Depart From Evil and Do Good

For once on Sunday the house if quiet.  Elliana is playing store in the hall with our next door neighbor and the brothers are making kirigami (which Dallas informed me is what you call origami when you cut the paper into shapes in addition to folding.)  Kenny is asleep and dinner is made and I actually have time to blog, but for once I have  no pressing message.  This is the exact opposite of what I usually experience, which is a day spent drafting in my head while my hands run from dirty dishes to laundry but never to the computer key board.  So I sit down and, after reading my Bible, I look through my journal for the week and scroll through this week’s photos on the computer.

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We got a lot of snow this week.  I have decided that all the beautiful, shining white makes the cold, which was before unbearable, glorious!   It reminds me of Isaiah 1:18 “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.”  You can’t understand what a very big thought it is for me to picture myself as beautiful and spotless as the snow that floats past my window.  I find it much, much easier to relate to the image of the adulterous woman from Proverbs- unruly and defiant she makes her sacrifices of piety, then perfumes her bed with oil and lays wait for some poor fool in the street, “Come, let’s drink deeply of love till morning;  let’s enjoy ourselves with love!My husband is not at home.”  “Her house is a highway to the grave,leading down to the chambers of death.”  (Check out Proverbs 7 for a more complete description of my well-earned self image.) 

013Now I know that this description is exactly the way Satan would want me to view myself, and that to believe this self image is to deny what Christ did for me on the cross, but even accepting that my sins are completely overwritten by Christ’s righteousness, I am still well aware that I am not a nice person.  On my own I am have done, and am still capable of doing some very depraved things.  I’m so very lost and messed up, but here’s the thing that is amazing me.  Not only did God completely erase in His sight my old reflection, so that my “final grade” says “perfect,” but He is actually empowering me daily to walk righteously- to do good stuff, make good choices I never could before.  He is giving me the power to depart from evil and DO GOOD!   I could never do that before!  When I was younger it was like I was insane, being completely carried around by the whirlwind of my panicked need for self gratification, and even after I was saved the habits of sin stuck with me and I experienced very little victory.  Righteousness has been a gift, something I trust in, but not something I saw worked out in my walk, but even as I enjoy walking through our snow decorated streets, I am beginning to feel God’s power to enable me to do.  I believe He has made me white as snow- that when He looks at me I glisten and I am as glorious as the sparkling magic of a winter landscape- and I am beginning to see that He is also giving me the power to live like the new creature he has made me.  It is a pretty awesome deal He’s given me- He gives me a perfect score because He loves me, doesn’t count my failures against me and constantly teaches me to do better.  I kind of wish I could be that sort of teacher. 

010I hope it encourages someone else out there to think that your mistakes don’t have to count, and your victories could be bigger than you- that’s what God offers!  Be free! Be glorious!  Be white as snow!

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MLK Day

mlkMLK had a dream, and it makes me smile to think that our family looks a little bit like what he saw in his dream.   My children and I talked today about how Martin gave his life to God and said “Here it is, use it,” and how God used up every bit of Martin’s life to bring His love to battle the hatred that gripped our nation.  I have a dream too. I have a dream that one day everyone in my family will say to God, “Here’s my life, use it as you will,” and that God will use us to bring His love into the world’s hurts just like He did with Martin.  Since family is the practice field for life Kenny and I have tried to give the kids lots of chances to practice showing God’s love this year.  I gave the kids a chance to reflect on some of theses experiences and here they are in their own words.

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My Girl Scout Troop ran a coat check and used the money to buy Christmas presents for kids with cancer.  People didn’t want to dance while wearing their coats or put it on a stool where it would slip down and they could slip on it.  So, my Girl Scout troop took care of their coats while they were at a fancy party.  I peeled off tickets for people to use to remember their coats.  The people gave us money- my girls scouts troop’s money!  We used the money to buy Christmas presents for kids who were sick in the hospital with cancer over Christmas.  I wanted to buy 185 kids Christmas presents.    I think the kids felt awesome when they got their presents.  Lots of people were hurt by racism when Martin Luther King Jr was alive and Martin Luther King Jr gave lots of speeches to get them to stop.  I showed love to hurt people just like Martin Luther King Jr!

