I plagiarized. Have you?

I lied to Mr. Van Rossum, my 9th grade history teacher.

Narrative: My engrossing story featured an imaginary tutor who I held responsible for plagiarism. ‘She’ was the primary perpetrator- the one who had told me to make the following corrections on my rough draft which allegedly led me to receive a D- and a “see me after class” comment on the front of my essay.

I told him, “Do you want to talk to her? I can put you on the phone with her”. He caught me red handed- not that he actually took my offer, but that he proved with Turnitin.com, that there was more than met the eye.

In the end, He saved face. He told me not to do it again and let me off the hook. I was never able to apologize to him with the truth; my mind and stomach awkwardly buzzed every time I walked past him in the hall through my 10th-12th grade years.

And here lies the correlation: We think we can live on our own strength without giving credit to where credit is due. We often plagiarize life without reference to the Potter, without honor to the maker of our hands and feet, and without fear of the one who put each star in its place. 

He expressed His love for us in the most intimate way; He gave us His breath and presence and offered us a seat in this mutual relationship. Instead, we took matters into our own hands; we sought after the temptations and gave in to our flesh; We did not partner with God, but wanted to become God.

Then we held back our apologizes while shamefully creating excuses to downplay our wrong. “She told me to do it”.

  Don’t wait until Judgment.com checks  your life and sees that you have plagiarized His purpose driven life. God is waiting for us  to repent; His grace is sufficient- meaning there’s opportunity to move on and grow in His presence.


Addicted? Who’s fault is it?

What have been my addictions?

For the moment being, lust is my best example. Here’s the background:

I’ve grown up splurging anger and justifying cruel rebellion against my mom because I felt it was appropriate. I struck the gavel on a continual basis, and said, “Mom, you’re wrong! #(*$#*$*(#$()()#)@# THIS $#()@$(@))@)) EFF (#)@()#%)$)) THAT”. According to my flesh, I thought it was natural to process my dad’s reasons as to why he would flare and compare them to my mom’s often response of “Stop talking; spit is getting everywhere”.

Transitioning from elementary school to middle school, I grew up to be so obscure and patronizing. Like my mom said, “Other kids don’t do that to their moms”. She was probably right, but again my temperature crept up. I would respond, “Other moms don’t do that to their family”.

To fill the void in my heart, I turned to girls to fill the woman role in my life. As I approached the second decade of my life, nothing changed. If anything, I was upset that I did not have a long term relationship before. Hence, in April 2010 it took a whiplash and splash of subzero water on my face to realize that I had an addiction.

I WAS ADDICTED TO GIRLS.

But wait a minute, don’t I have a valid reason as to why I turned to girls?

Here’s the revelation: Addictive people ADD others into their problems. When I examine more closely, I have not fully been owning up to my addiction. I’ve added my mom into the picture. Why is my mom not cropped out? Jesus, I need your grace even more than before. Lord, no matter how well I can write a synopsis to cover up the actual quality of my life, I know one thing- that I am truly sinful and the utmost, undeserving, selfish playboy- meaning I just utterly suck.

Lord,

I need to start revealing my addictions without adding others into my problem. It is I, ME, SEJIN, that freely chose to be in bondage of such sin and death. Even with knowledge that there was a bigger and greater kingdom, I had chosen the kingdom that took me by the neck and suffocated God’s breath from my life. I had licked the wounds and sores for the devil. Jesus, since April 2010, I have been in a cleansing process; I know you’re working in me, and I know it’ll take more time, but Lord I feel such rejoicing. You truly can make all things new again. As an addicted person, I have added you as the Lord of my life and keeper of my soul.

His Presence

Having gotten my first smartphone, I’m taking advantage of the resources-well, free resources.

I have never seen nor read The Christmas Carol, but I am doing the latter now.

From page 20, I quote:

“You don’t believe in me,” observed the Ghost.

“I don’t.” said Scrooge.

“What evidence would you have of my reality, beyond that of your senses?”

“I don’t know,” said Scrooge.

“Why do you doubt your senses?”

“Because,” said Scrooge, “a little thing affects them. A slight disorder of the stomach makes them cheats.  You may be an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, a fragment of an underdone potato.  There’s more of gravy than of grave about you, whatever you are!”

Scrooge was not much in the habit of cracking jokes, nor did he feel, in his heart, by any means waggish then.  The truth is, that he tried to be smart, as a means of distracting his own attention, and keeping down his terror; for the spectre’s voice disturbed the very marrow in his bones.

I reflect with the following:

I had once possessed an intimate fear- not to honor God, but the horror of confronting my sinful nature before Him. Unsure of who He was, although my very core insisted that He was worthy of praise, I was scared to admit that there was something greater than I on this earth. He gave me portions of His grace daily- it was very much undeserved, but He was working in me before I had said, “Yes, Lord, take all of me”. It was the very marrow of my bones that shook violently when I encountered His presence. I had once doubted my senses, but seeing His goodness, fell into His arms like a little child.


From the Rainbow

I came across a devotional booklet called “Our Daily Bread” (props to Shining Star church in VA). From the month of June, here are lines that stood out to me:

Some phrases are taken out of context, but your job is to think about the broader topic outlined in each bullet point.

Pick, choose and meditate from the rainbow.

  • “The Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing in His wings” (MALACHI 4:2)
  • Jesus said, “You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you” (John 15:3)
  • It’s just that when they happen to us, we think they shouldn’t. 
  • When Polycarp (AD 69-155), who was bishop of the church at Smyrna, was asked by Roman authorities to curse Christ if he wanted to be released, he said, “Eighty-six years I have served Him, and He never did me wrong. How can I blaspheme my King who saved me?”
    • Polycarp remained undaunted. Because he would not curse Christ, he was burned at the stake. 
  • Good behavior should always be an act of worship.
  • When David later recalled what he knew rather than what he feared, his sense of loss turned into a song of praise (Ps. 13:5-6). 
  • If Paul had a business card, it would have identified him as an “apostle”.
  • But if we are inflexible in our expectations of how God should work, we can run into trouble. In a crisis, we can make the mistake of shifting our focus from God to our painful circumstances. 
  • As Creator of the human race, God knows how human society will work best. 
  • God’s Word never returns void, but sometimes it is not until later that God’s words come to mind as we need them. 
  • Jesus taught more about money than any other topic. 
  • The more thoughts you have in your head as you swing, the less likely you are to be successful. 
  • Five days later, Ron showed up for his race wearing his dad’s hat, which he carefully set aside before his competition began. 
  • This means, that words don’t have to be many to be memorable. 
  • So, why did the Lord address fearful Gideon as a “mighty man of valor”? Because of who Gideon would one day become with the Lord’s help. 
  • Shall we accept the the good from God, but fuss when trials are in sight? Not if our love is focused on The One who always does what’s right. 
  • Doctrine tells us which road to travel; reproof tells us when we are off the road; correction tells us how to get back on; instruction in righteousness tells us how to stay on God’s road. 
  • There is a place of quiet rest, near to the heart of God, a place where sin cannot molest, near to the heart of God. 
  • If we take care of our character, our reputation will take care of itself!
  • If we depend on Christ for everything, we can endure anything. 
  • Tribulation is often the catalyst that produces perseverance, character, and finally, hope (Rom. 5:3-4). 
  • Until the day I was found, I didn’t know I was lost. 
  • Learning that they had spent so much time and energy searching for our family made me feel special. 

Boats

Here’s a fun way to visualize this revelation. Instead of talking cars, imagine talking boats.

Once upon a time, there was a cruise ship named Past and a row boat named Present.

Past asked Present, “Where are you headed?” Present answered, “Not where you went”. Past resumed his train of thought and boasted saying, “But I had great fun and I’m bound to go again. Is it too hard for you to row yourself to where I’m going?” Present simplified his response saying, “Not really, it’s just hard to find my way back once I’m there.”

Lord, I was once in the vast ocean hesitant to commit to your direction. Your ways are true, I was stupid to follow the ways of the stranded seas. As a rowboat, who am I to dictate the calm, yet treacherous waters? Even in the midst, of exploring life through my own intentions, you always provided a lighthouse that would reroute me to salvation. Life was getting to heavy to bear- with your grace and mercy, repentance and obedience was possible. I will never travel on the Past, but the Present. Thank you for showing me your Glory.