Adventures Wherever He leads.

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

Ask and It Shall Be Given July 27, 2017

Filed under: faith,life in CA — chinabean @ 6:44 pm

Luke 11:9-13 NIV
“So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

Hong Kong Prayer Wall Version 1.0 (March 2015 with multiple edits)Screen Shot 2017-07-21 at 11.49.17 AM.png

 

 

 

 

 

 

Screen Shot 2017-07-21 at 11.43.11 AM

California Prayer Wall/Door 2.0 (July 2017)

Finished reading T. Keller’s book on prayer right before I left HK, here are some of my favorite quotes.


“Prayer is both conversation and encounter with God. . . . We must know the awe of praising his glory, the intimacy of finding his grace, and the struggle of asking his help, all of which can lead us to know the spiritual reality of his presence.” (5)

“Prayer is the only entryway into genuine self-knowledge. It is also the main way we experience deep change—the reordering of our loves. Prayer is how God gives us so many of the unimaginable things he has for us. Indeed, prayer makes it safe for God to give us many of the things we most desire. It is the way we know God, the way we finally treat God as God. Prayer is simply the key to everything we need to do and be in life.” (18)

“It is remarkable that in all of his writings Paul’s prayers for his friends contain no appeals for changes in their circumstances.” (20)

“A rich, vibrant, consoling, hard-won prayer life is the one good that makes it possible to receive all other kinds of goods rightly and beneficially. [Paul] does not see prayer as merely a way to get things from God but as a way to get more of God himself.” (21)

“The infallible test of spiritual integrity, Jesus says, is your private prayer life.” (23)

“Jesus Christ taught his disciples to pray, healed people with prayers, denounced the corruption of the temple worship (which, he said, should be a ‘house of prayer’), and insisted that some demons could be cast out only through prayer. He prayed often and regularly with fervent cries and tears (Heb. 5:7), and sometimes all night. The Holy Spirit came upon him and anointed him as he was praying (Luke 3:21–22), and he was transfigured with the divine glory as he prayed (Luke 9:29). When he faced his greatest crisis, he did so with prayer. We hear him praying for his disciples and the church on the night before he died (John 17:1–26) and then petitioning God in agony in the Garden of Gethsemane. Finally, he died praying.” (27)

“Our prayers should arise out of immersion in the Scripture. [We] speak only to the degree we are spoken to. . . . The wedding of the Bible and prayer anchors your life down in the real God.” (55, 56)

“We would never produce the full range of biblical prayer if we were initiating prayer according to our own inner needs and psychology. It can only be produced if we are responding in prayer according to who God is as revealed in the Scripture. . . . Some prayers in the Bible are like an intimate conversation with a friend, others like an appeal to a great monarch, and others approximate a wrestling match. . . . We must not decide how to pray based on what types of prayer are the most effective for producing the experiences and feelings we want. We pray in response to God himself.” (60)

“A triune God would call us to converse with him . . . because he wants to share the joy he has. Prayer is our way of entering into the happiness of God himself.” (68)

“When life is going smoothly, and our truest heart treasures seem safe, it does not occur to us to pray.” (77)

“To pray in Jesus’ name [is], essentially, to reground our relationship with God in the saving work of Jesus over and over again. It also means to recognize your status as a child of God, regardless of your inner state.” (105)

“Prayer is like waking up from a nightmare to reality. We laugh at what we took so seriously inside the dream. We realize that all is truly well. Of course, prayer can have the opposite effect; it can puncture illusions and show us we are in more spiritual danger than we thought.” (130)

“Prayer is not a passive, calm, quiet practice.” (136)

“[Prayer] gives us relief from the melancholy burden of self-absorption.” (139)

“Prayer—though it is often draining, even an agony—is in the long term the greatest source of power that is possible.” (140)

“We must be able to existentially access our doctrinal convictions. If doctrinal soundness is not accompanied by heart experience, it will eventually lead to nominal Christianity—that is, in name only—and eventually to nonbelief. The irony is that many conservative Christians, most concerned about conserving true and sound doctrine, neglect the importance of prayer and make no effort to experience God, and this can lead to the eventual loss of sound doctrine. . . . Christianity without real experience of God will eventually be no Christianity at all.” (180)

“To lose our grip on the costliness of forgiveness will result in a superficial, perfunctory confession that does not lead to any real change of heart. There will be no life change. To lose our grip on the freeness of forgiveness, however, will lead to continued guilt, shame, and self-loathing. There will be no relief. Only when we see both the freeness and the cost of forgiveness will we get relief from the guilt as well as liberation from the power of sin in our lives.” (208)

“God will either give us what we ask or give us what we would have asked if we knew everything he knows.” (228)

