Spreading love, joy, peace, faith & unity

Archive for the ‘Belief’ Category

All Are Welcome


I bet you choose love, too.

Today in church, the choir taught the congregation a new hymn. At least it was new to us. About verse three, the congregation couldn’t hold – they had to (simply HAD to) join in… and the message resonated with everyone there.

I was reminded of the slogan at Bloom in the Desert where we attended several different Januarys when we vacationed near Palm Springs, CA: “We welcome all who welcome all.”

Wouldn’t it be grand if all people could exhibit that level of inclusivity?

Aren’t those lyrics wonderful?
Did you find yourself singing along?

Hallelujah! Love is grown in this place! I am so happy to worship in a place where “All Are Welcome.” I just wish we could cultivate more diversity in our little corner of Montana. We came from California 15 years ago. Our community in CA was made up of people from many ethnicities. I miss that! Montana does have a large Native American population, though. I wish more of them would move into southwest Montana!

Meet a couple of very talented brothers:

What can we
– as diversity-loving citizens –
do to encourage more of that
“We Welcome All” attitude
in our world?

Share some ideas with me.

Big hugs to you.
Have a beautiful Sunday.
Cheers!
Left hand is gaining flexibility
and strength every day.
Thanks for your prayers.
Keep smiling!!


I send my love to you.
See you tomorrow (God willing)
Love,
JanBeek

Wear Red!


Today was a day
we were encouraged
to wear red.

My cast insures
that I’ll wear red
whether I want to or not!

Hello from Bob & me

Tomorrow the pins
will come out
and the cast
comes off!

Then my prayer
is that the swelling
decreases & flexibility
begins to return.

That will be
a time to celebrate.
Don’t you agree?
Wheeee!

Oh, but why
“Wear Red”
You ask?
It’s Pentacost!

Photo by Adonyi Gu00e1bor on Pexels.com

Tongues of fire
Descended on the folks
Gathered at the Temple

The tongues of fire
Were the Holy Spirit
Entering the Disciples

Here’s how the story goes:

At the Last Supper, Jesus instructed His disciples to go out into the world to minister and heal the sick on their own. Fifty days after Jesus’ death, the Holy Spirit (with tongues of fire) descended onto the disciples, allowing them to speak in tongues. All the people from all parts of the world who were gathered there were able to hear the Word in their own language as the apostles (filled with the Holy Spirit) spoke to them. Some explanations say that it was the “Pentecostal experience” that allowed the apostles direct communication with God. The PBS News Hour explanation of Pentecost says, “That signaled a major shift in the religious landscape and laid the foundation for what would become Christianity.”

Pentecost shares roots with the Jewish holiday, Shavu’ot. Since that holiday’s liturgical color is red, to symbolize the apostles “tongues of fire” and also the blood of martyrs, sometimes Christians will dress in red or decorate churches with red. Many churches hold baptisms and confirmations on that day, as well. (Our church was decorated in red and we held a fellowship hour after church celebrating the graduation of three of our young people from elementary to high school – and from high school to college.)

Many artists have tried to depict what
that day of Pentecost
must have been like
for the people there.

This is one of my favorites:

Here is another favorite…
It shows the people from various cultures,
each of whom speak a different language,
receiving the Holy Spirit.
God’s sign of UNITY
through and within
our diversity.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful
if we all could have a “Pentecostal experience”
where we understand every language
as if it were spoken in our own tongue?
No more language barriers?

How are you celebrating Pentecost today?
Are you wearing red?
Let’s all celebrate
UNITY
through and within
our diversity.

LOVE is why Jesus came!
Pentecost is a day
to celebrate His continued presence
through the Holy Spirit
sent to live in each of us!!

God bless you.
See you later…
After the pins come out!

Love,
JanBeek

Red-Yellow-Black-White


Jesus loves the little children
All the children of the world.
Red and yellow, black and white,
They are precious in his sight.
Jesus loves the little children of the world.

Jesus came to earth to show us how to live.
He gave His life – what more must He give
To teach us the lesson He came here to teach?
Just love one another! Live that lesson and preach!

Preach to the world the need for compassion.
Preach respect, integrity… Make them current fashion.
Don’t let fear and ignorance take the reigns
And infect our society and poison our brains.

White Replacement Theory? What a bunch of bunk!
Don’t let such absurdity enter you. It’s just junk!
God created each of us with blessed diversity.
He created us equally. Believe that with certainty!

