Loving One Another

Posts tagged ‘Poetry’

Stop, Look, Listen!


In this crucial time
We need to stop, look, listen
Stop now and bow down!

In kindergarten, we were taught to stop, look and listen. We made traffic lights as an art project. As a kindergarten teacher in the 70’s, I taught the children to recognize their colors, write their numbers, sing their ABC’s and listen for the sounds the letters made. I taught them safety features. Looking out for themselves and for one another. Yes, we had partners who took care of each other when we went out on field trips.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

It’s time once again
For us to stop, look, listen
Practice safety rules

It’s time once again
To look out for each other
Hold hearts across miles

Just STOP, everyone!
Stay sequestered and stop now
Look for ways to help

Listen for the cries
Of people less fortunate
Look for solutions

Kim Taylor Henry is one of the contributing writers for Daily Guideposts 2020. This week, she has taken us through her devotionals on a journey to the Holy Land. We stopped with her in Jerusalem and bemoaned the way “the city bustled on.”

Kim thought of the words of Jesus:
“Jerusalem, Jerusalem…
how often I have longed
to gather your children together
as a hen gathers her chicks
under her wings,
and you were not willing.”


She wrote that
when she traveled to Jerusalem, she
“had expected to feel
connected to God
through tranquility.”

Instead, as she stood on a hill
looking down at the expanse of the city,
she wanted to cry out,
“Stop everyone! This is holy ground!
Bow down. Worship. Praise.”

Photo by Cameron Casey on Pexels.com

We were just like that –
Chaotic, bustling, busy –
Moving way too fast

Then this virus hit
We came to a screeching halt
Stop, look and listen!

Now we have the time
We are forced to be at home
How will this change us?

Photo by Alexas Fotos on Pexels.com

Will we use this time
To reclaim our best values
To reach out in love?

Photo by Engin Akyurt on Pexels.com

The city is still
The children are in their homes
It seems the world stopped

Take time to bow down
Reconnect with your Maker
Let His Will guide you

When Kim Taylor Henry left Jerusalem
and traveled on to Gethsemane,
she expected to find “a hushed highlight” for her trip.
She wrote that she thought she would find
“a spot where I would reflect on our Savior’s suffering,
a place of pain, yet serenity.”


“Instead ,” she wrote,
“I saw a fenced-off grouping of knobbly olive trees…
It didn’t feel peaceful.”

Opportunity or Tragedy

We have the opportunity
during this COVID-19 pandemic
to create in our homes
a place of peace,
a spot where you sense
a “hushed highlight”
in the opportunity to just BE…
just BE together with family
or alone in your space…

OR

We can create a tragedy
where we feel “fenced off”
and we can be resentful,
and we can worry
and let our fear
blind us to the opportunities
that are before us.

Photo by namo deet on Pexels.com

Indifference or Awareness?

Traveling on the Via Dolorosa, the road to Calvary, the place outside the city of Jerusalem where Jesus was crucified, Kim Taylor Henry wrote in her Guideposts devotional,

“I felt irritated by what I viewed as near oblivion to the sanctity of the path. Crass crowds and the array of souvenir shops disturbed me.”

But she went on to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and Golgotha, the hillside where Jesus and the two thieves’ crosses remained, and she felt a sense of hush and respect.

Kim asked herself, “Why is the Via Dolorosa bustling with indifference and commercialism while the sites of death and resurrection are worshipful?” And she postulated, “Perhaps it’s a reminder that I, like so many wrapped up in the world… realize my errors too late, and bow down after the fact – when crisis has already struck.”

Is it Too Late?

Help us not to wait
Until the crisis has struck
Devastating us

Help us to heed NOW
The directions we’re given
And let us bow down

Stop, look and listen
Like kindergarteners did
No, it’s not too late!

Photo by Gustavo Fring on Pexels.com

Thank you, Kim Taylor Henry, for permission to quote your writing. Thank you, Guideposts, for your wonderful Daily Guideposts 2020 spirit-lifting devotionals. I appreciate this resource that helps me each day stay focused on the positive ways we can remain in His Word and “Walk the Talk” as we learn to better love and care for one another.

See ya tomorrow.

Who's in Charge?


The Power of Love

For God did not give us
A spirit of cowardice,
But rather a spirit of power
and of love and self-discipline.

2 Timothy 1:7


Do we have enough self-discipline
To take advantage of this time –
This time to just BE and just LOVE
And make the world a better place?

Ann Weems, in Putting the Amazing Back in Grace, wrote:
“Remember, you’re in charge of remembering
that God is in charge, and that’s a big job
that will last a lifetime.”

Just Love!

God’s got this!!
Have a peace-filled Sunday, my friends.

Oh, and in case you, like us, missed church today,
here is the sermon for today that our pastor,
Rev. Steve Hundley sent out via e-mail.

Find a comfortable chair, grab a cup o’ tea or coffee, and augment your Sunday with a worshipful, inspiring message:

INSTRUCTIONS FOR LIFE

Read Psalm 23

     Not long after becoming the pastor of three small churches in the mountains of Virginia, I was asked to give the Baccalaureate Address to the graduating class of Bath County High School.  It used to be, at least in the Bible Belt where I grew up, that local high schools have both a Baccalaureate and Graduation ceremony.  The Baccalaureate was held one evening, a day or two before the actual Graduation Commencement.  And it was tradition to invite a religious leader in the community to speak.  However, I’m not sure that the message I delivered was what the school administration, or even the students, had in mind.

     In most cases, the message given would be a positive one meant to motivate the students to go out and change the world, such as: “You are God’s ambassadors, the hope for a broken world!”  Or: If you can imagine it, you can achieve it; if you can dream it, you can become it.”  Or, perhaps: “Shoot for the Moon, for even if you miss, you’ll find yourself among the stars!”  Most Baccalaureate, as well as, Commencement speakers would have them believe that they can be and do anything they set their minds to, (but with God’s help, of course).

     I, however, felt that it was my duty to inform them that they were nothing but a bunch of “harebrained” sheep.  I saw that!  You raised your eyebrows, didn’t you?  (Note from JanBeek, see the picture of sheep I put at the end of this sermon!)

Yet, that is what the Bible says.  Yes, as much as we would like to think of ourselves as having the heart of a lion, we share more in common with sheep.

      You see, like sheep, we tend to stray easily and lose our way.  I’ve have been told that if one sheep spooks and tears off in one direction, all the others will follow.  Imagine a bunch of sheep running up a hill.  Suddenly the one in front makes a sudden left turn, and all the others, with no questions asked, mindlessly follow.  If the one leading heads right off a cliff, tumbling to its death, all the others follow right off the cliff as well.  But, you say, “We’re not like that!”

     I heard recently about a young married couple.  The wife bought a country ham to cook for her husband’s family who were coming over for dinner.  Before putting it in a pot to bake it, she cut both ends off.  “Why did you do that,” her husband asked.  “I did it because that is the way my mother always did it,” she said.  Calling her mother on the phone, she asked: “Mom, why do we cut the ends off a ham before cooking it?”  “I don’t know.  I do it because it is the way my mother always did it.”  Calling up her grandmother, she asked, “Grandmother, why do we cut the ends off a ham before baking it?”  “I don’t know why you and your mother do it, but I always did it because it wouldn’t fit in my small baking pan.”

     Yes, if one sheep spooks and tears off, all the others will follow.  Still, you say, “We are smarter than that!”  (Try to find a roll of toilet paper, or a bottle of hand sanitizer these days.  Just saying.)

     Attending a Montana State University lecture not long ago, the speaker, a journalist professor, pointed out just how partisan our country has become.  He said that we have lost the will, and therefore, the ability to listen and dialogue with those who disagree with us.  “We only listen to those news networks that confirm what we believe to be true,” he said.  “We socialize with those who believe like us. In other words, we are like sheep who follow blindly our own flock.”  Oh, by the way, did you know that a flock of sheep are called a “MOB?”  Google it.

     Secondly, sheep not only tend to follow their “mob”, they are also fragile creatures.  Ken Davis, a comedian, tells of growing up on a sheep farm.  He said there was an old ram on their farm that loved to sneak up behind him and butt him when he wasn’t looking.  He hated that old ram.  One day he spotted the old bruiser coming around the back of the barn.  Determined to get back at that old ram, he looked around for something to hit him with.  With nothing in sight and ram rounding the corner, Ken jumped out and hollered: “BOO!”  It was all he could think to do. 

“Startled,” Ken said, “that old ram just keeled over AND DIED!” 

Later, his father confronted him, “Son, you hit that sheep, didn’t you?” 

“No dad, I said, BOO! and it just died!”

     A crack of thunder is all it takes to scare a sheep literally to death.  As much as we like to think of ourselves as indestructible, this present pandemic and the fact you are reading this sermon in your own home, shows just how fragile we are.  Our Lord Jesus said: “When you pray, say, ‘Our Father, who art in heaven…give us this day our daily bread…and, deliver us from evil’.”

     Yes, we are like sheep who are in need of a Shepherd.  We need help.  Going it alone, depending on our own wiles, spells certain disaster.  I remember one sheep herder/shepherd telling of turning his flock loose one night in the mountains to graze alone on their own.  He knew it was a risk, because sheep cannot defend themselves, much less outrun, even the slowest predators.  Sheep tend to go astray, grazing along without looking where they are going. 

    He did, however, leave them in the care of his trusty sheep dog.  Locating them the next morning, he discovered that they had wandered into a rather rugged mountain park.  Being the rather clumsy animals that they are, more than a few of them had managed to fall over while feeding on the uneven ground. He found sheep scattered around the meadow upside down on their backs unable to get up. He said: “I had to go around picking up sheep and placing them back on their feet.

     The Prophet Isaiah warns the Israelites of the danger of going it alone.  “See, the Lord’s arm is not too short to save … to pick you up when you have fallen.” (Isaiah 59:1)

     While I doubt that anyone was prepared for me to compare the graduating class of Bath County High School to a “flock”, or should I say “mob” of sheep…the foolish notion that the future of the world rested on their shoulders is categorically untrue!  The longer I live, the more I am convinced that what we need to make it in this world is not popularity and success, not financial wealth or even personal happiness.

    What we need is Christ, the Good Shepherd, to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves and instruct us in the proper order of our lives.  For, “The Lord is our Shepherd, we shall not want.  He makes us lie down in green pastures; he leads us beside still waters; it is our Shepherd who restores our souls, who leads us in right paths.  Even though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, we fear not evil…”

     Notice how Psalm 23 reverses the order of how we tend to live our lives.  It is our tendency to approach life head on, burning ourselves out.  And then, turn back to God in search of rest and soul-restoration after a week of chasing the illusive American dream.  Yet, notice that this Psalm reverses the order.  First, there is the Shepherd who provides what we need most, rest and soul restoration.  Only then is it possible to find meaning and purpose in God’s emerging kingdom or face dark valleys. 

   This is the blessing Jesus wanted Martha to see when she was burning herself out by busying herself in the kitchen.  Jesus said to her: “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing.  Mary has chosen the better part…” (Luke 10:41-42).

     Notice how the New Testament church began in Acts 2:46-47: “They followed a daily discipline of busying themselves with programs and activities, burning themselves out, so that people liked what they saw and everyday their numbers grew…”  ??? NO! NO! NO!

    It says: “They followed a daily discipline of worship in the temple, followed by meals together in their homes, every meal a celebration, exuberant and joyful, as they praised God.  People in general liked what they saw.  Everyday their numbers grew as God added those who were saved.”

   Yes, Genesis tells us that “God created the world and on the seventh day, and then He rested.”  That’s true, but WE ARE NOT GOD!  Christ died for our sins, our weaknesses, and on the first day of the week He arose from the dead!   So, we begin with rest, worship, and spiritual recreation before facing the challenges of daily living and serving our God.

   We are His sheep, who find our rest in the arms of the Good Shepherd, so that He might equip us for the facing of this hour even as we face this dark valley of the shadow of death.  For we are not alone, for God in Christ is with us.  Amen.

Hah! Sheep indeed…
But unique indeed, too.
Show your uniqueness today!!
  • Read Psalm 23 again.
  • In what new and unique way have you felt God’s comforting presence?

See ya tomorrow.
Thanks for visiting JanBeek
and for hangin’ in there together.
Have a beautiful Sunday.
Together, in FAITH,
we shall overcome!!

Just remember,
we’re not in charge –
God is!!

Treat Each Other Kindly


Donna, who has the WP post, “My Father’s Feet,” posted these scriptures today among others – and among many other important words of encouragement:

Matthew 7:12 NLT
“Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets.”

Galatians 6:10 NLT
“Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone–especially to those in the family of faith.”

Check out Donna’s post here:

https://wordpress.com/read/blogs/167421393/posts/853

Smile and brighten the corner where you are!

A Time for New Discoveries

My friend, Elaine, who has avoided poetry most of her life (after a high school experience in an English class (where diagramming sentences and picking poetry apart looking for rhythm and rhyme scheme and very hidden meaning turned her off) is discovering the poet in her soul! She sent me these Haiku. She wrote them this morning:

Our world is amiss
One alone proves capable
Gentle as a kiss

Photo by Natalie on Pexels.com

And here is Elaine’s second one:

Choose to share kindness
Chaos only seems to reign
Care completes circle

Kindness in Chaos?

