Monthly Archives: June 2015

Weekly Favorite Links (June 5-10, 2015)

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Some friends and I recently went to The California Science Center to see the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibition. I mentioned in this post a couple months ago that I was excited to see it (and sadly, no, I did not watch Jerusalem 3D narrated by my favorite Cumberbatch). While I looked forward to behold the Dead Sea Scrolls in person, I also wondered what else would be on exhibit.

I think one of the most memorable artifacts that stood out to me, perhaps more than the manuscripts themselves, were the household fertility gods that I saw. They were small figurines, probably made out of clay and were no bigger than the size of my hand. These little man-made idols made a lasting impression because it’s relevant to what I’ve been reading in the Bible. For the past month, I’ve been studying the book of Hosea with some friends. We’ve been reading about how Israel has been unfaithful to God, and how they turned to other idols for help. Their hearts did not love God, and they engaged in practices that were in outright rebellion against him.

My favorite verse so far comes from Hosea 6:6: “For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.” I believe that this is the central theme of the entire book. God desires his people to worship and love him only. Even when God charges Israel and Judah with a list of grievances, prophesies judgment against them, you still read about how God wants to redeem them from their adulterous ways. It was easy for me to laugh at how ridiculous those small clay idols were at the exhibit. How could the Israelites place their hope in fertility gods and follow other deities worshiped by neighboring nations when they’ve seen of the marvelous handiwork of God himself? How could they forget about how God rescued them from Egypt and how he brought the seemingly impossible walls of Jericho to come tumbling down? It seemed absolutely ludicrous.

But then I look at my own life. I may not have physical idols scattered in my home, but I have idols hidden in my heart that I worship apart from God. I worship things that are just as ridiculous and silly as those fertility gods that I saw. The only difference is that the idols we may worship today may be more ambiguous and subtle. We may not bow down and pray to those things, but those idols emerge in our conversations and are evident from how we spend our money to how we utilize our time.

I’m thankful that I left the exhibition with more than a glimpse of historical artifacts. While the Dead Sea Scrolls were cool and I’d go see them again, I went away humbled at the daily grace that I’ve been given and a reminder of just how undeserved I am of God’s patience and love when I’m constantly so disobedient. Amazing grace, indeed.

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Weekly Favorite Links (May 28-June 4, 2015)

Sorry for the hiccup and that this post is so late. This week’s weekly favorites will resume back on Wednesday!

Strangely, it has been quite an exhausting week, considering that I even cut back on the half-marathon training due to some of my scheduled plans. I went to visit old friends at my alma mater last week. This visit was much more memorable and worthwhile than I originally anticipated, despite also getting my car towed and having to spend a fortune getting it back (ask me in person or in the comments below). I really didn’t visit all year, but I wanted to catch up with those that were preparing to graduate soon and to see some of my underclassmen-turned-upperclassmen friends. I wanted to support and encourage these friends of mine as they prepared for the next chapter of their lives.

It was weird being back as an alumnus because once I stepped on campus, it still felt oddly familiar — almost a bit like home. I attended my old college Christian fellowship, and was surprised that I couldn’t recognize a lot of people. More than half of the room was filled with strangers and new faces. But it didn’t really matter when the lights turned off and the musical worship began. We sang some of my favorite hymns, but there was a particular sense of brokenness as we all loudly sang “Be Thou My Vision” and when we cried out, Oh God, be my everything, be my delight. Be Jesus my glory, my soul’s satisfied.

I think my soul was weary and hungry to be refreshed and renewed. Perhaps I’ve been too caught up with doing things and serving others on my own strength. I gave myself pressure to strive for more and to be better at being in control. In my stubbornness, I wanted to endure without God’s Word, to just motivate myself somehow to keep pressing on. I was also trying to gain comfort from other people because they’re tangible and immediately there, instead of turning to the ultimate source of rest: God Himself. Letting go of myself was hard and it was even harder to admit that enduring without God is impossible. As I sang with my arms in surrender, it was humbling to lay down my burdens before God, to confess that in the midst of trying to figure things out on my own, I was feeling increasingly lost and directionless.

This life is confusing. It is tiring and full of distractions that tries to hinder our worship to the only One that is worthy. We are constantly told what we ought to be, bombarded with messages of what we are missing out on, and things that we should pursue. In a way, the world wants us to be our own god. But it is not my goal in life to be a creature living in luxurious comfort, to fill my belly with all that this world has to offer. More and more, I want to find true rest and comfort in Jesus, to have my eyes focused only on eternity.

Oh God, be my everything, be my delight. Be Jesus my glory, my soul’s satisfied.

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