Saturday, August 21, 2010

Happy Saturday!

2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold all things are new.”

Our day began by attending the celebration of life service of Scott Pound. It was a well attended and a beautiful testimony to the life of Christ in Scott. He leaves behind parents, siblings, grandparents and his wife. On the back of the folder with his picture was a piece of his writing that was written late one night. He was appreciating the wife sleeping beside him, the cat purring quietly and other simple pleasures. His testimony through the pain and torment of chemotherapy and the disease of cancer was “What a wonderful world!” One of the speakers shared that “Scott always had a smile on his faith.” What a wonderful reflection of the peace that truly passes all understanding.

I must share that this was not an easy service for Bruce and I to attend. As Pastor Joel told me following the service “We have done too many of these services.” I replied, “This is one club that needs no more members - meaning a club whose members have buried their children.” The choir sang the lovely piece, “Be Not Afraid.” The last complete coherent sentence Casey spoke to me was, “Mom, I’m not afraid.” My prayers are with Scott’s family and they begin the journey of healing and grief at the loss of their son, brother, grandchild and husband. Please keep this family in your prayers.

This is a passage of scripture I have had written on my heart for a long time, but I never thought about it in this context before today. I have always thought about this verse in terms of a new relationship with Christ while still on the earth. Today I began to think about this scripture in terms of heavens citizens. When Casey died about 22 months ago he became a new creature. All of the old things of the earth passed away for him. All of the pain, hospitals, medications, twice daily blood draws, being sick from chemotherapy were gone and everything became new. I hope he was at the gate and greeted Scott just to tell him “You ain’t seen nothin’ yet!”

Casey and Scott may not have known each other but they had this one thing in common besides the disease of cancer. Their spirits were not earthbound. Their spirits were free by God’s presence in their lives. This freedom allowed their spirits to soar into the hands of the Father. Their bodies were tired, worn-out and used up be disease, but their spirits were free and at peace. Perhaps God whispered to each of them “Come unto me, all you that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.”

Perhaps there is a lesson to be learned from these two wonderful young men. Maybe we need to let go of some of the things that keep us bound to this world. Maybe we need to smile more, speak kinder words, be more helpful to those who need help, pray more, love more and recognize and appreciate the love of God in our own lives each day. Let us make our spirits a bit less heavy laden and earthbound and prepare them to soar.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes, count your blessings and say your prayers. Let us continue to pray for each other. 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 Sunday is Bruce’s birthday. Wish him a wonderful day!
Happy Friday!

It was a long day at school but my room is ready to receive first graders. Our first grade classes are full and overflowing. We are in for an interesting year.

Acts 5: 41 “And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name.”

I have been teaching for a long time - 30 plus years. And I learned a long time ago that “Learning is stumbliness and stumbliness is goodness.” First graders work really hard and have been known to stumble and fall as they learn. They get sort of frustrated when their grades are not always 100. But I tell them that we are in first grade to learn and that they were not supposed to walk into my class knowing everything. It is okay to stumble and fall as long as they get back up and keep trying.

Sometimes we are like first graders who get frustrated who stumble and fall in our faith. If we beat ourselves up over our stumbling and stay on the ground then we are not giving God enough credit to forgive and forget. God is greater than our sins, short comings and failures. If we remember how much God loves us, sinful though we are, then we need to forgive ourselves, get back up and press on towards the higher calling of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. It is through our forgiveness by God and forgiving ourselves that we are made worthy to serve our suffering Lord.

When we forgive ourselves and stop wallowing in our sin we do what children do when they edit their writing when they throw out all of the unimportant information. We must cast aside our past imperfections and feelings of failure. Through forgiveness we are raised up in love by a loving God, not in anger to be knocked back down. Our God of tender mercies raises us up in love and the willingness to begin again.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes, count your blessings and say your prayers. Let us remember to continually pray for each other. 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 Geni passed biology! Thank you for all of your prayers. Peace, gc

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Happy Thursday!

Praise God! Inservice is over for a while! Now all that is left are the finishing touches and lesson planning. I still have quite a bit to do, but the majority is ready for children on Monday. I think I am beginning the year with 24 children. That is two over the legal limit, but as grade level lead teacher I am allowed two above the limit of 22. Say a prayer for me.

John 4:24 “God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.”

When Peter was on the shore after the resurrection, Christ met Peter on the beach and asked him “Peter do you love me.” Peter answered with a Greek term meaning “brotherly” love. “Yes, I love philios you.” Jesus asks Peter the same question again and Peter responds with the same phrase. When the risen Christ asks Peter for a third time, Jesus meets Peter’s gaze and raises him up to the same level as Himself, “Peter do you love Me?” Peter responds, “Lord, you know I do.” The risen Christ then charges Peter to “Feed My sheep.” Christ needed for Peter to understand that the brotherly love he felt was not enough. Peter needed to understand agape love; the selfless-sacrificing love of God through Christ. Only then could Peter serve in the capacity of the call of Christ.

