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From Death to Laughter

  • By PASTOR JOSEPH CHOI
  • 16 Mar, 2017

Inspired by Faith. Motivated by Truth. Challenged by Christ.

Author: Pastor Isaac Cho

I was in disbelief when my sister told me Robin Williams committed suicide. This is what’s interesting about the “celebrity system,” even though a majority of us don’t know Robin personally, we feel as if we actually knew him, based on our experiences watching him on the big screen. It seemed as if the whole world was mourning the tragic loss of a great friend. As with most tragedies, people started asking questions. How could someone, who brought so much laughter and joy, be haunted by so much pain and sadness?

There is an interesting relationship between comedy and tragedy. Next time you hear a comedian performing his or her stand up, listen carefully and ask yourself why you laugh. What makes a joke funny? I mean a good comedian is like a good musician, it is all about timing and delivery. However, if we pay close attention to why we laugh at jokes, at stand up routines, at comedic moments in movies, we realize its because we can relate. Now I’m not a professional comedian, but I understand what a comedian does. When they stand up there, they share very intimate moments and situations in their lives. If it was delivered by a non-comedian, it would be tragic.

Lets take a simple “poop” joke for example. The reason why we still get a chuckle from a simple poop joke is because we’ve all pooped before (at least I hope). For some of us, we’ve all experienced a time in which we had to use the bathroom, but no bathroom was available. And for the “lucky” few (I would be in this category), we’ve experienced relieving ourselves in places other than a designated bathroom out of sheer desperation. It’s tragically funny.

 

My parents named me Isaac. At first I questioned why they would give me, an Asian-American boy, a very Jewish name. I grew to like it. At least I wasn’t named a typical Korean-American name like Daniel (which ironically is my brother’s name). I learned at a young age, that Isaac translates to laughter, or to be more precise, “he laughs.” In Genesis, we see the reasoning behind why Abraham named his son Isaac.

Now the Lord was gracious to Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did for Sarah what he had promised. Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the very time God had promised him. Abraham gave the name Isaac to the son Sarah bore him. When his son Isaac was eight days old, Abraham circumcised him, as God commanded him. Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him. Sarah said, “God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.” ( NIV. Gen 21:1-6 )

 

Later on, God commands Abraham to offer his son, Isaac, as a sacrifice. I’ve always wondered what Isaac was thinking about during this time. Was he thinking about the meaning behind his name as he was tied to the altar? Was he questioning why his father was doing this to him? Did he put up a fight, or struggle? Or did he just stay still, accepting his fate? When Abraham raised his dagger, was Isaac thinking about laughter? Before Abraham was able to kill his son, an angel of the Lord appeared and stopped him.

To me, this story is very symbolic (and yes, an actual account). For me, it represents this strange dichotomy between tragedy and comedy. Isaac was born to Abraham and Sarah decades past the “prime” of their age. If a centennial were to give birth today, it would be a medical miracle. For Sarah and Abraham, it was a source of laughter. However, there was a point in their lives where they thought that their boy, their source of laughter, would be taken away.

I started to develop a very dark and cynical sense of humor during my early twenties. It was a way for me to cope, to escape the drama surrounding my life at the time. I was very familiar with death. I lost friends and loved ones to suicide, some died from overdosing on some ungodly substance, and I lost a dear friend who was shot because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. I tried to distance myself from these experiences I was just unpleasant to be around with.

This led me to a very dark path. I was nihilistic, where I didn’t even care if God existed. I was fatalistic, where I tested death by acting a fool. I could see Abraham’s dagger being raised in the air. I felt like God was running out of patience with me, and all I could do was scoff and laugh. I saw the dagger plunge downward, moments away from spilling my blood. Now it wasn’t a physical dagger, but I was trying to end my life with alcohol and other addictions.

 

So what happened? What changed me? How did I go from that to writing this blog? To be honest, as I reflect back on this, I can’t really explain it in a way that makes sense. It just doesn’t make sense. The only thing I can tell you is that there were people praying for me. I woke up one morning, I didn’t know where I was or what I did the night before, but felt this presence of just otherworldly calm and peace. I knew there was someone watching over me. I went on a journey searching for answers. Although my search for truth led me through many religions and philosophies, my search ended when I stood before Christ and gazed upon that cross. When I saw the blood that was spilled for me, everything that I experienced before just didn’t matter anymore. That’s when I decided to follow Jesus, to accept him as my savior. And just like that, I was forgiven, given a second chance… and I laughed.

By PASTOR JOSEPH CHOI 12 May, 2017
Author: Jason Kim, NBCC Worship Leader

“And now I am bound by the Spirit to go to Jerusalem. I don’t know what awaits me, except that the Holy Spirit tells me in city after city that jail and suffering lie ahead. But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God.”

‭‭Acts of the Apostles‬ ‭20:22-24‬ ‭(NLT)


The only thing Paul was certain at this point of his life and ministry was being jailed in every city and suffering. Holy Spirit told him that. Instead of being scared and discouraged, Paul claims "My life is worth nothing unless..."

Our lives are worth nothing. Unless we use it to tell others that Jesus died for them and rose again. 

I pray that God will pour out His Spirit to wake us up inside to feel that truth in our hearts. Do you feel empty? Do you feel like your life is not worth anything? You're partially right. It is worthless! UNLESS we live for Jesus who died and rose for us.

Tell this truth to yourself. Your family. Not only tell others the Good News but serve them. Serve your father. Your sister. Unbelievers at church. Struggling Christian brothers and sister.

That's the purpose of our praise and worship team. And being the church. To proclaim AND live like our lives are worth nothing unless we tell others about Jesus, not just with words but also with actions by serving them

Keep moving forward. Becoming men of God.

 - Jason Kim
NBCC Worship Leader
By PASTOR JOSEPH CHOI 16 Mar, 2017

A Christian friend of mine started to advocate for gay rights and their belief in same sex marriage. He became a spokes person for a new organization to promote an awareness and dialogue with conservative Christian organizations and with a goal to change their perspective on biblical views about marriage. This is their mission statement:

Our mission is straightforward: Evangelicals for Marriage Equality exists to cultivate a new conversation on the issue of civil marriage equality, so that evangelicals understand that it’s possible to be a faithful Christian and a supporter of same-sex marriage.

Below was my response back to my Christian friend supporting same sex marriage.  After he read what I wrote on my facebook page, he deleted me out of his friendship page. Ouch! That hurts! I listened to his, but I guess he didn’t want to listen to me. It seems the word “tolerance” only has one direction.

 

Part I

SAME SEX MARRIAGE AND BEING A FAITHFUL CHRISTIAN

In your organization’s mission statement, it is stated, “so that evangelicals understand that it’s possible to be a  faithful Christian and a supporter of same-sex marriage.” What does it really mean to be a “faithful Christian?” Who are we being faithful to and what values do we hold onto as true followers of Jesus Christ? As a “faithful Christian” do we neglect the “Great Commission” and put on a new “Cause” with a NEW “SOCIAL GOSPEL”?  Do we follow the whole counsel of God or pick and choose the Jesus we only want and make Him our vessel? The Mormons, Jehovah Witnesses, and Muslims have created their own Jesus. Are we moving towards that direction? Even the 2011 New International Version Bibles have started to change the gender from its original meaning to fit the culture.  WAS THE BIBLE WRITTEN TO SUPPORT THE CULTURE?

Did Jesus come to make everyone happy and have people live the life style they want? Was God’s freely given “grace” be taken advantage to benefit the agendas of man?  So, then what did Jesus mean when he said, “Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division” (Luke 12:51)? In your blogs, articles, and interviews, you talk about God’s “grace” and “love” and how we as Christians should follow Jesus teachings on it. Then, how do we follow what Jesus clearly taught with His action in Matthew 21:12-13? Should we ignore Jesus driving out with His anger on the people who were simply doing what they been doing for years. I’m sure some of them have families and the work they were doing was the only thing bringing food to their starving children.

WHERE WAS JESUS’ “GRACE” AND “LOVE”? Why did he physically and with a whip (John 2:15), had to throw them out?  Why didn’t Jesus be a peace-maker and have a nice dialogue between grown adults? By throwing them out, Jesus clearly made a judgment. Jesus is teaching us NOT to negotiate or make trade with evil: “Take these things away: do not make my Father’s house a house of trade” (John 2:16). Romans 12:9 reminds us to “Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.” These are very strong words to “hate evil” and “cling to good.” The word hate in its original meaning is to “intensively dislike it” and cling means to “glue together” or to “cement.” Jesus is clearly teaching us to intensively hate evil and cement ourselves to the one who can only be good. If we are to be “faithful Christian” then we must be “imitators of God, as beloved children” (Ephesians 5:1). Are you willing to imitate Jesus?

Does the meaning of a “faithful Christian” is to support and accept the new “social gospel”? Whatever happened to preaching the whole counsel of God?

Acts 20:25-27 (ESV)  
25 And now, behold, I know that none of you among whom I have gone about proclaiming the kingdom will see my face again. 26 Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all,  27 for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God.

Should we think like the world and give religious consumers what they want, not necessarily what the Bible says is needed? If we do what the religious consumers want, then can we like Paul say, “I am innocent of the blood of all”? [The word "Blood" stands for being lost eternally. In another other way of saying, "I am innocent if any of you loses eternal life."] When you are in front of Jesus, will you accept the blood of innocent men, women, and children that was led astray by the “social gospel”? In Acts 18:6 the Jews reject Paul in the city of Corinth: “And when they opposed and reviled him, he shook out his garments and said to them, “Your blood be on your own heads! I am innocent. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.” Paul is telling us that he is innocent of the blood not because he didn’t speak of the “whole counsel of God” but because they wouldn’t let him speak it. They didn’t want to hear it. Thus, it was to go on their own blood.

