Bethany's BlogWords of Encouragement

When You Need Courage

  

 

 

Though the fig tree does not blossom and there is no fruit on the vines, though the yield of the olive fails and the fields produce no food, though the flock is cut off from the fold and there are no cattle in the stalls, yet I will [choose to] rejoice in the Lord; I will [choose to] shout in exultation in the [victorious] God of my salvation! The Lord God is my strength [my source of courage, my invincible army]; He has made my feet [steady and sure] like hinds’ feet and makes me walk [forward with spiritual confidence] on my high places [of challenge and responsibility].

Habakkuk 3:17-19

God promises over and over in His Word that He will strengthen those that trust in Him. He promises to give us confidence that is as sure-footed as a deer, when we live in faith.

I will be the first to admit that I have worked through and still work through some serious doubts when it comes to God’s promises. The beauty of this process is that God is right there beside me as I question, wonder, doubt, and sometimes run around in circles. So far in life, He has brought me to a place of stronger faith and boldness, even though I can wallow in doubt. I’ve told myself numerous times that it would be much easier for me, and probably those around me, if I skipped the doubt, the questions, and sometimes fear and simply believe. Yet, it isn’t always that easy, is it? 

The days that I feel like the fruitless vine, or the fig tree without any blossoms, or a failure like the olive tree, I have discovered that if I voice it and still praise His name anyway, I truly am strengthened. Sometimes I am strengthened a lot, other times just a little, but every time, He is there.

When my courage falters, and I turn to praise Him, He lifts me up to walk in a sure-footed path. It can be slow, but it does happen.

We live in a world that bombards us with negative thoughts and bad news. We are surrounded with lies from the enemy every day. It can suck the strength right out of our hearts if we are not diligent in our focus on who God is and what He promises us. 

If I am not willing to get up from under the fruitless vine, or the withered fig tree and praise Him for all that He has said; it will be very challenging to see beyond the circumstances I am sitting in. When I choose to move, I will lead a movement. When I choose to trust, I will believe. When I choose to stand, I will lead in boldness. When I choose to rejoice, I will be victorious.

If discouragement covers your heart today, take heart! God sees and hears you and He will lift you out. He will bring you to places of great strength and faith when you are able to place your trust in His promises. Talk to Him about it and don’t be afraid to be real with Him. He listens. He knows. And, as you confide in Him, He certainly will make you walk forward with spiritual confidence. 

Share your story today of how God continues to walk alongside you, even though.

The Goodness of God

 

 

 

 

  

Bethel Music sings many songs that are fitting for this time. I especially love The Goodness of God. 

"I love you Lord, for your mercy never fails me. 

I've been held in Your hands from the moment that I wake up, until I lay my head, I will sing of the goodness of God.

Because all my life You have been faithful....Your goodness is running after me."

I asked myself after listening to this song "Am I thinking about the goodness of God more than the Covid-19 virus?" The answer? Not always. I have to intentionally counter the "what if's" with the goodness of God. Every day when I want to gather my entire family, protect them, run after them in desperate measures to keep them safe, I have to counter the thought with God running! Yes, He is running after them to keep them always in His care. He is an active living God, His mercy never ends. He is the safety we all seek. 

Oh my God! You are so very good all the time--even when I feel anxious, bored, lonely, afraid, or desperate. Always good! I have had previous times in my life that I have felt all of these and I did not fully understand the depth of God's great goodness. I did not understand who He is.

"The earth, O Lord, is full of Your lovingkindness and goodness; Teach me Your statues."

Psalms 119:64

Read that again. "The earth, O Lord, is full of Your lovingkindness and goodness."  The entire earth, is full of His goodness. We are part of that goodness. Our actions towards others, the thoughts that compel us to live in truth, the hope and light we carry---all goodness. His goodness. 

The song continues saying that all my life God has been so good---even during things like the coronavirus--God is so, so good.  "I love your voice You have led me through the fire and in darkest  night You are closer like no other. I've known You as a Father, I've known You as a Friend, and I have lived in the goodness of God, yeah, 'cause your goodness is running after, it's running after me."

Every. Single. Day.

I like to watch the news. I'm working on not watching it as often, because it challenges the truth of Who God is. In the midst of bad news I forget that He is running after me all day long. So, I replace the news with praise music, thoughts of hope, and images of my Gods amazing marathon abilities to tirelessly run after me. It is so, so good!

What do you need to do today to remember the goodness of God?

Jesus Doesn't do Social Distancing

Nevertheless I am continually with You; You have taken hold of my right hand. 

Psalms 73:23

We live in a society that loves to socialize. We get together and worship together, meet friends for coffee, some hang out in bars, we visit each other's homes and go to movies together. It's good for us to hang out together and develop those treasured relationships.

Now, with social distancing due to the coronavirus, many people are staying at home and postponing social events. I can imagine for those that love to socialize, it is a challenge. Others that may be a little more introverted; it's a welcome haven! I'm more the introvert, although I miss my family and friends.

This morning I was reading about bondservants. During this time in our country it is helpful for me to remember that I am a bondservant of Jesus. I am bonded to Him and He to me; there is no social distancing involved! This means that wherever He goes, I go. Whatever I'm doing, He is there with me to guide  and love me. Because I am continually binding myself to Him, I will never be alone, not even in times of crisis.

We have an opportunity during this time to trust in the nature of God. He does not change. He is always there to give us good and perfect gifts and when we become aware of the immense goodness He has, we are able to see in the dark. God is God all the time, His love doesn't change. He isn't going to love you more tomorrow then today. He is always going to be kind towards you. When you and I learn to trust in WHO He is, our world changes to be more like His. When we live believing we are bonded to Him, then we can see and taste His goodness. When we see and taste the goodness of God we are able to overcome the lies that try so hard to bombard our worlds.

Today, I am praying for our world, country, states, cities, and communities. I am praying for health and safety. Mostly though, I am praying that we will all see the goodness of God and choose to be bonded to Him forever. 

How can I pray for you?

 

 

Love over Fear

 

When we live our lives within the shadow of God Most High, our secret hiding place, we will always be shielded from harm. How then could evil prevail against us or disease infect us?

Psalms 91:8

I have a confession. I bought extra toilet paper. Not a lot, but yes, a few rolls. There's been way more discussion on toilet paper than I've ever seen, and I've joined in on some of the funny stuff we see on social media. The reality is, if I am not able to get to the store, the extra toilet paper will come in handy for my family. 

The coronavirus has already made an impact on our lives. Plans have been cancelled. Hands have been extra clean. Friends have been stuck on cruise ships. Faith has been challenged as fear grows. Critics have blamed and pointed fingers. It's a big topic!

It's hard when our normal routines or travel plans are disrupted. It is scary to see an unknown virus creep through the country. It can be challenging to stay in a place of peace and be assured that whatever turn life takes, God is there. God will calm the fears when we ask. God will give wisdom, when we seek it. God will shield us from evil, just like any parent would shield their child. He is there to walk the journey with us.

When I listen to the news I can feel the anxiety begin to seep through my pores. There's so much bad news, all the time. When this happens, and I pray for help, I receive His presence of peace. I receive a reassurance that wherever i go, He will go too. He will be there to shield our hearts from the lies the enemy throws our way. He will be there to help us process the fear, which is a dangerous disease of the heart. He is there to give wisdom so we will know how to maneuver through the threats of life, and there will be threats. Things will happen that we do not understand, still He will be there. He is always there.

The lives of some have been far more impacted than mine. When disease strikes and lives are lost, questions arise. Faith is challenged. Fear can get a stronger hold. I am praying that I will have compassion on those that feel this way, or have walked through such losses. When I'm the one feeling fear or loss, I pray that I will have compassion upon myself, and that others will too. Judgment of someone else's fear does not dissapate their fear! Love, on the other hand, will instill peace. This is what Jesus does.

"I know I walk in the flesh where Coronavirus threatens me, but I do not war in the flesh. My weapons are mighty through God and i have the resurrected Jesus Christ within me. I have the power to pull down the stronghold of Coronavirus over my family, and I choose to cast down every imagination abut this virus that torments my mind. I command every thought about Coronavirus to line up with the Word of God and become obedient to Christ." Shawn Bolz 

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