"You thrill me, Lord..."
"You thrill me, Lord..."
So Romans 9: 18 says, "So you see, God chooses to show mercy to some, and he chooses to harden the hearts of others so they refuse to listen."
It's been a few weeks now since I posted Part One of this series, but I still remember what the Lord said in response to my questions.
He said, Jeremiah 29:11 and Romans 9:18 are not mutually exclusive. They are both true.
You see, to our very-human eyes and brains, these two verses are mutually exclusive - contradictory, even.
One says that God's thoughts towards us are good, and not evil, while the other says that He chooses to harden hearts so that they refuse to listen.
How can God who only wants good for a person choose to harden their heart so that they refuse to listen?
It. Just. Doesn't. Fit.
Jeremiah 29:11 and Romans 9:18 are not mutually exclusive.
Yet, the Lord stands His ground: "Jeremiah 29:11 and Romans 9:18 are not mutually exclusive, Ronke."
The Lord is asking me (and you, of course) to open our minds to a universe where Jeremiah 29:11 and Romans 9:18 are not mutually exclusive.
The Lord is asking us to understand in faith. Maybe we can't understand now with sight, but we can, with faith.*
We may not understand WHY or HOW it is even possible, but it is.
There is a paradigm shift here: Not trying to use human logic to prove the Bible right, but using the Bible to prove your thinking right (i.e. inform your thinking).
And if God - who made the heavens and the earth in six days - says that Jeremiah 29:11 and Romans 9:18 are both true, then they are.
It is true because He said it. Not because you can prove it - using logical reasoning or scientific evidence.
It is true because it is true.
Does this sound foolish?
Then, I must be saying something right. **
*2 Corinthians 5:7
** 1 Corinthians 1:18-27
Not trying to use human logic to prove the Bible right, but using the Bible to prove your thinking right (i.e. inform your thinking).
I finished When Dimple Met Rishi a few minutes ago, and I am just ruminating. This is not a review or anything like that. But if you must know: I thought it was a well-written piece of art.
It was quite obvious that the author, Sandhya Menon, was personally acquainted with the struggles of being a non-white immigrant in the United States.
What struck me most about this book (you know what...maybe this is a review?)...
As I was saying, what struck me most about this book is a statement that Rishi makes about Christianity always being the default in the United States. You know, Easter holidays, Christmas holidays, Christian-ese words interwoven into day-to-day speech.
Basically, Rishi was saying that Christianity is the majority. And other religions, like Hinduism in Rishi's case, are in the minority.
If you are a Christian and you are reading, I am willing to bet $5 that your initial reaction was, "No, it is not!" And you are probably ready to start listing instances where Christians have been persecuted, and ....yeah.
Well, I am a Christian, so I get it.
Here's the thing: Rishi is right, technically. We've all heard about WASP, right? The White Anglo-Saxon Protestants who were (and still are, for the most part) at the top of the social food chain.
See how somehow Christianity is roped into that title?
So whenever people talk about "the Guy," "the Man," the "society" they are rebelling against, Christianity is always, unfortunately yet unmistakably, there.
Well, I hate it.
Because if all the WASPs truly embodied what it meant to be a Christian, there wouldn't even be a WASP. Does that make sense?
Like if they truly were Christians, would they not be known for their love instead of their exclusivity? Would they not be known for Jesus rather than for jewels? (some good old-fashioned alliteration for you)
Christianity, in the true sense of the word, is not in the majority.
Heck, we are in the minority - actually, the worst kind of minority: The minority that everyone thinks is the majority, so when they raise their voices to be heard, they are shut down, because no one wants to hear anything the privileged princesses have to say.
Rishi's statement hurt because it rings true of a trend I have noticed of late.
The Lord Jesus Christ, in His unassuming humility, has somehow become the Man;
I hate it, but I don't have to defend the Lord's honor. He is quite capable of doing that Himself.
I just wanted you to know, dear reader, that being a Christian is more than a title. It's about loving Jesus.
**Picture pulled from: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28458598-when-dimple-met-rishi
There is a thing to be said about confidence.
Really, one of the coolest aspects of growing up (for me) is that my confidence has been forced to grow up as well.
I used to be terrified to have questions about Christianity, about the Lord, about the Bible.
I was scared I would unearth something that would change my faith, change my understanding, change me.
I was scared because I was afraid that one of the answers I sought would make Him untrue.
I should have known that when fear is the major driver, the Lord is probably not in it.
I remember asking an older person, as a kid, who gave birth to God. I don't remember the answer I was given, but I remember feeling that I should not have asked that question.
I remember feeling listless and unsatisfied with the thought that going to heaven meant we will be singing in choir forever and ever. I could barely stand 4 hours in church, talk less of eternity!
But I remember never questioning.
The problem with never questioning is that there is only one outcome: ignorance.
The thing is God does not do ignorance. He said that we perish when we don't know. (Hosea 4:6)
I would never, ever, ever, ever, in a million years, be where I am today if I did not question. If I just buried the contrary way I was feeling and let it go.
Don't get me wrong. There are still many things I don't understand yet, but I trust that God will explain it to me - either here on earth or when I see Him and bug Him with questions.
" The problem with never questioning is that there is only one outcome: ignorance.
This past Saturday, I was reading Romans 9.
Verse 18 says: "So you see, God chooses to show mercy to some, and he chooses to harden the hearts of others so they refuse to listen."
Well darn, I thought.
How am I supposed to explain this, Lord?
How do I counter a self-assured Twitter user who uses this verse to oppose Your goodness? How does this verse correlate with Your goodness?
Wanna know what He said, read Part 2!
Okay. I officially call it.
It is the most debilitating of all emotion-thought-feelings.
It takes you from logical, faith-full human to .... (insert your worst head-state scenario here).
I was teaching the children class at my church a few Sundays ago and we were discussing the story of Creation and how amazing everything was before we sinned.
The Lord helped us to understand that He did not create us with fear or shame (we can talk about shame on another day).
Case in point, when the Lord was bringing the animals for Adam to name - do you think He brought the lions and tigers and dinosaurs(!) in a cage or with a leash around their neck? (Genesis 2:19)
That would be a solid no.
Even more, do you think the animals we consider ferocious today were tied to trees or walking freely around the garden? (Genesis 3:1)
Fear was non-existent! Adam and Eve had zero reason to fear because they knew God was right there.
They had no reason to fear anyone's intentions - because they had no concept of evil.
Fear comes from knowing evil.
You are only afraid your children will be kidnapped, because you know children get kidnapped.
You are only afraid you will lose your job because you know people get fired..
Catch my drift, here?
Well, guess what you guys, we are no longer in the Garden of Eden - physically at least. (Shocker!)
But spiritually, we have been returned to that state of oneness, relationship and trust with God.
We don't have to fear - we have zero reason to fear - because we know that God is right there.
Sadly, I don't think we can do anything about the knowing evil part. Our ancestors ingested that fruit (I hope it went down well, Adam! 🙄)
Maybe we can - I don't know.
My point though is that we can choose, today, not to live in fear!
Who's with me with God?!
Many are the fears of a man, but the Lord invalidates them all.
When terrible things happen, probably one of the hardest things to do is to accept it.
They say the first stage of grief is denial. They are right. Because acceptance makes that situation real; it's no longer a bad dream that you can wake up from and find that everything is okay.
They say this because the quicker you accept, the quicker you can begin to heal.
But God is asking us for more than just acceptance. He is asking us to trust Him.
If you genuinely prayed, and you begged God and yet it happened, or didn't happen as the case may be, then you have to trust that He knows what He is doing.
You have to trust that what He is doing is for your sake.
You have to trust that what He is doing is for your good.
And I know it hurts because I have been there. Heck, I am still there. And I will probably always be as long as my wants differ from His.
But I am cool with that because I know that what He wants is my good. What He wants is for me to be happy and fulfilled and satisfied.
That's what makes Him happy and gives Him glory, like any good parent.
Here's where you make a decision. Choose to trust. Choose to accept and I promise that you will feel better. The peace that surpasses understanding will appear, and you will be fine.
Philippians 4:7, Psalm 16:2, Psalm 138:8, Psalm 138:3
Good morning! Its 3:30am on this side of the world and it's officially January 28th, which means it is my sister's birthday!!!
Side note: I called her about 30 minutes ago and said, "Are you sleeping?" *insert evil laugh*
If this specially dedicated post is not clear enough, I love my sister.
I know what you are thinking, and I am not trying to one-up her AT ALL. *insert evil laugh*
But seriously, if you have ever had the pleasure of meeting my sister, you will understand the remaining part of this post.
One lesson the Lord has been teaching me quite recently (and which makes even more sense now) is that everyone in your life - especially in your immediate family - is deliberately placed there by Him, because you need their influence in your life - however great, however small - to fulfill your purpose here on earth.
Thousand kisses for ya.
Now...to the important sisterly duties (video time!)
"You don't have to change the world today; you just have to listen to Me." Those were the words the Lord whispered in my spirit a couple of minutes ago - literally.
It's been a while since I have written a blog. Honestly, it's been a while since I have written more than a full paragraph.
I'm not sure why. I can't tell you why.
I think part of me is terrified of staring at a blank screen, while my fingers hover aimlessly above the keyboard.
I think part of me wants to be the one with the best write-ups and the best quotes, so I relentlessly second-guess everything I do.
I don't know. And honestly, I am starting to realize, it does not matter.
What matters is that I ignore those thoughts, those feelings, those things that do not want me to do what I was made to do. And actually do it.
So, I am here. Doing it.
I read something on social media less than 20 minutes ago, written by someone I'd like to consider my friend, and I was struck. I was (and still am) floored by all she had gone through spiritually, and how mature she is now. And of course, I began to compare her to myself. Her achievements to mine.
I woke up with a start about 40 minutes ago. I had been praying when I fell asleep. Just before I fell asleep, I knew I would because it is so darn cold and I was bundled up under the covers. Yet, when I woke up, I had to consciously remind myself not to feel bad for taking a nap in the middle of the day.
"You don't have to change the world today," the Love of my Life reminds me, "you just have to listen to Me."
Okay, Dad. Okay.
I hope you are happy today.
It's funny: in a world so desperate for some form of happiness, we seem to do everything but what would actually make us happy.
Even we who call ourselves Christians.
It's crazy because, like, we have the Source of Joy Himself as a Father, yet somehow, we manage to self-sabotage.
Thank God because he never stops helping us.
This post was supposed to be a hi, so I will keep it short.
Today, I pray that you are happy.
I think I first saw Demi Lovato in Camp Rock.
There was something so relatable, so likable about her. Maybe it was her full-mouthed smile that made you want to smile too or her unencumbered laugh that, well, made you want to laugh too...
...There was just something about Demi.
Her unabashed honesty about what she was going through (i.e. her psychological disorders) was refreshing and endearing.
And I loved her. I prayed for her.
Then, she began to veer off onto a path that, despite my love for her, I could not follow her on.
I could have prayed.
I should have prayed.
But I didn't.
I may have muttered a few half-hearted words to God on her behalf. Maybe.
I stopped following her. I stopped praying for her.
Hearing the news of her overdose last Tuesday hit me hard. Right in the gut.
How dark of a place she must have been to forget about the last 6 years of her sobriety and use to a point of overdosing.
I was upset for hours. I am still upset, over a week later.
Oh, dear Demi, my heart cries out for you. Forgive its traitorous nature.
I pray to God that you are okay. And I pray to God that once more, you will find your way to Him - the only One who can truly satisfy you - mind, body, and spirit.
I love you. You brought laughter and hours of singing and dancing to my life.
But God loves you more. He will bring laughter and hours of singing and dancing to your life, again.
He promises. Just trust Him.
Psychologists have a theory; they say "bad is stronger than good." That is, our perception of negativity is stronger and far outweighs our ability to see what is good around us. It would be hard, during this time, to focus on the thousands of people who love you and want to see you get well. But try.
No, actually, scratch that.
Don't focus on them. They could be like me and desert you when they don't like something you do. They are human.
Focus on God. He loves you. He's got you. He knows you - flaws and all. He will never, ever disappoint you.
Dear Demi, feel better soon.
Picture of Demi above pulled from: https://bit.ly/2KkBJQe
Nothing hurts more than thinking I heard You when I didn't.
Right-brained extrovert. Left-brained introvert.