Bethany's BlogWords of Encouragement

When the Struggle is Real



I'm sure I'm not alone when I say that sometimes life is a real struggle. It can be the day to day struggle of work, family, finances, relationships, etc or it can be bigger unknown things that we hear on the news like politics, death, kidnappings, terrorism.  The list of stuggles go on and on, especially when that is our focus, it is exhausting, frightening, confusing, and even depressing.  The struggle can become an internal struggle with Who God is, and who we are.  Sometimes it becomes personal; it has for me.  I begin to feel emotional over certain stories and put myself in those situations, then I can allow fear to creep in which makes me want to protect myself and my family in ways that are not really possible for me to do.  I forget about God's sovereign promises  and being anchored in him.  The struggle inside my head is real, and the enemy of my soul is dancing.  

There are times I catch myself in this struggle very quickly, and I stop.  I've learned over the years to hear God through all the noise, and run to him.  But, still there are times that I let it go on too long before I realize that my struggle does not need to be there.  God has given me power to move towards him and change my course.

I read in Isaiah 33 this morning, listen to this:

"You who are far away, listen to what I have done, and you who draw near to me, acknowledge my power and strength!  Sinners in Zion are afraid, and the godless are gripped with panic, saying 'Who can dwell with such an all-consuming fire? Who can live in the presence of the never-ending flame?'

Only those who walk with integrity and speak what is true."

We all struggle. The truth is we all have the power through Jesus Christ to overcome the struggle.  It may not be easy, it probably won't, but because of who God has made you and me to be, his friends and co-laborers, we have the God-given strength and power through him to conquer.  We have the wisdom to see beyond the struggle, and to have the faith necessary to praise his name in all circumstances.  I didn't say for all circumstances, but in all circumstances, there is a difference. 

So, today I am praying over you and myself this prayer: Father God, I acknowledge your endless power and strength, and I thank you for being present with me.  Your Light, Power, and Strength are within me too, creating a shield around me of integrity and truth. Thank you for your mighty protection in this world of struggle.

When Doubt Creeps In

Sometimes I find myself doubting.  The definition of doubt is not pretty at all, here it is: (1) to be uncertain; consider questionable or unlikely; hesitate to believe (2) to distrust (3) to fear; be apprehensive about  (4) to be uncertain about something; be undecided in opinion or belief (5) a feeling of uncertainty about the truth, reality, or nature of something. (6) distrust

That's a lot of fear, disbelief, and anxiety wrapped up in the one word: doubt

I don't want it. Do you ever feel doubtful about the things God has promised you? Or even what you believe, or doubtful in trusting God?  Does your opinion waver in that God will pull through for you?  Sometimes it can all seem rather bleak and I will start to doubt that I heard God correctly.

I've been reading through the Book of Isaiah and I've been pausing on chapter 11 for several days now.  I love the first few versus:

The cut-off stump of Jesse will sprout, and a fruitful Branch will grow from his roots: the Spirit of Yahwey will be upon him, the Spirit of Extraordinary Wisdom, the Spirit of Perfect Understanding, the Spirit of Wise Strategy, the Spirit of Mighty Power, the Spirit of Revelation, and the Spirit of the Fear of Yahweh. He will find his delight in living by the Spirit of the Fear of the Lord.

These versus are talking about the Son of God, Jesus Christ.  

As I've been pondering this daily, I've been speaking these deep roots, this very Spirit upon my own life and my family.  When I begin to feel any doubt creep in, I pray for the Sirit of the Fear of the Lord and the Fear of Extraordinary Wisdom.  When I am confused or over whelmed I pray for the Spirit of Perfect Understanding and the Spirit of Mighty Power.  When I'm not sure what our next move should be in business or ministry, I pray for the Spirit of Wise Strategy.  

What do you do to combat doubt?  How is God impacting your life today with his Spirit of life and hope?

When We Think About the Other Shoe


Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow.  God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.

Matthew 6:34

In the last few days I've had a couple conversations that involved the "other shoe". You probably know the one I'm talking about, right? The one that drops from the sky and hits you square on the head when you are having a perfect day, week, or season?  The big, honkin' shoe that seems to be looming somewhere out there and many of us talk about as if we are just waiting for it to appear, someday from somewhere. I do it too. On great days, sometimes my mind will suddenly start thinking, "just wait til the other shoe drops, you better be ready."

As I was discussing this earlier with a friend, I recognized that the more I am able to trust in the care of Jesus over my life, the less I think about the big shoe in the sky.  The daily joy stays present, and I don't think about what might happen; it's not my shoe anyway.  I'm sure you've also heard the saying "if the shoe fits, wear it."  Well, I know exactly who the shoe fits.

A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy....

John 10:10

That shoe fits the enemy of my soul and your soul.  Our Father, who speaks life over us says this:

I came so that they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.

John 10:10

Take that shoe and boot it out with the truth of God's Word, which is his promise of eternal life and more than anything you have ever dreamed of!


When God Says Wait


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

One of the biggest lessons I've learned in life, and still get to learn, is to wait. God has asked me to wait for some pretty big dreams, dreams that HE has put in my heart.  And, to teach me to do that, He asks me to wait on a daily basis for little things, like my son to saunter up the stairs every morning to get his shoes, or my husband and his long showers!  God has always given me someone to wait for, and slowly, I am getting better at what that looks like.  It hasn't been easy.  But, it's been an important lesson for me.

I'm currently reading a book on healthy spirituality and the section I just finished was about waiting. We all experience times of waiting for others, and certainly times of waiting for God. Abraham was promised by God that he would be the father of nations, yet he had to wait 25 years before he had Isaac! That's a long time. He was seventy five years old when God gave him the promise of being the father of nations, this guy was well in to living life before he even received a promise from God! He didn't wait perfectly, either.  He tried to "help" God out by sleeping with Hagar part way through the waiting period, consequently, Ismael was born.  And, that's a whole other story.

Then, there's Moses.  He spent forty years in the desert waiting. Yes, forty years.

And, David, who was young and full of faith conquered Goliath, then fled King Saul for thirteen years. David waited as he basically went from one place to another as Saul hunted him.  He waited for God to place him on the throne, while he waited he lost his own dreams and securities, but gained spiritual maturity.

Waiting matures us into the strong people God needs us to be to carry out the promise He has given us.

What has God promised you? What dreams has He put inside your heart that you are waiting for? Don't give them up! Lean into him for fresh strength and soar into that promise with vigor. His dream for you will come to fruition.



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