Saturday, September 24, 2011

Happy Saturday!

What a day! Geni and I spent the day together. She is really excited about getting her classroom put together but must wait until she has signed her contract, which should happen on Thursday. She makes lists and then adds to them and then removes things. There are several unknowns as to what the school has for her, what is in my storage unit and what she will need to buy.

This morning we went to the Amazing Graces Fun Run at Camp Thurman to cheer on a close friend of Geni’s. Her team was called the “Party Animals” due to their party hats, black shirts and zebra striped shorts decorated with party hats. My favorite group was a group of dental hygienists who came dressed as (wait for it…) the tooth fairy. They were too cute. Then Geni and her friend signed waivers and went down the zip line. Totally cool! Personally I try to avoid plummeting sports!

The young woman Geni and I went to Camp Thurman in support of today is sort of an adopted daughter for us. She and Geni met at Stephen F. Austin University. She was Geni’s big sister in the Christian Sorority in which they were both involved. It was a joy to be there when she crossed the finish line today and run screaming to her as she finished her race. The race consisted of a mile and a half run through the neighborhood and back to camp, swimming laps in the pool, doing an army crawl in the mud and a trip down the zip line. Those were the rules of the race and obedience to those rules was required to finish the race. She is not a daughter by blood, but she is loved as if she were.

Travis’ third grade football team won their game today. Bruce stayed home today due to a sore throat. And the weather was amazing! As I said, “What a day!”

Prayer: “Father, I come to You today as Your adopted child, and You have made it clear that I am greatly loved by You. I realize that the way I treat others and live out my faith expresses my understanding of Your love. Search me today and show me any areas where I am falling short or missing out on the opportunity to see Your love perfected in me. I also realize that being obedient to You is directly tied to how I love others, especially my fellow believers. Help me to live in obedience to Your Word and to love others. Amen.”

1 John 2: 5 “Whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him.”

We do not affect God’s love for us, but our obedience does say to what extent we understand His love for us. When we apply God’s Word to our lives each day His love becomes more perfected in each of us. God’s love for us should affect all of our decisions and become a life changing force in our lives. Faith and love go hand in hand and experiencing God’s love is the active part of our life. When we make the decision to let God’s love affect our behavior and how we treat others then we have begin to look at others as God sees them. How we treat others is a direct expression of our relationship to God.

Let us not think of obedience as a list of rules we must follow but a wonderful expression of our relationship to God and in our relationship to others. Let God shine in us and through us in our conversations, in our prayers, in our service to others and in our worship.

Take joy in the 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 only moved by what I believe and I believe God.

Prayer: I have my first ordination interview on Monday evening. Please pray for the Holy Spirit to go before me and be in the midst of the conversation that they would find me worthy of this calling by God. Thanks. Peace, gc

Friday, September 23, 2011

Happy Friday and happy first day of fall!

This is one of my favorite days. There are some ways where my being a teacher for 30 years will not be dismissed for a long time. Today I wore my first day of fall sweater, put the dead plant garden to bed and replaced it with new plants from Hare’s nursery. There are no open blooms but in a short while there will be a burst of beautiful fall color. Tonight we also celebrated Geni’s having been hired as a teacher. Her menu request was chili. So we had chili, chicken cheese nachos and lemon bars out on the deck. We had not eaten out there all summer due to the heat. It was so wonderful.

Prayer: “ Father, help me remember how You saved me. I don’t want to forget what I would be without Your saving work in my life. Restore to me the joy of my salvation. Thank You for loving me before I loved You. Thank you that You cared enough to see me, find me and cleanse me from all sin and unrighteousness. You sought and found me, and I want to tell You today that I love You for loving me. Amen.”

1 John 4: 20 “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”

I have heard people say how their lives became different when they found God. In truth we did not find God—He found us. God took the first step in loving us. Through His creation God took the initiative to have a relationship with us and to do the work of atonement for our sins. This extraordinary act of love was deliberate and took all of His love and His greatest sacrifice - Jesus. Do you remember the story of the sheep that went astray and the shepherd who left the 99 to go and find the 1? Guess who the 1is? I am the one, and you are the one. For you see, even if you or I were the only person on earth, God would have still sent Jesus as a sacrifice for us. We are so valuable to the heart of God because He created us.

This amazing love is not based on anything we have done, but on His love, grace and mercy alone. Jesus left the glory of heaven to come to earth so that we could know Him and scripture tells us that any who know Me (Jesus) knows God. Let us take some time to get to know the One who knows and loves us completely with all of His heart.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes. Count your blessings and say your prayers. Give thanks with a loving heart. 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.

Prayer: My dear Uncle Gene is nearing death. The family has been called in. Please pray for God in His tender mercies to prepare Him for his leave taking, his wife of over 60 years and for our family as we prepare for loss. Thank you, gc

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Happy Thursday and the last official day of summer!

