Archive for the ‘God’ Tag

Where comes our hope   Leave a comment

When everything seems wrong

When life and all that we know

Spins out of control

And we look to those to lead

Us forward and yet we doubt.

 

We live with our fears

While the news brings death and tears

How is one to cope

For what may come tomorrow?

Are their answers? Is there hope?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Joyce E. Mannhalter © July 2020

“Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths,

guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior,

and my hope is in you all day long.” Psalm 25:4&5 NIV

Pivoting Moment   5 comments

This day in time history books will note

the chaos and destruction reigned down

on a country rife with hate, bigotry and strife,

when a unified spirit formed

to move things forward in a new direction

cannot stand with discord ripping factions apart,

weakening its statutes and laws enforced,

laws made to protect and preserve a sacred constitution

written for a nation that came together

birthed by patriots who firmly believed

that a country made strong

was a country destined never to fall,

and the song, “God Bless America” should include, “God Help America!”

Will we make it through tough times

together as one body, or apart, divided in the quest?

Or will it be a pivoting moment in time

when we watch with despair at its further decline?

Will we only stand and sing?

“America. land of the free and home of the brave”?

Or will we fall to our knees and pray

that those are not just words to a song,

but seek our creator who forgives us our wrong?

In spite of our misgivings and mistakes

will He not still bless and keep His word?

Will He not cry also, tears of heartache and pain

 because He was not invited in,

to guide us through these times

when our country teeters on a precipice to survive?

Have we become just a country

trying to hold it together, hurting on this pivoting day?

What kind of legacy will we leave behind to make it great again?

Will we welcome God back in?

__________________

Joyce E. Mannhalter © July 2020


 

Germinating Seeds of Faith

Matthew followed his grandfather out to the old barn. The water line was still visible, its sides warped, leaning from storm damage and the dark, humid interior emanating a dank smell of fertilizer, peat moss, tools and tractor.

“Grandpa, it smells like the pond after the flood. You know…when it receded and left a lot of rot and stuff down along the banks?”

“Yes. But we’ll start by propping open that fallen door and letting in some sunlight and fresh air. Then we can start cleaning up what is salvageable to use again. The tools and tractor are not too severely affected by the flood waters, but the mower and other things might be. I think there’s still some seed over here on the shelves that we might be able to use to plant another crop if it is not too wet or decayed.”

They opened a damp, limp bag, still sealed but smelling like rotting wet hay. “Whew. It smells like… my dead frog.” Matthew said.

“Yes, I guess it does. I’m sorry about your frog.” Grandpa stuck his hand down in the bag, sifting the contents through his fingers testing the texture for signs of any moisture. “It feels dry enough to try. Shall we? It’s corn seed.”

“Plant it? I don’t know. The bag got pretty wet.”

“Yes, but it’s been sealed shut, so nothing else could get in to spoil it, or ruin the contents. You know, Matthew it’s kind of like the scriptures you learned in your bible lessons, about the parables of Jesus, the way he taught his disciples about planting good seed that grows deep in good soil that is cultivated, plowed and watered. The seeds yield a good harvest because they are like the words of Jesus planted in our heart, our soul. They are sealed in, but they don’t stay there if they’re to do any good.”

“I know Grandpa. but when things get ruined or spoiled how can we expect anything good to come from it? And this seed was not even in the ground yet before the storm. Talk about good irrigation!”

Grandpa laughed. “Matthew, do you have just a grain of faith that it will work, that we can make our garden grow? It only takes one seed to grow a plant until ripe for harvest. Don’t you think we can see an acre of corn grow from this one bag of seed? Do you remember the parable about the mustard seed? It only takes one seed, one grain to produce.”

“Yes, I remember. Well, you’re a farmer. A good one. If anyone can do it, you can.”

