Friday, December 28, 2012

Happy Friday! 

Prayer:  “Jesus, what a privilege to be able to speak Your name! Thank You for making it possible to know You and to have a relationship with You. Make me more like You today. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.”

“You are My witnesses,’ says the LORD, ‘and My servant whom I have chosen that you may know and believe Me, and understand that I am He.  Before Me there was no God formed, nor shall there be after Me.”
Isaiah 43: 10

Have you ever gone somewhere and been asked for your identity?  Of course, we all have.  When even after we have pulled out numerous forms of identification, the clerk still must verify all of this until they and the computer are satisfied of who we are.  Sometimes I finally say, “I promise, this is Me.” 

In this singular verse God reveals not only His identity, but His ability to predict the future and show Israel that He is the only true, eternal and living God. This verse tells us something so amazing, “I have chosen you that you may believe Me.”  God takes the common man and woman and does uncommon things with their lives through His own incarnated life in Jesus.  He chose us to be His servants for a singular purpose; to tell others who He is and what He has done with our lives. 

Take joy in this most amazing journey of being the chosen ones of God through Jesus. Wear comfortable shoes, throw an extra blanket on the bed and get some sleep.  Count your blessings and say your prayers.  Love you all, Bruce, Gaylene, Geni, Travis and Sarah.     

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! 

Bruce and I are very proud to announce the engagement of Travis to Sarah Hammond.  If you are on Facebook you can see the ring and read all of the wonderful comments and congratulations.  We are so excited for them and love her as if she were our own.  Sarah is a beautiful young woman.  She teaches junior high, sings second alto, has a basset hound, has a wonderful faith in Christ and loves our son.  It gets no better that that!!!  It has been an exciting day.

Prayer:  Lord, you are our perfect Savior.  You care for us so completely and never tire of taking care of your children. Thank you.  Help us to follow Your lead today and every day.  Help us to do your will today and guide our desires and decisions in everything we do. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

“If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit, so you will be My disciples.”
John 14: 7, 8

We are rapidly coming to the end of the year 2012.  There are decisions we have made that were wise decisions and there are those we wish we could take back and do over. Maybe even promises we made and broke were part of the past. The good news is that Jesus has never felt regret for the promise He made to love us completely and eternally.  When Christ makes a promise His character guarantees that He will keep it.

In John 15: 7- 8 Jesus promises to be our life source; if we live with Him and allow Him to change our desires into His desires, He promises to fulfill them.  The promise is not the issue…it is what I desire!  It is not about Him blessing what I want—it’s about me wanting what He is blessing.  Let us walk in faith enough to ask God to continue to mold our will and change our desires into the ones that align with desires He has for us, so we can please Him and bring Christ glory.

Take joy in this amazing journey. Wear comfortable shoes and get some sleep.  Count your blessings and say your prayers.  Love you all, Bruce, Gaylene, Geni, Travis and Sarah.     

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 alert:  Please place Travis and Sarah on your prayer list as they walk this engagement journey learning to love each other with promise and faith and their forth-coming marriage.  Peace, gc

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Happy day after Christmas Day or Wednesday! 

How about that beautiful white Christmas?  So pretty.  We put an extra blanket on the bed last night and it was so cozy warm that I slept in until a little after eight o’clock. 

Bruce and I took down the tree and packed away the decorations this evening.  What we have left are the linens and dishes.  I need some more boxes for those and then we will be done. 

Prayer alert:  Let us keep former President George H. W. Bush in our prayers as he has been returned to ICU. Also, please keep our niece Emily in your prayers.  She has been diagnosed with Type A and B flu at the same time.  She has always been an over achiever! 

Prayer:  Lord, thank You for another adventure, another day to spend with You. Thank You that Your promises are just as real for me as anyone else.  I surrender in this moment to Your leadership in my life. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.”
Hebrews 12: 1

It is almost time to make those time honored “New Year’s Resolutions.”  You know those wonderful promises and plans we make to improve ourselves.  We are going to lose weight, exercise more, watch our budgets more carefully (as the Christmas bills begin to some in), be better housekeepers, clean out closets, etc…We all start these great marathons and don’t make it to the finish line. If you are like me and make a list of all of the things you want to change in the coming new year you soon discover that the list is quite overwhelming and cannot realistically be achieved and still have a job, see your family and other things. 

Okay friends; let us give ourselves a break.  Choosing so many things to change is setting ourselves up for failure and feeling guilty for not achieving what we promised ourselves.  So I have decided to choose one item on my long list to change.  I plan to achieve this goal like a marathon runner.  I will begin slowly and continue running until I have finished.  And when I am tired I am going to call on the help of that great cloud of witnesses to help.  My prayer will be to be faithful to the challenge. When I fall I am going to ask for help in getting up and will continue the race until I reach my desired goal.  I will pray for endurance and God’s good grace to be ever before me.

God set before Jesus a race to be run.  Jesus finished His race.  Jesus modeled a life of love and did not allow sin to weigh Him down. Jesus hung on to God and continued until His final breath the task set before Him by His Father.  Praise God that Jesus finished the race.

