Thursday, November 25, 2010

giving thanks.

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. [1 Thessalonians 5:16-18]

I love Thanksgiving; it’s by far my favorite holiday. And while I love me some ham (yeah, not so much a turkey fan), stuffing, mashed potaters, with a slice (or two) of pumpkin pie, there are such greater things to be thankful for. I love how my family comes together, I love how we can share our blessings, I love how we’re that much closer to CHRISTmas. I especially love this holiday because it provokes an “attitude of gratitude.” This particular holiday allows us to take a little break from our busybee lives, take the attention off ourselves and project our thankfulness elsewhere.

Although I would love to list out the oodles of blessings that make my heart overflow with gratitude, I can sum it all up in giving thanks to the Giver of all these gifts. Without giving thanks to the One who provides all these things, these things would just be tangible, expendable things. And I hope that God grows our hearts to rejoice always regardless if we have all this stuff or if we’re experiencing favorable circumstances for God alone is the sufficient source of gratitude.

So thank You, oh gracious God, for everything You are. You are a God who is consistent, who loves unconditionally, who has given us Your Word that we may learn about You by the power of the Holy Spirit, who hears the cries of our hearts, who comforts us in the most trying times, who places beautiful people and opportunities in our lives, who provides blessings that we do not deserve. But most importantly God, thank You for the gift of Your Son, Jesus, who is more than just a “good example.” He suffered the horrific punishment in our place and served as a sufficient sacrifice to reconcile us to You as he conquered sin and death so that we may live. Forgive us for often being ungrateful or being negligent of the Giver of all the luxuries we have. May we be challenged to maintain this spirit of thanksgiving throughout the year because there is always something to be thankful for.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

beyond this life.

I often think about heaven...

- What will it be like? What will I do there? Where will I live? Who will I be reunited with? Who will I meet? While I may dream about roads paved in gold and a grand mansion to rest in, all of that won't matter because I'm pretty sure my one concern and the first person I'll want to see is Jesus himself! What will I say to him? What will he say to me? What will I do? I think my main priority would be to thank him for saving me. It's like that one song, I can only imagine...

- How awful would it be if we were accepted into heaven based on our works alone? I bet no one would get in, elbowing each other to get to the front of the line, trying to outdo each other, claiming that they did more than the next person and, therefore, deserve a better place in heaven. Everyone would be arguing and competing over what they did and how it entitles them to VIP treatment in heaven. But we can never earn heaven because we can never deserve heaven. We deserve quite the opposite. That would be horrible if we had to work our way to heaven, but thank God that all we have to do is receive the gift of eternal life through faith. It is his pure love, mercy and grace that reconciles us to him even though we don't deserve it. We don't have to do anything, everything has already been done for us.

- Why not think of living for today instead? While I do appreciate every day that God blesses me with, the opportunities, the people, etc, I know that time here on this earth is but a vapor and there is more beyond this life. I am so extremely grateful for every moment here and I hope to take advantage of every moment here. But I also do want to set my mind on heavenly things instead of idly absorbing the illusions of what the world offers. So I hope to live this life that is pleasing to the very God that sustains my life to experience it.

- And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Behold,the dwelling placeof God is with man. He willdwell with them, and they will be his people,and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, anddeath shall be no more,neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away." [Revelation 21:4]

I long for this day. Wouldn't you, my friend? Let's talk.

Friday, October 22, 2010

run with endurance.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a could of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God [Hebrews 12:1-2]

After fighting through a fun week of a sore throat, runny nose (and all that other good stuff), I was determined to suck it up for 13.1 miles this Sunday for the LB half marathon. I wasn’t feeling nearly as prepared as the Surf City Half back in February and my excitement was buried beneath tissues and a lack of motivation. The night before, I meditated on these verses and completely surrendered it all to God. As always, I knew I would surely need God to be my strength.

Brento and I arrived in gloomy Long Beach by 5am as the dark streets were jam-packed with proud runners stuffed in cars with bumper stickers like “Divas <3 to Run.” We stretched out, waited in a ginormous line for the potty and headed to the start line.

Miles 1 and 2 were a breeze while hundreds of us ran like a school of fishies. At mile 3 and 4, I was still feeling good, feeding off the energy of the diverse and enthusiastic crowd. Then at miles 5-8, I felt my body shutting down. I felt defeated as people kept zooming by me, but my competitve nature would not allow that. As my pride increased, so did the pain. My bad left knee was about to go out, my lungs were pushing full throttle by then. The energy bar from earlier and baby cups of powerade throughout the race were just not cuttin’ it. By mile 9, my vision was blurred and I had to stop several times to stretch out and breathe. More intense prayer kicked in by now. Miles 10 and 11 were a fight with myself although the cheers on the sidelines and strangers’ high fives gave me little boosts throughout the way. Then on mile 12, I just couldn’t do it. I had to stop. As I started to walk, I suddenly noticed a shirtless man ahead of me with a fatty tattoo on his back of a cross on a hill. I started to pick up the pace once again, feeling unusually rejuvenated and literally fixed my eyes on the cross to draw me to that finish line.

