“I the Lord do not change.” Malachi 3:6

          When my husband were dating and began making plans for the future; there were a few things that concerned me. As we spoke about the changes that would take place in each of our lives, one by one my concerns dropped “off the radar.” Aside from the difference in our ages which has a funny story all its own; I remember two discussions. The first was about “families.” I am the eldest of six children with an 80+ yr. old father, five “in-loves,” two married children, 2 grandchildren, 11 nieces/nephews complete with a few spouses, and (at the time) 10 grandnieces/nephews. We have since added one “first daughter-in-law,” a new granddaughter, and 4 grand-nephews. Rick has one sister, one brother-in-law, and one nephew. The second discussion was about living arrangements; he was renting, I owned a home. Although it sounds simple, it was not as the ceilings in my home were only 6’6” and Rick is 6’3.”
           To make a long story short; we have made the adjustments and have a wonderful life but, along the way, made one big mistake!! Possibly because he had no kids or grandkids and always wanted both OR possibly because it was so much fun for me to share parenting/grandparenting with someone … we have totally spoiled the kids and grandkids! As painful as we know this can be, we realize it is time to “pull in the reigns.” This change is occurring as, not because we do not love the most adorable, wonderful, three grandchildren in the world but because we do, we have created three little material stuff monsters!!
           Change … no matter how necessary … is never easy! In some ways, change is like lying … it takes little effort to “do” but lots of effort to “remember.” I am so happy that God never makes mistakes and never changes!! He loves me with the same love that was showered on Moses, David, Elijah, Simon Peter, and the apostle Paul! God’s grace is the same for me as for you! His kindness, comfort, and peace is consistent; it is never based on my behavior or whether I “please” Him! Hip, hip Hooray!

He never changes
He’s always the same
Through all the ages
He always remains

Forever constant
Forever a friend
Forever faithful
His love knows no end
(Artist: 4Him)

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

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Retrospect

“I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end He will stand on the earth.” Job 19:25 

        In the whole scheme of creation I have only lived for sixty-four years but those are all the years I know on this earth. As I am watching my children’s children grow older, I am becoming more and more retrospective. Sometimes I find this backward thinking maudlin although I harbor many, many happy memories but even through the “not so happy” years, I can recognize God’s faithfulness.

        I enjoy the teaching of Dr. Charles Stanley and have often watched his “In Touch” broadcast during Rick and my “sabbatical from a home congregation.” This past Sunday he was teaching on the second coming of Jesus. He rhetorically asked his congregation, “How do we know this will happen?” His answer, “everything God has promised throughout the historical time frame of the Holy Scriptures has happened.” I can attest to this truth both in everything I have studied and in my own life; can you recognize the consistent faithfulness of God’s promises in your life?

        Even at the lowest point of his life, Job states “my Redeemer lives, and that in the end He will stand on the earth!” Job didn’t KNOW that Jesus would walk on the earth but He did stand on the promises of God, the great “I AM!” Today I am rejoicing in God’s faithfulness that I’ve experienced and trusting in His promises for all of my tomorrows … How about you?? 

Standing on the promises of Christ the Lord,

Bound to Him eternally by love’s strong cord,

Overcoming daily with the Spirit’s sword,

Standing on the promises of God. 

Standing, standing,

Standing on the promises of God my Savior;

Standing, standing,

I’m standing on the promises of God. 

(Lyrics: Russell K. Carter)

 

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

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

Ministry website: www.asistershugs.org

Awe

“Come and hear, all you who fear God; let me tell you what He has done for me.” Psalm 66:16

         Although I’ve written this before, I don’t believe I can say it enough… “I love God, I’ve surrendered to His majesty, power, and greatness, I believe His Word is true and that the prophecies in the scriptures will come true, I do not fear His wrath because of His grace, I am in awe of His existence but I do NOT understand His omnipotence, omniscience or omnipresence! However, I WILL WORSHIP HIM!

