~National Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church~

So, yesterday was the national day of prayer for the persecuted church and I really wanted to take the time to pray with you all for the persecution of our brothers and sisters across the world. I was reading an article and have heard multiple testimonies throughout the weekend about things going on in countries around the globe and it absolutely broke my heart. To see so much devastation and turmoil, pain and suffering, simply for believing and worshiping Christ. In the U.S., we are free to worship and pray and read the Word without fear of being imprisoned or killed. But that is not the case in certain countries, and that is what I wanted to take the time to pray about today. So rather than blogging in depth, I will take the time to pray for the children of God throughout the world, who are boldly living for Jesus, despite the consequences.


 

Heavenly Father, I want to take the time right now to pray over my brothers and sisters in Christ across the world who are suffering persecution for serving and loving you. Lord, I know that I cannot completely know or understand what they are going through. The things they endure for your name is unimaginable and heart wrenching, and my heart breaks for each and every one of them. We know that in 1 Peter chapter 4, Paul says that you are blessed if you suffer for Christ, so Lord I ask that you remind each of the persecuted Christians that they are blessed; so completely cherished in your sight. That they are not alone and that there is a crown of righteousness awaiting them in the kingdom of heaven.

Father, I pray that you give them peace and comfort during their circumstances. Many of them have been separated from their family or have witnessed their loved ones being murdered in front of them. They have been left scared, alone, shocked and tormented by the loss of their loved ones. Bless them with peace Lord. Allow the Holy Spirit to shelter them with comfort as they struggle with loneliness and sorrow. God, please help these men, women, and children boldly and proudly proclaim the name of Jesus to every corner of the world. Lord, not only them, but help the Christians throughout America and other countries who don’t struggle with this kind of persecution to live even more boldly. We do not face the possibility of being beheaded or having our family shot before our eyes for saying the Holy name of Jesus. We don’t face prison or torture on a daily, even hourly basis. Though persecution of any kind is hard and difficult to endure, Christians across the U.S. should boldly proclaim their faith in Jesus, being unashamed of who their Savior is.

God, I pray that these men and women remember that they serve a God who is mighty, and that even if these people take away their homes, their families, even their lives, they still cannot take away their life eternally lived by your side. Holy Spirit, write the Word on their hearts, so that even when it is illegal to own a bible, they will still know your Word and your promises. Give them the courage to stand up for what is right and allow the Spirit to speak truth through them to all who can hear. I also ask that you humble the hearts of people across America, to join with me in prayer for our brothers and sisters. Remind us of the blessings we have been given, and remind us of what is important. That bringing you glory and praise is what our lives should be about. Lord you are mighty and strong enough to do anything, and I pray that the believers who are submitting everything, including their lives, will continue to be strong, bold, and fearless. They are warriors for Christ, so Lord I pray blessings over them.

I also ask that you protect the missionaries and groups who have been fighting for these men and women. They willingly lay down their lives to protect others, so Lord please strengthen and protect them in that as well. Remind them of who they are really fighting for, and that the love that they show by laying down their lives to serve and protect is held highly in your eyes. God, I ask for your forgiveness. Forgiveness in my own life, forgiveness for this country, and across the globe. This world is filled with those who have blatantly rejected you and allow the enemy to guide them in the direction of destroying those who desire to serve you. Lord, saturate the hearts of many with your unconditional love and mercy, humbling them to the point of knowing that they are in need a savior. That they need YOU.

We all have sinned, none of us are worthy, so Lord we thank you for the opportunity to know you, and love you. I ask that when Christians across the nations face persecution of any kind, that the Holy Spirit allow us to find joy in that. Help us rejoice in the promise you have given us; that when we lay down our lives and surrender to you, we will surely face trials and persecution, but we have the promise of eternal life through Christ. Greater is the one living inside of us, than anyone in the world. You are worthy of all our praise, and we joyful glorify your name. Your will be done, through each individual and their circumstances. I humble pray all of these things in your Son’s precious name. Amen.


 

Verse of Encouragement for Persecuted Church

  • Hebrews 13:5-6 ~ “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have,because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’ So we say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?'”
  • 1 Peter 4:12-19 ~ “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. For it is time for judgment to begin with God’s household; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And, ‘If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?’ So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.”
  • Matthew 5:10-12 ~ “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad,because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
  • 2 Timothy 3:12-17 ~ “In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evildoers and impostors will go from bad to worse,deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 

  • 1 Peter 1:6-9 ~ In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”
  • Deuteronomy 11:18 ~ “Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.”
  • Proverbs 7:1-3 ~My son, keep my words and store up my commands within you.  Keep my commands and you will live; guard my teachings as the apple of your eye. Bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart.”

