Saturday, March 9, 2013

Happy Saturday!

I am hoping to get this entry written before the storm really hits and knocks out the lights. If you have a non- electric alarm clock or an alarm on your phone I would advise you to set it just in case your power goes out!

Prayer alert:  I am preaching at Rush Creek Christian Church in the morning at 8: 30 and 10: 45. Please pray that the word I preach is filled with the Holy Spirit and is not my word, but God’s. Also, there is a pancake breakfast fund raiser between services taking a free will donation offering.

Geni and Travis drove to Kilgore to a wedding and will be heading back soon. Please pray for their safe return. 

Prayer:  Lord, tomorrow I share Your Holy Word with the congregation at Rush Creek. I pray that You will be with me as I share the living words of your story that we may make them a part of our story too. I love you, Lord. Thank You for entering into my life and leading me to serve you in Your church. In Jesus name, I pray. Amen.

“The LORD your God is in your midst, the Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness. He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing. “
Zephaniah 3: 17

God promises to walk in our midst in trouble or peace, in sadness or gladness and everything in between.  We cannot let problems, or sermons or troubles intimidate us. Remember God said, I, the Mighty One am in your midst and am greater than all of the trouble in the world. Is that the best promise ever or what?

God enables us to endure whatever life hands us and grow stronger through our struggles. Just because sometimes we get tired of the journey,  God is not disappointed or displeased with us because God remains with us and we are never alone.  The way we access God is by staying in communication with Him as we continue to move along this amazing journey called life. With all of the challenges that life brings to us God’s living presence will strengthen us and bless us with peace.

Take joy in the journey remembering that we are not alone and that hope does not disappoint. Wear comfortable shoes, pray with a grateful heart and for a fledgling preacher in the morning 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.

Happy Friday! 

My Facebook has had many, many entries from teachers who are jumping with joy that it is Spring Break!  I pray these hard working folks will take time to play, relax and have fun on their time off. 

My day began with an urgent prayer request from a friend to pray for a friend of hers who was going in for emergency heart surgery. According to the diagnosis her friend’s family was told to say their goodbyes, because the potential outcome was not good. When these requests come in I pray immediately. Later in the day I received a message that the gentleman came through surgery well and is recovering. Never doubt the power of prayer and if someone asks you to pray…pray right then; just a few words will do and then wait for God to act.

Prayer:  Great Physician, I give thanks that You hear our prayers. I give thanks that we have this amazing way to communicate with You. And I give thanks that You desire above all else to have a relationship with each one of us. Lord, I give thanks in the Proverb; there is a future hope for each of us and our hope will not be cut off. You are our Hope and Trust and in Jesus name You give us the hope of healing, hope of heaven and the riches of Your glorious inheritance.  In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”
Romans 12: 12

“There is surely a hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.”
Proverbs 23: 18

My best friend Carme sends me scripture every day. I count on those wonderful treasures each day. They are the first text message of the day I receive. There are some days when there are two passages. These are called Bonus  passages. I love Bonus Day!  So today I have given you your own (or my own) Bonus Day with these two passages.

God is telling us to be joyful in hope.  There are times we have circumstances in our lives that make it difficult to be joyful. When we need to find our joy once again where do we go and to whom do we turn? 

When Casey was to very sick at MD Anderson Hospital there came a time when nothing was going well at all.  I am usually someone who can find the good in nearly everything and the storehouse of my joy was being rapidly emptied. So finally I got tired of feeling like the weight of the world was smashing me into the ground.  So I went out onto the floor and it just so happened that the floor was quiet and the nurses were all in patient rooms. It was just me and Satan. I stared into the eyes of the Evil one and said, “Satan you will not steal my joy and you have no power here.”  Once I faced down the demon of fear and thief who was stealing my joy I felt so much better. I even put a sign on the door to our room that said the same thing.  “Satan, you have no power here.” After that my joy returned.

Whatever is going on in our lives, especially circumstances and situations that weigh us down, hang onto hope for dear life. When we hang on to hope we do not just survive we thrive and can get through the tough times joyously!

Take great joy in the journey remembering that hope does not disappoint!  Wear comfortable shoes, pray with a heart filled with gratitude 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.

Prayers:  My family will be travelling tomorrow. Please join me in prayers for travel mercy for their journeys.

One of our friends is having surgery on Monday. Please pray for the doctors to be perfect in skills and that our friend’s body will be able to handle the procedure well. Pray for the family to have peace, trust and assurance in God for safety and restoration to wellness.  Thank you. Peace, gc

Friday, March 8, 2013

Happy Thursday! 

Prayer:  Holy, loving and healing God, there are so many who are in  need of  your healing today. These folks are discouraged and tired and are at the end of their ropes. Lord, let each of us trust in You forever, for You are our rock and our shield and the One we can wholly rely on. Thank You for loving us so very much. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

“Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding.”
Proverbs 3: 5

Lately, it seems as I am receiving daily prayer requests from friends about themselves, their family or friends concerning healing from illness. I remember how important the prayers of others were when Casey was battling cancer. The prayers of those we love, our families, friends and those we did not know who read the nightly journal entries helped provide comfort and support as a great cloud of witnesses here on earth. 

The opening line of my devotion tonight said, “TRUST IN ME FOREVER, FOR I AM THE ROCK ETERNAL.”  It is easy to trust and give praise to God when things are going along well, but it is tough sometimes when we are facing difficulties. Even when we fail to trust, God continues to love us perfectly. Let us remember the assurance of the unfailing love of God and return to the Holy One and trust in God’s continual presence.  Though we are not perfect at this issue of trust, God’s love is rock steady and unchanging. God can bear all of the weight we are carrying around especially the problems and illnesses we have. God invites us to come to Him with all of our worries, illnesses, stresses, desires and needs, asking us to trust Him with all our hearts and minds.

Take joy in this Lenten journey of learning to trust remembering that hope does not disappoint. Wear comfortable shoes, pray with a heart filled with gratitude 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, March 6, 2013

Happy Wednesday! 

I am on Spring Break until Tuesday, March 19th. I still have a lot of work to do for school, but I can also take some down time…you know maybe coffee, Matlock and a sweet four-legged friend (or three!).

Prayer:  Holy One, I’ll keep my eyes on You. When I turn my gaze to people they just let me down. But Your love is the strongest thing I have ever found. Let me glance at the struggles and problems and gaze constantly on You and Your gracious presence.  In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Hebrews 12: 2

Looking at God through the eyes of Jesus and taking a glance at our troubles is the way to live a victorious life. When we have one big problem or a number of smaller ones that take over our thoughts and continue over long periods of time we tend to glance at God and fix our focus on the problems. By the blood of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit given to us we have been empowered to do this very thing; glancing at problems and gazing at God. We need to ask the Holy Spirit to help us do this so that we learn to redirect our attention to the “author and perfecter of our faith.”  This is not an easy thing to do and it takes practice.

How many times when we have a problem, do we try to fix it ourselves, turning to God only when we have found it beyond our ability to find a workable solution? God wants us to turn to Him first. We need the assistance of God through the power of the Holy Spirit continually. God is our constant Companion and desires greatly to be in relationship with us and intimately involved with us in all parts of our lives. Let us try to practice this pattern as a part of our Lenten journey. When troubles and problems arise let us stop where we are and fix our eyes on Jesus and simply ask, “Jesus let me keep my eyes on You and let You work Your will in me and the problem at hand. Thank you, Lord.”

Take joy in this journey of faith, remembering that hope does not disappoint! Wear comfortable shoes, pray with a heart of gratitude, throw an extra blanket on the bed 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.

Happy Tuesday!

Prayer:  Holy and loving Lord, sometimes we go through difficult times and feel like we are walking in the darkness. And sometimes that darkness feels like a tunnel with no end. Lord, we are not patient and when we struggle the darker the way becomes. Whatever happens, do not let us give up! Help us to remember that You are our constant companion and sovereign God and by Your very word You can turn our darkness into light.

“You are my lamp, O LORD; the LORD turns my darkness into light.”
2 Samuel 22: 29

I am not a fan of the dark. I am kind of like one of my favorite storybook characters, Franklin the Turtle, who was afraid of sleeping in his shell because of the darkness. There is one night per week when I come home after dark. I am not a fan of that, either. When I leave school I usually call Bruce and he walks me to my car. Bruce is my companion in the dark.

When the situations in our lives are bringing us to the point of despair, turn to the great Companion. Turn to God for help. Cling to the hand of God and walk by faith. Try not to think about the circumstances that are weighing us down. Look ahead through the eyes of faith and praise God for the victories that are ahead. Friends, even though it is hard we need to worship God in the darkness and pretty soon God enables us to see light in the darkness.  But don’t stop! Continue to walk in faith and worship God and let God bring the light of a new day. Let us walk in fearless faith with the light of God’s love.

Take joy in the faith filled journey of hope remembering that hope does not disappoint! Wear comfortable shoes, throw an extra blanket on the bed, pray with a heart filled with gratitude 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.

Prayer alert:  We have some friends who are in need of our prayers right now and will be for some time to come. Please keep these friends of ours in your prayers. I cannot share names and circumstances. God knows their needs.  Thank you. Peace, gc

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Happy Monday! 

Can you believe it is mid-term for me?  I have completed the paperwork for Supervised Ministry mid-term. I have completed two papers and they are sitting in the inbox of my editor. My Spring Break will begin at noon on Wednesday!  Just an FYI…I will be preaching my spring sermon next Sunday at Rush Creek at 8:30 and 10:50. There is a fund raising pancake breakfast between services if any of you would like to come.  The sermon is written and I am working on delivery. Please offer a prayer for me as I prepare to deliver God’s Word to His people and my reflections on it. I pray the Holy Spirit to guide my words and direct my thoughts as I share the insights I have gleaned on this passage of scripture. 

Prayer:  Holy, Holy Lord, Tonight I come before You in the quiet of this hour believing Your promise to be faithful. Please fill me with Your joy and Your peace helping me to trust You to the very depth of my being. You are the God of hope, filling me, blessing me with the nourishment that my soul craves. Being in Your presence is the grace of heaven given freely here in my life and in all who seek Your face. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Romans 15:13

God is the God of Hope. The hope that God offers is not just wishful thinking. Hope is the certainty of God in our lives even though it refers to things not yet fully realized. Hope is security because Hope comes from God obtained by the work of Jesus on the cross. This hope is the foundation of joy and peace. It is the joy and peace we find in God. No matter how tough things are in our lives right now we can live in the assurance that God delights in creating possibilities for us out of seemingly impossible situations. When we really think on this phenomenal truth and stand or kneel in the presence of God we are on Holy Ground and can enjoy the hope that overflows from God’s eternal grace.

Take joy in this journey of Lenten hope. Wear comfortable shoes, pray 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.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Blessed Sunday to you all!

Prayer:  Lord, you called prophets and priests and kings into your service. And Lord, You call each one of us to use the gifts You gave to us for Your service. Sometimes Lord, it is hard to know what our calling is and what we are supposed to do with it. So Lord, keep leading and we will trustingly follow You, believing that the path You take us down is the plan You have for us. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

“We are assured and know that all things work together and are for good for those who love God and are called according to His design and purpose.”
Romans 8: 28

I believe with all of my being that I have been called to the ordained pastoral ministry. While a pastor is a leader, more than anything else a pastor is a servant. When an ordained pastor puts on that robe, stole or clerical collar they claim a priestly mantle that sets them apart for God’s purpose using the gifts given by God for a special purpose.  I also believe that everyone who enters into a relationship with God through belief in Jesus is called into service to use the gifts given by God for a specific purpose.

We all share in the same call process to be servants of God as those we read about in scripture. 

We are all called into servanthood.  All those prophets, priests and kings had this in common. They all had an encounter with God. They all resisted the call. They all received reassurance from God that they heard correctly. And the hardest one of all…God called all them to respond obediently.  Moses, Samuel, Mary the mother of Jesus, Isaiah, Jonah and the apostle Paul experienced all of these things.  Mary acted in obedience. Moses was given a voice, Jonah was given another chance, Peter was forgiven and Paul had his sight restored.  God made a way for all of these servants to act on the calling they had received without any extraordinary abilities on their own.

Here is the most wonderful news. When God has placed a calling on your life there is most likely a need that is to be addressed. God has decided you can help. At that point you are standing on holy ground because you are where God needs you to be, doing what God has called you to do according to His purpose.

When God calls you do not give excuses as to why you cannot respond to the call. Say “Lord, let it be as You would have it and I will obediently follow.” Fear not! There may be things in the journey that seem wrong, but if we are following the path God has set out for us then we can trust that we are being led along a straight path. 

Take joy in this journey of faith remembering that hope does not disappoint. Wear comfortable shoes, pray with a heart of gratitude 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.