Archive for the ‘Easter’ Tag

Fresh Wind

A fresh wind of God

Is sweeping across the earth

With hearts turned toward prayer

Beseeching a risen Christ

Seeking help to heal their land

______________

Joyce E. Mannhalter © April 2020

With much of the U.S. – and elsewhere s around the world – in an isolated lock down mode we find ourselves vulnerable in many ways. We’re staying home, with our family more, closeted in ways where we were so free to move around, get out and enjoy the things we took for granted. The need for isolation to protect us all from the spread of Covid-19 has given us a new norm in how we have needed to adjust, to be creative even in making memorable moments with our family and loved ones. That is some of the good we are seeing. We are also seeing a new spiritual hunger in the world. People want hope, healing and assurance that we will get through this. People are wanting to touch base with their roots. when family time and attending church services together was important to them.

There are videos, and clips of media shown and shared of the ways families and friends are reconnecting with the required social distancing, sharing creative ways, making new memories, via of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. People are connecting in new ways coming together with a common strength and unity. People are seen on their knees in prayer, attending church services online and contributing in ways to help provide for others in need. As we come into this Easter weekend to celebrate the resurrection of a risen Christ it need not be less a celebration because we cannot be together in a group or church setting, but more of one where we draw strength from one another even though apart physically. I believe this is a divine plan of God to allow us all a time of renewing our mind and hearts, a time that reminds us all that we are stronger as one, united in ways that enrich us all.

“If my people, who are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” II Chronicles 7:14 NIV

I pray God’s richest blessings on you and yours this Easter season and holiday however you may spend it, whether by watching a church service online or time spent with family members at home.

JEM   

The Galilee and His Disciples

The Sea of Galilee, Tiberias, Israel, May, 2001 photo credit: Joyce (Johnson) Mannhalter

 

The Galilee, quiet, cold and still

but for the ripples under a bright orange sky

lies in mournful praise. It was here

where once they’d gathered sharing life, 

they’d fished and prayed,

 but now the sea is silent like His grave. 

as the sun sets, its reflections seen

over what looks like a stained glass sea

  merging colors of purple, crimson red 

for the bruised and broken Son of God,

the crucified Christ who suffered and bled.

Now their boats sit idly by with empty nets drawn in and dry. 

His disciples aren’t here, gone to mourn their loss, 

 the Messiah, Savior Lord, whom they followed to His death.

the One who stilled the storm and taught

from a boat about faith, and hope

and how to believe for miracles received. 

Did He not promise he’d return one day? 

And find them again before going away 

to reign with His Father and they would know

that what He said, He would do,

and that in His place would the Comforter come too? 

So they left their nets and boats to moor

on the Sea of the Galilean shore.

_________________________

Joyce E. Mannhalter – April, 2019

The story of the Sea of Galilee and Jesus’s disciples can be found in the scripture passages here below: Matthew, 8: 23-27, chapters 14: verses 22-32, and chapter 17: 22 & 23. The promise Jesus made to his disciples of the Comforter (the Holy Spirit) that would come after he went away (after the resurrection) can be found in these scriptures here: John 14:16, 26, 15:26 & 27,and in chapter 16: verse 7. His promise made then for them and for all is the same today, and always. We have the assurance that whatever we face in life with all the challenges, the problems, the good, the bad and the ugly we have the assurance that our Redeemer lives, is still on the throne, and we will be comforted and shown grace and mercy. Hebrews 13:8 says, “Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and today and forever.” KJV

Happy Easter to all,

JEM

 

 

If I Could Behold


If I could behold scarred hands and face

and feet where nails pierced through were placed

I would ask, “How could you love me so very much,

to carry the weight of my sins to the cross,

and die that I might have new life

while suffering such an agonizing sorrowful death?”

But, he replied with scarred hands to my face

and with eyes reflecting the tears in my own,

“You see my child, there will be times

when you will suffer your own pain and loss,

and I will be there to comfort you.

I’ll not forsake you. You’ll not be alone.”

It is what I know He does for me now,

enfolding me in His arms of grace.

__________________

Joyce E. Johnson (2018)

There are times when we need an unshakable trust in the Savior to get us through turbulent storms in life, when we don’t know what to do, and need His comfort and grace. But, He is there, always, and hears our every prayer, and knows our every need. In John 20:29 Jesus said, “Because you have seen me you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” And, in II Corinthians 12:9 Jesus says, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” NIV 

JEJ


You won’t walk that road alone…

Photo taken inside the church of the Holy Seplechure, Jerusalem, Israel in May, 2001 while on my trip there to Israel.

Don’t be afraid, for the road you take you won’t take alone.

When storm clouds come and darkness closes round,

and you fear that you might stumble, and cast your foot upon a stone,

and the burdens that you bear weigh you down and keep you bound,

and you ask, “What am I to do, does anyone really care?”

I want to tell you, I’ve walked this way before when I carried the sins of all.

