Sojourning on Venice Beach

Posted September 23, 2014 by Jolene Belferman
Categories: Blessings, life, light, love, peace, Pilgrim Way, Poetry, prose, Worship

Tags: , , , ,

IMG_1536Sharing a link this time…I wrote a poem when I was out West and it is featured on the Ben Cisco World of Music website. My pen name is Esperanza – it’s my middle name after my grandmother – a Spanish custom. Anyway, here’s the link:

http://bencisco.com/wp/blog/2014/09/19/sojourning-venice-beach/

Click on the music video by Nadishana and listen while you read – pretty nice. God is Good and He makes all things good. Enjoy!

God called the dry land earth, and the gathering of the waters He called seas; and God saw that it was good.

Freedom Child Ride

Posted August 5, 2014 by Jolene Belferman
Categories: love, Poetry, prose

Tags: , , ,

Riding fast

Determined to find your freedom

You’re on the road

To a place far away

Can’t you see

That fear is the horse you ride

Into the night of darkness and uncertainty

Riding fast

Always moving away

Breathing hard

Silent you stay

Afraid to speak

Afraid to say all that is in your heart

You ride too fast

On the horse of fear

It takes you deep

Into bondage where

Your voice has been muted

But in this silence

I hear the loudest scream

As distance stands between us

Can’t you see

I am on the road

Traveling too

You pass me by

I look at you

Stop! I want to shout

But my heart remains silently questioning

Freedom Child

Can we not speak to each other?

What chases you?

Did I scare you?

Am I so different?

You had to take yourself away?

So fast, riding so fast away

Stop your freedom ride

Change horses

Let fear go

You mounted that dark stead too fast

Thinking to find your freedom

The horse of fear goes only one way

Into the abyss

Where freedom

Is an illusion

Not a dream

In the abyss

There is no freedom

And love is

What you miss

Love waits on the road left behind

You need a different horse

To find the road where pilgrims travel

To find their freedom

Freedom Child

Please listen

My heart continues its prayer…

I know because I’m just like you

Or, I was

Yes, just yesterday

I rode that horse too

Fear was strong

It took me too

Far away

I even fell into the abyss

That miry clay pit

Of darkness

Then fear – that dark and dangerous horse

Of power and deceptive passion

Shook its mane

And scratched the ground

In triumph

Its nostrils flared

Fire burned in its eyes

He thought he had won

I thought so too

As he reared up on hind legs

And threw me to the ground

Where I lay covered in dust

Again, he shook his mane

Proudly giving one loud, last snort

And then, just as quickly

He disappeared…

 

What happened then? Some may ask

I died

And everything changed

Fear was gone

And then

I opened my eyes

To see Love smiling at me

Reaching down to take my hand

He lifted me up

He spoke to me

Love spoke to me and pointed

I looked and quickly covered my eyes

“Here,” Love spoke

“Ride this horse.”

I squinted and looked again

This time I saw it

There before me

In an almost blinding light

Stood a different horse

Strong and powerful

Tall and majestic

Like a horse from God’s chariots

Suddenly it reared up on its back legs

Kicking in the air

And again the light…and

I saw it

As if it was

Radiating every conceivable color

Like a prism shrouded by the sun’s rays

Much too much horse for me!

A stallion

A thoroughbred

With grace and elegance

And power and strength

How could I mount and ride

This great and terrible

Glowing creature

Of a horse?

“Ride.” Love spoke again

Me?

I am too small

I am not trained

I am not strong

“Ride.” Love said for the third time

I can’t I said in a whisper

“Ride.” Love said

And with great patience

Love said again

“Ride

This is your horse.”

What is her name?

I asked

Love turned to look at me

And spoke one final time

“This horse is called Faith and you were made to ride her.

Now mount her and begin your journey home.”

And so I did

I did what Love told me

And now I am on my way home.

So come with me Freedom Child

Ride the horse called Faith

We will find our freedom

Together

I John 4:18

He Sends Out His Voice

Posted July 31, 2014 by Jolene Belferman
Categories: intercessor, Israel, Jerusalem

Tags: ,

Ascribe power to the LORD whose majesty is over Israel

EastGate-2

God shall arise, his enemies shall be scattered; and those who hate him shall flee before him.

The chariots of God are twice ten thousand, thousands upon thousands; the LORD is among them; Sinai is now in the sanctuary.

Summon your power O God,

The power O God by which You have worked for us…scatter the peoples who delight in war.

