Friday, March 29

Man of Sorrows, what a name!

I grew up in a little Brethren chapel - Arlington St. Gospel Chapel - in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
This was the church that my mom and dad began attending after my dad gave his life to Jesus.  I attended here right up until I was just over 20, at which time I left to attend the Mennonite Brethren church that my husband was a part of.

Lots has changed - I have changed.  I have grown in my love for Jesus.  I have grown in my love for the Word of God - the Bible.  I have grown in my prayer life - and I see the Holy Spirit at work and I am in awe!

Tonight, on the evening of "Good Friday" I am sitting here alone - mulling over the events of the last couple days.  Last night - we hosted a Christian Passover meal - and then watched a segment from the DVD - The Gospel According to Matthew.  Today we sat in the first service at Eastview Community Church, and the story of Jesus going to the cross for me/us - again washed over me - and in me.
What a Saviour!!

In the past hour or so, the words from a hymn that I grew up with but have not sang in a long time, they have kept running across my thoughts.  The Song is called Man of Sorrows - and I can "hear" it being sung on a Sunday morning.  We didn't use a piano or organ for the Breaking Bread service, which we did every Sunday.  That is one of the sweetest parts of my Brethren upbringing.  We broke bread and celebrated the Lord's Supper every Sunday - and NO - IT NEVER GOT OLD!

We sang out of a little black "Believer's Hymnal" with only words, no notes ...
And one of the men would start the tune.  At a certain point in the hour, someone would pray for the bread, and then go and tear the loaf in two and pass one half on either side and we would pull a piece from it - and take and eat it in remembrance of HIM.
Then another man would pray for the cup.  A cup full of strong communion wine - and one silver cup would be passed on either side, and we all drank from the same cup.  DO THIS IN REMEMBRANCE OF ME.

I miss that.
Breaking Bread every Sunday
pulling a soft piece of bread from the loaf
in remembrance of Him.

The cup
strong smell of wine
a sip taken and cup passed to the next person
As oft as you do this - eat this bread
drink this wine
do this in remembrance of Me until I come


And I thank you!

So these words - they are speaking to my soul.
May they also speak to yours,
This rendition also includes part of Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah
but the main part - is the same!!

Man of Sorrows,” what a name
For the Son of God who came
Ruined sinners to reclaim
Hallelujah! what a Savior!

Bearing shame and scoffing rude,
In my place condemned He stood;
Sealed my pardon with His blood;
Hallelujah! what a Savior!

Guilty, vile, and helpless, we
Spotless Lamb of God was He
Full atonement—can it be?
Hallelujah! what a Savior!

Lifted up was He to die,
“It is finished!” was His cry;
Now in heaven exalted high;
Hallelujah! what a Savior!

When He comes, our glorious King,
All his ransomed, home to bring
Then anew this song we’ll sing
Hallelujah! what a Savior!


Monday, March 25

"whatever you ask in my name..."

This morning, while reading in the gospel of John, I had an "aha" moment.  I love it when that happens.  I will be honest though, sometimes it is over Scripture that I have read over and over, and heard read often.  This morning, I decided to begin reading the account of "Holy Week" in the gospels. And today, I decided to begin with the gospel of John.  I started in chapter 11 verse 45 (just after Jesus raised his good friend Lazarus from the dead).  I read about how the Jewish leaders plotted to kill Jesus, how Jesus was anointed at Bethany (Mary poured a pint of expensive perfume on Jesus feet and wiped his feet with her hair), about Jesus predicting His death, about him washing his disciples feet, about predicting his betrayal, and then I came to chapter 14 where the title is "Jesus Comforts His Disciples".

Now this chapter, chapter 14, is a chapter I have heard OFTEN.  In fact, I have heard it a lot!  I have even used it, quoted it, spoke about it at funerals.  It is the chapter that begins with "Do not let your hearts be troubled.  Trust in God, trust also in me.  In my Father's house are many rooms, if it were not so, O would have told you.  I am going there to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a   place for you, I will come back and take you to be with  me that you also may be where I am."  And then I kept reading - and this is where my "aha" moment was.  It comes just after the part where Philip tells him/asks him "Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us."  To which Jesus responds:

John 14:9-13

New Living Translation (NLT)
Jesus replied, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and yet you still don’t know who I am? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father! So why are you asking me to show him to you? 10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words I speak are not my own, but my Father who lives in me does his work through me. 11 Just believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me. Or at least believe because of the work you have seen me do.
12 “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father. 13 You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father.

