Today’s sermon message by our guest pastor, Rev. Phil Taylen at the Madison Valley Presbyterian Church in Ennis, Montana, focused on the theological basis for our assurance of Eternity in Heaven.
It was timely, especially given the fact that this is the week my only sibling, my sister Sally, went to her eternal home.
If you die today, do you know where you’re going from here?
Is it Hell or a Black Hole?
My guess is that the choice is pretty clear. I was looking for a picture of a black hole… because some people believe this is it! We’re here and then we’re nowhere. A black hole… that’s where they think they’re going. They don’t believe there is a place called Hell where they will burn in the fires of an afterlife separated from God.
Or is it Heaven?
Rev. Phil Taylen’s sermon was titled, “Soaring with Eagles.” He began with that question, “Where Will You Spend Eternity?” His answer was part of a movement he called “The Evangelism Explosion.” Even though he grew up in the Presbyterian Church, he was ordained by an Evangelical Ministry – and his sermon lecture today definitely got down to the basics!
B asic I nstructions B efore L eaving E arth
Heaven by Grace
G od’s R iches A t C hrist’s E xpense
Grace is God’s Unmerited Favor poured out on us. Grace can’t be earned or deserved. Heaven is a free gift.
He cited Ephesians 2: 8-9 as further proof of the point he was teaching and preaching:
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
Not By Man
Good works are important, but they will not save us.
I am a sinner. I can’t save myself.
He cited John 8:24 to prove his message that man cannot save himself:
“Unless you believe that I am who I claim to be, you will die in your sins.”
God gave us basic instructions to live by before leaving earth.
God is Love. God is just and righteous.
In the Bible, our instruction book, God told us:
Psalm 46:10 Be still, and know that I am God. …
Heaven Through Christ
The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. Jesus Christ is God.
Faith is Belief
Faith is the Connector. Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
I don’t see the whole staircase. I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s Only Begotten Son, but I do not believe God will send all the Jews or Muslims or Hindus or Buddhists to Hell because they do not share my belief in Jesus as a part of the Trinity.
I believe God is bigger than religion. I believe God is omnipotent. I believe God knows all people – and He sees them through His eyes, not mine. That may make me a non-believer in some evangelical eyes. But I believe God is more inclusive than we can fathom.
I find enormous comfort in my faith – my belief in our Lord Jesus Christ – and I want to share that comfort and love with all I meet. I believe 2 Cor. 1:3-5 as quoted below:
Do you believe in Christ?
Thanks for visiting today. Have a Blessed Sunday. See ya tomorrow. Love, JanBeek
Today my sis, Sally, died. She was only a year and a half older than I. As children, Mom often dressed us alike. People thought we were twins.
When you lose your only sibling, A part of you dies with her. Sally came every Thanksgiving from CA To spend the holiday with us in Montana.
Sally always came with an extra suitcase. She filled it with oregano that grew in her back yard. She spent most of the week here at the kitchen table or counter Picking the leaves off the oregano stems.
I have a couple of quart jars left of her herbs. When they are gone, another part of her Will disappear – You can’t find oregano that fresh – Not in a store, that’s for sure! Can you smell it?
Sally was a nut about holidays! She had a closet full of clothes Sorted by the holiday they represented And she loved every one of them.
She joined her nieces and nephews For Halloween and Christmas, For Easter and birthdays, and For special lunches and dinners.
Naturally Sally was there to celebrate her daughter, Jodie’s wedding. Here she is at the wedding reception, dancing with her nephew, our son, Ty, the daddy of those nieces and nephews. And she was there of course, for her grandson, Liam’s baptism.
Sally loved spending time with her grandson, Liam. During the last few years of her life, she moved from California to PA to be near her daughter, son-in-law, and her dear grandson, Liam.
Besides her family and holidays, Sally had a love of dogs. She inherited her poodle, Gigi, from our mom after Mom died. Gigi was stolen from Sally when Gigi was about 4 years old. Gigi was gone nine years, but Sally never gave up the idea of finding her!
Sure enough, nine years after the theft, Sally received a call from a veterinarian. Gigi had a chip, and when she was found wandering, dirty, toothless, and infected, the person who found her brought her to a vet. The chip had Sally’s number. Can you imagine her joy at that reunion after nine long years? Gigi lived to be 15. Dear friends of ours here adopted her and gave her a loving last 9 months of life when Sally moved to PA and could not take Gigi with her to the Masonic Home.
Although Alzheimer’s robbed my sis of her memory and ultimately of her ability to converse, she was tuned in and enjoyed the concert Liam and I presented in her nursing home last Thanksgiving. I am so glad Bob & I were able to go – and we had that time with her. My life is filled with wonderful memories of times we shared together.
