My heart is heavy. God answered my fervent prayer. So why am I sad?
My cousin, Cliff, died. I received the news today: God answered my prayer.
I prayed for freedom – Freedom from this earthy pain. Our God is faithful.
His family gathered; All his loved ones surrounded, And God took him home.
God of Great Mercy, Thank you for answering prayer. Now, heal my heart’s hole!
Cliff & Janine with their two daughters and sons-in-law, two sons, daughter-in-law, and three grandsons
Cliff and Janine are two of my favorite people in the world! And now Cliff has left this world… but he lives on in the hearts of all of us who will always love him.
Janine’s mom is my second cousin, Betty. Her mom was my mom’s oldest sister’s oldest daughter.
That sounds rather confusing and maybe like a “distant relative”… but there is nothing distant about my relationship with Janine. I was twelve when my family drove from California to Washington to visit mom’s family near Seattle in Issaquah… and to meet Aunt Evelyn’s first grandchild.
Aunt Evelyn and Uncle Hans were my first connection to the land of Switzerland which claimed our daughter DeAna about two dozen years later! Uncle Hans immigrated from the German part of Switzerland to the state of Washington. Their daughter, my cousin, Betty, with her husband, Nick, lived right across the alleyway from her parents. Knowing we were there, she came over with her new baby, Janine. You know my name in JAN – and so I immediately claimed JANine as my own!!
I was there for Cliff and Janine’s wedding. I claim Cliff as my cousin, too!
Cliff was “Opa” to his three grandsons. A more doting and loving grandfather never graced this earth! I am so sad that those three boys will not have the presence of the Opa as they grow into adulthood. And the youngest one is too little to have lasting memories of him. It makes me cry!
Cliff was a robust man – a former University of Washington champion rower – weighing over 200 pounds most of his adult life. Cancer and the chemo treatments wasted away his body and took away his strength – and eventually his life. But his spirit lives on.
He’ll remain strong and robust forever in all of us who knew and loved him.
We are a vast array of Cliff-Dwellers!
God bless you, my Word Press family. Thank you for praying for my cousin, JANine, and her family. See ya tomorrow. JanBeek
Thank you for all the sweet responses and inspiring messages that helped make my 81st birthday so memorable. I love my WordPress community!
It’s Sunday, so of course, Bob & I went to church this morning. Our worship service was outside. It’s a beautiful day here in Ennis, Montana. Thank you, God, for the sunshine and mild temperatures in the 70s. Everyone wore masks and socially distanced. The sermon topic was based on two New Testament scriptures: Romans 8:26-30 (A Wonderful Future for God’s People) and Matthew 13: 31-33 (The mustard seed and the yeast).
Hope in Difficult Times (as usual I took my notes in poetry as I listened. Here they are:)
Bombarded daily with bad news, It’s hard to keep our spirits up. But reading the Bible is a fresh breath Of positivity and love that fills our cup.
The parables of the mustard seed and The yeast that magically rises the dough Are examples of Jesus’ storytelling. They are hard to easily explain, though.
Trying to explain the parables is like Describing photosynthesis to a four-year-old. You can say all you want to explain them, But we need simplicity in what we’re told!
See the mystery of God’s world. Don’t try to explain it away. Look at the wonders of creation And let the mystery come into play!
It’s okay to read and not understand How God makes the world work. It’s okay to wonder and say “I don’t know,” We can’t see it all – Some’s in the dirt!
Some of the greatest miracles Of Jesus are buried from our minds. We can’t see the way His mysteries Play out – but we see the love that binds!
Look at how the mountains skip, And the trees clap their hands, And know that these exaggerations Are part of the Power where God stands.
Read the Bible not with a microscope, But with a telescope so that you Can see the bigness of His Word. He’s bigger than our understanding – That’s so true!
The music that accompanied our worship service today was so appropriate to this world we currently are trying to navigate. Sing along … the words are here for you on this You.Tube:
Lord, show me the Way, one day at a time! Help me believe in what I could be – and all that I am. Just give me the strength to do every day what You want me to do. So for my sake, teach me to take – One Day at a Time. Show me the Way!
