Saturday, June 8, 2013

Happy Saturday! 

I did not study today!  I needed to do something toward home improvement. So I went to Bed Bath and Beyond and got a small three shelf unit for the hall bathroom.  I put it together and put a box of Puff’s tissues with a cover, a sort of flat round bowl filled with beach themed potpourri on the top, coordinating towel set on the middle and a basket with the toilet paper on the bottom. I washed the shower curtain, cleaned the bathtub and found some pretty art work for the wall. It felt good to make a small home improvement.

Prayer alert:  Bruce’s brother who lives in Memphis is a competitive cyclist. Today, while cycling, he had some type of run-in with a dog. The dog won and Dale was left with a broken hip and serious road rash on his elbow. His head was x-rayed and was found to be uninjured. Surgery is scheduled for tomorrow to replace Dale’s hip. The decision was made due to the probability of having to replace it in the near future anyway. Please keep Dale, Twylagayle, his wife, daughter Taryn and son Teague in your prayers.

Prayer alert:  Let us continue to keep in prayer those whose lives have been changed due to the senseless killings in Santa Monica. They are grief stricken and still pretty terrified. 

Prayer:  Holy Lord, receiver of our prayers. I have traveled through this day in the knowledge that there is no way of confining the love of God and no borders to cross between You and God’s Presence. You always have time to listen and receive whatever I have to talk to you about. Thank You for taking my tears of the night and sometimes the day and in Your time turning them into joy. Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer, Amen.

“Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.”

Psalm 30: 5

Tonight’s offering is not my writing. It is the writing of Pastor Phil Heinze. He is the pastor of Calvary Lutheran church in North Richland Hills. He writes a daily meditation on a lectionary text. I was so moved by his writing and insight that I wanted to share it with you.

Sometimes the joy scheduled for the morning has to wait through many nights of weeping before it can greet us with the dawn of a new day. I think it is because we often do our weeping in the silence of our inner thoughts while trying to maintain the outward appearance of prosperity. “I shall never be moved.” The face of God is not hidden all at once but fades from view the longer we isolate ourselves, relying on the limitations of our own strength. But when we finally run out of Kleenex and tire of living in the pit we have turned into a home healing begins to happen. It doesn't mean the dancing we do is pretty or polished, at least not right away. But the better we become at being honest with ourselves and others the more familiar the “mourning turned to dancing” becomes and in the freedom of sharing the joy of the morning might even last through the night.

Take joy in the journey remembering that hope never disappoints. Wear your most comfortable dancing shoes. When you pray tonight offer up those in need and the two I have mentioned 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.

PS I turned in my paper on Friday and I am now just three classes away from graduation!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Happy Wednesday! 

I completed my paper today. But I have to share a God thing with you…I really needed a piece to help finish out the paper and I was stuck. I was beginning to get frustrated and I remembered to simply pray. I asked for God to anoint me and help me to find the right words to finish the paper. I looked up another source and came across an essay called, Woman’s Song, A Hermeneutic for Liberation.  It was an essay about the songs of Miriam (Moses sister), Hannah (mother of Samuel) and Mary (mother of Jesus). I read the essay and it was perfect! It used the right language and celebrated women using singing to celebrate God’s victory over Pharaoh and bringing the Hebrew nation safely through the Red Sea.  Hannah prays for a son and for her community to have enough to eat and stave off starvation. I did not use the song of Mary because we were given strict instruction to “not pull the Jesus card” since we are working with Old Testament texts.  Anyway, it was such a God thing and the end of the paper practically wrote itself. I am giving thanks. And thank you for your prayers!

Prayer:  O God, You are my God and I will ever praise You.  You are my shield and call me to take refuge in Your Presence. Your way is perfect and Your love is eternal and I am so very grateful. In Jesus name, I pray. Amen.

As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in him.”

2 Samuel 22: 31

Shielding us from dangers is part of the job of God. Remember the 23rd Psalm; The Lord is My Shepherd. God tells us “I am your Shepherd.” A shepherd is vigilant. A master shepherd can take care of trouble so skillfully that his sheep remain blissfully unaware of it. God uses wisdom carefully so that His sheep will follow. God calls Himself the Good Shepherd asking each of us to follow Him, let His ways in and to let Him protect us from danger and from fear.

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. (Since God neither slumbers nor sleeps there is no reason for both of us to be awake.) 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.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Happy Tuesday! 

Great news!! Tatum went home. Her ANC went up a whopping 161 points over night. We are so thankful! Thank you, prayer warriors, for your faithfulness to this little girl and family you most likely don’t even know. Your prayers have made such a difference.

Prayer request:  I am working on the final part of my paper. I think I may be stuck, but it is my goal to complete the paper tomorrow and get it sent to Bruce for the final edit.  I have loved writing this paper and I have learned so much. I titled the final section, “If it wasn’t for women Moses would have never gotten out of hot water.”

Prayer:  Eternal and ever Present God, the Psalms say blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence. Sometimes the way seems dark and Your voice seems silent. Help me to remember Your promise to be ever present in all the days and in all my ways remembering to trust in the silences until you tell me to go a different path. I love You so much Lord. In Jesus name, I pray. Amen.

Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, O LORD. They rejoice in your name all day long; they exult in your righteousness.”

Psalm 89: 15-16

I have been writing this paper on the mothers of Moses. While the story of Moses contains terrible acts enacted on both Egyptians and Hebrews alike it is still a book of faith and hope for the liberation of all people who suffer oppression. Tonight my devotion contains this wonderful statement, “When Christlike goodness collides with worldly vileness, be on the lookout for miracles! The glory of God shines more brightly against the backdrop of evil.  
As I recall in the wonderful movie, The Ten Commandments with Charleton Heston, as the Hebrew nation was walking through the parted Red Sea they were singing praises to God recalling the times when God came to their rescue through the legacy of Joseph. They were surrounded by a miraculous event with the Egyptian army bearing down upon them and they are singing hymns. 

