Hello! It's been a super long time, but I've trying to make my other blog include some of the stuff I usually write here because to be frank, it's less work! 😛
Anyways, the one thing that has been on my mind lately is this: If I had lived in Jesus's time when he was preaching on Earth, how would I have reacted to him?
This is kind of a really crazy thought to think about because knowing what I know now about the Bible, Jesus, the resurrection, the Old & New Testament, scientific evidence, and witnessing Revelation taking place under our very own noses, it's way easier to believe in Jesus as the Son of God now than it was 2000 years ago!
Let's break it down into some things that I would have personally struggled with if I was alive in Jesus' time. I mean, to be plain and simple, Christianity didn't exist until Jesus rose from the dead! So I would have to assume that I was either a Jew or Gentile at the time. It's historically inaccurate probably, but let's say I (an Asian) was a Jew at the time and knew scripture. That means I would have expected the Messiah to be arriving.
#1: I would have really questioned if Jesus was the One.
I would have been researching a lot. Asking everyone at the temple about how the Messiah was to come and under what circumstances. I would then compare it to how Jesus was born and all the information about him at the time. I would have gone to see him several times. I would have really tried to get a sense if he was truthful or not. I definitely would have prayed a lot, asking God for enlightenment.
#2: I would have given Jesus a chance.
I would have listened to what he had to say and soaked it in. I wouldn't be in favour or against it at first, I would just take it in and think about it. Just like a music artist, I would have followed him and tried to see what he was talking about more. I would have asked the disciples if they thought Jesus was the real deal and if they understood what he was saying. But most importantly, I definitely wouldn't have been like the pharisees and just written him off/tried to get rid of him.
#3: I would have been compelled by Jesus.
When Jesus speaks in the Bible, his words, stories, parables, lessons, etc. are some of the greatest pieces of spoken word ever! If someone was speaking to me like that in person at a time where people were not speaking like that at all, I would have been so intrigued! Then the miracles! If I was at the feeding of 5,000 or saw him heal blind, deaf, demon possessed, dead people, that would have been the deal maker for me right then and there! When I read the New Testament, the one thing that always makes no sense to me is how people couldn't have believed when miracles happened right in front of their eyes. Today, I understand why people think miracles are just good luck or a coincidence. It's because they can't see the miracle worker. But back in Jesus's time, the miracle worker was right there!!
#4: I would have been scared to follow Jesus, but I would've still believed.
Let's be real for a second, following Jesus during those times and as a woman was not an easy task. They trekked all over Judea and often found themselves not knowing where they were going to sleep or what they were going to eat. Almost like homeless people. I'm not sure I would've survived. But in another sense, I would've been scared to follow Jesus and then proclaim it. I would've secretly followed Jesus in my heart, but if someone would've asked me. I might have been like Peter and denied it. Jesus was a wanted man, and it's scary to put all your hope in someone who was despised by the government, the religious leaders, makers of the law, and basically anyone with power.
#5: I would've been shocked to witness Jesus' death.
Even though it's prophesied in the Old Testament, Jesus' death would have been a deafening blow to my heart. I'm not sure I would have fully understood why he needed to die and why he didn't let his followers/disciples fight for him. I think a part of me would've have die with him on that cross. I can't even imagine watching the Son of God die in person. There are really no words.
#6: I would've been even more shocked when I heard of his resurrection. And even more so if I had seen him walking around after he had died!
Dead man walking is not something you really want to witness. When someone dies, they are dead. But Jesus...oh man...if I saw him just walking around after he had died and I had seen him die, I would've been scared out of my mind. And if I hadn't believed that he was God before, I would've believed now. Even if I had heard all the witness accounts of Jesus's resurrection, that would have shocked my system. It's one thing for one or two people to say that Jesus was resurrected, but hundreds...there's no denying that. And just the fact that no one was denying that Jesus' body was gone/missing/disappeared from the tomb and nowhere to be found would've been enough to tell me that the scriptures were right. They had correctly predicted that Jesus would rise again and Jesus' own words before his death were true.
#7: I would have been freakishly scared to be among the first Christian church because of how much they were being persecuted. But after seeing Jesus -- our leader -- defy death itself, his story was worth being told and his gift to humanity was worth being shared.
So there it is. As you can tell, I wouldn't have hopped on the Jesus train immediately. I definitely would've had my reservations and needed to do some research. But I definitely would have been scared to death once I realized that Jesus was the One because there's one thing about Jesus that makes everyone uncomfortable whether it's now or 2000 years ago: How willing are you to give up this life so you can pursue eternal life? Jesus is truly polarizing, but the epitome of love and safety at the same time. I can't imagine life without him and that's how I know that I will always believe.
"The noise of this world is so great. But we have a choice. Who are you going to listen to?"
I have a thing for looking back and seeing how experiences in life connect. I like seeing the puzzle fit together. And last week was no different. This post is all about how Grey's Anatomy challenged God and how God answered three days later on Sunday morning.
I'm a big fan of Grey's Anatomy. I've watched the show since high school when my friend dragged me into this crazy universe that's now 14 seasons strong. I love the story lines they tell, the diverse spectrum of characters they showcase, and the honesty they can purvey without making you feel alienated. And last week's episode was no exception. It hit a chord that has been strum so many times for me as a Christian.
The title of the episode was "Personal Jesus" and it opens up with April (the religious/Christian doctor) telling us the story of Job. She tells of how Job was tested by God by making him lose everything (i.e. family, home, money, job), but when he proves faithful to God, God gives him double in what he lost. I didn't understand where this storyline was going at all and it didn't become clear until halfway through the episode. You see this episode was running four different patients' storylines at the same time. Patient 1 was a black kid who had been shot by white police because they thought he was breaking into a house which happened to be his own house. Patient 2 was April's ex-fiancé's wife, a loving Christian woman, who had just given birth to a baby. Patient 3 was a teen who had read the Bible too literally and had tried to cut off his hand when he kept sinning because of it. Patient 4 was a domestic violence abuser who had been badly concussed in a hit and run but survived, and his fiancée wanted to leave him and take him to court over his abusive actions. April was, at some point, in charge of all of these patients and everything seemed to be going well until it wasn't. Patients 1, 2, and 4 ended up dying and Patient 2 ended up not believing in the Bible anymore after April couldn't prove how exactly to interpret each line of the Bible if the Bible couldn't be taken literally as many metaphors are used. So at the end of the episode, April seems to have given up hope in God and explains the Job story from a completely different view. She tells us how now she thinks Job was punished for being a faithful servant. He ended up being the gambling piece in God's bet with Satan just so God could make a point. And Job wasn't actually given double in what he lost, instead he only gained a secondary family, PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) and a lot of unnecessary pain and sorrow. That's how the episode ends.
There's no way to explain in words how hard hitting this episode is unless you watch it. It tackles all of the biggest issues we are experiencing right now in our world, but it harps continuously on the question "If God is in control of everything and He is good, why does He let bad things happen?". And as a Christian, this question comes up A LOT. Why did an innocent black kid get shot by white police and end up dying? Why did a faithful Christian woman die after giving birth with no reason? Why did a teen who wanted to learn about God feel so conflicted by the Bible that he ended up giving it up altogether? Why did the domestic violence abuser have to die with no one knowing of his abuse when he should've been taken to court so he could pay for his transgressions in prison? All of these situations scream, "Where are you God?!?!".
Cue in last Sunday's church sermon. My minister preached about Mark 1:21-28 where "Jesus Drives Out an Impure Spirit". It's about how Jesus is teaching in the synagogue and He is doing so with such authority that people are amazed by Him. Then a man possessed by an evil spirit begins to directly address Jesus knowing that He is God by shouting out "What do You want with us?!" and "Have You come to destroy us?!". Then Jesus firmly tells the evil spirit in the man to "be quiet!" and "come out of him!", and the spirit is violently shaken out of the man. Everyone there is in completely shock and awe. They have no idea who Jesus is and what kind of power He holds that He could give orders to evil spirits and they obey Him.
My minister focused on this last point, and this is what I was reminded of. Jesus/God/The Holy Spirit has the most astounding authority in the entire universe. He can do absolutely anything you could possibly imagine in a snap of His fingers (or faster)! So every time you scream out "Where are you God?!?!", He hears you, and He has the absolute power to do exactly what you ask Him to do. But why doesn't He? Simply, it's not what is best. It's not the story that needs to be told. It’s not the lesson that needs to be learned. It's not the greatest plan He has in store for the world -- for you. With that knowledge, the responsibility now lands on your shoulders solely.
