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Encouragement for Life

Category: Faith Journey

For Real, Not for Pretend!

My four year old son, Caleb has discovered the difference between real and pretend.  He came running to me one morning yelling, “I have my underwear on for real momma!”  Another afternoon Caleb hollered in his little mischievous voice, “daddy is home!” and then snickered before telling me that he was just pretending.  Last week, I overheard him telling his twin friends about how he had asked Jesus into his heart to heal him.  He said adamantly, “I asked Jesus for real, not for pretend!” 



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Your Most Important Relationship

Have you ever wondered where we get the concept of relationship?  Why do we desire relationships with people?  Why do we enjoy good friendships and want to share life with others?  There is a deep longing in our hearts for significant and lasting relationships but why is this so?  How is it that a heart knows it needs relationships in order to satisfy its most insatiable cravings? 



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Without a Compass

I was nine years old when our family escaped from communism in Vietnam.  My aunt paid gold to fishermen from a fishing village called Chu Hai to secure our family’s place on their boat, CH 25.  Thirty five adults and seven children were tightly packed on the 36 x 42 feet wooden fishing boat with no covered protection on the deck.  In search of refuge and freedom from communist oppression, we risked our lives in spite of my mom being almost six months pregnant.  Two days into the journey, it was revealed that the crew had not brought along a compass!  With no navigation instruments, no radio, and no means of communication, our boat was lost.  But, my grandmother and some people on the boat began praying fervently because they believed God was our only compass. 



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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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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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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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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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Borrowed Faith

When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned like a child but when I grew up, I put childish things away (1 Corinthians 13:11).  As a child growing up in Vietnam during the war, I remember my grandma’s strong Catholic faith.  I believe it was her unrelenting prayers and trust in God which brought our family through many fearful times.  I relied on her faith a great deal even after she passed away. 



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God is not safe, but He is in control! - Part II

God is our safe haven but choosing to follow Him feels risky because we have to step into unchartered territory.  Amidst life’s disappointments and sorrows, I know full well that in the arms of Jesus is SAFETY.  The bible describes God as one’s refuge, shield, shelter, fortress, strength, protector, and defender.  David trusted in these attributes of God.  He didn’t take matters into his own hands but risked his life believing God would keep him safe from those pursuing him.  Indeed, God is safe but trusting Him to the place of obedience feels very unsafe.   Yet, if we are to know God intimately this path is inevitable.  It is the narrow path which Jesus said would lead to eternal life. 



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God is not safe, but He is in control! - Part I

In the movie It’s A Wonderful Life George Bailey says, “I know what I’m gonna do tomorrow, and the next day, and the next year, and the year after that”.  Many of us have this mindset.  We like to know what is ahead and are comfortable when we are in control of where our lives are headed.  It feels so unsafe to entrust ourselves to a God we cannot see or understand.  Yet, this idea of releasing control is the essence of a Christian life.   



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