Loving One Another

Posts tagged ‘truth’

Switch the Channel


Your mind is like a radio –
You can tune it as you like:
Rap or blues, talk or news,
Sadness of a virus spike.

Your mind has endless channels.
It’s a miraculous machine.
It can distort the truth and scare you,
Or explain what “Do Love” can mean.

Our Bible feeds our radio
With thoughts from God above.
He tells us to tune carefully
To the stations that spread love.

Photo by Eduardo Braga on Pexels.com

Philippians 9:8

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true,
whatever is noble,
whatever is right,
whatever is pure,
whatever is lovely,
whatever is admirable,
if anything is excellent or praiseworthy,
think about such things.”

Photo by Victoria Borodinova on Pexels.com

This verse in Philippians got me to thinking.
What are the things that I would consider in these categories?
Think about them… add your thoughts after each word.
Where do these words take you? What is:

  • true
  • noble
  • right
  • pure
  • lovely
  • admirable
  • excellent and/or praiseworthy
Photo by Suliman Sallehi on Pexels.com

Lift your thoughts to the highest peak.
Let your mind’s radio tune in to the thoughts that are
uplifting and worthy of consideration.
I tried that this morning.
Here is what I came up with.
I encourage you to come up with your own.
How are your thoughts different from mine?

  1. Think on things that are TRUE:
    a) The Bible
    b) The love of my family
    c) The need for friendship
  2. Think on things that are NOBLE:
    a) Active, Honest, Capable and Fair government leaders
    b) Bob Goff’s “Love Does”
    c) The work of doctors, nurses, caregivers
  3. Think on things that are RIGHT:
    a) The innocence of little children
    b) Agape Love (as demonstrated by the unconditional love of my pup, TazE… and my devoted spouse, Bob)
    c) The obligation to reach out and help the needy
  4. Think on things that are PURE:
    a) The motives of devoted, loving friends
    b) The love of Christ for us sinners
    c) Blessings from heaven
  5. Think on things that are LOVELY:
    a) Signs of spring = green leaves, daffodils, crocus, tulips
    b) Kisses from my grandchildren (and great-grandchildren)
    c) Phone calls, letters, texts from our children
  6. Think on things that are ADMIRABLE:
    a) The work of classified staff (such as nurse’s assistants and custodians) in nursing homes and hospitals
    b) The volunteer work of pastors, elders, deacons, and others who give so much time/effort to the church
    c) The donations of those who give time, food, and resources to help the needy
  7. Think on things that are EXCELLENT or PRAISEWORTHY:
    a) The efforts of teachers who are committed to continue helping students learn via ZOOM and other technology during this pandemic
    b) The scientists who are working tirelessly to find a COVID-19 vaccine
    c) The dedication of people who continue to serve in spite of the virus – – – food service workers, truckers, pharmacists, etc.

Your mind is like a radio –
You can tune it to what’s good.
Find the Philippians 9:8 channel
And think of love. You should!

Change Your Mind’s Channel
to Thoughts of Gratitude

Thanks for tuning in to JanBeek.
Tell me about your uplifting thoughts
based on Phil. 9:8

See ya tomorrow.

Don’t Lie to Me


On my blog, I usually try to steer away from taking a partisan stance on issues. My blog subtitle “Love One Another” causes me to want to see the positives and spread loving energy. I don’t like to post things that pit us/them or reinforce labels. I believe in unity.

However… a good friend sent this Barbara Streisand video to me today, and I feel COMPELLED to share it!

Recently I have begun to I pray daily for our USA President. I ask God to give him wisdom and compassion. I ask God to speak to his heart and help him see the importance of Truth and Transparency. His words matter to us and to the world.

This video points out so clearly what some of the negative effects are when Truth is not the standard.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Pray with me for Light of Truth to be restored.

Believe and Be Joyful


Thanks to Pastor Steve Hundley
and our music minister, Fran McNiell,
for the prayers, stories, and sermon,
and the music for today’s worship service.

THE SECOND SUNDAY OF EASTER

April 19, 2020

Opening Prayer

Risen Christ, the brightness of God’s glory and exact image of God’s Person, who death could not conquer nor tomb imprison, as You have shared our frailty in human flesh, help us to share Your immortality in the Spirit.  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 our days, as the First and the Last, the living One, our immortal Savior and Lord.  Amen.

