Loving One Another

Archive for the ‘life’ Category

Who's in Charge?


The Power of Love

For God did not give us
A spirit of cowardice,
But rather a spirit of power
and of love and self-discipline.

2 Timothy 1:7


Do we have enough self-discipline
To take advantage of this time –
This time to just BE and just LOVE
And make the world a better place?

Ann Weems, in Putting the Amazing Back in Grace, wrote:
“Remember, you’re in charge of remembering
that God is in charge, and that’s a big job
that will last a lifetime.”

Just Love!

God’s got this!!
Have a peace-filled Sunday, my friends.

Oh, and in case you, like us, missed church today,
here is the sermon for today that our pastor,
Rev. Steve Hundley sent out via e-mail.

Find a comfortable chair, grab a cup o’ tea or coffee, and augment your Sunday with a worshipful, inspiring message:

INSTRUCTIONS FOR LIFE

Read Psalm 23

     Not long after becoming the pastor of three small churches in the mountains of Virginia, I was asked to give the Baccalaureate Address to the graduating class of Bath County High School.  It used to be, at least in the Bible Belt where I grew up, that local high schools have both a Baccalaureate and Graduation ceremony.  The Baccalaureate was held one evening, a day or two before the actual Graduation Commencement.  And it was tradition to invite a religious leader in the community to speak.  However, I’m not sure that the message I delivered was what the school administration, or even the students, had in mind.

     In most cases, the message given would be a positive one meant to motivate the students to go out and change the world, such as: “You are God’s ambassadors, the hope for a broken world!”  Or: If you can imagine it, you can achieve it; if you can dream it, you can become it.”  Or, perhaps: “Shoot for the Moon, for even if you miss, you’ll find yourself among the stars!”  Most Baccalaureate, as well as, Commencement speakers would have them believe that they can be and do anything they set their minds to, (but with God’s help, of course).

     I, however, felt that it was my duty to inform them that they were nothing but a bunch of “harebrained” sheep.  I saw that!  You raised your eyebrows, didn’t you?  (Note from JanBeek, see the picture of sheep I put at the end of this sermon!)

Yet, that is what the Bible says.  Yes, as much as we would like to think of ourselves as having the heart of a lion, we share more in common with sheep.

      You see, like sheep, we tend to stray easily and lose our way.  I’ve have been told that if one sheep spooks and tears off in one direction, all the others will follow.  Imagine a bunch of sheep running up a hill.  Suddenly the one in front makes a sudden left turn, and all the others, with no questions asked, mindlessly follow.  If the one leading heads right off a cliff, tumbling to its death, all the others follow right off the cliff as well.  But, you say, “We’re not like that!”

     I heard recently about a young married couple.  The wife bought a country ham to cook for her husband’s family who were coming over for dinner.  Before putting it in a pot to bake it, she cut both ends off.  “Why did you do that,” her husband asked.  “I did it because that is the way my mother always did it,” she said.  Calling her mother on the phone, she asked: “Mom, why do we cut the ends off a ham before cooking it?”  “I don’t know.  I do it because it is the way my mother always did it.”  Calling up her grandmother, she asked, “Grandmother, why do we cut the ends off a ham before baking it?”  “I don’t know why you and your mother do it, but I always did it because it wouldn’t fit in my small baking pan.”

     Yes, if one sheep spooks and tears off, all the others will follow.  Still, you say, “We are smarter than that!”  (Try to find a roll of toilet paper, or a bottle of hand sanitizer these days.  Just saying.)

     Attending a Montana State University lecture not long ago, the speaker, a journalist professor, pointed out just how partisan our country has become.  He said that we have lost the will, and therefore, the ability to listen and dialogue with those who disagree with us.  “We only listen to those news networks that confirm what we believe to be true,” he said.  “We socialize with those who believe like us. In other words, we are like sheep who follow blindly our own flock.”  Oh, by the way, did you know that a flock of sheep are called a “MOB?”  Google it.

     Secondly, sheep not only tend to follow their “mob”, they are also fragile creatures.  Ken Davis, a comedian, tells of growing up on a sheep farm.  He said there was an old ram on their farm that loved to sneak up behind him and butt him when he wasn’t looking.  He hated that old ram.  One day he spotted the old bruiser coming around the back of the barn.  Determined to get back at that old ram, he looked around for something to hit him with.  With nothing in sight and ram rounding the corner, Ken jumped out and hollered: “BOO!”  It was all he could think to do. 

“Startled,” Ken said, “that old ram just keeled over AND DIED!” 

Later, his father confronted him, “Son, you hit that sheep, didn’t you?” 

“No dad, I said, BOO! and it just died!”

     A crack of thunder is all it takes to scare a sheep literally to death.  As much as we like to think of ourselves as indestructible, this present pandemic and the fact you are reading this sermon in your own home, shows just how fragile we are.  Our Lord Jesus said: “When you pray, say, ‘Our Father, who art in heaven…give us this day our daily bread…and, deliver us from evil’.”

     Yes, we are like sheep who are in need of a Shepherd.  We need help.  Going it alone, depending on our own wiles, spells certain disaster.  I remember one sheep herder/shepherd telling of turning his flock loose one night in the mountains to graze alone on their own.  He knew it was a risk, because sheep cannot defend themselves, much less outrun, even the slowest predators.  Sheep tend to go astray, grazing along without looking where they are going. 

    He did, however, leave them in the care of his trusty sheep dog.  Locating them the next morning, he discovered that they had wandered into a rather rugged mountain park.  Being the rather clumsy animals that they are, more than a few of them had managed to fall over while feeding on the uneven ground. He found sheep scattered around the meadow upside down on their backs unable to get up. He said: “I had to go around picking up sheep and placing them back on their feet.

     The Prophet Isaiah warns the Israelites of the danger of going it alone.  “See, the Lord’s arm is not too short to save … to pick you up when you have fallen.” (Isaiah 59:1)

     While I doubt that anyone was prepared for me to compare the graduating class of Bath County High School to a “flock”, or should I say “mob” of sheep…the foolish notion that the future of the world rested on their shoulders is categorically untrue!  The longer I live, the more I am convinced that what we need to make it in this world is not popularity and success, not financial wealth or even personal happiness.

    What we need is Christ, the Good Shepherd, to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves and instruct us in the proper order of our lives.  For, “The Lord is our Shepherd, we shall not want.  He makes us lie down in green pastures; he leads us beside still waters; it is our Shepherd who restores our souls, who leads us in right paths.  Even though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, we fear not evil…”

     Notice how Psalm 23 reverses the order of how we tend to live our lives.  It is our tendency to approach life head on, burning ourselves out.  And then, turn back to God in search of rest and soul-restoration after a week of chasing the illusive American dream.  Yet, notice that this Psalm reverses the order.  First, there is the Shepherd who provides what we need most, rest and soul restoration.  Only then is it possible to find meaning and purpose in God’s emerging kingdom or face dark valleys. 

   This is the blessing Jesus wanted Martha to see when she was burning herself out by busying herself in the kitchen.  Jesus said to her: “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing.  Mary has chosen the better part…” (Luke 10:41-42).

     Notice how the New Testament church began in Acts 2:46-47: “They followed a daily discipline of busying themselves with programs and activities, burning themselves out, so that people liked what they saw and everyday their numbers grew…”  ??? NO! NO! NO!

    It says: “They followed a daily discipline of worship in the temple, followed by meals together in their homes, every meal a celebration, exuberant and joyful, as they praised God.  People in general liked what they saw.  Everyday their numbers grew as God added those who were saved.”

   Yes, Genesis tells us that “God created the world and on the seventh day, and then He rested.”  That’s true, but WE ARE NOT GOD!  Christ died for our sins, our weaknesses, and on the first day of the week He arose from the dead!   So, we begin with rest, worship, and spiritual recreation before facing the challenges of daily living and serving our God.

   We are His sheep, who find our rest in the arms of the Good Shepherd, so that He might equip us for the facing of this hour even as we face this dark valley of the shadow of death.  For we are not alone, for God in Christ is with us.  Amen.

Hah! Sheep indeed…
But unique indeed, too.
Show your uniqueness today!!
  • Read Psalm 23 again.
  • In what new and unique way have you felt God’s comforting presence?

See ya tomorrow.
Thanks for visiting JanBeek
and for hangin’ in there together.
Have a beautiful Sunday.
Together, in FAITH,
we shall overcome!!

Just remember,
we’re not in charge –
God is!!

Hey World, Are You Awfulizing?


Chase unhappiness –
Just pursue awfulizing –
Make matters worse!

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

Psychiatrist, Albert Ellis, coined the phrase “awfulizing” and wrote that it is “engaging in the pursuit of unhappiness.” Is that what our nation is doing in this Coronavirus pandemic?

Dr. Ellis says,
“… when we look at circumstances and are overwhelmed by them, we become part of a society that has an abundance of illogical ideas and philosophies that lead to self-defeating patterns or neurosis.”

Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

Flood the toilet paper aisles
with frenzied shoppers
filling their carts
and fighting over
the last roll!

A couple days ago, my doorbell rang. When I went to the door, I found my neighbor standing there with a broad, silly grin, holding a long stick on which he had strung four rolls of toilet paper! Some friends come to the door of 70-80 year olds in their “hoods” with food or flowers or a book to read while we’re sequestered. This neighbor shared his most precious commodity: toilet paper! Who woulda thunk it??

Shop on-line
and fill your garage
with cases of
hand-sanitizer bottles!!

Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

How many hands did that shopper expect to cleanse?
S’pose he intended to freely share them?
Nope, he was hoarding
with the intent of selling them
at some exorbitant price in the future –
gouging people!

Photo by Specna Arms on Pexels.com

Flock to places like Shedhorn Sports here in Ennis, Montana,
and purchase every last gun and all the ammunition you can carry!

Sure enough,
these behaviors
will solve
this awful
COVID-19 problem!

NOT!!

Try passing out love instead!!

James R. Hine, in his essay,
The Situation is Hopeless but not Serious ,
wrote the following:

“The decisions we make are rarely perfect. But if we make a decision based on our best judgment and with God’s help, we should let it stand.”

He was reminding us that we cannot go back and change the past. We can’t undo the mistakes that got us into this mess that sounds hopeless. But, we can look forward, learn from the past, and move into the future with greater wisdom, with love, and with a hope that keeps our spirits up.

In that same essay, Hine wrote,

“I will never preach like Peter nor pray like Paul,
but I can minister in my own way
and be acceptable to God in that role.

You and I are not perfect, but we are unique.”

Here I am with my accordion a few Christmases ago…
Unique, indeed!!
And so is Andrew with his trombone!

In your own unique way, avoid “AWFULIZING”
and move forward in hope.
This is serious, but it’s not hopeless!

James R. Hine,
The Situation is Hopeless, but Not Serious

Let me leave you with another quote from Hine:
“Through that which is deemed hopeless – the present – there arises a fresh hope, a new vision, and a world of creative possibilities.
It is in the dead of night. Sodom and Gomorrah, the evil city, is burning behind us. In that burning are all the tragedies of yesterday – the pretensions, the stupidities, the ambiguities, and the moral breakdowns. We have learned hard lessons, but we will not look back. Putting our hands in the hand of God, we will move toward the hills and the dawning of a new day.”

Morning sunrise from my friend, Lisa Glines

God bless you, my friends.
Tell me what you are doing this day
to “move forward toward the hills”?

Another friend, Penny Hall, said in a podcast yesterday,
“Embrace the good with the bad,
and know there is always more good than bad in this world.”