The other song that we had printed on song sheets so we could sing along was “Mansion Over the Hilltop.” I had not heard it before. Have you?
In our call to confession, we read in unison these words from our bulletins:
“Let us trust in the words of the Psalmist who said, ‘The Lord is near to the brokenhearted, and saves those who are crushed in spirit,’ as we lay our burdens before our God.”
The biggest burden on my heart today is this big guy pictured on the left in the photo below. My cousin, Cliff, is shown here with three of his rowing buddies from the University of Washington. Cliff is losing his battle with cancer.
I lay my burdened heart before God as I asked for prayers for my cousin, Cliff Hurn. He is in his last days of trying to fight off cancer. He has fought the good fight and he is tired. Hospice has been called in and his family has gathered around. Please pray for his wife, Janine, his family, and all of us who love him so much.
Don’t laugh at others Who are faced with challenges. Seek to understand.
We are divided In this world that’s filled with hate. Why can’t we just love?
It’s intolerance And a lack of compassion That sows evil seeds.
People point fingers At those they see as different. Let’s see their beauty!
People point their guns At differing opinions. Let’s just live and learn!
Learn to see others As God’s children; we’re the same. Let’s make love “catching!”
I had not heard this song before Peter, Paul & Mary made it famous (I think it was back in the late 60s – early 70s). I love their version of it, but some of the words were hard to understand. Now that I have heard the song writer, Mark Willis, sing it, and I have seen the lyrics, I logged on to the Peter, Paul and Mary version and wondered why I ever had trouble understanding.
With their chosen video clips on this You.Tube, I dare you to listen and look and let it soak in and NOT cry!!
Oh, my dear blog friends, How can we bury the hate? Make love contagious!
Look at these dear ones – See into their hearts and souls Through Jesus glasses.
Look at your neighbors; Really see the ones in need. Then reach out in love!
My heart is hurting For the disenfranchised ones. What’s YOUR handicap?
I’m short… I’m dense… I barely matter at all… Don’t laugh at me!
See ya tomorrow. I’m headed to my follow-up appointment with my surgeon. You have a safe, healthy, and meaningful day… And see who’s out there who needs a helping hand.
This rampant racism and blatant injustice must stop!
Pray for “Giant George” (nicknamed “Big Floyd”) and his family.
Reread MLK’s “I Have a Dream.”
It’s well overdue.
I Have a Dream
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his iconic speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on August 28th, 1963. Fifty-seven years later, it is time to revisit this unfulfilled dream. LET’S MAKE THIS DREAM COME TRUE!! Be a catalyst for long overdue change and racial equality. Let’s reach out, dissolve all divides, and just love one another!!!!
Time to revisit Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s dream, hear his peaceful pursuit of racial equality, and time to MAKE THIS DREAM A REALITY!
(The bold print in this speech are my emphasis. I feel those statements are so appropriate to the injustice and the reactions seen today – May 29, 2020… a sad time in America’s history amidst this George Floyd travesty and the COVID-19 that sees not color or class, but preys on areas of density and poverty).
“Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.
But 100 years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself in exile in his own land.
And so we’ve come here today to dramatize a shameful condition. In a sense we’ve come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men – yes, black men as well as white men – would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked insufficient funds.
But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. And so we’ve come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice.
We have also come to his hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice.
Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.
It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. 1963 is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual…
But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence.
Again and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. And they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom…
There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, when will you be satisfied? We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality…
We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote.
No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream. …
So even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood. I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
I have a dream today. I have a dream that one day down in Alabama … little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.
I have a dream today. I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.
This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood.
With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.
This will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with new meaning: My country, ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrims’ pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring.
And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true. And so let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania. Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado. Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California. But not only that, let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia. Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee. Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.
And when we see this happen, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: Free at last. Free at last. Thank God almighty, we are free at last.”
