Bethany's BlogWords of Encouragement

To Be a Friend

 

 

  

Lately I've been praying for God to be my brain. It seems like a good prayer, some re-programming, as my husband would say. It wouldn't be the first time that God has had to go into my brain and move things around a little, or a lot. Shake things up, or settle things down. Whatever the case, I'm thinking that having His brain, with His thoughts and His words is at the top of my list. So, with this prayer,  I want Him to use me more. I prayed that He would show me how to be a good friend. We did talk about it for awhile, and I did some writing on it in my journal. After thinking on all of this for a bit, God sent me to Colossians 4. I've read this chapter many times, and have never seen the good friend part, but today He showed me and it was pretty exciting to me.
In verse 5, the writer starts with saying this: "Make the most of every opportunity. Be gracious in your speech. The goal is to bring out the best in others in a conversation, not put them down, not cut them out." And so, there it is, "the most of every opportunity" hmm, I can take some time to think on that and pray for grace on that, because I know this is something I do not always do. And, to be gracious in my speech? Or, bring out the best in others in conversation? All of this is what a good friend would do, and this is how I want to be all the time. Jesus, program me like this.
In verse 7, he talks of his good friend Tychicus, a trusted minister and companion.  This is a friend that encourages in the faith. And, then he speaks of Onesimus, another trusted and dear brother, that brings information to Christians. Both of these friends are ones that he trusts! They are faithful companions. A good friend is trustworthy at all times! And, a good friend is faithful.
Verse 11, speaks of Justus, his friend that stuck with him in working for God's Kingdom.  And, Epaphras, a man that was tireless in his prayers. Praying that the people stand firm , mature, and confident in everything God wants them to do.
He goes on to mention more Good Friends, and encourages them to do their best in the job each one has received from the Master!
I want to do my best as a Good Friend in Jesus! To be a trusted minister of who He is, and to encourage others in the faith. A faithful companion, and a sticky friend for His Kingdom. I want to be the one that prays for His people and with His people. Jesus, program me to be all of this and more. To do life Your way! To be the kind of friend that You are, a good friend.
 Jesus, You are a Good Friend , my Friend, and I know that you live IN me. Your character resides and shines through me and your people, thank you for your transforming power.

Reposted from 2010

Does Curiosity really kill the cat?

"Come now, and let us reason together" says the Lord, "Though your sins are as scarlet, they will be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they will be like wool."

Isaiah 1:18

Are you curious about God? Do you ever go before Him and ask questions because you want to know who He is? Maybe, if you grew up like me, questions about God were considered a no-no. Just accept what you're told and deal with! But, I've never been one to do that, I want to know what He's up to. I want to be in such a deep intimate relationship with Him that we can reason together.  "Come now, and let us reason together." He says.

Have you ever asked Him why the Israelites exterminated an entire population?  Or, why He allows Himself to be protrayed as such a violent God in the Old Testament? Or, here's one, Why does His Word say that women should be silent in church? Is he talking about women today? What's up with that, anyway? Do you spend long hours just asking Him what He's thinking? How he feels? What's next in this life?

What about all those Old Testament laws, how did they keep up? As Christians we think of some of them as timeless, others not so much---Why?  Let's factor in the men that wrote holy scripture, was their mind-set timeless? Or, were they writing from an ancient mind-set? Did they embellish their stories, or is it all factual? Were they limited by their own time and place? 

The Bible is active and living; it transforms a person when they read it. It speaks of past and future. It's full of amazing stories. When we read it, we interpret it. It is presented to us by several perspectives, just look at the four Gospels. Wonderful stories, a lot of dialogue, many important details, different perspectives.

I'm very curious about God. As I look at Jesus, who reveals the true identity of God, I am able to get an outline of who God is, but there are a lot of conflicting stories on that too. So, for me, I come to Him and reason with Him. I want to know Him personnally, to have a transformed mind-set everyday that feels safe and bold to reason with Him about all things. I want to be so curious about Him that I die to myself and thrive in Him. 

In the end, curiousity surely will kill me, and shine light on Him!

Who Are You?

 

 

“Since you are cherished and precious in my eyes, and because I love you dearly and want to honor you, I willingly give up nations in exchange for you—a man to save your life.

I am with you now, even close to you, so never yield to fear. I will bring your children from the east; from the west I will gather you. I will say to the north, ‘hand them over!’ and the south, ‘Don’t hold them back!’ Bring me my sons from far away, my daughters from the ends of the earth! Bring me everyone who is called by my name, the ones I created to experience my glory. I myself formed them to be who they are and made them for my glory.”

Isaiah 43:4-7

 

Have you had times in your life that you forget who you are?  I have. I can get bogged down with the burdens of life—the heartache, the stress, the regret.  When that happens, I have to intentionally remember who God created me to be. 

I love the verse above for it says that I am cherished and precious in His eyes. He wants to honor me and is willing to give up so much for me.  He promises that He is forever with me; therefore I should NOT yield to fear. 

What does it mean to yield to fear in one’s everyday life?  For me, it is to forget who God is and who I am. It is to give in to pain and regret because I am afraid to rise above it. It is fear of being ordinary, when, indeed I am precious and cherished. It is not walking in the form He created me to be, which is to give him glory!

I have discovered over the years that when I give God glory, and I believe His Word for me, I am able to walk through the fear in front of me and be brave. I am able to turn the regret into valuable lessons, the pain into tools for others, the ordinary into extraordinary.

Fear dissolves our ability to love fully. It is paralyzing and blinding. It comes with many faces. Fear itself is not wrong; it’s a powerful emotion that cautions us when there is danger. The problem occurs when we don’t move away from the danger. When we allow the fear to rule us, rather than the joy of pressing in to who we are.

There have been times that I’ve allowed the fear of man, or fear of rejection be more powerful to me that the love of God’s Word. In turn, I have not seen the reward of His confidence in that situation. I have not loved myself or others well, by choosing fear.

Where is your fear and how are you responding it? What are the promises God has given you that have been obstructed by fear? What can you do today to lean more towards love?

Freedom is Yours

 

 

 

Blessed be the Lord, Who has not given us as prey to be torn by their teeth. We have escaped like a bird from the snare of the fowlers; the trap is broken and we have escaped. Our help is in the name of the Lord, Who made heaven and earth.

Psalms 124:6-8

Have you ever felt trapped by the lies inside your head? Those thoughts you have and the inner narrative you tell yourself every single day?  Words that tear you apart and keep you pinned to the same old habits and patterns?  

Maybe your inner thoughts might sound like this:

I’m an idiot

Everyone is looking at me

I’m not as capable as my friends

I’m not that smart

I’m fat

I’m not pretty

I’m a looser

I’m boring

I just can’t do it

I’ll be in this place forever

I’m a failure

The list can go on for long time, until it feels like we are prey being torn apart by our own thoughts. 

When we are able to recognize that it is the enemy feeding lies into our mind, we are then able to see the truth that He has made a way of escape for each of us.  The blood of Jesus broke the trap and left the door wide open for us to walk through, we simply have to walk.

In my own life when I recognized that my narrative of self- defeat was from the enemy, I began to search for the truth that would combat every lie that came into my mind:

God created me to be unique and creative.

God has given me a powerful voice.

God is good to me all the time.

I am favored and loved by God.

I have help for everything that I need.

I am capable.

What are the lies you hear from the enemy that keep you from escape?  The trap is broken, the door is open, freedom is yours!

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