my will or His?

BY: JENNIFER PARK

 

Many are the plans in a person’s heart,

but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.

                        Proverbs 19:21(NIV)

It is natural to feel torn and devastated when you realize that you’ve failed in something despite years of hard work and dedication. We all have that something that we chase after—a goal or a dream that motivates us and drives us in certain directions. We run a long and tiring race, but when we think we see the finish line right ahead, we realize that we’ve been running the wrong course. Then what? As Christians, are we expected to accept that it was just not in God’s will and move on? That’s what I was told when I found myself in a position where I was so close to the end only to find myself back at the start.

Earlier this semester, I learned about prayer and God’s answers to those prayers while studying the book of James with sisters from my fellowship. God only answers our prayer when we ask with the right heart. There are certain things that we ask for with a self-centered heart; oftentimes they are worldly pursuits that we desire. These selfish prayers will not always be answered, but I was assured that if it was in His will, anything and everything would work out for the best.
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How Could a Loving God…?

BY: KRISTI HUYNH

The scene: A bridge between heaven and hell. Tim, who has spent about three thousand years in heaven, has come to pay a visit to his brother Nathan, who has been burning in hell for an equivalent amount of time.

 

TIM: Hey Nathan! Bro, how have you been? Anything new with you these days?

 

NATHAN: Oh man, it’s so good to see you, Tim! Hmm…nothing out of the ordinary, really– it’s been awfully toasty down here. But every six hundred years, we are allowed to turn over on the fiery coals to distribute the burns evenly. It helps because all the boils aren’t all centered on my back.

 

TIM: I’m glad to hear that, Nathan. So how have Grandpa and Sis been?

NATHAN: Oh, you know. Same old same old. After a while, Grandpa’s excruciating wails kind of drown out the pain of my own burning momentarily. And Sis has been the same as well; can’t you see her roasting and shrieking from your mansion up in heaven?

 

TIM: Is that so? No, I haven’t. Truth be told, it’s really hard to see through all those fluffy clouds and rainbows up in heaven. Especially because my balcony is pretty high up as well.  Well, I have to go now. A group of us are going to go swimming with dolphins and sing praise songs. Take care Nathan!

 

“If God is so good, why would He burn you in hell forever?” many agnostic and atheist friends have inquired of me. It’s a valid question, indeed even one that should be asked. How can you praise God for His infinite loving character and in the same breath say that people will be damned for all eternity if they do not believe in Him?  My response to this question is simply to explain that there is no eternal hell. In fact, it’s not even mentioned in the Bible. This may be hard to swallow because countless media outlets – and certainly many religious groups – have painted hell as this fire and brimstone ordeal in which sinners burn and burn, and well…burn some more. Such wrathful rhetoric depicts God as a resentful tyrant sitting on the edge of His throne somewhere up in the sky, just anxiously waiting for contemptible humans to mess up so He can punish them in hell. Thus, it’s no surprise why many people profess to resent God – they’ve been given a warped image of God’s character. Truth be told, I wouldn’t even want to believe in someone like that.

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Mr. Perfect

By Jennifer Min

I’ll admit it, watching those sappy romantic comedy movies every once in a while is a guilty pleasure of mine. They’re cute! And the lengths to which the guy or girl will go to capture the attention of or to please the other individual are more or less ridiculous, yet endearing all the same. To be so enamored and so captivated by a person that you are willing to do the craziest things is at the same time, both senseless and admirable – senseless in that only a person who is so blinded by love would be literally rendered thoughtless and nonsensical, and admirable in that the actions of this lovelorn individual indicate a confident and unquestionable passion for that one person.

This is the kind of love God wants to reveal to us.
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Love and the Dread Judgment Seat of Christ

BY: JACOB F. GRANT

Like many of my fellow Christians, I have friends and family who are very dear to me, but do not share my faith. As such, I have often struggled to reconcile my belief in a loving and merciful God with the concept of the final judgment. I do not know God’s plan for those who do not believe, and this troubles me—I cannot imagine eternal life without these people.

As members of the faith, we are called to live like Christ, and I strive to follow His example. While I understand what is required of me, I do not pretend to be perfect. Like the young monk seeking the advice of the ascetic Abba Sisoes, I fall down over and over again. But each time I do, I must get up, and must do so “until [my] death.”[1] This “getting up”—achieved through repentance, confession, and forgiveness—plays an important role in our lives, but there is more to Christianity than just what we do.

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The Definition of Love

BY: DIVINE ADESIDA

We all have our variations of what we believe love to mean. You pick a person off the street and ask them what they think love is, and they might tell you it sucks because of the pain they’ve experienced. For others, it is the special feeling you get, you know, the goose bumps up your arm, the butterflies in your stomach that kind of thing. But is that really all there is to love? Now, I know, we classify love; the same love you show your mom or dad is not what you show your friends.  So what is this love I am trying to convey? God’s love, agape love; a love of humans and our kind that goes beyond the physicality of tit for tat to a dimension so pure that nothing a person could ever do or say shakes His love for them.

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What is Divine Love?

BY: DESIREE MACCHIA

 

How can we define God’s love? Part of the difficulty that we face in answering this question is in the fact that, “love,” is such a slippery word. It has so many different meanings. We use this word to describe our devotion to chocolate ice cream, our pet, our best friends, our parents, and our favorite book. We sometimes use it to describe the butterflies that we feel when we fall for that special someone (or think we have fallen). Love is a term that has so many different uses: some shallow, some self-serving, and some possibly noble. So when we try to define divine “love” we immediately face a great challenge. What does this word mean when applied to God?

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A Different Kind of Angel

BY: ANONYMOUS

 

I have never failed to catch the Victoria Secret Fashion show since the year 2009. My friends and I deliberately set aside time on the day it airs to watch it. The performances are always fun and the costumes extravagant. But most of all, something about the perfection that all the models seem to possess is alluring. The models are dubbed Victoria Secret Angels, and angels they seem to be. Perfected in skin, hair and coveted of all, their body.

 

This show puts a spotlight on body image, and unfortunately the world puts a spotlight on this show. While modeling lingerie is most likely not every girl’s dream, the magnitude of this fashion show exposes a great deal about the value we assign to beauty. As women we desire perfection and if we don’t have it, we strive to attain it. We watch it, attempt it, and buy it, molding ourselves into something that is not us, just to have it.

 

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