The Antidote to Idolatry

Idolatry
My heart is full of shame in front of God! The more I saturate my heart with His Word and learn of His attributes, I feel more and more reverence for Him while I see more of my wickedness.

As I seek His evaluation of my heart by meditating upon His Word, I feel more and more guilty of a sin punishable by death–idolatry!

No, I didn’t mean that I carved a golden god, arrayed it in multihued garments, prayed to it and kept in my room!

I didn’t mean that I have posted photos of a model or a celebrity on the walls of my room and spent money on collecting her magazines!

Yet, I realize that I am having an idol.

In Christian lingo, an idol is anything that takes the place of God in our hearts. It can be a job, self-image, relationships, possessions and anything that diverts our attention and worship from Him alone.

Sadly, in this computer age, there are many things that can easily take God’s  stead in our hearts and this rivalry between God and idols around us goes on and on each day. It is a daily battle.

I have been reading the Bible without thinking whether I follow my reading plan or not. All I want this year is to read and meditate upon God’s word and eventually know Him experientially in a much deeper level.

This month, I have chosen to focus on the book of Deuteronomy. Reading through the chapters of this book, it is simply convicting how God reminded the Israelites through Moses how He hates idolatry!

“So watch yourselves, that you do not forget the covenant of the LORD your God which He made with you, and make for yourselves a graven image in the form of anything against which the LORD your God has commanded you. For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.” ~Deuteronomy 4:23-24

 Over and over, this type of reminder was mentioned and the greatest of all commandments is also written in this book. It says:

Deut. 6-5

And this verse encapsulates the antidote to idolatry–loving the LORD our God with all our being.

Now, how can we love the Lord our God with all our being? Let me give you a very short list of  what it means to love God with all our being. These are easier said and read than done.

1. Loving the LORD our God means  learning His word daily.

“It is simple.”, you may say. However, it’s one thing to read God’s word and it’s another thing to meditate upon (i.e. chew on, ponder upon) His statements.

Let’s revive the lost art of meditation! These days, it’s easy to like and follow Biblical Facebook pages but let me tell you this, there’s nothing much better than discovering jewels in God’s word by ourselves.

Going back to the fundamentals of spiritual growth is never old-fashioned! We need to ask God to give us the grace that will enable us to spend quality time with Him early in the morning and before we sleep.

Let’s remember that the time spent with God in meditation of His word and in prayers is never wasted! It doesn’t end in reading God’s word. We also need to think about how we can practically apply His word in our daily life and this leads to our next item.

2. Loving the LORD our God means living out His word daily.

Jotting down the important points that we learn from God’s word in a journal is priceless. We can look back to them and eventually, teach them to others. More often than not, we can use them when we are tested on what we have just recently learned about God and His Word regarding areas of our life. And here’s what’s awesome: God is glorified when we pass the test while claiming His grace through our testings! He is pleased and glorified when we are not just readers of His word but also doers of His word and will!

Now, how else can we manifest our love for God? That leads us to our next practical item.

3. Loving the LORD our God means longing to fellowship with Him daily.

When our hearts is filled with love for God, it overflows with a desire to seek Him. And here’s the promise to those who long to be close to Him.

“But from there you will seek the LORD your God, and you will find Him if you search for Him with all your heart and all your soul.” Deut. 4:29

How are you and your relationship with God? It’s only you and God who can give an honest evaluation of your heart’s condition. Is God still on the throne of your heart? Is He still getting the time He deserves from you?

Do you continue to learn His word, live out His word and long to fellowship with Him daily? Oh that the Lord our God would speak to your heart as He spoke to me!

Here is the antidote to any form of idolatry, my dear friend: loving the LORD our God with all our being!

5 Tips on How to Enjoy an Intercultural Marriage

Chances are you’re here because you are married to a foreigner. I get it. It’s harder than you thought it would be. You had pre-marital expectations and the real post-wedding scenarios are quite different from what you imagined.  Well, you are not alone. As one of my mentors married to a foreigner said to this effect, “Marriage in itself is difficult and marriage with someone from another culture is much more difficult.”

Let’s not dwell too much on the difficulty. Rather, let’s focus on the solution on how to ease the difficulty we have in our cross-cultural marriage. Take note, I am not claiming to be an expert here. I would just like to list the time-tested tips I have tried in my nine-year cross-cultural marriage.

1. Learn your spouses’ culture.

Do your due diligence in learning as much of his/her culture, custom and history as you can. Thank God there are resources readily available online. Here are the top three links or sites you may want to visit.

If you have a chance to live in his/her home country, observe the ways people behave and think. Also, ask your spouse as many questions as you can to feed your curiosity about their customs and traditions then adjust accordingly without compromising your personal convictions.

2. Learn his language.

Take an extra mile trying to learn his language. Here are the three easy steps that helped me learn my husband’s language.

a. I did a self-study using a grammar book on Bengali in English.
b. I interacted with the people in his village to practice what I learned.
c. I watched online resources like cartoons (lol!) to help me get more exposed to the language. If you are married to a Bangladeshi like me, try watching Meena cartoon.

You just don’t know how many doors of discoveries about your spouse can be opened if you would only try to understand how they express different emotions in their own tongue. You can save yourself from many misunderstandings if you do this.

Some takeaways from my experience?

  • First, never regret investing on books that can help you learn his mother tongue.
  • Second, do not underestimate the help you can get from others by simply using what you know. Things multiply when they are in proper use. 
  • Third, be creative in finding resources that will best help you learn your target language. More senses are involved, the better. Practice reading, writing and listening to his language!

3. Learn to eat/cook his/her country’s traditional cuisines.

As I stepped on the country of my husband, I knew how to cook mostly Filipinos dishes. Thank God for my parents and friends who taught me how to cook!

However, being married to a Bangladeshi, I had to learn how to cook both ordinary and special dishes to be prepared for guests. In their culture, having unexpected visitors is quite common and preparing either lunch or dinner for them is a must especially if they are relatives and if they came to visit from a far place.

I will always be forever grateful to my mother-in-law and sister-in-law who are very supportive in my endeavours to be a master chef of my own home. They give honest feedback and generous praise to whatever I cook.

4. Learn his/her beliefs.

While my husband and I are both Christians and agree in most of the doctrines there are in the Bible, I understand that there are also couples who are having interfaith marriage. One could be from a Christian background while the other is from a Muslim, Buddhist or Hindu background. This is when things become difficult. It will depend on your conviction as to which belief you will stick to. Please bear in mind, though, that you have children who would be the most influenced by the decision you are making. Which belief would you like your kids grow up embracing? Pray about it seriously. The last thing you would like to be is appearing to deny the faith God has placed in your heart.

5. Last but not the least, love and respect your differences.

No matter how different you are from each other, remember your vows to love and respect each other. You have your flaws and he has his. Embrace your differences and stay together in love for God’s sake.  Let love prevail!

Are you married to a foreigner? What are the tips you have on enjoying your marriage? Please share them in the comment section and help others learn from you too!

