Loving One Another

Archive for the ‘relationships’ Category

~Peace~ειρήνη~


Peace in Greek: ~ειρήνη~

Peace in Hebrew, the Jewish language: Shalom

Peace in any language: LOVE

Photo by 42 North on Pexels.com

I pray your Palm Sunday has been a day of ~Peace~ειρήνη~Shalom~Love

Virtual Worship Service

We began our Sunday (after taking a nostalgic virtual stroll through Switzerland here on WP) with a virtual worship service. Many of you who are obeying “STAY at HOME” orders probably did the same. Some churches broadcast their service on You.Tube.com and their members were able to feel like they were together on the screen.

Our Pastor Steve Hundley sent by e-mail (as he did last Sunday) the church bulletin complete with songs linked and the prayers and sermon written out. Let me share a few of his words/prayers and a song with you now.

Opening Prayer:

Loving Father, as we journey with Your Son into this Holy Week of remembrance and hope, help us to understand You and Your love for the world more clearly.  Help us to call to mind these past events in Jesus’ life so that we can sense their significance for our present lives and for the future You are preparing for all creation.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

The Palms:                   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Etrgxd6fSvc

Sharing the Peace:    Call someone who is isolated, discouraged and alone; ask what they might need. Pray with them.  (Perhaps you would like to repeat this action throughout the week.)        

Pastoral Prayer:

Loving God, who has brought us once more to this Holy Week in which we remember the ministry and suffering of our Lord, help us now to submerge our own needs and fears in Him and learn of Him. 

Show us by the resoluteness with which Christ accomplished Your will how we, too, may live gracefully under the pressure in this uncommon time.  As the darkness of these days befalls us, teach us to garner our faith by finding new and creative ways to share our lives in spite of the limitations placed upon us. 

Guide us as disease and death taunt us and life is cruelest, and we encounter our own “Calvaries” of the spirit, to respond with love, patience, and compassion.

Merciful God, whose healing power is so evident in the fearless and tireless work of our health care professionals, strengthen them and give them courage and confidence in everything they do.  Encourage them when their efforts seem futile or when death prevails.  Increase their trust in Your power to overcome the risk of their own health, pain, and even death.

Lord Jesus, as You made Your way into Jerusalem, so make Your way into our individual isolation, into our homes, into our rooms, into our hearts, and into our lives.  Oh Lord, make us aware that this world crisis we find ourselves in only affirms with great intensity our need for Your saving grace. 

Lord, we pray for the most vulnerable among us. Lord, heal those who are already sick, and comfort those who are grieving the unexpected loss of a loved one.  Lord, we lift up each one who has been robbed of their employment, their financial security, their sense of peace, if not their health, during this pandemic.  Give hope and light to hold on to until the light flows back at the end of this dark tunnel.

         

Blessing:

Go Now!

… for you cannot go where God is not.

Go with noble purpose,

and God will give meaning to Your days.

Go in love, for it alone endures.

Go in peace, for it is the gift of God

to those whose hearts and minds

are in Christ Jesus our Lord. 

Amen.

Photo by Asad Photo Maldives on Pexels.com

May God’s Peace go with you this day and always.
Bee well, my friends.
See ya tomorrow.

Let’s Go Swiss


Yesterday we took a little stroll through my home state, Montana, via the lenses of several very talented photographers. Today, let’s travel to Switzerland. It’s where our daughter, DeAna, lives with her husband and family. It’s our go-to place when we have saved up enough to travel… and are free to do so. Three of our grandchildren are there. Of course, it’s a wonderful place to “have to” go!!

