Thursday, October 8, 2009

Happy Thursday!

And the saga continues…the electric saga that is. We are adding to the list of no-longer functioning electronic appliances: one air conditioner and possibly one washing machine. This is rapidly climbing in to thousands of dollars. The insurance company has not called us back as of yet, so I think we will call them tomorrow. We are also going to file a claim with the electric company. Wish us luck in trying to recover the “toasted” items. The pile is growing rather large!

Update: Davis Russell has come through the first surgery very well and is resting for the next one to come tomorrow. Please pray for him as he goes through the second surgery and then into recovery. We pray God’s total peace, perfection within the hands of the surgeon and healing and well-being for our friend.

No news on my cousin Danny yet, but I hope to hear something soon. Please keep him in your prayers.

Mark 14:3 As he sat at the meeting, there came a woman having an alabaster jar of ointment of spikenard very precious; and she broke the jar, and poured it on His head.

The spice called “spikenard” is a medicinal spice used in ancient times for fever reduction, pain relief and has calming properties. Spikenard was also used as a spice that anointed the dead. The burial wrappings were soaked in a mixture of fragrant oils and the body was wrapped in these fragrant cloths prior to entombment. Spikenard could be known as the spice of peace. Spikenard is extracted from the root of the shrub in the form of fragrant oil. For Jesus this healing balm was a foretelling of the preparation for His burial.

Jesus was at a gathering of very important people in Jerusalem when this event occurred. This woman crashed the party. She brought this jar of costly oil for one purpose. She wanted to be close to the Master. She felt drawn to Him. The story goes that she was a woman of questionable reputation and this act stopped the party. Jesus recognized this act as the act of a repentant sinner needing to be loved and forgiven. Jesus’ response to this outcast woman was to hush those who were judging at the party and say that she was honoring Him in preparation for His burial.

Peace, true peace is the acceptance of God’s will for our lives. When sorrow and suffering, joy and gladness, difficulty or success, ease or hardship or safety or danger present themselves in our lives we need to surrender all of these things to the will of God and be in Peace. Draw so close to God that the thought of the bonds of love between the King and each of us brings us great joy no matter what the experiences of life are dishing out!

Take joy in the journey and carry an umbrella. Love you all so very much, Bruce, Gaylene, Geni and Travis.

I am not moved by what I see. I am not moved by what I feel. I am moved only by what I believe and I believe God.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Happy Wednesday!

Well, the electricity did not get fixed the first time. We had the same experiences last night and into the morning today. But there is good news and bad news. Good news is that the electric company came out a second time and really repaired the issues this time. The bad news is that the damage fried Bruce’s computer. We still haven’t heard from the insurance adjuster as yet, but we have all of our lights and have not experienced any brownouts and power surges tonight. Yea God!! I am afraid I did not sleep well last night. I was a bit nervous about not waking up on time so I was up every hour or so checking the time. I will sleep well tonight.

Isaiah 40:28 “Have you not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, faints not, neither is weary. There is no searching of His understanding."

Isaiah is telling us in this passage that God knows our every cry. He knows when and why we are tired. He also hears every plea for help. God knows every tear we ever cried and every time we have failed. He knows our every weakness. And yet, He stays with us. He gives us His strength when we are in need. God rejoices in our weakness because His strength is made perfect in our weakness.

It took a long time for me to figure out this statement about strength and weakness. When we are weak then God can come and place more of Himself in each of us and we use His strength.

God asks us to trust Him and to lean on Him and believe that all will be well. Tonight I ask you to pray for our friend David Russell as he prepares for back to back surgeries; one on Thursday and then one on Friday. I also ask for prayers for my cousin Danny. He is a young man in his early 40’s and is having a nuclear heart test tomorrow. Both families are so appreciative of your prayers. We are a praying bunch. Not too long ago I was the assisting minister in worship and I led the prayers of the people. Someone came up to me afterward and commented on the manner in which I did the prayers. I simply responded, “I practice a lot.”

