Loving One Another

Archive for the ‘Belief’ Category

Spread Love & Hope!


Beautiful Words of Love

O love that will not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in Thee;
I give Thee back the life I owe,
That in Thine ocean depths its flow
May richer fuller be.

O joy that seekest me through pain,
I cannot close my heart to Thee;
I trace the rainbow through the rain,
And feel the promise is not vain
That morn shall tearless be.

Today’s Worship Service

In the absence of a worship service in our church today because of COVID-19 and the need for social-distancing, our worship service was e-mailed to us. The hymns I include in this blog were chosen by our pastor Steve and our music director, Fran McNeill, and then e-mailed to us from our Madison Valley Presbyterian Church here in Ennis, Montana today.

The following sermon by Pastor Steve Hundley was printed for us to “hear” in the privacy of our homes. It is powerful!

Please take your precious time now and hear it with me:

Today’s Sermon

TRUSTING GOD IN THIS DARK TIME

Read: Psalm 130

Read: Romans 8

Some years ago, Rabbi Harold Kushner wrote a book entitled, “WHEN BAD THINGS HAPPEN TO GOOD PEOPLE.”  He wrote this book in response to the death of his 14-year-old son, Aaron, from a rare disease called “Progeria” which causes the body to age and die prematurely.

In his bestselling book, Rabbi Kushner concluded that we must decide between a God who is infinitely powerful, but not loving enough to prevent such tragedies as the suffering and death of his 14-year-old son, or, a God who is all loving but not all-powerful.  “You can’t have it both ways,” he says, “we must choose: all-powerful or all-loving.”

Yet as Christians, we believe that:

  1. Evil exists in this world, causing bad things to happen to good people, so evident in these past weeks of the COVID 19 pandemic.
  2. Secondly, we believe that our God is all-powerful; and
  3. Thirdly, we believe that our God is a loving God.

Now, I admit that our dilemma is that we can reconcile any two of the above philosophically, but not all three.  For example:  If evil exists in the world, how can a loving God be all-powerful?  Or, if God is all loving and all-powerful how can evil possibly exist?

Still, the Bible does not deal with human, philosophical questions, as much we would prefer it be so.  Instead, the Bible deals with divine faith questions.  So, even if we cannot know philosophically how evil can exist in light of God who is all-powerful and all-loving, what we “can” know from scripture is that “no matter what evils or tragedies we face in life, our God will not desert us.”  And, knowing that is enough. 

Yes, it is enough for most of us—most of the time.  But, in moments like this, that alone may not be enough.  When our entire world is paralyzed by this current pandemic, it is difficult in this dark hour not to cry out to God: “WHY, OH WHY, GOD?”  I don’t mean to make you feel guilty, for It is only human to want to know “WHY?”

I don’t know about you, but I find myself cringing every time I hear someone in the media refer to this COVID 19 pandemic as “AN ACT OF GOD.”  In all fairness, I realize it is an accepted way for referring to any such natural disaster.  Still, I am uncomfortable attributing such death and tribulation to the will of God.  As someone said: “If God is light,” according to Holy Scripture, “then why should we impart darkness to God?”

Visiting a young couple who stopped coming to church after their only child died of cancer, their pastor pleaded: “You can’t stop believing in God because of what has happened, can you?”  “Oh, I still believe in God,” said the grieving father, “I don’t come to church anymore because I hate God!”

It is for people much like that father that I have chosen to venture further out on the “thin ice” of what is called “the Theodicy Problem”, that is: “Why do bad things happen to good and innocent people?” 

So, I humbly dare to venture forward on behalf of all around this world who have suffered or lost loved ones in the midst of this unprecedented natural disaster that has and will continue to cost so many lives.

