Friday, November 25, 2011

Happy Friday!

I hope if you are a Black Friday Shopper that all went well today. I spent my day reading a book on which I have a reflection paper due Friday of next week. I can’t believe there is only one more week of classes and the semester is over for me. Dead Week is followed by Finals week and I will have completed my first full semester of graduate divinity school. WOW!

Prayer: “Heavenly Father, captivate my heart with Your love this day. I desire for my mind, will, and emotions to be surrounded by Your faithful mercy. May Your love burn as a holy fire through my life so that I may share the message of my Savior with every person I meet today. Set my heart on fire, Lord! Make my life a witness of Your saving power today. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen!”

2 Corinthians 5: 14 “For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died.”

Travis desires to conquer the world one dead lift at a time. His goal is to be the world’s strongest man. He even went to training on Thanksgiving morning. Geni wants to conquer the world one vowel sound and one letter at a time as she has found her passion in teaching. Motivation is what drives us to get out of bed in the morning and make a difference in ourselves and hopefully make a difference in the world.

Jesus was motivated by His obedience to His Father, God, to walk the road to the cross. On the journey, Jesus shared the love of God with all he met along the way. He also as preached this love to large crowds making the greatest difference our world has ever known.

What motivates us to share the gospel of Jesus with those we meet? First, I believe we are all called to tell others what Christ has done for each of us. When we tell someone about Jesus we need to remember to talk about His love, grace, forgiveness and salvation for life on earth and in eternity. Then we need to tell others who do not know Christ that just as He rose for us, He rose for them too. The risen Lord can take the spiritually dead and raise them to new life.

My meditation tonight says, “The opposite of love is not hate, but it is indifference.” My friends, we cannot be indifferent to those around us. We cannot fail to share the love of God in Jesus. We have been given a task and that is to allow Jesus to so captivate our hearts and lives that we burn with the desire to share His love with all we meet.

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.
Happy Thanksgiving… even though this is being written at midnight on Black Friday!

If you are already out shopping then I pray you are warm and you find your treasures. As for me, my Black Friday will be spent reading and studying as I have not done either for the last two days!

We had the most wonderful Thanksgiving Day at Ken and Sheena’s. There was plenty of wonderful food and great fun. It was the best gathering of family ever. We have much to be thankful for and said so many times throughout the day. As Ken gave the blessing before eating he called to our remembering those who have gone before us. I thought to myself that those whom we love so dearly and miss so much must celebrate Thanksgiving Day each day for all eternity.

The movie “It’s a Wonderful Life” is probably the most watched of all the holiday movies. In the final scene, Jimmy Stewart holds his young daughter Zuzu next to the Christmas tree and hears a bell. She reminds her Dad, “Teacher says whenever you hear a bell, an angel gets its wings.” Today, I received a surprise gift from a person I have known all of my life but have not seen in a very long time. So here is the story…

Each year my Mom still gets a gift of remembrance for Casey. It is something small that I cherish. She, as all of us do, believes that even though Casey is not here in body with us, our memories of the love we had for him and that he had for all of his family still make his presence known. This year Mom asked me to find a small crystal bell to hang on the tree so every time I walked by the tree I could move the bell, cause it to ring and call a memory of Casey to mind. I had not yet found the bell. Today, this lady from Howe who has known me far longer than I have known her sent a gift to me of a small crystal bell in the shape of a singing angel.

Mom and I were completely overwhelmed with the gift and just held each other in disbelief of this precious and unexpected treasure at which we were looking. The other miracle was that it was given on Thanksgiving Day. The hallmark of all Thanksgiving Days will always be the one spent in Houston. It was Casey’s last Thanksgiving Day that we would spend with him on this side of heaven. So maybe for just a moment Casey was here today in precious memories and the gift of a longtime friend. When I finally regained some composure I said to my family, “For Casey, everyday is Thanksgiving Day.” Geni simply said, “It’s a God thing!”

I heard on the radio this morning that “It is easy to complain, but it takes dedication and practice to be thankful.” As the season of Advent is about to begin and we begin to prepare once again for the birth of the Christ child, maybe we could practice finding ways to be thankful and replace complaints with thanksgiving. Geni and Travis both have tattoos saying, “When your life is in discord, praise the Lord.” I think Geni is right, “It’s a God thing!”

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes when you shop. Count your blessings and say your prayers of thanksgiving. Love you all with praise and thanksgiving to our God who brought us all together as His children. 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, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving Eve!

I have cooked and prepared for tomorrow all day and I just set up the coffee for the morning. We are headed for Allen tomorrow morning to spend Thanksgiving with family. There will be 22 for lunch. I am tired but looking very forward to seeing everyone.

Prayer: “Abba, Father, I praise You for Your eternal love that has redeemed me by the blood of Your Son. Your love has forever adopted me as Your child, and it sustains me through all of my days. I acknowledge the truth that You will never love me more than You do right now, and You will never love me any less than You do at this moment. Open my eyes to see the vast dimensions of Your love. I pray in Jesus’ wonderful name. Amen!”

Romans 8: 35, 36 “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: “For Your sake we are killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”

When Casey was diagnosed with cancer our oncologist moved heaven and earth to get us to MD Anderson in Houston as fast as he could. There was no question as to whether I would go with him. When I left on the plane with Casey for Houston, I walked away from Bruce and Travis, our home, my job, our church, our friends our extended family and our dogs! I was separated from them by miles and time, but never from their love.

The apostle Paul lists seven different things that could happen to any one of us causing separation from family and friends. But those things would never cause our family or friends to love us less. When difficult things happen in our lives it may seem that God is separating Himself from us when in reality God, through His love for us is drawing us closer. Scripture tells us that there is nothing that can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord! It does not matter whether we have brought distress upon ourselves through poor choices or if difficult things have been thrust upon us, God’s love for us never changes. God’s love remains just as strong and we can rest in the assurance of His love. Give thanks with a grateful heart to God for His ever present love and every blessing.

Take joy in the journey. Give thanks with a grateful heart. Wear comfortable shoes. Count your blessings and say your prayers. Travel mercy to all who travel whether near or far. Love you all so very much and Happy Thanksgiving, 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.
Happy Tuesday!

Happy birthday, Ken!!

We attended Thanksgiving Eve Eve Service tonight. We had a soup and sandwich supper before the service. So many offerings from homemade chicken soup to homemade potato soup and a wide variety of sandwiches. So good!

I set today aside for study and shopping for Thanksgiving. A special thanks to Bruce and Travis for tipping, tailing and snapping 6 pounds of fresh green beans in preparation for cooking tomorrow. There will be 22 family members gathering for Thanksgiving dinner.

Prayer: “Father God, as I awaken this day, I confess that Jesus Christ is Lord of all, over all my life and my physical existence. My life is in Your hands, and I pray for Your healing grace over all my physical weaknesses. May Your grace abound in my weaknesses, and may my inward person be renewed today. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.”

Jeremiah 17: 14 “Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved, for You are my praise.”

When Jeremiah wrote these words he was experiencing illness during a time when he was being persecuted by those who opposed him. When this happened Jeremiah cried out to God for His grace and power through this storm.

Each of us experiences illness at one time or another. Sometimes our illnesses are short lived, like a cold, and then there are other times when serious illness happens and we call out to God for healing. However, do we call out to God in praise? Do we still praise Him when our health is not in danger? Do we remember to praise when our health is good? No matter what, God desires for us to give thanks when we feel great and when we are experiencing illness. We do not give thanks for being sick, we give thanks for God’s presence in whatever state we find ourselves. I never understood this passage until Casey sang, “All to Jesus I surrender…” the night of his first chemotherapy treatment. It was at that moment I learned what “You are my praise” really meant. If Casey could praise God as the poisonous chemicals were coursing through his body then I must learn to praise through the rough times, too.

