Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Fear Vs. Faith

We are sooo prone to fear. Big fears — “What if I lose my job?” “What if somebody dies?” “What if he is expelled?” — and small fears — “What if I lose my library book?” “What if the plant dies?” “What if I get a bad grade?”

Once, Jesus’ disciples had a pretty big worry (well, maybe a few more times than once). They got on a boat and went out to sea. Then it started to rain. And not just a little sprinkle, but a great storm. The boat was swamped by waves. Their worry was: “What if we perish?
Why are you afraid?

We are afraid of the unknown. We are afraid of what we can’t prepare for. We are afraid of what isn’t in our hands.

But really, why do we fear these things? We know the God who knows the future. We know the God who holds the future. Why do you fear?

You are of little faith.

We are prone to fear because we are of little faith. Again and again, God has to remind us that as long as He is there and He’s in control, we have no reason to be afraid. We don’t have the right to worry.

In Isaiah 43:5, God told Israel, “Fear not, for I am with you.”

When a father was afraid for his daughter’s life, Jesus said to the doubters in Mark 5:36, “Do not fear, only believe.”

The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe. - Proverbs 29:25 (ESV)

The battle of fear and faith never stops. But God is always worthy of our trust. Remember what Jesus did when the disciples feared they were perishing?

And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. - Matthew 8:26

When we give God our trust, we don’t need to worry. Your storm can be at peace, too. Listen to Jesus when He says, “Do not fear, only believe.” He knows the unknown. He holds the future.

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. - Isaiah 26:3

Monday, May 20, 2019

Today Is a Monday, BUT It Won’t Always Be!

(Short post today!) :)

It’s Monday. Another Monday. You know that. I know that. But at least for me, there’s something else in the air today — hope, potential, promise, and a little bit of sun.

Mondays can get us down. In some seasons, life feels like an endless chain of nothing but Mondays.

For students, it can feel like school will never end. But in reality, summer is just around the corner.

How do we know that summer is coming? Because it has always followed through. Year after year, summer always returns. We students know we can depend on it to come back again.

You know who is even more dependable? God. He has always kept his promises and always will.

In Micah 5:2, He promised that a ruler “whose coming forth is from of old” would be born would be born in Bethlehem. He kept that promise by sending Jesus.

And there are so many other examples. The temple’s destruction, His death, His resurrection, the list goes on and on.

God has never let us down. And you know what else he promises? He will never forsake you. (Hebrews 13:5-6.) And He’s coming back. (Revelations 22:20.) Soon.

Summer comes every year. It’s dependable. God is even more dependable. He’s fulfilled so many promises, and keeps the promise that He will be with you, every single day. So we can know for sure that He is coming back. Who knows? The time might just be around the corner!

It’s Monday today. But students, let’s not give up. Let’s keep persevering, finish strong, summer’s almost here!

Christians, do the same. ;)

Saturday, May 11, 2019

What I Learned About My Unworthiness and God’s Mercy From Jeremiah

Sometimes the Old Testament doesn’t seem applicable. Sometimes it seems outdated. Sometimes it tempts me to skim-read.

The New Covenant is very different from the Old Covenant, and the New Covenant is the one we are living in now. It is all right to spend more time in some passages than others. But even as we read through the Old Testament, we have to keep in mind the following:

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
- 2 Timothy 3:16-17

One couldn’t say it better. Even as you look over lists of names and measurements you can learn about God! (E.g. God is specific.)

When you approach every part of Scripture with this mindset and try to connect it all back to the gospel, God will speak to you, and you will even find reminders tucked away in the most difficult books to read.

For example, try reading Jeremiah 3 through 6 without skimming. It’s tough. Sin and destruction, more sin and destruction, and lots of horrible things are recorded. Sadly, Jerusalem refuses to repent.

Shall I not punish them for these things? declares the Lord, and shall I not avenge myself on a nation such as this? - Jeremiah 5:29

Jeremiah, like many other prophets in the Bible, describes what we deserve. I skimmed a lot before it clicked in my mind. This is God’s wrath. This is how I should be punished. But I’m not getting God’s wrath. Jesus took on God’s wrath for me, though I am extremely unworthy of His sacrifice.

After realizing this, I read Jeremiah with a different attitude. The more unworthy I see myself, the more grateful I am for how God spared me. Reading Jeremiah gave me a humility that lead to a deep joy.

So keep reading the Old Testament. Pay attention to God’s Word, and the Old Covenant might make you more thankful for the New Covenant. No matter how far back in the Bible you go, it all points to Jesus.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

My First Published Article!!

