Tag Archive | faith

Feeling Forgotten

But Zion said, ‘The Lord has forsaken me, and my Lord has forgotten me.’ ‘Never! Can a woman forget her nursing child, and not have compassion on the son of her womb? Surely they may forget, yet I will not forget you. See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands; Your walls are continually before Me.’” -Isaiah 49:14-16

Recently I have been feeling forgotten. Forgotten by friends, family, coworkers. Even God. There are days where I literally feel invisible. I feel like a toddler who only knows how to get attention by acting out. Negative attention is the only thing I seem to be capable of bringing to myself these days and I’m not quite sure why.

I keep having these situations happen where discussions and decisions are taking place around me, but no one remembers to include me in them. Every single day this week I was left out of something I thought I was going to be included in. I can’t help wondering if there will ever be someone in my life who will think to ask me what I want or what my thoughts are. People don’t consult me for their plans (and they shouldn’t need to), but will I ever factor into someone else’s plan?

It’s happened so many times over the last few weeks that I’m seriously questioning my own value. Why do people keep forgetting me? Will I ever matter to anyone? People tell me I matter to them, but if that is true, why am I so easily forgotten? Sometimes they are kind enough to apologize and attempt to fix it after the fact, but they don’t realize it isn’t the actual plan that upsets me; it’s that I was forgotten. Left out. Invisible. Again. You can include me in the plan afterwards, but you can’t fix the fact that I wasn’t important enough to even be considered. And most of the time I know it wasn’t intentional so I can’t even be upset with them over it. That’s almost worse. If they did it on purpose that would mean they at least thought of me, but I’m not even a blip on their radar. No one ever makes plans with me, they make plans for me, or rather they make plans for themselves and if I want to barge in maybe I can crash their plans, but I have to force myself in the midst of them or I am left out. I don’t want to be where I’m not wanted so most of the time that means not participating. Even at work. Even in my own family. Even at church. I’m just so incredibly invisible.

It shouldn’t bother me so much. Why do I need to be recognized or included? I don’t. I have all that I need in Him. I’m trying to hold on to this: the Lord has not forgotten me. Sometimes I feel like He has, but that is not Truth. The Bible tells me that He will never leave me or forsake me. He knows the number of hairs on my head. He has called me by name. He has plans to prosper me. He sees every tear. He knows every fear. He provides for every need. He is with me.

I am not forgotten. And neither are you.

In His Love,

Rebekah L.

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.

God is Faithful

My faithfulness and My mercy shall be with him: and in My name shall his horn be exalted (Psalm 89:24).

I-am-faithful-to-keep-My-covenant

I came to God in my mid-twenties feeling broken, alone, and hopeless. God did what only He can do and transformed my life. It is through Him that we become whole. In walking with Him we realize we are never alone. And it is in Him that we have hope.

Those early months were such a struggle. I wanted so much to live for God, but I didn’t know how, and I didn’t really think it was possible. I didn’t have faith that I could do it because I had failed so many times before. Then one Sunday the pastor was preaching and he stood at the pulpit and said, “We are not faithful, but God is faithful!” Suddenly the light bulb came on. I had never in my life heard that God is faithful. I had heard many times about faithful people, but never once do I recall ever being told that God is faithful. It seems so obvious to me now, but at the time it was revolutionary; the thought had just never occurred to me. The pastor talked about how we have little faith, faltering faith, inconsistent faith, but that God is constant. That His love for us never fails. That He will never give up on us. That it is through Him that we are transformed. We don’t have to rely on our own abilities because He is faithful. It was an earth-shattering thought. In that very moment I was freed from the burden of having to do it on my own. I was released from the cycle of trying and failing. I didn’t have to do it on my own; I could give it to God. I could let God take care of it because He is faithful!

The Lord is faithful;Great is thy faithfulness He will strengthen you and guard you from the evil one (2 Thessalonians 3:3).

Now years later I marvel at how such a simple concept was so foreign to me. It seems implausible that I didn’t know that the Lord is faithful, but I truly didn’t know. Thank God for the Word of God and for His anointed messengers!

It’s interesting though because we can know something and believe something and yet sometimes we still need reminding of that thing. Occasionally, I need to be reminded of the faithfulness of God. I shouldn’t need this, for God has proved his faithfulness to me over and over again. Even still, I need to regularly open my Bible and let His Words wash over me, reassuring me that everything in it is true.

