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Freedom from Harassment

For the past two years I have been dealing with blatant sexual harassment from a co-worker. It started when this man asked me out on a date. He was a pastor of a denomination similar to mine and had always been very friendly with me. Although not well known by the English speakers in my company, he was highly respected among the Hispanic employees (He is Latin American) and I was intrigued by him. I agreed to the date.

We had a nice time and I readily agreed to a second date. I began to wonder if it might be God’s plan for us to partner together for the work of the Kingdom. I wanted him to be the one, but I couldn’t shake this feeling in the pit of my stomach that something just wasn’t right. It was after the fourth date that I found out that he is married! He never wore a ring and had never mentioned a wife so I really had no idea. This was not even a case of him being separated, he is a fully married man! Obviously, that was the end for me.

But it was not the end. Not for him. Not by a long shot.

He refused to accept that I was no longer interested in him. He refused to back down. He would not leave me alone. He would beg me to give him a chance. He would come to my office and tell me the explicit things he fantasized about doing with me. He would tell me that I was in his heart and mind. He would plead with me to have sex with him “just one time. Just one time, por favor.”

Suddenly the man who had always seemed so friendly became aggressive and frightening. It didn’t matter how many times I said no, he wouldn’t stop. He began purposely trying to intimidate me. He would block my exit from my office. He would follow me into the women’s restroom. He would be waiting at my car when I tried to leave for the day. If I wrote all of the things he said and did over the last two years, you would be amazed (and perhaps judgmental) about the fact that I did not do more to stop it. For a while I was paralyzed by it. It was scary to me. I didn’t know how to handle it.

I determined in my heart that I didn’t want to be the reason that this man lost his job. He has a family to support. I kept praying that God would have mercy on him and grant him a heart of repentance. I prayed that he would get a revelation of God that would change his behavior. When things didn’t seem to change I began to pray that God would get this man away from me. I didn’t really care how it happened; I just wanted it to happen. I prayed he would repent and leave me alone. When it seemed he wasn’t going to do that I prayed he would transfer to another location in our company. When that didn’t happen I prayed he would find another job or quit. I just kept praying for God to get him away from me.

It took a while, but eventually I began to see things differently. God helped me to fight the battle spiritually. He helped me to recognize that this man is under the influence of Satan and he needs deliverance. He never changed his behavior, but the effect it had on me changed. I stopped being afraid. I stopped letting it linger in my mind. I just kept giving it to God. Somewhere along the way, the peace of God began to replace the negative thoughts and feelings I had. I began to focus all my prayers on his soul. He is a man who is spiritually in a very dangerous place.

Yesterday I got notice that this man is being laid off. Finally, he will be away from me. I pray that he is able to find another job quickly, but I would be lying if I didn’t tell you that I feel relief. I find it interesting that it wasn’t until I found peace in the situation that the answer to my prayer came. I’m not saying that he is being laid off because of my prayers, but it is an answer to my prayer. I could have had him fired a long time ago, but I didn’t want to be personally responsible for him losing his income.

I have mixed feelings about this. I rejoice in my deliverance, but I grieve for his continued bondage. I pray that he does not become a problem for someone else. May God have mercy on his soul.

Have you ever experienced something like this in your walk with God?

In His Love,
Rebekah L.

Rahab Gets Married

rings“As God by creation made two of one, so again by marriage He made one of two.” ~ Thomas Adam

For those of you who have followed my Rahab series over the last two years, I have some exciting news! Hint – It’s in the title of this post. 😉 Yes, the lovely young woman referred to in these posts has gotten hitched.

This is significant because it represents a total separation from her past. As a woman who was forced to sell her body (by her own parents no less), she did not even dare to dream she would ever get out of her old life. She had resigned herself to the idea that she would have to endure her “profession” until she became too old to continue attracting clients. She often worried how she would support herself when that day finally came. The idea of marriage was so far beyond her realm of possibilities that she couldn’t even entertain the idea.

Starting when she was very young her father told her repeatedly that as a member of his family she belonged to him and had no choice but to do as he told her. He said, “Until you have a family of your own, you belong to me. And no one will ever marry someone as filthy and used up as you are. You will never find a man who is willing to marry someone like you.” He was the reason she became “filthy and used up”, but yet used that as the rationale that no one would ever marry her and that she was doomed to always be his property to be rented out as he pleased.

