Imagine! Something new and exciting was about to happen for the Lord’s people. They were at the cusp of their conquest of Canaan—their promised land, the land flowing with milk and honey. But the officers of the Israel’s camp brought a surprising command to the people. Once the Levitical priests bearing the arc of the covenant of the Lord their God began to move, they were to follow, though at a safe distance of 2,000 cubits. Joshua told the people to consecrate themselves for the Lord would do wonders among them!
Their great numbers, camped next to the Jordan’s swollen banks, were to cross those rushing waters. Can you put yourself in their shoes? Can you hear the rushing waters, see the overflow of the banks, and realize this is an impossible task for anyone wishing to cross in their own strength?
That next day, as soon as the priests put their obedient feet in the water, the Lord of all the earth rested in the water. Jordan river backed up in a heap all the way back to the city called Adam. Israel crossed over on dry ground, much like when Israel crossed the Red Sea. God’s miraculous timing showed that at the obedience of the priests, this powerful, living God parted the rushing harvest-time waters so wide that the people could cross with their great numbers and possessions. Joshua declared the words of the Lord their God. “By this you shall know that the living God is among you, and He will assuredly dispossess from before you. . .” God had a plan and he wanted Israel in the promised land He’d chosen for them.
Twelve men chosen from the twelve tribes of Israel took up twelve stones from where the priests stood firm in the midst of the Jordan. They obediently followed Joshua’s order to carry the stones on their shoulders to the place where they lodged. When everything was finished that the Lord commanded then Joshua told the priests to come up out of the Jordan. As soon as the priests stepped on dry ground the waters fell into place and overflowed the banks as before.
Joshua set up these stones in Gilgal as a memorial to the children of Israel forever. Forever for all the people of the earth to know that He had dried up the waters of the Jordan for Israel to cross, because the hand of the Lord is mighty and for us to fear (revere, respect, hold in esteem) the Lord God Forever!
I taught this lesson for Sunday school and this powerful message gripped me and wouldn’t let go. When I think of the details in chapters three and four of the book of Joshua, I imagine the feelings that I'd experience in that situation. So encumbered by human weakness, I'd see the impossible move out of the way, so that I could move forward into His blessings and promises!
I went to Bible study with friends the next day and found these stones stacked one upon another in a gift and sandwich shop. I felt this could be my memorial to my mighty, loving, and all powerful Father. I’m sure that Joshua placed the twelve tribe’s stones in a much different construction, but no matter—when I look at my stack of river rocks, I remember my Jordans and smile!
There are many who say, “Who will show us any good?” Lord, lift up the light of thy countenance upon us. You have put gladness in my heart, more than in the season that their grain and wine increase. I will both lie down in peace, and sleep; For You alone
O LORD, make me dwell in safety .Psalms 4:6-8 NKJV
Negative situations and individuals may be an everyday experience for us. Difficulties can abound, littering life with disappointments and pain. David cried out with verse one, Give me relief from my distress, be merciful to me and hear my prayer. Matthew Henry states ‘When men condemn us unjustly, this is our comfort, It is God who justifies; He is the God of the believers righteousness.’ When the LORD lifts up the light of His countenance upon us, it changes something significant inside our heart and spirit. Something we could never hope to change in our own strength. Oh, the love of our Lord is ever-present and healing.
Imagine experiencing His presence during a trial. His uplifting, cleansing, nurturing, filling causes the overcoming of each painful experience. David mentions in Psalms 4:4 Be angry, and do not sin. Meditate within your hearts on your bed, and be still. When angry, isn’t it quite difficult to keep silent? Our minds may run over and over the topic of our dis-ease or uneasiness. But, once we have settled down to obey the Lord and be still, His love, joy, and bounty can fill those wounded places inside our hearts. May His name be glorified! What a summertime joy within our spirit! Peace, long-suffering, patience, forgiveness, loving kindness, truth, and grace will change us to resemble Him in character and attitude. Our joy in this transformation is over and above the material gain and glory this world offers.
