Bethany's BlogWords of Encouragement

When Beauty Calls


....Cultivate inner beauty, the gentle, gracious kind that God delights in.

1 Peter 3:4

This last weekend I went to the park with a friend, and we saw this cactus with the vibrant orange flower, so beautiful! It was significant to me because God had been bringing the word "Beauty" to my mind all week.  Later, that day, my husband and I watched a movie about a young woman that did not feel pretty.  Her entire life was tainted by her belief of not being beautiful.  She had a dead end job, she only had a couple of friends, and every way that she presented herself supported her belief. Then, she had an accident and hit her head.  When she woke up, she looked in the mirror and couldn't believe what she saw! She saw beauty! Eventhough she looked exactly the same, she believed she was gorgeous...and because of her belief, everything changed.  She fell in love, got a great job, became bolder and more courageous. The people around her sat up noticed as well, they loved her confidence, her belief, and everything about her.  She had finally seen the truth about who she really was.

And so it is with every woman. The lies we so often believe that make us feel plain, withdrawn, invisible, and uncertain. This in turn strains relationships, our health, our abilities to live a full life. I've definately had my share of lies that I've believed about who God created me to be. I've believed I was fat, ugly, unwanted, etc....those lies tend to build on each other.  But, as God has moved His light around, and within me, I've been able more and more to see the beauty He created in me, and my life too has changed as I've digested His truth and lived in beauty.  Just like the cactus, I don't feel as prickly when I focus on the flower!

What beauty is God showing you about yourself today?  Where is He asking you to journey as you listen to His truth?  How have you noticed your life changing as you focus on the truth of who He created you to be?

Walking Through Life

 

Husbands love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the Word....

Ephesians 5:25

My husband and I will be celebrating our 36 years of marriage next week. As I was contemplating the day ahead for us, I started to count up various things such as how many dogs have we had and how many times have we moved.  In case you're curious, we've had nine dogs, and we've moved eight times!

We've walked together through the loss of pregnancies, the joy of five children, the loss of both parents, the joy of friendships, and the loss of friendships.  We've traveled to many places, and we've simply stayed home for long periods of time.  We've worked hard on our own business and ministry.  We've agonized together over raising children, and laughed together in the pleasure of children. We've intentionally embraced our grandchildren with the deep knowing that it is up to us to leave a legacy.  We've been rich, and we've been poor.  We've pushed through physical hardships, and rejoiced in health.   Most days we have been in unity, loving each other and our family, some days there has been discord, anger, frustration, and silence. We've searched for Jesus together and left religion. We've planted ourselves in God, and in each other.  I am so very thankful and so blessed. We have kept each others secrets, and still come back for more.

My husband has loved me on my most unlovable days.  He has sacrificed himself so that my life would be good.  He has walked with God and in turn walked with me.  This is irreplaceable.  

Who are you walking with through life today? What have you done together, and where are you going? Are you seeing the blessing that God has given you by the people He has put in your life?  I hope so!

To Be Wholehearted

Paul stayed a while longer in Corinth, but then it was time to take leave of his friends.  Saying his goodbyes, he sailed for Syria, Priscilla and Aquila with him....

Acts 18:18

Recently, I read an article on Priscilla and Aquila. I loved the attributes that were pointed out about both of them. Priscilla put her whole heart into all that she did.  Her name is mentioned first three times before her husband Aquila throughout the New Testament. But, it is never mentioned alone. She was with her husband in all that they did, serving Jesus, making tents, and living their lives. 

I imagine Priscilla as high energy, a women that puts her all into all that she does. She's committed, loyal, loving, and everything about her shines bright. She was highly gifted and dearly loved.

Priscilla was in one accord with her husband. Unlike Nabal and Abigail, who were opposed to each other in character, Priscilla and Aquila walked in unison with Christ Jesus and were of one mind with Him and each other. They were happy.

Paul spoke very highly of Priscilla and Aquila, they were his friends. He stayed in their home. They traveled together. They assisted Paul and worked together with him and spread the Word of the Gospel wherever they went.

Priscilla is a wonderful example for women today.  She did not shirk back in the adventures of life. She knew who God had made her to be, and was not threatened by her queenly title. She loved her husband and the Body of Christ, and worked beside him as an equal. She was not afraid to shine, lead, support, and love through every opportunity. She wholeheartedly jumped into life with the people around her.

May your life be a wholehearted adventure, seeking peace, brightness, courage, and love wherever you go. And, like Priscilla, step into each day utilizing the gifts God has given you, and exploring new ones.

To Persevere

And there was a prophetess, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years and had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and then as a widow to the age of eighty four.  She never left the temple,  serving night and day with fastings and prayers.

Luke 2:36-37

Anna had a focus, a purpose, and she was clearly dedicated to serve the Lord. She possessed perseverance, hope, and power.  Her influence was that of spiritual influence, and she was brimming with the Spirit of God. When Joseph and Mary brougth Jesus to the temple to be dedicated, Anna was there. It was the moment she had been waiting for, the moment she had been praying for.  Her prayers influenced the coming of Christ Jesus! She understood intercession and the power that prayer represented.  She was a watchman in the temple, awaiting the coming of the Savior.

God is raising up women like Anna today. He is looking for women that will intercede and take hold of the spiritual influence He wants to grant them.  He is ready to equip them with zeal, authority, power, and courage to influence the nations through Jesus.  

Anna knew how to pray and she knew the voice of God. She was able to persevere and patiently wait on the promise of God.  This is my prayer for myself and for you. There are specific promises that God has spoken over me, and I too want to persevere in those promises. I want to know how to patiently wait for Him to follow through. Anna fasted and prayed in the temple for over 60 years!

Is there a promise God has given you that calls you to patiently persevere ?  Are you interceding before His throne in great anticipation of that promise?  Do you fall before Him in worship, submitting to Him your daily life? Do you see that He is working a masterpiece of beauty within you?

Today I pray for all women to follow the example of Anna. To rise up in the authority He has given us, and influence others for Christ Jesus. To watch for the Savior in our lives and our opportunities, and to persevere with great courage!

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