Saturday, May 21, 2011

Happy Saturday!

Bruce has spent most of the day continuing to rest, but felt well enough to go to the grocery store with me tonight. So far he has not experienced any adverse effects from the procedure. We continue to give thanks to God and His healing grace. We also continue to give thanks for all of you mighty and faithful prayer warriors for continuing to keep Bruce in your prayers. Bruce will be in touch with Dr. Lal on Monday as to how we proceed from here.

Prayer: God, I praise you for another day of life. Thank you for keeping me mindful of Your presence today. In these few moments of study and reflection at the end of this day, thank You for teaching me more about the peace I have in You and how I can be a peacemaker in the world. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Romans 5: 1-2 “Having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we also have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”

The peace given by God is the foundation of each believer’s life. We will still have problems in our lives, but we face these problems with God who gives us the resources through His Word to meet our needs.

As most of the teachers in Texas who are paid once a month, when we get to this time in the month just shortly before pay day, we are hoping to get to the end of the month before the money runs out. But as Bruce reminded me tonight, my prayer has always been for “enough.” And sure enough tonight there was enough to buy enough groceries to get us through until Friday.

God gives us solutions to life’s problems. First, we have peace with God because of the atoning work of Jesus Christ. Peace solves the problems of the past. Next, God gives us access to Him through faith. We can approach God in our time of need and receive grace and mercy. And God gives us hope in Christ. We can trust in God to take care of our problems. When we take them to Him, He works with us as we work through the problems life presents. We are given God’s resources and we can let peace, faith and hope reign in our hearts. So, my friends, God calls us to hang in there because he hangs in there with us.

I ask for your prayers as I place my membership at the Palmer Christian Church in Palmer, Texas tomorrow as a first step toward being ordained. I pray that I will be obedient and serve God in this congregation as His will demands. Thank you.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes. Count your blessings and say your prayers. Remember that God works with us in the midst of life’s problems until His good purpose has been fulfilled. Love you all and take it to the Lord in prayer. 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.
Happy Friday!

Bruce rested today. He got out this evening when we took dinner to Geni at Starbucks. He seems to be recovering well from the procedure but is not up to full speed yet. The doc’s office is supposed to call him on Monday with further instructions. Thank you for your continued prayers.

Prayer: “Father, thank You for loving me. I pray that You will give me the grace and humility to live at peace with my brothers and sisters in Christ. Lord, set my heart right before You so I can share Your love with Your people. In Christ’s name I pray. Amen.”

1Thessalonians 5: 12-13 “We urge you, brethren, to recognize those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very lightly in love for their word’s sake. Be at peace among yourselves.”

In the workroom at school we have this really cute poster saying “Try to get along with those with whom you work, but if you feel yourself on a collision course with someone give a yell!” The picture is of two children in bumper cars trying to get around the same track.

Sometimes relationships can become tension filled and somewhat stressful even among those who claim loving relationships with each other. That is just the way life works. Sometimes we feel even our closest relationship within families or with friends, co-workers or those with whom we worship, is really difficult. Sometimes we want to just bail out of the relationship or situation and choose to close the door. If we choose this as a life pattern then our relationships will have really short life-spans.

But if we look at God’s Word in this passage it gives us instruction on how to be at peace with one another. This scripture provides godly wisdom in telling us to recognize those with whom we work as people just like ourselves with joys, sorrows, doubts and struggles. It also reminds us that we are not the only ones to walk a rough and rocky road. As an example, when we lost Casey I do not think we even knew but one or maybe two people who had lost their children. But soon after we met so many people who had walked the same road as we were walking. Now there were others to help and encourage us down the road to healing and peace. The instructions in these two verses let us know that peace is possible.

