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Posted by on in Quest For Christ
So Why Did I Become a Christian?

Recently, I heard it again. “Rebekah, one day you’ll wake up and find out how much fun you’re missing out on…. Oh yeh, and every third day, I talk to the “holy man” too…”

People with more liberal outlooks have their way of getting their message across.  They want no condemnation for their lifestyles.  However, they LOVE to mock, scoff, blaspheme in playful or abrasive ways, your simple, steady commitment that you might not even verbalize but only live before them.

Ever happen to you? 

Thinking this over recent, fairly mild brush of persecution, I’ve put some questions to myself (rhetorically).

Why did I become a Christian?  I was 5—but I longed to be Christ’s. I wanted to know Him and go to heaven.

Was it because I just wanted to be different-just-to-be-different?  No…

Perhaps it was a personal preference? No--It never occurred to me…

Did I just fall into it by nature?  Definitely not by nature…

Did I have a natural aversion to lust making it easy to be pure? I was thinking of one woman’s infringing conversation about my singleness suggesting that I lived in a state of aggravated, unsatisfied sensual desire. “It must be so hard for you to stay pure.”  I couldn’t believe it.  This was a Christian! Waiting on the Lord’s best, He doesn’t leave you struggling.  God’s ways fill you up and fully satisfy even the healthy (though frequently perverted) human elements He created to be holy and set apart for His chosen union.  

Was it because I just happened to be shrouded and sheltered from bad people through my childhood?  My parents did protect me, but regardless, there have been plenty of “bad people” lurking in the shadows.

Is it because I haven’t tasted of something “forbidden” that would change my whole outlook if I but only had a bite of the fruit?  There is no shame in protection and non-participation of biting into forbidden fruits! PRAISE the LORD—I have been guided well by Christian parents.  Praise the Lord that He is my Savior that lives in me and is sanctifying not only me, but all who will profess and believe in Him—no matter what sins committed in the past life.  Praise the Lord that He has instructed all that want to know that sin should not be tasted and sought out—it WILL destroy us. 

I have encountered many different adults in my life that have suggested by words and gestures that only by experiencing a bit of the “dirty side” of humanity can you achieve being “just a little bit wiser” and “more intellectually fulfilled” in the human race.   I think about a fundraiser for charities that I declined attending for a “good cause.” I was urged to reconsider and realize this would be a good opportunity for me to “grow.” Later I found out, the series of fundraising dance routines included a team that performed a toned down “strip tease.”  There was no denying there was no need to “grow” for this.  The Bible is very cut and dry on honoring the Lord with what we allow our eyes to see, our minds to think on, our ears to hear. We don’t need to compromise for a “good cause” because the money earned will do a lot of good.  God can provide money in other ways through purer channels.   And growth wise, we don’t have to experience the heat of the sin—or just be a sideline observer—to determine a counterfeit to what is truly wise and superior.

The thing about being a Christian it’s not just about having all the “I”s dotted and the “t”s crossed.  It’s not just about looking the part when folks are looking your way. It’s about being committed—when people aren’t looking—everyday—to a living Savior and having an eternal perspective in a dying, crumbling, degenerate world.  That sounds almost depressing—yet, in contrast—it is a living hope.

There is a REASON for the hope that is mine! There is a REASON that Christians can be a light and even stand alone.  We offer, nothing in ourselves, but Jesus Christ in a living, applicable witness. The more I live, the more I am convinced that following the Lord is the most hopeful, the most rewarding and the only way to live.  Can I do it perfectly?  Not in my own strength—not in the least.

To paraphrase the words of a visiting pastor at church, “We might put our sword down as Christians.  But you know what?  In Christ, we don’t have to live with our sword down.  He enables us to pick it back up and keep going.”  

By choosing the ways of Christ—they hurt or damage no one.  Christ’s ways can make people uncomfortable, convict their consciences and make them angry wanting to lash out and perhaps even hurt us.  Yet, Christ’s ways, in themselves, only tend to life and peace.  Following Christ entails sacrifice and dying to oneself but such self-giving is life giving.

I would tell anyone that was honestly wanting to know—that being a Christian is a daily renewal.  Yes, I became a Christian at an early age.  I didn’t start out with a big list of habits to overcome. But, like anyone else, I’ve had to allow Christ to daily work on me.  Profanity may not be in my vocabulary, but the heart still requires Christ’s redemption to purify thoughts that stem from selfishness, anger, pride.  No, I may not have the vices or habits that are blatantly on the “blacklist”, yet, there’s a higher calling that constantly points out areas of growth needed to overcome attitudes that, if left to fester, the worst sins all stem from.  

Christianity does not come by nature to any of us. But we were made with a void that only Christ Jesus can fill. And, the more a righteous lifestyle is cultivated, the stronger, healthier and more vibrant we do grow! We learn from experiences in a journey moving forward.

So why did I become a Christian?  The reasons are many.  The benefits are innumerable.  It has been the best decision.  The bi-product of Salvation in Jesus Christ is standing forgiven, provided with Sovereign help to overcome, given an abundant provision of joy (even in tough situations) and a lifestyle that tends to life right now.  And my hope lasts to after death, when I’ll be with Him eternally in a perfect, sinless world.

For young people especially, I would encourage you to be willing to stand alone, if necessary.  Make the commitment—be the valiant disciplined.  It is possible. It is attainable.  It’s a daily walk that requires you to trust the Lord, rely on Him for strength, and to be renewed in His mindset. Just do it. And as you do—you’ll find that a cultivated crop of a righteous lifestyle gives the best return.  May God keep us very faithful and growing, ever deeply rooted, in Him.

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Final Post: What to Do When You Are Rejected - Part Five

Final Post on "Twelve Things to Do When You are Rejected"

Rebekah L. Holt

There are so many ways that we experience rejection in life.  The environments of family, employment, church, dating/courting and social circles all provide the backdrop of some the most painful experiences caused by human rejection. Christians might be resigned to expecting the world’s rejection.  But what about when fellow Christians are the ones to reject us? Christ did not promise His followers exemption from sorrows in earthly life.  What He did promise is that all our needs would be met, including: help, comfort, wisdom, guidance, strength, grace, healing and HOPE!

So when we find ourselves rejected of men, what is our response to be?  Here’s a few quick points for what to do when you are rejected:

  1. Give it to the Lord.
  2. Go to the Bible. Read Part One
  3. Remember Christ was Rejected.
  4. Recall that God is Sovereign.
  5. Know that God is at Work on Your Behalf! Read Part Two
  6. Realize Your Identity Before God. 
  7. Beware of Counterfeits for Coping! Read Part Three
  8. Resist the Attitudes!
  9. Be Humble
  10. Forgive. Read Part Four

 

11. Wait on the Lord for Strength, Renewal and Healing. God has promised to renew the strength of His followers (Is. 40:31).  He warns us not to grow weary in well doing (Gal. 6:9). Before doing anything rash—wait on the Lord (Ps. 27:14).  It is often through tough times that some Christians “call it quits” and selfishly consider their ways better than their Creator’s. Sadly many Christians have fallen away from the ways of Christ and rejected Him because it “didn’t work out like they wanted.”  They think God failed them instead of realizing that God is a Faithful God that is an Ever Present Help in trouble (Deut. 7:9; Ro. 8:18-39).  Any true athlete knows that in order to build muscle, you go through strenuous, consistent training and exercise.  Those that quit the training course prematurely will never achieve their full potential in skill or development. They may never finish the course or win the race.  The same goes for those that fall away when following Christ presents a tough route. Stay faithful to Him.  Wait on the Lord.  Trust Him.  He can pull us out of a horrible pit and set our feet on a rock (Ps. 40).  God is a God of Salvation (Ps. 68:20)! Those that are faithful to waiting on God’s perfect timing can testify that God is true to His word and does restore perfectly (Deut. 7:9; Jn. 3:33).  Seeing God work is worth waiting for.  But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you (1 Pe. 5:10).

12. While "Standing and Waiting," Get Busy With What’s Under Your Nose. The Bible tells us that when all is done, to stand (Ep. 6:13). Part of that “standing” is doing what’s under your nose.  God has made us for work.  Regardless of the situation, there’s going to be something in the “here and now” for us to do.  It may be wiping window sills, putting up decorations, washing the car, taking out the trash or entering in information on an Excel spreadsheet. Whatever is on your plate—get up and do it.  No one is going to do your work like you can.  God has given you something to do now.   An older woman once told me, “Keep in a routine. Discipline your life.  Sweat if possible!”  Above all, keep anchored on the promises of God. Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. He knows our situations—every detail.  He can make all things new (Rev. 21:5).  He is the Master Creator; Our Savior, Provider, Redeemer and Friend. As His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue (2 Pe. 1:3). For I considered all this in my heart, so that I could declare it all: that the righteous and the wise and their works are in the hand of God… (Ec. 9:1). Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him (1 Cor. 2:9).

 

Thank you to all who have provided feedback on this article series. The Word of God is living and applicable to our lives.  RLH

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Posted by on in Quest For Christ
7 Reasons We Can Be Thankful

7 Reasons We Can Be Thankful!

Thankfulness is a true mark of Christianity.  It is an outpouring from the heart of rejoicing in God’s provision.

The born-again Christian has every reason to be thankful.  Here’s just a few explanations why:

  1. Our lives are enriched with purpose. Christ’s own life was given as a ransom to redeem us from sin. And God’s provision didn’t stop there! He gave us Salvation for free. We could never earn or pay the price of such a gift (Eph. 2:8-9). Every day, He is working in our behalf to unfurl His specific, individual plan for each of our lives (Eph. 2:10). God made us to bring Him glory (Is. 43:7)! In Jesus Christ, we each have a reason for living, a hope for tomorrow and a joy for today.
  2. Our lives are enriched with gifts and benefits. God bountifully provides for all our needs (Philippians 4:19).  Jesus is our Great Shepherd, carefully preparing a place for us, tending to our needs (Jn. 10:14).  Every day He is leading us in His pathways whether through valleys or green pastures (Ps. 23). He takes delight in blessing us (Ps. 149:4)! 
  3. We have freedom! Through trusting and obeying the Lord and His Word, as Christians we find God’s righteous lifestyle to be one of true liberation. His ways guard us from evil—freeing us!  Through our willingness to live according to His Word, It positions us to receive blessings of genuine worth.  When living like God wants, we have freedom (Ro. 8:1-11)!
  4. Our lives and souls are made like new! Regardless of present sorrows or past sins and/or tragedies, Christ has overcome them all. He took the burden of our sins and the agony of our sorrows; they were nailed to the cross (1 Cor. 15:3-5; 57). Christ is the Great Physician that heals the broken hearted (Ps. 147:3).  He renews our strength that we might soar as eagles (Is. 40:31)!  He puts a new song in our mouths that we might be like a chosen generation showing forth the praises of Him (Ps. 40; 1 Peter 2:9).  Christ’s blood cleanses us from all our guilty stains (Re. 1:5)!
  5. We may know His truth and live like Christ today. The Lord has provided us the Holy Spirit to instruct our hearts (Jn. 14:26).  When we accept Christ, the Spirit of the Lord renews our thinking in the mindset of Christ so we can value what God values (Eph.4:22-24).  By having God’s view, we have an eternal, heavenly perspective.  Prayer is our privilege to communicate with God Almighty. We can humbly come before the Throne of grace and make our requests known to Him (Ph. 4:6; He. 4:16).
  6. We are not alone. As one of God’s children, we are never alone! We belong to God’s family (Ps. 89:26).  We are a chosen generation, joint heirs together with Christ (Ro. 8:17; 1 Pe. 2:9). 
  7. We have a future and a hope! As Christians, today we have reason to be joyful despite the reality of living in a fallen world.  Still, with our eyes fixed on Jesus, even the sufferings (or just the crumbling!) of this present time are not to be compared with the Glory of what is to come (Ro. 8:18; 2 Cor. 4:17).  Jesus Christ has gone to prepare a place in Our Father’s House—just for us (Jn. 14:2).  We will one day be with Him forever, feasting at His table. What a day that will be.

It takes being with Christ—in our hearts, souls and minds— to get the most out of living life.  We don’t have to wait to be thankful. It doesn't take a special "setting". We can be thankful everyday. Every Christian is guaranteed all the best things in life that have eternal value. When we have God’s perspective, we can say with genuine thanksgiving

“Blessed be the Lord God…
Who only does wondrous things!
And blessed be His glorious name forever!
And let the whole earth be filled with His glory.
Amen and Amen.” Ps. 72:18-19

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Posted by on in Quest For Christ
Elisabeth Elliot On Radio Again!

This is great news! Elisabeth Elliot's radio program "Gateway to Joy" is now airing again with Bible Broadcasting Network. 

I find myself walking my mother's footsteps in receiving so much from Mrs. Elisabeth Elliot Gren.  Her radio programs and books are to the point and like being taught of the older woman as God intended.  Through the years, she has helped me out of many a slump of self pity, grief, discouragement and fear of unknowns. Mrs. Gren has challenged me to live a Christianity that is not a fakey ordeal but genuine, approachable and geared toward service. 

Yes, Mrs. Elisabeth Elliot Gren's soothy, truthful Biblical message has been so instrumental in my life.  I'm delighted to find her radio broadcasts are finally available again.

If encouragement, challenge or just Christian fellowship is needed--then grab your Bible and listen to this dear Christian lady.  

Listen On Demand online (click here).  You can also visit her website www.elisabethelliot.org 

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Poetry has never been a strong point in my writing (or even a real interest), however, I have found this year that the Lord gives me a message once written down, it finds itself in rhythm.  Of course, I haven't gotten the stanzas all to match in syllables--so you writing folks out there--I'm an amateur! But there's no denying that He gave me this poem very quickly on my drive home yesterday.  I could not rest or get anything done until I sat down and the words flowed forth, almost effortlessly.  I've edited it a little, but here it is almost exactly as He gave it (read below).

We have to be willing to receive from the Lord and be where He wants us. It takes a daily acceptance and saying "Yes, Lord--I will obey and trust You."   Yesterday, I felt it would be impossible for me to be of any use to the Lord--that my call to ministry would need to be set aside for a time.  I had given all I could and felt I could no longer be effective--so I thought. Yet the Lord answered many prayers and I experienced His work, His grace and His renewal in a very personal, shockingly quick way that has lasted to a new day.  No one can fully comprehend this--unless they too experience the Lord's vibrant work in their lives.  

There are times in our lives we so wonder "why"--every one of us, if we are honest, are going to have those times of "wonder" and even "deaths" (however great or whatever they are) that put us to that question. Yet--in Christ, if we are truly submitting our lives to Him, we realize we have a responsibility to respond to any trial as Christ would and to let His mindset be the "sieve" in straining out our thoughts to only dwell on His truths.  Much of our walking through shadows relies on our being willing to obey Him by faith and not doubt God's mercy, will or sovereignty.     

I hope you will be encouraged and realize, you too are chosen.  We when accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we truly have what we need to make it. He causes us to mount wings of eagles (Isaiah 40:31), soaring above the storm, restoring our strength--when we need to be restored.  He promises that no matter if we take the wings of morning or dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea (Ps. 139:9-10), EVEN THERE, He is with us.  We are never alone and we are so safe within His will. 

I cannot know who reads most my articles or blog posts. I do not know your circumstances, but if you are human, there's probably a few of you out there today that need to be encouraged and experience a renewal.  Seek the Lord with full vigor. He promises to right all wrongs (Romans 12:19), heal the broken hearted (Luke 4:18), restore the weak and provide the grace in measure to each need (2 Cor. 12:9).  Remember when you confess Christ--you are chosen to be His and chosen to dip from His unending, overflowing stores of grace and goodness! Be encouraged, my friend and wait on the Lord--He will not fail you.

 

 

I am Chosen

Rebekah L. Holt

 

I am Chosen

When I confessed my Lord

The Savior of my Life

He died that I might live

Free from sin’s binding strife.

 

I am Chosen

Restored. Redeemed, Purchased.

His life He gave for mine.

The Amazing story becomes real

As I walk this journey in time.

 

I am Chosen

Because He loves me deeply

With unfailing, ceaseless love

Faithful to fill me daily

Sending mercies from above.

 

I am Chosen

To be His cherished one

Experiencing His provision

Overflowing and abundant

No restrictions in what is given.

 

I am Chosen

And wholly forgiven

Knowing the same measure

I too must all forgive

No wrongs must I treasure.

 

I am Chosen

To give and give and give

Not fearing slight or shun.

Freely given, freely received

God can never be outdone

 

I am Chosen

To rise, refreshed again

Triumphant—As He Lives!

A reflection of His Imagine

Submitted to what He gives

 

I am Chosen

To be joyously filled

To rejoice everyday

To find myself in raptures

Of delights He sends my way

 

I am Chosen

To keep on going

Tho’ the path the soul tries

His grace is all sufficient

He enables, satisfies

 

I am Chosen

To sing sweet praises

To the One Who made for me

The sunset and the dew drops

Children who laugh merrily

 

I am Chosen

To see His beauty

Daily framed in each glance

A world that dazzles, exclaims

Details Handcrafted--not “chance”

 

I am Chosen

To receive abundance

In kind and thoughtful deeds

By those also Chosen

Dear Believers, indeed.

 

I am Chosen

To be enriched

By prayers in United Band

These are also Chosen

Extensions of Nail Pierced Hands.

 

I am Chosen

To know Him

He is enough to fill

Every hole, every void

In storm, in grief or still

 

I am Chosen

To have no doubts

As to His real, tender care

He knows the very numbers

Of silver threads in my hair

 

I am Chosen

To wait for Him

His wing beneath to rest

Unknowns may vision cloud

His will is always best

 

I am Chosen

To see Him work

Every day in my behalf

Whatever guidance needed

He leads me with rod and staff.

 

I am Chosen

To travel Pathways

Enriched by Kingly gold

Wisdom, charity, peace

Spirit Fruits never old.

 

I am Chosen

To abide with Him

Every day with Christ Jesus

He lives in me; I in Him

Strength overcoming weakness

 

I am Chosen

A daughter of the King

Created to do His work

I am made for a purpose.

With His grace I will not shirk.

 

I am Chosen

You are chosen too

Your unique Life greatly counts

Say “Yes” to Him always

You He never will denounce

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