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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.

Working as for the Lord

Today at work I had a lot to do. I also had the ability, if I wanted, to be lazy and put off doing most of it. That’s because while I had a lot of things on my list, I didn’t have any pressing deadlines hanging over my head today. Also, both my boss and my supervisor were not in the building so there was no one looking over my shoulder or creating more work for me to do. In my flesh, I wanted to take it easy. I reasoned that opportunities to just relax are few and far between and that I deserved the break. I didn’t want to work hard today for the simple reason that I could get away with it.

It got me thinking about spiritual things. There are times when we could pray and we know we should pray, but we don’t because we don’t feel like it. We justify to ourselves that we can do it later, the deadlines just don’t seem that pressing. Likewise, we know that we should spend more time reading the Word, but we tell ourselves that we work hard for the Kingdom of God and we deserve a break. We often don’t give our best to the Lord for the simple reason that we can get away with it. We know we’re covered by grace and whether we consciously acknowledge it or not, we use the truth of grace to take short-cuts.

Thankfully, this train of thought convicted me and motivated me to work as if the boss were over my shoulder and I did have pressing deadlines. After all, Jesus sees all we do and tomorrow is not promised to any of us. Whether it is working for the Kingdom or working in a secular capacity we are to do all as unto the Lord (Colossians 3:23). And do you know what happened? When I determined to work as if Jesus were in the office with me, I didn’t just work hard, but I was incredibly efficient and productive. I’m not saying that to pat myself on the back, quite the opposite really. What happened is that the Lord multiplied my work! There is no way I could have accomplished all that I did today on my own. I managed to get far more done than I would on a typical day. It was really awesome and I found myself praising Him between tasks and singing worship songs while I worked. The more I did this, the more I got done!

You know there are so many times when we don’t feel like doing things. We don’t want to work hard, we don’t want to exercise, or read the Word or pray. It just feels like too much effort. The amazing thing is that when we do these things for the Lord (rather than for men), He rewards us for it. Think about that: we’re doing it for Him, and yet we reap the benefits! He is so incredibly good to us! He deserves all our praise and we should strive to give Him our very best.

Lord, forgive me for all of the times I took the easy way out. Help me to honor you with diligence and purpose to serve You. Thank you for helping me today. Thank You for showing me patience and for continuously guiding me closer to You. The flow of Your love is overwhelming; Your mercy and blessings innumerable. In Jesus’ precious name I give You thanks today. Thank You, thank You, thank You.

In His Love,
Rebekah L.

The Land of His Presence

babieI have a coworker who has a four-month old baby at home. She has never been shy about sharing the fact that she did not want this baby. She did not expect to get pregnant so quickly (within days of her birth control running out) and loudly resented the fact that she was too new of an employee at the time to qualify for short-term disability so she had to take her maternity leave unpaid. After she gave birth she struggled with post-partum depression and has had difficulty adjusting to life with a newborn.

Incredibly, she is already eight weeks into a second pregnancy! She did not want to be pregnant the first time and REALLY does not want to be pregnant this time. She has cried to me multiple times already about how she is too overwhelmed with her newborn to deal with another baby. To compound matters, she has had debilitating morning (all day) sickness to the point where she can hardly eat anything and has missed quite a bit of work because she never feels well. She has complained that she has the worst luck and it’s so unfair for this to be happening to her. And guess what? She just had her first ultrasound and surprise, it turns out she’s having twins! TWINS! Considering that twins are often born prematurely, she will very likely end up with three babies under one year of age at the same time.

It is very understandable why she would be stressed out about this. Having three babies that were unplanned so close together is enough to overwhelm anyone. I have expressed compassion and sympathy towards her. I have tried to convey hope, offered to pray for her, and have given her a shoulder to cry on. But inwardly, I am struggling a bit with her reaction to all of this. Everything (and I do mean everything) out of her mouth regarding her baby and her pregnancy is filled with negativity. She has so openly expressed the fact that she doesn’t and didn’t want any of them that I have trouble not feeling a little angry about it. A child is a blessing from God. How can you resent such a beautiful gift?

