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Choose this Day

“…choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” –Joshua 24:15

As many of you know, I have a friend that lives in Taiwan. For the last couple of weeks he has been on a business trip to China. The beginning of his trip was fraught with difficulties. He is under incredible pressure to succeed by his company. In addition, he has been battling many personal temptations and sin has been lying at the door just waiting to trip him up.

Recently in prayer, God asked him a question. The question was, “Do you want to be like your father or like your Father? You see, many of the struggles and temptations my friend is facing are the very sins his father has succumbed to. God was asking him whether he would choose to become like his earthly father or like his heavenly Father. Indeed, this is a decision we all must continually make.

When he encountered these temptations in China, rather than fall into secret sin and try to hide them away, he reached out and openly told his pastor, his mentor, and a couple close friends exactly what he was tempted to do. So often we try to face our demons alone. Church, we need to learn to lean on each other during our trials! Had he tried to face this alone, he almost certainly would have failed. But with the love, support, and prayers of those close to him, he found the strength to stand for Christ!

His decision to stand for the Lord has resulted in something amazing! At a business meeting in Shanghai, he told his co-workers that he could not do some of the things they were doing because he is a Christian. After the meeting, one of his co-workers told him that he is actually a Christian also, but he had never told the group because he didn’t want to stand out. While Christianity is rapidly growing in China, it is still a tiny minority of the population, and if you think it’s difficult standing out in the United States, it is much more difficult in a place like China that values the group over the individual.

My friend’s Christian co-worker invited him to attend church with him. It is a government registered church so my friend knew that doctrinally some things would not line up with what he believes, but he decided that getting to worship with other Christians would be good for him. After the church service he and another member of the church were invited back to his co-worker’s house for lunch. During lunch, it was revealed that neither his co-worker nor the other church member had ever been baptized. In fact, they felt that baptism was something done in biblical times, but was not something to be practiced in modern times.

I know even amongst our readers there are differing opinions on this, but my friend went through all the Scriptures in the bible that admonish new believers to be baptized. He pointed out that there aren’t any Scriptures that would indicate that we should stop baptizing people. Before long the two church members were feeling convicted and having an intense discussion about what they should do. Meanwhile my friend contacted his pastor back in Taiwan to get some advice on how to handle the situation. His pastor recommended that my friend suggest they all pray together and then if they indicated they wanted to be baptized they should do it without hesitation. He pointed out that the government church would not baptize them so to help them be obedient to the Word, my friend should just do it himself.

As suggested, my friend had the three of them pray together. After prayer, the two men both agreed that they wanted to be baptized! My friend took them back to the hotel where he is staying and baptized them in the name of Jesus in the hotel pool!

One of the things that strikes me as so amazing about this entire interaction is how it would not have happened if my friend had chosen to be like his father rather than his Father. He was under extreme temptation and had he given into it, he never would have had reason to let his coworkers know that he is can’t do certain things, so therefore he never would have found out this other co-worker was a Christian, and the co-worker would never have invited him to his church and therefore would not have been baptized.

Every decision we make either for Christ or for the satisfaction of our own flesh, has consequences. When we stand for Christ, He can make miracles happen in our midst! When we follow Him and do His will, we can witness the expanding of the Kingdom of God before our very eyes!

Will you be like your earthly father or like your heavenly Father? Choose this day whom ye will serve.

In His Love,
Rebekah L.

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Being Isaac: Isaac H “I was Blind, but Now I See”

Editor’s Note:  Our weekly guest spot is our effort to help our reading community connect with each other.  “Being Isaac” is in response to our growing number of male readers. We think it’s important that there’s a male reply to our female’s call to live in passionate pursuit of Christ. We want to thank Isaac H. for submitting another post to us. English is not Isaac’s first language and we have decided not to edit out the grammatical errors in order to keep the post authentic. God has called Isaac H. to a very special ministry in Taiwan. God may not call all of us to live in such a radical fashion, but may we all be willing to step out how He wants us to when He wants.

glassesI want to share the testimony of when I put the contact lens on for first time in more than six month! If you want to know why I did not wear any contact lens for six month, read my post: Speaking to the Spiritually Blind.

I could have put on the contact lens on that Friday, but I decide wait until that Sunday when I was in the Lord’s house to worship my King. A few of us we go to help before church to get ready. We all pray together then I put on contact lens in the church before service starting. It was so overwhelm to me. I not even realize how much I was get used to not seeing, I was really adapt to not see so much that I expected put on the contact would be nice, I was look forward to it, but I did not realize how amazing it really would be!! I can see everything!! I got used to not seeing and not can believe how good everything look! I was become overwhelm.

