Friday, October 30, 2009

Happy Friday!

I had the most wonderful day. Geni was supposed to have her first day of substitute teaching at Briscoe Elem. School in Fort Worth, but due to a snafu at the Administration building, she had not been cleared for teaching yet, so she came to Burton Hill and spent the day with me and my first graders. We had a day filled with pumpkin and bat activities and Geni taught most of the day. She did such a great job. I was very proud of her and it was wonderful to watch her take her first steps into the world of teaching. I was reminded of when she was quite small and she took her first steps as a baby. I remember being so proud 22 years ago and I was just a proud today. We, as parents, do not always get to see where our children land. I felt very privileged to get to witness Geni handle herself in a classroom situation.

Psalm 119: 105 “Your Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.”

God in His wisdom does not let us see into the distant future. God never told me at the moment of Casey’s birth that cancer would develop in his body as a young adult and we would lose our son far too soon in his life and ours. What God does do for us is give us a lamp. A lamp puts our enough light for the area in which you are working or reading. God lit our path during the last year of Casey’s life to see the steps needed for the day’s journey, and God continues to guide our steps. As Max Lucado says, “God gives us a lamp unto our feet not a crystal ball into the future.”

I would have never believed a “crystal ball” vision that said that Geni would desire to become a teacher. But I can see the lamplight that is directing her path and today I was honored to be part of the light and be witness to where that light is leading her.

Friends, every morning I pray for God to meet our daily needs. God’s Word is the lamp unto our feet on which we can count. God tells us not to worry about what tomorrow may bring for tomorrow will take care of itself. All we have is today and the faithful lamplight of a loving Father. God’s faithfulness to us is always greater than our faithfulness to Him. So friends, stand in the light of the lamp of God and let tomorrow take care of itself.

Take joy in the journey, one step at a time. Wear a sweater and root for the TCU Frogs. 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.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Happy Thursday!

Lamentations 3: My soul continually thinks of it and is bowed down within me. But this I call to mind and therefore have hope; The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases. His mercies never come to an end;”

Lots of news tonight!

First, Geni has her first substitute teaching job tomorrow. She is excited and a bit nervous. She will be substituting for the music teacher at Briscoe Elem. We ask your prayers for her as she takes her first steps in the world of teaching. What an awesome experience she is about to undertake!

Bruce met with the Oncor man and has worked out a settlement for all of the items that were toasted in the power outage except the Bose. I guess he did not know what a Bose radio was and did not exactly believe what the item really cost. He was going to investigate into the Bose further.

Tonight Geni, Travis and I were on our way to Wal-Mart and were hit by whom we and the police officers believe was a drunk driver. We are all just fine. We will most likely be sore in the morning, but other than that we appear to be unharmed. The driver of the Mustang appeared to have lost control of his car and hit us. If that wasn’t enough, he and the passenger in the car fled the scene. My car is a quite a mess, but the Mustang is a disaster! Way to go “Old Girl!” (Old Girl is the name of my Taurus) We give God praise and thanksgiving that all three of us were unharmed. After all, metal, wire and plastic can be replaced, but children and parents cannot.

Upon our final return home we gathered for prayer in our living room giving thanks to God for our safety and even for the hoped well-being of the men who hit and fled.

Lamentations 3: 20-22, “My soul continually thinks of it and is bowed down within me. But this I call to mind and therefore have hope; the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases. His mercies never come to an end.”

Carme sent me this verse this morning via a text message. I am not sure why she chose this passage, but I am certainly glad she did. God never loses sight of us. The steadfast love of God never ceases. I am convinced that God (maybe at Casey’s insisting) sent His angels to surround us and protect us from harm. So tonight we are living is such a state of grace as we were mercifully protected in a situation that was out of our control. Once again God was merciful and has given us more time on this earth to be together and to praise His name.

Take joy in the journey, watch out for the bats (that is what we call drivers who drive like bats fly!) and wear a sweater. Love you all so very much and thank you for all of your prayers, 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, October 28, 2009

Happy Wednesday!

Okay, it is time to pray! The man from Oncor is coming to meet with Bruce and see the pile of stuff that was toasted due to faulty wiring at the pole. My prayer request is that they will take care of at least some of the things that were damaged by the power surges of weeks ago.

Philippians 2:14 “Do all things without murmurings and disputing.”
2 Timothy 2:8 “Remember Jesus Christ, who was raised from the dead…This is the Good News I preach.”

