12 December 2010

Oh, You of Little Faith!

Between my husband and I, I'm usually the one who is stronger in faith when it comes to finances. I grew up in a third world country with my father a Pastor of small churches. Money was always tight... very tight. I owned only two pairs of shoes - one for school and one for Sundays. That's a far cry from how many pairs I own now. Quite embarrassing, actually. I won't mention the many other things that I had few of or things I didn't have growing up. The Lord always provided for our needs. I've watched my parents carefully spend what little money we had. We never owed anyone but we always had food on the table.

For some reason, this week I just really struggled with lack of faith that God will provide for us this month. As I looked at the things that we need to spend for and the low dollar exchange, my heart sank. "Lord, we don't have enough!" In my worry, I started to feel a tight knot in my stomach. Why am I all of a sudden feeling this? I've seen over and over and over again God's faithfulness and provision. 

As I was editing this photo, I was reminded of this verse passage.

Luke 2:22-28:
And he [Jesus] said to his disciples, "Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on.

For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. 

Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds!

And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?

If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest?

Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 

But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith!

God will take care of our needs. He always has because He is faithful. Jesus went on to say in verse 33 about selling what we have in order to give to those in need. He didn't just stop to say that our Heavenly Father will provide for us. He also commanded us to share and meet the needs of others. God is good and He is love. I just need to trust Him - daily.

03 December 2010

He Knew All Along

Hold on to your hats, friends! This is going to be a long one but you may want to stay with me. It shows how blessed I am in spite of what happened.

We were running behind my planned schedule. Nothing new. Ha! The boys were finishing school for the day. I wanted to leave at 4 o'clock in the afternoon to pick up Ed at the airport. His flight wasn't coming in until 11:30 that night but I wanted to go in early to take the boys to a mall children's play place. I also wanted to check out the Office Depot at that mall, eat dinner at a Food Court, and still have time to relax in our hotel room a little bit before heading to the airport. My plans... that's all they were.

I've gone only about a mile from the house and my cell phone rang. I didn't recognize the number so I told Jojo not to pick it up since I was driving, anyway. Five minutes later, Jenni, called and told me Ed was trying to call from Tokyo. His plane was detained on ground more than two hours already. He told me not to bother meeting him at the airport. He would just get a taxi to the hotel. I was really looking forward to meeting him at the airport with him being gone for a week. But there was no telling what time he'd be in.

Only ten minutes after we got on to the big highway, I wasn't getting any power on the gas pedal. I pulled over to the side and turned the engine off. Turned it on again... nothing.... Tried again.... nothing. I was getting nervous. The car died on me! I hope this wasn't something major. I knew I had a lot of gas in the tanks (regular and LPG).

I called our mechanic in town and he said he was sending his guys to help me out.

Although I was fine and calm about the whole incident, I have to admit was little scared - a little woman like me on a big highway with three young boys. I could be a magnet for bad guys out there. But I had so much to be thankful for:

1. I had my plans but God still makes plans for me, overall... and always for MY best.
2. Ed's flight was delayed so I didn't have to feel so bad about not being there at the airport to meet him.
3. We were still within town limits. I was only twenty minutes away from home and our mechanic's shop.
4. We got stuck at  a U-turn spot where there are street lights. Before and after that point, it was dark.
5. We really have an awesome mechanic with very helpful assistants. They've rescued us many times already. Once, they drove an hour one way to get to us because we couldn't find anyone in that town to help us. That night I was stuck on the highway, after coming to check out my car, the employees went to our house, got their boss to bring his tow truck, got the ministry van, and drove it to where I was so I didn't have to waste time going home. They treated me like royalty, helped me with the boys, checked to make sure I had oil and water in the van, and made sure I drove away safely.
6. All the time, my boys were content even though they were hungry (it was 9 o'clock before we got to stop for supper). They entertained themselves. They were understanding and helpful when I needed help.
7. And the icing on the cake? That picture above. What a beautiful sunset sky we were looking at while sitting in the car waiting for help. (picture is straight out of the camera, no editing whatsoever!)

