Nominate at least 5 bloggers and inform them of their nominations
Give them 10 new questions
Here are the ten questions Betul gave her readers … and my answers to those questions:
1- What do you like about yourself? I am open to life-long learning, knowing God is not finished with me yet.
2-What don’t you like about yourself? I can’t name them all… too many… but I’m working on areas of procrastination and impetuousness.
3- What are the most important characteristics you look for in a good friend? Honesty and compassion
4-If you were too hungry and too sleepy, would you choose sleep or food first? Would depend if the food was available or not. If not, I’d sleep and dream of food!
5-How much time do you spend on social media in a day? Is WordPress considered “social media”? If so, 3 or 4 hours. About a half hour on FB.
6-Do you have a favorite travel destination? If so, where is it? Switzerland, cuz that’s where our daughter and her family are … and California, cuz that’s where our son and his family is.
7-How do I believe my writing could help people? My goal is to inspire us all to love God and one another more completely, more faithfully, and to live a life of gratitude and integrity.
8-What is the most recent TV show you watched? Do you recommend it? I watched almost every episode of The Voice. Now that the season is over, I look forward to next season. Yes, I recommend it.
9-What is the most important human need (other than the basic ones like eating, sleeping etc.) and why do you think it is important? Love, connection… that was yesterday’s post on http://www.janbeek.blog
10-Mornings, afternoons or evenings? They’re all important! But, I am more energetic in the morning.
Most of you whom I nominated are too busy to bother with answering this nomination, but that’s okay. I just want you to know I think you’re awesome – and if there are any of my readers who by chance have not read your blogs, I want them to clink on your link and treat themselves. I try never to miss one of your posts.
If you feel like it, you can copy those same 10 questions up there and add your answers. If not, that’s okay. Just keep writing your awesome posts!
Our pastor, Steve Hundley, and choir director, Fran McNiell, teamed up to present a wonderful on-line church service for us. It’s not a video. It’s a Word document with links to a couple of majestic Easter hymns performed by The Hereford Cathedral Choir and congregation with orchestral and pipe organ accompaniment.
Resurrected Lord, like Mary Magdalene alone in the garden we, too, find ourselves alone, separated from those we love on this Easter morning. Risen Christ, come to us as You came to her. Let no shadow of the grave terrify us and no fear of darkness turn our hearts from You. Reveal Yourself to us this day and all the days ahead, as the first and the last, the Living One, our Immortal Savior and Lord. Amen.
Celebrate the Empty Tomb
Today we celebrate the empty tomb and our risen Savior. Let us confess our shortcomings and ask our Savior to forgive us. Here is Pastor Steve Hundley’s
Prayer of Confession:
Almighty God, in raising Jesus from the grave, You shattered the power of sin and death. We confess that we remain captive to doubt and fear, as CORVID 19 virus rampages through our world and alters our lives. Forgive us, God of mercy. Help us to trust Your power to heal, to give us life and make us new, that we may know the joy of life abundant given in Jesus Christ, the risen Lord. Amen.
Assurance of Pardon: (I Corinthians 15:54-57)
“Death has been swallowed up in victory.” “Where, O death, is Your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Prayer for Illumination:
God of life, whose Spirit raised Jesus from the dead and draws us to Christ, send Your Spirit now to give us deeper insight, encouragement, faith and hope, through the proclamation of the Easter gospel. Amen.
Overcoming Life’s Greatest Temptation
“Do not worry about anything.” Paul said it. Jesus preached it in His sermon on the Mount message. It is Scripture to be obeyed. But, is it really humanly possible not to worry about anything? It is like telling a lame man to stop dragging his feet, or telling someone with a virus not to cough or sneeze so much. If life were predictable, maybe we could avoid “worrying about anything.” But as this deadly virus and empty pews on this Easter Sunday has reminded us, life is full of the unexpected—the unforeseen life interruptions that can turn our world upside down.
Of course, some unforeseen interruptions can be weathered better than others. When an appliance breaks at the most inopportune time, it is annoying, but we can handle that. Or, when we are late for an appointment and stuck in traffic. I know, I know, this is Montana, but it can happen.
And yet today, the whole world is in lockdown, in this, the mother and father of all unforeseen interruptions, and it has turned our lives upside down, stopping us dead in our tracks. The boss says: “I am sorry but we are going to have to let you go,” leaving you without a job or health insurance. The doctor says: “I’m afraid you’ve tested positive for the virus”; or, the paramedic says: “We did everything we could, but there is nothing more we could have done.” And we wonder: “Why is this happening? Where is God in all of this?”
Even though our faith assures us that God has a plan, it is little comfort as hopes, dreams, plans, and future crumble before us. You see, the greater life’s interruption, the more it bleeds over into the love for whom we care most.
