Loving One Another

Archive for the ‘learning’ 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.



Let Your Soul Sing


If you’ve followed my blog for awhile, you know that usually I post sermon notes after church on Sunday afternoons. I failed to do so last Sunday because I left behind the bulletin with my sermon notes. Today I retrieved it. So, here, my friends are my poetic notes from Sunday, March 8th.

Photo by Oleg Magni on Pexels.com

Based on Numbers 21:4-9 and John 3:1-21; Sermon by Rev. Steve Hundley; recorded through JanBeek’s filter:

Let Your Soul Sing

Moses lifted up a bronze snake.
Those bitten by a snake were saved;
Not by anything they did or said,
Not by the way they prayed or behaved.
.
It was by the grace of God that they
Looked up at the statue and then
The poison did not kill them.
It was not by the power of women or men.
.
If we are to avoid being foolish,
We need to admit our dependence
And we need to acknowledge risk
Wherever we happen to be in attendance.
.
We are dependent on God for life.
It is He who guides our days.
We, in our pride, think we’re in control –
And we fools trust our own ways.
.
We cannot do for ourselves what’s needed
To be independently self-made.
We must trust and believe it’s God
Who created us, and with His Son, our debts paid.
.
We must trust God to lift us up
On the top of an eagle’s wing.
His breath blows our life toward Him
If we let our souls in His glory sing.
.
.
Sing to Him today.
Praise His name always.

Photo by Frans Van Heerden on Pexels.com

God,
You know our troubles,
our concerns,
our anguish.
Bring peace and comfort
to Your loved ones.
Give us hope and assurance.
Bring healing to the hurting,
the sick, the lonely.

Lift us on Your wing.
Remind our souls to sing
Your Praises
and
Trust in Your Promises.

Amen

See ya later.
Hugs,
JanBeek

Be Tenderhearted


Be Tenderhearted

Sometimes I am all business.
I put process ahead of persons,
process ahead of poetry,
the poetry of God’s whispers.

Sometimes I am too concerned
about the process to see
the point of the pin
that pricks at pained heartstrings.

Sometimes I’m caught in calendar,
all deadlines ahead of doorways
that lead to peace with patience,
that open to compassion with courage.

Sometimes God rises to reveal
a hardened heart that hears,
“Hurry, hurry, hurry, hurry,
and plow through the process!”

Sometimes when I stop to see
the mangled mess I’ve made
with focus on the failures,
God stops my steps.

He points to the positives;
He gathers up the good
And puts the process behind,
Trading it for tenderheartedness.

He helps me humbly see
the covenant, the cross on Calvary,
the limitless love of letting
God’s grace return to the gathering.

Return it to the wondrous whispers
that only tenderness and transparency
can reveal as we enter the center
of God’s tender heart – and hear.

Hear His poetry, hold His hand,
sing His songs and shout “Shalom!”
Take His tender heart that tugs
at your heartstrings. Take it home.

Be Tenderhearted.

Photo by Engin Akyurt on Pexels.com



Growing in God’s Grace, Jan Beekman, poet

Write a Tanka


Photo by Talha R on Pexels.com

How do you write tanka?

The basic structure of a tanka poem is 5 – 7 – 5 – 7 – 7. In other words, there are 5 syllables in line 1, 7 syllables in line 2, 5 syllables in line 3, and 7 syllables in lines 4 and 5.

The Tanka poem is very similar to haiku but Tanka poems have more syllables and it uses simile, metaphor and personification.

Ah, so it’s not just the syllable count that matters. The subject matter has to involve simile, metaphor and personification. Raise the stakes!!

What are Simile, Metaphor and Personification?