Day 7: Bible Lands Exploration 2016

One of the highlights of our Bible Lands Exploration 2016 happened on Day 7.

We came to see Jerusalem, a very controversial city these days!

While on the bus moving closer to the city, the first thing that captured our eyes was the “Dome of the Rock.”

As we got off the bus, we posed to take our group photos. All of us were excited to walk where Jesus walked on that day!

Our itinerary list included:

  • Mt. Olives
  • Palm Sunday Road
  • Gethsemane
  • Bethany
  • Tower of David
  • Ramparts

Have a look!

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Striking a group pose in Jerusalem (Photo Credit: Bro, Kenneth Cheong)

After our picture taking, we walked towards a tree-shaded place facing Mt. Olives and had a short introduction about Jerusalem there.

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On Mount of Olives while listening to an introduction of the place (Photo Credit: Bro. Kenneth Cheong)

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Our view of the Golden Gate from where we were having a short orientation about Jerusalem. (Photo Credit: Bro, Kenneth Cheong)

Our walk where Jesus walked started as we trod the Palm Sunday Road, which eventually led us to the “Garden of Gethsemane”. The garden you are seeing in the first photo in the collage below shows where Jesus is said to have agonized in prayer before His crucifixion.

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Beside that garden is a huge church called Church of All Nations” or “Basilica of Agony”. There, pilgrims can observe mosaics portraying a few scenarios in the Garden of Gethsemane before Christ’s crucifixion. Here are a few shots of what pilgrims see inside.

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Getting out, we all gathered together to read Mark 14:32-52. We overheard another group of tourists singing a moving hymn “We’re You There?” (Photo Credit: Bro. Kenneth Cheong)

Before heading to have lunch at Genesis Land, we attended a Baptist Church pastored by Rev. Atif Himadeh. It is a 30-plus-year-old church which continues to thrive by God’s grace.

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After our fellowship with the church people in FBBC, we finally arrived at Genesis Land, the place that became one of my favorite stops. There, we had a sumptuous lunch after having a camel ride guided by Actor Eliezer, Patriach Abraham’s assistant!

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Sadly, I can’t find our group’s photo with “Eliezer”.

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Here’s one with Patriarch Abraham. (Photo Credit: Bro. Jacob Lim)

Our tour continued in the Western Wall Tunnel. We were oriented on how this structure was connected to Jerusalem’s history. Inside, we were told and shown the archaeological findings like large stone arches, water pits, ancient aqueducts and so on.

Soon after finishing the tour in the Western Wall Tunnel, we treaded Via Dolorosa to get to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

We headed back to our hotel after that and made sure we had a restful night for our next day’s journey.

Our itinerary on Day 7 was a humbling reminder of God’s humbling story of love toward mankind. You can guess that the Garden of Gethsemane was also my favorite highlight on Day 7.

Indeed, places around the world are full of reminders of God’s magnificent glory. What did you realize from your recent vacation? Share them with us in the comment box below!

Enjoy your journey in life with God.

4 Life Lessons from Joseph’s Journey with God

All of us are treading a journey. Some are just beginning one and others are almost done. Many are at a point of success while some are still recovering from a life that was in shambles. Some are pretty sure of the direction they are heading while some are facing a crossroad. Some may be like me–at a point of relearning to follow God’s direction because life is simply full of the unknown.

Our journey will be totally pointless if we are not sure of our purpose in whatever route we are taking.

For our journey to be significant, we need an understanding of two key things–our purpose for living and an understanding of God Himself.

We can learn about God best from His inspired written word–the Bible.

At the beginning of year 2018, I started following a different Bible reading plan. That is, the chronological one. Whether I follow the traditional or the chronological one, nothing has changed. God speaks to me through His word.

In the book of Genesis chapters 37 and 39-50, I read of the detailed account of Joseph’s journey with God. I assume that you all know that Joseph (a.k.a. Joseph the Dreamer) received a colorful coat from his father because he was his father’s favorite. Once, he told of his dreams implying that his brothers will be under his authority someday. This resulted in the anger and jealousy of his brothers and him being sold by his brothers to Midianite traders. Lo and behold, Joseph found himself in Egypt serving Pharaoh.

God impressed upon my heart a few life lessons worth-remembering from Joseph’s journey with Him.

  1. Intimacy with God leads to earthly success.
    “The Lord was with Joseph, and he became a successful man…His master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord caused all that he did to succeed in his hands.” Genesis 39:3

    If you were to read the account of Joseph’s life in Genesis 39, the first few verses describe Joseph’s notable success in Egypt all because “the Lord was with Him.” It is an implication that Joseph had an intimate relationship with God. The result? Effective execution of his tasks and a visible success in the eyes of men. In light of that, we realize that whatever career we are pursuing or whatever calling we are fulfilling, people will notice when God’s blessing is upon us. God’s blessing is evident upon a person who keeps an intimate relationship with Him

  2. Intimacy with God leads to spiritual success.
    “And after a time his master’s wife cast her eyes on Joseph and said, ‘Lie with me.’ But he refused and said to his master’s wife, ‘Behold, because of me my master has no concern about anything in the house, and he has put everything that he has in my charge. He is not greater in this house than I am, nor has he kept back anything from me except you, because you are his wife. How then can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?’… But one day, when he went into the house to do his work and none of the men of the house was there in the house, she caught him by his garment, saying, ‘Lie with me.’ But he left his garment in her hand and fled and got out of the house.” Genesis 39:7-9

    Immorality is an abomination in the sight of God. Definitely, Joseph understands that principle and the holiness of God. In Joseph’s reverential fear of God, he ran away from the situation that tested his morality and chose to honor God and his earthly master even in his absence! Unless we fear the holy God, we cannot flee from temptation and achieve victory in our spiritual battles.

  3. Intimacy with God doesn’t exempt us from life’s tests. We read of the integrity of Joseph and yet he was falsely accused by the wife of Pharaoh (Genesis 39:13-18). Imagine Joseph’s stabbing pain in his heart caused by her false accusation and an unjust verdict from Pharaoh who once trusted him. Undeterred, Joseph kept his steadfast faith in God. We don’t see any record of Joseph’s complaints to God. You might be facing a trial you feel like you don’t deserve. It may seem to be beyond your understanding. Take a look at the example of Joseph and remain steadfast in believing that God knows what He is doing.
  4. Intimacy with God gains people’s favor.
    “So Joseph found favor in his [the Pharaoh’s] sight and attended him, and he made him overseer of his house and put him in charge of all that he had….But the Lord was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison. And the keeper of the prison put Joseph in charge of all the prisoners who were in the prison. Whatever was done there, he was the one who did it. The keeper of the prison paid no attention to anything that was in Joseph’s charge, because the Lord was with him. And whatever he did, the Lord made it succeed.” Genesis 39:4, 21-23 (emphasis added)

    Teachers, classmates, bosses and colleagues are not blind to God’s blessing upon His children who are walking closely with Him. In fact, they are confident that whatever task they give to faithful followers of God will be accomplished successfully.In the case of Joseph, Pharaoh was pleased with Joseph’s attitude toward work and so was the keeper of the prison.