No matter how difficult our circumstances become we can still rejoice in the name of God. We can rejoice in Jesus’ name. If we cut away everything that we are and get down to the very essence of all that we are, it comes down to this one word, Jesus. We can use the name of Jesus in a whispered prayer, as praise, as a protection—and it never loses it power and potency. We can rejoice in the righteousness of Jesus and nothing can tarnish this righteousness which has been woven into shining garments of salvation for us to wear forever. This is how we walk in the light of the Presence of God by making full use of God’s Holy Name and wearing the garment of praise.

Take joy in this journey 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.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Happy Monday!

A pretty great Monday! I got about a third of my paper completed. Dinner was BBQ Chicken with Rufus Teague’s Maple Whiskey BBQ Sauce (I found it at World Market), fried green beans with potatoes and bacon and a yummy avocado-tomato salad with cojito cheese. All of the veggies from this meal came from my bountiful Basket order. Fresh veggies are so delicious!

Prayer: Lord of the day and of the night, God of our joy who calls us to live a life of joy depending on You for everything. You created us out of Your love for us, by Your own design and in Your image. Let us take time to take delight in You today and remember Your intentions for us to love You and love our neighbor. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Prayer alert: Continue to pray for little Tatum. Her ANC dropped another 10 points. Mandy assures me this is normal and she is okay. It is just viral and it takes time.

Prayer update: Sheena’s sister, Sheila is sitting up, talking, a little slow, but talking and eating. Sheena says her sister is a cat. Today she told me that her sister is really a cat and on life number 6.  She is still in intensive care, so please continue your prayers. Thank you.

Delight yourself in the LORD and He will give you the desires of your heart.”

Psalm 37: 4

The apostle Paul told the Christians to be joyful always and to pray continually. There is always joy to be found when we are in the Presence of God. There are times it is really difficult to find joy, but if we remember we are in the Presence of God that is the time when we can always find joy.  We can claim joy in the Word when we remember that “God will never leave us or forsake us”. We can claim joy when we can speak to God at anytime and at all times. (I think that is my favorite one.) When we pray continually we are showing our practiced dependence on God—the One to whom we pray.  We can also show our reliance on God when we study the Holy Scripture and ask God to transform us through the reading of this precious Word.  When we practice these two disciplines of prayer and study then maybe we can find ourselves delighting in the Lord that increases our joy and glorifies God. How cool is that?!

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 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.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Blessed Sunday to you all! 

I began the day preaching at Hurst Christian Church.  They are a sweet, sweet congregation. 

I came home and made Potato and Swiss Chard Enchiladas with Tomatillo Salsa (the salsa was made in my new blender). It was really good. I felt very Food Network/Iron Chef.

Prayer alert:  Please continue to pray for little Tatum. She loves ladybugs and so we call her our little ladybug girl. She is still in the hospital. All counts except her ANC are good. Her ANC is down ten points. She is such a fighter.

Prayer:  Please pray for me as I begin to write my paper which is due on Friday. I have done the research and now I must do the writing. I am doing this paper on the Mothers of Moses: The Calling of Motherhood. (Exodus 2: 1-10)

Prayer:  Holy and loving Lord, parts of today have been filled with joy and moments of today have been spent in prayer remembering that You are with us at all times and in every way even when You seem silent. The centurion had faith in You and never had a face to face contact with you. He had enough faith for You just to speak the word and his servant would be healed. We have never had a face to face contact and yet our faith sometimes falters. Please forgive us and let us be ever mindful of Your presence even in the silences. In Jesus name, I pray. Amen.

“The LORD, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you, nor forsake you; do not fear not be dismayed.”

Deuteronomy 31: 8
Bonus Day: 

“though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again…You will increase my honor and comfort me once again.”

Psalm 71: 20-21

As I was traveling to Hurst this past week to meet with the pastor I used my GPS on my phone for directions to the church. Maybe I am just in tune and spend my time in prayer in the car, but I had a pretty decent revelation this week.

As I was driving to the church the GPS was giving me directions via my Bluetooth device.  A direction would be given and there would be silence until it was time for the next instruction. Now I know Hurst is not very far away, but I began to get anxious when the silences between the instructions would happen. I was a bit nervous that I had missed an instruction and a turn because I was thinking about something else.  And then I remembered this scripture, Isaiah 30: 21, “And when you turn to the right or when your turn to the left your ears shall hear a words behind you saying, ‘this is the way walk in it.’” 

It then occurred to me that even though there were silences I was still in the Presence of God. I needed to trust the silences because God never leaves us or forsakes us even when God is quiet. I relaxed because I knew that when it was time to turn I would be told by the voice in my ear. 

My GPS on my phone has been lovingly nicknamed, “GPS Angel.” I have learned to count on it when I need to get somewhere I have never been before. As someone who has been directionally challenged and spent far too much time being lost and/or scared of being lost, this device has made me a much more confident driver.

I have also learned to trust God’s Word in a similar way. When I am unsure or something has occurred that has made me unsure of myself or someone I love, I turn to God’s Word and prayer. I pray the scriptures and ask God to not be silent and if all I hear is silence I remember that I am never out of God’s protective presence and love. I am learning to listen for God’s voice in my ear and turn when I hear God’s voice behind me instructing me to turn to the right or left or just stay on the road that is in front of me.

Take joy in the journey. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “We must accept finite disappointment, but we must never lose infinite hope.” Hope never disappoints. 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.