        Driving back from dropping Mats at school this morning I was listening to Christian radio. The pastor was speaking about the magnificence of God. I was so involved with his words that I almost pulled the car over just to worship Him! The Pastor was speaking about the difference between “fearing” God and living in proper “fear” of God. The website, http://www.gotquestions.com (www.gotquestions.org/fear-God.html#ixzz30BhwprKU), explains the fear of God in such an understandable way:

“For the unbeliever, the fear of God is the fear of the judgment of God and eternal death, which is eternal separation from God (Luke 12:5;Hebrews 10:31). For the believer, the fear of God is something much different. (…) reverence and awe is exactly what the fear of God means for Christians. This is the motivating factor for us to surrender to the Creator of the Universe. Proverbs 1:7declares, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge.” Until we understand who God is and develop a reverential fear of Him, we cannot have true wisdom. True wisdom comes only from understanding who God is and that He is holy, just, and righteous. (…) The fear of God is the basis for our walking in His ways, serving Him, and, yes, loving Him. (…) Respect is definitely included in the concept of fearing God; there is more to it than that. A biblical fear of God, for the believer, includes understanding how much God hates sin and fearing His judgment on sin—even in the life of a believer. (…) We should fear His discipline, and therefore seek to live our lives in such a way that pleases Him. (…) We have no reason to be scared of Him. We have His promise that nothing can separate us from His love (Romans 8:38-39). We have His promise that He will never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). Fearing God means having such a reverence for Him that it has a great impact on the way we live our lives. The fear of God is respecting Him, obeying Him, submitting to His discipline, and worshipping Him in awe.”

          Sometimes I think modern Christianity brings the love of God down to such a “personal level” that their descriptions and worship behaviors humanize Jesus and the Father to a “buddy” rather than our Lord and our God! Michael W. Smith wrote these words that define my (forgive the pun) respect, submission, and worship of our AWESOME God:

When He rolls up His sleeves He ain’t just puttin’ on the ritz;

There is thunder in His footsteps and lightning in His fist.

Well, the Lord wasn’t joking when He kicked ’em out of Eden,

It wasn’t for no reason that He shed his blood,

His return is very close and so you better be believing

that our God is an awesome God.

And when the sky was starless in the void of the night,

He spoke into the darkness and created the light.

Judgment and wrath He poured out on Sodom,

Mercy and grace He gave us at the cross.

I hope that we have not too quickly forgotten that

our God is an awesome God

Our God is an awesome God.

He reigns from heaven above

With wisdom, power and love

our God is an awesome God

 

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

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

Ministry website: www.asistershugs.org

Resemblance

“…Christ in you, the hope of glory. He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ. To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me.” Colossians 1:27b-29 

“(S)he looks just like you!” I’d bet that we’ve all said that to a new parent at least once. Living through a generation of nieces and nephews now, I can sometimes see similarities in a new baby and their aunt or uncle when they were little. Genetics is an interesting study but, for one who doesn’t enjoy science, it also seems complicated and, mostly, random. The Bible alludes to the Lord “knitting us together” but there has always been a question of whether those words are figurative or literal.

An even more interesting (and sometimes more volatile) conversation is nature vs. nurture. What do you think? Does a child learn all behavior from their surroundings or are they born with inherent personality traits? That’s a tough call, especially when babies see, to be born with intelligence far exceeding that of our own children. I think we all can concur that children learn what they hear; sometimes humorous and sometimes embarrassing.

In his letter to the Colossian church, the apostle Paul writes words of praise to them for allowing the Spirit of God to work in their lives, molding and shaping their behaviors to emulate Him. The seven words, “Christ in you, the hope of glory,” moved my heart today. I thought about myself; I met Jesus as my Savior over 50 years ago, how much do my actions and my behaviors resemble His? Can others see His nature in me? How is my maturity level as a child of God? 

Oh, to speak and to hear You speaking

Oh, to breathe and to feel Your breath in me

To love like a fire burning

All consuming Father live through me

Live through me

(lyrics: Meredith Andrews)

 

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

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

Ministry website: www.asistershugs.org

EVERY Knee

It is written: “‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before Me; every tongue will acknowledge God.’” Romans 14:11 

        I’ve had doctors recommend a dual knee replacement twice now. I’m certain it would give me some relief from the pain and part of the attraction is the fact that I could, comfortably, kneel at an altar. As a child I was taught the sanctity of the church altar; that it was a holy place where one could meet God.

        I realize churches have changed; most of the “new” buildings are multipurpose and it seems to me those teachings have given way to functionality and comfort. I respect each Christian’s mode of worship; I love the old hymns and am also spiritually moved by the words of many contemporary songs. I enjoy clapping and tapping, often I will life my hands in praise to the Lord but I also reserve my desire to fall on my knees before God at an altar of prayer.

        The Lord God is always and forever; I don’t understand but believe it! He is WORTHY of the praise of all mankind. Someday, as the verse says, all will bow before Him ~ every person will acknowledge WHO GOD IS! The same God who so many seek to deny, to bad-mouth, to tear down, to use and misuse WILL be recognized and magnified by everyone! What an awesome thought!

        Jack Hayford’s anthem of praise brings thoughts of that glorious day:

Majesty, worship His Majesty!

Unto Jesus be all glory, honor and praise.

Majesty, Kingdom authority,

Flows from His throne, unto His own,

His anthem raise.

So exalt, lift up on high the name of Jesus.

Magnify, come glorify, Christ Jesus the King.

Majesty, worship His Majesty,

Jesus who died, now glorified,

King of all kings!

 

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

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

Ministry website: www.asistershugs.org

Invisible

Invisible

 

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. Romans 1:20

 

        Chris Tomlin, one of the most gifted, prolific writers of this age in Christian music, wrote the words:

Indescribable, uncontainable,

You placed the stars in the sky and You know them by name.

You are amazing God

I find them powerful words, written in an attempt to describe the nature of God. I’m amazed by the similarity in that these and Romans 1:20 are humble attempts by man to encapsulate the unexplainable nature of God. The fact is, even words like eternal, divine, uncontainable, incomparable, unchangeable don’t come close to understanding the nature of God. Tomlin’s word, “indescribable” and the Apostle Paul’s mandate to “check out the world around you” are compounded by the word “invisible.”

        I don’t understand God:

                I can’t see Him; I can’t see the universe,

                        God is more limitless than the universe.

                                Yet He loves me.

                                        I don’t understand His love either BUT

                                                I know Him, I trust Him, and I love Him!

Does it make sense? No but I know His Spirit lives in me … WOW! 

Incomparable, unchangeable

You see the depths of my heart and You love me the same

You are amazing God

 

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

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

Ministry website: www.asistershugs.org

Letter from an Eyewitness

“Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. The one who does what is right is righteous, just as He is righteous. The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work. No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God. This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister.” I John 3:7-10 

        Columnist Paul Harvey became famous for writing “the rest of the story.” He’d go to great lengths to research the “what came afters” and “then whats” behind the headlines. People are naturally curious for a finished story, often the “happily ever after.” Truth be told, all stories don’t have “happily ever afters,” they have “follow through to completions” or “more of the sames” or settling into normalcies.” Sure, there are mountaintops and valleys in every road. There are forks in their paths or decisive crossroads but even if some stories have extremely successful wordly culminations, they also have the mundane, day-to-day trappings of life.

        Think of the most earthly successful person you know; have they lived in a glittering palace with never-darkening skies situated on the beach that is never plagued with high tides or stormy seas with no need to ever make a decision? Remember, even the princess with a closet filled with designer gowns who is beautiful without makeup with hair that falls into place and her “people” around to handle her every desires can attend a the party EVERYONE wants to go to and have one person who dislikes everything about her and can’t wait to tell the world! Life is life! My thought today is the “normalcy” after; now what?