The bottom line is intimacy with God brings both blessings and testings but we need to remain steadfast in clinging to our God whether we are on a mountaintop or valley on our journey. Let’s remember the life lessons from the life of Joseph.

Bangladeshi-Inspired Money & Time-Saving Hacks Worth-Trying

Time, as the cliché goes, is gold and a valuable commodity. It is something, that once lost, cannot be brought back. Baby Boomers, Generation X, millennials and iGens know this well.

It is why many of the best-selling books ever are the ones that aid people to manage their time wisely.

Now, I am not gonna sell anything that will help you save time. I want to share with you some of the precious time-saving hacks I have been learning in my journey as a wife while in Bangladesh.

1. Make a stash of garlic and onion paste using a blender.

Prepping ingredients for hearty and healthy meals can take up so much time and this hack is indeed a lifesaver. Yes, especially if you have unexpected guests! 😉

2. Cut the raw ingredients of your dishes for the next day the night before.

Remember to store them in your fridge to secure freshness.

3. Kindle stove fire using strips from carton boxes.

Save your matchsticks by using carton strips to kindle fire on your stove–that is if your stove knob isn’t working properly anymore.

4. Take your wrinkled clothes to a dry cleaning shop.

Here in Bangladesh, you can find laundry/dry cleaning shops that provide ironing service. We pay just a small fraction of money per clothes. Doing so saves me a lot of time and money!

5. Eat out less.

Generally, my husband and I have agreed not to eat out often. It is because of the rumors that some food stalls in Bangladesh don’t secure hygienic ingredients (e.g. fast food chains buy double dead chicken and use old oil to fry them). Sounds terrifying, doesn’t it? This makes me wonder why they sell them at expensive prices.

Needless to say, it is always much cheaper to cook your own meals at home! 😊

6. Hire a part-time help.

This may not sound practical in some countries but it is possible in Bangladesh. Hiring a part-time help is quite a common practice here. We can pay one to wipe our floors, cut ingredients good for a week or so or make them do whatever is necessary. We pay a certain amount per task.

In my experience here, hiring a full-time help can be more expensive and stressful. You may guess the reasons. 😉

7. Buy things in bulk.

Do you realize how much money you can save by buying things in bulk? This makes shopping less time-consuming and less expensive.

What items among the list have you tried? What are the time and money saving hacks have you been practicing? Please share them in the comments box below!

32 Life Lessons I Have Learnt So Far

The original title of this post was “31 Life Lessons I Have Learnt So Far.” Obviously, this has been in my drafts for more than a year. I was just inspired by a younger sister in Christ to finally post this because of her article I read here.  Is it too late to share with you the gems of life lessons I found in my borrowed 32 years on earth? Here you go:

  1. Drinking warm water on an empty stomach does wonders.
  2. Unhealthy food makes me feel lousy and healthy ones boost my energy.
  3. The purest joy I have ever known in life is having a personal relationship with God through Christ.
  4. I am a summary of how well or how poorly I use my time.
  5. My choices of words and actions reflect my view of God and the condition of my heart.
  6. Making decisions? Going ahead of God will hurt my soul.
  7. People come and go. Getting so emotionally attached to anyone is not healthy and wise. Jesus is the best friend I can ever have.
  8. Sin prevents me from enjoying an intimate relationship with God.
  9. Happiness doesn’t depend on my surroundings, but rather on the condition of my heart.
  10.  Primarily, God uses His word to give me an understanding of His character. He tests my knowledge of Him in the form of prosperity or adversity.
  11. My Heavenly Father wins me back to Him either through His lovingkindness or chastisement.
  12. Keeping a journal aids me in processing my emotions and helps me choose the right response to my situations.
  13. I have the ability to forgive others because God had forgiven me of my own sins.
  14. God hears my simplest prayers.
  15. Giving God the first part of my day enables me to complete my tasks at hand. Skipping my devotions is the best recipe for a bad day.
  16. “I can never outgive God.”
  17.  Colossians 3:23 is a great verse to live by. “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily as unto the Lord and not unto men.”
  18. It is never healthy to surround myself with negative people so I should choose my friends wisely.
  19. I can turn my worry list into my prayer list.
  20. When I have free time, I should read books or do something that will draw me closer to my life goals.
  21. The cure to pride is remembering that God is good to all. That’s the same antidote to jealousy. God being good to all means He is good to me! (Psalm 145:9)
  22. The way I live, dress up, speak, and behave says much about whether I care about the unsaved souls around me.
  23. It’s never worth anything to run away from God’s will. Peace only comes from complete obedience to God.
  24. By helping others without expecting anything in return, I give God the opportunity to show Himself faithful in providing my needs in a special way.
  25. Increasing my financial literacy includes learning the right stewardship of the money God entrusts me. Grow in giving, saving and investing.
  26. Being treated negatively by mean people doesn’t entitle me to be mean as well. Gotta pay evil with good.
  27. Minimalism spares me from a lot of stress. Speak less, spend less. As the cliché goes, “Less is more.”
  28. Disappointments are meant to make me better, not bitter.
  29. The real blessed (happy) people are the ones who suffer a lot for righteousness’ sake.
  30. When God sends trials, He always has His glory in mind and the betterment of my relationship with Him.
  31. My failures give me a great privilege to try again next time. Giving up is never an option.
  32. I don’t deserve anything from God so I should stay grateful to Him for all the undeserved blessings He gives me.

Indeed, life is the greatest learning platform. As long as we are breathing, we have the opportunity to grow personally, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Isn’t it an exciting thought that every moment is a learning opportunity?

What are the lessons you have been learning on your personal journey? Share them with me in the comments below.

Leaning on Jesus, (1)

 

A Simple Trick to Shoo Satan Away

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Did you read that? Isn’t that a beautiful thanksgiving prayer? This same prayer reflects what has been in my heart. I praise God that Satan’s attack on God’s submissive children will always end up frustrated all by HIS grace.

Yes, we may trip and stumble along the way but thank God for Psalm 37:23-24. It says,

The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the Lord upholdeth him with his hand.”

A PERSONAL TESTIMONY

I have observed personally that the more I make decisions to pursue godliness in my life, I find that Satan works his fingers to his bones to preclude me from fulfilling my goals.

It should not surprise me because as the Bible indicates, Satan seeks to destroy God’s children with busyness and all sorts of afflictions (1 Peter 5:8).

Continuing to tread my life’s journey this far made me realize one thing: I should talk with Satan as often as He tempts me to disobey God.

Yes, I do need to pray and put on the whole armor of God as the Apostle Paul suggests us to do in Ephesians 6:10-20 but I also have to shoo Satan away! That entails talking to him and making him stop as often as he annoys me with twisted truths.

One book I read in my college years says that just as one person is afraid of his enemy’s name, Satan is terrified by the name of Jesus. Hence, anytime Satan tries to attack us, we should tell him boldly something to this effect, “Get away from here Satan, in Jesus’ name! You’re a loser and hell will always be your future destination. You can never get me to your side!”

(Lol!) It might sound funny and charismatic but I have been doing what the author suggested for years. And you know what? It is effective!

The bottom line is we can shoo Satan away using Jesus’ powerful name!

Have a victorious journey!

Leaning on Jesus, (1)

10 Powerful Quotes on Forgiveness

I don’t know about you but I find my fleeting days on earth extremely tough at times. I admit that my own journey as a sojourner in this world, that is not my home, can be trying and exhausting.

In our mission field, I meet extremely good-natured people and occasionally, I encounter difficult ones–ones who do not comprehend intentionally where I am coming from–the ones whom I expect to be apologetic for having said or done something that hurt me but are not. What am I supposed to do then?

It is undeniable that the Adversary (the devil) can tempt me to dwell in despondency, stir the bitter thoughts in my heart and make me sulk in one corner. I feel like this area of my life is what He attacks most often especially when I decide to be more committed to praying for people in my life (i.e. my family, friends, fellow-workers in the ministry and faithful life mentors). He knows that I find it hard to pray when I am hurt and when I hold a grudge against another.

The Holy Spirit, however, urges me to:

  • renew my mind, recall God’s forgiveness and commands me to forgive others as He has forgiven me (Romans 12:1-2; Ephesians 4:32). 
  • remember that Satan is simply using other people to distract me from my focus on loving the people Jesus loves dearly (1 Peter 5:8).
  • let go of the situation and let Him deal with the people who offended me. (Romans 12:19)

Since I am well aware that Satan’s goal is to play with an idle mind, which is his workshop, I made an effort to fill my quiver with ten powerful quotes on forgiveness. Along with the Scriptures, I hope that this quotes-filled quiver I am about to share with you will equip you to forgive others easier, just as it did to me.

  1. “It is nobler to forgive and let the offense pass. To let an injury rankle in your bosom and to meditate revenge is to keep old wounds open and to make new ones. Better forget and forgive.” – Charles H. Spurgeon.
  2. “We are to forgive so that we may enjoy God’s goodness without feeling the weight of anger burning deep within our hearts. Forgiveness does not mean we recant the fact that what happened to us was wrong. Instead, we roll our burdens onto the Lord and allow Him to carry them for us.” – Dr. Charles Stanley
  3. “Don’t get impatient with others. Remember how God dealt with you – with patience and gentleness.” – Oswald Chambers
  4. “Holding a grudge doesn’t make you strong; it makes you bitter. Forgiving doesn’t make you weak; it sets you free.” – Dave Willis
  5. “Nothing in the Christian life is more important than forgiveness-our forgiveness of others and God’s forgiveness of us.” – John F. MacArthur
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  7. “If I say, ‘Yes, I forgive, but I cannot forget,’ as though the God, who twice a day washes all the sands on all the shores of all the world, could not wash such memories from my mind, then I know nothing of Calvary love.” – Amy Carmichael
  8. “Forgiveness is the key that unlocks the door of resentment and the handcuffs of hatred. It is a power that breaks the chains of bitterness and the shackles of selfishness.” – Corrie Ten Boom
  9. “Choosing to forgive always honors God.” – Lysa Terkeust
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Since forgiveness of our sins is one of the greatest gifts God has ever given us, forgiving our offenders is not only the best gift we could give them but most of all, to ourselves.

God knows the paths of our journey ahead of us. He knows that random people could offend, betray or hurt us. Let us praise God for Jesus has set us an example of forgiveness and prayer for the Father to “forgive them [our offenders] for they do not know what they are doing.”

How do you process your pain or hurt? What are the quotes on forgiveness you find freeing? Kindly share them with me and our readers so we could enjoy our journey with a peaceful heart.

Leaning on Jesus, (1)

Free Bible Reading Plan in Bengali for New Believers

Upon seeing people in our field profess faith in Jesus as their Lord and Savior, one of our desires as missionaries is to see their growth in their walk with God and to see them nurture their new relationship with God through Christ by studying the Bible systematically.

My husband and I cannot let it just be a goal or a burden. We needed to take an action to fulfill our desire.

I did my research last year and came up with a 60 day-Bible reading plan. My husband helped editing my translation.

In this post, I am sharing a copy of the said plan. Find your copy here and we will be delighted if you would share this to anyone you know who may need it. We hope and pray that this will aid new Bengali believers in their journey with God.

Indeed, as David said,

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If we want a prosperous spiritual life, our delight must be in the word of God. As you would see, everything else will follow.

Let us all together continue to exalt God’s word and make God known to people we meet in our journey.

Belated Merry Christmas and have a blessed new year!

Leaning on Jesus, (1)

Day 6: Bible Lands Exploration 2016

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Our Bible Lands Exploration continued on Day 6. That was on March 4, 2016.

We started off by having a sumptuous breakfast at David Dead Sea Resort & Spa and then, we headed to our most-awaited destinations by our tour bus.

As usual, we had our short group prayer for God’s blessing upon our trip.

Our itinerary included the following:

  • Masada
  • Ein Gedi
  • Qumran

First Stop: Masada

Our stop there began with an introduction of the place by our tour guide at the lobby of the park. Bro. Yony taught us details about it using a model fortress. Honestly, I don’t remember all the details shared by Bro. Yony (my fault!) but thank God that Dr. Berrey provided a trip guide. According to it, Masada literally means “fortress”.

The only significant piece of information I remember about the place were that it was built by King Herod the great to be his own palace and that it turned out to be a fortress for the Jews who were in rebellion against the Roman empire in the past.

We took a cable car to see the ruins of this mountain-top fortress.

Here are a few photos of our visit there:

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Our photo on top of Masada which I requested from one of the photographers in our group, Bro. Jacob.

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Photo Credit: Bro. Kenneth Cheong

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I have run out of battery on that day so my pictures on Day 6 were very limited. I left my charger in our previous hotel. Lol!

Second Stop: Ein Gedi

This was a magnificent rocky place that has a refreshing oasis towards the heart of it. Anyone trekking the place will find it revivifying to see and hear the flowing waters from the spring after an arduous walk.

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This place has canyons, which were said to have enabled David to elude King Saul who attempted to kill him out of jealousy. (Photo Credit: Bro. Kenneth Cheong)

Here are a few of the shots I was able to take with my limited camera battery.

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These pictures were just understatement of the beauty of the place. I am so sorry that I am not giving the actual beauty of the place justice with my poor photography skills!

Third Stop: Qumran

If you have heard of the Dead Sea Scrolls, then the place that should spring to your mind is Qumran.

Qumran is a desert with caves where the Dead Sea scrolls were found. These fragmentary scrolls are prominent finds since they shed light to many religious questions and provided copies of the original manuscript of the Bible.

