Monday, May 13, 2019

A Place of Stillness

“Be still and know that I am God.”
Psalm 46:10

I am a morning person. I prefer the quiet dark hours before either the sun or the birds awaken. A stillness that begs me to sit with a cup of hot black coffee and my open Bible rests unobtrusively across the day’s first hours.

Over the years I have developed an early morning routine that has drawn me closer and closer to Psalm 46:10—“Be still and know that I am God.” In the beginning, my mornings were filled with getting three children ready for school and myself ready for work. During those years, my closed and locked bathroom door became my best friend.

Eventually the children grew, dressed themselves and did not require as much of my time, and my still moments grew from five minutes to fifteen. I longed for more.

Finally the last child left the nest. My bathroom door no longer needed to be locked. The house grew quiet, and my place of stillness transferred from the bathroom to the dining room table.  Now I have the joy of uninterrupted quiet mornings.

I miss the days of children calling out, “Mom, where’s my tennis shoes?” “Mom, I need lunch money.” “Mom, don’t forget to sign my field trip papers.”  

I am reminded that life is not static. Things change—much too quickly. Time passes like Superman—faster than a speeding bullet. Our relationship with our Heavenly Father also changes as we take the time to be still and know Him, abandon our will to His and cultivate an intimate relationship that no earthly force can destroy.

I am glad that we do not have to search for God. He is always available. Whether we have five minutes behind locked bathroom doors or entire mornings with our hot coffee and Bibles, all we have to do is be still—abandon ourselves to Him—and be blessed.

We live in a noisy world, but in God there is a place of stillness.  

© Joyce Powell

Sunday, April 21, 2019

He is Risen

He was pierced for our transgressions,
He was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace
was upon him, and by his wounds we
are healed.
                             Isaiah 53:5 NIV 

…Why do you look for the living among the
dead? He is not here; He has risen!...
                             Luke 24:5-6 NIV

Jesus Christ humbled himself as a man and became obedient to death on a cross! (Philippians 2:8) He was betrayed by a friend, arrested by armed soldiers, denied by his disciples, and condemned by the religious leaders. He stood trial before the government, was beaten, spat upon, led away to be crucified and hung between two thieves.  

His forehead was pressed by a crown of thorns, His side was pierced with a sword while His Name hung above Him for all who would recognize the truth; King of the Jews.  
He was buried in a tomb hewn out of a rock, locked in by a stone which, by most historical accounts, weighed at least a ton, and guarded by Roman soldiers whose failure to achieve their mission could have cost them their lives. Yet Jesus could not be contained in His man-made grave. Matthew 28:1-4 explains the tomb’s opening.
“There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it.”

 Lest we forget, Jesus did not need the angel to open the grave so He could get out but so others could look in and see the empty tomb; a reminder of the awesome power of our God.    

He came from heaven to fulfill God's plan for the redemption of mankind. He returned to heaven where he sits at the right hand of His Father interceding for those who have put their faith and trust in Him. 
So today, I am encouraged! You see, I know the man who has the power to work all these things together for good. He walks on water! He raises the dead! He makes blind eyes see! He gives hearing to deaf ears! He gives a voice to those who cannot speak! He lights the sky with His glory, and the earth shakes at His command.

He cares for me. He cares for you. I trust Him. I know that whatever I am going through at this moment, it could not happen without His knowledge or approval. Often I do not understand. Still, I trust Him. Often I plead with Him for change. Still, I trust Him. Often I am tempted to give up, but still, I trust Him.

Be encouraged! He cares for you. He understands your sorrow and your pain. He suffered. He died. Trust Him, for He is risen!

© Joyce Powell

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

The Word of Calvary

And God said….
     Genesis 1:3 NIV 

In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God. He was
with God in the beginning.

       John 1:1-2   NIV 

He is dressed in a robe dipped in
Blood, and his name is the
Word of God.

       Revelation 19:13 NIV 

     During this Holy Week when we focus on the passion of Christ during the week before His crucifixion, it is important to remember that Calvary was neither an afterthought nor Plan B. Jesus is the logos, the Word of God. John 1 tells us that He was with God in the beginning. Genesis 1 reveals His presence and participation in creation as it recounts, “And God said…”  God spoke the Word and created.

     Revelation 19 reminds us that “The Word of God” is our salvation. From Genesis through Revelation, God’s Word is all about redeeming mankind to himself. Christ did not begin in Genesis, from the beginning, but rather He was with God in the beginning—before creation. There is a distinction.

     So remember this week as we think about Calvary and Christ and the Cross. Remember that God had a plan in place for the redemption of mankind before the spoken Word began the creation process. Remember that Jesus came to make God visible to all. Remember that Christ received the punishment for your sin  and mine before we knew we would need a Savior. Remember that God loves you and me so much that, “He gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

     As we lay Christ in the grave on Friday, do not forget that He arose on Sunday and lives forever seated at the right hand of His Father in heaven interceding on your behalf and on mine. We have reason to hope because Christ lives.

     The Word of God is the Word of Calvary and He Lives!

© Joyce Powell

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Jesus Built A Bridge

And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the
mount before the LORD. And, behold, the
LORD passed by, and a great and strong
wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces
the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was
not in the wind: and after the wind an
earthquake; but the LORD was not in the
earthquake: and after the earthquake a fire;
but the LORD was not in the fire: and after
the fire a still small voice.
                       1 Kings 19:11-12 KJV

Barraged daily by television images of hate, evil, and death, our enemy, satan, would like to discourage and intimidate God's Children. But do not be deceived. God is alive and well and in control of this world.

Elijah saw the mountains shake from a mighty wind, the earth quake at the bidding of God, and a fire burn. But God did not speak to Elijah through the mighty, the loud, or the ferocious. Instead, He spoke in a still small voice.

Today, in our world of constant noise, God continues to speak to His Children in a still small voice. He whispers peace in the midst of chaos. He whispers courage in the face of fear. He whispers joy in the face of sorrow and strength in the face of weakness.

Through His One and Only Son Jesus, God built a bridge that stretches from heaven to earth. It is there, In Christ, we find refuge and peace as we hear the still small voice speaking peace to our souls. Take refuge in Christ today. Do not fear. Do not be troubled. And, do not forget-God is always in control.

© Joyce Powell

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

The Risen Savior

"Knowing that you were
ransomed from
the futile ways inherited
from your forefathers,
not with perishable things
such as silver or gold,
but with the precious
blood of Christ, 
like that of a lamb
without blemish or spot.
He was foreknown before 
the foundation of the world 
but was made manifest 
in the last times for
the sake of you who
through him are 
believers in God, who 
raised him from the
dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God."

1Peter 1:18-21 ESV

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Beyond my Imagination

But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen,
nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined,
what God has prepared for those who love
him”—these things God has revealed to us
through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches
everything, even the depths of God.
                             1 Corinthians 2:9-10 

     Several years ago friends, a female trio, asked me to write a song about what we would see in heaven. I agreed—under one condition. I asked each of them to write down and mail to me their expectations of heaven. With the promise that they would not share with the others but with me alone, I began receiving their letters.

     I read, I smiled, I wept, and I wrote Glimpses of Home. Although these young women spent a lot of time together and each loved the Lord, as evidenced by the way they lived their lives, their views of heaven and what they were looking forward to seeing were individual exciting expectations.

     Why—because the heart of man cannot imagine the splendor and wonder our Heavenly Father has prepared for us. It is beyond our earthly comprehension. Heaven is beyond our imagination!

     As a young Christian, I looked forward to streets of gold, gates of pearl and walls of jasper. Now, I just want to sit at the feet of Jesus, to lay my crown of righteousness before the throne of God, to sing with the redeemed in perfect harmony—I am redeemed by love divine glory glory Christ is mine! I want to worship God!

     Ecclesiastes 3:11 confirms that God has planted eternity in the hearts of man. We have a longing to see Him. We know there is more than what our earthly life offers. As His children, we anxiously await our reunion in heaven. Occasionally, as when my mother was dying, God gives us glimpses of home by allowing our loved ones to speak aloud what they are seeing. But it seems that it is always just enough to intensify our longing to see for ourselves.

     Some day God will call each of us into eternity, and we will see with our eyes what our hearts and minds have only imagined. I know one thing for sure! Heaven is “bright and clear.” The rest is beyond my imagination.  

©Joyce Powell

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Rejoice Always

Rejoice always!
1 Thessalonians 5:15 HCSB

Recently, my husband and I had the pleasure of joining in worship in my hometown church. A lot has changed since my childhood; the church is larger both in the physical size of the building and the congregation. Many of the precious older folks that I loved so well now walk the golden streets of heaven, and like me, many of my childhood friends have moved away. However, there remains enough friends and familiar faces to still make it feel like home.

As my husband and I lifted our voices joyfully singing the old hymns that we love so much, a childhood friend stepped from his seat a couple of rows in front of us and made his way to the end of our row. Placing his arm around my husband, the three of us melted into a trio of harmony as our voices lifted the praises of our Lord, and our hearts swelled with joy.

I felt the words of Nehemiah 8:10, “the joy of the Lord is your strength,” spring to life as verse after verse drew me back to bygone years and pulled me forward towards the day I will meet my Savior face to face. In those moments, rejoicing flowed as natural as cool water from the top of a rain-soaked mountain.

Rejoicing comes easy during those sweet moments. However, rejoicing at the bedside of a dying parent, rejoicing with your hand pressed against a glass as you stare at a child in an orange jumpsuit, rejoicing when a friend turns her back on you—not as easy. Yet the Apostle Paul wrote these words to the church in Thessalonica to embolden them to forge ahead in the midst of persecution. Rejoice always!

Rejoicing bubbles up from the depths of your soul. You cannot manufacture rejoicing. You cannot bring it to the surface on command. You cannot call it forward by an act of your will. It happens! When you trust in the Lord with all your heart! When you know without a doubt that God is able and in control! When you cannot see God’s plan but you trust His hand! Then, although your heart may be broken, your life may seem shattered, or your future may look hopeless, then you can rejoice and gain strength from the Lord.

Be encouraged! Remember, “the joy of the Lord is your strength,” and rejoice always!

© Joyce Powell