Archive by Author | Rebekah A

Fully Satisfied

“You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek You; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, In a dry and parched land where there is no water.” ~Psalm 63:1

I was reading Psalm 63 the other day (read it here in KJV or here in NIV) and was just really struck by David’s faith. I mean, here the guy is stuck in a desert. There’s no water. I don’t know about you, but if I were stuck in a desert with no water in sight, I’d be thirsty. Even if I’d brought water with me, knowing there was no more nearby would make me thirsty by default. avid was thirsty too, but not for water. His first thirst, looking around him and seeing nothing around that could sustain or nourish him, was for God. Looking around and seeing nothing, his being then longed for his Creator. That is faith. Big faith. I have faith, and yet my whole being would be longing for food and drink opportunities. David is on a whole other level.

He goes on to say that he’s seen God’s power and glory, and His love is better than life. Now, there are many of us who will pray when things go wrong; we will certainly lean on God when things go badly, and He is our ultimate Provider. But David isn’t leaning. David is praising. David is stuck in the desert thinking, “who cares if I starve to death or die of thirst? Who cares if I lose my life out here? God’s love is better than my life, and so I’ll get my praise on”.  He doesn’t really seem concerned at all about his physical circumstances or surroundings. He’s just interested in celebrating – in the middle of the dessert he is celebrating. Why? Because God is God, and that’s worth celebrating.

He even goes so far as to say that he will be satisfied as with the richest of foods. Without any food at all. I don’t know about you but that’s amazing to me. I am fasting sugar right now – I’m not going hungry, I’m just going healthy. I’m not going thirsty. And yet I have to convince myself to feel satisfied. My body is missing the carbs. David, though, his body could be missing everything, and yet he is ‘fully satisfied as with the richest of foods’. Incredible.

Only after this celebrating does he starting clinging to God. And even when he is clinging, he’s not too concerned. He knows God’s faithfulness too well to worry about much of anything – he knows God’s got him covered no matter what. He mentions being taken care of in the face of his enemies, and says “the king will rejoice in God”. Basically, no matter what his circumstances, this guy is rejoicing. Because God is God, and His very presence is enough to keep David fully satisfied.

What would our lives look like if we had a heart like that? If we were fully satisfied at all times, sometimes despite pretty bad stuff, simply because of God’s presence?

I am praying for that heart today, the heart to be satisfied as with the richest of foods, simply because I know God is there. The heart that celebrates God for being not just enough, but my everything. We should all be praying for this heart today.

God bless!

~Rebekah A

 

 

 

Igniting the Passion

I’ve been noticing lately just how much we do to interact with other people. When it comes to our loved ones, we make time to call or we put things aside to take their calls. We stay in touch via text or Facebook. We send each other stories, memories, pictures that remind us of that person. When we don’t hear from them or haven’t in awhile, we miss them.

And it got me thinking – what would the church look like if we treated God the same way? How would we as individuals look? How would our lives look?

Because honestly, how often do we think like that? How often do you go out of your way to make time to talk to Him? Go out of your way to take His call? Go through your day and see little things throughout that remind you of God or that you want to tell Him about later? If you haven’t talked to Him all day, do you miss Him? Does talking to Him put a smile on your face, or is it just something we do? Do you get giddy with Him the way you would with, say, a crush? Do we talk to Him because we need Him, or because we love Him?

God doesn’t want to be kept at a distance. He doesn’t want to be an afterthought, a crutch, or an obligation. He wants to be everything. He loves us, even to the most minute details of our lives,  He loves us passionately and wants our passionate love in return. Passionate. Love. He is the lover of our souls and as such desires our company and our time – He delights in it. Do we delight in Him?

I challenge you to work on closing that gap. See how many areas of your life you can include Him on. Not because you have a problem you need to pray about, but because you love Him and want Him around. It’s time to ignite your passion for Him (or grow it, as the case may be). He will meet you every step of the way!

God bless!

~Rebekah A

Just Because

As of two days ago, I was fasting sugar, all sugar, and in a haze of withdrawal. Today, I’m still hazy and not feeling great, though I’m happy to report that what seemed like a truck running me over in my sleep has been downgraded to a moped.

