Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Greetings from Austin Street
Happy Wednesday and Happy Thanksgiving Eve!  All is well here at 811.  The dressing is in the fridge ready for baking in the morning. The giblets are stewed and cooling ready for chopping and I will make the mashed potatoes and green beans in the morning before we leave for Allen.  I love Thanksgiving.  When your children grow up and begin their own traditions sometimes it is tough on parents as we realize we have to grow up too. Both Geni and Travis are creating their own Thanksgiving traditions apart from Bruce and me.  But we are all going to be together at Christmas so everything works out just fine.  The good news is that they are all with the ones they love too and will give thanks. 

The candle is lit…

God, thank you for the comforting light of your presence and the comforting strength of your arm that leads me carefully as I journey. Thank you for creating me and each of us with unique purposes that fits in with your people. I praise you for uniting all of us in love. Lord, today I sent in  the first of the ordination documents. I ask you to walk each step of this process with me and teach me the things you want me to know and learn between now and April. It is my heart’s desire to serve you as an ordained pastor.  I pray to serve you with my whole heart and that you will lead me to live, walk and work among your people with extraordinary purpose.  May the purpose in which I serve You and your people be ordained by you and strengthened by your very love. I love you Lord. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Continuing with the theme of thankfulness God asks each of us to offer the sacrifice of thanksgiving to God telling of the kindness of God   and the works of God with songs of joy!  When we bear our circumstances with courage and thanking God for God’s holy Presence during our circumstances we are praising and thanking God in its highest form. This practice is a divine power that will weaken the core of the problem we are facing. And this is the hard part, but it is also the blessing; when we place this discipline into practice we surrender our need to understand “why” and with courage and trust stepping out of the way letting God help us through the circumstance.  The sacrifice of thanksgiving is a practiced discipline that happens over period of time. When we offer our sacrifice we are asking God to let us see our situation through the eyes of God. When we offer the sacrifice of thanksgiving to God we deepen our relationship and come closer to God. This discipline deepens our trust level in ways of mercy, seeing God’s goodness and standing in the light of God’s love.  Besides the personal benefits of practicing the sacrifice of thanksgiving, as others see that we are not only able to endure in our current circumstances but thrive we are able to show God’s strength in our lives and give encouragement to others. 

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.”
2 Corinthians 10: 3-4
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on YOUR OWN UNDERSTANDING.”
Proverbs 3: 5
Take joy in the journey praising, praying, laughing, and encouraging others as you go. Enjoy a Happy Thanksgiving Day. GO FROGS!!!! Wear purple, comfortable shoes and get some sleep. Love you all, Bruce and Gaylene

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Greetings from Austin Street
Happy Tuesday!  All is well here at 811. I met with Chris today and began work on the ordination packet. We also began to put some language together for the paper. It was a really good meeting. I am very grateful to him for all of his help. I also made the dinner rolls with the yellow cake mix. They are pretty easy and really yummy. They are a sweet dinner roll, but if you butter them with salted butter the flavor balances well. I also thought that when the after thanksgiving lunch munchies occur these rolls will be awesome with a piece of ham as a slider.  Just a couple of hints:  I kneaded in the final cup of flour by hand on a cutting board, I oiled the bowl and the top of top of the dough at the first rising, the second rising takes around 30 minutes.  My recipe made 24 large rolls. I think I may try to make the dough into individual rolls and not cut them in the pan as the directions tell. 

The candle is lit…

Lord, I do believe in You! Thank you for sending Jesus to open the way to you and for constantly shining light on my life.  Thank you for the gift of thankfulness and when I fail to be thankful please forgive me. May I be ever mindful how fragile life is and be thankful for all of your countless blessings. Lord, thank you for loving me as if I was the only one in the world. As your child Wynonna says, “To the world I am one, but to One I am the world.”  Thank you loving Lord for prayer, watching over me and again the gift of thankfulness.  I love you Lord. In Jesus’ name, amen.

In just a little more than 24 hours we will dedicate an entire day just for giving thanks.  According to Sarah Young, the author of Jesus Calling, “ A thankful attitude opens windows of heaven through which spiritual blessings fall freely.” There is a wonderful song with the lyric, “Thankfulness, thankfulness is all I long for. Thankfulness, thankfulness is all I need.  Thankfulness is all You want from me.”  God requires and thankful heart, a heart of gratitude and the blessings from the storehouse of God’s love will rain down upon us. Scripture tells us that being thankful is vital to our health and well-being and to our healing and wholeness.  Because thankfulness is a gift from God it is a spiritual blessing.

God, who loves us so very much, is the God of grace and if we forget to be grateful then all we need to do is to ask for forgiveness and be thankful for that forgiveness.  Thankfulness is a priceless gift and if we remember the cost of Christ on the cross it will help- each of us to practice thankfulness throughout the day.  God is good. Give thanks and God wins.

“Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. “
Psalm 100: 4
Blessed be the God, and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.”
Ephesians 1: 3

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

Monday, November 24, 2014

Greetings from Austin Street
Happy Monday!  All is well here at 811. It is the first day of my thanksgiving break and I got my extra errands done today before the cooking frenzy begins. Tomorrow I am trying a new dinner roll recipe that you make with a cake mix.  Sounds interesting! I promise a full report. But the best part of today was the long wonderful visit we had with Bruce’s brother, Dale from Memphis.  We had a long leisurely dinner and such a wonderful visit. We got caught up on kids, pets, music, his precious wife Twylagayle, holiday plans and when we will see each other again.  It was great!! In my devotional time this morning about thankfulness I was reminded that God plants treasures of thanksgiving throughout the day and by the end of the day we have a whole bouquet of things for which to be thankful.  Our visit with Dale tonight was among one of the most wonderful treasures. 

Dear God, thank you for the treasure of Your presence in our lives. Thank you for family and the safe arrival of Geni and Cody in Florida.  Thank you Lord for your love and grace and that Lord I can find your heart to be a resting place and a home.  Lord, tomorrow I will begin working on the logistics of the final ordination process. Help me to breathe and have a calm heart and take this final leg of the journey one step at a time. I know Lord that You will help me to do my very best and I have total confidence in You that You will do as you have promised. You have promised to provide the desires of my heart and I know you will help and inspire as I write the final paper. I am trusting my ways to you Lord and asking you to work on my behalf. I love you Lord. In Jesus’ name, amen. 

God created each of us and calls us children of God. We are collectively the children of God no matter what we believe, how we act or what we believe. But until we enter into a relationship with Jesus we do not come to know God intimately and personally. When we enter into that relationship we are given the identity as child of God and brother/sister to Jesus. We are marked with the cross of Christ forever and begin an eternal relationship.  God sends the Holy Spirit to dwell in us making an eternal connection to the Presence of God in our lives. We can never lose this relationship because it is not based on anything we can do or should do. It is solely based on God’s great love for us. 

I have known all of these things for a long time, but tonight my meditation shares this extra piece of knowledge. When we sin we show God dishonor because the Holy Spirit is in our heart telling us, “Stop resisting my, beloved! Trust me. Rest in me. I will satisfy you and give you plenty.”  These words are ideas I will continue to ponder, but they have certainly shed a new light about the presence of the Holy Spirit. Since my heart is the home of the Holy Spirit, God’s presence in me through faith in Jesus lets me know I need to listen to the Holy Spirit a lot more carefully.  I know I have no fear of losing the Holy Spirit within me, but maybe I need to listen more closely when my heart needs a good cleaning so that there is more space for God to dwell.

“This is my resting place forever. Here is where I want to stay. I will bless her with plenty.”
Psalm 132: 14-14
“O Lord, arise, and come to your resting place.”
Psalm 132: 8

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

Sunday, November 23, 2014

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

The candle is lit…

Dear God, I need you in my life each day and night. Your presence is more wonderfully satisfying especially with family, friendships and all that this life has to offer.  Lord, I do not live a perfect life because I am not perfect. But Lord I do live an abundant life. I live a life that is filled with Your love, grace, peace, forgiveness and tender mercies. Lord, I thank you for the people in my life that are so precious; Bruce, Geni, Travis and Sarah. I give thanks for the family that birthed me and all of those who have been added to the family register through the years. I thank you for friends, work and ministry. As I sit in Your presence my heart is filled with thankfulness. Thank you Lord for Your continual presence in my life.  I love you Lord. In Jesus’ name, amen.

I am thankful that Jesus poured out His blood on the cross that day at Calvary.  It is that radical gift of love that connects us all. For when that blood was shed we all became connected through Holy DNA with God as our Creator and Father to Jesus out of God’s great love for us.  Romans 8 tells us that nothing can ever separate us from the Love of God. 

This is Thanksgiving week.  I have many things for which to give thanks. It has been quite a year here at 811. And even though not everything that happened was a situation of thankfulness, I was able to find thankfulness in the difficult times.  And in the tough times I remembered the passage from Romans 8 about never being separated from the love of God.  What a great love for which to be thankful!

Eph. 5: 20 tells us to “Give thanks for all things in Jesus’ name.” So what are the things for which to give thanks in Jesus name? Unfailing love, eternal unmerited grace, tender mercies, healing and wholeness, complete forgiveness, salvation are just some of the things that are of “Jesus’ name.”  I do not see cancer, strokes or other illnesses on the list. While life does not always hand us situations for which to be thankful, as children of God and brother(s) and sisters(s)  to Christ all carrying the same Holy DNA we can find treasures of thanksgiving even in the toughest of situations. Because in the most difficult of times God walks with us and never leaves our side.   And if all we can pray is “Thank you Jesus.” Then we have found ourselves on Holy ground and  living the abundant life. 

“Always giving thanks to God the father for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Ephesians 5: 20
“Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.” (we sang this song this morning!)
Psalm 118: 1

Take joy in the journey praying, praising, laughing, giving thanks for the presence of God along the way and encourage others. Wear comfortable shoes and get some sleep. Love you all, Bruce and Gaylene