Sally had a life filled with service to others through her church, the Hospital Auxiliary, the Girl Scouts (she led a troop for at least 50 years) and her favorite organizations, Rebekahs and Eastern Star.
Her life also was one of tragedy (her oldest daughter died at age 19 and her husband, Dave, was only 60 when he died suddenly and unexpectedly of a heart attack). But Sally was a trooper. She continued to volunteer and give of her time and talents to others.
I was blessed to grow up with a sister who had such a big, giving heart, She will be missed by all of us who loved her. But her spirit will live on.
I know her spirit will recognize mine when I join her in Heaven someday. Meantime, rest in peace, dear Sis. I will carry your love with me always.
Thanks for visiting today my friends. Treasure every sunrise. Enjoy every sunset. Tell your siblings how much you love them.
Today I received in my “Messages” a picture of a dear friend who is fighting cancer. She is in a hospital bed at home. Her family is gathered around and her BFF (best friend forever) is on her way to be at her bedside. My heart goes out to the BFF and to my friend’s husband and children. Seeing a friend preparing to leave this earth is soooo hard!
But, my dear friend is a devoted Christian, and she knows where she is headed. She does not fear death, because she has a friend in Jesus – and she believes in God and His promises. It’s comforting to know where you will spend eternity. It’s just hard on those left behind.
Today’s sermon at Madison Valley Presbyterian Church was the perfect topic for this day when my heart is aching because my dear friend and her family are suffering.
Today we had a guest minister, Phil Taylen. Here are my
Sermon Notes on: “Friendship Sharing”
Friendship is a special thing. In it we all are connected. In the New Testament, we see how In God’s friendship, we all are protected.
The best part of friendship is Sharing with each other the Good News, Asking one another and telling them Of how Jesus opens new views.
God cares about our friendship. He opens His arms to you. Through Christ, He came to show us How to love as He loves: True.
As believers, we need YES faces; Our countenance should show Trust. God’s light should shine through us. Radiate His love; We MUST!
To communicate God’s love We must be trustworthy and fair. We must share our eternal vision, And tell our friends we’ll all be there!*
(*there is our eternal home with Christ and one another)
Share the simplicity of scripture, Be sure the promise of God is heard. He gave His only begotten Son To save our souls. Believe His Word!
What a Friend We Have in Jesus!
Lean on Him and His promises. Know that when your Christian friends Leave this earth, they are going To heaven … where eternal life never ends.
See you “there,” my friends!
Pray for my friend, Gloria, will you? And I pray for you… that you have faith in His promises, too. Love ya, JanBeek
The older we get, The more ready we must be For our angel friends To leave you and me.
They ascend to heaven Where loved ones wait To greet them in song At the pearly gate.
When our hair turns silver And wrinkles show our age, We have to be ready To turn the eternal page.
The eighties are great; It’s a decade of reflection And a time to appreciate Every earthly connection.
But it also is a time When we look at this season As the winter of our years, And we search for life’s reason.
We look at life differently Than we did in our teens. We see through our experience What life is – what purpose means.
It’s not about what we can get, Or what riches we acquire. It’s about the love we give To the people we admire.
It’s about reaching out to strangers Who are falling between the crack. It’s about filling their needs – Helping give the things they lack.
Reaching up in prayer and praise I thank the Lord for all His gifts. As long as I have life and breath, I’ll reach out to give others lifts.
I hope you’ll use your senior years To do the same – to spread your love – Because we are blessed to be a blessing. For every day, I thank. God above.
My Prayer for You
When your time comes To say good-bye to earth, May the angels welcome you And your friends rejoice at your New Birth! Amen
Welcome to Heaven, Phyllis. I miss you here… But I rejoice at your Eternal Reunion. May all who were blessed by your presence And who entered the pearly gates before you did Be there to welcome you HOME. God bless you! Keep the light on!
This rampant racism and blatant injustice must stop!
Pray for “Giant George” (nicknamed “Big Floyd”) and his family.
Reread MLK’s “I Have a Dream.”
It’s well overdue.
I Have a Dream
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his iconic speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on August 28th, 1963. Fifty-seven years later, it is time to revisit this unfulfilled dream. LET’S MAKE THIS DREAM COME TRUE!! Be a catalyst for long overdue change and racial equality. Let’s reach out, dissolve all divides, and just love one another!!!!
Time to revisit Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s dream, hear his peaceful pursuit of racial equality, and time to MAKE THIS DREAM A REALITY!