Here is American civil rights leader Martin Luther King (1929 – 1968) as he addressed crowds during the March On Washington at the Lincoln Memorial, Washington DC, in 1963 where he gave his ‘I Have A Dream’ speech.
Do not let Martin Luther King Jr’s dream die. Do not let George Floyd’s death be in vain. Let your righteous anger spur you to action. Pray that God will show us what He wants us to do next in the memory and honor of MLK,Jr. and “Big Floyd.” Make their lives count. Make the dream a reality!
Thank you for your prayers for the people of Tennessee who were so grievously affected by the 50 mile stretch of devastation in and beyond Nashville this week. My friend, Debbie, who lives in Nashville half the year, sent me this update this morning:
“Morning, Jan. What I didn’t tell you in the text was the immense response of the people of Nashville. Hands on Nashville, with 25000 volunteer slots, is full. People connected with houses of worship or no connection to anything other than this is home are pouring out of their comfort to help. People are showing up with strong backs (including team members of the Titans and Predators), chain saws, showing up with blankets (it was 29 degrees this am and no electricity in the tornado zones), showing up with ready to eat meals (son Joel is preparing 1500 meals each day), showing up with diapers, flashlights, batteries. Celebrities, including our beloved Dolly (Parton) and Taylor (Swift) and many others, have opened their checkbooks very wide, as have organizations such as the National Football League and the National Hockey League. In Nashville, as we did during the devastating flood of 2010, we show up. In Nashville, We Rise.“
Tennessee tornadoes kill at least 25. More than 150 people were hurt and thousands of homes and businesses were flattened when the twisters hit in the middle of the night.
Thank God for answered prayer as more than 25 thousand people have stepped up and in to physically help the people devastated by this disaster! They are using their money, time, and talents to do what they can to alleviate the suffering and aide those in dire need.
They are angels stepping in to lift the spirits, clean up the debris, and rebuild where possible. They are using their talents to feed the hungry (God bless Debbie & Steve’s son, Joel, whose place of business was spared. It had $50,000 worth of food in freezers and storage, and was only 1/4 mile from the tornado’s path). Now he is using those resources to feed the homeless and hurting. God bless him! He’s one of thousands of angels on earth… God’s hands and feet!
Use Your God-given Talents
I wrote this poem this morning while reading my devotionals and Bible and praying for help to arrive in Tennessee – before I saw Debbie’s update. It certainly fits the way folks are using their talents in and around Nashville right now.
Use Talents Wisely
God has given each of us Talents that are unique to us. Some are singers, others plow, Others use their funds somehow.
Some are math-magicians – true; Others are writers, just like you. Whether science or literature, Use your talents and be sure They are developed as your own, Gaining skill as seeds are sown. Don’t envy others for what they do. Use the talents given to you.
Moles must dig, and roosters crow, Unique gifts they use and grow. Likewise we must search and know Just what talents from us must flow.
Like a poet who thinks in rhymes, You might paint or prepare a pot. Keep your eye on what you’ve got, And never try to be what you’re not.
In the wake of this devastation, give the people strength and courage. In the aftermath of death and destruction, give the people hope and tenacity.
We know this “ordinary day” in the lives of so many is not “ordinary” in Tennessee. The extraordinary natural disaster has left more than 25 dead, countless wounded, and thousands without home, church building, or business. Some have lost their jobs as the place they worked no longer exists. Please be with these people. Be with the loved ones of the deceased.
We look at today, grateful for sparing our lives, knowing but for Your grace, we might have been in the midst of Harm’s Way. We thank You for the miraculous way you saved people, like the teenage girl who was whisked in the gale up and out of her home and dumped under a pile of debris into her neighbor’s swimming pool!
We thank you for the rescue workers who pulled people out, for the hospital staff who are working overtime to save lives, and for all those who have stepped up to help by using their time, talents, and money however You placed it on their hearts to do so.
Help us hear, dear God, what You are asking us to do… besides pray. Prayer is a given!
