Loving One Another

Posts tagged ‘scripture’

Spread Love & Hope!


Beautiful Words of Love

O love that will not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in Thee;
I give Thee back the life I owe,
That in Thine ocean depths its flow
May richer fuller be.

O joy that seekest me through pain,
I cannot close my heart to Thee;
I trace the rainbow through the rain,
And feel the promise is not vain
That morn shall tearless be.

Today’s Worship Service

In the absence of a worship service in our church today because of COVID-19 and the need for social-distancing, our worship service was e-mailed to us. The hymns I include in this blog were chosen by our pastor Steve and our music director, Fran McNeill, and then e-mailed to us from our Madison Valley Presbyterian Church here in Ennis, Montana today.

The following sermon by Pastor Steve Hundley was printed for us to “hear” in the privacy of our homes. It is powerful!

Please take your precious time now and hear it with me:

Today’s Sermon

TRUSTING GOD IN THIS DARK TIME

Read: Psalm 130

Read: Romans 8

Some years ago, Rabbi Harold Kushner wrote a book entitled, “WHEN BAD THINGS HAPPEN TO GOOD PEOPLE.”  He wrote this book in response to the death of his 14-year-old son, Aaron, from a rare disease called “Progeria” which causes the body to age and die prematurely.

In his bestselling book, Rabbi Kushner concluded that we must decide between a God who is infinitely powerful, but not loving enough to prevent such tragedies as the suffering and death of his 14-year-old son, or, a God who is all loving but not all-powerful.  “You can’t have it both ways,” he says, “we must choose: all-powerful or all-loving.”

Yet as Christians, we believe that:

  1. Evil exists in this world, causing bad things to happen to good people, so evident in these past weeks of the COVID 19 pandemic.
  2. Secondly, we believe that our God is all-powerful; and
  3. Thirdly, we believe that our God is a loving God.

Now, I admit that our dilemma is that we can reconcile any two of the above philosophically, but not all three.  For example:  If evil exists in the world, how can a loving God be all-powerful?  Or, if God is all loving and all-powerful how can evil possibly exist?

Still, the Bible does not deal with human, philosophical questions, as much we would prefer it be so.  Instead, the Bible deals with divine faith questions.  So, even if we cannot know philosophically how evil can exist in light of God who is all-powerful and all-loving, what we “can” know from scripture is that “no matter what evils or tragedies we face in life, our God will not desert us.”  And, knowing that is enough. 

Yes, it is enough for most of us—most of the time.  But, in moments like this, that alone may not be enough.  When our entire world is paralyzed by this current pandemic, it is difficult in this dark hour not to cry out to God: “WHY, OH WHY, GOD?”  I don’t mean to make you feel guilty, for It is only human to want to know “WHY?”

I don’t know about you, but I find myself cringing every time I hear someone in the media refer to this COVID 19 pandemic as “AN ACT OF GOD.”  In all fairness, I realize it is an accepted way for referring to any such natural disaster.  Still, I am uncomfortable attributing such death and tribulation to the will of God.  As someone said: “If God is light,” according to Holy Scripture, “then why should we impart darkness to God?”

Visiting a young couple who stopped coming to church after their only child died of cancer, their pastor pleaded: “You can’t stop believing in God because of what has happened, can you?”  “Oh, I still believe in God,” said the grieving father, “I don’t come to church anymore because I hate God!”

It is for people much like that father that I have chosen to venture further out on the “thin ice” of what is called “the Theodicy Problem”, that is: “Why do bad things happen to good and innocent people?” 

So, I humbly dare to venture forward on behalf of all around this world who have suffered or lost loved ones in the midst of this unprecedented natural disaster that has and will continue to cost so many lives.

Let me begin by saying that the Bible, as I understand it, speaks of our all-powerful God who does not completely control everything in our fallen creation because of the limitations God has placed on God’s self in order to allow us freedom of faith.  Without freedom, there could be no faith.  Faith, by its very definition, requires us the freedom to love and believe in God, or to reject belief and love for God.  God does not desire us to be puppets, manipulated into having to believe in or love God.  Therefore, our God has granted us, and creation itself, freedom by relinquishing total control over our lives and the world.

