Loving One Another

Posts tagged ‘fear’

Is Fearlessness Foolishness?


I have heard (and often repeated) the phrase, “Fear is the opposite of Faith.

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

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?)

Photo by Julia Kuzenkov on Pexels.com

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.

Madison Valley Presbyterian Church

To keep people safe, every other row of pews was ribboned off and people sat at least six feet apart in the pews.

Fran McNeill, our music director

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.

Jo & Jim Forsberg

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.

Megan & Murray

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:

Seeing Nellie and Nick with us brightened my day.

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:

  1. Is God angry with us?
  2. 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)
  3. Was shutting down the church for 12 weeks contradictory to our faith? (Some of our members were not happy about the closure)
  4. Why have we allowed partisanship, economics, and race to divide us?
  5. 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.)
  6. Is the unity of the church under attack in our polarized world?
  7. Can we be angry without sin?
  8. Can we set aside our political stances as conservatives or progressives and just unite to strengthen the body of the church?
  9. Is it possible for us to focus on what brings us together rather than what separates us?
  10. 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!!”)
George Kate, and Ross visiting after church
Kathy, Miriam, Dick, and Mike

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

Faith Drives Out Fear


This Pixabay image is by John Hain

F = reveal, suspend, unleash

A = uncover, surrender, yield

I = lay down, allow, detach from

T = release, shed, eliminate

H = give up, let go, loosen

Photo by Engin Akyurt on Pexels.com

When we have faith to let go
Of the fear that binds our soul,
We uncover the Truth that allows us
To surrender our doubts and be made whole.

Lay down your anxious thoughts.
Put them at the feet of our Lord.
Release uneasiness, detach from despair,
And let’s live with FAITH in one accord.

What fear will you surrender today?

Have a Fabulous Friday.

See ya later.


Pray & Persevere


Be sure to Pray Daily

Thank you that “before a word is on my tongue You, Lord, know it completely” (Psalm 139:4).  Thank You that there are no surprises with You. Help me find deep comfort in the fact that You are unshockable and nothing is too great, too terrible, too large, or too heavy for You. Help me see the problems that I face today in light of how big You are.  Amen.

Reprinted with permission from Max Lucado

So, the praying part is easy, right? There are folks like Max Lucado out there who can help us find the right words. Live in the faith that God hears – and He is with us – and it’s true: nothing is too great for Him.

But What About Perseverance?

How do we keep on keeping on? The Autobahn Assoc. shared this suggestion today:

“… talk about the power of birds, … this year they take on an even more powerful meaning. They enliven our days, brighten the trees, serenade in our backyards and city parks, and bestow us with so much joy and hope, all bundled together in feathers and lively personalities.”

Breathe in the calm of our feathered friends.
Listen to their songs!
Watch their deliberate and graceful movements!

A Cosmopolitan bird, the coal tit
Photo by Gerald Theurialliat

We can find such comfort by watching the activities of our fine feathered friends. See how they continue to sing their songs.

Check Out Other Resources

Besides taking lessons from the birds, there are countless on-line resources to help us keep a positive attitude and persevere. One such resource is Bob Goff at http://www.dreambigframework.com I love Bob Goff’s positivity and enjoy tuning in to his podcasts. You just gotta hear his laugh. It’ll make you laugh, too! Listen in as Bob and Scott talk about our response to the Great Shutdown this week on the Dream Big Podcast with Bob Goff & Friends. 

In his podcast today Bob Goff asked us to “Hit the pause button. Step back and think about your life.” He asked his listeners to ask ourselves:

  • What opportunity has this Coronavirus-induced-shutdown given to you?
  • What can you do that in the normal routine of everyday you don’t have time to do?
  • How do you deal with uncertainty and ambiguity?
  • Where are you now and how are you feeling? Are you dwelling in fear?
  • What are your most important values and how are you exhibiting those during this time of world-wide crisis?
Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Bob Goff continued to make suggestions:
1) Be sober about what’s going on.
2) Be picky about what you focus on.
3) Turn the volume down on the hype.
4) Limit screen time.
5) Follow the recommendations of the experts – wash hands, avoid crowds, stay home if you’re sick, etc.
6) Live authentically, remaining true to who you were created to be.

