Friday, December 30, 2011

Happy New Year’s Eve Eve! (or Friday)

Mom update: Mom went to the rehab hospital today. I missed being able to speak with her. When I called her new room she did not answer and when I called the office of the rehab they did not pick up either. Dad tried to do the same and got the same response. He is going out in the morning and find out the why this occurred and then will call me.

I think the stress of all of this has finally caught up to Dad as he thought he had picked up a stomach bug and really did not feel good today. Daddy is never sick. Please keep praying for both of them. Thank you, mighty and faithful prayer warriors.

Prayer: “Lord and Savior, thank You for calling me to Your service. Thank you for giving me a purpose that is beyond this earth and for allowing me to invest my time, money, and talents into something that is eternal. I am willing to be thought of as “different” for You in order that You may do all You desire through my life. Lord, I am available for You to use today as a messenger of the gospel in someone’s life. For Jesus’ sake, Amen”

Romans 15:16 “That I might be a minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering of the Gentiles might be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.”

In the Old Testament the priests of Levi wore different clothing, lived apart from the rest of the community and performed different tasks that anyone else. They were set apart for the function of ministering to God on behalf of the people. Their primary tasks were to offer sacrifices and make offerings acceptable to God.

We are God’s servants. But we are servants of Jesus Christ who offered Himself as a sacrifice for each of us. We no longer need to offer blood sacrifices and make animal offerings to God. Instead we are to offer up to God our hearts, our service, our faith and our lives. Because we are joint heirs with Jesus we are set apart for the ministry of presenting the gospel, the good news, to those who do not know Christ. It is our ministry to bring to God those who have been made holy and acceptable by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. We who are priests and those who come to the altar of grace are sanctified and consecrated to Jesus Christ.

So here is the question of the day…When we see Jesus face to face…how many offerings will we be able to place before Him?

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes. Count your blessings and say your prayers. Continue to pray for our families. Thank you, faithful prayer warriors. 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 only moved by what I believe and I believe God.
Happy Thursday!

Today Geni and I had a wonderful lunch with one of my closest friends at Potager’s Restaurant. The correct name of the restaurant is Potager’s Natural Café and Other Stuff. The food was totally delicious and the conversation was wonderful. We were able to catch up on the goings-on in our lives. I think the holidays are a great time to renew friendships reminding each of us of how important friendships are to each of us.

Mom update: My Mom is sort of a miracle lady. When I spoke with her today she was cheerful and claimed to be in no pain. I personally don’t get it, but I do give thanks. She is relatively sure she is going to the rehab hospital in the morning. She is a bit apprehensive about all of this and so I told her that she had nothing to fear because she was the woman who, when she wakes up in the morning, Satan just says, “Oh, snap! She’s up again!” I know she will be a perfect patient and will push herself beyond what the therapists ask her to do. Thank you for all of you prayers and please continue to pray for both Mom and Dad.

Prayer: “Good morning, Father. You alone are God, and beside You, there is no other. I praise You for Your patience with my human failures, for Your gentleness with my compulsiveness, and for Your grace with my weaknesses. I choose to live for You alone, to live to please You alone, and to serve You above everything else today. My heart is Your throne today, and nothing else is there but You. Be magnified in my absolute abandonment to You. In the name of Jesus, Amen.”

Leviticus 19: 4 “Do not turn to idols, nor make for yourselves molded gods; I am the Lord your God.”

In my Old Testament class I learned about the idols the nation of Israel would create when they would walk out of fellowship and obedience with God. But I also learned that God was less upset with the idols created and far more upset with the idols the Israelites had carved in their hearts. The Jews had not only set up idols of stone, metal and wood, but according to Ezekiel they had “set up idols in their hearts.”

John ended his first letter by saying, “Little children, keep yourselves from idols.” (1 John 5:21) Do we worship idols in our lives today? We have lots of circumstances in our lives that Satan will use to entice us to worship material things and turn aside from God. This time of year Satan is really in our faces 24/7. Let us remember the gift of salvation given to each of us in the life and death of Jesus. Let us fix our hearts on God and place our total trust in Him who loves us so much. The material idols can be broken and destroyed, but the love of Christ can overcome the idols of our hearts and can never be broken for it is fired by the salvation of the crucified Christ, shaped by His love and grace and faithfully promised in His holy Word. All we have to do is believe.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes (speaking of shoes, I received a gift from my beloved husband - a pair of purple Doc Martin boots. Travis called them “Frog metal jacket.” He is too funny.) Count your blessings and say your prayers. Love you all and keep praying, Bruce, Gaylene, Geni and Travis.

I am not moved by what I see. I am not moved by what I feel. I am only moved by what I believe and I believe God.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Happy Wednesday!

The tree and wreath went to recycling today. All the trappings of the Christmas holiday went into boxes and bags and Bruce and Travis placed all of the boxes and containers back in the attic. We have put the outside effects of Christmas to bed for another year. May we all keep the feelings and meaning of Christmas in our hearts long past the time we have put away the decorations.

Update on Mom: I spoke with Mom this morning and she sounded much more like her old self. The gout is painful but is being managed. She got out of bed and sat in a chair for a good while. We count this as good progress. It looks as if the rehab hospital she will go to is going to be much closer to their home than in the original plan. Praise God!

Prayer: “Precious Lord, I praise You for having a plan and a purpose for my life. Your ways are so different than my ways and Your thoughts so above my thoughts. You are my guide, my compass, my GPS, and my traveling companion. Lord, thank You for that today. You will lead me beside still waters and in the right paths I should follow. Use Your Word to give me direction for today’s journey and for decisions about tomorrow. I am so blessed to know that You blaze a trail for me today. Thank You, Lord, Amen.”

Psalm 119: 59 “I thought about my ways, and turned my feet to Your testimonies.”

The first sentence of my meditations tonight was “Have you ever been traveling on a journey and realized you may not be going in the right direction? (I laughed out loud at that question!) As many of you who know me personally or by my journal writing, I am seriously directionally challenged! But in my adventures in being lost I realize I have two choices: either turn around and try to correct my directional error or keep going and hope the destination will present itself. (My third option, the one I do most of all is call Bruce.)

In our spiritual lives the psalmist nails us pretty well. The psalmist confesses that he thought about his ways, turned around and began again in God’s Word. This must be a scripture that really hacks Satan off. First, the psalmist confesses that he thought about what he was doing. Satan uses all of his ways to distract us from following the path God has laid out. When we stop and think, we block out the distractions. When we stop to ask God where He is leading us then we are lead to make the necessary correction…in other words, we ask forgiveness and repent. Once our direction has been corrected and we are walking the path God set before us we must consider this decision not on the words of man’s philosophy, but on the “testimonies of God.” We must stand firm and walk on the assurance of God’s unshakable Holy Word.

You know each of us has a little bit of the prodigal son in us. He was a pretty lost young man and yet his father watched each day from the porch waiting for his son to correct his course and come home. The greatest part of this story is that no matter what happens in our life, God knows where we are and loves us even when we stray. We are at the heart of God’s GPS and He never gives up on us in His relentless efforts to restore us back unto Himself. God is so good and loves us so much.

Take joy in the journey trusting in the Savior to lead us in love and joy. Wear comfortable shoes. Count your blessings and say your prayers. Pray for Mom and Dad. 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 only moved by what I believe and I believe God.
Happy Tuesday!

Mom update: Mom has been diagnosed with gout in one of her feet. There is a possibility she will go to the rehab hospital on tomorrow. I will let you know. Please pray for Mom and Dad.

Prayer: Most gracious and loving heavenly Father. I begin this day in prayer. I want to consult with You, and I want You to know that I cannot go through any day without You. I have tried many times before and realize You are the only One who can help me do the things I need to do in a manner that will be pleasing to You and a testimony to others. I commit all I do today to Your counsel, and I trust You. In Jesus’ wonderful name I pray, Amen.”

Jonah 3: 10 “Then God saw their works, that they turned from their evil ways; and God relented from the disaster that He has said He would bring upon them, and He did not do it.”

I think there are about a million sermons that could be taught on the story of Jonah. And depending on where you are in your life will determine the way the story will have meaning for you.

Today Bruce asked me to be a part of the Kairos Prison Ministry team for the spring event. I began to think about the inmates who will receive the Word. These men are in a prison. They are set apart from the rest of society due to the choices they made as free men. Jonah experienced a similar imprisonment. He made the choice not to follow God’s will for his life and became imprisoned in the belly of a great fish. God set him apart from the rest of society so that God had Jonah’s undivided attention and could receive God’s instructions for the Ninevites. Now Jonah was only imprisoned for three days. Some of the inmates we will serve have been in the prison for a while (years) and some won’t ever leave the facility. But while their bodies are imprisoned, their hearts and souls can be made free by learning to accept and do God’s will for their lives. We in the free world share a common bond with those who are incarcerated. We are all in need of God’s forgiveness and we can all be receivers of God’s grace. All of us are guilty of sin just like the Ninevites and we are expected to repent and turn away from our sins. God hates sin, but how He loves us sinners and rejoices when we all repent. When we repent and confess our sin, God forgives and reconciles us to Himself because of the sacrifice of Jesus. What a wonderful God and Father we serve to love us so very much.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes. Count your blessings and say your prayers with a special prayer for my Mom. Her name is Genita. 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 only moved by what I believe and I believe God.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Happy Monday!

Today, I took the day off. I think the business of Christmas and emotional upheaval with Mom finally caught up with me. It was my plan to take down the tree and put Christmas away. Instead I sort of vegged out until it was time to prepare for our evening out.

For Christmas, Geni got Bruce tickets to Manheim Steamroller at the Meyerson in Dallas, so we used this to celebrate our anniversary a few days early. We ate a wonderful dinner at one of the restaurants at the Meyerson and then went to the concert. The concert was phenomenal. We had the most wonderful time. Thanks, Geni!

Mom update: I spoke with Mom this morning. She thinks they are going to move her tomorrow to a rehab hospital. Mom says that she may have to stay there about six weeks. She has surrendered to this move, but I think it makes her sad. She and Daddy are so close and this separation will be really hard. But if it helps Mom to be more mobile and regain the use of her arm, then it will be worth it. Please pray for her and Dad to get through this tough time ok. Daddy is very encouraging and will smile when he sees her and tells her she can do this. They will get through it, but it is just going to be difficult.

Prayer: “Dear heavenly Father, thank You for the beginning of a brand new day. I will confess to You that there are many things I am looking forward to and many I am not looking forward to. Please forgive me today for my sins. Help me to live today as a person who knows You and has a personal relationship with You. I find this hard to do at the best of times, so I commit my day to You today with no strings attached. These things I pray in Jesus’ name, Amen”

Acts 11: 21 “And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number believed and turned to the Lord.”

Christmas is just about over. The gifts are opened and the dinner has been eaten. The trash has been taken out and the sites are open for the recycling of the trees. Now we face the after Christmas shopping sales and the ever popular stepping on the scales. We now look forward to finishing out this year and ringing in the new.

The people in the early Church were under stress and in fact they were stressed to the max. They were being persecuted from every direction because of their faith in Jesus. The stresses of our time are not the stresses of the early church, but sometimes life is really difficult. This Christmas had some unexpected stresses for our family. Situations change like the health of my Mom; jobs are scarce, money is tight, health issues can be devastating, family stresses can be the most challenging and sometimes we feel we are being persecuted from every direction.

The good news is that God has not moved. No matter what, God is there in the midst of our lives waiting for us to remember His love for us and His strong desire for us to place our faith in him and not in this world. May we remember to be thankful for our blessings; giving praise to God for all that He has done for us. May we learn to rely on Him as He continually blesses us with His presence and His love. He has held our hands this far and He will not quit!

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes. Count your blessings and say your prayers. Please pray for Mom and Dad. Love you all so very much mighty, powerful prayer warriors and friends, Bruce, Gaylene, Geni and Travis.

I am not moved by what I see. I am not moved by what I feel. I am only moved by what I believe and I believe God.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Merry Christmas!

God is so good!

Our day began with Geni, Travis and a guest coming to Mom and Dad’s for Christmas breakfast. I prepared a Christmas table and we enjoyed the meal and the time together.

Dad called me from the hospital to tell me that the Charge Nurse on the floor had made an arrangement with the powers that be to open up a conference room for our Christmas celebration. It was near the cafeteria giving us close access to ice, water and restrooms. It was perfect. There were several tables, plenty of chairs and a side board for all of the food. There were 15 of us for lunch today.

I met Mom in her room and helped her prepare for lunch. Travis wheeled her to the conference room where she was greeted by applause, hugs and cheers. She looked so beautiful and was totally the belle of the ball. We circled for grace saying prayers of thanksgiving, healing and remembering that it is not where you spend Christmas, but with whom you spend it and remembering why. After prayer came eating, opening presents, conversation and laughter. It must have been a god thing that we were in a room where we could close the door! It was not like the Christmases of the past, but it was definitely one we will never forget.

Mom’s doctor found us in the conference room during lunch and just popped in to see her. He threw her a curve when he told her that she was going to have to go through in-patient rehab. We could all tell she was completely surprised by this, but I think she was better with it after we talked to her. Please offer an extra prayer about this further development in her healing plan. You know how she and daddy hate to be apart! All in all Mom did very well and never admitted to being tired. But when she returned to her room she fell asleep pretty quickly. Other than that it was a fantastic day and a great Christmas.

We were all very excited that my Aunt Imogene joined us for dinner today. She is the widow of my Uncle Gene who recently passed away. They were married for 68 years. Almost every memory she has in her life is with him and our family. Today was the first time since the funeral that she has joined in a family gathering. It was so hard for her because since Uncle Gene’s passing, she has endured both of their birthdays, their wedding anniversary, Thanksgiving and now Christmas alone. She had some emotional moments, but we were so proud of her for having the courage to begin again. Please offer a very special prayer for her and her need for healing.

Prayer: Dear heavenly Father, As I begin this new day, I thank You for Your abiding presence in my life. I realize I have a lot to do today. I have decisions to make and places to go. My day will be filled with issues, and I also have burdens on my heart. I ask You to please fill me with Your Holy Spirit in such a way that I will know You are there all the time. I confess my sins to You, and in Jesus’ wonderful name I pray, Amen.”

1 Thessalonians 5: 23 “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

As a believer in God’s Word, I place my faith in Jesus. I have no doubt that Christ will return again and claim all of us who belong to him. We will be taken up into His presence to join all who are already there with Him. When Christ returns we will be taken to the holiest of all places. We will be in His holy presence. Heaven is described as a land full of light, streets paved with gold and mansions for each of us.

Two thousand years ago there was a place. This place was not a mansion or surrounded by streets paved with gold. It was a rude stable, with a dirt floor and yet it was filled with light from a bright and shining star that rested over the place where Jesus lay and it was holy ground. It was holy ground because Jesus was there by God’s plan and His command. Emmanuel, God with us, stepped into this world so that we could claim Him as our Lord and Savior to fill us with the light of heaven.

As I have said each Christmas for several years, the babe of Bethlehem could be born again in Bethlehem a thousand times, but unless He is born again in our hearts then it was all for naught. May the light of Jesus surround you, fill you and lead you as you walk on holy ground.

Take joy in the journey filled with the light of the star. 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 only moved by what I believe and I believe God.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Greetings from Howe, Texas

Merry Christmas Eve!

I have spent the day cooking and preparing for Christmas Day lunch which will see many family members at the hospital tomorrow. Geni, Travis and a guest will be arriving at Mom and Dad’s between 8:30 and 9:00 in the morning. Then we will pack cars and trucks with cakes and pies, dressing, green beans, mashed potatoes, gravy and salad. Drink mixes will go in empty pitchers to be filled at the hospital and it is going to be a great party. Mom called it the Christmas tailgate! I loved it.

She had the most wonderful night and got into a room around 1:00 this afternoon. Her nurse from the ICU warned the nurse who was to take over her care that she must be very careful as she would want to take Mom home in her bag because “she is the sweetest woman they have ever had in the ICU.” I must say, these nurses have great taste! I feel relatively sure that we will not only share lunch with our families but with members of the staff as well. Daddy worked it out for us to have our lunch in the waiting room and the charge nurse has promised that they will wheel Mom to us. They are a great bunch at Wilson N. Jones.

As for me, besides cooking most of the day, I missed Geni and Travis. This is the first time in their lives I have spent Christmas Eve without them and missed Christmas Eve worship, but it was important for Dad to have his family around him on Christmas Eve this year and I am glad we could be here.

We have finally completed this long and arduous journey. The tree is lit. Shopping is over. Meal prep is almost finished. Packages are wrapped and are awaiting their recipients. We travel in relative safety, speed and comfort to reach our destinations and are welcomed with hugs and hollers when we arrive at the homes of the ones we love so dear.

But for Mary and Joseph it was not so. They traveled with one walking and one riding. Slow was the pace. I never read if they traveled with a group, so I am assuming it was just Mary, Joseph and a small donkey. Mary, being in her late pregnancy, rode the donkey without complaint. Joseph may have walked in silence contemplating his young wife and the child she was carrying and his purpose in the life of this most special child placed in his charge. When they arrived in Bethlehem there was no family to greet them. No hugs and hollers, just the reality that they would spend the night somewhere,and there, their child would be born. There was no family to celebrate this birth, just some farm animals and shepherds.

But tonight their gifts would not come with paper and bows. Instead, on this night with the stars overhead and a manger nearby Mary and Joseph would deliver the greatest gift of all and this gift would be heralded by a heavenly choir of angels singing, “Glory to God in the Highest and peace to all.” And the shepherds would tell the rest.

