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.

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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

GOOD Old Days

GOOD Old Days 

“Teach them His decrees and instructions, and show them the way they are to live and how they are to behave.” Exodus 18:20 

I’ve arrived at the age when I long for the good old days of my childhood even though they weren’t always “good.” I spent my childhood in the 1950s – today, in my memory, they seem carefree and innocent. Until I was eight years old, they were; we went to school, played, and interacted with family. At least in my family and most of them that I knew, life’s priority was faith and family. I learned what was good and what was bad; the line was very clear!

I’m not sure when life in the United States changed and, very honestly, the days, years, and hours aren’t important. The changes, however, are incredulous… think about it! The simplicity seems to be gone forever…

Roy Rogers and Dale Evans sang these words for many years…

“If you don’t go to Sunday school; you’ll grow up to be bad.

“You’ll never know just want you missed but someday wish you had…”

Simple words with a simple meaning and simply understood, right? When did the world stop seeing the importance of teaching children to be good? I saw a commercial this morning aimed at children; the tag line, “Do whatever it takes to get it all.” Hmmmm…

“If you want to someday see the Lord; You’d better start today…

For once you’ve gone to Sunday school, you’re on the upward way!” 

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

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

Ministry website: www.asistershugs.org

I Believe

“Then Jesus told His disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.” Luke 18:1

James Fortune wrote these words;

I believe the storm will soon be over,

I believe the rain will go away,

I believe that I can make it through it,

Oh oh oh oh, I believe, it’s already done.

I believe life will get better,

I believe God will provide,

I believe the promises that He made,

Oh oh oh oh, I believe, it’s already done.

I believe my God is a healer,

I believe I will survive,

I believe my God is able,

Oh oh oh oh, I believe, it’s already done.

The words speak clearly to me as I am going through one of those “dark periods” we all traverse at one time or another. Nothing is really WRONG but I seem to be living inside a storm cloud, surrounded by “what ifs” and “whys.” The questions running through my mind are repetitive; essentially about human behavior and obvious interactive changes which have become accepted and, in many cases, embraced.

But I BELIEVE … I believe in the God of the Universe, I believe in His Son, Jesus and I believe the Spirit of God lives within His children. I believe in the power of prayer; the power Jesus promised us. I will continue to pray and will continue to ask God for His revelation, response, and resolution; I know He is able!!

However, until that resolution, I may not write regularly, I may not as readily share, I may not offer transparency, I may not “put myself out there” to be mowed down ~ I’m tried and tired BUT I BELIEVE!!

 I believe above the storm a smallest prayer will still be heard,

I believe that someone in the great somewhere hears every word.

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