Archive for the ‘Jesus’ 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.

~~~~~~

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.


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

Given over to die, so we might live

 

No throne of gold with ruling court,

just a young colt prepared to carry

the One coming; so humbled was He

with no announcement, campaign or promise,

no regal bearing, pride or clout,

no pronouncement or declaration

to any who promised to follow,

but with a mission, soon to be found

guilty, with charges brought

not by Pilate, king or crown,

but by the common people

demanding condemnation.

His crime committed?

Nothing more but Love,

no threats or harsh in character

words thrown upon the crowd.

He held no hate, or bitter accusation

against his jury, judge or fate,

but stood in silent confirmation

as one sent to suffer death

by the father who sent Him

to redeem the world from sin.

_________________

Joyce E. Johnson © 2016

Today is Palm Sunday (the Sunday preceding Easter). In the New Testament gospels it is recorded as a significant time when Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, humbling Himself before the people. They welcomed Him then as the One who had performed so many miracles and healed so many. They threw palm branches at his feet when He entered town. But, within a week’s time their demeanor and attitude changed considerably and it became the consensus by all, to condemn Him to death, and release to them another man, Barabbas convicted of crimes charged against the people. It was the custom back then for Pilate, the people’s Roman ruler to release one man, and put the other man to death. They chose Jesus to be the one put to death. But, it was not a coincidence that Jesus be put to death, but was God’s plan from the beginning to send His only begotten son to death for the sins of the world, so that those who believed in Him would have eternal life. This story can be found recorded in the New Testament Gospels in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. You can also find it here in this scripture passage, Mark, chapter 11: 1-11.


My thoughts this Christmas

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Christmas draws near as I sit and ponder

The years gone by, the memories, so many

I count myself blessed

For the family I have, my husband, my home

And the children we’ve had.

But, I look at the lives,

and heartache of those,

their loneliness, their sorrow

their loss, and I’m sad.

If it’s only just to pray and in some way

I’ll offer encouragement, or just be kind.

Some suffer what they’ve lost;

A loved one gone

We may never know, or understand

What they’ve gone through

Or at what cost.

Lord, grant them favor, that they find grace

And their Christmas be filled with the promise of hope

And their lives know the Gift you sent us with love

born of a virgin a long time ago

who came to this world a baby King,

to bring us life and bear the world’s sin

the Messiah, Redeemer, King of Kings.

____________

Merry Christmas, everyone. I hope it will be a happy one, filled with joy, peace, good will, and God’s best, and that you will have health, prosperity and good things in 2016.

Joyce E. Johnson © 2015


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)

_________________  

Joyce E. Johnson (2015)    

 

 

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!”

______________

 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

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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.

____________

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)



AND HIS NAME SHALL BE CALLED

AND HIS NAME SHALL BE CALLED

Nestled snugly to her breasts the baby wrapped in cloth

was cradled in his mother’s arms, her voice comforting and soft.

The beating of her heart, her milk and warm embrace

left him feeling so content when he looked into her face.

Livestock gathered near to ward off wind and chill;

They shared their sheltered space quiet, cold and still.

Heaven’s glory filled the skies immersing them in joy.

Radiant beams of light gushed towards the baby boy.

The story of his birth was heard throughout the land,

“The prophesied Messiah is born in Bethlehem.”

People came from all around to see the child king,

“Where is he that is born those angels about him sing?”

There was much rejoicing as shepherds ran to see

the baby born to the world, the prophesied to be.

Magi heard the news traveling from places far

with gifts for the baby king guided by the star.

Kneeling before the Savior they stretched out hands in praise;

God’s unfolding gift of love, how awesome His wondrous ways.

Mary pondered all these things and marveled how, that He

from one; a virgin came the Son of God, Jesus, Majesty.

***********

MERRY CHRISTMAS, ALL!  

Joyce E. Johnson (2013)

Footnotes: Although I published this post last Christmas I am re-posting it again with my wishes to all for a very blessed and wonderful Christmas and a happy new year in 2015.

Memories from Christmas’ past

My sisters and I one Christmas, a very long time ago. I am the youngest and smallest one.

My sisters and I one Christmas, a very long time ago. I am the youngest and smallest one.

 

Fudge cooking on the stove, hot steaming cocoa with floating plump marshmallows, taffy pulls, popcorn balls, caroling, recitals and Christmas pageants with new taffeta dresses, candles lit in window sills and trees with bright bulbs and multi-colored lights.  Sneaking around, spying in the attic for those illusive hidden presents I found. The memories linger like the smell of my mother’s fudge and Christmas cookies.

