Loving One Another

Archive for the ‘Montana’ Category

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.



Let Beauty Fill You!


Let beauty fill you
Only lovely quietude
Calm reassurance

Take a walk outside
Look up into the big sky
Marvel at beauty

Appreciate home
Let its peacefulness fill you
Find a quiet space

You can find a spot
You may not have a big porch
But it’s a big world

This was CostCo Connection’s cover picture in today’s magazine.

I see God at work
Holding our world in His Hand
Helping us save it

Hold the whole world close
We have a global challenge
But God is in charge

Out of this chaos
A healthier planet grows
Creating beauty

Photo by Alexas Fotos on Pexels.com

You can find beauty
Right in the space of your home
Look in your kitchen

This is our daughter, DeAna’s, latest bread-making attempt.
Looks pretty good, doesn’t it?

She sent a video of this loaf. In the video, she was cutting a slice and then tapping the crust for us to hear how crunchy it is. We had fun using “What’s App” to exchange some beautiful silliness. Then I wrote this Haiku:

Listen to the crust
Crunchy and appetizing
Crackle’s Symphony

Beauty in the kitchen …
Beauty in the dining room …
Beauty is where you make it …
Beauty is where you find it.

Let beauty fill you!

Have fun with beauty on your blog! Have you tried the new “Block Editor” here on WordPress? They have greatly improved it – and made options (like colored text) so much easier to access. Thank you, WordPress!!

Bob brought me flowers yesterday.
I hope you have someone who loves you enough to bring you flowers.
I love you, dear WordPress friends.
Here are some flowers to add beauty to your day:

Make it a beautiful day!
Thanks for stopping by JanBeek.

Leave me a message
telling me about something
beautiful
in your world right now.

See ya tomorrow.

Trusting or Terrified?


Do you live in trust?
Are you feeling terrified?
We all have a choice.

Photo by Polina Tankilevitch on Pexels.com

Today at Madison Valley Presbyterian Church,
in Ennis, Montana,
our pastor, Rev. Steve Hundley, began his sermon
by telling us he had scrapped
the sermon he originally planned.
“It just didn’t seem to fit,” he explained
to the sparsely attended congregation.

With this Coronavirus Pandemic spreading like wildfire around the world, and the first four cases being tested positive in Montana just yesterday, Pastor Steve felt God nudging him to speak to that topic.

So, here are my sermon notes from today’s message:

Terror or Trust?

We must always trust in God
In the face of everyday life.
We must turn to Him when
We’re faced with terrifying strife.

We must trust the Mighty Fortress
In the midst of Pandemic Fear.
We must trust He is with us.
We’re not abandoned; He is here.

Even when we learn that things
Will get worse before they’re better,
We still must trust the Lord.
We must read His Word; believe every letter.

In Psalm 46, the Bible says
The Lord All Powerful is right here.
Especially in the midst of disasters,
He tells us, “Do not fear!”

To really know God and believe
In His love and care every single day,
Takes a lifetime of faithful living
With consistent prayer and walking His Way.

There will be days when we doubt
Because God seems so far away.
It’s days like that when we gather
Together, listening to what God has to say.

We hear His Word and are reminded
Of God’s faithful love and care.
We believe in God’s good character
And see His goodness everywhere.

We must know that God expects us
To be His character witnesses today.
Witness to the love of Christ,
And spread it with what you do and say.

In our state of dread and insecurities,
We are invited to live in the HOPE
That only God can give to us.
Will I become frozen in fear? NOPE!

Photo by Suliman Sallehi on Pexels.com

Not only did Steve’s sermon encourage us to live in Trust (not terror), but his Prayer of Confession (printed in our bulletin) further inspired us to look deep within and examine whether or not we are:

  • more apathetic than active
  • more isolated than involved
  • more callous than compassionate
  • more obstinate than obedient
  • more legalistic than loving

Our Prayer of Confession continued,
“Gracious Lord, have mercy upon us and forgive our sins. Remove the obstacles preventing us from being Your representatives to a broken world. Awaken our hearts to the promised gift of Your indwelling Spirit.
Amen

Photo by Eduardo Braga on Pexels.com

Psalm 46

God Is Our Fortress
God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear …
Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!”
The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.

God Bless You!
Bee safe – Bee well – Bee a Blessing
TRUST and KNOW: God is with you.

What is
one small act
you can do
to change
Terror to Trust
in someone’s heart today?

See ya tomorrow.

Sky Writing


The day began in wondrous splendor

With a sky of amazing hue

It carried on until the evening

Mixing gray with white and blue.

The sunrise was super amazing

Grab the camera! Catch the gleam!

Find the Angels in formation

Rays extend in glorious beam.

You might wonder at the Master

Who created all we see.

How’d He come up with these paintings

That He shares with you and me?

This is the scene from our friend Bernie’s hospital room.

Between feathers, Bob & nurses,

There’s a scene that can’t be beat;

Ain’t this a Super way to stay off your swollen feet?

Good night, my friends.
See ya tomorrow.
Keep our buddy, Bern, in your prayers.

Breathe & Create Space


I have enjoyed the teachings of Eckhart Tolle.
He was first introduced to me by Oprah Winfrey
when I took her on-line workshop
titled, “The Power of Now.”

Take Time to Breathe Slowly and Deeply

On the website, Respiratory Therapy Zone, there are some wonderful quotes that reinforce the importance of slow, deep breathing:

99 Awesome Quotes About Breathing (Respiratory Therapist Edition)

by Johnny Lung | Featured Articles

Breathing is the process of taking air into the lungs and expelling it back out into the world.

It’s important to understand what it means to breathe and to really have a deep understanding of the word.

To do that, let’s take a look at some of the absolute best quotes about breathing. Are you ready? Let’s dive in!

Best Quotes About Breathing:

1. Breathing is the greatest pleasure in life. – Giovanni Papini

2. Just breathe. – Author Unknown

3. Breathe deeply, until sweet air extinguishes the burn of fear in your lungs and every breath is a beautiful refusal to become anything less than infinite. – D. Antoinette Foy

4. Breathe. Let go. And remind yourself that this very moment is the only one you know you have for sure. – Oprah Winfrey

5. Inhale the future, exhale the past. – Author Unknown

Ed Coyle Photography
Montana sunset

I like that last one…
for it is when we can breathe out the past
that we make space for the now.

More Great Quotes

6. The trick to life is to just keep breathing. – Johnny Lung

7. Learn how to exhale, the inhale will take care of itself. – Carla Melucci Ardito

8. When the breath is unsteady, all is unsteady; when the breath is still; all is still. Control the breath carefully. Inhalation gives strength and a controlled body; retention gives steadiness of mind and longevity; exhalation purifies body and spirit. – Goraksasathakam

9. The wisest one-word sentence? Breathe. – Terri Guillemets

10. Only those who know how to breathe will survive. – Pundit Acharya

11. If you woke up breathing, congratulations! You have another chance. – Andrea Boydston

12. Pause, breathe. Repair the universe, then proceed. – Author Unknown

13. Breathe in deeply to bring your mind home to your body. – Thich Nhat Hanh

14. Without full awareness of breathing, there can be no development of meditative stability and understanding. – Thich Nhat Hanh

15. Breathe, it’s just a bad day, not a bad life. – Author Unknown

Bob & Nancy at Big Sky

It’s a good life when at 81 you still are downhill skiing and you can go with your ski buddy up to the top of Big Sky and enjoy the freshness of the Good Life. That’s where Bob & Nancy are today.

It’s not a bad life when you can look out your window at the Madison Range, Jack Creek Canyon and Fan Mountain, and breathe in the freshness of the air, and know how blessed you are!

Breathe in the fresh air
Fill it gently in your lungs
Release all tension

Breathe deeply – – – Release
Now, go out into the world
And plant a love seed

It’s a grand Tuesday!
Thanks for visiting JanBeek.
See ya tomorrow.

Soup Exchange


Have you ever participated in a soup exchange?
I’ve been to several cookie exchanges,
but today was my first soup exchange.

With most containers of soup, a recipe was provided.

This recipe was attached to a jar of soup ingredients.
What a great idea…
we get to dump it into 7 cups of water
and make our own!

We got to take a quart of each soup home with us.
And we had a tasting party before we left.

I brought this one. No way I could begin to give you a recipe. It had clam chowder, cheddar cheese, potatoes, onions, fresh crab lumps, garlic, etc. A menagerie that turned out pretty tasty!

We didn’t get a recipe
for this “Barefoot Contessa Corn Chowder” either.
But, it was deeelicious.
It had big potato chunks
and bacon in a creamy corn broth.

Here’s a recipe for a soup that was not present. Chicken Parmesan … I don’t have one of those new-fangled slow cookers, but I bet my old crock pot would work just fine. The ingredients sound wonderful. I am going to make this as soon as we finish up all the samples I brought home.

in addition to the soup recipes, our librarian (who organized the event) put together a packet that included these tips and tricks on freezing soup.

Love One Another

You may be wondering how this post fits my blog’s theme of “Loving One Another.” (Or maybe you’re not wondering at all.) Anyway, you know that one of the ways we show our love for one another is at meal time.

“The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach,” is an age-old saying that I have found to be quite true.

Photo by Kaboompics .com on Pexels.com

And a good way to show our love to our family and friends is to invite them to a feast. It’s an age-old practice.

We like to host pot-lucks for our friends in the “hood.” Everyone brings a favorite dish and we enjoy fun, food and fellowship.

At church, potlucks are a regular occurrence. I think I am going to suggest our church host a soup exchange one of these Sundays. But, I will ask people to bring their own quart jars to fill. Today we brought our soup assortment home in zip lock plastic bags. That was a bit awkward. But it worked.

Doesn’t this sound like something you’d like to try?
Oh, BTW, this was my view of Fan Mountain on my way home.
It was a beautiful blue-sky day.

I hope you had a joyful day, too.
Tell me about it!

See ya tomorrow.

The Place to Be


The place to be on a snowy day

Is not out in the freezing cold

It’s snug and warm in our Senior Center

Where the food is great and we join the fold

Of senior folks who come to eat

And chat with friends they see

Monday through Friday without fail

It’s an inviting place to be.

This week’s menu
Waiting for the crowd
Biding time with a crossword puzzle
Early birds here to visit
Tune in to those conversations- you’ll keep up with all the community news!
Karen & Briana are busy creating their delicious lunch for today.
They treat themselves to coffee, tea, water, or lemonade…
Or as server, I deliver it.
Sometimes whole groups reserve a table and meals for their lunch meeting. This was the ROMEOs = Retired Old Men Eating Out!
Mary is the volunteer at the reception desk today. She collects their $5. Best deal in town!!
The Center is used for a variety of purposes. One of them is described on this poster that greets our diners.
All our workers are volunteers except for Brianna who is the main chef, menu planner, shopper, etc.

The hands above belong to today’s volunteer dishwasher. He is eating his meal early so he’s available to do his job when the dishes and pots n pans start pouring in.

But no meal’s complete without dessert, right?
And no chocolate pie is complete without whipped cream!
Never fear… if chocolate’s not your thing, we have coconut cream!
Your friendly waitress will BEE happy 🐝 to take your order.

So, that’s what I did this morning. What did you do

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