Saturday, February 16, 2013

Happy Saturday! 

Bruce and I attended the memorial mass for Father James Norwood today at Arlington Heights Christian church in Fort Worth. This coming Friday Father Jim would have celebrated 53 years in the ordained ministry as an Episcopal priest. Arlington Heights houses three churches; a Christian Church, Disciples of Christ, an Episcopal congregation and a Lutheran congregation. Father Jim had served in the Kairos community as a part of his service to Christ.  Please pray for his family in this time of their loss.

Prayer:  Lord, as we enter this season of Lent let us remember the journey you have traveled from Nazareth to the cross. Not once did you let your eyes story from the purpose your heavenly Father put before You. Help us during these 40 days to keep our eyes on You at all times so that we, too, may journey to be closer to You with each breath and step we take. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

“Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.”
Matthew 4: 1

If we read this entire story carefully we really only hear the beginning and the end. In the beginning of the story Jesus is led from baptism (in Mark) into the wilderness.  We do not hear the middle of the story. We do not hear of His feelings of emptiness, loneliness and progressive helplessness throughout these forty days. So at the end of the forty days Jesus is starving, dehydrated and exhausted. Satan appears on the last day and offers the three great temptations to Jesus. If Jesus succumbs to these temptations in His most vulnerable state then the gospel story ends right here. But during those 40 days I have to believe that Jesus spent concentrated time with His heavenly Father learning about the journey He was about to begin.

I cannot imagine that any of these words were comfortable or filled with joy. The words must have been harsh in their language of sacrifice of body and blood. In their demand to share the love of God for the people of the earth without identifying who He was. How to tell others to love their enemies and pray for them? And then to top off these difficult words with the temptations by Satan.  But somewhere deep down in the soul of the Master, He remembered the words of His youth. The words he learned in temple: love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength, have no other gods before Me. Man shall not live by bread alone but on every Word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.  Satan was defeated that day. Then the angels came and attended to the Son of God.

Jesus passed the test. During this season of Lent I have taken on two disciplines and am asking God to help me to remain committed to these disciplines for His glory. I am sure Satan will make an appearance and I pray that I will recognize Him and pray this prayer, “Lord, Satan is knocking, could You please get the door for I am foundering in my discipline.  

Jesus stood firm on the Word of God and defeated Satan that day. Let us be in prayer during this season of Lent claiming God’s Holy Scripture when we feel tempted keep our commitments for the glory of God in Christ Jesus. 

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes, throw an extra blanket on the bed tonight and get some sleep.  Pray with a heart filled with gratitude and peace be with you.  Love you all, Bruce, Gaylene, Geni, Travis and Sarah.   

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.                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

Happy Friday! 

Prayer:  Lord, thank you for this day.  Friday’s are sometimes hard because we are tired at the end of the week.  So Lord, when exhaustion comes let us remember how very much we are loved by You and thus become reenergized in joy.  In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

“But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation.”
Psalm 13:5

On Ash Wednesday night at Rush Creek the choir sang one of my favorite anthems; Create in Me a Clean Heart; oh God.”  It is a time honored class setting of the beloved Psalm 51. When I feel the world crashing down around me and I am feeling alone, this is the Psalm I pray. It reminds me that God’s love for me is only a breath away and it is by God’s Divine intention that I am allowed to breathe His name. The words of Psalm 13 are also words I have tucked away in my memory as a reminder of the unparalleled love God has for me. In Psalm 51 says, “Cast me not away from your presence…restore unto me the joy of my salvation.” It is then my heart rejoices in my salvation and that God’s love is really mine every moment of this life and throughout eternity. 

After this time of intimate prayer I feel so much closer to God and things don’t seem so bad, but I am reminded that I am not, nor ever have been alone.
When we abide in God we abide in His love for God is love. When God’s living presence soaks into every fiber of our being it is then we trust in the unfailing love of God who has secured the salvation for each of us through the cross of Christ.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes, throw an extra blanket on the bed it is going to be cold tonight and get some sleep.  Love you all, Bruce, Gaylene, Geni, Travis and Sarah.     

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:  Tomorrow Bruce and I will attend the funeral service for Father Jim Norwood. He was a long time member of the Kairos Prison Ministry as well as a number of other third day communities. Please pray for his family in this time of sadness and loss. Peace, gc

Friday, February 15, 2013

Happy Valentine’s Day to you all! 

We had such a wonderful Valentine’s Day date. I made a dinner of heart shaped lemon herb salmon burgers and a new recipe of cheese ravioli with mushrooms and spinach. We then watched the new James bond; Skyfall. 

WOW! My beloved Bruce had some pictures framed for me as my gift. These pictures are from the 40’s into the late 50’s. They are small black and whites of me with my grandparents and mom and one just of my granny and grandpa. I was so touched by this precious gift. Thank you, my darlin’.

“You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.”
Psalm 16: 11

I have selected for tonight’s reflection a piece entitled Intimacy with Him. “YOU HAVE THE AMAZING PRIVILEGE OF KNOWING ME INTIMATELY, YET THIS PRIVILEGE IS NOT AN INVITATION TO ACT AS IF YOU WERE MY EQUAL, I want you to worship Me as King of Kings while walking hand in hand with Me.”

This reminded me of the earthly marriage relationship many of us experience. I do not need Bruce to worship me or I him, but I need him to walk hand in hand with me. God created humanity in His image with the ability to reverence our love for Him as a model for how we are to love each other here on earth. When we draw near to God and open our hearts we can have intimate friendship and share joy with one another. In our relationships with those we love this is the kind of love that endures gladness, sadness, victory and strife and daily dealings with life.  Just as God’s love remains constant with us, the love we have for each other especially those closest to us must also remain constant. This enduring and abiding love allows us to walk together with joy down the path of life in this world and the next.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes, pray with a heart filled with gratitude and thanksgiving and get some sleep. Love you all, Bruce, Gaylene, Geni, Travis and Sarah.     

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, February 13, 2013

Blessed Ash Wednesday! 

I was honored to participate in the Ash Wednesday service tonight at Rush Creek. One of the highlights of the service was the placing of the focus of our Lenten journey on the cross in the sanctuary.  We did this along with receiving Eucharist. It was a very meaningful part of the service.

Thank you for all of your prayers. I completed every assignment on or before time. It was by God’s good grace and your supportive prayers that this part of the semester was completed. Thank you once again. I completed the outline for the Immigration class and was able to lead a pretty good discussion about theology, scripture and Immigration. 

I must also thank my personal editor and beloved husband who sees every word I write and pushes me even when I am tired and do not want to think anymore. He makes sure that I say what I want to say not just what I think I am saying. Bruce sacrifices a lot of time to support me in this journey and without him I would be lost. Thank you my B—loved.

Prayer: Lord, I thank you so very much for staying with me through every moment of my day and night.  Sometimes when the forest gets so thick with the business of home, school, church and ministry that it becomes overwhelming, You call me to stop, take a breath and remember You are here in my heart and by my side telling me to slow down and breathe in the Holy Spirit and exhale peace. Thank you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

“Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him for the help of His presence.”
Psalm 42: 5

Tonight I opened my devotional reading and these were the words, “TRUST ME HERE AND NOW. YOU ARE IN RIGOROUS  training—on an adventurous trail designed for you alone. This path is not of your choosing, but it is My way for you.”

If ever I needed the assurance of God as to His presence in this journey it was this past week.  As of noon today all of the assignments I was given were completed, at least for the next week and a half. Next week is Minister’s Week at Brite and there are no classes.  Maybe I can scrape a layer or two of dirt off of my floors before I begin studying again. 

Now that I have a few moments to take a breath here is what I need to remember. No matter what is going on I must remember to focus on God and my relationship with Him especially when I am feeling so very overwhelmed and I am begging for a break. I do need to stay focused on my studies, but not obsess over them. I have a tendency to think I will never measure up to the scholarship of others.

