Friday, August 28, 2009

Happy Friday!

Tonight you get a double posting. For some reason Bruce did not receive my Thursday night’s posting, so it is going out at the time of this writing and I am currently writing Friday’s entry.

Just a couple of things: First, my best friend Carme Russell is having some corrective breast surgery this Tuesday. Please keep her in your prayers. Shaleena, Carme's and Dave's daughter, does not have to be back in school in Washington state until mid-September, so she can help out before she has to go back to school. David is still bed bound most of the time, but is healing well.

Second, this is a school funny. Today my class was going up the stairs to Music and a third grade class was coming down the stairs headed to Science. One of the Fourth grade boys was carrying his large three ring notebook and his Science book on his head and I overheard him say “Boy, my head hurts!” Now I know we are not supposed to be sarcastic with the kids but before I could stop myself I said, “You think!?” I completely cracked up. I have gone into a fit of giggles every time I thought about the episode.

John 12:26 “If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be; if any man serve me, him will My Father honor.”

When you came into relationship with Christ did you think you would be entering into a life of service? I don’t think I thought about that when I prayed to receive Christ at age15. I just knew I felt a love like no other, my sins had been forgiven and that my place in heaven was secured. But to enter a life of servanthood means that we follow the laws of Jesus every day and in every way. Being a servant of Christ does not just belong to the pastors in our churches. God has servants in heaven. His servants are the angels He created to bring messages of truth and act in love. Do you know any “angels” here on earth that match that description?

I think being a servant of God means that we do, to the best of our ability, whatever God wills for our lives and that we share what God has done in our lives with others. We don’t have to serve in a land far away or stand on a street corner and scream the gospel to those driving by. Being a servant just means going where He wants us to go, doing what He wants us to do and saying what He wants us to say to show His love for us and for each other is continuous. Just because we complete a task does not mean we are finished. Each time Jesus calls us into His service it is a new beginning and we have new lessons to learn. Living our lives each day dedicated to living a godly life is a life of service.

A servant goes without question and does his master’s bidding. Do we have enough faith to be a servant of Christ? Is our commitment to the Great Commission - to go and make all disciples…baptizing in the name of Jesus - strong enough to cause us to humble ourselves and faithfully be a servant of Christ every day? As Geni says, “Just throwing it out there…”

Please pray for our friends, the Banks family, as they celebrate the life of Rhonda’s father tomorrow.

Take joy in your 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.
(Note: this email did not make it to its destination last night, so is being posted Friday.)

Happy Thursday!!

School is going well. The students in my class are really sweet and so far they are very eager to learn and seem to come each day prepared for their lessons. Bruce arrived home safely around 1:30 am exhausted, but full in the knowledge that he has fulfilled to the best of his ability the job set before him. Geni began school today and all is going pretty well.

Deuteronomy 4:1 “Give heed to the statutes and ordinances that I am teaching you to observe, so that you may live.”

The first unit in Social Studies we study in first grade concerns rules. We discuss how rules come about and the reasons for having rules. My class decided that rules are developed for two reasons: 1) To help us, and 2) To keep us safe. We went over our classroom rules and made sure that all of our classroom rules would either help us or keep us safe.

Jesus asks us to follow very few rules. He asks us to love the Lord our God with all our heart, all our soul, all our mind and all our strength and to love our neighbor as our self.” No other law goes above this one rule. God gave us this law so that we might live with one another in holiness and with the lordship of Christ dwelling among us. If we do not follow this law then we fall short of the glory of God and cannot carry out His commandments and live together as He would have us.

In my classroom the first rule is Follow directions. Perhaps if we follow the directions set out in the Great Commandment then the remaining rules in our lives will be far easier to keep.

Take joy in your journey, my friends and carry an umbrella. 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.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Happy Wednesday!

This fall semester is already starting out to be a busy one. Wednesday is going to be especially busy for me. I have BHE Fellowship at 7:00 am followed by a full day of teaching first graders and then it is on to class at Brite and finally to praise team rehearsal at church. I did not get home until around 8:30. Bruce, at this writing is on his way home from Shreveport LA. He did an installation of a door out there today. He says he will be home around 1:30 am. I will write this entry and then send it to him, but I don’t think he will post until in the morning. Please pray for his safe journey.

