Friday, July 11, 2014

Greetings from Austin Street
TGIF Today God is first on this Friday!  All is well had pretty calm here at 811. I am packed. Clothes for tomorrow are laid out. Travel documents are in my oversized bag that I will carry.  Laundry is done. Pizza for dinner and the last trip (maybe) to Walmart has been made. Bruce may make one more before the night is over. We have some binoculars somewhere, but unable to locate them. So the Walmart trip might be for binoculars. (He just left for the WallyWorld.) I am hoping to get to bed early as 4: 30 AM will come early. Travis is picking us up and taking us to the airport. We have been given the nicest gift. A friend of ours works for American Airlines and has given our name to the roster for the Admiral’s Club for the morning. I think we are going to have breakfast there before we board the plane. How cool is that?!!!  I found myself a bit weepy today and tried to figure out why. This is what I think…I am not happy about the reasons for this trip, but I am so grateful and excited that Bruce and I have and are still being healed and this adventure will be an extension of that healing process.  Thank you all for your warm well wishes and prayers of travel mercy and safety.  This will be my last writing I think until we return.  I will miss writing and posting, but I promise pictures and a few sentences as we go.  

The candle has been lit…

Dear God, thank you for knowing the way I should go and for showing it to me one step at a time. Thank you God, for your wings under which I am protected from what threatens me and by which I am taken to where you want me to be. You have promised to guide me through this life offering wisdom and divine counsel. Help me to choose to listen and follow your voice no matter where I am . And Lord, I ask that this time in a grand part of your exquisite creation be an adventure of fun, joy and renewal without incident. I love you Lord. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Today I printed  our boarding passes for our flight to Seattle. I must admit I had to call the airlines and be guided through the process. There was a very nice lady who answered and she patiently guided me through the process and celebrated with me upon our completion.  Sometimes it is easier to follow voiced instructions given one at a time than a great many written instructions with many options.  And even when I needed to make a change she stopped the instructions and guided me again until I was able to print the boarding passes.

Really high on the list of what God likes to do for us is guidance. God likes to get on the path and walk with us in its twists and turns. Sometimes that path is like a winding country road that holds slippery surfaces, curves that happen suddenly and without warning.  We have been on that country road this past year. But the point is that we reach our destination by the directions God gives. My meditation tonight recalls scripture that has many stories of divine guidance; Abraham to a new land, Jesus in the wilderness and Paul to Macedonia to take the gospel to Europe.  This character trait of God as a guide has not changed from those first folks whom God guided in ancient times. God still wants to guide each one of us down roads that have been prepared for each of us to reach our destination.  The growth in wisdom, trust  and healing does not happen when we reach the destination but in the journey.  And the journey happens each day. Let us have just enough courage and trust to allow God to guide us each day one step at a time. 

“He scatters His bright clouds. And they swirl about, being turned by His guidance, that they may do whatever He commands them.”
Job 37: 11-12
“You’re my cave to hide in, my cliff to climb. Be my safe leader, be my true mountain guide.”
Psalm 31: 3
(It seemed appropriate for tonight. One of our excursions includes a walk across a suspension bridge over a canyon.)
Take joy in the journey guided by the voice of God and the leading of the Holy Spirit. Wear comfortable shoes, pray for us, get some sleep and pray for each other. Love you all, Bruce and Gaylene Anchors Away!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Greetings from Austin Street
Happy Wednesday!  All is well here at 811. I made pancake muffins for supper tonight. The best part about pancake muffins is that there are always some left over and a great breakfast the next day! 

It is time to light the candle.

Dear God, I receive from blessings upon blessings. Help me to be a blessing. Show me how to use your abundant blessings to help others. Teach me to obey your principles so that as I go about my day I can work with your wisdom as a guide and be found honorable. May my life glorify you in everything I do.  You have entrusted me with many things and I pray that I am being found faithful in my responsibilities so that the reward I receive is the trust found in me because of your presence in my life. Thank you for seeing my friend Allison through the surgery today. As she begins this new healing remain with her, sustain her, heal her and love her. I love you Lord. In Jesus name, amen.

There is something that has always amazed me. Back in the days of the early Church there were many Christians who were being persecuted unto death and yet the New Testament Church thrived and grew.  Perhaps it was the way in which they took care of each other and their community that they thrived in the face of horrible persecution. The more the early Church gave to those in need the greater the blessings God gave them and the more they grew The flow of God’s blessings are received by us only to have them go through us to bless others. I don’t think it is always money. I think when we share our time, our refrigerators, our ears, our pens and stamps to send cards to those in need and others .  How many times have we done something, given to someone or helped someone and been a blessing only to find ourselves on the receiving end of a blessing in return. We did not ask for the blessing, but when we give to others God gives to us. So do not rob someone of being a blessing to you and be a blessing to someone.

“Remember that the person who plants few seeds will have a small crop; the one who plants many seeds will have a large crop.”
2 Corinthians 9: 6

Take joy in the journey giving thanks for the blessings you have received and be a blessing to someone. Wear comfortable shoes, get some sleep and pray for each other. Love you all, Bruce and Gaylene

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Greetings from Austin Street
Happy Tuesday!  All is well here at 811. Tonight I am writing about God being light. I was thinking about this and remembered that we are about to leave for Alaska where it is daylight for about 18 hours each day. I looked it up. Sunrise begins around 4: 15 AM and sunset is around 9:40 PM. I have been told that we are going to experience “God’s country.”  Lots of light!  There’s got to be a sermon in this! 

Dear God, your love for me lights up my life. I praise your holy name. Thank you for using everything for good in my life. Your love and unfailing presence gives me hope for the days to come.  Lord, please continue to help and be present for Allison as she faces another surgery very soon. I ask for healing in Jesus’ name for her. Thank you Lord. I love you Lord. In Jesus’ name, amen.

For a time during seminary we were encouraged to have a regular meeting with a spiritual director. I met with a wonderful pastor as the church near campus where she was serving as interim pastor. At the beginning of each conversation she would light a candle.  After announcements have been made before worship begins at Rush Creek a child walks with our pastor carrying the lit oil lamp and places it on the Lord’s Table. Both of these traditions signify the beginning of a time of holiness with God and God’s people and that the light of Christ has entered the space.

Scripture identifies God as light. In Isaiah 9, “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light.” And John 8, “I am the world’s Light.”  The best part about light is that following or standing in light makes stumbling nearly impossible.  When we stand in the light of God we are bathed in the glow of perfect love provided by God. The light of God is bright enough to eliminate any darkness that might be going on with us.  In a tabernacle there is a perpetual lamp that would never go out. It was placed there to remind people of the ever-present light of God.  As one who has been kind of afraid of the dark all of my life,  light is very important to me.  So tonight before I read my scripture verses, the meditation and had a brief prayer before I began to write I lit a candle. I lit the candle to remind me as I meet with God that God is present and the nature of God is light.

“Jesus once again addressed them, “I am the world’s Light. No one who follows me stumbles around in the darkness. I provide plenty of light to live in.”
John 8: 12
“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light. For those who lived in a land of deep shadows—light! Sunbursts of light!
Isaiah 9: 2
Take joy in the journey and walk in the light of the presence of God. Wear comfortable shoes, get some sleep and just like Motel 6…leave the light on.  Love you all, Bruce and Gaylene

Monday, July 7, 2014

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

Dear God, Mighty God, help me to cling to you joyfully in your presence. I love continuing to know you intimately.  Thank you for meeting me where I am and reminding me of your presence. Thank you that I find your presence in scripture. And Lord that you that everytime I look at the Cross I am reminded of how much you love me. This symbol of the cross in its simple pieces always points to you. Tonight as I wept bittersweet tears of joy and loss You were there.  Lord, even if you are quiet, You are always there and I am grateful. Also, Lord, tonight I lift up my friend Allison.  She is in a great deal of pain from surgery and now a new problem has arisen. Lord, let this prayer be joined with the prayers of others for her healing and for her pain to cease. Be with her family as they support and help her and may her body be strong enough to be healed and withstand this new issue. I love you Lord, in Jesus’ name, amen.

We have been planning this trip to Alaska for almost two months. All that is left now is to pack and get on the plane.  Tonight after dinner as I was thinking of any last minute things that might need to be done (I tend to over-think or over-plan sometimes) I was struck as to the road that has led us to be able to do this. The road is marked with life changing illness for both of us, hard work on a degree, going back to work and the plans for my vocational future placed on hold once again. 

My meditation tonight talks about the ivy that climbs on the sides of buildings or homes. The ivy is strong and grips the surface of the building so tightly that only the most determined effort can dislodge it the vines.  Ivy is one of those plants that is really hard to kill. It is able to weather the extremes of heat and cold without withering and falling off the surface on which it is climbing. 

What a great example of hope and faith is the ivy. When we place our hope in God we cling to Him in the same way ivy clings to the walls. “When the sun is warm and the rain is gentle, you grow strong and hearty, reaching and moving as you strengthen your grip on God’s never –failing love. And when the winds blow strong and rain beats at you, you know that you can hang on. You cannot be moved.”  Bruce and I have been through a lot gale force winds and beating rain this year. And the presence of God has never failed. We have been the ivy that has found itself clinging to this God is never-ending love.   The presence of God never moves whether we are in sunshine or rain. When we cling to God help and hope is always at hand. 
“As for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more.”
Psalm 71: 14
Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the LORD his God.”
Psalm 146: 5
Take joy in the journey assured of the hope that God is ever present.  Wear comfortable shoes, get some sleep and remember that God’s never-failing love for us is only a prayer away.  Love you all, Bruce and Gaylene

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Greetings from Austin Street
Blessed Sunday to you all!  All is well here at 811. 

Dear God, thank you for including everyone in the reach of your embracing love.  Forgive me for the times I have compromised my testimony of your love. I know what is right, and I ask that you help me to live in step with your truth.  I thank you that your truth is that each of us live, move and exist inside the greatness of your love.  Thank you God that you have given me a voice with which to sing your praises so that when I cannot speak your words of love I can sing of your love, truth and sing your praises.  I love you Lord. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Knowledge and words have power.  If you raised children in your home you know what intuitive little sponges they are as little ones. They are smart enough to listen and repeat things that we as adults say. Sometimes these things they say are not always the good things we wish they would say and often laugh at the sophisticated phrases that come out of the mouth of a three year old.  It is at times like these we are reminded that what we say has meaning and those who look up to us believe that our words are worthy of repeating.  (Sometimes we are the only Bibles people ever read.)

I am not a child. So now I am responsible for setting the example for others to follow in their life with their relationships with God. God has commanded us in scripture to set His Word as our standard of living. We are to do our very best to be as obedient as we can be.  As believers in Christ we are expected to set a godly pattern for those with whom we come into contact especially those with who we love and live.  We follow the example of Christ in love, forgiveness, service, kindness following His holy example of honorable character.  I claim the words of the old hymn, “Chief of sinners though I be, Jesus Christ still died for me.”  In these words I find the power of forgiveness, grace and the call to try again. 

“I am an example to many people because you are my strong protection.”
Psalm 71:7
Take joy in the journey and give thanks that no matter what we are always held in the embracing love of God. Wear comfortable shoes, get some sleep and forgive someone today even if it is yourself!  Love you all, Bruce and Gaylene