Archive for the ‘Christianity’ Tag
With sheets of old yellowed parchment spread out
the scribe sits down at his splintered worn desk,
and with withered hand he dips his quill
into a thick substance inside the inkwell,
and turns his face towards Heaven, blessed be He,
God of the universe, and praise to the One
who sits on the throne, all the earth be His.
It is not what the scribe hears with audible voice,
but what his heart hears and knows to be true
for that which is given him scribed upon
with sweeping gesture, flourish and swirls
the Hebraic characters penned in ink
are the scribe’s writings on ancient scrolls.
Joyce E. Johnson © 2017
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 news is grim; too much the norm.
The media converging, microphones ready,
people with cell phone cameras, and video,
like vultures swarming, taking their shot
posting to Facebook and Twitter get ‘Likes,’
repeats and coverage every few minutes,
again with all of the horrific details
that thrive on the feeds
of viral sites with streaming bytes.
Shouting, screaming, fists raised to the sky;
it’s another demonstration, another protest;
they rant, and rage at the opposing side,
and take their fight out into the streets.
“Stop the violence. No more guns.”
“Too many lives lost, too much bloodshed.”
“So much is wrong.”
“We need new laws.”
“Let’s find a way. Let’s work things out.”
Candidates throw their insults
at their running mates.
It’s a tiresome scene, their platform pushed
till despairing words tossed back are extreme
in hopes to win their party nomination
retracts a comment, misconstrued.
The issue of life at conception is heard
and once more it’s Roe vs. Wade revisited again.
“Punish the woman who takes a life,” a candidate says
“But, she has her rights. It’s her choice,” another argues.
The skies light up. Bombs explode.
Terrorists strike again inside
borders streaming with refugees that flee.
No country or people is immune to the threat
from wherever it comes, or intended place
there’s fear and distrust; it’s now what we face.
Will it be safe, to travel, be free,
to walk through airport terminals or streets?
God, give us a leader who is wise, and sincere,
who will stand for the things we once believed in.
At a nuclear summit with their tables full
leaders promise, “All will be better,
Just give it a chance. If we all can agree to
eliminate the threat by destroying the nukes.”
A new judge appointed to the supreme court
angers dissenters; they don’t agree.
The turmoil spills into the courts
where laws are muddied and can’t protect
those who stand to honor and abide
by their conscious convictions what they feel is right.
None can promise a way to spare
the country or world of problems shared.
All is in chaos wherever one lives,
memorial sites are erected for victims now dead.
Where are we headed?
Where is the foundation we built our lives on?
For what once was there is all but gone.
Is what we see, and what we hear
a repeat of the past, or more of the same?
There is no place where there is no strife,
where greed and corruption is not at home.
Where can one go where their soul is free?
Where there is no hate, death threats, or pain?
I lift my eyes and train my ears where cometh the sound
of a distant trumpet, and God’s Son appears on the clouds.
I’ll not worry, nor fear what happens on this earth,
or what one can do to me,
for what I know to be true
is that it is His Kingdom that will come and reign.
Joyce E. Johnson © 2016
The Garden Tomb of Jesus in Jerusalem, Israel: photo taken May, 2001 while on tour of Israel.
He did not come to guarantee
that your life would not know pain,
but that you would have joy,
and from the clutch of sin be free.
He did not die to be remembered
as one wronged, then crucified,
but one raised up and resurrected,
and be crowned King of Kings.
Joyce E. Johnson © 2016
The story of Jesus’s death and resurrection can be found in chapters 19 & 20 of the book of John in the New Testament Bible, NIV.
I wish you all a happy, blessed Easter filled with hope, peace and love.
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
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.
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)
I turn once more my eyes toward you
when I gaze upon heavens’ blue sky
your promise of faithfulness I keep
though I don’t always know just what to do
when confusion swirls about in my mind buried deep
my muse grows mellow through time when I’m weak
and though I seek, but not always find
every answer that comes to all that I see
I know without fail you’re there in my need
and I hope the image one sees in me
is a reflection of the greater one seen in thee.
Joyce E. Johnson (2015)