The Bible speaks of Satan—and other dark forces at work in this world.  And, our own human experiences confirm that there is a dynamic evil force that exercises a powerful presence in our world contrary to the will of God.

“Yet, God in Christ,” writes Paul to the Roman Church, “broke the power of these dark forces on the cross,” which means that we are dealing now with mortally wounded, though still very dangerous “principalities” and “dark powers.”  Bad things continue to befall good people because these dark forces are still alive, powerful, and enemies of all that is good in this world.

As Christians, in this Easter Season, we have hope and assurance that through Christ and His resurrection, God’s eventual victory over the evil in our world is a foregone conclusion.  But, until that time “when every knee shall bow and every tongue confess Jesus Christ is Lord,” our God will do all that can be done to drive back these dark forces and utterly destroy them, as we continually pray and serve Him until God’s Kingdom comes on earth as it is in Heaven. 

Until that time, says Paul in Romans 8:19-23:

Creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God; for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.  We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies.

In his book: “Christ and Time”, Oscar Cullmann uses the analogy of WWII to illustrate our and creation’s struggle against the powers of darkness.  He makes a clear distinction between two definitive days of the war: D-Day and V-Day.  D-Day was the day Allied Forces landed in Normandy and established a beachhead.  The strategizing generals on both sides recognized that the outcome of war was decided on that fateful day, June 1944. 

They understood that if the enemy had driven the Allies back into the sea, the Nazis would have won the war.  However, the Allied Armies prevailed in Normandy and sealed the doom of the evil Nazi regime.  Still, in spite of the triumph of D-Day, the Allies had not yet totally subdued the enemy.  Between D-Day and V-Day (Victory Day), there would be many months of suffering, death, and struggle.  There would be horrendous battles as the Allied Army, little by little, pushed back the Nazi forces.  Still, the ensuring battles would culminate in “Victory Day,” which marked the complete surrender of the enemy and the total liberation of Europe.

So you see, the cross and resurrection of Jesus were our D-Day.  God in Jesus won the decisive battle over evil and death in this world.  However, God and His children, as well as nature itself, continue to face struggles while driving back the forces of darkness whose power has been broken.  Still, dark forces are alive in the world and free to raise havoc.  God’s V-Day is not yet here!  However, we can be confident in God’s triumph over evil and death (and COVID 19), because we know how it will end. 

Or, as Paul says:

Who (or what) shall separate us from the love of Christ?  Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine or nakedness, or peril, or sword (or this COVID 19 pandemic)?  As it is written, “For Your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”  No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.  For I am sure that neither, death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8: 35-39)

Pastoral Prayer:

(Written by Rev. Steve Hundley and printed in our worship e-mail)

“In midst of life, O Lord, our lives have been interrupted by death: the death of our normal routine, the death of worship as we have always done it, the death of life as we have known it, the death of our personal plans, the death of innocence, the death of institutions, the death of promises, the death of those we love, the death that works in our own bodies.

In spite of our broken dreams we give You thanks for the gospel of Jesus Christ, whose message is not death but life: the life of the Spirit, the life of dreams, the life of faith, the life of love, the life of justice; life for the small people of the world, life for the meek, life for the broken and rejected, life for the diseased and afflicted, life for our loved ones, and life for us.

Lord, we pray for those who need hope, healing, and grace.  We hold up before you those who are alone and isolated, those who are sick, and those who are scared of what the future holds for them. Lord, help us to discover new ways of living: living for Christ, living for those around us, living for this frightened world, living for Your Kingdom.  Let the Christ of the empty tomb make empty tombs of all our disappointments and fears.  Come and reign over us, now and in the days ahead and forever and ever. Amen”

Verse One:
God be with you till we meet again; By His counsels guide, uphold you,
With His sheep securely fold you; God be with you till we meet again.

Chorus:
Till we meet, till we meet; till we meet at Jesus’ feet;
Till we meet, till we meet, God be with you till we meet again.

Verse Two:
God be with you till we meet again; ‘Neath His wings protect and guide you,
Daily manna still provide you. God be with you till we meet again.

