Saturday, May 5, 2012

Happy Friday!!

The content of my exegesis in psalms is complete and now I have to write the annotated bibliography. Please offer a prayer for me. This is difficult.

My mini- laptop computer fell on the floor tonight and is no longer working.  I am using my large laptop that is somewhat slow and heavy currently.  The good news is that I saved my work on a flash drive so I don’t have to recreate the work. 

Tonight I bought a Direct TV movie called Joyful Noise.  It stars Queen Latifa and Dolly Parton.  The music in the movie is amazing. In fact I think I am going to figure out some way to add the final song to my paper because the closing piece the choir sings is a stunning version of the meaning of Psalm 150.  Please offer another prayer that I might be able to work this out!

Great joy!! Travis has been assigned  to the Starbucks store in Fort Worth on Hulen near I-20.  He should begin working there within the next two weeks.  Way to go Travis!!!

Prayer:  “O Lord, the psalmist tells me You know everything about me.  As I begin this day I am so grateful You know my needs, hopes and desires; and You know all of them even before I ask. Today I submit to Your Lordship and care.   Thank You for Your loving hands and heart.  You are good---all the time.  Amen.”

Matthew 21: 22  “And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.”

Prayer is a spiritual act.  When Christ gave this gift to the disciples He was not telling them that every wish their hearts could come up with was going to be given.  Jesus was not presenting Himself like room service! Jesus reminds us that prayer is relational.  We pray through the power of the Holy Spirit through our belief in Christ to the heart and ear of God.  Prayer is also personal.  God knows our needs before we ever ask. God asks us to come before Him to meet those needs.  Last, prayer is circular. I will quote my meditation tonight to explain, “The prayer that gets to heaven, starts in heaven! It is God who knows.  It is God who puts the desire in our hearts and it is God who answers the requests that are in His will.”  Let us sleep well tonight believing that God slumbers not nor sleeps and is always thinking of us, knowing us so well as to meet our needs even before we ask. 

Take joy in the journey.  Wear comfortable shoes.  God does not slumber nor does he sleep so go to bed.  There is no reason for both of you to be awake!  Read a psalm. 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.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Happy Thursday! 

Another day of writing and I have three sections to go.  I have learned so much.  I have discovered as I have written and researched Psalm 150 that some connections are coming into place.  The big connection I have made is this…If the Bible were to begin with Genesis and end with the Psalm 150, it would be a complete book.  Psalm 150 refers to creation with worshiping God in His sanctuary, in the firmament, and with all creatures having breath to praise the Lord.  Praising God with the trumpet refers to the shofar, the instrument used to sound battle cries of the ancient Hebrews and the tribes to order. The timbrel and dance refers to the nation of Israel at the foot of the mountain of God as Miriam danced. I am going to put this new found inspiration in the final portion of the paper. Thanks for listening.

Prayer: “Lord Jesus, I confess that sometimes in the midst of my pain, I cry out and it seems heaven is silent.  Today I ask for Your wisdom to discern, Your patience to be still, and Your faith to believe that Your delays are not always denials.  I submit my life and all that my day holds for Your glory and my good.  I ask this in the powerful, matchless name of our coming King, Jesus Christ. Amen.”

Psalm 88: 1,2  “O LORD, God of my salvation, I have cried out day and night before You.  Let my prayer come before You; incline Your ear to my cry.”

Psalms are prayers and hymns.  I have learned that during this semester.  There is one constant for the psalms…even if they seem to be psalms of complaint, lament, deepest sadness and suffering pain - they all end with a doxology.  They all praise God in the final phrase of the prayer.  Even though the Israelites would fall away from God, they always returned with a song of praise. But this psalm speaks of crying and praying in the darkness.  I really do not like the dark and I especially do not like the dark when I am by myself. 

Here is what I know about darkness.  Darkness may hide us, but it will not separate us from God.  Let’s think about God and the darkness.  First, God created the darkness and each of us go through darkness at some time in our lives.  God’s choicest servants go through darkness.  The prophets Moses, Elijah, David…experienced darkness.  Even Jesus while on the Cross asked, “Why?”  Those who have great devotion go through great darkness. 

Next, God’s clearest teachings are spoken in the darkness. “Faith born in the light often grows best in the darkness.”  Just think about the stars.  We see them at their brightest when it is the darkest of nights.  God’s closest fellowship happens in darkness.  We often pray in the silence of the darkness causing us to listen to the voice of God. We do see God but in faith we can trust that God is as close as the mention of His name and as intimate as our very next breath.
Take joy in the journey and get some sleep tonight. Read a psalm.  For the God who created the darkness and light never slumbers nor sleeps and there is no reason for both of us to be awake.  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, May 3, 2012

Happy Wednesday! 