Also, a friend of mine from Tyler, (you know who you are) attends a church that has put up a bulletin board style apple tree and wrote the names of teachers on apples and placed them on the tree. These teachers are prayed for by friends and church members. My friend placed my name on the tree. I felt so blessed that she would think of me. What a cool idea. Maybe more churches could adopt this practice…I know congress does not want us to pray in school, but don they really expect us to do our jobs without a prayer?! Thank you, my sweet friend in Tyler.

1 Corinthians 8:35 “I want you to live in the right way, to give yourselves fully to the Lord without concern for others.”

Wow! Does God ever place scripture before me in a timely manner? I attended my first Christian ethics class today. It is a huge class with 30 + enrolled. And I already have a paper due next Wednesday on “Moral Discernment in the Christian Life.” Nothing like getting started with a bang!! That is a really big enrollment for a master’s level class. At the end of class today we were presented with a case study over a controversial subject. Our task was to mesh the moral issue with a theological ethic and come up with an opinion on the issue. I listened to the people in my group all say that they were pro on this particular issue. After I listened to their views and opinions I spoke and said that I was not for this issue. I then expressed why and my reason for not believing this was morally right and for me not a theologically sound practice.

The scripture passage says “give yourselves fully to the Lord without concern for others”. This passage does not say give only part of yourself to the Lord, it ways give yourself fully. It does not say we can live with one foot in heaven and one foot on the earth. We must make a decision. We must make a choice.

As I continue through this class I am praying and will continue to pray for clear choices and to be brave enough to share my own personal moral ethic as it relates to my belief system and my faith. When I share my thoughts and beliefs with this largely liberal group of people, I pray I will not be afraid or arrogant. What I really hope to share above all is that I may not agree with the opinions and beliefs expressed by others, but that I will love and respect them because that person is a child of God. After all, God does not always like what we do, have done or will do, but that has never stopped Him from loving us.

Take joy in the journey and when you get the chance; listen with love. 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 Geni begins school again very early in the morning. Keep her in your prayers.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Happy Tuesday!

Second day of school and all is well. Travis discussed his philosophy class at dinner tonight. It was great to hear him talk about what he was learning in his classes. I think he is going to enjoy his college career. (He also said, “And the girls in my class are hot!) Some things will never change.

Matthew 7:14 “Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leads unto life, and few there be that find it.”

I think all of us have read or heard this verse all of our lives. But have you ever thought about that narrow way? Just how narrow is that way? When it comes down to it God will judge us one by one when we meet Him face to face. So I used to think that the path must be one person wide. But then as I began to read more on this one verse I changed my thinking about just how wide that path is. I have walked that path for most of my life. There have been times I have veered off of it a bit and then there were times that I left it all together and chose another road. So far I have found my way back each time. But here is what I think about that path…that path was more than one person wide. All along that road to that gate I have walked and still walk…God has always walked and continues to walks with me encouraging and leading me in love to that gate that is strait. I also believe that when the day comes for me to enter that gate, I won’t be alone there either. I think the same Jesus that walked the narrow path with me my whole life will be there with me when I enter the gate and meet the Father face to face.

As a teacher I work long hours. I get tired and sometimes a bit weary, but as most teachers do; we keep on going until the job is finished. God’s love for us through Jesus works the same way. Jesus walks with us in each step we take until the job is finished and reach the gate.

Take joy in the journey and say thanks to a teacher that never gave up on you. Love you all my dear friends, 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 I begin my class at Brite Seminary for this semester; tomorrow afternoon. It is a class on Christian ethics. Please say a prayer that I can keep up with the class. I have heard this is one is really tough. And also our friend Rhonda Banks lost her father to cancer on Monday. We ask your prayers for peace and comfort for their family. Peace, gc

Monday, August 24, 2009

Happy Monday!

