Friday, December 2, 2011

Happy Friday!

At noon today I completed my first semester as a full time graduate student. Bruce took me to dinner tonight as a celebration. When I arrived at home I became completely lazy and watched several episodes of NCIS. It felt really strange to just watch TV and not study or write. Now I have two weeks of work ahead of me to complete two take-home exams and study for a huge test over the Hebrew Bible.

Prayer: “Father, we honor You and thank You for Your great love for us. Where would we be without Your love and forgiveness through Jesus Christ? What a joy it is to our hearts to realize that our salvation is complete and full through the greatness of Your mercy. I love You and thank You for loving me so fully and freely even while I was unbelieving and rebellious against You. May the Holy Spirit today control my life and help me to live for Your glory. Amen”

Ephesians 2: 4,5 “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in sin, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved).”

In Greek the word grace is translated as charis. We translate that word into English as charity. Charity means doing something for someone totally incapable of repaying the gift. Our forgiveness and salvation is totally a loving charitable act given to us by a loving and gracious Father and Lord. We have done nothing to earn this gift of grace except to be sinners in need of a Savior. If God had not chosen to restore us into relationship with Him, we would still be covered in our sinfulness instead of blanketed by everlasting grace. When we were forgiven our sin was wiped away and God’s transforming and regenerative work began through the power of the Holy Spirit.
This entire act of grace and the enduring love initiated by God is what compelled Jesus to walk the road to Calvary and submit Himself to the pain and anguish of the cross. It is in this single act of charity we can never repay that we receive salvation and eternal life. My friends, that is Amazing grace!

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes. Count your blessings and say your prayers. Love you all mighty and faithful prayer warriors and friends, 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 Thursday!

After class this morning I spent the remainder of the day steeped in Old Testament. I took a take home quiz, did a reflective piece of writing and identified 7 of the 9 terms I was assigned in preparation for finals week. We ordered pizza and salad and at about 9: 45 the brain said, “NO MORE tonight.” Bruce is busy editing my history paper which is due in the morning and the time is late once again. This will be my life for the next two weeks. Please continue to pray and I am ever so grateful that you are in prayer for me and my studies as I am in thankful prayer for you each day.

Prayer: “Lord, I don’t know what to expect in the day ahead. But I do know what I can expect from you. Be my shield and Defender! Strengthen me to be faithful to You and to trust You in all I do and am. Help me to live every minute of this day in the fullness of Your Spirit and grace. In Jesus’ name, Amen!”

Psalm 91: “He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler.”

We are so blessed to have a God who is always with us. God refashioned Himself in the body of Jesus and walked among His children showing His perfect love. Hens are not very big, but they protect their young with fierce determination. The psalmist compares this protective love to the love and care God has for us. God cares for us with His grace and covers us with His love. He is the Lord and omnipotent God. God is always prepared to do battle for us and we must only ask. We are loved with the ever-enduring love of God. When troubles come and we are in need of His protection we can be assured that our troubles have already passed through the heart and mind of God and He has a battle plan in place. We will find our strength in the joy of the Lord and His grace will always be sufficient. Because we are joined to God by the Cross of Christ we can rest our troubles and cares in Him who loves us.

Take joy in the journey! Wear comfortable shoes, a warm jacket and carry an umbrella. 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.

PS I am asking for prayers for a friend who is experiencing extreme family strife. Her situation is heartbreaking as it is filled with brokenness, sadness and loss. Please pray for her peace and the healing of her family. You may not know her name, but God knows who she is. Thank you, mighty and faithful prayer warriors. Peace, gc

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Happy Wednesday!

I finished the history paper. This semester has been such a learning curve for me. I wrote this paper differently that I have ever written any paper. I wrote the introduction, beginning, end and conclusion and then I wrote the middle. I really prayed over the middle section. Thank you for all of your prayers. It is really hard to believe that there are only two more class days in this semester.

Prayer: “Heavenly Father, I honor You as the God of history. You are in control of life and human events. Thank you that in Your providence You chose Abraham as Your special servant. Through his descendants, Israel, You brought our Savior, Your Son Jesus, to die for our sins. Strengthen me today confidently to walk in faith and obedience in Your guiding hand. Amen.”

Deuteronomy 4: 7 “For what great nation is there that has God so near to it, as the Lord our God is to us, for whatever reason we may call upon Him?”

There is absolutely no thing that we can not bring before God and discuss with Him in prayer. Moses spoke these words to the nation of Israel before they reached the Promised Land. Even though those stiff necked Hebrew slaves (the Hebrew Bible really does call the slaves stiff necked) had been sinful and disobedient, God still loved them and called them His children. God dealt with Israel with a corrective hand and still provided for them on their journey meeting their needs of food and water when they were in need. God promised His children that He would be their Provider and saw them safely through the desert to the Promised Land.

We, too, have a provider. His name is Jesus, the very Messiah whose birth we celebrate during this season of Advent. The New Covenant reminds us in 2 Corinthians 1:20 “all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him, Amen, to the glory of God through us.” Today I knew the middle of the paper I was writing would cause me to make a stand for Christianity and belief in Christ over the prophet of Islam. I defended Christ using factual resources and my own beliefs. I spent time in prayer before I began to write asking God to guide my thoughts and my words that they not only be academically accurate, but would leave no doubt that I believe in the risen Savior, Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

Brite Seminary educates the most diverse community of people with whom I have ever been associated. The atmosphere and attitude of the school is one of acceptance, tolerance and celebration of this extraordinary group of individuals and their individual belief systems. My personal belief is that Jesus is Lord and it is He and He alone who will be there on the Day of Judgment and will judge the world by the Law of the Gospel and no other law. And that is how I spent my day! Please offer one more prayer for this paper and its acceptability to my professor. Thank you my dear friends.

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 Tuesday!

Each Tuesday at Brite there is a chapel service of Word and Table. Each week brings something new. One week it was Episcopal worship, one week we celebrated worship with Spanish speaking believers and today we participated in a service of lesson and carols to begin the season of Advent. It was wonderful. The speaker today talked about how the campus dress seems to change at this time of the year as the preparation for “Holy Finals Week” begins. Instead of jeans and TCU t-shirts the students arrive in class in sweatpants and baggy shirts because it is what they could find after a long night of studying. The prayer life increases a hundred fold and the coffee consumption is over the top! So if you drive down University Drive in Fort Worth this week, beware the sleepy, very comfortably dressed Horned Frogs carrying a large cup of coffee!

Prayer: “Today, Lord, as I go about my business, whether my responsibilities are great or small, remind me of the greatness of Your works. You have made and framed the universe! You sustain and provide for it in all of its vastness and greatness. But thank You for Your thoughts toward me. Your love and care are beyond comprehension. I trust in them today. Amen.”

Psalm 40:5 “Many, O Lord my God, Your wonderful works which You have done; and Your thoughts toward us cannot be recounted more than can be numbered.”

The paper I am writing asks me to write a reflection. The theme of the paper is where Christianity is headed. According to the text, Christianity is stagnant in North America and flourishing in South America, Africa and Southeast Asia. Part of this book deals with the Islamic faith replacing the Christian faith as the primary religion worldwide. I have prayed for God to inspire me in this writing that I may give an honest reflection about how this test has engaged my thinking. In my reflection I must state how the primary purpose for me is to further the cause of God through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. The reflection needs to state my perspective of the cause of Christ and His church. Other religions seem to have conflicting concepts of God as Creator and sustainer. This passage of scripture does not emphasize God the Creator but reminds us of His nature, His care, love and grace toward us. Once again I ask for your prayers as I write to defend Christianity. Join me in prayer that Christianity may be furthered in our nation and the world through each of us and His church.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes. Count your blessings and say your prayers. Thank you all so much for all of your prayerful support. 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, November 29, 2011

Happy Monday!

PENTATONIX WINS THE SING-OFF! For those of you who do not know about The Sing-Off or Pentatonix, The Sing-Off is a competitive television show where A Capella singing groups (voices only - no instruments) compete for a Sony Recording contract and $200,000 in prize money. Pentatonix is an amazing 5 person singing group. Three of its core members are recent graduates of Arlington's Martin High School. Travis knows those three. Pentatonix was the youngest group in the competition with the three from Arlington being 19. Sixteen groups have been competing for the last 8 weeks. Tonight was the finale. Congratulations, Pentatonix!

Tonight we finished the last of the thanksgiving leftovers with a recipe for turkey dumpling soup. The dumplings were made from the last of the turkey dressing. Perfect for a cold, near-winter evening!

And…the tree is decorated!

Prayer: “Heavenly Father, help me to fully appreciate Your love as You quicken Your written Word by the work of the Holy Spirit. May Your Spirit touch my heart today and fill me with a fresh comprehension of Your grace, care and love for me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

1 John 3: 1a “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God.”

There is no greater example of a nurturing, caring or protective relationship than the relationship between parent and child. As parents, we do all we can to protect our children from harm, try to meet their needs and nurture them through leading godly lives of responsibility and unconditional love. As we continue to love and live with our children, we watch them transform before our very eyes.

In 1 John, we learn the great truth that because of Christ’s saving death on the cross and His glorious resurrection, we, who are now in Christ, are called “children of God.” Each day we continue to transform as we grow in relationship to Him. This transformation is ALL due to God’s love for us. So no matter what we face, whether temptation, ridicule, disappointment, fear, doubt or whatever darts Satan throws at us, God’s love is there offering us hope. His love is a constant reminder that we are “children of God.” We can rest in the assurance that the greatest comforts are there when we need them most and we are given empowerment for tomorrow to live for God.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes and a jacket. 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.

