Archive | March 2012

True Humility

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. ~ Philippians 2:5-8

Last night at midweek service the preacher spoke about “Christ-like humility.”  So much of that sermon made me think of my ex.  The more time that passes, the more I see just how bad and dysfunctional my relationship was.  I loved that guy, but he clearly did not love me the way I needed.  I would have given him anything and everything and yet he never wanted to see things my way.  He and I had multiple disagreements and one was wrapped around what true humility is.

In my mind, it takes true humility to give credit to God in all things. I’m in medical school and my ex once told me that I had to stop telling people that I was going to be a doctor.  His friends were attacking my character after having hung out with me less than a dozen times and he said he refused to stand up for me because they were right- I needed to be humbled since I openly told people I was going to be a doctor.  Anyone who KNOWS me though knows that I freely talk about it because it is my testimony.  I cannot thank God enough for this life He has given me. The road isn’t easy but because of all the times that I should have failed and didn’t, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that He has called me to this profession.  I liberally say that it is because of God and God alone that I am passing medical school. It is my heart’s desire that in the greatest times of pain and sorrow- God’s love would shine forth through me to my future patients and comfort them… and perhaps they will find THE Comforter through something I might say to them.

The preaching last night confirmed the very thing that I felt in my heart since the moment my ex reprimanded me for telling people I’m going to be a doctor: true humility is not caring how we look (either prideful or ridiculous) but in all things- pointing towards Christ! True humility doesn’t care whether what we say makes us look good or bad, just that does this statement give glory to God? Does what we say inspire others to seek Him more? Does what we say encourage others to put all things in His hands?  I love telling people I’m going to be a doctor, especially young people, because I want them to be encouraged to know that God has a purpose for us all and that He can and will lead us to our true callings.  Not everyone is called to be a pastor, evangelist, or preacher.  Some of us are called to work in hospitals, police stations, classrooms, and more. If every church was filled only with preachers and pastors who would be in the pews?

He once taught a lesson (that we both prayed over and I ended up suggesting the same bible passage he was looking at even though I was all the way in another country) that went perfectly in line with something that was preached in a big conference only a few weeks later.  As I went to talk about how amazing God was to have made it that my ex had just taught on that and clearly God was doing something here, my ex stopped me because his friend was in the car who didn’t go to his church.  It wasn’t humble to talk about things like that.  In my book, anything that stops you from giving glory to God is bad.  We should, as I Thessalonians 5:18 says, give thanks to God in ALL things for that is the will of God. I believe this to mean more than just “in good times and in bad, let’s give thanks” but I take as a charge to find as many reasons as possible to give God thanks.  If this makes you look good- give Him thanks.  If you sound ridiculous for having gotten into a car accident but God gave you a miracle- give Him thanks anyhow! Whether what you say brings about death of any form (bodily, reputation-wise, relationships) or not, know that true humility is to live for Christ and Christ alone in all things and to do what He wants regardless of anything else.

True humility in my book is no longer caring how it makes YOU look or what happens to you, but how it makes HIM look and how it exalts HIM.

Jesus,

I thank You that I no longer have anyone in my life telling me to stop talking of the wonderful miracle of a life You’ve given me.  That I am free from those who would silence my testimony.  I love You and thank You for all that You have done for me in my life.  I praise You that when we truly learn how to allow ourselves to disappear, when we can truly come to the point where we no longer care how our statements make us look (either good or bad), or whether something for You causes us to live or die, You can truly be exalted.  I love You Jesus with all my heart.

Rebekah M.  

Our First Thought

Yesterday, Rebekah M posted about holding our thoughts captive. It’s true – battles start and end in the mind. Sin starts with a thought, and often the enemy uses things like fear or insecurity to get us thinking in ways that we normally wouldn’t. And we all have thoughts that are not of God, that if we stopped to consider it, we’d know that God wouldn’t approve of them. He knows we’re thinking them anyway, whether we consider His opinion or not. But in that knowledge, He can help us. If we can train our minds to somehow first consider Him, and consider His kingdom, He can help us bring these errant thoughts under control. He can win the battle in our minds. He can help us win it.

Even things that aren’t a battle can be guided by Him if we let Him. Yesterday my roommate and I went on our weekly visit to see his mother at the nursing home where she lives, and he asked me “do you think we’ll get home early today?” We take a paratransit van home, and the van can stop in any of the 5 boroughs of NYC, picking up and dropping off other people before you finally get to your door. I was about to come out with something cynical – we leave at 6:30 and are rarely home before 8 – until I remembered the times we prayed for a quick ride home. I’ve even posted about them. When we prayed out loud and together, we were always home by the time we asked. Once we were even home by 7:03!!

