Thank You, Lord!!

“You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to You.” Psalm 86:5 

        I woke up in a less than attractive mood this morning. I hurt all over, my grandson was unusually poky, and my husband is home and awake. Rick is the most wonderful husband – most times – but (as in all marriage) once in a while something is like a splinter under a fingernail! Since my childhood I’ve been aware that MOST men innately treat their sons, grandsons or even young men who just hang out at their house or “work” for them very differently than girls. I’ve noticed that the men in my life even speak with a different tone to them. This described behavior alone changes the dynamics of our morning! When you add that to a poky 11 year old and a hurting body, then throw in a “splinter” issue; I need the Lord’s forgiveness for my inward attitudes and outward behavior this morning!

        I’m so glad that Jesus rescued me from a genetic “quick to speak” tongue; He has taught me to STOP, THINK, and SWALLOW. Curbing my bent to speak first and deal with the hurt feelings later may be more relationally healthy but I still struggle with the unhealthy responses that effect my physical and emotional well-being! The Lord washed my heart clean over 50 years ago and even though I fall before the throne of God, over and over again, needing forgiveness … He is ALWAYS (as David wrote) forgiving and good, abounding in love! 

“What a mighty God we serve

 Angels bow before Him

 Heaven and earth adore Him

 What a mighty God we serve.”

(lyrics by Hezekiah Walker)

 

Unless noted, scripture is NIV ©1984 Int’l Bible Society

Hugs +/or ChIPS ©3/05 Eleanor J. Gale-Boone

Ministry website: http://www.asistershugs.com

Preparedness

 

“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect…” 1 Peter 3:15

 

         January isn’t over yet and we have had a lot of snow; living in southern NJ, I’ve learned to expect rain even when they are predicting snow. However, it has been COLD so far and very snowy. At least we are prepared for snow here. I’ve watched the news in horror for all of the folks in the south; everywhere from SC to LA. They have no snow equipment and some folks just abandoned their cars in the traffic jams and walked home. Others were running out of gas, warmth and food in their cars… commuters talked about going a mile in over two hours!

 

        Preparation, it is an odd situation; you really can’t be prepared for EVERYTHING that might happen, right? In warm climate keeping salt or brine in warehouses would be frivolous; kind of like having air conditioning in your car in Antarctica!

 

        Yet we do prepare; we plan, we pre-pay, even for our funerals! As I mentioned, it is January; today I bought Phillies tickets for May and August games. I checked with the kids to make sure the weekends were available and that our youngest granddaughter would be with her Dad. We checked our family calendar to assure that no one was double-booked, for a baseball game. The incredible thing is that I understand that we must plan! To book a reservation in some Disney World eateries you need to plan; up to a year in advance! We live in a world that is always preparing for something!

 

        But … when I am asked about my faith, am I prepared? Have I done as Peter wrote; have I prepared myself to give a testimony or even a simple word of praise? Do I know how I would respond if a question of my beliefs came up in conversation? To answer honestly; I’m just not sure! 

 

“Let’s talk about Jesus, the King of kings is He,

 

The Lord of lords, supreme, through all eternity.

 

The Great “I am the Way”, the Truth, the Life, the Door

 

Let’s talk about Jesus more and more.” 

 

Christian Hymn Lyrics Online

 

 © 2008 Carden’s Design. All Rights Reserved.   

 

 

 

Unless noted, scripture is NIV ©1984 Int’l Bible Society

 

Hugs +/or ChIPS ©3/05 Eleanor J. Gale-Boone

 

Ministry Website: http://www.asistershugs.org

 

 

Ingredients

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23 

My husband loves soup; almost any kind of soup. I like to use a crock pot; throw all the spices, meat, veggies or beans into the applicable broth and slow cook it all day. Not only does our brewing dinner smell wonderful all day but most soups taste much better that way. Rick is also a leftover eater, which I am not, and will gladly eat any soup over two or three days if that’s what it takes to finish it up.

