Bethany's BlogWords of Encouragement

The Wonders of God

Sing to Him, sing praises to Him; Speak of all His wonders.

1 Chronicles 16:9

Today I spent several hours at the beach. I sat in the sand and admired all the tiny shells at my feet. So beautiful! I began to quietly speak of all the wonders God puts smack in front of my face every day. Sometimes, I have taken many of them for granted, like these amazing little shells. They are always there on the beach, people walk over them every day, most don't even take notice of their beauty. I began to thank Him for the wonders of His creation. The immense ocean, sand, palm trees, rocks, and shells. My mind shifted to the wonders of living life, to the wonder of opportunity, hope, peace, joy, and love. God created us with the innate ability to tap into His Spirit and to experience His wonder. He then built within us the ability to live life that is full of His fruit even when the circumstances are not always good. This is a wonder worth His praise.

As I glanced around and noticed a few others on the beach, I thanked Him for the wonder of relationships. There was a couple laying on a blanket, a family playing in the sand, and a couple girls taking pictures. Again, God created us for relationship. Even those of us that may enjoy alone time, we still have been wired to have people in our lives. To be known, seen, loved and wanted. To me, I feel like this is a miraculous wonder. Sometimes we experience hardships in life that destroy our trust, or cause us to build walls all around ourselves, but somewhere deep inside we still long for relationship. When someone is able to see us through the eyes of Christ, then we experience the wonder of love.

And, love is a wonder.

Love would not exist without the miraculous wonder of Jesus and His birth. Think about it; the King of all left His home and became a humble servant. The whole story is a marvel, really. The angel Gabriel speaking to Mary, her complete willingness to submit to the will of God, and the conception of the Son of God by the Holy Spirit. Then, there's Joseph's side of the story, he wanted to quietly divorce Mary. She was pregnant and it wasn't by him! Instead, Gabriel came to him in a dream and spoke to Him of the wondrous miracle inside of Mary. He told Josheph to stay, and Joseph stayed.

Fast forward to the birth of Jesus and the shepherds. They encountered angels singing and speaking about the holy birth. They ran to Bethlehem to see the newborn babe. Think about it, if you and your group of friends saw a choir of angels proclaiming good news, what would you do? 

What about now? God hasn't just stopped speaking to us. He has given us so much to be in awe of-to look at with great wonder. Angels still present us with wondrous news. The Bible still is living and active and brings wondrous changes to our lives. God still encounters us with His voice. The Holy Spirit fills us. When we think of the magnitude of this; there is nothing but wonder!

In Hebrews the wonder of His voice is confirmed. "Christ is faithful as a Son over His [Father's] house. And we are His house if we hold fast our confidence and sense of triumph in our hope [in Christ]. Therefore, just as the Holy Spirit says, ' Today if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as [your fathers did] in rebellion.' Hebrews 3:6-7

The wonder of His voice comes through the living Word, or is deeply impressed upon our thoughts, or possibly a still small voice. However it is heard in your life; it is, no doubt a wonder.

As Christmas approches and we may be thinking about the birth of Jesus, His love, our relationships and the gifts He has blessed us with, remember to tap into the wonder. Sing praises to Him for the wonder of it all! For there is beauty all around you and peace in the presence of Christ Jesus.

Still Fabulous, Darling

fab-yuh-luhs

This word, fabulous, has been on my mind lately. As my daughter and I were playing at Disney Land, we took some time to just sit and watch all the people. So many of them were all decked out in Mickey Mouse, Cinderella, Fuzzy jamies with Goofy or their favorite character. Mickey Mouse ears adorned heads of children and adults. It was all truly festive and fabulous! Each person really seemed to feel fabulous too. Adult men adorned in Disney characters, women twirling in skirts, and children laughing with delight. Disney Land brings out the fabulous in all of us, really. It was then that I had a thought that I believe was direct from the heart of God, "You, Darling are fabulous to Me, all the time!"

Smile.

But then, I questioned the all the time part. Does that mean I am fabulous to Him all of today? Or maybe this week? What about 20 years ago, does it apply to my entire life even when my actions and thoughts did not feel fabulous?  Again, His heart responded. "Whatever. You are still fabulous!" 

God has given me and you the gift of fabulous. Because of the blood of Jesus, fabulous is all that He sees, and it's beautiful.  Did you get that? "YOU, Darling, are fabulous!" As I think back on my life, my story, it is sometimes difficult to understand how through it all, God saw fabulous in me. But then, when I look at who He is and understand how He created me, my mind begins to shift and I allow myself to believe that He sees who I am, not what I've done. He sees all that He created me to be, which could be nothing less than fabulous.

We all have something in our story that was not our most shining moment. Some of us may respond with regret, shame, guilt, or negative thoughts about who we are. Or, we could say, "Whatever. I'm still fabulous!" And, with that positive thought, move on. If we have hurt someone, ask forgiveness. If we have hurt ourselves, then forgive yourself. If we have fallen back into old patterns, get help. Most of all, don't forget that God wants you to know that you are still fabulous! 

Whatever. Still fabulous!

