these delicate hues of sapphire, turquoise, and indigo
Recognize beauty manifested though fragile and scarred
Malleable are lists of sins we accrue
a barter between gains we’ve won and debts we owe
Embrace unlimited shades of blue
Exhausting – holding this constant guard
Even stormy melancholy seas are drenched in
these delicate hues of sapphire, turquoise, and indigo
Healing power pulses in each flaw
like a broken heart that still beats
Recognize beauty manifested though fragile and scarred
I was going to call my blog today “Embrace Healing,” but the I came across the post above. I decided that post is a gift in blueness – and it speaks more to my mood today than “healing” does.
Today I am blue… because the note I received from my former student’s mother-in-law, Marilyn, left me with no hope for Ty Stiles’ earthly healing. I studied my broken heart and looked again at Marilyn’s words. “He told Roxann [his wife] that he is ready to go to Heaven.” As I prayed for Ty’s last days, I looked at that broken heart again.
Did you ever realize that the two parts of a broken heart are angel’s wings? Look again!
God’s angels spoke to me and reminded me that death is not final. Jesus conquered death. Ty is a believer. Ty is called according to His purpose. Yesterday Ty’s church members gathered outside his home for a prayer vigil. One of his cousins made the gathering into a FaceTime chat so he could see/hear the prayers being offered on his behalf (and if he was unable to hear and comprehend, at least I know his wife, Roxann, could. The prayers were for her, as well.
As I shared in my “Embrace Reassurance” blog a couple days ago, God hears. God cares. God answers. Sometimes HEALING does not come in the form of a magical cure. Sometimes it comes as RELEASE.
Ty is ready to let go pain. God is asking me to let go my blueness. Release the melancholy that blue sometimes represents, and instead, embrace the “delicate hues of sapphire, turquoise, and indigo” – and the promise of the vast blueness of Heaven where “Healing power pulses” and God is ready to transform the broken heart into angel wings.
My heart is with you as you leave the pain and embrace the beautiful blueness of Christ’s Kingdom. Someday I’ll join you there, Ty. Meantime, keep the Pearly Gates polished!
Thanks for joining me at JanBeek and thank you for praying for Ty and Roxann. See you tomorrow.
Reason required to: Reach resilience Rebuild Trust Repair relationships Require responsibility Review daily briefings Reach across aisles Revive compassion Reassure doubters Resist rumors Release resentment Return to mutual respect Reject falsehoods Retain faith Rescind travel ban on Muslims Rejoin Paris Climate Agreement Restore Federal loan repayment pause Renew ban on evictions and foreclosures due to the pandemic Refuse divisiveness Resurrect trust in the press Renew dedication to our constitution Remember to pray Rely on God’s plans for our lives and for this world Reason Required… so, EMBRACE REASON!
God Bless America and God Bless You! See ya tomorrow. Hearty Hugs, JanBeek
Sermon Notes from today’s ZOOM worship service of the Madison Valley Presbyterian Church Delivered by Rev. Steve Hundley Poetic notes taken by JanBeek
One With Us
Have you ever spoken honestly And in the process provoked A person to anger? Perhaps you even joked
About what you said. You’re trying to be forgiven. Be careful what you say and do. Beware the life you’re livin’.
Jesus was with a crowd Of sinners at the Jordan. What had Jesus done to need Forgiveness? What secrets hoardin’?
Sometimes we find ourselves Guilty by association. So Jesus had reason to be Thought a sinner by the Jewish nation.
John the Baptist, however, Knew Jesus was sinless. So he didn’t want to baptize Him. But his protest was winless!
Jesus was determined to be Baptized by John, even though He was sin-free. So we wonder, Why did He need it? Want to know?
He wanted to be baptized In order to be One with us! Like Him, we need to be One in Christ and eliminate fuss!
If Jesus was willing To step down and be One With all of us sinners, Who are we, when all’s said and done?
We are all sinners, invited To come to the river, too. Be one with our brothers and sisters. I’m all for it. How about you?
