Bethany Dillon

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Powerful and Effective May 14, 2010

Filed under: Life — bethanydillon @ 4:34 pm
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This past weekend in Lubbock with the Barnard fam was SO fun, but to be honest, more than half of the time I was being weighed down by a load of insecurity, fear, doubt. I kept looking ahead at this next season and feeling completely and utterly inadequate. Frustrated that I couldn’t FEEL as confident as I want to. You know what I’m talking about? It was a battle of a couple of days, and then I finally, really experienced some freedom on Tuesday… through the wise words and tender heart of my husband, and through the Lord speaking in the ordinariness of that day. My heart is just so encouraged looking back at this weekend. As simple as it sounds, walking through those moments/days/weeks with Him, and witnessing His patience and faithfulness towards you in it is staggering. Life changing. Love-causing.

Remember how I was sharing how clearly the Lord spoke to me last week about consistency and discipline? (See: “Square One”.) Ever since then, there’s been something different. The attitude of my heart has changed. And I know it isn’t my efforts doing it. It’s very tangibly not of me… I think some words that keep coming to my mind are:

HUMILITY. CONSISTENCY. EXPECTANCY.

I was sharing with my DEAR friend Kari the other day on Skype that “humility” was something the Lord so clearly spoke to me at the beginning of this year. That word has already marked these past five+ months, and I’m sure will be carved in even deeper in the next seven. Lots of correction, lots of being confronted with the things in me that offend Him. Lots of my mind being changed, and my heart following.

Consistency — I’ve already kinda shared with y’all what He’s speaking in that. I avoid the mundane, and in so doing, miss out on the extraordinary that He has for me. I’m praying for His help in it… to keep coming and digging and seeking, even when I would rather do a thousand other things more.

But expectancy… that word has been like a flashing neon sign in my heart the last few days.

For example: Shane got the stomach bug Tuesday night, which was so sad. I think the only thing worse than being sick like that is having to watch your spouse be sick like that and not being able to do anything about it. At around 2:30am that night, after multiple times of getting sick, we sat up in bed and prayed for relief for him. Do you know how often I pray for healing with expectancy? Uhh… not often. I was struck by the words of our missions pastor at church a couple weeks ago when she reminded us that He is our HEALER… and then we had a time of praying for healing for people. I’m sure we all have the same reasons for hesitancy to that. We don’t want to be weird. We don’t want to pray for something and then it not happen. And, even in the heart-motives, we don’t want to lift up physical well-being and make an idol out of it (which I can so easily do). But… does that negate the fact that He is our Healer? Shane still felt pretty bad last night, and while we were praying for other things together, we prayed for healing for him. He woke up this morning, still had a sour stomach, and we’re still praying. With expectancy.

We have some new friends in our life that we aren’t sure know Jesus. All the circumstances surrounding them, their familiarity with “churchy” things, and countless other reasons pile up to make it seem pretty much impossible. IMPOSSIBLE. I could share more, but I’ll just leave it at that. So, what do we do? We pray with EXPECTANCY to God, to whom salvation belongs. In a second, He can open their eyes, soften their hearts, draw them to Himself through His Son. It hasn’t happened yet, but we’re praying, knowing that it can.

This morning, in my journal, these were the things I felt led to write down, stare at, and remember that He is completely able in:

In the impossible. In the tragic. In the unknown. In the hopeless places and moments. In helpless feelings.

He is ABLE! HE IS ABLE!

So… why do I drag my feet in bringing those things to Him?

When I read these verses today, I felt them pointed directly at me:

“The Lord sets the prisoners free; the Lord opens the eyes of the blind.

The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down; the Lord loves the righteous.” [psalm 146:7,8]

Read those out loud. He DOES those things. He does the impossible! He sets the prisoners free— read Acts 12, the account of Peter being busted out of jail in the middle of the night by an angel. It was so impossible that he thought he was dreaming. He opens the eyes of the blind— after 65 years of life, Shane witnessed his dad’s gruff, self-made-man, burnt by the church heart be completely changed by the blood of Jesus. If you ever get the chance to ask him about it, or hear him talk about it, it was impossible. He lifts up those who are bowed down— my sister Kate has just walked through the hardest three years of her life. I have first hand seen the Lord be a Husband to her… a Provider. A father to her son, Cohen. He painted the picture in Hosea 2:14 in her life: “I will bring her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her,” – and it is a beautiful thing to behold.

