I am sharing this post today from a new blogging friend because I think it is so beautifully written … and so powerful. S/He wrote it about three months ago, but it is timeless. Read on and see if you agree…
… I was inspired by a podcast episode that I was asked to be a part of concerning prayer. I chose …
My last couple of posts dealt with the theme of shipwrecks and lifeboats. Today’s sermon at Madison Valley Presbyterian Church seemed to contradict the idea of jumping from the ship and hopping on the lifeboat. Or did it?
The boat in today’s scripture lesson was in a storm (“…beaten by the waves …the wind was against them,” Matt 14:24b). The boat was filled with the 12 disciples. Jesus was walking on the water to come to them.
Jesus Walks on the Water
22 Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. 23 And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, 24 but the boat by this time was a long way[a] from the land,[b] beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them. 25 And in the fourth watch of the night[c] he came to them, walking on the sea. 26 But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear. 27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”28 And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” 29 He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind,[d] he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” 31 Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32 And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. 33 And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
In his sermon today, Rev. Steve Hundley took me on a new journey through that scripture. Instead of focusing on Peter and his desire to also walk on water – and his doubt which caused him to begin to sink, Pastor Steve invited us to take a closer look at the eleven disciples who remained in the boat. I had not done that before. In fact, I am not sure I even realized the boat was big enough for eleven of them to fit in there!
If you have followed my blog for a while, you know I have a habit of listening to the sermon and taking notes in poetry. That way I can share the message with Bob on our way home (since he has trouble hearing and following the sermon during church). Well, I did that note-taking today. Here is what I came away with:
Is this a story about faith? Is it about Peter’s doubt? Or, is it about the eleven who Stayed in the boat without a shout?
They saw Jesus walking on the sea. They thought He was a ghost. Jesus said, Never fear, it is I.” Peter: “… if it is You…” Not the eleven, though. Who believed most?
Peter doubted – and he asked to be Set apart so then he’d believe. Like the rest of us who ask For exemption – “Give me special power – relieve!”
Relieve my doubt. Let me ask for help. Do you have trouble asking for help? Do you like playing the hero? Unlike the eleven disciples, do you yelp?
Peter yelped, “Let me walk on water, too.” Jesus gave him the ability to walk. But Peter continued to doubt And so he began to sink. Walk the talk?
No, the church doesn’t need heroes. It needs disciples like the eleven were. Stay in the boat – Wait for Jesus to come. Don’t try to be a hero and cause a stir!
We’ve got a storm of constant change Going on all about us. We need To stay in the boat and pay attention To the eleven. Don’t be a Peter of greed!
The wind and waves stirring up change In our world can eat a person alive. It’s easy to jump ship, but Jesus says, Stay the course. Stay in the boat. Survive!
Take heart! You are not alone. I am with you in the boat. Sing! Know that this is your lifeboat. Wait for the peace and calm that I will bring.”
In his “Prayers of the People” after the sermon and a hymn titled, “Eternal Father, Strong to Save,” Pastor Steve prayed,
“Take us by the hand And rescue us in our darkest hours. It is You who rescues us. We pray You will not leave us alone. As we strain at the oars, protect us when we find ourselves adrift. Strengthen our hands when we are weak.”
I would add, “Strengthen our faith when we are weak. Keep us on the boat. It is not a shipwreck, not if You, Lord, are our Captain.”
Don’t jump ship! Life may be a shipwreck, but with Jesus as your Captain, your boat is a lifeboat! You can trust Him completely. Sing in the lifeboat!
Sing, “I will make you fishers of men, fishers of men, fishers of men…” (and of women, too!)
Thanks for visiting JanBeek this lovely Sunday afternoon. I hope you had a great day. Bee well, and Bee safe! And stay in the boat!!
Well, it depends on how you’re looking at the word, huh? ASSet? Or maybe who you are and what you do?
If you are a gastroenterologist, (a GI doctor) like Dr. Gentry, who last Sunday performed Bob’s colonoscopy, then you’re looking for a clear anus!!
Oh my! TMI ?? Too much information!!
BUTT (oops!) BUT, hey, we just went through this weekend from hell… and if you’ve read my previous coupla blogs, you know what I mean. And maybe you are waiting for an update?
Bob received wonderful care at the Bozeman Deaconess Hospital. The nurse, Ann-Marie, was the reason he was smiling like this! She was as efficient as she was beautiful!
What’s a woman’s greatest asset? She was kind, caring, efficient, and professional. A real delight! Aren’t those the perfect qualities for a nurse? (Or any of us, for that matter!)
Let me digress for a minute, OK? While Bob was waiting and waiting for his procedure, (it was scheduled for 8:00 am and got bumped twice because of emergencies), I decided to go get something to eat. Neither Bob nor I had anything solid for about 48 hours!
