Saturday, August 13, 2011

Happy Saturday!

Praise God from Whom all blessings flow---praises for the flowing rain that woke us this morning! I woke up to an unfamiliar sound that I thought the air conditioner was draining. Bruce then told me it was “liquid sunshine falling from the sky.” How amazing is our God of creation! We often live by the phrase that God gives us what we need when we need it. Today must have been the day. Thank you, Father.

Prayer: God, when I was drowning in an ocean of sin, Your grace rescued me. When the road to You was too long and winding for me to travel, Your grace came and delivered me. When there is a great chasm between who I am and who I want to be, Your grace bridges the gap. Your grace has made me what I otherwise could not be. I love You and thank You in Jesus’ name. Amen.”

John 1; 16, 17 “Of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.”

As Bruce and I walked through JC Penny’s tonight I heard him humming “Your grace is enough. Your grace is enough. Your grace is enough for me.” In these two verses we learn two things about God’s grace. First, fullness means “being filled; completely and with abundance. This means the all, sum total of the attributes and power of Christ out of His inexhaustible supply of resources. He gives us all we need. I attend a very expensive seminary. I cannot afford it by my own power. I have learned that the more expensive the school the more financial aid is given. It sort of works the same way with God’s grace and our sin. Moses was given the Law to show the nation of Israel the reality of sin and the greater the sin the more grace abounded. And on the cross where all of the sins of the entire world were gathered and the blood sacrifice given, all of God’s demands were met with the fullness of grace that was promised.

Second we learn about the coming of God’s grace. The Law was carved into stone tablets, but grace came to us in the incarnate Son of God, Jesus Christ. Jesus was born of an imperfect family but was born a perfect man. He had to be perfect to walk on the earth and accomplish the godly purpose His Father required. He had to complete the mission on which the Father sent Him so that we, too, would know grace and truth. God gives us what we need when we need it. I don’t know about you, but I cannot inhale my next breath or take my next step or think my next thought without the grace of God.

The passage says that “…we have ALL received…grace” Thank You Father for this extravagant gift that is so large that it covers each of us and is so intimate that we do not have to wait to open the package because it is ours with the tag that reads, this gift is for you my child.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes and carry an umbrella! Count your blessings and say your prayers. Love you all and see you in worship. 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.

PS Bruce and I are leaving for Mom and Dad’s tomorrow (Sunday) afternoon. We plan to return on Tuesday. It you don’t hear from me until Tuesday night it is because Mom and Dad do not have internet and they live out in the country. Please pray for Dad’s stents to do the work they need to do! gc
Happy Friday!

Exciting news! My former principal called Geni today for a long term substituting position at Burton Hill! The teacher Geni will replace for a time had her baby and is unable to begin the school year. The position is in early childhood special education. That is what her diplomas say she is qualified to do! There are some administrative hurdles to overcome due to the beginning of school being just around the corner, but they are not insurmountable - just some paper work and general procedural red tape. Please pray for Geni as she begins this journey into the career of education.

Prayer Alert! My Daddy, Jerry Helvey, will be having a heart catheterization and hopefully stints put in place on Monday in Sherman. Bruce and I will go to Howe on Sunday afternoon and stay until at least Tuesday as they are keeping Dad overnight. Please pray for Dad’s healing and a successful, uneventful surgical procedure.

Prayer: “Jesus, pour out Your Spirit of grace on me so that I might understand and appreciate more fully what You did for me on the Cross. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.”

When I begin writing each evening I pray for God to open my mind to help me understand His Word. Sometimes I have understanding almost immediately and then there are other times I don’t “get it” until some other time when the Word is presented to me in a different way so that I do understand and then apply His Word to my life. So tonight’s scripture is like the latter and much of the writing tonight is presented as a paraphrase of the meditation from which I am studying.

Zechariah 12:10 “I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieves for Him as one grieves for a first born.”

Jerusalem rejected Jesus as the Messiah, but even though at the time of Jesus on the earth and during the time of the crucifixion of Jesus God still loved them. This passage tells us that even though the Jews rejected the Son of God, He will pour out His Spirit on those who rejected Him. The Jews will then know who Christ really is and recognize him as their Messiah. When that day comes the Antichrist will come to defeat Israel and the Lord will come to defend Israel. The Jews did not expect the Messiah to be the boy from down the road. The child from Joseph and Mary; a simple carpenter’s son did not come as they expected. When Israel figures this out they will mourn because of their past failures and their lack of recognition of Jesus as the Messiah, God’s only Son. They will mourn because they killed Jesus and other prophets of Jesus. They will remember the words they shouted, “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” And still God promises He will pour out His grace on the nation that proclaimed Him criminal instead of Savior.