One thing is different about this fasting time. Usually, people fast because something bad is happening in their lives and they are pressing in to get through it. Or, they fast because their church is doing it. Or maybe it’s something they do routinely (for instance, I had a routine where I would fast one day/week and eat nothing for 24 hours, and pray every spare chance I got). Sometimes it’s a combination.

It’s rare, though, to fast simply because. It’s rare that we feel that pull when things are going well. But that’s exactly what this season is. It’s a time to draw near and fill up with His love – not because I’m currently lacking love but just because I am loved. Just because. It’s a Daughter bonding with her Daddy.

I have no idea what God is going to do, but I know what I want – more of Him!

God bless!

~Rebekah A

Perspective

Tonight I am in a fog. Why? Well, ultimately it’s because God is doing some great things in the church I came from before I moved here, and He is doing some great things in me. He has completely lit a fire under me and I don’t want it to ever go out. Don’t worry, I’ll explain the fog part later.

The season I’m in has been months in the making. There is a very sick little girl that my old church has been praying for, which is perhaps a blog post for another day (a long one). Through a whole variety of things, God has shown us that He has some very specific and miraculous plans for her, and He wants us to stand with Him to carry them out. The time for that to happen is near, and so it is a time to press into God deeply. Nothing less than the purity of His truth and power will suffice.

While we have been waiting on that, God’s been growing us. Through a series of seemingly unconnected visions, dreams, and even random gifts, He has brought us to a season of tearing down high places within our hearts and churches, and again pressing in. And actually, He used me to reveal the connecting thread that brought us into this phase of deep growth in Him, which is awesome. It wasn’t an obvious connection and drew on prior knowledge that I had, that made God’s message clear when it was combined with this stuff that was happening. But I never would have spoken up (because it didn’t seem relevant), if my prayer partner literally the night before hadn’t had a word for me about speaking boldly no matter what I felt. So I listened to the word she delivered, spoke out, and it turned out to be right on the money. God is awesome in the ways He uses us. This is perhaps another long blog post for another day. My boldness has been increasing in leaps and bounds lately, and I’ve spoken out about a lot of things God has told me when I previously might not have had the confidence to do so, but this grew my boldness even more. Yay!

Anyway, the underlying thread of everything is that we are in a season to press into Jesus, to passionately and radically pursue Him. I like the sound of it already.

In an effort to ‘press in’, I have been fasting a bit more regularly. My typical fasting pattern is to abstain from food for a 24-hr period. Since this season seems like it calls for a more prolonged endeavor, I have gotten creative. I am fasting sugar. Detoxing from it, really. I know, I know. It’s a health fad. It’s a trendy kickoff to a trendy diet. Truth be told, I couldn’t care less about the trend. It is also something that my body is currently dependent on, and to me that is all that matters. I want my body to run the way it was created to run and to be dependent on nothing except for Jesus Christ Himself. It’s my physical manifestation of pressing in. The problem with detoxing from sugar is that you go through a mini withdrawal, and you get sort of sick for about a week. I am on Day 2, hence my brain fog. I’m also fairly convinced that someone drove into my bedroom with a Mack truck and ran over me while I slept, and then magically glued my walls back together. How they did it, I will never know, but I am definitely feeling the effects!

It has been interesting, to be spiritually on fire and physically foggy. I am pressing in, which is the whole point, and both reaching and expecting breakthrough. I am grateful for the season, because I am growing in leaps and bounds and am expectant that God will deliver on what He’s told me. I’m even grateful for the fog because it forces me to really focus to hone in on the spirit, and to depend on His help to get even mundane tasks done. I’m mostly grateful that God has given me some perspective on where I’m at, and where He’s headed both with me and the Body as a whole.  I can’t wait to see what He does!

God bless!

~Rebekah A

Two Sisters

In Ezekiel 23 (read it here for NIV or here for KJV), the chapter talks about 2 sisters – Oholah and Oholibah. Oholah is, metaphorically, Samaria, while Oholibah is Jerusalem. Getting deep already, aren’t we?

