Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Fruit Bearer

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When one of my friends invited me to sign up on Facebook a few years ago, I did not realize that people used their real names there.  I was so used to using my username on other websites/forums; therefore, I chose "Fruit Bearer" for my name on Facebook.  I have been asked if "Fruit Bearer" was my real name (some really thought Fruit was my first name and Bearer was my last name) :).  I got so tickled.  I explained to them that it referred to the passage in John 15.  I desire to always abide in Christ and bear much fruit.  I hope I have been and will always be a "Fruit Bearer."
 
"I am the Vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in Me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in Me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in Me and My words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to My Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be My disciples. As the Father has loved Me, so have I loved you. Now remain in My love. If you obey My commands, you will remain in My love, just as I have obeyed My Father's commands and remain in His love. I have told you this so that My joy may be in you and that My joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from My Father I have made known to you. You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit--fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in My name. This is My command: Love each other." John 15:5-17

Previous WFW:
- More Than Conquerors
- Where Does My Help Come From?
- Jubilant, Joy, and Judge
- Rooted in Love
- Who Daily Bears Our Burdens?
- Reflecting the Lord's Glory
- The Rock Eternal
- His Eye Is On The Sparrow

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Complete in Christ

"But Godliness with contentment is great gain." (1 Timothy 6:6) Would you like to know the "secret" to being content? I believe we can truly be content only when we realize that we are complete in Christ. No one else and nothing else will ever make us complete. Three years ago, I wrote the following poem, "Complete in Christ" to remind myself of that, and hopefully, it may encourage others as well.

Complete in Christ

Philosophy, psychology
Idolatry, ceremony
They do not set us free.
We are complete in Christ...Christ alone.

Legalism, mysticism, asceticism
Animism, Hinduism, Buddhism
Don't be fooled and trapped in man-made religions.
We are complete in Christ...Christ alone.

Spiritual formulas, worldly principles
Self-help books, staged miracles
These won't save us. Don't be gullible.
We are complete in Christ...Christ alone.

Elaborate church buildings, expensive programs
Certain prayer patterns...we have to discern
Don't be captivated. Don't be intimidated.
We are complete in Christ...Christ alone.

Popularity, plastic surgery
Model looks, designer clothes
Don't be envious. We don't need those.
We are complete in Christ...Christ alone.

Drugs, cults, New Age, evolution
Power, portfolios, prosperity
Don't be led astray. Don't love money.
We are complete in Christ...Christ alone.

Luxurious homes, acres & acres of land
Private planes, latest high-tech gadgets, fancy cars
We don't need anything extra.
We are complete in Christ...Christ alone.

Degrees, recognition, career
Costly hobbies, social status, approval of peers
Think of heaven, not just now and here
We are complete in Christ...Christ alone.

Human regulations, immediate gratification
Sensual indulgence, collection of things
They give us no peace. True joy..they don't bring
We are complete in Christ...Christ alone.

~ Copyright 2006 Urailak Liljequist

It's our human tendency to desire "more" and "better" and "new" and "exciting". It's our human tendency to get bored easily, to complain, and to be unthankful. With Christ's strength, we can overcome the human tendency (aka our sinful nature). "For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ, Who is the Head over every power and authority." Colossians 2:9,10

Please visit here for the links to other Spiritual Sundays posts.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Cry Out to Jesus

From the Heart of Worship

Note: Please turn off my music playlist at the bottom of this page before starting the video.


Just cry out to Jesus!  No matter what pain, sorrow, suffering, or trials you are going through right now, He's there for you and with you.  In Him, you will find love, grace, mercy, forgiveness, hope, healing, strength, rest/peace, and comfort.

"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

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.  For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows." 2 Corinthians 1:3-5

"Your worst days are never so bad that you are beyond the reach of God's grace.  And your best days are never so good that you are beyond the need of God's grace." Jerry Bridges

Previous Songs:
- Jesus, Be the Center
- God of Justice
- Love That Will Not Let Me Go
- I Will Offer Up My Life
- When It's All Been Said and Done
- Knowing You, Jesus
- In Christ Alone
- Be Thou My Vision

Friday, September 25, 2009

I Love Mommy & Daddy

Friday Photo Flashback


When our daughter, Alyssa, was one year old, we had this cloth banner made with her photo on it at the Oregon State Fair in 1994.  She did not have much hair then but now she has beautiful, long hair :).  And yes, she does love Mommy & Daddy!  Mommy & Daddy also love her and are very proud of her!

