“The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective.”
I embrace prayers And I embrace the pray-ers Reaching out to God
As Bob & I prepare to embark on our trip to London and Switzerland, we are humbled by the number of prayers being offered on our behalf by family and friends. Bob came back from his Alaska trip a week and a half ago unfit to travel again… but with care and prayer, he is so much better – – – and his doctors have given him the ok to take this next trip. It’s been booked since last March! We leave Sunday. Oh, time is swiftly passing!
We know God hears – and we know our dear Lord is holding us in the palm of His hand. We are grateful for the intercessory support.
I know you have faced challenging times, too, and you know the power of prayer when you are navigating rough waters.
I know Jesus is a pray-er. He modeled the effectiveness of prayer for us. I am not sure how many times in the Bible it says Jesus went to a quiet place and took time to pray… but I know it’s a lot! If He counted on speaking to God in order to determine His next steps, who am I to try to go it alone?
So, I am up this evening talking to God, knowing Jesus intercedes for me, too… and I can feel the prayers of friends and family who have shared comments such as, “Let us pray that all goes smoothly,” and “Praying for you and Bob… Seeing family is worth the effort. God’s peace,” and “I hope all of your test come back negative and your travel plans run smoothly.” Thank you, WordPress friends!
With a community of believers out there, friends sharing their prayers and good wishes, and with my faith in scripture such as James 5:16, I can go to bed this night and sleep peacefully. I know the One who holds me also holds the future … and wants only my good.
Thank You, Lord, for the love, support, and comfort You send through my spiritual family.
Thank you for helping me relax and put these COVID test results and travel requirements in God’s hands. If this trip to London and Switzerland is meant to be, all my worries are for nothing. As the meme above says, “Worry is a conversation you have with yourself about things you cannot change.” Instead, Jan, put your hand in the hand of the Man who stilled the waters!
Now that I am safely tucked into the Man from Galilee’s hand, I can relax and go get a good night’s sleep!
May sound really weird For a Christian to embrace Doubting; How can I?
What does doubting mean? I believed it’s unbelief. But, let’s think again.
“When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted.”
Who is “they” who saw? It was Jesus’ disciples. What does “doubted” mean?
In my devotional time this morning, Daily Guideposts explained that the original text was in Greek. The word “doubted” in Greek is “distazo.” That does not mean unbelief. It is more accurately translated as “hesitation or uncertainty about how to respond.”
In today’s world, as the cartoon shows, the disciples would not have to think twice about how to respond. They would simply get out their cell phones and record this momentous reappearance of their Savior!!
But in the world of Jesus’ time, how would you respond when someone you watched die on the cross suddenly walked out of the tomb? “Distazo” seems appropriate to me. Whoa!! I’d be pretty unsure about how to respond, wouldn’t you?
Sometimes I am quite unsure about how to respond to situations in today’s world. How about you?
Our test kits came today for the COVID-19 test we have to self-administer and then mail FedEx in the envelope provided so it can go overnight to the place where the results are determined and then sent to me before our flight out of Chicago to London on Sunday night. (Whoa… that’s a long, complex sentence – did you grasp it?)
I am doubting … I am unsure about how to respond to the instructions.
Unfortunately, my test results won’t come in a fortune cookie. They will be sent to an app on my iPhone. Problem: my iPhone is 8 years old and it won’t upgrade to an IOS high enough to download the app. I am feeling doubtful. Very uncertain about how to respond. The new iPhone 12 and last year’s version (iPhone11) are not available here in Ennis. Checking with our nearest city, Bozeman, I discovered we don’t have an Apple store… and the Verizon Wireless store doesn’t have the phone I want in stock. I have to order it on-line from Apple. Will it arrive in time for our departure? What will I do if it isn’t here in time?
In this COVID-19 world, “distazo” is a natural response. We are unsure of how to respond in so many ways. Get the vaccine or not? Wear a mask or not? Get a booster or not? Join friends for a dinner out or not? Worship in church with others sitting close by or not? Travel or not? Get a new phone or not? Forget the whole thing?
I pray to God for help with decision-making, but I am not sure I am hearing His response. Should I keep asking? Should I reword my questions? Am I missing His answers?
As Daily Guideposts has written in today’s devotional, “Doubt, distazo, is part of our faith journey.” It’s OK to question how to respond when we’re baffled by the challenges we face. Like the disciples, we are faced with some unbelievable situations. These are unprecedented times!
Let your hesitation and your uncertainty cause you to question more, research more, and pray more.
Let your hesitancy and your uncertainty cause you to trust more, experience more, and increase your humility as you allow yourself to admit
“Crap! I don’t have all the answers after all!”
Do you find yourself doubting about anything? What causes you to experience “distazo“?
Yesterday was a day to read, relax, and mind the advice of my Unity devotional… rest, recharge my battery, my whole being. I didn’t blog… but I took time to slow down and take breaks. I wasn’t totally alone. My friend, Julie, came by for a few hours and helped me empty my china cabinet in preparation for when we have to clear out all our dining/living room furniture to have the floors redone. Here is the inspirational message that asked me to “experience the peace and tranquility that rejuvenates me.”
Summer’s behind us Leaves are turning bright colors Welcoming Autumn
Quiet’s essential To hear the angels singing Rejoicing in God
Aloneness is grand If you realize one thing: You’re never alone!
Take time to wander An imaginary path Jesus by your side
Treasure the silence Embrace precious aloneness Feel the Holy One
Some days it takes courage to get out of bed! Some days it takes courage to look yourself in the mirror. Have you had days like that? Today was one of them for me!
So, I could go back to bed and feel sorry for myself – – or I could get up and face the day. I had to ask myself, WWJD?? (What would Jesus do?)
Jesus said to me, “Get up and face the day! Be courageous!” So, I did… and by noon the one black eye was better and the color had shifted so it was on the other eye, too.
“But Jesus turning and seeing her said, ‘Take courage, daughter…’ “
My devotional for today in Mornings with Jesus reinforced the prayer response. So, up and out I went!
We have been having day after day with skies filled with smoke from the fires that are all around MT, ID, CO, CA, and OR. The mountains have been invisible to us weeks on end. But today I could see the mountains!
By the time I spent a little time with a friend and returned home this afternoon, we had the clearest blue sky in months! See, if you have courage to face the day, God is good – and He will make you glad you did!
The moral of the story is, EMBRACE COURAGE!
Don’t let your hesitancy keep you from facing the day.
Get up, Get going, Get out, and Get happy!
God is good. Trust Him!
Please keep the firefighters and those in Harm’s Way in your prayers. Our son and his wife are sharing their home with a family of 8 who were evacuated from their home… but it is not destroyed… just in the evacuation zone … and the fire is still headed toward our granddaughter’s in S Lake Tahoe. So keep the prayers flowing!
See ya tomorrow – God willing!
EMBRACE COURAGE – and reach out to do what you can to help others…
Happy Sunday, my friends. I hope you had a great day. As usual, Bob & I attended church and I took notes as I listened to the sermon.
The message was delivered by Pastor Mary Grace Reynolds. The sermon was inspired by John 6:51-63.
I was amazed at how cleverly MGR took the scripture and applied it to today’s world.
John 6:51-63 NIV
51I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” 52Then the Jews began to argue sharply among themselves, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” 53Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. 55For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. 56Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them. 57Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. 58This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your ancestors ate manna and died, but whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.” 59He said this while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum. 60On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?” 61Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, “Does this offend you? 62Then what if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! 63The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and life.
The Living Bread
We come to church to seek comfort, But is that the point of our faith? Aren’t we called to be moved by Jesus? He appeared a bit delusional to His disciples.
Jesus suggested what was prohibited. People didn’t eat human flesh! That teaching came across blasphemous. Associating with Jesus caused them alienation.
Jesus’ message was meant to teach His followers that He was the food That would bring them into relationship With God … and not laws or codes.
God saves – Rituals don’t. God sent manna and now Jesus. First physical, then spiritual saving. Jesus told them, “I am the Bread.”
Trust Jesus to provide the catalyzing calories in our lives. Feed on Him daily!
God Bless You for visiting JanBeek today. I appreciate you.
This old church in McAllister, Montana is a treasure! The bell in the dome still rings, though the organ in the church no longer plays and the roof and foundation of it are compromised. It needs a lot of TLC.
Its history goes back to 1885 – when the land was gifted to the Methodist Episcopal Church. In 1887 the structure was completed. It was transferred to the Presbyterian Church (where Bob & I are members) in 1952.
We (as a congregation) love this old church, and many of our members, their friends, and their grandparents or parents or children or grandchildren have been married or baptized there.
Preserving precious old churches such as this one is an ongoing responsibility. It is costly and time-consuming. Respect for what it was and how it served its community in decades past keep us loving those old buildings.
Here are a few others that are treasures in their communities. If only they could talk!
Dilapidated Sadly abandoned old church Is God still in there?
Matthew 16:6. In many ways Matthew chapter 16 is a chapter about the church. Jesus was the first to mention the church. He only mentions the church twice, and both times are here in the book of Matthew.
In Matthew 16:18 Jesus said, “And I say unto you, That you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”
This is the first time that Jesus used the word church. He used the word church only twice, so it is good to know exactly what Jesus taught about the church. It may be that the things that Jesus taught about church are the things that are the most important to know about it.
Church is a place to trust in God’s promised presence ( Matthew 18:20) as we worship Him together, out of a sense of love and obedience ( Colossians 3:16 ).
When the church is functioning biblically, it’s more active and alive when the seats are empty, and the community is filled with those seeking to activate the gospel in love for each other.
Many of these old churches were also home to the cemeteries that bear the tombstones of its deceased members.
What a shame to allow them to deteriorate and collapse. But, who has the money for restoration and maintenance?
Weekly church attendance is down in our society today. It sometimes downplayed into a legalistic ritual. According to Pewforum.org, 61% of churchgoers attend to feel closer to God, while a sizable majority of non-churchgoers state they practice their faith in other ways.
Which is the right way? Modern society may beg us to believe the choice is ours, but biblical truth is clear about going to church.
Jesus Christ seeks in earnest to meet us on a day set aside to commemorate His defeat of death, to equip us to sustain our faith until He returns.
I am so grateful for my friends who sit in the pews with me every Sunday. Indeed, they help me sustain my faith.
Old churches remind us of the value placed on weekly worship in communities gone by.
Let’s all work to keep our churches vibrant, healthy, and inviting. Don’t let it become a place of ruin!
Oh the church in the valley Is a place I know so well… Listen to Jim & Jesse sing to you about it:
Do you have a little old white church in your history?
Have you had a worry today? Something you have no control over? I have!
My daughter, DeAna, in Switzerland had surgery this morning. When I went to bed last night, I prayed to God.
“Take care of my girl, God. Be with the surgeon. Guide the anesthesiologist. Make the results perfect. Keep the whole process in Your capable hands!”
I set aside worry. I slept soundly after giving it to God. This morning DeDe sent me a text. “It all came out ok. I am fine!”
Praise God for answered prayers!
Do you turn your worries over to God in prayer? Then, do you remember to thank our Heavenly Father when the things and people you pray for turn out OK?
Every day I sit in my rocker up in my sanctuary and I pray for my family and friends. I pray for my neighbors and my church friends, I pray for my pastor, my cousins who live in other states, my son and daughter and their families, and I pray for you, my Word Press friends.
If I have know specific needs (like DeAna’s surgery this morning), I will make my requests specific. But most of the time I just ask God, “Please take care of these beloved people. You know their needs. Be with them, Lord.”
Like a river cutting through rock. my prayers are tenacious. I know God hears my prayers. I know the Holy Spirit speaks to me and reminds me of the people I need to remember. I know God expects me to be persistent in prayer. I am inspired by the way Jesus prayed.
This painting of Jesus praying sits in front of me in my sanctuary. So, as I pray, I know Jesus intercedes for me. I know He hears and He models prayer for me.
“It was at this time that He went off to the mountain to pray, and He spent the whole night in prayer to God.”
Prayers for Yourself
Not all prayers are for others. Sometimes we need to pray for ourselves. We need to ask God to provide for our needs and we need to thank God for the way He provides.
Bob and I will celebrate our 60th anniversary next February. Every day I pray to God for Bob’s health and safety and I thank God for sending him into my life. Every day I spend with him as my partner is an answered prayer.
Every day our lives are blessed by the power of what love can do. Our love grows richer year after year. Are you so blessed, too?
We are grateful for the love we share and the way our friends and family love us in return.
Thank you, friends. Thank You, God… for answered prayer!!
We found a love only few ever find.
If life should end tomorrow, I’d leave this earth a millionaire – Because every day with you, my dear, Is a day of answered prayer.
What answered prayer is your “million dollar gift” my friends?
Embrace Your Pastor. He or she needs your support – And needs your feedback!
Your pastor plants seeds With each sermon presented. You fertilize them.
You add nutrients To the soil where they’re resting By watering them.
Water the ideas By ruminating on them. What was the message?
Each week I take notes. I capture the main ideas As they resonate.
Today’s seeds that Pastor Mary Grace Reynolds sowed were inspired by Ephesians 2:11-22 and enhanced by the experience she had Friday night and Saturday morning with a group of young bicyclists who were traveling 4000 miles for cancer research. Here are my notes that I took while listening this morning.
Serving 400 hours as a hospital chaplain Was required in my seminary studies. Why God – why? What’s the answer? With integrity and stamina, just serve!
Ephesians 2 is not about empty connections. It’s talking about the death of our worst instincts. It’s talking about getting on board with Christ. Paul believed Christ would come back yesterday!
We’re still here thousands of years later… Wondering when that victory over death And division will come to this earth. The Kingdom of God didn’t come in Paul’s time.
It hasn’t come in our time, either. Addictions, abuse, fires, death, wars continue. Where is the world where all divisions are erased? We’re here to put our feet on the ground and be hopeful.
Moments of hope will come to you. The U of Austin bike riders were my moment. Stories of lodging needs and cancer research, Tenacity, friendship, and HOPE scenarios entered.
Hope is a screamer and fighter. Sometimes it works out for the good. HOPE is the reality that God is love. Evil will not win. God’s hope will!
Say YES to what pulls on your heartstrings. Say YES to the reality of God’s hope. Say YES to Truth and love and reaching out. Say YES to cancer research and to helping.
Every inch gained in the fight against cancer Is an inch toward life and hope. We are building the Kingdom of God here Where violence and oppression will be foreign to us.
With tenacity, hang in there. With tenacity listen to God’s response to Your questioning… Why God? Why? With tenacity and stamina and love, just serve!
Embrace Your Pastor. He or she needs your support – And needs your feedback!
Happy Sunday. Thanks for visiting JanBeek See ya tomorrow (God willing).
In a world of self-reliance, Where “I can do it” is king, Being reliant on others Is construed as a “weakness thing.”
But, as Christians we are taught To rely not on our own strength. “Lean not on your own understanding.” God is within a prayer’s length.
In today’s prayerful message, Our wonderful pastor, Mary Grace, Talked about God’s will and love, And seeking our Lord, face-to-face.
“God of forgiveness, hear our confession to you. You have called us to excellence in compassion and we fall short of your confidence in us. You grant us grace and we abuse your gift. You expect us to align our hearts with your will and that our love will be genuine. But we trust our own desires rather than rely on your goodness. We look after our own comfort instead of our neighbor’s needs. In Christ, have mercy on us and forgive us our sins. Amen”
As you know (if you’ve followed my blog for a couple of weeks or more), I take copious notes as I listen to the sermon through my fingertips each Sunday. Sometimes I translate what I am hearing into poetry. Today’s doesn’t rhyme. It’s free verse. But it poured out as I tried to capture the main ideas. First, look at the scripture on which the sermon was based.
Jesus Raises a Dead Girl and Heals a Sick Woman
21 When Jesus had again crossed over by boat to the other side of the lake, a large crowd gathered around him while he was by the lake. 22 Then one of the synagogue leaders, named Jairus, came, and when he saw Jesus, he fell at his feet. 23 He pleaded earnestly with him, “My little daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live.” 24 So Jesus went with him.
A large crowd followed and pressed around him. 25 And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. 26 She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. 27 When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, 28 because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” 29 Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.
30 At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?”
31 “You see the people crowding against you,” his disciples answered, “and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?’ ”
32 But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. 33 Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. 34 He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”
35 While Jesus was still speaking, some people came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue leader. “Your daughter is dead,” they said. “Why bother the teacher anymore?”
36 Overhearing[a] what they said, Jesus told him, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.”
37 He did not let anyone follow him except Peter, James and John the brother of James. 38 When they came to the home of the synagogue leader, Jesus saw a commotion, with people crying and wailing loudly. 39 He went in and said to them, “Why all this commotion and wailing? The child is not dead but asleep.” 40 But they laughed at him.
After he put them all out, he took the child’s father and mother and the disciples who were with him, and went in where the child was. 41 He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum!” (which means “Little girl, I say to you, get up!”). 42 Immediately the girl stood up and began to walk around (she was twelve years old). At this they were completely astonished. 43 He gave strict orders not to let anyone know about this, and told them to give her something to eat.
The sermon title was “Fools for Hoping”
“Secondhand Lions” was a movie with Caine and Duvall. The fictional characters were replicas of my grandfather and uncle! The film is wonderful and whimsical (don’t believe the critics). Believe what you want to believe… and here are some essentials: “What every boy needs to know” – a speech worth hearing…
People are basically good
Money and power mean nothing
True love never dies
Integrity means everything
Love, truth, and integrity are essential
True or not, those are worth believing!
We don’t see much love in the news these days. The news is full of the ways we are really awful to one another. Recent news revealed 751 unmarked graves of indigenous children found this week in Canada. Children taken from their families and forced to attend the former Marieval Indian Residential School.
Survivors, community honour 751 unmarked graves at Sask. residential school site with vigil
Seven-hundred and fifty-one lights spanned the entirety of the unmarked graves discovered on Cowessess First Nation in southeast Saskatchewan where a large group of people, many wearing orange clothes, gathered on Saturday night in honour of the remains.
An elder in the community who spoke at the vigil likened the finding of 751 unmarked graves to a scab that had been “slowly healing” being ripped off.
Not one of us is wholly good, so the natural inclination When confronted with our sinful nature is despair. Confession and repentance are the next steps, but Where do we go after confession?
We need to define our beliefs and act on hope… Even when it seems foolish to do so. Be ready to be made fools for your integrity. Stand up for what is right… stand up for Truth!
The woman in Mark 5 took the show! Jesus asked, “Who touched me?” The disciples laughed, “Everyone’s touching you!” Jairus was impatient, “My daughter needs you!”
He wondered why Jesus was taking precious time To deal with a woman with a 12 year infirmity. Let’s assume the woman just happened to be Outside the crowd that day and heard of Jesus.
She heard Jairus – with hopefulness in his voice – Asking Jesus to help his dying daughter. His hope inspired her hope as well. Two lives were saved that day.
Our speech, our attitudes, and our actions Can have a positive affect on others. We need to consciously lean on God With hope and trust and mindfulness.
Jairus could have listened to his tears, But he stepped up and listened to hope. His act of believing in the power of Christ to heal Allowed other to respond in hope, too.
“Your faith has made you whole,” Jesus told The woman whose hemorrhaging stopped. The only way out is reaching out in the hope That God’s love will make life better.
I’ll stay a fool for hope!
Rely on God
I’ll stay a fool for God.
HOW ABOUT YOU?
Thanks for sharing a part of your Sunday with me. I hope you have a wonderful week.