Amen, Penny!

No Awfulizing!!!

Spread positivity, my friends.
See ya tomorrow.
JanBeek

What’s Your Primary Language?


Some out there speak rap –
While others speak jibberish –
Some only mumble.

Some learn multiple
Languages quite easily.
I’m stuck with English.

But then I found out
There’s language universal;
It doesn’t need words.

What’s the primary
Language from your heart?
Kindness: a great start!

Look back on your day –
Did you give random kindness
Expecting nothing?

No need to struggle;
Kindness can be natural.
Make it a habit!

Ask God every day
To help you be more loving
To unlovables!

Expecting nothing
In return for your kindness,
Know God is watching!

His are the only eyes that matter!


Kindness is its own reward.


Lord, help me make Kindness my primary language!
Have a beautiful night.

Thank you for the kindness of your time.
See ya tomorrow.

Train Your Mind


What’s Easy?

  • It’s easy to see the negative. It’s all around us.
  • It’s easy to wallow in the mud & muck. It can bury us.
  • It’s easy to hear the complaining and join in. There’s plenty out there to complain about.

What’s Harder?

  • It’s harder to focus on the positive, but when we do, it eventually becomes easier to see it.
  • It might be harder to walk around the mud and avoid the muck, but when we do, it becomes easier to stay on top of clean ground.
  • It’s harder to resist the complainers and work to be part of the solution instead of joining the problematic whiners, but do it! Problem-solvers discover it’s easier to find the happiness we’re all seeking.

Be Thankful – and Express it!

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Philippians 4:6-7
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

1Chronicles 16:34
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
his love endures forever.

Colossians 3:15
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.

Yes, you can train your mind to be happy!
And learn to swim through the complications!

Do you see a sinking boat
or a raft that will take you to shore?

Train your mind to know
The quality of your life
Is safe in God’s hands

Positivity
Everyone’s happy option
Easier with FAITH!

But, actually, here is the bottom line:

Thanks for visiting JanBeek.
I love your comments!


See ya tomorrow.

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.

Love on the Internet


Praying for Love

No, it’s not a love affair between me and my youngest Swiss grandson, Chrissy. But, Chrissy is the reason for my blog topic today.

I was shocked earlier this week to learn that Chrissy has a girlfriend. I didn’t know it. I hadn’t heard anything about it! And Chris lived for about 5 months here in Montana last year… it’s not like we’re distant relatives!

I was delighted to learn the news, because Bob & I have been praying everyday for Chris… asking God to keep him safe, help him find happiness, help him be accepted into the nursing program he has applied for, and help some smart young female discover what a sweet. lovable guy he is – and give him the love and affirmation he needs and deserves. I know God listens to my prayers. I was convinced He would answer these fervent requests.

Prayers Answered

Then I learned in a text exchange with our daughter (Chrissy’s mom) this week that not only has Chris found a girlfriend, but he found her with the magic of the internet!

I tell you, friends, it’s a new world out there! Our young people have prayers answered by a very hip God Almighty! Chris has been communicating regularly with darling Natalia – using the wonders of FaceTime, no doubt.

Aren’t they adorable together?

Long Distance Romance

I am not an old-fashioned 80-year-old Grammy who objects to internet match-making. I figure this is a big world, full of wonderful people all over the place. The person God intends for us may not live in our part of the world. In the olden days, people didn’t know about some distant soulmate unless they happened to travel to that foreign land and happened upon them “accidentally.”

In today’s world, Match.com and other dating sites link people up from across the world. I don’t know if that’s how Chris met Natalia or not, but if it is, good for him! What fun!!

Cut the Distance

In today’s world, if you spend enough time seeing and talking to one another on-line, and the sparks fly across the miles, there will come a time when (if you can afford it) you want to cut the distance and meet face-to-face.

If you think I was shocked to learn that Chris has a girlfriend, imagine my surprise when I discovered last Thursday that the next day Chris was flying 6,000 miles to meet Natalia and her family face-to-face. AMAZING!!