The Apostle Paul wrote this letter from prison not long before his death. And even though I have a few issues with Paul and his feeling towards women, he was a man of incredible faith and passion. It was his calling to tell others about Jesus no matter what the circumstance in which he found himself. So Paul, probably realizing that there would be no stay of execution, no last minute call from the governor, wrote to Timothy. In his writing he wrote “Remember Jesus Christ…who was raised from the dead.” This forthcoming beheading was a terrible burden to bear and the anticipation must have been horrific and yet in his passion for Christ, he continued to write and told Timothy, “this ministry must continue whether I am here or not. You must not get angry at my death, but praise God in his resurrection.”

So, friends, when times are tough, remember Jesus. When your spouse or children are not listening, remember Jesus. When your heart is broken and the tears don’t seem to stop, remember Jesus. When those we care for and count on disappoint, remember Jesus.

Remember Jesus raised the dead with just the call of their name. Remember Jesus both divine and human and remember His holiness in dealing with those in whom He came into contact. And remember Jesus wept with human tears.

When we remember Jesus we know that all will be okay. When we remember Jesus we remember to place our trust in Him completely. Wait on His loving word and joy and glory will flood your soul. He asks for all we have for He gave all He had because of His love for us.

Take joy in the journey, carry an umbrella and tie a string around your finger to remember Jesus. 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, October 27, 2009

Happy Tuesday!

I pray this writing finds you with the joy of having Christ in your heart.

1 Timothy 6:7-8 “We brought nothing unto the world, so we can take nothing out. But, if we have food and clothes, we will be satisfied with that.”

With an economy that is “iffy” I give thanks for food, water, electric, gas for heating, gas in my car and a healthy family. And I must admit that I am satisfied with those things. Sure, I would love to go on a shopping spree at my favorite store, “Christopher and Banks,” but right now what I have is fine and plentiful.

I have at times not been satisfied with what I have. I think there is a difference in wanting more and wanting better. I have not really wanted more things, but I have wanted and sometimes needed better things. Our home really needed a rehab. We now have fewer physical things, but what we have is nice and we have more room. And as Travis says, “our house is cozy.” But to Bruce’s chagrin, I am not satisfied with some things about our house and it still needs some work.

So let us talk about that word satisfied. Satisfied should mean…enough. Not more than we need and not less than we need, but just enough: sort of like eating. We need to eat until we are satisfied, but most of us eat until we are full. We are rarely satisfied. For most of us, the faster something works, the larger the memory, the more powerful the item, the more technological etc…the better we like it until something comes along that is faster, more powerful, with a larger hard drive, has more rooms, and will accept more applications and we believe we need to have it. What are we trying to fill with all of this stuff?

There is only one thing that can satisfy our emptiness and our longing. What satisfies does not come in a box, it cannot be ordered from a menu, it cannot be messaged on our phone or even drawn from a healthy bank account. What satisfies is our relationship with God. I can pretty well tell you that until you have a relationship with God there is nothing that will “satisfy” your longing soul or the empty places in your life. So friends, if you are experiencing emptiness then come before God with your emptiness and ask Him to fill it with His love. His love keeps on giving not only until we are satisfied, but until it is filled to overflowing, pressed down, shaken and overflowing once again.

Take joy in the journey, wear a sweater and open up your heart to receive God’s blessings and be filled with His joy. Love you all with great joy, 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 ask you to keep my cousin Danny in your prayers. He is scheduled to see a neurosurgeon to find out what is causing his seizures. Thank you, gc

Monday, October 26, 2009

Happy Monday!

I hope this writing finds you warm and dry. The stoves are lit and the house is cozy and warm.

Psalm 119: 65 “You have done good things for your servant as you have promised. Lord”

When Geni was about 5 years old we were went to visit Grandmother Liveley in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Grandmother Liveley was Bruce’s maternal grandmother and great-grandmother to our children. We must have been going out to lunch and Grandmother was walking down the steps. She was using a three pronged cane for stability to get down the stairs. Geni walked up to Grandmother and said, “Here Grandmother, take my hand and we will go down the stairs together.” Grandmother let go of the railing and took Geni’s tiny hand. I will never forget how Grandmother placed her hand into Geni’s small hand and down the stairs they went. For just a few moments I was witness to an “eternal instant.” The 70 year age gap was completely bridged and a glimpse into the heart of God as offered by this precious 5 year old and her great-grandmother. Both souls seemed to know that in this simple offering that everything would be okay.

