Saturday, May 31, 2014

Greetings from Austin Street
Happy Saturday!  All is well here at 811. Bruce is finishing up an apartment tonight. He has worked all day and still has work to finish so the family that has rented the apartment can move in tomorrow. Please say a prayer for safety, endurance and to come home soon. I tend to worry.  Thank you.

Dear God, I bow down before you, God. I am in awe of your greatness and in wonder of your infinite love. Thank you for your ceaseless grace. Thank you that all your promises to me are true. Help me to be patient until you faithfully fulfill them. Lord, I am studying the hundred questions for ordination.  Help guide my thoughts for clarity and to be faithful to your calling and to the Church. I love you Lord. In Jesus name, amen.

The blessings we have received have are more than we can even number. When the weather is perfect and the sunshine warms our faces and there is a gentle breeze that blows over us it is so easy to be reminded of the love we feel for God. When God sustains us during times of trouble and lifts us up when we fall before him and cry out we are reminded of his great love for us.  And we give thanks even when we wonder if God is listening to our prayers. Somehow or other God lets us know that he has heard every word of every prayer and every longing of our hearts.  This wonderful God is God, and the earth is full of his glory. This amazing God loves us with an everlasting love. This everlasting love is so powerful and so true that we can place our trust in him because God is truly faithful and his promises are true.   

“Be exalted, O God, above the highest heavens! May your glory shine over all the earth.”
Psalm 57: 5
“I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me.”
Psalm 5: 2
Take joy in the journey give thanks to God for his love endures forever. Wear comfortable shoes; get some sleep and thin pink!  Love you all, Bruce and Gaylene

Friday, May 30, 2014

Greetings from Austin Street
TGIF Today God is First!  All is well here at 811. 11 treatments down and 23 to go.

Dear God, I give thanks that you are my God, that Jesus is my Savior and that the Holy Spirit lives in me. I thank you that all of your presence lives in me not because anything I have done or deserve, but out of your great love.  I am greatly humbled to be accepted by You. I thank you for the peace and joy that comes from your eternal, gracious and unconditional love. I thank you for protecting my future and for leading me to your purpose for my life. Help me to continue to be obedient and to follow you without wavering. Lord, I love you right back. In Jesus name, amen.

Over the last year I have begun to feel as if there have been abrupt ends to my dreams of a professional clergy ministry. There have been life altering illnesses and interviews that have not gone as well as I had hoped. I have made applications for positions only to be told the position has been filled. But scripture tells me not to despair. I realize that during these past months I have never been out of touch with God and God continues to teach me and restoring my strength for this journey of faith.   I am encouraged by the words of my meditation tonight, “The purpose for your life is so important that God himself protects it for you—you don’t have to fear that it has been lost or ruined forever.” 

So my friends let us each claim this statement about how important we are to God and our purpose. I believe that there is a position for me waiting until I am ready to accept it and fulfill all of the requirements the position will require.  Let each of us no matter how long it takes obey and follow God without wavering even if there are detours and what we perceive as a turning away from the claiming of our dreams. Standing on faith and believing in the resurrected Christ let us believe that God will unfailingly lead us to our purpose which is into the high calling of God which is in Christ Jesus.

“God, your God, chose you out of all the people on Earth for himself as a cherished personal treasure. God wasn’t attracted to you and didn’t choose you because you were big and important.”
Deuteronomy 7: 6-7
“I will cry out to God Most High, to God who performs all things for me.”
Psalm 57: 2
Take joy in the journey and never, never give up on your drams for God protects us and has a great purpose for us. Write something down that God has taught you today.  Wear comfortable shoes, get some sleep and think pink! Love you all, Bruce and Gaylene

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Greetings from Austin Street
Happy Thursday!  All is well here at 811. 10 treatments down and 24 to go. The fatigue is beginning and so are the skin changes.  Aloe vera here I come.

Dear God, Thank you for the gift of words. Thank you for the inspiration to write things down.  You have helped me to write down the things you want me to remember and for making your promises so very real through the written word. Thank you for the thoughts of others in devotional writing that causes me to think on scripture and have it to make meaning in my life.  And thank you for spaces to share my thoughts and meditations and hope they are helpful to someone else. Lord, it is through this gift of writing, your words, allowing me to pray to you and you remaining in conversation with me all of these years. I love you Lord and treasure our time together each night. In Jesus name, amen.

I do not exactly remember when I began journaling.  Journaling is how I have worked out my grief. I have written letters to God pouring out my heart, venting anger, giving thanks, words of praise and hope and telling God my deepest, inner most thoughts of joy and sometimes the depths of despair. Journaling became a passion during the year of Casey’s illness and death.  I continued to write following that time to keep me engaged with scripture and I began to learn the power of the written word..  But these have not just been one sided conversations. These have been recordings of communication with God.  

