Spreading love, joy, peace, faith & unity

Posts tagged ‘cross’

Embrace Mi Familia


Mi Familia is such a blessing
We’re so glad we are here
The trip was long and arduous
But we traveled without fear

We knew God was with us
Your prayers were felt for sure
Thank you, God, for safety
With You our trip was secure

God bless “Mi Familia!” It is so good to be with them! Monika, our daughter-in-law, is taking the picture. That’s Ruthie & Darrell, her parents, on the left. Our son, Ty, is at the head of the table there… and of course, Bob & me. We’ll be joined on Christmas day by our grandson, Jordan, and his family – – – and our granddaughter, Faith, and her husband. They are expecting their first child (a baby girl) in April. We are so excited for them!

Monika and Ruthie fixed a wonderful dinner last night:
salmon and veggies and potatoes.
Yum!

We spent time talking
about our heritage
and remarking about
how much Ty looks like my dad,
his Grandpa Sal.
Can you see the resemblance?

Then we had fun
giving Bob a bad time
about his “honker!”
See how he inherited his nose
from his paternal great-grandfather Davis?
That’s his dad’s mother’s father.

Prior to dinner
we took time to toast “Cheers!”
to all the family and friends
who prayed us safely here –
and gave thanks to God
for answered prayers.

Outside the weather was chilly,
rainy, and then foggy …
but the spirit of Christmas
was alive and well,
warm and inviting.

Across the continent – and over the Atlantic to Switzerland,
our crazy, fun-loving grandson, Nick
(and his sweetheart Celine)
celebrated the birthday of the King
in their own way with a milkshake
from the Burger King!

Don’t you love the way the internet
shrinks the world and brings
“Familia” into our lives
from around the world?

Merry Christmas to you,
my dear blogging friends.
I pray that you have a meaningful,
love-filled holiday
with your family gathered round.

Remember the Reason for the Season…
and bring that Christ Child into your family circle.

God bless you.
Let me know what your Christmas plans are, okay?
I look forward to hearing from you…
and I thank you so much
for following my blog.
I post with you in my heart and prayers.

Bee Happy!
Bee Well!

I send my love and hugs.
Have a wonderful time with your family!
See ya tomorrow (God willing)
Love,
JanBeek

Embrace Wordless Wednesday


Embrace 5 Ways to Keep Long-time Friends


Bob & Victor

Victor Salazar and Bob have stayed in touch for 50 years. How has that happened?

Victor was Bob’s wrestling student when Bob coached at Hillsdale High in San Mateo, CA. back in the 1970’s. Every year at Christmas, we exchanged Christmas cards. Victor let us know where he was each year – and his career took him to over 30 different countries! What a joy to have Vic come from Alabama to reconnect with us here in Montana this week!

I have had the fun of that kind of connection with former students, too. This is Ty Stiles and his wife with Bob & me. He was my kindergarten student in 1962! I named our first child, Ty. We never let Ty Stiles out of our sphere of contact. He was in my prayers daily. He came with his wife, Roxanne, from California to visit us a few years ago. About a year after his visit, sadly, Ty left this earth for is eternal home. My memories of him and his visit warm my heart every single day as I look at the cross he welded and sent to us shortly after his visit.

There’s no greater joy
Than to reconnect with friends
From long, long ago

Look up for your purpose!
Look up to the cross
Recall its loving meaning
Embrace those friendships

5 Ways to Keep Long-time Friends

  1. Pray lovingly for them daily.
  2. Be sure to keep them in your address book and write to them often (don’t just rely on social media)
  3. Pick up the phone and talk to them, emptying yourself into them… it’s an investment. Be loyal and be confidential.
  4. Let them know how much they mean to you, but don’t force the relationship. It has to be natural. Don’t insist that the relationship is forever reciprocal. Some friendships are meant to be seasonal… and the season may last years – but maybe not. You can’t control that.
  5. Be honest and transparent with them … let them see your warts. It shows you trust them not to hurt you… and you are trustworthy in return.

Embrace Long-time Friendships
Never let those precious folks go
Keep them forever in your heart
How long we’ll be here, we can’t know

Embrace Long-time Friends
My heart’s covered with footprints.
How about your heart?

See ya tomorrow (God willing)
Love,
JanBeek

Embrace Your Roots


When I hear the word “Roots,”
I think of the TV program
that captivated the nation
in 1977 when it first
was aired on ABC.

Roots is an American television miniseries based on Alex Haley‘s 1976 novel Roots: The Saga of an American Family. The series first aired on ABC in January 1977. Roots received 37 Primetime Emmy Award nominations and won nine. It also won a Golden Globe and a Peabody Award. It received unprecedented Nielsen ratings for the finale, which still holds a record as the third-highest-rated episode for any type of television series, and the second-most watched overall series finale in U.S. television history.[1][2] It was produced on a budget of $6.6 million.