When we wake in the morning it will be fall and I am very ready for this day! Tomorrow I will make a stop at Buster’s, my favorite place to purchase plants. I will put the dead plant garden to bed, Bruce is going to clean off the deck and patio and at sometime I think there might be some extended time outside surrounded by beautiful fall color and a glass of something wonderful to drink. Amazingly enough, the Casey tree has continued to thrive during the blazing heat of the summer.

Bruce continues to do really well in cardiac rehab. He does the elliptical machine and began weight training this week. He is such a champion.

Geni began the paperwork process today at the ad building. All new hires must go through a federal background check and as soon as the results of that background check are passed she can go into her room and begin to put it together.

Prayer: “Heavenly Father, I pause right now to take my eyes off the temporary to look at the future home I have in Christ. It is easy to forget what You have in store for me. Help me develop an eternal perspective as I face difficulties and troubles in this world. I want to gain a new appreciation of the future I have in You. I am so thankful for the promise of Paradise restored. Remind me today of Your kingdom that is coming in power and glory. Amen”

Romans 5:5 “Hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to me.”

Today in my Old Testament class the professor gave a touching response to a statement made by one of my classmate’s. His statement was that he felt like a Canaanite. The Canaanites were a people hated by the Jews. You could tell by the emotion in his voice how distraught he was over these feelings. Then the professor shared this story. She was in attendance in worship service in a denomination during the dedication of a young child. This particular little girl was the survivor set of twins. This child’s sister had died at birth. The little girl was dressed in a pretty dress and just looked precious. The minister took this little girl by the hand and walked her around the sanctuary talking to her while teaching the congregation. His most poignant words to her were these, “Never feel any guilt because of the death of your sister. You are a child of God and He is very pleased with you.”

My friend from class had been embedded with a theology about God that caused him to carry around a sense of unworthiness and self-loathing. Our professor, in front of a class of seminarians, raised up our brother and simply told him that he, like that little girl, should never feel a sense of guilt because he was a child of God and God was very pleased with him.

My friend needs a new story. He needs to begin to believe in the hope and love offered by Jesus. There is nothing disappointing about living eternally (beginning on this side of heaven) in God’s eternal presence through a restored relationship with Jesus. There is nothing disappointing about having an intimate relationship with God. God has adopted each one of us and, by His Holy Spirit, He has put His seal on us - a deposit of the incredible things that are to come. In the midst of our temporary troubles let us never lose sight of our eternal life which has already begun because we are children of God and He is very pleased with us.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes. Count your blessings and say your prayers. Please continue to pray for little Tatum as she has almost completed this round of steroids and will soon begin chemotherapy treatments. Love you all, Bruce, Gaylene, Genita 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, September 21, 2011

Happy Wednesday!

Geni got to see her new classroom today and because of advanced technology she was able to take pictures on her phone. It has a lot of small chairs and several tables, but nothing that matches. Well, as someone once said, “You don’t start at the finish line.” The room will take some work, but I am sure Geni will make the room inviting and cozy for her new students. She cannot begin work in her room until she has officially signed a contract. Today she received the “recommendation for hire” from her principal and it will be faxed to the Administration building tomorrow.

Meanwhile she has drawn a floor plan of her room and is making some plans for arranging the furniture. She gets one day to move in so I told her that she needs to put her room together to get through the first day and then add to it a little at a time after that. She is so excited. We are so excited for her. Please keep praying for Geni and her new students. Thank you, friends.

Prayer: “God help me comprehend how deep and wide Your love is for me. I know I can’t understand this without Your revelation. Help me to see the small things in my world that are expressions of Your love for me and to know the fullness of You and Your love in my emotions. Thank You for rooting and grounding me in Your love. Help me see You in a new way as I experience Your love throughout the day. Amen.”

Ephesians 3: 17-19 “That Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height—to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”

I believe the greatest experience we can have knowing God’s love. Those of us who have experienced the love of God through forgiveness and grace understand that life-altering feeling. Today in one of my classes a student shared that he was raised in an environment that did not understand the love of God. This student was taught that, as a sinner, he would be dangled over a fiery pit by God who would do that just to remind us of His power. Therefore he was to always be on his best behavior. This image was expressed to him as a young child causing him to have nightmares and to not believe in a loving God. (What an absolutely horrid way for a young child to view God!) He gave thanks in class for this loving God he now knows and for Brite Divinity School and their loving, caring acceptance of him.

Many people in seminary hope to gain a relationship with God through increased knowledge of God. Many students seek knowledge without ever gaining an acceptance and greater appreciation of God’s love. If a pursuit of knowledge doesn’t lead to a stronger relationship with God and with others then we are missing the point.

