Saturday, May 15, 2010

Happy Saturday!

Today seemed to be the day for graduation parties. Bruce and I went to two celebratory events today. One was a high school graduation party and the other a college graduation. Both were very different events and both very exciting, fun with families so proud of their graduates. I do not remember the last time we have attended two parties in the same afternoon.

“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” I was thinking about this particular verse of the Lord’s Prayer today. I began to think about evil. Another word for evil is Satan. Evil is not just ghastly things that happen to people by someone else’s hand or an evil, devastating disease that is life-taking, but evil is really a lot closer to home and it happens to all of us daily.

Evil is any time we allow Satan to invade our thoughts. Evil is fear. Evil is doubt. Evil is dissension and separation. Evil is anything that steals the gifts of joy, peace, rest, gladness and faith from us. Fear and doubt are tools Satan uses to distract us from remembering how much God loves us and the powerful gifts of faith and grace freely given through Jesus’ death and resurrection.

“Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from fear, doubt, separation from You, being judgmental, dissension and from the evil one.”

When Casey was in the hospital in Houston he came to a time when the news was not good. I remember the day I made a sign and placed it outside our door which simply read “Satan, you have no power here.” It was a statement born out of being tired of the evil one trying with all of his might to steal our joy and keep us from staying focused the One who could provide the healing for bodies and souls. When the times seem so hard claim the name of Jesus and tell Satan he has no power because God is present.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes, count your blessings and say your prayers. Love you all and see you in worship, 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, May 14, 2010

Happy Friday!

I pray this writing finds you all well and drying out from the soaking rain we experienced today.

Geni assisted her class of students in the Special Olympics held at Arlington Heights High School in Fort Worth today. The students were able to finish all of their activities before the bottom dropped out of the sky. I think it was during their lunch (while eating outside) that the rain began. Most of the children are in wheelchairs and strollers and I am sure it was no small feat to get them all into a dry area before they were soaked, but I think they made it! Geni said all of the children had a great time.

Each day at school we begin with the pledge to the United States flag and then to the Texas flag and then there is a moment of silence. This sacred moment of silence (I call it sacred because it is about the only time the students are really quiet!) lasts about one minute. In that moment I seek out God and have a really concentrated prayer time. (Yes, my regular prayer time is in the car going to work, but there is still traffic to focus on. My other prayer time are my “nightie-nights”, and I usually fall asleep in mid-prayer. I had a principal refer to her bedtime prayers as nightie-nights.) So this brief moment in the day has become really precious to me.

Song of Solomon 1:7 “Tell me, O thou whom my soul loveth, where you feed and where you make your flock to rest at noon.”

Solomon’s longing for a relationship with God is summed up in this verse. Solomon is seeking a time to be with God. Solomon is telling God how much he loves Him and asks, “where do you take your meals and where do you rest the flock or where and when do you take a break, I would like to talk and just be with you.” Solomon is asking for alone time with God. Solomon is telling God I will come to you, just tell me where you are and when will you be there. I guess Solomon was so busy with his “urban renewal” project he did not have the time he really needed for God and he really desired some one-on-one with the Father.

When do we spend our uninterrupted time with God? In that moment each day with a classroom of children I try to get a lot of praying done. Maybe like most of us, we get a lot done when we are in a time crunch. So find a time in the day for some really concentrated and focused time with God. Tell God not only the great big things, but also the small everyday things. When we tell God the big and the small we develop intimacy with Him and we get to know Him better as one who loves us completely and we learn to trust Him with everything.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes, count your blessings, say your prayers and for the next day of two carry an umbrella. 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, May 13, 2010

Happy Thursday!

What a wonderful day! This evening it wasn’t too hot and a nice breeze came through seemingly at just the right time for us to be outside for dinner once again. It was so pleasant. The wind caught the umbrella a time or two, but it was so very nice we did not even mind.

Geni finally got her summer classes scheduled. Her summer is going to be really tough. She will be taking classes on two different campuses. By day she will be a Mean Green Eagle at UNT and by night she will be a student at TCC (Travis calls it the Texas College of Champions) with her classes not ending until about 10:20 at night two nights per week. Please pray for her!

Matthew 7:3 “Judge not, that you be not judged.”