 

~ Halloween special: Are you allowing your past sins to haunt you? ~

I am not one who really likes Halloween or celebrates it. I know that is a very unpopular opinion in today’s society, trust me. Putting that aside, I believe that the Lord has brought something to my attention today and that I should share this with you all that, yes, you’ve guessed it, deals with haunting. Not the haunting that most people think of that have to do with ghosts or demons, but rather our sin. Sin we have committed in the past that just wont go away. Whether that be an addiction that you still struggle with, or shame that you cant seem to get rid of, it haunts you. I was just recently dealing with the same thing, on an extreme level, and I believe that it is good to share the good news about what God has to say about our past sins.

So to start, I want to point out that this is a common weapon the enemy uses against us, especially when we are fervently seeking Christ; he brings up sins in the past, our failures, both big and small, and will rub them in our faces. And trust me when I say that you are not alone if and when you struggle with this. I not only am combat with this attack from the enemy, but I also struggle with self-forgiveness pretty bad as well. When I mess up or do something wrong, I have a very hard time forgiving myself, even when someone else has forgiven me. “Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.” Psalms 51:2-3. This is something I am constantly working through, and it truly does feel like my sin is always there to haunt me, to torment me, reminding me of how many times I have messed up. I really want to focus today on how the enemy uses this guilt to keep us from moving forward, into the abundant joy and peace God has for us.

There are two types of shame that need to be set apart from one another. True shame or guilt is what leads to repentance and is prompted by the conviction of the Holy Spirit. Now, the false guilt, which the enemy uses against us, is when we have already repented and been forgiven of our sin but we still feel guilty or associate with our sinful past. That is where Satan likes to break us. He will plant seeds of doubt within you and you will begin to block out the beautiful promises God has already given you. Something that is often used against me is “You call yourself a Christian? A follower of Christ? When you sin like that??” The enemy will remind us of just how sinful we are, and just how much we dont deserve Gods love or forgiveness. That is where knowing what the Word says comes into play; when we arm ourselves against the lies that the enemy will use to knock us off our feet. “Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” Ephesians 6:11.

Something that I have realized through my own personal walk is how allowing shame or guilt to take over even after being forgiven causes a rift in our relationship with God. We are pushing away the free gift of forgiveness when we continue to feel guilty for something that we have already been forgiven of it. Essentially, we are telling God that His forgiveness isn’t enough, that His power to forgive cannot take away the guilt that we feel. Well let me tell you something, His forgiveness IS enough! Not only is it enough, but God goes so far and beyond just forgiving. Throughout Scripture we are reminded of the beautiful promises God has given us, and that alone should be enough to lift the weight of guilt off of our shoulders.

  • Hebrews 8:12 ~For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”
  • Psalms 25:7 ~Do not remember the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways; according to your love remember me, for you, Lord, are good.”
  • Psalms 103:11-12 ~ For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.”
  • Micah 7:19 ~You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.”
  • Isaiah 1:18 ~ “‘Come now, let us settle the matter,’ says the Lord. ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.'”
  • 1 John 1:9 ~ “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
  • 2 Corinthians 5:17 ~ “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”

We are made new in Him! He not only forgives us, but has removed our sin as far as the East is from the West. Think about that, you cannot take the East and bring it closer to the West. No matter how far West you go, you will never reach East. It is the same with our sin; God not only forgives our sin, but He completely removes it from us. From our past, from our hearts, from our very being. It is erased because of the sacrifice Jesus made. I do want to remind you though that shame and guilt is not sinful. Guilt is what brings us to repentance, when we are convicted because of something sinful we have done. Isaiah 43:18 says “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.” Having a spirit of repentance is so important in order to change the behavior and moving on from our past habits. When we repent and accept forgiveness from the Lord, we are able to focus on the promise of freedom rather than dwelling on the past, allowing it to haunt every part of your life.

When the enemy pulls your past sins to the surface, when he reminds you that you are too sinful to be loved by God, that you should just give up now because there is no use trying to serve Christ, tell him this, “I know that i am sinful. I know that i deserve hell and punishment and separation from God. But i also know that i am loved regardless. Christ dies so that I no longer live in the shackles of sin!” There is victory in Christ, there is freedom in Christ! “Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14. 

If the enemy is using your past to haunt you, to burden you with the weight of shame, rest in the assurance that when you truly are repentant, God is faithful to forgive us and He removes our sins so far that they are no longer known. He does not keep record of our sins, they have been blotted away and we are made anew in Christ. So if, like myself, you are also struggling with this, with the haunting of your past sins, mistakes and failures, please know that there is freedom for you. Jesus paid it all so that we may find rest in Him, and that the heaviness of guilt will be lifted off of us. Similar to how people dress up for Halloween, let’s clothe ourselves in the armor of God, so that way when the enemy brings up our past, we can stand firm in the promises that we have been forgiven and we are free from guilt.

I pray that you all have a safe night and that this blog was encouraging to you. I know that I’ve found encouragement just writing this and studying more about God’s promises. Please know that you are not the only one who is struggling with this, and that you have fellow brothers and sisters praying for you. Stay strong and remember that there is victory in Christ! God bless you all!

 

~Chaya

 

 

~ Beauty of uncertainty ~ Trusting God when we don’t know where He’s leading ~

Have you ever been in a situation or season in life where you are completely unsure about what God is doing? Where you look at the circumstances and cannot make any sense out of them? I was reading about Abraham and Issac in the Old Testament and it really brought so much light into my life and where I am in my walk with Christ. So, I hope today the Holy Spirit brings you clarity in the midst of our confusing and complicated world.

To give a little background before reading this passage, I wanted to explain truly how incredible this really is. Abraham and his wife, Sarah, had been trying to have children for years, decades. During this time, people lived to be very old (Abraham lived to be 175 in total) and he was 100 years old, yet still had no children. Him and his wife began to feel hopeless, because they still had no children after becoming so old, but God promised Abraham that He would bless them with a son. After a short while of waiting, Abraham and Sarah did indeed received what God had promised, their only son Issac. Now, keeping that in mind, let’s to dive into Genesis 22: the story of when Abraham was tested.

Genesis 22: 1-18 ~ Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, ‘Abraham!’ ‘Here I am,’ he replied.Then God said, ‘Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.’Early the next morning Abraham got up and loaded his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about. On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. He said to his servants, ‘Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.’ Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac,and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together, Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, ‘Father?’ ‘Yes, my son?’ Abraham replied. ‘The fire and wood are here,’ Isaac said, ‘but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?’ Abraham answered, ‘God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.’ And the two of them went on together.

 When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10 Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. 11 But the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven, ‘Abraham! Abraham!’ ‘Here I am,’ he replied. 12 ‘Do not lay a hand on the boy,’ he said. ‘Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.’ 13 Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 So Abraham called that place The Lord Will Provide. And to this day it is said, ‘On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.’ 15 The angel of the Lord called to Abraham from heaven a second time 16 and said, ‘I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17 I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, 18 and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.’” 

I know that was a lengthy passage, but there is so much incredible knowledge to be found in it. Maybe this is just me, but I seem to be in a “transition season” right now. I seem to be through the season of heartache, and God helped me conquer the mountain that was before me. God has brought me out of bondage, He has removed things and people and situations from my life and I can see Him transforming me from the inside out. But I am sitting here still confused with where I am to go next. I know He has changed things in my life for a reason, but I cannot quite see what it is He is doing. I believe that is why this story resonates with me on such a deep level. Seeing Abraham’s complete and unwavering trust in the Lord is something that I desperately crave and desire to have with my Lord and Savior.

Abraham, no doubt, was so completely confused, even heartbroken that God would ask him to give up his only son, the one that God promised he would have. I am sure that it hurt him to look at his son and think that God would want him to sacrifice the miracle God gave him years before. But rather than allowing his fear and confusion to keep him from acting, he trusted that God knew what He was doing, and that nothing in this world could compare to the glory that awaits those who love God and are obedient to Him. I think it is the same thing with Issac. Now the bible doesn’t record much about Issac in this passage, but I could imagine him being very confused when he looked around and didn’t see any sacrifice. Issac willingly laid down on that alter, ready to give his life to the Lord, but imagine the immense confusion that surrounded these two men. Despite the confusing and pain, they both remained obedient and faithful to the Lord command. 

We ought to crave and seek a trust in the Lord that is like Abraham’s. We must be willing to give it all, lay it all down at His feet in order to obey and glorify Him. What about you? Are you willing to give up everything in your life for the Lord? If God asked you to surrender, your house, your job, your relationships, your dreams, your desires; would you? These questions have been running through my thoughts all week and it made me realize that I can’t say that my trust in the Lord is anywhere near as strong as it should be. There are still some things in my life that I still want to hold onto. It can be very hard, feeling near impossible to submit everything completely to Him, but please know you are not alone in feeling that way.