Listening for ‘sleigh bells’, thumps or bumps of Santa’s landing on roof tops and reindeer hooves touching down are the things I imagined, but never saw. Like any child I believed in Santa too. In the town I was from (Colorado Springs) there is a favorite popular Christmas place, North Pole. It is a magical Christmas village full of little cottages, toy stores, confections and the smells of all kinds of sweet treats, a real herd of reindeer, sleigh and of course a Santa Clause and Mrs. Clause. I loved visiting Santa there, but knew eventually that he did not really fly around the world in a sleigh on Christmas Eve. There came a day when I spotted Santa walking down Main street wearing a business suit, just like a scene from one of my favorite movies, Miracle on 34th St. I was older then, and knew the truth about his ‘job’ as the Santa at North Pole, but he brought so much happiness to children with his gentle nature, warm embrace, love and generosity to children like me before his death. Yet, ‘Santa’s legend lives on.

But, there is another one I came to believe in more as I listened to the story told and retold of a baby born to a virgin Mary in the little town of Bethlehem, Israel over 2,000 years ago. He became more real to me than any imaginative friend I could have dreamed of.  I learned how He loves me, lives on, will never die or leave me, and is always there for me. He sacrificed his life for us all so we could know him in a way that surpasses any imagined, or anyone who ever lived. That baby was Jesus, a Savior and Redeemer born to all the world. He is the reason I celebrate this Christmas, then and now, as I came to know Him, personally. His story is found in Luke, chapter 2, New Testament Bible, not a legend, but a truth, real, and God’s gift to us that lives on, continues to give and be received.

I wish all my blogger friends, readers and followers out there a very blessed and Merry Christmas, and a happy, prosperous year in 2015. Thank you for reading, commenting and following my site. It has been a wonderful journey as I traveled the country and globe with you through this site and yours.

_____________

Joyce E. Johnson (2014)

Living Water

Boyd Lake, Loveland, Colorado

Boyd Lake, Loveland, Colorado

‘He who drinks from the

pool of living water will

never thirst again’

 

A woman came to a well to draw water when she came upon a man, a stranger weary from a long day who asked if he could have a drink.  She inquired as to why he had no vessel to use for water. But, he replied if she knew who he was she would not have asked why, but instead would have asked for the, Living Water. He was not a mere stranger, but one who knew everything there was to know about her and could read her life like a book. He was not a psychic, fortune-teller, spy or stalker.

She soon realized that it was Jesus she was speaking to, the Son of God who spoke with the authority and knowledge of His father in heaven. When he asked her to go share this news with her husband she replied, “But, sir I have no husband.”

He said, “Yes, that is true, for you have had five husbands, but the one you live with now is not your husband.”

She wanted to hurry home to share her news about the man who knew all their was about her and offered her the gift of Living Water. She only needed to believe and trust in Him.

____________

Footnotes: I love this story because it tells about the caring, loving, compassionate Savior who makes that gift available to everyone, whatever their background or ethnicity, if they will only believe in Him. This is a true story, and can be found in the New Testament Bible in John, chapter 4. The above haiku poem is just my own paraphrased interpretation of the gift of Living Water. 

Joyce E. Johnson (2014)

Christmases Past

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I am the little ‘angel’ on the left of the manger, in our church children’s program.

CHRISTMASES PAST

Trees that twinkled with shiny bright bulbs,

multi-colored lights and hanging tinsel.

Coloring books, crayons to pass the time

while waiting for Santa on Christmas Eve.

Baby dolls scented like soft new latex

dressed in pink flannel pajamas.

Red and green ribbon we made into bows

draped from presents placed under the tree.

Sweet confections and peppermint candies,

with peanuts, apples, oranges; all wrapped

given to children in brown paper bags.

Popcorn balls, fudge, and sugar cookies

my parents made for us each year.

Christmas cards filled with tidings and cheer

mailed and received from friends far and near.

New taffeta dresses, black patent leather shoes

for Sunday services before each Christmas.

Soft white angel costumes and halos

I wore in school pageants and nativity programs.

‘Silent Night,’ and traditional carols

we sang under a cold wintry sky

‘Peace and goodwill to all the world,’

Are things I remember from Christmases past.

___________________

Joyce E. Johnson © 2013

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)

He Came Like a Star

 

He came like a star

Piercing the darkness,

A radiant light

To a world that cannot cope

He came to be born

Alone to bear

The sins of all

That we might know

His incomprehensible

Enduring love

He came to serve

The homeless and hungry

Each seeking refuge

Waiting at his door

He came to redeem

The tiny babes ripped apart

From a nurturing place

That they might rest

In peaceful quiet,

And be rocked

In the cradle of grace

He came to seek the lost and poor

Offering shelter in outstretched arms

A tender embrace

And a compassionate touch

He came to be

The eyes for the blind

Ears for the deaf

Hope to the disabled

And the Savior to all

Called by his name

*********

Poem by: Joyce E. Johnson © 2012

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.

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

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