I once was lost in darkest night, yet thought I knew the way
The sin that promised joy and life had led me to the grave
I had no hope that You would own a rebel to Your will
And if You had not loved me first I would refuse You still

But as I ran my hell-bound race indifferent to the cost
You looked upon my helpless state and led me to the cross
And I beheld God’s love displayed, You suffered in my place
You bore the wrath reserved for me, now all I know is grace.

-“All I Have Is Christ” Sovereign Grace Music

Reflecting upon the past year, one thing that God has really taught me at GOC was the magnitude of my own sin, and the infinite holiness of our God. The fact that we were rebellious against God. We wanted nothing to do with Him. We wanted our own way instead of God’s. And we abandoned Him for the path that we wanted to follow.

But we didn’t know the destruction that lay ahead of us. The sin that we constantly love committing, the sin that we consume our lives with, only leads us deeper and deeper in our rebellion, leading to a lifestyle that glorifies the unholy and unworthy. Through our sin we would bring upon ourselves our own destruction and our own suffering.

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)” (Eph. 2:4-5 NASB). Even when we did not know the torment and suffering and punishment that lay ahead of us on our hell-bound race, God, infinitely compassionate and merciful, rescued US. Rescued ME. Even when I sinned against a holy God, even when I was fighting so hard against Him, living in sin and loving it… He died and gave himself for me, that I might come to love Him and live for Him.

It’s so difficult to even attempt to fathom how infinitely merciful my God is to me. That He would love a sinner like myself and rescue me from the evils that I never knew and the destruction that I was headed for.

Amazing love, how can it be that Thou my God shouldst die for me?

Such an eventful day that just went to show me God’s blessings despite my own weakness.

It was 2:40pm when I arrived at the GOC Table. Life is usually slow-moving at the Table during this time of the year; it’s Spring Quarter, most people have assimilated into the UCLA environment, and no one is really looking out for clubs, fellowships, or frats to join.

I immediately felt the different atmosphere when I stepped within a range of the Table, however, and I soon realized why: an argument had broken out between our GOC Tablers and a young homosexual man, Scott. From context, he despised our intolerance of allowing homosexuals the right to marriage. Although we definitely tried to step away from the conversation with no hard feelings, it didn’t help that the man constantly brought the conversation back. Mark, a friend of Scott, later joined in our conversation, and he was a lot more composed and less angry than Scott was. The both of them finally left around 40min later, but long after I had been shaken in my own convictions regarding the authority and validity of Scripture.

Tim prayed for us afterward, and I was reminded that in the past, I was just like them. Rebellious, intolerant of Scripture, not understanding of the things of God (1 Corinthians 2:13-14). And it humbled me to even think that I was any better. As Tim prayed, I realized the weak state I myself am in without the saving knowledge and power imputed unto me by Christ. It was so sad to see the rebellious souls of Scott and Mark, that they were unable to understand their desperate need for salvation. I began to tear up as Tim continued to pray, my heart broken for the lost who do not realize how much they need a Savior. It truly was a convicting time, to realize how lost we were in our own sin, in our own “hell-bound race” without even looking back at the desperate condition we are in, and our need to share Christ as our living hope with others.

I later had the opportunity to share with a man I met outside of Rendezvous. Dan was raised in a Catholic background but after reading Scripture for himself, found lots of areas in the Bible hard to believe. I wish I had shared how secure we could be in the truths presented in the Bible, but after being shaken up by the past encounter, as well as possibly approaching sharing the Gospel with him with the wrong motivation, I fumbled over my words and presented myself not even sure of myself what to believe. I really wanted to fix my mistake and share more with him until he was joined with two of his friends Garrett and Travis. When their conversation steered away from the topic, I couldn’t do anything else but to walk away wishing I could have been a better tool to use.

Meditating on my own convictions, and looking back at the events in hindsight, I feel so blessed to have a Creator who loves me and is with me through everything. Even in my own weakness and inability to share His Good News with others, there is nothing that I can do that can remove me from the love that He has for me. Even now it saddens me to think of all those who don’t have that security and hope, and I pray that I can strive to share the Gospel of Christ with everyone I meet, hoping that one day they may come to saving knowledge of He who died for those who would trust Him.