As a pastor, husband and father, I tended to be a bit of a workaholic with more than a healthy dose of guilt. Some years ago, I was so caught up in my ministry that I was neglecting my own family. Concerned that I was not spending enough time with my daughter, Elaine suggested that I plan some quality time with Bethany. Elaine pointed out how much our daughter cherished the time I took her on a road trip to upstate NY. We attended the Eastern Traditional Archery Rendezvous where we camped out and competed with traditional archers from all over the country. My daughter described it as one of the best times of her life.
So, I suggested we take the same trip together. She was beside herself with joy and could hardly contain herself as we began to pack the car for the eleven-hour trip. I too, was so excited about getting away, I inadvertently left the car keys on the kitchen counter as I was telling Elaine “Goodbye”. I ran back into the house, grabbed the keys and headed back out the door. As I was about to climb into the driver’s seat, I looked up and saw Elaine standing at the edge of the porch with a concerned look on her face and the phone in her hand. “What is it,” I called out? “You really need to take this call,” she said.
Taking the phone, I learned that an elder and professor, beloved by her husband, young daughters, our congregation, and her students at the university, had just committed suicide. No one saw it coming. On any given Sunday, her face was the brightest and happiest face in the church choir. She was so bright, bubbly, and attractive, that no one had the faintest idea that she had been fighting a long, but losing, battle with her own inner demon called “depression.”
Stunned, I handed the phone back to Elaine, walked slowly to the car, leaned in and told my daughter that we would have to cancel our trip, for there had been a tragedy in the congregation. I think what was most painful for me was the fact that my thirteen-year-old daughter didn’t cry. She did not protest or fuss. She just got out of the car, walked quietly to the house, passing her mother on the porch, never to mention the trip again.
Yes, life has always been filled with unexpected interruptions that catch us off guard, disrupt our lives, and keep us off balance. What is so insidious about life’s interruptions, whether large or small, is that over time, they have the power to erode our trust and our very relationship with God. For, those places where our faith is stretched so much, we begin to wonder whether we are actually “standing on the solid rock,” or whether it is “just shifting sand.”
Yet, in God’s great love and concern for us, and because of our inability to recognize God’s power over life’s greatest interruptions, God took a body like ours in order that we may witness God’s power more clearly in the life of Jesus. In Christ, God has demonstrated for all the world to see His power over all life’s unexpected interruptions by: feeding the hungry masses, healing the sick, giving sight to the blind, making the lame to walk, and even by raising those who had died.
In the person of Jesus Christ, God demonstrated for us that “nothing can separate us from His love for us in Christ: not life’s greatest interruptions; not even death, the greatest interruption of all. And this is why, even in the face of this worldwide pandemic, we make our annual journey back to the empty tomb, remembering God’s all-encompassing power.
On this abnormal Easter morning, we remember how Christ’s own death on the cross interrupted the lives of his disciples and the life of Mary Magdalene. We remember how they must have felt, when all that they had believed in and hoped for, was buried and entombed with the body of Jesus.
We remember Mary Magdalene and how devastated and alone she must have felt, there at the empty tomb. Not only had they killed her Lord, but it seemed someone had even stolen His body, denying her closure. Of course, Jesus warned them that this was to fulfill all scripture, but Mary didn’t understand the scriptures. Peter did not understand the scriptures. None of the disciples understood the scriptures.
Besides, who is “the other disciple” who entered the empty tomb and believed? For that matter, what did he believe? Did he believe that Christ had risen from the dead, or did he simply believe what Mary said was true, that the stone had been rolled away and the body was stolen? After all, John says, “they left there and returned to their homes.” And who is this “unnamed disciple?” Is this simply a reference to John, or is it a reference to you and me, at home on this Easter morning?
Of course we remember that Mary lingered at the empty tomb, frozen in grief. But then, the risen Christ appeared to her, called her by name, proving that not even death can interrupt God’s gift of everlasting life. We remember, in spite of our own loss of life as we have known it, how Mary, overcome by shock and joy, threw her arms around Jesus, clinging to Him as if somehow she might shield Him from life’s greatest interruption once and for all. Still, just being alive is not enough. We remember on this Easter morning that Jesus is alive to do something for all humanity.
We remember on this Easter Sunday that:
Jesus is alive to make us all alive again.
Jesus is alive to make His God, our God; His Father, our Father.
Jesus is alive to raise us up from our own chaos and loss.
Jesus is alive to raise us up from death’s destructive power.
Jesus is alive to raise us up from every unexpected interruption that would threaten to separate us from the love of God.
JESUS IS ALIVE!
YES! We remember that “JESUS CHRIST IS RISEN TODAY!” And that the life, hope, love, and peace He gives can overcome all of life’s greatest interruptions!
