Tuesday, April 24, 2012

God is... the Good Shepherd


Good Shepherd

I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.”
John 10:14

Psalm 23 is perhaps the most well-known and dearest passages of Scripture. However, I think sometimes, it is so common, that the meaning is overlooked. We’re talking about promises from the Good Shepherd here! This is important, life-giving information!

 For several years, from my pre-teens all through highschool and college, God totally changed my perspective on the Good Shepherd. In those years, I had the privilege of owning and caring for both sheep and goats, noting the difference, and learning how to shepherd. (pictures courtesy of my sister, Cassie. Thank you!)

“The Lord is MY shepherd,” It is a choice to take on the Lord as Shepherd. For many years, I refused Christ. I didn’t want Him to ruin my life. I had a handle on ministry and doing good things, and I had seen too many people who followed Christ turn away, so I rejected salvation. It was fine for others, just not for me. I could handle myself. How wrong I was! I saw that when things started to fall apart. Jesus so desperately wanted to lead me, to gather me in His arms, and to shield me. Now I know Him, and though it is hard, I try to follow Him, because He is good!

“I shall not want.” Want in this instance means need. I am totally dependent on God. If He forgets something, I’m in trouble. But because He is faithful, I know He will give me all the Good things that I need. He will not leave me lacking, but will satisfy every need.

“He makes me to lie down in green pastures… He restores my soul.” Green pastures. Even when there is no rain. Even when it is the middle of the summer and most of the grass is past. He brings me to green pastures. Green grass is not only full of nutrients, it is soft, and it is relaxing. Sheep eat their fill in the morning, and then lay in the afternoon, chewing the cud, and enjoying the day. God brings me to green pastures through His living Word. As I meditate on His Words to me that morning, He restores and refreshes my soul. There is so much more to this, but that’s a good start.

“He leadeth me beside the still waters” Sheep are easily frightened. If they were brought to rushing water, they would bolt. Instead, a good shepherd finds them quiet fresh water streams. Just this year, I have been learning how to be still and know that the Lord is God. BE STILL. It’s hard to just sit in His presence, not talking, not asking questions or quoting Scripture, but just RESTING. However, that “lightning bolt” will of God that I so desperately want would scare me for sure- I am just a lamb. God says, Be still. Wait. Rest.

“He leads me in the paths of righteousness, for His name’s sake.” A sheep knows it’s shepherd, and follows him. They don’t know a stranger’s voice, and they get confused as to where to go. Here, I am given a slight hint: if I’m confused, and I can’t hear the Lord’s voice, I still can go in the way of righteousness. God’s Word has the blueprint. If it’s not according to His Word, it’s probably NOT His voice.
“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death.” Following the Shepherd does not mean free of trouble. There are days sheep need shorn, or their hooves trimmed, or goats need dehorned, or branded... all of them necessary things, but painful.

“I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me.” YES! I don’t have to be afraid. The Shepherd is there. Sometimes, when we had bad storms, I would hear the goats or the sheep crying. As soon as I get out there, they calm down. They know from experience, the shepherd will take care of them, they don’t have to be afraid. Unfortunately, I’m not perfect, and I wasn’t always there. However, the Good Shepherd is ALWAYS there. I have no need to fear.

“Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me.” You may wonder, as I used to, “Rod and staff? Seriously?” In reality though, these are two tools that are a comfort to sheep (specifically, -goats are a little different.) A rod is used to vindicate any harm that comes to the sheep. A staff guides, corrects, and rewards sheep.  In the same way, it can be a comfort to us to know that our Shepherd is a just Judge, and He will guide, correct, protect, and reward.

“You prepare a table before me in the presence of mine enemies.” It is easy to think of a literal table with food on it, but entertain with me another idea of “table.” A table of land is a broad level elevated plate of land, a plateau. Why a table in the midst of enemies? Try to picture a coyote attempting to get to sheep by climbing up a cliff-like wall of a plateau.  It would be rather difficult. God gives safety in the midst of trouble.

