Friday, April 19, 2019

Do Unto Others - Jesus' Final 24 Hours

But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you. Do to others as you would like them to do to you. Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked.
Luke 6:27-28,31,35 (NLT)


Do you see the ‘Golden Rule’ tucked in the middle of this challenging scripture about loving our enemies? My ‘be nice to others’ rule falls far short.

Did you notice the part that says ‘so that people will treat you the same in return’? It’s missing because you'll probably be laughed at for showing compassion toward your persecutor and forgiving the unthinkable. Your only reward is from God. The ‘do unto others’ attitude will be difficult and unpopular. Matthew 7:12-14 describes the Golden Rule as the very narrow, difficult gateway to life - true life, flourishing life, the life God desires for us.

Let’s observe the Golden Rule in Jesus’ final 24 hours. Betrayed by one of his own, deserted by his closest friends, convicted unjustly, mocked by both Temple and Roman soldiers, spit on, stripped, beaten, and nailed to a cross, Jesus said “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing. (Luke 23:34)” He did not retaliate with threats or curses, but forgave their participation in his crucifixion.

‘Do unto others’ is the narrow, difficult gateway to true life that includes forgiving and showing kindness to our worst enemy. (tweet this)

How might you show kindness to someone who has hurt you?

#SeedsofScripture @Cathy_Chung #loveyourenemy #forgiveness

Monday, April 15, 2019

God Answers Unspoken Prayers


And four great beasts came up out of the sea…
Daniel 7:3(ESV)

Warning: I can be one of those beasts.

The following story is evidence that God answers even unspoken prayers.

For me, Holy Week is the most meaningful of the whole year. I’ve been complaining (not praying) that I will miss Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday services due to travel. I had given up on connecting deeply with God this Holy Week. But God knew my disappointment and answered my unspoken prayer with a podcast.

It’s a long story…

Before my daughter’s wedding I was an exercise fanatic. Vanity is a great motivator. The very next day, ‘poof’ went my reason for healthy eating and toned muscles.

The upward creep of the scale pushed me onto the treadmill today, the first day of Holy Week. I often explore podcasts while walking, but I needed to make a phone call. When my call went unanswered, I searched for an interesting podcast. The paper I’m writing about Revelation drew my attention to a podcast about the book of Daniel - they are closely connected through weird dreams, visions, beasts and destruction and I need to understand Daniel 7 for my paper. Bonus! Instruction from a favorite biblical scholar and exercise simultaneously!

This was already answered prayer because I’m stressing over Revelation but the real answer came through the speaker’s fresh insight about Good Friday.

Only God could turn a weird Old Testament vision into an incredibly meaningful message about Jesus’ victory on the cross, convict me as one of Daniel’s strange beasts, and time this answer to unspoken prayer in order to connect me deeply to the message of Holy Week.

Curious? Have a listen: https://thebibleproject.com/podcast/faithfulness-exile-daniel-part-3-super-beast-son/

We can all be beasts. Thankfully there’s Jesus. (tweet this)

#SeedsOfScripture #Jesusconquers #HolyWeek #answeredprayer #unspokenprayer

Exciting news! I’ve been renovating my website and a new space will emerge soon.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Will We Follow?


Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.
Luke 9:23-24

Have you ever felt the joy and energy that results from listening to God, following His guidance, and doing something beyond your own capabilities? There's nothing more exciting than seeing God's indisputable work in your life! Can you remember such a time?

Why don't we follow God’s guidance and tap into His power more often?

The Romans forced the convicted man to carry his own cross to the place of crucifixion as a symbol of complete submission. God won't force us to submit, but rather asks us to give Him control. God has plans for our awesome, fulfilling life, but He needs our cooperation. Instead of death, (daily) submission to God yields a flourishing new life in Him!

Why don't we let God lead even after we've experienced overwhelming results?

I believe we want control of our life. We're afraid of the unknown direction God wants to take us. We don't trust His goodness enough to risk uncertainty.

Here’s Eugene Peterson's paraphrase in The Message:
Then he told them what they could expect for themselves: “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat—I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self.

How might you be missing out on life by maintaining firm control?

#SeedsOfScripture #fear #takeupyourcross #followme

Exciting news! I’ve been renovating my website and a new space will emerge soon.

Monday, April 8, 2019

Giving Our Lives For Others


We know what real love is because Jesus gave His life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters.
1 John 3:16 (NLT)

Are you familiar with John 3:16? God so loved the world... Can you complete the sentence? Me too. It’s so familiar that we gloss over the words, sometimes not thinking about their meaning, sometimes even doing a mental eye-roll – “Yeah, yeah, yeah.”

But compare John 3:16 and FIRST John 3:16. Go ahead, do a mental comparison and read today’s verse again. Isn’t it remarkable how the two align? Do you think it’s fair to merge the two verses this way?

God loved the world so much that He sent Jesus…. who lived out real love…. so those who believe in Him would live out that love…. which is real life.

Real love was lived out by Jesus. He showed us how to love our brothers and sisters. Does this include actually dying for them? In some parts of the world that’s a possibility, but let’s not forget that while alive, Jesus lived to serve others, especially the lowest in society.

1 John 3:17 provides a practical example of what real love looks like:

If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion – how can God’s love be in that person?
1 John 3:17 (NLT)

Could we rephrase verse 16 in light of verse 17? We who are financially comfortable ought to give up some of our comforts to show compassion for our brothers and sisters.

There are many ways to ‘give up our lives’ that happen short of physical death. (tweet this)

What are some ways you could ‘die’ in order to serve others?

#SeedsOfScripture #John3:16 #GodSoLovedTheWorld #thisislove

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Three Small Words

God has saved us.
2 Timothy 1:9 (NIV)

We’ve heard it a thousand or more times. God saved us.

Or maybe the phrase we’ve heard over and over is ‘God loves us’ and it just seems like the same idea.

Let’s consider the meaning of these three small words ‘God saved us’.

This statement separates Christianity from every other religion. No other god saves. They set a standard that followers must attain in order to earn approval. Not so with God.

2 Timothy 1:9 continues: not because of anything we have done.
God did the work in Jesus. His sacrifice guaranteed our acceptance.

Christianity is unique because the one who set the standard also did the saving. (tweet this)

This gift is freely offered to all who acknowledge two beliefs. The first is its truth. We must believe that Jesus is God wrapped in flesh because only He has the authority to forgive sin and grant acceptance.

The second is to admit we need saving, that we are incapable of meeting God’s standard on our own. While a humble confession might feel like failure, it’s a beautiful admission because it allows for a Savior.

A humble confession might feel like failure, but the beautiful admission allows for a Savior.  (tweet this)

Our God saves. Have you considered the uniqueness of Christianity?

#SeedsOfScripture #salvation #confessio
This post first appeared on Seeds of Scripture Oct 12, 2016

Exciting news! I’m renovating my website and a new space will emerge soon.