Friday, September 26, 2014

Greetings from Austin Street
TGIF Today God is First! All is well here at 811. I went back to work today and Bruce is still at work as I write.   And tomorrow we will travel to the final Kairos Team Meeting prior to the long weekend event. Please lift up the team as we travel and the participants as they are selected to be a part of this weekend. Thank you so very much.

The candle is lit…

Dear God, when you open a door, no room is small. Thank you for all my opportunities to share Your Word of salvation and grace. I could never begin to measure the depth of your love, but Lord I thank you for it. Help me to trust the height and depth of Your love and  to share it with those who need to hear it. Lord, I lift up the team that prepares to go in I ask you to inspire them with your Word. Help us  who support them and the participants to remain in prayer for your spiritual graces to go before those who deliver Your Word and openness of spirits to those who will receive it. We all love you so much Lord and want to serve you as you see fit. In Jesus name, amen.

I opened my meditation tonight and the title is “Open Every Door.”   There are so many opportunities to share God’s Word and the forgiving grace that God offers because of His great love for us.  I know it may be hard but praying for opportunities and occasions to be a witness for God through faith in Jesus is what God wants us to do so His message of love will be spread.   If we pray for this God will provide opportunities for us to witness. Sometimes this witness will happen out of our own experiences with our loving God. Sometimes our witness happens in Christian Action when we help others in some way.  But I think the best way we can witness is to live our lives as fully as possible and when the opportunity comes before us to share God’s love we need to bravely and faithfully walk in the door as God leads us.  This is what the Kairos Prison Ministry does. They walk through the doors of the prison and share the gospel in a place where hope is not very present and trust is all but non-existent. God presents this opportunity for His grace and love to be in the lives of those who have little hope and walk in places of darkness.  It is really hard for us to realize how amazingly powerful and profound God’s love is for us. Just imagine how overwhelming this love must be for those who feel so unloved.  God is good and love wins.

[Pray] that God will open us to us a door for the word so that we may speak forth the mystery of Christ.”
Colossians 4: 3
“I have set before you and open door; and no one can shut it.”
Revelation 3: 8

Take joy in the journey praying as you go and do not miss an opportunity to share the gospel.  When God opens the door walk in and He will meet you there.  Wear comfortable shoes and get some sleep.  Love you all, Bruce and Gaylene

Thursday, September 25, 2014

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

Dear God, I put my eyes on you, dear Lord, and keep them there so I might follow where you lead. Help me to always rejoice in your presence. Thank you for the leaders you have placed in my life over the years. Each of these leaders has had your life within them and have been and are being  led by your wisdom, love and grace. Thank you for these special people who have helped shape me in your ways. Bless them Lord. I love you Lord, in Jesus’ name, amen.

Have you ever watched a really great choir or orchestra? Both of these groups have one thing in common. They have been trained to never take their eyes off of the director.  When each musician whether vocalist or instrumentalist keeps their eyes focused on the one who is directing then the performance is smooth and flawless.  It takes daily practice with musicians and the director to achieve the beautiful music .

When we practice a quiet time with God each day keeping our eyes on Him we exercise our faith through the daily discipline of reading scripture and prayer.  Keeping our eyes on Jesus each day allows us to see more clearly God’s purpose for each of us and call on our lives.  Having a daily walk with God directs our paths and proclaims God as our leader through belief in Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit living within us.  When we keep our eyes on Jesus we will always know where to go and what we are supposed to do. God is good and love wins!

“You are blessed because you see with your eyes and hear with your ears.”
Matthew 13: 16
Turning to the disciples [Jesus} said privately. “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see!”
Luke 10: 23

Take joy in the journey being directed by God who never leaves us or leads us astray. Wear comfortable shoes and get some sleep. Love you all, Bruce and Gaylene

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Greetings from Austin Street
Happy Wednesday!  All is well here at 811.  I am busy preparing to go back to work on Friday and to act as the Chapel Leader for the Kairos Prison Ministry Support Team. One of our tasks as a team member is to write a letter to each of the participants on the weekend. So each team member is tasked to write 42 letters of encouragement to those who are participating.  The good news for me today is that I was able to finish my letters before the weekend event.  

The candle is lit…

Dear God, help me see your hand in all of the events in my life. I know you are with me, giving my life meaning and purpose. Lord, place your loving hand on those who will be participants in the Kairos Weekend. Prepare their hearts to receive the Gospel. Thank you Lord that in our relationship with you, You  are present all of the time even when we are not aware. Thank you for staying so close to us in the power of the Holy Spirit that we are never alone and are always loved. I love you Lord, in Jesus name, amen.

Most of us a onetime or another have felt alone. Sometimes we even feel alone while in a room full of people. The good news for us is that if we have a relationship with God through faith in Jesus we are never alone because God is not far away. The power of God is not a distant power. We do not have to travel to meet with the seat of power. Our faith in God allows us to remain right where we are and have uninterrupted conversation and access to God through prayer and the Word 24/7.  Having a daily walk with Christ is the way we develop a relationship with the love of God and gain insight on how to realize God loving grace living within us.

I have used the term “it was a God thing,” to try an explain something that unexpectedly occurs. As I have studied the character of God through the life of Jesus I think these “God things” are revelations of God’s love and continual concern for us. As we continue to grow in faith and trust in our relationship with God these “God things or God moments” are revealed to our understanding. The latest “God thing” for me was an interviewer on the ordination committee who serves in a prison unit through Kairos. He asked me questions and his presence helped me focus my answers and further helped me to display a ministerial presence for the ministry of Jesus Christ. God uses His people to lead others back toward Himself.  God is good and His faithful love wins!!

“Those who are wise will take all of this to heart; They will see in our history the faithful love of the Lord.”
Psalm 107: 43
“I remember the days of old. I think about all your deeds, I meditate on the work of your hands.”
Psalm 143: 5

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

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

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

Dear God, I praise you for letting me hear what you hear and see what you see. Thank you for your Word and for prayer leading me in a faith-filled path of learning and ministry. I ask you to bless Heather Santi-Brown as she prepares for her ordination service very soon. I thank you for blessing our friend Amber with much needed plasma that is helping to restore her body to a better state of health and for the faith you have instilled in her to hang in there through this process. Thank you for your faithfulness and teaching us about the gift of faith we have been given. Thank you Lord for loving us so very much. I love you Lord, in Jesus’s name, amen.

The writer of my meditation tonight speaks about faith in almost every sentence beginning with “Faith helps you see more than you think you can.”  Having a faith-filled life helps us accomplish things we never thought possible.  When I think of a faith-filled person I think about Bruce. The other night he replaced lights at the church in the sanctuary.  Someone snapped a picture of him up on several frames of scaffolding taking him to the ceiling of the sanctuary. As he is replacing these lights. It was a bit scary for me to view! It caused me to be reminded that just a little over a year ago he could not speak three words and walk a straight line. And because of our faithful healing God, a couple of days ago he constructed scaffolding, climbed it, removed broken lights and replaced them with ones that work. I also thought that is sort of a metaphor for faith in God through the life of Jesus. Faith enables us to remove the darkness and replace it with light with Jesus being the light. It is faith that enabled Bruce to stare up at that ceiling and have the courage to climb the steps needed so that all could be blessed with the gift of working lights in the sanctuary.  I think it is in faith that we are allowed to see God working in our lives because God faithfully remains with us out of His great love.  God is good and His unfailing love and faithfulness always wins!!

