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One Body

So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. ~Romans 12:5

Tonight at church they taught on how we’re all one body and how sad it is when the body of Christ gets an autoimmune disease.  Just as in those unfortunate individuals who have diseases such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, it is horrible to think of the Body of Christ attacking itself… but it happens.

I myself have been the victim of such attacks more than once now.  Part of me is convinced that it was due in part to whispering behind my back that was partly responsible for my past relationship falling. Twice, my family has had pastors who sought to slander our family’s name when they could.  I have even had people apologize to me for things they were ordered to do behind my back at our pastor’s insistence.

I personally testify to just how much more painful it is when a child of God hurts you since we tend to put our guard down more with those in church.  They should have the same spirit of Christ in them as we do, so why should we have to protect ourselves?  Just as silly as it seems for us to do things like shooting our own foot, it would seem silly to those who truly love Christ to think of hurting another member of the church… but it happens.

We are all important. We all matter.

One of my pet peeves is how some people will mock others that do not live by the standards that God has placed in their lives.  Whether it be a certain way of dressing, make-up or no make-up, piercing/no piercings, etc, I get so upset when people start judging each other. As I once heard it said, “we are all guests at God’s table. Who are we to judge who is worthy or unworthy to sit there?”  If God has called you to a more strict level of living, don’t judge others if God has not done that to them at this time.  Just the same, for those who God has not called to a more strict life, who are they to judge those that Jesus has?

Jesus, 

My heart breaks at the thought of those who attack the Body.  We are all Your children and we love You- help us focus on You and reaching those who don’t know you and stay away from strife, envy, slandering, gossip, and a judgmental attitude. Jesus, lead and guide us towards a path of living for You and You alone. Let us not look at others and judge ourselves by how they are walking (either farther along the path or less) and instead judge ourselves by the mirror of Your Word. 

I love You Jesus with all my heart, mind, soul, and strength. 

Rebekah M. 

In My Prayers

“When they deliver you over, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour. For it is not you who speak, but the spirit of your Father speaking through you.” ~Matthew 10:19-20

My last post was about a friend who has been through some rough times in his life, and has a lot of anger towards the world, Christianity, and God in general. I’m convinced there is some sort of spiritual attack on him, because his hatred is all directed towards Christianity and no other religion; that if there is destruction in the world for a spiritual reason, it must be because of people following Jesus. Umm…Osama Bin Laden, anyone? But I digress. I certainly can’t talk him out of his opinion.

Today I found out that in getting out of bed, one of his aides left his wheelchair on. Because his chair was left on, when they put his hand on the joystick he ended up driving the chair by accident. Usually, they get his hand in place first, and then turn on the chair, so that he can control his movements and not drive into the wall. Or in this particular case, into the closet. Because he did in fact drive into the closet, now he has a broken ankle. So now, not only is he in an emotionally dark place over his life in general, and living in pain in general, but now he has a physical injury to add to his pain and frustration. Right when his anger was reaching a boiling point and he needed a teeny bit of hope, he gets hurt. That’s right where the enemy wants him – frustrated, beaten down, and hopeless.

However, I serve a God who heals – both emotional and physical injuries. I serve a God who has mercy on all our mistakes and weaknesses. I serve a God who ways come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. for my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30). If anybody is burdened it would be this friend of mine. I serve a God who is light and love. It just so happens that this friend of mine needs an abundance of both.

I’m not arguing with him or trying to convince him or sell him on something. But I’m certainly not giving up on him either. I’m not going to ignore his pain when he so needs love. But I’ve learned already that I can’t win this fight with my own words, passion, conviction. God tells us that His word is the sword that breaks chains. There is freedom in His word. In HIS word. Not in mine. I don’t have God’s capabilities when it comes to giving freedom and peace and love. Plenty of things have come out of my mouth, but a sword has never been among them (you’ll be first to know if it ever does!). So what to do? Easy. Let God speak. Let God speak to this lost child of his.

I will pray for my friend tonight. Will I tell him I prayed? I’m a child of God; we’re outright told we don’t need to hide or fear. So I should be able to tell him I prayed, boldly and without fear of a worldly reaction. The only thing is, I’m not really afraid of a worldly reaction; I don’t mind being judged when I know I stand for God. But in this case, I’m not speaking for the sake of proclaiming God’s name; I’m speaking to touch a friend and let him know unconditional love for probably the first time ever. Making him mad won’t accomplish that.

So do I take a different tactic and give a testimony? Maybe tell him about a miracle healing I witnessed? Will I simply make conversation and be a friend to him and love him that way? I have no idea. What I do know is I will also pray for God to fill my mouth with His words, that I would say and do and type nothing other than what God wants this man to hear. It is not my place to get caught up in a back-and-forth argument. It is my place to serve God, be His vessel here on earth and let His light shine through me.

