Saturday, November 28, 2009

Happy Saturday!

Today we had our holiday fling. We went to the TCU vs. New Mexico football game today. We had so much fun. TCU kept their record untarnished by defeating the Lobos 51 to 10. We sat behind the band, proudly wore our purple, yelled loud and proud and made the sign of the horned frog all afternoon. It was a great way to end this brief holiday vacation.

Today at the game, heroes were being honored. Military heroes, police officers and fire fighters were also honored. In honor of the fire fighters the TCU Marching Band played Amazing Grace. I had never considered a marching band as a medium for that particular piece, but the band did such a beautiful rendition that the entire stadium was completely silent as the band played. It was so moving.

1 Peter 3:18 “Christ Himself suffered for sins once. He was not guilty, but He suffered for those who are guilty to bring you to God.”

Many of you know that I am somewhat directionally challenged. I do not feel confident in driving to new places by myself. I am pretty much a landmark girl. You know turn right at the Arby’s or go past Wal-Mart and turn in front of the Payless, etc…I am so grateful for the invention of the cell phone and a patient, road-savvy husband who will answer and redirect me when I get lost even if I can’t exactly tell him where I am. He also tells me when I get lost to call him back when and if I need Him again. Thanks darlin’.

In the Christian life however there is only one landmark we need to keep in our sights. We need to keep the cross in our vision. When we get lost or become separated from God we can look to the cross and find our way home. The cross is the one landmark that never moves. Arby’s, Wal-Mart and Payless will pass away someday to make room for something else, but the cross of Christ remains in the same place forever. The cross is where we meet Christ and His forgiveness. The cross is where the most compassionate eyes of love look down at us and tell us how much we are loved. The cross is where instead of our guilt and shame separating us from God, they draw us closer because our sins have been taken away and replaced with forgiveness, love and grace.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes and keep Christ in our sight and we will never be lost again. 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.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Happy Friday!

Today I did not even venture out of the house until around 9:00 pm to go to Kroger to get the makings for turkey soup. That whole crowded mall thing is not for me (even if I did have money to spend!) Instead I put the summer wardrobe away in the cedar chest and pulled out the sweaters and holiday wear, made two bags to take to Mission Arlington and watched a movie or two. It was a wonderful day.

Luke 22:42 “Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me; nevertheless not my will, but Thy will be done.”

Jesus speaks these words in the Garden of Gethsemane on the eve of His crucifixion. Jesus is praying to the Father. He is saying, if there is any other way to accomplish Your plan here on earth please let me not have to suffer and die this horrific death. But no matter what, Your will must be done. If this is Your will then I go willingly.

When I read the meditation on this passage tonight I really had to stop and think about God’s will. Then I thought about the sentence in The Lord’s Prayer; “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” The citizens of heaven have learned to love God’s will for their lives as they see God face to face all the time for all eternity. They bask in the glory of the Lord and trust Him without giving it a second thought. God’s will for their lives is their very existence.

Here on earth is another story. We all have a sinful nature and willful spirits that want for our will to be done and hope that God will go along with it. God wants us to desire and love His will for our lives (as it is in heaven). If we desire and trust His will then happiness will be ours and our restless spirits will rest in the love of God and trust in Him for all things. Whenever we feel that we cannot leave the choice to God then pray to not be able to accept His will, but pray to know and love Him more. If we pray to know and love God more than we will have the assurance that God only wants the best for each of us out of His love for us.

So, friends, as we walk this daily path of life let us learn a little more about God each day and may our conversations with the Father say something about learning to desire His will for our lives and learn more about of His love.

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.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

I pray your day was as wonderful as ours. We went to my brother’s home in Allen. Mom and Dad, Ken, Sheena, all of their girls and one boyfriend, the Chrysties, Ryan (our nephew on Bruce’s side) and Bianca, Ryan’s wonderful young daughter were all present. The Thanksgiving meal was full of tradition, variety in its wonderful tastes, aromas and textures. We had 4 different kinds of pumpkin pies and a Mexican Wedding Cake made by Mom who teased Bruce unmercifully about it being loaded with jalapeños. HA HA! Mom. (Bruce does not like anything spicy and the cake did not have jalapeños!) There was lots of playing with the Wii game today - even my Mom. She is so cool. Everybody had a great day!

1 Peter 2:23 “People insulted Christ, but He did not insult them in return. Christ suffered, but He did not threaten.”

Several years ago I entered the pie competition at the State Fair of Texas. It is a fun event and I have occasionally won a ribbon or two. All of the pies are beautiful and there are pie makers out there that far outrank me in pie making. On this one occasion, one of the pies made by the ranking pie making queen was a lemon meringue pie. The meringue on this pie was perfect and in the center of this perfect meringue was a yellow rose fashioned from lemon gumdrops sliced so thin you could read though them. It was an absolutely perfect looking pie and I am sure it tasted perfect too as it was judged as Best of Show.

