Tiny Terrors

Jesus replied “I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” Matthew 17:20 (NIV) 

I am not a chef and will admit to not knowing much about mustard seeds, except that they are tiny. They were once described to me as being about “the size of a pinhead”. 12 years ago, something else was described to me in the same words, a deer tick.

I don’t know much about deer ticks either but, in my case, a tick I’ve never seen; changed my life. I was a working woman, handling the day to day responsibilities of a busy customer service desk while overseeing the work of 5 others. Without warning, I was at home on total bed rest; never returning to my job permanently. My post-Lyme disease syndrome has become part of my life; like a pebble in my favorite sneakers. Imagine, tiny deer ticks carrying the power to negatively affect the health of a grown human being!

Look again at the tiny mustard seed, described by Jesus in Matthew 17:20, which, when filled with absolute belief, can affect a mountain. Was Jesus literally describing a landscaping miracle? I’m not a theologian but I’ve seen mountains moved in my life. There are times when my faith seems small, dark times of pain or circumstance; but He has proven His faithfulness over and over in my life. He is my comfort, my provider, my companion, and my source of joy!

         “Precious Lord, my prayer today is not for grander things…

         Your love and presence in my life are why my spirit sings…

         I know You gave Your life for me, a debt I can’t repay…

         And I will praise and worship you along life’s rocky way!”

 

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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Listen

“’Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to Him? You be the judges! As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.’” After further threats they let them go. They could not decide how to punish them, because all the people were praising God for what had happened.” Acts 4:19-21

I have a meeting to attend at 4:30 this afternoon and am interestedly anticipating it. A number of parents, students, administrators, and teachers are meeting to develop a school counsel for the charter school my grandson attends. Being a grandmother, I’ve already raised two children to maturity, through elementary school to college. I’ve made lots of mistakes along the way and, prayerfully, have learned from them. I’ve also been part of school PTAs and parents’ groups; I’ve seen many successes and more than a few failures. Lastly, I’ve “heard” much and am usually discerning enough that I recognize a mutiny or split is in its infancy. In matters such as these, I am usually quite confident in my “worth” but over the last couple of days a matter has arisen that makes me doubt my educational “contemporariness.

I’ve been wrestling in myself for quite some time with political correctness. I consider myself a loving, tolerant person who reaches out to the struggling. But when I hear the words “God loves us so much” and “legislation is needed to stop _____” both in regard to accepting what I believe to be sinful in the eyes of MY Lord; I want to speak out and share the Words of our Living God, the Holy Spirit’s words that live in my heart. Yet, it seems that everything I’ve read and observed over the last few days, as well as the whispers of my heart, appear to be pointing out the importance of listening. Listening (except during counseling sessions) is an art that is tough for me; I want to share my experiences and tell of my blessings. I want to share the things my grandchildren, children and husband have done that make me proud; I want to share my stories and anecdotes with those around me. I enjoy making people laugh and spurring on conversation. Yet, God is telling me to listen to His voice first and then the voices of those around me; through listening I believe God wants to allow me to hear their hearts!

As Clara Scott wrote in 1895:

Open my ears, that I may hear, voices of truth Thou sendest clear;

And while the wave notes fall on my ear, everything false will disappear.

Silently now I wait for Thee, ready my God, Thy will to see,

Open my eyes, illumine me, Spirit divine!

 

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

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

Ministry website: www.asistershugs.org

ONE

“I, even I, am the Lord, and apart from Me there is no savior. I have revealed and saved and proclaimed; I, and not some foreign god among you. You are My witnesses,” declares the Lord, “that I am God.” Isaiah 43:11-12

A few years ago I sat across the desk from my then current pastor. He was talking about a book he was reading. In the book a Christian was investigating the theory that there is ONE God (Our God) and that there are many paths by which we can approach His throne and find salvation, forgiveness of our sin. The pastor stated that he didn’t believe the concept but, as He was not God, he was not the one who would make the decision. God would judge in the end and we would have no way to contest His choice.

In the scriptures we read that there is only one road; the one that runs straight through the blood of Jesus. It is a narrow road but not a hard one to find. In fact, as children, many of us learned that it is as easy as A, B, C. However, even some Christians are double guessing this “one road” principle because it appears to label Christianity as elitist, judgmental and ostentatious. The world sees us as believing our way is the ONLY way and everyone else is lesser than us, even the wonderfully good people of the world who live moral, honest, and generous lives, caring for the needy of the world.

Why is it so hard to just accept that there is one – highly advertised, available to anyone, free road to forgiveness, reconciliation, and hope of Heaven? Why do people insist on looking for a new, cleaner, and more easily acceptable starting block than the foot of Calvary’s cross followed by an open door at a borrowed tomb? Why would people who are taught and governed by the law of love become elitists, separatists; grabbing for inclusiveness instead of reaching out to welcome seekers? The road to God begins as wide as any ten lane highway in California; why does it end as narrow as a wooded country road? Highways narrow to roads because of a lack of traffic. I wonder… is that because we Christians aren’t advertising the entrance to the highway or the lack of belief that we, the proud, self-sufficient peoples of the twenty-first century need anyone but ourselves or fill in the blank?

