Saturday, May 7, 2011

Happy Saturday!

What a wonderful day! My beautiful almost-graduated-from-college daughter treated me to lunch at The Cheesecake Factory today. We sat outside and had great conversation. Geni has grown into such a lovely young woman both inside and out and her Daddy and I are so very proud of her.

Tomorrow, our great niece and Ken’s granddaughter, Holly, is being baptized. Also, Geni is being honored with the other High School and College graduates at our church tomorrow. We will miss the first family baptism ever due to that scheduling conflict. So we are meeting the remainder of the family in Allen for lunch after worship. This year we add two more mothers to the family roster. We add Ken’s daughter Asenath and our goddaughter’s mother Addie. A growing family is such a blessing and a sure sign of God’s grace and love.

Prayer: “Lord, I come to give You praise this morning. Thank you for watching over me throughout the night. I praise You for a new day and new opportunities to serve You. Strengthen me for the tasks at hand. Help me to walk in Your Spirit and not fulfill the lusts of my flesh. I thank You that I can call out to You at any time and You will hear my prayer. I praise You for sending Your Son so I might receive eternal life. Amen.

Psalm 66: 1-4 “Make a joyful shout to God, all the earth! Sing out the honor of His name; make His praise glorious. Say to God, “how awesome are Your works! Through the greatness of Your power Your enemies shall submit themselves to You. All the earth shall worship You and sing praises to You; they shall sing praises to Your name.”

As I sat across from my daughter this afternoon I marveled at how we were having a conversation about teaching. I am ending my teaching career and by the grace of God she will begin hers. I remembered the early morning of her birth and how they took her from me quickly as they thought they heard a heart murmur (they never heard another one) and then how she developed serious jaundice within the next few hours and was placed into an isolet completed surrounded by lights. I was not allowed to take her out and hold her. She then developed apnea and bradycardia and came home on a monitor. I had to leave the hospital without her. I remember going home where I began to do the laundry because I had no baby for which to care. I called at every nursing shift and went to the hospital in Fort Worth about three times a day to see her. I remember going home and sitting in the hall floor and crying or sitting in the rocker in her room and wishing so hard that she was there. After a week the jaundice finally began to lessen they let her come home. I think I held her in my arms for four solid hours before even leaving the chair. Her life is a miracle.

And today I looked across the table at this precious woman child who treated me to lunch. It caused me to rejoice and give thanks to God for her fighting spirit, her kind heart and the joy we are experiencing as mother and daughter and friends. I was also reminded of the gift of faith with which she has been blessed and how it has brought her through some really difficult times.

The miracle of faith is one that has been given to each of us. It began back with the miracle of the water as God brought the nation of Israel across the Red Sea on dry land and then again as the parted waters of the Jordan River allowed that same nation to cross over into the land of Canaan. God loved this stubborn, willful nation of Israel enough to protect it by His presence so they could get where He intended them to go. The nation of Israel worshiped and celebrated their freedom upon reaching the shore.

We celebrate the miracles of the Cross and the Resurrection of our Lord and the gift of eternal life. And someday when we all reach heaven and are living eternally with the Risen Christ, we, too, shall sing and make His praise glorious because we, too, will have reached the other shore.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes. Count your blessings and say your prayers. Remember when you pray this evening to be ever mindful of God’s faithfulness to be with us in all we do and experience. His Holy Spirit remains with us in all ways and at all times. See you in worship. 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.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Happy Friday!

Prayer: “Good Morning, Lord. I bow before You as my God and King. I come to this special place each morning to acknowledge Your presence and to worship You as my heavenly Father. I cannot begin a single day without seeking Your guidance. I desperately need You! I ask You to fill me this day with Your Spirit and Your power. Mold and shape me for Your great glory. Speak to my heart throughout the day. Help me walk in Your Spirit and know Your will. Teach me Your ways that I may teach and lead others to You. Help me to be a godly influence and have an attitude of worship as I live out this day. I love You, Father! In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.”

Psalm 47: 1-3 “O clap your hands, all you peoples! Shout to God with the voice of triumph! For the Lord Most High is awesome; He is a great King over all the earth. He will subdue the peoples under us, and the nations under our feet.”

