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.

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!

Pray About It

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” II Timothy 3: 16, 17

For many years my Mom and Dad cancelled out each other’s votes but they voted. We were raised with the mantra, “One can only complain about those in office if you voted no matter whether for them or against them. Although the New Jersey primary is too late in the political calendar to really count for much AND, even though I think the Electoral College and our primary system are obsolete and seriously outdated, I will vote in the primary. Who I will vote for still remains a mystery to me both in the primary and the general election but I do know who I will not vote for… unless God shows me different.

I don’t understand how God can ask us to support those in office or how the Lord is always in control or how God’s omniscience works but I know how to pray. For that reason, I remain virtually undecided even when being bombarded with news coverage that is constantly offering their opinions. I pray, pray, read the official candidate webpage and then pray some more. It is becoming increasingly difficult to stand out as a Christian without being accused of offending someone; but I pray! I believe that God will find a way to let me know which lever to pull and, I also believe, whichever candidate becomes our next president… God will still be in control – at least ultimate control.

I’m sure each of us can think of a time when God allowed us to have what we were praying for… sometime for our good and sometime not but the choice was ours. Many of you believe as I do; that the U.S.A. is headed on a direct path AWAY from God but don’t believe – for one moment – we can go along for the ride and allow others to make our choices! God didn’t create robots; he created mankind; He created choice! Yet He also longs to hear from us; desires conversation with us; and is waiting to help us make the right choice; even in our vote!

“Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account.” Hebrews 13:17

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

Prayers

And Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:43

On this 13th anniversary of the terrorist destruction of the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, NY, NY ~ the attack on the Pentagon Building, Washington, DC ~ the crash of a plain in Shanksville, PA that combined took the lives of over 3000 innocent people, I believe the verse above says volumes.

The events of that day were horrendous but Jesus told us to pray for our enemies! He prayed from the cross for His!

 

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

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

Ministry website: www.asistershugs.org

BUT

“As for God, His way is perfect: The Lord’s Word is flawless; He shields all who take refuge in Him.” Psalm 18:30

This was BibleGateway.com’s verse of the day. I don’t know why but, when I read it, my first thoughts were about how very different God and I are. If this verse was written about me it would say, “As for El, her way is selfish and often self-serving: Her word, although well intended, is often flawed because it is founded on her 64 yr. old memory; She offers limited refuge as it is contingent on her emotional, physical, and spiritual status at each unique moment. Her love is genuine, her compassion deep BUT she is, after all, only human.”

I don’t want my words to sound like I ever intend to lie, intend to walk in dark paths, or intend to offer limited refuge but I know myself! As hard as I may try, even though I seek God for my words, my steps, and my actions, I trip once in a while. Occasionally, I fall and, if you place your trust in me, I may take you with me! I am

1. a sinner saved by grace…

2. A project under construction…

3. A CHILD of God (heavy emphasis on “child”)…

4. God’s daughter on a journey; I haven’t arrived…

I am a godly daughter, wife, mother, Grammie, sibling, auntie, friend. I am a trained counselor who prays for the wisdom of God and the word of the Lord. I do my best every day with my hand in HIS but I am not close to perfect, flawless, or constant!!

You know, when I think about myself in the Light of God’s perfection, flawlessness, and unchanging omnipotence, omniscience, or omnipresence. I must wonder… WHY do I ever trust that my way is better than His?”

“As for God, His way is perfect:

The Lord’s Word is flawless;

He shields all who take refuge in Him.”

Psalm 18:30

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

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

Ministry website: http://www.asistershugs.org

Ladies First!


Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: 
“I have seen the Lord!”  John 20:18

 

Christ the Lord is risen today, Alleluia!

Earth and heaven in chorus say, Alleluia!

Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia!

Sing, ye heavens, and earth reply, Alleluia!

 

Love’s redeeming work is done, Alleluia!

Fought the fight, the battle won, Alleluia!

Death in vain forbids him rise, Alleluia!

Christ has opened paradise, Alleluia!

 

Lives again our glorious King, Alleluia!

Where, O death, is now thy sting? Alleluia!

Once he died our souls to save, Alleluia!

Where’s thy victory, boasting grave? Alleluia!

 

Soar we now where Christ has led, Alleluia!

Following our exalted Head, Alleluia!

Made like him, like him we rise, Alleluia!

Ours the cross, the grave, the skies, Alleluia!

Word by Charley Wesley

 

The Father’s plan is complete ~ Jesus’ blood was shed for OUR sin; all we need to do is accept God’s gift and do our very sent to live a life according to Jesus’ teachings! He lives today and His resurrection is the promise of our eternal life!!

 

Hallelujah! Jesus Lives!

Praying that you and yours have a wonderful day!

 

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

Hugs +/or ChIPS ©3/05 Eleanor J. Gale

Please visit my website at http://www.asistershugs.org

In the Silence

“The gaiety of the tambourines is stilled, the noise of the revelers has stopped, the joyful harp is silent.”  Isaiah 24:8

Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment.”  Luke 23:56

 

“JEHOVAH ELOHIM, Lord God; EL-BERITH, God of the covenant;

            WHY?  He was my son – the child conceived by your Spirit, planted inside my womb before I had ever known a man.  When Your angel told me You had chosen me to be the mother of the Messiah, I didn’t understand but I was honored; I allowed everything the angel told me would happen, to happen. 

            Joseph … He was a good man, He loved You, He fought the whispers of the townspeople right by my side, He believed the words of the angel and took me as his wife, He didn’t touch me until after my son was born but he loved me, he protected me, he cared for me and all of my children; then he was taken from me …

            I didn’t fear life alone because I had my Son; Your Son … I knew Jesus belonged to You, I knew He had to preach the words You gave Him, I encouraged Him to fulfill His destiny but not a cross … not the wrath, the beatings, the scourging, the nails … I want Him … I don’t want John … I want my Son; WHY?

EL ELYON, Most High; KADOSH, Holy One; … WHY? 

Can you even imagine the quiet of the Sabbath immediately following the Crucifixion for Mary; for the apostles, the women, the disciples?  They didn’t know the end of the story … all they had was the silence of that Sabbath … for grieving, for preparation, for petition, for prayer … 

There have been times in my life when God was silent … I didn’t like it; I felt like I had been abandoned but I wasn’t abandoned … He hadn’t gone anywhere … the cries of my heart were so loud I couldn’t hear Him.  It is in the silence that we need to seek God harder, it is in those moments we need to open our hearts to His voice … He will answer … He will speak for He is there!

 

“In the secret, in the quiet place
In the stillness You are there
In the secret, in the quiet hour I wait only for You
‘Cause I want to know You more

I am reaching for the highest goal
That I might receive the prize
Pressing onward, pushing every hindrance aside out of my way
‘Cause I want to know You more

 

I want to know You
I want to hear Your voice
I want to know You more
I want to touch You
I want to see Your face
I want to know You more “
 

Words by Andy Park

 

Lord, on this, the commemoration of the day when Jesus was silent, will You speak to us?  We love You because You first loved us … In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

 

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

Hugs +/or ChIPS ©3/05 Eleanor J. Gale

Please visit my website at http://www.asistershugs.org