Archive for the ‘Faith’ Category

The Promised Rock   2 comments

 

 “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   Leave a comment

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

The Dawning of a New Year


So long 2017, Hello 2018

As 2017 draws to a close, I am thankful and look forward to welcoming the new year in 2018. 2017 was a very difficult year for me and my family. But, it was also a year where I saw God do a miraculous work of healing and forgiveness, faith and restoration in our lives that only comes in knowing Him and having a personal relationship with His son, Jesus, the King of Kings born to the world so that all would come, seeking Him.

As we enter into this new year I choose not to dwell on those things that tested my faith and weakened my resolve when I went through those times in 2017, but instead the moment I have now.

I am learning what it means to have an ‘unshakable trust’ in God where we come to a place of complete surrender, relying on Him in every situation we find ourselves in. When I relinquish all my worries and fears over to Him my burdens are lifted. Giving Him all that we have no control over, or answers for frees us from the worry and stress, or searching for ways to deal with whatever we face in life. It is about letting go of our hang-ups, our problems so that He can do His work in our lives. I choose to not dwell on the past, upon mistakes made or regrets for things that did not work according to my plan. But, instead live for this moment now, with Him. I am not concerned about pushing my agenda or making ‘new year’s resolutions’ or lists for tentative plans for my future as I might fail, and things work out differently. With God I know all things work according to His plan and His will when I just trust him with that kind of unshakable trust. In Jeremiah 29:11, it says, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” NIV

I want to personally thank all the readers, bloggers and followers who have visited my blog site this year and I hope something you have read or seen here has inspired you, blessed you or entertained you. It has been a pleasure and joy interacting via WordPress with you all.

Happy New Year to all.

_________________

Joyce E. Johnson (2017)


Posted December 31, 2017 by Joyce in Chrisitanity, Faith, My Writings

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Believe for the Impossible

CHRISTMAS

A man stood outside the busy store, shivering, dressed in a Santa suit, ringing his Christmas bell. A volunteer to the nonprofit, he smiled and greeted everyone he met. A few stopped to drop some change into his kettle, then hurried into the store. It was beginning to snow and the temperature had dropped another ten degrees.

Minutes later a mini-van pulled up in front and let people out, all senior residents from the “Westbrook. Senior Center, Home of the Ageless.”

“Ageless? Now that’s a new concept.” He said to himself. A spry little lady walked up to the kettle and dropped her coins in.

“Thank you, mam.”

“You’re welcome. You look cold. Have you been out here long?”

“Uh, several hours now. You know, trying to help out the charity, and all.”

“Yes. Of course. And, they are grateful. The Lord bless you, young man.” She patted him on the shoulder and walked into the store.

“Yes, mam. Thank you.”

She returned later with a large winter coat and a cup of hot cider. She placed the coat about his shoulders and handed him the cider. “I thought you could use this. The coat is yours also.”

“Oh, No, mam, I can’t take the coat. You needn’t do that. I’m fine, really.”

“Nonsense. Your feet ache, fingers stiff from the cold, you were laid off your factory job, divorced, .and looking for work.”

What…in the world? He stared at her as if she read his mind, knew him intimately, and his life history. “How could you know that…what I did? Who are you?” he asked, incredulously.

She smiled. “It’s not important. Well, it’s time I rejoin my friends. Good night.”

She boarded the waiting van with the same people she got off with and it drove away. He stood staring, trying to figure if he had ever met her.

When he turned in his kettle that night, he waited until it was emptied, the money counted, recorded, then signed out.

“Thanks, John. You know that job you applied for in the warehouse? It’s still open if you want to come in tomorrow for an interview. Still interested?” asked the officer behind the desk.

“Sure. Yes, sir. Thank you.”

John went home to a quiet house with so many regrets, the divorce, his drinking problem, losing his old job because of it. He couldn’t change his past, but he was working at changing his future.

He took off the coat wondering about the stranger who’d given it to him. She’s got my number alright. Maybe a former employee from the company that knows too much. Nice coat, though.

He found an envelope in the pocket with a check made out to him signed by an anonymous benefactor for $50,000. There must be some mistake. Who would leave a check…?
Some severance check or back payment from my layoff? An attached note read, “If you believe in things you thought impossible miracles tend to happen. Merry Christmas, John.”

