August 10, 2016

Look at God's Grace

1-7 Luke 1 (NIV)

1 Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. 
It is one of the most valuable to report testimonies on how God has worked through our lives. The testimonies have been handed down from the first witnesses over a long time. Considering such a historical trace, it is obviously wise to believe the testimonies although it happened in the distant past and intangible at the moment.

3 With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.
Although Luke did not meet Jesus physically, he has carefully investigated everything about Jesus from the beginning. The investigation of biblical facts is instrumental to enhance our belief. Enormous knowledge on the bible does not always lead to belief. It is important to make it certain what we have already known, through meditating or reading the bible, so that knowledge can be linked to belief.

5-6. In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron. Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly.
Even in a dark age, God sends us either a prophet or righteous man. In the contemporary age, the bible is equivalent to the best prophet we can follow. What is righteousness? It is judged not in the sight of humans but just "in the sight of God". The word "Blameless" in this verse did not mean that Zechariah and Elizabeth had no sins at all. They might commit sins intermittently, but always repent blamelessly.

7. But they were childless because Elizabeth was not able to conceive, and they were both very old.
We sometimes complain that the world seems to be unfair in that the righteous suffers from either poverty or sickness while the wicked are more affluent and healthy. However, in the sight of God, poverty and sickness might be the graces of God since they could be used to reveal God's glory and omniscience. Elizabeth was too old to conceive, but God made it feasible for her to have a baby.

26-38 Luke 1 (NIV)

26-28. In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”
God's invisible works actively affect all human affairs according to his thorough plan to save us. As a woman marries with a man, I also marry with Jesus Christ. Do I keep innocent in front of Him? Therefore, God tells me as well, "You are highly favored and God is with you." We could also tell others in the same way.

29-33. Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”
The angel's greeting to Mary was clear, but she didn't understand what it meant. It is hard to understand God's plan before it is realized. What we can do is just to accept his graceful words with thanks. Whenever you suffer from any trouble, remember that God tells you, "Do not be afraid, and you have been favored with God." Do you have a firm belief in his promise? God is so thoughtful that he would explain how you will be favored. We should be prepared to hear his words. As Jesus was born to be as the Savior, we were born to be saved with Jesus Christ. Jesus' kingdom will never end, and thus all citizens of the Kingdom will never die.

34. “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” 
Mary asked the angel how she will conceive as a virgin, but the question was full of her expectation. She wanted to believe firmly the angel's promise. On the other hand, Zechariah also asked a similar question to the angel, but his question was full of suspicions (Luke 1:18).

35-37. The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called[b] the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. For no word from God will ever fail.”
God was so kind to explain Mary how she will conceive. At first, believe firmly that God will solve your problem, and ask God with great belief. God will explain how He will solve your problem. As the angel illustrated Elizabeth's pregnancy, God also explained in the Bible how God have worked, is working and would work through world history and our lives. Do you sincerely believe in that all God's promises written in the Bible have been achieved and would be fulfilled in the future?

38. “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.
We know our identities in the world; for instance, we confess ourselves as a mother or teacher. But, have I told "I am the Lord's son or daughter" as Mary did? Indeed, It was so courageous belief that she could predict negative results due to her unexpected pregnancy; in the worst case, she might be accused as a witch or dirty woman. Look at God's works hidden behind any case which looked impossible but came true.

39-45. At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”
Would you be pleased to hear the Good News as Mary was? When someone was saved, would I be full of joy and thanks? As a baby in womb recognizes holy voice, would I be sensitive to hear God’s words? Would I praise Jesus Christ with a loud voice? As soon as the Good News reaches my ears, would I leap with great joy? Whenever we accept God’s words, we would be filled with the Holy Spirit. We would be eager to deliver the Good News to others as long as we believe in God’s words. Anyone who believes what the bible has said will be accomplished is blessed. Imagine that the Lord comes to me. How favored and blessed I am!

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August 07, 2016

Holy Spirit, Making Passages Feasible

Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else.
Be joyful always;
pray continually;
give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.
- 1 Thessalonians 5:15-18
These passages are not wishes but God's orders to rejoice, pray, and thank "in all circumstances". These are beautiful but made me pessimistic when I looked reality. Is it really feasible in our lives? Yes. I know many admirable figures with great personality who showed infinite humanity and dedication for missionary works. I realize that faith (or the Holy Spirit) leads them to such a tough way for ordinary people to follow. I know they were faithful about God and innocent enough to repent all their sins and observe all God's commands. In contrast, I have not been so faithful in my life that I have thrown aside all decorum even for sinful actions while I confessed my faith by mouth. I desperately have made strenuous efforts to achieve my tasks at work or at home while God's words have not actually been the best priority of my life. What made the difference? It was because I did not understand that the God's orders, to rejoice, pray, and be thankful in all circumstances, can be realized in my life not by my own resolution but by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the only power that helps us to be born again in God so that the Thessalonian verses become feasible through our lives.

August 04, 2016

Boyden's Talk on Brain Development

It is an interesting TED talk given by Dr. Boyden regarding pathological development of the brain in terms of molecular biology. While his idea was so creative and innovative, I was more impressed at how he described his research project very well for the public who have no prior knowledge on the brain. I have been always eager to have an opportunity to introduce my works to the public as he did.

Wisdom of Penguins

Two Penguins were pluming their feathers each other. I thought it is exactly what people in the Heaven are expected to do. We cannot scratch all itchy spots on our back, but can do for others. Of course, it might be a strategy of survival rather than love. Nevertheless, at least they seem to have wisdom that love is the best strategy for survival. In my view, God wanted us to realize the wisdom through those Penguins as well.

How Does Scientist's Face Look Like?

A statue of McGill student
My attention was strongly attracted by the statue of McGill student near the front gate of McGill University in Sherbrooke street. The earnestness and passion expressed on the student's face always stimulates me to improve my academic attitude.

Science is not just a professional field at least for me. It is a mission for which I might risk my life as well as a joy of exploring the mystery of nature created by God, which immerses myself in studying science.