With brokenness in spirit I struggled carrying my cross up the road.

And your sins? Forgotten, and no more, for I’ve born those too, you see.

You are free. I paid your price. You’re not alone if you’ll walk this road with me.

I came to save and redeem the lost if they believe.

It was all prearranged by my Father at Calvary.

__________________

Joyce E. Johnson © 2017

Matthew 28:5 & 6 – But the angel said to the women, Do not be alarmed and frightened for I know that you are looking for Jesus, Who was crucified. He is not here; He is risen, as He said He would do. Come, see the place where He lay.

~~~~~~

He is risen indeed! 🙂 The story of Jesus’s death, burial and resurrection can be found in chapters twenty-sixth through twenty-eight of Matthew in the New Testament bible. I hope you have, and know the peace and joy that only Christ alone can bring, and I want to wish you all a happy, blessed Easter.


Towards the Light

Though I cannot turn away

with blind eye or deaf ears

from all that happens in this world,

all that brings heartache and tears

I look to you, Oh Lord and dwell

upon the cross and not the fears

on our redemptive soul set free,

why you came, and why you died

that we might live eternally

without those things that bring us strife.

I turn my face towards the light

towards the assurance of new life.

________________

Joyce E. Johnson © 2017

He Came to Set Us Free

scan0005

The Garden Tomb of Jesus in Jerusalem, Israel: photo taken May, 2001 while on tour of Israel.

 

He did not come to guarantee

that your life would not know pain,

but that you would have joy,

and from the clutch of sin be free.

He did not die to be remembered

as one wronged, then crucified,

but one raised up and resurrected,

and be crowned King of Kings.

________________

Joyce E. Johnson © 2016

The story of Jesus’s death and resurrection can be found in chapters 19 & 20 of the book of John in the New Testament Bible, NIV.

I wish you all a happy, blessed Easter filled with hope, peace and love.


A Cross and an Empty Tomb

scan0005

The tomb of Jesus, in Jerusalem, Israel – I took this photo while on a tour of Israel in May, 2001

A cross lies prone

on Golgotha’s Hill,

bloodied, scarred,

the body, gone.

A tomb sits empty,

a cold slab of stone

now bare but for a

shroud, stained and worn.

An angel stands near

on the third day’s morn

“The Savior’s not here.

He’s alive. He’s risen!”

The gates of Heaven

shake thunderous acclaim to

the resurrected Christ, crucified one,

Jesus, redeemer, sacrificed lamb.

Angelic hosts shout their praise,

“Glory to God!

Hallelujah, He reigns!”

His accusers stand silenced,

filled with shame.

“How could it be

that the one who was slain,

the one proclaimed

to be King of Kings

now lives and reigns?”

“Surely He is the prophesied one!”

“Praise to the Father, and praise to the Son!”

______________

 Footnotes: The life and history of Jesus, his miracles performed, his ministry on earth, and the story of His crucifixion and resurrection can be found in chapters 14-16 of the book of Mark in the New Testament as well as other parts of the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.  I want to wish everyone a happy Easter and hope your day is filled with hope and joy in knowing the One who sacrificed His life to give us eternal life and peace.

Joyce E. Johnson (2015)

If Jesus had a blog

What  do you think He would post? How many ‘likes’ and ‘follows’? How many views? Do you think He would post to Facebook, WordPress and Twitter, put pictures, awards or success stories up to promote himself, or be found in the search engines of Google and Bing? Jesus never needed to promote himself. He humbled himself and people were naturally drawn to Him by the thousands.

At times I wonder what it would have been like to have been born back then when He socialized with tax collectors, rebuked the critical Jewish pharisees and ministered to the crowds of people in the villages of Israel, or on the streets of Jerusalem with his disciples. Would we just watch and accuse Him like all the rest while He carried his cross to Golgotha’s Hill to Calvary to be crucified?

If Jesus had a blog today, He might use it to tell his parables or stories about what His kingdom is like. He might post the Beatitudes, or His sermons preached to the thousands on a hillside. He might share the memories He had of His life before, photos and stories of His friends and disciples he came to love. Maybe he would share with all how He would leave for a while, be put to death, then be resurrected on the third day and rejoin His disciples and friends again before ascending up to heaven to His father. And in leaving He would promise that the Holy Spirit would always be near to help and comfort us all.

Even though we have all this contained in the Old and New Testaments of the Bible today with easy access to all, and in many different languages and versions I think Jesus would have multiple stories to share that there would be no room or time to tell it all. I think He would post stories about people who have been healed of disease and disabilities of all kinds, and stories about restored relationships and marriages that would give us hope to get through difficult or troubling times, how to raise our children and gain wisdom along the way. But, most importantly I think He would tell people how much He loves them.

______________

Footnotes: Jesus’s history, his life, stories and miracles performed can be found in the gospels of the New Testament Bible in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

Joyce E. Johnson (2015)

Posted April 1, 2015 by Joyce in Devotional, Easter, Faith, Inspirational stories

Tagged with , , , ,

Triumphal Entry

Scan_20150327

The Garden of Gethsemane in Jerusalem, Israel; photo taken in May 2001 while on a tour of Israel

He came with humility

to serve; not to be served;

He came to prepare for us a place

a home where His father and eternity abides.

Wherever He went, whatever He did

people came from all around

from towns and villages to the mountainsides

to hear His teaching and wisdom found.

He came in love, He came with grace;

He chose a donkey, not a chariot or steed,

 the Father’s glory shone about His face.

He was not sent to impress, or proceed

a following of men with clout or fame,

but with the twelve chosen walking beside

called Disciples, and with Him they came

to learn the ways of the One sent out

who carried our sin and carried our shame.

____________

Footnotes: The life and history, stories, miracles and words of Jesus’s teachings can be found in the first four books of the New Testament Bible known as the gospels. They are Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

Joyce E. Johnson (2015)



Happy Easter

HPIM2282

The day might mean family, friends and fun,

egg hunts, bunnies, bonnets and ham

picnics, gardening, games and sun.

But whatever you do, whatever planned

Whatever your faith, wherever you reign

I wish you a happy Easter day

Where might that be, by whatever name

Gladness and joy, peace and safety,

A thankful heart and prosperity, the same

______________

Joyce E. Johnson (2014)


The Galilee

 

 


The Galilee, stilled,

cold and quiet mourns His death,

the slain Lamb of God