Alyssa (now 16) just launched a quarterly Christ-centered online magazine for the whole family, More Than Conquerors. You will find a variety of articles, a free book offer, and a fantastic Vision Forum DVD giveaway. Please stop by there when you get a chance.  I know she would greatly appreciate your comments and/or suggestions.

Previous Friday Photo Flashback:
- Corn Roast Festival
- A Taste of Thailand
- I Could Never Promise You
- In Father's Hands
- Thai Version of Wipe Out
- My Graduation Day in Thailand

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Thankful Thursday #2

Thankful Thursday at Truth 4 the Journey 

This week...
1. I am thankful that my husband and my kids are very forgiving.  I have "blown" it again and again, but they keep forgiving me.  I can relate to Paul when he said in Romans 7:15, "I do not understand what I do.  For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do."  Praise God for His forgiveness through Jesus Christ our Lord!

2. I am thankful that my kids have always been honest/truthful.  They may fail at times in some character issues but I'm glad that honesty is well ingrained in them.

3. I am thankful that my family loves to smile and laugh.  My husband and kids have a great sense of humor.  I cannot imagine going through a day without smiling or laughing :).

4. I am thankful that Alyssa, my 16 year old daughter, is willing to do hard things for the glory of God.  She has been a shy kid.  Bravely, she decided to join our local Christian Speech/Apologetics/Debate Club.  She is interested in apologetics and desires to be an effective communicator for Christ and defender of the faith.

5. I am thankful that Alyssa has a passion to serve the Lord with whatever gifts/skills He has blessed her with.  She (an aspiring writer) just launched an online Christ-centered magazine for the family, More Than Conquerors.  Please check it out when you get a chance.  You will find a variety of articles, a free book offer, and a fantastic Vision Forum DVD giveaway.

"In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height or depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:37-39

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

More Than Conquerors




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"What, then, shall we say in response to this?  If God is for us, who can be against us?  He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all--how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things?  Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen?  It is God who justifies.  Who is he that condemns?  Christ Jesus, who died--more than that, who was raised to life--is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?  Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?  As it is written: "For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered."  No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.  For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height or depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:31-39

Powerful, isn't it?!  What awesome assurance and comfort it is to know that:-
  1. God is on our side (we're permanently on the winning team)
  2. God graciously gives us all things (according to His will)
  3. God justifies us by His Son's blood (by His grace through faith, we have been set free from condemnation, the law of sin and (spiritual) death, and everlasting punishment)
  4. Jesus is interceding for us (we've got the Best Advocate)
  5. Nothing will ever be able to separate us from God's love (eternally guaranteed)!!!!!
We, Christ's followers, are to live fearless & victorious lives because we are more than conquerors through our Lord Jesus Christ.  I am convinced.  Are you?

This week, I am again including a video because this song, I Belong (Words and Music by Mildred Rainey and Kathryn Scott, sung by Kathryn Scott) goes perfectly with my Bible verses today :).  Enjoy.
Note: Please turn off my music playlist at the bottom of this page before you start the video.






Announcement:  My 16 year old daughter (with Dad's and Mom's support) just launched a quarterly Christ-centered online magazine for the whole family, More Than Conquerors.  You will find a variety of articles, a free book offer, and a fantastic DVD giveaway. Please stop by there when you get a chance.  Your comments and suggestions would greatly be appreciated!

Previous WFW:
- Where Does My Help Come From?
- Jubilant, Joy, and Judge
- Rooted in Love
- Who Daily Bears Our Burdens?
- Reflecting the Lord's Glory
- The Rock Eternal
- His Eye Is On The Sparrow

Monday, September 21, 2009

Book Review: If God Is Good


Title: If God Is Good (Faith in the Midst of Suffering and Evil)
Author: Randy Alcorn

Summary:
Every one of us will experience suffering. Many of us are experiencing it now. As we have seen in recent years, evil is real in our world, present and close to each one of us.

In such difficult times, suffering and evil beg questions about God--Why would an all-good and all-powerful God create a world full of evil and suffering? And then, how can there be a God if suffering and evil exist?

These are ancient questions, but also modern ones as well. Atheists such as Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, and even former believers like Bart Ehrman answer the question simply: The existence of suffering and evil proves there is no God.

In this captivating new book, best-selling author Randy Alcorn challenges the logic of disbelief, and brings a fresh, realistic, and thoroughly biblical insight to the issues these important questions raise.

Mr. Alcorn offers insights from his conversations with men and women whose lives have been torn apart by suffering, and yet whose faith in God burns brighter than ever. He reveals the big picture of who God is and what God is doing in the world–now and forever. And he equips you to share your faith more clearly and genuinely in this world of pain and fear.

As he did in his best-selling book, Heaven, Randy Alcorn delves deep into a profound subject, and through compelling stories, provocative questions and answers, and keen biblical understanding, he brings assurance and hope to all.

Author Bio:
Randy Alcorn is the founder and director of Eternal Perspectives Ministries and a bestselling author. His novels include Deadline, Dominion, Edge of Eternity, Lord Foulgrin’s Letters, The Ishbane Conspiracy, and the Gold Medallion winner, Safely Home. He has written eighteen nonfiction books as well, including Heaven, The Treasure Principle, The Purity Principle, and The Grace and Truth Paradox. Randy and his wife, Nanci, live in Oregon and have two married daughters and four grandsons.

My Review: I have only finished 9 out of 45 chapters of this book.  So far...so good!  I have really enjoyed reading it and can't wait to read the rest.  Mr. Alcorn offered Biblical perspectives/eternal perspectives which are very important to have when we want to understand the issue of evil and suffering.  He believed our Christian worldview should be God-centered, not man-centered.  I totally agree!  Another point he made was that God is God; we are not, thus we don't know everything He knows.  It is/should be obvious, but many people still seem to act like they know better than God.  This book covers the origins, nature, & consequences of evil, problems for Non-Theists, proposed solutions to the problem of evil and suffering, evil & suffering as seen in Scripture's redemptive story, divine sovereignty & human choice, Heaven & Hell, God's allowance & restraint of evil and suffering, the reasons why God allow suffering, evil and suffering used for God's glory, and living meaningfully in suffering.  If you have any questions regarding suffering and evil, you would certainly want to read this book.

My Thought: If we truly live for God and realize that "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me." (Galatians 2:20), then no sufferings or evil in this world can shake us. If we treat our life as a gift from the Lord and not as a right to be happy, safe, and secure...If we truly believe "Your love is better than life.." (Psalm 63:3a) and remember that nothing can separate us from His love, then by His grace, we can be strong in our faith and continue to glorify Him...come what may.  We know the end of the story; the battle is already won.  I choose to trust and obey Him even when I do not understand because the bottom line is this: Jesus is all we ever need.  Anything else in life is extra.  Any blessing we receive is a cherry on the top.  Any hardship in life is an opportunity to glorify His name.  "But He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness."  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.  For when I am weak, then I am strong." (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)  If you would like to know more of my thoughts along this line, please read this article, Who Owes Who?, at More Than Conquerors Magazine.

"I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us." Romans 8:18

"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 4:17-18

Corn, Chalk, Cage

On Saturday, we went to the annual Corn Roast Festival which this year took place on the same day as the Sidewalk Chalk Art Festival.  We enjoyed all-you-can-eat ears of corn-on-the-cob dipped in melted butter (Are you drooling yet? :)).  We then walked around checking out different booths and the chalk artwork on the sidewalk.  Evidently, there were several talented chalk artists participating.  The first two pictures, Jasmine and Happy Talk Like a Pirate Day, were done by our homeschool friends, Alea Joy E. (13) & Lexi K. and Emily E. (16) & Steve E. (Emily and Alea's dad), respectively.  They did an outstanding job and we're not biased :).







Mount Hood, Oregon


                  This one made me laugh :).  Poor Garfield!


    "In all your ways, acknowledge Him and He shall direct your path." Proverbs 3:6


John 15:5 "I am the vine; you are the branches.  If a man remains in Me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing."

