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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

If Ye Be Christ’s

I am currently in Taiwan, but I’m going to share my exciting story of what God did the other day when I was still in China! God is so amazing!! It was so hard to restrain myself from writing about it, but because of the way woman reacted, I felt it best to be a little cautious and not share what happened until I left. I was probably just being paranoid, but you hear all these stories of the Communist Party reading outgoing emails and blog posts so I decided not to take any chances.

Anyway, from the moment I stepped off the plane in the Philippines I had not had a minute to myself. Literally every moment has been spent with my co-workers or my host family, or my students, or the villagers. For an introvert who lives by themselves and is used to a lot of alone time, it’s a little difficult to always be “on”. I needed a few minutes to clear my head and unwind so when we finally got some downtime, I decided to take a walk. On my way out the door, something told me to grab my bag. I realize now that it was the prompting of the Holy Spirit.

I had intended on pretty much just walking a straight line so that I wouldn’t get lost, but when I got to a fork  in the road I heard a voice tell me to go left. It was not a literal voice that I heard with my ear. I just heard it like a thought in my head, but it was the voice of my Chinese teacher (from my dreams)! Immediately, I remembered the lessons where he coached me to move left, or move right, or step back etc. without hesitation. Obedience. So I went left. I walked a ways further, and again I felt a prompting to take another left. So I did. Then I felt to just walk straight for awhile.

After a bit, I walked by a woman sitting on a bench. She called out to me, “Mei guo ren, mei guo ren” (American, American). I just ignored her because this has happened several times simply because people are surprised to see Westerners. But then she called out in English saying, “Miss?” I stopped. She spoke in a very thick accent so I had to strain to understand, but she said, “Miss, you are missionary or you are here for company?” I was surprised by the question, but just said, “I’m here with my company.” She looked really disappointed and just said, “oh, okay.” I started to walk away, but something about the disappointment in her voice stopped me. I turned  back and asked why she wanted to know. She said, “Your God told me to come to wait on the bench until the missionary come.” At this I was taken aback. The Spirit had also prompted me to go there by taking those left turns. I sat next to her on the bench. I figured she must have some Christian understanding because she used the word missionary. She also seemed to associate this word with Americans since she called out to me. And she said “Your God”. This woman didn’t know anything about me so to say “Your God” was interesting to me. It’s exactly the way that my ex-boyfriend used to refer to God before he came to know Him for himself. I asked her if there was something she wanted to know. She said, “Yes, did American take their God from Jewish God? There was a man Abraham. And Jewish God promise him a lot of children and promise him he inherit what God have, right? Why Americans think they can have this God when they not from Abraham. Doesn’t the Jewish God make this promise to Abraham’s family?” I realized this was a very important question because she wasn’t really asking me about Americans. She wanted to understand how the rights and privileges of a child of God got extended to gentiles. Somehow, somewhere she had some teaching, but it was incomplete. She was longing to be part of God’s family, but if Americans didn’t really have a right to this God, then logically she wouldn’t either.

I had a bible in my bag. I wanted to take it out and show her some things, but teaching the bible outside the government sanctioned Three Self Church is illegal. Granted, persecution is nothing like it used to be, but an American will be arrested (and likely deported) if they bring their bible out and publicly start sharing it. It is fine to bring your bible into the country for personal reasons, but you can’t share it with others. But then I had an idea! I pulled out my phone. I have an offline version of the Bible in English and Chinese on my phone. If someone were to see her looking at a phone, they wouldn’t think anything of it. I started scrolling through Galatians. I knew what I was looking for was in that book, but I wasn’t sure what the exact verse was. Finally, I found it. Galatians 3:29, “And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” I read it in English and then switched it to the Chinese to let her read it for herself. I apologized that I only had a version with traditional characters. She excitedly told me that she knows how to read traditional Chinese.  I explained, “If you belong to Christ –to Jesus, then God sees you as a descendant of Abraham and you get all the same privileges and blessings. Anyone; American, French, Korean, Chinese, anyone can be a seed of Abraham. They just have to belong to Christ. I told her that belonging to Jesus is where the real blessing lies. “The point is not to belong to Abraham, it’s to belong to Jesus because He is the only who can save us.” I asked her if she belonged to Jesus. She looked around nervously and began almost to whisper. She said she had started going to a church in a friend’s house. She continued looking around nervously. She said the problem is that they only have a small portion of the bible and the part they have talks about Abraham and so she thought maybe we stole the Jewish God. She said, “I know they sell bibles in the city, but they are government bibles and people here can’t afford to go to the city and buy them anyway so we just read about Abraham over and over.”

Suddenly I knew why I was there! When my ex-boyfriend sent me my Chinese/English bible, he actually sent me two bibles. One is the Chinese/English parallel and the second one was a Chinese/Pinyin parallel bible. He thought that would be helpful to me because I could see how the characters were pronounced if I came across one I had never seen. The trouble is that knowing how to pronounce a character does absolutely no good if you don’t know what the character means. Therefore, since that bible didn’t have any English, it wasn’t of much use to me. My Chinese is not nearly good enough to not have an English translation so I never use that bible.  When I was packing for this trip, on a whim I threw that Bible (along with my regular bible) in my bag. I thought I might have an opportunity to witness to someone in Taiwan and then we’d both have a Bible to look at. It didn’t occur to me that this would happen in China because of the Traditional characters. But actually a Chinese/pinyin Bible is perfect for someone in China because in China they learn pinyin in school. If she came across a traditional character that she didn’t know, she could look at the pinyin, and through context would probably be able to figure out what simplified character it represented.

I hesitatingly told the woman I had something for her.  As I was reaching in my bag, she said, “no no, you don’t need to give me anything”, but when I pulled out the Bible and handed it to her, her eyes got wide. She snatched it and hid it under her shirt. Then she looked around to make sure no one was watching and pulled it back out. She held it to her face. She kissed it! Then she clutched it tightly to her chest holding it in her arms. She quickly hid it under her shirt again. With tears in her eyes she said, “oh meiguoren, I knew you’d come.” We talked for just a few more minutes. I briefly told her about the book of Acts and that she should be baptized in Jesus name. She said she’d study the whole bible and share it with the church.

She told me how when she was a kid her grandmother had forced her to learn the traditional version of every simplified character she learned in school. She’d spend hours writing out the simplified characters and then her grandmother would make her spend hours more writing out the same characters in traditional form. She said she had resented it at the time, but now she knew it was all worth it. Then she admonished me not to tell anyone in China that I had given her the Bible. She was quite nervous the whole time which made me pretty nervous too, but I was sure that God was in it!

Now that I’m safely in Taiwan I felt to share this amazing testimony. We seriously have no idea what a privilege it is to have Bibles so readily available to us. Watching the way this woman held the Word of God was a reminder to me of how precious the Word of God truly is! Pray for this woman and her church!

A Dry and Thirsty Land

“Declare His glory among the nations; His wonders among all peoples” -1 Chronicles 16:24

chinese lantern

Every once in awhile we are given the opportunity to get away from our usual surroundings and remember just how blessed we are. It is sometimes challenging to be a Christian in our society because the United States is becoming less and less tolerant of Christianity as time goes on. Despite this, it is still overwhelmingly a Christian nation. It may not seem that way because so few actually serve our Lord (even when they profess to), but we are constantly surrounded by Christian influence. Being in China I am very aware of this lack of influence here.

It has woken up a sense of urgency in me that I haven’t felt since my ex and his friends were in the US for their graduate degrees. Something in me is very aware of the fact that the Lord is coming soon and there are so many who still don’t know Him. In America almost everyone has heard of Jesus even if they choose not to follow Him. But here in China, although Christianity is rapidly spreading, there are still countless people who have never even heard of Jesus.

