other disciples are meeting at Starbucks to chill out over lattes before we go to the next town? Think of what these men would have missed. How would their ministries have been different? These two men were given what I consider a glimpse into heaven. Thank God they did not decline the invitation given by Jesus. Think of what they would have missed!

Jesus calls all of us: “follow Me.” We may not be one of the original disciples, but as believers in Jesus we are called to follow and that makes us His “disciples.” What would we have missed if we declined the invitation of Jesus to follow Him? And what do others miss if we don’t invite them to come with us and follow Christ? We would miss allowing Christ, through the transforming power of the Holy Spirit, to “transfigure” or change us into the likeness of Christ through the forgiveness of our sins and the changing of our hearts. Jesus says, Come, follow Me, and bring a friend.

Take joy in the journey. Love you all, Bruce, Gaylene, Geni and Travis.

I am not moved by what I see. I am not moved by what I feel. I am moved only by what I believe and I believe God.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Happy Tuesday! Well, today was far better at school than yesterday. My day started so well with a wonderful devotion from Joyce Meyer that I will share with you in just a few moments. But the coolest thing was a school volunteer came in to my room to get my attendance folder and saw that I was about to have my devotion time and asked if she could listen to the reading. I welcomed her, read the lesson and then we had a brief moment of sharing. It was a great way to start the day. She is a sweet soul who has walked some hard roads and has found peace and healing with God and just wanted to share a moment with Him. I felt so humbled and was glad she felt comfortable enough to sit and listen and share for just a few moments. Praise God!

And then, in theology tonight we discussed the rise in Pentecostalism and the Holy Spirit. A totally amazing discussion was held and I learned so much about my classmates and their faith by just listening to their perceptions and beliefs in the third facet of the triune God. I think my first response paper might just be on the subject of the Holy Spirit.

Carme update: all drains are removed (PTL!) and she is doing so well. Hormone testing will be done soon to select the correct ones for her and the remaining reconstruction will happen this summer. She is going to try to go back to substituting after spring break. Way to go Carme! She is amazing.

Breaking news: Travis is the newest super hot wing eating champion of the Buffalo Wild Wing Restaurant. He ate 12 of the hottest wings made in 4 minutes and 8 seconds. It is not a record but he came in far under the allotted time. His picture will be placed in the restaurant and he gets a shirt. After eating these hotter than fire wings he ran across the parking lot to the store and bought and downed a half gallon of milk. Ah, to be 18 and fearless.

Prayer alert: my dog, Lamar is sick. He had a small hot spot on his back last night and by the time I got home this evening it was huge. I think it is infected. Bruce is taking him to the vet in the morning. He looks so sad and is moving really slow. Please pray for my dog.

Isaiah 1:19 says, “If you are willing to obey me, you will eat good crops from the land.”

I read a brief meditation from the Joyce Meyer book; Starting Your Day Right. The opening sentence to the short two paragraph meditations was “What good is a glass of water if we don’t drink it?” This simple question stayed on my mind all day. What good is God’s Word in print if we don’t pick up a Bible and read it? And what good is a house of worship if we don’t pass through the door and step inside and worship? And what good is the ability to speak to God through prayer if we don’t take the opportunity to pray? John 7::37 says, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink.” God offers Himself each day in the form of Jesus Christ to each of us and all we have to do is ask. The transforming power of the Holy Spirit is there and, once again, all we have to do is ask.

God offers His blessings of mercy and forgiveness to us all the time. When we ask for mercy and forgiveness God gives it and then we receive it. If we surrender to His will, if we are obedient then we receive all of His blessings. God puts Himself out there for us and all we have to do is ask and we will receive Him into our hearts and lives. He calls us not to just sip from the cup of grace, but to drink all. He emptied Himself for us so that we might be filled with Him. Pick up the glass and drink every drop.

Take joy in the journey. Love you all, Bruce, Gaylene, Geni and Travis.

I am not moved by what I see. I am not moved by what I feel. I am moved only by what I believe and I believe God.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Happy Monday! As the saying goes…it was Monday all day! Very bizarre day at school. We had just settled into class when loud hammering began at my door. I went to check on it and found out that the school had been broken into over the weekend and a window in my door had been broken. The workmen were taking out the broken glass and replacing it with new glass. Whoever broke in did a variety of damage but was not very smart. I gave thanks that no one was in the building and that the person chose to vandalize the building during a time when there were no children present. Our greatest concern is that this person walked away with 3 sets of keys and now there is a possibility of a return visit.