  • Simile = Both similes and metaphors are forms of comparison that compare words in a sentence. They can be used to make your sentences more interesting. How are similes and metaphors different? A simile is a word that compares words in a sentence. You can usually tell if a simile is present in a sentence when you see the words as or like. Don ate his salad like a vacuum cleaner. His arms were weak and felt like noodles. The thunder was as loud as fireworks.
  • Metaphor = Like a simile, a metaphor compares words in a sentence; however, instead of saying that one thing is like something else, a metaphor actually makes one thing become something very different by renaming it. A metaphor can sometimes use words like is, are, or was (and other words) to signal that a metaphor is present. However, a metaphor never uses the words like or as to compare. The smoke was cotton balls billowing from the chimney. You are my hero. The sun was a furnace.
  • Personification = Personification is the act of giving non-living things human characteristics. Here is a sample of a short paragraph that uses personification to describe a house:

    Our house is an old friend of ours. Although he creeks and groans with every gust of wind, he never fails to protect us from the elements. He wraps his arms of weathered wood around us and keeps us safe. He’s always been a good friend to us and we would never leave him.
Photo by mali maeder on Pexels.com

Which of those three does my Tanka below employ?

Jesus is a tree

Whose trunk is strong and stable

From it, we branches

Grow out of His love and care

And we bear His compassion

Is it a simile, a metaphor or personification?

Try a Tanka of your own. And have a Terrific Tuesday!

See ya later.

29 Ways to Keep Wonder Alive


What makes you wonder?

Each morning I wonder what Bible verse will speak to me today.
I wonder what phrase I will “take away” with me.
I wonder how I can keep my faith
alive, growing, and contagious.

I read today’s page in Daily Guideposts 2020
and I go to my Bible to read
the chosen scripture in its larger context.
And then I write the “take away”
on the page provided at the end of the month.

These WONDERful phrases
keep the Wonder alive in my life.

I pray that perhaps these phrases
can help keep the wonder alive in your life, too.

  1. Know God is Always With You
  2. Use Your Talents for Common Good
  3. Love Selflessly
  4. Be a Ready Helper
  5. Share Wisely
  6. Find Strength in Faith
  7. Always Be Honest
  8. Trust in God’s Leading
  9. Keep Faith Alive
  10. Be a Blessing
  11. Love Without Condition
  12. Trust God’s Faithfulness
  13. God’s Love is Perfect ❤
  14. Set Your Affairs in Order
  15. Praise God for His Creativity
  16. Always Show Your Love
  17. Pray for Our Leaders
  18. Help Others in Need
  19. Play a Song of Perseverance
  20. Make Me a Loving Servant
  21. Thanks for Friends, Love, and Laughter
  22. Praise God for His Protection
  23. Foster Unity
  24. Concentrate on the Positive
  25. Thank God for Grit!
  26. Wear Your Faith Visibly and Honestly
  27. Commit to 40 Days of Sacrifice
  28. Put Faith Into Action
  29. Lean on Him for Wisdom and Strength
Keep Wonder alive in your life.
Act in WONDERful ways!

You may consider getting your copy of Daily Guideposts 2020
for your morning devotionals.
There are still ten months left
to enjoy and be inspired by its daily messages.
I find it to be a WONDERful way to start my day.

http://www.shopguideposts.org/Devotionals

Go out now and
DO LOVE in WONDER-filled ways.

See ya tomorrow.

The 5 P’s of Blogging


The Art of Blogging . One of the bloggers I have followed from Day 1 on Word Press is Cristian Mihai who writes on The Art of Blogging. His tips always are right on! His coaching is helpful for those of us who are trying to improve our blogging skills. Isn’t that all of us?

woman in front of her computer

Photo by Retha Ferguson on Pexels.com

This week he reminded us that blogging is not about numbers. It’s not about how many followers or how many “likes” or how many comments we get. It’s about the people. “Build relationships,” he told us. Cristian continued by reminding us that it’s about passion. Write about things you really care about, he instructed. You can’t improve your blog if you don’t know WHY you are blogging, he said. Cristian Mihai always reminds me that I need to be clear about my purpose. What do I hope to accomplish?
ask blackboard chalk board chalkboard

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

People, Passion, Purpose, Precision, and Pleasure . I wrote to Cristian thanking him for the 3 P’s of successful bloggers, but then suggested we need to add two more P’s: precision and pleasure. I need to be precise about what I write. Make sure the words are spelled correctly, the grammar is correct, and the format is pleasing. Add sub-titles. Add pictures. Edit out superfluous words. Read it aloud to myself or my dog. Make sure it sounds real.