If you are a genealogical buff, “Roots” conjures up images of family history … and maybe links to Ancestry.com.

When I see or hear the word “Roots,” I also think of this scripture:

Jeremiah 17:7-8

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord
And whose trust is the Lord.
“For he will be like a tree planted by the water,
That extends its roots by a stream
And will not fear when the heat comes;
But its leaves will be green,
And it will not be anxious in a year of drought
Nor cease to yield fruit.

Roots
Buried deep
Connect to vine
Result in the branches
Mine

John 15:5

“I am the vine, you are the branches:
He that abideth in Me, and I in him,
the same bringeth forth much fruit:
for without Me you can do nothing.”

My roots are planted deep in faith.

Rooted and Grounded
In the name of the Lord
Rooted and Grounded
By the Holy Ghost

If you want to go to Heaven
You have to be
Rooted and Grounded
In the Name of the Lord!


Embrace Your Roots –
Examine where they are grounded.
How do they stabilize you?
What comes to mind when you hear the word
ROOTS?

Thanks for visiting JanBeek

See ya tomorrow (God willing)


Embrace the Wind


Can’t embrace the wind!
Even if we think we would like to…
It can’t be contained!

Yesterday I delivered some paperwork to a friend
who is doing Bible Study with me once a week.
It was a quiet Saturday morning –
no wind (unusual for our windy valley).
My friend wasn’t home, so I left the papers
on her doorstep and texted her.
When she returned home,
the paperwork was long gone.
The wind had come up and blew
the packet to heaven only knows where!

Today’s sermon at the ZOOM meeting of
Madison Valley Presbyterian Church
here in Ennis, Montana
was titled, “The Wind Blows Where it Will.”

Inspired by the scripture:
John 3:1-17
(the story of Jesus & Nicodemus & the Holy Spirit)
here are my sermon notes
taken as I listened to
Rev. Steve Hundley
this morning:

The Wind Blows Where it Will

In the conversation between
Nicodemus and Jesus, two worlds collide.
One is worldly and the other is
Focused on where the Holy Spirit abides.

We often try to shrink our God
Into something we can understand.
But, we can’t fit God’s image
Into something in this earthly land.

The dilemma we face is that
We can’t think of God beyond
Our own human capacity.
That’s why it’s hard to respond.

John paints a picture of Nicodemus
As a man of great knowledge.
“Rabbi, we know…” he says,
Addressing Jesus with a nudge.

Nicodemus thinks he has God
Sized up and understood.
He’s sure he knows how He fits
Into this world… Oh, that we could!

Nicodemus tries to rope Jesus
Into the narrow realm of “We know…”
But every attempt fails.
Jesus is a mystery – a wind that’ll blow.

It blows beyond our knowing.
The Spirit blows beyond our capacity
To understand with our finite minds.
Does that surprise you and me?

We all have questions about the hereafter.
No one can refute the image we hold,
For our God’s life-giving grace
Is bigger than can ever be told.

The wind of the Spirit blows
Into darkness and brings light.
But we cannot see clearly
What God makes possible in His sight.

This scripture asks Nicodemus
To let the Spirit carry him to
A place beyond his imagination.
It asks the same expansion of you!

“Rabbi, we know…”
Ah, such assumptions!

John 3: 1-17

3:1 Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.”
Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.[a]
“How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!”
Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit[b] gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You[c] must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”[d]
“How can this be?” Nicodemus asked.
10 “You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things? 11 Very truly I tell you, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. 12 I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? 13 No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man.[e] 14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up,[f] 15 that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.”[g]
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

Can’t embrace the wind!
Even if we think we would like to…
It can’t be contained!

Let’s try to embrace
The beauty of God’s Spirit
As it blows in us!

That’s a Bob Goff quote.
His Spirit is Love personified.
His book is “Love Does.”
Do you know it?

And how about this oldie but goodie?
Blowin’ in the Wind…
Questions Nicodemus might have asked Jesus:

The answer is blowin’ in the wind.
And with Easter upon us,
the answer was hangin’ on a cross.
Praise God, He is risen indeed!

The wind of the Spirit blows
Into darkness and brings light.

The Wind Blows Where it Will

Thanks for visiting JanBeek today.
May the Wind of the Spirit
Blow Light into your darkness today.

See ya tomorrow.

Embrace Obedience


Obedience
First listen
Learn to absorb
Take it all in
Heed

We all know what it means to be obedient, right? Listen, absorb, heed…
Did you hear any of these expressions when you were growing up?

“If you don’t stop crying, I’ll give you something to cry about!”

“Why?? Because I said so, that’s why!”

Photo by Joshua Santos on Pexels.com

“Yours is not to question why. Yours is just to do or die!”

Photo by Nelly Aran on Pexels.com

Where did those images of obedience come from? Certainly not from a Loving Father.

Photo by William Fortunato on Pexels.com

He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”Luke 11:28


“If only you had paid attention to My commandments!
Then your well-being would have been like a river,
And your righteousness like the waves of the sea.”
Isaiah 48:18

Photo by Sebastian Voortman on Pexels.com


“If you consent and obey,
You will eat the best of the land”
Isaiah 1:19

Photo by Trang Doan on Pexels.com


“And we are witnesses of these things;
and so is the Holy Spirit,
whom God has given to those who obey Him.”
Acts 5:32

Who or What to Obey?

Obedience
Differs with
Who you obey
Make it “The Word”
God

Photo by John-Mark Smith on Pexels.com


Samuel said,
“Has the Lord as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices
As in obeying the voice of the Lord?
Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice,
And to heed than the fat of rams.”
1 Samuel 15:22

To heed God’s Word
Is better than honey
Better than palaces
Better than money

To heed God’s voice
As He whispers in your ear
Is to hear His angels speaking
And to cherish what you hear

Obedience to the teachings
Of wise men and women, too
Is the road successful people
Travel daily. How about you?

Are you tuning in to wisdom
Are you listening really well?
If so, then your obedience
Will show – others will tell.

They’ll tell of your goodness.
They’ll see what brings you peace
And they’ll want to have a share
In the joy that will not cease.


“But this is what I commanded them, saying,
‘Obey My voice, and I will be your God,
and you will be My people;
and you will walk in all the way
which I command you,
that it may be well with you.’
Jeremiah 7:23

When we live in obedience,
We can sing with the best of them:
It is well with my soul –
And we can can pray for the rest of them!

Embrace Obedience!
Easter is coming… when we set aside time
To thank our God for sending the Perfect Example
Of what Obedience – even to the cross – looks like.

Praise God!
Hear – Heed -Obey!

Jesus – simple, yet complex

Thanks for visiting JanBeek today.
I pray my Embrace series is encouraging you.
See ya tomorrow.

Embrace Grace


Photo by Jacob Kelvin.J on Pexels.com

My hands are dirty –
And my heart is soiled, too.
Time for spring cleaning!

This season of Lent is a time for cleaning –
Cleaning out our hearts in preparation
For the arrival of Easter when we can
Embrace God’s grace through Jesus’ sacrifice.

Today’s sermon on our ZOOM worship service
Was titled, “Holy Ground” as our pastor,
Steve Hundley, recounted his trip to
The Holy Land back about 20 years ago.

My feet are dirty –
And my heart is soiled, too.
Time for spring cleaning!

Holy Ground

What was it like to be able
To walk in the footsteps of Jesus?
What was it like to stand
On Holy Ground? Spiritually renewing?

I was expecting each site to be charged
With such power that holy goose bumps
Popped up all over my body.
But I was a bit disappointed.

It was hard to feel the grace of the risen Christ
In this historically preserved place.
How do you feel Jesus breaking bread
When all you’re seeing is the top of a rock?

It’s important to protect these sites,
But looking through plexiglass makes it
Hard to feel the reality of Jesus.
The garden tomb remains open, though.

It’s helpful to see without obstacles
That distort the original places.
We have our own expectations of
What we’ll feel imagining holy faces.

Jesus and the money changers
Were there on the temple floor
Where I stood on that visit.
But I couldn’t feel Jesus’ anger.

I wondered if maybe those men
Were in fact offering a service.
He told them they could tear it down
And He’d rebuild it in three days.

They didn’t know He was referring
To His body, not the building.
Buildings are not what we worship.
We worship God’s nature in spirit and in Truth.

We are often tied to the
Rites and rituals to define us.
But our traditions must not
Rise above the Christ we adore.

It is not the place that matters.
It is the love in our hearts
That counts when we join together
In worship… thanking God for His grace.

Thank You, God, for Jesus, for Easter,
For the meaning of the cross,
And for the sacrifice of Your Son’s life
So we might EMBRACE GRACE.

The HOPE of EASTER
Is in the grace of the cross.
Let’s engage in some spring cleaning
In preparation to stand on that Holy Ground…
At the threshold of our eternal cleansing.

Embrace Grace.

AMEN

Thanks for visiting JanBeek today.
See ya tomorrow.
I’m headed to do some spring cleaning!

Embrace Focus


Do you focus easily?
Do you see things with clarity?
Do you hear with understanding?
Do you embrace the concept of focus?

Today’s sermon at Madison Valley Presbyterian Church
focused on the cross… but not just any old cross …
the cross of Christ, the one on which He died for us.
The one we are to pick up and carry.
Here are the notes I took
as I focused and listened to
Rev. Steve Hundley preach on the subject:
“The Cross of Christ”

The disciples heard Jesus say,
“Take up your cross and follow me.”
Matthew 16:24-26 says,
24 Then Jesus told his disciples, 
“If anyone would come after me,
let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 
25 For whoever would save his life[a] will lose it,
but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. 
26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world
and forfeits his soul?
Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?

What does it mean today to believe
And to accept Jesus – take His cross?
We’d like Jesus to be specific.
Would carrying it be like an albatross?
He said “Take up YOUR cross.
But, not ANY cross… What’s the difference?
My cross can be quite worldly.
Do I carry it with reverence?

The world we live in is full
Of crosses in every size and form.
How do we know we’re carrying
The one meant for us when we were born?
The cross that brings healing
And restoration to our world
Is the one Jesus asks us to carry,
Not the cross of destruction hurled.

A cross of love and reconciliation
Can be used and turned to mean
Violence or passivity, both can
Represent abuse and pain. Don’t lean
On a fatalistic cross – or else
You’ll find despair and even death.
Instead, pick up Christ’s cross.
It’ll bring peace to your last breath.


The Bible reassures us that
Pain and suffering will be ours;
But God will meet us where we are.
We’ll receive the peace He showers
On us when we take His cross
And follow Him and His voice.
Let’s FOCUS on God’s saving promise.
Take up His True Cross. It’s your choice!

Amen

Photo by mali maeder on Pexels.com
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com
Photo by u266b u266a on Pexels.com
Photo by Jonathan Borba on Pexels.com
Photo by William Mattey on Pexels.com

Thank you for sharing our worship service notes
and one of our hymns with me today.
I hope you are able to find church family
with whom to worship in these pandemic days.

If you’d like to join our ZOOM service next Sunday, send me your e-mail
and I’ll forward the ZOOM invitation, bulletin and song sheet to you.

That’s me up there taking this picture with Bob beside me!
ZOOM with us. We’re an informal bunch!
Share, drink your coffee, ask questions…
FOCUS on the message

Thanks for visiting with JanBeek today.
Have a beautiful Sunday afternoon/evening.
See ya tomorrow.

P.S. – Here is another version of “Were You There?”
Soooo Beautiful!!

Embrace Hope


My Favorite Student

Teachers aren’t supposed to have favorites.
Right?

Ty, Roxanne (Merri), Jan & Bob

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!

Photo by Lukas on Pexels.com

And every day when it was time to go home,
the girls all waved to Ty,
“Bye, Ty!”
they would swoon.

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

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!

Here’s my Ty with his little sister, DeAna.

Ah yes, my Ty is a sweetheart, just like his namesake!

See the sweetness sparkle?
Both Tys are a little older now!

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.”

Jeremiah 20:11

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.”

I wrote about Ty when he came to visit us
here in Montana a couple of years ago.
Here is the blog link:
https://janbeek.blog/2019/05/25/gift-from-the-heart/

A Gift from the Heart

After Ty & Roxanne left, they sent us a thank you gift for our hospitality. He created this cross for us. It hangs on my dining room wall as a constant reminder of my special student, Ty Stiles.

Notice the three bars?
Ty said they represent the Trinity.
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
Please Heal Ty!!

Embrace Hope

“May the God of Hope
fill you with all joy and peace
as you trust in Him.”

Romans 15:13

The reign of Christ,
both present and in the future,
is our foundation of Hope.

Take Peace

“And in despair I bowed my head
‘There is no peace on earth,’ I said
For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will toward men.

Then peeled the bells more loud and deep –
God is not dead, nor doeth He sleep.
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail –
With peace on earth, good will toward men.”

Embrace Peace.
Embrace Love.
Embrace Joy.
Embrace Prayer.
Embrace Hope.

See ya tomorrow.

Thanks for visiting
and praying with
JanBeek

Is Your Cross Too Heavy?


Photo by Vitu00f3ria Santos on Pexels.com

Thank you, Vitu Santos for this wonderful photo.
It speaks volumes to me…
and it exhibits to me
the message of today’s sermon…

Today’s sermon notes

At the Madison Valley Presbyterian Church in Ennis, MT today,
Rev. Steve Hundley delivered his sermon titled, “Is Your Cross Too Heavy?”
The Lord prompted me to take my sermon notes in the shape of a cross.
The photo of the cross sermon above is the result of that effort.

Photo by Mauriciooliveira109 on Pexels.com

To illustrate his point – that we need to give Jesus our burdens,
lighten our load, and live in joy, Rev. Steve used this story:

“It’s hard for an egg to become a bird,
but it would be harder for a bird
to fly while still in the egg.”

Let go the egg…
and FLY!
Give Jesus your burdens
and follow Him
with JOY,
not because you HAVE to,
but because you
WANT to.

Photo by Joshua Abner on Pexels.com

God bless you
with the JOY
of
Life Given Away
because you WANT to!

Thank you, Ty, for this beautiful image.

Have a Happy Labor Day weekend.
See ya tomorrow.
Love,
JanBeek

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