“Maybe, but, it’s not what I can do, but what God can do with my seed because of my faith. Now, it’s time you learn what a seed can do that has survived a flood with washed out crops. Like those words of Jesus you’ve learned in the parables, that what we see, what we hear, what we plant, what we grow is rooted in a firm foundation, and in this case it is initially the soil that is our foundation; planted, cultivated and prepped to produce a good crop. It is what we do with what we have that builds our faith.”

____________________

Joyce E. Mannhalter © June 2020

Footnotes: scripture references for the above fictional parable are as follows.

[Luke 6:49] NIV

But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed, and its destruction was complete.”

[Mark 4:3] NIV

“Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. [Mark 4:8] Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, some multiplying thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times.”

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   

Sowing new seed

 

A corn crop in Nebraska nearing harvest time, across the road from where I live.

 

Spring is a season to plant and grow what is sown into fertile ground. We wait in anticipation for the first signs of growth as they become visible and with diligent watering and maintaining our garden or crops we later celebrate a harvest reaped from our efforts.

In normal times and weather elements conducive to our planting schedules we don’t usually expect to see catastrophic results that wipe out, destroy or wash away what we have planted except by means of devastating storms like floods,tornadoes or drought. My son-in-law is a farmer in Nebraska, and each day he goes out to the farm and fields where he plants, grows and manages the crops. Because of these crops and so many others like it our health and lives are  sustained and we are fed.    

Lately however it is not the fertile ground beneath our feet where our attention and focus has been drawn, but instead that of our own well being, and the lives of all concerned.

We are in a storm of catastrophic proportions now that require from us all sacrifices that we are needing to make for a time to protect, guard and care for. It is our very existence on this earth, so giving and fertile to the seeds we plant. Indeed our life is dependent on the crops and seeds planted on our earth, but while making changes and sacrifices that we once took for granted we are also seeing the effects of those areas we always expected and took for granted; the basic necessities, simple ways we enjoyed life, the pleasure of roaming, traveling and experiencing life as we came to enjoy it. What can we do but follow the rules and guidelines during this Coronavirus/ Covid-19 crisis in our land and around the world? A lot of wonderful good things are being done by so many people who are creative, caring and helping in this crisis for all the people affected. Some might ask, “That’s all good, but what else can I do? How can I make a difference besides what is advised or expected of me in following the rules engaged?”

For us all there are seeds we can plant in fertile soil. They can be merely kind words, simple deeds; prayer, a phone call, text or note sent to family and friends to help those struggling with faith, and hope. Spreading cheer, joy and optimism to others instead of worrying about spreading our germs and keeping a safe distance might be just what another needs. We can follow all the rules to stop the spread of this disease but there are those who struggle with anxiety, despair and worry that they will contract the virus themselves, or a loved one and they feel more isolated internally than externally. Sharing seeds of faith, hope and encouragement can make all the difference to get us all through this and may be one of an eternal change that turns one’s life or perspective around. 

“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and self discipline.” II Timothy 1:7 NIV New Testament Bible 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Joyce E. Mannhalter (C) March 2020

 

 

Life as we know it now

There’s lots of advice

for life as we know it now,

but we’ll get through it.

Stay positive, encouraged,

God is our source, and our joy!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Joyce E. Mannhalter (C) March 2020

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.” II Corinthians 1:3 & 4, NIV New Testament Bible

“May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.” II Thessalonians 2:16 & 17, NIV New Testament Bible.

 

 

 

Where there seems no way

When frustrations mount,

Your patience and faith tested,

You have no control;

All you know is to worry.

Give it to God, and let go!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Joyce E. Mannhalter © March 2020

Have you ever felt like this? You don’t understand what or why things happen in your life, or in the world that leaves you frustrated and worrying. You wonder what good can come out of a situation that has gone awry and out of control. But, when we let go of our fears, our worries, our hold on what consumes our thoughts and takes up residence in our mind, body and soul, we can experience a kind of peace that brings instead joy, contentment and assurance that all will work out for our good and according to God’s plan and purpose. Putting all our cares on Him and trusting Him in all that goes on in our life and in the world frees us from the bondage that the enemy, Satan uses to deceive, manipulate and control what we give him access and license to. Letting go of the fears that cripple us from experiencing all that God has for us and what He can do in and through us means using ‘Spiritual Warfare’ (God’s word) against our enemy’s attacks. Two scriptures I love that can help us find that help and peace of mind in these situations are found here,

Psalm 34:4, “I sought the Lord, and he answered me: he delivered me from all my fears.”

