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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Living IN Gratitude

“Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name.” Psalm 100:4 

        While sorting through my grandson’s school papers the other day, I ran across a printed copy of Robert Frost’s, The Road Not Taken. At first I thought it a little too mature for a fifth grader but then remembered that a fifth grader today IS far more mature than a fifth grader was in 1955. As Frost is one of my favorite poets; my eyes were drawn to the words “I shall be telling this with a sigh; Somewhere ages and ages hence; Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.” 

        Haven’t we all stood at that crossroad in our lives? In accepting salvation, we have chosen the less traveled road. Speaking for myself, that choice has ~ truly ~ made a difference; one for which I am truly grateful. In preparation for the Thanksgiving season, I was thinking about the difference between an attitude of gratitude and action of giving thanks. They are so similar yet, I believe, there are distinct differences. 

        By dictionary definition, gratitude can be the act of giving thanks but it is also “appreciative of benefits received.” I can remember telling my kids to be grateful; also asking if they understood what it meant to be grateful. I’ve heard those sentiments echoed by my kids to my grandchildren; sometimes they don’t seem very grateful for what is a pretty good life. They all have more material goods than necessary, a loving family, health, and warm bedrooms with soft, comfy beds. Water comes from the tap at will and food is plentiful in their homes; they often act as though they are entitled not blessed. But, isn’t that an easy trap to fall into? 

        Not a day passes that I don’t thank God for gifts of His presence, forgiveness, kindness and faithfulness but ~ I wonder ~ do I live in an attitude of gratefulness? Do I look at others and wonder why God has blessed them with better health, a bigger home, or more desirable Spiritual gifts? Shouldn’t my years of service in God’s kingdom entitle me to a carefree life by now? Seriously, would it really have made a difference in the universe if I had been knitted with my sisters’ skinny genetic codes or my brother’s seeming luck of the draw or my friend’s charismatic personality? I know I speak thankfulness to the Lord but … 

Lord, teach me to be strong to stand up for the weak

 For those without a voice, teach me how to speak

 Teach me to forgive and how to give a damn

 Teach me to live in gratitude;

 Teach me how to love

I’ve got so much to learn,

 Even when it hurts, teach me how to love

(lyrics by Carolyn Dawn Johnson)

 

                    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.