[Jesus said,] “If you have faith and don’t doubt, I promise that you can do what I did to this tree. And you will be able to do even more. You can tell this mountain to get up and jump into the sea and it will.”
Matthew 21: 21
“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the son of God, who loved me and gave himself up for me.”
Galatians 2: 20

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

Monday, September 22, 2014

Greetings from Austin Street
Happy Monday and happy first day of fall!  This is always one of my favorite days. And today when I walked out of my front door it was perfect. It was cool without being crisp. Just a mild breeze that reminded me of the feeling of when you sleep with all of the windows open in your house.  I just stood on the porch and gave thanks for the wonderful creation God has given on this beautiful day. All is well here at 811.

Dear God, you are my constant companion. You are with me all the time, everywhere I am. Thank you for this beautiful fall day. Thank you for the meeting with me when I call and always taking the time to spend time with me.  Your presence strengthens me. Your presence weaves itself through me and lets me know that you are here to stay no matter what. Thank you Lord. I love you Lord, in Jesus’ name, amen.

When we spend time with God we are reminded of His constancy with us.  I try to spend concentrated time with God twice a day with scripture and prayer; once in the morning and in the evening when I reflect on a scripture and meditation.  And somewhere in between these two times I think about God.  What I have learned is that God does not come and go. God comes and stays. As we go about our daily lives the constancy of God guides our decisions and will help work through the decisions we have made. When we invite God to be a part of the simplest things in our lives we are given the courage of our convictions because we are assured of God’s presence and guidance. As I was pondering this concept of God’s presence in our lives I began to think of how Jesus modeled the presence of God in our lives. Jesus stood in front of folks when he preached as a rabbi, but the rest of the time He walked along side of people helping them, giving guidance, giving encouragement and most of all just being there as a Savior. Knowing this brings me peace, comfort and confidence in our loving Savior who is with us to stay.

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.”
Hebrews 13: 8
[God] who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 1: 6
Take joy in the journey praying as you go with Jesus at your side and inside you. Wear comfortable shoes and get some sleep. Love you all, Bruce and Gaylene

Sunday, September 21, 2014

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

The candle is lit…

Lord, nothing strengthens me more, dear God, than to perceive that Jesus in on his knees praying for me. God when I need streams in the deserts of my life, I will place my hope in your faithfulness and love for me.  Thank you Jesus for a wonderful Sunday of worship.  Lord, continue to be present with Amber as she receives platelet infusions and battles the allergic reactions. Please be with her in her healing and strengthen her body to receive the treatments and care for her spirit and the spirits of her family.  May she look to you for hope and peace. Thank you Lord. I love you Lord, in Jesus’ name, amen.

One of the questions I was asked at my ordination interview was “What are the qualities that a minister needs to have?”  One of my answers was a life of prayer.  As I began to think about what a life in prayer is I thought about Jesus and how not only how He modeled a life in prayer for us, but that when Jesus prays, His prayers go straight to His heavenly Father; God. Can we even imagine what it is like for Jesus to be on His knees before the Creator of the universe praying for you and me.  Can we just close our eyes and picture Jesus speaking our name and talking to God about our relationship with Him, our relationships with others, our wants, our needs, how we need forgiveness and offering to God our great thanksgiving for the blessings we receive and the blanket of grace  we wear.  Can we imagine Jesus telling God about the times we have been hurt and how broken our hearts have become?  Only imagine when Jesus tells His Father of how hard to try to live godly lives, tells God of our dreams and to give us the courage and faith to pursue the dreams and desires of our hearts.

Jesus loves us so much that we have been given a model of prayer for our own lives and He prays for us speaking our name before God. That just about takes my breath away.  Praying for us is important to Jesus. It is so important that the Holy Spirit was sent into our lives so that Jesus could continue living in us and praying for us. So let us pray to Jesus for what is on our hearts and further our relationship in love with our Lord and Savior.

“He is always living to make petition to God and intercede with Him and intervene for them.”
Hebrews 7: 25
After [Jesus) had sent them away: he went by himself up in to the hills to pray. It was late, and Jesus was there alone.”
Matthew 14: 23
Take joy in the journey praying as you go and remember that Jesus prays for us too. Wear comfortable shoes and get some sleep.  Love you all, Bruce and Gaylene