Saturday, September 11, 2010

Happy Friday!

Matthew 6:24 “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other,…You cannot serve God and mammon.”

When Jesus was baptized He put aside his private life and His public life began. Upon the completion of His baptism, God pronounced a blessing on Jesus and Jesus obediently went into the wilderness to be prepared for the ministry to which God had called Him. God set Jesus apart from the world and into a life of obedient service to Himself. While in the wilderness Jesus was offered the world and all of its charms and riches. Jesus stood face to face with Satan and put the world behind Him. When Jesus walked out of the wilderness He would live in the world, but His purpose was a heavenly one. Jesus was called to reconcile the world back unto Himself, to model the godly life and to show the depth of God’s love for the people of the earth, His creation.

When we come into relationship with God through Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit we are called to the same high calling. As Joyce Meyer says, “We can’t live with one foot in heaven and one foot on the earth.” Through the waters of our own baptism we are washed clean not only of our sins, but are given a heavenly calling while living and working in the kingdom here on the earth. We are called to live and model a godly life and show the depth of God’s love for His people in all we meet, those with whom we work and especially those with whom we live and love the most.

Take joy in the journey. 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.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Happy Thursday!

Wow! What a day! I went for the counseling interview today. I met with a counselor who had read my autobiography and reviewed all of my testing results. For the most part the testing really nailed me and proved accurate. As I presented myself in person, she discovered that the testing and my written words all combined showed an authentic picture of me.

We developed the recommendations for future growth in about three sentences.

  • First, I need to finish seminary.
  • Second, I need to have varied pastoral care giving experiences to broaden my awareness of the different paths people walk.
  • Last, I need to transition from thinking as a teacher, parent and fixer of things to learning to ask questions which allow people to come to their own conclusions about the issues in their lives. And these skills will come into place the more I learn through seminary and experience in the pastoral care field.

2 Corinthians 2:14 “But thank God! He has made us His captives and continues to lead us along in Christ’s triumphal procession. Now He uses us to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere like sweet perfume.”

The best way we can spend our lives is to stay as near and as connected to God as we possibly can. The outcome will be perfect success, but it will be success not measured in earthly standards, but in heavenly reward. God measures success far differently than does the world. The world may deem what we do as failure, but God judges on the level of eternity. When we bow our knees in amazement before the revelation of God in Jesus we see the Truth of God and hear His voice.

As I unraveled my life today in the counselor’s office and began to summarize the different parts of my life, one of the things we discussed is the transition I am going to have to make from being an educator to being a pastoral care giver. My current identity is that of a teacher and I am wired to assess a student or situation and quickly put things into place to find the problem and move the child along in their education. As a pastoral care giver I have everything to learn.

I will need to treat this time of transition using one of my favorite metaphors, the garden. My first task is to realize that the first labor that must occur is me. God has planted the seed (the calling to His set-apart service) then I must weed (remove anything that might interfere with the growth and maturity of the seedling) and continue to dig and learn all I can. As the seed continues to grow I will find the need to prune any deadness so that new growth may happen and allow the plant to bear fruit. When God has sufficiently prepared this seedling and matured me into a fruit bearing plant then I will be led out of the garden to plant seeds into other fields.

So here is the question…Are you willing to be the laborer in your own field and let God plant His seed of ministry into your heart and bring it to fruition and lead you to plant seeds in other fields? Just some food for thought...

Thank you for your prayers today. God’s presence was so strong today and I know it was because I was covered in prayer by all of you. Take joy in the journey. Count your blessings and say your prayers. Let us continue to pray for each other daily. 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, September 8, 2010

Happy Wednesday!

Today’s funny: Travis came to my school to pick me up for my class at TCU. The children in my class had never seen Travis before. I was playing a game with some children in the floor and the other children were working on Math games and finishing some Social Studies. All at once my classroom got very quiet and then Travis walked into my classroom. The next sound I heard was my class collectively as if on cue, “Whooooooooooah.” It was so funny. I doubled over laughing while still in the floor and in walked my principal. She asked Travis if he was causing chaos. All he did was walk in the door. She was really great and Travis quickly became the center of attention. It was a fun end to my school day.

Deuteronomy 5:33 “Stay on the path that the Lord your God has commanded you to follow. Then you will live long and prosperous lives in the land you are about to enter and occupy.”

I promise this was the scripture dated for today. God never fails to get my attention and send assurance in time of need. Tomorrow is my interview with the counseling and career planning service. I have never been through an interview like this and I am just a bit nervous. And then God sends this scripture of assurance and I feel better. Now I will most likely be somewhat anxious tomorrow as the hour of 1:00 approaches, but I know God will be with me and I have prayed the intercessory prayer for the Holy Spirit to go before me and prepare the counselor with whom I am to meet and to prepare me for whatever this interview holds. I have asked the Holy Spirit to remain between us as the afternoon progresses. My goal for this interview is that the counselor will send a positive recommendation to the synod and that the candidacy process for me will continue on to the next step. I pray to be found worthy of recommendation.

The meditation tonight tells me to walk in the love of God, to be conscious of God’s Presence. Walking in God’s Presence will allow me to open myself to the examiner and reveal the nature of God that resides in me.

When we walk in God’s Presence then we walk in peace. Peace brings relief from nervousness and return to joy. (You know joy is one of my most favorite words!) God’s Word speaks of these two words in scripture; “The peace that passes all understanding” and the “Joy that no man can take from you.” When we walk in the love of God and in His presence, we walk with gladness of heart and a spirit of one who has conquered. It is not a walk of boastful pride, but a walk of calm assurance that the One who gave His life for us and was resurrected continues to walk with us today.