Let me begin by saying that the Bible, as I understand it, speaks of our all-powerful God who does not completely control everything in our fallen creation because of the limitations God has placed on God’s self in order to allow us freedom of faith.  Without freedom, there could be no faith.  Faith, by its very definition, requires us the freedom to love and believe in God, or to reject belief and love for God.  God does not desire us to be puppets, manipulated into having to believe in or love God.  Therefore, our God has granted us, and creation itself, freedom by relinquishing total control over our lives and the world.

The Bible speaks of Satan—and other dark forces at work in this world.  And, our own human experiences confirm that there is a dynamic evil force that exercises a powerful presence in our world contrary to the will of God.

“Yet, God in Christ,” writes Paul to the Roman Church, “broke the power of these dark forces on the cross,” which means that we are dealing now with mortally wounded, though still very dangerous “principalities” and “dark powers.”  Bad things continue to befall good people because these dark forces are still alive, powerful, and enemies of all that is good in this world.

As Christians, in this Easter Season, we have hope and assurance that through Christ and His resurrection, God’s eventual victory over the evil in our world is a foregone conclusion.  But, until that time “when every knee shall bow and every tongue confess Jesus Christ is Lord,” our God will do all that can be done to drive back these dark forces and utterly destroy them, as we continually pray and serve Him until God’s Kingdom comes on earth as it is in Heaven. 

Until that time, says Paul in Romans 8:19-23:

Creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God; for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.  We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies.

In his book: “Christ and Time”, Oscar Cullmann uses the analogy of WWII to illustrate our and creation’s struggle against the powers of darkness.  He makes a clear distinction between two definitive days of the war: D-Day and V-Day.  D-Day was the day Allied Forces landed in Normandy and established a beachhead.  The strategizing generals on both sides recognized that the outcome of war was decided on that fateful day, June 1944. 

They understood that if the enemy had driven the Allies back into the sea, the Nazis would have won the war.  However, the Allied Armies prevailed in Normandy and sealed the doom of the evil Nazi regime.  Still, in spite of the triumph of D-Day, the Allies had not yet totally subdued the enemy.  Between D-Day and V-Day (Victory Day), there would be many months of suffering, death, and struggle.  There would be horrendous battles as the Allied Army, little by little, pushed back the Nazi forces.  Still, the ensuring battles would culminate in “Victory Day,” which marked the complete surrender of the enemy and the total liberation of Europe.

So you see, the cross and resurrection of Jesus were our D-Day.  God in Jesus won the decisive battle over evil and death in this world.  However, God and His children, as well as nature itself, continue to face struggles while driving back the forces of darkness whose power has been broken.  Still, dark forces are alive in the world and free to raise havoc.  God’s V-Day is not yet here!  However, we can be confident in God’s triumph over evil and death (and COVID 19), because we know how it will end. 

Or, as Paul says:

Who (or what) shall separate us from the love of Christ?  Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine or nakedness, or peril, or sword (or this COVID 19 pandemic)?  As it is written, “For Your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”  No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.  For I am sure that neither, death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8: 35-39)

Pastoral Prayer:

(Written by Rev. Steve Hundley and printed in our worship e-mail)

“In midst of life, O Lord, our lives have been interrupted by death: the death of our normal routine, the death of worship as we have always done it, the death of life as we have known it, the death of our personal plans, the death of innocence, the death of institutions, the death of promises, the death of those we love, the death that works in our own bodies.

In spite of our broken dreams we give You thanks for the gospel of Jesus Christ, whose message is not death but life: the life of the Spirit, the life of dreams, the life of faith, the life of love, the life of justice; life for the small people of the world, life for the meek, life for the broken and rejected, life for the diseased and afflicted, life for our loved ones, and life for us.

Lord, we pray for those who need hope, healing, and grace.  We hold up before you those who are alone and isolated, those who are sick, and those who are scared of what the future holds for them. Lord, help us to discover new ways of living: living for Christ, living for those around us, living for this frightened world, living for Your Kingdom.  Let the Christ of the empty tomb make empty tombs of all our disappointments and fears.  Come and reign over us, now and in the days ahead and forever and ever. Amen”

Verse One:
God be with you till we meet again; By His counsels guide, uphold you,
With His sheep securely fold you; God be with you till we meet again.

Chorus:
Till we meet, till we meet; till we meet at Jesus’ feet;
Till we meet, till we meet, God be with you till we meet again.

Verse Two:
God be with you till we meet again; ‘Neath His wings protect and guide you,
Daily manna still provide you. God be with you till we meet again.

Verse Three:
God be with you till we meet again; When life’s perils thick confound you,
Put His arms unfailing around you; God be with you till we meet again.

Verse Four:
God be with you till we meet again; Keep love’s banner floating o’er you,
Smite death’s threatening wave before you; God be with you till we meet again.

(Back to chorus)

Photo by 42 North on Pexels.com

Spread Love and Hope

I pray you found love and hope in these songs, these words, and these prayers.

If you did, as I did, you can spread love and hope by forwarding this post to your friends and family. Or you can sit with those in your household (as I did with my husband this morning) and read/sing these messages together. Or you can do both!

God’s got us in the palm of His hand.
He never fails us.
Spread His love and hope to this hurting world today.

Photo by Engin Akyurt on Pexels.com

God bless you.
See ya tomorrow.



Stop, Look, Listen!


In this crucial time
We need to stop, look, listen
Stop now and bow down!

In kindergarten, we were taught to stop, look and listen. We made traffic lights as an art project. As a kindergarten teacher in the 70’s, I taught the children to recognize their colors, write their numbers, sing their ABC’s and listen for the sounds the letters made. I taught them safety features. Looking out for themselves and for one another. Yes, we had partners who took care of each other when we went out on field trips.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

It’s time once again
For us to stop, look, listen
Practice safety rules

It’s time once again
To look out for each other
Hold hearts across miles

Just STOP, everyone!
Stay sequestered and stop now
Look for ways to help

Listen for the cries
Of people less fortunate
Look for solutions

Kim Taylor Henry is one of the contributing writers for Daily Guideposts 2020. This week, she has taken us through her devotionals on a journey to the Holy Land. We stopped with her in Jerusalem and bemoaned the way “the city bustled on.”

Kim thought of the words of Jesus:
“Jerusalem, Jerusalem…
how often I have longed
to gather your children together
as a hen gathers her chicks
under her wings,
and you were not willing.”


She wrote that
when she traveled to Jerusalem, she
“had expected to feel
connected to God
through tranquility.”

Instead, as she stood on a hill
looking down at the expanse of the city,
she wanted to cry out,
“Stop everyone! This is holy ground!
Bow down. Worship. Praise.”

Photo by Cameron Casey on Pexels.com

We were just like that –
Chaotic, bustling, busy –
Moving way too fast

Then this virus hit
We came to a screeching halt
Stop, look and listen!

Now we have the time
We are forced to be at home
How will this change us?

Photo by Alexas Fotos on Pexels.com

Will we use this time
To reclaim our best values
To reach out in love?

Photo by Engin Akyurt on Pexels.com

The city is still
The children are in their homes
It seems the world stopped

Take time to bow down
Reconnect with your Maker
Let His Will guide you

When Kim Taylor Henry left Jerusalem
and traveled on to Gethsemane,
she expected to find “a hushed highlight” for her trip.
She wrote that she thought she would find
“a spot where I would reflect on our Savior’s suffering,
a place of pain, yet serenity.”


“Instead ,” she wrote,
“I saw a fenced-off grouping of knobbly olive trees…
It didn’t feel peaceful.”

Opportunity or Tragedy

We have the opportunity
during this COVID-19 pandemic
to create in our homes
a place of peace,
a spot where you sense
a “hushed highlight”
in the opportunity to just BE…
just BE together with family
or alone in your space…

OR

We can create a tragedy
where we feel “fenced off”
and we can be resentful,
and we can worry
and let our fear
blind us to the opportunities
that are before us.

Photo by namo deet on Pexels.com

Indifference or Awareness?

Traveling on the Via Dolorosa, the road to Calvary, the place outside the city of Jerusalem where Jesus was crucified, Kim Taylor Henry wrote in her Guideposts devotional,

“I felt irritated by what I viewed as near oblivion to the sanctity of the path. Crass crowds and the array of souvenir shops disturbed me.”

But she went on to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and Golgotha, the hillside where Jesus and the two thieves’ crosses remained, and she felt a sense of hush and respect.

Kim asked herself, “Why is the Via Dolorosa bustling with indifference and commercialism while the sites of death and resurrection are worshipful?” And she postulated, “Perhaps it’s a reminder that I, like so many wrapped up in the world… realize my errors too late, and bow down after the fact – when crisis has already struck.”

Is it Too Late?

Help us not to wait
Until the crisis has struck
Devastating us

Help us to heed NOW
The directions we’re given
And let us bow down

Stop, look and listen
Like kindergarteners did
No, it’s not too late!

Photo by Gustavo Fring on Pexels.com

Thank you, Kim Taylor Henry, for permission to quote your writing. Thank you, Guideposts, for your wonderful Daily Guideposts 2020 spirit-lifting devotionals. I appreciate this resource that helps me each day stay focused on the positive ways we can remain in His Word and “Walk the Talk” as we learn to better love and care for one another.

See ya tomorrow.

Who's in Charge?


The Power of Love

For God did not give us
A spirit of cowardice,
But rather a spirit of power
and of love and self-discipline.

2 Timothy 1:7


Do we have enough self-discipline
To take advantage of this time –
This time to just BE and just LOVE
And make the world a better place?

Ann Weems, in Putting the Amazing Back in Grace, wrote:
“Remember, you’re in charge of remembering
that God is in charge, and that’s a big job
that will last a lifetime.”

Just Love!

God’s got this!!
Have a peace-filled Sunday, my friends.

Oh, and in case you, like us, missed church today,
here is the sermon for today that our pastor,
Rev. Steve Hundley sent out via e-mail.

Find a comfortable chair, grab a cup o’ tea or coffee, and augment your Sunday with a worshipful, inspiring message:

INSTRUCTIONS FOR LIFE

Read Psalm 23

     Not long after becoming the pastor of three small churches in the mountains of Virginia, I was asked to give the Baccalaureate Address to the graduating class of Bath County High School.  It used to be, at least in the Bible Belt where I grew up, that local high schools have both a Baccalaureate and Graduation ceremony.  The Baccalaureate was held one evening, a day or two before the actual Graduation Commencement.  And it was tradition to invite a religious leader in the community to speak.  However, I’m not sure that the message I delivered was what the school administration, or even the students, had in mind.

     In most cases, the message given would be a positive one meant to motivate the students to go out and change the world, such as: “You are God’s ambassadors, the hope for a broken world!”  Or: If you can imagine it, you can achieve it; if you can dream it, you can become it.”  Or, perhaps: “Shoot for the Moon, for even if you miss, you’ll find yourself among the stars!”  Most Baccalaureate, as well as, Commencement speakers would have them believe that they can be and do anything they set their minds to, (but with God’s help, of course).

     I, however, felt that it was my duty to inform them that they were nothing but a bunch of “harebrained” sheep.  I saw that!  You raised your eyebrows, didn’t you?  (Note from JanBeek, see the picture of sheep I put at the end of this sermon!)

Yet, that is what the Bible says.  Yes, as much as we would like to think of ourselves as having the heart of a lion, we share more in common with sheep.

      You see, like sheep, we tend to stray easily and lose our way.  I’ve have been told that if one sheep spooks and tears off in one direction, all the others will follow.  Imagine a bunch of sheep running up a hill.  Suddenly the one in front makes a sudden left turn, and all the others, with no questions asked, mindlessly follow.  If the one leading heads right off a cliff, tumbling to its death, all the others follow right off the cliff as well.  But, you say, “We’re not like that!”

