Discernment

But when He, the Spirit of Truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; He will speak only what He hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.” John 16:13 

I am the very proud grandmother to three of the world’s pickiest eaters. By far, the middle one is the fussiest. In an eating contest she could choose her favorite out of four samples of ranch dressing, chicken nuggets, and grilled cheese sandwiches. Yes, this is an eclectic list but it’s is almost inclusive of her entire menu choices. She can unapprovingly look up from the plate you have served her and make faces that rival an old spinster schoolmarm. I am usually a very adaptive Grammie and try to satisfy their fussy little palettes but there is that “once in a while” when I will say, “Then go hungry until we eat again.” An overabundance of misplaced discernment can be very frustrating. 

Have you ever attended church with a friend and heard something said by a congregant or pastor that troubled your spirit? Or saw an online, on the street, or in the mall church ad and attended out of interest and saw practices that made you cringe inside? Maybe you’ve attended a new church for a while and felt a keen sense of human awareness and outreach only to realize that the pastoral family seems way more expensively dressed or housed than the congregation? In fact, I had a friend who attended a church that was preaching that if you tithed to this certain church, you WOULD receive all material blessings desired. Lastly, have you ever heard the rumble from a church where the pastor was leaving the pulpit because one or a series of sexual indiscretions had “just happened?” It is simple to address any of these examples/questions: BEWARE!! Let the discernment of the Holy Spirit of God, who resides in the body of every believer, speak to your heart or stir your spirit and LISTEN! Fall at the side of your bed or sofa and wait for the voice of God. Search the scriptures; an answer will come! God does not desire that any one of His children fall under the lies of the evil one! God might want you to stay clear of the church or speak your concerns with the Pastor or research the denomination online but PRAY! 

The discernment of spirits is one the tools we receive as a child of God! It is not often an instant resolve and it certainly is never the fodder of gossip! Paul read an inscription on a monument that read: To the unknown god; sorry, installer of monument, no such animal! There is only one God and one set of His teachings and commands. I believe the Word of God clearly states that the evil one comes in many disguises. 

In the vernacular: “If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck and looks like a duck, it’s a duck!”

 

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

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

Ministry website: www.asistershugs.org

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Awakening

Awake

 

My child, keep your father’s command and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. (…) When you walk, they will guide you; when you sleep, they will watch over you; when you awake, they will speak to you. Proverbs 6:20-22 

         Today is my grandson’s first day of sixth grade. He does not awaken easily but, as hectic as a morning can be, this morning went smoothly. I actually had a moment to wait before loading him, and his pajama clad cousins, into the car for the twelve minute ride to school. It’s hard to find time to praise the Lord for a new day when one is packing lunches, checking backpacks, and watching the clock. Today, I awoke with an old hymn of the Church echoing through my mind:

When morning gilds the skies

my heart, awakening, cries:

May Jesus Christ be praised!

Alike at work and prayer,

to Jesus I repair:

May Jesus Christ be praised!

 (Katholisches Gesangbuch)

 Having a worship song reverberating in my heart in the morning is a great way to start a day! Today’s scripture passage speaks of how the laws and truths can (and will) surround you in them. Try out reading through a hymnal someday; reading the lyrics of the classic hymns will touch your heart as deeply as a contemporary song; maybe even more!! 

A chorus helps us worship and praise the God of Hosts…;

Lifting hands in reverence eliminates our boasts.

But I love the hymns the saints sang in churches long ago

They point my soul toward Heaven and defeat my ev’ry foe.

 

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

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

Ministry website: www.asistershugs.org

Blessings

 

 

“He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all—how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things?” Romans 8:32 

Being the eldest of six siblings, silence is not golden to me; I grew up in noise and that is my comfort zone. As I thought about the topic of today’s blog, Live with Kelly and Michael was on the TV. Halle Berry, at age 47, was talking about her new baby and what a blessing he was to her, her husband, and her daughter. Her comments made me think about the differences in what is considered a blessing is unique to each person. Having my last child at twenty, learning that I was having a child at 47 would not have been a blessing to me.

Most times I use Bible Gateway for scripture look-up; Romans 8:32 is the verse of the day. As I read it I knew that blessing is my topic. It was interesting as I read the dictionary definition, the first section was “God referenced” and then person-to-person applied. From the God referenced section: a blessing is approval from God that allows or helps you to complete tasks, something that helps you or brings happiness.

God rains blessings on us every day; this is an undisputable fact. The Spirit of God who inhabits the Christian is our Help; we are surrounded by material blessings, spiritual blessings, and human blessings. Often we are SO blessed that we take our blessings for granted. I remember telling a friend about the beauty of the Grand Canyon, how I couldn’t wait to go back. Her response, “Why? It’s not going to change. It’s been the same huge hole is the ground for millions of years.” Just my point!

