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Posts tagged ‘Christ’

Embrace The Word


“The Word was the Source
of Light and Life”

Today’s message from Rev. Steve Hundley
at the Madison Valley Presbyterian Church
in Ennis, Montana was titled
“God’s Creative Word.”

The scripture reference was
John 1:1-18
(with reinforcements from Genesis)

Photo by Luis Quintero on Pexels.com

God’s Creative Word

Trying to decipher John’s
Interpretation of Christ’s birth
Is like trying to grasp smoke.
He says God’s Word created the earth.

And he explained that the Word
Was the Light and the Life – – – Rejoice!
He speaks as John the Apostle
And switches to a heavenly voice.

John strips away the layers covering
The original Word of God to earth.
He helps us hear with spiritual ears
The meaning of Christ’s unusual birth.

The Book of John is ethereal
As he shares God’s creative power.
He emphasizes that saying is doing
Words are like a bud that produces flower.

So, when we say something,
We need to think of the impact
Those words have on others.
Words spoken ripple out – no taking them back!

Just as God’s Word has the power
To create light out of darkness,
Our words also have the power
To create beauty out of starkness.

So, a lesson of John’s Gospel
Is to warn us: Watch what you speak!
If you speak untruths carelessly,
The results will not be what you seek.

Life and death are in the power
Of the tongue – – – We eat its fruit.
If you want your daily meal sweet,
Use your tongue’s power for Truth.

The Word became flesh and made
His home among us – He appeared
In the form of our Savior, Jesus.
Start here – Start where darkness was cleared.

Be Light for a Dark World.

Everlasting God,
remind us again
that Your Son is the light of the world,
the way, the truth, and the life.
Lead us by your light and truth.
Looking for Jesus,
let us find Him
knowing that it is He
who has come looking for us.

Embrace the Word, my friends.

Psalm 119:105

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

Thanks for visiting JanBeek today.
I’ll see you tomorrow.

Keep the Christmas spirit alive
All Year Through!
Embrace Words of Love


Too Big a Pill to Swallow?


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.

Photo by Bich Tran on Pexels.com

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!

Pastoral Prayer

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.

This describes my purpose! I will declare His coming
and live in modesty, honesty, and compassion.

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!!

See ya tomorrow…

Play Along!


Mary played along.
She didn’t complain.
Mary sang a song.
What a role model!

Photo by Bich Tran on Pexels.com

Today’s sermon was titled,
“Responding to God’s Call.”
Luke 1:26-38 was the scripture passage.
Mary responded with such grace and faith.
Listen to Rev. Steve Hundley’s message
at today’s Madison Valley Presbyterian Church
-recorded through Jan’s poetic filters.

Responding to God’s Call

Luke described the coming
Of the Angel Gabriel to Mary.
Many artists have been inspired
To depict the scene; they’re varied.

Some created majestic scenes
With mountains and waterfalls,
But that wasn’t the vision recorded.
It’s a simple scene when God calls.

Gabriel doesn’t ask permission.
He simply tells her what will be,
The Bible says she was perplexed.
More in shock, it seems to me.

Whatever plans Mary may have had,
God comes and intervenes.
Like Mary, God has plans for us.
Listen to this story; hear what it means.

We can plan our lives carefully,
But often we’re face with interruptions.
Unexpected events order our future;
Often they keep us from corruption.

God’s plans always exceed ours.
But still, we have questions galore.
Unlike Mary, we ask for clarification.
We want to understand more.

It’s not every day an angel appears
And announces what’ll come next.
But often life chooses us
And leaves us totally perplexed.

In real life, we have choices.
We can say yes or shout NO!
We can become stoic and look away;
We can be stubborn and refuse to go.

When God throws us curve balls,
We might become angry and defensive.
We might throw our hands up
And become bitter; but that’s expensive.

It costs us our peace of mind.
It takes away unexpected joy.
If Mary had been so inclined,
It might have cost her that Baby Boy!

Let it be to me according
To your Word, O Lord, my Christ.
When You send Your instructions,
May I say “Yes!” without thinking twice.

Nothing is impossible with God.
Tune in!
And play along!!
Amen

Photo by Keenan Constance on Pexels.com

There may be an angel standing by your fire, sending out signals and you’re unaware.
There may be a message blowing in the wind, and you can’t hear it.
There may be an assignment God is giving you, and you don’t know it.
Tune in! Listen up! Play along!!

Jan with Great-grandson, Xander

Notes during the Pastoral Prayer today:

“God came into a troubled world.
Come again, Lord Jesus,
For we, too, are troubled.
We need You.

We are suffering.
Pain is taking its toll.
Come and bring power and healing
To those who are hurting.

Bring comfort to those
Who have lost loved ones.
Come again, Lord Jesus.
Bring deliverance.

We wait for You.”

Amen

Every heart is longing for our King
Whether they know it or not.
Let your light shine.
Sing!
Play along!!

Merry Christmas!

Thanks for visiting JanBeek today.
Have a blessed Sunday.
See you tomorrow.
HUGS!

Missing Or Giving?


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.

We’ll miss being with our son, Ty, and having my sister, Sally with us this year.

What are you missing?

Photo by Maximiliano Ignacio Pinilla Alvarado on Pexels.com

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?”

Ann Koplow
Check out her blog below.

Ann KoplowThe Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

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!

Focus on the Reason for the Season

Let us not focus
On the things we are missing
But on our blessings

We have so much to give!
Photo by Jill Wellington on Pexels.com

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.

What do we have to give?

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.

Swept Up in the Current


Today’s sermon by Rev. Steve Hundley
at Ennis, Montana’s Presbyterian Church
was titled, “Swept Up in the Current of God’s Love.”

In my typical fashion, I listened
and took notes in poetry to capture the message
as I was received it.

I like this image for today’s bulletin cover
because the message as I pondered it was:
“Listen for the angels’ announcement.
Listen with your heart, and
Be swept up into the
realms of JOY!”

Based on and reflections from
Luke 1:39-55

Mary rushed to tell Elizabeth
The anticipation of Jesus’ birth.
But Elizabeth already knew it…
Elizabeth knew it? How on earth??

Mary felt a song swell up
And bubble over inside her.
She sang acceptance and praises.
Elizabeth beamed beside her.

We don’t think of God exploding
Into our lives this season.
Our upside-down world seems to forget
The JOY, the Message, the Reason.

The story of Mary and Elizabeth
Reminds us of the glories of the event.
To make Christmas more meaningful,
We need to focus on the love sent.

Mary and Elizabeth didn’t make the joy.
They WERE the joy – growing in them.
God’s presence exhibited the miracle.
The peace and JOY of God began then.

We’re not the master of all this.
The grace and love are gifts.
We’re the grateful recipients.
With Jesus’ birth, the world shifts.

The angels announced the Savior.
The vulnerable baby was born.
His life changed our destiny.
No longer are we lost or forlorn.

Mary’s Magnificat is a message
To all of us to be steady –
Steady for Christ’s coming.
Listen with your heart – be ready!

Be prepared to be swept away
By the current of God’s love.
Be prepared for that Bethlehem baby
Who came to save us from above.

Thanks to Elaina for our Nativity gift
which arrived at our doorstep today!

Yes, the angels announced that heavenly Baby
Who came down from God to us.
Now we’re awaiting the angel
Who’ll announce an end to all this fuss.

No, Reverend Steve didn’t add that last stanza to his sermon…
but I just couldn’t help myself!
Don’t you love that COVID angel?
No?

Ah, come on… let’s add the need for
a freedom announcement.

Freedom from the pain of this pandemic.
Freedom from the need to wear masks,
socially distance,
stay at home,
and
isolate.

Can you read the mask’s label?
“Coughy filter”
Hah!
Get it??
Bob & I are wearing our masks
whenever we go out.
Are you?

Don’t let this Coronavirus get to you…

Don’t take to the bottle to try and drown the pain!!

Make wise decisions!

Keep your eyes and your ears tuned to the Holy Spirit
and be ready to be “swept up in the current of God’s love.”
Jesus’ birth is the reason for the season –
And the grace and hope He brings
will keep you swimming
in love and joy.
Believe!

JOY comes in the morning!
My friend, Lisa Glines,
sent me this sunrise picture this morning.

The following poem
came from Lisa
yesterday as I was waiting
for Bob’s angiogram results.

“Thy name is my healing, O my God, and remembrance of Thee is my remedy. Nearness to Thee is my hope, and love for Thee is my companion. Thy mercy to me is my healing and my succor in both this world and the world to come. Thou, verily, art the All-Bountiful, the All-Knowing, the All-Wise.”

Jaime and Kathy played the piano and keyboard as Jim played the saw for some special music this morning.

I always imagine that saw being the only instrument some old cowboy had on hand in some distant days gone by… and learning to eerily try to play a tune on it must have been quite an interesting pastime!!

Thanks for visiting JanBeek today.

I hope you enjoyed these tidbits of my Sunday.
Bee safe!
See ya tomorrow.
Bee well!!

reJOYce


Count your blessings, my friend.
You are blessed indeed –
God is with you every step,
Taking care of your every need.