The Bed Maker

 

Moreover, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us, and we submitted and respected them [for training us]; shall we not much more willingly submit to the Father of spirits, and live [by learning from His discipline]? For our earthly fathers disciplined us for only a short time as seemed best to them; but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness.

Hebrews12:9-10

So, I am not a huge fan of house work, except laundry. I enjoy doing laundry, unusual I know. Since I have had this distaste for house work, I have not ever spent too much time concerning myself with making the bed. I spent years making it once a week, when I changed the sheets, and that was it.

But, then one morning as I was reading a book on discipline, the author encouraged every reader to ask God to reveal an area that He would like to see us work on, an area that could bring fruit into our lives. So, I prayed. When I finished the immediate thought in my head was "go make your bed, and keep making it everyday!" This seemed like a very silly thought for me to have, after years of non-making why would I be thinking such a horrid thought? So, I dismissed it for that day.

Then, the next morning came and I prayed the same pray with all sincereity, and hopes of being asked to do something great! But, the same thought returned when I finished praying "go make your bed, and keep making it everyday!" This time, I listened and I made the bed that day, and the next, and so on. I'm still making the bed, and it's been a lovely experience for me. I have to confess that I don't always get the bed made first thing in the morning, sometimes it's much later in the day, but most of the time it's in the morning. When this bed making practice began I didn't understand the purpose, and it felt like an inconvenience to me.  But, as time moved on, I began to relish in the feel of the sheets, the cozy blanket, the beauty of a made bed everyday. I would stand back and admire a job well done, and it felt good to me.

As time progressed and I continued to ask God why He asked me to do this bed-making business, I began to understand the significance of what He asked. Just as I carefully made the tosseled bed everyday and then stood back to admire my handiwork, God does this for me. He lovingly arranges the tosseled, messed up pieces into His magnificent handiwork. Even though I already knew this about Him before I started to make the bed, there was something about me going through the discipline of making it every day that really helped me understand His activity in my life. 

Just as I daily work to make beauty out of something unmade, He daily does the same for me. And, the best part? He admires His work!  Just as I began to like the job of bed making and apply principles to my life through this simple action, He too loves all that He does for me and you. He does a sacred work within His children. And, this may sound a little odd to you, but now when I make the bed it feels like a sacred time with God; it's special to me. I marvel at the work, not just because it looks better, but because He has changed my heart towards this daily discipline. I love that about God.

What does God want you to work on today? Ask Him and then listen for His thoughts. Don't worry; it will turn out for the best!

When a Woman has Legs of Steel

"You can't find firm footing in a swamp, but life rooted in God stands firm."

Proverbs 12:3

Flamingos have legs that look like rebar, so it makes sense to me that they have very strong and sturdy legs...

Have you ever had jello legs? Or, legs so heavy it feels like you are dredging up all the mud in a swamp? Have you been in postitions that have caused you to feel like your legs are about to give out from under you and cause you to fall? 

I have.

It's taken a few years to grow strong legs. Legs as strong as steel. And, I know they still have some growing to do. 

When a woman has legs of steel

She knows how to stand firm in her convictions. She has direction, purpose, hope, and peace. She is grateful-everyday. She admits to her mistakes. She forgives. She finds her safety in Jesus. She is not easily offended. She is willing to take a risk.

When a woman has legs of steel

She is clothed in Jesus, she exudes His strength. She knows He is the Armor that gives her the ability to stand firm against the devils schemes and his strategies. She is able to stand her ground when the enemy of her soul bombards her with lies. She walks in integrity and truth, her heart is upright. She faces the enemy with firm-footed stability and carries the shield of faith in her hands ready to extinguish the blazing arrows that come her way.

When a woman has legs of steel

She knows she cannot face life alone. She walks with the sword of the Spirit steady in her hand. She reaches for her family and her friends. She prays with deep honesty and listens with hope. When she falls, she gets back up!

When a woman has legs of steel

She has learned from her jello legs. She allows the times of being in the swamp to become her testimony of who God is and how He rescued her. She does not sway by the opinions of men, but stands with great stability in the identity of Jesus.

When a woman has legs of steel

She does not compete. She is not jealous. She knows when to stay, and when to walk away. She understands there is a season for all things. She accepts her self as God sees her. She works towards balance, but doesn't condemn herself when  balance is only an idea or "should" herself and others. She does not have a need to conform to the world around her. She stays present, and stands on the Rock that saves her. She is unique.

When a woman has legs of steel

She supports her loved ones. She knows she is created equal to the man she stands by. She is humble enough to follow, and bold enough to lead. She remains down-to earth; while at the same time she keeps a firm grip on life as she assuredly walks out her Godly purpose. 

When a woman has legs of steel

She learns to be flexible in the little things of life, while remaining constant in her convictions. She has grace towards others. She does not judge herself or others. She is grounded in love, rooted in mercy, raised to praise, tender, wonderful, lovely, joyful, inspirational, positive, helpful, motivated.

When a woman has legs of steel

She truly does see through the eyes of God, and she sees treasure everywhere. She gives her cares to Him and lives in freedom.

She is as carefree as a flamingo!!

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