Bethany's BlogWords of Encouragement

Love Is

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.

1 John 4:18

The last couple of years I've focused a lot on stepping away from fear, and moving towards love.  What are some of the reasons I do what I do, and say what I say?  What about you?  Fear has sometimes driven my motives.  Fear of judgment, fear of pain, fear of rejection.  What motivates you?  Do you  get up in the morning and get ready for your day because you love what you do and you love the people you will see?  Or, do you get yourself out the door because if your late there is fear of loosing your job, your friends, or reputation?  Does love move you to greater lengths and deeper places in your relationships, or does fear creep in and cause you to loose authenticity? How would your life be different if you did not experience fear? What would a life of perfect love actually look like when it comes to day to day living? 

I think fear creates chaos.  It can drive us to be too busy, too often. Fear overtakes our lives sometimes, and we don't even know it. I've been afraid that if I don't push myself to show how much I love, then I won't be loved.  Or, afraid that there just won't be enough money to go around, so I have to work harder and longer.  Or, afraid that someday I might just be all alone. Or, here's one, afraid that if I don't push my kids enough, teach them enough, keep them busy enough, they will be unproductive adults. Have you noticed the motives? Fear.

So, now that I'm in my second year of really focusing on love instead of fear, I can report that things are different.  Slower, actually. Fear still creeps in, but I'm recognizing it much faster now, and I ask myself why I'm allowing it to motivate me.  Love is not pushy. Love is not afraid of being punished. Love stands solidly on the firm foundation of all that God says, and takes one day at a time.  Fear lies everytime, working hard to convince you and me that tragedy is just around the corner unless our behaivor caves in to fears desires.  

What is your fear saying to you today?  How can you replace it with love?

Closed Doors

Behold, I have put before you an open door that no one can shut....

Revelation 3:8

Have you had periods in your life where it feels like everywhere you turn doors are closing?  It's difficult to make the progress you want because there is an obstacle thrown in your path and another door slammed just as you turn the bend?

God knows about closed doors. He sees your perseverence, and He sees your hearts desires. Keep moving forward, for He has open doors for you!

I have to tell myself this today. When I see closed doors all around me, I have to look for the open doors that He has promised and I have to believe that there are many windows.  

If doors slam. If your heart hurts.  God knows. And, He thinks in terms of open doors and paths to healed hearts.

Persevere towards His heart.

The Elect

 

 

 

Who shall bring a charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.

Romans 8:33-34

This verse in Romans is a favorite of mine lately.  We are God's elect, He has chosen us as His people, His precious treasures. This verse starts our with the big question, Who brings a charge against someone like that? 

Well...The accuser does. We've seen it over and over again, right? The enemy of our soul is constantly bringing accusations against us in various forms. Sometimes we are guilty, sometimes not. Still he accuses with a vicious tenaciousness.

But, there is always hope for every accusation. Guilty or not, God justifies. Have you noticed in this verse that there is not a BUT? It simply says, God justifies. He does this because He is Judge of all, and when you go to him with repentance, He will justify! What gives Him the power to do this?  Christ Jesus!

The accuser may try to condemn you because of your actions, past or present, but the action of Christ is so much bigger! He is there at the right hand of God interceding for you giving power through His blood. It is because of His amazing action, that God justifies you and deems the accuser powerless.  

Do you realize that this very day you walk among the very elect?

The Gift

 

Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!

2 Corinthians 9:15

It's almost Christmas! It's the time of year for family to gather, and for friends to hold each other dear. It's the time of year to give gifts and to get gifts, and most of all to recognize the best gift of all, God's indescrible gifts!  He gave His Son, which is what Christmas is all about, right? I like to think of His gift as paying forward through all the generations.  Because Jesus was born that day, and He was willing to give up all that He had for a life here on earth for you and me, I am gifted every day with so much more that I can ever describe. 

I cannot begin to describe the gift of His love for me, the gift of salvation, grace, mercy, hope, new life, and the chance to live in light and give light. There are words for some of these joys, but not enough. Then there's the immense gifts of family. My husband, my children, my grandchildren.  The love that grows in my heart for them is indescribable, and it's a gift from God that I know only He can give. They are priceless, and as they move through their lives they touch others with blessings and love that is also indescribable.

God has gifted me with friends that love me. For me, this has been one of His most amazing indescribable blessings ever. We all need friends, I need loyal, trustworthy friends. There is an indescribable feeling that comes to my heart each time I recognize this gift from God. 

This Christmas, I bless you with many indescribable gifts.  May your Spirit, soul, and heart be so very full that you are overflowing, and it brings such an eagerness to you that you want to share your gifts with others!

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