Recommended Books

Haven’t done this in awhile so I thought I’d catch you up with all that I have been reading in case you’re looking for a book to snuggle up to. 

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Discipline by Elisabeth Elliot

I don’t think any one of us like the “D” word yet many of us are lacking in our lives. I’ll be the first to confess that I am. In this easy, Biblically founded text, Eliaabeth Elliot dispels the myth that discipline is a chore. True to her gift of writing and teaching, she gives Biblical and palatable teachings on what discipline truly is in various areas of life: time, possession, body, work, place (honoring others), mind and feelings. It’s a short and easy read (only 150 pages) on a topic I believe many of us are lacking good solid teaching on. 

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Restoring the Christian Family by John Loren & Paula Sandford

This insightful book provides important Biblical understanding of God’s calling upon Christian families and marriages. It teaches on the priorities and values God calls us to in our families. This book is for everyone, singles, married, parents etc. I highly recommend it for anyone who desires to gain a better understanding of God’s purposes for families, marriages and parenthood. Not only do the authors focus on families, but because of their background in inner healing (Elijah House), the book also addresses enlightening details regarding the natural maturing process children go through to help both parents and future parents understand their children and know how to guide and discipline them accordingly. In the face of the culture of the world today that diminishes the importance of family, marriage and children, I feel that this is an important book to have in your library. 

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More Than Serving Tea by Asifa Dean, Christie Heller de Leon, Kathy Khang

This book recounts the stories of Asian American Christian women’s struggle to reconcile their culture and faith. Their stories, revelation and peace they’ve received from God by finding their identity in Him is not only encouraging but also helps me recognize the process the Lord has taken me through. I recommend this book for Asian American Christian women and anyone else who have a heart for this unique group of believers. This book has helped me recognize some of the problems in Asian culture that goes against the culture of God’s kingdom with hope in Christ to guide us into His truth. Though I didn’t agree with some of the points that were addressed in the book (i.e. measuring success of Asian American women by Forbes 100, the media or holding highly influential jobs, it’s just a small portion of the book though) I believe it’s a good book for those who are desiring greater understanding in this area. 

What are some good books you have been enjoying? 

Beautiful Letdown: the hidden blessing of being letdown by ministries, position & leaders

I’m seeing it more and more. Perhaps it’s simply because I’m in a ministry that attracts young zealous believers. I’ve been noticing a trend of young believers who are deeply wounded and disillusioned by a ministry, their own leadership position and/or by Christian leaders. 

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(photo credit: accretion disc)

These individuals used to be on-stage, on the front lines trumpeting and declaring a message. Now they have removed themselves from everything that has to do with platform ministry. Some receiving inner-healing, discipleship, maturing and being ministered to by the true Gospel….some not. 

Yet, though it is deeply painful to be let down by all those you once looked to, it is in actuality a beautiful blessing I believe. For Christ Himself did not entrust himself to man,

“Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many believed in his name when they saw the signs that he was doing. But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man.” -John 2:23-25

Too many in our youthful immature zeal for the Lord, in our brokenness put our trust in a leader, in a ministry, in our platform ministry to save us, to give us identity and worth. God is faithful to tear down every idol that comes between His beloved children and Himself. For when we look to broken and weak man for the things only God can give to us, we will be let down and hurt. But God is faithful to each and every one of us. He works all things for the good of those who love Him. He is faithful to restore the years the locust has eaten and use our own mistakes to bless us. Oh, what a marvelous God we have. 

I have yet to fully understand all the “whys” of what He did in this area of my life and whether it needed to be that severe and painful. Yet, the words He has spoken to my heart, His patience and love towards me throughout this journey has brought me peace into the once broken and pained places of my heart. Moreover, He’s given me a deep friendship with Him, the only One worthy to sit on the throne of my heart and be worshipped with my all. For that I am thankful for. Oh how it satisfies and heals my soul to worship God alone.

A devo set I led last Friday. We focused on the goodness of the Lord and His perfect leadership over our lives. I hope it ministers to your heart. 

Biblical vs. Asian definition of honoring your parents: Understanding the 5th Commandment

I want to preface the content below by first identifying the specific audience I’m addressing. I’m mainly speaking to those of Asian descent, this means both Asians and Asian Americans. This issue has been burning upon my heart to address due to the pain it has caused me and also witnessing how the wrong understanding of the command to honor our father and mother has hurt those around me. In no way am I encouraging my readers to rebel against your parents. My hope is to communicate the right understanding of this command of God. 

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This specific commandment, the only one that comes intact with a blessing used to hang over my head like a dark cloud. For years I misinterpreted the meaning and as a result it effected not just how I related with my parents but also with leaders. I understood this commandment through the cloudy lens of my culture and upbringing rather than through the Biblical definition which God intended. Through this lens, a history of generations of ancestral worship, I and other Asian believers tend to lean towards idolatrous worship of authority figures  and of our parents. As a result, we have a tendency to accept words and opinions of authority figures without exercising our discernment and checking it against the Word of God. Other times, we have difficulty forgiving authority figures and our parents because it is difficult for us to accept that what they did was “wrong” since we believe they can’t be wrong. 

Previously, I understood the commandment to honor our fathers and mothers as: Obey and submit to everything your parents and leaders tell you to do because they’re ALWAYS right. One must do this in order to be a good child and a good Christian. 

As the years unfold and I walk the path of life with the Lord, something just felt off about my understanding of this commandment. I couldn’t put my finger on what was wrong. Inwardly I began to rebel against this definition that somehow intertwined itself deep into the caverns of my mind, infiltrating my heart and emotions. Without clarity and revelation regarding the Biblical definition of this command, I felt bad, disqualified and sinful because of my inner turmoil over the matter. I felt that I was living in disobedience to the Lord because I wasn’t following MY definition of God’s command. I carried guilt and shame around on my shoulders because I did not understand nor have revelation of the truth that “all men have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” including my parents and leaders in my life (Rom. 3:23). Without identifying and accepting the wrong that was committed against me, I was not able to forgive for many years. 

Despite the fact that I felt hurt by wrong ways my parents and leaders have interacted with me, despite the fact that I would talk about it and say that it was wrong, I did not believe they could be wrong. What I held onto deep in my heart, was that I was wrong and that’s why others treated me wrongly. Instead of agreeing with the truth that everyone makes mistakes and hurt people, I walked in agreement with a lie. 

The Biblical definition of Honoring your mother and father is: The Greek word for “to honor” means to prize, to revere, to value. To honor your father and mother then means to hold them in high regard and respect as the ones whom the Lord chose to bring you into this world and raise you. Though we may not necessarily agree with everything they instruct us to do, we can still honor them by respectfully disagreeing with their opinions and or instructions especially in cases where the parents are not yet believers or were abusive. 

My Process of Understanding this Commandment with the Lord which Set My Heart Free from Bitterness:

God patiently helped me understand: 

1. SELF-RESPECT & WORTH: I am righteous because of His blood and sacrifice on the Cross (Romans 8): which helped me have a continual growing confidence to come to Him to receive the help I need to forgive my parents and leaders for specific ways they have wronged me. I began to receive grace freely from my Father, grace that is available to me not because of how great I am but because of His great sacrifice. I began to respect myself and honor myself, walk in agreement with who God says I am and my worth. This helped me recognize that the pain I felt was legit and no longer disregard it as wrong. This revelation also opened my heart to receive help from God to process these pains with Him in order to receive freedom and lasting healing. God helped me see that He isn’t just demanding that I forgive, but a very important aspect of forgiveness is recognizing how I was wronged in order for true forgiveness to occur. (read more about forgiveness here). 

2. ACKNOWLEDGING MY PARENTS/LEADERS’ WRONGS WITH THE LORD IS NOT DISHONORING THEM NOR DOES IT BRING SHAME UPON THEM: My huge emphasis here is WITH THE LORD. I used to complain and lament to my friends about how my leaders or parents have wronged me which does not please the Lord. But if you’re processing with a counselor, inner healing minister or a deliverance minister because you want freedom and healing, that is not dishonoring because your heart desires freedom and healing not slander. Many times Asians, myself included, have a hard time forgiving because though we complain to others about our pains, we ourselves believe that we are the ones to blame and that our parents/leaders are always right. We tend to have excuses for these individuals rather than God’s perception of what occurred. I still struggle with this sometimes. We need God’s help to walk in agreement with His truth that He alone is God, He alone is perfect. God has given us His Holy Spirit who leads us to all truths and the gift of discernment to decipher truth from lies, wrong from right with Him. There will be times when our parents and leaders give us incorrect council simply because they too are broken human beings just like ourselves. God alone deserves to sit on the thrones of our hearts as Truth, King and Judge, not human beings ((Luke 9:59-62, Matthew 10:32-40, Mark 10:28-31, Luke 14:26)

3. TRUE SUBMISSION: Submission does not mean I do everything my leaders and parents tell me to do or think! Asian culture says otherwise and we need the Lord to help us redefine submission so we no longer avoid it like the plague. 

Last Thoughts

Lastly, I just want to add, if one needs to separate themselves from their parents for a season or even years to undergo healing in hopes of bringing reconciliation and restoration to the relationship, that’s not dishonoring your parents.

“We honor our parents most when we obey and honor God in our lives” (Bible.org-http://bible.org/seriespage/between-child-and-parent8211honoring-father-and-mother-exodus-2012)

For more information regarding this topic, I highly recommend this article for more in depth study: http://bible.org/seriespage/between-child-and-parent8211honoring-father-and-mother-exodus-2012