Friday, January 8, 2010

Happy Thursday and b-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r!!!

The temp is dropping rapidly, but I am snug and warm in bed writing to you while watching Texas and Alabama play football. What a game!! I don’t know if is appropriate to pray for a team to win, but it seems to me that Texas (while behind by a field goal) and “the Freshman”, have earned this one.

Psalm 46: 10 “Be still, and know that I am God.”

As a teacher for 30 years I have made my living talking. I must admit that often, when someone is talking to me, I am already formulating what I am going to say in response. When I do that I am not really listening. And sometimes I even have been known to interrupt the person speaking just so I can say what I need to say or very honestly what I believe them to need to hear. This is a trait I am trying very hard to reverse.

I am trying not only to be a better listener when a peer, colleague, friend or family member is speaking to me, but I am really trying to be quieter before God and let Him speak to me. I am trying to cultivate a time of silence and listen for God’s voice in the silence.

Let me illustrate. Several years ago I was working in the kitchen preparing food for a youth weekend event. One of the rules was that all watches were to be removed because we were on “God’s time.” Another adult working with me was a retired nurse. She told me that upon her retirement she took off her watch and had never worn one again. After the weekend I decided I would try that practice for the summer. At first it was really strange to not wear a watch or know the time at a moment’s glance. But the longer I practiced going through each day without a watch, the more I began to realize time is not measured in minutes and seconds, time is measured in moments. And sometimes those moments are spent in silence.

When I first began to put this practice of being silent before God into place it was really hard. I was used to leading the conversation and telling God how I thought things ought to be and how He ought to accommodate me. In the silence I have learned that God needs to speak to me in my prayer life and I must be silent and listen. The most important lesson I have learned in these times of quiet is that God calls us to be perfect. “Be you therefore perfect…” God did not call us to do perfect things, but to have His perfect love dwell within us. My efforts in doing “stuff” are not what God wants. God wants me to show His perfect and everlasting love to those around me and to worship Him with my whole heart.

On the last day of school each year when the children have been dismissed I take off my watch. For the summer months I am on “God’s time.” I look forward to that moment each year. Each morning as I begin my prayer time on my way to school I greet the Father, giving thanks for His loving kindness, His infinite blessings and ask for forgiveness. Then I invite the Holy Spirit to dwell within me and speak God’s Word as I quietly listen.

Take joy in the journey; wear comfortable shoes and a really warm jacket. Count your blessings and say your prayers. 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 alert: Ashley Cromwell, a teacher on my team received news today that her god brother died of a massive heart attack. He was a very young man and this has hit their family very hard. He had an eight year old daughter. Please pray for this family as they mourn this loved one.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Happy Wednesday!

Matthew 5:44 “Love your enemies. Pray for those who hurt you.”

I read two devotional readings today and both of them are focused in on prayer.

Today my God Calling meditation began with these words “You must pray.” The more we pray and not only talk to God, but listen the more we learn about the character of God and how much He loves us and wants us to be like Him.

Sometimes it is not easy to love. It wasn’t always easy for Jesus to love. Because Jesus was the absolute essence of God and the light of God’s presence Jesus knew He must love all people even if He did not like what they did. Jesus hated the act of money changing within the temple and yet He loved the money changers. He hated the mallets that drove the nails and still he loved the mallet men. He hated the crown of thorns that was pushed upon his brow and He loved the hands that pushed the crown. And He hated the sin of the men that hung on either side of Him. Yet He loved them so much that with His near final words, Jesus promised one of them that he would be with Jesus in heaven. One of the men believed and the love of Jesus was made complete in death.

Jesus hates our sin and, praise God, even though we sin and fall short of the glory of God, He loves us. The amazing love of God through Jesus lasts forever. Jesus was without sin so that all of the sins of the world could be soaked into “His sinless soul.” If God loves us that much then we must learn to love each other especially those who choose to hurt us.

God love all of you. Stay warm tonight. Take joy in the journey, wear comfortable shoes and a jacket. 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, January 5, 2010

Happy Tuesday!

Today was the first day back at school with children. I was greeted by a new student this morning. Her family is military, but she came from an Arlington school.

Psalm 37: 5 “Commit your way unto the Lord; trust also in Him; and He shall bring it to pass.”

New Year’s resolutions are abundant this time of year. If you go by LA Fitness the parking lot is full of those trying to get into shape, In restaurants there are more salads ordered and fewer desserts and people promise to attend church more regularly. How many people by February are still keeping to their resolution?

How about resolving to spend some time each day with God in prayer? Now I must warn you that when we try to improve our spiritual lives, Satan really works overtime to try to cause us to lose our commitment.

When we pray we can rest in God’s Presence. Desire for God’s Presence can bring peace and wipe away the irritants of the day. God teaches us many things during times of prayer. Prayer is not just telling God our problems, lifting others up to Him, giving Him praise and asking for forgiveness. Prayer is also a time of quietness and just being in His presence. Allowing His Presence to wrap us like a warm blanket will create the rest we need and allow us to hear God’s teaching. Take time during the day and pray in the quiet moments while waiting at the copier, in line at the water fountain, waiting in traffic or whenever a moment is offered to you, offer it back to God a sacrificial act of praise and worship (and tell Satan he has no power here).

Be the kind of person who, as you put your feet on the floor in the morning, Satan cries out, “Oh, no! Not you again!”

Let each of us commit our ways to God and trust Him with each part of our lives and He will bring it to pass.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes and a warm coat. Love you all, mighty prayer warriors and 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.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Happy Monday!

I am a bit sad as the TCU Frogs lost tonight to Boise State. Both teams played so hard. There is a lot of purple blood that flows at Burton Hill. The black arm bands may be seen tomorrow.

Psalm 63: 1-3 “O God, you are my God, I seek You, and my soul thirsts for You; my flesh faints for You. So I have looked upon You in the sanctuary, beholding Your power and glory. Because Your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise You.”

Tonight I watched two amazing teams battle on a football field. One team had to win and one had to lose. And then I watched the news reporters praise the team who won and bash the ones who lost. The reporters were “slingers of stones.” In the Old Testament there were those who were slingers of stones: those who took judgment into their own hands and decided that the only way to fix the problem was to kill. There were those who may not have been stone slingers, but they put dirt down wells to contaminate the water. These dirt pourers made the very life source, water, unfit to drink.

Are we slingers of stones? Do we say unkind things about others and harm the life source in others? The old saying “sticks and stones…words will never hurt me.” I don’t agree with this old saying. Sticks and stones will cause wounds that will eventually heal. But words…words can be really hurtful and are often never forgotten.

Tonight will we remember that TCU had their first undefeated season in a great many years or will we dwell on the loss they experienced because of the stone slingers and the mud pourers? Let us try to not have stone slingers in our lives and let us not become stone slingers ourselves.

Take joy in the journey and wear comfortable shoes. Love you all friends and mighty prayer warriors. 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 alert: Please pray for little Abbie. Her dad’s funeral is tomorrow. She is now living with her grandmother. We will be helping the family throughout the week. Her teacher, Ashley, will be helping her and the children in her classroom deal with this loss and the fire that destroyed her house and all of her possessions.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Blessed Sunday to each of you!

My apologies for not writing last evening. The busyness of the holidays finally caught up with Bruce and I last night. After a late dinner we sat down in front of the TV and fell asleep in time to get up and go to bed.

Isaiah 40:31 “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength.”

Mark 10:15 “Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, be shall not enter the kingdom.”

I go back to school tomorrow. It is a day of inservice and the children return on Tuesday. I have much to do in the classroom prior to the children’s return. And the winter holiday is over.

Winter holidays are a time of busyness up to and including Christmas and the week after before New Year’s is sometimes a time of rest and renewal. Today, Pastor Joes spoke of renewal. In Pastor Joel’s message to the children today he told them that God renews us each time we ask for forgiveness. When we are renewed we are made more like Christ. As we are renewed we rest in God’s love. When we rest in God’s love the Holy Spirit flows through each of us giving us strength, wisdom and the faith to accept and live in God’s unfailing grace.

When I get to school in the morning I will begin to write my lesson plans for the week. The plans may work out or they may not. I may complete everything I have planned or I may have to complete the plans during next week. My human plans are just that, human. God’s plans are perfect and have been prepared out of His love for us.

As we begin this new year and new decade in our own history we will see how the loving plans of the Father unfold each day. We need to be as children and not question the plans God has made for us, we just need to accept the plans God has made with gladness.

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.

Praise: Mom is home from the hospital. She seems to be doing better. Praise God!

Prayer alert: I just found out tonight that a first grade student in our school lost her father to a house fire on New Year’s Eve. Her name is Abbie. Please pray for her I will find out more details tomorrow.