To Know And To Be Known

Robin E. Johnson

 

“TO KNOW GOD AND TO BE KNOWN BY GOD THIS ALONE IS LIFE”, the weather faded blue and yellow chalk letters are barely visible against the dull red canvas they were drawn on almost three years ago. It was the summer of 2010 when I wrote those words along the top of the hollow brick wall surrounding our back yard. At the time, it was just for the sake of filling in the brightly colored collection of chalk drawings that revealed the innermost thoughts of my children as they, along with my wife, succeeded at brightening up our otherwise dull backyard setting with every color of the rainbow. It later became a message of truth to every visitor, and a daily reminder to us as a family, of what mattered most.

As time went by, the bright colorful images and letters began to fade until little more remained of…

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One Solitary Life

“…Today Jesus is the central figure of the human race, the leader of mankind’s progress.”

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Watch and share this beautiful, moving, short movie based on the 294 words James Francis wrote in 1926 concerning the life of Jesus Christ and the impact He has had upon the world.

 From Simple Truths

The Right Question to Ask on Your Hard Days . . . and the Answer

via A Holy Experience – The Right Question to Ask on Your Hard Days . . . and the Answer.

An uplifting and inspirational message by Joni Eareckson Tada

Screen shot 2013-07-20 at 7.44.17 AM My beautiful friend, Joni Eareckson Tada, has spoken words into my life that have forever changed me — and countless others around the world. Founder and CEO of Joni and Friends, an organization that accelerates Christian outreach in the disability community, Joni is the author of numerous best-selling books, including Heaven, Joni, Diamonds in the Dust, and her most recent — and beautiful — Joni & Ken: An Untold Love Story.

Joni tells a story on the farm front porch today that just — well, you tell me what it does to your heart…

Ken opened wide the front door so I could wheel out to the van.

For a long moment I sat squarely in the door frame, staring and taking it all in:

the shade tree dappling our brick path, blossoms bobbing on the crepe myrtle, and patches of sunlight on dewy grass.

It was the freshest of mornings. Oh God, I breathed, If only I could feel as fresh.

After more than four decades of quadriplegia, I’m tired.

Please don’t think I’m a veteran or a professional when it comes to living in a wheelchair.

I’m not an expert.

My bones are weary and thin from battling everything from pressure sores and pneumonia — to stage III cancer.

My question these days is never “Why, God?”

It’s most often “How?”

How do I keep on going?

How do I care about others when I’m consumed with my own physical challenges?

How can I be kind and civil when pain wracks me?

How can I find the strength to face this day?

That morning, Ken had the answer.

“Why aren’t you out by the van?” he asked when he came from the kitchen with my lunch bag. Staring at the splendorous morning beyond the door, I answered him with a deep sigh.

“Wait here,” he said, “I know exactly what you need.”

Soon he was back with a yellow post-it note. With a thick Sharpie, he had simply penned on it the letter ‘C.’ I gave him an odd look.

“It stands for Courage,” he said, “The courage of Christ. I can see it in your eyes, Joni, and you can do this. I know you can!”

With that, he pressed the post-it on my shirt, right above my heart.

I glanced at it, then up at him. I can’t explain what happened next, but grace actually entered my heart. His note was a means of grace, like a sacrament through which God creates faith inside us. And it felt so liberating.

A breeze wafted in and my eyes became wet.

“Thank you,” I whispered to Ken and lifted my arm to give him a hug. “Thank you for that.”

He wiped my nose, kissed my cheek, and said softly, “Let’s get this day going.”

I then wheeled out into the morning feeling a fresh wave of strength from my Savior.

Proverbs 18:21 sums it up: “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.”

Ken only said a few words, and probably without giving them much thought.

But those words were brimming with power and life. His was a pronouncement, a declaration of the good he saw in meor, at least the good he wanted to see. And God gave me His amazing grace to rise to the occasion.

It’s a hard world. Even the best of Christians are feeling the weight of weariness. Little wonder we are to “Encourage one another daily” (Hebrews 3:13).

Think of the people you’ll see today… friends recovering from surgery, neighbors dealing with grief, coworkers coping with pain.

Whether you say it in an email, over the phone, or in person, your words have the capacity to change their countenance and character.

And the best word?

The Word made flesh, Jesus — who always has courageous words of life.

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The Seeds You Plant

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2 Corinthians 9:6-8: “But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.  Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.  And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:” (KJV)

Galations 6:9:  “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” (KJV)

Greener Grass

It’s been said “The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.”  But, in reality…

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So True!

Hebrews 13:5: “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” (NIV)

I Timothy 6:6: “But godliness with contentment is great gain.” (NIV)

The Hospital Window

2865240756_55d6c2940c_zSometimes we find ourselves in overwhelming and painful circumstances.  It is during such times in our lives that giving to others seems to be the greatest challenge, even the farthest thing from our thoughts.  And yet, it is in letting go of our own will and the need to be “ministered to” and turning our focus upon Jesus and His infinite love and mercy, that we find the strength and capacity God has given us for sharing His love with others.  Before we know it, with one tiny step, we reach out to another whose need may be even greater than our own and something changes…it is in that moment we discover God’s love in a most healing way.  It is often in that one opportunity seized that we ourselves are ministered to the most.  This story is an example of such…

 

“The Hospital Window”

Two men, both seriously ill, occupied the same hospital room. One man was allowed to sit up in his bed for an hour each afternoon to help drain the fluid from his lungs. His bed was next to the room’s only window. The other man had to spend all his time flat on his back. The men talked for hours on end. They spoke of their wives and families, their homes, their jobs, their involvement in the military service, where they had been on vacation.

Every afternoon when the man in the bed by the window could sit up, he would pass the time by describing to his roommate all the things he could see outside the window.

The man in the other bed began to live for those one-hour periods where his world would be broadened and enlivened by all the activity and color of the world outside.

The window overlooked a park with a lovely lake. Ducks and swans played on the water while children sailed their model boats. Young lovers walked arm in arm amidst flowers of every color and a fine view of the city skyline could be seen in the distance.

As the man by the window described all this in exquisite detail, the man on the other side of the room would close his eyes and imagine the picturesque scene.

One warm afternoon the man by the window described a parade passing by. Although the other man couldn’t hear the band – he could see it. In his mind’s eye as the gentleman by the window portrayed it with descriptive words.

Days and weeks passed.

One morning, the day nurse arrived to bring water for their baths only to find the lifeless body of the man by the window, who had died peacefully in his sleep. She was saddened and called the hospital attendants to take the body away.

As soon as it seemed appropriate, the other man asked if he could be moved next to the window. The nurse was happy to make the switch, and after making sure he was comfortable, she left him alone.

Slowly, painfully, he propped himself up on one elbow to take his first look at the real world outside. He strained to slowly turn to look out the window beside the bed.

It faced a blank wall. The man asked the nurse what could have compelled his deceased roommate who had described such wonderful things outside this window.

The nurse responded that the man was blind and could not even see the wall. She said, “Perhaps he just wanted to encourage you.”

Epilogue:
There is tremendous happiness in making others happy, despite our own situations.

Shared grief is half the sorrow, but happiness when shared, is doubled.

If you want to feel rich, just count all the things you have that money can’t buy.

Today is a gift, that’s why it is called the present!

– Author Unknown