Tag Archives: God

The UnKnown

17 May

By Beckie Halaska

I woke up thinking about the fact that we never really fully know a person, nor does anyone ever really know us.

I spent most of my life being unknown. Unknown even to myself, I suppose. It was something I longed for, somewhere buried inside.  I think my entire life was spent trying to make up for who I thought I wasn’t, or maybe trying to be who I thought everyone else thought I should be. Trying to gain acceptance when I felt unacceptable. From trauma and scars, I became a perfectionist trapped in an imperfect, unacceptable persona, desperate for approval and not even able to see when I received it. I learned to hide me, I learned to create a different me, to “become” instead, to “fit in”. I learned to seek approval from other’s, bending and twisting me to become the expected. Sadly, the bar I had in my head was too high, completely unattainable; Perfect. So I failed. Every. Single. Day.  Inside, I was lonely, angry, disillusioned, lost and desperate to be loved.

I share my life transparently now for purpose because I know I am not the only one. I know there are those still suffering alone. I share my journey for His purpose.

When my marriage ended 11 years ago, I went down a path that literally almost took my life but in the end, set me free. That journey could only have the outcome it did with God by my side. Truly.

Empty nested, my deep rooted fear of abandonment realized, believing it was all because of who I was or wasn’t as a human being; I withered away slowly inside. The week I hit my rock bottom, I had had enough. I broke.  I had an exit plan, but God had a different plan.

My pain became the greatest love story between God and I. He broke through my walls that fateful night and gave me a hope, a new joy and a will to live. He intervened and I chose Him that night. He broke my chains,set me back on my feet and let me leave that life of trying so damn hard, far, far behind me.

No, I didn’t wake up a healed person. I woke up knowing I didn’t have to be anything other than exactly who I was. He loved me all messed up. I was unfixed and God was here, present and loving me. Period. I didn’t need to know more. That realization alone was freedom for me. That was everything I needed. I finally understood grace.

It has taken 10 years for me to fully understand the healing that He was doing in my heart.  It didn’t happen all at once, and I know I am still not done being molded and lead to new ideas and new understandings. I am still imperfect and so happy that I don’t have to be more than that. He was changing me as I was seeking Him instead of me having to run so fast and hard after all the things here that will never fix us, never fulfill us, never make us whole.

The greatest gift I received from my reconciliation to my faith in Jesus in 2010 was to be known. I am fully and completely known. I have no secrets from God. I can’t lie to Him, I can’t hide from Him. He loves me, regardless, and because of that, I learned to fully love me.  I am loved by the same God who put the stars in the sky, who created the universe. He put this soul in me for a reason, for a purpose, and no one ruined it or will ever be able to.
Yes, some really bad things happened to me, and there are trials ahead, for sure, but God is never defeated. Even the most traumatic things can be healed, and true beauty absolutely comes from the ashes, I promise.

I think as humans, we want to be seen, want to be known, I believe we are created that way. The truth is, I was never unknown to God. He always knew me. He never stopped pursuing me. He loved me in all of it, through all of it. Every step of the way.

And the same is true for you. I promise.

 

Today, I Choose

22 Apr
by Beckie Halaska

The faithful love of the Lord never ends![a] His mercies never cease.
Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. Lamentations 3:22-2

As I open my eyes to a new day, I am reminded that another day has gone by and today is a new day. Today I choose to look at the sunrise and know, a new day is unfolding in splendor and I am grateful for this day.

Today I get to choose. I get to choose how I process all that I have been blessed to do. Today I get to choose how I respond in every thing. Today I will remind myself to respond with grace in all areas of my day.

Today I will choose to be grateful. Grateful for all that I have in the face of so much loss and pressure.

Today as I speak with overwhelmed staff, I will be courteous, grateful and precise, adding to everyone’s day, not taking from it. Today when I speak to heartbroken families, unable to go see their loved ones, unable to say goodbye, to hold their hand,I will be strong, compassionate and unhurried. Today when my heart aches, I will take care of myself and take a moment to breathe and remind myself of my why.  Every breath in shall be full of what remains and all I am able to do and every exhale will be all that I have no control over.

Today as I climb this mountain of uncertainity,  I will spend a few moments each morning to determine my steps intentionally. I will keep climbing knowing that  I will sit on top of it one day, knowing there are more mountains to climb in my future, but so gratefully knowing I am not alone and if I can’t find enough strength, or places to place my feet, if I need help on my path to achieve my climb, I have those that will come along side me guide and support me.  I have a God that never leaves me.

Before my day is done, I will sit for a moment, I will breathe in and remind myself of what matters, and what doesn’t. I will not squander time complaining or with worry over things I have no control of. I will encourage my effort to achieve, and celebrate when there is road paved for success. Grateful for every opportunity to help.

Today, before I sleep, I will be sure to look up, and see the sunset on a day I got live. I was blessed simply to be alive. Today I got to choose. Today I got to work. Today I got to do my best and to love this world and to offer this world some hope.

Yes, Today, I will choose to live!

IMG-0823

 

What Can It Mean: “Faith”, “Christian”

2 Mar

Recently I shared the story of the night the lead singer from Tenth Avenue North performed for me personally a song he had recorded. It was a beautiful gift and a reminder of God’s perfection and immense love.

For me the song had significant meaning; *(lyrics below) It wasnt just a song. It was a song that had helped me grasp who Jesus was and what He accomplished. It was my aha moment of fully grasping the Grace and Mercy of the cross.

The shift from it impossibly being on me to earn heaven to fully grasping unmerited grace. The shift to hope.

I’ve spent so much of my last 10 years reading and studying the word of God. When I first came back to faith, I fought legalism, in any shape or form, thinking I was defending grace. In the end I realized I was working out my own belief and disbelief. Honestly, I think God was simply working things out within me, communing with me. I was so aware of His presence, so loved and held, especially since I had never had that deep knowing He was near. I didn’t see the changes He was making in me at the time. He does that. He changes us, reaffirms us, softens the edges that hard things created.

The shift began from a place of giving up, a deep desperate, empty longing from loss, fear, rejection and hopelessness. It was there that I finally looked up and saw Him, from the bottom of despair. 

I learned that even though I had great passion for Him, great desires to be the woman after His heart, even though I clung to grace,  I was still trying to earn it, trying to be good enough, trying to fit what my perception of salvation was against the Word.

Now I can see, looking back, even as recent as 2 years ago,  As I was working through the idea that Christ fulfilled the law; I realized that I wanted to be set free, grasp the grace, forgiving me of my sins, but I was still wanting “credit” for doing good things, my goodness.

This journey of faith isn’t scary, like I thought, it isn’t fraught with failure. Fear of the Lord isn’t a hell and brimfire. It isn’t condemning, not of me or anyone else.

Our journey of faith is deeply personal. It is ours alone to work out. No one can change it, direct it, or make it happen. It’s only us, standing before our creator. And I want to hear, I know you and you know me. We have walked this garden together for a long, long time. Welcome.

If I really believe in Him, if I really trust in Him, I see it as all about Him, for Him, because of Him. I can let go of control. Surrender my grasp to control outcomes, my fear of everything, my disappointments because things aren’t how I thought they should or would be. I can press forward with Hope, with trust. I can believe He is always working things out not just for my good, but also for His purposes. Which are always good.

But its a journey. We don’t read something and have all the knowledge. We learned and grow all the time. I am not sin free simply because I know Jesus. I am not without trauma or sorrow either. I just have strong faith that this too, is part of the plan, I am to work out my salvation with trembling. Meaning I will be like Christ was in the garden of Gethsemane. He worked it out in prayer until he surrendered and finally said “Thy Will Be Done”.  It’s hard to surrender. But we must do the work to get there, He isn’t going to just be content with us ignoring Him, and expecting the God that created all of the universe to also do all the work in you without your submission. Without your desire for Him to do so. 

Religion has it messed up. People have messed it up. Paul says clearly in Roman’s it all comes down to  faith. Jesus says clearly in Matthew 5-7, it’s personal.

It’s a personal reconciliation between us and God. Grasping our own need to control everything to surrendering to our own inability to be good enough at fulfilling the entire law ( seriously read the Torah! Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, no way can we do it all) all by ourselves.

Trying to be good enough means we need to measure. Measuring us against each other. It makes us finger pointers and holier than thou and judgemental and fearful. Everyone is that way if they haven’t surrendered. Even those that don’t follow faith at all. 

We have a perfect healer, perfect hope,a perfect promise keeper, a perfect I AM the way. We either reject it all completely, or we grab hold and work out our idea of Him with truth. His truth. Obedience comes from suffering. Christ suffered too. Suffering meaning- it’s hard to let go of our own God’s for the one God. It’s hard to let go of our own ego centric idea we can affect the world around us to be the way we want. To let go of legalism.

I am not the person you can’t question faith with, I’m the person that openly, transparently has shown my crazy journey to wholeness. I’m stronger than ever, yet I have so far to go. And honestly, there is so much freedom in knowing I don’t have to. I won’t tell you your sins. I won’t tell you the bible isn’t accurate. I believe every single word even when I don’t want to. Even when I disagree. I believe it is the Living breathing word of God. Because I have seen the truth with my own eyes. 

If you haven’t read the bible, or you have only read a scripture here and there, and you aren’t sure what you believe. Just some food for thought. Read some of it. Start with Roman’s, Matthew, Luke and John. Read it in the NLT or NIV which is much easier  to read, a more conversational language.Read it and ask God, to show you what He wants you to understand. Tell Him you don’t believe. He already knows anyways. 

Maybe I will get to the end of the road and it will stop there. But my hope is in heaven and I am joyful even in sorrowful times. What have I lost? Nothing. What have I gained? Immeasurable strength, courage, love, hope, joy, peace. It’s pretty amazing. 

Romans 10:1‭-‬11 NLT
Dear brothers and sisters, the longing of my heart and my prayer to God is for the people of Israel to be saved. I know what enthusiasm they have for God, but it is misdirected zeal. For they don’t understand God’s way of making people right with himself. Refusing to accept God’s way, they cling to their own way of getting right with God by trying to keep the law. For Christ has already accomplished the purpose for which the law was given. As a result, all who believe in him are made right with God. For Moses writes that the law’s way of making a person right with God requires obedience to all of its commands. But faith’s way of getting right with God says, “Don’t say in your heart, ‘Who will go up to heaven?’ (to bring Christ down to earth). And don’t say, ‘Who will go down to the place of the dead?’ (to bring Christ back to life again).” In fact, it says, “The message is very close at hand; it is on your lips and in your heart.” And that message is the very message about faith that we preach: If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved. As the Scriptures tell us, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced.”

Lyrics to By your Side, Tenth Avenue North

Why are you striving these days?
Why are you trying to earn grace?
Why are you crying?
Let me lift up your face, just don’t turn away

Why are you looking for love?
Why are you still searching as if I’m not enough?
To where will you go child?
Tell me where will you run, to where will you run?

cause I’ll be by your side wherever you fall
In the dead of night whenever you call
And please don’t fight these hands that are holding you
My hands are holding you

Look at these hands at my side
They swallowed the grave on that night
When I drank the world’s sin
So I could carry you in and give you life
I wanna give you life

And I’ll be by your side wherever you fall
In the dead of night whenever you call
And please don’t fight these hands that are holding you
My hands are holding you

Here at my side wherever you fall
In the dead of night whenever you call
And please don’t fight these hands that are holding you
My hands are holding you

‘Cause I, I love you, I want you to know
That I, I love you, I’ll never let you go
And I’ll be by your side wherever you fall
In the dead of night whenever you call
And please don’t fight these hands that are holding you
My hands are holding you

Here at my side wherever you fall
In the dead of night whenever you call
And please don’t fight these hands that are holding you
My hands are holding youHere at my side
My hands are holding you

 

Help My Unbelief

11 Feb

I recently wrote a bible study for a group of strong, wise women, leaders. In the writing of this, I was not really writing about what I fully know but rather what God knows and what I understand Him to be saying. His nature, His being, His qualifications. I really didn’t grasp the depth of what I was writing at the time. Truth be told, I will probably never fully grasp it all.  Sometimes God just writes through me. I just obey.

I have been drawn to Psalm 139 since my mother was passing a few months past. I would read it to her, that and several others. Psalm 139 has come to my heart a few times since. I woke this morning with this scripture on my heart. More specifically the question “do I really believe God is who He says He is?”

Omnipresent and Omniscient. Two big words at the very top of this scripture.  All knowing and all being. The understanding that God is in everything and everywhere at all times. That he is not away from me. Not ever. Nor is ever away from those that would be my enemy but also claim faith in Him. He is never away from them either.

That he knows every single thought before I am aware of them myself. (Do my thoughts always match what my words speak? Oh my friend, absolutely not. )

Omnipresent. Meaning His presence is never apart from me; Never apart from me. Not one moment have I been alone, ever.

As a Christian, we can gloss over this and say “of course, I believe this to be truth”. But last night the question came up “But do you really?”  Do I? If I believe that He is omnipresent, how could I ever feel alone or lonely.  If He is all knowing, all being, all powerful (Omnipotent). Sovereign over all and I believed Him, I would never fear, never feel alone, never be prideful, never be reactive to circumstances. I wouldn’t make bad relationship choices. I would be… like Him.

How many times in my life have I cried out from loneliness, felt too alone, felt separated, isolated? What did I feel isolated from?   How many times have I been so self-sufficient that I stood in my own sorrow, my own suffering, my own fears, rather than grasp hold of His nearness at all times.

He is near to us,  always. The truth in that then is that we just don’t draw near to Him.

Oh how my unbelief is evident in so many ways. It is not a lack of God. It is not a lack of trust. It is a lack of belief. You can’t trust what you don’t believe in. So the truth is, and this rocks me to my soul; I don’t, at the core, believe it all.  Isn’t that a shattering thought?

