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Battleground

“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” ~ Ephesians 6:12 (KJV)

As Christians, we stand with Jesus to usher in His plan of love for the world. We stand with Him as His very name inspires a bend in our knees and awe in our hearts. We stand with Him as vessels to be used to heal, to love, to spread peace. We stand with Him simply to rejoice in His presence. We do all this and so much more. And sometimes, we stand with Him in battle.

As Christians, we do have a constant enemy. We don’t need to fear him necessarily (though he’d like us to!) because in the end Jesus is stronger. But we do need to fight him. His name is Satan and his sole aim is to kill, steal and destroy God’s plan. As stewards of this plan, we are automatically at odds with him. And he will use deception, distraction, literally any means he can come up with to keep us from fully doing our Father’s work.

Now, there are 7 main principalities that we fight, with a powerful demon at the head of each one (keep in mind though, they are not as powerful as Jesus and you can defeat them). These principalities are:

1) Spirit of Witchcraft

2) Spirit of Antichrist

3) Spirit of Infirmity

4) Spirit of Death

5) Spirit of Lying

6) Spirit of Mammon (wealth, provisions, socio-economic status, etc)

7) Spirit of Perversion

Right. Well, now that we have identified these principalities of the enemy, fighting them can seem like a daunting task. But luckily, God gives us examples throughout the Bible and a blueprint of what we need to do do defeat Satan and his minions.

Once such example, and it’s a fabulous one, is the book of Esther (which you can read here). Esther’s story at first seems nice enough, with a brave Jewish girl defeating the odds to save her people. But the more you delve into the book, the more you realize: Esther was a spiritual warrior, tried and true, who defeated the enemy and walked in victory to save her people. Here’s the thing: of those 7 principalities I mentioned above, Esther had to battle 6 of them. Six! All at once, too! Here’s the breakdown of what she was up against:

1) Spirit of Witchcraft: witchcraft was a common part of Persian culture in Esther’s time – spells, healers, divination, the works. King Xerxes himself is widely thought to have been a zoroastrian, a religion that used fire and water in its worship. To be fair, zoroastrianism forbade demon worship and consequently witchcraft, but given the use of the elements in its practice, it was a pretty short jump to make and a lot of sects practiced witchcraft anyway. One of King Xerxes’ advisers, Ostanes, was a magi and considered powerful in occult practice.

2) Spirit of Antichrist: In the book of Esther, Haman (favored by the king) makes all bow down to him to show respect. We bow as a form of worship, making this requirement full-blown idolatry. This, we can surmise, is why Mordecai refused to do so.

3) Spirit of Death: In retaliation against Mordecai, Haman’s wife and then Haman himself wanted to impale him. This escalated until Haman convinced the king to issue a decree to wipe out the entire Jewish population of Persia.

4) Spirit of Lying: This one is subtle. Still, we see a general attitude of mistrust and deception occurring in Persia: for starters, Esther did have to hide her identity, for her safety. We see false loyalties among the palace guards and a plot to overthrow King Xerxes. We see Xerxes’ notorious and borderline paranoid rage, and we see Haman overreacting to Mordecai’s slight.

5) Spirit of Mammon: Hamon wanted to not just kill the Jews, but plunder them. Take all their wealth so that no Jew anywhere would be able to recover it and recirculate it within their faith. Conversely, when the Jews retaliated they (for various reasons) refused to plunder.

6) Spirit of Perversion: This one was all over the place in the book of Esther. Queen Vashti was initially deposed due to not wanting to parade herself unveiled in front of a bunch of drunk men – 7 days drunk, to be exact. At a time when men and women were dining separately at separate banquets, the king’s request that she do this was nothing short of degrading. I applaud her for refusing, but ultimately it cost her the throne. Esther was chosen to be the new queen because of her beauty and virginity – a sort of ‘virgin pageant’. During her preparation for this she lived in a harem with the other maidens. After a night with the king they would then return but live in a different part of the harem – a part for concubines. Read between the lines here: the king of Persia, Esther’s eventual husband, had a different virgin every night. Once Esther was chosen, the king was unfaithful as a husband and even held a second ‘virgin pageant.’ So yes, I think it’s safe to say the spirit of perversion was alive and well in Persia during Esther’s time.

Knowing what she was up against, with 6 major principalities swirling around her, let’s look at what happened for her to fight them:

-First of all, Esther’s title of queen gave her no true power. Remember how easily Queen Vashti was deposed in the beginning. Esther was only chosen for the position because of her beauty – which is a superficial trait, but it’s also one that’s god-given – she was created for such a time as this, and if that meant she needed to be made pretty, well, that’s how God made her.

-Second, Esther was a non-practicing Jew. Think about that. She was hiding her identity from her husband – hiding in her own home. So she wasn’t partaking in the festivals, prayers, and was probably not following any of the dietary restrictions that the Jewish people normally follow. In short, she was doing nothing special to earn God’s favor – that just shows how merciful and faithful He is to those who petition in and stand for His will!

-What she did do, when she heard about Haman’s plot to wipe out her entire population, was to pray and fast for 3 days. She called for all the Jews in Persia to do the same thing. Now at first glance, she was fasting to prepare herself for the task at hand. And she was doing that. But if it was a matter of getting her heart right, maybe after a time of being distant from Him due to hiding who she really was, if that was all it was her time of prayer would have been between her and God. But it wasn’t. She called every Jew in Persia to fast and pray. We know that she had 6 principalities to fight. We know that the fate of her people was at stake. And we know that in Mark 9, Jesus heals someone possessed by demons. When His disciples ask why they couldn’t heal him in that, Jesus answered “that kind only comes out by prayer and fasting”. One more time: prayer and fasting casts out demons. It’s a big, big weapon we use. What was Esther doing? Praying and fasting. What were all the Jews in Persia doing? Praying and fasting. This wasn’t just a time of getting Esther’s focus together – this was a battleground. She was clearing the way, casting out these demons and making a way for God’s will to be done. She may have been in hiding up to this point, but He created her for such a time as this, and when push came to shove, she stood with Him strongly to bring His plan – the saving of the Jewish people – to fruition.

-Ultimately, God prevailed – He is stronger than these principalities and always will be! And we see His victory in the way that Xerxes extended favor to her both times that she approached him – even though her entrance to the throne room could have easily meant her death. We see His victory in how Xerxes not only agreed to listen to her but to dine with her, twice. Finally, we see His victory in Xerxes’ issuing a second decree which allowed the Jews to defend themselves and ultimately saved them. Everything Esther did after her time of prayer and fasting was met with favor – there was no more hiding, no more enemies in the way of God’s will. What a powerful God we serve!

My apologies for the super-long post. But it’s an important topic. And an important message: we were created for such a time as this. As this. You might be feeling on top of the world today – God has a destiny, a plan, and a task for you. You might be feeling like you’re under attack at this very moment – God has a destiny, a plan and a task for you. Stand with Him and you will prevail – “for if God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31).

I invite you today to be intentional in seeking out Jesus’ plan for you. Join Him in intercession and ushering in His plan. Step onto the battleground with Him. Victory awaits – so claim it!

God bless!

Rebekah A

Perspective

Tonight I am in a fog. Why? Well, ultimately it’s because God is doing some great things in the church I came from before I moved here, and He is doing some great things in me. He has completely lit a fire under me and I don’t want it to ever go out. Don’t worry, I’ll explain the fog part later.

The season I’m in has been months in the making. There is a very sick little girl that my old church has been praying for, which is perhaps a blog post for another day (a long one). Through a whole variety of things, God has shown us that He has some very specific and miraculous plans for her, and He wants us to stand with Him to carry them out. The time for that to happen is near, and so it is a time to press into God deeply. Nothing less than the purity of His truth and power will suffice.

While we have been waiting on that, God’s been growing us. Through a series of seemingly unconnected visions, dreams, and even random gifts, He has brought us to a season of tearing down high places within our hearts and churches, and again pressing in. And actually, He used me to reveal the connecting thread that brought us into this phase of deep growth in Him, which is awesome. It wasn’t an obvious connection and drew on prior knowledge that I had, that made God’s message clear when it was combined with this stuff that was happening. But I never would have spoken up (because it didn’t seem relevant), if my prayer partner literally the night before hadn’t had a word for me about speaking boldly no matter what I felt. So I listened to the word she delivered, spoke out, and it turned out to be right on the money. God is awesome in the ways He uses us. This is perhaps another long blog post for another day. My boldness has been increasing in leaps and bounds lately, and I’ve spoken out about a lot of things God has told me when I previously might not have had the confidence to do so, but this grew my boldness even more. Yay!

Anyway, the underlying thread of everything is that we are in a season to press into Jesus, to passionately and radically pursue Him. I like the sound of it already.

In an effort to ‘press in’, I have been fasting a bit more regularly. My typical fasting pattern is to abstain from food for a 24-hr period. Since this season seems like it calls for a more prolonged endeavor, I have gotten creative. I am fasting sugar. Detoxing from it, really. I know, I know. It’s a health fad. It’s a trendy kickoff to a trendy diet. Truth be told, I couldn’t care less about the trend. It is also something that my body is currently dependent on, and to me that is all that matters. I want my body to run the way it was created to run and to be dependent on nothing except for Jesus Christ Himself. It’s my physical manifestation of pressing in. The problem with detoxing from sugar is that you go through a mini withdrawal, and you get sort of sick for about a week. I am on Day 2, hence my brain fog. I’m also fairly convinced that someone drove into my bedroom with a Mack truck and ran over me while I slept, and then magically glued my walls back together. How they did it, I will never know, but I am definitely feeling the effects!

It has been interesting, to be spiritually on fire and physically foggy. I am pressing in, which is the whole point, and both reaching and expecting breakthrough. I am grateful for the season, because I am growing in leaps and bounds and am expectant that God will deliver on what He’s told me. I’m even grateful for the fog because it forces me to really focus to hone in on the spirit, and to depend on His help to get even mundane tasks done. I’m mostly grateful that God has given me some perspective on where I’m at, and where He’s headed both with me and the Body as a whole.  I can’t wait to see what He does!

God bless!

~Rebekah A

Sandcastles

sandcastle

As I grew up, I grew more and more reluctant to build sandcastles. “I’ll get sandy”, “they won’t last anyway”, “I’ll have ridiculously uneven tan lines”, “They take so long”……but in the end, despite my adolescent logic saying I ‘knew better’, my childish desire would win out and off I’d go. It’s no surprise – as a child I used to build major castles in the morning, and go to show people later in the day only to have them say “what castle? Where? I don’t see what you’re talking about.”

I’d start out with just a lump. I was reluctant, remember? Then the lump would take shape into an actual rectangle (the main castle), perhaps because I got on a creative roll, or perhaps just because I was way too old for just a lump to be acceptable and my friends were with me. I’d add a tower or two, maybe some designs on the walls or battlements on the top. I’d try to make my towers end in a point and I’d find a piece of seaweed or driftwood to stick in as a shell. Of course I’d build a moat – as deep as possible. And then the inevitable would happen – no matter how elaborate or large I’d built my castle, no matter how deep the moat, the tide would still rise and I’d watch my creation be swept away without a trace.

When I think of sin, I think of these sandcastles. We may start out reluctant, but in the end the desire wins out. Then we get swept along, either by peer pressure or just by ourselves. Our basic sin expands, gets fancy, gets more elaborate. Soon it’s part of our lifestyle – we’re fully embracing it and sticking a flag in the turret to claim it as ours.

We’ve all had these sandcastles within us. Maybe we still do. They are our imperfections, the things we harbor that God doesn’t like, the parts of ourselves that we hold on to, that we haven’t submitted to God yet and we don’t necessarily want to. Sandcastles can be pretty, after all. Granted, they can also be ugly and misshapen, but they’re still ours – cultivated and created by us.  Maybe we fear His judgement, maybe our flag is staked in so deep we no longer know who we are without it. Maybe we just know that refinement often hurts. And our first instinct is to protect it. To protect ourselves. “Nothing to see here, Jesus!” We change the spiritual subject to more comfortable ground (“I read my Bible today, Jesus!” = “look at the whole rest of the pristine beach, Jesus!”) and meanwhile build our moats as deep as we can; we thicken the walls. We hunker down.

