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So Why Did I Become a Christian? Featured
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.
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:
- Give it to the Lord.
- Go to the Bible. Read Part One
- Remember Christ was Rejected.
- Recall that God is Sovereign.
- Know that God is at Work on Your Behalf! Read Part Two
- Realize Your Identity Before God.
- Beware of Counterfeits for Coping! Read Part Three
- Resist the Attitudes!
- Be Humble.
- 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
In a memorable passage of Job 39, God uses a horse (and a donkey) out of 14 mentioned animals as a reflection of God's own power and sovereignty.
God asked Job:
"Have you given the horse strength? Have you clothed his neck with thunder? Can you frighten him like a locust?
His majestic snorting strikes terror. He paws in the valley, and rejoices in his strength; He gallops into the clash of arms. He mocks at fear, and is not frightened; Nor does he turn back from the sword. The quiver rattles against him, The glittering spear and javelin. He devours the distance with fierceness and rage; Nor does he come to a halt because the trumpet has sounded. At the blast of the trumpet he says, 'Aha!' He smells the battle from afar, The thunder of captains and shouting. Job 39: 19-25
There is an ounce of God's majesty that is reflected in His creature, the horse. A poise of dignity, spirit of challenge and an embodiment of strength dazzles our eyes as we watch horses move at liberty. Even a pudgy "Old Paint," when suddenly spooked, looks almost regal with head erect, nostrils flaring and tail up!
Strength. Thundering hooves. Mocking fear. Galloping through hazards. Devouring the distance with fierceness and rage. Thinking back 15 years, many horses could fit that category in my repertoire. Yet one story stands out specifically of knowing first hand how such strength and "mocking of fear" was encapsulated in two completely different horses as we raced down a center line of a busy Farmer Market Road!
The story begins...
It was the year I turned 15. We lived about 8 miles between two small Texas towns. Our home was a quaint, old farm house we had remodeled. The little patch of acreage was just 10 acres but we were surrounded by the aromas of East Texan pine trees and rolling hills of Bermuda. I often rode along the wide shoulders of the Farmer Market Roads and County Roads in a 5-6 mile loop. Many a day Acey and I trotted a good 2-3 miles to ride on Mr. Sonny's thousand acre cattle ranch. Or I might just decide to use my key to the gate of the 800 acres I was give special permission to ride on, not too far from our home.
This morning, I had saddled up Acey for a good 6 mile ride. We were to be joined by Sugar and her owner Billy Jo to ride along the busy Farmer Market Road. The path had wide shoulders and very hilly. It was just the type of weather that made you want to soak in all the sunshine possible.
Sugar was Billy Jo's barrel racing mare. Though just one of many horses Billy Jo's family owned, Sugar was treated with a bit more care than the family usually gave their horses. On the whole, the family was negligent. Horse hooves were to grow to a point of altering locomotion. Much of their breeding stock needed to be culled. The facilities were unsafe, dingy and not maintained. Yet, somehow--despite these tremendous set backs--the family had been able to get their hands on a few well bred Quarter Horses and raise some talented performance horses. Sugar was by far the most beautiful horse they owned. Surrounded by rusting pens that were a hodge podge of portable panels, tarps, tires, old tin sheds and weeds, Sugar was certainly a diamond in a very rough setting. Yet her quarters were so cramped. All her pent up energy was funneled into a sour, grouchy "I will bite you" disposition.
On the flipside, Acey was perfect! With all the loyalty and blinded love that engulfs a first horse relationship, I held Acey as the model of perfection, a standard to measure all other horses by. She was a happy horse that seemed to enjoy living and giving much joy to my life. Looking back, my fascination with this horse wasn't too far from the truth. Despite Acey's apparent conformational flaws that led to her lameness that I am no longer blinded to, Acey was just a wonderful, all-around horse that was a gift from the Lord. No, she didn't flex at the poll--but I didn't know that was a big deal then and it wasn't needed. And we learned together and some my happiest memories and most adventurous dreams were on my friend Acey!
But getting back to the story...
Acey and I trotted up the road to our rendezvous, Sugar was there in all her glory, ready to go, chomping at the bit, anxious to charge forward. Acey and I just ambled behind Billy Jo and Sugar for the first half of the ride, careful to be alert for spook hazards.
Billy Jo was confident in the saddle, little heeding the caution that my natural timidity always kept me from ever being too relaxed on the trail. Though Acey was "perfect" - she was capable of spooking at a surprise bunny or an unknown rustling in the woods.
It was uneventful. We talked about horses, watched the vehicles pass us by, drank in the sunshine and ambled along.
