Saturday, May 22, 2010

Happy Saturday!

What an awesome day! The weather was so beautiful that the kids and I took Jackson and Lamar to River Legacy Park for a walk and then back home to grill burgers for dinner. The weather was so pleasant and not too hot, but, never fear, I wore a hat and sunglasses while on our walk in the park. The spots on my face are healing and we are just waiting on the biopsy report from the doc. I should hear something by Tuesday.

Mark 11:24 “Therefore I say unto you, What things you desire, when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you shall have them.”

This is always such an interesting passage. I don’t think it is meant that whatever we ask God will just magically provide. If that were true then we would ask for whatever the earth could provide without seeking what God will provide through a relationship with Him through Christ.

Let’s think about this a little differently. When someone in a family dies and leaves a will there are certain bequests made for them by the one who has passed away. It might be a sum of money, jewelry, property or other item. The one to whom the bequest has been made has every right to collect the item(s) because they were left to them by name by the authority of the one who wrote the will.

When we enter into a relationship with God through Jesus we die to our old ways and enter into a new familial relationship. We are still servants of God, just as Jesus was, but we become heirs to the Kingdom and all God has to offer is ours because we become brothers and sisters to Christ. Those outside the Kingdom make supplication to God, but as children of God we are given the freedom to walk into the house and share in the Kingdom. We are named in God’s Will. We are given son and daughter status to God through our brother Christ and God loves us as much as He loves Jesus. Therefore God offers His love, grace, forgiveness, tender mercies, strength, healing, wholeness and wisdom to each of us just as He gave to Jesus. Jesus understood what it meant to be God’s son and knew that all God had to offer was His for the taking. All He had to do was be open to receive. God offers us the same bequests in His Will for our lives. We just need to be open to receive them.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes, count your blessings and say for 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, May 21, 2010

Happy Friday!

Today was the annual First Grade Family Picnic. It is one of my favorite days during the school year. The children and their families spread their blankets and towels or sit in lawn chairs and enjoy a grilled hot dog with chips, cookies and a drink. But most of all they spend time together eating and playing. It is a wonderful day. For a few moments it was a bit of a bittersweet day when I remembered Casey grilling the hot dogs as he did for several years.

But today, whether he knew it or not, Travis stepped into his brother’s role and grilled the dogs and had such a great time doing it. I love having my family around. Even Geni joined us for lunch as she was substituting in a kindergarten class today. It was a wonderful day.

Mark 4:19 “And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering, choke the Word, and it becomes unfruitful.”

It seems we have a greater need for God when things are not going well. When we have a load of care and are carrying burdens, we seek God out asking His guidance more than when things are rockin’ along pretty good. So here is the question…Do we see God better when we are carrying our own burdens or when we lay them at His feet in surrender? When we carry our own burdens it is like walking with a backpack too heavy for us causing us to walk looking at the ground. When we cast off our cares at the feet of the Father then we can stand and are freed from the weight because God is now taking over and, as the song says, “He carried the weight of the world on His shoulders and I know my brother/sister He can carry you.” So my friends, cast your cares at the Feet of Jesus and let Him carry you and your backpack.

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.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Happy Thursday!

Dr. Grice (dermatologist) performed the biopsies on the spots on my nose and above my lip this morning. After deadening the area, it was a painless procedure. His diagnosis was that he could see further cancerous activity in the spot on my nose. He told me that after the results come back he will send me to a skin cancer surgeon who performs the Mohs Procedure. It is done in the office, but is rather lengthy and takes all day. If I understand it correctly the procedure is performed under a microscope and is not complete until all of the affected area is free of cancer cells. Sounds like a winner to me!! After this procedure then the repair work can be done on the same day sometimes involving a plastic surgeon if necessary. I was upset this morning and phoned my Mom. I told her that cancer had not only entered our home again, but was walking around. I would be lying if I said I was not still concerned, but it seems this treatment plan has a 97% to 99% cure rate. Sounds fabulous to me!!! So, yes, I am concerned, but feel more confident in the future given the reading I have done today.

Joshua 1:7 “Only be strong and very courageous.”