In this crazy world where people sometimes are behaving irrationally, it is easy to write some people off and say they are off-limits! They are adding to the earth’s problems, rather than trying to solve them. One of my followers wrote this note yesterday:

“I’m all for being positive, Jan,
but some people’s behaviour is sickening …
like some here who are selling paracetamol on eBay
for £10 and Calpol for ,£20!”

What to Do?

What should we do about those “sickening” people? Do we write off the toilet paper hoarders and the ones buying cases of hand sanitizer, and the price gougers? Do we condemn the politicians who sold off hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of stock after a preliminary briefing about the upcoming pandemic? Condemn ’em and throw all the bums out??

27 Jesus said in Luke 6:27-31

“But to you who are listening I say:
Love your enemies,
do good to those who hate you,
28 bless those who curse you,
pray for those who mistreat you.
29 If someone slaps you on one cheek,
turn to them the other also.
If someone takes your coat,
do not withhold your shirt from them.
30 Give to everyone who asks you,
and if anyone takes what belongs to you,
do not demand it back.
31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.”

Kindness Rules!
Kindness completes the circle of life
as we want it to be.

Let your creativity reign.
Give birth to your inner poet .

Be the change you wish to see in this world.

My niece, Jodie (my sister, Sally’s daughter in PA,
just sent me a picture of this bouquet
with a note that said,
“Bill brought sunshine to our home today ❤ “

What kindness can you exhibit today
to add love and sunshine to your home?

Photo by Engin Akyurt on Pexels.com

See ya tomorrow.

Bee well!!
Hugs from JanBeek

Hey World, Are You Awfulizing?


Chase unhappiness –
Just pursue awfulizing –
Make matters worse!

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

Psychiatrist, Albert Ellis, coined the phrase “awfulizing” and wrote that it is “engaging in the pursuit of unhappiness.” Is that what our nation is doing in this Coronavirus pandemic?

Dr. Ellis says,
“… when we look at circumstances and are overwhelmed by them, we become part of a society that has an abundance of illogical ideas and philosophies that lead to self-defeating patterns or neurosis.”

Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

Flood the toilet paper aisles
with frenzied shoppers
filling their carts
and fighting over
the last roll!

A couple days ago, my doorbell rang. When I went to the door, I found my neighbor standing there with a broad, silly grin, holding a long stick on which he had strung four rolls of toilet paper! Some friends come to the door of 70-80 year olds in their “hoods” with food or flowers or a book to read while we’re sequestered. This neighbor shared his most precious commodity: toilet paper! Who woulda thunk it??

Shop on-line
and fill your garage
with cases of
hand-sanitizer bottles!!

Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

How many hands did that shopper expect to cleanse?
S’pose he intended to freely share them?
Nope, he was hoarding
with the intent of selling them
at some exorbitant price in the future –
gouging people!

Photo by Specna Arms on Pexels.com

Flock to places like Shedhorn Sports here in Ennis, Montana,
and purchase every last gun and all the ammunition you can carry!

Sure enough,
these behaviors
will solve
this awful
COVID-19 problem!

NOT!!

Try passing out love instead!!

James R. Hine, in his essay,
The Situation is Hopeless but not Serious ,
wrote the following:

“The decisions we make are rarely perfect. But if we make a decision based on our best judgment and with God’s help, we should let it stand.”

He was reminding us that we cannot go back and change the past. We can’t undo the mistakes that got us into this mess that sounds hopeless. But, we can look forward, learn from the past, and move into the future with greater wisdom, with love, and with a hope that keeps our spirits up.

In that same essay, Hine wrote,

“I will never preach like Peter nor pray like Paul,
but I can minister in my own way
and be acceptable to God in that role.

You and I are not perfect, but we are unique.”

Here I am with my accordion a few Christmases ago…
Unique, indeed!!
And so is Andrew with his trombone!

In your own unique way, avoid “AWFULIZING”
and move forward in hope.
This is serious, but it’s not hopeless!

James R. Hine,
The Situation is Hopeless, but Not Serious

Let me leave you with another quote from Hine:
“Through that which is deemed hopeless – the present – there arises a fresh hope, a new vision, and a world of creative possibilities.
It is in the dead of night. Sodom and Gomorrah, the evil city, is burning behind us. In that burning are all the tragedies of yesterday – the pretensions, the stupidities, the ambiguities, and the moral breakdowns. We have learned hard lessons, but we will not look back. Putting our hands in the hand of God, we will move toward the hills and the dawning of a new day.”

