“As for God, His way is perfect: The Lord’s word is flawless; He shields all who take refuge in Him. For who is God besides the Lord? And who is the Rock except our God?” Psalm 18:30, 31 

        HIS way is perfect; HIS word is flawless; do you truly believe these words? I do! I also believe HIS will is beneficial for His children and have made every attempt to seek it and follow it. Not always, and even then He was gracious, forgiving, and worked my disobedience, poor choice, or self-driven way into a plan for my life that served HIS purpose. Let’s take my marriages for example:

        #1 – I was young, dumb, and on a quest to get out of the house. Looking back I see this all clearly but at 4 days past 18 yrs. it seemed right. However, my first marriage resulted in the birth of two healthy children who became to focus of the next 20+ years of decisions. These decisions always included staying involved and devoted to the Lord’s service. (Aside from marriage #2)

        #2 – I was lonely, felt unneeded, and virtually desperate for happiness. Looking back I see this all clearly but after working all day then going home to an empty nest, it seemed so right. He needed a nurse and I needed a patient; what I did not need was physical, sexual, and emotional abuse. If nothing else, my second marriage drove me to my knees and I ran back into the wide open arms of my loving Savior.

        #LAST – I was seeking the Lord’s will in every area of my life. I was totally dependent on the Lord for peace, comfort, and stability. My children were both married with wonderful children of their own; I was loved by many, locked in the love of God and learning to value and love myself. Struggling with the imminent homegoing of my Mom, the Lord provided a caring, supportive friend who, over time, became my husband and the world’s best Dad and Grandpa!

        I seek the way of the Lord, even though the path He leads me over may never be compatible with the paths of others. I listen for HIS voice, study for HIS direction, and walk step-by-step in HIS way! 

As for God, His way is perfect: The Lord’s word is flawless; He shields all who take refuge in Him.

 

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

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

Ministry website: www.asistershugs.org

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“I the Lord do not change.” Malachi 3:6

          When my husband were dating and began making plans for the future; there were a few things that concerned me. As we spoke about the changes that would take place in each of our lives, one by one my concerns dropped “off the radar.” Aside from the difference in our ages which has a funny story all its own; I remember two discussions. The first was about “families.” I am the eldest of six children with an 80+ yr. old father, five “in-loves,” two married children, 2 grandchildren, 11 nieces/nephews complete with a few spouses, and (at the time) 10 grandnieces/nephews. We have since added one “first daughter-in-law,” a new granddaughter, and 4 grand-nephews. Rick has one sister, one brother-in-law, and one nephew. The second discussion was about living arrangements; he was renting, I owned a home. Although it sounds simple, it was not as the ceilings in my home were only 6’6” and Rick is 6’3.”
           To make a long story short; we have made the adjustments and have a wonderful life but, along the way, made one big mistake!! Possibly because he had no kids or grandkids and always wanted both OR possibly because it was so much fun for me to share parenting/grandparenting with someone … we have totally spoiled the kids and grandkids! As painful as we know this can be, we realize it is time to “pull in the reigns.” This change is occurring as, not because we do not love the most adorable, wonderful, three grandchildren in the world but because we do, we have created three little material stuff monsters!!
           Change … no matter how necessary … is never easy! In some ways, change is like lying … it takes little effort to “do” but lots of effort to “remember.” I am so happy that God never makes mistakes and never changes!! He loves me with the same love that was showered on Moses, David, Elijah, Simon Peter, and the apostle Paul! God’s grace is the same for me as for you! His kindness, comfort, and peace is consistent; it is never based on my behavior or whether I “please” Him! Hip, hip Hooray!

He never changes
He’s always the same
Through all the ages
He always remains

Forever constant
Forever a friend
Forever faithful
His love knows no end
(Artist: 4Him)

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

The Final Piece of the Puzzle

 

When He had finished praying, Jesus left with His disciples and crossed the Kidron Valley.On the other side there was a garden, and He and His disciples went into it.” John 18:1

 

Missing from John’s account of these moments but included in Matthew’s (interesting because both men would have been part of the Upper Room discourse), after this “Lord’s Prayer” concluded, Jesus and His disciples sang a hymn before walking together across the Kidron Valley. Although they would have been walking quickly, it was quite a walk. We have no access to the words Jesus shared with them during this time but we can imagine that He [knowing that these were the last words He would share with them in a group until after the resurrection] still had much to say. As we discussed earlier in this series, the location of the upper room is unknown but the distance from the center of Jerusalem to Gethsemane is about a mile.

