Do you love to travel? What is your motivation to travel? Some people travel to study history. Some travel to see the scenery. Bob traveled recently to “catch the big one!” Others travel for business purposes. Why do you travel?
This week my grandson, Mike, who lived in Switzerland took a trip to Greece with his fiance’ Tania, and sent me some wonderful photos. Why do you think they traveled?
At the same time, our daughter, DeAna, sent us pictures of her travel experience. She and Andre’ (our son-in-law) are traveling to Corsica this week. Why do you think they traveled?
Bob & I traveled to Bozeman today. That kind of travel counts, don’t you think? It’s an hour’s drive… We went for several reasons: Get my new iPhone, Get help programming the phone, Get a haircut, Buy new clothes for our trip to Switzerland. Why do you think we’re going to Europe?
No, our trip to Switzerland has nothing to do with Swiss cows. Guess again!
I am praying that all these COVID tests required for flying to London, and then required for staying there, and then required for leaving and going to Switzerland will arrive on time to each of their destinations. I have faith that God hears my prayers, and God knows how much we need to see our daughter and the rest of our Swiss family. Please pray with me for all to go smoothly!
And stay tuned…
I hope to show you my favorite sites along the way.
Bob says it’ll be pretty hard to beat that wonderful, surreal trip he just took with his buddies to Alaska. Rex sent a photo of Bob fishing (there was a bear on the shore right across the river from where he was)! Just imagine that!
I can’t post that fisherman-bear photo today (gotta figure out how to reduce the size of the file and eliminate some of my WordPress photos so I have room to add more in my media library)… But, it is pretty hard to beat those kinds of experiences, huh?
God willing, and test results arriving on time, we’ll be sharing our fun in the days to come.
Where have you traveled recently? Or what’s your favorite trip?
“16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances…”
With the right attitudes, we can be young at heart no matter what our chronological age may be.
“12 The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; 13 planted in the house of the Lord, they will flourish in the courts of our God. 14 They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green, 15 proclaiming, “The Lord is upright; he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him.”
Let all who seek You rejoice and be glad in You. Let those who love Your salvation say evermore, “God is great!”
Each day has its own personality. There will be happy and sad days. Some will be quiet and restful, while others will be filled with activity.
Some will be brimming with health, others will find you facing unexpected challenges.
But, whatever the circumstance, you can find moments of delight – and you can thrive as you see the blessings hidden – even in the worst of times.
This week I learned that my friend, Paul, who was scheduled to replace our wood floor (while we are gone next month on a trip to Europe) fell off a ladder and broke some ribs. In addition to the body aches, he was suffering massive headaches. So, the doctor took x-rays.
The x-rays revealed that Paul had a brain tumor! If he had not fallen off that ladder, there might not have been the x-rays to reveal the tumor. He had brain surgery yesterday morning. The report came that “all is well.”
I don’t know if that means the tumor was benign, or if it means they got it all and he will be fine. Maybe it means all three! But, I know Who has the answers… and I know He hears my prayers.
I know everything happens for a reason… and I know God is in charge. I am so grateful the tumor was discovered! So, I can EMBRACE GOOD CHEER!
I am grateful for the faith I have that allows me to behold life through the eyes of hope and positivity.
Colors are brighter, laughter comes easier, and the joy of simply being alive sets the tone for daily celebration of life’s infinite possibilities.
On this day of remembrance (9-11), may you – with love and reverence – embrace the good cheer of memories that cherish the family members, friends, co-workers, and tireless volunteers who have made a mark upon your life.
May those memories inspire you to live with such integrity, creativity, faith, and love, that one day the memory of you will bring good cheer to all who know you.
Be in prayer for those who are hurting. Be in prayer for all who are in danger. Be in prayer for all who live in fear.
Be in prayer for those who need happiness to knock on their door today.
You’re in my prayers. God bless you with good cheer!
This old church in McAllister, Montana is a treasure! The bell in the dome still rings, though the organ in the church no longer plays and the roof and foundation of it are compromised. It needs a lot of TLC.
Its history goes back to 1885 – when the land was gifted to the Methodist Episcopal Church. In 1887 the structure was completed. It was transferred to the Presbyterian Church (where Bob & I are members) in 1952.
We (as a congregation) love this old church, and many of our members, their friends, and their grandparents or parents or children or grandchildren have been married or baptized there.
Preserving precious old churches such as this one is an ongoing responsibility. It is costly and time-consuming. Respect for what it was and how it served its community in decades past keep us loving those old buildings.
Here are a few others that are treasures in their communities. If only they could talk!
Dilapidated Sadly abandoned old church Is God still in there?
Matthew 16:6. In many ways Matthew chapter 16 is a chapter about the church. Jesus was the first to mention the church. He only mentions the church twice, and both times are here in the book of Matthew.
In Matthew 16:18 Jesus said, “And I say unto you, That you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”
This is the first time that Jesus used the word church. He used the word church only twice, so it is good to know exactly what Jesus taught about the church. It may be that the things that Jesus taught about church are the things that are the most important to know about it.
Church is a place to trust in God’s promised presence ( Matthew 18:20) as we worship Him together, out of a sense of love and obedience ( Colossians 3:16 ).
When the church is functioning biblically, it’s more active and alive when the seats are empty, and the community is filled with those seeking to activate the gospel in love for each other.
Many of these old churches were also home to the cemeteries that bear the tombstones of its deceased members.
What a shame to allow them to deteriorate and collapse. But, who has the money for restoration and maintenance?
Weekly church attendance is down in our society today. It sometimes downplayed into a legalistic ritual. According to Pewforum.org, 61% of churchgoers attend to feel closer to God, while a sizable majority of non-churchgoers state they practice their faith in other ways.
Which is the right way? Modern society may beg us to believe the choice is ours, but biblical truth is clear about going to church.
Jesus Christ seeks in earnest to meet us on a day set aside to commemorate His defeat of death, to equip us to sustain our faith until He returns.
I am so grateful for my friends who sit in the pews with me every Sunday. Indeed, they help me sustain my faith.
Old churches remind us of the value placed on weekly worship in communities gone by.
Let’s all work to keep our churches vibrant, healthy, and inviting. Don’t let it become a place of ruin!
Oh the church in the valley Is a place I know so well… Listen to Jim & Jesse sing to you about it:
Do you have a little old white church in your history?
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.