I will fear no evil, for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

Psalm 23:4b

God knew all along this was going to happen. God is a caring and loving God, for no reason at all other than just because His very nature is LOVE. He didn't leave me with no help. I had my cell phone; I was able to call our mechanic (I had his number!!!). Many friends on facebook were praying just because I was able to update my status and our co-worker/friend, Jenni put out a prayer request on her status, too. I was tired that day but thank God, I put hot coffee in my travel mug with me!

24 November 2010

Wun Khawp Khoon Phra Chao

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I have so much to be thankful for on this "Wun khawp khoon Phra Chao." (That's literally translated as "Day to thank the Lord) This being thanksgiving week, here's what I'm thankful for this week. Not that I'm not thankful the rest of the year. On the contrary, I am so-oh blessed there's too many to list. So... I'll stick to just this week:

- My sweet husband. He had to fly to the States for a funeral but he made sure I had a full 1,000-liter tank of water and 17 more filled jugs so I don't have to do much water run while he's away for a week. And he mopped the floors too! So thoughtful and so caring.

- On Monday, we celebrated our 13th wedding anniversary. I am thankful that my husband is also my best friend. 

- Jenni Starkey, our friend and co-worker. She kept the boys for us for two days so Ed and I can go on our anniversary date.

- The little things that God orchestrates because He knows what's going to happen ahead before we even know, like.... Ed was able to get a seat on a flight to the US just a little over 24 hours before he had to check in. You know how hard it is to get a seat this week, Thanksgiving week??? The lady at the counter asked Ed how he got a ticket because the flight was fully booked!

- Our frequent flyer miles through Delta Air. Ed's round trip plane ticket was less than $400! He was told that the regular price would have been $1,700!!!

- Jenni already planned to take the week off of language school this week before we learned about Pastor Tim's passing. Jenni has been a big help to me while Ed is away.

- Magic Jack! So we can call the States unlimited for free. If you don't know what it is, just Google it. Ha!

- I am rejoicing over the salvation of a dear girl who finally made it right before God regarding eternity. My heart swelled after I heard the news.

- I got to see a friend from college that I haven't seen in 15 years. I am so encouraged by her love for the Lord and heart for missions.

- Pastor Tim Nyhuis. He was Ed's youth pastor since Ed was about 10 years old at the church where he got saved. He was Ed's friend, mentor, and spiritual father through the years. The man had literally seen Ed through teens years, military, college years... ever since he first knew Ed! They talked on the phone only a few weeks ago. So thankful for a man of God who poured out his life on Ed and the many people that God entrusted to him through the 33/34 years he had been at Hartford Federated Church in Hartford, Michigan.

See? I told you, I have a lot to be thankful for, and that's only for this past few days. Tomorrow, Jenni, the boys, and I will travel to Bangkok to celebrate Thanksgiving with other American missionaries. Looking forward to food and fellowship! Happy Thanksgiving again!

08 November 2010

How To Be Nice To Others

A few weeks back I was reading Luke 6:27-45 and found this really good list on my Bible's footnotes. This is just straight from my Scofield Study Bible. I can't improve more on this one so I'm just going to type it word for word.

Tell the truth when testifying about your neighbor. Exodus 20:16
     Do no covet anything that belongs to your neighbor. Exodus 20:17
Love your neighbor as yourself. Leviticus 19:18
     Don't move your neighbor's boundary marker. Deuteronomy 27:17
Don't take your neighbor to court. Proverbs 25:8
     Don't visit your neighbor too often. Proverbs 25:17
If someone forces you to go one mile, go two. Matthew 5:41
     Pray for those who persecute you. Matthew 5:44
Do good to those who hate you. Matthew 5:44
     Love your enemies. Luke 6:27
Bless those who curse you. Luke 6:28
     If someone takes your cloak, give your tunic too. Luke 6:29
Give to everyone who asks of you. Luke 6:30
     Lend to others and don't expect anything back. Luke 6:35
Don't judge. Luke 6:37
     Don't be a stumbling block to others. Romans 14:13

I found myself feeling guilty for NOT doing most of what's on the list. The Holy Spirit gave me a new light to that Luke 6 passage as I was reading it that breezy, dewy morning. It is nothing but Jesus' commands for ME, as a child of God, so that I may show HIS love to others.
  ♬ In my life, Lord, be glorified, be glorified.
In my life, Lord, be glorified today.    

