Tuesday, January 31, 2012


Children instinctively know how to beg. They are experts in persistence and persuasion. They understand that loving parents cannot long ignore their consistent pleads.

I don't pray like a child.

I don't like to be annoyingly persistent or rude. If I don't get an answer right away, I just take a step back and gradually move on. After a while, it gets tiring of praying and praying and praying and praying. Not to mention that begging is impolite. I don't want to keep asking God for something that He may have already said "no" to (but I just don't know it yet). Plus, I begin to wonder if there's really a need for redundancy. God already knows what I want, right? And I've already prayed for it several times. Is there a need to continue?

Usually, I don't consciously make the choice to give up on prayer. Over time of unanswered prayer, I begin to lose all urgency or passion and, after a while, my faith kind of dies.

But the real issue is this head and heart struggle between what I know is true and what I actually believe. When Luke 11:9 says, "ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you," I know it's true. But do I believe it?

I often forget that God is my Father, and I am His child. He is a Father who delights in giving me every good thing. He desires to lavish on me every good and perfect gift! 

God is good.

And He has good things in store for me because that's what He delights to do. God wants me to be persistent in my prayer life. But I give up too easily on prayer. When I don't get an immediate answer, my prayers fizzle, my faith loses fire, and my passion burns out. But this shouldn't be. The longer I'm waiting for an answer, the more persistent and aggressive my prayers should be!

Of course, God doesn't answer our prayers based on the amount of faith we exert or by how hard we pray. Sometimes He answers no, and sometimes He answers yes. My responsibility is to faithful to the God who is always faithful. He has promised to answer. And I don't want to give up. I want to pray like a little child.

Give Him time to do great things. The greater work He plans, the greater the prayer preparation that may be necessary, including prayer for guidance. God often waits so that He can be even more gracious.
—Wesley L. Duewel
 The chief purpose of prayer is that God may be glorified in the answer. —R.A. Torrey

Friday, January 20, 2012

Hopeful Thoughts

Honestly, I don't know what to think right now. I've been wrestling with so many conflicting feelings that I'm not even sure what I'm feeling. I'm at this place where I know I'm trusting God with my life, but I'm still wrestling with this fear of my uncertain future looming ahead of me. (I'm so thankful that God has a plan for my life... because I don't!)

Enough of my complex emotions. I want to share some hopeful thoughts that I've been musing over lately.

"You will not gain holiness by standing still. Nobody ever grew holy without consenting, desiring, and agonizing to be holy. Sin will grow without sowing, but holiness needs cultivation. Follow it; it will not run after you. You must pursue it with determination, with eagerness, with perseverance, as a hunter pursues his prey." -- Charles Spurgeon

"I'm an imperfect vessel who gets to be a conduit of perfect grace."

"The chief purpose of prayer is that God may be glorified in the answer." —R.A. Torrey

"Care more than some think wise.
Risk more than some think safe.
Dream more than some think practical.
Expect more than some think is possible."

Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. (Psalm 73:25-26)

‎"We will be dead a lot longer than we will be alive. Doesn’t it make sense that we would invest more of our time in eternity?" -- Rick Grubbs

Why do you say, O Jacob, and speak, O Israel,
“My way is hidden from the LORD, and my right is disregarded by my God”? 
Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. 
He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. 
He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. 
Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint. 
(Isaiah 40: 27-31)

Monday, January 16, 2012

Jesus > Religion: TAKE 2

This video is spreading like wildfire! With over 12 million views (and counting) and all over facebook, this video reaching lots of people. But I've been thinking about it. And I've talked with some friends. And so, I've come to a different conclusion about its message than when I first saw it. Let's take a closer look at some of the lyrics, written by Jeff Bethke:

What if I told you Jesus came to abolish religion?

This is basically the whole message of the poem. But you make some BIG assumptions about religion. If religion equals self-righteous laws and working your way to salvation, then you're right on target.

But that's not what religion is. The problem is, this is what most people perceive religion as: rules and regulations and priests and institutions and hypocracy. But Jesus didn't hate religion.

Jesus and religion are on opposite spectrums. See one's the work of God, but one's a man-made invention.

Jesus was not anti-religion at all. In the Old Testament, God established the Mosaic Law; God gave the Israelites' all those rules and regulations. Jesus didn't come to abolish this Law - He came to establish it on an even higher level! See the Sermon on the Mount, where Jesus takes the law (thou shalt not murder) and raises the standard (he who hates his brother has committed murder in his heart). Jesus came to show us that "the law" is not an external issue - it's a heart issue.

True religion is about what's in the heart. Take James 2:27, which says, "Pure and undefiled religion is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world." While I don't doubt that the "religion" referred to in this video is addressing legalism or self-righteous salvation, the well intended message may be having a not-so-good effect.

So for religion, no I hate it, in fact I literally resent it. Because when Jesus said it is finished, I believe he meant it.

Whoa there. That's an extreme statement to make. You resent religion? Of course, I believe you mean that you hate all the hypocritical rules that some religions place on salvation... but it's still a rather broad and bold statement to make about religion in general.

And another thing: When Jesus said those last words on the cross, was He meaning that He was ending all religion? Or was He just completing man's atonement to God? Let's be careful not to take Jesus' words out of context.

