Friday, March 25, 2011

An Open Door

I love how God's timing is impeccable. One week after surrendering to Him my obedience, the deadline He had given me back at the beginning of the 2008 arrived months earlier than expected. This deadline had bound me to stay home, work, and not look into going back to the mission field until that date. Well, now I was free to start knocking at the door to go back!


So I started looking into mission boards. I am filling out the initial application for one right now. This is exciting and fulfilling news. Hadn't God said, "Rest content here until this time, and then wait for me to open up the door"?

I look back over all that I learned in the past three years. Oh my goodness, it's incredible. I could never have been a missionary without all the lessons I have learned. I could never have been fruitful or effective for God the way I was. But He faithfully held me back until He had had a chance to work in my life all the good purposes that He knew needed to take place, and then He set me free.

The Master Professor kept me in His classroom and didn't let me leave until I had mastered the required curriculum. I love the fact that He allowed me to sit at His feet as He patiently and expertly taught me. I'm so grateful to Him that He sent me through "Heaven Univeristy's" courses.

To sum up, here are the lessons that stand out to me from my 3-year curriculum.

Open Up Your Mouth and Speak: When I encounter lost people, the Master Professor taught me to be willing to communicate the gospel to them. He not only convinced me that I should do it, He actually got me doing it! Now, instead of cowering in silence when my heart is pounding with the Spirit's promptings to witness, I make use of the opportunities God gives me to open up my mouth and speak.

Depend on God: My professor faithfully stripped away all of my own self-sufficiency. I look at missions with more of a dependence on God now. I have less of the cocky, sure-of-myself mentality. ("Of course I can succeed as a missionary! God should be really thankful to see someone as amazing as me signing up.") Best of all He stepped in and offered Himself as the source of my strength.

Pray: Without prayer, how could I have been an effective missionary? God actually got me praying. He is still teaching me; I know I have a long way to go. But He has put the power cord in my hand, showed me how to plug it in, and given me ample evidence of its effectiveness. I am dealing with the hearts of humankind here--who am I to think I can reach anyone's heart? Only God can, and He waits to do it until I ask Him.

Get Up Early: This is a valuable lesson on so many levels. It taught me the utter ineffectiveness of my flesh, it caused me to have to be disciplined, it made me have to fight for something, it led me to see what God was going to say about obedience, it caused me to have to cling to God by faith, and so much more.

Be Filled with the Holy Spirit: The Spirit of God is the one who can lead me into the exact niche that He has designed my life to occupy. I cannot lead myself there. Without the work of the Spirit of God alive and active in my life, I could never hope to bring forth fruit for the Kingdom of God.

Obey: The catch-all for future things God wants to teach me. My professor was wise enough to work on obedience in individual, manageable areas before He introduced the overarching requirement to apply it to all of life. He knew that it would have remained a theoretical concept in my brain indefinitely if He had not first achieved practical action steps.

Work: Not just "go to work," but work at whatever God has asked me to do. This means I'm not allowed to be lazy. It takes work to be obedient.

All of these are works in progress. However, the Master Professor has firmly planted my feet in the right path, and He has shown me how to walk in it, and He has succeeded in seeing that I take steps. Now, the fun begins. All of these areas will develop, strengthen, and mature in my life as I continue to follow the Lamb wherever He Leads.

The End
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Thursday, March 24, 2011

The puzzle pieces fall into place

Soon after seeing how my job was simply to obey the Lord, everything started fitting together.

Getting up early? That boiled down to obedience. I simply had to obey God and do it.

Prayer? Obedience again. No longer could I raise my frequent excuse, "But I just don't feel like praying right now." If God had commanded me to pray, I needed to obediently pray.

Depending on God? Still obedience. If I didn't depend on Him, I would never be able to obey. Suddenly I was acutely dependent on God, automatically, because in and of myself, I was not very obedient.

Open up you mouth and speak? All I had to do to master that was to obey.

And suddenly I saw that it went so much farther beyond that. Obedience backed up everything in my spiritual walk. God was working on these three areas today, but he might choose to tackle other areas tomorrow, and in whatever He chose to work on, I needed to be obedient if I was going to get anywhere.

It was on December 14, 2010 that I was desiring something from God. I can't remember exactly what it was now...some kind of spiritual advancement or blessing...I'll have to look it up in my journal. Anyway, God firmly impressed it upon my mind, "You can't have this until you give me your obedience." The light bulb flicked on. "Ohhhhh! Obedience is the pathway to actually getting somewhere!" I realized. I felt a little ridiculous that it had taken me this long for it to dawn on me. "Okay, deal," I said. I felt God's smile. "I win," He seemed to say.

