Tag Archives: mercy

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.

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When Evil Seems to Win

30 May

There is an ever present evil in the world. We can see it every single time we open social media or turn on the news. None of us will be spared evil in some fashion.

When your life has been touched by evil, one of the biggest challenges will be to not become embittered in the battle, especially if it seems to not touch the one that caused the harm.

We want things to be fair, and when there isn’t justice, we can lose sight on what actually is true. Evil may seem like it is winning but the truth is, there is no “win” in evil, only destruction.  Evil also loves to seduce in numbers.

Maybe that is the real goal of evil, to make us really question if there is any goodness left, to stop believing in the goodness of the world. Obviously we know the goal of evil is also for us to ultimately question our faith and hope.

Guarding our hearts against bitterness is very important during this battle. Bitterness can choke out the light in us, God in us. It is a daily battle; A war for our souls.

When we filter our thoughts on what has been done, no matter what has been done, we begin the battle of unforgiveness. When we begin to want justice, we begin our battle against bitterness. The battle will be fought in many ways, but at the end of the day, the real battle with be within your own mind, your own heart.

Trials will absolutely always come. Evil will be at times, be very strong against us. It is a spiritual war and a battle for our soul. Evil will come in many forms to wear us down. There will be attacks. There will be slander. There will be times you are or feel all alone in the battle. You will feel overwhelmed, defeated at times and you will want to give up the fight.

That is exactly when we must stay focused and steadfast in our faith. Practicing even what we can’t feel. Trusting in God’s plan for our lives even when it seems so unfair or worse, impossible. Reading His promises even when we can’t seem to believe it fully. He tells us that His word never falls void. Keep reading it.

Evil utilizes comparison, isolation, judgement and fear. The word of God, prayer and steadfast commitment to Him is the anecdote.

God will always triumph. This is His story. Evil doesn’t win. We may not appear to win in this world, but we are not to conform to this world, we are to remain in Him.

Our journey is not really about our success, how we fit in, or what anyone else does, thinks or says about us.  Our journey is to become Holy.

There is only one absolute truth, we are in a vertical relationship with Christ, He and us alone. There will not be anyone else with you when you take your knee at the throne.

When evil mocks you, pray.  Tell Him your wish for justice, He understands. He believes in justice as well. He is also merciful and gave you grace.

Praying not only for your faith to remain steady and confident, but importantly, pray for anyone being used by evil. That is the greatest weapon we have against bitterness.

Grace.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

 

Christmas Devotional

1 Dec

17 After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child.18 All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished, 19 but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often.” Luke 2:17-19

We all have times of trial; Times of frustration or pain, loss of loved ones, rejection, physical pain. When we have an issue, big or small, we talk about it, we pray about it and we focus some time on it.

As we read Luke, we see a still, quiet worship in Mary. She was quiet, obedient and calm. She didn’t talk about it; she didn’t focus on the hardship. She stored and pondered “these” things in her heart. They were the promises of God.

So much of God’s Word tells us to be still and to be quiet. Mary is our example of what that is. It is worship.

What if we, like Mary, stayed fully aware of the providence of God. We have to really imagine the culture and how shameful it was to be pregnant. She knew her Heavenly Father. In those days, the stories would include our God that wiped out towns. Mary was not shaken. She was calm. She knew the scriptures, but she also knew God. He was her husband first. Isaiah 54:5. I am your husband.

If we stored the same promises in our hearts, and we trusted God with the same fullness that Mary did, writing them on our hearts and remembering them often, her peace would be our peace. The Peace of the Lord would be ours regardless of what was happening around us. God made us promises. Those promises are there whether we remember them or not.

I pray as we journey through this Christmas together, we begin to write the promises of God in our heart. To remember the Holy Spirit that dwells within us, who is there to guide us and help us.  I pray we too become so full of peace, calm and joy. To always remember to first ponder these things and remember them always.

Merry Christmas

True Religion

26 Nov

As I began my rediscovery of my faith, I promised to always be transparent. I may not always be completely accurate but I am always honest with you. Especially in the ways I doubt or mess up.

I think the hardest part of my faith journey these 10 years, is shaking off the beliefs, the ideals, the teachings that actually kept me from really knowing God, knowing Christ.  I think you can be saved, by simply accepting the gift of salvation Christ gave to you.  That mustard seed, if it took root, is enough.

Religions have made it difficult for us to really know Christ. To know God. To know the Holy Spirit. The rules and politics became magnified and we lost sight of the fact that people in need of a savior were the ones teaching and preaching and leading us.  Sadly, because of the sin in people, it is hard for people to find God.

Religion became about people; Like we did it, like we saved ourselves. We lost God in the mix. Even our non-denominational churches need a shaking up.  We spend so much time on wrong things. We waste opportunity after opportunity, simply because we missed the point.  WE are not the point. WE didn’t earn our salvation.

Sin is a black stain. All sin is a black stain. Whether you lie about why you’re running late or you harm a child. Sin is black. It is all black and in need of a redeemer. Period.  Isaiah (Isaiah 6:5) fell to his knees and couldn’t even look at God because he was able to fully see the stain of his sin compared to the Glory of God.  That is us. Each and every one of us.

That is why Jesus was born.  “For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.”” Luke 19:10 NLT

He is the seeker, the all-knowing, just waiting to be known.   Period. 

God created every life. He loves every single life. He seeks every life to know Him.

If the creator of all things,  loves every life, cherishes and longs for every life to know Him, pursues every sinner, how arrogant it is to judge any single person anything.

He isn’t doing this to you. He is seeking you. He is saying “look at me, look to me, seek me and you will find me, hear me, follow me, trust me. ”  It is not a human responsibility to fix society. It is a human response to salvation to want to share that amazing advent with the world.

God could force us to worship Him, but he seeks us. He could reject us for not choosing Him, but He simply continues to pursue us.

There is a longing in us, for more. A hole inside our heart, a wounded sorrowful place that without Him, never becomes full. He left that space inside our hearts just for Himself.  I have times where I don’t feel Him there and it hurts. Physically. I miss Him.  When I begin to worship Him, glorifying Him, I feel my whole being fill up.

My faithwalk is one of ups and downs. I go through periods of deep devotion, humbled and reverent awe of all He is. I also go through periods of time where I forget about Him, I do things out of my own ambitions and needs, and not out of obedience and submission. I am prideful at times, without acknowledgement of all He provides. I am self sufficient, moving along without thinking of Him, at all.  There are times that I have literally sat in such a place of awe, knowing it was Him with me because the atmosphere completely changed.  I have also been edgy, worried, fearful, gossipy, insecure, all things that I am when I forget who He is and who I have dwelling within me.

Honestly, I am in a weird place in my journey. It is so different that at times, I worry that my faith is going cold, yet at the same time, knowing it isn’t. I am trusting Him with this new place, not because I am so good at being a Christian…(I am not), but because I have learned that I can try to be but it really works much easier if I remember that He is in charge and He has never let me down. He is sovereign.

It is so hard to imagine a God that can dwell inside of us. How crazy does that sound? That He would choose us, to dwell within us? We know, deep down, from that humble awareness that we are probably not perfect enough for Him to be inside of us. So why do we expect perfection from the world around us?

HE is the one that loved us first. HE, the one that created the world, also numbered every single hair on every single head. He is self reliant and self existent. He doesn’t need us. He doesn’t need one single thing because He is omnipotent and sovereign.  We just get to travel through this world, on our way to His world.

He didn’t tell us we were so wonderful, He said we were wonderfully made. He didn’t say we were worth rubies, He said we were bought with the price of rubies.

I forget this humility.  Often. We all do.  We need to do better at loving this world, and we need to start by loving God and loving every person God created, starting with ourselves. We all walk around with that hole inslde that only he can fill and we all walk around with the big black stain of sin. No sin is exempt and no sinner is exempt. No sin is darker. No sin is less than.  Neither are the sinners. We, every single human on this earth is a sinner. Period. It isn’t that we are free to sin however we choose, it is that we are called to humble our own selves before Him and surrender our own sin to Him. It is vertical, this sinner/savior relationship. This is what Jesus meant about the plank in your own eyes. (Matthew 5-7).

My faith may not “feel” tangible to me, but He is really opening my eyes to the truth. To my lowness in the big scheme of things. That lowness is blessed with promise and joy everlasting. Truth shall set us free. I want us all to know true freedom.

So, put your bible on your bed-stand and walk out your door today and see the hole in people. Not the black stain. Find the love inside of you and look around you, see the love needed and share that love, pursue it passionately. When we do this, then we are behaving like God. Oh that I would walk this, every moment of every day.

This is true religion.

 

Sweet Surrender

4 Nov

Oh, but if only we didn’t have to suffer!

Life is so many things, but there is something about discomfort that makes us not see anything but the discomfort. Why is that?

As I comforted a friend in her grief yesterday, I realized that honestly, sometimes we have to just be in it. Just be sad. There was a time when people wore a band or put on burlap and put ash on their face, to let the world know they were grieving. They didn’t buck up, they didn’t try to hide it, they announced it. It was their’s. They owned their own emotions. They were just going through what they were going through.

Somehow in our “enlightenment”, we became unable to endure anything but happy. Truth be told, I think this only makes us more unhappy!  We say “don’t dwell on it”, “focus on the good”, “take your mind off of it”.  What a disservice we do to real grief! The strength that comes from really embracing all of life. I see it in my work as well, people trying to “avoid” death. “If we don’t talk about it, it won’t happen.”

There is a time for every purpose under heaven. Ecclesiastes 3 tells us that nothing is new.  There will always be times of joy and times of sorrow, times of birth and times of death.  Sadly we have gotten so fragile that we can’t even bear someone cutting us off in traffic or having a different perspective.

This is the root of all hatred and bitterness. This set up we create of how we think our life should look instead of embracing what we have and where we are at.

As for the modern church,somewhere along the line, we decided that being Christian meant that we would be blessed with happiness. We are blessed with peace in the trials, because of Hope, Hope for more than this hard world! Jesus was pretty point-blank when he said “you will have trials in this world”

 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. John 16:33. 

I am growing to understand the depth of what He meant.  My friend and I have both walked through this harsh reality this week. She helped me really awaken to the truth. We, (me), tend to think we deserve something good because we are walking with God. Not consciously, but we still do it. This is legalism;  As if our works do anything except glorify Him. We tend to think we should be blessed with more than what Jesus was blessed with.

Jesus was alone in the garden, abandoned, betrayed. He suffered greatly, went to hell for us, all before His final Blessing.  What is it we think we actually deserve again?  It is pretty humbling to think we try to put ourselves above Jesus?

Submission is hard, faith is hard, life is hard.  We have sin in us, so this world is full of hardship. There is both good and evil here. We have to stop worrying about everyone else’s sin, about what other’s do, especially when it is aimed at us. In the end, it isn’t really about us. Our journey is our own.  We can’t control the wind, we can’t control people and we can’t control God.  As much as we love beginnings, endings are as important and natural. They just come with discomfort.  And we don’t like that. We expect it be better than that.  Disappointment is just unrealized expectations. What really do we have a right to expect?

Works is just a form of worship and glorification, not about earning.  Blessings are not rewards just as hardship is not punishment. It is just part of our journey. Nothing new. Nothing is a surprise to God. Just us.

Feel your hurt, feel your sorrow, feel your pain, feel your anger. Stop being so afraid of the hardship that you miss out on the fullness of God’s Glory.  There is something very precious about climbing into your sorrow with God. Just being still in your pain and in Him. It is a tangible closeness that I have never felt any other time.

It really blows my mind when a christian judges another for their journey. Especially when calling another christian a hypocrite. None of us is above another and humility comes as a blessing, not a punishment.  What a joy it is to know I will never be perfect and it isn’t an expectation. What a blessing it is to have exposed my entire inner thought life to Him, shared every dark detail of my thoughts, my actions and to know I am still seen as beautiful, beloved, as precious as a ruby.  To be forgiven and set free from guilt. In the end, it is His opinion of me that matters.

Now for those that are not Christian, this is where it gets really muddy. We as christians have been so legalistic that those that aren’t Christian expect us to be something different that what we can really be.

Being set free from sin, does not mean we don’t sin. There are those that think this means we are free to sin. No, we are not free to sin. Sin is our burden, we will always mess it up, but when you know you are forgiven by God, it honestly begins to change you, it brings you closer to Him, you begin to think more like Him, talk more like Him, and hopefully, love more like Him. God can’t change what you try to hide. He sees it, nothing is hidden, but being afraid to surrender it all, expose it all, before the throne, keeps you enslaved to it. We are set free from it. Confessed sin is cleaned.  It is between us and God.

Legalism is a hard, hard thing. It is prevalent in our churches as much as this world. It is prevalent among believers and non believers alike. It says, you must look and act a certain way. You must do. You must or must not be this or that. You must not sin, you must be joyful all the time, you must be… or not be. False. Relationship with God is vertical. The horizontal is the welcoming portion of the cross. The love. The all.

