A 40-something time period, whether days, months, or years is ALWAYS a period of testing

40Since the evening of April 8, 2013,  I have been _engrossed_ in a mission to Save Wissahickon Park, a National Natural Landmark in Philadelphia, from inappropriate use — the installation of a “Go Ape” zipline tree top adventure concession. That evening in April, a coalition was born, Alliance for Preservation of the Wissahickon (APOW)¹, and forged through the “done deal” plans to hault the installation. The plan was proposed by Philadelphia Parks and Recreation. Yesterday press released the direction has been abandoned, Praise God! From the evening of April 8th until today has been 40 Days. It is no coincidence that today, I first counted the days and that 40 concluded this mission. 

P.Jacobi_painting1

Painting of the mill on Wises Mill Road.~ Patti Poppert

There are at least ten instances in the Old Testament and New Testament where 40 occurs, either in years or days, e.g. it rained for 40 days and 40 nights.

A 40-something time period, whether days, months, or years is ALWAYS a period of testing, trial, probation, or chastisement (but not judgment) and ends with a period of restoration, revival or renewal.² To name just a few:

  1. It rained for 40 days and 40 nights when God wanted to cleanse the world and start over.
  2. Moses was on the mountain with God for 40 days (TWICE)
  3. The Israelites spent 40 years in the wilderness, one year for each day they explored the Promised Land.
  4. Goliath came for forty days before being killed by David
  5. Elijah strengthened by one angelic meal went forty days to Mount Horeb where the Lord passed by and he heard the voice of God
  6. Jesus fasted for 40 days in the wilderness
  7. Jesus was seen in the earth 40 days after His crucifixion³

Empowerment and blessing which covered this period of 40 days was ever present. God orchestrated the unity of many caring and compassionate, intelligent people to accomplish a mission that certainly must have been close to His heart. The course was steep, intense and a relentless thief of time. The Wissahickon Valley Park has been called a “sanctuary” by some— a refuge from the encroachment of city life. In this transcendent park, God speaks through His Creation and His Creation abides in the park.

40 days of rain passed before Noah opened the window in the ark. Today the window opened and I know He guided the course!

I am expecting to share great things with Rejoycin’ readers over the next months. The outward evidence of breakthrough is only a mere reflection of unperceived gain.

photo: C. Cotter

Yellow Trail, Saved May 21, 2013 ~photo: C. Cotter

Praise God for His strength
Praise God for His reign
His mercies at length
Renewal past pain

Embraced in His Goodness
Transported in rain
Immeasurable Justness
Commissioned ordained

The morning is nearing
A promise fulfilled
Elation appearing
The tide is now stilled

If ever a time would I question Your Hand
Return me ponder Your quake of the Land

¹APOW is a grassroots advocacy group consisting of a growing coalition of members,
including: Friends of Wissahickon (FOW) Trail Ambassadors, PA Equine Council, Central Roxborough Civic Association, Upper Roxborough Civic Association, Members of Girls Scouts of America, Sierra and Audubon Club Members, Friends of Wissahickon Members, regional park users and Philadelphia taxpayers, stakeholders and almost 2,000 petition signers
²http://belovedheart.wordpress.com/2009/11/13/the-significance-of-the-number-40-in-the-bible/
³http://www.40day.com/40_in_the_bible.html

God Is Sovereign over Delays

“The mind of man plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps.” Proverbs 16:9

rabiulis, Flickr Commons; traffic jam

rabiulis, Flickr Commons; traffic jam

I cannot take credit for the fact that a friend sent this to me in the midst of a wait that is testing my patience. OK, so I know it, it’s basic growth and experience—in the end God chooses the best path for His purpose. Even so, the timeliness of this post had me sit up and say, “Yes God, I hear You. Thank you.”

Irritation, frustration, anger; all are tapping on my mind when the following text appears in my inbox:

No one likes to wait, but have you ever wondered why? It’s because delays show us that we are not in control. Someone or something else is calling the shots. Although we may be able to identify the immediate cause–like a traffic light or the long checkout line–ultimately the One who controls all our delays is the Lord. Since He is sovereign over everything in heaven and on earth, even our time and schedules are in His hands.

This means that in every delay, we are actually waiting for God in one way or another. You might have thought that the expression “waiting upon the Lord” applies only to seeking guidance from Him or an answer to prayer. But it can mean so much more when you remember that He controls all your day-to-day inconveniences and frustrations.

In the Christian life, learning to wait is vitally important because until you do, you’ll never be able to walk in obedience to God, have an effective prayer life, or experience the peace of resting in His loving sovereignty. We must learn to trust His judgment–about not just the big events in our lives, but also the trivial ones which cause us to become irritated, impatient, or even angry. If we’re sensitive to His instruction, each delay has a lesson.

The next time you face an unexpected or unwanted wait, remember that it comes as no surprise to God. He wants to teach you patience and increase your faith. He’s more interested in developing godly character than He is in making sure your schedule runs according to your plans.

For more biblical teaching and resources from Dr. Charles Stanley, please visit http://www.intouch.org.

Ruth, A Love Story

RUTH AND BOAZWidowed Naomi with Ruth by her side

Alone on a journey in loss

Broken undone, exhausted and empty

“Does God have Grace enough?”

Entered in Bethlehem, Boaz took notice

Extended his Grace undeserved

Arms full of grain, food for the evening

Naomi ignites with a plan

“Washed and perfumed, go and find Boaz

Uncover his feet and lie down

Redemption is nearing, take off your mourning

At the feet of Boaz be found”

Boaz watched the field for intruders

Returned home to rest and restore

Awoken by Ruth, appealing and humbled

“Spread your cloak over me”

 

A Boaz for every Ruth

Kinsman redeemer for all

Anoint yourself, prepare for the day

“Get thee down to the floor”

Ruth, no different than you or I

A foreigner seeking appeal

Ruth was poor, as we are poor

Without offer in need of help

Ruth sought out her kinsman redeemer

The road led to Grace in her groom

Our kinsman redeemer in Christ our Lord

Most faithful unfathomable bride

Hopelessness replaced, pours in His Grace

Desires fulfilled lack regained

Grace reaches out, embraces our nothing

And we become heirs of the King!

One of the greatest love stories to be found is the story of Ruth, in the book of Ruth, in the bible. Ruth was a Moabite woman who married into an Israelite family and eventually converted to Judaism. She is the great-grandmother of King David and hence an ancestor of the Messiah.

The book of Ruth and Max Lucado’s message on Grace inspired this poem. Click hear to listen.