04 November 2010

Q & A: My Spiritual Journey

OK, this is going to be scary. Mainly because I'm going to be opening my heart a little bit wider than I am comfortable with. Oh, I don't have a problem with that - when face to face. It's different when you're doing it online because you'll never know who's reading. You can't see the other person's facial expressions and response to what you just said.

There's a lady who's blog I've been following. Ashley Sisk did something like this on her blog to share a little bit about herself. I wanted to do it to but focus mainly on my spiritual journey. I trust that the God of grace, mercy, and love will encourage your heart as you read. So, here we are:

One: When did you become a Christian? I realized I was a hopeless sinner and that I needed a Savior. I asked Jesus into my heart sometime after I turned four. I don't remember the exact date but I can still vividly remember the events surrounding that rainy afternoon when my mom shared the Gospel with me.

Two: Was there a time after that that you thought you were still headed to hell? Oh yes! I asked Jesus to come into my heart several more times until I was in sixth grade and just gave everything over to the Lord.

Three: If you can turn back the clock, would you undo something? A definite yes. Not just something, though. Several things, actually. Sometimes, Satan still tries to put guilty feelings in me and tempt me to forget Christ's work and sacrifice on the cross. Thank God for His love and forgiveness. Whew!

Four: How were you as a teenager? Oh no! Bad! Attitude, lying, self-worth struggles, feeling unloved, seeking all other things other than God, troubled friendships, and the list goes on. I can sum it all up in 1 John 2:15-16, "Do not love the world or the things of the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world - the desires of the flesh, the desires of the eyes, and pride in possessions - is not from the Father but is from the world." I didn't know how to love others and who I am in Christ because I didn't love God.

Five: Was there ever a time when you wanted to call it quits as a Christian? Yes. I thought things would be easier away from God. But the more a got away from God, the more I didn't have peace and joy in my heart. Several mature Christians saw and understood my predicament and reached out to me in love and in prayers. I thank God for using them to rescue me back to Him.

Six: What was it like growing up as as Pastor's kid? Hard. Partly because there was a verbal expectation of how I should behave because I am a PK. Partly because I rebelled because something was expected of me. I didn't really understand what it is to just please and honor God from the bottom of my heart.

Seven: Did you always want to be a missionary? No. In fact, when I was in Bible college for one year, I gave my life to God for full-time Christian service during missions conference but specified to God in my prayer that He ought to call me to serve Him just in the Philippines, nowhere else, especially not in Thailand. Ha!

Eight: How did you end up being a missionary in Thailand? I was serving at a church in the Philippines, the same church I attended while in college. Half way into my second year of full-time work there, I sensed that God was calling me to Thailand. It was weird. I would wake up in the middle of the night and "see" myself teaching kids in Thailand! I was very happy and content with my ministry in that church so I was perplexed. Six months later, I was on a plane to Bangkok with my Aunt, Miss Marina Cagas, who's been a missionary to Thailand for 35+ years now.

Nine: What are your favorite books other than the Bible, of course? Oooohh! I have so many. One book that I keep going back to is "Instruments in the Redeemer's Hands - People in Need of Change Helping People in Need of Change" by Paul D. Tripp. It's a counseling book but I find myself needing it over and over again. One I'm currently trying to finish is "The Cross Centered Life" by C.J. Mahaney. I have several books on my mental list that I'd like to read next. I love to read.

Ten: Since there are 10 questions here, can you name ten people who have been helpful in your spiritual walk? My hubby, of course. My papa. My mama. Nan Mosher. Connie Ceballos. Romillas Necesito. Levi Layos. Took Hammond. Lisa Caynor. Robert Mullen.

24 October 2010

Cause I'm Random, Just Like That!