To summarize the chapter: They weren’t the most well-behaved ladies, and this chapter refers to them repeatedly as harlots. They ‘played the harlot’ in Egypt, getting fondled and caressed even as young girls. They became children of God eventually, but didn’t stay faithful to Him. Instead, they lusted after and gave themselves to all kinds of other men from all different lands. The younger sister is worse than the older, not only lusting after the men who crossed her path but also the ones she saw drawn on the wall. In fact she went out of her way to send for them, based on these pictures, so she could give herself to them too. Naughty, naughty. Eventually, the things and people they lust after turn against them, expose them for the bad girls that they are, and destroy them. Painfully, I might add.

Admittedly, this isn’t the most uplifting chapter, but God spoke out to me about a couple of things. First, these girls started doing sexual things at a young age. The bible mentions them being young girls, and the men of Egypt ‘fondling’ ‘their virginal breasts’. On the one hand, this certainly isn’t demure behavior. On the other, how much control over their environment do young girls have? They may well have been forced to do this. Or perhaps, if they did indeed enjoy it, they enjoyed it only because it was all they knew. But then things changed. They went from living in the darkness to being children of God. Daughters of God. Knowing God, they now knew better. Yet, they didn’t change. They had a chance at redemption and forgiveness, and had they taken that chance this might be a very different chapter. The Bible, after all, is full of redemption stories. But they didn’t. The older sister, Oholah, upon becoming God’s, lusted after new men. The other, Oholibah, lusted after both new men and her past in Egypt.

The message is clear: once you know God, you know better. Yesterday’s events, however traumatic or beyond your control, do not justify today’s sin. Your environment is not and will never be an excuse – not once your environment also includes God (which it already does, thanks to a little something inside of us called the Holy Spirit). Have you made any excuses lately? Justified something to yourself? Said ‘that’s just how I am’ or “that’s how I was raised”?

Then there is all the men they lusted after: idols. False idols. You know the list – money, attention, notoriety, material things. Maybe you lust after them too. And Oholibah lusting after her past life – the life before God entered it. With God is great freedom, but also great responsibility to uphold His standards and righteousness. There is joy in Him, greater than any joy that this earth can provide, but to the casual observer it looks like a lot of rules. To someone who hasn’t experienced Him for themselves, the list of standards is long and the payoff is short. To someone who doesn’t know God, Oholibah’s life before Him probably looks a lot more fun. And that was her line of thinking too. The things of her past that were sinful, were fun for her. And she missed them.

This is why Christianity goes so far beyond saying the words. We can’t just pay lip service to the idea of belonging to God. We need to actually abide with Him – to desire His heart as our own. When a person lives completely led by the Holy Spirit, they can do anything they want. Why? Because their genuine and deep desires line up with the pure and righteous desires God has for us. If you desire things outside of Him, you need to seek Him out a bit more and let Him draw you closer. Oholah and Oholibah clearly failed to do this, ,and so their lusting continued. They remained spiritually immature. They never grew. Growing in God means realizing this: there is a cost to walking with Him and belonging to Him. The cost is great – but so worth paying. And as soon as you pay it, you realize just how “worth it” it is. That IS partly why we call it faith, no?

But Oholah and Oholibah missed the boat entirely when it came to actually growing in God, and so they floundered. Without seeing the Glory and Majesty that were right in front of them, they chased after other things. And random calamity doesn’t befall them. Lightning doesn’t strike them down. What happens is that the things they were chasing turned against them. The men weren’t who they seemed to be at first. They looked better from a distance. Up close they didn’t make the girls any happier or more satisfied than they were before. In fact, they caused a lot of pain and torment for these ladies. Again, the message is clear: these other things just aren’t worth the chase. Where God is eternal, these things don’t stand the test of time. Where God is more beautiful and more miraculous and more faithful and just better the more you get to know Him, these other things don’t even stand up to close scrutiny. Where God is constant and dependable, these other things are fickle and untrustworthy. They just aren’t worth much in comparison to God.

Our walk with God is not meant to ever be stagnant, and so today I ask you to take a deep look at your journey with Him. Where do you stand today? Have you made any spiritual excuses lately? Justified something to yourself? Said ‘that’s just how I am’ or “that’s how I was raised”? Desire anything lately that went beyond God? More money, a better job, a big promotion? A bigger house? Missed your ‘old life’ when you were ‘allowed’ to do other things? Once we’re His we’re always His; sinning and desiring these other things is essentially cheating on Him. So ask Him today – are there areas where you’re cheating? Areas you hold back from Him?

Maybe you do have some of these issues and maybe you don’t. Either way, Ezekiel 23 clearly shows us it’s not worth it. So let Him in today, to examine your heart and show you all the little ways you can deepen your relationship with Him even more. It’s worth any price, and God is just – He’ll never ask more of you than you can pay. So take the plunge!

God bless!

~Rebekah A

By the Word of His Power

“He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of His nature, and He upholds the universe by the word of His power. After making purification for sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.” ~ Hebrews 1:3

I had a completely different post in mind for tonight, but something happened this evening that I just have to share. You may know from recent posts that God has been putting intercession on my heart lately. Just emphasizing that He wants us to intercede, petitions us for it in fact, and desires us to stand in the gap between His righteousness and the brokenness of the world.

Ever since He’s told me this, I’ve wanted to stand in the gap. I’ve wanted nothing else. You can test me on this – email me with whatever is going on in your life (being.rebekah.a@gmail.com), and I’ll do battle for you. I want to pray all day. By the way: if you’ve emailed me, and I haven’t responded yet (or lately), I’m still praying for you. Don’t think for a second that I’m not. Anyway. When I don’t want to do spiritual battle, I want to worship. I want more of Him and whatever I do isn’t enough. I want more of Him. And more of Him. It’s this intense desire that I just can’t quench. And I’m not trying to. It’s an amazing season where God is having me plant seeds and sow into roots, and it’s so cool to even be along for the ride and watch Him work.

I digress. Tonight I was on the phone with my friend. She was at a woman’s house, with her pregnant Christian friend. The woman was painting the Christian friend’s belly and they were taking pictures. And she texted me saying, “intercede for me right now. I’m at this ‘spiritual’ woman’s house, there are idols everywhere, she has a book of shadows in the corner”. So I started to pray. I prayed for the pregnant friend and the baby first, because I couldn’t get a read on what to pray over the woman just yet. But I switched to her quickly enough, and it was like trying to walk straight ahead with a building in your way. I just kept getting met with a huge resistant force. Like my prayers were being boomeranged back to me.

So I switched to just praising and pressing in to Him, knowing there was something happening but not knowing what, and knowing that He would guide me in what to do next. He didn’t disappoint. He gave me a glimpse of what was going on in this woman’s house in the spirit. Sure enough, there was an actual wall erected to keep Jesus out. I saw it, and it looked pretty solid, and it had certainly succeeded in keeping me out

The only thing I could do was tear it down. With God guiding my every word, I prayed for this woman and I prayed for the destruction of this wall. I claimed authority in the name of Jesus Christ. I called on Jesus to tear this thing down at its foundation. I was shaking – not with fear but with power. I could feel that I was on the winning side. I knew in my core, I knew, watching everything unfold before me I knew without a doubt that whoever was holding up this stronghold would lose his wall. He had to. He had no choice. He simply could not stand up to Jesus. So I was praying in total confidence. And sure enough, an angel had a sledgehammer type thing and started whacking away. I have to give some style points to Jesus here, who was probably just humoring because in my zeal I embellished a little on various ways they could tear down this wall. But I definitely didn’t know angels used sledgehammers as weapons of choice, but it sure worked out well. The wall cracked like it was made of clay, and crumbled. And I instantly felt a peace in my prayers. There was no more barrier. No more resistance to my prayers. Free access for team Jesus. It was a major spiritual shift.

