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!

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.

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

Only One

“For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all people.” I Timothy 2:5-6 

Easter, Resurrection Sunday, whatever name you give it; in my life it has also been a reminder of how God can always work a fresh start. Yesterday, in the church my brother pastors, a friend of his proposed to his girlfriend… a fresh start for them. Being a baseball fan, I often think of how often the start of the season comes around the same time as Easter.

My husband, grandson and I drove to VA for the weekend to spend time with our son and his family. We all attended church together yesterday; the sermon really touched my heart. The pastor had entitled it “Exceeding Expectations’ and based it on Mary Magdalene’s reaction to the fresh start she had found in Jesus and her response to His single word, “Mary…” in the garden of the tomb borrowed from Nicodemus. Her sorrow turned to excitement in a second; her expectations of completing the painful task of treating the body of her Savior became unnecessary and, the moment, amazingly joyful! Her vision of a bleak, uncertain future became a new start!!

I stopped writing after some painful memories of the writers’ block I’d struggled with when my Mom passed this earth and met Jesus. When my Dad left us and met her to begin their eternity in Heaven; I simply couldn’t face sitting at the keyboard with so much ambiguity of thought – sorrow, loss, confusion and uncertainty about future relationship with my five siblings, and a deep sense of urgency to point my grandchildren toward a life as a child of God. I’ve written a little but not with the desire to please God that I’d always felt; I’ve written in the attempt to give others reason to “fight the good fight!” Yesterday, riding home from VA, I could sense the voice of God speaking to my heart about a “new start” – in not only my writing but my desire to minister as called by my Lord!

“Lord, I love you and I know you are the one and only TRUE GOD… no matter what the world wants to believe! I don’t always understand the paths to You but I know they must ALL go to Calvary and accept the sacrifice of Your Son, Jesus Christ. I sense so much adversity in the world that You have given up to Your enemy. I am a wife, a Mom, a Grammie, a sister, an aunt, a friend and so many other “people” but I AM YOUR CHILD; willing to carry YOUR name to the world!! In JESUS NAME, 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

Women in the Lineage of Jesus – Sarah

Sarah
First in the Series “Chosen Women in the Life of Christ

“The LORD had said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you.” As he was about to enter Egypt, he said to his wife Sarai, “I know what a beautiful woman you are. When the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife.’ Then they will kill me but will let you live. Say you are my sister, so that I will be treated well for your sake and my life will be spared because of you.” Genesis 12:1, 11-13

Not too long ago, I was asked to write a series of Bible studies for a woman’s group to use during Christmas. I prayed about it, said “yes,” prayed about the topic, and began research. As I attempt to do much in an organized manner, I am also using the topic for my college paper and our devotionals beginning today. I’m not sure how this will all “pan out” as I am laying it at the feet of God but … the first in a series of Chosen Women in the Life of Christ, Sarah.

Sarah isn’t mentioned in Matthew’s genealogical listing of Christ and I wondered why. This is my theory – she was the mother of a direct line of deception (DLD) to gain one’s own way; ending with the generation of Joseph. The final woman in my theory is Tamar, coincidently the first woman mentioned by Matthew.

(Side note – A long neglected chorus is called I’ve Discovered a Way of Gladness, lately (and much later than I care to admit) I I’ve Discovered a Way of Finding Answers; search the Word of God! For many years, I have wondered why Abram took his nephew Lot along with him when God told him to move (Genesis 12:1) ~ I’ve even thought that Abram was wrong – I was the one who was wrong! After the death of his father and grandfather, although only the nephew of Abram, Lot (in Jewish custom) became Abram’s “son” and his responsibility.)

As a young man with his father, Abram (later to become Abraham) began a trip to Canaan but they stopped in Haran. In Genesis 12:1, God speaks to Abram and says (in the El version) “Continue to Canaan” promising the land to him and his descendants. I find no instruction by God but, Abram leaves Canaan because of a famine and goes to Egypt where the DLD begins:

1. Abram tells Sarai to lie, resulting in their banishment but God protects them.
2. Sarah takes matter into her own hands, resulting in Ishmael but God blesses them with Isaac.
3. Isaac is not permitted to marry a Canaanite, resulting in Rebekah and God blesses them with twins
4. Rebekah tricks Isaac into blessing Jacob, resulting in him running from his brother but God blesses him with safety
5. Jacob works for Rachel, resulting in him being deceived into marrying Leah but God blesses him with Rachel
6. Rachel’s son are shown favoritism, resulting in the sale of Joseph into slavery but God supplies food in Egypt
7. Joseph continues in DLD to bring Jacob and Benjamin to him, resulting in the Israelites being in Egypt but God blesses them there
8. Judah, son of Leah and brother of Joseph, lies to Tamar resulting in the birth of Perez but God blesses her lineage as from her seed comes David.

