Archive for the ‘God’ Tag

Ever faithful and true   Leave a comment

The sky is clear but for a soft glow

and the dark silhouette of mountains and trees

reflecting back still images I see

while walking the path along the still lake

I lift my eyes to a twilight sky

feeling grateful, for it’s been a good day

My heart rejoices, and I silently pray

How great is Your name, ever faithful and true

all that I need or ever hope to be

I need only to trust in You.

_________________


Joyce E. Johnson (2017)

Road to recovery…and beyond   8 comments

“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.”

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Joyce E. Johnson (2017)

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

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Towards the Light

Though I cannot turn away

with blind eye or deaf ears

from all that happens in this world,

all that brings heartache and tears

I look to you, Oh Lord and dwell

upon the cross and not the fears

on our redemptive soul set free,

why you came, and why you died

that we might live eternally

without those things that bring us strife.

I turn my face towards the light

towards the assurance of new life.

________________

Joyce E. Johnson © 2017

THE SCRIBE

Image result for Ancient Hebrew Scrolls

THE SCRIBE

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

Like the deer

As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. Psalm 42:1

Like the deer in search for water

I seek and long after thee,

to drink from the stream of life where flows

the living water that washes through me,

and my parched soul be quenched by your spirit

to thirst no more, but refreshed and free.

__________________

Joyce E. Johnson (2016)

Posted December 5, 2016 by Joyce in Faith, My Photos, My Writings, Photography, Poems, poetry

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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.


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.

___________________________

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.

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