Bethany's BlogWords of Encouragement

YES!

 

 

 

Recently, I heard someone read Psalms 91, and it made me think of the word YES!

“He Who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will remain secure and rest in the shadow of the Almighty [whose power no enemy can withstand].” Verse 1-2

What if, in my mind I tell myself this:

YES, I will dwell in the shelter of the Most High. YES, I will remain secure and I will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

“I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust [with confidence, and on whom I rely.]

For He will save you from the trap of the fowler, and from the deadly pestilence.” Verse 3

YES! He is my refuge and my fortress, and YES, I will have confidence in Him. YES, He will save me from the trap of the enemy, and from deadly disease. YES!

“He will cover you and completely protect you with His pinions, and under His wings you will find refuge; His faithfulness is a shield and a wall. You will not be afraid of the terror of night, nor of the arrow that flies by day, not of the pestilence that stalks in darkness, nor of the destruction (sudden death) that lays waste at noon.” Verse 4-6

YES, I am covered and completely protected. YES, His wings will give me refuge. YES, He is faithful and YES He is my shield and wall.  YES, I will remain in peace and not be afraid.

Moving down through the chapter my eyes rest on verse 11.

“For He will command His angels in regard to you, to protect and defend and guard you in all your ways [of obedience and service] They will lift you up in their hands.”

YES, His angels are with me all the time. I am protected, defended, and guarded in all my ways. YES, I am lifted up in their hands.

So, you get the idea, right? YES is a powerful word. When I read scripture and I insert the word YES; it encourages me. I feel much stronger and confident. God says YES over and over again. He wants us to know this, believe, and understand His willingness and desire to be with us. In fact, the more that I believe in the YES of God, the more my life is renewed. Scripture washes over us like fresh spring water, cleaning, renewing, and refreshing. It is a big Yes to hope, life, peace, and newness.  It is a celebration of Who God is. He is the God of YES in each of our lives. 

What do we do though when it feels like He never says yes? Every turn we take is a dead end, and we feel alone and afraid? I’ve been there, full of questions and pain. Sometimes when we call out to God it feels like He is not there. We struggle to connect with the God that so often says YES, when everything around us looks like a no!

I want to encourage you today to find the God of YES. Believe in His YES as you focus on His mighty love and protection in your life. Be encouraged that with each yes, you have something more to celebrate! For God is so good. Even in the despair, He is still the God of Yes, for He says that He will take the pain that tries to destroy our lives and turn it into good. Yes, He will!

Friendship with God

 

 

 

 

And He said, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”

Exodus 33:14

Moses was the kind of guy that talked freely with God. He didn’t hold back, sometimes he even challenged God. I like Moses a lot, because God was very visible through all of his doubts. Moses didn’t think that he was the right man for the job of leading the Israelites, God on the other hand, saw the truth. Moses didn’t think he had the ability to speak well, God saw eloquence in him. Moses was caught up in the facts of his life, which led him to believe many lies. God, gently enabled him to see the truth about his life, and Moses became the mighty leader he was designed to be.

In verse twelve and thirteen of this chapter, Moses confronts God: “See, You say to me, ‘Bring up this people.’ But You have not let me know whom You will send with me. Yet You have said ‘I know you by name, and you have also found grace in My sight.’ Now therefore, I pray, if I have found grace in Your sight, show me now Your way, that I may know You and that I may find grace in Your sight. And consider that this nation is Your people.”

Then God answered him by promising His presence and rest.

Moses didn’t stop there. He continued by saying: “If Your Presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here.”

Moses did not want to be where God wasn’t. 

Moses and God often had conversations that seems like a negotiation. God is speaking one thing and Moses is coming back with a counter, a question, or a challenge. The beauty of it all is that God trusted Moses, and He wanted to hear his view. They were friends, companions, soul-mates. The relationship they had with each other was based on love and grace. It was a friendship of freedom.

What are you saying to God today? Is the relationship you have with Him a deeply intimate friendship? Or, do you think of Him as a dictator, always there to tell you what to do and where to go? Do you feel the freedom in your relationship with Him to ask questions and share your point of view?

Moses knew that when the lines of communication were open with God, He would have rest and peace.  God stayed right beside him, and He gave Moses rest, just as He promised.  Rest is good.

For me, I’ve been practicing freedom in my conversations with God for several years now. He has given me rest and peace in return.  I’ve learned that God can take it. He wants to hear the endless questions I have for Him, He wants to know my ideas, perspectives, and thoughts. He is eager to spend every day with me and enjoys any interaction, even when I challenge something. I have come to a place of knowing that I can trust Him and rest in Who He is because He loves me. Yes, He loves me. All. The. Time!

Talk to God today, and don’t leave anything out. 