Philippians 3:8 says “What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ.” I believe when we come to the realization that this verse is 100% true, it will make things so much easier to submit. Those things we cling to so desperately truly have no value comparing to what Christ has in store for those who love Him. Believe me, I am currently struggling with this and will probably continue to struggle with this. I don’t want to sound like I understand this completely, because in reality, I don’t totally understand how to give it all up to Him. But something I have learned through my walk with Christ is that anything is possible through Him.

God knows our hearts, and I think that is one of the most intimate and beautiful things about the story mentioned about Abraham and Issac. God called Abraham to sacrifice his son, and when both Abraham and Issac were obediently serving the Lord, He saw that they feared and loved God. (Do you see the fingerprint of Jesus here?? Abraham sacrificing his only son. Issac completely trusting his father as he was willingly being sacrificed.) Something that I have realized is that, just like Abraham and Sarah waited for Issac, we are often called to wait on the blessings that God has in store for us. It could be a short wait, it could be years and years of waiting, but when God has a plan for you, He will endure and you will receive what He has promised. Please also know that sometimes God will remove things at times that we think are good for us, so that way it will allow for glorious joy to come from it. “‘In the same way I will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born,’ says the Lord. ‘If I cause you the pain, I will not stop you from giving birth to your new nation,’ says your God.” Isaiah 66:9.

So when He calls us to surrender our plans, or our job, or the country we live in or a relationship we truly want, what we should be doing is praying and then surrendering. There is nothing wrong with telling God how you feel. If you are confused, if you are hurt or upset, disappointed maybe, it is okay to feel those things. But we cannot dwell in them to the point of allowing distrust and doubt to settle in. Pray and seek Gods guidance, knowing that He is faithful to those who humble themselves before Him. Trust me, you are not alone in feeling lost or confused about what God is doing in your life. Please know that I am praying for you; praying that God will reveal His will in our lives and allow for a complete transformation to take place in our lives for the glory of God. Stay strong, my brothers and sisters! I pray this was encouraging for you. God bless!

 

~Chaya

 

 

Guest Blogger : ~ Focusing on Christ in our crazy, busy lives ~

So, I wanted to do something a little bit different today. I recently connected with another talented blogger name Mae and thought she would be perfect to do a guest blog today! She is a wonderful writer who loves Jesus as her Savior and it brings so much joy to my life to see her so in love with Christ. I would highly suggest checking out her Instagram account @rejoicinginhim as well to see more about her and her love for the Lord! Here we go, I will go ahead and allow her to introduce herself to you all and I pray you are encouraged by her blog this morning. Thanks so much everyone! God bless!

~ Chaya


 

Hey guys! My name is Mae and I am absolutely in love with Jesus. Here’s a little background on my life. I grew up in a Christian home and have always been taught to love God. Luckily I never had my faith just because of my parents! At a young age I accepted him on my own. Sure there may have been some ups and downs in my faith but I’m focusing on the now, not the then. In August I wanted a stronger faith and to share my journey on the narrow road with others so I made an Instagram account called @rejoicinginhim. I feel so blessed that God is working through me!! Basically I’m one of those people who are always cheerful no matter what because of Jesus! Sure, I have my moments but Jesus is my rock in those situations. I also love to run and paint!! It is definitely something that Jesus has blessed me with!
Now that I introduced myself let’s dig into some scripture!
Ecclesiastes 3:1 says “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.”
I don’t know about you but I have been so busy lately! It seems like everything is piling up and I have no time to do things I want.
Life can get busy, nothing can change that.
But how in the world do we leave time for God in this crazy life when he seems like the least of our worries?
How do we even remember he’s there when we are so preoccupied?
Here are some tips:
  • Have your phone screen or computer screen be a bible verse. This can simply remind you that God is with you, even if you aren’t thinking about him. He is protecting you and loving you every single moment of every day!
  • Listen to some Christian music while you are doing schoolwork or are doing things for work. This can help you so so much! I started listening to Christian music a lot lately while doing everyday tasks. Something about it gives me peace even when I am super stressed out!
  • Find some Christian friends. Trust me I know it’s hard but I also know that there are at least a couple welcoming Christians at your church, work, or school. Christian friends make a huge difference in your life!! You can easily grow in your faith together and bring each other up when life gets crazy!
  • Make some time for Jesus. It doesn’t matter when or where. Jesus will listen.
Above all know that Jesus is working in your life and he can give you a perfect peace in this time of chaos! You were put in this season for a reason!! Not just because God didn’t know what to do with you. He is doing something AMAZING in your life!! You may be busy but that doesn’t mean God isn’t working through you from this busyness.
Embrace the busy times.
Embrace the pain.
Embrace the love.
Embrace the joy.
Embrace the little things.
No matter how overwhelmed you feel right now Jesus is holding you.
He is a father telling his child to stop crying. To take some time to feel a peace only he can give.
Rest in him every free moment you get.
You will keep in perfect peace
those whose minds are steadfast,
because they trust in you. Isaiah 26:3
Much love,
Mae

~I am no longer a slave to fear~

Fear. I have always been the type of person who has struggled with fear and anxiety. It could vary from work related things, to relationships, to finances, to family. Something that I thought about the other day is how just within the past 6-7 months, I haven’t been as fearful and I have had an easier time trusting the Lord. When I looked back on how afraid I was of practically everything, I noticed that it began to trickle into my spiritual walk with the Lord as well. Or vice versa — my spiritual doubt and worries began to become evident in my every day, causing my fears and worries to overcome my everyday life. So I wanted to talk about fear and how I am going through the process of overcoming my fears and trusting in Christ.

I used to be afraid of things and literally refuse to be around anything that related to the things I was scared of. For example, I was, and am to some degree, terrified of heights. I wouldn’t go around hot air balloons, I wouldn’t travel because I hated how high the airplane got, I had a hard time hiking because of the height of the mountains. I would just avoid things that involved anything I was afraid of. I realize now that I was not doing things to honor or trust the Lord, but rather, I was lingering in my fear instead of giving it to the Lord and just facing it. Now that is not to say that I have absolutely no fears whatsoever; I definitely am still afraid of the dark (as silly as that sounds) and I am not fond of dolls either. But I can honestly say that after many months of praying and spending time in the Word, I have realized that there is truly nothing to fear. Back in August, I traveled back East to visit family, and rather than being terrified to the point of exhaustion, I was able to enjoy the plane ride and the beauty I saw right outside my window. 

It is natural for human beings to have fears and worries, that is part of how we are made, and God understands that part of us, which is why there is are abounding verses throughout Scripture that pertain to fear. For people, some more than others, it takes time to train ourselves to trust the Lord rather than worrying or being afraid. I dont know about you, but I tend to be an over-thinker. This is one of my big downfalls; rather than praying about a situation and leaving it in God’s hands, I’d worry, I’d stress, I’d think over and over about all the different things that could take place and how I am going to react in worst-case-scenarios. I am the one who would worry about all the “what-ifs” in life and I noticed it caused a lot of unnecessary weight in my life that I walked around with every day. Although I do believe it is smart to plan ahead, worrying is not the right way to do things.

Fear is one of the most popular tactics the enemy uses against us, and throughout the majority of my life so far, I was allowing him to have a stronghold over not just the things going on in my life, but also in my walk with the Lord. I was allowing a rift to form within my trust in Christ, which began taking a tole on me in many aspects of life. There are so many things that we could potentially be afraid of, the list is quite extensive, and the enemy loves to feed off of that list, magnifying all the things we could be scared of. Something that I realized has been helping me lately is to read the truth God has provided in the bible and read them so often, that I consciously replace my worry with the beautiful truth of the Scripture. Here are some of the verse the Lord used to bring the truth about trusting the Lord to my attention.

  • Deuteronomy 3:22 ~ “ Do not be afraid of them; the Lord your God himself will fight for you.”
  • Isaiah 41:10 ~ “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
  • Psalms 56:3 ~ “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?”
  • John 14:27 ~ “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
  • 2 Timothy 1:7 ~ “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.”
  • Psalms 94:18-19 ~ “When I said, ‘My foot is slipping,’ your unfailing love, Lord, supported me. When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.”
  • Isaiah 43:1 ~ “But now, this is what the Lord says he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: ‘Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.'”
  • Proverbs 12:25 ~ “Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up.” 
  • Joshua 1:9 ~ “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
  • Psalms 27:1 ~ “The Lord is my light and my salvation whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life of whom shall I be afraid?”
  • Deuteronomy 31:6 ~ “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
  • Psalms 118:6-7 ~ “The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? The Lord is with me; he is my helper. I look in triumph on my enemies.”
  • Psalms 34:4 ~ “I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.” 

