A Must-See Video for Every Christian

Friday, April 18, 2014


- Jesus opened the disciples' minds so that they could understand the Scriptures. They finally saw that Jesus was indeed the Messiah Who fulfilled the prophecies written about Him in the Old Testament. Did you know that Jesus Christ has fulfilled more than 300 prophecies? These prophecies were given 500 to 1200 year before His birth. Consider the following: The probability of anyone fulfilling just 8 would be one in a hundred million billion (1 out of 100,000,000,000,000,000).
- When we read the Bible, we should pray and ask the Holy Spirit to open our minds to understand and interpret God's Word correctly, penetrate & permeate our heart and soul with His profound truths, and guide us to apply His Word in our daily lives.

- This is the post-resurrection commission Jesus gave to His disciples. It's paramount that the Messiah's suffering/death and resurrection on the third day along with repentance and forgiveness of sins must be preached. Primary point of the Gospel!
- Jesus laid out the plan for His disciples. God wants the whole world to hear the Good News of salvation, starting at Jerusalem. "You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." (Acts 1:8)
- "The strongest historical evidence for the resurrection is the eyewitness testimonies of the disciples and more than five hundred other witnesses, which later would include the apostle Paul." (~Lee Strobel) The encounter with the Risen Christ transformed the early disciples and propelled them to passionately proclaim the Gospel, in spite of persecution. May we purpose to do the same with perseverance!
- Praise God for His presence, provision, protection, promises, propitiation, and power! The power that raised Christ from the dead is the same power that the Holy Spirit gives us as we continue to "press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called us heavenward in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 3:14)
- Jesus, the perfect, sinless Lamb of God, died on the cross in our place to pay for the penalty/ punishment of our sins. By the precious blood of Christ, we have been purchased, pardoned, provided Christ's righteousness, and made peace with God. He died so that you and I might live. Will you live for Him? Don't permit pleasure, position, power, possessions, popularity, preconception, or people to prevent you from putting your faith in Jesus Christ and professing Him as your Lord and Savior.

"In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now He commands all people everywhere to repent. For He has set a day when He will judge the world with justice by the Man He has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising Him from the dead." Acts 17:30-31
"The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. Instead He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance." 2 Peter 3:9

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Outstanding Offer!

It's appropriate to praise God and give Him the credit for He is the Source of all blessings.

In His overflowing grace and mercy, God has offered us the following spiritual blessings (among many others):-
- New birth (spiritual birth/regeneration) which includes an adoption into God's family
- Living hope (of eternal life) through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead
- Imperishable inheritance (true riches that never fade, decay, or are defiled by sin) kept in Heaven for us
- Protection by God's power (God will help us persevere through trials and all...Our souls are shielded by Him)
- Salvation which is now enjoyed and of which the full significance will be revealed in the last time (the judgment day of Christ)

I don't know about you but the outstanding offer above from God to His children makes me overjoyed!
God doesn't have to love us but He does. God doesn't have to forgive us but He does. God doesn't have to save us from eternal damnation and give us eternal life but He does. Think about it! He does what He does because it’s His character (God is Love). It’s all about Him, not us. God owes us nothing; we owe God everything! I am truly overwhelmed by His unconditional love and inexhaustible grace for me! By the way, no one ever outgrows the need for God's grace.

How should we respond to God's over-the-top love, grace, and mercy?
Friends, if you have not decided to follow Jesus and surrendered your life to Him yet, please don't put off this most important opportunity of your life any longer. Today is the day of salvation! We're never promised tomorrow. "For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16) Jesus is the only Way to Heaven and the only Way for us to be reconciled to God and have peace with God. God obviously loves you so much and wants you to spend eternity with Him. Jesus is standing at the door of your heart and knocking. Would you open your heart to Him?

To fellow Christians: "I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God--this is your true and proper worship." (Romans 12:1)
"To obey is better than sacrifice." (1 Samuel 15:22b) "If you love Me, you will obey what I command." (John 14:15) Obedience is not the way to earn God's love or obtain salvation. It's the way we express our love and gratitude to God.

Finally, let's not overlook this beautiful encouragement and promise as a result of Christ's death and resurrection. Jesus has overcome death, power of sin, and the enemy. He makes us overcomers like Him. "I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." (John 16:33) "For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God." (1 John 5:4-5)

"The Bible is one long story of God meeting our rebellion with His rescue, our sin with His salvation, our guilt with His grace, our badness with His goodness. The overwhelming focus of the Bible is not the work of the redeemed but the work of the Redeemer." ~Tullian Tchividjian

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

No Longer

- We died with Christ and we now live with Him. "For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!" (Galatians 2:19-21)
- "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" (2 Corinthians 5:17) New birth! New life! We receive new heart and new mind. We have new desire and ambition, new passion and vision. We now look at everything from a new perspective (God's perspective/eternal perspective).  
- Because of Christ's death and resurrection, we no longer need to fear death and be in bondage of guilt and sin. We can truly live. We are dead to sin and alive in Christ. We are forgiven and free. "God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; He has taken it away, nailing it to the cross." (Colossians 2:13b-14)
- The Law was given to make us aware of sin and see our desperate need of a Savior. Not until we realize our helplessness is there desire for and appreciation of a Savior! Not until we acknowledge our sin can we see the necessity for repentance and redemption!
- Those in Christ are not under the Law as the means of gaining salvation. We are saved by God's grace alone through faith in Christ alone. "Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under Heaven given to men by which we must be saved." (Acts 4:12) When we were under the Law, sin was our master. The Law cannot and does not justify us or help us overcome sin. Now we are under the grace of God and Jesus is our Master. He empowers us to overcome sin and to choose good over evil.
- “For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say 'No' to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and Godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope--the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, Who gave Himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for Himself a people that are His very own, eager to do what is good.” (Titus 2:11-14) The grace of God teaches and enables saved sinners to devote themselves to Christ & to do good while allowing neither ungodliness nor worldliness to control them. 
- Because of Christ's death and resurrection, we've been saved from the punishment of sin, we are being saved from the power of sin, and we shall be saved from the presence of sin (when we go to Heaven). Man by nature is under sin but Christ delivers us from the power of sin. Sin no longer has dominion over us. Sin is no longer our pleasure. We now hate sins. We long for holiness. Sin is disgusting/undesirable to the new nature of Christ's followers. Nothing causes them so much grief and sorrow as sin. God's grace not only takes away the love and dominion of sin from our lives but also leads us from the Law to the Gospel (the Good News). We still struggle with sin at times but by God's divine grace, we renounce it, confess it before God, mourn over it, and pray & strive against it. And when we fail, God's grace is there to forgive us and remind us that He loves us no matter what. Nothing can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord!
- John Newton who wrote the famous hymn, “Amazing Grace” said shortly before his death, “My memory is nearly gone, but I remember two things: That I am a great sinner and that Christ is a great Savior!” May we never stop being amazed by God’s grace!
- "Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness." (2 Timothy 2:19b) We, Christ's followers, are Christ's ambassadors to the world. We must depart from sin and wickedness. "In Him is no sin. No one who lives in Him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen Him or known Him...No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God's seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God." (1 John 3:5b-6, 9) If you claim to be a Christian but still live in a habitual sinful lifestyle, you are a scandal and disgrace to His precious name.

No longer live for self but live for God!
longer live in sin but live in Christ!
longer live under law but live under grace!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Motivated by Christ's Victory

- How marvelous and measureless Christ's love, grace, and mercy are for us! He died so that we may live. Jesus is not merely a moral teacher as some like to think. Born in a manger, God in the flesh's main mission was to save mankind from miserable damnation.
- We, the redeemed, are to thank God Who gives us the victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ. Mortality was overcome by the Messiah's death and resurrection. The battle is already won. Praise God for His mighty triumph over our Enemy and his minions!
- Because of the resurrection, nothing we do in the Lord for the Lord is ever in vain. Knowing that Christ has won the ultimate victory affects how we live right now. Maintain an eternal perspective. Focus on things that will matter for eternity. We have much to do but little time to do it. We must be active in sharing the Gospel to this lost & dying world and ministering to the lonely and needy. How many there are who profess Christ but are doing nothing for God's kingdom! 
- Motivated by Christ's victory, we're encouraged to stand firm, be faithful, steadfast, and immovable. Don't give up. Don't get discouraged. Keep serving. Let nothing move, shake, or deter you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord! Continue to work enthusiastically for our Master even when we don't see results and/or we face opposition/persecution. God, who brings life to dead bodies, will bring life and produce fruit to our messy attempts and meek efforts. If you're on God's side, you're on the winning team.
- "Abound in the work of the Lord" (1 Corinthians 15:58)--the Greek word in this Scripture is the verb, perisseuo which means "more and more, to excel, to exceed, to go beyond that which is necessary, superabundant in quantity and superior in quality." Sounds mind-boggling :)? Yes, if we try by mustering up our own strength. But "God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work." (2 Corinthians 9:8)
- Moms, the major work God has given you to do right now is the work of mothering and mentoring. May the Holy Spirit guide and empower us to make the best of every moment to help our children move towards the Most High God and mold them into Christlikeness! O the magnitude of mothers' influences!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Living Lord

- Paul states the utmost importance of Christ's death, burial, resurrection, (and appearances...in verses 5-8). These things make up the Good News. If there was no resurrection, the Gospel would be void of real content/ significance and our faith would be useless/meaningless.
- Christ's resurrection is pivotal; it's the center/cornerstone of the Christian faith! It confirms His claims to deity (what He said/promised is true) and guarantees the future bodily resurrection unto eternal life of all who believe in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. It sets Christianity apart from all other religions. Jesus is alive; He didn't stay dead. All the founders/leaders of other religions are dead. Only Jesus has victory over death, demonstrating that He has power over all things. His resurrection is a provable historical fact. We, Christ's followers, serve a risen Savior, a living Lord! Some day, all will see the living proof when Christ returns.
 - Christ's resurrection is the one most crucial and best established fact in all history. Without resurrection, there is no Christianity, no salvation, no eternal life, and no hope. Without resurrection, life is left with mere emptiness and despair. Because He lives, we too shall live. Because He lives, we can face tomorrow.
-“No one can remain neutral regarding Jesus’ resurrection. The claim is too staggering, the event too earthshaking, the implications too significant and the matter too serious.We must either receive it or reject it as truth for us. To remain indifferent or undecided is to reject it. (~Mark Driscoll) Jesus Christ, the Messiah, God in human flesh, came to earth to live a sinless life, died in our place to save us sinners, and conquered death by His resurrection to give us eternal life. He did it all because He loves us so much. What will be your response to His love today? Life is short. Death is certain for everyone. I hope and pray that you will choose Christ now before it's too late. "I'm thinking about it" or "I will later when I'm ready" won't do you any good because it means that you decide against surrendering your life to Christ at this moment. There may never be another moment...
 - Searching for one true love? Look at the Cross; you'll find your one & only True Love, Christ Who suffered and died for you! Lonely? He will never leave you nor forsake you. Lost? He is the Light of the world Who will lead you.
"I am the Resurrection and the Life. He who believes in Me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?" ~Jesus (John 11:25–26)

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Book Review: God and Men No-Holds-Barred by Carlton Lee Arnold

How shall Christian men live according to God's Word? The author selects important verses that are relevant to the issues men face in life. He explains them and shows how to apply them. He shares from his own experiences and he hopes the readers will be challenged to live by God's principles with no compromise. I'm a woman but I still enjoyed reading the book. I felt like I was gleaning advice from a caring mentor with a fatherly concern. I underlined as I read. I appreciate the author's no-nonsense/no sugarcoating approach. I can tell that he's passionate about God and His Word. He wants to see other men develop a strong and deep relationship with God and to see their lives transformed by God's truths.

There are 52 chapters which are divided into 5 sections: Foundations of Being a Believer, The Beginnings of a Growing Faith, Maturing in the Faith, Specific Topics Related to Men, and Future Expectations. At the end of the book, you will find the list of Bible verses used and index of major topics. Some of the topics included are anger, idols, pornography, priorities, purpose, sin, etc. The book can be used as a devotional, a personal Bible study, or a small group Bible study. I've used it in our family's Bible time. I find this book helpful for my 12 and 15 year old sons. The author warns readers against worldly living and encourages them to live for God, instead. I want my sons to live for God and be men after God's own heart. This is a great resource for anyone, especially teens, men of any age, or new believers. Practical and insightful!

"God's job description for you would include: get to know Him daily, seek His kingdom first, and go and make disciples--this work is produced by your faith in God...God's job description for you would include: deny yourself; sacrifice for others; and serve others when it's not fun or easy (when others don't deserve it, recognize it, or appreciate it)--this kind of love is prompted from God's unconditional love for you." (p. 57)

"A constant and continually growing relationship with God is the only way to the truth about living. And that TRUTH is a Person--Jesus Christ...He is someone who lives His life in you." (p. 74, 75)

"Do you live each day in the amazing wonderment of what God has done and will do?" (p. 146)

~ I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Keys to a Highly, Happy Marriage

Have you ever looked at happy couples and wondered what the keys to their happy marriages are? Now you can find out! Equipped with many years of research, the author, Shaunti Feldhahn shares the surprising secrets that seem to be common factors in the highly, happy marriages. These are little things that make a big difference. It's fun to read about and learn from other couples what works and what doesn't work in their marriages. My husband and I have been happily married for almost 23 years. While I was reading the book, I smiled many times since the findings in the book affirm what we have already been doing right. The highly, happy couples keep doing the same habits that benefit their relationship, often without even being aware of what they're doing. Some of these habits may surprise you like going to bed mad and keeping score :). The book offers readers small, doable steps for adjusting their attitudes and actions to achieve success and happiness in their marriages.   

The book includes the survey responses from three different groups: highly happy couples, mostly happy couples, and so-so or struggling couples. It is wise to imitate the patterns of the first group and to avoid the patterns of the last group. I love the Fantastic Five for Him (5 things that a wife can do to make her husband happy) and I totally agree with the Fantastic Five for Her (5 things that a husband can do to make his wife happy). They are small actions that make your spouse feel that you care deeply about them. Simple, yet effective! Know that you have to make choices every day. Choose to put God first and at the center of your marriage, choose to commit, choose to change for the better, choose to lead your feelings instead of the other way around, choose to be grateful, choose to forgive, choose to be respectful to each other, choose to make time for each other, choose to focus on serving your spouse, rather than on being served, etc. Every couple will be much happier if each extends unconditional grace, kindness, and generosity consistently. I highly recommend this wonderful & helpful resource. It's a small book but it's packed with insightful and practical tips and advice for marital bliss. Very enjoyable read (my 20 year old single daughter couldn't put it down :))!

"Our feelings often follow our actions." (p. 106)
"We have found that when we act loving, then eventually, wow, we are loving!" (p. 109)
"But they shared that for them the most life-changing part was treating each other the way God commands--not just to please the other, but to please God first." (p. 188)
"When marriage is forever, the only option is 'Let's work through it.'" (p. 204)

You can read Chapter 1 here.

~I received a free copy of this book via Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

Friday, April 11, 2014

JESUS, the Eternal Priest-King

- The priests' work was never done; they always had to stand and keep offering sacrifices.
- Jesus's death (in our place) was the one and only sacrifice required for removing all our sins (past, present, and future). It does not need to be repeated ever. Our redemption and justification were completely accomplished in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. "God will credit righteousness--for us who believe in Him Who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification." (Romans 4:24b-25) His job that satisfied God's judgment is finished.
- Jesus sat down at the right hand of Jehovah. It indicates the place of authority and of priestly service. Jesus both rules and intercedes for us. My heart jumps for joy just from thinking about how much Jesus loves me and wants me to spend eternity with Him in Heaven.
Romans 5:1

Friday's Fave Five #94

It's time for another Friday's Fave Five (hosted by Susanne at Living to Tell the Story)

My Fave Five this week:

1. "I shall pass through this world but once. Any good therefore that I can do, or any kindness that I can show to any human being, let me do it now." ~Unknown I really like this Thai commercial but I cannot help thinking about one thing: kindness (good deeds) will not save anyone spiritually. We all need Jesus! 

2. A beautiful testimony of God's goodness--a 10-year-old blind, autistic boy sang "Open the Eyes of My Heart" for the glory of God!

3. How many times have you heard the song, "Let It Go" from the movie Frozen? Many people start to get tired of it :). Personally, I don't mind the original song. I just think this parody is funny.  
4. I enjoyed watching some of the Together for the Gospel conference's livestream sessions. I'm glad that I'll be able to watch the ones I missed later on the website.

5. I'm excited to have discovered the
Jubilee Project on Youtube. "We exist to tell stories that inspire change! We believe that Doing Good is Contagious and together we can change the world!" They're a group of gifted young Christians who shares meaningful, inspiring messages through short films. Check out their videos  here.

Extra: Since April 1st, I've been participating in the Ultimate Blog Challenge (blogging every day of this month #blogboost) and the A to Z Challenge (blogging from A to Z in April). It's been fun and challenging.

Extra Extra:
You can read my review and enter to win a copy of The Sparkle Egg at http://fivesavedbygrace.blogspot.com/2014/03/book-review-and-giveaway-sparkle-egg.html . This is a delightful children's book (for ages 4 to 8) about the true promise of Easter (I prefer Resurrection Sunday :)). Ends 4/13

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Incredible Contrast

- What an incredible contrast it is between life without Christ and life with Christ (in Christ)!

Life without Christ: 

We were alienated from God. We were enemies of God. We were strangers to holiness. Sin corrupted our way of thinking and living. Without Christ in our lives, our natural inclination was to be hostile to God's standards. "They exchange the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator--Who is forever praised. Amen....They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy." (Romans 1:25, 29-31) We were ignorant of the Truth and were immoral. Our behavior was evil. We insisted in our own self-centered ways. We were indeed lost and blind in darkness.

Life in Christ:

We are holy in God's sight without blemish and free from accusation. Because of Christ's sacrifice on our behalf, we've been declared innocent (no longer guilty and condemned). Christ's righteousness is imputed to us; we've been washed and made whiter than snow. "For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son. So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God." (Romans 5:10-11 NLT) In Christ, we're saved and secure, forgiven and free. Our relationship with God has been reconciled by Christ's death. We become children of God and friends of God.

- There are two states we can be in: friends of God or enemies of God. What makes the difference? The difference is made by whether we have accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior or we have rejected His irresistible offer of reconciliation, friendship, and intimacy.
- To live eternally with Christ, we must depend totally on God's grace. We're incapable of saving ourselves. No amount of good deeds will impress God. Apart from Christ, there's no way for our sin to be forgiven or removed.
- Paul explained that Jesus' physical body actually died. He suffered physical death as a human being; He truly died in our place. Jesus was fully God and fully man. His sacrifice was complete and satisfactory for removing all our sin. From God's perspective, it is as though we had never sinned. What an immense relief!
- Some people seem to struggle with an identity issue because they allow the lies of this world to define who they are, instead of finding their identity in Christ, defined by God's indisputable truth. I would like to invite you all to come to Immanuel (God with Us) and cling to Him alone. Without Christ, life is hopeless, joyless, and meaningless! With Christ and in Christ, we have an eternal, abundant, peace-filled, joy-filled, and meaningful life! What an incredible contrast!
- Prayer: Thank You, Lord, for the eternal life that is now mine because of Your divine intervention in my life! Please help me live intentionally for You and conform me to the image of Jesus. May my attitudes, words, and actions be increasingly honoring to You. I desire to make an eternal impact in this world and to introduce everyone I meet to my favorite Person and Best Friend, Jesus. Please give me boldness, wisdom, strength, and opportunities to do so. In Christ's Name I pray. Amen.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Heaven's Throne Made Accessible

- This curtain was the heavy curtain that separated the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies (the Most Holy Place, a place reserved by God for Himself) in the temple. The curtain symbolically separated the holy God from sinful people. When Jesus breathed His last breath, the curtain was torn in two from top to bottom. This shows the divine origin of the occurrence. This event is very significant. Jesus's death for our sins opened up the way for us to approach our holy God. God granted us (those who trust in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior) a direct access to Him. Before Christ's death on the cross, "only the high priest entered the inner room (the Holy of Holies), and that only once a year (on the Day of Atonement), and never without blood, which he offered for himself and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance." (Hebrews 9:7) Before Christ's death on the cross, most people were only allowed partial access to God through the priests. I'm so thankful and happy that God made a way for us to have fellowship with Him. Because of Christ's death and resurrection, we've been given access to our Heavenly Father through prayer (no priests needed). "Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, His body, and since we have a great Priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings." (Hebrews 10:19-22a) This is an amazing truth! May we never take it for granted! Have you spent time with Him today? He hears you and cares for you always. The curtain is gone; "let us then approach God's throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need." (Hebrews 4:16) We can now enter boldly into the presence of God with our petitions.
- "We have this Hope as an Anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our Forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf. He has become a High Priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek." Hebrews 6:19-20
- When he saw how Jesus died, the centurion said, "Surely this man was the Son of God!" How He died was prophesied in the Old Testament. He fulfilled the prophecies that were written about Him 500 to 1200 years before His birth. "The angel answered, 'The Holy Spirit will come on you (Mary), and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the Holy One to be born will be called the Son of God." (Luke 1:35)
- "Yes, life is like the Emmaus road, and we tread it not alone
For beside us walks the Son of God, to uphold and keep His own.
And our hearts within us thrill with joy at His words of love and grace,
And the glorious hope that when day is done we shall see His blessed face." ~Avis Christiansen

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

God's Love Demonstrated

- The fact that God demonstrates His love for us in that Christ died for us while we were still sinners is not only amazing but almost incomprehensible. God sent Jesus to die for us not because we were good enough but because He loved us so much. He loved us even before we turned to Him. God goes to extreme measures to reveal His love for us. While we were still living (but dead) in sin and rebellion, God of all creation stepped out of Heaven and gave His life for ours. Jesus took the punishment that we deserve so that we may gain forgiveness, salvation, and eternal life with Him. All we have to do is repent, trust in Jesus & His finished work at the cross, and follow Him in faith and obedience. Come and experience the greatest love anyone could ever know!
"When you love the unloving, you get a glimpse of what God does for you."    ~ Max Lucado
- From Genesis, God already had His rescue plan in mind. The pages of Scripture point to Jesus Christ, our Savior. We can be saved only by grace alone through faith in Christ alone. No human efforts or good deeds can save us. We cannot earn salvation; it is the gift of God!
- When you feel unloved, try meditating on the above verses. Remember how God shows His great love for you and consider how generous He has been with you. I hope you will be able to "grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ" (Ephesians 3:18b). You're so very loved by GOD, the Creator of the universe....enough for Him to die for!
- Are you grateful for the gift of salvation and is your life's goal to glorify God? If so, go and tell the Good News/the Gospel of grace to those who are lost. Guide them to the one and only Gate (Jesus Christ) through which they must enter in order to get to Heaven. "I am the Gate; whoever enters through Me will be saved." ~Jesus (John 10:9a)
- Let's reflect upon John 3:16, the heart of the Gospel.
"For God... the greatest Lover
so loved... the greatest degree
the world... the greatest company
that He gave... the greatest act
His only begotten Son... the greatest gift
that whoever... the greatest opportunity
believes... the greatest simplicity
in Him... the greatest attraction
should not perish... the greatest promise
but... the greatest difference
have... the greatest certainty
everlasting life... the greatest possession"

Monday, April 7, 2014

For Us

- Isaiah gave us a picture of the Suffering Savior in vivid detail. He even speaks of it in the past tense as if it had already come to pass; yet it was written seven hundred years before Christ's crucifixion. God allows the people in Isaiah's time to look forward to the suffering of the future Messiah and the resulting forgiveness, healing, and salvation made available to all people.
- Isaiah compares all who stray from God as wandering sheep. Yet in His amazing grace and mercy, God sent the Messiah to bring them back into the fold. We have the privilege to see the foretold prophecy already fulfilled and know Jesus Christ, the promised Messiah, Who has come and died for our sins. Have you surrendered your life to Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd, yet or are you still like a wandering sheep?
- Jesus suffered all for us, sinners! He took up our pain and bore our suffering. He was stricken and afflicted for what we deserve. He was pierced for our transgressions and was crushed for our iniquities. He was wounded so that we (our sin-sick soul) can be healed. He carried the weight of our sins and died in our place to satisfy God's wrath and thus justify us. Only Jesus could pay the fine/penalty for our sins. He did all these to make us acceptable to God and able to have peace with God. The Sinless Servant of the Lord offers Himself as a once-for-all sacrificial Lamb to remove the sins of all people for eternity. How will you respond to such love?
- Thanks to Christ's sacrifice, you and I don't have to live in fear, failure, or condemnation because of anything that has taken place in our lives, whether it's our fault or not. Jesus has set us free! Free from sin, (spiritual) death, guilt, and shame. I hope and pray that you will choose to follow Jesus, Friend of sinners. He is our Firm Foundation. Storms of life will come; just make sure your life is fully set on a Firm Foundation. God is faithful and He will never leave us nor forsake us! He will help us get through even the fiercest trials.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

DVD Review: My Name Is Paul

My Name Is Paul is an apocalyptic adaptation of the Apostle Paul in the Bible who started out as a fierce persecutor of Christians. Filled with hatred, Paul who is the best (and perhaps the most ruthless) agent of The World (government), intends to capture (and kill, if necessary) those who follow The Way (Jesus Christ). His new assignment is to find Peter (the enemy of his leader) and get a map of salt mine. However, a car accident changes the course of his life. He's blinded by the bright light and hears the Voice from Heaven. After a miraculous healing, Paul follows The Way and shares the truth about The Way boldly no matter what the cost. He comes to realize that God's Word is the map to guide us and we are to be salt of the earth. Paul was blind but now he sees! My Name Is Paul is an interesting faith-based film with a strong message about God's redemption and forgiveness. No one is beyond God's grace! It's also about standing firm for Christ through persecution and about loving everyone, even our enemies.

It stars Michael Joiner of The Grace Card and Shannen Fields of Facing the Giants. It's a small budget film so please don't expect a Hollywood quality :). My Name Is Paul has enough action stuff that kept my husband's attention and interest. I especially love the little girl, Clare, in the movie. She is sweet and she explains The Way in a simple way with only 5 symbols. This film has been awarded the Dove "Family-Approved" Seal for ages 12 and up. The running time is 100 minutes.

~I received a free copy of this DVD via Edify Media, Inc. in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Everyday Confetti by Karen Ehman & Glynnis Whitwer

Who has time and energy to plan activities and come up with engaging ideas for all the special events throughout the year? I don't see many hands raised :). Well, be encouraged; this book is every busy woman's dream resource! Everyday Confetti is a year-round guide to help us celebrate holidays, birthdays, milestones, and ordinary days. It is filled with fun activities, creative ideas, and yummy recipes. I'm excited and eager to try them out. I really like the Book Basket gift idea on page 178. This book will help you look for everyday opportunities to enjoy celebrating life, loved ones, and God's goodness. It even includes ways to stay connected with older children and children who are away at college and ways to reach out to others who are facing hard times.

Different moms share about their personal experiences. It's an enjoyable read. I also learned about some new special days I had not heard of before such as Best Friend's Day (June 8th), Book Lover's Day (August 9th), and Left-Hander's Day (August 13th). The only thing I wish it had is pictures. I'm a visual learner so pictures of crafts and good eats would be enormously helpful :). I still think it is an excellent, practical book which I'll be looking up again and again. The ideas are doable and easy enough to follow. Every family should own this book. It will ensure you be ready to entertain and make memories on any given day. Celebrations don't have to be elaborate or expensive.You can indeed celebrate every day!

"The everyday moments are the ones that are treasured in the hearts of those we love." (p. 12)
"Our home can be a place of nurturing, a place where children grow up confident in their worth, a place where a husband feels respected and a friend feels loved, a place where God is honored." (p. 12)

~ I received a free copy of this book via The Book Club Network in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Drink Decisively

- Paul forbids Christians to participate in Heathen Temple Festivals/Idol Feasts. Flee away from idolatry. Idols and things sacrificed to them are used by demons to draw people away from the One True God.
- Idolatry can take many different forms. Trusting anything/anyone for what God alone can do, putting anything/anyone above God, and/or pursuing anything relentlessly instead of God is idolatry. Our idolatry may be money, power, pleasure, position, popularity, career, or even ministries.
- Christ wants His followers to give Him their total devotion. We cannot have a part in "both the Lord's table and the table of demons." Eating at the Lord's table and drinking the cup of the Lord means communing with Christ and having unity & fellowship with Him. Eating at the table of demons and drinking the cup of demons means identifying with Satan by participating in and/or promoting pagan (or evil) activities. You cannot follow the desires of both Christ and Satan at the same time. Are you double-minded? Jesus declared, “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other” (Matthew 6:24). God is a jealous God (Exodus 34:14) and will not accept a worship/allegiance that is divided with Satan.
- Drink decisively. Decide which cup you want. The cup of demons only brings about danger, disaster, and destruction. The cup of the Lord definitely brings life, refreshment, and nourishment. "Everyone who drinks this water (from the well) will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life." ~Jesus (John 4:13-14)

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Ultimate Blog Party 2014

Ultimate Blog Party 2014
Welcome to my main blog, "Living for God"! My name is Urailak. I have been blogging since 2006. I love God and I desire to do everything (including blogging) for His glory and for His kingdom. Here I sometimes post about my deep thoughts and not-so-deep thoughts :), my living-for-God experiences, my Bible study notes, and occasionally, I post reviews of God-honoring books, CDs, or DVDs. This month, I'm participating in the Ultimate Blog Challenge (#blogboost) and the A to Z Challenge (#atozchallenge). I also have 2 other blogs: Fruitbearers (I'm currently hosting a book giveaway there) and My Father's World (my photo blog).

Random things about me: I'm a joyful person who smiles all the time :). I collect quotes and devotionals. Jesus is my Best Friend and my husband is my closest friend. I'm a night owl (my brain works best at night). I am certain that I have the sweetest husband in the whole world. I am a grace-filled perfectionist and a realistic optimist. Sometimes, I get on a Haiku mode for days. My favorite thing to do in the world is introducing people to my favorite Person in the world, Jesus.

Thanks for stopping by! If you'd like to know me/my blog better, please pick a post (or two :)) from My Favorite Posts (on my sidebar) to read. Enjoy the 2014 Ultimate Blog Party! Hope you'll come back and visit again!

You can also connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, or Pinterest.

Here's my party favor for you (you're welcome to save it and print it out if you like).

Cup of New Covenant

- The Last Supper was held on the evening of preparation for the Jewish Passover, a special time for the Jewish nation in remembrance of when God spared the Jews from the last plague of death on every firstborn child in Egypt. Christ arranged this event purposely by instructing His disciples where to host it.
- Christ identified Himself with the Passover emblems. "The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are, and when I see the blood, I will pass over you." (Exodus 12:13) As the lamb's body and blood had to be sacrificed for Israelites' redemption in Egypt, so Jesus would be the Lamb whose body and blood were sacrificed for our redemption under the new covenant.
- In Old Testament times, God agreed to forgive people's sins if they brought animals for the priests to sacrifice and the agreement was sealed with the blood of animals. "Without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness." (Hebrews 9:22b) The animal sacrifices had to be repeated again and again. Jesus established a new covenant/agreement between God and man. Under the new covenant, Jesus died once and for all in the place of sinners. His sacrifice never has to be repeated because His blood (He is God and only God can forgive sin) cleanses all who put their faith in Him of sins for eternity. "He has appeared once for all at the culmination of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of Himself." (Hebrews 9:26b) "The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, 'Look, the Lamb of God, Who takes away the sin of the world!'" (John 1:29)
- Christ wants us to remember His sacrifice that saves us from all sins & judgment and his friendship that we continue to enjoy through the work of the Holy Spirit.
- Communion commemorates Christ's death on the cross for our sins. As we, Christians, take the bread, we remember Christ's body that was beaten by soldiers and spit upon by those who hated Him. As we take the cup of wine, we remember His blood that was poured out on the cross so that we could be completely forgiven. Let us always celebrate Christ! Each time we take communion, may we remember and be grateful for the ultimate sacrifice of our loving Savior and may it remind us to tell others about His amazing gift of salvation.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Better to Have Not Been Born

- "The Son of Man will go just as it is written about Him"--refers to Christ's approaching death and suggests the voluntary nature of His sufferings. It's going to take place as it is written/prophesied of Him in the Old Testament. It's the divine purpose that Christ died for our sins.
- The Bible prophecy regarding the Messiah being betrayed was being fulfilled here. "Even my close friend, someone I trusted, one who shared my bread, has turned against me." (Psalm 41:9) 
- "The prescience of God is not the cause of men's wickedness, nor does it involve any necessity of it; Judas was not a traitor because God foresaw it, but He forsaw it because Judas would be so." (~Chrysostom) Judas Iscariot did what he did out of his own free will and wicked heart. Judas was given opportunities to "come clean" but he chose to be unfaithful and betray Jesus.
- "But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born."--Jesus said this because He knew the fate of Judas. There's no hope for him because he would not repent. Ingratitude, unfaithfulness, covetousness, self-centeredness ("what's in it for me" mindset), treachery! Serious crime deserves serious punishment. Literally, it is way better to have not been born (no existence) at all than to be punished with everlasting destruction and despair in Hell. There's no end or relief to that continuous suffering. This passage proves that the torments of Hell will be eternal and that all the wicked (unrepentant sinners) will perish forever. It also debunks the doctrine of the annihilation of the wicked. "It would have been well for that man if he had never been born! Then he must be in some state of conscious existence, as non-existence is said to be better than that state in which he is now found." (~Clarke's Commentary) Seriously, unless you repent and trust in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you too will perish eternally just like Judas Iscariot (see Luke 13:3, 5) 
- "For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16) If you have not accepted God's free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ yet, please do not delay any longer. You cannot afford to wait. No one is promised tomorrow. Your eternal destiny depends on your decision right now!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Amazing Example: Follow the Foot Washer

- In Jesus' day, people wore sandals on their feet as they walked across the dusty desert of Israel so their feet got very dirty. When guests entered a house, a good host would make sure that their feet were washed before the meal was served. Foot washing was a job for the servants/slaves. By washing His disciples' feet, Jesus demonstrated His amazing love, humility, and servant heart/attitude. If the Lord and Master/God in the flesh was willing to perform this menial service for His disciples, certainly they and we ought to do it for one another. We, His followers, must also be willing to serve in any way that honors and glorifies God.
- "Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many." (Mark 10:43b-45)
"If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last and the servant of all." (Mark 9:35b)
True service is putting Christ's love in action. The believers' gifts/talents are not to be laid up for selves but laid out in service. Christ calls us to be foot washers/servants of all. As Jesus has loved and served us, so we must love and serve one another! He wants us to follow His example and love people by serving them selflessly and humbly.
- We see the perfect model of humble service and servant leadership in Jesus. Serving is others-centered. "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus." (Philippians 2:3-5) Humility is losing oneself in service to others. Humility allows us to serve wherever God places us and to do whatever He asks of us.
- "When Jesus took off his robe, he was laying aside the symbol of his earthly rank. He was sending a message: Status does not define my disciple; servanthood does...He was doing what he had always done, teaching them how to love one another. Serving like Christ means serving from a place of strength, not of insecurity, compulsion, or the need for approval." ~Stovall Weems
- Sadly, some of the church leaders have been consumed by the desire to be rich, popular, and great (in the world's eyes). Instead of humbly serving Christ and others, some use the name of Christ to serve themselves and to satisfy their worldly & selfish ambitions. "You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love." (Galatians 5:13) We must abandon our pride, selfish ambitions, superior attitude, and prejudice. Instead, approach everyone with the "What can I do for you?" mindset.

Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, please help us to love and serve others with humility like Jesus does. Please open our eyes to see the needs of others and how we can meet those needs. Please help us to faithfully follow Christ's footsteps. In Jesus's Name, I pray. Amen.

To ponder
: What practical things can we do to serve others? How can we demonstrate servant leadership at home, work, church, in ministry or community? Do we serve others with genuine, unconditional love (without expecting anything in return) and Christlike attitude/servant heart/humility?

Monday, March 31, 2014

Book Review: One God, One Plan, One Life by Max Lucado

My Review:
I collect devotionals and Max Lucado is one of my favorite Christian authors. Therefore, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to review this devotional for teens and tweens (we still have 2 teen boys at home). There are 365 daily devotionals in the book. Each month begins with Scriptures. Each devotional is only one page long. It starts with a Bible verse and ends with the "One More Thought" section written by James Lund. The devotional text was adapted from some of Max Lucado's previous books. At the end of the book, you will find two Bible-reading plans: 30 Days with Jesus and 90 Days Through the Bible.

Life can be quite difficult and challenging, especially for teens. This devotional encourages teens to trust God and His plan for their lives, guides them with God's Word and principles, and helps them develop a deeper relationship with God. It covers many topics that teens have to deal with such as purity, identity, bullying, alcohol & drug use, self-control, faith, and more. I really like the book's design, layout, colors, and sturdiness. I think it looks hip and appealing. The devotionals are interesting and insightful and they don't sound preachy. I've always enjoyed Max Lucado's witty humor :). I only wish the book included an index of topics which would make it much easier to look up relevant devotionals for specific issues that may arise.

"You can make the greatest speech ever about the love of Jesus, but if your actions don't show love, your words will be ignored. Think about your behavior over the past week--have people seen Christ in you? If not, what can you do this week to show his love to the world?" (from the One More Thought section on page 58)

"What makes us special is not only our body but the signature of God on our lives. We are his works of art. We are created in his image to do good deeds. We are significant, not because of what we do, but because of whose we are." (p. 276)

~I received a free copy of this book via booklookbloggers.com in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.
I review for BookLook Bloggers

Friday, March 28, 2014

Friday's Fave Five #93

It's time for another Friday's Fave Five (hosted by Susanne at Living to Tell the Story)

My Fave Five this week:

1. We've enjoyed our family time with our oldest child, Alyssa, who is on her spring break from college. My husband is so sweet and thoughtful; he took this whole week off work!

2. So stoked to have found Keith Green's CDs (The Ministry Years Volume 1 and Volume 2) at a garage sale for $1! We now own 3 sets; we'd like to have one set for each of our children. It's a family heirloom :).

3. My brother made us Blackberry Walnut Coffeecake. Very yummy! He enjoys cooking and baking.

4. We had a fun & successful day of shopping yesterday (Best Buy, Road Runner, and Old Navy). Then we had lunch at Panera Bread, one of our favorite restaurants.

5. Here are a few excellent quotes I found this week:-
"Let us not think that waiting on the Lord will mean getting less done. The truth is that by doing the Lord's work in the Lord's way we will accomplish more, not less. You need not fear that if you wait for God's Spirit you will not get as much done as if you charge ahead in the flesh. After all, who can do the most, you or the God of Heaven and earth?" ~Francis A. Schaeffer

"Outside of the will of God, there is nothing I want.
And in the will of God, there is nothing I fear.
" ~A.W. Tozer

"When God is your reason to live, you will never have a reason to quit." ~Unknown

P.S. You can read my review of The God-First Life by Stovall Weems and enter to win a copy of the book at http://bornagainandblessed.blogspot.com/2014/03/book-review-and-giveaway-god-first-life.html?spref=fb . Ends 3/31.  Very low entries. The book is about a practical principle based on Matthew 6:33, "Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." Keep it simple; just put God first!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Book Review and Giveaway: The God-First Life by Stovall Weems

My Review:
How is your life? How is your spiritual life? A fulfilling and rewarding life doesn't have to be complicated. Pastor Stovall Weems provides readers a practical principle based on Matthew 6:33, "Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." Keep it simple; just put God first! The author proposes that the life that God intends you and me to live is the God-first life. It's a matter of arranging our priorities in the right order. When the priorities are not in order, our lives are out of order. But what does it mean to live the God-first life? Read the book and find out :).

The book is divided into four main sections: New Priority, New Family, New Life, and New Freedom. The author shows what a new life in Christ looks like and how it leads to blessings and freedom. He talks about the difference between position and function in God's family and how Christ's followers are transformed through community. He also covers topics of worship, devotions, serving (I really like A Servant's Self-Test on page 119), tithing, and fear. The God-First Life is an easy read with simple truths that can make a huge impact when you put them into practice. When we put God first in our lives, we'll discover that all other pieces of the life puzzle will fall into place. Check this book out and let us be intentional about living the God-first life God's way!

"Whatever has first place in your life directs how you live it." (p. 21)
"We were created for overflow. Whatever you fill up on, that's what's going to flow out of you." (p. 76)
"When Jesus took off his robe, he was laying aside the symbol of his earthly rank. He was sending a message: Status does not define my disciple; servanthood does...He was doing what he had always done, teaching them how to love one another. Serving like Christ means serving from a place of strength, not of insecurity, compulsion, or the need for approval." (p. 121)

GIVEAWAY: You can win a copy of this book. Open only to residents in the US and Canada.
Deadline: 03/31 at midnight (Pacific time)
To Enter: Leave a comment here with your email address. Please share one of your favorite quotes or Bible verses.
For Extra Entries (please leave a separate comment for each one that you do):
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~I received a free copy of this book via Icon Media Group in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own. 
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