Saturday, August 6, 2011

Happy Saturday and Happy Birthday Geni!

Our beautiful daughter turned 24 today. We had dinner at home tonight with her choice of menu and chocolate cake.

Bruce is doing more and more routine things now. Today, he went back to his men’s reunion group that has been meeting together each week for almost 20 years. It is made up of Emmaus brothers most of whom also serve in Kairos Prison Ministry. We then walked the two laps around the top floor of the mall making almost 2 miles.

Tonight we also were honored to care for our goddaughter, Asia Brewer. Her mom and dad celebrated their 6th wedding anniversary tonight and left her for the first time, making us her first baby sitters. It was great to have a baby in the house again.

On Thursday, my Dad retired (at the age of 78) from his job in the sheet metal shop where he has worked for at least 30 years. He told me today that it got up to 127 degrees in the building where he worked. I remember one time his boss told him that he was not looking forward to Daddy retiring because he could not replace him with the same caliber of work ethic. He is pretty amazing! He teased me that he never thought one of his kids would retire before him. Congratulations Dad!

Prayer: Father, I commit this day and my life into Your hands. Lead and instruct me according to Your perfect will. You are the God of my life, and I thank You for Your indwelling presence. Fill me with Your Spirit and lead me in Your truth. Amen.”

Psalm 42: 8 “The Lord will command His loving-kindness in the daytime, and in the night His song shall be with me—a prayer to the God of my life.”

The psalmist in this single verse tells us about his relationship with God and about his prayer life. He directs his prayer to the God of life not just the God of Sundays or the God of his parents. God was his all consuming purpose of his prayer life. The psalmist valued his relationship with God above all else.

When we prepare for worship we need to remember that God is ever-present with us. The psalmist describes an ongoing personal relationship with God and God’s steadfast love during the day and His song at night.

Our churches need to be filled with those believers who are people of prayer; mighty prayer warriors. The Holy Spirit flows through men; not though machinery, or methods, but those who truly believe and have that committed personal relationship. The Holy Spirit flows through people of prayer.

I read a story about Sir Isaac Newton. He once said that he could look through his telescope and see millions and millions of stars. And then he would go into his room and bow his knee in earnest prayer and see more of heaven and feel closer to God than when he looked through the telescope. Sir Isaac knew that even if he were to be assisted by the all of the telescopes possible that it was still prayer that allowed him to see into the very heart of God.

Are we prepared to worship seeking the very heart of God? Are we ready to eliminate the distractions around us and totally focus on the heart of worship…Jesus?

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes, a hat and carry a bottle of water. Prepare your heart for worship and be a not just someone who prays, but a person of prayer. 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 only moved by what I believe and I believe God.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Happy Friday!

Bruce continues to get stronger each day and accomplishing more each day. Today he announced that he was ready for cardiac rehab.

Prayer: “Father, teach me to pray for others more than I pray for myself. Today, bring someone to my attention who needs the ministry of prayer. Amen.”

2 Corinthians 13; 7-9 “I pray to God that you do no evil, not that we should appear approved, but that you should do what is honorable, though we may seem disqualified. For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth. For we are glad when we are weak and you are strong. And this also we pray, that you may be made complete.”

The apostle Paul was in constant prayer for the needs of others. We are called to lift the needs of others to the throne of grace. Prayer is more than mentioning our needs and the needs of others to God. This type of praying calls us to connect with God very intimately and to intercede for the needs of others faithfully.

The greatest gift God has given us is the power and ability to pray. It is not the only gift we have been given, but it is the chief gift we have been given. It is how we connect and communicate with God. The most powerful prayer warriors are those who do not just talk about prayer or those who say they believe in prayer or even those who explain about prayer. Those who are true prayer warriors are those who take the time to pray.

Think about the last time you prayed for someone more than you prayed for yourself. When Paul prayed, he prayed with the kingdom in his thoughts. He prayed for reconciliations between individuals and churches. He prayed for individuals to be reconciled unto God and with other believers. And then he prayed for the churches to be reconciled unto the direction and will of God. Paul’s purpose in his prayer was not so he would “appear approved,” but so believers would do “what is honorable.” Prayer aligns us with God and when we are aligned, walking side by side with God, then we are “made complete.”

Take joy in the journey. Wear a hat, comfortable shoes and drink plenty of water. Count your blessings and say your prayers. Count on Christ because He is counting on you! 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.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Happy Thursday!

Bruce is still progressing very well. Other than a small problem with sleep all seems to be going as expected and a bit ahead of the game. Today, Bruce was picked up by a friend and attended the Property Committee of which he is a part. I think it felt pretty good for him to go out and do something “normal.” Also, he experienced his first sneeze last evening. Serious bummer! It was a surprise sneeze so there was no time to grab the heart pillow. Yes, it really hurt, but being the champion he is he made it through. Sneezes, when you have had your chest cracked open, are the pits!