“Our time frames are not in touch with ultimate reality. Our perspective on timing compared with God’s is analogous to a two-year-old’s with an adult’s. God has good reasons for making us wait a long time to see some prayers answered.” (236)

“We know God will answer us when we call because one terrible day he did not answer Jesus when he called. . . . Jesus’ prayers were given the rejection that we sinners merit so that our prayers could have the reception that he merits.” (237, 238)

 

Dear Younger Me July 24, 2017

Filed under: faith — chinabean @ 1:49 pm

Dear Younger Me
Dear younger me
Where do I start
If I could tell you everything that I have learned so far
Then you could be
One step ahead
Of all the painful memories still running thru my head
I wonder how much different things would be
Dear younger me
Dear younger me
I cannot decide
Do I give some speech about how to get the most out of your life
Or do I go deep
And try to change
The choices that you’ll make cuz they’re choices that made me
Even though I love this crazy life
Sometimes I wish it was a smoother ride
Dear younger me, dear younger me
If I knew then what I know now
Condemnation would’ve had no power
My joy my pain would’ve never been my worth
If I knew then what I know now
Would’ve not been hard to figure out
What I would’ve changed if I had heard
Dear younger me
It’s not your fault
You were never meant to carry this beyond the cross
Dear younger me
You are holy
You are righteous
You are one of the redeemed
Set apart a brand new heart
You are free indeed
Every mountain every valley
Thru each heartache you will see
Every moment brings you closer
To who you were meant to be
Dear younger me, dear younger me
You are holy
You are righteous
You are one of the redeemed
Set apart a brand new heart
You are free indeed
 

Countdown Kinda Gal July 21, 2017

Filed under: faith,life in CA,life in HK — chinabean @ 1:28 am

There’s something about the anticipation of something coming up, whether it’s your birthday when your a kid, an exam as a student, or special holidays, trips or even a big move/transition coming up.

Little kids count the number of sleeps until their next birthday.

Teachers count the days/weeks/minutes until the next holidays or summer holiday.

Future mothers count each week when they’re expecting a baby.

I count down so many things. I have an app called “Days Until” and I absolutely love it. It helps me to count each day until a special event. I usually put in holidays, trips, nephews birthdays, big moves, and pregger friend’s due dates. It helps me to take each day into account and builds up anticipation for what is to come. It helps me to be intentional and recognize that each day is truly a gift.

The other thing that “Days Until” does, is that it gives the time elapsed after it passes. It’s similar to another app, “Time Hop,” which I also love. It helps me to reminiscence and be in awe of how fast time goes by but also how much has happened.

I really like the quote, “We’ve come so far, yet we have still so far to go.” For some reason, it’s motivating as well as humbling and patience developing. All in all, it’s good reminders that we’ve changed and we need to celebrate the fact that we’ve reached these “goals” and also be able to look back and thank God for all He’s brought us through. It serves as an “Ebenezer” in some way.

Today, ONE MONTH. 30 days have elapsed since I got on a plane and left HomeKong for California. It’s been a crazy month of traveling and reconnecting and settling back into the suburbs of CA.

There are many moments I miss HK: the food, the high speed internet, the transportation, the freedom, the church, the people, the community, the list goes on and on. It’s quite true though, because I know I am to be home with family… (for now) I recognize that the missing of Home Kong and it’s people isn’t as hard as it could be.

Having been away for the last 9 years, America isn’t the easiest place to re-enter into, but I’m “doing” it. There are some days, “Wow, AMERICA, you’re amazing…” and there are other “Christine isn’t made for America” days. Anyone who has lived overseas for a significant amount of time and moved back, knows the feeling…

I tell people about the famous tv Netflix series “The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” is the story of my life… except I’ve been stuck in the Asia Bunker of Shanghai and Hong Kong for the last nine years. People laugh, but sometimes, that’s really how I feel… especially in the Silicon Valley and the many apps and techy things, I do not understand.

It’s only been one month, 30 days, and most those days, I’m really grateful to be home… especially being able to get to see and be a part of my cute adorable love bug nephews grow up.

Cheers to the next 30 days… maybe it’ll hit me soon, that I don’t have a return flight to Asia. But for now… Here’s to life in America, the Cali girl that is not so Californian.

 

Glimpses of hope September 26, 2014

Filed under: faith,life in HK — chinabean @ 5:12 pm

Cause I loved you before you knew it was love
And I saw it all, still I chose the cross
And you were the one that I was thinking of
When I rose from the grave

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More of the lyrics below:
You’re safe here with Me
There’s no need to cover
What I already see

You’ve got your reasons
But I hold your peace
You’ve been on lockdown
And I hold the key

‘Cause I loved you before you knew it was love
And I saw it all, still I chose the cross
And you were the one that I was thinking of
When I rose from the grave

 

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

 

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.