As I read the scripture this morning about Spiritual fruits I thought about the soups I make for Rick. Just like it takes many flavors to make a good pot of soup; it takes a varying amount of each Spiritual fruit to serve the Lord in the capacity to which we’ve been called. Yet we need to have each fruit (as with each ingredient) available for use. The great thing is that the Lord will provide each fruit to us, sometimes through simply walking with Him and others as we learn the discipline of His teachings.

I’m so glad God is patient; from my experiences only Jesus achieved a life that overflowed with love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Yet, as a child of God, I believe that by allowing His Spirit to mold me, teach me, and change me I can get a few steps closer, day by day. After all, I accepted the Lord as my Savior over 50 years ago and I’m still not a great pot of soup… yet!

 

“Lord, teach me to love;

Show me how to care for others.

Cause my soul to burn within

For the fellowship of my brother.

Only You can break the chains

That have held me for so long;

Lord, You’re my Hope, my only Hope,

Teach me to love 

(lyrics by Steve Green)

 

Unless noted, scripture is NIV ©1984 Int’l Bible Society

Hugs +/or ChIPS ©3/05 Eleanor J. Gale-Boone

Ministry Website: www.asistershugs.org

 

Musings after the Snow…

“I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of My mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.” Revelation 3:15-17 

        I live in southern NJ, close enough to the shore that a “day at the beach” is easy but far enough to avoid the tourist traffic and attitudes. There are winters that we don’t see snow at all; the water keeps it rainy. Not this winter; it is still January and we have had three measurable snow storms. This year, because of cold front direction, the same water is serving as ammunition for the storms. Only the Lord knows why; that’s ok with me. I like the snow; it is beautiful but I don’t enjoy being “stuck” in the house. Yet, this time rather than just being bored, I’ve been contemplative … perusing scriptural writings, musing my worldview. I’ve known about the above words of God for many years but being “closed in” has opened my mind to it a little more. How am I lukewarm? Is it the same as being tolerant or politically correct?

        I’m thinking that, in my case, these three attitudes are the same; according to God’s words, I need to allow the Spirit of God to make some big changes! The first thing I need to do is allow God to build a fire in my Spiritual life; I need to open my heart to being vocal~ emotionally, spiritually, and physically~ about my faith in God and my desire to walk in HIS PATH! God has blessed my overwhelmingly since my Mom walked through the gates of Heaven and ran into the arms of Jesus but, in many ways, the joy of my life as Rick’s wife, our shared excitement of grand-parenting, and walking through the grief of Mom’s passing, my daughter’s illness, my son-in-love’s joblessmess (wrong spelling is intentional), my son’s divorce, both daughter-in-loves’ adjustments, and the roller coaster emotions of having an aging parent; all have depleted my Spiritual fervor. Sadly, I’ve allowed the fire of Spiritual excitement to burn down … way too low!

        I have had serious episodes of depression… I haven’t kindled my passion for Women’s Christian Counseling… I’ve been passively silent in my belief that God has NO ITENTION of being tolerant of sinful behavior… I’ve back-stepped in my desire to recognize life’s glass as ALWAYS half-full, to become a positive example of the love of God. I’ve become, in my desire to not offend anyone, have become lukewarm… THIS MUST CHANGE; I do not want to be spit out by God!! 

O to be like You, Blessed Redeemer,  This is my constant longing and prayer;

 Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,  Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.

 

(Chorus) O to be like You! O to be like You!  Blessed Redeemer, pure as You art;

 Come in Your sweetness, come in Your fullness;  Stamp Your own image deep on my heart.

 

O to be like You, full of compassion,  Loving, forgiving, tender and kind,

 Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting,  Seeking the wandering sinner to find.

 

O to be like You, lowly in spirit,  Holy and harmless, patient and brave;

 Meekly enduring cruel reproaches,  Willing to suffer others to save.

