God, I Cannot Do This

be-it-unto-me-2I am an introvert! Yep! I am definitely an introvert. On top of that, I’m a shy introvert. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not true that all introverts are shy.

When I was in my thirties, God called me to teach His word, and spoke to my spirit that I would teach in many places. I immediately explained to God how that would never work. “God, I am an introvert who is afraid to stand in front of people. As a matter of fact, I can barely say hello to people.”  I was afraid – afraid that I could not do it!

In scripture is the story of a young woman who was afraid when God spoke His will to her. We know her as Mary, the mother of Jesus.

Mary was encountered by an angel, who revealed God’s plan for her life. Mary was told that she would bear a child, who would be formed supernaturally in her womb, and that child would be the Son of God, and the Savior of the world. Yikes!

Mary had several steps when responding to the seemingly impossible thing God was asking.

  1. She had an emotional response of fear. We know this because the angel told her not to be afraid.
  2. Mary saw God’s will as impossible. She said, “I don’t see how this can happen.”
  3. Mary surrendered her human understanding to faith in the Word of God. She said, “Be it unto me according to the Word of God.”
  4. Mary submitted to the will of God, and began to walk in His will for her life. Her yielded life brought about something being supernaturally birthed through her.

These are often the same things we experience as we walk with God. It is not unusual, nor sinful, to experience some human fear as we encounter the will of God. We often look at ourselves, and say I don’t see how the things of God are possible in my life. The next two steps are incredibly important: We must say, be it unto me according to Your Word. Whatever you are speaking, God, I’m all in! Then, we begin to walk out the will of God in our lives. This brings about supernatural things being birthed through us. The God, for whom nothing is impossible, does supernatural things through people who can’t do it on their own.

God calls us to a life that we cannot live in our own ability, strength and power. The only reason that we can surrender our all to Him is because of the presence, the power and the anointing of the Holy Spirit in our lives as Christians.

Here I am thirty years later, and I have traveled from coast to coast, border to border, and to foreign countries teaching the Word of God. I am amazed at the doors God has opened to me. As I stand on platforms teaching the Word of God, I am anything but shy and introverted. Like Mary, I said, how is this possible?  It is possible through the life-changing, power-equipping Holy Spirit of God.

What impossible thing are you facing?  By faith verbalize to God, “Be it unto me according to Thy Word!”  I am so glad I did!

“And Mary said, Behold, the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.” – Luke 1:38

Asking For Blessing And Favor

god bless meAndrew, my twenty-two month old grandson is a hoot! He is so excited about life, and is so much fun.

While visiting our home, Andrew was down in floor playing with Papa Benton. Papa began to sneeze, and he sneezed multiple times. After each sneeze Andrew said, “Bwess you.” Andrew wanted Papa to be blessed! A few minutes later, Andrew himself sneezed, to which he said to himself, “Bwess you.”  Andrew didn’t just want Papa blessed; Andrew wanted to be blessed.

Actually, Andrew had it right. We should be people who desire to bless others, but we should also be people who are not afraid to ask for blessing on our own lives. His blessing adds influence to my life and allows me to bless others.

We should feel comfortable to ask our Heavenly Father to bless us. If we take a look at the prayer list of most Christians, it would probably include asking God to heal the sick, touch the brokenhearted, transform the hearts of sinners, be with governmental leaders, bless our local church, bless our children, send revival, and be with those who are struggling.

Praying for others is good thing, a necessary thing. It helps to keep us from focusing totally on ourselves. Yet, asking for God’s blessing for ourselves should also be a significant part of our prayer lives. With His blessing on me, I have much blessing to give to others.

I need God’s blessings on my life. Without His blessing I can never fulfill all that is in my heart. I am in need of the blessing of God on my emotions, my finances, my gifts, my thoughts and every area of my life. I want God to bless me. This shows my dependency on Him, and shows that I recognize that God cares about me and the God-given desires of my heart.

Why not sit down and write or rewrite your prayer list. Include all the names and situations that need God’s blessings and His touch. Andrew threw a lot of “bwessings” out to Papa. On your list also include your name.  Andrew also “bwessed” himself.

God, I ask that you would bless me!

“The man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.” But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” – Genesis 32:26

“Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, ‘Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.’ And God granted his request.” – 1 Chronicles 4:10

I Am Not A Fan … But That Has Nothing To Do With Anything


I am not a fan … but that has nothing to do with anything.

As I sat in the church service this past Sunday, I looked around and reminisced how much church services had changed over the years. I paused to thank God that I did not allow myself to get stuck in a time warp where “church” is concerned.

There were a lot of things going on in that church service that were different from the way things used to be. Quite frankly, some of them are not things of which I am a fan.

I am not a fan of:

  • Bright flashing lights and the “holy smoke” machine
  • Loud music, with a hymn rarely being sung.
  • The coffee bar, especially being opened while the service is in progress.
  • Shorts and tees for attire.

Nope, I’m not a fan, but that has nothing to do with anything!

I am in a church that has all of the above and then some. As an older woman, I could spend a lot of my time disdaining what is happening in church today! Bring back the good old days!

Actually, all the above things are matters of preference, not matters that make an eternal difference in lives. It’s easy to get stuck in time, and not be open to what God is doing NOW. I am not talking about changing the truth of scripture. The Word is unchangeable. What people wear and sing can change.

As I looked around my church home, I saw hands lifted in praise to God. I saw lots of young people and young families very involved in greeting, parking, nursery, kid ministry, worship leading, ushering and a host of other things. I watched people give their lives to Christ at the end of the service. Those are things of which I am a HUGE fan!

Let’s be careful about bad attitudes. One must be cautious not to become joyless and critical.

Yep, I miss some of the things from the good old days, but I want to be in what God is doing right now! I don’t want to be so stuck in yesterday that I can’t move forward as the Holy Spirit speaks and moves in new ways. I don’t want to become an old wineskin that cannot receive the fresh wine of what God is doing right now. I want to draw near to the heart of God and join Him in the new thing(s) He is doing.

It’s simply not about being a fan.

“For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.” – Isaiah 43:19

God, I’m Ready To Get Out of “Just Nazareth”

Road sign city of Nazareth in IsraelDo you ever feel you are in “just Nazareth?

Jesus faithfully served at home in Nazareth for thirty years before being released into the call of God on His life. Nazareth was…”just Nazareth.” It was no special place. The city of Nazareth was a small and insignificant agricultural village in the time of Jesus. It had no trade routes, and was of little economic importance. It is believed that the population never exceeded 500 while Jesus lived there. It was “just Nazareth.”

In “just Nazareth,” Jesus most likely learned to be a carpenter’s helper since his earthy father Joseph was a carpenter. He learned to live in a family, and what it means to care for those in the household.  He learned to submit to parental authority. He learned how to be around regular, every day folks. He learned to do life. It was not wasted time.

When the time came, God said, “You’ve completed this assignment, and now it’s name to move from “just Nazareth.”  Jesus was released, and went about doing the work for which He was born, and fulfilled purpose.

We all have times we feel we are in “just Nazareth,” but rest assured that God uses these places to prepare us for our divine destiny.  Never despise “just Nazareth.”

“The Lord will work out his plans for my life…” – Psalm 138:8

Crushed By Life?

DwonAs I sat this morning, I felt overwhelmed by life, and what it can bring.

I spend a lot of time talking with women, ministering to women, teaching women, mentoring women and counseling women. Over the years that I have been doing this, I have met so many women who have been crushed by life. I am not talking about women with a little problem, but women who have been crushed, pulverized by life.

It can be crushing:
• To have been sexually abused by a father, grandfather or uncle.
• To have been abandoned by a husband who found someone he liked better.
• To not have enough money as a single woman trying to support a family.
• To be hurt deeply by church leaders.
• To suffer miscarriage and infertility.

If you are part of a women’s ministry or a small group, trust me when I say sitting beside you are women who are crushed by life.

Thank God that many churches are now offering groups to help women who have gone through divorce, abuse and other issues.  One friend recently told me of a group she and her husband have begun for people wounded by the church, to help them make a re-entry into the Body of Christ.

Thank God for these things.

As a woman who has known the crushing of life, I’m thankful for every time the Church stepped up to minister to me. Yet, I have learned something along the way. As a woman of God, I personally must learn the Word of God, believe the Word of God and act on the Word of God. The Church can’t do that for me.

Chances are slim that we won’t experience a life-crushing event.  It is part of the rhythm of life.  Yet, never has the intention of God been that we would accept Christ as Savior, sit on church pews for twenty years and remain crushed by life.

We can blame it on our churches. We can blame it on our pastors. We can blame it on our women’s ministries. We can blame our families.  (I have blamed them all, and then some!) It doesn’t really matter from whence came the crushing.

When life comes knocking hard and crushes us, we can cling to God and His Word. We can sing along with our favorite songs of worship. We can confess aloud the promises of God. Like the Psalmist, we can declare that we will see the goodness of God in the land of the living.  Not only can we do those things – we MUST do those things.  When we do this, something supernatural happens. I can’t even explain it because it is SUPERNATURAL. As we sing, as we cry out to God, as we confess His Word, God comes down and touches woes and turns them to wows. It is not always instantaneous, but He does bring healing and hope.