ReJOYce in the reason for the season
Remember it is about God’s Son.
It’s not about Xmas at all
Don’t leave out Christ – He’s the One!

reJOYce!!

Photo by Bekka Mongeau on Pexels.com

There are plenty of reasons
To be sad this time of year –
Especially when looking down.
But look up… See here!

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

Life is so full of things to say
Thank You to God for…
Lift your eyes to the sky
And look for so many more.

The ability to look at life
Through eyes of gratitude
And find JOY even in times of trouble,
That’s a healthy attitude!

Reaching out to friends
Who will hear and join you in prayer –
And believing in its power…
You will find real JOY there!

Make friends who’ll pray with you…

Philippians 4:4-6

“Rejoice in the Lord always…
Let your gentleness be evident to all…
Do not be anxious about anything,
but in every situation,
by prayer and petition,
with thanksgiving,
present your requests to God.”

… Good friends hug and cry with you, too!
Good friends join hands in mutual support!

Thank you for your love, prayers and support yesterday
when I was waiting for the results of Bob’s angiogram procedure.
You’re a treasure.

I reJOYce in your presence in my life.
Have a blessed weekend.
See ya tomorrow.
Love & Hugs,
JanBeek

Enjoy this beautiful, inspiring song and…
Keep Lookin’ Up!!

Bah Humbug!


It’s that time of year again. “Bah Humbug!” declared Mr. Scrooge.
Our sermon today started on that same note.
See my poetic notes below.

Rev. Steve Hundley
Madison Valley Presbyterian Church
Ennis, Montana
12-6-20

“Here We Go…”

“Well, here we go again,”
The woman spoke with regret.
The Christmas season has arrived –
We must prepare lest we forget.

Prepare for peace on earth –
Prepare for goodwill toward men.
But will we feel the peace?
Will there be good will again?

This year seems so very strange.
It’s hard to enter with trust
The coming of the Christ Child.
But trust and hope we must!!

God’s chosen people felt
The same worn-out feeling of despair.
They wee caught in the wilderness,
Feeling God was no longer there.

In this time of pandemic,
We’re tired of this quarantine.
The pain and struggles continue.
What does all this mean?

Are we caving in to hopelessness?
Can’t we remember God is good?
We must live hearing His promise
And believe He’ll save us as He said He would.

If we have ears to hear
And we have eyes to see,
Know God’s message, “Here we go anew,”
Is meant for you and me.

God has the power to get us out
Of this situation we’re in.
Believe! Have faith in God.
Carry His hope. Carry His light within.

Share that light with others.
Walk in His way and then you’ll know
The peace and trust Jesus brings.
“Here we go anew!” Let it glow.

Advent is about preparing room
For something new at our place.
So stay alert and wait with faith.
God is coming in Christ – Clear a space!

Amen

Our friend, Jim Forsberg, sang this beautiful song
today in church, accompanied by his guitar
(sung here by the marvelous Susan Boyle).
The words are so beautiful.
Be sure to click on that link and enjoy.

Prayer of Confession:
“Merciful God, always with us, always coming: We confess that we do not know how to prepare for Your Advent. We have forgotten how to hope in miracles; we have been distracted by the challenges of the past nine months. Forgive us, O God. Grant to us the simple wonder of the shepherds, the intelligent courage of the Magi, and the patient faith of Mary and Joseph that we may rediscover the good news of the child born for us. Amen”

Merry Christmas, my friends.
Happy Advent.
No “Bah Humbug” here!

Thanks for visiting JanBeek today.
I pray your Sunday was a lovely one.

Thanks for all your love-filled comments on the
“Dogs in Heaven?” post yesterday.
My friend, Fran appreciates all your prayers.

May your week be blessed indeed.
Bee well!!

Go With the Flow


Go with the flow.
Don’t get caught in the rocks.
Drink from the Living Water.
Be sure to take off your socks!

Wade down the stream
Of life’s flowing water.
Remember to pray –
You’re a beloved son or daughter.

Your Heavenly Father
Is walking the stream with you.
He is listening to your pleas;
His touch cannot miss you.

Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

God’s love is with you in every situation.

Romans 8:31

“What then are we to say about these things?
If God is for us,
who can be against us?”

I find assurance in knowing that God’s love is with me. He reaches out to me in my distress, and His comforting hand guides me through the tough waters of life.

As I search for the good, the acts of kindness and helpfulness, and the people who are examples of strength and resilience, He shows me the way. He buoys my spirits and helps me stay afloat.

Photo by Camila Cordeiro on Pexels.com

Go with the flow.
Feel the love, the buoyancy.
Accept the peace that Christ gives.
Feel its strength and potency.

Photo by Daniel Torobekov on Pexels.com

God is with you.
Jump in… Go with the flow, and
Be at peace!

Bob & I send our love.

Thanks for visiting JanBeek today.
Bob & I are together here in Ennis, MT,
going with the flow of things!


We are enjoying
The Wind of the Spirit
which blows everywhere here…
And JOY like a fountain.
We wish you that same joy!

Enjoy the peace of this lovely rendition
by the Vinesong ensemble:

See ya tomorrow.

Me, Worry?


Matthew 6:31-34

“So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’
or ‘What shall we drink?
or ‘What shall we wear?’
For the pagans run after all these things,
and your Heavenly Father knows that you need them.
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness,
and all these things will be given to you as well.
Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow,
for tomorrow will worry about itself.
Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

In today’s Mornings with Jesus devotional
from Guideposts,
Isabella Yosuico wrote,
“I seek Jesus’ direction…
I am struggling to keep an open mind
and follow where He leads…”

Isabella went on to say that having faith means
“… prayerfully doing what I can today
and recognizing what I cannot do.”

Photo by Ric Rodrigues on Pexels.com

Isabella encouraged her readers to
“… stay in the present day,
entrusting uncertainties to Christ.”

Photo by Rodolfo Clix on Pexels.com

There is such comfort
in the knowledge
that Jesus Christ
prays with me.

He is my Confidante.
He is my Rock.
He is my Guide.
I have no reason to worry.

Me, Worry?
No way!!

It is easy to obsess
Over the condition of this earth,
But God is in control,
And He knows the planet’s worth.

He holds it in His palm
And knows its every leaf.
In the eyes of our Lord,
This pandemic’s really brief!

Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

All the world
Is holding its breath –
Some behind masks,
Some behind fear,
Some behind doors,
Afraid to come near.
Breathe in Peace.
Experience a patch
Of stillness,
Kindness, and
Presence.
Each waking day.
Carry it with you.

“… do not worry about tomorrow,
for tomorrow will worry about itself.
Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

Bye for now!
See ya tomorrow.

Hugs,
JanBeek

Be Braided


When you see the word “Braid,” what do you think of?

Photo by Bran Sodre on Pexels.com

Those braids appear to be two strong strands twisted together.
(Isn’t she beautiful?)

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Likewise, this rope seems to have two strong strands twisted, right?

Photo by Roman Koval on Pexels.com

When I used to braid my daughter’s hair, I needed three strands to create the braid.

Today’s devotional made me think about these various braids and contemplate the strength of the three strands. Here was the scripture:

Eccelesiates 4:12

“And though a man might prevail
against one who is alone,
two will withstand him –
a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”

Katie Minter Jones in “Mornings with Jesus” by Guideposts wrote a devotional based on that scripture. In it she recounted how difficult the days of early marriage were as she and her husband “struggled through difficult times.”

She quoted a friend as saying, “Together we worked hard to get where we are now. It definitely takes two to make a marriage work, and that’s not fifty-fifty. Each person has to give 100%.” Finger pointing and trying to divvy stuff up 50-50 leads to disaster.

One of her lady friends said, “It takes three to make a successful marriage, the husband, the wife, and Jesus.” Each person must give 100% to each other and 100% to Jesus.”

That seems like a tall order! But doing so creates the three strands that make the braid unbreakable. Couples need to walk with Jesus to have a strong marriage.

Here’s my take on what that looks like.

The tie that binds

When our hearts are bound in love around our Lord’s cross, His mercy and grace strengthen our relationship and help us grow closer. As we walk hand in hand, praying and staying together in love, God blesses us. Jesus Christ strengthens us. The Holy Spirit braids our hearts in His love and care. Blessed be the tie that binds our hearts in Christian Love. Be braided!

Write your spouse a love letter today and include a prayer.

Here are mine…

Dear Bob,
I am so grateful for your love and for our mutual reliance on Jesus, our Lord. Thank you for praying with me, staying with me, putting Christ first in our lives, and relying on Him during our times of struggle. His sacrificial love is the perfect reminder of how we need to take care of each other. His presence binds us in purpose and braids us with His promises and His peace. Thank you!
Love Forever and Ever, Rockie ;o) ❤

Dear God,
Thank you for blessing our marriage and knitting our hearts together. May my blogging friends find that same peace and grace and purpose in life. May they sense Your guidance in their relationships and be braided with You. Amen.
In His Care, Jan

Photo by Trung Nguyen on Pexels.com

Let the light of God shine on your relationship,
be central to your lives,
and braid you together with peace and purpose.
God bless you!


See ya tomorrow.
JanBeek

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