Relaxed more than ever, Billy Jo took her feet out the stirrups as we passed the residence of Duke and his wife Fancy. Their house pin pointed the last two mile stretch for our ride.
Duke and Fancy were a unique couple I knew only from a distance. Duke was a massive, muscular man a little later and crustier in life. He was a hairstylist and specialized in permanents and hair color for little old ladies. Thinking of the size of his hands, his towering 6'4" height and the rugged, western image he cut - it was the LAST thing you would have suspected. All I really knew about Duke was that he was a coarse beer drinking man who's only redeeming quality, I thought, was that he owned a fabulously conformed Quarter Horse halter bred stallion.
As Billy Jo and I walked past Duke's place, something in the bushes bolted -- and so did our horses. I was able to get Acey in check, but in the blink of an eye, Billy Jo was on the ground and her mare was galloping straight back the way we came...up the busy Farmer Market Road!
My heart raced!
In my youthful ignorance, I sped Acey in the most hair raising chase, trying to catch Sugar, leaving Billy Jo far behind.
It was just like the westerns. All I needed was a pistol, bandana and a lariat rope! I was in a state of growing alarm. Sugar, who was running with all her might, would run out in the busy road, or worse, get out on the open Highway that was only about a 1/4 mile further north. We could get hit! Or maybe she would just run away and never stop.
As the two horse race sped along, Acey and I were gaining ground on Sugar. She did take the dreaded turn on the Farmer Market road (though not toward the Highway) and I worked to stay on her tail.
Heart was pumping, hooves flying and cars were approaching. And Rebekah was praying audibly! "Help me Jesus!" Acey just couldn't quite get up to the racing mare's speed, try as we did. And Sugar was as inspired for freedom as a released convict!
The race continued - straight down the middle of the center line--literally. Sugar was on the center line and Acey and I were right behind her. We were in a low spot and I never looked back - but cresting the hill ahead of us, I could see vehicles coming!
We couldn't head the mare off. Then we came to the rail bridge. Vehicles began to stop or slow down. Sugar halted at one point to rest while Acey and I, with a couple of men on foot tried to head off the escape mare. We thought we had her cornered. Yet, she evaded all our attempts for capture and no sooner did I have hold on the rein--she took off like an escape artist.
By this time, I had worked myself up into a real panic. We were getting no where. I was worried about Acey. I was scared to death. And I was practically yelling "Help me Jesus" every 5 seconds at this point! Where we going to be hit by a vehicle? And what happened to Billy Jo?
Sugar shot uphill on the shoulder and I did too. Out emerged a truck with two men shadowing us along the road to help keep Sugar off road.
As the hot wind stung my face and I ducked through the trees, it dawned on me. Sugar was headed for home. And I had left Billy Jo far behind. We had now traveled at least 3 miles at a full gallop. I was exhausted, my horse was exhausted. It was hot. I was drenched in sweat and Acey was so wet- it looked like we had taken a dive into a pond!
There was no use heading back. I needed now to get help for Billy Jo. The two men followed the us and the pace became a little less furious as Sugar continued to lead the way to her home. I jumped off Acey into the arms of Billy Jo's mom and in broken, tearful sobs let the family know what had happened. Billy Jo's brother sped off in his truck and I satisfied myself with a short, lusty cry.
Suddenly, my focus turned to Acey, my faithful little mare that was practically wheezing and dripping with perspiration. Her feet were tender and she staggered around as we walked her to cool her off. My mother had always told me that such a drastic impact on the horse and such strenuous, sudden activity could trigger laminitis and even break a horse's wind. We walked for a long time. Acey was stiff but her wind began to regulate and the rasping sound began to subside. I gave her several days rest and remarkably, she was no worse for wear. Whew - that had me worried!
Bubba soon brought Billy Jo home. They were uncertain whether she broke her ankle or twisted it and were headed to the doctor for x-rays She had limped to Duke and Fancy's house and simply waiting for how it would all turn out. I would have thought she could have made a phone call! Incidentally, she had torn a ligament in her leg and had to wear a brace for a while.
My centerline sprint ended my rides with Billy Jo. But I did learn first hand how the flight of a horse truly is like what the Bible said in the book of Job: "He devours the distance with fierceness and rage!" The Bible, as always, had it right and very relevant.
I also learned later on in life that you make sure your people are the first priority. Check their safety. Yet, despite all blunders, it was evident the Lord had His hand on the whole situation. And of course, one teen girl and two horses provided a completely free performance worthy of the greatest adventure ever seen on the Silver "B-Rated" Western Screen.
I will praise the name of God with a song, And will magnify Him with thanksgiving. Ps. 69:30
I love this holiday. It's so American and rooted in giving honor and praise to God. All year long, when we get our big family together, it's always a feast. Still there is a distinction with Thanksgiving! We have our fun. We have our traditions. We have our family recipes! And plus, it's just an exciting, cozy time of year with weather changes, beautiful colors among the landscapes and the delicious smells of cinnamon!
Consider it's Christian origins, is it any wonder that Thanksgiving is getting more and more overshadowed by Halloween, commercialized Christmas, Shopping and Football each passing year?
Yet, the Bible reminds us that thankfulness is a charateristic of God's people. We can celebrate Thanksgiving like it should be done!
Here's some ideas for the day in addition to the feasting:
Read Thanksgiving Bible Verses - Just type in "thanks" or "thanksgiving" on a website like www.biblegateway.com and you'll be amazed how many Bible verses pop up!
Get Dad to read the Story of Thanksgiving outloud. With the East Texan accent, in our home, that can get really entertaining for "pronounciations!" From Sea to Shining Sea is a great book and the children's version allows a condensed version of the details!
Do a family Thanksgiving skit. We used to do this but alas our Chief Massasoit and William Bradford revolted! :) We had so much fun doing it and even made our own video version. I was ambitiously writing my Thanksgiving version of Pride and Prejudice - but it would have been a seriously reduced casting (uh...me) after Mrs. Bennet finished her rhapsody over the turkey and dressing at Pemberly. I possibly could have made a convincing Mrs. Bennett - yet also being Mr. Darcy could have proven a challenge despite my theatrical experience in church plays as a kid!!
Take the time to play family games. It takes a lot of energy to plan all that. One year, we had a Thanksgiving themed obstacle course, wheel barrow races and beyond. We've learned to change it up and just allow each year to unfurl. However, good times usually don't just happen! You've got to plan for success when it comes to doing something besides watching television or playing video games!
Play a game like Kick Ball or go on a walk - after eating all that food, it might be a good idea to get some exercise! Go on a nice, gentle stroll with your best friends, your family and enjoy the outdoors while visiting.
Plan a campfire! Why is it we never can remember all the words to all those great songs we want to sing around a crackling fire? Print them off, but be sure to hand out flash lights should it be dark! :)
Make a Thanksgiving Tree - Give everybody colored strips of paper to write down what they are thankful for. I did this once with students at a horse facility I taught riding lessons. You can very quickly cut out a trunk of the tree with brown paper and then add little rectangular shaped strips in fall colors. Keep it simple!
Be sure to Pray as a Family! In all the festivities, don't forget to stop and Thank God for His provision, His salvation and His love.
If you can - go pet a horse! Of course, I will be making my rounds through the pasture, Lord Willing, and saying hello to the family horses.
Sing! Make a joyful noise as a group. How about some hymns? The internet has the lyrics available ready to print out.
God bless you~ and do have a very Happy Thanksgiving!
But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 1 Peter 2:9
The headline, "48 Million Year Old Pregnant Horse Found" (DISCOVER ENEWS, 10/7/15) caught my eye. A new fossil discovery in Messel, Germany.
Red Flag! Is it really a horse misdated by evolutionary dating processes or is it a critter that's been conveniently plopped into the equidae family by human reasoning based on a theory?
Reading the article revealed, "Eurohippus messelensis was only first described in 2006. The now-extinct species was smaller than today’s horses, being only about the size of a fox terrier, and had toes: four on its front “feet” and three on its back ones." Inaddtion, even after 48 million years, there remains soft tissue (according to the article).
I asked Joe Taylor, Founder and Curator of the Mt. Blanco Fossil Museum to share his thoughts for eQuest For Truth:
I figured it was Messel Germany when it said it was in tact. Small horses as well as monkeys and other animals have been found in these shales. If this is Eohippus, I’m not convinced they were horses. They are like the Green River formation in the US. The animals there are essentially modern animals which makes me think both Green River and Messel animals were buried after the Flood of Noah. Some of the horses still have hair on them and grape seeds inn their stomachs.
It is probably correct that these oil shales were affected by continual oil and gas seepage up through the sediments and possibly, occasionally, a large gas bubble erupted killing any animals foraging there.
This excellent fossils does nothing to help the theory of evolution. In fact, I believe the other horses found there are indeed true horses. They were small, like miniature horses and apparently lived at the same time as the supposed Eohippus. I do not like the term “Eo” anything. It implies evolution or proto animals that evolved into higher forms baloney for which there is no evidence.
A look into the fossils of where horses that have always been horses are found is a great article topic. We need some young or beyond writers interested in Paleotology to step up and write such an article for eQuest For Truth.
For More Information about the Horse Evolution and a Biblical evaluation of the theory, visit these articles: