Saturday, May 17, 2014

Greetings from Austin Street
Happy Saturday!  All is well here at 811. Bruce went to the prison today and I participated in an ordination service for one of my friends from Brite. Sarah and Travis celebrated their first anniversary. It has been quite a day! I was a part of a quartet that sang the introit to the service. The newest Disciple’s pastor is Rev. Amber Churchhill from Midway Hill Christian Church in Dallas. It was a wonderful service supported by so many clergy, family and friends. It was great to see so many friends from Brite. What a wonderful way to spend the day. I ask you all to pray for this fine young pastor and the ministry to which she has been called.

Dear Jesus, thank you for praying for me. I know I can make it through anything with your as my defender and constant friend. Lord, thank you for renewing me each day through the forgiveness of my sins. I cling to your love and rejoice in your wonderful mercy. Lord, I ask a special prayer for Rev. Amber as she begins a new journey as your called and set apart representative of Christ’s church. Help her when her spirit is broken and when her heart is filled with joy. Give her courage  when she faces tough decisions.  Pray for her Lord Jesus and let us join our prayers with yours. I love you Lord. In Jesus name, amen.

My meditation explains sifting as referred in the Luke passage, “Sifting—the shaking of wheat until it separates. You know what it is like—to be strained to the point that everything falls apart.”

I love to pray. And lately I have done a great deal of praying. But as I have prayed in the last few days I have not asked for intercessory prayer.  Each of us has gone through times where we have been strained to the point that everything falls apart. “When there’s nothing left to do, but just depend on You and the power of your name.” We have an intercessor who defends and walks with us daily. Our intercessor is Jesus. Can we even begin to imagine the power of the prayers of Jesus as He prays to God the Father? When we pray and ask Jesus to pray for us we are standing on Holy ground and it is time most sacred.  When Jesus intercedes for us we become intimately at one with Christ.  It almost takes my breath away to know that God the Son prays for me to the Creator of all. My friends when our faith appears to be failing let us remember to ask Jesus to intercede for us and our faith will not fail but remain hopeful.  God is good and love wins!

“Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail.”
Luke 22: 31-32
“Holy Father, keep them safe by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they will be one, just as you and I are one.”
John 17: 11

Take joy in the journey asking Jesus to pray for you and me as we walk this journey together. Wear comfortable shoes and think pink! Love you all, Bruce and Gaylene

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Greetings from Austin Street
Happy Thursday!  All is well here at 811.  It has been a long day. I spent the morning at the Cancer Center. I spent an hour getting mapped and prepared for the radiation treatment. Lots of pictures, a road map of colored markers all over my chest and 4 tattoos.  The most difficult part of the morning was the hour spent on my back on the hard table with my arms above my head and not being allowed to move until just before the tattooing. I really mean I was not allowed to move except to breathe. I think the best words I heard today were “You can move your arms now.”  Arms cramped and fingers went numb. I prayed to be able to endure.I had not anticipated this being so hard and that I would be so emotional. After this hour long procedure I waited out in the hall for my turn in the treatment room. The tears began to flow from exhaustion, relief and the feeling of extreme vulnerability. I was thankful that I had brought with me a cup of Zen Tea from Starbucks and Bruce and Geni. I did not think I really needed them there, but I was wrong.  In the treatment room I was back on a hard table with my arms over my head once again. Shortly after the radiation began the two techs said, “Hold on and stay still. We are having a computer problem.”  My thought was “Oh no, this is going to take longer than the 15-20 minutes.”  The problem was quickly fixed and radiation continued. I closed my eyes continuing to pray and sing quietly and before long I opened my eyes and all of the lights were on and the machine that had been rotating around me was out of sight and I was finished. The people that work with me are so very nice and very encouraging. Tomorrow will be better.  1 treatment down and 33 to go.

Dear God, show me someone to help today. I pray  that I can truly have an impact on the world, by loving people the way you love them. Help me to help others walking through a cancer journey. Lord, let me tell others about your salvation so that they can enjoy the same freedom that you have given me.  Thank you Lord that this part of the cancer journey is behind me. When I prayed today I remembered how you suffered on the cross and my pain and “torture” as the techs called it I renamed as “uncomfortable.” Thank you Lord that today you reminded me to seek your face throughout the events of the morning. Help my arms to endure and to find you in the treatment room and focus on you and only you. I love you Lord. In Jesus name, amen.

Each night before I write I say a simple prayer that tonight my writing will help someone.  Most of the time I write what I need to hear.  There is so much happening in the world and with my friends and family that that I wish I could do more to help. Tonight my meditations uses a quote from D.L. Moody, “He does the most for God’s great world who does the best in his own little world.”  My hope through my writing is that others will see how God can deeply affect each of us with love and kindness. The impact I hope to make is to share how much God loves us.  I think the most meaningful thing we can do for others is to show how much we care for them because of how much God has cared for us. People need hope. Our hope is found in the love and forgiveness we receive in continuous mercy from the risen Christ. Sharing this message in word and deed to others is an act of loving obedience to the living God and will lead others to the way of peace, salvation and liberation.  God is good and love wins!

“You obey the law of Christ when you offer each other a helping hand.”
Galatians 6:2
“Through love you should serve one another.”
5: 13
Take joy in the journey and share the message of Christ’s tender mercies, forgiveness and great love.  Wear comfortable shoes, get some sleep and think pink.  Love you all, Bruce and Gaylene

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Greetings from Austin Street
Happy Wednesday!  All is well here at 811. I finished my job at Burton Hill today. My final students took their tests today. We now wait on results. It has been a joy to work with the students and be among the exemplary staff and administrators of this awesome school. They have truly become family over the past months. (and in the years past)

Dear God, there is so much for which to be thankful. I give thanks for my life, family, provisions and blessings and most important, I thank you God for loving me. Lord, You know that I begin radiation treatments tomorrow. You also know I am somewhat anxious and emotional about this next stage of cancer treatment. I pray for a peaceful spirit as I place my trust in those who will deliver the radiation treatments each day. I ask Lord that they be perfect in their skill and compassionate in their care of me and all of the other patients.  Thank you for my family who supports me with their prayers and presence and all those who send their thoughts and prayers. Please Lord, bless all of these folks with your grace and love. I trust You Lord to continue to walk beside me. I love you Lord. In Jesus name, amen.

The last few meditations I have studied have been about offering thanks as a sacrifice. I must need to learn this lesson. I have given thanks to God because God is God. I have given thanks for all of the blessings I have received. I have given thanks for protection, provision and the gift of being able to sing. In this journey of breast cancer, singing has been my salvation. I have given thanks for family and friends.  But, my meditation claims that God does not need our thanks, praise or thanks. I focused on the word need.  God has no ego to bruise or need our validation because God is after all; God. We give thanks to God and express our gratitude because of what it means to our souls. We give thanks because God is the source of each blessing, every moment of protection, each gift of provision and everyone we have grown to love. These blessings are not given because of our worthiness, but because of God’s love for us. Our hearts are transformed by God the great giver, provider, protector and lover. And here is the amazing thing about all of this giving of thanks…when we offer the sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving for God’s goodness to us we are the ones who are blessed. God is good and love wins!

“He who sacrifices thanks offerings honors me, and he prepares the way to that I may show him the salvation of God.”
Psalm 50: 23
“I am God Most High! The only sacrifice I want is for you to be thankful and to keep your word. Pray to me in time of trouble. I will rescue you, and you will honor me.”
Psalm 50: 14-15

Take joy in the journey offering the sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving and be blessed. Wear comfortable shoes, get some sleep and think pink!  Love you all, Bruce and Gaylene

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Greetings from Austin Street
Happy Tuesday!  All is well here at 811. Who knew I would be looking for a sweater in the middle of May. And it looks as if I am going to need one tomorrow. Welcome to Texas.

Dear God, There are times in the busyness of the day that events move so quickly that I do not take a few moments to spend time with you. I rise early and I rest late. Thank you for the times when I am still before you. It is in those times that You fill me with your peace and strength and I praise your name. I especially thank You for these times of quiet because when I have so much on my mind or I am confused or anxious, that you are there waiting to comfort and guide me. Your voice gives me clarity and continuously tells me to continue on; that all of these life events are things that are but for a season and they too shall pass. I love you Lord and give you thanks. In Jesus name, amen.

I cannot imagine living the life I am currently living without a relationship with God. God provides an endless storehouse of peace and strength from which we can always draw. Complete faith in God means that we drop our concerns, worries, doubts and fears and abandon our right to pick them up.   In order to do that, we must find time to relax and be still before our savior believing that God can handle all we bring before Him. It is in this stillness before God that we find protection when things are upside down. It is in this time of quiet listening that we are taught patience and endurance for any and everything that comes our way. God is good and love wins!

“God is our shelter and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. So we will not be afraid, even if the earth is shaken, and mountains fall into the ocean depths.”
Psalm 46: 1-2
“Call on me when you are in trouble; and I will rescue you, and your will give me glory.”
Psalm 50: 15
Take joy in the journey and while you walk “Have a little talk with Jesus.” Wear comfortable shoes, get some sleep and think pink. Love you all, Bruce and Gaylene

Monday, May 12, 2014

Greetings from Austin Street
Happy Monday! All is well here at 811.

