I was always told to be careful what you pray for, because you may just get it. Prayer is so vital to the Christian faith. It connects us with God, and it is the time that we really stop time, put away all of our schedules to the side and focus on a “conversation with God. It is a time in which we talk, God listens, and also, whether you realize it or not, God speaks as well.
And I always believed that God answers prayers, regardless of the prayers being self-serving, God answers. But, sometimes not in a way that God is just going to snap His fingers and WHAMMO, here is your answer. But God answers in a way that allows us the opportunity to make our prayers, needs, and wants to be actualized. Yeah, that basically means, we have to work and put effort in making our prayers a reality. For example, if you pray to God that you want money, God will give you the opportunity to make money. It’s not like you will win the lottery or find a briefcase full of cash at your doorstep, but more like finding a want ad in the newspaper. For example if you pray to God to give you patience, God can’t make you patient, but God sure will give you chances and circumstances that will put our patience to the test. God can’t just snap His fingers and TADA, patience! No, God will give you kids. Good luck!
Be careful what you pray for, you may just get it! So I prayed that I want Norah and Ben to be a better student than I was when I was their age. Prayed to God that Norah and Ben will be smart, responsible, and listen to the teacher well. Well, I learned one thing this week. That is NEVER throw away anything that I receive in Norah’s backpack!
I will be very honest, I don’t read 80% of the stuff that comes home from school. I will look over Norah’s class work, make sure she knows all the vocabulary she is supposed to know and help her with math stuff, but the paperwork, the announcements, the other stuff, yeah, that doesn’t make it very far. And well, because of that, I now owe the school $20.00.
So apparently, the school had a fundraising opportunity for each student. I have no idea what they were raising, because I didn’t read. But apparently it was to sell these coupon books. I saw the coupon books, read a couple of sentences and decided I did not want my child to participate in this fundraiser. I think it is too early to ask a 1st Grader to ask strangers to buy something. Not into that. But regardless of participating or not, I need to read the rest of the instructions. You see, they sent a “sample” coupon book to every student. Now since my child was not participating in the fundraiser, I threw that stuff away, yes I threw away the “sample” coupon book. This was a few weeks ago by the way.
Yesterday, I received a paper in Norah’s backpack that said, if your child did not participate in the fundraiser, please send the “sample” coupon back with her or send $20.00. In my mind I had some choice words that I cannot say in public, in front of my children, or really anywhere.
Dude, I didn’t know that the “sample” book was the “actual” coupon book! And I had no idea that the coupon book costed 20 DOLLARS! Yikes! I honestly feel a little scammed right now as I figured that how they really get the money. I am just imagining that if the school has like 150 kids, and just imagine every parent, like me, tossed away the “sample” coupon book, the school immediately raised, $3000.00. Nice…. So, I am not going to argue this, I am sending $20.00to Norah and telling her don’t lose this and give it immediately to the teacher. I hope she doesn’t ask why, because I hate to tell her that it’s because daddy didn’t read.
So, lesson learned. I prayed to God that my kids will be smart, responsible, and listen to the teacher, begins with the parents. They learned from our examples. I need to show Norah, that this is what responsibility looks like. I need to show her that it is important to be thorough and read everything. Never dismiss anything. If I want Norah to be smart, it begins with the parents showing that they carefully read the instructions, even if it is labeled as a “sample.” If I want Norah to listen to the teacher well, I must do the same. I better start reading and saving all the things that come from school to home.
Seriously, any parent out there… do you read everything that comes home from school? And what’s the definition of “sample?”
So, remember, all who are reading this. Think about what you pray about, because God is listening, and God answers them. Just remember whatever you pray about, God is always giving you the opportunity and chance to make those wishful prayers a reality. God bless you all!
DISCLAIMER: Before reading this, I just want people to know that I have nothing against anyone doing what they love to do. I wrote this meant to be light-hearted fun. God bless.
Is there any kind of rule about how loud you are allowed to be in a residential neighborhood? Does anyone out there notice how loud gas powered bicycles are? It sounds like a weedwhacker right up to my ears! Or do you know if there are quiet hours during certain times in residential areas? Like dude, why do you such insane loud machines, and where are you ALWAYS going? Can someone just buy these dudes a car so I don’t have to live with that noise all the time?
This past Sunday we talked about Mark 12:38-44. Trust me, this will all make sense… It is the story about the woman in the synagogue that gave her whole life as an offering to God. You may know it better as the woman who gave two small copper coins in the cauldron. The Greek clearly state she gave her whole life. Not a percentage, not a portion, not any kind of monetary value… her whole life!
This narrative is starting to be one of my favorites because I can do so much with this passage and that it can be understood in many ways which does not make it wrong. It just depends on how the Spirit of God is reaching out to you when you encounter this passage.
But to think about this passage more, I realized something amazing. Thanks to Rev. Scott Andrews from McVeytown Presbyterian Church to give me a different perspective on this story.
Now the narrative does take place in a synagogue and near the entrance there is a cauldron that people put their offering in. It is shaped in a way that you can hear all the coins going in. And the wealthy give not to give to God but to get noticed, trying to make the loudest “noise” so that people just have to turn their heads to see who gave SO MUCH! Everyone is giving out of their wealth and has the ego to boast about trying to do all they can to get noticed by people.
The woman quietly approaches this cauldron and pours all but two copper coins in the giant cauldron. Probably, those coins made no noise at all. And even though it didn’t get the attention of the people, it sure got Jesus’ attention. Jesus stood up announced to His disciples and said she gave the most, that she gave her whole life!
It is incredible to think that we can try to make so much noise in our world to get attention, that God wouldn’t even turn His head. But sometimes we can do things quietly and peacefully, God will take notice. Again, in this story I don’t want to focus on money but want to focus on how we give our life to God. Do we need to make the most noise for God to notice us? No, not at all because well God already sees you. What is it that God is asking for. That is simply whatever you give, whatever you do in service, you give it your all, your whole life and heart into it. You do this not to seek approval from other people but do it to make God smile.
You don’t have to be the loudest, hardest worker, smartest, or most pious, you just have to understand two things. First there is nothing you can do to get God’s approval, because that God has already approved you through giving His whole life for you out of His love. And secondly, you do all things by merely focusing on what God wants, not what others want. Be appreciative with all the things God has given you, and never take anything for granted so put your all, your whole life into it.
Now if someone can please tell the two people riding their incredibly loud gas powered bicycles to keep it down for once when passing through a neighborhood on Coleridge Ave that would be great. Just tell them that God loves you and notices you without the loudest machine ever. Thank you.
I am assuming that close to 100% of the people reading this know the hymn, “It is Well with My Soul” or also titled “When Peace Like a River.” But I am also assuming that many of you may not know the origin of the song or about the writer of the hymn, Horatio Spafford.
So, this hymn is one of my favorite hymns to sing. I absolutely love it and always makes me emotional. I know we sing it a lot in my church, but it’s such a great song. I would sing it every Sunday if I could! But I love this song, not just for the lyrics or music but also the story behind the hymn is also quite emotional and to be honest, always conflicts my heart. I can never understand how Horatio believed in such a way he did in order to write this song and I probably will never know how he must have felt in those moments the hymn was written.
Horatio Spafford was a successful lawyer in Chicago. However, everything changed quite quickly for him in what seems matter of seconds. In 1871 the Great Chicago Fire, ruined him financially and in that same year his4 year old son passed away. In 1873, his investments took a hit with the economic downturn. In that year, Horatio planned to go to England with his family (4 daughters and wife) to help D.L Moody, an evangelist. He had to make a change before the trip because he had to take care of his finances that were affected by the Chicago fire. So, his wife and 4 daughters left before him. He later finds out that the ship that his family was on going to England collides with another shipping vessel. The boat that his family was on, sunk, and 4 of his daughters died. Thankfully his wife survived but was traumatized by this event. Spafford traveled to meet his wife and Spafford’s ship passed the exact same location his daughters passed in the middle of the ocean, and he wrote the now famous hymn. Now when you read this hymn you can imagine what he is seeing, “when sorrows like sea billows roll,” though satan should buffet, though trials should come,” “Christ has regarded my helpless estate,” “the clouds be rolled back as a scroll.” Can you see it? Horatio on that ship in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, at the sight of his daughters’ death?
If there is any comparison to the book of Job, here is Horatio Spafford. Can you imagine in 2 years you lose all your children, finances, and everything that made you feel safe and stable? What would you do? Maybe the only thing to do weep, scream, and find the only thing that can comfort you. For Horatio, it was God. I can imagine Horatio being angry, sad, depressed, and in doubt. But he was moved, to find any kind of healing through his faith.
It’s unbelievable to me. I can never understand what Horatio had gone through. I can only feel that burden when “It is Well with My Soul” is sung. Through the words I can feel every Horatio tear drop, every shaky pen stroke, every tremble in his voice. Who can he turn to? God, even if he feels lost, he went to God.
Hey this is Rev. Brian Choi's random thought throughout my week. Most of this stuff, will probably be about family, church, fishing, music, movies, food, whatever I think of, hopefully it will have some sort of theological reflection (maybe).