     I heard recently about a young married couple.  The wife bought a country ham to cook for her husband’s family who were coming over for dinner.  Before putting it in a pot to bake it, she cut both ends off.  “Why did you do that,” her husband asked.  “I did it because that is the way my mother always did it,” she said.  Calling her mother on the phone, she asked: “Mom, why do we cut the ends off a ham before cooking it?”  “I don’t know.  I do it because it is the way my mother always did it.”  Calling up her grandmother, she asked, “Grandmother, why do we cut the ends off a ham before baking it?”  “I don’t know why you and your mother do it, but I always did it because it wouldn’t fit in my small baking pan.”

     Yes, if one sheep spooks and tears off, all the others will follow.  Still, you say, “We are smarter than that!”  (Try to find a roll of toilet paper, or a bottle of hand sanitizer these days.  Just saying.)

     Attending a Montana State University lecture not long ago, the speaker, a journalist professor, pointed out just how partisan our country has become.  He said that we have lost the will, and therefore, the ability to listen and dialogue with those who disagree with us.  “We only listen to those news networks that confirm what we believe to be true,” he said.  “We socialize with those who believe like us. In other words, we are like sheep who follow blindly our own flock.”  Oh, by the way, did you know that a flock of sheep are called a “MOB?”  Google it.

     Secondly, sheep not only tend to follow their “mob”, they are also fragile creatures.  Ken Davis, a comedian, tells of growing up on a sheep farm.  He said there was an old ram on their farm that loved to sneak up behind him and butt him when he wasn’t looking.  He hated that old ram.  One day he spotted the old bruiser coming around the back of the barn.  Determined to get back at that old ram, he looked around for something to hit him with.  With nothing in sight and ram rounding the corner, Ken jumped out and hollered: “BOO!”  It was all he could think to do. 

“Startled,” Ken said, “that old ram just keeled over AND DIED!” 

Later, his father confronted him, “Son, you hit that sheep, didn’t you?” 

“No dad, I said, BOO! and it just died!”

     A crack of thunder is all it takes to scare a sheep literally to death.  As much as we like to think of ourselves as indestructible, this present pandemic and the fact you are reading this sermon in your own home, shows just how fragile we are.  Our Lord Jesus said: “When you pray, say, ‘Our Father, who art in heaven…give us this day our daily bread…and, deliver us from evil’.”

     Yes, we are like sheep who are in need of a Shepherd.  We need help.  Going it alone, depending on our own wiles, spells certain disaster.  I remember one sheep herder/shepherd telling of turning his flock loose one night in the mountains to graze alone on their own.  He knew it was a risk, because sheep cannot defend themselves, much less outrun, even the slowest predators.  Sheep tend to go astray, grazing along without looking where they are going. 

    He did, however, leave them in the care of his trusty sheep dog.  Locating them the next morning, he discovered that they had wandered into a rather rugged mountain park.  Being the rather clumsy animals that they are, more than a few of them had managed to fall over while feeding on the uneven ground. He found sheep scattered around the meadow upside down on their backs unable to get up. He said: “I had to go around picking up sheep and placing them back on their feet.

     The Prophet Isaiah warns the Israelites of the danger of going it alone.  “See, the Lord’s arm is not too short to save … to pick you up when you have fallen.” (Isaiah 59:1)

     While I doubt that anyone was prepared for me to compare the graduating class of Bath County High School to a “flock”, or should I say “mob” of sheep…the foolish notion that the future of the world rested on their shoulders is categorically untrue!  The longer I live, the more I am convinced that what we need to make it in this world is not popularity and success, not financial wealth or even personal happiness.

