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The Visions: Part 1

This is part of an email that was sent to my parents by a prophet in another country before I wrote what I did in Praying Monday: Press On but they didn’t receive it until afterwards. In it there were three visions. After they confronted me the next day about these visions, I wrote A Daddy’s Chastisement.  I was messing up- unofficially in a relationship with a guy who didn’t know God and worse yet, doing things that I shouldn’t with him. Not THAT, but still wrong in God’s eyes. People, some even in church, told me it wasn’t bad or wrong so long as it wasn’t THAT, but God’s standards are not our standards.  I pray that in revealing these visions the prophet had of me, those of you who might be contemplating going down the same road are warned and those who have been there encouraged that God loves you even when what He saw you do this:

roadFirst picture God show me was like this: I see your daughter. She all in white. She very innocent. There is a man. He dress like gang man or something. Very terrible. She go to this man and embrace him. I am wonder why innocent girl like her will be with this kind of man. When they separate, her white dress is become dirty. He leave. She begin walk down road, and she wipe some the dirt off while she walk. But dress is not clean white like before. Down the road, she meet another man, and this one she embrace him too. This man was not seem so terrible like gang man, but it is trick because he is even more dirty than first man. When they separate, even more dirty on her dress. She walk away and try wiping dirt off her dress. Some dirt come off, but now even more dirt stay on dress. She keep walk, down road she meet another man. He looks more innocent than both the first two mans. He seem nothing to be afraid of. When she embrace him she make him more dirty and he make her more dirty. This time is goes both way because she think her dress still white, but dress is not white anymore. There is danger but she choose not to see it. They are still embrace when picture end so I never see what does dress look like when they separate. This God show me awhile ago, but I ignore.

He will have mercy when you finally turn to HIM to clean you off. This is the God who IS love itself! Although it is crazy to think that this above, being sent to my parents is the epitome of love, it is! God loved me enough to know exactly what I needed and since that day the email was sent, my family has had nightly prayer meetings over Google+ and I love it.  It has been my daily strength. It helps motivate me through the day to know I’ll have prayer at night with my family. We didn’t grow up with family prayer, but now that I have it, I know it is part of the dream of my future family.  What a legacy that would be from my parents if that really does happen in my life!sepiathug

I digress, back to the point- things I learned are the following:

a) God doesn’t want us messing around, even if it’s not THAT.

b) He saw into the heart of even a guy who was on the platform of a church and still, still he called him a “gang man”… we must be careful of who we choose to date EVEN IN CHURCH for just because they claim Christ, it does not mean they truly follow Him or are known to Him

c) what love! what compassion! what heartache my Lord, my God… my LOVE must feel for me! (and you too dear readers!!! Jesus’ heart is big enough to love you as much as He does me!!! which is INFINITE AMOUNTS!) He was warning me to be careful of my path, He wants me safe and secure in HIM, not clinging to men who don’t deserve me or are not right for me.

d) we can be too secure in our “salvation” and “righteousness” when really… it is HIS righteousness, HIS grace and HIS BLOOD that cleans us and washes us white as snow.  He’s shown me so much love and compassion in the last two weeks that I cannot say it all… what a wonderful, mighty God who’s true grace and mercy I have experienced over the last two weeks more than I ever have before. Thank You wonderful Jesus for Your saving grace!!!

Dear Reader, 

If you have never come to Christ before, I encourage you now to just drop it all and seek after Christ.  For you will not regret it if you truly let Him into your heart!!! He was my first valentine and so far, my only.  Let Him be so for you today!!!! He loves you beyond measure, word, or deed for He did the ultimate deed of love- He died for us so that we might be freed from sin!!! Your chains of addiction, guilt, and/or shame can come off in His name!!!! Bury yourself in Him and you will find the strength to live right… THROUGH HIM. It is not MY righteousness but HIS, it is not MY goodness but HIS, it is not MY keeping a clean robe but HIS BLOOD that cleans it!!!! Just pray for Him to bring the right people into your life to help you and read the bible! Know HIS love letter in intimate detail and you will see! I’d suggest starting with the book of John and then move on to the book of Acts… but if you can find a church near you that lives the bible I’m sure someone there can help show you good scriptures! 🙂  

Thank You Jesus for being my first love. Thank You Jesus for loving me enough to chastise me this way so that my heart would truly learn how to accept your mercy and forgiving grace.  Thank You Jesus!!!!!!! I love You Jesus with all my heart, 

Rebekah M. 

