Saturday, February 20, 2010

Happy Saturday!

Today was spent in preparation for the upcoming marriage of one of Ken’s (my brother) twin daughters’ upcoming marriage. Geni found a beautiful dress and we solved the problem of a tuxedo for Travis. The Men’s Wearhouse does not make a tuxedo to fit his power lifter’s arms and chest. Fortunately, Tuxedo Junction was able to fit him and all is well. We will all be in a flurry of activity as we approach the date of March 14th with bridal showers, rehearsals, bachelorette parties and great excitement as we approach the day of the wedding. Asenath is marrying a wonderful Navy man and their first duty station is in Hawaii. WOW!!

1 John 5:14, 15 “If we ask anything according to His will He hears us; and if we know that He hears us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him.”

God did not create us to be self-sufficient. In this passage of scripture God tells us that if we ask anything whatsoever, and if it is according to His will for our lives then He will give us the desires of our heart. I don’t think that this means that God is like the drive-through at Starbucks where we order a custom drink and the voice of the barista says it will be ready when you get here and just hand the drink through the window with no questions asked.

The He talked about in this scripture is God, Himself. The Almighty and everlasting God who came to earth to show His love for us through Jesus has promised to listen when we ask. I think that God is telling us to stay in contact with Him for all things in our lives. God is telling us that he wants to be as close to us as our every thought and to stay in contact with Him and depend on Him for all things. God longs to supply our needs. When we ask in His name then God hears a faith-assurance from us telling God of our trust in Him.

Take joy in the journey. Count your blessings and say your prayers. Love you all and see you in worship. 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.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Happy Friday!

Today was FAFSA day. Our taxes having been completed is always the pre-requisite for filling out the financial aid forms for the coming school year. With three of us in school we need all of the help we can get!

Isaiah 45:3 “And I will give you the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that you may know that I, the Lord, which call you by your name, am the God of Israel.”

I could not resist this passage from Isaiah. As I am sitting here I am remembering that a week ago tonight Bruce and I were snuggled in our bed in the dark covered in several blankets with the laptop on battery power watching a movie. I think the movie might have been a treasure in the darkness! The interesting thing about the power going out is how quiet the house is. It provided light, sound and a bit more pleasant way to endure a power outage.

By the end of the weekend we were all pretty tired of the dark and candlelight dinners were becoming highly overrated! But we tried not to complain and to treat the time as an adventure.

God wants us to meet all of our difficulties with love, laughter and a sense of the spirit of adventure. I would love to tell you that this is easy, but there are times it is not. We must always remember that even in the darkest places of our heart, God is always there and he would ask us to rest in Him. God asks us to endure whatever is placed before us and always remember that He is with us no matter what the difficulty. God also asks us to endure to the end. Continue to pray, continue to seek God’s will in the Word, continue to worship and to stay in close contact with God’s people. The more we come to know God in places of darkness maybe the darkness will not seem quite so difficult.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes, count your blessings and say your prayers. 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, February 18, 2010

Happy Thursday.

Luke 10:39, 42 “Mary…sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His Word…Mary has chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away.”

Today, around 2:15 pm I discovered I needed to test all of my students in reading and have the results prepared for a grade level meeting in the morning by 9:00. When I found this out I quickly seated my students and proceeded to test them individually until almost time to go home. I am usually more on top of things and have these things done in advance, but somehow this escaped me. In the busyness of the day and the life of a school teacher I missed this message. I still have three students to test first thing in the morning. I am not a fan of testing, I would just rather teach.

Mary could have been helping her sister Martha in the kitchen preparing the meal. Martha most likely asked her to come and help. Now I don’t know whether Mary was of little help in the kitchen, or if Mary was the one who was the house keeper or if she was just caught up in the excitement of Jesus visiting in her home. But for whatever reason Mary chose to sit at the feet of Jesus and be taught. Martha (as the story tells it) stayed in the kitchen and fumed as she prepared the meal for Jesus and the disciples.

Mary knew that hearing the Word of Jesus was the most important way she could spend her time on that day. Martha could prepare and serve many more meals, but Jesus would be there for such a short time and Martha missed it!

