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!

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

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

Really?

Really?

“For God is not a God of disorder but of peace—as in all the congregations of the Lord’s people.” I Corinthians 14:33

If you sat down right now and began to enumerate all of the “problems” in your church how many would be “people problems?” A leaky roof? Possibly waiting for bids but could also be two board members, deacons, or trustees with different “friends” who want the job? Memorial gifts? Possibly they are sitting in the budget and building interest toward a major project but it could also be due to members of the “memorialized’s” family disagreeing about where to apply the funds? How many “continuing” grudges are being held in your church?

What do you think would happen if EVERY member of a church was willing to allow the “other” member to make his/her decisions? What if the pastor decided to give every committee chair a “decision maker?” Or maybe the committee chair send every email to the committee members with a “if you haven’t answered (yeah, nay, or comment) within 7 days, I notify the pastor who makes all decisions and refills said member’s seat on the committee. I wonder… how many “feuds” fester in the average church?

The apostle Paul wrote in his first epistle to the church at Corinth that God nature is PEACE and that all congregations should live in His PEACE! Thank you Lord for allowing me to approach Your throne and ask You to open my eyes to any guilt I may have in the lack of PEACE at my church!

Peace, peace, wonderful peace

Coming down from the Savior above

Sweep over my spirit forever I pray

In fathomless billows of love!

 

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

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

BUT

“They worshiped the Lord, but they also appointed all sorts of their own people to officiate for them as priests in the shrines at the high places. They worshiped the Lord, but they also served their own gods in accordance with the customs of the nations from which they had been brought. To this day they persist in their former practices. They neither worship the Lord nor adhere to the decrees and regulations, the laws and commands that the Lord gave the descendants of Jacob, whom He named Israel. When the Lord made a covenant with the Israelites, He commanded them: “Do not worship any other gods or bow down to them, serve them or sacrifice to them. But the Lord, who brought you up out of Egypt with mighty power and outstretched arm, is the one you must worship. To Him you shall bow down and to Him offer sacrifices. These commands He wrote for you. Do not worship other gods. Do not forget the covenant I have made with you, and do not worship other gods. Rather, worship the Lord your God; it is He who will deliver you from the hand of all your enemies. Even while these people were worshiping the Lord, they were serving their idols. To this day their children and grandchildren continue to do as their ancestors did.” II Kings 17:32-39,41

As a teen, I loved MYF. The advisors had been and would be in charge for many years as Mr. Anderson was the wisest, kindest man I’ve ever known. His wife was also a wonderful lady; however, his nature had facilitated her being quite a “spoiled” and amazingly loved wife. I will never forget the business meetings we had at their home. We’d be running along at full speed; planning cook outs, ice cream socials, taffy pulls, (for those of you under 50, yes these were real activities and, believe it or not, a lot of fun) bake sales, talent shows then, invariably, we’d here Mrs. A’s voice, “BUT, Henry.” All planning came to a sudden halt as she explained whatever reason there was that we could not do something we were talking about at all or on the date we were planning. It wasn’t that she didn’t support us, she did… always; it was simply the way it always got silent… immediately!

“BUT” a three letter word that can change the direction of battleships or the plans of young people. A conjunction joining two sentences or thoughts, usually with the first a positive and the second a negative thought. In the above passage concerning the Israelites (God’s chosen people), twice one reads, “They worshiped the Lord.” That’s a positive, really good thing, right? Keep reading! There’s that little word … “BUT” and then an added, negative behavior. Over and over the author reminds the nation that the Lord had commanded, “Do NOT worship other gods.” I wonder how many “BUTS” are there in my life. How many times has the Lord asked me to do something but… . How many times have I made promises to the Lord but… . He has told me to go but… . He has told me to speak but… .

(Breaking the rule above positive/negative) Sure, we live under grace and are not the children of Jacob; BUT we are the children of God.

