Saturday, May 26, 2012

Happy Saturday! 

Geni began to pack and move some things into her new apartment tonight.  She has a lovely two bedroom 1 1/2 bath with a living room, dining room, kitchen a small fenced backyard and a tiny front yard.  Bruce is the maintenance man for the entire apartment edition.  He says she has nice neighbors and it is only 5 minutes from our house.  We are excited for her as she is going forth with her life in such a wonderful and positive way, but we will miss her.  I pray we have taught her well, that she has learned from our mistakes and that she will always remember where home is.

Prayer:  “Father, I thank You that I can live in victory today because You defeated the devil at Calvary, and he no longer has authority over my life because I belong to You.  I claim deliverance from anything that would keep me from living in the victory of the Cross. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”

“But deliver us from the evil one.”
Luke 11: 4c

How appropriate that this verse of scripture is in my meditation over the Memorial Day weekend.  Wars are usually fought over these two reasons; people are in bondage to something and they are in need of deliverance.  Some wars are very decisive in their outcomes that somebody wins and somebody loses. In wars between nations each is looking for a clear and decisive victory over the enemy

As believers we have an Enemy whose name is Satan. He has a plan to place each of us in bondage so that we are ineffective in the practice of our faith.  In today’s verse we pray for deliverance based on the fact that we fight from the viewpoint of victory but not for victory.  Our victory has already been won in the death of Jesus on the cross and His resurrection.  Satan has already been defeated because he could have never predicted the outcome of the Cross.  This fact alone must really hack Satan off. Satan will be forever cast away from the divine presence of God and his humiliation will be public, painful and eternal.  Satan can do nothing to change that outcome. 

Our deliverance has already been won and we are not bound by  Satan because Christ has already defeated the enemy in the lives of we who believe. 

Take joy in the journey.  Wear comfortable shoes and get some sleep.  Count your blessings including a special thanksgiving for those around us who were willing to give their time and their lives for our deliverance.  Remember to 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 Friday! 

Today was our last day of class.  We studied Ecclesiastes and Esther.  I learned something very interesting (I learned many, many things, but this one was really interesting.)  In Jewish temple worship there are two scrolls from which the rabbi reads:  The Torah and Esther.  Here is the interesting part…The Torah is the most sacred scroll in all of Judaism and Esther is the most secular and yet these are the two scrolls read in temple worship.  There is no mention of God in Esther and no recorded historical evidence of the story being a part of actual events in Jewish history. 

The closing moments of our class almost made me cry.  One of our classmates is a Jewish man studying Old Testament at Brite before going to rabbinic school.  He works in a temple in Dallas as their rabbi cantor.  He brought the traditional challah bread to class.  In the closing moments of our class we recited in Hebrew and then in English the blessing over the bread.  It was a very touching moment when this young man led us in the blessing and then shared the bread with each of us.  It is a moment I will not soon if ever forget. 

Prayer:  “Father, I will trust in Your faithfulness that I will not be tempted beyond what I am able and that by Your grace, You will make a way of escape (1 Cor. 10: 13). In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

“And do not lead us into temptation.”
Luke 11:4b

The word temptation can mean the enticement to sin or a trial meaning testing.  In Luke 11:4 the meaning is temptation that, if yielded to, will lead us into sin. Here is an interesting thought about this word temptation: “an unforgiving heart is the pathway to an overwhelmed saint. If we aren’t careful, God’s test of forgiveness can turn out to be our temptation to sin because scripture teaches in James 1:13 that God does not tempt anyone, and in vs. 14 says, ‘But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.”  This verse from James is a great partner verse to the verse from Luke.  Let us not be overwhelmed by temptation.  Satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness, but Jesus was not overwhelmed. 

My first principal in Fort Worth had a plaque in her office that read, “Lead me not into temptation for I can find it myself.”  I always found this saying quite funny.  But I think here it applies.  We are all tempted at times, but we do not have to be helpless victims of temptations of sin because God loves us so much and by His grace we are overcomers.  1 John 5:4 says, “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world.  And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.” 

