I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day. Do You Hear Them?

I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day. Do You Hear Them?

Oppression Is A Heavy Burden

“I heard the bells on Christmas Day. Their old familiar carols play, and wild and sweet the words repeat of peace on earth, goodwill to men.”

Can you hear them? I hadn’t. I couldn’t. I’d been waiting, wishing, and even desperately trying to conjure their sound. I needed to hear it, the words of the truth that “peace on earth” could be real. Was it real? Was it even possible? I sat at the piano, playing with my right hand while holding the hymnal in my left. Life was rough then, oppression was heavy on my shoulders. It was tangible and the weight was having an impact. I played on.

Is Peace Possible?

“I thought how, as the day had come, the belfries of all Christendom had rolled along th’unbroken song of peace on earth, goodwill to men.”

I believed. I’d spent my childhood learning these messages and songs of peace and joy. Though I’d doubted through my teen years, I’d recently met and fallen in love with my Lord and Savior. Yet, there I was, seriously questioning whether peace was possible. Satan was doggedly determined to hurt and destroy me, using even the people I loved and cared about most.

Why Is Evil So Strong?

“And in despair I bowed my head: ‘There is no peace on earth,’ I said, ‘For hate is strong, and mocks the song of peace on earth, goodwill to men.’”

I did. Just as the song had said, I played the notes, read the words, and bowed my head. I was defeated. I was hurting and lost. Why was I losing everything I had? It seemed impossible to protect those I loved. Why was I so strongly being attacked? I was convinced, at that moment, that peace was not real, and mocking its reality was appropriate. How could hate be so strong? Why could one intentionally and ultimately succeed in taking another’s peace away? The timid, the weak, and the loving always seemed to be attacked. We are no match for evil. Why can’t we win? Can’t the world see that we are not the ones wrong, that we are being wronged? “Why?” I sobbed.

God Revealed Them – I Heard the Bells!

“Then peeled the bells more loud and deep: ‘God is not dead: nor doth He sleep; the wrong shall fail the right prevail, with peace on earth, goodwill to men.’”

Oh my goodness! I heard the bells! Did you? The answer was there, in black and white, in the reverberating sound of tolling bells. I’d read the words, I reread them once more to be sure. I felt it in my Spirit, deep within my being. The wrong shall fail, the right prevail WITH PEACE on earth, goodwill to men. I can hear them!

The bells tolled in my heart that day. I felt an immediate relief from the weight that had wrapped its heavy darkness about my shoulders. It physically felt different!

God Is Mightier Than Evil

My life transformed instantly. My heart’s focus on Christ deepened as my trust of Him and His plans for me became more concrete. I wasn’t going to “win” in any earthly way that would show the public how great I was or how I was being done wrong. No, I was going to “win” because I was now able to experience peace regardless of circumstances, something my enemy would never be able to feel. The desire at that time to care what people thought or judged of my life disappeared. I lost the need to be in control of my circumstances, because I knew God was really in control. I became confident that the worldly failure or success people were waiting to see was insignificant. The peace God gave to me that day was the ultimate Christmas gift!

God’s Peace Can Be Experienced in the Midst of Chaos

“Till ringing, singing on its way, the world revolved from night to day, a voice, a chime, a chant sublime, of peace on earth, goodwill to men!”

The world continued on, revolving and shedding its light and darkness upon our lives in an endless pattern, seemingly normal. No earthquake alerted the population of God’s touch that I’d experienced. No public win of any sort occurred exposing my goodness to the world, or the evil of my enemy for that matter. Life went on, but as it did, my heart’s desire changed even more. I prayed for peace. I prayed for others to experience and believe in the peace that I was experiencing. It did not take away difficulty. It did not mean a lack of problems. Peace was not what I had always expected it should look like. I felt the power within it, and one day, I came to the realization that I wanted desperately for my enemy to experience it as well.

My Prayer

Father, I know that only those that You draw will meet and experience the beauty of a relationship with Your Son, Jesus Christ. I pray, this Christmas season, that You touch many in need, that they experience the transformation that leads to Your peace which passes all understanding. Let them hear the bells! I pray they sense Your love and guidance and grow to trust You, for that brings comfort and confidence in Your plan, regardless of circumstances. In Jesus name, Amen.

Check out “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” as sung by Casting Crowns.

Social Media Acceptance Wanted

Social Media Acceptance Wanted

Seeking Social Media Acceptance

Social media acceptance is a driving force in many people’s daily lives. There’s a need for approval. And with the internet, we can reach far and wide in search of it. For business owners, it’s important to be noticed in order to be successful. For individuals, acceptance has a value that goes deeper than money. Ultimately, we spend a lot of time and energy seeking it.

Social Media Acceptance-Rebecca on LiveMe app

I’ve dealt with many inappropriate contacts while broadcasting on LiveMe.

Evil is Lurking

It’s frustrating making connections we hope are purposeful only to discover evil intentions lurking. Be aware. Darkness is intent on infiltrating where possible. As we pursue social media acceptance, we inevitably become targets. Satan uses others to reach us, attempting to bring us down. He uses our need for attention to hurt us or make us afraid. Hidden within a cyberworld, attacks, demeaning behavior, and violations of our moral space are rampant. Rather than joyfully growing in community, as we intend, we become victimized.

So what do we do when darkness encroaches?

Know That You’re Valuable

We need to recognize our worth. If we focus on social media acceptance but fail to realize how valuable we are, we’ll struggle when inappropriately contacted. God created each of us intentionally. He loves us immensely. He sent His Son to die as a ransom for our sin, removing Satan’s hold on us. Knowing that we’re valuable in God’s sight helps us stand strong when darkness tries to intimidate.

Keeping our attention on God allows us to grow personally. We accept and care more for ourselves. Contentment is reflected from this powerful relationship. We become likable to those drawn to us by God. A separation of followers begins to take place that is organic and meaningful. We gain some and we lose some. Our social media acceptance will grow with the right followers for us. By seeking God’s wisdom and strength, we’re able to recognize and deal with the approach of evil attention calmly, firmly, and appropriately.

Seeking God’s Direction Gives Perspective

Seek God’s wisdom about questionable connections. Keep Him at the forefront. Be obedient to His lead. He can see what we can’t and knows what someone’s intentions truly are. Also, He knows when we should offer kindness instead of anger when insulted. We could be the seed God’s using to reach someone, or we could be the one to hold them accountable. Only God knows. Ultimately, seeking God’s will can put our desire for social media acceptance in proper perspective.

Find your value in God, be genuine in your social media accounts, don’t let evil contacts disrupt you, and enjoy God-given connections. For additional reading on empowerment, check out my blog, Ladies, You Are Valuable!

Old Haunts Taunt

Old Haunts Taunt

We’re creatures of habit, change is hard, and our minds are powerful. These three thoughts influence us negatively when old haunts taunt.

Being indwelled by God’s Holy Spirit lifts us beyond our temptations. An intimate connection with God offers fellowship with One who’s in control. It allows us strength from One who’s almighty. Living through the Spirit frees us from the weight of our guilt and shame.

Creature of Habit

What can we do when old familiar haunts of days past taunt until they become our focus again? Though perhaps not seen outwardly, their presence is felt. This was conduct of a life thought to be traded in for robes of white. The creature of habit, whispering lies of comfort, no matter the cost, rises up once more.

Change is Hard

A great weight was lifted when you gave God your life. You sensed the difference. The freedom was amazing. The joy He brought was immeasurable. Now, you sit thinking of such change. Was it real? How could it have been if temptation has risen so strongly once more? Ultimately, you admit in defeat that change is hard.

Our Minds Are Powerful

When old haunts rise, thinking consumes. It morphs to disbelief in the truth of who we are as children of God. Frustration overwhelms, and soon we find ourselves giving in to the old nature. After all, our minds are powerful. The more we think on something, the more controlling it becomes.

A haunt that taunts holds tight

Haunts that taunt hold tight. Don’t let them get a grip!

What influences you? You may feel that the old haunts taunt you and lead you to fail, returning you to old ways you’d turned from when God became your focus, but you’re wrong. It’s not really the old haunts that are to blame, it’s what you do with them.

You’re Worth It!

Stop thinking about them! Be aware. The more you think on them, the more power they have. Turn your thinking instead to God. Whenever temptation rises, consciously turn your thoughts to God. Talk to Him, aloud if you must. Put on music that honors Him and sing along. Read something that points to Him. Whatever it takes for you to focus on God instead, do it. Taking the time to refocus is worth it! You are worth it! God is the answer. He is what will break the spell when old haunts taunt!

Promiscuity Is Common, So Is Shame

Promiscuity Is Common, So Is Shame

Sexual Encounters Often Bring Shame

Promiscuity is common, so is the shame it brings. Disgrace weighs heavy on the shoulders of the ashamed. I know, because I was one such teenager, looking for connection, friendship, and belonging. I was timid and awkward. Often, my lack of wisdom led to being used, taken advantage of, and emotionally scarred. When young, I’m not sure we’re aware how deeply intimate sexual encounters really are and how violating they can ultimately feel.

God’s Holy Spirit offers powerful personal guidance. Though I’d felt His nudges giving me direction, I didn’t listen. I stepped into situations regularly where I felt darkness around me. God had full knowledge of what I’d experience if I continued on this path and the insecurity that’d overwhelm me for years to come. His alerts were clear. I chose to ignore Him.

God’s laws, His Biblical principles, and the nudging of His Holy Spirit are not given for us to fear Him or His punishment. Jesus took our sins away, those of us who accept His salvation. However, like a parent who loves greatly, He doesn’t want to see His children hurt. He offers guidance to help us avoid pain.

The enemy wants us to be crippled, emotionally defeated, and keepers of secrets. Robbed of peace, we live behind masks, trying to portray who we wish we were. Still, the shame tugs, penetrating our image, poking holes with whispers of worthlessness that tear us down further.

Give Up or Attack – Where Can Peace Be Found?

At some point, many of us break from this heavy weight. Depression, suicide, drug or alcohol dependencies become reality as we give up. Some of us lash out, demanding that we’re not the ones at fault for our suffering. Still, afraid and flailing, hoping peace will come with attack, it falls short. We fail to see where true peace comes from. The peace we hunger for, the deep cleansing breath of fresh air that liberates, can only come from God.

The enemy uses many sources to hurt us. Often its people; sometimes new friends or strangers. Frequently it’s those we’ve cared for. How do we reconcile the mixed feelings we struggle with when we’ve been used or abused? Before you choose to take action, seek God. Understand that your enemy, who may seem to be of flesh and blood, is really Satan. Your human adversary is a pawn in a much bigger picture. Fighting the mortal doesn’t win a battle, because this is a Spiritual fight. However, God is powerful! Get quiet with Him. Lay all your shame at His feet. Let Him take up arms on your behalf. Let Him fill and comfort you. He can lead you to freedom, however that looks. Be bold, trust Him, and be obedient to His direction.

Naked and Unashamed!

I’ve no shame now for the actions from my youth, my own or those which took place against me. Ever since God called me to Him and I’ve grown close to the One who loves me deeply and unconditionally, I’ve come to love myself. My insecurities were transformed. My anger dissolved. I realized Satan was the enemy all along. Deep sadness slipped away. The image I’d been hiding behind crumbled. I’m naked and unashamed now, able to be open with the pains of my past, though they’re not my focus anymore. The joy of the Lord is instead.

Satan has no power to destroy my peace. Because my peace is not rooted in anything earthly, it’s beyond the reach of any adversary. As far as those who’ve hurt me? I pray that they receive the same revelation of God that I’ve had. I pray for peace for them, because I know there’s only suffering in darkness, and I don’t want others to suffer anymore.

For a great story that illustrates this message perfectly, click here to check out my third novel The Truth Will Set You Free. The first chapter is available for preview. Though it’s from the point of view of a boy who found himself in difficulties, it resonates with any of us who’ve been the attention of evil motives. If you’d like a complimentary copy, contact me directly.

Click for this message in video format.

Suicidal Tendencies

Suicidal Tendencies

Self-Perception is Fickle

“It’d been better if I’d never been born,” we think. “I’m nothing but a disappointment anyway.” Suicidal tendencies are rearing their ugly head. Pain inflicted upon us throughout life has worn us down. Entrenched in our bad choices, we perceive ourselves as burdens now, leading us to such dark thoughts. In time, those dark thoughts morph to a reality of sorts, rooted in nothing more than our own self-condemning points of view. Self-perception is a fickle thing. It changes, often by the moment and often for the worse.

How many are struggling with issues that overwhelm and take us to a point so far removed from the peace and joy that we desire that it makes us angry, sad, frustrated, and self-destructive? Overwhelmed and hurting, we become desperate to escape from our problems, if even for just a moment. Time spent without troubles, to enjoy life, might seem elusive.

Peace Comes…Once I Die

As a teenager, I believed that peace would be found…in heaven, once I died. How many overwhelmed teens and adults harbor that same helpless belief, whether acted on or not? I’ve since found that peace can be enjoyed throughout life, even amidst the worst of trials. I want to share what I’ve found to combat the hardships we endure throughout our ever-changing lives. Christ is the answer. Seek a personal relationship with God, your own private Counselor and Guide. Rise up, sweet child, and shed your suicidal tendencies. I’m praying for you. Click the video to listen to my full message on Suicidal Tendencies.

Resources: Help for Suicidal Tendencies

If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide, the National Suicide Prevention Hotline is an available resource. NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) is another great resource with local chapters in each state. You can browse their websites, view their wealth of information, as well as access hotline phone numbers. Join the #BeThe1To movement and spread the word on suicide prevention! Most importantly, don’t forget to pray! With God, all things are possible.

Rebecca’s novels related to this topic

Click to read the first chapters or order Rebecca’s fictional novels related to mental illness and suicide:

Suicidal Tendencies - Marie's Watch novel

Marie’s Watch – a novel about unconditional love and compassion

Suicidal Tendencies - The Truth Will Set You Free novel

The Truth Will Set You Free – a novel about freedom

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