All posts by Joe Owens

About Joe Owens

Can you tell from my writing I love God? I hope so because that is what I want you to know most about me. I am also a writer who loves taking on fiction prompts and crafting a story. One day you will read my work in print. Until then enjoy it here! For free!

Glorious (Appearing) – Daily Post – 09/18/17

 

 

Promises can be a great thing, especially if made by someone in whom you have a deep amount of trust. Someone perhaps like the Creator of all, who just happens to also be our personal Saviour. He made a promise to each of us long ago that He would return to earth one day. That is referred to as the Glorious Appearing.

Why will it be glorious? Because when Jesus returns for the Second Coming it will be to redeem all of those who have chosen Him as their personal Savior. Those still breathing and those whose life ended previously. He will return with a trumpet sounding and riding on a cloud. He will defeat Satan and establish His kingdom on earth for 1,000 years.

That kind of promise is one you can internalize and feel good about forever, which is exactly how long you will spend with our Creator in Heaven.

 

 

Daily Post Challenge – Glorious

 

 

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Thorny – Daily Post – 09/14/17

 

Thorny

I love the days when my mind can translate a Daily Post prompt into something I can use on my faith blog. I just think in these days of so much destruction by nature and discord in our lives we need a word from God. No matter your trouble God has written an answer for you within the covers of his love letter, the Holy Bible.

So what about thorny, what has this triggered in the treacherous confines of my noodle? The Crown of Thorns, of course. The instrument of mocking the mighty Roman Empire chose to humiliate the one man who could give them refuge from a death much worse than the one He knew was coming, which is separation from our heavenly Father. The Romans, in their ostentatious pride, thought they were inflicting their authority in even another way with this simple instrument.

CrownOfThornsBedfordMuseum

I had the blessing of seeing the Passion of the Christ, the feature motion picture that tells the story of Jesus’ last days on earth. While I had learned about the Crown of thorns prior to that, seeing it dramatized as it was really brought home the reality of what agony that surely brought to Christ in His human form. What an instrument of torture this would be.

When we, as Christians, consider the kind of experience Jesus, the single Son of God, knowingly submitted to for our benefit we should be incredibly moved. Since he was fully God and fully man, he knew exactly what would happen long before the Romans came up with their brilliant plan. At any time he could have summoned untold Legions of Angels to his defense, but he did not. He wanted us to see just how much He loves us.

I’m not sure any of us fully recognize just how deep the love Christ smothers upon us can be. We are totally loved just as we are. He sacrificed himself over 2,000 years ago for people not even thought of within earthly minds. Do you have any thought of what will happen two millenniums from today? I heard it described by our pastor in this way: You will never be loved more or less by Jesus than you are at this moment. Everyone craves love, so if you have not accepted Christ’s offer to make your life radically different maybe you should let Him show you His way.

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Weekly Photo Challenge – Thorny

 

 

Is It Okay to Ask For Prayer?

Not only is it okay to ask for prayer, but if we don’t we are not availing ourselves of one of our greatest tools as Children of God. No matter who you are, or how together you think your Christian life is you still have human factors waging war against you all the time. Do you think Billy Graham asks for prayer? What about David Jeremiah or Charles Stanley?

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I think choosing what you want to write about on your blog can be fascinating. Now certainly there are cases when the scope is narrowed, such as when I take on the regular weekly fiction challenges where a photo subject gives you a loose frame. Also, when I post a Flower of the Day photo I have to excuse the furry squirrels from the equation.

But today when I returned from lunch I saw this tag and it sent my metaphorical wheels in my head turning like wild! If I could figure out a way to charge my phone a little every time I took a photo with it I would never have to worry. But it is because I find so many things interesting that I not only want to capture the image, but share the thoughts tied to it.

There is a set of verses in the bible that talks about the “stiff-necked people”. It is Acts 7:51 and while it more accurately relates how stubborn and obstinate folks are when it comes to allowing the Holy Spirit to lead them I cannot help but draw a comparison in my mind to those who do not think prayer is important.

At my church we have frequent occasions where we share the prayer requests on our hearts and minds. Predominantly these are requests relating a need of someone who is not present or is a relation or friend. Just this week I asked for prayer for our friends in Belize, where we do a significant amount of ministry because a potential hurricane was brewing in the Caribbean Sea.

But, on occasion, someone will ask for prayer if they feel the need. Now you must understand as in most churches we are a close-knit group and know quite a lot about each other and feel comfortable sharing our weaknesses or needs. I understand that is not the way everyone is made. some people are private and do not share, even when the need is great.

Leaving the opportunity to be blessed by the prayer of another or a group of others behind is to surrender one of God’s greatest blessings. We are in this mortal life together and need others to survive and thrive. So my answer to the question at the top is YES. I feel it is perfectly acceptable to ask for prayer.

What about you? Will you ask for prayer when you need it? How do you feel when someone prays aloud for you?

 

 

Totality – How the Solar Eclipse Illustrates being a partial Christian

All across the united States hundreds of millions of people took a trip outside to witness one of nature’s more rare events, a solar eclipse. From Oregon to South Carolina a select few were treated to what is termed “totality” where the entire sun is occluded. While I wish I could have been in the number to witness this, I could not. Perhaps in 2024 when we have another I can do so.

But I want to use this event as an illustration of how you can claim to be a Christian, but be as disappointing as an “almost full eclipse”. For example, look at the pictures below. On the left is the “total solar eclipse. You can see the corona all around the sun where the moon has totally covered its bigger contemporary. But on the right you can see a 95% eclipse, an almost total. Do you notice the difference?

ECLIPSE

To be an effective witness you can not be an almost Christian, or mostly Christian. When you take on that heavy mantle of being a professing Christian in effect you also agree to represent the entire body of Christians living and those who have gone on to their eternal reward. Every word, every deed, every unguarded moment is a potential failing point.

Thankfully God has provided us with grace to cover those moments when our humanness overcomes our practice of Christianity. Christians will inadvertently and sometimes knowingly stumble. We are imperfect creatures with the kind of temptations and desires that can make maintaining the Christian “totality” challenging.

SO as you reflect on the solar eclipse think about how seeing only a partial eclipse can compare to trying to maintain your Christian walk. Do you find yourself lacking in this pursuit? What strategies do you employ to counter those moments.

The Great American Eclipse – 2017

I didn’t want to patrol the sidelines in such a time as this since I have a great affection for anything to do with nature and the stars. That’s why I am doing something for the first time with my collection of blogs in this year of numerous firsts, I am in effect going to simulcast across three of my blogs and do a humor piece on the Fiction Playground about the eclipse. Many of you may be regular visitors to all of the blogs, so for your benefit I will say this post will be the same on Chasing the Blooms and Living the J.O.Y. Principle.

THE MOON GETS TO BE THE STAR

I will freely admit of all the cosmic players I find the moon to be the most exciting. While it is truly a solid spherical object the interaction with the sun gives it such a dynamic lifecycle as over the 28 days it goes from total nothing through every possible fraction to a fully illuminated glory.

Moon

 

While I wish I could have supplied my own photo of a full moon I don’t possess the right photography equipment to totally provide the justice tot he beauty of our moon. While I have always loved to watch the moon as it works through its cycle I truly began to appreciate it when I began daily routine of walking my Miniature Sheltie after dark a couple of years ago. Most nights there is a great view of my favored celestial object and I still thrill every time the moon is at its peak.

We have been blessed to make numerous trips tot he ocean where we get to experience even more of the moons grandeur, both through the waves it creates and by seeing the moon in a different light. I have been closely monitoring the moon cycle this summer because we are soon to embark on a seven day Alaskan cruise and we will be able to enjoy a full moon on three of the nights. I know it will be a glorious sight.

So back to my original point of this section, which is the moon being the star. In a solar eclipse the moon gets to turn the tables, if even so briefly on its bigger brother, the sun. Every so many years the moon lines up perfectly between the sun and earth to blot out the sun for the briefest of periods. We are blessed to bear witness in the U.S.A. to this fabulous event on Monday.

THE WEATHER CHANNEL GOES NUTS!

The folks at the Weather Channel are about to burst with excitement and rightly so!  I have watched them come from their infancy into the undisputed authority on weather, storms and events like this. I can remember watching them document Hurricane   as it ravages New Orleans and the Gulf Coast and Superstorm Sandy when it made big news as the latest and greatest storm to hit the Northeast. This team really knows how to cover all the angles of such a huge event.

On Monday they will have folks far and wide, from a plane of the west coast of America, in cities from coast to coast in the “zone of totality” (which simply is the narrow band where the sun will be totally covered) to a cruise ship in the Eastern Atlantic. While I intend to venture outside when the time is right I imagine I will have my television tuned to this coverage like many others.

DO YOU HAVE YOUR GLASSES?

I can remember a partial solar eclipse when I was in a community college in our town about thirty years ago. I cannot recall all the hub-bub over the special glasses that are available this time around. I do remember there were special devices to allow us to witness this occurrence.

Thanks to my “sister” I have a prized pair of these glasses. As I watched some of the Weather Channel coverage they documented the plight of many trying to get their own pair and waiting for hours in all kinds of conditions to do so. As with all things some people were trying to make a buck, with some glasses listen on eBay for $999!

glasses

It is a shame there is only 1 pair left because I have four people in my house that would love to have these!

Also yesterday I heard from the weather channel that there are some “unapproved” glasses in circulation. By unapproved they mean they will not protect your eyes properly when you look at the sun. While the entities who sold these glasses promise a refund at this late date the hope of getting replacements is slim. I am assured of safe viewing as a field tested mine last night by looking at the full sun and what I saw more resembled the moon at night.

