Archive for the ‘Israel’ Tag

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.

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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.


Stricken

They stood with others solemnly by

saluting the fallen and the brave

risking life and limb to bring about a promised peace.

Listening to the strains of, “Amazing Grace,”

flag draped coffins are carried under a guarded sky

across cemetery lawns to their final resting place.

Eulogies and names; so many to honor, too short a time,

families of victims pray their loved one’s story lives to remain

a memory, not forgotten, and why they gather today

because of terror unleashed like the rampant spread of disease.

Eloquent words gracing memorial walls and stones

don’t bring closure nor adequately explain

to those suffering loss with unfathomable pain

why a tragedy of this kind strikes with evil intent,

leaving more unanswered questions that remain.

How can there be those who choose

to live with such prejudice, and hate

towards others whose lives they count not

worthy of grace, mercy and love,

but think it better they not live at all.

In a world broken, where strife and anger exists,

rising animosity and distrust is given to believe

there is no hope, and people succumb

to the chaos and confusion that rises up like an ugly fist.

_____________

Joyce E. Johnson 2017

Footnotes; The story above is fictional, but the situation is real every day, here and elsewhere. There will always be hate and evil that rears its ugly head, even as we think things will, or might improve. The increased anti-Semitism and hatred towards groups in our country and others continues, even while our president works to set in place measures to stop that. Two years ago I posted fictional stories under the title, “Acid Rain” about two brothers, both having the same mother but different fathers. One brother took the path of a terrorist, and the other an officer with the Israeli Defense Forces. You can find their stories here under the Acid Rain fiction heading in the menu on my site. The prequel to this story series began with Brothers Divided. Their stories are fictional, but the one of Isaac and Ishmael are not which I used as inspiration for the stories of Sam, and Gamal. The recent events of increased vandalism and terror threats to the Jewish Community centers in our country and increased anti-Semitism throughout the world prompted the poetic fictional story above.

Posted March 13, 2017 by Joyce in Fiction, Flash Fiction, My Writings, Poems, poetry

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The Birth of a King

The Sea of Galilee, Tiberias, Israel, May, 2001

The Sea of Galilee, Tiberias, Israel, May, 2001, Photo credit: Joyce E. Johnson

 

Nothing but chaos, crowds and noise

greeted the young couple, desperate to find

a quiet place, warm and dry

for the birth of their child, the newborn king.

Foretold and promised generations ago,

news of his birth was heard throughout the lands,

and the star in the east that lit up the sky

guided men of wisdom across desert sands.

Shepherds fled their flocks

frightened by angels that came nigh

announcing the news of Jesus’s birth.

To the king they hurried, and in haste found

the tiny babe chosen to rule and reign

lying in a feeding trough upon a cold bare ground.

Hope and redemption was born that night

where cattle grazed, and sheep and goats brayed.

No throne or palace was awarded this king,

yet people came from all around

seeking the savior born that day.

Now in a world where chaos, crowds and noise

  leaves hearts searching and seeking one to follow,

  where joy, comfort and peace

is eternal, lasting and hallow,

there waits the savior born that day

to reign in hearts that just believe.

_______________________

Joyce E. Johnson (2016)

“Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people. Today, in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.” Luke 2:10-14 NIV, New Testament Bible.

I would like to take this time to thank all of my blogger friends, followers and visitors who have visited my blog site through 2016, and wish you all a very Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year of peace and joy in 2017. The amazing friends and opportunities I have, and the positive comments received are what makes blogging fun, rewarding, and an inspiration to my writing. Blessings to all.  JEJ

The passing of a great leader

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Shimon Peres. 1923-2016

 

A man of valor, brave and bold, he served

 with fortitude and grace

governing his country

with formidable strength.

He took a determined course of action,

with a promise to protect and defend its rights

by peaceful means and firm resolve,

never wavering, or cowering to enemies,

but upholding honor to the Jewish state

he passes peacefully, and like his past

won’t be forgotten, but laid to rest.

________________

Joyce E. Johnson (2016)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted September 29, 2016 by Joyce in My Writings, Poems, poetry, Politics

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Brothers Divided

Hagar approached Abraham’s tent, Ishmael following after his mother with little concern for what was coming. Abraham had no choice if he wanted to keep Sarah happy. Hagar and his first-born son, Ishmael would be cast out, homeless and destitute in the desert of Beersheba with no promise of a future, and certainly none of the coveted inheritance. It would come through Isaac, Abraham’s second son, born to Sarah. He would receive God’s covenant blessing and favor, and all future generations of the Jewish nation after him. But, the God of Abraham did not turn away from Hagar and Ishmael. He heard her cry, and saw her distress. He would spare them both, provide for them, and through Ismael many nations would be born. (Paraphrased; Genesis, chapter 21 in the Old Testament Bible NIV.)

