Saturday, March 27, 2010

Happy Friday!

Psalm 32: 8 “I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will guide you with my eye.”

I have been a school teacher for around 30 years and have spent those years instructing children in the skill of reading, writing and math. Along the way I have received instruction through inservice training and observing other teachers teach. But before long I will be out of the teaching business and into the fulltime job of being a learner once again.

This passage of scripture assures me that God will teach me in the way He wants me to go. He will show me His purpose and guide me with His eye. For me this means that God will be watching as I begin to learn of Him, about Him and through Him at Brite.

But I don’t think that God only saves His guidance for those of us in seminary. I believe that God will teach and guide us in whatever we do as long as we commit it to Him and surrender it over to Him. When we surrender our hearts over to Him then He can lead us. Our purpose according to His will for our lives will be revealed and we will be at peace.

So my dear friends let us leave our fears behind and step out in faith. Let us bravely claim this scripture as a promise and sit in the classroom of faith and learn from the Master (cutting class will not be permitted!) .

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.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Happy Thursday!

Just a few notes and updates: First, the funeral for Matt Brown, my cousin Tony’s son who was killed this week, will be on Monday in Cisco, Texas. Tony is on his way home to Okema, Oklahoma, for a couple of days before the trip to Cisco. Next, Cheri is on the PARP Inhibitors to hopefully treat ovarian cancer. Please pray for this family mighty and powerful prayer warriors. Thank you.

Psalm 119: 28 “My soul melts for heaviness; strengthen me God according to Your Word.”

Tonight I turned in my new application to Brite and I have now officially changed my degree plan to Master of Divinity. The first part of this journey is complete. Next, I will begin the candidacy process through the Lutheran Church. At some point during my studies I will have to attend a Lutheran Seminary prior to ordination.

This whole thing makes me a bit nervous. And then tonight I read a passage from the Psalms telling me to ask God to strengthen me according to His Word. I am asking God to be with me and help me not to fear. I have never doubted His love and power and now I am counting on God to not let me quit or think I can’t do this when it gets really hard.

I have seen many wonders in my life, some very sad, some things that make me really glad and some things that have changed my life. When I look back on this path to seminary and changing to a Master’s of Divinity degree I think of how when Casey and I when to Houston and I was pretty scared and felt somewhat alone. God took that time to guide me in a life of prayer and a life in the Word that might not have happened had I not been in Houston. God put people in my daily walk and gave me a taste of what His future purpose for me was to be. There were no outside distractions to cause my attention to be anywhere but on Casey, prayer and God’s Word.

So here I go. Tomorrow I will phone the woman in the Synod office to put this whole candidacy process into place. I need God more than ever now. I need God beside me to help guide and strengthen me when I don’t think I can do this and even though actual graduation and ordination seem very far away, I pray that I will stay the course until I finish and go on to do the ministry for which God has called me.

My devotion tonight reflected these words, “Wonders have unfolded. More still will unfold, beyond your dreams, beyond your hopes. Say, “All is well” to everything, “All is well.”

Let each of us practice the simple phrase “All is well” in our daily lives and claim in faith that God is will us and we should not fear.

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 24, 2010

Happy Wednesday!

This writing is at a very late hour and I am tired. I did not sleep a great deal last night as I thought about and prayed for Tony and his family.

2 Peter 3:28 “But grow in grace, and live in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

Tonight we had a long choir rehearsal and we had a new member. He is an older gentleman who lost a son 20 years ago to sarcoma cancer. He and his wife lost a daughter just a month ago. He and his wife have walked some really hard roads. Tonight when it came time to share concerns he shared that we should pray for all families who have lost children. His request was very heartfelt and full of such a strong and compassionate faith. His words of wisdom warmed my heart and I am so glad he has joined our praise team.

My meditation tonight (which was a briefer one than usual) said some very powerful things. One of the things was that “faith itself is based on a knowledge of Me.” The more we get to know Christ the more faith we can use to rely on God for everything. It also said that “faith is a priceless possession to be sacrificed in order to purchase knowledge.” I look at the term sacrificed as another word for surrender. When we surrender over the gifts God has given to us He always returns them to us and we are blessed beyond anything we can imagine.

So tonight or if you read this in the morning, do not try to discern the future, but let us just continue to gain knowledge of Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit. God will teach us everything we need to know. I don’t know why Casey was stricken with cancer and I don’t know why medical science has not found a cure, but I also know that those questions will not produce answers and the end result will still be the same. I do know, however, that God is a God of compassion, love and grace and through that continuous love and grace I will have knowledge of God and learn to have hope and help others who are hurting.

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

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Prayer warriors, tonight I received news that my cousin Tony’s son, Matt, was electrocuted and died in Hutcheson, Kansas today. He leaves behind a wife and two daughters. The children are 9 months and two years. Tony is on his way to Kansas at this writing with his youngest son to be with Lisa and the girls. Matt’s mother Cindy lost another son to electrocution just a few years ago. She will be in need of many prayers. They have many difficult decisions to make. I ask your prayers for Lisa, Matt’s wife, their children, Tony and my Aunt Wanda, Matt’s grandmother as they go through this very sad time.

Psalm 66:7 “He rules by His power forever.”

When I heard the news of Matt’s tragic death my heart went out to Tony, Matt’s dad, and his family at their loss. I wish I could say I do not understand their grief, heartbreak and sadness, but I do understand. When we were going through Casey’s illness and death there were very few words of comfort that could be said even though so many people said so many kind things and tried so hard to help. What I finally figured out is that the words of those who have not experienced loss even though so heartfelt and kind really don’t soak in when you are experiencing the greatest earthly loss - the loss of your child. (Please take no offense all of you who were and still are so kind and supportive of our family for I appreciate all of your caring love more than you will ever know.)

“When there is nothing left to do, but just depend on you and the power of Your name.” I learned why God’s Word came to mean and has come to mean so much. The New Testament was written, through men as the inspired Word of God…a God who lost His child. The Word, whether in the Old or New Testament were passages of prayer, comfort, promise and hope. These words, even though written and delivered by earthly man, were inspired and anointed by God. He is a God who promises to stay beside us and bless us when we experience our deepest heartbreak and our greatest joys. He is a God who promises to answer all of our prayers. He is a God who, by His own power, promises that if we call on His name, He will bring peace and will drive away all of the forces of evil that surround us. He is the Lord of hosts Who goes before us as we shout “All power is given to my Lord.” Sometimes the only thing that would comfort me was claiming God’s presence, healing power and His promises. I knew God would understand because He too lost His child to suffering and pain.

Tonight my friends please pray for this family, whose members are numb with pain, grief and loss and pray they look to God for their comfort and their own healing.

Take joy in the journey even when it is very hard. Wear comfortable shoes, count your blessing and tonight say very special 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.

PS Prayer, Tony’s wife, Cheri, is battling ovarian cancer. She did not make the trip with Tony tonight. Tomorrow she will travel to Oklahoma City to receive treatment in a clinical trial dealing with Parp Inhibitors. If this trial is successful it will be a great breakthrough in cancer treatment. I ask again for your prayers as she travels to receive this potentially life altering treatment. Thanks warriors, gc

Monday, March 22, 2010

Happy Monday!

John 15: 15 “From now on I call you not servants; for the servant knows not what his Lord does: but I have called you friends.”

This past week many churches send groups of people on mission trips. Advent sent a group to Mexico for Casas de Cristo. It is a group that goes to an area of Mexico and builds a house during spring break for a worthy family.

A friend of mine from school spent his spring break a bit farther away than Mexico. He and a group from his church spent a week in Peru ministering to a church, particularly in youth ministry, Bible Study and then door to door evangelism. He came into school today absolutely bubbling over with excitement. We spent a while after school where I just listened as he told about how the plan they had made before arriving in Peru completely changed once they arrived and found the needs of the people were different than the plans they had made. This group then placed themselves into the hands of the Father and followed the plan God had for them. My friend found out that as he went there to be a blessing to those he did not know in a place completely different from home (near the jungle, and in a village where pizza was high end eating), he found himself and his companions receiving spiritual blessing after blessing.

Can we learn a lesson from these pilgrims who went to a foreign country to help others? I think so. Here are some things we can learn. First, God will supply all our needs as long as they are spiritual in nature. God needs us spiritually dependent to carry out His work. All spiritual needs are met out of the love God has for us.

God gives us His love in great abundance so that we may show His love to others no matter where we are. It does not matter whether we can speak the language; we can show God’s love in ways that don’t require us to even speak. Bruce closes his emails with “Preach Christ every day, use words if necessary.”

So let us show God’s love to others in whatever ways people need to see God’s love. If God is love as the scripture says, then show all people what God’s love really looks like.

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.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Blessed Sunday!

Who could imagine that I would be wearing my warmest sweater, warmest jeans and a jacket to worship this morning on the 21st day of March, one day into the season of spring!

Well, spring cleaning came today. I started to put the sweaters away and got as far as just placing them on top of the cedar chest as Bruce read the forecast for tonight. It is supposed to get to 27 tonight and up to 67 tomorrow. I think the sweaters may stay out a little longer!

1 Peter 1:8 “Though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and even though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy!”

Today after worship Bruce and I went shopping for some new furniture. We found what we wanted but it cost more that we could afford right now and we were going to have to finance. We filled out the paperwork and were approved for the amount of the furniture, but neither one of us felt really peaceful about the situation so we came home. We were in two different cars and I think we both must have been praying the same prayer. After arriving at home we decided that even though we needed the furniture we would wait until we could pay cash for it. We felt good about the decision, but sad about not being able to have what we wanted and needed.

When I sat down to write tonight the title of the meditation was “All is Well.” I then felt better and more at peace about the situation this afternoon. The meditation also told me to remember that God is not only on the journey with me, but He has planned the journey and will continue to plan the remainder of the journey and that joys unspeakable will be in the way if we continue on the path in obedience.

Please understand I do not expect new furniture to magically appear on the front porch, but maybe the joy in the journey is believing that God has blessed our decision and has another plan for us in His time and in His way out of His love for us. And maybe the joy in the journey is the peace I feel.

Following the path God has laid out for His children is not always easy as we are stubborn, willful children who really want God to bend to our every need and desire and to form to our way of thinking. The journey is not easy, but of this one thing I am sure, if we follow the path of obedience laid out by the Father, we will never be lost, alone, abandoned and it will always be right.

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.