Mark 15:37 “Then Jesus uttered another loud cry and breathed his last.” On June 19th I wrote about how Pastor Danny Silk gave us an exercise to write down 100 dreams. (https://www.johnkim.co/post/dreaming-big) I wrote down 12 in the first day, then it took me a week to get the next 12. Today after 3 months, I’ve hit dream 98. At one point I started flipping through the gospel of Mark to see what Jesus did. He said that we’d do greater things than he did, so I thought at least getting on par with what he did would be a good exercise in faith. Now I’ve always considered myself a dreamer, but this took things to a whole new level. I literally wrote “cast out demons,” “walk on water,” and “raise someone from the dead” in my list of dreams. It felt so awkward at first, but after praying into it, I got really excited at what it’d feel like if God did anything close to these through me. This morning I flipped to the end of the gospel of Mark, and I realized that Jesus did do all those miracles. But at the end of his life Jesus suffered incredible shame, torture and eventually brutal execution. I thought to myself “should I also put these on my list of dreams?” This morning Syed Suhail was scheduled to hang at Changi Prison here in Singapore. He had been caught with 39g of heroine in 2011 and given a mandatory death sentence in 2016. An incredible outpouring of support for leniency has swept across the island, and his execution was temporarily delayed. In many countries around the world today, imposing the death penalty on a drug trafficker is considered both insane and inhumane. So to see execution for yourself as a thing to aspire to… how much crazier is that? Lord, I love you. All I need is you. I submit all my plans to you, and I welcome any trials that may come my way. I know that they are only temporary, and the greater they feel, the greater the glory they’ll bring you and your kingdom. I die to myself and want nothing more than to create space for you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Philippians 2:8 “he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death – even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place, and gave him the name that is above every name.” “A successful entrepreneur invited his son and daughter to apply for a job at his company upon their graduation from university. They both harbored great ambition, and the father desperately wanted to bless them both in every possible way. In his interview the son asked his father’s lieutenant about pay, vacation days, and whether he would have to work outside of office hours. In her interview, the daughter asked about the goals of the organization and what she could do to enable those. They both joined and approached their careers in very different ways. The son optimized his personal cost-benefit ratio, putting in just enough effort to fulfil his requirements, judiciously clearing all his annual leave and negotiating hard for pay raises and promotions. His sister, despite having more family commitments, managed to balance all her obligations while putting the interests of the organization above her own. The brother’s career advancement outpaced hers for several years, but her efforts, her results, and most importantly her mindset were increasingly recognized at the company. She started to get promoted ahead of her brother, enjoying the commensurate compensation and control of her time. She eventually took over as CEO while her brother, filled with rage at his lack of promotion, quit the company. He tried his hand at several jobs, but without the backing of his father, found that advancement of his interests proved even more difficult in these new companies. Lacking purpose and fulfillment, the brother became an alcoholic and fell into a deep depression. Whose self-interest was better served, the brother or the sister?” Father, you love us so much and you want nothing more than to bless us. You make it so clear that the best way to advance our self-interest is to forget about ourselves. For it is in giving that we receive. For it is in humbling ourselves that you lift us up. Thank you for this reminder today and for giving us the ultimate example of your son. I commit to join you in your work rather than use your power for my agenda, fully recognizing that a natural outflow of this attitude is abundance and fulfillment. I love you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Psalm 89:14 “Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne. Unfailing love and truth walk before you as attendants.” The other night we brought the family to watch Mulan. For some reason I was particularly moved when the evil witch told Mulan “your deceit weakens you.” It got me thinking about the role of truth in our lives. At various points, I’ve realized that I need to come clean on something specific. A few years back, God impressed it upon my heart to confess to the Harvard Coop Bookstore where I used to steal CDs 30 years ago. I called up and asked to whom I could make out a check. “Ummm, we don’t even know how to process that in our accounting system.” I got an address from the manager and sent them an apology letter with payment. At Love After Marriage, the marriage workshop that Elaine and I attended one year back, I felt God impress upon my heart that I needed to come clean about some infidelity at the beginning of our relationship. It was not easy, but Holy Spirit brought supernatural restoration and we went from the lowest low to the highest high of our entire 10 year marriage in the course of less than 48 hours. In each of these situations, life wasn’t so bad before coming clean. Mulan also demonstrated serious fighting prowess while deceiving the entire Imperial Army into thinking she was a man. But it was only after she confessed that she was allowed to fully come into alignment with her identity, and realize the fullness of her destiny. After each of my confessions, I felt a step change in my intimacy with God, and the accompanying power at my disposal. Lord thank you for reminding me that righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne. You reign over all, for the earth is the Lord’s and everything in it. I pray that you help me reveal any areas of required confession in my life. I desire to walk before you as an attendant of truth and love. In Jesus’ name, Amen.