It was right at this point, that I noticed a little "key" image beside the text, which means there is more for me on this portion, and I should look at the bottom.  It was there that my bible notes directed me to Luke 11:9 regarding asking for things in prayer.

Luke 11:9

New Living Translation (NLT)
9 “And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.

The little "key" icon took me to the bottom of this page as well, and this is what it said "the word translated 'ask' is aiteite which is used in describing a beggar approaching a generous person.  One should not think he has the right to demand anything from God. he will supply His children's needs' they simply need to trust Him.  Many times people ask for things that are not according to God's will, and must realize that He will only give the things that are "good" (agathon_ in light of eternity.  What God deems "good" may not be what the believer desires, bit it is that which God has chosen to carry out His Plan and bring the believer into a closer relationship with him."

Now, I don't know why, like I said, after reading this scripture and hearing people speak on it, that it was an "aha" moment - but when I read the "key" explanation in my bible, it was !!  I am sure that I am not the only one who has prayed a prayer and tagged on "if it is your will Lord" to the end of it.  I often think that is NOT bold praying, but have sometimes felt that by saying that, it is "giving God" the "out" in my mind, just in case He chooses not to answer this time.  I don't think I am the only one that has felt that (like I am the one to give God an out so to speak!)  We are supposed to pray believing - to pray fervently and without ceasing - to come boldly to the throne of Christ.  And sometimes I start off that way, and then somewhere during the course of my prayer, I feel like I wimp out.  (Am I making any sense?  Is there anyone who resonates with this feeling of wimping out?)

Don't get me wrong.  I believe that we need to come boldly but also with reverence to the One we are approaching.  I believe we need to pray that we are in God's will, but I also think that sometimes we come "unbelieving" that God will answer, and then we tag on "if it is your will Lord" and somehow we feel like that is the right thing, and walk away from our prayer feeling "phew, I have prayed, I have interceded, I have asked it and he will do what He wants for me, with that prayer."

I have prayed FERVENTLY often ... I have petitioned God.  I have "stood in the gap" for people who needed prayer.  I have "held up the arms" of people (referring to when they held up Moses arms while a fight was going on, and while his arms were up, the people were winning, but when down, the people were losing, so they physically held his arms up).  I have sat with someone who lost her child, and heard her recount how they prayed together before the family left that day, and yet there was an accident, and her son was killed, and others were hurt.  And how she told me that her husband said (in regards to prayer) that God is going to do what he wants regardless of us anyway.
I have questioned WHY GOD when the answer seemed so contrary to what seemed RIGHT for that instance.  I have thanked God - even when it was hard, because the answer didn't seems to fit.  I have also thanked God FOR answered prayers the way I thought they should be answered.  (note: I said answered the way I THOUGHT they should be).

I have talked to people about their use of prayer, as if God was this "lucky charm" that they pull out when they want something ... i.e. a close parking spot, a goal for their team, etc

I have responded/watched with so much joy, and tears, the answers to prayers that are literally MIRACLES such as the absence of a tumor when the doctor goes to operate, or a limb that "grows" in front of someones eyes.  I know, these things ~ we don't see as often do we?  Is it because as some people say "it just doesn't happen today" or is it because of our lack of faith, our lack of praying with boldness?  

Going back to the "aha" moment for me - it goes back to describing how the word that is used in the scripture - the word to ask - is depicted by thinking of a beggar approaching a generous person.  The beggar has no right to demand anything - but approaches the generous person.  Oh Lord .... that is me - often - a beggar.  I know that you will supply all my needs, I know it is about trust.  The part of my "aha moment" was when I read in my footnote: He will only give the things that are "good" (agathon_ in light of eternity.  What God deems "good" may not be what the believer desires, bit it is that which God has chosen to carry out His plan and bring the believer into a closer relationship with him."

Of course - it is God who deems the best, or the good - and it IS all about eternity.  It is all about what will bring me closer to Jesus, the lover of my soul!  It IS all about bringing God the glory!! 

Why was this "new" to me this morning?  Not sure, all I know is, it was.  Or maybe it was "new again" so to speak.  Just as Jesus spoke with his disciples, bringing them comfort, helping them to understand his relationship with his Father - and how if they believed HIM, they believed the Father - because they were one - I am thinking that perhaps this morning, JOY KLASSEN (me!)  needed this reminder to, a "refresher" first thing before I started my day!  And for that, I am so thankful again!  Thankful that the WORD of God is truth!!  It is living and active!  And it brings me "aha" moments as I read!  The eyes of my heart continue to be opened and enlightened!  To God be the glory!!

Now .... on to my day!

Sunday, March 24

Happy Birthday to my Sweet Daughter, Ashley

How can it be - that this time 28 years ago, I was gazing into the eyes of my little blond haired, blue-eyed bundle of sweet joy! Our Ashley Marie born March 23rd.  A little sister to Josh.  And our gift from God - as we had really wanted a girl.  In those days - we did not do ultrasounds unless the doctor really thought there was a problem.  AND so we did not know the sex of the baby until he/she was born!  I was so sure we were having a girl (just like I was so sure we were having a boy when Josh was born).  SO SURE although I began to feel "bad" for being so sure it was a girl, that I went out and bought a "boy" sleeper just in case!  We only had girls names picked, and the girl would be either Ashley MARIE or Ashley NICOLE.  I think Ashley suits her name, Ashley Marie.

So we celebrated yesterday (I am not writing this on Sunday, being today, since I kept falling asleep yesterday when I was trying to write something).  We enjoyed waffles and all the fixings, and I made her "grasshopper" pie as her choice for a birthday cake!  We lit the traditional birthday torch - and sang, although rather subdued singing since Mattie was sleeping.

This year I decided I would do an acrostic for each of my loved one's birthday - and so, here is Ashley's!  ( oh my, I just realized I forgot to post for Alvin!!)  But today we bask in the memory of family spent celebrating Ashley Marie!!

Amazing at many things - but most of all - amazing at being a MOM!!
SINGS "like an angel" - this is how everyone described Ashley's singing!! She has sung from the time she could make a noise!!  Her singing has blessed many - and especially this mom!!
HOME-body!!  She loves to travel - but she gets homesick fast - which is a good thing I think!!
LOVING.  This needs NO explanation!!  She loves her family and friends fully!
Extends forgiveness and grace. Ashley does not hold grudges and I have seen how she forgives people quickly and also uses grace in relationships!

Young version of ME!!  I see so much of myself in my daughter that it is scary!!  (NO just kidding about it being scary!!  But there is alot that we share - her and I!!

Musical:  not only does she sing, but she is skilled on the piano and the guitar!!  Ashley also played french horn in junior high (much to her chagrin!!)  Ashley is musical to the core of her being!!  Her music has touched the lives of many - and she has used music therapy to reach out to people, including her Grandma, as she was dying.

Accomplished!  Ashley is a multi-tasker and gets the job done.  She has accomplished much in her 28 years - travel, schooling, work, but the biggest and greatest accomplishment is becoming a mom to Matilda Joy!

Ready to help ~ Ashley is always there to help me and others when needed - whether it be cleaning, baking, dropping off a meal, helping me out with a computer bind (of which I have many) or just being there for me!!

In Love with Jesus!!  I love watching what the Lord is doing in her life, and with her and through her - and it is my prayer that God would continue to make her into all that He has for her!

Encouraging and enjoys life!

Ashley, my dear sweet daughter - the one that God gave to me - our desired daughter!  I am so glad that  you are YOU!!  You have touched my life sweet daughter.  The very things we tease you about - the strong willed-ness is something that you can use in life - to get ahead, as you persist in areas whether it be relationships, or schooling, or just learning more and more about being a mom to Mattie.  I love watching you!  I see myself in you and I sometimes am amazed at how much we are alike - and yet still different.  You have alot of dad in you too!  You sweet daughter -  I love with all my heart - and I thank God for you!  I could not imagine my life without you!!

I pray that this year ahead is full of excitement and lots of wonderful times with Michael, with Mattie and with us!!  I look forward to living so close to you all!!

Happy birthday dear daughter - you my sweet One - are SO LOVED!!

Love you more than 5!!

Tuesday, March 5

a second helping

Tonight I have been filing, or should I say, I have been going through some bins, in an attempt to clean up some of the stuff that was filed away in a hurry (in a big rubbermaid bin!) It was some stuff from a combination of 2009 and 2010.  Some bills (which I filed now) and some personal stuff (articles, etc) and it feels oh so good to get the stuff in folders and filed!  YES!!  I love that feeling.

