My spiritual journey: moments of clarity, ponderings, and vast irritations

Friday, February 19, 2010

Hope you enjoyed those blogs! :)

I had a lot of fun going through and reading those! I think the Bible studies were my favorite... haven't done a good one in a long time. :)

The truth about prosperity

April 4, 2008

In continuation of the study I started earlier, I thought I would pick up on a controversial term in Christianity: prosperity. There are those who say that God promises us prosperity in everything we do from spiritual blessings to physical and financial well-being… In fact they believe this so strongly that some of them feel that if something goes wrong in your life you must either not be saved or be fallen into some major sin. There are those who believe that God has nothing to do with the day to day little things in our lives, as he is so focused on what is truly important – the souls of man… ’and did God ever promise that the Christian life would be perfect? And besides, all those who live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution." And then there are those who choose a middle ground and say that God does wish to prosper his children in all things, and in fact does, but we live in a sin-cursed world where ’LIFE HAPPENS!’ as well as trials, temptations, and let’s face it, persecution. SO as a result sometimes it seems that we are not very prospered.

So who is right? It all sounds so good. They all say they have Scripture to back it up. But do they? That’s what I’m going to find out.

Prosperity Defined:

Merriam Webster’s says prosperity is "the condition of being successful or thriving; especially : economic well-being"

Just out of curiosity I also checked the 1828 Noah Webster’s American Dictionary of The English Language (which I love!) and it says "Advance or gain in anything good or desirable; successful progress in any business or enterprise; success; attainment of the object desired;"

Strongs: (I will number these so that you know which Scripture reference is which Greek word, but I haven’t necessarily used all the forms)

1.) H2896




From H2895; good (as an adjective) in the widest sense; used likewise as a
noun, both in the masculine and the feminine, the singular and the plural (good, a
good or good thing, a good man or woman; the good, goods or good things, good
men or women), also as an adverb (well):—beautiful, best, better, bountiful,
cheerful, at ease, X fair (word), (be in) favour, fine, glad, good (deed, -lier, liest, -
ly, -ness, -s), graciously, joyful, kindly, kindness, liketh (best), loving, merry, X
most, pleasant, + pleaseth, pleasure, precious, prosperity, ready, sweet, wealth,
welfare, (be) well ([-favoured]).

2.) H7961

åìÅLÜ åéìÅLÜ äåˆìÅLÔ

shaòleòv shaòleòyv sheleòvaòh

shaw-lave’, shaw-lave’, shel-ay-vaw’

From H7951; tranquil; (in a bad sense) careless; abstractly security:—(being)
at ease, peaceable, (in) prosper (-ity), quiet (-ness), wealthy.

3.) H7965


shaòloòm shaòloòm

shaw-lome’, shaw-lome’

From H7999; safe, that is, (figuratively) well, happy, friendly; also
(abstractly) welfare, that is, health, prosperity, peace:— X do, familiar, X fare,
favour, + friend, X greet, (good) health, (X perfect, such as be at) peace (-able, -
ably), prosper (-ity, -ous), rest, safe (-ly), salute, welfare, (X all is, be) well, X

4.) H6743

çìÇöÈ ç—ìÅöÈ

tsaòlach tsaòleòach

tsaw-lakh’, tsaw-lay’-akh

A primitive root; to push forward, in various senses (literally or figuratively,
transitively or intransitively):—break out, come (mightily), go over, be good, be
meet, be profitable, (cause to, effect, make to, send) prosper (-ity, -ous, -ously).

5.) H7962




From H7951; security (genuine or false):—abundance, peace (-ably),
prosperity, quietness.

6.) H7919




A primitive root; to be (causeatively make or act) circumspect and hence
intelligent:—consider, expert, instruct, prosper, (deal) prudent (-ly), (give) skill (-
ful), have good success, teach, (have, make to) understand (-ing), wisdom, (be,
behave self, consider, make) wise (-ly), guide wittingly.

Prosperity in the Bible:

There are 17 total references to prosperity and 49 (in 48 verses) to prosper, not all of them having to do with this study. Several talk about how prosperity can make you lazy or how it can be the downfall of the wicked which we should keep in mind! If we are prospered as Christians there are many side issues that can arise in that (i.e. jealously, covetousness, selfishness, lust, pride, idolatry, etc) if we do not remember who it is that prospered us and remain utterly surrendered to Him! And that includes spiritual blessings… I’ve met (and been one of them before) many puffed up Christians who are so proud in their spiritual gifts, talents and blessings that they forget that it’s not all about them, it’s all about Jesus!

Job 36:11 If they obey and serve [him], they shall spend their days in prosperity (1), and their years in pleasures. (side note… one of my favorite verses in Job is in this chapter! Verse 7)

So, we see that obedience is a prerequisite to prosperity. That seems to ring true with what we know of New Testament Principles. Not that we are under the law, but we show that we love him if we keep his commandments; and as John says, "his commandments are not grievous…. And this is the commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment." (I John 5:3b, I John 3:23)If we keep his commandments it gives us confidence that he WILL hear our prayers and give us whatever we ask. (I John 3:21-22, 5:14-15)

Psalm 35:27 Let them shout for joy, and be glad, that favour my righteous cause: yea, let them say continually, Let the LORD be magnified, which hath pleasure in the prosperity (3) of his servant.

I still marvel at this verse no matter how many times I read it. Jehovah God, The Eternal One, The Almighty really does care about me. This doesn’t just say he cares about his children plural, it’s singular: His servant. And he doesn’t just care about me, he actually takes pleasure in me. Wow. That in itself would be amazing and utterly mind-blowing! But it doesn’t stop there either. He has pleasure in my prosperity - My individual everyday life, My ups and my downs, my successes and my failures – He is watching. And what really makes him happy through and through is my prosperity! I can’t fathom that. Every time something good happens to me my Heavenly Father rejoices. Doesn’t that just sound like what a daddy would do? Dad’s love to hear when their children are doing well for themselves.

Psalm 118:25 Save now, I beseech thee, O LORD: O LORD, I beseech thee, send now prosperity (4).