(The bold print in this speech are my emphasis. I feel those statements are so appropriate to the injustice and the reactions seen today – May 29, 2020… a sad time in America’s history amidst this George Floyd travesty and the COVID-19 that sees not color or class, but preys on areas of density and poverty).
“Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.
But 100 years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself in exile in his own land.
And so we’ve come here today to dramatize a shameful condition. In a sense we’ve come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men – yes, black men as well as white men – would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked insufficient funds.
But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. And so we’ve come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice.
We have also come to his hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice.
Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.
It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. 1963 is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual…
But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence.
Again and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. And they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom…
There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, when will you be satisfied? We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality…
We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote.
No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream. …
So even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood. I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
I have a dream today. I have a dream that one day down in Alabama … little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.
I have a dream today. I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.
This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood.
With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.
This will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with new meaning: My country, ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrims’ pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring.
And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true. And so let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania. Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado. Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California. But not only that, let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia. Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee. Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.
And when we see this happen, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: Free at last. Free at last. Thank God almighty, we are free at last.”
Here is American civil rights leader Martin Luther King (1929 – 1968) as he addressed crowds during the March On Washington at the Lincoln Memorial, Washington DC, in 1963 where he gave his ‘I Have A Dream’ speech.
Do not let Martin Luther King Jr’s dream die. Do not let George Floyd’s death be in vain. Let your righteous anger spur you to action. Pray that God will show us what He wants us to do next in the memory and honor of MLK,Jr. and “Big Floyd.” Make their lives count. Make the dream a reality!
Memorial Day is an American holiday. This Memorial Day weekend feels very different from years past. Even though we are not having lock-down, stay-at-home orders in Montana, still most of us don’t feel free to have a large gathering with a picnic potluck as we usually do. We need to find new ways of honoring the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military.
Memorial Day is this Monday, May 25th, a day for us in the USA to honor the men and women who died while serving in the United States Military. It was originally known as Decoration Day after the tradition of decorating soldiers’ graves with flowers. Women in Pennsylvania began this practice as early as 1864 following the end of the Civil War. Soon other states and cities did the same.
Waterloo, New York, held an annual community-wide event beginning in 1866. This led the town to be recognized as the birthplace of Memorial Day by the federal government in 1966. Memorial Day became an official federal holiday in 1971. In 2000, Congress passed a resolution, urging Americans to set aside 3:00 p.m. on Memorial Day “to observe a national moment of remembrance to honor the men and women of the United States military who died in the pursuit of freedom and peace.”
Do you celebrate Memorial Day? If so, how are my fellow Americans planning on celebrating Memorial Day this year?
I’m curious: How do those of you in other countries remember the people in your nation who have served in your military (or do you)?
Wouldn’t it be a wonderful dream-come-true to have us all just love one another? No fences, no walls, no borders, no nation against nation… just one world, unified, working in tandem for a better life for everyone?
Wouldn’t it be a dream-come-true if we all felt a sense of freedom without anyone having to die to maintain it?
Wouldn’t it be a wonderful dream if everyone stopped hoarding and just shared generously? Share toilet paper! Share the Good News! Share LOVE!
Our military generously give their ALL. The least we can do is give them a day of Gratitude for their service… and a dream that one day we will all live as ONE, end all wars, and live in PEACE!
God bless you, my dear Blogging family. I pray that you have a peace-filled weekend. I’ll see you tomorrow.
Wait, don’t leave until you comment!! Tell me about how you honor your military or tell me about your dreams for ONE WORLD of LOVE!
Marcelle Zufferey is dancing in Heaven with her husband, Antoine, today!
Today is Antoine’s birthday!! He went to his eternal home a couple of decades ago. Marcelle suffered this last couple of years from that awful disease, Alzheimer’s, that robs us of our minds – our memories. But, right to the end, she was that beautiful, blue-eyed mother who gave her children everything they needed for a full life. She is the mother of our 1980-81 AFS student, Christian Zufferey, and his sister, Sylviane, who lived with us for a year in 1983-84. Our daughter DeDe, married their first cousin, Andre’. That’s why DeAna is a Swiss citizen and our 3 grandsons were born and raised in that beautiful country. We owe Marcelle a deep debt of gratitude!
Our hearts go out to the Zufferey and Solioz families today, as we mourn their loss. But we know they are faith believers … and they recognize God’s perfect timing in this earthly departure.
I can play a Swiss polka today … and celebrate the reunionof Marcelle and Antoine.
Dance, my friends.
and God’s timing
always is perfect!