Christians, like all people struggle, with truth, with our quest to understand God and how it all applies to us. We struggle with our belief. That however, doesn’t change Him in any way.

Growing in our understanding, in our submission, in our belief and our faith is a journey. More times than not, because of my openness about my Christian journey, more is expected of me. To be less of a work in progress than I am.  To be without stumbles and hard times. As much as I am in the deep end of seeking, I am still at the core, ego. I will still try to do this my way. My unbelief will be exposed over and over to me, us.

However, as we learn and grow, layers of misguided thoughts, or ways that we have learned that are not His ways, get shed from us, we become more submitted to Him.

Mark 9:23-24  Jesus said to him, “What do you mean ‘if’? If you are able to believe, all things are possible to the believer.” When he heard this, the boy’s father cried out with tears, saying, “I do believe, Lord; help my little faith!” (The Greek is “I do believe; help my unbelief.”)  What a beautiful example of humility and submission. We that can’t, ask the One that can. The One that will.

As I realize my lack, my unbelief, the beauty is, I know He knows and is waiting for me to simply ask. The more submitted I become, the more freedom and joy I have. Less of me and more of Him is not a decision. It is a work that He promises to finish in me, over a lifetime of lessons and opportunities, trials and joys.

Oh Lord, help my unbelief today. Amen.

Psalm 139 (AMP)God’s Omnipresence and Omniscience.

To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David.

139 O Lord, you have searched me [thoroughly] and have known me.
You know when I sit down and when I rise up [my entire life, everything I do];
You understand my thought from afar.
You scrutinize my path and my lying down,
And You are intimately acquainted with all my ways.
Even before there is a word on my tongue [still unspoken],
Behold, O Lord, You know it all.
You have enclosed me behind and before,
And [You have] placed Your hand upon me.
Such [infinite] knowledge is too wonderful for me;
It is too high [above me], I cannot reach it.

Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in Sheol (the nether world, the place of the dead), behold, You are there.
If I take the wings of the dawn,
If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea,
10 Even there Your hand will lead me,
And Your right hand will take hold of me.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will cover me,
And the night will be the only light around me,”
12 Even the darkness is not dark to You and conceals nothing from You,
But the night shines as bright as the day;
Darkness and light are alike to You.

13 For You formed my innermost parts;
You knit me [together] in my mother’s womb.
14 I will give thanks and praise to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was being formed in secret,
And intricately and skillfully formed [as if embroidered with many colors] in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes have seen my unformed substance;
And in Your book were all written
The days that were appointed for me,
When as yet there was not one of them [even taking shape].

How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 If I could count them, they would outnumber the sand.
When I awake, I am still with You.

19 a]O that You would kill the wicked, O God;
Go away from me, therefore, men of bloodshed.
20 For they speak against You wickedly,
Your enemies take Your name in vain.
21 Do I not hate those who hate You, O Lord?
And do I not loathe those who rise up against You?
22 I hate them with perfect and utmost hatred;
They have become my enemies.

23 Search me [thoroughly], O God, and know my heart;
Test me and know my anxious thoughts;
24 And see if there is any wicked or hurtful way in me,
And lead me in the everlasting way.

Footnotes:  In the first eighteen verses of this psalm, the psalmist acknowledges that God knows everything that the psalmist ever does, no matter when or where he does it. Although God’s vast knowledge of an individual’s deeds can be reassuring for the righteous, it should be frightening for the wicked. 

Work In Progress

5 Dec

I have learned so much in the past 10 years. 10 years ago today, I went to a tea at a non-denominational church. I began attending this church every week. Within a few months I bought my own bible for the first time AND I actually began to read it. 9 years ago today, I was re-baptized at that wonderful church.

You have to know this. I am still a work in progress. I have been studying His word for 10 years. I have been in deep relationship with him for about 8 of those years, or maybe 7. I am being changed and healed and softened and made stronger, every single day.  I submitted every nook and cranny to Him. And then, I pretty much forget and take it all back on my shoulders for a bit, then re-submit. It’s okay! That is our journey with Him. Not one part of us is perfect and we cannot perfect our selves. He can though. I am slowly being perfected. One day, when I get to heaven, I will be perfected. Not before then.

I say this often because I really struggled to grasp what Grace meant, what Jesus meant to me, for me. “Even though Jesus was God’s Son, he learned obedience from the things he suffered.” Hebrew 5:8 NLT.   I had to learn that being a Christ follower has nothing to do with me. It is all about Him. I didn’t earn my way to heaven. You can’t earn it by being good. Heaven is about accepting that this Christmas birth was a gift! That Jesus came to show us what faith is. What God is seeking from us is to let go of our own ego’s and our need to earn; our own checks and balances way of living and just accept the gift.

Salvation is simply a life altering, mind blowing, ego balancing, rule crashing, insecurity killing acceptance of the greatest act of love ever.

I have learned that abusive people and unkind people, swindlers, manipulators and cruel people can actually have that mustard seed of faith and can also be saved. I have learned that really devout people have super big doubts sometimes. I have learned that it doesn’t matter what we do or who we are, salvation is not about us. It is about accepting Christ. In the same breath, I have accepted that God is not a punishing God. We don’t earn that either. We do suffer, but everyone suffer’s. Jesus did too and God as His Father, suffered for us, and Mary his mother, suffered. It’s our journey here. We suffer because of darkness, sin, because of brokenness. It’s important.

If you know me, I promised to be transparent every step of the way.  This former perfectionist put on a good front for the world. The need to be right enough and validated enough girl is now the self-proclaimed wishy washy Christian. I still sin, in my head, my words and in my heart. I am constantly learning and growing, I have a sense of confidence in Christ I have never had before.  God has changed so much in my heart, healed so much and filled the hole inside my heart.
I am also the girl that has a hard time with trust. Actually I believe that to be my biggest hurdle.  Probably for all of us, this is the biggest hurdle. Trusting when we can’t control or see the future. Trust is faith. Period. Trust when it all looks like it’s falling apart at the seams. Trust when our hearts our broken. Trust when we can’t understand.

No matter how far I swing away, no matter how close I walk; the words below are my reminder, and if I write it all on my heart, then I can constantly redirect my fears, my worries, my self reliance, my anger, my sorrow, my hopes and my desires of my heart. If we are seeking His will, we will have perfect peace, if we focus on our own plans, our own path; there is no peace.

They say “Leap of Faith” for a major reason! Faith is hard! It’s also an amazing journey full of amazing people. There is a deep joy that comes from hope in God. I have had deep doubts in Him, He was fine with that. He is steady, sure, unchanging and un-freaked out.
Isn’t it time to figure out what you really know about Him, what is truth to you? Based on learning who He really is? Not what you see a building of people being but what His word tells you about him?

Without Him I am nothing.

“My child, never forget the things I have taught you. Store my commands in your heart. If you do this, you will live many years, and your life will be satisfying.
Never let loyalty and kindness leave you! Tie them around your neck as a reminder. Write them deep within your heart. Then you will find favor with both God and people, and you will earn a good reputation.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.
nothing you desire can compare with her (wisdom).”

Proverbs 3:1-6 NLT

Re-done

2 Dec
If I were to come up with a description for the past decade it would be Re-Creation.
I went back to church 10 years ago this month. I remained unable to really connect the dots of faith to my why until July 2010. Entering this decade brokenhearted, lost and so unsure of my why; ‘Why was I here? What did I have to live for? ‘ These were some very overwhelming questions for me.
I often quote my friend Pastor Brent Knox.” I am either in a trial or between a trial.” Such truth!
Nothing lasts forever except The One who created it all. No trial, no moment. But, His love endures forever.
Isaiah 40:28 says “Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable.”
Endings are as much a part of life as beginnings are. Grief and joy, peace and struggle, gain and loss…. Nothing is without meaning and value, but nothing is done without Him beside us and the Holy Spirit within us. He is sovereign. Always. We choose to trust in faith or struggle alone.
This is the hope I hang on to every day. He has it all figured out, and it’s all meant for my good and His glory.

There is perfect peace to be found in the bumpy journey, even when it all falls apart. I am so grateful to have found this joy. This life is so not easy, and it will only become more difficult as we grow older.

Joy isn’t happiness, joy isn’t laughter. Joy is deep. It is resting assured in faith that I don’t have to have the answers, that I am deeply cared for, loved beyond measure, I am not alone, and one day, this will all be new. I will live forever with Him.

Joy is pouring this truth into another life;Being able to be completely transparent, no longer having to pretend I have it all together. I don’t!

Joy is knowing that even if I made a huge mess of a thing, even if all the pieces make no sense; I don’t have to have the vision of the future. He does. I just need to be so in touch with Him, so patient, so steady.  He will not leave me, nor forsake me. Men may leave me. friends may, but not God. Joy is confidence in the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

The one truth remains, our lives are still so rich with blessings. Our trials become our lessons and the lessons become our testimony. When we give them all to Him, He uses our difficult testimonies to bless other’s.

This heart is so grateful, even for the hard, the goodbyes and the trials. This girl is glad for the decade of crazy, coming to a close. This girl is grateful for every mistake, every tear cried, every lesson, every sorrow. Without each of them I wouldn’t be me. I wouldn’t be where I am.

I love this re-creation of me. He is pretty smart!

Phillippians 1:6 “And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.

