Loving One Another

Posts tagged ‘Bible’

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

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?

 

God’s Grace


God’s Grace

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“I am under the canopy of God’s Grace,”
the story in my Guideposts devotional assured me.

 

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I know it without a doubt. I am guided by the Holy Spirit and the Scriptures.

 

“Do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself.
Each day has enough troubles of its own.”

Matthew 6:34

 

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Accept each day as a gift.
The present is a present.
Open it – and live in the NOW!

 

I am sure you know:
God’s grace is sufficient when you believe and live intentionally in FAITH.

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Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.”
Romans 5:1-2

 

God’s grace – and peace to you – dear friends,

PEACE now and forever!

 

 

Live Well, Live Wisely


LIVE WELL, LIVE WISELY

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There’s something to be said for staying hungry!

But, is that foolishness? Is it living well? Living wisely?

Well, it depends upon what you are hungry FOR!

To live wisely and well, I find I must remain hungry for soul food!

 

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Yes, the kind of soul food you find in the healthy section of a grocery store helps, but that’s not all!

 

It’s not the kind of soul food you find deep fried …

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The soul food for which I hunger is found in the soul-finder, the heart stimulant, the words of Scripture.

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My go-to Bible is The Message, by Eugene H. Peterson. This brilliant theologian recently died (like within the month)… what a loss! His translated words of the Bible speak to me. I hunger for the messages translated into everyday English – helping me learn ways to live well, and live wisely. Here is a perfect example:

James 3:13-18

“Do you want to be counted wise, to build a reputation for wisdom? Here’s what you do: Live well, live wisely, live humbly. It’s the way you live; not the way you talk, that counts. Mean-spirited ambition isn’t wisdom. Boasting that you are wise isn’t wisdom. Twisting the truth to make yourselves sound wise isn’t wisdom. It’s the furthest thing from wisdom – it’s animal cunning, devilish conniving. Whenever you’re trying to look better than others or get the better of others, things fall apart and everyone ends up at the others’ throats.

Real wisdom, God’s wisdom, begins with a holy life and is characterized by getting along with others. It is gentle and reasonable, overflowing with mercy and blessings, not hot one day and cold the next, not two-faced. You can develop a healthy, robust community that lives right with God and enjoy its results only if you do the hard work of getting along with each other, treating each other with dignity and honor.”

 

Live well. Live Wisely.

I ask myself:

Is your life an open book?
Can anyone open the pages and take a look?
Are there hidden pockets tucked inside?
Times you’ve cheated, fudged, or lied?

Is there mean-spirited ambition
Hidden in the corners of your heart?
Do you claw your way to the top
Instead of helping others get a start?

Do you ever boast and boost yourself,
Trying to look smarter than you are?
Are you hot one day and cold the next,
Playing the golf of life well over par?

Do you sow discontent or seeds of envy
By flaunting talents, putting others down?
Or are you humble, discreet and honest?
Do you cause a smile instead of a frown?

Living well includes treating yourself
With honor and true respect,
Giving others the credit they deserve, and
Sharing with love more than they expect.

Do you see a neighbor in dire need?
Do you step up to lend a hand?
Part of living wisely and living well
Is finding the gold nuggets in the sand.

Search for beauty among the ugly.
Look beyond the outer shell.
Share your heart and soul with abandon…
Then you’ll know you’re living well.

 

Are you living well and wisely?

Loss, Lament & Loyalty


Loss, Lament, and Loyalty

 

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Sermon Notes by Jan Beekman
from the sermon today
based on the scripture – Mark 12:38-44 –
Preached by Rev. Jean Johnson
at the Madison Valley Presbyterian Church
in Ennis, Montana

 

Naomi’s son had died.
She was alone and old.
Her future was grim.
What had she been told?

 

“Deal with your losses –
Send your daughters-in-law
Back to their homes.”
But, the plan had a flaw.

 

Ruth did not want to return!
She told Naomi she’d stay.
Orpha decided to go back.
Each woman to her own way.

 

We each have a choice.
We think we’re paralyzed, but we’re not.
We may lack energy and will power;
We may feel in our losses, we’re caught.

 

Ruth knew she couldn’t run
From the pain life threw at her.
She chose to stay and face her life,
And be in a place she could matter.

 

To turn evil into something good,
She was loyal to her mother-in-law.
She broke ties with her past
And looked ahead at what she saw.

 

She saw through eyes of faith.
Naomi had taught her to use God’s eyes –
Do more than just endure;
Keep your faith and be kind and wise.

 

To endure the evil of today’s world,
Cling to one another in love –
And look out for those in need.
Use your discerning power from God above.

 

Amen?

T = Trust


Day #20 – T = Trust

It’s been quite a ride! My A-Z series on “What Makes Me Happy?” Is drawing near an end, but today I TRUST you’ll continue reading, and I’ll continue to be inspired with new, pertinent topics. Thank you for being here. The ability to TRUST makes me happy 😃

T rusting brings

R espect and

U nderstanding and

S afety to vulnerability

T rusting is essential

In a world where parents feel a need to teach their children NOT to trust, we must be the models of trustworthiness. We must exude the love 💕 and safety we wish covered the earth.

The opposite of trusting is mistrusting, of course, and that creates worry and anxiety. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could feel free as a people to just trust? To just teach trust?

It’s probably Pollyanna thinking… unrealistic, you say. But, can’t we teach caution without teaching fear? Without causing worry and anxiety?

My go-to guide is Scripture. Jesus shows us the way. He talks about the birds being clothed so splendidly, so why worry about what we’ll wear. He showed us how He fed the multitudes, and told us not to worry about where our next meal is coming from. “Do not fear,” He taught us.

Philippians 4:6-7 is Paul’s message to the people of Philippi in which he cautioned them about worry. “Don’t worry about anything;” he wrote, “instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”

So, the way to live in TRUST is to read, study, and apply the TRUTH of Scripture. Trust in God. Trust in what Jesus taught us. Sounds simple, huh? No, it’s not.

In today’s world we worry about safety. We hear of innocent people being murdered all the time.

In today’s world we worry about international affairs, divisiveness, wars, prejudice, and how it’s tearing us apart. We feel helpless to create that peace Paul wrote about. God’s Peace. Where is it? How can we exude it? How can we be the change we want to see in this world? How can we trust those people and situations that seem so untrustworthy?

My only solution is to remember the words of Paul, “Pray about everything.”

And remember/think about the words that remind us of how our simplest acts can make a difference to those we touch… and to those whose lives are affected by what we do.

R. Buckminster Fuller wrote, “Never forget that you are one of a kind. Never forget that if there weren’t any need for you in all your uniqueness to be on this earth, you wouldn’t be here in the first place. And never forget, no matter how overwhelming life’s challenges and problems seem to be, that one person can make a difference in the world. In fact, it is always because of one person that all the changes that matter in the world come about. So be that one person.

Like tomorrow, if you’re in the USA, we can each make a difference. Go vote (if you haven’t cast an absentee ballot already). Every vote DOES matter!

Reach out to your neighbor in love. Reach out with help to a friend in need. Reach out to a fellow blogger with affirmation. Tell them that the words you just read made a difference for you. They resonated. Trust that your small acts add up to big differences.

Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable. In your shared weakness, you exhibit trust and you strengthen others.

Just TRUST!

He’s gotcha in the palm of His hand. Here’s my mantle in this season of Thanksgiving.  Remember to thank God for all the ways He loves and protects you. Trust Him!

May the peace of Christ that surpasses all human understanding be yours today.

K = Kindness


Day #11 in the A-Z series of “What Makes Me Happy?”

KINDNESS

 

woman holding heart cut out

This picture tells all. Notice the word on her shirt behind the heart. It says, “Volunteer.” A big heart full of love reaches out to help others, exudes kindness, and makes the world a better place.

.

When you’re tempted to be surley
In response to evil – speak your mind –
Remember you were taught quite early
Always to be kind.

When you’re tempted to lash back
At some person mean and rude,
Remember repercussions of attack
Return for whatever you exude.

Kindness is the only way
To be happy in your soul;
So in everything you do and say,
Let only kindness be your goal.

.

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People around the world are happier
when they reach out to help others.
Whatever motivates you to be kinder, gentler,
more compassionate…
think on these things.

For me, my daily devotional time upstairs in my sanctuary
sets my heart on the right path as I study His Word
and learn of His Ways.

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Isaiah 63:7a – “I will tell of the kindnesses of the Lord…”
and let His examples lead me.

 

What “K” word makes you happy? And what act of kindness are you planning today? Think about it!

 

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