Saturday, April 20, 2013

Happy Saturday! 

Prayer: Holy, Lord God, Almighty, we close out a tough week. There have been many tragic occurrences this week that have not gone out of Your sight.  In all of these events let us never lose sight of Your holiness.  We are so honored to call You Savior, Lord and Friend. We live in the humble knowledge that by the death of Jesus we live under the blanket of no condemnation and in the assurance of the hope of the resurrection. We give thanks for we are forgiven. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

“There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

Romans 8:1

King David was kind of a mess. He really committed some pretty awful sins out of the powerful desires of greed and selfishness. 2 Samuel tells us when Nathan called David out on his act of adultery that David immediately says, “I have sinned against the Lord.” And Nathan says to David, “the Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die.”  (2 Samuel  12: 13)

God has utter separateness from sin. When we remember God’s loving Presence and are aware of the holiness of God, that knowledge will remind us that when we sin we can turn quickly (repent) from whatever we have done back to God and be warmly and joyfully received without condemnation.

Take joy in the journey remembering that hope does not disappoint. Wear comfortable shoes, pray with a heart filled with gratitude and get some sleep.  Love you, Bruce and 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.

Happy Friday! 

It has been quite a week. It has been quite a day. Part of me is relieved for the folks in Boston who can hopefully sleep better tonight. I am glad the accused man is receiving medical care.  He is so young and I pray that somehow and someway if he is guilty of these horrible crimes that he will be given the chance to seek forgiveness and find peace in his soul. I commend our president in his brief message tonight as he lifted up all of the emergency personnel and the people of Boston and Watertown for their bravery and willingness to remain at home and out of harms way.  I am also very glad that he spoke to the folks in West, Texas, to remind them that they are not forgotten and resources will be coming to them soon.  Both of these towns are in mourning and their lives will never be the same.

Prayer: Holy, Holy, Holy Lord, God of power and might, tonight there are so many in need to be blanketed by Your healing grace, comfort and peace. Help those who were injured to be healed and restored to wellness. Help those who lost loved ones to know that You are with them and understand their grief and that You will be with them. Help each of us to practice looking to You for everything. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

“The LORD delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.”

Psalm 147: 11

My meditation tonight begins with these words, “Put your hope in My unfailing love.”  At this moment we have been witness to unspeakable failures.  We waited as news of these recent events come to us through hours of newscasts and “tweets” sent out by police and government officials.  These events have been so emotionally heart wrenching that the idea of unfailing love is a radical concept.  In this world there is no real model for unfailing love. That is why we find the model of unfailing love in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

I like to believe that I act in unconditional love to my family and friends, but even though I am devoted to my family and love my friends dearly I am sure there are times I let them down.  The good news is the love of God never fails because God is the infinitely perfect God. When God poured life into the human Jesus and gave Him human understanding and empathy, Jesus’ compassion never failed. God delights in those who place their hope in Him and in His unfailing love.

Take joy in the journey even when it is difficult and rest assured that hope does not disappoint.  Wear comfortable shoes, give thanks with a grateful heart and get some sleep. Love you all, Bruce and 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.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Happy Thursday! 

I tried to get into give blood today, but for the next three days the Carter Blood Bank has no available appointments. The walk ins were waiting for two hours. The request was made for my particular blood type. I will try to get in next week. 

I finished my Supervised Ministry final today. It is not due until Wednesday, but it is complete and I am very glad.  Bruce left for the Kairos weekend this morning. Please keep him, the team and the residents in your prayers. 

I have watched the town of West in the daylight today. It is so devastating. I heard the residents speak their broken hearts and still heard them speak of their town as one where everyone is welcome. Their hearts are broken, but their hearts are strong. That tells me that their hearts are strong and full of love and determination to rise above this tragedy.  Let us continue to keep these folks from West, Texas, and the citizens of Boston in our prayers for their healing and restoration.

Prayer: Blessed Lord of healing love, our country has experienced tragedies this week. These tragedies have taken lives, caused injury, given rise to fear and distrust in our fellow man. Lord of tender mercy and blessed assurance we call upon Your presence to remain with us as each of us grieve and pray for our friends far and near.  Help us to keep You first in our thoughts trusting in Your tender mercies for healing and comfort. In Jesus’ name,  I pray. Amen.

“Thus says the LORD God, the Holy One of Israel: “In returning and rest you shall be saved in quietness and confidence shall be your strength.”

Isaiah 30: 15

As weeks go, it has been a week of noises. Noises that have frightened, noises that have injured and noises that have caused life to end. Let us take just a moment to be quiet. In quietness and confidence shall be our strength. When things get noisy and hectic our minds tend to go somewhat hyper and become really active and we tend to overlook the most important thing we can do. We need to return to God and rest in quietness. 

Take a moment to seek God out rather than rush ahead without a clear direction. I know those first responders knew what to do as they were prepared through training. Coming before God in quietness when we are facing difficulties is the way God trains us. Coming before God gives us the quiet energy needed for clear thinking and strength for the task at hand. When we seek God in the quietness we are assured of His presence and know that God will not leave us or forsake us.

Take joy in the journey of faith remembering that hope does not disappoint. Wear comfortable shoes, pray with a heart filled with gratitude and get some sleep.  Love you all, Bruce and 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.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

It has been a difficult evening for our brothers and sisters in West. As the devastation mounts let us be steadfast in our prayers for this community. Tonight we need to join the prayers of others around our state for all who are involved; the victims, their families, the first responders, all who are helping to rescue and those who are just waiting for words of assurance that their friends and family members are unharmed and for those who will hear that their friends and family members are injured or killed. 

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you not forsake you.”

Deuteronomy 31: 6

Tonight is not a night of joy. But we and those who are in West can be assured that God is there and in the midst of their suffering, their weariness, their frustration and not knowing where to go next or what to do. I pray that there are pastors there on site offering words of hope and comfort to those who are separated from their loved ones, the injured and those who are wondering about those they love, their homes and when this nightmare will be over. Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.

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, April 16, 2013

Happy Monday!

I know each of us is sad over the horrific tragedy, loss of life and injury that happened in Boston today.  My prayers are for those families who lost loved ones and those who have suffered severe injuries. I pray there will be no more lives lost.  I pray for the city of Boston as they are mourning and in shock that this happened during a time honored sports events. May God forgive those who planned and executed this terrible act of senseless violence. May God comfort those who have lost their loved ones today and may He bring healing to those who were injured and bring them to wellness and restored health.

I hope all of you survived tax day well. I had a most unusual experience today. I am sure that in my college career this has never happened before. A professor of mine cancelled a paper we were supposed to write. OMG!!! Write one less paper…what a gift!  I am giving thanks. Now I have two papers left and completing my supervised ministry final. 

The scripture in my meditation tonight seems fitting.

“Consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.”

Hebrews 12: 3

Satan did not defeat Jesus at the cross. Jesus became weary but not discouraged and His soul was always in perfect obedience to God. Satan will not win the battle through the awful event today either. The children’s advocate and TV celebrity Mr. Rogers was told by his mother when he was a child when he would see scary things on TV, to look for the helpers. There are always more helpers than anyone else.  As I watched the recordings of the events in Boston today I looked for the helpers.  Mr. Rogers’ mother was right. There were lots of helpers who stopped what they were doing to help others who were hurting and scared. These were not just the emergency workers and police officers but folks on the side lines who were just moments ago cheering on the athletes,  stepped into what might be harm’s way to help other folks who were injured and frightened.  I think this may serve to remind us of how much we need a sovereign God in our lives who loves and cares for us in the best of times and the most difficult.

Take joy in the journey remembering that hope does not disappoint. Wear comfortable shoes, pray for the folks in Boston, give thanks with a grateful heart and get some sleep. Love you, Bruce and 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.

Prayer alert:  Bruce leaves for the Allred Prison on Thursday for the Kairos Prison Ministry. Pray for the teams as they prepare to take the gospel into the prison. Pray for the residents who are preparing to receive the gospel and the unconditional love of God through prayer, Word, singing, conversation, delicious home cooked meals, letters of encouragement  and lots and lots of cookies.  Peace, gc

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Blessed Sunday to you all! 

What a busy day!  Worship, working with youth during the Sunday School hour, videotaping a baptism and attending a bridal shower hosted by the bridesmaids for Sarah, our daughter in love.

At the shower, the girls did such a lovely job with food, decorations and games.  One of the games was “How much does Sarah know about Travis?” It is played by one of the hostesses asking a series of questions about Travis. If their answers match then the next question is asked and the game continues. If the answers do not match then Sarah has a large marshmallow popped in her mouth. The good news is…Sarah did not have to receive very many marshmallows.  They are going to be such a wonderful couple. 

Prayer:  Holy One, it has been a busy day and I am so happy to sit with You for just a while. Lord, thank you for Sundays. Thank you for families and times of worship that both glorify You.  Thank you for Your abundant grace, Your promise of forgiveness and Your tender mercies.  Thank You for hearing our prayers.  We love You lord. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or want.”

Philippians 4: 12

Hope is the power of being cheerful in circumstances we know to be desperate.
G.K Chesterson

God is greater than our most difficult times. And God is still greater when our most difficult times get tougher. God wants us to be content at all times. As for me sometimes content at all times is just not that easy. So when something as important as what God wants us to do does not come easy then what we must do is practice.

God is greater than our frustration and God knows how we feel (remember Jesus was God on foot who had the same feelings as every other human).  Just let go of those feelings…I mean release your frustration to God knowing that God hears and understands and will encourage us more. Then we can ask God to increase our awareness of His presence and continue to talk, or yell, or rant, or scream and when we are all talked out then we need to sit back and let God speak to the depths of our souls.  Remember your favorite scripture and speak it, then sing your favorite hymn or spiritual song. Singing always lifts my spirits even if it is a trouble or hurting song. Psalm 92: 1-2 says, “It is good to give thanks to the LORD, and to sing praises to Your name, O Most High; to declare Your loving-kindness in the morning, and Your faithfulness every night.”

Take joy in this journey of faith and hope remembering that hope does not disappoint. Wear comfortable shoes , pray with a grateful heart and get some sleep. Love you all, Bruce and 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.