His promises are true.His faithfulness continues

His salvation is true.

His mercy is true.

His faithfulness has not wavered!

For the Word of the Lord is right and true; He is faithful in all He does. The Lord loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of His unfailing love (Psalm 33:4-5).

Thank you, Lord for the reminder. Thank you for your never-ending patience with me. Thank you for the measure of faith that you have given me to be confident in your faithfulness. I love you, Jesus.

Rebekah L.

When Sadness Creeps In

“Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” -1 Peter 5:7

Often times as Christians we feel pressured to always exhibit a happy demeanor. A sad Christian is a failing Christian. Or so we’re led to believe. As Christians we celebrate verses of Scripture that tell us to rejoice in Him. We know that “godliness with contentment is great gain” (1 Timothy 6:6).  We know that the “joy of the Lord” is our strength (Nehemiah 8:10) and that a “merry heart doeth good like a medicine” (Proverbs 17:22). But what happens when that merry heart is not so easy to find? What do we do as Christians when sadness creeps in?

Before I became a Christian I struggled with depression. There were periods in my life where I found it challenging to get out of bed in the morning or to make it through a daily routine. I was put on and taken off of several different anti-depressants over the years. I was plagued by suicidal thoughts. I self-injured on a number of occasions. I tried to self-medicate with substances. Meeting Christ changed all of that for me. When I met Him, I learned what it was to have joy unspeakable!  I was set free from debilitating depression, drug and alcohol abuse, and consuming thoughts of suicide. Praise the Lord!!

But sometimes, I still fall into sadness. It’s nothing like the debilitating depression I had before knowing Him, but I have a tendency not to share this with people because I feel guilty about it. I feel since the Lord has freed me from so much I don’t have a right to feel sad. Ever. I feel selfish when feelings of sadness come on.  Sometimes I let the enemy condemn me for the feelings I have. Or I beat myself up using Scriptures that admonish me to be content with what I have or by reminding myself of people who have many more trials than I do. The trouble is that because I have such negative feelings about sadness, I have a tendency to not deal with them. I try to sweep them under the rug and forget about them.  The problem is that in not dealing with these feelings they actually gain greater control. The best way to move beyond sadness is to acknowledge it and then give it to God.

I’ve come to realize that sadness is a part of life. It’s natural to feel sad when we lose a loved one, go through a break-up, see someone hurting, or watch a dear friend move away. The Lord Himself knew what it was like to experience sadness. He wept in front of Lazarus’ tomb.  In the book of Isaiah, the Bible describes the coming Lord as “a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief” (Isaiah 53:3). The Lord knows what it is to be sad.

David knew what it was to be sad too. He said, “Be merciful to me, O Lord, for I am in distress. My eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and my body with grief” (Psalm 31:9-10). In another place in the Bible, David is recorded as saying, “Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? (Psalm 42:5). There are many recorded examples of sadness in the Bible. Jeremiah was referred to as the “weeping profit”. Nehemiah was so sad that the king himself asked him what was wrong. Job knew grief, as did Solomon. Isaiah was so depressed he prayed to die!

If you are reading this and your countenance is down, know that you are not alone! You are in good company. You don’t have to pretend to be happy if you aren’t. It doesn’t make you less of a Christian, it simply makes you human. I have found that although I still fall into sadness at times that it doesn’t have to last long if I am consistent about handing it over to God.

You don’t have to feel anxious or ashamed of your emotions, but you do need to deal with them.  If sadness has crept in on you the first thing you need to do is to acknowledge it. Then you need to search your heart to see if there is any chance the sadness is connected to sin present in your life. If it is, repent and ask God to help keep you from falling into that sin in the future. Once we take care of sin, there are a couple of very helpful things we can do to move beyond sadness.  Below are a few of the things I have found helpful in my own walk with God.

In the natural:

  • Exercise – I have found nothing better than exercise for chasing away the blues.
  • Healthy Eating – Eating clean, healthy food the way God intended it.
  • Sleep – Adequate sleep is invaluable to our emotional well-being.

In the spiritual:

  • Thanksgiving – Having a heart of gratitude will do wonders for moving beyond sadness. When we focus on all the things we have to be thankful for, we don’t have time to focus on the things that bring us down!
  • Giving – Giving of our time and resources to those less fortunate than ourselves takes the focus off of our circumstances and on to others.
  • Worship – Again, this gets the focus off of us, and on to Him! He is our everything. He deserves our worship in the good times and in the sad times. The more we worship Him, the more He envelops us in His presence. It’s really hard to stay sad when you are in the presence of Almighty God!

If you’ve tried all that and it seems that none of it is working, don’t despair.  Keep giving it to God (1 Peter 5:7) and keep worshiping Him. Allow Him to work in you and through you. Remind yourself that even the mighty men of God in the Bible experienced sadness, loneliness, and depression. Never give up on God; He will never give up on you. 

In His Love,

-Rebekah L.

Serving Without Measure

A few days ago, I posted about how God was telling me to leave my worldly measuring stick behind and to just love people the way He does, in whatever capacity I can. Today, I’m expanding on that a little bit, just because I think our God is so amazing when it comes to this.

When we think of ‘giving’, we think of it as a voluntary thing. To be a giver is something desirable. When we think of a ‘servant’, we think of someone who is forced into that lifestyle. We think of people were abducted and forced into slavery or something.  We as Christians are also called to be servants, but our obligation is not due to force; it’s due to love. We are free to choose it or not. Still, having made such a choice, it’s no less obligatory.

Let’s think about that for a second. Think of servants – true slaves. They don’t get to pick and choose what tasks they’ll be doing that day.  They don’t get to pick and choose when they’ll serve. They have to be available every moment and they have to do what they’re told. They don’t get to say “I’m tired today, I’ll take a nap.” Or even “I’m tired today, maybe I’ll do the laundry instead of the yardwork.” No. They work where they’re needed, when they’re needed, and often they’re under-appreciated for all they do.

It doesn’t sound like it’s all that fun. However, that is the choice we make when we choose to follow Jesus. Jesus was GOD. He was GOD. And so often, He’d throw away His Godly power in order to be humble and to literally be a constant servant. He taught, He healed, He preached….He was busy. His followers used to worry about Him being so busy. They’d tell Him to stop and rest; they’d tell Him to stop and eat. He’d refuse. His philosophy? He was doing the work of His Father, and so His Father would sustain Him through it. There are several references to Him being tired. He served anyway.

He was right (of course He was!). His Father sustained Him. He gave without ceasing. He had a choice. He choose to give and give because that’s how much He loved us. When we make that same choice, to serve at our own expense, we in turn are showing just how much we love Him and want to emulate Him and spread His love here on earth. And when we do that, when we follow the path God sets us on, God sustains us. He knows when we’re at our breaking point; He won’t push us past it. He’ll bless us when we need it, and provide for us when we need it. All we need to do is make that choice to serve without measuring how hard we’re working or whether or not we want to.

And really, it’s not that much of a choice. Jesus gave endlessly, exhausting Himself and ultimately undergoing torture and death so that I, Rebekah A, would have eternal salvation. He did the same for you. And we are not given eternal salvation, this choice to follow Jesus and live by His example, so that we can pick and choose when to do so. When we choose God, it’s an eternal choice. It’s a choice to give of ourselves when we can. It’s a choice to pick up the cross. Yes we may make mistakes. We fall. But we don’t get to put the cross down. Jesus had help at one point carrying His cross. We’re allowed help too. We don’t have to go it alone, and we don’t have to martyr ourselves. But we don’t get to put it down.  God can temporarily take it from us to give us rest. But when we choose God, and we choose Jesus and the salvation and love that comes with Him, we also choose His lifestyle and we choose to walk on His path. It’s a path of love and peace, but not always one of convenience. And that’s so important for us to remember, because there are no coincidences under God. Every person who crosses your path, crosses your path for a reason. God can use you in every instance. How many chances are we missing because we’re ‘too tired’ or ‘not in the mood’?

So today readers, I ask you to not only lay down your measuring sticks when it comes to your relationships, but lay it down when it comes to actions. Your only starting point should be when God says ‘go’, and your only finish line should be when God says ‘stop.’ He’ll take care of you; you’ll see. And while He’s at it, He’ll move in amazing ways in your life. After all, He loves you just as much as He loves the people He tells you to serve!!

God bless!