The above story is true. When I read about Sarah, Abraham, Hagar, Ismael and Isaac I think about the division, hate, and turmoil in the Middle East between Israelis and Palestinians, and people and cultures of other Middle Eastern countries with the ongoing conflict. One might think that what was written centuries ago and recorded of stories like Abraham’s might be of little consequence to us today. But, what was written back then by those who lived and recorded their stories is relevant to our lives today. It comes back, bigger, more profound. The two most basic things we need most are love and acceptance. They can unite and bind us, but. if we have neither only divide and separate us. The characters in the story below are fictional, but their situation and circumstances could be real. It is not just their story, but one in places all over the world.

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Tel Aviv, Israel – present day

“Why did you wait till now to tell me?”

“Gamal, your father deserted us. I never saw him again after that. I felt shamed, as if it was all my fault. So I left, moved closer to the settlements and just tried to blend in.”

“Like a Jew.”

“I had to find work, to support us…even though…” Sahar said, through her tears.

“Even though you were pregnant with a bastard’s son.”

Sahar shook her head, overcome with the emotion coursing through her like a hot iron.

“What about Sam’s father?”

“I was working in Jerusalem at a shop on Haifa Street when I met him. He was serving in the Israeli army then…At first I wanted nothing to do with him. He was Jewish. He came in often, was kind, and gentle…”

“And he married you.”

“Yes. We were married by a clergyman from another faith, because the Jews would not accept me, nor my people him.”

“So he captivates the pretty damsel, and off they ride into the sunset with her bastard son in tow.”

Sahar screamed at him. “Stop calling yourself that. You’re not! I never thought of you like that.”

“No? But, I was the curse that came with the shame of a sordid love affair with a man from Gaza…”

“We were a family. I tried to raise you both the same. I loved you. I never told Sam’s father anything…about your birth, or father. He accepted you and was willing to raise you as his own. He was not Orthodox so my past was not an issue with him. Then, one day…while on duty…with the military, rockets came. He was out there, trying to pull people from that carnage, but there were…Palestinians out there, shooting at them, and he was hit. He died, soon after.” Sahar’s shoulders shook, her cry intensified with every breath.

“And Sam? What does he know?”

“He only knows about his own father, how we met, how he died. Nothing about yours.”

“Then why tell me now, mother, after thirty years, making me believe I was Jewish, instead of…the son of a Palestinian?”

“Because your ties with Israel’s enemies affect your relationship with Sam, and his position in the army. You are brothers for God’s sake.”

“For God’s sake?” He laughed, sarcastically. “Your God does not care about us.”

“Gamal! What are you saying? The God of Abraham and Isaac is our God! We have no other. He is God to all.

“We come from different people, mother. Or have you forgotten that?”

“I don’t serve Allah!”

“But, I do!” He said, his eyes glaring at her, cold and dark. “Goodbye, mother.”

Gamal! She yelled after him, but he did not listen. He was gone, slamming the door behind him, shutting himself off from her, Sam, and all that he knew.

_____________________

Joyce E. Johnson © 2016

Footnotes: Last year I posted short fictional stories under the title, Acid Rain, the first one under the title of Brothers Divided where Sam, a Jewish Israeli defense officer comes against those in the Arab nations set on destroying the Jewish people and the country of Israel. You can find those stories here. The above story is fiction also, and the prequel to Acid Rain.

He who stands alone to worship

 

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The Sea of Galilee in Israel; Photo taken May, 2001 while touring Israel just four months before the 9/11 attack on the U.S. Photo credit: Joyce E. Johnson

 

 

The shepherd struggled to his feet. Smoke rose into the sky as winds carried the smell of death and destruction of Bethlehem to the hillside.

The annual  pilgrimage of thousands who came each year to see the place where the Christ child was believed born was only a trickle this year in the wake of all the terrorist attacks.

They are the smart ones, who stay away. The Palestinians did not fear the Jews, or their retaliation to the missiles and suicide bombs, but instead the much darker force of evil who controlled the region destroying and desecrating all historic or religious sites. Like a plague of death their victims fell to their swords, and their black flag now flew over Gaza.