 

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

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

Ministry website: www.asistershugs.org

I Am He

Even to your old age and gray hairs I am He, I am He who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.” Isaiah 46:4 

        Every day I catch glimpses of the computer as my screensaver flashes pictures of my life. There are baby pictures through current photos of my kids, my nieces and nephews. The youngest of the group is in her mid-twenties; my Dad is 86 years old. The screensaver kick starts many memories, some vivid and others not so much. Time seems to have flown by and my “gray hairs” have been present for many years.

         My parents lost their home to fire in 1969 so most photos from my childhood are gone forever. Yet, I don’t need photos to recall being in Sunday school, VBS, or my salvation experience. This verse from Isaiah always reminds me of the continued presence of God in my life through good times and not so good times. He has sustained me through childhood fears, teenage angst, young mother exhaustion. Life has a habit of speeding by even when old age is the last thing on your mind. The dictionary definition of sustain is very descriptive of God’s continuing care; To keep in existence; maintain, continue, or prolong, to supply with necessities or nourishment; provide for, to support the spirits, vitality, or resolution of; encourage, and (I love this one) to support from below; keep from falling or sinking; prop.

        As the verse moves on, how many times has the Lord had to carry you? While I prefer not to think about those times; many times I know I wouldn’t have been able to walk through life’s trials. As we age through life, not only does the Lord carry us emotionally but physically as well. Then lastly, we are reminded that it is “He” who rescues us, who protects us from danger. What beautiful images I can imagine as I think about being carried and rescued by our loving God! 

Is He sustaining you, carrying you, or rescuing you … one way or the other; isn’t it awesome to know that ~throughout life~ God has our backs?

 

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

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

Ministry website: www.asistershugs.org

Co-Pays

“I desire to do Your will, my God; Your law is within my heart.” Psalm 40:8 

        I have been covered under Medicare since two years after the onset of my illness. I have no idea why the government program insists that a person their Social Security Department just certified as permanently disabled wait two years but that is the policy. But to regress, I believe Medicare is a necessary program but it is far from comprehensive. It covers no dental or vision issues and has a 20% co-pay. Considering a visit to my general practice physician costs over $75, I always have a co-pay of $16-20 for each appointment. 20% doesn’t seem like much at first but one new or reoccurrencing illness and a patient can be heavily laden with medical debt. I am blessed; I do not have to make the choice between paying for medications or food or any of life’s other necessities. Yet, there are many people who make such a choice daily. 

        There seem to be many co-pays in our daily lives; prescriptions, motor vehicle charges, insurance pay-outs … they are called by many names, fees, deductibles, tarrifs, etc. Yet what they simply are is a business method of paying for less than the total due. They seem to be a rather new phenomena; I can’t remember paying them when my children were young; if you were covered, you were covered! 

        As children of God, our sins are COVERED by the blood of Jesus; not partially ~ COMPLETELY! God doesn’t limit His forgiveness to some of our sin; He forgives us over and over again. But, how about us? Have we given our ALL to God or do we withhold part of our lives to maintain control? Do we spend energy on worrying about things instead of placing our trust in Him 100%? Have we set a co-pay on our hearts?  

Everything I need I find in You; I believe Your promises are true.

I will lift my burdens up to You; Your loving grace will see me through.

All that I am is for You, My Savior; I live by Your Word and surrender to You.

Here where I stand in this moment, Father;

My spirit has been renewed, I surrender to You

© 2004 Jeremy Camp / Bec Recordings / Emd

 

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

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

 

About the Author:  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), her “in-loves” (Boomer & Alyssa) and her three grandchildren (Mathieu, Emma & Amelia) are her greatest joys in life.  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, an ordained pastor, a Christian counselor, and maintains an on-line encouragement ministry, “A Sister’s Hugs.” This devotional, ChIPS from El, is distributed through her website and posted to Facebook on the page, A Sister’s Hugs Ministries. At the call of God, she has established Kitchen Table Christian Counseling Services; a counseling service for Christian women struggling with life’s journey. She journey-counsels on-line through Gospel Guidance.com http://www.gospelguidance.com/search?query=gale-boone and face-to-face by appointment out of her home mailto:ejg.boone@yahoo.com. Feel free to visit http://www.asistershugs.org. God willing, she will soon return to seeking her Master’s Degree in Theology and Counseling.