Steps

Steps

“To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in His steps.” I Peter 2:21

There are many songs, especially of the “camp meeting” and Sunday school variety about the steps the Lord takes for us or we take, hand in hand, with Him. I think of “trying to walk in the steps of the Savior” or “I walked today where Jesus walked.” My favorite was always “Each Step I Take,” written by W. Elmo Mercer. Of all my prayers, knowing that I am living in the will of God is foremost.

Each step I take my Savior goes before me

and with His loving hand He leads the way.

With each breath I whisper “I adore Thee,”

Oh what joy to walk with Him each day!

Each step I take

I know that He will guide me to higher ground,

He ever leads me on.

Until, someday, the last step will be taken,

each step I take just leads me closer home.

 

I trust in God no matter come what may

for life eternal is in His hand.

He holds the key that opens up the way

that will lead me to the promised land.

Each step I take

I know that He will guide me to higher ground.

He ever leads me on.

Until, someday, the last step will be taken

each step I take just leads me closer home.

Some days the path is clear and I know He is leading; other days, not so much but I know He is never far away! Walking with God, in the shadow of His love, kindness, grace, and peace isn’t always the easiest way but, someday, it will be Worth it All; … which brings to mind another song…

Enjoy your weekend! Talk with you again on Monday!

 

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

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

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Heart Sharing

Heart Sharing

“Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” Romans 12:15

There was a horrendous accident on a road I know very well the day before Memorial Day. Allegedly, two cars were traveling at a high rate of speed, possibly drag racing. One car, driven by a young man who worked at the nearby speedway, spun out of control and dragged a car stopped at a side road with it. The crash was violent and took the lives of both drivers as well as an eight year old girl, a passenger in the stopped car. “She was just really the bright spot in everyone’s life,” her uncle said. Referring to the driver of the stopped car, “I’m the man I am today because of my stepmother,” her step-son said. Of the young man who was driving the out-of-control car, the stepson said “he feels a little sorry for the man who has been the target of much anger since the accident. ‘He was a good guy, and he had a family, too. I hate to see someone hurt like that.’” I am diligently praying for the many, many people who are mourning the loss of life but also for the driver of the second speeding car. The event is pressing on my heart although I didn’t know any of the three victims; I worked as the administrative assistant to the little girl’s grandmother for almost 15 years. Although I considered her a friend and served as her confidante for many of those years, events surrounding my separation from the job because of Post-Lyme Disease Syndrome were not pleasant. We haven’t spoken for 11 years.

I know her to be a woman who loves the Lord. I know her love for her family and can only imagine the joy with which she greeted a granddaughter after being the mother to four sons and grandmother to one grandson. While I cannot begin to understand or imagine her pain, the fragmentation of our relationship was birthed in her anger and my bitterness; certainly not the acceptable behavior of two Christian women. In the verse above the apostle Paul is quite clear, “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn” ~ in a state of relational fragmentation between Christians this is impossible… I covet the Lord’s leading in the lessons I am learning; they aren’t easy…

Teach me to pray, Lord, teach me to pray;
This is my heart-cry day unto day;
I long to know Thy will and Thy way;
Teach me to pray, Lord, teach me to pray.
(Public Domain – Albert Seitz) 

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

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

ONLY Option

The ONLY Option

“… I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.” Acts 20:24

My life verse, chosen as a teen, has always been John 3:30, “He must become greater; I must become less.” These words are a quote from John the Baptist speaking about his cousin, Jesus of Nazareth. Both were children of prophecy and promise… can you even imagine the discussions at their family reunions? J But, seriously, I have lived much of my life praying that the Holy Spirit would channel through my life and reflect His love through my actions. Admittedly though, I’ve failed the Lord many times in my life with words I can never take back, bad choices, and behaviors I deeply regret. In celebration, I thank and praise the Lord for HIS GRACE and forgiveness!

