Friday, August 8, 2014

Greetings from Austin Street
TGIF  Today God is First All is well here at 811. Update on the job search…As the housekeeper said on Mary Poppins, “The position has been field.”  I am still putting in applications and have hope. 

Dear God, when I trust and obey you, the way is clear to me.  Help me Lord to be obedient. Speak clearly to me Lord so that I may hear your will and follow your plan for my life. Help me Lord to listen and love as I participate in the Kairos Prison Ministry as their chaplain. May I speak your word, pray with all my heart and lead in worship as you would have me do. Thank you Lord for this opportunity to serve. Tonight I ask a special blessing on Bruce as he works to complete the make ready in our house. I thank you for him and all you have done for him. Keep him strong Lord. I love you Lord, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

“Obedience is the shortest distance to who God is, the quickest way to know His presence in your life.”  That was the opening sentence of my meditation tonight. As adults we do not always like it when we are called on to be obedient. But when we act in obedience to God we are showing God our love and trust in him. When we listen and act in obedience to God’s Word we live in safety, peace and without fear. (Prov. 1: 33) Listening and acting on God’s will for our life is the way to wisdom. When we listen and are in tune with the Presence of God in our lives we have a better chance of hearing His Word accurately and consistently.

I think the ways in which we hear God’s word in through prayer; a conversation with God, through reading God’s Word in scripture, in worship when we hear the Word preached and being around those who believe in God through faith in Jesus as their Lord and Savior.  Practicing hearing God’s voice is a discipline of our ears and thinking and of our hearts. The more we are in tune with God the more we are convinced of His love for us and the more motivated we are to listen. God has deep abiding and unfailing love for each of us as we know Him as Jesus, our Lord and Savior.  So my friends the Kairos motto is, “Listen. Listen. Love. Love.”  Let us look and listen through the eyes of faith and we will seek obedience and find peace.

“All who listen to me shall live in peace and safety, unafraid.”
Proverbs 1: 33
Because you listen to those rules and keep and do them, the Lord your God will keep with you the covenant and the steadfast love that he swore to your fathers.”
Deuteronomy 7: 12
Take joy in the journey praying as you go. Listen. Listen. Love. Love. Wear comfortable shoes and get some sleep.  Love you all, Bruce and Gaylene

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Greetings from Austin Street
Happy Thursday!  All is well here at 811. I have a prayer request. I attempted to apply for a PRN Chaplain position this evening for which I meet all of the qualifications. Many of the requirements state a minimum of three years’ experience in a hospital or other facility in pastoral care. This position did not ask for experience beyond the completion of CPE, to be ordained or  in the ordination process or  and achieved an M.Div. Problem:  their website was uncooperative so tomorrow I will call the chaplain’s office and see if there is a way to apply and get an interview.  Wish me luck and say a prayer.

Dear God, Thank you for the ever-expanding glory of who you are to me. Give me an undivided heart to love and obey you. May nothing ever come between us, but help me to honor you with my life.  Lord, help me keep trying. Lord, keep your face in front of me so that I will always see you. Walk beside me so that we can talk along the way. Walk behind me and encourage me and stay close enough so that when I stumble you are there to catch me. I love you Lord. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Before going to Alaska my vision of the beauty of our country was very limited. After going to Alaska my eyes could almost not take it all in.  The Pacific Northwest was absolutely beautiful with its tall trees, majestic mountains, beautiful waterfalls, the expanse of the ocean and so much more.  And in the seven days we were gone I am sure we only scratched the surface. I want to go back and walk slow to take more of this beautiful country.

I know I did not see all of the glory that this area had to offer. Similarly, there is more to God than we will ever know or understand until we are eternally with Him and see His face shining in glory at all times. God has known me perfectly forever, but beyond what we know or understand about God there is great majesty and unspeakable glory and immeasurable love. Just like I could only imagine Alaska through pictures and the eyes of those who have gone before me God is beyond my perceptions and understanding, because beyond what I can only glimpse of God; is God.    