Ok… I’ve been here numerous times. Do you ever feel guilty for asking the Lord to bless you? I do. It’s been put in me over and over again that God will bless as he wills, and we should just be thankful for what we have… but if that is true, then what is He our Father? Why do we pray? I’d be so hurt if my kids never came to me for anything… if they just assumed that I would get them what they needed all the time and never asked for anything from me personally. Sure, God knows everything, but He loves to hear from us. It’s called a relationship! In fact there’s a great Biblical example of someone who prayed for blessing and got it…. Jabez! He asked for a blessing. He prayed to enlarge his territory. Did he need that? No. But God did it simply because there was a man with the faith and the relationship with God to ask. He ended up with a city named after him later on! Must have been pretty influential as a result of what God gave him. Nehemiah also asked for God’s prosperity (Neh. 1:11) specifically with help for a task that would eventually further God’s kingdom.

Gen.39:3 And his master saw that the LORD [was] with him, and that the LORD made all that he did to prosper (4) in his hand.

39:23 The keeper of the prison looked not to any thing [that was] under his hand; because the LORD was with him, and [that] which he did, the LORD made [it] to prosper (4).

Joseph was made successful in all he did because of his right attitude with the Lord despite his circumstances. Here is a man that at surface glance appears to be quite unprosperous, and yet God prospers all that he does to the point of promoting him to grand vizier of Egypt and allowing him to take care of his family when they are in need. This is a key lesson, I believe, in becoming a prosperous Christian person. God, Satan, people and life will bring things about that seem insurmountable, to some unthinkable that a Christian would ever have to endure it, but it is all a test. Our Father is watching us to see how we react, who we turn to when we need help, who we rely on for strength, what attitude we have during that trial. Those things will make a huge impact on the outcome. Will you come out as Job did with two times as much as he started out with? Or like Joseph? Most of us (me included) get so focused on the trial and so mad at God and circumstances that we miss the blessing and prosperity that he delights to give us if we would only bow our head in surrender to him and ask for him to get us through.

On the same note:

Lamentations 3:17 And thou hast removed my soul far off from peace: I forgat prosperity (1).

That’s exactly what Jeremiah was feeling right about now. Hello God! Where are you! Did prosperity ever exist? In Jeremiah’s case, the prosperity of Israel had been taken away because of sin. As we mentioned before, obedience brings prosperity, and we find here that sin can stop it. As for Jeremiah, he’s just the poor prophet of God that got mixed up in the middle of it, and he’s taking the brunt of it. It doesn’t seem fair. But then he goes on to say that, "It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him. It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD." Wow! Here it is. The attitude difference. That is the attitude that we should have during a trial, know that was we wait on Him and obey Him salvation will come! Blessing and prosperity will return. (And so many people take that ’It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed" and make it their motto… for shame! It doesn’t stop there!!!)

More verses on Obedience resulting in Prosperity:

Deut. 29:9 Keep therefore the words of this covenant, and do them, that ye may prosper in all that ye do.

Joshua 1:7 Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it [to] the right hand or [to] the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest.

I Kings 2:3 And keep the charge of the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, to keep his statutes, and his commandments, and his judgments, and his testimonies, as it is written in the law of Moses, that thou mayest prosper in all that thou doest, and whithersoever thou turnest thyself:

I Chronicles 22:13 Then shalt thou prosper, if thou takest heed to fulfil the statutes and judgments which the LORD charged Moses with concerning Israel: be strong, and of good courage; dread not, nor be dismayed.

2 Chronicles 24:30 And the Spirit of God came upon Zechariah the son of Jehoiada the priest, which stood above the people, and said unto them, Thus saith God, Why transgress ye the commandments of the LORD, that ye cannot prosper? because ye have forsaken the LORD, he hath also forsaken you.

Other good examples:

2 Chronicles 26:5 And he sought God in the days of Zechariah, who had understanding in the visions of God: and as long as he sought the LORD, God made him to prosper.

Interesting… as long as he sought God. Those who seek Him will find Him. Those who ask will get. He sought and was prospered. Once again, it’s all relationship folks!

Psalm 1:3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

The context here is the righteous (which is all saved people because we have the righteousness of God imputed to us), and it’s saying that our prosperity will flourish like a tree. This would by natural deduction in thinking spiritually reference bearing fruit as a Christian, growing as a Christian, and the outflow of ministry in our daily life… but it does say whatsoever he doeth shall prosper so that is not limited to our ministry.

3 John 1:2 Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.

Prosper as your soul prospers. And what could prosper more than a soul saved by the blood of Jesus? That’s what John wished for Christians everywhere – a life as prosperous as salvation itself.





From a compound of G2095 and G3598; to help on the road, that is,
(passively) succeed in reaching; figuratively to succeed in business
affairs:—(have a) prosper (-ous journey).


I’ll let you all draw your own conclusions about what you think prosperity is or isn’t, but as for me, I believe that God desires to prosper me and does so all the time. I know that as for me I am often times too blinded by the circumstances of life to even realize where he has prospered me! God brings trials/tribulations into my life to help me grow so that he can bless me more. My obedience and willingness to surrender to him is crucial to the end result of receiving that blessing! A life of harmonious, conversational relationship with God brings about prosperity and blessing that could take on numerous forms. God does not promise specific blessings, such as health, wealth, or happiness, to always abide on me, but he does enjoy to lavish those things upon me, especially when I ask Him. My Father loves it when I ask him for things that I need and desire! And I know, yes I have confidence, that as long as I walk in him I have the petitions I ask of Him. He cares for me, for his eye is on the sparrow and he has numbered every hair on my head. He loves me! And He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? (Rom. 8:32)

All the desires of your heart

January 22, 2008

All the Desires of Your Heart:

Ps. 37:4 Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.

Desires - From H7592; a request:—desire, petition. (H7592) A primitive root; to inquire; by implication to request; by extension to demand:—ask (counsel, on), beg, borrow, lay to charge, consult, demand, desire, X earnestly, enquire, + greet, obtain leave, lend, pray, request, require, + salute, X straitly, X surely, wish.

Heart - A form of H3824; the heart; also used (figuratively) very widely for the feelings, the will and even the intellect; likewise for the centre of anything:

Alright, I'm going to look at a lot of verses, although not every reference to desire/desires by any means! I will begin with negative references to desires.

Negative References:

Ps. 10:3 For the wicked boasteth of his heart's desire, and blesseth the covetous, whom the LORD abhorreth.

Here is a great reference to check yourself and see if all you care about is stuff. Is it your only goal? Are you covetous? Focused on having what other people have or better than them? Or perhaps you just go around telling everyone about how much God has blessed you (better than he's blessed them, of course!). That is a wicked attitude in connection with desires.

Mark 9:35 And he sat down, and called the twelve, and saith unto them, If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all.

On the same note, if all we are desiring is to be above everyone, greater than everyone, or the best… then Jesus says we are as good as last in his Kingdom order. Things don't work that way. It all comes down to motive. I don't believe he is saying here that we cannot desire things to better ourselves, but it is about why… the heart reasons.

Ecc. 6:9 Better is the sight of the eyes than the wandering of the desire: this is also vanity and vexation of spirit.

Just sometimes all those dreams are worthless, because what you have now is just fine! Weigh it and determine if those goals and dreams are deserving of your desire.

Then we have Mark 10:35-40

And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, come unto him, saying, Master, we would that thou shouldest do for us whatsoever we shall desire.

And he said unto them, What would ye that I should do for you?

They said unto him, Grant unto us that we may sit, one on thy right hand, and the other on thy left hand, in thy glory.

But Jesus said unto them, Ye know not what ye ask: can ye drink of the cup that I drink of? and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?

And they said unto him, We can. And Jesus said unto them, Ye shall indeed drink of the cup that I drink of; and with the baptism that I am baptized withal shall ye be baptized:

But to sit on my right hand and on my left hand is not mine to give; but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared.

Now he doesn't actually tell them that they will not sit on his right or left hand, but clearly they asked something that they cannot have an immediate answer to. Sometimes our desires are not desires that can be answered.

Positive references to desire:

Prov. 11:23 The desire of the righteous is only good: but the expectation of the wicked is wrath.

Prov. 13:12 Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life.

Prov. 13:19 The desire accomplished is sweet to the soul: but it is abomination to fools to depart from evil.

Prov. 18:1 Through desire a man, having separated himself, seeketh and intermeddleth with all wisdom.

Prov. 19:22 The desire of a man is his kindness: and a poor man is better than a liar.

I guess these are pretty self explanatory, but basically, righteous people desire good things (so makes sense that God would give them their desires!), desires fulfilled make our life abundant (tree of life - isn't that the kind of life we are supposed to have?), accomplished desire is actually contrasted with the foolish man, desires lead a man to seek wisdom, and it is desire that is a source of kindness.

Now here are some things that men in the Bible have desired -

David desired to live his whole life over again in surrender to God even if he didn't have an everlasting covenant, and he desired the Lord above all else:

II Sam. 23:5 Although my house be not so with God; yet he hath made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things, and sure: for this is all my salvation, and all my desire, although he make it not to grow.

Ps. 73:25 Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee.

Judah said that they sought the Lord with their whole desire:

II Chron 15:15 And all Judah rejoiced at the oath: for they had sworn with all their heart, and sought him with their whole desire; and he was found of them: and the LORD gave them rest round about.

Nehemiah desired to fear the name of the Lord:

Neh. 1:11 O Lord, I beseech thee, let now thine ear be attentive to the prayer of thy servant, and to the prayer of thy servants, who desire to fear thy name: and prosper, I pray thee, thy servant this day, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man. For I was the king's cupbearer.

Job desired to reason with God and to have an answer from God.

Job 13:3 Surely I would speak to the Almighty, and I desire to reason with God.

Job. 31:35 Oh that one would hear me! behold, my desire is, that the Almighty would answer me, and that mine adversary had written a book.

Isaiah says that the land of Judah will one day sing that their desire is the name of the LORD.

Is. 26:8 Yea, in the way of thy judgments, O LORD, have we waited for thee; the desire of our soul is to thy name, and to the remembrance of thee.

Paul's desire was that Israel would be saved, that fruit would abound to his fellow Christians at Philippi, and that the church of Colossi would be filled with all the knowledge of his will.

Rom 10:1 Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.

Phil 4:17 Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account.

Col. 1:9 For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;

The Corinthian Church had great desire to get right from sin.

2 Cor 7:11 For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.

Good things to desire:

I Cor. 14:1 Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy.

I Tim 3:1 This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.

I Pet. 2:2 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:

Well, we are pretty much commanded to desire spiritual gifts and the Word of God… and for all you men out there it's a good thing to desire the office of a bishop!

The Lord's Desire:

Song. 7:10 I am my beloved's, and his desire is toward me.

It doesn't get much better than that! Seeing's as my Jesus' desire is toward's me… His beloved!!... Of course he wants to give me my heart's desire. That's what a bridegroom does.

Sometimes gaining the desires of our heart seems to hinge on something:

Ps. 10:17 LORD, thou hast heard the desire of the humble: thou wilt prepare their heart, thou wilt cause thine ear to hear:

Ps. 145:19 He will fulfill the desire of them that fear him: he also will hear their cry, and will save them.

Prov. 10:24 The fear of the wicked, it shall come upon him: but the desire of the righteous shall be granted.

Ps. 37:4 Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.

So we see that the Lord hears/grants the desires of the humble and the righteous, those that fear him, and those who delight in him. But does this exclude all others from receiving their desires? Who is righteous? As Christians we all have the righteousness of God, so we are all included in that verse… I suppose the others focus more on Christian who like David make God their one thing. These verses do not say what the desires are that will be answered, nor does it say that because we delight in him our desires will be his, although I believe that that often happens as we draw closer and closer to him.

Gaining our desires with no apparent strings attatched:

Ps. 21:2 Thou hast given him his heart's desire, and hast not withholden the request of his lips. Selah.

Ps. 78:29 So they did eat, and were well filled: for he gave them their own desire;

Ps. 145:16 Thou openest thine hand, and satisfiest the desire of every living thing.

Mark 11:24 Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.

