Saturday, October 22, 2011

Happy Saturday!

Tonight was a lovely setting at a bed and breakfast in McKinney, Texas, where my beautiful niece, Stephanie Helvey, married Stephen Richards. The ceremony was held outside under perfect weather conditions with all of the colors of fall surrounding us. Tonight, the pastor who performed the ceremony did something that Bruce nor I had ever heard before. He generally performed a traditional service with one wonderful addition. The pastor charged all of us in the assembly to remember our marriage vows and honor them. Then he charged each of us to support Stephanie and Stephen throughout their lives together. I thought of my parents with their near 60 years together, Bruce and I with almost 31, Stephanie’s other grandparents with their 60 plus years and I am sure many other couples who have stood the test of time. Each of these couples have remained faithful to the one they married and faithful to the vows they took before God in years long past.

I was reminded of the vows we take at baptism. Baptism is the sacrament that grants us membership into a community of believers. Baptism sets us apart for the service of God and gives us identity within the family of God. When a child is baptized the parents promise to bring them to church, teach them the scriptures and proclaim Jesus as Lord in their homes, thus providing and modeling a household of faith. Then the congregation is charged with the responsibility of helping the parents of the child or in the case of adult baptism to help and support them in their life as Christians.

Marriage identifies us as set apart from this day forward to love and to cherish one other as we love no other through good times and tough times. In these days of disposable everything many marriages are disposable. Any institution on which God places such high value cannot be taken lightly or thought of in any terms less than “til death do us part.” I think more weddings should include this piece within the ceremony. With all of the longevity of successful, loving, supportive marriages in their histories I think Stephanie and Stephen have a great chance of a long and happy marriage.

If you are so fortunate to have a long and happy marriage, give thanks for your spouse, for God’s presence in your marriage and the blessings you have received in your years together. Be a model for those who are young in their marriage and encourage them to pray, to keep God in the center of their lives, to praise their spouse, to practice forgiveness and to keep trying through good times and times of adversity. Please keep Stephanie and Stephen in your prayers.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes. Count your blessings and say your prayers (Maybe an extra prayer for the Rangers before they play again tomorrow.) 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 I am preaching in Rocket and Palmer tomorrow. I ask your prayers as I deliver the Word to these two congregations that God would bless the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart and that they would be found acceptable in His sight. Thanks, gc
Happy Friday!

Prayer: Thank You for showing me how desperately I need a Savior and thank You for saving me from my sin. Thank You that like Abraham’s trust in You, my faith will be continued as righteousness in Your eyes. Help me to remember that in my own strength I cannot live the life You have called me to live, but I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. Help me to walk in that strength today. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Galatians 3: 22 “But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.”

It is really interesting taking Christian History from the Reformation forward and the Old Testament at the same time. I am learning so much in both classes. The Old Testament concerns itself with the law as given to Moses on the mountain. The New Testament deals a great deal with God’s grace given through faith. The truth is we could not follow the Law if it were not for God’s grace. By our own strength we cannot the follow the law and Commandments or act in obedience to God keeping the Great Commandment if we do not live under the blanket of God’s grace. That tells me that Old Testament and New Testament believers both are saved by God’s grace through faith and not by Law. Since Jesus came to fulfill the gospel that must mean that the gospel exceeds the law. God guides us through His Word showing us that we do not have to live as slaves, but as those who are free to obey the Law and live an abundant life through faith in Jesus and the power of His resurrection.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes. Count your blessings and say your prayers. Remember God gives us strength enough for each day. Please say a special prayer for our niece and almost nephew; Stephanie and Stephen. Stephanie is Ken’s oldest daughter. Stephanie and Stephen are getting married tomorrow 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.

Go Frogs! Go Rangers! Go Cowboys!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Happy Wednesday!

There may be no joy in Arlington tonight, but we will get em’ tomorrow night. Rangers lost 3 to 2. I think maybe they just weren’t ready to play in the colder weather.

Prayer: “Father, You are mighty to save and worthy of all praise. This morning, as I prepare for battle, help me to choose the right weapons: the helmet of salvation; the sword of the Spirit, which is Your Word; the breastplate of righteousness; the shoes of the gospel of peace, and the shield of faith. Thank You that You go before me in this war and have prepared the way for victory. Amen.”