God Calling May 20—“You will conquer!” I promise this was my meditation for today. God seems to know that the mention of the word cancer strikes in me a myriad of emotions all at the same time and far too many memories. I guess God knows my heart so well and needs to remind me daily of His presence. I thought about Casey today and remembered the day I told him he had cancer. Bruce, Casey and I were together in the hospital room and Casey’s response after the news and after the tears was a clear, strong voice that simply said, “I will beat this.” Today with my own situation I spoke those same words. I pray I will have the same courage as my son as I walk this road. I realize this cancer is minor compared to the life-taking disease that claimed Casey’s body, but not his spirit.

God gave Casey the courage to face cancer. What Casey did was to turn his eyes off of himself and turn his focus on God. Talk about a surrendered life. Casey knew he could not conquer anything alone, but the almighty, all powerful, ever loving and eternal God could conquer anything. Wherever God is, Victory is there also. The forces of evil take a hike when God makes His presence known and the battle is won. So today I am claiming victory in Jesus’ Name and I plan to enter the battle with a spirit of conquest and to face each step with trust in the Master Healer.

I am continuing to take joy in the journey, wearing comfortable shoes, counting my blessings and most assuredly saying prayers for me and for you. 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 19, 2010

Happy Wednesday!

This evening Bruce and I drove to Sherman to eat with Mom, Dad, my Aunt Wanda and my cousin Ronnie Helvey and his wife Carolyn. The cousins are from Mountain Home, Arkansas where he was the local veterinarian before retirement. We met at Cracker Barrel in Sherman and had such a wonderful time. It was great to have dinner with Mom and Dad as well as relatives I have not seen in years. It is funny how cousins that I looked at as so much older than me when I was young do not seem that much older now that we all have the same color hair!

Deuteronomy 33: 27 “The eternal God is my refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.”

“Rest knowing all is so safe in My Hands. Rest is Trust” (God Calling, May 20) I promise these were the first words in my meditation tonight. I really needed to hear these words. I must admit that I am a bit nervous about tomorrow morning as the cancerous spots are going to be removed from my face. As my Mom always says, “They are coming at you with a knife!” But more than that I am nervous as to what the results of the biopsies will tell. Cancer is such a devastating word in our household that when the doc said these were skin cancers I sort of went into shock. There is a strong history of melanoma in our family. And even though the doc said it did not look like melanoma I still am pretty concerned.

But I also must tell you that even though there is a strong family history of cancer in my family, there is an even stronger history of faith. The passage in Deuteronomy begins with the words with “The eternal God…” To me, that means the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is the same God of John, Peter and Paul and Bruce, Gaylene, Casey, Geni and Travis and all of you. This eternal God was the God of our history, is the God of our present and will be the God our future. He has not changed and will always be our God and He offers to us a refuge. He offers to us a place to rest our fears, concerns and a place to put our hope.

There is nothing I can do to make these spots go away on my own power. I must trust the doc to do a perfect job in the morning and for the lab techs who will read the slides to be accurate in their reporting. As a person of faith I must read and cling to the Word of God, pray on it and cling to it like a rope. I cannot hold onto a rope and try to swim to safety. Under my own power I am helpless, but if I trust the rope (the Word) and the Anchor to which it is being held strong and hold on, then I am assured to be taken safely to the shore. God our rescuer, refuge and redeemer never lets go.

Life happens to 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.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Happy Tuesday!

John 10:10 “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”

“Look unto Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth.” (God Calling, May 18.) From what are we being saved? Are we being saved from struggle and strife? Are we being saved from disease and sickness? Are we being saved from trials, adversity and heartbreak? No.

Tonight I called my Mom and Dad to tell them that I have a spot of skin cancer and another spot that looks suspicious. This was not what I was expecting to hear from the dermatologist when I went to see him today, but this is what he said. I really thought he would look at the spot and freeze it or something right there in the office and send me on my merry way. But no, he took one look at the spot and said, “It is a skin cancer and we will schedule you on one of our surgery days.” I will go in on Thursday morning and have these two spots removed and then the biopsies will be sent off to wherever they are to be studied and a determination made of their threat.