I do not want the blood on my head for not speaking the whole counsel of God. I desire and want to be a “faithful Christian” and speak the “whole” truth. I will make it clear as a pastor: I do not think it is wrong for people of same sex to get married if they are NOT believers in Jesus Christ. Homosexuality was rampant in the Old and New Testament times. All throughout biblical history, the Greek and Roman empires existed alongside temples and shrines with female and male prostitutes. Homosexuality was common and normal practice and for some cultures it was part of their nobility right. Because of this life style and the nature of man’s heart, the New Testament was written to teach believers in Christ to live in the whole counsel of God; holy (1 Peter 1:16) and separate as His chosen people. But, if we call ourselves true believers in Jesus, then we should not be supporting Satan’s strategies of tarrying down what God himself instituted.

I’ve stood silent long enough and stayed quiet, trying not to bring any division, but the push to change young and old Christian minds to Satan’s agendas by misinforming the public with partial biblical knowledge has brought more danger and harm to those who are seeking God’s truth. I have many cousins, nephews, nieces, church members, youth group kids, and many children who on my social media network. I do not want them to be biblically confused and be influenced by the devil’s lies. My silence was too long and I have seen enough Christians hurt by the lies of devil. I’ve decided to fight back with the truth and tell the world what it means to be a true faithful follower of Jesus Christ and I hope that you will join me in fighting this spiritual warfare.

Ephesians 6:10-13 (ESV)  
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.

The bottom line:
At the day of Judgment, what will you say in front of Jesus?

Continue to Part II >>>
 

Also, listen to Minister James McCullum speak on the topic of 
“What is an Ideal Marriage?”

Minister James has been teaching Bible study at his law firm
for many years and has counseled numerous men on their marriages. 
His wife has been a marriage therapist for many years 
and both have impacted married couples towards Christ.

By PASTOR JOSEPH CHOI 16 Mar, 2017

From the Book

New Beginning
I’ve Accepted Christ – Now What?
A Discipleship Guide for New Believers
(Chapter 12, pp. 129-140)

By Joseph Choi & W. Jae Lee

Once you have familiarized yourself with the Lord’s Prayer and have become comfortable applying it on a daily basis, learning about other ways of praying will break the routine. Believe it or not; it is easy to get into a rut praying if you let it. Consistently seeking God through prayer is a spiritual battle, one that can easily be lost if every effort isn’t made to win it. Prayer is so powerful; we dare not miss out on the medium God has provided for drawing us closer to Himself. The fact that He has included us in His plans is amazing, and His plan is to accomplish His will through our prayers.

James 5:13-16 (NIV)  

13 Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them  pray . Is anyone happy? 
Let them sing songs of praise. 14 Is anyone among you sick? 
Let them call the elders of the church to  pray  over them 
and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. 
15 And the  prayer  offered in faith will make the sick person well; 
the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. 
16 Therefore confess your sins to each other 
and  pray  for each other so that you may be healed. 
The  prayer  of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

 

Apostle Paul told the Colossians that he is constantly praying for their spiritual growth.

Colossians 1:9-11 (NIV)  

9 For this reason, since the day we heard about you, 
we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God 
to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom 
and understanding that the Spirit gives, 10 so that you may live a life 
worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: 
bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 
11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience,

 

Here is an example of the ministry of intercession. Paul is praying for people he never met to grow in their relationship with God. The apostle Paul is petitioning God to fill the Colossians with “the knowledge of his will,” so they will bear “fruit in every good work,” “being strengthened with all power,” and “have great endurance and patience.” God wants this for every believer so if you would like to know how to pray for any believer, follow the way that Paul prayed for the Colossians. Three more of Paul’s intercessory prayers are recorded in the books Philippians and Ephesians:

Phillipians 1:9-11 (NIV)  
9 And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more 
in knowledge and depth of insight, 10 so that you may be able 
to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 
11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—
to the glory and praise of God.

 

Ephesians 1:15-19 (NIV)  
15 For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith 
in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people, 
16 I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. 
17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened 
in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, 
the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 
19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. 
That power is the same as the mighty strength

 

Ephesians 3:14-19 (NIV)  
14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 
15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 
16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 
17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. 
And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 
18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, 
to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 
19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—
that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

 

As you can see Paul doesn’t pray lightly. He prays that every believer reach his full potential, the fullness of God. If God answers this prayer, and He will, we will all become just like Jesus, in whom “the fullness of deity dwells in bodily form” ( Colossians 2:9 ). Don’t pray light prayers like, “Lord bless him” because how are we to know if He did it. Be specific as possible so there is no doubt that God did it. This way the glory will go to Him. If I pray that God fill you with the knowledge of His will, I will know He has answered when you grow to be more like Jesus. The reason why Paul asks God to fill the Colossians “with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives,” is so that they “may live a life worthy of the Lord and please Him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God.” The proof of being filled with the will of God is a righteous life. When we pray, we’re not trying to cover all the bases so if something happens, we can credit God with the result. Instead, we reason according to our knowledge of who God is so that our prayers are related to what He wants us to do. In this way the more we know God and pray according to His will, the more of our prayers get answered. The reason why Jesus got all of His prayers answered is because He knew the Father’s will perfectly.

We don’t just pray to get God to do something. Is a favor or a task the only reason you talk to your friends or family members? Paul told the Ephesian believers, “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people” ( Ephesians 6:18 ). What do you talk about with your family and friends? Everything. What should you talk about with the Lord? Everything, especially strength for God’s people. A very popular and practical way to communicate with the Lord is by praying through the acronym “A.C.T.S.” As explained next the procedure will help you keep in mind the areas to address during prayer. You won’t miss anything if you follow the guideline of A.C.T.S.

 

A.C.T.S.

The acronym A.C.T.S. is a simple method to help new believers to pray:  Adoration,  Confession,  Thanksgiving and  Supplication. This model comes from Philippians 4:6.

Phillipians 4:6 (ESV)  
6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

Whether we use A.C.T.S. or others such as P.R.A.Y. (Praise, Repentance, Appreciation, & Yearnings), all help to direct us to God. As you mature in prayer, you may decide not to use them because your relationship with the Lord will become more fluid and spontaneous. It will be more like real life. Until you get to that comfortable point, use these guidelines to keep you focused on Him.

Adoration: I (Joseph) remember when my daughter said to me her first word “daddy.” I was thrilled that she would recognize me and honor me by saying “daddy.” God is no different in that regard. God is deserving of our praise, and it pleases our Lord to hear us offer words of adoration. I encourage you to be very specific. Once you get familiar with the Bible, you can read aloud passages that honor and glorify Him or use specific phrases such as “Lord, you deserve all the praise, honor, and glory,” “For the Lord is the great God, the great King above all gods ( Psalm 95:3 ).”

Confession: Acknowledgment or the declaration of guilt directly to God through prayer clears the way for deeper fellowship with Him. If we knowingly withhold our confession, God is not going to respond. Why should He? God will not be manipulated. We can’t fool Him. Simply say, “Lord, I have sinned against you, I have done _____________________,” “God, this person has hurt me and I have held a grudge toward him for ______. Please help me to let it go, and enable me to forgive him.” The objective is to be honest about our heart condition to an almighty God who knows us and desires to forgive us.

Thanksgiving: People experiencing times of difficulty, hardship, and trials find it difficult to be grateful. However, as a new believer in Christ you understand that your life is now completely different. You have everything to be thankful for. Your eternal destiny has been changed. You have an enduring relationship with the heavenly Father. You have His sovereign protection. When you die, no matter how difficult life may be now, you will spend eternity with Him. You’ll have a brand new body that doesn’t age, never tires, enjoys everything, and lives forever. Comparatively speaking, even if we lived a thousand years full of pain and suffering, next to eternity, that would still be nothing. Any finite number divided by infinity is still zero. Tell God, “Thank you for forgiving me and loving me in spite of my sinfulness,” “Though, I cannot walk, I thank you for this wheelchair that you provided.” It was so encouraging to hear a man born blind say, “The first thing I will ever see is the Lord when I get to heaven.” Not many people can say that. That believer was rejoicing over his blindness, and thankful for the reality of his future with the Lord. With that kind of attitude, I’m sure his present relationship with the Lord is filled with joy and contentment.

Supplication: This part of the prayer model is to make requests to the almighty God. But it doesn’t begin until after you have given God adoration, confession of your sins, and expression of gratitude. Make a request such as “God, please help with ____________.” But be willing to give the request to God so He can bring about the outcome He desires. This is an important principle to follow. Jesus Himself said, “May Your will be done,” knowing that He would die the next day (Matthew 26:42). Jesus entrusted the outcome of His life to His sovereign Father. Even though Jesus experienced an excruciating death, He redeemed you and me. Jesus had in mind His own comfort but submitted to the Father’s will. The result was infinitely better. Had Jesus not gone to the cross, we wouldn’t be writing this book right now and you and I would still be living in sin. Praise Jesus for submitting to the Father’s will.
To close go back to “Adoration.” Praise Him once again before saying, “Amen.” He is deserving.

