published yesterday, April 24, 2022, wrote this poem:
Marriage is a strange equation where You take 1 Person Add another Person You get a Couple So far so good Now you add 0 Expectations to it And you get infinite Love Mind-boggling!
I wrote to Frank saying, “Hmmm… zero expectations? How do you do that?” He responded, “I guess we should try and reduce it little by little. Eventually, it will get to zero.”
What do you think? Do you agree that zero expectations = infinite love?
I follow Frank’s blog along with over 22,700 other admirers of his poetry. If you will forgive me, I wish to rewrite his latest. It seems to me that marriage does not have to be a strange equation. It can be:
The Perfect Equation
Marriage can be a perfect equation when You take one person Add another person And get a couple Then you add the Love of Christ Next place the Holy Spirit in the center You add God’s expectations of compassion Mix in the joy of respect and faithfulness And you get unconditional, infinite love Now, that’s Mind-boggling!
True Friendship requires the same equation! Take one person, add another, stir in Christ’s love Center the Holy Spirit between you and Sprinkle generously with compassion and respect Remain faithful to one another, and Keep a confidential, active, listening ear You get unconditional, infinite love. Isn’t that mind-boggling?
If you were asked to create a collage of true friends who epitomize that equation, who would you include? Long-time friends, family, neighbors, church friends, internet friends, friends in heaven, those you haven’t met yet? Think about it! My collages below are by no means complete… but for starters:
Are you a reliable friend? Do you see yourself fitting into the equation? Does your collage of friends include those neighbors who stick “closer than a brother”?
Marriage and Friendship are related! They both carry with them great expectations!
24 One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
Knowing I was hurting physically because I fell and disclocated/broke my pinky finger, friends sent cards, delivered food, sent texts, called, and dropped by. Did I EXPECT such an outpouring? Not at all! But did it do the trick? You bet! Those friends delivered the cheer and encouragement that we all need when we are feeling blue or tired or sick or (as in my case) a little stupid and careless.
Knowing my granddaughter and I were hurting emotionally because she just learned of and shared with me the news of her miscarriage, friends called, wrote, texted, responded on my blog & on FB, and reached out to Hope as well. Did we expect such an outpouring? No! But was it helpful and appreciated? You bet!
Hebrews 10:24-25 Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another
The Bible is full of expectations for us. God expects us to lift one another up. He commands us… The greatest of these is LOVE. His last and final commandment: Love one another!
Reach out to a friend today. Reach out in love. Do you do it because you expect something in return? Of course!
My mom always told me, “Whatever you send into the life of others comes back into your own.”
(I’m sure she read that in the Bible somewhere!)
Thanks for visiting JanBeek today See ya tomorrow (God willing)
Who’s in your collage of friends today? Tell ’em about it! (Share my blog with ’em!!)
In my reading this morning, These Days – Daily Devotionals for Living by Faith, I was inspired by the commentary of Robin Gallaher Branch of Memphis, Tennessee. The scripture that motivated her thoughts was from Ezekiel 1-2:1
The word of the Lord came to the priest Ezekiel, son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans by the river Chebar, and the hand of the Lord was on him there.
What Does That Scripture Mean?
Study that painting. Obviously artists have been inspired by this scripture. But somehow, as I read it again, the depth of its meaning escaped me. I was not quite sure what to make of it. Robin Branch, on the other hand, saw “A Vision is a Divine Interruption.”
She wrote, “I tell my students this: Expect Divine Interruptions.”
Why? Because they occur regularly in the Bible.
And that is what she understood was happening to Ezekiel in this passage. She wrote, “He was minding his own business when the heavens suddenly opened.”
Another artist depicted the scene this way:
Wow! Robin Branch describes it in words, “He saw four living creatures in human-like forms. Each had four faces: those of human being, lion, ox, and eagle… When the creatures moved, their wings sounded like mighty waters.”
What did he do? Ezekiel’s response was, “I fell on my face.” (verse 28)
God Interrupts Our Lives
Ezekiel shows us what to do when God interrupts our lives with a vision, a dream, or an angelic encounter. Worship and wait to be addressed!
But, how many of us have had God present Himself to us in a vision or a dream or an angelic encounter?
Maybe more of us than we realize! Do we open our eyes and hearts to recognize those defining moments? Do we see the angels in our midst? Do we know God makes divine appointments with us? Do we feel His presence?
Live in Expectancy
Do you live in a state of expectation, looking to see God in others? Do you know God is making broken things brand new? I see God in you! I see God in the defining moments of my life.