Do I have ADHD? I couldn't keep still. My friends in grade and high schools used to to call me not "Darlene Dawn" but "Darlene Prawn" because I literally jumped all over the place. I didn't know how to walk; I ran! My attention span was always short. Or maybe it still is.

Even now, it's still hard for me to focus on just one thing at a time. I keep finding myself multitasking. But do I multitask because doing only one thing bores me to death? Do the two previous sentences mean the same? I'm loosing my focus. Ha! I am consistently in awe that God would choose me to be where I am now to do what I do now considering the "ME."
today's rainbow mentioned below

Anyway, so here are my random thoughts today:

It's been three weeks since I last wrote on my blog.

I miss being in the States during the fall season.

(Looking out the window) Oooh! The clouds are beautiful. It's really bright out. Man! Jayjay broke my sunglasses. I need a new pair.

Jay, I wish you didn't slobber all over the balloon before you asking me to blow it.

What should I fix for dinner? Maybe pizza? I have dough in the freezer.

It's really hot and humid today.

My house is a mess. I'm too lazy to pick up the pageS that my toddler tore off of a book.

I really should go out for a run today.

The toddler needs to take a nap.

I need a nap. Weird, because I had eight hours of sleep last night.

This coffee is not keeping me awake. Or is it the hot weather that's making me sleepy?

I need to take Jayjay's three-year old photo today or sometime this week.

It seems like UNO cards just keep appearing out of no-where. I keep finding them around the house.

It's almost the end of October.

I'm thirsty.

I've never fixed garbanzo beans (chick peas) before. What do I do with the pack that I bought from the grocery store four months ago???

I'd like to try a new recipe this week.

I really like Sam Tsui's voice.

It would be fun to go camping with my little fam. Maybe during our Christmas break.

I'd like to finish reading the book, "The Cross Centered Life" this week.

OK, so now... it looks like it's going to rain. Again.

And the sky is bright. Again.

I need to get off this computer and do something productive.

There are ten guys sitting and chatting outside in front of the shop houses, discussing about their motorbikes.

It's almost 5PM. I need to start dinner.

I hope I get to visit my parents soon. It's almost three years since I last saw them. *sigh*

Cold Stone ice cream sounds very good right now.

Look at that beautiful rainbow in the sky. I can see all the colors! I'll take some pictures.

I need to end this list. It's almost 6PM and I haven't started dinner yet.

I am so distracted and I am not making sense. ADHD?


04 October 2010

My "38" List

Thirty eight. There! I said it! That's how old I am. Here I am sitting at my computer at 2:30 in the morning - WIDE AWAKE! I made this silly rule at home that I don't cook on my birthday. We either order in or eat out. We went out for dinner tonight. Our favorite restaurant in town is having Mexican buffet for four days. It was a very pleasant surprise. Yumm! Coffee and tea came with the meal so I had latte, a strong one! So now, here I am so wide-eyed.

In honor of my age, here are 38 things I am thankful to God for: (in no particular order, except #'s 1-7)