According to my clock, in 14 minutes it will be Christmas Day. My dearest friends, I pray your Christmas Day is spent with your family or friends and you experience the joy that this day can bring. But sometime tomorrow pretend you are a shepherd and tell someone about the birth of Jesus. Then tell them how you prepared room in your heart for the Savior to enter and your journey to Bethlehem.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes. Count your blessings and say your prayers. Please continue to pray for Mom and Dad and have a blessed and Merry Christmas. 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 only moved by what I believe and I believe God.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Greetings from Howe, Texas.

Happy Christmas Eve, Eve!

WOW! How did this day get here so fast! Well this Christmas will be very different from most of our Christmas’ past. On Wednesday of this week, Daddy took Mom to the Dr.’s office for a regular checkup. Upon leaving the office Mom stumbled and fell down the ramp. Dad helped her up with the assistance of two men and two nurses. Mom said she was not hurt and so they proceeded home. As the day continued, Mom began to feel increasing pain in her upper left arm and some numbness in her fingers. They went to bed and around 2:00 AM the pain became increasingly worse and by 5:00AM Dad was on the phone to the doc. Doc met them in the ER in Sherman (Mom and Dad live out in the country). After the x-rays were taken, the diagnosis was that Mom had broken the ball in her shoulder. After more extensive testing the diagnosis was confirmed and she had surgery today.

Now here is the amazing part...Mom has some pretty serious kidney issues, so her doc told her after surgery that she was going to spend the night in ICU just for observation purposes. Bruce and I ran an errand and returned to the hospital during visiting time in ICU. My Mom looked as if she had endured nothing except a good night’s sleep. The nurse who was tending to her quietly asked, “Does she bathe in Oil of Olay?” She looked amazing and was concerned as to why she was in ICU as she felt fine. She was hungry and ate the lovely selection of Jell-O and broth. We believe if she has a good night tonight she will go back to a regular room sometime tomorrow.

So here is our Christmas schedule. On Christmas Day, Geni and Travis will join us in Howe for Christmas breakfast. They are bringing family gifts with them. I will cook all day Saturday and we are having Christmas dinner and gifts at the hospital. It is not as if we have not had unusual Christmas celebrations before! One particularly memorable one in Houston…

This may sound a bit corny, but Christmas is not about where you spend the day but with whom you spend the time and why you gather together. Christmas came in a rude stable with a small family, some farm animals and shepherds. This small brand new family did not have the warmth of a house on that night, but they had the warmth of the love they had for each other and God was present. They did not go to worship to hear the Word and sing the songs, but the angels showed up and worshiped the newborn king. Mary did not spend the day fretting over a meal, but provided the heavenly food as she brought forth the life in her Son. That first Christmas did not come wrapped in pretty paper and beautiful bows, but in the stars that shined down in love from the heavens lighting the way to the family.

We are almost to Bethlehem. So here is the question…Once we get there is our journey complete? Will we open packages, eat, watch TV or play games, nap and go home? Or will we be like the shepherds and tell someone why we gathered together and how much we love them?

Please offer prayers of healing for Mom. Count your blessings and say your prayers. We 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 only moved by what I believe and I believe God.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Happy Wednesday!

Prayer: “Most gracious heavenly Father, I bow my head in Your Presence at the beginning of a new day. You alone are the King of Kings and the Lord of lords. No one can compare with You! You are mighty and powerful, and I turn to You on the is day because I cannot do this on my own. There are too many challenges facing me, and I am weak and helpless without You. I will trust You completely in every way today. And I pray all of this in Jesus’ wonderful name. Amen.”

Ezekiel 18: 27 “Again, when a wicked man turn away from the wickedness which he committed, and does what is lawful and right, he preserves himself alive.”

In the 30 years I spent teaching my favorite moments occurred when a child who could not read suddenly is able to read the words on the page. They can track the print with their fingers and not just read from memory, but actually read the words on the page. The look on the face of the child is nothing short of awe and wonder as if a great mystery has opened itself up and now this child understands. The impact of this moment awakens all possibilities in the life of the child and transforms them from one who literally was “once blind and now he/she can see.” Once this happens a child wants to read to you and anyone who will sit and listen.

When someone comes into relationship with God through Jesus they are just like that baby who has just learned to read. They are transformed at the moment of salvation to never be the same again. The prophet in this passage speaks of the wonderful changes that happen when a sinner repents and turns to God. This person becomes alive because they have died to sin by the blood of Jesus and now can live a life that is preserved by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit’s presence and power.

Do you suppose Mary and Joseph fully understood how their lives would change as the earthly parents of Jesus? How this most precious child would grow to transform all with whom He came in contact and as one of my favorite songs says, “Did you know that when you kiss your little baby, you kiss the face of God?” Do you think they knew they not only carried this prophesied One but that they were being preserved by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit’s presence and power?

We, too, when we open ourselves as a dwelling place for Jesus, carry with us not only the One prophesied by the great prophets of old, but the gospel as well.

Continue to journey to Bethlehem. We are almost there. Count your blessings and say your prayers. See you in the stable side by side with the shepherds. Be prepared to go and tell anyone who will listen that Jesus Christ is born! 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 only moved by what I believe and I believe God.
Happy Tuesday!

I had the most wonderful visit with Tatum’s mother, Mandy and the girls, Olivia and Tatum. During the visit Mandy and I were having, there was a continuous princess fashion show being hosted by Olivia. The fashion show was done in paper doll princesses and was completely delightful. It was accompanied by music from Tatum’s princess music.

Mandy and I discovered we have something very powerful in common. Her Dad died with sarcoma cancer. We had similar stories to share and I believe I have made a new friend. Tatum goes in for treatment on Friday, but it is only a clinic visit and she should not have to stay in the hospital. It is my prayer that this family will get to be in their home together on Christmas. Please join me in prayer for this extraordinary family of faith and this tiny warrior as they battle this disease not only with professional healers and mediations, but with faith in God, the Master Healer who supplies their courage.

Prayer: “Dear heavenly Father, what joy to begin my day with You! Thank you for loving me the way You do, and thank You for sending Your Son to die on the Cross for my sins. As I begin this day, please forgive me for my sin. I repent before You and claim 1 John 1:19 for myself today. I need you in everything I do today, and I want You to know just how much I depend on You. Thank You for loving me despite myself. In Jesus’ name, I pray, Amen.”

Galatians 1:3, 4 “Our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father.”

As a career teacher, I always set out goals for myself and the students in my charge. After setting out these goals I planned and taught lessons that would help the children achieve those goals and even go beyond the expected goals.

Within the scriptures God sets out goals for us to achieve so that we can live lives that are pleasing to Him. In this brief passage God shows us the truth about Himself and what we must believe in order to live our lives in His will. My devotion shares these truths: “First, Jesus is our anchor because He is the only One who has set us free through the forgiveness of our sins. Second, we cannot be delivered from the temptations of this world without Christ. Third, our deliverance from sin and our ability to lead godly lives, in spite of the world in which we live, is the will of God for us.”

I have always associated as one of God’s great attributes to be that of a Master Teacher who not only sets goals for us, but shows us the path to reaching those goals, helps us continually to achieve His will for our lives out of His love for each of us and gives us a life time to reach those goals.

Let us continue on the road to Bethlehem taking joy in the journey. Dress warm and stay dry. Count your blessings and say your prayers. Love you all 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 only moved by what I believe and I believe God.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Happy Monday!

Grades are in: Old Testament—A, Christian Education—B +, Christian History II—B. I am really excited for these grades and am really looking forward to the coming semester after a brief break. My next class begins on Monday, January 9, 2012 and ends Friday, January 13, 2011. I will be in class from 9 AM—5:00 PM, but then I will have completed one semester’s worth of work. I am taking and Intensive Study class in Short Term Pastoral Care and Counseling. Regular Spring classes begin the next week. I will keep you posted as to this new experience in learning.

Prayer: “Gracious heavenly Father, thank You for the joy of knowing that You are My heavenly Father. As I begin this day, I ask that Your Spirit would speak to my heart and provide me with all the things necessary to please You today. I confess my sin to You because Jesus Christ is my Savior and Lord, and I place myself at Your disposal in every way. Please help me to make wise decisions and to love my life today in a manner that will be pleasing to You . In Jesus’ name. Amen.”

Acts 15: 19 “Therefore, I judge that we should not trouble those from among the Gentiles who are turning to God.”

In the days of the early church when the Jews were converting over to Christianity, they had a lot to overcome. They had been raised and immersed in so many rules that they believed that as long as they followed the rules they stayed in good standing with God. These folks had trouble understanding the difference of faith over works. When they came into relationship with Jesus they really only had two things to learn: “For God so loved the world that He gave his only Son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, and to Love the Lord you God with all your heart soul mind and strength and your neighbor as your self. I have also thought that the verse from 2 Cor 12:9, “My grace is sufficient for you,” should be added to that list.

