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Posts tagged ‘Doubt’

Embrace Doubting


May sound really weird
For a Christian to embrace
Doubting; How can I?

What does doubting mean?
I believed it’s unbelief.
But, let’s think again.

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Matthew 28:17

“When they saw him,
they worshiped him;
but some doubted.”

Who is “they” who saw?
It was Jesus’ disciples.
What does “doubted” mean?

In my devotional time this morning, Daily Guideposts explained that the original text was in Greek. The word “doubted” in Greek is “distazo.” That does not mean unbelief. It is more accurately translated as “hesitation or uncertainty about how to respond.”

In today’s world, as the cartoon shows, the disciples would not have to think twice about how to respond. They would simply get out their cell phones and record this momentous reappearance of their Savior!!

But in the world of Jesus’ time, how would you respond when someone you watched die on the cross suddenly walked out of the tomb? “Distazo” seems appropriate to me. Whoa!! I’d be pretty unsure about how to respond, wouldn’t you?

Photo by Alexander Krivitskiy on Pexels.com

Sometimes I am quite unsure about how to respond to situations in today’s world. How about you?

Our test kits came today for the COVID-19 test we have to self-administer and then mail FedEx in the envelope provided so it can go overnight to the place where the results are determined and then sent to me before our flight out of Chicago to London on Sunday night. (Whoa… that’s a long, complex sentence – did you grasp it?)

I am doubting … I am unsure about how to respond to the instructions.

Unfortunately, my test results won’t come in a fortune cookie. They will be sent to an app on my iPhone. Problem: my iPhone is 8 years old and it won’t upgrade to an IOS high enough to download the app. I am feeling doubtful. Very uncertain about how to respond. The new iPhone 12 and last year’s version (iPhone11) are not available here in Ennis. Checking with our nearest city, Bozeman, I discovered we don’t have an Apple store… and the Verizon Wireless store doesn’t have the phone I want in stock. I have to order it on-line from Apple. Will it arrive in time for our departure? What will I do if it isn’t here in time?

Photo by Edward Jenner on Pexels.com

In this COVID-19 world, “distazo” is a natural response. We are unsure of how to respond in so many ways. Get the vaccine or not? Wear a mask or not? Get a booster or not? Join friends for a dinner out or not? Worship in church with others sitting close by or not? Travel or not? Get a new phone or not? Forget the whole thing?

I pray to God for help with decision-making, but I am not sure I am hearing His response. Should I keep asking? Should I reword my questions? Am I missing His answers?

As Daily Guideposts has written in today’s devotional, “Doubt, distazo, is part of our faith journey.” It’s OK to question how to respond when we’re baffled by the challenges we face. Like the disciples, we are faced with some unbelievable situations. These are unprecedented times!

In these troublesome times,
we are encouraged to Stretch!!

Embrace Doubting!

Let your hesitation
and your uncertainty
cause you to
question more,
research more,
and pray more.

Let your hesitancy
and your uncertainty
cause you to
trust more,
experience more,
and increase your humility
as you allow yourself
to admit

“Crap!
I don’t have all the answers after all!”


Get in touch with the
Tiger in you!

Do you find yourself doubting about anything?
What causes you to experience “distazo“?

See ya tomorrow (God willing)
Love,
JanBeek

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.

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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…

Let Your Light Shine


We each have a light
Shining brightly within us
My friends, let it out!

We each are unique.
We’re each individuals,
But we’re connected.

The best examples
Of humanity’s bright lights
Are in the Bible.

Do our very best
To emulate examples
Of God’s good people.

Here are some women of the Bible whose examples of letting their lights shine are worthy of emulation. Let’s try to be like them as much as possible:

  1. Abigil was wise
  2. Dorcus used her talents
  3. Elizabeth believed
  4. Esther boldly spoke the Truth
  5. Hannah prayed ceaselessly
  6. Lydia shared generously
  7. Mary Magdalene experienced great joy
  8. Rehab gave God her best
  9. Rebekah exhibited Christ-like character
  10. Ruth remained always loyal
  11. Sarah trusted
  12. You and I learn from their examples – let our lights shine brighter because of the way these ladies lit their lamps to light our paths.

Our paths are brighter;
These ladies of the Bible
Lit bright lamps for us.

May we in return
Illuminate the pathway
For those who follow.

