Bethany's BlogWords of Encouragement

When we Pray

GOD'S there, listening for all who pray, for all who pray and mean it.

Psalms 145:18

As some of you know, I had surgery a couple of weeks ago on my shoulder. The first few days were tough for me as I battled pain, discouragment, exhaustion, and dread for the upcoming months of recovery. It all looked tough, and the only prayer I could muster up was "Jesus." 

Some of the questions rolling around in my head didn't have answers.  And, as I repeated the name of Jesus over and over, His response was also on repeat,  "Never give up!" 

I thought I was suppose to surrender?  At least that is what Jesus is always telling me, or so I thought, and now in my painful, discouraged, exhausted, pain-killer state of mind I'm hearing Him say that I need to fight?

"Jesus?" I say, "I just surrendered everything there is to fight for, I give it all up for you.  Should I take it back?"

Well, so the conversation continued. God and I. I talked, He listened.  He talked, I listened.  It was good. Mostly, it still came back to "Oh, Jesus!".  I love the verse in Romans 8:26-27--In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts know what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

This week is much better for me.  My shoulder is healing like it has super powers, really it's God powers.  I've been able to sleep more the past three of four days than I've slept in months, and I do not feel discouraged or in severe pain.  Through my constant repeats, God was there listening to me.  He sent His Spirit to give me exactly what I needed, even when I didn't know I was receiveing it at the time. He was filling me up, keeping promises He had made to me, loving me, and holding me close.  

When we pray, this is what prayer does.

Faithful Friends



 After a few days, Jesus returned to Capernaum, and word got around that he was back home. A crowd gathered, jamming the entrance so no one could get in or out.  He was teaching the Word.  They brought a paraplegic to him, carried by four men. When they weren't able to get in because of the crowd, they removed part of the roof and lowered the paraplegic on his stretcher.  Impressed by their bold belief, Jesus said to the paraplegic, " Son, I forgive your sins."

Mark 2:1

I was reminded of this story this morning by a friend that is really struggling. She is someone that helped change my life for the better, someone that lifted me through the roof to Jesus, just like these four friends did for the paraplegic.  It takes a strong and faithful friend to lift another friend towards Jesus, and then let them go on their own two feet, she did that.

Several years ago we would catch an episode of Friends, has anyone seen that?  It still runs on Netflix.  I liked it because they were all such faithful friends.  Three guys and three girls that loved each other no matter what.  They felt free to say what needed to be said, free to be themselves, but still knew they were loved. How many of us have friends like that?  

I thiink the paraplegic did. He couldn't walk. He couldn't get to Jesus, but his friends found a way to get him there.  The crowd made it look impossible, but they were creative and hard working.  They worked together and were willing to destroy someone's roof for the benefit of their friend. They had so much belief in the healing power of Jesus, they probably just thought that Jesus would heal the roof too! And, then, when they lowered their friend down and witnessed the miracle of healing, what do you think they did?  Did they call him to come back up to the roof and be with them?  Did they encourage him to go off and explore his new ability to walk?  Did they rejoice?  Did they thank Jesus?

What about the guy that was healed?  He had an entire new world opened up to him.  Was he grateful to his friends?  It was the faithfulness of his friends that led him to Jesus, right?  Just like the friends in the episode, always hanging around with each other, walking through the processes of life. Even when it was dumb silly stuff, they were just there for each other.  But, at the end of the series, they "grew up" they moved on and went their seperate ways.  Still in touch, still loving each other, still faithful, but different.  

I think one of the greatest gifts on earth is to have faithful friends. To know that there are people we can always count on to lower us through the roof and to encourage us to use our legs. Friends that rejoice with us, check in on us, always come back to us, and listen.  Spirit to spirit, deep spirited, faithful friends.

The Legacy

Don't you see that children are God's best gift? The fruit of the womb his generous legacy? Like a warrior's fistul of arrows are the children of a vigorous youth. Oh, how blessed are you parents, with your quivers full of children! Your enemies don't stand a chance against you; you'll sweep them right off your doorstep.

Psalms 127:3-5

We have been on family vacation this week with our five kids and their families, fifteen of us in total. We've had very full and active days of exploring the ocean beaches, new parks, seaside shops, and fun foods. We have played in the sand, taken long walks, hunted for shells, snapped lots of pictures, caught the sunsets, ventured out on high cliffs, and fallen asleep on the couch after an exhausting day of adventure. It's been so great to have everyone together, and to connect with our children and grandchildren.

God has done this great work in the minds and hearts of our children, and I am so grateful. They all love each other. They all love us. They all love Jesus. They love their children. They are all building a legacy for their children, just as we are. A legacy of love, honor, hope, and Jesus.  A legacy of loyalty to family.

Jesus loved his family. He took care of his mother.  Even on the very day that he was suffering so much on the cross, he was concerned for her welfare.  He wanted to verbally transfer her care over to his dear friend John. He put her needs before his own, and he listened to her. He was a kind and caring son.

We all have an opportunity to leave a legacy. I haven't always known or understood this, and I'm so thankful for the grace that God has extended to our family. He has blessed us with a large family, and while I may not have always seen them as the best gift, God did.  And he has generously protected them through that. 

How are you creating legacies with the gifts he has given you? Even if you do not have children of your own, how can you leave a legacy?  What are some of the ways God is calling you to walk in  love today?

The True Novel


Today I have been thinking about how the Bible is so much like a novel, one of those page turners where at times one might question how so much can happen in so few pages!  Think about it, God speaks and an entire world is created. God draws in the dirt and man is created. Man names lots and lots of animals. God puts man to bed, and woman is created. Woman and man visit a tree, everything goes downhill. Kids enter the world. Jealousy between siblings creates huge issues, and murder causes blood to flow upon the land.  The first mother has lost her son to a sin that not only kills our bodies but kills our souls. What a tragedy.

Before we have a chance to recover the world is so wicked that God can only find one man, and his family, that is loyal to him.  God decides he is going to destroy the entire earth and he tells this one man, Noah to build an ark, so they will be saved. In faith, Noah builds the ark, this is not a small project, then, when he , the animals and his family are safely on the ark, it rains. Everybody else dies. Everybody! The ark floats around, the water recedes, the earth dries out.  The earth repopulates, the people get afraid that there will be another flood and they build a huge tower.  It only makes things worse.

Then, enters Abram.  Soon to be Abraham. His story is pretty long, as he is really good friends with God. They talk a lot, even though Abraham doesn't always do exactly as God asks.  He still has a pretty amazing faith in God.  Abraham has a wife named Sarah, and they both finally get to have a baby boy named Isaac at a very old age.  God promised them they would.  After a few years passed by, God told Abraham to take Isaac and kill him on the alter, Abraham took Isaac, tied him up and proceeded to obey.  But, thankfully, an Angel stopped him.  See?  I told you, he had great faith.

So, then Isaac married a beautiful woman named Rebekah.  They had twins named Jacob and Esau.  And this is where things really start to get juicy....

And, through it all, God loved them all.

tune in next week!

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