While the practice of our religious faith is important, the justification of our faith belongs to Christ alone. Nothing we can do will ever earn the salvation and love given to us by the Savior, Christ the Lord. We fail sometimes and are sorry, but because we are justified by the crucified Christ we can ask forgiveness and, with unquestioning faith, believe that we have been saved by grace alone.

Take joy in the journey, walk the road to Bethlehem and embrace the Christ Child. Kneel before His manger throne and hear the angels sing, “Glory to God in the highest and peace to all with whom He pleased.”

Love you all so very much. Tomorrow I am going to visit Tatum’s family. I will give a full report on our tiny warrior. Please continue to pray for Tatum and her family. Bruce, Gaylene, Geni and Travis.

I am not moved by what I see. I am not moved by what I feel. I am only moved by what I believe and I believe God.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Blessed Sunday to you all!

Tonight I would like to tell you a story.

Once there was a young boy. He heard the circus was in town and he really wanted to go. He goes to ask his Dad if he can go to the circus. The tickets to the circus cost a dollar. His dad thought a bit and said if he (the young boy) could finish all of his chores before noon he would give the boy a dollar. So Saturday came and the boy got up really early and did all of his chores before noon. The boy went to his dad reporting that he had done all of his chores and the boy’s dad gave him a dollar. The young body went to town with his dollar for the ticket when he saw the circus parade. There were lions, tigers, bears, clowns, jugglers, aerial artists, horses, riders, bands playing loud exciting music and finally the ringmaster. The little boy was so fascinated by the parade that he took his dollar and gave it to the ringmaster to pay for what he had just witnessed. Then the little boy went home.

Even as amazing and awesome as was the parade, the boy missed the show. This simple story has a lesson for all of us. The Christmas lights, the beautiful music, decorating and shopping till we drop are all in preparation for the big show. Let us not get so wrapped up in the preparations for the “big day” that we miss why we prepare and for Whom we prepare.

Tonight we were on our way home from a Christmas gathering and in a yard was a very large message written in bright lights. The message simply said, “Jesus is the reason for the season.” Let us remember as we prepare our homes for the “big day,” that we remember to prepare our hearts for His coming once again, not with lights and trees or presents, but in awe and wonder that a Savior is born!

Oh, come let us adore Him! May the babe of Bethlehem be born once again in our hearts. 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 only moved by what I believe and I believe God.

Prayer update: Little Tatum came home today and treatment was administered successfully. Praise God from Whom all blessings flow. Please continue in prayer for this little fighter who is refusing to let this disease defeat her. Peace, gc

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Happy Saturday!

Today Bruce and I took a simple Christmas wreath with a red bow and put it on the grave site of Rev. Lt. Richard Lee Russell. The DFW National Cemetery is a lovely cemetery with well kept grounds and a strong sense of honor. As you enter the grounds, there is a welcome building with a kiosk where you can type in the name of the person’s site you wish to visit and then it prints a map so you can find it. We saw a number of grave markers with wreaths placed there. It was our joy to do this for our friends.

Prayer: “Lord, help me to make Your love for the church the pattern for me to love my family. Thank You for my biological family and my church family; may I be a blessing to both. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

Ephesians 5: 25, 26 “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify, and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word.”

This passage of scripture speaks so strongly about love. My daddy always told me the two best things a wife could ever do when raising her children was to love their daddy and make them mind. So in my morning prayer I pray this, “Thank you for the family who raised me and thank you for the family you gave me to raise.”

We are commanded to love. Love is not just an emotion. It carries a responsibility. Just as the husband is commanded to love his wife, we are also commanded to love the Lord. That same love calls for commitment. Jesus was so committed in His love and obedience to God that He submitted Himself to the cross for His bride, the church. Remember the love commitment that Jacob had for Rachel? Jacob loved Rachel so much that he sacrificed fourteen years of labor to her father to be able to have and hold her.

The cleansing of love is a part of the marriage ceremony. In the marriage ceremony the husband is set apart to belong to his wife and the wife is set apart to belong to her husband. This cleansing love provides purity to commit to only one other for life. In salvation we are set apart to belong to Jesus; new are cleansed by His blood to wash away sin. Jesus modeled this cleansing when He washed the feet of His disciples.

In just a few more days Bruce and I will have been married 31 years. We have been through life altering circumstances in that time. When we got married those 31 years ago we had the scripture from Matt 7:24-27 that speaks of the house built upon the rock. It was because of our commitment to each other and God’s commitment to us that we have been able to weather the storms of life without ever thinking that being apart was the answer. We hope we have modeled a godly marriage to our children and have showed them the command, commitment and the cleansing power of a marriage built on the Rock of Jesus Christ.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes because shopping requires sturdy comfortable shoes. Count your blessings and say your prayers. Advent is presenting its Christmas music in the morning at 8:30 and again at 11:00. You are all cordially invited. 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 only moved by what I believe and I believe God.

Prayer update: Tatum is still in the hospital and, so far, is enduring treatment well. They have asked for prayer for a little friend named Liam who is losing his battle with a childhood cancer. They have allowed him to go home to spend his last few days. Please pray for this precious child of God and his family as they walk this very sad and difficult road.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Happy Friday!

The history paper was sent to my professor around 3:00 AM. At 9:50 AM, he sent confirmation of his receipt of the paper and, with that, this semester was officially put to bed. Then I set about putting away all of the trappings of the semester. The text books were put away, all of the notes, handouts and papers were returned to their folders and placed with the books. I actually found the top of my desk and the bag I take to class was emptied and placed under my desk, waiting to be filled with the items for my class in January. It was a bit weird to not have a paper on which to work, reading to be done or other studying to do, so I cleaned, did laundry, watched NCIS and made a new recipe for dinner (which was really good; a Cheesy Cornbread Casserole).

Tomorrow, Bruce and I will get some flowers and place them on the grave of Rev. Richard Russell, the father of our dear friend, David Russell. Rev. Russell is buried in the DFW National Cemetery. He served as a First Lieutenant during the Korean War. Carme and Dave will not be able to make the trip to the Metroplex this Christmas, so we are delighted to stand in their place at this time to remember and honor this wonderful man who lived a life of integrity and faithfulness to his calling.

Prayer: “Lord, help me this day not to criticize what You are blessing, even if I lack understanding or it is different from that which I’m accustomed. May I never contend with what You are blessing. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

Acts 11:18 “When they heard these things they became silent; and they glorified God, saying, “Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life.”

In this passage something was changing in the church. Many of the older members did not like the changes. (Does this sound familiar?) Peter, being led by the Spirit, went into the home of Cornelius and shared the gospel of Jesus with him. When Peter returned to Jerusalem they “contended with him” meaning they opposed him and argued with him.

Peter was anointed by the Holy Spirit to witness to Cornelius. I can pretty much tell you if God, through the Holy Spirit, calls you to service and you don’t go, God will be relentless in His pursuit for His will in your life to be done. God desired for Cornelius to be converted and so commissioned Peter to be the vessel through which He would work His will. Peter spoke to Cornelius and other Gentiles and the Holy Spirit fell upon them as they believed. God does not command a water baptism, but when we believe and pray the prayer for forgiveness, we are baptized by the Holy Spirit. We need to ask God to fill us with the Holy Spirit and take control of our thoughts, our behavior and our attitudes.

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 only moved by what I believe and I believe God.
Happy Thursday!

It is finished!! This morning I took my Old Testament Test which took 4 hours to complete. I was one of the final five to finish. My professor was very kind in allowing some of us who needed more time to complete it in a different room than where we started. The test was supposed to be over at 10:30 (began at 8:00). I was tired, but felt pretty good about the test. As for the History test, I finished it around 9:00 tonight and sent it to the capable hands of my beloved hubby. He is currently editing the two essay questions. The paper is due by 9:00 AM tomorrow. This is for the professor who will NOT accept late work. Bruce says he will be finished long before 9:00. I think we may both sleep in a bit tomorrow.

As the exams will be passed on to the hands of those who evaluate my work, I ask for your prayers that the Holy Spirit will bless the efforts of my work and the professors as they grade these papers. Two extra prayers for Bruce, that he receive and extra blessing or two for his joyful sacrifice of the time he spends editing my papers and that these efforts will not completely exhaust him.

Prayer: “Lord, you have set me apart; I am no longer a part of this world, but rather a part of Your kingdom. Help me this day to represent You and Your kingdom’s interest. In Jesus’ name, Amen”

John 17: 18-19 “As You sent me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they may also be sanctified by the truth.”

This morning in my drive time devotional I heard, “When you began this journey with Me, heaven and all eternity was always the destination.” How wonderful that the prayer tonight affirmed God’s awesome presence in His truth as to His plan for each of us. Jesus prays a priestly prayer claiming His own calling by His Father, God, and also confirms His obedience. In order for the story of Jesus to continue, just as God sent Jesus into the world, Jesus sent His disciples into the world. Jesus continues to say to the Father, in order that they (the Disciples) know how to act as My representatives, I will submit to Your will again and model a sanctified life.

