Friday, July 1, 2011

Happy Friday!

Happy July! And happy beginning of the 4th of July holiday. I think I can hear the fireworks from the stadium already!

Just a couple of updates: We got a call from the surgeon today postponing Bruce’s surgery a week. It will be on the 19th, not on the 12th. Bruce has a major amount of dental work that must be done prior to surgery. The risk of infection is really high if the mouth is not in good shape. So on July 6, Bruce will be having extensive oral surgery. Please say a prayer. Under usual circumstances a patient with this type of oral surgery is a sedated procedure. Due to Bruce’s heart condition, sedation is not safe and so pain meds will be administered. Thank you in advance for your prayers.

Also, we are taking a long 4th of July weekend and going to San Antonio. We will leave in the morning and flying to San Antonio. We will return on Tuesday, July 5. It is sort of our blast before we begin Bruce’s journey to restored health. It is not my intention to take a computer so I don’t think I will be sending journal entries for the next few days. But you never know! We are looking forward to the time away and seeing Carme and Dave. Again, I ask your prayers for travel mercy.

Prayer: ”Father, as I begin a new day, Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.” (Psalm 19:14) Amen.

Proverbs 19: 9, 10 “If a wise man contends with a foolish man, whether the fool rages or laughs, there is no peace…A fool vents all his feelings, but a wise man holds them back.”

Wisdom is most often knowing when to speak and when to remain silent. Did you ever have one of those moments when you have said, “Did I say that out loud?” Our silence we can keep to ourselves and be the master of our unspoken words, but once we have spoken we are slaves to those words that maybe should have remained unsaid. Proverbs 13:3 says, “he who guards his mouth, preserves his life, but he who opens wide his lips shall have destruction.”

Our words have an impact on those around us. When we allow wrong words or hurtful words to leave us they can cause great damage with what they say. Sometimes we don’t even realize our words are hurting someone else. Our words need to be seasoned with love, grace and truth. We seldom regret our silence so speak words with sweetness so that if we have to eat our words they will go down just a bit easier.

Take joy in the journey. Pray for our journey and we will pray for your joy over this holiday weekend. Wear comfortable shoes. Count your blessings and say your prayers. Tonight remember that wonderful saying, “God, keep Your arm around my shoulder and Your hand over my mouth!” 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, June 30, 2011

Happy Thursday!

And happy last day of June. WOW! What a quick month.

Prayer: “Almighty God, I praise Your name. I praise Your greatness. Your name is great. Your power is great. Your ways are great. You are greatly to be praised! May your name be glorified through my life today. May your power be manifested in my life today. Amen”

Psalm 111: 10 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; a good understanding has all those who do His commandments. His praise endures forever.”

In my study of this passage of scripture I found out that this phrase “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” was the motto used by the teachers of wisdom in Israel. To try and understand this verse we need to re-think the word fear. In this verse fear doesn’t mean being scared or frightened. As a child I never understood why I would fear a God who loved me so much. Fear, in this case, means being reverent, with deep respect and a great desire to please. This is the kind of fear we would like for our children to have for us. This fear is our belief in that God is our Creator, Lord, Master and Father. A way to describe this fear is a way of “loving God on our knees.”

When we fear God with reverence and deep respect we gain confidence. Proverbs 14:26 says, “In the fear of the Lord is strong confidence…” When we learn to fear God in this way then we need not fear anything else. Fearing God brings our lives to fullness and we are able to receive God’s favor and blessings. Fearing the Lord loads us with blessings overflowing. As we kneel in fear of the Lord our God we must do so humbly kneeling in the full knowledge that we need His grace and will continue to walk with our God when we rise.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes. Count your blessings and say your prayers. When you pray go before God with an attitude of gratitude and a humble heart. Love you all. Stay cool, 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 Wednesday!

Prayer: Lord, I begin this day like a sponge. I want to absorb all that You desire to teach me. I desire not only to hear Your Word, but also to do Your Word. Make my heart tender and receptive to You. I am Your disciple. I love You, Master. Amen.”

