justin kim

Are You Still Thankful? (Justin Kim)

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“Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!”
— Psalm 107:1 [ESV]

So now that the Thanksgiving holiday is over, are you still thankful? Now that you have no doubt gained a few extra pounds from feasting on turkey, and your weight loss plan is out the window, are you still thankful? Can you be thankful everyday by making thanksgiving into thanks*living*? 

It is hard to be thankful. Mainly because I believe the emotion of thankfulness goes against the natural tendency of the human heart. Furthermore, we are circumstantial people. By nature, our thankfulness is conditional. It is situational. Depending on the circumstances of life, we will be up or down, high or low, happy or sad. We will be thankful if there are reasons to be thankful. It is unnatural or even irrational to be thankful when there is no reason to be thankful. Why be thankful and grateful when things are hard? Why be thankful when you are in pain? Or someone you know is in pain so therefore, you are in pain. Being thankful when there is no reason to be thankful just makes no sense to the human mind. Unless you are a Christian. Unless your mind has been renewed.

Romans 12:2 says, "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect."

The worldly perspective is focused on the here and now. The earthly mindset is focused on the self and what you are going through. So your feelings and emotions are always going to be conditional. It is near impossible for the unbeliever to live out 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, which says to "... rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." 

Both Romans 12:2 and 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 speaks to the will of God. What is God's will for you? To discern what is good and acceptable and perfect. To give thanks in all circumstances. So what is good and acceptable and perfect? To give thanks no matter what. No matter what? Even if you have been hurt by the betrayal of a friend? Even if you have made some unwise choices and you are now paying for your mistakes? Even if the unthinkable is happening to you or to someone you love? The Bible says, "Yes, no matter what. Give thanks always. This is what is good and acceptable to God and this is His will for you."

The reason why a child of God can be thankful in all circumstances is because the Christian realizes that being thankful is not about him or her. Too often, our eyes are on ourselves. It's on our circumstances. Our eyes are focused on what's happening in the world. Instead of looking inward and outward, how about we look upward? Isn't that what we are called to do? To look up to God and beyond the physical? "To You I lift up my eyes, O You who are enthroned in the heavens!" (Psalm 123:1)

Psalm 107:1 says to give thanks to the Lord? Why? Because He is good. Because His steadfast love endures forever. His goodness and love is best expressed in the living and dying of the perfect and unblemished Son of God.

We remember that Jesus left the glories of heaven to come down into our broken world. He was tempted in every way and was sinless. So the most innocent man went to the cross to take upon Himself the sins of the world. The most perfect man took the place for imperfect humanity. In this sacrificial act, we see God's goodness and love fully realized. We can be thankful not just on Thanksgiving holiday, but everyday because His love endures forever. Jesus' life, death, and resurrection has lasting value and effect because eternity was impacted for those who believe. 

What keeps us from looking upward? What keeps us from being thankful? Our circumstances? Our pride? Some hurt and pain? Bitterness and resentful?

Whatever is hindering you from being thankful, learn to look up. Look at Jesus who has given us every reason to be thankful every day of our lives and not just on Thanksgiving day. We can live a life of thankfulness because our hearts are overwhelmed by the wondrous work of Jesus. This is God's will for His people. This is what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Daddy Daughter Disco (Justin Kim)

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A few days ago, I had the privilege of taking my daughter to our first father-daughter dance. I came home early, got her flowers and put on my best suit. She was so excited, but not as excited as I was. The evening started off well, but it went downhill pretty quickly once we got to the dance because she noticed two other girls wearing the same dress. Suddenly, she became shy and even felt ashamed and insecure just because someone else was wearing the same dress. I prayed and told her that it doesn't matter what people wear or what they think of her. It doesn't matter what she's wearing either.

I told her what matters most is what God thinks of her and what daddy thinks of her. I reminded her to find her security, safety, and identity in her daddy. And that she is highly valued and loved! I also pointed out how many other dads there wore a gray suit but that I didn't care. All that mattered was that we were there together. The second half of the evening was amazing! My daughter's wild and fun personality came alive and she and I danced the night away. We had a blast! I also took notice of all the other dads there with their daughters. I have never seem so many bad dancers who have no rhythm. Many of them were middle-aged, slightly over-weight, and balding (I include myself in all of this)... some of them just looked tired. But the look on their daughter's faces to have their dads with them at the dance was priceless. They were so happy and thrilled to have their dads notice them and to dance with them.

It reaffirmed my conviction that dads have such an important and special role in their daughter's lives. If you are a dad, take notice of your kids and do your best to love them and spend time with them. Most of all, love your wife cause the best thing for your kids is to grow up under the security and love of a healthy marriage between their mom and dad.