Lent 40 JoY

joy

Lent 40 JoY
One of my favorite verses is found in Hebrews 12. It says, “for the JOY set before Him, He endured the cross.”

The entire portion says: Hebrews 12:1-2 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross,despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

Sometimes there are things we simply have to endure. Jesus endured the cross for us. He asked 3 times for that “cup” to be removed and yet added, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” (Luke 22).

We sure can ask not to need to endure but if we must then somehow we can also do it with JOY. Not giddy-excited-happy-clappy joy but a quiet enduring joy that comes from a heart that KNOWS that no matter WHAT God is WITH us.

As we remember…and look forward to Resurrection Sunday, Lord help us to endure and also teach us what true JOY is. We find JOY when we know that somewhere someone is GLAD to be with us. No matter what.
And help us be that someone for another at times.

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Lent 36 No Need to Fear

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Lent 36
The photos are the exact same place on the exact same day. But in one there are waves and in the other calm.
 
Calm is the natural state of that water.
Peace is our natural state too.
We were created to live in joy and shalom.
 
I had the Littles with me yesterday.
A rather large boat went past way out in the water.
 
Suddenly to their delight, waves appeared.
Both boys were delighted and full of joy.
 
After the waves passed I asked the older one (7) what caused the waves?
He was completely befuddled. So I asked him, what happened just before the waves?
Still mystified.
I said, “Remember that BIG boat? It caused the waves.”
We were intentional to see the wake and waves from the next boat that came along. It was much smaller.
 
Sometimes, isn’t life like that for us? We are going along and life is calm. Then suddenly with no warning life is full of waves. Sometimes we delight in the good surprise but other times, not so much. Thank goodness we have a God who is always with us and so we do not need to fear.
 
The river returned to peace and calm. Kason learned a new fact. I think I learned a lesson too.

Lent 35 Compassion of God

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Lent 35

Have you experienced the compassion of God? Do you NEED to experience His loving compassion?

He is compassionate. Slow to anger and abounding in grace. And because he is, especially once we have experienced God as El Rachum, we then will find it normal to show compassion to others. Not always easy but the norm.

Exodus 33:19 And the LORD said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the LORD, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.

Isaiah 54:10 For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed,” says the LORD, who has compassion on you.

Colossians 3:12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

Trees and Storms

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Memories on FB showed me something I wrote after the hurricane in 2016. That was also just a few weeks before Don died. Little did I know that in the next two years I would have to apply that “thinking” in my own life.

I decided to create a visual. The trees in this picture have withstood not just the hurricane in 2016 but another in 2017. They are still there today.

Death is a different sort of storm. It is, as I said in the original writing a season of drought and wind and storms.

Just like in a hurricane, it causes change in everyone around you. The roles of the relationship cease. Life is vastly different. Dynamics of family and friends change. Our very identity changes. Death is much bigger and more far reaching than the loss of a person.

BUT if we are like a tree planted by streams of Living Water, we will endure and not just endure, we can flourish. Just like these trees at Mandarin Park.

ORIGINAL THINKING: Thinking….
We had the hurricane. Seemingly healthy and sturdy trees were simply uprooted. People are helping others too.
Then reading today in Jer 17:8 They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”
We can not tell by looking at a person how they really are. How deep their “roots” go. Sometimes we do have deep roots and then such a huge storm comes that we need to be “shorn up” by others too.
How does a tree get deep roots? By going through times of “drought” in part. By facing “winds” and “storms”.
The notion came to me that one reason we are instructed to “Pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18) could be because just like the trees in my town, we NEED strong roots in God. Every trial, every struggle, every “drought, storm, wind” we face could be something that is sending our roots deeper and deeper into the bedrock/cornerstone which is faith in Jesus.
Be blessed in the Lord this day,
Joan

Strong

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I woke up thinking about some people I know. They have their trials, we all do. But they are STRONG in the LORD.

The phrase I woke with was STRONG in the LORD and in HIS Mighty POWER. That is found in Ephesians 6:10 but there are many places where we are reminded that when we ARE weak, and we often are, then we are also STRONG in/because of the LORD.

