Friday, December 23, 2011

Greetings from Howe, Texas.

Happy Christmas Eve, Eve!

WOW! How did this day get here so fast! Well this Christmas will be very different from most of our Christmas’ past. On Wednesday of this week, Daddy took Mom to the Dr.’s office for a regular checkup. Upon leaving the office Mom stumbled and fell down the ramp. Dad helped her up with the assistance of two men and two nurses. Mom said she was not hurt and so they proceeded home. As the day continued, Mom began to feel increasing pain in her upper left arm and some numbness in her fingers. They went to bed and around 2:00 AM the pain became increasingly worse and by 5:00AM Dad was on the phone to the doc. Doc met them in the ER in Sherman (Mom and Dad live out in the country). After the x-rays were taken, the diagnosis was that Mom had broken the ball in her shoulder. After more extensive testing the diagnosis was confirmed and she had surgery today.

Now here is the amazing part...Mom has some pretty serious kidney issues, so her doc told her after surgery that she was going to spend the night in ICU just for observation purposes. Bruce and I ran an errand and returned to the hospital during visiting time in ICU. My Mom looked as if she had endured nothing except a good night’s sleep. The nurse who was tending to her quietly asked, “Does she bathe in Oil of Olay?” She looked amazing and was concerned as to why she was in ICU as she felt fine. She was hungry and ate the lovely selection of Jell-O and broth. We believe if she has a good night tonight she will go back to a regular room sometime tomorrow.

So here is our Christmas schedule. On Christmas Day, Geni and Travis will join us in Howe for Christmas breakfast. They are bringing family gifts with them. I will cook all day Saturday and we are having Christmas dinner and gifts at the hospital. It is not as if we have not had unusual Christmas celebrations before! One particularly memorable one in Houston…

This may sound a bit corny, but Christmas is not about where you spend the day but with whom you spend the time and why you gather together. Christmas came in a rude stable with a small family, some farm animals and shepherds. This small brand new family did not have the warmth of a house on that night, but they had the warmth of the love they had for each other and God was present. They did not go to worship to hear the Word and sing the songs, but the angels showed up and worshiped the newborn king. Mary did not spend the day fretting over a meal, but provided the heavenly food as she brought forth the life in her Son. That first Christmas did not come wrapped in pretty paper and beautiful bows, but in the stars that shined down in love from the heavens lighting the way to the family.

We are almost to Bethlehem. So here is the question…Once we get there is our journey complete? Will we open packages, eat, watch TV or play games, nap and go home? Or will we be like the shepherds and tell someone why we gathered together and how much we love them?

Please offer prayers of healing for Mom. Count your blessings and say your prayers. We 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.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Happy Wednesday!

Prayer: “Most gracious heavenly Father, I bow my head in Your Presence at the beginning of a new day. You alone are the King of Kings and the Lord of lords. No one can compare with You! You are mighty and powerful, and I turn to You on the is day because I cannot do this on my own. There are too many challenges facing me, and I am weak and helpless without You. I will trust You completely in every way today. And I pray all of this in Jesus’ wonderful name. Amen.”

Ezekiel 18: 27 “Again, when a wicked man turn away from the wickedness which he committed, and does what is lawful and right, he preserves himself alive.”

In the 30 years I spent teaching my favorite moments occurred when a child who could not read suddenly is able to read the words on the page. They can track the print with their fingers and not just read from memory, but actually read the words on the page. The look on the face of the child is nothing short of awe and wonder as if a great mystery has opened itself up and now this child understands. The impact of this moment awakens all possibilities in the life of the child and transforms them from one who literally was “once blind and now he/she can see.” Once this happens a child wants to read to you and anyone who will sit and listen.

When someone comes into relationship with God through Jesus they are just like that baby who has just learned to read. They are transformed at the moment of salvation to never be the same again. The prophet in this passage speaks of the wonderful changes that happen when a sinner repents and turns to God. This person becomes alive because they have died to sin by the blood of Jesus and now can live a life that is preserved by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit’s presence and power.

Do you suppose Mary and Joseph fully understood how their lives would change as the earthly parents of Jesus? How this most precious child would grow to transform all with whom He came in contact and as one of my favorite songs says, “Did you know that when you kiss your little baby, you kiss the face of God?” Do you think they knew they not only carried this prophesied One but that they were being preserved by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit’s presence and power?

We, too, when we open ourselves as a dwelling place for Jesus, carry with us not only the One prophesied by the great prophets of old, but the gospel as well.

Continue to journey to Bethlehem. We are almost there. Count your blessings and say your prayers. See you in the stable side by side with the shepherds. Be prepared to go and tell anyone who will listen that Jesus Christ is born! 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!

I had the most wonderful visit with Tatum’s mother, Mandy and the girls, Olivia and Tatum. During the visit Mandy and I were having, there was a continuous princess fashion show being hosted by Olivia. The fashion show was done in paper doll princesses and was completely delightful. It was accompanied by music from Tatum’s princess music.

Mandy and I discovered we have something very powerful in common. Her Dad died with sarcoma cancer. We had similar stories to share and I believe I have made a new friend. Tatum goes in for treatment on Friday, but it is only a clinic visit and she should not have to stay in the hospital. It is my prayer that this family will get to be in their home together on Christmas. Please join me in prayer for this extraordinary family of faith and this tiny warrior as they battle this disease not only with professional healers and mediations, but with faith in God, the Master Healer who supplies their courage.