 

When and How Long to Pray

I am convinced prayer is the determining factor between mild stirrings and deep breakthroughs in life. The difference between mediocrity and greatness is measured by your prayer life. The more we pray the more God works. Jesus demonstrated that prayer was His secret source of spiritual strength and the reservoir of real refreshment. Even when he was very busy, he was never too busy to pray. Prayer was the first of Jesus’ daily activities and appointments and the first item on his calendar ( Mark 1:35 ).
Though you can pray anywhere at any time on any day, it is best to set a consistent time each day. Begin by setting a time either at night or early morning Monday through Sunday. Start with fifteen to thirty minutes of prayer time, including Scripture reading.
I (Joseph) operated my own business for many years and used this opportunity to go into my office early to pray and read my Bible. After a solid time of prayer and the Word, I would turn the sign to “open” for business. Those vital moments with the Lord gave me discernment and wisdom in business matters, helping me to successfully grow the business as I applied Christian principles.

 

Consistent Place to Pray

Going to my office early and on a daily basis prepared my mind to meet with the Lord. I could communicate with the Lord without any distractions. If Jesus had a favorite place to pray during His earthly life, the Mount of Olives was certainly one of them. Inside the Mount of Olives was a garden called Gethsemane which means “the garden of the oil press.” Jesus often went there to pray, and it was there He was found praying when they arrested Him before His crucifixion.
For Moses the place to commune with the Lord was the Tent of Meeting. This particular tent was made sacred because of the divine dialogue that went on inside between Moses and God. When Moses went inside, distractions were minimized, and it made the meeting time with the Lord a very special occasion. Moses would come out refreshed and renewed, ready to handle the stresses of the day. His time with the Lord prepared him to deal with complicated situations and difficult relational issues.

Exodus 33:7-11  
7 Now Moses used to take a tent and pitch it outside the camp 
some distance away, calling it the “tent of meeting.” 
Anyone inquiring of the LORD 
would go to the tent of meeting outside the camp. 
8 And whenever Moses went out to the tent, 
all the people rose and stood at the entrances to their tents, 
watching Moses until he entered the tent. 9 As Moses went into the tent, 
the pillar of cloud would come down and stay at the entrance, 
while the LORD spoke with Moses. 
10 Whenever the people saw the pillar of cloud 
standing at the entrance to the tent, 
they all stood and worshiped, each at the entrance to their tent. 
11 The LORD would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend.

 

Journaling

During prayer, I would make petitions and ask questions, often receiving answers directly from reading His Word. As I received answers from the Scriptures, I would write them down and reflect on them. The more I meditated upon the answers, the clearer it became. The clarity helped me make the right decision in what I was contemplating. Spending time with the Lord was amazing every time. God would bring a thought to mind or reveal an insight through His Word, which I would write down. When the messages were not clear, I would pray daily until the Lord gave me clarity. At every crucial decision point of my life, I noticed in my journal that God had not only answered my prayers, but showed me better paths to choose.
We’re all busy, so why add another activity to my schedule you ask? Plain and simple, journaling helps you remember the goodness of God. If we don’t journal, we might forget what God brought to our minds. If He gives direction, speaks to our hearts, or convicts us of something important, shouldn’t we remember them? When God gives us a special dream or a unique vision, journaling will help us not to forget it. Years later, when it gets fulfilled, you can actually trace it back to its origins and remind yourself of the goodness of our great God. During my time of trials and difficulties, I have often looked back on my journal to remind myself of how God had always shown up and prevailed in my situations. He has never let go of His love for me and my family. Let me encourage you to try journaling for 30 days, and if you see the benefits, continue it for one year. After a year, re-evaluate. I predict you won’t be able to stop, but it’s strictly up to you.

 
 

Make sure to check out other posts regarding the series on Prayer!
Importance of Prayer
Understanding the Lord’s Prayer

 

Would you like to read more?
You can order this book from www.amazon.com

By PASTOR JOSEPH CHOI 16 Mar, 2017

From the Book

New Beginning
I’ve Accepted Christ – Now What?
A Discipleship Guide for New Believers
(Chapter 10, pp. 112-117)

By Joseph Choi & W. Jae Lee

For close to a year, I prayed through Matthew 6:9-13 and learned amazing things which I used to take for granted. Eventually, learning the basics of prayer helped me through college; it helped me find a career and my wife; it helped me understand what it meant to be a husband, a father, a leader, and most importantly prayer helped strengthen me in times of trials and tribulations. Why would such a holy God answer your prayers? It is because you have a personal relationship with Him through Jesus Christ. You are a child of God, and He loves you.

Romans 8:16 (NIV)
16   The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit
that we are God’s children.

How important is prayer? Prayer was so important that it was the last thing Jesus taught his disciples before he died. If you knew you were going to die the next day, what would you teach your disciples? Jesus chose prayer as His legacy, and it continues to this very day, even to you.

Matthew 26:36 (NIV)
36   Then Jesus went with his disciples
to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them,
“Sit here while I go over there and pray.”

Jesus knew that he would die the next day, so he took his disciples to a place called Gethsemane to pray ( Matt. 26:36 ), but when he returned to his disciples, he found them sleeping “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked ( Matt. 26:40 ). Jesus told the disciples to “watch and pray” and again in verse 41. Later, Jesus returned to find them sleeping again, “So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing” ( Matt. 26:44 ).

If prayer was paramount to Jesus’ life and ministry, then it must be a priority for us too. Prayers are recorded throughout the Old Testament, John the Baptist taught his disciples to pray, and the disciples of Jesus realized that they needed to be taught how to pray so they asked:

Luke 11:1 (NIV)  
1   One day Jesus was praying in a certain place.
When he finished, one of his disciples said to him,
“Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.”

What Jesus taught them was not a prayer to be memorized and recited as a ritual. It was a prayer guideline, format or structure for the disciples to build on. God wants meaningful dialogue with us and isn’t interested in routine or vain repetition. In fact, God seeks those who worship Him in sincerity and truth. Our relationship with Him must be totally genuine and intimately personal. You don’t want someone to talk to you like a robot. Neither does the Lord.

Matthew 6:7 (NIV)  
7   And when you pray,
do not keep on babbling like pagans,
for they think they will be heard because of their many words.

God wants a close, personal relationship with each of us. Knowing how to pray will not come naturally for most new believers; it will take time, consistency, and patience but most importantly a driving passion to seek God’s face. The “Lord’s Prayer” is a framework for every kind of praying. In the beginning of your prayer journey, it will be helpful to memorize key words until you feel comfortable enough to move to the next level. So rather than repeating the Lord’s Prayer verbatim, you can address your concerns by topics. Remember, Jesus tells us not to ramble on during prayer. He knows what’s on our hearts. Our words should be few. The effective prayer is not measured by how loud you pray, or how long you pray, but how submissive and sincere you are.   Proverbs 16:2   tell us, “All a person’s ways seem pure to them, but motives are weighed by the LORD.”

Matthew 6:9-13 (NIV)  

9   “This, then, is how you should pray:  

“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
10   your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
11   Give us today our daily bread.
12   And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13   And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.’

Is that it? It seems so short and simple. Don’t be fooled. Jesus was introducing to his disciples the basics, but there’s a lot of meat on those bones. As the disciples matured and grew to better understand these primary concepts, they learned to pray more effectively. But most importantly they learned how to relate with their heavenly Father in the most intimate and appropriate way. They saw the Lord move in ways that even went beyond some of the things the Lord did on earth ( John 14:12 ,   Acts 2:41 ).

Short Answers:   Relationships in
The Lord’s Prayer ( Matthew 6:9-13 )

“Our Father”:   Father and Child

“Hallowed be your name”:   God and Worshiper

“Your Kingdom come”:   King and Subject

“Your will be done”:   Master and Servant

“Give us … bread”:   Provider and Recipient

“Forgive us our debts(sins)”:   Savior and Sinner

“Lead us not into temptation”:   Leader and Follower

“Deliver us from evil”:   Protector and Deliverer

As you can see Christ was teaching the disciples the different aspects of our relationship with the Father. In every line of the prayer there is a relationship emphasized. It begins with a familial connection and ends with a deliverer tie. We relate to God in all these ways. We have a role in the dialogue. Through prayer there is an appropriate interaction taking place between God and us. You may not see it in the prayer, but God is responding back to the believer. You would be surprised how often He speaks to us when we pray. We’ll see how that happens in the next chapter.

“Short Answers”:   Primary Points in Prayer

“Point 1″:   The supreme purpose of prayer is to honor and glorify God.

“Point 2″:   Prayer is an opportunity for God to manifest His goodness and glory to the believers.

“Point 3″:   If you do not know how to pray then ask the Holy Spirit to help you.

Romans 8:26 (NIV)  
26   In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness.
We do not know what we ought to pray for,  
but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.

 
 

Make sure to check out other posts regarding the series on Prayer!
Understanding the Lord’s Prayer
Growing in Prayer

 

Would you like to read more?
You can order this book from www.amazon.com

By PASTOR JOSEPH CHOI 16 Mar, 2017

From the Book

New Beginning
I’ve Accepted Christ – Now What?
A Discipleship Guide for New Believers
(Chapter 11, pp. 118-128)

By Joseph Choi & W. Jae Lee

Jesus said, “When you pray, say Our Father…” What an incredible privilege it is to dialogue with our Great God! King David, when still a shepherd boy looking up at the stars, thought it was remarkable that the Almighty Creator God would even take the time to think of man. He wrote in Psalms 8:3-4, “3   When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,   4   what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?”

John 14:13 (NIV)  

And I will do whatever you ask in my name,
so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

Now, Jesus was inviting the disciples to have a father-son relationship with God instead of just a master-slave kind. This was more than they could comprehend. Because the Old Testament rarely referred to God as Father, the disciples found it difficult to address God in this way. However, Jesus brought to us a new way of connecting with God as a loving Father. He gave the disciples the relationship He had with the Father. For over three years, Jesus modeled for them the kind of personal relationship they should pursue with the Father.