Proverbs 1:5 “A wise man will hear and increase learning, and a man of understanding will attain wise counsel.”

Wisdom is a choice. We can choose to receive wisdom from God or choose to be foolish. Wisdom is not just a onetime gift. It is a gift that we are not just zapped with by a magic wand. Wisdom is a gift we continue to choose daily. It is an ongoing pursuit. This verse is about having a teachable spirit. Wise people know they need a continuous supply of teachings to be able to make the right choices. Foolish folk believe that they are right in their own eyes and do not have teachable spirits. When we refuse to listen then we become really foolish.

Tonight I am going to quote directly from my nightly meditation. When I was teaching, all I or any other teacher asked of in-service training was to be able to take something we could use back to our classroom and be able to apply it in our own ways with our students. My meditation tonight gives practical keys to being a continual learner of God’s wisdom.

“First, we should listen to those who disagree with us. Second, we should listen to those who love us. Third, we should listen to those who have achieved the spiritual success we desire for our own lives, Fourth, we should listen to those who have godly wisdom and insight into God’s Word. Fifth, and most important, we should daily depend on God’s Spirit and humbly submit to the authority of His perfect Word.” John 14: 26 says, “He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance of all things that I said to you.” In each of these teachings a key word is “listen.” We cannot act like those ladies on “The View” who talk all at the same time and over one another and never hear God’s clear strong voice. We must quietly listen to all of these different voices, spoken and read, and stay immersed in God’s Word.

So here is the question of the day…Are we willing to admit that we need what God has and are we willing for Him to teach us of His gift of wisdom through the fellowship of other believers with a teachable spirit? In short, will we shut up and listen?

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes. Count your blessings and say your prayers. When we pray let us remember to listen to God. Remember He gave us two ears and one mouth so we could listen twice as much as we speak. Love you all, Bruce, Gaylene, Geni and Travis.

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

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Happy Tuesday!

Prayer: “God, I know the wise choice for me this day is to say, “Not my will, but Your will.” I submit my life to Your lordship and to the authority of Your Word. Help me to walk in wisdom. Keep me far from foolishness. I am Yours completely. Amen.”

Proverbs 10:8,9 “The wise in heart will receive commands, but a prating fool will fall. He who walks with integrity walks securely, but he who perverts his ways will become known.”

Proverbs expresses the confidence that people are able (and some are even willing) to learn wisdom and righteousness and to act in accordance with them. Wisdom in the proverbs tells us that human wisdom is limited and only true wisdom belongs to God. Life is infinitely better to those who walk in wisdom and righteousness as opposed to those who are foolish. God sends His wisdom to those who have wise hearts. Those who receive God’s wisdom have hearts and minds that are prepared to act faithfully on the gift of wisdom God has given. This particular verse is directed toward the increasing the character of God in our hearts and minds.

God will give us the wisdom we need if we but ask. When we are walking in faith then we walk with integrity. Integrity calls us to make good choices instead of foolish ones. Foolishness is the stubborn refusal to do what wisdom would otherwise tell us to do. It is sort of like telling God, “My way is better than your way.” There is certainly no future in that!!! When we model and act with integrity then we walk securely with God knowing He is guiding our steps and the choices we make.

Jesus said that choosing foolishness is like building your life on sand. That kind of life will result in destruction. I would certainly rather be known as someone who walks with integrity on the solid rock of God’s wisdom that be known as one who acts in foolishness with sand constantly between my toes.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes. Count your blessings and say your prayers. I ask you to pray for the family of Val Walters. She is a member of Advent who passed away a short time ago. She leaves behind a husband, children and grandchildren. Her memorial service is Wednesday morning at 11:00 at Advent Lutheran Church. Please pray for comfort and peace for her family as she begins her eternal life with the Father. Thank you, mighty and powerful prayer warriors. 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.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Happy Monday!

Did you have rolling blackouts today? We did! We experienced three of those little wonders. Two of them were almost back to back and just on and off. The third one happened as Geni and I were eating and we had no power for a while. It came back on about the time I was calling Oncor. It must have known!

