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Blot your tears, dry your eyes

It’s time to say your tender good-byes.

Can’t you see, before long-

Darkness soon will be gone.

Death holds me now, I can’t deny.

But my soul is in Christ, He gives me life.

The world will one day soon be anew,

God’s promises will always hold true.

As it is written, in a blink of an eye,

we will sing together, you and I-

To the King, to our King,

the glorious sound of voices rising.

To the glory, the praise of Jesus our Savior,

Through whom we have Sovereign LORD’s unmerited favor.

Yahweh, Yahweh!

My life, Your way.

You will wipe every tear from our eyes,

You make all things truly right.

No longer will the cold freeze through our bones.

No longer will we be lost, afraid and left to roam.

Yeshua, our hearts you hold.

And so we are at last, home.

The Coming of the Lord

13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep,  that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 14 For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. 15 For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.” –1 Thessalonians 4:13–18 (ESV)

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Give credit to whom credit is due. Do not repost/share or otherwise distribute without properly crediting the author of the poem. Much appreciated.

부모님 감사합니다

For the times you stayed up late taking care of me when I was sick.

For all the parent-teacher conferences you came to.

For working and saving, sparing no expense to give me the best hearing aids.

Only later did I find out how much the hearing aids cost-and they are not even covered by health insurance.

You never complained of the cost.

For supporting me throughout difficulties in school.

Providing me tutors to help me with math & chemistry, never mentioning the costs. You always worked so hard for me to have a good life.

To provide me a safe place to go.

I was never in need or in want. I received all good things from you.

I learned to accept a “no”, and be patient with “wait.”

I learned to forgive and to care for others.

When I originally wanted to go to art school, you encouraged and supported me.

It was about my talents and gifts, not your dreams.

You blessed me through my good and bad days. Through my sorrows and joys.

When I experienced my first heartbreak, an agony I thought was not possible, you listened to me without judgment.

And helped me to pray for myself and the man who hurt me.

You took time to reach out to him and blessed him, rising above the pain you endured, the pain you shared with me.

Both of you were always by my side.

I hope and pray you will always be healthy and live happy, long lives. May God help me be a blessing, a good daughter to you.

Thank you and I love you.

사랑해요. 감사합니다.

“I always thank my God for you because of His grace given you in Christ Jesus.” – 1 Thessalonians 4:13 (NIV)

Byproducts

No, it’s not about one of those ingredient labels you’re thinking of when you are shopping for human or pet food.

Most of the time people believe that they are a byproduct of something in one way or another. Whether it be that one defining moment of success or clarity, the years of training for a particular career, family relationships, or even dark moments like depression or trauma. The list goes on and you get the idea.

When we see ourselves as a byproduct of our environment, our personal experiences, our relationships, struggles, and triumphs, our identity becomes dependent on what is temporary.

We have greater hope than all the things we see, hear, experience, and suffer through.

The Lord tells us that we are not a byproduct. We are created for God’s glory.

“But now, this is what the Lord says—
    he who created you, Jacob,
    he who formed you, Israel:
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
    I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters,
    I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
    they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
    you will not be burned;
    the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the Lord your God,
    the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
I give Egypt for your ransom,
    Cush and Seba in your stead.
Since you are precious and honored in my sight,
    and because I love you,
I will give people in exchange for you,
    nations in exchange for your life.
Do not be afraid, for I am with you;
    I will bring your children from the east
    and gather you from the west.
I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’
    and to the south, ‘Do not hold them back.’
Bring my sons from afar
    and my daughters from the ends of the earth—
everyone who is called by my name,    whom I created for my glory,
    whom I formed and made.””

– Isaiah 43:1-7 (NIV), emphasis mine.

I think it’s time. Let’s give all the byproducts of who we are to Him. My prayer is that you will make this hope and prayer yours: “Lord, all that I am, all that I have, all that I will be, use it all to bring You glory. I am Yours.”

He will use all things – good, ugly, and the bad – in you, in your life, from your past, in your present, and throughout your future for His glory. And you will find for yourself that He is good (Psalm 34:1-8).

Glory to the Lord on high.

Doing the Impossible

Have you ever feel like every day, you are burdened with trying to do what you know is impossible? It could be finding a job that you actually enjoy while it doesn’t leave you financially in need, forgiving a person for a physical/spiritual/mental/emotional wound that had gone too deep, or learning a new language to better your career prospects.

For me, it’s just something that I’m required to do daily: to lip-read and pass off as a hearing person, even while full knowing well I just can’t. Based on my personal experiences (and experiences of others who are in the same situation), it’s never a good idea to disclose one’s disability to people you just met. At best, people can be annoying and simply mouth all sorts of words to test your ability to lip-read, or yell loudly to see if you can hear them “better.” At worst, they’re cruel to you.

When thinking about accomplishing the impossible task of lip-reading every day – no matter how hard I try – I know that none of my efforts will really matter.

Logically, I know it’s impossible to depend on lip-reading. It’s mostly guesswork. Daily I ask God for the impossible, to be able to lip-read. Yet even on my best days, I would have to ask the person to repeat themselves several times or, if they are willing, to type it out on their phones for me.

But what’s good is that in spite of all our hardships, one thing doesn’t depend on our efforts.

Our own salvation.

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” -Isaiah 7:14 (NIV)

This verse gives me the hope I need to simply just get up each morning and give thanks every day.

If our salvation were up to us, and us alone, none of us ever will have the capacity to stand before God. Nothing we did, nothing we haven’t done, nothing we say will ever be justified.

Instead of being judged in comparison to others, we are judged by the standards of God’s glory – which was revealed to us through Christ, who exemplified who we should have been like from the very beginning (Matthew 6:27; Matthew 25:31; Luke 2:14, 34; Luke 9:26; Luke 21:27; Luke 24:26; John 1:14; John 2:11; John 5:44; John 8:54; John 11:40; John 12:41; John 15:8; John 17:4-5, 10, 22, 24).

How the impossibility of our personal salvation has been made possible by God through Jesus (Matthew 19:26; Mark 10:27; Luke 18:27; Acts 2:24; Hebrews 6)!

Glory to God in the highest.

Ability to Produce Wealth

You may say to yourself, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.” But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today.” – Deuteronomy 8:17-18 New International Version (NIV)

 

Despite the title, this is not a tutorial on how to make money. It’s more of a personal perspective on the hardships of life, particularly related to living – even just survival.

 

When I read Deuteronomy 8:17-18, I think back to my own work history. Truth to be told, I don’t think it’s that great. Partially because my salary has always been very low – and partially because given my credentials, experience, and capacity, I know I could make better. I should.

 

This is the reality that we D/deaf population face. Life sucks, and when it comes to finding work, it’s worse. Life in general is miserable, because the world doesn’t know and rejects the love of Christ, which leads to apathy, discrimination, and downright cruelty towards others. If more people truly had the love of God in their hearts, I believe that the D/deaf population and those with disability(ies) would not face so much barriers and challenges.

 

I took on every work where I could, even though by law I should be getting sign language interpreters and I was barely getting by on lip-reading. From working with foster children, to energetic high school students, day care, and more recently, a law office, anything I had to do, I did it.

 

And God helped me to do all the work with integrity, so I have to trust that He has a good plan. That even as I apply for a stable full-time work with benefits and pay, He will provide the opportunity. I just hope it’s soon because no matter where I apply, it is difficult to even get a foot through the door.

 

God blessed me with godly people, people willing to give me a chance along the way. While the work opportunities were not full time with benefits and they expressed they couldn’t provide sign language interpreters, I just stuck with it. I had to.

 

This is not desperation, although many might see it that way. This is what it means to hustle. And yes, some chances should be turned down (I am looking at you, pyramid scheme companies!!!!), try the best you can, to learn as much as you can. Because being D/deaf, you will, in the words of my former EM Pastor: “always have to work harder, smarter, and better than anybody else.”

 

Dear reader, whether D/deaf or hearing, disabled or not, may God give you the ability to produce wealth. When you finally get the job you need or want, don’t forget the One who brought you where you needed to be. And always remember to serve others with the same love you received from Christ.

That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.” – 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (NLT)

Thanksgiving 2019

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! – With Love, Redemption Ministries

ALTERNATE TEXT: Pink and red roses are in the background. The quoted text is Psalm 100 (NLT). The Redemption Ministries logo is near the bottom right corner of the picture.

“Shout with joy to the LORD, all the earth!
Worship the LORD with gladness.
Come before him, singing with joy.
Acknowledge that the LORD is God!
He made us, and we are his.
We are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving;
go into his courts with praise.
Give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the LORD is good.
His unfailing love continues forever,
and his faithfulness continues to each generation.” (Psalm 100 NLT)

Conferring Value on Life

WARNING: SPOILER AHEAD ABOUT SHERLOCK (BBC) SERIES 4 EPISODE 2! IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN IT – WELL, YOU’VE BEEN FOREWARNED!!

Watson: “You didn’t kill Mary. Mary died saving your life. It’s her choice. No one made her do it, no one could ever make her do anything. But the point is, you did not kill her.”

Sherlock: “In saving my life she conferred a value on it. It is a currency I do not know how to spend.”

Watson: “It is what it is.”

“The Lying Detective.” Sherlock, series 4, episode 2, BBC, 18 Oct. 2019. Netflix, https://www.netflix.com/title/70202589

Any Sherlock (BBC) fans?

Series 4 episode 2 for me was one of the most poignant of all the others I’ve watched.

The writers were brilliant in the way they prepared and established the relationship between Sherlock and Watson as they began to reconcile with Mary’s death on their own terms.

Friendships, with all its complexities and troubles, can enrich our lives in more ways than we can ever express.

Sherlock wisely pointed out that when Mary chose to save his life, taking the bullet for herself that was meant for him, it showed him his life is of great value. An high price he did not know how to repay or do with.

But both men knew that they had to live somehow, to move on despite their grief. They could not remain as they were – broken, lost, full of bitterness. Both believed that no matter how much time passes, nothing will be the same ever again. Her life – and her sacrifice – forever changed them.

This is what Christ meant when He said: “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13 NLT)

When Christ laid down His life for us, it was done freely of His own accord (John 10:10; John 10:17-18).

He goes on to say: “You are my friends if you do what I command. … You didn’t choose me. I chose you… This is my command: Love each other.” (John 15:14, 16a, 17 NLT emphasis mine)

Know this – true friendships are rare. I hope that you not only are a true friend to others, but have true friends in your life as well. Blessings to you.

“For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45 NLT)

Covering Wrongs

Imagine that you are assigned to complete a significant project with a partner. The prize for the winning project is huge, and many others are talking about it. Everywhere you go, it seems that people are buzzing with excitement. You hear snatches of conversations of their ambitions – including the concerns about the deadline, the requirements for the project, and so on. The theme looks exciting, and you look forward to brainstorming and developing ideas with your partner.

However, starting on the very first day, you and your partner just do not get along. While everyone else have already gotten their ideas down and have made progress, your partner disagrees with you on virtually everything both of you should do.

You cannot seem to convince that person, even as you try to compromise your ideas, exploring other options. You feel like you are the only one doing your best, while your ideas seem to be dismissed as either being too ambitious for the limited time frame, or too costly or impossible to do.

As the deadline looms closer, neither of you are closer to even making the first step of your plans into reality.

In person, both of you try to work it out as sensible, rational individuals.

