Archive by Author | beingrebekah238

Guest Post: Anna Robinson “Is following Jesus just about being nice?”

Editor’s Note: Our weekly guest spot is our effort to help our reading community connect with each other. Thank you Anna for this great post reminding us of what following Jesus is all about! 

Being nice is something I think us Brits are very good at. We form orderly queues, we don’t like to offend, and we say “sorry” a lot. And sometimes we transfer that into what it means to be a Christian, so that our external expression of being a follower of Jesus is just simply that we are “nice”.

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(image source http://goo.gl/l5jkHW)

Strange, really, because anyone who’s ever looked seriously at the Jesus in the bible would not simply describe him as “nice”. And as we’re called to imitate Him I wonder why we’ve ended up with all this nice-ness.

Was Jesus encouraging? Yes.

Was He kind? Yes.

Was He Compassionate? Yes.

But He wasn’t just those things. He spoke with authority. He operated supernaturally. He loved radically. He challenged his disciples, the Pharisees and the crowds. He spoke to the heart of people. His words were divisive.

We often assume that to love someone is simply to be “nice” to them. But Jesus gives us a much bigger picture of what it really means to love. It’s easy to imagine the Pharisees squirming at some of the challenge that He brought to them – I’m guessing it didn’t feel that “nice”. And yet we know He wholeheartedly loved the Pharisees, just as He loves us.

And then there’s the Rich Young Man in Mark 10. The text says that Jesus looked at him “and felt genuine love for him”. This was a sincere conversation of love. But Jesus loved the man too much to leave him unchallenged. The Rich Young Man genuinely wanted to know what he needed to inherit eternal life. And Jesus gave it to him straight. He didn’t skirt around the issue, trying to be “nice”. Jesus challenged the young man to sell all he had and then follow Him.

And I’m guessing Zacchaeus nearly fell out of the tree when Jesus asked if he could visit his house. Nobody “nice” or respectable would want to spend time with a man like Zacchaeus, as the crowds around at the time inferred.  But as Zacchaeus was confronted with the love and holiness of Jesus he saw himself for who he really was, and it led him straight to repentance.

And He doesn’t skirt around the issue with us either. Jesus wants His followers to be more than just “nice”. He wants spirit-filled sons & daughters, friends, servants who will respond to both the challenge and invitation that he brings.  And He wants us to overflow with that kind of double-edged love that He has poured into us. As followers of Jesus we have the same spirit of God living in us that raised Jesus from the dead. (Romans 8:11). It’s more than just nice.

And the extravagant, overwhelming, death-defeating love that Christ demonstrated when, for all of us – “nice” or not – he went to the cross and bled and died is so much more than nice. It’s astonishing, breathtaking, outrageous, life-changing, challenging, full-of-grace-and-power love.

Sometimes we have to unpick how our culture affects our faith, so that we’re able to stand back and see with fresh eyes who our Jesus really is, and how He really calls us to live.

Let’s let this love change us – we’re called to be so much more than “nice”.

The Robinsons are a lovely bunch from Sheffield, UK. They love God and are passionate about showing and sharing Jesus to the community and helping others do the same. They lead 3dm Europe and they’re part of the Order of Mission – a relational network of missional leaders. To learn more about the Robinson Family check out their blog at: The Robinsons today!

Guest Post: “Falling in Love” by Blessed with Thunder Thighs

Editor’s Note: Our weekly guest spot is our effort to help our reading community connect with each other.  Thank you blessedwiththunderthighs for this great post on falling in love with the One who loved us first 🙂 
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You know that feeling when you fall in love with someone?

You talk about that person all the time (and your friends get annoyed). You get reminded of that person when you are out doing something random (when you hear a song… or grocery shopping). Your mind is consumed by the thought of that person. You can’t wait to hear the sound of the person’s voice, see him/her in person, and it’s hard to be away from the person. You drive a ridiculous amount of time to hang out for just a little while because it’s worth it. You know the likes and dislikes (and even start to like what he/she likes and dislike what the person dislikes).

Falling. In love. It’s just that. Your world is all crazy-shifted.

You can totally love someone, but not have that falling in love feeling all the time (which is totally cool and normal).

Here’s the thing about falling in love with Jesus. Same thing happens.

You talk about Him all the time (to the point where friends… and random strangers… think you’re weirdsies). You get reminded of something He said and think, “OMG, you’re so cool, Jesus!!!” You want to sing songs about Him, you can’t wait to be in His Presence, you can’t wait to sit down and pray or read the Bible. You give your monies to him even when you are broke. You start to love what/who He loves (people!) and hate what He hates (pride? idols? Sin, in general?)..

I think I kind of fell in love with Him again last week when I learned a whole bunch from Nehemiah. I talked to some random people in class about it (though they just nodded politely and smiled. Don’t think they were interested, but I didn’t care!), I emailed people from church, and I shared about it in the sister’s meeting. I kept thinking about His Words. When I was in class, I couldn’t wait to get home to pray and dive into the Word. It was COOL.

loveThis is what was my prayer request the other week in a Bible study meeting. I know I love Jesus, but I asked that they pray that I could fall in love with Him again. And why would God NOT answer this request with a big fat “YES”?? And he said, “Yes!”

:D I love Him so much.

 

A young woman of God who battled with anorexia in the past, she has learned to love herself and even her thunder thighs through God’s mighty love and power. Read her personal testimony at http://blessedwiththunderthighs.com/2012/02/10/my-story/
 
See the original post at http://blessedwiththunderthighs.com/2013/10/22/falling-in-love/

Guest post: Abigail of Our Sure Anchor- “Unexpected Loss: The Gravity of Evangelism”

Editor’s Note: Our weekly guest spot is our effort to help our reading community connect with each other.  Thank you Abigail for this very transparent and powerful reminder to always look for our “appointment with God” moments (something I talked about in my post https://beingrebekah.com/2012/12/22/appointment-with-god/)!!

We have this retired next door neighbor named Debbie.

She’s from New Orleans and is in her sixties. She always wears crocks, jeans that are about three inches high-water, the same ratty blue pullover sweatshirt, and often, a large blue bathrobe. Recently, she got her mop of curly hair chopped off in a short buzz. Her normal speaking voice is a shout, so when you visit with her, the whole block can hear her side of the conversation.

We first started to get to know Debbie last fall.

candleWe would visit with her on our way back from the mailboxes or as we left the house. I invited her to the Christmas Eve Candlelight Service, and she seriously considered coming, but in the end, decided not to because she knew how “different” her wardrobe is from most. But on Resurrection Sunday, she was sitting in church with us. Gradually an acquaintance has blossomed into what we think is for Debbie, her closest friendship. She’s started ringing the doorbell just to visit multiple times a week and sometimes more than once in a day. She is trying to sell her house and move back to New Orleans, but nothing is going right for her. Most of our “conversations” are Andrew or I listening to her complain. “I don’t got nobody,” she often says.

Andrew and I were both able to share the gospel with Debbie on separate occasions.

The last time, I sent her home with a New Testament and encouraged her to read it. But her frequent visits are sometimes annoying, especially since we work from home, and it usually means (for me) pausing my timer for 15-30 minutes in the middle of the day and chatting. Andrew noticed that she only comes when the blinds are open, so I have started working with the blinds closed some days to avoid the distraction.

A months ago, it dawned on Andrew and I that we hadn’t seen Debbie over the last week, which is very unusual. The same night, around 11:30 PM, we noticed two police officers walking in and out of her house. We got really concerned. Was she doing drugs? Had she died? Finally, Andrew walked over and asked the officers if everything was okay, mentioning that we hadn’t seen Debbie for a few days. “Everything’s fine, there’s no threat,” he responded. “She actually passed away.”

Over the next hour, we waited in shock as a coroner arrived with a body bag and gurney, and Debbie left the house next door for the last time.

I cried and cried and cried.

I had no idea I cared that much about this homely woman from the south. All I could think was, I should have kept the blinds open more. I should have been a better friend. Besides a niece in New Orleans, Debbie didn’t have any family that I know of. She had no job and no church. I could have loved her better. I shouldn’t have let her visits annoy me. I didn’t have to close the blinds as often as I did.

You never know.

I’ve often maintained that we should all be quick to share the gospel in our relationships, and not just rely on “friendship evangelism” to biblesave our acquaintances, because you never know when it will be their last day. Here’s my first real example of that truth. We couldn’t be more relieved and thankful that God gave us both opportunities to witness to Debbie. We are confident that she died knowing what it meant to be saved. Perhaps God rescued her in her last days…we’ll never know.

I guess the moral of this heartbreaking story is, seize chances to share Jesus with the people around you, and love them like He does.  Love them in your actions and in your prayers. Love them so much that you don’t have any regrets if they pass away. I have regrets with Debbie. But thank the Lord one of them is not a failure to share the Good News with her.

“But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things?  For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God’s word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ.” (2 Cor. 2:14-17)


A young wife saved by grace and anchored in Jesus Christ, Abigail loves sharing what God is teaching her as she seeks to follow Him in her various roles. Her next adventure will be following her husband to California in August, where he will attend The Master’s Seminary. You can follow the joys and jolts of their journey here: www.OurSureAnchor.com

“This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast.” Heb. 6:19a

Published by permission of the author. Submit your own post at beingrebekah@outlook.com. 

Guest Post: Heather Mertens “LET GOD LOVE YOU, my friend. “

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Editor’s Note: Our weekly guest spot is our effort to help our reading community connect with each other. Thank you Heather for another wonderful guest post on letting God love us! 🙂 
The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.” -Jeremiah 31:3

That one verse! Some of us have read that verse inside the context of Jeremiah’s vision. Some have read it only as a statement to Israel. Some maybe have never read it.

That verse, that truth, is for all of God’s children. You. Me. That person next you. Yes!!

Some verses are truth both in the context and out of the context. All verses are truth all of the time. So most of us reading this might not be the people of Israel, scattered about this earth or in the nation’s boundaries, but we are all His. And God is the same – yesterday, today, and forever. His very Word tells us that truth.

How many times in your past {yesterday? last year? years ago, maybe?} has God reminded you that He loves you with an everlasting love? Forever.
FOREVER.

Numerous times. He tells us everyday. We just need to listen.

Nothing you have done ~ wrong OR right ~ changed that love from being eternally yours. Nothing changed the intensity by which God loves you. NOTHING.

Jesus didn’t come to die for one sin, but for all. So why then do we tend to live within such guilt and shame when we fail, when we sin, to the point many times that we:

…stop praying and really talking to God? …beat ourselves down in shame? …justify what we did to alleviate the guilt? …fail to look into God’s face? The one face that has an unfailing kindness.

Whom in your life have you given an unfailing kindness to? Unfailing doesn’t mean one day, one sin, one time. It means EVERY SINGLE MOMENT. It is unfailing. It is passionate pursuit of loving us in a kind way. Non-relenting love!

I could be wrong here, but I’d guess {since we are all human} that not a single one of us could say we have always treated others with true unfailing love. Not even ourselves.

We must ask ourselves… why not?

Answer coming up. Are you ready????

Because it isn’t easy! In fact, it isn’t possible. At least not without God. All things are possible with Jesus helping us. But we must ask to receive.

~ Pray and talk. Chat with Jesus. Ask Him to love through you with unfailing kindness.
{Sometimes I forget this one. Well… not really forget. I just choose to love later. Forgive in the middle of an altercation? That isn’t easy. Treat a stranger with respect when they aren’t nice back? That one isn’t easy either. Etc. Ditto. And on and on. I always need to choose to love in the NOW. Don’t we all? It’s the NOW that’s the hardest.}

~ After you pray and ask for His love to pour through you, receive it.
{Yes. Just like that. Let God’s love penetrate the situation. Let it fill the cracks of your heart with a Light so full of kindness that you can only see that person in love. In LOVE. That’s what I do when I make the choice to ask Him to love through me. It’s all about the choice.}

~ And last, but certainly not least {in fact it should be first so you know what unfailing kindness and everlasting love looks like}, LET GOD LOVE YOU, my friend.

Let Him love you. Everlasting. Unfailing. Heart filling. Life altering. Love.

He wants to be kind to you. He promises.

Live blessed, Heather

Heather’s life has brought depression and healing, death and life, destruction and repair, sadness and victory – and above all else … LOVE. Her prayer is that as you read through her life in an intimate way your eyes and hearts will land upon words that make you long for God even more.   Heather Mertens writes at  40YearWanderer.com You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter pouring out love. She sends out her devotional “Wanderings” newsletter a few times a month in which readers share in encouraging each other. You can get those at her website.

Published by permission of the author. Submit your own post at beingrebekah@outlook.com. 

Guest post: Update from Mozambique

Editor’s Note: Our weekly guest spot is our effort to help our reading community connect with each other. Thank you Lindsay for being willing to share your stories!  
“I never understood why people want to do big things… just do little things with great love.”
Heidi Baker
Because time is not on my side at the moment and there is so much I want to say, I am going to just piece together different events that have happened here over the last week.
This last weekend I saw many things including a leg growing out in my hands as we were praying and a back instantly healed.  On Saturday night I got to preach to 50 of the roughest street boys in Pemba, most of whom are criminals.  It was amazing to see Holy Spirit flood that tiny overpacked room and these young men cry out to Jesus.  God is so good.  I got to share about my history fighting in Muay Thai and I have officially become one of their favorite people ha!  It is hilarious to see these tough boys and young men who most people are genuinely afraid of call me their big sister.  I also have about ten boys who are convinced that they need to spar with me.
Then on Sunday I was asked to go into the village to visit a woman’s house that has continually been getting cursed by the witch doctors and jealous neighbors.  She has been terrorized with nightmares and crazy things happening.  So seven others joined me and we went into the village and prayed over her, her house, shared with her about love and fear and Jesus.  For the first time in months she felt peace in her house.  Yay, Jesus!
Today I heard a horrific report about a local village who are having an infestation of worms.  It is so bad that the fingers and toes of people are literally being eaten away.  We heard about this village and the atrocities and we are sending out a team on Wednesday to go to this village to wash all of the feet and hands of these people in kerosine (it kills the worms) and then we will one by one pick them out.  I will be joining this team on Wednesday, even if I have to sit on the floor of the back of the truck to get there.
I know, to most the idea of picking out worms from peoples feet and hands sounds not appealing at all… but this is why I came here: to love the one in front of me.  Love looks like something, it is action.  And love to this village is washing their feet and hands, praying over their open wounds and leaning back against the chest of Jesus trusting Him to do whatever needs to be done.  Whether that is growing back toes and fingers or simply loving the unlovely and caring for their wounds.
To be honest, ever since I heard about this village and saw some of the photos and video, it is all I can think about.  It is consuming my thoughts, it won’t leave me alone.  I asked the Lord why, why can’t I stop thinking about these people?  As soon as I asked, I heard Him say, “Because they are on mymind.  My eye is on this village and I have heard their cry.”
Then it hit me, if this village were to haunt my thoughts for the rest of my time that I am in Pemba, I would be okay with that.  Because I want to focus on what He is focusing on, I want to feel what He feels, I want to see what He sees.
I want to be so close to His heart that I hear it beating every moment of every day–and right now it is beating for this village.
Please be praying for us as we go on Wednesday.  I am trusting God to do something incredible–even if the incredible is radical love.  That will be enough for me.
With love,
Lindsay
Lindsay has been a missionary since her early teens. She lives in Arizona but is currently in Mozambique with Harvest School (Iris Ministries). Learn more at http://www.irisglobal.org/missions/harvest/

 
Published by permission of the author. Submit your own post at beingrebekah@outlook.com. 

Guest Post: Emerson of Words From a Feather “What God Has Taught Me About Marriage and Love”

Editor’s Note: Our weekly guest spot is our effort to help our reading community connect with each other. Emerson is the daughter of our very first guest post contributor Heather Mertens of 40yearwanderer  and what a talented family they are! For all of us still waiting for “Mr(s). Right,” may her words encourage us now. 

I’ve been thinking a lot lately – about love, marriage, future family. I know every girl dreams about it, but this is different. I’ve started seeing it in a whole new way. True that I’ve gotten older and more mature, but something happened that changed my perspective. I started to really see into the details of what it means to love. I don’t see it as trying to find the right guy to fall in love with almost as if it would happen by some magic, but instead I see it as completely giving it over to God and trusting Him because He always takes care of me in every part of my life. I always knew that if God’s plan for my life included someone to share it with then He would bring me the right man, but what changed for me recently is how I feel about it. It was always a nice thought, but I never really thought too deeply about it. Now, I’ve started to realize just how amazing it is that He loves me and cares for me so much that he has someone waiting for me who will love me – truly love me, even with all my many imperfections and mistakes.

I realized the more I focused on God and my relationship with Him and the more my love grew for Him, the more free I was to love others and myself. And then something happened that I can’t even begin to describe or even completely understand. I started to feel love for my future husband. I never knew it was possible to have that deep kind of love for someone I don’t even know. It makes me so excited and emotional to think about being able to actually get to express that love to my future husband someday, and it makes me cry. Cry like I just watched a Nicholas Sparks movie kind of cry. Only much deeper. It’s a true longing and desire to know the one that God has made for me to love. I actually feel a sense of missing him, and I don’t even know him yet.

Maybe you think I’m crazy. I know nothing about actually being married, I’ve never had a boyfriend, and I’ve never even been on a date before so I don’t know what it’s like to love a person to that extent. But it’s not thinking I love someone I know, it’s knowing I love someone I don’t know. There’s a big difference there and I’m aware of that. I know that this is something that is coming from me getting closer to God and wanting what He wants for me. God has put that love inside of us all, and it is a true love because it comes from Him.

I see now that the biggest blessing in marriage is not to be loved by someone, although that is an incredible and indescribable blessing, but to given someone to love and to be able to fully love them. It’s something I know only God completely understands, and He’s giving me only a small glimpse of it. I really wish I could put how it makes me feel into clear words, but there is no way to describe it exactly. I want to tell everyone out there how it feels to know that God has already taken care of it all and the peace it brings, and that they don’t have to go searching for love. Love has already found them, and He has someone for them that will love them more than they could even begin to dream about.

I talk to God about it and I pray for my future husband all the time. I pray for our future relationship and I pray for his relationship now with God. Instead of trying to find the “perfect guy”, I’m striving to become the person and the future wife that God wants me to be while I wait for the one He has for me. I always want to be myself and be loved for who I am, but I want to always be the best of myself – the woman that God made me to be. So instead of only wishing and dreaming about love and marriage, I’m preparing myself for when that time comes. I want God to always be first in our relationship, and I want my husband to always put God before me. I pray that we can build each other up and also help and support each other in our individual relationships with God. This has also made me see friendships and family in a whole new way, and how every kind of love is an amazing blessing from God. I don’t ever want to take any of it for granted.

I could really write about this forever because it’s such an amazing thing to think about, and that is only a tiny bit of what God is showing me now and how I feel. That’s all I could manage to get into words, and I prayed that God would give me the right words to express it in the best way that I could. I just wish everyone could see the truth about His love and what He has prepared for those who accept it. I hope this helps anyone who is waiting for their future spouse to come along. It has certainly helped me and I am beyond excited about the future and what God has planned. And I have to admit, I’m more than just a little excited to finally know who it is that God has had for me to love all along.

-Emerson

Bible_With_Ring_Heart_Images_by_Emerson_Website

Images by Emerson – © Emerson Mertens

 

Emerson Mertens is a 19 year old choreographer, dancer, and teacher, who writes about what God has taught her already in her young life. You can read more of her inspired, faith filled life at her blog.
Published by permission of the author. Submit your own post at beingrebekah@outlook.com. 