    What we need is Christ, the Good Shepherd, to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves and instruct us in the proper order of our lives.  For, “The Lord is our Shepherd, we shall not want.  He makes us lie down in green pastures; he leads us beside still waters; it is our Shepherd who restores our souls, who leads us in right paths.  Even though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, we fear not evil…”

     Notice how Psalm 23 reverses the order of how we tend to live our lives.  It is our tendency to approach life head on, burning ourselves out.  And then, turn back to God in search of rest and soul-restoration after a week of chasing the illusive American dream.  Yet, notice that this Psalm reverses the order.  First, there is the Shepherd who provides what we need most, rest and soul restoration.  Only then is it possible to find meaning and purpose in God’s emerging kingdom or face dark valleys. 

   This is the blessing Jesus wanted Martha to see when she was burning herself out by busying herself in the kitchen.  Jesus said to her: “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing.  Mary has chosen the better part…” (Luke 10:41-42).

     Notice how the New Testament church began in Acts 2:46-47: “They followed a daily discipline of busying themselves with programs and activities, burning themselves out, so that people liked what they saw and everyday their numbers grew…”  ??? NO! NO! NO!

    It says: “They followed a daily discipline of worship in the temple, followed by meals together in their homes, every meal a celebration, exuberant and joyful, as they praised God.  People in general liked what they saw.  Everyday their numbers grew as God added those who were saved.”

   Yes, Genesis tells us that “God created the world and on the seventh day, and then He rested.”  That’s true, but WE ARE NOT GOD!  Christ died for our sins, our weaknesses, and on the first day of the week He arose from the dead!   So, we begin with rest, worship, and spiritual recreation before facing the challenges of daily living and serving our God.

   We are His sheep, who find our rest in the arms of the Good Shepherd, so that He might equip us for the facing of this hour even as we face this dark valley of the shadow of death.  For we are not alone, for God in Christ is with us.  Amen.

Hah! Sheep indeed…
But unique indeed, too.
Show your uniqueness today!!
  • Read Psalm 23 again.
  • In what new and unique way have you felt God’s comforting presence?

See ya tomorrow.
Thanks for visiting JanBeek
and for hangin’ in there together.
Have a beautiful Sunday.
Together, in FAITH,
we shall overcome!!

Just remember,
we’re not in charge –
God is!!

Hey World, Are You Awfulizing?


Chase unhappiness –
Just pursue awfulizing –
Make matters worse!

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

Psychiatrist, Albert Ellis, coined the phrase “awfulizing” and wrote that it is “engaging in the pursuit of unhappiness.” Is that what our nation is doing in this Coronavirus pandemic?

Dr. Ellis says,
“… when we look at circumstances and are overwhelmed by them, we become part of a society that has an abundance of illogical ideas and philosophies that lead to self-defeating patterns or neurosis.”

Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

Flood the toilet paper aisles
with frenzied shoppers
filling their carts
and fighting over
the last roll!

A couple days ago, my doorbell rang. When I went to the door, I found my neighbor standing there with a broad, silly grin, holding a long stick on which he had strung four rolls of toilet paper! Some friends come to the door of 70-80 year olds in their “hoods” with food or flowers or a book to read while we’re sequestered. This neighbor shared his most precious commodity: toilet paper! Who woulda thunk it??

Shop on-line
and fill your garage
with cases of
hand-sanitizer bottles!!

Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

How many hands did that shopper expect to cleanse?
S’pose he intended to freely share them?
Nope, he was hoarding
with the intent of selling them
at some exorbitant price in the future –
gouging people!

Photo by Specna Arms on Pexels.com

Flock to places like Shedhorn Sports here in Ennis, Montana,
and purchase every last gun and all the ammunition you can carry!

Sure enough,
these behaviors
will solve
this awful
COVID-19 problem!

NOT!!

Try passing out love instead!!

James R. Hine, in his essay,
The Situation is Hopeless but not Serious ,
wrote the following:

“The decisions we make are rarely perfect. But if we make a decision based on our best judgment and with God’s help, we should let it stand.”

He was reminding us that we cannot go back and change the past. We can’t undo the mistakes that got us into this mess that sounds hopeless. But, we can look forward, learn from the past, and move into the future with greater wisdom, with love, and with a hope that keeps our spirits up.

In that same essay, Hine wrote,

“I will never preach like Peter nor pray like Paul,
but I can minister in my own way
and be acceptable to God in that role.

You and I are not perfect, but we are unique.”

Here I am with my accordion a few Christmases ago…
Unique, indeed!!
And so is Andrew with his trombone!

In your own unique way, avoid “AWFULIZING”
and move forward in hope.
This is serious, but it’s not hopeless!

James R. Hine,
The Situation is Hopeless, but Not Serious

Let me leave you with another quote from Hine:
“Through that which is deemed hopeless – the present – there arises a fresh hope, a new vision, and a world of creative possibilities.
It is in the dead of night. Sodom and Gomorrah, the evil city, is burning behind us. In that burning are all the tragedies of yesterday – the pretensions, the stupidities, the ambiguities, and the moral breakdowns. We have learned hard lessons, but we will not look back. Putting our hands in the hand of God, we will move toward the hills and the dawning of a new day.”

Morning sunrise from my friend, Lisa Glines

God bless you, my friends.
Tell me what you are doing this day
to “move forward toward the hills”?

Another friend, Penny Hall, said in a podcast yesterday,
“Embrace the good with the bad,
and know there is always more good than bad in this world.”

Amen, Penny!

No Awfulizing!!!

Spread positivity, my friends.
See ya tomorrow.
JanBeek

Songs of Resilience


In the midst of this COVID-19, there is hope. I loved this message that is linked below. It tells of the people of Italy who are using music as a link to one another and to feelings of HOPE.

The author wrote. “Songs of resilience that recall difficult times of the past are finding a special resonance.” It is MUSIC THERAPY in action! (I majored in music therapy in college!)

You MUST go and read, “What you see outside your window.” That blog will give you hope, too. Click on the link up there.

I saw on that blog a picture of a girl standing on her balcony in Italy, playing her accordion. Since that is my instrument, I certainly related to her… and I found this picture of this old cowboy playing his accordion:

Photo by Immortal shots on Pexels.com

Isn’t he cool? I hope he is playing “Songs of resilience that recall difficult times” that can resonate with his listener and help them to…

Keep the faith and
… Keep hope alive.

Yes, my friends,
Share your positivity.

Share this link with your friends, okay?

See ya later.

Trusting or Terrified?


Do you live in trust?
Are you feeling terrified?
We all have a choice.

Photo by Polina Tankilevitch on Pexels.com

Today at Madison Valley Presbyterian Church,
in Ennis, Montana,
our pastor, Rev. Steve Hundley, began his sermon
by telling us he had scrapped
the sermon he originally planned.
“It just didn’t seem to fit,” he explained
to the sparsely attended congregation.

With this Coronavirus Pandemic spreading like wildfire around the world, and the first four cases being tested positive in Montana just yesterday, Pastor Steve felt God nudging him to speak to that topic.

So, here are my sermon notes from today’s message:

Terror or Trust?

We must always trust in God
In the face of everyday life.
We must turn to Him when
We’re faced with terrifying strife.

We must trust the Mighty Fortress
In the midst of Pandemic Fear.
We must trust He is with us.
We’re not abandoned; He is here.

Even when we learn that things
Will get worse before they’re better,
We still must trust the Lord.
We must read His Word; believe every letter.

In Psalm 46, the Bible says
The Lord All Powerful is right here.
Especially in the midst of disasters,
He tells us, “Do not fear!”

To really know God and believe
In His love and care every single day,
Takes a lifetime of faithful living
With consistent prayer and walking His Way.

There will be days when we doubt
Because God seems so far away.
It’s days like that when we gather
Together, listening to what God has to say.

We hear His Word and are reminded
Of God’s faithful love and care.
We believe in God’s good character
And see His goodness everywhere.