The sermon was inspired by the scriptures: Acts 19:1-7 and Mark 1:4-11 which were eloquently read to us by our pastor’s wife, Elaine, from Eugene Peterson’s “The Message Bible”
ACTS 19 1-2 Now, it happened that while Apollos was away in Corinth, Paul made his way down through the mountains, came to Ephesus, and happened on some disciples there. The first thing he said was, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed? Did you take God into your mind only, or did you also embrace him with your heart? Did he get inside you?”
“We’ve never even heard of that—a Holy Spirit? God within us?”
3 “How were you baptized, then?” asked Paul.
“In John’s baptism.”
4 “That explains it,” said Paul. “John preached a baptism of radical life-change so that people would be ready to receive the One coming after him, who turned out to be Jesus. If you’ve been baptized in John’s baptism, you’re ready now for the real thing, for Jesus.”
5-7 And they were. As soon as they heard of it, they were baptized in the name of the Master Jesus. Paul put his hands on their heads and the Holy Spirit entered them. From that moment on, they were praising God in tongues and talking about God’s actions. Altogether there were about twelve people there that day.
MARK 4-6 John the Baptizer appeared in the wild, preaching a baptism of life-change that leads to forgiveness of sins. People thronged to him from Judea and Jerusalem and, as they confessed their sins, were baptized by him in the Jordan River into a changed life. John wore a camel-hair habit, tied at the waist with a leather belt. He ate locusts and wild field honey.
7-8 As he preached he said, “The real action comes next: The star in this drama, to whom I’m a mere stagehand, will change your life. I’m baptizing you here in the river, turning your old life in for a kingdom life. His baptism—a holy baptism by the Holy Spirit—will change you from the inside out.”
9-11 At this time, Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. The moment he came out of the water, he saw the sky split open and God’s Spirit, looking like a dove, come down on him. Along with the Spirit, a voice: “You are my Son, chosen and marked by my love, pride of my life.”
PRAYER OF CONFESSION:
God of all mercy, in our baptism You have marked us as Your own; You have given us a new identity and made us part of the body of Christ. In doing so, You have called us to rise to new life and live together in community. However, we have not been faithful to Your call. We have forged our own identity and held to destructive habits. We confess we have failed to welcome others, and broken our bonds with our brothers and sisters, and served ourselves more than You. Forgive us, we pray, for the sake of Christ, our Savior.
ASSURANCE OF PARDON: John 1:12
Hear the good news! God said to Jesus, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with You I am well pleased.” We have a high priest who is able to sympathize with our weakness, who has been tempted as we are, yet is without sin.
In Christ’s name we may draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, and there find mercy and grace to help in time of need.
As forgiven sinners, may we go out into the world and make a positive difference. May we…
If you have not heard former Republican Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s You Tube message today, I recommend you click on the link here. His message, reinforcing the need for UNITY in our USA, is quite powerful. God Bless Arnie! We all need to step up in support of Democracy as he has done!
… we need to embrace God! We need to lean on Him and let Him enfold us in His loving care. We need God now more than ever! Feel God hugging you as you reach out to Him.
Today during our ZOOM worship service, Rev. Steve Hundley delivered a powerful Pastoral Prayer. As he explained to us (the two dozen members of the Madison Valley Presbyterian Church in Ennis, MT who logged in) during his introduction to the prayer, “I am relying heavily on the prayers of the Reverend Dr. Peter Marshall, who was elected Chaplain of the United States Senate on Jan. 4, 1947.”
“We know, Almighty God, that in this desperate hour, we as a nation need You. We need Your strength, Your guidance, Your wisdom. These are problems far greater than any human wisdom can solve, for what shall our leaders do in such an hour? May Your wisdom and Your guidance come upon the President, the President elect, the Senators and Congress men and women, to whom have been entrusted leadership. May the responsibility in the midst of this pandemic and civil unrest lie heavily on their hearts, until they are ready to acknowledge their helplessness and turn to You. Give them courage, and the moral integrity to confess that they don’t know what to do. Only then can they lead us as a nation beyond human wisdom to You, who alone has the answers.