Here we see God granting desires without it saying why. The first one was David, so we could conclude that he was righteous, humble, feared God or delighted in Him, etc… so of course he got what he wanted, but it doesn't say that's why… but just in case that's what we decide it means lets look at the others. Psalm 78 is a song of Asaph about the children of Israel… and that clearly had nothing to do with them! In fact in verse 21 you find that God had just been pretty mad at them, and if you know the story, the only reason he sent them the quail in verse 29 was because they were whining… again! So, not a good example of someone being humble, fearing God, or doing something to get a desire granted, and yet God gives! Psalm 145 we see that God satisfies the desire of every living thing. That would include us. He satisfies my mouth with good things! (Psalm 103:5) And now my personal favorite in Mark, if you believe you SHALL have it! That's what it says.

Now, we have seen that desire can be good and bad, but it's mostly a good thing in Scripture. It is primarily spiritual in focus, but when it comes to requesting things there is no limit to what we desire. God never says "You may only desire spiritual things," In fact, on the contrary, we see proof that it could be for material things with the last three verses I quoted. But we should remember that we need to guard our desires from covetousness and boastfulness as we seek to be more like Christ.

Abundant Life

January 16, 2008

Abundant Life:

John 10:10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

What is life more abundant? Is it a life of spiritual blessing? Is it a life of joy? Is it a life of material blessings? Is it all of these? To learn anything, one must let the Bible define itself… so what does the Bible say of this word Abundant?

Abundantly - From G4012 (in the sense of beyond); superabundant (in quantity) or superior (in quality); by implication excessive; adverb (with G1537) violently; neuter (as noun) preeminence:—exceeding abundantly above, more abundantly, advantage, exceedingly, very highly, beyond measure, more, superfluous, vehement [-ly].

Abundant - Comparative of G4053; more superabundant (in number, degree or character):—more abundant, greater (much) more, overmuch.

This doesn't tell us in what way it will be abundant, but it tells us that it's going to be AMAZING! This is a life that is something to talk about! Something to shout from the rooftops. Something that is so fabulous that we just have to share our secret with others because it's the best lifestyle available. Look at those describing words of our Christ-following life; would you say that you are living a life beyond measure? A life of advantage? A superfluous exceedingly vehement and excessively preeminent lifestyle? ;0) A life that is greater than all those around you who do not know the Saviour? Well, you should be living one just like that, because that's what Christ came to give you.

Now, lets look at some of the ways that abundant and abundantly are used in Scripture.

Food and other Material goods:

I Chron 12:40 Moreover they that were nigh them, even unto Issachar and Zebulun and Naphtali, brought bread on asses, and on camels, and on mules, and on oxen, and meat, meal, cakes of figs, and bunches of raisins, and wine, and oil, and oxen, and sheep abundantly: for there was joy in Israel.

II Chron 31:5 And as soon as the commandment came abroad, the children of Israel brought in abundance the firstfruits of corn, wine, and oil, and honey, and of all the increase of the field; and the tithe of all things brought they in abundantly.

Ps. 36:8 They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of thy house; and thou shalt make them drink of the river of thy pleasures.

Ps. 132 :15 They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of thy house; and thou shalt make them drink of the river of thy pleasures.

Song of Songs 5:1 I am come into my garden, my sister, my spouse: I have gathered my myrrh with my spice; I have eaten my honeycomb with my honey; I have drunk my wine with my milk: eat, O friends; drink, yea, drink abundantly, O beloved.

The first two were just using the word abundantly in a way that defined it nicely, but the last three are speaking of the Christian, the house of Israel, and the bride of Christ. Apparently he wants us to be satisfied abundantly, and drink abundantly (also satisfied)


Is. 55:7 Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

Titus 3:5-6 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;

I Tim. 1:14 And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.

Of course Jesus was incredibly abundant in all that he did upon the cross for us!


Eph. 3:20-21 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.

Ex. 34:6 And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth,

Phil. 1:26 That your rejoicing may be more abundant in Jesus Christ for me by my coming to you again.

Our rejoicing in Him is to be abundant, and everything that Jesus does for us is abundant, and His goodness to us is abundant, and His truth is abundant!

So…What is this abundant life? Sounds like it's a life that is focused around Christ, first of all, as it is He who came to give it to us, and it is salvation that is the very beginning of it. His grace, his forgiveness and his mercy are the abundant foundations of our abundant living. From there is the well spring of all the blessings of God both spiritual and earthly, as we see that we can have abundant joy, abundant satisfaction, and just about anything abundant there is because he is more abundant than we can ask or think. He is beyond our wildest dreams of spiritual growth, and earthly blessing. He is abundant in goodness and is only waiting to be just that to us. He is our bridegroom at our side wating to dote on our every wish and need, 'Another glass of wine, my dear?' Surely we will never fully understand how abundant our lives could be while we are on this earth! Our minds and our faith are far too limited to realize what He has for His children.

Fullness of Joy

January 11, 2008

Fullness of Joy:

Psalm 16:11 "Thou wilt show me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore."

Fulness - satisfaction (of food or (figuratively) joy):—fill, full (-ness), satisfying, be satisfied.

Joy - lithesomeness or glee, (religious or festival):— X exceeding (-ly), gladness, joy (-fulness), mirth, pleasure, rejoice (-ing).

Is. 35:10 "And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away."

Is. 61:3 To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorifiedH6286.

First I will look at the prophecy in Psalm 16:11… at the right hand of the throne of Jesus there are pleasures forever. Joy will reign eternal in that day! Amen! Everlasting joy, joy and gladness, the oil of joy… and there are many other verses that refer to the Spirit of Joy that will be given on that day when our precious Saviour Jesus Christ sets up his Kingdom!

But David isn't only talking about the future here, he is also talking about the here and now. In the presence of the Lord is fullness of joy, and at His right hand are pleasures for evermore. How many of us really have been in the presence of the Lord? I mean, sure, He lives in us… but have we touched Him? Has he touched us? Have we been in the presence of the Lord? David had. And that is where we find fullness of joy. Pleasures for evermore? Not to be found just anywhere… only at His right hand. Where are we seated? Are we that close to Jesus? Psalms is loaded with verses of David's joy… shouting for joy, exceeding joy, dancing with joy, singing in joy… it's all over the place. Here was a man who dwelt continually in the very presence of God and it showed in his face, his actions and his words. Look at the average church choir/worship team and what do you see? Do you see fullness of joy? Is it visible? Is it overflowing? Do they tell you in one glance, "I've touched God today and I just have to share it with you." What about the congregation, Pastors? Do their expressions encourage you to go on with your sermons, or to give up…. There's just no joy in the Lord left out there. Or perhaps it's the Pastor! He just hasn't an ounce of joy in him to spill over to the church. Are God's people touching Jesus? Have they been in the presence of the Lord? Are they sitting at His right hand?

