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.
My word for 2021 is “Embrace.” Each day during my devotional time, I am prompted with a word or two that tells me what to embrace today. Yesterday it was “Silence.” Did you miss me? I was silent. No blog.
Today I am prompted to say, “Embrace One Another.” You may be thinking, “But… How can we embrace one another in the midst of this pandemic when Social Distancing is required?” How?
However, I am afraid that many people will respond, “No, I can’t hug anyone like that right now.” So, are there other ways to “Embrace One Another” besides hugging? Think about that! What can you do? Write!
You embrace me when you embrace my ideas, respond to my post, send me a text, smile at me, affirm me.
How can I embrace you without being able to come close and hug you tight? I’ll pray for you and text you. Respond.
Send me a picture of a flower e-mail email@example.com Send me a comment telling me that you do care! Embrace. Now!
Thanks for visiting my blog today. Will you take the next step? Embrace One Another. Embrace me! God Bless You!
Teachers aren’t supposed to have favorites. Right?
See that young man on the left up there? His name is Ty. He is my favorite!
(Well, in honesty… don’t be dismayed if you’re one of my students…. I have lots of favorites, OK? But Ty… well, read on!)
Ty was my kindergarten student in 1962-3. Every day when he stepped off the school bus, the girls all stopped what they were doing. “Hi Ty!” they would swoon. Yes, even kindergarten girls recognize a sweetheart when they see one!
And every day when it was time to go home, the girls all waved to Ty, “Bye, Ty!” they would swoon.
I was a newlywed. It was my second year of teaching. I decided if I had a boy someday, I would name him Ty. And I did!
Ah yes, my Ty is a sweetheart, just like his namesake!
So why the HOPE title?
Yesterday I heard the devastating news that my favorite student, Ty, has been diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer. It has metastasized. He needs our prayers. My heart is heavy, but I am a believer… and HOPE is what believers do, right?
Day before yesterday I posted this scripture:
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future.”
I know God has Ty tucked into the palm of His hand, just as He holds our world in His hand.
I know God is watching over Ty and his treatment process. But, won’t you add your prayers to mine? “Dear Lord, please give healing to Ty.”
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future.”
It’s a day when we in the USA Are feeling particularly vulnerable. A day when we ponder the meaning Of the troublesome events of yesterday.
It was a day of Troubled Waters When our fragile democracy Seemed on the brink of collapse, A day some imagined, but not I.
I knew we were a country deeply divided, A country needing a renewed sense of unity, But never did I think our Capitol Would be under siege by our own people.
Not just one of the rioters was killed in the debacle, but 3 health care workers also lost their lives.
In the aftermath, when the Senate and Assembly resumed their stations and continued the task of counting the electoral votes, a new sense of purpose seemed to emerge.
It took an attack on our democracy for our lawmakers to unify and recognize the importance of our constitution. The tone was bipartisan. The future is hopeful.
A ray of hope for the unification of this divided country was launched yesterday.
A seed of collaboration was planted.
Yesterday I posted a meme that read: “We’ve tried hate. We’ve tried wars. We’ve tried destruction. They only caused more pain. Let’s try something different…”
…and the “different” was peace love empowerment collaboration.
Today let’s reinforce that commitment. Let’s try Open and Honest Communication, Building bridges instead of walls, LET’S EMBRACE UNITY!
EMBRACE UNITY! Let’s honor One Nation Under God. One world for us all, One CREATOR of us all.
Back in 1970, Paul Simon was inspired to write the words to the song, “Bridge Over Troubled Waters.” The video below is the story of how that song came to be. The words are just what we need today… A Bridge Over [these] Troubled Waters.
Let’s Embrace UNITY. Let’s see how that turns out!
I hope you took time to hear that You.Tube story. It’s powerful. Believe me, the song is just what we need today.