Prayer: “Loving Savior, than You for Your measureless grace and boundless love. Today, may I experience and display Your love. Amen.”

Philippians 18:9 “God is my witness, how greatly I long for you all with the affection of Jesus Christ. And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment.”

“They will know we are Christians by our love.” I have been singing this song for most of my life and I even remember when it was a new song. In truth when I first heard it it was not one of my favorites. But through the years God shows me more of the meaning of this piece of music.

We cannot build a life devoted to God’s glory if the foundation is not love. We can do good works and have good morals, but if we do not have love then we are just obeying earthly laws. The God of scripture is love and He instructs us to love as He loves. Paul prayed for believers not just to begin to love, but that the love of God through the Holy Spirit would abound throughout the earth and be a ever flowing stream of love. Scripture often uses the image of a mighty flowing river running from His heart to the lowest places of all.

Knowledge is not just information we have learned. Knowledge is the devotion to God’s Word. Discernment is the Holy Spirit’s leading in the life of a believer. So as we seek to live for God’s glory, we need knowledge and discernment, but we must start with love! So how do we learn to love? We pray. When we access God’s love through prayer we can conquer anything. Of all of the things Satan could choose to try and separate us from God, he tries to take away our life of prayer. Satan works so hard to stop our communication with the Father. Prayer is our greatest weapon against Satan. When we call on God, He shows up and Satan no longer has any power. Satan cannot live on the holy ground of God’s love. Stay on holy ground and love as God has taught us to love.

Take joy in the journey. Wear a hat, comfortable shoes and drink plenty of water. Count your blessings and say your prayers. Count on Christ because He is counting on you! 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.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Happy Wednesday!

Bruce got the last of the stitches out of the incision today. The nurses at Doc’s office were amazed at how well he was doing and praised him for his rapid recovery. Robin, from doc’s office, told him to walk no more than two miles per day. We then went over to the hospital to investigate cardiac rehab. It is in the basement of Arlington Memorial. They already had his paperwork and greeted him with shock and astonishment that he was only two weeks out of surgery and we progressing so very well. We will go in for consultation next Tuesday and begin Cardiac Rehab on Wednesday. How cool is that!?

I looked at my fall schedule today. In my searching I discovered that that one of my classes only has two students enrolled. I hope the site has just not been updated in a while and the class will still make.

Geni went over to see her new store today and was very impressed. Travis went with her and said that it is really a very nice store and it seems to be really busy. We dropped by the store where they both work now about mid-afternoon and it was busy. I think it had a lot to do with the oppressive heat.

Prayer: “Father, may I follow the example of Jesus and surrender completely to Your will. I abandon all thoughts of selfish gain or worldly success and submit my life to Your desires. I commit this day to You. May You be honored in everything I think, say, and do. Amen.”

Luke 22:40—42 “When He came to the place, He said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” And He was withdrawn from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and prayed, saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not My will, but Yours be done.”

I think of all the passages of scripture this passage is the one that we must all eventually live out sometime in our lives. The only way to achieve surrender, the kind of surrender that Jesus models and teaches, is through daily communion and total trust in our Savior. Jesus modeled obedience and faithful determination to carry out the plan of redemption and perfectly follow His Father’s plan. Jesus lived, taught and modeled a life of personal holiness. Living a life of personal holiness will always lead to a life of obedience.

In this passage there are two purposes for prayer. The first command is to pray that we would not enter into temptation. This part of the scripture is the prayer for holiness. We must seek and have fellowship with God continuously to lead a life of holy living. Then we must pray that God’s will be done in our lives - not our will. This is the prayer for obedience.

I believe of all the commands God gives us this “not my will but Your will” is the toughest. God gave us free will. But within that free will we are free through the blood of Jesus to trustingly and securely surrender our will over to the Father believing that promise that “All things work for good to those who love the Lord.”
Prayer is not asking God to act on our own will, but aligning our will to God’s will. Our personal agendas, plans and aspirations must take a backseat to what God wills for our lives.

So here is tonight’s thought…when we have our prayer time do we give God a list of instructions and an agenda for Him to fulfill or do we report for duty?

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes and a hat! Drink plenty of water. Count your blessings and say your prayers. When we pray let us listen to what God wants us to do and with all of our trust and surrender show up for duty! Love you all, Bruce, Gaylene, Geni and Travis.

PS Carme arrived home safely last night. Praise God!

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, August 2, 2011

Happy Tuesday!

OMG! It is so hot! 111 degrees today! I realize this is no surprise, after all this is Texas in August! I was sent a prayer request to pray for the crops, the animals, the elderly, the young and all in between who are affected by the oppressive heat. Let us put this in our prayers.

As for Bruce…I am convinced that he is so far ahead of the game. The Coumadin numbers are perfect and instead of having to have a weekly blood draw he gets to wait for two weeks. Tomorrow he gets the stitches from the bottom of his incision out. He feels stronger each day. Still twinges a bit when he coughs or goes into aerobic laughter, but all is going really well! Thank you all for your prayers, cards and phone calls. The Ministry of Presence and Prayer is something we can all participate in and need to be a recipient.

Travis is officially a shift leader for Starbucks. He is full time and seems to be enjoying the new challenges. Geni is completing her final days at the Starbucks where she has worked for the last two years. She is a Starbucks trainer and gets to put her teaching skills to great use. Travis says she is the best trainer ever. She will transfer to one of the Starbucks in Fort Worth at the end of next week following her birthday on Saturday. We are very proud of both of them.

Prayer: Jesus, thank You for another day to serve You. I begin my day by spending time with You. I commit myself to Your will. Give me an unquenchable passion to see the gospel and be the gospel in the day that is before me so that I may know You more and that others will come to know You. In Jesus’ matchless name, Amen.

Colossians 4: 1-3 “Masters, give your bondservants what is just and fair, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven. Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in with thanksgiving; meanwhile praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in chains.”

Paul was in prison locked in chains and asked the church to pray for him. The amazing thing is that Paul did not pray to be released from the physical chains to which he was bound. He prayed for his heart not to be locked in chains and keep the gospel from reaching those who needed to hear it. He prayed for the chains of the prison not to lock the hearts of the other prisoners, but for them to be open to receiving the gospel of Christ. Paul was so impassioned about the gospel of Christ that he did not really care about his comforts. He just wanted the gospel to reach as many people who were in need of salvation. Habakkuk 2: 14 says, “The earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.”

When we pray we do not just need to spend our prayer time concerned about our comfort, complaining about our problems. We need to spend a part of our prayer time asking God to make us channels for the gospel to reach our families, friends, neighbors, community…and those who have never heard the healing, grace filled, and loving gospel of Jesus. We have been commanded by the scriptures to fill the earth with the gospel of Christ. What if we begin with those we love the most?

Take joy in this amazing journey God has laid before us. Wear comfortable shoes. Count your blessings and say your prayers. We pray for you too. Sometimes we are the only Bibles people ever read. Take care and stay cool! 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, August 1, 2011

Happy Monday!

And Happy August! So sorry about not writing last evening. I had a bad case of computer woe. But all seems to be fine tonight.

Carme arrived around 9:30 AM today. She was unable to come during Bruce’s surgery and his time in the hospital. So she is here today and tomorrow. We have had such a wonderful day! She issued the challenge to Bruce that she could lap him at the mall. Not to be out done we all three did two laps around the top level of the mall. We are planning to walk with her in the Walk for the Cure in San Antonio next spring. FYI Two laps around is about a mile and a half. Bruce is doing really great and goes for another one of his blood checks in the morning. They are checking his Coumadin each week for six weeks to make sure all of the levels are matching up. On Wednesday he gets the sutures removed. He is such a champion! Perking right along!! Praise God from Whom all blessings flow!

Prayer: Gracious Father, I commit this week to Your purpose. Thank You that You hear my prayers and consider my meditations. Even in the midst of uncertainly and anxiety, I will look to You and depend on Your strength. Today, I will walk in Your power and rest in Your promises. Amen”

Psalm 5: 1-3 “Give ear to my words, O Lord, consider my meditation. Give head to the voice of my cry, my King and my God, for so You shall hear in the morning, O Lord; in the morning I will direct it to You, and I will look up.”

King David is often spoken as a “man after God’s own heart.” David was not perfect by any means and did some pretty sinful, egotistical and prideful things. And yet David still relentlessly pursued God. David began each day in prayer. He said to God, “My voice You shall hear in the morning.” It sounds like to me that David was telling God that he would begin each day with Him no matter what. This psalm was written (most likely) during the time when Absalom was rebelling against his father, David. The word meditation literally means “brooding, sorrow or incessant groaning.” So this psalm was written while David was in the midst of great sorrow. David was on the run from his son and directed his thoughts toward God.

Where do we direct our thoughts when we are despairing, anxious, uncertain or frightened? There are so many self-help books, experts in the field, counselors, talk-show hosts, television evangelists or even our friends who will attempt to give us answers or even tell us how to find our way through whatever the trouble is. Where we need to begin is by “having a little talk with Jesus” when we rise in the morning and then keeping the channel open to His Word all day long. Setting aside the time to calm our hearts and focus on Christ for a time each day can make all the difference in how we look at or handle a situation. When we are despairing Satan loves nothing better than to have our eyes turned away from Jesus and onto an “easy fix.” One of my favorite choruses simple says, “Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in His wonderful face. And the things of the earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.

My friends, God’s glory and grace will outshine whatever despair you are experiencing. We access that glory and grace through prayer. Remember Jesus prays for us to His Father even when we don’t even ask. Just remember when you wake to tell God: “It is morning and I am here. I believe You and love You.”

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes and try to stay cool! Count your blessings and say your prayers. Rise with the name of Jesus in the morning and rest in His comfort and peace at night. 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.