Whatever or wherever this journey of a New Year’s leads or provides I pray that God will show me what needs to go into my own heart and life that I can lay aside so it does not hold me back from finishing the task before me.  Every day is surrender.  So let us surrender what weighs us down and keeps us from moving forward in this life of faith.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes, throw an extra blanket on the bed, 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, December 26, 2012

Merry Christmas to you all! 

I’m dreaming  of a white Christmas…well, dream no more because this came true and just in time!  My front yard is so pretty. Now driving in from Allen was not fun, but provided a great time to pray! 

We had a family first today.  Ken and Sheena provided the ham and appetizers.  Our family provided the side dishes.  Sheena and I were sitting at the same table and we both figured out at the same moment that no one brought dessert.  So, Ken got out the slice and bake chocolate chip cookies and baked fresh cookies for dessert.  So from now on this one will be remembered as the “slice and bake Christmas.”  No one seemed to mind and a great time was had by all. 

“And Mary said, ‘My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.”
Luke 1: 46

I must admit I had some trouble wrapping myself around Christmas this year.  We have experienced such intimate loss this past year.  Each time I would wrap a gift I would remember the gifts I would not wrap.  I did not make the usual phone call to Sheena and ask, “What are getting for Mom this year for Christmas?”  Last year, both families went together and got Mom a Brighton bracelet with a charm for each grandchild, a special one for Holly, the great-grandchild and bookend charms representing Ken and me. She received it Christmas morning in the hospital and never got to wear it.  Sheena and I divided the charms between ourselves each taking the members of our own family and made two bracelets.  I wore mine today.

With the business of school, writing papers, exams, internship responsibilities and preparing for Christmas at our house and at Ken and Sheena’s, shopping and wrapping coupled with the emotional toll of the loss of so many family members this year, I found it really difficult to get into the spirit of Christmas joy I usually experience.  And then I read a Christmas devotional tonight that simply stated the words of Mary, “My spirit rejoices in God my Savior.”  The light-bulb went on and I remembered the young woman who carried and birthed the Son of God.  Here she was so very young, not betrothed, carrying a baby, facing public criticism, facing family shame, facing the potential loss of trust in her husband-to-be and possibly her husband. Through all of this she did not complain. She was willing to serve God in this most intimate, life changing and world altering event.  She prayed and gave thanks saying, “My spirit rejoices in God my Savior.” 

Perhaps we should take a lesson from Mary and remember that God sent our Savior through this young woman of faith to a manger in Bethlehem.  Jesus is the incarnate One given to us through scripture and will return to us at the appointed time to set all things right.  Let us remember to praise Jesus on Christmas day and the day after that, and the day after that...

Take joy as we journey through the twelve days of Christmas.  Wear comfortable shoes and get some sleep.  Count your blessings, throw an extra blanket on the bed tonight and get some sleep.  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. 

Monday, December 24, 2012

Blessed Sunday to you all and happy Christmas Eve, Eve! 

I spent the most wonderful day with my oldest and dearest friend, Carme, Geni, Sarah (Travis’ girlfriend), and 5 other women.  Our hubbies, dad’s etc…(the men in our lives) all went to the Cowboy game today and the ladies had girl day.  We began with coffee at Starbucks (of course), brunch at The Sanford House (which I highly recommend). There were nine of us for the meal. We had our own room, personal wait staff, excellent food (reasonably priced) and wonderful fellowship.  There were seven adult women and two young ladies.  After the meal the dessert menu was presented.  We decided to order one of each of the three desserts for the day and then we would share.  One of the desserts was a dark and white chocolate cup filled with vanilla ice cream and strawberries.  The three plates of dessert were placed at three areas of the table with the chocolate cup being placed in front of the young ladies.  This plate never got passed.  We ended up ordering another of the delicious dessert cups.  After the delightful lunch we were off to the nail shop for mani’s and pedi’s just in time for the holiday.  I chose pretty glittery Christmas red.  A wonderful girl day!

Prayer:  Lord, in the morning it will be Christmas Eve.  Thank you for another day! Please show me something today that will change me.  I will try on this day filled with cooking, last minute wrapping and worship to find a time of quiet and listen for Your voice.  I am available to You whenever and however You desire. In Jesus’ name, Amen

“Beloved, you do faithfully whatever you do for the brethren and for strangers, who have borne witness of your love before the church. If you send them forward on their journey in a manner worthy of God, you will do well.”
2 John 5: 6

In every story told about Jesus there is one constant.  Every person Jesus encountered left a changed person; after their encounter they were never the same.  Even those who rejected the message Jesus had to share still left changed.  My devotion tonight recalls the Roman centurion at the foot of the Cross saying, “Truly this was the Son of God!” (Matt. 27: 54).  This Roman guard charged with the task of making sure the crucifixion proceeded as ordered left that horrible scene a changed man.

So, here is the question.  When people spend time with me do they leave as changed people because Jesus lives in me?  Do I share Christ in some way with those I encounter?  Do I model kindness, respect, love, non-judgment and grace?

A long time ago a couple in a stable in what was a very private moment was greeted by a group of shepherds.  They were not clean or sanitized, but they heard angels sing of the birth of a baby that would change their lives forever.  And Mary and Joseph did not turn them away.  They were allowed to encounter Jesus in the stillness of the dark night by God’s ordaining and were forever changed.

Take joy in this Advent journey.  Wear comfortable shoes and get some sleep.  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.