This morning while driving to work I was listening to my drive time devotion. As I listened, it spoke of focusing on that which is unseen instead of that which is seen. I can see the world around me, but what I cannot see is God. About the time I was processing this concept I received a text message from Carme. She sends me a daily scripture via a text message. The message this day was on the unseen God. The message was simply that you can see salt and you can see a glass of water. But when you mix the salt in the water it is still present, but you cannot see it. Now you focus on what is unseen. You can drink the water and taste the salt. You do not have to see the salt to taste its saltiness.

I phoned Carme and told her that she and God were on the same page today. So today I made a conscious effort not to concentrate on what I could see, but on God’s presence. I prayed today that when others saw me that they knew God was present with me even though they could not see God. I think I am going to try to be the glass of salty water. I am going to change my focus to less of what I can see and more on the unseen presence of God not only in myself, but in others.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes. Count your blessings and say your prayers. When you pray tonight and as you lift each other up in prayer remember that God through the power of the Holy Spirit is there in the midst of whatever we are going through. Love you all, Bruce, Gaylene, Geni and Travis.

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

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Happy Thursday!

Prayer: “Heavenly Father, as I approach a new day, I do so with a song in my heart. Your name is majestic in all the earth, and I ask for Your blessings upon me as I represent You today. Direct my steps and guard my paths that I might not sin or bring reproach against Your holy name. I desire to honor You and let people know just how awesome You are. I pray this in the name of my Savior and King, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Job 37:22-24 “He comes from the north as golden splendor; with God is awesome majesty. As for the Almighty, we cannot find Him; He is excellent in power, in judgment and abundant justice; He does not oppress. Therefore men fear Him; He shows no partiality to any who are wise of heart.”

I was in great hopes of taking a class this summer. This was a class in the theology of Christian religions. The class was a very intensive class and only 5 days in length. The hours of this class were 9-5, but I figured I can endure anything for 5 days. There was also some out-of-class work to be done the week before and the week after. Even though I qualified for advanced registration the class filled up very quickly and I have been wait listed. I checked today and I am eighth in line to get into this class. So I did some further checking and found that there were quite a number of students trying to get into this class. So I wrote to the dean of Brite and asked if he could open up the class since there was such a large number of us who wanted to take it. The dean’s response was that due to the intensity of this class and the amount of grading the professor would need to do the class had to be closed after 20 enrollees. The dean was gracious in his explanation and expressed that he wished he had better news for me.

The dean of Brite was absolutely correct in his assessment of the situation. When I was thinking of the class and saw nothing specific that would be cause for a closed classroom I was only thinking of myself. But the dean (in his wisdom) knew the situation and exercised a decision in favor of the professor out of his care for her and in the best interest of the students. It was something I had not considered.

The dean, who has the final say in these matters, has the control and makes the best decision possible for all concerned. His thoughts were not my thoughts and his ways were not my ways. God works in much the same way. God has supremacy over my inferiority and even though I prayed to take this class this summer, God seems to know more than me. (Imagine that!!) God did not deny me this class to oppose me but to reveal that that He is in control and knows what is best for me.

I do not know what is in store for me this summer, but I plan to listen and try to follow God’s Word as it is spoken to me remembering that God is right in all he does.
Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes. Count your blessings and say your prayers. When you pray lift each other up, pray for yourself and remember that God, through the power of the Holy Spirit, is there in the midst of the battle. Love you, Bruce, Gaylene, Geni and Travis.

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

PS Geni completed her students teaching today. Her portfolio has been turned in and graduation is a week from tomorrow. Please pray for a job opening to become available with her name written on it. Thank you, mighty and faithful prayer warriors. Peace, gc

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Happy Wednesday!

This has been a most interesting day. There is a wonderful feeling of lightness when the word “final” is in your past. It was really odd to come home this afternoon and not have to study for my class. Bruce and I even took a lovely evening walk and then sat on the porch and talked. It was so nice!

