Friday, April 22, 2011

Blessed Good Friday to you all!

Prayer: “Dear Heavenly Father, as I begin this day I turn to You because You alone are the Lord of my life. I worship You and exalt Your name above all. Thank You for saving me from my sin and writing my name in the Lamb’s Book of Life. In Jesus’ name I humbly pray, Amen”

1 Corinthians 2:9-10 “As it is written, “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God.”

I listen to sermons. In fact during worship I usually have my Bible, spiral journal, my favorite pen and a cup of coffee (really!) and while the pastor is delivering the message I am taking notes. I have always learned a lot from pastors on Sunday morning. I have always admired how they have such a command of the understanding of the scriptures and are able to make the connections that I as a lay person would never think of on my own. I now understand that those who preach have done a lot of study of the scriptures. They not only read the scripture as printed in the Bible, but also know the history and context surrounding the passage.

I especially get excited when the pastors make connections between Old and New Testaments and then somehow make these connections apply to my life. The wisdom of these men and women does not only come from just study, but from the power of the Holy Spirit revealing to them the underlying messages from the very breath of God.

God reveals to us His will for our lives through our prayers, study, worship and listening because the Holy Spirit opens the minds and hearts of those who believe in His name. My dear friends, that is us! God has appointed His Holy Spirit to reveal the things of His nature to us because of His love for us. God’s wisdom is not of this world. But because He loves us so much and desires the best relationship with us possible He sent His Holy Spirit through Jesus so that we might begin to understand the character and love of God for us.

Tonight, in the scriptures, Jesus declared, “It is finished!” For Jesus, His ministry on this earth was finished, but the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives had begun. Open your hearts and minds and allow the Holy Spirit to reveal God’s perfect wisdom, love and grace to you. Sounds like a life time of learning to me.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes. Count your blessings and say your prayers. Tonight when you lift each other up in prayer remember that everyone if fighting some sort of battle. Love you all, Bruce, Gaylene, Geni and Travis.

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

Today is Maundy Thursday. For those of you who are not liturgical worshipers, Maundy Thursday (or Holy Thursday) is the remembrance of the Last Supper (or Eucharist) shared by Jesus and His disciples. In the Lutheran Church we gather for worship and scriptures are read from the Gospel of Luke which tell the story of Jesus and His Disciples and the meal in the Upper Room. Also read is the passage in 1 Corinthians which offers the Words of Institution, or “In the night in which he was betrayed…”

Also in Lutheran tradition, at the end of the worship, the altar is stripped. All of the banners, seasonal coverings, candles and any other worship aids are removed. The worshipers exit the darkened sanctuary in silence remembering the time of prayer spent in the garden in preparation for Good Friday and the crucifixion.

Prayer: “Dear heavenly Father, Thank You for allowing me to wake up today. I never want to take my life for granted, and I want every minute to count for You. I confess all my sins to You. Help me to remember today that You are with me every step I take. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.”

Romans 14: 17-18 “The kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. For he who serves Christ in these things is acceptable to God and approved by men.”

God presents Himself to us in very physical and tangible ways. He sent us Jesus so that we could know Him. God commanded Jesus to be baptized. And just a few hours before His death Jesus ate a meal with His closest friends and followers. Jesus enacted them at the Father’s command as a model of a godly and obedient life. These are all things that are present in our own lives.

We can do all of those things that Jesus did, but the other things mentioned in the passage of scripture we cannot do without a relationship with Jesus. These things are in fact impossible to attain alone. But because when we enter into a relationship with God through Jesus, the power of the Holy Spirit is within us and can make each one of the attributes that root in our hearts become the hallmarks by which we live.

“Righteousness is simply living a godly life in a holy and obedient way. Peace is having a tranquil attitude toward others. Joy is having spiritual contentment regardless of circumstances.” (from Devotional Prayer Book) But ourselves we cannot even begin to live in this way, but Christ, who lives in us can cause us to live and act these attributes. When we live lives of righteousness, peace and joy then we take on more of the character and heart of Christ and God is pleased with us.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes. Count your blessings and say your prayers. When you pray lifting each other up in Jesus’ name, remember that we are all fighting some type of battle. Love you all, Bruce, Gaylene, Geni and Travis.