No one will return to a blog that is sloppy or one that uses objectionable language. Or at least not many people will. We all know that. Those kinds of words and messes turn me off!

top view of black and white typography sentences

Photo by Kaboompics .com on Pexels.com

And the 5th “P” of successful blogging is pleasure. I take pleasure in writing about the things I am passionate about. I get enormous pleasure out of communicating with the people who leave comments. I love getting to know people from India, Sri Lanka, Canada, Venezuela, Germany, Finland, etc… it’s FUN!! I really enjoy looking at where y’all are from.

man sitting on a green grass field

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

Have FUN! . As long as you’re having fun, taking pleasure in the writing process, and enjoying the connections that your blog makes possible, I think you’re on the right track. As long as you write about your passions (one of mine is this “Loving One Another” subject), and as long as you stay true to your purpose and do it with the greatest precision you can muster, then I think you are a blogging “artist.”

I’m glad you are here at JanBeek. I hope we can get to know one another, encourage one another, and give each other feedback as often as possible.

You matter to me. You’re my people!

friends-price-tags

Have a good night. See ya tomorrow.

Honey and Wisdom


“Eat honey, my son, for it is good;
honey from the comb is sweet to the taste.
Know also that wisdom is sweet to your soul;
if you find it,
there is future hope for you,
and your hope will not be cut off.”

Proverbs 24: 13-14

Storing Honey

That honey jar on the right with the bees and hearts was given to us 8 years ago for our 50th wedding anniversary from Bob’s beekeeper nephew and his wife. Bryan Beekman is a California beekeeper with about 10,000 beehives. His wife, Michelle, has the “Honey Hut” on their property in Clovis.

No, I have not kept that honey for 8 years!! (But, I could have if I wanted to… honey never spoils unless you add water to it! They found good, edible honey in King Tut’s tomb!)

A jar like that only last a few weeks in our house before it has to be refilled. We pour from it into the honey bear. It’s easier to pour out of the bear. I keep both of those containers in the cabinet to the right of the stove. A warm spot is best for storing honey. Never refrigerate it!! When the jar is empty, we refill it from a 5 gallon jug that we keep in the warm room downstairs.

Look carefully at the jar. The letters almost are all washed off. It used to say, “Happy 50th, Bob & Jan.” I need to take it back to Michelle to have it repainted one of these trip to California! But would that be like restoring an antique? Would it lose some of its value?

Honey as a Gift

Because Bob’s a retired beekeeper, folks often give us honey as a gift when they return from their travels. This jar was a gift from a friend in Maryland. Notice the label says, “100% Pure Raw Varietal Honey.” That’s important! You want to know from which flowers the bees gathered their nectar. Honey has flavors as distinct as wines or berries or the smell of various flowers. Pure orange honey has the taste of the smell of the orange blossoms. I love it!

Describing Honey Flavors

However, some honey label writers get carried away, just as some folks who describe the flavors of wine do on their labels. I don’t often taste the earth or the tobacco in a glass of wine. And I can’t taste “vanilla-marshmallowy goodness” in this Pacific Northwest honey. However, I believe them when they say it’s pure and raw.

Preserving Honey’s Attributes

Pure means it hasn’t been mixed with other stuff… and raw means it hasn’t been heated above a certain temperature. Heating honey too much (like boiling it on the stove or in the microwave) kills many, if not all, of its healthy qualities.

If you love honey as we do, remember to bee wise in the way you select and buy it, and remember to bee wise in the way you store and preserve it. And remember to use it as a substitute for sugar as often as you can. It’s better for you – and it takes less honey to taste the sweetness than sugar. Also, honey is the browning agent in waffles or bread.

And it’s all about wisdom.
Bee Wise.
Eat Honey!!

See ya later.

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