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What are the Grace of Jesus, Love of God and Fellowship of the Spirit?

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
2 Corinthians 13:14 (NLT)

It’s an odd blessing. Why would the Apostle Paul separate the three parts of the Trinity and offer grace from Jesus, love from God and fellowship from the Holy Spirit? They must have unique elements to offer.

May the grace of Jesus be with you.

Grace is God’s undeserved favor toward man, but Paul prays the grace of Jesus over the Corinthians. I can only guess that this specific grace flows from the cross. Jesus sacrificed His life on our behalf, even though we did nothing to deserve any man’s life. And Jesus gave His own life. He never sinned, but was beaten and killed to erase our sin. That’s remarkable grace.

May God’s love be with you.

God always acts out of love. This beautiful and intricate world is His generous gift. With patience and persistence He seeks a relationship with us and loves us despite our flaws. Out of this love, He sent His Son to die—a distinctive expression of love.

May the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you.

To be loved so deeply that we’re worth dying for is beyond comprehension, but we are also blessed with the fellowship of the Holy Spirit. Fellowship isn’t a modern word; It means partnership or doing life together. The Holy Spirit is God’s Spirit with us, always walking alongside. Our partner guides, comforts, and encourages. We are never alone. It’s a unique partnership.

Remarkable, distinct, unique, and incomprehensible doesn’t begin to capture the enormity of this blessing.

Do you know you’re worth dying for?
Do you know God’s abundant love?
Do you feel the Spirit’s presence doing life with you?
(tweet this)

#SeedsofScripture @Cathy_Chung #grace #love #Godislove #HolySpirit #undeserved

You Are God’s Masterpiece

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.
Ephesians 2:10 (NLT)

The words escaped my lips just as I realized their subtle implication—not exactly wrong, but misleading.

“The church I go to meets at 10am” is technically correct, but simultaneously all wrong!

I don’t go to church. I am part of a church community.

The people of God comprise the church 7 days a week wherever we exhibit God’s justice and kindness. The church is not one location or time of worship. We are part of His ongoing project to reshape this world to resemble His kingdom.

We are God’s masterpiece! We are each beautifully and intentionally handcrafted by God for a purpose—to be part of the larger masterpiece. While we might apply this scripture to individuals, it actually describes the community of believers. We are created anew to cross ethnic, class, and age barriers and show the world that unity among diverse people is possible when Jesus reigns.

Unity among diverse people is possible when Jesus reigns. (tweet this)

We, the church, are God’s masterpiece. Not me, not you, but the collective whole. The church is a work of art forever in progress. And our purpose is to visibly display His love, mercy, and grace to everyone everywhere—to attract them to the beauty of a life with Jesus. Jesus said “Go and make disciples.”

I am part of the church—a living, growing, changing masterpiece that displays God’s beauty to the world. (tweet this)

Would you say you go to church or are you part of a church?
How can you become more a part of your church?

#SeedsofScripture @Cathy_Chung #wearethechurch #Godsmasterpiece #makedisciples

What a Friend We Have in Jesus

When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?
Psalm 8:3-4 (NIV)

Before I could read, I stood by my mother singing What a Friend We Have in Jesus. I hum just reading the title. Recently I couldn’t sing because of a cough so I prayed the lyrics and, for the first time in a long time, they touched my soul.

What a friend we have in Jesus,
All our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer!
Oh, what peace we often forfeit,
Oh, what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer!
– Joseph Scriven

What an amazing friend! Jesus is our faithful friend who knows our thoughts and weaknesses yet cares deeply about our lives. While amazing and true, those aren’t the lyrics that drew my attention.

What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer. (tweet this)

What an incredible privilege! Can you even fathom that the God of the universe listens to our prayers? He invites us to share our struggles, sadness, and isolation. God wants to lighten our load. He provides a safe refuge. It’s a promise.