Take joy in the journey.  Wear comfortable shoes and get some sleep.  Be safe on this Memorial Day weekend.  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 25, 2012

Happy Thursday! 

I am too old to be writing a paper at 1:30 AM, but that is what happened last night.  My beloved husband stayed up with me and edited into the night.  But I presented the paper today and all went well.  This class is amazing and I am somewhat sad that it will end so soon.  The pace has been grueling, but so very worth it.  The professor is brilliant and I would take another of her classes just because she is teaching.  But she will go back to Los Angeles and her students at Hebrew Union College this weekend. She needs to know that she has made an indelible mark on 11 students from Texas. 

Prayer:  “Father, give me a heart of forgiveness that does not hold a grudge or look to be offended.  As an act of my will, I choose to forgive those who would cause me offense or harm just as You have forgiven me for the harm and offense I have done against You.  In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.”

“And forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us.”
Luke 11:4A

Tonight I am going to summarize the story that is written in my meditation.  It is a story of Corrie ten Boom.  She is the author of the book The Hiding Place, the story of two Dutch sisters who hid Jews in a closet during WWII to protect them from the German authorities.  She and her sister were taken to Ravensbrook women’s prison camp. One of the indignities they endured was the showers.  The sisters and other women were humiliated, degraded and ogled by the guards.  After the war was over, Corrie believed she finally found forgiveness for the men who had been so cruel to the prisoners at the camp. She went on to preach forgiveness for individuals and for all of Europe.  

One evening, she preached in Munich. Following the sermon, a man came over to her and told her how glad he was that Jesus forgives all of our sins.  Corrie remembered his face. He was one of the guards who had seen her in the showers. As much as she had preached about forgiveness, she found she could not find forgiveness in her heart for this one.  As she shook his hand she prayed, “Lord forgive me, I cannot forgive.”  As she prayed she felt forgiven and accepted in spite of her reputation as a famous forgiver.  After this prayer her body relaxed and the icyness of her heart began to melt and she was able to forgive as she was forgiven. 

We are not called to change other people.  But we are called to ask for God to change our attitude toward them when someone offends us.  Sometimes that change comes about through the act of our own forgiveness. 

Take joy in the journey.  Wear comfortable shoes and get some sleep. (I am tonight!”)  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.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Happy Tuesday! 

The readings are eternal!!  So it is sort of a pick and choose the most important and use the others in the final paper.  We completed the Song of Songs today.  It is a fascinating piece of poetry.  I am pretty sure that there are as many interpretations of this piece of text as there are readers to read it.  Tomorrow we begin the book of Ruth.  There are study questions and I plan to get to school EARLY tomorrow and get those done.  I have to present a review of an article on Ruth by a renowned Old Testament scholar.  Please pray that I can prepare a review of this writing and can present it in an intelligent, scholarly way that would help others learn and bring glory to God. 

Prayer: “Father, I thank You that You are concerned about the needs of my life today, and I trust You to provide me with all that I need to sustain me in the life You have given me to live this day. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”

“Give us day by day our daily bread.”
Luke 11: 3

(Just a note…I accidentally reflected on the verse before this one last week.  Oops!)

I find it interesting that as Jesus instructs the disciples in how to pray, the first thing Jesus tells them to ask for is daily bread.  None of Jesus’ disciples were wealthy and when they traveled in pairs to teach and preach Jesus would instruct them to take no money or food.  The prayer tells them to pray for their needs to be met on a day by day basis.  I believe we all need to do some planning for the future, and most of us do not shop for groceries daily for each day’s meals. If we let that future planning begin to consume us then we are not depending on God as the prayer instructs us.

God is so amazing that as the creator of the universe with all things under His feet, He still sees to our daily needs and shows concern with our daily lives.  Scripture tells us that God sees each sparrow that falls, knows how many stars there in the heavens, and counts every grain of sand.  So why should God be concerned with our daily needs?  Well, I know that answer.  God loves us so much that He wants to be a part of our lives and does not want us to worry about anything. God wants us to be dependent on Him just as those disciples were dependent on Him long ago.  When we pray for God to meet our needs, let us remember to praise God for the security and not just sufficiency, but the abundance He provides through His perfect love for us.

Take joy in the journey.  Wear comfortable shoes and get some sleep (as part of our daily needs).  Rest in the security and assurance of God’s presence 24/7.  Count your blessings and say your prayers.  Love you 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.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Happy Monday! 

First day of class was awesome.  The professor is from Hebrew Union College in Los Angeles.  She speaks with this beautiful Hebrew accent that I could listen to all day.  She dismissed us at 2: 30 this afternoon and scheduled each of us for a 15 minute “get to know you” conversation for the rest of the afternoon.  The purpose of the conversation was to find out what each of us knew and had interest in and to assign our teaching and writing topics.  How cool is this?!  We only got through 4 chapters of the Song of Solomon and will finish tomorrow.  I am not sure how we will get through all of the material she has planned, but I already know I am going to learn so much from this very wise and learned woman.

“Our Father in heaven, hallowed beYour name.”
Luke 11: 2a

We all know this sentence by heart; it is the opening address to The Lord’s Prayer.  It is the answer to a question asked by the disciples about how to pray.  Jesus does not tell them how to pray in a lecture or a discussion.  Jesus models prayer for the disciples.  But here is the very cool part of this episode in Luke.

Up until now, God had been a God of a nation and was distant and inaccessible to the nation of Israel except through corporate prayer.  In this very moment, Jesus prays, “Our Father.”  Not my Father, or the Father of Israel, but our Father.  Jesus made available to each individual the accessibility to God as individuals who could pray to God on their own behalf. Those who believed could have intimate one-on-one contact with God through prayer.  When Jesus prayed with His disciples and addressed God as “Our Father…” Jesus made available to all who believe the same relationship with God that He had with His Father. 

Jesus, being the Son of God, had to follow the same rules of reverence as all who had relationship with Him.  First, Jesus had intimate relationship with the Father.  Jesus treated His Father with respect for His power and holiness.  The power of God is in His Holiness.  How blessed we are that the powerful Holy One would invite us to have an intimate relationship with Him and come before the throne of grace as His child and heir.

Take joy in the journey.  Wear comfortable shoes and get some sleep.  God can handle it for the night because He is up anyway.  Count your blessings and say your prayers.  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.

PS Just an update:  1) Tatum came home last night after her weekend treatment.  Her cheeks and arms are red, but not blistered this time from the chemotherapy. Thank you all for your continuing prayers for Tatum.  2) Travis had a great first day at his new store as Assistant Manager.  He says everyone is really nice and he really likes the store.  3) Thank you all for your continuing prayers for my Uncle Johnny who just started chemotherapy.  Peace, gc

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Blessed Sunday to you all! 

Travis begins his first day as the Assistant Manager of the Starbucks at Grandbury Rd. and Hulen in Fort Worth in the morning.  We celebrated this promotion and wonderful young man with one of his favorite meals today; grilled flank steak, sweet potatoes with cinnamon butter and spinach with bacon.  For dessert we had a variety of tiny desserts from Whole Foods and great coffee!!  Good luck, Travis. Please say a prayer for him to succeed as he begins a new chapter in his life.  I must admit, I will miss him working around the corner from the house!

Prayer: “Lord, I want to thank You for Your good , pleasing, and perfect will for my life. Thank You that today You have plans and purposes for me.  There will be no accidents today—only divine appointments.  I pray that Your Word will light my path.  Amen.”

“We also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding.”
Colossians 1: 9

The apostle Paul was so passionate in his ministry of Christ that it was not enough for him to know that folks were only justified and safe for all eternity.  He prayed for all who knew Jesus to embrace the gospel and to grow into God’s will for their lives.  He prayed they would live not only in the awareness of God in their lives, but live knowing the calling of Christ.  That calling has not changed in the almost two thousand years since Paul wrote it.  Paul believed that the calling of all believers was to bring others into the knowledge of Jesus and to bring God glory in their daily lives.

