Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart. For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.
-1 peter 1:22-23"
There’s so much truth here. One of the techniques I learned in hermeneutics class is look for “so that”, which implies a specific sequence. Notice that scripture says to obey the truth BEFORE loving each other. That love is not possible without the truth, and that truth comes first, while that love comes second. And that should always be grounded in the word.
A brother reminded me this week that walking with the Lord is no easy task. Since the Lord lit a fire in my heart a few years ago, I have never ever forgotten the cost of discipleship. But it’s easy to settle into a routine and assume everything is good. And then something comes along and we get smacked in the face with opposition, whether it’s from people, work, struggles of life, anything from the world around us - it either floors us, or slowly brings us down until we’re dragging our feet. And it’s like, what is this? Mayne, I just wanna live my life. I just want to make the people I love happy and I want a steady, secure lilfe, something I can predict. I just want a family, with 2.5 kids, two cars, a chicken in every pot, a white picket fence and a dog named Spot (or hedgehod named Sparkles). But we can’t do that. It’s crazy that any moment, God can uproot us from where we are, and destroy everything we know (ugh personal experience). And what’s even crazier is that some of us are saying “Lord! Do it, I will go, just send me.” I’m encouraged by those who can.
We’re God’s chosen people. Seriously, He had NO reason to choose me. Wtf can I do? I’m a speck of cosmic dust. But out of the billions of people throughout history, and the many paths we can walk, He chose a few for a narrow road. We’re like freakin soldiers or something, defending the righteousness of the Lord Christ Jesus. On enemy territory. WE HOLDIN IT DOWN. Like nuh uh, dis our hood nao.
When we get weighed down the the chains of tempation, and flesh, and sin, we got dat Holy Spirit to break free. It be like “we know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to NOTHING, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.” - Romans 6:6
I know it can be difficult to trek through whatever you’re going through. Believe me, I’ve had my trials of broken relationships, insecurity, depression, loneliness, apathy; God has bulldozed away so many of my carefully laid plans, but He has traded what was good for what was better. And I’m glad that most of the time, when these trials hit me again, my first instinct is to look to the Lord, because all other sources of healing have proven to be unrealible. I march through these adversities and while I will not emerge with a body of shining, radiant armor, I am prepared for the Lord to see the dents and the dirt on it and say “well done, good and faithful servant.” We all wait for the day when we can be reunited with the Lord and there will be no pain and suffering and will be singing and dancing and feasting. This pain is only temporary, and while God has no business caring for us, He still looks over each and every one of us (and it’s like wuuuuuuuuttttttttt???)
I want to praise you all for fighting the good fight and encourage you to run even faster towards Jesus. It’s rough and tough, but we’re all in this together. Let no one come between us and our reward in Heaven. It will be glorious.
"The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of the suffering disgrace for the Name." -Acts 5:41
"Blessed are you when men hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man. Rejoice in that and and LEAP FOR JOY, bbecause great is your reward in heaven." - Luke 6:22-23
"BELOVED, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But REJOICE insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you." - 1 Peter 4:12-14
"For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us." - Romans 8:18
"In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world". - John 16:33
It’s funny, because this brother, who we’ll call Thomas because his name is Thomas, is not really known for encouraging in the conventional style and this all resulted out of a conflict. There was a lot of tension between the guys in our summer cell group, and since he’s a passionate, convicted guy, he called us out. And as the prophets, he was met with adversity. But he let us back him into a corner and pummel him. And he told us that this was an example of the Lord revealing his own heart, that even though it was a well-intentioned message, it still revealed the flaws in his nature and how much he still needs to turn to and rely on the Lord. He embraced it. And he exhorted us to pursue God as hard as we could and encouraged us to be real with each other, and help each other grow. It was clear that the Holy Spirit was present and like The Lion King, it was like can you feel the love tonight? (I make one exception for feelings this time)
One of the things I have been learning the past few months is submission. Unfortunately, that sometimes means adhering to suboptimal design, for example, when God puts his nation under the will of its enemies, and in my case, putting me under the authority of non-Christian parents. There’s a ton of God glorifying things I want to do, and it’s like, “gah Lord why won’t you let me do it???”
I can’t keep track of the thousands of dollars I have tithed to the church, the poor, and to missionaries in the past two years. It is my joy to give to the Lord and if only I had more faith and a more self-sacrificing nature, I could give more to the Lord. Luckily, I harbor no ill mindset towards those who I see not giving generously, but it puzzles me how people can keep so much to themselves.
The explicit order that my parents gave me over winter break was to not give out anymore money to people. Period. Do not help others. Help yourself first. I have stopped funding Percy, and I have walked by countless homeless men with sad sorry eyes, and sometimes even worse, a blank dehumanizing stare.
I’m tired. I’m tired of not being able to help them. I caved and bought William by the Sunoco by Schenley a soda and two sandwiches. How long will this go on? How long will I live in comfort while there is so much suffering going on?
But when people ask me for money with a possibly legitimate/illegitimate reason, their word may or may not be true. But my parents’ word is absolute.
I hope we all can give liberally for the sake of the Lord.
"Enjoy your money; make the most of it; give none of it away; enjoy it quickly for I can tell you, you will be beggars throughout eternity". - Robert Murray M’Cheyne
— PNC Bible study
So there’s this dude mei sizzle. Known for his unceasing marvel of cats, cars, fobbish nature, and kickball two large rectangular basketball nets with black and white hexagonal shapes, it’s sometimes hard to take him seriously. I myself sometimes write off what he says as, “oh it’s just mei sizzle he doesn’t understand.” Others do it too.
I think this summer was a good opportunity for me to see some things from his perspective. Not that they are being ostentatious, but for normal people, it’s very clear oftentimes what their intentions are, what they’re thinking. But this dude is very unassuming; call him humble or whatever. Did you know that he’s translating an entire Christian book into chinese for no pay? Did you know he came into the ER crying when he found out that I was hospitalized? I was sitting with him at VBS and he pulled out a pamphlet with the gospel in chinese and told me he was going to send this to his family back in China. Last weekend, he walked around kennywood with us and just watched our stuff while we were on rollercoasters. I didn’t want to inconvenience him but he told me it was his pleasure. Dude paid $35 to come into the park and watch our stuff so we wouldn’t have to pay for lockers. I can’t speak for anyone else, but if I was in the same position, I would find some way to say “hey look at me I go out of my way to share the gospel. I go out of my way to help people. Give me praises and glory” (a little more subtlely).
We don’t esteem him that much because we don’t think he’s really accomplished anything great or worthy. All the other leaders do great things woo woo. But I like to think in this case, greatness is not doing a few things exceptionally well and subsequently obtaining the spotlight. For mei sizzle, he probably does a lot of small things consistently well, but none are enough to bring him into the spotlight.
The dude has a lot of patience for us. It must be frustrating when people don’t answer you or just brush things off because it’s difficult to communicate through cultural and language barriers. It must be sad to see so many ACFers come and go while you stay in the same place.
This summer, I made an effort to bond with him; it’s hard work because I don’t really take interest in a lot of things he does. But I see the happiness it brings him and I guess it’s worth it. Guy puts up with a lot and he needs a friend.
happy 2?th birthday
— b (inspired by Francis Chan)
— paraphrased from Francis Chan (Crazy Love)
— Paraphrased from Francis Chan (Crazy Love)
I think one of the kids in my VBS crew had some mental problems. He is in fifth grade but my crew is for third graders. It was difficult for him to form coherent sentences. When he prayed, it sounded like gibberish.
But there were a few things he could say very well. Part of our Bible points each day include “Jesus love you.” He didn’t miss a single one of those. When it was time for song and dance, he was one of the most energetic ones. He was one of the first allowed to choose from the prize pool and instead of choosing the plush angry bird or transformer, he chose a watch that said “watch for God (heh)” along the wristband.
Dude is right. Aside from “Jesus loves you,” everything else is gibberish. Only three words you ever need to know.