All Posts By

Jo Park

Matthew Chapter 6

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Matthew 6:22-24
22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy,[c] your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eyes are unhealthy,[d] your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!
24 “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.

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When I read the part about healthy eyes I can’t be think that Jesus might be telling us about what we expose our eyes to. What we watch, what we see. This then followed up by “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other.” I know in this particular passage Jesus is talking about money but perhaps it can applied to the previous line about healthy eyes. What we expose our eyes to is also binary. What we watch can either draw us closer to God and push us away. Maybe Jesus is reminding us the simplicity of our decision making process by breaking it down to: you either serve God with your actions (by what you watch) or you don’t.

Apply //
Given the simplistic nature of obedience to God, how am I framing my decisions? Do the things I expose myself to draw me closer to God or away from him?

Pray//
God I pray that all my decisions reflect an obedience and a drawing towards you. In Jesus’ name Amen.

Matthew Chapter 5

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Matthew 5:11-12

“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

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This passage that persecution is a part of the Christian way of life. If anything, the rejection from the world is a reminder that we don’t belong here. In John 17:14 it says “I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world.” I can finally see why Jesus says to rejoice and be glad in this moment. It is not only because we receive great rewards in heaven but it shows that we are truly children of God. We get an opportunity to participate with the prophets of old in this journey of preaching God’s word to the world.

Apply //
When I face persecution am I downcast or rejoicing? What does my response to trials and tribulations say about the position of my heart? Is it fixated on my opportunity to shine through as a child of God or more concerned on the pain I am going through? When facing pain and suffering – what a glorious opportunity to let God shine on through by keeping steadfast my faith to show the world that my God is better.

Pray//
God I pray you give me the words through the Holy Spirit when I need them. Give me the courage when going through pain and remind that this is an exercise of my faith and opportunity to participate in a demonstration of Your love for the world.

 

Matthew Chapter 4

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Matthew 4:1-11

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When I read this passage I’m reminded of Hebrews 4:15 which reads “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are yet- yet he did not sin.” I’m sure a big temptation for Jesus was just to end it all. End earth with all his enemies. After all he is God and there is nothing he couldn’t do. I find it incredibly paradoxical that God himself would come down to earth and humble himself by subjecting himself to the humiliation from men.

Apply //
Given that Jesus all of this for me. How arrogant am I to not humble myself? If Jesus did that to me, I’d have to become the lowest of lows and it still wouldn’t match the humility of Jesus.

Pray//
Jesus I love you. It’s so awesome that you can understand where I’m coming from because you’ve endured through temptation just like us yet you showed us we don’t have to sin but follow you instead. Thank you God, Amen.

Matthew Chapter 3

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Matthew 3:4-6

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 There are two interesting points here. First is, why is someone like John is someone as wild and crazy as John used as the representative of God. Why not someone well put together like a Pharisee? Or a king? It’s interesting that God would choose John the Baptist. Second is, the people were so eager to confess their sins. Contrast this with the Pharisees and Saducees where there is no mention of confession and they are rebuked by John the Baptist. It’s almost as if admission to wrong is what we’re striving for – above feeling right.
Apply //
Do I still remember the importance of confession? Do I really understand that this journey is more about repentance and clinging onto God’s grace than it is about becoming a better person?

Pray//
God remind me to run back to your grace each time. May I not stand on my own righteousness. What is my own righteousness anyway but dirty rags in your sight. May I cling to you to be truly clean. May I never forget I need You always.

Matthew Chapter 2

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Matthew 2

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There is already so much drama happening even leading up to the birth of Jesus. When reading this chapter through the lens of spiritual warfare I can see the spiritual forces of evil starting to panic as they see God’s plan come to fruition. I’m reminded of Ephesians 6:12 which reads “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”  It seems like Satan is stirring up hatred in King Herod to prompt him to want to kill Jesus.

Apply //
What lens do I use to see the world? Do I see it through the lens of flesh and blood or of spiritual forces?

Pray//
Open the eyes of my heart God. Show me what you see. May I see the spiritual forces so I can ready myself for battle wearing the whole armour of God. Amen. 

Matthew Chapter 1

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Matthew 1:21
“She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

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I love that language behind this passage. Jesus came to rescue his people FROM sin. Sin therefore being the subject in which we need rescuing from. Jesus doesn’t simply buy us a ticket into heaven but he rescues us from a wretched life that we previously lived. The angel in one sentence summarises the purpose of Jesus’ mission but how often do we forget what we are being rescued from in the first place?

Apply //
I need to remind myself that Jesus not only saved me from the depth of hell but also saved me from sin in this life time. Knowing this, how could I possibly turn back to sin?

Pray//
God continue to convict me of sin. May I repent daily and still need your daily grace. Have mercy on me and see me as pure. In the name of Jesus, Amen.

James Chapter 5

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James 5:10-11
10 Brothers and sisters, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11 As you know, we count as blessedthose who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.

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It’s remarkable how many times the New Testament encourages us to preserve through suffering. Romans 12:12 says Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. James 1:12 says Blessed is the one who preservers under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. Revelation 2:10 says Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown. Each time the bible reminds us that this suffering is not in vain.

