Behind the Scenes of the Christmas Story

Behind the Scenes of the Christmas Story

When, Lord, will Your promises be seen?

When God speaks His promises to our hearts, prophesies on our lives, He’s working behind the scenes to achieve the goal. What then, when we’ve not seen results? When will they come to pass?

Though you heard confirmation and have been waiting, the answer you expected has not yet occurred. In fact, things seem far from in God’s control. Did you hear Him wrong? Wasn’t it God’s voice you heard? Doubt has begun its death march into your heart, tainting the hope you’d once joyfully held.

Have faith. Whether you think He’s paying attention or not, God’s will is still being done, on earth as it is in heaven. In many ways, the story of Christmas offers great encouragement that God is working behind the scenes on things not yet seen in our personal lives today.

God Influences Many as He Works Behind the Scenes

It was a decree, an order that all return to their places of birth. The decision was made by one person, one man in authority. Without his realization, he’d been influenced by God. You see, it was necessary. In order for prophecy to be fulfilled, movement had to take place. It was announced and executed. Many people had to be involved to bring such an order into fruition. Shifts in location of multitudes of people were in the works long before the moment of Jesus’ birth.

Before God prophesied to you, He’d already set into motion the elements required to fulfill His intent. He’s working on things behind the scenes, just as He had in Bethlehem. His power is so far reaching, it includes even the decisions, mindset, and movement of others.

In addition to the logistics of Jesus’ birth location, many details were necessary to accomplish God’s will in the Christmas story. He needed particular people to believe, trust, and be obedient to His direction. God sent angels to make visits, clearly revealing to Mary and certain shepherds the unseen Spiritual world that surrounds us.

Have you entertained angels unaware? Have you sensed the wisdom within someone’s suggestion? Are you open to see the Spiritual realm around us?

Don’t Be Limited By the Picture in Your Mind

Mary had been told she would deliver the King. A promise on her life had been given. What picture in her mind was being challenged as she settled onto a bed of straw? What difficulty are you enduring right now that seems so distant from the image of God’s will in your mind? Take heart. What God brings about is often not what we envision in our limited thinking.

Dreams were used to direct Joseph and the wise men, but to keep God’s plan on track and protect Jesus, these people needed to trust His prodding and act on it. Jesus’ appointed time to save His people hadn’t yet come, and God gave instruction that would keep Him safe for the time being.

However, their obedience led to horrific events for many families all across the land. It was God who’d spoken to them, but did they question that at any time?

Things Often Seem Worse Before They Get Better

Often, in our lives, when we release control to God, things seem to get far worse before they get better. Hold onto Him. Trust Him as He works to manipulate the things out of our lives that aren’t necessary and draws that in which He desires. God’s reigning presence brings a shift that may initially appear wrong.

God influenced the authorities of the land so that Mary and Joseph would travel. He influenced the multitudes to fill Bethlehem, arriving before them and filling the rooms, causing Jesus to be born in a manger. Those called to worship the newborn King were inspired by God as well. Not one detail was delayed or missed.

In fact, the heaven’s themselves were manipulated to participate. A star, whose light took years to travel to earth, gave direction, clearly showing that God had been at work in far reaching ways long before the trek to Bethlehem.

Rest assured, long before God spoke to you, He’d set His will in motion. Though it may be behind the scenes, the work He’s doing is powerful and will culminate at the appropriate time.

Wait in Confidence, God Is Working Behind the Scenes!

The Christmas story illustrates wonderfully so many elements God had in the works behind the scenes in order to fulfill prophecy. When we hear a word from Him, a prophecy on our own lives, a simple thought back to the birth of our King can encourage us to trust, embrace His peace in the process, and wait in confidence.

The Living God

The Living God

 

 

It was the middle of the night. Life had changed for me. I felt like I’d returned home, a child of God who’d been lost in a chaos that’d held me captive for too long. Evil works like that, using circumstances to draw our attention away from the living God. Something had wakened me. My eyes opened and I looked up. Floating above my bed was a large leather-bound book. It hovered there, suspended in a dimension seemingly unreal yet clearly evident to my eye. The front cover opened, revealing stark white pages, void of any writing. One by one the pages quickly turned until the center of the book was reached, at which point it stopped. On the left hand page were the typed words, large, bold, and very clear, FIRST AND FOREMOST.

I didn’t have to wonder the meaning, it was clear to me then and still is now. God is to remain, first and foremost, at my center. Disruptions and distractions of life are not to take my focus from my Father again. All of life’s needs and comforts are found there, in connection with Him. It’s this type of relationship that I want to encourage for you.

What Are Your Basic Beliefs About God?

In order to better understand this powerful bond and how it relates to us, it might be helpful to consider how we, in our deepest beliefs, fit into this union. What you believe is key and may need to be shaken.

Do you believe God is the Creator of the world, universe, stars, and moon? Is He still a Creator today, bringing forth human life, flowers, and sunsets? Is He real, living and present? Does He influence events in your life? Can you have conversations or receive guidance and wisdom from Him? Can you personally benefit from His might and power?

Is He the living God?

Humanity did believe in the living God in Moses’ day, however, as referenced in Deuteronomy 5:24, it was feared that you’d die if He spoke to you. Yet, God, in all His glory, intentionally revealed Himself and spoke to Moses. As stated in Joshua 3:7 the Lord spoke with Joshua too, letting him know He was with Him. Joshua, in turn, declared that all would know that the living God was among them, because God would be the One to drive out their enemies.

Where did this fear of death attached to personal connection with God stem from? Let’s go back to Eden, to the beginning of separation. When Adam and Eve’s eyes were opened to the knowledge of good and evil, they’d been told they’d surely die. They were banished from safety and security, where all their needs had been met. They lost a holy and pure connection to their Father. Life was empty and dark without God. Spiritual death seemed to have occurred.

Power of God Revealed

Hearts changed once the power of God was revealed to them, once they witnessed God at work. It’s apparent, Biblically speaking, that many people throughout history acknowledged that there was a living God who was powerful enough to alter the course of their lives, offer guidance, perform miracles, and create outcomes that could not have been foreseen.

King Hezekiah, as referenced in 2 King 19:16 and Isaiah 37:17, asked God to bow down His ear and open His eyes, to hear the words of His enemy as they spoke against Him, the living God. God responded, sent His angel out, and destroyed the enemy. The power of the living God became evident. The psalmist wrote in Psalm 42:2 of the living God whom his soul thirsted for. Jeremiah referred to the Lord as the true God, the living God, an everlasting King, and the Lord of hosts (Jeremiah 10:10). King Darius, in Daniel 6:26, made a decree that all within his kingdom should tremble before the living God. God, Himself, stated in Hosea 1:10 that His children will be referred to as the sons of the living God.

And Then Came Jesus

Jesus lived as God has asked us to live today. He kept His Father, first and foremost, at His center. We can look at His life as an amazing example of what trusting God, even in the midst of chaos, can do. In this living relationship, God’s will led Jesus’ very footsteps. We can see in Christ’s life and death the value of obedience, a true image of living as One with the Father.

Jesus’ death, as the final sacrificial Lamb, tore the veil that kept us from relationship with God! Distance from Him, born in Eden, lost its power to keep us separated. We can be intimately connected to Him now. We can seek and sense His presence, His guidance, His peace, and His power. Adam and Eve were cast away from the wonderful company of our God by their disobedience. We’re able to return to Eden, a garden of rest, due to Christ’s obedience, His sacrifice on our behalf.

You are now a temple for the living God. God said (2 Corinthians 6:16) He’d dwell in His people and walk in them, that He will be their God and they will be His people. That’s you and me! Though trusting in the living God (1 Timothy 4:10) as the Savior of all men will draw criticism, we can rejoice none-the-less, because we can have what unbelievers can’t, the peace of God, even in the midst of life’s challenges. Observe those that hunger for earthly riches or recognition instead of God’s glory. Note their hearts and what they ultimately exude. See beyond the image they portray to the reality of darkness that surrounds them. Don’t trust in such uncertain riches (1 Timothy 6:17). Trust rather in the living God Who gives richly all things to enjoy, including life eternal.

“All things to enjoy”… How can we experience joy when life is challenging?

In days of Biblical history (Hebrews 3:7-11), our forefathers complained, seeking proof of a living God, even though they’d witnessed His miracles first-hand. They did not know Him personally, therefore they weren’t able to enter into His rest. We’re able to know Him! We’re able to enter into His rest, a place of peace and joy, a life of power and comfort, regardless of human circumstances!

Today, right now, (Hebrews 12:18-24) we are living in a time that we don’t have to be afraid of hearing the voice of God. Rather, we can rejoice at the sound. Today, we’re living in a time that any one of us can seek Him and come to know Him. We can come unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, Mount Zion, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn, to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus the mediator of this new covenant. This can be experienced now!

We, His children, are vessels that hold the living God. When we rest in His presence and allow Him to move through us, others who don’t believe can witness His miracles, traits, and love. They may then feel led to seek what we have. Getting to know Him is the key for any of us. It’s God that draws us to His Son, Christ, Who saved us (John 6:44). It’s the Son that connects us to the Father (John 14:6). He gives us the Spirit of truth (John 14:16-17) so that we can live born again. And through this Spirit, we’re intimately filled with God. The circle is complete. We are One with our Father.

Ask God

So, let me return to the original question, what are your basic beliefs about God? Let me encourage you to ask Him what’s real. Seek Him. Get to know Him. I pray He reveals Himself to you and that you choose to place Him, first and foremost, at your center.

Click here for more on relationship with our Lord and a great message about being Sons and Daughters of the King!

God Altered My Life

God Altered My Life

God altered my life as an author. For years, my husband and I traveled New England selling my books, meeting people, and encouraging them in relationship with God. We often discussed expanding these trips countrywide once our youngest was to graduate. I was sure it was a route to success as a writer and excitedly looked forward to it.

That’s all changed.

My husband’s sudden and fast-growing collection of vinyl records frustrated me. I felt I was supposed to be supportive, but it was nothing I cared about. In fact, it made me angry. At God’s continued nudging, I finally offered help. We spent many nights checking, cleaning, and organizing all he was amassing. For what purpose, I wondered in irritation?

Selling them seemed logical. Chris joined me as a vendor at a number of fairs until it became too burdensome. I knew my life was at a crossroad. After seeking God’s direction and arguing with Him about it, I stepped out on faith and suggested we open a store in our house. I offered to stop traveling and stay home to run it. He agreed. Years of marketing had come to an end, and I was struggling.

Chris and Rebecca Matthews stands in front of the Open sign in front of their new vinyl record shop, Chris's Nostalgia Shop

Chris’s Nostalgia Shop opened for business on January 29, 2018

During this transition, inwardly I was hurt and angry at God, at my husband, and at his hobby. My publisher had already closed unexpectedly in the midst of projects. Now, with the loss of hands-on marketing, my dream to be a successful writer felt crushed. Though I definitely wavered in support of my husband’s new joy, I did trust God.

Chris’s Nostalgia Shop Has Grown!

We’ve expanded the shop since it opened and our inventory has taken over much of our home, prompting big changes to take place. The work involved to run it consumes much of my days, often much of my nights, but I really enjoy this job! It seems perfect for my personality. Keeping and updating lists and organizing product, oddly enough, brings me joy.

It feels wonderful supporting my husband’s dreams. He’s been my biggest supporter over the years and it’s such a blessing to give back and see him enjoy this endeavor. I also have the freedom to write encouraging content for others while I’m working. And most importantly, with all the time I now spend focused on my Lord while I ponder and write, pray and praise, I sense His powerful presence all the time. He’s at my center again, where He belongs. Ultimately, my intimate and personal relationship with Christ is the most important thing in my life and I now get to nurture it freely.

This life change was perfect for me!

You see, God altered my life because He knows what’s best. And while change is difficult, I’ve found peace in choosing to trust Him. Let me encourage you. No matter what changes occur, perceived good or bad, trust Him. God has the best plans!

This reminds me of a little tree, Little Birch, who learned a similar lesson. Check out my children’s book Little Birch Finds Peace!

There’s A River

There’s A River

We are that river

There’s a river that God’s in the midst of. It’s so influential that even the streams coming from it refresh the distant lands they touch. It’s a holy place, that river. It houses the most High. We, the children of God, are that river. He is in the midst of us, living through us, and imparting His strength so that we can rest in Him and not live broken.

When we flow freely, unencumbered by life’s debris, when God pulses through our very being, His light shines from us like streams branching off from a river. Even the seemingly small things we do prompted by God encourage others to believe. They’re touched by Him through us, often without us even being aware.

Let God guide your journey

Entrusting our lives to God and His will allows Him to guide us through riverbanks He’s already carved. Some appear good, some appear bad. Following through on His nudges often leads to witnessing things that could only have come from One who knows all. For these experiences we praise and worship Him. However, sometimes that revelation comes later. Hold tight.

Difficulties place us where God needs us

When we endure difficulties of which others judge and condemn us, rather than lash out, stand confident. God is in control still. He positions us where He needs us to be. There’s no need to defend. Don’t allow these seemingly bad situations to hinder His work. Fight the urge to complain or attack in response. Wait in quiet trust. Keep your eyes on Him, and watch God reveal His purposes. In this way we’re able to offer an example of the pure power of God.

Resist angrily giving back what is being done to you. Restrain from seeking vengeance. God does so in His time and to a degree that serves His purposes, furthering His will. Let Him repay evil for what evil has done. It’s not your job. Let that freedom penetrate and enjoy the weight lifted.

Relax in the flow of God’s will.

Rest, relax in the flow of His will. Sink in, and don’t worry about what you may or may not accomplish. He provides abundantly what’s needed. Resting in Him renews our Spirit as we continue to grow closer and more in love with Him. Allow fully His Spirit to fill and flow through you. Relationship with Him is the most important thing of life.

