Bethany's BlogWords of Encouragement

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!

Conversations with God

 

 

 

And He said, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”

Exodus 33:14

Moses was the kind of guy that talked freely with God. He didn’t hold back, sometimes he even challenged God. I like Moses a lot, because God was very visible through all of his doubts. Moses didn’t think that he was the right man for the job of leading the Israelites, God on the other hand, saw the truth. Moses didn’t think he had the ability to speak well, God saw eloquence in him. Moses was caught up in the facts of his life, which led him to believe many lies. God, gently enabled him to see the truth about his life, and Moses became the mighty leader he was designed to be.

In verse twelve and thirteen of this chapter, Moses confronts God: “See, You say to me, ‘Bring up this people.’ But You have not let me know whom You will send with me. Yet You have said ‘I know you by name, and you have also found grace in My sight.’ Now therefore, I pray, if I have found grace in Your sight, show me now Your way, that I may know You and that I may find grace in Your sight. And consider that this nation is Your people.”

Then God answered him by promising His presence and rest.

Moses didn’t stop there. He continued by saying: “If Your Presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here.”

Moses did not want to be where God wasn’t. 

Moses and God often had conversations that seemed like a negotiation. God is speaking one thing and Moses is coming back with a counter, a question, or a challenge. The beauty of it all is that God trusted Moses, and He wanted to hear his view. They were friends, companions, soul-mates. The relationship they had with each other was based on love and grace. It was a friendship of freedom.

What are you saying to God today? Is the relationship you have with Him a deeply intimate friendship? Or, do you think of Him as a dictator, always there to tell you what to do and where to go? Do you feel the freedom in your relationship with Him to ask questions and share your point of view?

Moses knew that when the lines of communication were open with God, He would have rest and peace.  God stayed right beside him, and He gave Moses rest, just as He promised.  Rest is good.

For me, I’ve been practicing freedom in my conversations with God for several years now. He has given me rest and peace in return.  I’ve learned that God can take it. He wants to hear the endless questions I have for Him, He wants to know my ideas, perspectives, and thoughts. He is eager to spend every day with me and enjoys any interaction, even when I challenge something. I have come to a place of knowing that I can trust Him and rest in Who He is because He loves me. Yes, He loves me. All. The. Time!

Talk to God today, and don’t leave anything out. 

More Praise

 

 

From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the Lord is to be praised.

Psalms 113:3

Praise has been on my mind a lot lately. Praise through song, word and action. I like the verse above, at the same time I understand how challenging it can be to praise the Lord from the rising of the sun to the place where it sets. We live in a world that is full of pain, confiict, crime, and immense challenges. How do we praise God when those situations come knocking at our own doors? 

I've thought about this often, and I've needed to remember that I am not praising God for the pain, but in the pain. I'm trusting that whatever the outcome is; it is good, even if I don't believe it at the time, I can still look beyond my belief and trust that God is exactly who He says He is, and that is good.

In my own life, I have seen God take some very negative experiences and thought patterns and turn them into something useful and good for Him. Through my own pain, I have learned to speak truth, walk truth, and love truth. I have witnessed the beauty of getting up when I don't feel like it, and praising God for who He is! 

Who is He, exactly? As a child I believed He was the stern, judgmental God with eagle eyes that waited for me to make a mistake so He could erase me. But, instead, He continued to pursue me and show me that He enjoys who I am, and He is there to walk with me through my mistakes. The most important belief I can own is the knowledge of who God is.

God is Love.

When we trust that God is love, we too will trust that He loves us, and we will walk out love everyday. Love for ourselves and for others.

When we love, we praise. When we praise, love reigns.

Take some time throughout your day to recognize who God is and to praise Him for His relentless love for you.

 

The Strength of Friends

 

 

But those who wait upon GOD get fresh strength. They spread their wings and soar like eagles, they run and don't get tired, they walk and don't lag behind.

Isaiah 40:31

This week I get to attend a women's conference with some friends.  We had a road trip, which was fun. Anybody play the cow game before? We did, for about 9 hours!!! I like being with good friends, I enjoy the comfort of simply being. It's not just that though;its the strength that comes from friendship.  Isn't that part of waiting upon God, leaning into the strength and love of friendship? For me, I can be tired, in pain, whatever, when I have the strength of friendship around me I am able to spread my wings and soar. I can go the extra mile when friends are beside me. God gives strength through friends. 

Sometimes, it is hard to be a friend through difficult times. Learning to stand beside a friend in all circumstances is a little tricky at times. I don't always know what to say, or when to be there. When silence is called for, presence might be needed. It is in these times that I must call upon the Lord for strength to give strength. When it comes to relationships I think we all fall short at times, but God doesn't. He is there to lift us up, to bring hope. 

When I look back over my life I notice that God has always provided me with a friend. He has taught me how to be a friend through each encounter. Each friend has a gifted me with strength, love, and hope. God has put them in my life at just the right time to see Him in them. In turn, I have been able to strengthen others.

If you need a friend today, ask God to send someone along. If you find that you are blessed with many friends, thank Him for the strength He has provided you to soar with them. Every relationship is there for you to bless, amd for you to learn from. It is a miracle how God works through us!

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