I also know that school systems around the country are altering their schedules to take advantage of this event. There are numerous concerns, from children exiting buses in the darkened conditions to the possibility of curious young eyes forever damaged from viewing the eclipse without the benefit of the protective lenses.

Perhaps one of the biggest concerns is for those schools in the “path of totality” that have to deal with the massive influx of “Lookie-Loos” eager to see the sight. With gasoline, food and other necessities stretched you can imagine how the regular operations of a school system could get crazy.

DON’T LEAVE GOD OUT OF THIS

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As I prepare to enjoy this day I cannot forget to stop and thank God for a number of things: the gift of sight, to be able to enjoy this, the gift of knowledge to be able to understand how and why it occurs, the love of nature and science, the blessing of location, as this particular eclipse is only going to be witnessed by those in America, and the opportunity to use this as an evangelistic tool.

God gives us so many reminders that he is in charge of this world and everything that surrounds it. He made an intelligent design in which everything blends together in such a beautiful way to allow us to inhabit this planet and enjoy its wonders. In return God asks that we consider how we can honor Him and the sacrifice of his son by confessing our sins and accepting Jesus as our personal Savior.

I have learned just this week from my nineteen year old daughter that there will be another eclipse in seven years that will form an X in relation to the path of this one. But truly none of us is promised another day, much less seven years. This could very well be the last eclipse any of us sees if the time is complete for the return of Jesus Christ. This is the best time in the history of the world to learn how Christ can make your life better in every way. I would love to be able to share that with you and can point you toward my Faith based blog Living the J.O.Y. Principle for more information.

WHAT WILL THE LASTING EFFECT BE?

How in the world could we know what will come out of this experience? Hopefully people will develop more of an appreciation for the intricacies of God’s creation.  Also, perhaps many young ones who really never gave science a chance will have their imaginations piqued by this moment in time. I know I am beyond excited and have been since I first learned of the eclipse in a newspaper article in March of this year.

I can’t wait to enjoy the millions of images that will bombard the internet, television and magazines starting Monday evening. While I won’t be able to capture my own I am sure there will be plenty to enjoy.

Tell me your thoughts about this event. Do you live in a region where you will enjoy “totality”? Does your town have an event planned? Do you have the right equipment to capture the beauty of this event?

#TheKindnessRocksProject – Share Inspiration With Others

This is re-blogged from a friend of mine, Barbara. I am always interested in any vehicle that allows us to show kindness to others. Right now I am brainstorming how I can find some suitable rocks to get started on this adventure.

Our local small town is going all in for the Rock Hunt fad. If somehow you’ve missed it, people paint rocks with a simple message or cheerful picture and leave them in public areas for others to find. Those who find the rocks which are tagged on the back with local group of origin…

via #ISawItOnFacebook – Well, actually I posted it on Facebook this time. — Life

The Kindness Challenge – Week 1 – Reflection

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Is there still kindness to find in this tired old world? There is as long as we are willing to extend it through our thoughts, words and actions. Kindness is not universal, or guaranteed, but it is easy enough to generate, we only have to open our mind and hearts to the possibility

That alone is a great reason to enlist in Niki’s 2017 Kindness Challenge. No matter how much kindness you think emanates from you and the way you live your life you can always squeeze out a little bit more. As I shared with Niki in an earlier comment I do not consider kindness the kinds of things we should do as a matter of politeness or appreciation. Kindness to me is about going another step or more, or taking the time to be deliberate toward another soul.

I admit I struggled with the Week 1 challenge. I don’t focus on myself very often. Not to say I am not kind to myself, I just don’t make it a conscious thing. But I see the wisdom in girding yourself up with a kindness focus so you are ready to give to others. So I took on Niki’s  Week 1 instructions and here I am with my first Reflections post.

As far as a mantra or affirmation I suppose I would think something like this “I am me, the person God made in a perfect form and He Loves me, so do I!” I do not struggle with accepting myself as much as I once did. I suppose that is as much maturity and deepening of my faith as anything else. I used to think my path in life was not ambitious enough. That was before I came to the realization that where I am is where God chose to place me.

I suppose the greatest kindness I have given to myself is to understand that truth. I no longer feel like a disappointment or that what I have done in my life does not measure up. We do ourselves and our children a disservice by setting out arbitrary milestones to meet to be considered successful. Each of us is unique and no pre-conceived benchmarks will fairly assess our lives.

Being the best “me” I can be is something I want, but not at the cost of failing to enjoy my days. My brother died unexpectedly at 29 with colo-rectal cancer. Since that moment 20+ years ago I have come to appreciate every day and certainly every birthday (see no regret for turning 50) as I know it is a gift.

This is my Week 1 reflection. I will be around to read others.