Faith is actually about surrender. We are all sinners and the one common thing we share is that not one single one of us has it all figured out.  Faith is this, Jesus died for us, because we couldn’t earn our way to heaven. We failed.  Faith is trusting in this. Faith is dying to your own ego and thinking it’s about you at all! It’s about God.  This is the safety to fully process everything but from a place of surrender. This is the peace that is above your circumstances, because He is beside you. He is your Rod and Staff, and refreshes your weary soul. (Psalm 23).

So feel what you feel. Climb in and let God’s glory lighten your sorrow, your burden’s because with Him, it’s not heavy.  Surrender yourself. Confess your dark.  With God, it is healing. It is freedom.

Laugh, fellowship, enjoy your life. Cry when you hurt, cry out when your are afraid. Don’t judge, not even yourself:

Submit.

Be.

Be still and let Him be God. Because He is, anyways.

A Time for Everything

For everything there is a season,
    a time for every activity under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die.
    A time to plant and a time to harvest.
A time to kill and a time to heal.
    A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to cry and a time to laugh.
    A time to grieve and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
    A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
A time to search and a time to quit searching.
    A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to tear and a time to mend.
    A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
A time to love and a time to hate.
    A time for war and a time for peace.

Turn Back

9 Aug

As I begin to really get into the prophecies now, I am prompted to share. One commentary brought me to 2 Peter 3:9,15.
We that are called have to first come to a deep understanding of who God is. The old testament tells us clearly that this world is a fallen world. Nothing is new under the sun.  Sin runs rampant and always has. Time after time, we lost our way from Him and His desires for our living.
Time and time again, we turn back. This new age of believers – harmed by legalism, have swung a bit too far from really knowing His desire for our obedience, and how it protects. New age Christianity will tell you that sin is not that big of a deal because you have Grace. Grace doesn’t exclude the law, it just made you saved regardless of your sin. But you have to know Him, you have to know His laws. Others may attend church, they may believe but really don’t know Him or what His word says. It’s not about punishment or judgement. It’s about freedom. The law was written for our protection and also to give Him praise. What pleasure to Him when we choose to obey rather than sin. When we choose to really be like the disciples, like Paul.
We are not meant to correct the behavior of others, we are called to love our sister’s and brother’s and help them stay the course! What is that course?

Do you ever stop to think about the way you see your Christian Life through God’s eyes?

We are not condemned. We are blessed. We have been set free and Satan knows he can’t steal our salvation, but he will try everything to steal our reputation, our legitimacy in this world, so we can’t be the hands and feet, so we can’t be the light!
He will encourage other’s to lie about you, to discredit you. He will use other’s to negatively affect your ability to touch more lives. He will use your pride, your ego to poke at you. He will use your mistakes and your past to hold you back from really surrendering. He will lie and tell you that to go all in, is to be the church lady! None of those are true. He is a liar. He is very smart and very cunning. But his power is beneath ours that walk in faith.
Every one of our sins, great and small, is still known by God, whether we ever bring it to His feet or not. You are not so far gone that Grace can’t reach you. If we are so self focused, so worried about our lives, so panicked about provision or loneliness or what other’s think of us, how can we honestly give Him glory, how can we be ready if He calls?
This is not the religion of right and wrong, this is the religion of faith, of worship, or trust, of being a disciple! We are saved, and we all sin. Every single one of us. Our salvation happened the moment we turned back. the minute we surrendered, whether we sin or not. He died for us while we were still lost. Sin is what we always battle.. for sure, but our sin, if not observed by us, acknowledged by us, repented by us, is giving Satan a handle on our lives. We give him tools to hold over us.  It causes us to harm ourselves and other’s.  Only the truth will ever set you free. God already knows it all.

Peace comes from knowing we are set free because we can take our unholiness and bring it Christ and we are forgiven. It doesn’t mean we can ignore our unholiness and continue to just be who we are. We must surrender, we must turn to him. Submit to Him. It isn’t the finger pointing, shaming of our sin but rather the “tell me everything so we have nothing between us, so we can be close and I can do everything I promised to do for you. He says to confess to one another, and forgive and ask forgiveness of other sinners. It removes all power from darkness when you do that. You break the chains that hold you back. God say’s I will protect you, love you, grow you, help you and lead you to lead others”.
Deep thoughts!! But my fellow believers, we are Babylon!! We are Isreal! We are Judah! We are Nineveh. Clean your hearts of the sin that is there. Stop living in hiding! No one can judge you as harshly as you do! Go to Him and worship Him. Give him your sin, break the chains that Satan uses to hold you back from a full relationship with Christ!! 
Amen!

Discernment

8 Aug

As a Christian we are given many gifts. The Holy Spirit,  our intercessor and helper, is an important gift.  The Word of God is also His precious gift. In the pages of His amazing book, chapter after chapter, God shows Himself to us fully. He speaks to us. He directs our steps. He gives us the gift of discernment.

Discernment is something we as women are not very good at when it comes to our heart. We tend to lead with our hearts. He tells us to put our faith and trust in Him, yet we can discount discernment for fear of not being loved or liked. Fear of upsetting someone.

We are to love people, and trust God.  Why does He tell us this? He tells us this to protect us. Not because we are weaker, or because we a gullible, but because we all fall short. When we place our trust in God, and not in the words man tells us, when we seek Him first, seek discernment, He protects us. Whether or not we listen to Him, He is trying to protect us.

Broken people do what ever they need to do, to not have discomfort.  I have ignored God’s voice, the Holy Spirit, when He has been cautioning me.  I  have defended people, even when I found them in lies. I have been unconsciously unwilling to really hear God, worse, unwilling to trust Him fully instead. I have ended up with mighty painful lessons.

In the end, what they choose isn’t about us. It is about their battle. What we choose is. We absolutely may suffer, we may be collateral damage, and it can be painful, but in the end, all sin is vertical. Theirs is, and ours is. Everything we do, praise, obedience, sin, is between us and God. We hide nothing from God. Not one thing we do is ever a surprise to Him. If we are not living according to His word, we sin and all of us sin, daily.

But God, But Grace.

The beauty of our relationship to Christ, when we are believers, is though we are not kept from the consequences of our sin, we are still loved and not condemned. The gift is the conviction so we can bring our sin to Him as soon as it is revealed.  God loves us and washes us clean and we don’t live under the weight of sin.   Repentance is freedom. Lies are prison.

Brokenness in people is like the poisoned water’s surrounding Florida.  Suddenly there is a crisis. There has been damage being done, for years, lots of history of it. We all see it, but we just don’t do anything about it because we think something will be done by someone else. One day, the damage is too far reaching, there is too much harm. Lies are like that. People stuck in sin are like that.

We don’t hate people caught in sin, we hate Satan’s hold on a person, that causes the damage, we hate the fallout. God allows things, over time, but when those lies do damage to His Glory and His purposes, He says, we are at crisis, be a warrior for me now.

God says to live in peace with everyone. Ecclesiastes tells us there is a time for peace and a time for war.  Sometimes, even as a woman, God says, I need you to stand on truth. I need you strong and I need you to go to battle.  Ephesians gives us the Armor to stand firm against the attacks from the darkness. For me, peace is the obvious option, I fear even though God has made me very strong.

I learned recently, sometimes God calls us up, arms us to do battle. He will arm His people to stand firm.  Sometimes it is to be still. Sometimes it is to speak the truth. Our reputation in this world truly doesn’t matter in the big picture, that is God’s protection for us. All that matters in the end is God’s purposes,  God’s glory. Discernment is vital for our walk and our well-being.  We must be close to Him to be able to hear when He says go or stay. Not our own voices or our own offense. We only have one enemy. We do battle with Satan, His lies.   If we stand on truth, refute the lies, and then let God do the work;   The truth will always set us free. God hates lies more than anything. Lies are the greatest tool of darkness. We do not fight to win a war, we simply battle for truth.

In the end, we are here for a breathe. When we answer His call, when we are working for the Kingdom of God, our purpose is to be His hands and feet, to bring light where there is dark. To shine Him in all we do. Satan knows he cannot change our salvation. He isn’t trying to steal our redemption, He knows when we are chosen and answering the call. What He is doing is trying to steal our influence, our ability to touch the lost.  He will use anything to do that.  Even when we are afraid to stand against the enemy, God will fight for us. Sometimes, we have to go to war for that.  Sometimes, Peace at all costs is not peace at all.

Ephesians 6:10-18 (NIV)

The Armor of God

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

Proverbs 28:26  (NIV)

26 Those who trust in themselves are fools,
    but those who walk in wisdom are kept safe.

Psalm 119  (MSG)

119 1-8 You’re blessed when you stay on course,
    walking steadily on the road revealed by God.
You’re blessed when you follow his directions,
    doing your best to find him.
That’s right—you don’t go off on your own;
    you walk straight along the road he set.
You, God, prescribed the right way to live;
    now you expect us to live it.
Oh, that my steps might be steady,
    keeping to the course you set;