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

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You Are My Portion

Bland oatmeal with slices of banana in almond milk; I lift the spoon to my lips and think on the connection between the Daniel Fast† and my spiritual growth. I am not a veteran of fasting, frankly, I have fasted infrequently. My carnal mind questions the significance of fasting past the physical benefits, “Daniel had conviction to remove himself from the kings food and God called Daniel to speak to the king through his fasting”. Moments later Christ directs my thoughts to Him.

But Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the king’s food, or with the wine that he drank. Therefore he asked the chief of the eunuchs to allow him not to defile himself. And God gave Daniel favor and compassion in the sight of the chief of the eunuchs, and the chief of the eunuchs said to Daniel, “I fear my lord the king, who assigned your food and your drink; for why should he see that you were in worse condition than the youths who are of your own age? So you would endanger my head with the king.” Then Daniel said to the steward whom the chief of the eunuchs had assigned over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, “Test your servants for ten days; let us be given vegetables to eat and water to drink.
Daniel 1:8-14

The Daily Light on the Daily Path” devotional and the text opens with, “O Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you; I will praise your name, for you have done wonderful things, plans formed of old, faithful and sure.—The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup. The devotional ‘coincidentally’ uses terms that parallel consuming food and drink. As the Word is written, His Bread, scripture, guidance and council, will satisfy.¹ This scripture does not suggest we should not eat or drink but, the pleasure that can be momentarily received in sweet and rich foods is obtainable in Christ. When Daniel fasted with three other young men, God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds.

Each of us needs to hear from God and none are without needs. The bible provides many examples of how through fasting results were obtained and difficulties broken. Discipline is another objective of fasting. Some unable to fast for extended periods will often fast one meal coinciding with prayer to seek God’s intervention.

And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you shall say to this mountain, Remove hence in the yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. Howbeit this kind [that is this kind of faith] only goes out by prayer and fasting (Matthew 17:20-21).

Jesus shared this previous passage with the disciples because they were wondering how they were powerless in a situation. Prayer and fasting was direction to build faith in the disciples. How often do we feel powerless? There are many areas in my life which I feel powerless. Could fasting be the key to victory? Today, arms wide open, we come; You are our portion, You hold our right hand, Father, You guide us.

Dear Lord, 
As your Word equates faith with hearing the Word of God², grow in us a hunger for your Word. For many of us Lord, our carnal man lacks zeal and desire to sit with You. Our minds are weak and we tend to drift in our thoughts when we should be fixed on you. Grow in us discipline. Grow in us zeal. Lord, we lack faith that you demonstrated in the bible and men of faith demonstrated for your purpose. Grow in us faith. Our spirits are discouraged Lord as our eyes move to what we see all around us. Flood in us Your Spirit to overcome discouragement and fill us with Your Joy. We love you today and always—You are our portion and our cup, fill us Precious Lord.  In Jesus Name, Amen.

¹But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
² Faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. Romans 10:17
†Daniel Fast:
http://christianity.about.com/od/whatdoesthebiblesay/a/spiritualfasting.htm
http://keystonefellowship.com/40days/daniel-fast-information
http://danielfast.wordpress.com/daniel-fast-food-list/
http://danielfast.com/
http://www.ultimatedanielfast.com/

Light in Darkness

24_Master_Christmas Countdown
2:00 A.M, Christmas Eve: I have just started this post. I will not renege on my 25-day commitment to blog through Christmas. My daughter finished up some pecan pie cupcakes with whipped cream maple frosting just a few hours ago and my home smells of Christmas. The dining room table is flooded with apparel to imprint with Christian designs and I wearily question what I am doing. My daughter offers, “you will figure it out mom”, (I am thankful that she can be an encourager). There are gifts to wrap, cleaning, cooking, sleeping and primping to do before this evening when we have a celebration service at church and family gathering that will follow. Tomorrow I host dinner—It’s all good.

My thoughts have been reflecting on others this Christmas. For every joyful engagement announced during this season, there is someone suffering the pain of divorce. For every newborn in “Babies First Christmas” footed pajamas, there are parents with terminally ill children and some that are mourning loss. When a Facebook posting appears in my News Feed of elaborate meals and fanciful baking, I am reminded of a soldier in the military away from his wife, or husband, and children. Many all over the globe do not have sufficient food to sustain them. Regardless, I will enjoy the evening ahead.

I imagine that the mourning parents of the Sandy Hook tragedy would want others to enjoy their children and families this Christmas. Otherwise, it would be victory for evil to steal more joy from this season. Still, we do not forget.

Most of us have experienced tragedies and despair. There was a period in my life when I gave into despair and became overwhelmed with living. I was numb with indifference and non-responsive to the world around me. My response to the darkness in the world was to withdraw and close it out. But, this response is not acceptable for a Christian—God wants us to give Him our burdens, turn from darkness and to reflect Light in this dark World.

Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall. John 16:33

Jesus came to earth for our mourning,
I will turn their mourning into joy and will comfort them and give them joy for their sorrow. Jeremiah 31:13 (NASB)

Jesus came for the unloved,
See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are! 1 John 3:1

Jesus felt our tiredness,
… but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:31 (NIV)

Jesus knew rejection,
No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:39 (NIV)

Jesus came to give Hope,
Jesus replied, “What is impossible with men is possible with God.” Luke 18:27 (NIV)

Jesus came in compassion,
The godly may trip seven times, but they will get up again. Proverbs 24:16 (NLT)

Jesus comforts the lonely,
… the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Deuteronomy 31:6 (NIV)

Jesus will restore you,
The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18  (NASB)

Jesus is Peace!
For God is not the author of confusion but of peace … 1 Corinthians 14:33 (NKJV)

Whatever your need, Christ overcame this World and Peace is in Him.

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace.
In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

Let us walk in the Light of the Lord. Isaiah 2:5

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 2 Corinthians 4:6

Update, Monday 12/25, noon EST, a share from Auntie Em: