Do you embrace trust? In whom do you place your trust? The Lord says, “Trust Me!”
Then He said to His disciples, “Why can’t you trust Me?”
Are you facing strife? Is life full of challenges? Where do you place trust?
Do you have answers – Solutions all by yourself? Independence sucks!
Interdependence Is what the Lord asks of us. Put your hand in His!
When you reach to Him, Count on His hand there for you. Invest time with God.
Commit to trust Him. Recount His great faithfulness. Put away your doubts.
Give God something small. Then allow yourself to trust Him with bigger things.
Psalm 91 is a profound reminder that nothing can separate us from the love of God. It’s a strong reminder of God’s loving care and protection. It is a call to trust in God, even in the midst of danger. The Psalmist reminds us of the safest place:
“Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the Shadow of the Almighty.”
Bob and I are facing some challenging situations these days related to his health, our own home improvements, and church property decisions. We are not alone in facing these dilemmas, but opinions of others can often be conflicting. The Bible tells us that we must put our trust in the one who stills the waters. Lay our souls bare before the Lord and listen for His mighty word… Watch for His guidance … Seek His counsel.
Often the road to answers has a fork in it. Knowing which path to take requires discernment, openness, and trust.
Don’t overlook your life’s importance or minimize its worth. It doesn’t matter if you’re on an allowance or Social Security. No matter where you are in life, you have so much to give.
The vital part of your life never disappears or fades away. Each of us is vital to God. He gives us the courage to go out and live, to heed His call, and step out in faith on a new journey today.
In faithful obedience, lean forward to hear Him. He doesn’t shout. His call is quiet and personal. Get serious. Listen carefully. Are you up for a new journey? Have faith and step out!
I wrote the poem, “Have Faith and Step Out” in 2002 while we were still living in California. I had officially retired from teaching in 1999, but daily I was looking for new direction, new purpose, new adventures. The International Library of Poetry published the poem in its 2002 Anthology of Poetry and sent me a dozen greeting cards with the poem printed on the front of them. Today I am using one of those cards for a friend who is stepping onto a new path.
The poem has become more meaningful in the nearly 20 years since its creation. The older I am, the more I realize, “No matter where you are in life, you have so much to give.” Your age doesn’t matter. Your place doesn’t matter. What matters is your mindset, your faith, your motivation.
Today Bob is out on Lucille (our red-headed ATV on which we have a “Ball”) with his former student, Victor, who is visiting from Alabama. Victor was Bob’s wrestling student back in the 1970’s. He reminded us that Bob also was his Drivers Education teacher. They are on an adventure – going to a lake above Sheridan. Our Boston, TazE, is with them. Ah, yes, step out in faith. Have fun!
Where He leads me, I will follow!
Remember, no matter where you are in life, you have so much to give.
Where are you being called to go today? What are you being called to do? Whatever it is, step out in faith. He will give you grace and glory… He’ll be with you all the way!
When you hear the word “steadfastness,” what comes to mind?
Steadfastness comes from the root word, STEADY. I watched our family in Tahoe last month play that game that tests how steady your hands are and how skilled you are at choosing what can be removed from the wooden pyramid without toppling the whole thing over.
The collegiate definition of steadfast is:
“firmly fixed in place” or “not subject to change” or “firm in belief, determination, or adherence”
Synonyms for steadfastness include:
constant, dedicated, devoted, devout, faithful, fast, steady, and true.
So, when I think of the word steadfastness, I think of faithfulness and dedication. I think of forever friends who stick by us – always there for us in good times and bad. I think of marriage – -the ones that last – and I am grateful for Bob’s steadfastness.
As a Man of God, Bob has exhibited for nearly 60 years the steadfastness of the Lord in our marriage. I am so grateful that God steered me in Bob’s direction when it was time to choose a partner for life. I can substitute Bob’s name for God’s name in this hymn – because Bob’s steadfastness has been so Christ-like. I truly am blessed!
I am grateful that our families (both Bob’s and mine) set an example of faithfulness for us. There have been no divorces among our parents or grandparents for as far back as we can trace our roots. Likewise, our current families have set an example of faithfulness for our children and grandchildren.
