the other side of the fence

Along with economic loss and social changes (as mandatory mask wearing or socially distanced regulations), this pandemic has brought fear, isolation, loneliness, depression, and despair.

The statistics we are not hearing about often come from some of the above.

Let’s take a look on the other side of the fence.

Suicide!

It has been one month since 12 year old Hayden Hunstable took his life just days before his 13th birthday. I didn’t know him, but God loved him, his family loved him, and his dad is doing amazing to educate about the devastating affects of isolation.

You can read more about his particular story and what his dad is now doing by following this link:

https://www.haydenscorner.org/

Today, join me in praying for the “social and emotional development of our youth.”*

“Support non-profits focused on gaming and technology psychology, addiction, and abuse among children and young adults.”*

Also, pray for the many healthcare workers families who snapped during this crisis and took their own lives. I can’t imagine the sorrow felt by loved ones left behind.

These are crazy and unprecedented times. But, always keep the fact that God is in control, on His throne, and always near and dear to whoever calls upon Him. He is always as close as the mention of His name.

Call upon Jesus often as you daily pray for those on the other side of the fence.

Let us all strive to…

be.the.light

especially to the hurting world around us. People need to know there is a loving God who offers hope and suicide is not the answer to the hopelessness they may feel.

God does and will use everything for good. May we all feel His love and peace even in the midst of great sorrow.

The Lord is close to everyone who calls out to Him, to all who call out to Him sincerely.” Psalm 145.18

*quoted from the above website link

© 2020 be.the.church aclearberry All Rights Reserved

new year; new theme

Happy New Year!

What is your plan for today? Tomorrow? This year?

Do you have a theme? I do. Want to know?

Well, my personal theme for the year coming up is HOPE so I wanted to change the blog name to go with a more less in your face churchy name. Would love to know what you think. Yes, we are to be the church by offering hope and when we do we shine our lights bright so now I say go…

be.the.light!

So, here comes bethelight focus going forward for after all being the light avails us to make the world a little brighter. I dare you to try each and every day of 2020 and beyond. The following might help: A Very Strong Prayer for the New Year! May it bless you. It is called: A Prayer to Keep God First This New Year By Debbie McDaniel

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5.17

Dear God,

Thank You that you make all things new. Thank You for all that You’ve allowed into our lives this past year, the good along with the hard things, which have reminded us how much we need You and rely on Your presence filling us every single day.

We pray for Your Spirit to lead us each step of this New Year. We ask that You will guide our decisions and turn our hearts to deeply desire You above all else. We ask that You will open doors needing to be opened and close the ones needing to be shut tight. We ask that You would help us release our grip on the things to which You’ve said “no,” “not yet,” or “wait.” We ask for help to pursue You first, above every dream and desire You’ve put within our hearts.

We ask for Your wisdom, for Your strength, and power to be constantly present within us. We pray You would make us strong and courageous for the road ahead. Give us ability beyond what we feel able, let Your gifts flow freely through us, so that You would be honored by our lives and others would be drawn to You.

We pray that You’d keep us far from the snares and traps of temptations. That You would whisper in our ear when we need to run and whisper in our heart when we need to stand our ground.

We pray for Your protection over our families and friends. We ask for Your hand to cover us and keep us distanced from the evil intent of the enemy; that You would be a barrier to surround us, that we’d be safe in Your hands. We pray that You would give us discernment and insight beyond our years, to understand Your will, hear Your voice, and know Your ways.

We ask that You would keep our footsteps firm, on solid ground, helping us to be consistent and faithful. Give us supernatural endurance to stay the course, not swerving to the right or to the left or being too easily distracted by other things that would seek to call us away from a close walk with You.

Forgive us for the times we have worked so hard to be self-sufficient, forgetting our need for You, living independent of Your spirit. Forgive us for letting fear and worry control our minds, and for allowing pride and selfishness wreak havoc over our lives. Forgive us for not following Your ways and for living distant from Your presence.

We confess our need for You… fresh… new… again. We ask that You make all things new, in our hearts, in our minds, in our lives, for this coming year. We pray for Your refreshing over us.

Keep Your words of truth planted firm within us, help us to keep focused on what is pure and right, give us the power to be obedient to Your Word. And when the enemy reminds us where we have been, hissing his lies and attacks our way, we trust that Your voice speaks louder and stronger, as You remind us we are safe with You and Your purposes and plans will not fail. We ask that You will be our defense and rear guard, keeping our way clear, removing the obstacles, and covering the pitfalls. Lord, lead us on Your level ground.

