Saturday, January 7, 2012

Happy Saturday!

Prayer: “Father, You are the God of grace. As I begin the day, I worship and praise You as the greatest gift giver in this universe. I am a recipient of Your grace. When I look at my life, I cannot understand how You could love me the way You do. You have given me the most wonderful gift—the gift of salvation. Lord, as a recipient of grace, I desire today to extend grace to others. Help me to be patient with people, to love people the way You love them and to act graciously toward the people You bring into my life. Amen.”

Ephesians 2: 8,9 “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”

Our culture seems to believe that acceptance is based on merit. But in the life of a Christian we know that grace is a gift that is to be received. We cannot earn it or buy it, we must just be willing to receive it. In my meditation tonight, a great acronym for grace is given; Grace is God’s Riches at Christ’s Expense (G R A C E). Grace is a gift from God and is totally centered in Jesus as His gift of salvation to each of us. We are Christians by God’s grace because we freely received the greatest gift God offers. We just simply receive God’s grace by faith in Jesus Christ.

In the class I am about to take, I have already been reading. Each of us has many stories to tell, but the stories about our salvation and our Christian life cannot be told without the relationships that helped introduce us to grace. We are blessed by family, friends, church family and others who have walked this journey of faith.

This community of believers is important to God and greatly important to us. They are a powerful part of our story in the journey of faith. When you say your prayers, think of those who have helped you on your journey of understanding and who have been receivers of God’s grace.

Take joy in the journey and walk with a friend. Wear comfortable shoes. Count your blessings and say your prayers. Please continue to pray for Mom. See you in worship tomorrow. 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 Friday!

Hello dear friends and prayer warriors. Today, Bruce and I took a few hours and visited Mom in Sherman. While we were there I also saw Daddy (of course) and two of my aunts. It was so great to see all of these precious family members. I caught Mom down in the rehab room doing her exercises with the most wonderful young therapist named Michael. Michael appears to care a great deal for his patients and treats them all with kindness. When some of the class members got a bit cranky and begin to tire he encouraged them with jokes and affirming words. I was very impressed. I probably told you that my Mom is not very tall and in fact is shorter than me. Michael told me that one day he was sitting on a stool beside Mom as she was standing up and they could see each other eye to eye. I got so tickled and the picture in my head remembering all of the times that I have been teased about standing up when I was already standing up. Mom laughed, too.

There has been one problem in that Mom’s legs, ankles and one of her hands have begun to bloat causing her to have to be wrapped like a mummy in gauze wrap on her leg. Please offer an extra prayer for this condition to reverse itself. Other than that, her rehab is going well and she is a model patient!

Prayer: Dear God, I fall terribly short of Your standard of righteousness. I am guilty of sin. My only hope is in Christ’s death on the cross. You have redeemed me. You have, by Your grace, given me new life. Lord, this life is too wonderful to keep to myself. Please show me today how to influence others for You. Teach me how to share the Good News of redemption with people around me who have not personally experienced Your grace. Lord, help me to live today as one who has been redeemed. Help me to not, in any way, disgrace Your name. Amen.”

Romans 3: 23, 24 “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”

I know a lot of people who do so many wonderful things for others. They are strong servants of the church. They volunteer their time at the homeless shelter and visit those in hospitals and lots of other things. But even with all of those wonderful, caring actions they, just as all of us, are guilty of sin. This verse reminds us that the measuring stick for acceptability is the perfection of God. The world will compare us with other people, while the scripture teaches us that the only accurate comparison is God and we all fail to live up to His standard. Now, if that is true, where is our hope to be found? Our hope is found in the death on the cross of Jesus Christ. It is on that rugged, terrible cross that we were redeemed once and for all time. I Corinthians 7:23 tells us that “You were bought with a price.” Even though all people fall short of God’s standard, He freely and abundantly forgives each of us who believe and trust in His Son, Jesus.

Each day is filled with victories, successes, failures, wins, losses, accomplishments and struggles. Through all of these events God is with us. There is no way that anything we have done in victory or loss that escapes our loving Savior and Lord. For even when we have failed, God has been true and faithful. Our desire must be to know Him more intimately and bring glory to His name for He alone desires all of the glory.

Take joy in the journey and travel with someone you love. Step into the likeness of God and tell someone else about His goodness. Wear comfortable shoes. Count your blessings and say your prayers. Pray for Mom and Dad and thanks for keeping them in 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.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Happy Friday!

Was Thursday just beautiful or what?! Do you think we hibernated and woke up sometime in April? This does not feel like January to me!

Prayer: “Lord, I come to You and thank You for Jesus. I thank You that my salvation resides in Him and Him alone. My sin separated me from You, but You did not leave me in my sin. You gave Jesus in order that I may be forgiven and have eternal life. I can only boast in Jesus because He is my life. I am grateful for my salvation. I don’t deserve what Jesus has done for me. I desire to live this day as a reflection of the life You have given me. Amen.”

John 3: 36 “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life, and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on Him.”

In many situations there are multiple possible solutions to resolve something. When trying to get to a destination there can be several different routes to take. But the only way to Eternal life and a relationship with God is through Jesus Christ.

God’s plan for the salvation of the world resides in Jesus alone and all who believe in Him will be granted eternal life. Our faith in Jesus is what allows us to have a personal relationship with God. Believing is more than just intellectually believing Jesus existed. Placing our faith in Jesus gives us access to forgiveness, mercy, strength and joy. At the moment we come into relationship with Jesus we begin living in life eternal. If we do not live in relationship with God through faith in Jesus we have a broken relationship with God and our sin cannot be repaired.

John 14: 6 “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” This verse states in very plain language that all, not just some, or a few, or a lot, or many, but ALL must put their faith in Jesus in order to have relationship with God and have life eternal. There are no short cuts, no going around and no side roads to take. It’s sort of like in the gospel according to Lily. She was one of my last group of students who explained over lunch one day the Creation Story and ended her very entertaining tale with this statement, (God to Adam and Eve) “I only gave you one rule.”

Take joy in the journey and don’t go alone! Bring someone with you so that all may know Jesus Christ. 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.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Happy Thursday! (written Wednesday)

Another day of study, but I am making some really great connections with the subject matter and so even though it is long it is interesting!

Mom update: Wednesday she had therapy twice, once for her legs and once for her shoulder. She is quite remarkable saying that she is in no pain. We hope to see her soon and see how she is progressing for ourselves. Dad also seems to be feeling better and today said that he thought the stomach bug was probably due to the stress of the holidays. It seems that they both are making progress. Their strength comes from God and from the prayers of those who gain their strength from Him, too. Thank you, mighty and faithful prayer warriors.

Prayer: “Father, I praise You for Your love, which is perfect and unconditional. I thank You for forgiving my sin. I thank you for the gift of salvation. You have given me a gift I could never merit or earn. Help me today to live in response to Your love. Help me to love people the way You love them. Help me to be open to share the story of Your love with people I meet who do not know You. I pray for the wisdom to live according to Your Word. Amen”

John 3: 16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

I messed up! I was in a meeting the other evening. This was a meeting of learned believers. It was my second time to attend this particular group. It occurred to me as the gathering was drawing to a close that no one closed the meeting in prayer or offered an opportunity for prayers. So I asked for prayer for Mom and Dad and with promises to pray from those in attendance we all went our separate ways. I was bothered enough about this by the time I got to the car that I knew I had to ask for forgiveness because I had behaved as those around me instead of proclaiming the name of Jesus and spending a few moments in prayer. I did not act in response to the love of God and missed an opportunity to invite God to be a part of this group.

Most of the time the world lives in love that is conditional, but the love of God is unconditional. He loves unconditionally with the proof of this love in the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross for all mankind, believers and non-believers alike. Where mankind is exclusive, God is inclusive. Anyone who comes to God in faith receives immediate salvation and eternal life and forgiveness. There is no one beyond the love of God even when we mess up and miss an opportunity to tell others about the extravagant love He has for them; even when we miss issuing the invitation for God to be a part of the gathering and asking Him to dismiss us with His blessing. God’s love is the most powerful form of love any of us will ever experience. When I meet with this group again I will ask to begin our time together with prayer and invite to God to be with us as we discuss issues with God’s presence to be among us creating holy ground.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes. Count your blessings and say your prayers. Take care and stay warm. 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, January 4, 2012

Happy Tuesday!

If you have not seen the movie The Help, go and rent it or buy it as soon as you can. It is amazing. The story is great and the acting is so good. We stayed up late to watch it tonight and I am sure we will watch it again many more times.

