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Holding On Tight

“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful.” ~ Hebrews 10:23

This week, I got an alert from my bank, telling me that my account had fallen below a certain amount (and it’s a low amount). The jobs I’ve applied for haven’t panned out. I have no more cars to sell. I have no more tax return to deposit. I have no more temporary work lined up. This time, I don’t have a fall-back plan.  This time, I am genuinely desperate.

Desperate, yes. Worried? No. See, “Desperate” is exactly where I need to be in order for God to be my true provider. And He wants to be my provider. He wants to be all of our providers. What He needs from us is dependence on Him. Not dependence on Him and my bank account. Not dependence on Him and my roommate. Not dependence on Him and my family. But dependence on Him.

It hit me today when I was with a friend and thinking of financial stresses and I leaned on them. Literally held their arm and leaned. And in that moment I realized it’s not a human being I should be leaning on. It’s not a person I should be holding on to. So for today, I hold on to the promise of God as my provider. I hold on to the promise that I am His and will never be forsaken. I choose to trust Him in this time of desperation, and to give Him all thanks and glory regardless of the blessings I do or don’t receive. No, I’m not giving God an out here. He promised to provide for me and that’s exactly what I expect Him to do. But I mean, just because I’m desperate and dependent doesn’t mean I have nothing. I am here today typing this after all. I’m blessed!! And if a desperate, dependent me can be blessed at the same time, then I can certainly give thanks to the God who already provides for me so much! I’m just at a point where I need to trust Him a little bit more.  And I hope it brings me closer to Him than ever!

God bless!

Rebekah A

Losing My Purpose

So, for the past week or so, I’ve felt like I’m in a stagnant place with God. I want to be running after Him and being one with Him and being a soldier for Him, and I’m not sure where to go with it. It’s like getting ready for a race, and the starting gun goes off, and it’s time to start sprinting, but suddenly you find that the track is gone. It’s just this weird, wasting-time feeling.

What got me out of it? Facebook. Or specifically, a post I saw from a friend. Which went something like this: “Harshest reality – I’m not needed. Greatest reality – I’m wanted.”

And all at once it hit me. God doesn’t need me. It’s not always about being used by Him, or sprinting. God doesn’t need me. Really, He doesn’t. He could make anything happen that He wants to, with or without my insignificant self. He doesn’t need me.

It’s a harrowing thought. We humans need a purpose in our lives. It’s been said that as people age, it’s when they lose their purpose in life that they slow down the most and get the sickest. One of our oldest questions is “Why am I here?” One of the most fundamental desires we have is to be needed. And yes, God has a plan and a purpose for us all. We aren’t here by mistake. But when it comes down to it, God doesn’t need us.

It touches on an innermost fear of many of us. If we aren’t needed, who will have us? And yet God, the most important being in our lives, doesn’t need us. So where does that leave us? Kind of adrift at times. It’s almost a slap in the face to realize how insignificant we are.

But where it really leaves us can be summed up in one word: wanted. We are not needed. We are wanted. We are desired by One who loves us so much that He created us in the first place. He doesn’t have ulterior motives. He didn’t bring us into existence only to use us, only because he needs us. He brought us into existence because He loves us and wants us.

To fully get an idea of how much He loves us, we have to accept the fact that we are essentially useless. We aren’t needed. We aren’t special. To feel the full strength of God, we need to step into that fear and make ourselves vulnerable to the rejection (who wants an insignificant and useless person?). We need to step into it, to meet God in this innermost place inside of ourselves. Because when we do, we find it isn’t a place of fear at all, but a place of amazing revelation. We need to lose our sense of purpose for a minute, to really appreciate that we aren’t here on our own merit. We aren’t here because we’re special. We aren’t here because we’re skilled. We aren’t here because we’re needed. Sure, I will keep looking for my track to sprint on. But sometimes it’s enough to just walk in the knowledge that here I stand, wanted and loved. And it’s as simple as that.

God bless!

~Rebekah A

 

“Love Is God In Action”

“I call love the “last experiment,” because though it is the closest and most fundamental thing in a person’s life, it is the last thing he will turn to for help when he is in distress.In talking to you about love I shall not get mushy and sentimental. For love is everything that sentimentalism is not. Love is power, while sentimentalism is the misuse of power. In its practical application love is as precise and scientific as mathematics. Without it there could be no universe, no cell organization of any kind. Because love is the only integrating power in existence. It is all that can establish order out of chaos or maintain order in chaos. Whenever it is recognized by man he likewise recognizes harmony. Love is never a disintegrating force. Science deals with disintegrating natural forces; but wisdom deals with the power of love. Natural forces lead to change: love to permanence. Love simplifies life. All that is less than pure love complicates it. Love is endurable, eternal. It is the one ultimate expression which can combine and sustain all principles of the natural and spiritual worlds. Its application releases the soul of man from the bondage of limitation. Love is God in action. And the process of becoming the doctrine of love is to grow into oneness with God.The beautiful thing about the doctrine of love is that it casts out all fear, all striving and struggling. You merely act and express the virtues and qualities of love, and all that is needed to sustain you in happiness and harmony are inevitable consequences of your action. You are attached to nothing except the action of love. You desire no results; but possess perfect assurance that the correct results necessary to your life at a given time will be supplied. The sense of impending insecurity is unknown to him who lives the doctrine of love.” ~Starr Daily

These words, written by Starr Daily, have stayed with me today. When did he write them? After years of crime dotted by occasional imprisonment, he was robbing the home of a priest. The priest caught him, and asked him to sit down for a chat (and later, a meal). Going against every criminal instinct he had, Daily obeyed. What followed was a conversation about God that he had never heard before. Instead of fire and brimstone and wrath and vengeance, Daily heard for the first time about a God of pure love. It changed him forever, and now he writes these words of revelation on love which are changing me.

God’s been showing me so much about what love is. He’s been really working in me to bring my walk into obedience with it. Daily looks at love from another angle; the power in love when you stand on it and use it. Me? I’m just trying to submit to it. But when honed and utilized, and with God’s help, pure love (and nothing short of it) can stop a robber in his tracks, break the bondage of prison, heal the sick, be a light to the hopeless. For today, I struggle with simple obedience, but the above words are giving me a glimpse of where I want to be in my walk under the ‘love doctrine’. I pray with every fiber of my being that I become this strong of a vessel of God’s love and light.

To read Daily’s whole book, “Love Can Open Prison Doors”, go here. It’s a story of the development of Christianity in the unlikeliest of candidates – a  story of how God works in love and the chains his love can break. I chose the title of my post for this reason – action. We can break chains if we stand on God’s love (and follow His will in that particular situation). You don’t  need to get robbed in order to be used like this, and you certainly don’t need to be a priest. But I hope you do read this story as a testimony of what God can do – and then spend some time in prayer over what you can do as His vessel.

God bless!

~Rebekah A

Swirling

It seems my life is about to flash before my eyes for the next two weeks.  Tomorrow is work then off to NY for a wonderful weekend filled with church and good friends. Then next week I have my last week at this office, move out, spend the weekend with my second family, move into a new place and there is potential for something to change in my life.  Through it all, I keep trying to just hold on to Jesus and desperately (although sometimes it feels like I’m failing) try to keep Him in the center.  With all these changes I can’t help but worry that plans for the future will not pan out or hopes and dreams will be crushed… but I know that my God is greater than all that.  I know that even if my fears that the past will repeat itself are unfounded when I make Jesus the foundation of those dreams.

I am scared, but I know that He holds my heart in His hand.

I feel caught in a whirlwind of tasks that must be accomplished, but I know the One who calms storms with just His Words.

I believe with all my heart that my God is able to see me through this uncertain time.

I love You Jesus with all my heart. 

Rebekah M. 

Song of the Day: I Press by Fred Hammond

Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. ~James 5:16

Clearly I’ve been on a musical kick lately.

One of the things I love about this walk with Jesus is that He gives us people who can help us along our walk.  Although I’m sure Rebekah A is not having an easy time with her struggle with her Babylon, I am SO proud of her being so transparent. Openly admitting our faults is a biblical principal and I’m glad that she doesn’t want to hide this side of her.  I have a Babylon of my own, we all do- but it is how we respond that means everything.  Will you give in to your weaknesses or will you seek after Him who can give you the strength to overcome? Will you confess you faults with a prayer partner and pray with them over this or will you allow it to grow in the dark closets of your life until you can no longer contain it?

Make that choice now with me to continue to press on towards Jesus regardless of how hard this road may seem.

Between trying to restart working out regularly, studying for boards, and having my heart tug at keeping God first, I just wish I could get away and have a retreat with just Jesus and I.  I want to press forward towards Him. I want Him in all that I do and yet why does it seem that back when I was in such deep intense pain from the break up it was so much easier to seek Him continually than it is now? He hasn’t changed so I guess that means I have but that’s a tough pill to swallow. I want to say I’m transformed from my trial and yet some of my old habits are falling back into my life- too much time on hulu.com and too little time in prayer.  Even if I do have moments of prayer, it isn’t like when I was praying 4-6hrs every day. I was so in tune with Him that things I prayed literally would answered in just a few hours because God was telling me what to pray for.

With all these things there are also fears and concerns that hover in the background.  I will say that since my Ziklag (as this week I have taken to calling my breakup), I am much less afraid of things as I used to be but questions are still there… Who am I supposed to date next where the relationship will encourage us to grow more in Him? Where am I moving next, what church am I attending there? When will I find enough time to study for the boards as I need to? Why don’t I have any motivation to study? What else am I missing in my life? What can I cultivate within myself now to become more of a Proverbs 31 kind of woman? The questions could continue…

Lord Jesus, 

Takes these fears and distractions away and just work Your Will in my life.  Help me leave my own Babylons and just press forward towards Your calling for my life.  Help me to keep You continually in the center. If there is someone You want to bring into my life so be it since You know how much I want to give my heart away, but help me to keep it in Your hands always. In my time of pain, You showed me that it should be You who cradles our hearts and in Your timing You will take another’s heart and put us together so that we are not only one, but also fully covered on all sides by Your hands.  Help me to just focus on You instead of my fears/concerns and press on towards You. I love You Jesus with all my heart. 

Rebekah M. 

I’m not exactly crazy about the video itself but this was the only one on youtube with the song

Waiting on the Lord… Again

Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD. ~ Ps 27:14

So this morning I woke up and spent time in my prayer closet. I wanted to seek God on things for my future and give Him my day. When I finished praying, I got on my computer and saw the post from Rebekah A and it spoke exactly to where I am now.

Things may be in the works for some change in my life soon and I really wanted God to be in the midst of it all but I knew that in order for it to have any chance, my ex must be SO far out of my mind that he doesn’t even come up. I don’t know if that’s possible, but as I read the post I said that prayer that Rebekah A wrote and gave it all over to God again.  If I am to move forward, my past must be so far behind me that I can’t even see it anymore.

Today itself has been an interesting day, my legs are aching so badly from having gone on a jog yesterday, I had to work on a powerpoint for the doctor I’m working with even though I’m here for research and this is completely unrelated, and I didn’t end up going to Walmart because it was pouring rain.

Then… I received a text that the very situation I had been wondering about and praying over lately and one of the very specific answers occurred today. I don’t really want to write it all out right now unless things become a little more concrete but it certainly felt like a sign was happening. Only Jesus knows where this all will lead, but I find myself in a place of needing to just trust in God that if I pray for His Will and continually check to be in His Will… then it will come to pass as He wishes.

So much of my past mistakes have been wrapped up in thinking that I was in the Will of God and running headstrong in that direction without checking with Him if He had any turns to take.  Yes, He sometimes says take that road… but sometimes there are forks in the road and instead of checking in with Him we continue on the way WE think we should go.

Jesus, 

I pray that You continue to lead and guild me in this situation.  As I wait on Your final answer on how everything should turn out, I lay it all at Your feet to work it out as You will.  Let me continually be seeking what You want instead of my own wishes and desires.  Help me seek You with all that I have and watch as everything else falls into place.  Let me live Matthew 6:33 (Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you).  I love You Jesus with all my heart. 

Rebekah M. 

Desperate

And it came to pass, when David and his men were come to Ziklag on the third day, that the Amalekites had invaded the south, and Ziklag, and smitten Ziklag, and burned it with fire; And had taken the women captives, that were therein: they slew not any, either great or small, but carried them away, and went on their way. So David and his men came to the city, and, behold, it was burned with fire; and their wives, and their sons, and their daughters, were taken captives. Then David and the people that were with him lifted up their voice and wept, until they had no more power to weep. ~ I Samuel 30: 1-4

Tonight at church the preacher spoke of when we are in a place of desperation.  It is there that we find out what we are made of. It is there that we are tested the most.

This made me think of (for those of you who have been keeping up with my posts I’m sure you know what’s coming) the whole situation with my ex dumping me. It was in that time where my heart was ripped to shreds that I turned to God in prayer and fasting like I never had before. It is there that I found Jesus to be more real, loving, and amazing than I had ever imagined.  It is then that I found out that when my world was falling apart, instead of running away from things or even just taking a while to trust God (like I had in the past), I had grown enough to turn to Jesus with EVERYTHING in me and be transformed by Him.

God doesn’t do things by accident.  Today with its preaching happened for a reason. Yes, I still struggle occasionally with my Babylon but even the preaching this morning addressed that by putting safeguards in your life and continually seeking God to help you, it is nothing like those that God gives up to a reprobate mind. It is nothing like those who say “I’m sinning and I love living in it even if it’s sending me to hell.”  Then, as I journeyed through this day and sought Him more, and gave Him my life again and resubmitted things to Him, this sermon happened.  And it just says to me that God is about to turn the tides in my life.  I put something in His hands and right after service I already got what could be a sign in reply. Is it all for certain? No.  But I spoke to my promises in Jesus name and I know something happened. God is good!

What a mighty God we serve! If you are at a Ziklag today- in the worst trial of your life where you feel like everything you own and everyone you love was taken away… turn to God and find that He is faithful and will carry you through this tough time.  The bible says that David encouraged himself in the Lord (even when his men wanted to kill him and everything he owned and loved was stolen from him) and in the end he recovered all and then some! God WILL come to your aid!

Thank You Jesus that in our Ziklags, we can encourage ourselves in You and in Your timing and when we truly turn to You, we can recover all and then some.  I love You Jesus with all my heart. 

Rebekah M. 

Book Review: God’s Armor Bearer I & II

I’m going to cut right to the chase here: If you’re a Christian, read this book. It focuses on being an armor bearer to your pastor, and running with him to achieve the church’s vision. But really, what it means is to have the heart of a servant. And it applies to all of us, whether we’re a church leader or out ministering to the homeless.

The book acknowledges the spirit of “where should I go with my life?” and “what’s going to help me achieve my dream?” that’s so rampant in the church today. And it cuts through all of that to discuss how you can ‘bloom where you are planted’ – wherever that may be. It discusses how preparation for your calling can come in unexpected ways, and how God plants you and directs your steps for your whole life. He knows where you are right now, and didn’t place you there idly. Even if you feel like you’re in limbo, you’re playing a part in His plan.

It touches on how to hone your gifts to be a productive member of the body. It touches on the balance between submission and leadership. It touches on taking the “me” out of “team”.  It touches on patience and God’s timing. It touches on how to flourish even if you’re in what’s considered a lowly position. It touches on sooo many things that are relevant to Christians and churches today. Most importantly, it does this from an individual standpoint, and also from the viewpoint of getting more involved in your local church.

The bottom line is, if you are Christian and you want to walk strongly as part of the Body of Christ in whatever calling God has for you, read this book.  Yes, you.