When Rick and I first began dating I met his only core family, a sister, brother-in-law, and teen age nephew. We had what I believed was a nice evening but later found out it really hadn’t been. She was less than impressed with me and my love for her brother; her son was jealous and resentful of Rick’s budding relationship with my (at the time) 8 year old grandson. Although it continues to break my heart, we have no loving contact with them. I remember Mats asking me why he wasn’t allowed to play outside when we were visiting Rick and I replied that “Miss ____” doesn’t like me and I don’t want you to be scolded. His 8 year old response deeply touched my heart, “Why, Grammie? You’re a nice lady.” Life isn’t always fun, is it?

Yet, nice lady or not, I have both made many mistakes and suffered many hurts; I’ve come to believe that while I know God IS in control, life on this earth can stink, a lot! This morning, as I read the above verse, God spoke to me and affirmed what I had accepted and am using on the cover of my Facebook page… “Sometimes prayer is the only option!” Too many times, I have wrestled control of the reigns of my life from God in a “well intended yet unintentional” attempt to help … please pray for me as I begin to live by the words of Paul (quoted above), the self-reaffirmed words of John the Baptist, and the knowledge that “prayer IS the ONLY option.”

Lord; Teach me, Remind me, and even hit me up the side of my head

 with a 2X4 if necessary but help me become a woman of prayer ~ ONLY!

 

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

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

T-Shirt Philosophy

T-Shirt Philosophy

“When it was time to leave, we left and continued on our way. All of them, including wives and children, accompanied us out of the city, and there on the beach we knelt to pray.” Acts 21:5

Living near the Jersey shores all my life, I am accustomed to what we, on the east coast, call “boardwalks.” Our “boardwalks” are actually built on pilings a few feet above the sandy shore, wide enough for shops on both sides and lots of room to walk or ride bikes in the middle. Over the many years I’ve walked them, the t-shirt shops have chronicled changes in our culture; sadly, today many of them are near-pornographic. However, one of my favorites – quite a few years back – was “Life’s a Beach.” Although I am certain there were a few options for enjoying this “slogan,” I like to examine it literally; life can be like a beach… smooth and serene one moment, stormy and tempestuous the next and, always, just beyond our control.

Currently the threat to my beach seems to be a series of low-grade tropical storms. One storm has touched my heart deeply and left questions of procedure ~ how does a Christian react when a tragedy touches a “frenemy?” Another more personal storm ~ how far do we, as Christians, “fight” against deliberate attacks from non-christians; do we pick up a sword or drop to our knees and allow God to be our shield? Yet another storm; fighting to feel compassion for one I love who is walking a very rocky road yet knowing I view them through a lens of dysfunction and abuse. While the storms may threaten; I know the Lord will protect and guide me through them…

In the lull from the storms, the beach is bright and sunny. Yesterday, a couple of hours when I was able to watch my 4 grand-nephews staying just a few steps ahead of their grandmas, laughing and smiling. I gathered a few looks at a niece glowing with young wife pride as we celebrated her husband’s graduation, another niece smiling anticipatorily toward a new life she is starting very soon, and a third growing a “little sister in her belly” (a direct quote from the “big brother). Lastly, listening to the excited chatter of my grandson who had spent 1 ½ hours at the newest attraction in our area – a trampoline park.

Life can be a beach; can’t it? Yet, we can rejoice with its Creator!