The dates of Jewish celebrations and holy days were established by the stages of the moon. As they walked through Jerusalem on this night, the valley would have been brightened by the rays of a full moon. Possibly, as Jesus had shared some heavy teachings with the group during and after the Passover meal, He reverted to parabolic lessons as the path they were traveling was not a new one for them; this was familiar territory. They would have used to Gate of the Essenes known as the “needle’s eye.” Possibly this gate is what Jesus had in mind when he told the rich young ruler that it “is easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God”

 Knowing that there were Jewish guards watching for them with a warrant for His arrest; Jesus probably tried avoided being seen by walking along the southern wall. This walkway overlooks the valley of Hinnom, the garbage dump of the city. They possibly walked near the house of Caiaphas which was in the upper class part of Jerusalem. This route would have taken them past the pool of Siloam, where a blind man washed away the mud and received his sight. They would have passed the highest point of the temple, the “pinnacle of the temple,” reminding Jesus of the evil one’s temptation to throw Himself down to prove to everyone He was the Messiah. Walking past gardens and vineyards they might have been reminded of Jesus passing of the cup and likening the wine to His sacrificial blood. Possibly the vines in the gardens would have reminded them of His reference to God as the vine and their ministries as the branches.

As they left the city and walked through the Kidron Valley they would pass tombs, fields, and trees. These would serve as reminders of things to come for Jesus and He could have used these moments to encourage them, to speak words that would lessen their fears and strengthen their resolve. Although their Master had alluded to the fact that He would be betrayed by Judas, denied by Peter, and deserted by all the others, Jesus knew that they would need all the faith they had established during the last three years to walk through the next 43 days. Whatever, Jesus shared during this walk, we can be certain that He selected each word carefully for they were His last.

This night, let there be gladness…

Joy in the praise and prayers…

Calvary WILL come tomorrow…

But this holy night is theirs.

(John W. Peterson)

 

 

The rest of the story is chronicled in 2000 years’ of books, hymns, poems, plays, and movies. We’ve heard of the horror of Thursday night’s trials, the atrocities of His death on a Roman cross, the silence of the days when His physical body lay in a borrowed tomb, the fear, grief and questions experienced by the apostles/disciples who gathered together, and the glory of His resurrection. We know the reason for His death and the promise of His conquering death. We know we experience today, as the apostles/disciples did ten, the pulsing of the Holy Spirit through our inner selves. Lastly, we know that those in His inner circle saw the resurrected Jesus and that; we too will see Him again!

        The puzzle we have been building together is complete and someday we will view it from the hills of glory. Together with the ones who have gone before, we’ll experience:

The sky shall unfold, preparing His entrance.

The stars shall applaud Him with thunders of praise.

The sweet light in His eyes, shall enhance those awaiting

and we shall behold Him, then face to face!

The angel shall sound, the shout of His coming

And the sleeping shall rise from their slumbering place.

And those who remain, shall be changed in a moment

And we shall behold Him, then face to face!

O, we shall behold Him ~ We shall behold Him

Face to face in all of His glory

O, we shall behold Him ~ Yes, we shall behold Him

Face to face, our Savior and Lord

(Author: Dottie Rambo; Lyrics are copyrighted © 1980 John T. Benson Publishing Company)

 

Much of this historical information is based on a sermon called

 The Walk to Gethsemane by Jeff Mezera.

It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for Him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end. The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under His power, and that He had come from God and was returning to God; so He got up from the meal, took off His outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around His waist. After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash His disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around Him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to Him, ‘Lord, are you going to wash my feet?’

Jesus replied, ‘You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.’

‘No,’ said Peter, ‘You shall never wash my feet.’

Jesus answered, ‘Unless I wash you, you have no part with Me.’

‘Then, Lord,’ Simon Peter replied, ‘not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!’

Jesus answered, ‘Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.’ For He knew who was going to betray Him, and that was why He said not every one was clean. When He had finished washing their feet, He put on His clothes and returned to His place. ‘Do you understand what I have done for you?’ He asked them. ‘You call Me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.’” John 13:1-17

        Some occurrences, no matter how insignificant they many seem at the time, stay in our minds for our entire life. These might be emotionally painful, pleasantly joyous, or thought provokingly silly but the action lingers long. For me, one of these events took place nightly during my last month of pregnancy, both in 1969 and 1970. My mom who was also my very best friend came to my house every night to wash my feet. Her “greatest fear” was my going to the hospital to give birth with dirty feet and I certainly couldn’t reach them since my children weighed 10lbs 6oz and 9lbs 11oz” respectively. She always told me that my paternal grandmother had done the same for her, every night during her last month and my Mom had six kids!!