Today I began working on my exegesis on Psalm 150.  All of my sources have been downloaded and printed off.  I began with a dedication.  I dedicated this work in the memory of Casey and my Mom.  These two remarkable people led lives of faithful praise. Soon after Casey’s death, someone at Advent purchased an anthem in memory of Casey with the text from Psalm 150.  This psalm is also one I chose as the scripture passage for Mom’s memorial service.  The dedication was to Dr. Toni Craven, my teacher for this class who recently announced that she is retiring.  I shed tears before I began the writing of this paper because of the emotional investment I have in this scripture.  Addie is going to ask the praise team to stay for a few minutes after worship on Sunday so we can sing the anthem for a recording.  If this works out I will attach the recording to the email copy sent to Dr. Craven.  I ask you to pray for my focus as I write over the next few days.  It is due by 3:00 on Tuesday.  Thank you, friends.

Prayer:  “Lord, as I begin my day, I thank you that nothing will cross my path that is not already filtered by You. I praise You that You stand ready to guide , protect, and answer me when I call upon You.  Thank You for the strength that is mine for the asking.  As we walk together today, may I be mindful of Your grace that makes all of this possible.  In the wonderful name of Jesus I pray, Amen.”

Psalm 138: 3  “In the day when I cried out, You answered me, and made me bold with strength in my soul.”

According to my meditation tonight, King David wrote the above psalm while his enemies surrounded him.  Hezekiah added it to the hymnbook (the Book of Psalms) amidst all of his troubles and surrounded by his enemies. He may have even had to escape Jerusalem. 

We all have problems and difficult situations.  Even in the midst of our troubles we have an ever present God who hears our prayers and who is always on call to do for us what He has done for all who have come before us.  We are in the listing of Joseph, King David, Paul, Peter and John who have called upon God for help in time of need.  The God who answered their prayers is the same God who answers our prayers. 

The apostle Paul received an answer of “no” to one situation.  God’s response to Paul was the promise that His grace would be sufficient.  In the case of King David, God did not remove the problem, but strengthened David to better be able to deal with the issues he was facing. What a powerful and wise God we have who loves us so very much to give us what we need when we need it. 

I ask you to think through your day.  Did you invite God to be sovereign over your day?  If you did, check tonight and see if God equipped you with whatever you needed to go through the day and deal with the problems that came before you.  Did God answer your prayer today?  Were you given the grace that was sufficient? 

Take joy in the journey.  Wear comfortable shoes.  Count your blessings and SAY YOUR PRAYERS!  Love 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.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Happy Tuesday! 

My favorite professor has announced her retirement from teaching at Brite effective the end of this semester.  We will celebrate her retirement with a gathering of some sort in the fall.  Dr. Craven is not only a brilliant teacher of the Old Testament (while being a devout Catholic), but is also an extraordinary published writer and scholar.  The characteristic I find most endearing about this woman is the passion she brings to the classroom and how she cares for her students.  She has the mind and skill of a master teacher who has command of her subject matter and a heart that cares enough about her students to tell each one of us that we are made in the image of God.  I will miss her dearly.  I will write one last paper for her and I pray that it is my best work. 

Tonight you will not read my original words, but the words of my in-the-car devotional.  I listen to Jesus Calling, Enjoying Peace in his Presence.  This morning’s devotion so touched my heart I thought I would share it with you.  The writing is written for two listeners, we are one of the listeners and God is the other.  I needed these words today.

Luke  12: 25-26 “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?”

Luke 1: 79 “to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.”

God is speaking.
          You are on the path of My choosing.  There is no randomness about your life.  Here and Now, comprise the coordinates of your daily life.  Most people let their moments slip through their fingers, half-lived.  They avoid the present by worrying about the future or longing for a better time and place.  They forget that they are creatures who are subject to the limitations of time and space.  They forget their Creator, who walks with them only in the present. 
Every moment is alive with My glorious Presence to those whose hearts are intimately connected with Mine.  As you give yourself more and more to a life of constant communion with Me, you will find that you simply have not time for worry.  Thus you are freed to let my Spirit direct your steps, enabling you to walk along the path of peace.”
Jesus Calling May 1.

Take joy in the journey.  Wear comfortable shoes. Count your blessings and say your prayers. Love you all. Please pray for me as I write this paper on Psalm 150.  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 Monday! 

I completed my first of two final papers for this semester and it has been sent to my live-in editor.  I will begin the second paper tomorrow.

Prayer; “This is Your day. O Lord, let me live it for You.  Teach me how I can be a greater warrior in prayer.  Change my attitude and heart to be all You want me to be.  By Jesus’ power and in His name I pray. Amen.”

