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.

Smyrna

“To the angel of the church in Smyrna write: These are the words of Him who is the First and the Last, who died and came to life again. I know your afflictions and your poverty—yet you are rich! I know about the slander of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown. Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who is victorious will not be hurt at all by the second death.” Revelation 2:8-11 

        Persecution and martyrdom were prevalent in the early church age. John transcribed the book of Revelation late in the first century; church history guesses between 70 A.D. and 96 A.D; already some of the apostles had been put to death for their faith. Others, although not killed, were beaten or imprisoned; John was writing this book from the Isle of Patmos where he was banished and, again according to church tradition, died of old age. Here we read Jesus’ words to the church at Smyrna that warn them of persecution, possibly leading to death.

        However, before the warnings, Jesus praises them for their faith in spite of adversity. Apparently, the congregation at Smyrna included materially poor people some of whom were afflicted either physically or mentally. Yet, Jesus affirms that they are rich; I believe we can safely assume that these riches were in love and faith. As many churches are today, the church of Smyrna was being badmouthed and lied against by a neighboring congregation that is called by Jesus, “a synagogue of satan.” Nice neighbors, huh? Jesus praises the church for its today, warns them against their tomorrow, and promises them a bright tomorrow! 

“Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who is victorious will not be hurt at all by the second death.”

 

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 Only

“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” Acts 2:42-47 

        My husband and I met in church; a lovely little country church with warm, loving people. They give to others; some sacrificially but they never tell others. It is a lovely mix of senior adults down to newborn babies; many multi-generational attendees that we deeply love. There is a choir; we love to sing praises together. A small Sunday school, encouragement to begin small group Bible studies, activity and interaction with other similar churches; it is everything we want in a church. Sure, there are little problems; isn’t that normal among people? Sadly, we left with broken hearts within a year of meeting and still haven’t found a new church home.

        This is an absolutely new experience for me; I don’t like it. I miss the children I loved deeply, I miss feeling familial love when I open the door of a church; I can’t even relate to my husband how I miss the smiles and kind words of the greeters, the smiles of those I passed in the halls on the way to the choir room, and the hubbub as we all put on our robes, grabbed our music, sang a final run through! I miss relationship with people I love; my heart longs for the quest for more and more of God’s love!

        The reason we left isn’t important but suffice it to say that one man, full of himself and devoted to achieving his agenda rather than that of God, by his actions he was unwilling to re-examine, drove us away. We see others often who “remember when” we “broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people.” Yet, a return is not an option for us; there are tears in my heart but my prayers have only reinforced this knowledge. Rick and I continue to search for a church home; a loving place where the Word of God is preached and the love of the Lord is shared.

        It seems that the vast majority of congregations in our area operate with an agenda; we listened the other night as a lady at a table near us in the local diner rambled on and on about “her” church. She mentioned her responsibilities, her duties, the problems she perceived with leadership and the money problems for what seemed like an eternity. Yet we shared with each other later that she never once mentioned the Lord, never once talked about her love for Him or His love for her. If only we could go back; if only the modern church were more like the first church; if only socioeconomic, cultural, or theological differences didn’t alter the fellowship Jesus encouraged us to continue. If only the church had remained the Church, the Bride of Christ … if only the children of God loved Him first and “self” had never been accepted into the congregations … If only…

 

“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and

to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.

Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders

and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers

were together and had everything in common. They sold

property and possessions to give to anyone who had need.

Every day they continued to meet together in the temple

courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together

with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying

the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their

number daily  those who were being saved.” Acts 2:42-47

 

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

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

Ministry website: www.asistershugs.org