Category Archives: View Points

Repentance and Hope

[Alt Text: Background is a picture of pale purple flowers blooming. In white text bordered in dark purple, is the Bible verse from Jeremiah 18:7-10 (NLT). Bottom left of picture is the Redemption Ministries logo – Bold black R with a red cross at its bottom right corner and bordered in white for easier viewing.]
[Alt Text: Background is a picture of pale purple flowers blooming. In white text bordered in dark purple, is the Bible verse from Jeremiah 18:7-10 (NLT). Bottom left of picture is the Redemption Ministries logo – Bold black R with a red cross at its bottom right corner and bordered in white for easier viewing.]

Happy 4th of July!!

As we remember our nation’s history let’s remember God who remains unchanging, eternal. His Word stands forever! Let’s turn to Him in repentance, trusting in His Word.

Love,

Redemption Ministries

The Condition To Love Part 2

“A Final Charge to Timothy

You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, persecutions, sufferings—what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, the persecutions I endured. Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them. In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evildoers and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 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 3:10-17 (NIV)

Resuming the discussion from the previous week (“Condition to Love” link here), I discussed how we (especially young girls and women) are conditioned to give unending love and loyalty in the hope that our love will change someone for the better. It could be our own family, friends, coworkers, romantic relationships, or even someone you randomly meet down the street.

While Biblically, love is unconditional, we learn that we are not to have anything to do with people that are written about in 2 Timothy 3:1-9. How then, should we live? How do we love those we are called not to have anything to with?

As Paul writes, we are charged like Timothy to continue in what we have learned from the Scripture, holding on to faith. In turn, our faith, if genuine, leads to acts of love – our works (James 2:14-26). Speaking of which, I want to take this opportunity to clarify about what prayer is.

Prayer is in and of itself act of love. Many say that prayer needs to be paired with action. Prayer IS action. Prayer is stepping out in faith that God is hearing what we ask for, and that if we ask in accordance to His will, He will do it (1 John 5:14).

Prayer should always be done first (Matt 26:41). Before Christ served, He prayed. Before He did anything, He prayed (Matt 14:23; Matt 26:36; Matt 26:44; Mar 1:35; Mar 6:46; Mar 14:32; Luk 5:16; Luk 6:12; Luk 9:18; Luk 9:28; Luk 11:1; Jhn 12:27; Jhn 17:21).

On the other hand, you can have faith without action (which is dead and not true faith at all). I will say it again. Prayer by itself is action. You can have faith without deeds, but same cannot be said of prayer.

David Bryant put it beautifully: “Prayer is action. By it we step out in advance of all other results…Praying is an activity upon which all others depend. By prayer we establish a beachhead for the kingdom among peoples where it has never been before. Prayer strikes the winning blow. All other missionary efforts simply gather up the fruits of our praying.”

The purpose of prayer is not to change God, but to change the way we live by faith. For example, how do we first receive salvation through Christ? Prayer. How did the disciples receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit at the Pentecost? Prayer (Acts 2). Prayer is an action preceding faith. Prayer transforms our perspective to become more like Christ and less like our natural world view (2 Corinthians 5:16).

In a similar vein, this reminds me of what my mother once told me. When she first began attending church as a teen, she heard someone say that only so-and-so’s mouth will go to heaven. Apparently, the person excelled in telling others the Word of God, but their deeds, stemming from faith, was lacking.

Another time, an EM pastor testified that while preparing for the church retreat, they were dealing with a lot of details. Food, budgeting, location, transportation, gas, time of travel, number of participants, the retreat staff, the logistics of everything. But God told him and the team to stop and simply pray, pray, pray. As a result of prayer, God’s power overflowed, and Holy Spirit moved freely throughout the retreat.

Prayer is action. It doesn’t make sense to say we need to have prayer and action. Yes, there may be people we know who pray much, but do not act; yet the lack of action is due to their faith not being firmly rooted in God (Matt 21:21-22; Mark 11:21-25; James 1:6-8).

This leads to the next question: how do you know if your faith is genuine? By one reliable measure that God has given: love (1 John 4:7-21; John 15:12-17; 1 Thessalonians 4:9; 1 Peter 4:8; 1 John 3:14). This leads to the next point. The Bible bluntly says “Christians” who claim to love God but do not love their brother or sister are liars and the love of God is not in them, because God is love and when we receive Christ, we have love (1 John 4:20).

The fact that our love doesn’t change people have nothing to do with giving up on them.

The purpose of this writing is not to convince you to stop caring about people and giving up on them. I request you reread 2 Timothy 3, pray that God makes it clear to you, in order to understand the point and consider carefully the context. The context is this: we are not to have anything to do with abusive, wicked people.