There’s a river that God’s in the midst of. Be that river, trusting and filled so much that streams of His presence branch off from you, offering refreshment to others.

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.

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

God’s Lovingkindness, Where is it?

God’s Lovingkindness, Where is it?

Give thanks to the Lord?

In Psalm 92:1-2, it’s suggested that it is good to give thanks to the Lord. In addition to that, singing praises to His name adds to the jubilant recommendation. And finally, we’re to declare God’s lovingkindness and faithfulness both morning and night.

How can we give thanks and sing praises when life is a struggle? If we’re walking in the darkness of loss or hurt, why would we? What is there to be thankful for when life is tragic? If God is almighty, we might question why He’d allow the difficulties that have us far from peace.

Who is it good for?

If it’s good to give thanks and praise to the Lord, who is it good for? I’d gather that God has continued without fail whether we’ve thanked and praised Him or not. Then it must be good for us! It is, and here’s where faith can be your catapult to living joyfully instead.

Landscape scene. God's lovingkindness

It is good to give thanks to the Lord!

Life is tough. Our journey here on earth seems to be a mix of tragedy, good fortune, confusion, and happiness. There are days of achievement, but there are also days of discouragement, pulling at emotions that dictate what kind of day we’ll experience. We strive to find balance, experience peace, or make some sense of the life we’re living. Have faith. There is good for us.

Does God really offer lovingkindness and faithfulness?

Lovingkindness, by definition, is tenderness and consideration for others. It’s the opposite of ill will toward someone. Faithfulness is the quality of being faithful or true to another person. These are God’s traits toward us, and yet the difficult lives many of us succumb to lead us to question whether He really offers them to us.

How can we excitedly tell others of God’s lovingkindness and faithfulness? We who are broken can’t even absorb His wonderfulness for ourselves. Additionally, we’re expected to exhibit these traits as proof of our faith. That’s some pressure, huh? No matter how much we try to apply faith, we’ll struggle. God’s traits aren’t meant to be applied. He lives them. When He is at our center, His qualities show through us.

Can we offer lovingkindness and faithfulness?

Is it possible for us to offer lovingkindness and faithfulness? Due to our own failure to achieve these qualities, we condemn ourselves. Also, we’re resentful of others who lack the same ability. Do we offer lovingkindness to those who’ve hurt us or our loved ones? Likely not. What takes its place? Animosity, frustration, an overwhelming feeling of unfairness. We wish our enemy would pay consequences that make them hurt. We want justice! At what cost?

Lone tree in the fog. God's lovingkindness

Our journey here on earth seems to be a mix of tragedy, good fortune, confusion, and happiness.

Fidelity, faithfulness, for many of us, is a lofty expectation too, often met with disappointment. Many have been hurt by unfaithful people. On the other hand, though we judge people for this, we also find ourselves among those who struggle with being faithful. The guilt can be crushing.

So, if we don’t have anything to feel thankful for, if we’ve nothing praiseworthy happening in our lives, why would we even think of God as faithful? We’d be hard pressed to consider the things God is allowing as lovingkindness. Right?

God’s qualities fill us!

However, as the Psalm suggests, in a posture of praise and thankfulness for our Lord, we can declare God’s lovingkindness and faithfulness. Again, these are God’s qualities. They are part of His essence. He is a God of love. He will not turn from His children, ever, and we can experience what these qualities mean personally to us. Greater still, we can exhibit them outwardly, even in the most trying of circumstances.

When we ask Christ to be at our center, when we ask His Holy Spirit to come into us, God’s qualities fill us. This takes a step of faith, asking Him in. I want you to take it, though, and watch God move! The more we focus on Him, talk with Him, listen for Him, wait on Him, and grow to trust Him, the stronger we experience His qualities. He has much to teach us who come close to Him. God’s lovingkindness and faithfulness are personally revealed to us. As a result, the revelation of His essence causes us to give thanks, sing praises, and declare loudly what He can do. God allows His traits to shine through us to touch others as He intends.

You will declare God’s lovingkindness!

So you must get to know your Creator on a very private and intimate level. Keep your eyes on Him constantly, converse with Him always. Seek His wisdom, love, peace, and guidance every day. Naturally, His traits will infiltrate your being as His Spirit responds. Finally, the old will pass away. Every morning and every night you’ll find it hard to resist and you will declare it!

We praise You Lord. We thank You for Your lovingkindness and faithfulness toward us, even when we hadn’t seen or deserved it. May those who’ve wronged us see these traits of Yours shining from within us so that they might also find hope in You.

Faith mug. God's lovingkindness

Thank You, Lord, for Your lovingkindness!

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