Today’s funny first grade story: I eat lunch with my children and in our table discussion there is no discussion of school, but discussions of family events, soccer practices, ballet recitals and results of games played on DS’s or other electronic game systems. So today a young man in my class told me that while he was at soccer practice a little girl told him that she liked him. I found out that she is three, but shared her granola bar with him. (I know - sounds like love.) I told him, “Well, three years olds have good taste.” His reply was, “They certainly do!” I will miss teaching first grade because no one tells a story like a first grader.

Prayer: “Father, thank You for a restful night and a beautiful new day. I pray that You will enable me today to walk in the Spirit and not yield to my flesh. I desire so much to please You heavenly Father. I never meant to become a reproach upon Your name or offense to Your church. I love you Father, and thank you for blessing me with Your lovely Son, Jesus. Help me seize every opportunity to be a witness for Your glory and honor. I devote myself anew to You this day. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

Nehemiah 9: 32 “Our God, the great and mighty, and awesome God, who keeps covenant and mercy, do not let all the trouble seem small before You that has come upon us, our kings and our princes, our priests and our prophets, our fathers and on all Your people, from the days of the kings of Assyria until this day.”

In the Old Testament God kept His covenant with the nation of Israel no matter how many times they turned their back on God and lived in sin. God promised to be their God and they would be His people. God claimed them as His children even though they continually lived in patterns of sin. First they were faithful, followed the commandments and lived godly lives. Then they became idolaters and fell away from the commandments given by God through Moses. Even though they did not always live a godly life God always forgave them and exercised His justice upon them. But because God is honorable he still showed compassion and mercy even in His judgment.

God’s love and mercy became full when He sent Jesus to bear the full punishment for all of the sin of all humanity. So when we are not living godly lives God, through Jesus, still shows us forgiveness, compassion and tender mercies even when we do not deserve any of these kindnesses. God gives these precious gifts out of His love for us and His desire to be a greater part of our lives. So give thanks to our great, mighty, powerful and awesome God for our salvation and His abundant love and grace.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes. Count your blessings and say your prayers. When you pray remember to lift burdens and blessings and each other, acknowledging that God through the power of the Holy Spirit is there in the midst of wherever we find ourselves. Love you all, Bruce, Gaylene, Geni and Travis.

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

PS Tomorrow is Geni’s last day of student teaching. On Sunday she will be recognized as a graduating senior during worship and then her actually graduation from NTSU is on Friday the 13th. WOW! Please pray for her as she steps out into a brave new world! Peace, gc
Happy Tuesday!

Check one more thing off. I completed one more class at Brite tonight as I took my final in Congregational Leadership. I think I did okay. I did not even have to make up anything on the test this time!

Prayer: “Lord, thank You for giving me the opportunity to behold the glorious beauty of Your creation! Help me not to get so caught up in business that I overlook the little things You have orchestrated for me along life’s journey. So often I take simple blessings like sight for granted. Please remind me to day that You created all things by Your marvelous hand and that You give them to Your children to enjoy.
Thank you Lord God, for making a brand new day! In Jesus name I pray. Amen”

Deuteronomy 10: 17-18 “The Lord your God is the God of gods and Lord of lords; the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality nor takes a bribe. He administers justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the stranger, giving him food and clothing.”

Sometimes first graders say unkind things to each other. Our school mantra is “Treat others as you would like to be treated. We are family.” Today one of my students wrote some unkind words about another student in our classroom and I had to remind him about the mantra. I had to ask the student how he would feel if the story had been written about him. He apologized to the other student.

This was a child who understood very little about what he had actually done and it was my task as his teacher to let him know that it was inappropriate behavior.

As adults, sometimes we intentionally say things to others that are less than kind. Usually there is not someone there to remind us to apologize when we have hurt someone else. God loves us all more than the sparrows of the skies and yet He provides everything for them. God provides us with two things, first a model of the godly life in Jesus and second, forgiveness when we say things we shouldn’t. God gives the same unconditional love to others, treating them the way the He has treated us.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes. Count your blessings and say your prayers. Thank you for your prayers during my test. Let us continue to lift each other up in prayer remembering that the Holy Spirit works with us in our journeys and our travels. 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.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Happy Monday!

Just before sitting down to write tonight I went to the closet and got out a denim shirt, khaki shirt and a hooded down vest to wear in the morning. The upper 30’s are forecast on Tuesday, May 3rd. Go figure!? I have also been studying tonight for my test tomorrow night. I will have a few more hours tomorrow after school to study more before my final tomorrow evening. I ask for your prayers as I prepare for this test and then take the test. Thank you friends!

Prayer: “Heavenly Father, You truly are an awesome God! As I behold the majestic handiwork of Your creation, I’m reminded of Your sovereignty and glory. Thank You for establishing a personal relationship with me, even though Your ways and thoughts are always above me. Thank You that I can call You my God and know You as my heavenly Father. In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, I give you praise. Amen.”

Psalm 19: 7-9 “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, make wise the simple; the statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.”

Over the weekend I received a letter from FWISD telling me that they have received all of the paper work for my pending retirement from teaching. As I continued to read the letter it occurred to me that someone should have proofread this letter just a bit better. In essence it said that the application for retirement was irrevocable unless I can produce a doctor’s document stating that I was mentally incompetent at the time of the application. So, let me get this straight, if I was mentally incompetent at the time of application I could go back into the classroom…? If a doctor will certify me crazy I can teach again…hmmmm? I must admit to you that each time I thought of this I broke out into a fit of giggles.

God reveals Himself to us in so many ways. We so often think of God as being revealed in Jesus Christ. We also marvel at the works of His hand in nature. But did you ever think that God revealed Himself in creation? Creation reveals God as the might Creator with infinite power, but the Word reveals God as the One who enters into covenant relationship with His people.

The covenant is simple; you will be My people and I will be your God. A covenant is the strongest most unbreakable promise anyone can make. And this wonderful God we serve has, through His love and grace, chosen to enter into a covenant relationship with us. And unlike the letter from FWISD, His Word assures us that His Word is perfect, contains spiritual truth, is steadfast and is never changing. God’s Word contains the principles for us to live our daily lives. When we read the Word and obey it we are blessed. I give thanks that God would reach out to each of us no matter where we are in our lives and call us His children.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes and a warm jacket. Count your blessings and say your prayers. When you pray tonight lifting each other up in prayer, remember how awesome our God is and that He is always there in our midst working with us. 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.

Blessed Sunday to you all!

Well hasn’t this been an interesting day!? First, it has been wet, raining and cold all day. We have the stoves burning in each room and I am wearing a hoodie, blue jeans and socks at this writing.

Bruce and I are officially godparents of Asia May Brewer. She was totally perfect during her baptism this morning and completely beautiful. Her parents and grandparents were present; Addie’s mother from Malaysia and Jeremy’s parents from Oklahoma. They were all so proud and are absolutely in love with Asia. Bruce and I are so honored that we have been asked to be a part of this little darlin’s life. We always wanted a practice grandchild!

Isaiah 55; 9 “For as the heavens are higher that the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.”

Okay, how many times (admit it) have we said (sarcastically) to one of our kids, “Is it just possible that I know more than you do? After all I am a bit older, I have had a bit more experience, etc…” I sometimes have to say these words to my first graders when they get too big for their britches and think they are going to talk back and dispute what I have said. I don’t mind a disagreement, but there is a difference between a disagreement and disrespectfully arguing with someone who knows more than you do.

Now I would love to tell you I haven’t argued with God on occasion, but, alas, I have, and I have always asked for forgiveness. I have usually argued when I was not willing to wait on God’s answer to a prayer I have prayed or when I thought God was taking too long to give me an answer.

This verse puts me in my place. When I am impatient for an answer and I begin to think God has forgotten me or really needs to be speedier in answering; I need to remember that God’s ways are not my ways and His thoughts are not my thoughts and most importantly God’s timing is not my timing. When I am impatient then I am reminded that I must trust my Maker. Then I also remember that my Maker and Redeemer is also my Servant and is willing to grant all of my desires according to His will.

The Servant God is the One who will go the distance and make sure that I am ever reminded of His faithfulness to accomplish in me and all of us His perfect will.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes. Count your blessings and say your prayers. Tonight when you pray give thanks that just maybe evil was toppled today and that those who lost loved ones ten years ago may experience peace in their hearts. Ask God to bless those who fight to keep us safe and are willing to put their lives on the line for the freedom we hold so dear. 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.