Friday, February 1, 2013

Happy February and Happy Friday! 

Luther Lamar update:  Luther Lamar, our 7 month old basset puppy of three weeks came to us without immunizations, very underweight and pretty starved for love and affection. At the vet today he weighs in 10 pounds heavier than when he came to us and seems to love his new family as much as we love him.  The docs at Banfield Animal Hospital at Pet Smart pronounced him perfect! We are very thankful.

Prayer:  God, there are times I am uncertain if I am following your will for my life and the path You have planned.  Grow me through the times when I am unsure. Give me renewed vision for my future. I want to be in the center of Your will. Today, I am listening to that still, small voice of Your Spirit to assure me. Amen.

“As I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you.”
Joshua 1: 58

Leadership, especially servant leadership, can be a lonely place. Even when surrounded by those who are helping, leaders feel really alone when called on to make the final decisions on something. But here is the good news: God is always with us and never abandons us. When we remember it is God who has called us to serve in His name we are assured of never being alone. 

As one who has battled weight all of my life there is one thing I know.  No matter how one tries to lose weight it is a really tough battle. I did my best at losing weight when I was accountable to someone who would walk the battlefield with me.  If I had a workout or walking buddy I found fewer excuses to work out or walk. If I had a weight loss partner I found myself making fewer excuses, cheating less and looking forward to the scales because my partner would celebrate with me and not act in judgment if I missed the mark. But the bottom line is that the result would be my decision.

Here is a thought…my buddy could walk away, but God never walks away. Scripture states clearly that God was with Moses, (Moses!!!) the only human who ever saw the face of God, and promises to be with us. Furthermore, He promises to never leave us or forsake us. God is our comforter, our teacher, our encourager, our strength and is PRESENT WITH US AT ALL TIMES.

My friends…when others let us down, walk away or take us for granted remember God has promised in His Holy Scripture to be with us and cheering us on.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes, pray with gratitude and thankfulness and get some peaceful sleep. 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! 

I have the most wonderful hubby. He spent the better part of the afternoon under the house repairing a water leak. This ranks right up there with root canal and taking up linoleum as his favorite things to do. But the water is up, dishes are done and coffee is ready for the morning. He is the best!

Prayer:  Lord, this year is just beginning and there are already challenges to meet, some heartaches and grief to endure.  We have already celebrated some great victories. Today, reveal to me what Your goals and dreams are for me in my life as I look ahead. Help me to sort it all out. As I consider the days to come, may I walk in step with Your will as a faithful servant. In Christ’s name, I pray. Amen.

“He has shown you, O man, what is God; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?”
Micah 6: 8

As I look to the new year and what is ahead: school, serving at Rush Creek and having a son getting married, I must always remember one thing…to keep Jesus and His call on my life in front of me at all times.  Each of us has a call of Christ on our lives. Our call is the call to servanthood.  We are commanded to meet the needs of those around us without needing recognition or reward. Consistent acts of love, regardless of the cost, reflect true servanthood. 

When we act by helping others those acts require a spirit of love and mercy in us. When we look at others with this kind of love we can look past individual circumstances and see the needs that lie beneath the surface.

Christian service is eloquently laid out in the passage from Micah, to do justice, to love mercy and to walk humbly with God. We cannot do this kind of service apart from God. We need the grace of God to meet the needs of others as God’s servant. My friends, let our agendas be God’s agenda and give us the strength to serve in God’s earthly kingdom.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes, give thanks with a grateful heart and get some sleep. 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. 

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Happy Wednesday! 

My apologies for not writing last evening. Short nights and very long days took their toll.  

I have been keeping a prayer journal by my desk.  Lately, I have received many requests for prayer.  Let us keep our friends, family and those who are in need to feel God’s presence in their time of need.

Prayer: Good morning Lord! You made this day with all its promise and beauty. I thank You for all of the opportunities before me today, at home, work and school. I know I was created to love You and to serve You. Speak to me this morning as I read Your Word and meditate on Your truth. Grow me to be more like You. May my service be a blessing to You and to those in my sphere of influence. May You find me faithful serving You my Savior. Amen.

“For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.”
Galatians 5: 13

Every act of servanthood is done with the other person in mind. When I am asked to help out or volunteer for some activity or act of service I think how I am glad to be of help, but I also think of the person or people to whom I am serving.  Servanthood is the continual process of laying down one’s own agenda for the sake of someone else.

When we think of Jesus, serving God the Father was His only agenda. He came to show us and be the perfect model of servanthood so that when we are called to serve we are not only willing, but able to serve.  We feel the strong calling to serve because of our relationship with Jesus. When we are called to serve we need to pray that we reflect God’s grace and God’s glory. Through the motivation of love and thanksgiving we are allowed to serve through the One who is the perfect model of the servant’s heart.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes, give thanks with a grateful heart and get some sleep. 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. 

Monday, January 28, 2013

Happy Monday!

My good friend Matt Every, whom I have been in classes with for much of my Brite career, was affirmed tonight in his final ordination interview for ordination in the Christian Church, Disciples of Christ. Matt has worked really hard and is a wonderful pastor of a small church in Longview. I am not sure what his plans are after graduation in May, but I know he will do a great job because he has a heart for parish ministry and God lives in his heart. Congratulations, Matt! 

I also finished my paper for tomorrow and Bruce is working on it now. It is my plan to turn it in tonight ahead of schedule. Hopefully a redeeming activity…

Good morning, Lord. As I continue this journey, I thank you for all that You have taught me thus far. Thank You for Your patience. I want to know and serve You well. Speak to me through Your Word this week. Give me the courage to face my fears and put Your truths into practice. Open up new doors of opportunity. I don’t want to miss out on anything that You have for me. I am ready to listen, to learn, and to follow You. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

“Say to the righteous that it shall be well with them, for they shall eat the fruit of their doings.”
Isaiah 3: 10

Our son Travis is a competitive power lifter.  He works out faithfully each day under the direction of a trainer and sometimes he works out by himself. The point here is that because he faithfully works out daily we can see the results of his workouts. We may not see results immediately, but slowly results become apparent, and, as time goes on results are right before our eyes. Because Travis trains daily, when the time for competition comes, he is prepared. And he is REALLY, REALLY strong. His workouts are hard, but he continues to make an investment in time and work that builds to the desired results. If he only began to train shortly before competition then his muscles and mental attitude would not be ready. If he does not work out we would also see the results of his choice to not work out. His muscles would begin to lose their tone and his strength would be far less than what it is now. 

What is true for power lifters is true for us in spiritual disciplines. When we faithfully invest our time in the spiritual disciplines of service, study in the Word, prayer and worship then not only are we investing ourselves in maintaining a strong spiritual life here on earth but also an investment in eternity.  So we need to keep paying the price even when we do not see immediate results. With each decision, day by day we keep growing the likeness of Jesus.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes, give thanks for your blessings and get some sleep. 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. 

Blessed Sunday to you all!

I have spent the day after church reading about slavery and the Holocaust. I have completed my reading and will write tomorrow. I will turn this paper in on time and check the e-college at least twice per day so I do not get caught unaware again.

I am writing this from my study where Bauer is on the pillow, Jackson is lying on the rug beside my desk and Luther is sleeping on my foot. I love my boys!

Prayer:  Dear Lord, every day that I wake up, I know I have a new opportunity to make a difference for You. I ask right now that You provide me with the strength and knowledge to make that difference today. Show me what You want me to learn, and guide me to where You want me to go. It is through Jesus that I pray. Amen.

“For the LORD is righteous, He loves righteousness; His countenance beholds the upright.”
Psalm 11: 7

Everybody has something that carries their reputation from childhood to adulthood. I have always been able to sing. When I was a senior in high school and the final senior edition of the school newspaper came out I was predicted to be an opera singer. I did go on to study opera in college and sang in a few operas, but did not pursue it outside of the university. I preferred musical theater and singing in church. But I still had the reputation as a singer. I was not a perfect singer, but I was pretty good. For me, singing is like breathing. It is a gift that I intend to take with me to eternity.

In the verse today, God has the reputation for being righteous. For God, His reputation is perfect righteousness.  We fall short of that perfection, but through the blood of Jesus and the forgiveness of our sins we have received perfect righteousness. Jesus stands in the gap between us and God and God sees us as perfect. The blood of Jesus is so thick and so pure that our sins go unseen by the Father because they were taken by the Son on the Cross. God sees us as perfect because we are in relationship with His Son. If we have done our jobs on earth correctly then we will have the reputation for being Christians. That reputation will remain with us into eternity.

But here is the thing…our reputations are gained by the choices we make and the company we keep. We are not known for what we would like to be, would like to have done or a way we should have acted. We are known for what we choose. It is our task while here on the earth to act in ways that are pleasing to God by following Jesus’ lead in this life and so we can be known as righteous in the eyes of God.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes, give thanks with a grateful heart and get some sleep. 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.