“When you’re weary Feeling small, When tears are in your eyes I’ll dry them all. I’m on your side. Oh, when times get rough And friends just can’t be found, Like a bridge over troubled water I will lay me down. Like a bridge over troubled water I will lay me down. When you’re down and out When you’re on the street, When evening falls so hard I will comfort you. I’ll take your part. Oh, when darkness comes And pain is all around, Like a bridge over troubled water I will lay me down… Like a bridge over troubled water I will lay me down. Sail on silver girl Sail on by… More
In today’s Daily Guideposts 2021, the writer, Amy Eddings, wrote about a time when she prayed relentlessly for guidance and courage – and felt her prayers were going unanswered. Have you ever felt that you were praying relentlessly for something and your request(s) seemed to be falling on deaf ears?
I remember last year when Australia was on fire and so many animals were dying and losing their habitats. I prayed along with the rest of our world for rain… but the fires raged on.
I have recently been praying incessantly for our Pastor Nominating Committee at our church. If you have followed my blog for awhile, you have read my sermon notes on Sunday from our Madison Valley Presbyterian Church. You know our pastor of 32 years died a year ago and we have a wonderful temporary pulpit fill who came out of retirement to help us. Rev. Hundley needs to be able to re-retire. So, we are searching for a solo pastor and I am praying hard. I believe in the power of prayer – and I believe in God’s perfect timing. Don’t you?
So, will you add my prayer request to your prayer list? “Lord, help the Madison Valley Presbyterian Church Pastor Nominating Committee find the person God already has in mind for us. Help them find the right new pastor to lead the congregation into renewed spiritual growth in 2021.”
My husband, Bob, has been praying incessantly, too. He is on our church’s leadership board and as such is the “elder” in charge of Buildings and Grounds. Our church owns an old church that is about 10 miles out of Ennis in a tiny little village called McAllister. The church was built in the 1880’s. MVPC uses it once a year to maintain its tax-free status as a “place of worship.” It is in a serene country setting on a little over an acre of land. It has electricity, but no water or septic system. The church is for sale. We’re praying for the right buyer.
Please add this to your prayer list, too, will you? “Lord, send the right buyer to Rikki at Berkshire-Hathaway in Ennis, MT – a person who will treasure this historic building and use it for wholesome purposes.”
When we EMBRACE PRAYER and pray with a right spirit, God hears, God cares, God answers.
Philippians 4:6,7: Pray about everything
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God.”
1 John 5:14: God always hears
“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.”
GOD BLESS YOU and keep you safe and healthy. That’s my prayer for you today.
Thanks for visiting JanBeek. Have a blessed Monday. See ya tomorrow.
This is my favorite prayer… and I pray it fervently. It spells out my purpose in life … to be an instrument of God’s peace… TO SPREAD LOVE, FORGIVENESS, FAITH, HOPE, LIGHT AND JOY…
Is that idea of a virgin birth too big a pill for you to swallow? It gets in the way of faith for a whole lot of folks.
Today’s sermon by Rev. Steve Hundley at the Madison Valley Presbyterian Church in Ennis, MT dealt with that subject… the virgin birth. He titled it:
Conceived by the Holy Spirit, and Born of the Virgin Mary
It’s a stumbling block for many To think of a baby born of a virgin… The idea can seem like a fairy tale. It can be a pill too big to swallow.
Some people believe Christ was Half God and half human. Only One who is fully God Can atone for our sins.
Only one who is fully human Can experience our suffering and pain. So many deny Jesus’ duality: Jesus was born divine and became human.
Philippians 2:7 “But made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.”
This verse is our first statement of faith: He found Himself as human And humbled Himself. He chose to be dependent on humans.
Jesus could not have been born Without that simple peasant girl; And He suffered all the human pain And a cruel and painful death.
It’s a gigantic leap of faith To fully believe the virgin birth. But, take comfort in knowing Even the disciples had trouble.
Even though they walked With Jesus on this earth, They had trouble believing He was the Holy Son of God.
The initial act of faith Is not that total belief. The initial act of faith Is to invite Jesus into your heart.
When your own life is changed By the love of Christ in you, Then your faith will grow; You will share that faith with others.
Jesus sees the pearls in the dust. Not what we are, but What God intends us to become. In Christ, our faith can help us get there.
We don’t begin as full believers. We begin as that dependent manger child. We begin looking for a Teacher of Wisdom, And Jesus, the Holy Son of God enters.
