Saturday, July 26, 2014

Greetings from Austin Street
Happy Saturday!  All is well here at 811. I think vacation is officially over. (Laundry is done.) Today was spent on Saturday errands; bank, grocery store, Walmart etc…I also have begun the enormous task of printing the pictures from our Alaskan cruise. I learned to do it very easily and with small expense at the Photo Canter at Walmart. I got as far as Ketchikan and stopped for the day. Bruce and I will return there tomorrow to work on them some more. I have almost 500 photos, but will not print them all. Also, I need to purchase a new candle. The one I light each night as I begin my meditation journal is almost used up. If you are reading this Arla, thank you again for the candle. This candle has become a very important part of my quiet time Maybe while at Walmart tomorrow…

Dear God, I come to you right now, just as I am. You accept receive and love me. Illuminate my life as this wonderful candle lights my office and keeps the light of you unquenchable love and hope always before me. I praise you that all fear and darkness abandons the space in which you inhabit especially the space you and I have created in my heart. I love you Lord. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Tonight my meditation tells the story of Charlotte Elliott. She was an artist, singer, composer and a spirited, charismatic woman. When she was thirty years old a disease captured her body causing her to be an invalid. She became depressed and gave up on her former activities and creativity. One day an evangelist named Caesar Milan visited Ms. Elliott and shared with her the value of her life and her importance to God. He told her that she must come to God just as she was at that moment in her life. She responded to this pastor’s words and began a life of faith and placed her illness in the hands of God; the master healer. Peace flooded her soul and in response to this blessed peace she wrote the fine old hymn, Just As I Am.

When I am experiencing darkness I too draw near to God and I claim Psalm 51: 10-13 Create in me a clean heart O God. Renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your Presence and take not thy Holy Spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of my salvation and uphold me with thy free Spirit. Then I will teach transgressors thy ways and sinners will be converted unto Thee. “ I do not know if Pastor Milan had this passage in mind when he spoke with Ms. Elliott, but it calls for praises and a response. When I am tempted to feel discouraged, lost, forgotten I read this scripture and I am reminded that I am not alone and the light of God in the risen Christ overcomes the darkness.  And that I am called because I have been blessed with the Presence of God just as I am to respond and tell others of the light of God through Jesus.

“We shall not turn back from you; give us life, and we will call upon your name:  Restore us. O Lord God of Hosts! Let your face shine, that we may be saved.”
Psalm 81: 18-19
“it is now time for you to wake up from your sleep, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.”
Romans 13: 11
Take joy in the journey praying as we go unafraid to come to God just as we are. Wear comfortable shoes and get some sleep. Love you all, Bruce and Gaylene

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Greetings from Austin Street
Happy Thursday! All is well here at 811. Follow-up visit to oncologist and radiation doc today. All is well. Next visit is in three months. The blessing for today is the conversation I had with my oncologist. He is a mighty man of faith. We had the most wonderful conversation about faith and hope and giving the gift of freedom and mercy. 

Dear God no matter what I go through, O God, you go through it with me. Where I am, you are.  You are always there to help. I am seeking a new road in which to travel; a road of your choosing and your leading. I believe I am in the right place in my life to move forward in the ministry of Christ.  I know you will place just enough light before me to light the way down the road. Thank you Lord. I love you so much. In Jesus’ name, amen.

It does not matter what each of us goes through whether it is difficulty or joy; God is with us.  This great truth gives cause for rejoicing.  God being with us allows us to cope with all of our circumstances giving us strength.  Keeping our focus on God is our security system. Even if situations seem hopeless God assures us that “all things are possible with God.” God is not one who would lie and calls himself Truth.  When we affirm our trust in God we come near to God and release the power of the Holy Spirit. Sarah Young writes, “Do not restrain that Holy Spirit impulse; instead, give it voice.”  When we give voice to the Holy Spirit within us we are proclaiming to the world that we trust in God and have hope because we live in His Presence.

“Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him for the help of His presence.”
Psalm 42: 5
“Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”
Mark 10: 27
Take joy in the journey and pray as you go. Wear comfortable shoes; get some sleep giving thanks for being in the comforting and holy presence of God. Love you all, Bruce and Gaylene

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

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

Dear God, May I listen closely to you so I will have something to say to others. Thank you for rest from the journey. Thank you for the roads you have sent me down for I know they are not the destination; they are the journey. You are a good and gracious God filled with love, forgiveness and giving all of your children a hope for the future. As I live into the future you have planned by living each day in a manner worthy of your name. I love you Lord. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Quietly looking out on the ocean is a wonderful place to have a prayer time. Sometimes when I pray I just want to stay right there and not leave that wonderful presence of the closeness of God. Sort of like a warm blanket on a cool morning or a deck chair looking out over the ocean.  When we pray with God through the Holy Spirit it is in conversation and the expectation from God to us is to remain in His Presence while serving and helping others.  When we pray inside ourselves with God there are expectations on the outside.  Prayer is such a safe place, a haven of rest and a harbor from which we are expected to set sail. When we spend close times with God we grow in intimacy with our Creator and are being prepared for service in the world. Prayer helps us to be ready when we are needed to help someone else. Our hearts and minds are opened to those around us leading us to those who are in need of a word of hope, encouragement and comfort.  Because we are in prayer with a God of love and grace our hearts are made larger and are able to carry those who are in need of help and prayer.  

“I have made known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”
John 17: 26
“Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desire of your heart.”
Psalm 37: 4
Take joy in the journey praying as you go and stopping to help someone else along the way. Wear comfortable shoes and get some sleep.  Love you all, Bruce and Gaylene

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Greetings from Austin Street
Happy Tuesday! All is well and recovering here at 811.  We are fine just readjusting to Texas time and tiredness of the day we came home.  I booked our flight for 6:00 AM from Seattle Monday morning. That means getting to the airport at 4: 30 AM and the airport shuttle picking us up at 3: 15 AM and getting up meant 2:00 AM.  Monday was a very long day!  We give thanks that both flights were smooth and uneventful and that our Alaskan Cruise was spectacular!  Let me just say, “God does amazing work and was present in each port, grandeur of the land and sea adventure we had.” We loved the glacier, the whales and the mountains. We saw eagles in both Ketchikan and Juneau. We saw whales, orcas and humpbacks, on our whale watching excursion. The humpbacks were as close as 30 to fifty feet from our boat.  We went to the summit of a mountain in Skagway and into Canada and I bravely walked across a suspension bridge over a river of rapids. We saw a bear eating on the side of the road. The ship was beautiful and huge with about a hundred different things to do from early morning to late at night. The food was fabulous. We ate the most delicious salmon and other seafood all week long. My goal was to try as many new things as possible that I could not get at home. Salmon for breakfast is really good.  It was truly aerobic eating!  Bruce and I walked our first 5K non-competitive walk for Breast Cancer on the Promenade deck. I was the only survivor who made the walk. I need to practice before I do the next one.  And…the coffee was excellent everywhere we went. We made new friends, tried new things and saw wonderful shows. We listened to really great music with the exception of the country and western night. The international performers don’t exactly get C & W.  I know how people become addicted to cruises. I know I will be ready to go again in the not too distant future! We had the most amazing and unforgettable time. 

Dear God, help me to take whatever is given and make it large for you. Thank you for your indescribable creation. It was simply breathtaking.  You have blessed me with gifts and a desire to serve you. Help me to respond to your call and use these gifts to your glory. I love you Lord. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

There were times on the ship that I thought of how peaceful it is out there on the water. I could have sat out and just looked at the expanse of the water as the ship moved along.  That kind of peace and calmness I could easily get used to.  It also did not hurt that I did not do laundry, prepare meals, coffee was delivered at my request at 6: 30 each morning. There were so many things from which to choose for entertainment or there was a comfy chair from which to drink a really good cup of coffee, read a book, play cards, sit and talk, make a new friend or just sit and be quiet. 

But the time came to come home.  It is time to respond to the touch of God on my life and begin to prepare for my next ordination interview and apply for ministry positions.  The cancer is gone. I am healing nicely and feel no side effects of the disease or treatment.  I have committed myself to a life of service and with vacation over it is time to move into commitment and responsibility.  God has moved in me and now it is time for me to move forward and on for God. My meditation tonight uses the example of an alarm clock. The clock wakes me up, but that is all it can do. It cannot get me out of bed. Getting up is my responsibility. God has touched me with presence and call. It is time for me to respond in faith. 

So tonight’s question is this…Has God moved in your life and if so how are you faithfully responding to that call?  Just a thought…

“I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send?  And who will go for Us? Then said I, Here am I: send me.”
Isaiah 6: 8
“Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.”
Proverbs 16: 3

Take joy in the journey!  Go and see Alaska if at all possible!  Wear comfortable shoes and get some sleep. Love you all, Bruce and Gaylene