Many years, many lies and much deception occurred from God’s command to Abram in Genesis 12:1 “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you.” We can only wonder how history would have been changed had Abram trusted God to care for him and his family in Canaan but, only God knows because He did not. We know after many more years the Israelites returned there, for the land of Canaan is a name denoting the country west of the Jordan and the Dead Sea, and between those waters and the Mediterranean; given by God to Abraham’s posterity, the children of Israel, and still live there today.

God has proven that He can be trusted, over and over again. Yet, I still struggle with trust issues, how about you? My road toward intimacy with my loving God would have been without many of the detours and many of the potholes had I learned much earlier, how to fully trust, would your road be the same or different? I wonder?

“Lord of Abraham, Lord of David and Lord of my life, teach me to trust. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Unless notes, all scripture is NIV, copyright 1981 International Bible Society
Hugs and ChIPS copyright 03/05 Eleanor J. Gale Boone
Visit my website: http://www.asistershugs.org

Indespensable & Indescribable Gifts

Indispensable & Indescribable Gifts 

“On coming to the house, they saw the Child with His mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped Him. Then they opened their treasures and presented Him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.” Matthew 2:10-11 

“Now eagerly desire the greater gifts. [Love Is Indispensable] And yet I will show you the most excellent way.” I Corinthians 12:31 

“Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!” II Corinthians 9:15

Five years ago, my mother met Jesus ~ six months ago; my dad joined her! What a GIFT it must have been to her to introduce daddy to Jesus! One month after my mom met Jesus, the Lord ordained a very precious GIFT to me ~ my husband Rick; he in deep love, accepted the GIFTs I offered him ~ four children and two grandchildren. Together, we were to receive two more GIFTs, another daughter and another granddaughter; indispensable and indescribable GIFTs!

Over the five years we have been together, we have received many gifts some of little value and others of great value but not one has been indispensable or indescribable. I believe, just as there is a big difference between happiness and joy, there is a big difference between a GIFT and a gift; a lesson God taught me over the holiday season last year. The gifts of the holiday season have been scaled down a lot at our house and we have prayerfully agreed to place emphasis on our responsibilities to give our children and grandchildren the GIFTs of our legacy.

Just something to think about… There is NOTHING material I need; NOTHING! What I should request is a month’s use of a dumpster. I find it incredible that when many, many Americans are asked “What do you want for Christmas?” ~ The answer is “A gift card to….” I’m wondering, where is the love thoughtfulness in simply exchanging money? My prayer, this Christmas, is that God will continue to show me and mine the value of His Indispensable & Indescribable Gifts.

… God gave each of us a present on that night so long ago.

It’s a Gift that keeps on giving if our spirits can receive.

It’s the secret joy of living if our hearts can just believe.

The Father gave the Son;

The Son gave the Spirit;

The Spirit gives us life

So we can give the Gift of love… and the Gift goes on…

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

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

Ministry website: www.asistershugs.org

Repayment

Repayment

“He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His love for those who fear Him.” Psalm 103:10, 11

My grandson just turned 13 years old and, believe me, there are many things he says that catch me off guard. Some are funny, some cause me to think, “Huh,” and others are quite insightful. Usually I am amazed by the latter but it sure does make me think about the maturity he is developing. I pray for him and my granddaughters harder than I can ever remember praying for their parents… not that I love them more but the world gets more perverse every day! However, last night he said something that still has me laughing!

First, he told me that he (finally) brought his lunch bag home; this was followed by “But, I don’t want to use it anymore. Can you just use a bag?” Ok, I thought, he is growing up; after all, lunch bags are for little kids. The he said, “Oh, yeah and can you pack me three snacks instead of two because I keep running out before snack time.” Ok, I thought, he is a growing boy and 8-4 is a lon-g-g day, especially with an hour plus bus ride each way. Then came the punch line, “And, can you please send me five snacks tomorrow because I owe two.” Obviously snacks are bartered in middle school, not shared!

As I’ve snickered about my 5’11 ½” grandson bargaining for snacks in the afternoon, I’ve also thought about repayment as a general topic. My husband and I have been going through a really rough patch financially. We’ve prayed and listened, we’ve confessed our poor decisions and choices, made lifestyle changes and can see light at the end of this dark tunnel. It’s been tough but there are also so, so many “God smiles” we’ve witnessed! GOD’s love is GREAT! For there is nothing we could ever do to repay Him; even more amazing, HE DOESN’T ASK!

“God’s greatest blessings often come costumed as disasters. Any doubters need to do nothing more than ascend the hill of Calvary.” Max Lucado

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

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

Ministry website: www.asistershugs.org

Where is the Love?

Where is Love?

“The commandments, ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ ‘You shall not murder,’ ‘You shall not steal,’ ‘You shall not covet,’ and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’.” Romans 13:9

In the play “Oliver,” the title character sings the following words. I believe, if I remember correctly, that he is dreaming of finding a mother’s love but, this morning, the lyrics are playing through my mind as I think of brothers and sisters in Christ. Don’t get me wrong, I have a lot of love in my life, in fact, I am blessed but I have also (as I am sure you can share) been hurt deeply by brothers and sisters in the faith; even those who serve as the shepherds to flocks of Christian sheep. Those who believe they’ve been called by God to serve dirty, smelly, disobedient, adventurous sheep. My heart wonders; do modern day shepherds remember that shepherds also are smelly, dirty, adventurous, and disobedient too? Anyone who has called on God for forgiveness is merely a sinner saved by grace! We are called to love, not sin but others, especially in the family of God. So, today I am wondering where Christian love can truly be found for I am naïve enough to believe that it exists… somewhere!

Where is love? Does it fall from skies above?

Is it underneath the willow tree that I’ve been dreaming of? 

Where is she? Who I close my eyes to see?

Will I ever know that sweet hello, that’s meant for only me?

Who can say where she may hide? Must I travel far and wide?

Till I am beside that someone who I can mean something to?

Where? Where? Is love? 

Every night I kneel and pray, “let tomorrow be the day

When I see the face of someone who I can mean something to?”

Where? Where? Is 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

Tiniest

Tiniest

“The Mighty One, God, the Lord, speaks and summons the earth from the rising of the sun to where it sets. (…) ‘I know every bird in the mountains, and the insects in the fields are Mine. (…) If I were hungry I would not tell you, for the world is Mine, and all that is in it. (…) Sacrifice thank offerings to God, fulfill your vows to the Most High,, and call on Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor Me’.” Selected verses from Psalm 50

In the shadow of my Dad’s passing, I have spent hours mulling through memories of the 65 year span of our life together. By far, the positive outweigh the negative but the most precious are his efforts – post retirement – to assure my Mom’s happiness. Wow; could he go overboard … I believe, of the over 2000 bells she cherished, he bought half for her. He dumpster dove for shelves while perusing yard and garage sales for the bells themselves. The same when he saw how much she loved hummingbirds, the yard became a paradise for the tiny birds. Walking into their home, one would hear tales of how many hummingbirds had visited in the last 24 hours.

All birds, but especially hummingbirds, are fascinating creatures; don’t you think? If you can get them to sit still long enough to identify them, you’d notice that they could be annual visitors. Depending on the species, habitat conditions, predators and other factors, including threats to hummingbirds, the average lifespan of a wild hummingbird is 3-12 years. The scriptures remind us that God knows and cares for all nature He spoke into being. Even more amazing, just as my Dad had a desire to see Mom happy, God sees, protects, loves and cares for His children; US ~ you and me! Is that cool or what?

 “Oh, how He loves you and me

Oh, how He loves you and me

He gave His Son, what more could He do?

Oh, how He loves you

Oh, how He loves me

Oh, how He loves you and me!”

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

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

Ministry website: www.asistershugs.org

IF

IF

 “If you say, ‘The Lord is my refuge,’ and you make the Most High your dwelling, no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent. For He will command His angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. (…) Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.” Psalm 91:9-16

Rarely, almost never, do I take part in “click like and share” postings on Facebook or through email even if I “Amen” or make positive comment. However, I make an exception today because it started with “Read Psalm 91” and I hadn’t started my devotions yet. The underlined portion of the scripture, although the entire Psalm is an awesome read, stabbed me in what was a confused, scared heart! If you woke up with a heart that needed reaffirming today; ingest the words of God by inserting your name:

Because Eleanor loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue her; I will protect her, for she acknowledges My name. She will call on Me, and I will answer her; I will be with her in trouble, I will deliver her and honor her. 

“And when my love for life is running dry; You come and pour yourself on me!”

(Lyrics from “If” by David Gates)

THANK YOU, LORD!

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

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

The Snakes Stay

The Snakes Stay

“’We sinned when we spoke against the Lord and against you. Pray that the Lord will take the snakes away from us.’ So Moses prayed for the people. The Lord said to Moses, ‘Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live.’ So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, they lived.” Numbers 21:7-9

Our pastor preached on the above passage from Numbers on Sunday morning. Numbers is often one of the “skipped over because it is considered boring” books of the Bible. However, during college I learned that there are “gems” within even the more “boring for us but vital to Jewish history” passages. Pastor John used the passage to emphasize a good topic but my mind was racing on another “thought.” My brain tends to multitask often when it comes to the Word of God!

God’s chosen people could be a rough crowd as they traversed the desert but God needed to teach them many lessons before they were prepared to enter the land He promised to them. Their travels were often accompanied by groans and moans, complaints and whining; they moaned about manna, whined about water, complained about conditions in the desert and groaned about God’s time alone with Moses! And God forgave them, time and time again! However, even God has a limit and they reached it right before God sent snakes to live among them.

The normal pattern was – they griped, God sent a test, they repented, and God removed whatever was upsetting them. NOT THIS TIME! God did not remove the snakes; they needed to learn to live among them but He gave them a way to live with snakes and still be safe. This divine healing, however, required action on their part. Hmmm… does living among snakes sound familiar? We live in a world filled with snakes… each of us has the worldly serpents who make us look up, don’t we?? Think about it…

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13 

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

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