Photo by Retha Ferguson on Pexels.com

Who Were You Created to Be and Do?

Bob Goff quipped, “Introverts have been preparing for this for years!”

But some of us are not introverts. We’re having trouble hunkering down inside and having our jobs, our volunteer activities, our restaurants, schools and churches all closed to us. What can we do to remain true to ourselves and feel like we’re not just sitting around wringing our hands helplessly?

How would you answer the question, “Who were you created to be?”

I thought about it and decided:

  • I was created to “Walk the Talk and Live with Integrity.”
  • I was created to “Reach out to others with love and compassion.”
  • I was created to “Use the talents God gave me to make the world a better place.”

What is YOUR Purpose?

How can you persevere in the face of this latest shutdown – and the gloomy predictions that this could last a year and a half or more?

What talents has God given you that you can use to make your life seem worthwhile in the midst of these world-wide changes? Using those talents is a way to remain true to your purpose.

I intend to:
1) Continue to post a blog here daily with ideas that uplift and bring hope.
2) Write cards/letters/e-mails/texts/messages and make phone calls to friends and family.
3) Exhibit love, compassion, tolerance, empathy, and joy – spreading those as far and wide as I can. (See photo below)
4) Do something I’ve always wanted to do but for some reason have put off.
5) Keep in touch with friends on-line by playing games like “Words with Friends” (Scrabble) and commenting on their FaceBook posts while I post positive things there, too.
6) Pray and meditate and daily read God’s Word and devotionals, such as Guideposts and In Touch magazine.

Do you have a half a dozen or so things you can list as your intentions?

Maybe deliver flowers or food to a friend who is shut in?
Just call ahead and then drop it at his/her doorstep.
I did that today.

Tell me what you plan to do
to make the world a better place.

Bee Well!!
See ya tomorrow.

Are You Superstitious?


Friday the 13th is a day

When some people shy away

From everything; they stay

Locked up – keeping fear at bay.

Superstition can immobilize

People who hear the cries

Of danger and the lies

Of fear in others’ eyes.

Psalm 56:3 “Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You.”

Today’s Daily Guideposts devotional by Erika Bentsen told her story of overcoming fear of riding her horse without a bridle.

Whatever fear you may have that can be linked to superstition – or to lack of trust – let it go! Give it to God today.

The cross hanging above my head in my sanctuary reminds me to “Be still and know that I am God.” It’s a reminder to me everyday to take time to be with Him. Ask Him for courage and direction. Plan my day with His voice in my ear and then step out with His purposes guiding my way.

Friday the 13th? “Phooey!”

It’s just another day to live and serve Him.

Step out! Thank you on this, my 333rd consecutive day of blogging, for taking time to read and respond to my blog, dear friend.

I pray God inspires you today to trust Him – knowing you’re safe in the shadow of His wings.

God Bless You!

See ya later!

Just Be Yourself


Be yourself.jpg

Does “Just Be Yourself”
Allow you to be hateful?
Nope, I don’t think so.

 

Does “Just Be Yourself”
Allow you to hurt others?
Nope, I don’t think so.

 

Does “Just Be Yourself”
Give you permission to lie?
Nope, I don’t think so.

 

Just read the last line
You are to be wonderful
That’s being yourself!

 

Have a wonderful Wednesday.

red and white ribbon

See ya tomorrow

Blessings Amidst Tragedy


Blessings > Problems

My heart is aching
In the midst of mass shootings
National Problem

Crazed shooter

My life is blessed and I am grateful,
But how can I rejoice as others cry?
How do I count my blessings
While watching innocent people die?

My heart aches for the dear ones
Who have needlessly lost loved lives.
This week was a sad time in our country –
Gone are daughters, sons, husbands, wives.

The national problem of violence,
Assault weapons in the hands of the sick,
Makes me want to write or call our leaders
And demand solutions to the issues – quick!

No way should one man in the Senate
Have the right to singularly block
A measure the House of Representatives passed
And sent to be voted on… at least to have a talk!

Gun violence is exacerbated
By the proliferation of guns of war
In the hands of unstable citizens.
It’s got to stop. Tolerate it no more!!!

Universal background checks
Have got to be a must!
Sales of weapons must be given
Only to the folks we can trust!

I’m not against a hunting rifle
And I think handguns have their place,
But magnums with rapid-fire magazines
Are not for ordinary citizens. It’s a disgrace!

My life in rural Montana
Is a sheltered one, I know.
My blessings outnumber my problems
And I live in a loving glow.

But I’m affected by the violence,
By the deaths and hate and crime.
I don’t live in a bubble.
The fears of this nation are also mine.

See ya tomorrow
(God willing)

3 Ways to Live in Hope & Happiness


Thank you for joining me for
Day #8 in the A-Z series
Adding Meaning and Purpose to Life

H = Hope & Happiness

56323662_2486835368005914_6558852142633844736_n

In the search for meaning and purpose,
and in an effort to live
more intentionally to fulfill my purpose,
I have discovered
that living with a spirit of Hope
is the key to Happiness.

Let’s focus on three ways to bring more Happiness to our lives through the inclusion of HOPE as a key factor.

Step One: Eliminate Fear

Is there an area of your life where fear abides? Perhaps a health scare or a relational difficulty? Maybe it’s just fear of tomorrow – the unknown.

Author Maya Angelou said,
“Hope and fear
cannot occupy the same space
at the same time.
Invite one to stay.”

By inviting HOPE to occupy the space fear might have taken, we can find greater peace.

In so doing, as Sandy C. Newbigging wrote, we can have a more positive impact on others.

living in peace
Impacting the lives of others in a positive way is a sure key to happiness.

 

Step Two: Place your Hope in the Lord

In 1Peter 3:15, we are reminded to “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.”

Biblical hope is marked by confident expectation based on the promises given to us by God. God gives us promises of His care today and in our future. With trust in the Lord, we can live knowing our purpose and God’s plan for us extend beyond this physical life. We can take joy in His promises.

belief bible book business

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Check out how God’s – By Grace Alone  – helps us go forth!

The Maranatha Singers (I love ’em!)

 

Step Three: Release Expectations of Perfection

Hope does not exist in an atmosphere of perfection, so we need to let go of perfection as a goal. Rather, HOPE walks us through the imperfect times. HOPE accompanies us as we navigate the difficult circumstances of life. HOPE picks us up and helps us learn from our errors.

Our errors are not stop signs in our lives. Instead, they are opportunities. We need to lay them at our feet and use them as stepping stones to guide us to a happier, more fulfilling path.

adult adventure beautiful climb

Photo by Nina Uhlíková on Pexels.com

With HOPE in place of fear,
TRUST in the Lord, and
FREEDOM from the tyranny of perfection,
our lives will radiate more JOY.

two women walking

Photo by Quang Nguyen Vinh on Pexels.com

We’ll go a long way on the path
of living out our purpose
with PEACE and HAPPINESS.

Thanks for joining me on this journey!

 

Morning Prayer


Morning Prayer

(adapted from The Open Church Foundation’s
prayer by Wallace Fridy)

bright dark clouds dawn dramatic

“This is the day that the Lord has made; I will rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24

God, I am truly grateful for:

  • another day,
  • another morning
  • another hour,
  • another minute,
  • another chance
    to live and to serve You.

Please, God, today, free me from all:

  • fear of the future,
  • anxiety about tomorrow,
  • bitterness toward anyone,
  • cowardice in the face of danger,
  • laziness from work,
  • failure before opportunity, and
  • weakness when Your Power is at hand.