However, when that person is not around, you complain bitterly to your friends and family. How disagreeable, uncooperative, irrational that person is. That you wished you never were paired with a partner like that. Somehow, your ideas never seem to be taken into consideration, but only shot down.

Then one day, you overhear a conversation between your partner and someone else. To your shock, you hear the exact same things being said about you that you had ranted about that person to others. Me? Irrational? Unwilling to compromise? Difficult to work with?

But while you listen a bit longer to how that person is talking about you, you realize something. While your ideas have merit, the things your partner brought up – the cost, the amount of time to complete the tasks, the purpose…these things do have importance, too. That person also felt like they weren’t being listened to.

What would you do if you heard someone voice the same complaints as you did about them?

When our lives are disrupted because we just cannot seem to work in harmony with others, our first habit is to complain.

Whether it be in group project, our boss, a church member, family, relatives, friends…we don’t bless. We curse them. Yes, complaining is a form of cursing people.

This is why God hated it when Israelites complained – as a result of their complaining, they wandered in the desert for 40 years. They suffered and died for their constant complaining.

James warned: “Don’t grumble about each other, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. For look—the Judge is standing at the door!” (James 5:9 NLT)

Instead of complaining, which is from the absence of love, we need to learn to bless and not curse. Yes, bless and not curse, no matter how justified we may feel about ourselves and others (Romans 12:14).

Remember that Christ also loves you.

And truth to be told, have you ever considered that God doesn’t always agree with us? Yet He never complains or bad mouths us behind our backs. Rather, He gave Christ to cover over our wrongs. And tells us directly when we need to get straight with Him and be humble.

When Christ covered our wrongs through His work on the cross and forgave us, we receive it.

But why receive this grace for ourselves and still deny that grace for others (Colossians 3:13; Ephesians 4:31-32; 1 Corinthians 4:7)? Do you not have any respect for God and what He has done – and still continues to do – for each and every one of the people in your life?

We received the Holy Spirit to do onto others what Christ did for us (2 Timothy 1:7).

And last but not least: “Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8 NLT)

Who’s covering for you with their love? Even if it’s only Christ and not people, isn’t it time for you to do the same?

Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.” – John 2:6 (NIV)

Isaiah 40:6

(Alt text: Background is a variety of flowers, some alive and a few withered. Isaiah 40:6 NIV is placed on top in bold text bordered in white. The church logo, a bold R with a red cross at the bottom right corner of the letter is on the lower right side of the picture.)

(Alt text: Background is a variety of flowers, some alive and a few withered. Isaiah 40:6 NIV is placed on top in bold text bordered in white. The church logo, a bold R with a red cross at the bottom right corner of the letter is on the lower right side of the picture.)

Seeing Our Worth

Very distressing to see news of a girl with disabilities being beaten while onlookers watched and reportedly laughed at her.

This is why children need to be taught from birth to be kind to those with disabilities, not just those without them. The world isn’t so kind – and it seems that it has been getting far worse than better.

Not so long ago, a young child asked me if I was “cursed” because of my disability. She was five. Apparently, her mother told her that the reason why I have a disability is because I have been cursed. Parents, know this: people with disability(s) are not cursed, aren’t a burden or of less worth. What did Christ say? He speaks very clearly on this when the disciples wondered the same thing in John 9.

We can do better. Teach yourselves and future generations that contrary to how society conditions us, we are of great worth. We have skills and talents, potential and passions and dreams. Like our non-disabled counterparts, we are learning how to navigate our way in this world. Only when we all come together to see one another as human beings worthy of respect and care (for we all are made in the image of God), then perhaps, we will learn to truly love in the same way He loves us.

But the reality is, people with disabilities are at higher risk for violence and abuse. There will always be individuals or groups in society who do not change. Without justice to confront them and their malicious deeds, they will continue with impunity. The arm of justice punishes as well as protects. We need to have legal enforcement and protection of our rights.

Defend the poor and fatherless: do justice to the afflicted and needy. – Psalm 82:3 (KJV)