John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not be afraid.” NIV

JEM

 

Painted by the finger of God

 

As the sun crept into view

across the still, dark Eastern sky

I stood watching in awe His creation

as shades of pink and orange yellowed hues

merged like fingers across the high.

The dawning of a new day,

Painted by the finger of God,

and I thought how wondrous His works of art.

And I wondered all the things He can do

with a picture not yet finished, like the canvas of my life

with all its imperfections, sins and flaws

marring the obstructed view

But the Master Artist created in me

not a perfect canvas, but one like a new day’s dawn

that would be touched by the strokes of the Master,

an image of Him made new.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Joyce E. Mannhalter © 2020

 

Coming Against Our Giants

Growing up in a Christian home as a child I learned early the biblical stories of people; men, women, and children who made a difference or left an impact on the lives of those they came to know, ones they encountered by choice, accident or by divine intervention. One way or other they all left their traces and footprints on the pages of history in the old and new testament, and today we still can learn things, gain new perspective and insight into how their story and what they did can influence and affect our lives by learning from their experiences.

One of my favorites was the stories of David, a small boy who grew up to be a great king of Israel. But, his journey to get there was a long, arduous one. It was difficult, full of obstacles, danger, intrigue, cunning defensive counter attacks, preparation and planning. One would think that the first phase of his military accomplishments should be a long extensive stint of training and knowledge of tactical weaponry and a ‘tour of duty’ serving under Israel’s present king, Saul. But it did not start that way. It started with a mere stone and small sling. How does a young shepherd boy, small in stature, dressed in an animal skin tunic and sandals kill a burly, mean, threatening bully over seven feet tall, armed with steel armor, javelin, spear, and helmet? With faith, confidence and the power of a God that assures us that all things are possible with, and through Him (ref. Philippians 4:13). With the assurance that God was with him in his battles David stood his ground facing his giant.

We don’t know the battles we will face, nor have the option to choose them, the time or place as they might come unexpectedly at any time from any direction or source, and we are faced head on with them. It may not be a lion or bear, or a nine-foot giant dressed head to toe in steel armor with spears or javelins. Our giants come in many shapes, forms, and sizes. The devil chooses weapons that can deceive us, destroy us, diminish and drain us of the things we need to fight with; faith, confidence, and courage.

God’s word comes as a sword preparing us for battle. It is the stone, the rock we carry in our sling that leaves the biggest impact, with the power and strength that knows no limitations to what it can do for us, the giants it will take down and the battles we will win. If God goes before us, we cannot lose, but win. We cannot fail but succeed.

But the enemy is sly, deceitful and deceptive. It looks for cracks in our armor and can gain access if we don’t fortify our walls and strengthen our defense. After David’s victory in killing the giant, Goliath he then had to deal with another, the present king, Saul. From that point on David’s battles came; bigger, greater, one right after the other.

Fortifying our walls, strengthening our defense, choosing our rock determines the outcome of our battles, win or lose. Our battles belong to the Lord to fight for us.

“The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer; my God is my rock in whom I take refuge, He is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold,” Psalm 18:2 NIV

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Joyce E. Mannhalter (Jan. 2020)

 

When at the end of the day

                                Lake McConaughy, Ogallala, Nebraska

When at the end of the day

the sun sets and I watch

amazed as it slowly sinks

lower in the skies

as if bowing to its creator,

warm rays kissing rippled waters

my reverent heart too, bows to His greatness and power

and I marvel at the things He instills into my searching soul

the ways He is teaching me, helping me

through the storms in life,

sustaining me, lifting me,

encouraging me, strengthening me.

When I am weak, though I fail, I will not fall.

He’s there, and I rest assured

that though I know not

what a new tomorrow brings

I know He shelters me in His arms of grace.

_______________

Joyce E. Mannhalter © Sept. 2019

“May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.” II Thessalonians 2:16 & 17. NIV


 

Setting attainable goals

Accepting failure

For the unattainable

can move us forward

~~~

To strive instead for

What is attainable now

That which is in reach

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

In Philippians, chapter 3, verses 12-16 Paul was addressing the church of Philippi about the highest goal of which we can all attain, that being the one called by God; to live according to His plan, for His glory not of our own flesh and earthly desires but of that which brings Him the glory for what he can do through us and in us. We may work hard and diligently at things that are self-seeking, things we want for ourselves, our goals and dreams for those that we think will bring happiness, success and gain. But what is not sanctioned, blessed and directed of and by God can only bring failure, dissatisfaction, and a searching for truth and reward. Only that which God offers can bring what we need and ultimately want to have; what no man or anything on this earth can take away or destroy, that which is called the “highest goal,” the “prize of the high calling of God” that Paul speaks about. To press on, to attain that goal is the easy and best part, but to work at being what God has called us to be requires commitment, dedication and is not self-seeking, but the reward is eternal. So many times I have worked and sought to bring about a result of self-satisfaction and gain for myself in what I have tried to do as a writer, or at anything I felt led to do on my own, only to fail at attempts that proved we are nothing without God and can only move forward by His grace and know a real peace that only He can bring. It is not what the world can give or anyone else but only through Him we have that which is the highest of goals attainable.

“Only let us live up to what we have already attained.” Philippians 3:16 NIV

Joyce E. Mannhalter © August 2019

Things I do now

 

 

Tread carefully and carry a sharp hoe. That’s what I do now while traversing across the uneven terrain in my back yard where tree roots have created a rough surface above ground making it difficult to maintain or mow. Trying to keep up with the yard maintenance is not an easy task and one that requires a lot of work as I am now single and on my own. I spray, hoe and dig up all kinds of weeds, fight off swarms of flies, filled a dozen trash bags full of raked leaves from the huge trees in my front yard, cleaned out the wet, slimy gunk from my gutters, shoveled and scooped huge piles of snow off my deck, driveway and walk numerous times from record snow storms and cold harsh weather, freezing temperatures, lightning and thunder storms. But when the storms passed I planted and potted new plants in containers for the front and back yard, then enjoy them feeling rewarded from all my labor.

Lately, I have added snake killing to the current list of activities after seeing several garden snakes slithering about from open holes and crevices in an area where I had planned to plant a vegetable garden, but have since scratched that idea.

One day I saw a green metallic colored snake slithering around under my deck just a couple feet from my patio swing where I love sitting while watching and listening to the birds in my yard and trees. I am no Annie Oakley, but am beginning to think I should have come out here to Nebraska’s farmland with a whip, saber or machete.

Jokes aside, it isn’t always the forces of nature or the unexpected chaotic interruptions in life that bring about character building I see God using to make me more the person He wants me to be, but the things and ways each day and the growing process He takes me through that leaves the biggest impact.

The one thing I am sure to learn through this is perseverance, patience and determination.

James 1:2 & 3 & vs 12, New Testament, NIV says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” Vs 12, “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.”

This brings me comfort and assures me that whatever new challenge or test that comes my way I have God to lean on and trust that He is there, directing my every step.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Joyce E. Mannhalter (June, 2019)

 

 

When to Him

When to Him I come and ask

for wisdom and understanding

to the questions I have,

with few answers to all that confuses the soul,

and though yet I trust Him

I know not what to do,

I ask still again, What is God doing?

What is the lesson here to be learned?

for too often I ask as if still to plead,

Did you not hear my prayer and my need?

There isn’t any doubt to all I believe,

but so often it’s hard to persevere,

and I wait on Him and think to myself,