You can love people by setting healthy boundaries. Love without boundaries lead to abuse – no exceptions. You can love people by praying for them without getting intimately bound up in their lives. Sometimes going no contact with the people described in 2 Timothy 3:1-9 is the only way to maintain our healthy walk with Christ and other people who build us up instead of tearing us down.

Remember the first thing God did from the very beginning when creating the world was to establish boundaries? The same principles are applied from the smallest relationships between atoms to a greater scale of the universe we live in (Genesis 1-3).

Finally, there is a vast difference between trying to love someone in order to change them and offering the people up to God in prayer. When we offer people up to God in prayer, it becomes natural for us to ask: Lord, how do I love this person?

The former way tries to bring about change in the other person’s heart by exerting some measure of control or personal influence. A person’s heart is a precious thing that only God can control (Proverbs 21:1). Treat theirs – and yours – as such. The latter way entrusts the person to God, without trying to control the outcome through our own personal works. See the difference?

One path depends on personal works towards a person to create our personal desired outcome in their heart. The other choice surrenders the person up to God in love, with full trust and knowledge that their heart is only for God to manage, never ours.

My hope for you is that you continue praying for people and never give up (Luk 18:1-14). But do not make the mistake that your love for them will change them or that you need to be intimately bound with such people in order to act in His love. Sometimes loving someone means praying for them without recognition from them or others (Matt 6:5-8). Trust in God, not your love.

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

The Condition To Love

“But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God—having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.

They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over gullible women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, always learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth. Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so also these teachers oppose the truth. They are men of depraved minds, who, as far as the faith is concerned, are rejected. But they will not get very far because, as in the case of those men, their folly will be clear to everyone.” -2 Timothy 3:1-9 (NIV)

While reflecting on my relationships – friendships, family, relatives, community…I also started thinking about how I was raised. Reading 2 Timothy 3 made me think about the kinds of people in my life, and the quality of my interactions with others.

The way things are in the world, chances are pretty high that we will meet people who we should have nothing to do with (as pointed out in 2 Timothy 3:1-9). Unfortunately, there may be times when such people are random strangers we meet, our coworkers, boss, friend circles, or even family. Perhaps we even were such people and have learned to consciously work on becoming compassionate, with the goal of becoming more like Christ (Ephesians 2; 2 Colossians 2:13-14; 1 Peter 2:5; 1 John 3:2; Philippians 3:10).

My personal connection to the passage above is written through the lens of a woman. I think the first thing we learn as children (especially girls) is the lie that we can change someone if we love them more, forgive them more, care for them more.

This is taught expressly or implicitly. For example, children continually try to please their family, only to realize that nothing they do will ever be good enough. Or maybe someone starts realizing the problem is not them whenever they get that bad feeling in their gut when their certain friend’s name shows up in their text or call messages because that friend has been abusive and manipulative. Feeling trapped and broken when working with toxic coworkers, boss, or both. Trying to have a peaceful discussion with a narcissistic significant other who refuses to take accountability for the hurt they inflict gets nowhere.

In each of these relationships, setting boundaries or meeting our own needs ahead of others was “selfish”. And within every one of those relationships, victims have been taught to always give that second chance in the hopes the person will change, that they didn’t mean to do it, or because they were hurt in the past, the wounds of the abusive people excuses their actions and only your love will change them.

Young girls and women are constantly conditioned in many ways since birth to love others more than ourselves, be unconditionally loyal, to always give chances again and again to people, in the hopes that our undying love and loyalty will change them.

The truth is, these lies condition us to be accepting of abuse (physical, emotional, financial, spiritual). As a result, many of us fail to recognize when people are demeaning and reducing us to nothing more than tools to serve whatever they want. Girls and women are continually taught to believe the toxic lie that if we want someone, be it coworkers, friends, family, etc., to change for the better, our love and loyalty will always have to be given unconditionally.

It is true that godly love is unconditional, just as God’s love for us is unconditional (John 15:12; John 15:17; 1 Thessalonians 4:9 1 Peter 4:8; 1 John 3:14; 1 Corinthians 13). However, I’m not saying the Bible encourages us to stay in toxic relationships or accept abuse from others in order to give unconditional love.

In fact, if you read 2 Timothy 3:5, you will see we are not to have anything to do with such people (and yes, this applies to both men and women). If anyone is in a toxic relationship, I highly encourage people to get out as soon as possible. And I hope you will heal, have fulfilling relationships. May the hope you have for the future not be cut off (Jer 29:11).

Still, based on what I see, society and families usually expect girls and women to be caregivers of others without any regard for themselves and their own wellbeing. We can see this on both micro and macro scale when our experiences about being stalked and harassed, our cries for justice against trafficking, rape and murder are flagrantly belittled, mocked and denied.

As we grow older, it becomes harder to unlearn all these unconditional loving things we are taught to do. And when we finally start the work to unlearn these things, we deal with one thing we are conditioned to have if we choose to change ourselves for our own growth and healing. That one thing keeps us entrapped in those lies: guilt.

We feel guilty for setting boundaries, guilty for saying “no.” Guilty for walking away from those who refuse to respect and honor girls and women. Let’s not forget that people, both male and female, are made in God’s image (Gen 1:26-27; Gen 9:6)!

Guilt should not prevent us from moving forward with courage, holding onto the truth that we are created with talents, purpose, dreams (Rom 8:28; 1 Corinthians 3:8; Phl 2:13; 2 Ti 1:9). In order to receive the freedom Christ readily offers at no cost to us, paid in full through His redemptive work on the cross, we have to give up our feelings of guilt up to God, knowing that loving others has nothing to do with staying in toxic, abusive relationships, or pleasing narcissistic people (Psa 97:10; Hos 10:12; Mat 22:37-39; Mar 12:31-33).

Let’s no longer remain in the lie that a woman’s love and loyalty must be without boundaries. Doing so only ensnares us to remain in unhealthy relationships. This applies to our relationship with family, friends and community as a whole, not just romantic ones.

Here’s the truth. Biblically, we are called to treat people the way we want to be treated (Matt 12:7). Granted. However, in the end, only God can change people (Eze 36:26). Our love cannot, and does not.

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

Call To Repentance 2020

“For he issued his laws to Jacob;
he gave his instructions to Israel.
He commanded our ancestors
to teach them to their children,” – Psalm 78:5 (NLT)

There’s a lot of rage, we hear cries for “defund the police” and “destroy the system”. How would you replace the system? To do that you first need to identify and define it. We all need to have a honest dialogue, a real plan to transform what’s needed, instead of just tearing everything down.

We need to die to the old ways that were actively oppressing people. Granted. However, we need to think about the bigger picture, not just what’s happening here and now.

The people who are in power supporting the defunding of police and destroying the system have their own gates, their own armed security patrolling their area.

When school is back in session, who do you propose to guard schools against any school shooters? When large fights break out between students in school? Who do you propose to contact when there is a murder, rape, burglary, etc.?

This is also connected to our right to bear arms – when you don’t have the police, what’s the next best option? To bear arms and be able to defend yourself and others you value.

We need to have a constructive plan to rebuild from ground up – “Rome wasn’t built in a day”, so the saying goes. So to just defund police departments and to destroy the system that was created to perpetuate racism isn’t going to be enough.

We all need to rebuild, but to do that, we need to turn to the Lord and seek Him! We need to repent for our own complacency in the many years of oppression and violence.

We need God to give wisdom and His power to transform this nation! Otherwise we will continue the legacy of unrest and oppression with a new name and new face.

“For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will.” – Romans 8:7 (NLT)

“Let me be united with all who fear you,
with those who know your laws.” – Psalm 119:79 (NLT)

“Your laws are always right;
help me to understand them so I may live.” -Psalm 119:144 (NLT)

Isaiah 59 (NIV)

“Sin, Confession and Redemption

1 Surely the arm of the LORD is not too short to save,

nor his ear too dull to hear.

2 But your iniquities have separated

you from your God;

your sins have hidden his face from you,

so that he will not hear.

3 For your hands are stained with blood,

your fingers with guilt.

Your lips have spoken falsely,

and your tongue mutters wicked things.

4 No one calls for justice;

no one pleads a case with integrity.

They rely on empty arguments, they utter lies;

they conceive trouble and give birth to evil.

5 They hatch the eggs of vipers

and spin a spider’s web.

Whoever eats their eggs will die,

and when one is broken, an adder is hatched.

6 Their cobwebs are useless for clothing;

they cannot cover themselves with what they make.

Their deeds are evil deeds,

and acts of violence are in their hands.

7 Their feet rush into sin;

they are swift to shed innocent blood.

They pursue evil schemes;

acts of violence mark their ways.

8 The way of peace they do not know;

there is no justice in their paths.

They have turned them into crooked roads;

no one who walks along them will know peace.

9 So justice is far from us,

and righteousness does not reach us.

We look for light, but all is darkness;

for brightness, but we walk in deep shadows.

10 Like the blind we grope along the wall,

feeling our way like people without eyes.

At midday we stumble as if it were twilight;

among the strong, we are like the dead.

11 We all growl like bears;

we moan mournfully like doves.

We look for justice, but find none;

for deliverance, but it is far away.

12 For our offenses are many in your sight,

and our sins testify against us.

Our offenses are ever with us,

and we acknowledge our iniquities:

13 rebellion and treachery against the LORD,

turning our backs on our God,

inciting revolt and oppression,

uttering lies our hearts have conceived.

14 So justice is driven back,

and righteousness stands at a distance;

truth has stumbled in the streets,

honesty cannot enter.

15 Truth is nowhere to be found,

and whoever shuns evil becomes a prey.

The LORD looked and was displeased

that there was no justice.

16 He saw that there was no one,

he was appalled that there was no one to intervene;

so his own arm achieved salvation for him,

and his own righteousness sustained him.

17 He put on righteousness as his breastplate,

and the helmet of salvation on his head;

he put on the garments of vengeance

and wrapped himself in zeal as in a cloak.

18 According to what they have done,

so will he repay

wrath to his enemies

and retribution to his foes;

he will repay the islands their due.

19 From the west, people will fear the name of the LORD,

and from the rising of the sun, they will revere his glory.

For he will come like a pent-up flood

that the breath of the LORD drives along.[fn]

20 “The Redeemer will come to Zion,

to those in Jacob who repent of their sins,”

declares the LORD.

21 “As for me, this is my covenant with them,” says the LORD. “My Spirit, who is on you, will not depart from you, and my words that I have put in your mouth will always be on your lips, on the lips of your children and on the lips of their descendants—from this time on and forever,” says the LORD.”

In these times where truth becomes distorted on every side and we are assailed by injustice in the courts and streets, may we strive to continue in the way of peace regardless of what we may face.

In the end, if we all turn against one another, there won’t even be a remnant of a community for any of us left. Instead of destroying each other, let’s rise above the loss, the grief, the pain, the injustice, the anger, the entitlement, and choose God’s way, which brings people into repentance and forgiveness. And even if others choose not to, let us stand in the gap and intercede.

Grieve

“Daleth
I lie in the dust;
revive me by your word.”  – Psalm 119:25 (NLT)

Grieving is weird.
You kinda start thinking to yourself, “Am I over it already?”
Then less than a moment later it hits you again.


You see something and think, “He would like that.”
“I wish I could share this with him.”
“He would find this funny too.”
“What do I do?”


Healing is a tender process. At a mere glance, it crumbles.
Will it ever go away?
No.
But I cherish the memories even more.
The bitterness of death is something all creatures on earth face – yet nothing is so unnatural, the grief so encompassing as the one that comes from it.


You who believe that everyone else will eventually move on and be “okay”…
While life goes on, we will never lose that grief.

When we think of you, we mourn what could have been. The times now lost in a dream, the grief overshadowing us as we try to march on in this path called Life.
You who feel so alone, my hope and prayer is that you come to know and experience such love, the love that can only come from the Creator Himself.
Please take another breath. Please live.

“Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me.” – John 6:36-38 (NIV)

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

May 10

May 10, 2020

“Laughter can conceal a heavy heart,
but when the laughter ends, the grief remains.” – Proverbs 14:13 (NLT
)

I just found out today. I’m sorry, I should have reached out more. I assumed that you were busy when you didn’t answer my texts.

I assumed you would always be there.

You were my brother from another mother – the very best anyone could have.

I believed that when the shutdown was lifted, we would meet up like we planned, get some Korean bbq or something.

I miss you a lot.

Even though we would squabble over the littlest things, we laughed and shared funny stuff.

You were always a giver.

But it was hard for you to let people love you too. It was hard for you to accept love from others, but you are loveable, just the way it is.

Because of this shutdown, a lot of us weren’t able to say goodbye, to have that closure. I keep wondering “why”…?

I remember your warm hug, your jokes. But also brief glimpses of your pain. But I didn’t understand how deep it was…

You tried so hard to find joy even in tiniest things every day.

I’m really sorry – I couldn’t shoulder that burden with you. I couldn’t pull through that clouds of darkness, tear through the veil and reach you.

Lord, please teach me how. And grant me this request – save those suffering in silence. Let them know Your goodness. Help us in our grief. Reach those suffering. Heal us and save us.

“I lie in the dust;
revive me by your word.” – Psalm 119:25 (NLT)

Thank you for everything, my brother. I love you and miss you. Your memory is a blessing.

“I weep with sorrow;
encourage me by your word.” – Psalm 119:28 (NLT)

HOME

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)