Strengthen the courage of all our elected representatives—sincere men and women who want to do what is right, if only they can be sure what is right. Make it plain to them, O Lord. And then, start them out on the right way, for You know that we are hard to turn.
Forgive them for the blunders they have committed, the compromises they have made. Give to them to courage to admit mistakes. Take away from us, both as a nation and individuals, that stubborn pride which, followed by conceit, imagines itself to be above and beyond criticism.
Save our leaders, O God, from themselves and from their friends—even as You have saved them from their enemies.
Let no personal ambition blind them to their opportunities.
Help them to give battle to hypocrisy wherever they find it.
Give them divine common sense and a selflessness that shall make them think of their call to service and not gain.
May they have the courage to lead the people of this Republic, considering unworthy the expediency of following the people.
Lord, we pray for the families of the thousands who have died this week alone of this terrible and relentless virus. We pray too, for the families of those who lost their lives and were injured in our nation’s capital. Bring an end to the violence that would cost just one of our citizens their lives. We pray for a peaceful transition of leadership, in our nation’s capital in the coming weeks.
We pray for those within our own community who have contracted and been exposed to the Corona virus. Heal them and protect them from any long-term effects of the virus.
We pray too for those people whose needs You place on our hearts. Hear and answer, we pray, that You will forgive us all our unworthiness; cleansing us from every ignoble thought and unworthy disposition that we may be renewed in spirit and mind and heart, through Jesus Christ, our Lord… Amen.”
Thank you for visiting JanBeek today. I will post my sermon notes a little later.
Teachers aren’t supposed to have favorites. Right?
See that young man on the left up there? His name is Ty. He is my favorite!
(Well, in honesty… don’t be dismayed if you’re one of my students…. I have lots of favorites, OK? But Ty… well, read on!)
Ty was my kindergarten student in 1962-3. Every day when he stepped off the school bus, the girls all stopped what they were doing. “Hi Ty!” they would swoon. Yes, even kindergarten girls recognize a sweetheart when they see one!
And every day when it was time to go home, the girls all waved to Ty, “Bye, Ty!” they would swoon.
I was a newlywed. It was my second year of teaching. I decided if I had a boy someday, I would name him Ty. And I did!
Ah yes, my Ty is a sweetheart, just like his namesake!
So why the HOPE title?
Yesterday I heard the devastating news that my favorite student, Ty, has been diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer. It has metastasized. He needs our prayers. My heart is heavy, but I am a believer… and HOPE is what believers do, right?
Day before yesterday I posted this scripture:
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future.”
I know God has Ty tucked into the palm of His hand, just as He holds our world in His hand.
I know God is watching over Ty and his treatment process. But, won’t you add your prayers to mine? “Dear Lord, please give healing to Ty.”
In today’s Daily Guideposts 2021, the writer, Amy Eddings, wrote about a time when she prayed relentlessly for guidance and courage – and felt her prayers were going unanswered. Have you ever felt that you were praying relentlessly for something and your request(s) seemed to be falling on deaf ears?
I remember last year when Australia was on fire and so many animals were dying and losing their habitats. I prayed along with the rest of our world for rain… but the fires raged on.
I have recently been praying incessantly for our Pastor Nominating Committee at our church. If you have followed my blog for awhile, you have read my sermon notes on Sunday from our Madison Valley Presbyterian Church. You know our pastor of 32 years died a year ago and we have a wonderful temporary pulpit fill who came out of retirement to help us. Rev. Hundley needs to be able to re-retire. So, we are searching for a solo pastor and I am praying hard. I believe in the power of prayer – and I believe in God’s perfect timing. Don’t you?
So, will you add my prayer request to your prayer list? “Lord, help the Madison Valley Presbyterian Church Pastor Nominating Committee find the person God already has in mind for us. Help them find the right new pastor to lead the congregation into renewed spiritual growth in 2021.”
My husband, Bob, has been praying incessantly, too. He is on our church’s leadership board and as such is the “elder” in charge of Buildings and Grounds. Our church owns an old church that is about 10 miles out of Ennis in a tiny little village called McAllister. The church was built in the 1880’s. MVPC uses it once a year to maintain its tax-free status as a “place of worship.” It is in a serene country setting on a little over an acre of land. It has electricity, but no water or septic system. The church is for sale. We’re praying for the right buyer.
Please add this to your prayer list, too, will you? “Lord, send the right buyer to Rikki at Berkshire-Hathaway in Ennis, MT – a person who will treasure this historic building and use it for wholesome purposes.”
When we EMBRACE PRAYER and pray with a right spirit, God hears, God cares, God answers.
Philippians 4:6,7: Pray about everything
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God.”
1 John 5:14: God always hears
“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.”
GOD BLESS YOU and keep you safe and healthy. That’s my prayer for you today.
Thanks for visiting JanBeek. Have a blessed Monday. See ya tomorrow.
This is my favorite prayer… and I pray it fervently. It spells out my purpose in life … to be an instrument of God’s peace… TO SPREAD LOVE, FORGIVENESS, FAITH, HOPE, LIGHT AND JOY…
Today’s message from Rev. Steve Hundley at the Madison Valley Presbyterian Church in Ennis, Montana was titled “God’s Creative Word.”
The scripture reference was John 1:1-18 (with reinforcements from Genesis)
God’s Creative Word
Trying to decipher John’s Interpretation of Christ’s birth Is like trying to grasp smoke. He says God’s Word created the earth.
And he explained that the Word Was the Light and the Life – – – Rejoice! He speaks as John the Apostle And switches to a heavenly voice.
John strips away the layers covering The original Word of God to earth. He helps us hear with spiritual ears The meaning of Christ’s unusual birth.
The Book of John is ethereal As he shares God’s creative power. He emphasizes that saying is doing Words are like a bud that produces flower.
So, when we say something, We need to think of the impact Those words have on others. Words spoken ripple out – no taking them back!
Just as God’s Word has the power To create light out of darkness, Our words also have the power To create beauty out of starkness.
So, a lesson of John’s Gospel Is to warn us: Watch what you speak! If you speak untruths carelessly, The results will not be what you seek.
Life and death are in the power Of the tongue – – – We eat its fruit. If you want your daily meal sweet, Use your tongue’s power for Truth.
The Word became flesh and made His home among us – He appeared In the form of our Savior, Jesus. Start here – Start where darkness was cleared.
Be Light for a Dark World.
Everlasting God, remind us again that Your Son is the light of the world, the way, the truth, and the life. Lead us by your light and truth. Looking for Jesus, let us find Him knowing that it is He who has come looking for us.
Is that idea of a virgin birth too big a pill for you to swallow? It gets in the way of faith for a whole lot of folks.
Today’s sermon by Rev. Steve Hundley at the Madison Valley Presbyterian Church in Ennis, MT dealt with that subject… the virgin birth. He titled it:
Conceived by the Holy Spirit, and Born of the Virgin Mary
It’s a stumbling block for many To think of a baby born of a virgin… The idea can seem like a fairy tale. It can be a pill too big to swallow.
Some people believe Christ was Half God and half human. Only One who is fully God Can atone for our sins.
Only one who is fully human Can experience our suffering and pain. So many deny Jesus’ duality: Jesus was born divine and became human.
Philippians 2:7 “But made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.”
This verse is our first statement of faith: He found Himself as human And humbled Himself. He chose to be dependent on humans.
Jesus could not have been born Without that simple peasant girl; And He suffered all the human pain And a cruel and painful death.
It’s a gigantic leap of faith To fully believe the virgin birth. But, take comfort in knowing Even the disciples had trouble.
Even though they walked With Jesus on this earth, They had trouble believing He was the Holy Son of God.
The initial act of faith Is not that total belief. The initial act of faith Is to invite Jesus into your heart.
When your own life is changed By the love of Christ in you, Then your faith will grow; You will share that faith with others.
Jesus sees the pearls in the dust. Not what we are, but What God intends us to become. In Christ, our faith can help us get there.
We don’t begin as full believers. We begin as that dependent manger child. We begin looking for a Teacher of Wisdom, And Jesus, the Holy Son of God enters.
Let Him walk with you. Let Him help your faith to grow. When it comes to faith, The heart is one step ahead of the intellect!
by Steve Hundley
We have run our yearly race to Bethlehem, O Lord, and many are tired from what has been a very difficult year. We know that You did not mean it that way, but intended for Your Son’s birth to bring us peace and joy and renewal, and a sense of togetherness that comes from this season of love and giving.
In the stillness of this moment we turn our hearts to You as the needle of a compass points to True North. Amidst all the tension of this year, may You remain at the center, calling us to hope and to clarity of purpose. On the eve of a new year, give guidance to us and the nations of the world, as we seek to find our way out of this pandemic. Incline our hearts to modesty, honesty, and compassion. Let us be tender to all of those in need, especially the young, the old, the tired, the poor, the sick, and all who are struggling just to survive.,,
So many have died these last 10 months, O Lord. Hold in Your arms those who grieve, whose spirits are distressed by the loss of loved ones, or jobs, or homes in all of the uncertainty that surrounds them. Speak to us in our worship, we pray, in something heard or seen or felt, that we may go from this place of worship with a renewed sense of Your presence in our lives.
Let the months before us bring rest to a weary world and hope to millions who continue to dwell in darkness. Use us who wait before You to accomplish Your will, through devotion and imagination and love. We pray this prayer in the name of Christ our Savior… Amen
May you, my dear WP friends, find the peace, comfort, hope, and clarity of purpose for which we pray.
How about your clarity of purpose?
Thanks for visiting JanBeek. Don’t forget to comment below. I would love to hear about your Sunday and your purpose. Hugs!!
No, I don’t want to go back! I don’t want to revisit the old normal. Surely as we move from 2020 to a new year, we’ll create a better normal.
This is my prayer this Christmas: Lord, help us learn what You have in mind for us to learn from this rare year we’ve just survived.
Letter from a Wordsmith
With his permission, I am sharing with you the first part of a Christmas letter I received this week from my former pastor, Rev. Brent Mitchell. He is a master wordsmith! He said what’s in my heart so much better than I could have said it.
“Mark it how you will, 2020 was a year not lost, but forever to be remembered for both its absences and its unexpected gifts.
By the middle of March, it became apparent that what we thought as normalcy had left its predictable confines for parts unknown, leaving no forwarding address.
Masked and gloved, we were left to fend for ourselves absent even the comfort of shaking hands or intimate conversations, the communion around tables, camaraderie of birthdays celebrated, the sacred closeness of hospital visits.
Absent of the humanizing connectivity, of those familiar and holy intersections, we were left to laugh alone, to cry alone, and hope in seclusion. It cost us treasures we never knew were so valuable and time that cannot be recalled.
“But admit it: There were unexpected gifts. There were letters we finally wrote, the books we never touched until now, the prolonged stillness that allowed us to think again, and listen to what our hearts were saying.
We talked to God because the hours got quiet enough to hear His still small voice. It happened because we watched enough TV to realize we had watched TV enough, and golden silence gave us gifts that weren’t insipid.
“I think, in short, that if we were paying attention, not only did we get older, but almost certainly wiser because even a painful awareness of what lurks in our hearts and minds is worth more than gold.
The gift was rediscovering at a visceral level that we really are never alone; nor in the absence of everyone, are we left unloved.
“My prayer is that when this is over, and it will one day be over, we won’t forget the things we learned the hard way this year: that God willing, we’ll never go back to the tired normalcy of endless distractions, of busyness as usual, and the noise that never ends.”
The Mitchell Musings December 2020
Thanks for visiting JanBeek. I leave with you my hopes and wishes for a most Blessed Christmas.