Morning sunrise from my friend, Lisa Glines

God bless you, my friends.
Tell me what you are doing this day
to “move forward toward the hills”?

Another friend, Penny Hall, said in a podcast yesterday,
“Embrace the good with the bad,
and know there is always more good than bad in this world.”

Amen, Penny!

No Awfulizing!!!

Spread positivity, my friends.
See ya tomorrow.
JanBeek

Add a Little Levity


A little Humor
During times of Tragedy
Ain’t sacrilegious!

Found this on FaceBook
It was in response to this post.

The Coronials
Will have a life of their own
Just like this virus

But, just in case my Haiku and pictures offend those who are in the midst of quarantine or have loved ones who are infected or family members who are the victims of this terrible pandemic, here is something on a more serious note:

My friend, Gloria, posted this on FB.

Some people are offended by the suggestion that we should dare to use the word, “Relax.” This is a time of heightened senses. A time to be on alert.

But ultimately, we know we are not in control. We know better than to believe someone who tells us he is… unless He is God.

So, God bless you, my friends.
Trusting or Terrified?
Afraid to make light of it?
I understand.


But, a little levity is good for the soul,
even in the midst of tragedy –
especially when all the toilet paper is gone!

We may have to come up with clever alternatives.

Got any other ideas?

Do For Others


Living under clouds

Of fear and trepidation

Renders us helpless

What will you do to

make life more beautiful for

someone else today?

We Need Guardian Angels


Protection needed!
Our guardian angels are
Working overtime.

Surround yourself with
The love of family and friends:
Your loving angels.

My friend, Maria Mendoza, gave these cuties to me.

Angels all around
Reach out to bring you comfort.
We all need them now!

Sanctuary lights
Highlight the angelic tones –
Angels softly play.

My mother-in-law created these Faberge’-like eggs

Angels sweetly pray
For your safety and wellness.
I pray for you, too.

Seven represents
God’s number for completion.
Seven angels sing.

This glass angel is a gift from Toni Bowen.
She was here in this room before we bought this house.

Social distancing
Suggests we sit far apart –
Stand six feet away.

This ancient tiny bowl and antique carved angel with accordion are gifts from a friend in Germany

Sit in your own bowl
And do not touch anything;
Stay isolated!

Carry your concerns
Like your heart in open hands –
But wash them often.

My daughter’s mother-in-love, Denise Solioz,
gave us this darling flute-playing angel.

Like the Pied Piper,
Be an angel with a flute.
Compassion plays here.

This lovely angel was among many in a box my mother left behind.
She bought every angel in her nursing home’s gift shop before she died.
I gave most of them away in her memory to the friends in her care facility.
This, the largest of the collection, I kept as a reminder.
BettyDeA believed in angels!
She sits at the top of the circle staircase…
guarding my daily coming and going.

We all need angels
To guard coming and going
In this Virus-age.

Photo by Sebastian Voortman on Pexels.com

The winds of change blow.
The Virus changes our world.
Hang tight to angels.

Don’t let fear freeze you.
Live in deep faith and courage.
What goodness will come?

With factories closed,
Air is clearing in China.
People create new.

New ways of thinking;
New ways of doing old things.
Appreciating!

Gratitude for the
Things we saw as common-place,
Like simple touching.

Photo by Kristin De Soto on Pexels.com

Appreciating
Arenas where we gather
For sports or speeches.

Thankfulness for the
Opportunity to dance
With wild abandon.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Now authorities,
Closing our business and schools,
Keep us from living.

We remind ourselves
It is for our greater good.
What about our jobs?

What about our plans
To travel for marriages
Or for funerals?

Our vacation plans –
Things we paid for months ago –
All of them cancelled.

In the midst of this,
Can our angels show to us
The good that’s coming?

Will our guardians
Show us tomorrow’s bright hope
In sorrow’s dark midst?

Photo by Retha Ferguson on Pexels.com

Calling All Angels!
We need your guardianship;
Save us from the doom.

Photo by Markus Spiske on Pexels.com

What are your thoughts
about what’s happening with this Coronavirus –
and what ideas can you share
about how we can be
each others’ guardian angels?

Let me hear from you.
What’s happening in your part of the world?

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