Anticipating 2017

“…seek first His kingdom and His righteousness…” Matthew 6:33a

A bit later than I’d planned but “Happy New Year. Clinging to the old chorus, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you – Allelu, allelujah! This chorus is my prayer for 2017. As you may be aware, Rick and my life changed radically on 9/27/16 when he was admitted to a hospital in Philadelphia for the partial amputation of his right foot. For those of you who don’t know, this was his “good” foot. The other – on which he wears a knee-high brace – had been crushed over 15 years ago in a work accident. Type 2 diabetes is a hard dragon to fight; it takes a total life change but we believed we were up for the battle but then came the REAL bitter pill to swallow… a letter from the state of NJ Temporary Disability Department informing us that he was not eligible for payment as he physically works in PA. We, the human resources depts and payroll depts at his employer were all blindsided! For over three months we have been totally dependent on the faithfulness of the Lord and His children for our support. My social security check covers nothing but our home (lot rent/mortgage). The Lord has been faithful!!

I have been a Christian for over 50 years but such a lesson for me at this advanced stage of my life. I have NO doubts that God is real but minute to minutes trust… for money, now this is something else. There have been times of true humbling, embarrassment, and deep soul searching. So many unknowns to face. Although Rick is healing well, will he ever be able to return to the job he loves?… will he need job training to enter a new field?… will he be able to return to work at all? We have no answers and his surgeon is not willing to even provide a best guess about his returning to employment. We are seeking the Lord with questions about lawyers, disability, insurance… workman’s comp, unemployment, future expenses… total trust is tough!! We are truly needing to “seek Him first” and “learning to lean”.

So, what are my thoughts +/or resolutions for 2017? Simply none! As John Stallings writes, “Learning to lean, learning to lean, I’m learning to lean on Jesus. Finding more power than I’d ever dreamed, I’m learning to lean on Jesus.” Or the old public domain version, “Leaning, leaning, safe and secure from all alarms. Leaning, leaning, leaning on the everlasting arms!” Why do so many of us (maybe you are a quicker leaner than me) have to be thrust into tumultuous times before we simply lean on an omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent God? In an attempt to be “hip” for my grandchildren… “DUH!”

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

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

Ministry website: www.asistershugs.org

 

About the Author:  Pastor Eleanor Jean Gale-Boone lives in southern New Jersey.  The eldest of six children from a close Christian family (50+ in total; 4 generations / country wide), her husband (Rick), her two children (Ed & Diana), “in-loves” (Boomer & Alyssa) and three grandchildren (Mathieu, Emma & Amelia) are her greatest joys in life.  She and her husband attend Stagecoach Road Christian Fellowship in Sewell, New Jersey where she teaches Sunday school and works with VBS. Although she suffers from Post Lyme Disease Syndrome, IBS, Fibromyalgia, and Diabetes – she serves God as He calls her, where He calls her, when He calls her – all in His power and strength.  Through the power of the Spirit of God, she is learning to live in the calling of God to “be available” for Christian women seeking to find the Joy of the Lord in the midst of life’s circumstances. She is a published writer, an accomplished vocalist, a called and ordained Pastoral Counselor, as well as maintaining an on-line encouragement ministry, “A Sister’s Hugs.” This devotional/blog, Pastor El’s Blog, is posted daily on her ministry website and sent from YahooGroups, published as A Sisters Hugs Blog on Blogger.com, Tumbler, WordPress.com, and to Facebook on the page, A Sister’s Hugs Ministries. At the call of God, she has established Kitchen Table Christian Counseling Services; a face to face pastoral counseling service for Christian women struggling with life’s journey. She schedules sessions by appointment out of her home at ejg.boone@yahoo.com. For more information, feel free to visit http://www.asistershugs.org. God willing, she will soon return to seeking her Master’s Degree in Theology and Counseling.

Part of a Lump

Part of a Lump

Does not the Potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use?” Romans 9:21

        I am the eldest of six children; we have the same parents which means that the six of us are from the “same lump of clay” but we are VERY different. In fact, I could write a birth order article. Although I do tend to be the bossy, feel responsible, oldest child – my siblings don’t take kindly to my “birth given role.” There are some statics – we all ADORED our Mom and learned to love the Lord, eventually all accepting Jesus as our PERSONAL Savior, by osmosis and we all respected our Dad; loved them both dearly! But, there are also many differences ~ two of my brothers are law enforcement officers… the other is now a pastor after spending a career in the Coast Guard. I made most of the sporadic and ill-advised decisions; my two sisters are lovely women of God; one quietly serves the Lord and the other very publicly and wonderfully serves the Lord. The latter is our “baby.”

        I’ve spent many years ~ erroneously and sinfully ~ envying my baby sister; she is EVERYTHING I am not. Like our Mom, she is instantly admired and respected by everyone she meets. She could walk through any high school and be mistakenly taken for a student. She was, deservedly, “Teacher of the Year” at her school last year. Please know, I am not, for one moment, glamorizing her life… she has fought many spiritual battles but she always appears to have life “all together.” She is in the process of having her first book published; I will admit to having spent the last month being disappointed that it is not me; one of my hearts’ desires, for many years, has been to write a book. However, neither that nor other things I’ve longed to do just don’t seem to be in God’s plan for my life.

        I haven’t posted for a while because I have been struggling with God on the question, “What IS Your will for me?” What does “be available” mean? Why did I go through the angst of college if You aren’t going to USE me? Not only is this a chronicle of God’s answer to me but also a public admission of my sin and a U-turn in my prayer life. My blogs may be on and off for a few weeks but please bear with me; I need to digest God’s answer.

        God has shown me that to “be available” doesn’t mean I will ever be recognized but it also doesn’t mean I will spend the rest of my life seeing the result of doing His will; I simply need to TRUST MORE in His call knowing that only HE may see the result. It means that I may serve Him in a check-out line or random social event with the woman sitting next to me or on a late night train returning from Quantico with the ill-attired, loud, yet sad looking woman who asks, “can I sit here?” This blog entry is already too long but to make a long story shorter, she had come from Albany, NY to Baltimore, MD to identify her twenty-two year old son who (after only a week) had hung himself in a jail cell. Allowing God to minister to her, through me, was God’s call to “be available,” I know that now! Sometimes God needs to SHOUT before we listen!!

God has given me the desire of my heart…

and I didn’t even know it!

I thought I’d find it in HIS public service…

but He had other plans to show it!

I’m blessed to be loved by a husband…

as I’ve never known before!

My illness allows me hours at home…

to rest but also to explore

His WORD. To “be available” to pray, to listen,…

to those online or face-to-face

To share a shoulder, an ear, encouragement, or the love of God…

comforting words or tales of His grace!

I may never be “successful” or recognized as “special”

But ~ thank You Lord; I’m blessed!

I’ve recognized the power of simply being me; the pot you’ve formed

From the lump of clay; so different from the rest!

 

Lord; for Your love, for Your molding; for Your forgiveness, and for a new tomorrow … THANKS!

Loved in Weariness

Loved in Weariness
 
“The one who keeps God’s commands lives in Him, and He in them. And this is how we know that He lives in us: We know it by the Spirit He gave us.” I John 3:24
 
It’s been an odd 24 hours for me; I’ve prayed a lot about the altercation yesterday with the young man at the post office. God – who is always honest yet loving – let me know the morning might have been gone a lot differently if I’d just quietly stood back and said nothing. Was I wrong? Was I behaving sinfully? I’m not certain that I know the answer to those questions but I’ve prayed it through, ask God to forgive my sin within the altercation, and withdrawn my complaint. I had been wronged and the young man does need my prayers; which he will have. But, by voicing my inner judgement about his rude behavior instead of simply showing love and meekness was wrong. It’s an inner battle I wrestle with a lot; I don’t like evilness. I want to confront it; I want the world I grew up in ~ one where people showed respect, manners, and kindness to return but it is not coming back. The behavior of others is not something I can change nor is it my battle; it is God’s. I am beginning a march into a battle with myself – to fully accept the depth of God’s love!
 
“The power of darkness comes in like a flood,
The battle belongs to the Lord.
He’s raised up a standard, the power of His blood,
The battle belongs to the Lord.
I sing glory, honor, power and strength to the Lord!
I sing glory, honor, power and strength to the Lord!
 
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

Weary?

Weary??

“let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before Him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Hebrews 12: 1b-3

Are you weary of this world we live in? I am. I had a young man push ahead of me today in a line at the post office and exclaim to me that “the line doesn’t form in the parking lot,” when I pointed out to him that I should have been first in line. His language was flooded with profanities. When I told him I was offended by his choice of words, he looked at me and said, “__, ___, ___” then smiled at the others in line. I asked him to leave as he had left a child in the car; his answer was, “I left two in the car.” I decided to leave in order to avoid further banter but he continued his verbal barrage – with even more profanity – giving me his opinion of my appearance with nastiness and continued escalating profanity. NOT one person in the post office; two behind the counter and two others in line did or said a word. He came out as I was writing down his license plate number and told me, in front of his two children, to “watch my back” and “my house,” continuing with profanities.

