Posts tagged love
Posts tagged love
“In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
-1 Thessalonians 5:18
Welcome to Freedom City. Please enjoy your stay :D
“Let us not grow weary in doing good.”
It’s been a good year, ELF, not necessarily because we’ve had a lot of fun, but because we’ve seen a lot of Christ.
Thank you so much for giving all of us a priceless Senior Appreciation Dinner! A special shout out to the gifts “committee”: to Laura An and Melody Yuan and Megan Yuan (:
Here’s to another year of building “siblingship” and cherishing friendships. Here’s to a lifetime of experiencing the unspeakable joy we have in fellowship, both with each other and with our King.
- i called home today and talked with mom and stuffz and i asked if dad did anything for valentine’s day, and she was kinda just like, ‘no, your dad’s busy with work and stuff” and how even though dad’s been working at home, it’s hard to get a chance to talk with him because he’s got so much on his plate. it made me kinda sad so when i was talking to dad i asked if he could talk to mom more or take some breaks to come downstairs to relax from work and he sounded really tired, kinda like when i get in the zone while doing studio stuff on the computer.
- i told mom that i really wanted to eat chinese rice cake, and she said she would make it and mail it to me.
mom: do you want a salty pumpkin one or a sweet red bean one?
me: UHHHHhhhhmmm….i don’t know
mom: okay i’ll make both.
mom: it’s gonna be really heavy to mail though
me: oh…i’m sorry..you don’t have to.
mom: no, it’s okay. i’ll just deduct the money from your 紅包 (red-envelope).
me: WAIT YOU CAN’T DO THAT
mom: do you want anything else? dried fruits? nuts?
me: sure! wait…am i paying for that too??
there’s always a catch, man..
- later, i get a text from dad that goes:
glad to talk to u today. i bought some fruit for mom today but she doesnt know yet. hidden in the refridg hope she will like it thank u for the reminder yes i should talk to her more pray for me do not let work overwhelm me too much. i slept a lot yesterday due to bad headache. felt better today love u
reminds me of me. like father like daughter: we both let work overwhelm us and then we start to camp out in studio/the attic to do work and forget about the people who are the most important. and mom gets lonely because our bodies are present but our hearts and minds aren’t.
it’s something i need to learn/am learning. how to encourage and love my parents (oh, and Tim) so we can mutually spur each other on to grow and love God even when all of us are so obviously flawed and human.
Valentine’s Day lesson:
- today, i kinda got what that les mis song says, “to love someone is to see the face of God”. which i guess is STOLEN FROM 1 JOHN when it says that even though no one has ever seen God, if we love each other, God is in us and his love is complete in us (1 Jn. 4:12 yeah that). but love has never dropped on me, like suddenly i love everyone and everything. it’s a struggle to love, and we gotta swim upstream against apathy and bitterness and cynicism and just, idk, just fight for it.
- mom fights for love by enduring and being patient with us.
dad fights for love by working so hard to provide for us.
mom and dad fight for their love too. marriage is hard, it seems (haha silly me). but i can fight for their love too. i can fight to encourage my mom and dad in their fight for their love. in a weird twisted way, i’m a part of their marriage too and i can help mom and dad too.
- sorry tim i’m like not mentioning you at all but this really isn’t about you LOL JK. you too, mang. let’s fight to love.
i think i’m seeing this snowball effect in my life, about family. like, i’m seeing how family is important, but more and more i’m being kind of swept away with the mystery of family and just the people who literally share your blood. as i’m growing up, the more i’m returning to family. like there’s an invisible string between me and family and there’s no getting away, in a good way i guess, or ways that i just can’t understand. it’s interesting. family was first God’s idea. i used to think that i’d break away as soon as i grew up, and finally i’d be able to do God’s work without my family holding me back. i know it’s different for everyone, but i think there’s gotta be some crazy plan that God has for me and tim and mom and dad and one day it’ll make sense why we were put together on earth and maybe in heaven we’ll mean as much to each other as any other person who was unrelated to us on earth, but for now these three people mean more to me than anyone in the world and i don’t know what else to say.
If you’ve ever been in that serious moment at youth camp or small group or cell meeting or Bible study, and the leader asks, “What did you hear from God this week?” — then you know: most of us make up a bunch of stuff to escape the wrathful judgment of our spiritually advanced peers. It’s like watching yourself vomit in slow motion. Not pretty.
You can take a bite-sized Bible verse or some vague notion of religiosity and turn that into a ten minute testimony about how faithful God has been, how He answered that one about “needing peace,” how you think God has been telling you to pray more, worship harder, serve better. By the time it comes around to the last person in the circle, everyone has written an extra chapter of Revelation and swears to do missions in the foothills of the Siberian mountains.
If someone dares to say, “Pass” — well, let’s all lay hands on her and pray for an epiphany. God can swoop in right now with a roof-tearing vision of angels and armies and six-winged beasts. You sinner.
I wish we all would’ve been okay with blurting the honest truth: that at times, for uncomfortably long seasons, we just don’t hear anything from God. To just say, “No, I did not hear from God. For a long, long, long time.” Or to not set this metric for our spiritual lives. Or to really believe that God’s Word is sufficient for His voice. Or to actually ease up on how we pray to Him. Or to consider that maybe we have heard God’s voice, but not in some audible, outlandish, booming-from-the-rafters sort of way.
Let’s consider you did hear from God this week: by the sustaining of your molecules. By the wonderful work of Creation spinning out photosynthesis, rainstorms, gravity, heartbeats. By keeping that car from flipping over into your lane. By putting both people of encouragement and derision in your lives, to lift you and sharpen you. By having those one or two honest people in your group who can also say out loud: “No, I didn’t hear from God today, except from everywhere we are not looking.”
We are probably making this Christian life too hard when we set absurd parameters on our spiritual progress.
But I can’t find it wow where the heck is it.
Interfellowship meeting going down. God, Rutgers is yours. (Taken with Instagram)
There are over 10 different Christian fellowships on campus, but all serve the same God.
Let hope guide us, faith free us, and love bind us!
An interesting post where Miss Elle turns stuff we’ve written into conversations, first with me, and then with Jed Brewer. Very cool.
Dear Unka Glen and Jed,
You are [bleeping] awesome and I love you a little bit right now. I could just send you this but I thought I’d make it public because God knows other people need to know this as well.
So my boyfriend has dumped me. The boyfriend that I honestly felt that God had sent me, who seemed to be exactly what I wanted in almost every single way. And he dumped me because of something that is a seemingly unchangeable part of who I am. I’ve told God the story until He is probably sick of hearing it, I’ve begged Him to give me him back, I’ve asked him to let me have him back if it’s His will, I’ve begged Him to do anything, *anything* to stop me thinking about the situation.
And what you said was this:
Oh, honey. It’s not right, it’s not fair, it’s not okay. It sucks, I know it hurts, and for the record, you deserve way better. What do you do? You move on sweetie. God has better for you, and in the meantime He has healing for you. Moving on is about putting one foot in front of the other. That part is simple. The hard part is avoiding the big fat lies that can really make this part of your life miserable.
So I already failed at this part Unka. I’m already pretty damn miserable. Church is happy, spending time with friends is happy, and the rest of the time it’s just a big fat ball of misery sitting in my stomach.
Lie: This is my last shot! Ah yes, the all time greatest hit on the suddenly single again playlist: I’ll probably never meet anyone ever again, and die alone, surrounded by all my cats, each dressed in adorable outfits I’ve lovingly crafted for them.
Truth: God is all powerful, and He wants to see you in a kick butt marriage that glorifies Him. It’s gonna happen. So on behalf of your cats, put down the fabric and step away from the sewing machine.
Good start Unka… you made me smile, which is probably no mean feat.
Love comes from God, and God gives us as much love as we accept. Your breakup doesn’t make you less, it makes you more. Just ask the next person you date how they feel about it, they’ll tell you this:
“I’m glad you left that old relationship, I’m glad that you don’t hate that person, it makes me happy to think that if this doesn’t work out, we can still be friends. I like that you call me on stuff, and don’t let things get out of hand, based on what you’ve learned. I like that you have the courage to still be a loving and passionate person. And I’m glad you’re no longer in a so-so relationship, and that you’re in this relationship where I can spoil you rotten, and be sweet to you, and cuddle, and picnics, and chocolate, and holding hands, and love notes, and togetherness, and praying, and singing praise songs together.”
And the thing is, you’re right. Because I did learn a lot. I learnt what a Christian relationship can look like. I learnt about some aspects of my personality that could do with some work because they don’t make for good relationships at the moment.
One of the main problems with this break up is that, same as my last one, I feel as if I’m being pushed into thinking that it’s all my fault. And you addressed that one too:
Lie: It was mostly all my fault! The enemy wants you to think that this is a personal failure. That you failed at being in a relationship. You can say it’s all your fault, and then tell yourself that all you have to do is fix you, and hey presto, you’re back in business, but…
Truth: …It takes two to tango baby, relationships are complicated, messy, and delicate. It’s almost never just one side that went wrong. Blaming yourself for the mistakes of others is not a Godly mindset, we already had someone that accepted mistreatment to make things right, and you ain’t Him, okay?
I guess that set me straight then.
Pun not intended, that brings me to the reasoning for the break up I guess. That just brings me to a collossal mess inside my head because I can’t get my head around whether bisexuality/homosexuality is wrong or not. If God gives me a definite sign that it’s wrong them I am more than willing to change… *if* He gives me a definite sign that it’s wrong *and* he shows me a genuine way to change that doesn’t involve me just ignoring and repressing. Unka Glen to the rescue once again.
You’re not in this alone. You are loved. As you are. Let there be left only this— that you make the changes in your life that love demands of you…To make changes in guilt or shame is not an act of love.
Obviously I still need to go and continue praying over this because wonderful as you are, you’re not the big man Himself. But I’ve been asking Him to give me some definite wisdom and right now I think He might be talking through you. Right now, if I try to force myself to become straight, I’m not doing it out of love.
You should know how God feels about something before you go to change it…You should let God change you, in His strength, in his timing, and according to will, not anyone else’s.
Sure, all the stuff on your list are sins, and they aren’t okay to ignore, but remember, if the enemy can’t pull you out, he’ll push you deeper in. If he can’t get you to ignore your sin, he’ll get you so obessed with your sin, you’ll never focus on anything else. And of course he will only give you sins to obsess over that are a symptom of your core problem. You can fix everything on your list of sins, and a whole new set of sins will just pop up in their place, like Kleenex.
And suddenly I’m no longer sure if my bisexuality is the issue at the moment. The issue is my not trusting God, my fear that because I thought He’d given me this relationship and it went wrong, that He won’t give me another one, and my fear that any future relationship will end because of my bisexuality since this one did. So maybe I need to stop praying about being bi and whether or not God wants that to stop, and start praying to be able to trust Him more, and to recognise that His love for me doesn’t stop or diminish because of my sin, whatever sin that is.
And then I went to Jed - and Jed, what you said was this:
Here’s my question back to you: is there more to you than your sexuality?
Oh Jed, but that’s the lie that the enemy keeps tricking me into questioning at the moment. I feel as if my ex treated me as if the answer was ‘no’. What you said to the person who was originally in this situation was:
can you just sit down with God and talk about something else? I want you to imagine this for a moment. You go to God in prayer, and you’re praying about being [bisexual] and how part of you loves it and part of you is ashamed and what should you do – and suddenly, you hear a voice. And the voice says, “I hear you. You’re confused. I understand. Down the road, we’ll deal with your confusion. For right now, could we please talk about something else?”
Like my ability to trust in God. And my belief in His love for me, perhaps…
God’s love sets people free – free from shame, free from confusion, and free from repression. When the time comes, whatever God has for you in the arena of gender and sexuality is something you’ll be able to receive as a gift and a blessing, and not a punishment or a curse.
To another struggling girl you said this:
I see in this question a gal who has committed what Christian culture has (wrongly) made the chief and cardinal sin of our age, and who, in spite of that, finds herself wrestling with the fact that she knows God has something for her. I don’t hear a girl who’s given up on the idea of a Godly husband, I hear a girl who knows, somewhere within her heart, that there will be a Godly husband, and she doesn’t know how that will work.
Which actually may be where I’m coming from too… whilst it’s tempting to believe that this is it, I’m never going to find someone and I will always be rejected in the future, not all of me honestly believes that. There will be someone, but I don’t currently trust or love myself or God at the moment to understand how that’s going to work.
Thanks guys. Going to go and have a word with Daddy now.
This is a beautiful documentation that touches on one of the sins that have been so taboo in Christian circles. I’ve been guilty of spitting and trampling on those who are “bad sinners” (especially those part of the LGBT community) in thought if not in action. But being bi, or being homosexual, or being trangender, or being whatever doesn’t make you any more disgusting than when you tell a white lie.
The sin was never meant to be the focus. The God who saves was. And still is.
“What if we threw down our signs, stepped over the lines, and loved like You did?”
Be prepared for another faith verses works post. If you think you’ve had enough of it, think again. I personally think that there is never a point where you can hear about faith verses works and say “that’s enough, I don’t need to hear about faith vs works again”. Why is it so important?
Normally the typical sermon on faith and works starts off quoting James on the verse that says we are not justified by faith alone but by works. Obviously, the context of this passage is vital to understanding how it plays out or else the reader will simply think that his righteousness is achieved through the tedious repetition of confession, giving to the poor, and holding punches when wronged. The preacher or pastor will then turn to numerous passages in Galatians, Ephesians, Romans, etc. to show the vast amount of times that the Bible explains that it is not your works that justify you, but your grace, (Romans 4:5) ultimately leaving the audience confused as to which to believe. But then we talk a bit about how if you’re not bearing fruit then you probably have no faith or have not truly encountered Jesus, sprinkle a little bit of Calvin in there, and boom, you have a good faith verses works message that covers the basic information that you need. But other than simply storing helpful head knowledge, what does that mean for us?
JSPark recently blogged a video from Tim Keller about a week or two ago. Great message, but the one reference that really sold his point to me was Hebrews 11:29.
By faith the people crossed the Red Sea as on dry land, but the Egyptians, when they attempted to do the same, were drowned
Obviously the key word here is “faith”. It’s the title of this blog post, it’s one of the most used words in the Bible, and it is the basis of our lifestyle under Jesus. But back to my question of what it really means for us. I’m going to address a matter of works not in terms of how many times you go to Sunday school or whether or not you keep up with your devos, but in terms of our confidence as Christians sometimes.
Lets get this straight. Christianity is a status. You are either Christian, or you are not. There was a survey that was taken on whether or not people were Christian, and a majority of people gave the answer, “Yeahh… well you know, I’m trying”. What does that mean? You’re trying to be a Christian? My friends, it does not work like that! And let me tell you why.
Why did the Israelites cross the Red Sea? Because they had faith. Why did the Egyptians fail? Because they had no faith. To the Christians who struggle with the idea that they’re not “Christian” enough, or are overshadowed by the more “spiritually mature”, you have faith! What does that mean? That means you are a Christian, and it sure as hell doesn’t mean you are any less of a Christian than the small group leader who can use perfect hermeneutics to exegete Scripture in Hebrew. Upon experiencing the unending love of Jesus, from that day forward you are a new regenerate creation in Him.
When crossing that Red Sea and seeing a million fish swim by you in a wall of water, there must have been a huge mess of emotions going on within the Israelites. There must of been at least a great number who were pumped, screaming things like, “In your face Egyptians! Look at what our God can do!”, but without a doubt I can tell that there were at least a bunch thinking to themselves, “Oh my gosh we are so going to die. Look at that whale what is life.”
So you have a plethora of people, all thinking different things, some struggling with the ridiculous concept that they are currently walking through an ocean. But whats the outcome? They all made it through. The weak, the strong, the worried, the nervous, the slow, the fast, and the anxious. And what does that say about us? We either have faith, or we don’t. You’re a Christian, or you’re not, and if you can confidently say that you have experienced the mind boggling love of Jesus Christ, then you are a Christian. You’re not less Christian if you’re struggling with pornography, you’re not less Christian if you’re going through a spiritual dry spell, you’re not less Christian if you just can’t seem to match up to your small group co-leader. You are loved.
To the struggling Christians, you are loved.
To the pastor who feels lost in the world sometimes, you are loved.
To the praise leader who just can’t seem to get the chords down, you are loved.
To the millions of Christians who just think that sometimes not sinning is so extremely hard, you are loved.
When you have faith in a love like that? Who wouldn’t want to work?
The Merry-Go-Round of Life - Joe Hisaishi
Definitely one of my favorite renditions of Merry Go Round of Life.
I think after all this time I’ve finally started to accept God’s love for the people who have hardened their hearts against Him. Maybe I can start filling my own heart with that kind of love.
“God is love.”
I think it’s ironic how it’s both God’s most emphasized attribute (almost excessively so) and God’s least understood attribute.
It’s discouraging to see Christians fold in their seats, heads sinking down and eyes half-shutting from boredom as Christ’s all-consuming, passionate love is described to them from the pulpit. And it isn’t discouraging because of their reaction to the message; it’s discouraging because even though they’ve heard the message ten thousand times it still hasn’t begun to change their lives. To them, Christ’s love is at best a heart-warming fairy tale that just doesn’t matter in the real world.
The truth is that if we really even started to understand the phrase “God is love”, we too would strive to become love.
And I praise God that my brother in Christ has surrendered this aspect of his heart to Love. Keep it up, man, and God really will do what He promises to in John 14:12: greater things will be done in those who believe.