We sat on a patio with this view eating raclette with our daughter last time we visited her in Sierre, Switzerland, spring of 2018.
We visited that quaint village and attended the wedding of a Swiss friend.
Here are our three Swiss grandsons, Mike, Nick & Chris. That was several years ago when we visited at Christmas time. They’ve changed considerably since then!
Here’s their mom, our daughter. DeDe. Such a sweetheart! She never changes.
Her sons, on the other hand, do! But, okay, let’s look at some of their Swiss scenery. That’s why you came, right?
The lakes are sites to behold!
Castles are plentiful!
Riding in the car with my son-in-law driving on these switchbacks is an experience to remember!!
Flowers in springtime are everywhere!
Towns often were built almost to resemble fortresses.
Grape vineyards border towns and cities where the ground is fertile.
How they built castles on such high, rocky mountain peaks is beyond me!
Every square inch of the sunny mountainsides of Switzerland is terraced and planted with grapes. (This is Lake Geneva). It is near Valais, the canton where De & Andre’ live).
The lakes in Switzerland are numerous, clear, clean and so picturesque!
Castles in Switzerland are plentiful and always points of great travel interest.
In every town and village, the church steeple is always the highest point!
The way they tuck houses into crevices is amazing!!
Trains are a wonderful way to see Switzerland.
You can set your clocks by the trains and their arrival/departures.
The train system is amazing in Switzerland. Andre’s uncle was an engineer who helped design some of these bridges!
Here’s that raclette I was telling you about earlier. Delicious melted cheese with potatoes, pickles and onions is “the best” delicacy of Valais! (Of course that’s in my biased opinion)
I love the Swiss cows. We have one of the queen cowbells hanging in our kitchen here in Montana!! I’ll show you that another time.
We usually visit in springtime or in winter (Bob loves to ski), but autumn is a gorgeous time in Switzerland, too.
The Matterhorn is one of Switzerland’s most famous landmarks.
This year De & Andre’ were working at a mountaintop restaurant at a ski resort where the only access was by chairlift. Can you imagine the views??
I love the springtime the most. Flowers are everywhere and the mountains are green and alive.
Oh, here are some more of those gorgeous Swiss cows!
Switzerland is beautiful in every season!
Thank you for visiting a few scenes with me. Thank you to #IloveSwitzerland for most of the images. Some are mine, though. Isn’t it an amazing country?
This is my oldest grandson, Mike with his significant other, Tania. We can hardly wait til the next time we get to go and visit with them. Kids grow up so fast, don’t they?
Doesn’t matter what season it is, we know our “DollyWolly” will be there to greet us!!

Thanks for visiting with me for a while. Hopefully someday we will go back… and I hope you can visit Switzerland for real yourself someday, too.

The Lord be with you and keep you safe.

Have a Super Sunday!
See ya later!

Faith is What it Takes


April snow falls so gently
On our Madison Valley town.
Trees and bushes are covered
With God’s pure and flaky gown.

Pintail Ridge is quiet –
Even robins hunker in
Partly finished nests of
Grasses and twigs so thin.

The air is misty stillness;
No folks are out about.
Spring snow falls so softly
I want to go out and shout:

“COVID-19 LEAVE US!
We don’t need your deadly germ!”
The virus didn’t hear me…
But the robin caught a worm!

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com


Our birds will not go hungry –
And neither, friends, will we.
As God is in His heavens,
He’s also here to comfort me.

He sends the gentle snowflakes
To spread quiet, lovely peace.
He sends birds to remind us –
Here come the Canadian geese!

Photo by Brandon Montrone on Pexels.com

Our feathered friends are signs
Real spring is on its way.
Soon we’ll see the flowers
With colors to brighten our day.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

But for now, be still and listen.
God whispers through the flakes,
“The birds will not go hungry –
Trust, be calm; faith is what it takes.”

April snow falls so gently
On my neighborhood today.
But there will be a sunny morrow…
And we’ll all go out and play.

Photo by Lukas on Pexels.com


Children will be back in school.
Yay! We’ll all go out to play.
Fishermen fish, golfers golf, workers work –
We have faith – we’ll see that day!

Faith is what it takes.
Let’s remain positive together, okay?
God bless you!

Happy April 1st to you.
What’re you going to do to make today memorable?
I’ll see yo tomorrow.

Fast Away


Fast Away

Fast away this old month passes –
New one enters, cold and blue.
Never have I felt such distance
Separating me from lovely you.

My arms long to hold your heartstrings;
My soul aches to feel your touch.
Never did I think I’d feel so lonely-
Never have I missed you so much.

I miss my church friends in the pew;
I miss singing our hymns with you.
I long to gather at your table
And sip a glass of wine or two.

I miss the chance of volunteering
Where I can go and serve with glee.
I miss the sound of great crowd cheering.
I pray you’ll soon be here with me.

Fast away this old month passes –
No one knows where the end will be
Of this dark and deadly outbreak.
Won’t you pray for a cure with me?

Looking on the Brighter Side

Fast away this old month passes
I’m reminded of how much I love
Being safe and feeling healthy,
Hearing coos from nesting doves.

I have much for which to thank God –
And as April nudges through my door,
May my heart be ever grateful
For my safety and for so much more.

May I thank God daily for his watch
Over friends and family – oh so dear.
May I remember to show gratitude
For all the blessings I have here.