The other evening there came a knock at the door. There was a woman I did not know at the door. She was wearing pants, a button down shirt and brown sandals. Her hair was a bit of a miss and looked as if it could use a good washing. She was a bit dirty, but very eloquent in her speech as she spoke to me. Her basic story was that she was living at the Oasis Hotel with her son who had just been released from prison. He was an epileptic. He really needed his medicine and told me several graphic scenes her son had experienced. She was from Lufkin and just needed $8 more and she and her son could go home. I do not know if she was telling the truth or not, but I went to my purse and gave this woman what she said she needed.

When she knocked and I did not recognize her I told Travis to go and lock the back door. How sad I felt to think that if she was distracting me at the door while her son could be coming in the back door to steal from us or to cause us harm. But then I had two more thoughts. First, “there by the grace of God go I,” and “What if this woman is Jesus and I do not help her?” I was standing in my house that I love and is filled with the ones I love who are healthy, with food in my fridge and all of the utilities on and cars in the driveway with varying amounts of gas within and all this woman asked for was $8 to go home.

I don’t know whether she really needed the money to go home or if she wanted the money for another purpose. I just know it was not my place to make that decision. I prayed for her and her son, gave her the money and watched her go on her way across the yard and go on down the street. I have not seen her again so maybe she and her son made it to where they needed to go.

And then I thought “There by the grace of God go I.” How many of us, including myself, think that we don’t have enough or forget to count the blessings of health, family and a relationship with a loving God? Yes, I worry about money and concern myself that there will not be enough to get through the month. This is sin on my part. But worry is not of God. I must learn to remain secure and believe with certainty that whatever needs we have will be met. God’s faithfulness to us is so much stronger than our faithfulness to Him. So, whatever was wrong in this woman’s life, my prayer was that God would make it right, that her needs would be met and that she would trust in God. Maybe she already does.

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.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Happy Wednesday!

This was a picture taken some time ago, but in the same part of the year when the bluebonnets were blooming. We thought you would like to see into the past for a bit.

Tonight the weather was so nice that we ate on the deck. I love to eat on the deck. We seem to spend a bit more time together. Conversation is easy and dinner is fun. Last night I cooked a bourbon peach cobbler with a dumpling crust on the grill. The aroma was amazing.

Matthew 14: 31 “Oh you of little faith, why did you doubt?”

Tonight my meditation gave me some affirmation I really needed to hear. It began with the words, “Turn out all thoughts of doubt and of trouble. Never tolerate them for one second. Bar them as you would protect your home from a thief that would come in and steal.”

Peace, Joy and Rest are such wonderful gifts from God. Worry, doubt and fear can come in and steal and replace them with despair. When we face each day with Joy and Laughter then when the storms of life come, despair is overcome by victory in Jesus’ Name. Peace, Joy and Rest are names of God. Despair is a name Satan uses to try to steal our Joy. Satan is the thief that comes in the darkness because Satan cannot live in the light.

Friends, let us all walk in the Light. When the storm is at its strongest say, “all is well.” When we say “all is well,” then God receives the glory and we receive His grace.

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.

PS. Mom came out of her cataract surgery in good shape. I talked with her tonight and she sounds just fine. Thank you for your prayers.

PPS. Note from Bruce: Yesterday's post was Gaylene's 500th on this blogsite. It doesn't seem possible when we stop and consider that the blogs were an attempt to communicate Casey's daily condition with concerned friends and family. After Casey left us, we decided to continue to share thoughts and scripture and the ways we deal with our daily life in God's love with our friends and family. We will continue and pray that the meditations of our hearts be acceptable in His sight.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Happy Tuesday!

In my classroom sitting on my work table is a plastic box covered in mesh netting. Inside the plastic box are four very active Pipe Vine Caterpillars (or calipitters as some of my children say). We feed them pipe vine leaves and they are very busy. However, today, I noticed that one of these little creatures is getting a bit tired and seems to be slowing down a bit. He is looking for a place to spin his chrysalis. The kids are so excited and hang around my table a lot just watching these amazing creations crawl about so quickly and are watching ever so closely for any change to occur. I will keep you posted.

Today Bruce and Travis went to the Bodies exhibit over at the West End in Dallas. They came back regaling Geni and I of tales of their adventure. Forgive me, but as amazing as this exhibit must be…I will pass. There are reasons I did not go into medicine and take anatomy!

Matthew 18: 19 “Again I say to you, that if two of you shall agree on earth as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.”

