Thank you, Vitu Santos for this wonderful photo. It speaks volumes to me… and it exhibits to me the message of today’s sermon…
At the Madison Valley Presbyterian Church in Ennis, MT today, Rev. Steve Hundley delivered his sermon titled, “Is Your Cross Too Heavy?” The Lord prompted me to take my sermon notes in the shape of a cross. The photo of the cross sermon above is the result of that effort.
To illustrate his point – that we need to give Jesus our burdens, lighten our load, and live in joy, Rev. Steve used this story:
“It’s hard for an egg to become a bird, but it would be harder for a bird to fly while still in the egg.”
Let go the egg… and FLY! Give Jesus your burdens and follow Him with JOY, not because you HAVE to, but because you WANT to.
God bless you with the JOY of Life Given Away because you WANT to!
Have a Happy Labor Day weekend. See ya tomorrow. Love, JanBeek
Faithful is a Yellowstone moose. He’s 14 years old! When our granddaughter, Faith, was about 10 years old, she visited us here in Montana. As a family, we visited Yellowstone Park. She and her three siblings each were given a little money to select a souvenir from the gift shop. As kids typically do, they chose something for themselves. But, Faith was not typical. She selected this moose – and gave it to me as a present … a thank you for their visit.
Today is Faith and her husband, Kyle’s wedding anniversary. They were married a year ago. Faith is as thoughtful a young lady as she was as a little ten-year-old. Every morning I say a special prayer for Faith and Kyle as I make my bed, and put “Faithful” back in his central place of honor in front of the pillows.
Fourteen years has taken its toll on Old Faithful. His hat is torn – and it was chewed a little by TazE when she was a puppy. But still, I cherish this little stuffed moose.
I tuck the torn hat in under his antler and ask the Lord,
“Please watch over Faith and Kyle. Tuck them under Your wings, O Lord, just as I tuck Faithful’s hat under his ear. Give them health and happiness, love and longevity. Keep them safe. And help them lean on Your love and their Faithfulness this day and every day. Amen.”
May they love with a universal love – always generous, compassionate, grateful and hopeful, brave and forgiving, proud and yet humble.
Do you have children? Or grandchildren? How about great-grandchildren? The most important gift you can give them is the gift of daily prayer.
God bless you, Faith and Kyle. And both our children and their families. Yes, we are so blessed. Thank You, God, for You are always FAITHFUL!
We need a faith so color blind, So free from time-worn lies, That when we look from face to face, We see the eyes of God.
We need an ethic of respect, An honest pledge of trust, That when we share the deepest things, We feel the warmth of God.
We need to act as well as speak, To see each other’s sweat, That as we we labor side by side, We do the work of God.
Come, Christians, look for character, And not for shade of skin, That as we rend the walls of race, We live the peace of God.
In the YouTube video below, hang in there through the introduction to the song, and then let the words, the music, the interaction of the performers, and the joy of the audience and children LIFT YOU UP… “Raise you up to more than you can be!”
With FAITH and God’s help, we CAN and we will be part of the healing solution for this divided world. We WILL be part of the change we hope to see in our world. We PLEDGE to be agents of UNITY!
All you need is LOVE, FAITH, and DETERMINATION to see the eyes of God, feelthe warmth of God, dothe work of God, and live the peace of God.
Together, we can be the change we wish to see in the world. Let’s get to work!
Thanks for joining me. See ya tomorrow. Love, JanBeek
If you’re happy and you know it, How do you show it?
In this joyful video, Children from around the world Teach us how to let others know it…
I dare you to play this video and NOT SMILE!! Come on, sing along – and JUST DO IT!!
A-Z What Makes You Happy
Years ago I did an A-Z series on what makes me happy. It started when I was stuck at a railroad track with a stalled train blocking my way to a luncheon engagement. I already was late, and now I was grumbling. Of course, my mood and grumbles didn’t move the train. I decided to change my mood and start thinking happy thoughts instead of growling at the Lord.
Those minutes sitting at the train tracks turned into a 26 day blogging series that included a letter a day: A = ______, B = ______, C = _______ …. you get the idea.
Today I found a new friend… I reposted her blog from today on WordPress and then started to peruse her site. What a delight!
Her by-line says her mission is: “Seeking faith and wisdom in God’s word, a supportive website for the Christian journey.” In her “About” section, I found her picture. I love being able to visualize my fellow bloggers, don’t you?
Get to Know Blogging Friends
I am having fun getting better acquainted with this delightful mother of a 23-year-old daughter and grandmother of a darling little boy and adorable twin girls. She (I have yet to discover her name) reminds me very much of my across the street neighbor, Penny. So for now that’s what I will call her.
