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Embrace Defining Moments


In my reading this morning, These Days – Daily Devotionals for Living by Faith, I was inspired by the commentary of Robin Gallaher Branch of Memphis, Tennessee. The scripture that motivated her thoughts was from Ezekiel 1-2:1

The word of the Lord came to the priest Ezekiel,
son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans
by the river Chebar, and the hand of the Lord
was on him there.

What Does That Scripture Mean?

Study that painting. Obviously artists have been inspired by this scripture. But somehow, as I read it again, the depth of its meaning escaped me. I was not quite sure what to make of it. Robin Branch, on the other hand, saw “A Vision is a Divine Interruption.”

She wrote, “I tell my students this: Expect Divine Interruptions.”

Why? Because they occur regularly in the Bible.

And that is what she understood was happening to Ezekiel in this passage. She wrote, “He was minding his own business when the heavens suddenly opened.”

Another artist depicted the scene this way:

Wow! Robin Branch describes it in words, “He saw four living creatures in human-like forms. Each had four faces: those of human being, lion, ox, and eagle… When the creatures moved, their wings sounded like mighty waters.”

What did he do? Ezekiel’s response was, “I fell on my face.” (verse 28)

God Interrupts Our Lives

Ezekiel shows us what to do when God interrupts our lives with a vision, a dream, or an angelic encounter. Worship and wait to be addressed!

But, how many of us have had God present Himself to us in a vision or a dream or an angelic encounter?

Maybe more of us than we realize! Do we open our eyes and hearts to recognize those defining moments? Do we see the angels in our midst? Do we know God makes divine appointments with us? Do we feel His presence?

Live in Expectancy

Do you live in a state of expectation, looking to see God in others? Do you know God is making broken things brand new? I see God in you! I see God in the defining moments of my life.

Daily Word, a Unity Publication, provides a daily word (or words) to ponder. It has a short devotional to enhance the word. Today’s word was “Expectation.” In the commentary, the title was, “Expectation keeps my mind positive and my heart full.

“Living in a state of expectancy kindles a quiet excitement in my heart, keeping me passionate about life.”

If I live in expectancy, I encounter defining moments …

Moments that define us are often not recognized until years later.

What are Defining Moments?

Jan & Bob
1962

Of course, if you are married happily, you know a defining moment in your life is your wedding. That one is easy to recognize.

Defining moments are those that impact you, change your direction, or reinforce it. They change your thinking. They wake you up to an Ah-hah moment, or they sit quietly in your subconscious – ready for the day you are prepared to recognize their impact and put their lesson to work in your life.

I asked Bob, as we were together in our sanctuary this morning, doing our Bible Study and devotionals, “What are the defining moments of your life?”

Right away, he said, “Our wedding day.”

See, I told you.. that one’s a given. Especially for folks like us who have stuck it out through thick and thin for 59 years!

Not All Are Positive

Not all of your defining moments are going to be the mountaintop experiences. Some are experienced in the valleys of our lives.

One of mine was when I had a burst appendix. I thought I was constipated and that’s why I ached so much. I tried laxatives. I tried a therapeutic massage. It just got worse. Finally the pain was so intense, I couldn’t sleep and I was crying out. Bob took me at midnight to the emergency room in the hospital just 5 minutes from home. They ran a bunch of tests, took x-rays, thought it was diverticulitis. Sent the x-rays to the larger hospital in Bozeman (an hour’s drive away). The doctors there looked at them and called to say, “Get that lady in here right now! She has a burst appendix.”

Why was this a “defining moment”? A dear lady (one of our medical center volunteers named Donna) road with me in the ambulance to Bozeman held my hand and prayed with me the whole way. She was an angel on earth! She helped me survive the painful ride to the hospital. Once there, the doctors told me I could have died. At my age (I was 79 or 80), many don’t survive such an ordeal.

I learned:

  • it’s probably not a good idea to ignore excruciating pain or self-medicate
  • it’s not wise to diagnose your own ailment
  • a prayer angel can make all the difference between life/death and comfort/agony

Some Defining Moments are Very Positive

Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

A mountaintop defining moment for me occurred when I was only 16 years old. It was the summer between my junior and senior years in high school. I was attending a summer “Music Therapy Clinic” at the College of the Pacific. One of our participants was a little boy named Jeremy. He about 4 years old and had never spoken. He had a voice. He could scream when he was upset. He could moan. He could whimper. But he had not spoken any words.

My music therapy counselor/teacher, Mrs. Harbert, was playing the piano. We all were sitting on the floor in a circle. Each of us had a child in our lap. Mine was Jeremy. Mrs. Harbert was playing a non-sensical, very rhythmic song. Its only word was “Hospodipomilwi.”

Hoss-poe-dee-poe-meal-wee

Hos-po-de-po-mil-we

Hos-po-di-po-mil-wi

I bounced Jeremy on my lap and sang quietly in his ear.

All of a sudden, Jeremy began to sing!! “Hospodipomilwi”

Photo by Maria Orlova on Pexels.com

A year or so later, I saw Jeremy and his mom when I was shopping near the college. She said, “I can’t believe I used to pray for him to speak. Now I can’t get him to stop talking!”

I learned:

  • There is no greater thrill than to help a needy child
  • Music is magical
  • I wanted a career where I could work with children and music

God’s Divine Interruptions Change Us

Photo by Brett Sayles on Pexels.com

We were living in California. Bob was still working as a beekeeper. I was retired. He wasn’t sure he was ready to retire yet, but we talked about it. We didn’t know where we wanted to live after his retirement, but we were pretty sure we didn’t want to stay in California. The state was growing in population faster than the the infra-structure could handle the numbers.

Then he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Life changed. We changed.

I won’t take you through the whole three year process, just suffice to say, it was a defining moment! His cancer caused us to reevaluate where we were, who we were, and where we wanted to be.

It is the reason we now live in this place we call God’s Country, Ennis Montana.

The Road of Life is Filled with Defining Moments

The road of life is filled with highs, lows,
mountaintops and valleys,
potholes and gravel.

When life knocks you down,
when you are going along
minding your own business
and the heavens open up,
or the bridge collapses
and you fall into a crevice,
remember Ezekiel.

He fell on his face.
He called out to God.
He waited for God to direct him.

Let God’s still small voice direct you.
Like my Donna,
watch for the angels all around you.

Let His strength illuminate your path.
Like Josh Williams, see God in others
and let their strength encourage you.


Let the defining moments speak to you.
Like Jeremy, find your voice
and sing!
Hos-po-di-po-mil-wi

Embrace Defining Moments



What are YOUR defining moments?

Embrace Music


Whatever happens in your life
Can be made more meaningful
If you wrap it in a song.
It’s in your heart for soooo long…


What song wraps a moment of remembrance for you?

When you are in your late teens
Or in your early twenties,
If you fall in love and want to marry,
People might tell you you’re too young.

At least that’s the way it was
When I was a kid way back when.
So, this Nat King Cole song
Resonates in my heart.

Do you have a song from your teens
That stays in your heart today?
What message did it carry
That caused you to sing along or play?

Another Nat King Cole Song
That brings back sweet memories
Is this one: “When I Fall in Love.”
Do you know this one or are you “Too Young?”

Yes, music defines our era, doesn’t it?
Elvis was too loud and wiggly for me!
The Beatles didn’t come ’til I was
Out of college and busy working.

Big Bands were important to me.
I love listening to Tommy Dorsey;
And I loved being in the band
And in the orchestra. Did you?

As a child, we often sat around the radio
And listened to the big bands…
This song was one my mom loved.
She sang along and taught me to harmonize.

Did your mom or dad sing along
To the songs on the radio or TV?
Music is a huge part of my life –
And it brings me such joy. How ’bout you?

I dare you to play this Sachmo number –
“The Saints Go Marchin’ in” and not tap your feet
And if you’re like I am, then you will
Sing along when they get to the chorus.

Oh, and did you play an instrument?
Besides the accordion, I played
The clarinet; It was a pleasure
To hear that great clarinetist.

Good music brings you back –
Back to the place where you were
When you first heard it,
Doesn’t it?

A good symphony orchestra
Can take you back to the symphony hall
Or it could take you to the living room
Where this song was theme for what program?

All our lives long, we embrace music.
It is the way we learned our ABC’s.
Why didn’t our math teacher
Put the times tables to music??

Wasn’t that adorable?
Didn’t it bring you back?
When patients with dementia
Lose memory, songs remain.

Music occupies a place in our minds
That stays alive long after other things
Have vacated the scene!
What songs will remain to your end?

How has music enhanced your life?
Does it still play a big part?
The pandemic didn’t squelch music.
Instead it just became more creative.

I majored in music therapy in college,
So, this video touched my heart.
Even though I didn’t become a music therapist,
I used music every day in the classroom.

How do you use music to enhance your days?
Embrace music today… and let it
Lighten your heart and lift your spirits.
Dig dig dig dig do do do do
Dig dig dig a doo doo!!

Thanks for visiting JanBeek today

Don’t leave before you hear one of my favorite inspirational songs:

Open my eyes, Lord!

See ya later.

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