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A Vision and a Prayer

So, as I have walked through New York City, following a fairly steady route throughout the winter, spring, and summer (between February and August, and less frequently starting in September), there have a few people who have become staple parts to my daily commute. One in particular is a homeless man named Bradley. Sometimes he’s more awake than others, and sometimes his words are more slurred than others, but no matter what kind of day he’s having he is easily one of the most personable people in New York. He might be filthy, but he is always smiling and always cheerful. He talks about his past with fond remembrance rather than bitterness, though he is from another part of the country and it’s been a long time since he’s had contact with any loved ones.

I don’t know exactly what happened in his life and what issues he’s faced that caused his decline from then, when he had a wife and a stepdaughter he still refers to as his princess, until now. We have a game we play, where he gives me a name, I look up its meaning on my phone, and he relates the meaning of the name back to the person they were. I don’t know most of the names he gives me or who these people were in his life, just a few snippets he’s given me.

I do know that the first day I met him I was hoping to pray for him, but before I could even ask he was expounding on how the government was a big conspiracy and how Jesus wasn’t real, His miracles were impossible and the whole Christianity thing was just a made-up story that people get fed today because the governmental powers that be think we’re dumb enough to follow it.

That was the one and only time I’ve seen him agitated. Suffice to say he was not receptive to the idea of prayer. But, That said, he has been heavy on my heart lately. I have been vaguely praying for him as God has led me, and praying into God’s plan for him, but the past few days God has gotten much more specific in how I’m to minister to him. Basically, He told me He wants me to do a bible study with Bradley, and gave me a specific place in the city where he wants this to happen. It’s near where I always see him, and it happens to be on some ground that I claimed for Jesus a few months back (possibly a story for another day, but long story short: God is pretty cool). He also told me in no uncertain terms that Bradley won’t willingly go there with me, and certainly won’t willingly read the bible with me (had God consulted me first, I easily could have told Him this part and spared Him the trouble of sending me the vision, but I digress). That being the case, my next direction was simple: if he won’t come with me, I am to go to him. Sit on the subway floor, by his side. If he won’t do a Bible study with me, I am to read my bible by myself, as I sit next to him. I am to simply talk to him. To seek God for wisdom and discernment on every word that comes out of his mouth. To seek wisdom and discernment over his heart. To let God fill my mouth with the words to minister to those places, and to supply the bible verses as needed. Eventually, there will be more direct bible interaction. God promised this, if I follow His guidance. In short, I am to go low and slow here.

I have never done anything quite like this before. But I’m game if Jesus is. Interestingly, I haven’t actually seen Bradley since this has been revealed to me. Either way, I thank Him for what He’s shown me, and I stand expectant and believing for Him to do a work here. And so today I just ask that you pray into God’s will over this man and my role in his life. That I would hear God clearly throughout and fully lean on Him to guide my steps. That most of all, He would move in this man’s life and do a work in him until he is walking in the fullness of the identity God has for him. Umm…..and also that if I am meant to move on this, I would cross paths with the guy. Or at least be told where he is so I can go find him. The city is huge, and there are lots of places where a homeless man might go when the weather cools – sometimes it would be so nice if directives from on high came with a GPS. Or a major clearing of the NYC smog so I could use the north star like the wise men, but honestly at this point I think dropping a supernatural Bradley-tracking device in my lap is the easier option.  Umm…..and since wherever Bradley is, it’s probably somewhere like the subway floor (where I normally see him – he even makes himself comfy and goes shirtless and shoeless down there) or an alley, prayers for my protection would also be appreciated. Though I have to say, there’s nowhere safer than in God’s arms!

I will keep you posted if, after all this subway-sitting and alley searching, I also need prayers to supernaturally boost the strength of my washing machine.

Meanwhile, thank you all very much, and God bless!

~Rebekah A

The Eraser

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.  -John 15:13

As some of you know, I am in my last semester of Bible College. I still have a couple of months left, but I’ve been thinking about the journey God has taken me on during this time.

What an incredible privilege it is to serve God. As I look back over my last four years in Bible College I am awed at how God has moved. When I began I wasn’t even sure I could afford one semester, but He has provided for me to go through the entire program.

Much more importantly than that, He has grown me in ways that I could never have predicted when I enrolled four short years ago.  He has truly taught me that He is the God of LOVE. Four years ago I knew intellectually (through the Word of God) that He is love, but now I know through experience. It isn’t that He hadn’t shown it before; He has showered me with love all my life, but I couldn’t see it before because I hadn’t learned to trust Him. He is teaching me day by day that I can depend on Him. He will never leave me or forsake me.

He has manifested His love a thousand different ways throughout these last few years. He has revealed it to me through His faithfulness, His encouragement, and especially through His chastisement. He cares about where we are as individuals. We are never beyond His reach.

Where I used to doubt love, His love erased doubt. Thank You, Jesus!

In His Love,

Rebekah L.

They will know we are Christians by our Love

“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” -John 13:34-35

Tonight I nearly incited a riot on Facebook. I put up a status basically stating that I hate the word till (preferring the word until). I thought it was written in such a way that people could tell I was joking around and not that I was harboring actual hateful feelings. I was talking about a word after all. A rather innocuous 14th century word. The status created a firestorm of controversy. The way that one of my friends responded you would think I wrote that I hate a member of her family or something. She began talking about the power of the tongue and blessing and cursing and sent me a private message saying that more people would be in the church if I watched my mouth more. I was flabbergasted. It was a joke! About a word! Really, it was just me expressing a pet-peeve of mine, but I miscalculated how it would be received.

Several friends came to my defense since they recognized the intent of my post. Unfortunately, this resulted in my Christian friends arguing back and forth on my status. This made me incredibly sad. All I could think about is all my non-Christian friends who were reading it. I couldn’t help but think that seeing Christians lashing out at each other over something so petty would be more likely to keep them out of church than the fact that I used the word hate in my status. Perhaps I shouldn’t have used that word; it is certainly a learning experience for me; but oh, how I wish we Christians could learn to disagree in love. I implore all my brothers and sisters to please please consider how people in the world perceive us when we attack each other like this. Even in cases where one of us might be theologically or doctrinally wrong, we need to be gentle and conscientious when discussing these matters in front of the lost.

In the end I opted to post the song below as a gentle reminder. It seems to have worked as the woman who messaged me then apologized. I wrote back stating there were no hard feelings and I would be more careful about how I worded things in the future. So far the riot appears to have been quelled. I am disturbed that a religiously and politically neutral post could so quickly spiral out of control, but that is the world we live in these days. I take comfort that there was peaceful resolution. As Christians I would like to encourage us all to strive to avoid offense, turn the other cheek, and love each other better.

In His Love,

Rebekah L

 

The Fruit Just Happens

I have been very disheartened lately by the new TV show Preachers of LA. I haven’t watched it. I probably won’t, so if the previews are misleading and the show is actually a positive thing for Christianity, someone be sure to let me know. I saw a preview, and this was more than enough to keep me away, in which one of them was driving a fancy car and another had a baby out of wedlock. I heard a quote saying “it’s ok to be saved, sanctified, and sexual” (the pastor saying it is a single man). Yikes. Lord have mercy on the Christians of California! I have many atheist/agnostic friends and this show seems like such a misrepresentation of who Christ is and what Christianity means. I keep thinking how difficult it is to witness to my friends, and how this is just reinforcing every negative idea they had about the church. And in their case, salvation is absolutely at stake….this show literally has the power to trade salvation for its own bottom line. Souls for money. Heartbreaking. Humanity has stooped to a new low.

So I have been bummed out about that, and also suffering a major case of writers’ blog, when my hope was officially renewed by this one clip. I was listening to this (Heidi Baker giving a word) today, and it really resonated with me. It doesn’t matter what happens to us and what suffering we go through (in her case, malaria and being shot at – yikes!); there is joy, pure joy, in his presence. Moving in our own strength is exhausting. Moving in Him is beautiful intimacy. Intimacy is the goal. Falling in love with Him all over again, falling deeper and deeper, is the goal. And the fruit just happens. In Him, in His holy and infinite presence, love bears fruit. So today my prayer is simply this: Lord, draw me in.

Fully Satisfied

“You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek You; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, In a dry and parched land where there is no water.” ~Psalm 63:1

I was reading Psalm 63 the other day (read it here in KJV or here in NIV) and was just really struck by David’s faith. I mean, here the guy is stuck in a desert. There’s no water. I don’t know about you, but if I were stuck in a desert with no water in sight, I’d be thirsty. Even if I’d brought water with me, knowing there was no more nearby would make me thirsty by default. avid was thirsty too, but not for water. His first thirst, looking around him and seeing nothing around that could sustain or nourish him, was for God. Looking around and seeing nothing, his being then longed for his Creator. That is faith. Big faith. I have faith, and yet my whole being would be longing for food and drink opportunities. David is on a whole other level.

He goes on to say that he’s seen God’s power and glory, and His love is better than life. Now, there are many of us who will pray when things go wrong; we will certainly lean on God when things go badly, and He is our ultimate Provider. But David isn’t leaning. David is praising. David is stuck in the desert thinking, “who cares if I starve to death or die of thirst? Who cares if I lose my life out here? God’s love is better than my life, and so I’ll get my praise on”.  He doesn’t really seem concerned at all about his physical circumstances or surroundings. He’s just interested in celebrating – in the middle of the dessert he is celebrating. Why? Because God is God, and that’s worth celebrating.

He even goes so far as to say that he will be satisfied as with the richest of foods. Without any food at all. I don’t know about you but that’s amazing to me. I am fasting sugar right now – I’m not going hungry, I’m just going healthy. I’m not going thirsty. And yet I have to convince myself to feel satisfied. My body is missing the carbs. David, though, his body could be missing everything, and yet he is ‘fully satisfied as with the richest of foods’. Incredible.

Only after this celebrating does he starting clinging to God. And even when he is clinging, he’s not too concerned. He knows God’s faithfulness too well to worry about much of anything – he knows God’s got him covered no matter what. He mentions being taken care of in the face of his enemies, and says “the king will rejoice in God”. Basically, no matter what his circumstances, this guy is rejoicing. Because God is God, and His very presence is enough to keep David fully satisfied.

What would our lives look like if we had a heart like that? If we were fully satisfied at all times, sometimes despite pretty bad stuff, simply because of God’s presence?

I am praying for that heart today, the heart to be satisfied as with the richest of foods, simply because I know God is there. The heart that celebrates God for being not just enough, but my everything. We should all be praying for this heart today.

God bless!

~Rebekah A

 

 

 

Igniting the Passion

I’ve been noticing lately just how much we do to interact with other people. When it comes to our loved ones, we make time to call or we put things aside to take their calls. We stay in touch via text or Facebook. We send each other stories, memories, pictures that remind us of that person. When we don’t hear from them or haven’t in awhile, we miss them.

And it got me thinking – what would the church look like if we treated God the same way? How would we as individuals look? How would our lives look?

Because honestly, how often do we think like that? How often do you go out of your way to make time to talk to Him? Go out of your way to take His call? Go through your day and see little things throughout that remind you of God or that you want to tell Him about later? If you haven’t talked to Him all day, do you miss Him? Does talking to Him put a smile on your face, or is it just something we do? Do you get giddy with Him the way you would with, say, a crush? Do we talk to Him because we need Him, or because we love Him?

God doesn’t want to be kept at a distance. He doesn’t want to be an afterthought, a crutch, or an obligation. He wants to be everything. He loves us, even to the most minute details of our lives,  He loves us passionately and wants our passionate love in return. Passionate. Love. He is the lover of our souls and as such desires our company and our time – He delights in it. Do we delight in Him?

I challenge you to work on closing that gap. See how many areas of your life you can include Him on. Not because you have a problem you need to pray about, but because you love Him and want Him around. It’s time to ignite your passion for Him (or grow it, as the case may be). He will meet you every step of the way!

God bless!

~Rebekah A

Revisiting Rahab

Hope in ChristBy far the post on Being Rebekah that has received the most views was a post called Being Rahab. Over a third of the views for all of our posts combined are for this one post. I believe there is a divine reason for that. At the end of that post I asked our readers to pray for the young woman the post was written about. If only a tiny fraction of our readers whispered a prayer for her, there have still been hundreds of prayers that have gone up with her in mind. That is a miracle in and of itself. Today, I have an exciting update to share with you all. I believe the combined prayers of many people have had a hand in the mighty move of God that is occurring in her life. If you have not read the original post, I encourage you to read it here so that you can share in magnifying the Lord with me.

Last week I had the opportunity to travel to the country where this woman lives and got to spend some time with her. It was a very difficult meeting at first because of the history between us. A couple of years ago she hurt me very badly by getting in the middle of, and effectively ending, the relationship I had with someone I had assumed I would marry. During this meeting with her she shared some information with me that made me realize the guy I was with, although not completely innocent, had much less control over the situation than I thought. I already knew that he had been tricked and that he had fallen into a trap of the enemy, but I didn’t know that he had so little control over the events and that his attempts to stop it from happening were ignored.

I found myself crumpled on the bathroom floor crying afresh over everything that had happened. I was very angry with her and it was only after I called upon the Lord that He began to give me a new perspective on things. He helped me to see things from her point of view. He reminded me of the unbelievable pain and abuse she has suffered in her life. Those early years in her life clouded her judgment on everything and led her down a path of unbelievable degradation. While I cried on the bathroom floor, the Lord brought healing to my heart and renewed my compassion for her. I prayed that God would meet her there and that somehow she would be saved.

Afterwards we had an amazing conversation where I was able to tell her that I forgive her and to share with her the amazing forgiveness of the Lord. I even had an opportunity to pray for her. While she doesn’t know the Lord, I am sure that she must have felt His presence in the room while I prayed. She thanked me before I left.

Now for the really good news. On Sunday, for the first time ever, she went to church! She lives in a predominantly Buddhist/Taoist area of the world and has been deeply entrenched in that tradition. She has many idols in her home, but something in her is hungry for the One True God! She wants to be set free from the bondage she has been in all her life. She took a chance that Jesus Christ is real and despite all her fear, she went to a Christian church! God touched her there. She even went to the altar and cried out to the Lord, asking for His forgiveness and she prayed, “If you are the real God, please help me.” We serve a wonderfully loving and compassionate God so I know He will not ignore this sincere prayer.

I praise the Lord for His goodness!! He is a mighty God who is able to break the barriers of tradition, culture, language, past hurts, resentments, fear, abuses, and sin to reach a soul. His love never fails! He never stops reaching for the lost.

Please continue to pray with me that this woman will come to truly know the Lord for herself. Pray that she will be saved and that her life will be transformed by the power of Jesus Christ. He is able!

In His Love,
Rebekah L.

**There’s a Part III! Read the followup to this story at: The Faith of Rahab!!

By the Word of His Power

“He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of His nature, and He upholds the universe by the word of His power. After making purification for sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.” ~ Hebrews 1:3

I had a completely different post in mind for tonight, but something happened this evening that I just have to share. You may know from recent posts that God has been putting intercession on my heart lately. Just emphasizing that He wants us to intercede, petitions us for it in fact, and desires us to stand in the gap between His righteousness and the brokenness of the world.

Ever since He’s told me this, I’ve wanted to stand in the gap. I’ve wanted nothing else. You can test me on this – email me with whatever is going on in your life (being.rebekah.a@gmail.com), and I’ll do battle for you. I want to pray all day. By the way: if you’ve emailed me, and I haven’t responded yet (or lately), I’m still praying for you. Don’t think for a second that I’m not. Anyway. When I don’t want to do spiritual battle, I want to worship. I want more of Him and whatever I do isn’t enough. I want more of Him. And more of Him. It’s this intense desire that I just can’t quench. And I’m not trying to. It’s an amazing season where God is having me plant seeds and sow into roots, and it’s so cool to even be along for the ride and watch Him work.

I digress. Tonight I was on the phone with my friend. She was at a woman’s house, with her pregnant Christian friend. The woman was painting the Christian friend’s belly and they were taking pictures. And she texted me saying, “intercede for me right now. I’m at this ‘spiritual’ woman’s house, there are idols everywhere, she has a book of shadows in the corner”. So I started to pray. I prayed for the pregnant friend and the baby first, because I couldn’t get a read on what to pray over the woman just yet. But I switched to her quickly enough, and it was like trying to walk straight ahead with a building in your way. I just kept getting met with a huge resistant force. Like my prayers were being boomeranged back to me.

So I switched to just praising and pressing in to Him, knowing there was something happening but not knowing what, and knowing that He would guide me in what to do next. He didn’t disappoint. He gave me a glimpse of what was going on in this woman’s house in the spirit. Sure enough, there was an actual wall erected to keep Jesus out. I saw it, and it looked pretty solid, and it had certainly succeeded in keeping me out

The only thing I could do was tear it down. With God guiding my every word, I prayed for this woman and I prayed for the destruction of this wall. I claimed authority in the name of Jesus Christ. I called on Jesus to tear this thing down at its foundation. I was shaking – not with fear but with power. I could feel that I was on the winning side. I knew in my core, I knew, watching everything unfold before me I knew without a doubt that whoever was holding up this stronghold would lose his wall. He had to. He had no choice. He simply could not stand up to Jesus. So I was praying in total confidence. And sure enough, an angel had a sledgehammer type thing and started whacking away. I have to give some style points to Jesus here, who was probably just humoring because in my zeal I embellished a little on various ways they could tear down this wall. But I definitely didn’t know angels used sledgehammers as weapons of choice, but it sure worked out well. The wall cracked like it was made of clay, and crumbled. And I instantly felt a peace in my prayers. There was no more barrier. No more resistance to my prayers. Free access for team Jesus. It was a major spiritual shift.

And then I witnessed the most beautiful part of all. Jesus was before her, looking at her with such love. He was drinking her in like a long-lost lover who’d been torn away from Him that He was finally getting to see again. Her heart wasn’t even His yet, and it still isn’t, but He was loving on her anyway. Content to be beside her. Grace abounds in Him.

This progressed to the woman and my friend getting into some deeper conversation about spiritual stuff. I prayed for them the whole time. And I was mentally exhausted after – my brain literally hurt – but it was amazing. I’ve never seen a stronghold fall before. I have interceded, and I have felt spiritual shifts, but to actually get a vision of God’s power manifesting itself was beyond anything I’ve ever seen. Beautiful, beautiful MAJESTY!!!!

Bring on the victory dance. Glory to the King!

God bless!

~Rebekah A

A Certain Day

“God again set a certain day, calling it ‘Today’. This He did when a long time later He spoke through David, as in the passage already quoted: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.” 

day

When it comes to certain things, I am an opportunist. If I hear of someone hiring, I fill out an application. If a friend is in town, I move things around to see them. If i want to go visit someone else, I take steps to make it happen. If there is an opening to something I want, I take it. Most of us do. We seize the opportunity and think nothing of it.

Yet when it comes to seizing the opportunity for Jesus Christ, we balk. We don’t assert ourselves.  When I was first developing a relationship with Jesus, and I had questions, I would ask Christian friends. You know the kind: “why do bad things happen to good people?” “How can Jesus be man and God at the same time?” And so on. You would not believe how vague the answers were. Across the board. I even asked pastors at times (I bounced around to different churches trying to answer this stuff), and the most answer I got was “look in the Bible.”. Well, today that would be helpful to me. But back then? Do you have any idea how many pages are in that Book? Or how small the type is? Or how many chapters and books and verses there are? If you have never picked it up in your life, do you have any idea how hard it is to start? I mean…..they could’ve named a verse to start with, at least.  This was across the board, and it was when I was coming to them with direct questions. It was so disheartening and frustrating – God is not supposed to be hard to find! I later found out that they weren’t sure how I’d take the answers – in short, I was too ‘new’ to answer. I love my friends, and we freely talk about all things Christian now….but something tells me when it comes to reaching out to people, spreading the Gospel and simply sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ and salvation, God had a slightly more proactive approach in mind.

Yet, I’m not sure I’m much different. I talk about Jesus freely among my Christian friends. I stop to give coffee or change to the homeless. I stop to make casual conversation with them. But I don’t evangelize with them much. I want to. It’s on my heart. But I wait for God to open the door….wider. And TO A POINT, this is good. You don’t want to evangelize and witness outside of God’s will. I’m not advocating AT ALL.

It’s just that I don’t search for the opportunity to talk about Jesus the way I search for opportunities with other things. And it’s not just me; I’ve noticed this trend in people in general. We will try to squeeze through an opening the size of a keyhole for a person we miss or a new potential relationship. But when it comes to being a simple witness, to love on others in a deeper way, we wait to get hit with a Holy Spirit 2-by-4 before we jump in. And that’s a bad ratio. When the world needs a keyhole to entice us (even when the world involves Christian friends and Christian relationships), but Jesus Himself needs a 2-by-4…..it’s just a bad ratio.

And so I implore you today: don’t wait for the 2-by-4.  Sure, sure. We don’t want to impose. It’s uncomfortable. The person you’re talking to isn’t a believer. We don’t want to force our beliefs on someone else. It’s not our place. There will ALWAYS be an excuse not to go deeper. But at its core and essence, God is love. You don’t have to preach (unless God puts it on your heart to do so). You just have to love on someone, beyond the usual superficial way. It’s time, as a body, to look for the spiritual keyhole too, check in with God, and try to squeeze through.

I was listening to an interview with Heidi Baker (she runs Iris Ministries with her husband), and they have started a movement called Stop for the One (you can find the site here). It involves stopping for the One who is the One…..and then stopping for the one He puts in front of you. Their challenge is to every believer out there: to stop for one person per day. Help the elderly woman across the street. Help somebody in a parking lot. Stop for a homeless person. Stop and actually love them, with the deep love that God has for them. When you walk away from them, they should feel loved in a deeper way than they did before. Because God loves them in a deeper way than they felt before.

And today I issue the same challenge to you.  Be an opportunist for Christ. Stop for somebody every day. Go out of your way to love. Today. God set a certain day, and He called it today.

If you want to see the interview, here it is:

Stop For The One

Make a point to stop today, and be blessed!

~Rebekah A

His Name is Jesus

Those that have been following along on my journey know that I have been on a trip to Asia for the last three weeks. I first went to the Philippines, then to China, and now I am in Taiwan. The Lord has proven Himself faithful to me numerous times throughout this trip. He has opened my eyes to a new dimension in Him.

I have faced spiritual opposition while I’ve been here. I believe it is because the enemy knows the Lord has used this trip for the purpose of planting seeds and for the purpose of growing me. I believe the Lord is not done yet and He will be further magnified before this adventure concludes.

On this trip I have seen the incredible generosity of people who have nothing. I have seen that true happiness does not take a lot of material possessions. I have seen that Jesus Christ is the Light of the world and where He is absent there is spiritual darkness. I have seen that His burden is easy and His yoke is light and where other spirits are worshiped there is a spiritual heaviness. I have seen that He is mighty and powerful in all corners of this earth and that a moment spent crying out to Him can change everything. I have seen that worshipping with brothers and sisters in the Lord is a wonderful blessing even when you’ve never met before and don’t speak the same language or have the same culture.

There is amazing beauty in other cultures, histories, traditions, and even religions…but there is only One God. There is only One King who sits on the throne in heaven. There is only One Savior. His name is Jesus. His name is Jesus!

In His Love,

Rebekah L.