Daily Word, a Unity Publication, provides a daily word (or words) to ponder. It has a short devotional to enhance the word. Today’s word was “Expectation.” In the commentary, the title was, “Expectation keeps my mind positive and my heart full.
“Living in a state of expectancy kindles a quiet excitement in my heart, keeping me passionate about life.”
If I live in expectancy, I encounter defining moments …
Moments that define us are often not recognized until years later.
What are Defining Moments?
Of course, if you are married happily, you know a defining moment in your life is your wedding. That one is easy to recognize.
Defining moments are those that impact you, change your direction, or reinforce it. They change your thinking. They wake you up to an Ah-hah moment, or they sit quietly in your subconscious – ready for the day you are prepared to recognize their impact and put their lesson to work in your life.
I asked Bob, as we were together in our sanctuary this morning, doing our Bible Study and devotionals, “What are the defining moments of your life?”
Right away, he said, “Our wedding day.”
See, I told you.. that one’s a given. Especially for folks like us who have stuck it out through thick and thin for 59 years!
Not All Are Positive
Not all of your defining moments are going to be the mountaintop experiences. Some are experienced in the valleys of our lives.
One of mine was when I had a burst appendix. I thought I was constipated and that’s why I ached so much. I tried laxatives. I tried a therapeutic massage. It just got worse. Finally the pain was so intense, I couldn’t sleep and I was crying out. Bob took me at midnight to the emergency room in the hospital just 5 minutes from home. They ran a bunch of tests, took x-rays, thought it was diverticulitis. Sent the x-rays to the larger hospital in Bozeman (an hour’s drive away). The doctors there looked at them and called to say, “Get that lady in here right now! She has a burst appendix.”
Why was this a “defining moment”? A dear lady (one of our medical center volunteers named Donna) road with me in the ambulance to Bozeman held my hand and prayed with me the whole way. She was an angel on earth! She helped me survive the painful ride to the hospital. Once there, the doctors told me I could have died. At my age (I was 79 or 80), many don’t survive such an ordeal.
it’s probably not a good idea to ignore excruciating pain or self-medicate
it’s not wise to diagnose your own ailment
a prayer angel can make all the difference between life/death and comfort/agony
Some Defining Moments are Very Positive
A mountaintop defining moment for me occurred when I was only 16 years old. It was the summer between my junior and senior years in high school. I was attending a summer “Music Therapy Clinic” at the College of the Pacific. One of our participants was a little boy named Jeremy. He about 4 years old and had never spoken. He had a voice. He could scream when he was upset. He could moan. He could whimper. But he had not spoken any words.
My music therapy counselor/teacher, Mrs. Harbert, was playing the piano. We all were sitting on the floor in a circle. Each of us had a child in our lap. Mine was Jeremy. Mrs. Harbert was playing a non-sensical, very rhythmic song. Its only word was “Hospodipomilwi.”
I bounced Jeremy on my lap and sang quietly in his ear.
All of a sudden, Jeremy began to sing!! “Hospodipomilwi”
A year or so later, I saw Jeremy and his mom when I was shopping near the college. She said, “I can’t believe I used to pray for him to speak. Now I can’t get him to stop talking!”
There is no greater thrill than to help a needy child
Music is magical
I wanted a career where I could work with children and music
God’s Divine Interruptions Change Us
We were living in California. Bob was still working as a beekeeper. I was retired. He wasn’t sure he was ready to retire yet, but we talked about it. We didn’t know where we wanted to live after his retirement, but we were pretty sure we didn’t want to stay in California. The state was growing in population faster than the the infra-structure could handle the numbers.
Then he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Life changed. We changed.
I won’t take you through the whole three year process, just suffice to say, it was a defining moment! His cancer caused us to reevaluate where we were, who we were, and where we wanted to be.
It is the reason we now live in this place we call God’s Country, Ennis Montana.
The Road of Life is Filled with Defining Moments
The road of life is filled with highs, lows, mountaintops and valleys, potholes and gravel.
When life knocks you down, when you are going along minding your own business and the heavens open up, or the bridge collapses and you fall into a crevice, remember Ezekiel.
He fell on his face. He called out to God. He waited for God to direct him.
Let God’s still small voice direct you. Like my Donna, watch for the angels all around you.
Let His strength illuminate your path. Like Josh Williams, see God in others and let their strength encourage you.
Let the defining moments speak to you. Like Jeremy, find your voice and sing! Hos-po-di-po-mil-wi
Enthusiasm: Expressions of elation – Show your excitement!!
Like this flower child, I’m over the top gleeful. Timing perfection!
I’ve shared confusion And dismay for the slowness Of resolutions.
But if I let go – And put it all in God’s hands, His timing’s perfect!
I can’t tell you more Than to say I see the light At the tunnel’s end.
Yesterday I worked All day to finalize the Membership notice
Our Number One pick Has accepted our first call – Returning to preach.
The congregation Will hear her message. It’s all in God’s hands.
The Lord says, “Relax! Know I have got you covered. It’ll be alright.”
Embrace excitement! Continue to be in prayer. Let God surprise you.
You know I have been knee-deep in the process of trying to find the pastor candidate God has in mind for our Presbyterian Church here in Ennis, MT.
It’s been nearly a year of searching. By the end of this month, I should be able to show you her face… and tell you about her. Meantime, she will return in a couple of weeks and preach to our congregation and they will be given the chance to vote. If they approve, then the Presbytery gets to vote.
The Lord says, “Paaay-shuns!!”
It will all happen in His perfect timing. I believe that. But, I can’t contain my excitement at the prospects of what the future holds!
“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.”
Perhaps you were born for such a time as this.
Wait expectantly! Open your eyes to the fulfillment of your deepest prayers!
Embrace Enthusiasm! Are you excited about something in your future? What is it?
Yesterday I posted a question, “What do you expect When you hear Expectation?” Today I added an S to the word.
What does that do to the meaning for you? Derrick Knight responded yesterday saying, “Expectation can sometimes be a touch optimistic.” The picture of the pregnant gal shows such optimism to me.
She is probably more than “a touch” optimistic!
Expectation to me is personal. It is what I am looking forward to – or not. But the added S causes it to take on a different nuance. “Expectations” often come from others in my mind.
In Luke 21:26, the expectation the men felt was the “or not.”
“… men fainting from fear and the expectation of the things which are coming upon the world; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.”
But in Philippians, the expectation is that optimistic viewpoint Derrick was talking about:
As it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death.
Expectations from others can often produce stress. People sometimes put pressure on us to be more than we feel capable of being.
On the other hand, expectations can be motivating. Is someone expecting you to perform right now? Is that person an encourager, telling you, “You can do this! You’re strong enough… smart enough… capable enough”?
Embrace those expectations! Believe those accolades. Let that encouragement motivate you. You are not given more than you can do… … with God’s help!
In yesterday’s Daily Word, the word for March 30, 2021 was “Expectation.” The statement at the top of the page was,
“Expectation keeps me passionate about my life.”
In the article expounding on the subject, the message emphasized was:
“Expectation keeps me in a state of gratitude… I claim peace, prosperity, and joy in prayer. I carry a confident expectation into my daily life.”
In the midst of this pandemic, with social distancing, mask-wearing, and the administration of vaccines becoming more and more politicized, it is sometimes difficult to follow the advice of that Daily Word message. Sometimes when the expectations of the world weigh us down, when dissension and divisiveness try to bury our joy, it is easy to fall into a dark mood.
So, the message today is to take those expectations And color them brightly with the promises of Easter. Remember that today marks the day that Jesus was Honored with a flask of expensive perfume poured on him.
The disciples who were scornful were reminded To keep their focus on the expectations of Christ: He knew He would die, be buried, and rise again. My expectation is to do the same – due to His sacrifice.
I am planted today with the expectation That I will grow from the Sea of Expectations To rise in encouragement and hope- So that I can spread that optimism to others.
EMBRACE POSITIVE EXPECTATIONS
Have a Happy, Meaningful Holy Week. Whatever you are being called to do, believe you can, expect that you will. Get on with it!
Happy Second Sunday of Advent, my friends! It’s the Sunday devoted to the subject of JOY.
Last year at this time, as I looked forward to Christmas and New Years, I was thinking about what to give for presents. I also gave thought to what I was wishing for… what I was expecting for Christmas and for the year to come. I posted this wish for 2019:
Joyfully, I can report that we have been blessed with good health and a wealth of friends and loving family, and blissful days. Not EVERY day was perfect, of course, – we all face challenges from time to time – but I am eternally thankful – daily for the JOY and peace and the love that are mine.
And now we are back in that holiday season again – looking forward to Christmas and the new year. As a congregation of worshipers, we all were drawn into that expectant mood today.
Here are my sermon notes. (If you have followed my blog for awhile, you know I take notes poetically as I listen to the sermon each Sunday.)
Today in church, Pastor Steve Hundley’s message was titled, “What Are You Expecting?”
What are you expecting for Christmas? Reindeer on your rooftop or Santa Claus Coming down your chimney? Better reset your sights because…
Clyde came dressed up as Santa. He was a crusty old guy, And he looked like Ghandi. But the problem was, he was high.
Clyde was high on Moonshine. He was a jolly old soul, But I was not impressed. Clyde was far from my expected goal.
I was expecting the real Santa, And I knew Clyde wasn’t he. Like expectations of Santa, The world is waiting expectantly…
For the birth of a Savior King, And instead here comes a baby, Born in a lowly stable. He’s not the King He’s s’posed to be!
John the Baptist predeicted The coming of this Royal King. He spoke of confession and judgement. He told the world about everything…
God’s prophets of old had proclaimed, “A Savior of Priestly stock would come.” John was so convincing, folks thought He might in fact be God’s promised Son.
But John assured them Jesus was The Savior King they’d waited for. Even though Jesus was loving and kind, Not the Leader with sword. They wanted more…
More of what they had expected. “Are you really the One?” they inquired. “Don’t look elsewhere; just see what I’ve done – Go,” Jesus said. “Go and be inspired.”
Jesus reminded them that He was Indeed doing what Isaiah said: “The blind will see; the deaf shall hear; The lame will walk. Believe I AM Christ. GOD IS NOT DEAD!”
Have a Wonderful Sunday! I hope you are expecting the Risen Christ! He’s coming again, you know.
Welcome to Day #14
of my A-Z series: Adding Meaning and Finding Purpose in Life
Today’s letter is “N”
The title, “Naomi’s Nurturing News” is inspired by the Biblical account of Naomi, a destitute widow. The story is told in the book of Ruth.
We all have a lot to learn from Naomi and God’s steadfastness in her life.
When a famine occurred in her home area of Bethlehem, the widow migrated with her two boys to Moab, where she intended to ride out the famine – and then eventually return with them – where she imagined her sons would marry hometown girls. She dreamed of living a productive and happy life near them, filled with grandchildren.
However, her dreams were shattered when her sons married Moabite women, produced no grandchildren, and then both sons died. She did eventually return to Bethlehem, but she was a beaten-down woman who told her old friends who greeted her by name to call her “Bitter” instead.
With God working behind the scenes, a few chapters later, we see a transformed Naomi, filled with joy and a new zest for life. Yes, our God is an awesome God. The Good News from Naomi’s story is the power of nurturing love to bring life’s true meaning and purpose to fruition.
Naomi is a woman whose story
Inspires me to want to know
How to develop her nurturing spirit
And watch my family’s greatness grow.
Naomi moved from Jerusalem
To Moab with her two sons.
She dreamed that they would marry
Israelite women – but they were not the ones
The boys selected for their wives –
Instead Moabites were chosen
And when her sons both died,
Naomi’s life seemed hopelessly frozen.
She told her daughters-in-law that
Jerusalem was calling her home.
“Stay here and remarry,” she encouraged.
“Don’t come with me to roam.”
But one of those lovely ladies,
(Ruth was her name, we read),
Told Naomi she would go with her
And take care of her every need.
In spite of Naomi’s objections,
Ruth did exactly that – she went –
And stayed with Naomi faithfully;
Loving her back with every second spent.
Naomi’s nurturing spirit
Helped Ruth find Boaz, her new love,
And eventually came the baby, Obed,
A gift from God above.
Instead of dying bitter and alone,
Naomi’s life was full, not hollow.
Her nurturing spirit invited love –
Her faith is an example we can follow.
Don’t let life’s troubles stop your heart
From reaching out to others in love.
The more you give, the more you’ll get,
In blessings galore from our God above.
Luke 17:6 teaches us, “If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.”
Naomi’s story reminds me that life is not always fair. Our dreams do not always come true. We will have days (maybe even months or years) of questions, wrestling, and searching for answers. But, God has room for our questions and our searching. God is with us during our periods of bitterness, our uncertainty, and our doubting. God does not give up on us.
To find more meaning and to ultimately fulfill our purpose in life, we need Naomi’s mustard seed faith. We must trust God and cling to Him. Develop consistent prayer time … regular, open, heart-felt conversation with God. He will give us what He gave to Naomi: a new zest for life.
Trust – and work with our nurturing God as He writes a new chapter in your life.
He has promised to protect and provide for you all your life. Pick up your mustard seed faith – and watch Him fulfill His promises in you!