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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?

The 7 Step Prayer Process


Has anyone ever taught you HOW to pray? Here is a 7 step process that my grand-nephew was studying today. I listened in.

  1. GRATITUDE: Get comfortable. Be still. Deeply breathe in. Breathe out by anxiety.
    Express Gratitude to God. Tell God what you are grateful for.
  2. AWARENESS. Revisit the times in the past 24 hours when you were the best version of yourself. Then talk to God about the times when you were not the best version of yourself. Talk to Him abut hw you will handle the situation better in the future.
  3. SIGNIFICANT MOMENT… recall a moment when you felt God was trying to teach you something through an event or action. Talk to God about that significant moment.
  4. PEACE: Ask God to forgive you for anything you have done that you feel badly bout. Ask for forgiveness, and ask God to fill Yyou with deep, deep, peace.
  5. FREEDOM: Ask God to help you be the best version of yourself. Ask him how you can change to be the person He made you to be. Ask God for the Courage and Strength to make this change in your life.
  6. OTHERS: Lift up to God anyone you feel you want to lift to Hi today. Ask for the specific way you want God to bless the people in your life that you care about. One at a time, bring them to God.
  7. OUR FATHER: Pray the prayer you might often say by rote. But this time, say it slowly and find meaning in each phrase:
    Our Father, who art in heaven
    Hallowed be Thy name
    Thy kingdom come
    Thy will be done
    On earth as it is in heaven
    Give us this day our daily bread
    And forgive us our debts
    As we forgive our debtors
    Lead us not into temptation
    But deliver us from evil
    For Thine is the Kingdom,
    And the Power,
    And the Glory
    Forever.
    Amen

Embrace Adversity – 8 Ways


How do you define adversity?
It is symbolized by tough times.
It is exhibited by disagreements.
It represents challenges.

How do we deal with adversity?
Why should we embrace it?
Misfortune means misery, right?
Calamity and distress are its partners.

But the Bible says, “The Lord is
A stronghold in times of trouble.”
The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed.
“Those who seek the Lord lack no good thing”
(Psalm 34:10b)

So let us embrace adversity
By understanding it is a vehicle
That strengthens us just as fire
Tempers steel and hardens it.

We are called to share each other’s burdens.
That is one of the purposes of church:
Congregations are called to care for,
Encourage, empathize, and strengthen one another.

“The church is a network of shoulders
Supporting the collective weight
Of everyone’s troubles, lifting burdens,
Helping others find rest for their weary hearts.”

(Charles Stanley, In Touch Ministries)

God often uses hard times to get our attention.
When things are going great,
we are not so quick to turn to Him.
But trials drive us to our knees for answers and comfort.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Psalm 28:7

“The Lord is my strength and my shield,
my heart trusts in Him,
and He helps me.
My heart leaps for joy,
and with my song I praise Him.

Photo by Luna Lovegood on Pexels.com

The adversity that I faced recently was the death of my “favorite student,” Ty Stiles. The picture above could easily have been him. His early death was “misfortune” to the highest degree! I have told you about him in several recent blogs. Yesterday was his Memorial Service at Monte Vista Chapel, his home church in Turlock, CA. I was blessed to be able to attend it virtually because the church recorded it on a YouTube broadcast.

How do we face the “misfortune” of such a loss? Only by our faith! Only by knowing God keeps His promises and Ty has gone to Heaven. We will go there some day, too. We will all be reunited. In the meantime, adversity turns to adventure. We are invited to live our lives with thankfulness for the privilege of knowing one another. We are asked to change our perspective from “I can’t handle this,” to “”I can’t handle this on my own, but I can with Jesus’ help.”

Let the adventure of today’s challenges bring strength when we feel weak, safety when we feel danger, comfort when we feel distress. Let us be the ones who stand tall and say, “Here I am, Lord, send me!” Be ever ready to leap for joy and with your song, ever praise the Lord who is our strength.

Pray for his comfort and strength, rather than praying that he’d simply remove difficulties. Embrace Adversity. Be the shoulder others lean on. God will bless you!

Thanks for visiting
JanBeek
See ya tomorrow.

Twelve Ways to Beat the Virus


Photo by Edward Jenner on Pexels.com

In the midst of this pandemic,
With germs spreading far and wide,
We need to be extra cautious –
In TRUST we must abide.

Trusting isn’t foolishness –
It isn’t abandoning MASKS.
Trusting is OBEDIENCE –
Doing what God and SCIENCE asks.

Trusting isn’t carelessness –
It isn’t gathering in bunches.
Trusting is PRAYER and AWARENESS
And listening to our hunches.

This virus is quite deadly –
Unpredictable at best –
So we need to TAKE IT SERIOUSLY,
Don’t give the bug a test!

STEER CLEAR OF CROWDS,
And WASH your HANDS often,
Trust in the Lord and prayer,
While avoiding someone coughin’.

In the midst of this pandemic,
With family and friends in Harm’s Way,
We need to trust the Lord, yes –
But listen to scientists and obey!

Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

Did you catch the twelve?
I want to make them clear.
Here they are spelled out –
Obey and avoid fear!

Twelve Ways to Keep COVID-19 Away:

1. Be cautious 
2. Trust in Science
3. Trust in God 
4. Pray
5. Obey  
6. Be aware
7. Take it Seriously
8. Wear a Mask
9. Wash Hands Often
10. Avoid Crowds
11. Socially Distance
12. Don't Give the Bug a Test 

God Bless You, my friends.
May He keep you safe and healthy.
May we all do our part to help keep this bug at bay!

Please pray for the Zufferey Family
in Switzerland
(my son-in-law’s cousin,
who was our 1980-81
AFS exchange student).
ZuZu, Celia, and Jeremy
all have tested positive.

Pray for all those affected by this nasty bug.
Dear Lord, may they beat it…
And emerge with no lasting side-effects.

Please give them new strength, too.
DeAna

Lord, keep our daughter, DeAna,
in Switzerland
and all her family

safe.

Amen

(From “Best in Europe”
Switzerland
has become one of the worst
in new cases this week.
Pray for that country…
and all those facing this virus.)


Do you have a loved one who is in Harm’s Way
or is suffering from COVID?
Tell me – and I will add his/her name to my prayer list.


Bee well!!
See ya tomorrow.
Love,
JanBeek

What a Week!


Problems
Creep in
Usually they’re unbidden
Happened all week long
Blame

Gifted
With Love
From my Lord
I did move forward
Strength

Possibilities
Are fueled
By firm beliefs
Making hard things easier
Faith

One step at a time
Life is easier with faith
Just follow the Light!

This last one’s a Haiku, but the preceding series of three poems (written in the German-inspired style of Elfchen or Elevenie) shares a total of eleven words in each poem, with a sequence by line of one, two, three, four, and one words.

I hope you had a good week.
Enjoy your weekend.
Thanks for visiting JanBeek.
See ya tomorrow.

BYE!!
BEEEEE Well.

Are You Fully Dressed?


Are you fully dressed?
Have you cloaked yourself in love?
Dressed in quiet time?

Photo by murat esibatir on Pexels.com
Photo by Elizaveta Kozorezova on Pexels.com

Is your brain engaged
In the hush of the morning?
Still and communing?

Photo by Flickr on Pexels.com

Isaiah 55:3
King James version

“Incline your ear,
and come unto me,
hear,
and your soul shall live.”

Photo by Breston Kenya on Pexels.com


In the quietness, I find my strength.
In silence, I commune with my Maker.
Sustained peacefulness covers me
And I tune in to God as my pacer.

.

Photo by Tembela Bohle on Pexels.com

We must cloak each day
In the hush of quiet time.
Listen to the Lord.

Then we really hear
Our God’s infinite wisdom.
We’re completely dressed.

Let the Lord come in
And visit with you today.
He is there waiting!

The words to this are soooo beautiful!
Listen to the music and see the words
on this next video…
Sing along and. be inspired!
Thanks for dropping by.
I hope you are fully dressed…
And ready to share your quiet center
with all who enter.

Have an awesome week.
See all the things that really matter…
Be at peace and really see.
See ya tomorrow.
Love ya,
JanBeek

Lay Me Bare


I want to lay bare.
Unwrap all my coverings;
Lay bare my soul, Lord.

Photo by Nikolay Bondarev on Pexels.com

It is a process –
Unwrapping our gifts –
Being all we are.

Photo by Henley Design Studio on Pexels.com

I want to be clean,
Free of all the barriers
that keep me from God.

Photo by ALLAN FRANCA CARMO on Pexels.com

Life can be twisted,
Locking out our special gifts.
Unlock barriers.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Rid yourself of them –
The chains of security.
Be vulnerable!

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Only when your shell
Is cracked open and you flow
Can your gifts be used.

Lord, lay bare my soul.
Unwrap my coverings, Lord.
Reveal my gifts.

Let them be useful
As I reach out in kindness
And share all my gifts.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Blog title and ideas inspired during my devotional time this morning with Strength & Grace, Daily Devotions from Guideposts

James 1:17

“Every good thing given
and every perfect gift
is from above,
coming down from
the Father of Lights,
with whom there is no variation
or shifting shadow.”

Photo by Luis Dalvan on Pexels.com

Lord,
I pray for Your grace and strength
as You unwrap the layers of these gifts.
May we be blessed to become
all that You would have us to be.”

Amen

(Prayer for today from
Strength & Grace)

Lay me bare!
See ya later.
JanBeek

What Keeps You Going?


What keeps you going?
When your own strength has left you?
I gain strength from God.

How do I know Him?
How can I be sure He’s real?
I soak in His Word.

I look for His signs
In little things around me,
And I pray a lot!

I know He hears me.
I ask that His Will be done.
I listen for Him.

In devotionals
I find great inspiration.
These lift my spirit.

I “Take-Away” thoughts
To carry me through each day.
They keep me going.

Let me share with you
The “Take-Aways” from each day
During this last month.

Daily Take-Aways, March 2020

  • He Makes All Things New
  • Move Forward in Prayer
  • Pray Fervently
  • Listen to Your Body!
  • Look Up and Live
  • Be Intent on Jesus
  • Remember Past; Live Present
  • Live Joyfully!
  • Problems? Pray for Solutions
  • Trust God’s Timing
  • Let His Power Show in Me
  • Believe – and SOAR!
  • Be “All In” for Him
  • Let the Lord Lead
  • Focus on What Matters Most
  • Keep Your Heart Tuned to God
  • Christ is Everywhere
  • Pray Inclusively
  • Thank God Daily for Health and Friendships
  • Add Daily Exercise to Your Routine
  • God is Ever With Us
  • STOP and Bow Down
  • Perceive and Understand
  • Turn to Jesus Daily
  • Thank God for Peaceful Places
  • Let Beauty Fill You
  • Know God Always is With You
  • Practice Contentment
  • God is Our Steadfast Hope
  • Use Words Wisely’ Always with Kindness
  • Find Sanctuary and Rest in Him

Gain Strength

You can’t carry these
Powerful and Peaceful thoughts
With you and lose strength.

They will sustain you;
They will keep you positive.
They’ll keep you going!

Let God be your strength;
Study His Word and absorb
His encouragement.

Use these “Take-Aways” –
They’re better than vitamins.
Just take One-a-Day!

Have a blessed Thursday.
Beeeee Healthy!
See ya later.





Healing Waters


Painting by Bern Sundell

Healing Prayer

May the flow of healing waters
Rush in and through you
May you feel peace in your soul
As love swirls around you

May your troubles wash away
As you find comfort in knowing
Your prayer is heard by the Rock
Who is our strength and our hope

Amen

Love to you from JanBeek
Have a blessed day.

Where’s Your HOPE?


Photo by ATC Comm Photo on Pexels.com

1 Corinthians 13:13

“And now these three remain:
faith,
hope
and love.

But the greatest of these
is
love.

My favorite scripture
is found in 1 Corinthians,
the 13th chapter.
I love the whole chapter,
but I love the 13th verse
the most.

Source: And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Photo by Wendy van Zyl on Pexels.com

Choice of Bible Verse

This blog is all about “Loving One Another.” So, my choice of the Bible verse, 1 Cor. 13:13 probably didn’t surprise you.

John 3:16
is the verse I first memorized as a child.
It was my Sunday School teacher’s favorite verse:

“For God so love the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, bu will have everlasting life.”

Your Favorite

Do you have a favorite Bible verse? Or a favorite saying that reassures you each day – and keeps you moving forward?

What tiny spark in you
is whispering
“Keep going?”

Faith
Hope
Love
These three remain.

The greatest is LOVE.

But HOPE for the future
is an essential ingredient.

Try not to let today bury you!
Where lies your hope?

See ya tomorrow.

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