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

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.

Confident Hope

“Camellias, tulip trees, and narcissus are blooming, and hyacinths and even a few brave azaleas are peeking out.”

Sscrr-sccrr-sccrr-sccrr-sccrr-sccrr

“Last spring I planted a few broccoli plants and was amazed at how prolific they were! I didn’t think broccoli would thrive in our hot weather.”

photo: Danielle Closs, 2008; photo editing, Denise Cotter

photo: Danielle Closs, 2008; photo editing, Denise Cotter

-scrr-sccrr-scrr-sccrr  –sccrr-sccrr- sccrr-sccrr —sccrr-sccrr-sccrr-sccrr-scccrrr–scccrrr  -sccrr-sccrr-sccrr-

Backing out the driveway I comment to my daughter, “Looking out this windshield is like viewing the world through frosted zebra stripes”. She sits a bit hunched beside me rubbing her chilled hands to recover them from clearing the ice from the car window shield. My body stiffened to brace from the cold, toe tips beginning to feel the impact of the rude air that seems to seep through my souls— another day in paradise! As the car peeps over the hill we are hit by the blinding impact of raw sunlight bursting from the mass of light unusually low and large. It seems out of place in the scenic view of the farm school fields with fences barely visible hazed by the morning frost and moist air.

“Springtime is very near here in Southeast Texas!”¹

Warmed by the mental images of a blog share yesterday, when a friend, Auntie Em, posted garden-fresh broccoli images and shared a verbal illustration of spring. It is coming! I can smell the hyacinths and see the forsythia boldly confirming — spring is here!

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.
Proverbs 13:12 ESV

Auntie Em’s images of spring brought me hope—not the winsome half-hearted hope we often hear expressed in, “I hope so” <sigh>, but confident hope— the hope of the bible. Biblical hope is without doubt. The Greek and Hebrew meaning of hope is compounded in confidence, security, and being without care; therefore, the concept of doubt is not part of this word!

Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; My flesh also dwells secure. Psalm 16:9

…but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, 1 Peter 3:15

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1

Biblical hope has substance and a home for our faith as Christians. We hope in Jesus. We hope in salvation. We hope in justice. We are instructed to hope and not be discouraged which is evidence of a lack of faith. Our unseen heart, or soul², is instructed to reach to the unseen and trust God, and have confidence in His Sovereignty.

Dear Father,

We are weak and needy and our faith is failing. Lord we ask you today to fill us with Godly faith—the faith of the bible. Where there is doubt, fill us with confidence in You. Where we lack hope, fill us with a conviction of your promises to us for goodness. Lord, where discouragement and fear has found a place in our spirits, rid us of these evils and fill the void with joy and security rooted in You, the maker of all that is good.

Thank you for hearing us and loving us. Help us to keep you close in our hearts, the unseen home, and erect in us spiritual eyes for the unseen good that is found in You. Fill us with a love that is pure and pleasing to you. Use us to share this love with others who are imprisoned in their circumstances and what is seen. In the name of Jesus, Your precious Son, Amen.

¹http://auntieemsguide.wordpress.com/2013/02/05/auntie-ems-garden-fresh-broccoli/

²http://www.jesusteachings.com/thesoul.html: Did you know that the soul is a part of the human design? Reading Mark 7:21-23, “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within (out of the soul), and defile the man.”And Reading in Romans 3:10, “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:” (No, not one soul is righteous.) Reading Luke 16:15, “God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.” 1 Corinthians 2:9, “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath entered into the heart (soul) of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.”