I ran outside. Even the ugly car and the ugly moped is become beautiful! I look down street and I see the signs on the buildings. I see the people’s faces. Even the colors seem brighter. I go inside. The girl who do the praise singing is set up the screen. I can read the lyrics on the screen. I praise my God. I praise and praise and praise. He help me through all this six month! Even my seeing was so terrible, but He kept me safe. I did not realize how bad is my seeing until I put on this contact lens!!

When the worship begin I just feel so thankful to be able read the screen. I just worship my God. The spirit so strong in the church. Everyone worship. Then I go to preach. This time when I preach I was not nervous. God gave me the message so clear I was ready to just go tell the message. Part of my message I give testimony of what does God tell me to do to take out contact lens and how He guide me because most people my church do not know what I have been doing all this six month. My pastor was tell the church I will need some help to see, but he not tell them why. So I was explain this and I look the young woman I meet on street and she start saying thank you Jesus. And when I look her God show me He want to heal her today and she is going to win people to know Jesus. I did not even know she is sick. So I was a little hesitate when I see this, but to be obedient to God I say to her by your faith God going to make you whole. God healing you right now. And this girl shout thank you Jesus, thank you Jesus and she down off her chair face to floor and praising God.

I was want to stop right there and praise with whole congregation and just start praying, but God say no let her praise me, you keep preaching. So I go back to telling what God tell me do and show me and I look this old grandma. I see God working on her. I say is no accident I fall where I do when I do. God arrange that for you. He arrange it all for you because He love you. He see you have a heart to reach out to people and He have a heart to reach out to you. And this old grandma who never seem to respond, I saw her eyes start to get wet. And when this happen God gives me the picture. He show me all her ancestor in a straight line one after another and he show this grandma in the line and all her children and grandchildren and great grand children in this straight line one after another. And he show me if she willing step out the line all the ones after her, her children, grandchildren, they will follow behind her. If she stay in the line, they will stay in the line, but if she step out to follow Jesus, they will step out too. I was not sure I should tell her this because I feel one reason she hesitate to respond to God is because she afraid step out the line of tradition. But I feel I need tell her and say your family will follow you as you follow Christ. If you make commit to follow Jesus, your family going follow you, but if you follow tradition, your family going be stuck in the tradition. And I say softly, you know is no hope in the tradition. The hope is in follow Jesus. And right then my little daughter got up from her seat and she walk over to grandma and take grandma’s hand. I was embarras and thought grandma going scold her for interrupt, but my daughter tug her hand and grandma get up! Grandma walk to the front. Grandma turn her head back and see my little baby following her. Then grandma slowly kneel down and my daughter follow after her and kneel down next to her!

The whole church was praising God. But very quiet way. Very respectful way. They respect grandma do this and they so reverent to God see this. And so I finish my message with being obedient to God even when He ask you do hard things. Be obedient and follow after God. And when I end message everyone run to front to pray. And my pastor pray with grandma and she tell him she want get baptise! And pastor start make the arrange right away. He have the special pass and special arrange with hotel nearby and we go there sometimes to baptise people in the pool.

Then a few of us go with grandma to baptise. Pastor bring grandma to side to explain everything. He talking to her. Then he come over to me and ask do I mind to get wet. I say why. He say so you can baptise grandma. I was shock! What an honor my pastor allow me to baptise grandma. Now I become nervous. And we all go and pastor pray and thank God and we baptise grandma. And when we help grandma out the pool she look around if anyone is there. When she see no stranger watching she sit on side and raise up her hands. She say thank you for accept me Lord. I will try to follow you Lord. Then she quickly look again is anyone watching. Then she close eyes again and pray quietly. Then quietly so peaceful she begin speak in the new dialect! The words coming out is the unknown language. I never see it happen this way so peaceful, just change the quiet words of prayer to unknown words of prayer. It was amazing to see.

We serve a wonderful God. Never hesitate to follow what God tell you to do. Even if it is hard, it is worth it for the Kingdom of God. If He ask you to do it, He will help you to do it!

-Isaac H

Isaac H lives in Taiwan where he regularly preaches for two home churches in the city of Taipei. He is a devoted father who seeks to share the love of Christ with all he meets. Published with the permission of the author. Submit your own post at beingrebekah@outlook.com.

Being Isaac: StephenWhoElse “God is an Open Book”

Editor’s Note:  Our weekly guest spot is our effort to help our reading community connect with each other.  “Being Isaac” is in response to our growing number of male readers. We think it’s important that there’s a male reply to our female’s call to live in passionate pursuit of Christ. Thanks StephenWhoElse for submitting another great post reflecting on how transparent and open to us God really is. 

Open Book

Christian books are a lot more popular today than they were a few years ago. Most major (and smaller) bookstores have a section dedicated to religious books. A couple even made it to the Paperback Nonfiction Best Sellers list. Looking at the selection of Christian books in a typical book store, it struck me how many books attempt to help the reader “figure out” our great and mysterious God. Here are some titles you may see:

  • What Is God?
  • Making Sense of the Old Testament God
  • How to understand God
  • God according to God
  • The God I don’t understand

There were lots more books like these – and it amazes me that there is so much time and effort being devoted to “figuring out” who God is! Surely our God who created us in His image, who loved us enough to sacrifice his only Son so that we can be close with Him again, wants us to know him intimately! If so, how difficult can it be to know God?

While reading Isaiah today, it struck me how transparent God is. He does not hide his feelings from us. He does not leave us wondering about His plans for the world. And how wonderful that He does not hide His love for us! God is completely open to us with His feelings.

God does not hide his anguish when rejected by His people:

The ox knows its master,
    the donkey its owner’s manger,
but Israel does not know,
    my people do not understand. (Isaiah 1:3)

God’s feels the pain when he punishes his people – he doesn’t want to punish them! And yet his righteousness demands it.

Why should you be beaten anymore?
    Why do you persist in rebellion? (Isaiah 1:5)

God’s frustration is clear to see, when he cannot get through to his people!

 Stop bringing meaningless offerings!
    Your incense is detestable to me. (Isaiah 1:13)

God feels disappointment when we do not live up to what we are capable of

What more could have been done for my vineyard
    than I have done for it?
When I looked for good grapes,
    why did it yield only bad?  (Isaiah 5:4-5)

God’s plan is to reconcile with his people, not punish them.

“Come now, let us settle the matter,”
    says the Lord. (Isaiah 1:18)

Friends, God is an open book. He hides nothing from us that is for our good. His love for us is plain to see. Continue reading Isaiah and you will see that despite an intense anger that is not satiated even by the most terrible punishments, (chapter 9), God is compassionate enough to help his people go through the suffering! (Isaiah 10:24-25)

Very soon my anger against you will end
    and my wrath will be directed to their destruction. (v 25)

Can you imagine that? Even in the midst of meting out terrible punishments on his people, God is compassionate enough to reach out to his people, to reassure them that it is temporary, to encourage them to bear with it!

Friends, God does not need to be “figured out”. The character of God is plain to see. We don’t need mountains of books to tell us who God is, because He has already revealed Himself to us through his living Word.

Instead, let us devote our time and energy to loving him. And how do we love an invisible God?

Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. – John 14:23

Let us spend time with God, listening to Him, abiding in Him and obeying Him.

God bless.

StephenWhoElse is a Sunday School Teacher and in his spare time he has a secular and less interesting job. He endeavors to write only what He reveals to him and gives all glory to God! See the original post at http://10seventeen.wordpress.com/2013/01/07/god-is-an-open-book/ 

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

Being Isaac: A Buddhist turns to Jesus

Editor’s Note:  Our weekly guest spot is our effort to help our reading community connect with each other.  “Being Isaac” is in response to our growing number of male readers. We think it’s important that there’s a male reply to our female’s call to live in passionate pursuit of Christ. Thanks Isaac H for submitting this great post that shares your personal story with all our readers! 

I was born and raised Buddhist in the country of Taiwan. English is not my native language so forgive me for how terrible is my English. Growing up I never expect I would become the Christian. This never cross my mind. As a child I was taught worship idol. We had idols in my home and we went to temple and worship idols there. We had a lot of fear to make the gods upset or to dishonor ancestor and make them become hungry ghost. In my country we believe if you not worship ancestor after they died and give them sacrifice of food and money, they will become the hungry ghost and bring the misfortune to your life.

buddah1But I thank God that He sought to rescue me from this bondage of idol worship and fear. One day God send me a dream. The dream was to go to America. I did not know this was God send me this dream, but because the dream I decide apply to the school in Boston. I did not know this would changing my whole life. When I was there I met Rebekah L. She showed me what is love of Jesus. She show me not have to live in fear or superstition. It take me a very long time to believe Jesus. I did not reject Him, but I was afraid to leave my old tradition behind. Rebekah L did not give up on me and she continue to pray for my soul. I thank God!

cross1When I graduated from school I went back home to Taiwan. The family problem and the old life try to keep me from believe Jesus. But Jesus would not give up on me. He keep reaching for me. My family did not want me to become the Christian. They fought very hard to keep me in the old tradition. They are afraid when they die they will be the hungry ghost because if I’m Christian I not will worship them or burn the paper money for them. But I know that God is real. There is only one God! He came as a man, Jesus. He die on the cross for my sin. He raise again and we have opportunity and gift to eternal life if we believe Him and follow to Him! I will never worship idol again. I will only worship ONE True God.

