It is warm and cloudy today, and it has been quite bright every day with strong sunlight. Myung and I have a natural suntan and our skins become quite dark. I am doing things I have not done for a very long time including walking in the mountains and watching coastlines. I have the privilege of not driving through traffic in the mornings but sleeping in if I want to. I also do things I used to do including eating and reading. Thank the Lord for this opportunity for us to rest and to recharge our body and mind. Preaching is still going on and reading is also a part of daily routine. Giving our ears to those who need to pour out their hearts to someone. People are generous and gracious to supply us with food and whatever we need. Many of them we not met before. They somehow heard of us through others. They brought us blankets, pillows, utensils, dishes, and invited us to meals. The church which allows us to stay in one of her properties provided us with a washing machine and refrigerator. Nothing is lacking for our daily living. Habit stays with me and wakes me up very early in the morning. It is my routine to think of you and commit you all to the merciful hands of God. In particular, the names of the sick do not leave my and Myung’s minds. I find it hard to relax and am still quite tense.
While I was reading through a few articles from churchleaders.com, I found an interesting article I desire to share with you. It was written by Brian Orme on May 31, 2018, and titled “Top 5 Most Misused Verses in the Bible.” Though I do not know the author well enough to evaluate his theology, I would agree with him on the list he made. You may find it fascinating too.
I Can Do All Things
“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13). This short verse is often quoted by sports teams, bumper stickers, spiritual healers, entrepreneurs, and even gamblers. It has been used as a rallying cry to accomplish great things like running a marathon and winning the championship, and to literally hypnotize ourselves to brighten up our perspectives in times of difficulties, trials, or challenging situations from family issues to health and business issues. While we are tackling a difficult project, we reassure ourselves of success by reciting this short verse. However, this short passage is found within the context of contentment. Paul wrote this letter to the church in Philippi to let her know that God had taught him to be content in times of plenty and in times of need. If we are reminded that he wrote it while he was in prison, we can have a better understanding of it. Therefore, this short but powerful verse is a confession of faith of a man who had learned to follow God in all circumstances. Whether he had to face such contrasting moments as poverty and prosperity, or being full and being hungry, he learned to be content. Paul’s way to handle such ups and downs of life was by faith alone. This verse is not a genie for our wishful thinking. If we get put in prison for Christ’s sake, beaten and hungry, learn to be content because we have Christ!
Plans to Prosper
“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end” (Jeremiah 29:11). This verse is often quoted during a trial to encourage ourselves by pointing us to the promise that God will make us prosper. Thus, there is nothing to worry about. However, its immediate context says otherwise. It deals with a particular promise given to Israel that the Babylonian exile was going to end after 70 years of captivity (verse 10). Therefore, the word prosper doesn’t refer to money or material blessings, but physical and spiritual salvation. This passage is a reminder of the fulfilled prophecy, and it points us to a greater release and redemption for all God’s people. Thus, it is not appropriate to use it to claim material prosperity.
Where Two or Three Are Gathered
“For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them (Matthew 18:20). This verse is very often used to encourage one another in times of trials and difficulties. In such circumstances, all we need to do is to have prayer sessions with two to three people. Then all things will be well for us. However, if we read the verse within the context, we shall know that it is in the context of church discipline. Church disciplines must not be done in frivolous and careless manners. Instead, there must be proper and reliable procedures in which honest and reliable testimonies must be produced. Church leaders need to make sure that they will face such challenging confrontations together with God’s presence. Fallen members must confront the witnesses and God’s presence in order to make matters right. Thus, they will be restored to Christian fellowship. Though this verse inspires us to pray together with others in times of need, the verse itself teaches us to depend on God when we deal with offenders waiting for church discipline.
All Things Work for Good
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28). This passage is often used to encourage believers who are going through tough times. The frequent use of this verse reminds them that everything will be eventually all right. Everything will eventually work out for something good in their life. In other words, don’t worry about troubles, sicknesses, business downturns, relationship breakups, unemployment, and on and on. God has something for you, which is better than what you have now. I believe that there is a truth in it, but our issue now is the meaning of the verse in the context. There are two major issues in this passage to deal with to keep it in context: (1) this verse is not for everyone but only those who love the Lord; and (2) “good” refers to our ultimate conformity to Christ, not necessarily our comfort. This “good” will lead us to sanctification and eventually to ultimate glorification, not the turnaround of our circumstances.
Where There’s No Vision
“Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he” (Proverbs 29:18). This is a fantastic verse used to encourage and inspire us to be visionary people for the Lord. Nonetheless, no matter how we understand this verse, it does not talk about the necessity of having visions and vision statements for the believers and their churches in order not to perish! I know that many Christian leaders use the verse to inspire their followers to have visions. They compel believers to dream big. The focus is given to the word, “vision”. We need to know that this word actually refers to revelation, and it points to the Word of God or the revelation of God. It is the Word of God that brings revivals to the people of God. It does not have anything to do with your or my dreams!