Follow The Leader

15 Oct

 

How many times have I held myself hostage to shame or guilt; Lost sleep over things I have said or done, things I wish I had done differently?
How many times have I sat in sorrow, feeling like I have blown it all; Blown God’s blessings for me, messed up and knew He must be so disappointed?
How many times will I question whether I am being punished by Him?
How many times do I question my own belief; How many times will I feel too hypocritical? Like I am supposed to be better than I am doing.
How many times will I be offended or feel resentful over things, hurt by rejection or presumed being unchosen?
How many times do we say, I have to do better, be better, watch my words, grab hold of my sins and fix them?
How many times do we want to do the right thing and ask God over and over, “what is your plan”, “what do you want me to do”, “Open doors, close doors”, and become frustrated because He didn’t answer. Maybe it didn’t matter? Maybe it was more about submission than the outcome.

No More!

This is probably the most powerful truth we can grasp. He wants to be in a close relationship with us. He wants to know us. He wants us to know Him.  To submit our will to Him, our independence to Him, our need to fix life, fix people, fix ourselves achieve stuff, to Him and Him alone. To have a real relationship with Him.

If we believe that Christ was the sacrificial lamb, who died and rescued us from the punishment for our sins, that his death was merciful and complete; Why do we throw that away and reclaim the hopelessness of being judged by the law?

The Sermon on the Mount is so powerful in the expression of the true consequence of our belief. If we judge sin, we will be judged by the law. If we surrender sin, we will be washed clean. Surrendering our ability to do to the one that already did, is powerful and because of our ego, very difficult to do. We don’t have to be perfect to know Him. We just have to know Him, seek Him. We begin to fill up with Him, through His word, through prayer, through being still and letting the words wash over us, by journalling, with praise of Him, worship of Him.

Take your tears, your anger, your brokenness, your fear, your hopes, your wishes, your control, your illness, your insecurity, your anxiety, your hopelessness, your joy; take this all to Him. He knows everything and still loves you enough to take it all away and make you new. Build you back up, create in you a new mind, a new heart, a new hope.

If we don’t trust God with our complete hope, we fall short. We, the ones trying to do the impossible-becoming perfect, or running away so fast because we are imperfect, we need to remember who is the only one that will ever be perfect. And learn what His love and death for us, did for us.

We are all sinners.
All are welcomed by God.
We love ourselves and love this world best when we begin with loving God and accept His love in return.
We don’t turn from our sin and with this perfected new self, accept Christ and His Grace and Mercy.
We turn to Him, the only one, that can rescue us and transform us by our own submission to Him

It isn’t those that worked so hard at changing their sins and being good, that will be known by Him.  The ones that knew they couldn’t do anything without having a deep and trusting relationship with our Lord, will be known.

We are so unworthy, every one of us, to sit in Heaven with God, but He chose you, not because your so great, or so perfect, not to be the judge, or the next teacher; not to be the next amazing, not to be the next best, but to be loved by Him, for Him, for this world.

He will transform you, rebuild you, for His purpose. He will not leave that work undone. He did not say you will not leave the work undone. He did not say reject those people, judge those sins as abomination. He said be a light in the world. Know you are a sinner yourself and from that joy of forgiveness, let other’s see what grace is and does.

When the townspeople were set to stone the woman for adultery, Jesus taught the message of let the one without sin, throw the first stone. No one could. But don’t miss the second part of that message. Everyone left, leaving the woman alone there. Jesus is the only one that didn’t leave that woman alone in her sin. He loved her so much even in her sinful state of being an adulterer. He didn’t judge her. He instructed her to not sin any longer. I would love to know her testimony from that rescue, that love, that welcoming.

This is what it means to follow Him. Follow His examples of prayer, of relationship to the Father, to surrender and submit over and over and over again.

Grace cannot be earned; Grace is not the goal. Grace is the gift, the fulfillment of requirements, someone else took the punishment of your sins for you. Grace is the invitation to join Jesus in a relationship.  ALL are welcome to this.

This relationship will be harder, not easier. Submission is hard. God transforms you, and it can be difficult to be healed in many ways.  Remember though; In the perfect garden, Eden, where all needs were supplied, where God walked as a friend, Eve chose deception for more than all supplied needs and God as a friend and Adam chose to please Eve and blame everyone. We are built this way; Imperfect creatures. You are never going to be perfect. Not ever.

Knowing who God is, knowing He loves you, letting that fill your heart, letting that move you and guide you; trusting in Him, through every up and down, every betrayal, every trial, every loss… That is where your purpose and your freedom is found. That is where joyful living begins and endless pursuit of happiness ends.

“For sin will no longer be a master over you, since you are not under Law [as slaves], but under [unmerited] grace [as recipients of God’s favor and mercy].”

ROMANS 6:14 AMP

https://www.bible.com/bible/1588/rom.6.14.amp

“Jesus returned to the Mount of Olives, but early the next morning he was back again at the Temple. A crowd soon gathered, and he sat down and taught them. As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd. “Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?” They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust. When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?” “No, Lord,” she said. And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.” ———-”

John 8:1-11 NLT

https://www.bible.com/bible/116/jhn.8.1-11.nlt

Sermon on the Mount is Matthew 5-7. I encourage you to read this.

https://www.bible.com/bible/116/mat.5.1.nlt

Hope

2 Sep

by Beckie Halaska

God gave my friend and I this word last night. It was just one word. A powerful word.
I have realized that Hope is what drives everything; Everything!
We go on dates because we hope for this to be the one.
We flirt, we share, we open our hearts up because we hope for the relationship to be important, we hope for love.
We begin new jobs, plan families, plan vacations, all from hope.
We fight disease from hope.
We stay in jobs because of hope.
We invest energy, resources and time in the hopes of outcomes.
We go on diets, and begin exercising with a hope of achieving a goal.
We look forward to an event, hoping for a fun time.
We pray from hope, and sometimes we pray for hope.
Today, we pray for a hurricane to move away, we hope for safety, for lives to be spared, for change.

Hope is hugely important and drives just about all we do or desire.
The Hebrew root words to describe Hope all stem around the word trust: To trust, or worthy of trust.  To put our trust in God is to put our Hope in Him.

The entire bible is about Hope. Jesus himself was about Hope. One of my favorite scriptures is the epitome of that Hope. Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

There is a hope that comes from knowing that at the end of our time here, at the end of this amazing and turbulent world, we will no longer suffer and there will be joy everlasting. What a hope this is.

There is a hope that comes from trusting that even when we can’t see an outcome, with things out of our control, God is still in charge, still working all things out for our good. There is a hope that when we look back on our lives, we can see that we always came out of hardship. All the pieces made us who we are, gave us our purpose.

When you don’t have that hope, when you are trying to do this all on your own, when you have lost the ability to see hope, find hope, we become desolate and alone. We crumble. Sometimes hope is all that is left when the suffering is great. It can be just a thread, but it is life itself. Without that thread of hope, we have nothing.

Hopelessness is a rampant disease these days. People suffering and taking their lives, because they have lost hope. Our world isn’t becoming more evil, our world is losing hope.

In all that I have gone through, in all I have done, I can only give God that credit. It is because I learned from hopelessness, that He is my hope. And all my hope comes from the Lord. I have learned to trust in His sovereignty. I am grateful to not have to shoulder everything myself and I know this world will have it’s share of suffering and sorrows, but my strength and joy comes from the hope for heaven. For eternity.  I can lean on that when all else falls apart. This life is a vapor and it without the Hope of more, it loses all meaning.
Literally no one will know most of us even lived here 2 generations from now. We are not so important to be remembered like that.
However, we are so important to those people we love and those we encounter. We are also important to God.
We can be the ones that light the fire of hope in this suffering world. One smile at a time. We can be the hope that says to one person or many, every day, “I see you, you matter”. “There is still good here”. “You are loved, even if I don’t know you, I know God and He loves you beyond measure”.

Hope. We talk about being accepting, being love, but what we really need to be is hope spreaders.  We need to share what Hope looks like, feels like, and how we found it, how we find it every day.

That is our calling here. That is our legacy for the future generations. That is our light in the dark.

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. “- Romans 15:13

Through The Tears

16 Jul

By Beckie Halaska

The thunder rolls, the rain pours down as I sit in complete still and silence.
I am in awe of our awesome God. His power. His love.

I bring my grief and sorrow to Him and just lay it wide open for Him.

I feel a sense of His presence.  When I can just be still, I become so aware of Him around me. My heart is so full. So overwhelmed.

This is a practice of being aware of Him. Seeking Him.
When I stop being me focused, silence the crazy world and be still, alert, aware of Him, He shows off for me in big ways.

How can I not worship this knowing, protective, worthy, infinite, unchangeable God?

I will never be strong enough.
I will never be loving enough.
I will never be whole enough.
I will never be beautiful enough.
I will never be worthy of His beautiful Grace.

It pours over my heart, my spirit as I soak in His greatness.
It is a free gift He showers on me. Over me
His peace is beyond all understanding.
It is well. Deep within my soul, my heart, it is well.

My beautiful Mom knows this God, this rescuer and lover of our souls as much as I do.
It is all well with her soul. This brings me so much comfort.

She may be preparing her goodbye’s to this world , but her joy has only begun.
As the storm gives way to blue skies, I am so blessed by His love and comfort.

