Bethany's BlogWords of Encouragement

Run to God

 

 

 

 

"Prayer in its purest form is a love relationship with Father God. It's an enjoyable relationship, not a religious activity. It's the privilege of soaring to the very throne room of Father God to touch His face. Our souls are starved for this sense of awe-to speak and to hear from the living God who loves us and is waiting  to share His heart with us."

Brian Simmons (Throne Room Prayer)

 Prayer has always fascinated me. I love that we have the freedom to pray wherever we are and whenever.  There are so many ways to pray, to engage in the depth of God's love. When I was a child there was a "right" way to pray. I was instructed once by a pastor that I needed prayer lessons. Even at that young age I wondered if something was off. There was. I was learning to speak words, but not to have conversation with the Lover of my soul. 

I've been practicing conversation with God for some time now. I like to talk to Him just as I would have a conversation with someone next to me. I picture myself running wildly into His Throne room and snuggling myself in His lap and engaging in all that is on my heart. It's not always deep and moving, but it is allowing Him to see me. Just as my children and grandchildren run into our house and excitedly talk about their day, I too run to Him. My youngest grandaughter always runs to me with her arms up when I pick her up from school. She then starts talking, and she keeps talking. Sometimes I don't know what's she saying, but i can tell by the look on her face that she's sharing a part of herself with me. She's trusting me with her little heart, and I love that. When my grandsons come to visit they tell me their secrets, and I hold them all safely in my heart. It feels good to me and to them. This is what our Father does for us. It doesn't matter what I say to Him, He holds it all and He loves me. He listens with intensity and He always longs for more. It's beautiful.

God wants to know our secrets. He wants us to know His secrets. He does not want us to get caught up in rules with Him, He is longing for relationship.  Jesus is our gentle shepherd, everything about Him is wrapped in mercy and love. When you have conversation with Him he is not going to condemn you. He speaks back to us in a tender quiet voice that is kind and eager to hear more. When we engage in conversation with Jesus we will always leave different. He changes us to look more like Him each time we are with Him. Our prayers build hope and the ability to see life in a more positive way. Our prayers bring us peace.

I can run to Him at anytime, wherever I am. Even in the deep of night, He comes to me in my dreams. He brings pictures to our mind during the day. His Spirit brings us to a place of understanding and inspiration. When I am in the city, the mountains, my house, with a friend, or alone, He is there. Anytime, anywhere. 

There have been times in my life that all I could bring to God was my whining, fear, distress, and pain. He still was there to listen. He has never gone away leaving me to despair alone, instead He has changed me to see that even in the deep pain, there is good. Even in my hopelessness, He turns it to hope. Even in the chaos, peace is reachable.

Today, I am so thankful to Jesus for life. I am thankful to share it with Him, to know Him and to be held by Him. Are you running to Him with the treasures of your heart today? Are you seeking Him in His Throne room and sitting in Heavenly places with Him? Are you standing on the firm foundation of His love? Don't let fear hold you back, run like crazy, wild and free. He will catch you!

 

 

 

RebelGrace

 

 

Been looking for You in the still and safe

But I feel You most in the wildest place

In the chaos, the madness, in the afraid

We uncover the reason

The greatest price You paid

Let’s go recklessly

Where the light has ceased

With a life let go I will let them know

This is from one of my favorite songs. It’s titled Rebels by Influence music. I was initially drawn to it because of the title, Rebels. Usually, we tend to look at someone with the label Rebel in a negative way, but many years ago I realized that I was a rebel saved by grace.  It is my inclination to rebel, but God turned it all around for me and showed me His immense grace. I could see that even though I was a rebel, I was a rebel SAVED by grace. Rebelgrace!

This song “Been looking for You in the still and safe, But I feel You most in the wildest place” is so true for me.

Before I decided to follow Jesus with my whole heart, I cowered in fear, and masked myself with lots of protections.  I had to recklessly throw it all at His feet and lean on His grace.

You can find me with the sinners

The rebels and the dreamers

Those hidden in the darkness

A glimpse of light

Take me where it hurts the hardest

How dangerous Your love is 

You can find me with the sinners

Where you gave Your life

You knelt in the sand and You drew the line

But one without sin they could not find

For the broken, rejected, and the saved

You uncovered the reason, the greatest price you paid.

We all have a reason to be saved by grace! We’ve all had times of darkness, where we need to be found, and God promises to show us His light. I have had many a day of being broken and rejected, and many more of gratefulness for the price He paid.

Take me where the hurting heart is

A hunger for the one that’s starving

Show me the ones that need You

The silenced, the see-through

You go running out before me

I’m armored in all Your victory

To bring back Your long-lost family

To the shadows we go

You can find me with the sinners

The rebels and the dreamers

Those hidden in the darkness

A glimpse of light

Take me where it hurts the hardest

How dangerous Your love is

You can find me with the sinners

Where You gave Your life

You can find me with the sinners

Where You gave Your life.

The more I practice the amazing grace of Jesus, the more I NEED to be like Him. 

Jesus rebelled against legalism.

Jesus loved the sinners, He wanted to hang out with the dreamers and the rebels. He graciously and lovingly gave grace to the thief on the cross, a true rebel at heart.

Jesus left His light in every single place He went. He went to the hurting, the wounded, the naked and rejected. He was dangerous with love and grace nothing could stand against it! 

He gave His very life because He was so in love with every walking rebel on earth.  AMAZING to the core! VICTORY through and through. This amazing victory is ours—yours and mine. Victory to carry everywhere we go, every time. 