James 1:2-4 says: 2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

These particular ladies have lived that way and are living that way.
Then I went on to think of others, probably all who are reading this, who are STRONG even when they feel very weak and overwhelmed.
Life can be overwhelming and that is OK because Jesus said, “When (not if) your heart is overwhelmed come to the Rock.” (Psalm 61:2)

Verses to Ponder:
Eph 6:10 be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.

2 Timothy 2:1 You therefore, my child, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.

Psalm 138:3 In the day when I cried you answered me, and strengthened me with strength in my soul.

Psalm 63:7-8 For You are my help; I will sing for joy in the shadow of Your wings. I cling to you; your right hand upholds me.
2 Cor. 12:9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
Ephesians 3:16 I pray that out of the riches of His glory He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being,
Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.
Isaiah 41:10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Safe in/with Abba’s Love

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I was working on some couplets I got from a little book by Sylvia Gunter called Nuggets from Revealing The Treasures.
One of them was: He is everlasting. Isaiah 40:28
I am eternally safe. Philippians 1:6

He is everlasting. Isaiah 40:28 Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable.

Dodi Note: God is everlasting, eternal, forever. God created the earth and all else that exists. God does not get tired, and even better his UNDERSTANDING is unsearchable.

Think about it. God formed us in our mother’s womb. But even before that God ordained all the days of our life for us before even one of them came to be. We are enscribed on the very palm of His hand and kept as the apple of his eye. Do you think he cares about us? Intimately? Does he understand why we do the silly things we do? I believe he does. And that is why he loves us. When a small child is tired and cranky a good parent tends to the child’s true need. They do not discipline the child for being tired and cranky. (Well some parents do, but a wise loving parent would not). I beleive God is the same with our pecularities or even our tantrums. He knows what wounded us. He knows what areas of our heart, mind, soul, body need healing. So he acts vs reacts when we have a melt down or even make a very poor choice.

Formed us in the womb: Jer. 1:5a “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
All days ordained for me: Psalm 139:16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.
Engraved us in the palm of His hand: Isaiah 49:16
Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are continually before me.
Holds us as the “apple of his eye”. That phrase refers to being very close to someone and being so close you can see your reflection in the pupil of their eye. WoW! Right? God is really up close, personal and hence available to us.
Psalm 17:8 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
Deuteronomy 32:10
“He found him in a desert land, And in the howling waste of a wilderness; He encircled him, He cared for him, He guarded him as the pupil of His eye.
And just because I love it: Psalm 36:7
How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God! And the children of men take refuge in the shadow of Your wings.

 

Awaken My Heart To Shalom

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From The Heart of Abba

Awaken, My heart, To Shalom

Shalom Shalom
Shalom my heart
Awaken to Shalom

Shalom Shalom
Shalom my heart
Awakened by Shalom

Shalom Shalom
Shalom my heart
Awaken in Shalom

The peace of God,
Gentle love filled peace,
Awakens my heart
To Shalom.

(We were created by Shalom,
To live in Shalom.
Shalom of body, soul, mind.)

Note:  Biblical meaning of Shalom: a Hebrew word meaning peace, harmony, wholeness, completeness, prosperity, welfare and tranquility and can be used idiomatically to mean both hello and goodbye.

 

Hope

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From The Heart of Abba Today:
Abba can you explain hope again?
 
Beloved,
Hope is a person.
Hope is a position.
Hope is the glue,
That holds your life together.
 
You think, you have no hope,
Yet each time you “live and move and have your being in Me”,
You are living in Hope.
 
Hope truly is the sure and certain knowing,
That no matter what life brings,
Or doesn’t bring,
You are safe .
 
Safe to live and move and “be” in My Love.
So Hope is the anchor.
Which holds life steady,
During every single storm.
 
Verses to ponder:
Hebrews 6 18That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold on the hope set before us: 19Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters into that within the veil; 20Where the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.
Psalm 62:5 My soul, wait in silence for God only, For my hope is from Him.
Psalm 27:14 Wait for the LORD; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the LORD.
Psalm 31:14 Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all you that hope in the LORD.
Psalm 40:1 I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined to me, and heard my cry.
Psalm 130:5 I wait for the LORD, my soul does wait, and in his word do I hope.