Jesus set these 12 apart for His service and we have been set apart. God gave Jesus the words to say to His Disciples by the words spoken in prayer. Jesus spoke to His disciples from the words of His mouth ordained by God. We receive the words to say through the Holy Scriptures, prayer, His Holy Spirit and those who sanctify themselves for His service and model the sanctified life. Jesus was sent with a message. He sent His disciples with a message and we are sent with the same message.

Jesus and all his disciples (even us!) are called into his service. Our mission field is no different than Jesus’ or His disciple’s mission field- it is the world.

It is not an easy mission field and Jesus and His disciples were rejected, but it is the field in which we are meant to serve. Jesus was even executed by His own people on a cross. He does not necessarily send us to places of ease and comfort. (Lord, please send me to Hawaii to suffer for You!) Not likely! We cannot serve like Jesus if we are not willing to sacrifice. We must go where the Lord directs. This job ain’t easy, but it is worth it!

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes can carry an umbrella. Count your blessings and say your prayers. Love you all, mighty and faithful prayer warriors. Love, Bruce, Gaylene, Geni and Travis.

I am not moved by what I see. I am not moved by what I feel. I am only moved by what I believe and I believe God.

Prayer request: Little Tatum goes in for another treatment tomorrow. If her counts are at the right place then the treatment will proceed. The family is hoping that she is recovered enough for this treatment so the procedures can continue. Thank you loving warriors, gc

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Happy Wednesday!

Bruce completed the editing on my Christian Education final today. It was due at 5:00. At 4:58 I attempted to send it via email to my professor and the computer froze. I sometimes threaten to have a stroke when things do not go as I need them to in situations like this, because professors do not accept late work. I mean they literally will not take the paper from your hand if it is late. When I was finally able to send it which was about 5 minutes later I sent a note along with it explaining what had happened and that I just needed 2 minutes of grace and would he please accept the paper? He responded quickly with these words, “If we cannot offer 5 minutes of grace in this world then we are all in trouble. Of course I will accept the paper.” When it did not send I almost began to cry because I have been working on that paper for days, so all is well. Now I just have to make it through the Old Testament Test in the morning, after which I will come home and complete my history final. I know you may be tired of these updates, but I really need your prayers. Thank you, mighty and faithful prayer warriors.

Prayer: “Lord, I pray that the Holy Spirit will give me insight into Your Word so that I might correctly understand and apply Your Word to my life. I thank You, Lord, for my salvation as I commit myself to the working out of that salvation through my life today. In Jesus’ name, Amen”

2 Thessalonians 2: 13 “But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren, beloved by the Lord, because God, from the beginning, chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth.”

As my stress level is pretty high at this time, reading God’s Word began to allow the stress to leave my body and place my rest in the God of purpose during the “holy” Week of Finals.

In Paul’s epistle he was speaking to the Church at Thessalonica about their concern about the coming day of the Lord. That particular day is not one in which I have really ever concerned myself. I figure if Christ returns during this writing then I am secure in knowing where I will land. If Christ returns after my passing, I am still secure where I will spend eternity. I hope you are, too!

However, the Thessalonians were confused and Paul wrote to them hoping to comfort them and clear up their misunderstandings. First, Paul spoke of Conversion. They needed to be reminded that their salvation was not of their own doing, but was the result of God’s love. God’s love is personal and proven in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.” Next, Paul told them that God chose them. Love alone does not give us salvation. Salvation is given to us by His grace, and not because we deserve it. Here is the kicker…God has already set the day of His coming—He has ordained the last day and He has ordered this day in truth. The day of His coming is important, but our task to proclaim the truth of God in His gospel until that day is far more important. We can do nothing about the last days, that is not our job. Our job is to tell others about His love, grace, forgiveness and tender mercies. When we do our job, we may not know when Christ is returning, but we will certainly know more folks when we get there. See all of you on the flip side!
Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes and carry your umbrella. 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 only moved by what I believe and I believe God.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Happy Tuesday!

Bruce is working diligently on the paper we have come to name “The Beast” due to its length of 19 pages. What a great guy!! Today I have spent working on the history paper due on Friday morning. I have one question left on that paper. But tomorrow, I study Old Testament. Please continue in prayer. It is really helping.

Prayer: “Help me this day, O Lord, to be sensitive to any and all opportunities I have to meet the needs of others, in the name of Jesus, and to share Jesus through these opportunities. May my words this day encourage others in the Lord. In Jesus’ name, Amen”

Acts 3: 19 “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.”

To be restored is to get back what has been lost. Peter and John, in Jesus’ name, had just healed a lame man by the gate of the temple, which was called Beautiful. The lame man received back what he had lost, the strength of his legs. People witnessed this miracle and Peter was inspired to bear witness to this miracle. In this impromptu sermon Peter spoke of repentance, redemption and restoration.

Repentance means to turn away from sin. Redemption means to turn to the Savior. Restoration is what we experience when our sins have been forgiven. When our sins have been forgiven then our strength in the Lord has been restored and we are once again in right relationship with the Savior. We are refreshed in the filling and outpouring of the Holy Spirit. When we are in the presence of God we can sincerely repent and receive redemption and restoration out of His love for us. During the holiday season we like to have our families close to us. God loves having His children close. The more of the Savior that is inside of us, the closer to God we are. It is wonderful to allow ourselves to be restored by the God of all forgiveness and grace.

If there is something that is keeping you from being restored to God, take the time now to pray a prayer of forgiveness and start over with God once again, receive redemption, get back what you lost - be restored.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes (maybe some galoshes). 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 only moved by what I believe and I believe God.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Happy Monday!

My apologies for not writing last night, but I had a small disaster in that a question I had spent six hours answering was eaten by my computer and flash drive. It was quite late when I discovered this and I was so upset. The good news is that my Christian Ed. is now in the hands of my beloved hubby for editing purposes. The paper is currently sitting at 19 pages. Hopefully by the time it is edited it will be a bit shorter. The paper was 5 essay questions all involving case studies in different situations taking place in Christian Education within the church. Tomorrow I move on to history. I have all 20 terms identified and one question drafted out and ready for writing. There is still one question left to completely answer. Keep praying me, please. I know I am!

Prayer: “Father, because I have been purchased with a great price and now am set apart for Your service and glory, I commit myself this day to seek first Your kingdom and righteousness. Help me this day to die to self that I might live for You. May I live this day with a heart overflowing with gratitude free from the guilt of sin. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

Hebrews 10: 9, 10 “Then He said, “Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God.” He takes away the first that he may establish the second. By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”

Scripture tells us that when God created man, we were made in His likeness. God is holy, therefore we are holy. God is set apart from nature, other gods and sinners. The only way to approach God is through prayer.

Jesus came into this world set apart from all others. Think of how He was born. He was born like no other, taught like no other. He taught with the authority of His Father. His death, burial and resurrection was like no other. The passage for tonight is such an extraordinary surrender to the obedience of God, “he said, Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God.” Jesus struggled with this whole business of will in the garden of Gethsemane when He prayed, “If there is a way, let this cup pass from me.”

As believers and followers of Jesus we are called to be set apart for His service and to be unlike the people of this world. Because of the sacrifice of Jesus, we are separate from this world to make a difference in this world as His ambassadors. “We must be different to make a difference!” WOW! We have our work cut out for us. The good news is that God will be with us and work with us each step of the way. Praise God!

Let us take joy in this journey together. Wear comfortable shoes and a warm jacket. 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 only moved by what I believe and I believe God.

PS The funny of the day…tonight on channel 13 it was one of their fundraising evenings and Victor Borge was the featured artist. In one of his comedy routines he asked the audience if they knew the history of the piano. Someone answered no. He told the audience that the original piano was constructed with only one key that went the length of the keyboard. That made finding or writing music for the piano really difficult. Then he said, “Someone put in the cracks and the music for the piano really opened up.” I laughed for about a half hour I think and then every time I remembered it I have broken out into a fit of giggles.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Happy Saturday!

I finished question 3. There came a time during the answering of this question where I just could not separate the information out correctly to apply it to the question I needed to write. So I stood up and walked around a bit beginning to pray for clarity of thought and the ability to write the thoughts intelligently on the paper. The thought finally came and I began to understand. Maybe some of you were praying for me at that time and if you were. thank you so much. Two more to go! Keep praying for me, please.

Prayer: “Father, the reality of Your love is both encouraging and humbling. To think that You love us while we are yet sinners and that You delay Your judgment in mercy is more than I can fathom. I praise You that Your nature is to love and that I have experienced it personally. I pray that You will continue to be patient with others just as You are with me. Create within me a clean heart that sees the nations as You do, not rushing to judgment about others. Help me, today, as I seek to be diligent about inviting sinners to Christ. Amen.”

2 Peter 3:9 “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. “

Today, Geni and I went to a tiny restaurant to help celebrate a friend’s birthday. It is a restaurant that uses food only grown by local farmers and ranchers. When you finish eating you pay what you feel the meal was worth. (If you decide to go, take cash because you pay for your meal in the slot of a old watering can.) When you walk in you will immediately notice that there are no two tables alike and they are surrounded by dining chairs of all different types. I think there were about 6 tables and maybe around 20 chairs. The plates, tableware and napkins were a mixed variety like maybe they came from an attic or various garage sales. I drank water from a glass with the Steak and Ale logo on it.

The restaurant was extremely clean with a kind, peaceful and friendly atmosphere. The menu was handwritten on a chalkboard at the serving counter. You go to the counter and tell the server what you want and in what portion and you are served with a smile and kind words. But the main reason you go to a restaurant is for the food.

I must admit I was a bit leery of going to a restaurant which claimed an all organic menu. I was not looking forward to eating pink tofu and something that looked and smelled a bit like my lawn until I walked inside and enjoyed a delicious meal of butternut squash soup, a slice of asparagus and brie cheese quiche and a delicious salad. They also served chocolate raspberry brownies. What a treat I would have missed had I decided not to go.

Isn’t it the most amazing thing that God delays His judgment of us? God does not overlook our sins and ignore His holiness, but the timing of God’s judgment reveals the abundance of His patience. God’s delaying our judgment instead of bringing us to His justice each time we sin is really His intentional mercy. God waited to destroy the earth in the days of Noah and today He patiently waits for the world to repent and come into relationship with Him. God has modeled kindness and patience for us and we should act accordingly as we are made in His likeness.

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 only moved by what I believe and I believe God.

PS The name of the restaurant is Potagers, A Natural Café and Other Stuff. It is located at 315 Mesquite here in Arlington.
Happy Friday!

Travis lifted a clean 700 pounds in the power lifting meet tonight, taking 2nd place in the adult men’s open event in his weight bracket. Congratulations, Travis. We are grateful that he did not injure himself and we are so very proud of him.

Prayer: “Lord, I worship You as the Creator of heaven and earth. I praise You as my Maker and the Captain of my soul. Today, I recommit myself to follow You more closely, seeking greater evidence of my inheritance in Christ. Restore the joy of my sanctification, as I anticipate my future reward in heaven. Because You honor me as a sibling in Your kingdom, I will honor You by abandoning pursuits contrary to Your holiness. Thank you for walking beside me with patience and love as I try to live the Christian life. In Jesus’ name,” Amen.

Hebrews 2: 10, 11 “For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren.”

The universe was created by God as a place for Jesus to get the message of salvation out to us. Therefore it only makes sense that our salvation comes from Him and through Him. Jesus is sort of the Captain Kirk of our salvation as He has gone where no one has ever gone before. Jesus identified with us in so many ways, but never as strongly as the suffering He experienced on the cross. Christ rejoices in our victories and in the experiences of joy, but He totally identifies with our sufferings and our relationship with Him and His glory of the resurrection. Because Jesus was sanctified we, too, are sanctified. While any “good works” we might do would never measure up to grace we have received, walking in holiness assures us of walking with Him in this life and the next.

God’s goodness to us is beyond measure. We are treated as those who are joint heirs with Jesus. Even when we fall into patterns of sin, God forgives us and we are still members of the family (still in the will) with God treating us with His love and forgiveness.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes and a warm jacket. 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 only moved by what I believe and I believe God.

PS Today I got question 2 completed on my Christian Ed. Final. I worked for six hours on this one question. Please keep praying. Thank you. Peace, gc

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Happy Thursday!

I completed the first question on the Christian Education final today. It took 4 pages and all day. This final is going really slow so please pray that I I can complete the test by Monday and Bruce can give it the once over twice before I turn it in.

Prayer: “Father, I long to see Your power unleashed in my life. Help me to walk in holiness for the sake of Your name. As I do, give me the privilege of seeing Your hand, appreciating Your glory, and marveling at Your strength in all things. Protect me on this day from temptation and sin so that I will in no way hinder Your work through my life. Keep me in the center of Your will that I might experience the maximum display of Your power. I pray that today will only be the beginning of Your wonderful works. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

Joshua 3: 5 “And Joshua said to the people, “Sanctify yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you.”

1 Peter 1: 16 “Be holy, for I am holy.”

Sanctification is God’s ultimate means of making Himself known through us. As God’s earthly representatives we must become holy because apart from a consecrated life (a life committed to God) we have never seen the power of God. The Israelites had witnessed God’s power in the parting of the Red Sea and His leading them into the Promised Land, but this was just the beginning. Those Israelites who were about to enter into the Promised Land were yielding to God and ready to live lives no longer as slaves, but as God’s people who were created to serve Him. God’s commandments are not meant to rob us of blessing or limit us, they are meant to unleash the power of God within us. God wants to not only demonstrate His power in us, but show us His power. When we worship God we open ourselves up to be channels of his witness for the great things God has done. God has begun a great work in each of us. Let us keep ourselves open to the calling of love He has for us so that we might continue to see His glory.

Take joy in this amazing journey. Wear comfortable shoes and a warm jacket. 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 only moved by what I believe and I believe God.

Prayers for Travis as he competes tomorrow night attempting to lift 730 pounds. forever, g
Happy Wednesday!

Ok, so yesterday we were up to our knees and cold, wet and unpleasant weather and today it was chilly and beautiful! God does really good work!

Prayer: “Lord, today my greatest desire is to live with eternity in mind. Remind me throughout the day that I need Your grace as much as those around me. Give me sensitivity for people who are open to the saving gospel of Jesus Christ. Protect me from apathy, fear and laziness as I seek to be a witness for You. Empower me to walk with integrity as I seek to reflect the transforming power of Your grace. Increase my joy each time I hear what You are doing in the lives of others. Thank you for saving me. Amen.”

Luke 15:7 “I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who do not need to repent.”

The opening question to my meditation tonight was “What causes you to rejoice?” It is interesting that someone else today asked me a similar question. I am concerned over finals and grades. In very practical terms I am concerned because passing my classes well and keeping my GPA up allows me to continue in the seminary with a generous grant that helps pay my tuition each year. I also have embarked on this path because I am on an extraordinary spiritual journey. Which of these two should be more important? These two questions require a very honest evaluation of myself and who I really am.

I have thought about both of these journeys, academic and spiritual. On the very practical side when I have completed my studies the desired outcome of my studies at Brite will be ordination into the ministry. But on the spiritual side the outcome should be increased spiritual growth and awareness of God’s working in each soul out of His love. Today I learned that in order for me to achieve this type of spiritual growth I have to empty myself of this world each day so that God can live fully in me. When God lives fully in me then the woman God intends for me to be will be able to grow in His likeness according to His grace. The greatest admission I can make is to realize that there is nothing I can do to qualify for God’s grace. Instead of worrying about grades and doing well on my own power. I need to come to know Christ more intimately. When I have learned this extraordinary lesson then the next task is for me to make Him known to others in the most authentic way possible.

Will I still work hard in my classes and study my best for finals? Yes. But now I will pray for God to work beside me and help me to learn and remember what I am to know. When the time comes to be tested then I will give my best and ask God to bless my efforts and continue to remain with me during testing. That will cause me to rejoice!

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes and a warm jacket. Count your blessings and say your prayers. Love you all and pray for me in my spiritual growth and academic journey, Bruce, Gaylene, Geni and Travis.

I am not moved by what I see. I am not moved by what I feel. I am only moved by what I believe and I believe God.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Happy Tuesday!

I have spent the day completing the identification of the 20 terms for the history final due next week. Two essay questions more and I can put this class to bed for this semester. Tomorrow I will begin to write the paper for my education class and then it is on to the study for Old Testament which my professor prefers we call Hebrew Bible.

Prayer: “Father, give me the strength throughout this day to think sanctified thoughts. Thank You for revealing much of Your will for my life within the pages of the Holy Scripture. Give me eyes to see and a heart to yield to these things consistent with Your Holy Word. Protect me from the temptation of rationalizing sin, leaving me clearly outside the boundaries of sanctification. Mature me by Your grace and uphold me by Your mercy. I honor You for never leaving me or forsaking me, even when I stumble. In Jesus’ name, Amen”

Acts 16: 31 “And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved, and your house.”

The Apostle Paul was in prison and the jailer came to him in the night asking what he must do to be saved. Paul simply said, “Believe.” Then he says the really wonderful thing, “and your house.” Can you imagine having the famous Apostle Paul telling you that all you have to do to achieve salvation is to believe? So how is the house saved also? Well, I do not know about you, but if the Apostle Paul told me to believe, I am pretty sure I would and then I would go and tell somebody else. The jailer receives salvation and then takes Paul and the others (those who are imprisoned also?) to his home; bathes their wounds and then baptizes them. He sets a meal before them. Then he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God—he and his whole family!

WOW! What rejoicing that must have been within the lives of this jailer and his family to have received salvation through belief in Jesus and receive baptism by one of His apostles. Do you suppose the jailer had any fear of losing his job or receiving punishment for this act of escape? I don’t think the jailer gave it a thought because he was in the presence of God through this Apostle and he and his family were standing on holy ground being protected by the Holy Spirit. If you continue reading the next few verses you will find that magistrates sent their officers to the home of the jailer with the order to release Paul and Silas, bidding them to go in peace.

The jailer and his family were assured salvation and then brought into a new community of believers who could help them on this new and exciting road of Christianity. God assures us in His Word that this house is very safe in His keeping due to their relationship with God through Jesus. When was the last time we were excited enough about our salvation to tell somebody else about it?

As the Hebrew nation was returning from exile, Isaiah, in chapter 40, wrote the opening words “Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem and proclaim to her that her hard service has been completed.” Throughout the Bible we are asked to tell others what God has done for us and that all we have to do to receive salvation is to ask and believe. God initiates our coming into relationship with Him and it is our responsibility to proclaim His Word to the people.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes and bundle up! 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 only moved by what I believe and I believe God.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Happy Monday!

OMG!!! Tonight Bruce and I had the most wonderful time at Bass Hall. I think I shared with you that a friend of mine from Seminary won some tickets to the performance of Handel’s Messiah at Bass Hall tonight and was not able to attend. We were the recipient of these tickets. The tickets were on Orchestra, Row D Seats 10 and 11. The lobby was beautifully decorated with a wonderful Christmas Market filled with all kinds of holiday treasures and ornaments. The audience was dressed in conservative black and holiday red. But the funniest thing was when the last chord had died away and the audience rose to their feet to show appreciation to all of the musicians, the applause lasted for a while and was followed by hooting and whooping that would have made any Aggie proud! And then the couple sitting in front of us elegantly dressed stood up put on their coats and light up Santa hats.…only in Texas.

The seats were amazing and the music was wonderful. The chorus, orchestra and soloists sang the entire Messiah. I have never sung the entire work before but I can tell you now it is two hours of glorious and very difficult singing and playing. I must admit I always get a bit misty eyed when the Hallelujah Chorus is being sung especially when the audience rises to their feet in reverence and honor of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. This is an evening I will not soon forget.

Prayer: “Father, today I praise You that the substance of my faith is measurable in tangible ways. While I know that works will never save me, I thank You that my salvation will by necessity change the way I live. Help me, on this day, to demonstrate the reality of true repentance, both in my attitudes and actions. Protect me from bitterness over the consequences of my sins and give me the strength to honor You as a new creation in Christ. Thank you for giving me the grace that is always sufficient. In Jesus Name, Amen.”

Matthew 3: 8 “Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance.”

Tonight’s scripture verse is tough. In order to repent we must ask for forgiveness. In order to ask for forgiveness we must honestly admit to ourselves and God not only that we have sinned, but how we have sinned. I do not know of anyone who just waits to openly admit that they have sinned or who jumps with joy to say “I was wrong and I need to be forgiven and make life changes.” Do I admit when I have sinned, ask for forgiveness and try to make the needed changes? Yes. Do I like to admit it? No.

The Pharisees and Sadducees must have really hated John the Baptist when he preached. They knew they were living lives of hypocrisy and self-righteousness and John the Baptist’s words must have cut them to the quick. But John’s words of “repent” serve as a reminder to each of us that repentance is the act of making change in our lives both inside and out. We have to be willing to abandon sin and turn toward God. To repent means to turn around and change. When we are broken by sin we know we are not deserving of God’s grace and forgiveness. But when we repent and practice humility and have a strong desire to change from our selfishness to selflessness then we have reaped the fruits of repentance. We could do all kinds of “good deeds” or be involved in lots of church activities, but if we do not make the necessary changes in our thinking, then the fruits of our repentance will be rotten. Remember that God knows all about us - even those things we try to make secret. So here is tonight’s question…Is repentance something we do or is it a reflection of who we are?” I really hope it is it the latter.

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 only moved by what I believe and I believe God.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Blessed Sunday to you all!

Baby it is cold and wet outside! Praise God for the rain because we are so in need of rain. But as Pastor Joel said this morning, “Please don’t send any ice!” I will echo this prayer!

My friends, Bruce and I have been given a wonderful gift. One of the young men in my OT and Education classes has given us tickets to Handel’s Messiah at Bass Hall tomorrow (Monday) evening. We are so excited. Each of us had previous commitments for tomorrow evening and got out of them in order to attend this Christmas classic. I promise to deliver a full report in the journal tomorrow evening.

Today, I heard two fine sermons on the text of the Messiah. This text comes out of the Book of Isaiah, Chapter 40. As a Christian I believe these verses point to Jesus as prophesied by Isaiah. I did a little research into these scriptures and learned that these words of “Comfort ye, My people” “speak tenderly, for her sins are pardoned because God has punished her twice over for her sins.” These words were written about the return of Israel to Jerusalem out of the Babylonian exile. These weary Hebrews were returning home. They had been through a lot and were just trying to get home. If you look at the terrain between Babylon and Jerusalem you will find it is rough. God promises that on their journey home the valleys would be raised, the mountains would be lowered and the rough places would be made even. The bottom line is that this nation was on a journey home.

Doc Adams (Casey’s oncologist) often said, “The destination was never in question, but sometimes the journey sucks.” The nation of Israel was being punished by God because they were disobedient. God, in His forgiveness, was leading them home and trying to make the journey as easy as possible. I think the key might have been that the journey would have been easier if they have stayed on the path God laid out for them.

So here are the questions of the evening…First, have we ever been on a journey where there were rough places, deep valleys or high mountains and felt ourselves exiled from God? Next, would the journey have been easier if we had just stayed on the path God laid out for us? Do we trust God to get us home? Did we try to take short cuts, or go around and turn around instead of continuing the journey as God intended? And last, did we make the journey longer than it had to be because we did not let God be God and lead us?

As we journey this Advent toward the birth of Jesus once again, how will we prepare for whatever journeys God has in store for us? As for me, I pray that I will be willing to follow His plan for the road ahead and that I will listen for God’s voice in my ear; my head and my heart walking in faith behind the God who sent me on the journey.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes, a warm coat and carry an umbrella. 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 only moved by what I believe and I believe God.
Happy Saturday!

Prayer: “Heavenly Father, I am so very grateful for Your love, salvation, and care for me. Without You, my life would be a disaster. With You, I am so very blessed and encouraged. Please help me this day to walk in step with Your Spirit’s leadership. As I do, help me to be sensitive to the needs of others whom I might encounter. Help me to be a blessing to others! In the strong and loving name of Jesus, Amen!”

1 John 3: 17 “But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?”

God’s Word contains the most practical and, at times, challenging words we will ever hear. As I read this passage I thought about how timely these words are in this season of the year. Most of us have enough. We have enough food, adequate transportation, clothes to wear that keep us warm and dry and a house that will do the same. So here is this question from God’s Word that challenges us to ignore those who have little or nothing.

God came down from the splendor of heaven to become poor and live among us so that through His earthly poverty we might become rich. The love of God was fully incarnated in Jesus and that love compelled Him to surrender all for the sake of others. If we are called to live godly lives and imitators of Christ, how can we help those who are in desperate need? There are so many opportunities to help others during this season of giving. We can put money in the red buckets, take food the local charities, pick a name from an angel tree or find out from a church or other group a way that we can help. We can also offer our gifts of presence to those who are lonely in hospitals or nursing homes. We can make phone calls and send Christmas cards to someone who might not receive a word of hope during this season of hope. Let each of us pray about a way we can help someone during Christmas.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes and carry an umbrella. Count your blessings and be a blessing. 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 only moved by what I believe and I believe God.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Happy Friday!

At noon today I completed my first semester as a full time graduate student. Bruce took me to dinner tonight as a celebration. When I arrived at home I became completely lazy and watched several episodes of NCIS. It felt really strange to just watch TV and not study or write. Now I have two weeks of work ahead of me to complete two take-home exams and study for a huge test over the Hebrew Bible.

Prayer: “Father, we honor You and thank You for Your great love for us. Where would we be without Your love and forgiveness through Jesus Christ? What a joy it is to our hearts to realize that our salvation is complete and full through the greatness of Your mercy. I love You and thank You for loving me so fully and freely even while I was unbelieving and rebellious against You. May the Holy Spirit today control my life and help me to live for Your glory. Amen”

Ephesians 2: 4,5 “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in sin, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved).”

In Greek the word grace is translated as charis. We translate that word into English as charity. Charity means doing something for someone totally incapable of repaying the gift. Our forgiveness and salvation is totally a loving charitable act given to us by a loving and gracious Father and Lord. We have done nothing to earn this gift of grace except to be sinners in need of a Savior. If God had not chosen to restore us into relationship with Him, we would still be covered in our sinfulness instead of blanketed by everlasting grace. When we were forgiven our sin was wiped away and God’s transforming and regenerative work began through the power of the Holy Spirit.
This entire act of grace and the enduring love initiated by God is what compelled Jesus to walk the road to Calvary and submit Himself to the pain and anguish of the cross. It is in this single act of charity we can never repay that we receive salvation and eternal life. My friends, that is Amazing grace!

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes. Count your blessings and say your prayers. Love you all mighty and faithful prayer warriors and friends, Bruce, Gaylene, Geni and Travis.

I am not moved by what I see. I am not moved by what I feel. I am only moved by what I believe and I believe God.
Happy Thursday!

After class this morning I spent the remainder of the day steeped in Old Testament. I took a take home quiz, did a reflective piece of writing and identified 7 of the 9 terms I was assigned in preparation for finals week. We ordered pizza and salad and at about 9: 45 the brain said, “NO MORE tonight.” Bruce is busy editing my history paper which is due in the morning and the time is late once again. This will be my life for the next two weeks. Please continue to pray and I am ever so grateful that you are in prayer for me and my studies as I am in thankful prayer for you each day.

Prayer: “Lord, I don’t know what to expect in the day ahead. But I do know what I can expect from you. Be my shield and Defender! Strengthen me to be faithful to You and to trust You in all I do and am. Help me to live every minute of this day in the fullness of Your Spirit and grace. In Jesus’ name, Amen!”

Psalm 91: “He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler.”

We are so blessed to have a God who is always with us. God refashioned Himself in the body of Jesus and walked among His children showing His perfect love. Hens are not very big, but they protect their young with fierce determination. The psalmist compares this protective love to the love and care God has for us. God cares for us with His grace and covers us with His love. He is the Lord and omnipotent God. God is always prepared to do battle for us and we must only ask. We are loved with the ever-enduring love of God. When troubles come and we are in need of His protection we can be assured that our troubles have already passed through the heart and mind of God and He has a battle plan in place. We will find our strength in the joy of the Lord and His grace will always be sufficient. Because we are joined to God by the Cross of Christ we can rest our troubles and cares in Him who loves us.

Take joy in the journey! Wear comfortable shoes, a warm jacket and carry an umbrella. 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 only moved by what I believe and I believe God.

PS I am asking for prayers for a friend who is experiencing extreme family strife. Her situation is heartbreaking as it is filled with brokenness, sadness and loss. Please pray for her peace and the healing of her family. You may not know her name, but God knows who she is. Thank you, mighty and faithful prayer warriors. Peace, gc

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Happy Wednesday!

I finished the history paper. This semester has been such a learning curve for me. I wrote this paper differently that I have ever written any paper. I wrote the introduction, beginning, end and conclusion and then I wrote the middle. I really prayed over the middle section. Thank you for all of your prayers. It is really hard to believe that there are only two more class days in this semester.

Prayer: “Heavenly Father, I honor You as the God of history. You are in control of life and human events. Thank you that in Your providence You chose Abraham as Your special servant. Through his descendants, Israel, You brought our Savior, Your Son Jesus, to die for our sins. Strengthen me today confidently to walk in faith and obedience in Your guiding hand. Amen.”

Deuteronomy 4: 7 “For what great nation is there that has God so near to it, as the Lord our God is to us, for whatever reason we may call upon Him?”

There is absolutely no thing that we can not bring before God and discuss with Him in prayer. Moses spoke these words to the nation of Israel before they reached the Promised Land. Even though those stiff necked Hebrew slaves (the Hebrew Bible really does call the slaves stiff necked) had been sinful and disobedient, God still loved them and called them His children. God dealt with Israel with a corrective hand and still provided for them on their journey meeting their needs of food and water when they were in need. God promised His children that He would be their Provider and saw them safely through the desert to the Promised Land.

We, too, have a provider. His name is Jesus, the very Messiah whose birth we celebrate during this season of Advent. The New Covenant reminds us in 2 Corinthians 1:20 “all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him, Amen, to the glory of God through us.” Today I knew the middle of the paper I was writing would cause me to make a stand for Christianity and belief in Christ over the prophet of Islam. I defended Christ using factual resources and my own beliefs. I spent time in prayer before I began to write asking God to guide my thoughts and my words that they not only be academically accurate, but would leave no doubt that I believe in the risen Savior, Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

Brite Seminary educates the most diverse community of people with whom I have ever been associated. The atmosphere and attitude of the school is one of acceptance, tolerance and celebration of this extraordinary group of individuals and their individual belief systems. My personal belief is that Jesus is Lord and it is He and He alone who will be there on the Day of Judgment and will judge the world by the Law of the Gospel and no other law. And that is how I spent my day! Please offer one more prayer for this paper and its acceptability to my professor. Thank you my dear friends.

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 only moved by what I believe and I believe God.
Happy Tuesday!

Each Tuesday at Brite there is a chapel service of Word and Table. Each week brings something new. One week it was Episcopal worship, one week we celebrated worship with Spanish speaking believers and today we participated in a service of lesson and carols to begin the season of Advent. It was wonderful. The speaker today talked about how the campus dress seems to change at this time of the year as the preparation for “Holy Finals Week” begins. Instead of jeans and TCU t-shirts the students arrive in class in sweatpants and baggy shirts because it is what they could find after a long night of studying. The prayer life increases a hundred fold and the coffee consumption is over the top! So if you drive down University Drive in Fort Worth this week, beware the sleepy, very comfortably dressed Horned Frogs carrying a large cup of coffee!

Prayer: “Today, Lord, as I go about my business, whether my responsibilities are great or small, remind me of the greatness of Your works. You have made and framed the universe! You sustain and provide for it in all of its vastness and greatness. But thank You for Your thoughts toward me. Your love and care are beyond comprehension. I trust in them today. Amen.”

Psalm 40:5 “Many, O Lord my God, Your wonderful works which You have done; and Your thoughts toward us cannot be recounted more than can be numbered.”

The paper I am writing asks me to write a reflection. The theme of the paper is where Christianity is headed. According to the text, Christianity is stagnant in North America and flourishing in South America, Africa and Southeast Asia. Part of this book deals with the Islamic faith replacing the Christian faith as the primary religion worldwide. I have prayed for God to inspire me in this writing that I may give an honest reflection about how this test has engaged my thinking. In my reflection I must state how the primary purpose for me is to further the cause of God through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. The reflection needs to state my perspective of the cause of Christ and His church. Other religions seem to have conflicting concepts of God as Creator and sustainer. This passage of scripture does not emphasize God the Creator but reminds us of His nature, His care, love and grace toward us. Once again I ask for your prayers as I write to defend Christianity. Join me in prayer that Christianity may be furthered in our nation and the world through each of us and His church.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes. Count your blessings and say your prayers. Thank you all so much for all of your prayerful support. 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 only moved by what I believe and I believe God.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Happy Monday!

PENTATONIX WINS THE SING-OFF! For those of you who do not know about The Sing-Off or Pentatonix, The Sing-Off is a competitive television show where A Capella singing groups (voices only - no instruments) compete for a Sony Recording contract and $200,000 in prize money. Pentatonix is an amazing 5 person singing group. Three of its core members are recent graduates of Arlington's Martin High School. Travis knows those three. Pentatonix was the youngest group in the competition with the three from Arlington being 19. Sixteen groups have been competing for the last 8 weeks. Tonight was the finale. Congratulations, Pentatonix!

Tonight we finished the last of the thanksgiving leftovers with a recipe for turkey dumpling soup. The dumplings were made from the last of the turkey dressing. Perfect for a cold, near-winter evening!

And…the tree is decorated!

Prayer: “Heavenly Father, help me to fully appreciate Your love as You quicken Your written Word by the work of the Holy Spirit. May Your Spirit touch my heart today and fill me with a fresh comprehension of Your grace, care and love for me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

1 John 3: 1a “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God.”

There is no greater example of a nurturing, caring or protective relationship than the relationship between parent and child. As parents, we do all we can to protect our children from harm, try to meet their needs and nurture them through leading godly lives of responsibility and unconditional love. As we continue to love and live with our children, we watch them transform before our very eyes.

In 1 John, we learn the great truth that because of Christ’s saving death on the cross and His glorious resurrection, we, who are now in Christ, are called “children of God.” Each day we continue to transform as we grow in relationship to Him. This transformation is ALL due to God’s love for us. So no matter what we face, whether temptation, ridicule, disappointment, fear, doubt or whatever darts Satan throws at us, God’s love is there offering us hope. His love is a constant reminder that we are “children of God.” We can rest in the assurance that the greatest comforts are there when we need them most and we are given empowerment for tomorrow to live for God.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes and a jacket. 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 only moved by what I believe and I believe God.

Prayer alert: Little Tatum began a new round of chemotherapy today. These are new drugs and her family does not know how she will react. Please offer pray for Mike, Mandy, Tatum and Olivia as they journey together in faith and belief in the everlasting God who brings healing to