Spreading love, joy, peace, faith & unity

Posts tagged ‘Listening’

Embrace your Open Heart


No, not like open heart surgery!
It’s your open heart of love and compassion!
It’s an open heart, ready to listen and respond.

In Chapter 8 of Nehemiah,

“…all the people listened attentively to the Book of the Law.”

With open hearts, they “lifted their hands and responded, ‘Amen! Amen!’ Then they bowed down and worshiped the Lord.”

Do you listen eagerly with an expectant mind and heart? Do you listen with a mind that genuinely wants to know more? If so, you will hear the Lord speaking to you when you earnestly pray.

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Yesterday I was encouraged to listen – to engage “ears that really hear” – as I bowed in reverence to God while up in my sanctuary. I was feeling badly that no one from our Beekman family was scheduled to be in Oregon next Monday for Bob’s brother-in-law’s funeral. Bob’s sister, Bonnie, lost her husband, Stan, last week. Bonnie has three brothers. Two are in California and plan to go to Stan’s burial later this month. It is scheduled to occur in his hometown cemetery in southern CA. But, we are here in Montana … and were not planning to attend either event. We had lots of excuses. None of them seemed to be holding water!

God spoke loudly and clearly to me
as I opened my heart
to His message
in the daily devotional,
In Touch,
by Charles Stanley.

“So many things clamor for our focus,
but nothing is as important
as what the Lord has to say.
He is worthy of our undivided attention.”

“Open your heart,” God said to me.
“Nothing is more important in your life
next week than to be with Bonnie.”

So we will fly to Oregon on Sunday. We will be there to demonstrate our open hearts of love for Bob’s sister and her family. We will not live with “If Only” in our hearts.

It will be a short trip. We’ll return here for those other important obligations on Tuesday… but the Sunday/Monday things can wait. God said “THIS IS MY MESSAGE TO YOU.” And He said it loud and clear. “Open your hearts. Open your wallets. Reschedule what you planned to do here. Find ways to delegate. You’re not indispensable here. Schedule your plane, rental car, and hotel. BE THERE!”

So, dear WordPress friends, if you don’t see a post Sunday or Monday, you’ll know why. How many consecutive days I have posted is not a number that is worth worrying about. Opening our hearts to our loved one who has lost her spouse… that’s the focus!

They were with us when we celebrated Bob’s 80th two years ago.

“Rest assured that whoever listens to God’s Word
with an open heart and alert mind
will receive from Him.”

Charles Stanley

I love the Lord, for He heard my voice;
He heard my cry for mercy.
Because He turned His ear to me,
I will call on Him as long as I live.

Psalm 116:1-2

If God can turn His ear to me
and respond with an open heart of love.
Who am I not to return the gesture?

Are you ready to
EMBRACE YOUR OPEN HEART, too?


I’m off to volunteer this afternoon at the medical center’s vaccination center.
Yay!

See ya tomorrow.

Embrace Kindness


Bob’s brother-in-law, Stan, died
At noon today, Oregon time.
Our hearts are heavy, of course,
But we hear heaven’s bells chime.

The Lord is blessed to receive
His creation back into His arms.
Our arms ache for one more hug,
One more poem with all his charms.

We’re not the only ones who’ve lost
A loved one to death this year.
This pandemic has taken too many
And this virus is not over, we fear.

As Stan was lying in his hospital bed,
Health care workers included his daughter, a nurse.
So many of our faithful ones have stepped up to help
Or else this COVID-19 would have been much worse.

The kindness shown by the hospital staff
Helped the family cope with their loss.
The kindness we all show every day
Is a way we live what we learn at the cross.

Stan’s death was not the result of the virus,
But his departure carries with it the sting
Of a beautiful life ended on earth.
Can we focus now on how the angels sing?

Showing kindness to the folks we meet
Is a way to acknowledge their pain.
We know everyone has a burden to bear;
And many don’t have the words to explain.

My neighbor has a treasured pet who is sick,
My friend lost her brother yesterday.
My husband’s fisher buddy needs surgery,
And my granddaughter has bills she can’t pay.

The man with the gun was bullied in his youth,
And he took out his hate in a store.
The victims’ families are beside themselves.
We all are wondering how we can take any more.

Embrace kindness as a first line of defense.
Embrace kindness as the action you choose.
Embrace kindness, for you know in your heart
It’s the way to show love and help hate defuse.