Prayer: “Father, I ask in faith for You to pour Your wisdom into my life. I must have it as I begin this new week and this new day. Thank you for the gracious gift of your wisdom. You are such a great and generous Father. Amen.”

James 1: 5,6 “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given unto him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.”

According to my meditation tonight if we are breathing and have a pulse then we are in need of wisdom. As many of you know, my children have tattoos. They are tasteful and placed discreetly where they can be covered easily with clothing or jewelry. Tonight I saw Travis’ latest addition and it simply said, “When there is discord in your life, praise the Lord.” I don’t think I could describe wisdom paired with faith any better than that.

Today we were thrown a couple of loops in our plans that caused some discord within our life. You know the old saying, “If you want to make God laugh make plans.” Well, today I had cause to look toward heaven and say out loud, “You are laughing, aren’t You?” But then, when I stopped and cleared my mind and began to pray, I remembered (or God reminded me) that God gives us what we need when we need it. I also had to remember that God’s timing is always perfect. Both of those statements rang completely true today and all of a sudden I found myself praising God and giving thanks for His love and care.

God’s wisdom is our first, best choice when life hands us a bag of lemons. At that point we need to make really good lemonade. Our life, spent lived in faith with God’s wisdom, is the life God desires for each of us. When we live in faith and ask for wisdom then there is no confusion. Wisdom is a gift from God’s very own heart. God loves us so much that He offers us this gift from His heart just by our asking. When we ask we are telling God that we must have His wisdom to make right choices. We are telling God that He has what we need and we claim His promise to deliver when we ask in our time of need. Please remember we must ask for this gift in faith without any doubt. We must believe that He is our Lord and the outpouring of His love in the gift of wisdom will be ours.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes. Count your blessings and say your prayers. When you pray, follow the advice of a very wise 20 year old remembering, “when there is discord in your life, praise the Lord.” Take care my friends and love you all, Bruce, Gaylene, Geni and Travis.

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

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Blessed Sunday to you all!

Matthew 10: 40—43 “Whoever welcomes you welcomes Me, and whoever welcomes Me welcomes the One who sent Me. Whoever welcomes a prophet in the name of a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward; and whoever welcomes a righteous person in the name of a righteous person will receive the reward of the righteous; and whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple—truly I tell you, none of these will lose their reward.”

This was Pastor Joel’s sermon topic this morning. These passages remind us of how we need to always be welcoming to those around us whether we know them or not. I thought this was a particularly perfect passage today as two of our long time friends walked into the sanctuary at Advent this morning and told us they were “church shopping.” We welcomed them and then I went on back to the choir loft and watched the remainder of the congregation. What I observed gladdened my heart. I watched so many of our church members go over and welcome these visitors to our congregation and our worship service. And it caused me to remember…

When we came to Advent seven years ago we, too, were “church shopping.” And seven years ago we received the very same welcome as our friends did today. Somehow the folks at Advent have understanding of the word “Welcome!” Pastor Joel explained the scripture passage today that we were to act as the Disciples of 2000 years ago. Jesus was not training these followers to be His imitators, but He was training His replacements.

Imitators are just that, imitators, not the real thing. Jesus trained those first disciples to carry on His work in His name. Accept no substitutes. As Pastor Joel explained this morning, there was no Plan B - only Plan A. These disciples were to welcome those who were unbelievers in the name of Jesus and love them. Today’s sermon title was “Cook food. Serve love.” The disciples were to offer the body and blood of Jesus by sharing how much Jesus loved each of those folks 2000 years ago. For if they truly became the body of Jesus then they were not only sharing the love of Christ but telling those that they not only believed in Jesus, but also in the One who sent Him.

We are called to the same task as those disciples of long ago. We are called to show radical hospitality to those around us. We are not to be imitators of Christ, but be Christ to those who do not know Him. When we do that, we are telling others how much we love them because Jesus loves us and that we, too, believe in the One who sent Him.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes. Count your blessings and say your prayers. Show someone how much you love them by welcoming them into your heart through the love of Jesus. 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.