Apply //
How much do I trust that “the Lord is full of compassion and mercy”? And how much more difficult would that be to believe when facing trials and tribulations?

It’s so important to believe in this now before these happen so that I’m ready to stand firm when it gets tough.

Pray//
God I pray that You may be the one to preserve us through this time. Whether the tribulation is for now or for later, one is certain and that is that life isn’t going to be easy. When it gets to that point when we’re all in doubt – remind us God that you are full of compassion and mercy.

Luke Chapter 20

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Luke 20:17 and Luke 20:25

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It’s interesting to note the placement of certain parables and dialogue found in the gospel of Luke. Much like in Luke 14 how The Parable of the Great Banquet and Jesus’s statements on the cost of discipleship are wedged together to tell a big story. I believe these two sections were designed to be read as a whole to provide a bigger context.
In Exodus 32, we see the Israelites having just been rescued from Egypt and crossing the red sea, they had forgotten their God and had built a golden calf idol. Later in Exodus 35, God has compassion on them and provides them a way to reconcile their sin. Verse 22 says “all who were willing men and women alike, came and brought gold jewelry of all kinds: brooches, earrings, rings and ornaments. They all presented their gold as a wave offering to the LORD.” The verse says “all who were willing” – implying that some were not willing. The irony of this is that the gold that they had used to build a golden calf and was now requested to be given was originally provided to them by God in the first place. God was simply requesting for what is already rightfully His own.

Throughout the bible, man has had a habit of prostituting the gifts provided to them by God that was originally purposed for His glory.

Luke 20:17 and Luke 20:25 explores this further by reminding us of our original purpose (Luke 20:17) and of our original owner (Luke 20:25). In that moment Jesus is asking us “What were you made for?” (Purpose) and “Who owns you?” (Ownership). “You were made for me and you are mine” He declares with verse 25.

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These two questions challenge me. Not because I can’t answer them but because I say that I am made for God and I am His but often behaving as if I am not. I need to be reminded that my body is not my own and this world not my home.

Pray//

God I pray Colossians 3:5 and Romans 12:1. I offer up my body as a living sacrifice, pursuing holiness and pleasing God, putting death to all that is worldly in me. God I pray that you sanctify me day by day, give me patience to see it through and give me faith to remember You. In the name of Jesus I pray, Amen.

Luke Chapter 19

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Luke 19-1-6

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In this passage, we see a man named Zacchaeus, a chief tax collector that climbed a tree to see Jesus coming from afar. It’s interesting to note Zacchaeus’s peaked curiosity and persistence to even get just a glance of Jesus. I can only imagine how overjoyed he would have felt once Jesus recognized him and told him that he would be staying at his house.

Apply //

If we pay close attention to many of the people that were forgiven by Jesus during his ministry, they were always so desperate to see him and to touch him. There was this sense that they were so eager to see him that they wouldn’t think twice about the obstacles ahead of them. I was deeply convicted by Zacchaeus and his instinctive response to do everything he can (even to climb a tree) to see a glimpse of Jesus. How often do I see an obstacle (in the case of Zacchaeus it was high height) and say I can’t see God instead of climbing that tree, doing anything I can even to get a glimpse of Him.

Pray//

God I pray that whenever I see a seemingly immovable object that I seek you to give me strength. I pray that when I see an infinitely tall mountain that I pray that you give me faith to climb it. Give me faith to do anything I can to see glimpses of You. In the name of Jesus Amen.

Luke Chapter 18

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Luke 18:9-14

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The most controversial part about this parable is that the Pharisee that prays his prayer of self-exaltation would receive much praise from many in today’s society. He’s not a thief, an evildoer, an adulterer, or a tax collector. He fasts twice a week and tithes regularly. For all intents and purposes, he is the law abiding, tax paying, 9-5 working, middle class citizen homeowner that drives a Prius because the environment matters. Contrast with the other guy who scams people for a living and is so ashamed, he can barely enter into the temple. Yet Jesus says the second guy is justified before God.

Apply //

When I first became as a Christian I thought it was as simple as you stop sinning and you get into heaven. After a few years of trying my best not to sin I was absolutely miserable because every day was dependent on my performance and I was eventually abstaining from everything (both sinful and permissible). I dreaded the idea of having to wake up because it meant that I would enter a world of temptation that I’d be fighting all day long because if I didn’t I would go to hell. This led to me growing arrogant and judgmental of others that weren’t doing the same or that were struggling with sin. This lasted a few years until I fell into sin and I realized how desperately I needed to be covered by the blood of Jesus to be saved. The mistake I had made was not that I had fought sin but that I thought that my fighting of sin would be sufficient for my salvation. The irony is even when I was “abstaining from everything” I was probably still in sin, but my greater sin was the arrogance in thinking I could consecrate myself by my own performance. The point is this: whether you’re a law abiding citizen or a homeless man on the street – we are all sinners and in desperate need of forgiveness and need to be covered by the blood of Jesus to be justified.

Pray//

God I pray that it all starts with you to work through me rather than me working to earn you. God I confess that in the past I was so arrogant to believe that I could do it on my own but through your humbling of me I’ve realized that you’re all that I need – so I pray that you may carry me to the end sanctifying me day by day to further reflect the image of your son Jesus Christ. Amen.