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.

Way of Holiness

 “And a highway will be there; it will be called the Way of Holiness. The unclean will not journey on it; it will be for those who walk in that Way; wicked fools will not go about on it.” Isaiah 35:8 

        Rick has a long commute to work; 80 miles each way. Living this far from his job so we could be close to our grandson is a decision we made when we first got married. I am sure he double thinks it some mornings when he leaves before 5 am but he rarely complains. What he is careful to do, however, is to change up his route so boredom doesn’t affect his driving. I thought of him when I read about Isaiah’s “highway” of holiness. 

        A “highway” to Isaiah was much different than our modern turnpikes, thruways and interstate, multi-lane freeways. In Old Testament times, most people traveled on foot and Israel was a difficult place to travel. The “highways” directed travelers to amazingly divergent topography; mountains, rolling hills, deserts, beaches, cities and villages. The Hebrew word for “highway” means a beaten worn out path. Road construction would have been difficult for any skillful engineer because of the topography of the land. Not until the time of the Roman Empire were there crude paved roads. When Jesus journeyed from Jerusalem, around Nazareth, and through the land of Samaria, there were no special roads but large dirt paths with some stone. He was following the same dangerous, dry, dirt tracks the Old Testament heroes walked and wrote about. 

        Isaiah refers to the Way of Holiness, a road that only those following God’s commands will walk. Holiness isn’t a popular word in today’s missional churches as it is deemed “impossible to attain” because only God was perfect. When we think of “holiness” we are transported back in thought to the days of waving white hankies, temperance rallies, blue laws, and scads of legalism’s “do nots.” Yet holiness is defined as “dedicated or devoted to the service of God.” It cannot be unattainable as God said in Leviticus 11:44, “I am the Lord your God; consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy.” Peter reiterates God’s words in I Peter 1:16, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” What we tend to forget is that WE CAN WALK TOWARD HOLINESS ONLY BECAUSE GOD HAS SANCTIFIED US THROUGH THE BLOOD OF JESUS, certainly not under our own goodness ~ so, as we travel along Isaiah’s Way of Holiness we walk, hand in hand, with the Lord because we trust in His Word, accept His Truths, follow His Commands. and Grow in His love!! 

How many roads did I travel before I walked down one that led me to You?

 How many dream did unravel  before I believed in a hope that was true?

 How long? How far?

 What was meant to fulfill only emptied me still  and all You ever wanted…  

 

Only me on my knees, singing holy, holy

 And somehow all that matters now is You are holy, holy

 

How many deaths did I die  before I was awakened to new life again?

 How many half truths did I bear witness to ‘til the proof was disproved in the end?

 How long? How far?

 What was meant to illuminate shadowed me still and all You ever wanted…

(Lyrics by Nicole Nordeman) 

 

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.