Hassan heard a soft bleat.

One has survived.

He made his way through the carnage to the sound growing weaker with every step and found him half buried under rock and debris carried by the blast. Bleeding, legs broken, but alive his eyes pleaded with silent cries.

As the night grew dark, and now quiet the shepherd tended after the lamb. He supposed the rest of his flock was now dead, or scattered. Like all the nights before when the stars came out he looked up, searching, studying those that never failed to shine their bright light upon the hills of Bethlehem.

A glow penetrated the cave dwelling. A star has fallen!

“Hassan! It is I.”

He shook with fear. Where did that come from!? 

“Hassan, you alone have survived. Don’t be afraid. I will be with you. Worship me, Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ sent to save the world from its sin. I came so that you may have eternal life. Believe only in me, and you will be saved.”

He had no understanding or comprehension of what had just happened, or what he had heard. Yet, a calm came over him, seeping into his very soul. Food and water appeared mysteriously before him. Provisions?

He ate. Taking the lamb he rose and walked to where the destroyed grotto now lay in ruins.

It is only a shrine.

Lifting his voice toward the heavens he cried out. “If I stand alone to tell my story I will tell how you came to save me, and that I live to worship You.”

One by one the scattered sheep came back, compelled by the sound of their shepherd’s voice.

It mattered not that he alone survived the attack, but that he was no longer alone. His time remaining he did not know. He was alive. He had this moment now.

___________________

Footnotes: The above story is only fiction. Thank heaven for that. Literally.  🙂 Bethlehem was one of the places we visited while on our tour of Israel in May, 2001. Although the U.S. has seen much of its own terrorism (the 9/11 attack and the one most recently in San Bernardino, Ca.) and those in Paris and elsewhere I remain very thankful I live in a free country, and can still worship the living Savior who came to this world born of a virgin, went to the cross to die for the sins of this world, and was buried and resurrected so we can have eternal life. The real story (a much happier one) of the shepherds and Jesus’s birth can be found in Matthew and Luke, chapter 2 of the New Testament Bible.

“I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.” John 12:46 (NIV)

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Joyce E. Johnson (2015)    

 

 

Two brothers, two nations, and what divides them

She was hated by one, yet loved by another; the God of the father of her illegitimate child. The Egyptian maidservant approached his tent with trepidation.

Abraham didn’t want to do it, but he had no choice if he wanted to keep Sarah happy. Hagar and Ishmael would be cast out, homeless and destitute, they set out alone in the barren wilderness with no promise of a future, and certainly none of the ‘promised inheritance.’ That was reserved for Isaac, Abraham’s legitimate son and rightful heir to the Jewish nation of God’s chosen to inherit His coveted blessings.

Hagar could not bear to watch Ishmael die, the first-born son of a Jewish father. There was not enough food to sustain them both, so she chose to die, so he could live.

Was it an omen of things to come, a future not yet prophesied? She gave him what was left of the rationed bread, then walked away alone to die. But, the God of Abraham did not walk away from her. He heard her cry, and saw her tears. He spared them both, and the Palestinian nation was born. But, their God was not the God of Abraham.

This story is not fiction, but true. The bible does not give the date and time of this historical event which separated two brothers, and divided a family. Yet, each of these two boys would lead their own to the creation of two cultures and two nations living side by side. It was hate then that sent her away, and it is hate today that divides them still.  

But, although Abraham and Sarah made mistakes then there were other decisive moments later that proved and tested the faith and strength of a man obedient to God who was willing to sacrifice his beloved legitimate son, Isaac on an altar to God. But, God stayed his hand in time before Isaac was slain. A transition and period of time in between events shows Abraham’s strong character and maturity changing forever the direction of his life, his descendants’ lives and ultimately the destiny of Israel’s.

Today, centuries later we see still the turmoil and unrest in the Middle East as reports come almost daily of terrorist’s acts, missiles and rockets fired at Israel, and new threats of war as tensions rise and Iran promising the destruction of Israel, a country blessed by God since its creation. There is no ‘deal’ or treaty that will work to stay the hand of a country like Iran that seeks to destroy another.  

It is not just the prophetic events that unfold before our eyes, but the same hatred and animosity that has prevailed since Abraham’s time. We can pray for the peace of Jerusalem, the Middle East, even the world, but unless the tide of hate turns, and evil is eradicated completely there will always be those who bear the kind of hate and evilness that wishes only to destroy life, not preserve it.    

