The Basis of My Faith in Jesus

So many things are happening in my life now, and, as I am walking in the midst of all of them, I often feel overwhelmed and discouraged. So I began to ask the “why” questions, but last Sunday God taught me something that I should never ever forget. I am recalling the message to remind myself as I am going through this moment that saddens me.

Preaching on Peter’s sermon in Acts 2, my pastor asked, “What is the basis of your faith?” When things are not going well, many people lose their focus and start looking at the circumstances. They began to wonder “Does God really love me?” I was there with them. Although I knew in my head that God loves me, my heart was saying another thing. I was getting tired of the problems I have. I was getting exhausted, but it was not the situation that was wearing me out. It was the lack of faith.

I did not become a Christian because I wanted everything in my life to go well perfectly in the way I wanted. I did not become a Christian because God gave me all the things that I wanted to have. I did not become a Christian because He told me that I would be happily ever after without no suffering, no hardship, and no difficult decisions to make. I put my faith in Jesus because He is the Son of God, Christ, the Lord of all. He died on the cross for sinners, was buried, and rose from the dead on the third day. The basis of my faith is not what He does for me but who He is. I put my trust in Him. This fact gives me the greatest comfort and peace. Even if not everything goes well, I know I can trust my God because He is righteous and just but also merciful and gracious.

Are you having a hard time? Keep trusting Jesus whom you have always trusted until today. He knows what is the best for us. What He does might not seem to be good for us in our eyes, but we do not know the ultimate answers to our problems. Many times we do not even know what the real problems are, but Jesus never fails because He is God, the Only One who gives life.

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“Personal Relationship with Christ” that We Speak Of …

Christians, including myself, frequently speak of a “personal relationship” that we have with Christ. I often wondered what people meant when they said, “I have personal relationship with him.” When others asked me about it, I simply said things like “I know him and he knows me”, “The indwelling of the Holy Spirit in me”, “The relationship between me, as his servant, and him, as my LORD and Savior”, “loving relationship”, and so forth. I believe all of them are exactly what any other Christians mean when they talk about the relationship with Christ. However, God taught me through a particular passage about the relationship we speak of in more vivid way.

Romans 6:4-10 (NIV)

4 We were therefore buried  with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. 5 If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. 6 For we  know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with that we should no longer be slaves to sin – 7 because anyone who has died has been freed from sin. 8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer  has mastery over him. 10 The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.

In this passage, the apostle Paul wrote about what takes place when a person accepts Christ as his Lord and Savior. When a person accepts Christ, his old-self, which is controlled by the power of sin, dies with Christ’s death on the cross. And, the person receives new life, which is under the Lordship of Christ, completely released from the power of sin, with the resurrection of Christ. The radical change from death to life takes place when we believe Jesus Christ in our hearts as our Lord and Savior. Our union with Christ as believers is  the “personal relationship” with him that we speak of.

This fact has a significant implication. Union with Christ that has brought us from death to life has made us new creation of God. Our lives should reflect the change! We cannot be the same as we had been before we met Christ. In the passage we are looking at, we are not necessarily talking about how much or how often we read our Bible, how much we pray, or how much we are involved in church activities. We are talking about whether our lives show the freedom from the power of sin. Are we living as the ones who are under the Lordship of Christ? Are we becoming more and more like Christ?

Paul in verses 11-14 commanded believers to remember the change in the state of our being that occurred when we accepted Jesus Christ and to live as who we are in Christ. We cannot say that we have personal relationship and live as the ones who do not have it. We must be different not only in the ways we participate in religious activities but also in the ways we actually live our lives. Being active in religious activities does not necessarily mean that you have personal relationship with Him!

My New Journey

Yesterday was my last Sunday at Korean Presbyterian Church of New Orleans where I had been serving as a pianist since 2006. Now I am going to be teaching children and probably youth as well in my new church as a minister. Whenever I hear the word “minister” I think about the great pastors and ministers I have encountered in my life whom I normally thought to be much much much better and mature than I am. Pastors and ministers have always been the people, in my mind, who deserve my respect and honor. Now, to many people, I am going to be seen as one of them. Ha… really?! Just thinking about it somewhat scares me because I am very much aware of myself. I don’t deserve any respect or honor.

Just to share little bit about myself .. I grew up in a Christian home. I went to church every Sunday since I was an infant. I was a very good kid, I can confidently say, until I turned to 13. My dad at that time surrendered his life to God’s calling to ministry. O, well, I hated it. I hated so much that I made all kinds of troubles as much as possibly I could make just to show my parents how resentful I was. I became a very wild, so-called, pk. At that time, I was very resentful toward my parents but more toward God. To me, my parents were very devoted to Him, but my family always had to deal with financial problems. I often said to God, “If You are truly loving, if You really care, why is my family always suffering? I hate You. I really hate You that You called my dad to ministry.”

