Loving One Another

Archive for the ‘Bible Lessons’ Category

Love, Grace, Mercy


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Love, Grace, and Mercy

Gifts given through Jesus Christ

Presents for each day

From Fear to Awe


From Fear to Awe – An Epiphany Sunday Sermon

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Politics has a long history
Of striking fear in hearts.
In Matthew, we hear the king asking,
“Where’s the new child in these parts?”

 

The Magi responded and left
With a heavy sigh of relief;
But all of Jerusalem was frightened
As their king behaved as a thief.

 

He seemed to want to steal
The joy of this promised birth.
His fear spread throughout
This part of the Christ-child’s earth.

 

We, too, live in fear of things
Beyond our ability to control.
Fear of God is extraordinary
As we are confused by our role.

 

If we are God-fearing, it is
Not the same as fear of faith.
It’s an invitation to see
Our loving God face-to-face.

 

Fear is a cascading emotion.
Fear begets fear, you see.
A chain reaction occurs –
The fear of Herod passes down to me.

 

What if Herod’s fear had turned
To trust and awe of the Lord?
Trust and awe are emotions
We must know we CAN afford.

 

We cannot afford, in fact,
To live in fear instead of awe.
Read the stars, find the Christ Child.
Trust God and His Word – His Law.

 

Are YOU in awe of the Lord??

 

 Sermon notes by Jan Beekman based on the message:
“See and Be Radiant!” by Pastor Steven Mabry
Plymouth Congregational Church, Paso Robles, CA

Let Him Out!


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Let Him Out!

There are days
And then there are
Advent Days.

Days of Waiting –
Days of Unknowing –
Days of Sorrow.

Your life feels
Oppressive.
Hope eludes you.

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This Christmas Eve
Let’s recall
Mary’s waiting.

Let’s remember
Mary’s sweet song –
Her ready acceptance.

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Thousands of years
Later, we need
Her true faith.

Wouldn’t it be
Super great if
All news was good?

Wouldn’t we love
All suffering
To instantly cease?

What joy if
All war and hunger
Were eliminated now!

We’d like God
To bring us
The Promised Peace.

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But, His Way
Is not our way.
His definitions differ.

We look at basics
With greedy eyes.
We look for Plenty.

God defines PLENTY
In heart-felt ways.
He needs “Let Out!”

So, open your heart.
Invite God out
Through your heart.

See your PLENTY
Through God’s eyes.
Focus on others.

Like Mary, sing of
God’s grace, and
Birth His Light.

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God bless you!
Merry Christmas Eve.
Follow that star!!

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Yet Another Day


This little 3″ x 5″ book titled,
Yet Another Day
was copyrighted in 1905.

 

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My mother-in-law bought it at a flea market for $1.00
in about 1959. I inherited it from her.
This note is in the inside front cover:

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The title page tells you the book, written by Rev. J.H. Jowett, M.A.,
is intended to be used as a prayer for every day of the year.

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The copyright page gives valuable tips,
as valid today as they were 113 years ago!

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Today is December 22nd.
The prayer for today is one I want to share with you.
(I pray I am not breaking copyright laws by sharing this!)

Pray with me, will you?
(And enjoy the beautiful, lyrical language of 113 years ago.)

“Lord of all life, wilt Thou quicken me in the ministry of Thy life-giving Spirit? May no part of my being remain in deadly insensitivity. May I be alive unto God! May all my powers aspire after Thee, as flowers after the sun.”   AMEN!

 

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Hold On to What is Valuable


Today’s devotional e-mail from  titw@moody.edu spoke to me. I have included it here for you, my friends.

Have a beautiful day, and let us remember to be grateful for all our many blessings as we remember, “You are blessed to be a blessing.”

 

Today in the Word
December 2018

 

The Gospel of Matthew: The King Has Come
HOLDING ON TO WHAT IS VALUABLE
Wednesday, December 19, 2018 | Matthew 19:16–30
In the children’s novel Where the Red Fern Grows, the main character, Billy, tries and fails to trap a raccoon until his grandfather teaches him a foolproof method: drill a hole into a log, place a shiny object at the bottom, and then drive nails into the hole at a downward angle. This allows the raccoon to reach its hand in, but keeps it from pulling its hand back out so long as it is holding the trinket. The trap works because raccoons are too greedy to let go of shiny things.

A raccoon in such a predicament has much in common with the rich young man Jesus encountered in Matthew 19. The man’s initial question indicated his desire for eternal life. But the man’s hold on the shiny things of this world prevented him from pursuing that desire.

When Jesus told him that if he wanted to be righteous he would have to sell his possessions and give the proceeds to the poor, the young man went away sad. And one can understand why. He wanted it both ways: to be defined by his financial wealth and to receive the spiritual riches of eternal life. With his hand grasped tightly around worldly possessions, he could not pursue the heavenly treasures reserved for those willing to sacrifice such things to follow Jesus (vv. 28–29).

Because of the tendency of wealth to elicit such grasping, we might regard it as inherently dangerous. But the deeper danger is the grasping response itself, for we might also grasp after power, status, or other earthly goods (see 1 Tim. 6:10). As we hold too tightly to such things, we find that they are in fact holding on to us and hindering us from pursuing the kingdom of God.

APPLY THE WORD
What earthly goods or status do you most desire? Does your desire hinder you from following Jesus? Pray that God would help you to loosen your grip on anything that might keep you from pursuing His kingdom with your fullest devotion. And give thanks to the God of salvation with whom “all things are possible” (v. 26).

 

If you enjoyed this devotional, you may want to subscribe to “Today in the Word” and receive your daily devotional from Moody, also. Just write to titw@moody.edu.

In addition to giving thanks for my earthly goods, and praying to loose my grip on them, I also am giving thanks today to God for answered prayer. Earlier this month I had an ultrasound that showed a mass in my bladder (Of course, hearing that, we all thought CANCER). The doctor ordered a CT scan to confirm the mass. The results were inconclusive. Yesterday was my appointment with the urologist to get to the bottom of what’s going on “down there.” Friends from far and near prayed for me and for conclusive results and a “fix-it plan.” I felt the love and concern of those prayers. I relaxed, and knew I was in God’s hands. I am ever so grateful for family/friends, their love, and God’s grace. The camera that scoped the bladder revealed NO TUMOR. God is good. All the time!

The Cost of Christmas


Sermon notes – Dec. 16, 2017 – Rev. Jean Johnson – Madison Valley Presbyterian, Ennis, MT

Recorded by Jan Beekman – in poetry (as is my habit) – while listening intently today.

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The Cost of Christmas

Ebenezer Scrooge was transformed.
He hated Christmas and all
That talk of love and peace.
His dream helped him hear God’s call.

He bought a goose and invited
All to come to his feast.
He had love and joy to spread
To rich and poor, the most and the least.

It cost Scrooge a fortune
To pay for all that food.
What does Christmas cost you?
Does the cost put you in a Scrooge mood?

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John the Baptist warned us that
Christmas will cost a lot.
But it’s not the money he referred to;
It’s the deliverance we may not have sought.

Purifying fire and judgement wait
For those who fail to believe.
The fire is a punishment for those
Who are stingy and cause others to grieve.

If you have two shirts or coats,
Be ready to give one away.
If someone owes you money,
Don’t overcharge them any day.

Jesus taught people to love and forgive.
“Get ready for the Christ Child.
Give from your surplus,” John preached.
He didn’t ask us to do anything wild.

Jesus’ message was a tough one
For many who held hate in their heart.
John asked folks to prepare for Christ
By repenting, turning, making a clean start.

Be on the true path, headed right
As you prepare for Jesus Christ’s birth.
You’re on the right road in church today.
Let’s be God’s witnesses on earth.

Are you?
Am I?
Let your life preach His message,
And as Mother Theresa is quoted as saying,
“Only use words when you have to!”

(Isn’t that a heck of a message for a blogger?)

 

Prophets – Bah Humbug!


If you’ve been following my blog awhile, you know I take notes in poetry as I listen to the sermon in church on Sundays.

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If you’re new to my blog, welcome! Thank you so much for following. You help me know with your “likes” and comments that I am not just writing into cyberspace. There are real people out there – my blogging “friends” – who may be touched, encouraged, tickled, or illuminated by my posts. If I help you somehow along this rugged path of life to step a little lighter, see a little brighter, or love each other “righter”, then I have accomplished my purpose.

Here are the notes reflecting the message I gathered from yesterday’s sermon. After the service, I told Rev. Jean Johnson, our pastor at Madison Valley Presbyterian, “Your message spoke to me. I think I’ll blog this one.”

So, here it is:

Prophets – Bah Humbug!

Who needs a prophet?
They are annoying, I think.
At best, they are pests.
At worst, they stink!

Tell ’em to take
Their soapboxes away
To some other place.
They harp doom everyday.

Isn’t it enough to try
To be good to each other?
Isn’t it enough
To love sister and brother?

Here we are this Advent
Being called to goodness and hope.
John the Baptist says we
Need baptism and repentance to cope.

He persists in saying
Mountains must be flat.
Paths must be made straight.
Who needs all that?

We like our high mountains.
We like crooked paths, too.
Who needs these prophets?
Do they annoy you?

Well, to be honest, I must
Tell you these truthtellers
Are important to us.
They’re really not such bad fellers!

They call us to be humble.
They show us the Christ-like way.
They remind us of past errors
And guide us to a better way.

Prophets help us discover
How love is better than hate.
They show us what really matters.
Heed them. Invite them in. It’s a date!

Be the love to the loveless.
Don’t worry and think you’re too small.
Listen to the wisdom of the prophets.
Their message is good for us all.

Let God’s light shine through you.
Be the prophetic face of love.
Go out and BE a prophet.
Share the message from God above.

Amen?

 

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