Loving One Another

Posts tagged ‘Christianity’

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.



Do For Others


Living under clouds

Of fear and trepidation

Renders us helpless

What will you do to

make life more beautiful for

someone else today?

Key and Lock


Need a key to start
And a lock to seal each day?
Prayer opens and seals.

“Prayer should be the key of the day
and the lock of the night.”

Thomas Fuller

Once the day unlocks with prayer, it is our responsibility to greet this new day enthusiastically. Feel the anticipation of each forthcoming minute. Look eagerly at what Your Creator has in store for you to see and do and learn.

Jesus prays with me
And the angels pray with us
♥️🙏🏽 Live love each minute ❤️🙏🏽

“This is the day that the Lord has made.
Let us rejoice and be glad today!”


Psalm 118:24 (NCV)

See ya later.

Ashes to Joy


In her devotional this morning, Cynthia Ruchti reminded me it’s Ash Wednesday. She wrote (on this Feb. 20 devotional in Daily Guideposts), “… my sins have been incinerated, a fine layer of ash is all that remains – and that layer has been blown away by the breath of Jesus’ mercy.”

Photo by Jakob on Pexels.com

What a wonderful image that is! She reminded us of the devastation of the 2019 California fires that left whole neighborhoods (in fact major parts of whole cities, like Paradise, CA) incinerated. She mourned, “The ash was so fine it left only a dusting over the footprint of each lost home.”

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Cynthia reminded me that Ash Wednesday is “a time of reflection, self-sacrifice, spiritual discipline, and fasting to prepare the heart for Easter.” Her “Faith Step” at the conclusion of the message was: “Our humanity and our sinfulness have been conquered in Jesus and we are free. Ashes to joy. Dust to life. Live victoriously.”

At http://www.Christianity.com the author wrote:
“Each year, Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent and is always 46 days before Easter Sunday. Lent is a 40-day season (not counting Sundays) marked by repentance, fasting, reflection, and ultimately celebration. The 40-day period represents Christ’s time of temptation in the wilderness, where he fasted and where Satan tempted him. Lent asks believers to set aside a time each year for similar fasting, marking an intentional season of focus on Christ’s life, ministry, sacrifice, and resurrection.”

My niece, Jodie

I am ready to embrace this season.
I am ready to “live victoriously.”
I am ready for “Dust to dust”
to become “Dust to Life.”

I am ready for “Ashes to ashes”
to become “Ashes to Joy.

Are you?

How do you recognize Lent?
Tell me about it.

Thanks for visiting JanBeek.
See ya later.

Stop Worrying


From soblesseddaily.com

God is saying to you today:

My child, you are worrying too much. remember who I am there is nothing too hard for me. You may not see it, but I have everything planned out for you.

Verse of the Day:

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”
-Proverbs 3:5-6

Each morning I begin my day sitting in this old rocking chair that Bob’s great-grandpa built. It’s up in the corner of my favorite room in the house – my sanctuary.

Sometimes I call it my “Angel Room.”

You can see Mornings with Jesus, my #1 devotional, on the chair in front of my “All Things Grow with Love” pillow. The picture above the photo of room is today’s page. My bookmark reminds me daily of my 2020 resolution: “Walk the Talk.”

Prov. 3:5-6 is the verse on that card. It’s one of my favorite scriptures. With it tucked firmly under my belt and in my heart each morning, I read the daily devo and write in large, fat letters the 2 to 6 words that are my “take away” for the day. You can see “SIMPLY TRUST HIM” is today’s message.

Daily Plan

At the top of my devo page I write my plan for the day … the part of it that God directs to my angelic perch from His heavenly Holy Spirit’s leading. It helps me to “Walk the Talk” when I put my trust in what He has “up His sleeve.”

What are your plans for this beautiful Sunday? I hope you take time to pray. The Faith Step that’s partly covered by my bookmark in the devo picture says, “Recall the times when Jesus answered your prayers in ways you didn’t expect. If you’re praying for something right now, don’t keep Him in a box. Expect Him to answer beyond your expectations.”

Step Out

Go ahead. Listen for His leading. Step out confidently today with plans God sets before you.

John 11:40

Jesus responded, “ Didn’t I tell you that you would seeGod’s glory if you believe?”

My view from my rocking chair

Our Prayer

Pray with me, “Thank You, Jesus, for praying with us and for us. Thank You for Your presence in our lives. Now, as we walk the talk, guide our feet where You want us to go today. Help us meet who You want us to meet. Whisper what You want us to say. Help us be who we were made to be. Show us what You want us to do as we walk in Your will. Amen”

Have a Super Sunday!
See ya later.

Be the Salt & the Light


Today’s sermon by Rev. Steve Hundley
at the Madison Valley Presbyterian Church
in Ennis, Montana was inspired
by Matthew 5:13-20

Photo by Lorena Martínez on Pexels.com

If you have been a JanBeek follower, you know I usually post on Sunday afternoon the notes I take while listening to the morning’s sermon. Most of the time, I take the notes poetically – because that’s how my brain hears the message. Here is today’s:

Be the Salt and the Light

When did you first feel old?
Was it when your kids were teens?
Their language came from another world –
It was hard to figure what it means.

Teens aren’t the only ones with strange language.
Jesus had some pretty weird expressions, too.
“You are the salt of the earth,” He said.
What does that mean to you?

Salt is used to purify, to season, and to seal.
It was the seal of the covenant and it put out fires.
What did Jesus intend when He called us salt?
Did He intend us to be a spice? My soul inquires.

He said we are to be the “Light of the World.”
What does that mean? I want to know.
This is supposed to be “The Christian Century,”
But where is our light, friends? Where does it glow?

Jesus told stories about the insignificant.
He told of lost coins and mustard seeds.
He spoke of the lost and the powerless.
He commanded us to take care of their needs.

The things we do as Christians can have
A lasting affect on others’ action and thought.
They watch us, question us, sometimes imitate us –
When we’re quietly going about doing what we ought.

We ARE the salt of the earth and the world’s light.
We need to play the part and let our faith shine from above.
We can’t forget who we are – nor get cluttered with junk –
Or we’ll lose our effectiveness to spread God’s love.


So, what “junk” clutters your life, blocks your light, and dilutes your salt?

Photo by Tom Fisk on Pexels.com

What’s Junk?

It doesn’t needs to be literal “junk” like that in this junk yard.

It might be over-emphasis in an area that takes you away from what you would like to be doing instead.

It might be worry over something that may or may not happen.

It might be possessions that we need to clear out… cuz most of us have too much “stuff.” (I know I am leaving way more “junk” than I should in my house for my kids to sort through and throw away someday.)

What is your “junk” that clutters your actions and your thinking?

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Salt is Spice – – Spice Up Your Life

In my sermon notes, I wrote, “The things we do as Christians can have
A lasting affect on others’ action and thought…”

By spicing up our life, I mean our actions and thoughts might include:

  • the sweetness of sugar as we reach out to help others
  • the enhancement of salt as we perform random acts of kindness
  • the zestiness of pepper as we sprinkle joy and laughter to those around us
  • the longevity of curry as we continue to connect with long-lasting friends and family with love
  • the healing power of tumeric as we exhibit compassion
Photo by Tucu0103 Bianca on Pexels.com

Be the Light

Being the “Light of the World” is a matter of shining love in the darkness. Before the regular sermon, Pastor Steve gave a special message directed to the children today. He sat on the chancel steps, invited the kids to come sit with him, and he handed them a candle. He lit his own candle and said, I would like to light your candle, too, but I’m afraid if I did, then I wouldn’t have a light on mine.”

The kids looked at him quizzically. “Don’t you agree?” he asked them.

They shook their heads, “No.”

“Really? If I light your candle with mine, then I will still have light?”

“Yes,” they nodded as they held out their candles.

Sure enough, he lit their candles with his, and there was not less light… but more!

The message here is clear…
BE THE LIGHT.
SHARE THE LIGHT.
SPREAD THE LIGHT.
LET YOUR LIGHT SHINE!

I’LL DO MY PART.
Will you join me?
See ya tomorrow.
Image

Merry CHRISTmas!


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