This must be a favored verse of so many. It sounds like a vending machine. You know, agree in prayer on anything and God will send it through the chute and into your hands. If that were true I would be a size two and never have to worry about money ever again. But I just don’t think that is the way God works.

When we pray with another believer there is another party present. God is present when we pray and becomes the third party in the prayer. There is enormous power in prayer with another person. But add God as a prayer partner when two are gathered in His name and friends, that is serious power. God not only is our heavenly Father, creator of the universe and giver of life; God becomes our friend because we spend time in conversation through prayer with Him. Our friendship with God deepens when we invite Him to our prayer time. God listens when we pray and then we must listen to His answer when it is given and on faith accept His answers believing that He knows us best and knows what is best for us.

Everybody goes through storms in their life, but storms seem to be less scary if we have someone with which to walk. There is safety in numbers as the old saying goes, so find a friend to walk with and then invite the perfect friend to walk with you, too.

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.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Happy Monday!

Three Mondays to go and 18 days! Today was one of those days if I asked the students in my classroom to raise their hands, they would raise both feet! They would not stop talking and listen. Procedures taught since the first day of school were forgotten today and it made for a frustrating day. But tomorrow is another day and the students get another chance and so do I.

John 21: 15 This passage is from the Amplified Bible. “When they had eaten, Jesus said to Simon Peter, Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these [others do—with reasoning, intentional, spiritual devotion, as one loves the Father]? He said to Him, “Yes, Lord You that I love You [that I have deep, instinctive, personal affection for You, as for a close friend]. He said to him, Shepherd (tend) My sheep.”

The Amplified Bible is sort of like having a thesaurus and dictionary within a passage of scripture. It helps to get a deeper understanding of certain phrases.

Did you ever wonder why Jesus addressed Peter as “Simon, son of John?” Jesus had not called Peter “Simon” since He changed his name to Peter and gave him is commission to be the rock upon which the Church would be built. After Jesus’ death the disciples went back to their old way of life. They went fishing. Jesus, however, had not called them back to the sea and the boats. Jesus had called them to fish for men. So when Jesus saw what they were doing He called Peter by his birth name; Simon, son of John. In his grief and shame Peter had forgotten His call. So Jesus asks Simon if he loves Him and if so feed My sheep.

Jesus does not call Simon by the name “Peter” again in this passage nor does he call Simon "Peter" all the way to the end of the chapter (which is the end of the book). Jesus does tell Simon, son of John, that when he was young someone took care of him. Someone dressed him and carried him where he needed to go. Jesus tells Simon, son of John, that one day others would carry him where he did not want to go, bind him and stretch out his arms to the glory of God. Jesus continued to remind Peter that he could not go back to his old life. He had been called to a life of hardships through a life of obedience. When Peter asks Jesus about how John would glorify God, Jesus tells Peter that how John dies is of no importance to him (Peter), but what was important was that he (Peter) follow Christ.

When we come into relationship with Christ we are called to leave our old life behind and follow Him. We are called to love God in truth and obedience. We are called to be shepherds, fishermen, teachers and potters. We become the vessels through which God works His amazing and loving change in His people.

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.

Prayers for: Tony and Cherri Brown, my Aunt Linda, my niece Stephanie’s grandfather - Slats McCord; and Mom’s cataract surgery on Wednesday. Thank you, gc

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Blessed Sunday and Happy Mother’s Day!

We had such a wonderful day. After worship we went to Ken and Sheena’s for a rather chilly cook-out. I should have known this would happen. I just packed away the sweaters, hoodies and long sleeves for the summer and wore a flowered print sundress today. Go figure!

1 Peter 5:6 “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time.”

Humbling your self does not mean to grovel at the feet of God. Humbling yourself does not mean to belittle yourself, but to totally surrender yourself to the One who knows you best. It means doing what you may not want to do and trusting that God will guide and provide what you need and what is best. When we surrender over to God our whole will, our pride, our self-pity and our fear, then God takes over that space that we have filled with all of those ungodly attributes. During this process of surrender we must maintain an attitude of peace when adverse circumstances are upon us. It is not within our power to overcome pride, self-pity and fear. It is only through the power of God’s grace and out of His love for us that these ungodly feelings can be overcome. The verse says to place ourselves under His powerful hand and He will exalt you in His time.

Has it been a long dry spell in your house? Are you facing adversity? Place yourself in the hands of the Father and He will lift you up. God will give you courage and strengthen you to trust Him.

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.