The Christmas story: From the NIV Bible

Luke 2

The Birth of Jesus

1In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2(This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3And everyone went to his own town to register.
4So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

The Shepherds and the Angels

8And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ[a] the Lord. 12This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."
13Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14"Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."

15When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about."

16So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

Jesus Presented in the Temple

21On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise him, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he had been conceived.
22When the time of their purification according to the Law of Moses had been completed, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23(as it is written in the Law of the Lord, "Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord"[b]), 24and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: "a pair of doves or two young pigeons."[c]

25Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord's Christ. 27Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, 28Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:
29"Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
you now dismiss[d] your servant in peace.
30For my eyes have seen your salvation,
31which you have prepared in the sight of all people,
32a light for revelation to the Gentiles
and for glory to your people Israel."

33The child's father and mother marveled at what was said about him. 34Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: "This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, 35so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too."

36There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37and then was a widow until she was eighty-four.[e] She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. 38Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.

39When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth. 40And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him.

The Boy Jesus at the Temple

41Every year his parents went to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover. 42When he was twelve years old, they went up to the Feast, according to the custom. 43After the Feast was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. 44Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. 45When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. 46After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. 48When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, "Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you."
49"Why were you searching for me?" he asked. "Didn't you know I had to be in my Father's house?" 50But they did not understand what he was saying to them.

51Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. 52And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.


song in progress (not what it seems by jon tam)

Half past the hour and it’s getting cold and I’m all alone, but that’s the usual.
You called me out to write a song about love, a melody of truth, but I can’t believe it now.
Around the world people singing, feet are dancing, children laughing, eyes are gleaming along.
People working, educating, singing praises, and just living among.
But why are they sleeping?

Sky’s dark, moon’s lit, and branches swinging around.
City lights, can’t you see, oh don’t you hear, the liveliness up here.
The symphony of streaming lights, pretty sounds, beauty and depression.
He’s mingling around, seen ups and downs, wanting, needing everything in this world.
Why do the birds escape?

Lives are broken, chains are tied, and they’re full of lies.
The people of the beautiful are being wrestled to tears.
Send your love, show your power, oh can’t you feel the depth.
And revive this stupid death of life.

Crazy as it seems she’s called a superstar.
And she lives in a mansion with an ocean or two.
All the sights to experience and taste and sense beyond the five we know.
Seeing beauty, hatred, kindness, and compassion, and I could go on and on.
Done it all in a week, what the freak it takes a lifetime for me.
But why can’t she open her eyes.

God is here, no fear no near, no more crazy lies.
The hope of nations is released and with freedom to give.
This is love, Jesus’ power; oh won’t you just take a rest.
And teach in love that this is the truth revived.

People of the church this is a miracle.
Coming in, singing out, learn and teach all about.
A man was hanged on a cross and died that so we could live.
Anything but this recklessness and trying to please the world.
Let me remind you that.

God is here, no fear no near, no more crazy lies.
The hope of nations is released and with freedom to give.
This is love, Jesus’ power; oh won’t you just take a rest.
And teach in love that this is the truth revived. (x2)


The blog from Starbucks (vol. 1)

It's been three months and nine days since I've first come to Syracuse. Lots of things have happened, both good and bad.

Let's take a look at the major aspects shall we?

August - Coming to SU. A week of intense band camp. Burnt to a crisp from the sunlight and sweating from 8am - 930pm. Nice experience though. August 30th (day before first day of classes): dropped out of band.

September - Got Bronchitis... which includes being short of breath from just a few steps of walking up hill.. so it was definitely not fun walking up 160 steps every day to my residence hall. Afternoon naps became second-nature to me (those are always nice). Coughing and vomiting at 3 in the morning isn't that much fun though =/.

October - I'm not sure what happened this month, but small events here and there really changed my perspective on things during this month.

November - Grown to really like church and fellowship around here and already cannot believe I'm almost done with the first semester of college. College life flies by way to quickly. People have told me to enjoy it as much as I can. But whenever I think back to enjoyable moments like Thanksgiving break with my family and friends, it almost seems like time went by too quickly to enjoy it.

Okay it only seems like I'm complaining about my life. But I promise you I'm really not. This thanksgiving weekend, I spent a lot of time with friends and family, enjoyed time with them, and had attended an awesome praise night at my church. But it's time to get my priorities straight. It's time I give thanks to God for every good and bad moment I've experienced so far. If I could go back in time, I wouldn't change a thing. There's absolutely nothing I can do to conjure a plan that's even close to God's plan.

Thank You very much JC. For what was, and is, and is to come. For love that came down. For him. Thanks a million.


I should really be sleeping.

Okay, a more appropriate title for this blog entry would be something along the lines of: "Challenges that tear me apart."

The biggest thing I've been struggling with since coming to Syracuse is that I rely more on my emotions than I do on God. Now that's not always a bad thing (if my emotions were always focused on Christ). But nooo. My emotions change every few seconds, faster than any woman I've encountered during PMS (sorry, just had to make that comparison).

Sometimes my emotions tell me I've got to keep praying because this is all just a big challenge I'm getting from God. Other times, it encourages me to make excuses for the sins I've done.

Although this is my current state, I've been having the great pleasure of meeting this guy whom I have one on one bible study and discussion sessions each week, and every week, I've been encouraged to not only believe what other Christians tell me, but look it up in the Bible for myself (something some non-Chrisitans might wanna look into instead of being stubborn).

I guess for those of you who read my blog, just pray for me. Let me be able to get through this rough time (although this is just a way to make me stronger in the future). On a random note, I can't wait to go back home in less than a month! =)

Also pray for some of the so-called "evangelists" on the streets. There's this guy in front of the main campus steps far across from Hall of Languages, that wears a huge sign (front and back) and talking about how people need to be saved because they're doomed to hell if we don't repent right away. I don't know if this guy is affiliated with the first, but today, I saw another guy, a much younger guy that held a big sign saying "ex-homos: saved by Jesus Christ" or something like that. And I didn't really catch what he was saying but I vividly remember him saying, "some of you don't have a spine." In both cases, even as a Christian, this really disappoints me. Jesus would never approve of such "evangelism." If we are to love the sinners and hate the sin, why are so many people trying to approach others with Christianity in a way that screams, "God will hate you until you repent!" Where the heck does it say that in the bible? I have two questions for them:

1. Do people really come up to you and ask you for more information about the gospel and Jesus Christ? Do you expect anyone to come up to you in a positive, interested manner? If not, where are you doing with your life?

2. Can you say with honesty that you have love for the people you see on the streets? Because if you don't, stop wasting your time. That's not spreading the gospel.

Pray for them, and for me.


God first, then everything else.

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. -Matt. 6:33 (NKJV)

So I chose NKJV (New King James Version) instead of the NIV (New International Version) because I like how it says "and all these things shall be added to you."

So what's this mean?

I'll keep this one short and simple.

It means to live your life everyday, doing everything in your power to desire God first, then doing everything in HIS power to glorify him throughout the entire days of the entire week. In the midst of your busy work hours, school, shopping for the newest pair of jeans, we need to make sure that we're living in HIS name; giving glory to the father, and love others as ourselves.

Faith is NOTHING if you don't have love.

Your work hours maybe from 9am-12am, but even if your schedule isn't as rigorous as this, know that you do not make time for God around your busy schedule. You make time for your BUSY SCHEDULE around God.

Seriously, one who WORRIES about whether or not they'll be successful will NEVER EVER be successful.

If the definition of your success is having joy in your lives then this is for you... the JOY principle:
Jesus, Others, then You.

"all these things shall be added to you."

Have a great Sunday guys! =)


Where would I be?

I notice that no matter how many times we make a promise to God, it may seem even harder to make a single promise to him without breaking it than to make a thousand promises to a friend and never break them once.

Is God just one of our friends? Is he SIMPLY someone we talk to at the end of the day, at the beginning of a meal, or when troubles come down? Last time I checked, he was ABOVE all names, and he sits above us on his throne. We have quite an amazing God for being so humble and show humility by bringing himself down to our level. But why does he do that?

He's ready to pick us up from where we left off. Because in each person, he has started something beautiful. And although throughout the race our lives can look ugly, the best thing we can do is to let God do his work in us so that he may finish building us with the same amount of beauty in mind.

In the end, NO ONE is less fortunate than the other. NOT EVEN the average American who has supple amount of food, shelter, and clothing is more fortunate than the one who lives waiting for his or her next meal. Because the gift of God's love, which comes with unwavering grace and mercy is available to ALL PEOPLE to receive. There is no fortune in anything that is not offered by God.

Honestly, I really need to take into account the things I do and say. Where would I be if it weren't for the grace of God? Embrace his grace through love, but don't abuse it. He's totally fair- he can take it away and tear you apart any day.

“May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.”- 2 Corinthians 13:14


The Only Thing That's Beautiful to Me.

Just like the ocean waves
You crash on me
Just like a tidal wave
You ruin me
Just like a hurricane
You devastate everything that needs to change

You are the only thing that’s beautiful in me
Beautiful in me
You are the only thing that’s beautiful in me
Beautiful in me

Just like a mountain peak
You lift me up
Just like a desert stream
You fill my cup
And like a heart that beats
You are the blood that covers me
You cover me


And all I can say is thank you, thank you
And all I can say is thank you, Lord thank you
And all I can say is thank you, thank you


-The Only Thing That's Beautiful to Me by Rush of Fools


So sick

Nah really.. I'm so sick =(

Been coughing up a storm since this past Saturday .. but hopefully it'll get better soon.

So have you ever done pottery? Well I haven't.. haha. But it's pretty much common sense that if you're trying to mold clay into a certain shape but ends up breaking apart, someone has to remold and reshape the broken pieces to form the art that it's supposed to be. Not only that, you need to know exactly what you're going to mold this clay into.

Now I personally think those spinning devices you use to do pottery is awesome. But no matter how awesome it is, you won't get anywhere with the piece of clay if your hands aren't doing the sculpting, and your brain isn't planting the vision. To make the most beautiful piece of art, you need articulate sculpting talent and a mind that knows beauty.

Similarly, Isaiah 46:4 says this: “Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.”

God says to all of us that no matter how old we become, through our rotting and our brokenness, He will mold us back together. He will reshape us, and he will certainly still use us. He goes on to say that because because has made us, he will continually refine us and make us whole until the race has ended.

We are basically that piece of clay being molded by the hand of God, and will continue to be sculpted with his beautiful vision for us, no matter how many times we break apart. He is not finished with us until that pedal is no longer pressed and the table is no longer spinning.

Because of this, we WILL have eternal life with him.

BUT, this message is NOT for believers. Satan was very much a believer himself. This message is for those who offer their lives to God to become DISCIPLES of Christ. NOT BELIEVERS.

what are you?



Think back to a moment when you were a child. A time when you looked like a fool and you didn't care. You didn't bother to even think that anyone might laugh at you.

Psalm 95: 6-7 says: Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker; for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care.

When we as Christians, some of us, born into Christianity, read this, no matter how many times you read it, you might be thinking: "Wow, I really need to go to church and sing with my eyes focused on God." But look! It says, let us bow down. Let us kneel before the LORD. Can this or should this be taken literally?

Why are we so afraid to look like a fool these days? Be a fool for God. There's no sense in looking mature on your outward appearance if that's not going to help you mature in your walk with God.

So why go through the trouble of changing your ways in order to worship God?
1. Be flexible. God made changes in his plans for you too. His world was supposed to be perfect, but because of us, he had to send his son to die for us so that we may live.
2. He deserves our utmost praise. Praising as if you were in room all alone and no one to notice the wacky things you do. That's worship from the heart.

So I just finished my first day of classes at Syracuse University. YAY!
The verse I posted above is the verse of the day from biblegateway.com. I might post something once a week based on the verse of the day and whatever comes to mind is here for you to read.

Peace out =)