Conclusion: I think this video fuels religious skepticism. It leaves me with the feeling that Jesus hated any established or organized religion. I can see how non-believers could see this video and come to the conclusion that any kind of "religious" affiliation is hypocritical and self-righteous. In fact, I've even read that the atheists and agnostics are using this video to prove their viewpoint! While I understand that this video is meant to condemn the legalistic extreme of religion, I think it might end up steering people AWAY from its intended goal.

Just because all your Christian friends share something that they say is great, doesn't mean it's doctrinally sound. This video was a good reminder for me that I need to think more critically about what I see and hear. I need to view everything through the lens of God's Word -- and not except it just because all the other Christians do.

{See this article and this article for more analysis of the video.
To see Jeff Bethke's response to this, read this.
But this article in the videos defense is worth reading, as well.}

Friday, January 13, 2012

Link Up! 1/13/12

Happy Friday the 13th! =)

Failed Humblebrag? - Jim Hamilton: “Some people think it ironic that Moses purportedly wrote Numbers 12:3, ‘Now the man Moses was very humble, more than any man who was on the face of the earth’ (NAS). The irony is obvious, right? It’s hardly humble to declare yourself the most humble man in the world. Unless it’s true.”

50 Rules for Dads of Daughters - This is so sweet!

How many Pages Does the Internet Have? - A lot, apparently. “A group called the World Wide Web Foundation — appropriately founded by Tim Berners-Lee, who pretty much created the internet — is on a quest to figure out, with some degree of certainty, how big the internet really is.”

The Sinful Tragedy of Boredom - "To be bored is to fail to see the many and varied good gifts God has given us, not the least of which is in creation."

Welcome to the English language - And for some weird reason, English is my favorite subject!

The Rollerman -


Thursday, January 12, 2012

Jesus > Religion

To see why I don't fully agree with this video, READ THIS.

"There's a problem if people only know you're a Christian by your Facebook."

Monday, January 9, 2012

God is Too Good

“God is too good to be unkind.
He is too wise to be confused.
If I cannot trace His hand,
I can ALWAYS trust His heart.”

-C. H. Spurgeon

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Why We Love Jane Austen

I dislike romance novels. Nope. I'd choose C.S. Lewis or G.K. Chesterton over Nora Roberts any day. I can't understand who would want to fill their heads with unrealistic expectations of men and dream about the "perfect"  romance story which many romance novels present. I mean, come on! Give me some reality!

But Jane Austen is a different story.

For some reason, I, the romance-novel-hater, am captivated by Jane Austen's works. Oh yeah, I had seen the movies before, but once I picked up her books, I couldn't stop reading. First of all, Austen is a literary genius, in my opinion. But not only is her writing enthralling, but her characters are captivating and her story-lines are pure brilliance. There's just something about the class and formality of the early 1800's that enraptures me.

So, I began thinking, Why is it that we love Jane Austen so much? (I'm assuming that some of you like her work as well). What is it about her work that has captured hearts for hundreds of years? Why do I love her novels when I shun all other romance books? I have a few theories. =) Here is why I think I love Jane Austen:

1. Her books are literary works of art. I already referred to this, but it's worth pointing out again, that Austen is an excellent writer. Her sentences alone are romantic! The descriptions, the character development, the emotions she portrays—pure brilliance. Certainly, her books are a joy to read.

2. Men are portrayed as men. In a society where feminism prevails and where male leadership has declined (and is often even discouraged), Austen's works are a breath of fresh air. In her works, men know how to be men—even when their deeds go unrecognized, even when it's awkward, even in disappointment, even in a room full of women. Her male characters possess a kind of confident civility that goes far beyond flattering words and good looks in the area of romance. Deep down inside, I think all of us dream of a romance built on character and principles: where the men pursue the women, where honor is upheld, and where sacrifice is heroic. Yes, "heroic" accurately describes the men we all love in Austen's novels.

3. Redemption is beautiful. No one wants to read a romance that's "happily ever after" right from the beginning. Bor-ing. We love Jane Austen (and all other good stories, for that matter), because there's a conflict that has to be resolved. The truth is, romance stories are sweeter when there's a disagreement or a misunderstanding or a separation, because it makes the resolution at the end all the more beautiful. (I'm also thinking about the BBC movie North and South. You gotta watch it.) 

As I was thinking about the beauty of redemption in Austen's novels, it occurred to me that this is one of the reasons why the gospel is so beautiful! If you think about it, we were once enemies separated from God; but because of His love for us, God sacrificed Himself for us so that we could be brought into fellowship with Him and be made into the Bride of Christ. Totally Pride and Prejudice-y! 

It's just a thought, but I think this is one of the reasons God allows sin in the world. I mean, God knew Adam and Eve would sin, and He could have made the world so that there was no sin. But He didn't. In His sovereignty (that I don't claim to understand), God allowed sin. Yes, He hates it. Yes, it goes against His character. But God's ultimate goal is to magnify Himself and bring Himself glory, and through the reconciliation of the sinner to God, God looks great. The gospel of Christ is so beautiful because of redemption.

Bottom line: I love Jane Austen. But God wrote a more beautiful romance than any human author ever could. Praise God!