 

O to be like You, Lord, I am pleading,  Pour out Your Spirit, fill me with love;

 Make me a temple, clean for Your dwelling,  Fit me for life and Heaven above.

 

Words: Thomas O. Chisholm 1897

Music: William J. Kirkpatrick

 

Unless noted, scripture is NIV ©1984 Int’l Bible Society

Hugs +/or ChIPS ©3/05 Eleanor J. Gale-Boone

Visit my ministries website www.asistershugs.org

And My Area of the World Waits

“Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore He will rise up to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for Him! People of Zion, who live in Jerusalem, (the “el” version ~ Christians in the 21st century world) will weep no more. How gracious He will be when you cry for help! As soon as He hears, He will answer you. Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them. Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.’” Isaiah 30:18-21 

        It’s the morning of January 21, 2014; my grandson (whose school was already cancelled for today) and I are all ready and waiting for the promise of 5-10” of snow. It’s supposed to be worse near the ocean, in the area where we live. The snow shovels, salt, and toboggans are on the porch, undercover. I have the shades up and the curtains opened so we can watch; so we can be amazed by the “inch an hour” predicted for this afternoon. The sky is overcast, the winds are still, the air smells crisp … just like we are accustomed to when snow is coming. Mats and I love snow; he likes to play in it and I like the way the world looks when it is snow-covered; only one thing could make this day better … Grandpa (my husband Rick) could be home.

        Waiting… it’s never easy! Whether one is waiting for an earthly treat (like this moment when I am looking out the window and seeing the first promised snowflakes), a worrisome event (like my husband being on the road in a snowstorm), or a promise of God. This passage from Isaiah speaks of one time that the nation of Israel had turned her back on God. The faithful few, who remain steadfast in their worship of God, are waiting~ and praying~ for those around them to turn back to Him, to realize that their “fathers’ God,” is watching and anticipating their repentance so He can bless them and outwardly love them again.

        Does the turning away from God by a blessed nation sound familiar? It sure does to me. Whenever I hear or read the news on any medium, I am drawn to the feet of the Lord, to pray for others and for myself; we need His truth ~ His guidance! We need to trust His promise that “whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.’” 

“Precious Lord, I pray that You will train my ear to hear Your voice, clearly, above the noise of the world that calls to me from every medium. Let me know Your voice so I can say, as Your prophet Samuel said, “Speak, for Your servant is listening.” (I Samuel 3:10) Send Your Spirit; use me as a channel, Lord, to show Your love to a world that is being blinded by humanism and its deceptive, evil promises. In the name of Jesus~ Amen 

Unless noted, scripture is NIV ©1984 Int’l Bible Society

Hugs +/or ChIPS ©3/05 Eleanor J. Gale-Boone

Visit my ministries’ website at www.asistershugs.org

2014 Challenge: Omnipresent Love

I will put My dwelling place among you, and I will not abhor you. I will walk among you and be your God, and you will be My people. (Omnipresent love)” Leviticus 26:11,12 

        Early this year I wrote about the promises of God to His people, promises to bless them, protect them, along with other positives. The challenge of Leviticus is to carefully walk in the commands of God, to live in the standards of morality the Lord expects of His people. Isn’t it cool that the last of the promises in this passage are that God will be among us and love us forever? This is a promise we want to cling to; to hold before us everyday. 

        It is becoming more and more unacceptable in our culture to obey God’s statutes; it is politically incorrect because we live in an age where the rights of the individual vastly overshadow the values of God. The political climate of our era, even among many people who have been raised in the realm of Christianity, is not moral responsibility but human happiness. The old adage, “If it feels good, do it,” seems to have superseded the Ten Commandments. Today, in fact, I read a quote attributed to the Governor of NY, Andrew Cuomo, who said, “Right-to-life, pro-assault weapons, anti-gay — if that’s who they are, they have no place in the state of New York because that’s not who New Yorkers are,” 

I will admit to being fearful of the world my grandchildren will see. But, as real as my fear can be sometimes, I believe in the promises of God. I believe He still loves His creations (that’s us) and still reaches out to us in love. I believe Christianity is a relationship initiated by God, available to all people. Sometimes, when I look back at the many times in my life I’ve sinned against Him or behaved in a way that disappoints Him, I wonder why He wants to be near me but He does. He loves us so much that, even though He withdrew His physical presence from the Earth when Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden, His plan was always to bring His presence full circle! That’s love! 