Our son, Ty, and his wife, Monika will celebrate 32 years of marriage this September.
Our daughter, DeAna, and her husband, Andre’ have just celebrated their 34th anniversary. Here are Bob & me 34 years ago at her wedding.
The dress she wore was my dress 25 years earlier – and she was married in the same University of Pacific chapel where Bob & I were wed. The steadfastness of family and traditions makes God smile, I’m sure.
Are you smiling, too?
The pillar is our faith – and the ropes are us – connected through faith for a lifetime and eternity – together – firm in belief, determination, and adherence!
When you EMBRACE STEADFASTNESS and consider the application of that word in your life and acquaintances, what image comes to your mind?
Thanks for visitingJanBeek today. See ya tomorrow(God willing)
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
In a world of self-reliance, Where “I can do it” is king, Being reliant on others Is construed as a “weakness thing.”
But, as Christians we are taught To rely not on our own strength. “Lean not on your own understanding.” God is within a prayer’s length.
In today’s prayerful message, Our wonderful pastor, Mary Grace, Talked about God’s will and love, And seeking our Lord, face-to-face.
“God of forgiveness, hear our confession to you. You have called us to excellence in compassion and we fall short of your confidence in us. You grant us grace and we abuse your gift. You expect us to align our hearts with your will and that our love will be genuine. But we trust our own desires rather than rely on your goodness. We look after our own comfort instead of our neighbor’s needs. In Christ, have mercy on us and forgive us our sins. Amen”
As you know (if you’ve followed my blog for a couple of weeks or more), I take copious notes as I listen to the sermon through my fingertips each Sunday. Sometimes I translate what I am hearing into poetry. Today’s doesn’t rhyme. It’s free verse. But it poured out as I tried to capture the main ideas. First, look at the scripture on which the sermon was based.
Jesus Raises a Dead Girl and Heals a Sick Woman
21 When Jesus had again crossed over by boat to the other side of the lake, a large crowd gathered around him while he was by the lake. 22 Then one of the synagogue leaders, named Jairus, came, and when he saw Jesus, he fell at his feet. 23 He pleaded earnestly with him, “My little daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live.” 24 So Jesus went with him.
A large crowd followed and pressed around him. 25 And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. 26 She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. 27 When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, 28 because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” 29 Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.
30 At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?”
31 “You see the people crowding against you,” his disciples answered, “and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?’ ”
32 But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. 33 Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. 34 He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”
35 While Jesus was still speaking, some people came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue leader. “Your daughter is dead,” they said. “Why bother the teacher anymore?”
36 Overhearing[a] what they said, Jesus told him, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.”
37 He did not let anyone follow him except Peter, James and John the brother of James. 38 When they came to the home of the synagogue leader, Jesus saw a commotion, with people crying and wailing loudly. 39 He went in and said to them, “Why all this commotion and wailing? The child is not dead but asleep.” 40 But they laughed at him.
After he put them all out, he took the child’s father and mother and the disciples who were with him, and went in where the child was. 41 He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum!” (which means “Little girl, I say to you, get up!”). 42 Immediately the girl stood up and began to walk around (she was twelve years old). At this they were completely astonished. 43 He gave strict orders not to let anyone know about this, and told them to give her something to eat.
The sermon title was “Fools for Hoping”
“Secondhand Lions” was a movie with Caine and Duvall. The fictional characters were replicas of my grandfather and uncle! The film is wonderful and whimsical (don’t believe the critics). Believe what you want to believe… and here are some essentials: “What every boy needs to know” – a speech worth hearing…
People are basically good
Money and power mean nothing
True love never dies
Integrity means everything
Love, truth, and integrity are essential
True or not, those are worth believing!
We don’t see much love in the news these days. The news is full of the ways we are really awful to one another. Recent news revealed 751 unmarked graves of indigenous children found this week in Canada. Children taken from their families and forced to attend the former Marieval Indian Residential School.
Survivors, community honour 751 unmarked graves at Sask. residential school site with vigil
Seven-hundred and fifty-one lights spanned the entirety of the unmarked graves discovered on Cowessess First Nation in southeast Saskatchewan where a large group of people, many wearing orange clothes, gathered on Saturday night in honour of the remains.
An elder in the community who spoke at the vigil likened the finding of 751 unmarked graves to a scab that had been “slowly healing” being ripped off.
Not one of us is wholly good, so the natural inclination When confronted with our sinful nature is despair. Confession and repentance are the next steps, but Where do we go after confession?
We need to define our beliefs and act on hope… Even when it seems foolish to do so. Be ready to be made fools for your integrity. Stand up for what is right… stand up for Truth!
The woman in Mark 5 took the show! Jesus asked, “Who touched me?” The disciples laughed, “Everyone’s touching you!” Jairus was impatient, “My daughter needs you!”
He wondered why Jesus was taking precious time To deal with a woman with a 12 year infirmity. Let’s assume the woman just happened to be Outside the crowd that day and heard of Jesus.
She heard Jairus – with hopefulness in his voice – Asking Jesus to help his dying daughter. His hope inspired her hope as well. Two lives were saved that day.
Our speech, our attitudes, and our actions Can have a positive affect on others. We need to consciously lean on God With hope and trust and mindfulness.
Jairus could have listened to his tears, But he stepped up and listened to hope. His act of believing in the power of Christ to heal Allowed other to respond in hope, too.
“Your faith has made you whole,” Jesus told The woman whose hemorrhaging stopped. The only way out is reaching out in the hope That God’s love will make life better.
I’ll stay a fool for hope!
Rely on God
I’ll stay a fool for God.
HOW ABOUT YOU?
Thanks for sharing a part of your Sunday with me. I hope you have a wonderful week.
Daily Guideposts 2021 devotional today inspired this blog topic. After I chose “Multiplying” as my EMBRACE theme today, every place I looked, I saw evidence of answers to my question, “But what needs to be multiplied?”
When you hear/read the word “multiplying” what comes to mind? I asked Bob that question this morning after my devotional time while we were chatting at the breakfast table.
“Increasing comes to mind. Numbers come to mind,” he answered.
What comes to your mind?
In her blog this morning, Marva Seaton wrote about multiplying. She didn’t use the word, but the concept definitely was there.
Today was a very important, memorable day at our church. It was Father’s Day, yes… and we honored our fathers and our Father in Heaven. But the real LIGHT of the day was the opportunity to be in church on this special Sunday when Mary Grace Reynolds, was presenting her first sermon as our official new pastor. MGR is fresh out of seminary, but she conducted the service as if she had ten years of experience! We are so blessed to have her at Madison Valley Presbyterian Church here in Ennis, MT. If you ever are in our area on a Sunday, you MUST come and experience the Holy Spirit alive and well in this little community!!
Her sermon title was, “There’s a Light On.”
If you have followed my blog for a week or more, you know that most Sundays as I listen to the sermon, I take notes – and most of the time I take them in some form of poetry. Today was no exception. Here is what I heard through my JanBeek filter:
I feel the Holy Spirit Perched on my shoulder. How we understand where we’ve been Matters a lot as we grow older.
Even though this is a new beginning, We sit on the blessings and woes of the past. We incorporate these into who we are As we step into the future – at last.
Genesis One spoke to me this week. Looking at effortless, timeless majesty, We are reminded of God’s control As the mountains loom with no hesitancy.
God holds all the cards; we don’t! The utility of history – truth and facts – Reminds us to adapt historical records As we articulate how God in creation acts.
God’s power was articulated in Genesis By stories and memories told with persistence. The Israelites were reminded of their God Who breathed the world into existence.
The creation story reminded them of hope – The hope and identity they have in God. Our stories tell who and where we’ve been. They reveal our cracks, our cobwebs, our sin.
We can look back at the God Who turned the light on within us, And we notice God’s sovereignty – Grateful for how His Son freed sin from us.
The Israelites remember the pain They had in exile for so many years. We too remember the pain and grief Of life – and thank God for drying our tears.
