Author: Beth
•Saturday, February 28, 2009

Happy Birthday to one of my dearest friends in the world. God knew exactly what I needed when he gave me such a amazing big brother. For the first several years of my existence, it was questionable whether I would survive life WITH this mischievous boy, but now I cannot imagine trying to survive life WITHOUT him. Greg, thanks for the countless hours that you’ve been a listening ear and for the endless ways that you’re always looking out for me. Our Sunday night date nights are the best! Thanks for always being there for me to set my confused mind straight or to just give me a “guy hug” when I need one. I couldn’t even begin to recount all the ways that I am thankful for you, so let’s just say that a girl just couldn’t ask for a better big brother. Love you, bro!

Author: Beth
•Friday, February 27, 2009


The silence in the library would be deafening, if it wasn’t for the overhead fans above and the constant clacking of my keyboard. I have been sitting in the same spot for the entire day, slowly tackling one page at a time... watching the cursor move gradually down the screen at an achingly slow pace. There is still a few hours left before closing time, but the mountain of work before me seems to never end.

Every so often, I stop to stare out the window. The gradual darkening of the sky is the only indication that time is passing. I rub my eyes, take a deep breath, and plunge back into my current assignment.

After seven hours of writing, the signs of wear are beginning to show on my face. My eyebrows are knitted deep as I force myself to keep going. Tears begin to sting my eyes. This… is too hard! The finish line seems unreachable as my mental wheels get caught up in a slough of discouragement and frustration.

Yes… Finals week hit with full force this week, and the last few days have found me riveted to my laptop plowing through 30 pages of research and writing. I laugh at myself as I write this, because from the looks of me, one would have thought that I had just been drafted for battle or signed up to do a death crawl or something. I assure you, it’s nothing that drastic. However, this latest “storm” on my otherwise calm educational sea has caused me to think about how I handle pressure when it comes…. and I’ll admit, I haven’t done a very good job at it this week.

The picture that comes to mind is a lone sailor on a small vessel. The sea is tumultuous and the breakers are lapping furiously against the sides of the little sailboat. The man has both hands on the oars as he strains every muscle to keep himself afloat and moving forward. The rough wood digs into his calloused hands and the sweat drips off his brow as he methodically works against the tide… but seems to be going nowhere. I would feel sorry for him.

However, imagine if you will … a brisk, strong breeze blowing over the sailor as he rows. Imagine, for a moment, that the sailor has a fully functional sail lying in the bottom of the boat beside him. It’s there – just waiting to aid him in his struggles... and yet he just leaves it and continues to fight against the waves by himself. The whole scene suddenly looks different. Would he rather be suffering alone instead of taking advantage of the natural help that is there to make his efforts more fruitful? All of a sudden, the sailor simply looks foolish.

Unfortunately, that sailor’s plight sounds embarrassingly similar to my own struggles. I've been that sailor this week ... trying to row through the storm by myself, rather than leaning on His grace. It’s not really the storm that matters, but how I weather it... and who I rely on to get me through.

“The reality of God’s presence is not dependent on any place, but only dependent upon the determination to set the Lord always before us. Our problems come when we refuse to bank on the reality of His presence. The experience the Psalmist speaks of – “Therefore will we not fear, though…” – will be ours when once we are based on Reality; not the consciousness of God’s presence but the reality of it – “Why He has been there all the time.” (Oswald Chambers)

Sometimes… I need to pull in my oars and put my sails up.

Author: Beth
•Tuesday, February 17, 2009
The LORD your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing. - Zephaniah 3:17

In the midst of the busyness of the last couple of days, I had a moment where God just stopped me in my tracks. Zephaniah 3:17 has long been one of my favorite verses, but every time I pause to dwell on it, it leaves me speechless. A friend and I were discussing this verse over lunch today and it reminded me once again that God’s love is incomprehensible and unfathomable … and yet so tender and precious for me. This particular day, I returned to a question that was sparked by the last phrase of this verse: “He will rejoice over you with singing.” Think about it…

What is it like to hear God sing?

I don’t know about you, but I’ve always loved hearing a male voice sing (although nothing against all of the female vocalists out there!). There is just something about the richness of a powerful voice that resonates in me. A whole choir of men’s voices can leave a lasting impression – maybe because they possess the ability to sound so authoritative and majestic with their deep tones. Muster up every ounce of imagination that you have within you and try to picture what it would be like to hear God sing. Can you do it? Is there any comprehensible thought that can picture the sound of such a thing?

God’s voice is one of the most powerful things in Scripture. He had only to speak ONE word and the entire universe came into existence. The same voice that spoke and created the Grand Canyon, Mount Everest, and the vast expanse of the ocean is this same voice that exerts His power and sings with a loud, exulting cry.
"Every word which God has given us in this Book claims our attention, because of the infinite majesty of him that spake it. I see before me a Parliament of kings and princes, sages and senators. I hear one after another of the gifted Chrysostoms pour forth eloquence like the “Golden-mouthed.” They speak, and they speak well. Suddenly, there is a solemn hush. What a stillness! Who is now to speak? They are silent because God the Lord is about to lift up his voice. Is it not right that they should be so? Doth he not say, “Keep silence before me, O islands”? What voice is like his voice?" (Charles Spurgeon)

The voice of the Lord is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the Lord over many waters.
The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is full of majesty.
The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars; the Lord breaks the cedars of Lebanon.
The voice of the Lord flashes forth flames of fire.
The voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness; the Lord shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.
The voice of the Lord makes the deer give birth and strips the forests bare, and in His temple all cry, “Glory!” (from Psalm 29)

THAT SAME VOICE not only speaks, but sings.
Over YOU.

........................................................................................................(photography by Chris Magnuson)
What does He sing? I asked this question to my 13-year-old cousin Joshua and his response was very profound. "I think that joy, love, tenderness, mercy, and compassion would all combine into one glorious harmonious sound." I think he's probably right. The deep and passionate heart of the Father is poured out in tones of endearment, love, and praise of Himself as He delights and joys over us. That very thought alone leaves me weak and trembling with awe that He could delight in such a sinner as I am.

What an incredible thing it is to be called a child of God.

Author: Beth
•Sunday, February 15, 2009
In celebration of love and Valentines Day this year, I had the blessing to lead a group of my “sisters” in a massive cookie baking expedition. We spent a fun day together making dozens of cookies and Valentines to give to the elderly people at our church. Seeing these girls give so freely and wholeheartedly of their time and energy to bless other people just reminded me of what love truly is.

By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” – John 13: 35

Author: Beth
•Wednesday, February 11, 2009

I want to be one of those people that make a difference in the world. You know what I’m talking about. Those life-changers. The ones who never run out of energy … always serving … always carrying out great exploits for the name of Jesus. They are my heroes, and they are probably yours too.

I’ll be honest, though. My life doesn’t look anything like that right now. In fact, as I’m sitting here on my bed, wrapped in blankets and nursing a cold, the idea is almost laughable. I’m a senior in college, where unfinished papers and assignment due dates sometimes dominate my schedule. I spend hours alone in the library studying, and even more time in my quiet, suburban home. It’s rather a far cry from the daring missionary ventures in the jungles of Ecuador or influencing millions of people in a big city somewhere.

I’m not an eloquent writer that can fill up the pages of a best-seller. I’m not an accomplished speaker that can motivate crowds of people. I just have one small page to write. One tiny voice.

Does my life really make a difference?

This morning, as I was thinking about this, I looked outside my window and watched the raindrops splash in the growing puddles along the curb.

One raindrop is so tiny, and it doesn’t seem to make much of a difference. Yet, when it falls into a puddle, it still makes a ripple. A small one, yes, but still it IS one.

A verse that has been running through my head is from Isaiah 66. “This is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at My word.” Then, it hit me. It’s not about making huge waves. It’s not about living up to what I think to be great or successful.

It’s about following Jesus… with my everything.

Every truly great person that I’ve ever known has understood this fact. Some of the greatest people were never acclaimed or applauded for their efforts. In fact, they probably wouldn’t want me to even write their names here. When we get to heaven, we probably won’t even recognize the people who are the most bountifully rewarded. But they are the ones who give everything they have for Jesus. Their ripples, although seemingly small, had incalculable effects… and they may never know it.

That is the kind of difference I want to make.

Author: Beth
•Tuesday, February 10, 2009

My Name is Pride.
I am a cheater.
I cheat you of your God-given destiny
because you demand your own way.
I cheat you of contentment
because “you deserve better than this.”
I cheat you of knowledge
because you already know it all.
I cheat you of healing
because you are to full of me to forgive
I cheat you of holiness
because you refuse to admit when you are wrong.
I cheat you of genuine friendship
because nobody is going to know the real me
I cheat you of love
because real romance demands sacrifice
I cheat you of greatness in heaven
because you refuse to wash another’s feet on earth
I cheat you of God’s glory
because I convince you to seek your own.

My name is Pride. I am a cheater.
You like me because you think I’m always looking out for you.
Untrue! I’m looking to make a fool of you.

God has so much for you, I admit,
but don’t worry….
If you stick with me, you’ll never know.

(from Praying God's Word by Beth Moore)

Author: Beth
•Saturday, February 07, 2009
Tonight, I sat working on homework and gathering pictures of children for a school project. Tonight, heard the familiar strains of “Jesus Loves Me” and smiled. Tonight, as so many times before, I passed the framed baby pictures on the wall.

But tonight, I read something which brought it all back into perspective. [ This news story ]was brought to my attention, and I read it first with horror and then with tears. (note: NOT for young readers)

It hit me with a new meaning what was going on outside the safety and comfort of our homes and the stained-glass windows of our churches.

ABORTION… the killing of innocent infant lives.

It’s easy to let myself become entranced with a “Christianese bubble” of emotional safety, only focusing on the positive and encouraging side of living a good Christian life… while largely ignoring the seriousness of the atrocities that are taking place in my homeland.

I am convicted.

When was the last time I prayed a serious and heartfelt prayer to END this nightmare? When is the last time that the seriousness of this matter gripped me so much that it moved me to tears? Has abortion really become so commonplace in society today, that it becomes a point of apathetic sympathy only when it happens to come to mind? Has it become so… normal?

That is a scary, horrifying thought.

I’m not about politics on this blog, but this is a matter that goes beyond political sentiment. It is a matter of life and death. It is a matter that should daily inflict every Christian with the burden to pray and to act righteously, justly, and mercifully on behalf of the ones who have no voice.

Approximately 3,700 babies died today in America alone. That is over two EVERY MINUTE … about the time it’s taken you to read this post.

I may not be able to do everything, but I can do something. With God’s help, I will not refuse to do the something that I CAN do.

May God have mercy.

~ Beth
Author: Beth
•Thursday, February 05, 2009

In the midst of all of my studying as of late, most of my “pleasure reading” time has been brutally banished backstage. However, earlier this week, something compelled me to wander into my church library – a quaint place filled with marble floors, ceiling-high bookshelves and hundreds of old books. As I perused the shelves, one particular book that I had never seen before caught my eye.

It was as if I had stumbled across an old friend.

The green hard-backed cover was worn along the edges and the gold lettering on the front had long since lost its luster. When I’m holding a book like that, it almost feels like I’m holding a bit of history. Think of all the places that book could have seen… wood paneled walls, a bearskin rug on the floor in front of a roaring fire, snowflakes drifting down outside while the lamplighter makes his way along the cobblestone streets…

Oh, but I digress.

The reason behind this quaint and romantic-ish post is because I found a treasure. I’m not completely finished with it yet (I need to get some more hot chocolate), but I couldn’t help but share a beautiful thought that I found in its well worn pages.

My beloved fellow-believer, go, and take time alone with Jesus, and say this to Him. I dare not speak to you about abiding in Him for the mere sake of calling forth a pleasing religious sentiment. God’s truth must at once be acted on. O yield yourself this very day to the blessed Savior in the surrender of the one thing He asks of you: give up yourself to abide in Him. He Himself will work it in you. You can trust Him to keep you trusting and abiding.

And if ever doubts again arise, or the bitter experience of failure tempt you to despair, just remember where Paul found His strength: ‘I am apprehended of Jesus Christ.’ In that assurance you can have a fountain of strength. From that you can look up to the whereunto on which He has set His heart, and set yours there too. From that you gather confidence that the good work He hath begun He will also perform. And in that confidence you will gather courage day by day, afresh to say,'"I follow on, that I may be apprehended that for which I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.” It is because Jesus has taken hold of me, and because Jesus keeps me, that I dare to say: Savior I abide in Thee.”

From chapter 3 of the book Abiding in Christ by Rev. Andrew Murray, published London: 1885.

[This book has since been redesigned and still available … so if you are not fortunate enough to obtain an old, historic copy, a new one works just as well!]

Trusting Him to keep me abiding,

Author: Beth
•Sunday, February 01, 2009

Perhaps it was because I was still a new teacher. Maybe it was the chilly weather outside, resulting in an abundance of unused energy. For whatever reason, the eight children in my Bible School class were not winning any awards for good behavior that morning. Five minutes into the lesson was the extent of a five-year-old's attention span. My animated attempts to keep their young minds on the lesson for the day were fruitless. The story of the Prodigal Son was overridden by interrupting giggles, flying pencils, and youngsters with an aversion to the seats of their chairs.

With an inward groan, I looked at my watch. The class time was over. The table was a mess of soggy animal crackers and incomplete lesson papers. I looked at the uneven line of children before me in despair. One ambitious youth, in a hurry to join the rest of the group, carelessly deposited his lesson paper in the garbage. I was sure that they had not heard a word that was said.

Feelings of failure, inadequacy, and frustration clouded my mind as I ushered my little flock to their parents. Lord, I tried... I thought with a sigh. But I don't think they learned a thing today.

This little scene replayed in my mind over and over, and a crucial misunderstanding in my thoughts began to surface. My definition of success was focused only on what I could see. If the kids had been behaving like angels, coloring in between the lines, and giving all the right answers, would I have been successful? My disgruntled feelings said "yes" but my heart knew differently. I was only looking for outward evidences to affirm that I had accomplished my goal. Finding none, my efforts seemed in vain.

As a people generally focused on outward results, it's easy to get caught up in the momentary circumstances and forget that God is still at work even when we can't see the change. This is why Paul reminds us:

"So we do not lose heart... as we look not to the things that are seen but
to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient,
but the things that are unseen are eternal." -2 Corinthians 4:16,18

Investing in people's lives is hard work, as it doesn't always reveal instant results. God didn't guarantee that we WOULD see results. Instead, we are to do what He has called us to do and let Him take care of the outcome.

This applies to many more areas than just a Kindergarten classroom. It is seen when you pray for years for an unsaved relative before they come to faith. It is seen when you open up your home and show love to someone that you may never see again. It is seen when you take the time to invest in a friendship, or to give an encouraging word to someone, or to simply live Christ in your day-to-day life as others observe. God is the Master planner "behind the scenes" and He is the one who knows the state of the heart of each person around you.

As I walked the church halls following my classroom ordeal, someone came up to me. It was a former teacher of the same class, wanting to recount a conversation she had with one of the little girls that morning. "I asked her what she learned in class today," she said, "and she told me the entire story word-for-word."

Yes, God is at work in the unseen. Success is not always something that can be perceived from our point of view, but God is working all along to fulfill His purpose. Our job is to trust, obey, and then rejoice as God perfectly carries out the inner workings of His sovereign plan.

(written in 2007)