Those who fear other skin or folks from outside the USA
Are showing us their ignorance by what they do and say.
They don’t understand the message God sent to earth
When He brought to this world His Son to give us second birth.

They don’t accept the well-known fact of Oneness,
The same blood, same love, same spirit of “Done-ness.”
We are were “done” by the Potter’s wheel and skill.
We all were created by our God, our Savior’s Will.

No color is more beautiful; No skin is a favored one.
No cuisine is more tasty. God differently flavored some.
So wrap your mind around the true acts of love…
Love others unconditionally – Give all hate a shove!

My heart goes out to the families and friends of the 10 who were senselessly murdered by a sick, crazed, fearful 18-year-old in NY this week. Additionally, worshipers were shot down in church two days ago… and the list goes on. It makes my stomach churn. It makes my head hurt. It puzzles my mind. I just don’t begin to understand. I want to help. I need to do my part.

So, with my left hand in a cast and my little finger throbbing, I hunt and peck with my right hand. I send my love out into the world – and I beg my readers to do what you can, too. Try to drown out hate with loud acts of love. Try to squelch fear with gigantic messages of compassion and understanding. Try to stamp out ignorance with numerous exchanges of God’s messages in His Word and through His Son. Do something. Do what you can.

Photo by ATC Comm Photo on Pexels.com


Dear Heavenly Father,
help us to set aside
fear,
hatred,
ignorance,
and
divisiveness,
and start
as a nation
and as a world
to
just love one another…
Amen

Hugs,
JanBeek

What’s Good About Good Friday?


That was the question we explored at tonight’s Good Friday service:
What’s Good About Good Friday?

Yesterday in my post titled, “Last Words,”
I promised I’d tell you about our Good Friday service.
I told you our pastor, Mary Grace Reynolds,
had selected passages from scripture
that recorded Jesus’ last words.

I shared a few of Jesus’ last words spoken that
last Friday … words that were memorable to me:

  1. Mark 14: 24-25 = Last supper – blood of the covenant poured out for you
  2. Mark 14:27-31 = Prediction of Peter’s denial
  3. Mark 14:35-36 = Take this cup from me…
  4. Mark 14:42-43 = Are you still sleeping? … the betrayer is coming
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

But those quotes were from Jesus’ last conversations with His disciples
before He was arrested… before He was hung on the cross.

Tonight’s “Last Words” were from the cross:

  1. Luke 23: 33-34 = “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.”
  2. Luke 23: 39-43 = “Truly I tell you, you will be with me…”
  3. John 19: 25-27 = “Woman, here is your son…”
  4. Matthew 27: 45-49 = “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
  5. John 28: 28-29 = “I am thirsty”
  6. Luke 23: 44-46 = “Father, into Your hands…”
  7. John 19: 30 = “It is finished.”

The selection that was mine to read was #4. I practiced it a lot and still goofed up when I tried to read it orally because the scripture tells it in the language Jesus spoke: “Eloi! Eloi! Lama sabachthani!” I can say it just fine sitting here at my computer – but in front of the congregation? Put on the spot? I faked it! I hope most didn’t notice. I’m sure Jesus forgives me!

Each of us who read was invited to create and share a reflection and a prayer related to our selection.
Here is what I said: “Like Jesus, there are times in our lives when we are in great suffering or turmoil, and we feel God has forsaken us. The Good News is He never has and He never will.”

That’s what’s Good about Good Friday!

Jesus took away our sin. He died for us. Because of His life, death, and resurrection, we can dare to approach God knowing He will never forsake us. Never!

My prayer was this:

“O God, You are our hope and our salvation.
Your Son is our gift, our gateway, our guide.
We thank You for His sacrifice for our sake
that we might be assured of Life Eternal
with You in Heaven.

Thank You for never forsaking us
when we enter Your presence in faith.
We give You our hearts and gratitude.
Amen.”


Tomorrow is “Silent Saturday.”
I will not blog.

I’ll be busy Easter Sunday
with sunrise service and church
and guests here for dinner.
(Hopefully my granddaughter, Hope,
and her hubby and two children,
Xander & Sienna,
will be among the guests)

I bet you will be busy
doing meaningful things
this weekend also.
Happy Easter!

See ya Monday (God willing)
Love,
JanBeek

His Last Words


It’s Maundy Thursday!