Prayer alert: Little Tatum began a new round of chemotherapy today. These are new drugs and her family does not know how she will react. Please offer pray for Mike, Mandy, Tatum and Olivia as they journey together in faith and belief in the everlasting God who brings healing to

Monday, November 28, 2011

Blessed Sunday to you all and happy first Sunday in Advent.

The Christmas tree is set up in its place in the living room. The decorations came down from the attic but will have to wait to be decorated tomorrow evening due to the Christmas lights (which must go on first!). After several years of use, the old lights no longer work and new lights must be purchased tomorrow. So decorating and the watching of White Christmas will have to wait just a bit longer.

Prayer: “Father God, I rejoice in the gift of Your Holy Spirit who dwells within me. May Your Spirit fill my life and pour out Your amazing love in my heart. Open up heaven over my life as I obey You, and pour our Your Spirit in my life. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.”

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

As we enter the season of Advent and approach the time of Christmas, the overriding theme is always love. God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the birth of Jesus. Do you remember the overwhelming feeling of love you experienced when your children were born? Do you remember how you thought that you could never love anyone as completely as you loved that precious child? Do you remember how your life was changed forever? The love of God through Christ is found in the overflowing experience of the Holy Spirit as it pours itself into our hearts and begins to dwell. The moment we trust in Jesus we receive the Holy Spirit. As believers in Christ we have received the blessed hope of His love that remains during all of the seasons of our lives. It does not matter whether there are seasons of great victory, extreme loss, gladness or sadness- the love of God remains with us.

As we journey through the season of Advent there are going to be times of gladness, joy, bumpy roads and smooth. Most of all there will be an air of expectation as we await the birth of the Christ Child once again. Let us not anticipate and be disappointed but open our hearts with expectant joy and receive the love of God in Jesus Christ once again.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes and a jacket. 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 I will begin my final paper for history class in the morning. Please pray that I will write a paper that is not only academically acceptable, but one that will glorify God. Peace, gc

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Happy Saturday!

Weren’t we wearing shorts and t-shirts yesterday? Not anymore!!

After Casey died I knew we had to begin making new memories. We found that most people do not ever get over the loss of a child or a loved one but because of God’s healing grace we do get through and then we must move on.

Our first new memory was to go to the Wall’s Christmas Tree Farm out near Terrell, Texas, and cut our own Christmas tree. We look forward to the red flyer that comes in the mail each year inviting us back. The farm is very rustic complete with red barn, coffee, hot chocolate, hot cider, cookies, and other snacks. We ride out to the trees on the back of a hay wagon and begin the search for just the right tree. Travis cuts the tree and we wait for the hay wagon to return and take us back to the barn. From there, the tree does the hula, shaking off excess needles, is bagged and then tied onto the car for the ride home. This has become one of our favorite holiday traditions.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, this is the day that You have made, and I will rejoice and be glad in it. I am so grateful that I woke up this morning with the assurance that I live in Your presence. You have not given me what I do deserve; condemnation, You have given me everything I do not deserve, the gift of eternal life through Jesus, Your Son. Open my heart to experience the fullness of Your love. In Jesus’ wonderful name I pray. Amen!”

Psalm 103: 8 ”The Lord is merciful and gracious…He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor punished us according to our iniquities.”

On this last evening of the Thanksgiving holiday and the eve of the first Sunday of Advent, let us talk about giving thanks once again. This passage from Psalms is spoken from a life of overflowing thanksgiving and gratitude. At the writing of this psalm Jesus had not yet entered the picture, but these words seem to be words that He would say about the way God deals with us. We could never count the many blessings given to us by God. We are thankful for food, shelter, clean water, health, but what we need to be most grateful for are God’s grace and mercy. God’s grace and mercy are what God gives us that we do not deserve. Through the cross of Christ we are given these unmerited gifts of grace and mercy. God’s grace and mercy should result in our happy hearts. Happy hearts are thankful hearts where sad hearts are grumpy and complaining. We need to remember each day as believers to have grateful hearts giving gratitude to God. Having thankful hearts causes us to worship God alone for He is worthy of worship and praise. A grateful heart compels us to witness to others about the great things God has done for us. A happy heart reminds us that we are worthy in heart, mind, soul and body because we are children of God.

Let us exhibit a spirit of happiness, gratitude and thanksgiving throughout this holiday season for all of the benefits we have been given. Let us praise Him for His steadfast, faithful love and for choosing us through Jesus to be sealed by His blood in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes and a jacket. Count your blessings, say your prayers with thanksgiving. See you in worship. Love you all and thankful for each of you, 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.