And then I witnessed the most beautiful part of all. Jesus was before her, looking at her with such love. He was drinking her in like a long-lost lover who’d been torn away from Him that He was finally getting to see again. Her heart wasn’t even His yet, and it still isn’t, but He was loving on her anyway. Content to be beside her. Grace abounds in Him.

This progressed to the woman and my friend getting into some deeper conversation about spiritual stuff. I prayed for them the whole time. And I was mentally exhausted after – my brain literally hurt – but it was amazing. I’ve never seen a stronghold fall before. I have interceded, and I have felt spiritual shifts, but to actually get a vision of God’s power manifesting itself was beyond anything I’ve ever seen. Beautiful, beautiful MAJESTY!!!!

Bring on the victory dance. Glory to the King!

God bless!

~Rebekah A

A Certain Day

“God again set a certain day, calling it ‘Today’. This He did when a long time later He spoke through David, as in the passage already quoted: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.” 

day

When it comes to certain things, I am an opportunist. If I hear of someone hiring, I fill out an application. If a friend is in town, I move things around to see them. If i want to go visit someone else, I take steps to make it happen. If there is an opening to something I want, I take it. Most of us do. We seize the opportunity and think nothing of it.

Yet when it comes to seizing the opportunity for Jesus Christ, we balk. We don’t assert ourselves.  When I was first developing a relationship with Jesus, and I had questions, I would ask Christian friends. You know the kind: “why do bad things happen to good people?” “How can Jesus be man and God at the same time?” And so on. You would not believe how vague the answers were. Across the board. I even asked pastors at times (I bounced around to different churches trying to answer this stuff), and the most answer I got was “look in the Bible.”. Well, today that would be helpful to me. But back then? Do you have any idea how many pages are in that Book? Or how small the type is? Or how many chapters and books and verses there are? If you have never picked it up in your life, do you have any idea how hard it is to start? I mean…..they could’ve named a verse to start with, at least.  This was across the board, and it was when I was coming to them with direct questions. It was so disheartening and frustrating – God is not supposed to be hard to find! I later found out that they weren’t sure how I’d take the answers – in short, I was too ‘new’ to answer. I love my friends, and we freely talk about all things Christian now….but something tells me when it comes to reaching out to people, spreading the Gospel and simply sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ and salvation, God had a slightly more proactive approach in mind.

Yet, I’m not sure I’m much different. I talk about Jesus freely among my Christian friends. I stop to give coffee or change to the homeless. I stop to make casual conversation with them. But I don’t evangelize with them much. I want to. It’s on my heart. But I wait for God to open the door….wider. And TO A POINT, this is good. You don’t want to evangelize and witness outside of God’s will. I’m not advocating AT ALL.

It’s just that I don’t search for the opportunity to talk about Jesus the way I search for opportunities with other things. And it’s not just me; I’ve noticed this trend in people in general. We will try to squeeze through an opening the size of a keyhole for a person we miss or a new potential relationship. But when it comes to being a simple witness, to love on others in a deeper way, we wait to get hit with a Holy Spirit 2-by-4 before we jump in. And that’s a bad ratio. When the world needs a keyhole to entice us (even when the world involves Christian friends and Christian relationships), but Jesus Himself needs a 2-by-4…..it’s just a bad ratio.

And so I implore you today: don’t wait for the 2-by-4.  Sure, sure. We don’t want to impose. It’s uncomfortable. The person you’re talking to isn’t a believer. We don’t want to force our beliefs on someone else. It’s not our place. There will ALWAYS be an excuse not to go deeper. But at its core and essence, God is love. You don’t have to preach (unless God puts it on your heart to do so). You just have to love on someone, beyond the usual superficial way. It’s time, as a body, to look for the spiritual keyhole too, check in with God, and try to squeeze through.

I was listening to an interview with Heidi Baker (she runs Iris Ministries with her husband), and they have started a movement called Stop for the One (you can find the site here). It involves stopping for the One who is the One…..and then stopping for the one He puts in front of you. Their challenge is to every believer out there: to stop for one person per day. Help the elderly woman across the street. Help somebody in a parking lot. Stop for a homeless person. Stop and actually love them, with the deep love that God has for them. When you walk away from them, they should feel loved in a deeper way than they did before. Because God loves them in a deeper way than they felt before.

