What is Your Action?

Have you taken any high school-level science courses before? If you have done so, then you may have heard about Isaac Newton—the most influential figures of all time, especially in many fields of science. Newton’s most famous achievements include the laws of motion, universal gravitation, and calculus.

In physics, classical mechanics, sometimes also called as Newtonian physics, is concerned with the motion of bodies under the action of a system of forces. Of Newton’s achievements, the study of motion of bodies becomes one of the largest subjects in science. The law of motion proposed by Newton in his outstanding work Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica are comprised of three parts:

• Law I: When viewed in an inertial reference frame, an object either is at rest or moves at a constant velocity, unless acted upon by an external force (Law of Inertia).
• Law II: The acceleration of a body is directly proportional to, and in the same direction as, the net force acting on the body, and inversely proportional to its mass (F = ma).
• Law III: When one body exerts a force on a second body, the second body exerts a force equal in magnitude and opposite in direction to that of the first body (F1 = – F2).

Among the above three laws of motion, we should give a careful attention to the third law, which is well-known as the law of action reaction. It says when an object exerts a force to another object, then the latter exerts the force that is equal in magnitude but opposite in direction. We can generalize this law: To every action, there is always a consequence following it.

If one’s action is to stand on the ground, the ground exerts the force that is equal in magnitude, but opposite in direction. The heavier you are, the greater force is exerted by the ground to the person. This cause and effect relationship is not only found in our daily lives, but in the Bible through the parables of Jesus Christ. Because Newton’s law of action reaction is considered as a universal law in science, this can be applied to anywhere—to even our daily lives and spiritual lives. Every action we perform leads to something in our lives.

Jesus tells His disciples about the story of seed to emphasize the importance of having a good mind. He said: “one seed fell by the road…[…]…some seed fell on rocky gound…[…]…some other seed fell among thorny weeds…[…]…some other seed fell on good ground where it grew and produced a crop” (Matthew 13:1-9). At the end, He said “Let those with ears use them and listen.”

The seed that Jesus talks in the Bible is the Words of God while the places where the seeds are planted are our minds. The Bible explains the people with a good mind as those of who have love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance (Galatians 5:22-23). These are the mind sets that are not innately born with, but can be educated through the power of Holy Spirit. If we want to have a desired consequences (reactions) in our lives, then the proper actions should be done on our part. If we say we truly love Jesus, then we have to make sacrifices.

Try to make time out of your busy schedules to worship God. Try to put efforts for studying God’s words. Try to speak with God through the prayer. And, you will be able to listen for God’s Spirit, as Jesus asked said in the Bible. The key to success is putting your efforts. For every action, there is a reaction following it. Your effort will lead to your success in your spiritual life!

– T.S.

The Silent God.

In the initial steps of receiving Christ into one’s life, the most fundamental dilemma is the question of prayer. “If God does exist and He is Almighty, then He can surely answer everything I ask for couldn’t He?” This prayer stems from the most innocent hearts filled with desperation. Then whenever that deep wishful prayer isn’t answered, it leads to the next step in confusion. “If God has the power to answer all prayers, then why didn’t He answer mine? Did I not wish hard enough? Did I not express my heart truly and fully to Him?”

A spiritually young heart will kneel and pray again and again, asking for that one key that will open all doors. When the prayer is still not answered, other bubbles of questions arise: “Is God even there? Perhaps I am nothing to Him?”

The Silent God.

As we learn more and more about God, we begin to face the Silent God; the One who remains calm and passive to the tumultuous events in our lives. Where is God when I need Him most? Where was the Active God who spoke to Abraham, telling him where to go? Where was this active God who held up the moon and sun so that the Israelites could win their battle? Where was this active God who showed His people both His wrath and love with all the signs of the world?

Say we learn somewhere along our spiritual journey that all we do must lead to God’s glory. So you begin to pray not in just a wishful begging, but with a purpose. You promise God that all your success is for His glory, and that if this one key was to be given, all the doors that would thereby open would be His and for Him only.

Even after that, you may find yourself facing a hard locked door. What then? You begin to bargain with God, giving more and taking away bit by bit what you asked for. When you parse away enough of what you are asking for, you then realize this isn’t really praying at all.

How many of us have gone through these stages? I sure have, and still am. The only thing is that now, I have come to know the Silent God a little better, only just a little, and this has made all the difference in my spiritual life.

C.S. Lewis has once said:

“There is no question whether an event has happened because of your prayer. When the event you prayed for occurs your prayer has always contributed to it. When the opposite event occurs your prayer has never been ignored; it has been considered and refused, for your ultimate good and the good of the whole universe.”

It took one thing to understand what praying really meant, and why certain prayers are never answered. What it took was faith. Faith is the belief that God is Almighty. He is not Almighty because He answers your prayers and not because He has all the keys to unlock the doors on heaven and earth. His omnipotence is not conditional on what He can do with his omnipotence. It is because He can that He can also choose not to, and when you have the faith to know that God is good, then you can also believe that when God can but chooses not to, there is a divine reason for it; a reason that is good in His eyes.

Isaiah 55:8-9 says,

8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.

The Silent God is not a passive God. While we sleep, He is at work. Though God works in mysterious ways we cannot understand, it is by faith alone we are saved, not just on the large scale of salvation but from all our day to day concerns and frustrations in life.

Wherever God leads you, remember that He will raise you up and lead you to the door of righteousness. That door you are knocking on may not be the door God wants you to walk through, and it may be for several reasons but whatever that divine reason is, have the faith to let go if it isn’t right, trust God, and keep walking. Praying is not just about telling God what you want, but also about listening to what He thinks of your prayers. Listen to His small voice, and have faith to lead a life of righteousness.

Remember, God is good.

The Humble Reflection

So as the Holy Spirit says: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion, during the time of testing in the wilderness.”

– Hebrews 3:7-8

The Bible should not be considered an allegory, but it can certainly be considered a holy text full of parables that teach us more than what is on the face of it. It is so often said that there are no questions that have not been answered in the Bible. If we do not see it, it is merely because we do not understand  the meaning behind the words we read, or we are not prepared to take to heart what Holy Spirit wishes us to obey. A simple line can have more meaning and application than a thousand hours of self-help lectures. If we just think about that, we can imagine how profound the Bible is.

By learning and loving the Word of GOD, we learn to become more like Him and understand His will. But through the Bible, we are also given the chance to really look into ourselves. It is constantly said in the Bible that the word of GOD is like a double-edged sword because of how exacting His words can apply to our lives. Sometimes His words cut us open so that the walls of our conceit and obstinance fall down and we can finally see ourselves clearly in the mirror, that is the Word. It is then we confess with great humiliation that we were so blind to the sins we were committing.

This time of humble reflection is a time of pain because the double-edged sword of the Word cuts us open, however it does not end with just pain. It is also a gift of God’s grace. It is grace because by the wounds of our sins being torn away, we are made new. We learn from our sins and begin to walk in the righteous path of the Lord again. We stop justifying the wrongs in our life and we come to accept that we have wronged and it is time to make it right before the Lord.

I found this verse from the Book of Hebrew. [So as the Holy Spirit says: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion, during the time of testing in the wilderness.”]

God speaks through us through so many ways. There is always the Holy Bible that lays somewhere in our room. The Word is always waiting for us. But there is also sermons at church, the prayers of our fellow congregation members, and even our friends. There are times we hear God’s words through signs in the day and night. Whatever the medium, when God speaks to you today at this very moment, let us not turn our heads away in the other direction. Let the double-edged sword pierce through us and make us know that it is time for a humble reflection. It is pain but it is also what makes us right again; not only internally but when all things stand right before the Lord, the rest of our lives fall through.

Have you had time for this humble reflection through the Word?

Give Meaning to Your Life!

Psychopathology is a field of psychology that concerns with understanding the nature, causes, and treatment of mental disorders. In the United States, psychopathologists accept the standard for defining various types of mental disorder; that is American Psychiatric Association’s (APA) Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). The most important thing to keep in mind when one diagnoses a patient is that no one element of abnormality is sufficient in and of itself to define abnormality. In other words, if a patient shows more symptoms shown in the DSM, the patient is more likely to be diagnosed as the disorder. Thus, it is necessary to update/edit the DSM since new psychological disorders have been discovering every year.

Then, we may possibly ask these questions: who determines who has mental disorders? Who makes the standard in the DSM?

For the last couple of decades, it has been an issue who would define the standard in the DSM and determine one’s mental status. As illustrated in this example, giving a meaning to a phenomena shown in one’s daily life can even define the person’s life. For example, homosexuality was defined as a psychological disorder in DSM-I (first edition). The homosexuality remained in the DSM until 1973. During 1970’s, specific protests by gay rights activists against the APA began and eventually shouted down and ridiculed psychologists who viewed homosexuality as a mental disorder. This protest resulted in removal of homosexuality in the DSM-III (third edition).

Logotherapy is a type of psychotherapy that is proposed by a psychologist Victor Frankl. Unlike all other psychodynamic theories at that period, logotherapy is founded upon the belief that it is the striving to find a meaning in one’s life that is the primary, most powerful motivating and driving force in humans. Some basic principles of logotherapy are as follow:

1. Life has meaning under all circumstances, even the most miserable ones.
2. Our main motivating for living is our will to find meaning in life.
3. We have freedom to find meaning in what we do, and what we experience, or at least in the stand we take when faced with a situation of unchangeable suffering.

Frankl suggested that it may be psychologically damaging when a person’s search for meaning is blocked. Religion let us give a meaning to our life and to all disorders that we have. The power that we get from our prayer allows us to see our life in a different perspective. We, Christians, discover this meaning in life through the Bible. We mustn’t live our lives by the power of our knowledge, but by GOD’s words.

Luke 6:28 — Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.

T.S.

References

Abnormal Psychology, 14th edition

American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (DSM-IV).

The Heart of Many Thank-you’s

If you were lucky to have amazing parents, friends, and/or teachers, you probably grew up with a lot of advices about how to live life. But one that stands most common among family and friends is this very advice: Be thankful.

Now, if you grew up in a Christian surrounding, you probably heard the same thing but with a little bit of variation. “Thank God for everything in your life.”

You hear it so much, sometimes it goes to the back of your head and God knows when you even remember to properly thank God for everything. But then, there are moments you come to this enlightenment, this realization that truly everything in your life was given by God, all the good and the bad, and you cannot believe how amazing God is and how much He has worked within your life.

People, both big and small, talk about “ways to be happy”. Oh sure, there are plenty of ways. But underneath the joy of happiness, you find that gratitude lies as the strongest foundation of them all. When your heart begins to look at the world and your life with thankful eyes, you understand through thick and thin that everything will not only be “okay” but “great”. You find that the reason you can be joyous of your life is because God is in you, and He is working both night and day, whether we are there to know it or not, to lead your life to His will.

Now, if you are a grumpy old soul reading this post, all these words of gratitude may make your eyes more frown-y, your shoulders more slump-y, and you can’t find what there is to be thankful of! A grumpy soul finds the smiles of a joyous person so distasteful, and quite understandably so. But remember that gratitude does NOT come only when you have fortunate events in your life. No, gratitude is something truly deeper than that. It begins with knowing who you are. It begins with the humble journey of discovering how small and weak you are. When you can see clearly the being that you are, then you begin to see this hovering light of Holiness and Grace above you, so far up in the heavens. You learn through the Words and through the sermons at Church that this Holy Light hovers with grace above the clouds in your life. You learn that the Almighty Christ loves you, that God sent his Beloved Son into this sinful world, to save you and me from death and evil.

You see the shackles that constantly tries to chain you. You see the darkness of the soul seeping into every hole your heart creates. Any emptiness is quickly filled with evil thoughts. You cannot deny this soul we have is evil.

And yet there is but one hope in life. It is the hope of Christ. It is the hope of salvation. Though the toils of man without God is left in the dirt, the work of man in accordance to God’s will is of the heaven’s glory!

Let me share with you a few Bible verses:

Psalms 118:24 – This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.

Colossians 3:17 – And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

Psalms 127:1 – (A Song of degrees for Solomon.) Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.

Ephesians 1:16 – Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers;

1 Thessalonians 5:18 – In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

Colossians 3:15 – And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.

James 1:17 – Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

Hebrews 12:28 – Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:

Colossians 3:15-20 – And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.

Romans 8:28 – And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to [his] purpose.

Psalms 107:1 – O give thanks unto the LORD, for [he is] good: for his mercy endureth for ever.

**

These are but the very few. His words are of rejoice! Let us find gratitude in our hearts, find light in darkness, and seek with prayer and passion that once the Light has been given to us, that we do not let anything take it away.

The Secret

One of the greatest blessings we as Christians have is that we have “Someone” on the other side of the wire, listening and corresponding to our voices. No, I am not talking about conversing with a friend over a phone. I am talking about a great secret that God has revealed to us.

We’re all familiar with this verse from the Bible:

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.” (Matthew 7:7-8)

But have you realized how powerful and ultimate this formula works in our universe?

Well, some people might relate this question to the book “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne which was published in 2006 and became an instant best seller. In the book, Byrne mentions “the law of attraction” which accounts for all things that happen in our lives through the process of ‘like attracts like’. She says that when we think and feel, our thoughts and emotions send out frequencies that attract events and circumstances that have the corresponding frequencies back to us, thus good or bad things happen to us according to how we think and feel. By the logic of this formula, we can create and construct our lives by controlling our own thoughts and emotions.