P.S. I just received a response from “Penny.” Her name is Lesley!
Today if I did the A-Z exercise in what makes me happy, I’d have to substitute A = apples (or whatever I said way back then) to A = Abide in God.
What would you put for your A = ______ ?
Lesley has a few sub-blogs. If you click on “Abide in God” up there, you will see her other sub-titles. One of them is “Today I am Thankful for…” But when I click there, it says its content is password protected. Lesley – if you are reading this, I want to join that part of your journey. How do I get in? I am knocking at the door!
Hello, Lesley – Let me in… I like your link to supportive websites and the reference to James 1:5
With supportive friends like you out there, and the Bible as our guide, this Christian walk can be more do-able! It makes me happy to know that I have you as a soul sister whose purpose matches mine. Together, we can:
Today what makes me happy includes: F = Finding your blog and Following it.
Another blog I follow that makes me happy every day is: D = Derrick’s garden! derrickjknight – If you don’t know Derrick and Jackie, do yourself a favor and go meet them today!
I come to their garden alone … not really alone, for Jackie & Nugget are there… and Derrick is behind the camera, and the dew is not still on the roses:
Jackie, Derrick’s dear wife (master gardener) is busy at work. Her smile makes me happy. J = Jackie’s smile! (Thanks, Derrick, for your beautiful photography.)
Thank you, Jackie, for sharing your wonderful gardening results with us. I can’t grow roses here in Montana. The antelope eat the buds and chew off the leaves! So I am deeeelighted that you share yours.
Be Happy With What You Have
Show others your joy! A part of being happy Is looking around.
Appreciate life And be thankful for your friends; Share in their blessings.
Don’t focus on lack. But look at what you have got, And thank our Father.
Have a Wonderful Week! Thank you for visiting JanBeek today. I hope it made you happy.
I have heard (and often repeated) the phrase, “Fear is the opposite of Faith.“
Fear or Faith?
Are wearing a mask, washing your hands often/thoroughly, and practicing social distancing acts of fear?
Is opening your home or your church, your store or your restaurant with no extra precautions due to COVID-19 an act of faith?
Is being too cautious an act of fear? (What does “too cautious” look like?)
Was shutting down our church at the height of the virus pandemic being too cautious? Was it contradictory to our faith?
To Open or Not to Open
Many questions of fear or faith were posed during our sermon today by Rev. Steve Hundley. I’ve listed ten of them below. We met as a congregation in the church building for the first time in twelve weeks. We’ve been ZOOM meeting since this pandemic was announced in the USA in mid-March.
To keep people safe, every other row of pews was ribboned off and people sat at least six feet apart in the pews.
During the hymns, Fran played a verse on the piano while the congregation either listened, read the words silently in the hymnals, or hummed along. For now, no singing out loud. That was hard for those of us who love to sing. But the emissions from singing travel farther than those of just talking … some even further than coughing or sneezing. So, we were cautious.
Jim Forsberg provided special music during the service. Playing his guitar and singing… one of the numbers he sang was an old time favorite, “Jesus Loves the Little Children.” The lyrics go on to say, “all the children of the world… red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight; Jesus loves the little children of the world.” So pertinent in light today’s issues of racial inequality.
In the photo above, Jim and his wife, Jo, are chatting with Fran about the music – and I am sure commenting on how good it is to see one another again.
Mask or Not?
This mom had her hands full with this adorable, very active little guy. Murray keeps us all smiling with his exuberant energy. I love seeing the little ones in our worship service. Pastor Steve quoted a doctor at our Madison Valley Medical Center who said masks on children can be more bothersome and dangerous than no mask at all because children have a tendency to touch their face more when wearing one.
Here is Murray’s dad and little sister:
Questions to Ponder
Rev. Steve Hundley posed some very thought-provoking questions in his sermon today. He didn’t really give us answers… just left the questions for us to ponder:
Is God angry with us?
Is God larger than this dreaded virus? (He said the affirmative of that was a quote from a pastor who opened his church early on in the pandemic … and later died of the virus)
Was shutting down the church for 12 weeks contradictory to our faith? (Some of our members were not happy about the closure)
Why have we allowed partisanship, economics, and race to divide us?
In spite of their devout faith, why has the Navajo nation been hit so hard by this pandemic? (Their deaths per capita are higher than any state in the union.)
Is the unity of the church under attack in our polarized world?
Can we be angry without sin?
Can we set aside our political stances as conservatives or progressives and just unite to strengthen the body of the church?
Is it possible for us to focus on what brings us together rather than what separates us?
When someone leaves the church saying they won’t return because “Nobody cares about me,” and I tell them, “Yes, they do,” and they respond with “OK, name ONE!” Can I name YOU? (This question brought tears to my eyes… I know people who have left, and I wanted to stand up and shout, “I care! Name me!!”)
Fellowship in the foyer after church found people reconnecting, but remaining cautious. Are we maintaining our distance?
It may be easier for us in Montana to try and stay six feet apart, but you will notice in the pictures that even here, we don’t always adhere to that social distancing. It’s difficult! It’s neither foolishness nor fearlessness, it’s just hard!
How are you doing with this business of staying apart? What did you do this Sunday? Did your church meet physically again? If not, how did you worship our God today? Did you approach Him with your most difficult questions?
I hope you are healthy, happy, and safe. I’ve gotcha in prayer, my friend. See ya tomorrow. Love, JanBeek
My 2020 resolution is to “Walk the Talk.” It is a daily commitment. What was your 2020 resolution?
Try to “Walk the Talk.” Try to live your commitments. Express them daily.
Today I walked with my TOPS friends. Here are two of them with me: Cherrie & Jeannie. We walked in our Lion’s Club Park. Did a lot of talking as we walked. Tried to solve all the world’s problems!
No, this isn’t my walking path… it’s my daughter, DeAna’s, in Sierre, Switzerland. She walks this trail up into the Alps – often joined by one or two of her three sons. Yesterday she sent this photo. Our grandson, Chris, was her walking partner.
DeAna “walked the talk” with Chrissy as they navigated the trail on the terraced mountainsides and enjoyed the outdoor time together.
And before that haircut:
Today De’s walk was with Christine, a friend who was one of their waitresses for almost 20 years in the restaurant they once owned on main street in Sierre.
Half way up the Alps from their city is a beautiful little place called Vissoie, De and Andre’ have purchased a new restaurant… new to them, but with a long history in this Alpine village.
It has that typical Swiss chalet appearance with a hotel attached above and on the right. They take possession in October, I think.
Isn’t this an inviting spot? As they plan for this new venture, they get to “Walk the Talk” of trust. Trust that this pandemic world will not always keep people sequestered and afraid to go out and dine together. Trust that the people of Vissoie and the surrounding communities will accept them and frequent their dining hall. Trust that visitors will stay in their hotel.
My prayers are with them, of course, as I encourage them in this exciting new time on their lives.
As my lady friends and I walked the trail in our beautiful park, we talked about family, commitments, future events, the racial injustice that is sparking protests all over the USA, and the COVID-19 situation that is far from over.
My goal is encouragement and positivity. I share my faith here on WordPress, and I share the Source of my Joy with my walking friends.
Follow the sunshine Follow the Almighty Son Joy’s in commitment
Walk the Talk! And be grateful for where you are!!
You know I need you. We’re wired for connection, Love and belonging.
Birthday girl needs love. Friends need connectivity. We crave relations.
We’re in the same nest. We’re born in this together. But don’t smother me!
I rise with the sun Into a brand new morning Facing a new day.
Connected to God. Learning to live cautiously, Leaning on my Lord.
“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”
When is it Time?
If baby robin #4 in that nest up there doesn’t sharpen her will, poke her beak up with the rest, and open up, she will be doomed to the nest forever!
So, we who need one another are asking ourselves, “When it it time to open up? When it it time to let our courage and our natural need for connections take hold? When can we do it safely?”
Should we wear a mask or not? Should we join the protestors or not? When it is time to believe COVID-19 is safely at bay?
Each Person is Different
Not only is each person different, but each area of our world is different, too. Here in Montana, I could join my friends for a small birthday gathering outside (only 7 of us) and feel safe. I realize everyone in the world does not have that luxury.
But while we each are different, so are we all alike in many ways. We all crave genuine connection.
Matthew Lieberman, a Harvard-trained psychologist wrote,
“The human brain is wired to be social. Love and belonging might seem like a convenience we can live without, but our biology is built to thirst for connection because it is linked to our most basic survival needs.”
Birds of a feather Flock together, connecting Love and harmony.
Likewise, we humans Crave times to touch each other. Isolation hurts!
Pray for Opportunities
We need connection. Pray for opportunities To safely gather.
I pray for your health. I pray for our world’s return To safe gatherings.
I pray for world peace, For racial equality, God’s intervention.
Lord, help us all to Turn to You for our guidance. Lift us safely up.
Open every beak To receive life’s sustenance And sing Your glory.
Have a Hallelujah Day, my friends. I feel your presence…