Prayer: “Dear heavenly Father, what joy to begin my day with You! Thank you for loving me the way You do, and thank You for sending Your Son to die on the Cross for my sins. As I begin this day, please forgive me for my sin. I repent before You and claim 1 John 1:19 for myself today. I need you in everything I do today, and I want You to know just how much I depend on You. Thank You for loving me despite myself. In Jesus’ name, I pray, Amen.”

Galatians 1:3, 4 “Our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father.”

As a career teacher, I always set out goals for myself and the students in my charge. After setting out these goals I planned and taught lessons that would help the children achieve those goals and even go beyond the expected goals.

Within the scriptures God sets out goals for us to achieve so that we can live lives that are pleasing to Him. In this brief passage God shows us the truth about Himself and what we must believe in order to live our lives in His will. My devotion shares these truths: “First, Jesus is our anchor because He is the only One who has set us free through the forgiveness of our sins. Second, we cannot be delivered from the temptations of this world without Christ. Third, our deliverance from sin and our ability to lead godly lives, in spite of the world in which we live, is the will of God for us.”

I have always associated as one of God’s great attributes to be that of a Master Teacher who not only sets goals for us, but shows us the path to reaching those goals, helps us continually to achieve His will for our lives out of His love for each of us and gives us a life time to reach those goals.

Let us continue on the road to Bethlehem taking joy in the journey. Dress warm and stay dry. Count your blessings and say your prayers. Love you all 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.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Happy Monday!

Grades are in: Old Testament—A, Christian Education—B +, Christian History II—B. I am really excited for these grades and am really looking forward to the coming semester after a brief break. My next class begins on Monday, January 9, 2012 and ends Friday, January 13, 2011. I will be in class from 9 AM—5:00 PM, but then I will have completed one semester’s worth of work. I am taking and Intensive Study class in Short Term Pastoral Care and Counseling. Regular Spring classes begin the next week. I will keep you posted as to this new experience in learning.

Prayer: “Gracious heavenly Father, thank You for the joy of knowing that You are My heavenly Father. As I begin this day, I ask that Your Spirit would speak to my heart and provide me with all the things necessary to please You today. I confess my sin to You because Jesus Christ is my Savior and Lord, and I place myself at Your disposal in every way. Please help me to make wise decisions and to love my life today in a manner that will be pleasing to You . In Jesus’ name. Amen.”

Acts 15: 19 “Therefore, I judge that we should not trouble those from among the Gentiles who are turning to God.”

In the days of the early church when the Jews were converting over to Christianity, they had a lot to overcome. They had been raised and immersed in so many rules that they believed that as long as they followed the rules they stayed in good standing with God. These folks had trouble understanding the difference of faith over works. When they came into relationship with Jesus they really only had two things to learn: “For God so loved the world that He gave his only Son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, and to Love the Lord you God with all your heart soul mind and strength and your neighbor as your self. I have also thought that the verse from 2 Cor 12:9, “My grace is sufficient for you,” should be added to that list.

While the practice of our religious faith is important, the justification of our faith belongs to Christ alone. Nothing we can do will ever earn the salvation and love given to us by the Savior, Christ the Lord. We fail sometimes and are sorry, but because we are justified by the crucified Christ we can ask forgiveness and, with unquestioning faith, believe that we have been saved by grace alone.

Take joy in the journey, walk the road to Bethlehem and embrace the Christ Child. Kneel before His manger throne and hear the angels sing, “Glory to God in the highest and peace to all with whom He pleased.”

Love you all so very much. Tomorrow I am going to visit Tatum’s family. I will give a full report on our tiny warrior. Please continue to pray for Tatum and her family. 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 19, 2011

Blessed Sunday to you all!

Tonight I would like to tell you a story.

Once there was a young boy. He heard the circus was in town and he really wanted to go. He goes to ask his Dad if he can go to the circus. The tickets to the circus cost a dollar. His dad thought a bit and said if he (the young boy) could finish all of his chores before noon he would give the boy a dollar. So Saturday came and the boy got up really early and did all of his chores before noon. The boy went to his dad reporting that he had done all of his chores and the boy’s dad gave him a dollar. The young body went to town with his dollar for the ticket when he saw the circus parade. There were lions, tigers, bears, clowns, jugglers, aerial artists, horses, riders, bands playing loud exciting music and finally the ringmaster. The little boy was so fascinated by the parade that he took his dollar and gave it to the ringmaster to pay for what he had just witnessed. Then the little boy went home.

Even as amazing and awesome as was the parade, the boy missed the show. This simple story has a lesson for all of us. The Christmas lights, the beautiful music, decorating and shopping till we drop are all in preparation for the big show. Let us not get so wrapped up in the preparations for the “big day” that we miss why we prepare and for Whom we prepare.

Tonight we were on our way home from a Christmas gathering and in a yard was a very large message written in bright lights. The message simply said, “Jesus is the reason for the season.” Let us remember as we prepare our homes for the “big day,” that we remember to prepare our hearts for His coming once again, not with lights and trees or presents, but in awe and wonder that a Savior is born!

Oh, come let us adore Him! May the babe of Bethlehem be born once again in our hearts. 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 update: Little Tatum came home today and treatment was administered successfully. Praise God from Whom all blessings flow. Please continue in prayer for this little fighter who is refusing to let this disease defeat her. Peace, gc