Are we more like Mary or Martha? I think there are times when I am both of these women. I need to be more like Mary. I need to choose to spend more time in the Word learning all I can about the Father, how to best serve Him, how to discern His will for my life and how to tell others about His wonderful love, grace and forgiveness. As I walk this Lenten journey, and I hope we walk together maybe we can be more like Mary in this very Martha world.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes, count your blessings and say your prayers. 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. Bruce’s Dr. appointment went well with the result of a change in medication. Thanks for the prayers.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Happy Ash Wednesday!

Prayer Alert: Bruce is going to the heart specialist tomorrow. He has a heart mummer that is gradually worsening. He will find out the current status tomorrow and where he needs to proceed from here.

Matthew 18:20 “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them.”

Okay, how many of us have driven down some street and seen Madam Whoozit’s Palm Reading, Tarot cards and fortune telling? Did you ever see the movie Ghost where Whoopie Goldberg plays Oda May Brown - Spiritual Reader and Advisor? These “spiritual” readers and advisors promise to help you find the love of your life, speak to loved ones who have passed on and a variety of other questionable services for a fee. These people claim to have psychic powers and for a price they will tell you what you want to know whether it is true or not.

God promises that if we gather in His name that He will be in our midst. God wants us to seek out time with Him. God does not necessarily want a question and answer time, but simply wants time spent in Communion with Him. As we enter the season of Lent, a time of spiritual journey and growth, I challenge each of you to find some time in the day to spend with God. You know God created us so that He could spend time with us and that we would seek Him out to spend time with Him. God did not get into this business to be a single parent! He so loves it when we seek Him out and spend time with Him. God is the spiritual being who will walk each road with us. God will lead us and guide us out of His love for us and make His plans known to us. We can count on His Word as truth without any money ever changing hands!

Take joy in the journey. Count your blessings and say your prayers. Love you all dear friends, 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, February 16, 2010

Happy Shrove Tuesday!

For those of you who need a translation, Shrove Tuesday is also known as Fat Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday. It is the official day of Mardi Gras. It is sort of a major “pig-out” day because tomorrow begins the season of Lent. From Wikipedia: Lent, in Christian tradition, is the period of the liturgical year leading up to Easter. The traditional purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer — through prayer, penitence, almsgiving and self-denial — for the annual commemoration during Holy Week of the Death and Resurrection of Jesus, which recalls the events linked to the Passion of Christ and culminates in Easter, the celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

The season of Lent is a penitential time of self examination and drawing closer to God through study of the Word, meditation, a sacrifice of time through service or giving up a worldly pleasure such as a favorite food, or beverage or activity and prayer. I have not decided on which one I will choose.

Tomorrow at Advent Lutheran Church the season of Lent will be remembered and entered into by the imposition of ashes. Ashes represent the phrase “from dust you have come and to dust you shall return.” The ashes are an outward and visible sign of the cross imposed by the pastor. The ashes are made from the burning of the palm branches of the previous year’s Palm Sunday celebration. Sometimes the ashes are mixed with rose scented oil or other fragrant oil of anointing and placed on the forehead in the shape of the cross by the pastor as a reminder of the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross.

Psalm 61:2 “From the end of the earth will I cry unto You, when my heart is overwhelmed; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.”

Of all of the seasons of the church year I think Lent is the season when I grow the most as a Christian. Lent is the one season of the church that is focused on God, the life of Jesus and walking the road to the cross once again. The season of Lent is a journey. This is not a journey filled with anticipation of birth or the glory of resurrection, but focusing on walking a daily walk with Christ as He walked His last days on earth.

In my meditation tonight the opening words were “I am your Savior, your Savior from sins’ thralls(slavery) , your Savior from all the cares and troubles of life, your Savior from disease.” The words that gave me the most comfort and assurance were “I am your Savior.” And then I realized that not only was the passage telling me that God is my Savior but God is telling me that no matter what happens I can trust Him.

Trust Him not only to forgive me when I mess up royally, but to continue to love me. God says I can trust Him to be with me and take my cares and struggles on Himself and stay with me during the hard times. I don’t know about being saved from disease, but I know that if disease happens that God is the Master Healer and will remain with me during the healing process and one way or another will restore me to well-being. (As far as I know, I am just fine!) I guess the message I am supposed to learn tonight is to trust the Lord, my God with all of my heart, soul, mind and strength.

So walk the Lenten journey. Walk with Christ through streets of Jerusalem, out on the water and in the boats with the disciples, from the wells of the outcasts, to the pool where the blind man sat until we all land once again at the table for the meal, to the garden to pray and to the cross where all of our sins died with the Savior. Remember, He is our Savior and we are called to trust.

Take joy in this Lenten journey. Wear comfortable shoes, count your blessings and say your prayers. Love you all precious friends, 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, February 15, 2010

Happy Monday!

Yes, I am writing from home. Last evening Geni, Travis and I were at Starbucks charging computers, checking email and I was catching up on some grading. Then I received a text message from Bruce saying, “I am doing the laundry.” I think that is the most wonderful text message I have received in a long time. We were all so excited and cleaned up our table and packed in record time only to be brought back to earth in the realization that I had almost completely cleaned out the fridge that afternoon and a trip to the grocery store was imminently necessary!! And even though it was Valentine’s evening and supposed to be an evening set aside for romance, we did not have a candlelight dinner on last evening. I think I have had enough candlelight dinners for a while.

Isaiah 26:4 “You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on God, because he trusts in God.”

I have learned a couple of things from the last few days of “Adventures in Darkness.” First, when you do not have power, you are limited in what you can do and, second, when there is a great deal of quiet, there is more time to speak to God and to listen to His teachings.

I must admit that by Sunday I was becoming a bit down about the lack of power and really did not want to be at home. When the things of this world become limited, the opportunity to spend time with God becomes more apparent. In the bustle of life not always do a great many things get accomplished, but spending time with God is time well spent in conversation and listening. Even though I was not really at peace in the house in the darkness, I had some really great time to spend with God in prayer and in His presence. I was trying to make lemonade out of lemons.

Don’t wait until a time of darkness occurs before you turn to God. Turn to Him daily and get to know Him and learn to listen, seeking the “light” of His Word.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes, count your blessings and say your prayers. 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.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Blessed Sunday and Happy Valentine’s Day!

Here is the update. Candles are low but hope is high and there are just a few questions. You guessed it, we still are without electricity. At last evenings writing we were at Starbucks and the trucks had at least made an appearance in our neighborhood. Jefferson St. seems to have been restored, but part of Austin Street is still dark. So last night there was another candlelight dinner in the Chrystie household. The kids have electric heaters in their rooms. Geni came out and told me, “Mom, I can see my breath in my room.” (this writing will most likely be continued elsewhere as I am down to about 18% power.)

Proverbs 8:34 “Blessed is the man that hears me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the ports of my doors.”

I almost laughed at this passage when I think of how many times I have gone to the door in the last 56 hours when it sounded like there was a large Oncor truck passing by our house. As I would look and listen I would be once again disappointed. And then I read this verse and the meditation. I realized once again (okay, I get it God!) that I am looking and listening for things that are temporal. Instead of looking, waiting and listening for a truck, I need to simply stand in the presence of God. I got up a while ago and stood in front of the heater in the living room reading this meditation and became aware of just how much I was drawn to heat and light. When the shadows of the room were overcoming my ability to read my devotion I sought greater light. My strongest desire was to stay in the light.

What if I sought that hard to stay in the light of God’s presence? The weight and care of this world would completely overtake me and each of us outside of the light of the presence of God. Now in the grand scheme of things this lack of light and power is inconvenient, but in time (shortly I hope we need clean clothes!) will be repaired. The good news is that we are never out of the light of God’s presence and loving hand. The longer we remain in His presence His strengthening, creative and enduring love and grace begin to permeate our being. This strengthening, creative and enduring love and grace is not of our own doing, but out of His love for us because we are the focus of His love.

So, even when the power of this world goes out, the power of God is ever true no matter what the storms of life bring. Journey toward and into the light of God’s Holy presence.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes (dry socks!) count your blessings and say your prayers. See you in worship! 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 With 8% to spare! Isn’t God good?

(PSS – this was writing Sunday afternoon, but not edited and posted until Sunday evening. The Oncor people finally made it to our neighborhood and, as of 5:30pm, our electricity came back on!!!! Thanks for your prayers.)