O kingdoms of the earth

Sing to God

Sing praises to the LORD

To him who rides in the heavens, the ancient heavens; behold, he sends out his voice, his mighty voice.

Ascribe power to the LORD whose majesty is over Israel, and whose power is in the skies.

Awesome is God from his sanctuary;

The God of Israel

He is the One who gives power and strength to his people.

Blessed be God!

Ash Wednesday Meditation – Next Day…

Posted March 6, 2014 by Jolene Belferman
Categories: Blessings, Devotions, Joy

Tags: , , ,

Yesterday, March 5th was Ash Wednesday in the Liturgical Calendar of the Anglican Church.

Along with other brothers and sisters participating in the Eucharist and Imposition of Ashes Services, I found myself standing before our Rector as he etched the ashes into my forehead while saying, “Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return.”dove-olivebranch

It was a repentance service, but the ashes also served to remind me of my mortality and how much I need God – how much we all need God. And, I was reminded in this very act, I was pressing in and moving forward in faith. I was joining the Apostle Paul and all believers in that great cloud of witnesses who have gone before me.

We press forward that we may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of our own…that we may know him and the power of his resurrection, sharing his sufferings and becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible we may attain the resurrection from the dead. The Apostle Paul continues – that we must press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Phil. 3)

I love that! There is a goal and there is a prize! Our time on this earth is a time to remember and to keep pressing in. We remember what he has done and we practice those things we remember.

On Ash Wednesday this tradition is about remembering that we serve a Holy God and he has called us to be holy as he is holly. The ashes remind us to lean heavily upon him confessing our sins and repenting afresh to be made new daily. That’s why King David sang, “Create in me a clean heart O God and renew a right spirit within me.”

Anglicans base their traditions and much of their liturgy on the Hebrew practice of remembering the goodness of the LORD. Hebrew scriptures continually repeat the remembering of the goodness of the LORD and all he has done for his people. God’s desire has always been to dwell with his people. And it is because of his great mercy and everlasting love that he has made a way for his people to live forever in his presence as a holy people.

Jesus is the way and we remember this especially on Ash Wednesday as we confess our sins. We know that we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous. Jesus is our righteousness. (I John 2:1)

We have no righteousness of our own. The Ashes remind us of that.

“For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.” (John 3:16-17) NLT

Amen! Let’s press in to this season of Lent. We’re on our way to the Resurrection, but first we must walk the road with Christ to Calvary, remembering that he conquered death and sits at the right hand of the Father having been given all authority!

Amen! He has made a way for us. Let’s remember that and follow him daily pressing in to the goal of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

The Lord is compassionate and gracious,

Slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness.

9 He will not always strive with us,

Nor will He keep His anger forever.

10 He has not dealt with us according to our sins,

Nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.

11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,

So great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him.

12 As far as the east is from the west,

So far has He removed our transgressions from us.

13 Just as a father has compassion on his children,

So the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him.

14 For He Himself knows our frame;

He is mindful that we are but dust.

Psalm 103:8-14

Let There Be Light

Posted February 9, 2014 by Jolene Belferman
Categories: Blessings, Devotions, light, Worship

Tags: , ,

bahia-bajaCaSurSince the beginning of time God looked at all He had created and it was good – He said so. God took the void – the nothingness – and He spoke.

With His Word He made everything out of nothing. And He declared it good.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. And the earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep; and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light;” and there was light. (Genesis 1:1-3)

And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. (Genesis 1:4)

The light was good, and God separated it from the darkness.

Why did God declare the light to be good?

Why didn’t He say that the darkness was good too?

Why did God separate the light from the darkness?

I’ll come back to that in a minute, but first God’s work of creation continues…

And God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. (Genesis 1:27)

I am reminded…

Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, and which have not entered the heart of man, all that God has prepared for those who love Him. (Isaiah 64:4, 65:17; I Corinthians 2:9)

And now the questions asked above begin to have some possible answers.

God has prepared many things for those who love Him. And we find them as we search for them in the light. Without light there is no hope of ever finding them. The things God has prepared for us are revealed to us in the light – the light He spoke into being.

In darkness nothing can be seen. If nothing is seen, there is no vision.

Light is good because in the light things are revealed.

Truth is known.

In darkness things are hidden and unknown. That’s why God created a separation between light and darkness.

What is known will naturally be separated from what is not known.

And this is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. (I John 1:5-7)

Light is good because God is light and He is in the light. And, in the light of God’s love we are forever separated from darkness.

Dear brothers and sisters, if we walk for a season in darkness there is no need to despair because God is everywhere – darkness has no power over God.

Remember Psalm 139:10-12 and say a prayer:

…even there [in darkness] your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me.
If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
and the light about me be night,”
even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is bright as the day,
for darkness is as light with you.

Nothing can keep us from the love of God – and by this I mean His love for us – no matter what we are feeling – He loves us and will make a way for us even in the darkest of times.

And so we are called into the light.

He has made a way for us. All we have to do is choose to follow Him into the light.

We walk in the light.

We live in the light.

And ultimately, we become one with the light.

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)

He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son …(Colossians 1:13)

Thank you Heavenly Father! You are so good to us. This day, today, may we stay close to you through Christ Jesus our Lord, and by your grace may we live in the light and serve you faithfully going in your name to bring many others to the light of life. Amen.

Cloud of Witnesses

Posted February 5, 2014 by Jolene Belferman
Categories: Blessings, Teshuva, Worship

Tags: ,

birdsaltonsea-2CLOUD OF WITNESSES

Who is this cloud of witnesses?

A better question would be to what do we witness?

The Book of Hebrews in the Bible, Chapter 12 and verses 1-3 answers both questions.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.”

We are those who are in danger of growing weary and fainthearted, and yet we run with endurance the race set before us looking to Jesus. We witness what he has done for us in laying down his life on the cross where he died. We witness his life in us today because we believe and therefore witness to his resurrection. Death has no lasting hold on him. In him we are one with him and with the Father and with each other. We have not yet entered our eternal home, so we remember our Lord and we stay close to each other. We give witness and we worship – for us worship is the very breath we breathe as the song goes…it’s true. We witness him today alive within us and we worship him – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – Echad – One God.

We are at peace even within the daily battle to remain His and we call to you to join us through His life lived in us.

You may think this life is not for you. Too much has happened in your life to allow for such peace. Wrong! Come to the Father through Jesus today and discover that you are no different than any one of this great cloud of witnesses – you are no different than any one of us. We haven’t done anything to deserve this great gift of becoming the Temple of God. We witness that we are all the same until we come to him. Then! Then, things change! We become a great cloud of witnesses!

We have each been given a gift. It’s not our good works that brought us to Jesus. It was our bad and dirty works – our miserable lives lived without Him! I have two words for you:

SURRENDER – yes, give all to him because he loves you. He has a good plan for your life to give you a future and a hope.

TESHUVA – I don’t speak Hebrew but I love this word because of all it means. It could be summed up this way: RETURN.

Return? You ask.

Never been there – you might say.

Wrong! You are made in the image of God! That’s right! No matter where you’ve been, what you’ve done, what you believe, or what you want to believe – you were created in the image of God. I am part of a great cloud of witnesses that bears witness to that truth.

Let truth bring you to his holy mountain where you become part of a great cloud of witnesses that love him and each other. Return and join us in witnessing to the greatest act of love ever seen in this world.

Return and come…let us worship our God together.

That’s what Cloud of Witnesses is all about…worshiping through the Scriptures and through prayer. As we worship we bear witness. It’s a moment. It’s a life time.

And they sang a new song, saying,

“Worthy are you to take the scroll

and to open its seals,

for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God

from every tribe and language and people and nation,

and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God,

and they shall reign on the earth.”

“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain,

to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might

and honor and glory and blessing!”

And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying,

“To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb

be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!”

And the four living creatures said, “Amen!” and the elders fell down and worshiped. (Revelation 5)

Seasons with the LORD – All Good!

Posted August 16, 2012 by Jolene Belferman
Categories: Uncategorized

To those of you who are following me at All Excellent Things I want to thank you and let you know that I feel called to enter a period of rest from blogging.

I am sensing that I need to be still before the Lord for a season. I hope this special time of rest will honor my LORD in ways I don’t even understand and that I can hear from Him during this time.

What I am sensing reminds me of Leviticus 25:1-2 The LORD said to Moses at Mount Sinai, ‘Tell the people of Israel this: When you enter the land I will give you, let it have a special time of rest to honor the LORD.’

Thank you for “following” me for this past season. Your comments have blessed me and I trust that you too have been blessed by our Lord as He has given me messages to share with you. He is the Master and I am His messenger. God bless you and let us all stay close to Him and let Him lead us in these days. I pray we keep our eyes on Him. May the Holy Spirit lead us and keep us close through Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.


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