Saturday, March 20, 2010

Happy Saturday and first day of spring!

I read the other day that if you see someone wearing shorts, flip flops and a parka you might live in Texas. I think I may have seen that today while at the grocery store. Only in Texas would we have snow on the first day of spring when only the night before it was warm enough to eat dinner out on the deck. Go figure! Our cars and yard are covered in white and at this writing it is still snowing. It is really pretty and really cold!

Psalm 40:8 “I delight to do Your will, O my God.”

I work for a living. I have a boss. She is quite wonderful. We are friends, but the bottom line is she is my boss. I do not always agree with her decisions, but it is not my place to agree or disagree. It is my place to do my job to the best of my ability and when asked by her to perform a task to do so without argument or question. If I do not comply with her directions then I will find myself in trouble and my job might be in jeopardy. I would be acting with foolish pride if I did not do what was asked of me. Now, the flip side of this is that I must trust her to make decisions that are not compromising to my ethical values. And it really does not matter what is asked of me whether it is seemingly small or a great task, as long as I do what I am asked then I am following the instructions of my leader.

Being obedient to God should be just like this. But I think that sometimes because God is not a physical presence and we may not hear an audible voice we tend to bargain with the Father and desire for Him to form to our will instead of confessing Thy will be done. So if God asks me to do something small or large it really doesn’t matter as long as I accomplish the task before me I am acting in obedience. I need to follow as if I have no choice in the matter. But sometimes that gift of free will gets in the way and I choose another path.

The good news is that, unlike an employer, God might discipline us, but God will never fire us or remove us from the circle of His love. God forgives and sets us once again on the path and hopes we will learn our lesson. God is relentless in the lessons He has for us to learn. I believe that if we don’t learn a lesson one way or act on His instruction obediently then God continues to try other ways until we get it. Wouldn’t our lives be a lot easier if we just said, “Here am I, send me.?” Let us make God our only choice.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes, count your blessings and say your prayers. See you in worship and 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.

There has been no change in Noelle’s condition in Corpus Chrisi.

Prayer of thanksgiving: Bruce and company arrived home safely after driving in blowing snow from Bowie to Wichita Falls. Thank you for your prayers. Peace, gc

Friday, March 19, 2010

Happy Friday!

Alas, it is the last day of spring break. I have not accomplished all I needed to in this all too fast week, but I have had a wonderful spring break. Today I filled out another application for seminary due to the change in degree plan. I have notified Brite of my intent to change degree plans and spoke with the financial aid office concerning summer aid for my class. All is well! God is so good!

Psalm 20:7 “Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; but we will remember the name of the Lord.”

Wow! What an awesome scripture! A good friend of mine says, “If money will solve the problem then it is not a problem.” This scripture caused me to think about the wisdom of this of this little proverb. Money comes and money goes. Chariots and horses can fail (just watch the chariot race in Ben Hur) but the name of the Lord lives forever. This simple act of remembering the name of the Lord and calling on that name sends a message of supreme trust. God is a God of Power and a Man of Love. God became human and remained divine. His power, divinity and love are what allow God to completely understand all of what we go through here on earth. If we place our trust in the things of this world then we will eventually come away empty because Isaiah 40:8 that says, “The grass withers and the flower fades, but the word of the Lord lasts forever.” God promises us that He will never fail us. God is not a God who would lie or break His promises to us.

Times for many are hard right now. There are those out of work. There are those who are ill and dying. There are those who are sad, lonely, lacking a faith and don’t know where to turn. There are those who are looking for chariots and horses to remove the obstacles in their way. There are those who are thinking there is nowhere to turn. We all know when there is nothing left to do but just depend on You, Lord and the power of Your Name. We know where to go and in Whom to place our trust. Share this trust and share the name of Jesus.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes, 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! Our young niece’s grandmother, Noelle, in Corpus Christi has but a few hours to live. She was diagnosed a few weeks ago with ovarian cancer. I ask you to pray for her, her daughter Lani and our niece Bianca.

Bruce and the Kairos Team will be traveling to Wichita Falls for the monthly prayer and share with the residents of the Allred Unit. I ask prayers for their travel mercy (as the weather is getting rather dicey) and for God’s blessings to reign down on this ministry and on those who carry the Word inside and those who receive it. Thanks and peace, gc

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Happy Thursday!

We ate our first meal of the season on the deck tonight. The weather was just right. It was warm, but not too warm. The wind was calm, the yard smelled freshly mowed and it was really nice. During the spring and early summer we will eat out there quite a bit. I made the first sun tea since last summer and picked a sprig of spearmint from my window herb garden and just let it soak in the sun all day. It was delicious!

Jeremiah 33:3 “Call unto Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you know not.”

Is that the most exciting scripture you have read in a while?! It is for me. I am in the process of a turning point in my life and career. I am planning to retire from teaching next spring. We met with an insurance agent this week and have begun the process toward retirement. It will take probably most of the next year to get everything in place for a proper retirement to happen. Also, I am changing my degree plan at Brite from Master of Theological Studies to Master of Divinity and making the journey to ordination and to a hospital chaplaincy. I have had to reapply to the seminary and write another essay as to why I am changing my degree plan. In my essay I told the story of Casey and our journey from Arlington to Houston and back to Arlington. I think the main point of the essay is that because I have walked the road of suffering and loss with Casey and understand the hope that comes in death that there is eternal life with Christ that I would feel called to help others as they walk this journey themselves or with a loved one.

I really was praying about taking a summer class. There is not very much offered in the summer especially in a time when I can attend class. The class that was offered in a time where I could attend did not really interest me, but would satisfy a requirement and I was going to take it. And then…another class is being offered, “Introduction to Pastoral Care.” I am so excited. I believe that God answered my prayer and this will set me on the path towards my goal which is to do pastoral care in a hospital setting. We just never know how God is going to answer our prayers, but we can always trust that God will answer. God will answer in the proper time and way that is best for each of us out of His love for us.

Call on God. Claim His name in your prayers and ask for what you desire. Pray that your desires are what God has planned for you and then accept His answer. In my meditation tonight it said that wonderful things are coming “Joy—Assurance—Peace—Security—Health—Happiness and Laughter.” These are all names for God and attributes of His heart. God wants to give all of these to us. Trust in God and call on His name.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes, 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.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy Wednesday and Happy St. Patty’s day!!

I donned my green TCU Frog No Blarney shirt, my shamrock earrings and necklace and my green crocs with the shamrock jibbits and set out to greet the day! Prior to worship this evening we had a traditional Irish meal of corned beef, cabbage, potatoes, carrots and Irish Soda Bread. I looked at my beautiful green herb garden in my kitchen window and felt as if I had honored this day well!

Hebrews 4:9, 10 “There remains therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also has ceased from this own works, as God did from His.”

Spring Break is always an interesting week. I have spent the week being busy, but not busy with school, or seminary, or even some much needed spring cleaning. I have spent a lot of time cooking. I love to cook. I love new recipes, going to the store for interesting ingredients and setting a table before my family that is interesting and good tasting. Since I have been putting more effort into a family meal we rarely eat out. We have been gathering at the table each evening and not just doing the “eat and run thing”, but lingering at the table following the meal just to laugh and talk. Meal time has become a time of joy and a time in which to look forward each day.

With each new recipe I try there are usually vegetables to chop. Now this may sound silly, but I find myself at extraordinary peace while chopping onions or garlic or other things and it is a time I commune with God. I find myself silently praying and in the quiet moments after I have prayed I listen for God’s voice and love the companionship I experience with Him in the kitchen. Even in the busyness of chopping or stirring or measuring I am at a place of rest and peace. I look forward to this time each evening (or this week a couple of times a day) not only for the food I am preparing, but for the time I am in communion with God. Perhaps I am a bit like Mary in a Martha world!

Where is a place that you can commune with God and just experience His companionship? I have found my place in the kitchen. Do you find your quiet place in the car, out in a shop, mowing the lawn or planting flowers, cleaning the bathroom or making a bed? I urge you to discover a place or time when you can just experience God’s companionship. I pray if you are like me, you will find it a place of rest.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes, 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.
Happy Tuesday!

The first days of Spring Break are usually busy ones with catching up on the things that cannot be done after school and on weekends. Today was particularly exciting as Bruce hung a shelf in the window of the kitchen and it is there I placed my herb garden. I was so excited. In the last few months I have been cooking with more fresh herbs and less salt. It has been a fun adventure into a realm of cooking to which I have never gone before. (Sort of like Star Trek!) Anyway it looks really nice and I am so glad to have it. I have 9 pots of herbs ranging from basil to rosemary and in between. Thanks Bruce!!

Isaiah 30:15 “In returning and rest shall you be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength.”

Each evening around this time I sit down at my desk and have a few quiet moments with a scripture, a meditation and prayer. It is usually quiet as Travis is already asleep, Geni has gone to her room, Bruce is on the computer in the office and it is quiet. It is in this returning each night to this place and shutting out the rest of the world that I have a quiet time with God.

God is wherever our souls are. God is in each of our hearts, but sometimes we are so distracted by the world around us that we don’t recognize His presence. That is why it is so important to find a time during the day to just be with God, just to shut the world out, sit in His presence, feast and meditate on His Word and listen to the truths He has to tell us. God wants us to soak in His very presence so that we may understand His plan for us. That is why it is so important (for me at least) to have a quiet time with God each day. In the summer I tend to do this in the mornings on the deck with coffee. During the school year I do this late at night, because the house tends to be quiet then.

I urge you as you make this Lenten journey to find some alone time with God. Maybe if you did not give up something for Lent you could add these few minutes to your day. Make God a very real part of your day and then let Him work in your life throughout each moment.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes, count your blessings and say you 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.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Happy Monday and it is so good to be home!!

We left here on Friday afternoon and headed to Howe, Texas to spend the evening with Mom and Dad. Saturday morning we drove to Royse City to meet with the family and other members of the wedding party for the rehearsal. Each of us had a part in the wedding. Bruce and I were the vocalists and arranged all of the music for the wedding. Geni was a member of the house party and Travis was a groomsman and usher. The drama began for us when one of our CD’s would not play on the music system at the chapel. We ended up downloading “The Lord’s Prayer” onto another computer and finally everything was in place. Then back to Plano to On the Border restaurant for the rehearsal lunch. (Great fun and wonderful food!)

Back to Howe for the evening. Sunday morning it was off to worship in Howe and then back to Royse City for the wedding. The wedding and reception was held at All Occasions, a venue specifically designed to be a one-stop wedding shop. They house a lovely chapel and a reception hall. Everything was just beautiful. The two highlights (other than seeing my niece get married) was dancing with two very handsome men: Bruce and my Dad. Then it was beck to Howe to drop off Mom and Dad and then back to Arlington. Whew!!!

Philippians 4:7 “And the peace that passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Jesus Christ.”

We have talked about peace before. Peace is not the absence of conflict, storms of life or problems. Peace is staying in the eye of the storm.

On Sunday morning we went to worship with Mom and Dad. I had planned to sing Revelation Song during worship. Just prior to worship beginning I looked up and saw my high school choir director and his wife walk into worship. It had been years since I had seen them. Mr. Gohlke was my music mentor during high school. It did not take me long to discover that he had Alzheimer’s disease. He did not know me and could barely speak. It was a scene that nearly broke my heart. I have never prayed so hard to sing my best. I knew he did not remember me, but I prayed that the music would reach into his heart and would bring him peace. This is the man who taught me to perform and gave me a passionate love for music and the drive for perfection. I needed peace and I prayed for peace for him and his family as they deal with their husband, father and grandfather who no longer exists as they once knew him.

The only peace that can bring anyone through this situation is the peace that comes in the name of Jesus and through his love. And somewhere inside Mr. Gohlke lives Jesus. Jesus was there before this disease and Jesus is there now bringing him peace. This Jesus who can calm any storm, can heal the sick and raise the dead, exorcise demons and multiply loaves and fishes is the same Jesus who allowed me to sing the words to Revelation Song:

“Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty Who was and is and is to come. With all creation I sing, Praise to the King of Kings. You are my everything and I will adore You.”

Take joy in the journey. Count your blessings and say your prayers. Love you all so very much. Love, 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.