By Elliana, age 5 ½

Elliana Learns to Spread God's Love to the Sick

Elliana Practiced Spreading God’s Love to the Sick

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I will tell you a story.  One day we drove in the car then we got a big, big table.  Then, we gave people who didn’t have money- not even one bit of money- we gave food to them.  The food came from a pot luck at church.  I gave out some soupy stuff; I guess it was bulgogi soup.  I was making the world a better place just like Martin Luther King Jr

By David, age 7

This was an especial learning experience for Cody as he faced adults struggling with mental illness.

Cody practiced spreading God’s love to the weak as an afternoon serving the homeless brought him literally face to face with some adults struggling with mental illness.

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On Thanksgiving day, we had a big party back at home and afterwards we went to Seoul Station to pass out the leftovers to homeless.  It was really cold at Seoul Station.  We passed out the food while it was in plates with foil on top of them.  We went around looking for homeless people and when we found one we gave them some.  We also gave them mints.  I was a mint giver.  Last, but not least, I went home and saw a neon volcano on a building.  It looked like it would be really fun to live there.   I was being like Martin Luther King, Jr in the way that he wanted everybody to be treated equally.  We all got a big turkey dinner so I thought maybe the homeless people would like big turkey dinners.

Dallas, age 9

 

The Kids Learn to Spread God's Love to the Hungry

The Kids Learn to Spread God’s Love to the Hungry

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This Christmas I got an orphan a Lego set.  When we hung up our stockings we said that we were going to earn money by being considerate and helpful and as we earned it we would put it in our stockings.  I got a lot of money in my stocking.  I was nice a lot.  I got $10.  Right before Christmas our family counted the money and my parents doubled it.  Then we went the store and bought toys for the orphans.  It was awesome.  I was jealous because I wanted a Lego set, too.  I encouraged the orphans when they didn’t have toys just like Martin Luther King Jr. encouraged black people when they didn’t have rights. 

By Cody, age 15

The Kids Practiced Showing God's Love to Orphans

The Kids Practiced Showing God’s Love to Orphans

Choose Joy

Elliana tours the Suwan Hwaseong Museum

Elliana tours the Suwan Hwaseong Museum

“Choose joy.”  That’s what God is telling me right now.  “Choose joy.  Don’t wait for it to happen, it is your commandment, your responsibility towards your husband, your kids, your home, all the gifts I’ve given you.  Just choose joy.

Dallas proves his is Eric Bulger's grandson by fixating on the sand table and spending the entire museum trip planning world domination.

Dallas proves he is Eric Bulger’s grandson by fixating on the sand table and spending the entire museum trip planning world domination.

Get over yourself, stop living like the old you focused on yourself.  I did a new thing by sending Jesus- God in flesh, one lamb offered once for all.  I made you a new creation with a focus on Me instead of you.  When you say like Mary ‘I am your bondservant,’ I will fill give you a thousand reasons to choose joy.  I said seek me, you said I’ll seek you, so here I am- a million reasons to choose joy.  Choose joy!

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A Korean version of the liberty bell?  It's just as old, but we didn't see any crack.

A Korean version of the liberty bell? It’s just as old, but we didn’t see any crack.

  It’s what will make your family strong and held together, it’s what will draw people to you and to Me in you.  Choose joy.

Kite flying

Kite flying in Suwan

Elliana's first time flying a kite.

Elliana’s first time flying a kite.

So many things will fall in line when you do.  Choose joy.”

Elliana's new preferred method of travel

Elliana’s new preferred method of travel

  So I guess my New Year’s resolution is pretty obvious, but exhort all those mom’s out there.  Choose joy.  It’s what God wants from us and we are so blessed when we do it.