~Rebekah A

 

Leaving My Measuring Stick

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” ~Matthew 7:1-2

This scripture, or really all of Matthew 7, really hits home. In fact, I was talking about it with a friend the other day. I was realizing all at once just how flawed my servanthood is.  See, I try to have the heart of a servant (as we should!) and I suppose I do. But it isn’t a constant heart.  I’ll give – either time, prayer, food, whatever it is I can give to bless a person. And at some point I expect that to be reciprocated in kind. I get frustrated when it isn’t. Then I complain.

The law of common sense says ‘you get what you give.’ It’s human nature to expect it and desire it. But when we expect appreciation and support from people for doing things we’re supposed to do anyway (we are called to be servants, after all), and don’t receive it, it can trigger bitterness in us and can even start to affect that relationship. And really, it makes no sense to apply human nature here; you can’t use worldly standards to measure God’s work and calling. It just won’t add up. Serving someone the way Jesus said to, and by Jesus’ example, and using my human measuring stick to determine that the person I served should now turn around and bless me….well that’s just silly. The concept of having the heart of a servant is all over the place in the Bible. The concept of serving only when it’s reciprocated is nowhere. When Rebekah watered all those camels at the well and spent hours doing so, was she measuring how much she would get in return from this elderly servant? No. She helped without measure, as she was called to.

A few days ago I posted about a friend who has had a lot going on, and how no matter how much time and prayer I gave to her, I felt like when I needed prayer, I was brushed aside. The more I thought about it, the more I realized I was thinking in terms of ‘she always ____’ or ‘she never ____’. I was generalizing. And it wasn’t fair. After all, how many mistakes have I made in the eyes of the Lord? How many times have I put God second or pushed Him farther back on my to-do list that day? And yet, for all that, is Jesus really holding up a measuring stick to my faith? Is He measuring how small my steps are today compared to what they were yesterday? Or how far to the right or left my focus is, rather than on the straight and narrow path He’s set before me? No. He isn’t. He may temporarily, just to bring it to my awareness what I’m doing. But as soon as I repent and bring my focus back in, He simply applauds me for coming back on track.

And yet, here I am, holding this measuring stick up to the friendship of a person who, like me, is only human. We’re flawed.  And our flaws come with us when we sit at God’s table.  It’s not up to us to decide who ranks better or what somebody ‘should’ be doing or how we ‘should’ be treated. Should Jesus have been crucified and tortured? Of course not – He didn’t deserve it. But He took it. And in spite of what He went through to save me, and in spite of the horribly poor job I do at repaying Him, He loves me. There is no condemnation in Him when I make mistakes, only forgiveness and love. My steps have been guided by Him today, but not measured. Neither should I measure anyone else’s.

So I am trying to break this habit of score-keeping when it comes to giving. My serving and blessing someone should have nothing to do with whether they’re serving and blessing me.  I’ve actually started looking at it as a training ground. If I can’t serve a fellow Christian (someone who will pray with me when I’m dragging and faltering), how can I ever go out and serve others? Jesus, give me Your heart for this world. Help me to keep focused on Your eyes alone, and let the fire I see in them burn up my worldly measuring tools. No tool I have can show me Your work. So God, keep my eyes on You and give me a heart that takes joy in blessing others as you have so abundantly blessed me. I love You, Jesus, and in Your name I pray.

I invite you, readers, to take a second and think about what measuring sticks you’re holding. Go through your relationships – friends, family, acquaintances, and coworkers – and look hard at the dynamic of the relationship. Is there someone you’re not inclined to do favors for because you know they won’t do the same to you? Is there someone you are frequently frustrated with because you give and they seem like a ‘taker’? Anyone in your life you’d classify as a mooch? Take a hard look at these relationships, and submit them with me to the Lord.  Ask Him for His heart for each of these people, and to bless you with a generous spirit for them in spite of how they appear. Drop the measuring sticks once and for all. Lay them at the Lord’s feet and allow Him to take over and dictate how you serve – when, whom, and how often.

Our Savior was the ultimate example of this, and gave the ultimate gift. Compared to Him and what He did for us, neither we or our friends are all that great. Or all that generous. And He isn’t measuring us. So it’s time to stop measuring each other!

I’d love to pray for you in this and anything else God is doing in your life – write to me at being.rebekah.a@gmail.com. God bless!

~Rebekah A

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