Archive by Author | Rebekah A

Unrelenting

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Hi everyone! It has been a long time since I’ve last posted. The reasons are varied, but not too profound, so I’ll spare you the details.

Basically I just took some time to seek Him and grow in Him. I’ve increased my study of His word. I’ve increased my worship in both my heart and my home. I’ve started stepping out of my comfort zone in prayer – with intercession, with strangers and friends alike. I’ve been playing piano as a form of worship, rather than just playing. I’ve been getting more discernment on my visions and words for people. I’ve been working on going deeper – the depths of His heart call to mine and I have been trying to respond. This has involved Him revealing things in the depths of my heart that are so ingrained I just chalked them up to personality traits. But they’re not. They’re learned behaviors that get in the way of true intimacy with Him. Most recently, I (along with Rebekah L) have been involved in a book study with a group of Marshallese ladies – it is amazing to see God’s heart for this tiny island nation unfold.

Suffice to say it’s been a process – a beautiful exercise of being stretched in love and faith. Much has happened – about a squillion blog posts worth. And I’ve learned some things. I’ve learned it’s ok to be lost – He’ll always, always find me. I’ve learned that faith isn’t always pretty, but He’s captivated by the sight of it anyway. I’ve learned His grace is beautiful and will wash over me even when I least deserve it. But the bottom line is, what I’ve learned the most, is that Jesus loves me as I am just as much as He would love me if I were perfect. But even though His love for me is at this moment fiercer and stronger than anything I have ever felt, He will not give up on the girl He initially created – on the one He created me to be. The fullness of the identity He has for me. His mercy is literally unending, but He will never give up shaping me and refining the shape of my heart until I am fully, wholly His. Until no part of me belongs to the past I left behind.

The same is true for us all. No matter where we’ve been lately. No matter how far we fall, no matter where our starting point is. No matter if we’re at the peak of success or at rock bottom. His love is unrelenting, and He will love us right to the person He created in the first place.

To that end, I give you a song of the day. There is beauty in His love, just as there is beauty in your heart. Where your hangups and imperfections start, so does His grace. His yoke is easy, His peace is abundant and I pray you are washed in it today.

God bless!

Rebekah A

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Well played, Jesus.

Sometimes Jesus does really cool things. Ok, all the time. But sometimes there’s a moment, or a series of them, where He is especially awesome. His math, His timing, the way He just works things out….it’s mindblowing. And I love it.

It’s one such story, a series of moments when Love stirred the hearts of 3 different people in 3 vastly different places, that I want to share with you all. I have a friend doing a missions trip in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is a country of unrest. In fact many parts  are active war zones, UN Redzones – as in, United Nations staff are advised not to go into those areas under any circumstances. All in all it’s a desperate, pain-filled place. Its violence is so pronounced that many of the children in the redzone often suffer from epileptic seizures due to prolonged exposure to trauma. Also, it’s beautiful. Its people are beautiful with beautiful hearts.

For her, it’s been a journey of loving deeper, of opening herself up more, of going lower and inviting Heaven to come and interrupt life in this place. There has been laughter. Tears. Healing. Soldiers coming to Jesus. Prostitutes and orphans coming to Jesus. Strongholds being torn down. Love has reigned, and hearts and spirits have been changed forever.

In the midst of this trip, my friend’s constant refrain has been that love is action. It looks like something. We love God by loving the one in front of us, the one overlooked and forgotten and abandoned by the world – for in that one, Jesus Himself resides.

Her words and experiences inspired me, here in NYC, to write the blog post, His True Face. It got a massive response – peoples’ spirits must have stirred as much as mine did at this message from Jesus.

The most ESPECIALLY COOLEST THING EVER is that the blog post, or more accurately the Bible verses I posted to preface it, then inspired one of our readers and fellow bloggers (the awesome blessedwiththunderthighs.com, and some minor internet stalking tells me she is based in California). She was inspired to write a song, which she posted in a comment. She even got to play it at a worship service at her church.

I, in turn, was inspired to turn around and share the song back with my lovely friend in the Congo. I am super excited to say that she loved the song and played it for her missions team, still doing their labor of Love in the Congo. Love inspired love that week, and Jesus used all three of us to spread His message around the world.

None of us knew we were being used that way. It wasn’t on purpose. It wasn’t part of any plan we had. It was part of a plan that Jesus had, one that He executed perfectly and one that will consequently give me Spirit-filled warm fuzzies for probably the rest of my life.

I told you He was cool, did I not??

God bless!

~Rebekah A

No Place For That Here

Recently, I was talking to a friend who said she needed prayer – the “spirit of discouragement” was trying to latch onto her. I went into prayer for her, ready to do battle against this “spirit”, to cast it away from her, whatever I needed to do. She is at a really intense time in her life and certainly didn’t need  a spirit of discouragement standing in her way!

As I began getting into the heart of my prayer time though, God gave me the revelation that in this case there was no such spirit of discouragement. There was simply a girl, a child of God, doing her best to walk out the calling on her life but currently falling short. She wasn’t out of His will, she was following His call, she was just falling short of the fullness of what her life was meant to be at this time.