It can be hard to be a Christian in this country, but it is worth every struggle. God has never leave me. I know He will never give up on me. I know my life’s purpose now is to worship Him, to live for Him, and to reach the lost sheeps in my country for Him. Please pray for my country Taiwan. Please pray for my people. They are spiritually blind. They not can see the truth. The truth is Jesus die not just for American, Jesus die for Taiwanese too. Who has God call you to reach? We all are called to be the witness. Let’s reach the world for HIM!

Isaac H lives in Taiwan and loves playing with his daughter while living for Christ with all he has.

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

 

Being Isaac: StephenWhoElse “Surrender in Victory”

Editor’s Note:  Our weekly guest spot is our effort to help our reading community connect with each other. “Being Isaac” is in response to our growing number of male readers. We think it’s important that there’s a male reply to our female’s call to live in passionate pursuit of Christ. Thanks StephenWhoElse for sharing this great post about giving God the reigns of our lives! 

handprintOkay, let’s do a quick poll! Raise your hand if you believe God has good plans for you! Great, now raise your hand if you believe that God cares about all aspects of your life, big or small. Fantastic! Now, raise your hand if you are unhappy with your job, financial status or the current state of your life.

Whoa, wait a minute. That’s a pretty obvious contradiction isn’t it? How can a loving, well meaning God put our lives in such a mess? Is it a mess? By whose standard? Ours or God’s? We have not read the last page in the story of our lives so I guess we don’t know how it turns out do we?

If you, like me,  grew up watching movies like Indiana Jones and Star Wars (the original trilogy, not the prequels!), you’ll see that the good guy never has an easy mission. They get thwarted, tricked, ambushed, beaten up, lose an arm, fall into snake pits but in the end guess what happens? The good guy always wins :-)

The story of our lives are still being played out and God, our sovereign God, has the final act already planned and we – the good guys – will win! Amen!

That’s well and good of course, but for those of us going through trials the suffering is very real, and painful. And not something we can brush aside with some feel-good words. Do we then reject these trials? What ought to be our attitude towards our struggles?

As Job said – shall we accept good from God but not trouble? (Job 2:10)

surrender

Even in the midst of our most painful moments, we can trust God. But know this : if we want God to steer us out of this mess we are in, we’ve got to handover the steering wheel to Him.. Only by surrendering our lives to God can we emerge from our trials in victory.

Let’s learn to trust Him by truly letting go and not try to “help out” by trying to do things ourselves. God does not need our help – He wants our trust and our surrender.

Father, thank you for your grace and love. Teach us to listen and give us the courage to obey what we hear. And help us to trust you in whatever situation we are going through. You have gone through whatever we can possibly face, and you understand what we are going through. Because of that we know you will help us go through it. Thank you Lord. Amen

StephenWhoElse is a Sunday School Teacher and in his spare time he has a secular and less interesting job. He endeavors to write only what He reveals to him and gives all glory to God! See the original post at http://10seventeen.wordpress.com/2012/08/15/surrender-in-victory/
Published with the permission of the author. Submit your own post at beingrebekah@outlook.com. 

Being Isaac: Joshua T “This Little Light of Mine”

Editor’s Note:  Our weekly guest spot is our effort to help our reading community connect with each other.  “Being Isaac” is in response to our growing number of male readers. We think it’s important that there’s a male reply to our female’s call to live in passionate pursuit of Christ. Thanks Joshua T for submitting this great, original post that challenges us all to shine for Him! 

candleWhen I was little at church, we sang a particular song. You might remember hearing it when you were a child. It is called ‘This Little Light of Mine.’ Although it’s a children song, it still contains things to teach adults. Mark 4:21-22 says, ‘And he said unto them, Is a candle brought to be put under a bushel, or under a bed? and not to be set on a candlestick? For there is nothing hid, which shall not be manifested; neither was any thing kept secret, but that it should come abroad.’

