Friday, November 13, 2009

Happy Friday!

What a day! At school there were so many things going on it was hard to concentrate on academics. We had “purple out” in support of TCU where even die hard Longhorn fans proudly wore their purple shirts today! Children were taken on a limousine ride to CiCi’s Pizza for lunch for selling the most boxes of cookie dough. My class began the day at 8:15 jumping in a bounce house for 45 minutes for meeting or exceeding their reading goals for the six weeks. The day ended with the children presenting me with cupcakes, a great card and gift to celebrate my birthday tomorrow. I will be 54 years old. These kinds of days are exciting for the students and very tiring for teachers! (especially those of us who are getting a bit older!)

Tonight, we gathered around the table for dinner and celebrated my birthday a day early. Travis has to work and will be attending the TCU/Utah football game and Geni is volunteering in Denton tomorrow. It was a great evening.

Matthew 6:8 “Be not like others; for your Father knows what things you need before you ask Him.”

Christmas has traditionally been spent with my Mom and Dad. There is always tons of food and far more leftovers than Mom and Dad could ever eat, so many years ago Mom started buying Ziploc containers prior to the Christmas Feast. After everyone left then she would break out the plastic containers in anticipation of us taking home the Christmas dinner leftovers. It is a practice that continues to the present time. Mom always knew that the time between Christmas and the next pay day for a teacher was quite a stretch and she knew we needed the extra groceries to get through the holidays.

God wants us to count on Him. His Word tells us to “Come unto Him.” God wants us to take all of our problems and issues to Him and be totally surrendered to Him. God does not ask for just the really difficult situations, though. God wants to help us in solving every problem. God wants us to “come unto Him” for the calming of the storms in our lives, for the all we need; the spiritual, mental, emotional and physical. God loves us so much that He wants to help and be a part of every part of our lives. God wants us to “come unto Him” for everything. God knows what we need before we even know we need it and He desires our faith in Him to ask for help to “come unto Him.”

Take joy in the journey; wear comfortable shoes (and a purple shirt!). Come unto the Lord with everything, no matter how small or large the request or situation and allow God’s faithfulness and love to comfort and care for each of us and meet our needs. 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 Go Frogs!!
Greetings from Austin St.

Happy Thursday! Tonight was memorable because my daughter and I had a wonderful conversation where we spoke on common ground; education. She is really getting into the heart of her degree and we are having discussions about education, educators, parents and her experiences in substituting in different schools. It has been such a joy to see her become excited about the craft of teaching and look forward to a career in teaching. We are so proud of her and excited for her.

Psalm 17:1 “Hear the right, O Lord, attend unto my cry, give ear unto my prayer, that goes not from lying lips.”

This passage is a prayerful cry of an individual who asks God for attention and protection from the enemy. It is a cry of anguish spoken from the heart of one whose heart has been broken and is in great need of healing. This prayer is begging God to hear the cry of the broken hearted one and for all to be well. The prayer of this passage does not believe that he has done anything to merit this anguish and is asking God to make this situation right.

I have prayed those anguished prayers. If you are a long time reader of this blog, many of you have prayed right along with me through Casey’s illness and death. The most difficult prayer I have ever prayed was prayed during the last days of Casey’s life. In one last final surrender, I gave Casey over to the care and keeping of our loving God, the Father, and simply prayed “God, be merciful.” Casey had done nothing to merit the pain and anguish of cancer and we had done nothing to merit the loss of our son. I prayed for Casey to be delivered from his pain and to be received into the hands of the Father. I think those anguished prayers from this mother’s heart were heard, as my devotion guide says, “above the music of heaven.”

God hears our cries. God sees and knows our pain. God knows when our hearts are broken. God is merciful and loving to those who are hurting from any type of brokenness. So friends, pray when your heart is sad and pray when your heart is glad and believe that God hears us when we call.

Take joy in the journey and wear comfortable shoes. Love you all, Bruce, Gaylene, Geni, 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 Tomorrow in FWISD it is TCU day. We are all encouraged to wear purple. We are all supporting the mighty Horned Frogs to remain undefeated. When I was at the TCU bookstore today, I noticed that the campus was floating about six feet off of the ground. Burton Hill has lots of TCU grads, students from TCU who are practicing and aspiring teachers and one divinity student. So we sort of bleed purple at our school. My little first graders actually color horned toads purple and I do not count it wrong! Go Frogs!!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Happy Wednesday!

Hebrews 7:19 “But now a better hope has been given to us, and with this hope we can come near to God.”

One of my favorite movies is The Preacher’s Wife starring Whitney Houston and Denzel Washington. Whitney Houston’s husband is a pastor. One of his parishioners is a young man who has been falsely accused of stealing something. The pastor meets with the young man in the courthouse just shortly before the grand jury is planning to indict him for the crime. The pastor is talking with the young man and asks him if he committed this crime. The young man says no and then the pastor asks this question, “ How long has it been since you prayed?” the boy replies, “A while.” The pastor asks, “Do you play basket ball.” The reply is “Yes, sir.” The pastor continues, “When you shoot the ball, do you hope that you make the shot?” The young man responds, “Yes.” The pastor continues, “Well, that is what prayer is. Hope. That’s all a prayer is.” The young man needed a better hope.

Our hope is Jesus Christ. Our better hope is Jesus Christ. In this passage the apostle Paul tells us that hope has been given to us and because of this hope we can come near to God. We can come near to God because God embodied Himself in Jesus Christ so we could know Him. As long as God remained in heaven and spoke through the prophets of Moses, Elijah and others we could hear about Him and watch His works through these human men and women. God also sort of worked through the prophets in a corporate level. When Jesus came, He was God on foot, the incarnate, fully human and fully divine and desiring a personal relationship with each of us. He drew near to us so we could draw near to Him. When the most difficult moments in our lives occur, our hope is in Jesus because of His love for us and His desire for a personal relationship.

God is not confused, confounded or discouraged in our most difficult situations. For God these are the times when He knows we will draw closer to Him. Remember my song, “When there is nothing left to do, but just depend on you and the power of your name.” There is nothing too hard for God to handle. We need to hope in God and claim the better hope in Jesus Christ.

Take joy in the journey, wear comfortable shoes hope in the Lord. 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, November 10, 2009

Blessed Tuesday!

Psalm 34:6 “This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.”

I remember the day Casey and I flew out of DFW Airport to Houston to begin our stay at MD Anderson Hospital. Dr. Adams and the social worker who was in charge of the case at Arlington Memorial told us that we would leave in a moment’s notice when all of the arrangements had been made and all was in place. True to their word, the word came down and we were out the door, in an ambulance and on our way.

Once at the airport Casey and I were on our own. Here was MD Anderson in our future, but we had to get there first. We were told to go to first class because the seats were wider there to accommodate Casey’s hip and thigh. The problem was that first class was full and we would have to fly in the main cabin. I began to pray. Casey was so vulnerable and in such pain and he was counting on me to take care of whatever …and I was counting on God to get us to Houston on an airplane.

When first class did not work out I found the flight attendants for our flight and explained our situation. They immediately went to work to find a way to accommodate Casey as comfortable as possible. They figured out if we could switch seats with a couple of people that Casey could sit in a seat without an arm rest in the middle and I could sit next to him. The other passengers were very kind and allowed Casey and I to sit together. Prayers answered and the path of problem solving had begun.

The next issue was Casey’s pain. I carried high powered medication in my pocket for his pain, but that did not solve the issue of when his foot and ankle would spasm and he could no longer sit. Prayer again. A flight attendant from first class came back and told us that Casey could stand once the plane leveled off. I gave him enough pain medicine to get through that time period and his foot began to hurt about the time the plane leveled off and he could stand. Again, the kindness of strangers and God’s tender mercies were answers to prayers.

The final issue was once we landed, how were we to get to the hospital? I requested to the flight attendant that he ask an ambulance to meet us at the airport. When we landed, there was an ambulance on the runway to meet us and sped us to the hospital. Prayers answered.

I have told you all of that to tell you this…life’s difficulties are not meant to stop our progress. They are meant to help us to continue to grow in our faith and to continuously rely on God’s strength. We cannot let difficulties conquer us no matter how big or small. It is really hard to face the huge problems in life if we haven’t overcome the smaller ones. The smaller issues we face, conquer and claim victory over are a preparation for the really big situations we will all face at some point in our lives.

God’s strength is there awaiting each of us when we call on Him. These issues Casey and I faced on that first day of the journey seem very small right now compared to what he faced over the next year of his life. I learned what “pray without ceasing” really means. I also learned that God was there in each situation and led us through safely. If we fully rely on God and trust Him for guidance then there can be no failure.

Take joy in the journey, wear comfortable shoes and remember that God is there in the great and the small, but mostly God is there for the long haul and all we have to do is call. 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.
Happy Monday!