On this day,
Jesus washed the disciples’ feet;
He shared the Last Supper with them;
He revealed that one of them would betray Him,
He told them where He was going:

Mark 14: 24-25

24 “This is my blood of the[a] covenant, which is poured out for many,” he said to them. 25 “Truly I tell you, I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”

Before Jesus and the disciples left the Upper Room,
they sang a hymn. I wonder what hymn they sang?
This morning in my devotionals,
I learned the definition of “Hymn.”
According to this morning’s Daily Word,
it is not just a song sung ABOUT God,
it is a song sung TO God.

I am going to pretend I was there,
and I got to pick the hymn
to sing with the disciples and Jesus.

What hymn would YOU choose?

Mark 14:26
“When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.”

There on the Mount of Olives,
Jesus predicted Peter’s denial.

Mark 14:27-31

27 “You will all fall away,” Jesus told them, “for it is written:

“‘I will strike the shepherd,
    and the sheep will be scattered.’[a]

28 But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.”

29 Peter declared, “Even if all fall away, I will not.”

30 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “today—yes, tonight—before the rooster crows twice[b] you yourself will disown me three times.”

31 But Peter insisted emphatically, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” And all the others said the same.

Sure enough!
Before the rooster crowed twice,
Peter had indeed denied knowing Christ.

Would I have been brave enough
to admit I was one of His disciples
if I were in Peter’s shoes?

When Jesus went off by Himself
to pray to His Father
because
He was “overwhelmed with sorrow
to the point of death,”
Jesus told three of His disciples,
“Stay here and keep watch.”

Mark 14:35-36
35 Going a little farther,
he fell to the ground and prayed that
if possible the hour might pass from him.
36 “Abba,[a] Father,” he said,
“everything is possible for you.
Take this cup from me.
Yet not what I will, but what you will.”

While He prayed, all three disciples fell asleep!

Would I have been the one disciple
who managed to stay awake
when Jesus went off alone
to pray in the Garden of Gethsemane?
Probably not!
I would have heard Jesus say:

Mark 14:42-43

“Are you still sleeping and resting? Enough!
The hour has come.
Look, the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners.
42 Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!”

At tomorrow’s Good Friday service, we will focus on the last words of Jesus. Our pastor has chosen seven scriptural passages to capture that last day with the disciples before His arrest and trial and crucifixion. Some of them are those quoted above. Tune in tomorrow and I’ll let you know which of Jesus’ last words I will have the privilege of reading at the Good Friday service.

Meantime, we’re headed for the Maundy Thursday service. I wonder what Rev. Mary Grace Reynolds will do for this evening’s devotional? It’s another “first” in our fresh-out-of-seminary pastor. Such a blessing!

Thanks for joining me for today’s post.
See ya tomorrow (God willing)
Love ya,
JanBeek


Donkey Sunday


I met this donkey in England
while visiting Jackie & Derrick Knight!

Sermon Notes

Our message at church today was an interesting one.
Rev. Mary Grace Reynolds shared a story about a
clerical friend of hers who renamed Palm Sunday
“Donkey Sunday” because the palm leaves show up
in only some of the Gospels, but the donkey is in all four!

Power in Love

Royalty who rode donkeys
were considered a disgrace.
But the throng didn’t mind
How Jesus entered the place.

Power is a social contract.
It’s a constructed idea for us.
However it is not a given –
Except in the case of Jesus.

Christ Power is a given.
In the beginning was Light,
And the Light was God who
Came from darkness into sight.

Jesus Christ came from Light.
Through God all things were created.
Jesus was not just made…
He always was. And I’m elated!

Because He came, I know
That He will come again.
He has the power to save us all.
His power can save us from our sin.

Think about the presence
Of power in our lives.
When do you exercise it?
Control it, friends, ’til Christ arrives!

He entered Jerusalem on a donkey

The donkey is a symbol of humility.
The King of Kings came not to reign
Over the rulers of this earthly kingdom.
He came in love to display His own domain.

His kingdom is not on earth.
Instead, it is in eternity…
The place He has reserved
For believers like you and me.

Today might be called “Donkey Sunday.”
It is the day Christ rode to town
On the back of this lowly animal.
Praise God, His Son came down!


Power was His –
But He exchanged it
For humility and love
And expressed it with compassion.

Happy Donkey Week, my friends.
May the Power of the Holy Spirit
Be expressed in you
Through Love and Humility.

Our pastor,
Mary Grace Reynolds,
with me.

Thanks for your message, Rev. Reynolds.
I pray my sermon notes did it justice.

Have blessed Holy Week, my friends.
Love,
JanBeek

See ya tomorrow (God willing)

Staying Young


Staying young while growing older begins with a mind-set.

Peace and partying
Satisfaction and smiles
in all circumstances
at all ages

Notice I did not say, “Growing OLD.”
Growing OLDER is not the same as growing old.
I’m not OLD; at 82, I am simply
in my advanced years –
growing in wisdom and grace –
with God’s blessings!

In the Natural Living newsletter,
Dr. Z and Mama Z write the following:

“God will carry us through,
even into our advanced years.
Our Creator has had a plan for us
since before we were born.
He had our days numbered
since the beginning of time
and it is up to us to make wise decisions
to help our bodies
live a more vibrant and full life
and to impart our wisdom
to those placed in our lives.”

“Those who are older should speak, for wisdom comes with age.”

~ Job 32:7

Photo by Ivan Bertolazzi on Pexels.com

I DO think about things differently… especially THINGS.
Yes, I have my “treasures,” – those things I am reluctant to part with –
but as time goes by, I realize the wisdom of knowing
“I can’t take it with me.”
And God don’t allow no U-Hauls in Heaven!!

Skip that store on your way outta town!

In my daily devotions today,
Charles Stanley wrote in his In Touch entry,
“Our culture is obsessed with youth…
But… Unless death intervenes, growing old is inevitable.”

See that’s where I differ with him.
But it is only a matter of semantics, I’m sure.
He must have meant “growing older.”
Because he went on to say,
“We can be young in soul and spirit,
regardless of our chronological age.”

Magnificence comes with age…
Yes, the root word is “magnify”
and that’s what age does for us.
It magnifies our failures (if we let it) –
It magnifies our faults (if we let it) –
It requires magnification to see clearly!

Photo by Wallace Chuck on Pexels.com

The question we need to ask ourselves is,
“What am I magnifying as I age?”

Charles Stanley’s devotional today reminded us,
“Never stop listening to the Father
and learning from His Word.
Allow godly thinking to shape your attitude.
Be thankful, never stop laughing,
and rejoice in the Lord.
Above all, keep believing
and loving Him with all your heart.”

Making the most of the dash
means we have to stop dashing!
We’re not created to be honeybees,
dashing from one bit of pollen to another!

“Gray hair is a crown of glory;
it is obtained by following a righteous path.”

~ Proverbs 16:31


We are created in the image of God,
designed to glorify Him each day
by following the righteous path…
stopping along the way
and taking time
to pour out the honey of forgiveness,
dish out the power of experience,
and spray the gladness of grace
on all we meet.

Ps. 119:103

The way Eugene Peterson
paraphrased that verse in his study Bible,
The Message, is this:

“Your words are so choice, so tasty;
I prefer them to the best home cooking.”

Photo by mentatdgt on Pexels.com

So, let’s return to the original premise here:
“Staying young while growing older begins with a mind-set.”

Recognize those two?
A younger Bob & Jan?
60 years later…
Still young at heart!

What is your mind-set today?

Are you young at heart?
Are you pouring out the honey of forgiveness?
Are you dishing out the power of experience?
Are you spraying the gladness of grace?

Here’s a spray bottle
to help you out!

Thanks for visiting JanBeek today.
See ya tomorrow (God willing)

Fearfully/Wonderfully Made


Photo by Paul Seling on Pexels.com

In the book of Psalms,
David writes in chapter 139 verses 13 and 14:

“for it was You who created my inward parts;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I will praise You because
I have been fearfully and wonderfully made”.

What does it mean to be fearfully and wonderfully made?

Fearfully
when translated from the Hebrew means
with great reverence,
heart-felt interest,
and
with respect.

Wonderfully
when translated from the Hebrew
means
unique
and
set apart.

Do you know you are
unique and set apart?
Do you feel the enormous amount of

reverence,
heart,
and
respect
that went into your making?

Or do you relate to this meme?

My body no longer looks like this:

Photo by Loe Moshkovska on Pexels.com

Okay, OK, ok, I hear you…
I never did look quite like that!!

BUT,
read more of that scripture in Psalm 139:

Psalm 139:13-16

“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.”

And realize/internalize this message”

Genesis 1:26-27

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

When we badmouth our bodies, we are insulting God, don’t you think?

