Archive for June 2009

Romans 5:2   Leave a comment

Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

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Posted June 29, 2009 by Mitchell J. Kim in Uncategorized

Gangsta!   Leave a comment

“Rescue Me, You Are My Everything” — Sho Baraka

They say blessed is the man whose sins are forgiven
Cause my bones wasted away while I kept them hidden
No rest for my soul, night nor day
Evidence that Your hand was heavy upon me
Who can conceal their sins from God and then prosper
Like we can conceal our sins from our father
Like how can we enjoy life without bother
When I mock His authority and stain His honor
But when I confessed my sins, You covered my iniquity
Restored the joy of my faith, erased all the guilt in me
The counsel of the wise will drive a man to repentance
While a fool is like a mule–he finds pride in his resistance
And You didn’t ask me to feel better through my works
And I didn’t feel better beating myself to the dirt
And I know I need to find my worth in Christ the risen King
But I get depressed with my sins and then I start to think…

Just like a ton of bricks my sins are weighing heavy on me
So I die to myself, trust in God and in Him only
Lord keep me strong so I won’t do wrong
This is my song, please rescue me

Seek for the Lord in a time He could be found
Seek for the Lord and that time should be now
Cause you don’t want the consequences of sin in your life
Like David, Samson, Ananias and Sapphira
Don’t dance with the fire
Reconcile that thing before your time expires
Enjoying our Father should be our sole desire
He’s our hiding place from harm
You surround us with instructions and songs
I’m glad the future hope has renewed me today
Cause yesterday’s circumstances has me drifting away
But now I understand repentance now that I understand grace
I hit a bump in the road but I’m still running this race
And since I had a pardon from the Lord
I turned from my sins to the church be restored
And when my faith gets weak, I want a real touch
Cause my flesh got me thinking that my sin is too much

Just like a ton of bricks my sins are weighing heavy on me
So I die to myself, trust in God and in Him only
Lord keep me strong so I won’t do wrong
This is my song, please rescue me

Posted June 25, 2009 by Mitchell J. Kim in Uncategorized

Metro Collision in Washington DC: A Message Of Hope In The Midst of Tragedy   1 comment

According to a CNN news report, two Red Line subway trains collide near the Takoma Park station at approximately 5 P.M. on Monday, June 22, 2009. The trains appear to have collided at a high rate of speed, as one train climbed on top of the another. So far, there are nine confirmed deaths and at least 70 others have been injuries.

Thankfully, however, there are hundreds who have been spared anything more than some soreness and shock. I was fortunately spared from it because I went to class a bit later than I wanted. Rather than heading straight to class from the local coffee shop, I went home to get a little dinner snack. But… I could’ve been there. And I don’t say that necessarily out of fear of a what-if, but as a recognition of God sovereignly working in me and in others–in this situation.

Now, I understand that there are some of you who quickly respond to my mention of God with the question “How could a loving God…?” These are questions we ask when we are faced with the realities of our mortalities in a sudden and tragic way. How could a loving God allow terrorists to hijack planes to kill themselves along with thousands of others? How could God allow mass killings at the hands of a dictator in North Korea or the genocide of innocent peoples in Sudan and in Rwanda and in the DRC? How could God cause the waves to rush and roar, taking away numerous lives in Indonesia and Louisiana? How could God allow the trains to collide and keep two people from dying? God is love? Tell me–how can such a God be loving?

Jesus Christ has a sobering message for those of us considering life and death: “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:2-5).

Asking why they died is the wrong question because–well, we will all die one way or another. But death does not have to lead to perishing–death can lead to life. Jesus also said, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my skae will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life? Or what shall a man give in return for his life?” (Matthew 16:24-26). The question is not why? but how? How can I overcome anxiety and fear over such a similar fate? And Jesus gives the answer–only by believing in Him and following Him will you be able to have life, even after your body is dead. God does not necessarily kill because one is especially bad or let someone live because one is especially good. We are all bad, according to God’s standards, because we are imperfect and have committed sin against others and against God. The question isn’t why God allows some to die early, but why the rest of us are allowed to continue living? God allows tragedies to occur in our lives because it gets us to seriously consider life and death. It’s not something to be considered lightly until we are elderly; we must consider it NOW–death could be just around the corner.

