Loving One Another

Posts tagged ‘scripture’

The Forgiving Father


Happy Sunday, my friends. Did you attend church today?

We did – and I took my usual sermon notes in poetry.
And we sang a great version of the scripture lesson.
I share it with you below.

classic close up draw expensive

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The scripture the sermon was based on was Luke 15:1-32.

It is a familiar passage for most Christians.
It includes the parables of three things LOST: a Sheep, a Coin, and a Son.

The song we sang  after the sermon was a beautiful poetic summary of the scripture.
The words, written in 1999 by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette are so “right on!”
I HAVE to share them with you.
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As you read these lyrics, try singing them to the tune of “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.” It’s magical! It’s gorgeous!!

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God’s Great Love is So Amazing

 

Verse 1

God’s great love is so amazing!
See a shepherd with his flocks!
Ninety-nine are safely grazing;
One is lost among the rocks.

That good shepherd goes and searches
Till he finds the one astray.
So God says to fill our churches
With the ones who’ve lost their way.

Verse 2

God in love is always seeking!
See a woman with her broom!
For a single coin she’s sweeping
Every corner of the room.

When it’s found she calls each neighbor,
Telling friends from all around.
So God says to search and labor
Till God’s precious ones are found.

Verse 3

God keeps waiting, searching, yearning!
See a father’s heartfelt joy!
Thankful for the son’s returning.
He runs out to greet his boy.

To the angry older brother,
Hear the father’s patient call.
So God says to love each other,
For in Christ, God loves us all.

man holding boy

 

My sermon notes are not as professional as the poem above.
They lack the a-b-a-b rhyme scheme.
Mine is based on an a-b-c-b scheme.
You probably can’t sing them to a chosen tune.
But they capture the message I heard being preached.
See if you can relate to how our pastor took this scripture
and spun it into a lesson for us all.

The Forgiving Father

Sermon notes 3/31/19
Jan Beekman’s “take-away” on
Rev. Jean Johnson’s message
Madison Valley Presbyterian Church
Ennis, Montana

 

Leave ninety-nine vulnerable
For the sake of finding one?
The Lost Sheep story tells us
That’s exactly what Jesus woulda done.

 

Leave a pocketful of change
For the one coin lost?
Yes, that’s what Jesus said.
Look carefully at the cost!

 

The cost of losing valued
Possessions can be very high.
We leave behind the flock
And fly off to pie in the sky!

 

Open your eyes to the One
Who is right in your midst.
The Shepherd among us
Seeks the lost. He insists.

 

The least among us are
Lost until they’re found.
We’re to be the seekers
Who search, listening for the sound.

 

Listen for the lost sheep’s plea,
And know, in fact, we are they.
We all need to be rescued
From the flighty life we live today.

 

Jesus really spoke not of
Coins and sheep, but us.
We are the ones who need
To be found. We must!

 

We must seek and be found
By Christ who loved us first.
Let’s join His rescued sheep
And rejoice as He quenches our thirst.

 

Christ shows us God’s real joy
With the parable of father and son.
The wayward boy returned home.
He was lost, now found. Victory won!

Welcome Home!
Come join the party.

Amen?

Tell me about the message at your church or temple or synagogue today.
What was your take-away?

 

 

To God Be the Glory!


Have you read Rick Warren’s “Purpose Driven Life”?

I have read it several times – and completed the “Daily Inspirations for the Purpose Driven Life” that accompanies it. In it, Rick Warren highlights scripture to go with each chapter, and then has a page reserved for the readers’ Reflections.

In the chapter titled, “The Reason for Everything,” Romans 11:36 is one of the reflective quotes: “Everything comes from God alone. Everything lives by His power, and everything is for His glory.”

That quote prompted me to write the following acrostic.

Join me by reading it aloud  –  add plenty of enthusiasm!

Reading vertically, you can see that it says, “Glory to God – Praise Him!”

G ive all glory to the
L ord – to God Almighty! 
O n this day, praise Him!
R each out to others with
Y our whole heart, and love
T hy neighbor as thyself.
O n this day, Trust Him.
G ive what you have.
O ur gifts from God
D o not belong to us.
P ossessions are just things.
R esources are
A lways for sharing.
I nstead of hoarding and
S aving for yourself, know
E verything on earth is temporary.
H eaven is eternal.
I n His name, for His sake,
M agnify His name.

group of people raise their hands on stadium

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To God Be the Glory!
Give generously!

Amen

 

You Said to Do What??


You said for me to do what??
Love my enemies??

Are you crazy? How am I supposed to do that??

Yesterday’s sermon dealt with this scripture:
Luke 6:27-38 – – – telling us not to condemn or hate!

selective focus photography of cowboy holding revolver pistol statue

In the face of needless shootings and bombings,
In the midst of war and suppression,
You said for me to do what???
“Love Your Enemies!”

Oh sure!

Here are my notes from the sermon by Rev. Jean Johnson
at the Madison Valley Presbyterian Church in Ennis, MT
preached yesterday, February 24, 2019:

We excuse and justify our own faults
While magnifying those same faults in others.
By our own human nature,
We condemn our sisters and brothers.

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Oh sure, there are some easier than others
To love and enjoy being around,
But Jesus asks us to actually love
Those who annoy us. Is that advice sound?

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How can we eliminate grudges
And love those who hate us?
How can we look beyond wrongs
And ignore the way they bait us?

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Jesus said we’re never justified
In hating – even those who mistreat us.
Do good to and pray for those who
Ignore us or laugh at those who greet us.

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They not only show us disrespect,
But they insult us to our best friend.
How are we to turn the other cheek
To those who rob and curse us without end?

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Jesus commands we give more than
Expected, and do it without expectation
Of anything in return. Follow the Golden Rule
And in heaven enjoy the celebration.

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The bottom line is to live in love.
Love everyone – – – especially those who hate.
Everybody loves lovers, but we must do more.
Love the loveless… Now, before it’s too late!

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Amen?

The question I asked was, “How?”
How do we love our enemies?
Certainly not on our own.

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It takes divine guidance
and help from above.
Pray, my friends.
Only through
Him who loved us first
Can we love others
Unconditionally.

pink love fabric decor with feathers

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A Valentine Message


“Love must be sincere.

Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.

Be devoted to one another in brotherly love.

Honor one another above yourselves.

Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

Share with God’s people who are in need.

Practice hospitality.”

…. Romans 12:9-13

No better Valentine’s message of love ever has been written. To add to it, go to your Bible and read the next few verses, Romans 12:14-16 … and get caught up in the wonderful message of Jesus’ love!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Boneheaded Decisions


Ecclesiastes

Assures us in chapter seven

Faith flows eternal

If faith’s eternal,

Shouldn’t my faith lead me straight?

Why do I wander?
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Are you always right?

All your decisions are great?

You’re delusional!
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All of us at times

Make boneheaded decisions.

Thank God for His Grace!
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All the rivers flow

Into the eternal sea,

Yet it never fills.
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My river of faith

Is evolving to follow –

Not because of me
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God’s got me covered

In spite of my boneheaded

Circuitous routes.
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Lord, lead me into

Your sweet everlasting sea;

Guide my faith river.

aerial photography of water beside forest during golden hour

Amen

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!

 

abundance agriculture bananas batch

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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 …

fried meat on top of white plate

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

close up of heart shape

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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

 

bible book business christian

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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?

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