“Another word for temptation is options.” – Mike Bickle Over the last few days I’ve hit writer’s block for my vlog. As I made attempts to identify its root, I noticed that I have lots of options for different posts sitting in my folder. So I make a bit of headway on one post, but when I get a bit stuck I have so many other ideas waiting that I get distracted on another one. But all the switching back and forth grinds my momentum to a halt until I have no more steam to charge ahead with anything. In Luke 18, Jesus tells the parable of a persistent widow who harasses a judge for justice against her adversary. She was desperate. She had no other options. So she kept at him and eventually he caved “because she keeps bothering me” and “so that she won't eventually come and attack me!” Jesus told his disciples this parable to “show them they should always pray and not give up.” God thanks for reminding me that you are the only option. I submit all my plans to you and ask that you speak clearly to me on which idea to pursue. In the grand scheme of all that’s going on in the world, this seems so insignificant, but as a loving father I know you take great care in every detail of my well-being. Thank you… in your son’s name, Amen.
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Yesterday I spoke to a friend who’s trying to figure out her next steps in work and life, which is proving more difficult with all the uncertainty in the world today. She’s very capable and there is no question in my mind that she will be successful in whatever field she applies herself. At one point in the conversation she said “my path has been relatively straightforward until now, but there are so many directions that I could take especially with the world the way it is. I sometimes wish I had a letter that told me what was going to happen for the next ten years of my life.” Of course I can empathize having felt many times the sense of unease that comes with an uncertain future. But I told her that she actually does have a letter about her future, and it’s really long and really deep! One line from it goes as follows… “For you know the plans I have for you” says the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” - Jeremiah 29:11 Dear God, sometimes the world seems peaceful and sometimes it goes bezerk, but even though the world changes, you are the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. You always have your best in store for us, because you are a loving father and that’s what loving fathers do. I pray for all of us who are struggling with uncertain futures, lost incomes, lost loved ones, and all the issues that come with an uncertain world. But we declare that your plans do not change, and that those plans for us are good. In your son’s name, Amen.
1 Corinthians 12:26 “If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.” When violent protests started sweeping over the United States and then across the world in reaction to the death of George Floyd, I encountered multiple people in Asia condemn them with incredulity. “We haven’t had race riots in Singapore for decades. What is going on?!” I personally tried to empathize but found it difficult to condone violence. I believe that one must fight hate with love, and have seen in my own life how a cycle of negativity just spirals into more and more conflict. But today I felt God gave me a new perspective on this. There are many places in scripture that characterize the body of God’s children as just that… a body. The ultimate expression of love is to treat someone as if they were an extension of yourself, a part of your own body. Yesterday my son bit his tongue and had a violent reaction to the pain. If his tongue had not communicated this pain to the rest of the body, the muscles of his jaw might not have released their grip. Sometimes members of a body need to communicate the severity of the pain they are experiencing, and that can benefit the body overall. I still can’t condone violence. I still believe true love conquers all. But I don’t feel it’s my place to judge protesters, even those expressing violence. God’s job is to judge, not mine. But it is my job to hear the pain of fellow members of my body and to react in love. Dear God, I lift up my brothers and sisters of color in the United States and around the world. I pray that you would heal them of the wounds they have suffered for centuries. You are a loving father, and you love them so much. We know that hate, conflict, violence are not of you, but what the enemy intends for evil, you use for good. So we look forward in expectation to all the love and peace that will overflow as a result of bringing injustice and pain to light. In your son’s name, Amen.
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