He loves the righteous. If you’ve been around the church at all, you’ve probably heard that famous verse,

“The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” [james 5:16]

I have read and heard that verse so many times and felt SO disqualified. Righteous? Me? James must have been talking about someone who prays five hours a day, or is living on the mission field in Africa, or volunteers all their free time to a homeless shelter. Surely. But I forget the Gospel! Is THAT what makes a man or woman righteous before God?

“But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known…

This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.” [romans 3:21,22]

We are righteous because of Jesus, and therefore, (try and hear this with new ears today, friend) He loves us … AND, our prayers before Him are powerful and effective.

That… is… HUGE. If that doesn’t create God-glorifying expectancy in your heart as you steal away for time with Him today, I don’t know what will.

Love y’all.

Beth

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16 Responses to “Powerful and Effective”

  1. Megan Says:

    Bethany,
    Thank you so much for posting this!!! It meant alot to me this morning!!! especially the Bible verses…
    I love reading your blogs 🙂
    love,
    Megan K.

  2. Maria Says:

    Beth! It is SUCH a blessing to me that you wrote this today. This past Monday at my Bible study, we studied 1 Timothy 2:1-4, which says:
    “I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone – for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.”
    And it hit me with the same kind of humility I think you are talking about here – that we are supposed to pray for salvation for ALL; meaning even for those for whom we may find it impossible! Of course, before, I would have never said out loud that I believed salvation to be ‘impossible’ for anyone, but my lack of prayer for people certainly communicated that that’s what I believed. Shame on me! And not only does that give me a new sense of humility but a new sense of hope – what a difference it makes in my heart when I am praying for something with belief rather than just praying for it out of obligation – do you know what I mean? I’m so glad God makes all things possible. That kind of hope is so desperately precious, isn’t it?
    Thanks for sharing! 🙂 Hope your weekend is lovely!

  3. Ashley Says:

    Bethany,
    Thank you so much for that today, you have no idea what that meant to me. I’m dealing with a situation where I am waiting on God to do something He’s told me He’d do, but it truly does seem impossible. I was having some doubts today thinking about it, because it involves Him having to completely change this person that has been brought into my life, and reading this was Him telling me that it’s only impossible by my standards, not His. You’re awesome 🙂

  4. Brian Cambra Says:

    This was sooo incredibly uplifting and just what I needed to hear.

  5. Julianne Says:

    Beth – I wanted to thank you for your message today. I have been struggling with the same things. Specifically in believing that my prayers for healing (praying with expectancy) could be answered. For a long time I have been dealing with a heart condition that for one reason or another has become more of an issue within the last month. I’m seeing another Dr. on Monday to discuss a new procedure that may cure this condition! I am lifting the whole situation up to God, but have to admit that I haven’t had much hope in my prayers. Having dealt with this condition for so long, I guess I find it hard to believe that it could cured…that I could live any other way. Your blog was a wake up call – I had forgotten how powerful (He is Able!) God is…he is our healer.

    I will add your husband to my prayer list and hope he feels better soon. Thanks again.

  6. Erin L Says:

    Beth,
    I thank you for your words. As a child, I fantasized about communicating with my favorite Christian artists…how I was SURE that the effect their songs had on me meant something to them…But I never sent the letters I poured my heart into. Especially Amy Grant….especially when I found out she was stepping back from music and her marriage. Fast forward 15ish years…I hear “Lead Me On”…but by a new voice. What? I had put her CDs (and cassettes) away. I couldn’t sing along without feeling some pain-I had wanted to be her when I grew up and couldn’t face the idea of being someone who was willing to give up so easily (it seemed). I began to listen to your lyrics and melodies…and have been blessed!

    Thankfully, I came across your blog after reading Kate’s for almost a year (don’t ask how I didn’t see her links)…I must say that I feel like God’s got us on the same roller coaster of sorts. I am a newlywed but not yet pregnant…that doesn’t mean I don’t have similar fears to what is to come and being equipped. I have been reading for weeks and been SO blessed by your words…words essentially from a stranger…but words that have been on the button for me.
    Thank you for sharing your heart and being vulnerable. Thank you for being bold with your words. Your experiences give me something to consider each time I read them.