As we move as a church body Into newness, remember the past. Recall how He kept the light on – And move joyfully into the future – at last.
God is in this place with us Sure as the sun continues to rise. We’re challenged to move forward now Knowing we’re guided by the Light of God’s eyes.
There’s a Light On! Embrace the Light! Amen.
Toward the end of the service, Mary Grace presented a beautiful Pastoral Prayer. I took notes as I prayed this prayer with her:
Holy God, be with us. Most High God, comfort and heal the afflicted. Lord, grant Your presence. Bring them out of their suffering. Lord, we know You can – and You do. Almighty God, whom we sometimes call Father, pour out Your spirit on all fathers who are working today to provide food for their families, and to keep them sheltered. Eternal God, whom we still call Father, You are so much more than earthly fathers. Make whole what has been broken. Most Loving God, we give thanks for all those we call father. Thanks for all those who sacrifice for their children. God, whom we call Father, we stand in praise and awe of Your Power. Remind us You are in the boat and You have the Light on! Amen
Hear our prayer, O Lord. Hear our prayer, O Lord. Incline Thine ear to us, And grant us Thy peace.
Have a beautiful, blessed Sunday, my friends, And a very Happy Father’s Day. See ya tomorrow (God willing) – Love, JanBeek
Has anyone ever taught you HOW to pray? Here is a 7 step process that my grand-nephew was studying today. I listened in.
GRATITUDE: Get comfortable. Be still. Deeply breathe in. Breathe out by anxiety. Express Gratitude to God. Tell God what you are grateful for.
AWARENESS. Revisit the times in the past 24 hours when you were the best version of yourself. Then talk to God about the times when you were not the best version of yourself. Talk to Him abut hw you will handle the situation better in the future.
SIGNIFICANT MOMENT… recall a moment when you felt God was trying to teach you something through an event or action. Talk to God about that significant moment.
PEACE: Ask God to forgive you for anything you have done that you feel badly bout. Ask for forgiveness, and ask God to fill Yyou with deep, deep, peace.
FREEDOM: Ask God to help you be the best version of yourself. Ask him how you can change to be the person He made you to be. Ask God for the Courage and Strength to make this change in your life.
OTHERS: Lift up to God anyone you feel you want to lift to Hi today. Ask for the specific way you want God to bless the people in your life that you care about. One at a time, bring them to God.
OUR FATHER: Pray the prayer you might often say by rote. But this time, say it slowly and find meaning in each phrase: Our Father, who art in heaven Hallowed be Thy name Thy kingdom come Thy will be done On earth as it is in heaven Give us this day our daily bread And forgive us our debts As we forgive our debtors Lead us not into temptation But deliver us from evil For Thine is the Kingdom, And the Power, And the Glory Forever. Amen
Yesterday I wrote about embracing a clear conscience. Then I went up to my sanctuary and read some of my devotionals. As is often the case, I was astounded at how God synchronizes my reading and writing and my life.
One of my devotionals is a Bible Study published by the Moody Bible Institute, Today in the Word.
My friend, Caroline, and I are studying the books of 1st & 2nd Thessalonians. The topic on Wednesday was “Living with Integrity.” Integrity is one of my favorite words … one of the most important life concepts. Without it, there is no way we can have a clear conscience!!
“Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life.”
A quiet life is one that knows when to tune out the thunder, avoid the noise and the crowds, and settle into a peaceful place where introspection is possible.
If we never steal ourselves away from the hustle and bustle long enough to look at ourselves honestly and listen to the Holy Spirit directing us, and analyze our thoughts and actions, how can we hope to live a life of quiet integrity with a clear conscience?
The Moody devotional reminded me:
“A quiet life does not mean moving to the country. It can be described as taking care of one’s own responsibilities, as opposed to meddling in others’ affairs. Such a person is peaceable and respectful of others.”
When we stop, take a break, slow down, and look around us and inside our souls, we open ourselves to discover the beauty and the peace around and in us.
Thanks for visiting JanBeek.
I love hearing about how you’re doing… What’s your secret to a clear conscience and a peaceful existence?