I was in inservice all day. Not the way I would choose to spend the day, but my job requires it every so often. When I do retire from teaching there are many things I will miss about being an educator, but inservice is not one of those things. But I did have a lovely time at lunch today. Most of the time, I bring my lunch and stay at the site where the meeting is taking place and work through lunch. Today, I just did not want to be inside so I went to lunch with some friends from school who were going to Central Market. I took my lunch, heated it in the microwave and we ate lunch on the patio. It was so nice. One of my friends told me that sometimes on Friday and Saturday a band plays on the patio and people come, get their food from the market and listen to music. That sounds like fun to me!!

Hebrews 4:16 “Let us then, feel very sure that we can come before God’s throne where there is grace.”

If you are a regular reader of my writing you are aware that I begin my daily prayer time in the car on my way to school the way Martin Luther began his daily prayer. He began with The Lord’s Prayer, and the Apostles Creed. Jesus gave instruction in the manner in which we are to pray. Jesus said to “pray like this: Our Father, Who art in heaven, may your name always be kept holy. May your kingdom come…”(Matthew 6:9-10)

When we address God as our “Father” we are calling on Him as His children. We are telling Him that we believe and hold His name high above all names. We are inviting God, The Messiah, to walk with us and be present in our hearts. We are telling God that we honor Him above all others. It does not matter whether we come before Him giving thanks and praise and sharing our joy or whether we come humbly before Him as repentant sinners begging for His forgiveness, tender mercies and His grace. We still come before Him as children of the King and God is ever faithful.

“May your kingdom come…” Have you ever thought about that verse? We know that someday God’s heavenly Kingdom will merge with the kingdom here on earth. I, however, do not think that is exactly what is meant in this phrase of the prayer. I think “May your kingdom come…” is asking for God to come and permeate every part of our being and be a part of our daily lives. I think Jesus meant that God wants to be a part of each breath we take, each sentence we utter, each step we take. I think “May your kingdom come…” means God wants to be a part of our joys, our fears, our successes, our failures, our laughter and our tears.

When our own children come to us sharing their day, their fears, their victories and their defeats, their sadness and their joys, we listen and cry with them or celebrate. All of these things are a part of God’s kingdom and God wants to be a part of all of the workings of His kingdom. So when we come before Him in prayer and utter these words boldly, “Our Father who art in heaven, may your name be kept holy. May your kingdom come…” After all, who are we? We are His children.

Take joy in the journey and wear comfortable shoes! 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, November 8, 2009

Blessed Sunday to you all!

Worship was amazing this morning. Pastor spoke on “Has the recession hit your house?” The passages of scripture were from 1 Kings and the story of the widow and Elijah and then from the Gospel of Mark and the story of the widow’s mite. I have heard these stories all of my life through Sunday School, but today I heard them with a different understanding.

1 Kings17: 8-16 and Mark 12: 41-44 “ (13) Elijah said, “Do not be afraid; go and do as you have said; but first make me a little cake of it and bring it to me, and afterwards make something for yourself and your son.”

I have heard this story all of my life, but I never paid attention to the second phrase of this verse “…and afterwards make something for yourself and your son.” OMG! If you read the 1 Kings passage it says that the woman had enough meal, oil and water to make something for her son and then she was going to die. She was a widow. There was no more food and no more money. She knew she was going to starve to death and so was her son after this last meal. Then here comes this man…he asks for water and for her to take her last food and give it to him. Can you imagine this woman? Here she only had enough to feed her son and this man who says he is from God is asking not only for all she had, but for the last she would have? What is she to do? There must have been a lot of faith in the air that day because she made this stranger a cake of flour and oil and gave him the last of her water.

Now fast forward to the little house and the widow baking the small cake. As soon as she prepares the cake, she goes back to tidy up her empty kitchen and there in her jar is flour, and in her pottery jar some oil and in her well, water. Her needs were met out of her faith and obedience to God, to the kindness to a stranger and God’s great compassion to those who are in need. God not only fed her for a day, but restored her faith and fed her and her son until the drought was over.

Jesus emptied Himself out of His obedience and faithfulness to God. He gave love and forgiveness to all whether stranger or friend. God continues to feed each one of us by His Word and His Holy Spirit each day.

Is there a drought at your house? There is one at ours right now. Our prayers are that God will meet our needs for each day out of His love and compassion for us. Our prayer is also that we will be in a spirit of obedience and have a heart of faithfulness to the God who loves us so much. We will be in prayer for all of you, too.

Take joy in the journey and pack your own lunch from home! 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.