We must know that God expects us
To be His character witnesses today.
Witness to the love of Christ,
And spread it with what you do and say.

In our state of dread and insecurities,
We are invited to live in the HOPE
That only God can give to us.
Will I become frozen in fear? NOPE!

Photo by Suliman Sallehi on Pexels.com

Not only did Steve’s sermon encourage us to live in Trust (not terror), but his Prayer of Confession (printed in our bulletin) further inspired us to look deep within and examine whether or not we are:

  • more apathetic than active
  • more isolated than involved
  • more callous than compassionate
  • more obstinate than obedient
  • more legalistic than loving

Our Prayer of Confession continued,
“Gracious Lord, have mercy upon us and forgive our sins. Remove the obstacles preventing us from being Your representatives to a broken world. Awaken our hearts to the promised gift of Your indwelling Spirit.
Amen

Photo by Eduardo Braga on Pexels.com

Psalm 46

God Is Our Fortress
God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear …
Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!”
The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.

God Bless You!
Bee safe – Bee well – Bee a Blessing
TRUST and KNOW: God is with you.

What is
one small act
you can do
to change
Terror to Trust
in someone’s heart today?

See ya tomorrow.

We Need Guardian Angels


Protection needed!
Our guardian angels are
Working overtime.

Surround yourself with
The love of family and friends:
Your loving angels.

My friend, Maria Mendoza, gave these cuties to me.

Angels all around
Reach out to bring you comfort.
We all need them now!

Sanctuary lights
Highlight the angelic tones –
Angels softly play.

My mother-in-law created these Faberge’-like eggs

Angels sweetly pray
For your safety and wellness.
I pray for you, too.

Seven represents
God’s number for completion.
Seven angels sing.

This glass angel is a gift from Toni Bowen.
She was here in this room before we bought this house.

Social distancing
Suggests we sit far apart –
Stand six feet away.

This ancient tiny bowl and antique carved angel with accordion are gifts from a friend in Germany

Sit in your own bowl
And do not touch anything;
Stay isolated!

Carry your concerns
Like your heart in open hands –
But wash them often.

My daughter’s mother-in-love, Denise Solioz,
gave us this darling flute-playing angel.

Like the Pied Piper,
Be an angel with a flute.
Compassion plays here.

This lovely angel was among many in a box my mother left behind.
She bought every angel in her nursing home’s gift shop before she died.
I gave most of them away in her memory to the friends in her care facility.
This, the largest of the collection, I kept as a reminder.
BettyDeA believed in angels!
She sits at the top of the circle staircase…
guarding my daily coming and going.

We all need angels
To guard coming and going
In this Virus-age.

Photo by Sebastian Voortman on Pexels.com

The winds of change blow.
The Virus changes our world.
Hang tight to angels.

Don’t let fear freeze you.
Live in deep faith and courage.
What goodness will come?

With factories closed,
Air is clearing in China.
People create new.

New ways of thinking;
New ways of doing old things.
Appreciating!

Gratitude for the
Things we saw as common-place,
Like simple touching.

Photo by Kristin De Soto on Pexels.com

Appreciating
Arenas where we gather
For sports or speeches.

Thankfulness for the
Opportunity to dance
With wild abandon.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Now authorities,
Closing our business and schools,
Keep us from living.

We remind ourselves
It is for our greater good.
What about our jobs?

What about our plans
To travel for marriages
Or for funerals?

Our vacation plans –
Things we paid for months ago –
All of them cancelled.

In the midst of this,
Can our angels show to us
The good that’s coming?

Will our guardians
Show us tomorrow’s bright hope
In sorrow’s dark midst?

Photo by Retha Ferguson on Pexels.com

Calling All Angels!
We need your guardianship;
Save us from the doom.

Photo by Markus Spiske on Pexels.com

What are your thoughts
about what’s happening with this Coronavirus –
and what ideas can you share
about how we can be
each others’ guardian angels?

Let me hear from you.
What’s happening in your part of the world?

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