My pies are not particularly beautiful, but usually taste pretty good. As I sat out in the audience watching anxiously as the judges tasted and sampled each pie I had the opportunity to listen to the conversations going on around me. Some of the comments about pies and their creators I overheard were, “She did not make that pie. Her mother made that pie!” “Look at that meringue. It is weeping all over the place!” These are die- hard pie makers who have been entering these competitions for years and for them this competition is the Miss America of pies.

Jesus came to the earth in a human body. Scripture tells us He was not particularly comely in His appearance that others would follow after Him because of His looks. Jesus was after a far greater reason for a following. Jesus wanted others to follow Him so they could learn about the loveliness of God. I can only imagine Jesus as looking like any other Jewish man; long curly hair, olive skin and angular nose with one exception: His eyes. I picture His eyes as being a beautiful dark brown that shined with love, compassion; deep and piercing so that when they looked at you, you would think those eyes could look through to your very soul.

This man did not have physical characteristics that would distinguish Him particularly from others Jewish men in His age range, but His soul and His very countenance would distinguish Him above all others. That countenance would cause Him to be criticized, insulted and mocked. That loving heart, that grace filled soul and that compassionate Spirit would keep Him from returning the insults hurled at Him and would not allow Him to threaten His accusers. That obedient will was the thing that would allow Him to walk the Via Dolorosa to the hill of Calvary and be crucified, knowing that that path was His Father’s plan. Jesus laid His own will down and took the insults, pain and humiliation with these words “Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do.”

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes and may the meringue on your pie never weep! 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, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving Eve!

It is about 10:30 pm and the dressing is in the oven. The turkey is sliced and in the fridge. The pumpkin pie ( a new recipe) is on the table and only needs the flavored whipped cream and then all will be in readiness for the trip to Allen for Thanksgiving Day. It feels nice to sit down. I am really tired, but I am thankful that I am tired because I have had food to prepare for my family. I am tired, but really happy.

John 10:9 “I am the door: by Me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”

I am sure there are many tonight who are tired from the days cooking chores. Even though each onion chopped and celery diced and every ladle of broth spooned over the turkeys today was a labor of love. The place of rest tonight is going to feel really great.

God offers us a place of rest. He offers His pastures by still waters for those who are in need of rest. Those of us who believe in God have been to the pasture and God has given us a place to rest because of His love for us. But what about those who have rejected God? How about those who have rejected and disdained His Son, Jesus? There are those who do not feel the need for a relationship with God. (How sad!) God still offers those who do not yet believe that same place of rest. He offers those who reject Him salvation. He offers those who continuously shut the door in the face of the Savior new opportunities to learn of Him because He loves them so much.

We know of God’s love for us through Jesus, now we must show those who reject Him and continue to slam the door in the face of the Father about His love. We must humbly and patiently continue to pray for those who are difficult to love because we were once difficult to love and yet God loved us.

Take joy in the journey. Be safe in your travels. Wear comfortable shoes and have a blessed Thanksgiving. 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 Thanksgiving Eve, Eve!

I think in the last two days I have made about 40 trips to either Kroger or Wal-Mart. I have noticed that the stores are already beginning to run out of some items. At this writing I am chilling the brine for my turkey breasts in preparation for smoking them tomorrow.

Tonight was our Thanksgiving Eve Eve Soup and Sandwich Supper followed by worship at Advent. The food was delicious. There were many pots of soup and lots of sandwiches and I don’t think there were any two soups alike. I made one of our family’s favorite sandwiches; bacon, cheese, tomato and spinach quesadillas.

Luke 17:11-18 is the story of Jesus healing the 10 lepers while on His way to Jerusalem. How courageous of these ten to come into town. They must have heard that Jesus was coming through town and of His healing powers. These ten did not even come close to Him, they shouted from afar “Jesus! Master! Have mercy on us!” Jesus responded, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” It was law when someone was healed from leprosy that they must present themselves to the priests and be pronounced clean before being allowed back into the community of their town or village. They had to be pronounced clean by the priest before they could be reunited with their families. All ten were healed, but only one came back and gave thanks. The one who came back and gave thanks for their healing was a Samaritan.

The question Pastor Joel posed tonight was why did the other nine not return to give thanks. Why did the one, the one most hated, a Samaritan, returned to give thanks?

I thought about me. Would I have acted as the Samaritan and returned to give thanks to the Master Healer, or would I have been so taken by the miraculous healing that had occurred that I would have forgotten to thank the Giver of every good and perfect gift? Sometimes I am one of the nine. I receive so many blessings from God out of His love that I think I take them for granted and often times forget to say thank you.

The greatest thank you I ever need to give is that Jesus died to heal me from my sinful nature by the blood of the Lamb. This is something I need to give thanks for each and every day. So I think I will add another sentence to my prayer time each day. I always ask for forgiveness and now I will remember to give thanks for that forgiveness.

So friends, let us give thanks for the food on our tables, the health of our family and friends and for the God who loves us so much that He would send His own Son do die for us so that His blood would be the cure for our sins.

Take joy in the journey and wear comfortable shoes. Love you all so much and give thanks for you daily. 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, November 23, 2009

Happy Monday!

Daily jury update: I was not called to serve today. My instructions are to check back on Friday, the 27th after 3:00 for further instructions.

Matthew 5:16 “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

Geni is a fan of the Twilight popular literature series. In case you are not familiar with the series, the stories are about vampires and their relationships with non-vampires. The leading male character, Edward, chooses tell the world who and what he is; a vampire. In this literary work, the vampires have sparkly skin when they stand in sunlight. When Edward decides to reveal himself to the world, he steps out into the sunlight and his appearance becomes very luminous. He makes this decision to reveal himself out of his heartbreak of losing the one he loves.

God asks us to let our light shine before men in joy. God tells us that when we reveal who we are, His children – Christians, that joy would be made manifest for the entire world to see. When others see joy in our lives then they know without any doubt that our joy comes from trusting God. It is through trusting and relying on God that we are able to get through the really difficult times. Even though the situation may not seem a time of joy we must be joyful in the knowledge that God loves us so much and is always there with us promising never to leave our side no matter what.

God’s light is revealed in Jesus. Jesus is the light that is reflected in each of us out of His love for us as we choose to be obedient to God and His will for our lives. When we act and choose to model the godly life then God is glorified and joy is the radiance of God working in and through us.

It is almost Thanksgiving and we have so much for which to be thankful. Let us be thankful that we can help someone else and that God will be glorified in our service.

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.

Prayer requests: Delfina Nunez, one of my colleagues, lost her mother on Saturday. The service is tomorrow. Please keep her and the family in your prayers.

Praise report: Gil Ginn, one of the members of our congregation, was diagnosed with cancer some months back. At his latest Dr,’s visit Gil was pronounced in remission. Praise God!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Blessed Sunday!

My apologies for not writing last evening. We attended the Allen vs. South Lake-Carroll High School play off game at Cowboy Stadium with my brother and his family. We had the most wonderful time, but alas, Allen came up one point short of victory. It was a heartbreaking game with two overtimes. Both teams played their hardest, but South Lake Carroll came away victorious. Anyway, the game did not begin until 9:00 pm and was not over until after midnight. We arrived home well after 1:00 am. After midnight as we were leaving the stadium, we sang Happy Birthday to my brother. We are 5 years and 8 days apart in age, with me being the elder. He really was wishing for something more than a song. He was wishing a victory from Allen!

Yesterday I planted my winter pansies. I had begun this project last week on my birthday and added to the flower population using primarily yellow pansies with a few beautiful violet/yellow variety and some beautiful pumpkin orange colored ones. I still have one more small project to go. I will trim back the chrysanthemums surrounding the Casey tree to prepare them for their winter sleep.

John 1:16-17 ”From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another.”

This morning as I was getting ready for worship I was listening to Mark Lowry. He is a former member of the Gaither Vocal Band, a very fine singer and a very talented Christian comedian. But today he was speaking prior to his singing about what he was like when he first joined the Vocal Band. He described himself as a rock. As he continued being around the Gaithers with their musical direction and their spiritual direction, his life really began to change. He began to grow in his faith because of the people God placed in his life. When he compared himself to a rock in the hands of the Potter, he said, “it was like God was chipping away a piece at a time until all that was left was grace.”

This sentence was the piece to a puzzle that has been rambling around in my head for a while now. God takes things like rocks, things that are dead and forms and fashions them until they are fit for His use. I am learning the lessons of the plants. Some plants are meant to survive the cold of winter and others are meant to sleep and reawaken in the spring. God takes things that are seemingly dead and chips away at them until all that is left is grace. My chrysanthemums have to be trimmed back now and again in July for their beautiful blooms to be seen in the fall. But the pansies will be pretty all winter if I continue to take care of them.

If I continue to read and study the Word, if I continue to pray, if I continue to worship and serve then God will continue to chip away at me until someday all that will be left is grace. I must be willing to surrender all of my sin, guilt and faults to the Potter and allow Him to shape me until I am fit for His service and use. God works with us out of His love for us. Only what is done in Love lasts, for God is love and only the work of God remains. So my friends, offer yourselves to God and let Him chip away the pieces until all that is left is His grace.

Take joy in the journey and wear comfortable shoes. Love you all so 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.