Related Posts:

https://beingrebekah.com/2013/01/28/praying-monday-pressing-on/

https://beingrebekah.com/2013/01/29/a-daddys-chastisement/

https://beingrebekah.com/2013/02/28/the-visions-part-2/

https://beingrebekah.com/2013/04/12/the-visions-part-3/

https://beingrebekah.com/2013/05/02/the-visions-loved-like-gomer-was/

A Daddy’s Chastisement

I wrote this post yesterday afternoon shortly after yesterday’s, timing it to be published later this week. Today, I received my chastisement and Rebekah L invited me to take her day to write about things as they have happened… it floors me how I wrote this PRIOR to what happened. I’ll explain more at the end. 

So I have been trying to work through all the layers of feelings behind why I have been falling into this relationship with this guy and there are MANY things I see.

A) He and I truly have SO many things in common. We’re only a month different in age so we know MUCH of the same references from childhood and we always find something outdoors to do.

B) We communicate well together. It’s kind of freaky when we randomly hit a stride in our convos where his or my texts are the answers to what the other person is texting that moment. Granted it makes sense in a way because conversations are on topics and thus have a finite amount of topic space, but it has happened multiple times in the same conversation before. Also, he and I text/skype/message each other throughout the day. It never feels too much or too little.

C) He makes me feel in person how God makes me feel spiritually- cared for, secure, safe, like I can try to conquer anything and he’d be there to catch me if I fell.

But despite all this, it’s eating away at me. It eats away because he’s not in church. I have always longed for a guy who would lead me in prayer. I longed for a man who would lead our family in a journey towards passionate pursuit of Him. A man who would have no qualms of calling a family fast. A man who would be so assured in God’s ways that when God told him something, no matter how crazy it seemed, he’d be willing to drop all for Him- as much as I feel I have done with my life.

I have dropped everything I know and love for Him. I have left home and all that I know to live this life, knowing that He is the one who has taken me here and knowing that all I do is in and for Him. And yet now… here I find myself splintering because here I live this life where I have dropped everything for Him, and yet I find myself attaching more and more to this guy who hadn’t even been to church in years until this past Sunday when he went with me.

I felt like all I deserved was a cosmic spanking.  A beating of epic proportions for doing what I shouldn’t be doing. So I cowered away from God, afraid of how His chastisement would play out.  Would He rip away my blessings? Make me never be able to become a doctor? Cause me to live life unfulfilled- never a doctor, never a missionary, just a nobody with no purpose… which is my greatest fear. To live a life that amounts to nothing- no spiritual legacy, lived my life that amounted to a mountain of nothingness.

Then my friend pointed out that Jesus is a Father to us. He’s our daddy. As my friend said:

 Remember, He’s a Daddy who loves to bless his kids, not a godfather who gives favors in exchange for good behavior…

And it sparked a thought in my mind. Just as my parents have always known how best to reprimand me, God knows how best to chastise me.  If He has a purpose for me becoming a doctor, why would He rip that away as punishment when it would cause me to fall away from the path He truly wants for me? The chastisement needs to match the child.  As I expressed this to my friend, he replied:

Yes… spanking is not the first or best method of training children. Patience and teaching happen for a long time first

So why have I been hiding from God? Afraid to ask Him to help because it felt like I’d be coming to exchange help for a heavy toll.  Would God truly rip away all hope of an Isaac because I just seem so lost and confused right now? I have to hold on to the hope that He is good despite my fears and doubts. I have to hold on to the hope that it is safe to express my doubts to Him and that instead of exchanging punishment for expressing my fears, He will exchange faith and bless me for trusting that He is able to help me overcome the fear and doubt.  I have to hold on to the hope that He truly is a good Father who knows how best to punish me and that just as my parents always knew when I needed something to just help me push through the hard times- that sometimes, even though maybe I deserved a punishment- they gave me a reprieve instead for they knew what was best for ME . I just have to believe that He will know what I need more and what actions are what I need to help prod me to where He wants me to be.