Are you going to listen to the Almighty God who has the power to control the entire universe with just a snap of his fingers OR are you going to listen to the doubt, evil, fame, power, money, tragedy, greed, injustice, lies, and shortcomings of the human race that have taken over the world?
Are you going to follow God OR are you going to turn to someone/something else and make the excuse that God has let you/the world down?
Do you believe that God can and will lift you above the fading securities of this world and into His loving embrace for eternity?
When I was a young Christian, I struggled with these questions, but now I have no doubts in my answers. Why? Because I know 100% that God is in control and that we live in a sinful world where a lot of bad things are going to happen. And those bad things are on us (humans) and Satan's evil plans, not on God. God just uses those bad things to help create good in accordance to His plan. Which, in turn, is the ultimate slammer for Satan. Isn't that just crazy?! Think about it. All you have to do is let God be the absolute authority in your life and you've crushed Satan! You can freaking crush the devil, himself, with only your trust in God! That's unbelievably amazing!! Glory to God in the Highest!
I chose, a long time ago, to let God take me on His brilliant journey for me. And it's been exactly that. A journey. Ups and downs. Forwards and backwards. Smiles and tears. Joy and pain. Success and failure. Excitement and tragedy. But I would never have it any differently. Just having God, the ultimate friend in life, with me this entire time has always made me feel so safe, loved, and sure that this journey with Him is worth every bit of everything He wants me to experience now and forever.
So, who are you going to listen to?
p.s. Thank you so much to my minister, Rev. Kirk Summers, at Trinity Presbyterian Church York Mills for some amazing sermons as of late!
It's the start of a new year! New Year's resolutions, a fresh start, out with the old & in with the new. So exciting!
Recently, at my church, my minister preached about Luke 2:22-38. It's the story of how Jesus is first brought to the temple by His parents (Mary and Joseph) after He is born so He can be presented to God. There they meet two people. A righteous man named Simeon and a prophetess named Anna who were very old. Both are delighted to see Jesus because they know who He is! They speak to His parents and tell all those around that this baby is the Messiah that the world has been waiting for.
I have read this story before. Many times. But somehow, it was different this time. This time, this small story was mind-blowing to me! There's this one passage from the story where Simeon says to Mary:
“This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”
Those are some deep words -- especially about a baby!! Can you even imagine?! Basically, this man you just met is telling you that your son is going to be a world changer! He's going to affect people so much He will create a shift in society, change people's hearts and minds, create rift in the world which will cause you the greatest pain you’ve ever experienced.
For Mary, this was probably incredibly exciting and amazing, but also absolutely terrifying! But it's not even the above passage that made me truly amazed at this story.
There's always one question that's asked in interviews for famous people, politicians, intellects, etc. And it's "If you could go back in time, who would you want to meet and have a conversation with?" And up until now, I've never really thought about what my answer would be. But sitting in that church pew, the answer hit me like bolt of lightning.
"JESUS!!! Of course!"
Like 1000% I would want to meet and talk to Jesus face to face! Maybe not when He was a baby, but even if He was a baby, that would be incredible just to meet Him at all! Who doesn't want to meet God in human form?! That would be the most fantastic experience in the entire universe!
And that's why this story struck me as mind-blowing! Simeon and Anna got to meet the promised Messiah, God in person, the Saving One, the Lord of All. They had been waiting all their lives for this day to come and it did come! They were so excited that they sang praises and told everyone around them about their encounter with God. They couldn't contain themselves!
As 2018 gets under way, I think I will always remember this story. Not only because of its prophetic message, but because of the feeling. It's like that New Year's Eve feeling -- watching the clock strike midnight, fireworks going off, happiness fills the air, the promise of a new and exciting year has just begun. That's how I anticipate meeting Jesus will be like. And just like Simeon and Anna, I never want to give up on that excitement! I want to learn all about how astounding He is, know all that He has done, and find out what He has in store. I want to understand how amazing the meeting will be so that I don't miss out on the fact that meeting someone like that is truly amazing!
The Bible is filled with many incredible stories. But this one is a hidden gem. Being reminded of it as 2018 begins is even more of a blessing. Going into a new year with excitement and the promise of all God has to offer is such a great way to start off 2018. So get excited! Feel the rush of God's power and love takeover as we race into 2018 with an excitement unlike any other! Great things are to come! Are you ready?
