Tag Archive | Christian

This Too Shall Pass

girl_on_stairs

I’ve been struggling a bit over the last couple of weeks. For the most part, I’ve kept this completely to myself. I tend to share the good things going on in my life and hide the not so good things. Last week when it was my turn to post on Being Rebekah, I just posted a simple prayer because I wasn’t ready to let the blogging community know about my struggle. Indeed, I’m still not ready.

But as things have a way of doing; my struggle has come to the light. I whispered a text to a friend to let her in. God Himself whispered a word of knowledge to several others. I’ve alluded to these struggles before on such posts as: Confident in His Love, Disquieted, and When Sadness Creeps in.

The amazing thing is that since things have come out into the open, God has rallied a wonderful support team around me. They have offered godly counsel, a shoulder to cry on, prayer and have even fasted for me. I am truly blessed. And yet, I’m still struggling. I feel incredibly guilty about that.

They give me good advice: you need to worship through it, you need to praise through it, you need to choose God, you must choose to hold on Him, don’t try to overcome by your own strength; you need to rely on Jesus etc. etc. It’s all wonderful advice, it truly is. But what I hear is: You’re screwing it up, you’re doing it wrong, you’re doing it wrong, you’re doing it wrong, you’re doing it wrong. The problem is not with the advice, the problem is with me.

They are all working so hard to support me with love, prayers, and fasting that I feel pressured to report that things are magically all better. I feel if I admit that I’m still struggling that I’m letting them down. I’m failing despite everyone’s best efforts. I owe them better and I owe God better.

I don’t know what the solution is. I’m not writing with my grand spiritual revelation on how I got beyond my struggle with the help of the Lord. I have no idea how to get beyond it and this blog post is simply my attempt at not sugar coating it the way that I’m tempted to do. Here’s what I do know: through Jesus, this too shall pass.

In His Love,

Rebekah L

Advertisements

Make Me an Instrument of Your Peace

instrument of peace 2

Words are timeless. The Scriptures are the purest example of this, but sometimes even mere mortals manage to write down a few thoughts that last centuries. The poem below was written about 800 years ago. You’ve probably heard it before, but it’s a good reminder of what we should strive for as Christians.

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon:
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope
where there is darkness, light
where there is sadness, joy.

O divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.

~A Prayer of St Francis of Assisi

Jesus, I am so much more inwardly focused than I should be. Lord, “grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood, as to understand, to be loved as to love.”

In His Love,

Rebekah L.

Simple Gifts

592127_old_style_steel_fan

The other day I was at the department store when I saw a fan on sale. I contemplated purchasing it for myself since the warmer weather will be coming soon, but then I suddenly had the thought that I should purchase it for my brother-in-law instead. My brother-in-law hates to be hot. I knew he would use it and this one was really nice. It has multiple settings, six speeds, the ability to set it to automatically turn on and off at pre-determined intervals and a remote control. It’s just a fan, but as fans go, it’s a pretty cool one.

I was nervous about giving it to him because we have a very strained relationship and we never exchange gifts. He is an atheist and limits the exposure his children have to me because he doesn’t want me influencing them. He assumes all Christians are unintelligent and hypocritical. More than that, he holds a lot of bitterness and anger towards Christians. I can understand his feelings because he was hurt very badly as a child when his father became a “Christian” and walked out on the family, never to support him again. The only contact he had with his father after that was the occasional phone call where his father would tell him repeatedly that he is going to hell. When this is your experience of Christianity, it is natural to distrust Christians.

I took a chance and gave him the fan. I felt that it was God who gave me the idea in the store, so despite my nervousness, I went through with it. And you know what? He sent me a text message the next day that said, “I just wanted to say thank you for my new fan. It is perfect for me and you can rest assured that it will get used every day. Thanks again. I love you.”

This simple text i1101414_my_phones incredibly touching to me and it is a gift for which I am very grateful. My brother-in-law went out of his way to thank me and show appreciation. He even expressed brotherly love. I stand amazed at the goodness of God! I see the door opening a little. I hope to be able to show him that not all Christians are like his father. Although we make mistakes, most of us are genuinely trying to live for Christ and to show His love. It is my prayer that one day he will be converted and model Christ in a way that his father never did.

Rebekah L.

Jesus is the Great Physician

stethoscopeMy Muslim co-worker called me in tears yesterday morning to let me know that her daughter is in the hospital. She was admitted over the weekend and required two different surgeries to try to remove blood clots from her body. It was discovered that she has the same very serious blood-clotting disorder that my co-worker has. She is only 16 years old. Naturally, her mother is afraid.

I visited her daughter in the hospital this evening. I went to offer support and prayers for them both. My coworker has spent the last few days by her daughter’s bedside day and night so I wanted to go and make sure she could have a few minutes rest and have a chance to get a bite to eat. Her daughter doesn’t look good. She is very swollen, can’t move and is in a lot of pain, but I’m believing God for a full recovery. I told my co-worker that I would be praying for her daughter and that Jesus is the Great Physician.

Dear Readers, please join me in this prayer. Pray that my co-worker’s daughter will be completely healed and that my co-worker will know without a doubt that it was JESUS who did the healing. I pray that God would use this situation to show her that He is more than just a prophet; He is the Messiah, the Christ, the Living God; He is her Savior.

Jesus,

Thank you for the friendship that is blossoming between my co-worker and I. I pray that you would help me to be Your hands and feet and to minister to those You put in my path. Lord, please heal my co-worker’s daughter. Remove every remaining blood clot from her body and let her recovery from surgery be swift and complete. Use this opportunity to open their eyes to the truth of who You are. Help those of us in the body of Christ to honor You in all we do and to love all people with Your unfailing Love. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

In His Love,

Rebekah L.

Praying with a Muslim Part II – Friend of God

Those of you who have been fMuslim Woman Prayingollowing this blog for awhile know that about a month and a half ago I had the opportunity to pray with a Muslim co-worker.  You can read the original post here. What you may not know, is that these prayers have continued and my relationship with this co-worker has deepened during this time.

As a devout Muslim, my co-worker has to pray at least five times a day at specific times. There are relatively few places she can do this where we work. Since I have one of the few offices, and the only truly private office in the building she comes to do these prayers in my office a few times a week.  While she prays to Allah, I pray in the name of Jesus. My prayers are focused on one thing – her salvation. I pray for Jesus to reveal Himself to her. I pray that she will feel the Holy Spirit moving in my office.  I pray that she will get a revelation of who He is.

On Friday she came in for her mid-afternoon prayers and I sat next to her praying to Jesus. After she finished praying she looked at me in a way I have never seen her look at me. She had this amazed and almost bewildered look on her face. Then she said in a sort of confused tone, “You are not Muslim, but I think God told me you are His friend. I don’t think I’m His friend, but I think you’re His friend.”

This truly was amazing! I don’t feel much like God’s friend with all the mistakes I’ve been making lately, but I do believe God was trying to tell her something. Is it possible that He was trying to convey to her that I know Him in a way that she doesn’t? Perhaps if she believes I am His friend, she will be more open to listening to what I have to say about Him.

NailsI believe He is slowly revealing Himself to her and I have faith that He is going to transform her life. Will you believe God with me? Will you pray for my Muslim friend to come to know that Jesus is her Savior? I am looking forward to the day when she will declare that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life!

In His Love,

Rebekah L

Spreading Love

Darkness

“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” – Romans 12:21

In the aftermath of the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School there are more questions than answers. There is anger and bitterness. There are political debates. There are little hands to hold and fears to be faced. There are funerals to attend.

Many of us have desired to help the hurting and found ourselves at a loss as to how to go about it. People all over this country have grieved for those they have never met. How do you help someone you don’t even know? When you can’t help those directly affected you feel powerless. But the Bible reminds us not to be overcome by evil, but instead, let us overcome evil with good. Let us honor the memory of those precious children and heroic teachers by consciously adding good to the world.

A woman in a parking lot in Altoona, Pennsylvania received an anonymous Christmas card on Saturday that said, “How do you fight evil in this world. You fight it with good. This act of kindness is in memory of a child who lost his/her life yesterday. Make the world a better place. Do good and Merry Christmas.” The anonymous person left a $10 bill in the card. The woman said that it was the best Christmas gift she had ever received and she vowed to pay it forward. You can watch the original news story here.

I want to encourage people to make a mindful contribution to this world and to people in particular. It doesn’t have to be big and elaborate; it can be as simple as leaving $10 and a few kind words for a stranger. It’s not about a material gift; it’s about affecting the spiritual realm by combating evil with good. Don’t be afraid to extend kindness to a stranger. Don’t be embarrassed to tell someone you care about how much you love them. Remember to hug people and tell them they are valued. Small things can really brighten someone’s day.