When God came to earth to inhabit a human temple, to house His divinity, He brought to earth His divine power. This power through Christ was to be forever expressed in the children of God who accepted Jesus and opened their hearts to His and sought to live an agape life. God came to earth in human form so that we could experience His divine power through the Holy Spirit.

So when we worship God, we bow before Him to be reminded that He took on our humanity to raise our humanity to divinity. He has called each of us to His purpose. So we must learn to love as He loves and learn to feed the sheep.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes, count your blessings and say your prayers. Let us continue to pray for one another. 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 The celebration of life service for Scott Pound will be this Saturday morning at 11:00 at Advent Lutheran Church in Arlington, Texas.

The Summer Womens Bible Study has been moved to August 28 at Advent Lutheran Church from 9:00—1:30. Bring a Salad to share. I would love to see you there. Love you, gc
Happy Wednesday.

It's going to be short tonight. Gaylene is wiped from preparing her room for her students, but she says when you have good material, you can't go wrong!

The scripture for tonight is Romans 8:2 "For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death." Amen and amen.

We ask your prayers for all of the teachers who are preparing to have their best year ever of teaching. Also, prayers for all students, that they may learn to their full capacity this coming school year.

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, August 17, 2010

Happy Tuesday!

What a wonderful and very long day! Convocation for teachers in FWISD is a giant inspirational pep rally. We all dress in our school shirts, bring noise makers, and bounce a beach ball all over the Wilkerson-Grines gymnasium. We are greeted by bands, cheerleaders and cold drinks provided by a local Coca-Cola distributer.

Inside, the music is great, totally rockin’ and everybody dances. We celebrate the victories of student achievement, own the failures and are inspired by a phenomenal speaker. Dr. Johnson congratulates us on a great year and charges us to excel even further in the coming year.

Isaiah 55:12 “For you shall go out with joy, and be led forward with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.”

I am approaching retirement in the next year or so. As I listened to Dr. Johnson and our speaker I began to think about how many more convocations will I attend? How many more trainings will I attend? How many more times will I prepare a room for a class of children and stress over the first day of school? I have spent the last 30 plus years of my life teaching children to read and helping them to look for answers in books and applying those answers to their lives.

As I look toward a change in my career there are some bittersweet moments as I reach a point of ending one life and beginning another. I have no doubt that God has called me to the ministry, but when I begin to think about not teaching it makes me a little sad.

I really needed to read this verse today. It seemed that God was reassuring me that when the time comes that His joy and His peace will be in my heart and I will be able to retire when it is time. So I praise God for His Word and His constant care during this time. I think I am beginning to grasp why faith is a gift from God. Our faith in God is contained in His Word and the gift of His Word never stops. It is sort of the gift that keeps on giving. Our task is to continue to seek His Word and just like Dr. Johnson charged us today with raising the bar of excellence on ourselves and in our teaching, the gift of faith continues to grow each time we are obedient to God’s call in our lives and seek direction through His Word.

Someone at some point taught you to read. And then they taught you how to understand what you read. What a gift you have received! God’s people thousands of years ago were given the task of writing down God’s Word through inspired hearts and minds. It is our task to take that word and have it be meaningful in our lives. If we don’t continue to learn through God’s word then how can we share God’s Word and gift of faith with others?

Take a few minutes each day to read a few verses and then pray about their meaning for your life. Take joy in the journey (we will be led forth in joy!). Wear comfortable shoes, count your blessings and say your prayers. Let us continue to pray for each other. 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 Monday!

Today was the first day back in the swing of things at school. No students as yet, just meetings and renewing friendships with the teachers and staff at Burton Hill. It was a great day. As for my classroom…all boxes are gone, the furniture is set and two bulletin boards are covered with one board ready for names to be added. I have two more boards to cover and put into use. The accomplishment today was the creation of “Frog Lobby.” This is a sitting area outside my classroom door complete with two purple and white TCU chairs, a book stand with books for reading and a cute little bear sitting amidst two purple and white pom-poms. It is really cute. Go Frogs!

Matthew 4:23 “And Jesus went about all Galilee, healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.”

The first word in my meditation tonight was “rest.” I thought, “well I have heard about that word, but never put it into use the week prior to school starting!” The next phrase says, “It is wrong to force work.” As I was working in my classroom after a full day of meetings I kept saying, “I am going to cover one more board and then I am going home.” And then I did a few more things and repeated the same “I am going home.” Finally after placing a pocket chart on the wall and pulling it down twice, I got the message. I gathered my things and went home.

When I finally sat down I began to rest. As I prepared to write I began to feel the tiredness wane with the anticipation of spending a few moments with God and His Word. After reading the passage I realized that I needed to be healed of my tiredness. Yes, I realize sleep will help relieve me of the weariness, but resting on God’s Word is a place of rest.

