Bethany's BlogWords of Encouragement

When Love Leads

We all want to be loved. Right? God is love and He pursues us with a passion that is fierce and crazy.  Yet, some of us run from him.  Some of us grab on to other loves that fill us up emotionally or physically, and we just ignore God all together.  Or, we get so wrapped up in each other that we don't see God at all.  We just see issues, problems, stuff, and we begin to wonder where God is, then life is full of questions only.  Doubt creeps in and overules our thoughts of faith, and that dampens our sense of love.

Without love, there is no freedom.

Some may have eloquence, but if there is no love it sounds like a rusty creaky gate or if one speaks God's Word with power but without love,  there is nothing.  I could give all I have to the poor and still not love them, it's meaningless.

"Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn't want what it doesn't have. Love doesn't strut, doesn't have a swelled head, doesn't force itself on others, isn't always 'me first'  doesn't fly off the handle, doesn't keep score of the sins of others, doesn't revel when others grovel, takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, puts uo with anything, trusts God always, always looks for the best, never looks back, but keeps going to the end."  ! Corinthinans 13:4-7

That's a tall order! God has NOT given up on you or me. He has forgiven us for the times we have given up.  He cares so much for us that he gave his life, and he continues to forgive us when we are selfish with our  life. God doesn't push his way through, he is a Gentleman.  He gently reminds us with his soft voice that we are not the center of the universe! God is truth, he sees us at our best and he looks for the best.  He isn't looking back at what any of us have done, but keeping an eye on what he knows we will do in love!

When You Need a Promise



This morning I read Isaiah 49, the entire chapter spoke to my heart.  Immediately, it starts out with this: Yehweh called me as his own before I was born and named me while I was still in my mother's womb. He gives me words that pierce and penetrate. He hid me and protected me in the shadow of his hand. 

I love the image of God naming me before I was even born, the idea of him tenderly looking upon me while I was in the womb of my mother and whispering the name He chose for me.  He doesn't stop there, He continues to whisper words like Loved, Chosen, Beautiful, and my Daughter.... He tells me, while I am in the womb, that whatever happens on earth this is who I am to him, and he will keep me in the shadow of his hand.

Futher along in the chapter I am reminded of how I sometimes feel when trials overwhelm me and I feel abandon by this very God that whispered such treasures in my ear: Yehweh has forsaken me. My Lord has forgotten me-I'm all alone.  

Yehweh responds, "But how could a loving mother forget her nursing child and not deeply love the one she bore? Even if there is a mother who forgets her child, I could never, no never, forget you. Can't you see? I have carved your name on the palms of my hands!"

And so it is, He does not forget who we are, he does not stop loving you!

God is solid, loyal, faithful.  How many friends do you have that would actually tatoo your name on their hand?  He has made a covenant with us to stay through thick and thin, from beginning to end. Listen to this:

I will never disappoint those who entwine their hearts with mine.

To me, that is an amazing promise. Whose heart is yours entwined with today?

Where Do You Hide?

As a child I use to hide under the dining room table on top of the chairs, but as I got older I realized that I had not chosen a very good hiding place and I simply began to hide within my mind. It was far more effective and creative! But, then, as I grew closer to Jesus and His desires I realized that hiding within my mind was not His way and was not truthful, and thus began the process of letting go of being my own hiding place and running to Him as a place to hide.

In Psalms 32 this morning I read about God being my hiding place: "You are my hiding place; You preserve me from trouble; You surround me with songs of deliverance." verse 7

As I hide in Jesus,  He keeps me from the troubles of this world, and while I am with Him, He surrounds me with courage. He gives strength. He provides refuge. A place to breathe and receive living water. Renewal, revival, courage,  hope, and perseverance.

I like that I have a place to hide, it feels safe. Being in the arms of God, Captured in His Hands, feels safe to me. I need to hide there, away from trouble. I need to know that when I venture out into our world, I am hidden IN Christ. He has me covered, delivered, saved, redeemed, renewed, and loved!

Where do you hide when you need refuge?

When the Struggle is Real



I'm sure I'm not alone when I say that sometimes life is a real struggle. It can be the day to day struggle of work, family, finances, relationships, etc or it can be bigger unknown things that we hear on the news like politics, death, kidnappings, terrorism.  The list of stuggles go on and on, especially when that is our focus, it is exhausting, frightening, confusing, and even depressing.  The struggle can become an internal struggle with Who God is, and who we are.  Sometimes it becomes personal; it has for me.  I begin to feel emotional over certain stories and put myself in those situations, then I can allow fear to creep in which makes me want to protect myself and my family in ways that are not really possible for me to do.  I forget about God's sovereign promises  and being anchored in him.  The struggle inside my head is real, and the enemy of my soul is dancing.  

There are times I catch myself in this struggle very quickly, and I stop.  I've learned over the years to hear God through all the noise, and run to him.  But, still there are times that I let it go on too long before I realize that my struggle does not need to be there.  God has given me power to move towards him and change my course.

I read in Isaiah 33 this morning, listen to this:

"You who are far away, listen to what I have done, and you who draw near to me, acknowledge my power and strength!  Sinners in Zion are afraid, and the godless are gripped with panic, saying 'Who can dwell with such an all-consuming fire? Who can live in the presence of the never-ending flame?'

Only those who walk with integrity and speak what is true."

We all struggle. The truth is we all have the power through Jesus Christ to overcome the struggle.  It may not be easy, it probably won't, but because of who God has made you and me to be, his friends and co-laborers, we have the God-given strength and power through him to conquer.  We have the wisdom to see beyond the struggle, and to have the faith necessary to praise his name in all circumstances.  I didn't say for all circumstances, but in all circumstances, there is a difference. 

So, today I am praying over you and myself this prayer: Father God, I acknowledge your endless power and strength, and I thank you for being present with me.  Your Light, Power, and Strength are within me too, creating a shield around me of integrity and truth. Thank you for your mighty protection in this world of struggle.

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