Tag Archive | church

Blessings For My Past, Present, and Future

“Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and He will establish your plans.” ~Proverbs 16:3

We all have goals in our lives; maybe you want to work towards a promotion, or to work towards getting out of debt, or to find someone to be in a committed relationship with. The awesome thing about God is, He knows your heart. He knows what you want, and He genuinely wants to bless His children. He really does. He’s a loving Father, and whether the desire be little or huge, He wants to bless us.

I’m not saying He wants to give you everything you want. We don’t always want the right things for ourselves. But He does want to bless us. And He can. Of course He can; He’s God. But in order to be blessed by God, we need to put Him first. It really is that simple.

Take finances. The Bible says to tithe. To tithe is to put God first, and to sow into His plan for your church and your life. Take education. When I was applying to grad school, my grades were good, I had some solid field experience, and I was a great essay writer. I mentioned God and church in my essay, and tied my Christianity into who I was as a person. This is breaking a cardinal rule of essay-writing, and I knew it. I did it anyway. Why? Because I wanted God to be first. I wanted it to be His plan in His time, not mine. I was rejected from the school. The year prior, I had applied to the same school, didn’t mention God in the essay, and was the top waitlisted candidate. The only difference was putting God first. It seemed like a disappointment, but my life would have looked totally different right now had I followed myself instead of my Father. And not for nothing, but I like my life. And with the life I have, my walk with God is stronger than ever. That school rejection might have been one of the biggest blessings in disguise I’ve ever received.

My pastor talked about this at church today. He essentially said to look at where we want blessings, and put God first in those areas (it should be every area!!). But it’s a simple thing to do. If you want God to bless your finances, sow into God’s financial plan. If you want God to bless your career, put Him first in your career. If you want God to bless your relationships, put Him first in your relationships.  We heard a testimony of a newlywed couple who were $100,000 in debt, but decided to tithe anyway. They were debt-free two years later. They gave their trouble to God, sowed into His plan, trusted and believed Him for it, and He blessed them in kind. I know of another girl who went to Harvard and was so busy, but decided to dedicate two hours of her day to God anyway. In turn, He started multiplying her time so that not only did she complete her tasks and studying every day, but she actually had some time left over for herself. When we put God first, even if it’s a short-term hardship, His blessings can be amazing.

Putting God first reconciles your past – it shows you’ve learned from your mistakes and are no longer willing to do things your own stubborn way anymore. It also shows God that you’re putting Him first for today, your present. And it shows God that you have faith in His plan for your future. When you put Him first by your actions, He is first in your heart. Which is right where He should be, because that’s where He can work the most and direct your life the most effectively. And yes, pour out blessings upon you too.

God bless!

~Rebekah A

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The Real Miracle

“Jesus said to her, I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives in me and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” ~John 11:25-26

It’s Easter. Resurrection Sunday. The day we celebrate the miracle of the Christian faith.

Which brings us to the question, what is the miracle of our faith? Jesus died, remained dead for three days, and rose back up to walk out of his own tomb. He died. Legitimately died. No breathing, no heartbeat, only a corpse. For a full three days. There was no “oops we put someone in the tomb who wasn’t really dead” moment. He was legitimately dead for three days. Then he came back to life, and has remained alive ever since. He’s alive and ruling in Heaven, and He’s alive and ruling in our hearts.

But at church today I heard the pastor say something that put it into even greater perspective. He said, “the miracle is not that Jesus was dead and came back to life. The miracle is that I have life.”

And it’s true. The miracle of the Christian faith is not that God can conquer death. God created life and death; of course He can control it. He can walk on water when nature says He should sink. He can heal the sick when nature says they were born with a deformity. He can take a loaf of bread and turn it into many, when nature says bread must be baked from more ingredients. He can raise a person from the dead, when nature says death is permanent. The fact that He raised Himself is really no more surprising than anything else He died. He defied the known facts of the world, because He created it.

But the real miracle here is that we are raised from the dead. Because of the blood shed 2,000 years ago, we have eternal life. We, if we live in Christ and believe in the salvation He gave us, will not die.

Think about that for a second. We will never die. We. will. never. die. Sure, our bodies may die, and there may be a certificate that says a time of death, but since when has the flesh ever been important? As Christians we are meant to live in the spirit; we’re citizens of Heaven, not the world. So our flesh may well shut down and decay; but by the time that happens, we won’t be part of it. We’ll be rejoicing and worshiping and basking at the feet of our Lord, Father, Husband and Savior. He died, that we would live.

So spend time with Him this week. When you wake up in the morning, thank Him for His sacrifice. Thank Him for the eternal life He gave you. Thank Him, and take a second to dedicate your day to Him. Yes, you are still flesh. But you’re also spirit. And He gave you your life for eternity; there’s no reason why eternity can’t start today, here on earth, right where you sit. So dedicate your life to Him. It may be a moment by moment dedication. You may have to say every morning “Lord I give you today in my life”, or even break it down further with “this conversation belongs to You, Lord”. It doesn’t matter how you do it, just that you do. You know that if you live in Christ, you’ll never die. So go ahead and start living in Him with new focus and new dedication. Claim your eternal miracle.

God bless!

~Rebekah A

“A Faith That Breathes”

Yes, I am writing my very first blog book review! A Faith That Breathes, by Michael and Tiffany Ross, is a book that was lent to me by a friend, when I was having a rough time this fall. It’s part devotional, part journal, and for me it was perfect. It’s written by women (though compiled by a woman and her husband), for women, and every day is a new topic to think about. I read it with a journal on hand, and definitely recommend you do the same. Each day has a written entry, followed by a related interview from well-known Christian women. It’s instant solidarity and instant encouragement, and for me, I couldn’t have received it at a better time.

Before I moved to NYC, I was surrounded by Christian friends. Any time I wanted to chat or pray or worship, I had someone to do that with. It was great. I had friends I’d meet with for dinner, and hours later we’d still be talking about how God is moving. Rebekah M has posted about the power of sisterhood; for me, it’s been a vital part of my spiritual growth. I wouldn’t be the same Christian without it.

Since moving to NYC, I’ve been more on my own. I can pray with my friends over the phone or skype, but it’s just not the same. I miss my home, I miss my friends, I miss these talks, I miss these prayers….basically I just miss my girl time. I depended on it before, and while I am growing here, I really feel the loss of those connections I had.

Enter A Faith That Breathes. This book, by  has all the girl time you could ever want, in paperback form – let’s face it, our friends aren’t portable. But these ladies are, and they are a close second! Every entry is thought-provoking; they write about their journeys to certain realizations, periods of growth, things God’s revealed to them. Each one has Bible verses that relate to it, and there is a section in each that gives a broader view of what this particular topic looks like when it’s walked out. There’s even a chance to reflect on what they wrote about and how it relates specifically to you. I started reading it when I was feeling some distance from God, and could feel myself reading the Bible less, praying for shorter amounts of time. That’s a slippery slope, to say the least. This book singlehandedly gave me the jumpstart I needed to get grounded in God again, and get my focus back. It was like having an instant group of friends who knew me and related to me – without ever meeting me.

So if you need to kickstart your faith or if you’ve been in a spiritual rut, definitely check out this book. Hopefully it will speak to your heart as strongly as it has been to mine! And if you just need some girl time, don’t worry – they’ve got you covered there too.

And for you men…sorry. Find your own book.

God bless!

~Rebekah A

Being Anna

There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived seven years with her husband after her marriage, and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple, but worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer. And coming forward at that very time, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem.” ~Luke 3:36-38

My last post was about seeking God and not His promised rewards; those will come on their own as God sees fit, but our priority as Christians needs to be on God Himself.

The story of Anna the prophetess exemplifies this. She was married for seven years. That’s it – just seven years before her husband died. Marriage and parenthood are supposed to be two relationships, marked by unconditional love, that emulate God’s love for His people. We can’t fully love the way God does, but in these two relationships, if we do it right we come as close as we can.

However, Anna was denied these things. She was denied a loving marriage. The bible doesn’t mention any children; since other details about her life and family are mentioned, I’m assuming she had no children. But if you know for sure please tell me! Regardless, most girls dream of growing up and getting married. Especially back then. Anna got that life, and then it was taken away from her.

Did she get bitter, or turn on God? No. She may have for awhile, I’m certain she was hurt; but she opened herself up to be healed by God and to grow in her walk with Him. Ultimately, she spent her life not on a human family or any earthly thing; she spent her life with God. Granted, she was brought to a place where there was nothing left for her on earth. Facing that, she turned her desires and her focus to Heaven. Her temporary home was empty, so her sights were set on her eternal home. We aren’t all brought to such a place of despair; sometimes we have to shift that focus on our own.

But look what happens when we do! Anna, at age 84, having spent most of her life as a widow, was essentially living in the temple and spending her waking hours in fasting and prayer. She worshiped and prayed to God for the sake of being with Him – not to gain a reward, but just to be with Him. Her perspective was right, and guess what happened? God rewarded her anyway! Anna spent so much time worshiping in the temple that she was in the temple when Jesus Christ was brought in to be dedicate. Anna’s there praying, desiring God, and then sees Him as an 8-day-old infant. Not only did she see Him, but she knew Him for who He was. She had been blessed with prophesy and her time with God honed her discernment. She knew exactly who she was looking at, and she knew what He would ultimately do. She had the chance to speak over Him. God literally rewarded her with Himself.

Jesus, we thank you that you are so faithful and giving of Yourself to us, when we just focus on You. Help us to keep our priorities straight and keep our eyes on You and Your light. Help us to see You as the true and ultimate reward, and to see anything you bless us with here on earth as a bonus.

God bless!

~Rebekah A