In Shanghai when I’ve told people I am a Christian, many nod knowingly. Perhaps they don’t understand much about it, but at least they’ve heard of it. They’ve seen the big church in the city center and they’ve watched Christian weddings in Western movies. However, just a few miles outside the city and most people here have no idea what I’m talking about. They have no idea who Jesus is or what He has done for us! They have no idea that there is a way out of their hopelessness. They have no idea that forgiveness of sins available to them and they have no idea that LOVE came down and became our sacrifice so that we could live life eternal with Him.

My very soul cries out for these people! Lord, give me the words! Somehow Lord, that You would make me salt and light. That you would make me an ambassador for You to these souls. Teach me, Jesus. Reveal Yourself to them. Pour Yourself into them. Let Your living water flow in this dry and thirsty land! Open the doors. Open the doors. Open the doors.

In His Love,

Rebekah L

Reaching for Souls

“You have one business on Earth – to save souls.” — John Wesley

This past Sunday evening, my god-father had the opportunity to preach to a few Chinese immigrants. A pastor and pastor’s wife in our church district have been reaching out to these young men for a while now, but their English is extremely limited and the pastors don’t speak any Chinese so communication is difficult. Since my god-parents are pretty much the only Chinese speaking people in our little district, they were the logical choice to help assist in this endeavor.  I so appreciate the fact that they have a heart for God and are eager to serve in whatever capacity they can. They were more than willing to make the long drive for the sake of a few souls in need of the Lord.

The young men came to the church with trays and trays of food! So typical for Chinese to not come empty handed! 🙂 We were all blessed with dinner after it was over because of their generosity.

My god-father was able to share his testimony with them and my god-mother sang a Chinese worship song. We had planned to have several Chinese worship songs, but technical difficulties and time restraints prevented that. Never the less, there was a mighty move of God!

There were also quite a few Americans in attendance at this service.  Even though they couldn’t understand most of what was being said, their hearts were stirred by what they were witnessing. Their pastor and pastor’s wife were the ones who reached out to these young men even though they know nothing of the language or the culture. It was a powerful statement to the church not to be afraid to reach out to people you don’t know. Be available for Christ and He will use you! If you have a heart to serve, God will send people your way. If you can’t communicate with them, God has a plan for that! If you don’t know their culture, God knows how to handle it!

If the Lord is willing, there is a plan to have another Chinese service again soon. Say a prayer that these young men will come again and bring their friends and loved ones. The pastor’s wife also plans to invite a few other Chinese people that she’s been reaching out to to come to the next one. There is a growing Chinese community where they live and I believe that God wants to see them saved!

Don’t write people off just because you don’t know how to reach them. Keep a Christian spirit, be friendly and believe God for the rest. Don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone. Keep believing Christ for new souls and keep reaching, keep reaching, keep reaching!!

Curb-side Consult

As I continue along this journey as a doctor, I find myself seeing many comparisons to ministerial positions.  Something I’d like to talk about today is the curb-side consult.

(Now, this post may seem like it is mainly aimed for ministers, but even we lay saints can still glean from this idea.)

Late one night I was paged because a patient had fallen down and because he was complaining of side pain, I ordered a stat chest x-ray.  It was read as no broken ribs by the overnight radiologist who tends to look at the films more quickly for just really bad stuff because it is usually a send out to companies who have a radiologist who reads for multiple hospitals (instead of at daytime where it is in house for just us). After checking the patient out, I ruled out all the baddies (puncture of the lung etc) and since he was still having pain I wrote in my note that a follow up x-ray was suggested be taken in a few days to see if he had a hairline rib fracture if his doctor felt it was necessary.

The next day I was paged TWICE within a short amount of time and quickly became the receiving end of the tirade of an upset neurologist.  He wanted to know who I was and why I even saw his patient and who even consulted me to see his patient. As per standard protocol, any fall in the hospital overnight is evaluated by the intern on duty- ie ME.  No one consulted me, I was just doing my job. I was never told that I was supposed to call this patient’s doctor. I had made sure to ask the nurse to pass along to his doctor that I was not sure if he wanted another chest x-ray but was recommending to at least examine for himself and see if he felt it was necessary.

The problem came when the daytime radiologist read the x-ray (standard for things read at night) and said that he actually DID have a broken rib and nursing never passed my message along to the doctor. Risk Management (a department that oversees things like falls in the hospital) then called him up and asked him what he was doing about his patient’s broken rib almost 12 hours after the event and he never even knew his patient fell.

During my conversation with this very upset doctor, I just kept apologizing because I did not know I was supposed to call him, it was not part of the protocol and I brought up the fact it might not be because doctors may not want to be called at 2 or 3AM about their patient falling if nothing was seriously wrong and they were stable. He informed me that some doctors go to their office first and may not round on their patients until 5PM-a fact that I did not know. By the end, since I was humble enough to just keep apologizing and did not fight, he ended up thanking me for taking care of his patient overnight and that I most likely did right by his patient, he just would have appreciated a call when it happened.

When someone we know is seeking advice on a life event, we need to be mindful of what we say/do. We, being not that person’s pastor, can give them advice at times that may seem right in our eyes, but perhaps goes against what that person’s pastor might say.  In the end, it is ultimately that person’s pastor who is responsible for them and their spiritual well being.  We don’t know the whole story. We don’t know both sides of how the interactions go down.  What if we give/get the wrong information? Will you be humble enough to say “I”m sorry?” if you are called out on helping cause strife within a church or leading them to a destructive path? I’m not saying that you should go and report everything to someone’s pastor- but I am saying that we should be mindful that we might be giving a curb-side consult and not watching out for the final consequences of our actions.  I should have called that doctor up and said something and/or ordered the follow up chest xray. Either way, I should not have just said “okay, I think he might need more, and I wrote it down but I don’t know if the message was received.”

If we are going to try to “fix” someone else in the church, we need to be ready to handle the consequences of what we did. We need to do the follow up, but more importantly, we should remember that ultimately, it may not be our place to even do that. Let’s pray for each other; help each other think of things that are honestly, just, pure, lovely, and of good report; and always keep in mind that unless we are someone’s pastor, we may be dabbling in a situation and walking away without thinking of the consequences of potentially no follow up.  Praying together with someone is many times the absolute best remedy to anything that ails them 😉

In Him,

Rebekah M.

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. 

Sunshine Over Manhattan

So, my roommate and I got back safely from Florida. I tried to post this several days ago (via phone because my antiquated computer was having an antisocial day), but then my phone decided the antisocial game looked like fun too and just like that my post was thwarted. Well played, technology, well played. If you were following along, God was doing big things in my friend Scott’s life. He has been hospitalized for the better part of 7 months now, and is finally home but has a long road back. God has been telling me for awhile that someone needed to lay hands on him and pray for a healing – both physical and spiritual. I had a hard time facilitating this from New York, with him living in Orlando, but when I was there in person for 10 whole nights, it was game on. If you were one of the many praying for us, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Anyway, the prayer for Scott happened. The results didn’t. I could feel God moving in those moments, I could feel things getting shaken up, but nothing actually physically happened. It was sort of anticlimactic really. I am trying to shed this part of myself that looks for results when I obey and serve, but part of me still totally does it. If I’m told to lay hands on someone and pray, told repeatedly for months, I want to lay hands on that person and have them be healed. I want the disabled to get up and walk. I want my friend Scott, who has been ventilator-dependent since 1989 or so, to suddenly breathe on his own. Or at least stop feeling like he isn’t getting enough air even though he is. I want results. I want miracles. I know God is able to do these things. So I want Him to go ahead and do them. And I want to see it happen. Maybe it’s an area of unbelief in my heart. Maybe it’s a pride thing, wanting to be the one to ‘usher in’ the miracle when I know full well I have nothing to do with it. Probably it’s both.

Either way, I am working on shedding this desire, to serve for serving’s sake.  After all, I’m just delighted to be His, to love Him and be loved by Him and to let that love pour out onto the world. It doesn’t really matter what I accomplish in the meantime. Right? Right.

Since I have yet to convince my heart of this, and still have a desire to see that pesky proof, doing the work without the results is frustrating. Coming home from Orlando, with Scott still heavy on my heart, I drove my roommate in to work. Several weeks ago I’d had the chance to chat with and pray for two homeless men. Wouldn’t you know, God sent both men back into my path on this day. One was a bit disillusioned that his circumstances hadn’t really changed despite our prayer and my delivering a word from God to him. The other man was asleep but by the looks of him, his circumstances hadn’t changed much either. I know, I know, these things take time. But it still sort of tied in with my ‘results’ theme of late.

So it was that a few days later (this brings us to yesterday), I was riding home from the nursing home after visiting my roommate’s mother (she had a tough day – something was wrong and she was clearly uncomfortable but we couldn’t get to the bottom of it no matter what I did). The weather was nasty, that need for visible results was pecking away at my heart and brain, I felt bad that I couldn’t help Jimmy’s mother, and I admit it: I had a bit of a moment. A sort of “why am I here if everything I do is useless?” moment. I mean, yes I obey. But surely God would be better served with someone who actually has success when they obey?

Yes, I know better. Like I said, it was a moment. Lord forgive my unbelief.

In that moment of despondency, however, I happened to look out the window, back towards the city. And in the midst of the storm clouds, still surrounded by storm on all sides in fact, a window of clear skies opened up over the skyline. With storm clouds to the horizon in all directions, there was in that one spot, the one place I’d been told to come to and where I hear God’s voice the most clearly, the sun came out and shone over Manhattan. Sunlight in the storm. Just what I needed to see.

Yes, logically, I know that weather patterns are not formed specifically to brighten my moods. But in that moment, I could totally hear God saying “See? I’m still here. I’ve still got this. Nothing to worry about.”

That, my friends, is the mercy and attention of the God we serve. Even when I’m learning the lesson of not relying on physical results to gauge my success in Him, He still sends me little signs of encouragement. Who else can give sunshine in the storm? Every day His love continues to amaze me.

God bless!

~Rebekah A

 

Are You a Goat?

goatAnd before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. […]Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal. ~Matt 25:32, 41-46

As I was driving earlier today with my God-sister, we started talking about how our church had such a tendency to focus on some really important truths, but one BIG lacking thing we noticed across the board was reaching out to the needy in our communities.  It is SUCH an integral part of why I want to be a doctor- “I was sick and you visited me.” When I think of how so many churches don’t focus on that it breaks my heart. Where are the soup kitchens? Where are the can drives? Where are the coat drives? To have so many things right but not have any real community outreach just seems so wrong.

There are other churches with the flip side- they have tons of community outreach, but forget fundamentals of salvation or a true Christian walk. They’ll have soup kitchens galore, but people lack daily prayer lives. Anyone who needs an extra coat in winter will find one there, but saints don’t daily read their Bible.  We can become so busy in doing things FOR Christ, we forget HIM.

We’ve got to find a balance. We cannot forsake the foundations of faith and once we have an established daily foundation for our faith we must extend and grow. So my question to all of you (and to myself) is on judgement day, will He find you a goat or a sheep?

Lord Jesus, 

Help us be Your sheep. Help us walk where You lead us. Let us visit those who we should visit and minister unto others as if we are ministering unto You.  May we look into their eyes and see Your reflection there realizing it is a mirror of ourselves when we are allowing YOU to work through us.  Let me be Your hands and Your feet. 

Rebekah M. 

Something interesting happened last night. At about 3am I woke up to a strange presence in the room. I knew instinctively it was there to cause harm and trouble. Honestly, I thought someone had broken into the room. When I realized there was nobody, but the presence still felt so tangible and so strong, my thoughts turned to the spiritual. I began to panic. And then I began to pray.