And today I issue the same challenge to you.  Be an opportunist for Christ. Stop for somebody every day. Go out of your way to love. Today. God set a certain day, and He called it today.

If you want to see the interview, here it is:

Stop For The One

Make a point to stop today, and be blessed!

~Rebekah A

His Incredible Timing, His Unrelenting Love

I have a friend who is pretty much a full-time missionary, dividing her time between Haiti and Brazil. In Brazil she goes to places so poor that children are routinely fed warm water with salt as a meal. In Haiti she works in orphanages and teaches English. And so much more. I recently got permission to share with you readers her various testimonies, stories, and updates. This particular testimony made me cry when I watched it – so all you weepers out there might want to make a grab for the tissues now. It’s of a woman in a brothel and is one of many. God moves in dark places. He is there. When the bottom is falling out of our worlds, He has a place for us to land. To be held. To be loved. He is unrelenting in His love, it never lets up, and His desire to hold us close and abide with us is unending.

Be encouraged by this today, and God bless!

~Rebekah A

When God Searches

“The people of the land practice extortion and commit robbery; they afflict the poor and needy, and oppress the resident alien without justice. Thus I have searched among them for someone who could build a wall or stand in the breach before me to keep me from destroying the land; but I found no one. Therefore I have poured out my fury upon them; with my fiery wrath I have consumed them; I have brought down their conduct upon their heads.” ~ Ezekiel 22:29-31

I was reading Ezekiel yesterday and this passage really stuck out at me. First of all, look at the list of sins in the first sentence. That sentence could have been written about biblical times, it could have been written a century ago, and it could easily be written about today. Easily. We see such things happening all around us. Then there’s the part that ultimately God has no choice but to pour out His wrath. Ultimately, He is too righteous to let such conduct slide, and His judgement results in action. But notice how that action was a last resort. He didn’t jump straight from observance to wrath; His fury was poured out when He was given no other option.

What was His first choice? Us. The middle sentence says that He searched for someone to step in, to stand in the breach and petition for mercy. God was searching for an intercessor.

That’s such a cool concept to me. God searches for intercessors. Many Christians think that intercession is us petitioning God to move against the forces of evil. That we seek Him hoping He’ll hear and see fit to answer. That it’s us being God’s hands and feet and voice and engaging in spiritual warfare. What so many forget is that God sees the brokenness way before we do. He sees the brokenness, sees the underlying cause of it, sees all possible end results of it. He sees it and wants to fix it, with the love and mercy He has towards us all. We might petition God when we intercede, but He petitions us first. He petitions us by putting the burden on our hearts. And then He waits, hoping, for someone to act on it – to stand in the gap and cry out to Him. To be the voice that opens the door for His mercy. To come before Him with the mustard seed of faith that He is bigger than any situation, so that He can move mountains.

It brings a whole new level to keeping God in our every moment, our every encounter. We never know when we are being asked to stand for someone we’ve just interacted with casually. If our hearts are closed to those we pass, we won’t be able to receive God’s petition.

And so I ask: Has God petitioned you today? Is He petitioning you now? So many people think that spiritual warfare is extreme. It’s radical. It’s intense. It’s something they’d rather not touch. In truth, though, it’s just what God is searching for.

And of course, if you want prayer over some of your petitions or just to say hi, feel free to email me at being.rebekah.a@gmail.com. God bless!

~Rebekah A

Sandcastles

sandcastle

As I grew up, I grew more and more reluctant to build sandcastles. “I’ll get sandy”, “they won’t last anyway”, “I’ll have ridiculously uneven tan lines”, “They take so long”……but in the end, despite my adolescent logic saying I ‘knew better’, my childish desire would win out and off I’d go. It’s no surprise – as a child I used to build major castles in the morning, and go to show people later in the day only to have them say “what castle? Where? I don’t see what you’re talking about.”

