Testimony of the Week – Daniella Ching

Daniella is a third year PhySci major who loves ice cream, boba, cows, cheesy movies, and anything Disney related, but who is extremely indecisive otherwise!

Growing up in a Christian family and attending church every Sunday, as well as attending a Christian school all my life until I came to UCLA. I was constantly surrounded by people who loved Christ and made it a point to share the gospel with me. Because of that, I grew up believing that God was real and that Jesus came and died for my sins. But if I had to pinpoint when I became a Christian, it would be when I was in third grade. At that time, my teacher asked me if I remembered how or when I became a Christian since I claimed I already was. Realizing that I had no memory of accepting Christ as my Savior, I was scared and went home and told my mom. She asked me if I did believe in God and if I believed that I was a sinner saved through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross for me, and I said yes. Since this is when I actually distinctly remember confessing what I believed, I consider this to be the point when I became a Christian. But though I believed, my understanding of the gospel was still shallow and part of my reason for wanting to be a Christian was to go to heaven and for social reasons. However, through His grace, I slowly began to understand more in middle and high school about what I professed, and how these truths impacted my life personally. The fact that I am a sinner makes me an enemy of God (for someone who was generally regarded as a good kid, that hit me so hard). But God, who is so rich in mercy and abounding in love, pursued me even while I was hostile through sending Jesus Christ to die for my sins. Christ suffered to become sin on my behalf so that I may have a righteousness that I do not deserve (2 Corinthians 5:21). And praise God that “if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life” (Romans 5:10). I, and anyone else who believes, am not only forgiven and no longer an enemy of God, but adopted into His family as His child. Continue reading “Testimony of the Week – Daniella Ching”

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Lessons Learned from Working with the Urban Youth

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A student telling me that it just doesn’t matter anymore because he’s going back to jail. A boy shaking on the floor overdosed. Another boy sitting in my office drunk. A girl revealing that she had been abused by a close family member. Another girl coming to school with new clothes, and new bruised marks. A student requesting to go to the local clinic during school hours. Students struggling with gender identity. Students staying at shelters, garages, motels, and group homes. Students living with no more hope and attempting to take their own lives. Students ready at any moment to fight and hurt each other – guy on guy, girl on girl, girl on guy, 10 on 7, and sometimes even to the point of getting stabbed or shot at.

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How Death Changes Life

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I recently read an article that the anecdotal evidence that the 2017-2018 flu season has been one of the worst in recent memory is backed up statistically. As I thought about this, it brought to mind the many lessons that illness can teach us. Illness, whether it is caused from outside our bodies or inside our bodies, reminds us that Creation is fallen and it groans under the weight of sin (Rom. 8:22). For Christians, illness causes us to groan and to remember that this is not our permanent home (2 Cor. 5:1-4). Moreover, it causes us to long for our permanent home where God will remove all the effects of the Curse (Rev. 21:1-4). Beyond these lessons though, God reminded me of how illness instructs the way we evangelize. In his book Practical Religion, J.C. Ryle spends an entire chapter writing about Sickness and highlights the fact that illness is a reminder of death. He notes that most, including too often us Christians, live as if they were never going to die. But the author of Hebrews reminds us “it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgement” (Heb. 9:27). To most our age death is a distant thought, something to be dealt with in 50 or 60 years but our Lord reminds us in Luke 12:20 that we do not know when God has decreed our deaths. For some it will be very soon and for others it will be in many years. And illness, Ryle writes, awakens us from our day-dreams and reminds us that we have to die as well as to live.

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The Battle is Not Done, but the War is Won

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written by Kyle DeGuzman 

Every believer, either new to the Faith or a seasoned veteran, knows all too well the vicious battle with sin and temptation. We have all weathered the fierce storm of fighting for minutes, hours, even days against the old self that so desires to grab us back into our former ways. And we have all tasted the bitterness of falling into sin – sometimes even the same one over and over again. We can find ourselves in the same situation and pattern of sin and be trapped in a cycle of habitual sin that we cannot seem to escape. Have you been there? Or maybe you are currently in a spiritual drought right now and feel hopeless, dejected, and discouraged to take up your sword and continue the fight. Have you been tasting defeat in your battle with the flesh? If this is true of your current state, I hope that the following may give you strength and resolve to continue your daily fight with sin and that you may find victory over the flesh through Christ who strengthens us.

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Redemption in Regret

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written by Alyssa Lok

You regret procrastinating on your ten-page paper due at midnight.  You regret eating Nutella even though you know very well that you’re allergic to nuts. And you really regret wearing shorts in the rain. Because now you’re sick. And may possibly have bronchitis. The fact of the matter is that life is filled with decisions you regret. It’s easy to look back at our lives and think about all of the impulsive choices we’ve made, careless things we’ve said, and prime opportunities that we’ve passed up. But these types of regrets all point to a worldly grief. We feel pangs of remorse because we lost out or we were hurt in some way. The focus of worldly grief is ourselves—we mourn over the way that our pride has been injured, our image tarnished, and our plan foiled.

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Grace Greater Than All Our Sin

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written by Annie Zeng

Towards the end of fall quarter, a series of events led me to realize that in my pride I had forgotten how lowly I was in the light of God and His holiness. As a result, one of my new year’s resolutions was to identify three specific moments that I had sinned during the day, confess them to the Lord in prayer, and ask for His forgiveness. My goal was to remind myself of my own sinfulness by becoming more aware of it. To me, it had become too easy to only say that I was sinful, and I thought that forcing myself to recognize concrete ways that I had sinned throughout each day would help me to really believe it again.

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Excuses, Excuses, Excuses…

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written by Ethan Lew

One fine Monday morning, I was reading Exodus 32 with a steaming mug of milk tea in one hand when I nearly spat out my tea. “So they gave it to me, and I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf.” Did Aaron actually expect Moses to believe this pathetic explanation of how the Israelites succumbed to idol-making?

Moses was only gone for forty days on Mount Sinai to meet with Almighty God, and he came back down to find a pitiful golden calf? This whole scenario was ridiculous. I mean, Aaron essentially said that he threw some earrings into a fire, and out popped this fully-formed shiny cow. I literally laughed out loud. I was in the middle of relating my version of these events to my housemate, when my rant suddenly faltered. A new thought had silenced me.

How do our excuses for sin sound like to God?

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