I did not realize until reading the verse from tonight that God called the prophet Habakkuk to write down the revelations given to him. God did not intend for Habakkuk to keep these writings to himself, but to write them on tablets of stone.  Well the closest my writing gets to a stone tablet is the save button on my computer. But I think God meant that the written word is powerful and long lasting. Dr. Maya Angelo silenced her voice for 5 years when she was a child because she believed her disclosure of the man who raped her caused his death. While her spoken  voice was silent she found the power of the written word as she began to read literature of all types. A new voice appeared as she began to write and journal through her life.  I think when we are quiet before God whether we are sitting silently in meditation or reading scripture we hear the voice of God far more clearly than when we are speaking.  So…if you are not accustomed to writing down the things you have learned during your quiet time with God you might just try it. A few sentences will do and see how God blesses you through this spiritual practice. 

“Then the Lord replied, “Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets.”
Habakkuk 2: 2
“Write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after these things.”
Revelation 1: 19
Take joy in the journey and pack a pen and a notebook. Write a letter to God and see how it blesses you. Wear comfortable shoes, get some sleep and think pink. Love you all, Bruce and Gaylene

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Greetings from Austin Street
Happy Wednesday!  All is well here at 811. Treatment 9 done,  25 to go.

Dear God, I do not like admitting my weaknesses. But scripture tells me that You love using weakness to achieve your great plans. I have faith enough to believe that your glory shines through the weaknesses you have made strong in each of us.  You have given me the hope that I need to get through every situation. Tonight Lord a shining light of hope and wisdom has gone from this world. You provided the voice of Dr. Maya Angelou as a voice of hope and strength in a fallen world. Help us as we grieve this great loss and live into the hope of her words inspired by you and walk in your constant presence. I love you Lord. In Jesus’ name, amen

Dr. Maya Angelou passed away. She has always inspired me. I loved the sound of her voice and the clarity of her wordsAt one time her greatest weakness was making the choice to not speak for years due to an incident of abuse in her life.  For those years instead of speaking she learned by listening and reading.  Perhaps this was the very time in Dr. Angelou’s life that God began to perform miraculously. Dr. Angelou had exceptional talents that helped transform the lives of so many in her quest for justice.  I believe that God worked through this woman turning her greatest weaknesses into strengths that so many have received benefit.

God works through us when we humbly admit we need him. One of the pieces of wisdom from Dr. Angelou is, “Modesty is a learned behavior, but humility comes from within.”  Humility is the admission that apart from God we can do nothing. When God is within us our weaknesses are the areas God uses to grow our strengths. We become teachable when we humbly open ourselves and believe that God’s good plans are achieved through His power. Our weaknesses are God’s opportunity to work through us. Opening ourselves to the vulnerability of humility can be scary. But when we do open ourselves with the willingness to be taught by God then we receive through Jesus God’s personal love and care and we will be have a sense of unshakable hope and peace.

“For Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
2 Corinthians 12: 10

Take joy in the journey and pray for Dr. Maya Angelou’s family and friends that God may attend them in their sadness and grief.  Wear comfortable shoes, get some sleep and think pink!  Love you all, Bruce and Gaylene

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Greetings from Austin Street
Happy Tuesday! All is well here at 811. 8 treatments down and 26 to go.

Dear God, what amazing things have you prepared for me? I will praise you today for knowing that it is better than anything I could possibly imagine. You are the most powerful influence in my life Lord. Help me obey you in faith and trust when I become anxious over daily situations. Lord help me to act in love and not react in judgment, but focus on your character treating others in  loving ways.  I love you Lord. In Jesus name, amen.

When is the last time you used your imagination?  Well Bruce and I are going to do something we have only imagined ever being able to do. We are taking a cruise to Alaska.  I have wanted to go ever since my Mom and Dad talked about how completely amazing it is. Some friends of ours told us there is a reason it is called “God’s Country.”  I have seen pictures and can only imagine what this place so filled with God’s beautiful creation must look like. I can’t wait to see whales, glaciers, mountains and trees as tall as the sky.  I can’t wait to see things I have only dreamed about and never thought I ever see in person. 

My imagination is pretty far reaching, but I know it is no match for God’s imagination. My thoughts do not even begin to reach the height or breadth of God’s plans or imagination.  Tonight’s meditation writes, “Whatever it is you dream about, it may seem marvelous—quite certain to make you happy. Yet God wants to increase your wonder and joy be creating something extraordinary.”   The reason for us taking this trip is to put some of the bad memories of this past year behind us and more forward with a fresh perspective. “God wants you to be so amazed at what he does that any memory of hardship fades away and you spontaneously praise him.” 

When I think of the future God has planned for me I know for what I am hoping, but I cannot imagine what God in his imagination has envisioned or has in store.  But here is what I can do. I can thank God for whatever his plans for me are not seen through the earthly eyes. God’s plans for all of us are seen through the eyes of unfailing love and eternal grace. God is good and love wins!

