If you’ve followed my blog for a while, You know I attend church every Sunday, And I usually try to take sermon notes. As I listen, I try to record the message poetically.
Our pastor, Rev. Mary Grace Reynolds, is doing a bold sermon series. She’s asking our church congregants to send her scripture that puzzles or troubles them.
This week the scripture passage she used is from Luke 9:57-62. A weird one indeed! I’ve often thought Jesus was rather harsh with these two men who wanted to follow Him.
New International Version
The Cost of Following Jesus
57 As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.”
58 Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”
59 He said to another man, “Follow me.”
But he replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.”
60 Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”
61 Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.”
62 Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”
Today’s sermon notes:
The mid-west mecca of modern architecture Is Columbus, Indiana. Ever been there? I watched the movie, “Columbus,” recently. Jinn & Casey meet and share.
Ultimately the movie is about Staying or leaving – choices we make. Casey needs to go, but doesn’t want to. Jinn convinces her to leave for her own sake.
Jesus may have been telling the men To leave for their own sake. Their situations were different, But departure was what it would take.
Jewish burial rites have many parts: Wrapping body, burial, dig up, burn, urn… In this scripture a man wants to tend to his father. Jesus prompts, “Come now and learn.”
We don’t know at what point in the rites This man’s father may have been – But it seems harsh for Jesus to tell him “Let the dead bury their dead.” Such chagrin!
Another man wants to go back to his family, But Jesus says, “Do not do an about face!” This passage is all about priorities. Jesus asks us to put Him in first place.
Love is not selfish, sinking in its talons. Love is generous – love always is kind. There often is sadness in leaving, But when God calls, listen, decide, and mind!
Don’t get stuck looking back (like Lot’s wife). You’ll become a pillar in your own tears and grief. It’s all about priorities and obedience. Hear God’s call and follow your belief!
What is it that determines your values and beliefs?
Perhaps Jesus was not being harsh with those two men after all. Perhaps, like Jinn and Casey in the movie, “Columbus,” He was telling them to leave for their own sake – even though they didn’t want to go quite yet.
Sometimes God’s perfect timing doesn’t seem perfect… … at least not at the time He jerks us out of our comfort zone! But often, looking back, we can say, “Aha! Now I see… God always knows what is best for me!”
Jesus’ words may seem harsh at first glance, But He always has our best interest at heart. I need to trust His encouragement to step out… And what better time than now to start?
See ya on the road to success tomorrow (God willing) Love, JanBeek
A beautiful, bright yellow, little bird found its demise this morning. Flying too fast, confused by reflections in our large kitchen window, it crashed into it. Sometimes birds who do that are just stunned, After lying on the ground a while, they get up and fly away. This one was not so fortunate.
There is a bird that looks just like this one that is flying from tree to tree outside the kitchen window. Obviously, it is looking for its buddy. My heart goes out to the poor, lonesome one.
I am reminded as I see this little beauty of the lesson to be learned here: SLOW DOWN and LOOK WHERE YOU’RE GOING!
If you’ve followed my blog this past month, you know I didn’t do that! I was walking too fast – and I was not watching where I was going. I caught my right shoe on the top of the (higher than normal) curb, and down I went! Fortunately, I caught the weight of my fall on my left pinky finger. Not my head or hip. Not my right hand. Not my face. It could have been so much worse. I have lots to be thankful for. But the message is clear. SLOW DOWN!
But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.
But, if you run, make it be in a safe place to do so… and keep your eyes on the road ahead. And when you walk, be purposeful. Look ahead. Be alert. When you wait, wait patiently. Pray for guidance. Listen. Be discerning. Be obedient.
I’ve got time for slow dances in the kitchen now. The Lord said, “Rest. Ice that hand! Exercise those fingers. Go to your occupational therapy sessions, and skip all those other obligations for now. Wait!”
OK, Lord. I am listening.
Are you listening, my friend?
Slow down! And have a safe, sane, and happy Tuesday.
That picture is a reminder of another time a year or so ago when I was walking too fast and not looking where I was going.
Oh my… not a very fast learner, am I?? S’pose I got the message this time?
See ya later – Love, JanBeek
Here’s a wonderful song (I had not heard it before) about that message of slowing down… so true!
published yesterday, April 24, 2022, wrote this poem:
Marriage is a strange equation where You take 1 Person Add another Person You get a Couple So far so good Now you add 0 Expectations to it And you get infinite Love Mind-boggling!
I wrote to Frank saying, “Hmmm… zero expectations? How do you do that?” He responded, “I guess we should try and reduce it little by little. Eventually, it will get to zero.”
What do you think? Do you agree that zero expectations = infinite love?
I follow Frank’s blog along with over 22,700 other admirers of his poetry. If you will forgive me, I wish to rewrite his latest. It seems to me that marriage does not have to be a strange equation. It can be:
The Perfect Equation
Marriage can be a perfect equation when You take one person Add another person And get a couple Then you add the Love of Christ Next place the Holy Spirit in the center You add God’s expectations of compassion Mix in the joy of respect and faithfulness And you get unconditional, infinite love Now, that’s Mind-boggling!