Worldly gain can be destroyed by drought, fire, or storm. The work of the Lord in our hearts can’t be taken away from us by loss, pain or bad report unless we allow it. I’m not saying that trials aren’t difficult. Sometimes it's all we can do to hold on to Him. But, with His strength it's doable. Receiving His approval is like a balm. He bolsters us up and fortifies us with courage to overcome life’s disasters. He makes us stronger if we become quiet and receptive in His presence. As long as we allow His ministrations to those pain-filled tempests we will become spiritually rich. Despite tragedies and because of them too, our response to His Spirit can be instrumental in offering healing and wisdom to others.
He is like a tree planted by the rivers of water. That brings forth it’s fruit in season, whose leaf also does not wither. And whatever he does prospers. Psalms 1:3
We can be those spiritual fruit-bearing trees laden down with the sweet offerings of a fruitful life. Our hearts, our names, our purposes are safe in Him, and we will prosper for all eternity in His presence for His glory.
Be still, receive, and thrive!
But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like the foolish man who builds his house on sand. Matthew 7:26
Foundations and cornerstones, their purpose is to supply integrity of strength and stability to a building. All other stones, bricks or materials for construction are set in reference to the cornerstone and depend on a sturdy foundation. Hopefully, the structure is situated on something stronger than sand. Quality building, learning, writing, or relationships begin with attention to the foundation.
Now here is where I get personal. My foundation does depend upon my relationship to the Lord first and foremost. When His presence touches that wounded or jubilant place in my heart, mind, and spirit then the foundation for my relationships or writing or whatever needs my attention is securely set. Out from that safe place of relationship, flows ideas, dreams, and grace that I could not have hoped to imagine before.
It has been said in the book called, Wired For Story by Lisa Cron that our brains are hardwired for story. To quote her, “Story helps us survive not only in the life-and-death physical sense but also in a life-well-lived social sense.” Maybe that is why our Lord spoke in parables. He reached into that place where our minds hunger for truth, for survival, and quality relationships. We desire to know why, how, and when to do something. How do we react or respond? We want to watch or read how a character handles a knotty situation without physically experiencing the trial. I believe we are motivated by story because we want to apply what we learn. Story teaches us to be courageous, clever, and offers us a blueprint for what could possibly work in our own tragedies and difficulties that life tosses our way. We want to be accepted, appreciated, and be smart when it comes to our accomplishments and decisions.
You may have a story or poem burning in your heart today. You may have a true story or memoir, which needs to be written. My advice is to know your characters so well that the story emerges from their situation or pain. I believe that fiction is an important vehicle for tapping into teaching others how to make good choices. Fiction is useful. It’s not just entertainment or fluff. Not if we are responsible about learning how to write those characters and their situations so strongly that the reader will think they are looking into the mirror. I believe if we do listen to Jesus’s words and apply them to our lives habitually, then we will write about those concerns hardwired to the everyday mind. People are searching for reason and purpose. What is that gut wrenching truth our reader has to know? What is it they anxiously fear? What is imperative to their life socially and spiritually? What can we write that matters for our readers to believe so that they can apply truth to their life? The gauntlet has been tossed to you writer, will you accept the challenge to write about essential, worthy matters that will encourage or provide that blueprint to your readers before they turn off the lights and consider some other dream?
Consider your foundations and please don’t build on sand.
This is a re-share for I'd written this in March 2013.
Last week on April 27 I meant to advertise that Christian Devotions would publish my devotion that day. Last week was an absolute whirlwind of activity so that post information wasn't shared until late.
This fine morning while checking out the Christian Devotions website more thoroughly, I discovered that there is an 'Author List' and when you click the name of the author underneath the author photo you can see the list of devotions she or he had published on Christian Devotions! I wanted to make it easy for my visitors to find my links.