It worked!

I finally started to obey!

God had gotten through to me!

And then things started happening.

Next Post: An Open Door
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Wednesday, March 23, 2011


Obey, obey, obey.

I still struggled on with my three areas: Get up early, pray, and depend on God. From April until December of 2010, I met with one failure and setback after another. For a period of about a month during the summer, I read Romans 6 every single day, hoping to glean some insight into how to reckon myself dead to sin. I started to be so desperate for the power of Christ's resurrection to actually operate in me, and I didn't know what I was doing wrong. For about 3 weeks in July, I went on an early morning prayer walk with my sisters and another girl, where we all prayed for various needs, and I poured out my heart to the Lord, pleading with Him to change me. Why did progress have to be so slow?

One day, I took an extra-long walk by myself around a loop that we don't usually walk (because it's too long). Something just had to change. I just had to get ahold of God and find some deliverance. I walked along and prayed and cried. At one point in my walk, my eye was attracted to a small graveyard up a hill off the side of the road, and I walked up to it. I went in and looked at some of the tombstones and found a place to sit down against a fence. There, I continued praying, looking up into the sky and crying out to God for answers.

There seemed to be an especially large number of birds in the sky. I wanted to be like those birds, soaring above all my troubles.

Romans 6 came flooding back into my mind, and I started quoting it. I looked around at all the tombstones as I quoted parts about death to sin.

"Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death."
"We have been planted together in the likeness of his death."
"Our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin."
"He that is dead--dead!--is freed from sin."
"If we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him."

The phrase came into my mind, "The law of sin and death." I looked back up at the birds. An analogy came into my mind: "The law of gravity and death." If you step out of a plane, or off the edge of a skyscraper, you will certainly conform to the law of gravity and death. I thought, "The law of gravity is binding on me. It is the reason I am sitting here, stuck to the ground, and not flying around in the sky with the birds. It's just like sin. The law of sin is binding on me. It keeps me walking down on the ground, among all this death, instead of mounting up with wings and soaring to heights above with Christ."

But the birds! The birds were overcoming the law of gravity. And, I trusted, there was a way to overcome sin through the resurrection of Christ. But what was it?

I quoted through Romans 6 until I reached verse 16. There I stopped.

"Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey, whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?"

Suddenly, the light dawned.


There is the key. Obey the Lord.

"If I could only get that stuck fast in my head," I thought. "Obey the Lord. Obey the Lord. Obey the Lord." It simplifies everything. I only have to worry about one thing. All I have to do is obey. (All I have to do...heh...easier said than done, I know!) But I only have to occupy myself with this one task. Clearly, I have been disobedient. Obviously, that is what has hindered me from getting anywhere. I rebel against God in disobedience, and thereby obey the law of sin unto death.

I walked out of the graveyard with purpose and hope, clinging to that simple concept: Obey.

Next Post: The Puzzle Pieces Fall into Place
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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Be filled with the Holy Spirit

About a month after giving myself to the Holy Spirit to be used and controlled by Him, I came across a friend's facebook page, where one of her friends had randomly made some comment about Jackie Pullinger. I was intrigued. I had read a short biography of Jackie Pullinger in one of Leslie Ludy's books (Can't remember if it was Set Apart Femininity or Authentic Beauty), and just out of curiosity, I googled her name. One of the things that came up was a link to some of her messages. I listened to a 3-part message called "Be filled with the Holy Spirit" (which you can find and listen to here), and through her testimony and praying with her at the end, I received the gift of tongues.


Right there, some of you are going, "Whoa, Rebekah just got herself far out into left field here." Yeah. Or maybe not.

This is the first time I am putting this information in public. It's not something I do in public, and it's not something I talk about with people unless they ask me about it. I considered not sharing this part of the story, but I think it's a vital part of what came later, and it seems sort of like hiding an elephant to pass over it and skip this part as if it didn't have anything to do with my spiritual development.

I was as curious as anything about it. I started praying in my new language every day, and I couldn't help trying to analyze what I was saying, what language this sounded like, what the words meant. I didn't get anywhere with that, but one thing I observed was that I didn't know the whole language all at once. At first, I only had the consonants 'c,' 'p,' 'n,' and 'g' mixed in with the vowels. I even thought to myself, "This is getting boring... let me introduce a new sound in here," but it didn't work. I had the feeling that the Holy Spirit chuckled at me and said, "That's not a word, silly." But when I wasn't trying to "get creative" with it, gradually different sounds added themselves in there, until I was speaking a full range of interesting-sounding language. Upon reflection, I was amazed that I had been able to pray initially in that limited vocabulary. Could you make up many sentences in English using only the consonants c, p, n, & g? I couldn't. But yet I had been speaking strings and strings of different sentences, causing me to marvel at the Holy Spirit's ability to filter out all the rest of the consonants and still say something (even if I didn't know what, I trusted that He did).

If you're going, "She's making this up," it's the same thing I was wondering. But this wasn't the first time I had tried to speak in tongues. Always before, I had just invented "baby-talk" words that I knew I was making up. This time, it was different. I had the divine witness that I was saying something. Also, the sounds I was making didn't all come from English. There were glottal stops and weird vowels and consonants that made my tongue do things it had never done before and a very melody of tonality that was different from English.

According to Scripture,
"For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries."

"He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself."

"Forbid not to speak with tongues."
(1 Cor 14:2, 4, 39)
So what were the results of this new adventure?
"The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the LORD search the heart." Jer. 17:9-10
The first thing God revealed to me was deception. He showed me how much deception existed in my own heart, and He caused me to begin to abhor it. He dealt with these areas of deception one by one. I had never seen how deceitful my own heart was. He caused me to seek and desire truth.
"But when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth." (John 16:13)
God also began to show me the desperate wickedness of my own heart. It took a lot longer to do this, and I am still in that process. I had always admitted that I was a sinner, but I still considered myself to be a pretty good Christian. God stripped all this away and showed me the extent to which my heart was at enmity with Him, how I fled from His ways, how I only sought to please myself, and how I rebelled against Him--all the time. He brought me to grief and repentance over this, and began to change me.

Next Post: Obey
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First post: Tutored Under the Master Professor

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Interesting Connection

I interrupt this story to bring you this unique circumstance.

Last night I was reading a book called The Christian's Secret of a Happy Life by Hannah Whitall Smith. In this book, I came across the following segment from chapter 18, which surprised me at how nearly it paralleled the thoughts I shared in my last post, though I first journaled these thoughts approximately a year ago and had never read or heard reference to this book until now.

      "If I am really a child of God, then of necessity my heart is already the temple of God, and Christ is already within me. What is needed, therefore, is only that I shall recognize His presence and yield fully to His control.
      "It seems to me just in this way: as though Christ were living in a house, shut up in a far-off closet, unknown and unnoticed by the dwellers in the house, longing to make Himself known to them, and to be one with them in all their daily lives, and share in all their interests, but unwilling to force Himself upon their notice, because nothing but a voluntary companionship could meet or satisfy the needs of His love. The days pass by over that favored household, and they remain in ignorance of their marvelous privilege. They come and go about all their daily affairs, with no thought of their wonderful Guest. Their plans are laid without reference to Him. His wisdom to guide and His strength to protect are all lost to them. Lonely days and weeks are spent in sadness which might have been full of the sweetness of His presence.
      "But suddenly the announcement is made, "The Lord is in the house!" How will its owner receive the intelligence? Will he call out an eager thanksgiving, and throw wide open every door for the entrance of his glorious Guest? Or will he shrink and hesitate, afraid of His presence, and seek to reserve some private corner for a refuge from His all-seeing eye?
     "Dear friend, I make the glad announcement to thee that the Lord is in thy heart. Since the day of thy conversion He has been dwelling there, but thou hast lived on in ignorance of it. Every moment during all that time might have been passed in the sunshine of His sweet presence, and every step have been taken under His advice. But because thou knew it not, and did not look for Him there, thy life has been lonely and full of failure. But now that I make the announcement to thee, how wilt thou receive it? Art thou glad to have Him? Wilt thou throw wide open every door to welcome Him in? Wilt thou joyfully and thankfully give up the government of thy life into His hands? Wilt thou consult Him about everything, and let Him decide each step for thee, and mark out every path? Wilt thou invite Him into thy innermost chambers, and make Him the sharer in thy most hidden life? Wilt thou say "Yes" to all His longing for union with thee, and with a glad and eager abandonment hand thyself and all that concerns thee over into His hands? If thou wilt, then shall thy soul begin to know something of the joy of union with Christ."