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Bee well, my friends.


I send my love and light to you.
Hugs,
JanBeek

In the Same Boat


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SERMON NOTES

Bible Reference

Rev. Steve Hundley’s sermon topic today at the Madison Valley Presbyterian Church in Ennis, MT was “We’re All in the Same Boat.” It was inspired by the story in Matthew 14:22-36. Jesus commanded the disciples to get in the boat and sail out to sea while He went off to be alone for awhile. Then – in the darkness of a stormy night – He walked on the water to go out to them. Seeing Jesus walking on water toward them, Peter asked to be able to do likewise. The Lord told him to come ahead – and he did. All went well until he looked down at the growing waves, became fearful, and started to sink. “Why did you doubt?” Jesus asked him as he helped Peter back onto the boat.

Ah, courage and faith – that’s what it takes.
But only God can walk on water.

Sermon notes taken while Steve shared his message:

We’re All in the Same Boat

Jesus is the Loving Shepherd
But He is also our Commander.
He is gentle and kind, we know,
But we realize He’s a Great Demander.

Why did Jesus order His disciples
To go and get in the boat?
It was midnight, afterall!
Was that a good time to go for a float?

The earliest idea of the church
Was the image of a boat’s belly.
We’re all in this boat together.
It’s dark, stormy, and chilly.

We’re rowing as hard as we can –
And don’t seem to make any headway.
We’re busy trying to make it on our own,
Too busy to hear what God has to say.

But God comes walking on the water,
And He says, “Fear not, it is I.”
We look and doubt and test Him saying,
If it is You, save me!” Oh my!

Only God/Jesus can walk on water.
Sometimes our job is just to cling
To the boat and don’t presume
We can go it alone. Just trust and sing!

Following the sermon, we sang this song,
“We All Are One in Mission.”
See the song’s words below the sermon notes.

First we gotta get in the boat.
Then we gotta stay in it.
We gotta trust God is here with us.
We gotta gather and pray in it!

Help me, Lord, to remember
You will draw near to me – no fuss-
If we stay and pray and know
You’re here in the boat with us.

“We All Are One in Mission”

“We all are one in mission; we all are one in call,
our varied gifts united by Christ, the Lord of all.
A single great commission compels us from above
to plan and work together that all may know Christ’s love.

We all are called for service, to witness in God’s name.
Our ministries are different; our purpose is the same:
To touch the lives of others by God’s surprising grace,
so every folk and nation may feel God’s warm embrace.

Now let us be united, and let our song be heard.
Now let us be a vessel for God’s redeeming Word.
We all are one in mission; we all are one in call,
our varied gifts united by Christ, the Lord of all.”

Words: Rusty Edwards (Matthew 28:19-20; i Cor. 12:4-6
Music: Finnish folk melody

I am with you.
I’m praying you have a blessed Sunday.
..
and a week filled with God’s grace.

See ya later

Surviving with Doubt


Doubt

Today’s Sermon

The sermon at our Madison Valley Presbyterian Church was delivered today by Elaine Hundley, Christian educator extraordinaire. She titled it, “Perfect Weakness,” as she focused on the messages in Isaiah 40:1-8, 28-31 and 2 Corinthians 12:9-10.

Is there Perfect Weakness?

The Apostle Paul spoke of his weakness, his struggles, and his ability to find strength in spite of his troubles – by leaning on the Power of God. But, is there “Perfect Weakness?” The message today said, Yes, there can be, but not without giving our weaknesses to God… and letting Him take away our doubt and give us the strength found only in His Power.

Poetic Sermon Notes

Here are the notes I took away from the message as I heard it this morning:

 

Is doubt your constant companion?
Do doubts creep into your heart?
Do you read or listen to the news
And wonder when the next war will start?

person holding a burning news paper close up photography

Photo by Connor Danylenko on Pexels.com

.
The mass murders in the USA
Are so many in number this year
That there have been more deaths by far
Than there are days, I fear.

photo of man holding rifle

Photo by Maurício Mascaro on Pexels.com

.
Struggles abound – and it’s hard
To keep our chins up!
Can there ever be peace on earth?
God, says, “Believe, trust I’ll fill your bins up!”