As the tears fall, the sorrow leaves.
Because of Him.

Joy overwhelms me, peace that makes no sense in these circumstances, transcends through my whole spirit.

And I sit in gratitude. Such a good, good Father.

Amen.

Little Bits of Wisdom

29 Jun

By Beckie Halaska

God has been really putting some very real truth within my heart.
Little pieces of wisdom, morsels as it becomes my understanding and knowledge.

I am not wise; He is wise. I am learning to be wise, like Him, through Him.
I am imperfect. I have very good moments. Moments that I am absolutely a useful tool for God’s love and grace. I also have moments of pure human emotion and reactions.

I can be very hard on myself, very religiously legalistic, where I expect myself to be perfect. Perfectly His image. That is a lie that Satan uses to make the world think God is not real, that our Christian faith is a joke.
I am so not perfect. I am completely human. Paul really hits home to this point in Romans 7 and 8. I am nothing without God. I will never be perfect. I will need Him always, and without that knowledge, I will either fail miserably or I will take complete credit for everything God has done on my behalf.
I had a few things happen this week that confirm I am hearing Him fully. Last Sunday morning I was talking to God that He seemed to not be close to me. I don’t “feel” him like I used to. I have all this head knowledge, but He feels far away. Later in church, as I was leaving, I saw acquaintances that were sitting behind me, we greeted one another, joked a bit, and as I walked away, God pressed hard on my heart to go back to the husband (If you know me, I have a heart for women and really don’t talk to that many men!) and ask him if he needed prayer and within my soul I knew he did and knew it was health related. He choked up because he in fact, has some very real and very new health issues. God showed off for us both.

Later in the week as I sat listening to a chaplain from work present at a meeting, he shared about how he overcomes his inner voice to minister to people at the commitment center for sexual abusers.
I realized a new layer of truth about God. I have always struggled to understand how God can allow so much suffering here, especially the kids. In that moment I saw the truth. We are here for such a brief moment. This time here is short, and our time with Him is beyond our comprehension. We will absolutely suffer here. Sometimes it just seems too much! Jesus is a perfect reminder of just how much suffering we will have here. This world is hard! We are all so imperfect and there is very real evil here. We are all fragile and suffer illness, abuse, hardships. Not one of us is above it. But God!

This does not take away our purpose here. God is Sovereign over all of it. He knew every single thing you would suffer here and also said He will not leave you alone in it. He never said you will have happiness and joy all the days of your life. You didn’t get the raw deal if you have suffered great loss, been abused or watched a child suffer. Our hearts are too pure to endure it well, for sure. He said, though, don’t focus on this world too much. This world is very hard and broken, your trials will be many amongst your blessings. This world is short, heaven is forever. Colossians 3:2. Heaven is our victory one day. This world will be no more for us and we will dwell in peace forever.

Religion and misled believers, have done a number on who God is. People have misunderstood that our relationship with God is a vertical, one to one relationship. Jesus said over and over that we absolutely cannot judge anyone’s walk with Him. Our job is to love Him so much that we can’t help but have that spill out of us. Our job is to be so humbled by our own lack of ability to perfect faith that we give the same grace to everyone we meet and especially those that harm us, or hurt us.

At the end of the day, it just doesn’t matter who loves us or doesn’t love us. It doesn’t matter how successful we are or if we are learning to be good stewards of our lives. It doesn’t matter if you have walked closely with God your whole life, have a successful marriage and family or if you have just found redemption from your jail cell. God is the equalizer. His grace, His pursuit of you, His dying on the cross for you, His love and plans for you are equal. No more, no less.

I have learned fully that even really bad people can be saved. You can be unkind, slanderous, a trouble maker, a liar, a cheat and still be saved. You can be arrogant, mean, manipulative and judgemental and still be saved. You can be super kind and righteous in your own humble way and not be saved.
It is not what we do, or don’t do. It is not sin, it is not success; it isn’t how we look to the world that saves us.

God is still that prodigal father sitting on the stoop, offering his grace through the sacrifice of His son, simply because He is love. Not because you are. Not because you are without sin. He loves us because that is who He is.

I have come to this understanding of God’s sovereignty. Our lives were planned before we were born. We will go through all of our trials and all of our joys, and at the end of the day, they are all for His purposes. To bring Him Glory. Our real free will is whether we choose Him in it or not. We sin because we have sin in us. Even when we walk close with Him. Period.

As this begins to really settle on my soul, I am filled with such a peace, knowing He has it all figured out. If I could only just keep my eyes on Him at all times and not be so wishy washy… But God.
Yes, He works it all out for our good and for His purposes. Always Grace. Always more grace.
And it is well, with my soul. Amen.