“Good sense is a fountain of life to him who has it, but the instruction of fools is folly.”
No one wants to be thought a fool. No one wants to be seen as someone who lacks common sense. When we hear stories about foolish people, we say to ourselves, “Thank God that’s not me! I’d never build a house on the sand!”
True and False Disciples
21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
The Wise and Foolish Builders
24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
28 When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, 29 because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.
What is our modern day “House on the Sand” story? Can you think of a typical story that demonstrates lack of common sense in today’s world?
Today is the day President Biden signed an “American Rescue Plan” – A stimulus package to the tune of 1.9 trillion dollars. Wow! Hopefully it will create the millions of jobs promised And give struggling lower-middle class and poor families a future. Does it make sense?
We need to renew our economy, no doubt about it. How do we find the “light in the darkness”? Are the acts of getting checks out and getting the vaccine out And into people’s arms steps in the right direction? Seems sensible to some – but not all!
Total COVID-19 deaths in the USA as of today: 527,726. Something needs to be done… no doubt about it. Are we on a sensible path to end the pandemic? Mobilizing thousand of vaccinators and creating new places – That’s sensible.
President Biden reminded us of the things we couldn’t do. He talked about the ways we have been divided as a country. His reminder of the way people are walking in fear today Was not news to any of us. We see and hear it every day. Divisions are not sensible!
When will things get back to “normal”? What’s that? What will “normal” look like when we come to our senses? Will we have learned the lessons this pandemic May have been sent to this earth to teach us? Let’s be sensible.
More vaccines manufactured is in the future, New tools to make it easier to get the vaccines, Confidence in the safety of the vaccines – Practicing CDC guidelines and being unified…. That’s good common sense.
But just as I was writing this, someone I love Wrote to me and said she would not be getting Her vaccine and neither will her husband. Why not? What is the sense in the refusal? Is my common sense and hers the same?
Seems to me that people who refuse To wear a mask or get themselves vaccinated Are living selfishly for themselves… Their purpose is not to protect others. Is that common sense?
Today is the one year anniversary Of this COVID-19 pandemic’s announcement. Sadly our nation and world are forever changed. We have lost way too many dear friends. It makes no sense.
Let’s build our future on the solid rock Of unified common sense and faith in our democracy. Let’s plan tomorrow with hopes and dreams That address how much we need each other. Embrace common sense!
For = before Give = before receiving Ness = before receiving give
N ever E xpect S atisfaction S imultaneously
Is there someone out there who has wronged you?
Have they treated you so badly, so unjustly, that you are having a hard time forgiving them?
Do you wish you could, and you’ve tried, but you just can’t find the grace to give them that satisfaction?
Do they deserve your unforgiving spirit?
Do they deserve a pay back?
Do you wish you could get even?
Would it serve them right!?
Serve them right if you never forgave them because they don’t deserve to be let off the hook?
Who’s caught on that hook anyway?
They may not even know they hurt you!
That happened to me once. I had a person who was a teacher in a different school. I used to be in the district office and now I was happily and obliviously back in the confines of my own classroom, loving every day with those darling children, putting those two years of district office administration behind me. It had been a tough time. Satisfying opportunities mixed with struggles to satisfy all the new teachers (K-12) who were required to come to my PETAL workshops.
P rinciples of E ffective T eaching A nd L earning
I enjoyed working with the new teachers, trying to help them be the best they could be. But, inevitably, you can’t please everybody, right? Not every one of them thought what I was teaching was useful to them. I probably rubbed some the wrong way. They’d prefer to be in their classrooms preparing for the next day, rather than being at a required workshop in “The Ivory Tower.” Do you relate?
No, they were not all smiles! But I did my best… and I got back to the classroom where I could interact daily with children as fast as I could! The District Office was waaay too far from children!
Then, “that happened to me!” A knock on my door at home one evening. When I answered it, there stood a teacher who had been in a series of my workshops. I invited him in. We sat on the sofa. He was nervous.
“I want you to know I forgive you,” he said.
I didn’t know I needed forgiveness. I didn’t know I had done something to offend him. I am sure my face registered shock.
“I have been harboring a grudge against you for two years,” he said. “I am going to a counselor for a lot of unresolved issues in my life, and my counselor said I need to resolve them.”
So he was in my living room, sitting next to me, letting me know I was forgiven.
I should have asked why. I should have asked him to explain what I did. But, I was too dumb-founded. I’m not sure I wanted to know. Let bygones be bygones, you know?
I just told him I was sorry for whatever I unknowingly did to offend him. I told him I held no ill feelings about him. Never did! I accepted his forgiveness. We hugged. He left.
That young man had been given the courage to confront his offender. He had been given the courage to let go. He had been given the courage to ask for forgiveness. My job was to accept it and to allow him to move on.
My job was to handle what God had given me… a clean slate in someone’s mind. A clean slate where there had been a dark smudge.
Don’t wait! Before receiving, GIVE! Give the gift to yourself… the gift of letting go.
“I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.”
Thanks for following JanBeek and for coming to read and leave a comment today. You matter. I write for you. God bless you! See ya tomorrow.
These two little darlings exude happiness, confidence, pure joy… I can’t help but smile when I look at them. (I bet you’re smiling, too) I’ve been saving this photo for just the right time. Today is it!
In my devotionals this morning, I read an article by Brenda Wade, Ph.D. Brenda is based in San Francisco. She hosts a radio talk show, “Modern Love” and she facilitates trainings on relationships. Her article in the Jan.-Feb. Unity magazine, Daily Word, is titled, “Overcoming Racism, Healing from Shame, Opening to Love.”
“The love and peace we want to know in our lives begins inside of us,” Dr. Wade wrote. “This has been on my mind lately as I’ve dug deeply into … my work, leading anti-racism trainings.”
In her article, she went on to describe an incident in her life that deeply affected her self-image. She was only 6-years-old.
“One day at school, my classmates and I were told to line up two by two and hold hands. I extended my hand, but the girl standing next to me refused to take it. ‘I can’t hold your hand,’ she said matter-of-factly. ‘My mother told me your skin is brown because it’s dirty.’ I was confused. My skin was brown, but it certainly was not dirty.”
It took years for that little 6-year-old to deal with the hurt. Her young brain just didn’t understand. She felt immediate rejection, pain, and the sting of shame. The notion that there was something wrong with her kept her from telling the teacher or her parents. She just carried that message of inferiority with her and it was reinforced by a high school principal who ignorantly expressed surprise that someone of her color could score so high on her tests.
It was further reinforced in graduate school when a department chair “was more interested in my race than my qualifications” – and as an adult when “a landlord candidly admitted he was denying me housing because I am African American.”
How does someone overcome such prejudicial treatment and regain the confidence that ALL PEOPLE deserve?
That is the question Dr. Walker deals with in her profession. She conquered it in her own life with “years of psychological work, spiritual practice, self-care, and healing.”
Dr. Brenda Wade wrote, “When we feel too hurt or afraid to let ourselves out, it becomes impossible to let others in.”
Embrace the confidence that there is hope and a future and a return of self-confidence when self-insight and self-love can be applied.
The pain of those early wounds go deep.
We know that we ALL have a responsibility to respond to one another in love, with compassion and respect, and to stand together hand-in-hand to obliterate oppression and prejudice.
Embrace that future with confidence and determination!
Yesterday during our ZOOM church service, our pastor, Steve Hundley, offered the following prayer. It is just what I needed to hear as I embrace with confidence the power of prayer and the belief that God hears, God cares, and God answers us when we cry out to Him:
“How many times in Your earthly ministry, O Lord, did You touch the fevered brows of those who were ill; or, the trembling hands of those who were afraid; or, the sagging shoulders of those bowed down in grief?
Walk among us now, we pray, and touch us for the same reasons… * Let those who are ill in body or in spirit feel the power of Your presence, and sense that healing is taking place. * We pray for all those sick with COVID throughout our nation and world… * Give those who are constricted by fears and anxieties a feeling of relaxation in Your grace. * Let peace flow over them like a river, carrying them away from self-preoccupation and into the openness of love and sharing… * Pour out the hope of Your resurrection upon those who are grieving the loss of loved ones… * May they walk the Emmaus Road with You and feel their hearts strangely and wonderfully warmed… * In the chaos and uncertainty of the coming weeks and months, give us confidence of faith in knowing that You are Lord of our lives and Lord of this world, and that You are working Your purpose out… * As Your children, O Lord, You know how often we recoil from those things that should not frighten or upset us in this world. Comfort us with Your presence, and teach us so to live within the disciplines of faith, so that, we are never without You.”
Embrace with Confidence, my friends, the knowledge that you regard all God’s Children as equals… and determine never to inflict on anyone the pain of rejection or the sting of shame.
As God’s children… Let us live as One. Let’s just walk around makng the world a better place! Embrace Confidence!
Reason required to: Reach resilience Rebuild Trust Repair relationships Require responsibility Review daily briefings Reach across aisles Revive compassion Reassure doubters Resist rumors Release resentment Return to mutual respect Reject falsehoods Retain faith Rescind travel ban on Muslims Rejoin Paris Climate Agreement Restore Federal loan repayment pause Renew ban on evictions and foreclosures due to the pandemic Refuse divisiveness Resurrect trust in the press Renew dedication to our constitution Remember to pray Rely on God’s plans for our lives and for this world Reason Required… so, EMBRACE REASON!
God Bless America and God Bless You! See ya tomorrow. Hearty Hugs, JanBeek
In these days of national crises, It’s easy to feel powerless. It’s easy to duck our heads and hide. It’s easy to take the role of cowardice.
Our uncertainty about the future Stirs in us anxiety and fear. But stronger yet is our faith. We take courage. God is here.
This letter from Amy Klobuchar, A politician I have come to admire, Came to me in today’s mail. Her message calms the fire.
Today’s celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. comes at a time when his work and his message are more important than ever. The forces of division that are trying to convince us that our neighbors are our enemies have been loud in recent months — but I still believe as I always have that there is still more that unites us as Americans than separates us.
Our nation is coming together to reject violence and authoritarianism. This is the spirit that we must bring into the future. We must heed the words of Dr. King, that we are all “tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”
Thank you, Amy
Turning to the wisdom of the scriptures, We can gain resolve and be brave. We can shine a light and be courageous. God tells us how to behave.
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave or forsake you.”
“Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit this land I swore to their ancestors to give them.”
The rioters at our nation’s capitol last week were intent on “taking back the country” by overturning the Biden/Harris election. They were convinced that the election was fraught with fraud. Hundreds of court cases were brought against election officials. Each case lost or was thrown out. Even judges appointed by President Trump found “no fraud existed.”
The actions of the rioters were not what Martin Luther King would have sanctioned. They were not what God in His scripture advocates. Paul, in his letter to the people of Corinth said what we need to hear today:
1 Corinthians 16:13
“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.”
He was not speaking to rioters. He was speaking to give courage to the people of Corinth to stand against oppressors.
Part of today’s problem in the USA (in my humble opinion) is that there is a host of Americans who have decided the people on the side of the law are the oppressors. They have painted Donald Trump as their liberator. A huge portion of our citizenry still is convinced the election was stolen. For only the second time in our history, the outgoing president will not be there at the inauguration to wish the incoming president well – and to encourage a peaceful transition of power. It is sad, indeed!
The most important thing we can do as a nation – and in fact, as a world – is to pray. Ask God to give courage and steadfastness to those people who have been elected to lead us forward. Join together in asking for a peaceful transition. There are (hopefully) many such prayer meetings occurring today and tomorrow. Here is one of them:
As we EMBRACE COURAGE and stand in the power and love of Christ, we must be discerning. Listen for the voice of God’s Truth. Try not to believe misleading rhetoric. Be sure we stand in God’s Will as we act by His strength.
2 Timothy 1:7
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.”
Thanks for visiting JanBeek today. Embrace Courage, my friends. See ya tomorrow.
Here in Ennis, Montana, we have a group of ladies who love to sew. They call themselves the PieceMakers. Piece by piece, they sewed quilts to send to retired service men and women.
When COVID-19 hit, piece by piece they made masks. I am not sure they still are doing so, because we are being told the hospital-type masks are the only really safe ones … and we are being encouraged to put our other cloth masks away.
Meantime, today’s world causes me to “Embrace Peacemakers” – and pray that we can return to a country of sanity and safety.
Today’s Bible Verse “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.”
In the name of peace, I invite you to join other “Prayer Warriors” Tuesday night to pray for a peaceful transition of power here in the USA on Wednesday.
It is troublesome to see all the military and the barricades being erected in our nation’s capitol. Troublesome to think that they are necessary in order to preserve the peace and save the lives of our elected leaders who are being threatened.
It will take you to a page that has this image on it – and you can click that you are interested (if you are). If not, be sure to raise your own voice independently to God asking for peace in our nation on January 20th and beyond… or form a prayer group of your own. The threats are real… and very troublesome.
… we need to embrace God! We need to lean on Him and let Him enfold us in His loving care. We need God now more than ever! Feel God hugging you as you reach out to Him.
Today during our ZOOM worship service, Rev. Steve Hundley delivered a powerful Pastoral Prayer. As he explained to us (the two dozen members of the Madison Valley Presbyterian Church in Ennis, MT who logged in) during his introduction to the prayer, “I am relying heavily on the prayers of the Reverend Dr. Peter Marshall, who was elected Chaplain of the United States Senate on Jan. 4, 1947.”
“We know, Almighty God, that in this desperate hour, we as a nation need You. We need Your strength, Your guidance, Your wisdom. These are problems far greater than any human wisdom can solve, for what shall our leaders do in such an hour? May Your wisdom and Your guidance come upon the President, the President elect, the Senators and Congress men and women, to whom have been entrusted leadership. May the responsibility in the midst of this pandemic and civil unrest lie heavily on their hearts, until they are ready to acknowledge their helplessness and turn to You. Give them courage, and the moral integrity to confess that they don’t know what to do. Only then can they lead us as a nation beyond human wisdom to You, who alone has the answers.
Strengthen the courage of all our elected representatives—sincere men and women who want to do what is right, if only they can be sure what is right. Make it plain to them, O Lord. And then, start them out on the right way, for You know that we are hard to turn.
Forgive them for the blunders they have committed, the compromises they have made. Give to them to courage to admit mistakes. Take away from us, both as a nation and individuals, that stubborn pride which, followed by conceit, imagines itself to be above and beyond criticism.
Save our leaders, O God, from themselves and from their friends—even as You have saved them from their enemies.
Let no personal ambition blind them to their opportunities.
Help them to give battle to hypocrisy wherever they find it.
Give them divine common sense and a selflessness that shall make them think of their call to service and not gain.
May they have the courage to lead the people of this Republic, considering unworthy the expediency of following the people.
Lord, we pray for the families of the thousands who have died this week alone of this terrible and relentless virus. We pray too, for the families of those who lost their lives and were injured in our nation’s capital. Bring an end to the violence that would cost just one of our citizens their lives. We pray for a peaceful transition of leadership, in our nation’s capital in the coming weeks.
We pray for those within our own community who have contracted and been exposed to the Corona virus. Heal them and protect them from any long-term effects of the virus.
We pray too for those people whose needs You place on our hearts. Hear and answer, we pray, that You will forgive us all our unworthiness; cleansing us from every ignoble thought and unworthy disposition that we may be renewed in spirit and mind and heart, through Jesus Christ, our Lord… Amen.”
Thank you for visiting JanBeek today. I will post my sermon notes a little later.