I left the lot and stopped down the road to pray. I thanked God for His protection. I prayed for the two little children. I prayed for the man and the evilness he revealed. I called Rick and asked what I should do. We agreed that I should file a police report; especially because in my role as a professional counselor I am, by law, required to report negative incidents involving children or the elderly. I entered the local police dept. and told the policeman behind the desk my story. His answer, he would enter the report and I should come in tomorrow to sign it, “if I wanted to go to court.” I don’t know the man and he doesn’t know me but – the policeman said – my address would be included in the summons… the policeman shrugged when I reminded him that I had been threatened.

None of this comes even close to the pain, suffering, embarrassment, or humiliation that Jesus endured but He loved His Father and knew He would sit with Him in Heaven. I know I have a room in the mansions God has prepared for us so what do I do from here? I don’t know; still praying about it but I am so weary and the evilness just gets worse… I AM HOLDING ON TO GOD’S PROMISES FOR HE IS GOOD!!

 

So, I’ll keep holding on to Jesus,

I’ll keep holding on to Jesus,

I’ll keep holding to His precious, nail scarred hands.

Though I cannot see the way too clearly,

My steps become so weary,

I’ll keep holding to those precious nail scarred hands.

 

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

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

Ministry website: www.asistershugs.org

IN His Love

 

“The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in His love He will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17

This was a weekend! I knew going into it that it would be tough on me physically but it was also necessary! When Rick and I bought our home, almost five years ago now, we agreed that we did not enjoy outdoor chores. Seriously, the first person we searched for was a guy to mow the lawn; we found Tony who was awesome… dependable and reasonably priced.

However, life’s seasons change and our financial situation brought us to a place where even just $100+ a month was prohibitive. So, Tony no longer mows our grass, it has become my job and it hurts! With Post Lyme Disease Syndrome and Fibromyalgia being muscular illnesses, pushing a lawn mower hurts; that simple but I know that God has promised that in my weakness, He is strong so – it is ok! However, this weekend Rick and I also needed to scrub and power wash the north and west sides of our house; it simply had to be done… no question, no argument!

I am not seeking pity; I trust in GOD! But I wanted to share with you all how awesome it is to know that we have a LOVING, CARING, UNDERSTANDING, KIND God who “is with ME, the Mighty Warrior who saves ME. He will take great delight in ME; in His love He will no longer rebuke ME, but will rejoice over ME with singing” AND HE WILL DO THE SAME FOR YOU!

I can’t even imagine the sound of God singing 

but it was He who taught the birds to sing.

He taught the brooks to ripple and formed the bells to ring…

The awesome sounds of nature were taught at His command

and while He sings above me,

He guards me with His hand!

 

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

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

Ministry website: www.asistershugs.org

Fleeting

“Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” Proverbs 31:30

Have you ever thought about what beauty is? I am blessed with a passle of nieces, each beautiful of heart. I believe their inner beauty is MUCH more important than their outer beauty (although they are all beautiful outside too) and sometimes my heart breaks when I perceive them to be “buying” into the world’s beauty=skinny=healthy focus. Their beautiful smiles posted on FB are often overpowered by “work-out,” “diet,” or “healthy” pictures.

I’ve been thin; I’ve been healthier but I haven’t always been a woman who fears (“respects” or “is in awe of”) the Lord. I’ve made a lot of mistakes and when I look in the mirror I know they “tell on me.” My days as a young woman are as far in my past as my days as a natural brunette but I am striving to become “healthier” in the Lord every day!! Spiritual exercise has earthly joy and ETERNAL consequences!

I’m trying to be like Jesus; I’m following in His ways.

I’m trying to love as He did, in all that I do and say.

At times I am tempted to make a wrong choice,

But I try to listen as the still small voice,

whispers,

“Love one another as Jesus loves you.

Try to show kindness in all that you do.

Be gentle and loving in deed and in thought,

For these are the things Jesus taught.”

 (c) 1980 by Janice Kapp Perry.

 

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

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

Ministry website: www.asistershugs.org

Stand Strong

 

“You, however, must teach what is appropriate to sound doctrine. (…) In everything set them an example by doing what is good.” Titus 2:1, 7

         Prior to the revelation of his steroid use, world renowned cyclist Lance Armstrong had begun a foundation called “Livestrong” to raise funds for male cancer awareness. It was based on his beliefs as a physically fit man who had survived cancer. The charity remains strong and healthy without his celebrity endorsement.

Sometimes, whether we like it or not, we are called on to stand strong for the Lord regardless of the circumstances. In my case, this meant standing strong for my belief that Vacation Bible School should always include the salvation message for older attendees as it is the only time some young people come in to the church.

My mother directed VBS for many years; she was the director of the VBS where I, at age 9, accepted the Lord as my personal Savior. She never allowed a VBS to conclude without knowing, for sure, that children from the 3rd grade and up had heard about Jesus dying on the cross for our sin. Last summer, 2015, I excitedly prepared for my first year as the director of VBS for the church Rick and I were attending.

At a meeting between the pastor and I, I raised the idea of presenting the message of salvation to the VBS attendees. I was disappointed when he told me he wouldn’t agree to do it; I told him I was both surprised and sorry he felt that way. However, I could not back down on the importance of presenting the gospel to the kids. Along with the VBS supplies I ordered salvation posters and bookmarks.

VBS came and went; many friends and church members let me know how successful it had been. The kids enjoyed it; I enjoyed it and, in the depths of my heart, I believed the week had pleased the Lord! I still do! But, the pastor did not – for reasons he would not reveal, he let me and the VBS staff that I wouldn’t be asked to direct again. Why? I don’t know but I know this… when I have the opportunity to point kids toward eternal life; I will… I will stand strong for Jesus!

Bring them in; bring them in;

Bring them in from the fields of sin…

Bring them in, bring them in;

Bring the wandering ones to Jesus!

 

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

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

Ministry website: www.asistershugs.org

Custodian of the Legacy

Custodian of the Legacy 

“What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” James 4:14b 

I, along with three of my siblings and their spouses, a nephew and his fiancé, and many cousins attended the funeral services of our uncle’s wife, our Aunt Helen on Saturday. Speaking about her love for her late husband, children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren, the pastor presenting her eulogy told her children that they are the “custodians of her legacy.” To be very honest, I didn’t hear another word he said. Those words set off a torrent of thoughts in my mind. I sat there surrounded by my generation of “jrs” who, along with the female counterparts are now the custodians of our “Gale” legacy. We have one aunt still with us; she is 89 years old but still spry enough to let me know I was “late.” I wasn’t, I was actually 15 minutes early for the services but she obviously thought I should have been there for the entire visitation time; I smiled!

What characters our grandparents, aunts, and uncles were… physically, emotionally, and spiritually we are carrying on the legacy of a precious diabetic grandmother, a cantankerous hard working grandfather, a philandering uncle and his longsuffering wife, a lifelong bachelor uncle who loved peeking out windows to spy on the neighbors, an uncle who lived the life of the country song – “One Has my Name, the Other Has my Heart”, an aunt who was loved for her sense of humor and laugh that would fill a room – at her own description, “vaccinated with a Victrola needle,” our surviving aunt – always the quieter one with the sweet demeanor, an uncle who married late in his fireman life and my own parents. So, which legacy am I the custodian of??

I’ve thought of this often since my Mom met Jesus in December 2010… I’ve prayed, I’ve cried, I’ve wondered BUT I KNOW ONLY ONE PART OF ANY LEGACY will have eternal ramifications… that of my Mom’s faith, her love and integrity! I choose the narrow path; I choose to make every effort to reflect to those around me… blood family or not… the legacy of faith in the Father, the belief in the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus, and walking in communion with the Holy Spirit!

You too are the custodian of a legacy… which are you carrying??

“No, No; it’s not an easy road ~

“No, no; it’s not an easy road

But Jesus walks beside us as He brightens our journey

And carries every heavy load”

 

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

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

Ministry website: www.asistershugs.org

Revolving Life

Jonathan said to David, “Go in peace, for we have sworn friendship with each other in the name of the Lord, saying, ‘The Lord is witness between you and me, and between your descendants and my descendants forever.’” Then David left, and Jonathan went back to the town.” I Samuel 20:42 

Many years ago, Michael W. Smith wrote a song named “Friends” that has become a standard for Christians as a description for everlasting friendship between us and our Christian brothers and sisters. One line says, “for a lifetime’s not enough to live as friends.” Even King David had a friend like that; his enemy King Saul’s son Jonathon.

Do you have a friend who fits the description “revolving door friend?” These are the friends who come and go in our lives YET the love you share is a real if you see each other every day or once a year or (in the case of one of my dearest friends) maybe never face-to-face. Even more importantly, are you that kind of friend?

I am currently counseling two pre-teen girls who are perfect examples of “fleeting” friendships. From one week to another, they have new best friends or they make comments like, “oh well, if she doesn’t like ____ about me, I will just find a new friend.” That is not the type of friend I am thinking about today!!

I am blessed with a couple of friends like Jonathon was to David and I am extremely grateful for them but sometimes I let the cares of the world get in the way. I don’t think that is what God has in mind… I need to work on being a better friend; my friends are worth it. I need to keep reminding myself that when the Lord blesses us with a godly friend that he means it to be FOREVER!

“And friends are friends forever

If the Lord’s the Lord of them.

And a friend will not say never

‘Cause the welcome will not end.

Though it’s hard to let you go,

In the Father’s hands we know,

That a lifetime’s not too long to live as friends.

 

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

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

Ministry website: www.asistershugs.org