Thursday, October 11, 2012

Happy Thursday! 

It is still Reading Week.  Today I actually got around to reading for next week. 
I am learning a lot. I have a really interesting version of the New Testament.  It is called, The Evolution of the New Testament.  The books in the New Testament are arranged in the order in which they were written.  Luke and Acts stand side by side at the end of the book.  According to my scholarly sources Luke and Acts should have been labeled as a two volume set.  (I am actually learning a lot more, but I thought this was an interesting point.)

Prayer:  “Lord, help me not to be distracted by the petty demands of the day. Help me to focus on the eternal rather than the temporal. May Your agenda for this day become mine. In Jesus’ powerful name I pray, Amen.”

“According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it.  But let each one take heed how he builds on it. For no other foundation can anyone lay that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ,”
1 Corinthians 3: 10-11

When I began this journey of seminary studies I was told by many people that many of the things I would study and experience would “break” my faith.  Let me assure you my faith has not been broken - expanded and grown? Yes, but broken- NO.  There are a few items of faith that I claim as truth and on which I stake all of my faith formation.  The most important one is: “Jesus Christ and Him crucified.”

The world can do many things.  The world can out think, out spend, out build and out grow, but the message of Jesus Christ crucified and resurrected is the foundation of the church.  Not only is it the foundation of the church, but it is the foundation of our lives as well.

If you think about your house…you cannot see the foundation of your house, but rest assured that it is present and that your house is built firmly upon it.  We usually take care of the outside of our houses and redecorate the inside.  This week I have spent a great deal of time putting together and decorating my study.  I have invested time, money and effort into creating a space for my study time.  I could continue this and pretty soon I will have a cluttered room and an empty checkbook!  Now it is time to use that room for its created purpose; to study God’s Word, write and reflect on what I have read, read scholarly texts and write about what I have read and spend time in prayer and meditation.  I will do this for my seminary work and my own personal spiritual growth. 

My meditation tonight says this of a seminary professor, “Some folks have more in the showcase than in the warehouse.”  I offer prayer for myself that as my “showcase” of learning will increase because I will have read, studied and attended classes.  But more importantly I pray my “warehouse” will increase through my prayer life, my personal study and daily worship of God through Jesus Christ crucified and risen. 

So my friends let us keep our warehouses full and our minds focused on God’s Word so that His plan for our lives and for our futures will be fulfilled.
Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes and get some sleep.  Count your blessings and continue your prayers for Tatum, or as her family and doctors refer to her as, “The Mighty T.”  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, October 10, 2012

Happy Wednesday! 

This Reading Week is flying by! Today I completed the first of my tasks for the week.  I cleaned off the desk in the dining room and placed my books from seminary in my new book case in the study.  The book case in our bedroom was emptied and placed in the study. (I will reload that book case tomorrow.) The dining room is now looking more like a dining room and far less like a graduate student study.  I actually began to do some studying this evening.  Next week, we tackle the book of Luke. 

Prayer: “Lord, draw my heart away from the full of the world and the whispers of the flesh, and let me delight in You and You alone. In the busyness of this day, let me not forget You. Let me hear Your sweet voice above the clutter and chatter of life on the earth. Keep me from becoming so bogged down in trivial pursuits that I forget that I am Your child, destined to live with you forever. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.”

“One thing I have desired of the LORD, that will I seek; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in His temple.”
Psalm 27: 4

The psalmist declared, “One thing I desire…”  I look at my weekly calendar and it is filled with classes and activities about God.  I have lots of busyness about God, but busyness about God does not give anyone an intimate relationship with God.  An intimate relationship with God requires something different.

  “…to dwell in the house of the LORD…” Bruce and I have been married almost 32 years.  We have lived together for that 32 years in the same dwelling whether house or apartment.  The old saying goes, “You never really get to know someone until you brush your teeth with them.”  I rise with Bruce each day and I sleep with Bruce each night. And in between through the magic of telephones and text messages we stay in contact with each other throughout the day.

Our relationship with God needs to be as intimate as those with whom we live, love and brush our teeth.  When we rise we need to give thanks to God that we are granted one more day to worship and praise through prayer, study asking to be a blessing in someone’s life today.  Throughout the day continue to seek God out in the everyday occurrences and people we meet recognizing the goodness and sweetness of the loving God who created us.  When we go to sleep come to God and say “Good night.” 

Desiring God and taking time to worship individually and with others who believe acknowledges to God our dependence upon Him.  In this relationship we realize and recognize forgiveness, grace given and the changes in ourselves.  We also will see hope for the future and strength for each day.  Brush your teeth with Jesus!

Take joy in the journey and get to know God.  Wear comfortable shoes and get some sleep.  Count your blessings and continue to pray for Tatum.  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, October 9, 2012

Happy Tuesday! 