The passage of scripture says the words, “all manner of…” Just like the sleep I will get tonight will help restore my body and prepare it for the tasks of tomorrow, reading and claiming God’s healing Word will help restore my spirit and ready me to meet the challenges tomorrow will bring. I never thought about asking for healing from tiredness, but tiredness is not just physical, but can be spiritual, mental and emotional. When one part of you is tired then it affects the remainder of the aspects of your life. So God calls us to claim Him as healer and rest on His Word. He is the cure, for rest and Peace.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes, count your blessings and say your prayers. Let us continue to pray for each other. 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, August 15, 2010

Blessed Sunday! What an amazing day!

1 Timothy 1:12 “I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength to do His work. He considered me trustworthy and appointed me to serve Him.”

Okay, this is a God moment.

This morning, upon arrival at church, I was informed that Scott Pound’s funeral service would be at 11:00 on next Saturday morning. If that were to be true then the service would be in the middle of the Summer Women’s Bible Study. I soon ascertained that it was true, so the Bible study is being postponed until most likely the next Saturday (I will let you know). Under normal circumstances that would not be a problem, but on the 28th (the next Saturday, remember?) Travis competes in a power lifting event and I was planning to attend in support. Nancy Kuper, the woman in charge of the event, asked if I could still present on the 28th.

Now I am caught between a rock and a hard place. My Bible Study piece is prepared, but that still leaves the decision of whether to attend the power lifting meet or not. I was really torn about this. So I sat down to pray. After a brief prayer time the scripture lesson was read and the passage was 1 Timothy 1:12.

God has been teaching me about obedience all summer long. My answer came in this brief passage. God has called me to the ministry. If I am to be obedient to the call then I must honor my commitment to the Bible Study and prayerfully support Travis. This was my first challenge from Satan. But when I heard the passage I knew what to do and Satan was defeated.

I must admit this reality of the ministry to which I have been called hit me square in the face and heart today. I spoke with Nancy after worship and shared with her about my first battle with Satan and its outcome. I told her it would be my incredible joy to share during the Bible study even whenever it is and to serve as I have been appointed. I will have many more decisions just like this to make throughout my ministry. This one was reasonably small and when I asked God for an answer His answer was immediate and quite clear. So maybe when really difficult choices come throughout this ministry I will be able to answer the call in joyful obedience.

The power of prayer is enormous. I know that I cannot even begin to continue through school and this ministry without walking the journey grounded in prayer. Prayers from my own heart, from those around me and all of you who read this blog will be instrumental, inspiring and lovingly received and so appreciated.

Pray your needs to God and then listen for His answer. God always answers prayers. Maybe not as quickly as my received answer this morning, but answers will come and you, as I was today, will be blessed.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes, count your blessings and say your prayers. Let us continue to pray for each other and for the family of Scott Pound. Love you all so much and thank you mighty and faithful prayer warriors, 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 Saturday!

First update; our friend, Scott Pound, joined the Church Triumphant on Friday night. I ask your prayers for his parents Kathy and Robb and his wife of 13 years Melisa. He battled cancer for 7 years. Services are pending.

I was very saddened when I read the news of Scott’s death. My heart broke for Kathy, Robb and Melisa as I well know how their hearts are broken and the sadness they feel is greater than any emotion they have ever felt before. I have had numerous conversations with Kathy and she kept asking me how I got through it. The only thing I could tell her was the grace of God, prayer, both individual and corporate and being able to write daily. There is now a big hole in all of their lives that words, work or busyness can never fill. Scott, just like Casey, was never restored to health, but they were both most assuredly healed. Now this family needs to heal. Healing takes time. When one person in your life has a devastating disease, they carry the disease, but all who are close and walk the journey with them experience the disease, just in a different way. This family needs your prayers. There are no words of comfort, no matter how well meaning and kindly they are offered, but the ministry of prayer and presence has powerful meaning.

John 4:13, 14 “Whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him…shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.”

Water is an amazing gift from God. Water is used for cleansing and restoring. Water mixed with soap cleans the daily dirt from our bodies and when you drink it your body’s chemical balance can be restored. When showered on the grass or flowers it restores them to new life (especially this summer with temperatures consistently in the 100’s!)

God offers the gift of water. The water God offers is the gift of the living water of His love for us through Jesus and our baptism. God thought it important enough to use this precious symbol of His love that He required His own Son to be washed in the waters of the river as a symbol of leaving His private life behind and beginning His public life. This One life was completely committed and sacrificed to show God’s love for us and it all began with water.

Okay, folks, it is August in Texas. It’s hot, dry and then hot some more. Can you imagine someone, when offered a glass or bottle of ice cold water on one of these hot days saying, “No thanks?” How sad it must make God when this precious living water of eternal and everlasting life is offered and there are those who reject it.

One of the richest, choicest gifts God gives to us is the gift of water—His hand outstretched and free to all. There are still those who will not accept this amazing gift. God offers at no cost to us abundant live, joyous life, powerful life, and it all began with a dip in the river. Remember your baptism and live life abundantly and with everlasting joy!

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.