So Jesus, tonight I pray for You to quiet my mind and heart. Quiet it to every voice but Your own. Grant me discernment over this situation, and show me how to love this man with your heart. Give me the words to speak to Him, and let me speak them boldly no matter what you do or don’t put in my head. Jesus I trust You, and I put this whole situation in Your hands. I love You Jesus, with all my heart.

God bless!

~Rebekah A

All About the Love

“Christianity is the cancer of humankind.”

These jarring words came at me from a friend. He’s a friend who has been let down by life; he has a terminal illness (duchenne muscular dystrophy) and has been hospital-bound for 22 years and surrounded by ‘support’ who really just play emotional head games with him and beat him down as much as possible; he has no real immediate family and little support from his extended family (though they live close by)….and all he knows of God and Christianity seems to be every negative fact about Catholicism, any news stories of the Westboro Baptist church (you know who I’m talking about – that church that crashes the funerals of fallen soldiers and has a website called godhatesfags.com), and a healthy dose of polygamy thrown in. Given that, I can’t exactly blame the guy for not having a very positive view of Christians.

I could make the argument, I suppose, that the whole reason he and I are friends is because I am a Christian.  I volunteered with a muscular dystrophy charity and meant a woman whose son had passed away a few months earlier. In reaching out to her, I realized she in turn was reaching out to anyone and everyone who had this disease and made it to adulthood – a milestone her own son had never reached. She was on the phone with this particular man and handed the phone to me – we lived relatively close to each other. I talked to him for about 2 minutes, and the next day did the obligatory Facebook friending. Seeing his profile on facebook, I realized it was his birthday and nobody had visited, celebrated, or (worst of all, in my opinion) brought cake. This is a cardinal sin in my book. Ignore a person all you want; do not deprive them of their birthday cake (I have excellent birthday priorities).

So, I made a cake. I got together a birthday dinner, and without ever having met this gentleman in person, went to visit him in the hospital where he lived, and threw him a party. I proceeded to visit him every week after that, and learned his medical care and emergency procedures so that he could leave the hospital with me and we could go to a Red Sox. It was the first time he’d been out with a friend in 20 years. He enjoyed himself during those visits, so much so that he started referring to me as his best friend. His friend. Suddenly, he’s forgotten all of that and decided that I’m cancerous.

Am I offended? No. Honestly. I am sad though. I mean, it takes a lot of pain and anger to negate birthday cake. Especially chocolate cake!!! Pain, anger, hate, sadness, and more….I wouldn’t wish that mindset on anybody. So, rather than defend my pride to you (which I’m not supposed to have anyway), let’s back up a bit. Why did I do all that for him? Not because I’m nice or special (if you’ve been reading this blog at all you know I am not that nice at all), but because Jesus wanted to bless this man. Jesus knew he needed a friend. I didn’t think of it like that exactly – my walk with God was a little bit different back then – but even so, I still believed that it is my calling to love people unconditionally, and to give to them and bless them as much as I can. I didn’t use that time or those visits as a stepping stone to proclaim the name of Jesus. Maybe I should have. It didn’t occur to me, honestly. Like I said, my walk was different then.

Still, today I am sure there is a testimony in there somewhere. I did good things for this person, and there is no good in me apart from Jesus Christ. When you tap into it, your ‘good’ can be extraordinary.

However, those aren’t the words that my friend needs to hear right now. He hears all these stories about God’s word twisted into something ugly, and then his Christian friends argue that that’s a false portrayal and Jesus isn’t really like that – that’s great (and true) but it still doesn’t say who Jesus IS. And how can you tell someone who has been so defeated by life that there is a love out there of that magnitude, and that it’s focused on him? To him, hearing that sounds like a crock.

My heart breaks for him and his hatred of God and his emotional pain. I pray for him regularly. I wish I could help him tap into God’s love, even to get just a glimpse of that peace. Then I realize: I can. I can’t exactly tell him  “Jesus is great, give Him a chance and pray to Him sometime”. Actually, I’ve tried that, and I’ve had friends try it too; all it does is shove more religion down his throat that he doesn’t want, and then he shuts down and says he doesn’t want to waste his time. Clearly, his heart is not going to be won by reason or logic or argument, or any words at all.

Yes, we are supposed to boldly proclaim Jesus to the world. It’s one of our callings as Christians. But a bold proclamation doesn’t always mean a verbal one. After all, how do you describe light to the darkness? It’s a totally foreign concept – like explaining colors to a person who is blind. Reason, logic, these are things formed around what he knows, and what he knows is spiritual darkness. But what I can do is love him. I can be God’s vessel. God is love, and forgiveness, and peace – unconditional, unending amounts of them. Not because a person deserves them, but because he exists. He was made by God, so he has an inherent value. It is that simple.