Granted, much of my reaction is clouded by my own disappointment. I have a chromosomal disorder that makes it extremely unlikely that I will ever get pregnant. Being the oldest of the Rebekahs on this blog, even if everything were working as perfectly as it should, the chance of my getting pregnant is rapidly decreasing because of age. And there’s still no husband in sight even if those first two things weren’t true.

I had a guy a couple of years ago who promised me the world. And one of the things he promised me was a baby. He went on and on about the storybook life we’d have once we got married. He said there was no price he wasn’t willing to pay in terms of fertility treatments, supplements, adoption options, etc. to make this dream a reality for us. He assured me that we had a secret weapon – the power of prayer, and that He would make me a mother. He took my hurting heart in his hands and promised me the thing it most desired. But things don’t always go the way we plan and sometimes promises are broken. Rather than give me a baby, he got another girl pregnant instead – while we were still together.  For some reason the end of that relationship represented a dying of my hope of ever becoming a mother.

Listening to my co-worker complain incessantly about a gift she’s been given that I will likely never experience has been difficult. I wonder why God blesses people who don’t want children with them, and withholds them from people who do. In the end, I remind myself that God knows what is best and it is not for me to judge. He knows what is best for me; He knows what is best for my co-worker and what is best for her children. I work to remain compassionate to my co-worker who truly does have a lot on her plate. I am quite sure that if I were in her position, I would also be very overwhelmed. I would likely also express some fear and negativity, but I would never feel that I didn’t want them.

I know that my feelings border on covetousness, occasionally even camping right in the midst of the Land of Covetousness. Sometimes I even get stuck in Selfishness and Despair. During times of repentance, praise, and gratefulness, I’m able to wander far from that land, but I’ve yet to leave it completely behind. The truth is that I spend far too much time there, living right on the border. And it’s dangerously close to another border – the border of Bitterness.

Bitterness is a very dangerous place. The Bible says that a root of bitterness can trouble you and defile many (Hebrews 12:15). That means that it doesn’t just wound the person who is bitter, it also wounds the people around them. Bitterness can take on a power all its own. It can act as a poison, gradually choking many aspects of our lives without us realizing it. We are supposed to love one another. Bitterness smothers love.

Bitterness is a cancer.

It spreads. It damages and tears down. It destroys. It is not of God. It creates a rift between us and God and we cannot have a right relationship with Him if we don’t deal with it.

So it is clear that the lands of Covetousness and Bitterness should be avoided at all cost. Thankfully, there is a simple (though not always easy) solution for the problems of covetousness and bitterness.  For both, repentance is in order. It takes admitting to God that our feelings are wrong and that we need some direction to get out of those ungodly lands.

victory-and-praise1

When I start feeling bitterness, I know the cure is forgiveness. There is hurt in my past that still needs to be dealt with. When I start feeling covetousness, I know the solution is to start counting my blessings. I need to praise the Lord for His goodness. I need to focus on all the wonderful things I have, rather than the few things I lack.

Sometimes we make things more complicated than they need to be, but God has laid out a clear plan to live in the land of Contentment, Peace, and Praise – The land of His presence! I am praying that my co-worker will find her way to the Land of His Presence and that it will change her. I am praying that He will grant her peace in this situation and give her a deep, unconditional love for her children. Let’s all commit to spending more and more time in His presence.

In His Love,
Rebekah L.

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.

Curbing a Habit

Lately, I have been experiencing something that most New Yorkers know well: road rage. Extreme, “humanity-is-a-needle-in-my-eye-and-why-the-HECK-are-you-jaywalking-when-I’m-clearly-RIGHT-in-front-of-you-do-you-have-a-death-wish-you-crazy-fool” and “Lady-I-don’t-think-I-pushed-you-in-front-of-my-car-you-CHOSE-to-step-in-front-of-me-so-save-your-glare-for-the-mirror” kind of road rage. And don’t get me started on my opinion of bikers and cab drivers. Or people who honk just for the heck of it. But I digress.

Anyway, I was telling a friend about my extreme impatience and general hatred of the world that I feel every time I get behind the wheel. She in turn decided that I don’t in fact hate humanity, but am simply reacting to my environment. Could’ve fooled me, because I see plenty of taxis on the NYC streets and I’m pretty sure I hate them. Then again, I don’t necessarily count taxi drivers as humanity. They are some special demonic spawn sent to torment everybody else. And, if left to their own devices, probably to kill us all. I’m sure of it. But I digress. Again.

Joking aside, I don’t necessarily say all those things (except sometimes) and I don’t hate humanity. Or even cab drivers (except sometimes). But I do definitely notice some impatience. Is it from me? Is it reaction to my environment? I don’t know. But either way it’s not really ok, is it? Of course not.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s common. Acceptable. Expected, even. But not for me. Not if I’m living by the law of love. Sometimes I do wonder if mankind would still have been given salvation if Jesus were surrounded by taxi drivers. But something tells me that God’s grace is bigger than that, yes it would’ve been given to us, and Jesus’ reaction to being cut off and nearly run off the road would be much more polite.

SO, after doing some impatient soul-searching to go with my currently impatient soul, I decided that I was not going to stoop to the world’s standards for acceptable driving attitudes (ie pretty terrible ones). Instead, I am going to reach my attitude up to God’s standards. Stooping is bad for the back anyway. Much healthier to reach up.

So I had this plan in mind. Then I was praying with a friend and she said “Jesus we thank you that you give us joy in the face of the enemy, because when met with joy he doesn’t know what to do.” That clinched it. I was going to meet my road rage with joy. Instead of screaming and grumbling, and saying who-knows-what to the masses of people who seemed to have developed New Yorker amnesia (which basically consists of forgetting what a moving vehicle looks like – I blame the pollution), I was going to meet every near-death experience with a chuckle. A smile. A blessing or prayer for that person even. And then I was going to move on.

I put the plan into action this week. Some days I’ve remembered. Others I’ve haven’t. Sometimes I’ve remembered after the fact and what comes out of my mouth is something like “My-car-is-SOLID-and-no-matter-how-badly-you-want-in-my-lane-no-you-can’t-drive-THROUGH me….be blessed though”. It’s a work in progress. Ultimately it will involve abiding in His love for others, and having my heart be so united with His that my very instincts and reactions are one with His. I’m not even close to being there. I’m closer to the opposite extreme than the Jesus extreme. All I know is, with baby steps, I’m curbing the habit.

If you are trying to curb something, let me know. You can reach me at being.rebekah.a@gmail.com. I’ll pray for you. We’re in this together.

God bless!

~Rebekah A

Bridging the Gap

I was recently forwarded the video below. It’s probably close to twenty years old, but it’s remarkable how a mere 41 seconds can be so touching. Perhaps you’ve seen it already, but if you haven’t go ahead and click play; I’ll wait. Actually, even if you have seen it, go ahead and click play anyway because it’s 41 seconds of love and humanity that we could all stand to be reminded of.

This adorable pair of siblings perfectly illustrate the way we are supposed to help one another, love one another, and work together. It is also a picture of how Christ bridged the gap for us so that we could cross the gulf of sin to the presence of God.

“For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5).

When the little boy realized that his younger sister could not cross the gap on her own, he literally bridged the gap for her. He lay down and allowed her to cross over despite the fact that she wasn’t the most graceful at the task. He doesn’t move until she is completely on the other side, even when she steps on his hand. Ouch! But one of the things I love about this clip is how as soon as the brother puts his leg across the gap for his sister, she immediately begins to cross! She was too afraid to attempt the feat by herself, but she trusts her brother so completely that she doesn’t even hesitate once he offers help.

