The Secret to Enduring: Just Keep Swimming (With Jesus)

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tumblr_ld6zic3hlZ1qf76m1o1_500-dory“The Lord was with Joseph.” (Genesis 39:2a) When reading the story of Joseph, one could get really frustrated at how poorly he was treated and how depressing his circumstances continued to be. We find in Genesis 37:5, Joseph exalting his dreams and almost boasting to his siblings causing the great decline and transformation of a “humble Joseph”. Granted, his brothers already held hatred toward him, this only made his situation worse. He is then thrown in a pit, sold, and tossed all over the place–from being sold to Ishmalites, to Potiphar’s household, to jail in Egypt.

Through it all, though, you will not find a single complaint or peep or shaking of a fist from Joseph at the circumstances he was placed in or his dream not coming to fruition. Instead, you see a humble man, submissive to whatever oversight that was placed before him.

What was his secret to enduring? “The Lord was with Joseph” (Gen. 39:2a). We see this theme in verses 2, 3, 21, and 23. That’s four times in one chapter! I would wager to say that it was this that kept Joseph enduring, and this that kept Joseph hoping, and this that kept Joseph sane: the presence of the Lord We later read that Potiphar’s wife lies about him (Gen. 39:12-18) causing Joseph to be thrown in jail. There though, The Lord was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison (Gen. 39:21), where he helps some guys out with dream interpretations only to be forgotten by the one whom he helps (Gen. 40:23)! Yet again, you do not see Joseph wine or complain or feel cheated. It isn’t until two whole years that Joseph is remembered by the cupbearer, called upon and later exalted (Gen. 41)!

What is the point in all this? The point is that the presence of God, the Holy Spirit of God enables the Christian to endure. We can all say that we have had our ups and downs, our high points of success and low points of failures, but every Christian must be reminded that the presence of God is enough and is the One who comes alongside us to give us the boost we need to make it through. Psalm 16:11 reminds us that in [His] presence there is fullness of joy (ESV). I truly believe Joseph understood this Psalm. He, in humility just kept moving forward.

It’s like Dori from Finding Nemo, that catchy tune of Just keep swimming, just keep swimming. The only difference between Marlin and us is that we have the creator of the world in our hearts! How amazing is that?!  

Paul writes in his epistle, that he chose us in Him before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4)! That should be so comforting and encouraging! I know that I have had many ups and downs and have been treated well and poorly, but I am always reminded that our service to Jesus is disqualified when we aim to please people (Galatians 1:10). I am also reminded that my aim is to please Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:9) and to serve Him through serving His people.

We can all take heart knowing that in the end, we will receive a crown of Glory in Jesus (1 Peter 5:4) because of what He has done and because we are in Him. It was Jesus Christ that faced the ultimate rejection and was treated the worst, Jesus Christ who for the sake of sinners and for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross (Hebrews 12:2)! May we be a people who doesn’t look to our poor circumstances but instead look to the Glorious One who saved our lives and chooses to be present with us!

The Secret of Learning Contentment

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For I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. (Philippians 4:11, ESV)

Four years ago, I was granted the opportunity of a lifetime: a full ride to a Christian College founded by my pastor, Wayne Cordeiro. Along with four other girls, we embarked on an adventure that we would never regret nor forget. Going in, I thought, This will be awesome, I’ll grow in my production skills and go back to Hawaii and help the Church! What I didn’t know, was that God would allow me to stay for a lot longer than I had initially anticipated. Not just that, He would do a deep heart-work that would change my perspective, desires, and life completely.

By His sovereignty, I was the only dude (at the time) from Hawaii at, what was then, Eugene Bible College. It was scary as heck mostly because I was a shy introvert that didn’t open up to anyone or really engage in conversation with strangers unless I was forced to. I learned quick that Jesus was calling me to not only trust Him but also to become like Him in boldness, love, and compassion; to become an extrovert by His Spirit. By trial and error I went through life for three years at New Hope Christian College a self-righteous Pharisee that sought righteousness by works in the guise of holiness. With learning things of the Bible in class and trying to practically apply it with wrong motive, my heart blinded itself from the Truth of the Gospel. I sought to look like a Christian all the while ignoring my heart issues, pushing them aside so that I might be accepted by man. I thought, If I live righteous, people will love me and be my friends and I’ll be accepted.

