Saturday, October 24, 2009

Happy Saturday!

My Saturday did not start on a happy note, but it did get better. This morning was one of those mornings when I really missed Casey. In the last year of his life I would go to the hospital and have breakfast with him on Saturday mornings. So, to lift my spirits, I thought I would make breakfast for Travis and take it to him at Starbucks. He was so busy and could not take a few minutes to eat. Geni was still asleep and Bruce was with his reunion group at the Division Street Diner. I really needed my family to heal the hurt and sadness I was experiencing. So I went to the diner, ordered oatmeal and waited for Bruce to finish. While I waited for Bruce to finish I read one of the devotional books I keep with me and made some notes on the scripture and text I was reading. Bruce finished his group and sat with me while I shared my sadness and pretty soon I was feeling better.

1 timothy 3:15 “That family is the church of the living God, the support and foundation of the truth.”

When we come into relationship with God He enters our lives with His Holy Spirit, but then He places us in His family; the Church. When our trust in the world is transferred to trust in God then we are forgiven, given pardon for our sins and become a part of His family. In the new testament from the books of Acts and the Book of Revelation, brothers and sisters appears 148 times!! Wow! God loves families so much that He created a family beyond His own earth born family. He created His church as His living family.

God heals His family through His family. The church is where we use our gifts in worship, service, prayer and study. Not just the building where worship is held each week, but the church that is out in the community serving in the name of Christ, the church that sends you cards in joy and in sorrow, the church that sends you emails of encouragement, the church that visits you, the church that brings food to your home, the church that celebrates your greatest joys and stands with you in your deepest sorrows and helps carry your burdens is the family of God.

Today besides being my husband, Bruce was my brother in Christ. And even though we carry the same burden of missing our son, today it was my turn to cry and he was there to help dry the tears and pay for my oatmeal.

Take joy in the journey, wear a sweater and invite others to become a part of the family of the living God. Okay, family, see you at the Table tomorrow. Love you all, Bruce, Gaylene, Geni 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.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Happy Friday!

1 Timothy 2:1 “Pray for all people, asking God for what they need and being thankful to Him.”

Matthew 10:22 “And you shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake; but He that endures to the end shall be saved.”

This is an interesting pairing of scriptures. Both of these passages reminded me of the last year of Casey’s life. They also remind me of how much I have learned in the last two years about trust and fear.

After the shock and tears of telling Casey of the incurable disease, his first words were, “I will beat this.” This statement was made in faith and confirmation of Casey’s belief in the living God. As I watched Casey so closely throughout the last year of his life this statement of faith went before Casey each every minute of each day. Every time chemotherapy was administered, every time he received a transfusion, every X-ray, blood draw, and 5K twice a day walks around the hospital floor were a shining testament to the God of faith and Casey’s belief that everything humanly possible was being done to battle this disease. While doctors, nurses, other health care professionals and don’t forget the “vampires” were doing everything they could to help Casey’s body arrest the cancer, Casey became a mighty prayer warrior. He prayed for all of the people on the floor. He would pray for what they needed. He would pray for their healing, their well-being and their relationships with Christ.

God tells us in the Matthew scripture that we must trust Him to our very last breath and that no matter what the circumstance, we need to continue to trust. Trusting is not being able to see the outcome, but believing even when you cannot see. We must be ready like the servants of the past, like Abraham. Abraham walked up the hill of sacrifice until at the last moment Abraham got to see the deliverance of God. God wants us to rely on Him alone. God asks us to trust and fear not.

Take joy in the journey, wear a sweater and find some coffee to keep you warm. 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.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Happy Thursday!

I believe the cold front has arrived. Tomorrow will be a sweatshirt, blue jeans, crocs and socks wearing day for me.

We have been collecting money for the United Way this week at school. I think my class has collected more money than any other class. I am so proud of them.
And tonight I have spent baking. It was nice to fill the house with smells of cinnamon coffee cake and a bake sale treat of candy coated cake balls.

Jude 1:20 “But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit.”

If you meet my beloved husband, Bruce, you will meet a man who loves the Lord, loves serving the Lord with his whole heart, adores and is devoted to his family and does his best to take care of us in so many ways. Sometimes in simple ways like tonight, I needed waxed paper and I forgot to pick some up at the store. He came in from working a long hard day of work and turned around and went back to the store just for waxed paper because I needed it. There are times he denies himself something he needs for the benefit of one of us. But, (forgive me darlin’) he did not start out that way. When we first met and later married, Bruce’s faith was mostly in his head, but not in his heart. When Bruce discovered how much God loved Him and sacrificed His life through Jesus then Bruce’s life completely changed.

I think when we all come to the realization of the crucified Christ and begin to allow His love to permeate every part of ourselves through prayer, reading the Word, fellowshipping with other believers and worshiping this same Christ, we are building up unshakable faith. When we spend time “furnishing” the quiet places of our lives with Christ-like thoughts and showing godly action in service then our time is well spent. As we practice a “life in piety”; prayer, worship, service and study, then our lives are in harmony with God and we become the enduring body of Christ.

Praying in the power of the Holy Spirit is the most powerful way we can pray. Praying in the Holy Spirit tells God that we not only know Jesus, but that Jesus lives in each of us because His essence lives within us. When we pray in the power of the Holy Spirit we claim God’s sovereignty and Lordship over our lives. We confess to God that we are surrendering over to Him our will and placing it in His loving hands.

Nobody starts at the finish line. So let us begin anew in our life in piety. Pick something that really needs attention and just begin. Let’s see where our journey takes us.

Take joy in the journey and wear a sweater. 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 21, 2009

Happy Wednesday!

It has been a long day as all of my Wednesdays are, but it has been a really good day. In my ethics class this afternoon I actually understood most of what the professor was speaking about. Maybe some of this ethical theory is beginning to make some sense. Today I heard the words, God’s grace, God’s love, God’s self- revelation in Jesus Christ, the Sermon on the Mount and the Ten Commandments. And the best news of all is that the paper that was due next Wednesday has been moved to November 4. An extra week; YEA!

Revelation 3:20 “Behold, I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him and will sup with him, and he with Me.”
Isaiah 55: 3 “Incline your ear, and come unto Me: hear and your soul shall live.”

The holiday season is rapidly approaching and that means a time for feasting. Next week, children will feast on candy and treats in celebration of Halloween. A few weeks later we will celebrate Thanksgiving with family and friends (another reason to eat). This is followed by Christmas and many parties which involve food, friends and family. There seem to be lots of opportunities to eat. Whether you go to another home as a guest or host a gathering at you home, somebody is going knock on your door and you will welcome them into your home or you will be welcomed. We knock expecting to be invited inside and experiencing the excitement and anticipation of the gathering awaiting you inside.

In anticipation of all of these celebrations we will prepare our homes. We will clean, cook, decorate and make our homes as inviting as possible to receive our guests or to be received as a guest.

When Jesus knocks on the door of our hearts it is the response to the longing of our hearts for Him. Jesus will always knock first and wait to be invited inside. He will not burst through the door and shout surprise and catch us unprepared. God is always ready to enter our lives and show His love for us. When Jesus enters our lives, He invites us to His table. He dines with us and is the preparer and provider of the food. Jesus provides His unconditional love, forgiveness, grace, tender mercies and compassion. He does not prepare the meal and leave, Jesus sits and dines with us.

We come to the table in whatever state Jesus finds us. But each of us comes to the table as ones who are in need of the meal that only a King can provide. Now I am pretty good cook, but I could never place on the table anything that will satisfy comparably to what the King of Kings and Lord of Lords has already placed before me.

Listen for the knock at the door. On the other side there may be an invitation to a banquet hosted by the King and He is inviting us to be His guest.

Take joy in the journey, carry an umbrella and wear a sweater. 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.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Happy Tuesday!

This was such a beautiful fall day. With three of us in college there are lots of mid-terms going on.

Ephesians 5:8-10 “Walk as children of light: (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth) Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.”
I think I have shared with you my childhood fear of the dark. I still am not a great fan of the dark. As believers in Christ we need never walk in darkness. For as the book of John tells us Jesus Christ is the Light of the World. But how do we get to walk in that light?

We walk in the light of Christ each time we accept His will for our lives. Each time we surrender our wills over to God through Jesus we walk in the light of Christ. Each time we kneel at the foot of the cross carrying our sorrow and burdens, the burdens of sin are rolled away in the love that covers us in the blood of Jesus. Sin is a place of darkness and every time we ask forgiveness and walk the road of repentance we let a bit more of the light of Christ into our souls and we no longer walk in darkness.

Have you heard the parable of the pumpkin? It is making the rounds this season. It basically says that when Christ enters our lives we are filled with darkness, seeds and pumpkin guts. God, through Jesus, removes all of our sin, seeds, pumpkin guts and lets in the light. . And we feel so wonderful that He carves a smile on our face and places His light inside for the warmth of our souls and to let the world know that He lives in our hearts.

So friends are we willing to surrender our wills over to the hands of the Father? And then after the surrender are we willing to say thank you for the love of God whose desire is for us to never walk in darkness, but shine with the light of His love for us?

Take joy in the journey and only visit houses with glowing pumpkins. 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.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Happy Monday!

From all reports this beautiful fall day treated all of the Chrysties well.

1 John 5:14, 15 “If we ask any thing according to His will He hears us: And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him.”

Tonight I ask each of you to lift the Kocher family in your prayers. They are members of Advent Lutheran Church. Carol is the organist for the 8:00 service. Her beloved husband, Bob, entered the Church Triumphant yesterday. He had been ill for quite some time. Our Music Director emailed all of us today and titled her email; The Church Triumphant. I thought what an amazing entrance that must have been. He will be singing in the choir with Casey in no time.

Every cry of our heart goes straight to the ear and heart of God. Do you ever think that God does not hear you? We live in such a world of instant gratification that we are not willing to wait on very many things. We are so conditioned to having our needs met instantly that once we have made a request we are already on to the next item on our agenda. Maybe it is not that God is not hearing and answering, but perhaps we are not stopping to listen for His response.

God knows the answers to our heart’s cry even before we ask. It is sort of like a great musical duet. One part is made to fit into the other to perfection. God’s responses are waiting out there in eternity for us to make our requests known to Him. We just need to slow down and trust ourselves to the One who knows and loves us best.

Tonight the Kocher family is grieving the loss of their husband, father and grandfather. God knows their heart’s cry and grieves with them, because He, too, suffered loss. God will comfort them and bring them peace.

Take joy in the journey and wear a sweater. Love you, 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.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Blessed Sunday to you all!

Worship was filled with holy moments today. The sanctuary was full. We honored our confirmands today and were blessed with their faith statements. The music was amazing. My personal favorite today was “Revelation Song.” One of our praise team sings the verses and we join her on the chorus. It is a song that sings of the worthiness of worshiping God, “Holy, holy is He.” It is a moving song that places you at the throne of grace, sitting at the feet of the Father and in an atmosphere of worship and praise.

Deuteronomy 4: 29 “If…you seek the Lord your God, you will find Him if you look for Him…”

Today these amazing young men and women stepped up behind the lectern and shared with the congregation their faith statements. They were all dressed beautifully and looked so handsome. They were all a bit nervous. Each of them had many family members present in support and pride at this accomplishment in their lives. Hands were laid on these fine young people and they were blessed and set on a path of service for our Lord and Savior.

One of the young men, the son of one of the members of the praise team and football player (a big guy) closed his talk with the words “Go God!” How totally appropriate to show this kind of open enthusiasm for our Lord and Savior! Ryan blessed all of us and reminded us that God is worthy of our worship and that worship is not just a time for quiet reflection and prayerful thought. Worship is a time for praise, joyful praise, and emotional, exuberant enthusiasm for all of the blessings God has bestowed upon us.

Perhaps we should take a lesson from Ryan and “cheer” God on in our lives. The joy just might be catching!

Take joy in the journey and wear a sweater. 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.