Tag Archive | Jesus

Resisting the Enemy

Here is a truth: the devil has power.resist devil

Here is a greater truth: the only power the devil has is the limited power that Jesus Christ has allowed him access to.

All power in heaven and earth belongs to Jesus Christ (Matthew 28:18).

As member’s of Christ’s family, He has given us authority over all the power of the enemy (Luke 10:19).

When we submit to God, and resist the devil, the enemy will flee from us (James 4:7).

In His Love,

Rebekah L.

Temporary Assignments

Children

For about a year and a half I have been involved in a home missions type church in addition to my regular church. During this time I have been teaching Sunday School to the children that go to the home church. For much of this time, I was spending two and sometimes three days a week with them for several hours at a time so I came to know them much better than the children of my regular church. In this time I have seen these kids grow a tremendous amount. They have grown physically, emotionally and spiritually.

When I first started helping out, most of them had no idea what words like “pray” or “Lord” meant. It was a totally foreign concept to them. Now, these same children join in prayer and regularly report different ways that the Lord has blessed them throughout the preceding week. It has been a lot of hard work, but it has been incredibly rewarding to watch them grow.

My work in this home church will be coming to an end in about six weeks. It has been a tremendous blessing to have been a part of this and yet I also know that my part in this ministry is over. I am thankful that God has made His will clear to me and that I will be able to leave on a positive note with many wonderful memories and learning experiences to take with me.

I am also a little sad. I am going to miss all these beautiful children. I’ve come to think of them as “my” kiddos. I am going to miss watching them grow up and grow in Him. When the horrible tragedy of Sandy Hook Elementary broke the news, it was these kids who came to my mind first. It was only later that I thought of the children from my regular church. The ones I thought of immediately were the kids from the home church. They were the ones I wanted to see and wrap my arms around.

One thing I have come to realize is that most ministry is temporary. God has a certain will for a certain time. I often wonder how many times we prevent ourselves, and our churches, from moving on to the next thing that God is calling us to do because we are unwilling to walk away from what He intended for only a temporary assignment. I have seen people hang on to things for far too long because letting go is too difficult. Even when a ministry is clearly no longer working or when doors shut on every side, they continue to hang on because they say, “But God called me to this!” and indeed He may have, but did God call you to it forever? Perhaps not.

New AssignmentThere are times when you’ve already accomplished everything that God wanted you to do and a ministry will naturally come to an end. God can’t give you a new assignment until you are willing to surrender the previous one. Consider the ministry of John the Baptist. For a time he was the one gathering disciples and teaching them about the remission of sins through the cleansing waters of baptism. But John the Baptist understood that his assignment was temporary. He said, “One mightier than I is coming after me. I am not worthy to stoop and loosen the thongs of his sandals. I have baptized you with water; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit (Mark 1:7-8). He knew that there was one coming after him. He also knew that his job was to preach repentance (Matthew 3:1-2) and to baptize people with water, but that someone else would come along who would baptize with the Holy Spirit.

Even Jesus Himself, had a temporary assignment as a man on this earth. His public ministry only lasted three years. What God is calling you to, may be a legitimate calling, but that doesn’t necessarily make it a permanent calling.

When Phillip was preaching in the book of Acts we see something very interesting happen. He is preaching in Samaria to multitudes of people (Acts 8). People are giving their lives to God. Both men and women are getting baptized. It’s a revival and God is clearly in it. Phillip has been called for such a time as this! But guess what happens? God sends an angel and tells Phillip to go to a desert road! He’s in the villages preaching to multitudes and God sends him to a lonely desert road?! His assignment to the multitudes had come to an end because God had a new assignment for him. I can imagine Phillip on this deserted road not seeing a soul in sight and wondering whether he might have heard God wrong. Perhaps he misunderstood the angel. But Phillip was precisely where God wanted him to be. There was a lone Ethiopian eunuch on the road and God had ordained for Phillip to meet him there so that he could hear the gospel. God doesn’t give Phillip the assignment of mentoring and discipling the Ethiopian eunuch either. No, after a quick bible study and baptism, Phillip is whisked away to another assignment.

So if God gives you an assignment that seems smaller than your last one or if He gives you one that seems smaller than wThe assignmenthat you think you should be doing, you should remember that our Sovereign Lord knows and sees all. He makes no mistakes. He is the assignment giver and He is the one that decides what assignment you should be on and for how long. When a ministry comes to an end, don’t lament the end of that ministry, rejoice that you were blessed to be a part of it. Don’t cling to an assignment that has ended because in doing so you will miss the next assignment that God has for you. In order to accomplish His will you need to move on to the next thing He has ordained for you. No matter where or when you are sent, above all remember that it isn’t about you, it’s about bringing Him glory!

The Bible says, “We fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18). We are on temporary assignment and we need to keep our focus on the eternal. Always seeking after Him, always seeking to be in His will.

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.

Choosing to Believe

The Great Commision

“I believe; help my unbelief!” –Mark 9:24b

Happy New Year Everyone!!

I have some exciting news from my personal life to share with you. The company I work for runs a charity that works with impoverished people all over the world. Its primary function is a micro-lending institution that gives small dollar amount loans to help people make a business for themselves and to empower them to lift themselves out of poverty. Other functions include sending volunteers to work on farms, teach literacy skills, train them in job skills etc.

Several months ago I was nominated to apply to go on one of their volunteer opportunities because of the work I have done teaching English to some of our English Language Learners here at the location where I work. The trip I was nominated to apply for is a program in India.

We had three montapplicationhs to complete the application process. For the first two+ months of this time, I did absolutely nothing. I didn’t work on my application at all, partly because I didn’t think I’d be accepted, partly because of fear and partly because I don’t feel a particular call and burden to India. Please don’t misunderstand me, I think India is a fascinating place and I love the Indian people. One of the very first people who ever witnessed to me about Christ was a former Hindu from India and I am forever grateful to him for it. I am thankful for the many people that God has called to India. It’s just that I have a very strong burden for the Chinese. It has been prophesied to me multiple times that I would work with Chinese and that at some point I would go overseas to minister to them in some capacity. I have struggled to believe and accept this. I am a very introverted person and the idea of going overseas and speaking on His behalf (especially in a foreign language and culture) is extremely intimidating to me.

Anyway, I didn’t do much with my application because I kept thinking, “Why India?” India after all didn’t fit in with the prophesy so it didn’t seem like something I needed to pursue. However, God later got a hold of me and I felt like He told me that I was ignoring an opportunity that He was putting in front of me. So I applied.

When God Opens a Door

Fast forward a few months later. Yesterday I got a phone call from the director of the program. He asked me if I had had my heart set on India and whether I would be really upset if I didn’t get to go there. I was a little thrown off by his question because normally if you’re rejecting someone you just say “We’ve decided to go with another candidate” or something like that. So I said I might be a little disappointed, but I wouldn’t be upset because I prayed that if it was God’s will for me to be in the program that He would open the door and that if it wasn’t His will that He wouldn’t. The guy paused a second (and I started inwardly freaking out a little that I had just violated the unwritten rule of never bringing up God in a work situation), but then he said, “So if God opened a different door, you would go, right?” He went on to tell me that they hadn’t chosen me for the India program because they had another opportunity he wanted to discuss with me. He explained that they are putting together a pilot program to visit three of their projects in countries where they’ve never sent volunteers before. He said the three projects are in the Philippines, China, and Taiwan and then he said, “We really hope you will go”. So crazy! I definitely didn’t expect this. I almost didn’t apply because the location didn’t make sense to me, but God had a plan all along. Two out of three of these locations are Chinese speaking countries. Actually, even the third recognizes Chinese as a minority language.

Granted, this is a program through work and not an actual missions opportunity, but I know that God has put this together. No one at work knows about the prophesies I’ve received or about my burden for the Chinese.  The first time I was told I would go overseas was before I even knew Jesus when I was only about ten years old. Then shortly after I was saved in 2004 a prophesy came that I would be a missionary to Asia. That was nine years ago. Since that time a few other prophesies have come my way which made it clear that the focus would be on Chinese people. Even though this will only be a short trip, I see this as the beginning of the prophesies being fulfilled in my life. It’s humbling to watch God put things together.help my unbelief

I feel ashamed of my doubt. I have doubted for so long. I have struggled to believe the words that were spoken over me even though they matched the burden within me. I have felt too inadequate; I have told God to send someone else. I have focused on my own lack rather than on His ability. I have seen the years slip by without any indication that any of it would come to pass.

I know this is just a work trip and I don’t know what God’s plan is, or how many more years will pass between now and the true fulfillment of that plan, but I repent of my doubt. I don’t know how or when or why, but what He has spoken over my life will come to pass, every word of it.

I want to encourage our readers. If God has given you a calling or a burden, or if things have been prophesied over your life, trust God to bring them to pass! We don’t know how long it will take, but if God has told you something, hang on to it! All things are in His hands and in His timing!

May you be blessed in 2013!

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.

His Love Never Fails

Praise-the-Lord-He-is

Yesterday was my parents’ wedding anniversary. Was. They’ve been divorced for over sixteen years now. Their marriage was a terrible one. I never remember a time when they were happy in it. It was painfully obvious to us children that they had no love for each other. I remember as a young child, hoping, wishing, praying that they would get divorced. Yet, when it finally happened, I still grieved over it.

A small piece of that sadness hung over me yesterday. December 3rd is a reminder of a failed covenant. People promise things all the time. People lie. They cheat, they steal, they change their minds, they hurt each other.

But God.

God’s love never fails. He never lies. He will never leave us or forsake us. When He makes a covenant, you can count on Him to keep His side of the agreement. Numbers 23:19 says, “God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? Or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?”  Joshua told us that not one thing has failed of all the good things which God said, all of them come to pass (Joshua 23:14). God loved us when we were unlovable. He loved us enough to die for us. We don’t ever have to fear that He will fall out of love with us. It doesn’t matter how many times we fail Him, He never gives up on us. He keeps reaching, reaching.

God entered a personal covenant with me on February 29th 2004, the day He sealed me with that Holy Spirit of promise (Ephesians 1:13). I can choose to walk away from Him if I want to, but He will never walk away from me. I may fall from time to time, but He will always be willing to help me back up. His love never fails.

  Jesus,
  Thank you for your never failing love.
~Rebekah L.
 
 
 

“What Version of the Bible do you Read?”

(And why I hate the question)

Recently, a friend of mine asked me which version of the Bible I read. It’s a simple enough question and my friend had no ill intentions or hidden agenda when she asked it, but I have heard this question many times before and quite frequently the conversation that follows puts one or both parties on the defensive. There have been many impassioned discussions that have taken place and I have seen believers who should be building each other up, quickly begin tearing each other down over the subject.

The choosing of one version over another is a dividing line. It creates an “us” and “them”.

If you read the English language, you are blessed with many different versions of the Bible to choose from. A quick count of just the English translations available on Biblegateway.com reveals over twenty-five of them. This is a tremendous blessing that many of us take for granted. Often in my studies I will read the same verse in six or seven different versions.  When I do this, I usually come away with a greater, more well-rounded understanding of the verse than if I had read it in my favorite version only.

But there are pitfalls to having so many versions available. It is my belief that the enemy of our souls has found a way to pervert a blessing into a way to weaken the body. Satan’s plan is to steal, to kill, and to destroy (John 10:10). He has learned that if he can cause division in the body of Christ, he can keep us from operating in the power of the Holy Spirit. Beyond that, if he can get us to believe that our version is better than someone else’s version; he can encourage us to lift ourselves up over our brothers and sisters. Further, Satan can instill doubt in the Word of God. After all, if my version is better than your version, that means there is some inherent flaw in your translation. By reason, I should come to doubt that your version is even inspired of God. Then, I am faced with asking myself how I know for sure that my chosen version does not also contain some hidden flaw. Can we really trust the Bible at all?

Do not be deceived, the devil is trying to steal the Word from us, he is attempting to kill our faith, he is working to destroy the body!

That is not to say that there aren’t differences in translations; real differences that should be carefully considered when choosing a version to read from. We are talking about the Word of God so it should not be taken lightly. However, these considerations should not come at the expense of the unity of the body. Remember, the Word of God is a living Word; if you approach it prayerfully, God can speak to you through it regardless of minor translation differences.

Yes, there are books out there that are called “scripture” from cults and sects that are far from inspired. They may call themselves Christian, but in fact believe a number of unbiblical things. Let me be perfectly clear that I am not referring to any of these. There have also been Bibles printed that contained outright errors and fallacies. I am not referring to those either, but the Bible, no matter what translation you read teaches that Jesus is God incarnate. He alone was born for the purpose of becoming the ultimate sacrifice. He died to save us from our sins. He rose again on the third day and through Him we have the hope of eternal life. Christians everywhere are agreed on this no matter what translation they read. If they don’t believe this, they are not really Christian, regardless of what they call themselves.

Personally, I have versions of the bible that I prefer and versions that are not my favorite. I believe that I have solid, well researched reasons for these preferences. But those who are partial to the versions I don’t prefer also have reasons for their choices. But here’s the point: if you were to give me my least favorite translation of the Bible, I could still teach someone who Jesus is and why He came. I could still show someone the plan of salvation. I could still experience the spirit of God speaking to me through those words. His Words.

The reason we have so many arguments about what version to read is simply because we have so many versions to choose from. Consider the fact that most languages have only one translation of the Bible, two if they are very fortunate; and many languages only have a small portion of the Bible translated at all. Should we doubt that God can save those people since they are not reading your preferred version?

Satan will use whatever tool he can to divide us. Do not let the sacred Word of God be twisted this way. The Word is our offensive weapon, to be used to defeat Satan. Rather than squabble over it, let us be united in it! The Word of God is able to transcend time, language, and culture. We can have intelligent, sensitive, God honoring discussions about word choices and translations without displaying poor attitudes and judgment toward one another. God gave us His Word to teach, guide and edify us. Let’s put aside petty disagreements and use it to build each other up.

-Rebekah L