Category: Redemption

Time: God’s Gift to us

Have you ever thought about time? I’ve been listening to this song by Jill Paquette called “One of these Days” which has a line in it that says, “Your love brought time just what I needed, to see I needed you.” Wow! What a profound statement. Time, truly is a gift from God. Have you ever heard someone say “we are not promised tomorrow”? In many ways many of us do take tomorrow for granted, like it’s owed to us, even guaranteed. Many of us may even live like we have all the time in the world, like we will live for 100 years. When I look back at my own life, I see just how true this was/is for me.

When I was caught in drug addiction, I had no sense of time. I had all the time in the world to waste, so to speak. I also remember how Jesus intervened in my in life and gave me more time. You see, when I was living in my mess of a life, my goal in life was to make it to 30 years of age. I didn’t have very many dreams or aspirations. My life revolved around drugs and having a good time. I lived recklessly and foolishly. It’s funny, when Jesus began to move in my life, showing me that He was real, that He loved me and that He had a purpose for my life was when I was 29 years old. Then, Jesus saved me at 30, which to use biblical terminology, my old self died with Jesus on the Cross (Galatians 2:20) and my new self came to life with Him through His resurrection (Ephesians 2:6). So, technically speaking I did die at 30 with Jesus, but was give a new life and…more time. This is something I am eternally grateful for and is a good reminder that right now I am living on bonus time.

This time we have isn’t promised to us nor do we earned it. No, the time we have is truly a gift from God and I pray that by the grace of God during this time we would all come to truly see just how much we need Jesus in our lives. My prayer for you and for the many people right now struggling with drug addiction is that God would meet each one and give them the the gift of time to come to know Jesus and be saved by Him.

FOUND lost in the shuffle

FOUND lost in the shuffle

by Gerald T. Ching


Wandering amongst the ruins of a decayed wasteland,

my eyes scan the debris and rubble, yearning

for answers. Digging

in the trenches, I search

for what I cannot have.


Within this perpetuation

I am bound to this obsessiveness

that leads me by the tip of my nose

through the fields within my mind, in addiction.


Against bitter swirling winds I am blown,

but still I press on. Little dogs nip

at the heels of my feet as I shoulder the wind. Running

at a snail’s pace I make my way towards destruction. Pulled

by invisible strings, I am

forever bound to this driven path.


Caught within the sands of time,

I melt into wickedness.

The barrier that has shielded me

for all of my years slowly starts to dissolve

into the aging decay of my darkened soul.


Beaten and scarred

with scarlet letters pinned to my breast,

the aura of my former self

suffocates in this dimming light

forever found wishing to be lost

once again to ignorance. All the many answers

to the simplicity of why, fill and clutter my head.


Confusion sets in

as the overload siren honks and hoots in the still air.

Anxiety sets in

as steam starts to pour from every orifice of my body,

draining me, leaving me exhausted, spent, and shivering in space.


Sinking in to the darkness of my shadow

that has become my soul, the tensionsof this heartache

eases; helping to soften the wrinkles

that spider web around my impure eyes.


Floating into a dreamscape of reality

I melt into deep slumber

and am set free into the cosmos

with memories of old coming to life,

filling the deepness of my heart.


In this weightless environment

all things become possible. The lost moments

that have haunted my wakened existence are relived in perfection;

impulsive decisions turn into thoughtful evaluations

as hindsight becomes foresight

with prudence reigning above all.


The should’ve, would’ve, could’ve procrastinations

become living assertive realities, while 

 the chest of regret that a lifetime has gathered and stockpiled

groans in defiance as it feels its demise come charging in.


The chains that have kept

these sorrows safe, snap like twigs

as an Angel of the Lord riding a fiery steed of Hope

blazes in on this vision, setting it to ash;

to linger no longer in the remnants of longing.



by Gerald T. Ching


As the  days creep on in their persistence

I walk along a lonely stretch of earth, gazing.

In the distance, Your lone figure breaks the horizon,

the vaporous heat exhales itself from the ground

blurring and shimmering.


Heavy, persistent, burdensome thoughts

weigh upon my fevered mind. With the sun high in the sky,

I make my way towards You. Sweat flows freely

from the pores of my skin, tiny snowflakes of salt form

as I slowly dehydrate in the heat.