You can find the stories of Abraham in Genesis, chapters 21: 1-20, and 22:1-14. of the Old Testament, NIV

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Joyce E. Johnson (2015)

 

 

 


The scarlet cord

“Go! Check out the land, especially the city of Jericho. Then report back to me.” Joshua said.

The two men entered town under the cloak of darkness. A thick wall rose above them encompassing the entire city.

They went directly to the home of Rahab, a prostitute whose house was built into the high wall. She agreed to hide them under stalks of flax on her roof.

But, the king learned of their mission and where they were. He sent his men after them. “By order of the king, you are to release the spies to us.”

“They were here, yes, but they have left. I didn’t know who they were, or where they’d come from. But if you go now, and hurry you might catch them before the city gates close.” Rahab said.

When the king’s men were gone she went to warn the spies they would be pursued.

“Everyone knows of your strength and reputation. All the people fear you. They’ve heard of your victories, how you have conquered all where you have gone. Promise me you will spare my family and household when you return, since I have been good to you.”

“You have our word. Hang this scarlet cord from your window the day we return and you and all your family and household will be saved.”

Rahab agreed. “It will be as you say.”

They lowered themselves down by the scarlet cord from her roof, and ran into the hills where they hid for three days until it was safe to return to their camp.

On the day that Joshua and the Israelites took possession of  the city of Jericho Rahab and all her household were saved because she hung the scarlet cord from her window above the city wall.

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Joyce E. Johnson © 2015

Footnotes: You can find the story of Rahab and the spies in Joshua, chapters 2 – 7 of the Old Testament bible. Rahab put herself at risk hiding the Israeli spies, and lying about their whereabouts. But she chose to take an active part in their plan to capture the city of Jericho because she knew they were God’s chosen people. Because of her courage she and all her family were saved.    

The ways in which God performs His miracles will astound us because in the natural we cannot comprehend it. Our walls may look impenetrable, doors and gates firmly shut beyond our control. But, when Israel’s army marched in and surrounded the city their loud call and shout brought down the wall, collapsing all at their feet, and the entire city was open to them so they could take possession, because they believed. “Everything is possible for him/her who believes.” Mark 9:23

Acid Rain (Part 5, conclusion)

The plan to neutralize Israel generated by Middle Eastern countries, Europe and the U.S. inside Goliath’s network had worked, their propaganda spreading hate and distrust throughout the world. Israel’s allies and friends pulled their support, creating boycotts, unrealistic tariffs and embargoes, cancelled tours, conferences and events scheduled, all of it designed to decimate Israel’s economy.  They hacked Israel’s communication and broadcast systems by creating a cyber-wall preventing all communications inside Israel from contacting those they counted on for military support.

IDF ground forces positioned themselves along the perimeters of all its borders facing their neighbors to the north, south, west and east of Israel creating barricades. Their central command center monitored all activity, militarily and otherwise in and out of the country using their own inside secure system of communication that was set in place after their recognition of statehood in 1948. The Israeli air force were forced to engage themselves in defensive skirmishes over their territorial air space. Their navy still patrolled the waters to the west on the Mediterranean Sea.

Sam’s unit made their way across Iraq, and into Iran, under deep cover and a dark, night sky with no more than a sliver of light from the moon. It had to be a precise hit, the coordinates exact, no margin for error. When they located the bunker using the Intel they’d received from their sources inside Iran they regrouped and prepared to move in.

With the stealth of a predatory cat Sam moved with his team as if a part of a perfectly orchestrated and choreographed practiced ballet number during rehearsal.

A hand signal and the repeated gesture moved down the line as they approached, wary but prepared for any surprise attack or ambush that would jeopardize the mission. They had only one chance to gain access by taking out all those guarding Goliath’s network inside the heavily protected bunker. With the swiftness of an angry nest of pythons they lunged at their targets taking everyone down by knife or silencer. When they’d secured the outside leaving some of their unit to cover their flanks the rest moved in with quick precision and timing overtaking all those sitting at a command center or watching video feeds on computer screens. When all targets were down the unit commander and techs quickly accessed the Intel on the screens, hacked into the system, then transferred all onto flash drives. Once done they disabled all monitors and computers with their weapons as if at target practice. They left as hurriedly and as quietly as they’d come and once back into Iraq were quickly airlifted out on a military helicopter under the disguise of an Iraqi transport.

The Intel on the flash drives was rushed to Israeli commanders and the PM to be analyzed. It revealed the plan for ‘Israel’s annihilation.’  Iran would never be given the chance to carry it out.