~~~

 who walked on water,

 fed the hungry, healed the sick,

helped the poor and weak,

~~~

taught us how to live,

and how to love our neighbor,

then humbled himself,

~~~

 and died on a cross

bearing the sins of the world;

God’s redemption plan.

________

The above photo of the Sea of Galilee was taken by my husband on our trip to Israel in May of 2001. References to the ‘stilled Galilee’ can be found in the New Testament in Matthew 8:23-26 (NIV). Other miracles of Jesus and his ministry is told and reported throughout the books of Matthew, Luke and the Gospels.

Joyce E. Johnson (2014) 


A Cross and a Tomb

scan0005

A CROSS AND A TOMB

A cross lays prone

on Golgotha’s Hill,

bloodied, scarred,

the body, gone.

A tomb sits empty,

a cold slab of stone

now bare but for the

shroud of one scorned.

An angel stands guard,

God’s messenger chosen.

“The Savior is not here.

He’s alive. He is risen!”

The gates of Heaven

shake thunderous acclaim to

the resurrected Christ, the crucified one,

Jesus, redeemer, sacrificed lamb.

Angelic hosts shout forth their praise,

“He is here. Glory to God!

Hallelujah, He reigns!”

His accusers stand silenced,

feeling shame, in awe.

“How could it be

that the one who was slain,

  the one proclaimed

to be King of Kings

now lives and reigns?”

“Surely He is the prophesied one!”

“Praise to the Father, and Praise to the Son!”

_________________

Poem by: Joyce E. Johnson (March, 2013)

Photo credit: Joyce E. Johnson (2001)

Note: I took the above picture while on my trip to Israel in May, 2001 when my husband and I traveled to Jerusalem and other places in and around Israel with other members of our church. Seeing all the sites from biblical history and the birth and death place of Jesus with my own eyes was an unforgettable, moving experience.  This picture shows the actual place and tomb of Jesus’ burial after his crucifixion.

Redeeming the L…

Redeeming the Lost

 By: Joyce E. Johnson

The wandering lone man sat down by the track.

He could not hide nor change the fact

While watching people board the train,

That he smelled no better than the sewer drain.

His body sick, and tired in its shell,

Aching from the cold grew accustomed to the smell.

He could once pick from hats, and socks

When he stayed at the shelter down by the boat docks.

  But another man forced him outside on the stairs

 When it became crowded. Now his socks had tears.

He still had the marks from when he was beaten.

He lost count of the number of days he’d last eaten.

He could remember when he was young

Recalling the words from his mother that stung,

“I can’t keep you. Fend for yourself.”

Then left in a hurry with no food on the shelf

She packed and ran off with some strange man

Leaving him alone, saying, “I’m going with Stan.”

The experience turned his heart to stone.

He had no other place to live or call home.

He raised his head as if hearing a sound.

He’d fallen asleep on the damp, hard ground.

 Blinking with wonder what appeared was a vision

Stood a figure beside him; not scorn or derision

Helping him up from the ground where he lay

 His touch comforting, not a word did he say.

The sound of singing and joyful noise heard

From a candle lit hallway soft music spurred

Him to follow the angel into the light

Of a church that welcomed him to dinner this night.

A splintered old cross was raised on one wall,

       Loincloth and crown of thorns lay propped in the hall.

While seated and served in the banquet room,

He heard about a Savior, and an empty tomb.

From out of the clutches of despair and strife,

   Walked a wandering, lone man into redemption and life.

*******************

%d bloggers like this: