Monday, January 24, 2011

"...nothing...except Jesus Christ and Him crucified."

Every human seeks wisdom.

Whether this desire for wisdom stems from a power-hungry mindset or simply a servants' heart, wisdom can be just as dangerous as it can be helpful. Wisdom is formally defined as: "accumulated philosophic or scientific learning" and is commonly held as synonymous to words such as "knowledge" or "insight". However, what is biblical wisdom?
As much as I would love to say I have the answer to this question, I do not. However, I do have an opinion.

"When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power, so that your faith may not rest on men's wisdom, but on God's power.
~I Corinthians 2:1-5~

Perhaps I am misreading this verse, but this is my take on it: let God's wisdom speak for itself. And do not always be quick to speak out of your experience or wisdom. Wait for God to use you and speak through you. And when He does, give him the glory for it!

In this way, you not only draw others to God (rather than your own sufficiency), but you also draw yourself closer to God in knowing "nothing but Jesus Christ and Him crucified".

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Broken & Poured Out

"The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want."
~Mark 14:7

I have read the above passage many a time, but never truly taken the time to dissect it and really focus on each verse, sentence-by-sentence. When has there been a time in history when everyone on the planet has been well-off and lacking the need for help? Never. We may not be able to physically throw ourselves down at His feet on a day-to-day basis, but I think the command in Mark 14 is quite transparent: help the poor. In doing so, we are not only providing for and blessing other mortals, but we are also bringing glory to our Savior.

"She did what she could."
~Mark 14:8

The woman in the story reflected in her own mortal way what Jesus did for all mankind on the cross. He gave all he had, broken and poured out to save us from eternal damnation. Shouldn't we do all we can for God?
Forgive the sport reference, but one thing I tell myself and my teammates before a basketball game is to give 100% and leave everything out on the court so that each and everyone of us can say that we gave our all, win or lose. I firmly believe that this also applies to our lives as Christians: give 100% of yourself and your resources to God, and "leave it all on the court".

Thursday, January 13, 2011

A Day Acceptable to the Lord? Or a Lifetime?

5 ...Is that what you call a fast,
a day acceptable to the Lord?
6 "Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?
7 Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
8 Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness will go before you,
and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.
This was a part of my reading tonight from Isaiah 58. It reminded me of some of the thoughts I shared the other day: the purpose of this fast is not just so I can say that I spent 3 weeks living in accordance with what the Lord would deem acceptable. It is to sacrifice my life and my desires for God and to hear what He wants me to do for Him which is to "loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free", to feed the hungry, shelter the poor, and clothe the naked. Once we learn to do all of those things, "then [our] light will break forth like the dawn, and [our] healing will quickly appear; then [our] righteousness will go before [us], and the glory of the Lord will be [our] rear guard".

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

In God Alone

Last night, I spent about 30 minutes laying in bed thinking--me thinking can be a dangerous thing. I reflected on the things in  my life that held value for me. My relationships were the first thing on my heart. And then the thought came about: when was the last time I had been truly broken?? The day my 1st dog died. As childish as this fact may seem, it's true. That was the last time I was truly emotionally undone. That dog was my first love, my favorite companion, and my first true friend. When she died, I was devastated. But another dog soon came along to fill the space Mattie left in my heart and I recovered, but did not forget Mattie.
It then occurred to me: aren't all relationships like this? As friends, we love each other, but eventually a friendship will end whether by death or altercation. Even family relations come to a fork in the road and eventually a dead end.

What happens when a brother or sister moves to the other side of the world?
What happens when a child gets married and leaves home for good?
What happens when a spouse or parent passes on?

True, the love and memories in those relationships never leave; but the other end of the relationship is gone. There is only one relationship in which this fact does not ring true: the relationship between man & God. God knows man before birth, throughout his lifetime, and, if man accepts Him, in eternity after death.

If our relationship with God is the only thing that will truly last a lifetime, should this not be the most important relationship in our lives?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

...that loves a sinner like me.

The song lyrics in my most recent post have been haunting me for the past two days as I've been trying my rotten best to hear from God. I've been complaining, thinking, "C'mon, God...what's the deal? Why won't you speak to me?"
And then it dawned on me: maybe God is speaking to me and what He's been saying just isn't what I wanted to hear! So I thought back on the past few days and the things that have been going through my head and I realized that amidst all the everyday thoughts, little words such as: "Surrender" and "Submit" have sneaked into the few empty spaces in my mind. And then, after reading the additional notes to the reading from my 21-day plan:

"During this fast, you'll have many opportunities to deviate from your commitment--especially if you're fasting alone or if no one will find out. Pray that God will give you the resolve and courage to stick to the standards you've set and honor Him no matter what."

I told myself: "okay, can totally do this. Twenty-one days. It'll go by before you know it!"
However, as soon as those words sunk into my mind, I felt like slapping myself in the face for believing them. How could I be so selfish as to want to limit the amount of time I spend sacrificing my earthly desires for the sake of honoring the Lord?
Thus, this is my resolve: every time I recognize something that is taking up my time and tainting my attitude, I will give it up for a three-week time period.
The point of this 21-day fast & reading plan is to bring me closer to God, but why save it for only 3 weeks at the beginning of the year? I want to be brought closer to God not only after these next few weeks, but every day for the rest of my life.

Monday, January 10, 2011

It's a God like You...

"I am overcome with anguish because of the vision, my lord, and I feel very weak.How can I, your servant, talk with you, my lord? My strength is gone and I can hardly breathe."

Today I started a Bible reading plan called the 21 Day Fast. Although the entire chapter was amazing, the above two verses really stood out to me.

"How can I, your SERVANT, talk with YOU, my LORD?"

These words were so mind-boggling to me until I thought back on a line from a favorite song of mine: "It's a God like You that loves a sinner like me..." That was the only way I could answer the question above. Only our Almighty God could see everything in all of our hearts: every thought, every word, every idea. He sees the deepest, darkest parts of us--the parts that not even we ourselves know about--yet he still loves us and allows us to approach his throne with confidence.

It's true: "There is no one else for me, NONE but Jesus. Crucified to set me free, now I live to bring Him praise."
I can't imagine anyone else I could even imagine wanting to serve and praise.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Re-Defining the Family Vacation

Many people go on vacations to make memories with their families.
They travel to amusement parks, beaches, and foreign countries together, taking pictures and writing postcards along the way. When they leave they are sad because it means they must return to work and school, or they don't want to part with the scenery. However, the saddest part about the ending of this vacation is parting from my family.
This year, we spent the majority of our vacation in transit between the Dizon & Watanabe families. And although we went to the beach all of 3-4 times and enjoyed only one formal dinner, the memories made with my cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents are ones not easily forgotten.
As I board my plane tomorrow night, the thing that will bring tears to my eyes will not be the fading scenery but the people I will be leaving behind.