At precisely 5:00 a.m. Israeli time, the Israeli’s launched the first of their own missile attacks on the country who wanted to, ‘wipe them off the face of the earth’ as once quoted. When Iran quickly struck back launching their biggest and most effective nuclear warheads with a range of over 200 kilometers, the ‘Magic Wand’, aka, ‘David’s Sling’ was launched intercepting Iran’s nuclear strike. Israel struck back with their own, ‘David’s stone,’ taking out all of Iran’s capabilities, the uranium enrichment plants, command centers, all military operations, their air force, airports, and bases housing, manufacturing and maintaining all.

The Intel received included a list of all the countries, governments, political or influential names of presidents, kings and prime ministers in Goliath’s network supporting Israel’s complete annihilation, and the plan to carry it out. Those included were the countries of Iran, Russia, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, China, and many others Israel was not surprised to find. What was a surprise was finding one listed near the top; that of the current U.S. president.

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Footnotes: This has been a work of fiction throughout. This is the concluding part. Fiction though it be, prophetic it may certainly be one day if those who don’t stand with Israel as a friend will fall with those who don’t support her, and her right to defend her nation and people. All the previous parts to this story can be found under the heading of Acid Rain with each part posted separately and found in my archives.  “I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all people on earth will be blessed through you.” Genesis 12:3 (NIV)

Thank you for reading and following. Comments and feedback are always welcome.

Joyce E. Johnson (2015)

Posted April 15, 2015 by Joyce in Fiction, Flash Fiction, My Writings

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Acid Rain (Part 4)

Tel Aviv, Israel

A loud roar echoed through the dark, narrow passageway deep beneath the floor they’d just descended, the reverberations of missile attacks pitching them against the walls. Sam threw himself over Eli shielding him from what sounded like explosions of incoming missile attacks. Walls shook. The floor above them cracked, split in places weakening the ceiling structure. The sound of windows breaking and furniture knocked about could be heard as volleys of shells were heard exploding in the skies.

“It is what I feared.” Eli said, his voice muffled under Sam’s weight as he tried to regain voice and composure.

“What?”

“I had a premonition…of something coming, from a dream I had. This is just a forewarning.”

“From Iran?”

“Yes. God wants to prepare us for the onslaught that is coming. It is time for Israel to ready, ‘David’s sling.’”

“What do you know about, ‘David’s Sling?’” Sam said.

Eli smiled. “I have my sources, Sam. I may be a retired IDF general, but am still in the ‘know’.  The U.S. president could save himself another embarrassing calamity if he would stop declaring accolades to come out of this lame deal of his. He can’t expect to slow or stop Iran’s uranium enrichment production.”

They donned gas masks and made their way up the steps into the interior to assess the damage of Eli’s home. A part of the roof was blown off. Clouds of black smoke hung like an angry pall over Tel Aviv. The time froze on a grandfather clock, its pendulum stilled at 3:48 p.m., the eve of Shabbat. Lights flickered, then went dark. Glass shards from broken windows, lamps and vases lay scattered through the house from the impact.

When they’d made their way through the mess to the outside they saw traffic lights knocked out, dangling from poles where cars crashed or careened into other vehicles, people or objects. Drivers were slumped over their seats from the impact, doors flung open. Fires erupted. Gas and oil tanks exploded spewing contents released by the blasts. People scurried for cover, pulling gas masks free from bags or totes carried, as common as a jogger with his water bottle.

“Those missiles came from the east.” Sam said, looking at the tails of white plume.

Eli nodded. “Iran. To think those puppets sat around a conference table trying to appease the world’s superpowers when Iran and the Ayatollah had already decided our fate.”

Sam pulled out his cell phone, and tried calling his commander. There was no signal. He checked messages. “They’ve blown out our cell towers, and communication satellites.”

Eli tried unsuccessfully to reach emergency military operations on a command communication device.

“Internet service, power and wireless; all of it, knocked out. They’re trying to isolate us. I’ve got to get back to my unit.”

“I’m coming with you. I’m re-enlisting myself, voluntarily.”

As they made their way through blocked and crowded streets they saw the injured, the dead and the destruction so great Eli knew where he was needed most.

“Sam, go ahead. I am going to stay here, and help with the injured and the…diseased. Go. God speed. Be the soldier Israel has trained you to be.”

They embraced, each with their own thoughts, not wanting to express aloud their concerns.

