Monday, April 18, 2011

My Birthday Gift From God - My Life

1 John
No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

Good Morning!!!  I would like to go ahead and write about my birthday week/weekend. God has blessed me with many things and was able to share/celebrate it with my family and friends. There's so much I have to say that I don't even know where to begin.

First of all, in my heart, I was hoping the government wouldn't shut down because of three things, money, my birthday party at work with friends and my birthday party on the weekend with friends. I was so excited and so happy to spend my real birthday with everyone at work - it was so much fun. I don't think they realize how grateful I am to have them as my friends. Now I understand why Dad takes me out to his co-workers house for parties. I always thought it was a drag but now I get it. If the government shutdown, many of my friends would use it as an opportunity to go out of town and then miss my second party too. I would've been sad about it. So I'm thankful that the govt didn't shutdown and I was able to have a party with my friends AND family. That's another blessing I have...I am so thankful for my parents who wouldn't miss my birthday for the world and would come to see me. They tried to surprise me but I knew they would come. I can feel them :) But I was surprised about my in-laws!!! Although I was sad I didn't see Alex, I was shocked and soo surprised to see my father in law and mother in law :) The fact that they took the time to come to see me like this, really means a lot to me. It made me feel very much loved.

Usually, when I drop off my parents to go home by bus or train. I would have to use my every strength to fight back my tears because its so hard living far away and not knowing when I will see them again. It happened at college during my freshman year but after the first year, I felt better because my parents made a habit of seeing me every three months, haha. She did the same when I first moved away. I believe her when she said, no matter how far I am, she will always be there for me. Daddy too. Because of my bond with her and because of God,  I  know I will see them again and that it won't be the last time.   As an adult, I understand how harsh the world can be and how hard it is to be yourself in this world so I appreciate my parents making me and my husband feel number one in their lives. I appreciate their respect for us too.

In my last post, I was talking about the book and the drawing that my dad saw when I was younger. My father saw my post and decided to bring the book and tell me more about the story. I love how God works in mysterious ways. He actually gave me my birthday gift through my father. I didn't know this until my dad told me. When he was out of work, he remembers taking me to barnes and nobles to look for a book to read. He found a book that stood out the most - "I Am With You Always" by people who have had encounters with Jesus. My father told me that he believes in Jesus with his whole heart and doesn't need to see Him but would like for Him to visit me or my mother. After he prayed about that, few weeks later, he heard me screaming from my parents bedroom. Then I remember what he was talking about....

When I was in my parents bedroom, I was facing their mirror and was polishing my nails on their vanity. As I was polishing my nails, I looked up to the mirror and I literally screamed at the top of my lungs and RAN out of the room. When I looked up, I saw a man standing behind me,  maybe 6 feet away. He was tall. He wore brown suit and at the time, I thought he had moles in his hands. His eyes were closed. I thought it was my Uncle Bob or something. I had no idea who it was and I wanted nothing of it. Because of that, I refused to go to sleep in my bedroom and my mother would have to stay with me until I fell asleep. My father kept asking me who did I think I saw...I said I think it was my Uncle Bob. It looked kinda like him from the pictures. My dad never explained it to me. Then until years later, I write about this book on my blog, and he decided to tell me over the weekend that he believes that  I saw Jesus. And he believes that the moles was the holes from the nails. He also thinks Jesus came in a form where I wouldn't be scared of and that it would be easier for me to approach to. Of course. I cried. We all cried.    Now, looking back, I do wish that I had never ran and faced him instead and say....Thank you Jesus - You died for our sins and I will be forever grateful for it. I love You.

On Sunday, I went to the Catholic Church with my parents and my husband. It was a very very emotional service. Actually, it was a very emotional weekend!! So many times I have to fight back my tears at the service that I had to think about my hair just to get my mind off of it!! My mom, didn't hold back, she cried with her whole heart. She has the heart of gold. We were emotional about the reading from the Bible where they talked about Jesus preparing for His Death on the Cross. It was hard to read it. The song was sad too. Children was singing - "were you there when they crucified my Lord"?   This is why I won't watch Passion of Christ, it is too hard. It is like watching your own family dying like this. It's too close to the heart. It is also a good wake up call and a good way to understand it even more. It's still too emotional. If I ever decide to watch it, I would do it alone.

Anyway, Gil had a good point. He said that he doesn't understand why the Catholic church doesn't hand out communion in paper cups and plates. I know that the Church hands it out to people who have received holy communion . But, Gil is a Christian, he should be able to receive the body of Christ. My mother and I talked about this with him. We both agreed that, it's between him and God. It doesn't matter what the Church believes or thinks - that you have to be a catholic to receive it. Christians should receive it too. We told Gil, don't let the Church stop you. We know how you feel about Jesus, you should go up there if you want to.

I can understand how people would have wrong ideas about the Church because of their "rules" and "laws". I don't agree with it. I believe that you should find a Church where you feel that it celebrates Jesus in the way you want to celebrate Him and follow their rituals for spiritual practice.  Like what LG said, some people use yoga, lent, etc. to get closer with the Lord. We shouldn't honor the church, we should honor their ways that makes us focused or closer to the Lord. I can understand why they would require for you to go to Church on Sundays...I do feel like God gives us messages through our priests and pastor and show us that He is here for us and knows what is going on with us. He makes us feel like our prayers are being heard. And life is so materialistic that the devil will distract us from being closer with God. Going to Church on Sundays is a great way to renew ourselves every week. To me, it doesn't seem like a habit or a routine anymore, it has meaning to me now, because of the captions and the interpreters I can finally benefit it and finally grasped the meaning and purpose of it!!

I still have so much to talk about. I am going to read the book that my dad left with me and will share it with you too. I would like to conclude that it was a wonderful birthday and I am so blessed.

Amen :)

I would like to add something that my mother left in my bag. It explains about the concluding rite (Praying the Mass).

When a movie ends, people simply get up and walk out of the theater. But the Mass is a communal ritual, and needs a ritual ending. So we are ritually blessed and then sent : "Go in peace."  When the liturgy was celebrated in Latin, the priest said, "Ite miss est." The Latin word "missa" means being "sent, missioned." Literally, the Latin phrase meant, "Go, it is the sending." Since the fourth century, the whole celebration became known by that word: The Mass.

The Eucharist is not something we celebrate once, and then never need to celebrate again. We do it over and over and over because it is always "live." We also do it because the Lord said, "Do this in memory of me."

We need a healthy sense of "obligation" to prod us to do what we really ought to do, like traveling to a family gathering even though it's inconvenient. The "obligation" nudges us to go and afterwards we're glad we did.

"Going to Mass" is not a decision we should have to make from scratch every weekend. It's something we simply make part of our lives every week.

Picture Mary and the other disciples in those days after the Ascension. They came together for prayer and mutual support  on Sundays.

We should picture ourselves as part of those early disciples gathered every Sunday. It is not hard to get the feeling : This is where I belong.

Read this...very interesting


  1. Hey, Amanda, I am glad you had a wonderful birthday! Your photos look awesome.

    I know I keep quoting Richard Rohr but he speaks to me in his writings. I think this is so relevant to what you and Gil are talking about. I think spirituality is more critical the following Church doctine--the continual asking of questions??? Here is the quote "Jesus is asked 183 questions directly or indirectly in the four Gospels. Do you know that he only answered 3 of them forthrightly? The others he either ignored, kept silent about, asked them a question in return, changed the subject, told a story or gave an audio visual aid to make his point, told them it was the wrong question, revealed their insincerity or hypocrisy, made the exactly opposite point, or redirected the question elsewhere! Check it out for yourself. He himself asks 307 questions, which would seem to set a pattern for imitation. Considering this, it is really rather amazing that the church became an official answering machine and a very self assured program for “sin management.” Many, if not most, of Jesus’ teaching would never pass contemporary orthodoxy tests in either the Roman Office or the Southern Baptist Convention. Most of his statements are so open to misinterpretation that should he teach today, he would probably be called a “relativist” in almost all areas except one: his insistence upon the goodness and reliability of God. That was his only consistent absolute.

    Do you want to know the three questions that he answered directly? Scholars tell me that it is these three:

    1) “So you are a king, then?” said Pilate. “Yes, I am a king. I was born for this” (John 18:37). Yet even this is said, after first clarifying what king and kingdom mean. Rather relativistic.

    2) “Lord, teach us how to pray, just as John taught his disciples. He said to them, “ and he taught them the Our Father (Luke 11:1). Which is really more of a request.

    3) “To disconcert him, one of the Pharisees put to him a question, ‘Master, which is the greatest commandment of the Law?’ Jesus said, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your mind, and with all your soul… And the second is like it” (Matthew 22:36-37). This one question he surely answered directly and forthrightly."


  2. Wow you had an emotional weekend. I'll have to hear it from you one day. I am so proud of you being who you are today even though it was tough to get thru.

    And I can understand how Gil feels about not taking communion in Catholic Church because I wouldn't either. I don't feel belong there at all. I still feel that Catholic Church use cannon law, and rules that seems to take away of why we love God.

    I didn't like the idea of following law. I like my church where Pastor would talk closely with people and say meaningful message opposed to Catholic Church that usually just read from the bible and explain what it said in the bible. Pastor does not do that, usually they would use their stories to apply what it said in bible.

    For instance you saw Jesus in mirror, you would relate one verse to that story. It's what Pastor would do in church. This why I like being Christian its more meaningful. I hope this make sense but yeah I understand how Gil feels.

    We gotta meet up sometime to talk :))

  3. Amanda,

    I like how you embrace all different religions and don't judge them. We all were taught to believe in Jesus in different ways, none of them are right none of them are wrong. I just am happy we all are Christians , this week is such an important week in the Church and for All Christians. I was so happy to be with you and Gil for Palm Sunday. It is a very emotional time this week witnessing Jesus giving up his life and giving us eternal life.
    We should always be thankful fro what he did for us and never forget it.
    Love reading your blog, and I love who you are.

  4. Thanks everybody. It was an interesting experience. It's all about following what makes us comfortable too but we should focus on what we believe is the best way to praise the Lord too. I really enjoyed the Catholic Church and even felt more at home because I felt like we were celebrating in a very solemn way and very respectful way. It felt right. Like I've said long it's about Jesus and not the Church itself then that's all it matters.

    Erin, I understand your comment but Catholics are Christians. There are so many Christian churches (Baptist, Presbytarian, Lutheran, etc) out there that does things differently - it's Church would sing their hearts out all Sunday morning or the other Church will just pray together as a community... etc. It's all about which one you feel like it fits you the most. For me, I want to show respect/praise to Jesus so I feel like the Catholic Church does that and we read about the Bible from the gospel. But the McClean Bible church talks about the Bible and it doesn't do much praising to Jesus alone but shares His word. So I'm in the middle. I wish I can have both! lol

  5. I've never heard a Catholic person telling me that they are Christian. Usually they would say I'm Catholic. People who goes to Presbyterian Church say we are Christian instead of saying Presbyterian. I'm not trying to be critical here I just don't understand some things that Catholics do.

    I've been to tons of Catholic Church and not even one church made me feel fit in. I guess I just like a lot of music in church to make me feel more awake and feel inspired to the words to every song.

    I love my Christian Camp every summer when I was younger. They do a lot of songs before every service and do silly stuff. Then I get the most important message. I would think you and GIL will LOVEEEEE it. I still visit almost every year just for one day.

  6. Ohh, I understand what you mean. So glad you brought this up. This helps makes me understand how people view the Catholic Church. Also I'm curious to how people define "Christian."

    I found this from

    A dictionary definition of a Christian would be something similar to “a person professing belief in Jesus as the Christ or in the religion based on the teachings of Jesus.” While this is a good starting point, like many dictionary definitions, it falls somewhat short of really communicating the biblical truth of what it means to be a Christian. The word “Christian” is used three times in the New Testament (Acts 11:26; 26:28; 1 Peter 4:16). Followers of Jesus Christ were first called “Christians” in Antioch (Acts 11:26) because their behavior, activity, and speech were like Christ. The word “Christian” literally means, “belonging to the party of Christ” or a “follower of Christ.”

    So whoever believes and follows Christ are Christians - but HOW to practice and follow Jesus - that's up to you. As long the person accepts Jesus Christ their savior then they are Christians - so many Churches have Christians - Presbytarian, Baptist, Lutheran, even Mormons, Catholics, etc. They all have one goal - to follow Jesus and preach. Unfortunately they all do it differently so it's important to follow what makes us feel comfortable right? As long we understand that accepting Jesus is ultimate goal. People think going to Church and helping less fortunate automatically makes them a Christian - it doesn't. If the rituals/songs in Church doesn't have meaning for someone, then that someone probably doesn't get it because he/she didn't truly accept Jesus Christ.

    The Jews and Jehovah witness are not Christians, they don't believe in Jesus Christ as their saviors. Which is scary.

    Hope this helps make you understand??

    You're probably right, wish we went to Christian Camp!! I bet people from all different Churches were there too? That would be interesting to see everyone's views.

  7. For some reason I feel like Catholic focus on the laws and rules little too much that could easily take away why God loves us or why we should love him the same. It's just how I feel towards Catholic Church. AND I've met several Catholic that say "I HAVE TO GO TO CHURCH" because if they don't then they think they aren't good enough. My parents were raised Catholic but changed to Christian. My dad grew up going to Catholic Church, and when he is in his teen years. He thinks he is not good enough for God at all because he was doing drugs, and drinking. But remember the story I told you about Dad hearing God's voice it was because my dad didn't think he was good enough for God but he finally REALIZED he is good enough. So he changed from Catholic to Christian because he feels that Catholic Church takes away the love by focusing on DOING GOOD DEEDS FOR GOD by following cannon law or rules.

    There are no Catholic Religion at this christian camp BUT I brought my ex there once who is catholic himself and he LOVED this camp so much and wanted to be more involved. He doesn't get that much from his Catholic church which is usually more reserved.

    Wow this is a big discussion between you and me hehe. I don't want you think I'm hating Catholic, which is not true. I just don't understand why they should follow cannon law.

    I wanna share this with you, Janet sent me an email.

    The entire Old Testament pointed the ministry of Christ, for the offerings (sacrifice of the lamb etc), feast (celebration), tabernacles (tent where high priest does the sacrificing), and priests were all used to show the better way of Jesus before Jesus died on the cross. Now that Jesus died on the cross, all of that is finished! We can talk to God and please Him without having to go through priests (confessions to priest and priest talks to God for you -> NOT anymore!!!) why? because the veil has been torn :) Faith is defined and encouragement is given to ALL believers by detailing faith of such men and women as Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, and Moses (Chapter 11). The author of Hebrews reveals that the new, eternal covenant has replaced a temporal one, and its price has been paid-in-full by the blood of Christ "It is Finished!" (John 19:28-30) He said it is finished in verse 30- that part where Jesus said all is finish. And read all of Hebrews to get this whole doctrine.

    See below about the veil :)

    “The veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. –Matthew 27:51

  8. I love this!!! :) I definitely understand your dad's situation. I can even relate to him. I grew up in the Catholic Church and didn't really "get it" until I was a teenager too. I went to God for help directly avoiding Church altogether and have been doing that since. I believe that the Church is there to give holy structure to your life to give you spiritual discipline. Some people like it strict some people don't. Some people don't even like going to Church at all doesn't mean they are not Christians. Everybody's different. What I don't like is that people get the wrong idea of what the Church represents and that's where everyone divides when we are all really are doing the same thing - worshiping the Lord. Sometimes the Church gives US the wrong idea too. I wish everybody wasn't like that you know and single people out just because they like the Church's structure?

    AND YESSS ABOUT THE TORN VEIL!!!! I have a WHOLE sermon from McClean Bible Church about that. I don't believe in going to confession at the Church because I know I can do it with Jesus alone. However, I do know some people who needs encouragement and is actually intimidated when they shouldn't be. So if they need someone to be with them for confession, go for it. They also believe that with the priest the holy spirit will absolve their sins. It makes it real for them. Sometimes I do find myself asking myself, hey did God really forgive me? I'm not sure. I know I did pray that. Until I realized from the Bible that God does listen and through Jesus, our sins are forgiven. Some people need tangible feeling that it did happen you know?

    Thanks for sharing. So glad we are doing this through the blog and we can save it too.

  9. I love your response to this!!!! Yes people get the wrong idea about Church and its ridiculous. Its hard for us to understand it sometimes. I think it is important to teach yourself about God and not have to rely on Pastor, Pope, Priest alone. It is nice to hear their insights on things.

    Love this topic, because you made me think :))