Loving One Another

Posts tagged ‘Jesus’

Remembering Jesus' Baptism


This Sunday we attended church at the Bloom in the Desert Ministries in Palm Springs, CA. As usual, I took notes while listening to the sermon.

The scripture was Matthew 3:13-17

“Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. John tried to dissuade Jesus by saying, I should be baptized by you, and yet you come to me!” But Jesus replied, “Leave it this way for now. We must do this to completely fulfill God’s justice.” So John reluctantly agreed. Immediately after Jesus had been baptized and was coming up out of the water, the sky suddenly opened up and Jesus saw the spirit of God descending as a dove and hovering over him. With that, a voice from the heavens said, “This is my Own, my Beloved, on whom favor rests.”

Through my poetic filter, this is what I heard as Reverend Kevin A. Johnson’s message:

The proper completion of a called journey
Is the return… the coming back.
In our creed, Jesus went down and came back.
The Jews and Greeks both were taught that fact.

Today’s scripture tells us that baptism
Is personal, and effective for life.
Some believe as babies, others think when older,
Is the appropriate time to wash away strife.

Baptism is a remarkable, memorable event.
It’s a ritual recorded long before Jesus was born.
A thousand years earlier, immersion was practiced.
The dove hovering was a symbol that glorious morn.

It symbolized the love of God entering in.
Baptism is a commitment – a starting point.
It doesn’t matter if it’s in the Jordan River,
Or if it’s in some crumby back-street joint.

Baptism is a time to promise a mind-set
That puts love, compassion, and respect first.
It’s a universal embrace of Jesus’ teachings –
A chance to promise, and then daily rehearse.

Photo by Sravan Reddy Sane on Pexels.com

Timing

Baptism can occur as a teen or an adult when the person is “of the age of reason” and chooses to publicly agree to live a life of love in God’s grace, with compassion and respect for others, following God’s commandments.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Or – baptism can occur as an infant. In that case, it is the promise of the parents to raise this child in love, teaching the child to obey the commandments … living in grace and obedience.

Remembering

Do you remember your baptism? I don’t remember mine. My sister and I were baptized when she was about two and I was an infant. There are no pictures, no certificates, no proof… but my sis says she remembers it, and my mom said it happened. So I should believe them.

However, as Rev. Kev said at the beginning of his message, baptism is a part of a journey… and it requires the return, the coming back. Rev. Kev showed us the certificate of his baptism. He can tell you the date, the place, and the time – and he went through confirmation later as a youngster (maybe about age 12) at which time he reaffirmed his parents’ baptismal promises.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Baptism’s Purpose and Proof

I tried to locate my baptismal records. However, the church where my baptism supposedly occurred no longer exists. Decades ago a fire destroyed it and all the records that were in it.

Baptism is an act of obedience symbolizing the believer’s faith in a crucified, buried, and risen Savior. It testifies to the believer’s death to sin, the burial of the old life, and the resurrection to walk in newness of life in Christ Jesus. It is a testimony to the believer’s faith in the final resurrection of the dead. Do I doubt my faith in the risen Savior or question my membership in God’s family? Not for a minute!

Baptism has been a symbolic way of joining the Church from the very start of Christianity. The water used is a symbol of washing away sin and the start of a new life. Do I think perhaps I am not “a Child of God” because I don’t have the paperwork to prove my sin was “washed away”? No!!

But would I like to be able to say I have experienced a “proper completion of a called journey” by finishing the trip, coming back to my baptismal roots? Yes!

Baptism is Once and for All

Sometimes I question if infant baptism is once and for all. I wonder if perhaps I should be baptized as an adult now. Do you think at 80 I should reaffirm the baptismal vows that my mom agreed to when I was an infant?

Today’s sermon reminding us to remember Jesus’ baptism and affirming the importance of baptism has me pondering these questions.

What do you you think? Give me your thoughts.

See ya tomorrow

Be Kind – Be Right


Happy Sunday to you, my friends.
What are your plans for today?
Whatever you do,
wherever you go
(even if you stay home),
you will have an opportunity
to be kind
(even if only to yourself).

Choose kindness.
Be right!

Multi-Language Service

If you have followed my blog for a week or more, you know I attend church on Sundays and as I hear the message, I take notes – usually in poetry.

Today we attended the First Presbyterian Church in Redlands, CA. It is a beautiful church in the heart of the city with a mission statement: “Living in the Heart and Mind of Christ at the Heart of the City.” The service was conducted with five languages spoken alternately while the English translations were printed in the bulletin.

It was WONDERFUL to hear the melodic and unusual tongues of Urdu, Indonesian, Banyan, and Chichewa spoken – as well as the familiarity of English.

The pastor, Cheryl Raine, spoke on the topic, “The Mind of Christ.” The scripture on which the sermon was based, Philippians 2:5-8 was read orally in a language I had never heard of before. English-only folks like me read it in English in the bulletin while we listened with fascination to Wilson Kayange whose native language is Chichewa.

Sermon Notes

Morning has broken… like the first day –
Blackbird has spoken … here’s what he’ll say:
Look for the sunrise… it’s the new year –
Praise for the morning… filled with good cheer.

We are God’s people … we live in His love.
We are Christ’s people… we need a good shove!
We try not to stagnate … living in our own will.
We empty ourselves … and try to let Jesus refill.

Leaning on our own mindfulness… we stumble and fall.
We’re two days out from Epiphany … listen for His call.
He asks for patience and grace … decisions slow made.
He tells us to avoid selfishness… my renewal was paid.

Paid by our Lord … with His blood on the cross.
We’re asked to set aside self-interest … at Jesus’ cost.
Self-empty to love and serve others … As an offering, place
our lives before God… Pray daily for His extravagant grace.

Transform my mind … make it more like Christ’s mind.
Give me obedience … and cause me to be kind.
Give me extraordinary focus … on the way I can link
my mind to others’ needs … Let Your love escape with every blink!

The essence of His love… is lodged in me and grows
with each day I live and breathe … and God knows
I am choosing self-emptying … instead of selfishness.
God help me to live in Your will each day … in selflessness.

Amen

Following the sermon, there were more prayers and affirmations in the various languages before we sang one of the closing hymns… a favorite of mine: “Take Thou Our Minds, Dear Lord.”

Our unison prayer,
following the offering of our gifts,
affirmed the sermon message
and the inspiration of the hymn’s words:

“Holy God, thank you for reminding us
that we are to have the same mind as Christ Jesus,
for Christ willingly emptied himself for the sake of others.
In humility, we gathered these first gifts
of the new year for your ministries
through this beloved faith community.
Help us to be ever faithful
to your word and your ways
as we seek to glorify you with our very lives.
Amen.”

As I left the service and digested the messages of kindness, self-emptying, love, and selflessness … the importance of adopting “The Mind of Christ,” I found this meme. The “listening and loving” and the “be at peace with herself” resonated with me. The “healthy boundaries” are important as we seek to live with “the mind of Christ” in a spirit of joy – the spirit Christ personified.

Happiness in Kindness

As I sang,
“Teach us to know the Truth that sets us free”
and “Use us to make the earth like Heaven above,”
and “… yield ourselves to Thee, time, talents, all,”
I realized that when I yield to God’s will,
spread love and peace
using my time and talents,
and wear laughter and curiosity,
spreading kindness,
I am not only making myself happier,
but I am spreading happiness to those around me.

Photo by Jill Wellington on Pexels.com

Choose kindness.
Be right!


What will you do today to
spread happiness to those around you?

See ya tomorrow

First Coming


From George & Kathy Goodrich
A poem by  Madeleine L’Engle

First Coming

He did not wait till the world was ready,

till men and nations were at peace.

He came when the Heavens were unsteady,

and prisoners cried out for release.

He did not wait for the perfect time.

He came when the need was deep and great.

He dined with sinners in all their grime,

turned water into wine.  He did not wait

till hearts were pure. In joy he came 

to a tarnished world of sin and doubt.

To a world like ours, of anguished shame

he came, and his Light would not go out.

He came to a world which did not mesh,

to heal its tangles, shield its scorn.

In the mystery of the Word make Flesh

the Maker of the stars was born.


We cannot wait till the world is sane

to raise our songs with joyful voice,

for to share our grief, to touch our pain,

He came with Love: Rejoice! Rejoice!

 Madeleine L’Engle

Photo by Edu Carvalho on Pexels.com
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Merry CHRISTmas!


Sunday before Christmas


Time for kids and joy
It’s Sunday before Christmas
Church and friends and love

The sanctuary
Is ready for the people
The Son waits with us

Fifth Advent candle
Waits with us for Christmas Day
Hope, love, joy, and peace

All are brightly lit
But not the center candle
It represents Christ

Flowers decorate
The stairs to the church’s front
Poinsettias tell all

Kathy and Jaime
Beautifully play the songs
That ring in Christmas

Ruby, Cassidy and Cord

The smiles of children
Remind is of the Christ Child
Whose birth we await

Photo by Jeswin Thomas on Pexels.com

Today’s sermon was told by Elaine Hundley, in her husband Rev. Steve Hundley’s absence. The sermon focused on Joseph, the baby Jesus’ earthly father.

We pray for Steve as he sits at his dying mother’s bedside way over on the other side of the USA. We pray for Elaine who is experiencing her first Christmas apart from Steve in 42 years! She remained here to carry on Steve’s ministry in our church. God bless her!

I listened carefully to capture the message as Elaine delivered a sermon Steve had written some years ago. To understand the introduction, you need to know that Steve and Elaine are adoptive parents.

Here are my poetic renderings:

“Feeling Good About Christmas”

The adoption agency checked us out.
They made sure we were okay.
I wonder what God did to check out
Mary and Joseph to parent Jesus His way.

Joseph was a righteous man who
Believed the angel Gabriel who told:
“The baby was conceived by the Holy Spirit.”
So Joseph didn’t desert her – nor scold.

He took her to be his wife,
And ignored what might have been said
By the town folks as they gossiped.
He knew she was pure and had not “gone to bed.”

Joseph was a good man, a believer,
Who read and understood God’s grace.
He saw through the Holy Spirit’s lenses,
And was able to accept this Holy Child
from God’s Holy place.

May we, too, know the Christ Child
as God’s gift to us.
Amen!

Happy Fourth Sunday of Advent.
May the peace of Christ permeate your heart
and give you a peace-filled week.

Photo by Alexandro David on Pexels.com

Have a good Sunday night.
See ya tomorrow.

Quote

Akiane’s Reunion with The Prince of Peace — Life On The Lake


This post is sooo inspirational. Soooo beautiful. Sooo timely. I cried as I viewed it. I just have to share it with you. DO take time to view the video. You will be blessed.

The original painting of Jesus painted by Akiane Kramarikat age 9 was hidden from her for over a decade. Finally she was able to reunite with it for a moment before it shipped to its new owner. She is an amazing artist.

via Akiane’s Reunion with The Prince of Peace — Life On The Lake

Down the Up Staircase


Sanctuary time
Starts with prayer and devotions
Up the down staircase

Jesus prays with me
Angels surround me up here
Dark changes to light

Look out the window
The mountains can’t hide the Son
Where I am He is

12 Step Program

On my way down the up staircase, after an hour that begins my day with the JOY of God’s Holy Spirit guiding my thoughts and helping me plan my actions for the day ahead, I recite my own “12 Step Program.”

  • Thank You for the LOVE,
  • JOY,
  • and PEACE that are mine.
  • Help me with PATIENCE,
  • KINDNESS,
  • GOODNESS,
  • FAITHFULNESS which brings blessings,
  • GENTLENESS, and
  • SELF-CONTROL.
  • Help me live HUMBLY with an attitude of GRATITUDE
  • and a response of GENEROSITY, FORGIVENESS, OBEDIENCE, and INTEGRITY.
  • In Jesus name I Pray
    AMEN

And on that AMEN, I am on the floor of my foyer, over which the sanctuary waits for tomorrow where I have my Bibles, Daily Guideposts, Thankfulness Journal, inspirational books, and a collection of crosses and angels.


Bob just came up the stairs, so we will have some quiet time together.
Come join me!

Thanks for visiting JanBeek.
God bless you!

Have a PEACEful Thursday.
See ya later.

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