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Being Isaac: A Buddhist turns to Jesus

Editor’s Note:  Our weekly guest spot is our effort to help our reading community connect with each other.  “Being Isaac” is in response to our growing number of male readers. We think it’s important that there’s a male reply to our female’s call to live in passionate pursuit of Christ. Thanks Isaac H for submitting this great post that shares your personal story with all our readers! 

I was born and raised Buddhist in the country of Taiwan. English is not my native language so forgive me for how terrible is my English. Growing up I never expect I would become the Christian. This never cross my mind. As a child I was taught worship idol. We had idols in my home and we went to temple and worship idols there. We had a lot of fear to make the gods upset or to dishonor ancestor and make them become hungry ghost. In my country we believe if you not worship ancestor after they died and give them sacrifice of food and money, they will become the hungry ghost and bring the misfortune to your life.

buddah1But I thank God that He sought to rescue me from this bondage of idol worship and fear. One day God send me a dream. The dream was to go to America. I did not know this was God send me this dream, but because the dream I decide apply to the school in Boston. I did not know this would changing my whole life. When I was there I met Rebekah L. She showed me what is love of Jesus. She show me not have to live in fear or superstition. It take me a very long time to believe Jesus. I did not reject Him, but I was afraid to leave my old tradition behind. Rebekah L did not give up on me and she continue to pray for my soul. I thank God!

cross1When I graduated from school I went back home to Taiwan. The family problem and the old life try to keep me from believe Jesus. But Jesus would not give up on me. He keep reaching for me. My family did not want me to become the Christian. They fought very hard to keep me in the old tradition. They are afraid when they die they will be the hungry ghost because if I’m Christian I not will worship them or burn the paper money for them. But I know that God is real. There is only one God! He came as a man, Jesus. He die on the cross for my sin. He raise again and we have opportunity and gift to eternal life if we believe Him and follow to Him! I will never worship idol again. I will only worship ONE True God.

It can be hard to be a Christian in this country, but it is worth every struggle. God has never leave me. I know He will never give up on me. I know my life’s purpose now is to worship Him, to live for Him, and to reach the lost sheeps in my country for Him. Please pray for my country Taiwan. Please pray for my people. They are spiritually blind. They not can see the truth. The truth is Jesus die not just for American, Jesus die for Taiwanese too. Who has God call you to reach? We all are called to be the witness. Let’s reach the world for HIM!

Isaac H lives in Taiwan and loves playing with his daughter while living for Christ with all he has.

Published with the permission of the author. Submit your own post at beingrebekah@outlook.com. 

 

Contemplation

thoughtful

When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. ~ Isaiah 43:2

I’m going through this crazy mental time right now.  I’ve gained a few pounds the last few months and the boy is disappearing more and more from my life. I know that I’m the one who told him that I couldn’t date him. I know that I’m the one who didn’t contradict him when he said he didn’t have a pretty girl to kiss when he was down.  I know that I’m the one who said he was what I wanted, but not what I needed (because I needed a praying man).

I miss him though. He still talks to me every day, but before where it was 4 or 5 hour gap at most… it can literally be only a little in the morning or night now.  I miss feeling like he was my constant companion even when it was only via text most of the time. The niche he found for himself in my life now feels empty and a gaping hole.

Tonight, one of my guy friends texted me out of the blue to tell me about how things weren’t going well with the girl he was chasing. Said he messed up with her because he was pursuing her too much when she needed space.  This is the same guy who I said was the example of what I’m looking for in a guy.

Part of me kept wondering what in the world was wrong with her for not running towards him with all she had. Here is this amazing, Godly, thoughtful guy who truly loves Christ and she just didn’t want to date him why? because he was attentive??? I just don’t get it but all I do know is that a slight part of me wanted to be like “me! pick me! I’m here! I love Jesus just as much as you do! Open your eyes!” but… he’s never, ever offered anything besides friendship to me. I gave up on him ever thinking of me as anything beyond a friend years ago.

So here I sit, on the heels of amazing news that I passed my boards and yet my heart is still heavy…

Lord,

Help me to hope in You. I know You have all things in Your hands so help me praise You even with my heavy heart. Help me put on the garment of praise. Help me to love You with all my heart so that this stuff has no effect on me.  Shield me in Your hands. Hold me while I have a heavy heart when I should be rejoicing. Help me shed this feeling of being inadequate, of feeling like no man will find me attractive, to just re-see my worth in You again. Remind me You are walking with me in this emotional time in which things must be burned away and out of my heart.

Rebekah M.

Moved to Praise

The other Rebekahs are some of my favorite people on the planet. They are usually the first ones I turn to when something happens in my day – be it good or bad. They’re the ones I go to when I need prayer or encouragement or just a better perspective, and I really look forward to their posts.

Yesterday’s blog post was even cooler than usual. Like some of you, I logged on to find that Rebekah M. had posted a worship song. And not just any song – she posted a song that she had sung herself with no music. She said herself she’s not a singer and the song wasn’t perfect. And so I wondered what could have moved her to post this. I mean, I know that almost nothing could have moved me to sing to anyone or anything other than my shower (if those walls could talk…..).

As soon as I wondered this, of course, I answered my own question. God moved her. She had a song in her heart, and so she sang it. She put aside all the things that would have concerned me – if my voice was fit to be heard, if my recording skills were ok, the fact that once this was posted it would be available to all 7 billion people on this planet. To sing, or to do any kind of performance you’re unaccustomed to, and to make it public, puts you in a really vulnerable spot. So why do it?

Because it’s not about us. It’s about God. It’s about Him being worthy of all that we have and all that we are. Everything. Even our very voices. Yes, self-conscious shower-singer, that means your voice too (by yours I might mean mine). He is worth putting ourselves in a vulnerable spot so that our hearts can be heard. He is worth taking that radical step to reach a point of true worship.

And through her song yesterday, Rebekah M reached that place. I listened to the whole song, and I was moved most at the end (the part that goes ‘holy, holy, you are, you are….’). When I talked to her about it, she told me that at first in the song she was thinking about her voice, staying in tune, wondering how the song would be received when she posted it. I won’t go so far as to say she was distracted. She was worshiping the whole time. But the farther into the song she went, the more these things faded. The glory of God, the absolute worthiness of Him, took a bigger and bigger hold on her. By the time she got to that ‘holy’ part, she was singing with abandon, every part of her engulfed in pure worship.

I loved it. How often do any of us go to that place? That place where we drop thoughts of everything in this world and just let God consume us? I’m so glad she got to that place through her song. I’m glad she brought us there too. I’m proud of her for taking that radical step to sing a song for public hearing. It’s just one more example of how God moves when we take ourselves out of the equation and let Him.

And so I encourage you today to push yourselves beyond your usual prayer/worship routine. I encourage you to step outside of your comfort zone for a bit. It doesn’t have to be in public (God can still see you), but try it in a different way. Especially through some creative-worship activity – that seems to be where people are most self-conscious. Sing. Draw. Dance. Write a poem. Heck, drum on the table. Just do something different than your norm, accept the fact that you’ll probably feel silly at first, and do it anyway. Push through that vulnerability. Let Him take over. When we get past ourselves, the glory of God is there waiting. God bless, and feel free to tell us how it goes!

~Rebekah A

 

Song of the Day: Beautiful by Kari Jobe

So… this is not the typical song of the day…. I felt like singing the song and sharing it here with you all- a capella. And a few pics from a free stock photo site since WordPress doesn’t allow just audio files to be played (that I know of). I’ll admit, this is raw. I do not profess myself to be a super talented singer nor a video editor. There are multiple times when I was off-key or “pitch-y” and I only had 4 pictures that aren’t timed with the lyrics.  However, I hope that you’ll feel just a little of what I was feeling when I sang this song.

Earlier yesterday while I was driving to church I was praying/worrying about this and that and as the things were swirling in my mind this song came on my CD player and I felt God so quietly tell me to just lay it all aside and rest in Him.  His amazing sweet presence told my soul to just rest in Him. I felt such assurance that resting in Him, all would be OK. That everything would be more than fine. The beauty of this amazing God is just beyond words. His peace that passes all understanding is truly a most beautiful wonderful gift.

I hope you all comment below on a moment when God swept into your heart during a time of worry and how His beautiful, sweet presence soothed your soul too!

~Rebekah M.

Being Christian – Loving God, Loving People

phil-1-6-amplifiedI have a bit of a confession to make: I have no idea how to be a Christian. I mean, it seems simple enough; believe Jesus. But that’s really just the beginning. That’s what it takes to wear the label, but how we actually live out our Christianity from day to day isn’t so easy.

The Bible is full of wisdom and instruction on the subject and though I’ve committed to live by its principles I still find myself floundering at times. I wonder if I’ll ever get it right. And therein lies the problem. I’m entirely too self-focused. It’s not about me perfecting the rules and regulations, it’s about letting God transform me from the inside out. It’s really His work. I just have to be willing to lay my old man down and allow Him to create me anew.

When it comes down to it, being a Christian is really about loving God and loving people. It’s not about looking inward; it’s looking up to God and out to the people. We’re servants. We’re here to serve God and to honor God by serving others.

Jesus said unto him, Thou Love God Love Peopleshalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. –Matthew 22:37-39

When we really love God we are willing to decrease so that He can increase (John 3:30). We will strive to do what He asks of us (John 14:15). When we really love God we will love people (John 13:35). When we really love people, we will have a burden to reach them for the Lord! This is true Christianity.

Lord, help me to love you better. Help me to love your people better. Help me to believe you for every area of my Christian walk. Teach me how to follow after you with everything I have. Guide me on the path and show me how to be a true Christian. I struggle with how to best to represent you. I don’t know how to do the things I know I should do, but you are a merciful patient teacher, and I thank you for that. Thank you for your unending love.

In His Love,

Rebekah L.

Ashes to Ashes

Growing up in a Catholic family, Lent was always a fairly important part of the year. My siblings and I would have a competition every year to see who would get the darkest ashes on their forehead on Ash Wednesday or the biggest palm on palm Sunday. We would talk for days about what we were giving up. And once we declared our official Lent sacrifices, you can bet we policed each other mercilessly to uphold them. Very spiritual of us, I know.

As my walk with God has evolved over the past few years and expanded beyond Catholicism, I don’t focus on Lent quite so much. I have fast days throughout the year and I check in with God frequently about things I need to give up. Personally, I feel that type of spiritual growth should be ongoing rather than squished into 40 days.

These days, I no longer go to Catholic masses, but instead attend a non-denominational Church. Yet every year on Ash Wednesday, I still seek out a Catholic mass to pray, reflect, and get my ashes. I like the reminder that without my Creator, I am naught but dust. If not for my Savior, I would end up as mere dust again. I like the reminder that my worth was given to me by Jesus and not myself. I think it is mind-boggling and so humbling what Jesus endured – the magnitude of that, the amount of love and compassion behind it, is staggering to me. I could worship 24/7 for the rest of my life and still not give enough thanks for that. And for me, Ash Wednesday mass still encompasses all of these things in one. And so I go.

This year was no exception, but it was a bit different. I missed the afternoon mass because I was helping out my roommate’s aide (who is still in agony and unable to move around much after being hit by a city bus a week ago). The evening mass I attended instead happened to be bilingual – English and Spanish. It was interesting the way the cultures melded together. Sometimes we would sing songs in English to a tune traditionally heard in Spanish mass, or we would switch off line by line. There were two priests, and they took turns speaking in English and Spanish. But when it came time to pray, no switching was necessary. Hands joined and voices lifted to the sky. Spanish and English alike joined together. The languages were different, but the words were the same as we prayed together to our Father. And in that moment, when we forgot about whose turn it was or what the Spanish-speaking priest was doing vs the English-speaking one, when all focus shifted to Jesus Christ our Lord, I could feel His presence so strongly. It was truly amazing. My spirit was definitely stirred.

I have always had an appreciation for the season of Lent (even if I don’t adhere to the schedule as strictly as I once did), but today opened my eyes to an even deeper meaning of who God is, and how deeply the Holy Spirit resides within us. It doesn’t matter what language we speak or culture we’re from – God is so much bigger than that. Life isn’t bound by language or location. And though those things can divide us, together we are brothers and sisters under Christ. We are sons and daughters together. Without Him, our voices would be solitary and insignifcant. Without Him we would have been a room full of dust. But because He sacrificed for us, because He gave the precious gift of Life, our voices rang strong enough to resonate through the whole building.

Jesus, I praise You for who You are and what You did for me. I love You more than words can say.

God bless!

~Rebekah A

Prayer Monday: PRAISE!!!!!

Jesus,

I’m SO excited to share this news with the readers: YOU GAVE ME MY FIRST CHOICE RESIDENCY PROGRAM!!!!! Thank You Jesus!!! Thank You that You truly do reward us when we just hold on to You!!! Thank You that You have given me favor!!! Thank You that You have ordered my steps!!! Thank You that there is none like You!!! Thank You Jesus… I cannot sing or yell your praises enough!!! Thank You Jesus!!! Thank You Thank You Thank You THANK YOU JESUS!!!!!!!! I AM SO HAPPY RIGHT NOW!!!!!!! all the hours of tears, fears, and doubt… You carried me when I couldn’t handle things any longer!!! You are SUCH a wonderful, loving, good God!!!!! Thank You doesn’t cover it all… my heart is overflowing with gratitude!!! I love You Jesus SO MUCH! Thank You for this life!!! Thank You for everything You have given me! Help me remember that if you can bring THIS to pass, you can take care of everything else! Help me drop the rest of my doubts and just trust You!

Oh Jesus, Thank You!!! I just can’t stop it!! I PRAISE YOU LORD! I WORSHIP YOU JESUS!!! THANK YOU!!!!!

With all of my grateful, adoring heart,

Rebekah M.

Who Gets the Credit?

To God be the glory

Give unto the Lord, O ye mighty, give unto the Lord glory and strength. Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name; worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness. -Psalm 29:1-2

I work for a great company that allows a fair amount of autonomy and creative input from its employees; perhaps not as much as we’d like, but far more than any other company I’ve ever worked for. But like many companies, the credit for the most successful of those creative endeavors often does not go to the person to whom it is due. Instead, it is someone a few rungs up on the corporate ladder who always gets the accolades.

One of my co-workers came up with a training program a few years ago that went national and then international at our company. She received no credit for her work. Instead someone a little higher up in the food chain got a raise, a promotion, and a trip to Europe out of it.

This past year, I also came up with a program that has gotten a lot recognition throughout the company. I did all the work. I researched the best way to go about it. I came up with all the materials. I put together all the PowerPoint presentations. I gathered all the data. I put it all in pretty little spreadsheets. I lost sleep designing the lessons and poured myself into making it work and teaching it to other employees at other locations to make it work for them. From top to bottom I did everything — except for naming it. Someone at our regional office gave it a fancy name. The person who gave it a fancy name is the one getting all the credit for this program.

Once the recognition started pouring in and I became aware of the fact that one of my superiors was unashamedly taking credit for my work I had a choice to make. I could complain loudly and often until everyone knew what she had done, or I could sheepishly say nothing and burn with bitter resentment, or I could accept that my job is not to get recognized, my job is to make my superiors look good. The truth is that anyone closely connected to me or the program knows exactly who did the work. It’s only the people a little further removed from it that don’t know. But you know what? I don’t know those people anyway, and they don’t know me. Why should I need them to recognize me? I don’t.

It got me thinking about the things of God. So often God does all the work, and then we humans take the credit for it. Think about the process of soul saving. Jesus did the dirty work of coming down and humbling Himself in the form of a man. He willingly sacrificed Himself for us. He personally shed His own blood. Even when we think we’ve chosen Him, we forget that God chooses the vessel. He puts the hunger inside us. He gives us the measure of faith. He gives us a heart of repentance. He fills us with His Holy Spirit. You know what we do? We put a fancy name on it.

In Genesis we read that when God made creation, He made all these wonderful things and saw that they were good. He creates all the plants and animals and then He makes the creature created in His own image: Adam. Then Adam names all the animals. That’s what we do, we get to give a name to the amazing miracles of God. We name it the Parting of the Red Sea, the Miracle of the Fishes and the Loaves, the Winter Campaign of 2012 or the Revival of 2013. We give it a name so that when we refer to it later everyone knows what we’re talking about, but we didn’t do the work, God did the work.

You may be working hard for God, but never forget that our work as human beings is nothing more than a garnish on the side of the true dish. Our work is just a small slice that God allowed us to be a part of. He doesn’t need us, He chooses to use us. Let’s endeavor never to steal the credit from God. Give Him glory and honor for everything He has done for you, in you, around you and through you. Without Him, nothing in our lives means anything. It’s all in Him! Every good thing we have in our lives is because of Him. It doesn’t matter how rich or beautiful or talented we are, nothing we have is of our own doing. We can’t even take credit for our hard work because He gave us the capacity to do that work. Every testimony you have is God’s testimony. Every soul you’ve touched, is a soul that God touched. Every good thing you’ve done, is a good thing that God did through you, because He is good, not because we are.

He does the work so let’s make sure that He gets the credit.

In His Love,

Rebekah L.

A Last Song

I read a note on Facebook written by a friend of mine. It was about fear, but in the note she told a story. She recently went on a trip to Kansas City, for the OneThing conference at IHOP (that’s International House of Prayer for all you pancake lovers). Anyway, on the plane, she got the chance to witness to two young ladies, especially as the plane encountered some turbulence. As the plane shook, she got the crazy urge to sing out in worship to the Lord. Which brought her to the (hypothetical) question, “if I know the people around me aren’t saved, and this plane is going down, what song would I sing?”

For me, the one that comes to mind repeatedly is ‘You Are Good’ by Kari Jobe (posted below). Nice and simple, which is probably a good thing in the face of impending doom. But also, I think it’d be what people need to hear as the plane went down. That God’s there, and He’s good, and in Him, we’ll be ok. In Him, I have nothing to fear. That song would keep that perspective in place. Because ultimately, singing a song wouldn’t be for me. I know exactly where I’m going when I die, and I don’t fear it. In fact, when I know the time has come for me to finally see Jesus, really see Him, I’ll run for it full speed. The song I think would be more for the people around me, who may or may not be saved. I’d want them to be comforted and maybe have that one last chance at salvation.

It may be a dramatic scenario, but I thought it was a cool thing to ponder. So I’m putting it out there for all of you. If your plane was going down, or really if you were in any life-or-death situation (even a drawn-out situation, like fighting an illness), what would you sing?

Worthy of my worship

Life is a funny series of umountain topps and downs. The year started off on an incredible high. I was accepted into the program that is going to send me overseas. Then I received huge recognition at work for a project I undertook which saved the company thousands of dollars which will go directly to its bottom line profits. I had a great review and then I got a raise. What a way to start the new year!

Then this week has been nothing but trouble. Technical complications have plagued me; deadlines have threatened to drown me. My co-workers suddenly hate me because the recognition I got puts pressure on them. My car broke down on the way to a church conference and I had to miss the conference as a result. The repair is costing a few hundred bucks (there goes the benefit of that raise). And now, I’m sick. I have a sore throat, sinus headache, and ache all over. I am feverish, stuffy and I feel weak and run down. To top it all off, I had another post planned for today that I spent quite a bit of time writing and now it seems to have disappearedsick and been eaten by the digital monster. By all accounts, I should be miserable. First World Problem version of miserable, but miserable none the less. No one likes being sick after all.

But you know what? Spiritually I am well. Physically and mentally I am spent, but spiritually I feel good. God is with me. What is a little fever compared to the love of God? What is the cost of a car repair compared to the debt He paid for me at Calvary? And how can I complain when I am able bodied? How dare I grumble when I have a car? And I have a job? And now I even have a raise to help me pay for the repair? I am blessed.

I have been in a spirit of worship today. We don’t have to feel physically well to worship. We can praise Him right where we’re at. He is worthy of so much more than we offer Him. He deserves our utter devotion. He is with us on every mountain top and He is with us in every valley. There is none beside Him. He is the mighty God and He is amazing. My heart is overwhelmed with love toward Him.

worshipThank you Lord for your love. For your mercy. For your holiness. Thank you for your light, your peace, your hope. Thank you Lord for the cross where you spilled your blood for me. Thank you for offering me the chance at forgiveness. No one knows how much I needed it, but you.

You are God. You are King. You are Savior. You alone be glorified!

In His Love,

Rebekah L.