The first day of school has come and gone. It was a very exciting morning. Our Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Melody Johnson, visited our newly refurbished campus. ABC World News was on our campus with their huge cameras, microphones, reporters and interviewers everywhere. A camera man and reporter came into my room and videotaped the children and activities going on in Room 6. One of my team members was interviewed and was supposed to be seen on the news tonight.

I have been given 17 (so far) lovely children and two TCU students with which to begin my year. The first day was really quite good and we got a lot of things done.

Travis began his college career today. He has a good day of classes and is looking forward to classes tomorrow. His desk and computer look so great in his room. Bruce bought him a lamp and a trash can. He is ready to roll!!

John 6: 60 “This teaching is difficult; who can accept it.”

What an interesting scripture to receive today. I spent the first day of school trying to convince 17 six-year-olds that they are no longer kindergartners. I must admit that there were those who were somewhat resistant to these teachings. Some of the children were ready to step into the role of first grade and others were not quite ready. The lessons of stay in your seat, listen and raise your hand to speak were new to some of the students. But the most difficult lesson of all today was to write your name on your paper. Even after giving instructions I walked around the room and reminded several of the children to write their names. I will teach this lesson again and again until they remember to write their name on their paper.

I think that this same principle applies to reading the Word and our conversations with God. There are times when we read the Word and don’t like what it tells us.

The times we don’t like the Word, are when it tells us to do something we don’t want to do. Maybe we want something and God says, “No” or “not yet.” God says, “Forgive them…” God says, “Love them…” And we really don’t want to do these things. So what does God do? God continues to teach us these lessons until we finally get it.

God repeats the instructions until we remember to forgive, practice self-control and love no matter what. Maybe when it comes to accepting God’s Word for our lives we are all just big First Graders. Maybe that is why I have been teaching first grade for so many years!

I am really glad God is not as tired as I am at this writing. I know I am exhausted from repeating the instructions to my first graders so many times.

Take joy in the journey and follow directions the first time. It makes things a whole lot easier. 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.
Blessed Sunday!

Worship was such a blessing today. The sanctuary was really full, Addie and Jeremy were back as was Pastor Joel.

Ephesians 6: 11 “Put on the whole armor of God.”

Tomorrow is the first day of school. In our house there are three of us returning to school. I will begin my teaching duties again and Geni, Travis and I are all in college this semester. It has taken quite a bit of time to prepare all of us for the events of this week. We (Geni, Bruce and Travis) have spent the last two weeks getting my classroom ready for the children on Monday. We then purchased Travis his first computer and a beautiful desk for his college studies. Geni needed a more professional wardrobe as she is going to substitute teach three days a week beginning in late September or early October. What we all have done is prepare as fully as possible for the tasks ahead of us. I needed to write lesson plans, run off papers and prepare centers to be ready for teaching first graders. I don’t know that I am fully prepared, but by the time I greet the children in the morning I should be as prepared as possible.

God offers us His full protection. What is the armor of God? The armor of God is the Word. The more we read and study and apply it to our lives the stronger the armor becomes. Another piece of the armor is prayer. The more we pray and study God’s Word the more we know about God and the stronger the armor becomes. The stronger the armor the better we are able to withstand the forces of evil. The stronger the armor the better we can make godly choices over worldly choices. When metal is melted down and fashioned the impurities are filtered out and the pure metal remains. The final pieces that fashion the armor of God are forgiveness and righteousness. I don’t think the armor of God is weakened when we need forgiveness. When we humble ourselves before the Father and confess our sins before the Father then the armor of God is strengthened because more of God is present in the armor. When we do things God’s way we experience righteousness.

Tomorrow is another chance to begin again. Whether you are beginning a new school year or returning to work on Monday, while you are dressing in a suit for Monday or new dress for the first day of school; stop! Put on a garment of praise and wear the armor of God. Pray, read or in my case listen to God’s Word, confess and give thanks. Your armor should be strong enough to withstand whatever the day brings before you.

Take joy in your journey. We love you lots, 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.