did I not get it? Did I not hear?

And then, it is dawn and I see the sun

break through the clouds and fog now gone.

Sometimes it is like that with our heavy heart

when we are impatient, awaiting a breakthrough,

but soon rewarded; behold the Son.

__________________

Joyce E Mannhalter (C) 2019

And therefore will the Lord wait, that he may be gracious unto you, and therefore will be exalted, that he may have mercy upon you; for the Lord is a God of judgement; blessed are all they that wait for him. Isaiah 30:18 KJV Old Testament

 

 

 

 

A year like none other

It has been a year unlike any I have ever experienced in my life. Sometimes, because of our choice or decisions made there are circumstances that change or alter the course or direction for our lives. Other times it is God who has appointed and chosen one for us by allowing things to happen that require us to set out on a new path. We might wonder what He had in mind or wanted to accomplish in it. But we can only appreciate it if we realize He is teaching us to grow and learn how to trust him. It was that way with me this last year, although it was difficult and challenging.

I have so often thought and wondered what it must have been like for Mary, the mother of Jesus as she tried to understand or comprehend why she in her tender teenage years was chosen to be the one God used to carry and deliver His gift to the world. What a tremendous challenge it must have been for her as maybe she thought or wondered if she was worthy or ready for it. Maybe she went through a time of doubt or unbelief while hoping people, family and friends would see and understand that she was not a woman to be shamed, stoned or ostracized, pregnant with a child before her espoused marriage to Joseph, but instead God’s chosen vessel by appointment to deliver the Savior, King and Redeemer to a lost and sinful world. Scripture tells us there was great joy and jubilation at the birth of Jesus as angels heralded his birth before men. (Luke 2:9-18). But not all were rejoicing in his birth as King Herod sought him out to kill him. (Matthew 2:1-16). At that time of celebration and jubilation she had no knowledge or thought that one day she would weep for Jesus’s suffering too, as once again He would be sought out and killed. Yet, He went willingly to the cross for all. (Luke, chapters 22 & 23).

We cannot fully appreciate and comprehend the miraculous birth of Jesus, born to a virgin or His death and resurrection until we fully appreciate the new and miraculous rebirth in our own lives. The rebirth of our soul is only dependent on this one thing; that we believe in Jesus, the Son of God who came to forgive us our sin and trespasses and offer us hope and a new life. John 3:16&17. I cannot imagine what my life would be like if not knowing my Savior during this difficult year. It is what held me up, what lifted me during my down times, what buoyed me when I felt I was being pushed under with the strain and stress.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all my faithful blogging friends and readers who have visited my blog through the last year, and for all the kind comments, feedback, thoughts and prayers as I went through a difficult period of my life with a divorce and relocation, as I set out on a new path of my own. We cannot know what our tomorrows bring, but we can grow through them, and learn to trust God as we move forward.

Merry Christmas and God bless you and yours in 2019.

_________________

Joyce E. Mannhalter (Johnson) (Dec. 2018)

Posted December 14, 2018 by Joyce in Chrisitanity, Christmas, Devotional, Faith, My Writings

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Change

Change is not something I do well. My old ‘routine’, or to put it more aptly my personal agenda was like wearing a comfortable, favorite pair of old shoes or blue jeans. But, even a new pair of shoes or blue jeans has to be broken in until softer and loose enough to easily slip on.

But change is what my past year has been like since making some tough decisions in my life, good or bad. And when those changes come with a new name, address, relocation and relationships and all that goes with it there comes with it a time to stop and rethink priorities, goals for the future, and focus on what is immediate and most important; things that must be dealt with here and now.

There have been many who wondered, questioned or just stood by and prayed while I and my husband went through a divorce this last summer, and a broken marriage after fifty-two years together. The serious mental illness and suicide attempts my husband suffered through 2017 and  2018  became more than I could handle physically, mentally and emotionally. I had to make a decision that was not only very difficult, but I knew things would never be the same for us again. When I filed for divorce and we put our house and properties we owned jointly up for sale other things followed that made it harder to bear as the months went by. My husband became unpredictable, with varied mood swings and personality changes that shocked everyone who knew him, and frightened those of us who once loved him; our two daughters, our grandchildren, family and friends, and myself included.

When he started buying up and carrying around guns, deliberately threatening the lives of others and demonstrating a delusional, hallucinating mind and personality that conjured up stories we knew were not true, driving around with reckless abandonment, and pursuing women on internet match sites I knew I could not stay married to a man I hardly knew anymore.  I had to put my life and future at the forefront, find a new place to live and put my trust in an unfailing God who I knew would never leave, or forsake me. I knew God would walk with me through the shadow of dispelling darkness and despair I felt engulfed in, though at times I wondered if I would ever find my way through it. But, I was not alone. I had the support and prayers of friends and family, who knew the struggle I was going through.

During the months following he committed a serious crime, and the felony landed him in jail. He faced court hearings, convictions, a possible prison sentence, and numerous months of mental and psychic evaluations. For months I was angry, deeply hurt and resentful of all that he had put me through. But, deep down I knew he was a very sick man, that something had claimed his mind and soul causing his problems or contributing to all that he’d done. The many medications he took were adjusted and one by one each possible diagnosis came back unconfirmed. Things would never be the same for him. As for me, I was determined to grow through the experience and become the person God was shaping me to be. But, I knew I would need to make changes in my own personal agenda and reset my priorities. There would be no comfortable routine.

In Philippians 3:13 & 14 the apostle Paul speaks of his own experience; “Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and straining what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” NIV I hung onto that hope that God was working in my life and I believed He would do a work in my husband’s life as well, that one day he would be healed and made whole again.

There will always be many unanswered questions as to why and how one could change so much that no one recognized him anymore. After the divorce and the sale of our home I set out on my own to relocate, buy another house in another state, and took a long break from blogging and social media sites. I have now taken back my maiden name of Mannhalter and though it is becoming once again more familiar and comfortable like my old sneakers and blue jeans when signing my name I will remember forever the fifty-two years I had with the once wonderful, giving, loving man I married when I was Joyce E. Johnson.

Joyce E. Mannhalter (October 2018)

 

Posted October 12, 2018 by Joyce in blogging, Faith, My Writings

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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


Enjoy today; worry not about tomorrow

“Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:34 NIV

I have always had a problem worrying over things I dreaded, things that could not be avoided like a dental appointment, a medical procedure, or having to drive somewhere where I didn’t want to go, taking me out of my comfort zone. I worried about getting lost, being alone in a crowd of people I didn’t know, getting in a bad car accident. You name it; the list of dreaded things I could not avoid would grow and increased my anxiety to a point that what I was really feeling was out-right fear, the fear of tomorrow, the fear of the unknown.

Worrying over our tomorrows takes our focus off what is important today, and steals the joy that God has for us. What God wants to do for us today, in us, or through us the devil wants to steal. When tomorrow comes we may have regret that we did not put more effort into making our yesterday the best it could have been. Even the memory of it might not be a happy one. Experiencing the joy of today enables us to not fear or worry about tomorrow. Fear sucks the joy right out of our very soul. It can cripple us from walking (daily) in the spirit.

I realized that more than the things I dreaded tomorrow was the inability to appreciate what I have today, an opportunity to make it my best day, to live in the moment and not dwell on what would come in its own time. Learning to take one day at a time even when there are things I knew were coming did not have to steal my attention off of today. For this day I choose to make it my best day, and be hopeful, expectant that whatever today brings I will rejoice and be glad in it because I know that God has all in His hands, and I know He has all my tomorrows as well.

_______________

Joyce E. Johnson © 2018

Posted February 28, 2018 by Joyce in Chrisitanity, Devotional, Faith, My Writings

