Thursday, May 2, 2019

I Forget to Pray

And we are confident that He hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases Him.
1 John 5:14 (NLT)

I just signed up to receive a daily email reminder to pray. Why? Because I forget.

A friend shared a family issue with me recently because she “knows I’m someone who prays often.” A response flashed through my mind: I should tell her I don’t pray as often as she thinks. I remained quiet, but resolved to honor her request (and I have). I’m just as distracted by my busy schedule as anyone else, so reminders to pray regularly are helpful.

By maintaining a rhythm of focused time with God we gain patience, kindness, and purpose. God hears our prayers and pours out fruits of the Spirit that we can’t manufacture by ourselves like joy, gentleness and self-control.

Our prayer time isn’t merely about asking for and receiving things from God. It’s about relationship. People in relationships hang out together. They share exciting news and things that hurt. They talk about issues that concern both of them and those that are important to the other person. Healthy relationships are two-sided.

Establishing a relationship with an invisible God is a little trickier. It’s easy to forget to stay in touch with God when the kids need breakfast, the dog needs a walk, the meeting starts in a few minutes, and this pace keeps up all day. So reminders to read scripture and pray are helpful.

We’re in this together, supporting one another in seeking a deeper relationship with God. (tweet this)

Do you sometimes forget to include God in your day?
Do you notice a difference after prayer time?
What helps you maintain this habit?

#SeedsofScripture @Cathy_Chung #quiettime #fruitoftheSpirit #relationshipwithGod

My newly designed website is almost ready. I’m excited for the big reveal later this month.

Monday, April 29, 2019

I Didn't Think I Was Lost

For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.
Luke 19:10 (NLT)

This verse isn’t for me.

I’m not lost. I know where I’m going and what I’m doing and when I don’t, I Google it. I don’t need help - I can handle it. Sound familiar?

Nor did I feel lost before entering into a relationship with Jesus. Life was proceeding as expected. This stay-at-home mom hung out at playgrounds and playgroups, volunteered, carpooled, and managed life pretty well. Busy and sometimes stressed, yes, but lost? No way!

Until I admitted I was.

I’ve believed in Jesus my whole life, but my relationship with Him began during a Bible study class. I found a way to squeeze in (almost) daily prayer and quiet time and began to look forward to this personal time. Before opening my Bible, I opened my heart and shared thoughts I didn’t share with anyone – thoughts of guilt, grief, inadequacy, and unhappiness. Only by slowing my pace, becoming vulnerable, and allowing God to bring healing to hidden feelings, did I realize I was lost.  

God’s promises of love, forgiveness, and guidance changed my life. God knew me and still loved me. Jesus was persistently seeking me but my self-sufficiency pushed away His offer to save me.

Saved from what? Saved for what?

Salvation isn’t about heaven after death. It’s about flourishing in this life, knowing our intrinsic value and security as God’s beloved, finding joy in following Jesus’ way of loving selflessly, and debunking the world’s lies about what’s important.

When we admit our need for Jesus, He makes a real difference in our lives.

Do you feel a little lost? Jesus can help you find your way.

#SeedsofScripture @Cathy_Chung #quiettime #Jesussaves #Iwaslost

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:

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.