YES! DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP IN VICTORY! O DEATH, WHERE IS THY VICTORY? O DEATH, WHERE IS THY STING?
Let’s sing of His Victory over death. Let’s lift our voices in praise!
Almighty God, on this triumphant day, we know that the whole host of heaven—angels, seraphs, and cherubim raise their voices singing “Alleluia,” for Christ the Lord is risen today. We want to join them, even though we are confined and suffering and the hands of a hidden and insidious enemy. We want to sing with the pure joy of those who celebrate the life You give in Jesus Christ. Give us freedom this day to lift our voices with all of heaven as we celebrate Christ’s victory over death.
Oh God, on this day some find it difficult to be glad. For them, life has too much pain. The present pandemic will not let them own too much hope. Some are angry in their loneliness. Some are worried about family.
We pray for each other in this unwanted, but necessary, internment. Touch us in our individual need. Free us today to be glad; to rejoice in the promise of newness of life; to let our hope out of its prison. Free us to shout and make joyful Alleluias. You know that we need to celebrate for You have done great things for us in the resurrection of Jesus.
O God, You know that we do not understand all there is to know about the resurrection. You know that we have questions, we have our doubts, we want to believe, we do believe, we wonder about our own belief. But on this day, help us to understand just enough about what faith means, that we are willing to let faith be what it should be; deep conviction without proof, trust without protested guarantees, joy in a promise which does not have to be fulfilled before it can be enjoyed.
Yes, on this day grant us the freedom to rejoice and sing glad Alleluias, for “Thine Is the Glory, Risen, conquering Son; Endless is the victory Thou o’er death hast won!”
As Christ bursts forth from the tomb,
May new life burst forth from us
And show itself in acts of love and healing to our hurting world.
And may that same Christ, who lives forever and is the source of our new life,
Keep your hearts rejoicing and grant you peace this day and always.
Go Now! for you cannot go where God is not. Go with noble purpose, and God will give meaning to Your days. Go in love, for it alone endures. Go in peace, for it is the gift of God to those whose hearts and minds are in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.
Thank you that “before a word is on my tongue You, Lord, know it completely” (Psalm 139:4). Thank You that there are no surprises with You. Help me find deep comfort in the fact that You are unshockable and nothing is too great, too terrible, too large, or too heavy for You. Help me see the problems that I face today in light of how big You are. Amen.
Reprinted with permission from Max Lucado
So, the praying part is easy, right? There are folks like Max Lucado out there who can help us find the right words. Live in the faith that God hears – and He is with us – and it’s true: nothing is too great for Him.
But What About Perseverance?
How do we keep on keeping on? The Autobahn Assoc. shared this suggestion today:
“… talk about the power of birds, … this year they take on an even more powerful meaning. They enliven our days, brighten the trees, serenade in our backyards and city parks, and bestow us with so much joy and hope, all bundled together in feathers and lively personalities.”
Breathe in the calm of our feathered friends. Listen to their songs! Watch their deliberate and graceful movements!
We can find such comfort by watching the activities of our fine feathered friends. See how they continue to sing their songs.
In his podcast today Bob Goff asked us to “Hit the pause button. Step back and think about your life.” He asked his listeners to ask ourselves:
What opportunity has this Coronavirus-induced-shutdown given to you?
What can you do that in the normal routine of everyday you don’t have time to do?
How do you deal with uncertainty and ambiguity?
Where are you now and how are you feeling? Are you dwelling in fear?
What are your most important values and how are you exhibiting those during this time of world-wide crisis?
Bob Goff continued to make suggestions: 1) Be sober about what’s going on. 2) Be picky about what you focus on. 3) Turn the volume down on the hype. 4) Limit screen time. 5) Follow the recommendations of the experts – wash hands, avoid crowds, stay home if you’re sick, etc. 6) Live authentically, remaining true to who you were created to be.
Who Were You Created to Be and Do?
Bob Goff quipped, “Introverts have been preparing for this for years!”
But some of us are not introverts. We’re having trouble hunkering down inside and having our jobs, our volunteer activities, our restaurants, schools and churches all closed to us. What can we do to remain true to ourselves and feel like we’re not just sitting around wringing our hands helplessly?
How would you answer the question, “Who were you created to be?”
I thought about it and decided:
I was created to “Walk the Talk and Live with Integrity.”
I was created to “Reach out to others with love and compassion.”
I was created to “Use the talents God gave me to make the world a better place.”
What is YOUR Purpose?
How can you persevere in the face of this latest shutdown – and the gloomy predictions that this could last a year and a half or more?
What talents has God given you that you can use to make your life seem worthwhile in the midst of these world-wide changes? Using those talents is a way to remain true to your purpose.