Maybe we realize that enough is enough, or maybe God tells us. But either way we have a moment where we’re done. We want out. And then our very human panic sets in as follows: But look how much we’ve built. Look how elaborate it is. Look how deep the moat around it is. Look how thick the walls are. We made an effort to protect it, even though we knew better. How can something that big just disappear? We’ll be living under the shadow of that thing for the rest of our natural lives and God will never look at us the same way again and we probably just forfeit our treasure in heaven and now our souls are going to be living in a spiritual cardboard box for all eternity.

Here’s the thing – the amazing, merciful thing about Jesus. He gives us grace. When we repent, and give our sin to Him, when we turn our hearts from that part of ourselves and our lives and give it to Him for His will to be done, that act of repentance lets the tide come in. And if you think for one second that sand can stand up to the power of the living water of Jesus Christ, get yourself to the nearest beach before high tide and give it a try yourself. No chance. While you’re there, you’ll also note how wood, rock and glass get broken down and smoothed over in time. So…sand? I repeat: no chance.

When you repent, you invite the waves that break down those fragile walls. Sure, it can hurt. Yes we have to leave the castle, to get displaced and sent to a new home Jesus has for us. Yes, a part of us has to stay behind in the castle to face destruction.

But you know what? When it’s done, it’s done. Every grain gets washed away, the moat gets filled back in. The very flags that marked it as yours disappear. You will look back, from your new house on the rock, and see pristine beach. With no trace of your self-made castle. Maybe you’ll tell Jesus about it someday, in hindsight or in fear of going back there. And Jesus will look out at the beach and say “what? Where? I don’t see what you’re talking about.”

Jesus took the hit for our sins already. He bled for them and suffered for them already. The wrath was poured out. Forgiveness was earned. The only reason the sins still exist is because we are engaging in them. So when we repent, when we turn from it in our heart of hearts, it leaves. Stricken from the books. When you let God take it away, it goes away. And all that’s left is the beautiful, pristine, pure beach.

So today I ask you readers to talk to God about your personal sandcastles. Let Him point them out to you, let Him guide you to a place of submission and repentance. Give them to Him, and let that tide wash over your heart. Cry the tears, delve deeply into the reasons behind it, whatever it takes. Then, go ahead enjoy your beach.

If any of you need prayer today, or just want to say hi, feel free to email me at being.rebekah.a@gmail.com.

God bless!

~Rebekah A

God is God

“When you dine with a ruler, note well what is before you, and put a knife to your throat if you are given to gluttony. Do not crave his delicacies, for that food is deceptive.” ~ Proverbs 23:1-3

I am seeing a big struggle lately to strike that balance of ‘living in the world but not of the world’. I’m with you, believe me; it can be tough to find.

It’s a difficult balance to strike, which to me makes sense because the Christian walk was never promised to be easy. Difficulty doesn’t bother me much. What bothers me a bit is that somewhere in that struggle, God’s word is being stretched. His boundaries and His warnings are pretty clear, and yet there’s a big tendency to tweak them in order to suit our own needs and desires of the day. It’s easy to say “I don’t want to be rude, so I’ll ____”, or “The bible says this leads to death; that must be metaphorical”. You might be right on that last one, but I personally think “death” can take many forms (spiritual death, death of a destiny or task God needed you to do; physical death is really the least of them in my opinion). But I digress.

In short, I see a lot of people trying to best God at His own plan. And it doesn’t work. We think we know our lives better. We think we’re smarter and other people just don’t get it. We think it’s just this once. We think we’re invincible because we do pray after all. We taste the delicacies of those around us, and find we have an appetite for them after all. And so we feed that appetite. Maybe not in a gluttonous way, at least not at first. But it doesn’t have to be. The more we taste those delicacies and feed those appetites, the less we are relying on God for our daily bread. The more we go for things that we ‘want’, the less we desire the things of God that we actually need. The damage can be subtle. We may not stop praying, but we might start to pick and choose what we pray about rather than giving God everything. We might still go to Church, but we are quicker to dismiss counsel from other Christians because “they don’t get it”.  Slowly, our passion for Jesus dulls as these other things take precedence.

These other desires take precedence in our hearts slowly but surely – be they for a person, a lifestyle, money, whatever. They become idols within us, our own personal Babylons (I blogged about personal Babylons before – especially here with the first Leaving Babylon post). God clearly warns us against it. But we don’t heed the warnings because we humans are pros at self-denial and self-justification. We think we’re fine. Or we simply don’t want to hear that we aren’t. And it affects everything – our prayer life, our thought life, our connection with God, our discernment and ability to hear things like prophecies. Everything suddenly gets twisted and centered around these earthly things, and away from what God wants us to hear.

As Christians, we must be on our guard for this. It’s God’s plan; not ours. God is God; we are not. And neither is anything else. The boundaries are His; we can’t shift them. We’re in way over our heads if we try to twist His words to suit our own needs. And yet it’s a rampant attitude. So I invite you today to join me in bringing yourself before the Lord and letting Him in to examine your heart. Really, really examine it, and flush out any of these twisted ideas. Maybe there’s just a truth He revealed to you before that He wants to expand on. Whatever it may be, let God in to reveal it to you and be open and humble to receive the change.

God bless!

~Rebekah A

Breaking Oppression

So after a few days post-cleansing by God on Sunday, I realized that the freedom I feel goes beyond just forgiveness. It took me until today to really grasp the concept that I was spiritually oppressed.  Now I don’t like to give the devil and his minions more credit than they are due, but this freedom is really huge.  I went from feeling plagued by a constant feeling of “I never want to be with a guy like that EVER again” and “I loved him” (as if holding on to the fact that I had once loved someone meant something) to just a whole lifting of my soul.  God brought it to my mind that during my prayer on Sunday, I prayed against spirits who were reminding me of my past to leave me and never come back.  It was in the moment but the more time goes on I realize it was totally Jesus’ leading.

I read up on a post on this area on christianitytoday.com that is related.  The minister who wrote the article speaks on identifying the sins in your life that give the demons a foothold into your life and then has the people he works with write them down. He then says:

If the area is not habitual, I ask the person not to write it down. Demons are unrelenting. If they are present, they are persistent. They will not surface only once a month or on holidays. They like to hide, but they are aggressive in their attempts to control the thinking of anyone within whom they hold ground.

When I read that it just solidified within myself even more that it was exactly what was happening to me! I just felt almost consumed by thoughts of how he treated me so badly and how I had loved (although no longer had anyone to love) etc. etc. etc. To the point that now I’m free of it, I can see it wasn’t even me.  It was a daily, multi-event struggle in which I couldn’t help but think of those things.  It has been getting worse as time has gone on. Months ago I forgave my ex for dumping me the way he did, but I never forgave him for all the times he hurt me. Even if he verbally abused me, it doesn’t mean I needed to hold on to that part of my past by harboring unforgiveness. In harboring my anger, pain, and unforgiveness, I gave the enemy a stronghold in my mind to attack me from.  The more I responded to it’s whispers of “he treated you SO badly” and “don’t you remember when he did x,y,z… wasn’t that so horrible?” the more it knew it had found my weakness.

God wants to set us free from oppression.

If you are daily plagued by thoughts multiple times a day either of your past or any other thing that is not of God, know that this struggle might be beyond just you being weak! It took God sending me literally to the other side of America to visit family where very specific preachers would be preaching that Sunday for it to come to surface enough to be banished from my life. I didn’t even recognize things for what they were! I thought I was weak and it was just my self who was creating this spiritual spiral of “stinkin’ thinkin’ ” but God has bringing to light that it was more than just me! Yes, my weakness created a stronghold, but as time continued and I didn’t address things right then and there, the enemy created a place for itself in my life to remind me over and over again of things just for my bitterness and anger to continue.

Please do not think that I’m saying EVERYTHING is of the enemy, but I am saying that if you are caught in what feels almost like a pit of  bad thoughts, know that this could be oppression from the enemy and that God wants to take you out of that pit never to return! He wants to save you and through His name you have the power to banish them from your life!!!

If any of this resonates with you- I pray you seek out a prayer partner or even your pastor and ask God to not just reveal to you what are the strongholds in your life you’ve given over to the enemy (anger, hatred, lust, lying, envying… just to name a few). You have to be honest! I was harboring so much within me and God cleansed me of it all… but I had to bring it forth to the light for Him to remove it since He will not forcibly remove things from our lives since He gives us free will.  Know there is a much better way of living when you give it all over to Him and allow Him to help cleanse you of oppression.  Yes, I was injured, but I didn’t need to allow bitterness and unforgiveness to take hold the way it did.  I thought I had forgiven him… but I had only forgiven certain things and not ALL of it.  You may be injured this day, but know that His forgiveness can cleanse you and give you the power to forgive others!!! Take the first step and find that He can help you with the rest.

God bless you all my dear readers and I pray that for any of you who are oppressed, know He can and will help you banish those things from your life! In Jesus name you can be free! 

I love You Jesus with all my heart. Thank You Jesus. 

Rebekah M. 

Related article: http://www.christianitytoday.com/le/2012/spring/removingdemonic.html?paging=off

Strength in the Struggle (Daily pt. 2)

“Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to Him as an instrument of righteousness.” ~Romans 6:12-13

Before I get into this post, I have to say something: I love Rebekah M and Rebekah L. I love them for their insight, and also for their transparency and courage in putting their own lives, circumstances, and struggles out in the open that others may be encouraged through their blog posts. And lately the theme of all of our posts has been that of a daily struggle – to daily choose God in favor of the world. It’s a struggle I sincerely relate to, and I’m sure you do too. We may not all share the same sins (though we probably share more than you think!), but we probably do all share that underlying fight to choose God in all things.

According to Romans 6, we should be able to overcome sin. We should be able to live free of its hold…and yet, look at us. Our flesh is indeed weak. Even Romans 6 mentions human limitations. It also mentions something else: “Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey – whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?” (Romans 6:16).Clearly, we are given a choice. Yes, a daily choice. We are given a choice of whom we shall serve today. And sometimes we even choose God for the entire day. Sometimes we choose sin. Most often, we choose a mix of both – there are 24 whole hours in a day, after all.

Luckily, Romans 6 offers us one last bit of hope in this earthly struggle we face: “For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law but under grace” (Romans 6:14). The meaning here is pretty simple. We are saved by grace, we live eternally under grace, and so we should be impervious to sin. The kicker is, we’re not. We all know that. And the reason is pretty simple: we didn’t save ourselves. We didn’t find our own righteousness. We didn’t grant ourselves eternal life. We are not the ones with the grace. We merely benefit from it. 

The One who has the grace offers it to us freely. It is ours to take it, if we only choose it. Day by day, moment by moment, if we choose to walk in that grace it is ours. With the grace comes strength. Yes, we are made of flesh and flesh is weak. Flesh will ultimately decay. But the grace from which we claim our salvation came from Jesus Christ, the One who defeated flesh. For Him, there was no decay. For Him, there was death, and it was conquered. He was powerful enough to conquer death itself, and had the grace to save us too. And that’s the cool part. As He gave us His grace, we can also access His power. And that power does indeed help us conquer sin.

Yes, flesh is weak, and we have a daily struggle. The fact that I’m writing a post about this certainly doesn’t make me any more righteous. All I’m saying is that Jesus knows we have a struggle. And He knew it 2000 years ago. And He gives us access to Himself so that we don’t have to struggle alone. Through Him, we have grace to live eternally. Through Him, we have the strength to win the fight against temptation and sin. So often, we find ourselves tempted by sin, and we find ourselves turning away from God. It’s kind of like the child raiding the cookie jar. If Mom doesn’t see us in action, we don’t get caught. Trust me: mom noticed. Whether you were in trouble or not, you were most certainly caught.

There’s nothing we can truly hide from God. We have His full attention all of the time. So when we hide from Him or stop seeking Him out so that He doesn’t see our impure thoughts….we aren’t blocking His view. We’re blocking ours. We’re preventing ourselves from accessing the one source of strength that’s powerful enough to help us defeat this temptation, instead of giving into it and repenting later. The moments of temptation are expected. The draw of sin and the struggle to defeat it is expected. And God has mercy on it, and will help us through it. But we have to let Him.

It’s not just a matter of choosing daily to follow God’s will. It’s also a matter of choosing Him to move in us and help us defeat the things that would pull us away from Him in the first place. It’s a daily choice to follow God in action, and to press into Him in our hearts – to allow Him to refine us. So often we deal with the sin as it comes up. Especially if it’s habitual. We just chalk it up to having a weak moment, tell Jesus we’re sorry, and we go on with our day. And that’s ok. That’s going to happen sometimes. But what we also need to do is be inviting Jesus into the center of our hearts before the moment of temptation ever comes, to take that preemptive strike against sin and allow Him to give us a new heart that truly, truly desires Him more.

Jesus, I pray for You to move in me. Come into my heart, my whole heart, even the dark corners that are cloaked in shame from the ongoing struggles that I too have. Come into those places especially God. Grant me wisdom on why I’m tempted and grant me strength to overcome it, but most of all Jesus, I pray that you take the root of my weakness and replace it with the new heart you have for me. Remake me stronger in You. I desire to desire You. I know I will have to do work too, but I depend on You for help and strength. I praise You that You are a mighty and merciful God, and I give thanks for Your grace. I love You Jesus – help me to love You with my whole heart.

Join me and the other Rebekahs in choosing God daily, on an even deeper level. And know that I’m praying for you. And of course, if you have specific prayer requests or things you’re struggling with, feel free to let me know at being.rebekah.a@gmail.com. God bless!

~Rebekah A

Consecrating the Temple

“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, whom is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” ~ 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

At Church on Sunday, we had a special time set aside to pray for healing. I have an autoimmune disease, and for the past almost-year or so now I’ve been fighting a weird eczema-type rash on my hands and arms. It hasn’t been fun, so if healing prayer is being offered, I’m all over it! But as I prayed for Jesus to just take my body and touch it with His healing hand, the hand of the Great Physician, He answered me with “I can’t. You’re not mine to heal.”

Excuse me? What do you mean I’m not yours to heal? Don’t I blog about you and love you and worship you and serve you? Trust me, Jesus – I’m all  yours. Go ahead and heal me!

Still the words resonated, “You’re not mine to heal”. I have to say that Jesus and I had a slight difference of opinion when it came to this ruling….but since He’s usually right about these things I figured I’d listen. What He essentially said was, my body is a temple. It’s consecrated space. At least, it should be. Right now though, it really isn’t. There are too many distractions and external things I’m letting in. When my body truly becomes a temple for Jesus, it will be His to heal. 

This got me thinking. I used to have a weekly fast day. I’ve stopped doing that. From fasting to eating habits to workout habits to how I spend my free time, every action I make is either consecrating or desecrating this temple. It was almost like God was telling me it’s not enough to have prayer time set aside. Our very bodies are temples – places of worship and praise, dedicated to our Creator. Our spirits merely inhabit it. We were created for God, not for ourselves. 

Then I had another thought. We literally spend our whole entire lives inside of a temple. We can’t leave it even if we want to – after all, it’s not like we can step out of our bodies.  We can’t say “Today my body’s a temple but tomorrow I’m hanging out with my friends and I think there’s gonna be a cute guy there so I’ll wear clothes a little tighter so I look good.” That’s not how it works. Our bodies are temples all the time. They were created for that purpose, and 1 Corinthians 6 is very clear about that. The question becomes this: in this moment, is your temple consecrated or desecrated? Are you worshiping Jesus or have you invited in an idol? You can’t leave your temple ever, so all you can do is either keep it clean and polished or let it get dirty; you can either serve Jesus in its altar or serve something else. And truth be told, every thought in your head, action you take and word you speak serves something. You are serving something in every second of the day. Today I ask you, who?

So clearly, Jesus is calling me to walk more intentionally in Him, not just in thought but in my actions as well. I trust Him that the healing will come in time. Meanwhile, I have some cleaning of my temple to do.

This is the time, readers, to reflect on your daily habits and your lifestyle and see if any of them are in fact less than godly. This is the time to pray for strength and make some changes so that you, too, can polish your temples and let God’s light shine out in all its glory. I wish you luck and am keeping you in my prayers. As always, write to me with specific prayer requests at being.rebekah.a@gmail.com.

God bless!

~Rebekah A