God has promised in His very Word, His most unshakable Word to affirm my trust in Him and that God is Present with me all the time.  Tonight during worship I read the scripture from Matthew 7: 24-27; the brief parable of building the house on the Rock. When I begin to tremble in the presence of uncertainty and stress I know that I am standing on the Rock of my salvation and life. I may shake, but God remains firm!  I am standing on the promises and assurance of God through belief in Jesus.  And if I stand firm I will see what God will do.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes, pray with a heart filled with gratitude and get some sleep. Love you all, Bruce, Gaylene, Geni, Travis and Sarah.     

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.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Happy Monday! 

WOW! All papers completed and I am now down to reading a chapter in a book on immigration and writing an outline in which to lead a class discussion.  I also went to Curves. It helped to clear my head after writing all afternoon. I am really excited that the workout only takes about 32 minutes.

Prayer: Lord, today has been long, but it has been spent in your presence.  I have sought to find glimpses of You in those I have encountered, in the reading I have done and the words I have written. And even though I am tired I am glad to have spent the day with you. In Jesus name, Amen.

“You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy, at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”
Psalm 16: 11

In my writing today I had to tell how the reading I have been doing is relevant to being an ordained minister and how the concepts presented in the text would inform the ministry to which I have been called.  Many of you know that I believe myself to be called to be a chaplain. I have not been called by God to do anything mysterious or mystically phenomenal like change water into wine, but all ordained pastors have been called by God and the church to claim the same calling as Jesus. 

When Jesus came to Nazareth he went to the synagogue, opened the ancient scroll and began to read, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free.” This is the call of ordination from the pulpit of the synagogue by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  This call does not require any special divine act, but does require the anointing of the Holy Spirit which each of us has received when we entered into a relationship with Jesus. This does not mean that each of us is called into the ordained ministry, but it does say that each of us through the power of the Holy Spirit is called to help those who are in need to remember they are loved and are part of the family of God.

As we approach the season of Lent and Valentine’s Day let us begin to think of ways we can tell God how much we love Him. Let us love God with all our heart, mind, soul, strength and love our neighbors as ourselves. Let us keep our focus on God in places of comfort and in the eyes of those who are fallen and needing the fullness of joy that is in the presence of God.

Take joy in the journey.  Wear comfortable shoes, pray with a heart filled with gratitude and get some sleep. Love you all, Bruce, Gaylene, Geni, Travis and Sarah.     

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: Tomorrow Travis has his big interview with Starbucks for a manager’s position. He has studied and worked really hard preparing for this interview. I ask for prayers of courage, peace and calmness for this wonderful young man. Thank you, peace, gc

Blessed Sunday to you all!

Prayer:  Lord, today in worship I was reminded of how much You love us through Your Word given at the table of forgiveness and grace.  I am reminded that this Word is the firm foundation on which I place my faith and that it will not be shaken.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

“I have set the LORD always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
Psalm 40: 2

Today as I led Sunday School we continued to examine the concept of love. Today’s topic was “How do we tell God we love Him?”  We examined the commandment in Luke, “Love the Lord Your God with all your heart, mind and soul and your neighbor as yourself.”  We finally determined that we tell God we love Him through belief and action. We believe in God and our actions show our love for God and His love for us flowing through as grace.  When we try to act on our own then our actions do not show belief and the love of God is not reflected.

When we place God before us and stand on the foundation of the Word then we have steadiness in our lives. When we focus we can walk steadily along the path even when the path is rough. There are so many distractions in our lives that can cause us to look away and lose our attention from the love that is before us. God is our guide and so we must strive with the strength of our hope in Christ taking each step steadily on the foundation of God and remain steady in faith.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes, pray giving thanks with a grateful heart and get some sleep. Love you all, Bruce, Gaylene, Geni, Travis and Sarah.     

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.