Psalm 119

I came across reading God’s words in Psalm 119 in my morning quiet time and learned that this Psalm is the longest Psalm and the longest chapter in the Bible. It has carefully constructed 22 sections each corresponding to a different letter in the Hebrew alphabet and each verse beginning with the letter of its section. And the thought came to me that I should write 26 English alphabets with each verse that either begins or signifies God’s words that touch my heart.

A: (Revelation 1:8)

I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.

B: (Matthew 5: 3-11)

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 

C: (Matthew 11: 28-30)

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

D: (Psalm 37:4)

Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart. He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun. Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.

E: (John 10:28-30)

I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.

F: (Proverbs 3:5)

Fear not, for I am with you, be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you. I will help you. I will uphold you with my righteous hand.

G: (Psalm 145:3)

Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom.

H: (Revelation 4:8, 11)

“Holyholyholy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.” “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.”

I: (Exodus 3:14)

I AM WHO I AM”; and He said, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.

J: (Jeremiah 15:16)

When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight, for I bear your name, LORD God Almighty.

K: (Proverb 16:24)

Kind words are like honey–sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.

L: (Psalm 119:105)

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

M: (Psalm 121:1-3)

I lift up my eyes to the mountains-where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.

N: (Isaiah 42:8)

I am YAHWEH. That is my name. I will not give my glory to another. I will not let statues take the praise that should be mine.

O: (John 16:33)

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

P: (Psalm 102:1)

Hear my prayer, O LORD; let my cry for help come to you. Do not hide your face from me when I am in distress. Turn your ear to me; when I call, answer me quickly. For my days vanish like smoke; my bones burn like glowing embers.

Q: (Zephaniah 3:17)

The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.

R: (Hebrew 1:3)

The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.

S: (Psalm 46:10)

Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.

T: (Isaiah 25:8)

He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the Lord hath spoken it.

U: (Job 36:26)

How great is God—beyond our understanding! The number of his years is past finding out.

V: (1 Corinthian 15:57)

But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

W: (Revelation 5:12)

Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise.

X: (Proverbs 21:1)

The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it wherever he will. This is referring to King Xerxes, the king of Persia in the time of Esther. (I had a difficult time to find a Bible verse, starting or related to the letter X).

Y: (Job 23:10)

Yet He knows the way I have taken; when He has tested me, I will come forth as gold.

Z: (Roman 9:33)

Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense; and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.

Thanksgiving. What’s on God’s mind?

November 20, 2020
In the Book of Amos, Chapter 4: 1-13, God speaks through his prophet Amos that He sent several hardships and tragedies to wake up the people of Israel. God is humorous calling the privileged women of Israel, “Listen to me, You Fat Cows living in Samaria.” God was referring to the women who are pampered, sleek and well fed who selfishly oppress the helpless in order to support their lavish lifestyles. The Lord God sent famine, lack of rain, striking farms and vineyards with blight and mildew, locusts devouring figs and olive trees, plagues, killing young men in war, the stench of death filling the air and still the people of Israel did not return their hearts to God who shaped the mountains, stirs up the winds and reveals His thoughts to mankind. He turns the light of dawn into darkness and treads on the height of the earth. The Lord God of Heaven’s Armies is His name!

Almost two days, we had a dense fog in the mornings in Southern California. I couldn’t see just 6 feet away. Just a month ago, we had severe fires close to our mountains with eerie orange sky with soot on the very street I cannot see due to fog. 

Photo by Sippakorn Yamkasikorn from Pexels

As the Thanksgiving Holidays approaches, I am thinking and looking back what a tumultuous year this 2020 has been, thus far.  God allowed the world to experience the pandemic with a novel coronavirus with the death count of 1.34 million as of today and 55.6 million infections. The US leads the way with the death count of 252K and 11.8 million infections. It is still unbelievable that US is the top country to be affected by this unfortunate COVID-19. We are used to leading the technology, medicine, economy, wealth and respect for human rights and democracy but not in the viral infection rate, and I am embarrassed about this.

This year, we had seen the invisible and formidable virus affecting nondiscriminatory way; now we see our immediate families, friends and coworkers getting infected by the virus. We had more fires than any other years in southwestern states. We had more hurricanes in eastern states than any other times and we even ran out of naming the hurricanes and used the final alphabet letter Z, zeta 2020. We had the world’s largest hornet called Asian Giant Hornet, better known as murder hornets in Washington state alarming to infest the country. This is reminding me of the Amos time when God sent sequential calamities. 

Independence Hall, PA, site of the ratification for independence

These incidences are on top of the usual natural calamities such as tornadoes and floods, not to mention our man-made tragedies of racial discrimination outbreaks and violent demonstrations and looting. And to top it off, the election year for presidency manifested how our country is divided and the first time ever in 244-years-old history where our very definition of democracy is questioned by the current president not conceding since the Declaration of Independence was ratified by the US Second Continental Congress on July 4, 1776.

Is God saying anything to us? Is He saying return to me as He said through Amos for the people of Israel? Are we still ignoring God because we did not get the message? Is God allowing all these calamities for us to turn our heads toward Him? It is impossible to know what is in God’s mind.  

With Thanksgiving holidays coming around the corner,  I can reflect and even the very question what is the meaning of all these? What a year 2020 has been thus far! Still, I have this life, the miracles of time that I breath in this very life is not my own to waste. Each day is precious. Tomorrow is not promised nor guaranteed. And I am thankful for just the fact I can breathe.

Who can possibly fathom what’s on God’s mind. I do not know the meaning of all the happenings in 2020. What I do know is I have life today and I will choose to listen to what God has to say to me today with thanksgiving heart.

How did I change?

How did I change?
April 13, 2020 Blog #4 : US National Parks

In this “Lock Down” state during the COVID-19 in California, I find myself enjoying the time to reflect, quieting the mind, prioritizing and recognizing what is really important in my life, and “truly living in the moment”. To top it off in my selfish and delectable enjoyment, it comes with a guilt-free package and no obligations to please others by socializing and being hospitable. It is a safe-haven for an introvert like myself. Recent news tells me that a lot of folks are experiencing “cabin fever” but I am secretly experiencing such a pleasure staying home, and found myself so busy that I had to regulate my schedule into some routines to discipline my time to include exercises, piano practice, cooking new recipes and watching Netflix for entertainment.  During quieting of the mind, my thoughts are in traffic jams and I have to discipline myself to tell one story at a time in this blog. And today, I decided to share about our two US National Parks trips which are one of my “bucket list” activities. 

The first US National Parks trip took place on 9/30-11/7/2016, a total of 39 days through the northern routes of America. We drove 7,223 miles from Los Angeles to Washington D.C., slept in 23 different hotels with no reservations and saw 11 National Parks, a few state parks, waterfalls and national monuments. I saw how beautiful and blessed this country was. Large cities with bright lights, proud tall buildings with bustling people busy minding their own business, practicing their constitutional rights in the pursuit of happiness, to the endless grasslands with perfectly arranged piles of hay without a single person in sight for miles. Small farm houses with red roof barns, cattle roaming around peacefully in the green grass fields punctuated by scattered scenic lakes, ponds and rivers adding to the richness in beauty. Philadelphia and Washington D.C. showed our proud constitution based on the faith of God who we trust with the founding fathers who formulated our government based on human rights, values and equality. We had an extra bonus in seeing colorful foliage during the fall season. This northern route was mostly middle class income houses with Trump supporters displaying their signs in the front yards and it was easy to predict who might be the next president.

The southern route of the National Parks trip was on  1/4 to 2/19/2020, a total of 45 days. We drove 7,477 miles from Los Angeles to Florida, saw 11 National Parks and stayed at 23 different hotels and vacation rentals. I was saying to Hal, “we will be changed people when we are done with the trip.” Unlike the northern route, in the South (especially parts of Texas, LA, MS, AL and parts of Florida), we saw cruelty in poverty amidst muddy brown water swamps, houses with partially blown roofs due to repetitive hurricanes, holes in the walls, miserable hot humid air even during the winter months which made me imagine the unthinkable misery in the summer time with annoying mosquitos in the crowded, and barely covered shacks. The notable things throughout the South are the crawfish Cajun style eatery billboards, but we were not traveling in April, which is the season for eating crawfish. On this trip, I was struck by how divided our country really is socioeconomically; the poor are so poor and the rich are so rich. The costal parts of Pompano Beach and West Palm Beach in Florida displayed incomprehensible and spectacularly expensive estates lived in by a few Caucasian people with their unobstructed view of the Atlantic Ocean. In my opinion, it is not the education, race, gender, different nationality, or languages that divides the American people but the socioeconomics; most of the blacks are in poor, crowded neighborhoods with one McDonald’s, and an old, decrepit, half empty sugar cane factory for the entire community to work in, and without many schools or resources to even dream what to dream to for reprieve from the poverty. The natural disasters always have much more profound devastation on the poor. The residues of hurricanes still remain: Ripped-off roofs, flooded cities, businesses and houses boarded up and never to open again. Just like the current COVID-19 pandemic, the African-Americans die more frequently and it is no surprise why that might be. Crowded spaces, poverty, lack of hospitals to go to, lack of opportunities for work that provide health insurance, and perhaps cultural differences in seeking medical help until too late. To match this realization, the 2020 Oscar winning movie from Korea “Parasites” confirmed my perspectives on the division of the classes by the economic status. The rich are oblivious to the basic human needs of the poor and naïve toward the calamity that is about to come from the poor that will ultimately affect their lives. The poor people live in the same country of “equality” and yet never taste what that really means. My heart aches for the poor but my body demands luxury.

White Sands National Park, NM
Big Bend National Park, TX
Big Bend National Park, TX
South Texas Cafe
South Florida

Having seen most of America including Hawaii, and Alaska, I am blessed to say that still, America is a beautiful country.  If I had to choose where is the most beautiful National Park, I have to say Yosemite in California and Big Bend in Texas.  The most beautiful and scenic state to drive thru is Alaska.

Yosemite National Park, CA

How did I change? For one, I am grateful that our parents who came to this country giving up their comforts and familiarity and became proud to be a citizen in this beautiful country. Secondly, I am grateful to Hal, my husband who is not only my companion, friend and lover but supports and prepares every step of the way to ease the discomfort of my physical disability, being my own legs to explore beyond the door of the house. Thirdly, I am grateful for the faith I have in Christ to have the courage beyond my imagination to explore the whole country with my polio stricken leg. Despite my physical disability, God took me and lets me see His creation in Nature and His people throughout the U.S. and I dare to travel trusting God is good all along the way. Fourth, through seeing the whole country, it gave me the perspective on who I am and what is important in life. My identity is not just defined by the work I do. Life is much more than that. Having a balanced life, knowing the purposes and meanings found in God, having the end in mind but fully present and mindful of the breaths I take today and not consumed with worries of tomorrow is good. The time passes ruthlessly never asking my permission. This moment too passes, and never returns. No one knows when I will die. The COVID-19 reaffirms the fragile nature of the life. Indeed, it is a time to reflect, know what’s really important, lay down the pride and humble myself to God. We came into this world alone and naked and we die alone. Tomorrow is never promised. And therefore, rejoice in God, praise and pray to Him one more time today while I still have breaths. In Matthew 6:19, Jesus said, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where the thieves break in and steal.” In Luke 12:39, Jesus also said, “Be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have allowed his house to be broken with.”