Love,

Jesus You are my love. Jesus You are my everything. Jesus I am holding on to the fact that as my parents have loved me into going the right way in the past, You know what I need more- a rod or a loving prod.  You know what I need more so I have to trust that You aren’t going to just punish me over and over again if I just reach out to You and so I do now.  I reach out to You and believe that You will chastise me how You see fit.  I just keep being hurt over and over again by guys in the church so I just have a hard time believing an Isaac exists for all I see is good guys out of church and guys who are either jerks or will never pursue me in the church. Help me believe that Isaac exists. Help me be like Rebekah yet once again. Help me bring myself back to the roots of it all- passionate pursuit of You as I patiently wait for the day I meet Isaac. Love, my Jesus, You are my God and my salvation.  You are my everything.

Rebekah M.

So last night my parents received an email by someone in another country who has prophesied accurately multiple times. He revealed via visions what has been going on between the guy and I and I could not have been more mortified than that. The guy and I have been physically affectionate and although we didn’t do THAT, we have done stuff.  

My parents’ disappointment has always been THE greatest reprimand that I could ever receive. I want to make them proud. I want to make them feel joy and happiness when they think of me- knowing that I am a good daughter who brings them honor.  The only saving grace was that even in the visions, it was obvious that I didn’t do THAT. However… the whole time my parents were reading the email, I just felt how much it felt like it was God’s way of chastising me. The punishment was the most it could have been before “a cosmic spanking” in which those consequences would be irreversible.

The email ended with the fact that if I do end up doing THAT, my salvation is on the line. We have choices that we all have to make. I need, I MUST, choose to pursue purity in Christ with all that I am, for all that I am today is because of Him. Without Him, I am nothing. So without pursuit of purity in Him, I will become nothing.

Lord, despite my mortification and shame, I thank You for Your chastisement that awakens me before I mess up beyond repair. I thank You for Your grace and mercy. I thank You for Your unending love that would even be willing to shame me before my parents, knowing it would spark their full prayer support and an awakening like no other.  I thank You for Your ways, even if they sting right now.  I love You Jesus, 

Rebekah M. 

Related post: https://beingrebekah.com/2013/01/06/the-shame-game/

https://beingrebekah.com/2013/01/28/praying-monday-pressing-on/

https://beingrebekah.com/2013/02/14/the-visions-part-1/

https://beingrebekah.com/2013/02/28/the-visions-part-2/

https://beingrebekah.com/2013/04/12/the-visions-part-3/

https://beingrebekah.com/2013/05/02/the-visions-loved-like-gomer-was/

Just Show Up

“You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent. Lord my God, I will praise you forever.” ~Psalm 30:11-12

cross-rejoice

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” ~ 1 John 4:18

Well, God has done it again. I’ve posted earlier this week about needing to regain my focus. And about shame – how the farther you slide, the more tempting it is to hide your face from Christ who is so perfect and righteous.

And God has been doing a work in my heart today, telling me yet again how much He just desires us. He doesn’t desire the ideal of us, the ‘us’ that we’re supposed to be – flawless and righteous all the time. He desires us as we are; no matter how tainted, soiled, dirty we are, we are beautiful in the eyes of God. He knows our hearts and our struggles and our shortcomings even better than we do; He desires us anyway.

The Bible is very clear about being called to be holy and to live a righteous life and to not sin. And those directives are not to be discounted. We are indeed given the tools to be perfect, and we’re told to be. And we try to be. And that is great. That’s how it should be, in fact.

But for those times when that’s not how it is, when we are very much less than perfect and righteous and when we have in fact sinned, do we then hide our faces, knowing that we were told to behave a certain way and failed to do so? No we don’t. Because the punishment will never outweigh the love. And I’m pretty sure that our idea of ‘punishment’ is a worldly definition anyway, not necessarily a spiritual one. God isn’t about judgement and punishment. He is about growing us, and He’s patient with us until we get there. 2 Peter 3:9 even tells us, “The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. Instead He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish but everyone to come to repentence.”  Because when you think about it, it’s not about following the rules. It’s about desiring Him so deeply and being so attuned and led by the Holy Spirit within that our desires are the same as His. It’s about getting our hearts to the place where we love what He loves and detest what He detests and desire what He desires. Getting to the place where things we’d call ‘sin’ aren’t even appealing to us anymore. It takes a lot of growing and a lot of shedding of oneself to get there.

So my prayer partner and I today laid our fear and burdens down, and sought Him together. We knew we might be in a little bit of trouble for losing perspective, but we needed Him. Hiding isn’t particularly helpful, by the way; if we muck up enough to lose focus in the first place, and that is with God’s guidance, we are most certainly going to muck up everything we try to do without Him. And so it was. And truth be told, we missed Him. So we chatted for a bit, bolstered each other, broke down a wall or two of self-denial and self-justification, and then we prayed. We sought God. We waited on Him. We worshiped Him. We loved Him, and we let Him love us again. 

And what I found was not judgement or wrath, but rather a “I’ve missed you and I’ve had so much to tell you and I’m so glad you’re here”. As we were praying, both of us well aware of certain mistakes we’ve been making in our lives and simultaneously praying for others who we think needed it, something cool happened. I was praying over one of her friends, and instead of hearing her own friend’s name, she heard my friend Scott’s name. Scott has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and recently came home after a scary period of time in the hospital.  Anyway, she corrected me. And I said, “what? I didn’t say Scott.” “You definitely did because I definitely heard his name.” “Nope definitely not, Scott’s doing fine and I haven’t really been thinking of him during this prayer time.” SO, rather than figure out whether I misspoke or she misheard, we decided that Scott had been thoroughly inserted into our conversation and so it was best to pray for him too. So we did. And it got a little bit intercessory. It was a little odd, but this certainly isn’t the first time this has happened to us, so we went with it and prayed for Scott. Hard. Then, about an hour later, my roommate (Scott’s best friend of 30 years) came home from work and said, “I have an update on Scott. He’s not doing well.”

So, we were called to pray without even knowing why. And this, my friends, is the God we serve. Not a God who seeks to punish for punishment’s sake, but a God who seeks to spiritually grow us. Sometimes that involves consequences; sometimes it involves mercy. Either way, we are never tarnished enough to dull His desire for us. His love is pure and His plan perfect. This time around, God sent us a very clear message: We don’t always have to be cleansed to come before Him; we don’t have to be perfect vessels to show up in His presence and be used. We just have to show up.

God bless!

~Rebekah A

Boldly, Blindly

This might quite possibly be the coolest thing I’ve ever seen ever. I mean ever. In the whole entire history of ever. Well, maybe not, but it’s definitely up there.

Ever see a flash mob? When one person starts randomly dancing in a public place, and then more people join in as the song goes on? Well this one was singing instead of dancing. And not just any singing – Christmas singing! And not just any Christmas singing; this one has full-blown rejoicing in Jesus Christ kind of singing! In a mall, of all places!

I’m from the politically correct northeast, so my first thought upon seeing this clip was “this is going to last about 10 seconds until mall security shows up and stops them.” When that didn’t happen, my other thought was “this is definitely not a mall in New England.” When I saw the reaction of all the mall-goers, I decided this was one of the coolest clips ever (in the history of ever).

See, we Christians are so veiled in politically correct behavior. We often don’t dress differently from anybody else (some do, but a vast majority don’t), so we aren’t really used to standing out. We are told that religion is a taboo conversation topic and we don’t talk about Jesus regularly for fear of being judged by the world. Sure, we witness….but publicly? Regularly? As in just showing up and starting to speak? Usually not. Usually when we witness it’s a small, calculated, controlled thing. Often it’s even a one-on-one thing.

These people defied that. They had no idea who was listening or what would happen. But they still stepped out of the politically correct zone in which we live, and celebrated the birth of their king by singing out to any and all who would listen. And were they shunned? Were they judged? Were they ridiculed? No. They weren’t. Instead, the passersby joined in (which is precisely what turned this clip into one of the coolest things ever in the history of ever). See what happens when we walk boldly in faith? God moves! I bet some of those people saw those carols, and the meaning behind them, in a whole new light. Some even went to their knees at the end!! The response of the crowd literally brought tears to my eyes.

Anyway, see for yourselves. And sing along! Don’t be shy!

God bless!

~Rebekah A

 

Love in the Darkness (Love is Kind part 2)

“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” ~Galatians 6:2

“I’ve tried to peer into the core, But could not storm the sorrow, My hollow heart has bled me dry, left me to stray, Another time without a trace, Condemn me now, Send me to hell, For I’m already failing.” ~ Epica, “Storm The Sorrow”

Today I sent my friend a song. Usually he listens to metal, which admittedly is not my thing. I actually don’t mind the music itself – I think some of the guitar riffs are pretty cool – but the screaming instead of singing is definitely not me, and the lyrics are usually so dark and depressing. And the sad part is, dark and depressing fits him. He lives in a rehab hospital with a terminal illness, rarely gets visitors, goes out only a few times per year, is in constant pain, and has a lifetime of anger he’s dealing with. His temper is unstable and unpredictable, the nurses and staff where he lives fear him, and when I visit him the darkness around him is so thick and oppressive it’s almost tangible. I can tell his spirit is just crying out in pain and loneliness, but rejects all things light. He frequently posts about how miserable he is. Meanwhile, he relates to heavy death metal, embraces it, and surrounds himself with it. The Epica lyrics posted above are just a sample of what surrounds him unceasingly all day long. So usually, when he talks about metal or posts a song, I send him something uplifting (a quote or poem or whatever) to counter it.  But I have to admit, I have known him for 2.5 years now, pray for him often, and only once ever have been able to see the teeniest chink in the armor of darkness. It breaks my heart.

So today, I sent him a song. It was a metal song, but Christian at the same time. The lyrics acknowledged the darkness and desperation in the world….but in the end it also found hope and beauty. I was hoping the song would reach him in a way I couldn’t seem to – that it would meet him in the darkness, and help lift him just a little bit out of it.

As I sent it, and he responded with more metal links (including the less hopeful Epica song I quoted from), I realized something. I had to meet him in the darkness. I couldn’t send him a song to do it, and I couldn’t pray from afar. I had to meet him there, feel the weight of his spirit’s burden, and help him shoulder it. I had to put my preferences and aversion to death metal aside, my aversion to be constantly stereotyped and insulted due to my Christianity, and I had to go to that place of anger and pain and hate. Firmly anchored in Jesus, I went there. I listened to the songs. I will listen again tomorrow. I believe that he sent me songs that resonated with him emotionally, not just arbitrary ones. And so I’ll go where he is emotionally, and I’ll listen. I’ll go where he is, and I’ll talk to him there. I’ll take that darkness, and I won’t try to counter it (I’ll trust Jesus to do that), but I’ll simply help carry it.

Why? Because love is bigger than my own personal preferences. Love is bigger than my sense of judgement. Love means loving someone as they are, not injecting them with the person you think they should be. Love is kind. Kindness doesn’t mean judging someone or changing them. Kindness, true godly kindness, knows no such boundaries or qualifications. Kindness doesn’t merely stand back and point out ‘the right way’. Kindness isn’t afraid to get dirty and physically pull someone out. Think of it this way: you’re stuck in quicksand, and sinking. Possibly to your death (hey, many a movie star has gone before you). The more you struggle, and the more desperate you become, the more you sink. You are stuck and desperate. Two people come along. One stands back and points to where there’s no more quicksand – that’s where you have to go. The other comes along with rope, and goes down to reach you, to help pull you out.  Which person was unconditionally kind? Which person was only kind enough as their self-preservation would allow?

Today, while it only came in the form of a few songs, Jesus told me that He is my rope, and that I have to go into the quicksand with my friend in order to help him climb out. I need to see, as do we all, beyond my sense of self-preservation. I need to love with Jesus’ heart. I can trust Him to move and do the rest, and I can find solace in the fact that I serve a God who casts light on the darkness.

God bless!

~Rebekah A

Suspect A Trap (When Sadness Creeps In Part 2)

In continuing my current trend of adding to (mooching from?) the posts of my fellow blog writers (as opposed to sharing original thoughts), yesterday I read Rebekah L’s post When Sadness Creeps In. Then I proceeded to text her with my every opinion on the topic. Through her replies and our discussion, God revealed even more. This resulted in two things: 1) a serious need for a better text plan; and 2) a reason to rejoice in the Lord all over again.

As I was reading it, I relived my own struggle with depression, and how my ability to cope with it is directly tied in to my spiritual walk. I also realized that I know of two kinds of sadness in the Bible. The first is the sort one would feel after having a bad day or being hurt by somebody. The second is a more pervasive, weighty sorrow that I associate more with true depression. Yes, it existed. But one thing I’ve noticed is, depression in the Bible does not usually stand alone. Usually, depression goes hand in hand with a time of intercession.

The more I thought about it and went to God with it, the more it just started to make sense. Someone whose heart has been bruised and battered, who has felt pervasive sadness and pain and loss, can look at someone who’s lost and relate to them. Showing Jesus that person becomes less about talking at them about who Jesus is and what they should do to get closer to Him, and more just connecting with their heart. Someone who has been both enveloped by depression and enveloped by the peace of Jesus Christ can reach a lost person on such a deeper level. They can look at this lost person, see where they’re at, and join them there in love – because they know that place. They can also look ahead to where Jesus is; they can see the road that needs to be traveled and the light at the end of the tunnel. Someone in the midst of deep pain can’t necessarily see a way out of it. But someone who has been through it can. And that someone can bridge the gap on such a deeper level than somebody who doesn’t relate to the emotions being felt. That’s what deep intercessory prayer does – we stand in the gap for someone who needs a breakthrough of Jesus. And how much more heartfelt our prayers are when our compassion and love comes from a place of true understanding!

That is the way God would have us use our depression – as a way to draw closer to Him, more dependent on Him, and then ultimately, while He does protect us from our past He also uses it to make up the vessel we are. He is amazing that way – we may not be proud of where we’ve been, but He ensures that we didn’t go there for no reason, that our suffering wasn’t pointless. Thanks Jesus! This, in case you didn’t notice, is the reason to rejoice that I mentioned above. Having traveled the road we have and taken the hits we have, we can now be the exact vessel Jesus needs to use. Maybe someone whose vessel is shinier and less chipped isn’t right for this particular task. And Jesus knows that – He made each of us, after all. Our deepest, darkest moments turned out to be useful. Praise God!

This is why it’s really too bad that so many of us feel shame and guilt over our struggles. I believe this negativity is a lie from Satan himself. He reads our cues, multiplies our sorrow, and tries to turn it into a time of self-doubt and self-loathing. Often, he succeeds. Jesus would have this be a time to draw closer to Him, and instead we hide from Him. Jesus would have this be a time when we use our pain to relate to the pain of others so that we can love deeper and start to see with God’s heart. Satan would have this be a time to pity ourselves or get bogged down and chained by the weight.

So when sadness does come, please don’t hide. Besides, even if you do, Jesus still sees you. But He can’t help you unless you open your heart up to Him and let Him in. Transparency can be key here. When you feel ashamed by emotions, I implore you to suspect a trap. Find a friend you can confide in – yes, you open yourself up to judgement when you discuss yourself. But you also open yourself up to prayer and support, which gets you through it so much faster and grounds you again in your true identity as a servant of Christ.

My prayers are with you. If you’re struggling with something specific and want prayer for it, write to me at being.rebekah.a@gmail.com. God bless!

~Rebekah A

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

Break Out of the Cocoon

For most of my life, I was sheltered.  Both from how my parents raised me as well as of my own doing.  I didn’t want to know.  I didn’t want to find out bad things so I’d literally hold my hands over my ears when people tried to talk about worldly things around me.  In the aftermath of my first breakup, my prayer partner and I worked it through and I came to the realization that I used it as a shield and as a form of pride.  I felt almost invincible from sins since I had never kissed a guy.  I felt almost untouchable from doing bad things since I had never done anything in over 25 years.  Then, I dated my first boyfriend and he stole my first kiss.  Then I dated my second boyfriend and although we also didn’t do that, we did more than the last boyfriend.  Part of me dreads the fact that I know my parents can read this but part of me knows that if I am to purge myself and break out of my cocoon, then this must happen. This transparency must occur.  I just thank Jesus that yet once again I can honestly say we did not do that.

