I was reflecting on what it must be like to be a fully intelligent, free-willing being in a place other than earth, let's say heaven for example. In my reflection, I first pondered on the purpose of humanity and the meaning of existence. I realized that in life, we are preoccupied with items and cares, which on one hand define our living—for these items we live for (e.g. family, health, education, religion, charity, etc.). On the other hand, these very items, some more than others, consume our being until the day we are rendered fully inconsumable in death and are emptied of life (i.e. physical, emotional, temporal). For a lifetime, however long that might be, we toil in the establishments and maintenance of romantic and familial relationships, personal health and well-being, intellectual and career pursuits, religious activities, charity towards our fellow humans and society, and many more. In one sense, we spend our humanity in these life items and activities— placing our affections, hopes, and energies in these activities more than we would like to admit. In the other sense, and ironically, we are spent by these very items as they draw out all of our affections, hopes, and energies. I will come back to that point later. But before I do, I will mention one important point. If we lived in a perfect world, we would find the pursuit of those life actives and the results thereof to be perfectly satisfying and perhaps less painful, less disappointing, easier to achieve, requiring less of our energy, and delivering more of the happiness we hoped for. We are continually disappointed, in some life activities more than others.
God, I just came out of an experience that I can’t explain. Where sin took me, it is so deep for my words to not suffice. Where your grace has lifted me, it is too high for my intellect to comprehend and joy to express. I have experienced your grace and mercy as you have lifted me to the heavens from the pits of hell, accompanied with supernatural peace and holy spirit given strength. This grace that I often acclaim in the songs of public assembly yet having little private and personal meaning has nonetheless come to reach me in the valley of the shadow of sin’s death. My soul was parched, I thirsted in the desert. Now as I have come to reflect upon this, I am reminded of the time Christ was led in this same desert. However, out of the desert, through perfect obedience and holiness to the life-giving and guiding Word, He came. How inverse this is to my desert experience. Like Peter sinking in the storm waters, I was almost scorched to my death with the desert drought. Instead of coming out of the desert as Christ did, I let my soul believe empty promises of joy in this desert. Unlike Christ, I disobeyed the holy life-giving and guiding Word. On the desert floor, I lay dreaming of the land that I once inhabited, overflowing with rivers of waters that bring and sustain life. There, my thirst was quenched, my soul filled, my every desire met. O Great God, how you came to my rescue as you couldn’t rejoice in my death. As I feasted on this desert sand, you brought forth a brook to my heart’s desperation and you quenched me with the oasis of your grace, even in the desert. As I gained strength to walk, You then led me out of the desert, unto the land overflowing with the river of life, that quenches my deepest thirst and washes me clean. O Great God, how immaculate is your promise of salvation and the means to this salvation—through you, and you alone. And through you, do I find the desire and strength to love you and to offer my whole being as a sacrifice of thanks for your saving grace. My soul thirst no more, and drink to your filling for this river's source is God Himself, and never runs dry.
We entertain and investigate the possibility that there is life outside of earth and invest billions into this scientific pursuit, but yet scoff at the idea that there is life after death, and that God is the author of life, and has the ability to create life within any dimension or environment and define the biological, physical, emotional, spiritual, social, experiential qualities of that life. I believe that the question of whether there is life outside of earth only points to a greater question of whether life can exist beyond our humanity.
Thank you God for you. Thank you for your love. Thank you for providing for me. Thank you for being with me at such a stressful time in life, work, school. Thank you for forgiving me of my big and small sins and that no burdens have to be on my back. You know I would break, I would fail. But you saw my need before I could even tell you about them. Thank you for the supernatural knowledge, wisdom, and skill I am experiencing with my work. Thank you for this path. Thank you for this year that I cannot even begin to explain. God, take over next year. In my weakness I will boast from now so that your strength maybe made known to me, and to the whole world. You are real, and I love you.
I will be writing a post on this in the next few months. Here are the thoughts that inspired this (as I was taking a shower).
Is it a coincidence that the first sin happened to be in the first human love story?What can we learn from this? What led to this downfall? What does this say about the state of romance, love, marriage, and sex today?
