You are currently browsing the monthly archive for April 2017.

 Will your idle talk reduce others to silence? Will no one rebuke you when you mock?

Job 11:3 NIV

I can’t really remember where my head was at when the illness started, but I know that right now, my mind is somewhat blank.  I’ve had so much time to think about things that I’m all thought out.  Several weeks ago, I was working on several different projects.  I was writing.  I was publishing.  I was taking care of several things at my “day” job.  And I was helping my daughter with various things.  I was busy.  As we often are.  But I wasn’t feeling very fulfilled.  Things were getting to be stressful and before I knew it, the stress became a weakened immune system which then disintegrated into a full-blown case of bronchitis.  Since I have fibromyalgia and arthritis and a genetic predisposition to immune disorders, I know that stress is a surefire way to invite illness in.  I tried to keep going, but my breathing was seriously hindered by the bronchitis and my energy levels pretty much bottomed out.  I was down for the count.

Right before this illness set in, I had met a major milestone with my writing in that I published the tenth book in the mystery series that I have been writing since 2005.  My goal had been to write the tenth book and release it during the ten year anniversary of the series.  I met that goal, but instead of feeling good about the accomplishment, I started to experience a bit of anxiety about what to do next.  Although I have a list of story ideas that I am now free to start on, I’ve not been as motivated to write these things as I would have thought I would be.  I tried to sit down and write some since I couldn’t do much of anything else, but all I could think about was why couldn’t I breathe?  Why wasn’t I getting better?  Was I ever going to feel good again?

Aside from the writing, up to about the last year or so, my life had been centered around getting my ministry going and stepping out and making a big difference.  But suddenly, it was as though all the desire to minister had completely left me.  I had begun to feel as though no one was listening anyway, so why bother?  And now, when I had finally reached a point where I could begin to take my writing in a new direction without feeling confined to finishing out a certain series, I suddenly felt a twinge of hopelessness.  The same notion kept rolling through my mind.  No one was listening anyway, so why bother writing?   It was happening at work as well.  I wanted to step up and do some different things, but no one wanted to hear what I had to say.  This point was being reinforced in everything I did.  No one wanted what I had to offer, so why was I going after anything?

I had always thought that if I had something to say that might help someone else through a difficult situation, then God had given me the ability to say it for a reason.  That was a good thing.  But by the same token, my tendency to speak my mind has also served to drive a wedge between myself and others at times.  Sometimes because I was being a jerk, but sometimes just because people didn’t want to or weren’t ready to hear what I had to say.  In response to this, I’ve made some mistakes.  I’ve either stopped trying to talk to some people, I’ve filtered myself when I do talk to them, or I’ve stopped talking altogether.

This, however, is exactly what the devil wants us to do.  He wants us to either become so disgusted with the process that we become so negative that we are in no danger of speaking life or he wants us to shut up and say absolutely nothing.  Our words have the power to build people up or tear them down and sometimes we may get so bogged down in our own misery that we don’t realize which of these things we are doing most often.  Some of us never figure out how hurtful we have been and it all starts to pile up into an ugly mess.  It is possible to clean that mess up.  At least we can try to.  But it takes courage and a desire to fix what was broken.  It may take everything we’ve got, but the effort is worth it.  When our defenses are down, we may believe that it is impossible to make things right again, but don’t ever believe that God can’t bring about healing.

Today, the illness is mostly gone and the feeling of depletion has dwindled significantly.  There will always be challenges, but trusting in God’s healing process is the key.  Illness may slow us down, but living in His strength is the greatest prescription.  Nothing else compares to His healing power.  I pray that your healing washes over you like a flood.  That when it is all over, nothing broken will remain.  Nothing you have been through will be wasted.  He has a plan for it all and if we trust Him, there is no challenge that cannot be overcome.

 

“‘Nevertheless, I will bring health and healing to it; I will heal my people and will let them enjoy abundant peace and security.  I will bring Judah and Israel back from captivity and will rebuild them as they were before.

~Jeremiah 33:6-7 New International Version (NIV)~

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Grace to all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with an undying love.

Ephesians 6:24 New International Version (NIV)

We may never live up to what we think God wants us to be.  We can try and try, but still fall short.  This doesn’t mean that God won’t love us.  It doesn’t mean that He won’t show mercy to those who still struggle to put themselves back together after someone has torn them apart.  We will make mistakes.  It’s who we are.  It’s part of being human.  And He knows, better than any of us, that trying to be more than human simply isn’t possible for us.  If we love Him (and He knows who genuinely loves Him), then He will draw us into His arms and bring us the peace we need when we need it.

I’ve done some things in my life that I’m not particularly proud of.  I’ve fallen short.  I’ve missed the mark.  I’ve been, what I would call a failure.  But I’ve come to terms with all of that.  Why? Because I’ve spent many hours in prayer, asking Him to help me be better.  I’ve asked Him the hard questions and the answer I received was this, “If you hadn’t gone through the pain, you would never appreciate the peace.”  Amazingly enough, this is probably the truest statement I’ve ever heard.  If there had never been any struggle, I would never have known what it feels like to be healed.  I would never have had faith in His ability to take what is broken and make it new.

In receiving His grace, I also learned how to give grace.  I began to understand that we can only do what we can do.  If we are in the midst of healing…or haven’t figured out how to start the process, we don’t have a lot to give to others.  You can’t pour from an empty vessel.  And sometimes, it takes a lifetime to reach the point where we no longer blame ourselves for the pain we’ve endured.  I encourage you to give yourself a break.  You are doing the best you can with what you have.  And even at your lowest points, you are loved.  If you are still hurting, then you are still in need of healing.  You don’t have to be perfect…nor can you ever be.  You can only learn to accept the blessings and the lessons that He gives and move forward.

I don’t say this enough and it has become very clear to me recently that I may not always have the opportunity to do so.  But I love the people in my life more than I can ever express.  I don’t ever want them to think that I hold a grudge or that I was harmed by something they said or did in their brokenness.  I have long-since forgiven any trespasses and now enjoy the freedom of having faith in your healing process.  I’ve seen great things happen and I know He isn’t done impressing us with His awesome power.  When the healing is all done, I know that we’ll all be ready to walk the path He has set for us…and we will walk it together.

I wish you all the love, healing, and peace that you will ever need in this life. ❤

When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen: “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!” “I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”

~Luke 19:37-40 (NIV)~

So many people are afraid to say what needs to be said.  Entire families have been ruined because one or more individuals were afraid to confront issues with each other that were already obvious to everyone around them.   People love to debate things like sports and entertainment, but shrink back when the discussion turns to the very real substance of this world’s problems, especially as it relates to God.  For that matter, there are those who won’t even discuss their own family’s issues and that tendency to try and hide from our reality is what feeds and breeds dysfunction.

For example, some people get bent out of shape over discussions about religion and politics, but fail to be appropriately or even comparatively appalled at the complete and utter lack of moral decency in which we are being slowly boiled each and every day.  This culture seeks to throw us into the pot and slowly turn up the heat until one day, we realize that we have passed the point of no return.  By then it’s too late; we’re cooked.  And who is stirring this pot?  Those who wish to obliterate God’s presence.  Those who fail to acknowledge His sovereignty.  Those who continue to believe that their way is infinitely better than His way and that we shouldn’t have to follow His rules.  Yes, all of the above.  I have news for these people.  No matter how effective you believe you are in moving God out of the picture, He will never leave us.  You may leave Him, but He will always be.  You will not.

I prefer to say what’s on my mind.  While I may not blurt it all out at the moment I notice that it needs to be said, I take time to consider what should be said and why and then I put it out there.  I prefer not to argue with people, however, I also know that sometimes a good argument is absolutely necessary.  There are times when it is simply not appropriate to be quiet about things.  I also understand that in every argument we have a choice.  We can either choose to say what is on our mind and take the consequences like a grown-up or we can sit back and simmer in silence when we hear others discussing an opposing viewpoint.  In either case, there are only so many possible outcomes.

For instance, if we decide to speak up and voice our opinion on something, we can expect one of two things to happen; we will either be “heard” and thus, feel better at having taken the opportunity to vent or we will be rebuked by our audience and end up either feeling self-righteous at having evoked an angry response or feel convicted by a sudden understanding that we may not have been open to hearing other viewpoints all along.  It’s like a “Choose Your Own Adventure” story.  Whichever way we go, there will be an outcome…we may not like the outcome, but the important thing is that we not shrink back when we feel that something needs to be said.  We’re either going to be right or we’re going to be wrong.  And though we may never fully acknowledge which of these we are, we must never be afraid to talk about the things that are impacting our mental and spiritual well-being.

Imagine what would have happened if all of the bold people in our history had been afraid to talk about politics or religion.  What if people like Martin Luther King had decided that it was just too risky to speak out?  What if Emmeline Pankhurst had let social norms dictate how she approached liberty?  What if Rosa Parks had decided that it just wasn’t her fight?  What if Abraham Lincoln had taken a step back because his views on slavery weren’t popular?  What if Mother Theresa had been afraid to acknowledge poverty in her midst?  What if Thomas Jefferson had decided to let someone else write the Declaration of Independence?  What if Jesus had taken a look around and decided that we weren’t worth dying for?

