A Picture of Trust

Photography: *kiwikiss

[reblogged from “PeaceMeal”, a weekly e-publication of PeaceMaker Ministries]

Therefore we do not lose heart.” 2 Cor. 4:16 

Trusting God proved to be the pattern in Paul’s life. Even when the Lord did not immediately relieve his sufferings, Paul continued to view everything that happened to him as God’s sovereign will (2 Cor. 4:17-18). This doesn’t mean that Paul never had doubts or that he never asked God to relieve his suffering (2 Cor. 12:7-8). But when the Lord’s response did not match Paul’s request, he was willing to believe that God had something better in mind (vv. 9-10).

Taken from  The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict
by Ken Sande, Updated Edition (Grand Rapids, Baker Books, 2003) p. 67

Food for Thought

Think of the last time the Lord’s response did not match your request.

What does trusting God look like? Ken reminds us that it doesn’t mean wearing a painted on smile when troubles come and practicing the art of denial when doubts arise. Those verses in 2 Cor. 12 show the apostle Paul “pleading” for God to take the thorn in his flesh away. So, then what does trusting God look like? “But when the Lord’s response did not match Paul’s request, he was”–what’s that next word? That’s right–“willing.”

Trusting looks like a willingness to believe in God’s goodness toward us in the middle of pleadings and tears and sufferings and doubts and questions. Trusting is choosing to believe that God desires the best for us, his children. That’s not always easy, but as Paul would attest, it’s always worth it!

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Even When… God is…

(A repost from PeaceMeal, an email newsletter from Ken Sande’s Peacemaker Ministries)

chess-denouement
Photography: Cristian V.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
Romans 8:28

Certainly, God takes no pleasure in what is hurtful (Ezek. 33:11), and he is never the author of sin (James 1:13-14; I John 1:5). Yet, for his eternal purposes, he sometimes allows suffering and permits unjust acts by men and women whom he decides not to restrain, even though he has the power to do so… Even when sinful and painful things are happening, God is somehow exercising ultimate control and working things out for his good purposes.

[Taken from The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict by Ken Sande, Updated Edition (Grand Rapids, Baker Books, 2003) p. 61]

Food for Thought

And in despair I bowed my head
“There is no peace on earth,” I said,
“For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.”

From war and rumors of wars, to politics and politicians, to road rage and playground rage, it is tempting to bow our heads in despair. Hate is strong. The song of peace is mocked. But even when it sounds as if there is no peace, you and I must remember the deeper, truer song of His word. God is in control. And He is working for his good purposes.

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail
With peace on earth, good will to men.”

-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, 1864

Happy New Year!
+Michael K

Bound As One

Some days, I wish I can break all the clocks and stop the hands of time from moving forward. Other days, I desire to wind the clock forwards and fast-forward the pain. But now I realize that God set time at the perfectly right pace, allowing me to experience His grace in the timing He deemed perfectly sufficient; God made no mistake in setting time's current pace. Never too fast, never too slow, always on time.

Yesterday was a full day. Sunday service, then senior photoshoot, and then banquet! I remember God’s faithfulness in each event.

I am going to miss everyone at College Life. God is absolutely amazing for redeeming me and allowing this broken vessel to cherish people. I know that I have more than enough in me to deserve the ill-favor of all. Even though I have regrets, I know that God gave me so much blessings that I never imagined before! Regardless of my past regrets, the fact that God still sustains me and even enables me to share His grace to others is so humbling for me.

Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth,… [Ecclesiastes 12:1a]

These are the memories that I will cherish. These memories are only made possible by the cross.

I praise God that He has kept me alive long enough to cherish each and every precious soul He has brought in my life.
I praise God that we are bound as one in Christ.
+Michael K

Apologizing

from pinterest

I am broken by the truth and heart behind these words.

Did I really mean my sorries, my apologies? What is an apology if I demand forgiveness? Is my apology any good if my motives are revealed to be impure?
So… Apologizing does not mean that “I said my sorries. Now your turn, or else.

What does it matter if both sides wronged each other and harbor unforgiveness. If neither are willing to apologize and forgive, then both sides are trashing the Gospel testimony of ultimate forgiveness.

Can forgiveness be forcefully demanded? Or restoration be rightly commanded?

Whether the other side responds correctly is not up to us. Do all on your part to be at peace with all.
God is sovereign and God is the ultimate judge.

In the very end, we all answer to God Himself. It will ultimately be between Him and us only, when we are faced with the question of whether we truly forgave, whether we truly apologized, whether we truly reconciled.

Unforgiveness is gospel amnesia. -Joshua Harris

But forgiveness cannot be demanded. It is not beneficial nor fruitful to wave around bible verses and sayings, demanding restoration under the guise of biblical platitudes.

Remember,
genuine forgiveness can only be politely asked
and it’s the other side’s prerogative to truly respond rightly.

Therefore,…
Apologizing means “I’m sorry. I love you. Please forgive me?”

I was wrong and I admit it.

I am sorry.

official

It is official.
I am in the Czech Missions team this year. Provided that missions support and training goes well, I will be shipping out to the Czech Republic from June 26 to July 14th.

I’m soo humbled beyond belief.

Praise God! I still find it hard to believe that God would save such a wretch like me. That he would even continue to use me is even more amazing.

The promise of the resurrection always holds true. Jesus Christ is risen; the basis of the Christian faith is found on that foundation. This truth saves and continues to sanctify the believer from the moment of salvation on.

I’m humbled to even have my life be a witness of this. And though my sins are great and though I still continually struggle, I am truly grateful that God has graced my life with the promise of resurrection.
+Michael K

time

You can always get more money, more muscles, and more chicks. But you can’t get more time. The time you get is allotted to you. Every day, you’re always losing time. And there’s nothing you can do to get more.

Time is the one currency that we can never gain. Stephen shared with me that time is given to us at a set amount and it decreases with every passing moment.

What gets me is that we don’t know exactly how much time we have left.

I must confess that earlier today, my day started off with wasted time on choosing to sin and waste time. It’s rather frightening to see how a minute of laziness can turn into hours of wasted time on the sinful habits and thoughts that we’ve sworn to never do.

Jerry Bridges mentions in his book, “Pursuit of Holiness”, that we sin because we choose to sin.

Those words echo in my head.

+MK (queued post)

sway

Photography: Parker Fitzgerald

I can still feel the sway and rhythm of the ocean.

Cruise trip was quite wonderful!
Happiness and laughter was the food I feasted on for the last 5 days. It’s as if colors are vibrant once more, my skin restores its healthy supple tone, and my heart is rejuvenated with robust heartbeat rhythms once again.

I did not bring my camera, but many others did, so there’ll be pictures and videos up in a Facebook near you.

On a serious note, Sarah mentioned that this would be my last real vacation for the rest of the year [and my life?] And guess what? She’s right. After graduation, full-time work stares at me with daunting work-life and with it, trials of the “real” world await.

But it’s no worries. For now, I am content with the peacefulness and rest that has been given to me. Another man mentioned to me that I’ll be working like no other in the next few months. But I was also encouraged to not “limit” my life and think that that’s all my life will ever amount to. So long as there are people to love and invest in, so long as there are souls dying, there will not be a dullness to life. [Perhaps dull moments in life can be seen as a blessing, as one man conveyed to me].

This spring break was exactly what I needed: rest

A thought challenged me as I read Psalm 90 during the break: Am I praying according to God’s character or my character?

Am I focused on God and who He is, or does the focus of my prayer lean towards who I am and my unmet needs?

Yes, my past and my failures are large. And it does seem daunting in all of its ugliness. But am I mindful of the truth that “man’s days are numbered”? What is my life in comparison to God and His goodness? Do I trust that God will establish His work and glorious power?

There’s so much more to the text in Psalm 90. But a peripheral glance is enough to see the heart of humility.

Being satisfied in God’s steadfast love stems from resting on God’s character and what He’s done.

Therefore, do I humble myself and pray prayers that are aligned with God?
+MK