I was recently engaged in a conversation with a colleague regarding race, specifically on the importance of the race of Jesus. The conversation is posted below. His argument, in summary, is that the skin tone of Jesus is of great importance in knowing "the truth". In other words, Jesus was Black or descended from blacks (which I am not interested in arguing), and that knowing this is TRUTH and it will set you free (which I am arguing). You’ve got to be kidding me. I had no plans of sharing the conversation, but I decided to just because it really infuriates me. It is so sad. This points to a greater human problem of drawing boundaries between itself based on trivial human matters like race, and other physical, economical, and ideological characteristics—the same boundaries that the theologically, spiritually, and historically true Christ came to erase. The only boundary Christ upheld was that one which divided evil from good. Historically, Jesus was one of the first, if not the major, influential people to stir controversy by going against societal and cultural norms in views regarding race, nationality, gender, economic class, religious class. And he was HATED and killed for that by Pharisees, who were the intellectuals and the religious Ph.Ds of the time.Anyway, here is the conversation:
I am realizing that in life you have to be confident in order to take risks and make the right and hard decisions that come with living. Either find that confidence in God (which I strongly recommend) or find that confidence somewhere, based on personal convictions and knowledge. People will give you very much needed and sometimes unsolicited and not-so-needed advice. Some of these people do love you and have your best interest at heart. But always know that advice given is subjective and greatly dependent upon a number of subjective human experiences, characteristics, and viewpoints. Only God is omniscient (all-knowing) and has the ability to advise with no bias, or at least with a bias toward his ultimate will (Himself) which is always for our own and other’s greater good. If you want to be lost and confused in life, be a consistent people follower or pleaser.This doesn’t mean be stubborn and not heed advice. For then you become foolish as the Bible says (Prov. 12:15, Prov 18:2, Prov. 1:7, Prov 28:26). This doesn’t mean turn to your own heart’s followings and desires, for we know that these can be deceitful (Jer. 17:9). But this means do turn to God to gain the confidence and direction to make life's hardest decisions. This means filter every human word, emotion, and action through the lens of God's truth.I appreciate practicality, so here is one practical advice: God will not always come down with a loud audible voice to advise you and tell you to turn left or right, or give you a dream, etc. But peace, understanding, and God-given confidence, holy desires and ambitions can be signs. Don’t underestimate the power of God to burn a desire, a dream, a passion in you so bad that you have no choice but to pursue it. But don’t forget that both Satan (evil) and God (good) work through our desires. So how do you distinguish evil from good? Read your Bible. Pray. Fellowship. Be discipled by more mature men and women.Last practical point about being confident and committed to a decision is to find peace. Last year I learned that peace is a very important attribute of God and a lot of times that’s all God gives us at critical points of our lives, especially when we have to make the “big” decisions. We all know God as the God of love, but in the Bible he is mentioned many times as a God of peace. Peace is as important as love. In short, if there’s no peace, most likely God is not in it or you are not in God.
I wrote this at the beginning of this year. I have taken out some more deeply personal things.
What do I see in 5 years? Where do I see myself? Where should I be?
- In 5 years, I see a level of spiritual growth in me that will show I have a foundation deeply rooted on Christ
- In 5 years, I should have developed a strict discipline of obedience to God.
- In 5 years, I should be feeding on meat, not just milk, in spiritual things.
- In 5 years, God should be master over my flesh by the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. No lust or sexual sin, anger, discouragement, lack of faith, lukewarmness, and the lack of a firm identity in Christ will have a hold on me.
- In 5 years, I see a wife next to me. Growing spiritually together, in harmony, continually killing sin in our lives, and our marriage.
- In 5 years, I see a new born child in my arms.
- In 5 years, I see me seeking all sorts of growth as a husband and a father.
- In 5 years, I see a more consistent operation in ministry, and a pursuit of the calling God has for me in the church.
- In 5 years, I see me supporting my wife in the ministry God has called her to. I see me holding her hand and praying with her.
- In 5 years, I see me completely done with my Ph.D. degree, and at the beginning of my career.
- In 5 years, I want to look back and awe at the grace of God to carry me through the past 5 years.
- In 5 years, I see me with a new vision for the next 5 years after.