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The Best Christmas Gift

Posted 12/7/2018

The countdown has begun, that Christmas--deemed as "the most wonderful time of the year"--is just weeks away.  Shopping malls are well-decorated, and stores are selling seasonal items and gift packages.  Even the weather has been cooler and more winter-like this week with a chance of wet snow.  

 

Best of all, Christmas carols are ringing everywhere: in malls, shops, people's cars, or even their homes, as they play the tunes either on the radio or on YouTube.  Sometimes, I'd hear passer-by kids singing Christmas tunes while joyfully bouncing beside their parents, who are probably frantically settling on the perfect gift for the kids.

 

Yes, the season of giving is upon us, and as agonizing as it can be to decide on the best gifts for our loved ones, we'd never fail to deliver.    

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Sudden Death

Posted 10/16/2018

Ten days after the sudden passing of a close friend, I am still reeling and trying to make sense of the incident.

 

The rough details are in, that he died from a weak heart possibly after doing drugs with his roommate. But the reason is unclear, and it's difficult to determine or evaluate things since the autopsy hasn't been released yet.

 

For my friends and I who have known our close friend for at least fifteen years, his passing has been a punch in the gut.  He was the same age as most of us who have known him, including me.  We hung out weekly, sometimes multiple times a week.  There are so many fond memories of funny moments with him.

 

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Happy Thanksgiving 2018

Posted 10/5/2018

Another October brings another Thanksgiving in Canada.

 

As usual, we will celebrate the holiday over turkey dinners with family and friends.  We would either spend the day catching up with one another, watching sports, or playingames.  We will give thanks for the year it was.

 

We will also give thanks to God for everything, including our existence and the life He has blessed us with.

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Spiritual Weather

Posted 9/1/2018

What's your spiritual weather like? Sunny and warm?  Heavy rain with thunderstorm with risk of hail?  Blizzard in a cold snap, with no end in sight?    

 

For a few years, my spiritual weather--or condition--was best described as in a direct hit by a category-4 hurricane.  Physically, I was always tired. I'd sleep for the majority of the day and only leave my house for fellowships.  Emotionally, I had depression symptoms and was exasperated.  Dealing with a relationship breakup left me doubting my existence and questioning God's love towards me.  the "hurricane" gradually dissipated after years of support and care from God's family, and His love appearing during fellowships.  As requested by the Shulamite in Song of Solomon, sustain me with raisins; refresh me with apples.  I needed God's love to keep me alive.

 

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Casey, Adam, and Trust In the Lord

Posted 8/11/2018

Have you ever set your sights on a dream job, only to realize you can't obtain it?  Or have you prayed for something or someone, only to see the situation get increasingly worse and wonder what God is doing?

 

That was my circumstance in the past, and it is the respective circumstance of twenty-year-old Casey Fleury and Adam Point.

 

In this article, I will introduce and discuss the two main characters mentioned above in the novel Breaking Point

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The Journey of Writing Breaking Point

Posted 8/3/2018

Last week, I revealed the concept and decision on writing my upcoming novel, Breaking Point.  On this post, you will learn about my journey in writing this novel.

 

It has been a journey of learning, discovery, and adapting.  The writing of this novel took fifteen months, but the overall process took years, which I will now elaborate. 

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Breaking Point

Posted 7/27/2018

Have you ever reached a breaking point in your life?  How did you overcome it?

 

We all have reached a point in our lives when we think we can no longer tolerate it.  Whether it was academic failure, relationship breakdown, job loss, or disconnect with family or friends, we came to the conclusion that the situation would be irreversible, irreparable, or stuck.  Often, the situation is so bleak that the only logical "solution" is to commit suicide, thinking that we are the problem, and the problem would disappear if we disappear.

 

This is the ultimate breaking point.  And that was partly how the title of my upcoming novel--Breaking Point--come about.

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Strive On for Him

Posted 4/24/2018

Over three months into 2018, a lot has happened around the world--from celebrations and political debates, to accidents and tragedies--the world seems to be moving along like it does every year.  How was the first quarter of your year?  How have your goals and resolutions turn out so far?

