Bethany's BlogWords of Encouragement

How's your Stretch?

 

 

You're my place of quiet retreat; I wait for your Word to renew me. Psalms 119:114

 

It was last December that I challenged so many of you to stretch in some new and exciting way for 2016. One of my stretches was exercise. I have been walking  3-5 miles almost every day. I tried various exercise routines, and finally settled on an app for my phone. It's called Sworkit, and I have found that to be very useful. And, now with summer just around the corner, I plan to ride my bike. I'm excited to ride with family and friends. I've learned that eventhough I am a very introverted person, I do not really care to exercise by myself. In fact, I find a lot of it to be rather boring. 

What have you done with your stretch for 2016? And, how has it helped you feel renewed?

It has helped me by accomplishing my goals, and by reaching out to others to walk, bike, and be together.  It has given me opportunities to challenge myself to think bigger, to change my way of thinking in terms of transportation, and to believe truth about the body God has given me.  It's not about age, or genetics. It's about the way I think. God has put His Word within me to renew my mind, His power. He is my quiet retreat, and when I believe I can do it, boring or not, then I will do it. I'm 53, God's power works at every age! It's not a stretch for Him.

Our Refuge

 

Say this: "God, you're my refuge. I trust in you and I'm safe!"

Psalms 91:2

A couple days ago I went for a walk and came across this mama duck and her ducklings. She was resting on the shore of the pond and all her ducklings, but one, were snuggled underneath her. She had just one perched on top, cuddled against her neck. Eventhough there were a lot of people walking by, and stopping to admire her beauty, they felt safe next to her. They were secure, warm, and guarded by her body. They trusted that she would take care of them. It was beautiful.

Earlier in the week, the Holy Spirit reminded me that He was trustworthy. He told me that whatever happens, I could count on Him to follow through. I could trust that He would be there for me, and I could trust that He would be the One that does all that He promises. I could trust Him to lead me to the right people in my life. The Ones to protect my heart, just like this mama duck protects her ducklings.  This is what God does for you too, this is how He wants to be a refuge for His people. He provides strength through others. He creates love and hope through others. He brings renewal, restoration, and revival through others. This is His refuge for you. His covering. And, when the world is passing by, sayiing all kinds of things, you will have safety in the refuge He has given. 

Grace Unleashed

 

 

 Now God has us where He wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. 

Ephesians 2:7

On the radio this week I heard of a community that has started a church for gays and lesbians. Hundreds are attending.

I read an article about a group of pastors wives that prepared gift baskets and meals and started to visit strip clubs on a regular basis, so they could bless the women there. 

I heard a sermon about a team of prayer warriors that boldly went onto the streets to rescue prostitues and tell them about Jesus.

Grace unleashed, every day into lives. Jesus walking into their hearts through the hands and feet of others. Lives changed forever.

What is your grace move today?  How is it being unleashed in your life, and how are you unleashing it in the life of another? God has you right where He wants you, in His timing, He is abudant with grace towards you. His kindness is never ending. He breaks the chains that hold you back, and gives you the grace to walk freely. 

Broken Beauty

 

 

 

If your heart is broken, you'll find GOD right there; if you're kicked in the gut, he'll help you catch your breath. 

Psalms 34:18

Have you had your heart broken? Have you felt sad or disappointed? Have you just had those days that have not worked out very well, or times of confusion? Do you feel challenged at times with relationships, or co-workers? Or, grieving the loss of someone dear?

Jesus knows what it is like to have brokenness in your life. He sees the cracks in you, and He loves you as you are. He is there for you to bring light, rest, renewal, strength, and hope. He is there  to listen to the pain that has caused your brokenness. He is there to create beauty through it all.

I have experienced a lot of brokenness in my life. Major cracks! He has caught me every time. He has enabled me to breathe through all the pain, and work my way into the blossoms. I have felt sadness, betrayal, loss, disappointment, grief, confusion, despair, and so much more. Yet the love of Jesus stayed the same through my struggles. His steady presence, even if I did not sense it, was still there. And, His promise of renewal ever present. 

There is beauty in the brokenness, for without it we would not have a story to tell. Without the cracks, there would not be a place for the blossoms to grow. There would not be room for light and color to show through in our lives and to dance around the lives of others. Brokenness is the road to renewal in others, intimacy with Jesus, surrender in the God that is holy, and hope in beauty.

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