What I’m writing will probably cause some of you to dismiss me because I’m being a downer. It will cause some of you to be upset at me because I’m directly challenging the way some of you live. It will cause some of you to fear–what can I do when the fate of my life is utterly out of my control? God does not say… watch out because this can happen to you, too–and just leave it at that. Sooner or later, we will all die. The ultimate statistic in the world is that 100% of all living people will die. Yes, God allows that to happen because we are all deserving of punishment for our sins, but God just gave us all a kind warning today. Death is real and we are not in control of it. However, our future can be secured in Jesus Christ. He says, “For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked… Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me” (Revelation 3:17,20). Yes, death is scary and death is uncertain. But God understands that and He is calling for you to experience eternal life and everlasting joy with Him. We must understand the wretchedness of our sinful state and turn to Jesus. He is standing in front of our hearts and knocking–open the door by confessing that you are a sinner and let Him in by acknowledging that only through Him can you have a right standing with God. “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).

I hope that it does not look to some that I am taking this situation to be mean and condemning–that is not my intention at all. In fact, that is not what God calls Christians to do. The Bible says, “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep onself unstained from the world” (James 1:27). Pure religion is to comfort those who are afflicted and suffering. And that’s my intention in writing this–I want to bring comfort and certainty in times when many might not have either. Comfort is not found in minimizing death, but in facing it head on. We are all going to die. But the comfort comes in Jesus Christ, who offers eternal life to anyone who would turn to Jesus in love and submit to His will in our lives. The best way to honor the lives of those who have died, especially those who have lost their lives tragically and dramatically, is to face the realities of death in our own lives. Don’t take lightly something that was so real to others who lost it. Use the opportunity you have been given–the gift of another breath and another minute–to consider seriously life and death. “And this is eternal life, that they know you the one tru God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (John 17:3).

Posted June 22, 2009 by Mitchell J. Kim in Uncategorized

Dr. George Matheson: The Sight of the Blind Man   Leave a comment

Make Me A Captive, Lord
Make me a captive, Lord, and then I shall be free;
Force me to render up my sword and I shall conqueror be.
I sink in life’s alarms when by myself I stand;
Imprison me within Thine arms and strong shall be my hand.

My heart is weak and poor until it master find;
It has no spring of action sure, it varies with the wind;
It cannot freely move till Thou hast wrought its chain,
Enslave it with Thy matchless love, and deathless it shall reign.

My will is not my own till Thou hast made it Thine;
If it would reach the monarch’s throne it must its crown resign;
It only stands unbent, amid the clashing strife,
When on Thy bosom it has leant and found in Thee its life.

Oh Love That Will Not Let Me Go
O Love that will not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in thee;
I give thee back the life I owe,
That in thine ocean depths its flow
May richer, fuller be.

O Light that followest all my way,
I yield my flickering torch to thee;
My heart restores its borrowed ray,
That in thy sunshine’s blaze its day
May brighter, fairer be.

O Joy that seekest me through pain,
I cannot close my heart to thee;
I trace the rainbow through the rain,
And feel the promise is not vain,
That morn shall tearless be.

O Cross that lifest up my head,
I dare not ask to fly from thee;
I lay in dust life’s glory dead,
And from the ground there blossoms red
Life that shall endless be.

Dr. Matheson was a Scottish preacher who lived most of his life nearly blind, only able to see shadows. His sisters learned Latin, Greek and Hebrew to help Matheson in his study of the Bible. He became a well-known preacher, and was even given the opportunity to preach for the Queen, who received well his sermon on the patience of Job. Matheson served as the pastor of Endinburgh-St. Bernards church for 13 years before he retired from pastoral ministry and focused on writing books and hymns. Matheson was so skilled in his preaching that most of his congregation had no idea that he was blind–they thought he was reading his sermons because of the eloquence with which he delivered them. All in all, he pastored two congregations for 31 years and wrote at least 10 hymns. The Lord called His faithful servant home after 64 years. (Listed above are two which I recently happened upon and found to be quite enjoyable.)

Posted June 22, 2009 by Mitchell J. Kim in Uncategorized

Kobe: One Love   Leave a comment

(Let me make a short disclaimer before you get to the rest of my material. I understand that there are Kobe haters out there. Well, please don’t take what I’m writing now as an opportunity to point out the many and glaring faults of Kobe Bryant. All I am trying to do is point out one aspect of who he is and bringing forth a life lesson on how we should be living our lives. Also, for you Kobe lovers, this is not an article that validates and vindicates Kobe Bryant. Please, for both sides, take it for what it is.)

Nearly a year after getting blown out by 29 points against the Boston Celtics, Kobe Bryant held the O’Brien Championship Trophy that had eluded his grasps since 2002. And, despite all the detractors, there is one thing that everyone must agree on about Kobe Bryant–there has rarely been a career that has exhibited such a dedication, such a determination, such a dogged pursuit of a championship. No one outside of Los Angeles would dare make the argument that Bryant is the greatest player in NBA history; and reasonable minds will disagree on whether Bryant is one of the five greatest players of all time (a recent SLAM magazine list placed Bryant 12th all-time); you will get both sides of the argument as to whether Bryant raped the white girl in Colorado; you can join J.A. Adande is praising Bryant for changing this year or you can join Bill Simmons in arguing that Bryant is the same selfish egomaniac he’s always been–there are two sides that everyone will take for any of those arguments. However, all argument is quieted when you come to one issue–the passion that Kobe Bryant has for the game and his work ethic to better himself as a player.

There isn’t a single player in the game who spends more hours in the gym, takes more practice shots, or dissects more film than Kobe Bryant. He has three interests in life: basketball, basketball, and family. Bill Simmons once wrote that Bryant made a huge mistake playing for the US Olympic team because he gave away his greatest advantage–his work ethic. LeBron James and Chris Paul started spending more hours in the gym, making better use of practices, and being more purposeful with game tape because they saw that Bryant was preparing for the game before everyone else woke up, prepared while everyone was relaxing, and prepared after everyone called it a night.

Here are a few peeks into Kobe Bryant’s head from this past playoffs:
– ¬†“I just want to win the game, so whatever it takes…”
– “We just have to stay focused, stay poised, and just try to cut them up.”
– “You just have to… prepare. Prepare, prepare, prepare.”
– “The most important thing to me is winning.”
– “What’s there to be happy about? Job’s not finished. Job finished? I don’t think so… I just want it really bad. You put everything you have into the game.”
– (after winning the championship) “It felt like a big old monkey was off my back. It felt so good to be able to have this moment. We tried not to envision it too much… You try not to think about it, just think about playing the game, and for this moment to be here and to reflect back on the season and everything that you’ve been through… it’s the top of the list, man.”

There’s a singular focus in Kobe Bryant’s mind. It’s all surrounded on basketball, on winning.

And despite Bryant’s cold personality, harsh ways, and mean streak, ¬†athletes are drawn to him and look up to him. Carmelo Anthony looked to Bryant as an older brother. Shannon Brown, recently acquired from the Bobcats, gave a sentiment similar to many Lakers–he was inspired to play with Bryant, seeing his determination and his work ethic. LeBron James and Chris Paul developed a much greater work ethic after spending a summer with Bryant.

The reason isn’t because of Bryant’s charisma and his charm. Although I am a Lakers fan, I think I can admit that lots of people do not like Kobe Bryant. He’s obnoxious, arrogant, and just mean, at times. And the reason isn’t because of Bryant’s humor, or his skill, or anything else. The reason is because Kobe Bryant lusts after winning like no one you have ever seen. There is nothing else on his mind, in his heart, or before his eyes than winning and winning and winning. THAT is what draws people. They see in Bryant a goal that is so great that he is willing to sacrifice rest, sleep, fun–just about everything– to attain it. And it is admirable when a person has something not only to live for–but to die for.