Here are few ideas to get you started:

  • Offer to pray for someone.
  • Present a smile to a stranger, even if they scowl at you.
  • At the toll booth, pay the toll for the car behind you.
  • Leave change at a vending machine for the next person to find.
  • Hold the door open for people.
  • Donate used books/furniture/clothing to someone in need.
  • Visit a nursing home.
  • Rake/shovel/mow your neighbor’s yard before they come home from work.
  • Leave a dollar where a child will find it.
  • Bring treats to work for co-workers.
  • Go on Amazon.com and buy a random person something off their wish list.
  • Call someone you haven’t talked to in awhile.
  • Make a conscious effort to not complain about anything for an entire day.
  • Buy the meal/coffee for the person behind you in the drive-through.
  • Send a thank you card to someone who has been a positive influence in your life.
  • Let the person behind you in line at the grocery store go ahead of you.
  • Volunteer at a soup kitchen or donate canned goods and other staples to people in need.
  • Slip a $25 gas card in someone’s bag or on their windshield.
  • Buy a few extra umbrellas and on a rainy day go out and distribute them to people who are walking without one.
  • Send a letter to a store complimenting one of the employees. Letters of complaint are the norm; positive letters are rare and can really make a big difference in someone’s job.

I could list many more ideas, but you get the picture. One caution, it is easier to remember to do these sorts of things around Christmastime or around tragedies. I want to encourage people (myself included) to make this a regular habit, not something that is only done once a year. I’d even go so far as to suggest you schedule it into your life. Yeah, I know that scheduling it makes it sound sterile and like I’m taking all of the spontaneity out of it, but if you set up an alert on your outlook calendar, email, or cell phone that periodically reminds you to do this sort of thing, you can be sure that it will go beyond the Christmas season. If this sort of thing is new to you, then maybe you only set up your alert for every six months or so. If you’re feeling more venturous, set up an alert to remind you to do an act of kindness once a month, or once a week! Before long, you’ll notice opportunities even when you haven’t had an alert and it will become more organic over time. Ask God to open doors for you and to show you where you can be of assistance to someone or ask God to send you opportunities just to make someone’s day. You can be sure He will!

The Bible tells us that God is love (1 John 4:8)The best way to show people God is not by using well-crafted words, it’s by showing His love working through us. Spread love.

In His Love,

Rebekah L.

When God Reaches for the Backslider

Can God touch someone using a language the hearer has never learned?

The answer is yes! Yes, He can!

Language Barrier

On Sundays I attend an American church in the mornings and a Chinese home church in the afternoons. As a result I often listen to Chinese worship music along with my usual English praise songs. At work the other day I was listening to one of my Chinese worship albums. I kind of forgot I had it on because it was set to a very low volume, just loud enough so that the silence wouldn’t drive me crazy. One of my Hispanic co-workers came by my office for assistance with something. He was talking about work issues for a few minutes when he suddenly stopped and seemed to be listening really hard. He asked me to turn the music up. I increased the volume and the song playing was called 你釘痕的(Nǐ dīng hén de shǒu) which roughly translates to Your Nail-Scarred Hands. My co-worker listened pensively for a moment and said, “It’s really touching” and he asked me what language it was. I told him it was Chinese. He asked me what the song was about. I explained to him briefly that it was a Christian song and that it was about thinking of Jesus’ hands marked by the nails, His pain, how He heals our pain, and whatever pain we go through doesn’t compare to what He did for us. My co-worker’s eyes instantly filled with tears. He looked down and told me that he hasn’t been to church in 14 years. I told him it wasn’t too late to come back. He said that he didn’t think God would want him back. So I shared the story of the prodigal son with him and how the father rejoiced when his son came home and I told him that God loves him and is just waiting for him to come back. I invited him to come to my American church. I’m not sure if he’ll come because of the language barrier (he’s more comfortable with Spanish), but God has opened a door using a language this young man doesn’t even understand. It is clear that God is still reaching for this man and His Spirit transcends language and cultural barriers! Praise the Lord!

Jesus,

Thank you for your love and care for the lost sheep of this world. You are so worthy of our praise and adoration, Lord. Your enduring mercy continues to move me. Help me to be your hands and your feet and your mouth piece. I love you.

Rebekah L.

 

*Edit — Dear Readers, If you’re interested in hearing the song that was playing in my office when this conversation took place, I have posted it below. There are graphic images from The Passion of the Christ in this video so if that bothers you, you might not want to watch it. Be Blessed! In His Love, Rebekah L.