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If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.
… whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave - just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.
My verse for today is Matthew 19:23, which says “Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.’”
Jesus was just talking to a man about what is required to get into heaven. Jesus told the man to give up his possessions to the poor and to follow him, but the man was wealthy and unwilling to give up what he had so he walked away from Christ.
Don’t let money and material possessions keep you from Christ.
My verse for today is Matthew 19:17, which says “‘Why do you ask me about what is good?’ Jesus replied. ‘There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, obey the commandments.’”
Here, Christ is telling someone that there is no “good thing” that you must do to get to heaven. Rather, you need to follow God and obey his commandments and then you will be accepted into God’s kingdom.
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My verse for today is Matthew 18:15, which says “If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over.”
A lot of times you will hear people misquote the verse about judging others to suggest that you have no right to judge them for something they’ve done. This verse has the same message as the misquoted one, which is that you can, and should, judge others. But in a loving way. You are to point out their mistake to them in private, not to humiliate them, but to help them see what they have done wrong so that they can choose to accept your guidance and not make the same mistake again.
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My verse for today is Matthew 18:8, where Christ says “If your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire.” I don’t think Jesus is really saying here that we need to chop off our limbs to prevent ourselves from sinning. I believe the point is that we need to remove things from our life that tempt us to sin. If there is something that has become a part of your life that encourages sin, get rid of it so that I doesn’t drag you down.
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How else would a Creator reveal Himself, but through his Creation? And to deny the mind of that creation is to deny the mind of God!
(Okay this isn’t a whole history of my life but I think it’s good enough.)
I keep realizing that I need to start writing my testimony out and then not doing it. Maybe this time it will happen.
I always feel like my testimony is boring, because I grew up in a Christian family and never had a specific eureka moment leading to my faith in God. However, I have definitely had some moments where I’ve realized that I’ve been screwing up big-time in my responsibilities as a follower of Christ, and made some (more or less) immediate changes in my life. I guess I’ll get to that though.
It’s hard to put into words exactly what my relationship with Christ is. Basically, I try to strengthen my faith through prayer and bible study, and then I slack off, and then I realize I’m slacking off and try to get back to it.
Maybe I should start simple. I affirm that Christ was (and is and is to come) God in form of man, sent as a sacrifice to atone for our sins, so that we can spend our life after death in the presence of God. (Check out John 3:16.)
Why do I believe this? Because that’s what I was raised to believe, and I have yet to find any reason to think it’s untrue. Because I know that my life is different and unique from the lives of people around me not in the usual statistically variant way, but in a very directed way. Because I have seen a direct correlation between the course of events in my life as a function of my relationship with God.
One time, a couple of years ago, I actually drew a chart of a bunch of different things defining who I was, and showed a time-evolution of how they came to define me. I wish I still had that chart, because I know that in each branch leading up to the “current version” of me, there was something starkly out of place. And it’s always something that gives me the opportunity to give glory to God.
Basically, my proof of God is that certain things in my life are too random to be random. Impossible! you say.
Possible! I say.
How can something be too random to be random? Whenever someone tries to make something look random, there is inherently some order to it. This sort of “ordered randomness” is exactly what I am talking about, and it’s how I know that there must be someone pulling some strings. That’s usually referred to as “providence”.
Senior year of cross country, a random injury left me unable to compete in any of the championship races. That directly lead me to develop some really great friendships where I was able to share a little bit of my faith with others, as well as begin a serious relationship that I know was critical to getting me to where I am now, and also become a pretty decent pianist, which is a talent I’ve had the opportunity to use to share Christ with others. Even without giving all the details here, it shouldn’t be too hard to see some providence at work.
Last year I got a job offer from someone at NIST. I had never met him in person. The project I had asked about didn’t even exist anymore. And it was for a position in an analytical chemistry group. I am not a chemist. I had no experimental science experience. I later found out that my advisor (the guy who gave me the job offer) is a Christian. That is absolutely some providence.
I’m gonna jump ahead a little bit, because this one is excellent. So I spent about 5 months this past year trying to secure funding to come work at Princeton. I had a job offer, but it didn’t come with any financial support. (I guess I should mention here that I’m an undergrad and I have to do three 6-month internships as a part of my program. NIST was the first, PPPL is my second.) So by the middle of February, I had secured enough funding for 10 weeks worth of expenses. In reality, I needed to find enough to cover my expenses for an entire year. Anyway, I get an email one morning saying that I am being assigned a new student ID because someone at our career development center accidentally sent out some private information - nothing protected or sensitive, but still not good. I emailed the university provost back because I was curious about what document had all of this information in one place. My email got forwarded to the career center provost, who gave me a call to explain what happened. Anyway, we got to talking and I told him about my dilemma and promised to personally see to it that enough funding ended up in my student account to meet my anticipated expenses (specifically, like $8000). Seriously, I don’t know how you can find a better example of providence than that.
Note: I started this post a week ago.
So I just realized what I really want to say.
I am certain that God exists because once upon a time, I let him slip out of my life, and I fell flat on my face for it. Actually, it was more like getting punched in the face. Basically my shenanigans went on for too long and God told me that I needed to straighten up because I wouldn’t get another reminder.
My freshman year of college was absolutely crazy. I took way too many classes, tried to participate in way too many activities, had terrible sleeping habits and was fairly stressed out. On top of that, I let the relationship that I was in become the most important thing in my life. I didn’t have time for God anymore.
I realized that what I was doing was not going to work out, so for sophomore year I started out with fewer classes and stopped playing club sports (ain’t no physicist got time for that). I got a good routine set up so my life was a lot simpler and I was a million times happier. And then, all of a sudden the relationship that I was in stopped working. That was almost two years ago now and sometimes I still try to figure out what happened.
In the end, what really happened was that God punched me (metaphorically) in the face, and told me that I needed to get my shit together. While human relationships are important and require a large investment, God still needs to be #1 on your list. And he was no longer on mine. I never denied God, I just pushed him aside for other pursuits. Of course, in the mean time there were a ton of other problems that piled up in my relationship and there was just no feasible way to fix it. I basically had to commit to one relationship or the other. I couldn’t push God away any more.
But that relationship was basically everything to me, so I was knocked out for the count and had to rely on God to pick me back up again.
So that’s how I know that God exists: when I pushed him out of my life, it fell apart. If you haven’t taken the opportunity to seek God, do it!! I promise you that he wants nothing more than that, and when you have accepted the Creator’s love for you it will keep you afloat no matter what life throws at you.
My verse for today is Matthew 18:4, where Christ says “Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven”. Here, Jesus is saying that we should be like children in that we are dependent on the one who takes care of us: God. Depending on God doesn’t mean you lose your independence - you are independently dependent. You don’t have to rely on God, but choosing to do so means that the Creator will take care of you. What more could you possibly desire?
In Matthew 17, Jesus goes to the temple and the tax collectors ask his disciples whether or not he pays the temple tax. Jesus makes a point about being exempt from the tax (since a king doesn’t tax his own son) but offers to pay the tax “so that we may not offend them”. I’ll let you look it up and ponder it for yourself.
In Matthew Chapter 16, Jesus calls out the Pharisees and Sadducees for being able to predict weather based on signs in the sky, but not being able to see the miracle (of Christ) right in front of them. Isn’t it amazing how well we understand the complex world around us, yet miss such obvious things as God’s power and love for us?
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My verse for today is Matthew 15:14, where Christ says “… If a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit”.
In other words, don’t get your spiritual guidance from anyone who doesn’t truly have an understanding of God - they’ll just drag you into a hole. The best way to be able to tell whether or not someone really has a relationship with God is to form one yourself.
Things you hear at a plasma physics lab:
"It’s 100 million degrees, it’s kind of warm"
My verse for today is Matthew 15:11, where Jesus tells the Pharisees “What goes into a man’s mouth does not make him ‘unclean’, but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him ‘unclean’”. Jesus was telling them that their traditions on clean and unclean food are worthless if they are just being practiced as a tradition with no regard for what they represent. Traditions should not get in the way of taking action for God.
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At the end of Matthew Chapter 14, Jesus arrives in a new town and as soon as a couple of people recognize him, a whole crowd appears for his help. Wouldn’t it be awesome if the way people identified you was as someone who serves everyone?
(Hint: That is a thing that could be possible. See also “serving”.)
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