Friday, May 19, 2017

Books on Prayer

One of my goals for this year was to read six books on prayer. I figure that is one book every two months. I want to read books that challenge me to pray more, give me new ideas on how to prayer, and deepen my prayer life.

Praying the Bible

I want to share these books with you as I read them this year.

The Bible - I will just include that in the list. I am reading through that this year.

Enjoy your prayer life by Michael Reeves - This is a short book and easy to read, just 46 pages.

"Prayer the chief exercise of faith" - John Calvin

"If prayer is 'the chief exercise of faith', then of course everything -- the world, the flesh and the devil -- conspires against prayer."

No wonder prayer is hard work.

"It is the word of God, the gracious message of Christ that awakens faith and so prayer -- and so that must be the basic shape of our everyday communion with God."


Praying the Bible by Donald S. Whitney - This is a nice small hardback book. In this book the author walks you through how to pray the Bible beginning with the problem with our prayers and how praying the Bible is the solution. He gives you a method to do this.

This book really spoke to me as this reflects some of my thoughts. I have wanted to get behind a "shopping list" or giving God a "to do list" prayers. Learning to pray the Bible helps us to speak God's words back to him, we see God's heart.

I have a few more on the stack and I will share with you when I finish reading them.

Beth
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Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Meal Planning Evening

For me this began in January when I was talking to a friend and said, "I want a brainless meal plan." I know there are meal plans that you can buy but I am cheap and find that they don't work with our options here. My friend said, "Why don't you create a meal plan for the month." That was all the challenge that I needed I printed a calendar page and sat down and prepared a menu for a month. I was in love. I loved having a plan. I loved knowing what was scheduled. I loved feeling like I could balance my meals both nutrition and cost.


A few weeks ago my small group was together to fix some meals for one of the new mums. I think we did more coffee drinking and talking than fixing meals. In the conversation meal planning came up and the challenges so I decided to host a meal planning evening.


The theme for this event was quick and easy. Everyone was asked to bring 8 copies of a quick and easy meal. My goal for the evening was every to have a menu for a week.

The question I asked as we began was, "Why do you want to plan meals?" Is it to reduce your stress, reduce your grocery budget, improve nutrition, to easily be able to answer the question, "what is for dinner" or maybe you just came to get out of the house on a Monday evening. Knowing why you want to do something helps.

Then for fun we played match the person to the meal. Everyone wrote the last meal they prepared and we matched the meal to the person. We scored 100% on that.

When I began my monthly meal plan, I made a worksheet of as many meals as I could think about in different categories. So I gave everyone 3 - 4 minutes to do that based on whatever categories they wanted. The winner got 17 meals listed and won a prize from the prize table.

I had printed a collection of free menu planning pages that I had printed off the internet. Everyone picked a page and got to work planning their meals.

Things are better with friends. So people were sharing other meal ideas, asking for a recipe for fish, giving ideas for where to buy things, and just chatting. I think everyone walked away with a menu for a week. We all have some new recipes to try -- Chicken and Tarragon bake, Mum's Secret Chicken curry, Coconut Thai curry, Oven-baked risotto, Japanese Curry and a sausage recipe.

Yes, curry is a favourite dish here.

We also shared our "go to" cookbook. I have a few books to add to my list, Bill's Everyday Asian, Nigella Express. Delia's Complete Cookery was the "go to" book for two people. That is one that I have purchased since moving here and I do use it quite a bit.

I am already beginning to think of my next event.

Beth
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Sunday, May 14, 2017

Happy Mother's Day


When you pause and think of all the things that mothers do, you quickly realise that the list is long, and  hours are long. Mothers are there to comfort, to teach, to care, to love, and so many other things helping children. Mothers are examples of giving, serving, sacrificing, and loving.

I am thankful for the godly example from my mother. Her love and care has continued. Every now and then I listen to myself and think, "that sounded like my mother." That really isn't a bad thing. I am thankful for her example.