Jesus is the Prince of Peace. He modeled reconciliation with the Holy Father and showed us how to have reconciliation among ourselves. We pray, ask forgiveness and begin to walk the road as encouragers in fellowship with each other and with God. Sometimes when I find it difficult to forgive someone who has wronged me and I am so hurt then I have to ask God to forgive and love them for me until I can sincerely do this. God calls each of us to practice forgiveness and perseverance through a difficult time. The best part is that God is there with us in the midst of our difficulty encouraging us and loving us and those with whom we have relationships.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes. Count your blessings and say your prayers. Trust God to be larger than our difficulties and intimate enough with us to work with us as long as it takes. Love you all mighty and faithful prayer warriors, 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, May 19, 2011

Happy Thursday!

We give thanks to the giver of every good and perfect gift and the creator of life that all went perfectly today. Lord Jesus was in the room all day. The first and best good news was that Bruce had no blockages. The only problem encountered today was that Bruce’s oxygen saturation kept going below 90 which caused the alarms to go off throughout the afternoon. That was most likely due to his very relaxed state with the “conscious sedation” he was given. He wasn’t breathing as deeply as he normally does. So, all that has to happen is the aortic valve replacement. The good news is that the surgeon who has been recommended to do Bruce’s valve replacement is reported by the nursing staff to be the “top dog.” They also say that we have this surgery on his time table. So I guess Dr. Norcross will set the time and we will do what he says.

The floor on which Bruce will be during his surgery is the 3rd floor of Memorial. He will just be at the other end of the hall. I have not been on that floor in two and a half years. So I took a deep breath, went up the stairs from the waiting room and made a left onto the oncology floor. The nurses remembered me and welcomed me warmly with hugs wanting to know all about the family and how all were doing. It was great to see them again. And then just as I was about to say my good-bye’s and go back to check on Bruce there was a fire drill and the floor locked down and I stayed a bit longer. So now I think I can go back to the floor when the time comes and be okay.

Prayer: Lord, bless every aspect of my life today. Give me the strength and grace to live in unity with other believers so that Your name may be honored through our lives and glorified in this world. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.”

Colossians 3: 14-15 “Above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body, and be thankful.”

As a teacher of reading, I instruct children in different strategies of reading. Cause and effect is one of the strategies. Today this passage of scripture is a good model of this strategy. The Word tells us to put on love and let it rule our hearts. When we let love (another name for God) rule our hearts then the effect is that we will have peace in our hearts. Peace in our hearts is what God’s love is like when it reigns over us. And when God’s love reigns over us then God’s peace rules in us.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes. Count your blessings and say your prayers. Thank you all for your covering prayers today. You are truly mighty and faithful prayer warriors. Remember when you pray to give thanks to God for being with us and working with us in the midst of every situation in which we find ourselves. 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.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Happy Wednesday!

Bruce’s heart cath is scheduled for 9:30 am. We are checking in at 7:30. I think we are going to be on the third floor of Memorial.

Prayer: “Lord, thank you for being here before I got here. You are eternal, immortal, invisible and all-powerful. You alone are God. I praise You as my Creator, my Sustainer, and my Redeemer. Since You make all there is just by speaking Your Word. I know there is nothing I will face today that will be difficult for You. I trust in Your power. Amen.”

John 11: 4 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.”

This morning I was driving to school and attempting to listen to my IPOD for my morning drive time devotional. Today it did not work. I am not sure why it did not work so I decided that today I would just be quiet before God and listen. I opened my silent prayer invoking the Holy Spirit and began to hear Bruce singing in my head, “In This Very Room.” It is a song he has sung in many of our concerts throughout our years in concert ministry. The words say, “In this very room there’s quite enough love for one like me for Jesus, Lord Jesus is in this very room.” It was a moment that brought me to my knees giving thanks that God was connecting Bruce and I through His Holy Spirit. It was as if God was speaking directly to me revealing Himself to my mind reminding me that He would be there along with the doctors, technicians and whoever else is involved. I so needed God’s reassurance that He would be with Bruce as he goes through this procedure tomorrow. I know that Bruce is covered in prayer and God’s loving care for He will be in that room with him tomorrow during the test and during the long hours of laying flat after the procedure.