If you won the lottery, would you walk around and not tell anyone? Would you keep it to yourself or would you tell everyone about it? The same principle applies to Christianity. If you were saved from eternal death by Jesus’ blood, would you act like nothing is different and never share His free gift with anyone? Or would you leap with joy and proclaim to the world what God has done for you?

Many people are afraid to spread the Gospel. They are afraid of what people will think of them or of what their friends will say. I always recall this verse when I think of people that are afraid of being called a Christian. Mark 8:38 says, “Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”

We have no reason to care what other people think of us. Just look at Jesus’ life. When He came to earth to pay for our sins, He was beaten, spit upon, and called many  names but He still loved them all.

Even on the cross, Jesus says, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.” (Luke 23:34)

Jesus loves us so much that He would die the most painful way imaginable for people that have sinned against Him. Think about that for a second. God, the creator of the universe, cared enough about you and wanted you to spend eternity in heaven with Him that He sent His ONLY son to die on the cross with your sins on His back.

Could you imagine having to give up your only child to save someone else? I can’t imagine the love that God must feel for us to have Jesus pay the ultimate price in my place. Jesus paid our debt.

We were bought with a price: Jesus’ blood. Therefore we are not our own. Romans 14:8 says, ‘For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s.’

Nothing can make God hate you enough to not accept you into His family as a Child of God. “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God”. (John 1:12)

We owe all we are to God, yet we act as if we can do what ever we want because it is our life. It is not. If you asked American, they would tell you to do what ever you wanted. Forget about the consequences. Who do you have to answer to? The answer to that is God.  James 4:12 reads, “There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?”

Bavarian Village on foggy Winter Day, Sun behind Mist

We must remember that God is our Judge and He will judge us. He will bring everything to light. Our lies, our sins, our mess-ups will all be judged, but there is the good news. Because Jesus died for our sins, we can be pardoned. Isaiah 1:18 says, “Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.”

Many think that their sins are too bad or severe that they can not be saved. But the Bible says differently. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, ‘Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.’ It is important  to remember that even though you have sinned, as long as you have received Christ into your heart, your sins are gone. They are not there anymore.  Psalms 103:12 confirms this, “as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.”

Will you be the light in the darkness?

Joshua T is a graphic designer in training who is seeking to glorify God in everything he does. He enjoys listening to music, such as Thousand Foot Krutch, KJ-52, and Relient K. Joshua also appreciates hanging out with his friends, and writing sermons for his bloghttp://flameministries.wordpress.com/.

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

 

Being Isaac: Letting Our Light Shine

Editor’s Note: we are starting a guest spot called “Being Isaac” in response to our growing number of male readers. We think it’s important that there’s a male reply to our female’s call to live in passionate pursuit of Christ. Our friend, Isaac S., has so kindly contributed this post as food for thought.

I’m new to the NYC area and one of the churches I’ve been checking out had this as the message recently. They’ve been doing a series on James and this time one of the focus verses was 1:27. Here it is quoted in the Amplified.

External religious worship [religion as it is expressed in outward acts] that is pure and unblemished in the sight of God the Father is this: to visit and help and care for the orphans and widows in their affliction and need, and to keep oneself unspotted and uncontaminated from the world.

While it’s true we are saved by grace and not by works, the Bible supports us letting our light shine through the good works we can do. One thing I like about this church is their involvement in the community. Every month they have a free breakfast in a poorer neighborhood and it’s a great opportunity to let Jesus been seen through us.

The following Saturday I got up bright and early at 7:00 so I could try to be there before 8:00. The serving didn’t start until 9:00 but there was plenty of setup and preparation involved. The turnout from the church was about 25 people so all the cooking and serving stations were occupied. I ended up being one of the door greeters to the community room. This involved lots of smiles, playing with the kids who wanted our attention, and chatting with a couple of the girls who also ended up as door greeters.

Everyone who came through seemed happy to see us. By the end we had served a breakfast record of over 180 people! Toward the end the pastor came over to us to share this note a lady had given him. $5 was enclosed and she said her son loves coming here because it’s the best restaurant ever!!! It was pretty moving to read that and know we had such a direct and positive impact on them.

I don’t know if this is the church I’ll end up going to on a permanent basis. They are kinda far away and my beliefs might not line up totally with them. But helping them out with reaching the community feels good for the soul and lets our light shine just a little brighter.

Isaac S.

 If you are a male passionately pursuing Christ, we are accepting submissions at beingrebekah@outlook.com