Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Psalm 17:14-15 - A Good Reminder

"from men of the world whose portion is in this life.  You fill their womb with treasure; they are satisfied with children, and they leave their abundance to their infants.  As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness; when I awake, I shall be satisfied with your likeness."

As a new father, I cannot help but be so delighted and absolutely infatuated with my baby boy.  I seriously love him so much.  But this passage is a reminder and a warning: do not let anything or anyone replace your love for the Lord.  The passage talks about two different types of people: those who are of the world and who are satisfied with the things of this world, and those who are like the psalmist, who are satisfied with the Lord and long to be with him.  I pray that I would be the latter.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Praise God that we are justified by Christ and not by works...

I was reading Romans 12 the other day and I was struck by the number of commands that chapter had.  Paul starts off with an exhortation to respond to the amazing grace of God that he expounded on for the first 11 chapters.  He calls all Christians to be a living sacrifice as worship unto God.  The Old Testament saints had to continually offer up animal sacrifices to atone for sin.  Each time was only temporary, which is why they had to repeat it.  However, in Christ, we have full atonement of sin.  The perfect God-man paid for all of our sins, past, present and future, for those who trust in Him.  Paul says that in light of this, our response should be to live a life devoted to God.

So, you would think that since I know that I deserve eternal damnation, and yet, by God's grace, I have eternal life in Christ, that I would joyfully live every moment in complete obedience to God's word.  Sadly, I still struggle with my sinful flesh.  If anyone says they have no sin, they lie.  Especially me.  Here is a list of what Romans 12 commands us to do AND not do:

1. Present your bodies a living a holy sacrifice, acceptable to God
2. Do not be conformed to this world
3. Be transformed by the renewing of your mind
4. Do not think more highly of yourself than you ought to
5. Have sound judgement
6. Exercise spiritual gifts with zeal
7. Love without hypocrisy
8. Abhor what is evil
9. Cling to what is good
10. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love
11. Give preference to one another in honor
12. Don't lag behind in diligence
13. Be fervent in spirit as you serve the Lord
14. Rejoice in hope
15. Persevere in tribulation
16. Be devoted in prayer
17. Contribute to the needs of other believers
18. Practice hospitality
19. Bless those who persecute you
20. Do not curse those who persecute you
21. Rejoice with those who rejoice
22. Weep with those who weep
23. Be of the same mind toward one another
24. Do not be haughty in mind
25. Associate with the lowly
26. Do not be wise in your own estimation
27. Never pay back evil for evil to anyone
28. Respect what is right in the sight of all men
29. As much as it is possible, be at peace with all men
30. Never take your own revenge, but leave room for the wrath of God
31. Do not overcome evil by evil
32. Overcome evil with good

One note.  There tend to be two extremes.  One side is legalistic and think that they need to abide by every command of God in order to be acceptable to Him.  This is faulty thinking.  If we look back at what Paul says at the beginning, that "Therefore" is crucial.  It points to all of the truths laid out in the first 11 chapters.  How we are saved by grace alone.  How we are justified before God, not by our works, but because of the perfect and finished work of Christ.  Therefore, our obedience flows from a joyful and thankful attitude that we are already justified before God.

The other extreme is the libertarian response.  They think they can live however they want because they are already justified.  And they are offended by the mere mentioning of rules.  This is faulty as well.  Yes, we are saved by grace.  And yes, those who are truly the elect can never lose their salvation.  But it is equally true that if we are saved, we will live sanctified lives by the grace of God.  Salvation (and the subsequent sanctification) is never by our own works, but by God's.  So we must perish these faulty views and cling to the truth: saved by grace, sanctified by grace.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

thankful to the Lord for my wifey

I can't imagine giving birth.  I mean, I guess I can imagine it, but I will never be able to understand the pain and everything that goes on during the process.  So really, I can't imagine it.  All I know is, I'm thankful to the Lord for blessing me with such a wonderful wifey.  It's so encouraging to me to see her love and care for both myself and lil' Mateo.

On a side note, some people were asking if "Mateo" was his real name.  I like nicknames, so I'll break it down for you.

Official name: Matthew Hojin Lee
What Korean people can call him: Matthew-yah, Hojin-ah, and apparently, according to my mom, Master Matthew.  Something about how the baby now controls the family.  Don't like the sound of that...maybe time for the rod of discipline
Other nicknames that I like for him: Matt, Matty (only when Patty is referenced: Patty and Matty), Mateo, and my personal favorite (but only for family use), Richino

Brief notes from Pastor John's Sermon on Luke 4:14-20

14And Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about Him spread through all the surrounding district.
 15And He began teaching in their synagogues and was praised by all.
 16And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up; and as was His custom, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath, and stood up to read.
 17And the book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. And He opened the book and found the place where it was written,
 20And He closed the book, gave it back to the attendant and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on Him.

I was so blessed by being able to fellowship with the body again.  As PJ would say, I was starving for fellowship with my fellow brothers and sisters.  I am thankful to have such loving brethren who care for us.

I loved how PJ closed the sermon today about how we should be most thankful if we can see ourselves as being the spiritually poor, those held captive by sin, blind to the truth, without hope because of the weight of our sin.  In my notes I wrote:

1. Poor = having nothing spiritually --> In Christ, treasuring the riches of the gospel
2. Captive = prisoner of sin/Satan --> In Christ, thankful for the freedom from sin
3. Blind = unable to see God's truth --> In Christ, rejoicing because we now have the truth
4. Oppressed = crushed by sin --> In Christ, having the hope of eternal life

What PJ said was so crucial because we need to see ourselves as these things so that the preciousness of the gospel will be more apparent to us.  It's not that the gospel ever loses any of it's actual value.  It's that we often forget it's worth because we see ourselves as rich, in need of nothing.  Or we don't see the trappings of sin.  Or we think we know it all.  Or that sin can't harm us.  We forget where God saved us from.  And that is to our shame.  It is my prayer for myself first, but for others as well, that we would recall from where God saved us.  He who has been forgiven much, loves much.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Introduction to Systematic Theology Part 1

As I said, I wanted to spend more time reading and learning about what the Bible teaches.  So I picked up Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem.  From my understanding, his book is the easiest to comprehend, though I'm sure that due to the nature of the topic, it's no walk in the park either.  Anywhoo, I'll be trying to read through and take a few notes here and there to give you some highlights of what I've read.  One thing really important that he points out is that "It is Scripture alone, not 'conservative evangelical tradition' or any other human authority, that must function as the normative authority for the definition of what we should believe." (page 25).  That's so crucial.  It's not about being of Dr. Macarthur, or Piper, or Mahaney. It's not about what camp you fall in.  It's about what the Bible teaches.  Sola Scriptura.

So, that being said, what is systematic theology?  It answers the question: what does the whole Bible teach us today about a certain topic.  Only Scripture has the final authority.  But it also includes application to life.  We can't be just knowledge junkies who sit around quoting Scripture but have not love.  What we learn about what we believe must always propel us to live in accordance to such doctrines.  We must not only pursue truth, but godly living as well.

Let us pursue both diligently, with all fervor and earnestness.

Matthew Hojin Lee

On November 5th at 4:04 am, the Lord graciously gave us the blessed gift of life in our first child, Matthew Hojin Lee.  We're so thankful to the Lord for His marvelous creation.  God was sovereign through it all.  My wifey was such a trooper.  I'm so thankful for them.

Looking at baby Matthew is such a wonderful reminder at the uniqueness of our being.  Not that we're so special in and of ourselves, but God did make us different from the rest of creation.

So, why did we choose his name to be Matthew Hojin Lee?  Well, the "Hojin" part was from my dad's side of the family.  Apparently we have a guy in Korea who comes up with names, and the more accurate we are in terms of date and time of birth, the better the name will be (don't ask me...).  Anyways, my dad calls me and tells me his Korean name is "Hojin" and explains that it means great grace of God (sounds good to me) who prospers.  Or something like that.

For his first name, we had thought of a few possible ones, but we always came back to Matthew.  He is one of the first Bible characters I came to really know, for some reason.  It always stood out to me that he was a tax collector name Levi, who became a disciple of Christ named Matthew.  Yet he never forgot where he came from, the sinful life he lived before Christ.  I liked that name because of that dual reminder of our sinfulness, yet God's amazing grace.

We are excited to raise him up in the fear and admonition of the Lord.  We pray that we would be godly examples of Christ-like love and devotion to our Lord.  It's been a pretty smooth transition.  Thankful to have such a wonderful wifey and very caring parents.  We praise and thank the Lord for this gift.

Monday, November 15, 2010

God is Sovereign

As I held baby Mateo in my hands for the first time, I could not help but marvel at God's miracle of life.  Later on I walked to the top of the parking garage roof and lifted of praises to God, the gracious giver of life.  As I sit here now reflecting on how this all came to be, how we got to this point, I cannot but again praise Him for being sovereign.

The birth of Mateo was not a normal one.  First off, we weren't expecting him until December 9th.  Well, God had other plans.  Before I knew it, we were at the hospital listening to the doctor telling us the baby was going to come sooner than planned.  Well, God's will not ours, right?

I want to take this time to give mad props to my wifey.  She got put through a lot, and she handled it like a rockstar.  I praise God for the extra grace given to her to endure through the process.  She's such a trooper. Please continue to pray for her as she recovers.   I'm so thankful for her.  She's already such a loving wife, and now she's a loving momma.

As I gaze at my beautiful baby boy, I thank God for him.  I pray for him.  I love him so much.  And I'm reminded of Matthew 10:30 which comforts us with the wonderful truth that God is sovereign.  He knows everything about us, even the number of hairs on our heads.  He watches over us.  This is not a guarantee of health, wealth and prosperity, lest we fall into the lies and Satanic deception of that heresy.  But it's a promise that God is in control and does all things for His glory.

Thanks be to the sovereign King of glory.