Afterwards, we stopped by a batting cage where my husband and my 10 year old son had a blast batting.  My husband hit every single ball (a huge canon-like machine shot out baseballs).  Our boys love sports and are very good at all kinds of sports just like their Dad :).  My other son was a little too young for this batting cage.  The boys play baseball with Dad pretty much everyday on our property.  It used to be basketball everyday; now it's baseball.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Taming the Tongue

"Taming the tongue is a tough, troubling, tiring task to tackle triumphantly!" Try saying that ten times fast :). Okay...let's take it seriously now. How many times have you wished you didn't say what you just said? Oops...we can't take our words back! Words can heal, help, or hurt.

"We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check. When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, set the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man, but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison." James 3:2-8 It is so important to constantly guard our tongue.

"When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who hold his tongue is wise." Proverbs 10:19

"He who guards his lips guards his life, but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin." Proverbs 13:3

"The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouth of the fool gushes folly." Proverbs 15:2

"The tongue that brings healing is a tree of life, but a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit." Proverbs 15:4

"Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones." Proverbs 16:24

"He who guards his mouth and his tongue keeps himself from calamity." Proverbs 21:23

"One of the first things which a physician says to his patient is, 'Let me see your tongue.' A spiritual advisor might do the same." N. Adams

"When anger spreads through the breast, guard your tongue from barking idly." Sappho

"Sometimes you can make a more effective statement by holding your tongue." anonymous

"Remember not only to say the right thing in the right place, but far more difficult still, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment." Benjamin Franklin

"When I want to speak...let me think first:
-Is it true?
-Is it kind?
-Is it necessary?
If not, let it be left unsaid." Babcock

Tired of tongue troubles? Have you heard of a tool called, "Tongue Tamer"? A censor microchip implanted in our tongue that zaps the tongue every time it utters bad words, mean words, untrue words, inappropriate words, any words that are not pleasing God and automatically disables the tongue for a period of time until the tongue is ready to behave :). A deluxe version even comes with a decibel control so yelling and screaming become instantly mute, except in emergency/ life & death situations. If you have, please let me know. Oh...I wish I could invent that. Just imagine.... While you wait for that tool, perhaps you would like to try the "G.R.E.A.T." tip below.  May we implore the Holy Spirit to be our "Tongue Tamer" and may we be obedient and cooperate!

Our speech should be:

Gentle and gracious  (Philippians 4:5, Proverbs 22:11)
Respectful                (1 Peter 2:17)
Encouraging             (Hebrews 3:13)
Appropriate             (Ephesians 4:29)
Truthful                    (Ephesians 4:15, 4:25)

Have a "G.R.E.A.T." talk today and everyday !

"May the words of my mouth and
the meditation of my heart
be pleasing in Your sight,
O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer."
Psalm 19:14

Please visit here for the links to other Spiritual Sundays posts.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Jesus, Be the Center

From the Heart of Worship

Note: Please turn off my music playlist at the bottom of this page before starting the video.

Jesus Be The Centre (Words and Music by Michael Frye)


"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.  The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me." Galatians 2:20

Jesus, please always be the center of my life!  I want none of me and all of You.  I need You, Lord!

Previous Songs:
- God of Justice
- Love That Will Not Let Me Go
- I Will Offer Up My Life
- When It's All Been Said and Done
- Knowing You, Jesus
- In Christ Alone
- Be Thou My Vision

Friday, September 18, 2009

Corn Roast Festival

Friday Photo Flashback


 
The 45th Annual Corn Roast Festival in Forest Grove, Oregon will take place this Saturday.  We used to live in FG and attend the festival every year.  We now live in a different city but still plan to attend it tomorrow.  The pictures above were taken at the festival in 2005.  My sons looked so young here; it's hard to believe that they'll turn 11 and 8 next month.

The highlight for the kids besides enjoying the delicious fresh-roasted corn on the cob, was the Reptile Man.  His show was always educational, exciting, and entertaining.  In the second picture, the kids had the opportunity to touch a Burmese Python.  My boys hesitated at first but did touch it :).  I did, too.  It felt smooth and rubbery, not slimy at all.  Burmese Pythons can grow up to 23 feet long or more and weigh up to 200 lbs.  The female coil herself around her eggs (up to 100). God gave her the ability to raise her body temperature by making her muscles tremble. The Burmese Python is the only snake who is able to do this (a snake's temperature is usually lower than ours; reptiles are cold-blooded) and the increased body heat helps keep the eggs warm enough to develop properly. Our Creator made all kinds of cool animals, including some very exotic reptiles.