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.”
1 Corinthians 2: 9
You did awesome things beyond our highest expectations. And oh, how the mountains quaked.”
Isaiah 64: 3
Take joy in the journey and give thanks for what God has prepared for us even  when we can only imagine.  Wear comfortable shoes, get some sleep, think pink and anchors away!!! Love you all, Bruce and Gaylene

Monday, May 26, 2014

Greetings from Austin Street
Happy Monday and Memorial Day!  All is well here at 811.  We had the most wonderful day.  My dear Daddy celebrated his 81st birthday last week. Ken, Bruce, Geni and me took him to Babe’s Chicken House in Frisco for lunch and then on to the Frisco Rough Riders baseball game. It was a perfect day with cool, overcast skies and a wonderful breeze.  And…The Rough Riders won the game.  It was a great day of fried chicken, baseball and family! It does not get any better than that!!!

Dear God, Thank you for being there when I step out on faith to follow you. Thank you that even the needs in my life are your wonderful way of teaching me.  Lord, I cannot begin to give you thanks for my family.  They bring me great joy.  Thank you for being central to our lives, our faith and loving us so much.  You have taught us to love each other unconditionally because that is the way you love us.  I love you Lord. In Jesus name, amen.

When my brother and I entered high school Mom and Dad began to let us make a few of our own decisions. By the time we were seniors unless it was going to cost a great deal of money we were making most of our own decisions in preparation to no longer live with them.  When we went to college we were pretty independent and were “capable” of making good decisions whether we chose to at all times or not!  But we always knew Mom and Dad were there if we needed them.

God allows us to go through “stuff” in our lives.  And when we decide to step out on our faith and try something new then God is there.  Mother and father birds prepare their offspring to fly by making it a bit more difficult to reach the food they have brought for which to feed them until finally in order to eat they must leave the next and test their wings.  When we step out in faith to follow God he bears us up on the wings of faithfulness and love teaching us to fly.  God catches us up in the updraft of his love so that not only do we take flight, but we soar.

“He was like an eagle hovering over its nest, overshadowing its young, then spreading its wings, lifting them into the air, and teaching them to fly.”
Deuteronomy 32: 11
“He will cover you with His pinions, and under His wings shall you trust and find refuge; His truth and His faithfulness are a shield and a buckler.”
Psalm 91: 4
Take joy in the journey and do not be afraid to fly. Wear comfortable shoes, get some sleep and think pink! Love you all, Bruce and Gaylene

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Greetings from Austin Street
Blessed Sunday to you all!  All is well here at 811. I have worshipped three times day; once at Rush Creek, then on to Advent to worship with Bruce and Geni and then to be in worship and witness the ordination of my good friend and brother in Christ; Nathan Russell, now Rev. Nathan Russell.  Nathan is a fine musician and his ordination service was reflected in that love of music. We were blessed with the musical offerings of Rev. Cynthia Clawson. She is a Grammy award winner, 5 time Dove award winner and pastor. Her singing and self-accompaniment during the service was masterful, soul filling and consumed with the power and holiness of the Holy Spirit.  It was a time of worship and affirmation of the presence of God in the person of Nathan as he was welcomed into the ranks of the ordained clergy and into the ministry as Christ’s representative of the Church of Jesus Christ now and forever.

Dear God, thank you for giving me a wonderful future and for teaching me to trust you more. I look forward to your excellent plans. I praise you for being my tireless Comforter, Provider, Friend, Healer, Lord and Savior.  I love you Lord. In Jesus name, amen.

Nathan, if you read this I promise this was my meditation for tonight titled; A Good Future. One of the scriptures tonight for reflection is Jeremiah 29: 11, “I know the plans I have for you…plans to give you a hope and a future.”   God did not give these words to the prophet Jeremiah during a peaceful time. God delivered these words when Judah was being held captive in Babylon. God kept his promise and brought the tribe of Judah back to their homeland and gave them a good future. 

Even though tough times happen in our lives God remains with us and still plans a hope and a good future for each of us. Just like the tribe of Judah who did not remain captive in Babylon, we will not be held captive in our difficult circumstances. A life verse we could all live by is, “And it shall pass…” It is in the difficult times that we learn to trust God. We remember the faithfulness of God is far greater than our faithfulness. And when we think we have run out of faith and hope God is faithfully present to help us with whatever happens.  As I heard from the newly ordained Rev. Nathan Russell today, “God has given us grace for the day, provision for the day, protection and healing for the day.  When others let us down, God does not let us down or abandon us because of his unfailing love and infinite storehouse of grace.  God is always ready to help.

“I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord…’plans to give you hope and a future’.”
Jeremiah 29: 11
“Don’t let your eyes fill with tears. You will be rewarded for your work!” says the Lord…”There is hope for you in the future.”
Jeremiah 31: 16-17
Take joy in the journey praying for Rev. Nathan Russell’s future and for me to claim these scriptures for myself and pray claiming these scriptures for you. Wear comfortable shoes, get some sleep and think pink!  Love you all, Bruce and Gaylene