Blessings, however, work both ways. While we can never show grace to God, we can be a blessing to Him! Giving, helping, praising, worshipping, evangelizing, thanking; in all these we can be a blessing to the Lord. Not that we can ever reciprocate but my guess is that God smiles when He is blessed too!

 

“Give as ’twas given to you in your need;

Love as the Master loved you;

Be to the helpless a helper indeed;

Unto HIS mission be true.

Make me a blessing, Make me a blessing,

Out of my life, May Jesus shine;

Make me a blessing, O Savior, I pray,

Make me a blessing to someone today.

 

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

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

Ministry website: www.asistershugs.org

Confidence

“Do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.” Hebrews 10:35 

         Do you remember the song “I’ve Got Confidence?” I believe it was written in the late 70s or early 80s and know it was written by Andrae Crouch. The chorus went like this:

        “I’ve got confidence; God is gonna see me through.

        No matter what the case may be, I know He’s gonna fix it for me!”

Confidence is the “belief in the certainty of something.” Sometimes I wish I could just hit a rewind button and go back in time. Yet, if I did I’d never see the awesome power of prayer!

          As I blogged yesterday I was disappointed and down because I had set my hopes in something that didn’t come through. I know better; only God is always worthy of our confidence. I love my husband, I love my kids, I love my grandkids but they have all let me down just as I do them but not God! Thanks for your prayers; God reinforced the silliness of my doubts this morning! Stephen Covey, a well-known organizational speaker, wrote:  “It’s easier to say ‘no’ when there’s a ‘yes’ burning deep in your soul!” When I answered the call of God and put my life in His hands, my “yes” began to burn deep in my soul. But, one by one, droplets of life had begun to extinguish the fire … 

          When I opened the computer this morning and went to my Facebook page (usually the first thing I do in the morning) there was a post by T.D. Jakes, my favorite Christian author. He wrote, “If something keeps burning in your life that doesn’t burn out, God’s trying to tell you something! When God has a calling on your life, He will not take it back. Even if you are not in alignment with His will, even if you are running from the call, He will not change just because you do! God’s gifts and call are under full warranty – never cancelled, never rescinded! -Romans 11:29. You may have taken a detour, but your destination remains the same. God knows your end from the beginning, He works everything to the counsel of His own will, he factored in your every step and every decision. It’s time to line up with the will of God and put your trust in Him to lead you on the path to your destiny!”

I’m still disappointed BUT God fans the flames of His call; He never changes His mind!

Again, Thanks for your prayers!

 

 

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

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

Ministry website: www.asistershugs.org

Ways of God

“For I have kept the ways of the Lord; I am not guilty of turning from my God. (…) As for God, His way is perfect: The Lord’s word is flawless; He shields all who take refuge in Him.”  II Samuel 22:22, 31 

         I need to admit a couple of things and ask for your prayers as I make decisions that will affect my future walk as a daughter of God. Admitting failures is never easy; for me, admitting ambiguity is even worse as I don’t like to feel indecisive. However, that is exactly where I am right now.

         When I was working on my bachelor’s degree one of the classes required was a ministerial readiness class. Each student in the class was assigned a mentor who we had to work with, answer questions for, and state our vision of the future in God’s service. As I had already contracted Lyme disease, the illness which changed my reality, I knew a fulltime career was impossible but God knew that even before the tick bit me. I accepted my limitations, realizing that my Lord had everything in control. (I’ve had to be honest in this acceptance in other areas of my life too) One of the statements in my paper for the ministerial readiness class was, “I’m not sure what God has in store for me but I am making myself available to Him. If my life touches the life of ONE Christian sister, my ministry will be successful.”

         As the Holy Spirit prompted me, I studied and studied. I began writing devotionals, blogs, and study series. I worked through my ordination requirements and two degrees; I’ve ministered as I felt led. I’ve encouraged women who God brought into my path both in person and online. I received approval from the state of NJ to minister as a Pastoral Counselor. I’ve prayed for continued guidance and (as the old time saints of the Lord spoke) casted my bread upon the waters (Ecclesiastes 11:1), truly believing I was on the right path but I’m beginning to run on empty and don’t understand why.

         Please don’t get me wrong; I’m not bragging or focusing on myself – my life has been blessed throughout this process. I am not giving up on God, losing my faith, or throwing in the towel but I am questioning the worth of my writings and the continuation of the ministries to which I believe I was called 8 ½ years ago.