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

Prayer update: My Aunt Linda is doing well. She is very sore and her hand is sort of banged up from the deployment of the air bag, but she seems to be on the mend. Please continue to pray for her healing. Thank you, friends and mighty prayer warriors. Peace, gc

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Happy Wednesday!

Okay, so what happened to the weather? Upon arrival at home this afternoon I found a pair of jeans, a zip-up hoodie and some tennis shoes and socks. But the major excitement is that the long awaited brick patio is complete and ready for sitting. We all sat out for a while on the patio and enjoyed the new addition to our backyard. Bruce and Travis worked really hard and did a fantastic job. The patio is complete in plenty of time for our Easter Sunday/Graduation Celebration with our family! Thanks so much Bruce and Travis!

Prayer: “Most gracious and loving heavenly Father. I bow before You at the beginning of this new day. How I need You in my life. Your presence is my source of strength, and Your Word is my light. I will live for You today. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen”

Romans 8: 15, 16 “You did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, father.” The Spirit Himself bear witness with our spirit that we are children of God.”

Each night I close with “everyone is fighting some type of battle.” Have you ever thought about what enables us to fight battles? We can battle because the power of the Holy Spirit lives within each of us. We can confidently face the enemy because we are the family of God and we can approach the throne of grace without fear.

Scripture tells us that the way to the Father is through the Son. We pray in the name of Jesus enabling the Holy Spirit to speak to God on our behalf. The Holy Spirit goes before us presenting our case before the Father because of our faith in His Son, Jesus. Make your requests known to God believing that He listens and hears our cries for help. And then remember to say thanks for the loving kindness He has shown.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes. Count your blessings and say your prayers. When you pray lifting each other up in prayer before the Father, pray for the Lord of Hosts to go before you and ask Him to lead the battle. Love you all, Bruce, Gaylene, Geni and Travis.

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

First, my Aunt Linda was in a serious car accident this evening. She, at this writing, has a dislocated elbow, various cuts, scrapes and bruises but will be okay. Mom and Dad went to the hospital and Mom got to stay with her until they took her to set her arm. We are in a spirit of thankfulness to God and His tender mercies for her life. She is sore and I am sure she will be for a while. Please pray for her and her healing. Thank you.

And all of the bricks are in place in the patio. It is so beautiful. A layer of sand must be placed to hold everything together. I am so excited. I am praying for pretty weather on Easter Sunday afternoon so we can party outside.

Prayer: “Dear heavenly Father, I am so glad to begin another day with You in my heart. Thank you for loving me and helping me to handle all that will come my way today. I am totally dependent on Your wisdom and grace, and I celebrate your presence in my life. Amen.”

1 John 2: 20, 27 “You have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things…But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him.”

We have so many ways to communicate. We have email, Facebook, Twitter, cell phones, text messages, etc…and probably some I have forgotten. We are a world of instant access, but with so many different ways to find each other and communicate our messages, needs, wants and wishes. I think my favorite is when I send someone to the grocery store and when I have discovered I left something off of the list I can text message them and they receive the message immediately. And then just to be sure a camera phone can take a picture of any item in the store and send it to me for confirmation. And then there are the newer applications that will allow you to take a picture of the emblem on a Starbucks coffee cup and then find the nearest Starbucks. And then I guess the coolest thing of all is the phones with GPS. Just plug in where you are, type in where you want to go and the directions not only appear on your screen, but will talk you to where you want to go. Completely amazing!

But you know in all of these ways of communicating, mistakes happen. That Starbucks locator may not know that the store has closed. The GPS may not have updated information and will send you to the wrong place. Facebook and Twitter could get you into trouble. Tonight I learned that anything you write on these social networking sites may as well be your resume’.

However, there is a way to communicate that never fails. There is One with whom we can communicate that is always truthful. There is One Whom is always updated and will never send you to the wrong place. When we pray in Jesus’ Name through the power of the Holy Spirit we can count on(at least) two things - that God will guard us from error and from false teaching. When we pray anointed with the Holy Spirit, God places around us protection from Satan’s lies and guides us to truth. When we pray in this mighty power God can read our resume’ and know we are His children and will shield us from the lies of the world.

Take joy in the journey. Count your blessings and especially tonight, say your prayers. When you lift each other up in prayer tonight, pray in the power of the Holy Spirit for as believers, God abides in each of us. Love you all mighty and faithful prayer warriors, Bruce, Gaylene, Geni and Travis.

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

Monday, April 18, 2011

Happy Monday!

Prayer: “Gracious heavenly Father, thank You for the precious gift of eternal life You have given me through Your Son, the Lord Jesus. I am so grateful for all the blessings of life today and I am mindful that outside of You I have nothing and am capable of nothing. Please help me to live for You today and grant me the wisdom to make decisions that are pleasing to You in every way. I pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.”

Romans 8: 10, 11 “If Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you. He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.

What is not to love about Romans?

I wish I could offer each of you a burden free life, but I cannot. And as weird as this may sound the struggles sometimes bring about the greatest joys. I think maybe it is because when the struggles come we come closer to Christ. We seem to pray a bit more, read a few more passages of scripture, maybe listen a bit closer in worship and tell other Christians of our burdens and ask them for prayer. When we are going through tough times our faith is challenged. When we ask our believing friends and family to pray for us our faith becomes strengthened because God seems closer and more present in all we see, hear, say and do.

When we come into relationship with Christ then the Holy Spirit dwells with us. That means that the very presence of Jesus does not just come for a visit, but unpacks and sets up residence and stays not just for our lifetime here on earth but on into eternity. Isn’t it amazing that the One who dwells so closely with us as we live here on earth is the same one who chooses to keep us with Him through eternity? God is with us at all times and never leaves us for any reason.

These truths are enough to make the very darkest of days just a bit brighter. One of my favorite songs has these words, “I’m alive and well. Your Spirit is within me because You died and rose again.” Praise God from Whom all blessings flow!

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes. Count your blessings and say your prayers. Let us remember to lift each other up in prayer tonight remembering that each of us is fighting some sort of battle. Love you all so very much, Bruce, Gaylene, Geni and Travis.

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

Prayers: Healing for Sharon James, a friend who has been diagnosed with a metastasized breast cancer that has presented in the bones. She has been through breast cancer and had a bilateral mastectomy.

And discernment for Bruce as he is giving my paper the once over twice before I turn it in tomorrow evening. Thank you, mighty and powerful prayer warriors. gc
Blessed Sunday and Holy Week to you all!

Bruce got home safely this afternoon in time for dinner and Harry Potter. Thank you for your prayers for his safe return.

Today in worship our music directors also returned to worship after six weeks of maternity leave. They brought their beautiful baby for all of us to see. She is absolutely beautiful and was perfect during church. It was so great to have them back at the keyboard and microphone.

Today’s sermon was preached about the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. The theme of Pastor’s sermon was “The Party’s Over.” Jesus entered the streets of Jerusalem on the back of a borrowed donkey to tread on the palm branches and clothing of the citizens and visitors to Jerusalem. At that triumphal entry the Pharisees were already getting the lynch mob together, a traitor among the disciples had been selected and the trial by night was set. The week that follows is one of saying good-bye, torture, betrayal, death in its most cruel form and finally a triumphant resurrection.

But the party being over is about knowing that the death of Jesus meant the party was over for the Pharisees. With all of their plotting and planning they still could not overcome the plan God had put in place from the creation of the earth and all its inhabitants to the miraculous birth of a Savior and His glorious resurrection. Sin had been defeated and Jesus reigns victorious.

So my friends, walk the streets of Jerusalem and be a part of the crowd. Read the Passion of Jesus in the gospels this week. Attend a Maundy Thursday Service to celebrate and remember the Last Supper Jesus spent with His disciples. Participate in a Service of Darkness on Friday and experience the last hours of the life of Jesus as he is crucified. And on Sunday attend a celebration like none other as Jesus is raised from the tomb in glorious resurrection.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes. Count your blessings and say your prayers. Lift each other up in prayer. Remember that each of us is fighting some sort of battle. Love you all, Bruce, Gaylene, Geni and Travis.

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