Adventures Wherever He leads.

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

Hinds Feet in High Places August 22, 2017

Filed under: faith,life in CA — chinabean @ 5:25 pm

So if you know me, I love sheep.

I love that the Bible makes the analogy of us being the sheep and the Lord being our shepherd. There have been many sermons and books I’ve heard and read about sheep and the fact that God uses sheep to describe his people, can be somewhat offensive if you really knew what sheep were like. But God in his love and wisdom choses sheep to reflect our true need and dependence on Him as a shepherd.

 

John 10 says, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it.  The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—  just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”

How beautiful. ^_^

I started reading the allegory, Hinds Feet in High Places by Hannah Hurnard, again for the 100th time. If you haven’t read it before, I highly recommend it.

Honestly, I know I am “Much Afraid” and I come from the Fearings family.

Being on a trip with my siblings this weekend reminds me how much I do NOT fit in… I was brought out from my family and welcomed into the Shepherd’s purpose, will and family. Here’s some of my favourite quotes… more to come on this after I finish the story… maybe. ^_^

 – – – – – – – –

“Much-Afraid, don’t ever allow yourself to begin trying to picture what it will be like. Believe me, when you get to the place which you dread you will find that they are as different as possible from what you have imagined, just as was the case when you were actually ascending the precipice. I must warn you that I see your enemies lurking among the trees ahead, and if you ever let Craven Fear begin painting a picture on the screen of your imagination, you will walk with fear and trembling and agony, where no fear is.” 

 – – – – – – – –

“O Shepherd. You said you would make my feet like hinds’ feet and set me upon High Places”. “Well”, he answered “the only way to develop hinds’ feet is to go by the paths which the hinds use.” 

 – – – – – – – –

“Whenever you are willing to obey me, Much-Afraid, and to follow the path of my choice, you will always be able to hear and recognize my voice, and when you hear it you must always obey. Remember also that it is always safe to obey my voice, even if it seems to call you to paths which look impossible or even crazy.” 

 – – – – – – – –

“She bent forward to look, then gave a startled little cry and drew back. There was indeed a seed lying in the palm of his hand, but it was shaped exactly like a long, sharply-pointed thorn… ‘The seed looks very sharp,’ she said shrinkingly. ’Won’t it hurt if you put it into my heart?’

 – – – – – – – –

He answered gently, ‘It is so sharp that it slips in very quickly. But, Much-Afraid, I have already warned you that Love and Pain go together, for a time at least. If you would know Love, you must know pain too.’

Much-Afraid looked at the thorn and shrank from it. Then she looked at the Shepherd’s face and repeated his words to herself. ’When the seed of Love in your heart is ready to bloom, you will be loved in return,’ and a strange new courage entered her. She suddenly stepped forward, bared her heart, and said, ‘Please plant the seed here in my heart.’

His face lit up with a glad smile and he said with a note of joy in his voice, ‘Now you will be able to go with me to the High Places and be a citizen in the Kingdom of my Father.’

Then he pressed the thorn into her heart. It was true, just as he had said, it did cause a piercing pain, but it slipped in quickly and then, suddenly, a sweetness she had never felt or imagined before tingled through her. It was bittersweet, but the sweetness was the stronger. She thought of the Shepherd’s words, ‘It is so happy to love,’ and her pale, sallow cheeks suddenly glowed pink and her eyes shown. For a moment Much-Afraid did not look afraid at all.” 
― Hannah HurnardHinds’ Feet on High Places

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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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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)

 

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.