I’d start out with just a lump. I was reluctant, remember? Then the lump would take shape into an actual rectangle (the main castle), perhaps because I got on a creative roll, or perhaps just because I was way too old for just a lump to be acceptable and my friends were with me. I’d add a tower or two, maybe some designs on the walls or battlements on the top. I’d try to make my towers end in a point and I’d find a piece of seaweed or driftwood to stick in as a shell. Of course I’d build a moat – as deep as possible. And then the inevitable would happen – no matter how elaborate or large I’d built my castle, no matter how deep the moat, the tide would still rise and I’d watch my creation be swept away without a trace.

When I think of sin, I think of these sandcastles. We may start out reluctant, but in the end the desire wins out. Then we get swept along, either by peer pressure or just by ourselves. Our basic sin expands, gets fancy, gets more elaborate. Soon it’s part of our lifestyle – we’re fully embracing it and sticking a flag in the turret to claim it as ours.

We’ve all had these sandcastles within us. Maybe we still do. They are our imperfections, the things we harbor that God doesn’t like, the parts of ourselves that we hold on to, that we haven’t submitted to God yet and we don’t necessarily want to. Sandcastles can be pretty, after all. Granted, they can also be ugly and misshapen, but they’re still ours – cultivated and created by us.  Maybe we fear His judgement, maybe our flag is staked in so deep we no longer know who we are without it. Maybe we just know that refinement often hurts. And our first instinct is to protect it. To protect ourselves. “Nothing to see here, Jesus!” We change the spiritual subject to more comfortable ground (“I read my Bible today, Jesus!” = “look at the whole rest of the pristine beach, Jesus!”) and meanwhile build our moats as deep as we can; we thicken the walls. We hunker down.

Maybe we realize that enough is enough, or maybe God tells us. But either way we have a moment where we’re done. We want out. And then our very human panic sets in as follows: But look how much we’ve built. Look how elaborate it is. Look how deep the moat around it is. Look how thick the walls are. We made an effort to protect it, even though we knew better. How can something that big just disappear? We’ll be living under the shadow of that thing for the rest of our natural lives and God will never look at us the same way again and we probably just forfeit our treasure in heaven and now our souls are going to be living in a spiritual cardboard box for all eternity.

Here’s the thing – the amazing, merciful thing about Jesus. He gives us grace. When we repent, and give our sin to Him, when we turn our hearts from that part of ourselves and our lives and give it to Him for His will to be done, that act of repentance lets the tide come in. And if you think for one second that sand can stand up to the power of the living water of Jesus Christ, get yourself to the nearest beach before high tide and give it a try yourself. No chance. While you’re there, you’ll also note how wood, rock and glass get broken down and smoothed over in time. So…sand? I repeat: no chance.

When you repent, you invite the waves that break down those fragile walls. Sure, it can hurt. Yes we have to leave the castle, to get displaced and sent to a new home Jesus has for us. Yes, a part of us has to stay behind in the castle to face destruction.

But you know what? When it’s done, it’s done. Every grain gets washed away, the moat gets filled back in. The very flags that marked it as yours disappear. You will look back, from your new house on the rock, and see pristine beach. With no trace of your self-made castle. Maybe you’ll tell Jesus about it someday, in hindsight or in fear of going back there. And Jesus will look out at the beach and say “what? Where? I don’t see what you’re talking about.”

Jesus took the hit for our sins already. He bled for them and suffered for them already. The wrath was poured out. Forgiveness was earned. The only reason the sins still exist is because we are engaging in them. So when we repent, when we turn from it in our heart of hearts, it leaves. Stricken from the books. When you let God take it away, it goes away. And all that’s left is the beautiful, pristine, pure beach.

So today I ask you readers to talk to God about your personal sandcastles. Let Him point them out to you, let Him guide you to a place of submission and repentance. Give them to Him, and let that tide wash over your heart. Cry the tears, delve deeply into the reasons behind it, whatever it takes. Then, go ahead enjoy your beach.

If any of you need prayer today, or just want to say hi, feel free to email me at being.rebekah.a@gmail.com.

God bless!

~Rebekah A