Saturday, July 14, 2012

Happy Saturday! 

Prayer:  Father, thank You for a day when we recognize Your presence through Your Word, Your people and the gift of prayer.  Help us to walk in Your Spirit today.  Help us to recognize Your Presence in every breath we take and every step we take giving thanks for Your very Word and Spirit that dwells within us.  We love you, Lord, so very much. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

“If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”
Galatians 5: 25

The first time I was to be the on call chaplain for JPS I was pretty nervous.  It was a great big place and I didn’t know how to get around in it. I was also pretty sure that there were going to be situations arise that I had never dealt with before. But I was there to do a ministry and to be led by the Spirit. My hope was that I would not do any harm.  The good news for me that night was that a staff chaplain who works at JPS met me there and stayed with me for about three hours to show me around and help me to gain some landmarks as to how to get around and some of the logistics of the job. Too soon, his three hours with me had passed and he left me with a blessing and said, “It’s all yours now.” 

So as the calls began to come in I referred to my notes and spent most of the night being pretty lost and fumbling a lot.  However, each time I left the office with a look of total “Where am I?” someone crossed my path and asked where I needed to go and then either directed me or took me there.  I trusted the person leading me and I landed where I needed to be. 

I think that is how the Holy Spirit works in us.  As we begin our relationship with Christ, the Holy Spirit is so very present and we are so excited and thrilled over this new relationship that we have that “trust like a child” that no matter what happens we will land on our feet.  But as we progress through this life with Christ we need to renew that recognition that the Spirit continuously lives within us. We also need to remember that it is the Spirit that leads us as we encounter people, relationships and new events in our lives. 

Tomorrow I am on call at JPS.  It is Sunday and I have never been on call on Sunday.  I am to lead a worship service in the hospital and answer calls for 24 hours.  I recognize the Presence of the Holy Spirit within my heart and I pray that I will listen to that same Holy Spirit who will lead me to share God’s goodness and blessings with someone who needs it.  Please offer a prayer for the patients, guests, doctors, nurses, all other staff and me as we serve the patients tomorrow.  Thanks, friends.

Take joy in the journey.  Wear comfortable shoes and get some sleep.  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 only moved by what I believe and I believe God.

Please lift up Brenda and her family as she lost her mother Saturday afternoon. Brenda’s mother and father had been married 68 years.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Happy Thursday!

Tomorrow, the intern chaplains will share the mid-unit evaluations.  We each have prepared a document answering questions as to how we believe we have progressed in the program so far.  I ask your prayers for this time  Thank you friends.

Prayer:  Father, I praise You that I am under no condemnation since giving You my life.  Help me to walk in the Spirit.  Spirit of the living God, pray through me according to Your will. Amen.”

“The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.”
Romans 8: 16

Who doesn’t love Romans 8?  It is one of the most well loved and referred to chapters in all of scripture.  It begins with “no condemnation” v. 1 and ends with “no separation” vs. 38-39.  This chapter tells us that we are sanctified, strengthened, sealed and secured by the love of God through the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit witnesses to us.

This verse bears a really special message to all of us and even a message we might have missed.  We count on the Holy Spirit to lead and guide us in our study of the Word for understanding and for prayer as we listen for God’s voice, but did you ever think about the Holy Spirit witnesses using us? The Holy Spirit remains with us giving us faith as a continual reminder of our salvation and the constant Presence of Christ in our lives. 

When I am with a family who has lost a loved one in death or will lose their loved one in a few moments I know there are no words of comfort I can give that will take away the pain of loss.  The words I begin with are “I don’t know what God’s plans are for this night or for the days to come, but I do know that God is here right now and is with us at this time.”  I look at these moments as the time when the Holy Spirit works its comforting presence without my trying to bring comfort. 

The Holy Spirit is incorruptible and nothing we will ever encounter will ever have the power to separate us from this presence of God in our lives.  This love that is incorruptible and makes itself inseparable in our very being is the same love that is found in God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Take joy in the journey.  Wear comfortable shoes and get some sleep.  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 only moved by what I believe and I believe God.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Greetings from the Chaplain’s Office at JPS

Happy Wednesday! 