I will continue to pray for him and that God would open his heart – maybe someday the time and place will come for actual conversations. In the meantime, ‘bold’ to me will mean being with him, a source of love and peace and positivity in the face of all the anger and pain he has….’bold’ means listening to the suicidal lyrics of his heavy death metal music that he listens to during every waking hour, and daring to negate them by telling him that his life is worth something. ‘Bold’ can be as simple as love in the face of hate, peace in the face of chaos. I don’t have to preach; nor do I have to hide the fact that I’m keeping him in prayer or that all the good in me is really Jesus Christ. I don’t have to hide or push at all. I simply have to love. God is quite capable of the rest.

I ask you that this week, before you start your day, say a prayer that God’s love and peace will prevail today. That it would flow through you and touch anybody who’s in need of it on a deeper level. Maybe you can even make this a habit. Meanwhile, I’d love to hear about any similar stories you have, or even just what God is doing in your life. So write to me at being.rebekah.a@gmail.com. God bless!!

~Rebekah A

“A Faith That Breathes”

Yes, I am writing my very first blog book review! A Faith That Breathes, by Michael and Tiffany Ross, is a book that was lent to me by a friend, when I was having a rough time this fall. It’s part devotional, part journal, and for me it was perfect. It’s written by women (though compiled by a woman and her husband), for women, and every day is a new topic to think about. I read it with a journal on hand, and definitely recommend you do the same. Each day has a written entry, followed by a related interview from well-known Christian women. It’s instant solidarity and instant encouragement, and for me, I couldn’t have received it at a better time.

Before I moved to NYC, I was surrounded by Christian friends. Any time I wanted to chat or pray or worship, I had someone to do that with. It was great. I had friends I’d meet with for dinner, and hours later we’d still be talking about how God is moving. Rebekah M has posted about the power of sisterhood; for me, it’s been a vital part of my spiritual growth. I wouldn’t be the same Christian without it.

Since moving to NYC, I’ve been more on my own. I can pray with my friends over the phone or skype, but it’s just not the same. I miss my home, I miss my friends, I miss these talks, I miss these prayers….basically I just miss my girl time. I depended on it before, and while I am growing here, I really feel the loss of those connections I had.

Enter A Faith That Breathes. This book, by  has all the girl time you could ever want, in paperback form – let’s face it, our friends aren’t portable. But these ladies are, and they are a close second! Every entry is thought-provoking; they write about their journeys to certain realizations, periods of growth, things God’s revealed to them. Each one has Bible verses that relate to it, and there is a section in each that gives a broader view of what this particular topic looks like when it’s walked out. There’s even a chance to reflect on what they wrote about and how it relates specifically to you. I started reading it when I was feeling some distance from God, and could feel myself reading the Bible less, praying for shorter amounts of time. That’s a slippery slope, to say the least. This book singlehandedly gave me the jumpstart I needed to get grounded in God again, and get my focus back. It was like having an instant group of friends who knew me and related to me – without ever meeting me.

So if you need to kickstart your faith or if you’ve been in a spiritual rut, definitely check out this book. Hopefully it will speak to your heart as strongly as it has been to mine! And if you just need some girl time, don’t worry – they’ve got you covered there too.

And for you men…sorry. Find your own book.

God bless!

~Rebekah A

Sharp Friendship

Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another. ~Proverbs 27:17 

Today I was invited over by one of the families at church for lunch and fellowship between services.  It is amazing to me how God will bring people into your life to encourage you right when you need it.  Although I’ve been feeling like I’m walking in Him, it was so nice to just chat and feel God in the midst of us 🙂  We talked about things we believed and cared about in church and it floors me that people with such different backgrounds (VERY different states, I grew up in church while the wife joined in her mid-teens) can feel such a kindred spirit.

I truly love that in this family of God, we truly are family! My belief that God’s called me to a personal standard of not kissing before the wedding day in my dating life was encouraged today.  When my ex and I were dating so many people were like “you’re crazy, it’s not necessary, look these other people did it and they are fine.”  But God really dealt with me in showing me that if we date like the world, we’re going to get the same results as the world- a divorce rate of over 50%.  I want a man who’s going to love me so much that he’s excited to be only the second man in my life to ever have the privilege to kiss me.  If a guy feels like it’s not worth it to date me if he can’t kiss me, then I have to realize that he’s not worth my time for if he’s the one then eventually he will, and if he’s not then we won’t have anything to regret when we break up.

Dear Reader, 

I pray that God sends you people into your life that sharpen your walk in Him, not draw you away from the road that He’s leading you to walk.  May you have the discernment in who is good for your life and who are people that you might need to shed for Him.  Always remember that there should be NOTHING in this world more important to you than Him and His way.  Walk unashamedly and without remorse for Him. 

Rebekah M.