 

My goals that I set at the beginning of the year are coming along steady for the most part, including to be totally trust in .God and be worry-free, aside from sustaining the initiatives I've set last year: sleeping by 11pm and waking up before 8:30am, turn to God during break time for at least twice a day, and to read the Bible daily.  The consistency of sustaining these goals still needs to improve, but achieving them on average of three to four times a week since January is already better than the average of twice a week at best last year.

  

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Happy Easter

Posted 3/27/2018

Spring, a season of hope and new beginnings, has arrived.  Along with Easter--an occasion to commemorate Jesus' death and resurrection.

 

As I glance at the bare tree branches and budding flowers while light rain falls on my light jacket, I cannot help but look up to heaven, where Jesus once came from and now He is there again after dying for our sins once and for all. He is the reason for everything, including my existence.

 

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Love Jesus At All Times

Posted 3/13/2018

Here in Canada, we have just moved our clocks forward to recognize daylight savings time.  I changed my clocks (yes, I still have clocks that needed to be changed when necessary, such as my radio alarm clock and microwave clock display) so that I would wake up and be arrive to church punctually on Sunday morning.  However, my body clock failed to adapt to the change.

 

As my alarm clock sounded on Sunday morning, I was too tired to even open my eyes.  Drifting in and out of dreamland, I visualized myself getting up and leaving my house, but physically I felt as if I was paralyzed.  Eventually, I fell back asleep after silencing my alarm clock, thinking I would nap for another fifteen minutes.  Alas!   I woke up an hour later!  By the time I left my house, the weekly communion service that started at 10:30 had already began. 

 

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Olympics For Christ

Posted 2/27/2018

Did you enjoy the winter Olympics?  As a big sports fan, I sure did.  It was a pleasure to watch Canada set a new national record for the most medals won in the winter Olympics.  The elation of the medalists and the joy of their proud teammates, coaches, and loved ones showed that the Olympics was not only about the various sports and competitions among the best athletes, but  the results of hard work and support behind the scenes.

 

 We often congratulate the medalists and question about sub par or failed performances, but all athletes train and compete hard just to qualify for the Olympics.  They dedicated themselves to prepare for the best performance of their lives so that their hard work would pay off at the biggest stage before global audience and fans, and so that they would achieve their dreams of finishing first.

 

The Olympians are admirable.  They make sacrifices and overcome obstacles to achieve their goal.  Even if their goals aren't met, they are content as long as they have given their all, for there are only three medals in each event, and only one can be the gold medalist or champion.

   

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Happy Valentine's Day

Posted 2/13/2018

In my last post, I explained why we need to see God clearly with our spiritual eyes using the incident of Jesus healing a man who was blind since birth in John chapter four.  At the end of the post, I promised to reveal how this chapter relates to me.  So here is the deliverance of my promise and to discuss another related topic: Valentine's Day.

 

You may ask how these two topics are related, knowing Valentin'es Day is to celebrate love.  You will find out once you read on.

 

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See God Clearly

Posted 1/30/2018

How is your vision lately?  When was the last time you saw your optometrist or had an eye exam?  For me, I was advised to visit my optometrist once a year, but, alas, I keep on forgetting to book an appointment!

 

Perhaps you have normal vision, or that you're more diligent in following your optometrist's advise than I do, because you care about your health and eyesight.  You deserve much praise if you are such person.

 

What about your spiritual vision?  Do you see God clearly?  Do you feel His love and presence everyday?  

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New year, new goal

Posted 1/16/2018

Happy 2018!  The beginning of a new year is always exciting, as we make new year resolutions, set new goals, and enjoy new blessings from God.  What is your resolution for 2018?  One of mine is to be worry-free as I faithful entrust my life to God.  Sounds difficult to achieve, doesn't it?

