Dr. Kari Vo is a theological writer of the "Daily Devotions" for Lutheran Hour Ministries. Her inspiring discussion of Mother's Day, both the happy parts and the sad parts, will touch your heart. Kari also reminds us that "Jesus is everything", "human beings are so valuable but incredibly fragile", and since the "Gospel is everything", living without it and living in the past is futile. You will be moved and challenged by joining Dr. Vo and host Pastor John Cain.
The following program is sponsored by evangelical life ministries.
Welcome to engaging truth, the manifestation of God's word and the lives of people around us. Join us each week. As we explore the impact of his message of spiritual renewal from the lesson of forgiveness forged and the crucible of divorce, to the message of salvation learned by an executioner from a condemned killer to the gift of freedom found in the rescue of victims of human trafficking. This is God's truth in action.
Welcome to engaging truth. This is Dave Schultz, your host for this particular program. Um, we've decided that our team has decided that the month of may will be to, to look to ministries that women are deeply involved in. And my guest for this evening, um, she has been deeply involved in ministries of many kind, but presently. She is with the Luther nower ministries and does a lot of theological writing for them. So, Carrie, I welcome you to the microphone this evening.
Thank you. It's great to be here,
Carrie. I know that you wear many hats and God has provided those hats over the years for you to be able to do the work of ministry the way you are. Um, I'm gonna ask you, first of all, who is Carrie,
Uh, California girl now living in the Midwest, married to a Vietnamese pastor and missionary. Uh, I'm serving at Luther nower ministries primarily as their daily devotional writer. And I am continuing to serve the Vietnamese community as missionary. And of course, child of God, like all of us,
Carrie, this is a special day that we are recording this particular broadcast for that's mother's day and mother's day for many is a very celebrative time. And for some it's a sad time, uh, because of the fact that there are ladies in the listening audience who never have had the chance to have a child. Tell me on this endeavor, what fills your heart and mind today, maybe as the most important thing we can discuss, uh, just on this matter alone.
Well, okay. A little background first on my own life. There were many years when we were unable to have a child and it looked like we were never going to be able to have a child at all. And that was a kind of pain and grief that I would not wish on anyone. And it was also one that most people don't understand, perhaps don't take seriously. Uh, you face jokes, you face sometimes downright hostility. And for anybody who's in that position right now, I'd like to say that we see you and we feel for you and we pray for you and that God sees you. And that God cares for you. And has you in his hands. That's one of the things that I have learned over the years is how fragile human beings are. Even the ones who look like everything is fine. Even the ones who seem to have everything together, you don't know what kind of pain they might be carrying
In regard to those people who are fragile. Um, what would you say? What would you say about the fact that Jesus is everything even to the strong, as well as the fragile? What would you say to that?
Well, he is, there's no use going to anyone else, but him for help because even the best are sources. Well, they're, they're secondary. He is the source of all good things. And so while we have doctors, we have nurses, social workers, pastors, teachers, uh, all sorts of people in this world that God has put here for our good, and we should be grateful for those. And we should make use of those, but never to forget, to run. First of all, to Jesus Christ, just like, like a person that is desperate for help crying out, saying, you know, help me and to receive his welcome. And just to, to claim to him with all of our strength, that's what worked for me. And that is what I try to do every day of my life.
Carrie, there may be a woman or two or five or 10 who is among the fragile that we're talking about.
I think we all are,
And we all are in that sense, but in particularly more fragile and they're looking for some new hope to become less fragile. What can you say to them today about this Jesus that makes us strong? Not only in our thinking, but our faith life as well.
Well, I would say that Jesus will not reject anyone who comes to us. He has, he has promised, he has said, come to me, you who are heavy burdened and I will give you rest. He will not turn us away. He will not refuse us. He will not laugh at us. He will not shut the door in our faces. He calls to us because to you, to him, you are infinitely valuable. You are somebody that he loves enough to come into this world to live among us, to die for you, to rise again for you and to go looking for you like a lost sheep, a lost coin, a lost child. You matter to him, you matter so much. And it really doesn't matter what you think of yourself. It matters what he thinks of you. So allow him to catch you because he wants to. And he will, if you'll just let him,
Well, what do you say Carrie, to that wonderful woman who has caught this broadcast tonight from, for somewhere, either through the radio station or being streamed, and she is hurting desperately because of the fact that she feels terribly unloved. Um, for a long time, she attended worship. And, um, there was discouragement in the church in which she went, so she's walked away. What do you say to her? What do you say to her or them, uh, who had that discouragement, uh, as they listen to you tonight,
Pain caused by the church is very real and very important and severe. And it's not something to blow off to somebody that's suffering from that. I would say above all to start with put, look at Jesus Christ. The church often gets in the light of Christ and that God help us. That is a terrible thing. But for you, you look to Jesus because he is not his church. He does not commit those sins. He does not do those evils. He is our light, look to him and see who he is and what he's doing and how he's calling out to you and how he loves you and wants you and is calling you near to him.
I can say that I have been through some extremely difficult times in my life. And the only thing that did me any good at all was to behave like a three year old, who is scared and afraid and hurting and runs to Jesus. Like you would run to a parent that you love and grabs him around the leg, just like little kids do to their parents and cries into his rope and will not let go. And that is where comfort is. That is where you find hope and comfort and healing and eventually strength. That is not your own strength, but his life, uh, hope for the future. But that's where we belong.
You talk, or we've talked briefly in the past about the value of life, the value of people. Yes. Um, there are people who, who don't see that value in themselves. They see, um, nothing but darkness. They see nothing, but, but anxiety talk about the value of, of life. And in particular, the people who are thinking of value lessness
Well, the thing about value is, okay, this is sort of roundabout, but you've heard of price. Fixing price. Fixing is where somebody comes along and sets an arbitrary value on an object and says, this is how much it's worth everybody else around may say, wait a minute. You're crazy. That paper cup is not worth million dollars, but the person pulls out their wallet and hands over a million bucks and says, now it is well, as far as human beings go, when Christ gave himself for us, he fixed our price. And we are now each one of us infinitely valuable, not because of something in and of ourselves, but because that is the love that he placed on us. And so it's really no longer up to us to prove our value or to demonstrate it to the world. Christ has chosen that Christ has set that value.
And even if I'm feeling completely worthless and like nobody should ever talk to me or see me again, Christ says, whoa, wait a minute. You're mine. You belong to me. Just stop that right now because you're mine and I want you. And that's what he says to each one of us. I want you and you no longer have the right to say that you are a worthless piece of junk because you are not. I have paid for you. You are mine. And I will do wonderful things with you. You are of infinite value. You are mine and of mind, and, uh, you can stop fussing about all that. Now go find something better to do, go watch Netflix.
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Carrie, I'm gonna get back to you for just a minute with another question. And that deals with the issue of, um, value. But when we talk about the culture in which we live, we have live in a broken culture, a culture that's crack. What do we do as people of Jesus to assist them, uh, in this broken culture? Because even the kids that were with us just a few years ago are not, they're living in a different world. Uh, the world of TikTok, the world of, of, of music that we don't understand. Tell me about that. Right.
Okay. Well, I would say, first of all, that it might seem like a paradox, but we have never lived anywhere else, but in a broken culture, it has been like this since we first turned against.in the garden. And since then, no human culture has been the way it should be. There never were the good old days. We go from disaster to disaster as the human race, and we just invent new ways of doing it. And of course, with the pandemic, we are all of us right now, very much like, like children that have been up way too late and desperately need to go to bed and are fighting it. And it causes us to be cranky and fractious with each other. We really need grace. We need a lot of mercy from God above all, but also for each other patience care, uh, a lot of listening, a lot of, uh, willingness to say to someone, look, I don't understand what's going on here, but I am willing to care about you and to sit down with you and to see if there is a way that I can show the love of Christ for you.
I'm thinking of, well, several people that we've been caring for recently, one in the Vietnamese community, uh, a gentleman who came to our attention, uh, maybe a week ago who had had, uh, well, they usually call it a colorful life and he's dying right now. My husband came to see him and it was clear that he was carrying a lot of regret. And my husband too, has had a colorful life. He was in the air force in Vietnam and has his own share of regrets and was able to sit down with him and say, look, we are not exactly the same, but I have my issues and you have your issues. And we, both of us are people who are broken and I found help in Jesus Christ. And let me tell you about him. And he told him the gospel and he told him that God had come into the world and had become a man and had lived among us and loved us and served us and suffered and died on the cross and then risen again and promised that life to anyone who will take it, who will trust in him.
And the man was overjoyed and he was baptized. And he's probably only got a couple weeks left, but the weight of all of that regret and brokenness, I mean, it's just a lovely thing to see that, lift it off him and to see that in other cases where I, I have people, some in my own family, some among my friends that have gotten into areas where I think, oh, I wish you wouldn't go there. I think you're being misled by the people you're among and yet, how can I continue to reach out to them? Well, I can do it by being the person that Christ can use to love them and to provide a safe place for them to come. When they finally get to the point where they're asking questions, how can I, well, forgive me, I'm gonna back that up one step. We have a church full of refugees.
And we say that most of our people they're, they're converts about 90% converts from non-Christian backgrounds. And people ask how that happens. And we say, they come to us through the emergency room door, because most people do not reconsider their deep ideas about God and the way the world works until they're in crisis, crisis shakes their ideas loose. And then they're wondering, well, is this true? Was it ever true? Is there something I should be looking at? And when that happens, they go to people that they consider safe. People who have loved them. People that they know have their best interest at heart because they have proved it again. And again, even though they completely disagree with their lifestyle choices or with what they did at that party three years ago or whatever, it may be, their politics, their doesn't matter. They say, this person loves me. I'm going to call them at midnight and ask if they can get coffee with me and talk to me. And that's when we have the opportunity to tell them about Jesus. And that's when they're ready to hear,
Right? One of the things that I hear so often, oh, my wife is everything. My job is everything. Um, my money is everything. My, my golfing buddies are everything. Uh, and, and Carrie says, the gospel is everything. How do we reconcile? What people think is everything to know what you have said is everything
Well, what they are seeing and loving and calling everything is the reflection of God in those states. It's good to love your husband, your wife. It's better to recognize that you're seeing the reflection of God in that person. And then you can love them. And God both, it is good to see that you really like golf or some hobby or whatever it may be. It's better to see that as the reflection of the God who made all wonderful things and joy and pleasure and all of those things and gave them to us to enjoy. And so you can sort of over the years, I've tried to train myself into seeing things that are good and just sort of saying, oh, thank you, Lord. That's great. And sometimes it's a silly thing, or you might think so. Um, a squirrel, a, I don't know, a Sudoku puzzle that happened to be particularly good that day, a cup of coffee, um, a small child that is out on the playground. Just anything that is reflecting God's glory. It reminds me to be thankful and to say, wow, that's great. And somehow that makes the enjoyment even better.
It's like doubled because I can see where it's coming from and I can enjoy the thing itself.
Carrie living in the past is futile. Uh, we both know that, um, with, with what should the moms today or the ones who could not become moms, build their identity.
Thank you, Dr. Kerry VO, you have been with us this evening for 24 minutes and you filled it with wonderful thoughts. Thank you. And may your evening and your days ahead, be blessed to all the mothers, a blessed mother's day. Good night, and come back to us again next Sunday night on engaging truth. Goodnight.
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