So instead of cracking a cynical joke, I said “Jesus, we know we don’t need to get home early, and we’ll be ok if we aren’t, but we’ve had a long week and if you could have us home by 7:30 or 7:15, we’d really appreciate it!!!” Sure enough, we were home by 7:15 exactly. Jesus came through yet again. When my roommate said “good call on the time” and I replied “I had nothing to do with it”, he looked upwards with a smile that clearly said ‘I know who was’.

It’s such a small thing. But it’s a powerful reminder that when our first thought IS of God, when we DO turn towards Him and let Him work and guide our circumstances, He can work amazing things. Not only did we get home on time, but we got to pray together, and grow in faith together, which is more important than any ride home could ever be.

So try to take a second, when you’re faced with a choice or challenging conversation, or even letting your thoughts drift idly to a place that’s not of God, to stop and check in with Him. Try to train your mind to seek Him first, so that He can move in those moments and help you overcome the thoughts you don’t want.

God bless!

~Rebekah A

Our Weapons

This past sunday  night the preacher talked about how our weapons are not carnal, but mighty  through God and how if you study it, you realize that the Bible talks about things in the mind.

Bringing thoughts into captivity, casting down imaginations, and things that are put in our mind above God.

Jesus,
Help me to give You the room to win the battle in my mind. I submit myself to You once again so that You can help me win the battle. Jesus, bring my thoughts into captivity. I need You Lord. I love You Jesus with all my heart.
Rebekah M.  (posted from my phone) 

A Matter of Perspective

I just want to take a minute today to thank God and praise Him for the change in heart He’s given me recently. I had a tough time adjusting to life in NYC; I missed and still miss my friends, and haven’t really found my niche here yet. Still, God has been telling me to be patient, and in the meantime He’s been slowly but surely working in my heart.

First of all, I found the endless to-do lists a little bit overwhelming when I first got here. God has been showing me that these ‘chores’ are not simply tasks. In fact, if I use that time to pray over everyone who might be touched by what I’m doing (mostly my roommate, but anyone who comes to the hosue really), the chores become blessings – not just by the task itself but because I’m covering the people in my prayer. I haven’t been doing this as consistently as I think God would like me to, but I’ve been working on it; I love the idea of constant prayer as simply a matter of routine.

Second, God’s been telling me to trust Him when it comes to employment, and not jump into something out of necessity that will take me out of His intended path for me. As interest from my student loans has increased and my bank account has dwindled, it’s been harder and harder to hold onto this promise. BUT, right when I was starting to get really desperate, God worked it out so I found some temporary employment – exactly what I needed to tide over my bank account while I continue to look for what He wants me to do.

Jesus, I thank you that every detail is in your hands, and that you know exactly how to speak to our hearts so that even the burdens you call us to bear, the things that would normally worry us, are lightened and taken care of by You. Thank You for giving me Your full attention, and never forsaking a single aspect of my life. I love You, Jesus.

~Rebekah A

Wanting It More

You know how sometimes things come up that you love to hate? Maybe we had a bad day and are talking about it, and get into ‘poor me’ mode. After awhile, we start to thrive on how bad we have it. Nothing can cheer us up, and often we don’t even WANT to be cheered up because we’re thriving on the attention and sympathy. On some level, we’d rather have a problem to complain about than a solution. Or maybe it has to do with people – in choosing who to make plans with or who to date, there are often multiple options. God can easily guide our steps here, but how often do we fail to ask Him, preferring to agonize about it and analyze it ourselves. We prefer the attention and the fantasy to the reality that these problems have solutions and you can get wisdom on them in seconds if you just ask God. It can be surprising how many areas we have like this, and how quickly we can slip into playing the martyr rather than ask God for guidance in that moment.

However, God brings unconditional love, and He brings peace. There’s no drama in His presence. We bring the drama we get from the world, we give it to Him and He takes care of it. He empties it from us, and fills the void with Himself. We have an easy time submitting bad things. But for some reason, we harbor these ‘martyr’ situations. We harbor the dilemmas that bring us extra attention. It doesnt even always cross our minds to submit those things. But to he used fully by Him, we have to give it ALL. We can’t be concerned about the attention our daily problems give us, or the credit we get when everybody knows how difficult it was to accomplish something. Our identity is in God, and we don’t have to fight for His attention. He sees everything anyway.

We have talked about fasting, and how when fasting gets tough we ask ourselves do we want this food, or do we want God more? We choose God, Nd fasting becomes bearable. We want Him more than anything else, and in that mindset, we will do anything to seek Him.

It is time to get into that mindset with our hearts. It’s time to ask ourselves, “Do I want God and God’s plan, do I want to thrive on my savior, or do I want to thrive on this problem that doesn’t even need to be here?” God vs problem…it’s a no-brainer. We’d choose God every time.

I’ve heard it said that living with Jesus is expensive, and that love will cost you. I think that’s a heart issue and we should count the cost here – it’s way more expensive to thrive on drama than on peace. It’s more expensive to hold on to our flesh than to let our Savior show us how to live. So spend time with Him today, and ask Him to show you your ‘martyr’ areas – things that are bogging you down when they don’t really need to be, or things that you haven’t given God full control over yet. Go through the problems and questions in your life and ask yourself “Do I want this dilemma or do I want God’s plan?” If you reach the no-brainer answer, as I did, it’s time to finally say “God, take this from me and guide my steps”. He will, and you will wonder what you were ever holding on so tightly for.

And as always, if you want extra prayer or support, or just to chat, i want to hear from you! So write to me at being.rebekah.a@gmail.com. God bless!

~Rebekah A

Show Them Me

In a chat with one of the guys, I recounted to him when I once was praying, talking to God about how I might reach my best friends in college. I said to Jesus, “I know, I’ll tell them about the good choir our the awesome youth group!” Jesus quietly said to my heart:

Show them ME.

I learned in that moment the power that one of my favorite preachers satis in a sermon I listened to years later: just a touch from the Master is enough. You can have the most beautiful building, perfectly pitched choir, and well dressed saints, but without HIM it means nothing.

I Corinthians 13 talks about how without love it is all pointless and since God is love, everything we do without Him is pointless.

Jesus,
Help me to always remember to keep you first. Be my all in all. There is none like You. Let me keep in mind that so long as I am Your mirror, that is enough. You are more than enough. I love You Jesus with all my heart.
Rebekah M.

(posted from my phone)

“A Faith That Breathes”

Yes, I am writing my very first blog book review! A Faith That Breathes, by Michael and Tiffany Ross, is a book that was lent to me by a friend, when I was having a rough time this fall. It’s part devotional, part journal, and for me it was perfect. It’s written by women (though compiled by a woman and her husband), for women, and every day is a new topic to think about. I read it with a journal on hand, and definitely recommend you do the same. Each day has a written entry, followed by a related interview from well-known Christian women. It’s instant solidarity and instant encouragement, and for me, I couldn’t have received it at a better time.

Before I moved to NYC, I was surrounded by Christian friends. Any time I wanted to chat or pray or worship, I had someone to do that with. It was great. I had friends I’d meet with for dinner, and hours later we’d still be talking about how God is moving. Rebekah M has posted about the power of sisterhood; for me, it’s been a vital part of my spiritual growth. I wouldn’t be the same Christian without it.

Since moving to NYC, I’ve been more on my own. I can pray with my friends over the phone or skype, but it’s just not the same. I miss my home, I miss my friends, I miss these talks, I miss these prayers….basically I just miss my girl time. I depended on it before, and while I am growing here, I really feel the loss of those connections I had.

Enter A Faith That Breathes. This book, by  has all the girl time you could ever want, in paperback form – let’s face it, our friends aren’t portable. But these ladies are, and they are a close second! Every entry is thought-provoking; they write about their journeys to certain realizations, periods of growth, things God’s revealed to them. Each one has Bible verses that relate to it, and there is a section in each that gives a broader view of what this particular topic looks like when it’s walked out. There’s even a chance to reflect on what they wrote about and how it relates specifically to you. I started reading it when I was feeling some distance from God, and could feel myself reading the Bible less, praying for shorter amounts of time. That’s a slippery slope, to say the least. This book singlehandedly gave me the jumpstart I needed to get grounded in God again, and get my focus back. It was like having an instant group of friends who knew me and related to me – without ever meeting me.

So if you need to kickstart your faith or if you’ve been in a spiritual rut, definitely check out this book. Hopefully it will speak to your heart as strongly as it has been to mine! And if you just need some girl time, don’t worry – they’ve got you covered there too.

And for you men…sorry. Find your own book.

God bless!

~Rebekah A