 

This is a goal that I wouldn't dare to make last year, as I had lots of worries and doubts about God's plan for my life.  Will I, if ever, be in a lasting relationship?  Will my living standards improve?  Will I be a contributing member to the church?  What about my career path?  Thankfully, God addressed some of my concerns and He comforted me on the rest by reminding of His fervent and unchanging love towards me.

     

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Farewell 2017

Posted 12/27/2017

As Christmas has come and gone, we are just days away from saying goodbye to 2017.  While news and sports media reveal their top ten stories of the year, I also took the time to reflect and review on the year.  This has been my personal tradition for many years.

 

The  older I got, the faster the years have passed me by.  Most days seemed like a blur to me at best, if I can recall them at all.  It fees like summer had ended two weeks ago, when the haze from the seemingly unstoppable wildfire in interior BC dimmed the sky on the supposedly sunny days.  Not too long before that, we almost thought that summer would be cancelled because of the relentless snowfalls and cold snaps during the winter and early spring.  And now, winter is back and it's snowing again.

 

Personally, this year was marked by changes, both externally and internally.  Writing and publishing blog posts, for example, is a task that I thought I would never be doing before this year, and I will elaborate on that and more below.   All the changes were possible because of God's grace and guidance in my life, and none of them were my goals or resolutions for the year, which I didn't make aside from being closer to God. 

 

Here is a list of top five changes in my life in 2017.

 

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Merry Christmas

Posted 12/19/2017

From festive decorations in shopping malls to Christmas tunes on the radio, the joyous celebration of Christmas is within a week away.  As I am writing this blog at my home in Vancouver, Canada, it is snowing.

 

Most of us celebrate Christmas, regardless of religious or cultural backgrounds.  It is a time for families and friends to get together over a meal and to exchange gifts to show love and appreciations for one another.  It is also the opportunity for companies to throw a party to reward workers for their hard labour throughout the year, and for them to be more acquainted with one another. 

  

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Happy Thanksgiving Part 2

Posted 11/21/2017

First off, I would like to wish my American friends Happy Thanksgiving!  We celebrated Thanksgiving here in Canada back in early October.  Now it's your turn!

 

As you gather around with your loved ones over a feast--or multiple feasts--of a well-stuffed turkey and treats while watching the NFL or catching up with one another, may you also remember God's blessings on you throughout the year.

 

As for me, I have a lot to be thankful for.  Most notably is for writing and publishing my first book: Joe Faith Gives Thanks It was truly God's grace that had made this a reality, and you may know from reading my bio.

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We Are All Precious

Posted 11/14/2017

The past few days were emotional.  First, it was Remembrance Day this past Saturday, when we remembered and saluted those who fought and sacrificed for our freedom.  Then, it was yesterday, where friends, family, and some of the notables from the baseball world to recall fond memories and celebrate the life of all-star pitcher Roy Halladay, who was killed at a plane crash last week at the age of 40.  In both occasions, people reminisced about the past and times they spent with the person.  Such memories will resonate with those around them for the rest of their lifetime.

 

These tributes were emotional because, behind their duties or fame, they had their own personal life stories to share.  Even if they would share similar journeys in combat or in sports, their background, upbringing, and lives away from their duties or profession made up most of the memories.

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Always Remember

Posted 11/7/2017

Photo by Yoal Desurmont on UnsplashPhoto by Yoal Desurmont on Unsplash

Remembrance Day is upon us.  It is a day to show our appreciation and tribute to the brave soldiers and other military veterans who have fought--or are fighting--for our freedom.  They make the ultimate sacrifice for the good of the people, no matter how people react to the war operations. 

 

Yes, wars and military operations have their implications that are mostly negative.  Cities are ruined.  Innocents are killed.  Resources exhausted.  Prices of minerals like oil are usually being driven up as a result.  Surviving veterans suffer along with those around them as they battle the internal battle called PTSD upon returning from military assignments.  It seems that wars are pointless as they do more harm than good.  After all, "good" wars don't exist.

