Archive for September, 2015

22
Sep
15

MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE

“I have not departed from the command of His lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food.”Job 23:12
Recently, I had a sweet encounter with one of our cats. Tippy is a very loving cat who sleeps most of the day, and occasionally gets up to eat, drink and go back to lay down. She usually gets up when someone is entering the room in hopes of getting some loving pets, as well. On this one encounter, she heard me coming down the stairs and ran over to where I entered the room. I petted her a few times, with her nudging me with her head, a gesture from a cat that pet psychologists claim is the equivalent to a kiss.
I sat down on the floor to pet her more, and she took a few steps toward her food and water dishes. She looked at the dishes, then to me. She looked back to her dishes, then walked over to me. I petted her and talked to her as she flopped over on her side and purred with delight. I petted her this way for 10 minutes or so before she finally got up to go to her dishes.
This encounter reminded me of this passage from Job. In this part of the book, Job has lost everything but his life. He is scraping sores on his skin with broken pottery to ease the pain and arguing with his friends. Yet in the middle of all of this turmoil and trouble, he makes this exclamation: “I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food.”
What a declaration! More than anything else, even more than his necessary sustenance, Job craved the Word of God. That is how our relationship should be with God. When we delve into His Word, it can lead to the most intimate encounter with our Lord and Savior, and we can start to crave His Word more than anything else.
Just as Tippy decided to have some intimate time with me before eating, how much more should we crave intimate time with God studying His Word above all else. Let us challenge ourselves to have that intimate time with God more often!

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07
Sep
15

THE FATHER’S HOUSE

“In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.”John 14:2-3
Many people like to take a look at this verse and simply call it promise from Jesus that we all get a mansion with lot of rooms. But I believe that many of us lose the imagery that Jesus was painting for His disciples, who were Jews. What exactly was he expressing to them? Let us look and see what the Jewish perspective would have been. I think it may really open your eyes.
In the Jewish culture, the patriarchal society was one where the father had much responsibility. It was the father’s job to gather all the money, livestock, goods and wealth to place them under his control and be the sole source of fulfilling the needs of the family. If someone in the family needed a new cloak, they would go to the father, who would see to it that it was supplied to them.
The father, who was the eldest of all the family, had the responsibility to provide housing for the entire family. All his younger brothers, their wives and children, all his unmarried sisters, all the children, grandchildren and great grandchildren lived in this dwelling place. The father had to make sure that there was ample room for all in which to live in harmony. This dwelling place was called “the father’s house.”
The father, who is called the beth ab in Hebrew, was also directly responsible for the financial obligations of the family. For example, if one of his brothers got him self in deep financial trouble, it was the obligation of the beth ab to pay the debt and bring his brother back into the family. If one of his nephews happened to get kidnapped, it was the responsibility of the beth ab to seek out the nephew and get him back to the family. Remember the story of Abraham, who gathered an army and went to war to get Lot? He was fulfilling his responsibility as the beth ab to redeem his lost family member.
Once one of the sons was getting married, the father was obliged to provide the means to prepare a place for the son and his wife in which to live. However, it was the job of that son, to build it, and to hire whatever help he needed in order to build his dwelling place for his soon-to-be-bride. Their dwelling place, prepared by the groom, would be a part of the father’s house.
So, in this verse, we see Jesus as the groom, telling His bride, who is the church, that He was going back to His father’s house to prepare our dwelling place. When Christ returns to earth to gather the church, His bride, then we will be able to live in the Father’s house in the place that Jesus has prepared for us. Not only that, His father, our beth ab, is obliged to fulfill all our needs, and to redeem a lost family member whenever they may go astray.
What a beautiful picture of what Jesus was telling us in these verses!

06
Sep
15

MONUMENTAL

MONUMENTAL

2 “Take for yourselves twelve men from the people, one man from each tribe, 

3 and command them, saying, ‘Take up for yourselves twelve stones from here out of the middle of the Jordan, from the place where the priests’ feet are standing firm, and carry them over with you and lay them down in the lodging place where you will lodge tonight.'” 

9 Then Joshua set up twelve stones in the middle of the Jordan at the place where the feet of the priests who carried the ark of the covenant were standing, and they are there to this day.

Joshua 4:2-3, 9
Monuments are a very important part of just about any culture. The Egyptians had the pyramids, the Chinese have the Great Wall, and in England there is Stonehenge. Even in America, we have “The Wall,” Mt. Rushmore, and the World War II Valor in the Pacific Monument, to name a few. Monuments are memorials that help us remember great feats and events in history.
In this Scripture, the children of Israel had mourned the death of Moses, Joshua had been anointed the leader of Israel, Jericho had been canvassed, and the Jordan River had been miraculously crossed. Now God commands them to take 12 stones out of the Jordan and build a monument, and put 12 stones in the Jordan as a monument.
In Luke 22:19-20, Jesus commanded His disciples to eat the bread and drink the cup as a memorial to His body being broken and His blood being shed for our sins. This is a tremendous feat of heroic proportions that will never be matched. On the cross, “He who knew no sin, became sin…” Jesus shed his blood so that He could take away the power of the curse of sin, just as the Israelites took stones out of the river. 
Another remarkable parallel is them putting stones back in the river. Not only did Jesus take away the shackles that bound mankind, but after we are forgiven, we are told about God, “You will cast all their sins into the depths of the sea” (Micah 7:19). God throws our sins into the sea to be remembered no more! In like manner, He casts our sin as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12).
In like manner, since God has forgotten our sin, it is time for us to forgive ourselves and look forward to what God has for us: “Forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before…” (Philippians 4:13).

01
Sep
15

10K DAY

I am writing this story on the evening of September 1, 2015. Twenty-seven years, four months and 16 days ago tomorrow – that is, 10,000 days ago tomorrow – I got my bone marrow transplant for leukemia. This is a milestone which I look at in wonder, and somehow never doubted that I would get this far.
As a senior in high school, I was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. I had chemotherapy for around a year, staying in remission until the late fall after I finished chemotherapy. After my bone marrow was harvested, I had more chemotherapy and full body radiation to put me back in remission and suppress my bone marrow. Then, I got my washed, radiated and cleaned bone marrow back. Six weeks later, I was discharged from the hospital. Five years later, I never saw the inside of University of Virginia Hospitals again.
The recovery of my bone marrow during that six weeks was a living hell. Aching muscles, mouth sores, fatigue, loss of appetite, diarrhea all combined with a wicked sense of boredom, a longing for freedom and a pinch of depression. But I must say this, God never walked with me through the battle. He put me on his shoulders and carried me the whole way. That was was kept me going with a sense of optimism.
Monuments are an important part of every culture in the world, whether they be modern or ancient. We build monuments to our great American leaders to recognize their courage and dedication. Statues are built to many great military generals who paid great prices defending their country with their very lives. Great movements and happenings are identified with a marker or a plaque. Even in the Bible book of Joshua, Israel built a monument of 12 stones at the banks of the Jordan River as a memorial to their crossing the river after God cut off the raging waters (Joshua chapters 3-4).
I must share my memorial – My 10K Day – as a testimony to God’s goodness to me. It is an understatement to say that He has blessed me. When I see so many other people dying from treatments for blood cancers, it humbles me that God has spared me these 10,000 days. Sometimes I stop and ask God why I survived, when it seems that there are so many other people more deserving of life than me. But He consoles me by kindly, lovingly, mercifully letting me know that He knows the way that I take (Job 23:10) and that He has plans to prosper me, and give me a hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11).
10,000 days. Oh, Lord, please tell me what did I do to deserve all this, and heaven too! Thank you, God! Praise your holy name!




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