Mom update: I spoke briefly with her today because she had a visitor at the time of my call. She said they began therapy on her shoulder today. She said they used machines, but it did not really hurt, but she thought she would feel sore tomorrow. Thanks for your prayers and keep praying.

Prayer: Good morning, Lord, I thank You for being all that I need in this world and the next. You make it possible for me to be right with the Father and with anyone on earth. I praise You for being my wonderful counselor. There is nothing I will face today that You do not already know. Thank You for guiding me, for leading me, and for showing me. I pray that today I will focus more on that which I have in You than on that which I have from You. Amen.”

1 Corinthians 1: 30 “But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God and righteousness and sanctification and redemption.”

Did you ever tell your children, or if you don’t have children, did your parents ever tell you, “We try to provide everything you need and most or some of what you want?” I remember hearing those words and I have said those words to our children. And for the most part I think we have lived up to those words. When we come into relationship with Christ we immediately receive all we need in Christ because Christ makes His home in us. Jesus, in the form of the Holy Spirit, dwells within each of us. Out of His extreme love for us, Jesus gives not only what we need, but all we will ever need. Jesus is God’s wisdom incarnate and His wisdom lives within us when we come into relationship.

The world gives us false wisdom, but the very mind of God lives within us because of Jesus living within us. The result of this dwelling of Christ within us is that we receive all we need to have fellowship with our Creator and Lord—we receive righteousness, sanctification and redemption. We receive righteousness at the moment of our salvation. Sanctification is what we learn in living our lives in Jesus and become formed into the likeness of Christ, but our redemption covers the entirety of our salvation. Praise God, for in Jesus we have everything!

Take joy in the journey! Wear comfortable shoes and a warm jacket. Count your blessings and say your prayers. Love you all my 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, January 2, 2012

Happy New Year! (a day late!)

After a whirlwind, topsy-turvy Christmas, the New Year was pretty low key. I don’t mind a day or two of routine and relative quiet. New Year’s Eve found all of us around the table for dinner and sending Geni, her boyfriend and Travis off to Victory Park in Dallas. I did not worry so much as they were very smart and took the train that dropped them off exactly at their destination. So for Bruce and I, it was movies, snacks, and the gift of a bottle of sparkling wine from a dear friend to toast in the new year and our 31st wedding anniversary. New Years Day found us at church for worship, then black-eyed peas, meatloaf and cornbread for lunch and then movies for our anniversary.

As for today, I have spent it studying. I am taking an intensive study class beginning next week. It is my goal for the week to get all of my reading done before class begins on Monday.

Mom update: Mom began rehab today and is learning to walk with a four footed cane. Tomorrow she will begin rehab on her elbow. We are hopeful that since the physical therapists do not work on Saturday and Sunday that maybe Dad can bring her home for the weekend on a pass. Offer a prayer, please. Dad is in the process of preparing the house for when she does come home. When I talked to Mom today I told her that with each step she takes she is closer to the door.

Prayer: “What a great morning You have given me, Father. Thank you for giving me this privilege of life, of knowing You, of having You with me constantly. I praise You for being always present at all places and at all times. A building or a body cannot contain all of You, O God, I present my body to You as a living sacrifice today, totally and unreservedly. I pray You will be comfortable dwelling in me and that I would be a holy habitation that honors You. Amen.”

The first line of my meditation begins with these words, “What self respecting woman would not want to keep her house as clean and uncluttered as possible?” Okay, in this house there is a handyman, a teacher, a graduate student and a strongman. This is a recipe for some clutter. Generally speaking if you come over there is a trail cleared, the dishes are washed and in the drainer and the hang-up clothing in the bathroom has been cleared from the shower rod (if you have called ahead). But upon entrance into our living room you are greeted warmly, offered a cup of coffee and a chair. My hope is that if you come for a visit you will feel welcome, comfortable and in a home where God is present and you are loved.

Maintaining a house in a neat and orderly fashion for the glory of God is important, but where we live is not near as important to God as the home in our hearts where God dwells. When God dwells in our hearts we bear His name all of the time. Because God dwells in our hearts it is important that we keep the house of God clean and uncluttered. We keep our houses clean through praying, studying the Word, worshipping regularly, serving others and learning to be better Christians by being around other Christians. You know everybody needs a little help keeping their house clean. Regular house cleaning is just a chore, but keeping the dwelling place for God, our hearts clean and uncluttered is a joyful privilege.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes. Count your blessings and say your prayers. Please continue to pray for Mom. 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.