We ask that You would provide for our needs, we ask for Your grace and favor. We pray for Your blessings to cover us, we pray that You would help us to prosper and make every plan that You have birthed in our heart to succeed. We pray that others would take notice of Your goodness and could not help but to say: “These are the ones that the Lord has blessed.”

Help us to be known as great givers, help us to be generous and kind, help us to look to the needs of others and not be consumed by only our own. May we be lovers of truth, may the fruits of Your Spirit be evident in our lives – Your love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

Shine Your light in us, through us, over us. May we make a difference in this world, for Your glory and purposes. Set Your way before us. May all Your plans succeed. May we reflect Your peace and hope to a world that so desperately needs Your presence and healing.

To You be glory and honor, in this New Year and forever.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen

Mark, pin, copy, save – do what you have to keep this close at hand and read as often as needed so you can…

be.the.light

the whole year through.

May this new year challenge us all to live brighter lives for our Lord and King Jesus Christ. Amen

By the way, I was going to change to blog name to bethelight but that was taken so I looked into bethehope. That was taken too. Any suggestions or stick with bethechurch???

© 2020 be.the.light aclearberry all rights reserved

another wedding

This year certainly will have its fill of weddings and sadly funerals too. So far, I have attended 4 funerals and missed one when out of town. Today is wedding number 4 with another next month.

To attend a wedding says: I am included, I am a part of an extended community to support the newlyweds, and I matter to those who do the inviting. The opposite is true of a funeral as we don’t get invited but rather just show up.

Yet, attending still says I am included, I am a part of the extended community to offer support, and I mattered to the deceased but also to those left living.

We can be great ministers of encouragement as we offer hope in both scenarios.

Yet, most of us might agree attending another wedding might be a wee bit more easy to do so.

However, that is not always the case. There could be past hurts or broken relationships you stumble upon. There could be people in attendance that have years of heaviness against another. That was the case at my own wedding as my folks hadn’t literally talked in years let alone be in the same room.

I prayed they would be on their best behavior yet I also knew I needed to meet them where they were at – no pushing for group photos or sitting them next to one another.

That can be tricky to navigate but it got me thinking. It is tricky because we humans make life messy. We don’t always follow the plan set out before us nor desire to seek it. We want to do our own thing. I pray this new union I will witness today puts God first and then each other. So often our own sin rooted in selfishness sabotages our ability to function as Christ desires us to.

If you are married and feel your marriage has gone stale or there is nothing left in common:

  • revisit your dating days
  • take turns planning special evenings together
  • rekindle the flame that got the fire burning in the first place

I pray you can stick it out and be a living testimony of faithfulness and love.

(Of course, if you are in an abusive relationship this does not apply. Make sure you and any offspring are safe is the priority.)

Married or not, we all will partake in the wedding feast of the Lord one day.

What are you doing now to secure your place in heaven?

Well, there is nothing you can do except accept the loving grace and forgiveness God offers. And that, my friend, is a precious gift and so needed to transform our lives to be more Christlike.

So, now ask yourself, who am I sharing my faith with so they too can acknowledge the saving grace of Christ?

Everyone of us on planet earth are in need of a Savior.

Everyone of us need His grace, love, and mercy.

Everyone of us have the opportunity to be kingdom bound and kingdom minded.

Lay up for yourself treasure in heaven…”. Matthew 6.20

The only treasure I know worth storing up is what we do serving the Lord and helping others come to know Him.

Remember: The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. Instead He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3.9

So if you find yourself at another wedding or funeral for that matter, try to be a peacemaker to whomever you find yourself sitting with or conversing with.

Offer hope, peace, and help them see their need of a Savior.

That is how to…

be.the.church

Here’s some previous posts about weddings and funerals:

https://bethechurch.home.blog/2019/05/11/weddings-and-funerals/

https://bethechurch.home.blog/2019/05/17/wedding-month-learn-to-communicate/

https://bethechurch.home.blog/2019/05/31/funeral-clothes/

© 2019 be.the.church aclearberry all rights reserved

what is faith

Faith is believing in something beyond yourself. Something you can’t see or smell or touch. It is like having hope but mixed with love.

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Hebrews 11.1

Maybe you have let your faith go. Know it is never to late to realize what is important in your life and to fight for it. Everyday we are alive can be considered a miracle. Have faith that today God hears you, cares for you, and is in control.

If you have never trusted Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior why not do that right now.

Simple say: “God forgive me, thank You for sending Your Son to die on the cross in my place, I accept You as Lord and Savior and will do my best in faith to follow You all the rest of my earthly days. Amen

The Bible says the angels rejoice when one sinner comes to Christ. If that is you, do let us know in the comments so we can congratulate you and welcome you to the family of believers.

I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” Luke 15.10

If you are already saved, perhaps there is an area in your life you need to put your full faith in to. Trust God with all the details.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.” Proverbs 3.5

Here’s some more verses to boost your faith:

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Hebrews 13.8

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” Romans 15.8

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.” Isaiah 26.3

“…all things are possible to him who believes.” Mark 9.23b

Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” Mark 9.24b

So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” Romans 10.17

Read The Word, build your faith, and

be.the.church

*inspired from the words of the minister in the movie Premonition

© 2019 be.the.church aclearberry all rights reserved

don’t pass them by

You are at a stop light and someone is there with a sign. They are hungry and cold. You feel guilty as you drive on by. I say have a few things ready you can hand out. Maybe stash a water bottle or self opening can good in your door compartment. Granola or protein bars are good options too. You could even have Ziploc bags or shoe boxes made up ready with all of the above plus some hygiene items and include a tract or small Bible. I like to give out cards with my church name, address, and service times. Who knows that person on the street may just be your next sister or brother in Christ.

If you have time, stop and buy a hot meal or coffee. If traveling in a city for work, vacay, or just the day, grab some burgers off a fast food dollar menu or have spare snacks in your bag ready to remove your guilt and meet a need.

Jesus said: “For I was hungry and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you took care of Me; I was in prison and you visited Me.’ “Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You something to drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or without clothes and clothe You? When did we see You sick, or in prison, and visit You? ’ “And the King will answer them, ‘I assure you: Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you did for Me.’” Matthew 25:35-40 HCSB

If we want the world to be a better place, we need to…

be.the.church

For people need the Lord, don’t pass them by. Your kindness and small offering may just be the seed to give them hope.

© 2019 be.the.church aclearberry all rights reserved

throwing away the cactus

It had been over four years and long past it’s time needing to be repotted. I had gotten small grow your own plant kits after the passing of my dad and gave them to all the nieces and nephews. I also grew some plants with clients and planted three seeds myself. Two cacti grew with one surviving these many years later. Then a period of three plus weeks of on and off traveling and the poor plant shriveled up and died. I had already killed the lilies and greens I had kept for several years after his passing. This plant was the last stitch of life tied to that dark time. I actually felt a little guilt as I threw the plant away almost like I had failed my father some how. I was sad as that plant had made me smile so often thinking of the good times with him. But the death of that plant reminded me of his slow death that ended similarly to how the cactus dehydrated, shriveled, and with no life left to give, died. But, the story doesn’t end there. There is hope in knowing death for the Christian is not the end. We will see our loved ones again.

And that is what this blessed season brings – hope! Just last week, we celebrated Resurrection Sunday.

The fact that Jesus died is glorious knowing He became the sinless sacrifice atoning for us. But, of course, the story doesn’t end there; it is just the beginning. His death birthed life for us eternally when He came out of that grave.

So don’t worry too much about things passing away here on earth, if you know Jesus as Lord, you will join Him in heaven with all the saints that have gone before.

What a glorious hope!

Thank You, Jesus

Spread the hope and…

be.the.church

© 2019 be.the.church aclearberry all rights reserved

the olfactory

Smells can often transport us. They can conjure up both good and sad memories.

After my father passed, we had some articles that I kept in the laundry room for several months and refused to have them washed. The smells would carry me to a place of peace combined with a ting of sorrow.

The day came when it was time to put those memories behind and do the wash, but if I close my eyes, I can still almost smell those items.

Some smells still bring me back to childhood carefree days.

Cotton candy and remembering going to the fairs.

Do you remember old fashioned penny candy? We called it such back in the day because it really was a penny a piece. Sometimes even three for a penny. I bet that brings back memories for some. Regardless, can you almost smell them off the page, right?

Marshmallow cones

Candy buttons

What’s your fave pictured above?

If I smell a big pot of sauce cooking on the stove, I am transported to my grandmother’s.