I was sitting at the counter at Jam! (my favorite breakfast place in Bozeman) when the hostess seated a coupe next to me. I glanced up from the CA church service that was live-streaming on my cell phone and said, “Hi!” to the couple. Then I went back to listening to our son, Ty, who was delivering the sermon at his church in Placerville, California. (Isn’t modern technology wonderful?!)
That’s Ty with me – taken last summer… We’re so proud of his decision to pursue the ministry.
Anyway, I digressed… What I wanted to share with you was the way God worked miracles in our lives every time we turned around last weekend!
I was listening to Ty’s sermon when I heard the customer recently seated to my left say, “Hello, Mrs. Beekman.”
Surprised, I looked up… and I studied the handsome young man’s face. “Neighbor? Crowley?? Are you Cole?” I had not seen him in a coupe of years. He and his family live right across the road from us. He’s been away at college. What are the chances in a restaurant with 100+ people that Cole would be seated right next to me??
“When things happen in your Christian walk of faith and you say to yourself what a coincidence, you should know that it’s not, it is God’s hand in your life.”
James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.
Cole and I chatted for a while, got caught up on what’s new with him and with us… and I went back to listening to Ty’s sermon on-line. Cole & his girlfriend said their good-byes with “Let me know if you need anything.”
When the sermon was over and it was time to get back to Bob before he went in for his procedure, guess what? I asked for the bill…
“That couple that was next to you paid for your breakfast!”
Every time I turned around, God was working His miracles through the generosity, kindness, professionalism, and compassion of others!!
See that latte pictured up there? Do you think it was a coincidence that a happy bee is floating on the top?
Remember, Bob is a retired beekeeper/almond farmer. No accident that they made my dirty chai latte with almond milk and God sent the bee here to say, “Hah! Here I am to remind you Bob is in good Hands! I’ve gotcha covered!”
I got back to the hospital in time to say a prayer with Bob before he was wheeled in.
It was only a short time when he was wheeled back to the room.
Shortly, the doc came in with the good news, “You have a beautiful anus for an 84 year old!” (See, there’s that asset I was telling you about) Only a GI doctor with 25,000 colonoscopies under his belt would be so observant, right?
“Everything is OK! Whatever was causing the bleeding (no doubt diverticulitis) has healed itself. No surgery needed. Eat more fiber. Drink more water.”
Bob was given his marching orders with instructions to follow-up in a week with his primary care doc here in Ennis.
But before they checked us out and sent us happily on our way, Bob was given solid food (ah, a turkey sandwich never tasted so goood!) We were sent home with grateful hearts. Praise the Lord!!
I believe in miracles. We just experienced more than one. Look for God’s miracles. Expect them. He is busy delivering them every day!
God bless you! Thank you for all your prayers. We love you. Bee well!!
Oh, by the way, what do you think is Man’s Best Asset?
And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: I have set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth.”
If I could leave a legacy that exemplified these six words, I’d die happy!
First, I want folks to say, “She loved the Lord with all her heart ❤️ and she sincerely loved her family and friends.” 🥰
(Yes, my family is a huge part of my legacy… they will live on and on … and hopefully exemplify the values I hold so dear!)
Additionally, may they say, “She was ethical and lived a life of integrity. Trying to avoid hypocrisy, Jan lived to show her faith on her sleeve, striving to behave in a way that would be pleasing to God.”
Gracious living means extending to others the undeserved love and forgiveness, the acceptance, inclusion, and hospitality that we received daily from the Lord. May they say, “She was gracious.”
I hope my legacy includes the idea of attentiveness to others, attentiveness to the details of the responsibilities assumed, and daily attention to prayer and Bible Study. I happily shared those with others. A desired part of my legacy would include, “Jan was attentive.”
Daily I asked God to help me shine His compassion through me to others. My heart reached out regularly to family, friends, former students, neighbors, and others in need. Strangers were just “friends I hadn’t met yet.” I would like my legacy to include, “She was compassionate.”
Yummy? It’s not that I want to be considered yummy, it is that I love to cook. As part of my legacy, may I be remembered as someone who delighted in preparing yummy meals for Bob and for guests in our home. May I be remembered as someone whose greatest joy was in serving others.
Hebrews 13:2 “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.”
When I leave this earth and join the heavenly angels, I am counting on seeing all those saints who went on before me… And we’ll feast on heavenly food and feed the scraps to all my Boston Terriers who’ll be there at the pearly gates to greet me.
Yes, you’re in my life for a reason. Thanks for showing up on my blog!
If your hands are full of “stuff” – God can’t fill them anew. Open your hands, my friends, And let God renew you!
No need to decorate them Or worry about their size Just turn ’em over and Ask for something wise
“Get wisdom; get insight; do not forget, and do not turn away from the words of my mouth… “ – Proverbs 4:5
It is an understatement to say that wisdom is a worthwhile pursuit.
We’re never too old to learn A thing or two each day Open your hands and receive God’s message – It won’t lead you astray
In his book, Ever Faithful, David Jeremiah was inspired by Psalm 145:16 when He wrote about hand gestures:
“Hand gestures can communicate our innermost thoughts and emotions. Clenched fists reveal anger. White knuckles and trembling are usually the result of fear and nervousness. We close our hands around things we want to hold on to and open them to receive and give gifts.”
My friends, Ed and Maria, open their hands to receive each others love and close them around each other to hang on to the one they love. Bob & I do the same!
David Jeremiah went on in his devotional to say, God’s generosity is described in Psalm 145:15…
“You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing.”
It might be the prayer For a miracle to receive Or could be something simple You just have to believe
Believe that when you open Your hands to receive gifts God will fill them with wonders – With gifts that your heart lifts
Open hands are a symbol Of giving – giving our all And knowing in the process We’ll be standing tall
As a humble giver, Know what you give comes back And God knows your needs He will fill your every lack
David Jeremiah went on to remind us, “If we overlook God’s generosity, or find ourselves in the midst of a painful season, it’s easy for a mindset of scarcity to take over. We become afraid of losing what we have, and our hearts’ stance becomes one of grasping as we seek to control our circumstances.”
Grasp all the love you can get Then open your hands to give It all away – every single bit Because it’s refillable as long as you live
Bob’s hands are open to receive his “just desserts”!! Are yours open, too?
I pray for your hands to be filled Filled to overflowing Filled with love to give away Love that’s alive and showing!
God Bless you! Have a “Open Handed Day!” Will you?
I LOVE the Jehovah Shalom Acapella sextet. They are phenomenal. Their musicianship, range, uplifting song selections, tone, and delightful facial expressions give me a smile and a sense of peace that lasts all day! I pray for all of them… and their ability to continue to bless us with their music. Do you know them?
I have a smile, a kind word, and a poem of encouragement to share with you. I shared it with the Madison Valley Woman’s Club today. I hope it inspired many to also “Find Peace.”
May this poem, this music, and my prayers for you bring you a sense of inner peace that allows to you to let His light shine brightly through you!
I Can Find Peace
I can find peace It’s here in my heart Living in trust Is a good place to start
I can find peace In stillness and prayer Don’t need to go far Peacefulness is there
Find peace in the world Find oneness with all Find joy and contentment No need for a wall
Peace in relationships Peace from above Just radiate inner peace And reach out in love
Jan Beekman – poet
Among the poems that my mom collected and saved each week in 1938-1940 from Newman, California’s “West Side Index” was this lovely poem to reinforce the way we each can find peace and pass it on:
Somebody did a kindly deed, It helped you all the day. Do it again, for somebody else, Who, needy, passes your way.
Somebody said a kindly word; Say it again, for you May brighten somebody else’s load By the word that brightened you.
Somebody smiled a cheerful smile; It made the day seem bright. It was only a little thing you say, But those little things have might.
Those little things – are they little things? Just think how the whole long day An unkind word or slighting tone Has hidden the sun away.
Margaret Kinsella – poet
At our Madison Valley Woman’s Club meeting today, the ladies shared plants of basil and rosemary, gifts of one sort and other, with one another. New officers were installed. A budget for the coming year was adopted. The organization owns and operates the Nearly New here in Ennis. It is a non-profit, volunteer organization that earns “big bucks” by selling “Twice in the Closet” clothing, books, kitchen ware, jewelry, etc. Hats off to all those who donate their goods and services to the Nearly New! The second-hand shop is run totally by volunteer labor. The majority of their profits are given back to the community in the form of scholarships to graduating high school seniors, monthly monetary support to the local library, and countless other worthy community organizations (such as the nursing home, the community pre-school, senior and youth services, etc.). They budgeted $163,000 to be given away in the coming fiscal year.
There is an enormous sense of peace & community pride that comes with the collaborative efforts of the club’s more than 150 members working together all year to make these kinds of profits possible. Our town of Ennis, MT has a population of just a little over 1,000 residents. So, you can just imagine what a gift this club is not just to Ennis, but to the entire Madison County and to the state. Hats off to all those dedicated volunteers!
“Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”
Give the best you got!
May the peace of Christ be with you and your loved ones as you give generously of your time, talents, and resources.
Remember, your cup is not half full or half empty, It is overflowing… and it is refillable!
God bless you this day and every day! Hugs, JanBeek