What needless anxiety we suffer! We forfeit peace by managing our troubles by ourselves instead of bringing them to Him. God promises to help us face challenges and resist temptation. We just need to pray.

We forfeit peace by carrying our troubles instead of lifting them up to Jesus. (tweet this)

What amazes you about having a friendship with Jesus?
Do you forget to pray sometimes? If so, why?

#SeedsofScripture @Cathy_Chung #prayabouteverything #withGodshelp #friendinJesus

Here’s the entire hymn:

What a friend we have in Jesus,
All our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer!
Oh, what peace we often forfeit,
Oh, what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer!

Have we trials and temptations?
Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged—
Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful,
Who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness;
Take it to the Lord in prayer.

Are we weak and heavy-laden,
Cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our refuge—
Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Do thy friends despise, forsake thee?
Take it to the Lord in prayer!
In His arms He’ll take and shield thee,
Thou wilt find a solace there.

Blessed Savior, Thou hast promised
Thou wilt all our burdens bear;
May we ever, Lord, be bringing
All to Thee in earnest prayer.
Soon in glory bright, unclouded,
There will be no need for prayer—
Rapture, praise, and endless worship
Will be our sweet portion there.
Joseph M. Scriven

May My Life Please God

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.
Psalm 19:14 (NIV)

This is my heart.

If I do nothing else in life, I want to please God.
(tweet this)

Since this sounds pretentiously goody-goody I need you to know how much I fail—all the time. My thoughts and words regularly disappoint God. But pleasing Him is still my goal and the posture of my heart.

That’s why this verse is an excellent prayer to start the day. Honestly I don’t always remember this psalm, but before my feet hit the carpet I’ve certainly asked God for help with my stuff. I could easily turn it around and offer to please Him.

Truthfully, I need God’s help in pleasing God.

It just so happens that the verses leading up to today’s psalm tell us that God is pleased when we keep His commands. It’s also begs for forgiveness and for the help we need in following Him.

[The decrees of the Lord] are sweeter than honey, than honey from the honeycomb. By them your servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward. But who can discern their own errors? Forgive my hidden faults. Keep your servant from willful sins; may they not rule over me.
Psalm 19:11-13

Let’s pray: Thank you God, for teaching us exactly how to please you. Forgive the mistakes we’re unaware of. Help us choose the right path and resist the temptation to go our own way.

May my words and thoughts be pleasing to you, O Lord.
(tweet this)

What do you think it means to please God?
What does Scripture say?
How can you position your heart for this goal?

#SeedsofScripture @Cathy_Chung #forgiveme #pleasingGod #withGodshelp #goalsetting

I created this screen saver for subscribers to remember this verse. If you already receive Seeds by email, subscribe again to get the screen saver. Don’t worry, you won’t be doubly subscribed.

God Promises His Love for a Lifetime

God for whole lifetimeI will be your God throughout your lifetime, until your hair is white with age. I made you, and I will care for you. I will carry you along and save you.
Isaiah 46:4 (NLT)

God is faithful. We can trust Him.

One of the best ways to grow our trust is to identify how God has worked in our lives. Remembering specific ways He provided in the past strengthens our confidence that He will continue to provide now and until our hair is white (beneath the dye).

Can you remember a time God revealed an opportunity or caused a ‘chance’ encounter with the right person? Maybe a hug comforted your drooping spirits or another’s example bolstered your wilting courage. How have you helped God care for and carry someone by providing a meal, a word of encouragement, an arm around the shoulder, or a random smile? God uses people to provide care.

We can trust God’s promises: I will care for you. I will carry you. I will save you. (tweet this)

love one another in faith communityOne way God provides is through spiritual community. God uses people like you and me to demonstrate His own kind of generous, compassionate love. He might connect us to a community of Christians who act in His Name to care for each other. These small groups are crucial for meaningful, supportive, and authentic relationship. Group members listen, share and pray for one another.

Humans are meant for relationship. Christians love one another in community. (tweet this)

How have you received care? Could God have sent this care?
Will you remember this and trust His concern for your current situation?
How can you connect with a community of believers who support one another?

#SeedsofScripture @Cathy_Chung #Godcaresforyou #church #faithcommunity #whitehair #smallgroups

Jesus Is Our Firm Foundation

“Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? As for everyone who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice, I will show you what they are like. They are like a man building a house, who dug deep down and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.”
Luke 6:46-49 (NLT)

Perhaps this story of the wise man building his house upon the rock reminds you of Sunday school. Maybe a song with hand motions is surfacing in your memory. Yeah, I’m humming.

Sometimes the familiar stories are difficult to learn from because we already know the lesson. Jesus paints a memorable picture by showing us what they are like. The song says they are wise. But who are they? So I ask you to read today’s story again.

They are the wise who come to Jesus, hear his words and put them into practice. (tweet this)

They don’t stay on the surface of scripture. They work hard to understand deeply how to apply Jesus’ words in life. They find solid rock in God’s unshakable truth.

Could they be us? Yes!

Let’s be the wise! Let’s seek to understand Jesus’ words and put them into practice. Let’s dig for the truth we can stand on when the torrents of life strike.

Where do you find truth?
What are the consequences of ignoring Jesus’ words?

#SeedsofScripture @Cathy_Chung #Scripture #Truth #Jesusinaction #Godisourrock #firmfoundation

God Knows What Matters

I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding. For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return.
Philippians 1:9-10 (NLT)

Oh, how I pray for you!

I yearn for all of us to know God and the richness of life with Him. I pray that we could internalize God’s way of living into our minds and hearts so we understand what truly matters.

What does really matter? Do our lives reflect what we believe truly matters? We should step back now and then to observe and adjust.

There’s not enough time for all the good things that matter. We must choose what matters most. How? Is a nutritionally balanced meal more important than pizza if it means connecting with your teenager?

These are hard questions, but I believe God has the answers. We learn what really matters by growing our knowledge and understanding of God’s word. That’s exactly why I write this blog – so we can hear what God says.

Do we know what God values?

We can only know by digging in to God’s word. If we give any value to the idea that God might know what’s best for us, we have to heed His instructions. When I do this, I usually discover that His way works after all.

The Apostle Paul’s beautiful prayer is a yearning for all of us to grow closer to God, to flourish in life, and to pour love out into the world.

God’s way of living leads to a flourishing life overflowing with love. (tweet this)

#SeedsofScripture @Cathy_Chung #Scripture #Truth #whatmattersmost #spendingourdays

On a personal note: I’m so excited to be writing about God’s word again! If you haven’t already, head over to my newly redesigned website to dig into posts about a particular topic or to learn a little more about me and why I write. There’s a free gift for subscribers which are some images with my most useful verses – my ‘go-to’ verses – that you can use as screen saver backgrounds on your computer or phone. If there’s a post that speaks to you, please share on your social media page. God can even use Instagram to speak to us!

God’s Home is With Us

Jesus replied, “All who love me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and we will come and make our home with each of them. John 14:23 (NLT)

God will make His home with us – each of us. Doesn’t that sound good?

Because homes are never perfect, ‘home’ doesn’t always evoke a positive image. But our desire for home feels like family, love, acceptance, comfort and safety. Home is where we settle and put down roots. It’s a place where we can be ourselves.

Jesus tells us that He and the Father will make their home with each person who loves Him and does what He says. There’s the catch. There’s always a catch. God loves us unconditionally, but He settles in with those who love Him and follow His way of living.

Our relationship with God feels like home when we love Him.

We love God with gratitude and praise. We love God by loving others. But Jesus says we love Him by doing what He says. And in this conversation with his disciples, Jesus repeats this instruction 4 times: If you love me, obey my commandments. Those who accept my commandments and obey them are the ones who love me. Anyone who doesn’t love me will not obey me. (John 14:15, 21, 24)

We express our love for God by following His way.