Tomato soup takes me all the way back to coming home from half day kindergarten which is sadly no longer a thing anymore.

Double and triple burgers or grilled cheeses stacked high remind me of growing boys or food competitions men make with each other.

I am sure you can think of lots of things that conjure up personal memories in your mind.

What smells remind you of days gone by? Please comment below.

I believe God uses our senses.

Sometimes it is to help us be sensitive. I say, when a memory flies through your brain, pause long enough to embrace it. Who knows? That smell that triggers that thought may just be preparing you for your next encounter.

We will never know all that another is going through but often can find common ground even through a smell that transports or unites our memories.

Thank God for all your senses if you have them. And if you don’t, thank Him for heightening the others. I am always amazed at the sense of smell someone who is blind has.

Our senses should remind us as they work together to give us information, so does the body of Christ work together to meet the needs of the church (I Corinthians 12).

It is good to walk down memory lane on occasion, but don’t get stuck in sorrow rather revel in the truth of what is to come.

“And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.Ephesians 5.2

When you do, you will…

be.the.church

© 2019 be.the.church aclearberry all rights reserved

the ‘c’ word

None of us can escape it. It is a word we fear to hear. And we all know a sister, brother, uncle, aunt, parent, grandparent, neighbor, or friend that has gotten it.

Just the mention of the word immediately draws us to those with the dreaded disease.

It is a pandemic of epic proportions.

But, so is sin!

Sin is a type of ‘cancer’ that is slowly killing the soul. Just like the disease that reeks havoc on your physical body, your spiritual body too is under attack and sin is at its core.

Stand firm and do not let the devil have a foothold.

Don’t let sin negate you from all you were born to be.

God has a plan and purpose for you.

Believe it!

Reach for it!

Make your very existence here all about living out the heavenly plan prepared for you even before the foundations of the earth were ever even formed.

And regardless of circumstance, you can still fulfill God’s plan for you.

If you are struggling through an illness, remember you can still be a witness.

If you are struggling in sin, find someone to be accountable to so the sin doesn’t take control.

Others are always watching to see how we navigate through the good but more importantly the bad. In sickness and in health, may we always shine bright for our Lord. Disease may pull strength from our bodies, but our spirits and souls that we will live with for all eternity can stay healthy, strong, and stable bearing witness for our Lord.

The enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10.10), don’t let him.

Look for the bigger picture beyond your own little world. There is a greater purpose you could be living out right now. We need to be the light in sickness or in health. Our hearts should break for what breaks God’s.

Get out of self and help others out in the world. Regardless if you, they, or no one has cancer because we all are dealing with sin on some level or another. Strive to be the healing touch in deed and action.

That is how we can…

be.the.church

© 2019 be.the.church aclearberry all rights reserved

living hope

What Easter is all about – living hope!

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil, or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire – may result in praise, glory, and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and even though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” I Peter 1.3-9

Living hope – believing in what we can not see yet knowing it exists.

Living hope – looking forward with desire and confidence.

Living hope – why Jesus came and what Easter is all about!

Because of the cross and Christ’s resurrection power, we now have living hope to meet our Savior face to face one day for all eternity.

That is something to celebrate!

That is something to contemplate!

That is what this Easter season is all about!

If you have yet to make Jesus Lord, simply invite Him into your heart and ask to be forgiven. I promise you won’t regret that decision and the living hope within will rise up and help you too…

be.the.church

LIVING…

_______________________________

© 2019 be.the.church aclearberry all rights reserved

am i my neighbour’s keeper day 2

Do you have an elderly neighbour or know a shut in that is just waiting for a visit?

Be the light to brighten up their day.

May we be reminded we are to be diligent visiting the ones who perhaps need it most, but when we do, often it is us that walk away enriched.

It is a win win opportunity where both parties are blessed. It just takes a little extra time and commitment on our part to make it happen.

James tells us to take care of widows and orphans in their distress. How often do you think of them as your neighbour? Well, know that they are!

And if God has brought someone to your mind today, go and be your neighbour’s keeper.

Check in on the shut in, visit with the elderly, drop a bag of groceries off to the widow or single parent.

What other practical ideas of being the Lord’s hands and feet extended can you think of?

Comment below so we all can have more ideas on how to…

be.the.church

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” James 1.27

Lord, thank you for saving my soul. Now help me share my faith so others can come into the fold. Amen

© 2019 be.the.church aclearberry all rights reserved