 

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

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

Memorial Life Surprises

Memorial Life Surprises 

“He [godly King Hezekiah] appointed military officers over the people and assembled them before him in the square at the city gate and encouraged them with these words: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouragedbecause of the king of Assyria and the vast army with him, for there is a Greater Power with us than with him. With him is only the arm of flesh, but with us is the Lord our God to help us and to fight our battles.” And the people gained confidence from what Hezekiah the king of Judah said.” (…)2King Hezekiah and the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz cried out in prayer to heaven about this.  And the Lord sent an angel, who annihilated all the fighting men and the commanders and officers in the camp of the Assyrian king. So he withdrew to his own land in disgrace.” II Chronicles 32:6-8, 20-21 

Today is Memorial Day, a day set apart to remember those serving our country who have made the ultimate sacrifice; giving their own life or the life of one they love. It is for the soldiers, no matter what branch of the military, who died while serving their country and I believe it is also for the mothers, fathers, wives, husbands, siblings, children, grandparents, etc. who proudly loaned their loved one only to never see them return. Today is not Veteran’s Day nor is it Armed Forces Day. One of my aunts lost her fiancé in WWII, that is the closest my family has ever been touched by death in a any war but I, like each of you, have many friends and cousins who have been touched physically and emotionally by the terrors of war. But today is for remembering those who paid the ULTIMATE sacrifice; over 650,000 verified men and women (combat deaths) in our 239 year history as a nation.

It was 45 years ago next month that I stood in line with approximately 300 other graduates at Wheaton Field in Millville, NJ. Two young men who stood in that line with me would pay the ultimate price for our freedom in the fields of Vietnam before the class of ’69 lined up. For 45 years I have spent time in prayer for the families of Bobby and Salum. I’ve prayed that the Lord has additionally blessed their families over these years and that they have been comforted and given peace. The first time I visited the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, DC, I touched their names and felt a great sadness for all they missed in life; no marriages, no children, no grandchildren, no college, no opportunity to work in a career of their choice but they served us; the U.S.A. proudly; May God continue to touch their families and honor those they left behind.

There are teddy bears and high school rings and photographs that mamas bring

of daddies with their young boys, playin’ ball.

There’s combat boots that he used to wear when he was sent over there

There’s 50,000 names carved in the wall.

There’s cigarettes and cans of beer and notes that say, “I miss you dear”

And children, who don’t say anything at all.

There’s purple hearts and packs of gum, fatherless daughters, fatherless sons

And there’s 50,000 names carved in the wall

They come from all across this land in pickup trucks and mini vans

Searching for a boy from long ago.

They scan the wall and find his name, the teardrops fall like pouring rain

And silently they leave a gift and go.

There’s stars of David, rosary beads and crucifixion figurines

And flowers of all colors large and small.

There’s a boy scout badge and a merit pin, Little flags waving in the wind

And there’s 50,000 names carved in the wall.

There’s 50,000 names carved in the wall

Songwriters: Jamie O’Hara

Published by Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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

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

Pleasant Life Surprises

Pleasant Life Surprises

“Your statutes are my heritage forever; they are the joy of my heart.” Psalm 119:11 

Often I go to Facebook and look around at the pages of some young adults that I enjoy more than I can ever relate in words. These young adults are nieces and nephews through biology and through marriage. Sadly, Rick’s one and only nephew hasn’t opened the door to our marriage or his uncle’s new life as a “Dad” and “Grandpa” but I pray that the future will swing the door wide so I can include him in my N/N Perusal Days. Sometimes I can’t “like” the comments I read because the language is a little stronger and more colorful (blue) than I prefer but I always read them, praying for each in kind. I smile as I read some for I can remember the “teen years’ tests” their strong personalities and questionable choices put their parents through. I can remember the tears and the prayers of their parents and their grandparents, along with those of the aunts and uncles who were made “aware” of the situations. Some of their parents were very forthcoming with their prayer and “a little extra love” needs, others not so much. Often my Mom would confide things to me so I could pray and understand a little better as I stood on the outside looking in. One of the most wonderful things I think of as I am reading the posts is the integrity, support, and love they always saw in their grandparents and great-grandparents; some weren’t “church-goers” but all believed in the wonder and majesty of our Mighty God.

