Hmmm… the prompt for today asked me to tell what is my favorite place to go in my city…
Is that question assuming we all live in a city? Thank God, I don’t!
Now, I don’t mean to offend those of you in cities who love living where there are bright lights, lots of traffic, big buildings, and crowds of people. BUT,
Give me one main street, cars I can count on my two hands, businesses who know customers by name, plentiful opportunities for building friendships as well as volunteering to help others, mountains in the background, and a river that runs through it… and I’ll be happy!
My favorite places to go in my little town? 1. Our independent version of McDonalds is “Sugar High” (It has great burgers and terrific huckleberry shakes) 2. The Manor Nursing Home (I love helping the residents there – it’s such a loving place) 3. The Madison Valley Library (We have a five star library… doesn’t get any better!) 4. Lion’s Club Park (The walking trail bordering the Madison River is divine)
In a little town like Ennis, you can see the stars at night. No bright lights to block out their beauty…
My last couple of posts dealt with the theme of shipwrecks and lifeboats. Today’s sermon at Madison Valley Presbyterian Church seemed to contradict the idea of jumping from the ship and hopping on the lifeboat. Or did it?
The boat in today’s scripture lesson was in a storm (“…beaten by the waves …the wind was against them,” Matt 14:24b). The boat was filled with the 12 disciples. Jesus was walking on the water to come to them.
Jesus Walks on the Water
22 Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. 23 And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, 24 but the boat by this time was a long way[a] from the land,[b] beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them. 25 And in the fourth watch of the night[c] he came to them, walking on the sea. 26 But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear. 27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”28 And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” 29 He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind,[d] he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” 31 Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32 And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. 33 And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
In his sermon today, Rev. Steve Hundley took me on a new journey through that scripture. Instead of focusing on Peter and his desire to also walk on water – and his doubt which caused him to begin to sink, Pastor Steve invited us to take a closer look at the eleven disciples who remained in the boat. I had not done that before. In fact, I am not sure I even realized the boat was big enough for eleven of them to fit in there!
If you have followed my blog for a while, you know I have a habit of listening to the sermon and taking notes in poetry. That way I can share the message with Bob on our way home (since he has trouble hearing and following the sermon during church). Well, I did that note-taking today. Here is what I came away with:
Is this a story about faith? Is it about Peter’s doubt? Or, is it about the eleven who Stayed in the boat without a shout?
They saw Jesus walking on the sea. They thought He was a ghost. Jesus said, Never fear, it is I.” Peter: “… if it is You…” Not the eleven, though. Who believed most?
Peter doubted – and he asked to be Set apart so then he’d believe. Like the rest of us who ask For exemption – “Give me special power – relieve!”
Relieve my doubt. Let me ask for help. Do you have trouble asking for help? Do you like playing the hero? Unlike the eleven disciples, do you yelp?
Peter yelped, “Let me walk on water, too.” Jesus gave him the ability to walk. But Peter continued to doubt And so he began to sink. Walk the talk?
No, the church doesn’t need heroes. It needs disciples like the eleven were. Stay in the boat – Wait for Jesus to come. Don’t try to be a hero and cause a stir!
We’ve got a storm of constant change Going on all about us. We need To stay in the boat and pay attention To the eleven. Don’t be a Peter of greed!
The wind and waves stirring up change In our world can eat a person alive. It’s easy to jump ship, but Jesus says, Stay the course. Stay in the boat. Survive!
Take heart! You are not alone. I am with you in the boat. Sing! Know that this is your lifeboat. Wait for the peace and calm that I will bring.”
In his “Prayers of the People” after the sermon and a hymn titled, “Eternal Father, Strong to Save,” Pastor Steve prayed,
“Take us by the hand And rescue us in our darkest hours. It is You who rescues us. We pray You will not leave us alone. As we strain at the oars, protect us when we find ourselves adrift. Strengthen our hands when we are weak.”
I would add, “Strengthen our faith when we are weak. Keep us on the boat. It is not a shipwreck, not if You, Lord, are our Captain.”
Don’t jump ship! Life may be a shipwreck, but with Jesus as your Captain, your boat is a lifeboat! You can trust Him completely. Sing in the lifeboat!
Sing, “I will make you fishers of men, fishers of men, fishers of men…” (and of women, too!)
Thanks for visiting JanBeek this lovely Sunday afternoon. I hope you had a great day. Bee well, and Bee safe! And stay in the boat!!
This coming week is a big one in Ennis, MT. People come from all around to enjoy: 1) the Fireman’s Pancake breakfast 7:-10:am at the FireHall, 2) the old fashioned (step back 50 years) parade at 10:00 am, 3) a walk around our quaint little town for a couple hours, 4) the Lion’s Club BBQ at Lion’s Club Park at noon, and 5) the rodeo at 4:00 PM … or is it later? (there’s also one the night of the 3rd)
Here are a few pictures from years past to help you see what a great set of events it is:
The parade is an event not to be missed!
The rodeo is always fun!
I love the way little kids dress up for the holiday! The adults go all out, too!
Fortunately, this year we don’t have to wear face masks!
The Boy Scouts, the 4-H Club, various churches, the Lion’s Club, cowboys, and our school kids all join in the fun!
This year, I will again help the folks in our nursing home (the Manor) get front row seats on the parade route.
Come to Ennis this week! Enjoy the festivities! I wish our daughters could be here again this year. Alas, they’re too far away!
DeDe & Laina, we’ll miss you!
Ray Easter will be in the parade with his pristine old convertible! Look for him!!
Of course, little kids on their ponies must always be a part of the fun!
Carts, dogs, clowns, fire trucks… you name it! They’ll all be there!
When I chose my word for 2023, “Ready” back on January 1, 2023, I did not know what I needed to be ready for. But I told myself, “Whatever comes my way, I will be cheerfully ready!”
This past week, we had the privilege of hosting my niece, her husband and 16-year-old son, and her bff from Utah, Melissa. And mid-way through their visit, our son and his wife came for 3 days and 4 nights. A house full! Was I ready?
Yes! When your guests are happy, helpful, and relaxed, it’s easy to be cheerfully ready for them!
A day in Yellowstone was a highlight. We all were ready for the bubbling geysers and pools, bison and other animals. Old Faithful always was a hit!
Are you ready to visit Yellowstone? Are you ready to ooh and aaah?
That photo captured only about 1/4 of the herd. It was the largest group of bison mamas and their calves that I’ve ever seen!
We were ready to see the elk and deer 🦌 So, yes, they did not disappoint us! We even saw a black bear. Rare!
My grand-nephew, Liam and I were ready to have our memories of “Artist’s Point” captured by a kind tourist. It’s my favorite Yellowstone spot!
And the guys were more than pleasantly waiting with alacrity for their day of fishing on the Madison. Each of them caught at least one fish … some caught three. No, we didn’t have a fish fry! The Madison River has a “catch & release” policy.
What are you ready for today? I hope you’re anticipating it with alacrity!
Tin Yan Chans art is amazing. I was inspired to create this poem after enjoying his works.
Deep within the Rockies Where no traffic flows Is a peaceful hidden lake Where gorgeous lupine grows
The lake is filled with fish And if you know your way, You can walk to find real joy Come join me friends, let’s play
The lake is beautiful in every season You can visit it for no reason Other than to enjoy its beauty Ot wait til its trees are fruity
It’s an artist’s paradise The scenery is always nice Sit quietly and wait for the butterflies Look carefully – they’re a sight for sore eyes!
Claudia at Humoring the Goddess did some research and shared the fact that Tin Yan Chan, a master artist, had his God-given talents recognized in Canada in the late 20th century. She wrote, “… at 16 he was admitted to the Wuhan South Central China Academy of Fine Arts.”
I am so fascinated by this artist’s work that I intend to do a little research of my own. His website shows several additional paintings and about a dozen in a section labeled “sold.” Wouldn’t you enjoy having one of his masterpieces in your home?
Tin Van Chan has developed his artistic talent and made his creations available to the world. What talent do YOU have that you’ve developed and generously shared?
“When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, ‘I used everything you gave me’.” Erma Bombeck
Today I used my rusty talent (playing the accordion) at church. Our pianist was unable to attend, so I was asked to step up. My accordion has been dropped and some of the keys sound a bit weird – but I stepped up and did my best. Hopefully it was better than trying to sing all the hymns A Cappella!
An easier talent to share is the one that has a harder time getting rusty: Teaching! On Tuesdays I share my love of scripture with my 10-year-old friend, Hailey, and in the evening with my lady friends at our local nursing home. Through the years I have developed my spiritual gift of teaching, and as you have heard many times, I’m sure, “Once a teacher, always a teacher.” Like Erma Bombeck, I want to “use everything [God] gave me.” Our talents are given to us to be shared.
So, share your talent Your talent’s God’s gift to you It’s meant to be shared.
For many of you, it’s writing prose or poetry. For some of you, it’s photography. For others, it’s music or public speaking. I really appreciate those whose talent is fixing my car or unplugging the drain on my sink! Some are math wizards or skilled carpenters> All God’s gifts of talent are meant to be shared, What’s yours?
Share with me what talent you thank God for giving to you. How are you sharing it?
If I had space in my WordPress photo gallery, I would show you a series of photos of this place in Ennis, Montana where we are blessed to live. BUT, to add more photos, I have to erase older photos. The program tells me I am at 100% capacity! How does Derrick Knight manage to post so many beautiful photos of his garden on https://derrickjknight.com every day without running out of space? I need to discover his secret!
Meantime, what I did was put the photos on a Facebook post – and give you the link here so you can go there to see where we are inviting you to come visit. I hope you will/can check it out!
I’ll put one here as a teaser – hoping you’ll click that FB link and go see more, OK?
Bob & Jan love company… and now that my hand is better and I can be a hostess again, I hope you will consider a trip! We are just one hour from Yellowstone – and the entrance (nearest us) to the park is open now – and the road that takes you to Old Faithful is open, too… following those terrible floods a few weeks ago. Beekman B&B is full July 2-6, but after that, July is clear on our calendar!!
I hope you are having a wonderful weekend. It’s our daughter’s 35th anniversary this weekend… DeDe, the one who lives in Switzerland. We look forward to visiting them in the end of August.
Meantime, my devotional today in “Mornings with Jesus” encouraged me to “Find a quiet place. Write down any problems that surround you. Thank Jesus for being bigger than those problems.” It is not hard to find a quiet place here… and it is easy to live gratefully for daily healing of my broken finger and hurting hand, and to thank God for the beauty of nature and the peacefulness of this place. Come see for yourself!
Tell me what you’re doing this lovely weekend… See ya Monday (I’m taking a day off tomorrow) Hugs, Jan Beekman