Friends, everyone is fighting some kind of battle. We are all in this life together so let us pray for each other and offer up shoulder, an ear and be “God with skin on,” for someone who is in need.

Take joy in the journey and help someone walk the journey with 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 moved only by what I believe and I believe God.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Happy Tuesday!

Our house has been experiencing electrical power surges and brown outs sporadically for the past couple of weeks. Today began with these electrical phenomenon and Bruce said they went on for hours. The electric company was called and they said that the wiring at the pole in the backyard and the connectors were old. They repaired the damage to the wiring and connectors but not before we lost 2 TV sets, 1 DVD player, 3 power bars, 1 microwave, 1 IPod docking station and the greatest loss of all was the loss of our beloved Bose Wave Radio /CD player. The power surges fried all of these things.

I gave the Bose to Bruce on our 20th wedding anniversary. We listen to it daily and play music on it nightly. It wakes us up in the morning and lulls us to sleep each night. We also took it with us when we would sing somewhere where there was no accompanist. I phoned the insurance company and they will send out an adjuster in the next 24-36 hours. As Bruce was telling me about all of this on the phone as I was driving home and as I was assessing the loss and how we could recover these things, I was reminded that these were luxuries in our lives and that we could learn to live without them if we need to do so. I gave thanks that we had electricity and we were not in the dark. I gave thanks that I had a gas stove and still could prepare dinner. I gave thanks that the refrigerator was still intact.

1 Kings 3:7 “And now, O Lord my God, you have made your servant king instead of David my father and I am but a little child. I know not how to go out or come in.”

As a first grade teacher I am a mother figure to a lot of my children. And I must admit that I don’t mind being called “Mom” by these children. Mom is a term of endearment. My Mom has always been a person with whom I felt safe, nurtured and could trust no matter what. (You too, Dad!) When I walk down the hall with my students behind me, very often a child walks a bit faster and places their hand in mine as we walk together.

In Casey’s last days I would hold his hand for hours. I held his hand when he was in all of those chemo induced comas. Bruce and Geni were holding his hands when he took his last breath. We were clinging to our son and brother out of love and helplessness. It was the only thing we would do.

God wants us to cling to Him. He draws us near to Himself out of His love for us and our helplessness. God wants us to trust Him with all of our lives. God wants us to trust in Him knowing that He will never fail us. God wants us to cling to Him in our doubts. And God wants us to believe that there is no miracle that He cannot perform. As one of my favorite songs says, “When there is nothing left to do, but just depend on You…”

Let us place our hands in the One who offered His nail scarred hands in love for us.

Take joy in the journey and walk hand in hand with God. Love you all so much, Bruce, Gaylene, Geni and Travis.

I am not moved by what I see. I am not moved by what I feel. I am moved only by what I believe and I believe God.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Happy Monday!

Bruce made it home safely. Praise God from whom all blessings flow. He said the weekend inside the prison was a transforming experience. The only way Bruce could describe these men was that they were “starved.” Not physically starved, but starved for just someone they could talk to and for someone to love them. Someone to listen to them without being judging. They were starving for the Word of God and a witness to that Word. God’s love reaches down in to pits so deep, but His love is deeper still.

Ephesians 6:18 “Pray in the Spirit at all times with all kinds of prayers, asking for everything you need.”

“Love Him in the morning when you see the sun rising.
Love Him in the evening cause He took you through the day.
And in the in between times when you feel the pressure coming.
Remember that He loves you and He promises to stay.”

Do you remember singing this little song when you were a child? God calls us to pray in the Spirit. He asks us to keep Him in the front of our thinking from the early morning until we close our eyes at the end of the day. This means that before we rise in the morning, rub the sleep from our eyes and our feet hit the floor and before morning coffee, we need to begin in prayer asking the God through the power of the Holy Spirit to guide our steps in service to Him throughout the day. We need to step into His presence before we step into the shower. When I am driving to school, 20 miles, I have my morning prayer time and many times I am silent before God. It is at those times that I think of Casey and how much I miss him.

I think I miss Casey in the morning because I would drop by the hospital in the morning before school and see him. Most of the time I just watched him sleep. I would watch the rise and fall of his chest. When Casey was at home, I would enact the same ritual from my desk chair. I would pray for my son. I prayed for his healing and his well-being. Such a reassuring gesture is the breath of life. I would wait for him to wake up. I would then remember when he was so small I would just hold him and never take my eyes off of him and ask God to never let me forget what he looked like as an infant. Give God your waiting time. Wait in His presence.

At the end of the day as I have laid down for the night, I begin my prayer time with “God, I have come to say good night…” and continue from there. I give thanks that Bruce is beside me and that Geni and Travis are healthy and just a couple of doors down. I give thanks that God has brought me through another day and pray that I have been in His service throughout the day. And my day has come full circle. Give God your last thoughts of the day. Rest in the presence of God.

Friends, begin your day in the presence of God and end your day in His loving arms.

Take joy in the journey. 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 moved only by what I believe and I believe God.

PS Please add my cousin Danny to your prayers. He is 41 and is having some health issues the doctors don’t seem to be able to identify. He is having some heart tests tomorrow. The first tests that were run showed possible blockage. I hope to more soon. Please pray for Danny and our family. Thanks. gc
Greetings from Austin St.

Blessed Sunday to you all!

Isn’t fall wonderful?! I know it was wet today, but I got to wear a sweater today to church and have laid out another one to wear to school tomorrow. I love fall!

Isaiah 53:2 “He hath no form or comeliness; and when we shall see Him there is no beauty that we should desire Him.”

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

What attracts us to someone? Okay ladies, what first attracted you to your husband or boyfriends? Was it how he looked, how he walked, the way he talked or what he was doing? Gentlemen, I could ask the same questions of you and the women to whom you were attracted and (if you are married) eventually married. As for me being attracted to Bruce; he (and my daddy said it so well) Bruce was the first person I dated with whom I could be totally myself. Yes, I liked the way he looked, loved the way he sang, and he made my heart sing. But as we get older, looks change as does eye sight and voices begin to lose their strength, but he will always make my heart sing. I fell in love with Bruce the first time I saw him.

Isaiah tells us in this verse that there was nothing unusual about the way Jesus will look when He came to earth. There would be nothing overly attractive about Him that would attract others to Him by His physical presence. Jesus did not speak from a huge arena church with cameras and a teleprompter script with a make-up artist to cover the flaws and a wardrobe person to make an appropriate clothing selection. I have heard that if there was a crowd of people you would not be able to distinguish Jesus as being any different than any other Jewish man. So what is it that attracts us to Jesus?

I think for the people in the time when Jesus walked and with whom He came in contact the first attraction was that He spoke with authority. He spoke with the authority of the scriptures about the One who sent him. And when He spoke He did not speak words of judgment. Jesus spoke of the love of God for them. He spoke of forgiveness and how to treat others as they would like to be treated. He spent time explaining to the disciples and crowds of listeners and individuals about the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus spoke about the Kingdom of God here on earth and the Kingdom of Heaven after we leave this earth in death. Jesus explained if we live a godly life with the love of God in your heart and are guided by the Holy Spirit that we all will experience a physical bodily death, just as He, Himself would, but we would live again with Him in heaven. Those who have Jesus in their heart would see Jesus illuminated in their hearts because they are now guided by the Holy Spirit; the very essence of the Master Himself.

God calls us into relationship with Him. He wants all who believe to draw very near and we will see Him as He really is. We will experience joy in finding Him in our hearts as claiming Him as Master, Lord and Friend.

In these days of “looks are everything”, if we don’t like how we look we can get some doctor to change our looks or use enough make-up to cover the flaws, remember that what we look like on the outside will fade and how we look is not what is important to God. What we look like on the inside is what God wants to see as beautiful. God wants us to look like His Son on the inside. He wants us to glow with love, forgiveness, tender mercies and kindness for everyone we meet. For when we meet God face to face He will not ask why we are not wearing Armani, but he will ask to see your heart.

Take joy in the journey. 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 moved only by what I believe and I believe God.