2 Corinthians 10: 4 “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds.”

The armies of this world are given weapons of destruction. The weapons take lives, injure people and destroy property and land. All of these weapons are weapons that cause loss to a people and their homes. When the Apostle Paul speaks of weapons, he is not speaking of the conventional weapons such as guns, knives, missiles or spears. The Apostle is speaking of weapons of wisdom, prayer and the proclamation of the gospel. These weapons are not conventional weapons, but they are the most powerful weapons for fighting against sin and keeping us safe during attacks from Satan. The weapons are used for the cause of Christ. These weapons supply all we need to fight against the battlefield of the mind, the self-doubt we experience. They are a constant reminder of how very close God is to each of us.

Conventional weapons can break, be stolen, run out of ammo and have to be replaced at some time, but the weapons given to us by God are ever renewing themselves and are always in abundant supply. I am reminded of the time when Casey was in MD Anderson and I talked with all kinds of people who were also battling cancer. It occurred to me that if you are fighting cancer and do not have faith in God through the crucified Christ then you have no weapons to fight this disease. Chemotherapy can make you well or it can take your life, but the weapons of God make us whole.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes. Count your blessings and say your prayers. I have an Old Testament mid-term at 9:30 in the morning. I would really appreciate being covered in God’s wisdom and your loving prayers in the morning. Thank you my friends. 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, October 18, 2011

Happy Tuesday!

Back to class! I really love my Old Testament class. I know so little about the Old Testament that everything my professor teaches is new learning for me. She also told us we could use some notes on our test on Thursday. Please continue to pray for me as I continue learn each day.

Prayer: “Father, thank You for Your Word that lives forever. Thank you that through Your Word I have received the supernatural gift of a new life in You. Through Your love, help me to love others as You do. As I spend time with You reading Your love letter to me, help me to put what I read into practice in everything I do today. Amen.”

1 Peter 1: 22, 23 “Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever.”

Can you quote lines of dialog from a movie? I can. We love movies around here and can often say lines of movies when appropriate. Dolly Parton, “If you see someone without a smile give them yours.” How about, “Squirrel!” from Up.

This passage talks about the truth of God through the Holy Spirit and through the Word of God. In the book of 1 Peter he closes this chapter with the famous verse from Isaiah 40: 8 “The grass withers and the flower falls away; but the word of the Lord endures forever.”

I remember the first time I read those words. I had received my first Bible as a Christmas gift and this verse was written on the opening page. This passage speaks about what Peter was saying about God’s Word. Our task is to take God’s powerful and important Word and hide those words in our hearts. When we study God’s Word and begin to apply it to our everyday life then we begin to change. I believe God speaks to us in so many ways. God speaks to us of His love through those who love Him and believe on His name. God speaks to us through the gift of prayer. God speaks to us through His Word. In the verse for tonight the results of the change God makes in our lives is that we will have a purified life and we will have a sincere love for fellow believers. This is an all encompassing love that allows us by His leading and His grace to obey Him and His truth. This grants us imperishable eternal access to God made safe by the blood of Christ and in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes. Count your blessings and say your prayers. Take some time to read the word of God and fall in love with His truth. 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, October 17, 2011

Happy Monday!

I spent the day preparing for my Old Testament mid-term on Thursday. I spent so much time sitting today that when Bruce and I went to put gas in the cars, I parked at the back in the parking lot of Kroger just for the walk.

Prayer: “Lord, this morning I wait with eager anticipation to see what You have in store for this day. Help me to find my hope in You and Your Word. Teach me to wait for Your perfect will to be done. Thank you for waking me this morning with another opportunity to live for You. Amen.”

Psalm 130: 5,6 “I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His word I do hope. My soul waits for the Lord more than those who watch for the morning.”

“Wait and hope.” Here are the two words on which the psalmist is asking us to meditate on today. I don’t know about you but I am pretty good at hope, but not as good at waiting. We live currently in a time where waiting is almost a thing of the past. We no longer have to wait to do much of anything. We do not have to wait to eat for fast food is on every corner and a microwave in each home. We don’t have to wait to talk with someone because we all have cell phones that will connect us around the world or even from room to room in our own house. Mail is not something we really wait for any more because of email, instant messaging, Facebook, twitter and a host of other communication devices. We don’t even have to wait for deposits to our bank accounts anymore because companies automatically deposit pay checks directly into our accounts and phones can take pictures of checks and make deposits from your car or wherever you are. We really don’t have to wait on much anymore.

But hope is another story. When we hope for something we are stepping out on our faith believing that the right things will occur. Hope is connected to waiting in interesting ways. When Geni was interviewing for teaching jobs we waited for someone to call her in the hope they would hire her.

God answers our prayers in three ways: yes, no and wait. When the first two answers are not immediately forthcoming then we must in faith believe that God’s answer is worth the wait. God hears and answers each one of our prayers in our best interest and for His glory. Sometimes when the day is really dark and we think all hope is lost we need to remember that God promised through Jesus that He would never leave us or forsake us. Placing our hope in Him is the light we look to even when the day seems very dark. Hebrews 11: 1 “Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.”

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes (I am wearing boots and a hoodie tomorrow). Count your blessings and say your prayers. My friends, stand on God’s Word and live in holy ease! 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.
Blessed Sunday to you all!

Worship was wonderful! We sang “Let Everything that Has Breath Praise the Lord!” This was an anthem purchased in Casey’s name. We sang it as prelude and Postlude. The house rocked today!!!

Our Lord, we praise You and bless Your name forever.”

Psalm 37: 1-4 “Fret not yourself, house of evildoers…Trust in the Lord, and do good…Delight yourself also in the Lord also in the Lord; and he shall give you the desires of your heart.”

Pastor Joel is doing a series on homecomings. We will be celebrating 35 years of Advent at the end of this month. Pastor has preached on home building (built on the Rock), coming home with your family and today he preached on “going home.”

Shortly before Bruce had his surgery I spent more than a few emotional moments. The last time I left a family member he did not come home with me. So I told Bruce he could not “go” home to heaven, but had to come home to me because I was not finished being married to him.

Without fail the last year of Casey’s life was the most difficult series of situations we have ever experienced. Yes, we shed a great many tears in sadness, uncertainty and some fear, but we also did a lot of praising, too. We learned that when we are in the most difficult place we can possibly imagine, we need to find a way to praise God which allows our sorrow to be turned to joy, our worry to peace and praise, our lives of disorder into order and chaos to calm.

When I faced down Satan in that empty hospital hall I decided I was tired of living in fear. I knew that Satan is the author of fear. So I asked God to be the strength I needed to bind Satan’s power so that he would have no power there. I don’t think any of us like the thought of someone having power over us. When Casey was so sick we were in constant prayer for him for his pain to be eased and his body to be healed. Of all of us, Casey was the least stressed because he had released the power of God within himself.

When we walk in fear, worry, doubt or other attribute to Satan we allow him to take up space in our heads and hearts where God should be dwelling. When we do that, He cannot work in us or through us. We must turn back to God and release His Power within each of us and let Him to do His work! That is how our mourning is turned into gladness, our worry is turned to peace.

I pray your week goes well and as my children have tattooed on themselves, “when life is in discord, Praise ye the Lord.” (ah the wisdom of children.)

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes. Count your blessings and say your prayers. Love you all so 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, October 16, 2011

Happy Saturday!

I am beginning this very late on Saturday night and it will end on Sunday.


Bruce and I had a date tonight and went to the Theater Arlington production of Forever Plaid. Absolutely amazing! The singing was perfect and these four gentlemen were hilarious. Sunday is the last day to see the show at this venue so if you have the time go and see it. You will have a wonderful time.

Prayer: “My dear heavenly Father, help me to walk in Your path today. Remind me of the joy that has always been mine when I have chosen to follow You. Let me never forget the heartache, pain, and disillusionment that comes from my disobedience. Thank You for Your patience and love for me. Lord, I praise You that Your mercies are new with each new day. I am reminded this morning of Your promise that if I will delight myself in You, You will give me the desires of my heart (Ps. 37: 4,5). With a thankful heart, I love and praise You for who You are. In Jesus’ name. Amen”

Psalm 119: 35 “Make me walk in the path of Your commandments, for I delight in it.”

Tonight my meditation talked about our Christian lives being a “battleground not a playground.” The Christian life is not about what we do for God, but what God does in us and through us. Obedience to God is His power working in us through our surrendered hearts. If our lives as Christians are a battlefield then Christ is the victory. The psalmist asks for God to “make” Him walk in the ways of God. The only way we can walk in the ways of God is by His grace and his grace alone. Grace is the power to obey and we walk in obedience by the sufficient grace empowering us to walk the path before us. We can rest in the assurance that God’s grace is sufficient to meet our every need and to be obedient to the call of God in our lives.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes. 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.

FYI Tomorrow in worship (11:00) at Advent we will be singing “Let Everything that Has Breath.” This is the anthem purchased in Casey’s memory. It is an amazing piece and hope you can be there as the praise Team remembers Casey in music.