1. God. He chose to love me in spite of me.
2. My hubby. He ain't perfect but he's perfect for me. I thank God for his servant's heart. I am one spoiled wife!
3. Josiah, my oldest. He is a talented and smart boy. He corrects my grammar and he always strives to make me happy.
4. Boaz, my middle one. I am forever in awe that God chose me to be his mommy six years ago. It's amazing how much he looks like me! He loves to make me cards and write me "notes."
5. Micah Jasper, my youngest boy. He makes me laugh everyday. Sure, he's a toddler and throws tantrums but he is a sweetheart. I'm so blessed to be given the chance to raise up another boy.
6. My Dad. He always pointed me towards God. His love and devotion for the Lord became my guiding post through rebellious teen years.
7. My Mom. She fussed at me when I got lazy but now I am so thankful she did. She prepared me for my wife and mom duties now.
8. My extended family - both my mom and my dad's sides. I am thankful for the Christian heritage all the way from both sets of grandparents.
9. Marina Cagas, my aunt. She was the one who prayed for me as a young girl that God would call me to be a missionary. She was the one who brought me to Thailand for the very first time in 1996.
10. Music, for the opportunities God gives me to serve Him through that.
11. The love to cook. I've had so many wonderful memories of fellowshipping with friends and family over food in my kitchen.
12. The ministry in Kabinburi. I learn so much about faith, service, and love for God and others.
13. My middle son's birth parents for entrusting us with his life. That's bravery on their part and God's great display of His sovereignty.
14. Thailand, Thai people, and Thai food.
15. Missionary friends. They teach me a lot. They pray for me a lot. They understand where I'm coming from when I feel discouraged.
16. Jenni Starkey, our co-worker and friend. We learn so much from each other. I've known her since 1997.
17. Coffee!!! LOL!
18. Photography and the chance to have it as my hobby.
19. My high school close girl friends. We still are very close and still keep in touch on a regular basis. Thanks to email, facebook, and texting.
20. Shenandoah Baptist Church family (our sending church) in Virginia. We are beyond blessed to have these people in our lives.
21. Financial supporters who sacrificially give so we can be here in Kabinburi.
22. Prayer warriors that faithfully uphold us before the throne of grace so that we won't pack our suitcases and leave the mission field.
23. Running. And the strength and love to do it.
24. My closely knit friends who help me walk in the right path through their friendship, prayers, and encouragement from God's Word. You know who you are.
26. Water at Jenni's house. Even though we don't have running water at our place, Jenni's place is only kitty-corner from us.
27. My flower garden. It's my stress reliever and one of my favorite places to find a subject for photography.
28. Believers in Kabinburi. They are encouragement from God when I get discouraged. God reminds me that these believers know the One, true, and living God because God called us to here.
29. Facebook. I'm serious. I live away from family and friends and facebook is how I get connected with everyone. I don't get as lonely anymore as I did years ago before social networking was born.
30. The opportunity to live in the US for a little while before coming back to Thailand full-time. I met SO many wonderful people. Some of them became like family.
31. Carpal tunnel syndrome. What? I'm thankful for that? Yes. When it acts up, I get to rest and my boys get to do my job. Hahaha!
32. "The Andy Griffith Show" and "Gomer Pyle, USMC" on DVDs. Those are our regular entertainment at home.
33. Christian Thai friends.
34. Non-Christian Thai friends.
35. Our local market just 500 meters down the road from us. It is so abundant with fresh fruits and vegetables e.v.e.r.y.d.a.y!
36. Street side restaurants all around our area. Oh, especially when I'm lazy or too tired to cook.The foods are cheap and very delicious.
37. Thai massage!
38. The last but certainly not the least. Intentionally, written as the last one - God's Word, the light on my path so I can walk the straight and narrow way to the Heavenly Father's heart.

I wrote this in 59 minutes. I could have written more but I had to stop at that number. Praise God from whom all blessings flow. I am one blessed girl!

19 September 2010

What's Ministry and What's "My" Life?

So many of my friends are blogging. It's mostly about their random daily lives and some life lessons thrown in here and there. I love reading them. They help me get to keep up with them and not miss them so much, unlike before facebook and blogging became popular.

I have been thinking lately about my own blog. Should I convert this into "all" blog and not solely my spiritual journal? Should I start blogging about my family life and other random stuff? That will be another blog added to four that I already maintain: Ministry Blog, My Boys' Blog, My Photography Blog (I think you should totally check out my photos! Hehehe! Well... all of those blogs, really!), and then this one. Whew! Four!

But then I had a light bulb moment! Aha!

There's really no dividing line, not even a fine dividing line between "my life" and my ministry. My life IS ministry. First, our house is also the ministry building. Second, my main ministry is my family. Third, my husband and I are the ministers in this ministry. Even our boys help out a lot in this ministry.

Someone once asked me, "Don't you want to live in a place where it's not the ministry building?" Another one asked, "Don't you want your privacy?" Yet another one asked, "Don't you want to get a maid or a nanny or a tutor for your boys (we homeschool) so you can minister?"

Here are my answers to those questions. "Yes!" But that is not what God wants for me. My life IS ministry. (I said that already, didn't I?) People watch how I keep my house, how I train my boys to help in the house, how we live as a family. Where we are, there's not much of that for people to see. We are a light here. Do I want my privacy? Ummm... Do I have something to hide? God wants us to be bearers of His light and His love. We need to SHOW what Christian life is all about. Who/what I am in private should be the same in public. I say, should, because I'm not always that way. God help me.

"That you may show yourselves to be blameless and guiltless, innocent and uncontaminated, children of God without blemish (faultless, unrebukable) in the midst of a crooked and wicked generation [spiritually perverted and perverse], among whom you are seen as bright lights (stars or beacons shining out clearly) in the [dark] world." [Philippians 2:15 (Amplified Bible)]

Back to blogging. I'll keep this as my spiritual journal. You can read about our family/ministry life through our other blogs mentioned above. Even my photography blog shows a lot about our everyday random lives here. Thanks for stopping by this blog and I hope you are blessed. Please come back often.

15 September 2010

God Loved on Me

I thought I had a pretty good understanding of the fullness of God's love until I started this "Love Journey" study that our home church Senior Pastor had put out for our church family over the summer months. It's an eight-week study that makes you dig into God's Word daily, have you memorize Scripture passages weekly, and challenge you to act on specific "Love God" and "Love Others" commandments. I'm only on the second week but I'm learning so much and I'm getting so much blessing from His Word.

I wrote this blog a few years back, "Are You Loved?" But now I realize I do not have a good grasp of God's love, especially for me. That's probably the reason why I'm still having a hard time loving others. Oh, I sure do love my family and friends; but they're easy to love. How about the ones that aren't? Yesterday I had just a tiny, ittty-bitty, little sneak peak of God's love through someone I met only twice. Both meetings were "chance" meetings which I like to call, "divine appointments."

During our first meeting I had no idea who this person was but from our conversation, all I saw was God's love and truth flowing out of her. Like I could almost see them spilling over like an overflown cup. My life was forever changed. I was challenged to change my life into a walking-by-faith-not-by-sight life.

Yesterday, I was sharing something with her from my heart. I felt so confident and so mature-like. Her response was, "I don't want to talk about those, I want to talk about your life. I think what you just said was an attitude of spite. Until you bend down on your knees before God and your heart goes down too, God cannot work amazing things through you." Ouch! The rebuke I got was spoken in such love and compassion that I felt like I got spanked by the Heavenly Father but yet at the same time, I felt very much loved. If was a weird feeling. I didn't feel condemned or shamed. I just felt... LOVED!

As I was leaving the room and walking out in to the hallway, this "older" sister in Christ called out to me, "I love you!" I responded, "I love you, too!" And all of a sudden I felt this warmth all around my body and I was in tears.

You see, I learned shortly after our first meeting that this dear sister is of royal blood (literally, a royal descendant). She didn't look at me as a commoner and a foreigner in this country. She looked at me with equality through the royal blood of Jesus Christ. All I showed her was immaturity, lack of faith, and a judgmental attitude... amongst other things; but she saw past that.

God knew I needed that experience to make me have a visual picture of God's love, just to get a glimpse. Just a glimpse.

Noticed something in that picture above? There are lots of roses all around but the butterfly chose to land on the withered one and it sat there for a long time! I'm kind of like that rose - withered, ugly, ready to fall to the ground. But like the butterfly, God saw something in me, landed on me, and loved on me.

1 John 3:1, "Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!..."

02 September 2010

Wow! You Blow Me Away, God!

I don't know how many times I said this today: "You blow me away, God! You blow me away!" God is working in our lives in ways we've never seen before. It's one thing to have faith to believe that God can and will do great things for His glory, but it's also another thing and a totally, equally faith-requiring, life-changing experience to be a part of that great thing and knowing that it could only get greater because God is ready to display His unlimited power and His unparalleled greatness.

[OK. Sorry, that was a looooooooooooooooooong sentence. Probably the longest sentence I've ever written in my life! Hahaha! You can tell I'm just really blown away. Please bare with me.]