But God!

Oh how God can take all of man’s plans and turn them on their head! When the world saw someone who was filthy and used up, God saw a woman to be redeemed! Jesus Christ is still in the business of cleansing and making new! He took a woman of ill repute and completely turned her life around! She now knows the Lord; she has been delivered from her life of degradation, and filled with His Spirit.

God has seen fit to give her a godly man as a husband. Even by her father’s twisted justification, she is free from him by virtue of having been married. The thing she never thought possible has come to pass by way of Jesus Christ. God took a terrible circumstance and used it for both her and her new husband’s good. They met through a series of cruel tricks by both his parents and hers. He never saw the deception coming, fell right into their trap, and committed a serious mistake. By all outward appearances this should have ended very very badly.

But God!

This man repented of his sin, and became a representation of Christ to this woman who was so desperately lost in darkness. He modeled love. She was filled with anger and bitterness. She fought back at him with sharp words and a hateful attitude. He kept reaching out in the love of Christ. He ignored her hurtful behavior. Through every angry word and difficult encounter he continued to show godly love in a way that she had never seen. In fact, she had never experienced any kind of love at all. Not from friends. Not from men. Not from family members. Not even her own parents.

But God!

God used this man to show real love. And real love prevailed. Through it all God kept reaching for her. He did a miracle in her life. She surrendered to Him and it changed everything.

Her faith in Him is incredible. I have seen her grow in spiritual maturity so quickly. Her prayers are deep and strong. Her level of commitment is rare among Christians. She has already become a role model for the women in her church. She is a woman who knows what God has done for her.

There is no greater freedom than that of living for Jesus Christ!

Congratulations, Rahab. May your marriage be as strong and resilient as you have been. May the goodness and mercy of the Lord follow you both all the days of your lives. May you and your husband be blessed with a love that grows stronger every day and moves you ever closer to the Lord.

In His Love,
Rebekah L.

More in the Rahab Series:

Being Rahab (Part 1)

Revisiting Rahab (Part 2)

The Faith of Rahab (Part 3)

Praying with Rahab (Part 4)

Forsaking the Past

I came to know the Lord in my mid-twenties. This means that I lived long enough prior to Christ to have made a substantial number of mistakes. Truth be told, I’ve made significant mistakes since coming to the Lord as well. The fact is that we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).

1 John 1:9 – “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from ALL unrighteousness.”

Recently, someone in my life has been going out of their way to remind me of my prior indiscretions. Admittedly, this has taken quite a toll on me. When I first became saved, I felt the weight of those early sins lift off me. I experienced the incredible cleansing that came with repenting of my sins and being baptized in His precious name. I was blessed with an amazing renewal through the infilling of His Spirit and the chains of those transgressions fell as I embraced the freedom of forgiveness. I believed the Bible when it says, “if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17). I truly felt that Scripture become real in my life.

Psalms 103:12 – “As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.”

Yet after being repeatedly reminded of my past, I found myself ruminating over dead sins, old guilt, and shame. More than just thinking about them I’ve been feeling dirty, worthless, and broken. I’ve been obsessing about the fact that I can’t fix it. No matter what I do, I can’t go back and undo the mistakes I made in the past. I can’t undo the sin, I can’t fix it!

Romans 8:1 – “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus…”

Make no mistake; we have an enemy of our souls! Satan would like nothing more than for us to become shackled to our past. The enemy knows we don’t have the power to change the past and he will try to continually condemn us for it because he wants us to feel hopeless. Feeling hopeless is a very dangerous place to be. When we feel hopeless, we can lose our vision and give up. If I can’t change the past, what good is it to try to live holy? I can’t change what happened so I might as continue in them. That kind of thinking is a lie from the pit of hell!

Micah 7:19 – “…He will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.”

It’s true that I can’t change the past, but as far as God is concerned that past no longer exists. The Word is clear, “For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more”(Hebrews 8:12). When I was baptized in Jesus’ name I was cleansed of my past sins. The bible says, “though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow” (Isaiah 1:18). What an incredible gift from God! I couldn’t fix it, so God fixed it for me!

Isaiah 43:25 – “I, even I, am He that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.”

When we dwell on the past, we are limiting our future and essentially making the blood of Jesus of no affect in our lives. I think it probably grieves God to see His children dwelling on sins that He has already forgiven. It indicates that we don’t trust Him enough to truly believe that His Word is true!

Isaiah 43:18 – “Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old.

What kind of future would the newly converted Paul have had if he had been unable to let go of his past mistakes? Paul, the man who wrote more of the New Testament than anyone else, was a man with a past! He persecuted Christians and was complicit in murder. If he had dwelled on his past mistakes it would have paralyzed him and kept him from operating effectively in God’s will.

Ephesians 1:7 – “In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.”

One of my favorite passages in the Bible is in the third chapter of Philippians where Paul penned the words, “this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” When the enemy whispers memories of your past into your ear, rebuke him, rebuke the thought, and rebuke the intention behind the thought. Don’t allow those things to get in your spirit. Instead focus on Jesus. Turn your eyes to the One who freed you from all your past mistakes and the bondage of sin. Praise Him for His unending mercy and unfathomable forgiveness.

Philippines 3:13 – “…this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before.”

I will remind our readers as I remind myself: you are not your past; you are a new creature in Christ! God never intended for us to live in the past. It’s one of the reasons we needed the new birth experience. We serve a mighty God who is not intimidated by our failures, but instead provided a way to remove them from the record. He is worthy of all our praise!

In His Love,
Rebekah L.

The Faith of Rahab

“…choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” -Joshua 24:15

For those of you who have been following my Rahab posts I have more exciting news to share. I continue to be awed and amazed at the wonderful work the Lord is doing in this young woman’s life. If you have not been following along I highly encourage you to read Being Rahab and Revisiting Rahab to get the back story on today’s post.

I mentioned in Revisiting Rahab that the young woman the posts were written about had just attended her first Christian church service. I’m so happy to be able to let all of our readers know that she has faithfully been attending church since that first visit a couple of months ago. Last Sunday her journey to God took a giant leap forward; she was baptized! She lives in a crowded East Asian city where there aren’t any large bodies of water or baptismal tanks nearby so her pastor arranged for her to be baptized in the pool at a nearby hotel. God will always find a way when a soul is hungry!

Her pastor talked with her to make sure she really understood what it meant to be baptized and to be certain that she truly wanted to be a Christian. He told her that when she repents and gets baptized all of her sins would be washed away. When he told her that, tears began streaming down her face. Her pastor’s wife told her that there was no need to cry; she should be happy. This young woman’s pastor and his wife do not yet know about her past. If they knew, they would understand why the thought of all her sins washing away would cause her to cry. I can only imagine the weight that was being lifted off of her in that moment.

This woman’s pastor asked her, “Do you believe God forgives?” I am amazed and humbled by the response she gave. She said, “Yes. Because [Rebekah L] forgave me. When [Rebekah L] told me she forgave me, I knew that forgiveness is real. No one would blame her if she hated me, but she forgave me and prayed for me. She also explained to me how she was forgiven by God and how God helped her to forgive others. She explained that it was all possible because of Jesus. I want what [Rebekah L] has.”

This has touched me in a very deep place. That day in her apartment when I extended forgiveness to her was one of the most difficult days I have been through. It was not easy and it was only through the power of God that I was able to get to a place where I could utter those words. It is truly humbling to see the effect they had on her.

This woman lives in a predominantly Buddhist area of the world and she has grown up in that tradition. Additionally, she was raised in a culture that values familial piety over almost anything else. For her to be willing to walk away from the tradition of her ancestors is huge. After getting baptized she told her daughter’s father to throw away all of the idols in her home. She said, “Take them all away, don’t leave any here, there is only one God that is going to live in this house from now on”.

I am blessed to have met you, Rahab. I am so excited about what God is doing in your life. We serve a wonderful God.

In His Love,
Rebekah L

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!!

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

Working as for the Lord

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

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

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

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

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

In His Love,
Rebekah L.