I Still Believe It’s In His Hands

HandsCharles Spurgeon told a story of how during a sudden storm a woman on a ship became very terrified. She was so distraught that she found her husband, who happened to be the ship’s captain, and said, “I don’t understand how you can be so calm while I am totally terrified.”

Her husband calmly walked across his quarters and picked up his sword. He took it and aimed it at the center of her chest, but she only laughed. Then he asked, “Why aren’t you afraid of this sword? It could slay you in less than a minute.”

His wife replied, “I am not afraid of a sword that is wielded by the hand of my husband.”

“Then neither am I,” said the captain, “afraid of a storm in the hand of my heavenly Father.”

As Christ followers, we look around in today’s culture, and we could easily start to say, “Where is God? Is He even paying attention to our prayers?” God is right where He has always been and always will be – sitting on His throne in heaven. He is still God! The world, that He created, is still in His hands.

Don’t be deceived. Don’t live discouraged. Don’t give up. Don’t allow your love to grow cold. Let your faith arise – things are still in His hands.

The Bible was very clear in telling us that times such as these would come. Much of what we are seeing is proof that God is on His throne and His Word is being fulfilled. He is not shocked by anything going on – we are, but He’s not. As believers, we are to continue to beam with His love and radiate His light. We can stand strong in what we believe, and still be kind and loving. Wherever you are, wherever you go, bring His love.

I am determined to walk in His love and power all the way to the end. I can do that because I firmly believe it’s all in His hands, and I firmly believe I am in His hands.

“And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” – Matthew 24:11-14

Jumping Into The Deep End

FullSizeRender(12)Gaylon and I just spent time in North Carolina celebrating the birthday of Tucker Bryan Benton. Tucker turned three, and he truly lives his three-year-old life! Energy, laughter and going non-stop all describe this boy.

Gaylon and I took a morning to just have fun with Tucker. One of the things we did was take him to swim in a friend’s pool. Tucker was excited, but a little fearful. The pool had no true kiddie area where he could stand up on his own. He wanted to enjoy the pool, but he wanted the water to be shallow.

Finally after much coaxing, we were able to get Tucker to jump into Papa’s arms. He then realized he could trust his Papa. Tucker floated, he twirled, he laughed and he loved the deep water.  Tucker discovered that the deep water was a great place to be, as long as you are in the arms of the one you can trust.

Too often, people never experience more than shallow Christianity. Shallow water allows one to be in control. If I am in shallow water, I can get out any time I don’t like something or someone.  In shallow water, I can jump up and down and demand my way. In shallow water I can see every place I want to step, and places I refuse to step. In the shallow end, I am in total control.

In the beginning of our walk with God, it’s pretty normal to ask God to do things for us. That’s okay, but at some point we must go deeper. When we go deeper, we move beyond what God can do for us, and move toward what we can do for Him. Going deeper causes me to abandon my life, my actions, my tongue, my posts on social media, my attitudes and my whole being to my “Papa” God.

Experiencing the depths of Jesus Christ requires more than prayer and church attendance; it calls for total abandonment to Him. Abandonment does not happen automatically, but is made through daily decisions and sometimes even hourly decisions – not my will but Yours be done.

God is calling us to go deeper. Like Tucker, we will find that the deep water is so much more refreshing. Will you take the leap?

“When He had finished speaking, He said to Simon, “Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.” – Luke 5:4

I Have Watched A Man Walk With God

GaylCan you look back over your life and point to an individual or individuals who profoundly impacted your Christian growth?

As I reflect on my forty-seven year walk with God, I can easily name people who greatly influenced my Christian “growth spurts.” I can name great women of the faith who created a thirst in me to know God, and to become a true woman of God. Those women discipled me, disciplined me, mentored me, taught me and encouraged me. More than anything, their lives influenced me.

In our house there will be a lot of celebrating over the next few days.  It’s Father’s Day, my husband’s birthday and our anniversary. As I approach Father’s Day weekend, I want to thank THE man who influenced my Christian growth. Gaylon Benton, my husband of forty-four years, is one of the greatest Christians on earth. He has actually influenced my life more than all of my female mentors.

Gaylon Benton is a kindhearted, loving man who walks with the utmost integrity. I love to watch him as he rejoices with those who rejoice, and weeps with those who weep. I listen to his voice crack as he talks about his children and grandchildren. I watch tears flow down his face as he talks of missing our son Bryan. I have watched as he is overcome with emotion when praying for those whose hearts and lives are broken. Gaylon loves and loves deeply.