I'm awestruck. This is beyond my faith; beyond my reasoning; beyond what I ever dreamed of. When God speaks, He speaks - in His terms. When God gives vision, He gives vision only to advance His kingdom - what we are are nothing but broken vessels. When God commands, He commands in His will with so much unconditional love attached to it. When God leads, He leads and provides what we need (spiritual, emotional, physical) along the way - without us having to think or worry about those things because He already prepared the provisions.

Deuteronomy 10:21 says, "He is your praise, and He is your God, who has done for you these great and awesome things which your eyes have seen."

The question now is... Is my heart ready and open for Him to do all that He wants to do through me? Am I totally 100% without any reservations going to make myself see His greatness and His glory?

"Oh, Lord! I am but a pebble in the sand. My faith is even smaller. Please work a miracle in my heart. Amen."

31 August 2010

Pesky Ants

I love living in Asia. I can survive the heat and humidity elevens months out of the year. But the ants? I can't stand them! I STRONGLY dislike them. They seem to just come out of nowhere. I'm beginning to believe they have a stronger sense of smell than dogs have. In fact, just yesterday... I brought my mug to my computer table so I could get on facebook and check email while sipping my hot coffee. I was half-way through my mug and the ants started crawling up!

Ant societies have divisions of labor, communication between individuals, and an ability to solve complex problems. These parallels with human societies have long been an inspiration and subject of study. (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ants)

The Bible mentions the ants in Proverbs 30:25, "Ants are creatures of little strength, yet they store up their food in the summer."

I found myself mesmerized by a group of ants carrying a pea that I dropped on the ground. A few things came to mind:

1. These ants are quick! It didn't take them long to smell food. They didn't waste any time.
2. They work as a team. Only one cannot accomplish the task... it's too big and too heavy!
3. They are constantly busy. Day in and day out, they're in my house. Sometimes they get into really gross stuff in the trash that I don't care to mention here.
4. They're ambitious - big goal setters. Oh the things I've seen them carry are beyond my understanding!
5. They persevere. The task is big; the destination may be far; the road along the way is not always smooth. Yet, they accomplish what they set their minds to do.

Wow! I will end with this.... shouldn't we, humans, emulate those characteristics when it comes to working together in God's ministry? We (mainly ME) tend to sit contentedly in mediocrity in what we should accomplish. We bask in our separatism and reluctance in working with others to achieve the same goal for God's kingdom. We over-celebrate individualism and focus a lot on the "me" than the "all about God" mindset. I have to admit, I have failed in these areas over and over again.

Next time I see ants, I need to remember those five things. "Lord, grant me the courage to be what You want me to be to accomplish what You've given me to do."

26 June 2010

Keep Looking Up, Dar!

One advice that I so habitually ignored when I was young was to apply Hebrews 12:2: "Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith..."

In WHATEVER we face in life, we ought to fix our eyes on Him alone. He loves us so much that He is interested in everything we do. He is the source of our faith and He is also the one who can polish it into something pleasing in His eyes. He delights in knowing every single detail of our lives because He adores us and loves us.

I've been reminded over and over again these past few weeks about Peter wanting to walk on water when he saw Jesus walking on water. I'm sure you know the idiom, "getting your feet wet." Peter's scenario was not the origin of the idiom (it was Joshua and the Israelites' Jordan River crossing, actually). Many times we don't get to experience big things in life or the things that God has prepared for us because we are afraid to "get our feet wet." Peter wasn't perfect. He lost his focus on the Lord (back to that verse again); but he was brave enough to get out of the boat, not like his fellow disciples who were scared! to! death!!!

I gave this same illustration to a dear friend a few years ago when she was in doubt about God's specific leading in her life at that time. I think I remember telling her this, "Unless you step out in faith out of that boat, you might not find out what God has in stored for you."

I still struggle to fully focus my eyes on Jesus. I so often allow the things around to distract me from focusing my gaze on my Lord. Many times I'm afraid to ask God to give me the courage to ACTIVELY seek His direction and revelation in my life because I'm afraid of changes and I'm afraid that the things that God will reveal to me will blow me away, out of my comfort zone.