“Now we see a dim reflection, as if we were looking into a mirror, but then we shall see clearly. Now I know only a part, but then I will know fully, as God has known me.”
1 Corinthians 13: 12

Take joy in the journey praying as you go and try to take in the expanse of the immeasurable love of God.  Wear comfortable shoes and get some sleep. Love you all, Bruce and Gaylene

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

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

Dear God, Teach me God to call out to you for help and strength rather than yield to temptation. And thank you for forgiving me when I mess up. You are the God of instant help. Thank you for coming to me any time and every time and all I have to do is ask.  Lord, when I feel I have failed even though so small there are times I let Satan discourage and I want to shut down. I ask for your help to look to you and assured that you have a plan and a place and a future for me.  Let me feel your embrace and encouragement to continue the journey you have set before me.  I love you Lord, in Jesus name, amen.

Yesterday I placed a phone call to a hospice center concerning a possible position as a chaplain.  The director was in a meeting so I left a message with her assistant with the assurance of a return phone call. She did not return the call so I place a second phone call today. The director was not at her desk, but her assistant told me there was not a position available. I was told to go to the website and place an application as that is the procedure.  I became a little discouraged. Things were a bit different when I was applying for jobs 30 plus years ago!

The enemy’s goal is to tempt us to walk away from all we know is right and true about God and our relationship with Him. If Satan can place even the smallest piece of doubt within us it can lead to a spiritual melt down and to stumble in our spiritual lives.  When I began to feel discouraged over this brief disappointment I should have immediately turned to God and said, “Ok Lord. Lead me somewhere else.” But I let this small delay get under my skin.  I began to doubt. When I begin to doubt and forget to turn to God first I am blocking God’s power to work through me.  So, after a while I began to pray for God to help me in His time and forgive me for letting Satan plant thoughts of being unworthy in my head.  I know better than to let the accusations of the enemy keep me from experiencing God’s love, forgiveness, leading and encouragement. 

Bruce always says that when we are getting really close to the target that the enemy comes really close.  Satan may want me to fail, but God will lift me soul and set me back on the path of confidence and hope.  God is good and love wins. 

“Everytime I’m in trouble I call on you, confident that you’ll answer.”
Psalm 86: 7

Take joy in the journey praying as you go and calling on God when you stumble. Wear comfortable shoes and get some sleep. Love you all, Bruce and Gaylene

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Greetings from Austin Street
Happy Tuesday!  All is well here at 811. We attended Bruce’s monthly Family conference today. He continues to make wonderful improvement. His testing increases in level of difficulty throughout each month and the results are announced at the conference. It has been a year since therapy began and he has come at least 900 miles of that 1000 mile journey. He is currently working on constructing sentences that match pictures using more complex language and parts of speech. He said today, “Adverbs are hard!” His silent reading comprehension is great. He is reading far more complex passages with fewer miscalls and interruptions.  He is a far cry from  “Yes, No and Ok” from a year ago. God is so good, love wins, Bruce’s determination is unparalleled and the folks at CNS are phenomenal. We have much for which to be thankful!

The candle is lit…

Dear God, I will consider repeatedly the counsel and direction you give me.  Thank you for wanting a relationship with me. I want to know you more each day. Help me to seek you and love you more every day. Thank you for the precious life of Bruce. You have restored him and renewed his spirit out of your great love and tender mercy. Thank you Lord for everything. I love you Lord, in Jesus’ name, amen.

When I sign off each night I write take joy in the journey praying as you go. Why do we pray?  We pray because God created us to have a relationship with us. In every relationship there must be a way to communicate. Prayer is the medium through which we communicate with God.  If God had created humanity and then satisfied our needs without any request from us then why would we have need to interact with Him?  Why would we need to ask for our heart’s desires to be filled?

When Bruce first had the stroke the communication was really tough. I missed our daily conversations.  And then when we began to converse again it was like learning a new language and trying to figure out what Bruce was saying so that I could understand. The point is we kept on trying. We did not stop talking to each other and our relationship grew as we learned new ways to communicate.  I had to learn a new way to listen to understand what Bruce was trying to say especially if he needed help.