Previous Friday Photo Flashback:
- A Taste of Thailand
- I Could Never Promise You
- In Father's Hands
- Thai Version of Wipe Out
- My Graduation Day in Thailand

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Thankful Thursday #1

Thankful Thursday at Truth 4 the Journey 

This is my first time participating in the Thankful Thursday meme hosted by Sonya and the Thankful Thursday meme hosted by Laurie
I know most (if not all :)) of the things on my list are obvious but I still would like to mention them because they are very important in my life.

1. I am thankful for who God is...for all His attributes.
2. I am thankful for God's unconditional love, amazing grace, never-ending mercy, forgiveness, peace, joy, and strength. 
3. I am thankful for my salvation through Jesus Christ, my Lord & Savior, my Shepherd & Best Friend.
4. I am thankful for my family.  The Lord has blessed me with the most wonderful husband (a man after God's own heart) and three precious children who delight in God and His Word.
5. I am thankful for God's Word which is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.  I am thankful for the Bibles in print and the ones on CDs.  My boys listen to them at night in their bedroom.

"It is impossible for that man to despair who remembers that His Helper is omnipotent." ~Jeremy Taylor (1613-1667)
"If we can trust God for our eternal salvation, how can we not trust Him to provide for the "little" things of life?" ~M.E.Howard

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Where Does My Help Come From?



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When we are struggling or going through a difficult time, what do we focus our heart, mind, and attention on?  Most often than not...our problems, our trials, or people involved, etc.  That usually makes matters worse because we become occupied with our troubles, focus on self-pity, play a blame game, and/or lose the right perspectives (eternal/Biblical perspectives).  Instead, we need to remind ourselves to look to the Lord for help because He knows what's best for us.  We want His will (not ours) to be done, anyway.

"We wait in hope for the Lord; He is our Help and our Shield." Psalm 33:20

"God is our Refuge and Strength, and ever-present Help in trouble.  Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging." Psalm 46:1-3

"Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart." Hebrews 12:2-3

Bonus: I know I'm supposed to post just a picture with a Bible verse(s). I think that this song goes so well with my WFW; therefore, I would like to share it here with you as a bonus :). Hope you will be encouraged by it! Note: Please turn off my music playlist at the bottom of this page before you start the video.



Remember...through fire and storm, the Lord never leaves us nor forsakes us.  I will choose to praise Him in the storm; I know where my help comes from.

Previous WFW:
- Jubilant, Joy, and Judge
- Rooted in Love
- Who Daily Bears Our Burdens?
- Reflecting the Lord's Glory
- The Rock Eternal
- His Eye Is On The Sparrow

Monday, September 14, 2009

My Half & Half Day

Today is my "half and half" day :). It's hard to believe that I have already spent half of my entire life in America.  I spent 20 years growing up in Thailand and I have now spent another 20 years in the U.S.  I first came here on Sept. 14, 1989 to study at Oregon State University for my master's degree.  After I graduated, I got married (Sept. 7, 1991) to my sweetheart.  We met on my campus (Chulalongkorn University) in 1988.  He went with Campus Crusade for Christ on a summer mission project and I was helping Campus Crusade for Christ in Thailand as an interpreter.  Some day, I will post about our love story's details.  I believe in "arranged marriages" (arranged by the Lord). 

I miss Thailand (Land of Smiles), but I would probably miss America, too, if I were away from here for a long period of time (like 20 years :)).  My husband and I hope and pray that someday we will be able to go back to Thailand as full-time missionaries (if it's God's will).  I am looking forward to seeing what plans God has for my life and my family from this point forward.  I don't know what the future holds but I know Who holds the future! (I know it's a cliche but it's true.)  Living for God is an exciting & rewarding adventure; it's the best way to live!

"When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider: God has made the one as well as the other.  Therefore, a man cannot discover anything about his future." Ecclesiastes 7:14

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Kindness

Wouldn't this world be a lovely, warless place if everybody is kind to one another? Wouldn't families be a lot happier if everyone in the family is always kind to one another? Wouldn't the poor and needy no longer be in need if everybody shows kindness? Wouldn't conflicts and arguments be quickly resolved (or not even take place) if people always use kind words? 
"Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you." Ephesians 4:32

"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

"He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God." Proverbs 14:31

"An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up." Proverbs 12:25

Why..oh why is it hard for us to be kind sometimes? Is it because...the other person is unkind/mean to us, it's inconvenient for us, we're too busy doing our own things, we don't get recognized/rewarded, we just don't feel like it (or we're in a bad mood), or perhaps people keep taking advantage of our kindness...?