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The Promised Rock

 

 “Lady, do you want a pretty rock? I got pretty rocks. It just costs a nickel.”

The little red-haired, freckled boy stood outside my front door with a hopeful, expectant look. I didn’t think he could be over five years old. I smiled and said. “Sure. I’d love a pretty rock. Can I pick one out?”

 “No, I have to go get it. I will be right back.” Then he ran off down the street.

I went to get my nickel, then waited a few minutes at the door to see if he would return. He did. Running up to my door again, he held out his hand and a small, white, triangular-shaped rock lay in his palm. We made the exchange.

I said, “Thank you. That is a pretty rock.” Then he took off. As I watched him run back down the street I smiled and wondered if the little entrepreneur went looking  for another who might buy one of his rocks. There is nothing in particular about this little rock that stood out as anything special. But, it reminded me of the story in Matthew in the New Testament about John the Baptist who came as the forerunner telling all he met that God was sending the Son of God, the prophesied Savior. “I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy spirit and with fire.” Matthew 3:11

Christ came as the promised rock, the One whom we could place our trust  in and build our foundation upon. All that He asks from us in exchange for this gift of eternal life is to believe in Him, seeking forgiveness for our sins.

Jesus never demanded attention, did not dress to stand out in a crowd, or use other means to draw people unto Him. Yet, His love and compassion compelled people to come to Him. He stood out among the masses while doing what his father sent Him to do; loving all unconditionally, healing the sick, ministering to the poor, the hurting and brokenhearted, teaching grace and forgiveness. He came to fulfill the will of his father, to be the sacrificed lamb, the ‘promised rock’ of salvation. There is no way to the Father except through Jesus Christ, His son.

“The Lord is my rock and my salvation.” Psalm 18:2

_________________

Joyce E. Johnson (2018)

There are times

THERE ARE TIMES

There are times in life when weariness comes,

when things seem off; they’re just not right,

when I wake to clouds, and my skies turn gray.

God seems too silent even though I pray,

my heart keeps knocking on heaven’s door

seeking access to His throne, beseeching His grace.

I know He hears my imploring voice,

but think He’s neglecting his child that cries.

Then I sense a quiet spirit arise

calming my quivering anxious pleas

and I hear him say, “My child

I’m here, I’ve not gone away,

I’ll not leave you. Trust me today.”

_______________

Joyce E. Johnson (C) 2018

A psalm of David; “Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.” Psalm 9:10 (NIV) When David’s enemies pursued him he became weary from the fight, running from Saul, his persecutor and those sent to kill him. Sometimes we become weary from the fight of holding tight what we don’t want to lose; things that we feel secure us and our future. It challenges our faith, weakens our resolve and we are vulnerable. But, God says to trust Him and he will lift that load from off us, and take on our problems and cares and deliver us from fighting an uphill battle that we cannot win ourselves. He says in I Peter 5:7, “Cast all your anxiety on him because He cares for you. ” (NIV)  

JEJ   



Posted January 27, 2018 by Joyce in Faith, Inspirational Poems, My Writings, Poems, poetry

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A Time to Plant

I ask the Lord

What is it You want of me to do?

Is it the season in my life for new seed?

To break new soil and prepare to plant,

or the time just to nurture that which grows?

And to God, I’ll say, “I’ll do it later, just not today.”

But, if tomorrow doesn’t come

and all I have is remorse and regret

that I took not the time to plant those seeds

and nurture your garden, and it turn to weeds,

for the harvest is great, and cannot wait,

I gave it no attention; it cries out and pleads

for there were times when I just turned away

and said, “Let another plant that seed,”

and I turned not my heart to that one in need.

But God now I ask, “Give me this day,

this moment, this season, this time, and a way

that I might find in one new soil I pray,

to plant the seed of love in one

that becomes a part of the harvest to come

in a new time and season nurturing me.

______________________

Ecclesiastes 3:1 “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: vs. 2…a time to plant and a time to uproot…” NIV This is one of my favorite scriptures in the Old Testament and the inspiration for the poem above. There is always a season and time to plant good seeds and reap a harvest of good fruit sewn. I Cor. 13:13, “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” 

Joyce E. Johnson © 2018

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