 

The Lord’s Prayer

Matthew 6:9-13 (NIV)  

9   “This, then, is how you should pray:  

“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
10   your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
11   Give us today our daily bread.
12   And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13   And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.’

Brief Summary:  The Lord’s Prayer contains two sections. The first section deals with God’s glory (vv. 9-10) and the second with man’s need (vv. 11-13). Furthermore, each section is composed of three petitions (appeals or requests). The first three are petitions on behalf of God’s name, His Kingdom, and His will. The second three are petitions for daily bread, forgiveness, and protection from temptation. Jesus didn’t tell the disciples, “This is   what   you should pray.” Instead He told them   “This, then, is how you should pray.”   The disciples did not ask Jesus to teach them a prayer but to teach them “how” to pray. To paraphrase Jesus was saying, “Pray then, in this way,” or “Pray along these lines.”

Our Father in heaven:  The Almighty God is “Our Father,” who is worthy of our adoration, praise, and honor. There is no earthly father like He. Therefore, as believers, we are to pray to our Father with a childlike respect, love, and confidence. “In Heaven,” are all the resources that are available to us when we trust God as our heavenly supplier, but we must seek the giver of gifts and not just the gifts. It would be inappropriate and dishonoring to approach our heavenly Father for all the things He could provide and not want to have anything to do with Him.

Hallowed be Your name:  Another word for “hallowed” is “holy.” So, when saying, “hallowed be your name” in essence you are saying, “Let Your name be holy on earth as it is holy in heaven.” Even the angel’s cried out “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory” (Isaiah 6:3). Therefore, when you pray “Hallowed be your name,” you are treating God with the adoration, respect, and honor that He deserves. We are saying to the Creator that He deserves the utmost worship, and we do this by honoring His name because His name is who He is.

Your kingdom come:   God is the King over His dominion, and the King is inseparable from His kingdom. When we pray “Your kingdom come,” we are recognizing that God is the ruler of our lives, and we want to see Him, ruling over the entire world. And if He is the King, we are His subjects, privileged to serve Him in any way He commands. We ought to be constantly concerned with applying His “kingdom” principles in our daily lives. All that is good and right about heaven is what we want on earth. His rule, His presence, His joy, and His fellowship are all included in the plea.

Your will be done, on earth as it is heaven:   This aspect of prayer is affirming your submission to God’s plan for your life. When you say “Your will be done,” you are praying first that God’s will become your will and not only that but that His will be the only will on “earth as it is in heaven.” What is the point of declaring supremacy of His will? Our will and His will are in conflict in an on-going battle. If we don’t remind ourselves that we are serving Him instead of the other way around, we will live like He exists for us. We can never forget that we exist for Him. We have joined His cause so we follow His plan. We must have no will of our own. We must do everything that pleases Him (John 8:29).[For further understanding of God’s Will for your life, go to Part 5: “Knowing God’s Will”]

Give us today our daily bread: The word “bread” is a symbol that stands for all our physical needs. It is breathtaking to understand that a Holy and Mighty God that created the universe and who is completely self-sufficient, would even consider caring and supplying our physical needs. How wonderful it is that we should know a God that truly provides. Just think how much you would care about your children’s needs. Now multiply that by a million. That doesn’t even come close to how much He cares about your needs. Do you think He will provide those needs?

Matthew 6:32-33 (NIV)  

32For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.   33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors:   The principle behind this process is that as a child of God, you are simply saying “I am sorry Lord for the wrong (sin) I have done. Please forgive me.” Repentance from the heart restores the fellowship we have with the Father. (A distinction needs to be made here between a relationship and fellowship. We make this distinction for this section only because sometimes the word relationship is used synonymously with the word fellowship, as in a good relationship or a bad relationship with another person.) Fellowship occurs in the context of a relationship. Once we become believers we have a relationship with God that never changes. We are His children forever. But our fellowship with our heavenly Father can have its ups and downs like our human relationships.

When I (Jae) offend my wife, I may end up on the couch because our fellowship is broken, but our relationship or marriage doesn’t change unless we get a divorce. A more permanent illustration is with my son. If we have broken our fellowship in one way or another, we can restore that fellowship by apologizing and forgiving, but our relationship will never change in a zillion years. We will be father-son forever.

All of our sins have been wiped clean, past, present, and future, because of the cross. We suffer no eternal consequences because of our sins. We only suffer fellowship-wise if we don’t repent. Therefore, we seek forgiveness in order to be renewed in our fellowship with the Father. Sin that is not confessed is not forgiven (1 John 1:9). We may get away with it when relating to people, but not with God. And, since sin separates us from God, forgiveness restores the fellowship in the case of the believer and in the case of the unbeliever forgiveness begins his relationship with the Father. Get used to repenting because you never want anything to hinder your fellowship with the Father.

The condition attached to asking for forgiveness attests to the seriousness of God’s concern for our fellowship with other people. If we don’t forgive others, God won’t forgive us which means our unwillingness to forgive others keeps our fellowship with the Father from being restored. Then, we can never have fellowship with God without restoring our fellowship with others. It cannot get any clearer than that.

Matthew 6:14-15 (NIV)  

14For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.   15But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

This stands to reason. If Jesus came to earth for the purpose of providing forgiveness for mankind, then it is the most important agenda God has. What would it say about us if we say we want Your forgiveness God, but other people can’t have ours? We’re not saying “Your will be done.” But that’s what we consented to in the beginning of our prayer. When it comes to forgiveness, be as generous as your heavenly Father is, and He will bless you with sweet fellowship with Him.

And lead us not into temptation:   First and foremost, we must understand that God does not lead anyone into a situation to be induced to commit sin, nor would a Holy God tempt anyone. “When tempted, no one should say, ‘God is tempting me. ’For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone” (James 1:13). After rebirth the heart desire of the believer is to avoid sin and the consequences that follow. It happens naturally as the result of the Spirit’s indwelling presence, which means that temptation is now greater and the fight more intense. We feel threatened by sin. Our awareness of what displeases God increases so we have to be more diligent about being pure. This is why we pray, “Steer us away from temptation.” We don’t want to be in its proximity. We don’t even want a whiff. We never want to sin against God by falling into temptation. We only want to honor and glorify Him.

But deliver us from the evil one:   When you accepted Jesus Christ as Lord over your life and you surrendered your heart to the Father, Satan lost another one. I don’t know about you, but I hate losing. Imagine a greedy, selfish, egotistical, hedonist, of the worst kind losing a prized possession to somebody else. Do you think he’s going to sit around and accept defeat maturely? Consequently, expect a tenacious fight to get you back or at least expect Satan to try to destroy the fellowship you have with the Father. Before you came under the headship of Christ, your conscience and heart had a shallow understanding of wrongdoing; however, after accepting Christ your mind and heart were touched by the Spirit of God’s holiness. Satan is going to fight against that desire for holiness tooth and nail so you’re going to need God’s help to withstand him. Nobody on earth and in heaven has the capacity to defeat Satan except the Lord. Only He can deliver us. But in order for God to “deliver us from the evil one,” we must be under His protection and submit to His Word. “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7). We are confessing our need for protection and deliverance to our protective Father and we don’t fear the evil one because we have one greater than He who holds us in His hand (Deut. 31:12, 1John 4:4). We are sober about Satan’s power, but we don’t fear him. God holds our destiny in His hands and not the evil one. He will subdue Satan and deliver us from him.

1 Peter 5:9 (NIV)  

9Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

Sample of How You Can Put the Lord’s Prayer together:

“Our Father in heaven”   you are the Almighty God, who deserves all honor, all praise, and all glory. You created heaven and earth and you created me because you loved me. So,   “Hallowed be your name”   by which I was saved from sin and came into your presence. May your name be lifted up by the way I conduct myself. Father may,   “Your kingdom come.”   Rest in my heart and rule over it as your dominion.

Lord, may I be obedient to what you will show me. Today, I am meeting with _________ so grant me encouraging words; I need to make a decision on _________ so grant me wisdom to know what to do; I need help in __________ so enable me to work diligently; and give me peace about _________.

Lord,   “Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven,”   and I fully submit to your plans instead of mine. May I do the best that I can but leave the outcome to you and not demand my own way. Daddy,   “Give us today our daily bread,”   for we are financially lacking to pay for our _________.

Lord, thank you for caring for my needs. Father, please   “forgive us (me) our (my) debts (sins).”   I have sinned today, please forgive me for __________. Please help me live free from sin! I can’t do this by myself! I desperately need your help. And, Lord, please help me to   “forgive our (my) debtors”   who hurt me. Help me to forgive them, and let my anger and bitterness toward _________ be removed.

Dear God, “lead me away from temptation” in ________ and help me to overcome _________. Moreover,   “deliver us (me) from the evil one,”   for I fear you and no other, not even the devil, for he is under your dominion. May you rule supremely over my life, for you are my Savior and the Master of my heart. May your Words be my shield and sword, and may your holy name give me strength for today. In Jesus name I pray, amen.

Remember, this is just a sample. Don’t make this a ritual you read every day. Change it up. Break the routine. Speak honestly from your heart and enjoy His presence.

Make sure to check out other posts regarding the series on Prayer!
Importance of Prayer
Growing in Prayer

 

Would you like to read more?
You can order this book from www.amazon.com

By PASTOR JOSEPH CHOI 16 Mar, 2017

Author: Pastor Isaac Cho

I was in disbelief when my sister told me Robin Williams committed suicide. This is what’s interesting about the “celebrity system,” even though a majority of us don’t know Robin personally, we feel as if we actually knew him, based on our experiences watching him on the big screen. It seemed as if the whole world was mourning the tragic loss of a great friend. As with most tragedies, people started asking questions. How could someone, who brought so much laughter and joy, be haunted by so much pain and sadness?

There is an interesting relationship between comedy and tragedy. Next time you hear a comedian performing his or her stand up, listen carefully and ask yourself why you laugh. What makes a joke funny? I mean a good comedian is like a good musician, it is all about timing and delivery. However, if we pay close attention to why we laugh at jokes, at stand up routines, at comedic moments in movies, we realize its because we can relate. Now I’m not a professional comedian, but I understand what a comedian does. When they stand up there, they share very intimate moments and situations in their lives. If it was delivered by a non-comedian, it would be tragic.

Lets take a simple “poop” joke for example. The reason why we still get a chuckle from a simple poop joke is because we’ve all pooped before (at least I hope). For some of us, we’ve all experienced a time in which we had to use the bathroom, but no bathroom was available. And for the “lucky” few (I would be in this category), we’ve experienced relieving ourselves in places other than a designated bathroom out of sheer desperation. It’s tragically funny.

 

My parents named me Isaac. At first I questioned why they would give me, an Asian-American boy, a very Jewish name. I grew to like it. At least I wasn’t named a typical Korean-American name like Daniel (which ironically is my brother’s name). I learned at a young age, that Isaac translates to laughter, or to be more precise, “he laughs.” In Genesis, we see the reasoning behind why Abraham named his son Isaac.

Now the Lord was gracious to Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did for Sarah what he had promised. Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the very time God had promised him. Abraham gave the name Isaac to the son Sarah bore him. When his son Isaac was eight days old, Abraham circumcised him, as God commanded him. Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him. Sarah said, “God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.” ( NIV. Gen 21:1-6 )

 

Later on, God commands Abraham to offer his son, Isaac, as a sacrifice. I’ve always wondered what Isaac was thinking about during this time. Was he thinking about the meaning behind his name as he was tied to the altar? Was he questioning why his father was doing this to him? Did he put up a fight, or struggle? Or did he just stay still, accepting his fate? When Abraham raised his dagger, was Isaac thinking about laughter? Before Abraham was able to kill his son, an angel of the Lord appeared and stopped him.

To me, this story is very symbolic (and yes, an actual account). For me, it represents this strange dichotomy between tragedy and comedy. Isaac was born to Abraham and Sarah decades past the “prime” of their age. If a centennial were to give birth today, it would be a medical miracle. For Sarah and Abraham, it was a source of laughter. However, there was a point in their lives where they thought that their boy, their source of laughter, would be taken away.

I started to develop a very dark and cynical sense of humor during my early twenties. It was a way for me to cope, to escape the drama surrounding my life at the time. I was very familiar with death. I lost friends and loved ones to suicide, some died from overdosing on some ungodly substance, and I lost a dear friend who was shot because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. I tried to distance myself from these experiences I was just unpleasant to be around with.

This led me to a very dark path. I was nihilistic, where I didn’t even care if God existed. I was fatalistic, where I tested death by acting a fool. I could see Abraham’s dagger being raised in the air. I felt like God was running out of patience with me, and all I could do was scoff and laugh. I saw the dagger plunge downward, moments away from spilling my blood. Now it wasn’t a physical dagger, but I was trying to end my life with alcohol and other addictions.

 

So what happened? What changed me? How did I go from that to writing this blog? To be honest, as I reflect back on this, I can’t really explain it in a way that makes sense. It just doesn’t make sense. The only thing I can tell you is that there were people praying for me. I woke up one morning, I didn’t know where I was or what I did the night before, but felt this presence of just otherworldly calm and peace. I knew there was someone watching over me. I went on a journey searching for answers. Although my search for truth led me through many religions and philosophies, my search ended when I stood before Christ and gazed upon that cross. When I saw the blood that was spilled for me, everything that I experienced before just didn’t matter anymore. That’s when I decided to follow Jesus, to accept him as my savior. And just like that, I was forgiven, given a second chance… and I laughed.

By PASTOR JOSEPH CHOI 16 Mar, 2017

My Personal Story

Trilogy of God’s Existence Part 3

I grew up without a father for most of my life. There was the physical presence, but it was just that. I could literally count the words he spoke with my fingers. Some say, it was the culture and traditions of the older Koreans but either way, my heart was empty and longing for a father’s love. It is obvious in any culture and nationality, without the physical and emotional presence of a father, you will always see problems in the children.

On December 25, 2012, the Washington Times wrote an article titled Fathers disappear from households across America. According to the times fifteen million U.S. Children, or 1 in 3, live without a father, and nearly 5 million live without a mother. Varying statistics show 75 to 85% of male inmates grew up in homes without a father. The 2011 U.S. Census Bureau show that Children in father-absent homes are almost four times more likely to be poor. In 2011, 12 percent of children in married-couple families were living in poverty, compared to 44 percent of children in mother-only families. it is clear that in order to tackle poverty, you need to tackle family issues. Other surveys indicate children born to single mothers show higher levels of aggressive behavior than children born to married mothers and there is significantly more drug use among children who do not live with their mother and father. The U.S. Department of Education indicated a father’s involvement in schools is associated with the higher likelihood of a student getting mostly A’s.

Why am I mentioning statistics on absent father’s? We see the consequences of an absent father physically and emotionally, how much more damage would there be of an absent spiritual father. Let’s consider this thought. What controls your body? The mind. If the mind tells the body to turn right then the body turns to the right. What then controls the mind? The heart. If the heart is angry, the mind thinks of angry things and your body responds to those angry thoughts either by words or by behavior. If the heart is happy, then the mind thinks of happy things and you say nice things or go hug people out of joy. If the mind controls the body and the heart controls the mind, what then controls your heart? If you say that nothing controls your heart, then you’re living in a different planet.

 

It is common news today for school shootings and no professional psycologists have been able to find an answer to this sudden violence among young people. Even shooting little children has become familiar news to the point of getting a brief one day news spot light. All the top psychiatrists and criminal experts cannot find any conclusive knowledge nor understanding as to how and why these things happen. If they were to find the answers, then it would have all stopped after the Columbine High School shooting. No experts from the world can give you an answer, for there is none. We either allow Satan or Jesus to enter into our hearts to give consciousness to the mind and peace to the body. Once again, we must understand that if the mind controls the body and the heart controls the mind, we must take very careful consideration as to what you will allow to control your heart. For me, I choose the only spiritual father who will never leave me nor forsake me. I choose to allow the Holy Spirit to take reign and control my heart and my mind. Left to myself, I know that I cannot achieve full peace and harmony between my mind and heart.

Deuteronomy 31:6 (NKJV)  

Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.

When we truly accept Jesus Christ as our Savior and believe that He has died for our sins and was resurrected on the third day, then we become a significant part of God’s family and He becomes our spiritual Father. Maybe you grew up without a father. Maybe your father was never there for you or that he was physically abusive. Where are the positive male role models today? We can’t find them on T.V. nor in our professional sports. Movie actors just gives us entertainment. So, where can we find this perfect father?

I was the youngest out of six kids with issues of anger. My older brothers never demonstrated a positive life; not even in their marriages. My second oldest brother re-married 3 or 4 times. It got to the point where everyone lost track because his heart was always up and down. My heart struggled to look for good male role models. Young men in general will always look for mentors to guide them through life tough situations. When society, culture, reality, and media does not give any positive truths about life, many young men will struggle to find meaning and purpose as men. Because countless number of men believe that God, especially Jesus as deity, does NOT exist, they will struggle in their own existence of truth and what it means to be a “man” of God. However, even with an absent father like myself, and if we can imagine a loving spiritual father who will never leave us nor forsake us, then there is a possibility of knowing that God exists to bring us to be part of His loving family.

My friend invited me to a Christian retreat for prayer. During the prayer time, I struggled to pray to a God that I didn’t believe existed. However, my heart was empty, hurting, and longing for a father who would love me. There in silence, I told God that if he was real, he would give my heart peace and teach me on becoming a man that He would want me to be. I didn’t have any supernatural experience of a powerful wind or storm, but a gentle calmness of my heart started coming over me. I never felt so much peace in my life and I started to cry not because of sadness but of joy. Somehow, I just knew that God heard my prayer and entered my heart. The father I never had now existed in my heart. My life story doesn’t become perfect after this. In fact, I guess you can say, I faced many tests, trials, and hardships to the point of losing my entire business and home. I didn’t know that my employee had a gambling addiction. In two weeks, close to a $100,000 disappeared. He stole six business checks and made his own along with stealing all the credit card information in my office. It would be difficult to give you the full story in this blog, but I would encourage you to read my full story, in the book “Real People Real Suffering Real Victory: Inspiring Stories of Victory.” You can go to Amazon.com and just type in the title. I know for certain you will enjoy reading this book.

How do I know that God exists? I can’t see Him nor touch Him. However, if you truly accepted Jesus as your personal Lord, then you can feel Him in your heart. If you can envision a wind, you cannot see it, nor touch it, but you can feel the wind. I felt the strong presence of God who forgave me for all my sins and loved me unconditionally. I have become a new creation in Jesus Christ, because I repented of my ways and believe that he died for me. In His death on the cross, my old self died along with him and in His resurrection, my new life became part of God’s family. Jesus became my new spiritual father. Millions on their own free will have chosen to believe and put their faith in Jesus Christ. This does not mean that your life will be easy, but because you did choose Jesus as God, He will come along with you to help you persevere and endure through whatever the devil tries to do to you. Do you have a spiritual father? Would you like to meet Him? If you heart and mind is open, then just ask this simple question: “God if you are real, will you make yourself known to me. Let me know that you are real.” Keep praying this simple prayer and in God’s timing, He will make himself known to you.

Be blessed my friends and make sure to let me know how you are doing.

Joseph Choi 
Senior Pastor 
New Beginning Community Church 
Silver Spring, MD

If you need prayer, please go to our  Support  section and click on  Let NBCC Pray for You.  If you would like to give, please go to our  Support  menu and click on  Donate . Thank you so much for reading this article. I hope and pray that it has helped you in some way.

By PASTOR JOSEPH CHOI 16 Mar, 2017

From the Book

New Beginning
I’ve Accepted Christ – Now What?
A Discipleship Guide for New Believers

By Joseph Choi & W. Jae Lee
 

[Chapter 9:  Confirm the Faith ]

Before continuing we would like to rejoice with you in becoming a follower of Jesus Christ. Your decision to accept Him as your Lord and Savior is the most important decision you could ever make–a decision that has eternal consequences. You have been relocated from the dominion of darkness into His marvelous light. Your citizenship is now in heaven. Welcome to the body of believers! You are now our sibling. Whatever your past may have been and no matter how many sins you have committed, God has wiped your slate clean because you have turned from your sins and embraced Jesus Christ as your redeemer.

In the past, when you did not know God, you were spiritually dead. Ephesians 2:1 says, “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins.” All of us were born with a physical body, but spiritually we were dead. Death does not mean what we normally think of when we think of death. A better word for death is separation. Being dead in our transgressions and sins means we have been separated from our relationship with God because of our sinful nature. When we say that a marriage is dead, we don’t mean that the couple died. We are saying that the relationship is irreparable. The couple is living 2 separate lives. It is a complete separation of the relationship. Spiritual death is our separation from God. We don’t have a relationship with God when we are dead in sin (Sin in the singular can mean two things: one sin we commit or sin as a principle. We mean the latter here). We don’t have a desire for Him, and He can’t relate with us because our sins are getting in the way of His holiness. However, by repenting and placing your faith in Christ, you went from death to life, from no relationship to an eternal standing with God as His child. The apostle Paul said if you are “in Christ,” you are a brand new creature (2 Corinthians 5:17) and you have been born into God’s family.

God has been watching over you before you were even born. Jeremiah 1:5 says, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” God knew you, as He knew Jeremiah, long before you were born or even conceived. He thought about you and planned a destiny for you. When you feel discouraged or inadequate, remember that God has always loved you and valued you. The God who made the universe prepared it with you in mind. The universe was made for us. How amazing is that? The longing in his heart was to have a relationship with those He created.

Matthew 23:37 (NIV)
37Jerusalem, O Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.

 

Have you ever pondered these questions?

σ  Why would an “Almighty God” care about me?
σ Why would God want a relationship with me?
σ Does God really have a purpose and plan for my life?

Once you know the answers to these questions, you will experience a radical change in your life because  “The truth will set you free”  (John 8:32). Your personal decision to surrender your life to God started a journey toward being a fully devoted follower of Jesus Christ. You will experience new levels of freedom and a transformation only God can bring. God will change your life. And you will be changed because God is going to work in you. He is not an absentee father who doesn’t interact with His children. He will conform you into the image of His Son. Furthermore, Jesus is going to live His life in you through the Holy Spirit. We call Jesus our Lord because we have surrendered our control over to Him. When we submit to Him in this way, we become a member of His family. John expressed this in his gospel, “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12). Because you received Jesus Christ as your Lord, you became God’s child.

From this point on, you will have some exciting and challenging days ahead of you. As you communicate with your heavenly Father through prayer, He will answer and guide you in everything you do. He will transform you into the person He wants you to be. You will be amazed at the changes that will take place. At the same time as you endeavor to live for Him, Satan will make every attempt to distract you from getting closer to Him. Satan can’t oppose God so he tries to come against the objects of His love. You are Satan’s target. He’s been targeting God’s people from the beginning. In the book of Genesis we read that Satan persuaded the first man Adam to disobey God. Satan accomplished this by deceiving Adam’s wife Eve. This deception paved the way for the devil to control the whole human race.

Ephesians 2:1-2 (NIV)
1As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.

The world, as a system, is ruled by Satan. You were once a pawn on his board. However, your acceptance of Jesus Christ as Lord delivered you from Satan’s control. He no longer has authority over you because you belong to God’s family now.

Let’s use adoption as an illustration:

Your natural spiritual father was Satan, and he mistreated you and used you as a tool for his evil schemes. Under his fatherhood you lied, stole, cheated, murdered, lusted, fornicated, coveted, and pursued selfish ambitions. You thought you had no choice because nothing else was offered to you. Along comes God the Father who says, “I will never mistreat you or compel you to do evil. Would you like to become my adopted child? All you have to do is say, ‘Yes,’ and you will forever be mine. You’ll never have to worry about Satan hurting you again.”

“What about the cost of adoption?” you ask, “and what about all the crimes I’ve committed?”

God the Father understandingly replies, “I will pay the cost of the adoption, and since I have the executive prerogative to forgive, I will remove all records of all the crimes you have committed. You will truly be free.”

“It sounds too good to be true. Who in his right mind would do such a thing for me? I don’t deserve any of it. How can I know what you are saying to me is true?” you inquire in disbelief.

“Try it. Say, yes,” He replies.

You take a while but you decide to take a chance since you don’t have anything to lose. You’re tired of the life you were living so you say, “Yes.”

God comes over to your house and puts a ring on your finger indicating that you are His. As you’re walking out the door Satan runs over and grabs your arm in fuming anger, demanding an explanation of why God is taking you with Him. God breaks his grip and tells him that you said, “Yes,” to His offer. And as you two walk away from your house, Satan shouts in defiance, “I’ll get you back if it’s the last thing I do.” But God confidently comforts you with, “He’ll never get you back. This transaction is permanent, and you belong to me now, and I’ll never let you go.”

Thereafter, your new Father wipes your slate clean and places you in His home. But frequently Satan comes to your fence in your new home and calls out, “You’re mine. You will always be mine. You have to listen to me. You must go home with me.” And others come demanding that you must go to jail for committing all kinds of crimes. You feel guilty about everything, but your heavenly Father reminds you He paid it all. You are safe with Him and you don’t have to listen to your old spiritual father anymore. You can begin to build a relationship with your new Father who adopted you permanently.

 

From the illustration you can see how just by knowing you belong to another breaks the old relational habits. When sin or Satan says you must do something, you don’t have to obey. God expressed his remedy for sin in 1 John 3:8, “Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.” Remember that Satan will act like you are still his child. But he has no power over you. He has bark but no bite. Rest assured that you have been set free from evil and empowered to be righteous.

Understanding and Confirming Your Salvation

Let us begin by first understanding the word “sinner.” The Bible helps us understand that the sinner is not necessarily a horrible, hateful person but a person who has chosen NOT to journey through life trusting in God. The “sin” is normally an act or thought that deliberately violates divine law and opposes God’s holiness. All of us were born as “sinners” and therefore fall short of the righteousness required by a holy God. This is the sole reason why Jesus died on the cross for us, so that He could bridge the gap between the “sinner” and the righteous God. The word “repent” simply means that you have decided to ask God to forgive your sins so that you can start to walk with God instead of against Him. The repentant person acknowledges his own sins and determines not to sin again.

Confirming Your Salvation through Scripture

You  agreed with God that you were a sinner and that your sin was separating you from Him.

Romans 3:23 (NIV)
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

 

God  brought you to the realization that there was nothing that you could do (good conduct, good works or religious acts) to save yourself from the penalty of sin. You transferred your trust from what you have been doing to what Jesus Christ has done for you on the cross to pay the penalty for your sins.

Ephesians 2:8-9 (NIV)
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Romans 6:23 (NIV)
23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

You  accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and believed that God has raised him from the dead.

Romans 10:9-10 (ESV)
9 because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.

Romans 10:13 (NIV)
13 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

 

You  repented of your sins and accepted God’s forgiveness.

Acts 3:19 (NIV)
19 Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord,

Psalms 103:12 (NIV)
12 as far as the east is from the west, 
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

 

God  promises you a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Here’s what the Bible says about your new life in Jesus Christ. The following are some of God’s promises in the Bible:

2 Corinthians 5:17 (ESV)
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

 

You  cannot lose your personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

John 10:27-30 (ESV)
27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me,is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.

 

You  can know beyond a shadow of doubt that you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

1 John 5:10-12 (ESV)
10 Whoever believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself. Whoever does not believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has borne concerning his Son. 11 And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.

 

God  lives inside of you in the person of the Holy Spirit. You have received the Holy Spirit and have been sealed by Him who will lead you into all truth.

John 14:16-17 (ESV)
16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.

Ephesians 1:13-14 (ESV)
13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.

 
 
New Creation

When you accepted Jesus Christ into your heart, you became a new creation with the desire to live a new life. Now, you love God and want to obey Him. Your motives changed like Paul’s:

Galations 2:20 (NIV)
20I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

In becoming a Christian the Bible says your very nature, the essence of who you are, changed. 2 Corinthians 5:17 states,  “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”  The “new creation” is the Spirit that lives inside of you as God promised He will  “give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you” (Ezekiel 36:26).  The transformation happened inside of you when you surrendered your “old you” and received a “new you.” Now our new spirit endeavors to honor and worship the one who made us new.

The Bible tells us that man has three fundamental components of existence. Each of us is made up of the spirit, soul, and body. Our body is the temple that holds the Spirit given to us by God.  “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own”  (1 Corinthians 6:19). The soul is the part of us that expresses emotions and reason, while the spirit is our moral conscience, distinguishing between right and wrong. As a believer in Christ, you are indwelt by the Holy Spirit so in addition to your own body, soul, and spirit, you now have God’s Spirit living in you. When the Holy Spirit came to live in you, you were born again; you then become a child God’s spiritual child. In John 3:3 Jesus replied,  “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.”

You now recognize God’s presence in your life, for you sense His displeasure whenever you fall back into sin. But rather than justifying or ignoring it which you used to do when you didn’t know God, you will repent and turn away from it. Repentance is a sign that the Holy Spirit is working in you. Repentance is deep sorrow or regret for having sinned, then a change of heart toward righteousness. Sin is an offence to God, a violation of His holy law; therefore, repentance is a movement toward God which inevitably results in a changed life because God affects the change.

Acts 11:18 (NIV)  

When they heard this, they had no further objections and praised God, saying, “So then, even to Gentiles God has granted repentance that leads to life.”

Our Father in heaven has accepted you and forgiven you of your sins on account of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross which means the penalty of your sins is fully paid for. God accepted Jesus’ sacrifice as payment for your sins and has settled your account with God. When you turned to Christ in genuine repentance and put your faith in Him, by grace and mercy God granted you an eternal relationship with Him. Praise the Lord for His abundant love, and welcome to the Family.


Would you like to read more?
You can order this book from www.amazon.com

By PASTOR JOSEPH CHOI 16 Mar, 2017

Trilogy of God’s Existence
Part 1

With over 35 years of martial arts experience, discipline and life style, I always looked towards myself to accomplish great things in life. Most only saw the outside of our family, seemed to only know what they see. No one was able to see the struggle that was going on inside of me, but Jesus Christ was able to see my heart. I know God exists because He changed my life around and has given me a heart of anger to peace, hatred to forgiveness, and sorrow to joy. God has restored many marriages from the brink of separation to a long term committed and loving marriage, and many fathers becoming the dads that children need. There are many ways to show that God exist, and many books have already been written about it. However, there will always be those who will not change their minds about the existence of God, even with positive verification of evidences through science, archaeology, and personal testimonies. Many will say, “You show me the evidence, and I’ll change my mind.” Far from it. When a hardened heart has made a decision (change of mind, but not change of heart) no amount of any proof of God can cure the heart of stone. Even if a dead person came to life in front of their eyes, a heart of stone will doubt the existence of God or the need of a Savior. No amount of any sound reason and solid scientific evidence can change a stubborn heart. Nevertheless, I will attempt to show you that God does exist through science, archaeology, and personal testimony. If you do not believe that God does exist and Jesus is God, then I pray and hope that you will journey with your mind and heart opened to the possibility of a one true God.

John 17:2-4 (ESV)
2 since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. 3 And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. 4 I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do.

In general, people’s minds can be conformed to a central belief as long as they see enough, hear enough, and shout louder than anyone else. People have been smoking for centuries but from the 1930′s to 1950′s, many doctors lit up the front pages of cigarette advertisements. They, the physicians who watched over people’s health, not only approved cigarette smoking to the masses, but modeled themselves in the advertisement pages. Lucky Strike was the dominant cigarette brand in the 1920′s which was made by American Tobacco Company. This company was the first to use the image of a doctor in its cigarette advertisements and promoted it as “less irritating” and had a smoother smoke for the throat compared to other cigarettes. Later, Lucky Strike had some competition by Phillip Morris with their cigarettes researched by physicians and approved for usage. One particular ad by Phillip Morris even proclaimed that throat irritation cleared completely or definitely improved by their brand of cigarettes. A popular Camels cigarettes was approved by physicians and researchers who could substantiate the medical claims the company was making in advertisements. This research was given to consumers and your trusted physicians to give Camels cigarettes as prescriptions. These so called “proofs” made many cigarette companies rich. If you see enough, hear enough, and shout loud enough of what others say is good, even when it’s bad, then your mind conforms to any world belief.

Everyone smoked, even doctors. However, when thousands of people started dying from cigarettes along with other toxic inhalers, medical doctors had second thoughts about smoking. In 1964, the Surgeon General announced the findings of cigarette smoke to be linked to lung cancer and chronic bronchitis. Today, you have warning labels on every brand of cigarette to deter smokers. Harsh words such as “Smoking can cause slow and painful death,” “Cigarettes are highly addictive,” and “Cigarettes cause fatal lung disease.” Despite the efforts made by the government, about 45 million Americans still smoke and it is estimated more than 440,000 – 450,000 people die each year from smoking and another 8.6 million live with a serious illness. We have many positive evidences to confirm numerous illnesses related to smoking, yet even with clear facts and data, many people will have a hardened heart towards the truth.

What has smoking to do with the existence of God? Just like the big tobacco companies – suppressing the truth. Many higher learning institutions, politics, secular media, and just about anyone against God, will help you see enough, hear enough, and shout loud enough to show that God is a myth and the Bible is just a popular story book with no truths. However, within a few decades much scientific evidence has opened to prove the existence of God. Even the world’s most famous atheist Antony Flew (1923-2010), who lead a powerful argument against Christianity and the Bible for decades, shocked the world by announcing he had come to believe in God. Anthony Flew became one of the most high profile convert to Christianity. He wrote a popular book, There is a God: How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind ,  in 2007 as he recounted his conversion. His conversion came about not because of any superior reasoning by Christian philosophers, but by science and complexities of life.

“I believe that the origin of life and reproduction simply cannot be explained from a biological standpoint despite numerous efforts to do so. With every passing year, the more that was discovered about the richness and inherent intelligence of life, the less it seemed likely that a chemical soup could magically generate the genetic code. The difference between life and non-life, it became apparent to me, was ontological and not chemical. The best confirmation of this radical gulf is Richard Dawkins’ comical effort to argue in The God Delusion  that the origin of life can be attributed to a “lucky chance.” If that’s the best argument you have, then the game is over. No, I did not hear a Voice. It was the evidence itself that led me to this conclusion.”

(recorded March 11, 2014 from  http://www.strangenotions.com/flew/ )

Below are some facts for you to take into consideration.

Let’s keep this simple. I’m not a scientist, but I can recognize that you are an intelligent being. I’m sure some of you might disagree with me in regards to few people you might have dated to show otherwise, but you are a masterpiece. The Christian Bible tells us that in the book of Ephesians chapter 2 verse 10 that we are God’s own handiwork, His workmanship, and His masterpiece. The Bible further explains that we were recreated in Christ Jesus or born anew, so that we may do good works which God prepared in advance for us.

God created a masterpiece, fine tuning our galaxy, our planet, and you to live in a unique one of a kind planet in the entire universe. Don’t believe in what I say, just do the research yourself. If you believe that you have evolved from some sort of slime and you are a cousin of a monkey, then I can’t really help you. But I do believe that you are an intelligent person who can think logically and reason with common sense. Let’s imagine an evolving fish having part fins and part feet with fins evolving into feet. Remember, evolution is about the survival and adaptation to survive, and where marine species turn into land mammals with supposed species in between them (with a billion fossil records, there is not one solid proof of evidence of this). Where’s the survival advantage of the fish’s fins turning into feet? It’s going to slow the fish down and get eaten up by a another fish with teeth. I can imagine the fish with the sharp teeth saying, “You’re trying to swim in the water with your feet. Great! Your my lunch for today!” There is no survival advantage because this imaginative creature can’t use either fins or feet efficiently to survive at the greatest point of need. Every part of the fish is uniquely and purposely designed to move, capture food, and procreate, so that it’s generations can do the same. This is observable, repeatable, and basic common sense knowledge of the world that we live in. You are NOT evolved from a fish or a slime or anything else explained by evolutionists.

Let’s consider sex in the animal planet. If evolution is correct, you should see a lion going to a deer and say, “Hey, you look cute, why don’t we mate and breed a hybrid of strength and speed, so that our kids can survive better than other animals. Wait! That’s not going to work! I forgot there are cheetahs! And, boy are they strong and fast. Well, I guess I have to eat you, since I’m here anyway.” Let’s be real. You don’t see a frog trying to have a baby with a duck, nor will you ever see an Eagle trying to kiss a fish. This is all common sense. The DNA for a lion and a deer is unique to its own operating system and a cheetah has a unique DNA of its own.  From all documented history of our known animal life, A male deer will only mate with a female deer and a male lion will mate with a female lion. I don’t see this changing either soon or in a million years. Ever since the findings of many ancient writing records from thousands of years ago, depictions and drawings of animals have not changed with current species. Those historical documents, still show the same exact animal traits we see today. Thus, this means that what we will see thousands of years into the future will give you the same result, which means the thousands of more years from that point will also give you the same outcome, which then adds up to be in the millions with the same animal characteristics of today.

Dr Colin Patterson (1933 – 1998), was a paleontologist (fossil expert) at the British Museum of Natural History who specialized in fossil fish and had written a book simply called Evolution (Patterson, C., Evolution, The British Museum of Master Books, Natural History, London, 1978). A person who believes in God and God’s creation, Luther Sunderland wrote to Dr. Patterson questioning why he had not shown a single live picture of a transitional (or missing links between species) fossil in his book. Dr. Patterson then wrote back with the following true confession which was reproduced in Luther Sunderland’s book  Darwin’s Enigma :

‘I fully agree with your comments on the lack of direct illustration of evolutionary transitions in my book. If I knew of any, fossil or living, I would certainly have included them. You suggest that an artist should be used to visualise such transformations, but where would he get the information from? I could not, honestly, provide it, and if I were to leave it to artistic licence, would that not mislead the reader?’