_____________

This is a continued story, part 4 of 5 parts. Comments and feedback are always welcome. Parts 1-3 can be found under the heading of, Acid Rain.,   Acid Rain, Part 2,   and Acid Rain, Part 3

Joyce E. Johnson (2015)

 

Posted April 9, 2015 by Joyce in Fiction, Flash Fiction, My Writings

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A Cross and an Empty Tomb

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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!”

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 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)

Triumphal Entry

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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.

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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)



Acid Rain (Part 3)

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Tel Aviv, Israel

 

After the hijacking of the Chinese freighter, Black Dragon security modifications were made on freighter and cargo lines. Swat teams and undercover agents were posted to every ship, cargo and cruise line for all scheduled crossings. The impact was felt in the once friendly skies of air travel, too. Ticket sales were down. Airlines reduced their fares significantly to entice travelers with bargain deals, but people were afraid to fly. Trains were routinely checked and swept for devices, bags, even trash disposed while on board. Railway and Amtrak routes were routinely checked for bombs or devices hidden under or near tracks.

There was no exact number to determine how many active terrorists’ cells were in the U.S., Middle East and Europe, but estimated to be in the thousands, all trained, committed, and devoted to their mandate; to kill any and all not converted or sympathetic to Islam, whether Jew or Gentile, American or otherwise. Educated and highly skilled in chemical, biological and nuclear explosives, experts were brought in to train teams sent out to places wherever opportunity existed, all under the command and ‘head’ of one, known as ‘Goliath’.

They infiltrated themselves into society, many involving themselves in civic or charity organizations, churches, or synagogues. On the surface they were Christian or Jew, purporting to be patriots of their resident country. But, to the soul they were fanatical, committed Islamic jihadists. They spoke fluent English or were fluent in the dialect of their assigned location with no prior foreign accent. Those in the U.S. were in fact born and raised in the U.S. They would martyr themselves for Allah.

__________________

Tel Aviv, Israel

Sam entered the home of his old friend and mentor, Eli. Eli was a retired army commander with the IDF. He shook hands with Eli’s bodyguard and was escorted into his study.

“Samuel, it is good to see you my friend.” Eli embraced Sam, greeting him with the traditional Hebrew kiss on each cheek. “You look good, except for the lines of stress around your eyes. I suspect this is not just a social visit, is it? I see it in your eyes. You have something on your mind.”

Sam smiled. “You know me too well, Eli.”

“Sit down. Let’s talk. I sense your current mission has not been going well. I assume your unit is working with the U.S. teams on this stream of recent attacks?”

“Trying to. But, their American president is none too happy with the way we do things here. It has not been determined for certain who carried out the San Francisco attack and hijacking of the Black Dragon. They cannot find those responsible. Their disappearing act was flawless, no trace, but it stinks of Hamas’s hands all over this. I am not so sure we will have the U.S. support and cooperation much longer with the animosity their president feels toward our PM and Israel. The U.S. administration wants to cut a deal with Iran too.”

“Yes. I know.”

They talked for another couple hours.  When it was time for Sam to leave, Eli said. “Don’t go out the front, the way you came in. Let me take you out through another exit from my home. Where did you park your SUV?”

“Six blocks down and two streets over from here. I was careful, Eli. I don’t think anyone was tailing me.”

“Nevertheless, let me lead you out the back way. Then you can switch back, and get back to your car from there.”

__________________

To be continued…

This is a work of fiction and a continued story with parts 1 & 2 previously posted under the same title, Acid Rain  Feedback and comments are always welcome.

Joyce E.Johnson (2015)

 

 

Acid Rain (Part 2)

Present day – San Francisco, Ca., U.S.A.

Boom! Bang! Swoosh!

People watched, their eyes fixed on the skies, waiting and expectant for each explosion of color that mushroomed in the sky. Huge spheres of dazzling light fell like ribbons cascading to the ground. They cheered, clapped and celebrated. Short minutes later small rockets became chemical weapons exploding after launch emptying their contents on victims as they succumbed to their fate. Not until the first victims went down did anyone suspect something had gone terribly wrong. The ground turned white, smoldering from the burning hot ash. Those closer to the impact lay writhing, screaming from the pain. Their flesh and hair burned from the falling ash raining from the smoke-filled skies. Victims with their eyes shrinking back into red swollen sockets, stinging with pain stumbled as they tried running from the horror. Shrapnel embedded into skin and scalp became deadly darts of death as the poison imploded.