Bible Verses about ‘Kindness’

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.— 1 Corinthians 13:4-5


As God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.— Colossians 3:12

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law.— Galatians 5:22-23

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.— Ephesians 4:32

EMBRACE KINDNESS TODAY
(and every day!)

Thanks for visiting JanBeek
See ya tomorrow
(Lord willing)

Embrace Obedience


Obedience
First listen
Learn to absorb
Take it all in
Heed

We all know what it means to be obedient, right? Listen, absorb, heed…
Did you hear any of these expressions when you were growing up?

“If you don’t stop crying, I’ll give you something to cry about!”

“Why?? Because I said so, that’s why!”

Photo by Joshua Santos on Pexels.com

“Yours is not to question why. Yours is just to do or die!”

Photo by Nelly Aran on Pexels.com

Where did those images of obedience come from? Certainly not from a Loving Father.

Photo by William Fortunato on Pexels.com

He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”Luke 11:28


“If only you had paid attention to My commandments!
Then your well-being would have been like a river,
And your righteousness like the waves of the sea.”
Isaiah 48:18

Photo by Sebastian Voortman on Pexels.com


“If you consent and obey,
You will eat the best of the land”
Isaiah 1:19

Photo by Trang Doan on Pexels.com


“And we are witnesses of these things;
and so is the Holy Spirit,
whom God has given to those who obey Him.”
Acts 5:32

Who or What to Obey?

Obedience
Differs with
Who you obey
Make it “The Word”
God

Photo by John-Mark Smith on Pexels.com


Samuel said,
“Has the Lord as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices
As in obeying the voice of the Lord?
Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice,
And to heed than the fat of rams.”
1 Samuel 15:22

To heed God’s Word
Is better than honey
Better than palaces
Better than money

To heed God’s voice
As He whispers in your ear
Is to hear His angels speaking
And to cherish what you hear

Obedience to the teachings
Of wise men and women, too
Is the road successful people
Travel daily. How about you?

Are you tuning in to wisdom
Are you listening really well?
If so, then your obedience
Will show – others will tell.

They’ll tell of your goodness.
They’ll see what brings you peace
And they’ll want to have a share
In the joy that will not cease.


“But this is what I commanded them, saying,
‘Obey My voice, and I will be your God,
and you will be My people;
and you will walk in all the way
which I command you,
that it may be well with you.’
Jeremiah 7:23

When we live in obedience,
We can sing with the best of them:
It is well with my soul –
And we can can pray for the rest of them!

Embrace Obedience!
Easter is coming… when we set aside time
To thank our God for sending the Perfect Example
Of what Obedience – even to the cross – looks like.

Praise God!
Hear – Heed -Obey!

Jesus – simple, yet complex

Thanks for visiting JanBeek today.
I pray my Embrace series is encouraging you.
See ya tomorrow.

Embrace Silence


Today was a day to embrace silence.
Put away the TV rhetoric.
Turn off the music and chatter.
Just listen to the silence.

Back in 2017 I wrote about silence.
Time to resurrect that post:

THE SOUND OF SILENCE

Silence is resounding in my ears.
Silence wipes away confusion and fears.
Silence speaks as all nature rings.
Silence breaks as songbird sings.

Silence whispers compassion’s song –
Let’s me contemplate yesterday’s wrong.
Allows God’s grace to fill this space
Instead of wallowing in my own disgrace.

Silence brings new life to God’s Word.
It lets the Holy Spirit speak and be heard.
It opens my heart to name the nameless
And enter their world blameless and shameless.

Open my heart, Lord, in silence to know
All that You’re saying, all that You show
Through challenges booming or hugs soft and sweet.
Help me to hear You in ALL that I meet.

Jan Beekman
11-30-2017

Embrace Questioning


Embrace Questioning!
Do we embrace all questions?
Like, “Are you stupid?”

No, it’s not questions,
But the act of questioning
That deserves embrace.

Not all questions are
Developed with pure motives.
Embrace those that are!

Embrace a pure heart
Full of inquisitiveness.
Ask because you care.

When you meet someone
Ask their name and remember –
Use it lovingly.

Ask about their life.
Listen with sincere interest.
Listening’s a gift.

Questioning’s one thing;
Listening is another.
They go hand in hand.

When I think of questioning with a pure motive and listening with an open heart, I think of Job. Even if you are not a Christian, seeped in the Bible stories, you have heard the expression, “The patience of Job.” (That’s pronounced Jobe… not job, like Steve Jobs, the American business magnate). What made the prophet, Job, come to mind?

Job is presented in the Bible as a good and prosperous family man who is beset by Satan with God‘s permission with horrendous disasters that take away all that he holds dear, including his children, his health, and his property. He struggles to understand his situation and begins a search for the answers to his difficulties. Searching for answers involves questioning. He does so without condemning God. He maintains his trust in God to ultimately work for his good – even when he is in the worst of his turmoil.

What a desolate looking man!
What must he be saying to God?
What questions would you be asking?

What does Job ask God?
“He demands answers from God Himself. Job wants to know why bad things happen to good people. He knows it’s not right, and will not accept the saccharine answers of his friends.”

God, “Why Have You Made Me Your Target”? (Job 7:20)

God explains to Job that to us mere mortals sometimes there are no words—no rationalizations—that can make sense of the unhappiness we endure.

Trauma happens and we have to accept it. Explanations may make us feel better, but they mislead. Ultimately, Job, like all of us, must endure suffering not knowing why … or if the question even counts.

Once Job accepts this, he somehow manages to live with his trauma without becoming its victim.

The Book of Job asks “why good people suffer,” but never actually answers the question. What it does do, is correct misconceptions about why we suffer. The truth of this wonderful tale is that man can’t know everything. 

Again, let me repeat, “Once Job accepts this, he somehow manages to live with his trauma without becoming its victim.”

How does this story relate to your life and mine?
Have you ever questioned why life was
throwing stones at you that you didn’t deserve?

Or have you questioned why you didn’t get a job that you knew you deserved?

This happened recently to my son. He applied for a job that he knew he was qualified for. Another person was chosen instead. He got a form letter of rejection. Instead of falling into a fit of depression or raging in disbelief, he called the person who did get the job and congratulated her. He asked if there was anything he could do to support her in her assignment – and he asked her to keep an eye out in case she saw a position in the future for which she thought he might be a good fit.

Within a day, he received a call back and an extension of his responsibilities was offered along with a significant pay raise.

Now, I’m not suggesting that every time you ask the right questions with the right motive, you’ll get a pay raise!

No, it’s not that simple. But, what embracing questioning does is it changes your focus. The right questions – in the right spirit – make the difference between misery and openness. The difference between depression and expression. The difference between pessimism and positivity.

Embrace a pure heart
Full of inquisitiveness.
Ask because you care.

Don’t question, “Why you?”
Instead ask, “What can I do?”
“Can I be of any help?”

Your attitude counts.
Humility is the key.
Embrace questioning!

My son posted this meme
the day before his interview.

God is good.
All the time!
Even to the Jobs of this world!
Be patient in love.
Your pay raise is coming!!

Hah!

Thanks for visiting JanBeek
Got any questions??
See ya tomorrow.

Embrace Your Power Source


Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

What is your power source?
Where do you get your ideas?

Today’s sermon on ZOOM with the Madison Valley Presbyterian Church
in Ennis, Montana, preached by the Rev. Steve Hundley
attributed our power source to
(well, what do you think a minister would say?)…
God
Jesus Christ’s teaching
The Word
Scripture
Of course!

But, beware!

Steve began his sermon today with a children’s message. He shared this (paraphrased by me, of course):

My dad was a forester. He used to cruise the timber to decide what to cut and what to leave to keep the forest healthy. He usually went with a fellow forester – a guy who was not known for his great sense of direction. They would head out in different directions, and when it was time to regroup, my dad told his partner that he’d call out. “You answer,” he told him, “and I’ll call again. Back and forth until you find your way back.”

But, what happened was an ole hoot owl responded back to his partner when he called out, and he followed the direction of the owl. It got him way off track. When my dad realized what was happening, he honked the horn of the truck, and finally the two men were able to reconnect and head for home.

Moral of the story: Listening to the wrong voice can get us lost. We need to listen to the voice and teachings of Christ in order to stay on the right path.

Photo by Andru00e9 Cook on Pexels.com

The Church’s Spiritual Power Source

(Inspired by Mark 1:21-28 – story of Jesus’ teaching in the synagogue
and being interrupted by a man who was demon-possessed)

The people of the church
Were astounded when Jesus
Taught with authority –
More astounded than by exorcism.

When we think of a teacher image,
We rarely think of provocative
We have our dull stereotypes.
But Jesus, the Teacher, was rare.

Wouldn’t you think His act
Of removing an evil force
Would have trumped the act
Of teaching the Word of God?

No, removal of an unclean spirit
Was not what the people raved about.
It was Jesus, the Teacher, who
Inspired the people to be amazed.

Do Jesus’ teachings still have
The power to transform and amaze?
Do Jesus’ teachings still have
The power to unite and inspire?

The teachings of Jesus and the
Growing of churches and believers
Are synonymous; did you know that?
Let’s join a weekly Bible Study.

Listen to the right voice…
The voice of Jesus telling His parables.
I’ll lead a Bible Study and we’ll all
Tune in to Jesus’ voice – OK?

Wednesday nights at 7:00 PM.
We’ll begin with Luke 15:11-24.
It’s the story of the Prodigal Son.
Look for your ZOOM invitation.

Invite a friend to join us!

Hope you had a wonderful Sunday.
Enjoy your evening.
See you tomorrow.
Thanks for visiting JanBeek.

Let me know if you’d like a ZOOM invitation to join us.
If so, send me an e-mail address.
Embrace Your Power Source!

Embrace Extravagance


What?
Embrace Extravagance?
I have to be kidding, right?

Photo by Kamaji Ogino on Pexels.com

Extravagance is kin to outlandish.
Extravagance means excessive.
Right?

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Wrong!
Extravagance doesn’t need to mean outlandish.
It can be thought of as abundance.

Extravagance is
Abundance of some good food –
Okay if it’s shared!

Extravagance is
An abundance of pure love –
Beautiful when shared

Extravagance is
The overflow of blessings –
Lovely gifts from God

Life is extravagantly wonderful!

When the night sky touches your soul,
When other bloggers touch your inner core,
It’s a sign of the extravagance of others
That keeps you longing for more

In his “Keys to Living Life”

Today, January 24, 2021, Rahul Gaur wrote a blog so powerful that I HAD to share it. First I tweeted it. I have never shared someone else’s blog by tweeting it before. I have reblogged a few. This one is so impactful that I need you to click on Rahul’s name and go to it. See it for yourself. It is extravagantly beautiful! Here are a couple of sentences that particularly touched me:

“The soul is the lost intuition
and the listening switch of your body.
When you need to see things beyond as they are,
to see things as they were meant to be,
you listen to the orchestra of your soul.⁣”

I listened with my soul to today’s sermon

Sermon by Rev. Steve Hundley
at the Madison Valley Presbyterian Church
Ennis, Montana

Thy Kingdom Come

“Thy Kingdom Come” is
a political statement –
Except we believe
in a heavenly kingdom.

It’s not a worldly kingdom.
It is “THY” kingdom come.
Let God’s Kingdom reign,
Not MY domain – not MY will.

As a pastor, I am sometimes
Guilty of saying, “Look at me!”
I do the “my” and not “Thy” message
And have to learn to lose self.

We all need to learn to be
De-throned … and let
God’s Kingdom be the focus.
Peace, reconciliation & hope are God’s.

God’s Kingdom is not attainable
On our earth. It is not!
Utopia here in our world
Is not within our reach.

No earthly political order
Will ever be the Kingdom of God.
God’s Kingdom is like a seed.
It’s like a net in the water.

The seed one day will sprout.
The net will gather fish.
God’s work on earth is extravagant,
But the Kingdom is elusive here.

The Kingdom of God is at the door.
It takes eyes of faith to see
What lies beyond the threshold.
It is there though we see it not.

When we say “Thy Kingdom COME,”
We might more easily say GO.
Go from You into me…
God’s Kingdom lives in each of us.

It’s an awesome fact that
The Kingdom of God is in you.
We must not lose hope or faith
And we must not live in satisfaction.

Never be satisfied with what is.
Only when we submit to God’s Kingdom
Does it really COME. So care!
Care for the poor; release greed and pettiness.

It’s liberating to know when
We turn our lives and our futures
Over to our Extravagant God –
We’ll see His Kingdom coming into the world.

Amen?

“Listen to the orchestra of your soul.”
Rahul Gaur
Keep you ears open to soulful listening…
Thank you, Rahul, for your blog.
Thank you, Rev. Steve, for your message.
Thank You, God, for your Kingdom of Love.

Embrace Extravagance!

Thanks for visiting JanBeek
See ya tomorrow

Embrace Reassurance


Bee ye reassured
God’s surely with you today
He won’t desert you

And you have a host
Of others who are with you
On each of life’s steps

So, be reassured
By the love of all your friends
Who are there for you

Thank your friends for their
Calls and their conversations
About their blessings

It reassures you
To know you are not alone
In your solitude

Capitalize it!
Make that you into a “You.”
Trust in our Savior

You are not alone
Be reassured that your prayers
Are heard and answered

Yes, be reassured
That God hears your heart’s yearnings.
You’re heard; God responds.

God hears you in prayer
So, embrace reassurance
Know that God is there

Thank for visiting JanBeek

Tell me what reassures you when you need it.
See ya tomorrow.

Embrace Listening


This is the image I put on the front of this week’s church bulletin:

Sermon topic: “Listening for God.”

If you’ve followed my blog for a week or more,
you know that Sunday afternoon’s blog usually is devoted to
sermon notes from this morning’s worship service
at the Madison Valley Presbyterian Church
in Ennis, Montana – sermon by Rev. Steve Hundley.

Today’s sermon, “Listening for God,”
was based on the story of Hannah, Samuel, and Eli
as told in 1 Samuel 3:1-20 and John 1:43-51.

Listening for God

Sermon by Rev. Steve Hundley
Poetic notes by Jan Beekman

I was known to be able
To sleep through anything.
I inherited that trait
from my grandma. You could sing
At the top of your lungs
And she would not awake.
That’s a trait I retained
Through most of my life’s daybreaks.

But later in life I found
I would awaken at midnight
And be unable to go back to sleep.
I couldn’t nod off, try as I might.
And in the wee hours I find
The bad things seem worse.
They magnify in the darkness.
Sleeplessness is a curse!

So, how must it have been
When Samuel heard God’s voice
In the middle of the night –
Must’a made him puzzle – not rejoice!
His mother, Hannah, also
Heard God’s voice when barren.
He told her she’d give birth,
So she promised her babe she’d be sharin’.

When her baby, Samuel, was born,
She kept her promise to God
And gave her child to Him
By delivering him to Eli’s sod.
Samuel grew up in the church.
One night Sam heard the sound
Of a voice calling out his name.
He went to Eli in a running bound.

Eli told him it was God
Calling him to listen and hear.
It took courage to listen and accept
That it was the Lord speaking clear.
Samuel’s whole life changed that night
As he suddenly became a man.
He learned to listen without fright
And obey God’s voice… just as we can.

There are lots of voices we hear
In our nights that lack sweet slumber.
Are we listening to the true voice of God
Or is it somebody else – or thunder?
While we wake to the world’s troubles,
Sometimes it’s hard to discern and hear
The Word of God – and live what He commands.
Declare our willingness, and know God is near.

There is grace and hope knowing
When Samuel listened, he changed
From a boy to a Man of God –
And his future was rearranged.
Take courage and respond with
“Speak, Lord, your servant is ready
To hear and respond, and live out
Your words to me. Keep me steady.”

Amen

Eli assured Samuel it was God speaking to him.

There were a couple dozen of us tuned in to this ZOOM church service today.
Thank you for joining us via this blog
I pray you are tuned in to hear God’s voice, too.

Proverbs 2:1-5

Make your ear attentive…

“My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you, making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.”

A Bible verse from our son, Ty, today

To be sure your steps
Are on the path the Lord sets
Embrace Listening

… and practice obedience!
Here’s one of the hymns we sang during our ZOOM service this morning:

Thanks for visiting JanBeek
See ya tomorrow.
Have a great Sunday afternoon/evening.

Embrace Blessings


Video by my friend, Caroline Feldman.
We were looking at this blessed sunrise together this morning.

When God starts your day with this kind of a blessing,
how can your day go wrong?

TRUST in His blessings!

You just gotta smile, right?

This is the day that the Lord has made,
I will reJOYce and be glad in it!

Go ahead, click the arrow again!
Sing along! You can’t help but smile as you do!

How have you felt God’s blessings in your life this day?

Let me hear from you!

See ya in my prayers…
Love, JanBeek

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