        Don’t get me wrong, I am praying, praising, and seeking God’s voice. I know His ways are flawless and perfect. BUT, if you’ve ever experienced this ambiguity in your heart; I am asking for your prayers. 

“Won’t you pray for me and I’ll pray for you

Pray that we will keep the common ground

Won’t you pray for me and I’ll pray for you

And one day love will bring us back around”

(M.W.Smith, K.Kirkpatrick)

 

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

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

Ministry website: www.asistershugs.org

Prayer

“Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” James 5:16 

For reasons that would be much too long a story, my husband and I were without a church home for over two years; it was a horrible time for me. We went to different churches together; often singing duets at the services. We attended a few churches Rick had connections to in PA and those I had connections to in NJ but were unable to attend with those we loved as family in the church of our membership. I realize that God inhabits us and any church that houses His children but perusing the pews and/or chairs didn’t bring a smile to my heart like it had. However, even during these years, we never lost touch with the prayer requests of those we loved. Praise God for e-mail and phone prayer chains!

I love to pray for others. Especially because I have lived here on earth for so many years, I can empathize with many burdens: financial, spiritual, those of grief or illness. It is a blessing to be able to take the prayers and praises of my brothers and sisters in Christ before the throne of God. Now, during this technological age, we can develop internet relationships that are as real as those with our face-to-face family. I have prayed diligently for some friends I will probably never hug this side of Heaven! Isn’t it awesome that God has given us this tremendous tool?

Just as awesome are the tools of repentance. Through the blood of Jesus, we have become the Children of God and we can approach Him in prayer just as we do/did our earthly parents. Even though I knew that chastisement and, often, punishment would come when I repented to my Mom, I still knew I could reveal anything to her. Some of my favorite verses are: Ephesians 3:12, “In Him and through faith in Him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. Hebrews 4:16 “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” 1 John 5:14, “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.” An oldie but a goodie…

 

Prayer is the key to Heaven but faith unlocks the door.

Words are so easily spoken but prayer without faith

Is like a boat without an oar.

Have faith when you speak to the Master, that’s all He asks you for.

Yes, prayer is the key to Heaven but faith unlocks the door

(Samuel T Scott; Robert L Sands)

 

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

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

Ministry website: www.asistershugs.org

Transparency

“Have you been thinking all along that we have been defending ourselves to you? We have been speaking in the sight of God as those in Christ; and everything we do, dear friends, is for your strengthening. For I am afraid that when I come I may not find you as I want you to be, and you may not find me as you want me to be.” II Corinthians 12:19-20 

         My mom carried me the first time I went through the doors of a church. According to her, I was an only child at the time and I am only 15 months older than my next sibling. I sang my first solo at age 5 and still love to sing for the Lord, close to 60 years later. All this to say, I enjoy most every type of Christian music. My favorite hymns are Great is Thy Faithfulness and Amazing Grace. My favorite Gospel songs are Empty Hands and The Lighthouse. My favorite Spirituals are My Tribute and Through it All. Vivaldi is my favorite classical author, Patsy Cline my favorite country artist, Michael Bolton is among my favorite contemporary artists and I believe Ray Boltz is one of the most talented Christian writers ever!! Right now, the song that makes me smile and “bop” is Pharrell Williams’ Happy and I was definitely a screaming, crying Beatlemaniac!  Ok, there is everything you ever wanted to know about El’s musical taste and were afraid to ask; I am musically transparent to you all!

         I believe transparency is vital to any caring, growing Christian relationship. In counseling, one of the tenants I am very careful to observe is transparency. Aside from my age, weight or account numbers, there is very little that I will not be honest and upfront about with clients. We all need deeply nurtured friendships even Jesus had an inner circle of trusted, intimate friends. Like an onion, our lives are filled with varying levels of relationships but each draws strength from the core of honesty and transparency in a Christian’s life. Anything less can prove to be devastating to our living witness for the Lord. Remember, however, that (back to the onion reference) we only need to peel away the layers as the Lord directs us, right?

         Michael W. Smith wrote one of my favorite contemporary songs:

This is the air I breathe,

This is the air I breathe,

Your holy presence living in me

 

This is my daily Bread,

This is my daily Bread,

Your very Word spoken to me

 

And I, I’m desperate for You

And I, I’m lost without You

When our breath comes from the Holy Spirit living within us and we feast upon the Word of God; there is no room in our lives for deception, avoidance, or pretense. God accepts and loves us just as we are! Shine for the Lord; be yourself ~ be transparent!