He went on to say:

‘Yet Gould [Stephen J. Gould—the now deceased professor of paleontology from Harvard University] and the American Museum people are hard to contradict when they say there are no transitional fossils. … You say that I should at least “show a photo of the fossil from which each type of organism was derived.” I will lay it on the line—there is not one such fossil for which one could make a watertight argument.’ [Emphasis added].

Darwin’s Enigma : Sunderland, L., Darwin’s Enigma, Master Books,
Arkansas, USA, pp. 101–102, 1998. Patterson’s letter was written in 1979

In regards to our planet, the Earth’s size is perfect with the right layer of nitrogen and oxygen gases for humans to breath. If it was any smaller, our atmosphere would be impossible to live and if it was any larger, it would be like the planet Jupiter. Our planet is the only planet in the entire known universe to hold the right amount of mixture of gases to sustain complex life. Astrologers will confirm the fact, that Earth is the only planet in the entire known solar system with enough oxygen gas available for complex life to survive and oxygen is not just in our air, but also in our soil and water. Earth is also in the perfect distance from the sun. Any closer we would burn up. Even with a fractional variance in the Earth’s position to the sun would make life on Earth impossible to live for any creature. Our moon is also in perfect size and distance from the Earth. The moon gives us the ideal gravitational pull and makes an important ocean tides and movement so ocean waters do not stagnate. Our planet is so unique, complex, and so beautiful, it takes a creator to give our environment as a gift for you and I to exist and have meaning in life. Since God desires for your existence, He created the trees to give us oxygen, water to sustain life, animals and plants for our consumption. Isn’t it amazing that all things surrounding us were created to be interactive. Without oxygen and water, we humans could not survive in the physical world, and without true love, our hearts would not survive in the spiritual realm.

We are the only planet in the solar system with enough oxygen gas available to let us survive.

God has His fingerprint in all that He created and that is the reason why there are much similarities of human DNA (genetic composition or a carrier of genetic information which is passed exactly from one generation to the next.) with its surrounding environment. Did you know that most physical fitness experts encourage you to eat a banana after a workout? The high-glycemic carbohydrate gives you a quick recovery (boosting the body’s metabolism) and heal the human body of such ailments as headaches because the DNA in the banana is 50% identical to the human DNA sequence. Your human body needs to take in the right DNA food which will help charge up your body system. Think of it this way, since the average human adult male is approximately 60% water, you should be drinking water to what your body naturally contains. That’s why health experts tell you to stay away from processed foods because it has no real benefits. What DNA is there in a Twinkie for your body? I used to eat a lot of this stuff, when I was a kid. My South Korean mother, thought whatever was made in America was good for the body, so she used to stuff this and other processed foods into my lunch every day with soda. I loved it, till I started to find out that this stuff along with other junk foods (they’re called “junk” for a reason) was the cause of many illnesses as a teenager. Think of DNA as a very unique computer program system that gives you specific results and outcomes. It’s like writing this blog with words to give the readers an understanding as to why I believe God exists. If I were to say, “Velo eisstx I odG veeileb ot em,” it would take you some time to decipher these words. But, all DNA in living complex organisms have specific words that are clear and can be easily read as, “I believe God exists to love me.” All DNA is specifically copied from one generation to the next without any change in genetic composition, because you’re not going to see a lion mating a deer.

Since I’m not a scientist or an expert in DNA, I’m going to direct you to some websites I found very helpful in understanding some vital questions about you and I:

Where did I come from?

What is the meaning of life?

What is my purpose in life?

What is my destiny?

Can science help me understand about God?

Helpful Websites and Videos:

www.answersingenesis.org

www.everystudent.com

www.creation.com

www.youtube.com/user/ CMIcreationstation

www.str.org

I will be honest, you did NOT come from a chemical soup with no meaning and purpose in life, but made in God’s wonderful image. No matter how deformed you may look or unwanted by society, God sees you as His wonderful creation. What humans see as a defect, God sees perfection. People discard and ignore the undesirables in our society, but Jesus sees them for who they are – part of His family. God gives us in our mind our consciousness to understand morality. He has given us the ability to choose between right and wrong. This free will has been imbedded in human history since the creation of man and woman. We have the ability to choose between love or hate, procreation or purposeful rejection of sex, to give blood, and to move out of our comfortable lives. Many Christian organizations such as  World Vision, Compassion International, Youth With A Mission, Red Cross and local Christian churches go to foreign lands and help those in tragedy and feed many undesirable people groups. People have tendencies to reject the weak, but God’s chosen people will sacrifice their own lives to serve the weak and poor like Mother Theresa. No other creature in creation can do and have a moral objective of life. You and I are so unique, that every single human being has a special fingerprint from God. No human being has an exact duplicate of their own fingerprint – not even identical twins. Your unique fingerprint makes you special and your free will gives you the independence to choose your own destiny. I know God exists because His destiny for my life is greater than my own expectations. I know God exists because through science, we can all see His amazing fingerprint. I know God exists because His love for all humans is manifested through your love.

1 John 4:19 (ESV)   We love because he first loved us.

By PASTOR JOSEPH CHOI 16 Mar, 2017

I was at a funeral recently for a grandmother who lived a full life. The funeral proceeded in Catholic traditions. Traditionally,  a Catholic ceremony consists of a vigil night before with a prayer service. In the Catholic tradition, the vigil includes a prayer for both the deceased and the grieving family. Sometimes a eulogy (tribute) may be read at the vigil instead of at the funeral service. I couldn’t make it to the vigil, so I attended their funeral service at the burial site the next day.

My heart was burdened for the family that had lost their loved one and now faced the challenge of living their lives without her. I prayed for the family and their children from a distance.  “God please give them peace that passes all understanding and cover their hearts with your love and security. Please help them and comfort them to persevere through these challenging times.”   Time came for friends and family to come up and give their condolences. I gave the two grandchildren, who come to our church, hugs and let them know that I am here for them and to assist in any way possible.

On exiting out, I saw a picture on another grave stone. My body froze and I took another closer look, just to make sure.  I took a breather and let out a big sigh of relief. At first glance, the guy in the picture looked just like me and I thought I was looking at myself.   Then, I imagined  my own face on  a grave stone. As the funeral continued, I couldn’t shake the image off my mind. Suddenly,  I found myself capsized with a flood of questions:  “What if that was my picture? What about my wife? What about Grace, Ashleigh, and Colin? What would ever happen to the ones that I love? If I went to heaven right now, would I have any regrets about anything? If there was something that I could have done differently today, would I have done it?”  All these questions and thoughts were going through my mind and I couldn’t shut them down.

I went home right after the funeral. The sun was still out and the temperature was warm. I told the rest of the Choi family to put on their shoes because we’re going to go out for a walk in the park. I put Colin’s bike in the trunk of our 1999 Toyota Camry (my 8 year old’s bike still fit in the trunk), got in the car, and headed to the “duck park” – our kids see so many ducks at this park, so they named it “duck park.” It felt good to spend time together just doing simple things like talking, taking leisurely walks and enjoy each other’s company. I saw a new picture that day: My wife, Jackie, and the girls were walking together while I was trying to catch up to Colin who was racing on his bike. Not being as agile as in my younger days, I couldn’t catch up to Colin, so I decided to throw some snowballs at him instead for fun.  At last, I have finally captured  the very picture I wanted in my mind;  being carefree from the worries and burdens that overwhelm us and be content with the simplicity of life I have with my family.   It was at this very moment, I can honestly say I would have no regrets if God were to take me home.

At the funeral, the last question that ran across my mind was, “If today was my last day, what would I do?” As I pondered on this question, I said to myself without much pause, “I would take the family to the duck park and enjoy our walk together.” This is the lasting image I would want in my mind. If I only had one day to live, I would spend my last days with the people that I love, and that is exactly what Jesus did.  Then, I began to understand His great love for us: Jesus spent His last days with his disciples and His last day with the world He saved by taking our sins with Him. He even forgave the Roman soldiers who put the nails through His hands, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” ( Luke 23:34 ). What would an Almighty and All-powerful God do on His last day on earth?  I believe He would spend His last day walking the park with those He loved.  Wow! What an everlasting image! A God who created this beautiful universe is willing to come down and walk along side with you at the duck park. Walking with my family at the park on that one beautiful Saturday afternoon gave me hope of the image that someday, when God calls me and my family to Him in heaven, we will be walking together in eternity with Jesus.

1 John 4:19 (ESV)
We love because he first loved us.

If today was your last day, what would you do? Would you do anything different? Would you be open to making a decision to go to heaven through Jesus Christ? Would you be open to taking a walk with Jesus and allow Him to get to know you on a personal level? All of us go through journey in life and decide who we want into our hearts. It is our choice and it is our heart. God does not want to demand His way into your life. He is gentle and very loving. Maybe,  for some of you, you feel like these are the last days of your life and you are already thinking of the end. Would you allow Jesus to walk beside you? All you have to do is open your mind and heart and ask Jesus to come in and allow God to journey with you. He wants to be part of all of your ups and downs of life and give you endurance to go through life and the perseverance to overcome. Life does become easier and  the burdens become lighter when we give them all to Jesus ( Matthew 11: 29-30 ).  He does understand life here on earth is hard, but the life with Him in eternity is one beautiful walk in the sun. Will you be open to walk with Him?

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