Why was this happening? It was because she knew what God had called her to do. She had heard His voice…..but then she used her earthly ideas to fill it in. For example, say somebody really likes flowers. And so, really liking flowers, was expecting them from a loved one for their birthday. All day at work waiting for that bouquet to arrive, expecting it at home. Instead, the loved one didn’t send a bouquet at all but took them to a picnic in a field of wildflowers. The wish was fulfilled but not in the way our flower-loving person expected. The present didn’t meet expectations per se, but does that mean it was bad?

In the case of my friend, it is Jesus’ will that she is doing. She is just walking with a certain (earthly) expectation of what that should look like. A certain expectation of how people will respond to her along the way, because it is God’s will. And as it happens, it isn’t turning out like she expected. The breakthroughs are happening between her and Jesus, not between her and those around her. And so she is finding herself discouraged.

But as I prayed for her, God revealed that this is an issue of our own hearts, not some outward spirit attacking us. And it’s an issue we face a bit too frequently. So often we walk in expectation of what God can and should do. And yes, of course we should be expectant. But sometimes we end up seeking the things we expect of Him, rather than seeking God Himself. And that’s a problem.

Readers, our first and really only desire should be Jesus. To serve Him. To seek Him, To be with Him. There are numerous – numerous – Bible verses about how we should seek God with our whole heart. That doesn’t mean “seek Him with half our heart and keep the other half of our heart waiting to witness His miracle”. That doesn’t mean “seek with most of our heart and keep a teeny bit waiting to rejoice at a breakthrough”. It means our whole heart longs for Him and Him alone. If He is healing the masses as we walk among them, great. Awesome. Amazing. I had a friend in Africa recently who was feeding a village and God literally repeated the miracle of the loaves and fish. I was crying at His glory and power with this miracle. BUT. If He happens to just be merely standing before us, that is fine. Amazing in fact. Why? Because He’s Jesus. And He’s enough. And if our whole heart is truly desiring Him and Him alone, if we keep all our own thoughts and expectations out of it and instead seek only His face and heart, His mere presence is enough. If we desire Jesus, our desires are fulfilled. Because we have Jesus.

There’s no place for discouragement when our heart’s desire is being fulfilled. At the end of the day, maybe we didn’t see a miracle we expected. Maybe we didn’t see what we thought we would. But it’s not our plan. It’s His. It’s not our expectation that matters. It’s His. We’re merely the vessels for it. If our hearts are truly in the right place, and God is our true desire, we’ve got Him. Our desire has been fulfilled. It’s being fulfilled constantly, as an inherent part of our relationship with Him. Us + Jesus = perfect satisfaction for our hearts and spirits. The Bible makes this equation clear, and there is simply no room for discouragement in it. Where would it even go?

Where does that leave us? Well. We all feel discouraged at times. It’s normal. It’s natural. For every verse in the Bible that says to desire and seek God above all else, there are probably just as many examples of someone discouraged. It happens. But it’s still a problem.

So, if you are in that place of discouragement, as we’ve all been, I invite you to seek Him a bit further today. Really, really press in to Him and let Him show you if maybe something else has entered your equation. Let Him reassure you and give you peace to know that these other variables don’t really matter because He is bigger than them and He is able. Give your heart over to Him to be reshaped. Give Him your very thoughts to be brought into obedience under Him.

And then rest assured. He’s got this.

God bless!

~Rebekah A

His True Face

“Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us.” ~ 1 John 4:11-12

“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me…..The King will reply, ‘truly I tell you, whatever you did for the least of these you did for me.” ~ Matthew 25:35-36; 40

When we move in love, especially when such a walk is new to us, one question reigns supreme. How do we love a God we cannot see? How do we love a God we have never seen, and will never see until our time on earth is done? Sure, we worship. We praise. Hopefully our hearts and spirits are stirred by such things. But to actively love on a God we can’t see? I mean it isn’t like we can go up to the guy and just give Him a big hug, you know?

But there is an answer. See, even if we have a God we can’t see, we have a person standing in front of us who we can see, and see clearly. Love on them. When we do, God’s love is made complete in us.

Note how this verse doesn’t say ‘made complete in you.‘ No. This act takes two. When we love one  another His love is made complete in us. When you love another, your spirit stirs. But His is awoken and made complete in both you and the person you’re loving. And since God Himself is love…well there’s your answer, isn’t it?

How do you love a perfect God you can’t see? By loving the broken one in front of you that you can see. Look closely into their eyes, let yourself see them, really see them. The eyes of Jesus Himself are staring back at you. He is truly residing in the least of these – don’t miss His presence just because it’s cloaked in shabby clothes. Don’t miss His beauty because it’s masked by a not-so-beautiful smell.

The face of Jesus is young. It is old and weathered. It has a gaze of brokenness, bearing years of pain and loneliness and abandonment. It is sometimes hidden behind a mask of hostility because at its core it is a vulnerable face. It is a face that remains hopeful despite all circumstances; or it is a face that reached its breaking point long ago. It’s a face you pass every day without a thought; it’s a face you’ve never seen before.

It’s the face in front of you.

God bless!

~Rebekah A

Singles Awareness Day?