Prayer of Confession:

We confess, O God, that we have not lived the past weeks in the faith of Easter.  We have been like the disciples, who saw life in terms of the suffering of the cross more than in the joy of resurrection.  Forgive our hopelessness in the face of our world’s response to the COVID 19 pandemic, these past few weeks, and help us to trust more fully that You are the Lord of our future.  Amen.

Assurance of Pardon:

As God raised Jesus from the dead, so God will lift us all from the graves of broken dreams.  God makes us whole again and send us forth to witness to His name.

A Children’s Message
for Adults, too! 

Steve’s message for the children today
tells of a boy carrying two buckets…
not just one, and not on a sandy beach like this one…
read on and see how his buckets and path differed from this!

Photo by Svetlana Parkhomenko on Pexels.com

(a true story)

When I was a boy, my mother would often send me down the road to Clyde’s cabin to help him with his laundry. Clyde lived in a log cabin he had built in the early nineteen-hundreds.  His cabin had no running water, only a well out back.  There was a creek out front less than a quarter mile from his front door.

Clyde had an old roller washing machine, a tub and an old scrub board.  It was my job to carry water from the creek to the cabin in two old milk pails.  I would fill the pails in the creek and make my way back to the cabin, pouring what water that didn’t spill or leak out of the buckets into the large tub.  Filling each bucket to the rim each trip, I would arrive with less than half a bucket of water.  At that rate, it would take me practically all day to supply enough water for Clyde’s washing and rinsing. 

Complaining about the amount of water that I was spilling over the top of the buckets, not to mention the water lost from holes in his dilapidated buckets, Clyde instructed me to place a small block of wood in the buckets.  He explained that the blocks of wood floating in the buckets would help water from splashing out the tops.  Though it helped a little, I continued to leak water from the holes the buckets.

On one trip from the creek to the cabin with water leaking down my legs and into my shoes, I had had about enough.  “Clyde,” I moaned, “When are you going to throw away these sorry buckets and buy new ones?  These dented old rust buckets are full of holes.”  Clyde just smiled his toothless grin and said, “Why boy, those are my special buckets.  I could never get rid of them.”  “But these sorry things are full of holes,” I whined. “And, it takes me twice the effort and double the trips back and forth from the creek, to fill your tubs.”

“Boy, take a look along that path leading down to the creek,” Clyde said.  “Do you see all those beautiful wildflowers, lining the path?  Every time you made the hard trip from the creek to the cabin, spilling water along the way, you were unknowingly watering God’s beautiful flowers for us to enjoy.”

Jesus’ followers found the path towards Easter to be really difficult.  Peter denied knowing Jesus, not once, but three times, though he vowed never to do so.  After that, he was so upset that he no longer considered himself worthy of being a disciple.  Mary, the mother of Jesus, had to watch her son suffer and die on the cross.  Mary Magdalene was not only upset by Jesus’ death, but was horrified to think that someone had stolen His body when she found the stone rolled away.

  I am sure that God could have found an easier path for them to follow than the way of the cross.  But, without the pain of the cross, there can be no Easter joy.  Without God coming into the world in the person of Jesus Christ and paying the price for our failures on the cross, we would not see, know, or enjoy the beauty of His love for us.

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.

An Easter Message:                           “Through Locked Doors”

John 20:19-29

For centuries Christians celebrated Jesus’ resurrection the week following Easter with parties and picnics.  The week culminated with “Bright Sunday” or “Holy Humor Sunday”, a day of joy and laughter.  Churchgoers and pastors would play jokes on each other, tell silly jokes, and would sing and dance.  The custom was rooted in the notion of early Christian theologians like St. Augustine, St. Gregory of Nysa, and St. John Chrysostom that God had played a practical joke on the devil by raising Jesus from the dead.  Early theologians called it “the Easter Laugh”.  Later, it became known as “the Gospel as Divine Comedy.”

However, the thought of the resurrection as God’s practical joke on the devil and death is not something we tend to think about the Sunday following Easter.  Over the years, the tradition of “Bright Sunday” or “Holy Humor Sunday” has been lost.  That tradition has been replaced with what we have come to know as “Low Sunday.”  Compared to the highest feast day in the church year – Easter Sunday- the Sunday following is considered the lowest.  Why is that?