In the name of Jesus I commanded them out – whatever they were. I still don’t know. I told them that I stood on the rock of Jesus Christ and that they had no power here. At one point I even said “Satan you are not welcome here”. Beyond praying, the name “Rebekah” kept flashing in my head. Since that is the name of Scott’s fiance/wife (they had a marriage ceremony but never signed a license), and since God has already told me that she was coming from a place of pure evil, it almost seemed like whatever was in the room was coming from her. I don’t know why. I’m aware that doesn’t even make much sense, but there you go. Anyway, there was an audible woosh in the vicinity of the door, which I again thought was kind of weird, and then they were gone. It was as if it hadn’t ever happened, and I went back to sleep. The whole thing was a scene straight out of the book “He Came To Set the Captives Free“.

When I got up I found out that at 3am last night my friend Scott had been rushed back to the hospital due to problems with his ventilator. I don’t believe in coincidences – I believe God is too much in control and has things too well orchestrated for random coinciding events to happen. However, I have no idea what last night means.

I do know that for one last time, tomorrow, I am going to Scott’s house. I’ve already told my roommate that I plan to pray with him. Today I was there and there were people in and out all the time, and he talked to us a little but then his mother came in and pestered him about his legs showing and he shut down a bit (he was in a hospital gown with no covers on – he keeps a fan blowing on him and it makes him feel like he’s getting more air in his lungs). Tomorrow is my last chance to lay hands on him and pray, and I pray that God open the door.

In the meantime, I can feel myself getting bogged down in my personal emotions and heartbreak over the situation, and I pray strongly to abide in Jesus and have my heart fully open for His love, that it may radiate out of me. Love is what can move mountains, not my anger. So I pray for the grace to lay my anger and myself aside and love both Scott and Rebekah as Jesus calls me to. I know I’ve been asking it a lot, but I would appreciate your prayers over this too.

Thanks and God bless!

~Rebekah A

Prayer Monday: Purge Me

I haven’t been doing so well lately.  Something in me is restless. I found myself easily angered by stupid things. I found myself frustrated beyond belief unnecessarily. I found myself recently failing a trial. Today while driving home, I just poured my heart out. Sobbing to the One who can comfort me, I told Him just how much I was sorry for failing once again. I told Him how much I just wanted to be free of the things that seem to trip me up.  I was torn up and broken before Him. In that time though, of truly allowing my heart to be open before Him, I found Him just going in and dumping out all the muck. He dug in, taking out the things that I have no power to take out on my own. As He did His work, I felt His incredible sorrow that I wrote about ME feeling for a friend of mine (in the post God’s Sorrow)… but His sorrow was just as deep and directed AT ME.  Then… as I poured more of myself out, I felt Him opening up my heart and letting His light shine. To bring back life and hope. So that I could feel His forgiveness. To see His divine purpose.  To realize that He had more things to burn away from my soul, but that everything is allowed in an effort so that I can be His light. So that I will be ready for the ministry He has in store for me.

So reader, if you feel led to, join me in this prayer:

Jesus, 

I’m desperate for You. I’m longing for You. Come like a flood, purge me of myself, and saturate me now with You. You’re all I want. Clean out everything within me, burn out the bad in me, and make me whole and new in You. As my dad once prayed for me, give me a new bottle… all the different kinds of bottles that hold all the different kinds of promises- of family, of jobs, of friends, of ministry… give us all new bottles- ones filled with hope and YOUR blessings. Things that seem dead and stale in our lives and hearts, purge them, and replace them with YOU.  Be everything in our lives. Fill every last crevice that was cleaned out as You purged us. Fill it with Your love, Your purpose, Your plan.  Use us to share Your good news! You are alive! You want to give us good lives! Praise You Jesus! Praise You God! 

Rebekah M. 

P.S. Below I’ve put a video up of a song I recently put on facebook. This song is still resonating in my heart today, even stronger actually.