Let Him walk with you. Let Him help your faith to grow. When it comes to faith, The heart is one step ahead of the intellect!
by Steve Hundley
We have run our yearly race to Bethlehem, O Lord, and many are tired from what has been a very difficult year. We know that You did not mean it that way, but intended for Your Son’s birth to bring us peace and joy and renewal, and a sense of togetherness that comes from this season of love and giving.
In the stillness of this moment we turn our hearts to You as the needle of a compass points to True North. Amidst all the tension of this year, may You remain at the center, calling us to hope and to clarity of purpose. On the eve of a new year, give guidance to us and the nations of the world, as we seek to find our way out of this pandemic. Incline our hearts to modesty, honesty, and compassion. Let us be tender to all of those in need, especially the young, the old, the tired, the poor, the sick, and all who are struggling just to survive.,,
So many have died these last 10 months, O Lord. Hold in Your arms those who grieve, whose spirits are distressed by the loss of loved ones, or jobs, or homes in all of the uncertainty that surrounds them. Speak to us in our worship, we pray, in something heard or seen or felt, that we may go from this place of worship with a renewed sense of Your presence in our lives.
Let the months before us bring rest to a weary world and hope to millions who continue to dwell in darkness. Use us who wait before You to accomplish Your will, through devotion and imagination and love. We pray this prayer in the name of Christ our Savior… Amen
May you, my dear WP friends, find the peace, comfort, hope, and clarity of purpose for which we pray.
How about your clarity of purpose?
Thanks for visiting JanBeek. Don’t forget to comment below. I would love to hear about your Sunday and your purpose. Hugs!!
I have told my WP friends this story before, but it was a while back… and since then, many of you are new to JanBeek, so it bears repeating:
My friend, Bob Jorgenson, born with Cerebral Palsy, was bright as a tack. His parents brought him every Sunday to church in his wheel chair. They sat mid-way up in the sanctuary with him. They stayed after church for fellowship. They helped people understand what Bob had to say – because Bob’s speech was compromised – but he had so much to say!
Homer and Ruth knew their son would not live a long life, but they packed ten life-times into Bob’s 35 years. They took him to Europe, to Disneyland, to Asia, to the Holy Land. They built a train track and a miniature train in a circle around their wooded property, and fixed up the engine so that Bob could run the train and give train rides to various groups of kids who came to experience the wonder of it.
When Bob was on his last breaths, lying helpless and speechless in his hospital bed, Homer sat with him. He had Bob’s favorite hymnal. As he turned the pages, Homer asked Bob to blink when he came to a song Bob wanted to hear.
Homer was singing “It is Well With My Soul” to his son when Bob breathed his last.
I never hear this song without welling up inside. My heart smiles.
This is Vissoie, Switzerland. Our daughter and son-in-law have a restaurant here. Isn’t it beautiful?
We missed our visit with them this year. We are not even able to go to California to celebrate Christmas with our son and his family there. I bet we are not alone. Many of you are missing your visits with your family this Christmas, too.
What are you missing?
Like this sad looking dog, we can sit around and look all mopey. We can focus on what we’re missing. Or we can go to Ann Kaplow’s blog this morning, try focusing on the positive, and answer her question, “Can you find something to celebrate in today’s images?”
Celebrate the fact that even though we feel the darkness of this Coronavirus and the isolation caused by this pandemic, we also can experience the LIGHT! The Light still shines – and we can reflect it!
Let us not focus On the things we are missing But on our blessings
Basic needs are met And we have great resources Enough to share them
When your needs are met Leave the reptilian brain And share your great smile
Food, clothing, shelter – Not all people are so blessed. Take these for granted?
No! Let’s treasure them. Now we can go beyond them – Reach out to others.
You have love to give You have compassion to give And you have kindness
Focus on giving Blessings are overflowing Share them with others
As long as you give Know your cup will be refilled You can’t out-give God!
In this weary world People long for what you have Share your love – give faith!
Have a little faith Not in the things of this world But in the True Light
Take the LOVE He gives And let that love shine through you Give a little FAITH!
Thanks for visiting JanBeek today. Have a blessed Thursday. Count your blessings! See ya tomorrow.