Ecc. 2:26 "For God giveth to a man that is good in his sight wisdom, and knowledge, and joy:…"

This is not something that is difficult to obtain… it's a gift! If you look at yourself in the mirror and realize that you look like a sourpuss, act like a deadfish and have nothing to give anyone and want to do something about it, or perhaps it's not so bad as that, you just don't feel joyful… just get in touch with your Saviour! Start building that relationship. He died for you not just to give you eternal life, but so He could abide in you as a resurrected LORD! He anticipates the moment that he can work His gifts in you. Joy is no different than anything else that He gives… it's always been there for you, you simply have to ask and believe and receive. And honestly, how hard is it to be joyous when you are having an intimate relationship with someone so amazing as Jesus?

*Joy is different from Happiness… Joy is a gift from the Lord… a Spiritual overflowing that wells up inside that can't change due to circumstances. Happiness is a choice, and ebbs and flows with emotion, and the happenings of everyday life.

Fullness of Joy, Abundant Life, and All the Desires of Your Heart

January 3, 2008

Are any of those words true of the Christian life? Be honest with yourself. Are they? Look around at other Christians you know, look at yourself. Is that what you see? Most likely not. Very few would describe their life in this manner, and yet promises such as these are found all over His Word.

Ps. 16:11 Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence [is] fulness of
joy; at thy right hand [there are] pleasures for evermore.

John 10:10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have
life, and that they might have [it] more abundantly.

Ps. 37:4 Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.

Ps. 21:2 Thou hast given him his heart's desire, and hast not withholden the request of his lips. Selah.

I could go on and on with verses that express the Lord's delight in His children's happiness, joy, prosperity, fulfillment, and pleasure, not just in Spiritual ways but in all kinds of ways, and yet we live our lives in utter defeat... even spiritually. Why? Some have one or more of these blessings from God and do not even recognize them as from Him. Some of us do find God's blessings on our lives financially, but we stop there. Some of us find them relationally and we think that is all He has for us. And still others find His health and mental well-being and are satisfied to stop there. And a few have found vast spiritual blessings and bask in the love and warmth of His presence on a daily basis and are content. But there are a few that read his word and find that He truly wants to open up the window of heaven and 'bless our socks off' so to speak, if we would just ask him. We look at them in scorn and say, 'it's not possible! God can't be your Father, God, Healer, Protector, Provider, Strength, Joy, Source of Life, Desire, Supplier, Sustainer, and so much more all at the same time! He can only be one thing at a time, right? He is only one thing to one person, right? Ok, maybe two..."

God is all things to all men. He is everything to me, and He is everything to you. The things that I have are from Him and the things that you have are from Him... and that person that has everything has it all from Him because

James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

So what is keeping us from having all that God promises us that we can have? (and I don't mean let's all just be selfish and be little brats going "Daddy! Daddy! Give me! Give me!) It's faith!

Hebrews 11:6 For without faith it's impossible to please Him.

Matt. 9:29 According to your faith be it unto you.

Matt. 17:20 And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.

And what else is often keeping us from these things? The lack of a surrendered life. We wander around going why doesn't God bless me... and we haven't yet died to self, we haven't yet invited Him to live His resurrected life through us (I don't mean salvation folks, I mean Christianity! The Christian Life!). Some of those promises hinge on something - sometimes we need to delight in Him a little bit, give Him a little praise, give Him control over our lives and we'd be amazed at the thing that would come to pass.

But not all... some of them are just God the Abba Father jumping for joy for a chance to bestow gifts upon his children such as Rom. 8:32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely giveus all things? and Ps. 81:10 I [am] the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt: open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it.

I will end with this beautiful verse from Jeremiah.

Jer. 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

Do we really believe this, or do we think that God wants us to live our lives like miserable, depressed, sickly and defeated people? I for one am tired of feeling defeated and depressed, miserable and sickly. I want a Victorious Christian Life! I want an abundant life full of joy where the desires of my heart actually come to pass and aren't ground to dust before my eyes. This is a life that God can offer us if we will only have faith in who he is and surrender to His control.

*I am in no way saying that the Christian life is all peaches and cream, but I am saying that we tend to say the sentence I just said as an excuse for the life of defeat that we have so miserably embraced. There is a balance. Hardship and trials come to make us stronger, to bring us to surrender, to bring us to the cross, etc. There are reasons for these things... but God wants to bless His children more than anything! What makes God happier? A stubborn child who he has to send trials to break down, or a yielded child who He can bless? Also, think of Job... God allowed Satan to bring things upon him (SATAN) so that God could get the glory... so yes bad things also happen for that purpose... but then what did GOD do? Blessed Job above and beyond what he started with! The nature of God is to bless. Please don't dismiss the blessings of God away because you are afraid of becoming too unbalanced in blessings! Can anyone be too blessed? LOL

Adendum: These are words that I have heard little of until recent years... I struggle with this very much, hence the writing about it today. I've been questioning God on this topic for over a month now, but I can't deny that it's in the Scripture. It is truth. He wants to bless me and give me life more abundant here on earth, not just in Heaven or in New Jerusalem (whichever comes first for me! Even so come quickly Lord Jesus!) I will be posting a few more blogs on this topic as well, I think. More word study. I looked up the word abundant, and was amazed at what I saw. I think I will do that next. This is something that Christianity is missing, and that I am missing. He needs to be my Joy, Life and Desires in a way I never dreamed and I know it's possible, I just have to get it from my head to my heart. So if you want to, join me on my journey!

Lift Him Higher and Higher

Nov 21, 2007
I just want to take this moment to praise Jesus a little bit. I don't think we do that often enough in our daily living. Lift Him higher and higher! For He is not only our Saviour, Redeemer and Friend, but He is the Great I Am, the very God and Creator of the Universe! Alelluia! Praise His name! Get excited for Jesus Christ a little bit today!! Love him out loud!

Laying down my pride..... Again!!!

Nov 16, 2007

So I'm going along lately feeling like everything is out of control... again... Let me start with a short little thing about me: They say that what you doodle on paper tells a lot about you, and from the time I was a young teenager until about three years ago I always drew spirals all over everything (along with hearts and stars and smiley faces). The heart stood for love, stars for my dreams and the smiley for my bubbly personality, but I never knew why I drew the spirals. And I drew them like crazy. One day Chris told me that it's common for people who feel like they aren't in control of their life to draw those, or something like that... I thought it was an interesting hypothesis, but didn't really think any more about it. So then a few years later I realized one day that I no longer drew them and connected the dots to figure out that it was because my life was leveling out. I wasn't feeling so crazy... I was more in control.

Said all that to say this: Here I am about a year after I decided that I wasn't the one that was supposed to be in control of my life. I realized it was supposed to be Jesus that was in charge... things were going OK until the last few months. Things have been happening that are so insanely out of my hands... things that I don't like. Things that scare me. Things that sometimes make me worried, scared, angry. People I can't change, circumstances that are beyond my control, a life that I'm living that isn't what I would have chosen, a dream that I have that I feel is from God that seems unattainable because of other things that He has put in my life right now. I'm feeling like that straight line that had become my life is twisting up into another curly que and I don't know how to stop it. I'm having irrational thoughts again, insomnia, headaches, panic attacks, ect. I even made myself vomit the other day....
So what's up? I gave it all to God, and He's supposed to fix it all right? It's not supposed to be like this... why is my life this intense struggle of taking a spiral curl and trying to flatten it out with a straightening iron? About the time I get a good section done the humidity comes out and frizzes it.
It's not supposed to be like this is it? This feeling of being out of place... feeling like I'm living the wrong life...
So here I am on one of the worst days of my life, knowing that it is just going to get worse... and dreading the rest of it with that ache in the pit of my stomach... surfing the internet to try and forget for a few minutes when I stumble upon (literally! Stumble Upon the firefox add on) this music search engine where you can create your own playlist for myspace. Phenomenal idea! So I put on my headphones (kids are napping, don't want to disturb them) and start thinking of all my favorite artists and notice a bit of a theme in many of my favorite songs.... surrender to Jesus, living in grace, etc. The life that I chose to live. "Yea, God, I know... that's me! Surrendered to you!" I say to Him and continue on with my searching until I type in Jeremy Camp (LOVE HIM!) and click on the song Lay Down My Pride.

BAM! Jesus hits me over the head with it and I'm crying and playing the song over and over again (listening it to it right now!) with only one thought in my head: what a stubborn idiot I am, and will I ever get it? and I should lay down on the floor at his feet right now right here in front of the computer desk. (OK that was three thoughts, but I'm shaking right now with conviction so don't expect me to be completely rational!) Here I am 'living the surrendered life' and at the same time worrying about 'living the surrendered life' I've been taking it all back from Him again. The spiral is spiraling because I'm letting it. I'm taking the flattening iron back from Jesus' hands. He's the one who straightened out my life to this point... all I can do is mess it up. He's throwing all these things at me to see how I handle it; to see if I can still let Him keep the reigns through it all. Apparently I've been failing miserably. Jesus, you know Rebecca... It's all about me. And when I see something that's not working, or out of place I take it personally... I have to fix it and make it work. It's a reflection on me if it doesn't. But that's not true... it's a reflection on YOU. You bring things into my life and you are the one who is supposed to fix them or not through me. My life should be a reflection of you not me. My pride is meaningless and only gets in the way of what you are able to accomplish in my life. And you did so much in leaving heaven and going in the cross so that you could live through me.... and when I don't let you I'm slapping you in the face. I'm rejecting the precious gift that you offer. I am crucified in you because you were crucified and because you offered your life to me. I can say not I but Christ because of what you did. How can I walk away from that most beautiful and precious sacrifice? It is nothing for me to give myself to you in return, to lay my life down for you... and yet "I" keep getting in the way. OH!! what must you do to drill it into my head that "I" do not exist anymore... it's just YOU.
Well here I am now again giving me to you again. Take my life in whatever direction you need to take it.

Lay Down My Pride
Jeremy Camp

Every single word I say
You know it before I speak
You know every thought
The deepest part of me

You draw me close and then I see
Your presence is every thing I need to be
The child that you've created me to be
Ready now to see it your way

Lay down my pride
My desires my demise
Ready now to see it your way
'cause I'm done I'm through ignoring you now it's true
I'm kneeling at the cross of your grace
Lay down my pride

I was faced with passing time
But I knew the choice was mine
To finally come to you
And give you all control
I've wandered miles to find my way
And then you revealed this simple thing
I know that you can see the secrets of my soul

Lay down my pride
My desires my demise
Ready now to see it your way
'cause I'm done I'm through ignoring you now it's true
I'm kneeling at the cross of your grace
Lay down my pride

The cross the blood you shed for me
Your back was ripped and bruised
So I can know your love
I kneel I bow to you my king

Lay down my pride
My desires my demise
Ready now to see it your way
'cause I'm done I'm through ignoring you now it's true
I'm kneeling at the cross of your grace
Lay down my pride

Ask, Seek, and Knock

October 1, 1007

Hey, I'm reading With Christ in the School of Prayer by Andrew Murray (which is phenomenal so far BTW) and I ran into a really neat thought in chapter 5 page 33:

"In the three words the Lord uses, ask, seek, knock, a difference in meaning has been sought. If such was indeed His purpose, then the first, ASK, refers to the gifts we pray for. But I may ask and receive the gift without the Giver. SEEK is the word Scripture uses of God Himself; Christ assures me that I can find Himself. But it is not enough to find God in time of need, without coming to abiding fellowship: KNOCK speaks of admission to dwell with Him and in Him. Asking and receiving the gift would thus lead to seeking and finding the Giver, and this again to the knocking and opening of the door of the Father's home and love."

I just really love how his thought processes lead to a focus on the indwelling Christ. Christ in you! I am reminding of the verse in Revelation where Christ stands at the door and knocks and wants to come in and sup with his church. To fellowship... to dwell...

We focus so much on this verse in the context of what "I can get" from God and all the time He is saying "Sure, I have much to give you to bless your life, but the supreme blessing is FINDING me and KNOWING me and ABIDING in me and I in you!"

It just hit me really hard this morning for some reason.


September 10, 2007
From time to time in my life I am overwhelmed with the sense of how small I really am. How weak I really am. How unworthy I really am. This is one of those times. In fact it is so great of a feeling that even looking at "I" makes me feel like more than I deserve. It would be more appropriate to change that big "I" to a small "i" as truly that is where i belong. Faced with what God may have in store for my future i cannot imagine why He would even think of me. i can't even begin to describe how i feel about that. To think that He would want me to serve Him in any capacity puts me in awe... and then reminds me of how truly unable i am to do any of it! Simply put: i can't do it. i am not able to serve Him. i am not capable of being His chosen vessel in any area of life. i'm just a girl, just a mother, just a wife... why does He look at me? So many times i mess up in my day to day life and cry out to Him to fix it... beg Him to live my day through me to prevent anymore crazy mistakes. He knows i can't do anything. He knows i've barely started my journey with Him. But OH! How i love Him! My eyes fill with tears thinking of all He is to me... all He's done for me. He's more than i ever dreamed. More than i ever could possibly hope for. More than i deserve. And He chose me! And here He is again whispering to me that He has a plan for my life... i can't deny it. Whether in the immediate future, or a few years from now, He wants to use me! He wants to use this vessel! i can't say i am not excited at the thought, but i'm terrified as well; for the truth is, without Him, i'm nothing at all.
Once again i'm at that altar of God emptied out of all i am... all my failures, all my mistakes. Wait. Even my accomplishments and my talents must be placed at His feet for in my hands they become tainted with my pride and selfishness. All that i am.

Here they are Lord. Here i am. All i need is you! Fill me with Yourself. For it is only then that i can be used of you. A vessel to honour. No treasure of myself, all the treasure is You. Maybe that's why You chose me...? A yielded heart, a humble spirit? i do not know Lord, but your will be done!

When it all seems to happen at once......

August 21, 2007

So life is kinda just going along... everything's OK... good even! And then bang! It happens. Something goes wrong. It may not be a big thing, it may not be a terrible thing. But it happens. And you are thinking, "Man, that was bad luck, but God's in control, so it's all good." And you go on with your life like nothing occurred until it happens again. Only this time it's something a little worse... a bit harder to ignore. You shrug your shoulders and say, "life's like that." and move on as though everything's OK, while under the surface you are wondering what is going on. But of course you can handle this and everything will be back to normal soon. And then BAM it hits you and you are practically surrounded with problems that are beyond your control and you feel like you are sinking deeper and deeper. "What happened to that fabulous high I was on just days ago? If only I could go back in time..." Because of course on this side of things everything that happened before looks like a mountaintop experience! And you struggle to gain control of the situation but find other things taking control of you: depression, frustration, hopelessness, anger. And it really doesn't matter if this is the pettiest group of problems you have ever faced or the most difficult because at this moment they loom over you like Mt. Everest and all you can think of is that you are going to be smashed beneath their weight at any moment. Funny, because when that first little thing went wrong at the beginning your first response was to give it to God, but now He's the farthest thing from your mind as you struggle to escape. At this point absolutely everything that happens is an irritation to you no matter what it is. Someone comes along and mentions to you that God can help you with what you are going through and you tell them, "Of course I know He can!" While you think to yourself that you still have enough strength left to figure everything out and "How dare they think that I need God as if I'm not a good Christian?" Things begin to spiral from here as that Mt. Everest pile of problems start to crumble and at this point you may even begin to blame God, because let's face it, you are running out of people to blame. And then there is Jesus, unbeknownst to you, patiently waiting for the word of faith so that He can step in and take control. Waiting for you to look up to Him and say, "I can't do this anymore. I need you to do it through me. Take all this anger and frustration and depression and fill me with your joy in the midst of tribulation. Let me take these trials as from you."

And they are from Him, for He brings those things into our lives to bring us to the end of ourselves, to put us at the point of total dependency on Christ. He does this so that we will live a life completely surrendered to His will, whether it leads to things that we enjoy or things that we do not. Sound familiar? It should, for this is the life of the cross. Jesus said, "Not my will but thine be done" as he went to the cross and "He who knew no sin became sin for us that we might be made the righteousness of God." This was not an easy thing for Christ to do. He stepped aside from all the majesty and glory of heaven for this purpose. But in that he was surrendered to total dependency on the Father He endured the trials and tribulations of the flesh even to the cross! He was our example. Wow. How He loved us! And now we are crucified with Him. So we should live like it. Surrender to Him. When everything hits the fan, instead of freaking out, turn to Him. That's what He desires.

But sadly, most Christians are stuck at the bottom of Mt. Everest. They are terrified of what it means to give that mountain to Christ, and so they never do. What does it mean? If we have faith as small as a mustard seed it will remove mountains. So yes, it absolutely can remove our problems, but it's not just a magic potion. There is more to it than that. It means giving of self. Giving of everything! And that is what we all fear most. We love ourselves and our stuff more than we love a life free of the trial that we are going through. And so we are stubborn and fight through our troubles on our own. But it will never work. You know what Christ does with self? He makes it better! Really, He does! So take the leap of faith. Cry out "Save Me!! I can't do it Father! I need you to live through me Jesus! I am helpless, hopeless and worthless! Here I am, take all that I am and fix it!" And that is a prayer he will hear.

But what if you are where I am right now... you've done that. You've surrendered to him. And now, here you are maybe months, years later and everything seems to be hitting the fan again. And maybe you are responding in the same way. Don't beat yourself up over the head! We all make mistakes. (Yep... that's me!) Jesus sends those things into our lives to keep us on our toes, to test our level of surrender, to give us a chance to grow spiritually. It's a test! But luckily it's not a pass or fail thing. If we do well we get to advance in our relationship with him a bit (you get to say "Yea! I'm really yielded to the Spirit right now!") And if we panic we learn that there is something in our lives that we are holding on to that we need to hand over to Jesus. (and we say "Man, I can't believe I was doing that, I better take care of that right away!,) So either way we advance in our Spiritual walk!

BTW... don't hold onto those things that you need to hand over to Jesus for a long time. Cuz it's really a strain on your relationship. When you sit down to talk there's always something that your're trying to avoid like a white elephant in the room and truly it grieves Him. It fills the room with an atmosphere of sadness. It even affects ability to worship. Stubbornness is not a good quality in any relationship, especially with Jesus (Rebecca!!!!)

So... curious about what's happening right now in my life? I have ovarian cysts that are popping and hurt like crazy, these painful cysts have moved to my breasts, my insurance runs out the end of this month and my husband doesn't have benefits at his job, my best friend has lung cancer, Chris ran his $200 cell phone through the washing machine and we did not have insurance on it and now we have to replace it, we got a flat tire today, oh... and all four tires on the car need replaced. And yep... you guessed it, I panicked a bit. Hence this blog reminding myself of Christ's place in everything!

My testimony

August 17, 2007
During my early teenage years I doubted my salvation. I only went through the outward motions of Christianity, but I had no desire to have anything personal with God. When I was asked to give my testimony, I had to ask my mom for all the details. My own memories were very faint, and I had no peace inside that I was saved. But I ignored those feelings because everyone else was so certain that I was, and I didn't want to seem silly. One time I went forward at youth camp to talk about getting saved, but my counselor spent the whole time convincing me I already was, so I figured it was useless to say anything to anyone else.

I met my future husband Chris at church. We were friends for several years, and that friendship grew into love. By this time had I been honest with myself I knew that I wasn't saved, but it was much easier to go on as if I was. When the Pastor asked me how sure I was that Chris was the one for me I told him "As sure as I know that I'm saved," And I knew it was a lie. We were married on September 15, 2001. The longer we were married, the more I doubted that I was truly saved. It bothered me that Chris really enjoyed all the "Christian stuff." He read his Bible all the time, prayed all the time, and really, genuinely walked with God. I didn't have any of that, and didn't want any of that. It was enough for me that I knew the facts of the Bible front to back, that I went to church all the time, and that I was a good person. I became very angry at him for spending so much time doing things that I didn't want to do. When I was at church I would always try to slip out during the invitation because I hated the feelings that I would get. The pastor would ask if anyone needed to be saved and I would stand there gripping my hands together to keep from raising them all the while saying to myself, "You were saved when you were four, you don't need to do it again." And so many times I would hear the words, "I don't want to end this invitation, we will sing one more verse because I feel there is one person here who needs to come forward to be saved." And I would think to myself, "I know that it is me, but I can't do it." The longer I was around my husband, the more certain I became that I was not saved. But I never told him or anyone else for fear of what they might think of me. I started to think up as many excuses as possible to miss church, and always left the room when Chris spent time with God.

In May of 2002 we attended Camp Meeting at Fellowship Baptist Church and heard Terry Unruh preach about Sri Lanka, and how he needed help passing out ten and a half million tracts. We volunteered to go. I was very excited because I was finally going to get the missionary adventure I had always wanted. Meanwhile I reassured myself all the time that I had to be saved because of all the times God had answered my prayers and done things for me, and because my mom said that I prayed when I was four. I pretty much convinced myself that I was okay. In fact, I even looked for proofs of salvation. When I would lead someone to the Lord I would get all excited and then say, "I must be saved because I am happy when someone else gets saved," not realizing that I was just happy because I was being a 'good Christian.'

On Sunday night, March 3, 2003 at church I went forward during the invitation. I told God that I was tired of the way I had been feeling and that He needed to leave me alone. I then said that I didn't know for sure what it was He wanted but the answer was definitely NO. On the way home I was terrified, and told Chris that I had to get home so I would be safe because I was afraid that God was going to kill me. I actually thought I would be safe in my own house! Chris asked me why, and I told him what I had been going through. We talked for a very long time most of which was me giving excuses such as how I didn't want to be one of the hypocrites I grew up around, I was afraid that I was going be forced to be just like my parents (that's a story all in itself), God had been so good to me, I had led people to the Lord, I had had prayers answered, and my mom said I had prayed when I was four. Of course his answers were that none of those were good reasons to go to hell, but still I resisted. Then he asked if Jesus was in my heart. I had no idea how to answer that question. So he asked me if we were married, and of course, I said we were. Then he asked if I had to think back to our wedding day, which I hadn't; I knew right then. The last question he asked was if Jesus was in my heart right then. I answered that I didn't know, and started to cry. I knew then what I needed to do but I was still scared to do it so I asked to pray after him. He started out with "Dear Jesus, this is Becky, I know I'm saved," and I couldn't say it, I just cried more. Then he said "Dear Jesus, this is Becky, I'm not sure if I'm saved," and I couldn't even say that. Finally he said "Dear Jesus, this is Becky, I'm not saved," and I felt this intense inner struggle. I knew that I had to say those words. I prayed with him, and then sent him out and prayed again by myself because I wanted to know for sure that it was the real thing.

Just a few weeks later we went to Sri Lanka. It was a life-changing experience for me. Missions became more than adventure; it was giving other people a chance to be saved just like I was. I was baptized a few weeks after our trip at Bethel Baptist Church in Ravenna.

God gave me the verse Romans 2:4 about a month after I was saved, showing me that all of the things I thought were proofs of salvation were the things that He did to lead me to salvation! Praise God for His goodness that leads to repentance!


What's interesting in all this is since then Becky has died! I no longer live, but Christ! And also I've changed so much as a person.... Becky really no longer exists! I'm Rebecca or Becca now. And it's so funny as I look back over all my fears... all the excuses that I had... none of them were real. And as I think about that time I remember how intense that struggle was. How real Satan was as he whispered in my ear trying to keep me from making the most important choice of my life. And Jesus is HERE! With me! I know that He is here... and I haven't doubted for one moment since that day. I can't describe it to you... but once you have Him, you KNOW! And I've learned that Jesus doesn't desire cookie cutters. He made each of us the way we are; unique, individual, with a purpose! His purpose! Only I can do what He wants of me. That verse in Scripture about the unsaved being Spiritually blind is so true... because on the other side it becomes so clear. And you just marvel at what God has done! I know I do.

"You are a marvelous God and I am so in love with you!"