Saturday, December 15, 2012

Happy Saturday! 

My day began with the Brite Hooding.  It is a worship service where Brite graduates are hooded with Master’s Degree hoods over purple robes by Brite professors.  Brite professors read scripture, lead prayers and preach the sermon.  It was a great joy to see my friends honored in such a worshipful way.  Later in the day the graduates may attend the TCU graduation and graduate with the remainder of the TCU graduates.  By God’s good grace and the kindness of scheduling I should graduate and attend my own hooding a year from now.

Prayer:  Lord, our hearts are still broken at the loss of the children and adults in Sandy Nook.  If these senseless deaths have brought about any goodness at all it has caused this nation to pray.  It has caused your children to become united in compassionate caring for not only these 28 babies and adults we do not know, but all who are connected with them.  Help these ones who are so broken to look to You and into the eyes and arms of those who love You for comfort and the long road to healing.   In Jesus name, Amen.

“The LORD has taken away the judgments against you, he has turned away your enemies. The king of Israel, the LORD, is in your midst; they shall fear disaster no more.”
Zephaniah 3: 15

          Advent leads us forward toward the birth the angels sang.  Zephaniah assures us that God also comes to humanity in the community of faith.  God’s presence heals and challenges humanity to cling to God’s promises for an alternate future. 

          The community in Newtown faces an alternate future.  They face a future without some of their children and friends.  In a matter of moments their world was turned upside down and inside out.  These families are in so much pain that it must feel as if it is taking their skin off.  They do not have to heal today or tomorrow or the next.  The most important thing these families and this community can remember is that God is with them and is weeping with great sorrow with them and for them.  God knows what it is like to lose a child, God lost His Son too. God’s heart is broken and yet God is still present.

          The last sentence of the scripture says because God is in their midst they “shall fear disaster no more.”  I do not know how these families are going to let their children out of their sight without fear. I don’t know how life will get back to normal in this community and I don’t know how these parents, teachers, children and administrators will walk back into that school building again, I just know God will be there and somehow and over time the fear in this community will be replaced with hope.

Take joy in this Advent journey.  Pray for those with broken hearts.  Hug, call, email or text those you love telling them you love them.  And when you see them, hug them tight.  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. 

Friday, December 14, 2012

It would be difficult to say happy Friday today. 

I have tried to write this entry three times and keep erasing text because nothing makes any sense.  My heart is broken into a million pieces at this senseless loss of precious life.  I have thought of Geni who teaches kindergarten and how is she handling the day and continuing to teach. I have thought what were my last words to Bruce, Geni and Travis today?  Were they “I love you?” I hope so.  Did I take the time to give each of them a hug and feel them hug me back?  Do I remember that? 

When Casey was in the hospital that last weekend if I had known how close he was to death I would have found something better to say than, “You can’t get up because we left your walker at home.”  I wanted to go to Starbucks and the Meadowbrook Elementary and just give them a hug and tell them I loved them.  I pray you will hug those you love a little extra tonight or call them or text them and tell them how much you love them and remember what they say and how it felt when you hugged them.  Give thanks with all your heart. 

Pray for those tonight who had their children this morning, but did not bring them home tonight. Pray for those adults who were so brave and sacrificially gave their lives so that others might live and those who assisted those children to safety. And as difficult as it is to find a prayer for the young man who caused all of this horror and sadness, he is worthy of our prayers because he, too, is God’s child.  I do not think God is even remotely happy with his actions, but God’s love is so great that it spreads even to this tortured young man.  

God is taking care of those babies tonight and it is our task to care for the living. The families of the children and adults who lost their lives today and the family of the young man who caused their deaths are deserving of our prayers. If it is too difficult to pray then just breathe the name of Jesus and He will do the rest for He and His Father know what is in our heart. God knows our anger and sadness and will help us heal just as He will bring healing to those in Sandy Hook.  We are not physically close to this little community, but we can pray and send our love and pray God’s love and tender mercies on this community and our nation. 

Peace, Gaylene.

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. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Happy Tuesday!  (Even though this is being written in the wee hours of Wednesday morning.)