How do we know what Jesus says? The Bible. Period. We need to know Scripture. By following God’s instructions we develop better relationships with others and experience joy. We see the good world God created and manage problems with wisdom and strength. But the Bible also reveals God’s heart and His love. And as our love grows, God settles in and makes Himself at home.

#SeedsofScripture @Cathy_Chung #Scripture #FollowJesus #Bible #LoveGod #Home

Making Space for the Kingdom of God

Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. Matthew 6:33 (NLT)

I’m steeped in 3rd century church history right now and learning how monasteries got started. I’ve always found this simple life of devotion appealing. Had I been Catholic, I’d have considered becoming a nun. My brother still teases that I could be Amish, and I admit being attracted to their lifestyle.

Surprisingly, this highly devoted lifestyle started because Christianity was legalized. When worshiping God was illegal, every Christian was highly devoted because identifying with Christianity was socially and physically costly. Anyone refusing to worship the plethora of cultural gods was odd and sometimes faced arrest, torture and death.

Bigger is not better

When Emperor Constantine favored Christianity over pagan religions, Christianity became popular. The increased numbers meant decreased commitment to faith. New believers often blended their old practices with Christianity. So those who wanted a deeper connection with God separated themselves from the watered down, tolerant, popularized Christianity to focus their attention on devotion and service.

Is stepping away from the hubbub of daily life necessary for deep connection? 

Is commitment greater when there’s a cost or consequence?

It’s impossible to measure the depth of spirituality in today’s world. However, I notice my own struggle to balance the pace of everyday life with my devotion to God. Sunday commitments keep me from worship. My schedule doesn’t permit space for consistent prayer and contemplation. I yearn for and recognize the benefit of spiritual retreats specifically designed to focus on faith.

How can we balance the demands of modern society and stay attuned to God?

Prioritizing concerns that are important to God ensures a day in the Kingdom. (tweet this)

#SeedsofScripture @Cathy_Chung #KingdomofGod #modernsociety #spirituality

Believing ‘In’ or Believing ‘That’

And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.
1 Corinthians 15:17 (NLT)

I’ve been exploring the expansion of the church after the New Testament. All the church had to work with were oral accounts of Jesus’ teaching, the Jewish scriptures, Paul’s letters, and the Holy Spirit. From these teachings, certain universal beliefs emerged. The church was piecing together the rest.

• When and how should we celebrate Jesus’ resurrection?
• Was Jesus human or merely spiritual?
• Is Jesus the same as God or separate and subordinate?
• Is the God that Jesus represented the same wrathful God of the Jewish scriptures?

No one intended to mislead, but sometimes they incorrectly proposed doctrine that contradicted another accepted truth. They were careful to test every new idea against scripture and the teachings of those who knew Jesus personally.

Ultimately, the church denounced ideas that risked salvation.

An idea that described a Christ who could not save us must be wrong, because they knew Christ’s death and resurrection earned our salvation. An idea that described humans as not needing salvation by God must be incorrect, because humans cannot save themselves.

Why was getting it right so important?

Because the church wasn’t establishing rituals to perform routinely. It was true. They didn’t merely believe in God. They believed that God had acted in history to create the world, send His Son, die on the cross and rise to life again. It actually happened and it changed every person’s eternity.

  • How would you describe the difference between believing in God and believing that God saves us?
  • How does it impact your life?

We don’t merely believe in God. We believe that God acted in history for our salvation. (tweet this)

#SeedsofScripture @Cathy_Chung #JesusSaves #Truth

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Each post is a brief scriptural thought that will grow as you let it take root in your thoughts.  If you have time, dig into one area of interest and plant a whole garden.
Each post is a brief scriptural thought that will grow as you let it take root in your thoughts. If you have time, dig into one area of interest and plant a whole garden.

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