Bethany's BlogWords of Encouragement

Is That a Woman Preaching?

Dear Girl Preacher, You will have to decide if man called you or God called you.

(Seen on Havilah Cunnington Instagram)

I'm just going to praise God today for all the women that answer the call of God, even when there is resistance. Rise up, women of God, rise up above the dishonor, the pain, the blame. Rise up and speak to all women and men!

As a woman that loves God and is called by God to speak of Who He Is, it is discouraging to hear that we are still stuck on this issue in the Body of Christ. We are not hearing that men and women are equal in the sight of God. "So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them, male and female he created them." Genesis 1:27 We are not acknowledging that men can actually gain wisdom from a woman preaching and teaching from the pulpit. We are saying unkind and dishonoring words in an effort to prove a point. Some bodies refuse to learn truth from women because they have a belief that women cannot teach men. Really?

Paul was an advocate for women, just like Jesus. He was friends with many women, they worked alongside with him and their husbands, they taught about Jesus to both men and women.  Just as many women do today. Women are throughout the Bible, and are an example of the Bride! God created women after his very own image. God commissions them to walk in that manner. If the church is the BRIDE of Christ, then when will it learn to  honor them? When will the male leaders demonstrate the same tender devotion for the females within the church walls as Christ does for His Bride? 

If you are a woman and you feel that God is calling you to speak, don't be fooled into believing that you can only speak to women. Your God given voice can be used for all! In God's eyes there is a message you can present that will enable men and women to grow in Him. The Holy Spirit does speak through you too.

I'm praising God for each woman that answers the call of God, and is still able to honor the men that resist her. I praise God for giving women a heart of love and empathy, and the ability to persevere in their callings. I praise God for the men that willingly come alongside them and cheer them on, because they know God speaks through them. I praise God that He is using women today to speak life, hope, joy, and a bright future to all people!

Holy Spirit calls us all to be disciples, to preach to the nations, to love one another. There is no seperation in the calling based on gender.

If you are called today to speak out to others, listen to that call. Your voice, Dear Girl, is of great value!

Worship

 

It’s who you are and the way you live that count before God. Your worship must engage your spirit in the pursuit of truth.  That’s the kind of people the Father is out looking for: those who are simply and honestly themselves before him in their worship. God is sheer being itself-Spirit. Those who worship him must do it out of their very being, their spirits, their true selves, in adoration.

John 4:23-24

As Christians, we worship, right? What exactly is worship? My Webster says this: To honor or show reverence for as a divine being or supernatural power. To regard with great or extravagant respect, honor, or devotion.

Sometimes, we get a little messed up in our priorities and we start to worship someone or something else. We might worship our children, leaders, money, time. Anytime we place someone or something above our worship for God, we have a problem.

Sometimes, we think of worship as the time in church when we sing praises. We do it once a week, and then there’s not a lot of thought given to it until the next week.

Worship. I’ve asked myself what it looks like for me, and I’ve concluded that worship for me is complete surrender of who I am.  The truth of who God says I am. I may feel or think I am one way, but until I pursue the truth about what God says, I am not fully real and honest with Him. 

This last weekend, I got really angry with someone. It was unexpected. I had to work hard to sort through the way I felt with the reality of who God says I am. To do that, I had to be completely honest with God. I had to surrender the turmoil inside of me to Him, admit that only God has the supernatural power to show me truth, and worship Him through the process. As I did this, I began to settle down and instead of anger I felt the intense power of Holy Spirit rest upon my heart. I felt worship deep inside of me! I experienced intimacy with God.

Everything comes from him; everything happens through him; everything ends up in him. Always glory! Always praise! 

Yes. Yes. Yes.

Romans 11:36 (MSG)

When we worship God, we experience intimacy. When trouble comes our way, we trust that God will help us. When we are sad, angry, hurt, happy, joyful, etc we worship God because He is our most intimate friend.

I will exalt You, my God, O King, and [with gratitude and submissive wonder] I will bless Your name forever and ever. Every day I will bless You and lovingly praise You; Yes, [with awe-inspired reverence] I will praise Your name forever and ever.

Psalms 145:1-2 (AMP)

I don’t know what may be happening in your life right now. I do know that there are some pretty tough situations to walk through, and when we are able to surrender the heartache to God in worship, something happens inside of us.  When we are able to believe the truth of what He says over the facts of our lives, He swells within our hearts. Worship of Who He is, opens new doors of hope and gives us the courage to walk on.

So, today I declare the surrender of worship over you, and I praise Him for the truth of who He has created you to be!

 

(printed in the Community of Christian Creatives magazine/August issue)

Is Your Light Little?

 

 

 

 

This little light of mine,

I'm going to let it shine.

All around the neighborhood,

This little light of mine,

I'm gonna let it shine,

Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine...

Did any of you sing this Sunday school song when you were a kid? We sang it all the time, but today as I was thinking about this song I began to ask myself, "Is my Light really little?" The answer is no, impossible? Why? Because Jesus lives in me! I immediately began to sing the song with different word:

This Big Light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine, let it shine, let it shine. All around the world, I'm gonna let it shine!

When and where did Jesus say that our light was little! As Ephesians 2:10 says, We are the poetry of Christ Jesus, we are a people recreated to fulfill the destiny God has created for us! We are a light that shines, and lights up every single space. When we walk into our neighborhoods, the light shines so bright that the ripple effect is far reaching-so far we do not see the impact. This is Jesus, shining through you. We have the ever-present Holy Spirit filling us with joy, peace, hope, and an eager anticipation of all that Jesus will do. This is BIG, very big.

I had a day this week that I didn't feel very shiny. I woke up feeling like a failure in more than one way. I felt heavy and sad . I asked God for help, lots of help, and then waited. The feeling didn't immediately go away, but I became aware that even on days that seem dark, I have the ability to shine. I had to choose to trust that His power and light within me will prevail. It. Just. Will.

Once your life was full of sin's darkness, but now you have the very light of our Lord shining through you because of your union with him. Your mission is to live as children flooded with revelation-light! And the supernatural fruits of his light will be seen in you-goodness, righteousness, and truth. You will learn to choose what is beautiful to our Lord. Ephesians 5:8-10

Do not believe the lie that darkness has power over you. You have the light, and that light will always overpower the darkness! Even when you are not able to see it. This light exposes truth and sets us all free!

Whatever the revelation light exposes, it will also correct, and everything that reveals truth is light to the soul. Ephesians 5:13 

Everything!

How would our lives be different on a daily basis if we lived knowing that our light is big? Where would you venture to go? What fears would dissipate? What new hope would you share? How bold would you be?

This big light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine!

The Lavish Gift

 

 

 

 

 

Everything heaven contains has already been lavished upon us as a love gift from our wonderful heavenly Father, the Father of our Lord Jesus-all because he sees us wrapped into Christ. This is why we celebrate him with all our hearts! 

 Ephesians 1:3

When I was a kid I loved to watch Little House on the Praire. My grandpa and I would sit in front of his TV every Wednesday evening and find ourselves engrossed in the lives of Laura, Mary, Carrie and their parents as they worked to make a home on the praire. One of my favorite episodes had me caught up in my own daydreams.  Laura and Mary were playing down by the stream and they were panning for gold. To their own amazement, they found a lot of gold specks, so they began to bag it up. Later at the end of the day when Laura and Mary were asleep in bed, Laura had a dream. She dreamed they were very wealthy because of what they had found in the river. They had fancy wagons, beautiful gifts, lots of food, and could do whatever they pleased whenever they pleased. It was a dream come true, for sure!

When Laura woke up she rushed to find her father and to tell him about all the gold they had found. Much to her dismay, it was not real gold; it was fool's gold. They would not be rich afterall. What a huge disappointment.

I have had a few daydreams of similar experiences. I could win the lottery ( i've never purchased a ticket, but still...) I could have a very wealty distant relative that leaves me millions.... on and on my dreams can go!

Times have changed for me as an adult. The more I get to know Jesus and spend time with Him, I feel a tremondous gratitude for all he has lavished upon me. I see how favored and rich I already am, how much I am living the dream because of his tender care for me. I love the verse above. "Everything heaven contains has already been lavished upon us" Wow! There is no way I could begin to imagine ALL that heaven contains. It is limitless, and it is already mine to enjoy.  The love of the Father is so tender towards his children that he does not hold back, instead he lavishly gives.  When he looks at us, He see's Jesus. He sees Jesus in all his perfection, holiness, love, etc, because we-you and me- are wrapped up in Jesus! Who wouldn't want to celebrate that?

Isn't it wonderful to think of approaching the Throne of grace knowing that each time we do, God sees Jesus wrapped all around us? Jesus and the Father are very tight. They talk, they know each others thoughts, they plan together. So, the lavishness of the Father gives us this ability too. We can talk freely, we can ask God questions so we know him better, we can make plans with our Father. He longs for us to accept all that he has given us, he longs to have a deep intimate relationship with each one of his beloved children. 

So if you begin to feel like you just don't have enough, remember what you have already been given!

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