How does this fit into our lives? Well, I am not Jewish and I don’t think many of you or any of you are Jewish either. However, we are all sinners. We all have rejected Christ at some point when we have looked back on past failures, have not been obedient or have not practiced the law of love to those we know or have just met.

The Jewish faith has a yearly event called the Day of Atonement. It is the day of forgiveness. I am so glad that Christ and His death on the cross does not make me wait for a day of the year to ask for forgiveness or give forgiveness. We can, because of the grace of God through Jesus, be forgiven and forgive every day. God is good all the time and His grace endures forever! Amen!

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes. Count your blessings and say your prayers. God’s grace is a gift given to each of us. All we have to do is believe in the only Son of God and give thanks. Love you all and 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 only moved by what I believe and I believe God.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Happy Thursday!

Some records are meant to be broken. We did not get any rain at our house but the lower temperatures were welcome as we ended the over 100 degree run for the record!

We began our day quite early by being at the airport to visit with our nephew who lives in North Carolina. He was on about a three hour layover on his way home from visiting his mother and siblings on the west coast. His was amazed at the 87 degrees that met him when he left the gate to meet us this morning. I think he said something about “How can you stand it?” Compared to 110, 87 degrees was hoodie weather! We are continually amazed at the way he has grown and how he has become a successful woodworking instructor and quite a remarkable amateur photographer. We had a wonderful visit and look forward to the next time we are blessed to visit him again.

Bruce is at the top of his rehab class. In his first week he has mastered and topped out the treadmill and next time he will begin the elliptical machine. I told you he was a champion!

Prayer: “Lord, as I wander through the wilderness of this world, I do so with the Promised land of heaven in mind. May Your grace guide my feet to walk with You, for You, and toward You this day. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen”

Psalm 94: 11 “The Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord will give grace and glory; no good thing will He withhold form those who walk uprightly.”

Let’s talk about the journey and continue our thoughts on God’s grace. It is God that gives grace and glory. Grace begins our journey with the Lord and that journey ends in the Lord’s glory.

We need God’s grace to enJOY the journey. The Jews knew that they were pilgrims in this world and that they were, due to God’s promise, headed to the Promised Land. A pilgrim is not home, but is heading home. As we journey we have not yet reached heaven, but we can still enJOY fellowship with God by being in fellowship with Christ along the way.

We need God’s grace to endure the journey. It is God’s grace that walks with us through the valleys and up the mountains. It is God’s grace that remains with us during times of deepest despair and sorrow. God is our shield, protector and defender. The longer we walk in this intimate relationship the more we learn to trust and love Him believing that we will not remain in the valley forever but will come out victorious in Jesus’ name.

And finally we need God’s grace to end our journey. When walking a journey we need a light to be our guide. Physically we use the sun in the sky to illuminate our way. As I found out this morning as I drove in the dark to the airport and negotiated the terminals and winding roads, Bruce was the sun. When I began to get off course he was there to redirect me and keep me from landing where I did not need to be. God is our guiding light when the way is dark and the path is unsure. But here is the coolest thing…when we reach heaven we no longer need the light of the sun because we have the light of the Son to illumine our lives forever.

My friends, we walk by faith in this journey we call life. We journey with God through the life of Jesus. It is the gift of grace given by Jesus that we began this journey and it is that same grace by which we journey to the end.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes, a hat and maybe carry an umbrella (I know - wishful thinking!). Count your blessings and say your prayers. 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 only moved by what I believe and I believe God.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Happy Tuesday!

Today is my Mom’s birthday, so Happy Birthday Mom! She is so great!

Bruce’s first day in cardiac rehab was a success. Warm-up exercises, 35 minutes on the treadmill (all while being electronically monitored) and then cool down exercises. I then joined Bruce for the nutrition class following the exercises. Cardiac rehab seems to be fun and the nurses and technicians strive for the time spent to be fun and group encouragement is really important.

Prayer alert! Test results came back and Daddy needs a heart catheter and, if necessary, some stints. Bruce and I will travel to Sherman on Monday to be with Mom as Dad has his procedure. Thank you for all of your prayers. I will keep you posted.

Also we began Praise Team rehearsal tonight. Addie and Jeremy have chosen beautiful music for us to learn as we prepare to lead the congregation. It was really wonderful to practice again.