Though Gaylon has never been a famous preacher gracing the covers of magazines, or one who has millions following his every word, he is a man like Enoch. The Bible said that Enoch was a man who walked with God.  I have been blessed to watch a man walk with God.

My life is forever changed because one man dared to walk a life submitted to God. As I have watched him love, care, worship, weep, preach and pray, it has called me to a life of integrity before God.

Thank you, Gaylon Benton!  As the lyrics of a great song say, “Thank you for giving to the Lord.  I was a life that was changed.”

Do you have a male or female of great influence in your life? Now’s a good time to thank God for them, and even to thank them. Are you a person who is an influence for God?  As you faithfully walk with God, you can have an enormous effect for His kingdom.

I want to be an influencer for God. May it be said of me, “Like Enoch, she walked with God.”

“Enoch walked faithfully with God.” – Genesis 5:24

The Choice Is Yours

power-of-choiceWeighing well over eleven pounds at birth, I was a candidate for a control top pamper and a training bra before going home. I am a modest dresser, so I won’t take time to show you my six-pack abs. I really do have them! There’s a pack of donuts, a pack of Reese’s peanut butter cups, a pack of Cheezits, a pack of … well, like I said I definitely have a six-pack, even if it shows up as one big pack!

For my entire life, I have battled the bulge. I was born with a propensity to pack on pounds, and do it very easily. I have dreams of being a size two … who am I kidding, I’d take a size eight! I have dreams of eating anything and everything I want, and staying the same size. The old saying really is true, “A guy thinks every woman’s desire is the perfect man, but our greatest desire is to eat all we want and never gain weight!” Here’s the reality: I can claim a size six, but if I sow to a size sixteen, it’s a size sixteen that I shall be.

This blog has nothing to do with weight, but everything to do with reaping and sowing. My physical body will never be healthy until I sow into it what it takes to maintain a healthy body and a healthy weight. This is so very true for the spiritual man also.

As I talk with and watch so many of God’s people, we are great confessors. “I am the head and not the tail.” “I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord … plans for a hope and a future.” There are so many more verses that are “refrigerator verses.” These verses are true and should be part of our confession.

BUT … part of our confession must also be, “…for whatsoever a man sows, that shall he also reap.” What am I sowing, so that I might reap God’s best for my life? What choices do I make with my time, my mouth, my money, my relationships?

Actions have consequences. Don’t ever be fooled into thinking that your actions don’t have consequences. We all reap what we sow..  That sounds negative, but it’s not! If I sow the Word of God into how I make decisions, then I shall reap the plan of God for my life, and He has a good plan! If I sow giving to the Kingdom and using my money wisely, then I shall reap a good financial reward. If I sow using my tongue in a correct manner, then I shall have less tangled messes and ruined relationships. If I sow spending time daily in God’s presence, then I shall reap power for the day. This is not about rebuke, but about inviting God’s best for my life.

I believe God has a great plan and destiny for me. I was born to be a difference-maker. I want to be all that God said I can be, and do all that He has called me to do.  I want to be the head and not the tail!  Confessions don’t determine destiny. Decisions determine destiny.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Sow a thought and you reap an action; sow an act and you reap a habit; sow a habit and you reap a character; sow a character and you reap a destiny.”

The choice is yours. Decide well.

“Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. – Galatians 6:7; “As I have seen, those who plow inquity and sow trouble reap the same.” – Job 4:8; “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.” 2 Corinthians 9:6

Do You Feel Overwhelmed?

when-the-impossible-meets-godAs I looked at my prayer list this morning, I felt overwhelmed. The needs are so great, and some of the situations seem absolutely impossible. Some are evil. Some are hurtful. Some are heart-wrenching. Many are beyond human help.

While feeling overwhelmed, I began singing this old chorus:

Got any rivers you think are uncrossable?
Got any mountains you can’t tunnel through?
God specializes in things thought impossible,
And He will do what no other power can do.

Faith and prayer make the impossible possible, even when our faith is the size of a mustard seed. There are times the process can crawl at a snail’s pace, but that does not change the fact that we serve the God who makes the impossible possible.

Are you facing something impossible today? Sing your faith! Speak His word aloud!  Remember whose child you are. It “ain’t” over until He has the final word!  Marvelous things happen when the impossible meets the God of the possible.

Rather than being overwhelmed by life, I choose to be overwhelmed by God!

“God is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine” (Ephesians 3:20). “With God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26). “We are more than conquerors through Him that loved us” (Romans 8:37).

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