Friday, May 12, 2017

Wedding reminiscence

Today was like any other day. I woke up and started working on my internal to-do list as soon as I finished my coffee. Eat breakfast, take meds, work on songwriting, do chores. I quickly ran out of things to do at 11:30 a.m. Then, my eyes wandered over to my bookshelf where my wedding journal was. I delightfully seized the baby blue book and began eagerly flipping through its contents.

About halfway through, as usual, I started gazing at blank pages regretfully, the ones that I had not bothered to fill. It then dawned on me that I could use my empty schedule to finish filling out my journal. I started writing down details inside the book, and found the hours passing by as I recalled all that I could remember of our wedding day.

Most of the things that I remembered were mishaps and dramatic moments that had plagued me while I was trying not to be stressed. It's interesting to observe what we remember most about events. Someone reading my journal would probably be misinformed, concluding that our entire day was one disaster after another. I also remembered, however, those moments of infinite joy. I mentally recalled the moment I rounded the corner and made eye contact with my grinning and teary-eyed fiancé; sitting silently next to him, anticipating the moment when we would say our vows; and our first dance when everything blurred but his face and we could have been dancing alone for all I cared.

Most days I want to get married again; to relive the happiness I felt on my wedding day each and every day that I am alive. Some people may claim that we should feel that way every day. It's the same with God on the spiritual level. Some people say that we should be infinitely happy every day with Him and never have sorrow or anything else but joy. They say that God just wants us to be happy. My response to that is that if we were that euphoric all the time, would we do anything other than worship? If I was going ga-ga for Chris every moment of every day, would I ever learn to love him? Could I ever know what true sacrifice felt like? Probably not, because it would just come naturally to me.

Where am I going with this? Anyone who has been married for a while would agree that marriage is tough. It's a commitment that lasts a lifetime. I'm not saying my wedding day was fake though, because all days have their appropriate flavor in the meal of life if you know what I mean. I'm saying that our wedding was a beautiful day and I am thankful now that I do not have a wedding every day.  I'm glad today that when Chris comes home, I will once again feel the pain of having to let go of my selfishness and love a little. It's in those moments, in my baby steps away from pampering myself, that I slowly change and become more like God. After all, God is love.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Catching Up

Hello everyone out there who is reading this blog. It's been a while and I wanted to thank you for following me. It has been a few years since I last wrote anything, but I don't want this blog just to die and be dependent on Google searches to be unearthed. Therefore, I'm changing the role of this site to becoming somewhat of a temporary diary. I am not really a wonderful writer or communicator, and as much as I enjoyed writing this blog, I have run out of steam writing about the Bible.

Don't get me wrong! I still love Jesus! I just have much to say, many stories to tell, and a lot of free time this summer, so I am going to attempt to chronicle my days as they happen (with no daily commitment) from here on out. Not just, "this happened, this happened", but honest-to-God thoughts that I have had about life. 

Today, I saw a movie called "Hello, my name is Doris" which is about a woman in her 60's or later that crushes on a 20-something man at work. It's quite awkward to watch and I do not recommend it, but it gave me some food for thought. It made me think about how long I am going to be "young". Do you ever think about that? Do you ever wonder when you're going to start getting wrinkles and start being overlooked by the world? Or do you think about what is it like to be old and forgotten and alone?

Proverbs 31 talks about beauty and how foolish it is to get caught up in it. It says, "Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised." I feel like that is easy to say, but difficult to apply. After I thought about this verse, I stared in the mirror and wondered what my face would look like 50 years from now. I looked at my youthful cheeks and neck, rosy from walking around the house, and pinched them as if to make sure that they were there to stay. Youth feels so permanent, yet I know I'm just like a flower blooming in the springtime, naive to the winter in store. The cold is coming...

And then Ecclesiastes 12:1 says, "Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come and the years approach when you will say, "I find no pleasure in them." Isn't that dark? I wonder if I am in "the days of my youth" or the "days of trouble." It certainly already feels like I'm in my days of trouble, but perhaps there's more in store.

I don't know what the purpose of this blog is for, or what exactly I'm going for right now. It's rather mirroring my life to be honest. My purpose seems hazier than it did 10 years ago, a trend that I am hoping to discontinue. Do you ever feel like your mission is lost? Like somehow in the waiting room of life, you were forgotten? What do you do in those times to find it again? I feel like I have no mission. Every day that slips through my fingers seems to be dripping with regret and my heart burns with a desire to find direction.

Perhaps I'm afraid to make a wrong choice; to choose a path that leads to a place that I cannot leave. I'm realizing more and more that the choices we make day-to-day alter our life course significantly. The direction that I decide on is going to lead to specific opportunities that I may not have had otherwise. It could also limit me and lead me down a dark path.
So those are my thoughts for today.





Wednesday, October 9, 2013

A connection between Abraham and Jesus

Abraham was a guy who had a lot of faith in God. You have to admire him because God promised that Abraham's descendants would be as numerous as the stars, yet Abraham didn't even have a child at the time of God's promise. Moreover, he had to wait 25 years until his wife finally had their first child. As a side note, I should mention that they had a slip-up in trusting God a little before that. They used their servant Hagar as a surrogate and she had a son. This was not the son God had promised and that's another story that I will not start unless there is curiosity for it.

Anyway, to make a long story shorter, Abraham, although he didn't ever see most of his descendants, trusted God that they would come through Isaac. God also promised him that he would inherit a land. Remember that detail because I'm going to go back to it at the end of this post.

There is a book in the more recently written part of the Bible called Hebrews. The author is unknown, but I would guess it was Paul (a missionary). In this book, the author talks about the old contract that was made between Abraham and God and the new contract made. It talks about Jesus being the fulfillment of the old contract. But wasn't the old contract between God and Abraham? Yes, it was. So what did Jesus have to do with it? That's a good question, honestly. I will try to explain where Abraham and Jesus connect for you, although I may botch it up (I'm only basing my answer off scripture here).

In another gospel called "Luke", there is a story about a man named Zacchaeus (let's call him Zach). It's in the beginning of chapter 19. Basically Zach is a short guy and wants to see Jesus, but unfortunately, due to height issues, cannot see above the crowd. Zach is a rich guy, since he is a tax collector, but he climbs a tree so that he'll be able to see Jesus. The rest of the story, I'm going to quote from Luke.

When Jesus came by, he looked up at Zacchaeus and called him by name.
“Zacchaeus!” he said. “Quick, come down! I must be a guest in your home today.”

Zacchaeus quickly climbed down and took Jesus to his house in great excitement and joy. But the people were displeased. “He has gone to be the guest of a notorious sinner,” they grumbled.

Meanwhile, Zacchaeus stood before the Lord and said, “I will give half my wealth to the poor, Lord, and if I have cheated people on their taxes, I will give them back four times as much!”

Jesus responded, “Salvation has come to this home today, for this man has shown himself to be a true son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.”

There are a lot of strange things that happen in this encounter, but the section I want to point out is the last one. How did a tax collector giving back what he cheated people out of merit him a son of Abraham? And how did that grant him salvation?

I interpret this as those who are saved by Jesus are metaphorically sons of Abraham, but that interpretation has come from years of pondering this idea. It's the idea that maybe the promises that God made to Abraham apply to us. Remember the promise that God made to Abraham that He would give him land? Well, what if that "land" exists in a different dimension? What if that promise applies not just to Jews, but to everyone? Maybe Jesus was saying that when you're saved, you're eligible to get the land promised to Abraham because you metaphorically become his descendant.

I know that this stuff is deep, but take time and to think about and process this, because it definitely helped me better to understand the connection between the older part of the Bible, and the newer. Also, if this goes over your head or doesn't help, I'm sorry. Sometimes I suck at explaining things and this could very well be the post that I mess up.

I'm glad that as humans we can commiserate about our imperfections and hope that outside of this blog you are doing well.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Matthew ch. 1 (part a)

Matthew is one of the "gospels." I think I define gospel in an earlier post, but in case I didn't, according to Wikipedia, "a gospel is an account describing the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth." I think of a gospel as a biography of Jesus, written by an eyewitness.

Apparently, also according to Wikipedia, the gospel was written around 80-90 CE.

Let's move on because you can find everything I'm saying on Google. I'm here to offer you a fresh perspective, so let's delve into this first chapter of Matthew. You can read it on this post. Don't worry, it's shorter than the usual chapter length in a novel and I'm only copy-and-pasting the first two-thirds of the chapter.

The record of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham:   
Abraham was the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers. Judah was the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, Perez was the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Ram. Ram was the father of Amminadab, Amminadab the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon the father of Salmon. Salmon was the father of Boaz by Rahab, Boaz was the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse. Jesse was the father of David the king.
David was the father of Solomon by Bathsheba who had been the wife of Uriah. Solomon was the father of Rehoboam, Rehoboam the father of Abijah, and Abijah the father of Asa. Asa was the father of Jehoshaphat, Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, and Joram the father of Uzziah. Uzziah was the father of Jotham, Jotham the father of Ahaz, and Ahaz the father of Hezekiah. Hezekiah was the father of Manasseh, Manasseh the father of Amon, and Amon the father of Josiah. Josiah became the father of Jeconiah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon.
After the deportation to Babylon: Jeconiah became the father of Shealtiel, and Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel. Zerubbabel was the father of Abihud, Abihud the father of Eliakim, and Eliakim the father of Azor. Azor was the father of Zadok, Zadok the father of Achim, and Achim the father of Eliud. Eliud was the father of Eleazar, Eleazar the father of Matthan, and Matthan the father of Jacob. Jacob was the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, by whom Jesus was born, who is called the Messiah.

So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; from David to the deportation to Babylon, fourteen generations; and from the deportation to Babylon to the Messiah, fourteen generations.

****

As a teenager, when I first read Matthew, I remember somewhat glazing over, as I looked at Jesus' bloodline. I thought, 'Was that really necessary?' Before (let's just call the author) Matthew started writing anything else, he wrote out Jesus' ancestors. Why do you think Matthew did that?

I don't actually know the answer to that question, but I've heard others share with me their opinions. I guess it was really important to the Jews to write down the history of things. In a way, I think they're right because our history helps explain why we are here. In a way, the people that came before Jesus are part of Him.

Another reason I think that all the names are written first is because its acknowledging that Jesus had an important bloodline, i.e. he was royal or something. Why do I say that? Well, I'm speculating here, but it's kind of like a purebred pedigree for dogs. I have a couple of dogs myself so this may be why it comes to mind. If you get a dog that is a mutt, or maybe a pure breed, but with not so important parents, they will not have a pedigree. On the other hand, if you purchase a dog that has famous parents, or is in general relatively rare/valuable, bloodline is everything. I know humans aren't dogs, but obviously the author thought that Jesus was important enough of a person to trace his bloodline back 42 generations. With people, generally, you only trace your ancestry if it is super important to others (like if you're going to be the next queen or something) or if its important to you for sentimental reasons or curiosity's sake (ancestry.com). Even if it was for curiosity's sake, why trace it back 42 generations? Isn't it enough after 5?

Therefore, we have no other conclusion (really) to draw, other than Jesus' bloodline was important. Also, the people that the author points to, out of this slew of names, are Abraham and David. They must have been the "royalty" that made Jesus so important. Actually King David was considered the greatest king that the Jews had. Abraham was not a king, but he was the beginning of a promise that God made to all the Jews. 

I know I've said a lot that may not have made sense, but please email me if you have any questions (patsings247@gmail.com). I could be off on some of my information and I want to know if I am. I think next post will be about Abraham, David, and the "deportation to Babylon."




A long awaited time

It's been a long time since I've written anything, partially because I am afraid to continue. To talk about Jesus is risky because there is so much hostility against what He claimed and what His followers claimed. Nevertheless, I will proceed with the lightest treading, as if I were walking on water.

Why not begin in Matthew? It is a good book to read and it has many accessible translations. I usually read certain translations depending on my mood, but I would recommend trying to determine which one you trust the most, and which one you can understand. Today, I will use the NASB or the New American Standard Bible. I've heard that it is a more literal English translation from the Greek, although not being a Biblical scholar by any means, I'm hesitant to stand on such an assertion.

Have I stalled enough?

Let us embark then on this expedition together.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

A preface to who Jesus said He was

So. Now that we have come to the conclusion that everyone is going to have a different perspective on Jesus, one way we will be able to draw some connections between all of our perspectives is if we look at who Jesus said He was when He was a human here on Earth.

I have to admit that I'm starting to get nervous writing, because I hate stepping on other people's toes. Although we cannot know for sure what Jesus actually said when He was here, and we only have historical accounts to draw conclusions from, I would still like to try to press onward. I think that if we were to stop in our tracks once we entered the unknown, we wouldn't get very far. Most things, even the things we think we know, are based on an assumption that the reality we are trusting, is actually real. Therefore, although it's possible that the Bible is an imprecise historical account (like all written history), I will be making the assumption that the writers are writing to the best of their knowledge, and that their recounting of what Jesus said is at least similar to what actually came out of Jesus' mouth.

I wish I was actually there during the time of Jesus, and if you are as curious as I am about who Jesus is, I think you do too. It's always been hard for me to believe people when they say something extraordinary happened unless I was there to witness it myself. I think that holds true for a lot of people. If they have never experienced something, how do they know it's real? Sure, there are people out there who are super gullible and prone to naivety, but I've become much more cautious when it comes to trusting people right off the bat.

I am warning you ahead of time that I will be referencing what Christians call "The Gospels," four books of the bible by four different authors, that are historical accounts of Jesus' life. I'm not very literate in other historical accounts, although I am aware that they are out there. I apologize if I sound like I'm being narrow-minded, or ignorant. I do not mean to be and please believe me when I say that I want to know the truth just as much as you do.




Sunday, August 11, 2013

Who is Jesus?

Who do you think Jesus is? 
Have you ever wondered? 
What made you stop wondering and be satisfied with your answer?

I have to admit: Jesus' identity has been a question that I have always tried to answer, but yet, for some reason I can never fully do it justice. I know that you yourself are going to have a unique view of Him. This is why it is going to be difficult to answer the question. I recognize, that although Jesus is not a changing being, and that He is the same as he was 2000+ years ago, our view of Him is dynamic.

To me, Jesus is a bit like a flower, surrounded by every person. Some are closer to the flower than others, and everyone has a different view from where they are standing. Some are seeing the flower from behind, and others from the side. Some are standing behind other people and can't get a good look at it. The flower has not changed, but since we are not able to see it from all the multiple angles, we have to infer what is not visible to our eyes. 

I know this seems weird, but I truly believe that Jesus has already shown you a little bit of Himself. I don't mean that I think you are Christian. You might be a Buddhist, an Agnostic, a Muslim, or a follower of another way. Whatever you believe (and I hope I do not offend anyone), I think that you've already seen a part of Jesus. Whether its in a smile from a stranger, an unexpected gift, or someone forgiving you who shouldn't; you have seen a part of Him. 

I hope my words do not hurt you, or that you are not assuming that I could not possibly know what I am talking about. I think that no matter what I say, if you decide in your heart that you do not agree with me, you will not hear what I'm saying. My words will seem rotten to you. That is completely okay, and I want you to know that I respect you.

Also, I should say that you could be right in thinking I am wrong. This is only a blog after all.