The Power of Testimony
Let me just begin by saying that God’s timing is impeccable. Even in moments when I don’t believe it, He has divine purpose behind everything. For example, someone snagged my phone out of my pocket as I exited the busy metro last week. Oh, and at the time, I was listening to music on it. As I type this out, I feel my face flush with embarrassment and shock that this all happened. However, that’s not the end of the story. Culture shock set in as I continued my journey to meet a friend named Coda for dinner; I felt angry toward every Asian person. This was the first time when the thought of “I hate Asia” crossed my mind. Yet, I turned to God, remembering that, “for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8.28). Feeling God wash away my hurt as I reached for Him amazed me. Also, it was only by the Holy Spirit that I spotted Coda in the midst of a chaotic metro station; the moment we connected, I asked if we could pray about my phone situation. That started an awesome evening of swapping stories and sharing about what God’s leading us through. Crazy enough, by talking it out, we discovered that we’re both entering similar seasons of growth and sacrifice in relationships. We busted out the Bible and explained how God revealed Himself in our hearts through such stories as David and Goliath, Ruth and the Israelites journeying to the promise land. I remember walking away from my conversation with Coda exhausted, yet exhilarated. God brings people into your life with purpose; we’re never alone, my friends.
What I Believe About Myself
A curious thing I discovered this week: I choose to believe what I think about myself. Am I seeking the Word for my identity or am I choosing to believe the enemy’s lies? God filled the Bible with His promises and overwhelming love for us, yet I let myself be deceived. Instead, I must “put off the old self with its practices and [put] on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator” (Col 3.9-10). It’s a process, a choice to pursue righteousness and allow Jesus to cloak me in His glory. That’s the assurance I gain in Christ: I’m precious in His sight, not by anything of my own doing, but because He chose me. Why settle for anything less when He freely offers the gift of life?
Decked Out December
It’s true; a great deal is happening in this month. I don’t think I can even properly express what December holds in store for us. Our leaders laid out a rough schedule for us this morning; it’s packed with little wiggle room. I must admit that I got all fired up in thinking about God’s plans for this city and the students that fill the universities here. ‘Tis the season! And we’re hosting two short-term teams for a good portion of the month. Their plan: full out campus blitzing in Jesus’s name! We’ll tag-team with them and show them the ropes. I’m excited to welcome brothers and sisters to share in God’s heart for GZ! That also means our group’s size will double over night. Talk about God sending more laborers! There’s a harvest out there, folks, and God’s manning us up to reap the goodness. Think of the GZ family in this time as we invite people into our hearts and homes; God, thank you for encouraging us in this season as we celebrate You! Grow our family!
Love and Obedience
I quickly recognized that John adores writing about obedience in his letters. Check out this mouthful: “God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him” (1 John 4.16). True story. He just used one word three different times in the same sentence; that, in my mind, speaks volumes about the importance of obedience. If I break it down logically, abiding in God translates into abiding in love to which God honors by abiding in us. Any questions surrounding how to love on God? In addition, he attests to the blessings of God’s love through Jesus: “but if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1.7). Not only do we understand true fellowship with one another through God’s grace alone, but also we receive forgiveness in walking with Him. Those are some serious promises! What John mentions, though, is that those are by-products compared to the knowledge and relationship we have in Jesus. Whoa! Just got the Holy Spirit-bumps.
Confession: I’m a tense person. I have a tendency to blow things out of proportion and take things way too seriously. Thus, soaking in God’s presence and relaxing don’t come naturally. It takes practice for me to sit still. My discipler, said during our time together this week that, “there’s a reason why we’re called human beings not human doings.” Clever, right? I thought so too. How do I simply be instead of defining myself by what I do? That’s the question I’m wrestling with now. To clear my head, I took a walk, eventually finding a place to lie down and rest. When peering up at the lush tree (because the leaves don’t change colors here) that shaded me, I recalled a sermon I heard last fall about trees: they’re beautiful because they’re being that which they were created to be. And that’s God’s heart for each of us; to accept and walk confidently as the child whom He created us to be. My soul longs and hungers to seek out God’s perspective of me. Who am I in your eyes, God? Fill me up with Your vision of me!