BECK BULLETIN

We are on a journey, sojourners on this earth. Let us share with you the highs and lows of our lives. Heaven is a sweeter place now that we have two beautiful granddaughters waiting there for us.

Monday, October 19, 2020

Pay Attention

 



Now this is what the Lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways.” (Haggai 1:5,7)

One of the things that I love about reading through the Bible every year is that I read books that I wouldn’t read otherwise. Which is how I ended up reading the tiny book of Haggai last week, written to the Israelites while they were in Babylonian captivity. The phrase above is used 5 times in just 2 short chapters. God was asking them to pay attention to what he wanted them to do, which was to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem.

As I underlined the same words in my Bible five times, I was stopped short. What do you want me to give careful thought to today, Lord? What do I need to pay attention to? For days afterward, that little phrase kept popping up in my mind - give careful thought to your ways today, my daughter.

I was reminded that I needed to be more aware of what God has already done for me, to rehearse his faithfulness to me and to my family in the midst of all that is happening around us. But then I felt like he was also asking me to look around me and see what he was already doing in the world. Where could I join him in those things?

Your life probably doesn’t look like you thought it would right now. But what is God asking you to pay attention to today? Where can you join him in what he is already doing? Stop right now and give careful thought to your ways. And then be still and listen so that you can hear what he is telling you.

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank you for the reminder today that I need to stop and give careful thought to my ways. Help me to pay attention to what you are doing in my life and around me. Amen!

 


 

Saturday, September 05, 2020

Hitting the Reset Button

 


”For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for calamity, to give you a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11)

‘I am so sick of this pandemic.’ As I read these words in a message from a good friend, I couldn’t help but agree. How many times have I said the same thing in these past weeks and months or heard them repeated by friends and family around me.

 

I wonder if the Israelites said the same thing when they were in captivity in Babylon? ‘I am so sick of living in captivity! I just wish my life could go back to normal.’

 

It is exactly into this situation that God gave these words to Jeremiah. He had plans for them, for their future and a hope. Earlier in the chapter they were told to get married, build houses and plant fields. Yes they were in captivity, their normal lives a faint memory, but he was asking them to hit the reset button and carry on with their lives, remembering all the time that God was still trustworthy.

 

In the same way, God is asking us to hit the reset button and carry on. Our lives don’t look the same way that they did, and ‘normal’ may be a faint memory. But the words of this verse apply just as much to us today, right now, ‘For I know the plans I have for you’. Not only has God has not changed but he will fulfill his promises.

 

How about you? Have you told someone this week that you too are sick of this pandemic, this virus and everything that goes along with it? Do you need to be reminded today that God is trustworthy? That he is still has your welfare in mind and wants to give you a future and a hope?

 

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank you that you are the still trustworthy and will fulfill all of your promises. Help me today to hit the reset button and carry on, knowing that I can depend on you for my future.  

Amen!

Friday, August 07, 2020

In Spite of All This

“Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.”(Habakkuk 3:17, 18)

These verses in Habakkuk have long been among my favorite in all of the Old Testament prophets. In spite of the famine and hardship that the Israelites were experiencing in the midst of impending invasion by the Babylonians, the prophet makes a choice in verse 18, ‘Yet I will rejoice in the Lord.’

 

As I read these verses this week, I couldn’t help but identify with Habakkuk but my list of things that I was facing looked very different.Though I haven’t been able to see loved ones for months because of Covid Isolation and lockdowns, and I haven’t been able to visit our daughter and our grandchildren because of border closures and travel restrictions, though we haven’t been able to meet as a church congregation because of limits on public gatherings and there are long lineups where there were no lineups before, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.

 

I was struck again that regardless of the circumstances that I am currently facing because of this global pandemic that won’t be ending any time soon, God has not changed.  He is still the same God that spoke the world into being and spoke and calmed the wind and the sea.

 

How about you? Do you feel discouraged because you are so done with all the restrictions that you have been facing? Are you exhausted and just want life to return to what it once was? Maybe what you need to do today is just what these verses say, choose to change your focus. ‘Yet I will rejoice’, a matter of choice!

 

 Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank you that you haven’t changed and you are the still the same God as you always were. Even though I feel like my world has changed so much, you haven’t changed and so today in spite of everything I will choose to rejoice in You, Lord. I will be joyful! Amen!

 

Friday, June 26, 2020

Want What You Have



“But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.”(1 Timothy 6:6,7)

Early on during the covid pandemic lockdown, I noticed two different kinds of people emerge. There were those who were bitter, angry and grumpy about all the things that they could not do or could not have. But then there was a second group who somehow seemed to thrive even though their lives had also been dramatically affected by the changes in our lives.

As I observed people’s responses, I wondered what made the difference when during a zoom call, a friend shared that she was learning to want what she had. That phrase struck me. She was content to stay at home and let others provide for her even though it meant that she was unable to go out and see her friends or do the things that she loved to do with others.