Last week when our Presbyterian Women met, the Bible lesson we studied was the story of Bathsheba. It pointed out the secular take on who Bathsheba was may be flawed. Instead of a gorgeous seductress, she may have been the victim. Hollywood’s version of her is the perfectly gorgeous Rita Hayward.

Is that how you see Bathsheba?

The artists who have painted her have a different version:

I much prefer this one! A little bit of a double chin, a poochy stomach, and hefty thighs. Yes, I can relate! Now don’t you think she was fearfully and wonderfully made?

We’re all different in our body type – and yet God says we all are beautiful, lovable, and created in His image. Do you believe that about yourself? Even if you’re not perfect?

Matthew 22:37-39

And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

Did you hear that?
“… as yourself.”

Yes, you are fearfully and wonderfully made.
Accept God’s love.
Love yourself …
and then
You can love others!

Don’t let you body stiffen,
and don’t let your mind stiffen either!

There are bodies of all shapes and sizes –
All are made in God’s image –
All are fearfully and wonderfully made!

And – hey guys,
You don’t have to have a six-pack
to be considered handsome!

Those old Charles Atlas ads
are outdated –
and those muscles
don’t make the man!

That guy on the left is my Bob
at the time we met – – –
and his brother, Bill, on the right.
They don’t look like that today,
but they still are fearfully and wonderfully made –
and their bodies have lasted into their mid-80’s!

Hah! Here’s Bob celebrating his 80th a few years ago with his younger brother, Bruce, and his brother-in-law, Stan. When asked, “What makes the man?”

Bob answered, “Character! A man who says what he’ll do and does what he says. A man of his word.”

Being fearfully and wonderfully made
in the image of God means
you are made a hero
because you are made
with the characteristics of heroism.

12 Characteristics of Heroism

  • Brave
  • Filled with Conviction
  • Courage
  • Determination
  • Helpful
  • Honest
  • Inspirational
  • Exhibiting Moral integrity

And that’s not just for you guys out there.
Those are the qualities of a woman made in God’s image, too!

Add faithful to that list…
It’s a part of honesty
and being inspirational
and moral integrity.

It’s faith that gives you that character Bob was talking about!

May God bless you today –
Your mind and your body –
Know for sure, my friends,
you are fearfully and wonderfully made!

Believe it!!

Thanks for visiting JanBeek today.
See ya tomorrow (God willing)
Hugs!

Love from Bob & Jan

Hear Our Prayers


What is on your prayer list?
Who are on your prayer list?
Do you pray daily – multiple times each day?
The Bible tells us,

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing,
give thanks in all circumstances;
for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you”

(1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

Prayer joyfully –
with confidence!

14 This is the confidence we have in approaching God:
that if we ask anything according to his will, He hears us.

John 5:14

The big question is –
How do we know if what we are praying is in God’s will?

Tune in to the Holy Spirit.
Jesus gave us the Spirit as a helper
when He left earth and ascended into heaven.
Take advantage of that gift! It is ours by God’s grace!

God’s Holy Spirit gives us
the Fruits of the Spirit –
and daily we must pray for
their presence to live in our lives.

I find the first three are mine…
I accept them with deep gratitude.
Not everyone has the LOVE, JOY, and PEACE
that are mine automatically. I know that!
I do not take them for granted.
And if you lack them, I pray
God will provide you today
with LOVE, JOY, and PEACE.

But, the other six? Oh Lord, I ask for help –
Help with them everyday so that I may show more
kindness
goodness
faithfulness
(which brings blessings)
gentleness
and
self-control.

Join us now as we come to God in prayer.
We pray humbly for all people to have:
Love
Food
Medical care
Shelter
Peace
Respect
Freedom
Unity
Faith
Healing
Hope
Comfort
and
Security.

In Jesus’ Name,
Amen!

Amen!

See ya tomorrow (God willing)
Love,
JanBeek

Good News!


We received a call this afternoon from Pfizer (the manufacturer of the medication Bob needs for treatment of his Amyloidosis- congestive heart failure). They have approved his application for assistance and the drug he needs to treat his problem will be in the mail tomorrow. We are grateful beyond measure! God is good! Thank you for your prayers. ❤️🙏🏽🥰

Lotsa smiles today.

Hugs to you, dear friends. Keep the faith. Be sure to express your needs to our merciful Heavenly Father – and believe your prayers are heard. God hears. God cares. Good is good!

Amen!

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