Day 6: Spiritual Hunger

The Bible is filled with food analogies for our spiritual lives. In Psalm 34:8,

Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!

In Deuteronomy 8:3 (quoted by Jesus during his temptation in Matthew 4:4 and Luke 4:4),

And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.

And in Luke 22:19 (and elsewhere), Jesus uses bread as a symbol for his sacrifice on the cross,

And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”

It’s only natural, then, for us to speak of a spiritual hunger: a desire for God that is regular, recurring, and results in life-giving sustenance. I get physically hungry whether or not I think about it. It’s a little after 8 pm, and I’m starting to get hungry even as I write this. This hunger is a reminder that I should eat something.  Continue reading “Day 6: Spiritual Hunger”

Planning to be Generous

Are you prepared to be generous? That sounds kinda funny, doesn’t it? Usually, I tend to think of generosity as a spontaneous thing. 

As I’ve grown older, I find that generosity is becoming more and more important to me. And it’s been interesting for me to balance because up until a few months ago, I was in debt and hadn’t ever had a full time job. Unfortunately, that also meant that I couldn’t be as generous as I wanted to be. I still gave a tithe at church, and would give a few dollars here or there, or buy a friend’s meal on occasion, but I always wished I could do more. 

A few weeks ago, I was reading my Bible, and was struck by the intentionality prescribed toward giving. 

On the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper, so that there will be no collecting when I come.

1 Corinthians 16:2 (ESV)

For a bit of background, Paul was regularly taking money from one church and bringing it to help with other churches’ needs. Typically, when Paul was getting ready to leave for a church in need, the local church would collect donations. And that was good. 

But here, Paul is exhorting them to give preemptively. Everyone knew that a need would arise somewhere, sometime. Why not plan to give? By giving a little bit over time, when the need actually arose, people would be able to give more generously and abundantly to meet the need than they would otherwise.

I also like that Paul doesn’t say how much to set aside. He just says to make sure it’s proportional to your income. It’s more important to set the giving habit in place than to hit a certain amount given. Once the habit is there, it’s easy to scale appropriately. 
When the proportions are right, giving generously should hurt a little. It shouldn’t ruin your life (probably shouldn’t be giving away all that you have), but neither should it be unfelt. I try to give a little bit more than I’m comfortable with, just enough to make me think. It means that I slow down on my savings goals a little, and I don’t get to eat out or go to the movies as often. Ultimately, it means that I don’t get to simply blow past it. 

Giving will always be a part of my life. It’s part of my value system, and it’s part of who God created me to be. Why not set up a system so that I can give generously?

Welcome to Tarsus

Welcome to Tarsus

It’s been a while since I’ve posted about myself, so I thought I’d give you all an update on my life and talk a little about what’s been going through my mind.

I’m in a weird spot in life these days. To most, it just looks like a time of transition, a change in life direction. To some, it looks like an opportunity to move in a new direction. To me, it looks like waiting on God’s direction while doing my best to bloom where I’ve been planted.

Let me explain.  Continue reading “Welcome to Tarsus”

God’s Grand Narrative and WCCC

Over the past few weeks, my Bible Study has been going over Stephen’s story in Acts 6:8-7:60. In his story, we see that Stephen, filled with the Holy Spirit, has to deal with opposition. Well, not just opposition. He’s arrested and put on trial, facing false accusations, and forced to defend himself. In the face of this opposition, Stephen relies on God and confidently responds, confounding and infuriating the Jews.

Stephen was accused of speaking against the temple and the law, both of which were held to be very sacred by the Jews. When asked to defend himself, Stephen gives a sermon about the work of God through the nation of Israel. He showed that God did not dwell primarily in the temple, and that He actively sought a relationship with His people. This culminated God the Son becoming a man, namely, Jesus, whom the Jews had killed. Enraged, the Jews drag him out of the city and begin to stone him. And with his dying breath,Stephen prayed that God would have mercy on his murderers.

Stephen’s confidence came from knowing that he was a part of the work that God had begun thousands of years before. During his sermon, Stephen traced God’s work, starting with Abraham, and he derived a confidence and security from the eternal perspective that this gave him.

If you’re a Christian, have you ever taken the time to trace God’s work all the way up to you? Not only does it give us a new perspective on everything, but it’s also kinda fun.

I wanted to do that for our group at West Covina Christian Church. It’ll start out with things that are applicable to every believer, but as we get closer and closer to our time, each of our stories will begin to diverge. And that’s the beauty of it. God has been weaving our threads together since the dawn of time, creating an immense tapestry that we can just barely glimpse if we really try. So let’s try! Continue reading “God’s Grand Narrative and WCCC”

Convenient Divorce: A Modern Mentality?

For me, one of the greatest disappointments regarding divorce is the apparent frivolity surrounding it. So often we hear that the cited reason for divorce is “irreconcilable differences”, and we joke that that could mean almost anything. The sad thing is that, due to the obscenely high divorce rate, many people go into marriage expecting, or at least preparing for divorce. And I would dare say that some people get married because they know they can always just get a divorce if things don’t turn out how they envisioned (side note from a realist: things never turn out exactly how you envision). Continue reading “Convenient Divorce: A Modern Mentality?”