Dear God, I want to have Mary’s faith, the kind that believes the impossible. Thank you for blessing and strengthening my faith. Lord, there are times it is difficult to be thankful and even though scripture encourages us to be thankful. Sometimes circumstances are difficult and thankfulness does not always come easy. So Lord, please remain with us encouraging us to be thankful in the most trying areas of our lives. Thank you for your understanding.  I love you Lord. In Jesus’ name, amen.

I went to the surgeon for a check-up today and all is well. She does not need to see me for another three months. Radiation will be over by then and I will be that much closer to checking off this season of my life.  I still will never be able to give thanks for cancer or strokes, but I do give thanks that I am able to believe that God will do as he says. I do not know exactly why Mary, the young mother of Jesus, was chosen for s extraordinary task of being the mother of the Messiah, but maybe it was because her faith was so strong and because of her youth she was still able to believe in the impossible with simple childlike faith. 

This disease of cancer has not skipped a generation of my family in five generations. So I am pretty good at thinking of the horrors this disease can bring as it has taken the lives of family members.  So for me, I just have to believe. I mean really, really fully trust that God will do as he says and will somehow grant me deep abiding peace and that no matter what I will be okay.  My faith is based on scripture, unconditional love and God’s abiding presence. I have learned that while God understands our grief, God does not ask for us to be grateful for His sake. God encourages us to find gratefulness and thanksgiving for our own healing and wholeness. Medicine is so advanced that most diseases can be cured. Bruce and I are living proof of this, but there are wounds we carry around that are so deep and the sacrifice is too painful. The healing that is most difficult is not for healing from disease, but healing for the hidden wounds in our souls that tests and x-rays do not pick up. It is when we offer the sacrifice of praise that we can believe in the impossible. This is the sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving that we are to offer for a soul that has been restored.

“You are blessed because you believed that the Lord would do what he said.”
Luke 1: 45
“Giving thanks is a sacrifice that truly honors me. If you keep to my path, I will reveal to you the salvation of God.”
Psalm 50: 23

Take joy in the journey offering up the sacrifice of praise and find peace for your soul. Wear comfortable shoes, get some sleep and think pink. Love you all, Bruce and Gaylene

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Greetings from Austin Street
Blessed Sunday and Happy Mother’s Day to all.  All is well here at 811. It was a wonderful Mother’s Day. Bruce, Geni and Cody took me to Blue Mesa for a delicious brunch/lunch.  We had a wonderful time.  Thank  you family!

Dear God, Thank you for this wonderful day. Thank you for giving me the gift of being a mother to the most wonderful children. Yes, Lord, there are times my heart is sad as I miss Casey and my Mom. But Lord, I know they are with you for all eternity.  They spend every moment of their time in your presence. I know they are safe and loved in your tender care. I love you Lord. In Jesus’ name, amen.

If I could have the time to do a singular study on a topic of scripture it would be a study of the unnamed women in the bible. They are courageous, bold and incredibly faithful. The woman with the issue of blood is a great example of one of these women. She had been ill for ten years and had exhausted her finances. She heard about Jesus and believed in faith that if she could just touch the hem of his garment she would be healed. So this woman pushed her way through the crowd and in faith touched the hem of Jesus’ tunic. The story goes that she was immediately healed. She did this courageous act from the midst of a crowd. I wonder if she thought that if she stayed in the crowd and quickly touched him and sped away hoping Jesus would not notice. So I have often wondered how Jesus knew someone had touched him with the crowd pressing all around. I think that she touched in in faith. When she touched him in faith the power of Jesus was released. She was healed and she found peace. She believed not just in Jesus as a healer, but in Jesus alone.

This woman’s time with Jesus lasted but a moment, but it was a moment that redefined her forever. I don’t know whether this woman told anyone else of her miraculous healing of if she simply pondered this encounter in her heart. When we encounter Jesus we have all the time we would desire to spend with Him. Let us spend the time with Jesus in prayer, study of His Word, learning to know him and helping others to know Him too. My we be so bold and courageous as this woman allow God to give rest to whatever troubles our hearts. God is good and love wins! 

“Your faith has made you well; go in peace.”
Luke 8: 48
Only God gives inward peace and I depend on Him.”
Psalm 62: 5

Take joy in the journey and spend time with Jesus. Wear comfortable shoes, get some sleep and think pink!  Love you all, Bruce and Gaylene