Sharing God-given insights and meditations on His Word with the next generation in order to enlighten their understanding and draw them closer to the Kingdom of Heaven.
About Me (Joan E. Mathias Conlon) and this Gardenjem Blog
When God created the earth and humankind, He decided to select a people group to be His “treasured possession.” They were to represent Him and be holy unto Him and show all of the other nations His goodness and love. They were also to teach the next generation about His praiseworthiness. Israel is God’s chosen nation. Those of us who have confessed Jesus as our Lord and Savior are grafted into this family and have stepped into the call to share with others about Him.
The family unit would be important in teaching children about God and His commandments. His most important commandment is in Deuteronomy 6:4-7. “Hear O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”
As I look back, I see how God’s plan was carried out in my own life. I was born into a loving Christian home with parents who modeled love, hard work, being responsible, kindness and generosity. My parents had been taught these things by their parents. My brother, sister and I were raised to know God and, along with our parents, participated regularly in the life of the Glenside Baptist Church where we studied the Bible and had fellowship with other Christians. At this church I heard the good news, accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior, and was baptized. When my own children were born (two amazing girls) I wanted them to also have the benefit of learning about God, our hope and salvation.
At this stage of my life, society would call me a “senior citizen.” But it was when I was in my mid-fifties that God began to stir in me a call to leave a legacy for my children that would bless them, strengthen them for the journey of life, and help them to understand about the awesomeness of God, His love for them, and His good plans for their future. It has been my habit to spend time in the morning praying and reading my Bible. As I learned to hear the still small voice of God He began to reveal to me hidden treasures in His Word. I faithfully wrote what I was learning in a journal.
At the beginning of the year 2007 I had an encounter with God that changed my life. He asked me a question: “Why don’t you share the things that I am teaching you with your children?” I had no good answer. I needed a vehicle for sharing. And so, my Sunday night letter was birthed. Whatever God had been teaching me during the week I wrote about in an email and sent it out to my girls and son-in-law. It was not long before one of their friends asked if he could be “one of my kids.” Word about my letters was spread. As I write this story, I have 90 “kids.” (2015)
I actually call “my kids” “my sprouts,” for two reasons. When my oldest daughter reached her teen years God gave me a promise for both of my children that I clung to when there were rough spots in parenting. It says, “For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants. They will spring up like grass in a meadow, like poplar trees by flowing streams.” (Isaiah 44:3-4) Then, in the mid-nineties my church, The Washington Crossing United Methodist Church (The Crossing) invited a prophet to speak to the women in our congregation. She looked at me and said, “I see many green sprouts growing all around you.” She told me that I was tending them and helping them to grow. I believe the Holy Spirit gave her that word for me so that I would understand God’s call on my life to mentor the next generation in their faith and relationship with God. I have come to realize the importance of this call through the many Scriptures that talk about God’s generational plans.
“Since my youth, O God, you have taught me, and to this day I declare your marvelous deeds. Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, O God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your might to all who are to come.” (Psalm 71:17-18)
“…We will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, His power, and the wonders He has done. He decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel, which He commanded our forefathers to teach their children, so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children. Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget His deeds but would keep His commands.” (Psalm 78:4-7)
"I will sing of the Lord's great love forever, with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations. I will declare that your love stands firm forever, that you established your faithfulness in heaven itself.” (Psalm 89:12)
Recently, I have been greatly encouraged by my pastors to expand my territory. It was time for “my family” to grow. This blog is the first step in doing that. God has placed another dream in my heart. It is my hope that I will be able to publish a devotional book from some of the entries in this blog.
My time spent with the Lord in searching out His Word is like a treasure hunt. I consider it a great privilege to be able to do this and do not take lightly the things that the Holy Spirit shares with me. What a gift! King Solomon describes it well in the book of Proverbs: “If you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.” (Proverbs 2:1-6)
The entry categories on this blog have been influenced by the experiences of my life and the things that give me joy. I have always had a great appreciation for God's creation. In fact, I have worked in landscaping for many years. God speaks to me in a sunrise or sunset, the details of a garden, the song of a bird, or the behavior of an animal. I also love music and took piano lessons as a girl and guitar lessons as an adult. Singing worship songs to the Lord puts me into another dimension.
I am patriotic, love the country that I live in, and respect the foundation upon which it was established by our Founding Fathers. Many of them had a deep faith in God and wanted this nation to be set up on God’s foundation so that we would honor Him and be an example to other nations.
As my understanding of God’s Word and His purposes in heaven and earth have grown, I have become more and more excited about my relationship with Him. I have studied revival and read many books about broadening and deepening my faith. My passion for an intimate relationship with Him continues to grow. I am a part of an inner healing team and have seen amazing changes in people’s lives when they understand the authority that they have with Him.
A more recent discovery has been the blessings of the roots of my faith, Christianity, in Judaism. Recognizing that Jesus Himself was a Jew and honoring the Sabbaths and celebrating the feasts on the Hebrew calendar, I realize the importance of tapping into the yearly cycle of blessing that God has established through His calendar.
In the year 2017 God introduced me to an amazing man who became my husband on October 27, 2017. James Arthur Conlon, who we all affectionately call Jac, has encouraged me to capture my dream of writing a book with the posts of this blog. As I write this, it is the beginning of 2023. Perhaps I will have some news about this endeavor by the end of the year.
If you are reading this blog, know that it is truly my heart’s cry that the entries will bring you closer to God and reveal to you His deep love and affection for you and His plans to give you hope and an amazing future with Him. Thank you for visiting this site. “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn His face toward you and give peace.”