Verse Three:
God be with you till we meet again; When life’s perils thick confound you,
Put His arms unfailing around you; God be with you till we meet again.

Verse Four:
God be with you till we meet again; Keep love’s banner floating o’er you,
Smite death’s threatening wave before you; God be with you till we meet again.

(Back to chorus)

Photo by 42 North on Pexels.com

Spread Love and Hope

I pray you found love and hope in these songs, these words, and these prayers.

If you did, as I did, you can spread love and hope by forwarding this post to your friends and family. Or you can sit with those in your household (as I did with my husband this morning) and read/sing these messages together. Or you can do both!

God’s got us in the palm of His hand.
He never fails us.
Spread His love and hope to this hurting world today.

Photo by Engin Akyurt on Pexels.com

God bless you.
See ya tomorrow.



It is Well


The outside pressures
Try to squeeze peace from our souls
But we can’t let them

Treat Yourself

Treat yourself to this beautiful rendition of “It is Well with My Soul” by the First Plymouth Church in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Special Meaning

This hymn has a special meaning to me because when we were members of the Harvest Presbyterian Church in Ceres, CA, a dear family who were charter members there had a son, Robert, who was dying. His dad, Homer Jorgensen, was at his bedside with a hymnal. He was turning the pages of the book, asking Robert to blink when he came to a song he’d like to hear. Blinking was all he was capable of doing at that end-point of his earthly life. Robert blinked when his dad came to “It is Well With My Soul.”

Homer was reading the words of this hymn to Robert when his son took his last breath. Since then, both of Robert’s parents have joined him in their heavenly home. Rest in peace, Jorgensen family. I am praying for the beauty of your legacy to live on in our hearts as we listen to this gorgeous, meaningful song and consider the beauty of its words.

Let the Words Be Your Prayer

As you listen, my friends, pray for all those you know who need the peace this composer wrote about. It is the peace that only God can give. Lift your family and friends up as you enjoy these beautiful voices and appreciate the phenomenal, majestic organ.

God bless you!

Photo by Magda Ehlers on Pexels.com

Psalm 46:1-3 –
“God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear,
though the earth be removed,
and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled,
though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof.”

Photo by Valdemaras D. on Pexels.com

I will find the peace
That comes from deep within me
And I’ll sit awhile

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Sit awhile with me!
See you tomorrow.
Bee well!

Pray & Persevere


Be sure to Pray Daily

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!

A Cosmopolitan bird, the coal tit
Photo by Gerald Theurialliat

We can find such comfort by watching the activities of our fine feathered friends. See how they continue to sing their songs.

Check Out Other Resources

Besides taking lessons from the birds, there are countless on-line resources to help us keep a positive attitude and persevere. One such resource is Bob Goff at http://www.dreambigframework.com I love Bob Goff’s positivity and enjoy tuning in to his podcasts. You just gotta hear his laugh. It’ll make you laugh, too! Listen in as Bob and Scott talk about our response to the Great Shutdown this week on the Dream Big Podcast with Bob Goff & Friends. 

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?
Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

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.

Photo by Retha Ferguson on Pexels.com

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.

Bee Well!!
See ya tomorrow.

Let Your Soul Sing


If you’ve followed my blog for awhile, you know that usually I post sermon notes after church on Sunday afternoons. I failed to do so last Sunday because I left behind the bulletin with my sermon notes. Today I retrieved it. So, here, my friends are my poetic notes from Sunday, March 8th.

Photo by Oleg Magni on Pexels.com

Based on Numbers 21:4-9 and John 3:1-21; Sermon by Rev. Steve Hundley; recorded through JanBeek’s filter:

Let Your Soul Sing

Moses lifted up a bronze snake.
Those bitten by a snake were saved;
Not by anything they did or said,
Not by the way they prayed or behaved.
.
It was by the grace of God that they
Looked up at the statue and then
The poison did not kill them.
It was not by the power of women or men.
.
If we are to avoid being foolish,
We need to admit our dependence
And we need to acknowledge risk
Wherever we happen to be in attendance.
.
We are dependent on God for life.
It is He who guides our days.
We, in our pride, think we’re in control –
And we fools trust our own ways.
.
We cannot do for ourselves what’s needed
To be independently self-made.
We must trust and believe it’s God
Who created us, and with His Son, our debts paid.
.
We must trust God to lift us up
On the top of an eagle’s wing.
His breath blows our life toward Him
If we let our souls in His glory sing.
.
.
Sing to Him today.
Praise His name always.

