Friday, December 30, 2011

Happy New Year’s Eve Eve! (or Friday)

Mom update: Mom went to the rehab hospital today. I missed being able to speak with her. When I called her new room she did not answer and when I called the office of the rehab they did not pick up either. Dad tried to do the same and got the same response. He is going out in the morning and find out the why this occurred and then will call me.

I think the stress of all of this has finally caught up to Dad as he thought he had picked up a stomach bug and really did not feel good today. Daddy is never sick. Please keep praying for both of them. Thank you, mighty and faithful prayer warriors.

Prayer: “Lord and Savior, thank You for calling me to Your service. Thank you for giving me a purpose that is beyond this earth and for allowing me to invest my time, money, and talents into something that is eternal. I am willing to be thought of as “different” for You in order that You may do all You desire through my life. Lord, I am available for You to use today as a messenger of the gospel in someone’s life. For Jesus’ sake, Amen”

Romans 15:16 “That I might be a minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering of the Gentiles might be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.”

In the Old Testament the priests of Levi wore different clothing, lived apart from the rest of the community and performed different tasks that anyone else. They were set apart for the function of ministering to God on behalf of the people. Their primary tasks were to offer sacrifices and make offerings acceptable to God.

We are God’s servants. But we are servants of Jesus Christ who offered Himself as a sacrifice for each of us. We no longer need to offer blood sacrifices and make animal offerings to God. Instead we are to offer up to God our hearts, our service, our faith and our lives. Because we are joint heirs with Jesus we are set apart for the ministry of presenting the gospel, the good news, to those who do not know Christ. It is our ministry to bring to God those who have been made holy and acceptable by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. We who are priests and those who come to the altar of grace are sanctified and consecrated to Jesus Christ.

So here is the question of the day…When we see Jesus face to face…how many offerings will we be able to place before Him?

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes. Count your blessings and say your prayers. Continue to pray for our families. Thank you, faithful prayer warriors. 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!

Today Geni and I had a wonderful lunch with one of my closest friends at Potager’s Restaurant. The correct name of the restaurant is Potager’s Natural CafĂ© and Other Stuff. The food was totally delicious and the conversation was wonderful. We were able to catch up on the goings-on in our lives. I think the holidays are a great time to renew friendships reminding each of us of how important friendships are to each of us.

Mom update: My Mom is sort of a miracle lady. When I spoke with her today she was cheerful and claimed to be in no pain. I personally don’t get it, but I do give thanks. She is relatively sure she is going to the rehab hospital in the morning. She is a bit apprehensive about all of this and so I told her that she had nothing to fear because she was the woman who, when she wakes up in the morning, Satan just says, “Oh, snap! She’s up again!” I know she will be a perfect patient and will push herself beyond what the therapists ask her to do. Thank you for all of you prayers and please continue to pray for both Mom and Dad.

Prayer: “Good morning, Father. You alone are God, and beside You, there is no other. I praise You for Your patience with my human failures, for Your gentleness with my compulsiveness, and for Your grace with my weaknesses. I choose to live for You alone, to live to please You alone, and to serve You above everything else today. My heart is Your throne today, and nothing else is there but You. Be magnified in my absolute abandonment to You. In the name of Jesus, Amen.”

Leviticus 19: 4 “Do not turn to idols, nor make for yourselves molded gods; I am the Lord your God.”

In my Old Testament class I learned about the idols the nation of Israel would create when they would walk out of fellowship and obedience with God. But I also learned that God was less upset with the idols created and far more upset with the idols the Israelites had carved in their hearts. The Jews had not only set up idols of stone, metal and wood, but according to Ezekiel they had “set up idols in their hearts.”

John ended his first letter by saying, “Little children, keep yourselves from idols.” (1 John 5:21) Do we worship idols in our lives today? We have lots of circumstances in our lives that Satan will use to entice us to worship material things and turn aside from God. This time of year Satan is really in our faces 24/7. Let us remember the gift of salvation given to each of us in the life and death of Jesus. Let us fix our hearts on God and place our total trust in Him who loves us so much. The material idols can be broken and destroyed, but the love of Christ can overcome the idols of our hearts and can never be broken for it is fired by the salvation of the crucified Christ, shaped by His love and grace and faithfully promised in His holy Word. All we have to do is believe.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes (speaking of shoes, I received a gift from my beloved husband - a pair of purple Doc Martin boots. Travis called them “Frog metal jacket.” He is too funny.) Count your blessings and say your prayers. Love you all and keep praying, 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 28, 2011

Happy Wednesday!

The tree and wreath went to recycling today. All the trappings of the Christmas holiday went into boxes and bags and Bruce and Travis placed all of the boxes and containers back in the attic. We have put the outside effects of Christmas to bed for another year. May we all keep the feelings and meaning of Christmas in our hearts long past the time we have put away the decorations.

Update on Mom: I spoke with Mom this morning and she sounded much more like her old self. The gout is painful but is being managed. She got out of bed and sat in a chair for a good while. We count this as good progress. It looks as if the rehab hospital she will go to is going to be much closer to their home than in the original plan. Praise God!

Prayer: “Precious Lord, I praise You for having a plan and a purpose for my life. Your ways are so different than my ways and Your thoughts so above my thoughts. You are my guide, my compass, my GPS, and my traveling companion. Lord, thank You for that today. You will lead me beside still waters and in the right paths I should follow. Use Your Word to give me direction for today’s journey and for decisions about tomorrow. I am so blessed to know that You blaze a trail for me today. Thank You, Lord, Amen.”

Psalm 119: 59 “I thought about my ways, and turned my feet to Your testimonies.”

The first sentence of my meditations tonight was “Have you ever been traveling on a journey and realized you may not be going in the right direction? (I laughed out loud at that question!) As many of you who know me personally or by my journal writing, I am seriously directionally challenged! But in my adventures in being lost I realize I have two choices: either turn around and try to correct my directional error or keep going and hope the destination will present itself. (My third option, the one I do most of all is call Bruce.)

In our spiritual lives the psalmist nails us pretty well. The psalmist confesses that he thought about his ways, turned around and began again in God’s Word. This must be a scripture that really hacks Satan off. First, the psalmist confesses that he thought about what he was doing. Satan uses all of his ways to distract us from following the path God has laid out. When we stop and think, we block out the distractions. When we stop to ask God where He is leading us then we are lead to make the necessary correction…in other words, we ask forgiveness and repent. Once our direction has been corrected and we are walking the path God set before us we must consider this decision not on the words of man’s philosophy, but on the “testimonies of God.” We must stand firm and walk on the assurance of God’s unshakable Holy Word.

You know each of us has a little bit of the prodigal son in us. He was a pretty lost young man and yet his father watched each day from the porch waiting for his son to correct his course and come home. The greatest part of this story is that no matter what happens in our life, God knows where we are and loves us even when we stray. We are at the heart of God’s GPS and He never gives up on us in His relentless efforts to restore us back unto Himself. God is so good and loves us so much.

Take joy in the journey trusting in the Savior to lead us in love and joy. Wear comfortable shoes. Count your blessings and say your prayers. Pray for Mom and Dad. 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!

Mom update: Mom has been diagnosed with gout in one of her feet. There is a possibility she will go to the rehab hospital on tomorrow. I will let you know. Please pray for Mom and Dad.

Prayer: Most gracious and loving heavenly Father. I begin this day in prayer. I want to consult with You, and I want You to know that I cannot go through any day without You. I have tried many times before and realize You are the only One who can help me do the things I need to do in a manner that will be pleasing to You and a testimony to others. I commit all I do today to Your counsel, and I trust You. In Jesus’ wonderful name I pray, Amen.”

Jonah 3: 10 “Then God saw their works, that they turned from their evil ways; and God relented from the disaster that He has said He would bring upon them, and He did not do it.”

I think there are about a million sermons that could be taught on the story of Jonah. And depending on where you are in your life will determine the way the story will have meaning for you.

Today Bruce asked me to be a part of the Kairos Prison Ministry team for the spring event. I began to think about the inmates who will receive the Word. These men are in a prison. They are set apart from the rest of society due to the choices they made as free men. Jonah experienced a similar imprisonment. He made the choice not to follow God’s will for his life and became imprisoned in the belly of a great fish. God set him apart from the rest of society so that God had Jonah’s undivided attention and could receive God’s instructions for the Ninevites. Now Jonah was only imprisoned for three days. Some of the inmates we will serve have been in the prison for a while (years) and some won’t ever leave the facility. But while their bodies are imprisoned, their hearts and souls can be made free by learning to accept and do God’s will for their lives. We in the free world share a common bond with those who are incarcerated. We are all in need of God’s forgiveness and we can all be receivers of God’s grace. All of us are guilty of sin just like the Ninevites and we are expected to repent and turn away from our sins. God hates sin, but how He loves us sinners and rejoices when we all repent. When we repent and confess our sin, God forgives and reconciles us to Himself because of the sacrifice of Jesus. What a wonderful God and Father we serve to love us so very much.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes. Count your blessings and say your prayers with a special prayer for my Mom. Her name is Genita. 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 27, 2011

Happy Monday!

Today, I took the day off. I think the business of Christmas and emotional upheaval with Mom finally caught up with me. It was my plan to take down the tree and put Christmas away. Instead I sort of vegged out until it was time to prepare for our evening out.

For Christmas, Geni got Bruce tickets to Manheim Steamroller at the Meyerson in Dallas, so we used this to celebrate our anniversary a few days early. We ate a wonderful dinner at one of the restaurants at the Meyerson and then went to the concert. The concert was phenomenal. We had the most wonderful time. Thanks, Geni!

Mom update: I spoke with Mom this morning. She thinks they are going to move her tomorrow to a rehab hospital. Mom says that she may have to stay there about six weeks. She has surrendered to this move, but I think it makes her sad. She and Daddy are so close and this separation will be really hard. But if it helps Mom to be more mobile and regain the use of her arm, then it will be worth it. Please pray for her and Dad to get through this tough time ok. Daddy is very encouraging and will smile when he sees her and tells her she can do this. They will get through it, but it is just going to be difficult.

Prayer: “Dear heavenly Father, thank You for the beginning of a brand new day. I will confess to You that there are many things I am looking forward to and many I am not looking forward to. Please forgive me today for my sins. Help me to live today as a person who knows You and has a personal relationship with You. I find this hard to do at the best of times, so I commit my day to You today with no strings attached. These things I pray in Jesus’ name, Amen”

Acts 11: 21 “And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number believed and turned to the Lord.”

Christmas is just about over. The gifts are opened and the dinner has been eaten. The trash has been taken out and the sites are open for the recycling of the trees. Now we face the after Christmas shopping sales and the ever popular stepping on the scales. We now look forward to finishing out this year and ringing in the new.

The people in the early Church were under stress and in fact they were stressed to the max. They were being persecuted from every direction because of their faith in Jesus. The stresses of our time are not the stresses of the early church, but sometimes life is really difficult. This Christmas had some unexpected stresses for our family. Situations change like the health of my Mom; jobs are scarce, money is tight, health issues can be devastating, family stresses can be the most challenging and sometimes we feel we are being persecuted from every direction.

The good news is that God has not moved. No matter what, God is there in the midst of our lives waiting for us to remember His love for us and His strong desire for us to place our faith in him and not in this world. May we remember to be thankful for our blessings; giving praise to God for all that He has done for us. May we learn to rely on Him as He continually blesses us with His presence and His love. He has held our hands this far and He will not quit!

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes. Count your blessings and say your prayers. Please pray for Mom and Dad. Love you all so very much mighty, powerful 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.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Merry Christmas!

God is so good!

Our day began with Geni, Travis and a guest coming to Mom and Dad’s for Christmas breakfast. I prepared a Christmas table and we enjoyed the meal and the time together.

Dad called me from the hospital to tell me that the Charge Nurse on the floor had made an arrangement with the powers that be to open up a conference room for our Christmas celebration. It was near the cafeteria giving us close access to ice, water and restrooms. It was perfect. There were several tables, plenty of chairs and a side board for all of the food. There were 15 of us for lunch today.

I met Mom in her room and helped her prepare for lunch. Travis wheeled her to the conference room where she was greeted by applause, hugs and cheers. She looked so beautiful and was totally the belle of the ball. We circled for grace saying prayers of thanksgiving, healing and remembering that it is not where you spend Christmas, but with whom you spend it and remembering why. After prayer came eating, opening presents, conversation and laughter. It must have been a god thing that we were in a room where we could close the door! It was not like the Christmases of the past, but it was definitely one we will never forget.

Mom’s doctor found us in the conference room during lunch and just popped in to see her. He threw her a curve when he told her that she was going to have to go through in-patient rehab. We could all tell she was completely surprised by this, but I think she was better with it after we talked to her. Please offer an extra prayer about this further development in her healing plan. You know how she and daddy hate to be apart! All in all Mom did very well and never admitted to being tired. But when she returned to her room she fell asleep pretty quickly. Other than that it was a fantastic day and a great Christmas.

We were all very excited that my Aunt Imogene joined us for dinner today. She is the widow of my Uncle Gene who recently passed away. They were married for 68 years. Almost every memory she has in her life is with him and our family. Today was the first time since the funeral that she has joined in a family gathering. It was so hard for her because since Uncle Gene’s passing, she has endured both of their birthdays, their wedding anniversary, Thanksgiving and now Christmas alone. She had some emotional moments, but we were so proud of her for having the courage to begin again. Please offer a very special prayer for her and her need for healing.

Prayer: Dear heavenly Father, As I begin this new day, I thank You for Your abiding presence in my life. I realize I have a lot to do today. I have decisions to make and places to go. My day will be filled with issues, and I also have burdens on my heart. I ask You to please fill me with Your Holy Spirit in such a way that I will know You are there all the time. I confess my sins to You, and in Jesus’ wonderful name I pray, Amen.”

1 Thessalonians 5: 23 “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

As a believer in God’s Word, I place my faith in Jesus. I have no doubt that Christ will return again and claim all of us who belong to him. We will be taken up into His presence to join all who are already there with Him. When Christ returns we will be taken to the holiest of all places. We will be in His holy presence. Heaven is described as a land full of light, streets paved with gold and mansions for each of us.

Two thousand years ago there was a place. This place was not a mansion or surrounded by streets paved with gold. It was a rude stable, with a dirt floor and yet it was filled with light from a bright and shining star that rested over the place where Jesus lay and it was holy ground. It was holy ground because Jesus was there by God’s plan and His command. Emmanuel, God with us, stepped into this world so that we could claim Him as our Lord and Savior to fill us with the light of heaven.

As I have said each Christmas for several years, the babe of Bethlehem could be born again in Bethlehem a thousand times, but unless He is born again in our hearts then it was all for naught. May the light of Jesus surround you, fill you and lead you as you walk on holy ground.

Take joy in the journey filled with the light of the star. 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.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Greetings from Howe, Texas

Merry Christmas Eve!

I have spent the day cooking and preparing for Christmas Day lunch which will see many family members at the hospital tomorrow. Geni, Travis and a guest will be arriving at Mom and Dad’s between 8:30 and 9:00 in the morning. Then we will pack cars and trucks with cakes and pies, dressing, green beans, mashed potatoes, gravy and salad. Drink mixes will go in empty pitchers to be filled at the hospital and it is going to be a great party. Mom called it the Christmas tailgate! I loved it.

She had the most wonderful night and got into a room around 1:00 this afternoon. Her nurse from the ICU warned the nurse who was to take over her care that she must be very careful as she would want to take Mom home in her bag because “she is the sweetest woman they have ever had in the ICU.” I must say, these nurses have great taste! I feel relatively sure that we will not only share lunch with our families but with members of the staff as well. Daddy worked it out for us to have our lunch in the waiting room and the charge nurse has promised that they will wheel Mom to us. They are a great bunch at Wilson N. Jones.

As for me, besides cooking most of the day, I missed Geni and Travis. This is the first time in their lives I have spent Christmas Eve without them and missed Christmas Eve worship, but it was important for Dad to have his family around him on Christmas Eve this year and I am glad we could be here.

We have finally completed this long and arduous journey. The tree is lit. Shopping is over. Meal prep is almost finished. Packages are wrapped and are awaiting their recipients. We travel in relative safety, speed and comfort to reach our destinations and are welcomed with hugs and hollers when we arrive at the homes of the ones we love so dear.

But for Mary and Joseph it was not so. They traveled with one walking and one riding. Slow was the pace. I never read if they traveled with a group, so I am assuming it was just Mary, Joseph and a small donkey. Mary, being in her late pregnancy, rode the donkey without complaint. Joseph may have walked in silence contemplating his young wife and the child she was carrying and his purpose in the life of this most special child placed in his charge. When they arrived in Bethlehem there was no family to greet them. No hugs and hollers, just the reality that they would spend the night somewhere,and there, their child would be born. There was no family to celebrate this birth, just some farm animals and shepherds.

But tonight their gifts would not come with paper and bows. Instead, on this night with the stars overhead and a manger nearby Mary and Joseph would deliver the greatest gift of all and this gift would be heralded by a heavenly choir of angels singing, “Glory to God in the Highest and peace to all.” And the shepherds would tell the rest.

According to my clock, in 14 minutes it will be Christmas Day. My dearest friends, I pray your Christmas Day is spent with your family or friends and you experience the joy that this day can bring. But sometime tomorrow pretend you are a shepherd and tell someone about the birth of Jesus. Then tell them how you prepared room in your heart for the Savior to enter and your journey to Bethlehem.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes. Count your blessings and say your prayers. Please continue to pray for Mom and Dad and have a blessed and Merry Christmas. 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.