True Friendship requires the same equation! Take one person, add another, stir in Christ’s love Center the Holy Spirit between you and Sprinkle generously with compassion and respect Remain faithful to one another, and Keep a confidential, active, listening ear You get unconditional, infinite love. Isn’t that mind-boggling?
If you were asked to create a collage of true friends who epitomize that equation, who would you include? Long-time friends, family, neighbors, church friends, internet friends, friends in heaven, those you haven’t met yet? Think about it! My collages below are by no means complete… but for starters:
Are you a reliable friend? Do you see yourself fitting into the equation? Does your collage of friends include those neighbors who stick “closer than a brother”?
Marriage and Friendship are related! They both carry with them great expectations!
24 One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
Knowing I was hurting physically because I fell and disclocated/broke my pinky finger, friends sent cards, delivered food, sent texts, called, and dropped by. Did I EXPECT such an outpouring? Not at all! But did it do the trick? You bet! Those friends delivered the cheer and encouragement that we all need when we are feeling blue or tired or sick or (as in my case) a little stupid and careless.
Knowing my granddaughter and I were hurting emotionally because she just learned of and shared with me the news of her miscarriage, friends called, wrote, texted, responded on my blog & on FB, and reached out to Hope as well. Did we expect such an outpouring? No! But was it helpful and appreciated? You bet!
Hebrews 10:24-25 Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another
The Bible is full of expectations for us. God expects us to lift one another up. He commands us… The greatest of these is LOVE. His last and final commandment: Love one another!
Reach out to a friend today. Reach out in love. Do you do it because you expect something in return? Of course!
My mom always told me, “Whatever you send into the life of others comes back into your own.”
(I’m sure she read that in the Bible somewhere!)
Thanks for visiting JanBeek today See ya tomorrow (God willing)
Who’s in your collage of friends today? Tell ’em about it! (Share my blog with ’em!!)
Missed the prompt yesterday … so here it is a day late… or is it two days? Life’s been busy as we were packing and preparing for this trip to Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota . Departure is at 5:55 tomorrow morning! But anyway, here’s my favorite quote. It’s what my mom always told me. But I’m sure it’s not original. Wonder who first said it?
“It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt “
“What Book Will You Read Next?” was the Bloganuary prompt yesterday. I was away from my computer all day, so I didn’t get a chance to answer it then. But here is my answer – a day late:
The book next on my reading list is Amanda Gorman’s “Call Us What We Carry.” Amanda is the young lady who wrote the poem that she read at the 2021 USA Presidential inauguration, “The Hill We Climb.” Her book of poems “captures a shipwrecked moment in time and transforms it into a lyric of hope and healing.” According to the inside flap of the book, “This book is a message in a bottle. This book is a letter. This book does not let up.” I loved Gorman’s poem for the inauguration message last year. I know I am going to enjoy delving deeper into her poetic prowess!
WordPress started a new program called Bloganuary each day they’ll give us a writing prompt. I’ll see if I can find inspiration in this new program – and share comments with some fellow bloggers I haven’t met before.
My 2021 blogs all began with my word for the year, “Embrace.” We had spent 2020 with the absence of hugs … and that was really hard for me. It was not difficult to think of a subject to embrace each day.
Now, let’s see what my life experience can do with these new daily prompts!
What Advice Would I Give to My Teenage Self?
I wrote a poem for my daughter, DeAna, when she was 19, married her sweetheart, André, and left us in CA to go live with him in his home country of Switzerland. My advice to her was wrapped up in this poem. It’s the same advice I would have given to my own teenage self:
I hope you are able to read that, dear blogging friends. And I hope you have been given (and can give in return) “Gifts Your Kids Can’t Break”
God bless you this New Year’s Day. May 2022 be a memorable year of many hugs and many blessings from Our Lord to you and your loved ones.
Please pray for my husband, Bob, who is in ER right now with congestive heart failure.
My high school buddy from the Stone Age, Doris, sent me a story today. It was written by a guy (no name available) who recalled an experience that stuck with him and changed him forever.
Did the title of this blog draw you in? Stay with me.
The story writer told about the way a young Downs Syndrome man impacted the hearts of all he touched. I was moved by the story – and decided it was too good to keep to myself. I hope it touches your heart, too.
Nicky’s Lesson for Us All
In 1979, I was managing a Wendy’s in Port Richey, Florida. Unlike today, staffing was never a real problem, but I was searching for a someone to work 3 hours a day only at lunch. I went thru all my applications and most were all looking for full time or at least 20 hours per week. I found one however, buried at the bottom of a four inch stack, that was only looking for lunch part time.