Psalm 23:5 says, “You prepare a meal for me in front of my enemies.”

It is Monday. Bruce went to Bible Study Fellowship, Geni is back in Denton, Travis went to work and I was at home for a while by myself. All went our separate ways tonight and I did not prepare dinner for my family. So, tonight was leftover soup and cornbread for me before I went to the gym. Even though Bruce, Travis and Geni were not here the table was still set and ready for us to sit down together. I keep our table set all the time. I missed a dinner table so much over the last year that keeping it set and ready for a meal is really important to me. Then I read this scripture verse.

“You prepare a table for me…” The table of grace is always set and there is always room for one more. God loves the table, too. He loves the table so much that it is where His Son, the Savior chose to spend His last moments with His disciples. Jesus chose the table to show His disciples for the humptyfourth time what they were to do after He was gone. Jesus taught His disciples at that meal that all were invited to the table. Jesus taught the disciples to be servant to all and master to none. But mostly Jesus showed His disciples that He loved them.

For me, the table is a place of love, acceptance, grace and being together with the ones I love. As Bruce says, the food is not as important as the company who shares it. As believers we are invited to the table and there is always a place for us. I challenge you to invite someone to the table. Tell someone what God has done in your life and then invite them over for dinner. When they arrive serve the following meal:
Romans 8:1 You are beyond condemnation.

Colossians 1:13 You are a member of His kingdom.
Romans 8:15 You have been adopted.
Ephesians 2:18 You have access to God at any moment.
Hebrews 13:5 He will never abandon you.
1 Peter 1:4 You have an imperishable inheritance.

Sounds like the meal of a lifetime to me.

Eat up!! And take joy in the journey. Love you, Bruce, Gaylene, Geni and Travis.

I am not moved by what I see. I am not moved by what I feel. I am moved only by what I believe and I believe God.
Blessed Sunday to each of you! Wow! Worship was awesome today. Today Pastor Marc spoke about renewal. We sang about God is Good all the time, thanking God for the valleys and then the house rocked with the sending hymn of “I’ll fly Away.” Totally awesome worship today.

Isaiah 64: 8 says, “Yet, O Lord, you are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter, we are all the work of your hand.”

Have you ever created a ceramic vase? I mean placed the clay on the potter’s wheel, dipped your hands in water and began to mold and shape the clay into the shape you have planned. I have never done this personally, but I have seen it done and I am always in awe of the masterful hands that mold the clay. I have also watched the potter smash the clay back down when it is not surrendering itself to the work of the potter’s hands. Then the potter begins again. Clay, when in the hands of a potter, lives a life of surrender and obedience. The clay is mixed with water and with the firm but gentle molding of the potter’s hands the pot is shaped until it is in the perfect shape the master has envisioned. Then it is tested by fire until is ready for use by the master.

I know you have figured out that God is the potter and we are His clay. God is our Father. He created us and we are His own children. God loves us so much and wants a relationship with us to the point that He created us in His image so He would fully understand us. He molds us by His love and grace. When we sin (when our flaws show up) He forgives us through the blood of His Son, Jesus. When we walk the road of repentance it allows God to rework the clay (us) and begin again. We are fired and God uses us as His vessels. I am just grateful that God does not tire of molding the same piece of clay over and over again!

One of my most favorite songs is “The Potter’s Hand.” The words of this song are in the scripture from Isaiah, but it goes on to say, “All of my days are held in Your hand. Crafted into Your perfect plan. You gently call me into Your presence. Guiding me by Your Holy Spirit. Teach me, dear Lord, lead me Lord I pray. Set me apart. I know you are calling me to Yourself. Lead me Lord I pray. Mold me. Make me. Use me. Walk beside me. I give my life to the Potter’s hand.” God calls us and takes us as we are and molds us into the person He meant us to be all along if we are willing to be obedient and live a life of surrender willing to be shaped into the image of God by the Master Potter.

Take joy in the journey. Love you, Bruce, Gaylene, Geni and Travis.

I am not moved by what I see. I am not moved by what I feel. I am moved only by what I believe and I believe God.