Our Worth In Christ

I heard a powerful quote recently and it really resonated with me. “Your value doesn’t decrease based on somebody’s inability to see your worth.”

If you’re anything like me, you have fallen into the trap of letting your worth be defined by someone or something other than God. Popularity, wealth, physical beauty or lack thereof can easily become the measuring stick with which we determine our value.

Four thousand facebook friends? Six figure income? Eight Olympic gold medals? Do these  things make you more or less valuable than the girl at school with no friends who is bullied every day, or the single mom struggling to make ends meet or the boy who was born with Spina Bifida and hasn’t walked a day in his life?

The question is, who defines the concept of worth and value? There is only one correct answer, and that is God. Our value is found in being sons and daughters of The King. Our worth was bought with the Blood of Jesus Christ.

Don’t allow the opinions of others to make you doubt how precious you truly are. God sent Jesus to die on the Cross because He decided that you were worth it all.

“But God demonstrated His own Love for us in this; while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” – Romans 5:8.

Dear Heavenly Father, please reveal to us how valuable and precious we are in Your Sight. May we not live to gain the world’s approval and applause, but instead, may we live to be more like You every day. In Jesus’ Mighty Name I pray, amen.

Oaks of Righteousness

“The Lord has anointed me to… bind up the broken-hearted… to proclaim freedom for the captives… to comfort those who mourn and provide for those who grieve… that they may be called oaks of righteousness planted by the Lord to display His Splendor.” Isaiah 61:1-3

If you’ve ever seen an oak tree, you will know that it’s a sight nothing short of magnificent. An oak tree can reach 100 feet tall with thick, sturdy branches that grow horizontally, covered in gorgeous, lush leaves. Strong. Majestic. Beautiful. In ancient times, the oak tree was highly revered as it symbolized power, strength and courage.

Why does God use this awe inspiring tree in the above analogy? This verse represents yet another one of God’s incredible promises to us. It is a promise of His Comfort and Restoration. The broken-hearted, the oppressed, those who mourn and grieve… He longs to bring Healing and Wholeness to all of them. Just as devestating winds at vicious storms force the oak tree to dig its roots deeper into the ground for self preservation, in the same way, God longs to use the painful experiences of our lives to draw us closer to Him and strengthen our faith.

When we depend on God’s Strength in our weakness and allow him to guide us  through the arduous circumstances we face, we come out stronger on the other side. And we can’t claim any of the credit. God restores us so that our lives can bring Him Glory and Honour. When other people see the incredible transformation we have undergone, they will recognize God’s Goodness in our lives. If you are among those in need of lasting comfort, turn to Him. He longs to transform your pain into a mighty work of His Splendor. That you may be called an oak of righteousness. Strong. Majestic. Beautiful.

oak tree

Photo from here

The War is Won

It’s easy to forget how blessed we are when we are facing difficult circumstances. Sickness, heartbreak, financial strains and relational crises are just a few of the situations that often leave us feeling hopeless and defeated. But during these dark times, we must not forget Jesus’ words,

“I have told you these things so that in me you may have Peace. In this world you will have trouble. But, take heart! I have overcome the wrold!” John 16:33.

What a beautiful sense of hope we receive from this verse. God has already claimed Victory over all of our pain; past, present and future. We must learn to praise God in the midst of our trials and trust that He will make something Good from the worst of our days. So, the next time your life feels like a minefield, take heart! The war has already been won.

Batteries Not Included

Didn’t you hate it when you were a kid and you got an AWESOME new present that you’d always wanted and you opened it up and couldn’t wait to play with it when you realized something awful… “Batteries Not Included”??? What a disappointment!

The good news is that you never have to worry about God holding out on you or giving you second best! He will never disappoint you. God has a unique and wonderful purpose for your life and what’s more, He has given you everything you need in order to live abundantly in Him 🙂

“God will equip you with all you need for doing his will… and produce in you, through the power of Jesus Christ, every good thing that is pleasing to him” Hebrews 13:21

God loves you and wants to bless you immensely. You are lacking nothing in Christ! “And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus” Philippians 4:19. God is Good! We are blessed, indeed!

Jesus Batteries

Divine Detours

I was running late for church one Sunday afternoon so I decided to take a cab. In my very broken Korean I asked the driver to take me to Onnuri Gyohway (church), hoping he understood and that I wouldn’t end up in another city. After about 10 minutes, to my relief, I saw my church in the distance. Only… the driver wasn’t stopping, he was driving right past it! I started panicking inside; with each passing second, he was driving farther and farther away from my destination! I wanted to yell out, ‘Stop! My church is right there! Turn around! Where are you going?’ But I had no idea how to say any of that in Korean, so I was forced to remain silent and hope that he knew what he was doing.

Thankfully, he did. It turns out, the driver (who knew the city much better than I did), understood that in order to get to my church, he had to drive past it by several blocks and then backtrack as there were a number of one way streets he needed to maneuver through to reach my church. It all made sense now.

Have you ever felt this way with God? I know I sure have. I’ve seen a dream, a goal, a destination right in front of me, but God seems to be taking me in the exact opposite direction. Perhaps you too, have cried out in exasperation, ‘No, God, this isn’t right! What I want is back there, you’re taking me the wrong way!’

The truth is, God will never lead us in the wrong direction. God knows the exact course of our lives for He is the one who has carefully planned out our days. “Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed” Psalm 139:16. God often uses what we perceive to be detours to teach us valuable lessons that we would not have learned otherwise. Lessons about patience, trust, obedience, dependence and faith.

It has been said that God’s answer to our prayers is always one of three things: Yes, Not yet, or I have something much better for you. When we are being led in a direction that we didn’t expect, we must remember that God sees the beginning and the end. He has promised to always walk beside us and lead us along the right path for His Name’s sake (Psalm 23:3). One day, we will be able to look back on the most confusing and challenging experiences and realize, ‘It all makes sense now’. God is Good. He is worthy of our Trust. He is Sovereign, even in the detours.

“Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you to profit, who leads you in the way you should go” – Isaiah 48:17

27 Things I’m Thankful For

In celebrating my 27th birthday in Korea this week, I was encouraged to reflect on the countless blessings the Lord has poured over my life in the past 27 years. Here are but a few of them; may they inspire you to gratitude.

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for His steadfast love endures forever.” – Psalm 136:1

1. God’s Unconditional Love that surrounds me, restores me and completes me.

2. God’s Unlimited Grace that receives my ashes in exchange for a crown (Isaiah 61:3).

3. God’s Word that is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path (Psalm 119:105).

4. The hard times which test my faith because I know they are creating perseverance within me and strengthening my character (James 1:2-3).

5. My family that will stick by my side no matter what happens.

6. My big sister whose life has taught me about grace, humility and compassion.

7. My little brother whose life has taught me about discipline, determination and strength.

8. Pastor Eddie, Daniel, Mike, Joel and Isaac – five honourable men of God who lead by example and practice what they preach.

9. Onnuri English Ministry for being God’s hands and feet – my home away from home.

10. The friends that cry with me when I cry and laugh with me when I laugh.

11. Those who reject me for they teach me powerful lessons of humility and forgiveness.

12. This blog and the opportunity to bring God Glory and encourage others.

13. Colourful flowers because they remind me of God’s Provision (Matthew 6:28-29).

14. My students who somehow always end up teaching me more than I teach them.

15. Seasons of abundance; not always tangible but always more than I deserve.

16. Seasons of drought, because they deepen my dependence on God.

17. The Victory that I have in Christ; the battle has already been won.

18. My weaknesses, because in them, God’s Strength can be made known so powerfully.

19. Sight – the ability to see and appreciate the beauty of God’s creation.

20. Vision – the ability to dream of something bigger than my own abilities.

21. The rain that washes away my tears.

22. The rainbow that follows – God’s Promise of His Faithfulness.

23. The warmth of the sun beating down on my face – like a warm embrace from my Father.

24. A heart that beats, even when it hurts, for it hurts because it has first loved.

25. Living in Canada, a country with such freedom and opportunity.

26. Teaching in Korea, where I can use my freedom to fight for those who are oppressed.

27. Jesus. My Saviour, my Lord, my Friend, my Rock, my Redeemer, my Light, my Everything.

Fast for Freedom

My church is engaged in the Fast for Freedom this year during Lent. Lent is the 40 day period before Easter that represents the last days of Jesus’ life on this earth, his ultimate sacrifice on the Cross and His triumphant Resurrection and Victory over death.

Many Christians choose to fast during Lent, in an exercise of sacrifice, discipline and obedience to God. Some people fast by giving up one meal a day, or abstaining from a specific food or practice. However, fasting is much more than arbitrarily abstaining from something. It about filling that void with spiritual nourishment. It is an opportunity to focus on God, deepen your prayer life, stretch your faith and grow spiritually in your relationship with the Lord.

This year will be the first in which I am fasting for Lent. When I was trying to decide what I would choose to sacrifice, I thought of what took up the majority of my time each day. The answer was simple: facebook. I easily spend 2-3 hours on the website daily.

How much time do I spend with God every day? Looking at my priorities alone, it would seem that facebook has a higher ranking in my heart than God does. What a sad thought. It made me wonder, what changes could I affect in my life and in the lives of others by dedicating even half the time I spend on facebook every day to praying, reading God’s Word or meditating on Scripture?

There’s only one way to find out. For the 40 days of Lent (from Monday – Saturday), during the time that I would normally be on facebook chatting and socializing, I will, instead be spending time with God in prayer, learning from Him and seeking His Heart. We do not fast on Sundays, as this day is meant to represent the hope and expectancy of Easter Sunday and Jesus’ resurrection.

For the Fast for Freedom, my entire church is partnering together in 40 days of prayer and fasting . We will be praying specifically for 5 extremely significant issues that affect the lives of hundreds of thousands of people worldwide. These are the issues I will be focusing on in my prayer time during Lent.

And this is where you come in, dear one. Would you commit to praying for one or more of these issues with me every day for the next 40 days? Even if only for a couple of minutes each day, your prayers have power in the Name of Jesus! Let us partner together in faith to move mountains for the Kingdom of God.

1. For the salvation of Mr Kang; the head pimp of Korea (who I have met personally). That he would realize the gross error of his ways and that he would become a powerful abolitionist of human trafficking and sexual enslavement.

2. For the salvation of Kim Sung Mo – a comic book artist who graphically fabricates the brutalization and murder of prostitutes for profit, including detailed maps and locations of red light districts in Korea. And for these comic books to be banned completely.

3. For the breaking grounds to be destroyed. These are the buildings and rooms where kidnapped women and children are brought to be repeatedly raped and tortured into submission to be made into prostitutes.

4. For all forms of human slavery and injustice to end in our lifetime.

5. For the salvation of a loved one. I am praying for the salvation of my brother – for him to come to know Jesus as his personal Lord and Saviour.

We pray these things in Jesus’ Mighty Name! Amen.

“This is the kind of fasting I want: Free those who are wrongly imprisoned; lighten the burden of those who work for you. Let the oppressed go free, and remove the chains that bind people.” – Isaiah 58:5-6