______________________

Tel Aviv, Israel

Sam laid in bed, asleep as the images swirled about in his head.  Subconsciously his hand went to his sweating brow, eyelids twitching. His eyes snapped open. He laid, staring up at the ceiling fan’s blades turning quietly, above him. But, he could still see the images. Because they never went away.    

Now qualified for special op missions, he served with a recon team, given the name, DAVID, for Defensive Arms Validating Israel’s Directives by their Orthodox Jewish general who believed David from Old Testament times was empowered by God. Under David’s rule as commander, and king of Israel they won wars with enemies twice the size or strength of the Israelites. Most memorable was their victory over the Philistine army giant, Goliath that came against Israel when David was a mere shepherd boy. But, theirs was a new kind of army, today; one that counted on the stockpiled arsenal they’d built up, but held back from using. Until now.

“Sam! Grab some coffee and bagels, and take a copy of the brief. We’ve got a lot to cover. You look washed out. Get enough sleep?”

“Yeah. Sure. I’m on adrenalin overload, you know?” His team members laughed.

“OK, let’s get started. Here’s what we’ve got so far.” Jon, their team leader briefed them for the next two hours as they went over all the latest intelligence reports concerning their unit and their mission.

When rocket fire erupted again over Israel the Jewish state responded swiftly with a more aggressive counter strike to the Palestinians’ refusal to disarm and honor a cease-fire agreement.

There was little empathy for Israel when they destroyed much of the West Bank in Gaza. Anti-Semitism was on the rise, everywhere. But, the U.S. administration promised to remain supportive.

Many of the old Hamas would not agree to any peace negotiations. They wanted only the destruction and annihilation of Israel altogether, much like Iran, so Hamas joined their larger, more organized terrorists’ cells active in Europe, the Middle East, even the U.S. They recruited pro-Islamic and pro-Palestinian fighters from all over. Although many countries, including the U.S. waged their own war against ISIS it was only a part of a much larger terrorist organization now operating under one, known as, ‘Goliath.’ The smaller factions under Goliath competed for control in their own regions.

Sam served with the task force in Israel who hunted for, ‘Goliath’s Head.’ With the increased terrorism globally the U.S. and Israel would now come together as one, against Iran where they believed ‘Goliath’ operated.

“The U.S. teams have confirmed the recent rocket attacks in the U.S. are related, and the result of the shipment of arms or bombs that were on the, Black Dragon. None of that shipment has yet been found, located, nor the ones involved, apprehended. The U.S. team believes they wanted to hit the U.S. because of their support for us.” Jon said.

______________

To be continued…

This story is only a work of fiction.  Part 1 of Acid Rain was previously posted. My purpose in writing this story is not intended to frighten, be prophetic or factual. It is only a story to bring to light what does exist. The terrorist threats to our country, the U.S., to Israel and to others as well. Wishing that every country and its people could be at peace, prosper, get along with the rest of the world without hate, and live in harmony would be a wonderful thing. But, that just does not happen and will not happen as long as evil finds a home and lurks about in the lives of those who invite it in, and when that happens there is death, destruction and chaos. But, if we turn our eyes and hearts to God in these times and ask that He give us strength, courage and wisdom in all things and show us how to love others, and those whom He blesses He will bless us.   “I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all people on earth will be blessed through you.” Genesis 12:3 (NIV)

Joyce E. Johnson (2015)

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) 


The Informant’s Agenda, Chapter XIV (14), ‘Jacob’s Story,’ continued (Part 4)

Chapter XIV, ‘Jacob’s Story’, continued (Part 4)

“After the war we didn’t know who we could trust again. Evil prevails in those with hate in their heart. It is not just with one kind of people, or one race, but with any. I believe there will always be those who choose to hate for whatever reasons.”

“I saw people who claimed to be Christians, but they betrayed us, or turned us away when we needed help. We were their neighbors, living side by side, but they were unforgiving of Jews who rejected the Messiah they preached about. There were some who turned their own gun on the Jews and shot them. But, there are stories of Jews who were protected and hid from their enemies, fed when hungry, clothed when stripped of their own. Some became martyrs and died alongside Jews when the Nazis came. I was young, but wise beyond my years.”

“Jacob, do you know if any of the collaborators; Romanians or Germans here involved in committing these atrocities were ever caught, or found?”

He shook his head, “No. I think most were never seen again. After the war, there was so much chaos, locating missing people, registering survivors, trying to treat and care for the afflicted I don’t think it was the thing that was foremost on people’s mind, until much later. I think the horrors of the war left everyone traumatized. There was some good that came out of it though like the Zionist movement and the birthing of the state of Israel. Their intelligence agency was born, and an army of trained fighters formed. I know they have hunted for the guilty involved in the deaths of the Jews. But, I don’t know if they have been entirely successful hunting them all down.”

“It seems hard to believe that there could still be any alive somewhere and walking free. How do you deal with all this, even now after so many years? Aren’t you bitter? Don’t you feel hatred for those who killed your family, and left you to die?”

“If I am to be the kind of person called by Messiah’s name to love as he loved, can I carry hate in my heart? He has called us to forgive, as he forgave his enemies. I admit it is difficult at times. But what is to be gained from hating? It is the evil of a darker force that walks among us, trying to destroy all that the Messiah died for. But, He was raised up, resurrected and lives so we would not have to walk through life with those shackles on, but be freed of them. That is the deliverance, the power we have as his children.”

“My Mother cried out to the Christian Messiah to help us, to save us from the soldiers who came for us. That is what changed us, Ms. Mengelder. No baptism, Torah, traditions or prayer shawl would have saved us from them. Out of our desperation we were given eternal life, and placed our trust in the one called Jesus, making him our Messiah. We prayed for deliverance, not just from the Nazis, but also for our soul.”

All I could do was nod my head in silent agreement and thank him for sharing his story. The park was still empty, no children on the playground, no one around to hear, or care what he had shared with me. Only the birds quietly perched on tree limbs as if with respect listened quietly too. We sat for a few moments just listening to the rustle of the trees, soft breezes blowing under a clear blue sky.

It made me shudder to think about the scattered remains and ashes of the thousands who died and suffered at the hands of their enemies, their graves we walked upon, the trees, flowers, parks, buildings and roads built above it all as if declaring that life does indeed go on, and one has to move forward.

It was hard to contain my own emotion, so didn’t even try. It was as if Jacob’s life was being replayed in slow motion before my very eyes like a repeat from a documentary on the History channel. His grandmother Magdalena, the sister to my great, great-grandfather Adam whom my family had tried so hard to locate could now be technically laid to rest, even if there was no grave we could find or visit.

_______________________

This is the end of chapter XIV, but the story will be continued with new chapters posted after Christmas.

Joyce E. Johnson (2013)

Holocaust Memorial Remembrance

Today is designated a day of remembrance to all those (over six million Jews and others) who perished in the Holocaust. On my blog site I have posted a story I wrote as a tribute to the Jews who died during that time, entitled, The Ghetto Jews. Although the story is one of fiction, the events, the ghettos, massacres, death and concentration camps, gassing and persecution of those who were killed are true. I featured in my story a fictional family who perishes in the Holocaust living in a ghetto in Odessa, Russia (now a part of Ukraine).  Most people today know of the Holocaust events that occurred in occupied Germany and Poland during World War II, but not everyone knows of the thousands in Ukraine, Moldova, and other countries of Eastern Europe who died also as a result of the “Final Solution” to round up, and massacre all Jewish people remaining alive towards the end of  World War II. One of those events ordered by Adolf Hitler in the occupied territories of Russia and Ukraine was known as, “Operation Barbarossa.” All Jews found alive were shot on the spot, their bodies thrown into ravines and burned. Other atrocities and means of killing them were committed as well, and also to other groups found having a different political viewpoint, lifestyle, religion or color of skin, even political prisoners taken during the time of occupation.

During my thirty years of genealogy research to search out my own family roots on my father’s side of the family, I found  clues and connections to the German Jewish ancestry of my grandfather’s family from Odessa, Russia. I became focused on those bits of information, while following my roots back before the 1800 ‘s period. I dug in to resources (books, online  websites, genealogy organizations, and other sources of information) looking for more about my family, their beginnings and locations when they migrated east into Russia from Germany, and eventually into the U.S. in 1889. It has been an awesome journey in time and discovery the things I have uncovered, learned and saved of their lives. I would not have traded the experience for anything and will pass it down to my children and grand children, and to their’s.

One can never forget what happened, but we all can use it as a learning lesson to guide us in respect for others, no matter their religion, background, lifestyle, political view or preferences that are different from our own, including where they have come from, or whatever direction they are headed in their lives. As a Christian and believer, it is what I choose to do, what Jesus wants us all to do, as He did the same when He walked this earth and teaches us to do the same.

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