I don’t know.  Maybe the excitement of Easter Sunday fades so quickly because the church, over the years, has lost its hope in the power of the resurrection.  Maybe.  Or, perhaps it is because the stories of Easter and the resurrection have become so familiar to us that we have lost sight of the irony of life overcoming death, especially given the high death toll we are experiencing during this recent pandemic.  Well, maybe.

You have to admit that someone rising from the grave is a rather fantastic idea in our modern world.  For instance, when my son was in middle school, he came home one day after school to discover that our Brittany Spaniel was running around in the backyard with our neighbors’ pet rabbit in its mouth.  Chasing the dog, my son finally caught it and wrenched the rabbit from its jaws.  He quickly discovered, not only was the rabbit covered with mud and dog slobber, it was also dead as a door nail. 

Panicking, he scooped the rabbit up and ran into the house.  In the bathroom, he carefully washed the rabbit off, carefully brushed it out, and dried it with his mother’s hairdryer.  Stealthily, he crept back into the neighbors’ yard and quickly placed the dead rabbit back into its rabbit pen.  Arranging it just right, it was impossible to tell that the rabbit was dead.  Sneaking back to the house, my son retired to his room, promising himself not to tell anyone what had really happened.

Arriving home from my office, I was standing in the kitchen when I heard the blood curdling scream coming from my neighbor’s backyard.  Running out the house, I ran to the fence to see our neighbor’s wife staring with horror into the rabbit pin.  “What on earth has happened?” I called.  “THE RABBIT, IT DIED!” she screamed.  “It died?” I said inquiringly.  Turning to run back into her house, she screamed: “YES, IT DIED THREE DAYS AGO!  WE BURIED IT, BUT NOW IT IS BACK!  (Now this story may not be true, but you have to admit, be it rabbit or human, rising up from the grave is a fantastic notion in this day and time!)

Can you and I even fathom the shock of the disciples when Jesus appeared to them, passing through locked doors?  Sure, they had trudged behind Jesus through the entire Judean countryside.  Jesus’ purpose and teachings were hard to understand, even though He spoke of being the Christ—the Messiah—the Holy One of God, who is of the Father.

  But, all that must have seemed like a dream (or more like a nightmare) when Jesus was crucified, ending all hope.  The death of Jesus had slammed the door on their greatest hopes and dreams.  It was over.  It had been good while it lasted, but now the door was locked and nothing could bring Him back to life again, or so they thought.  They had buried Him three days before, AND NOW, HE WAS BACK!

Of course, the reaction to God’s practical joke on death was varied among Jesus’ followers.  While the “beloved disciple” may have believed without evidence except for an empty tomb, Mary Magdalene only believed because the Risen Christ called her by name.  The remaining disciples, excluding Thomas, believed only because their Risen Christ appears to them, granting peace to them, and showing them His hands and His side.  Yet, for Thomas, neither the word of his fellow disciples, nor the sight of the Risen Lord would be sufficient.  For Thomas said, “Unless I place my fingers into the nail holes, and stick my hand in His side, I will not believe.”

It would seem that true FAITH is not the same experience for everyone, not then, not now.  Neither is FAITH generated with the same kind and degree of evidence for each individual.  For some, FAITH is born and grows as quietly as a child sleeping on grandmother’s lap.  For others, FAITH is a lifetime of wrestling with the angel.  And, some cannot remember a time in their life when they didn’t believe, while others cannot remember anything else with their lives having been shattered and reshaped by their decision of FAITH.

No matter how FAITH came, or comes, to you and me, it would do us well to remember the words of Jesus who said: (and I paraphrase), “REMEMBER THIS, UNLESS YOU ACCEPT GOD’S KINGDOM IN THE SIMPLICITY OF A CHILD, YOU’LL NEVER GET IT.”  And like a child, what better way to celebrate God’s joke on death than with joy, laughter, singing, and dancing? Yet, what a shame it is, when the voice of doubters or the voice of those of us for whom FAITH has become the norm, even commonplace, drown out the true irony and wonder of the resurrection.

