Loving One Another

Posts tagged ‘Psalms’

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!!

Go Mark Up Your Bible


It’s okay to write
All over the Bible page
Try on the scriptures

Let them show to you
The messages of your heart
Picture the sunset

Remember goodness
Take the righteousness and truth
Take light from God’s love

Make your face to shine
On the pages of scripture
Carry His statutes

Give thanks to the Lord
His love endures forever
Rejoice and be glad

It’s another day
To mark a fav’rite scripture
It’s OK. Take joy!

Go sing a new song!

Sing with the angels!
He has done marvelous things!
I’ll see ya later.

September Take-Aways


Daily Guideposts 2019

Good-bye September! You’ve been a very good month – Messages each day.

My take-aways were Great daily inspirations – Always carry them! Lean on God When glancing to the right, You see numbers 1-15, Next page to 30.

Every day I write The take-away to carry In heart to guide me.

It provides a list That inspires me to live Thankful for blessings.

Lord, Please strip me of me Until nothing remains but YOU!

angel-in-snowy-window.jpg

These are my daily prayers. It was an inspirational September.

Daily Guideposts take-aways for each day of September  – Carry these with you:

  1. Thank God for my family and friends
  2. God bless all our laborers
  3. Thank God for our “hood”
  4. God is Always with me
  5. Stay Connected in Love
  6. Rely on God’s Strength
  7. Walk in Step with Jesus
  8. Listen to God’s Wisdom
  9. Lord, Increase my Insight
  10. Trust God with my Dreams
  11. Never Forget 9-11
  12. He walks with Me
  13. Trust Him
  14. Give Love Unconditionally
  15. Jesus Forgives “Missteaks”
  16. Be Consistent; and Treasure People
  17. Use Your Gifts to Praise God
  18. Live in the Hope of the Lord
  19. Focus on God’s Grace
  20. A Hug Includes Letting Go
  21. Bless my Former Students (Thank You, Lord, for giving me chances to positively influence others)
  22. Lift my Hands, Heart & Voice to Praise God
  23. I Am at Home in my Soul with God
  24. Make Wise Choices
  25. Lord, Hear my Prayers
  26. Serve with Compassion
  27. Pray for a Cancer Cure
  28. Thank God for His Gift of Peace
  29. Take Courage in All Circumstances
  30. Lean on God Always
Many of these daily themes in Daily Guideposts were the inspirations for my daily blogs. The end of the “Daily Devotions for Living by Faith” called These Days features three coloring pages. I will write about them tomorrow …  telling about the way coloring can relieve stress.

As September ends and I send this book off to my grandson, I thank God for the people who write these daily messages – and for the way in which they inspire my life. I hope they inspire yours today, too. Thank you for sharing! God bless you!

angels & crosses - snowy roofSee ya tomorrow

 

Quiet My Soul


We’re snowed in!

The four foot drift

Behind my car is tall;

Not looking very friendly at all.

The flakes still fall.

abstract blur bright christmas

Photo by Meve R. on Pexels.com

It’s too much to shovel

And once that’s removed

What about the three foot waves

Gathered here creating graves

In our long driveway?

snow covered rocky mountain

Photo by Orest Sv on Pexels.com

“I have composed

And quieted my soul”

Psalm 131:2 is a reminder

To take off the blinders;

Trust God, the Perfect Finder.

photography of person peeking

Photo by Noelle Otto on Pexels.com

He helps me find what matters most.

I trust Him to quiet my soul.

Help me not to implode in

This spot, but find the Jesus road in

Whatever place I am snowed in.

snowy pathway surrounded by bare tree

Photo by freestocks.org on Pexels.com

The path isn’t blocked;

The wheelbarrow of tasks

May be inaccessible, but I can

Find His plan if I scan

 The land where I am.

So, compose my soul, dear Lord.

Help me find peace

And contentment. Just tuck me

In and channel me; don’t chuck me

Right where You’ve stuck me!

close up cobweb macro pattern

Photo by Rick Otten on Pexels.com

Don’t let me get caught in

This web of cold and confusion.

You’re here to hold me.

You protect and you mold me.

I will trust what You’ve told me.
.

Amen?
and Amen!

Beautiful Listening


My devotional time this morning focused on Psalm 16:8 “I will keep my eyes always on the Lord. With Him on my right hand, I will not be shaken.” It was an appropriate scripture for the day after I kept my eyes closed for what was actually only a little more than a half an hour, but in some ways seemed like triple that time. I was squished inside an MRI machine. Have you ever had to go inside one of those tubes and bear the clings and clangs and knocks and noises of whistles and whines? No fun! Some MRI machines come with a musical experience… headphones and your favorite CD or radio station. This one didn’t, so I provided my own! With my eyes closed (who needs to see the inside of a claustrophobic tube?), I kept my eyes on the Lord. With Him at my right hand, I was not shaken. I sang my favorite hymns, cowboy songs, old R & B favorites. I hummed and smiled, and the tiny space I occupied didn’t seem confining at all.

Where do you focus your attention when you are in a difficult situation? When you’re in a tight spot, do you pay attention to the walls that are closing in on you, or can you tune in to your inner music and allow what is important in your life to be your focus? Widen the walls of worry and woe. Call on the Lord and be a beautiful listener. Be attentive to God at your right hand, and (as the Psalmist reminds us) you will not be shaken.

Practice that same kind of focused, attentive listening when you are in the company of friends and loved ones, too. Instead of listening to your inner music, and tuning them out, take your clue from the One at your right hand, and tune in fully to the conversation with your companion. That’s what Jesus did. He looked directly into the eyes, into the soul of His companions. He heard with His heart. God does that when we pray to Him. As if you were in an MRI tube, with no visual images to distract you, focus on what is before you. Let your mind center on the moment. Be attentive! Be a beautiful listener.

Beautiful listening is
Empathetic listening. It’s an
Acquired skill – It
Takes practice;  It
Takes caring; it
Especially takes knowing that
Nothing is more important
Than the one speaking
In this moment. Listen
Vividly. Be fully present.
Enjoy the moment.

As Ashley Kappel prayed in this morning’s Daily Guidepost 2013, let us pray also, “Lord, remind me today who is important in my life and allow me to focus wholly on them, if only for a moment.”

Love One Another. Amen?

Facing Trouble


Are you facing TROUBLE in your life? Today’s scripture caught my attention as I was writing daily reflections in my “Love Journal.” The scripture for today in the journal is Psalm 32:7 “You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble.”

Is it true? Is God your hiding place? Will God protect you from trouble? In my experience, it is not that trouble doesn’t come my way. It will and it does! Trouble finds us – even in our best hiding places! So what comfort can I take from Psalm 32?

If we live the truth of Psalm 16:9 and we “are always thinking of the Lord,” then the scripture promises, “…because He is near, I never need to stumble or fall.” God will help me overcome trouble. He will help you, too! I truly believe that. Do you?

Psalm 16:10 says “Heart, body and soul are filled with joy.” How can we have joy in the midst of trouble? It helps me to focus on the fact that the Lord is in control. God is the Captain of my ship, the Driver of my vehicle, the Lamp that lights my path. If I remember that, then God will not only lead me through the trouble and help me overcome it, but He will strengthen me by it. He will bring me joy. I truly believe that, too.

“Protection” from trouble is not the absence of trouble, but it is the inability of trouble to take away my joy. With God’s help, I can hold my head high, walk through the hard times, and emerge stronger and more faithful. You can, too. Take JOY, my friend. Take heart; take God’s hand – offered by a loving friend – and walk right through that trouble with His Strength – to the other side. You don’t need to hide. He will protect you. He will show you The Way. God bless you. Walk on!

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