We can’t make a difference if we’re afraid to face reality.  And yes, there are so many people out there who would rather focus on anything but reality.  These people stay medicated, they stay tipsy, they stay pre-occupied.  They focus on any and every little thing except the larger, spiritual picture.  There is a war taking place right now.  It is happening right before our eyes.  It’s non-denominational.  It’s bi-partisan.  The evil that started this war reaches across all boundaries and seeks to destroy any and everyone who would oppose its goal to dominate this world.  And even though it has read The Book, it persists in trying to change the outcome of the story so that things will fall in its favor.  We can either choose to help evil push its agenda or we can take every opportunity to speak out and spread the good news.  Depending on which side we take, our outcome will be very different.  It’s either a lake of fire or streets of gold, my friends.

Speaking out only works, however, when we are speaking out against evil and for what God intends us to be.  There are many people out there who have no qualms about voicing their opinions, but from what I see they are usually fighting under the wrong General.  This is why our world is in the shape it is in today.  We need to understand who the real enemy is and stop allowing ourselves to be duped by propaganda and misinformation.  If our eyes are truly opened, then we will have no trouble understanding why the world we are seeing is so scary to some people out there.  Why do we live in a culture where perfectly safe people feel that they need “safe spaces” or need to wear inappropriate hats to assert their rights to freedom?  Why do those who are currently so adamant about equality make it their business to present themselves as dominant over others in our culture?  My guess is that these individuals aren’t really looking for a fight with their fellow man inasmuch as they are seeking to overpower God Himself.  Maybe they believe that if they ring their bells loudly enough, He will turn away and they won’t have to acknowledge Him at all.  Rest assured, you’re fighting the wrong enemy.  God is not your enemy, He’s your creator.  He is the one who sees fit to love you even when you are unlovable and the only thing He is trying to give you is love.

Our culture is inundated with individuals who seek to be greater than God.  They are under the mistaken impression that they hold the same power as He does.  They treat people badly.  They live lives that spit in the face of Jesus, Himself.  They lie, they cheat, they steal.  They fight for any cause that diverts attention from the big picture.  They prefer to fight with the masses to try and drown out the voices of those who are trying to uphold God’s word.  They do this because God’s word brings conviction.  God’s word doesn’t uphold the perversity that they have grown accustomed to supporting.  God’s word is pure and true and it will not change.

No matter how much God’s people change, His word will NOT change.  We are tasked with speaking out and speaking His truth.  Will you be too afraid to do so?  Will you be too wrapped up in your own truth to talk about His?  The stones will cry out.  If we are too busy or too self-important to tell others what God has done in our lives, the stones will indeed, cry out.  One day, all that we’ve been fighting for will be considered alongside His word.  He will judge us based on how well or how poorly we’ve lived out His word.  Look at everything, watch what is happening around you.  Pay attention.  If it doesn’t line up with His word, it doesn’t matter if it lines up with society’s norms or with your church’s expectations.  It doesn’t have to fit into our neat little compartments to be right.  It only needs to align with what He has already said.

So, with all that said, my point is this; don’t ever be afraid to speak His truth.  You may be met with scorn or rebuke, but if you know that what you are saying is true and that it lines up with the word of God then you have nothing to fear.  For those who will fall away, will fall away.  We cannot help those who refuse to hear.  We can only be those who are not afraid to speak truth.  The rest is up to our God.  He will deal with those who will hear only their own truths.

Balak said to Balaam, “What have you done to me? I brought you to curse my enemies, but you have done nothing but bless them!”  He answered, “Must I not speak what the Lord puts in my mouth?”

~Numbers 23:11-12 NIV~

 

 

Introduction

My name is Rebecca Benston. I'm an author, speaker, and advocate for women and children. My spiritual journey has led me to many questions about what is right and how to live out the purpose that God has set for me.

I am finding that after considering all other possibilities, there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that without living a life that acknowledges the blood of Jesus we are lost. Yet, there are many who claim to know Him and understand His teachings who spew hatred and look for any and all opportunities to judge others instead of seeking them out to lead them to Christ. The goal of this blog is to work towards removing the animosity that exists between followers of Christ who subscribe to different doctrinal approaches and beliefs about what is expected of a "good" Christian. Also to draw the unbeliever closer to Christ through practicing His love and patience and to help all followers understand that love and true faith cannot co-exist where hate, intolerance and a sense of superiority live.

I also hope to open a dialogue with people from many different religious backgrounds and to work together with followers of this blog to break down some of the barriers to harmony that exist in our society. I hope you will join in the conversation!

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 2,334 other followers

April 2017
S M T W T F S
« Feb   May »
 1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
30  

Twitter Updates

Past Ponderings

Blog Stats

  • 1,778 hits