Photo by Frans Van Heerden on Pexels.com

God,
You know our troubles,
our concerns,
our anguish.
Bring peace and comfort
to Your loved ones.
Give us hope and assurance.
Bring healing to the hurting,
the sick, the lonely.

Lift us on Your wing.
Remind our souls to sing
Your Praises
and
Trust in Your Promises.

Amen

See ya later.
Hugs,
JanBeek

Psalm 121


youtu.be/70_DcSEwMjw

Know that the Lord is with you. He watches over you day and night. Take comfort in His promises.

I hope you are able to access this gorgeous YouTube.be video and harp music.

Train Your Mind


What’s Easy?

  • It’s easy to see the negative. It’s all around us.
  • It’s easy to wallow in the mud & muck. It can bury us.
  • It’s easy to hear the complaining and join in. There’s plenty out there to complain about.

What’s Harder?

  • It’s harder to focus on the positive, but when we do, it eventually becomes easier to see it.
  • It might be harder to walk around the mud and avoid the muck, but when we do, it becomes easier to stay on top of clean ground.
  • It’s harder to resist the complainers and work to be part of the solution instead of joining the problematic whiners, but do it! Problem-solvers discover it’s easier to find the happiness we’re all seeking.

Be Thankful – and Express it!

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Philippians 4:6-7
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

1Chronicles 16:34
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
his love endures forever.

Colossians 3:15
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.

Yes, you can train your mind to be happy!
And learn to swim through the complications!

Do you see a sinking boat
or a raft that will take you to shore?

Train your mind to know
The quality of your life
Is safe in God’s hands

Positivity
Everyone’s happy option
Easier with FAITH!

But, actually, here is the bottom line:

Thanks for visiting JanBeek.
I love your comments!


See ya tomorrow.

29 Ways to Keep Wonder Alive


What makes you wonder?

Each morning I wonder what Bible verse will speak to me today.
I wonder what phrase I will “take away” with me.
I wonder how I can keep my faith
alive, growing, and contagious.

I read today’s page in Daily Guideposts 2020
and I go to my Bible to read
the chosen scripture in its larger context.
And then I write the “take away”
on the page provided at the end of the month.

These WONDERful phrases
keep the Wonder alive in my life.

I pray that perhaps these phrases
can help keep the wonder alive in your life, too.

  1. Know God is Always With You
  2. Use Your Talents for Common Good
  3. Love Selflessly
  4. Be a Ready Helper
  5. Share Wisely
  6. Find Strength in Faith
  7. Always Be Honest
  8. Trust in God’s Leading
  9. Keep Faith Alive
  10. Be a Blessing
  11. Love Without Condition
  12. Trust God’s Faithfulness
  13. God’s Love is Perfect ❤
  14. Set Your Affairs in Order
  15. Praise God for His Creativity
  16. Always Show Your Love
  17. Pray for Our Leaders
  18. Help Others in Need
  19. Play a Song of Perseverance
  20. Make Me a Loving Servant
  21. Thanks for Friends, Love, and Laughter
  22. Praise God for His Protection
  23. Foster Unity
  24. Concentrate on the Positive
  25. Thank God for Grit!
  26. Wear Your Faith Visibly and Honestly
  27. Commit to 40 Days of Sacrifice
  28. Put Faith Into Action
  29. Lean on Him for Wisdom and Strength
Keep Wonder alive in your life.
Act in WONDERful ways!

You may consider getting your copy of Daily Guideposts 2020
for your morning devotionals.
There are still ten months left
to enjoy and be inspired by its daily messages.
I find it to be a WONDERful way to start my day.

http://www.shopguideposts.org/Devotionals

Go out now and
DO LOVE in WONDER-filled ways.

See ya tomorrow.

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