Saturday, December 17, 2011

Happy Saturday!

Today Bruce and I took a simple Christmas wreath with a red bow and put it on the grave site of Rev. Lt. Richard Lee Russell. The DFW National Cemetery is a lovely cemetery with well kept grounds and a strong sense of honor. As you enter the grounds, there is a welcome building with a kiosk where you can type in the name of the person’s site you wish to visit and then it prints a map so you can find it. We saw a number of grave markers with wreaths placed there. It was our joy to do this for our friends.

Prayer: “Lord, help me to make Your love for the church the pattern for me to love my family. Thank You for my biological family and my church family; may I be a blessing to both. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

Ephesians 5: 25, 26 “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify, and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word.”

This passage of scripture speaks so strongly about love. My daddy always told me the two best things a wife could ever do when raising her children was to love their daddy and make them mind. So in my morning prayer I pray this, “Thank you for the family who raised me and thank you for the family you gave me to raise.”

We are commanded to love. Love is not just an emotion. It carries a responsibility. Just as the husband is commanded to love his wife, we are also commanded to love the Lord. That same love calls for commitment. Jesus was so committed in His love and obedience to God that He submitted Himself to the cross for His bride, the church. Remember the love commitment that Jacob had for Rachel? Jacob loved Rachel so much that he sacrificed fourteen years of labor to her father to be able to have and hold her.

The cleansing of love is a part of the marriage ceremony. In the marriage ceremony the husband is set apart to belong to his wife and the wife is set apart to belong to her husband. This cleansing love provides purity to commit to only one other for life. In salvation we are set apart to belong to Jesus; new are cleansed by His blood to wash away sin. Jesus modeled this cleansing when He washed the feet of His disciples.

In just a few more days Bruce and I will have been married 31 years. We have been through life altering circumstances in that time. When we got married those 31 years ago we had the scripture from Matt 7:24-27 that speaks of the house built upon the rock. It was because of our commitment to each other and God’s commitment to us that we have been able to weather the storms of life without ever thinking that being apart was the answer. We hope we have modeled a godly marriage to our children and have showed them the command, commitment and the cleansing power of a marriage built on the Rock of Jesus Christ.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes because shopping requires sturdy comfortable shoes. Count your blessings and say your prayers. Advent is presenting its Christmas music in the morning at 8:30 and again at 11:00. You are all cordially invited. 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 update: Tatum is still in the hospital and, so far, is enduring treatment well. They have asked for prayer for a little friend named Liam who is losing his battle with a childhood cancer. They have allowed him to go home to spend his last few days. Please pray for this precious child of God and his family as they walk this very sad and difficult road.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Happy Friday!

The history paper was sent to my professor around 3:00 AM. At 9:50 AM, he sent confirmation of his receipt of the paper and, with that, this semester was officially put to bed. Then I set about putting away all of the trappings of the semester. The text books were put away, all of the notes, handouts and papers were returned to their folders and placed with the books. I actually found the top of my desk and the bag I take to class was emptied and placed under my desk, waiting to be filled with the items for my class in January. It was a bit weird to not have a paper on which to work, reading to be done or other studying to do, so I cleaned, did laundry, watched NCIS and made a new recipe for dinner (which was really good; a Cheesy Cornbread Casserole).

Tomorrow, Bruce and I will get some flowers and place them on the grave of Rev. Richard Russell, the father of our dear friend, David Russell. Rev. Russell is buried in the DFW National Cemetery. He served as a First Lieutenant during the Korean War. Carme and Dave will not be able to make the trip to the Metroplex this Christmas, so we are delighted to stand in their place at this time to remember and honor this wonderful man who lived a life of integrity and faithfulness to his calling.

Prayer: “Lord, help me this day not to criticize what You are blessing, even if I lack understanding or it is different from that which I’m accustomed. May I never contend with what You are blessing. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

Acts 11:18 “When they heard these things they became silent; and they glorified God, saying, “Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life.”

In this passage something was changing in the church. Many of the older members did not like the changes. (Does this sound familiar?) Peter, being led by the Spirit, went into the home of Cornelius and shared the gospel of Jesus with him. When Peter returned to Jerusalem they “contended with him” meaning they opposed him and argued with him.

Peter was anointed by the Holy Spirit to witness to Cornelius. I can pretty much tell you if God, through the Holy Spirit, calls you to service and you don’t go, God will be relentless in His pursuit for His will in your life to be done. God desired for Cornelius to be converted and so commissioned Peter to be the vessel through which He would work His will. Peter spoke to Cornelius and other Gentiles and the Holy Spirit fell upon them as they believed. God does not command a water baptism, but when we believe and pray the prayer for forgiveness, we are baptized by the Holy Spirit. We need to ask God to fill us with the Holy Spirit and take control of our thoughts, our behavior and our attitudes.