        However, I believe it is vital that we remember; God has not or will not change His mind. The values He instilled in the nation of Israel as they wandered the desert have not changed. God is omniscient (knows everything), omnipresent (is everywhere), and omnipotent (all powerful). He could have just gotten angry with the disobedience of man and moved on to a different place in the universe but He didn’t! He had walked and talked with man; He had communed with them and lavished His love on them. The relationship was good; for how long we really don’t know, but it was good! Disobedience warrants punishment but it doesn’t shred love and God is love! From Genesis through today, I believe what the Bible says …  God showed His everlasting love to us by sending His Son, Jesus Christ down to man … reaching, initiating relationship. Through the sacrificial death of Jesus for our sin, by His remaining in a grave for three days, through Jesus’ rising from death and walking among men for another forty days, and allowing His disciples to watch as the Father gathered Him back into His arms; God offers us the ultimate in intimacy … His Spirit within us!! God lives through us; He dwells and walks among men through us; He never said it would be easy to walk in His steps but to inherit His awesome promises … we must carefully do so!! 

With Katinas, I pray: “Dear Lord, Draw me close to you;

 Never let me go.

 I lay it all down again to hear You say that I’m Your friend.

 You are my desire; No one else will do;

 ‘Cause no one else can take Your place, to feel the warmth of Your embrace

 Help me find the way; Hold me close to You.

You’re all I want; You’re all I’ve ever needed.

 You’re all I want; help me know You are near.

 

Unless noted, Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®.

Copyright © 1984 International Bible Society.

Hugs +/or ChIPS ©3/05 Eleanor J. Gale-Boone

Please visit my website at http://www.asistershugs.org

Promise of Enough

“You will still be eating last year’s harvest when you will have to move it out to make room for the new.” (Enough) Leviticus 26:10 

“Each morning everyone gathered as much as they needed, and when the sun grew hot, it melted away.” Exodus 16:21 

        All of my life I’ve been taught, although the words are closely related, there are distinct differences between the words “want” “need” and “desire.” Not surprisingly, as this is twentieth century America and our culture rarely differentiates between them, the dictionary shows them as synonyms; want is need is desire. However, my tradition and my “gut” say differently; for my purpose, I’d like to define them as follows:

                Want – something a person wishes to possess or consume

                Need – the necessities of life: food, shelter, clean air and water, love

                Desire – a longing of one’s heart and soul

          I’ve thought often of what I really need; it isn’t much. But then I wonder; could I truly live with only my needs and be content; would the desire for more chew away at me? I’m afraid, because I have been blessed with many “things” and the fact that I have grown up in twentieth century USA, I would miss some of the “wants.” I enjoy having modern appliances and I have become accustomed to having a computer at hand. I shared a bedroom from birth until my daughter was married and do again but rolling into my husband in the middle of the night isn’t like having the whole family in one room. But … true need, which is what God promises, only covers a safe shelter. I remember a pastor friend, reminiscing of his childhood in the poor, mountain region of Puerto Rico, talking about how immaculately his mother kept house. His next comment was, “and that wasn’t easy with dirt floors.” His family had food, shelter, air, water, and love … all they needed; they praised God for His provision.