But, O God, please fill me with:

  • Love that knows no barriers,
  • Sympathy that reaches all,
  • Courage that can’t be shaken,
  • Faith strong enough for darkness,
  • Strength sufficient for my tasks,
  • Loyalty to Your Kingdom’s goal,
  • Wisdom to meet life’s complexities, and
  • Power to lift me to You.

 

Please, O God,
be with me for another day,
and use me in Your Will.

In the name of Jesus Christ, I pray.
     Amen

From Fear to Awe


From Fear to Awe – An Epiphany Sunday Sermon

alone man person sadness

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Politics has a long history
Of striking fear in hearts.
In Matthew, we hear the king asking,
“Where’s the new child in these parts?”

 

The Magi responded and left
With a heavy sigh of relief;
But all of Jerusalem was frightened
As their king behaved as a thief.

 

He seemed to want to steal
The joy of this promised birth.
His fear spread throughout
This part of the Christ-child’s earth.

 

We, too, live in fear of things
Beyond our ability to control.
Fear of God is extraordinary
As we are confused by our role.

 

If we are God-fearing, it is
Not the same as fear of faith.
It’s an invitation to see
Our loving God face-to-face.

 

Fear is a cascading emotion.
Fear begets fear, you see.
A chain reaction occurs –
The fear of Herod passes down to me.

 

What if Herod’s fear had turned
To trust and awe of the Lord?
Trust and awe are emotions
We must know we CAN afford.

 

We cannot afford, in fact,
To live in fear instead of awe.
Read the stars, find the Christ Child.
Trust God and His Word – His Law.

 

Are YOU in awe of the Lord??

 

 Sermon notes by Jan Beekman based on the message:
“See and Be Radiant!” by Pastor Steven Mabry
Plymouth Congregational Church, Paso Robles, CA

What’s Your Image of Afghanistan?


Last night Bob & I attended a documentary at the Emerson Theater in Bozeman, MT. The topic: “Angels Are Made of Light.”

What is your perception of the people of Afghanistan?

police army commando special task force

Photo by Somchai Kongkamsri on Pexels.com

Before the documentary, our response to that question was, “War-torn, depressed, aggressive, beaten-down, varied, down-trodden and fearful.”

 

56328_157.jpg

After seeing the documentary, our response is, “Resourceful, hopeful in the midst of what might look hopeless, tenacious, clean, basically healthy looking, and respectful of their elders.”

The newspaper review that prompted us to attend was glowing. We met Jason, the reviewer last night. Sorry I didn’t catch his last name. The newspaper page we have doesn’t list it. I’ll edit this and include it when I find out, because I will quote him:

“It is not a complete and objective telling of the country’s history, but rather a series of powerful semblances from those who lived through it. The imagery is vivid, and the contrast between the historic images of the city (Kabul), in times of greater prosperity, and those of the present day are stark reminders of how much the country has changed.”

Jason’s review hooked us in when he wrote, “The cinematography is simply exceptional. Langley is a true craftsman, and he works brilliantly with natural light.”

We were intrigued by the opportunity to  “linger up close with the film’s subjects for long moments… ”  The concentration of subjects was on the school children – – – especially a group of Afghani boys of about 10 -14 years of age. We wanted to “feel their breathing, see them thinking, working, watching the world go by.” And we did!

grayscale photo of group of children

“Over the course of the film,” Jason, the reviewer promised we would “accompany the students through lessons in history, poetry, social studies, and math.” And we did!

He wrote, “In the end, the film itself is a lesson in humanity, found right there, on the streets, in broad daylight.” And it was!

The documentary promised to “narrow the gap in our minds between us and them.” And it did!

It was indeed eye-opening.

We all are God’s children. Let’s do whatever we can to:

JUST LOVE ONE ANOTHER!

It begins with trying to understand one another. Set aside those prior perceptions, and get the real picture! I’m grateful for “Angels Are Made of Light” and the Bozeman Doc Series for bringing documentaries such as this one to our community.

man carrying toddler

Photo by Sandy Negative on Pexels.com

Tag Cloud

%d bloggers like this: