Adventures Wherever He leads.

Shanghai, Hong Kong, and beyond… immeasurably more than all we could ask or imagine

When I say I am a Christian by Maya Angelou June 5, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — chinabean @ 7:27 am

“When I say… “I am a Christian”
I’m not shouting “I’m clean livin’.”
I’m whispering “I was lost,
Now I’m found and forgiven.”

When I say… “I am a Christian”
I don’t speak of this with pride.
I’m confessing that I stumble
and need Christ to be my guide.

When I say… “I am a Christian”
I’m not trying to be strong.
I’m professing that I’m weak
And need His strength to carry on.

When I say… “I am a Christian”
I’m not bragging of success.
I’m admitting I have failed
And need God to clean my mess.

When I say… “I am a Christian”
I’m not claiming to be perfect,
My flaws are far too visible
But, God believes I am worth it.

When I say… “I am a Christian”
I still feel the sting of pain.
I have my share of heartaches
So I call upon His name.

When I say… “I am a Christian”
I’m not holier than thou,
I’m just a simple sinner
Who received God’s good grace, somehow.”

― Maya Angelou

Image

 

Grace one day at a time May 15, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — chinabean @ 4:06 am

I’ve been really encouraged by this from Betsy Childs. Kathy Keller mentions it in her singles talk in NY. I’ve been reminded how truly gracious God is in all these things. :) 

 
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:15-16

God will give us what we need, but he will not give it to us until we need it. He didn’t give the Israelites enough food to last through forty years in the wilderness; he gave them manna one day at a time. None of us has a lifelong stockpile of grace, but we can look forward to God’s faithfulness over a lifetime, offered to us one day at a time. ~ Betsy Childs

 

 

God’s Role in suffering May 7, 2014

Filed under: faith,life in HK — chinabean @ 1:46 am

What an encouraging article on Miltinnie Yih’s son who has autism.

http://www.dts.edu/read/gods-role-in-my-sons-autism/

God’s Role in My Son’s Autism

by Miltinnie Yih on July 3, 2013 in Articles

As a follower of Christ, I find my deepest questions are about God’s role in our son David’s autism. When our pastor asked if David’s condition could be due to unconfessed sin in our lives, the cause shifted from the physical to the spiritual. Anxious to find the cause in order to find the cure, we examined ourselves, just in case. What would we not do to get David healed? If only it were as simple as making confessions or promises or bargains with God. “But is this really what it is about?” I wondered. “Is David’s autism a punishment from God for past sin?”

If God wanted to deal with me according to my sin, I deserved far worse. But God does not deal with us as we deserve, because while we were helpless, sinners, and enemies of God, Christ died for us (Rom. 5:6–10). Jesus received what I deserved, and I received what I did not deserve: blood-bought forgiveness. While we do suffer the consequences for our sins, suffering isn’t always the result of sin. God has reasons for allowing trials that we cannot fathom in this life.

Searching for Answers

Another Christian friend asked us if David might be under a curse. She informed me that a generational curse could be passed down from ancestors who might have dedicated future descendants to idols or cursed them by their own sins. She pointed me to the second of the Ten Commandments: “You shall not bow down to them [idols] or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me” (Exod. 20:5).

Her solution was to delve into the root of that sin, confess it on behalf of the ancestor, and receive forgiveness for it. Many people believe in generational curses and spend an enormous amount of energy on researching the possible sins of their ancestors. But, I thought, wouldn’t this fall into the same category as God’s giving David autism because of our sins, except that this was even more indirect and remote? As I pondered these possibilities, my eyes slipped down to the next verse: “but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments” (v. 6).

Would He who forgives my sins still hold ancestral sins against me? Salvation in one generation can change an entire lineage’s destiny from cursed to blessed. Our family already experienced this gracious reversal through our conversion to Christ.

When a famous healer who specialized in deliverance, or exorcism, came to town, people urged us to invite him to pray for David. Could David have a demon? If Satan was the cause, our son was under demonic dominion, requiring us to use every resource to deliver him. Parents in the Bible sought Jesus to deliver their children from demonic control. If we had the opportunity, we reasoned, shouldn’t we consider this as well? We invited this healer to pray for our son. Though nothing happened, the disconcerting thought that autism might be caused by a demon unearthed new questions.

Lessons from the Bible

At the heart of the problem lay the underlying questions: Who made this happen? Who is in charge? Was Satan the cause of this autism in my child, or was God responsible? These crucial questions determined the proper route to take in search of answers.

While demonic oppression is a reality in the world, if some other cause was behind our son’s autism, were we misdirecting our time and resources by trying to oppose Satan? What if God was behind it, and we were fighting God?

Job was a righteous man whom God gave Satan permission to strip of every blessing. Nevertheless, Job continually identified God as the one responsible for his suffering (Job 13:15). Never once did Job attribute responsibility to Satan, though Scripture clearly states that Job’s suffering came directly from Satan’s hands (2:3). But Job knew that God was in control of even Satan. And what Job believed is still true today. God is ultimately in control, so we focus on the Lord, fearing only Him (Luke 12:5).

In John 9, we read that Jesus’s disciples met a blind man, and asked Jesus, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be born blind?”

“Jesus answered, ‘It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him’” (John 9:2–3, NASB).

I began to look for how God would display His work in our son. I stopped asking “Why?” because I knew the answer to “Who?” God, not the devil, was and is in charge. God did not look away when our child was born. He did not make a mistake, nor was He punishing us. Nothing comes into a believer’s life without first coming through the hands of our loving heavenly Father.

Parenting by Faith

God gave David to us, and He will also give us everything we need to love and care for him. Yearning to know the “whys” of David’s autism is an unproductive line of thinking. Why did I want God to give me the reasons? Would they bring me satisfaction or simply put me in a position to judge God? Could I really understand the workings of God? Job continually asked, “Why?” to which God only answered by asking, “Who?” (Job 38:2–11).

The sooner we recognize that God is ultimately and fully sovereign, the sooner we can trust Him in our problems. Paul reminds us, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Rom. 8:28).

By faith I believe that my child is not a burden, but a special gift from God. God is in control and has my best interests at heart. God did not give us this child to ruin our lives, for God promises to work all things for good. And though it is not always easy and we cannot always see “the good,” and though David is still autistic and mentally handicapped, yet by faith we trust that God is working all things for good. This is how David is not our tragedy, but God’s triumph—not a punishment, but God’s “good and perfect gift” (James 1:17). He’s still working.

 

Sovereign April 8, 2014

Filed under: faith — chinabean @ 10:09 am

Sovereign in the mountain air
Sovereign on the ocean floor
With me in the calm
With me in the storm

Sovereign in my greatest joy
Sovereign in my deepest cry
With me in the dark
With me at the dawn

::chorus::

In your everlasting arms
All the pieces of my life
From beginning to the end
I can trust you

In your never failing love
You work everything for good
God whatever comes my way
I will trust you

::bridge::

All my hopes
All I need
Held in your hands

All my life
All of me
Held in your hands

All my fears
All my dreams
Held in your hands

 

You don’t even realise how messed up Christianity is. March 27, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — chinabean @ 2:12 am

http://samuelkee.com/2014/03/24/you-dont-even-realize-how-messed-up-christianity-is/

People like to make fun of Christianity, perhaps for its stance on gay marriage, evolution, or religious pluralism.  But, these are just the tip of the iceberg.  If you really want to see how messed up Christianity is, just consider one of its fundamental beliefs, the doctrine of justification.  Then you’ll see how bizarre it really is.  If you’re going to make fun of Christianity, you might as well hit it in its gut.

Let me explain.

You’ve found a new job.  You get ready for your first day, put on the right clothes, and show up to work.  Before you can punch in, your boss hands you a paycheck and says, “Here’s your pay for the year.  You don’t have to work for it.”

You’re starting a new class.  The teacher hands out the syllabus and explains what will be required of you.  Then she says, “By the way, I’ve already given you an A.  Congratulations.  Your grade does not depend on your work.”

You’re going to try out for the team, but before you walk out on to the field, the coach tells you, “I’ve selected you to be the captain.”

You want to be in the orchestra, but before you can play a single note to audition, the conductor says to you, “I’ve selected you for First Chair.”

You meet someone that you like, but before you can ask her out on a date, as she’s meeting you for the first time, she says to you, “I do!”  And you’re married.

You’re a Muslim and you want to earn God’s favor.  You know that you have to fulfill the five pillars of Islam.  But before you say a single prayer, your leader says to you, “You’ve already made it into Paradise.”

Can you imagine any of these ridiculous situations?  They all put “reward” before “work.”

You want to be a Christian, but before you can live obediently to the Bible, Jesus says to you, “I do.” 

Before you can perform the commandments, Jesus has given you righteousness and eternal life.

That’s how it was when I became a Christian.  Someone introduced me to Jesus one fall night, told me that he loved me and wanted to have a relationship with me for all eternity.  That’s intense!  Jesus didn’t even know me yet!  So I thought.  Don’t I have to do good things for him first?  Don’t I have to earn his love?  Just like every other situation?  Nope.  Will you marry me?

Do you realize how messed up Christianity is?  It messes up how this world operates by introducing a whole new economy.  It declares your spiritual bank account “full” before you’ve ever made a deposit.

This is a radical, retroactive religion, which works backwards, rather than forwards.  Everything else works forwards: you work and then earn the wages of your work.  But Christianity says, “The wages of our work is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).  That’s the doctrine of justification.

Are you sick of earning favor?  Why not start receiving favor?  Christianity stands alone.

 

special needs woes March 14, 2014

Filed under: faith,Teaching — chinabean @ 3:14 am

There’s so many things that I don’t understand.

Special Needs is one of them.

I haven’t shared much about this with many. Most, if i’m honest actually. I think I am embarrassed and utterly humbled by the fact that I am at my end with them…

In joining ICA, one of the hardest things about my time here in addition to the many many difficult things I face is my special needs students.I have a class of 25 six year olds. 13 girls 12 boys.. 6 of which my boys have a special need. 2 autistic, 2 adhd, one aspergers and one kleinfelter syndrome + some EAL girls.

It’s hard. I face the frustrations, questions and feelings of I AM NOT A SPECIAL NEEDS TEACHER. I am not trained. I didn’t want to be one. I dont know what to do. I can barely handle my other 19 students… WHY GOD? WHY? WHY would you give me this lot? It’s more than I can handle.

God reminds me that, “It’s not for you to handle. It’s for me to use you to embrace and love and learn to love these kids, like I do.”

Through these past 7 months at my school here in HK, I’ve learned a lot… but still have so far to go.
Pray for me if you remember.It’s a hard journey to be on… but great is His love for me and them.

For with Him, nothing is impossible. nothing.

My friend, ST, shared a book, The Reason I Jump, by Naoki Higashida, with me recently that has made my heart break. This Japanese teenage author, who has autistic tendencies shared very poignant and honest responses to his teacher’s questions.

One of my favourites thus far: Question 22.

the reason i jump  Q22

may our hearts break for the things and people that break God’s heart more and more each day.

 

the reason i jump

Filed under: Teaching — chinabean @ 12:07 am

the reason i jump.

SO amazed by this book.

 

 
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