Bethany's BlogWords of Encouragement

A Willing Vessel



Let it be to me according to your Word.

Luke 1:38

These are  the words Mary said when the angel told her the the Holy Spirit would come upon her and she would conceive a child. Mary was very young herself, maybe as young as 14 years old, yet her wisdom was far beyond her age.  Imagine the impossibility of ths situation!  She was well aware of all that she was about to face, the scrutiny, the mockery, the rejection...yet she was still able to say "let it be".  Could you do it?

I've been asking myself this question.  God has brought me to many places of surrender.  He has heard me say several times "Let it be."  Yet, never have i been placed in the position that Mary was placed in.  Not that extreme.  My faith has been tested in many ways, yes, and I bet yours has too.  But, what if God came right now and told me I was with child?  That would be crazy....because it's impossible.  Just like it was impossible with Mary.  But, if I said to Him, "Let it be according to your word" and, then moved forward with telling my family and my friends that a child was on the way.  Um, they would more than likely think I was crazy.  They may challenge my way of thinking and encourage me to go talk to someone and process my thoughts. Some people would laugh at me, feel sorry for me, mock me, safeguard their children from me.  It would not be a fun time for anyone!

This is how I imagined it for Mary.  She lived with the impossible growing inside of her, and in her heart she knew that all she could do was let it be according to the Word she had heard.  She probably had moments of doubt, but still stepped forward in faith.  She was sometimes afraid, but courage lifted her through it. 

When the impossible starts to grow bigger than the possible I'm going to repeat this verse. "Let it be according to your Word." There is nothing, and I mean NOTHING, in His Word, that is impossible.  Instead, His Word says I'm Possible, and it's because of that first moment that Mary said "Let it be to me according to your Word."  

A willing vessel.

The Woman Ruth Followed


So they both went until they came to Bethlehem. And when they had come to Bethlehem, all the city was stirred  because of them, and the women said, "Is this Naomi?"  She said to them, " Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara, for the Alighty has dealt very bitterly with me. I went out full, but the Lord has brought me back empty. Why do you call me  Naomi, since the Lord has witnessed against me and the Almighty has afflicted me?"

I Spent some time reading about Naomi and Ruth this week, and as I delved more into the story, my heart grew in compassion and understanding of her life. I have four sons of my own, and three of them are married, so I found myself stepping into Naomi's shoes and imaginig her situation.  She left her country with her husband and two sons and went to a place that God had forbidden them to go.  We don't really know how Naomi felt about going there, maybe she didn't have a choice, she simply followed her family.  Then, once she was there she made a home for them.  Her husband died.  Her sons married wives from the foreign country. Then her sons died. This did not look good for her at all.  

At this point, Naomi decides that she is going to go back to her homeland. Her two daughter in-laws want to follow her.  She says no.  One of them seems relieved and goes back to her parents, the other, Ruth, sticks to her like glue.  This is where I begin to really admire Naomi!  What has she done throughout the years to love and develop relationship at such a deep level that her daughter in-law is stuck to her like glue?  Naomi has lost her family, she is angry and bitter, she does not hold that back. She tells God how disappointed she is in how He has dealt with her.  She doesn't seem to recognize the gift of Ruth, she tries to send her away! Yet, Ruth loves her so much and wants to be with her that she will not go!

I admire Naomi. She knew how to build legacy even through crisis. She had the strength of God's Spirit, the ability to be authentic, and true grit!

God Labels

Last Sunday we visited the church our son and daughter in law attend. We went there to witness our grandaughters dedication. It was a momentous occasion, and we were excited to be there, of course. After her dedication, the paster gave his sermon, and I've been thinking about it all week. So, I decided I would share some thoughts with you.  So, the idea of his sermon was to emphasize how we tend to label ourselves and  others. He started by asking how it would feel if someone came into your house with a labeler  and started to randomly toss labels on all your stuff.  Chair. Dog. Table. Husband. Kid. Window. Floor. Nose. Leg. etc... It would be wierd, and probably out of your comfort zone.  Yet, most of us at some point have done this very thing.  We label ourselves inside our minds.  Stupid. Ugly. Not good enough. Unable. etc...Or, we label others, you know how it goes....The conclusion to all of this was that there is only One that has the authority to label us, and that is the Almighty God. If the labels we give ourselves do not align with the truth He has said about us, then it is imperitive that we throw those labels away. 

If you catch yourself throwing a label someone else's way, and it's not what God is saying , don't place that label on them. They don't need it. Give them a God label and reinforce His truth in their life.

When we Pray

GOD'S there, listening for all who pray, for all who pray and mean it.

Psalms 145:18

As some of you know, I had surgery a couple of weeks ago on my shoulder. The first few days were tough for me as I battled pain, discouragment, exhaustion, and dread for the upcoming months of recovery. It all looked tough, and the only prayer I could muster up was "Jesus." 

Some of the questions rolling around in my head didn't have answers.  And, as I repeated the name of Jesus over and over, His response was also on repeat,  "Never give up!" 

I thought I was suppose to surrender?  At least that is what Jesus is always telling me, or so I thought, and now in my painful, discouraged, exhausted, pain-killer state of mind I'm hearing Him say that I need to fight?

"Jesus?" I say, "I just surrendered everything there is to fight for, I give it all up for you.  Should I take it back?"

Well, so the conversation continued. God and I. I talked, He listened.  He talked, I listened.  It was good. Mostly, it still came back to "Oh, Jesus!".  I love the verse in Romans 8:26-27--In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts know what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

This week is much better for me.  My shoulder is healing like it has super powers, really it's God powers.  I've been able to sleep more the past three of four days than I've slept in months, and I do not feel discouraged or in severe pain.  Through my constant repeats, God was there listening to me.  He sent His Spirit to give me exactly what I needed, even when I didn't know I was receiveing it at the time. He was filling me up, keeping promises He had made to me, loving me, and holding me close.  

When we pray, this is what prayer does.

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