When I think of the true joy and wonder of faith, I cannot help but remember a boy named Lonnie, years ago, in my 3rd grade classroom.  Lonnie’s parents had died in an automobile accident, so his grandparents were raising him.  I remember how we used to tease Lonnie mercilessly, because he would believe anything.  We’d say, “The school burned down, so we don’t have to go to school Monday.”  “Oh, boy!” he’d say.  You see, he’d believe it!

  “They are giving away free ice cream down at Mr. Kern’s grocery store.”  “FREE ICE CREAM?”  he’d squeal and off he’d go running.  “Lonnie, did you know that that Elvis is coming to our school?”  “HE IS REALLY?  WHOOPEE!”  Yep, that boy would believe anything! 

One day, Lonnie showed up at our little country church and came to our Sunday School class.  Our teacher, old Miss King, told Lonnie that: “God loves you and cares for You.  And God will come to you in Jesus Christ who has risen from the dead.”  And do you know, THAT KID BELIEVED IT!  HE ACTUALLY BELIEVED IT! 

Do you believe it?  Do we really believe it?  And, if we do, then where is our laughter?  Where is the singing and dancing?  Where is our uncontrollable joy?  Hmmm. 

Sing along! The words are so beautiful!

Pastoral Prayer:

Lord of the cross and the Empty Tomb, we worship You.  Though the pandemic rages on, You give us reason to hope.  We thank You that we are not alone even as the news of more Corona Virus cases and deaths dominate the headlines.  Though we are well-acquainted with death, dying and grief, we praise You that death has been vanquished and its spell broken.  And though our lives are still embroiled in sin, failure and inadequacy, thank You, O God, for giving our lives meaning, purpose and direction.

We confess that the more days we stay at home, the more likely it is that we may forget Your power and fall into despair.  Yet, today we remember and hope comes back. Though the darkness of the night brought doubt and disarray, in the light of this new day we bow our heads in worship.  Like Thomas, we desire to see the nail prints and touch the wound in Your side, but Your presence is enough, and we cry out, saying: “My Lord, and my God!”

Walk among us, Lord, and touch our troubled lives.  Give hope to the hopeless, strength to the faltering, love to the lonely, compassion and courage to those on the front line of this pandemic. We pray for health, hope, and help for those who have lost their incomes and/or health insurance in the midst of this ongoing lock down.  Let the radiance of Your resurrected presence shine upon them and us as it shone upon Your first disciples and make new persons of us all, as it did of them.

Transform us from frightened, hesitant, uncommitted followers into people of fire and steel who know what we believe and who will follow You no matter what the future holds.  Live in and through us.  Walk among us and teach us to walk with You.  For You alone have the words of eternal life, and You alone can call us into discipleship.  Lord of the cross and empty tomb, we praise You!  Bring healing and hope to our hurting world, for Your name’s sake, saying together, as One Church, One Body …”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 (trespasses), as we forgive our debtors (those who trespass against us). And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.”

Charge:

Go into the world: dance, laugh, sing, and create.

Go into the world: risk, explore, discover, and love.

Go into the world: believe, hope, struggle, and remember.

Go into the world with the assurance

that God loves you and you are not alone.

Amen.

Blessing:

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.

Have a Blessed and Joyful Sunday.

See ya tomorrow.


Faith Drives Out Fear


This Pixabay image is by John Hain

F = reveal, suspend, unleash

A = uncover, surrender, yield

I = lay down, allow, detach from

T = release, shed, eliminate

H = give up, let go, loosen

Photo by Engin Akyurt on Pexels.com

When we have faith to let go
Of the fear that binds our soul,
We uncover the Truth that allows us
To surrender our doubts and be made whole.

Lay down your anxious thoughts.
Put them at the feet of our Lord.
Release uneasiness, detach from despair,
And let’s live with FAITH in one accord.

What fear will you surrender today?

Have a Fabulous Friday.

See ya later.


Just Be Yourself


Be yourself.jpg

Does “Just Be Yourself”
Allow you to be hateful?
Nope, I don’t think so.

 

Does “Just Be Yourself”
Allow you to hurt others?
Nope, I don’t think so.

 

Does “Just Be Yourself”
Give you permission to lie?
Nope, I don’t think so.