        Foot washing was a common service in Bible days but it was a very lowly job; one assigned to the least important worker in the house. It was the polite thing to do, a way to welcome and refresh your guests. The common mode of travel in those days was walking and most people wore sandals if any footwear at all. Upon arrival, one’s feet were hot, tired, sweaty, and dirty; any host would, at the very least, provide water for this washing. As Jesus, His apostles, and the disciples were coming into the upper room for a feast of celebration, they would have expected to clean their feet in some way.

        Yet, when they saw Jesus, who was serving as the host of the meal, preparing to wash their feet they were shocked!! As Jesus slowly progressed around the room, no one seemed to question His actions until He got to Peter. Always the outspoken apostle, Peter spoke up. Jesus, in His manner that became more and more prevalent as Calvary neared, answered Peter with a vague statement; words that would make him think now and ponder later. By washing their feet, Jesus was displaying the equity among them. Yes, Jesus was the Son of God, the Son of Man, their Teacher, and their Lord but, He was willing to do or give anything, even the most menial task, to show His love for them. He said, “I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.” Little did they realize that ~within hours~ Jesus would lay down His life in obedience to His Father.

“I often take my burdens and lay them at His feet,

along with the stubbornness that caused me to carry them alone.

I know He wants to share the load, to offer peace so sweet,

yet, I trust myself to bear the weight of each earthly stick and stone.

He softly whispers, “Why, my child,

have you not known My love?

Have you not seen My miracles,

felt blessings from above?

You’re not alone,

I’m always near,

Your feet I’ll wash,

I’ll wipe each tear

but you must hand each trial to Me

with faith ~ then I will set you free!!”

 

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

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

Ministry website: www.asistershugs.org

The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:31 

Sorry, football “less than fans” but I am still on the Super Bowl; today the commercials and the feedback. Three commercials really stood out for me… Cheerios, Coca-Cola, and Budweiser; let me tell you why. All three silently spoke about non-traditional love; the kind that Jesus displayed and taught us to repeat.

There has been some backlash about Coca-Cola’s rendition of America the Beautiful. Americans from many cultures were shown; each singing in their own native language. I don’t know whether they spoke English or not; I don’t think that is the issue; I saw it as the “proudly repeated for generations” melting pot country being saluted and loved by the new make-up of our nation. I don’t understand what was offensive to anyone about the commercial; God’s true example relating to this, in my opinion, is Pentecost. Jews from many nations were gathered in Jerusalem, many speaking differing languages. So, what did God do? He sent tongues of fire to inhabit the voices of many so that each person could clearly understand the message of Jesus!

Then, there was the Cheerios commercial featuring a biracial family. Come on people, does it really matter? The little girl is adorable; the message of love is precious, seeing any family in one room together without Ipods or Ipads in their hands was pleasant for me. Does the color of anyone’s skin alter their heart, their ability to feel, the depth of their love or the goodness of their character? Do we have any Biblical mandate to see or feel differently about people based on their skin color? Jesus said, “Love one another,” without parameters, didn’t he? The Bible, especially the New Testament is very clear in its message; the ABC’s that we’ve been taught our whole lives. We are to believe in Jesus Christ as Savior of the world, confess that we are lost in our sin without Him, and Ask Him to cleanse our sinful natures and mold us into examples of His love. Of course there are sins; the world is sinful, but we are to trust Him to help is to avoid sin and learn to love, love, love!!

Lastly, the Budweiser commercial with story of friendship; not traditional friendship but one between an adorable puppy and a Clydesdale. One of the deepest friendships we can emulate is that of Jesus and His disciples. In my opinion, one of the most inspirational passages in the Bible is the Upper Room Discourse; the words Jesus said during His last few hours prior to His crucifixion. He told the disciples in John 15: 19, “If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.” But then He promised in John 16: 33, ““I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Jesus is the Son of God and yet He had a most diverse inner circle. Did He spend time teaching them what to wear, how to speak, or which fork to use? No, He taught them His ways by example and then sent them out into the world to share His message and LOVE, simply love!

“If we are the body

Why aren’t His arms reaching?

Why aren’t His hands healing?

Why aren’t His words teaching?

And if we are the body

Why aren’t His feet going?

Why is His love not showing them there is a way?

There is a way 

Jesus is the way

(As sung by Casting Crowns)

 

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

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

Ministry Website: www.asistershugs.org