        I’ve been using Leviticus 26 as a challenge for the new year; the promise of need has caused me to be quite pensive. When the Israelites were traveling through the desert, God provided their needs; He sent them clean water from a rock, manna, and quail. Yet, the Lord told them never to take more than they needed. I wonder, if God commanded me to only consume what I needed and reclaimed everything else… would I still believe in His promise of provision? THAT is definitely something to think about and ponder on moving through 2014.

 

“I knew all the answers, the way my life should go

 And when I used to say my prayers, I would tell God so

 It seemed He wasn’t listening; I thought He didn’t care

 But looking back it’s plain to see, He was always there. 

‘Cause I prayed for strength and I got pain that made me strong.

 I prayed for courage and got fear to overcome.

 When I prayed for faith my empty heart brought me to my knees,

 I don’t always get what I want; I get what I need. 

I’m not saying that it’s easy or that it doesn’t hurt;

Sometimes nothing seems to go my way; nothing seems to work.

 These days I’m getting better at going with the flow,

 Accepting that sometimes the answer to a prayer is no. 

Every time I’ve had a door slammed in my face

 In time a better one was opened in its place 

‘Cause I prayed for strength and I got pain that made me strong.

 I prayed for courage and got fear to overcome.

 When I prayed for faith my empty heart brought me to my knees,

 I don’t always get what I want; I get what I need.” 

Songwriters: TAYLOR-GOOD, KAREN/BLUME, JASON 

Published by:  Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., Universal Music Publishing Group

 

Unless noted, scripture is NIV ©1984 Int’l Bible Society

Hugs +/or ChIPS ©3/05 Eleanor J. Gale-Boone

Please visit my website at http://www.asistershugs.org

The Promise of Blessing

“‘I will look on you with favor and make you fruitful and increase your numbers, and I will keep my covenant with you. (Blessings) Leviticus 26:9 

“And now, dear lady, I am not writing you a new command but one (which) we have had from the beginning. I ask that we love one another.  And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.”  2 John 1:5, 6

Somedays I can be just a little silly …Hum the tune of “Showers of Blessing” music by: James McGranahan, 1883

 

My life is filled with God’s blessings; 

Fam’ly and friends by the score,

Warmth in my home and my marriage

Laughter from kids I adore… 

        Showers of blessings, blessings abound from above

        Precious and bountiful blessings; sent from the Lord with His love. 

Often I let darkness steal the

Time I should be giving praise;

When I let shadows surround me

I feel God’s love burn through the haze… 

        Showers of blessings, blessings abound from above

        Precious and bountiful blessings; sent from the Lord with His love. 

Lev. 26:9 sure tells us

That blessed by God we will be;

When we are careful to follow

His Word; He’s promised, you’ll see…  

        Showers of blessings, blessings abound from above

        Precious and bountiful blessings; sent from the Lord with His love. 

I realize that these poor lyrics

May bring a smile to your face

But I will wish that they also

Cause you to think of His grace, and… 

        Showers of blessings, blessings abound from above

        Precious and bountiful blessings; sent from the Lord with His love.

 

The children of God are promised blessings… look for them all around you!

 

All scripture; unless noted, is from The New International Version of the Holy Bible

@ 3/05 Eleanor Gale dma A Sister’s Hugs; ChIPS  

Visit her website at http://www.asistershugs.org

Promise of Companionship

“Five of you will chase a hundred, and a hundred of you will chase ten thousand, and your enemies will fall by the sword before you.” (Companionship) Leviticus 26:8 

“I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus, was on the island of Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.” Revelation 1:9 

        I am continuing to be fed by the passage from Leviticus 26; it is my challenge for 2014. Sometimes I have problems with being appreciative; with recognizing my day to day blessings, or with taking those I love for granted. Sure, there has been a lot of physical and emotional pain in my life but God has NEVER turned His back on me; in times of danger, He has sent angels to protect me; in times of poverty, He has provided: in times of desperation, He has provided companionship. In my darkest hour, the loss of my mother, He supplied a dear friend to listen, to care, to empathize, and to make my days bearable; those who have shared my life for a while know this friendship developed into my marriage. God has TRULY blessed Rick and me with each other. My husband is so much more than the man I am married to; he is my best friend, my companion ~ one that accompanies another: comrade, associate; also: one that keeps company with another. We simply enjoy being together, no matter what we are doing!