I do not believe God causes illness in us, but I do believe that it is God’s design for us to get better and not become bitter. Healing comes from God whether it is in the form of well-being in body or healing for spiritual distress. All healing comes from God for He is mighty to save and we, like Jeremiah, can cry out to God for His healing grace.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes. Count your blessings and say your prayers. Let us pray for those who are in hospitals and home bound and will not be with family or at home over the Thanksgiving holiday. 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 little cousin Tatum, who is receiving treatment at Cook’s children’s hospital for leukemia, is doing well and may be home for Thanksgiving. Please offer a prayer for her continued healing and for her family’s continued strength. Thanks, gc

Also, please pray for our friend, Nichole. Two weeks ago she lost her father and just last evening she lost her favorite aunt to stage 4 ovarian cancer. She spoke at her Dad’s service and she will speak at her aunt’s service as well. She is being so brave, but the grief and stress is wearing on her. The holiday time has not made this time any easier. Please pray travel mercy for Nichole, Pastor Joel and their son Caleb as they travel to Kerrville to the service in just a few hours. Thank you, friends and mighty prayer warriors.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Happy Monday!

Geni and I were invited by my Mary Kay director to tour the Mary Kay building in Dallas today and have lunch in their cafeteria/grill. I learned a great many things about this lady and even had the opportunity to go into her office. Mary Kay began her business on a Friday the 13th, so she claimed 13 as her lucky number. She even has 13 floors to her building! The elevator, however, only goes to the 12th floor. You must change elevators to get to the 13th floor. We were invited to sit in her desk chair and have our picture taken. The building is the most elegant building in which I have ever been. There were beautiful rose granite walls and floors, lovely pale pink lobby furniture and nothing ostentatious. It was a warm and inviting business building with a quiet elegance. We had a wonderful time and met some really nice people.

Prayer: “Father God, I worship You for the truth that weeping endures for a night, but joy comes in the morning. May this morning bring me word of Your unfailing love, for I place my trust in You. In Jesus name, Amen!”

Lamentations 3: 32-33 “Though He causes grief, yet He will show compassion according to the multitude of His mercies. For He does not afflict willingly, nor grieve the children of men.”

Grief is a difficult state of being. Grief is the place where you land when there is a loss. I do not think God expects us to jump and shout for joy when we have lost a job, a friendship or someone we love whether it is an emotional loss or a loss through death. God created us in His likeness. Grief and sadness is an attribute of God. The promise is that because God understands our grief and sadness, God is the one Who is with us in the midst of the sad situation not only because He understands but because He loves us so much. God bore the heavy sorrow of the crucifixion of Jesus and will use His extraordinary compassion to manifest the depth of His grace and tender mercies toward our healing. I think God experiences our sadness with us, but is so proud of us when we can finally praise Him through our tears and pain. When we can begin to praise Him in despair we are once again walking in faith and not by our feelings.

I remember the words of a cancer patient named Dave at MD Anderson. Our families shared a memorable Thanksgiving dinner together in the Park at the hospital. Dave said the blessing that day opening with these words, “Lord, we do not give thanks for why we are here, but we do give thanks that we are here and that You are here.” I will never forget that Thanksgiving and the courageous man who spoke the words the rest of us were only thinking.

As we look toward another holiday season without our beloved Casey we remember moments in his life that make us laugh and some that quickly bring us to tears. We give thanks during those times of laughter and tears that God is still with us showering us with the depth of His grace and tender mercies. …and once again we praise His Holy Name.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes staying warm and dry. If you are traveling we pray travel mercy to you all. Drive safely, 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.
Blessed Sunday to you all!

Prayer: “Father, thank You for entrusting me with the gospel. I am blessed to be Your child. As I live today I ask that You shine the Good News through me. Place me in situations where I can reflect the light of Jesus. Grant me wisdom and boldness to be faithful to share what you have done for me. Make my life fruitful this day. In Jesus Name’, Amen.”

John 1: 7,8 “This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that through Him all men might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent as witness of that Light.”

Have you ever looked at the child of a friend and said, “He/she is (insert you friend’s name) made over”? This saying simply means that the child looks so very much like his/her parent that there is no denying who the parent is. God wants us to encounter Him so powerfully that when others meet us there is no denying who our heavenly father is. John exemplified this for us. John’s character was shown to be a man of unshakable faith. John was God’s messenger and undeniably carried the witness and presence of Jesus in His teachings.

The need for us to bear the light of the gospel is just as strong today as it was in the time of John and Jesus. When others see us the presence of Jesus needs to be undeniable. Our purpose is to share the gospel of Jesus to help start others on their own faith journeys. May others see Jesus in us as we reflect His presence today.

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.