I also had a chance to read through some personal stuff.  Some stuff brought a little pain as I read it (sometimes you think the hurt is gone, but it is still there ...)  Other stuff made me smile.  Then I was also doubly blessed when I found a letter that my sweet daughter Ashley gave to me.  There is no date on it, but I guess I am thinking it is likely from the same time period - 2009 to 2010.  It was like a "second helping" of blessing!!  I am so thankful for this reminder - of surrender!

Hey Mom, 

I was just at my piano singing and playing, and as I sang one of the songs I could picture you in my head singing it.  The words reminded me of you, and how you are trusting God, surrendering to him, praising him and being faithful.  I love you and I'm always so encouraged and inspired by you and your faith.  

here is the song:


I'm giving you my heart, and all that is within
I lay it all down, for the sake of You my King.
I'm giving you my dreams, I'm laying down my rights
I'm giving up my pride, for the promise of new life.

And I surrender, ALL to you, all to you
And I surrender, all to you, all to you

I'm singing you this song
I'm waiting at the cross
All the world holds dear, I count it all as loss
for the sake of knowing You
the glory of Your name
to know that lasting joy
even sharing in Your pain

I surrender, all to you, all to you
And I surrender, all to you, all to you


Love you,

Monday, March 4

Whatever is His way all is well


On Monday of last week, as I walked and talked with God, He used the ocean waves and sand as a living object lesson for me.  He talked to me about how the sand gets soaked over and over again, by each wave, that keeps coming.  The sand is sometimes more exposed, and as the waves wash over it time and time and time again, it soaks up the water, until the next wave.  Sometimes a little sand is washed away.  God said to me, that I needed to allow the Holy Spirit to keep soaking me - to renew me, to refresh me, to give me rest.  And that I would continue to be refueled by His living water.  I am thankful that God speaks today, and that He also uses creation to teach this gal what she may otherwise miss!!  Thank you Lord!

I am taking this time, this twenty minute window of opportunity ~ to blog 
Outside, the snow is falling.
Inside the fireplace is on, and I am sitting beside it.
Outside it is still very obviously winter
In my heart, I am still basking in the memories of the hot vacation that was truly a gift from God
A gift of REST.
Timely ...
and very very needy.
We needed the rest.
Ashley said this morning "I realized how tired Dad really was, when I heard that you didn't get out of your hotel room to see the sun rise each morning."
Traditionally, on EVERY vacation we have been on, walking the beach at sunrise has always been something we did.
But this time, we noticed it from our beds!! 
Our feet hit the floor at about 8, which really was late for us!
SO ... like I said, the rest, oh it was so good!
I thank God for that, AND for all He spoke to me about while we were away.

But today, while the tan lines are still fresh, the reality of the "next stage of this journey" is upon us.
And I am excited and very very hopeful about it all.
The fear of the unknown, and the cries that I uttered to the Lord ("really God, can I really do this?") ... well, He has assured me that He has chosen the right one for such a time as this
and I am feeling thankful.

While we were away resting, I had the chance to think a lot about those I have loved, that God has taken home - far too soon.  
My friend Audrey.
My sweet young niece Keri.
The journey is never easy.
But as I look at the journey He has taken me (and my family) on, I realize just how much He has carried us, walked beside us, changed us, and made us into the people we are today.
God is a God that we may not understand everything about (not even half) 
but a God whom we love, and trust, and believe that He is in control.

While I have so much to do - to get ready for our grand opening in a couple weeks, I just keep hearing this song by Robin Mark, and just wanted to share it with you.  Robin expresses my heart in these lyrics!  And I in turn can say, All is Well with my soul ~ He is God in control ~ I know not all His plans ~ but I know I'm in His hands!  Amen, amen and AMEN!!

Robin Mark - All is Well

He lowers us to raise us
So we can sing His praises
Whatever is His way all is well

He makes us rich and poor
That we might trust Him more
Whatever is His way all is well

All my changes come from Him He who never changes
I'm held firm in the grasp of the Rock of all the ages

All is well with my soul
He is God in control
I know not all His plans
But I know I'm in His hands

He clothes us now then strips us
Yet with His Word equips us
Whatever is His way all is well
And though our seasons change
We still exalt His name
Whatever is His way all is well