Photo by Victor Martinez on Pexels.com

No, that’s not a picture of them, but it IS a couple from the part of the world where they are… and I can just imagine that might be them!

Photo by Luis Quintero on Pexels.com

Research Helps

I did a little research and found the city where he is… the only city in Colombia with access to the ocean. I can imagine how beautiful it is. I researched ten top things to do in and around Cali… and of course I sent my grandson an e-mail suggesting a few of them for the two of them. Silly me! Natalia lives there! Of course she will know the top spots! And she’ll be able to give Chris suggestions a whole lot better than this long-distance, inquisitive Grammy can! But, the Devil made me do it! Hah!!

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

What Will They Do?

He probably won’t take her salsa dancing… that’s one of the things I learned Cali is famous for. I restrained from sending him the step-by-step instructions on how to learn to salsa in five short minutes! But I did send a link to a hot night spot where salsa dancing is featured!

Photo by FRANK MERIÑO on Pexels.com

He probably won’t take her out to a bee yard, but this is a picture of a Colombian beekeeper – – – and after all, Chrissy’s Grampy is a retired beekeeper! Wouldn’t you think he’d want to teach her all about that part of his family heritage?

Photo by Marvin Ozz on Pexels.com

He’ll probably take her to a restaurant more than once. My guess is, that’s about as close as he’ll get to the idea of salsa. But who knows? He’s full of surprises these days!!

Photo by EA on Pexels.com

Chris will probably take a walk along the shore – and enjoy many beautiful sites. I’ve asked him to take some more pictures and share them. Do you think he will? I hope so!!

Where Will it Go From Here?

What happens next?? Your guess is as good as mine! I don’t know if the relationship is meant to go beyond wonderful FaceTime conversations and a memorable trip to see her face-to-face and meet her family. Only God knows. But, in the meantime, I am grateful he made the trip there safely; he sent us one picture; he shared with me what city she lives in (so my curiosity could be satiated); and he and Natalia look happy together.

God bless you,
Chris and Natalia!

Ain’t love grand?
Do you have an internet love story to tell?

Stay tuned.
I’ll let you know what happens next
when I find out!

See ya tomorrow.

Let’s Be Whole!


We are a divided country.
The words “they” and “them”
are heard more frequently today
than ever before in my 80 years of life.

What is causing this?
And what can we do about it?
Here is one man’s suggestion.
I think it is so true.

Right on!
It’s as true in China (where the Corona virus is rampant,
and citizens are bravely speaking out against
a government that acted slowly
on the knowledge of the virus),
as it is in the USA where
election rhetoric
is hateful and divisive.

So how do we begin to “fight for each other?”

From his prison cell in Rome, Paul wrote to the people of Colosse. He had visited there before his imprisonment. His letter to them in the book of Colossians was written to encourage them, just as we, the people of this divided world, need encouragement today.

Colossians 2: 1-3
“I want you to know how much I am struggling for you… and for all those who have not met me personally. My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart, and united in love, so they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”

Colossians 2:8
“See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of the world rather than on Christ.”

Colossians 3:12-14
“Therefore… clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive what ever grievances you may have against one another… And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

Photo by Wendy van Zyl on Pexels.com

Yes, the Bible has words of wisdom, words of advise for ALL in times of trouble. We need only open its pages to find scripture that directs our paths toward the unity we all seek. In Colossians, Paul tells us to put on:

  • compassion
  • kindness
  • humility
  • gentleness
  • patience
  • LOVE

… and in so doing, we will find the peace of Christ living in our hearts.
We are members of one body.
We are ONE.
We need to know that without a doubt
and act accordingly.

Don’t let hateful rhetoric divide our oneness
into the “they-them” and “we-us” mentality!

We’re all in this together.
Let’s be whole!

Thanks for visiting JanBeek.


Have a Marvelous, Love-filled Monday!

See ya tomorrow.

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