Saturday, March 31, 2012

O Sacred Head, Now Wounded

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



"They stripped Him and put a scarlet robe on Him, and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on His head. They put a staff in His right hand and knelt in front of Him and mocked Him. "Hail, King of the Jews!" they said. They spit on Him, and took the staff and struck Him on the head again and again. After they had mocked Him, they took off the robe and put His own clothes on Him. Then they led Him away to crucify Him." Matthew 27:28-31

Jesus, I can neither love You enough nor thank You enough,
but I will neither stop thanking You nor stop loving You! You took my punishment and death. Thank You once again for Your amazing love for me! I love You, my Lord and Savior!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Friday's Fave Five #67

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 finished reading Miracle for Jen by Linda Barrick. Awesome book! You can read my review and enter a giveaway here.

2. Our whole family had our dental checkup yesterday. No cavities for all of us. Yeah :)!

3. Our daughter got her SAT result yesterday. Her score is 2010! We're so proud of her.

4. I had fun playing UpWords with my youngest son (10). He certainly has a way with words :).


5. On Sunday, we enjoyed Hot Pot and a class of Christianity Explored with the international students. Great food and great discussion! Please pray that they will understand the Gospel clearly and that they will choose Christ.

Bonus: While I was enjoying Hot Pot, I got a tiny fish bone or something sharp stuck on the right side of my throat. It hurt and I couldn't reach it. I prayed and prayed (silently). I'm super thankful that the Lord made it go away and I can swallow without feeling anything there anymore.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Book Review and Giveaway: Miracle for Jen by Linda Barrick

About the book:
On the night of November 5, 2006, the Barrick family was driving home from church when their van was struck by a drunk driver. Fifteen-year-old Jen suffered multiple skull fractures and severe brain trauma and was not expected to survive the night. But against all odds, she did. After lingering in a coma for five weeks, Jen opened her eyes and began praying and praising God. She didn't remember her middle name, recognize her parents, or recall that she had a little brother—but she remembered Jesus and every word to every praise song and Scripture she had hidden in her heart before the accident. As any loving mother would, Jen's mother Linda wanted God to heal Jen--make her like she was before. Normal. But a loving God had something else in mind--instead of making her normal, God is making Jennifer--and the whole Barrick family--extraordinary, miraculous. Miracle for Jen is the remarkable true story of a family who overcame tragedy and learned to trust God's plan for their lives in a whole new way.

My Thoughts and Review:
Wow...what an amazing testimony of God's faithfulness, goodness, and power! I love this book! I cried several times while reading this book...yes, it's that good :). Through her mother, Linda Barrick's memoir, Jen Barrick's unwavering faith, heart of gratitude, total devotion to God, and passion to proclaim Christ ministered to me so much. Though suffering from a severe brain injury, Jen's spiritual connection/love relationship with God has remained intact and even grew deeper and stronger after the accident. She could also see Jesus standing right beside her. How precious! She prayed, praised God, worshiped Him in songs, and quoted the Scriptures while she could not talk. God is truly glorified and His power is definitely made perfect in her weakness. Jen's Godly insights and heavenly-minded prayers encourage people around her, including her mom who is at times grieved over what Jen has lost. In her journal (before the car crash), Jen asked God for boldness in sharing her faith. God answered her prayer in a way that nobody could have imagined. God transformed Jen into His beautiful vessel, being used mightily for His glory and for His kingdom. I really appreciate that Linda shares openly and honestly how she feels. As a mother myself, I can relate to her and understand her struggles. At the end of the book, you will find Jen's message sharing the Gospel clearly. Story of God's grace. Story of hope. God is still the God of miracles! I highly recommend this book!

Below are some of my favorite Jen's quotes from the book:
"Thank You for giving me the brain injury." (p. 150...Can you imagine that?!)
"Mom, your problem is that your brain gets in the way. You think too much! You have to just trust God." (p.150)
"If He doesn't heal me completely it's because He has something far greater for me to do." (p. 167)
"I don't feel normal, and I'm okay with that. I never wanted to be normal. And I don't want to be remembered as 'the girl with the brain injury.' I want to be remembered as the girl who loved Jesus with all her heart." (p.244)

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

GIVEAWAY: You can win a certificate redeemable for a copy of this book. Deadline: 4/20/12
To Enter: Please visit The Barrick Family's website, "Hope Out Loud" and then leave a comment here sharing your thoughts.
For Extra Entries (please leave a separate comment for each one that you do):
- Follow this blog via GFC or NetworkedBlogs
- "Like" my page "Christ Alone" on Facebook
- Follow me on Twitter: @treasuredbyGod
- Share the link to this giveaway post on Facebook
- Tweet about this giveaway on Twitter 

~
I received a copy of this book and a certificate (for giveaway) for free from Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Friday's Fave Five #66

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 enjoyed the International House picnic. There was a cooking contest. Lots of yummy dishes from various cultures such as Vietnamese, Chinese, Middle-Eastern, etc. I entered my Thai Green Curry with Chicken. I didn't win. The winner's dish was pizza :).

2. Last Friday night, we (our Bible study/fellowship group including several international students) had so much fun playing ping-pong, pool, foosball, and cool group games! Lots of laughs.

3. I participate in Spring Reading Thing 2012 and posted the list of books that I plan to read this spring here

4. March Madness = sledding fun in the snow! I think spring is really confused or has lost its way somehow :). We took advantage of the snow we got yesterday.


5. "7 Tips for Teaching Preschoolers the Bible" written by Alyssa (my 18 yo daughter) is published in The Old Schoolhouse Magazine's March issue.

 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Book Review: The Colors of Hope by Richard Dahlstrom

The Colors of Hope: Becoming People of Mercy, Justice, and Love by Richard Dahlstrom  is the co-recipient of the Christianity Today Christian Living Book of the Year Award for 2011.

About the Author
Richard Dahlstrom is pastor of Bethany Community Church in Seattle, Washington, and is a conference and Bible college speaker. He is also the author of O2: Breathing New Life into Faith, which was selected by Publishers Weekly as one of the best Christian books of 2008.

My Thoughts and Review
Based on Micah 6:8, "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," Richard Dahlstrom invites readers to become artisans of hope painting with mercy, justice, and love. We are born to make a difference in this world. More importantly, we Christians are "born again" to make an eternal difference in this world. The book is divided into 3 main parts: Vision (of hope), The Primary Colors (that create hope): justice, mercy, and love, and Creating Art While Life Happens (which means now, not waiting around).

I enjoyed reading Mr. Dahlstrom's first book (O2). I'm glad I had the opportunity to review his new book, The Colors of Hope. The author challenges us to use our God-given passions, skills, and abilities to beautify and bless this broken world in our own unique ways. Christ's followers must intentionally live out their faith and calling as artists, painting colors of hope vividly wherever they are. I appreciate the author's honesty, Biblical insight, and practical advice. It's an excellent read! I highly recommend it.

"I can't keep pretending I live in Disneyland, singing hymns and practicing personal piety while human trafficking steals children's souls, and thirty thousand people die every day of treatable diseases. I can't continue to live 'faith as usual' when I learn how many billions of people are making the same amount of money in a year that I make in three days. If knowing all this doesn't shake you to the core, something's probably wrong with your view of Jesus and the life to which we're invited." (p. 82)

"The colors of hope will be spilled into the world by broken people, living their broken lives in the midst of a broken world. But right there, in the midst of all that pain and suffering, those who have taken up the adventure of spilling hope will find colors of beauty, justice, healing and joy being poured through them onto the canvas of their families, churches, and cities. This is the life to which we're called, the adventure that awaits us as broken, yet deeply loved, artisans of hope." (p. 132)


  
~ I received 2 free copies of this book from Baker Books in exchange for my honest review.


Spring Reading Thingy 2012


Here's the list of books that I plan to read this spring. I'm sure I'll be adding more as the time goes by :).

- A Perfect Pet for Peyton (picture book) by Rick Osborne & Gary Chapman
- The 5 Love Languages of Children by Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell
- Miracle for Jen by Linda Barrick with John Perry
- Great Day Every Day by Max Lucado
- Unveiling the Kings of Israel by David Down
- Living Close to God by Gene Edwards
- Living by Faith by David Venable
- Love at Last Sight by Kerry & Chris Shook

Saturday, March 17, 2012

It's About the Cross

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


Thank You, Jesus! It's all about You!

"When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; He took it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross." Colossians 2:13-15

Friday, March 16, 2012

Friday's Fave Five #65

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

My Fave Five this week:-
1. Last weekend, I attended Answers Conference via live streaming (4 sessions) and also in person (one session). Dr. Tommy Mitchell (from Answers in Genesis) spoke about dinosaurs, suffering, why Genesis matters, and Noah's Ark & the global flood.

Master Books' authors will offer free online webinars on the following dates at 9 p.m. ET.
Mar. 20- Bodie Hodge of Answers in Genesis/The Foundation of Genesis in Today’s Culture
Mar. 22- Dr. Don DeYoung/ Current Events in Creation Studies
Mar. 29- Dr. Carl Werner/ Why I Abandoned Evolution To learn more, visit www.nlpg.com and www.hslda.org.

2. I like this quote: "I can't keep pretending I live in Disneyland, singing hymns and practicing personal piety while human trafficking steals children's souls, and thirty thousand people die every day of treatable diseases. I can't continue to live 'faith as usual' when I learn how many billions of people are making the same amount of money in a year that I make in three days. If knowing all this doesn't shake you to the core, something's probably wrong with your view of Jesus and the life to which we're invited." ~Richard Dahlstrom (from his book, The Colors of Hope)

3.
Yesterday, I had a tough day but then I was so encouraged by my 13 yo son who is such an encourager ♥! My Barnabas :)!

4. My two current giveaways:
-You can enter to win a copy of Miami Vineyard LIVE CD at http://fivesavedbygrace.blogspot.com/2012/03/cd-review-and-giveaway-miami-vineyard.html . Ends 3/17 This is a fun & flavorful praise/worship CD, combining Latin, Gospel, Island, and Funk styles.
-You can enter to win a copy of The Woodcarver DVD at http://fivesavedbygrace.blogspot.com/2012/03/dvd-review-and-giveaway-woodcarver.html . Ends 3/31 This is a wonderful family, faith-based DVD based on the concept of WWJD (What Would Jesus Do?).

5. I love this song. Beautiful message and beautiful harmony! Thank You, Jesus! It's all about You!
Note: Please turn off my music playlist at the bottom of this page before starting the video.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Biblical Grace


"Any concept of grace that makes us feel more comfortable sinning is not Biblical grace. God's grace never encourages us to live in sin, on the contrary, it empowers us to say no to sin and yes to truth." ~Randy Alcorn

By God's grace, He offers us the free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ who died on the cross for our sins. Because of God's grace, we receive what we do not deserve: eternal life in heaven, redemption, forgiveness, reconciliation, freedom from sin and death, Christ's righteousness, and adoption into God's family. No words can adequately describe the depth and magnitude of God’s grace. Nothing can compare to God’s grace. The more we realize how wretched we are, the more we understand, appreciate, and embrace God’s grace.

Excuse to Sin? Absolutely Not!
God’s grace is greater than all our sin, guilt, and shame. However, it is not an excuse for us to do whatever we want. Grace is meant to justify the sinner, but some misuse it to justify their sins. Biblical grace says: "Go and sin no more", not "Go on living the way you have been since all your sins are forgiven anyway."

"What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?" (Romans 6:1-2)

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” (2 Corinthians 9:8)
 
By God’s grace, we are set free from being slaves to sin so that we may do “every good work” that God calls us to do.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2: 8-10)

"Grace in no way frees us from the pursuit of holiness. In truth, grace is given to us to make it holy living possible. Imagine holy living as a high wire that you must walk across. One slip and you tumble, forever lost, into the chasm below. But now Jesus stretches a safety net across the chasm. When you slip, you fall into the safety net of grace, acknowledge your mistake, and climb back on the high wire--all the while with Jesus helping and supporting you." (~Jon Walker) Living under grace and living in obedience to God go hand in hand. If we live for self and choose to do whatever feels good, we abuse grace.

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. 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 glorious appearing 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)


You're invited to share your thoughts about the quote above (by Randy Alcorn) on your blog and then link up your post here. To learn more about "In Other Words"(what it's about, how it works, and how it originated), visit here.
 

This post is also linked up with Faith-filled Friday @Beholding Glory, Spiritual Sundays, Sharing His Beauty @The Beauty in His Grip, Playdates with God at The Wellspring, and "Hear It, Use It" @Graceful.


Saturday, March 10, 2012

I Will Follow

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


"To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in His steps." 1 Peter 2:21
"If anyone obeys His Word, God's love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in Him: Whoever claims to live in Him must walk as Jesus did." 1 John 2:5-6

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

What Is Your Excuse?

"I want people to fill their minds with passages of Scripture while they are well and strong,
that they may have sure help in the day of need.
I want them to be diligent in studying their Bibles,
and becoming familiar with their contents,
in order that the grand old Book may stand by them
and talk with them when all earthly friends fail.
From the bottom of my heart,
I pity that person who never reads their Bible.
I wonder how they expect to draw their consolation in their time of need."
~ J.C. Ryle
The Bible excites me :) (Jeremiah 15:16). This may sound funny but I don't want to miss anything that God wants to tell me. The more I know about God, the more I want to know Him! God's Word is a treasure to me. I want to read "His Love Letter" over and over again. I enjoy reading the Bible in different versions, too :). I would like to encourage you all to take time to read, study, and memorize the Scriptures which is powerful fuel for energizing our soul and renewing our mind. In the future, we may not always have religious freedom in this country. If the Bible were to be taken away from you, the verses you have read and memorized would be there to remind you of God's love, mercy, and faithfulness, assure you of God's power and providence, encourage you, comfort you, guide you, and feed/nourish you (spiritually).

"I seek You with all my heart; do not let me stray from Your commands. I have hidden Your word in my heart that I might not sin against You." Psalm 119: 10-11

"How sweet are Your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! I gain understanding from Your precepts; therefore I hate every wrong path. Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path." Psalm 119:103-105

"Too difficult," you say?
"Not an excuse," I say! How many movie lines can you quote? How many song lyrics do you know by heart? How many ad slogans are stuck in your head permanently? You get the point. You can memorize Bible verses; it may take longer time and it may take some tools to help such as Scripture memory CDs/DVDs and index cards, but it can be done. Sadly, some parents/teachers make their students memorize poems, famous political speeches and documents, etc. but never or hardly encourage them to memorize the Scriptures. It gives me great joy to see my kids delight in the Lord and His Word.

"Too busy," you say?
"Not an excuse," I say! Do you still eat your meals even on the days you are busy? If you take care of your body by taking in nutrients through eating your food everyday, why would you ignore feeding yourself with God's Word and be willing to starve yourself spiritually? Without taking in God's Word daily, you will get weaker and weaker spiritually. It's easier to get discouraged, tempted, and deceived when you don't constantly consult with God-given life's manual/instruction guide. People seem to have time to gain knowledge from books and the internet yet have no time to search for wisdom from God's Word? Reading/ studying the Bible each day is very important. Now...think of memorizing Bible verses as eating snacks throughout the day. Snacks give us an extra boost of energy and sustain/fulfill us until our next meal. Bible memorization is similar but even better :)...keeping us energized throughout our lifetime (once in a while, we may need to review what we've already memorized because forgetfulness does happen to some of us :)).

"How to increase your faith: Expose your mind to God's Word, more & more, more & more, more & more." ~James MacDonald



This post is linked up with In 'Other' Words @Sunflower Faith, Faith-Filled Friday @Beholding Glory, Spiritual Sundays, Sharing His Beauty @The Beauty in His Grip, Playdates with God at The Wellspring, and "Hear It, Use It" @Graceful.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Friday's Fave Five #64

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

My Fave Five this week:-

1. My 18 yo daughter, Alyssa's ebook, Deadly Delirium, is on Amazon. How cool :)!


2. You can read my daughter's interviews here, here, here, and here


3.
This quote by J.C. Ryle: "We must cast away everything which hinders us upon our road towards heaven – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye and the pride of life; the love of riches, pleasures and honors, the spirit of lukewarmness and carelessness and indifference about the things of God – ALL must be rooted out and forsaken if we are anxious for the prize. We must mortify the deeds of the body, we must crucify our affections for this world."

4. My three great giveaways: - The Mighty Macs DVD (3/4)
                                                  - Three Hearts DVD (3/14)...a must-see documentary!
                                                  - Miami Vineyard LIVE CD (3/17)

5.
Last Friday, we studied about David and Goliath at our Bible Study with the international students. Then I found this video. I fell in love with the song immediately :).

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

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Book Review: Bonhoeffer by Eric Metaxas



Bonhoeffer (Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy) is a powerful, in-depth biography of German-born Dietrich Bonhoeffer, one of the most daring yet humble heroes of the 20th century. Eric Metaxas captures Bonhoeffer's life in vivid detail and presents those details effectively from his childhood to his death. Bonhoeffer courageously stood against Hitler and the Nazis. He really lived out what he believed and preached! He wore many hats: pastor, author, theologian, pacifist, and spy. He did it all with integrity, honor, conviction, compassion, uncompromising passion for God's truth, desire to uphold justice and defend the defenseless. Sadly, even German "Christians" sympathized with the Nazis. Bonhoeffer openly criticized both: the Nazi ideology and the (wrong) doctrine of German "Christians". He challenged fellow Christ's followers in his country to stand with the Jews in their time of need. He became one of the founders of the oppositional Confessing Church and refused to accept Hitler as leader. Bonhoeffer eventually participated in the unsuccessful attempt to assassinate Hitler and was hanged (at age 39) three weeks before the end of WWII.

This book challenges me to ponder...What is a moral person/a Christian to do in a time of vicious oppression by a tyrannical ruler? Will we choose to do nothing or to fight for freedom and resist the evil? Bonhoeffer looked deeply into his soul, his conscience, and God's Word, in an effort to decide where his responsibilities lay. This superb biography is informative, well-researched, and intensely engaging. From this book, we learn about Bonhoeffer's upbringing, personality, relationships, writings, travels, experiences, and faith journey. Bonhoeffer was a truly inspiring, remarkable man of God! This is a thick book (542 pages of main text) but an enjoyable and excellent read. A true story of love, courage, faith, sacrifice, choices, Christian ethics, struggle, life & death...a man who lived and died for God and God's principles! A doctor at Flossenburg prison, who witnessed Bonhoeffer's execution, described, "I was most deeply moved by the way this lovable man prayed, so devout and so certain that God heard his prayer. At the place of execution, he again said a short prayer and then climbed the steps to the gallows, brave and composed. His death ensued after a few seconds. In the almost fifty years that I worked as a doctor, I have hardly ever seen a man die so entirely submissive to the will of God." (p.532) The book also includes black & white photographs and a Reading Group Guide. Very well written plus a splash of humor here and there :). I highly recommend it.

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

~ I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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