God bless!

~Rebekah A

Submitting It All

So I once again received yet another message from that same guy… this one read:

The Lord has already called us. We are called to the high calling of Christ. The Lord as he has stated in his word called us to be saints which is the highest calling there is. he wouldn’t call us to be something else. Being a saint of God is the most high calling there is and there is nothing else in the world that comes even close to that calling. If you are baptized in Jesus Name and filled with the Holy Ghost he has already chosen our profession and that is to serve him and labor for him. He wouldn’t chose something else for us because he has already chosen for us what he wants us to do with our lives. There is no where in scripture does it say that the Lord chooses our worldly profession or careers because quite frankly he has already chosen us for his work.
Your choice of doing what you are doing with your life as you have stated yourself has interfered with your relationship with the Lord and the Lord is interested in the saving of our souls and he would not chose something for our lives as you have stated that would have any effect on that as you have stated. It would take us to a higher place in God and draw us nearer to him.
The scripture also says the woman is to be the keeper at home. Women are not to work outside the home. That is the man’s responsibility not the woman’s.
I say all this to say there is no way you are in the will of God. God is about saving souls and that’s it and doesn’t chose one to be a doctor, another to be a lawyer, or another to be a police officer. He has already chosen what he want’s us to do with our lives and it is our choice whether we do that or not and I say again he wouldn;t choose us to be even a doctor because what he has chosen for our lives already is far far greater than even being a doctor.

So in this guy’s mind a) God will not call people to be doctors- ever b) a woman should stay in the home and only the home

To these concepts my soul cries out:

a) we are all called for a purpose and yes it is to reach those who don’t know Jesus but we can also have “worldly professions” that God can use- Luke was a doctor! Paul was tent maker! JESUS HIMSELF WAS A CARPENTER! When you pray so much over something and ask Him to open or close the doors and believe with all your heart that He will do just that, than how can one deny God’s hand in their path? More than once I’ve asked Him to close this door if He wants and yet it stays open- even when others have tried to shut it!  In my book- God places us in the jobs that we’re at (when we actively seek Him to) for us to be in the ideal places to reach those that no one else can.

b) The bible DOES actually speak of a woman working outside the home… in Proverbs 31!!! It states she considers a field and buys it (and they didn’t have internet back then to do it virtually or even a telephone to call!). With her hands she plants a vineyard (last I knew, people don’t have a vineyard in their house)! If that doesn’t say she works… I’m not sure what does!

The thing that frustrates me the most, however, is the fact that this person who does not know me, has taken it upon himself to tell me I’m out of the will of God. But I need to just work on focusing on Jesus and my own walk with God and forget him as well as anyone else who thinks they have a right to judge me.

Jesus…. please help me! 

Rebekah M. 

The Blessing Of Unworthiness

“Then He turned toward the woman and said to Simon, ‘Do you not see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven – as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.” ~Luke 7:44-47

If you read Luke 7 in its entirety, you’ll see that Jesus is dining at the house of a Pharisee when a woman comes in. She’s a sinner. We don’t know what her sins are; perhaps like so many of us, she has too many to be classified by just one. Jesus even refers to her many sins in the above verse. When she comes in, she merely stays at His feet. His presence moves her to tears, and she uses them to wash his feet. She uses her hair to dry them, and then pours out her perfume on them.

Pouring out perfume doesn’t seem all that significant, but usually perfume was valuable. There were no banks or money at the time. Her perfume may have been her whole inheritance, or possibly for her what the contents of our bank account would be for us. And how did she use her treasure? By pouring it onto the feet of a stranger.

Her attention to Jesus was met with criticism from one of the Pharisees. He allowed it to spark doubt in his mind, thinking ‘if this man were a true prophet, he’d see what a sinner she is.’ Not only did he doubt Jesus’ wisdom, but he judged this woman by her sins and deemed her unworthy to be in the presence of Jesus.

Jesus’ response is the verse I quoted above.

At first glance, the Pharisee has a point. This woman was a sinner. She had no greatness in her that made her worthy of Jesus Christ. What did she have? A desire to be in His presence. A desire so strong that when she came before she was moved to tears. And it was enough. Jesus didn’t turn her away. He didn’t judge her for her sins or tell her she was unclean or unworthy. He saw her desire to be with Him. Regardless of her lifestyle, regardless of her sins or dirt, He saw the sincerity of her desire and the sincerity of her tears. He saw her love for Him. And it was enough. She didn’t need to confess or clean herself or change her clothes or renounce her lifestyle. She came before Him just as she was. And for Jesus, that was enough. She, a sinner, who had no merit but the love and desire of her heart, was enough for Him. And she was welcome in His presence.

So am I, and so are you. We don’t have to dress up, or look a certain way, or get our lives together first. We don’t need to pass ‘Go’ and collect $200 first. We just need to show up, exactly as we are, with whatever we have to give. So often, we let our circumstances push us away from God. It’s almost like we’re thinking “God I didn’t really live up to Your expectations today, so I’m not going to spend time with you today. See you tomorrow.” As if we can hide! But for some reason we think that way. We think we need to be worthy or to redeem ourselves first. And that’s not how it works. We, the sinners and the unworthy, are welcome in the presence of Jesus any time. If we desire to go to Him, we can. Praise God for that. How many kings do you know who let the common beggars into their courts at any time they wanted to enter? How many beggars would be allowed to formally go before their king while still dressed in their rags? Yet that’s exactly what Jesus does for us – He is there, His door is open, and we are welcome exactly as we are.

As for this woman, maybe it was the peace of His presence, so unlike the tumultuous world around us, that moved her so powerfully. Maybe she had a moment of true repentance. Maybe she felt His love, and perhaps was unfamiliar with love of that magnitude. I’m not sure. All I know is that His presence had such an effect on her that she was weeping at His feet. She didn’t even need to look upon His face or make eye contact to feel the holiness of Him. She wept at His feet. Then she used those tears to wait on Him. She washed His feet. She used her own hair to dry them. She didn’t have water or a cloth; we don’t how affluent she was, but either way it wasn’t her home so she certainly didn’t have it on hand. She was so moved that she gave everything she had: her tears, and her hair. And then she gave Him the one thing of material value that she did have on hand – her perfume. However hard she’d worked, whatever she’d done to earn it, paled in comparison to Jesus. And so, onto His feet the perfume went.

That’s an amazing story, when you think about it. This was not a woman who went in for righteousness and lots of time at the church. This was probably not a woman who gave much thought to tithing, and possibly not much thought to God. Maybe she had an underlying desire to live a different life, but she came to Him a sinner. So clearly, whatever her underlying desire was, nothing had sufficiently moved her to change yet. Her sinful self, with that underlying desire to be in the presence of Jesus, was enough to get her in the door. Not until she was in the presence of God did she know that this was more valuable than her perfume. And she was right. His presence brought out the best in her, and she waited on Him with love in her heart. She loved Him instantly, and strongly enough to give her wealth to his feet. He, in turn, gave her forgiveness. You know what comes with forgiveness: renewal, peace, salvation even. He gave her a new life. He even brings it one step further by saying that he who has been forgiven little loves little. What He means is, it’s because this woman is a sinner that she is moved so much. It’s because she is ‘unworthy’ that His acceptance and forgiveness is that much more powerful to her. His strength truly is perfected in our weakness.

Let’s praise God for that. A new life waits for us in His presence. In His presence and in His love is a life more valuable than any material possession we have. Whether we have nothing but our own tears and hair, or whether we have priceless perfume, He has more for us.

So I invite you today to go to Him. Bring yourself even further into His presence. Forget the cares of the day or mistakes you’ve made; forget how you look. Just go to Him. Give Him what you have, be it little or much, and see what He gives your spirit in return.

God bless!

~Rebekah A

And just to inspire you more, here’s a song that’s in my head today: