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Friday, November 21, 2014

Inexpressible and Glorious Joy

- Unlike Peter, we have never seen Jesus with our own eyes. And we do not see Him now but someday we will see Him face to face. Though we have not seen Jesus, we love Him and believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy. We "see" Him and know Him through the eyes of faith. "For we live by faith, not by sight." (2 Corinthians 5:7) The more I know Him, the more I love Him. We love Him because He first loved us. We love Him with the love that God has poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit.
- "Because you have seen Me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." (John 20:29) We believe and trust in Him by faith. God's Word and the Holy Spirit reveal to us Who Christ is. Therefore, we have a firm conviction in Him. Faith means surrendering all to Jesus, following Him wholeheartedly and obeying Him in spite of circumstances and consequences.
- Since we know Jesus, we always have reasons to rejoice! Jesus is my constant Joy and Delight. Joy is the deep gladness that is not dependent on circumstances. Joy is found in our gratitude to Jesus for loving and saving us. Joy is found in knowing Jesus. Joy is found in having an intimate relationship with Him. Joy is found in relying on God and obeying Him. Joy is found in living for God and doing His will. Jesus is the Source of joy. Here Peter pointed out that we may rejoice with an inexpressible joy full of glory because we are obtaining/receiving the outcome of our faith which is the salvation of our souls. O the joy of salvation! Joy unspeakable...unexplainable...undisturbable! "We have been saved from the penalty of sin. We are being saved from the power of sin. We shall be saved from the presence of sin." (~Bishop Westcott) Rejoice!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Enlightened

- Paul prayed that the eyes of our hearts may be enlightened. In the Bible, the heart is the very core of life, the center of understanding, thought, wisdom, will, and moral judgment. One can have a head knowledge of the Bible yet his/her heart remains dark and dead. There is such thing as empty intellectual knowledge of Scripture. We need the Holy Spirit to shine the light on the truth of Scripture in the eyes of our hearts. Only then we can actually understand what God wants us to understand. It's like a light bulb being turned on inside of us so that we're able to truly see/know the benefits of the Gospel and grasp & appreciate the fullness of our God-given spiritual treasures/blessings. The Holy Spirit enables us to understand the magnitude of the blessings of salvation that exist for God's children ("the saints").
When the eyes of our hearts are enlightened, we know/understand the unshakable blessed hope of eternal glory that Christ will return and that we will spend eternity with Him in Heaven, the riches of His glorious inheritance that is now ours (we're His heirs in Christ and co-heirs with Christ), and the incomparably great power of God (verse 19) which is available to us. Hope in the Bible is the complete certainty/the absolute assurance in what God is going to do according to His promises in His Word. God's inheritance/blessed privileges for us are riches that money cannot buy. Some of these riches are His grace, mercy, goodness, wisdom, forgiveness, etc. "His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of Him Who called us by His own glory and goodness." (2 Peter 1:3) The same power that raised Christ from the dead is presently at work in our lives. Are we living like heirs of the Almighty God or like paupers? It's a tragedy when believers fail to live according to the hope, riches, and power they possess in Christ.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Give Thanks to God!

This is an invitation to joyfully enter into God's presence with praise and gratitude for God's goodness, love, and faithfulness which endures forever.

First of all, let us be thankful that we (God's children) can freely and boldly approach the throne of God. What a privilege it is!

Knowing Who God is gives us plenty of reasons to praise and thank Him unceasingly. The more I know God, the more I love & esteem Him and the more I am grateful for Him! He alone is worthy to be praised, honored, and adored! From Psalm 100,
1. Know that the Lord is God--He is the only true living God. Praise Yahweh (The Lord, I Am)!
2. Know that He is our Creator--He made us. Praise Elohim (Creator God)!
3. Know that we are not our own, but His. We belong to God. Praise Adonai (Lord and Master)!
4. Know that we are His people--He is our King/Ruler. Praise Jesus, our King of kings and Lord of lords!
5. Know that we are the sheep of His pasture--He takes care of us. The Lord is our Shepherd; we lack nothing. Praise Yahweh Rohi (The Lord My Shepherd)!
6. Know that the Lord is eternally good/benevolent all the time and He always loves us without end. Praise El Olam (The Everlasting God)!
7. Know that He is faithful through all generations. God always keeps His promises. Praise El Hanne'eman (The Faithful God)!
"I will sing of the Lord's great love forever; with my mouth I will make Your faithfulness known through all generations. I will declare that Your love stands firm forever, that You have established Your faithfulness in Heaven itself." (Psalm 89:1-2)
Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, I am so thankful that I can come to You anytime. Thank You for always loving me and for being so good to me! Thank You for Your faithfulness through all generations. Please bless all my children and all generations thereafter to be Christ's faithful followers and servants. I am forever grateful for Who You are! I want to know You more and make You known. In Jesus' Name, I pray. Amen.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

For Christ's Sake

- For Christ's sake--For professing  Christ, for preaching His Gospel, for praising His name, and for His glory alone...Paul was content with all these afflictions. The reason is Christ. When Christ alone is enough for us, we can be content in all circumstances! We can be content in our weaknesses because Christ's sufficient grace and perfect power are manifested in our weaknesses. "He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak." (Isaiah 40:29) We can delight in insults/mistreatment from others when we stand true and faithful to God because we know we are blessed. "Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in Heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you." ~Jesus (Matthew 5:11-12) In hardships/distresses, we can still remain cheerful in Christ because He is our Joy. In persecutions/oppression/harassment, we can glorify God as we bear the marks of Jesus Christ. In calamities/difficulties, we can rest in Christ because He is our Refuge and Strength and an ever-present Help in trouble. We can find peace, joy, contentment, and purpose in the valleys as we fully trust in Him. 
- When we are weak, we are sustained and strengthened by the power and strength of Christ. Trials and troubles draw us closer to God and depend on Him more. They are opportunities through which He displays His grace and power in our lives. God's grace is always enough for us. His grace is there to comfort us in all our afflictions. When we acknowledge that we're weak and rely on God's grace and strength to carry us through, we become strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Paul was pleased with his condition where Christ's power and grace are magnified and glorified. He was pleased to endure all these things for Christ's sake. “Nowhere does the Bible teach that Christians are exempt from the tribulations and natural disasters that come upon the world. Scripture does teach that the Christian can face tribulation, crisis, calamity, and personal suffering with a supernatural power that is not available to the person outside of Christ.” (~Billy Graham)
"We shall find that the deepest humility is the secret of the truest happiness, of a joy that nothing can destroy." (~Andrew Murray) Humility (humbly acknowledging that we are weak and we need God), faith (trusting God's heart even when we can't trace God's hand), and eternal perspective are essential in difficult times. Remember that our afflictions are temporary and allowed by our Heavenly Father in His infinite wisdom and love. "Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all! So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal!" (2 Corinthians 4:16-18) "I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us." (Romans 8:18) We can learn much from Paul. Paul had faced sufferings, trials, and hardships as he preached the Good News about Jesus Christ. But he knew that one day these would all be over and he would obtain God's rest and rewards. No matter what happens to us in this life, we have the assurance of eternal life when all sufferings will end and all sorrow will be no more. What a glorious hope!
- When we realize that there are purposes and benefits in our sufferings, it helps us live above the pain, discomfort, and difficulties and focus more on our finish line. Some of the benefits include reminding us of Christ's suffering for us, keeping us from pride and self-reliance, causing us to look beyond this brief and temporary life, proving our faith genuine, and providing opportunities for God to demonstrate His grace, power, and faithfulness.


Monday, November 17, 2014

Royal Outfit


Did you know that God picks an outfit for us?  We are children of God, the King of kings, and we are expected to be "dressing" differently than the world. Can the world tell when they look at us that we are Christ's ambassadors and that we are royal princes and princesses, belonging to God's kingdom? We must clothe ourselves in Christian virtues: compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness/meekness, patience, and love (verse 14). We are to dress up in the character of Christ. "Clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature." (Romans 13:14) True Christlikeness should be the goal of every Christian. This is a growth process, not an overnight achievement. Keep abiding in Christ and we will bear the fruit of the Spirit.

First, we need to realize that we are chosen and loved and holy (set apart as saints for God's own use/work) because of what Christ did for us. This is our status/position. Then we dress accordingly, not the other way around. And before getting all dressed up, you need to take off the old clothes (sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires, greed, anger, rage, malice, slander, filthy language, lie,....as mentioned in verses 5-9). 

Compassionate/Merciful Hearts

"Show mercy and compassion to one another." (Zechariah 7:9b)"
"Be compassionate and humble." (1 Peter 3:8b)
We are to have tender hearts that sympathize/empathize with others. Rejoice with those who rejoice. Weep with those who weep. Suffer with those who suffer. Deeply moved by others' afflictions/ hardships. Feel their pain. Genuine caring hearts that want to comfort the hurt, the sorrowful, and the distressed. "I would go to the deeps a hundred times to cheer a downcast spirit. It is good for me to have been afflicted, that I might know how to speak a word in season to one that is weary." (~Charles Spurgeon) 

Kindness

"Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you." (Ephesians 4:32) 
"Whoever is kind to the needy honors God." (Proverbs 14:31b) 
"Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else." (1 Thessalonians 5:15)
"And the Lord's servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful." (2 Timothy 2:24)
Speak kind words. Do kind deeds. Help those in need. Offer support, helping hands, understanding, prayers, encouragement, and friendship. "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)

Humility

"Wisdom's instruction is to fear the Lord, and humility comes before honor." (Proverbs 15:33)
"Humility is the fear of the Lord; its wages are riches and honor and life." (Proverbs 22:4)
"All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, 'God opposes the proud but shows favor (gives grace) to the humble.' Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time." (1 Peter 5:5b-6)
Having true humbleness in heart and mind. Putting others above selves. No boasting/bragging. Acknowledging God in all our ways. "Humble yourself and cease to care what men think. A meek man is not a human mouse afflicted with a sense of his own inferiority. Rather,...he has stopped being fooled about himself. He knows well that the world will never see him as God sees him and he has stopped caring. He has obtained a place of soul rest. The old struggle to defend himself is over." (~A.W. Tozer) "Humility does not mean thinking less of yourself than of other people, nor does it mean having a low opinion of your own gifts. It means freedom from thinking about yourself at all." (~William Temple)

Meekness/Gentleness

"It should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight." (1 Peter 3:4)
"Let your gentleness be evident to all." (Philippians 4:5a)
Being considerate, pleasant, and peace-loving in disposition. Not harsh or violent. 

Patience

"A person's wisdom yields patience; it is to one's glory to overlook an offense." (Proverbs 19:11)
"Better a patient person than a warrior, one with self-control than one who takes a city." (Proverbs 16:32)
"Love is patient, love is kind." (1 Corinthians 13:4a)
"Encourage the disheartened (compassion), help the weak (kindness), be patient with everyone." (1 Thessalonians 5:14b)"Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord's coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord's coming is near." (James 5:7-8)
Not easily angered/provoked/offended. Controlling temper. Staying calm when annoyed or insulted. Enduring/ persevering. Waiting without complaining. Bearing with others' unpleasantness. Putting up with the contempt and refusing to seek revenge. Refusing to give up on people.

This is how God's chosen people (holy and dearly loved) should live/dress spiritually. Imitate Christ. He is compassionate, kind, humble, gentle, and patient. Each day, let's examine ourselves to see if we are properly dressed as God designs. Do others see Christ in us when they take a look at us?  If not, we need to change our "clothes." "Live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love." (Ephesians 4:2)

Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, I am so thankful that You love me so much, chose me to be in Your family, and made me holy in Your sight. I want to honor You in all I say and do. Please help me to always be compassionate, kind, humble, gentle, patient, and loving just like Jesus. Please purify my heart and get rid of anything that doesn't please You. Make me be a blessing and sunshine in the lives of others. May others see Christ in me and be drawn to You! In Jesus' Name, I pray. Amen.

    Friday, November 14, 2014

    God's Love Proven

    This is the evidence that proves God's love for us! He demonstrates the depth of His love for us in this ultimate action. Christ died not for the good or the righteous, but for sinners who deserve wrath instead of love. This proof of God's everlasting love for us was fulfilled/completed on the cross.  "Love sent my Lord to the cross of shame, Love found a way, O praise His holy Name!" (~Unknown) "The Cross is an event of the past but it keeps showing the love of God." (~Leon Morris)

    God's love for us is agape love (unconditional, sacrificial, selfless love). It seeks the highest good for another no matter what the cost may be, as shown by Christ's sacrificial death on our behalf. God gives us His Best and Greatest Gift while we're at our worst state. Christ took the punishment that we deserve because He loves us. He paid the price/penalty that we could never pay. God loves the ungodly, the unworthy, the unlovable, the ungrateful, the undeserved. 
    God did not wait for us to become good or to acknowledge Him before He decided to save us. Christ died for our sins even when we're still enemies of God. God loves us before we turn to Him...before we seek Him...before we love Him. His love for us does not depend on who we are or what we do. I'm so glad it doesn't because this means God's amazing love for me never changes! God is love and God is immutable!

    Thursday, November 13, 2014

    Never-Failing Love, Mercy, Compassion, and Faithfulness

    When you feel discouraged, hopeless, and overwhelmed, I hope and pray that you'll be reminded of these verses. After Jeremiah lamented and lamented, he said in verse 21 (right before these 2 verses), "Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope." I believe many suicides would have and could have been prevented if those people ponder these verses and believe. It gives me peace, joy, hope, and comfort to know that God's love for me never ceases, that God’s mercies/compassions are available every morning, and that God is always faithful. 

    Often all we need is a change in perspective. Instead of focusing on our problems/trials/challenges, we must focus on Who God is and remember what He has done (recount His faithfulness). Fix your eyes on Jesus, Who has authority over all the wind and waves in our lives. He loves us and He is faithful to take care of us. He is our Daily Burden-Bearer (Psalm 68:19). God gives us today's mercy and grace for today's needs and burdens. That's why we should never worry about tomorrow. What we'll need tomorrow will be given tomorrow. "Faith stands on the promise of God and waits and hopes in weakness and peace. And, of course, that waiting and hoping is part of today's mercy. Part of today's mercy is the ability to trust that there will be sufficient mercy for tomorrow." (~John Piper) 

    Because of God's steadfast love and unending mercy towards us, we are not consumed. "We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed." (2 Corinthians 4:8-9) We are eternally saved and secure in Christ. No matter what comes our way, we need not despair because our hope is in God who is always faithful, loving, merciful, and compassionate. Every morning, we have a fresh start. Everyday we are alive and given grace upon grace (although we don't deserve it)...may we thank God for His never-failing love, compassion, mercy, and faithfulness! Don't ever give up on life! God never gives up on you! "As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him....From everlasting to everlasting the Lord's love is with those who fear Him." (Psalm 103:13, 17a) Rely on and rest in God's unbreakable, devoted love, inexhaustible grace & mercy, and incomprehensible kindness & compassion! Great is God's faithfulness!





    Wednesday, November 12, 2014

    The Only One True God

    - Psalm 18 is David's hymn of thanksgiving. David gives God all the credit. God is his (and our) Strength, Rock, Fortress, Deliverer, Refuge, Shield, Horn of Salvation, and Stronghold.
    - There is no other God. Jehovah/ Yahweh alone is to be worshiped and reverenced. There's none like Him. We can have absolute confidence in the Lord, who is our Rock. "There is no one holy like the Lord; there is no one besides You; there is no Rock like our God." (1 Samuel 2:2) "How great You are, Sovereign Lord! There is no one like You, and there is no God but You, as we have heard with our own ears." (2 Samuel 7:22)
    - One of my favorite Names of God is Yahweh Tsuri, The Lord My Rock. He is the Rock of my soul! "He is the Rock; His works are perfect, and all His ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is He." (Deuteronomy 32:4) The word Rock symbolizes strength, power, shelter, protection, defense, faithfulness, uprightness, stability, dependability, security, safety, justice, and firm foundation. We can always count on God and rely on Him. The world may be falling apart but Christ is our Redeemer, Rock, and Refuge. He is unchanging and unfailing. "They (the Israelites) all ate the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual Rock that accompanied them, and that Rock was Christ." (1 Corinthians 10:3-4) Where do you build your lives? I've chosen to build my life on "the Solid Rock" (Jesus Christ) and rest on His unchanging grace.

    Prayer: O Lord, thank You for being my mighty Rock and Fortress Whom I can always rely upon and trust in! Thank You for being my Shelter and Refuge from the storms of life! My hope is in You alone. Please help me to find rest in You and hold on to You no matter what.

    Tuesday, November 11, 2014

    Blessed Be the Name of the Lord!

    Blessed be the Name of God forever and ever! The Name of God is used synonymously with God Himself. May we always praise God with gratitude for His wisdom and power!

    God is omniscient and omnipotent. He is wise and He is able. "To God belong wisdom and power; counsel and understanding are His." (Job 12:13) "Great is our Lord and mighty in power; His understanding has no limit." (Psalm 147:5) God is infinite in wisdom and power. He uses His wisdom and power to govern the world and bring about His plans and purposes.

    Wisdom

    Nothing surprises God. He is all-knowing. He knows every detail of our lives and every detail of world events. He knows everything from eternity to eternity. Nothing is hidden from God. He knows what's best for us. We just need to trust and obey. He graciously gives wisdom to all who asks in faith. "If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt." (James 1: 5-6a) "For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding." (Proverbs 2:6) "Be thankful that God's answers are wiser than your answers." (~William Culbertson) 

    Power/Might/Strength

    Nothing is too difficult for God. He is all-powerful. Nothing is impossible for God. The power that raised Christ from the dead is available to us. His power is made perfect in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9b). When we acknowledge our weakness and rely on Him, He empowers us and strengthens us. Are you just going through the motions and depending on your own strength? Or are you abiding in Christ and constantly connected to the Power Source?

    Monday, November 10, 2014

    Abounding in Steadfast Love

    Nature of God

    This verse describes the nature of God. The Lord is full of infinite grace, mercy/compassion, patience, and love! "And He passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, 'The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin.'" (Exodus 34:6-7a) "You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to You...You, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness." (Psalm 86:5, 15) "The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love." (Psalm 103:8) He is full of goodness, kindness, and generosity.

    Gracious

    The Lord is gracious towards all sinners, offering us all the free gift of salvation. His Gospel is the Gospel of grace. He gives favor to the unworthy and pardon to the guilty.

    Merciful

    The Lord is merciful; his mercies/compassions are new every morning. "Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for His compassions (mercies) never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness." (Lamentations 3:22-23) He cares and comforts. He is compassionate to the afflicted. "He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds." (Psalm 147:3)

    Slow to Anger

    The Lord is slow to anger. "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) He doesn't get mad or upset easily. He is being patient with the ungodly and unrepentant. He is waiting patiently like the father of the prodigal son.

    Abounding in Steadfast Love

    The Lord is abounding in steadfast, patient, unrelenting love. He loves us with an everlasting love. God is love. Love (Jesus) came down from Heaven and rescued us. He is loving towards all.

    Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, how can I ever thank You enough for Your unending love, grace, and mercy for me! Thank You for being so patient with me and for always forgiving me! Please help me to be gracious, merciful and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love just like You. In Jesus’s Name, I pray. Amen!

    Saturday, November 8, 2014

    Forgotten CHRISTmas


    Stores around the country already have Christmas stuff on their displays even though we have not even had Thanksgiving yet. But do most people really know or care about the real reason for CHRISTmas? Commercialism and materialism are major problems among affluent countries like ours. In 2010, Gospel for Asia (GFA) started Forgotten Christmas, a project that aims to bring the focus of Christmas back to Jesus Christ. How do you think Jesus wants us to celebrate His birth? "This is love for God: to obey His commands." (1 John 5:3a) "If you love Me, keep My commands" (John 14:15) I believe Jesus would want us to celebrate Him (everyday, not just in December by the way) by obeying His Word. We can celebrate Jesus by spreading the Good News, worshiping Him, proclaiming His name, doing good and sharing with others, especially those in need. 

    What do you think and how do you feel after watching the video? Did you know that there are still 2 billion people who have never heard about Jesus? You can make a difference in the world by giving, praying, and doing your part. Did you know that you can give 200 Gospel tracts for only $1? Your $3 can give a believer in Asia his or her own Bible. Or 8 New Testaments for $4 (that's about the price of one Starbucks Frappuccino). Every year, we (including our kids) look forward to Gospel for Asia's Christmas catalog. We look through and pick out gifts we want to give to the poor and needy in Asia. The kids give from their own money (which they've received as birthday gifts from relatives). It's so good for our kids to experience themselves what it means when Jesus says, "It is more blessed to give than to receive." Generosity is an antidote to greed and self-centeredness.

    We are blessed by God to be a blessing to others. We are given opportunities to show our gratitude for God's Greatest Gift, Jesus Christ, by sharing His love and His message of salvation with others. Instead of buying things we don't need, let's impact lives and invest in eternity! Give gifts with eternal benefits. Gifts that keep on giving. Gifts that give hope. I encourage you to get a Christmas gift catalog (or more than one to share with families and friends) and help spread the word about this. Please visit http://www.gfa.org/gift to request a catalog(s) or browse online. Did you know that 100% of your donation to GFA goes directly to the needy or mission field (none taken out for administrative costs)? Let's celebrate Christ and transform lives at the same time! 


    The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did it for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of Mine, you did for Me.’” (~Matthew 25:40) When you give these gifts to the least of these, you're giving gifts to Jesus. Remember...it's His birth we celebrate, after all.

    This year, how does your family plan to keep a meaningful and Christ-centered CHRISTmas? Please share your ideas.


    This post is linked up with Fellowship Fridays @Christian Mommy Blogger, Faith-filled Friday @Missional Women, Faith Along the Way, Essential Fridays, Still Saturday @sandraheskaking,  Spiritual Sundays, Sharing His Beauty @The Beauty in His GripPlaydates with God at The Wellspring, The Weekend Brew @My Freshly Brewed LifeInspire Me Monday @Create With Joy, Sincerely, Paula3-D Lessons for Life#GiveMeGraceUnforced Rhythms, Sunday Stillness, and Tell Me a True Story. 
    Faith and Fellowship Blog Hop
    Equipping Godly Women
    countingmyblessings
    Renewed Daily - Recommendation Saturday

    Friday, November 7, 2014

    Friday's Fave Five #101


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

    My Fave Five this week:
    1. On Saturday, my husband and I drove to visit our daughter (who is away in college). We had a wonderful time. We enjoyed sushi and Starbucks S'mores Frapp and just hanging out. I'm so thankful for a blessed relationship we have with her. 

    2. IDOP (International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church) Webcast on Nov. 1st and the webcast on Nov. 2nd. These events were hosted by Open Doors with special guests David Platt, Nik Ripken, and musical guest, Selah! 


    3. On Tuesday, we took the boys to a free 3D advance screening of Big Hero 6 (which comes out in theatres today). We all loved it. You can read my review here.


    4. Check out this month's Free Audiobook at Christianaudio.com: The Attributes Of God Vol.1 by A.W. Tozer! And check out this free ebook, "Answers to Prayers" by George Muller!


    5. I hope you'll take time to watch this touching & powerful video about a dying, young man who made everyday count for God's glory and His kingdom. We are never promised tomorrow.
    The Rest of Clayton's Story from Jacob Lewis on Vimeo.

    Bonus: I'm currently hosting 3 giveaways:

    Monday, November 3, 2014

    Book Review: Too Loved to Be Lost by Debora M. Coty


    About the author: Debora M. Coty is a popular speaker, columnist, lifelong Bible student, internationally published freelance writer, and award-winning author of numerous books, including Too Blessed to Be Stressed, and More Beauty, Less Beast. She's also an orthopedic occupational therapist, writing instructor, and tennis addict. Mother of two grown children, Debora lives and loves in central Florida with her husband, Chuck, and desperately wicked pooch, Fenway.

    Find Debora online: websiteFacebookTwitter

    About the book: In Too Loved to Be Lost (Barbour Books, October 2014), you'll find simple, practical steps for healing, refreshment, and revitalization of spirit, body, and faith. Whether you're struggling with issues related to trust, depression, patience, relationships, hurts, or hopes. . .this humor-filled volume will deliver a much-needed smile and equip you with simple-to-implement tips for attaining the kind of guidance and belonging you crave---the kind that can only be found in the unconditional love of Papa God.

    My Review:

    There's no greater feeling than feeling loved by our Heavenly Daddy! His love is better than life (Psalm 63:3a). Too Loved to Be Lost is a lovely book that shows us how we can bask in God's unconditional, unlimited, unending love. Debora is so smooth at settling serious issues with a splendid sense of humor. She is witty, funny, and wise. I've always enjoyed her books, including this one. I love her writing style; it makes me feel like she's just chatting with me over cups of tea. And she is the "Queen of Acronyms" (my nickname for her :)). I myself love to come up with acronyms, too. She and I are definitely kindred spirits. She understands women and the issues they often face such as feeling lost, feeling burned out, feeling inadequate, etc. Debora shares about her own experiences and others' stories and point to Scriptures to help readers feel confident in God's love and be able to overcome their struggles (anxiety, fear, depression, past hurts, the need to be in control, and many more).

    The book also covers the topics of forgiveness, kindness, peace, hope, restoration, patience, discernment/decision-making, choosing friends, dealing with difficult people, etc. The main theme is to trust God and rest in His everlasting, ever-amazing love for you. Each chapter starts with a Bible verse and ends with an insightful quote and great questions for reflection. I highly recommend this encouraging, & refreshing read! Don't let the size of this book fool you :). It's small but it's packed with practical tips and wonderful advice. It is good and important to be reminded of our Heavenly Daddy's love for us. Check out this book; you will laugh and smile. You'll feel loved, refreshed, and energized. Live loved and live to love well, my friends!

    ~I received a free copy of this book via Litfuse Publicity Group in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own. To read more reviews of this book, visit here.

    In our world a woman’s acceptance so often seems contingent on her looks, behavior, or talents. This can lead to fearing loss of acceptance, trying to outperform one another, and a warped view God as a ruthless, judgmental, stern entity just waiting for us to crash and burn. Debora M. Coty's new book, Too Loved to Be Lost: Discovering God’s Intentional, Unconditional, Without-Limits Loveoffers women simple, practical steps for finding healing, security, and revitalization of spirit, body, and faith.

    Celebrate being "Too Loved" by entering Debora Coty's HDX giveaway and RSVPing to her Facebook party on November 6th.
    tooloved-400

      One winner will receive:
    • A Kindle HDX
    • Too Loved to Be Lost by Debora Coty
    Enter today by clicking the button below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on November 6th. Winner will be announced at the Too Loved to Be Lost Facebook author event on 11/6. Join author Debora Coty for a humorous and encouraging evening centered around God's unconditional love. Debora will be hosting a fun chat, giving away prizes, answering your questions, offering an exclusive peek at her next book, and much more!

    So grab your copy of Too Loved to be Lost and join Debora and friends on the evening of November 6th for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book, don't let that stop you from coming!)
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    Don't miss a moment of the fun; RSVP todayTell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 6th!

    Friday, October 31, 2014

    Go and Tell

    "He (Jesus) told them (the 72 anonymous disciples), 'The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into His harvest field. Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves." Luke 10:2-3

    - Jesus used "the harvest" often in speaking of the ingathering of believers. The harvest is plentiful! Many people are ready to believe in Jesus and follow Him.

    - Harvesting is hard work, even when there are many people helping you. But Jesus said the workers are few. They (the 72 disciples) were to pray for more laborers to join them in spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We need to pray the same prayer (there are still so many lost and unreached people in the world). 

    - Just like these disciples, we (all Christ's followers) are called to go and make disciples (the Great Commission in Matthew 28:19-20, "Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." ~Jesus) and to be Christ's ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20, "We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making His appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God."), sent out to represent Him in this world, commissioned to witness to the lost, and assigned the ministry of reconciliation.

    - Lambs among wolves! This calling can be difficult and dangerous. "Any man who takes Jesus Christ seriously becomes the target of the Devil. Most church members do not give Satan enough trouble to arouse his opposition." (~Vance Havner)

    - GO! It's a command! We must go. We must be willing to go wherever and whenever God wants us to go and do whatever He wants us to do. We should echo Isaiah's attitude and response: "Here am I. Send me!" (Isaiah 6:8b) "Go, send, or disobey!" ~John Piper 

    - Do you want to be bold and effective witnesses for the Lord? Pray, read God's Word, and study apologetics so that you will know how to defend your faith confidently and intelligently. "Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect." (1 Peter 3:15). "I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves." (Matthew 10:16) Be shrewd/wise (having/showing clever awareness and resourcefulness, applying God's wisdom) and at the same time, be innocent/harmless (staying away from sins, avoiding worldliness, having no deception or guile, intending to do good/do no harm, and keeping a pure heart/motive and a clear conscience)! Yes, our good behavior in Christ matters because if we live in sin, our testimony will be discredited (1 Peter 3:16-18).

    Let's live our lives in such a way that people will know undoubtedly that Jesus is alive...that He is living in our hearts and guiding our lives! Let's tell the world about our Lord and Savior! "Save some, O Christian! By all means, save some. From yonder flames and outer darkness, and the weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth, seek to save some! Let this, as in the case of the apostles, be your great, ruling object in life, that by all means you might save some." ~Charles Spurgeon (Note from me: Only God can save! Both Charles Spurgeon and John Wesley understood that and they just meant that Christians need to reach out to the lost with the Gospel in the hope that they might come to the Lord and be saved.)



    Today is the last day of my #write31days and #blogboost (the Ultimate Blog Challenge) for October. By God's grace, I've survived :). I hope and pray that all my posts will honor the Lord and encourage my readers. To celebrate, I'm offering a wonderful giveaway (book & t-shirt) here.
    Day 1: The Right Words at the Right Time
    Day 2: Prideful Heart
    Day 3: Plan What Is Good
    Day 4: The Lord Our Righteousness
    Day 5: No Excuse Whatsoever
    Day 6: Speak What Is Right and True
    Day 7: Pride Precedes Plummeting
    Day 8: Use God's Gifts with Humility
    Day 9: Humility vs. Humiliation
    Day 10: The Gospel Announced in Genesis
    Day 11: Broken Cisterns
    Day 12: Kindness and Patience
    Day 13: Worry about Nothing; Pray about Everything
    Day 14: Wherever You Go
    Day 15: The Lord Loves Justice
    Day 16: God's Purposes Prevail
    Day 17: Pit Diggers and Stone Rollers, Watch Out!
    Day 18: The Lord My Rock
    Day 19: By Grace Through Faith
    Day 20: Be Faithful
    Day 21: Love the Lord; Hate Evil
    Day 22: How Shall We Pray for Our Enemies?
    Day 23: My Tongue Will Tell
    Day 24: Speak Up
    Day 25: Be Cheerful
    Day 26: Happy Are the Forgiven!
    Day 27: Burden Bearer
    Day 28: Unworthy F.A.T. Servants
    Day 29: Sleepless in the Desert of Judah
    Day 30: Waiting
    Day 31: Go and Tell

    This post is linked up with Fellowship Fridays @Christian Mommy Blogger, Faith-filled Friday @Missional Women, Faith Along the Way, Still Saturday @sandraheskaking,  Spiritual Sundays, Sharing His Beauty @The Beauty in His GripPlaydates with God at The Wellspring, The Weekend Brew @My Freshly Brewed LifeInspire Me Monday @Create With Joy, Sincerely, Paula, 3-D Lessons for Life, #GiveMeGrace, Unforced Rhythms, and Tell Me a True Story.
    Faith and Fellowship Blog Hop
    Equipping Godly Women
    countingmyblessings

    Thursday, October 30, 2014

    Waiting

    Still Waiting

    Is waiting hard for you? I know it's hard for me. Before my husband and I got married, we both shared the same vision/desire (we still do) to serve God as full-time missionaries wherever God wanted us. Before the wedding, we got accepted by a Christian mission organization to be English teachers (and "undercover missionaries") in China. We planned to leave after our honeymoon. However, it was not meant to be. My husband collapsed during our honeymoon (I'll save the whole story for another time) and became stricken with panic attacks, anxiety, and depression for a long time. He could not leave the house and could not work. We prayed our hearts out and God heard our cries. Slowly, God has healed him (not completely yet...he's still struggling with anxiety and depression) and has sustained us. Years after years (we've been married for over 23 years) and obstacles after obstacles, we are still waiting for God to open the door for us to be full-time missionaries if it's indeed God's will for us. While waiting, God has graciously given us opportunities to serve Him wherever He has placed us. We've been involved in a ministry outreach to the international students (mostly Chinese) who attend our local university (two different cities we've lived in each have a university with lots of international students). It's like having a foreign mission field in our own backyard :). 

    Waiting: Good and Necessary

    Are you waiting for the right man or woman (if you're single and want to be married someday)? Are you waiting for the right job? Are you waiting to hear results from some tests? Patience must be one of the hardest virtues to embrace. It's human nature to dislike waiting. And the fact that immediate gratification is encouraged in our society is not helping, either. However, according to God's Word, waiting is a necessary thing and a good thing! Trusting God includes not only trusting His will but also trusting His timing.

    "I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord." Psalm 27:13-14

    "I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His Word I put my hope. My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning." Psalm 130:5-6

    "The Lord longs to be gracious to you; He rises to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for Him!" Isaiah 30:18

    Joseph waited 13 years.
    David waited 15 years.
    Abraham waited 25 years.
    Moses waited 40 years.
    Jesus waited 30 years.
    If God is making you wait, you're in good company :).


    May we all learn to wait on the Lord & wait for His answers patiently and be completely at peace while waiting and may He help us not to make mistakes of taking matters in our own hands and disobeying because we cannot wait (like Sarah, King Saul, etc.)! "The strength of patience hangs on our capacity to believe that God is up to something good for us in all our delays and detours." (~John Piper) Let us wait patiently and submissively on Him who cannot fail. Our God is infinite in love, grace, mercy, and wisdom. He knows what's best for us and for His glory. 

    Active Waiting

    What do we do when we desperately need God's clear direction but God seems silent? We keep trusting God's heart even when we cannot trace His hand. Remember...waiting time is not wasted time. Rather, it's time for learning, growing, and preparing. Waiting time is meant to draw our hearts to deeper joy, satisfaction, contentment, confident trust, and rest in our Heavenly Father. While you wait, continue to pray and praise with thanksgiving. While you wait, continue to faithfully trust and obey God. While you wait, continue to wholeheartedly serve God and live for Him. Whatever you are waiting for today, I hope and pray that your hearts will be encouraged and your eyes will be fixed upon Jesus. Ultimately, we all wait for His return to bring us home to Himself. What a glorious joy that awaits us!



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