God, I just thank You for even using me, a weak and inadequate vessel, for the purposes of Your glory. And even now, as I eat with my floormates later tonight, and as I finish my last quarter as a first year student, that You would continue to fill me with boldness. Allow me to preach the excellencies of Your name to those who are lost without You. Break my heart that I may feel compassion and urgency to share Your grace and love with those that need it most. And in all things, may I continue to glorify You in everything that I do, knowing that it is the Lord Christ whom I serve.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 

For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.
Matthew 12:8 NASB

In Crossroads, our youth pastor Austin Duncan is currently going through the Law of the 10 Commandments in Deuteronomy, and examining the present-day implications of each of those commandments. Even though they may seem so irrelevant to our lives today under the grace bestowed upon us by our Lord and Savior, there is simply so many ways we can reflect our pursuit of Christ daily through these commandments.

The fourth commandment may seem even more irrelevant than the others: “Observe the Sabbath”. I myself thought through what that meant for my daily life and Austin put it plainly for us: “God owns time.” The fact that God sets aside a day in the lives that seemingly belong to US for His glory and worship goes to show his sovereignty in how we should be using our time. Simple as that, but strikingly convicting: each and every moment of our lives belongs to the Lord.

Over the past few weeks I’ve been more and more convicted of how much time I easily waste: playing games day in and day out, browsing Facebook and watching Youtube videos like there is no tomorrow. But the fact that God is sovereign, even over all the time I spend, has made me think twice about how I use each moment of my days.

Two weeks ago, I decided that I was going to quit playing video games. And so I uninstalled every video game on my computer. Considering my history with video games, it’s quite a big deal. My childhood practically consisted of exclusively playing on my various game consoles and computer. I spent little to no time doing anything else for enjoyment. Since the beginning of senior year, I’ve had spent almost 3-4 hours PER DAY playing LoL, which adds up to quite a lot.

Even then, uninstalling these games was something that I’ve been wrestling with for a while. During fall quarter, I uninstalled LoL only to reinstall it again the next day. Clearly I wasn’t very firm in my convictions. But with Austin’s message, as well as a series of messages from both Austin and our shepherd Chris Gee, quitting my life of video games was something that I felt called to do and necessary for my growth in Christ.

It’s been quite a struggle since then, and I resorted to playing Tetris since it didn’t require me to download anything to play. But that was a timesink almost as bad as LoL was, and through a fellow sister I was convicted to quit playing that also.

Even though I haven’t stopped playing video games for very long, I already feel the freedom that comes from the time that I now have to serve Christ all the more with. I have more time to spend in the Word and in prayer, as well as to be more productive in my studies and exercise. It was a difficult choice, but it’s a well-worthy sacrifice in the radiance and glory of my God who deserves the full, undivided worship of every moment of my life. I definitely still continue to struggle to use all my time for Him and His glory alone, but my prayer is that I, and you, can continue to serve Him through everything!

And it’s a shame, the way I want to do these things for You yet
Don’t even cling to You, take time to sit and gleam from You

Background by Lecrae

It’s pretty obvious: we can’t fully serve God unless we are close to Him in spirit and in truth. But how often do we think this way?

Maybe we don’t actively think about it, but it’s all too easy to want to do so much for the Lord and Savior of our lives, and actually do it. But how much does it truly mean if we’re not in community and fellowship with the One we’re working for?

Looking back in hindsight, I can remember all too many times where I truly wanted to work for His increased glory. I actively helped out in my high school’s Footprints Christian Club and my church’s youth group not out of an effort to “earn” my salvation, but more as a response for the love I’ve been shown at the cross.

But there was a problem: I didn’t know my Savior. I spent almost zero time diving into the Word, my prayer life was basically dead, and for the most part I was only doing the things that I was doing because I knew that God wanted me to, and it was the “good Christian thing to do”.

But rather than busily working and working for our Lord, as Martha had, we should be like Mary. We need to make sure we are in close community and fellowship with Christ. Jesus didn’t die for what we could do for Him. He died for us, and us alone. He doesn’t want or need our works. He wants us, and us alone.

It almost seems laughable when you look at it from the outside. Why in the world would we do things for our God without really knowing Him, without knowing exactly why we’re doing it, and who we’re doing it for? And yet how many times do we ourselves try to please Him without resting in His grace first?

A few days ago, a friend related to me his morning schedule: before he got dressed for class and the rest of his day, he would “dress” himself in the armor of God by reading a chapter of Psalms before doing anything else to get ready for his day. I’ve modeled my own mornings after his, and it is definitely encouraging to read from Scripture and to set your mind on the things above before I tackled the busyness of my life. Psalms is such an encouraging book that provides solid doctrine on the character of God, and it’s been so great to rest my worries and anxieties on the solid Rock and Fortress that is Christ.

May I challenge you to more consistently perform your daily devotions and stretch your prayer life. Because we cannot fully serve our Savior and Lord until we know know Him.