As I reflected on these verses today, that phrase came back to me once again. Am I so focused on what I don’t have that I am missing out on all that I already have? What would my life look like if I learned to actually want what I have?

How about you? Have you like Paul learned to be content in whatever circumstances you are? (Philippians 4:11) Can you honestly say that you want what you have? Which of the two groups of people that I mentioned do you belong to?

Not sure how to get started? Contentment grows out of a thankful heart. Begin to cultivate that in your life today.

Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you for your amazing faithfulness and goodness that you show to me in so many different ways every single day. Help me to in fact want the things I already have so that I might learn to be content in every way. Amen

Friday, June 12, 2020

Cracked Pots





“Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, ‘Why do you make me like this?” Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use?”(Romans 9: 20, 21)

Kintsugi is the ancient Japanese art of putting broken pieces back together with gold(or sometimes another precious metal) and taking something that is broken or flawed, and making something even stronger and more beautiful out of the brokenness. It is both amazing and beautiful!

The first time I ever heard about this and saw a picture of the finished product I felt like yelling out, ‘Yes!’  Having lived with chronic pain for most of my adult life has often left me feeling very cracked and broken. But that doesn’t mean that I can’t be useful and beautiful.

God is not surprised by my brokenness. After all, he made me! And whether he uses me for noble purposes or for common use as this verse suggests, the point is, he can and will use me, cracks and all, to shine the love of Jesus to a broken and hurting world.

How about you? Do you identify with feeling like you too are a cracked pot? Remember ‘kintsugi’, making something beautiful out of the broken pieces. God wants to do exactly that!

Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you that you made me just the way I am. You are the potter and I am the clay. Use me Lord and help me to remember that you want to shine through my cracks. Help me not to use my brokenness as an excuse not to be impacting the world around me. Amen.



Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Passing the Test


“We are not trying to please men but God, who tests our hearts.”(1 Thessalonians 2:4)

Decades after I had graduated from University, I still had dreams about missing an entire course and having to write the final exam not knowing what it was all about.

Where does that come from? Deep within us is a fear of not passing the test! In the midst of the Covid pandemic I definitely feel like I am failing the test! Psalm 139:23 puts it well, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.” 

Even though with my head I believe that God is sovereign and has it all in his hands, my troubled heart causes me to struggle with anxiety that is new to me. My body’s reactions tell me I am failing the test in spite of what I know is true and I have to be reminded of that as I read scripture. Today he stopped me in my tracks as I read this Psalm.

“If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there you hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.”(Psalm 139: 9,10) Regardless of what I see in the news, or what I feel, isolated from friends and family, God hasn't changed and he is not wringing his hands. He is still in charge, still in control.

Every day is a test, to see whether or not we trust our Heavenly Father with what the day holds. God is the one who tests our hearts as it says here in 1 Thessalonians. Whether in the midst of a pandemic when we are isolated in our homes, or when our lives begin to return to what we used to call normal, we are still challenged to trust and believe that God really is in control.

Dear Heavenly Father,
“If I rise on the wigs of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there you hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.”(Psalm 139: 9,10)….even today in the midst of Covid, you are with me, your right hand will in fact hold me fast Lord. You are in control and I can trust you because I am not walking this journey alone. Amen

Monday, April 20, 2020

Treasure These Things



“But his mother treasured all these things in her heart.”(Luke 2:51)

I remember the moment well. We had launched our two oldest children off to University and gotten quite used to life at home with just our youngest, when through a series of circumstances we found ourselves with a full house again. It was a drastic change, with more mouths to feed, extra schedules to balance, and car-pooling to figure out.

As I read my Bible that morning, this verse felt like it jumped out at me. “But his mother treasured all these things in her heart.”(Luke 2:51).  Lord this is no accident. You knew these precious people would all be back under our roof again for this period of time. I need to see this time as a gift from you and treasure the chaos, the full sink, the overflowing laundry room, and yes, even sharing my car again.

Years have passed since those few months when we were once again altogether under one roof. Our children are married with children of their own, but the lessons learned have remained.

I am often reminded to treasure these things, whatever that looks like in my current season of life, and to be thankful that my Heavenly Father has seen fit to allow all of this in my life. He is not unaware, and by his Spirit I will have the strength to carry on regardless of what the days hold.

How about you? In these uncertain days our schedules and routines have drastically been altered, often due to decisions that are out of our control. Mothers and Fathers are now teachers, trying to balance teaching their children while working from home. Treasure these times and trust him for the strength for each day.

Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you for all the things that you have allowed to be in my life right now – people, responsibilities, challenges, everything. Help me to daily take the time to treasure these things, knowing that they are from you and that you will give me the grace and strength to make it through, one day at a time, by the power of your Holy Spirit at work in me. Amen