“You anoint my head with oil.” A shepherd uses oil for a variety of things, but mostly to keep bugs off the sheep’s head (their only exposed skin), and as ointment for healing. Prayer is our tool to protect us from Satan’s unwanted bugs, or to ask the Lord for healing. He gives us as He deems we need.

“My cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life,” When we don’t have to worry about troubles, sickness, enemies, or even death, we have JOY. In Christ is fullness of joy! God’s goodness and mercy are given characteristically throughout a Christian’s life, in various ways.

“And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Back in the days of the Bible, shepherds kept their flocks in “folds” a circular stone wall with a narrow opening at which the shepherd kept watch. The house is like the barn. My sheep were kept in a barn, or sometimes in a fenced pasture. Fences that keep the sheep in, yes, but also keep the dangers out. With the Lord as my Savior, He is with me and IN me at all times. I will dwell in His presence. He has boundaries set up for me- a “house” to keep me safe.

Where are you dwelling?

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Week 28


Monday, April 23, 2012

My Dearly Appreciated and NEEDED prayer partners,

SO SORRY that this report is so late! Not only was the week extremely busy, but my weekend was full as well. 

Last week, we had a double week of camp, with three schools converged into two different classes of 24 students. -Officially known as Class A and Class B. The two classes were so drastically different. One was active and a bit crazy (but obedient), and the other was quiet and reserved.


This is the first week I felt like I could understand what the kids said. These kids would patiently repeat what they said slowly, and then use sign language, until I understood. It felt good to know that they said "Teacher, we want to play a game, but we don't know what game to play," and even better, know how to respond. 

The Lord blessed this week with obedient kids. They were energetic, but obedient for the most part. They knew little English, but were eager to learn. 

On Tuesday, Bekah taught the children how to play UNO in English class. Every English class after that, the children would enter the room chanting UNO, UNO, UNO. I taught the body, and as I said each part, (eyes, ears, elbow, etc.) they answered "UNO." I let them be funny for a short while, and then we got serious about learning the English words.

Each week, Susanna teaches the children about making pb&j sandwiches. With a double class, we were not sure if we would be able to get them all down in the cafeteria and have time for all of them to make a sandwich. It worked out to do the class in the evening, as they are already down there, and they eat the sandwich instead of their evening snack. A couple of the boys were a little nervous about putting peanut butter AND jelly together, so they hid the pieces under the table and ate them separately. We tease them a lot, because they work so hard to make sure they do not mix the peanut butter and the jelly, not knowing that we will have them slap them together. It is quite funny to watch!

This weekend, there was a retreat for all the IBLP TESOL teachers. This is the second and last time we will all be together. (How sad. :() The theme of the retreat being "Fearless," there was much on boldness, perseverance, and our 100% reliable God. How refreshing to spend some time with God, fellowship with other teachers, and refocus on what life is really about. 

God's humble bond-servant,
Barbara J. Sutton

In the Arms of Jesus


This weekend, I attended a conference for the IBLP TESOL team. The theme was "Fearless." When I heard about the theme, I became very excited, as fear is a constant battle for me. God worked in my stubborn and proud little heart so much, teaching me to just trust Him. Here is a page from my journal:
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April 21, 2012

Lately, I feel like I'm clinging to a rope over a sharp cliff; the ground miles beneath me. I know the rope is strong, but I'm afraid that I will slip and let go. My voice is horse from crying for help, and I'm almost ready to give up. I've wrapped the rope tightly around my hands, trying to avoid falling. If I fall, I fear that my faith will never be the same again.

Today, I looked up to see Jesus at the edge of the cliff reaching out to me. He asked, "Why are you clinging to a rope?"

Frustrated to the point of tears, I cried out, "Lord, if I don't, I will fall."

He sighed deeply and answered, "I provide those ropes to give safety and to bring people to Me. Why do you insist on holding the rope though, when I'm offering you My hand? Take My hand, and you will never have to fear letting go or slipping because My hand is in the Father's, and we will never let you go."

Ever so cautiously, I timidly began to reach one hand toward Him. As He grabbed hold, I was more eager to let go completely of the rope and relax in the strength of His hands. His hands felt strong and His gaze, tender. I could feel the blood pulsing through the veins in His hands, that, with each beat gave me strength as they repeated "I love you. I LOVE YOU!"

As Jesus pulled me up from the cliffs, I fell into His arms. Here I want to stay forever, in the security and safety of my Lord and Saviour. His embrace is like none other. I feel there is no description that would do Him justice; but my feelings could be summed up in one word: REST.

Then, leaning in close to my ear, Jesus whispered "My child, this is My will for you. My whole plan for you is here, in my bosom, in complete fellowship with Me."

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"My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow me: and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. I and My Father are One." 
(John 10:27-30)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

God is... the Faithful Friend



Faithful Friend

Sometimes I feel like God is this domineering presence hanging over me, checking out everything I’m doing, just waiting for me to mess up. This is not the picture the Bible gives. If I’m not careful, it’s easy for my feelings to over-ride my faith. The truth is, God is the Faithful Friend. He wants the best for me (Jeremiah 29:11), He loves me (Jeremiah 31:3), and He cannot wait to pour His blessings into my life (Psalm 3:8).

“A man that hath friends must show himself friendly; and there is a Friend that sticketh closer than a brother.” Proverbs 18:24

This is such an exciting verse! Not only is it a law of life, that a friendly person makes friends, but it is also a promise; that Jesus, as a Friend, is always near.  Hebrews puts it another way:

“…for He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”

Just about anything I would do with my human friends, I can do with Jesus. I can take a walk with Him. I can go on a “date” with Him. Sometimes, I talk to Him for hours; and I surely ask His opinion on choices I must make. He has written me a letter which I get to read every day, and I can even see “pictures” of Him through His words. When everyone else is busy or tired, I know that Jesus is still there, longing to spend time with me. It is such a privilege to call God my Friend.

However, it doesn’t end there. Not only can I call Him my Friend, but He calls me HIS FRIEND. So amazing, right? The God of the Universe wants a relationship with me.

“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you."  John 15:13-15

As I spend time with the Father and do His word, He reveals Himself to me. He teaches me. He shares secrets. Please note: I don’t have to EARN His love. He already loves me. -But our relationship deepens as I obey Him and spend time in His presence.

What a Friend we have in Jesus!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Harvest is Plenteous

I'm "used" to the temple parades going by, carrying their gods from place to place; but this week, there seemed to be no end to the religious activities.

 I will never forget the day. The smell of incense hit me like a wave of salt water. Smoke from sacrifices hung in the air. Fireworks exploded inches from my feet. The constant beating of drums playing a tireless rhythm sent chills up my spine. Hundreds of people lined the street to see the parade. No, wait; not just to see the parade. Traffic stopped as the statue of Mazu with her two demon body guards arrived. The line of people waiting to pay her obeisance went down the street as far as I could see. It's an image one never forgets because it is burned indelibly on one's mind.

Was this really happening????

Of course, I had heard of this happening, but I had never seen it. And, I guess it seemed a far away problem from my comfortable country home in America. People know better than that now, right? I mean, it's the 21st century!

WRONG! 

My friends, these people desperately need the gospel! To see the faces of the people- people so... LOST. Elderly faces, empty, tired, and worn with the reality of life. Faces who are searching for answers with an understanding that their parent's gods are pointless to worship. Temple children whose faces reflect despair. Faces of drug addicted, demon possessed teens. Toddlers, filled with curiosity and caught up in the festivities, turn confused eyes to their parents when everyone starts getting on the ground to bow to a statue.

This scene turned what was just a walk to the chiropractors office into a prayer walk. "Lord, send laborers into Your harvest." These people are so READY. They are ACHING to hear the truth. The song "I'll Worship Only at the Feet of Jesus" took on a whole new meaning as I asked God to reveal the Truth to those who were looking today. When I stopped to get a milk tea, I learned that it was Mazu's birthday. That explains it.

Then I saw something quite amazing. The gods are often transported in miniature temples with two poles (kind of like the biblical idea of the ark) and four men. However, this was the smallest, most colorful box I had ever seen, less than 30 inches square, and four men were STRUGGLING to keep it under control. You read that right. I'm not sure who was carrying who. It didn't take me long to figure out- that thing, whatever it was, was definitely demon possessed. Yet, the temple workers didn't seem to notice. To them, that is a good thing. It means their god's spirit returned, due to the sacrifices and fireworks. 
Now, I knew I was on enemy ground, and that though Satan and his workers couldn't touch me, he was all around. This is his hey-day, much like Halloween in the States. "Lord Jesus," I prayed, "show them how powerless their gods are. Show them the Truth." And just like that, the little box- I think it was some sort of dragon- instantly quieted.  
The men stopped and looked at their charge in confusion. They shook the poles a little, to see if they could revive their creature, but to no avail. Two of the carriers let go, as they were not needed now, and started "praying," while the other two men kept walking.  
I just stood there in awe and wonder of what I had just witnessed. Oh the power of the Name of Jesus. It's easy to forget that in the States, where Christianity has mellowed into comfortable habit. Friends, the battle out there is real!!! My God is so much more powerful than the petty gods of earth, that just mentioning His name causes the demons to flee. What an awesome god!
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I'm sure you're waiting to see the pictures. To be honest, I'm extremely disappointed to tell you, I don't have any! -Not of that day anyway. For whatever reason, I had prepped my camera with new batteries and an SD card, and managed to leave it on my desk when I went to town. It killed me! To see all of this, and feel the burden for the people, and not be able to share it with you felt worse than being a photographer caught without a camera.

However, I do have some other pictures from other days that I can share with you. Last night I went to the still highly decorated temple to get some pictures. You will have to forgive that some of them were blurry. I stayed in the courtyard, about 50 feet from the building, and used my zoom, with no tripod, trying to be inconspicuous. Even out that far, I was glad to be covered by the blood of Jesus, for I could sense the demons dancing around, trying to get at me. The temples are no joke, people! One of the priests came out to invite me inside, and I told him no thank you, I just wanted pictures. I don't know what he really wanted, but He jumped back like he was struck by lightening. (And who's to say- maybe he was? I think he saw God's angels and stayed away.)

This is from the New Year's festival- it's the year of the dragon.

Drums and cymbals are a huge part of their religion.
Also, the temple workers you see are middle school age.

I believe this is one of the demons that guards
Mazu. It got marched all around town on Friday.

In the foreground is a giant incense altar, where people burn incense and pray (kind of like the Catholics that burn candles), the background is the very decorated shrine to Mazu, goddess guardian of Taiwan.

This is another incense altar, with a counsel of Buddha. 

Foreground: temple tools. Background: the thing draped in pink is probably a neighboring god come for the special occaision, as that is a  miniature temple for travel.

Chinese lantern.
These actually look creepy when they are the only light around, because it's an eery red glow.  

"...The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; PRAY therefore the Lord of the harvest, that He will send forth labourers into His harvest." Matthew 9:37-38 (emphasis added)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Stories from Thursday


Friday, April 13, 2012

Praying Warriors

This week went so fast, and I loved these kids! They sucked up love like sponges, claiming hugs, high fives, and lots of attention. Thursday this week was especially special, so I thought I’d share it with you.

A Day at CEI: Thursday

Sleeping in an upstairs room to avoid allergy issues, I had a quiet room all to myself. It was great, except, I had forgotten my alarm clock. I prayed that I would wake up in time.  Of course, God kept his end of the deal, and I awoke ready and rested at 6:45. I didn’t have the morning class, so I took my time taking a shower, reading my Bible, and getting ready for the day.

At a few minutes until 8, I headed up to the office. I still had a few things to prepare before my 8:50 class on musical instruments. This is the second time I have taught this class, and it still needs some creative ideas. The Master Teacher gave me an idea to have the children play Pictionary. They really enjoyed it, even though it was hard.

Wish I had that on video!
With a “1, 2, 1,2, 1,2, 1, thank you teacher, 1, break time” the children were out on break time. I hurried to set up my computer in the classroom. I wanted the special sound effects on my PC. One of the girls, came up to talk to me. She whispered quietly in my ear. Though I knew some of the words, I didn’t know enough to put the thought together, so I took her to the office to find a translator. Instead of telling me what she said, the translator helped the girl tell me, two or three words at a time, what she wanted to say in English. “Teacher, I’m sorry. Yesterday, I talked to my classmates and not attention. Will you forgive me?” “I love you *A, of course I forgive you.” With a hug to seal the restitution, she skipped off to the classroom. How sweet! This is the first time I’ve had a student personally apologize for their behavior in class- and she was not the one I would have picked out as naughty.

I blew the whistle, and the children started trickling in the classroom. We played the clapping game to get everyone attentive and on the same page, and then I jumped into the powerpoint. It is fun to click on the instrument to make it sing and watch the kids’ faces. They know them in Chinese, so they just have to learn it in English. Then we played Pictionary. At the end of class, they wrote “I want to play the _____” and drew a picture of the instrument. They are very good artists!

After break, I returned to my desk to do projects. I worked on a current Bible study and wrote up a lesson plan for the English teacher’s file. We also had a meeting to practice music for the TESOL retreat coming up.

rope juggling
Of course, every forty minutes, the students call us to come play with them. Sometimes, they help me take pictures, or they ask me to turn a jump rope, or they show me their juggling skills. This week, the boys were rope jugglers and the girls were block jugglers. They could put on quite a show!

Lunch time came quickly. This week, I’m eating my own lunches so I can eat fresh fruits and vegetables. I went to my apartment to fix food and quickly decided I would eat in the office. It has gotten hot, making our room very humid- about like walking into a spa. If I eat in the office, I usually work. Today, that is good, because I have to leave work early in the evening, so make-up hours are good.

Following lunch, I did some writing. Then, at 2:10, the English teachers went to the fourth floor to put together some tables. Next week is a double camp week, and we needed a few extra tables, desks, and such like. Our team leader volunteered us to put the tables together because we are less busy than the Chinese teachers. It was work, as the legs had to be tapped into place and then screwed in with a hexagon screw driver only long enough for our fingertips. It took Jo and I the rest of the work day to put just two tables together, and the other two teachers put two desks together.

Every Thursday that we have children, we have interviews. The children are split into three groups, and practice the character they learned this week by interviewing people. They practice confidence, responsibility, gratefulness, attentiveness, and positive perspective by being polite, asking questions, thanking their interviewee, and working together as a team. Us English teachers get to dress up and act out various fun roles for the kids. This week, Jo and I were carpenters putting the tables together. ;)

I THOUGHT I got the ukulele for the KIDS. Oh well. ;)
This day has flown! At five o’clock on the dot Susanna and I leave for our music lessons in ChiaYi. The lessons went well, despite the interruption of a 7 second earthquake in the middle of class. Praise the Lord for His safety! For a few weeks, I have thought about getting a violin for the children to play, as they always want to play mine. Usually I don’t mind, but they are hard on instruments and I don’t know enough Chinese to communicate my rules with them. I opted for  a Ukulele instead. I can pick one up for really cheap and it will withstand the children a little better.

We took the 7:50 train back home, arriving about 8:45. Thursday nights are the nights we sing to the children a “good night” song. Well, except this week. They were asleep before we got the chance! So I headed to my fourth floor room at 9:30 to take a shower, read my Bible, and crawl into bed. I fell asleep praying…

Sunday, April 8, 2012

A Little Chinese...

So, I'm sure you all are wondering if I am learning any Chinese while I'm here.

To tell you the truth, I don't know if I am LEARNING much, but I sure have a lot of homework. ;)

practicing writing the characters
Chinese differs from English in just about every way. There is no alphabet, though the children in school learn bopomofo to aid in pronunciation, it's not used for writing in the general public. (It does show up in my textbook though. -Thankfully. It's easier to read.)  Chinese is learned by memorization and recitation. As you probably already know, Chinese is very much a tonal language. One character can mean multiple things, and one phrase in the wrong tones can send a completely different message. The neat things about those characters though, is that they are pictures. Some of them very clearly tell Bible stories. -That can be a great way to share the gospel with my Chinese friends. I enjoy learning to read and write the characters.

flashcards

Every week a tutor comes and helps us through our textbook. According to our tutor, we are way behind schedule! -I feel a little behind where we are now... I only understand about half of what I should. My reading and writing is much better than my speaking and listening. I can read about half of the characters I see in the school (simpler due to it being elementary school). However, I struggle to converse with the children verbally or even go shopping. Alas! At least my blonde hair means that most people will try English first. ;)

reading a story (in bopomofo) in my textbook
Perhaps later I can show you one of the characters in my Chinese name that tells the story of Jesus feeding the five thousand.

I am so grateful for God's help. -And I must say, that the more Scripture I memorize, the easier the Chinese is to memorize. It is so true that in HIM are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. And, whenever I have needed Chinese in an "emergency" to communicate, God brings to mind the words I need- even if I haven't learned them yet. My Father has no problem with Chinese!

Until next time,
"Bob" (The name all my Chinese friends call me- Barbara is too hard for them.)

Lay Up Treasure in Heaven- Memorize Scripture!

My friends there is no better way to spend your time then spending it in God's Word, learning about Jesus, and applying it to your life. Consider this challenge personally. Consider doing it with your family. Consider getting friends to do it with you. What better way to grow as friends then memorize together? God bless you!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

God is... Eternal Father

Eternal Father

If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?
Matthew 7:11
  
Even the most loving parents and the kindest of intentions could not compare to the Father’s love of His children. He cannot give a bad gift, just like good parents wouldn't give their three year old a viper. It is easy when I see trouble, sickness, and evil in the world, to doubt the goodness of God. Could He possibly have planned this for MY life??? -But really, who defines good?

Today, many people use the word good to mean a variety of things, ranging from really good to really not good at all.  In Genesis 1, when God is creating the world (long before I was around), God said repeatedly “It is good.” Did He mean “good enough” or “so good it can’t get better?” The more I have thought about it, the more I realize how I try to re-define God. What does it matter you say? Well, I try to define His goodness by our standards, or meaning, of the word good. That’s totally pointless, because they don’t even compare. God is SO good, that His goodness exceeds our ideas of PERFECTION.

God gives good gifts because He is good Father. I may not understand WHY it is a good gift or HOW it is supposed to work out for good, but I KNOW I can rest in my Eternal Father. He’s been around a long time. He doesn’t do things half-way or as an after-thought. He is good.

Run to the Father. Climb in His arms. Tell Him your problem and then trust Him to deal with it. He is good. He will take care of you.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.
James 1:17


Eternal Father, when to Thee,
Beyond all worlds, by faith I soar,
Before Thy boundless majesty
I stand in silence, and adore.

But Savior, Thou art by my side;
Thy voice I hear, Thy face I see:
Thou art my Friend, my daily Guide;
God over all, yet God with me.
~Hervey D. Ganse~

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Office Week 02

Well, my dear friends,

This week we had an office week with no children. I hate to say it, but this week has been, well, rather boring! Actually, I don't think I've had a week this "boring" and productive since I arrived. With no kids and no activities to do, we've been organizing, lesson planning, and doing various and sundry projects.