There is an important idea in this, and indeed, we can lead a good life and even fulfill our dreams by enlightening ourselves with positive, creative, and higher thoughts and pursuing these thoughts with our actions, which in turn would bring out corresponding consequences.

But what Byrne misses in her formula is the knowledge of someone behind this “law of attraction”. In fact, this “Someone” is beyond and above this law and has a complete control over it. It isn’t our thoughts or our actions that controls the law of universe; but there is a creator, a master, a giver that controls all things in universe. If we fail to acknowledge that there is a provider, a giver, an answerer to our searches, then we are lost in our own foolishness.

And the best news is, that Someone is the Almighty God who calls Himself our heavenly Father. He is our father! We are His children! He has given us the right to ask Him for things we want and need. How reassuring it is for us to know that we have the world’s richest and mightiest father who can always provide and answer our requests? God promises us, “…how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him?” (Matthew 7:11)

Therefore, keep your prayer. Keep asking, keep seeking, and keep knocking. Our Father in heaven is listening to us. But I think there are few things we need to keep in mind when we do so.

First, we need to be humble and know that we are in need of help. If we think we don’t need any help and that we can solve our problems on our own, then we won’t have the enough “desperation” in our heart to kneel before God and ask Him for His help. It is only when we realize that there is nothing we can do that we come to rely on God to do the work for us and witness His miraculous works.

Second, we need to know the way of God and pray in accordance to His will. God is good and everything He does is good. Even if our prayers are not answered, He is answering us for our goodness. Constantly seek for God’s will and learn the way of God through reading Bible.

Third, pray with faith. When we pray, do not pray with an unfaithful heart. Believe in the promise God has given us and pray with a thanking heart. In all, glorify God with your prayer.

In all things, remember what our heavenly Father promises us:  “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.”

-K.P

Who is The Master of Us?

Few months ago, I had the fortune of watching Paul Thomas Anderson’s movie The Master. I call it a fortune because the movie was shot with a 70 mm film camera (which is extremely rare nowadays), and New York City was one of the few cities that had a movie theater with a 70 mm projector. Being a cinephile, words cannot possibly describe how happy I was.

For those of you who didn’t watch the movie (and I assume it’s the majority), The Master is about a war veteran named Freddie, who recently came home from the Second World War. Like many veterans he struggles to readjust to society, but his mental instability deters him from having a normal job. Then he comes across a religious cult group named “The Cause,” found by a writer, doctor, nuclear physicist, and a theoretical philosopher (if you believe all this is possible) named Lancaster Dodd, or “The Master.” Initially, Freddie takes a liking to the movement and is wholly devoted to its cause, before becoming frustrated at his inability to conform and change even with the teachings of The Master. During its release, The Master was subject to many controversies for its depiction of Scientology—for as you know, any remote reference to Scientology is guaranteed to garner media frenzy and gossip in Hollywood.

However, The Master hardly has any relevance to Scientology at all. In fact, The Master really shows us how we want to control our lives the way we see fit. Freddie wants to take control over his life via the philosophy of The Cause, and Lancaster Dodd wants to control Freddie and in extension his followers with his ideology. [SPOILER ALERT] In the end, Freddie once again becomes the wandering sailor he was when the movie started, and The Master is questioned by his followers for changing some of his philosophical/religious doctrines. As such, the movie really tells us that our attempts at becoming the master—whether that is of our lives or others—is doomed to end in futility.

Have you ever heard of a Chinese finger trap? It is a toy that traps a person’s index fingers; strangely, the harder you pull your index fingers in attempt to get out of the trap, the tighter it will be. The solution to the trap is simple yet counterintuitive: you have to push your fingers instead of pulling it. This simple puzzle designed for kids has a remarkable truth in it: the only way a person can be free is to curb his will in front of God. The harder he tries to pull his life towards his direction the more he will fall in to a trap. However, if he pushes his life towards God, he is a free man.

In the Book of Proverbs in the Holy Bible, it says:

“Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established.”

(Proverbs 16:3)

As such, God wants us to wholly devote ourselves to His works. In front of God, I—as an individual, with all my devices and thoughts—am secondary. Just like the Chinese finger trap, we have to push ourselves to where God is if we want to have control over our lives, for only then does God say that he will bless us in all that we pray for. As Christians, it seems like the only way to define ourselves is to deny who we are.

-A.K.