Do we trust God like that? He is the solution to all of our struggles. When He offers us help, we should be like the little sister and not hesitate to accept it! Are we so focused on the gaps in our lives, that we fail to trust the bridges God has provided? When I was lost in sin, Jesus offered Himself as a sacrifice for me and laid down His life so that I could have a way to the Father.

“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).

He bridged the gap for us.

Thank You, Jesus for being the One we can trust in the face of fear and obstacles. Help us to trust You completely and to not hesitate to accept the provisions You have provided for us. Help us to see You in every act of kindness and be inspired to provide a helping hand and show Your love to those around us.

In His Love,

Rebekah L

Confident in His Love

Mercy

A few weeks ago one of the other Rebekahs wrote A Daddy’s Chastisement about how she was messing up and what the Lord did to pull her out of that situation. His chastisement, while difficult at the time, turned out to be exactly what she needed in order to fully restore a right relationship with Him. In the end that chastisement catapulted her into a great blessing.

This weekend I found myself in a similar situation where I was doing something totally out of God’s will and while I was doing wrong of my own choice, God still swept in to rescue me before I made a bad situation worse. With the help of some God-timed technological quirks, through my god-sister and godparents I was given my “way of escape” (1 Corinthians 10:13) to get out of the situation I was in. Like Rebekah M. felt when her parents found out what was going on with her, I was also mortified to have my godparents find out about the circumstance I had gotten myself into, but experiencing their love and acceptance at a time like that has shown me something I would not have seen otherwise.

My god-sister is in one state, my godparents live in a second state and I live in a third state. None of that stopped them from coming together to help me. Recently I confessed in my Rooted and Grounded post that I have difficulty believing that anyone could actually care for me and I struggle to trust God and accept His love. God used the situation this past weekend to show me that even when I’m messing up, even when I sin, even when I’m outside of His will, I am never outside of His love.

Would you believe my god-parents got up in the middle of the night and drove all the way to where I was in order to bring me to the safety of their home? Would you believe that my god-sister stayed on the phone with me until after two o’clock in the morning? She didn’t let me go until she knew her parents had arrived and I was safe in their care. When I checked my cell phone history to see how many phone calls they all made to try to reach me there were 36 (most of them went unanswered). Between my godparents and my god-sister there were 36 different attempts to contact me! The devil has lied to me; he tells me no one loves me, but people who don’t care just don’t do that. Someone acting out of an intent other than love might make one or two token attempts at contacting me, but only genuine care and concern can motivate someone to make dozens of phone calls in the wee hours of the morning.

Do you believe that God uses people to show His love for us?

Back at my godparents house they didn’t show any anger for dragging them out of bed in the middle of the night and they didn’t show judgment for the predicament I found myself in. They wrapped me in their love. My mind is completely blown thinking about it. They had every reason to treat me poorly, but they treated me with the love and mercy of the Lord.

My godfather wrote the following in an email to me today: “Amen to what you said about confidence in the love of God individually. We all should remind ourselves from time to time that Jesus died for MY sins and rose for MY living. He is always close to ME and He cares about ME, always. And it is not because I’m big headed (someone special), but just because HE is (His nature)!

Where I expected to feel the crush of condemnation, I instead felt the embrace of Jesus’ love. It amazes me how merciful our God is. He is constantly reaching out to us, seeking to restore us to a right relationship with Him. Over and over, I fail Him, and yet His mercy endures. His love offers us another chance. The Lord used the people in my life to show me that I am loved. Truly, despite all my fears and failures, God loves me.

Dear Reader,

If you’ve messed up, don’t give up! If you repent, God is faithful to forgive you! He loves you more than you know. He is reaching out to you, just as He reached out to me; in love. He was willing to suffer the cross for you, and He wants you to have confidence in His love for you as an individual. He doesn’t just love us collectively as part of humanity; He loves us individually – where we are right now, flaws and all. He is a wonderful, merciful, amazing God!

In His Love,

Rebekah L.