Tag Archives: Prayer

The Christian Journey

16 Dec

This is to my family of believers and my skeptical faith walkers;  My Sunday traditionalists and my in the deep end of bible banging believers.  We are all in this together and it isn’t easier for any of us. Not one of us has it all perfected, not one of us is able to judge another, able to cast a stone. Not one of us is so right.

Faith is so hard! We are instinctively (because we have sin in us) so legalistic, so prideful, so quick to be disappointed, quick to fear, quick to judge. We look at the world and see the wrong in other’s. The bible was recorded for each of us, individually.  It is the living word of God written just for each of us, for our own personal journey with our Father.

We can get so weary on this road at times. This world can be hard on us. Mostly because we look to the world for our perception of how it should look and not to the gospel. The gospel is clear! It’s going to be hard, you are going to mess it up a ton of times and it’s going to be amazing, mind blowing beauty.

So many of our scriptures remind us to not love the world but rather the creator of the world; to not grow weary in doing “good”, to not grow weary in the race-he isn’t talking about a physical race.

There is the Facebook factor, the self-help factor, the constant barrage of comparison; The need to fit in, the need to belong, the need to be happy.

Here is the truth.  If we acknowledge that God is sovereign,then everything else is less than. It means He is in charge.  We have not just a worlds perception but even worse, an American perception of how it’s supposed to look.  The pursuit of happiness. Let’s remember the woman holding her starving child in another country, or let’s remember the woman who has to hide her faith or be murdered, stoned to death. If the teaching/lesson from the scriptures are not true for all, it’s not true at all.

God in the Gospels reminds us to set our sights on Him. Paul reminds us to keep going even when it’s hard. To be a beacon of hope, not perfection, but hope. Hope, even when, not if, but when, it gets beyond difficult.

If we believe we are set apart for heavenly places, then why on earth would we let the sinful side of this dark world bring us down?

The Sermon on the Mount puts everything into perspective. Everything comes back down to us; Our relationship with Christ. Do we really believe what He is saying to us? Do we really believe He came to set us free? Do we really believe we are solely responsible for every thought, every word, every reaction and every response? Do we really believe that when we submit it all to Him, process it all from a faith journey rather than it being all on our shoulders, we are forgiven, cared for, provided for,  free?

If we really believe His words, there would be no room for offense, for fear, for self-focus, for longing, for weary.  We would not put people in a position above him to be able to affect our peace, our hope, our joy. But, He knew our journey would be hard here, so He provided us the grace when we mess up. Which we will and do, constantly.

Being a christian is not about being any single way, not about being so great at this, it is a state of constant turning back to Him and humbling ourselves and saying “You have this, I surrender, I trust you, I believe you are providing all that I need and protecting me even when I can’t see it, I believe you will work this all out for my good and your purposes. Thank you. “  That’s the light that shines in us, our joy that spills over from that kind of love and hope.

If you read the Psalms in order, it can feel so much like our lives. Psalm 19 is so beautiful, so full of perfect worship, Psalm 22 is so stressed out, so rock bottom, then Psalm 23 is so perfect. David was a mess! He had family dynamics, he cheated, he had not just one but several wives. It wasn’t about him, but rather we were gifted the beauty of seeing what surrender and a seeking heart looks like. That is faith, that alone is a such a great lesson. This will be our walk and our journey until the day we are made whole and perfect in heaven with Him. Not about how well you do, it’s about continually turning back to him, continually remembering. Continuing to love Him with your whole messed up, broken heart. He is the Lord your God and He is doing a beautiful thing.

Even when you can’t see it. Thank you Jesus! This is where our hope and joy come from! Hallelujah what a savior.

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew%205-7&version=NKJV;MSG

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

Forgotten

2 Nov

As my mother slowly began to slip away from us, it became clear to us that it was time to draw close. To not leave her at all. She would speak to us a bit but would tire quickly. Everything had been said long before. Now it was just time for each of us to see to her comfort and to say our goodbyes.

It was an honor and a blessing to be beside as my mother crossed over to heaven. I thought of those that have gone before, my father, my uncles, my aunts, my friends. I began to reflect on her time the months prior. The trip we took to spend fun time with as much family as we could gather; the visits each of us took to be one on one with her while she was still able to enjoy our visits. Now, we prepare for her funeral, a family united by love of our mother.

I rested today. There was this nagging thought that would not leave my mind. Not of my mother, but of the countless men and women I see in the nursing homes and Veteran’s home, day after day in my work. So many of these people will die with no one holding their hand, praying over them, caring for them. (Yes this would be one more huge reason for Hospice at end of life!)

I recall the social media cry for people to attend the funeral of a veteran in Sarasota that had no family. It was touching. It was an event one could “check in” at, did you know this? You could let the world know you do good deeds.

What if your good deed went vaguely unnoticed by the world but made a huge impact on the life of a human being. Without knowing what the reasons are for living life in a nursing facility, without any family or friends to stop in, to check on you, I have to ask… Does it matter?

These facilities do religious services within those institutional walls, but then the crowd dies away and for the remaining 23 hours, with the exception of an aid or a nurse, your day is spent alone. Waiting to eat; Waiting in your chair, or your bed.

How lovely would it be if we began to “foster” the lonely nursing home patients? If the social media cry was to “rescue” an invalid or dementia patient; an ALS patient or Parkinson’s patient. Maybe your calling is to visit the veterans and visit with them, spend time letting them feel valued and seen?

We are a nation of “see me” and “look at what I did” and “listen to my opinions”; “Make me feel important”, “I am enough”. Can you imagine how completely important a selfless act of time and friendship would be to someone that is invisible, unseen, forgotten?

This is not the grief I anticipated, nor the sadness I thought I would process today on this beautiful Saturday.

My mom is no longer.here Her new life began on Tuesday, when she became a bride in heaven. She doesn’t need a funeral, we do, we need the closure. Her suffering has ended and she is rejoicing. I am rejoicing for her. There will be tears I am sure. She will be missed but she is no longer ever going to feel anything remotely close to suffering, regret,sorrow or loneliness.

Have you been lonely? I have been so lonely it took my strength away; being lonely is true suffering.

You don’t really live well until you love well and you don’t love well until you give it away selflessly to someone who can never repay you.

I encourage you to give this thoughtful consideration.

When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality. Romans 12:13

God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. 1 Peter 4:10

And don’t forget to do good and to share with those in need. These are the sacrifices that please God. Hebrews 13:16

 

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

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.

Truth in the Storms

8 Jun

By Beckie Halaska

When storms come, no sign of sunlight
My soul betrays me, waves coming crashing in

I silently cry out, tired from the battle.
I hear your voice. “Look at me love, you will be safe with me”.

Fear seeps in, my mind building doubts.
Reminding myself over again, “Trust in Him. Follow Him. Dive in. “

I cry out for you, that your promises stand true
I give up my need to control the direction of the tide.

This world weary traveler longs to know rest in you.
Longs to know there is no journey too hard for her again.

You grab my heart, as my mind surrenders the fear
Peace transcends. You are here. You are sovereign.

You become the air filling my lungs again.
You are sun in the darkest of spaces. Peace in the hurricane’s that come and go.

Oh but I can get lost in the mess of this life. You never change.
I hesitate a bit as I surrender and say “I need you, I trust you”

And you come. You remind. You rebuild.

And you say… “It’s going to be alright”

Beautiful traveler, there is a future waiting… just a bit more.
I need you strong for just a bit more.

In this world you will have trials, but you are no longer a slave of this world.

You were made for so much more.  I am your strength.

and you say.,, ”It’s going to be alright”.

Amen.

The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights ~Habukkuk 3:19

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~ Isaiah 41:10

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding; ~Proverbs 3:5

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. ~ Deuteronomy 31:5

 

 

Still Someone

19 Jan

Beloved wife, soon to be ex; woman without her spouse, hear me. You were tossed aside as if it didn’t matter. There are so many intense emotions you feel, but when the waves are really rough, there is also a very steady truth underneath the dark, underneath the pain. There is a foundation of truth and faith so tangible that I beseech you to sink your whole grip into. Grab hold and hang on for dear life.

Our God hates divorce for so many reasons.
His plan for marriage was for two to become one; Inseparable. But now you are only one, severed and left to bleed. It is a ripping apart, a death for you. You have grieved and mourned it deeply.
He created marriage for us to help one another. You fought so hard for so many years, I know. He created marriage to help us walk through our lives with a helpmate. To prepare us for the day we meet our bridegroom. This is the piece missing in our churches. This is the piece society leaves out.

It will take a minute to let the aloneness become a comfort. It will feel like hell for a long time.  But the day will come when you have peace again…Maybe, for the very first time.

I know how you cry at night, every night. I know you have blamed yourself; I know you have blamed it on the other. I know you have tried to stop loving the one that no longer loves you. It is a dark and painful hell that none of us want to walk. When we divorce, we all have to go through each step of grieving the death of our other forever half. It is a death for us as difficult and tangible as the death of a loved one. But no one sees it like that. You are suffering and smiling as if you are stronger than you feel.

Trust God with every bit of hurt, every lie told about you, every friend lost during the divorce.  Trust Him when your spouse moves on quickly. It is commonplace, the one that jumps, replaces quickly, if not before. The one that is far from God has a hole they need to fill desperately and they do so, quickly.

You, the one caught off guard, is just worried about surviving. But look at you! You, on the other hand, have braved every awful, heart-wrenching night.  You learned new things, you became empowered in ways you never thought you could. You allowed God, out of need, to become your partner and provider. Look at what He did! With you, for you and through you. You had moments of panic and mistakes but you learned so quickly and altered your course back to His plan for you. You trusted Him in the dead of night to be your husband. You barely have enough to eat most days, it’s been so unfair, yet, you played so fair. Always fair.Now God will set things right.

You have lost people in this process. Let them go.  Not everyone is meant to be here when you don’t just survive your divorce, you soar!  Rejection is part of divorce. You have people that will never leave you, never give up on you, never pick a side. Never hurt you by not seeing how deeply your wound goes. You made new friends, we do that. God brings us healer friends, the ones that understand exactly what your world looks like and what your words mean, even if you didn’t know how to say them.  Friends that will always keep you on your path and point you back to Him.

And God.  He was there all along. You began to talk with Him more and more. You exposed your complete heart to Him. He knew it anyways. He sat there beside you, whether you reached for Him or not. He is always ready to refresh you, he was already to catching your tears, each one, in a jar He keeps forever. Your tears are so important to Him.  Even as other’s listened in on your prayers, your conversations with God, with friends, you just let God have that. You have given justice back over to God. This is His justice now.

You are stronger than you know my friend. Stay true to Godly truth. Stay true to God’s word. That is where your real healing comes from. People will believe all kinds of lies. You just stay with your moral compass, Our Lord. People will take sides. Let them. That is their cross to bear and isn’t about you. Just keep your eyes on biblical truth and God’s omnipotent, sovereign, all knowing, all seeing, ways, hope and blessings. He will never reject you, never take sides, never hurt you.

That is a beautiful, amazing place to be; With Him. Your world will only become more and more beautiful. Let Him show off for you. Let Him heal you. Let Him restore what the Locust has tried to destroy.

A family is broken now, yes. But God uses broken people, and He binds up wounds, making you better than ever. He will make beauty from these ashes. He always does.

Trust in Him. Do not dwell on the things of this world. See His Love in all things. Trust with unshakable trust. Let these waves wash over you and keep your eyes on Him and He will restore your peace, you will be loved beyond measure, you will want for nothing.

Amen.Amen. Amen.