I have spent the day studying for my New Testament test and will continue all day tomorrow. Tonight I attended a service of remembrance held at Rush Creek Christian where I am a ministerial intern.  It was a simple service of prayers, meaningful readings, candles and a few others who had experienced loss of loved ones this past year.  We were given an opportunity to light a candle and share about our losses.  As I walked up and looked at the candles I realized that if I lit a candle for all of the losses we had experienced in this past year that no one else would get to light a candle.  I counted and we have experienced six losses of family and friends in the past year.  The first one being Mom this past January to a recently as last week with the loss of Pastor Susan.  Tonight I wore Mom’s sweater, two of her rings and the charm bracelet Sheena and I bought for her last Christmas. We divided the charms appropriate to our own family members.  I am carrying her Christmas purse and wallet.  On Sunday I am going to wear one of Pastor Susan’s stoles as I am presiding over Eucharist.  These two women have had a profound effect on my life and it is my humble honor to remember them in worship and prayer.

Prayer;  “Lord, I thank You that Your mercies are new every morning. I thank You that You love me, even when I feel unlovable and that You have a wonderful plan for me, even when it is hard for me to see it. I praise You for this gift called “today.” I know there is much You want to do in my life today. Help my heart to be sensitive to Your voice and open to receive from You. 
May Your name be glorified in me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

“And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”
2 Timothy 2: 2

After a long day of writing and studying I am going to summarize my devotion tonight.  This was written by Jeff Schreve of Texarkana, Texas—He says that God is looking for FAT disciples. Do not panic and go and chow down on a pan of brownies (even though right now that sounds amazing!!!) Schreve uses these letters for an acronym for Faithful, Available and Teachable.  God is looking for people who are faithful who will not shirk their responsibilities—and will not go AWOL! When the going gets really tough, can we be found faithful? Are we making ourselves available?  Are we ready for the assignments the Lord is going to give us?  When God asks us to speak to someone about Jesus are we making ourselves available to do so? Does God’s agenda trump our agenda? (boy, that is a tough question!) And are we teachable? Are we willing to be corrected? A teachable person says “I don’t have all of this figured out yet. I have lots to learn. Teach me, Lord!”  FAT disciples are willing to invest their lives in helping others and become FATter to reach the world for Jesus.  FAT disciples make others FAT disciples by helping others to learn about Jesus. Let us pray that we would become more like Jesus and ask Jesus to have His way in each of us. 

Take joy in this Advent journey. Wear comfortable shoes, throw extra quilts on the bed tonight and sleep well. Count your blessings, get FAT 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. 

Prayer:  please offer an extra prayer for Travis tonight. He has an upper respiratory infection. No fun!! Thanks. gc

Monday, December 10, 2012

Happy Monday! 

The Christmas Tree is up and decorated.  With three dogs in the house and sometimes four and even sometimes five!!!, the tree is decorated only 2/3 of the way down from the top.  Bauer, the chocolate lab puppy, already removed my gold lame Elvis ornament from the tree and ran with it. Elvis got moved up and Bauer almost became Hershey bits!! I love Christmas!

We had chicken and waffles for dinner (and may I say…YUM!). Back to studying.

Prayer:  “Lord, I praise You, for You alone are God. I thank You for this new day that You have made. Today is filled with opportunities to talk to people about Jesus. Help me to be sensitive to Your Spirit as I rub shoulders with people in the world who need to know about the Savior of the world. Give me boldness to open my mouth and witness for You. I am Your servant who has been bought with a price…and I am reporting for future duty. Amen.”

“And I fell at his feet to worship him. But He said to me, ‘See that you do not do that! I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren, who have the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”
Revelation 19: 10

The apostle John was granted the most amazing vision in the Book of Revelation.  He saw the marriage supper of the Lamb, the great feast that the bride of Christ and the Old Testament saints will experience with the Lord Jesus.  John was so overcome with awe that he bowed to the angel who facilitated this amazing vision.  The angel immediately told him to stop because he only needed to worship God. 

Jesus is God - the One and Only to be worshiped and praised - the One who deserves all of our love, praise, worship and devotion.  He is the One we are to tell others about because there is only one salvation and it is found in no one else. 

In the verse today we read that John was granted the vision of the time when evil is overcome by good and Christ reigns over all. We are granted the testimony of Jesus, the greatest story of all.  Tell someone today the story of Jesus. Tell someone who needs to hear the story of God’s love and grace revealed in Jesus and how we worship Christ alone, God with us, Emmanuel.

Take joy in this Advent journey. Wear comfortable shoes and bundle up. 
Throw an extra blanket on the bed 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. 

Prayer alert:  Father Jesse Smith and his daughter were in an accident in Austin today.  Father Jesse injured his back and his daughter’s injuries are unknown at this time.  Please pray for this family.  Thank you. gc

Blessed Sunday to you all! 

Today was such a busy day. Worship at Rush Creek was the annual Christmas Cantata.  The choir was wonderful and worship was very meaningful. 

This afternoon we attended the memorial service for Pastor Susan Rodriguez. She was a Lutheran pastor who was raised in a Jewish home in New York.  She became a Lutheran pastor when she was 51 and served until the last few years as her health began to decline.  Today I was honored by her son who presented me with her clergy attire: robe, cinctures, stoles and seasonal overlays.  I also received two of her crosses.  I felt much honored to be given these to care for and to share if the need arises.

Well, the pastoral care paper is finished and Bruce is editing as we speak.  It is a long paper so it will take some time to complete.  Tomorrow I begin studying for the New Testament test which is on Thursday @8:00 AM.  I covet your many prayers, please.

Prayer:  “Lord, today, give me the ability to see You in a whole new way. Give me insight into Your glory, and open my eyes and my heart to all that You are. In Jesus’ name I pray.  Amen.”

“For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.”
Romans 1: 20

This is a hard scripture. God reveals Himself to humans in many ways.  The problem is not that God has not made Himself available; it is that humans reject God.  Humans have known from the beginning, the Creation, that there is God.  In this scripture God reveals Divine presence in nature will all attributes clearly seen.  We have no excuse to say we have never heard or known about God. In creation we see God’s power, God’s goodness, God’s mercy and God’s abundance.  

Today let us give thanks for the beauty of Creation. Let us ask that we would be given the grace and boldness to witness for the truth declaring in a world of darkness that the light has come.  The light of the world and the light of heaven have come to us through a young woman and a manger.  Let us declare the truth of God’s Word as revealed in the nature around us and in Jesus. 

Take joy in this Advent journey.  Wear comfortable shoes, put an extra blanket on the bed and wear a warm jacket.  Count your blessings, say your prayers and give thanks with a grateful heart.  Love you all and stay warm. Gaylene.

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, December 9, 2012

Happy Saturday! 

What a wonderful day!  It began with lunch of soups and sandwiches with Bruce, Geni, Travis and Sarah (Travis’ special lady!) and then off to Wall’s Christmas Tree farm for the annual Christmas Tree Hunt.  After an exhaustive hunt we think we found the perfect tree and will put it up tomorrow evening while watching White Christmas and eating pizza.  I do love holiday traditions! And I do love family!

Prayer:  Blessed Lord, thank You for life. Lord, I pray that I would not take my life for granted, but rather reflect on how precious it really is.  I give You this day, so use my life for Your glory, and may someone be blessed as they see You in me. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

“I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the LORD.”
Psalm 118: 17

If you read Psalm 118, you will notice that there is no author, and you will notice quickly that whoever wrote this psalm had been through a lot in their life.  They had been through the sifting process and had grown in their faith. No one volunteers to be broken or go through tough times. And in truth it is through really hard times we do most of our growing.  It is in our distress and times of trial that we learn to call upon the Lord and trust and follow (Ps. 118: 5)

I did not volunteer to be the mother of a child who would develop cancer and die young.  But I know that even if I didn’t volunteer God knew what I needed to get through that suffering and what I am going to need in the future. He gives me the privilege of growing in grace, love and faith.  If we never go through trials then we never learn to trust God and we would never see how God brings us through them. 

Romans 5: 3-5 says if we keep our attitude  right with God then when trials come we will grow.  Vs. 3-4 says, “We also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character; hope.”  I would love to confess that I ask God to send tribulation and tough times but I do not!! I do know that when the tough times come if I respond by remaining in God’s presence and in communication through prayer that I will get through whatever life dishes out. 

Take joy in this Advent journey.  Wear comfortable shoes and bring out the sweaters and gloves.  Count your blessings, say your prayers and get some sleep!  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.