    Expectancy and restoration have been on my heart…ironically, those things are successful with consistency and humility. Argh. God’s lessons can be so simple and yet so hard-not to mention somehow SO difficult to hear. Good thing He is consistent with my stubbornness!

    I guess I should wrap up, but I hope you are taking time to take it all in for yourself and your Maker…and Lucy’s Maker too! (I’m also secretly praying that when I’m in Dallas at the end of this month that I’ll run into you.) And here’s to thoughts being read by others…whether intimate friends or someone we’ll meet in heaven!
    Erin

    PS-I’ve been also meaning to comment and tell you my sister’s name is Lucy and LOVE that it is your daughter’s name!

  7. Shelley Says:

    Oh mansies, Beth, thank you so much for clinging to His truth and being obedient to His word and sharing this with the world. The Lord used to remind me of HIs faithfulness and strength. I have spent the last two months in Italy, and I got back this week. Today, I am really struggling with contentment and being back with my family, who are not believers. Last week, I was preparing to come back home and I read Psalm 146 and just felt so rejuvenated and excited to see what the Lord was going to do this summer with my fam. However, somewhere in the shuffle of flights and traveling, I became discontented and frustrated. So, thank you so much for reminding me that He is able, and that we are never alone.

    You are such a blessing. Praying for Shane and that the Lord would just give peace to his stomach.

  8. leslie Says:

    Wow, I love this! Thanks for helping me see the big picture and tying everything together:)

  9. Sarai Says:

    I was having a conversation about this very thing with a dear friend earlier today. There are several areas in my life where my prayers skirt around the exact issue at hand because my head tells me “There’s just no hope for that” or “It’s a lost cause” or “You know that will never work out”. Then, God reminds me that he’s bigger than generational sin and relationship issues and financial instability and unjust in the world. HE IS BIGGER. Thanks for yet another reminder that I have to remember his big-ness when I pray FULLY EXPECTING Him to show up.

  10. jenjen Says:

    Just finished “This Present Darkness” a few minutes ago. We are all prayer warriors. Know that when you pray in the Spirit you are working in the unseen!

  11. Toni Says:

    Hi Beth,

    Thank you again for sharing your heart! Just as everyone else wrote I am moved to want to know our God can do the impossible and expect that.

    I started reading John Piper’s “The pleasures of God yesterday after reading your blog about going back to square one. I haven’t even gotten to the first chapter and I have already been brought to my knees. Keep writing! You are gifted!

  12. Marisa Ferreira Says:

    Thanks, Beth, for letting your thoughts be driven by the Spirit of God. I’ve been thinking a lot about the power of prayer, and wondered if I should start living it differently than I’m living now… Your words were a great push to me!! Even if you don’t know me (or ever will), my heart is grateful for your life, and I pray that God uses you for His glory more than you could ever hope for. Love,
    Marisa, from Portugal

  13. H Fields Says:

    Dear Beth,
    Doubts and insecurity are ever present in human ‘beans’. Some are blessed with abundant & active courage to balance us. You likely are one of those souls who’ve maintained your ‘center’ via ministry in areas of natural strengths and gifting with little effort. As you approach this next chapter there are unknown arena’s to discover and ‘perform’ in as you minister to Lucy. Trepidation is a given and will propel you to even deeper faith.

    As motherhood grows you into an instrument of God’s provision for your child, I pray it will empower you with childlike faith able to move mountains. GOD BLESS your family
    with rhyme, reason and resonance for use in HIS service!
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    ‘The Hidden Smile of God’:
    Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
    But trust him for his grace;
    Behind a frowning providence
    He hides a smiling face.
    WILLIAM COWPER
    “GOD MOVES IN A MYSTERIOUS WAY ”

  14. Denea Says:

    Incredible, Friend. A very moving piece on the powerful reality of our Savior’s grace, love, redemption and so much more. I was nearly brought to tears by your beautifully articulated account of a divine revelation. I am inspired, Friend. Thank you for that.

    Have a blessed day, and congrats on the soon-to-arrive Little One!

  15. Mercy Says:

    Beth,

    From what ive seen and heard you are heaps HUMBLE!! and I am struggling with pride so much and praying that the Lord would remove any traces so I will have MORE MORE MORE of Him and less of me… growing weaker to grow stronger… HUMILITY HUMILITY and CONSISTENCY two things I will be asking the Lord for this week!! awesome. God bless 🙂


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