 

Just read the last line
You are to be wonderful
That’s being yourself!

 

Have a wonderful Wednesday.

red and white ribbon

See ya tomorrow

What Do You Choose?


What Do You Choose?

Choose love

How About YOU?

pexels-photo-887349-2

Let’s Just Keep on Loving One Another!

See ya tomorrow.

The Power of Words


Give Compliments

Compliments.jpg

Give Compliments

Haiku x8

woman wearing grey crew neck sweater

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

When is the last time
Someone complimented you?
Who? Friend or stranger?

When is the last time
You complimented someone?
Who? Friend or stranger?

Which feels better –
A compliment from a friend
or from a stranger?

When do you speak up
To give out a compliment?
Is it natural?

Or do you have to
Struggle to give compliments?
Do you accept them?

What do you say back?
A simple “Thank You” will do.
Do not disagree.

“Oh, this old sweater?
I’ve had it for a long time.”
Try a humble, “Thanks!”

Speak sincere feelings,
And don’t underestimate
The power of words.


You’re Awesome!!
pexels-photo-887349-1
See ya tomorrow!

Feed Your Mind


Feed Your Mind

Feed your mind

Feed Hope, Truth and Love
To your ever hungry mind –
Your mind will believe.

Peace to you, my friends.

Love and Peace…
pexels-photo-887349-1
See ya tomorrow.

Are You Leader or Follower?


Leader or Follower?

Some days I’m the leader;
Other days I like to follow.
But sometimes following
Is more than I can swallow.

animal beast big carnivore

Sometimes the folks who lead
Don’t seem to care the least
About the folks they’re leading;
They’re like this ugly beast.

The beast who tells us lies,
Who says “Do as I say,
But not as I do,” you know?
He tries to force his way.

We are not stupid sheep;
We know which way is right.
So stand your ground, my friends.
Don’t let him push his might.

The one who makes the rules,
Usually wins the game, they say.
But, some rules should be constant –
Don’t let him lead you astray.

My Inspiration

This poem was inspired by a Time Magazine article titled, “Whose standards will Democrats embrace?” by the eloquent former editor of Time Magazine, Nancy Gibbs.
This topic of leaders and followers is heavy on my heart. It’s not the simple kind of following that I wrote about years ago when I was looking at healthy parent-child relationships:

Follow Me

Days Gone By

When I was a youngster, one of the popular TV programs was “Father Knows Best.” I related to that … and so did a lot of my peers. Mom and Dad talked things over. They  presented a righteous front of solidarity. Sometimes Mom (in fact usually Mom) laid down the laws. Together, they enforced them. We were the “Leave it to Beaver” generation whose nuclear family lived by the universal rules spelled out in the Ten Commandments. “Do not lie” was paramount among them. “Love One Another,” was another. “Be kind to your neighbor,” right?

Appreciate one another’s differences. Know that we all are part of one body – and the head needs the hand; the leg needs the foot. We need to live in harmony.

What has happened to our Rules to Live By??

Self-Examination


Lent is upon us.
It is a 40 day period when we prepare for the coming of Easter.
One way to prepare is to practice the art of self-examination.
Look deeply into yourself.
Be prepared to acknowledge your areas of struggle.

Invite God to help you over the hurdles.

.

In Soul Feast by Marjorie J. Thompson, we are reminded that we cannot escape from God’s all-seeing eye. She writes, “When we feel searched and known by a gracious God, we are both moved and enabled to search our own hearts honestly.”

green wooden board with heart hole

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

.
I was inspired by Thompson’s invitation to “Open the door of our heart to cleansing, renewal and peace.” In response, I wrote the following poem:
.
.
SELF-EXAMINATION
 
Nothing we do or fail to do
Can alter the depth of God’s love.
It’s truly unconditional,
A sure-fire gift from above.
 
Knowing the truth of this gift,
Knowing the depth of affection,
Allows us to be real with ourselves,
And honest with God in confession.
 
We can acknowledge to God openly
The weakness displayed in our sin,
And remember He knows it already – 
So, open your heart; Let God in!

close up of tree against sky

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

.
When you look deeply into yourself,
what areas of struggle do you acknowledge?
 
Invite God to help you over the hurdles.

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