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 Thursday!

It is finished!! This morning I took my Old Testament Test which took 4 hours to complete. I was one of the final five to finish. My professor was very kind in allowing some of us who needed more time to complete it in a different room than where we started. The test was supposed to be over at 10:30 (began at 8:00). I was tired, but felt pretty good about the test. As for the History test, I finished it around 9:00 tonight and sent it to the capable hands of my beloved hubby. He is currently editing the two essay questions. The paper is due by 9:00 AM tomorrow. This is for the professor who will NOT accept late work. Bruce says he will be finished long before 9:00. I think we may both sleep in a bit tomorrow.

As the exams will be passed on to the hands of those who evaluate my work, I ask for your prayers that the Holy Spirit will bless the efforts of my work and the professors as they grade these papers. Two extra prayers for Bruce, that he receive and extra blessing or two for his joyful sacrifice of the time he spends editing my papers and that these efforts will not completely exhaust him.

Prayer: “Lord, you have set me apart; I am no longer a part of this world, but rather a part of Your kingdom. Help me this day to represent You and Your kingdom’s interest. In Jesus’ name, Amen”

John 17: 18-19 “As You sent me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they may also be sanctified by the truth.”

This morning in my drive time devotional I heard, “When you began this journey with Me, heaven and all eternity was always the destination.” How wonderful that the prayer tonight affirmed God’s awesome presence in His truth as to His plan for each of us. Jesus prays a priestly prayer claiming His own calling by His Father, God, and also confirms His obedience. In order for the story of Jesus to continue, just as God sent Jesus into the world, Jesus sent His disciples into the world. Jesus continues to say to the Father, in order that they (the Disciples) know how to act as My representatives, I will submit to Your will again and model a sanctified life.

Jesus set these 12 apart for His service and we have been set apart. God gave Jesus the words to say to His Disciples by the words spoken in prayer. Jesus spoke to His disciples from the words of His mouth ordained by God. We receive the words to say through the Holy Scriptures, prayer, His Holy Spirit and those who sanctify themselves for His service and model the sanctified life. Jesus was sent with a message. He sent His disciples with a message and we are sent with the same message.

Jesus and all his disciples (even us!) are called into his service. Our mission field is no different than Jesus’ or His disciple’s mission field- it is the world.

It is not an easy mission field and Jesus and His disciples were rejected, but it is the field in which we are meant to serve. Jesus was even executed by His own people on a cross. He does not necessarily send us to places of ease and comfort. (Lord, please send me to Hawaii to suffer for You!) Not likely! We cannot serve like Jesus if we are not willing to sacrifice. We must go where the Lord directs. This job ain’t easy, but it is worth it!

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes can carry an umbrella. Count your blessings and say your prayers. Love you all, mighty and faithful prayer warriors. Love, 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 request: Little Tatum goes in for another treatment tomorrow. If her counts are at the right place then the treatment will proceed. The family is hoping that she is recovered enough for this treatment so the procedures can continue. Thank you loving warriors, gc

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Happy Wednesday!

Bruce completed the editing on my Christian Education final today. It was due at 5:00. At 4:58 I attempted to send it via email to my professor and the computer froze. I sometimes threaten to have a stroke when things do not go as I need them to in situations like this, because professors do not accept late work. I mean they literally will not take the paper from your hand if it is late. When I was finally able to send it which was about 5 minutes later I sent a note along with it explaining what had happened and that I just needed 2 minutes of grace and would he please accept the paper? He responded quickly with these words, “If we cannot offer 5 minutes of grace in this world then we are all in trouble. Of course I will accept the paper.” When it did not send I almost began to cry because I have been working on that paper for days, so all is well. Now I just have to make it through the Old Testament Test in the morning, after which I will come home and complete my history final. I know you may be tired of these updates, but I really need your prayers. Thank you, mighty and faithful prayer warriors.

Prayer: “Lord, I pray that the Holy Spirit will give me insight into Your Word so that I might correctly understand and apply Your Word to my life. I thank You, Lord, for my salvation as I commit myself to the working out of that salvation through my life today. In Jesus’ name, Amen”

2 Thessalonians 2: 13 “But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren, beloved by the Lord, because God, from the beginning, chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth.”

As my stress level is pretty high at this time, reading God’s Word began to allow the stress to leave my body and place my rest in the God of purpose during the “holy” Week of Finals.

In Paul’s epistle he was speaking to the Church at Thessalonica about their concern about the coming day of the Lord. That particular day is not one in which I have really ever concerned myself. I figure if Christ returns during this writing then I am secure in knowing where I will land. If Christ returns after my passing, I am still secure where I will spend eternity. I hope you are, too!

However, the Thessalonians were confused and Paul wrote to them hoping to comfort them and clear up their misunderstandings. First, Paul spoke of Conversion. They needed to be reminded that their salvation was not of their own doing, but was the result of God’s love. God’s love is personal and proven in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.” Next, Paul told them that God chose them. Love alone does not give us salvation. Salvation is given to us by His grace, and not because we deserve it. Here is the kicker…God has already set the day of His coming—He has ordained the last day and He has ordered this day in truth. The day of His coming is important, but our task to proclaim the truth of God in His gospel until that day is far more important. We can do nothing about the last days, that is not our job. Our job is to tell others about His love, grace, forgiveness and tender mercies. When we do our job, we may not know when Christ is returning, but we will certainly know more folks when we get there. See all of you on the flip side!
Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes and carry your umbrella. 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.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Happy Tuesday!

Bruce is working diligently on the paper we have come to name “The Beast” due to its length of 19 pages. What a great guy!! Today I have spent working on the history paper due on Friday morning. I have one question left on that paper. But tomorrow, I study Old Testament. Please continue in prayer. It is really helping.

Prayer: “Help me this day, O Lord, to be sensitive to any and all opportunities I have to meet the needs of others, in the name of Jesus, and to share Jesus through these opportunities. May my words this day encourage others in the Lord. In Jesus’ name, Amen”

Acts 3: 19 “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.”

To be restored is to get back what has been lost. Peter and John, in Jesus’ name, had just healed a lame man by the gate of the temple, which was called Beautiful. The lame man received back what he had lost, the strength of his legs. People witnessed this miracle and Peter was inspired to bear witness to this miracle. In this impromptu sermon Peter spoke of repentance, redemption and restoration.

Repentance means to turn away from sin. Redemption means to turn to the Savior. Restoration is what we experience when our sins have been forgiven. When our sins have been forgiven then our strength in the Lord has been restored and we are once again in right relationship with the Savior. We are refreshed in the filling and outpouring of the Holy Spirit. When we are in the presence of God we can sincerely repent and receive redemption and restoration out of His love for us. During the holiday season we like to have our families close to us. God loves having His children close. The more of the Savior that is inside of us, the closer to God we are. It is wonderful to allow ourselves to be restored by the God of all forgiveness and grace.

If there is something that is keeping you from being restored to God, take the time now to pray a prayer of forgiveness and start over with God once again, receive redemption, get back what you lost - be restored.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes (maybe some galoshes). 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.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Happy Monday!

My apologies for not writing last night, but I had a small disaster in that a question I had spent six hours answering was eaten by my computer and flash drive. It was quite late when I discovered this and I was so upset. The good news is that my Christian Ed. is now in the hands of my beloved hubby for editing purposes. The paper is currently sitting at 19 pages. Hopefully by the time it is edited it will be a bit shorter. The paper was 5 essay questions all involving case studies in different situations taking place in Christian Education within the church. Tomorrow I move on to history. I have all 20 terms identified and one question drafted out and ready for writing. There is still one question left to completely answer. Keep praying me, please. I know I am!

Prayer: “Father, because I have been purchased with a great price and now am set apart for Your service and glory, I commit myself this day to seek first Your kingdom and righteousness. Help me this day to die to self that I might live for You. May I live this day with a heart overflowing with gratitude free from the guilt of sin. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

Hebrews 10: 9, 10 “Then He said, “Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God.” He takes away the first that he may establish the second. By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”

Scripture tells us that when God created man, we were made in His likeness. God is holy, therefore we are holy. God is set apart from nature, other gods and sinners. The only way to approach God is through prayer.

Jesus came into this world set apart from all others. Think of how He was born. He was born like no other, taught like no other. He taught with the authority of His Father. His death, burial and resurrection was like no other. The passage for tonight is such an extraordinary surrender to the obedience of God, “he said, Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God.” Jesus struggled with this whole business of will in the garden of Gethsemane when He prayed, “If there is a way, let this cup pass from me.”

As believers and followers of Jesus we are called to be set apart for His service and to be unlike the people of this world. Because of the sacrifice of Jesus, we are separate from this world to make a difference in this world as His ambassadors. “We must be different to make a difference!” WOW! We have our work cut out for us. The good news is that God will be with us and work with us each step of the way. Praise God!

Let us take joy in this journey together. Wear comfortable shoes and a warm 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 The funny of the day…tonight on channel 13 it was one of their fundraising evenings and Victor Borge was the featured artist. In one of his comedy routines he asked the audience if they knew the history of the piano. Someone answered no. He told the audience that the original piano was constructed with only one key that went the length of the keyboard. That made finding or writing music for the piano really difficult. Then he said, “Someone put in the cracks and the music for the piano really opened up.” I laughed for about a half hour I think and then every time I remembered it I have broken out into a fit of giggles.