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To Be Content in Life

Posted 10/31/2017

How are you doing?  Are you feeling satisfied with your possessions, your current life stage, and your loved ones?  Have you ever wanted more or asked God for ways to upgrade your life or standard of living?

 

I have.  Many times.

 

Not that I am greedy or doubt God--as revealed in my previous posts that I have had doubts in God regarding my personal desires and whether He will fulfill them for me--but, like everyone else, we are affected by the world.  I believe not many of us are fully satisfied with all aspects of our lives, as we always strive to improve.  Isn't it in us to desire better things?  I often wonder about that.

 

However, I was reminded at a charity presentation last Friday to be grateful and content with my life and possessions. 

 

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My Thoughts on Halloween

Posted 10/24/2017

The pumpkin cloth I made in grade sevenThe pumpkin cloth I made in grade seven

My first Halloween celebration was over twenty years ago.  I was in grade seven, having been in Canada for about half a year.  At school, I sewed (I don't remember how exactly) a pumpkin-shaped orange cloth onto a squared black cloth.  I still have it to this day.

 

After dinner that evening, my parents took my siblings and I out for Trick-o-treating.  My siblings and I each wore a mask probably purchased at a nearby discounted store.  We collected candies of all sorts and visited some nicely-decorated "haunted houses"--which were actually the front lawn--with gloomy lighting, vapor, and inflatable Jack-o-lanterns or ghostly figures.  It was a fascinating experience.

 

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Be a Wise Person

Posted 10/17/2017

Last week, we explored God's Beautiful Plan, where we discussed God's eternal plan on us, and how He has made everything beautiful in its time.  This week, we will talk about one of the greatest blessings from God--perhaps a privilege that we arguably mishandle the most--the privilege of free will.

 

Free will is the choice to do whatever we want.  For instance, we chose to accept the Lord after someone preached the gospel to us because we wanted or needed to, not being forced to.  God wouldn't force us to believe in Him or to love Him--we can freely choose to accept or deny God.  It's just that there are consequences or implications in whatever choice or decision that we make.

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God's Beautiful Plan

Posted 10/11/2017

So it was Thanksgiving Day in Canada on Monday.  On one hand, it felt like a special occasion, as I spent that holiday visiting Victoria, BC.  On the other hand, it was just another day of the year: another day to be alive, another day to eat, commute, and sleep.  It was just a day like many others and with many more days to come.

 

For a short while on that day, however, I reminisced on a church gathering from last week when we discussed about God's strategies on us humans.  Why do certain events or situations occur, and where is God when we need Him the most?

 

We ask these and other related questions frequently, but at the end of that bible study, I realized I still had work to do.  The following points are what I've learned and my realizations.  

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Happy Thanksgiving

Posted 10/3/2017

It's October.  For a sports fan like myself, this is one of my favourite months because, depending on the sport, it is either the start of a new season or the playoffs.  It is almost just as an exciting time as Christmas when we'd receive many gifts.

 

Speaking of special occasions, Thanksgiving Day in Canada falls on the second Monday of October.  As Christians, we have a lot to be thankful for, as described in my book, Joe Faith Gives Thanks.  But as soon as we turn on the news or read updates on social media, it seems that there is nothing but negativity: a terrorist attack here, a shooting massacre there, and protests against inequality elsewhere.  What is there to be thankful for nowadays?

 

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The Lord's Love Towards Us

Posted 9/26/2017

In the midst of fighting a cold, I managed to read some touching Bible passages since last Thursday.  these passages have a common theme: the Lord's love towards us.  It's also known as the love between Christ and the Church as His bride.  They are as follows:

  1. Genesis 2:18-25 - the forming of Eve
  2. Ephesians 5:22-33 - A husband loves his wife as Christ loves the church

For the longest time, such Bible passages would give me chills, especially the last one.  Why do I need to know how husband and wife should love one another when I am not married?  I was okay with the first two passages as they were part of history, as we exist because they once existed (although not of direct linage, of course).  But as I read them this past week, I felt touched and found them very related to me.  And now, I would like to share my gains with you

 

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