Sometimes it is hard to know what God’s will is for our lives, but to share Christ with others and live godly lives is His will for all of our lives no matter what our specific calling happens to be.  God’s calling on each of our lives begins with our own personal salvation and we in turn surrender our lives into His service. It takes spiritual wisdom to discern God’s calling on our lives.  We gain this wisdom through the study of God’s word and regular conversation with Him in prayer.   When we put these practices into our daily lives we not only grow in the knowledge of God, but we make ourselves available to God using us in His kingdom here on earth.  Each time God uses us it is a unique experience for ourselves and those with whom we share the gospel whether in action, talking, praying or listening.  May we all pray to gain God’s wisdom each day and help others to know more.

Take joy in the journey.  Wear comfortable shoes and get some sleep.  Count your blessings and say your prayers.  Pray for Travis as he begins his new job, Geni as she teaches these final nine days (it is getting harder each day with the end of the year), Bruce to continue working and staying healthy and me as I take this class. 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 Also, please keep Tatum and her family in your prayers for the chemo to do its work, and for Daddy as he continues to become adjusted to his “new normal” without Mom. 

Happy Saturday! 

I finished studying the Songs of Songs and hope to complete the study of Ruth tomorrow and maybe be a bit ahead for Tuesday.  I begin my class on Monday morning.  I ask for many prayers to be lifted for concentration, focus and understanding for this class.  I am going to need them.

Tonight Bruce and I went to the wedding of some friends of mine from Brite.  The wedding was held at the Museum of Science and History.  It is a beautiful place for a wedding.  The wedding was beautiful with the colors of purple and white!  Totally appropriate.  The bride and groom were beautiful and handsome and the wedding was lovely with the music being done by the University Christian Church handbell choir.  So lovely.

Prayer:  Lord Jesus,  I want to thank You for praying for me.  I ask for grace to keep my focus on You and Your Word.  Help me to obey You and do what You command, regardless of how I may or may not feel.  Amen.

“And when He had sent them away, He departed to the mountains to pray.”
Mark 6: 46

Many of you know that I am directionally challenged.  Even more than that I can become disoriented in buildings such as hospitals, apartment buildings and may other places.  In the dark I can become really disoriented and so I try not to drive in the darkness if I do not have to.  I am better in the daylight than in the dark.  Some people call it spatial disorientation.  When I am not sure of where I am going, the darkness only makes it worse. 

Once I learned a lesson about this issue.  I was driving into Las Colinas to pick up Carme when she came to visit.  It was dark and I am completely unfamiliar with that area.  I was really nervous about getting lost.  Travis was with me and he had his phone with voice commands on how to get to the hotel where Carme was staying.  Here is what I learned…be quiet, Gaylene, and listen to the voice giving you directions and you will get there safely.  I had to surrender my fear over to the voice of direction and trust that it knew where I was going even if I did not.  The spiritual lesson was given in this journey to Las Colinas.  When I am disoriented in my life, am fearful, nervous and do not know which way to go, then all I have to do is listen to the VOICE that guides my thoughts, my steps, my actions and my words and do what the VOICE says to do, trusting that the VOICE knows better than I.  Of course I am referring to the VOICE of God through Jesus. The voice of God speaks through His Word, in prayer and through others who believe in Him. 

We all, as disciples of Jesus, will experience disorientation.  When we are somewhat lost then we have to trust Him.  God is not distant or unconcerned about us.  We all need to be rescued at some point in our lives and some of us more than once!! God wants to be a part of all of our lives so much that His own son Jesus prays for us.  God is willing to assume full responsibility for the lives that are completely yielded to Him.  Remember that Jesus walked on water during a storm and will rescue us when we are caught in the storms of our lives.

Take joy in the journey.  Wear comfortable shoes and get some sleep.  Give thanks for God’s faithfulness and willingness to take full responsibility for our lives as we yield them to His will.  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 request:  Little Tatum is back in the hospital for a treatment and my Uncle Johnny is also receiving chemotherapy in Sherman. Please offer prayers of healing for both of these loved ones.  Peace, gc