Loving One Another

Posts tagged ‘scripture’

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.

Accept His Love


 Here are my sermon notes from today’s message

by Rev. Jean Johnson

at Madison Valley Presbyterian Church

in Ennis, Montana…

based on Mark 10:17-31

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“Come Follow Me”

 

The rich young ruler

Appears in Gospels, three.

He must be very important.

Who is he to me?

.

Well, he was told to sell

Everything he owned

And follow after Jesus –

Leaving riches he had sown.

.

Jesus looked at the man

And loved him through and through.

He offered him eternal life.

Has He offered that to you?

.

Yes, Jesus tells us

To come and follow Him.

He loves us even though

His request seems mighty grim.

.

He wants us to relinquish

All the things we have and love.

He asks that we give all

In response to God above.

.

”All” may not be the same

For you as it is for me,

Because it’s all we love so much

That it’s taking away what’s free.

.

Depending on possessions

For comfort and for peace

Takes away the chance for gifts

And blessings that never cease.

.

The rich young ruler

Wouldn’t give up a thing,

And so he lost the chance

To eternally hear the angels sing.

.

Don’t make the ruler’s error.

Don’t miss God’s gifts for thee.

Give up the things that bind

And accept His love for free.

 

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Living in One Accord


(Notes from a sermon based on Romans 8:12-17 delivered by Rev. Jean Johnson. Many of you know, to listen more intently, I take notes on Sunday mornings while listening to the message from the pulpit. Sometimes they are recorded in poetry. Last Sunday was one of those times.)

We all are God’s children.

Some call God, “Our Father.”

But, some folks choose to ignore Him.

They balk and say, “Why bother?”

God speaks to us in Romans,

To us who’ve already heard.

It’s not for the unknowing

Who think the Gospel’s absurd.

Those led by God’s Spirit

Are children of our Lord.

We show our Love and faith

By living in One Accord.

To live in One Accord with God,

We worship, study, love, and pray.

Our witness shows The Spirit

At work in us each day.

We’re living out the reality

Of what already is in us.

Be who you already are

Without works or trouble or fuss.

We used to belong to sin,

But Jesus came to the rescue.

We have reason for joy and acceptance.

Isn’t this Good News to you?

We have assurance of this reality –

This adoption is done, signed and sealed.

We sing praises to God, our Father.

Our case clearly has been appealed.

Knowing God as Father is possible

By Christ’s life, His Word, His death.

That evidence is proof enough;

We affirm it with every breath.

I believe in God, The Father,

In Jesus Christ, my loving Lord.

Thank You for Your Saving Grace.

Now, let us live in One Accord.

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

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