Praise

“Praise the Lord. Praise the Lord, my soul. I will praise the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.” Psalm 146:1 

Do you remember the old-ish Gaither song, “I don’t know what you came to do but I came to praise the Lord?” It used to be one of my favorites “in the day” but now it makes me think a little. Why do we have to go anywhere to praise the Lord? Can’t we praise Him from our desk chair or our bed, in our car or our kitchen? One of my favorite places to pray is in a hot bubble bath; weird, I know, but it is one of the places I am most relaxed.

Don’t get me wrong, I think it is awesome to gather together to praise the Lord corporately but that seems almost orchestrated sometimes. I find that one of the best times for me to sing praise choruses and praise the Lord for my many, many blessings is when I am feeling down or worried or sad. One of my very favorite times to sing songs of praise and talk about the wonderful blessings of God is when I am with my grandchildren! They usually jump into the praise session and, before we know it, we are having a “isn’t God wonderful” time together!

Shhh… this could cause a major problem in my traditional church but once in a while, when our service has that special feel (you know what I mean) – I wish the pastor would just break free from the litany and begin an hour of praise and testimony! I mean, we all came to service carrying different loads, right? Even in worship services, whether you came in happy, down, sullen, or angry, “I don’t know what you came to do” but it is ALWAYS a great time to simply praise the Lord!! 

Hallelu! Hallelu! Hallelujah!

 

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

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

Ministry website: www.asistershugs.org

? ? ?

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10 NIV 

     I enjoy the realization that I am God’s handiwork; have you really given that any thought? I am the eldest of six children of the same parents; each of us was conceived from the same genetic pool. If DNA just mixed together, we would get six clones ~ all looking alike. But that isn’t what God had in mind, is it? DNA is kind of like ordering from a Chinese food menu ~ one genetic trait from column a, one from column b, and one a la carte – God’s marvelous way of creating us each as an individual, unique human being. My siblings and I each have shades of brown hair (now with touches of gray), aside from that we don’t look a lot alike. One brother resembles Mom’s side of the family, as do I. The other four resemble Dad’s side of the family. Two of us have developed diabetes; a paternal grandparent trait. I am the shortest, I have the darkest skin, I am similar in body type to my paternal grandmother; the other siblings are a hodge-podge of genetic traits too. We ARE God’s handiwork!

     Then I read on to the second two phrases of this verse; basically I am told that Christians are all created to do good work and that God has determined what that good work will be. Sounds a little different than just dropping a check in the missionary basket or volunteering for one church-wide ministry, doesn’t it? If God has taken our genetic pool and selected us to be unique in humanity then isn’t it realistic that God has also prepared, in advance, an unique good work that suits our humanity perfectly! I believe that and have found my perfect spot in various areas of my life! My Mom always felt that God called her specifically for Vacation Bible School and blissfully served as VBS Superintendent for 30+ years!

     Are you dissatisfied with the good works you are doing in your Christian life? Maybe you aren’t in that field God prepared for you. I want to serve the Lord where HE needs me not necessarily where my church family needs me! God will move your heart to the right direction OR, here’s an idea, why don’t we just ask Him?? 

If You need hands Lord… let me serve!

If You need ears Lord… let me listen!

If You need mouths… let me expound your truths!

If You need feet… let me move!

You’ve prepared someone for every task… What is mine Lord? 

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

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

Ministry website: www.asistershugs.org

Courageous

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.”Deuteronomy 31:6 

        Have you ever been in a situation where you KNOW you should step out in faith on one, two, even three issues in your life? What usually stops you or does nothing stop you? Have you ever been waiting for a sign from God that you’ve prayed about and are certain that the sign will come to guide you either positively or negatively? Are you a patient waiter? I am in the middle of both right now and seem to be frozen in place.

        I woke up today wondering what my problem was, seriously! I have a God who loves me and would give me strength, courage, and fortitude to complete anything
He has asked you me to do. I have a husband who supports, loves, and values me as his wife and as a woman of faith. It isn’t God or Rick that I doubt or “fear;” it is “them.” There have been many “thems” in my life; Christian friends, leaders, and pastors who have knocked me down, let me down, or spoken down about me. I’ll admit to being afraid of failure because of “them.” Anyone know how to overcome those feelings victoriously?

        Is it ok if I ask you to pray for me about these issues? Not that I will begin them but that I will throw all of my trust to the Lord and my fear into a bottomless sea? Pray that I will accept that the value God places on His children strongly overshadows the damage done to us at the hands of humanity? Thanks ~ and I will pray for you!

 

Prayer is the key to Heaven but faith unlocks the door,

Words are so easily spoken but prayer without faith

is like a boat without an oar.

How faith when you speak to the Master,

That’s all He asks you for.

Prayer is the key to Heaven but faith unlocks the door.

(Samuel T. Scott)

 

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

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

Ministry website: www.asistershugs.org