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The God of the Impossible

I have been talking to a Buddhist man at my job about Jesus for awhile now. He always listens to what I have to say and compares and contrasts my beliefs with his own, but I was never really sure if he took anything I said to heart. To me, it seemed that he wasn’t really interested in Christianity beyond an academic understanding.

Today something interesting happened. This man’s son stopped by my office (his son also works for our company). I rarely talk to the son because we don’t work in the same department and most of the decisions for this family are handled by dad. The son asked me a couple of work related questions, but each time I thought his question was answered, he hesitated about leaving. Finally, I asked him if there was something else he wanted to talk to me about. He took a deep breath and gave me a half nod. He said, “you’ve been talking to my father a lot recently, right?” He then stuck his head out of my office door to quickly look down the corridor to make sure no one was around to hear what he was about to say. I suspect he was double checking to make sure his father wasn’t within earshot. When he determined the coast was clear he said, “My dad wants us to ask Jesus to reunite our family.” You see, my co-worker and his sons are in the United States while his wife and two daughters remain in his home country. For legal and political reasons they have not been able to return home, nor bring the rest of the family to the US. Apparently my co-worker told his son, “We tried our home country’s government and that didn’t work, we tried this country’s government and that didn’t work, we tried lighting incense, we tried burning paper and none of it worked. What harm can come from trying Jesus?”

So the son asked me if I told his father that praying to my God would bring their family back together. The son was very nervous and careful with his words, but it was clear that his family has been through a lot and he didn’t like the idea of me giving his father false hope. He feels it is useless to keep pining away for something that is impossible and he does not want to see his father’s spirits crushed by yet another disappointment.

I can understand that he wants to protect his father from further pain and I admire him for his effort to do so. The thing is that I never told his father that Jesus could reunite their family. To be honest, his father never talks about the family back home and as insensitive and naive as it might sound, it actually never occurred to me that this was something he would consider. All I have done is share the testimonies of things Jesus has done in my own life. The fact remains though, that Jesus can bring his family back together! He is the God of the impossible! It is when things seem most impossible that Jesus can move. It is often when we have tried everything else and we are most desperate that God can show us who He is and what He is capable of.

Please pray with me that this man and his son will step out in faith to ask Christ to do the impossible in their lives. Pray that God will honor that faith with a mighty move to reunite this family. Pray that they will know without a doubt Who it was that answered their prayer and endeavor to follow the One True God. God is able!

In His Love,

Rebekah L.

A Day of Thanksgiving

“For great is Your love, higher than the heavens; Your faithfulness reaches to the skies.” ~Psalm 108-4

If you are a regular reader of this blog you have probably heard of my ongoing saga to find a personal care aide for my roommate Jimmy, confined to a wheelchair due to SMA (spinal muscular atrophy). We used to have an aide – a great one in fact. This past February, he was hit by a New York City bus and has been engrossed in a slow, painful (and currently stalled) recovery.

This man, as a side note, was raised by a Muslim mother and a Hindu father. As he put it, “I was raised with so many religions, I figured I may as well celebrate the Christian holidays too.”. While this sounded promising, it didn’t exactly speak to a heart transformation. And so, after the accident, I prayed for him profusely. For a physical healing, yes, but mostly for a life-changing revelation of who Jesus is, for Jesus to rock his heart and his life and that he would experience the pure love and peace that comes from His arms. That he would know who he was celebrating.

I prayed…..and Jesus answered.

Today I went to what I thought was the Guyanese equivalent of Thanksgiving. I had no idea what was going on or what to expect. It turned out to be his and his wife’s personal day of Thanksgiving, of opening up their home to their entire church (via many, many chairs set up in the backyard) and giving thanks to the Lord for all they have.

Today I witnessed our former aide speak to his church. His face was contorted into a grimace of pain and he struggled to stand, leaning so hard on a cane that his arms were shaking. I knew he was using all his muscles to balance himself because he has yet to regain full feeling in one of his legs. But not a bit of that came into his testimony. Instead, the words out of his mouth were of such passionate gratitude that he started to tear up.

And so I have my turn to give thanks. I am so, so thankful that I serve a God who is so present in our lives that he can perform miracles – not just in the physical world around us, but inside of us. That we can know Him, walk with Him, live with Him, open ourselves up to His unceasing love and attention. Our God is not at an altar; we don’t have to go anywhere special to find Him. He’s not in incense, He’s not in fire, He’s not in flowers. He’s in us, with us and surrounding us, active in both the biggest moments of our lives and the minutia. He listens to the cries of our hearts – and He answers.

God bless!

~Rebekah A

 

Song of the day/Prayer Monday: Healer

 

Working as night float, our job is literally to keep everyone alive through the night. From the wee babies to the 90 year old grandparents, there are two of us taking the calls for everyone in our care in the hospital. Although not every patient in the hospital is ours, we deal with a range of complaints from “my patient is having watery diarrhea” to “this baby is here for withdrawl since mom was taking heroin while she was pregnant.”

Throughout all of this I know one thing is true: Jesus is our healer.  From what ails the body to what binds the soul, He is the one who can bring the ultimate healing. I cannot take away the diabetes or cancer. I cannot mend the the past pain of being raped years ago as a child. But I know a God, and His name is Jesus Christ and He died for our sins because He loved us that much.  By His stripes- the 40 stripes inflicted by the ripping flogs- we are healed.

Dear reader- let it sink in today that no matter what hurt or pain has come your way in this world- Jesus not only CAN take it away, He WILL take it away if you just ask!  Know that sometimes with things like diabetes, He may not automatically heal you. You might have to learn to eat better and work out more (I myself am a diabetic and threw my meds away once believing He healed me since I knew He could).  But this journey of learning to balance food, exercise, and a healthy life because of the diabetes is one that I wouldn’t trade for the world.  We can live a better and full life- even if that means living with a daily disease. We can have painful events in our past that God can use to touch others and give hope to the hopeless. Let Him flood your heart and soul with His love right now and find that He is our healer!

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. 

Life as We Know It

http://www.sxc.hu/photo/681332

Photo credit: tkobosz of stock.xchng.

Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen. ~ Matthew 28:20 KJV

So my life has been a whirlwind. I essentially have been going just about every day for over a month now and I don’t know when it will let up. I’m underslept and even breaking out with a cold sore from it all.  In everything though God has shown Himself SO faithful!  There was an exam yesterday to be certified in emergencies while delivering babies and in the drill where two people tested me on my hands on knowledge (a fake scenario), I received 99/100 points! THAT was Jesus. Because of all of my stress, I actually have had an incredibly hard time studying and ended up cooking most of the last few nights like a crazy woman to help me cope with it. Praise God for His faithfulness! Praise God for blessing me with being able to have a good sense of what would be tested. Praise God for helping me in my time of trouble. For truly being with me always because I do my best (even though I do fail at times!) to observe what He has commanded me.

Thank You Jesus for helping me and for being with me in this life as I know it.

Rebekah M.

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

 

Honor Thy Father

Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee. ~Ex 20:12

fatherSo I have a confession to make: in everything that has happened in my life I’m pretty successful on paper, but I have had one HUGE, MAJOR flaw. Don’t get me wrong, I love my dad, but I’ve treated him pretty horrible in the past.  I just have this pre-set tendency to be angry and to yell at him.  Do I have reasons for this- yes. I honestly feel like he doesn’t hear me. I’m not even talking physically, I mean I feel like he shuts me out when I’m speaking.  So earlier this morning, my mom sat me down and we had a discussion about it. With tears in her eyes, she was pleading with me to treat my dad right.  For anyone who knows me, they know that I love my parents SO much. I praise them often and, in my mind, I think respect them. God has used my mom (and kind of my brother) to open my eyes to the fact that I haven’t been. Of every one in my life, my mom is THE person to get through to me and for God to have her essentially crying before me… it ripped up my heart a little.

angryIt is never right for a child to yell at her father. Even if she’s saying “Mashed potatoes. Hey dad, I want mashed potatoes. Just tell mom I want mashed potatoes! DAD, TWO WORDS- MASHED POTATOES YOU CAN SAY THAT TO HER! WHY WON’T YOU JUST LISTEN AND TELL HER THOSE TWO WORDS?! MASHED. POTATOES.”  lol At the end of the day if I had just opened the car door and said it to my mom versus yelling at my dad (who was getting out of the car) to relay those words when all he kept saying in response was “tell your mother,” what’s the difference?

I realized the difference and why I didn’t just go the more peaceful route is because I just feel unheard. And in thinking about it, I realized that I HATE feeling like I’m not heard. For so long, a huge part of my life, I felt SO ignored and looked down upon. Not necessary by my parents, but I have had moments where I felt I had no voice and the memory of that feeling has never left me.

So as time has gone on and more and more incidents have occurred that left me feeling like I’m not heard (not always by my dad), it caused me to become quick to anger and yell at my dad. Was it right? NO. A big “N.” “O.” Am I justifying my actions? No because I have truly broken one of the 10 commandments.  I have endeavored from this day forward to honor my father even when I feel like he doesn’t hear my words.  However, I am saying that the biggest key in everything that happened today was to recognize within myself the “WHY” behind my actions.

I sat down with both my parents earlier today to talk things through and my dad actually literally did EXACTLY what I said was the reasoning behind why I acted the way I did- he shut me out. He literally would not hear my words. I was saying “I’m sorry for how I acted, it was unacceptable behavior and I’m sorry. I reflected and realized it was because for so long now, I have felt as if you don’t hear me and I’m sorry that my frustration about that has come out as yelling.” His response? To say that I’m moving in a few short days so it doesn’t really matter and all I was saying to him was that yet once again, it’s his fault- always his fault- none of mine.  Miracle of miracles though- even though he was literally proving my point- I didn’t yell. I actually prayed. “God, give me wisdom to know how to reach my dad. Help me mend this bridge that I have broken with my anger and yelling. Forgive me and help me honor him.”

Sometimes we’re called to swallow our pride and just keep apologizing until the other person accepts it. If that never happens though- I know that today, I honored my father like I never have before and I know that God is smiling. So dear readers, pray for my dad? I know he loves me, but I also know that he has SUCH a weight on him from everything else going on and this only added to it. I allowed myself to be an instrument of further burden to my dad. My brother’s job has been in the balance lately, my “sister” has been in a spiritual battle, I’m moving away officially… there’s a lot weighing on his heart. He needs God’s peace. He needs God’s love to shine on him more than ever.  So in advance, I thank you for your prayers for peace over my dad and I pray you all do a better job at honor your parents than I have done in my past 🙂

In Him and to a new future of truly honoring my parents,

Rebekah M.