Sleepless

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It is sad that one’s action can be seen as annoying. Regardless of true intentions, if the receiving end does not receive well, it is a waste.

The memories of the past, of dancing the night away, leading and movements.

I can hardly believe that I was borne from that realm. It keeps me up at night, when I reflect what His sovereign hand has grasped me and saved me from.

Yet I reflect on the past. And I compare it to the present. And I compare the trials faced back then to the trials I am currently in.
The present is not the past.

In the present, adversity and entanglements come from unexpected sources. No wonder I’m reminded by others to not despair; it’s too easy to despair when you see dear relationships crumble at man’s whim.

“Michael,… Be careful what you post or email to people.” Some time ago, I ran into a blogpost. The message was short and keen, much like a knife in the dark. But it was enough to get the point across.

It was enough to bring me to tears.

This is a public confession. I am a sinner.

I know how much it hurts to be on the receiving end of this. I finally understand why we should never post spitefulness, hurtfulness, nor hatefulness over the web.

At one hand, it hurts me a lot. At another, it pains me & convicts me even more that I am guilty of this.

I am so sorry.

I know that nothing I do will ever erase my sins; they are FROZEN in time. The internet keeps records (at least 6 months, in Google cached pages, if not more).

Nevertheless, I see the truthfulness of these words:

“The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life.” -1 Timothy 1:15-16

This is why Jesus, the ultimate peacemaker, had to die for me. My sins are so revolting that He HAD to come down and save me. The Gospel is all we can appeal to; it is THE message of TRUE peace.

Therefore, I read somewhere that conflict provides opportunites; for one, it is Christ’s way of exposing our sinfulness to us, revealing how truly horrifying it is.

And horrifying it is.

It is too easy to despair, upon suffering and receiving pains. But the Word says:

“For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.” -1 Peter 3:17

No matter what the cost, we are to image Jesus and witness to His work in us. No matter how much pain, we are to PURSUE PEACE and DIE to ourselves, exhibiting CHRIST in our life.

And if we suffer because we try to magnify God through our actions, we are exemplifying Christ’s work in us!

For it is far better to suffer than to sin.

+Michael K

What’s Growing?

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In the midst of the arid desert, I was blessed to be witness of an example of discipleship in a family. What a weighty undertaking, a blessed privilege it is to raise a family for the Lord. Like the farmer who regularly tends the land to find what’s growing, the parents sacrifice their time, talents, and treasures to tend to the children and cultivate what’s growing.

Family discipleship is a jewel, a rare beauty to behold in this world.

Toned down

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Earlier, a person noticed a change about me.

That I “toned down”

Toned down. I hate that term.

Though times and trials weather the soul, I do not believe there are any excuse to “tone down.”

A person can become more refined, discerning in his approach to people. He may even decide to open up more on appropriate moments, retreating on other occasions when it is not necessary. After all, it is not necessary for everyone and their moms to know every detailed facet of your life.

But.

Does the love of our God ever takes a break and deadens to a lull?

If the true passion of loving God and people does not reside in the heart, then we may as well be toned down to death.

Ultimately, is the love of Christ ever toned down?

policeman

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If you went around rebuking others, acting like a policeman for “God’s spiritual force”, you’d be the LAST person I’d want to talk to!

We are not the Holy Spirit who convicts and sanctifies people according to God’s will. Though God may use us as a conduit for genuine change in people, He did not employed us to be the holy cops of church.

I have to admit that I made that mistake in college. I even got battle scars to prove it. So when LBCLA began studying the book of Jude in our summer CAFE (Care Accountability Fellowship Equipping) groups, I believe that it was quite timely for me.

In the book of Jude, the author reminds the readers to have mercy on those who doubt, save others by snatching them out of the fire, and show mercy to others, mixed with fear and hating “even the garment stained by flesh.” (cf. Jude 22-23) There are 3 categories of people enumerated here: (1) Doubters, (2) Detractors, (3) Defectors. Doubters are confused, thus requiring gentleness and mercy in addressing issues. Detractors are those dabbling in the wrong things, calling for a stronger response, to the point of “snatching them out of the fire.” Defectors are the ones who are convinced, seemingly beyond reason, devoted to following an aberration of God’s truth. Those people do require mercy, but with a great measure of discernment, seen in the phrase “hating even the garment stained by flesh.” There is a reality behind these words, that Christians are engaged in spiritual war and agents of chaos are employed by evil to confuse believers, making them complacent or confused. Hence Jude reminds the readers to be utterly cautious while showing mercy to these people. If Satan can’t take away your salvation, he can do the next best thing and make you confused and inept.