When Hope Rises

When Jesus died on the cross and his body was taken down to be buried, there was a feeling of despair that spread through out his friends. This is not what they expected. In their minds they envisoned Him on the throne, not the cross. How could it have gone so wrong? The Pharisee's gloated in the tragic death, believing that they had finally put a stop to the disruption that Jesus brought. Finally, they could get back to normal. The disciples were deeply grieved and afraid. They clustered together to discuss all that had taken place, and they were at a loss as to what to do next. They had just spent the last three years with Jesus, following him, believing in His words, and now he was dead! All the hope that had surrounded them was gone, replaced with despair. The day following his death was a day of tears.

When Sunday morning rolled around and Mary went to the tomb, only to find it empty, she must have been somewhat confused. How could this happen? Where was he? Who did this? When she was told by the angels that He was alive, her world became alive as well.  I've tried to imagine what this would be like as the truth soaks in and hope rises.

On Saturday, everyone believed a lie. They believed he was gone and it was hopeless. 

On Saturday they felt afraid as they clustered themselves away, trapped in pain, confusion, and despair.

On Saturday they had so many questions, doubts, and tears, hope was gone.

And then it was Sunday.

Mary saw him, but she didn't know it was him until he tenderly spoke to her. The pain of Saturday was no longer an issue, for all her hope was alive, vibrant, and standing in front of her. She realized that she had believed a lie, and now truth was there to give her freedom.

The disciples had the same experience. They ran to see if the tomb was really empty, and yes, indeed it was! They were full of wonderment, questions, and excitement. They still clustered together all of them talking at once, letting logic tell them that someone had stolen the body. But then, Jesus joined them. He walked right in and asked for food. He crushed all doubt, fear, pain, and despair. He gave them truth, so the lies they were believing could no longer thrive. He gave them hope.

This is what we have too, HOPE. When we fall into the trap of lies it feels the same way as the disciples felt. So much pain, despair, hoplessness. When we bring it to Jesus and hear him speak to our pain, He crushes the lies.  It may look different than we imagine, we may have a struggle believing that he is actually truth, but when it happens we have incredible and complete freedom from the tomb. 

When hope rises, we are able to run and tell others. When hope rises the fear and lies are crushed. When hope rises there is peace.

Praying today that this Easter brings you great hope!

 

 

Celebrate Today

 

 

 

It’s the beginning of April, and the Coronavirus is running rampant throughout our country and world. When I look out our window the sun is shining, melting the patches of snow that remain in our front yard. Everything looks pretty normal except for the eerie hush that surrounds our neighborhood.  Most of our neighbors are hunkered down inside their homes. Events in our town have all been cancelled. Restaurants are closed.  There’s a sense of curiosity, dread, wonderment, fear, peace, hope, all mixed up in the air. Nobody really knows what will happen next, except God. 

I know that God knows and for me that brings a sense of peace and hope. Still, it also brings questions. What is going to happen? What is my part and God’s part? How can I keep my family safe?  I’ve asked myself all these questions. God does whisper back to me in His familiar comforting voice, “I am your safety, peace, hope, and comfort. I will give you wisdom. I will renew all that is lost, and there will be great celebration!”

We need all of these things right now. I like feeling safe. I want continued peace, hope and comfort. I enjoy renewal and celebration.

God does not stop there. In His tenderness He challenges me to see the renewal in every day and to celebrate during the crisis.

“My soul dissolves because of grief; renew and strengthen me according to [the promises] of your word.” Psalms 119:28 AMP

There is grief in times of crisis, yet we can celebrate our God who renews and strengthens us in all the ways that bring peace and hope.  God is our storehouse of strength and hope, and we can go to Him each time we seek renewal.

“And I will say to my soul, “soul, you have many good things stored up, [enough] for many years; rest and relax, eat, drink and be merry (celebrate continually)…”Luke 12:19 AMP

If you have times of asking what there is to celebrate in the middle of crisis, let me share with you what I have found. 

Life. Celebrate every breath you are given. 

Life. Celebrate the truth that God renewed You at the Cross, and there is nothing on this earth that has power over your soul.

Life. Celebrate the people that you love. Each day recognize the amazing gift of who they are.

Life. Celebrate the rebirth of Spring green leaves. Celebrate the blossoms that pop with color. Celebrate the sun that is beginning to warm the earth. 

Life. Even in a crisis there is life. Even in pain, loss, and weariness He will offer strength and hope. Even when it feels impossible. 

Celebrate who He is.

The enemy of your soul wants you to fear the unknown that lurks before us. He wants you to shrink back and lose faith in who God is. He wants you to believe that He has power over you. 

The enemy of your soul is dead wrong!

Lift up your hands in celebration, for today is the day to anticipate all that God will do in your life!

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