        The apostle John was extended a massive task by Jesus … responsibility for His mother. Jesus, as her firstborn, had that right but He also had at least six siblings… now what? We have vague references to her in the early books of the New Testament when one reads about the early church leaders; we can trust that, because John lived to a very old age on Patmos, she was cared for by the apostle and loved by those who loved Jesus. Without trusting church history or expanding on known truths, we don’t really know what “normalcy” was for her or any of Jesus’ inner circle! What we do know is that their lives were changed; nothing was ever the same!!

        So, what’s normal for you? Do you work outside of you home? Are you physically fit? Do you eat healthily or love meat and potatoes? Enjoy running marathons or being an armchair quarterback? Do you fight to stay functionally healthy? Do you spend many hours in pain? Are the highs in your life more plentiful than the lows? The Word of God promises that we will never be alone, that God is faithful, He is love, He brings comfort and Peace, that in Him we can have eternal life!!! What is doesn’t promise is a release from “normalcy.”

        John was an eyewitness to the earthly ministry of Jesus; He was also eyewitness to the ascension of the Son back to the Father! He lived his life in God’s normalcy for him and he wrote to us:”

                1. Do not let anyone lead you astray

                2. Do what is right

                3. Do not continue in sin

                4. Live as a child of God in love

In the Lord we will do great things if we trust, obey, and love for we will do what we have been commanded; Live in the joy of normalness; doing whatever, whenever, wherever He places you… in LOVE!

 

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

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

Ministry website: www.asistershugs.org

Ladies First!


Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: 
“I have seen the Lord!”  John 20:18

 

Christ the Lord is risen today, Alleluia!

Earth and heaven in chorus say, Alleluia!

Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia!

Sing, ye heavens, and earth reply, Alleluia!

 

Love’s redeeming work is done, Alleluia!

Fought the fight, the battle won, Alleluia!

Death in vain forbids him rise, Alleluia!

Christ has opened paradise, Alleluia!

 

Lives again our glorious King, Alleluia!

Where, O death, is now thy sting? Alleluia!

Once he died our souls to save, Alleluia!

Where’s thy victory, boasting grave? Alleluia!

 

Soar we now where Christ has led, Alleluia!

Following our exalted Head, Alleluia!

Made like him, like him we rise, Alleluia!

Ours the cross, the grave, the skies, Alleluia!

Word by Charley Wesley

 

The Father’s plan is complete ~ Jesus’ blood was shed for OUR sin; all we need to do is accept God’s gift and do our very sent to live a life according to Jesus’ teachings! He lives today and His resurrection is the promise of our eternal life!!

 

Hallelujah! Jesus Lives!

Praying that you and yours have a wonderful day!

 

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

Hugs +/or ChIPS ©3/05 Eleanor J. Gale

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

In the Silence

“The gaiety of the tambourines is stilled, the noise of the revelers has stopped, the joyful harp is silent.”  Isaiah 24:8

Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment.”  Luke 23:56

 

“JEHOVAH ELOHIM, Lord God; EL-BERITH, God of the covenant;

            WHY?  He was my son – the child conceived by your Spirit, planted inside my womb before I had ever known a man.  When Your angel told me You had chosen me to be the mother of the Messiah, I didn’t understand but I was honored; I allowed everything the angel told me would happen, to happen. 

            Joseph … He was a good man, He loved You, He fought the whispers of the townspeople right by my side, He believed the words of the angel and took me as his wife, He didn’t touch me until after my son was born but he loved me, he protected me, he cared for me and all of my children; then he was taken from me …

            I didn’t fear life alone because I had my Son; Your Son … I knew Jesus belonged to You, I knew He had to preach the words You gave Him, I encouraged Him to fulfill His destiny but not a cross … not the wrath, the beatings, the scourging, the nails … I want Him … I don’t want John … I want my Son; WHY?

EL ELYON, Most High; KADOSH, Holy One; … WHY? 

Can you even imagine the quiet of the Sabbath immediately following the Crucifixion for Mary; for the apostles, the women, the disciples?  They didn’t know the end of the story … all they had was the silence of that Sabbath … for grieving, for preparation, for petition, for prayer … 

There have been times in my life when God was silent … I didn’t like it; I felt like I had been abandoned but I wasn’t abandoned … He hadn’t gone anywhere … the cries of my heart were so loud I couldn’t hear Him.  It is in the silence that we need to seek God harder, it is in those moments we need to open our hearts to His voice … He will answer … He will speak for He is there!

 

“In the secret, in the quiet place
In the stillness You are there
In the secret, in the quiet hour I wait only for You
‘Cause I want to know You more

I am reaching for the highest goal
That I might receive the prize
Pressing onward, pushing every hindrance aside out of my way
‘Cause I want to know You more

 

I want to know You
I want to hear Your voice
I want to know You more
I want to touch You
I want to see Your face
I want to know You more “
 

Words by Andy Park

 

Lord, on this, the commemoration of the day when Jesus was silent, will You speak to us?  We love You because You first loved us … In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

 

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

Hugs +/or ChIPS ©3/05 Eleanor J. Gale

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

Why “Good” Friday?

“Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing’.”  Luke 23:34 

Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow.  I urge you, therefore, to reaffirm your love for Him.  The reason I wrote you was to see if you would stand the test and be obedient in everything.”  II Corinthians 2:7-9 

Have you ever wondered why, in English, the day of Christ’s crucifixion is called “good?”  In German, it is ‘Mourning Friday’; to an Iranian Christian, in Farsi, it is ‘Dark Friday.’  In many Latin based languages it is ‘Holy Friday;’ Slav languages translate as ‘Great Friday’ and in Norway it is ‘Long Friday.’  It is suggested that, as with the phrase God be with you which today is just good-bye, perhaps Good Friday was originally God’s Friday.  Sorry, I really have no answer but, in retrospect, it is the only Friday in history when unimaginable tragedy and terror brought about the greatest “good” there will ever be.  For it was on Christ’s crucifixion day that the battle was fought for our sin – only because of the love of God, and the obedience of His perfect Lamb, can we be forgiven of our sin. 

Forgiveness … it’s a tough word; one of those “fishing” words – I cast my bitterness and pain in the sea of forgetfulness only to “fish it out” when something or someone triggers fresh emotional hurt – “bait” supplied not by my God of love but by the prince of the world.  I fight myself to stay away from that lake but I catch myself standing on its banks more often than I like to admit.  I pray that God continues to remind me that forgiveness doesn’t mean that I must re-establish relationship with those who could be poison to me; it means that I must hand the hurt and pain over to Him and allow the Great Physician to heal me.  Sometimes it means allowing God into those “locked” rooms that I don’t want to open; at times it means that I have to cry out the pain and accept the inevitability that the pain will only subside in eternity. 

But, if Jesus could forgive those who had sent him, by their angry shouts and self-righteous hypocrisy, to Calvary … If He could forgive those who had whipped Him and put Him on display throughout the streets of Jerusalem … If forgiveness was granted to those who drove the nails into His hands and feet, gambling for possession of His robe … If Christ could forgive the friend who betrayed Him and the one who denied Him … If God could love a sinner such as I … then who am I to not forgive? 

Paul writes to the church at Corinth and tells them to forgive the man who had sinned against them; the NIV Bible reads “reaffirm your love for him”, a modern translation reads “pour on the love.”  I want today to be a “good” Friday for me – I want it to be the day that I allow God into the locked room in my heart; the day I truly forgive.  I wonder; is there anything or anyone you need to hand over to the Father today?  Isn’t it awesome to know that we, as children of God, can pray “Father, forgive me and help me to truly forgive” … and He will! 

Father, in my humanness I’m not sure I can forgive but I know that with You working through me, I can.  Lord, would you hold my hand … please?  In Jesus’ name, Amen 

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

Hugs +/or ChIPS ©3/05 Eleanor J. Gale

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