GOD said, ““I, even I, am the Lord,

and apart from Me there is no savior.”

 

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

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

Ministry website: www.asistershugs.org

Thirsting

Thirsting

“You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek You; I thirst for You, my whole being longs for You, in a dry and parched land where there is no water.” Psalm 63:1

There is no part of Chronic Lyme disease syndrome, Fibromyalgia, and Diabetes that is enjoyable; if there is I haven’t found it yet. I try desperately to live as normally as possible but there is one “side effect” that I can not ignore and will, when necessary, ask for help; that effect is thirst. Sometimes I believe a herd of camels could live in my mouth it gets so dry; my lips parch, my gums and tongue will pull back; it is simply not pretty. When I get to that point, nothing but water or iced tea with lime (my favorite) will satisfy my thirst. I strive to never get that dry but sometimes we run out of water when we are out and I tell my husband, “I MUST have something to drink.” He sweetly pulls into the next available place for me.

In the above passage, David speaks of thirst; dry, parching thirst. Yet, he is not talking about wanting a drink of water even though he refers to it as such. What David longs for is a quenching of his soul; David is longing for a touch from God. I can certainly relate to that because I live in a “dry and parched land where there is no LIVING WATER;” the kind that Jesus spoke to the woman at the well about. “If you knew the gift of God and Who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked Him and He would have given you living water.” John 4:10 It is such a dry world; I’ve even gone Christmas shopping for hours without EVER hearing a TRUE carol. Even in a world where the Bible continues to be one of the best-selling books; the world gets drier all the time. In my opinion, too many people know ABOUT God but don’t know Him and even those who do know Him keep Him low on their list of priorities. I don’t know about you but when I thirst for the Lord, I know where to find Him.

Oh God, You are my God and I will ever praise You

Oh God, You are my God and I will ever praise You.

I will seek You in the morning and I will learn to walk in Your ways,

And step by step You’ll lead me and I will follow You all of my days!

 

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

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

Ministry website: www.asistershugs.org

Discipline

“Have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says, “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when He rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one He loves, and He chastens everyone He accepts as His son (daughter).”

Recently the news headlines are filled with stories and questions about discipline. To spank or not to spank; when does spanking become abuse? What is the difference between discipline and abuse? What is the best way to discipline your child or grandchild? As much as I’ve disliked it, there have been times when even my near perfect grandchildren have needed to be disciplined. My own children, almost as perfect as my grandchildren, needed discipline from time to time. I would be fooling myself if I believed that a time wouldn’t come in the future when one, two, or all of my grandchildren need discipline again. I don’t like it but I know that, without boundaries, a child who is given total freedom will not grow without strong maturity issues. We’ve all known adults who should have been disciplined more as a child.

Don’t we all like the passages in the scriptures where we are referred to as God’s children? I know I do! One of my favorite scriptures is I John 3:1, “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” Reading that often brings visions of me, a princess; a daughter of the King of kings! But, anytime the Lord disciplines me, I tend to get my feathers ruffled? Why; because it doesn’t seem fair because others do bad things and they don’t get punished! What a brat I can be sometimes and what ridiculous thoughts I can have. IF I long to walk in intimacy with the Lord, If I want to be His daughter, If I want to receive His blessings and desire His love and forgiveness… then I should understand discipline. I should welcome the fact that the Lord still believes that this old branch is worth trimming and bending, right?

Lord, take my life, and make it wholly Thine;

Fill my poor heart with Thy great love divine.

Take all my will, my passion, self and pride;

I now surrender, Lord, in me abide.

 

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

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

Ministry website: www.asistershugs.org

Wouldn’t it be Nice?

“And I’ll say to myself, ‘You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.’ But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you.’” Luke 12:19,20a 

It seems like I remind myself every day how old I’ve become. Things like memories of incidents that seem like yesterday when, in truth, the event was 20 to 30 years ago. When my Dad was in the process of listing his house he said, “It has a new roof and new siding. The heater is practically new, too.” I have to admit that I can not state the years that any of these improvements were made BUT I know it was when my kids were preschoolers; they are 44 and 45 now. Anyway, back to knowing that I’m old… the jukebox in my head was playing the Beach Boys’ “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” this morning; I knew all the words! The song was released in 1966; almost 50 years ago but the words still run in my mind:

We could be married and then we’d be happy…

Wouldn’t it be nice?

You know it seems the more we talk about it,

it only makes it worse to live without it,

but let’s talk about it; Wouldn’t it be nice?

