Saturday, April 6, 2013

Happy Saturday! 

I opened my meditation book to day and these were the first two entries:

“Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him for the help of His presence.”

Psalm 42: 5

“Even when our situation appears to be impossible our work is to “hope in God.” Our hope will not be in vain, and in the Lord’s own timing, help will come.”

                                                                        George Mueller

This is such a wonderful affirmation to the writing from last evening.  My faith and belief system is pretty well embedded. Sometimes this strong faith base finds me in battle with some of the reading I have to do for my classes. Right now I am reading a book written by an author who is arguing against atonement theology. Atonement theology is the belief that Jesus was ordained by God to die on the cross for our sins. Jesus atoned for our sins once and for all with His words, “It is finished!”  It is in the resurrection hope where we live out each day of our lives. It is like the ship that had help to be anchored in the harbor; even though the waters were rough, once it was anchored the anchor stayed put.  Mr. Mueller states so simply that we are to place our hope in God and our hope is not placed in vain because it is firmly anchored in the living God, the resurrected Christ. The psalmist tells us to hope in God and to trust in God’s perfect timing.

I am able to choose my own topic for a final paper in the class I spoke of earlier. I am going to write my own argument for atonement theology through the lens of The Prodigal Son.  I ask for your prayers as I begin this research and for a paper that is written not just worthy of the professor’s academic standards, but which will be a worthy witness to what I believe to be the truth about the cross of Christ. Without the cross of Christ we would still be sacrificing animals and wandering in the desert without a model of hope on which to anchor our faith. 

Take joy in the journey being assured that hope does not disappoint. Wear comfortable shoes, pray with a heart filled with gratitude and get some sleep. Love you all, Bruce and Gaylene.

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:  Bruce is currently preparing to serve on two Kairos Prison Ministry weekends. I would ask you to pray for the stamina it will take for service on these two weekend events and that God’s presence would not be denied and Satan would be barred outside the doors of the prison. If there was ever a community God’s children who are in need of hope it is the brothers and sisters within prison walls. These folks are largely a forgotten community by the outside world, but they are not forgotten by God and those who are called to serve this community. Thank you. Peace, gc

Friday, April 5, 2013

Happy Friday! 

WOW! What a gorgeous day!!!  I read most of the day.

Prayer:  Mighty Creator, it is on days like today that it is easy to give You praise for the glory of the blue sky, blooming flowers and the warm breeze.  Lord, when we see the beauty of Your creation we can stand in awesome wonder at the works Your hands have made.  God, You do great work. Thank You for letting us witness Your amazing creation and be the part of Your creation. You desire to love and have a relationship with us. We love You Lord. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord, Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”

1 Peter 1: 3

I am going to share a wonderful illustration of hope.

          A ship in really turbulent waters needs to anchor in a safe place. In stormy weather a large ship cannot safely make its way into the harbor because of the fierce waves that are tossing the boat. So a smaller boat goes out and meets the large ship and carries the anchor through the rough waters and into the harbor. When the anchor is dropped, the ship is secure even though it is still in rough waters.

This is how the anchor of hope keeps our souls firmly secure in the arms of the Savior.  We can rest in hope while in the midst of the storms of life. For hope to be secure we must place our hope solidly in God; the same Savior God who died on the cross to pay the price for OUR sin. After Christ died on the cross and was resurrected, the act of resurrection empowered Jesus to be the living hope for us forever.  It is this living hope that allows Christ to be alive within us.

So my friends, let us keep our hope anchored in the living hope of Christ every day and especially during the storm of life.

Take joy in the journey remembering that hope does not disappoint! Wear comfortable shoes, pray with a grateful heart and get some sleep. Love you all, Bruce and Gaylene.

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! 

We had all three of the kids over for dinner tonight. I made a new recipe for a taco pie!  Totally delicious!  It was so great to have the kids all around the table again and the fun they all have.  They have grown up so well and we are so proud of them. They have a wonderful journey of life ahead of them.  We love them so much!

Prayer:  Holy One, Living Lord, How I love you, my Savior. I give you thanks for every blessing you have ever given to me and all you will continue to bestow. Thank you for always being with me when I look for you and call your name. I am assured of never having to face anything alone.  Thank You that You have made this promise to all who have placed their trust in You.  In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

“Go make disciples of all nations…teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Matthew 28: 19-28

Imagine how awed the disciples were when Jesus spoke these final words to them.  Here they were in the presence of the risen Savior who was giving them His final commands, their “marching orders” and promising them He would be there with them always.  After they recovered from this phenomenal experience do you think the words soaked in? Do you think they understood exactly what He meant for them to “go make disciples of all nations?” 

Somehow they must have had a clue because very soon we hear of preaching, teaching and gathering in Jesus’ name. We hear of journeys, persecution, prison stays and the beginning of the Church in the homes of individuals.  They seemed to be a focused group until their deaths.  They appear to be completely driven to tell the story of Jesus to all the nations just as Jesus commanded them.

How focused are we?  Are we able to stay awake in the garden and pray? Are we able to stay focused in worship and not answer a text message?  Do our minds wander during the reading of the Word or the preaching of the message?  What are the distractions that take our eyes off of God?

The world, our world, is full of deceptions that distract us and take our eyes off of the Holy One.  The good news is when those times happen all we have to do is to refocus our thoughts on Jesus and whisper His loving name in loving contentment and Satan, who works so hard to take our minds off of Jesus, is defeated once again. 

The best way to battle Satan’s deceptions is to stay grounded in the Word and pray.  Tonight my meditation uses the word “absorb.”  We need to study and absorb the Holy Scripture.  Remember Jesus at His temptation claimed the Word of God and defeated Satan. 

My dear friends, disappointment and discouragement comes to us all the time, but we can refuse to let it overcome.  Jesus promised that He would be with us until the end of the age. We need never face anything alone.

Take joy in the journey remembering that hope does not disappoint. Wear comfortable shoes, pray with a grateful heart and get some sleep. Love you all, Bruce and Gaylene.

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, April 3, 2013

Happy Tuesday! *

One paper turned in and one to go. I checked with the records lady at Brite today and she told me…wait for it…that in a week or so she would be sending out an email for us to sign up for graduation.  WOW!

Prayer:  Holy One, Lord of peace.  May we open up our hearts enough for Your peace to rule in our lives. Forgive us when we forget to give thanks, when Your peace floods our souls and we are filled.  Let us claim Your Word and speak the words of scripture when we pray.  We love you so much. In Jesus name, I pray. Amen.

“Be anxious for nothing,, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;  and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 4: 6-7

God’s peace can settle questions and doubts when they rent space in our mind.  When we begin to feel anxious and unsure, let us use those feelings and surrender them over to God and ask for that peace that passes all understanding to replace these feelings and thoughts. When we make request to God through the Holy Word our anxious hearts will be filled with peace.

Following the resurrection, the disciples were all gathered in a room out of fear for their lives and all were experiencing the loss of their Savior and friend.  Jesus appeared among them and said these simple words, “Peace be with you.” This is a supernatural appearing as no one saw Jesus come through the door. Jesus did not admonish the disciples for being fearful and scattering at the crucifixion. They felt bad enough knowing that they had abandoned their Lord. He offered peace to their troubled souls without blame, without criticism and without humiliation. Admonishment may have been what they deserved, but it was not what they needed.

God offers us the same gift of blessing when we sin. He does not offer punishment, disgrace or judgment as we deserve. He offers peace. This is the divine peace that passes all understanding.  We have only one response to this extraordinary gift. We must respond with thanksgiving.

Take joy in the resurrection journey remembering that hope does not disappoint. Wear comfortable shoes, pray with a thankful heart and get some sleep. Every so often I explain why I tell you to get some sleep. We love and serve God who slumbers not nor sleeps. There is no reason for both of us to be up. God has all of this well in hand. Love you all, Bruce and Gaylene.

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.

*This blog was written Tuesday evening but, due to the priority of getting the Wednesday paper edited and produced, was not posted until Wednesday evening. Thought you would want to know.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Happy Easter Monday! 

I have been swamped with two major papers due on consecutive days this week. I completed them today and they are in the loving hands of my own personal editor, Bruce. Say a special prayer of blessing for him tonight. He did not get home from work until around 8:30 tonight after working all day. He is now working on one of the papers that is due tomorrow.  He is the best!

We had a wonderful Easter Sunday. Three worship services and a wonderful lunch and family time at Ken and Sheena’s.  Family is the best.

Today I registered for classes at Brite for the last time. I registered for both summer and fall classes. It looks as if all roads lead to December and graduation!  Say a prayer. Say many prayers!!

Prayer:  Resurrected Lord, what a glorious Easter morning we had. I imagined you standing at the tomb in perfect wholeness telling Mary to go and tell the disciples that You are alive!  Lord, I love You so much and praise Your holy name.  In Your holy name I pray, Amen.

“I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Romans 8: 38-39

Because of the resurrection of Jesus and the dwelling of the Holy Spirit within each of us we can enjoy intimate moments with Jesus. It does not matter what is going on in our lives, we will find Jesus tenderly present with us especially when we call upon Christ to enter into our suffering.   When we invite Jesus into our lives and situations it shows that we trust Him and are not leaning on our own understanding.  Trusting Christ takes a continual practiced effort and when we lean on Him for support it helps us to remain standing when we are weary.  Rejoice in Christ, the One who supports us so strongly and loves us so tenderly.

Take joy in the journey remembering that hope does not disappoint. Wear comfortable shoes, give thanks with a grateful heart and get some sleep. Love you all, Bruce and Gaylene.

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.