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One of the caves in Qumran. (Photo Credit: Bro. Kenneth Cheong)

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A few of the team members while climbing up one of the Qumran caves.

Reflection:
All the places we saw on Day 6 were breathtaking!

Ein Gedi was the most special for me though. God reminded me through that place that no matter how difficult our journey in this world is, we can always find refreshment for our soul from His precious word.

Indeed, the Bible is an oasis of wisdom and strength and a source of refreshment for a thirsty soul.

Let us continue to draw strength from God’s word as we continue in our life’s journey.

Leaning on Jesus, (1)

 

 

 

Day 5: Bible Lands Exploration 2016

Here’s another segment of my posts on our Bible Lands Exploration 2016.

As Day 5 came, we realize that our days in Israel were getting shorter and shorter but at the same time, they were getting more and more exciting!

Our tour guides had arranged to take us to the following places on that day:

  • Mt. Arbel
  • Mt. Precipice
  • Nazareth Village
  • Beit She’an National Park

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Facing a cool weather each morning in Israel, we would normally put our jackets and mufflers on. That was the same on Day 5.

First Stop: Mount Arbel

What is significance of this place in Israel’s history? Where was this place mentioned in the Bible? Those are the usual questions an explorer has in mind when visiting a place in the Holy Land.

According to our tour guide, this mountain was never mentioned in the Bible but climbing up this mountain enables a Bible Lands explorer to catch a view of Sea of Galilee.

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This shot was taken on top of Mt. Arbel. (Photo Credit: Bro. Jerry Teng)

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View from the top of Mt. Arbel (Photo Credit: Bro. Kenneth Cheong)

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The way we were seated here reminds me of the Sermon on the Mount. (Photo Credit: Bro. Kenneth Cheong)

Next Stop: Mt. Precipice

We climbed up to this mountain and we were given an opportunity to view Jezreel plain and the whole Nazareth village.

Below is a borrowed photo from Bro. Kenneth Cheong, which describes Mt. Precipice.

I didn’t have enough camera charge so I was not able to take a lot of photos there.

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Photo Credit: Bro. Kenneth Cheong

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View of Nazareth Village from top of Mt. Precipice (Photo Credit: Bro. Kenneth Cheong)

Next Stop: Nazareth Village

Our stop here was one of my favorites as we were given a chance to experience what it must have felt like to live in the times of Jesus. We were shown a shepherd and his flock of sheep, locals dressed up in ancient clothes, a wine press, a replica of the grave of Jesus, a few fossils related to Jesus’ life, an oil press, and a synagogue.

The highlight of our visit there was the Passover meal we shared with other Bible Land explorers from other groups.

Take note, this was the place where we met Biyahe ni Andrew’s Team who were also exploring the holy land in order to feature it in their program.

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Passover Meal (Photo Credit: Bro. Kenneth Cheong)

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Photo Credit: Bro. Kenneth Cheong

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A winepress (Photo Credit: Bro. Kenneth Cheong)

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Two men in our group with an actor shepherd. (Photo Credit: Bro. Kenneth Cheong)

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A farmer with his donkey. (Photo Credit: Bro. Kenneth Cheong)

Last Stop: Beth Shean

Beth Shean is a city in Israel which reflects Roman influence. We learned that this area belonged to the tribe of Manasseh. It is known to have been the place where King Saul’s body was hung by the Philistines based on 1 Samuel 13:10.

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Beth Shean (Photo Credit: Bro. Jerry Teng)

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Distant View of Beit Shean (Photo Credit: Bro. Kenneth Cheong)

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Photo Credit: Bro. Kenneth Cheong

Reflection:

I am humbled by God’s mercy to have been to these places. The areas I have seen personally will always aid me as I read God’s word as I now have a vivid picture of them in my mind.

I would like to acknowledge the many photographers in our group who shared high quality photos of the sites we visited so we can always look back at how our memorable, fun and edifying our tour went!

Leaning on Jesus, (1)

Day 4: Bible Lands Exploration 2016

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I know. This post may seem outdated but I still want to complete my post on my once-in-a-lifetime-trip to the Holy Land. I want to keep my word and continue sharing with you our memorable trip in the land of the heroes of faith. I so appreciate your patience in waiting for this to finally go live.

On Day 4 of our Bible Lands exploration, a cloudy and yet cozy morning greeted us. All of us were excited to see that our itinerary included Chorazin, Bethsaida, Capernaum, Jesus’ Boat Museum, a boat ride in the Sea of Galilee and a quick stop at a farmer’s market.

Oh yes, we had St. Peter’s fish for lunch that day. It was a bit funny for some of us. I personally thought St. Peter’s Fish is something I haven’t tried out before. To my surprise, it was a Tilapia–a kind of fish I usually had back in the Philippines. (lol!) 🙂

First Stop: Chorazin

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A city cursed by Jesus–that’s what Chorazin is known for. It was cursed because people there did not accept Jesus’ teachings (Matthew 11:20-24, Luke 10:13-14).

The very first thing Bro. Yoni, our tour guide, showed us in Korazim National Park was a tree with thorns (i.e. Zizyphus spina-Christi)–the type of tree from which the crown Jesus wore on the cross was made.

Dr. Berrey took his turn to orient us about a few things in the said park. He showed us an ancient synagogue allowing us to imagine what it was like to be sitting and listening to Jesus’ sermon. We also found the replica of the Seat of Moses from which Torah used to be read.

Significant ruins shown to us by Bro. Yoni in the park included houses made with black basalt stones, carved pillars, ritual baths (mikveh) and olive oil press among others.

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Chorazin

 

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Just sharing a beautiful shot by a kind brother in Christ. I was trying to jot down notes so I can remember a few of the many pieces of information from our trip, which I hope to relay to you. 🙂

Bonus Stop

Bro. Yoni Simmons graciously showed us a sycamore tree before we headed to Bethsaida. We all had fun there as Pastor Matthew Yong tried to portray Zacchaeus. Pastor Gilbert Castillo was asked by Dr. Berrey to read a passage that mentions a sycamore tree.

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Pastor Matthew Yong on his way to the top. (Photo Credit: Bro. Kenneth Cheong)

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Photo credit: Bro. Kenneth Cheong

Next Stop: Bethsaida

Along with Chorazin, Bethsaida was cursed by Christ for the same reason–the people there failed to repent after hearing His preaching.

Bethsaida is in the north shore of the Sea of Galilee. It was rocky and has beds of wild flowers.

Some claim that the god Moloch was discovered there.

Different areas of the park are labeled using big slabs of stones. Below are a few of them.

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Next Stop: Boat Museum

Our next stop was in a stellar boat museum where the “boat of Jesus” is preserved. Thanks again to Bro. Kenneth Cheong for allowing me to borrow his photos to show you how Jesus’ boat looked like. We were shown a video clip on how this boat was preserved.

Also, we took a few minutes to see a couple of model boats, fossils and remains related to fishing during the time of Jesus.