It’s been a while since my last post and it has taken me a long time to write this because I wanted it to be important to me. I had some previous ideas but they didn't seem right. And then I actual wrote a completely different post that is now extinct. Then this idea popped into my head. Keeping Afloat. If you've read my monthly posts in "Keeping Up with ET", keeping afloat is a pretty accurate term to describe what I've been doing the past couple of months.
But today's post is not about golf at all. It's about the music that keeps me afloat.
I'm going to start off by saying that music itself is pretty powerful in general. It makes you feel and experience things that words by themselves cannot. It's able to cross borders and cultures like no other. It has the power to unite. All that being said, lyrics in music play a huge role in how a song is perceived. I personally enjoy a lot of mainstream music, but it is difficult to find music that doesn't make you think twice about what you're subjecting yourself to when you really listen to what's being sung. I've literally loved an entire song and then I hear that one line that makes me stop listening to it. That's how powerful lyrics are. But it's the incredible combination of instrumentals, harmonies, melodies and lyrics that really does it for me when it comes to music that keeps me afloat.
In the Bible, the book of Psalms is what I like to call the "music book". I really wish I could hear what tunes and melodies David and some of the other writers of the Psalms sang these verses to because I know it must have been glorious! And that's where I have to thank Christian music from the bottom of heart. Taking the Bible, it's lessons and meanings, and turning them into music is amazing. It’s hard to explain without using examples so I'm going to share with you some of the songs that I go to when I need God to keep me afloat.
1. Fierce - Jesus Culture (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=II1JKBuz-AY)
This song gets me every time. Knowing how powerful God's love is makes you feel safe. His love meets you wherever you are at in life and it won't stop until it engulfs you! How incredible is that!
Like a tidal wave, crashing over me.
Rushing into meet me here, Your love is fierce.
Like a hurricane, that I can't explain.
Tearing through the atmosphere, Your love is fierce.
2. O'Lord - Lauren Daigle (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fxr5pckM8i4)
This song is about standing up for what you believe in and knowing that God will come through. As a Christian, I constantly feel like I'm battling a spiritual battle within myself and with the world around me. But I know that I can't waver no matter how easy it is to fall because there is always hope even in the darkest hour of your life.
No matter what until this race is won.
I will stand my ground, where hope can be found.
I will stand my ground, where hope can be found.
O'Lord, O'Lord, I know You hear my cry.
Your love is lifting me above all the lies.
No matter what I face, I know this in time.
You take all that is wrong and make it right.
You take all that is wrong and make it right.
3. Wonder - Hillsong United (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=haQ1earucJ0)
This song is about clarity! Having the scales removed from your heart, mind and spirit and being able to live life the way God intended is a powerful and euphoric way to experience the world! Every time I listen to this song, I remember how living in Christ is about living in absolute wonder -- being amazed by His power, glory, and grace!
I see the world in light.
I see the world in wonder.
I see the world in life.
Bursting in living colour.
I see the world Your way.
And I'm walking in the light.
4. Oceans (Where Feet May Fail) - Hillsong United (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N2PNTq_-mZs)
How much do you trust God? That's what this song is all about. We need to trust Him enough so that when He pushes us out to face the tsunamis and typhoons of life, we know that He will lift us above the waves even if we feel completely terrified or overwhelmed. Your faith won't only just be kept afloat, it will be made stronger.
Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders.
Let me walk upon the waters wherever You would call me.
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander.
And my faith will be made stronger in the presence of my Saviour.
This is by no means a complete list of music that keeps me afloat, but these are songs that have given me an unreal connection to God that I cannot explain. There have been times when I feel like I'm having an out of body experience -- I can see the moments in my life where God let me walk upon the waters or had me filled with wonder or helped me stand my ground or rushed in to engulf me with his love. These moments fill me with absolute euphoria where I'm brought to tears, have the biggest smile on the planet or feel a sense of peace that could calm any and all anxiety.
If you listen to these songs, believe the lyrics, and sing them as if they were your own, God will hear you. He heard David. And He will give you what you need. I wish for everyone to experience what I have. There is nothing else that compares to God filling every crevice of your body. Go out. Find your "Keeping Afloat" playlist and immerse yourself in God's gift He gave to us so we could be even more connected to Him.
More than Just this Life is about how faith really can change your life.