But here I am loving God so much. He is my only hope and reason for my life. God has been working so faithfully in my life that I now understand how blessed my family is and how blessed I am to be able to serve Him. But still, how can I serve as a minister? Other people are much much much better than I am. Am I worthy to be His servant? Well, no. Absolutely No. I am not even worthy to be His servant, yet, by His grace, I am called to be His servant. Whether I am called to be a minister or just Hannah does not really change anything because the names don’t matter. What really matters is that I am serving God. I am just being used by God.

The only Way: Jesus

I was reading through the first few chapters of Exodus where Moses is called by God to bring the Israelites out of Egypt. When God called Moses, he was a murderer and a fugitive. Moses was aware of himself being not worthy of doing God’s work so asked, “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” (Exo. 3:11/NIV) The rest of Moses’ response to God’s call shows how Moses thought about himself not being worthy of his call. Yet, as we all know, Moses obeys to God and becomes one of the greatest leaders of the nation of Israel in history. He actually leads the people out of Egypt. No, no, no, no, no. It was not Moses who led the Israelites out of Egypt. It was God who brought Israel out of Egypt.  God used Moses to perform His wonderful work for His people.

Notice in Exodus 6:6-8, God says to Moses, “Therefore, say to the Israelites: ‘I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. I will free you from being slaves to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment. I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the LORD your God, who brought you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. And I will bring you to the land I swore with uplifted hand to give to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob. I will give it to you as a possession. I am the LORD.

This story taught me several things that I want to remember for the rest of my life as I serve Him. First, I am not called because of who I am but because God is gracious and merciful and loving. Second, God is the LORD of Abraham, of Isaac, of Jacob, of Moses, and of me. Third, I am only called to be used by God. I can’t do anything but God will work through me to bring out great things for His glory.

I am very excited about my new journey that God is about to unfold before me! Woohoo!

I am blessed !

So many times we focus on things that have not gone well for us.  We look at circumstances that stress and discourage us rather than looking at the surroundings that are, in themselves, miracles.  We take so many things for granted when we shouldn’t. So today I wrote down things that I easily forget to be grateful for, and God reminded me how blessed I am and encouraged me greatly.

These are some of the blessings I wrote down on my journal.

He gave me breath and another day, He gave us the Sun and beautiful weather that is not hot. He also gave us winds to blow and the clouds on the sky. He gave me ears to hear, mouth to eat, eyes to see, nose to smell, feet to stand, hands to write, and both of my legs and both of my arms. He also gave me health. He gave me food for today, water to drink, clothes and shoes to wear, a car to drive and protected me on road. He gave me His Word and heart to read and follow it. He revealed Himself to me and allowed me to have a relationship with Him. He gave His Son, Jesus Christ, and the Spirit to help me believe. He gave me financial problems so that I may have compassion for the needy. He helped me rejoice in the time of troubles. He gave me the opportunity to study and gave me the job. He gave me an amazing family, both of my parents and my younger brother………………and He created me. I am thankful for my existence.

As I was writing them down, I could not hold my tears. There are much more than what I wrote. I was and I am so thankful for everything He has given me and has done for me.  It was very precious moment to remind myself how much God has loved me, and that moment encouraged me deeply.

I hope you take a moment just to think about the blessings He has given you and be encouraged and comforted by God, who loves you much more than you can ever imagine!

Merry Christmas !

On last Sunday, God spoke to my heart how I should be celebrating Christmas, the day our LORD Jesus Christ came to the earth to save the fallen humanity. Jesus Christ, who is in nature equal to God, gave up every right and privilege and humbled himself, in the form of human being, came to the world we are living. Plus, even his birth was not luxury or fancy in any way. When Jesus was born, there was not even one room in the inn for Him. When Jesus Christ, our LORD, the Savior, was born, He was wrapped in cloths and placed in a manger.

Although I knew all about this, it was not until lately that I truly understood and realized what I, as a Christian, should do to glorify God in the season of Christmas. Whenever people think about Christmas, probably the first thing comes to their minds would be fancy Christmas tree decorated with pretty ornaments, Christmas lights on streets, Christmas gifts, their beloved family, and Christmas carols.

Then, where is Jesus Christ?

“10 But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.’ 13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 14 ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.'”

(Luke 2:10-14 NIV)

The birth of Jesus Christ was glory to God and peace to men. Christmas must be glory to God and peace to men. On Christmas, Christians should be glorifying God by sharing the good news of the birth of our Savior Jesus  Christ and what He had accomplished for the salvation of fallen humanity. We have to share the love of Christ.  We have to go and meet the needy, as Christ came here to meet us. There are so many people starving on Christmas day when we have so much fun with people we love. There are so many people crying out of agony in their hearts just because they do not know Christ.  Christmas is not a day for our entertainment, but for the glory of God.

I pray that I would not forget what God taught me about Christmas and that I would celebrate next Christmas with those who need Christ and His love. Merry Christmas, everyone !