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Encouragement for Life

Holy Week Reflection: Dying to Self

A few weeks ago, I began the Lenten season with a commitment to live a more disciplined life by dealing with destructive eating habits.  I’ve done fairly well, staying on track with healthy and regular meals.  Of course there have been a few days when I’ve reverted to old ways but thankfully that has not been the norm.  With God’s help, I continue to make progress each day. 



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God is Your Hiding Place

My boys love to play hide and seek.  One particular day they were playing this game during a thunderstorm when the roaring of thunder frightened Caleb, who was 2 at the time.  He ran into big brother Isaiah’s bed and hid.  From the upstairs hallway I heard Isaiah’s comforting words, “don’t be afraid Caleb.  God is your hiding place!” 



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Disciplining My Indulgence

When I decided to give up candy for Lent, I had no idea of the healing journey God had prepared for me.  One that has long been overdue and neglected because I’ve been in God’s way.  I questioned whether I could live a disciplined life in a culture overflowing with indulgences.  Certainly, the world does not help me curb my appetite but persist in testing the limits of my discipline.  Technology has made everything accessible with just a touch.  It isn’t necessary to crave anything for long because I am never living without.  I realized that unless there is a desire to honor God with a life of discipline, I will not make an intentional effort to resist against indulging in the pleasures of this world. 



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The Forgiveness of God

When he misbehaves, my 3 year old son Caleb will often ask me, “Momma, can you forgive me?” He is very persistent and will repeat the question until I answer with a hearty “Yes!” and mean it from the heart!  Even at his sweet young age, my son sincerely wants to be forgiven when he knows he has done wrong.  What a great reminder for me to be honest, persistent, and sincere in seeking forgiveness when I fail!   



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Looking for Love

When I was single, I'd always hope for a love interest so Valentine’s Day wouldn't be so unbearable.  I thought if I had someone to celebrate the day with, I would feel loved.  So, I did my best to get noticed and to receive attention, hoping maybe I would find love.  I didn't know what love meant but I knew I needed it.  I hungered for it.  Sadly though, I was looking for it in all the wrong people and places.  I longed to know that I matter to someone, anyone.  I always thought I was crazy for feeling this way.  I hated myself for being so needy, for wanting to be loved.  I didn’t know that God created me with the need to be loved so that I would feel valued, accepted and purposeful.  God created all of us this way so it is natural that we yearn for love and go searching for it.  To our detriment though, we turn to man for the interpretation of love instead of God.  It is no surprise then that our attempts at love often fails.  Perhaps, we need to consider what God has to say about love.



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In Search of Change

Each New Year, I renew my commitment to know God more and to follow him deeper.  I’ve learned though that following God isn’t about me having it all together, it is about God having it all together.  People often tell me they can’t come to God because their lives are a mess and they don’t have it all together.  Then, there are some who say they have it all together so they don’t need God.   The encouraging truth is, God brings order to our messes and he is the only one who has it all together!



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Made for Relationships

Do you know Jesus personally?  I was in my twenties when I first heard this question.  I didn’t hear about the name of Jesus growing up.  I knew about a higher being but that was the extent of my faith.  At the most desperate point in my life, God chose to reveal his Son Jesus to me because I had prayed for a new beginning.  How merciful of God to honor my prayers by introducing me to Jesus, the one who came to make all things new.  Today, I know Jesus personally not because I prayed a simple prayer but because I invest time to pray and read God’s Word daily.  I used to follow the hollow rituals of religion, now I have a relationship with God through his son Jesus.



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Sacrificial Giving: When Giving Hurts

My best memory of Christmas was when I was 10 years old and received gifts for the very first time.  The generosity of God was expressed to me through people I did not know and it has nurtured in me a heart of gratitude and a desire to give.  Today, I find great delight in giving to others because of what God has done for me.  It hasn’t always been easy to give when there are things I would like to have but I give because of God’s generosity towards me. 



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God is Enough

 Lately, I have been discontented with many things.  The disappointments of life, waiting on God, the desire to have more, and the list keeps growing.  Why am I so dissatisfied?  Then, I came across this quote from John Piper’s ministry, Desiring God.  “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him”.  My deepest desire is to bring glory to God but perhaps God has not been most glorified in me because I have not been most satisfied in Him. 



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Can't Get Enough

Can I share a little secret with you?  I LOVE ice cream!  Yes, I do.  I could eat it everyday a few times a day!  In fact, when our family first arrived in America we had ice cream every night because it was a new treat for us.  We couldn’t get enough of it for the first few years.  The frosty upstairs apartment with icicles on the inside of the windows did not hinder our daily consumption of frozen dairy!  So, we bundled up and ate it by the furnace in the living room.  Being so mal-nutritious from 9 months in the Malaysian refugee camp, we had room to put on a few pounds!



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