It wasn’t until three guys from the college pursued my friendship but deeper than that pursued what it really meant to be a disciple of Jesus. These three friends took me under their wing and as they learned the depths of God’s love and how that works out in their life, I too learned the character of God. Their hunger for God was so contagious I couldn’t help but tail along with their discoveries about God. What I didn’t realize then was that while I was seeking God for acceptance amongst people, He was quietly molding my heart without me realizing and without revealing my deep rooted heart issues.

What I didn’t know was that it would take four years to show me (1) my true sinful self, (2) my need for Jesus’ salvation, and (3) the beauty and weight of Grace that I cannot bear on my shoulders. Growing up, I was teased a ton. Teased at school, teased at home, even teased at church. The name calling was to intense growing up it shut me down and kept me shy and quiet. Fast-forward to 2009, a striking scandal within my family would come about causing more bruising to my heart. This was my launching pad for Bible College: brokenness. By God’s grace, He began to reveal the depths of my bruised heart slowly yet surely being ever so delicate to not crush it completely but to reveal a little at a time slowly enough for me to become more and more like him overtime. I sought the Lord still even in the pain all the while still not being so content with just him. Friendships would have falling outs and anxiety would grow within me and I still could not understand the cause though I knew that a part of it was from my rough life growing up.

Eventually, I graduated a year early and immediately received a job at a church that I had been attending for the three years while I was in school. This was a tremendous blessing as they don’t hire just anyone on the street. It was through this church that God used many people to teach me not just about my heart of rebellion, but how important it is to live constantly on mission and the high importance of living amongst a community of believers. Within a year though, I realized that I was not wired to do administrative work for a long period of time; I was too much of a people person to sit at a desk all day. As this revelation came about and stress increased, my health began to deplete causing me to have a hyper-thyroid disabling me from a lot of my work. I prayed long and hard and made the very difficult decision to move to California, stepping down and out of my position at a church I loved being a part of.

With my health on the line, I packed my car and drove down to the Bay Area where four or my best friends were, to seek solitude and refreshment. It was here, that Jesus, in all my idle time, ripped the veil completely from my eyes allowing me to see the depravity of myself. Not only did I see how selfish I lived, but I was able to discover a deep root of mis-trust of the Goodness of God. This was caused by my difficult life that I saw was out of control and so traumatizing. This root of mis-trust in God had a stem of control. Because I didn’t trust God’s faithfulness and goodness, because I didn’t see where He was when I was getting teased on all sides or when my family was in peril, I sought to take control when I was not designed to be in control. This resulted in fruit of anxiety, stress, deep depression when relationships and friendships fell apart, self-righteousness, and choice sins. I was devastated to think that I would try to push God aside and attempt to take control of my life in which I had no power to. As I read Hebrews 12, I sobbed thinking of how the Lord had been disciplining me for the purpose of being made like Him. I wasn’t Esau who sold his birthright and inheritance for a bowl of soup, not being able to retrieve it back afterwards, I was the prodigal son who came to himself and received all that He was initially blessed with. You see, the beauty of the New Covenant with Jesus’ death and resurrection is that we are given chance after chance until we get it right. It wasn’t until the Lord had stripped me of every idol and shown me how much He loved me and accepted me and how flawed the world’s acceptance was that I understood the glory of the Gospel and my acceptance by Him. I began to see truly how love should control us (2 Cor. 5:14) and motivate us to live outside of ourselves. I also became for the first time ever, content with Jesus. I didn’t need a girlfriend or a wife or money to pay my bills or a car that wasn’t broken because I had Jesus, the savior of the universe. It was something I had to learn. Jesus had to do a work in me before He could do a work through me.

You see, Paul had to learn contentment. He knew how to be at peace and find joy while being high and mighty (as he was a pharisee once) and how to be lowly in jail chained singing songs to Jesus (Acts 16:23-24). He knew the secret of being joyful and that was through knowing God intellectually and experiencing the Gospel in His life. It is a trip how God uses all our circumstances in order that we might  gaze at Him and run to Him like a kid running from a dog or from a mean kid chasing Him.

With that all being said, two Sundays ago, one of my best friends was preaching a sermon on being sent. He reminded the church that we are a people that are called to go and make disciples not call people in and seclude ourselves. Our life is a mission and where the Lord has us is our mission field. It was then, for the first time ever within these past four years that I had not only a peace about going back to Hawaii but an excitement! I realized that my mission filed is my city and the people there. It is with great pleasure and joy to announce that I will be returning home today. I am excited to meet with people for coffee and encourage them in Jesus, I am excited to do life with my 10-year old sister and a few months old nephew. I am excited to just be Jesus to whomever I encounter. It will be challenging indeed, but it will be worth it because I am in Christ and with Jesus, I have all I need.

Hawaii, I’ll see you later today!

The Benefits of Suffering

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My soul continually remembers [my affliction & suffering] and is bowed down within me. But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. “The LORD is my portion” says my soul, “therefore I WILL hope in Him”.
The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I will hope in Him.”
The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD. It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth.
Lamentations 3:20-27, ESV

Affliction can be defined by Merriam-Webster as something that causes pain or suffering or the state of being affected by something that causes suffering. It is something that we all hate to face and something that can be exhausting to endure. What’s interesting though, is that just as it takes pain and time to gain muscle through exercise, likewise, spiritual strength is gained through affliction. In Lamentations, we not only read of a man who has suffered by some kind of affliction, but we see a man who holds tightly to the promises of God.


Based on the previous verses (3:1-19), one can find that the author has faced immense affliction and suffering. He notes that he has seen affliction under the rod of His wrath (v. 1). He begins to lament, or a passionately express his grief over the suffering he has faced declaring, He has made my flesh and my skin waste away…he turned aside my steps and and tore me to pieces; he has made me desolate (vv 4, 11). Whatever reason it be, God has allowed great affliction upon this man.


Interestingly, one could think this kid is bipolar because not even half way through, he begins to remember. He says, My soul continually remembers it [the affliction] and is bowed down within me. But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope (v. 20, 21). The affliction causes the author to call to mind and have hope in the promises of God, in his suffering, he examine’s himself and the things he knows in his mind about God and brings them forward in a confession of hope. It was through great suffering, that he saw his great need of God and the forever-promises of God. He did not just sit in despair and wallow in sorrow, but activated his faith in what he knew to be true. He begins to recount the promises of God’s steadfast love and mercies that never cease (v. 22), the great faithfulness of God (v. 23), and the reality of God being his portion – his inheritance, reward (v.24), allowing the Spirit of God to make a turn within him.


His attitude shifts as he begins to recount the blessings of God and all that God’s Character is towards him in affliction. He recognizes that God is good and will come to his aid causing him to outwardly confess that The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him (v. 25). He admits that there is a responsibility on both parties: (1) On God’s to come to those who wait and seek Him, and (2) on those who wait and seek Him.

How often do we find ourselves in deep despair and wallowing in our sorrows? Unless you’re a superhuman or robot with no emotions, I’d say that we all face some kind of despair, affliction, doubt, or suffering. Wether it be an extreme of losing a loved one, or a job, the weight of not being able to pay bills on time, or a car breaking down, we all face trials that, if examined appropriately, will be used by God to turn our thoughts unto Him, to lean upon His mercies, and to activate our faith to trust.

What’s interesting in this lament is the emphasis of waiting quietly. In verses 25, 26, and 28 the lamenter mentions waiting in quiet or silence. If you’re anything like me, I attempt at fixing things immediately. In a culture of getting things quickly, we want things now and done right. It seems though, that is not how God always works. He then goes on to say not only that it is good that one should wait for the salvation of the LORD, but also that it is good for the man that he bear the yoke in his youth. It is safe to say that God will not only sustain and allow us to bear the yoke, but also in a season where God knows we will call upon Him to help us endure. I would argue to say that when there’s a process, we are more likely to continue going to Jesus for help whereas the danger of quick miracles tends to cause us to forget all that He has done and carry on with our lives. Quick miracles, I’ll also argue, tend to create a dependency not on JESUS Himself, but on the miracle itself causing us to look for the next miracle that benefits us. I’m am not saying that miracles are bad, I am saying though, that the process teaches us a lot more about His character.


What is it that you’re going through? What is it that Jesus is having you wait upon? I challenge you, the reader, to examine your heart. Search it, and wait in silence. Jesus is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him. May this be an encouragement to keep on seeking and keep on waiting. And may Jesus create a deeper trust and an amazing growth as you sit, wait, and hope in Him.

Guarding Your Flag

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Have you ever played capture the flag?

“Our response to this threat was twofold: We prayed to our True God, and we set up a watch–day and night–to look out for them.” (Nehemiah 4:9 The Voice) Nehemiah is a book about a cupbearer who boldly asks the King to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the ravaged walls of his city. ESV says, “After the exile, God is renewing his people in the land, in order to carry out what he promised to Abraham. God’s people must renew their commitment to covenant faithfulness, laying hold of God’s forgiveness and seeking to practice purity in their corporate and private lives.”