Now, I know that this is a pretty long list of verses, but this is only a small hand-full compared to how often the Lord speaks about the topic of fear throughout the Bible. We have the assurance that God is right there, strengthening us, supporting us, helping through all our struggles and transgressions. Something for me that is hard to do is to walk in this truth, rather than just know. It is easy to know what the truth is, it is more difficult to act upon the faith we claim. Believe me, I am still working on this, and will continue to work on it for the rest of my life, but something that brings me so much joy is knowing that we know and serve such an intimately loving and protecting God. Even when we are afraid, He never once lets us out of His sight or care.

God is stronger and through Him, we have been given the spirit that allows us to be bold, fearless, courageous! When you have things running trough your mind that cause you to panic, to worry, to become fearful, give it all to Him. Philippians 4:6-7 says “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God,which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Rather than allowing my anxiety or fear overcome me, Christ calls me to turn to Him in prayer and submit the things I am afraid of. 

All of your fears, your worries? Give it the Lord, over and over again. Time after time and moment by moment. I can’t say that this transition has happened for me over night; it has taken weeks, months, years for me to come to the place God has brought me to now, and I still have so much learning and growing to do. Although it is not every day, but I am able to sleep peacefully knowing that He knows the concerns of my heart, and He is fighting for me every day. Rest in the peaceful assurance that the worries you have been burdening yourself with are in God’s hands. He is in control. We can take comfort in the words of the Lord and that with Him, all things are possible. Don’t allow the enemy to plant seeds of doubt, but rather, allow the Holy Spirit to blossom a faith in Christ within you that is stronger than anything else we could worry about or fear. Pray and allow the Lord to take control over the weight of fear and anxiety. I am praying for each of you, as we battle through this as brothers and sisters in Christ! I hope this brought you some encouragement and comfort today! God bless!

 

~Chaya

~ Goel: Redeemer, Deliverer ~

I am currently doing a study on the book of Ruth and something was brought up that I am so extremely excited to share with you all today. I want to warn you, this blog is probably going to be a lengthy one, but I promise you that this is something worth reading. You will discover the value of not only the story of Ruth, but also God’s romance in redemption through Christ Jesus. I pray that this not only makes you smile, but that it gives you a true understanding of what Christ did for us and who He really is in our lives.

Goel: What does it mean?? So I want to dig into the background on what a goel is before I start making connections. The term is used often throughout the bible and even throughout history. I came across it while reading the book of Ruth and so that is where a lot of this information is going to tie into. “If one of your fellow Israelite’s becomes poor and sells some of their property, their nearest relative is to come and redeem what they have sold.” Leviticus 25:25. In the Hebrew Law, the goel is is a person who as the closest living relative of another is charged with the duty of restoring the rights of another and avenging his wrongs. He was a kinsman, but also a redeemer or deliverer, someone who fulfilled or paid in full a debt which their kinsman owed. This particular individual had certain obligations or duties to perform in the event of his next of kin dying or becoming very poor and that is what we are going to talk about: what the duties are for a goel, what the requirements are and how they would go about fulfilling these obligations.

Duties ~ The goel has a specific amount of obligations that they can choose whether or not to fulfill. One of them is restoring or redeeming the land of their kinsman. Often times, we see a person who is forced, whether by man or circumstances, to sell all their belongings and are left in poverty. It is the duty of a goel to provide and redeem their next of kin in order to keep them from starvation. Another duty is the law which deals with continuing the family line. They would take their kinsmans childless widow and allow the family to be fruitful. This allowed for that widow to have children and it is still apart of the biological line within the family. The last duty was to be a blood avenger. If their kinsman was murdered, it was the obligation of the goel to avenge the blood of their relative by justly killing the murderer. Now, there was a trial that was conducted and many different things that must take place in order for this to happen, but it was their job to be the avenge the murder of a relative. I could go into so much detail on each of these, but then that would be a place to write a book, not a blog.

Requirements ~ In order to be a goel and fulfill the duties laid out before them, they had to be the closest living relative. There has to be some kind of relation between the deceased and the redeemer. Another is that the goel needed to have the means to redeem their next of kin. You cannot go to the closest living relative and tell him he must preform the duties of a goel if they did not have the ability to act upon the calling. Lastly, the deliverer needed to have a desire or willingness to redeem. Please note that they had to be in that order. You could have a kinsman who is very eager and willing to redeem, but if he does not have the means, he is not able to provide the protection and support they need.

Fulfillment ~ The biggest part of fulfilling the duties of a goel is being willing or having the desire to be a redeemer. It is important for them to do it out of compassion for the people and honor to the Law and this is very evident throughout the book of Ruth. If the goel was unwilling in any way, the duties would pass on to the next closest relative and on from there. There must be a desire to accomplish and fulfill the process of redemption and to nullify the debt.

Now onto the miraculous correlation between Boaz in the book of Ruth, and Jesus Christ. In Ruth, we see a woman named Naomi, who moved from Bethlehem with her husband and two sons to the land of Moab due to a famine in their land. While in Moab, her sons married and then later died, along with her husband. Ruth, Naomi’s daughter-in-law, went back to Bethlehem with Naomi, to a home that was in disarray. Naomi and Ruth were now in poverty; working in the fields in order to get enough food for herself and Naomi to eat. Boaz, who was the next of kin to Naomi, was the goel in this story, and his life will give us an example of exactly what Christ did and how He is our redeemer and our deliverer.

Throughout this story, we see that Boaz restored the name of Ruth (I would encourage you to read more about who the people of Moab were and why Ruth had things so hard when she moved into the town of Bethlehem in the book of Judges.) He not only paid their debt in full, but Boaz went above and beyond the call of duty. He didn’t just provide, but he also loved and protected Ruth. There was redemption, there was restoration, and there was fulfillment in the duties he was called to. He did it joyfully, willingly, and at the end of the story, Ruth becomes Boez’s wife.

So how does this connect to who Christ is for us? Christ has given us a new name, very much like Ruth. She was a descendant of the house of Moab, who were very sinful people. They were “those who did what was right in their own eyes.” Judges 21:25. She came from a background of people who were saturated in sin, lust, and selfishness, and yet, Boaz changed her name. She no longer wore the label of a Moabite, which is just like us. The children of God no longer are branded by the sin in our lives, but have been given a new name in Christ; His children. Ephesians 1:7, “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.” Jesus fulfilled His righteous purpose and was able to pay our debt in full. Through His death, we have been freed from the bondage of sin and separation from God and brought into a new life, a new creation, who is alive in Him. And something I love is seeing Ruth become the bride of Boaz, just as we are the bride of Christ.

Christ came to earth in order to fulfill the duties as our goel. he fulfilled this so perfectly, it is absolutely incredible! He became a man, born into humanity, which meant that He was now our kinsman. Hebrews 2:14-15Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.” His perfect, sinless, spotless blood was the only means that would bring redemption to us.  1 Peter 1:18-19For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.” Jesus willingly laid His life down, sacrificed Himself in order that we may be able to live! John 10:18 “No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.” 

Christ is our goel! Our redeemer, our kinsman, our deliverer. Very similar to Boaz, Jesus doesnt just take the punishment for our sins but He also goes above and beyond! He desires not only that we are redeemed, but that we have the opportunity to personally know Jesus Christ and His never ending forgiveness is new every morning. This wonderful truth brings me to tears seeing the way this is laid out for us in the story of Ruth and Boaz. I know there are a lot more details that can be shared that deal with this topic, and maybe I will do another blog post about it. But for now, I pray that you find joy in hearing this and seeing the beautiful outline for us in the Word. When I truly think about things, I realize how much we resemble the story of Ruth, and Christ as Boaz. I love how intimate the romance of redemption is and praise God for the unconditional love and compassion that Christ has for us, His children.

I pray and hope that this brings you encouragement and peace knowing that Christ loves us on such a personal level. When we lay our life down and submit it to him, just a Ruth did, broken and hopeless, we will find that our perfect goel, our Lord and Savior is right there to give us forgiveness, redemption, and an unconditional love that we cannot even comprehend. This is what Christ has done for each of us, and we have a choice to believe it and live our lives for Christ, accepting the selfless gift He gave us. Praise God for our amazing redeemer!! If you would like some more detail about the background of Ruth, who the people of Moab were and even more verses about the context of goel throughout the bible, please leave me a comment and let me know. I would love to continue this little study together. Thank you all for taking the time to read my blogs, I pray the Holy Spirit uses it to encourages you as much as it does me. God bless!

 

~Chaya

 

 

 

 

~ When we become distracted ~

In the society we live in today, we are surrounded by distractions and things that keep us preoccupied. We are always looking for something else to keep our interest, and even when we don’t, it is offered so freely that it becomes near impossible to refrain from these little distractions. To be completely honest, I have been very distracted lately. I’m not sure exactly why, but my thoughts have been on so many other things, I haven’t set aside time  for the Lord lately. Just the other day, the word distracted came up in conversation and it rang in my thoughts the whole rest of the day. I wasn’t sure why at the time, but after going home and praying about it, I realized that the Lord was speaking to me on an intimate level.

I do not want to use this time to make up excuses for myself or try to explain why I haven’t been blogging as often as I would like and have communicated. The truth is, I have become distracted and therefore have not made this a priority nor have I set aside time to pray about this blog either. After the Lord had revealed to me what it is that I need to work, I began to think about how it came to be like this. The bible warns us about becoming distracted and how we are able to keep from getting that way. So I believe that not only am I going to be able to use this and learn from this blog, but I am praying that those of you who may also be struggling with becoming distracted may be encouraged and able to fight this with me.

I want to ask a question first before I start getting into the Word and what it says about distractions; Have you become distracted? Some other words for distracted are preoccupied, inattentive, absentminded, worried, anxious, troubled… Do any of these words describe how you have been lately? I know I personally qualify under some of them. When the Lord revealed this truth to me, it became evident that I was able to see where my focus is just in evaluating my day and where things have been. That does not mean that you are wrong for getting busy at work or kids or get caught up in our own crazy lives, but I think that it is clear when we see ourselves putting time with the Lord aside in order to do other things. In my own life, this happens to be my blog and bible study.

A passage I want to touch on before I get into more direct verses is when Jesus calls the disciples out as He was walking on the water in Matthew 14. Peter stepped out of the boat and begin to move towards Jesus, walking on the water. But as soon as Peter took his eyes off of Him, he began to sink, and was afraid. It is like this in our lives as well. We are able to do the impossible when we fix our eyes on Christ and on His will, but it is when we take our eyes off Him, when we become distracted by the storm around us and the waves beneath us, we will begin to sink into the distractions.

  • 1 Corinthians 7:35  “I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord.”
  • Romans 12:2 ~ “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
  • 1 John 2:15-17 ~ “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.”
  • Colossians 3:1-2 ~ “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.

Another passage that really stuck out to me is Luke 10:38-42. “As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him.  She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, ‘Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!’ ‘Martha, Martha,’ the Lord answered, ‘you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.’” I can empathize with Martha on many levels. She wanted the best for the Lord; the tastiest food, the best dishes, the perfect display. She truly wanted to serve her Lord, but she became distracted by things that truly don’t matter. Rather than sit and listen to the teaching, she became preoccupied with other things and she was not able to hear what it was Jesus was saying to them. 

Who else gets to be like this? It is so important to truly devote time to the Lord and be able to go to Him in prayer and humility. Just like Martha in the example above, we can become so distracted with doing things for the Lord, we neglect the necessary time that should be spent in prayer. The enemy is so good at giving us things that will cause us to be inattentive to what the Lord is calling us to do. Similar to Peter on the water, I can imagine the water raging beneath his feet, rain pouring down, the wind tossing and turning him back and forth. I am sure he felt every raindrop against his skin, every shift in the water he stood on. Just like the enemy tried to throw distractions at us, emotionally, physically, spiritually, mentally… Satan wants to knock us off our feet and cause us to drown in the violent storm. But we have Jesus, the lifeguard who is there to catch us before we fall into the waters.

So how are we to keep from becoming preoccupied, worried and absentminded? Praise God that He has given us instruction on that as well! Philippians 4:6-7 says “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” When we become distracted with things, good or bad, it is important that we remember to be in prayer and communication with the Lord. If we become distracted and worried, or preoccupied and loose focus on the Lord, He is right there to pull us back, to pick us up and he will give us not only peace, but He will also guard our hearts and help to keep our eyes on Him. 

I pray that this was encouraging to you and not only that, but also a learning tool. Trust me, you are not the only one who needed this today. I most certainly did. I personally do not want my life to be filled with distractions that cause my thoughts, my heart, my actions to be focused on something other than the Lord. I know that it is easy to get caught up the things of this world, good and bad, but whether it is something honorable or sinful, God desires our whole hearts and our full attention. He wants our entire heart in a relationship of trust and obedience to Him, because He loves us and wants nothing more than to have us be with Him. Stay strong, my brothers and sisters, and remember that even if we look at the things around us, like Peter in the storm, Christ is right there to draw our gaze back to Him and catch us if we fall. God bless you all!

 

~Chaya