Saturday, May 14, 2011

Happy Saturday!

I’m writing a bit earlier tonight! Today was back to work as usual for Geni and Travis. After the big Friday night it was a bit tough for them to get up and get to work, but they did!

Prayer: Father, You are the God who answers prayer. You are a very present help in times of trouble. Father, You are gracious. You are righteous and You are merciful. I praise Your name this morning! You set my feet upon the rock, so I will not be moved. You are my shield, my strength, my shelter, and my strong tower. Amen.”

Psalm 116: 5-7 “Gracious is the Lord, and righteous; yes, and Our God is merciful. The Lord preserves the simple; I was brought low, and He saved me. Return to Your rest, O my soul, for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.”

As our family faces all of the changes in our very near future with Bruce’s heart cath and surgery in June (providing nothing imminent occurs on Thursday’s procedure.) my retirement, and Geni and Travis’s future plans and dreams, we are counting on a faithful God. Based on a faithful God, the psalmist calls his soul to rest.

When our children were quite small we put them down for naps. But I never remember any of them running up to us begging, “Can I pleeeeeeease take a nap?” Even though they never asked we knew they needed to rest at regular times. We actually held onto the Sunday-after- church-nap for a long time. Adults need regular times of rest, too. Right now it seems that rest is something we all remember. But I think the psalmist is thinking more about rest from worry and stress within his soul.

At some point we must rest. The way to rest from worry and stress is through surrender to the one who can give rest. We must remember how faithful God is to us even when are not so faithful to Him. We are unfaithful when we do not give our cares, worries, hard and tough times to God. When we believe we can do all of these things through our own strength we are giving in to the sinful idolatry of self reliance.

In truth we need to give our weary souls to God, turning off the noise of our fast working brains and listening to the still small voice of God. Jesus welcomes all who are weary and heavy laden to find rest in Him. Sing the old hymn, “Just have a little talk with Jesus. Tell Him all about our sorrows. He will hear our anxious cry and answer by and by.” Give God your burdens and then LEAVE THEM THERE!

Take joy in the journey. Pray for Bruce as he prepares for the procedure on Thursday. Wear comfortable shoes. Count your blessings and say your prayers. Remember that God is in our midst during times of trouble through the power of the Holy Spirit. 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.
Happy Friday!

This writing is coming very late. In fact is so late that it is already Saturday! But we have a college graduate!

Due to heavy traffic we did not get to eat dinner with the remainder of the family, but connected and sat together in the Super Pit at UNT.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow. Take care my friends and will write more tomorrow or actually in a few hours. Thank you for your prayers and love you all, Bruce, Gaylene, Geni (Class of 2011) 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 13, 2011

Happy Thursday!

I believe I have shared with you that Bruce was having some heart valve problems. I went with him to the doctor today. The aortic valve in a healthy human heart opens 2.5 cm. Bruce’s aortic valve opens less than 0.9 cm. We have known that surgery was in his future. After today’s visit surgery is soon. The doc ran a sonogram and an EKG after blood work earlier in the week. The doc began Bruce on nitroglycerine and low dose aspirin along with his other medications. A heart catheterization has been scheduled for Thursday of next week. If any artery blockages are discovered then stents will be inserted. The doctor agreed to ask the surgeon to schedule the aortic valve replacement for June so I can be at home to care for Bruce while he recovers. On behalf of our family we ask your prayers to restore health, bring back into well being and complete healing for Bruce as he walks the road to surgery and recovery.

Prayer: God, I thank You that whoever calls on Your name will be saved. Put people in my path today who are ready to receive You. Enable me to be a faithful witness for You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”

Psalm 105: 1-3 “Oh, give thanks to the Lord. Call upon His name; make known His deeds among the peoples! Sing to Him psalms to Him; talk of all His wondrous works! Glory in His holy name; let the hearts of those rejoice who seek the Lord!”

I really love the Psalms. They always seem to bring comfort to me and lift my heart with joy and bring peaceful assurance when I need it. There is such truth in the psalms and wonderful directions for daily living.