Today (and I strongly believe this is the direct result of our praying families) they are all successful, loving young adults; none of whom has ever spent time in the jails by which many of them are employed. But, most importantly, it is the belief in God and family that I cherish the most. Life hasn’t been perfect for any of them; financial stressors, fidelity problems, divorces, estrangements, and other life issues have touched each of them at different times in their lives but as I continue to peruse, I see prayer requests, praises, references to the goodness of God, and displays of familial love that bring pride and a sense of heritage that encourages me that … even as the family I love begins to cover the 48 states, because we serve ONE GOD… the LOVE AND CONNECTION will never be gone. That even as we spread apart on Earth, we will be reunited one day in Heaven ~ forever!!! The power of prayer is ALWAYS a pleasant and present surprise!!

Whoever the engine of your family is or was ~

REMEMBER that with prayer as the fuel… the train,

no matter how many cars are added, will keep on chugging!!

 

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

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

More Life’s Surprises

More of Life’s Surprises

I [Paul] myself am convinced, my brothers and sisters, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with knowledge and competent to instruct one another. Romans 15:14

A week or so ago I was visiting with my Dad at Spring Oak Assisted Living when I overheard one of the aides talking about a man coming in to play guitar and sing with the residents. If there is one thing I know about my Dad, he loves the guitar. I saw the man come in, guitar in hand, and he walked right up to the table where we were sharing some ice cream. He looked familiar but I couldn’t place from where. Dad wanted to go and listen to him play the guitar so we did. After making sure Dad was safely in his chair, I popped down to his room to put away the laundry I had brought with me but returned within a few minutes. The man who was playing the guitar had stopped and was sharing a moment from the scripture. It was then that I remembered where I knew him from; when I first began attending a Nazarene church in Vineland in the mid-1990’s, he was the associate pastor. He was a young, charismatic worship pastor at the time with a young family; I remembered how I had enjoyed his gifts and talents as he used them in service to the Lord. A series of “too common” intra-church events and he was gone.

I’m sorry I didn’t tell Pastor David afterward how precious it had been to sit with my Dad, listening to him play, sing, and share the world of God. I regret not telling him how pleasant it was to watch him interact with the seniors, genuinely smiling and greeting each of them. I was wrong, I should have encouraged him as a brother in Christ; I will remedy that by copying him on this blog. Life is filled with surprises… be ready for them, they may be chances to share the love of God with strangers, friends, family members, or brothers/sisters in Christ from days gone by!

“Everyday they pass me by…”*

With smiles or eyes so sad;

They may live days of happiness

or dark days, deep and bad.

Yet, as they pass, I pray dear Lord

Your voice will be so clear,

that I will know

just how to show

Your love with a smile, a nod or a tear.

from “People Need the Lord”

 

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

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

Life’s Continued Surprises

Life’s Continued Surprises

The seventh time the servant reported, “A cloud as small as a man’s hand is rising from the sea.” So Elijah said, “Go and tell Ahab, ‘Hitch up your chariot and go down before the rain stops you.’” I Kings 18:44

Little League is not going so well; I haven’t stopped praying, however, and we will not let him “quit” now. Life lessons aren’t always easy for 12 year olds – or for 65 year olds – but all we can do is encourage him not to let the “nerves” or “coach shouting fear” overtake him or fracture his passion for baseball. We tried to prepare ourselves and him for the adjustments to being coached as “part of a team” rather than taught as “part of a camp.” Yet, reality can be tougher than preparation sometimes; today’s surprise was his twelve year old response to what I believed to be “encouragement!”

At one time in my life my beloved Aunt Hannah, knowing I was going through some “stuff” during my tween years (yes, hormonal times were the same in the early sixties) brought me a 78 rpm single of the following song recorded by the incomparable Judy Garland.