Also, I've signed up for the daily devotional emails and have really benefited from those readings! Here are my shares, I hope you visit those devotions. May God's rich blessings and joy be had for you this day!
Many More Things
Grace, Grace, God’s Grace
“This I know and this I don’t know—yet will I trust.” 1 Charles Haddon Spurgeon
A man so well quoted, Charles Spurgeon lived in those uncertain times when the Industrial Revolution took hold of England and changed society forever. He grew up in a rural village not yet caught up with those changes, the son of a Congregationalist father and grandfather—independent preachers both of them. Spurgeon became a Christian at a Primitive Methodist meeting in 1850, then converted into a Baptist and not long afterwards, he began preaching. At the age of nineteen, he drew a crowd that overflowed a twelve-hundred-seat church. His listeners grew and he eventually made his home base at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, which seated six thousand people.
Charles Spurgeon’s message reached people displaced by the great changes and struggles of this time period in England. His life so rich in prayer and Bible knowledge, coupled with his expectation that God still revealed Himself in the everyday, brought life and hope to society.
Questions did not daunt him. He knew this about God, that he could trust His love, provision, and leading, though the path before his feet seemed dim at times. His delivery of scriptural truth and revelation about God was unique, for he acted out of stories, marched across the stage, used poetry, drama, and free flowing emotion with gestures fitted for large crowds.
Aren’t you grateful for those who’ve refused to obey the restrictions of tradition to follow the freshness of God’s life-giving truth and abundance? Unrest has been a reoccurring theme in the lives of societies and peoples all through the ages. The protection and truth that God’s word brings is often taken for granted, until those privileges are stripped away.
We may not know all of the answers, but we can offer comfort and direction to others by extending grace and truth, which we become acquainted with as we spend time abiding in Him. Love is stronger than hate, but having a cursory knowledge of His love will not hold us in a tsunami of anger and hatred. It is time for me to have an intimate relationship with the Lord of Lords and King of Kings and not a superficial one. How about you? Are you ready for a life filled with meaning, challenge, and alliance with the Creator of the Universe? If you are, I want to forewarn you that such a life will bring excitement, challenges, and blessings beyond what you could otherwise hope to imagine! Let the adventure begin—if you dare!
Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in Me. John 15:4
Cursory—going rapidly over something, without noticing details; hasty; superficial, running
1 Spurgeon’s sermons on The Death and resurrection of Jesus, C.H. Spurgeon, Preface by Patricia S. Klein Pg. iii – v
All is not lost
Messiah has come
Provided the full cost
Spirit blood water a son
Listen up you that are lost
Satan has you on a run
Believe and receive at all cost
Father Son Spirit
Lord Jesus Christ
This poem was shared with me by Viola's son, Arnie Haverlein. Thank you Arnie! This is a precious poem and your mother's love for Jesus shines through!
Behold, these are the fringes of His ways; And how faint a word we hear of Him! But His mighty thunder, who can understand? Job 26:14
Blinking Ben, tom turkey extraordinaire, swallowed the last acorn he’d found on the ground hiding among leaves and sticks. Some dark berries waved in the breeze about five feet away, teasing him to the boarder of a yard where people had been known to shoot at targets and laugh at the most ridiculous humors. Yet they seemed fascinating, intriguing, and fun. The nagging warning from Reverend Inky McKee wafted in his mind, “Keep your distance from humans. Do not fall for their traps, literally—their ways lead to destruction.” With that, Reverend Inky McKee gobbled and strutted and struck the wisest pose, which definitely caught the eye of Blinking Ben’s sweet Polly Tweed. Sadness sent a spasm of dread and helplessness through his puffed-up chest. Almost causing his feathers to ruffle. “Help me, Lord.” But who could challenge anyone like Inky McKee, even for the love of his life? Leaves rustled in the foliage beyond.
Seeing the narrow squeeze through tightly growing trees didn’t sway his determination to pursue another direction. These few trees might be no problem at all. He would flap his way to the V shaped trunk—though it proved a bit high—and make a mighty hop through the opening, even if he had to turn sideways and around, before gliding onto the smartly trimmed grass. Colorful fall flowers harboring delicious bugs and maybe a young snake or two—the ones who could be dodging their way beneath the plants—captured his full attention. Blinking Ben’s appetite seemed insatiable and the flower garden promised morsels dangled with availability just across the dangerous tuff of green. Which didn’t seem so very hazardous after all. Did it? Really? This was a time to experience bounty and be thankful. A time before the winter winds and temperatures sliced his traveling and dining choices in half! Ben spread his wings and pushed, catching a slight breeze and his talons slipped against the rugged bark not taking hold. Rustling in the bushes along the green lawn snatched his attention. Polly Tweed chirped and seemed trapped in the brush. He leapt upward and his grip held. Maneuvering his wings and chest through the parted branches, he scrapped through the opening which seemed smaller than he realized.
Blinking Ben caught Polly’s attention just as the door to the human’s house opened and the dog ran out! The furry beast dashed toward Polly. Fly! Ben never stopped to consider where that word-thought came from. With one huge push Blinking Ben glided toward the dog blinking all the way. They collided—taking the dog by surprise they tumbled on the tuff of green. Polly pulled free and Ben shielded her from canine teeth and claws, taking a cut to his chest. They pushed backwards into the brush, breaking some of Ben’s most showy feathers. The beast of a dog yelped and reversed his direction toward the beginning of the brush. Then the dog clawed at its collar. Ben had never seen such a long dripping tongue as that canine displayed. Of course, Ben had to push out his chest and display his wonderful feathers.
Reverend Inky McKee met them at the opposite edge of the woods, gobbling all the way. Polly Tweed faced Ben. Touching her wing to his, as rain began to fall and thunder roared, she said, “Come my hero, let’s go find our tree.” If Blinking Ben’s snood hadn’t blushed red before—it did now.
Blinking Ben dipped his head. “Lord, I thank you. Even if You had to make it rain to answer.” Together they flapped their wings on the rise of the wind in the thundering storm with hearts full of gratitude and thanksgiving!
The words of the Lord are pure words; As silver tried in a furnace on the earth, refined seven times. Psalms 12:6
Comforting, stabilizing, and encouraging are the loving words of our Father, whether we are joy-filled and elated or down-cast and trodden upon. His words bring life and liberate us from the weighty situations and attitudes this world harbors. When someone has spent much time with Him and soaked in the refreshment and grace His truth delivers, they draw us like a gravitational pull. There is a natural delight and purity that we find attractive, and we sense necessary. But when the undercurrent of law upon the lips of one with an unsoftened heart speaks—the opposite occurs. Bars of unreasonable expectation and critical judgment can hem us in if we do not make our escape.
Who have sharpened their tongue like a sword. They aimed bitter speech as their arrow, To shoot from concealment at the blameless… Psalm 64:3-4a What is the language of the evil one? Lying accusations, disrespect, and belittlement, which yields oppressive fruit. But oh, to discover the language of heaven, which bears abundant life, joy, and hope. How grateful I am that our holy and perfect Father provides our righteousness through Jesus so that we can luxuriate with Him in life eternal. Yet, we need to know His directives: accept, follow and abide.
His kindness and invitation to come unto Me never falters. His message to His children doesn’t devastate or tramp down the spirit. He speaks correction that brings health and life that we may either chose to accept or deny. His precious thoughts toward us outnumber the sands of the sea and are too numerous to count.(1) He is the only way to journey to truth and life.
My soul saddens greatly when blanket accusations wreak their poison. I’ve heard someone accusing his brothers and sisters in the Lord with statements harshly edged in judgment. Was that the sting of contempt upon his tongue? Why? How perfect are any of us? Do we not all share that talent to disappoint? Do we not all need forgiveness and intercessors who pray for life and liberty of our own personal challenges? I suppose it all boils down to what language we wish to speak and what fruit we wish to bear. Will we speak the language of the Devil and spew suspicion, division, and critical unforgiveness? Or will we allow our thoughts and words to produce a garden of delights filled with encouragement, truth that shines a light on hope for future pathways that will lead heavenward? Shall we pray for things that are not as though they were? (2) That is how I wish others to pray for me. How about you?
Words so easily slide off the tongue, yet, are impossible to retrieve after they’ve been spent. I wish this to be my prayer—this prayerful verse from Psalm 19:14--Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Thy sight, O Lord my rock and my Redeemer. Psalms 19:14
2 Romans 4:17
she is so slender and soft a reed
that his breath
sways her gently in the breeze of it.
and he, knowing her heart,
tends her with all ease of soul...
she, his soul
he, her life
and they adrift in a pool,
two slender reeds
afloat on the mystic winds of love.
photo and verse © john kopecky 28 Sept 2018
This poem has the feeling of Song of Solomon or Song of Songs in my opinion! I wish to thank John Kopecky, my friend and poet and artist extraordinaire for sharing his talents and gifts with us mere mortals! You may discover more of his poetry and art on his blog sykhgbmnmopljh.blogspot.com and his ebooks are available on Amazon, Kindle, and Barnes & Noble, Nook.
A NOTE FROM JOHN:
I have photo prints and watercolor pieces for sale. . .some appear on G+ as posts and can be found on my profile, photos. Total of over 70 chapbooks written with about 36 printed in some form--one underway but still developing contact through blog.
Thank you John! I really appreciate your work and your heart! Be blessed always!
I will give Thee thanks in the great congregation; I will praise Thee among a mighty throng. Psalm 35:18
Oh, the pain of being broken like a vessel shattered against bricks; the scattered pieces too many to count or replace. And suffering rude individuals who behave as though they have forgotten or merely ignore one’s presence is harsh indeed. King David experienced hostilities from friends and enemies alike throughout his lifetime. At times, terror and scheming hounded him—even from close family members. He’d cried out to the Lord against their threats and advances for they were as smiters he’d not known, slanderers who would not cease. Like godless jesters at a feast they gnashed…with their teeth…how long wilt Thou look on…
Even so David purposed in his heart to praise the Lord. No matter how ugly and fearsome the crowd, this king eventually focused on our magnanimous Lord to praise and expound His attributes! His determination to honor God instead of speaking hasty, unfaithful blame and criticism endeared him to our Father. I must admit that I’ve not been quick to praise in the midst of difficulties as David was apt to do. He has become my inspiration and I admire his devoted affection to the Lord. King David proved how he could stray and make huge mistakes, but he’d bounce back and express the loveliest heartfelt praise and trust in the Lord.
Within the winds of trouble even a king isn’t saved by the might of horses or strong armies. Such advantages are false hope…victory that dissolves into vapor. Try as we may, our strength will fail to overcome, unless we rely upon God who is our ever-present help in times of trouble. We don’t know Him only with intellect for He purposed that the simple things would confound the wise. We can know Him with the intimacy of relationship and heartfelt gratitude. Oh, how slandering lips can ravage the most honorable reputation to ears willing to hear reproach aimed at others. Laughter follows the stumbling of good men or women as critical individuals gnash their teeth and sharpen their mocking attacks. Yet, David shares that when we cry the Lord hears and delivers us out of all our troubles. When the worse comes, may we trust Him.
When we are dashed cruelly to the brickworks of mistreatment and disrespect my hope is that we would arise with undivided hearts to luxuriate and honor His name above all else.
O magnify the Lord with me, And let us exalt His name together. I sought the Lord and He delivered me from all my fears. Psalm 34:3 and 4
Father, may You fill us with Your love and grace to combat the evil and negativity that can attack us. Accusations may fly easily off the tongue of those who do not guard their lips. May we arise with vigor and strength that only comes from You to be a blessing and bring honor to Your name that is above all other names. Amen