This particular passage of the Psalms instructs us to do six things:
1. Give thanks. Try to give thanks in all things. If we claim that God’s will is working in our lives then we can find a way to be thankful to Him no matter what happens.
2. Call on His name. God is our heavenly Father so we can call Him by His name. Other man-made gods are missing a huge ability of our God. Our God is a God of salvation through Jesus. Salvation comes by no other name except Jesus.
3. Make Him known. We are called to proclaim His name to all of the nations.
4. Sing to Him. (DUH!!) Around here singing to Him is like breathing. For me I do not just sing about Jesus, but I sing to Jesus especially when I am sad or going through a tough time. Singing to God is a form of prayer and worship for me.
5. Talk about Him. Do you enjoy talking about God? I love talking about God and His goodness. I love sharing with others the marvelous things God has done for me and how He has directed and continues to direct my life. I often bring God into my conversations as people ask me what I am going to do when I retire, “God has another place for me to be and another job for me to do.” And then I get to talk about God and how he has worked in my life.
6. Glory in Him. Take time to glory and praise His name. Whatever we do in word or action we need to do for the glory of God. Matthew 5:16 says, “…let your light so shine before men so that people see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”

WOW! That is a lot of recognition in just one verse. Perhaps we cannot accomplish all of these things each day, but maybe we could practice one or two a day until we can put them all into practice each day. Can you imagine how awesome each day we spent would be if we enacted just a couple of these instructions each day. That would really bring joy into the journey because the entire day would be spent in the presence and the spirit of God.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes. Count your blessings and say your prayers. When you pray remember that God remains with us through the storm (or the party) providing joy and peace in whatever situation we find ourselves. Thank you for your prayers mighty and 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 moved only by what I believe and I believe God.

PS By writing time tomorrow night we will be a family with a child who is a college graduate. Please continue to pray for Geni as she searches for a place to begin her teaching career. Thanks again, gc

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Happy Wednesday!

Prayer: “Father I praise You for Your mighty works. I see You at work in the world, in the church and in my own life. Work in and through me today. May I accomplish the work that You placed me on this earth to do for your glory. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

Psalm 111: 2-4 “Let them praise the name of the Lord, for He commanded and they were created. He also established them forever and ever; He made a decree which shall not pass away.”

In my meditation tonight the final statement says, “There is nothing wrong with retiring from a job, but there is something wrong from retiring from work. When you retire from a job, it gives you more time to do God’s work.” ( I read this meditation several times since it seemed to be glaring at me from the page.)

The psalmist in this verse glories in the works of God. But the greatest of God’s works is salvation through His Son, Jesus Christ. No other work of God compares to this one work. No other work brings more glory to God than this one. The Lord’s Supper represents the greatest redemptive work God has ever created. May we always remember the price paid in blood on the cross. May we never forget the cost of the love poured out in that blood. May we always remember that salvation is the work of God and not of man. It is by God’s grace alone and not our works that salvation is achieved.

As a career educator and believer I have always looked at my teaching career as a type of ministry. Due to the limitations of the law sometimes the most I can do is pray for my students and hopefully be a model of the Godly life for those I teach, their families and those with whom I work. Now, as I transition from being an educator to becoming the educated in a seminary, I will be freer to discuss scripture, pray openly and be in fellowship with others who are taking on the Christian ministry as not just a way of life, but as a career. The work of Christ within me will not stop - it will just change a bit. I ask you to be in prayer for me as I make this transition and learn to be Christ’s servant and representative.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes. Give thanks for your blessings and the good works God has done in you. Say your prayers and remember that God works in us through His Holy Spirit no matter what is going on in our lives. God is there in the midst guiding and strengthening us as we journey. 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.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Happy Tuesday!

Prayer: “God, I worship You in Your holiness. Create in me a clean heart and renew a right spirit within me. Help me to think pure thoughts and have a pure heart. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”

Psalm 68: 35 “O God, You are more awesome than Your holy places. The God of Israel is He who gives strength and power to His people. Blessed be God!”

I have come home each day for the last few days to new cards and gifts sent for Geni. Our friends and family have sent money in the form of checks and gift cards or boxes with treasures inside. These dear ones are honoring Geni for her accomplishments and showing their love for her with these gifts.

God cares for us so very much and we know because of the gifts He gives us. God has given us important gifts. He has given us His holiness. At the cross Jesus took all of our sin upon Himself and replaced it with His righteousness. God gave us His own letter of love in the Holy Scriptures to remind us of the Comforter who lives in each of us in the Holy Spirit.

God also gave us His strength and power. God looks for those of us through which He can show Himself. When we are weak then God is made strong. The body of Jesus was made weak to the point of death so that the power of God could be made strong. We claim this gift in Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” God is able to do all things exceedingly and abundantly. God does not need us, but God chooses us because of His love for us. Nothing is too difficult for God even those of us who have to be reminded that God is God and we are not! God raised Jesus from the dead so that His power could be made known in Him, and so that we, too, could live in resurrection power today and forever!

Take joy in this amazing journey! Count your many blessings. Give thanks for God’s blessings and gifts. Say your prayers. When you pray tonight remember there is nothing we go through that God is not there 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.

PS count down to Geni’s graduation is three days!

PSS I made a B in my Congregational leadership class and I have moved up from #9 to #6 on the waiting list for my class this summer. It could happen!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Happy Monday!

Prayer: “Father, throughout this day, help me to focus not on circumstances or difficulties, but on You. I confess that You are God and I am not. Many people in the world don’t know You. Use my life to point them to You. Amen.”

Psalm 66: 5-7 “Come and see the works of God. He is awesome in His doing toward the sons of men. He turned the sea into dry land; they went through the river on foot. There we will rejoice in Him. He rules by His power forever, His eyes observe the nations; do not let the rebellious exalt themselves.”

In tonight’s meditation I am reminded how we do not see the vastness of God. One of the questions in the devotional writing was “Did it ever occur to you that nothing ever occurs to God?” God sees whatever we are going through right now and the possible obstacles in our path.

As an educator in Texas just a few months ago I was surprised and shocked (as well as the rest of my faculty) at the “Crisis in the Classroom” with all of the budget cuts and teachers losing their jobs, but with God there are no surprises. The obstacles we face each day to God are opportunity to show just how powerful God is. God is so much bigger than our problems. And if we offer our problems and obstacles to God then He will go before us and make a way. You know if God opened the Red Sea to let the nation of Israel cross over safely on dry land and be out of the reach of Pharaoh’s army, just imagine what God will do for us if we but surrender our wills to Him and allow Him to safely guide us across our own Red Seas.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes. Count your blessings and say your prayers. When we pray tonight let us remember to surrender our obstacles to God and believe that He will make a way when there seems to be no way. He is always there with us in the midst of whatever Red Sea we must cross. 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 Travis alert! Tonight at his daily workout/strong man training session he quarter lifted 1000 pounds! OMG!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Blessed and Happy Mother’s Day to you all!

Today was such a wonderful day. Geni was honored as being a college graduate (even though she really does not graduate until this coming Friday night.) And our great niece, Holly, was baptized this morning. Our family did finally get together this afternoon in Allen for a family cookout and celebration of mothers and families. But my favorite gift of all was standing in the praise team with Bruce, Geni and Travis.
When we sing together it is always the greatest joy I experience. Thank you, Father.

1 Peter 1: 22 “You were cleansed from your sins when you obeyed the truth, so now you must show sincere love to each other as brothers and sisters. Love each other deeply with all your heart.”

During this morning’s worship all of the graduating seniors were honored with a special solo sung by Linda Wentzel while a power point presentation of each graduate in different stages of their lives was presented. The pictures were wonderful. As I sat there holding Bruce’s hand, tears of joy rolled down my face in pride for our daughter and all she has overcome, all she has accomplished, all that is ahead of her, but mostly out of our love for her. I was reminded of another power point presentation made about two and a half years ago as the Celebration of Life worship service for our son, Casey. The tears shed then were for his extraordinary faith, courage, our loss and the love we had and still have for him.

We have been blessed to have some of the most precious moments of our lives occur and be celebrated in the house of the Lord with family and friends present. And as I watched those family photos of the graduates on the screen today I saw the strong family resemblances and knew to whom these young people belonged.

How can others tell to whom we belong? More importantly how can others tell we belong to God? How do we resemble our heavenly Father? Are we patient and kind? Do we treat others the way we want to be treated? Do we model godliness and holiness in our everyday life. God tells us in His Word in 1 Peter that we must “Love each other deeply with all of our hearts.” The old song says, “They will know we are Christians by our love.”

How do we show love to those around us? Scripture tells us that because we were cleansed from our sins we must show sincere love to all as if they were our brothers and sisters. Not only are we to show love, we are to love deeply. God wants us to love each other as he loves us. God loves us deeply and wants to be the model of his love for others. So let us love each other deeply the way he loves us.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes. Hug someone who needs to know God’s love. Count your blessings and say your prayers. When you pray, remember that God, out of His love for us, loves us deeply and remains with us when we are journeying through the great times and the times that are tough. 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.