Prayer:  Lord, make me sensitive today to the needs of others around me. Use me as a channel for demonstrating Your great love to hurting people. Give me an opportunity to show the world Your mercy and grade. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”

“I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.”
John 17: 23

Tonight I am sharing a post that was placed on Facebook.  I hope you enjoy it and will find meaning for yourself as I did.  When our hearts are tuned to Christ we find ourselves thinking about ourselves differently.  Jesus has a deep love for us as sinners and extends His grace to each of us out of His love for us each and every day.  Our response is two-fold.  First to be humbly grateful and second to extend that same grace to those in our lives we believe do not deserve it.  We are called to see other children of God as God sees them.  We need to look through the eyes of the love of God.  Let us each examine the work of God through Jesus in our own lives and love others as God has loved us.  Enjoy!

Take joy in the journey!  Wear comfortable shoes and get some sleep.  Count your blessings and say your prayers.  Thank you.  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.

Pray for Tatum as she continues the powerful radiation treatments daily. 

Monday, October 8, 2012

Happy Monday! 

Prayer alert:  Please pray for our little cousin Tatum.  She will be receiving her cranial radiation each day this week at 10:30 am.  Her family has requested prayers for that time.  She has t-shirts that say “Mighty T” on them and they speak volumes to the courage and faith of this little one.  Please keep her in your prayers. Thank you. 

Prayer:  “Father, thank You for my spiritual family.  Open my eyes to the hurts and the needs of those I love.  Help me to not be a burden, but rather a blessing; to everyone I come in contact with today.  Help me to love even those who seem so determined to be unlovable.  May I live my life today in such a way that I bring Your great heart pleasure.  In the strong name of Jesus I pray, Amen.”

“Behold how good and how pleasant it is for the brethren to dwell together in unity.”
Psalm 133:1

God expects us to live in unity with other believers.  God does not expect us to be cookie cutter Christians who all agree on everything.  My meditation tonight offers this analogy, “You can tie two cats’ tails together and have union, but you sure won’t have unity.” 

Dwelling with a loving family is a good illustration of unity.  Each family member is different in their talents, temperaments and even in their likes and dislikes and yet a family shares a common heritage and hopefully the same values.  As believers, as the body of Christ, as the Church we too share a common heritage.  We share a unity with Christ through His love for us and sacrifice on the cross of salvation for each of us.  We carry His DNA because of the blood of Jesus that covers us as forgiveness of our sins and the promise of eternal life. 

We must be willing to live the way God intends yielding our wills on occasion so that we might give and receive forgiveness.  In our churches we must attempt to get along with others so that we might live, work, worship and share in God’s blessings of love, peace, comfort and forgiveness.

Take joy in the journey.  Wear comfortable shoes and say your prayers. (Especially for Tatum) 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 Travis is back at the Randal Mill/Fielder Starbucks as its assistant manager.  He would love to see any of you who go by there.  Peace, gc

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Blessed Sunday to you all! 

All are back at home again.  Bruce returned safely from the prison with a sore throat but wonderful stories of victory in Jesus.  Geni, Travis, Sarah and another friend all went to the State Fair tonight and ate their way through all of fried weirdness.  It seems to be an “all fried world” at our great State Fair.  

And as for me…I am on Fall Break (lovingly called Reading Week at Brite) all week long.  I am so looking forward to continuing to put “The Study”(my office) together.  I have all of the furniture. Geni built me a book case and a file drawer and I bought a heater that looks like a small fire place.  It is shaping up and I really like it.  It is cozy and very amenable to study and the occasional visitor.  Jackson and Lamar find their way in there and sleep while I study and I love it. 

Prayer:  “Lord, You created the church in the power of the Spirit.  Bless Your church today with that same power, and help us appropriate Your power to do Your will.  In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.”

“So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.”
Acts 2:46-47

This afternoon I attended my first Disciples event.  The Regional Conference of Disciples was held via teleconference.  The title was “One Church, Many Places.”  The central hub of the conference was Brite Divinity School and the conference was then transmitted to churches all over the region.  Officers were elected, business was transacted and worship was led.  Songs were sung, prayers prayed, the Word was read and the Word was preached.  Eucharist was led through this live feed and enacted in each house of worship.  It was a perfect day to celebrate communion simultaneously with other believers as it was Word Wide Communion Sunday. 

The New Testament writers used words to paint pictures of the events of the life of Jesus.  In Acts the church was born in a Spirit-powered prayer and preaching service in Jerusalem.  From this passage in Acts we see just a glimpse of the daily life of those early believers.  In the temple worship was held and fellow believers shared daily meals together.  The passage says they “ate their food with gladness.” 

The early church was full of praise to God and fellowship with one another through community and new people daily came to know Christ through faith in Jesus.  Are we still using this practice of worship, fellowship and growing Christ’s church?  What does the picture of faith look like in our churches today? Let us continue to build up the Church, the body of Christ through building up the people so that the body of Christ resembles the picture of the church in Acts 2.

Take joy in the journey.  Wear comfortable shoes and say your prayers.  Count your blessings 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 pray especially for Tatum, age 6, our young cousin, as she begins cranial radiation tomorrow followed by 21 days of steroids to help her battle the Leukemia that has invaded her body.  Please pray for her and her family.