This is all said because I know that what I am going through is life changing, but I don’t even know how to say it all coherently.  God is putting me in this place of knowing I’m human. God is putting me in this place of showing me that He is just waiting to give me the promises He’s been TRYING to give me, but each time He gets ready to, I fail.  I get send back to the wilderness. I fall away from the place where He can give me the promises He has for me.  I keep hiding myself back into a cocoon of either fear, doubt, sinfulness, or evil thoughts. Whatever it is at the time, I just keep putting myself into a place where God’s gifts cannot reach me.

We were made to fly.  

That’s what the preacher kept saying tonight. Somehow, in my mind, it’s all a convoluted mess, but God wants me to tear down my high places, break out of my cocoon, pursue after Him with everything I have, and watch as when it all finally comes together, His promises come pouring in.  But how?

How Jesus? I’m so lost Lord. I need You to just guide me through this process for I know You have a work You’re trying to do in me but I don’t even know where to begin in this journey.  What do You want me to do? Where do you want me to go? Lord, just help guide me.  Help. 

Rebekah M. 

What Would Love Do?

A few months ago, I was talking to some friends, only to find that they actually weren’t friends with me anymore after all. We had never had a fight, we’d never had a falling-out of any kind, but somewhere along the line they decided they didn’t like me. They had all kinds of reasons – I was mean-spirited, I was vain, I was Republican, I was this that and something else too. They never told me why they thought these things about me. They had no reasons. They had just made assumptions and stereotypes, and based their opinions from that. They didn’t talk to me first, they didn’t pass go. They just decided. People who were supposed to be my friends. And meanwhile, they have all these quotes and sayings all over the place about not judging people.  Today, I had a big urge to get in touch with them again, if only to point out the irony of their words vs their behavior.

I curbed the urge, but I was confused on what to do. They aren’t Christian, and if they knew how wrong they were and I could forgive, maybe it’d give them a piece of God’s love. Or maybe it’s a lesson for me in how to get over things. Without further direction, I didn’t act one way or the other.

Then, I skyped in to my old church tonight. And what was the message God had for us? How we need to drop our expectations of what people should be. Drop our expectations of what a good friend looks like, what a good parent looks like, what a good leader or boss looks like. Not drop our standards for our own behavior, but drop our expectations. We need to drop those things because they don’t affect how the other person acts; they affect how we perceive them. And in the end, since nobody is perfect, our expecations only get in the way of how we can love the people in our lives. Because at some point, everybody will fall short of our expectations, sometimes far short, and then we might harbor unforgiveness. Will we forgive? Sure. We’re Christian. But getting to a place where we have to forgive someone for something, when their only fault really is that they’re as broken and imperfect as we are, isn’t necessarily a good idea. Rather than placing expectations on people, putting that yoke on them and allowing them to fail (because that’s what expectations do, really), and then having to forgive them for failing to carry the yoke that we placed on them, we should just drop our expectations and love them as they are. That’s the way that Jesus loves us. Yes we do wrong. Yes He disciplines us. And there will be times where He moves us to intervene for someone or speak up against sin or a certain mindset. But ultimately, Jesus loves us as the broken, imperfect, failures that we are. Who are we to say we deserve it but the person who insulted us doesn’t? What do we really know of the other person’s heart anyway?

Someone put it really well when she said there are a lot of times in this life and in relationships (be it friend, spouse, or family member), where we genuinely are wronged. We genuinely are insulted, and we have every worldly right to be angry about it. But because we are citizens of Heaven, and we have God’s heart inside of us, we can’t claim our worldly right to anger. We know Jesus and He has remade us – all we can claim is our new identity in Him, that doesn’t depend on others. So in these situations, she literally asks herself “what would love do? How would love act here?” And with that simple question, she gets through a lot of situations.

What would love do? I would encourage us all to ask this. Another person’s behavior is not up to us. What is up to us is loving people regardless of their actions and their responses. If we were grounded in Christ’s love to the point where our identity and our thoughts and our actions came from Him, truly came from Him, it wouldn’t matter what other people did to us; we would be able to love them anyway.
God bless!

~Rebekah A