God is not only our Creator but is our great Communicator. There are all kinds of idols in this world which may have mouths, but cannot speak, which may have eyes but cannot see and which may have ears but cannot hear. Our God speaks and hears. He listens not only to our spoken word but to our thoughts when we cannot form the words to pray. He speaks to us through His Word written in Scripture, through “Jesus Christ who is eternally, equally and essentially God which tells me He is able.” I cannot ask for anything more than an able God to be in the room with Bruce.

So my friends I thank you so much for all of your prayers. Please remain in prayer giving thanks to God for His continued loving presence. Thank you for walking this new journey with us. You were faithful once before and so helped to sustain us. We love you all.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes. Count your blessings and say your prayers. God is with us working and remaining with us no matter what is going on in our lives. Claim His holy presence and walk in peace. 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 We are stopping at Starbucks before we go to the hospital to pick up a coffee traveler. I have had a lot of hospital coffee and Starbucks is the way to go!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Happy Tuesday!

Bruce registered at the hospital this morning. He is scheduled for 9:30 on Thursday. I ask your continued prayers for his healing and recovery. Thank you, mighty and faithful prayer warriors.

Prayer: “Good morning Lord. Thank You for the gifts of life and of rest. Thank You for today’s opportunities and tests. In whatever I face today, You are with me, Lord, I praise You for Your grace, Your mercy and Your love. I look forward to experiencing those things today. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

Micah 7: 18 “Who is a God like You, pardoning iniquity and passing over the transgression of the remnant of His heritage? He does not retain His anger forever, because He delights in mercy.”

Randy Travis sings a song with this line, “Get to know God before you need Him.” It is so important for each of us to get to know God, but what is really important is to learn what God is really like. We need to learn what God likes and what He does not like. God hates and judges sin. But He also shows mercy to His children because His love is unchanging.

In my meditation tonight the author shares that in the Koran there are 99 names for Allah, but the one name that is missing is…love. The God of the Holy Scriptures is the only God written about that forgives sins. Sins are a heavy burden that need to be lifted. God pardons, passes over and forgets our sins just with our asking. He never counts our sins of the past so each moment we live in His holy presence is a new moment, a new place of starting over in His love and grace. You know how I said that our sins are a burden that need to be lifted? Well, if God can forgive and forget our sins then why should we hold on to what is past when we can live each moment in the light of His love and grace? What we don’t understand is just how vast and expansive is our God. There is no place on earth or in heaven that is outside the realm of God’s love.

In our Praise Team on Sunday mornings, we sing a piece called “There is none like You. No one else can touch my heart like You. I could search all eternity long, and find there is none like You.” We love an awesome God and with our highest praise, from the foot of the cross, He loves us too. Praise God from whom all blessings flow.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes, (I wore my new Payless version of the “Shape-ups” to day. And they are purple and white! Completely comfortable!) Count your blessings and say your prayers. Remember that God works with us in the midst of our toughest times. Count on His presence and trust in His grace. 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, May 16, 2011

Happy Monday!

On Sunday after church Bruce and I went to the mall and bought new walking shoes. We bought the kind with the fat soles, the Payless variety, and began a nightly regimen of walking. The doc recommended a 10 minute brisk walk each evening. Last night we went walking with Jackson and Lamar, our bassets. We did walk but not too briskly. Bassets tend to stop and sniff or chat with other dogs and people along the way. So tonight we donned our shoes and walked without the dogs. FYI my shoes are purple and white!! Go Frogs! Bruce goes into the hospital tomorrow for registration and lab work. Continued thanks for all of your prayers.

Prayer: “Father in heaven, I praise Your name for being the God of peace. Your Son Jesus is the Prince of Peace. Please help me to be mindful of Your presence and to sow the fruit of righteousness wherever I go today. Guide me with the wisdom of Your Word so my life will reflect the peace that only You can bring into every life. Amen.”

James 3:17-18 “The wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown by peace by those who make peace.”

My dear readers, as you know last December I interviewed with the NTNL Candidacy committee for the ordination process in the Lutheran Church, ELCA. I was accepted into the program and given a minister’s manual. After reading the manual I discovered that the path to ordination via ELCA was not the calling to which I have received from God. There were requirements I was not being to be able to meet. At the age of 55, the time requirements were such that I was going to need chaplain services before I was going to be a chaplain. (HA! HA!)

I continued to pray and God made it very clear to me that I was to hold fast to His faithfulness, His leading and to depend on Christ alone. So, next Sunday I am going to place my membership in the Palmer Christian Church in Palmer, Texas. It is a very small church in which I will be a student pastor. The Christian Church, Disciples of Christ, will license me as a student pastor soon and when I graduate from Brite Divinity School in 2 to 3 years, I will be an ordained pastor in the Christian Church, Disciples of Christ with all of the authority to administer the sacraments, be protected for legal confidentiality, marry, bury and baptize.

I never understood the path of discernment until I began to pray, study, listen and be counseled in this decision. Parts of this process of decision making were agonizing. But when I came back to the words Christ Alone, I know that God truly was the author and creator of this path and I am assured that by His grace and leading I am called to be an ordained pastor and chaplain with the ministry of hope to those who are in need of the heart of the gospel at their moment of deepest need.

I ask your kind prayers and encouraging support as I continue to study, pray and learn to minister and become who God has called me to be. Thank you all my dear friends and prayer warriors. Love you all, Gaylene.

PS For my Lutheran friends, Fear Not! After consulting with Pastor Joel I can hold dual membership while I am a student. After all, I am a Lutheran in my heart and will carry Lutheran sacramental theology wherever I go.

Take joy in the journey! Wear comfortable shoes. Count your blessings and say your prayers. When you pray remember that God is with us in the midst of whatever is going on in our lives and working with us and for us drawing us closer to Himself. Please continue to pray for Bruce as he prepares for the heart cath on Thursday. The main thing that concerns Bruce is the laying there for several hours after the procedure. 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, May 15, 2011

Blessed Sunday to you all!

Prayer: “God, thank You for Your peace. I am eternally grateful for the peace I have with You through the Cross of Christ, and for the peace I enjoy in this life because of Your presence in me! Continue Your work of grace in me. Do whatever it takes to fashion me into Your image. Be glorified in me! Amen.”

Hebrews 12: 11-14 “No chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have be trained by it…Make straight the path for your feet so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed. Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord.”

If you have raised a child and you were like us, disciplining your children was never something in which to take joy. When they were young, spanking was the last resort and as they grew other disciplines were more appropriate. Real discipline is rooted in love. One way we showed our love was to try to teach our children right from wrong and as they grew Bruce and I hoped that the lessons of right and wrong, consequences and rewards would become a part of their thinking and decision making. Yes, we made mistakes and so did they, but generally speaking all of those lessons have managed to turn out good citizens with virtues, values and the ability to make responsible decisions and get along with most people. There were times it was not very easy, but we stuck it out and did not give up. (Grounding was always harder on us that it ever was on the kids!)

God is our Father. His discipline is rooted in His love for us. When God, the Father, has to discipline us he does it out of His compassion for us and it is proof that we are His children. Sometimes, just as our own children, we tend to dwell on how much the discipline from God has hurt. God’s discipline is never easy and in fact it is sometimes downright difficult. But even in His discipline of us He hangs in there with us. But when we learn our lessons and walk in obedience then we have the peace of God within our hearts and in our lives. The sweetest feeling we can ever have is peace within our hearts given by our heavenly Father.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes. Count your blessings and say your prayers. Please continue to pray for Bruce as he prepares for the heart cath and surgery to follow. I promise to keep you posted. Remember when you pray that God remains with us within the midst of the storm and never leaves us. 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.