How are you walking out the gift of victory and grace today?

But God, being [so very] rich in mercy, because of His great and wonderful love with which He loved us, even when we were [spiritually] dead and seperated from Him because of our sins, He made us [spiritually] alive together with Christ (for by His grace-His undeserved favor and mercy-you have been saved from God's judgment). And He raised us up together with Him [when we believed], and seated us with Him in the heavenly places, [because we are] in Christ Jesus, [and He did this] so that in the ages to come He might [clearly] show the immeasurable and unsurpassed riches of His grace in [His] kindness toward us in Christ Jesus [by providing for our redemption].

Ephesians 2:4-7 (AMP)

He Sees

 

 

Though the fig tree does not blossom and there is no fruit on the vines, though the yield of the olive fails and the fields produce no food, though the flock is cut off from the fold and there are no cattle in the stalls, I will [choose to] rejoice in the Lord; I will [choose to] shout in exultation in the [victorious] God of my salvation! The Lord God is my strength [my source of courage, my invincible army]; He has made my feet [steady and sure] like hinds’ feet and makes me walk [forward with spiritual confidence] on my high places [of challenge and responsibility].

Habakkuk 3:17-19

Have you experienced difficult times in your life? Have you had seasons where it felt like you simply didn’t want to get up in the morning, and everything around you was bleak?

For me, I have experienced a few seasons like this. We had a season of financial crisis that lasted seven years. It was very painful as we walked through many losses of worldly treasures. We struggled to buy groceries and clothes for our children. We felt weary year after year as we worked to keep ourselves above water. 

We were overwhelmed with medical crisis, as my body had three surgeries, and long recoveries. Pain and exhaustion, were at times, bigger than anything else in my life.  As I learned to daily surrender to God, He strengthened me and gave me an attitude of servanthood and empathy.

God blessed us through it all with friends that left money on our door or food in our kitchen. As we continually fell before God, trusting that He was good no matter what, we believed deep within our hearts that the season would pass. We opened our hearts to lessons that could be learned, such as the value of generosity, self-love, communication, and praise to God.

God always showed up! Each year as we moved from the home we owned to a rental, drove old cars, ate sparsely, and hung on, God showed up.

 He saved our business. He increased our losses. He gave us courage to move forward. He strengthened our faith and trust in Him. He gave us the ability to walk forward through every challenge, and He listened to every cry. He showed us areas deep within our hearts that needed healing, and again, He accepted every surrender. 

He never left us!

Through that dark season, I often asked Him to not leave me, I pled for change. Then, one day I heard His Spirit clearly say to me “Bethany, I have always been here, look for me in the beauty around you. Doubt in my presence is blocking you from seeing me.”

My doubt had closed my eyes. I had based God’s presence on my earthly position and comforts. As I turned my praise towards Him for all the beauty that I did have, more beauty came. The immense blessing of a loving husband, incredible children and grandchildren, dear friends, a home to live in, a car to drive, a pet, and so much more.  My spiritual confidence increased with every blessing I praised Him for and with each doubt I buried.

God has now given us another wonderful home to own, more amazing grandchildren, strong confident children, a busy business, a reliable car, loyal friends, and best of all He has showed us His loving heart towards us in times of pain and joy.

It is challenging to rejoice in the Lord when times are lean and we are struggling. I have learned that the focus of my heart in all times makes all the difference in the world!

The Roads we Travel

There will be a highway called the Holy Road. No one rude or rebellious is permitted on this road. It's for God's people exclusively-impossible to get lost on this road. Not even fools can get lost on it. No lions on this road, no dangerous animals-Nothing and no one dangerous or threatening. Only the redeemed will walk on it.  The people God has ransomed will come back on this road. They'll sing as they make their way home to Zion, unfading halos of joy encircling their heads, welcomed home with gifts of joy and gladness as all sorrows and sighs scurry into the night. 

Isaiah 35:8 (MSG)

This last weekend my husband and I traveled down memory lane. We visited with my friends from elementary school. We toured our college town and took pictures of my first apartment and the first apartment we lived in together.  We went to the lecture hall where we first sighted each other 37 years ago. 

As we drove home through the wheat colored hills, I felt so thankful for the roads we have been able to travel together. I felt deeply blessed to know that even while traveling some of those roads, the times I felt lost or discouraged, God always knew exactly where I was headed.  My heart has been engraved with the tracks of travel. Every road has a story of how God held me, taught me, loved me, and grew me. He has continually reminded me that He will never leave me, for He walks beside me. All the time! Those times I felt lost, I was learning how His presence was really leading me. The foolish choices I made were covered by His redeeming love. The moments I believed lies about Him and myself, when I felt danger all around me, He was still there. He was watching, waiting, keeping my heart in all safety. 

He has ransomed me and He has placed me on His holy road. He has taken each bump and turned them into joy for His glory. This is Who God is, and this is what He does. 

I've traveled some treacherous roads, long and painful. Now, as I look back over the road trips of my heart, I can say "Thank you." Thank You for being there with me, and for bringing others into my life to walk beside me. Thank you for showing me grace and mercy as I traveled in circles. Thank you for holding me when I fell down in despair. Thank you, God for giving me a road to travel and for teaching me along the way. Thank you.

Wherever you are going today, God is there with you. If you are feeling like the road you are on is endless, do not despair. He won't turn back, He will go with you. All roads with Jesus are holy roads, and all roads with Jesus change you to be more like Him. 

Thank Him for the road behind you and the road yet to walk.

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