It’s been a busy day. I am ready to tuck in early. But first, I need to share with you a message I received from our neighbors who live at the end of our road 1/2 the year and in Nashville, Tennessee the other half of the year.
Most of you are aware by now that earlier this week a massive tornado devastated a 50 mile trail that went through the heart of some of Nashville’s beautiful neighborhoods. I wrote my neighbor/friend, Debbie, and asked how she and Steve are doing. This is what she wrote back,
“Thanks for asking. It’s been a tragic, scary, powerful disaster. It first touched down about 4 miles away at a private airport. That airport has $100 mil worth of damage. Then it plowed thru the neighborhoods of north Nashville (about 3 miles away) tearing up homes, churches and 3 schools in that lower middle class, black section. Then it hit the very trendy, expensive Germantown section just blocks from the Capital. After destroying Germantown it gained strength, crossed the Cumberland River (where our son Joel’s shop missed being hit my 1/4 mile). He was without power for only 10 hours. Then it moved to a section called East Nashville. This is where I grew up and where my brother still lives. The damage there was heartbreaking. East End Methodist Church was destroyed. This is my brother’s church… He has been there for hours helping out each day and met with the structural engineer who said no way to rebuild. It is just tragic. Yes the church is more than the building but when the building is 113 years old and you worship in such an astonishingly beautiful place with the souls of the many worshipers gone before, it seems trite to say it was only a building. There is no telling how long it will take to get power back on in that area. So the tornado jumped the river again to the neighborhood known as Donelson, then Hermitage, then Mt Juliet, then out in the country to Cookeville where 23 people were killed. This event has consumed our town.”
It takes that tragic event and brings it home, doesn’t it? Makes it up close and personal.
Please, dear friends, add the people of Nashville, Cookeville, and the surrounding area (50 mile tornado path) to your prayer list. My heart is heavy for them.
Sweet dreams may be possible as time goes by, but for now there will be tears and nightmares for many.
God bless them and give them strength during this devastating time. Amen
All across China, people are talking about Dr Li Wen Liang. He was the doctor who discovered the novel corona virus and in the early morning of February 7, 2020 at 2:58 am, he was promoted into glory and went home to be with our Father in heaven.
Back in December last year, he was arrested for being a whistleblower ‘spreading rumors’ about a mysterious pneumonia like virus. This morning we found out he was in fact a fellow brother in Christ. Our hearts are deeply moved by his sacrificial choice to spread awareness about the virus despite the risks he faced, especially to his reputation and to his own health.
He continued to care for patients up until he was infected himself. What a legacy to leave behind of what it means to be like Jesus to those hurting in a time of crisis. He chose to be an example of Immanuel, ‘God with us’ to the people of Wuhan.
Can you imagine the joy he must have felt as he entered into eternity and heard the words, “Well done, my good and faithful servant”?
So today, please pray for his family, especially his wife who is also infected and 8 months pregnant with their second child. May God heal them supernaturally and give them grace, peace, strength and comfort during this time.
Dr Li Wen Liang penned a deeply touching Chinese poem. It is translated below into English. The original Chinese is there, telling of how he would miss his family, his beloved Wuhan, and then he quoted 2 Tim 4:7-8 “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”
He went on to write, “Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.”
“The Hero Who Told The Truth” Here is a captivating, heart-touching Chinese poem I’ve tried to translate into English. It was written in memory of Mr Li Wenliang, a Christian doctor and whistleblower who died from the corona virus himself after being punished for issuing the first warning about the deadly corona virus outbreak. 我不想當英雄。 我還有爹娘， 還有孩子， 還有懷孕臨產的妻， 還有許多的病人在病房。 盡管正直換不來善良， 盡管䢛途迷茫， 可還是要繼續進行， 誰讓我選擇了這國這家， 多少委屈， 等打完這仗， 垂淚如雨仰天遠望。 “I don’t want to be a hero. I still have my parents, And my children, And my pregnant wife who’s about to give birth, And many of my patients in the ward. Though my integrity cannot be exchanged for the goodness of others, Despite my loss and confusion, I should proceed anyway. Who let me choose this country and this family? How many grievances do I have? When this battle is over, I will look up to the sky, With tears like rain.” 我不想當英雄。 只是做為醫生， 我不能眼看著這不明的病毒， 傷害著我的同行。 還有那多無辜的人們， 他們盡管已奄奄一息， 可眼睛裏總望著我， 帶著生命的希望。 “I don’t want to be a hero. But as a doctor, I cannot just see this unknown virus Hurting my peers And so many innocent people. Though they are dying, They are always looking at me in their eyes, With their hope of life.” 誰成想我競死了！ 我的靈魂分明在天上， 望著那張白色的病床， 床上分明是我的軀體， 軀體上還是那熟悉的臉龐。 我的父親母親在哪？ 還有我親愛的妻子， 那當年我苦苦追求的姑娘。 “Who would have ever realised that I was going to die? My soul is in heaven, Looking at the white bed, On which lies my own body, With the same familiar face. Where are my parents? And my dear wife, The lady I once had a hard time chasing?” 天上有一道光！ 那光的盡頭是人們時常說起的天堂。 我寧願不去哪裏， 我寧願回到武漢我的家鄉。 那裏有我新買的房子， 每月還要還貸的賬。 我怎能舍得， 我怎能舍得！ 沒有兒子的爹娘， 該有多麽悲傷； 沒有了丈夫的寶貝， 該如何面對這未來的滄桑。 “There is a light in the sky! At the end of that light is the heaven that people often talk about. But I’d rather not go there. I’d rather go back to my hometown in Wuhan. I have my new house there, For which I still have to pay off the loan every month. How can I give up? How can I give up? For my parents without their son, How sad must it be? For my sweetheart without her husband, How can she face the vicissitudes in her future?” 我分明死了。 我看見他們把我的軀殼， 裝進一個袋子。 在袋子的近傍 有許多死去的同胞， 象我一樣， 在黎明時分， 被推進火的爐堂。 “I am already gone. I see them taking my body, Putting it into a bag, With which lie many compatriots Gone like me, Being pushed into the fire in the hearth At dawn.” 再見了，難舍的親人。 永別了，武漢我的故鄉。 但願你們在災難過後， 還記得曾經有人， 努力地讓你們盡早知道真相。 但願你們在災難過後， 學會正直， 不再讓善良的人們， 遭受著無盡的恐懼， 和無奈的悲傷。 “Goodbye, my dear ones. Farewell, Wuhan, my hometown. Hopefully, after the disaster, You’ll remember someone once Tried to let you know the truth as soon as possible. Hopefully, after the disaster, You’ll learn what it means to be righteous. No more good people Should suffer from endless fear, And helpless sadness.” “那美好的仗我已經打完了， 應行的路我已行盡了， 當守的道我守住了。 從此以後， 有公義的冠冕為我留存。” 《聖經》提摩太後書4:7 “I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race. I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness.” 2 Timothy 4:7, Holy Bible
Rest in peace, Dr. Li Wen Liang. God bless you – and God be with your dear family. We all will pray for your wife, your son, and your unborn child. May God miraculously heal her and save your children. Amen
Thanks for visiting JanBeek.
I hope this story touched your heart as it did mine. Please join me in prayer for Mrs. Liang and the victims of this deadly virus. Pray for a cure!
While perusing FaceBook this evening, I came across this article that I thought was so well written. The author, Nancy Guthrie, said what many of us know, “… for those who’ve recently lost someone they love, the holidays can seem more like something to survive than to enjoy.”
Nancy Guthrie is a guest writer on the FB page, desiringGod. She goes on to write,
“While those of us who surround grieving people can’t fix the pain of loss, we can bring comfort as we come alongside those who hurt with special sensitivity to what grief is like during the holidays. Grieving people wish we all knew at least five truths, among others, at Christmas.”
You can click on the link below to see the full article, learn what those five truths are, and learn a little more about Nancy Guthrie.