Except there’s one little problem. Bryant’s championship rings will get scratched, his trophy will rust, and his name will be forgotten over time. However, those of us who bear the name of Christ, have something far greater, far more desirable, far more… well… worth it all. Jesus establishes the high calling for all Christians: “If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it” (Matthew 16:24-25). Jesus further explains the cost of following Jesus: “Whoever loves father or mother more than Me is not worhty of Me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow Me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for My sake will find it” (Matthew 10:37-39). For anyone who wishes to become a follower of Jesus, He clearly establishes what it takes–give us everyone and everything. That begs the question… who in their right minds would do such a thing? Give up bad habits? Sure. Give up morally evil deeds? Sure. But give up the person I love? the family I love? myself whom I love? Why? Why would I do such a thing? And Jesus gives His answer in both of the previously quoted passages… “for My sake.” You’re not just giving it up, but are giving it up in order to gain Jesus. He doesn’t call us to give up our log of ground beef, but holds before us filet mignon like we’ve never seen. He says to give up that which is relatively valueless for that which is infinitely more valuable. In fact, the greatest things that we can live for in this world–the greatest joys, goals, loves–they are but a shadow of Jesus Christ. In other words, Jesus Christ is the greatest thing that we can have in this world, and anything else that we want is ground beef.

Then why is the world not turning to Jesus Christ? Why are people not tossing aside their insignificant joy in order to grab hold of the greatest joy? Because Christ is not that great, from what they can see. Yes, we are all clouded and deluded by sin in our lives, but could there be another reason why those on the outside looking in do not want what Christians have? Maybe it’s because when we come before filet mignon, we are not as joyful as those who are just eating ground beef. Why is Jesus such a burden? Why is He such a chore? Why must we taste of the greatness of Jesus Christ with such a pained expression on our faces?

Our witness is a crucial part of our evangelism. And maintaining a good Christian witness is not about refraining from sin and doing good works for the kingdom of God. Being a good witness for the kingdom of God… it’s all about loving Christ. Do they see in you a joy that is unmatched by any other? Do you love your Bible? Do you love your times with God? Does your heart mourn for the lost?

Bringing it back to my illustration… Kobe Bryant… He has something that is worth more to him than any other. And those around him see it and are drawn to it. Why are we not so attractive to those around us? Why has Jesus been neutered against the “lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life?” (1 John 2:16). I think, oftentimes, we wonder why non-Christians don’t look longingly into our lives as we are looking longingly into theirs. It’s a sad truth of the Christian heart longing for the world–it’s a sad truth of my heart, at times.

And I pray for you and for me–that we would find something in this world worth giving our lives for. In fact, we have found it in Jesus Christ. However, I must also pray for you–and for me– that we would not lose sight of that championship trophy or that crown that awaits us. We won’t have Bill Russell presenting us with the O’Brien basketball championship trophy made of gold and metal. Rather, “we will recieve a crown of glory that will never fade away” (1 Peter 5:4). Remember, and don’t forget, that there is a prize in Jesus Christ that is unmatched by anything this world has ever seen or imagined. Don’t lose heart–don’t grow weary–for we are in the final stretch… and that crown is right before us. Toss everything else aside, clinch your jaws, and do not let up until that crown is on your head and your eyes are filled with the sight of our great God.

Posted June 16, 2009 by Mitchell J. Kim in Uncategorized

Reflections on Psalm 37   Leave a comment

1. Trust in the Lord and do not turn from Him
2. Wait on the Lord and strive for righteousness
3. Delight in the Lord and seek peace in Him
4. Come to the Lord and avoid utter destruction

“Better is the little that the righteous has than the abundance of many wicked. For the arms of the wicked shall be broken, but the Lord upholds the righteous.” — Psalm 37:16-17

I have the arm of the Lord under me, acting as my foundation. I have the arm of the Lord above me, giving me cover and protection. I have the arm of the Lord surrounding me, acting as my shelter and peace. Yet, I have nothing. In this world, I am poor and I am to be pitied. My God is weak, my faith is ignorant, my hope is foolishness. I have nothing!

But God promises that “better is the little that the righteous has than the abundance of many wicked.” This isn’t me holding onto God, fighting off the temptations of my sinful neighbor offering me the world. This is me clinging to God, desperately trying to stay alive in a barrage of all the enemies of the entire world, throwing at me all their weapons of lust, of wealth, of glory. I am not standing up trying to dodge the jabs of my opponent. Rather, I am knocked onto the ground, shielding myself as best as possible against the barrage of the entire world, throwing all at me, even the kitchen sink, if that might jar loose my grip of God.

But all throughout, God is there, shielding me from the blows… Oh how I would be overcome so quickly were it not for His hand holding me up, protecting me from the barrage of the world, and giving me a place of rest and peace.

Yet God, through David, must give this promise in Psalm 37 because, although I be in the safety of His hands, I hear the assaults outside. I hear the threats to coax me out. I hear the promises of the world to hand over the keys to all they have if I would but join their cause. I hear Satan calling out to me, saying, “You will not surely die” (Genesis 3:4) and “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me” (Matthew 4:9).

I am weak. I peek through the fingers of God and I see the strength, the beauty, and the glory of the world… and I want it all. I am not only tempted with the grandeur of the world but with thoughts that God’s promises will never arrive for me–that it’s better to take the quick payout than to not get paid at all. But God promises throughout this psalm to “fret not yourself because of evildoers; be not envious of wrongdoers! For they will soon fade like the grass and wither like the green herb” (Psalm 37:1-2). Over and over again, He acknowledges that the world is tempting–it has something appealing to offer. But He promises that He will destroy them, and you, too, if you ally yourself with them. And He promises redemption for those who are righteous–who hold fast to His promises and the hope found in Him. God promises, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4). Or, as Dr. John Piper said, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart… the Lord.”

Don’t become another casualty to the world. Don’t become another victim to its cause. Don’t become an ally, shaking your fist at God and assaulting the hand that once held you. God warns of their fate over and over and over again… He makes it abundantly clear the fate they will befall: “they will soon fade like the grass and wither like the green herb” (Psalm 37:2); “the evildoer shall be cut off” (Psalm 37:9); “in just a little while, the wicked will be no more” (Psalm 37:10); “the Lord laughs at the wicked, for He sees that his day is coming” (Psalm 37:13); “their sword shall enter their own heart, and their bows shall be broken” (Psalm 37:15); “the arms of the wicked shall be broken” (Psalm 37:17); “the wicked will perish; the enemies of the Lord are like the glory of the pastures; they vanish–like smoke they vanish away” (Psalm 37:20); “those cursed by Him shall be cut off” (Psalm 37:22); “the children of the wicked shall be cut off” (Psalm 37:28); “I have seen the wicked, ruthless man… but he passed away, and behold, he was no more” (Psalm 37:35-6); “transgressors shall be altogether destroyed; the future of the wicked shall be cut off” (Psalm 37:38). These are all warnings against the world and promises to His children.

“The Lord will not abandon him to his power, or let him be condemned when he is brought to trial. Wait for the Lord and keep His way, and He will exalt you to inherit the land; you will look on when the wicked are cut off” (Psalm 37:33-4).

God promises to be there. He does not say that He will keep you from going to trial. He does not say that He will keep any hardships from coming your way. He does not say that you will not be hit by the various ammunitions of the world. But He does say one thing… wait… trust… and He will act, He will vindicate, and He will deliver.

Weak and weary saint, “trust in the Lord” (Psalm 37:3). Do not act as a spiritual hero, jumping out from behind your wall of safety to combat the world. You will be hit, you will be knocked down, and you will be overtaken. Rather, trust that God is waiting, God is working, and God is going to win. Remember His promises to you, and His threats against the world. Christian, do not be so foolish. Find peace and rest within the safety of His gentle touch. Hold fast to the anchor of His arms.

The world is in a battle with God. There is plenty of bloodshed. Do not be scared of the assault. Do not be anxious about the war. Do not be tempted by the promises of the world. “Better is the little that the righteous has than the abundance of many wicked. For the arms of the wicked shall be broken, but the Lord upholds the righteous.” He is sheltering you and protecting you, but He will soon raise His other hand in violent anger against the world, stopping their assault and destroying their assailants in an instant. Just remember His promises. Just delight in His ways. Just hold on to His hand… just wait, just wait.

Posted June 11, 2009 by Mitchell J. Kim in Uncategorized

Battling Sin ‘Til Death   Leave a comment

“Do you mortify? Do you make it your daily work? Be always at it whilst you live; cease not a day from this work; be killing sin or it will be killing you.” — John Owen

Posted June 9, 2009 by Mitchell J. Kim in Uncategorized