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Jesus’ Boat

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A few notes: We met a Filipina who has been living in Israel and of course, as a typical Filipino would do after finding a “kababayan” in another country, we took a photo with her. The rest of the photos are some of the displays in the museum. The one on the lower left has a label that says: “‘Judea Capta’ Coin (Enlarged Replica) Minted by the Romans to celebrate their victory over the Jews in a maritime battle, possibly in memory of the battle of Migdal. The coin shows Titus in a triumph pose, his foot resting on the prow of a ship. “

Next Stop: Boat Ride in the Sea of Galilee

Memories of joy flow in my mind as I remember sailing through a calm Sea of Galilee on that windy day. It’s been their custom there to make pilgrims sing their respective national anthem as flags of represented countries were raised and so we did. We also sang hymns and just observed the places around this significant sea.

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Photo credit: Bro. Kenneth Cheong

Next Stop: Capernaum

Capernaum is just another city in Galilee where Jesus used to preach (Matt. 4:13; Luke 4:31; Mark 1:21, etc.) It is also known as His hometown. Sadly though, it was cursed by Jesus since the people there, just like those in Bethsaida and Chorazin, did not heed to his message (Matthew 11:23-24).

There, we were shown ruins of an ancient synagogue made of limestone. Just like in Chorazin, we saw an olive oil press, carved pillars and ritual baths (mikveh).

St. Peter’s synagogue is also situated there which is believed to have been the place where a paralytic man was lowered in Mark 2:1-12.

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Last Stop: Farmer’s Market

I don’t have any photo of the place but it was where pilgrims get some souvenirs for their loved ones. I remember getting a $7-worth of a piece of chocolate bar for Joanna. Yes, things in Israel are bit pricey. Souvenirs you can find there were dried apricots, figs and other fruits, tea, candies and others.

Reflection:

Remembering the places we have visited always humbles my heart. These places are evidences that my Jesus is real. My faith is not in vain.

Have you believed Jesus to be your own Savior and Lord? Have you heard the gospel preached? Have you accepted it?

I am ending this post with these verses.

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” John 3:16-19

If you are a believer of Jesus like me, let us remember to thank Him for the eternal life we have through Him. If you haven’t believed on Jesus as your Savior and Lord, may this be the day of your salvation and start journey with God.

Leaning on Jesus, (1)

My Reading List 2017

One of the goals and prayers I have this year is for God to let me use my time wiser. That meant I had to use FB less often, increase the time I invest in people I care about and try to equip myself in serving God better.

If you happen to be my FB friend, you must have noticed that I liked or commented less on your photos. Please don’t take it against me. I just wanted to focus on my goals and other priorities.

Oh! Have I told you that I even chose a word for 2017 that will help me go through the possible ups and downs of the upcoming 365 days?

I chose the term “FOCUS” and wrote it out on the cover of my journal so I can remember it better.

“Why did you choose that word?” you may ask. Well, with all the world has to offer these days, distractions from social media is one of the biggest foes I had been battling with in the past years.

I have to admit that it has caused me to waste so much time and consequently, stole precious time from achieving my personal goals for God.

Now, what I really want to share with you is how I replaced my bad habit of frequently checking FB updates with a much more productive one–reading. 

Reading has been of my hobbies since I was a teen-ager but I have to especially mention that the book of Dr. Berrey reignited my passion for getting my nose in a book, or I should say, books this year.

So without further ado, I would like to share with you the books that have blessed my heart this year.

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      • Disciplines of the Beautiful Woman by Anne Ortlund–Written with the author’s sense of humor, you’ll love her insights on how to better achieve a disciplined godly life. 
      • Planning Your Life God’s Way by Dr. Timothy Berrey–Warning: this is a life-transforming book. Make sure you can concentrate well while reading this book. I have already written my separate review of this wonderful book so you can just visit that review here.
      • If: What Do I Know About Calvary Love by Amy Carmichael–I saw it being read by a dear friend so I thought of finding a copy of it online and this read is soul-stirring. See for yourself why here.
      • The Seven Laws of Teaching by John Milton Gregory–a wonderful refresher textbook for teachers on the laws of teaching. It is quite useful for both secular school and Sunday School teachers.
      • Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp–if you are looking for biblical perspectives on how to discipline and train a child, this guidebook is for you. This can be a good study tool for parents, Adult Sunday School teachers (single or married), counselors and pastors.
      • Lies Women Believe by Nancy Leigh deMoss–a very strong take on the truths being twisted by the Devil and are being believed by women. The author offers a list of biblical truths to debunk these lies. This is a must-read!
      • The Trail of Blood by J. M. Carroll–this is a beneficial textbook on church history. This is highly recommendable for those who are interested in knowing the birth of different denominations.
      • The Necessity of Prayer by E. M. Bounds–Once I started reading this, I was in total awe of how powerful and convicting every line and chosen words written in this book by the author were. I encourage everyone not to miss reading this book. This book in itself is a testimony of the author’s prayer life.
      • The Red Sea Rules by Robert Morgan–Filled with personal and classic examples, the author listed ten important tips on how to wade through one’s difficult and seemingly impossible situation.
      • Rule #1 Don’t Be #2 by Daniel Milstein–a secular voice on how to succeed personally or professionally. I honestly couldn’t put this book down that I finished this the fastest among all the books I have on the list. Grab your copy here and discover why I said so.
      • What Do I Know About My God by Mardi Collier–This is an encouraging book as the author shares how her proper knowledge and view of God from the Bible affected how she handled different situations. What a testimony! One of the things I like the most about the book is it includes an excellent collection of Bible verses on the different attributes of God towards the end of the book. That can be a handy Bible Study tool. Needless to say, her approach in learning more about God is contagious!
      • Beautiful in God’s Eyes by Elizabeth George–This is a treasure chest of wisdom! I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw this on Netgalley. I downloaded it right away and started reading. I just finished reading it this noon and I want to keep a physical copy someday and read it over at least once each year. Ladies (single or married), this is a must-read for you!

So there goes my list. It’s not finished yet. There are still other books that I am currently reading and I am hoping to share my reviews before the end of the year.

I have left links intentionally in case you are interested in buying yourself a copy on Amazon. I am sure that whatever titles I have shared on the list above would bless your heart. Being able to finish these books is something supernatural. I meant, it’s all by God’s grace. 🙂 I used to leave my books half-way read, but not this year. I know you can do that too. Just be committed in doing it! God is there to help.

What books have you been reading this year? Please share them in the comment box below and I hope I can get myself a copy of what you are reading.

Let us remember though what “The Prince of Preachers” once said.

I hope you are enjoying your journey with God!

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Joanna’s Ebooks’ Review

I am quite thrilled to see how God is nurturing Joanna’s love for books now. Despite being deprived of physical books, we are glad to have found NetGalley–a platform that provides ebooks in exchange for reviews.

In this post, I’d like to share an extremely brief and concise feedback on Joanna’s recent reads.

1. Where Are You Hiding God? by Elizabeth Zartl
Despite its story’s simplicity, the book is a good tool to teach children about God’s omnipresence, which build’s their faith and confidence in Him. The illustrations’ colors are certainly attractive to young readers and the choice of words are suitable for kids. You may get your copy here.

Find more details by clicking the image.

2. Benji and the 24 Pound Banana Squash by Alan Fox
This is a book on a young boy’s adventure in growing his very own banana squash. It encourages children to pursue an adventure worth-trying and teaches the value of patience. The story line is exciting and yet I would say that some parts of the story line have more rooms for simplifications. Toddlers may get confused for the long narrations in between. Other than that, the photos are quite eye-catching and make toddlers absorbed in reading the whole book in one sitting.
3. A Book for Benny by Judith Koppens
 The colorful illustrations in the book vividly reflect the story line. It’s such a good read for kids who love books and dogs. 🙂

4. Fairy in the Kettle by Pauline Tait
The cover is quite attractive and the summary of the story is good. Although the description on Amazon says that “it’s perfect for preschool and primary children…”, I honestly think that the story line is a bit wordy and is still too much to handle for those using English as a Second Language. Other than that, the artist who illustrated the story obviously exerted efforts to make the narration come alive.

As parents, we may not be able to afford to bring our children to many places around the world but reading books to them will definitely make them experience imaginary adventures.

What is the latest book you have been reading to your kid/s? Share them with me in the comment box below.

If you found this post interesting, you might want to visit this previous review.

As I always say, enjoy your journey with God…and that includes reading to your growing child! 🙂

Leaning on Jesus,

5 Apps Worth Installing If You Are Seeking Spiritual Growth

I once found a striking quote that says,

Technology quote

I totally agree and I would like to borrow its style and amend it a bit to make it suitable to what I am about to share with you. I would say that,

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When I went back to the Philippines early in 2017, I had a chance to buy my very first affordable brand new smartphone from Oppo as recommended by a dear friend. One of my prayers is for God to enable me to use it for His glory.

To do so, I installed a few apps, which I thought would help me grow continually as a child of God. Now I am listing down the apps I found really beneficial for my spiritual nourishment.

Bible Schedule App

1. Bible Schedule. If you look for it on Google Playstore, it should look like the image on the left if you are reading this post on a PC. I used to follow Bible reading plans printed at the back of my Bible or a plan printed on a sheet of paper. After installing this app though, I found it convenient to check my Bible Reading Assignment daily on my smartphone.

This app offers variety of Bible Reading Plans. I followed the sequential plan this year and hopefully, this year will be my tenth year of finishing the Bible from cover to cover after becoming a Christian. You may choose to read the Bible chronologically or anyway you want using the app. I assure you that it will help you stay motivated in trying to know God better by reading your Bible systematically.

Reading the books of the Bible in order will be my goal next year, Lord willing.

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2. Logos Bible. What I love about this app it is it provides access to wonderful ebooks. How I wish Kindle app was available in Bangladesh or that Kindle Reader could be shipped here! However, it is a blessing that God led me to this app as this serves almost the same purpose as Kindle does in providing quality ebooks. The advantage of this app though is its niche–it specifically caters to Christian readers and provides Christianity-related epubs. Right now, I am enjoying reading a soul-stirring ebook named “The Necessity of Prayer” by E. M. Bounds using this app.

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3. Pray Through. This app is only highly recommendable for people who can stay focused on praying while using their phone. I would like to mention that this app is helpful in enlisting prayer requests and helps you feel accomplished in remembering the people who asked you to intercede for them. As you reach your list’s end, it will give you a prompt saying that your list for the day is finished. I still keep my written prayer list on my journal and use it to avoid distraction. If you happen to be reading this, I will be privileged to pray for you as one of the ministries I have decided to revive this year is praying for others. Please write me a private message on my Facebook page.

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4. Bible.is. I have been using this app even on my old Symphony Smartphone in the past until now. It is really handy when reading through difficult books in the Bible (e.g. prophetic books and a few books in Pentateuch like Leviticus and Numbers). I must admit that reading the said sections can doze me off so I find the dramatized reading of the passages from those sections absolutely helpful. Please note that while listening to this app, I still keep my Bible open and follow the reading assignment with my eyes (wide open!) 🙂

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5. Abiding Radio. This is an online streaming of both old and contemporary hymns. You may choose to listen to instrumental, sacred, kids’ and seasonal arranged hymns. It also features different Christian musicians and groups of singers so expect to be blessed and edified by the songs you’ll hear from this app. Their songs are mostly deplete with Bible-based lyrics and heavenly melody and harmony.

This might look like a very limited list and I don’t claim to know all the best Christian apps around but the ones I mentioned are proven to be helpful. I would love to discover more apps and maybe you are the one who can help me find more apps that are worth installing. Please share them with me and other readers of this blog in the comment box below. 🙂

If you find this reading helpful, you may also want to read this previous post.

My prayer is that we, His children, will be consumed with a desire to know Him deeper by saturating our minds and hearts with things about Him. Doing this entails facing a lot of tests from God to see if we would live out what we learn from His word. It can also mean struggling with attacks from Satan to make us doubt God’s love and mercy. The only way we can triumph over the blitz of the devil to make us down is by putting on the whole armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-20). I hope the apps I mentioned above will help you strengthen your faith and relationship with our loving and ever-faithful God.

As I always say, enjoy your journey with God!

Random Read Reviews

Since finding English reading materials with reasonable prices in Bangladesh has posed a challenge to me as a mom, I tried to find a way to get free copies of books for my daughter. Thank God for leading me to NetGalley.

If you are a blogger like me, please go ahead and soak yourself in searching for a wide variety of genre of books (during your free time, of course 🙂 ). Once a member, you’ll get free digital copies of the book you prefer. Make sure you appreciate authors by writing even a short review of their book. That way, you can help them sell their masterpieces. 😀

So here I am writing a quick review of the two new books I got for Joanna.

Click the image to learn more.

1. But I Wanted a Little Sister by Pauline Oud

Reasons I would recommend this book include its attractive cover, its story line (I’m not giving it away. Please buy a copy. 🙂 ) and the moral lesson this book offers. I am pretty sure that preschoolers like my daughter would ask their parents to read this to them more than once or twice. 😀

 

Please click the image to learn more.

2. I’m Just a Little Someone by  Sharen S. Peters

This isn’t a simple colorful book. This has a section that surprised me. The said part includes an enumeration of activities you can do with the book. I believe this copy is ideal for preschool teachers and homeschooling moms.

There you go–a quick review of two wonderful storybooks for your preschoolers.

Review: Planning Your Life God’s Way by Dr. Timothy Berrey

Are you facing a tough situation? Are you on a crossroad? Are you feeling hopeless in your situation and you don’t know which step to take next? Are you seeking your purpose in life?

Thousands of books have been written on decision making but this e-book, Planning Your Life God’s Way by Dr. Timothy Berrey, is highly recommendable for anyone! Click here for more info.

I am privileged to be given a chance to read this written work of my professor through the gracious kindness of his dear wife.

Here are my five reasons you should not miss reading this e-book:

1. It’s scholarly written and yet reader-friendly.

Points made in the book are not simply elaborated with explanations but are well-supported by secular and biblical examples.  I can’t deny the fact that the author himself is a well-read person. You will definitely learn more about both prominent and unpopular characters from his readings through his writing!

2. It’s filled with proven ways on how to make decisions.

You will never doubt the ways penned by this author as he and his wife live by them! Just to let you know, my husband and I are witnesses of how they deeply honor God and His word in their decisions. You can also check their website here. Be blessed by their future posts!

3. Its price is quite reasonable.

Click the image for more info.

Go and check more info here. In fact, he has written another book called, “From Eden to Patmos.” I have to confess that I left my copy of that book in the Philippines because I had a 10-kg baggage excess the last time I left the Philippines but I will definitely go back to it as the Lord wills.

4. It’s beneficial for all people regardless of their race or religious background.

How I wish I could just summarize the principles written on the e-book but that will defeat the purpose of this post. I want you to grab your copy and read it by yourself. 🙂 I assure you that the beginning chapter will make you so engaged to reading it that you will want to finish it in one sitting. As the author himself expressed, God wants you to enjoy a blessed life by making the right decisions with the guidance of His word.

5.  It’s a substantial read.

If you are a reader like me, I am certain that your diary or journal will never be left empty, but will be filled with quotable quotes from the author himself. I believe that this work is a fruit of his discipline and family’s prayers. You will never regret reading this.

Since I cannot keep the jewels of wisdom from this e-book to myself, I appeal to you to grab your copy and enjoy the life God has given you!

How about you? What’s the latest book you have been reading? Please share your review with me and I will try to find a way to get a copy of it either from Amazon or any internet site. 🙂

Enjoy your journey with God!

Leaning on Jesus,

Day 3: Bible Lands Exploration 2016 Part 2

Let’s have a quick recap before I continue sharing photos of our Bible Lands Exploration 2016. specifically Day 3, Part 2.

Feel free to click on the links below to review my album. 🙂

General Review of Bible Lands Exploration 2016
Day 1
Day 2
Day 3 Part 1

So let’s resume our virtual tour around Israel! You must have read that we visited King Herod’s Aqueduct and Caesarea Maritima National Park on Day 3. Then our…

Next Stop: Tel Megiddo National Park.
Description: This is an archaeological mound of great historical significance. Many battles were fought here and this is said to be the site where the Battle of Armageddon between Jesus and Satan will take place in the future. Walking through the site, we were shown and told of the many layers of history evidenced by the ruins all around. We also saw how an ancient chariot and stables looked like. Today, you can still see many palm trees and rock flowers all around the area. Across from Megiddo Park is the beautiful view of the Jezreel Valley,  the valley where Gideon led the Israelite’s victory against the Midianites, Amalekites and children of the east. In addition, we were privileged to walk through a water tunnel inside the park, which is said to be the main source of water in Megiddo.
Biblical References: A few passages in the Bible that mention this prominent place are Joshua 12:21; 17:11; Judges 1:27-28; 5:19-21 and so on.
Photos:
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A beautiful shot of Megiddo Water Tunnel by Bro. Kenneth Cheong.

Next Stop: Ein Harod
Description:
Do you remember when Gideon was tasked by God to conquer the Midianites and he had to choose warriors from thousands of men in Israel? This was the site where Gideon brought those men and eventually, chose 300 men out of those many courageous fighters. The ones who lapped water as dogs were chosen to fight with Gideon.
Biblical References:  Judges 7
Photos:

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There used to be water spring here but time has caused this place to dry up. Thanks to Bro. Jerry Teng for capturing this beautiful view of Gideon’s Spring.

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Reflection:

These places are testaments of how Gideon trusted God’s wisdom. We can remember that God is not concerned about our skills when we are facing our battles. He is concerned about our faith. Are we willing to surrender our earthly battle plans to win against our spiritual foes? Let’s trust God’s word in fighting our spiritual warfare.

Last Stop: We capped off our day’s exploration with a sumptuous dinner in Leonardo Hotel in Tiberias and went to bed early so we could have enough rest for our next day’s journey.

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I hope you enjoyed looking at the photos and may God bless you in whatever you are doing! Please watch out for my next post on how our DAY 4 of Bible Lands Exploration fared last year! 😉 Thank you so much for your time. 🙂


What Life is Like in Bangladesh Part 2

What my life is like in Bangladesh is in demand. Many of my online students are still in awe after hearing that we are missionaries here in Bangladesh, I am posting a few more photos I took around my husband’s village years ago. The following informative pictures should give many of you, my friends and relatives, an idea what it’s like to survive in a Bangladeshi village. 🙂

Brace yourself if you are not so used to facing culture shock. 🙂 Let our virtual journey begin!

  1. People in the villages still continue to cook using this clay stove.1915378_1288640821150_7725397_n
  2. Women cut/slice their meat and other raw ingredients using what they call “boti.” No, knives are not commonly used by Bangladeshi women in the villages. 🙂1915378_1288640861151_6672681_n
  3. Most families in the village own a man-made pond where they can grow their own fish.
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  4. While hollow blocks are commonly used in building houses and constructions in the Philippines, bricks are the ones favored by builders here in my adopted country.
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  5. In the villages of Bangladesh, rickshaws rarely exist. They have what they call “van” and it is the most common mode of transportation by village peopleIn the Philippines, if you hear the word “van”, you’ll think of a vehicle that can accommodate about 10 people.  Now, take a look at the big difference. 🙂

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    I love taking Bangladeshi vans in the village though. 🙂 It allows you to view the beauty of the green meadows clothing the whole village.

  6. People mourn over their deceased loved ones in their homes and they don’t provide any coffin for them. The bereaved bury their loved ones’ corpses as they are beside their homes using clay soil.
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  7. People still cross the river by wooden boats. In my experience, I remember Jesus and His disciples every time we cross the river by boats.
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  8. Most vendors in Bangladeshi markets are men. They have a very patriarchal society. Take note that men also buy groceries for their families. 1915378_1288658061581_7850140_n

Some people pity me upon hearing that as I live in Bangladesh, I have to go through a lot of adjustments. However, I consider it a privilege to be serving my husband in his home country so he can pursue the call God gave him–to win souls for Christ. To me, going through a culture shock is a cause of inconvenience, yes, but God is working in my heart. There’s a mission work in progress within me and even though I don’t realize what He wants me to do with the experience I have been having here in Bangladesh, my calling is to remain steadfast in my faith that He is doing something. His mission work through us and in us is ongoing.

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P.S. I stayed in the village for a year and that’s how I was able to learn to speak Bengali. A year later, I had to face another  acculturation when we moved to Dhaka. Hopefully, I can share with you a few photos I took around Dhaka so please stand by for the sequel of this post. 🙂

Also, I hope that this list would prepare you if you are considering to come over and visit us in the future. 🙂