As I wash my dishes, I’ll be following a plan

Till I see the brightness in every pot and pan

I am sure this point of view will ease the daily grind

So I’ll keep repeating in my mind

Look for the silver lining

Whenever a cloud appears in the blue

Remember somewhere the sun is shining

And so the right thing to do is make it shine for you

A heart full of joy and gladness

Will always banish sadness and strife

So always look for the silver lining

And try to find the sunny side of life

So always look for the silver lining

And try to find the sunny side of life

Songwriters: BUDDY DESYLVA, JEROME KERN, JERRY J NOWAK

In my attempt to share this sage advice with Mats, I explained how God can sometimes be found in a cloud; how every cloud (no matter how dark) holds a silver lining. To be met by the words, “Gram, I love you but I don’t get it!” “Oh, well,” she sighs.

“Sing to God, sing in praise of His name, extol Him who rides on the clouds; rejoice before Him — His name is the Lord.” Psalm 68:4

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

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

Life’s Surprises

Life’s Surprises

“…the wisdom that comes from Heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.” James 3:17-18

Thirteen years ago last month I was attending a ladies’ retreat where I would; ultimately, learn how to dance with God. It was a rough time for me; I was struggling in the final days of a crumbling, abusive marriage while facing the disappointment of my daughter’s miracle pregnancy happening over 2000 miles from my home in NJ. I was still working; seeing no way possible of spending the time with my first grandchild I had always dreamed about.

Yet, the Lord, who knows all things, had many lessons to teach me. As we walked together through the valleys; I did learn to dance with Him even in the darkest times. I learned, through scripture and prayer that we as children of God could learn to find joy in the midst of all circumstances. The secret, at least for me, was not looking around but looking up and listening… the Lord WILL speak with us, in a still small voice or scripture or nature or any multitude of other ways!

My life’s surprise is sleeping in his room as he fights off seasonal allergies mixed with a cold. He is a great kid who spends a lot of time with his Grandpa and I. He is a major part of my life and, thank you Lord; I have been blessed to be a part of His! Twists, turns, disappointments that turn to joys, and closed doors that open through His will; God is SO good!

God loves to give surprises to His children

He loves to turn their darkness into day;

No matter what our job or where we are in life,

He smiles on us as we walk His way! 

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

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

Power

Power

“For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power.” I Corinthians 4:20

My husband has worked in the hospitality industry as an A/V technician and site manager for almost 20 years, enjoying it very much… most of the time. Occasionally he will be working with a customer who has absolutely no idea what is needed to set up the sound, lighting, visuals for the type of event they are planning; they have grandiose plans but don’t want to pay for the equipment. It is amazing how many planners will set no limits on the food for the event but balk at the cost of something as simple as a wireless microphone. However, what makes him really crazy is that the hotels he has worked for will tell the customer that things can be done and they can’t. This leaves my wonderfully patient husband to contact them and explain, “No, you can’t have music playing in the background… the hotel speakers are broken” or “No, I can’t set up a video presentation in “that” room, the electric socket isn’t working” or “Yes, your supplied, inferior equipment did just blow a circuit breaker so there is power only to half of the ballroom.” We live in an age where instant gratification is not only expected but it is ordered! In the middle of an area wide power shortage, his customers get angry with him because the power is out… duh!

Christians, including me, often display the same type of selfishness. “Lord, stop the rain… today is our Sunday School Picnic. Don’t worry about the farmer who is losing their crop, they can wait until tomorrow.” “Lord, please open my friend’s heart to Your expectations about cohabitation. No, I’m not the one to bring up the subject, she will be angry with me!” “Lord, PLEASE, have the post office work quickly with the Sunday school supplies; I need them for this Sunday, they got ordered late.” There is POWER in the blood; there is POWER in prayer; there is POWER all around us – God IS OMNIPOTENT but He is not our own personal servant who sits in Heaven as our Santa, the bad cop, or our problem solver. He wants us to share our issues, whatever they are but the POWER is in HIS WILL and what He wants for US! The POWER is in listening, obeying and trusting IN HIM!

P – With Pure love our

O – Omnipotent God displays

W – His corporate and unique Will for His children;

E – our Lord Eternally

R – Reigns!

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

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