Loving One Another

Archive for the ‘prayer’ Category

Living Fully Every Day


Living Fully Every Day

If you are new to my blog, you may not know that I have a little 12′ x 12′ sanctuary up a circle staircase above my entryway. I spend the first hour there each morning with God and my cup of coffee.

 

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My maiden name is DeAngeles (of angels) and my mother collected angels. Her collection, plus a whole lot more, are in my “Angel Room” with my menagerie of devotionals and crosses. You can feel the Holy Spirit alive and well in this quiet space. I read and study my Bible, enjoy Guideposts and other daily devotionals, pray for my family and friends (and even my enemies sometimes!). Then, with the Holy Spirit guiding me, I plan my day.

This morning in addition to:

  1. Go to TOPS and weigh in and promise again to be more self-controlled with my food intake, and
  2. Start exercising on a regular basis to be more fit and take off ten pounds, and
  3. Finish the laundry,  I also wrote:
  4. Visit Carol.

I used to be a member of Senior Companions of Montana, volunteering through the Rocky Mountain Development Center. I was a senior companion to Carol for many years before she needed full-time care and was able to have helpers with her in her home everyday. She lived about eight miles out of town on a scenic dirt road. Her log house is at the base of the majestic (but right now smoky) Madison Mountain Range. With her daily helpers, she still lives there. Carol is 95 years young!

After my TOPS meeting at the medical center, I intended to drive out to see Carol, but one of her care givers was walking toward me as I was headed for my car. After a brief hug and the usual pleasantries, I told her where I was headed.

“Oh, you don’t need to drive out there,” she explained. “Turn around and go back in. Carol is in the medical center.”

I learned that she had been in the hospital for nearly a week. No wonder the Holy Spirit was prompting me to venture out and visit! (In fact, I wrote a blog last night called “Venture Out!”) God was speaking to me when He inspired me to write about doors and gates that swing both ways! Don’t let them keep you inside. Don’t lock yourself out of the blessings you are meant to give and receive!

Carol’s face lit up when I walked in. It was a joy to see her. We chatted about her recent birthday, the family who came from far and near to celebrate with her, and about our trip this year to visit our daughter and grandkids in Switzerland. I shared that one of my grandsons may come to live with us for a time – and how Bob & I look forward to sharing life with him for awhile.

I told Carol, “With eight decades of living under our belts, we find joy in sharing some of the pearls of wit and wisdom we’ve picked up along the path.”

I asked Carol if she would share some of her life lessons with me. I don’t think I was prepared for the depth of her sharing. But, as soon as she began, I knew I was in for a treat. I grabbed a paper and pen and asked her if she would mind if I took notes. Carol used to be a writer, too … but she finds it hard to set pen to paper these days. So, knowing I love to write, she grinned widely, and nodded.

“Here are some things I have learned as I’ve grown older:

  1. Life softens.
  2. Things aren’t so urgent.
  3. I can fall in love at all ages.
  4. Life constantly changes – be open!
  5. It takes judgement to realize the possibilities life holds.
  6. We’re happier if we count our blessings.
  7. Our lives become more dimensional with years.
  8. Love is huge!
  9. We all must take responsibility for ourselves and our actions.
  10. Life comes together in a natural and beautiful way.”

I read her list of life lessons back to her – choking up more than once in the process of doing so. Such wisdom! Such articulation!

“I want to be you when I grow up,” I told her. “I hope I can learn and internalize those lessons as beautifully as you have done.”

Carol and I hugged – and as I left her, she called after me, “It all comes down to living fully every day.”

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I love you, Carol!

Never Hopeless


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Stuck in Paris

Doesn’t sound bad?

Headed to see

The family we had

in Sierre, Switzerland.

 

Air France strike

Cancelled flight.

Trip to Geneva

Out of sight.

Seemed hopeless.

 

Pray and ask for prayer.

Intervention immediate.

God sent Angel Valerie

From heaven expedient.

Booked on next flight.

 

Flight was overbooked

But two seats were found.

We weren’t stuck in Paris

Waiting on the ground.

Never feel hopeless!

 

God is good

All the time.

All the time

God is good.

Amen?

A Honey of a Sermon


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Proverbs 16:24
“Gracious speech is like clover honey –
Good taste to the soul, quick energy for the body.”

Many of you know about my habit
of taking notes during the sermon each Sunday.
I hear better if I record on paper
what I process through the ears
to the brain through the fingertips.
Often the preacher wouldn’t recognize
the message as I interpret it.
But that’s okay – when my mind wanders
It’s generally related to something
she just uttered – and eventually
I get back to the voice in front of me.
Your mind doesn’t ever wander during
speeches or sermons, does it?
Here’s what I heard/processed
from Rev. Jean Johnson’s sermon today.
By the way, the scripture was not
the Proverb listed above!
The scripture that inspired the sermon
was actually John 12:20-30.
But, nevertheless, what I heard was:

A Honey of a Sermon

From the cardiac care room
Patients looked out to see a cross
Lighted and perched atop the church
On the street across.

The patients were looking
For new life – a new heart.
Waiting for a new spirit after
Their chest was torn apart.

What would you do
With a heart and spirit anew?
Would you take advantage
Of the fresh start given to you?

As we live our lives aware
Of the sin that we repeat,
Do we work to try and get
A clean heart with loving beat?

Working to receive a clean spirit
Is not the way to receive it.
All we need to do is accept
The forgiveness Jesus gave; just believe it!

Jesus gave each of us a chance
To have a clean start each day.
His death on the cross gave us
A chance to walk straight in His Way.

The crucial function of His relationship
To give us new life and a new heart
Was demonstrated by His resurrection.
Relate to Him in acceptance today for your fresh start!

Amen?
Amen!

Jan Beekman
3/18/18

The Sounds of Silence


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THE SOUNDS OF SILENCE

 

Silence is resounding in my ears.

Silence wipes away confusion and fears.

Silence speaks as all nature rings.

Silence breaks as songbird sings.

 

Silence whispers compassion’s song –

Let’s me contemplate yesterday’s wrong.

Allows God’s grace to fill this space

Instead of wallowing in my own disgrace.

 

Silence brings new life to God’s Word.

It lets the Holy Spirit speak and be heard.

It opens my heart to name the nameless

And enter their world blameless and shameless.

 

Open my heart, Lord, in silence to know

All that You’re saying, all that You show

Through challenges booming or hugs soft and sweet.

Help me to hear You in ALL that I meet.

 

Jan Beekman

11-30-2017

What is Faith?


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When you enter the foyer of my home, you see a circle staircase that will take you up to my sanctuary. To the right of it is the word art my son and daughter-in-law gave to me for Mother’s Day. It says, “The Greatest of These is Love.” Bob and I appreciate so much the fact that our children see in us the LOVE which is a gift from God, who first loved us. That love is born of FAITH – another Gift from God.

A recent sermon at the Madison Valley Presbyterian Church in Ennis, Montana was a follow-up to the previous Sunday’s Trinity message. Rev. Jean Johnson explained that understanding the concept of God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit was a matter of Faith… only obtained from God. Not something we could work to obtain by ourselves.

Like LOVE, we receive faith from our Heavenly Father, and as Christians we learn how to LIVE it by studying the life of the Son, Jesus Christ. When we need a “refill,” we go to the Holy Spirit who is our Teacher and Guide here on earth. Today’s sermon contrasted FAITH based on such a gift with faith borne out of reasoning and pragmatic expectations. Here is what the sermon said to me. I took these “notes” while listening intently:

WHAT is FAITH?

Faith is not the product of reasoning.
Faith is a gift from God, our Father.
The skeptics question our beliefs –
And so do some sisters and brothers in Christ.

What does Faith give to me?
What do I get out of it?
Some Christian leaders teach that it is “utilitarian.”
Faith is good because it’s useful.

Pragmatism is a dominating force in the U.S.A.
It is the basis of our consumer society.
Pragmatists go beyond “What IS it?”
They go to “What is it good FOR?”

Some feel FAITH is magic words like “I Believe”
or “Eternal Life is mine.”
When pragmatists hit a crisis,
They give up on Faith; it failed them!

What IS the value of Faith?
Is it what it produces for us?
Most of us believe God is more than
A helpful idea that makes us feel better.

He is more than the Great Granter of wishes.
God is Good… All the time!
Even when our needs are not being fulfilled.
Is Jesus of value for what He can do for you?

Is Faith about getting what you need to make life worth living?
Or is FAITH about a relationship with God?
Prayer is not just a self-help therapy.
Prayer is about listening and praising.

It’s not just about talking and asking!
Do not surrender to pragmatism.
Receive the gift of faith from God.
Pray to listen for God’s desires – and SERVE.

What can I do for God?
What can God do IN me?
God’s tenacious desire to talk to me and love me…
That’s FAITH!

Amen?

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