The Pruning

Posts Tagged ‘love’

What Does it Mean When the Bible Says, “God Remembers”

In Charlie Kang on February 14, 2012 at 2:06 pm

by Charlie Kang

God is perfect in knowledge and wisdom; the Bible makes that abundantly clear.  With this in mind, the phrase “God remembered” can be particularly troubling.  When the Bible says that “God remembered,” one might picture God as a forgetful grandfather, who has difficulty remembering all the promises that He’s made to His children.  This phrase comes out numerous times throughout the first five books of the Bible, but we’ll focus our attention on one instance of God “remembering.” Genesis 8:1 states, “God remembered Noah and all the beasts and all the livestock that were with him in the ark.”  Again, this verse is not saying that God somehow forgot about Noah.  He wasn’t like, “Whoops, my bad Noah!  I totz forgot you were stranded on an ark!” The word “to remember” used in Hebrew means God’s movement toward a particular person.  The essence of God’s remembering lies in His acting toward someone because of a previous commitment.  To say “God remembered Noah” is to say that God faithfully kept his promise to Noah by intervening to end the flood. God will never forget His promises.  We may not know when the promises will be fulfilled, but know this; God’s promises never have an expiration date.  It may take a while, but God will always deliver on what He has promised.

Hopefully I’ve presented it clearly enough to you that God “remembering” does not mean that God forgets.  He never forgets.  But why do we treat Him like He does?

 

If you’ve seen the movie, “The Vow” (I haven’t, but Tsung told me an in-depth synopsis of it [judge her]).  Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum were set to marry when Rachel forgets 5 years of her relationship with Channing in a traumatic car accident.  The rest of the movie is about Channing trying to re-create the love that he shared with Rachel by trying to make her fall in love with him all over again. We know God doesn’t forget, so why do we try to make Him fall in love with us over and over again?  We often do Christian things like read the Bible, serve at church, or pray as ways to help God “remember” us.  We think to ourselves that doing these exercises of faith will earn us more favor and love than if we weren’t doing these things.  The opposite is true as well.  When we don’t do our QT’s or make time to pray, we think that God will abandon us, ignore us, and give us a miserable day until we repent and make time for Him.  Both are an expression of legalism by trying to earn God’s favor when Jesus’ death is abundantly sufficient to do just that.  In Phillip Yancey’s book, What’s So Amazing About Grace he says this about “earning” God’s love,

“There’s nothing you can do to make God love you more.  There’s nothing you can do to make God love you less.”

There’s no way God can love us more or less because He has loved us to maximum capacity through Jesus’ death on the Cross.  God will never forget your confession of faith in Jesus and starting from that point to the end of your life, He will love you with the maximum amount of love forever.  You can give your life on the mission field, be the next Mother Theresa, but it will never make God love you more than when you first trusted in Christ as your Lord and Savior.  The constancy of God’s love for believers will always be the same!  For God, it’s V-Day everyday!  Our works are not a way to make Him fall in love with us more, but rather to grow in our intimacy of this knowledge.  Don’t forget that God doesn’t forget!

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The Priority of Love

In Charlie Kang on February 8, 2012 at 3:31 pm

by Charles Kang

We learn from a very early age that we are all special snowflakes.  Aw, doesn’t that just warm your heart?  You’re unique.  You’re different and the things that make you different make you special :]  With this mentality in mind, we strive to accentuate the qualities that make us stand out and feel special, which in turn creates competition.  If I feel special because I can rap (I really can’t rap), then a person who raps better than me threatens my spot of being the best Korean-pastor rapper.  This sense of competition destroys relationship and scatters seeds of jealousy and animosity to people.  Sadly, this mindset has seeped into the church.

Paul wrote 1 Corinthians to a people who wanted their snowflake to stand out more than others.  These Christians had an unhealthy view of tongues, prophecy, and other spiritual gifts that turned them against one another.  The resentment they had for one another was lucid in their “fellowship” and evident in their chaotic church services.  Paul writes to this messed up church and reminds them in 1 Corinthians 13 that they should all be pursuing love over gifts because love will remain forever (1 Cor. 13:13).  Gifts are temporary, but love is eternal.  Hallmark, if you want to buy that line off of me, send me a holla.  HAHA.  Paul shares with them that love is the most important quality you can have because love will last forever.

William Gladstone, a prime minister of England in the nineteenth century, one night was working late on an important speech he was to give to the House of Commons the next day.  At about 2 o’clock in the morning a woman knocked on his door, asking the servant if Mr. Gladstone would come and comfort her young crippled son who lay dying in a tenement not far away.  Without hesitation the busy man set his speech aside and went.  He spent the rest of the night with the boy, comforting him and leading him to accept Jesus Christ as Savior.  The boy died about dawn, and Gladstone returned home.  He told a friend later that morning, “I am the happiest man in the world today.”  The true greatness of Gladstone was not in his political position or attainments but in his great love, a love that would risk his political future to show the love of Christ to a young boy in great need.  As it turned out, that morning he also made what some historians claim was the greatest speech of his life.  He gained that victory, too, but he had been willing to lose it for the same of a greater one.  Love’s victory was more important.

William Gladstone understood that his job would change, and the imprint he would leave on history would not last.  Sure, he won’t be remembered like a Steve Jobs or Michael Jackson (before this entry, did you really know who William Gladstone was?  HAHA.), but his labor of love will endure the test of time.  Church, what’s more important than being a special snowflake is being a people defined by a God-centered love?  Stop striving to be special snowflakes.  Instead, be a people of cookie dough, who are soft, sweet, and cut into the shape of Christ’s love for you (see 1 Cor. 13:4-7, or if you’re a girl you can watch, “A Walk to Remember” [lame]).  Conform, and love others the same way Jesus loved you.  Love, not personal gifts and achievements, is what matters in the end.

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