Take joy in the journey. Count your blessings and say your prayers. Let us continue to pray for one another daily and tonight especially for those affected by the flood waters of today. May they sleep warm and dry tonight and begin to recover and be restored by God’s tender mercy and His eternal grace. May God’s people step forward and be Jesus for them as they experience the aftermath of their losses.

Love you all, mighty, faithful and powerful 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.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Happy Tuesday!

As I am watching the weather man on TV I am seeing the awesome power of God’s creation. Tonight as the storm goes on around our home we are comfortable, dry and all together safe within our house.

Psalm 71: 7 “I am as a wonder unto many; but You are my strong refuge.”

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

I remember when each of my children was born. I also remember my most treasured moments after their births were spent rocking them in my arms. When Geni was born she had some health issues that did not allow her to come home right away and even prohibited me from holding her in the hospital. I could look at her through the glass of the encased isolet, but could not take her out and hold her. So I would sit in the rocker they provided for me and just watch her through the glass and look at her for hours at a time.

When we finally got to bring her home I sat in our rocker and held her for four solid hours. I remember looking at her and trying to memorize her face and tracing her tiny body with my hands as I rocked her hoping to never forget this moment and the joy experienced as I held my tiny, beautiful baby daughter. My arms may have tired in that four hours, but I never gave her up to anyone. Whether Geni knew it or not she was learning to depend on me to hold her and keep her safe no matter what. Holding each of my children are moments I treasure and hope to never forget.

God’s arms are untiring. He is our refuge. We are His creation and He has our face memorized on His heart and mind because of His love for us. Life hands us difficulties and tough roads and God offers Himself to each of us as refuge. While we are in His protective grace we are strengthened. We are strengthened through rest and believing in the truth of His Word that nothing is too difficult with Him on our side. There is no trial too great that we cannot take refuge in His arms. We need to remember these powerful, loving, untiring arms are available to us at all times and repeat this truth until all our fears are gone.

Take joy in the journey. Count your blessings and say your prayers. Let us remember to pray for each other daily. Love you all mighty 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.

PS Please pray for our senior pastor Joel Burkholder as he recovers from surgery today. Thanks, gc

Monday, September 6, 2010

Happy Monday and Labor Day!

We celebrated Labor Day around here with lots of labor going on! I had a list of things I needed to accomplish before school in the morning and Bruce and Travis spent a good part of the day doing yard work and helping a client out with an emergency. But we did have dinner outside on the deck. It was nice to have weather cool enough to picnic outside.

Acts 16:31 “They replied, Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved.”

For a time after Casey died I used to worry greatly about Geni and Travis not walking back through our door during the day. Every time I heard a siren I would imagine the accident was them and that I would lose them too. I don’t know whether this is a normal reaction for parents who have lost a child, but it was mine. After a while I finally talked to Bruce about my feelings. In his wisdom he said, “God is taking care of Geni and Travis, just as He is taking care of Casey.”

God’s love transcends time and space and takes care of each of us in eternal life. We begin eternal life when we enter into relationship with Jesus. When our loved ones go to live with God for all eternity they are safe in His care. The citizens of heaven love to serve and serve the God of all creation in a state of constant joy.

While we are serving Him on the earth we, too, are safe in his care because He promises through His Word to never leave us or forsake us. We, like the heavenly citizens, spend our earthly life learning to know God through study of the Word and prayer. As we learn of Him we draw near to Him and we are near and dear to Him and safe in His care.

Take joy in this eternal journey. Wear comfortable shoes, count your blessings and say your prayers. Let us continue to pray for each other daily. 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, September 5, 2010

Blessed Sunday to you all!

Mark 6: 41—44 “When He had taken the five loaves and the two fishes, He …blessed and broke the loaves…and they did eat of the loaves were about five thousand men.”

I love this story. It has always been one of my favorites. God, through Jesus, is teaching the five thousand and all of us that He is our supply. Jesus saw the crowd getting hungry and became a means for their supply. In those broken loaves and two fish is the hope we all need. It is not just a matter of daily sustenance. God is teaching us to rely on him for everything. He is teaching us to lay our burdens at His feet and believe that God will lift them and deal with each burden we bear as he sees fit. When we drop our burdens at His feet then we leave assured in the knowledge that God is there and loves us so much and desires our trust in Him in all things. If we do not leave our burdens at the feet of the Father then we carry them, encumbered by their weight and eventually we fall.

Whatever road we have walked in the past and whatever roads we will walk in the future God has already walked them ahead of us and has planned the best path for each of us to follow. Just as He fed those five thousand with the blessing of those fish and loaves, God feeds us with the generosity of His hand and the kindness of His heart. When we rely on God He provides guidance, forgiveness, strength and help in time of need. What an amazing God we serve who provides our means of being sustained physically through “daily bread,” knowledge through ”His Word", communication through “prayer” and a means to serve His kingdom by placing people who need to hear about Him in our path. We can bless loaves and fishes for those in need because God has given to us the ministry of helping others to know and learn to love Him through the power of the cross, the mystery of the resurrection and the love He has for each of us and His people.

Take extraordinary joy in the journey. Count you blessings and say your prayers. Let us continue to pray for each other daily. 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: My sister-in-law Sheena is in Hawaii with her daughter, Asenath, awaiting the birth of Asenath and Cody’s first child. I ask your prayers for Asenath and baby Holly, for a safe delivery and a healthy baby. Thanks and peace, gc