        While I was reviewing Leviticus 26, verse by verse, to extract God’s promises I almost grouped verses 7 and 8 as His promise of victory. However, as I read it again, my mind was caught by the numbers of people. God is not sending us alone into battle, even with its imminent victory, He is assuring that we are in the company of those we trust and have found faithful. We KNOW God is always with us but isn’t it also great to be able to look from side to side and see the trusted faces of those you love? Think about the times you’ve needed companions surrounding you: times of joy, fear, celebration, grief; does anyone enjoy fighting a battle alone??

 

Friends are friends forever

 If the Lord’s the Lord of them

 And a friend will not say never

 ‘Cause the welcome will not end

 Though it’s hard to let you go

 In the Father’s hands we know

 That a lifetime’s not too long

 To live as friends

Lyrics & Music by Michael W. Smith

 

Unless noted, scripture is NIV ©1984 Int’l Bible Society

Hugs +/or ChIPS ©3/05 Eleanor J. Gale-Boone

The Promise of Victory

“You will pursue your enemies, and they will fall by the sword before you.” (Victory) Leviticus 26:7 

This is love for God: to obey His commands. And His commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world! This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world?  Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.”  I John 5:1-5 

          Since the beginning of 2014, I’ve been exploring the promises of God outlined in Leviticus 26. I’ve explored promises of safety, provision, strength and peace; today I explore His promise of victory. When I think of a victorious Christ-led life, I think of Jesus’s apostle John. Throughout the New Testament we are privy to stories of his failures and his victories in walking the Christian life. I like to envision John writing his epistles while replaying his memories of the three short years that he walked and talked with the Savior. Research tells us that the apostle John was 27 when Jesus died and lived to an old age, approx. 95. He lived in Jerusalem for the greater part of his life working with the infant church but was eventually exiled to the remote island of Patmos. What awesome memories John must have had; he had been right alongside Jesus when He performed miracles, he witnessed the transfiguration, was one of three asked by Jesus to pray with Him in the Garden, and was entrusted by Jesus – from the cross – with the care of His mother, Mary.  John refers to himself as “the disciple that Jesus loved,” not out of pride but out of devotion and gratitude!

          Over and over again John reminds us that there is one way to show love for God and that’s through obedience to His commands. Remember, that is exactly what we were told in Leviticus… be careful to follow the commands of God. Jesus is our ultimate example of obedience.  I recognize that our life burdens are heavy and hard to bear but we can be victorious over the world when we follow Jesus’ example. We, like John, will be victorious over sin’s power and sting through our obedience, our faith, and our love! 

          Living a life of victory over the powers of this world is only one of God’s promises of victory for His people. God allowed the apostle John, at a very advanced age, a view of the final days of the Earth commonly known as the Battle of Armageddon. He describes his vision in the book of Revelation; a vision of tragedy, evil, and destruction but also of God and His army’s ultimate victory of good over evil. No one knows when the Battle of Armageddon will be. It is connected to the return of Christ, and no one knows that date except God (Acts 1:6, 7). However, no matter when it is, as the old bumper sticker said, “I’ve read the end of the Book and we win!’

 

His banner over us is love, our sword the Word of God.

We tread the road the saints above with shouts of triumph trod.

Salvation’s helmet on each head, with truth all girt about,

The earth shall tremble ‘neath our tread and echo with our shout. 

Faith is the victory! Faith is the victory!

O glorious victory that overcomes the world.

© John Yates 1891

 

Unless noted, scripture is NIV ©1984 Int’l Bible Society

Hugs +/or ChIPS ©3/05 Eleanor J. Gale