When I announced this to Mom and Dad, Mom said, “Gaylene, you have been through so much.” I simply said, “Mom, this is just life.” Then I read this passage tonight and thought about life. This abundant life God promises comes through salvation in Jesus Christ. All of the things of life and so much more happen to each of us, but the good news is that we have a God who promises to be with us and bring us through all of the tough times because of His love for us and His desire to bring us to eternal life.

I don’t just mean Eternal Life after we leave this life to live in heaven, but to begin the journey into Eternal Life with Jesus while still here on earth. Because the love of God and His grace through Jesus Christ has been promised to each of us (the verse says all) then peace beyond all understanding replaces fear, uncertainty and doubt with Joy that reigns and Hope that conquers.

The journey still continues and Joy leads the way. 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! Ashley Cromwell, one of my teammates lost her grandmother on Sunday morning at an assisted living center. She was 93 years old and Ashley was very close to her. Please pray for Ashley and her family as they grieve through the loss of the matriarch of their family.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Happy Monday!

What a day! This afternoon we were out at recess with the sun shining bright and a temperature near 90. I had some errands to run at the mall after school and as I was leaving the mall through Barnes and Nobel, the storm hit and did not stop for a while. I decided to find a Venti cup of hot cinnamon tea and wait out the storm. A worthy wait!!

1 Thessalonians 4:13 “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren concerning them which are asleep, that you sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.”

“Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” How appropriate this is for tonight with the storm. The storm was blasting and thundering away outside and I was safe, warm and dry (the cinnamon tea really helped!) inside. As I was watching the storm I began to think about the faith God wants us to have. God wants us to remember that storms are going to happen. But there is no storm that God has not already weathered. The thing about a storm is that you cannot overcome a storm, you just have to wait until it blows itself out. The way we stay warm, safe and dry is by remembering to stay in the eye of the storm. The eye of the storm is where God is.

Sometimes it seems as though storms will never end. People of faith face storms with the anticipation that the storms will end and joy will return. Joy is our hope that the expectation of the morning is without question.

Dr. Adams, Casey’s oncologist, used to tell us “the destination was never in question just sometimes the journey sucks!” How wise and faithful this dear man was (and I am sure he still is). We have all come through the storms that life throws at us knowing God never leaves us to walk the storm alone, but stays with us in the eye of each and every storm. There will be more storms to come, but if we learn the lesson of the storm and remember to stay in the eye where the peace of God is present then maybe we can all remain warm, safe and dry (with a large cup of cinnamon hot tea).

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

Today in worship we celebrated graduates both from high school and universities. Pictures were shown on the screens of each of the graduates from babies to cap and gown. It was really wonderful.

Matthew 25:21 “His master said to him, Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful and trustworthy over a little, I will put you in charge of much. Enter into and share the joy which your master enjoys.”

This whole passage beginning with vs. 14 tells the story of the talents and the vineyard owner who gave three servants talents of gold to invest and multiply while he was away. The first two servants, upon the owner’s return, had increased the vineyard owner’s wealth twofold. The owner invited the two servants to fellowship in all that the benefits and joys that he enjoyed with him because of their actions. The third servant had buried the money in the ground and returned the money to the owner just as he had been given it. The owner was very angry with the third servant’s behavior and banished the servant forever.

I had never quite understood this story until today. It was just one of those moments as this passage was being read to the congregation this morning that I began to understand (again) why Jesus spoke in parables. His parables were all to show us about the kingdom of God. God sent Jesus for the salvation of all people. Jesus died for all of us and we are given all of the blessings that God has to offer through Jesus. If we take the gift of salvation and do not share it with others then we are just like the man who buried the talents. But if we share the love of Christ then we are investing all of the riches of the kingdom of God and God’s kingdom grows on earth. More people learn of Him and learn to love Him. More people are blessed by His love, grace, forgiveness and tender mercies because God has trusted His kingdom on earth to us. Tell someone about Jesus today and what He has done for you. Invest in the kingdom and watch it grow.

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.