We also see this pattern repeated by Paul to Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:24-26, where we see grace and truth balanced in the believer’s response to doubters, detractors, and defectors. Here, Paul reminds Timothy to show Christ-like character in his approach, yet without compromising the precious truth given to him, as referred in v. 14-16.

Nowadays I think before I speak (or I try to), lest I lose another thread of friends due to my stupid mouth. I’m learning that a safe default is to pray. Pray for the Holy Spirit to change a person’s heart and trust in Him who will do all things to His glory. These are lessons that I am still reviewing and relearning constantly, as I recognize in myself that I am still broken and flawed in many ways.

Praise God that He is able to keep us from stumbling and present us “blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy.” Praise Him who has bought our salvation with Christ’s blood and continually sanctifies us for His purposes. Praise the Lord that we get to be blessed recipients of His grace and that in spite of us, He gets the glory!

+MK

The Realities of the Day to Day

I had a refreshing weekend. Yet after a little time passes by, the realities of the day to day slammed me hard.

Any moment I lose focus on the attack, I can easily backslide into old sinful patterns.

Every day, I must face my inner demons, tear down their strongholds, brick by brick, one at a time. They are not just going to give it to me.

Put work in, grind it out, and push hard. It is futile to be trapped by paralysis analysis of internal debates, never bringing the focused force of determined will to bear. Sometimes you just gotta ice up and do it.

Yet this is humbling: There is a limit to man's strength. A point where adversity and pain is too much. But I know that I am not alone.

I believe in Him who redeems me. He has my hope secured. Even in utter darkness, God is in control of all things. From day to day, His Spirit empowers me to fight on.

Not Interested

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Lately I’ve been keying up my personal interactions with people. I’m noticing that everyone has ups and downs. One day, they might be passionate and engaged in conversing with you.

The other day, they may not be so inclined to speak a word with you. Their silence is enough to stomp out what you only begun to sprout.

“And that’s how a conversation dies”

All this is to say that people can be uninterested in hearing your words at that present moment. And that’s okay.

A while back, I was in that position. An acquaintance was excited to show me her findings but I felt my eyes glaze over. I feel bad about that, now that I think back.

But on that same day, I too was animated over seeing a friend. But that particular person placed a stoic front. I won’t forget that awkward 3.86 seconds of silence until she broke off our strained small chat to speak with another friend.

So she’s not interested. He’s not inclined. They’re not in the mood. What’s the big deal?

It is not impossible that she was going through a slump that day. Perhaps she had stayed up the night before, working on assignments from her night classes because she is diligently carving out her future career path yet she is having to juggle responsibilities as being a good daughter, loving the flock at her church and serving in dozens of ministries.

It is not impossible that he was not in a healthy spiritual state that moment. Maybe he’s been watching videos and reading social media updates from people that he longs to speak with but can no longer do readily so. It is probable for him to cultivate a reminiscent heart that can affect his emotions throughout the week.

Maybe the above statements are all true. Maybe not. But does it matter? It’s okay for people to be not interested in you, especially at the exact moment your line of words intersects their line of life. Ultimately you do not need their validation, nowhere as much as the words of God validating your existence and life purpose.

So what does one do when in that oh-so-awkward position? For now, I find it helpful to give benefit of doubt in my heart and move on quickly in reality. I should pray for him more. At a later time, I can ask her personally how she’s doing. Until then, I prefer ghosting or taking the initiative to end the already-dying conversation.

Well I should be leaving. +MK

My Life

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My life has done nothing but reveal how unfaithful I am and how much I deserve wrath. If it was not for His grace, I would have turned away from Him long ago.

My testimony is not my testimony of my faithfulness but a testimony about God’s faithfulness in this sinner’s life.

To Him be the glory forever.

He healed them all

Jesus, aware of this, withdrew from there. And many followed him, and he healed them all
and ordered them not to make him known.
This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah:
“Behold, my servant whom I have chosen, my beloved with whom my soul is well pleased. I will put my Spirit upon him, and he will proclaim justice to the Gentiles.
He will not quarrel or cry aloud, nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets;
a bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not quench, until he brings justice to victory;
and in his name the Gentiles will hope.”

Trash

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Would you give it a shot?

No. She’s trash to me.

He asked me if I’d be thrilled to take her out on a date. I replied back with my gut. My friend then chortled and stated that’s not the way for me to treat other women.

Well, lemme ask you question. Do you want to marry someone mean?

No..

Then stop being mean.

Ouch. Burn.

Even if I feel entitled to respond meanly, it gives me no license to say harsh words. Another person’s trash does not excuse mine.

Well I should be cleaning up now.