On Monday, right after work, Penny graciously took us to Carefour, where we picked up those hard-to-find imported groceries. That took us about an hour, and then Susanna and I prepared for evening tutoring. My little violin student is quite good. He is so excited to learn, and always wants a new song, no matter how difficult it is. What a trooper!

Tuesday, during lunch break, we went to visit one of the classes that has come to camp. This particular class has only three students (more like home-schooling (: ). We went  to visit, both to check up on the students, and to see the butterflies that their town is famous for. Driving up the mountain to see them was a gorgeous view! The kids were a little worried that when we arrived, the butterflies would all be gone, so they captured some for us, and had them in a "natural habitat greenhouse."


Thursday evening, Susanna and I traveled to our music lessons. After lesson, I looked at the music in the store, and then the violins. After looking at and playing on a Taiwan-made violin, I understand why my teacher said that kind would help me. The neck is thinner, and the bout under the finger board is not as wide, to accommodate small hands. Even better, a guy from Hong Kong dropped in to look at the ukuleles, and he translated to the sales people what I wanted in a violin. Great timing. Next week, there will be a violin there for me to look at. I'm so excited!  What a blessing!

Today (Friday), the Chinese teachers went to visit another class. Us English teachers and Jenny, our nurse/secretary, stayed behind to watch the fort. It's been a great week to get things done, and though my to-do list is still long, it is shorter than it was. Praise the Lord for His help and guidance this week. It is easy to let five minutes steal away; but God has been a great help in capturing those moments and using them for His kingdom.

Looking forward to another group of kids next week!

With Joy in serving Jesus,
Barbara

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

God is... Defence and Deliverance


Defender & Deliverer

“I sought the Lord, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.” 
Psalm 34:4

I love how David says that God delivered him from ALL his fears. Perhaps they were real, perhaps they were imagined. It didn’t matter to God what kind of fear it was: He delivered David from ALL of them.

So many times in the Bible, God says “Don’t fear.” Probably because He knew we finite mortals could be afraid of just about everything. With all these commands not to fear, you would think God would be like “hey, I told you not to fear. That’s YOUR problem.” But that’s not the way He works. He says that when I am afraid, seek Him  -trust in Him-  and He will deliver me from all fear. Praise the Lord!

To me, Defender and Deliverer go together. Sometimes, I need delivered, but sometimes, I need my Defence to go through the situation with me. Either way, I can rest assured that God knows which I need, and that He will take care of His precious daughter.

“I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: 
for thou, Lord, only makest me dwell in safety.” 
Psalm 4:8

Sunday, April 1, 2012

In His Presence

In my busy, stress-filled day,
Jesus pleads to "Come away.
"Put aside your many tasks,
And hear my voice today."

In the closet where I pray,
Jesus takes my fears away.
"Give to Me your cares," He calls,
"And rest in Me today."











In His arms I safely lay,
With peace that naught can take away.
I remember what His will is like;
It's here I want to stay!

In my ears I hear Him say,
"Do you love Me more than day?
Give Me all your plans and dreams
And walk with Me each day."

In my heart so prone to stray,
"Jesus I'm afraid!" I pray.
To give You all is hard for me;
Help me trust in You alway."










In His grace I walk each day,
Jesus guides me in His way.
He alone is Truth and Life.
I'll trust in Him alway!

Beneath the Cross


Beneath the cross of Jesus I fain would take my stand,
The shadow of a mighty rock within a weary land;
A home within the wilderness, a rest upon the way,
From the burning of the noontide heat, and the burden of the day.

Upon that cross of Jesus mine eye at times can see
The very dying form of One Who suffered there for me;
And from my stricken heart with tears two wonders I confess;
The wonders of redeeming love and my unworthiness.

I take, O cross, thy shadow for my abiding place;
I ask no other sunshine than the sunshine of His face;
Content to let the world go by to know no gain or loss,
My sinful self my only shame, my glory all the cross.