February 22, 2013

Honor God with your body

Let's talk about sex, marriage, and food. Because it's February :)  From Paul's first letter to the Corinthians (3:16-17, 6:9-7:11):


"You realize, don't you, that you are the temple of God, and God Himself is present in you? No one will get by with vandalizing God's temple, you can be sure of that. God's temple is sacred --- and you, remember, are the temple...

"Don't you realize that this is not the way to live? Unjust people who don't care about God will not be joining in His kingdom. Those who use and abuse each other, use and abuse sex, use and abuse the earth and everything in it, don't qualify as citizens in God's kingdom. A number of you know from experience what I'm talking about, for not so long ago you were on that list. Since then, you've been cleaned up and given a fresh start by Jesus, our Master, our Messiah, and by our God present in us, the Spirit.

"Just because something is technically legal doesn't mean that it's spiritually appropriate. If I went around doing whatever I thought I could get by with, I'd be a slave to my whims.


"You know the old saying, 'First you eat to live, then you live to eat'? Well, it may be true that the body is only a temporary thing, but that's no excuse for stuffing your body with food, or indulging it with sex. Since the Master honors you with a body, honor Him with your body!

"God honored the Master's body by raising it from the grave. He'll treat yours with the same resurrection power. Until that time, remember that your bodies are created with the same dignity as the Master's body. You wouldn't take the Master's body off to a whorehouse, would you? I should hope not.


"There's more to sex than mere skin on skin. Sex is as much spiritual mystery as physical fact. As written in Scripture, 'The two become one.' Since we want to become spiritually one with the Master, we must not pursue the kind of sex that avoids commitment and intimacy, leaving us more lonely than ever --- the kind of sex that can never 'become one.' There is a sense in which sexual sins are different from all others. In sexual sin we violate the sacredness of our own bodies, these bodies that were made for God-given and God-modeled love, for 'becoming one' with another. Or didn't you realize that your body is a sacred place, the place of the Holy Spirit? Don't you realize that you can't live however you please, squandering what God paid such a high price for? The physical part of you is not some piece of property belonging to the spiritual part of you. God owns the whole works. So let people see God in and through your body. 

"Now, getting down to the questions you asked in your letter to me. First, is it a good thing to have sexual relations?


"Certainly --- but only within a certain context. It's good for a man to have a wife, and for a woman to have a husband. Sexual drives are strong, but marriage is strong enough to contain them and provide for a balanced and fulfilling sexual life in a world of sexual disorder. The marriage bed must be a place of mutuality --- the husband seeking to satisfy his wife, the wife seeking to satisfy her husband. Marriage is not a place to 'stand up for your rights.' Marriage is a decision to serve the other, whether in bed or out. Abstaining from sex is permissible for a period of time if you both agree to it, and if it's for the purposes of prayer and fasting --- but only for such times. Then come back together again. Satan has an ingenious way of tempting us when we least expect it. I’m not, understand, commanding these periods of abstinence --- only providing my best counsel if you should choose them.

"Sometimes I wish everyone were single like me --- a simpler life in many ways! But celibacy is not for everyone any more than marriage is. God gives the gift of the single life to some, the gift of the married life to others.

"I do, though, tell the unmarried and widows that singleness might well be the best thing for them, as it has been for me. But if they can’t manage their desires and emotions, they should by all means go ahead and get married. The difficulties of marriage are preferable by far to a sexually tortured life as a single. And if you are married, stay married. This is the Master’s command, not mine. If a wife should leave her husband, she must either remain single or else come back and make things right with him. And a husband has no right to get rid of his wife."

February 11, 2013

Speak to glorify God, not self

Paul the apostle repeatedly writes in his first letter to the Corinthians:

For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel — not with wisdom and eloquence, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.
(1 Cor 1:17)

Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.” And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.
(1 Cor 1:31- 2:5)

 If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
(1 Cor 13:1)

Wisdom and eloquence are good, until they defeat the purpose of the message. When we speak about God, do we glorify Him, or ourselves?

February 4, 2013

Feb 4 2013

This day is important to me because:

  • For the first time, I sent someone (two students) to the Disciplinary Office for cheating. Verbal reminders and personal confrontations are not enough --- people (myself included) don't learn until we reap the consequences of our actions. "God disciplines those He loves" (Hebrews), and so should we.

  •  For the first time in over a year, I returned to our research lab. Not much has changed there, it seems, but I feel I've changed much. What I couldn't do before, I could do now. "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength." (Philippians)

  • For the first time in weeks, I chose to go home early (as in, the sun hasn't set yet). For a long time I needed to get my energy level up; now that it's up, I need to get going. I'm distinguishing between goals (ex: graduate) and means (ex: dance). "Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is." (Ephesians)

  • I'm using a laptop given to me by my uncle and aunt, and I'll be using a cell phone I "inherited" from my brother. Very good gadgets that I didn't lift a finger to get. "He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all -- how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?" (Romans)

Plus there are the everyday (but always special) blessings like my family, a fulfilling job, supportive friends, enough finances and yummy food. Thank You, thank You.

"In everything, give thanks." (1 Thessalonians)

:) :)

(Hey! And the day isn't even done yet ;) )

Deo Volente

Deo Volente. God willing.

Below is my sked for the next few months. (This was last term's.) Teacher in the mornings, Student in the evenings. Reserve a Sabbath day for worship-slash-rest: far from being a luxury, it's one of God's Ten Commands and a necessary pressure valve for professionals.)

It's been a while since I've been this confident about setting goals and reaching them  ;)

Because nowadays I'm learning to stop wrestling against God (His Will vs. mine) and learning how to wrestle with Him (against my selfish self, my laziness, my fear, my distractions).

Finally, I'm willing what He has been willing all along. And that's the only reason why I know I will succeed. ♥

February 1, 2013

Forgiveness and Reconciliation


From the book "Boundaries" by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend:

"Many people have a problem determining the difference between forgiveness and reconciliation...

"The Bible is clear about two principles: (1) We always need to forgive, but (2) we don't always achieve reconciliation. Forgiveness is something that we do in our hearts; we release someone from a debt that they owe us. We write off the person's debt, and she no longer owes us. We no longer condemn her. She is clean. Only one party is needed for forgiveness: me. The person who owes me a debt does not have to ask my forgiveness. It is a work of grace in my heart. 


"This brings us to the second principle: we do not always achieve reconciliation. God forgave the world, but the whole world is not reconciled to Him. Although He may have forgiven all people, all people have not owned their sin and appropriated His forgiveness. That would be reconciliation. Forgiveness takes one; reconciliation takes two.

"We do not open ourselves up to the other party until we have seen that she has truly owned her part of the problem. So many times Scripture talks about keeping boundaries with someone until she owns what she has done and produces "fruit in keeping with repentance" (Matthew 3:8). True repentance is much more than saying "I'm sorry"; it is changing direction.



"You need to clearly communicate that, while you have forgiven her, you do not trust her yet, for she has not proven herself trustworthy. There has not been enough time to see if she really is going to change.

"Remember, God is your model. He did not wait for people to change their behavior before He stopped condemning them. He is finished condemning, but that does not mean that He has a relationship with all people. People must choose to own up to their sin and repent, then God will open Himself to them. Reconciliation involves two. Do not think that because you have forgiven that you have to reconcile. You can offer reconciliation, but it must be contingent upon the other person owning her behavior and bringing forth trustworthy fruits."

black, couple, forgive, home, house

"God has done all this. 
He has restored our relationship with him through Christ, 
and has given us this ministry of restoring relationships."
--- Paul, 2 Corinthians 5:18

Thank You (for the money too)

Dear Lord, thank You for the money.

You might be thinking I'm doing this right now:


Not really. ;)  But, let us give credit where credit is due. I will thank God for the jeep that took me home, for the yummy breakfast, and for the money I have (regardless of how much or how little there is).

It might sound selfish, thanking God for material things, especially money. The Bible calls love of money as the root of all evil (1 Timothy 6:10). But money in itself can be used to help others and to advance what is good. And thanking God is the best way to acknowledge that this blessing, like any other good thing, does come from our Father.

Also, in the Lord's Prayer, Jesus teaches us to ask "Our Father" for our "daily bread". Ask! Daily! Because we need Him every day, every moment even. But after He gives us what we ask for, now what? Do we conveniently forget Him until the next crisis, or do we thank Him? Let's thank Him for giving us what we need and even what we want; let's thank Him for giving us what we ask for and even what we don't.

Lastly, does this kind of prayer/thanks reinforce the notion that "money makes the world go round"? We can only answer that for our own selves. Are we focused on God or on money? Hey, at least we're not saying, "Dear Money, thank You for God," right? But God knows our hearts. He knows if we are centered on the Giver or on the gifts. Let us have the proper perspective.

So let's thank God for the money. Not because we love money, but because we love God and we are thankful.