Saturday, June 12, 2010

Happy Saturday!

Today, our niece Asenath was honored with a baby shower. It was an awesome baby shower! Baby Holly will be the most fashionable dressed baby on the beach. There were several pairs of sandals and sun glasses. She also received several blankets, which begs the question, “Do people in Hawaii use blankets?” Each of the mothers in the room was asked to give a piece of motherly advice as their gift was presented to Asenath. My advice was first, a little rice cereal in the night bottle and the baby sleep through the night. Next, (since she is having a girl) it always comes down to hair. And last, to teach your babies that family comes first.

Asenath will complete school at Texas Tech in two weeks. Her graduation will consist of standing in front of the Texas Tech statue of the Rough Rider in her sister’s graduation gown and cap with diploma in hand, then she will be on a plane to join her husband in Hawaii. He is stationed at Pearl Harbor. Ken and Sheena already have planned visits for the fall when the baby comes and then all of the family including her sisters will go at Christmas.

Jeremiah 26: 13 “Therefore now amend your ways and your doings, and obey the voice of the Lord your God.”

Well, now, here’s an admonition! In short, “Clean up your act and do what I say!” I think one of the hardest things for we who believe in God through Jesus to be is obedient. I am 54 years old and having been living a daily walk with Christ since I was 15 years old and I would love to tell you that I am an obedient child. I am obedient in some ways, but still struggle with that whole obedience thing.

Obedience is the greatest sign of faith we can show. When we are obedient to God even when the world tells us “no, do it this way,” or “its okay to do this, no one will know.” When we stand steadfast in our obedience in the face of temptation or adversity, then we show the world and God that we have faith in God and not in the world. God richly rewards and blesses obedience in His children. This kind of obedience does not happen overnight. This kind of obedience comes from daily spending time with the Father and learning to listen and hear what He expects of us. God speaks to us in prayer, through His Word and through His people. Obedience is the truest expression of the believer’s relationship with the Father. When we exercise obedience God dwells within us.

Asenath and Cody have an amazing adventure ahead of them as the raise this precious little one. They will struggle with their own obedience and when this child defies them (and she will) they will learn to lovingly teach her right from wrong and as Geni’s advice today said, “Be safe and make good decisions.” God lovingly guides us down the path of obedience and rejoices when we are safe and make good decisions.

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, June 11, 2010

Happy Friday!

Bruce and Travis got home safely from a wonderful camping trip with my brother Ken. They swam, they fished, they climbed Enchanted Rock and ate at someplace that serves meat right out of the pit, many pits. Travis thought he had fallen off Enchanted Rock and landed in heaven.

John 16:33 “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you might have peace. In the world you shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”

Did you ever think that peace was just something you had heard about? When the children were little the time just before dinner was anything but a time of peace. They were fussy with me, with each other and all wanted my time right then especially when I was just trying to get dinner on the table. Or do you remember when your children were little and the phone rang? Your house was peaceful until that moment and then as soon as you answered the phone everyone has a demand that must be met or the fight was on! I remember one time it was so bad that I left the house and locked myself in the car to finish the conversation. It was anything but a peaceful time.

Peace does not always mean a quiet time. Peace means having a grounded faith that says that no matter what is going on around you, God is there in the midst and is in control because we have asked Him to be there.

The absence of peace happens when we do not recognize or ask for God’s presence and think we can handle the issue ourselves. My devotion tonight says that “Peace is loving faith at rest.” That is a wonderful expression of a heart and soul devoted to God and living in His peace all the time. It does not mean the absence of conflict, noise, disagreement, or a broken heart. Peace, God’s perfect peace, is present in all of these events in our lives. Peace is a gift from God that is given when we recognize and embrace the love He has for us and our faith rests in Him.

Rest means that we are not struggling. Rest is laying all we are and all we have before the Father and not picking it back up. When we leave it all at the feet of the Father, we can peacefully go about our day with a heart and mind free of clutter and filled with the Spirit of peace. God tells us in His Word that the hard times are going to come, but that He has overcome the world and that we as believers are receivers of His peace.

So, friends, give your burdens and cares today over to the One who has already overcome. Put your feet up, close your eyes and give thanks to the Father who loves you and rest peacefully!

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, June 10, 2010

Greetings from Austin St.

Happy Thursday! This has been my first day of summer break. I hesitate to call it a vacation due to so many things to do, but it is a break from teaching school for a short time.

Bruce, Travis and my brother Ken have been camping since yesterday. They went to the Hill country and climbed Enchanted Rock, tried to raft but the area was closed, went swimming and got in some fishing. They will return tomorrow. My brother, who is the father of four girls, husband to one wife and about to be a grandfather to a granddaughter, needed some “guy” time. From all indications they have had a completely awesome time!

Hebrews 13:15 “By Him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His Name.”

Today I went to the bank to make a tiny deposit. It was only $6.00. It was a check for jury services I had laid on my desk and forgotten about. I was afraid that the teller would laugh at such a small amount, but she was just as gracious and the bank honored this small amount as if I had made a deposit for $1000.00.

Remembering to give thanks to God throughout each day for things great and small is sort of like making small deposits in God’s bank account. When we remember to give thanks throughout each day these deposits add up. When we are in need of a withdrawal when it is so hard to give thanks there is a large deposit on the account and God guarantees the deposit and disperses His tender mercies to meet our need and more. The small check I deposited was given in thanks for participating in the jury system. The system knows that this is not very much money, but if you serve long enough those days can really add up.

God is glorified when we give thanks for everything and give Him the glory. When people of faith offer thanks, Jesus takes our thank offerings and lays them before the Father. All of our ‘thankful’ deposits are honored by God and no deposit is too small. In His Word, when we call upon God in the name of Jesus, the storehouse of God’s blessings open wide and His deliverance rains down upon us. I believe we can take that to the bank!

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes, count your blessings and say your prayers. Love you all, Bruce, Gaylene, Geni and Travis

PS My editor is not here so if there are errors please forgive me and he will be back tomorrow. gc

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Greetings from Austin St.

Happy Tuesday! This entry is being written through tiredness and fatigue from our very long day today. We left Howe (Mom and Dad’s house) around 8:00 and arrived in Okema, Oklahoma around 11: 30 am. The day was really quite wonderful. Cherri Brown was sort of the Martha Stewart of Okema. One of her passions was flowers. She set as her task to plant flowers and beautify the small Oklahoma town. The church and community welcomed all guests, even the ones from Texas, with loving kindness and abundant grace. The lunch served was delicious and this precious community made sure that each glass stayed filled and that your empty plate was either thrown away or refilled. The service was uplifting with rousing music led by Tony, Cherri’s husband. The sermon was one of hope and a wonderful tribute to the life of Christ as expressed in the life of Cherri Brown. The final portion of the service was a special expression of Cherri’s life as she loved Motown. The slide presentation was accompanied by Motown’s finest; My Girl, Aretha Franklin’s R-E-S-P-E-C-T and Diana Ross and the Supremes “I Need Love.” We exited the service to KC and the Sunshine Band and “Celebrate Good Times.” Cherri was an extraordinary woman of faith who wanted others to be filled with the Spirit of God and get to heaven, for her community work to continue and for all of us to spend our lives loving others as Christ has loved us. I ask you to pray for Tony as he begins a new chapter in his life without his beloved Cherri. He too is a man of extraordinary faith. But even a man of faith can have a broken heart and grieve at the loss of the love of his life.

Let us take to heart Cherri’s final wishes and love more, make things more beautiful and embrace the Spirit of Christ and join her and others in heaven some day. Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes, count your blessings and say your prayers. Love you all, Bruce, Gaylene, Geni and Travis

Monday, June 7, 2010

Blessed Sunday!

I received a phone call from my Aunt Wanda this afternoon telling me of the death of my cousin’s wife, Cherri Brown, who died from ovarian cancer. She and my cousin Tony had been married around 25 years. The funeral is Tuesday in Okemah, Oklahoma. I will reschedule my surgery for another time to attend the funeral. Bruce and I will leave tomorrow after dinner to spend the night with Mom and Dad. Ken and Sheena will meet us at Mom and Dad’s house early Tuesday morning and we will all travel together to the service.

Philippians 4:19 “My God shall supply all you need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”

When someone in your family dies, friends, family and neighbors always ask, “What can we do?” The truth is that at that moment there is nothing anyone can do for you. Your heart is shredded and you don’t know what to say. You don’t know if you want company or to be left alone. You don’t know if you are hungry or if you will ever be hungry again. All you know is that there is a big empty place in your heart where your loved one used to reside. And even though you know that your loved one is with Jesus and you are grateful they are no longer in pain and anguish, but are happy and rejoicing in God, there are no earthly words or actions that can ease your pain or fill the emptiness.

The more I learn about God, the more amazed I become. Tonight, Tony does not need a God of Strength, he needs a God of Tenderness. He doesn’t need a God of Salvation, he needs a God of Compassion. So what did Tony do today? He went fishing. Tony is a wonderful man of faith and I feel sure that he met God on the water in the quiet of the lake.

Isn’t it amazing that God can meet our needs and still be God? God does not staff out meeting our needs, He attends to them personally. Man cannot be all things to all people, but God is all things to all people. He is the God of love, tenderness, strength, mercy, healing and a list too long to put on paper. God is all things to all people, but He is the God who meets us personally, according to our needs.

So tonight I ask you to pray for Tony as he sleeps alone in his house and begins to learn to live without his beloved Cherri. She was a precious person and a mighty woman of faith. She will be missed by many.

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

PS Please. keep Geni in your prayers as she begins her double life in Denton(UNT) by day and Hurst(TCC) by night. Peace, gc

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Happy Saturday!

Last evening I was volunteered to help with the school lock-in. Our principal told the third, fourth and fifth graders they could have a lock-in if they achieved an “exemplary” rating on their TAKS Test. They achieved!!! I ran the dance room. When we (Geni and me) finally got home around 9:30 pm for all day at school and then the lock-in, I was triple exhausted, or as my Mom would say, “My tired hurts.” I was so tired I could not even talk, I could only nod. It was a wonderful party and the kids all had a great time. It was a fitting celebration for a year’s worth of hard work.

1 Kings 19: 11,12 “And after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire, and after the fire a still small voice.”

Remember the story of the disciples on the sea and the storm rocks their boat? They are really frightened. Jesus is below the deck asleep. Jesus was not part of the storm. The disciples, in their distress and fear, became part of the storm. They go and wake Jesus from His sleep and all He says quietly is “Peace, be still.” The storm on the sea is calmed.

If you ever watched MASH, Col. Blake was forever trying to get the camp staff to listen, by yelling at them. Then Radar would stand and quietly say, “Quiet.” The meeting immediately came to order.

God tends to speak quietly to us. My problem is that I have usually been talking so much that I could not hear Him. The best part is that God knows me so well that He continues to speak until I am ready to hear Him. He does not seem to raise His voice even though He must become really exasperated. But when I do listen and act in obedience I am never disappointed. So in the words of Lily Moscovits in The Princess Diaries, “Shut up and listen!”

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