Crackling lips longing for moisture

burn with the passing of the hour, Your figure

still an oasis within my eyes. Throwing

each apathetic foot forward in a mechanical shuffle,

I am bound to this mission until my death.


Shriveling like a prune, I become

like sand with the passing of the hour.

My fate flashes before me

as I fall with the setting sun into deep slumber.


Within this peacefulness,

I find a wellspring of hope.

Tears well as the seal is broken

to this resource of unending strength.


Filled, refreshed, and rested

I rise with the dawn. As the day’s heat

starts its relentless onslaught, red fills my vision

as I slowly open my eyes.


Focusing within these fleeting first seconds

Your Holy Spirit encompasses all – reassuringly steadfast.

With the last bit of my own strength seeping away, I fall

into Your arms. Within Your arms I curl

like a newborn longing for security.


Questions rise to my lips

but go unspoken – Your Voice

resounds in my mind, answering all.

For in my weakness

Your strength carried me to You.


This long journey back home ends

with a blinding lightning show

as tiny rain droplets fall from a clouding sky,

refreshingly washing away

the memories of a painful life apart.


Together at last, the mission complete,

You envelop me completely,

giving me sweet refuge.

a new BEginning


by Gerald T. Ching


In the dark of the night

when all my defenses disintegrate on compassionate winds

and my soul rests in peaceful bliss,

I journey in my dreams to a star at the very center of the universe.  


As the expanse across the bridge to that distant star shortens

and its glowing brilliance starts to encompass all that my eyes can see,  

I feel all that has held me in fear dissipate

in the loving star shine – penetrating

the thick solid walls that have kept me

in false security for so long a time.


My soul that was a gift to me,  

I have fed garbage all my life.

As my pride ruled supreme, my heart

quietly suffered, patiently waiting

letting my mind know on the need to know basis.


I have been caught

in the lies of a depraved world. The shadows of my past

finally converging with my present state of affairs,

filling the many gaping holes that riddle my soul,

making me face the consequences of sin.


My life passes into a panicked state.

What is going on with me?


My soul already knowing the score

screams and kicks in rebellion. My heart

knowing a secret waits for some final transformation

that may never arise, but still waits – hopeful.

With a stoutness, never giving up its dreams,

my heart holds on.


When I breathe my last breath, I will know the Truth.

When I cry out in sweet anguish to be taken home,

when my rebellion is made obedient,

when the darkness is overtaken by that brilliant Light –

in that final moment I will know the Truth.


But for now

with Beauty soothing the ugliness that was born in me and

that has become me, I am a seeker

left to wander this decaying world, in disarray.


Throughout the whole of my life I have been working so hard

to prove to everyone that they were wrong about me. This bitterness

has cost me. My arrogance has come at a price.        

All the blood, sweat and tears that was shed for my cause

was poured out in meaningless rage. Not a day

was added to my life, not a hour

to my future, not a minute, to my cause.


In ignorance I pressed on

with pride blazing a path before me.

From the deepest and darkest places of wickedness that resides

within me, I struggle towards obedience

searching for freedom.


Shadow boxing in this prison

my heart, soul, and mind fight this transformation

while an all consuming jealous fire swirls purposefully, full of love

through all I am. Within this fire, this trueness,

my defenses are not needed and

no walls of solitude stand.


The compassion that oversees all in this gift of love

shines Its brilliance that warms the core of my exposed

heart and soul, lighting the way. Sorting

and filtering the negativity

that shatters me to my knees in brokenness.

Within this light love reigns above all

hand and hand with hope, in faith –  together.


This Radiance overpowers the hatefulness that surrounds me

as I walk through life, finally

setting me free. Giving me the strength to look

into another’s eyes with unashamed love.  

I have been humbled

to honesty mingle amongst all of you,

full of love and compassion – truly set free.


transFORMation I

Do you know that God is working miracles in your life each and every single day? In my last blog “EXodus” I talked about the miracle of being a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). To further expand on this, I also believe that on top of the initial miracle spark of new life that gets breathed into us when our spirit gets eternally fused with Holy Spirit (Romans 8:11), God from that moment on continues to faithfully transforms us into the image of Christ through His Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:18). What this says to me is that God will continue to miraculously transform me day by day, until I am completely remade (recreated if you will) into the image of Christ.

What is a miracle? To me, every transformed life is a miracle that reveals not only the evidence of God’s grace, love, mercy and power, but also His nearness and concern for His creation. Now the natural inclination is to see only the whole completed process as a miracle, but I think we need to recognize that every part of the work of God (no matter how minor we may think it is in comparison to the whole) that recreates us more into the likeness of Christ is also a miracle. I believe that the people of God (myself included) need to start recognizing this and start giving God the glory that is due Him. Just as partial healings are still miracles, so must every transformational increment be seen as the same.

To use more illustrative language, when God turned darkness into light during creation (Genesis 1:3) most people would categorize that as a miracle. Well, that’s exactly what He does with us: He takes the darkness that’s within us (Luke 11:35) and miraculously transforms it into light. I mean that’s the language of redemption, isn’t it? “For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ”(2 Corinthians 4:6 NIV). I believe the more we begin to see ourselves from God’s perspective, “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light” (Ephesians 5:8 NIV), the more we will recognize the miracle of daily transformation.

I believe the more we recognize and give God the praise and glory that He deserves as He faithfully transforms us into the likeness of His Son, Jesus, the more this will increase our awareness of His presence in our lives. We must never forget that no matter what: God will continue to do the good work of transformation within us until this work is completed (Philippians 1:6). So, praise God today for the miracle of your transformed life and lean even more into the daily miracles that He promises to work in and through your life.

“Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves. I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father” (John 14:11-13 NIV). Thank You Jesus!


Trying to live between two cultures is much like being in my own cult. The lonely feeling of ostracism is almost palpable at times. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wrestled with my internal editor about you name it, we’ve debated or argued about it. You see, my internal editor identifies more with the Chinese culture while I tend to identify more with the American culture. I’ve struggled with this inner conflict for as long as I can remember. I believe it was because I was racially teased and bullied as a child that I learned early on that to fit in, I needed to be American rather than Chinese. So, as a young child I became ashamed of my Chinese heritage and learned to disconnect from that part of me and voilà! My internal editor was born.

It wasn’t until after I came to faith in Jesus, that I became aware of how much this inner conflict has effected the way I live and see myself. Jesus has blessed me with a greater self-awareness where I’ve begun to literally hear the inner dialogue between the two cultures living within me. He has also helped me to reconnect with my Chinese heritage and embrace my internal editor rather than being combative with him. You see, what I always thought I needed to do was to just continue denying that I was Chinese and just become more and more American which only created more disconnectedness rather than healing. What I am learning today is that I need to embrace that I am Chinese, but to also embrace that I am American and allow God to redeem all that is good in both cultures. This has helped me to see being bicultural as a blessing, rather than an annoyance or even a curse.

Why I feel this is so important is that the burden of this inner conflict was one of the factors that pushed me towards drug use in the first place. Because if I consicously knew it or not, I wanted an escape from the inner struggle of trying to understand myself. It was just easier to stop dealing with it. Inwardly, the pains of rejection and the failed attempts of fitting in only fueled the growing inferiority complex that was first birthed in my heart through the racial teasing and bullying of my childhood. I feel like I am really only beginning this journey of becoming who God created and redeemed me to be. I am learning more and more everyday that He loves that I’m a Chinese American and wants me to embrace all that is good in both cultures. It’s who I am and I need to begin to celebrate this because when I do I also embrace and accept how God sees me. I feel like I’ve spent most of my life asking God why – rather than simply telling Him thank you for creating me and giving me life.

 9 “What sorrow awaits those who argue with their Creator.
      Does a clay pot argue with its maker?
   Does the clay dispute with the one who shapes it, saying,
      ‘Stop, you’re doing it wrong!’
   Does the pot exclaim,
      ‘How clumsy can you be?’
 10 How terrible it would be if a newborn baby said to its father,
      ‘Why was I born?’
   or if it said to its mother,
      ‘Why did you make me this way?’” (Isaiah 45:9, 10 NLT)

I’m learning Lord, I’m learning… ~Gerry

::also posted at The Slanted View: reflections on faith, brokenness, culture and manhood from a Pan-Asian American perspective::


Reminiscing about my HIGHschool years has brought me into my ever present longing to belong. The need to belong is inherent to what it means to be human. I mean think about how many years a child is fully dependent on their parents to feed, nurture and teach them about living. We are all born into a family: born into a place of belonging. As far back as I can remember I’ve had this longing, this need to feel like I’m included. Simply put, that’s what belonging is: feeling included, needed and wanted. Some of my deepest wounds in life have been those times when I was rejected, belittled or discarded.  

Growing up in the United States during the early 70s wasn’t all that great a time if you were a minority. Especially for a little Chinese boy who longed to be American. It’s a strange feeling for me to me picked on for the way I looked because I never really thought I looked different enough to be made fun of. I can still remember the neighborhood kids singing songs and making up dances about my eyes and skin color, even my last name was fair game. <sigh> If I had to pinpoint a time when my inferiority complex was birthed, this would be it. I am so glad that “bullying” is talked about more openly today and pray that more and more kids would gain their voice. Something that I was never given the chance.  

When fear, anger, disappointed and loneliness are left to grow unattended in a child this will breed both an inward and outward hatred and vengeance. The child will begin to hate both the perpetrators and themselves. The perpetrators for doing what they did, but also themselves for not doing what they think they should have done. An inferiority complex is a nasty stronghold that manifests itself in our thought lives which then begins to influence our behavior. Because we begin to believe the lies that – summed up say: “there is something terribly wrong with me and that there is no hope in every changing this. I will always be unlovable and screwed up.” Sound familiar?   

Many people (including drug addicts and alcoholics) walk around with an inferiority complex that drives them to live joyless lives filled with hopelessness and despair (me included). But, God changed all of that because God changed me. The decision that has forever changed the course of my life was the day I surrendered my life to Jesus and began to follow Him: through Jesus I now belong to the family of God. He has helped me to STOP believing what others have said about me, even what I think about myself (which to be honest is not all that good) and has helped me to START believing what God thinks about me. The more I have experienced God’s unconditional love for me, the more His love has softened and healed my heart. Experiencing God the Father’s love has forever changed me because I now understand deep within my heart that no matter what happens to me in this life: I belong to Him for all eternity and nothing will ever be able to separate me from His love for me in Jesus: I belong.  


the 420 Prayer Movement: VISION

Redemptive Relationships

Friendships are important. When I think back on my life, what I remember most are my friendships. Sure, I may remember certain times and places, maybe things I’ve done (or wished I did). But most of all I remember the people who shared those moments with me. When I look through the photo album in my mind that stores the snapshots of my life, I see people because if we really boil it down, all we truly have in this life are our relationships. Now if I call myself a Christian, the Bible challenges me to make all my relationships redemptive ones. What is a redemptive relationship? It’s a relationship that always has eternity in view. Jesus was a man who lived His life on earth in this way. When Jesus talked to someone or touched someone He made an eternal impact on their lives. Sometimes it was for the better (those who accepted His message and believed), but other times it was for the worse (those who rejected His message). Either way, people left Jesus changed because redemptive relationships have eternal impact.

As followers of Jesus, being redemptive needs to be infused into who we are. It needs to be part of our spiritual DNA, so that no matter where we are, we will be living as God has called each of us which is to first and foremost love Him but also to love one another. When we are truly living out our faith, we will be caring for one another in genuine community as a family, uplifting the Body of Christ and we as God’s people will experience a deeper understanding of Christ’s love for us. When this happens, we will begin to see the deep need to be actively living redemptively in all our relationships because when we are, we will touch people’s hearts with the love of Christ. Now, if we are to be thinking redemptively, we have to remember that it’s our faith in Christ that activates love and empowers us through the Holy Spirit to be grace and truth to people. And when we are this way, people’s hearts will be refreshed which will not only bring renewal, but will also inevitably impact their lives with the transforming power of God’s love which will deepen their understanding of who God is and His love for all of us. This is what it means to be redemptive.

There’s a difference between counseling someone’s flesh and refreshing someone’s heart by encouraging their spirit. Encouraging someone’s spirit means washing them with God’s Word, but that doesn’t mean spiritualizing everything by giving Bible verses like aspirin. Sometimes being God’s Word to a person is what shows greater love. Romans 12:15 says, “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” Sometimes a person just needs you to sit, weep and mourn with them. Just your presence speaks volumes. Being intentionally redemptive in a relationship also means not just dealing with a person’s behavioral or heart sins, life burdens, pains and fears, but also a person’s heart longings and desires. We all have deep longings and yearnings (wishes, hopes and dreams that long to be released from our hearts), but oftentimes they go unspoken or unnoticed because we can get so caught up in telling people how we think they should act instead of taking the time to draw out who God has called and redeemed them to be.

Now, on my journey with Jesus, He has taken me through the depths of my heart where I’ve had to be brutally honest with myself. Spiritual self-awareness is a blessing and whenever I’ve taken an honest look at my life, both in my heart and in my behavior that’s when change began to happened: that’s when redemption was able to take hold. This also meant allowing others to speak truth and life to me, even when it was hard to hear. Facing our fears can be terrifying at times, but on the flipside of our fears are the desires of our hearts. If you have a fear of being judged, your desire maybe to be known, to be heard, to be real, to be loved. If you have a fear of rejection, your desire maybe to be accepted, to belong, to be included, to be appreciated. If you have a fear of failure, your desire maybe to be recognized, to be valued, to be validate, to be a blessing. What this means within the context of a redemptive relationship is that we not only address a person’s fears, but we also draw out their desires. You nurture them, so that their desires become greater than their fears. Of course, I am talking about healthy and godly desires and not sinful ones. All of us have desires that God has put into our hearts and when we act redemptively in a relationship, we help draw out these desires. Proverbs 20:5 (TNIV) says, “The purposes of the human heart are deep waters, but those who have insight draw them out.” 

“he’s a bit tore up, but he’ll fly true”

A verse of Scripture that encourages and touches every part of my being is 2 Corinthians 4:7: “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.”The reason I like this verse so much is that it not only takes into account my brokenness, but also my redemption. Just recently I was watching a movie and this line came streaming through, “She’s a bit tore up, but she’ll fly true.” He was taking about the plane they were flying, but how this line impacted me was that it made me long to hear God say this about me: “He’s a bit tore up, but he’ll fly true.” Again, the reason being is that it’s honest. I am a bit tore up (broken), but I will fly true (redeemed).

In our frailty, the very power of God is manifested. The more I embrace my brokenness (the reality that I am a jar of clay) the more I will realize just how precious and amazing this treasure that I have within me is (the reality that I am redeemed). So what is this treasure? If we look back to the second half of 2 Corinthians 4:4, we will see it: The treasure is “the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” Paul contrasts this with the expression jars of clay which would be familiar to the Corinthians because pottery was an everyday item. It could be found everywhere because it was used by the common person. We, just like the Corinthians have either seen or even used a ceramic pot of some sort. And if you have, you know that they hold water really well and are useful for many things, but that they are also easily broken.

Now, the connection that Paul wants to make here is that just like jars of clay, human beings are just as fragile and easily broken. Now I don’t know about you, but I can understand and relate to that. If you’ve ever held a baby you know what I’m talking about, or if you’ve ever broken a bone or know someone who has, you know what I’m talking about. If you’ve ever been in any kind of relationship then you know what I’m talking about because we are fragile beings and our hearts and bodies feel pain. But just as Paul marveled, we too should also marvel, because we have an amazing God who has entrusted us, weak vessels, with the treasure of the gospel of God’s glory that is revealed in Jesus. According to this verse, God does this to show that it is His all-surpassing power that is at work in all of us. To be more specific, the power that Paul is talking about is the divine power that enables him to preach the gospel while persevering through personal hardships and trials. Phew! I don’t know about you, but I am glad to hear that because it takes all the pressure off of us and frees us up to speak and be truth, life and love to people.

I believe with all my heart that God has called every believer to do great and amazing things for His Kingdom. But this means that we will have to lean into this power of God within us to 1) be the Gospel to strangers, friends and family and to 2) persevere through the hardships and trials that will come our way because of this. What helps me when I get fearful or discouraged is remembering that I don’t have to do this alone, but that God is always with me. He has given us His Holy Spirit to not only comfort us, but to also empower us with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control and has also lavished us with some pretty awesome supernatural gifts. “Though I am a bit tore up, I will fly true” because the same Spirit that rose Jesus from the dead is also living within me.