I am writing this between phone calls.  I am not sure how long I can write at a time, so if it sounds a bit jagged, my prayer will be that my beloved editor can make some sense of it and you may receive meaning from it. 

Prayer:  “Lord, I put on the whole armor of God,  I take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.  I plead the blood, resist the devil, and claim the victory in Jesus’ name. Amen.”

“You are of God little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”
1 John 4: 4

This verse brings back a memory to me.  A very long time ago I used to watch the Oral Roberts program. I would only watch for about the first 15 minutes.  The music was pretty good, but my memory is that this verse was their opening song each week.  I can still here it as they sang it each week. 

Scripture teaches us all about God, Satan, holy angels and fallen angels.  The author of my meditations says that “The Christian Life is not a playground, but a battleground.”  Scripture tells us that Satan was an angel who tried to overthrow God and was cast down from heaven with about a third of all of the heavenly angels.  Satan is not an omnipresent being because Satan works through all of those fallen angels.  Satan works on us through the sin of theft.  Satan tries to steal our joy, our faith and our peace.  The greatest thing Satan tries to steal from us is God’s purpose for our lives. 

The gospels tell us of Jesus facing his own demons and defeating Satan’s power in His own life and in the lives of others.  I think it is interesting that the demons all knew who Jesus was and Jesus called them by name and told them to “Get the heck out of Dodge!”  Without any resistance, the demons bailed. 

We, too, can resist the power of Satan.  We can use the tools God gave us in Jesus to not only resist Satan, but to defeat him.  First, we put on the whole armor of God claiming that through the blood of Jesus we can overcome, claiming the name of Jesus as there is no power greater, claiming the Word of God because “it is written” and giving praise and exalting the name of Jesus.  Against that armor, Satan’s arrows cannot penetrate!!!  Satan may be strong, but he is not more powerful than the One who lives in us!

Take joy in the journey.  Wear comfortable shoes. (I am wearing my crocs tonight!) Get some sleep.  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 only moved by what I believe and I believe God.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Happy Tuesday! 

The funny of the day…I was visiting in the nursing home this afternoon.  There was a group of ladies playing what looked like a game of dominoes at a table in a large room.  So, I walked over to them and greeted them with, “Hey ladies, I am Chaplain Gaylene. You look like you are having fun. What are you playing?” One of the ladies said, “Rummycube. First we drink some rum and then we sort of cube and don’t care.”  I laughed all the way to my next stop.  They were hilarious, loud and proud and having a grand time.  I still laugh when I think about it.

Prayer:  “Father, give me a clean heart and clean hands to worship You all throughout the day. Help me worship You with my whole heart. Amen.”
“God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
John 4: 24

As you can probably tell, the recent study through this writing has been emphasizing the Holy Spirit. I love spirit-filled worship.  I am in the process of writing a paper for my intermediate ordination interview.  One of the sections will be titled, Worship is for the Uplifting of the Community and Ministry and for the Furthering of the Kingdom.  

When folks visit our congregations for the first time they will make choices on two criteria; how they are greeted and how worship affected them. When we worship our experience might be routine in its order, but should never be mundane in its spirit.  Our worship should be an expression of who God is and that God is not dull or boring.  Our worship will never be equal to God’s worth, but we should always strive for excellence.

This scripture verse mentions to worship not only in spirit, but in truth.  The truth in worship is the reading, preaching, praying and singing of God’s Word.  God has told us that His Word is what is acceptable for worship.  Entertaining worship might be popular, but may not be life changing.  People are looking for worship that is genuine and authentic, led by those who are anointed for preaching, praying, praise and worship.  Folks who are anointed by the Spirit or called by God allow the Spirit of God to flow through them. When that happens, lives are changed.  “Only the Holy Spirit can enable sinful man to be transformed and worship a Holy God.”

Take joy in the journey.  Wear comfortable shoes and get some sleep. Count your blessings and say your prayers.  Much love to 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 only moved by what I believe and I believe God.

PS. I am on call at JPS tomorrow night.  I will arrive at 6:00 PM and finish my shift at 8:00 AM Thursday morning.  Then it is back to Huguley for worship and debriefing and then home for the remainder of the day to rest. I ask your prayers for me to have stamina and the anointing of the Holy Spirit to help the ones who need God’s presence at the point of their deepest need.  Thanks and peace, gc

Monday, July 9, 2012

Happy Monday!

Prayer: Father, make me strong in the Lord and in the power of Your might.  Give me courage to face life’s pressures.  When I am tempted to give up and give in, help me to trust in You.  In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; to not be afraid, not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”
Joshua 1: 9

Joshua was the successor of Moses.  Talk about some giant shoes to fill! Joshua did not take over the job until Israel had wandered for 40 years and was about to cross the Jordan River into Canaan.  If you remember, all of the generations that came out of Egypt during the exodus had died except Moses, his family, Caleb and Joshua.  I believe that during that 40 year wandering, Moses modeled and taught Joshua how to lead this new nation into the Promised land.  Joshua had been a slave, a servant, a soldier, a spy and now was Moses’ successor.  Where was Joshua to get encouragement?  Moses was dead, but God was not!

It was time to go into the Promised Land. Imagine the nation of Israel standing on the shores of the Jordan River and looking into the land promised to them so many years ago. Now this nation had a choice, walk forward into the land promised or go backward from where they came? 

God has given us the same choice as Israel.  Do we choose an eternal life of faith, hope and promise in Jesus or do we decline the offer and go backwards into a life of sin and darkness without encouragement.  I am sure the Israelites, as they looked into that new land, were somewhat afraid because they did not know what they were walking into. If we go forward in faith like the Israelites, God still promises us victory over the Enemy. 

We enter the presence of God when we read the Scriptures, pray, or are among His people. When we are in the presence of God we have God’s power, peace, and provision for every need.  God will never leave us or forsake us. 

Give thanks for God’s Word of assurance as He is our strength and shield and allows our hearts to trust and rejoice in God our Savior.

Take joy in the journey.  Wear comfortable shoes and get some sleep.  Count your blessings and say your prayers.  Much love to 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 only moved by what I believe and I believe God.

Blessed Sunday to you all! 

I had lunch with my beautiful daughter today after worship.  We went to Fuzzy’s Taco Stand.  I have discovered that the queso they serve is a comfort food.  Too yummy!

Prayer: Lord Jesus, today I will lift up my eyes to the hills—from whence comes my help. May my life be a reflection of Your love and grace as I bump shoulders with all the people You will allow me to meet today.  I acknowledge You as the sole purpose of my life and being.  In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

“However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.”
John 16: 13

In my meditation tonight an example is given of taking a tour.  The most assuring portion of the tour is having a good tour guide to lead the way, tell you pieces of information about where you are, what you’re a seeing and what you will be seeing later on.  A good tour guide has already walked the area and has knowledge we do not have.

When I begin to write my journal, prepare a devotion, write a sermon or any other way I am going to communicate the Word of God, I pray that the Holy Spirit has gone before me to help me write the words God would have me write. When I pray before I write, I pray that someone who reads these words will find the words helpful to their life and maybe even draw them closer to God.

Scripture is the written Word of God and inspired by the Spirit of God and is invested with the power and authority of God.  God’s Word is sufficient for all of our needs. Only the Holy Spirit knows what God knows, and He alone is the only One who is qualified to reveal divine truth to our lives. Take comfort in knowing that God has already walked our roads ahead of us and will guide us if we listen, watch and are willing to trust where He leads. 

Take joy in the journey.  Wear comfortable shoes and get some sleep. 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 only moved by what I believe and I believe God.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Greetings from Huguley Hospital Chaplains Office

Happy Saturday!  It is currently 8:40 pm, or 20:40, as they say at the hospital. I have been on call since 8:00 AM this morning.  I thought I would get started on today’s writing between calls.  I never know when the phone is going to ring so if this entry sounds a bit disjointed please forgive me. 

Prayer:  Blessed Lord and only Savior, today I give thanks for Your very Word.  For it is in your very Word to which we cling when the tough times come. It is the same Word that guides our steps each day.  Thank You for this powerful weapon with which to fight Satan for even Satan cannot stand when we stand firmly on Your Word.  Write Your Word on our hearts and in our heads, heavenly Father, so that we may call upon it in our hour of need and as we walk each day.  In Jesus name, I pray. Amen.

“Then the devil left him, and the angels came and attended him.”
Matthew 4: 11

Each day here at the hospital we begin with worship and prayer.  There are nine students and a number of supervisors and teachers who complete this group.  Each of us has a turn to bring the worship.  The other day a wonderful man by the name of Rico brought the worship.  He brought a powerful message about the temptation of Jesus. 

Remember this scene? Jesus appears as John has been proclaiming His coming as one who is more powerful who will baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire. Immediately following the baptism the heavens opened and the Voice said, “This is My Son with whom I am well pleased.”  

Now instead of breaking out the cake and punch like we do at baptisms, Jesus was driven into the wilderness by the same Spirit of Whom He was just baptized.  Do you suppose Jesus thought, “Are You sure about this?”  I certainly felt that way after the chaplain spent a few hours training me to be the chaplain for JPS the first time.  We got back to the office and he said, “You are ready.” And he left me alone in that huge hospital to be the spiritual on-call no matter what. I knew nothing about the hospital.  I stayed lost most of the night and I remember thinking “Are you sure about this?”

Jesus went into the wilderness for 40 days and nights and throughout those 40 days He neither ate nor drank anything.  He was physically weak from hunger and dehydrated from lack of water and probably disoriented from wandering.  Even though Jesus was fully divine, He was also fully human, needing the same nutrients and hydration we all need to keep all things in balance and for clear thinking. 

On that last day of Jesus’ fasting, Satan determined that Jesus was at His weakest point. He appeared before Jesus and offered Him food.  Jesus knew who Satan was even in His weakened, hungry state when the tempter challenged Jesus by saying, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” Jesus countered with, “It is written; Man shall not live by bread alone but on every word from the mouth of God.”  Satan, the tempter challenged Jesus twice again and Jesus responded with the written word from the mouth of God.  Jesus, upon His very presence traveled on Holy ground, but when He began to counter Satan with the Father’s written Word, Satan knew He was defeated because according to the story, “The devil left Him.” (vs. 11)

Jesus went through horrible temptation, but even in His weakness, He  drew from His childhood, His temple education and the power of the Holy Spirit the very tool that would defeat Satan.  At that moment, Jesus had no physical strength; He did not call on a friend or companion to come to His aid, no one stood between Jesus and the tempter to protect Him.  Jesus did not even call upon His Father to make this entire event stop. Jesus called on the only tool in His arsenal he was capable of wielding; the Word of God. Satan was defeated that day and the angels came and attended Him.  Do you suppose God whispered into the ear of His Son, “This is my beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased.” 

Jesus remained obedient in the most horrid of conditions and became the model of obedience for all of the disciples then and all of His disciples now.  Jesus “proved” God that day right in Satan’s face.  “Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus, just to take Him at His Word…Jesus, Jesus how I trust Him. How I proved Him ‘ore and ore’…”

So here is the question for tonight…Have we proved obedience to God’s Word in our lives? Do we count on and proclaim God’s Word for only the really hard roads or do we “take Him at His Word” as we journey each road every day?  Something tells me if we count on and proclaim God’s Word every day no matter what the journey, the hard road might become just a bit easier to travel.

Take joy in the journey.  Wear comfortable shoes and get some sleep.  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 only moved by what I believe and I believe God.

Please continue to pray for a rapid recovery for Boyd Tolles. He sat in a chair today, but not much more.