Now, the race continues and I must press on.
And I must remember where to focus my eyes---
on You, oh Lord, help me to always fix my eyes on You.

how’s that for some sky candy?

Now, summer’s not leaving without a fight. The heavy heat’s been rolling in for several days now… and so have some of the most beautiful clouds I’ve ever seen!! These pictorals were taken on my way to and from work. I just had to stop and snap some photos of these sights. I just had to stop and worship. All I could think was, “wow God, just wow.” What an absolute blessing to be surrounded by amazing sights of Creation, pieces of evidence that a genius Creator truly exists!

Full of splendor and majesty is his work, and his righteousness endures forever! [Psalm 111:3]

As I am amazed of your wonderful works and thankful for all the blessings in my life, oh God, I pray that I am even more in awe of who YOU are and the most wonderful gift that You have given to us. I pray that I remember that Creation is a mere reflection of the Creator. And oh how beautiful it is and how beautiful You are, indeed.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


No matter how much I try and try, I am always reminded I cannot do this on my own. So, once again, I give up. It’s pretty exhausting trying to do all and be all. Lord, please help me to surrender. My little heart is filled with big ambitions, but I know that you, oh God, are even bigger and greater and Your guiding hand will direct my steps. I want to surrender my desires, my heart, my talents, my goals, my life into Your hands because I know that You know what is best for me. If I’m not living to wholeheartedly know, worship and love You, I’m obviously focusing on the wrong thing. Forgive me for seeking pleasure in silly places. You alone can satisfy. You are all I need. Nothing else can fill these voids but You and nothing else deserves such praise. I pray that the good news would captivate my heart once again and open my eyes to see that You encompass everything perfect and lovely.

WOW, i was seriously brought to tears when watching this. How encouraging to know that these guys can use their God-given talents to reach so many people in sharing the truth of how we absolutely need God. I hope those who view this video look beyond the tight dancing (because it was super tight!!) and really focus on the driving force behind it—- Jesus Christ. We need him. Thank you Vinh, Keone and Mari for sharing this and glorifying God through the talents He has blessed you with. Praise the Lord foreal.

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. [Colossians 3:17]


"I love you, O LORD, my strength.
[Psalm 18:1]"

Right now, I am weak. I am frazzled. I am vulnerable. I am helpless without You. My heart is heavy. My mind wanders.

But You, O LORD, are my strength and my refuge.

I don’t know a whole lot, but I know You are real and I know you are the reason for every blessing and with me through every trial.

God is good.

I find myself wandering into temptation, finding comfort and contentment in foolish things. It’s such a struggle when we know what we should do, but our fleshy desires direct us elsewhere. Why splash in the mud for a little while when God offers you the most wonderful riches for all eternity?

Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires, not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased. - C.S. Lewis

Dear God, I know that what You offer is beyond comprehension. Even the most satisfying things in life cannot compare to what You have in store for those who believe and trust in You. I also know that I am weak against temptation, so I pray that I would cling to You as my Rock because we know that my mind and heart can be rather unstable. I know that you know what is best for me. Increase my faith to live by that truth, a real doer of your word. Lord, enlarge my heart and open my eyes to acknowledge opportunities and fill me with the boldness to be a witness for You. And please soften hearts, break down walls, reveal Yourself to those who really need You for healing, comfort, direction and true love that they cannot receive from anyone else. We need You.

God is everything I need and I pray that He transforms my heart to genuinely make Jesus my greatest treasure. Because of him, my life would not make sense. He is the way, the truth and the life. He is the Creator of all things, the sustainer of life, the giver of all necessities, the strength in trials, the teacher of true knowledge, the leader in times of uncertainty, the source of abundant joy, the only one who can love perfectly.

God is so good. How can I not rejoice?

I am praying for you.

a God who knows.

In the midst of our suffering, our God is there, with a love ever so unfailing. Trust Him with your pain, place your hand in His, give your heart to Him, He won’t let you down.

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. [Hebrews 4:15]

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

homegirl ruby is having a pretty sweet giveaway!!

oh how i'd love to score me that snazzy polaroid camera!
other than that, check out her blog-a-roo!