Does God tell us to be kind only if/when 1. others are kind to us, 2. it's convenient for us, 3. we're not busy, 4. we get recognized/rewarded, 5. we feel like it, 6. people appreciate our kindness...? NO! He simply commanded us to be kind! The Good Samaritan is a wonderful example of kindness. Remember...Jesus said, "Go and do likewise." I'm so pleased and touched when my kids secretly do their siblings' chores without being told to, save the last piece of dessert or treat for their sibling, let their siblings go first, complimenting their siblings, comforting their siblings when they're sad/upset, etc. (kindness doesn't always come easily for my kids, but they're learning and trying :))

Kindness has no price tags. We shouldn't expect anything in return. Even if nobody has noticed, God does :). Doing what pleases God should be more than enough motivation for us. We are to be kind to others, not because they deserve it, but because it's the right thing to do. I have failed miserably time and time again. I only have myself to blame. Please pray for me. Thanks! I'm so glad and grateful that God is patient with me. His kindness towards us is immeasurable, in spite of what we do or don't do. I know I certainly don't deserve it.

In my opinion, kindness is...
Caring about others' feelings and considering others' needs and wants above our own
Offering help, support, sympathy, understanding, prayers, encouragement, and friendship
Obeying the Lord's commands: "Love your neighbor as yourself" and "Do to others what you would have them do to you"
Loving others in words and actions. Love is patient, love is kind.

Be kind...be cool! :)

"Speak kind words and you will hear kind echoes." Unknown

"Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless." Mother Teresa

"Learn to say kind things--nobody ever resents them." Unknown

"Can you ever remember a time when you regretted having said a kind word?" Unknown

"Hatred and anger are powerless when met with kindness." Unknown

"Speak your kind words soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late." Unknown

"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

"Kindness is a language which the deaf man can hear and the blind man can read." Mark Twain

"One kind act will teach more love of God than a thousand sermons." Unknown

Kind hearts are the gardens,
Kind thoughts are the roots,
Kind words are the flowers,
Kind deeds are the fruits.

Take care of your garden
And keep out the weeds,
Fill it with sunshine
Kind words and kind deeds.

~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

My prayer today: Lord, please create in my heart the unselfish kindness, that I may serve You and others joyfully...that I may be sunshine in the lives of others...that I may reflect Christ accurately...In Jesus' name, I pray...Amen.

Please visit here for the links to other Spiritual Sundays posts.  Have a blessed week in the Lord, everyone!

P.S. You may also want to read a somewhat relevant post titled, Taming the Tongue.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

God of Justice

From the Heart of Worship

Note: Please turn off my music playlist at the bottom of this page before starting the video.



God of Justice by Tim Hughes

God of Justice, Saviour to all
Came to rescue the weak and the poor
Chose to serve and not be served

Jesus, You have called us
Freely we've received
Now freely we will give

We must go...live to feed the hungry
Stand beside the broken
We must go

Stepping forward keep us from just singing
Move us into action
We must go

To act justly everyday
Loving mercy in every way
Walking humbly before You God

You have shown us what You require
Freely we've received
Now freely we will give

Fill us up and send us out
Fill us up and send us out
Fill us up and send us out, Lord


"Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave--just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many." Matthew 20:26b-28

"Freely you have received, freely give." Matthew 10:8b

"He has showed you, O man, what is good.  And what does the Lord require of you?  To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." Micah 6:8

"Therefore, 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." Matthew 28:19-20
"He said to them, 'Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation." Mark 16:15

"Then the King will say to those on His right, 'Come, you who are blessed by My Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.  For I was hungry and you gave Me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited Me in, I needed clothes and you clothed Me, I was sick and you looked after Me, I was in prison and you came to visit Me.'  Then the righteous will answer Him, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You something to drink?  When did we see You a stanger and invite You in, or needing clothes and clothe You?  When did we see You sick or in prison and go to visit You?'  The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you did for Me.'" Matthew 25:34-40

Lord, please fill us up with Your Holy Spirit, Your love & compassion and send us out to share Your love and the Good News with people in need (physically and spiritually).  Lord, please keep us from just singing, thinking, talking, desiring; please move us into action.  We must go!  John Piper said, "Go, Send, or Disobey."  I agree.


Previous Songs:
- Love That Will Not Let Me Go
- I Will Offer Up My Life
- When It's All Been Said and Done
- Knowing You, Jesus
- In Christ Alone
- Be Thou My Vision

Friday, September 11, 2009

A Taste of Thailand

Friday Photo Flashback

This coming Monday (Sept. 14th) will mark my 20th year of living in America.  It's my "half-n-half" day :).  I spent 20 years growing up in Thailand and I have spent (almost) another 20 years in the U.S.  I first came here on Sept. 14, 1989 to study at Oregon State University for my master's degree.  The pictures above were taken at OSU's A Taste of Thailand event.  My husband (boyfriend at the time) and I were in a funny skit (about Songgran/Thai New Year Festival).  My outfit was a Northern hills tribe kind of clothing.  During Songgran, people enjoy getting others wet (the water play is usually fun and welcome (unless it's violent/excessive) since the weather during April 13-16 is very hot in Thailand).  On stage, I was armed with a water squirt gun.  My husband played as a tourist.  The lady between us in the first picture is my husband's mom (my mother-in-law).

Previous Friday Photo Flashback:
- I Could Never Promise You
- In Father's Hands
- Thai Version of Wipe Out
- My Graduation Day in Thailand

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Jubilant, Joy, and Judge




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God is love and God is just.  Many people accept the former but ignore the latter.  Remember the sheep and the goats (Matthew 25:31-46).  Are we living in Christ's righteousness and in His truth (according to His Word) or are we living in worldliness and in the lies of the culture?  We have to daily choose.  Our choice will be judged by the Lord.  Let's sing for joy before the Lord for He is our Righteous Judge filled with compassion, mercy, and grace.

"My shield is God Most High, who saves the upright in heart.  God is a Righteous Judge, a God who expresses His wrath everyday." Psalm 7:10-11

"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the Righteous Judge, will award to me on that day--and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for His appearing." 2 Timothy 4:7-8



Previous WFW:
- Rooted in Love
- Who Daily Bears Our Burdens?
- Reflecting the Lord's Glory
- The Rock Eternal
- His Eye Is On The Sparrow

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Book Review: Fearless by Max Lucado



Format: Jacketed Hardcover
Size: 6.20 x 9.30 x 1.10
Page Count: 221
Retail Price: $24.99
ISBN: 9780849921391

I am thankful that my personality is not prone to anxiety and fear. I usually don't have to wrestle with worry. When problems arise, I pray for God's will, leave them in God's hands, and wait to see what comes next. I'm not saying that I have never been worried or afraid; it's just a rare occurrence for me. However, I still find Max Lucado's Fearless to be encouraging and insightful.  More importantly, it is Biblically sound..mostly. I inserted "mostly" because I think sometimes he exaggerates and he stretches (his interpretation of) the Scriptures too much/too far. I enjoyed reading the book and appreciated Mr. Lucado's sense of humor. He truly has a gift of teaching and writing; he has a way with words for sure.

This book covers many kinds of fears: fear of not mattering, fear of disappointing God (it’s a good thing that I know God’s love, grace, mercy, and forgiveness are deeper/stronger than anything I could have ever done and anything I may ever do in the future; otherwise, I would constantly be agonizing over this fear), fear of running out (worry whether you have enough), fear of not protecting my kids (probably the one that I can relate to most :)), fear of overwhelming challenges, fear of worst-case scenarios, fear of violence, fear of the coming winter (financial struggles), fear of life's final moments (aka death/dying), fear of what's next (fear of change), fear that God is not real (I was surprised to read that even Mr. Lucado himself has experienced doubt), fear of global calamity, and fear of God getting out of my box (if you don’t put God in a box in the first place, then you wouldn’t have this fear :)). I like the fact that he offers answers to each topic of fear with the Scriptures. I also like the discussion guide for each chapter at the end of the book. It includes many thought-provoking questions that will certainly spark a lively discussion in a group study.

Mr. Lucado challenges you to imagine your life without fear. Fear cripples us. Life without fear frees us. The author's theme is "If we trust God more, we can fear less." I would add: Trust God, in spite of fear. In this book, Mr. Lucado does not cover the area of anxiety disorders/panic attacks in some people (something that seems out of their control and beyond reasoning). These people keep trusting God but it does not help them fear less (unless the Lord heals/delivers them from their conditions).

"What can I fear?  Will it be death?  But you know that Christ is my life, and that I shall gain by death.  Will it be exile?  But the earth and all its fullness is the Lord's.  Will it be the loss of wealth?  But we have brought nothing into the world, and can carry nothing out.  Thus all the terrors of the world are contemptible in my eyes; and I smile at all its good things.  Poverty I do not fear; riches I do not sigh for.  Death I do not shrink from." ~Chrysostom (page 88 in Fearless)

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Love That Will Not Let Me Go


Note: Please turn off my music playlist at the bottom of this page before starting the video.  Please be patient; this song starts off with a long music intro :) before the singing begins. 

I chose this song for this week because it is one of the songs that was played in our wedding.  My husband and I will be celebrating our 18th anniversary this coming Monday (Sept. 7th).  We both love this song because it is God's love that brought us together and it is God's love that keeps us together.  We are forever grateful for His amazing love that will not let us go!   I hope this song will touch your heart and remind you how much God loves you.
Love That Will Not Let Me Go (by Steve Camp)


In this weary world, chasing after dreams just led me back where I started. I couldn't see my way or find a hiding place for the broken-hearted. You spoke softly to my soul, with one touch I was made whole!
Now I know that there is a love that will not let me go. I can face tomorrow because You hold me forever. Stronger than the mighty winds that blow; I'm safe within Your arms... Love that will not let me go.

Lord, You always knew the road that I would take, but then You saved me just in time. What I owe to You, I could not repay so I pledge You my whole life. I never trusted love before, but I won't be afraid anymore.
Now I know that there is a love that will not let me go. I can face tomorrow because You hold me forever. Stronger than the mighty winds that blow; I'm safe within Your arms... Love that will not let me go.

There's a love that will not let me go. I can face tomorrow because You hold me forever. Stronger than the mighty winds that blow; I'm safe within Your arms... Love that will not let me go.

"How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!"
1 John 3:1a
"For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us form the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:38-39

Previous Songs:
- I Will Offer Up My Life
- When It's All Been Said and Done
- Knowing You, Jesus
- In Christ Alone
- Be Thou My Vision

Friday, September 4, 2009

I Could Never Promise You

Friday Photo Flashback

My husband and I will be celebrating our 18th anniversary this coming Monday (Sept. 7th). Our daughter helped me put this video together to surprise my beloved. The song, I Could Never Promise You, by Don Francisco is one of our favorites. I'm exceedingly thankful to the Lord for bringing us together from across the land and sea and keeping us together with His awesome love which is stronger than anything in the whole world and lasts forever. Each day is such a beautiful gift from the Lord; I get to spend it with my best friend, the Love of My Life. We are inseparable; we are truly one in Christ for a lifetime and beyond. We're blessed, indeed!


I Could Never Promise You
(Words and Music by Don Francisco, 1977)

I could never promise you on just my strength alone
That all my life I'd care for you, and love you as my own
I've never known the future; I only see today
Words that last a lifetime would be more than I could say

But the love inside my heart today is more than mine alone
It never changes, it never fails, never seeks its own
And by the God who gives it, and who lives in me and you
I know the words I speak today are words I'm going to do

(Chorus)
And so I stand before you now for all to hear and see
I promise you in Jesus' name the love He's given me
And through the years on earth and as eternity goes by
The life and love He's given us are never going to die…



Previous Friday Photo Flashback:
- In Father's Hands
- Thai Version of Wipe Out
- My Graduation Day in Thailand

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Rooted In Love

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"And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to gasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge--that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God." Ephesians 3:17b-19
All aspects of our lives should be rooted and grounded in Christ's love...our marriage, our parenting, our friendship, our ministries, our service, our giving, our speech, our action, our blogging, etc. Remember: "If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing." 1 Corinthians 13:1-3



Previous WFW:
- Who Daily Bears Our Burdens?
- Reflecting the Lord's Glory
- The Rock Eternal
- His Eye Is On The Sparrow

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