.
But we are a fragile people
Who struggle to see our future bright.
We wonder if we even have bins –
Let alone bins that are filled up bright.

focus photo of yellow paper near trash can

Photo by Steve Johnson on Pexels.com

.
We need to remember that God is HERE
And He can lift us up.
We need to trust His power
And know He’ll fill our cup.

pexels-photo-302899
.
We need to know that He knows
Our every struggle – our loss –
He’s here beside us by the grace
Of Jesus, who took our loss upon the cross.
.

Let’s follow His lead –
Accept His grace –
And just love one another!!
Can’t we???

mountains nature arrow guide

Photo by Jens Johnsson on Pexels.com

.
Breaking News:
29 dead and many more injured
in the past 13 hours
in the USA
in two mass shootings!

When will these senseless
tragedies cease?

What can we do??

I pray:
God bless the families,
the friends,
the loved ones of those
involved in these mass shootings
in the USA yesterday and today.
May they somehow find comfort in their faith
and in the compassionate comments,
hugs, and support of their friends.
.
I beg:
Lord, help us find solutions
for the problems of
mental illness
that rampage our country –
and the proliferation of assault weapons
that are in the hands of unstable civilians.

.
pexels-photo-887349-2
See ya tomorrow
(God willing!)

Finding Faith & Forgiveness


Thank you for joining my A-Z journey
to explore ways to add meaning to our lives.

Today is the sixth day – the letter “F.”

F = Faith & Forgiveness

They go hand-in-hand. One invites the other.

man in black long sleeved shirt and woman in black dress

Photo by Jasmine Wallace Carter on Pexels.com

FAITH

Faith is belief in the unseen. To look beyond the obvious and see endless possibilities adds depth and meaning to our lives. It opens us to gifts beyond measure.

In Mark 9:22-24, a father of a mute son said to Jesus, “If you can do anything, do it! Have a heart and help us!”

Jesus replied, “If? There are no ‘ifs’ among believers. Anything can happen.”

No sooner were the words out of his mouth than the father cried, “Then I believe. Help me with my doubts.”

In their book, Spiritual Literacy,
Frederic & Mary Ann Brussat talk about faith,
“Recognize and accept that
there is another dimension to life
than what is obvious to us.
Live with obstacles, doubt, and paradox,
knowing that God is always present in the world.”

FORGIVENESS

And because we believe in the God who is our Creator, and the One He sent to forgive us for our repeated wrong-doings to ourselves and one another, we also have the capacity to forgive.

The Brussats wrote about forgiveness:
“In both your private and public lives,
discover the sweet release
that comes from forgiving others.
Feel the healing balm
of being forgiven and
of forgiving yourself.”

Enjoy the sweet smell
Of receiving and giving
Forgiveness’ balm

UNFORGIVENESS

“I am a wretched sinner! I am going to Hell!” Mark shouted from his nursing home bed.

“Mark, we all have sinned. We all make mistakes. None of us is perfect. You have asked God to forgive you. He has! You need to forgive yourself!”

“I can’t! You don’t know how bad my sin is! You don’t know what I did! I can never forgive myself! I am miserable,” Mark moaned.

My friend, Mark, died later that week!

I don’t know if he was able to forgive himself on his deathbed, but I believe our Lord and Savior died so that Mark could be forgiven. He did believe in God. He professed his belief many times.

John 20:21-23 says,
“Again Jesus said to His disciples,
‘Peace be with you!
As the Father has sent me,
I am sending you.
And… He breathed on them and said,
‘Receive the Holy Spirit.
If you forgive anyone his sins,
they are forgiven’ …”

Are you looking for more meaning, more purpose,
and a peace that permeates your soul?

Live in Faith, my friends.
Know the Holy Spirit lives in you,
and know You ARE Forgiven.

You do not need to end your life crying in misery.
Believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God,
and that by believing you will have eternal life in His name.

“Forgive them, for they know not what they do!”

art cathedral christ christian

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

There are no ‘ifs’ among believers. Anything can happen.
He is risen indeed!

Be at peace!

 

What If?


ask blackboard chalk board chalkboard

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

Ever thought “What if?”

IFs

No, there are no IFs!
Among believers of God:
Possibilities!

 

Impossible says,
“I’m Possible,” in Jesus.
He is my Sure Rock.

 

Rockie is my name.
My sure foundation is Christ.
MY hope is in Him.

 

When you believe, too,
Your life also is secure.
Yes, there are no IFs!

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