Relationships are far more important than being able to share great knowledge. Now I must share that I am hoping to gain a great deal of knowledge during my time at Brite. But the relationships I build as I attend classes and how I minister to those in hospitals and hospice centers will be far more lasting than any knowledge I will gain. Relationships with God absolutely involve our minds, but more importantly they involve our hearts. A relationship with God and His love for us is the foundation on which we do everything else in our lives. Not only must we ourselves experience the fullness of God’s love in our lives, but we must help others experience the fullness of God’s love with our hearts. We show the depth of that love by sharing the completeness of God’s love in telling the story of Jesus as He poured out His life and sacrificed His life for each of us.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes. Count your blessings and say your prayers. Share God’s love with someone today leaving no doubt how much He loves each of us no matter what. 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.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Happy Tuesday!

Are you sitting down? Here is the news of the day and it is big!


She has had all kinds of interviews and had some more to come when she got a call from a principal who offered her the job. It will take about a week to process all of the paperwork and place her name before the board. So she should be able to begin late next week or early the week after. She will be working with Meadowbrook Elementary School. We are so excited and so very proud of her. She has worked very hard and will become a great teacher. Thank you for all of your prayers for her to get a teaching job and continue to pray for her as she begins her career in education. Go Geni!!

Prayer: “Father, thank You for Your love and promises. I know there is nothing that I might face today or in the future that will separate me from the love found in Jesus. Even though I may face trials and difficult situations today, I know You are with me. I believe and accept Your promise that I am more than a conqueror. I pray that this truth would affect my thoughts and emotions as I walk with You through this day. Amen.”

Romans 8: 38, 39 “I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

There is nothing that compares with the love of God. The love of God is so comforting. I think separation in whatever way it presents itself is such a difficult part of our lives. Earthly separations are temporary. We can move apart from our friends and family. We can experience a broken relationship and we can even be separated from those we love and care for by death, yet we are assured in the knowledge that we will be reunited with them in glory someday. If we claim this passage as truth then there is nothing on earth or heaven that will separate us from God and His compassionate ever present love with us.

This passage speaks of the conquering love of God. What needs to be conquered in our lives? I don’t know about you but I think overcoming is how we spend our lives sometimes. We have so many things to overcome. We must overcome fear. Sometimes we must overcome grief and heartache. Some of you have or will have to overcome divorce, personal suffering and all kinds of difficulties. But this passage tells us that God never leaves us. God remains with us constantly in His love for us. And interestingly enough, these separations we experience on the earth help us to draw closer to God and be further formed in His likeness. We can overcome anything through the love of God. Remembering this promise can help us to get through anything that comes into our path. God is for us and remains with us no matter what!

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes. Count your blessings and say your prayers. Thank you again for all of your prayers for Geni. She thanks 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.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Happy Monday!

My apologies for not writing last evening. The power went out in our house about 8pm. So we sat on the front porch until quite late because it was cooler and lighter outside than inside. Power was finally restored around 3:30 this morning! That meant no A/C or fans. I think we will all sleep better tonight!

Geni is still in the interview process. She had two interviews on Friday. She had two interviews today and she has one tomorrow and one next week. We are really hoping she won’t need the last interview and is offered a job sometime this week. Even with all of the interviews she is still substituting each day and working at Starbucks in the evenings. Please keep praying for her!

Prayer: “Lord, You are love. Your love never ends, and it never fails. Thank You for loving me first. Today, help me to know and love you more. Help me to express my love for You by loving others. Help me to see people with Your eyes and to love them as You love them. Change my heart and mind and give me the desire and opportunity to express my love for people in a true and authentic way today. Amen.”

Psalm 91:1 “He that dwells in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.”

In the present day of mass communication, Facebook, Skype, cell phones with GPS and Lojack, tiny cameras unable to be seen by our eyes, traffic light cameras and other technology there is simply no place to hide that someone cannot find you. Now at times that is not such a bad thing such as when you have to make a 911 call and it connects you with an emergency service or when you need to get directions to get somewhere. But aren’t there just sometimes you want to hide? Hide not from danger necessarily, but just to remove your self for just a while where it is quiet. Sometimes it is important to just to be in a place of quiet peace where the only sounds you hear are your next breath and the beating of your own heart. You know that hidden place known only to God.

This is that place that is so secret that no one on earth can begin to find it. When we really need to get away we are offered a dwelling, not just a trip to the beach or to the mountains (even though the mountains are come pretty close to this place for me!) Make your home your hiding place, your dwelling place in the very presence of God. When we really need to dwell in the secret place of the Most High, His Shadow will rest over that place protecting us until we feel safe once again. This is the place to go when we are trying to make a tough decision, when we are unsure of what to do next, when it seems that the world is closing in around us. When we are in a place of being afraid, the shadow of the Most High is the place to dwell. This dwelling place of God is a space where we can hear God’s voice clearly. It empowers us to follow God’s will and His good purpose for our lives.

My friends, find a quiet place to dwell with God often. God is our heavenly Father. Take the time to get to know this eternal Father and rock in His lap allowing Him to protect us and encircle with His loving arms and hear His strong words of love and rest for a while.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes. Count your blessings and say your prayers. Hide under the shadow of the Almighty and be safe in His protection. 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.