I think, a great pair to Hebrews 11:2 is Jeremiah 29:11: "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope." All I need to do is trust God that all that He has for me are only for my good. Keep looking up, Dar!

28 March 2010

Shame on Me!

What is going on with me? Why so emotional?

I was sitting at the kitchen table to rest my feet after cleaning up from Sunday's lunch fellowship in our Student Center/Church. I can hear Selah playing on the little boom box in the other room. "Depth of Mercy" played. I had never really listened to the words before but today I did.
Depth of mercy; can there be mercy still reserved for me?
Can my God His wrath forbear me, the chief of sinners, spare?
Heaven find me on my knees; Hear my soul’s impassioned plea
Depth of mercy can there be; Mercy still reserved for me

Then Selah's own rendition and arrangement of "I Surrender All" came on. Growing up in church as a pastor's kid, to me that song is old and out of date, or so I thought, compared to the newer more touching, feel-good songs. The rendition was so heart-felt that the familiar words pricked my heart and made my mind think of the profoundness of the familiar words.
All to Jesus I surrender; Make me, Savior, wholly Thine
Let me feel the Holy Spirit truly know that Thou art mine
I surrender all; I surrender all
All to Thee, my blessed Savior
I surrender all.

I walked over to the little boom box and played again the two songs I just listened to. I got teary eyed. What very powerful words I heard today. The depth of God's mercy for me is unfathomable. Every single day His mercies are new - never out of date, never stale, always fresh. I was crying. I was overwhelmed. God loved me so much that He gave His life for me, a very wretched person with reprobate qualities by nature! The least I can do is to surrender all of me and whatever accompanies my being. Just because I am a missionary and living in a land away from my family and friends doesn't mean I have given my all to God. I still struggle with letting go of so many things in my life. I struggle not once a year, once a month, or once a week. I struggle daily! Why is it so hard to let go and let God take control of all of me knowing He knows best and only has my best interest in mind?

I appeal to you therefore, brethren, and beg of you in view of the mercies of God, to make a decisive dedication of your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy (devoted, consecrated) and well pleasing to God, which is your reasonable (rational, intelligent) service and spiritual worship.
[Romans 12:1]

Wow! The Apostle Paul couldn't have said it better! Period. Shame on me if I give God anything less than my all, my whole being!

04 March 2010

Don't Get Fooled Again!

Don't get fooled by that little, sweet, innocent face. He's trouble. He makes life really exciting for us. Having three young children at home with no maid or nanny is really not that hard EXCEPT... having a two-year-old. Ha! That's totally another story.

Exciting event in the Weber household: Mom fills up the 10-liter water filter. Baby empties it all. Kitchen is flooded (thank God we have tiled floors!!!). Mom and older boys mop the floor. Kitchen is clean!!!

[January 20, 2010]
One day it was a 2-liter water bottle that got emptied inside the fridge. Fridge got cleaned too! I... love how a 2-yr-old's activities force you to clean your house. ;-) Right after that, he threw a NT Bible, a joystick, a place mat, and a sock out the window on to the awning roof. And just now, tried to get into my vanity cabinet. life is exciting for me!
[March 5, 2010] Events that took place in a matter of five minutes while I was eating breakfast: toddler dipped his toy trucks in my tea; toddler got into the spice cabinet; toddler got into plastic container cabinet; toddler colored the kitchen table with yellow and red crayons. I turned around to clean up his mess and he ate my breakfast!!!

[April 11, 2010] Just recently he started throwing crying fits while squeezing the tears out as hard as he can. It's hard not to laugh in front of him. Sometimes, he also pretends he's crying like his older brother, Boom, and then laughs at himself.

Strawberry milk shake mustache
(sorry my lens got fogged up)

Look what he did to my Easter egg dye
when I turned around to dry the eggs!
But then...
there's the irresistible smile and
the hugs and kisses that come with it.
Ahhh! I love this boy and I'm so blessed to be his mommy.
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