I intend to: 1) Continue to post a blog here daily with ideas that uplift and bring hope. 2) Write cards/letters/e-mails/texts/messages and make phone calls to friends and family. 3) Exhibit love, compassion, tolerance, empathy, and joy – spreading those as far and wide as I can. (See photo below) 4) Do something I’ve always wanted to do but for some reason have put off. 5) Keep in touch with friends on-line by playing games like “Words with Friends” (Scrabble) and commenting on their FaceBook posts while I post positive things there, too. 6) Pray and meditate and daily read God’s Word and devotionals, such as Guideposts and In Touch magazine.
Do you have a half a dozen or so things you can list as your intentions?
Maybe deliver flowers or food to a friend who is shut in? Just call ahead and then drop it at his/her doorstep. I did that today.
Tell me what you plan to do to make the world a better place.
The Art of Blogging
One of the bloggers I have followed from Day 1 on Word Press is Cristian Mihai who writes on The Art of Blogging. His tips always are right on! His coaching is helpful for those of us who are trying to improve our blogging skills. Isn’t that all of us?
This week he reminded us that blogging is not about numbers. It’s not about how many followers or how many “likes” or how many comments we get. It’s about the people. “Build relationships,” he told us.
Cristian continued by reminding us that it’s about passion. Write about things you really care about, he instructed.
You can’t improve your blog if you don’t know WHY you are blogging, he said. Cristian Mihai always reminds me that I need to be clear about my purpose. What do I hope to accomplish?
People, Passion, Purpose, Precision, and Pleasure
I wrote to Cristian thanking him for the 3 P’s of successful bloggers, but then suggested we need to add two more P’s: precision and pleasure.
I need to be precise about what I write. Make sure the words are spelled correctly, the grammar is correct, and the format is pleasing. Add sub-titles. Add pictures. Edit out superfluous words. Read it aloud to myself or my dog. Make sure it sounds real.
No one will return to a blog that is sloppy or one that uses objectionable language. Or at least not many people will. We all know that. Those kinds of words and messes turn me off!
And the 5th “P” of successful blogging is pleasure.
I take pleasure in writing
about the things I am passionate about.
I get enormous pleasure out of
communicating with the people who leave comments.
I love getting to know people from India,
Sri Lanka, Canada, Venezuela, Germany, Finland, etc…
I really enjoy looking at where y’all are from.
As long as you’re having fun, taking pleasure in the writing process, and enjoying the connections that your blog makes possible, I think you’re on the right track. As long as you write about your passions (one of mine is this “Loving One Another” subject), and as long as you stay true to your purpose and do it with the greatest precision you can muster, then I think you are a blogging “artist.”
I’m glad you are here at JanBeek.
I hope we can get to know one another,
encourage one another,
and give each other feedback as often as possible.
My child, you are worrying too much. remember who I am there is nothing too hard for me. You may not see it, but I have everything planned out for you.
Verse of the Day:
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” -Proverbs 3:5-6
Each morning I begin my day sitting in this old rocking chair that Bob’s great-grandpa built. It’s up in the corner of my favorite room in the house – my sanctuary.
You can see Mornings with Jesus, my #1 devotional, on the chair in front of my “All Things Grow with Love” pillow. The picture above the photo of room is today’s page. My bookmark reminds me daily of my 2020 resolution: “Walk the Talk.”
Prov. 3:5-6 is the verse on that card. It’s one of my favorite scriptures. With it tucked firmly under my belt and in my heart each morning, I read the daily devo and write in large, fat letters the 2 to 6 words that are my “take away” for the day. You can see “SIMPLY TRUST HIM” is today’s message.
At the top of my devo page I write my plan for the day … the part of it that God directs to my angelic perch from His heavenly Holy Spirit’s leading. It helps me to “Walk the Talk” when I put my trust in what He has “up His sleeve.”
What are your plans for this beautiful Sunday? I hope you take time to pray. The Faith Step that’s partly covered by my bookmark in the devo picture says, “Recall the times when Jesus answered your prayers in ways you didn’t expect. If you’re praying for something right now, don’t keep Him in a box. Expect Him to answer beyond your expectations.”
Go ahead. Listen for His leading. Step out confidently today with plans God sets before you.
Jesus responded, “ Didn’t I tell you that you would seeGod’s glory if you believe?”
Pray with me, “Thank You, Jesus, for praying with us and for us. Thank You for Your presence in our lives. Now, as we walk the talk, guide our feet where You want us to go today. Help us meet who You want us to meet. Whisper what You want us to say. Help us be who we were made to be. Show us what You want us to do as we walk in Your will. Amen”
Which of these 15 suggestions are NOT already part of your morning routine? The one that’s lacking for me is exercise! So, if I’m gonna “Walk the Talk” as I promised myself, I guess I better start walking, huh?
It’s another beautiful morning here. I’m outta here.