Guest Post: Hunger in Mozambique pt2- aka “Loaves and Fishes”

Editor’s Note: Our weekly guest spot is our effort to help our reading community connect with each other. Thank you Lindsay for being willing to share your story of God’s amazing ways with us! What a wonderful follow up to last week’s post! Praise Him!  
“Then he turned to his host.  ‘When you put on a wedding banquet,’ he said, ‘don’t invite your friends, brothers, relatives, and rich neighbors.  For they will invite you back, and that will be your only reward.  Instead, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind.  Then at the resurrection of righteousness, God will reward you for inviting those who could not repay you.” Luke 14
This Sunday I saw one of the most amazing miracles that I have ever seen in my entire life–and I sobbed the entire way through it.
For months before I came to Mozambique, Jesus had been speaking to me about him feeding the five thousand in John chapter six… and this Sunday, I saw that miracle come to pass before my very eyes.  In church, the Holy Spirit instructed us to have communion.  It was an interactive sermon on John chapter six with five loaves and two fish and three baskets.  Heidi’s twelve spiritual sons began to break the bread and hand it out and in my spirit I could feel that we were about to witness something great.
As they passed out the bread to over seven hundred people (large pieces as well, because no one was to receive a small portion of Jesus’ body), it was instructed for the international (Iris students) to break and share their bread with at least two people from Mozambique.  I sat there with a large piece of bread and broke it and handed it to three mamas and one young boy named Juma.  We also split the large piece of fish that we received and then waited for Holy Spirit to come.
That was when it hit me.  I was sitting there among the poorest of the poor.  We were on the ground with bugs crawling on us and dirt on our bare feet, most of those around me had swollen stomachs but joyful eyes as they held the precious bread in their hands.  You see, the bread of Jesus’ body is precious to them because for most in that church it was the only meal they would eat that day.  I was surrounded by blind widows and children with missing limbs and I realized so suddenly–as if this veil was lifted from my eyes–that this must have been very similar to the crowd that Jesus was with on that very day.
And I finally understood: to love the poor is to love Jesus.  To feed the poor is to feed Jesus.  To give water to the poor is to give water to Jesus.  To take off your shoes and give them to one who does not have is to do the same for Jesus.  To lay down your life for the poor is to lay down your life for Jesus.  If you ever want to find Jesus, find the poor.  He is among them and he shines through their eyes.  I have experienced no greater satisfaction in my life than when I was sitting there with broken bread and fish among these children of God.  I knew then that I was not just among the poor but I was sitting with Jesus himself and we were talking together, we were sharing in our meal together, we were laughing together and we were crying together.
As the bread was passed around, broken, torn, ripped apart, much like the precious flesh of my Jesus, the miracle began to take place and the baskets began to fill up instead of empty out.  In fact, the more we handed out, the more the baskets began to overflow until by the end the baskets we were using were overflowing onto the ground and every person in that church was satisfied.
That might be hard for some of you to believe, but this is the truth.  There will always be enough.  When we surrender all, Jesus surrenders all to us.
After the food multiplied, Heidi called up those who wanted to receive Jesus and masses of people came running, most of them children.  Heidi then pointed out to us that most of these children are accepting Jesus today also because they received actual bread.  When it comes to the poor there is a greater impact when you bring the Bread of Life and bread in the natural.  She then asked those who were actually hungry right now to raise their hands and every single child on that stage rose their hands and I began to weep uncontrollably.
You see, in my last email I wrote that hunger ignites a response from God, which is fully true, but I also think it ignites us to respond as well.  When we are hungry, we have to do something.  Hunger is a driving force unlike any other and I have asked God to make me as ravenous as a fire, as hungry as a grave, as thirsty as a river.
I am hungry for more hunger.
I know this email is long, but when you have had the blind and the lame weep over you as they pray for you, it is a hard thing to describe what Jesus does in your heart.  I certainly don’t have all of this figured out, and that is okay.  I don’t know how to live a life that is fully surrendered and that is okay.  It is impossible for me to sustain the heart of Christ in my flesh which means that I am bowing down and He is rising up.  It is impossible for seven hundred to be fed on what little loaves and fish we had, but because it was impossible that made it 100% possible.  Because then it is all God and nothing to do with me.
Jesus, I have so much to learn.
Lindsay
Lindsay has been a missionary since her early teens. She lives in Arizona but is currently in Mozambique with Harvest School (Iris Ministries). Learn more at http://www.irisglobal.org/missions/harvest/
Published by permission of the author. Submit your own post at beingrebekah@outlook.com.