Dreams of a perfect life probably exist in everyone’s imagination; I know they slip into my thoughts every so often. Wouldn’t it be nice if Jesus’ words (paraphrased) “Ask for anything and I will give it to you” were absolutely literal? Wouldn’t it be nice if living the Christian life meant that everyone would love you, respect your opinion, and desire to be just like you? Wouldn’t it be nice if every prayer we whisper could be answered “yes” and every question we ask the Lord would receive an answer immediately by text message? Yet the scriptures are echoed in the words:

It’s not an easy road we are trav’ling to heaven,

For many are the thorns on the way;

It’s not an easy road, but the Savior is with us,

His presence gives us joy ev’ry day.

No, no, it’s not an easy road,

No, no, it’s not an easy road;

But Jesus walks beside me

And brightens the journey,

And lightens ev’ry heavy load.

Oh, by the way, J.W. Peterson wrote the above lyrics

over 50 years ago but truth never ages!!

 

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

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

Ministry website: www.asistershugs.org

Reminders

Reminder

 And Jesus said, “All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. ‘Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you’.” John 14:25-27

My memory is about as long as a Twizzler and now they are marketed in “minis,” that size may be even closer. My poor son gets called Mathieu and I believe I could forget my own name; I know I can forget my phone number. If they ever figure out how to implant a webpage I want Bible Gateway to be mine. I can usually bring a passage of scripture to mind when I need it but I hardly ever remember where it is found in the Bible. Maybe I need to do what a friend did (with a hidden smile of course), if the verse came from the Old Testament, he’d refer to the Book of Moses and if New Testament, he’d give a numeric reference from the book of Paul. You’d be surprised how many people; even long-time Christians would open their Bibles and start to look J

The other night I was reminded of something (and laughed to myself); my husband and I sit with our grandson before he goes to sleep and pray together. Rick would pray, then I would pray ending in “in Jesus name I pray,” and for the longest time Mats would say, “Amen.” With his 12th birthday looming, I said, “You know Mats, God would love to hear from you.” To which he responded, “You never finish your prayer with amen so I do.” Last night I ended my prayer with “amen” and Mats prayed the lovely words of a tween.

It dawned on me this morning that the Lord reminds of us things, too. I don’t think I’ve been listening very well, instead I’ve been hearing them through my “you’re never going to be good enough” lens. The Holy Spirit whispered the words of Jesus, ‘Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you’. Not only are we inhabited by the Spirit of God but we live surrounded by Jesus’ peace in the creation of the Father. Hooray – we couldn’t get away from God even if we wanted to!!

“Pull back the curtain of memory now and then.

Show me where You’ve brought me from

and where I could have been.

Lord, remember I’m human and humans forget,

So remind me, remind me again!”

Lyrics by Dottie Rambo

 

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

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

Ministry website: www.asistershugs.org

The Yield

The Yield

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“Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown.” Mark 4:18-20

My grandchildren (as of 12:01 am) are 12, 11, and 9 2/3. All three are intelligent and can/do make many of their own decisions. They are technologically savvy and, if these things mentioned are cultivated, should find success in life. Of course, as their Grammie, I want them to be happy, healthy, hard-working, personable, polite, satisfied and secure but, MOST OF ALL, I want them to be children of God! I have been praying diligently for the eldest, my grandson as he, due to circumstance, has been without a youth group. Through the wonders of facebook and other social media, I am in contact with friends and family from before and during my own pre-teen through teen years. Although most are good people who have had successful lives, few mention a personal walk with God. I remember the importance of Sunday school in all of our lives; if our parents did not take us, our grandparents did. But somewhere along the way they’ve stood at the crossroad we all face and made the decision that church attendance didn’t hold a priority in living a day to day life; that God exists as God but doesn’t reign in their lives as their God. Prayer functions well in need, Praise functions when happiness abounds, and Provision is the product of hard work. They are great people; they are “seed sown among thorns, hear the word; but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful.”

I cling and depend on a God who knows the desire of our hearts and supplies them in His way. Our new pastor holds a deep love for youth and has established a new youth group at our church for 5th to 8th graders and our grandson is excited to attend. Do I know, for certain, that our grandchildren will embrace a belief in Jesus as their Savior, accept God’s love and forgiveness, and embrace the Holy Spirit’s presence in their lives? Of course not BUT, as my Mom did for her children and grandchildren, I will pray and encourage them to become “seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown

Lord, let my prayers fall like rain on the seeds growing toward maturity in our family.

Let the foundation that their roots grasp be Your love and Your Word.

Let the sunshine of Your presence glowing through those that love them encourage growth in their leaves, vines, and branches

Let the buds of their life’s fruit be nourished by Your Holy Spirit!

Let Your name be praised by their lips and Your love spread by their actions!

In the Holy name of Jesus…       Amen!

 

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

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

Ministry website: www.asistershugs.org