Keep my eyes on all the wonders
God has strewn across my path.
Food to eat, a loving family, and
Friends with texts that make me laugh.

Fast away this old month passes.
I won’t let the new be blue.
I’ll keep looking for God’s miracles
And send His love daily to you.

My Thanks and Condolences

Thank you, dear blogging friends, for visiting JanBeek.
You represent about 80 countries,
my WordPress stats have told me.
Some of you have lost loved ones
during this pandemic…
or you know people who have.
11,600 deaths in Italy alone??
It is unfathomable!!
The USA’s latest toll is 2,900,
according to today’s news…
with no end in sight.
No place, no person on our planet
is immune!

My Heart Breaks


My heart breaks for all who suffer,
who have lost loved ones,
whose family and friends have tested positive,
who are feeling the loneliness
and the vulnerability I wrote about
in the beginning of this blog.
It is not a situation we should make light of!
It is deadly and it is on the rise.
Bee Well, my friends.
Bee safe!

I love you!

Let’s pray together:
Dear Lord,
please
make this COVID-19
go
FAST AWAY!!

Amen.

Lead Us By Your Grace


Lead us by Your Grace
Guide us so that we’ll be safe.

Yes, Lord! We need your guidance
Now more than ever.

Enjoy this beautiful rendition of
THE PRAYER.
Let it touch your heart as it did mine.

Hebrews 4:16

“Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness,
so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

Where is our go-to hearth?
We may all tilt toward the screen.
Is it a bright light?

Does it reflect grace
When we addictively turn
To the media?

Social media
Can be a wonderful tool,
For we have choices.

Grace is never far;
It can be undetected
If we choose poorly.

Grace is on our screens
If we know where we should look.
See posts who tag “GRACE.”

I know grace is mine.
I feel it daily with thanks.
I share it with you.

Grace is comforting.
It’s an expression of care.
It gently lifts us.

Grace is God’s great gift.
It is delivered freely.
Accept it with love.


In these days of Pandemic Pandemonium,
Don’t succumb to the chaos!
Know that God hears and He is with you.
Find comfort in His Grace.
We will emerge a stronger, more loving world.

Where have you seen God’s grace
at work in your community,
in your home,
in your heart
this week?


Tell me about it.

See ya tomorrow…
– meantime, I’m holding grace lovingly,
and letting it seep through my fingers to you!

Smile!
We will get through this together.

When This Ends


You bet!
But in the meantime,

  • enjoy games at home
  • order take-out or learn to cook some fantastic stuff yourself!
  • make home-school an adventure for you and your kid(s); if your kids are grown, send ideas to friends, neighbors, grandkids about things they can do (like log into http://www.janbrett.com and listen to her read her newest book, COZY).
  • take time to appreciate the ones who are still at work – on the job – making it possible for us to have groceries, get gas, know our loved ones in hospitals and nursing homes are being cared for, and fill our prescriptions when we call them in. God Bless ’em!
  • don’t let the stock market numbers consume you or freak you out
  • stop hoarding toilet paper, and
  • look for virtual ways to be together while we’re apart.

My friend, Elaine Hundley, wrote this poem, “Together from a Distance.”
I posted it already on my blog a week or so ago. It’s time to post it again. Take her words to heart!

Together from a Distance
Elaine Hundley

“Shelter in place”, they say,
 “Socially distance yourself
From others, and
Save yourself
In these uncertain days.”

Accepting the mandates
Emanating from multiple sources
Muddles mind and soul,
Reducing faith to realms
Not resonating with reality.

So, feed the children,
Hold the children,
Cherish the children
As they carry
Fears of family insecurity.

 Show young adults affectionate attention,
Remembering to renew
The frail with hope,
Casting aside
Despair and defeat.

Connect with the community
As faces flood your consciousness,
Allowing fingers to fondle keys
of phone and keyboard
To share love, kindness and contentment.

Share smiles all around, sending self-confidence
On its way to unsuspecting faces, places, situations. 
Simply become beacons of tranquil assurance
 And you, too, may discover realms of restful renewal
In these uncertain days.

This pandemic will not last forever.
Make it a positive, meaningful time in your life.
With prayer and faith and compassion, it will be.
When it ends, if you have remained positive
and you have spread hope to those around you,
it will be “A Pretty Good Day”
INDEED!

Count on it!

Here’s a gift for you!

Have a good week!
Thanks for visiting JanBeek.
What’s on your agenda?


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.



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