As much drama as our family has been through in the last two years, eternal instants have become really important. Travis telling me that our house was “cozy” was a moment I will not forget; Bruce sitting with me at the restaurant when I missed Casey so much; Geni daily planting a kiss on my cheek and kitchen dancing with me just when I need to dance are eternal instants.

None of these moments cost a dime, but each has a value on which no price can be placed. These are all moments in my life that let me know that everything will be okay and even though it is raining, the sun still rises. All of these moments are moments of love. They happen to remind me that love is the greatest possession we have and because we have love we have nothing to fear. These moments are signs of God’s love and goodness toward all of us.

Look for the “eternal instants” in your daily life. They will be moments you will treasure forever.

Take joy in the journey, carry an umbrella and keep your eyes open and your heart ready to receive just a glimpse into eternity while still here on earth. 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.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Blessed Sunday!

It was RED day at Advent. Red because it was Reformation Day and red because there was a blood drive. I was reminded as I drove to church of the prayer I always prayed over Casey each time he received a blood transfusion. I would pray for the healing blood of Christ to flow along with the life-giving blood being pumped through his veins. Someone sacrificed their own blood for the healing of another. Jesus sacrificed all of His blood for the healing of the world. I can’t give all of my blood and save the world, but I can give some of my blood and help some others live longer.

Zephaniah 3: 17 “The Lord your God is with you…God will take great delight in you…and rejoice over you with singing!”

Last week our organist Carol lost her husband. He has been ill for a while and went to be with God on last Sunday afternoon. The memorial service for Bob was this afternoon. Bob, like Carol, loved music and especially loved to sing. He was a member of several local singing organizations. This verse was printed on the front of the bulletin and the remembrance folder. How totally appropriate for Bob and as you can imagine, a very appropriate verse for Casey. Casey loved to sing. And interestingly enough, a year ago today we attended another memorial service at Advent, for it was a year ago today that we held Casey’s Celebration of Life Service. The services were vastly different with one exception, in both of the services, Christ crucified and the promise of the resurrection was affirmed in the lives of these two servants of God.

As I sat in the service and read this verse, the first part of this verse sort of illuminated itself on the page. “The Lord your God is with you.” That has to be the most amazing and profound sentence I have ever read! It does not say The Lord of hosts, the Lord of Abraham, Isaac and Elijah, or even the Lord of the Rings (sorry, it just slipped out - LOL), it says, The Lord your God is with you!” God, Himself, claims us as His own. He is our God. Not just collectively the God of the Church, but the God of Gaylene, Bruce, Geni, Travis, Carol, Nichole…the list goes on forever.

Then not only does He claim us as His own and says He is with us, then He says, “I will take great delight in you.” Okay, let us think about this. The God of all creation, who threw the stars in the sky, who caused the mountains to rise from the earth, who created man from the dust and breathed life, His Spirit, into each of us, takes delight in us. We who are sinful, argumentative, willful, have-our-own-way children, and yet this God takes delight in us.

And finally, because He loves us so much that He chose to die and rise again so that we can always on this earth and beyond this earthly life live with Him. Then, in His heart of hearts, God expresses His joy and rejoices over us with singing. Can you imagine what the singing voice of God must sound like? I was witness to 200 Kairos brothers in white singing “We are One in the Spirit” from within a prison and it had a sound as if the angel choir had descended and the voices were lifted to heaven. I was witness to the singing voice of God as a 24 year old young man receiving chemotherapy sang “All to Jesus I Surrender”. And I can only imagine the voices of father and son singing “Breathe” inside a sanctuary just a few days before the death of the son must sound like the voice of God.

Our vision of God is so limited, but there are times He allows us here on earth to catch just a glimpse of what it will be like when we see Him face to face and hear His voice. Maybe it happens more than we are aware. Maybe we just need to stop and listen because, as the scripture says, “The Lord, your God, is with you!

Take joy in the journey, wear a sweater and listen for the voice of God. Love you all so very much, 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 Please continue to keep the Kocher family in your prayers as they begin to heal over their loss. I have learned that you never get over the loss of someone you love more than life itself, but by the healing grace of a suffering, compassionate God and the prayers of the family of God, you do get through the time of hurt and sorrow. Thanks, gc