James 5: 18  “Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed.  The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.”

Today I wrote a paper for my class on grief and loss.  I wrote on the scripture in Galatians 6: 2.  This passage says, “bear one another’s burdens.”  What an amazing calling God has given us from His very Word. God calls us to be like Him in that Jesus carried our burdens, our sins and our short comings to the cross with Him.  If we are to be God’s representatives then we must be willing to fulfill this mission.  The scripture further says that if we bear one another’s burdens then we are fulfilling the law of God. 

The law of God is, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  When someone asks us to pray for them don’t just say okay and forget.  Take just a moment and pray for them.  Sometimes when someone asks me to pray for them I will simply say, “Lord, in Your mercy.” God knows our hearts and the hearts of all and when we pray for someone we are asking for agreement in the prayer for the person who asked and God.  We don’t  have to pray a long prayer -  just a loving prayer. We don’t have to pray a fancy prayer, just a prayer that is open and honest.  In our prayer life we only need to open our hearts and talk to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He is able to do whatever He wills for our lives.  Let us ask for God to build us into mighty prayer warriors filled with hearts of compassion and a passion for prayer. 

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.

Please offer an extra prayer for my niece, Stephanie, and her family.  She lost her dear grandfather early this morning.  Slats was a memorable figure on the Austin College Campus.   He was the golf coach and a very kind man.  His leaves behind his wife, Kate, two daughters, Martha Kate and Anabelle, Stephanie’s mom, a son, Matt, and several grandchildren and great grandchildren.  Thank you.  Peace, gc

Monday, April 30, 2012

Blessed Sunday to you all! 

I have missed writing to you these past few nights!  I arrived safely home from San Antonio this afternoon.  Bruce, Geni and Travis were there to greet me.  It was so wonderful. 

Riding the train is a great way to travel.  I met people from many walks of life who were traveling really long distances.  One of the ladies with whom I shared dinner had begun this leg of her journey in Mesquite after visiting her children there. Her next stop was in Palm Springs and then finally home to Oregon. 

The train was a great relaxing ride.  I did not get any work done on either paper, but I got to read a book I have been trying to finish for a long time.  The trip took longer than a car ride, but for $66.00 round trip and no traffic issues, the trip it was a bargain.

The wedding was lovely and it was great to see family again.  Japanese Tea Gardens in San Antonio are beautiful!!

Prayer:  “Dear Lord, on this day, I will practice what Your Word says to me.  I will follow Your will.  Give me the power to do that as I pour out my heart to You.  In Jesus’ name,  Amen.”

Jeremiah 29: 12  “Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.”

In all of the aspects of my personal walk of faith, I think my favorite part is to pray.  Now don’t get me wrong - singing ranks a close second, and even then sometimes I sing when I pray. But I love my regular prayer time and any other prayer times that occur throughout each day. 

The promise given in this single verse today is such a glorious promise that God gives us hope and a future, His future for our lives.  God allows us to call upon Him and carry our experiences and our cries by entering into His presence and talk to God.  In this talking to God we are given the brilliant opportunity of listening to God.  Sometimes in my prayer times I have so many things on my mind that I begin my prayers with these words, “Lord, I cannot clear the voices in my head to hear You clearly, so I think just for a while I am going to be quiet before You until my mind is quiet enough to hear Your Voice and listen to Your Word for me today.”  Then I quiet myself until God’s peace permeates the spaces in my head and heart and I am ready to listen and then to talk.  After I have quieted myself and am ready to listen then I can hear God’s still small voice or His clear and strong voice. 

My meditation tonight offers these practices, “Call upon the Lord with all your heart.  Share with God your number one burden.  Leave it there. Share with Him your number one need.  Leave it there. Share with Him your number one vision.  Leave it there.”  There seems to be a pattern forming here.  Let us bring all we are, all we have, all we need, all we desire, all for which we need forgiveness and all we long for before God remembering that the power of prayer is not in the one who prays, but the One who hears the prayer. 

Heavenly Father, Your Word instructs me to call on You and You alone with the assurance that you will listen.  I will stand on the promises of Your Word bringing all of my burdens, dreams, visions, hopes, mistakes and pain.  I lift all of these things in Jesus’ name and leave them with You to do with as You please, trusting in Your heart and Your decisions to be the best for my life. Amen.

Take joy in the journey.  Wear comfortable shoes (crocs and socks are perfect on a train!!) count your blessings and say your prayers. 

Please pray for the newest married couple in our family, Ryan and Charity Kountz, that they may live together in God's love.  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.

Please offer extra prayers for me as I write these last two papers for the semester.  Thanks, peace, gc