I hear this a lot. “Happy Singles Awareness Day!” It’s a cynical badge of honor, the anti-holiday on this seemingly sappy day devoted to lovers and all of the things you can buy them.

But here’s the thing. If you know Jesus, you are not single. I don’t care if you’re married, engaged, figuring things out via OK Cupid, or saving yourself for George Clooney. You’re not single. I’ll even say it again. You, dear married/engaged/dating/saving-yourself reader, are not single. Why? Because we, collectively, we the church, are the Bride of Christ. We have a lover, who is wooing our souls, our hearts, and our spirits every day. And His love is perfect. He knows our desires, our loves, our needs. He knows our wants, and He blesses us abundantly with them. He is ready to spend time with us, laugh with us, cry with us, even joke with us. God is Love, and therefore He is the ultimate Lover. With Him in our lives…..no. You are not single, and your heart is not lonely or closed off. If it is, get on your knees and seek Him out, because something is wrong. No bride should be lonely in the presence of the Groom.  If you are, that’s a problem. But there is a solution and it’s an easy one. Just spend time with Him and let Him fill you up. Simple as that (and then you can get back to your regularly scheduled Clooney Quest).

For the Bride, for us blessed enough to know our one true Groom and savior, every day is Valentine’s Day. We can walk through the world, wherever He sends us, and watch Him move and love on people all year long. The love never stops. All we have to do is be open to it.

I ask you all to send some love on your Groom today. Lavish your love on Him, even if it feels silly. He will do all that and more in return. And stand with Him in His quest to love the world, for there are many lonely hearts in the world who don’t have a Groom and don’t have hope. They come in all forms – they are married to someone on earth, they are engaged, they are dating, they are saving themselves for Scarlett Johansson. They are lonely regardless, because they are focusing on the wrong relationship. The only one that counts is already right in front and probably pounding on the door of their hearts.

I ask you all to not get confused with this holiday. Don’t focus on the wrong relationship (no, that doesn’t mean ignore your wife. But don’t ignore Jesus either!) and don’t get cynical over the materialism of the day. (That means YOU, you singles-awareness-day people – don’t you do it!). Focus on the fact that this is a day dedicated to love, and you are a beautiful and radiant lover of Jesus. You are a Bride, and bursting with all the radiance that comes with the big day. Revisit what love is, what it looks like and how it sounds. Then go spread it. See, if you don’t have a spouse/significant other/family of your own, Jesus is probably waiting for you to stop your wallowing and open your eyes to the lonely hearts that you DO have in your life. The ones who need you to show them, even in passing and even if they don’t say so, what love is. And He is waiting for you to join Him and pour it out.

Forget about Singles Awareness Day. In Him, there is no such thing.

God bless!

~Rebekah A

Slow Progress

So, the last time I posted, I hadn’t seen Bradley (a homeless man who’s been on my heart all fall) at all. Now I see him almost regularly again – which is amazing and I totally count it as progress – but he’s always asleep.  I leave things for him – food, mostly – but I don’t wake him up. I would think that sleep on the streets is tough to come by and I never have the heart to wake him. But at least he’s there. I’m still just trusting God to move in this.

To be honest, the waiting game is a bit frustrating. I was so sure that God wanted me to move on this, and move now. It felt like it was meant to be now. And posting publicly about visions that God had given me, posting what He wanted me to do, and then having no results to show for it…..felt almost like I was letting God down somehow. Like I was hurting His credibility for the masses. I know that that’s not possible really. God is bigger than this. But still, that’s how it feels – like I’m doing something wrong and I don’t know what.

So I’m trying to wait patiently (fairly successfully) and cheerfully (not so successfully), and just trusting God to work and to move. He can and I know it. So I’m trying to just let Him and praying that He gives me grace to wait!

God bless!

~Rebekah A

Just a Good Day

Lately, it’s felt like I’ve been constantly fighting against a current that’s stronger than me. I’ve already been in a place of laying down my life for my roommate; now his aide has started going to class so I’m called to shoulder even more. I finally got some work, but just babysitting; this, in and of itself, has been chafing my college-educated, career-minded pride. Since we’re not supposed to have any pride anyway, I’m trying not to let that bother me too much. But the mother I’m sitting for keeps cancelling on me so it’s basically like having no work at all. Even little things, things I’ve done a million times and things that are part of my normal routine, have been extra difficult or tedious. Everything’s inexplicably taken longer than normal and way more unforeseen problems have come up than normal.

I’ve been trying not to get frustrated, but it’s been hard. It’s been hard watching holes appear in my clothes and shoes and still trust God to provide. It’s been hard watching the bills come in, exhausting all of my financial options with no end in sight, and still trust that God is going to come through.

But today God showed me that He’s still got my back. Maybe His timing to ease specific problems in my life hasn’t come to fruition yet, but He showed me He’s still with me. Today everything was easier. My time was multiplied. Daily tasks were even easier than normal. I even went for a run and it was easier than it’s been in about 2 years. Every step of the way today, He was literally showering blessings upon me. Just little things – but they made a huge difference!

It was just refreshing to know that no matter what my circumstances are, He’s still there and still my Provider!

God bless!

~Rebekah A