Are you crushed by life? Life will always have seasons where we are hard pressed on every side. Yet in the crushing moments, God’s power will prevail. He is the God who can change water into wine, and He is the God who can change woes into wows.

“We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed.” 2 Corinthians 4:8, 9


The Applause of Heaven

maxresdefaultAs I got on an airplane in Portland, Maine, I was happy to be headed home. While it was a great, great weekend of ministry, I can still say there is no place like home.

The first leg of my journey was to Baltimore, Maryland, where there would be a brief layover. Just before landing, our flight attendant made an announcement. On board was a young soldier who was returning home after a deployment in the middle east. In honor of his service, he would be allowed to deplane first. After the door of the plane was opened, the soldier was asked to stand and disembark while we kept our seats. None of us knew that the young man was seated in the back of the aircraft.

As he began walking forward, applause broke out on the airplane. The applause continued as he walked all the way down the aisle, with people saying, thank you for your service. Thank you! I will admit a tear welled up in my eye as I watched the young man come by with a tear in his eye.

Then, another tear or two fell, as I recalled that one day I will take such a walk. One day I shall take my final flight, and it will be from earth to heaven. When I do, and as I walk through the portals of glory, I want the applause of heaven. I want to hear, “Well done, Barbara Benton!”

It is my pleasure to serve the Lord Jesus Christ! I am so thankful for the call on my life, and I want to fulfill that call. I love being a wife, mother, grandmother and friend, but my highest calling is that of servant of God.

It will be worth it all when we see Jesus!
Life’s trials will seem so small when we see Christ.
One glimpse of his dear face, all sorrow will erase.
So, bravely run the race till we see Christ.

“His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’” – Matthew 25:23

Ho Hum – It’s The Monday After Easter

day-after-easterIs Easter over? I mean it is the day after – it is Monday. We’ve packed our churches, hunted Easter eggs, sliced the ham, eaten Cadbury eggs, dressed in vibrant colors, and hailed the resurrection of the Lord as the greatest day in the history of the Church and the world. For many Easter is now over, and it’s time move to the next thing.

How easy it is to move from Easter Sunday to an ordinary Monday, living life as if the resurrection was just an event! We’ll ask others how their Easter was, and then move on to the weather, politics, work, the latest TV show and how irritated we are with people.
Too often we are unaware of the significance of all that we heard and celebrated the previous day. We celebrated a risen Lord who now resides inside of us, giving us power to walk in this life. Yet, too many will continue to fight sin in their own strength, walk through life as if they walk alone, and battle a nagging fear of death and even a fear of life. The resurrection will fade into the white noise of life, making no noticeable impact.

We are not sure what the disciples did on the Monday after Easter. Perhaps they stayed together celebrating the news of the resurrection. Perhaps they laughed, worshiped and Easter joy flooded their day. Maybe they kept a low profile in case soldiers or other religious leaders were looking for them. Perhaps they sat around having conversations trying to piece together exactly what occurred. We can’t be certain of anything that happened on Monday, but we can be certain of one thing: their lives were never the same. The men who had been so timid and fearful were now brave and courageous. They became emboldened to preach the good news, live the good news and in many cases, die for the good news. Easter changed their lives!

Let it be the same for you and me! Do not allow the day after Easter to take away the power, encouragement, hope and celebration that was experienced yesterday. The tomb is still empty and no matter what Monday brings, Jesus is still alive! As you face today, this week and the future, keep the empty tomb at the forefront of your thoughts. There is still real power, hope, victory and confidence because of a risen Savior.

As I reflected on Easter this morning, I found myself asking God to make me soil for the resurrected life of Christ to begin to germinate, grow, come forth. Oh God, break up the ground of my heart and plow me deep, deeper than I have ever been. I long to let the power of new life work within me. God, I don’t want Easter to be an just an event in life, but an event that changed my life.

Don’t let today be the Monday after Easter. Let today be the day that the empty tomb empowered you to be a victorious child of God. Easter is not over, and never will be.

“The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you.” – Romans 8:11 (NLT)


God Sometimes “Good Fridays” Our Lives

 Good Friday is the day we commemorate the day that Jesus laid down His life, finishing the course that God GoodFRidayhad set before Him. At the time His disciples did not fully understand what was happening. To them it seemed like “bad” Friday. Some were disillusioned, others were angry, some were afraid. We have the Bible to explain it to us, but they were living it in real time. It wasn’t until later down the line that they understood why it happened, and how God put it all together.

Such is life for us sometimes. When we are walking with God in real time, we don’t always understand what we are facing in the moment. He clearly brought this back to my memory recently. I was reminded of a disappointing event several years back. It just didn’t work out the way I thought, and my real time made little sense. Recently, events have unfolded that let me know that I was right in the center of His plan – not my plan, but HIS plan.  Thank God that He “Good Fridayed” my life at that point.

Some times God has to “Good Friday” in our lives.  He lets something die, or takes it down a path we did not anticipate. In those times it seems like “bad” Friday. God is at work and when we look back, often we see see that bad Friday was really Good Friday.

God Orders Our Steps and Our Stops

Steps stopsI met a woman who lives not too far from me. As we began to become better acquainted, she spoke to me about being a part of a conference of which she was in charge. It seemed good to me, but I asked for a little time to pray about it.  Several days later,  I got back in contact with her, and the offer was off. She had found other speakers and no longer needed me. I could tell she was a bit miffed and felt I had waited too long, but nonetheless the “deal” was off.

I was a bit disappointed because I often travel far from home. Here was an opportunity to travel less than an hour away!

Shortly after that a group in North Carolina asked me if I would come be a part of their conference, and I accepted the invitation. It happened to be the same weekend as the one that did not work in Alabama.  It was only thirty miles from my son’s home, so my husband decided to go with me, and a wonderful thing happened. We, along with the other grandparents, all gathered in the sonogram room, to discover that a grandson was on the way. The smile on my son’s face, and the excitement in all of us was over the top!  We enjoyed a lunch together with lots of joy and laughter.

While I spoke at the conference, Gaylon spent the weekend with Bryan and Sarah. They shopped till they dropped and even bought a few baby gifts. It was a great weekend!

Two weeks later we received a call that Bryan had suddenly passed away, and was now a resident of heaven. One of the thoughts that came to me was gratitude that two weeks earlier we had a weekend with Bryan and Sarah. If I had spoken in Alabama, that weekend in North Carolina would have never happened. God knew we needed that final, happy memory of our son as he grinned about having his own son on the way.

Often our schedules get messed up, or our plans don’t work out the way we desire. I have learned that God is working in my behalf, and He controls my STEPS and my STOPS. I am so glad He does! I am so glad that my last memory of Bryan is with a big smile on his face.  I am so glad that I can tell Tucker how incredibly happy his dad was to see that ultrasound and find out he would have a son.

Trust God with the steps and stops. He won’t do you wrong!

“We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps.” – Proverbs 16:9

Are Some Sins Greater Than Others?

sinsThere are many heated arguments these days as to whether all sins are equal. Too often the argument centers in on one area, or one person wants to dismiss the severity of the sin about which they are arguing.

God said, “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”  In other words, if living like God desires is the target, then all of us miss the bull’s eye. There is no getting around that fact. Lying, stealing, cheating, sexual immorality, gossip and many others all miss the target. They are sin in God’s eyes.

One writer said, “Every sin is an act of rebellion against God. Any sin, no matter whether it is an angry thought or outright murder, is a declaration of independence from God, a means of saying, “I am going to do this my way instead of your way. I choose my will rather than your will.”

That is a great description of sin. Sin is sin. That is the truth!

It is also true that not all sin has the same consequences. For instance, stealing a candy bar from a store has consequences, but killing five people has greater consequences. There are consequences on the killer, the ones killed, all the families involved, etc. Lying to your boss about why you didn’t come to work misses the mark, and is sin in God’s eyes. There are consequences such as the company losing the hours of work, or the boss finding out and the employee losing his/her job. An adulterous affair can have more far-reaching consequences.  Sexual sin is missing the mark in God’s eyes, but sexual sins are also called a sin against one’s own body. They destroy marriages and families, leaving seeds of distrust and harm that can take years to overcome.

Even Jesus used a comparative in speaking of sin, “Then Jesus said, “You would have no power over me at all unless it were given to you from above. So the one who handed me over to you has the greater sin.” – John 19:11

Is all sin equal in God’s eyes? Yes and no. All sin is equal in causing us to be separated from God, but some sins are more significant because they bring about more serious consequences. There must be a word of caution here! The fact that some sins are judged to be more serious than others must not give us license to evaluate our actions on the basis of whether a certain act is a little sin or a big sin. We are commanded to live holy lives, lives that honor God. The Holy Spirit within us gives us the power to live overcoming lives.

“However, remember that whether our sins are relatively small or great, they will place us in hell apart from God’s grace. The Good News is that Jesus paid the penalty for our sins and the sins of the whole world at the cross. If we will repent and turn to Jesus in faith, our sins will be forgiven, and we will receive the gift of eternal life.” – Billy Graham