Spreading love, joy, peace, faith & unity

Posts tagged ‘Lord’

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 Adversity – 8 Ways


How do you define adversity?
It is symbolized by tough times.
It is exhibited by disagreements.
It represents challenges.

How do we deal with adversity?
Why should we embrace it?
Misfortune means misery, right?
Calamity and distress are its partners.

But the Bible says, “The Lord is
A stronghold in times of trouble.”
The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed.
“Those who seek the Lord lack no good thing”
(Psalm 34:10b)

So let us embrace adversity
By understanding it is a vehicle
That strengthens us just as fire
Tempers steel and hardens it.

We are called to share each other’s burdens.
That is one of the purposes of church:
Congregations are called to care for,
Encourage, empathize, and strengthen one another.

“The church is a network of shoulders
Supporting the collective weight
Of everyone’s troubles, lifting burdens,
Helping others find rest for their weary hearts.”

(Charles Stanley, In Touch Ministries)

God often uses hard times to get our attention.
When things are going great,
we are not so quick to turn to Him.
But trials drive us to our knees for answers and comfort.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Psalm 28:7

“The Lord is my strength and my shield,
my heart trusts in Him,
and He helps me.
My heart leaps for joy,
and with my song I praise Him.

Photo by Luna Lovegood on Pexels.com

The adversity that I faced recently was the death of my “favorite student,” Ty Stiles. The picture above could easily have been him. His early death was “misfortune” to the highest degree! I have told you about him in several recent blogs. Yesterday was his Memorial Service at Monte Vista Chapel, his home church in Turlock, CA. I was blessed to be able to attend it virtually because the church recorded it on a YouTube broadcast.

How do we face the “misfortune” of such a loss? Only by our faith! Only by knowing God keeps His promises and Ty has gone to Heaven. We will go there some day, too. We will all be reunited. In the meantime, adversity turns to adventure. We are invited to live our lives with thankfulness for the privilege of knowing one another. We are asked to change our perspective from “I can’t handle this,” to “”I can’t handle this on my own, but I can with Jesus’ help.”

Let the adventure of today’s challenges bring strength when we feel weak, safety when we feel danger, comfort when we feel distress. Let us be the ones who stand tall and say, “Here I am, Lord, send me!” Be ever ready to leap for joy and with your song, ever praise the Lord who is our strength.

Pray for his comfort and strength, rather than praying that he’d simply remove difficulties. Embrace Adversity. Be the shoulder others lean on. God will bless you!

Thanks for visiting
JanBeek
See ya tomorrow.

Embrace His Mercy


So, what is mercy?
Is it something that you need?
No?! So you’re perfect?

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Well dear, guess again!
We’re all in need of mercy.
It’s undeserved grace.

You ask, what is grace?
Well, it’s undeserved mercy!
Don’t you just love it?

Definitions are
Often so convoluted.
Good thing for mercy!

Mercy me! Oh my!
I sure need grace and mercy.
Both are found in prayer.

Prayer for Help, Mercy and Grace

Prayer from Rev. Steve Hundley
PASTORAL PRAYER
prayed at
Madison Valley Presbyterian Church
ZOOM service
2-7-2021

“Loving God, we thank You that You treat us as if all were one; and each one as if there were only one.  We thank You that we are all held together in Your love; and none are beyond Your caring reach.  Thank You that You hear our prayers:

  • the prayers we feel awkward about;
  • the prayers we are hesitant to pray;
  • and, the prayers we feel that we do not know the right words to pray.

Thank You that You know us well enough to hear our thoughts, our yearnings, our stumblings, our grumblings, our secret hopes and fears, even when we dare not, or cannot put them into words.  We are eternally grateful that anytime we turn toward you, the arms of Your grace and love are there to enfold us with Your love that cannot be bought, earned, or bargained for.  Since it is the gift which You give and which we can only receive, give us wisdom to joyfully receive it.

O Lord, this past year has reminded us just how fearful and fragile; yet, precious and wonderful life can be.  We need Your help. So Jesus, grant us this: the ability to as easily recognize and celebrate the beautiful as we are able to itemize the ugly.  Grant us the ability to as easily praise as we are to condemn.  Grant us the ability to as easily unite as we are to divide.  Grant us the ability to as easily support and help one another as we are to ignore.  And, grant us the ability to as easily express joy as we are to display our disappointment.

Grant us some sense of worth and accomplishment which places the mark of meaning to our days.  In spite of the many limitations this pandemic has placed on our daily lives, grant us some sense of purpose, that tomorrow is something to look forward to, rather than to dread.  Encourage us to reach outside of ourselves, and find ways to express our faith and love in ways that would benefit this world and its people whom You love. 

Jesus grant us this: though life tumbles in, and almost everything seems to crumble around us; when the simple things we took for granted seem a distant memory; when hope frays and a simple touch, or a caring hug is something we remember we used to do; O Lord, find some special way to hold us in the palm of Your hand.

We pray for this wonderful yet sometimes unhappy…this divided yet dependent…this brave but fearful, mixed-up world we live in.  We have created enemies by the misuse of its power; and, what could have been a blessing for all has become a curse to many by our misuse of its abundance.  O Lord, give us and the leaders of this great nation the will to break out of destructive patterns, and grant us peace in our time. “

Have mercy on us, O Lord, for we pray this prayer in the name of Our Father Who art in Heaven… Amen!

So, what is mercy?
Is it something that we need?
You bet! Every day!!

Have a wonderful week.
I pray for your health, happiness, and safety –
every day!
Thanks for visiting.
See ya later,
Love, JanBeek

Before you leave, take a few minutes to treat yourself to the story behind “The Prayer” and hear the most beautiful voices (my bias) in the world. Where do you see God’s mercy at work in this duet??

Embrace Courage


In these days of national crises,
It’s easy to feel powerless.
It’s easy to duck our heads and hide.
It’s easy to take the role of cowardice.

Photo by Eva Elijas on Pexels.com
Couldn’t find a picture of the head in the sand!

Our uncertainty about the future
Stirs in us anxiety and fear.
But stronger yet is our faith.
We take courage. God is here.

This letter from Amy Klobuchar,
A politician I have come to admire,
Came to me in today’s mail.
Her message calms the fire.

Jan,

Today’s celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. comes at a time when his work and his message are more important than ever. The forces of division that are trying to convince us that our neighbors are our enemies have been loud in recent months — but I still believe as I always have that there is still more that unites us as Americans than separates us.

Our nation is coming together to reject violence and authoritarianism. This is the spirit that we must bring into the future. We must heed the words of Dr. King, that we are all “tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”

Thank you,
Amy
The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Turning to the wisdom of the scriptures,
We can gain resolve and be brave.
We can shine a light and be courageous.
God tells us how to behave.

Deuteronomy 31:6

“Be strong and courageous.
Do not be afraid or terrified because of them,
for the Lord your God goes with you;
He will never leave or forsake you.”

Joshua 1:6

“Be strong and courageous,
because you will lead these people
to inherit this land
I swore to their ancestors
to give them.”

Yesterday kicked off a week of celebrations
in preparation for this Wednesday’s inauguration.

The rioters at our nation’s capitol last week were intent on “taking back the country” by overturning the Biden/Harris election. They were convinced that the election was fraught with fraud. Hundreds of court cases were brought against election officials. Each case lost or was thrown out. Even judges appointed by President Trump found “no fraud existed.”

The actions of the rioters were not what Martin Luther King would have sanctioned. They were not what God in His scripture advocates. Paul, in his letter to the people of Corinth said what we need to hear today:

1 Corinthians 16:13

“Be on your guard;
stand firm in the faith;
be courageous;
be strong.”

He was not speaking to rioters.
He was speaking to give courage
to the people of Corinth
to stand against oppressors.

Part of today’s problem in the USA (in my humble opinion) is that there is a host of Americans who have decided the people on the side of the law are the oppressors. They have painted Donald Trump as their liberator. A huge portion of our citizenry still is convinced the election was stolen. For only the second time in our history, the outgoing president will not be there at the inauguration to wish the incoming president well – and to encourage a peaceful transition of power. It is sad, indeed!

The most important thing we can do as a nation – and in fact, as a world – is to pray. Ask God to give courage and steadfastness to those people who have been elected to lead us forward. Join together in asking for a peaceful transition. There are (hopefully) many such prayer meetings occurring today and tomorrow. Here is one of them:

That’s just a picture of an invitation.
Can’t click on it to go there from this post.
But, you should be able to find many similar events.

As we EMBRACE COURAGE and stand in the power and love of Christ, we must be discerning. Listen for the voice of God’s Truth. Try not to believe misleading rhetoric. Be sure we stand in God’s Will as we act by His strength.

2 Timothy 1:7

“For God has not given us
a spirit of fear and timidity,
but of power,
love, and
self-discipline.”

Thanks for visiting JanBeek today.
Embrace Courage, my friends.
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 Joy with Gladness


Joy bubbles up from deep within
And spills out with gladness.
Expressing joy with eager anticipation
Erases all the madness.

Photo by Anthony on Pexels.com

The world around may sizzle
With turmoil, loss, and pain,
But those need not define us.
Choose gladness and see gain.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Peek through the gloom with love
And watch the scenery change
From gloom and doom to cheerfulness.
Embrace joy; keep gladness in range!

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

“This is the day the Lord has made;
We will reJOYce and be glad in it.”

Psalm 118:24

ReJOYce and dance, my friends.
Be glad in the Lord and sing.
Set your mind on the positive;
Let your heart in gladness ring.

Begin your day with a question,
Ask the Lord, “Whatcha got in store?”
Then follow his lead and smile –
His joy is to give you more!

More beauty and more power,
More love and gladness, too
Are waiting round the bend
In God’s storehouse for you.

So let joy bubble up from deep within.
Let gladness radiate from your face.
Practice living in His presence
And let His love fill this space.

“Love unlocks doors and opens windows
that weren’t ever there before.”

Mignon McLaughlin

Photo by Dmitry Zvolskiy on Pexels.com

My prayer for us today:

May we live with an attitude of gratitude,
And send out the essence of gladness,
Relieving distress and doing our best
To erase all traces of sadness.


Amen

Hugs from JanBeek

Thanks for visiting.
See ya tomorrow.
Bee Glad!


It is Well


It is well… with my soul.

You may know the song, but do you know the story behind it?

It is well worth your time to listen to this wonderful explanation

and to hear the gorgeous Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

When peace like a river attendeth my way
When sorrows like sea billows roll
Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say
It is well, it is well, with my soul
It is well
With my soul
It is well, it is well with my soul

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come
Let this blest assurance control
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate
And hath shed His own blood for my soul

It is well (it is well)
With my soul (with my soul)
It is well, it is well with my soul

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, o my soul!

It is well (it is well)
With my soul (with my soul)
It is well, it is well with my soul

It is well (it is well)
With my soul (with my soul)
It is well, it is well with my soul.

Source: MusixmatchSongwriters: Bliss Philip P / Spafford Horatio / Langley Leanne

When peace like a river attendeth my way…

It is well with my soul.
May it be well with your soul, too.
God bless you!
Have a wonderful week.

Thanks for visiting JanBeek.
See ya tomorrow.

God is Great! God is Good!


Thank you for checking in with JanBeek today.
If you are one of the newbies here, welcome!!

You may not know that I take sermon notes in poetry most Sundays,
and then I share them here.
I do…
and I enjoy helping you hear
what I heard through my poetic filters.
Comments always appreciated.

Photo by Anna Tukhfatullina Food Photographer/Stylist on Pexels.com

Sermon by
Reverend Steve Hundley
Madison Valley Presbyterian Church
Ennis, Montana
Notes by Jan Beekman

God is Great, God is Good!

Thanksgiving celebrations
Have a history with friends.
This year with COVID,
Most will find unwelcomed ends.

Reunited old relationships
Were important to reflame.
Old traditions are important.
What’ll we do to reclaim?

What can we do to overcome
This year of so many deaths?
How can we truly be thankful
When so many breathed last breaths?

Remember to give thanks
For life – no matter how short.
Help the family say good-bye,
And trust God. Give no retort!

There is no way we can
Make whining acceptable.
Suck it up and give thanks
For life! … Be respectable.

Praise and give thanks to God
For the daily gifts He gives.
Blessed be the Lord of all.
Blessed be our God. He lives!

Psalm 100 gives praise
No matter the troubles and strife.
Remember the password to God:
“Thank You!” God, thank you for life!

Rev. Steve told a story about a family Thanksgiving a few years ago where his mom ALWAYS asked him to be the one to provide the blessing. But on this particular Thanksgiving, his four-year-old second cousin interrupted and said HE wanted to say the blessing this year. Steve’s mom told him he could, assuming Steve would follow up with the REAL blessing.

The four-year-old cleared his throat and declared, “God is Great – God is Good – Amen!”
Steve’s mom asked, “That’s it?”
And the boy responded emphatically, “Yes! That’s it!”
Then she turned to Steve, expecting him to expound further.
Steve simply said, “Amen!”

Yes, that’s it … that’s all we need to know: “God is Great! God is Good! Amen!”


Steve’s opening prayer this morning: “Father in heaven, we give You thanks for life and for all of the experiences that life brings us.  We give You thanks for joy, hope, peace, and answered prayers, but we also give You thanks for our trials, sorrows, and pain.  We give You thanks for our land, for the beauty of the landscape, for the riches it provides for our living, for the people and cultures among us.  Above all things, we give You thanks for our hope in Christ, for the life and freedom that will ultimately be ours.  Teach us to cherish all Your gifts.  Teach us also to use all these resources for the good of society and for glory to You.  Through Jesus Christ, our Lord.  Amen.

*AN AFFIRMATION OF THANKSGIVING

I believe in the God of fruit time and harvest, who makes the land to bear gifts in its time and fills our tables with the bounty of His hand.

I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s Son, who was the first fruit of those who slept, and brings us to spiritual tables where our cups overflows.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, who causes us to remember all things for which we are grateful and teaches us to see a relationship between our gifts and the Giver.

I believe in the world as the arena of my spiritual life, where I am to share my table with the poor and my hospitality with the stranger; for in so doing, I shall fulfill the desires of my great and good God who has given me everything, and of His Son, and the Holy Spirit.  Amen.   

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Thank you for joining me for our Sunday service.
If you find yourself in Ennis, Montana on a Sunday morning,
do come and join us at the Madison Valley Presbyterian Church.
308 W Hugel St, Ennis, MT 59729
(406) 682-4355


May the Lord Bless and Keep You safe
now and always.

See ya tomorrow.

Helpless Does Not Equal Hopeless


Remember:
Helpless
Does not Equal
Hopeless.

Even when I feel helpless
To change the outcome
Of a given situation,
I need to hang on to hope!

In this day of indecisive results
I need to hang on to the hope
That the outcome will be
In God’s ultimate plan.

It ain’t over
Til it’s over,
So hang on to hope.
Hang on for dear life!

What are you hoping for?
See ya tomorrow.
Love ya,
JanBEE ;o)

What a Week!


Problems
Creep in
Usually they’re unbidden
Happened all week long
Blame

Gifted
With Love
From my Lord
I did move forward
Strength

Possibilities
Are fueled
By firm beliefs
Making hard things easier
Faith

One step at a time
Life is easier with faith
Just follow the Light!

This last one’s a Haiku, but the preceding series of three poems (written in the German-inspired style of Elfchen or Elevenie) shares a total of eleven words in each poem, with a sequence by line of one, two, three, four, and one words.

I hope you had a good week.
Enjoy your weekend.
Thanks for visiting JanBeek.
See ya tomorrow.

BYE!!
BEEEEE Well.

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