Prayer: “Lord, I am chief among sinners. My sin has shamed me and crucified Your Son. For Your grace that has rescued me, I am grateful. For I cry out and praise Your holy name. In light of my rebellious ways, Your grace is astounding. May Your grace permeate my life and set me apart as Yours this day. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.”

1 Corinthians 1:4 “I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given to you by Christ Jesus.”

You know it is hard to mess up when you’ve got good material. A wonderful Episcopal priest friend of mine once shared this phrase with me. God’s Word is so many things. But God’s Word is truth, And God’s Word speaks of His grace. The attitude shared in this passage shows the way to lead a victorious life in Christ. In the Old Testament, one of Jacob’s sons was named Judah. Judah means “Praise.” Judah was a man who lived to praise God. Because he was a praising man he was also a man who was able to prevail. He was able to live freely in Joy because he learned to praise God in all situations.

Grace is God’s unmerited favor. Grace is a gift that none of us deserve. God did not give this gift of grace because we had earned it. He gave us His grace out of His love for us. Many of the converts of the Apostle Paul were still thinking as Old Testament believers and relied on a work-oriented or earned grace because they did not fully understand God’s grace.

They needed grace just as we need grace. God’s grace is found in Jesus. “The law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” (John 1:17) We are not Old Testament believers we are New Testament believers and yet some of us still think we can earn God’s grace. Remember, Grace is the unmerited favor of God through the death of Jesus. Accept this gift with joy and thanksgiving and then go and do something for someone as an act of grace or share how God’s grace has changed your life.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes, a hat and drink plenty of water. Count your blessings and say your prayers. 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.

PS Bruce and I will be leaving very early in the morning to meet our nephew at the airport for a couple of hours of layover. Please pray for travel mercy for him as he continues his journey home to North Carolina. gc

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Happy Tuesday!

The basement of Arlington Memorial Hospital is where Bruce will begin cardiac rehab in the morning. He will attend exercise rehab three days per week and one day per week in instruction. There will be classes in nutrition, medication, and many other things. I cannot exercise with Bruce, but I can attend the classes with him. There is a Phase 3 program that I can join while Bruce is doing rehab, but it is in a different part of the hospital. After he has completed the 12 weeks of rehab then he graduates to Phase 3. We can join Phase 3 together later on. Pretty cool huh?! Bruce is really excited to begin! We ask your continued prayers as he begins this new phase of healing.

Prayer: “Oh Lord, I desire to use what Your grace has given me to benefit You, Your kingdom and others today. May my life bring glory to You. Amen.”

Ephesians 4:7 “To each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift.”

We are one in Christ Jesus. We are one body, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism and one God (Ephesians 4: 3-6). We have a lot in common and one amazing gift that God has given us that unifies us is the grace of God. We are unified and covered in God’s grace.

But just because we are unified by the “amazing grace of God” does not mean that we must practice uniformity. God created each one of us differently and gave each of us different talents. God has given each of us the same gifts of grace, peace, mercy, forgiveness, prayer and love (just to name a few.) But our talents vary as many as there are believers in Christ. Some of us are listeners and some are speakers. Some of us are servant leaders and some of us are servant helpers. We have different passions and different ways God has called us into service.

As an example, Bruce has a passion for the prison ministry. His passion is so strong that he has been involved for 20 years and he still loves to serve in this place of forgotten people.

My best friend Carme has a passion for service in her church and to further breast cancer research and is very involved in the Susan B. Komen projects. She participates in the walks, fund raisers and for her every good and perfect thing is pink!

The gifts and talents God has given us are to be used to build up the kingdom of God here on earth. God wants the gifts and talents He has given to us to unify us and not be ways to divide us. We do not have to announce our gifts and talents from the rooftop in boasting we just have to put the gifts and talents into practice and ask Christ to use us to further His kingdom here on earth. I have shared with you that Bruce signs off on each email, “Preach Christ every day. Use words if necessary.” Once we understand that God’s grace is undeserved, unearned and has been given as a gift of love then we can use them with humility, just as God intends. Let God be showcased in our lives today!

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes, a hat and drink plenty of water. 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 8, 2011

Happy Monday!

Perhaps Monday before lunch is the best time to walk the mall. It is not very crowded on either level and we were able to walk successfully on both levels today. Tomorrow we go to the consult for cardiac rehab. Bruce is really excited about beginning rehab. I personally think he is beginning to tire of hanging around the house. He is so used to being busy.

Prayer: Lord, Thank you for forgiving me of my sins and drenching me in Your grace. There is nothing I can do apart from You. Without You I am just that “noisy gong or clanging cymbal.” Today, help me to extend to others the grace you have extended to me. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.”

Ephesians 2:8 “By grace you have been saved through faith, and not yourselves; it is a gift of God.”

Martin Luther broke from the Catholic church on this passage of scripture alone. Look where it got him; and entire denomination named for him not to mention several children!

Martin Luther knew that salvation was a gift from God offered in His grace so that we could receive it by faith. Belonging to the denomination named for this man does not earn salvation. Salvation is not the result of church membership, baptism, keeping the commandments or taking communion. We receive salvation by placing our faith in Jesus Christ and His death on the Cross.

Jesus knew who He was when He stated at the age of 12 that “I must be about My Father’s business.” And then at 33 as he hung on the cross the proclaimed “It is finished.” When Jesus died the Father’s business was finished. The work of salvation was His work and not ours.

We cannot earn our way into heaven. As a fan of Touched by an Angel, I recall an episode where a character walked around with a pad of paper and a pencil writing down and checking off all of the good deeds he was doing. Then he would boast of his “good works.” If good works earned our way into heaven then sin would enter heaven. That sin would be pride. God really hates pride. And as I remember there was one who was kicked out of heaven because of pride.

Since we cannot earn our way into heaven by good works, Jesus, by His act of sacrifice on the cross, cleanses us of our sins and gives us the gift of grace that we receive by believing that He is the only Son of God. Grace is the perfect gift of God that perfects us when we meet Jesus face to face.

Gifts are not earned or worked for they are given out of love by someone who loves us not expecting anything in return. So today, God has given each of us another day of life; a gift wrapped in sunshine and blue skies. Open the package and see what gift God has given you and then share the abundant gift of grace with someone who needs a gift today…for we are now to go about the Father’s business.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes, a hat and carry a water bottle. Count your blessings and say your prayers. 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 only moved by what I believe and I believe God.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Blessed Sunday to you all!

Bruce returned to Sunday School and worship today. It felt so good to sing standing next to him once again. It is his first trip back to church since the surgery. The consistency of the temperature within the building especially the sanctuary gave him the added stamina to sing our praise and worship songs during the 11:00 worship. Everyone was commented on how great he looked (and I certainly had to agree!) and were so glad to see him return to worship. We give thanks for all of the prayers and support of our church family and extended family.

Prayer: “Our Lord, bless us and keep us, we plead to You.”

Psalm 31: 19 “Oh how great is Your goodness, which You have laid up for them that fear You; which You have promised for them that trust in You.”

God’s keeping power for all of us is never failing. Our problem is that we do not always realize it and remember it. The question is not whether God can provide shelter from the storm, the question is of our failure to trust in the security of that shelter.

Do you remember the story from Matthew where Jesus told the Disciples to get into a boat and they set out across the water? Jesus went up to the mountains to pray and the storm hit. The storm battered the boat and the wind went against the disciples. The disciples see Jesus and Peter gets so excited that he sets out across the water. Peter is walking on the water keeping His eyes on Jesus. Then Peter remembers that he is on the water and begins to go under. Peter screams to Jesus in fear, “Lord, save me!” Jesus catches Peter and draws him out of the water and asks him, “Why is your faith so small and why did you doubt?”

Okay, Peter was doing great! He was going to meet Jesus and without fear struck out across the water “on foot.” But when he took his eyes off Jesus he began to fall and become fearful in the storm. Peter needed to remember Jesus’ promises of never failing no matter what the circumstance. Peter forgot that Jesus would always be there for him.

Of all of the disciples I think most of us are like Peter. We sometimes forget in times of adversity that God has never left us. We need to remember this phrase, “All is well.” We need to say it, practice it until we believe it and know it with every fiber of our being. We may lose sight of God sometimes, but he never loses sight of us and His love for us is never ending. “All is well…all is well…all is well.” Thank you, Lord Jesus.

Take joy in the journey. Wear a hat, drink plenty of water and comfortable shoes. Count your blessings and say your prayers. 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 only moved by what I believe and I believe God.

FYI Travis is coaching 3rd grade peewee football for the Optimist Club. It is the same team that he played for when he was in elementary school. He spent today writing plays for these little gridiron warriors. Please keep him in your prayers. gc