My first published article is now on the Rebelution!!
“Dear Teen, Look Forward to Heaven (But Don’t Ignore the Now).”
(Originally “The Wrong Way to Look Forward to Heaven.”)

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

What’s the Point?

“Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had expended in doing it, and behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun.” - Ecclesiastes 2:11

So often we can relate to the Preacher of Ecclesiastes. We feel that everything is vain. More than vain, it all seems like a vanity of vanities (Ecclesiastes 1:2). Oh, you did some cleaning yesterday? Well, sorry, but today everything’s just as messy as before you cleaned. You did as much good as striving after wind. Did you turned in your homework on time? That’s nice, now you get some more homework. Nothing to be gained.

Life just repeats. There will always be the pain of vain.

No. Listen. It is not all vain. There is more to life than the things you do that reset everyday. There is a purpose. There’s a sovereign plan beneath it all.

Of course you don’t know all the details of God’s plan for you. But you do know a few things.

1. Where it all ends (yet never ends)

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.” - Matthew 6:19-20

This world isn’t permanent. Heaven is. Earth is vain, but Heaven doesn’t have even  a single moth that destroys. No rust, no thieves.

One day, Jesus will acknowledge every time you were patient with somebody rather than yelling, every time you chose to say a kind word rather than a hindering one. It will all be worth it.

2. That it is good

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” - Jeremiah 29:11

If we trust what God tells us, we also trust Him when He says His plans are not for evil. We trust that, even when life seems really bad, there is a future and a hope.

“No pain, no gain,” right? “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” doesn’t it? As we experience God’s plan, we learn to trust Him, and as we trust Him more and more, He gives us more and endurance. More peace.

“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” - Isaiah 26:3

3. What our purpose is in it

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” - Ephesians 2:10

God made us for good works. That’s our purpose. Yes, we’ve got the Holy Spirit, but isn’t it daunting? Actually, we’ve been guaranteed to prevail over the grips of flesh. Pair that verse with this one and you know you can put your confidence in God.

“I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted.” - Job 42:2

If God’s plan is for you to conquer sin, no way is anything going to thwart His will. After trial after trial after trial, Job sure learned that. He found out the hard way that God is almighty and that whatever happens, you can trust Him. And this God has a plan for you. A good plan. And it is going to happen.

So keep persevering. Keep trusting, keep conquering, keep growing. Jesus is worth it.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Two Beautiful Truths Jesus’ Death and Resurrection Show Us

Easter time is here! Your first thoughts may be chocolate bunnies and colorful eggs, but we must remember what the original Easter was all about.

Our Messiah rose from the dead. Many see this as the most important part in the Bible. Not only is this a past event we should always remember, but also something that should impact our everyday lives. Jesus lives.

Today I’m going to share two truths the Cross shows me that still affect me today.

#1: Jesus Loves You.

“But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” -Romans 5:8

Why did He die? Because He loved the unworthy sinner so much He gave up His life to save us.

Jesus’ death was a sacrifice for us. He died that each one of us who follow Him may live. He loved so much, so unconditionally, that rather than letting us face what we deserve, He opened Heaven to us.

We must never forget Jesus’ death because that is how He showed us His love.

#2: He Has Overcome Sin and Death.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,” - 1 Peter 1:3

Why did He raise from the dead? To defeat death and give us a hope. Jesus doesn’t stay dead. Jesus conquers.

If Jesus didn’t rise from the grave, our hope would be dead. But He is not dead so we have a living hope in Him. By His amazing mercy, He has overcome death and sin, things we could not defeat on our own, to let us have eternal life with Him.

Jesus lived a stainless life. He conquered every sin by the way He lived. If He were just another sinner, His death wouldn’t matter so much. But He was perfect. He was patient to those who didn’t deserve it, He was kind to those who didn’t deserve it, He loved those who didn’t deserve it. He was and is our perfect example of how we should live. He conquered sin, and then conquered death — both physical and spiritual death.

We should never forget Jesus’ resurrection because it shows us He can overcome anything.

How Does This Matter Today?

Well, first of all, Jesus still loves you today. And He still overcomes. Do you know what this means? If you are following Jesus, He can and will help you overcome. He can because He’s an overcomer. And He will listen to your prayers because He wants what is best for you.

“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” - Romans 8:31

So the Cross shows us that you can do anything with Jesus on your side. You can love the most unworthy. You can conquer the most persistent sins. You can overcome.

“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” - Romans 8:37