His name was Nicky. Hadn’t met him but thought I would give him a call and see if he could stop by for an interview. When I called, he wasn’t in but his mom said she would make sure he would be there. At the appointed time, Nicky walked in. One of those moments when my heart went in my throat. Nicky suffered from Downs Syndrome. His physical appearance was a giveaway and his speech only reinforced the obvious. I was young and very sheltered. Had never interacted on a professional level with a developmentally disabled person. I had no clue what to do, so I went ahead and interviewed him. He was a wonderful young man. Great outlook. Task focused. Excited to be alive. For only reasons God knew at that time, I hired him for 3 hours a day, 3 days a week to run a grill.
I let the staff know what to expect. Predictably the crew made sure I got the message, “No one wants to work with a retard.” To this day I find that word offensive. We had a crew meeting, cleared the air, and prepared for his arrival.
Nicky showed up for work right on time. He was so excited to be working. He stood at the time clock literally shaking with anticipation. He clocked in and started his training. Couldn’t multi-task, but was a machine on the grill.
Now for the fascinating part… Back in that day, there were no computer screens to work from. Every order was called out by the cashier. It required a great deal of concentration on the part of all production staff to get the order right. While Nicky was training during his first shift, the sandwich maker next to him asked the grillman/trainer what was on the next sandwich. Nicky replied, “single, no pickle no onion.” A few minutes later it happened again. It was then that we discovered Nicky had a hidden and valuable skill. He memorized everything he heard! Photographic hearing! WHAT A SKILL SET.
It took 3 days and every sandwich maker requested to work with Nicky. He immediately was accepted by the entire crew. After his shift he would join the rest of his crew family, drinking Coke like it was water! It was then that they discovered another Rainman-esque trait. Nicky was a walking/talking perpetual calendar! With a perpetual calendar as a reference, they would sit for hours asking him what day of the week was December 22, 1847. He never missed. This uncanny trait mesmerized the crew.
His mom would come in at 2 to pick him up. More times than not, the crew would be back there with him hamming it up. As I went to get him from the back, his mom said something I will never forget. “Let him stay there as long as he wants. He has never been accepted anywhere like he has been here.”
I excused myself and dried my eyes, humbled and broken-hearted at the lesson I just learned. Nicky had a profound impact on that store. His presence changed a lot of people. Today I believe with every fiber of my body that Nicky’s hiring was no accident. God’s timing and will are perfect.
This Christmas, I hope we all understand what we are celebrating. We are all like Nicky. We each have our shortcomings. We each have our strong points. But we are all of value. God made us that way and God doesn’t make mistakes. Nicky certainly wasn’t a mistake. He was a valuable gift that I am forever grateful for.
We are celebrating the birth of the ONE that leveled the playing field for all of us. God doesn’t care if you are rich or poor, republican or democrat, or black or white. He doesn’t care if your chromosome structure is perfect. He doesn’t care what level of education you have attained. He cares about your heart. He wants us all to love and appreciate the gift HE gave us on Christmas, His son, the Savior, our salvation. His Son that was born to die for our sins. To pay our debt. To provide us a path for eternity.
So this Christmas, let’s check our hearts. There is a little bit of Nicky in all of us and I suspect there is a Nicky somewhere in your life who is looking for the chance to be embraced. Thank God for that. Thank God for His perfect gift, Christ Jesus.
Another of my high school friends, Kristy, sent me that sketch up there done by a 93-year-old friend of hers, Alice Paschal. What a wonderful rendition of that glorious Christmas Day! Like those two doves, my husband, Bob, and I are sitting in the rafters, peering down on that magical scene – marveling at the love Christ brought down to earth. Grateful for those who share His love in stories, words and actions.
Ready to Learn
May we all be like the workers in that restaurant long ago – ready to learn to love, learn to accept, learn to wrap our arms around the most vulnerable. May we learn to see one another through Jesus glasses, from the inside out.
I first posted this in December of 2020 … and here it is a year later … December of 2021 … and in many ways, we are more engulfed in the effects of COVID-19 now than we were then!
My resolution for 2020 was to “Walk the Talk.” Little did I know when I created those 20/20 Perfect Vision glasses January 1, 2020 what a challenge that would be!
I posted the picture of that little girl in early January, determined to talk less and to do more.
No Way of Knowing
I had no way of knowing when we celebrated the first of five planned Lenten breakfasts leading up to Easter that it would be our last. COVID-19 hit, our gatherings were shut down, and social distancing eliminated these opportunities.
Time to read more, time to think more, time to reflect on stories like the one at the top of this blog.
I asked you, my WP readers, “How will you spend the rest of this 2020 year? What will you do to Walk the Talk and Show the Love of Christ with those you meet?”
I asked you, “Think about it.”
And here it is another year gone by, still dealing with the effects of COVID-19, and still asking the same questions. still making the same requests:
And I still want you to know, “I love you.“ I hope you have avoided the ravages of the virus. I hope you are well, and looking forward to a wonderful Christmas with loved ones.
Thanks for taking time to read JanBeek. I hope it inspires you. Bee well! Bee LOVE.
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“?