______________

Joyce E. Johnson © 2017

Just one day at a time

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:34 (New Testament Bible), NIV.  Those were the words of Jesus as he spoke them aloud to his disciples and the throngs of people up on the mountain top who came to hear him speak when he began his ministry. If we are honest with ourselves and God we all can relate to this.

When I first drafted this post it was way back in March of this year before I went on a trip to Hawaii, and weeks before my life took a drastic turnaround from the more normal days I was experiencing. Little did I know that a few months later into the summer I would go through a personal crisis that set me back. See the post and story here. Before that time I would just go about my days with the same routine, enjoying time and seclusion at my computer, writing, looking for some new inspiration, working on writing projects. Then something happened to disrupt it all. When I came back to this post to read or revise it, it seemed almost prophetic, to what I felt and what happened later.

There are times when we need to take stock of what we’re doing, hit the ‘reset’ button, rethink our priorities. Sometimes it means being ready for the immediate and the unexpected that ultimately determines what is most important, putting aside everything else, indefinitely.

I have learned it is best to live one day at a time, to make it the best I can, maybe even better than the day before. Then I am not disappointed in myself, but instead encouraged by what I’ve done that day and ready for the next day. I’m not against making plans and setting goals, but I do so with reserve that something could happen that might change it, or set it back. I don’t set my sights on tomorrow if I am not yet finished with today.

______________

Joyce E. Johnson (2017)

 

Posted October 27, 2017 by Joyce in Chrisitanity, Devotional, Faith, My Writings

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Road to recovery…and beyond

“Lord, don’t let him die. Give him the will to live, for you.”

This was my prayer as I stood by my husband’s bedside in the hospital that night. I was in shock. Why, Lord? Why did he do this to himself? Why did he think he had no other way? Where was his faith that you would help him overcome the illness of deep depression and anxiety he suffered with? Didn’t he believe we would find answers, get some help? But, his condition only grew worse with little hope of ever getting the help needed.

There comes a time in our lives when a personal crisis hits us so hard that the sudden impact knocks us off our track, and a dark force comes against us rearing its ugly head and we feel backed into a corner.

My husband suffers with anxiety and depression that manifested itself this last summer. Whether or not there were clues we could have seen coming in time to ward off two suicide attempts on his life within two months it was not apparent until almost too late. There was little comfort that in both attempts he was unsuccessful, the first from an overdose of medications and the second one when he cut his wrists. He lived through each because of the power of prayer from our friends and family, and because God was not letting him go.  This kind of crisis was something new, foreign to us both. We sought the help from doctors and professionals, made appointments, ran tests and did everything to find the cause or answers to why he suffered from something he’d never experienced before. I watched him helplessly spiral down into despair and hopelessness as I cried out to God with desperation and help for him to have the will to live, and to overcome the horrible, inflicting disease of mental illness.

Throughout his time spent in three different hospitals he was on a 24 hour round the clock watch and care through August, and into Sept., 2017. When he was discharged from a second psychiatric facility we had numerous follow-up appointments and more tests to set up, and he was put on several medications to help ward off the anxiety and depression, improve his sleep deprivation problem, and stabilize his blood pressure.

As we have worked to get back to a ‘new normal’ we take one step at a time, one day at a time. What we are most thankful for is the grace and mercy of a forgiving, loving God who understands our hurts, our pain, cries with us, and watches over us 24/7 each day and night. We’ve been on a journey I never expected to take, but we are taking it together.

His father and grandparents also suffered with mental illness, which has made this harder to bear as studies have shown it to be an inherited disease. But, no matter what brought this all on God allowed it to use for His glory, that we would believe in the impossible as we sought a miracle. God gives us life. and every day is a gift, another opportunity to make it better than the day before. We choose to not waste them on worry or being anxious over things we have no control because we know who holds our tomorrows.

As God’s children, we hold that promise of hope, the power of Christ’s shed blood and redemption for our sins. And, by the virtue and power granted us through the Holy Spirit, we are a new creature in Him. Each day is a new day. And today belongs to us now.

In I Peter 5:7 & 10, it says, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Vs. 10, “And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.”

______________

Joyce E. Johnson (2017)

Posted October 4, 2017 by Joyce in Faith, My Writings

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