In chapter 4, we find Sanballat and his army attempting to take down the people of Jerusalem and stop the work that God placed in the hands of Nehemiah. It is interesting to see Nehemiah’s response though, in verse nine. He says he did two things: (1) Prayed and (2) set up watch day and night. This struck a mean chord in my heart that can be relevant for every Christian today. If our bodies are a temple (2 Cor. 6:16), where the Holy Spirit dwells, we as believers must be up keeping it by walking in Holiness. It is by doing these two things that Nehemiah did that can aid us in the fight against our flesh. In the times where we are faced with temptation, we must be prepared. This, magnifies the need for sanctification–the act of God setting us apart through a moment by moment worshipful process. We must be in prayer always as we are reminded by Paul in 1 Thes. 5:17 and Jesus himself through the parable in Luke 18:1 about the persistent widow. Prayer is the means to which the intellect affects the heart and emotions which causes our will to desire to obey. It allows us to openly process what’s happening in our heads and lay it out on the table before God.

The second thing that Nehemiah did was he set up watch-day and night-. What are the disciplines that we are developing that keep our bodies in constant parallel with the Word of God? Are there things that we need to strip away from that are unhealthy habits that lead us to sin? Are there thoughts that need to be taken captive more often (2 Cor. 10:5)? What does our prayer life look like, our Jesus time look like? Are we in community hashing out fleshly desires with Godly men & women of God? Are we repentant and pursuing a life that exemplifies Christ? These things take time, yes, but there is nothing too small for Jesus, I mean, He overcame the world! As we allow Jesus to conform us into His image we will also see sin as it is: disgusting and gross and see the magnitude of Grace in our lives. Our temple must be rooted on the rocks so that when the storms come we will be standing. As creatures who are naturally prone to wander, we must take some action yet at the same time allowing the Spirit of God to do the work he is bringing into completion (Phil. 1:6).

I love what J.C. Ryle says about keeping watch. He says,

“Is your heart right? Then be humble and watchful. You are not yet in heaven, but in the world. You are in the body. The devil is near you, and never sleeps. Oh, keep your heart with all diligence! Watch and pray lest you fall into temptation. Ask Christ Himself to keep your heart for you. Ask Him to dwell in it, and reign in it, and garrison it, and to put down every enemy under His feet.”

It is when we are on guard and constantly in pursuit of allowing the Holy Spirit to conform us into Christ’s image that we can face the days that are rough. Take heart friends, what a joy it will be to hear Christ tell you how blessed he was when you prayed & kept watch for His name sake!

iPods, X-Men, & Praying Steadfastly

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Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. (Colossians 4:2 ESV)

When you were young, and desired something so bad, did you ever do whatever it took to get that object? Whether it be a toy, a doll, money, candy, you fill in the blank. How funny it is to think when we grow older how those pursuits were so fleeting.

I can remember in high school learning about the (then) new iPod Mini. It was the very first generation of iPods that were different colors. I thought it was not only the coolest device, but thought that because of my love for music how easy it would be to put billions, or as we say in Hawaii, choke music on one small thing. This would defeat the purpose of a CD player! Well, due to my big family, our low income, and I’d say, the sovereignty of God, everyone around me got one. Everyone, except of course, me. How frustrated I was to know that they didn’t know much about them and yet at the drop of a word, got what they desired. That was probably my sophomore year going into my junior year, and it wasn’t until my senior year that I sought a job and was able to purchase my very own iPod color! I went BIG. Knowing not only that I had worked so hard for it saving my money, but also that I would be seen as being in the cool crowd not having a CD player.

What was it that caused me to persevere? The object of my desire. Likewise, in a similar fashion, the Bible constantly encourages us to pray steadfastly–or in perseverance–seeking the object of our Hope: Christ, and not only that but keeping watch while we do so (Lk. 21:36; Eph. 6:8; Col. 4:2; 1 Thess. 5:17). In the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus encourages his disciples to, Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Mark 14:38 ESV). There was another element in this command. You see, Jesus knew that our rebellious flesh desires nothing more than to turn from God, that the sin lurking in our blood stream cannot and will never abide in the vine, Christ. This, I believe, is why Paul reminds the church of Colossae, to, Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving (Colossians 4:2 ESV). Not only was the church to pray, but they were also exhorted to watch their manner of life for they knew not when Christ would return. Do we look different than the world, or are we simply blending in? This makes me think of that shapeshifter in The X-MenMystique. She could shift into anyone she wanted, but at the end was always a copy and never the real deal. Are we watching our manner of life and allowing God (in prayer & submission) to conform us into His image, or are we just being a Mystique, copying things outwardly but not literally becoming Christ. Is the image of Christ shown as a facade or is it authentic a part of our every moment of life?

You see, there’s a difference in simply praying, and praying with the intention of allowing the Spirit of God change us from within. We often pray flowery prayers that ask God to fulfill the desires of our hearts, or to strike this person with discipline, or to bless me, bless them, etc. What if though, in prayer, we asked God to reveal the dirtiest parts of us to allow Him to conform us into His image? This not only magnifies the Grace He has upon His adopted, but also reveals the magnitude of need there is for Him in our lives. Knowing well we can do nothing apart from Him (John 15:5), in prayer, we are to persevere in it. Be constantly in communication with Him. It is the only thing we often have! When someone is struggling in sin, when the soul is downcast, when things just don’t look bright, when things around are chaotic, prayer is all there is. Communion with God.

It is a difficult thing to persevere in. With life being so busy, with work, school, friends, social events, do we give God the time of day? Do we give God our entire day? I am convicted, challenged, and encouraged by this Word given to the church of Colossae. Paul ends this verse with not only to pray steadfastly, but also in thanksgiving. Being thankful that we are hidden in Christ, that our sins have been wiped clean, that we are destined for glory as Douglas Moo says. Moo says in his commentary that an attitude of thanks will serve as a powerful deterrent to the inroads of the false teachers as well as a stimulus to pray.

How true it is, when we align our prayers with the Word of God, we can be shielded by the enemy, and lifted up in our sorrows. The iPods, iPads, iPhones, we desire become so minute compared to great gift of salvation we have. The jobs, money, food, clothes, we don’t have become worth little to the King who laid down HIS LIFE for us! A life is worth way more than food & clothes and therefore I am challenged to be more thankful for what I do have, keeping watch over my life allowing others to see Christ.

Dora The Explorer: A Reflection on Sanctification

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As for you, brothers, do not grow weary in doing good. (2 Thessalonians 3:13 ESV)

Have you ever watched Dora the Explorer? This show fascinates me. A young eight-year old girl goes on all these intense adventures. We don’t see it that way, but honestly, would you let your eight year old daughter go on adventures with swiping foxes, exploding volcanoes, and a monkey to look after her? I think not. My sister is eight and we get nervous allowing her to play in our back yard in Hawaii! The fascinating thing about this kid is that no matter the challenge, she is always approaching it in such joy. She sees the adventure as fun and although challenging, looks forward toward the goal. Whether it be crossing big rivers or facing off with a Grumpy Old Troll, she takes it in such grace and confidence.

Do you see where I’m going with this? The Christian life should be one that reflects Dora the Explorer. It’s called Sanctification. As we journey in life as Christians we face so many trials: the loss of a loved one, cancer, struggle in habitual sin, wars of the flesh, persecution, etc.. We have the opportunity though, to respond in belief in the unseen (faith) that God is sovereignly working things together for His purposes, or respond in doubt and throw ourselves a pity party, shaking our fists at God asking, Why?!.

The church in Thessolonica was one that was persecuted much (read through Acts 17). Being the capital of the Roman province of Macedonia, it was populated with over 100,000 people who were mostly philosophers, Greco-Roman pantheists and members of the imperial cult. Thus, this church was persecuted immensely (Acts 17:5-10). By God’s grace though, we read of the perseverance and steadfastness of this church in the two epistles by Paul.

In the second letter, chapter three though, Paul challenges the lazy ones, or idlers (3:6-15) and ends with this this statement to those who have been faithful to the Gospel: As for you, brothers, do not grow weary in doing good. He encourages and exhorts the church to continue on in perseverance–as they had–in doing the work of Christ for the people of God in contrast to those who are idlers. This runs nicely along with Paul’s letter to the church of Galatia (Gal. 6:9-10) as he states, Let us not become weary in doing good…Let us do good to all people.

They were like a bunch of Dora’s persevering in tribulation and difficulty but in absolute Joy of Christ conforming them into His image. This, is how we as Christians should take life. As C.S. Lewis says, If I discover within myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world. In other words, if in ourselves we can find no satisfaction in all things we pursue on earth, it is simply because we are designed, created, for a place other than this. The reality is, that only Christ can truly satisfy the deepest parts of our souls. Though we may not immediately feel that satisfaction, how amazing is it to be able to sleep at night knowing that if Christ came tomorrow, he’d say, lets kick it! Party time with me!?

Christian, I encourage you in whatever you are facing, to pursue Jesus and His will in your life: utter worship towards him and unto him alone. As John Calvin writes about self-interest pursuits:

“Even though the law of the Lord provides the finest and best-disposed method of ordering a man’s life, it seemed good to the Heavenly Teacher to shape his people by an even more explicit plan to that rule which he had set forth in the law. Here, then, is the beginning of this plan: the duty of believers is ‘to present their bodies to God as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to him,’ and in this consists the lawful worship of him [Rom. 12:1]. From this is derived the basis of the exhortation that ‘they be not conformed to the fashion of this world, but be transformed by the renewal of their minds, so that they may prove what is the will of God’ [Rom. 12:2]. Now the great thing is this: we are consecrated and dedicated to God in order that we may thereafter think, speak, meditate, and do, nothing except to his glory. For a sacred thing may not be applied to profane uses without marked injury to him.” (John Calvin, Institue of the Christian Religion)

Does this makes sense? To be conformed into the image of Christ will take time, therefore, pursue in Godliness, in sanctification, in worship, in life-on-life with Jesus. In prayer, in Bible reading. Let the Holy Spirit just stir you up to faith in believing that you are not meant for this world and Jesus desires to change you from how you were born. Let him encourage and comfort you in time of trial, pushing you to perseverance  and steadfastness. Be a Dora, joyful in knowing that there is an end: Christ & eternity with Him. Find life as an adventure of daily worship for only then will you find the Joy of the Lord as your strength (Neh. 8:10).

For now we live, if you are standing fast in the Lord

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For now we live, if you are standing fast in the Lord. (1 Thessalonians 3:8 ESV)

Today was one of the scariest days of my life. While on the bus on my way home from the Church office, I received a text message from my dad that informed me that my mom had gone into anaphylactic shock due to a dye that she was injected with for a CT scan.  Not really being aware of all the terminology, I called my dad to find out that they had to use an epi-pen to keep her from going under. This brought overwhelming panic upon me. I had nothing I could do, I was far from home, and could only allow the sovereignty of God to play out what would happen thereafter.

While crying, looking probably crazy (or as if I fit in to Eugene rather) on the bus, I began to realize that because I knew my mom was a faithful believer and follower of Christ, I could rest assured that she would see Jesus. This, at the very same moment brought panic to me being that this is my mom we’re talking about. I have never really lost anyone close to me before and losing her would just about wreck me to shreds.

It was reading this verse, For new we live, if you are standing fast in the Lord (1 Thess. 3:8) that brought comfort to my soul. you see, Paul was so encouraged by the Church not wavering to false teaching that it stopped him from looking at his hardships and made way for hope. Being distressed, oppressed, and persecuted, the learning of this church standing fast in the Lord, allowed him to recover from his hardships and brought hope mist his trials.

Geene L. Green notes,The verb (standing fast in) means ‘to be constant and stable’, whether in faith, in community of faith, or in the doctrine received, or as here, in the Lord. They maintained their solidarity with the Lord despite the persecutions and in the face of Satanic attacks, which were designed to separate them from their faith in the Lord.

The Gospel anchors me to know that midst the craziness, the overwhelming projects at the church, the family issues that I have no control over, the relational issues that seem to arise, no matter what, I can have hope in knowing I am secure in Jesus and that as long as I am standing fast in the Lord, I can live. As the world seems to write their own ideas of how life should be lived, I am choosing to live a life that was marked by Jesus–pinned on a cross for my sins and rising again for the sake of me taking his names physically to places he never would.

This is why Paul so eloquently states, “To live is Christ” (Phil. 1:21). While alive, I am to represent Christ. For when God looks at me, all he sees is Christ. Not my sin, nor my flaws or mistakes, he sees Christ. Therefore, I must live as Christ had–taking everything into account and filtering it through the JESUS and His Word. I knew that I could live if my mom had left today (though it would be difficult). She is a woman who stands fast in the Lord, always loving, always hoping, always believing. Even when people around her treat her differently for following Jesus in her circumstance aside from today, she remains standing fast. Fortunately, she’s doing fine and being monitored over night. But scare that definitely was to think she would be soon with Jesus. I know though that she would agree that to live is Christ, to die would be a great gain. But until death, she would encourage that we rep Christ.

Stand fast in the Lord Christians, look to Jesus and keep running the race. You can and get to live because of Christ.