God wants us to ask for help so that the lines of communication open and our relationship with Him happens. When we pray we open ourselves up to receive his love and provision. It is the way we let God into our lives.  And it is the way we learn of God as our friend, Savior, counselor and confidant. Pray as you go…

“Be kind to me! I pray to you all day. Make my heart glad! I serve you, and my prayer is sincere. You willingly forgive, and your love is always there for those who pray to you.”
Psalm 86: 3-5

Take joy in the journey praying as you go.  Wear comfortable shoes and get some sleep. Love you all, Bruce and Gaylene

Monday, August 4, 2014

Greetings from Austin Street
Happy Monday!  All is well here at 811. We have had the nicest day!  I have family in Mountain Home, Arkansas who drove through Sherman today. Dad called and asked if we wanted to join them for lunch. We met at Dad’s favorite restaurant and had a delicious lunch and great time of reunion with family we do not see very often. Ken (my brother) mentioned that we were getting together without anyone being in the hospital, ill or passing. We really need to do this more often!

The candle is lit…

Dear God, help me to do with my life what you are doing in my life. Thank you for bringing sunlight into my soul with the unexpected visit with family.  Being with family renews my spirit. You have blessed me with a family of faith that raised me as they were raised in faith so that I might raise my own family to know and love you. Thank you Lord for remaining with us always and even though time and geography separates us, we are always connected to each other by your love. I love you Lord, in Jesus’ name, amen.

The opening sentence of my meditation tonight states, “Finding leads to following.” I had to ponder that statement and ask myself this question, “When God is working in my life am I paying attention and following His lead?”  For a while this summer I found myself sitting still and not moving forward finding excuses not to move forward.  I have had some time to think during cancer treatment and recovery and realize that God has been shaping me for His purpose. It is now my job to seek to fulfill that purpose with the person I am, what I do and where I am going.

Another sentence in my meditation tonight speaks of a man who was stopped at a traffic light and read a bumper sticker on the back of the car in front of him. It read, “Are you following Jesus this close?”  A question for each of us to ponder.  What will it take for us to follow Jesus so closely that the work being done in our lives by the power of the Holy Spirit to manifest itself into service for the kingdom?  Just askin’…

“If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.”
Matthew 16: 24

Take joy in the journey praying as you go and follow Jesus. Wear comfortable shoes and get some sleep. Love you all, Bruce and Gaylene

Sunday, August 3, 2014

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

The candle is lit…

Dear God, You are the living God, and I praise you! I yearn to live in your presence and worship at your footstool, my glorious God. Thank you for working on my behalf to help me perform your will on the stage of my life. While I am living into your will and learning more about you each day I think about what it will be like when I live with you for all eternity. But Lord, for me eternity began when I prayed to receive you as my Lord and Savior and to live my life for you. I think about the joy you have given praising you with the knowledge that I will never be separated from you on this side of heaven or on the other side. So Lord, I worship you now in praise and thanksgiving for this life and the life in the everlasting kingdom. I love you Lord, in Jesus name, amen.

I have a quiet time each day as I prepare to write the journal each night. Actually it is usually not quiet. While I was in seminary I would write to DVR’d episodes of NCIS. I have seen all of them many, many times and so I really did not pay attention, but the noise kept me company.  But lately I have begun to change that practice somewhat by lighting a candle inviting the light of Christ into my office space and muting the TV. One day I will complete the ritual and I will turn the TV off.  Small steps…habits are difficult to break.

But quiet time is the time in which I see more clearly what God is doing in my life.  Armed with scripture, a meditation on that scripture, a blank page on which to write and the invitation for Christ to enter into my thoughts through prayer I begin my thinking about what God has to say. I rethink through my day and see God’s actions in the daily events and see how God has worked and His purpose in the happenings of my everyday life.  It was during one of these quiet times recently that urged me on to prepare a resume and create some business cards announcing to the world that I am ready to serve in the ministry of Christ and help others get through some difficult times. I was tired of sitting still and I must admit to being just a bit scared to move forward.  It is through these quiet times that I can began to understand what God is doing and maybe even how he is doing it by remaining not only at my side, but also going before me to pave the way.

So my friends tune in to the daily events of your life and see how God is working. God does such good things in our lives. It is our job to look around and see that they are.

“He who calls you is faithful, he will surely do it.”
1 Thessalonians 5: 24
“God is able to make all grace abound to you. So that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.”
2 Corinthians 9: 8
Take joy in the journey and look around to see the goodness of God. Wear comfortable shoes and get some sleep. Love you all, Bruce and Gaylene