When I think of my mother, I think the of the perfect grilled cheese sandwich that she makes. I think of all the sewing she has done through the years. I think of her spirit of adventure traveling to visit me. I think of her worn Bible filled with notes.

I am thankful to call her mom. You have been a great example. I pray that I can be that kind of mom to my own children.




Beth
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Saturday, May 13, 2017

Blind to Blessings


I don't like to think that I am blind but if I really pause and think about it there are times that I am blind to the blessings that God is giving me.

I am blind to blessings when I do not see it as from the God but rather just something that happened or just the result of something that I did. I think that is easy to do when we quickly satisfy our desires.  We discover a need or a want and instead of pausing and waiting and allowing God to provide we purchase it and have it delivered in two days.

I am blind to blessings because the blessing is not the way I wanted it or how I pictured it to be. I picture in my head what the blessing will look like and what I think to me means, "I am blessed"and reality is that God blesses me in a different way because he knows what I need and he has a plan for my life that is more than I can imagine.

So look for blessings, wait on the Lord and be blessed. realise that the blessings might not look the way you want them to look but it is God's best for you.

One of my blessing this week was a bag of clothing from a friend that is moving. What blessings have you received this week?

Beth
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Thursday, May 11, 2017

Opportunity


Do you see that tray of plants? Do you know what that represents?

Yes, it is an opportunity to add some plants to the front garden which needs some colour and green.

Yes, it is an opportunity to proof that I have a green thumb. That might be a stretch as so far my success rate with plants is one lone lavender plant that has survived for the past few years. I have killed most other plants.

While it is those things, it is much more than that. It is an opportunity to begin a relationship with someone from different background.

I was out for a walk this morning. I was tempted to just keep walking but felt a prompting to pause and just talk. She was working in her garden and so I said, "your flowers are lovely." That lead to an offer of plants that she had in the back. So we went back and she gave me this tray of plants and an offer to come get more.

I am glad I took that opportunity of beginning a relationship.  When is the last time you talked to someone from a different background or different beliefs?

Beth
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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Faith Promises - God Hears Us

The introduction to this series can be found here.


When I lived in Asia, I would often walk past temples or see god shelves or see the red lights glowing in a home from the family altars.  I would see people bowing and offering incense or putting food on a table as an offering to the gods. Those gods were made of wood. They could not hear. The people would stand and chat but the idol would not hear. I think seeing that has made me realise the comfort we have in a God who hears our cries.

Sometimes it might seem that God doesn't hear us and we might feel that it has been that way for a long time. In Exodus 2:24-25 it says, "And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. God saw the people of Israel and God knew." (ESV) God heard the groaning of his people. In God's time he acted.

I just finished reading II Samuel as I work through my Bible reading this year. I was again reminded of the struggles and challenges that David had from Saul to his own son.  Knowing David's story helps as you read the Psalms. David is being chased, he is on the run, escaping for his life. David calls out to God I have recently found comfort in reading Psalms. In Psalm 4:3 David says, "the Lord hears when I call to him." (ESV)

The promise that God hears us can be the comfort we need when we feel stuck in a situation that is difficult. It can be the comfort when we feel all alone to work through the problems we face. God hears us.

How is this a comfort to you?
Ha
Beth
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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

My Asia Journey - Part 4

If you are beginning to read this now, go back and read Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3, it will give you the full story.


So in November 1996, just before Thanksgiving I returned to the US. I found an apartment, began my new position, and got involved at the church I had attended in the past. I was working as a project manager which was in the marketing department. I was working on a new product line and a current project line both of which were manufactured in Asia. I even made a trip to Asia. I was enjoying my new position. I was connecting with friends both people I knew and making new friends. Life was good.

Then in May, just six months after I returned from Asia while standing at a product review meeting the VP of International Manufacturing asked me if I would consider returning to Asia. Excuse me, I just came home. I just bought a brand new car. You told me it was a promotion to take this position and now you are asking me to return, is that a promotion? Some of that was just thoughts in my head. I said what I had always heard you say in those situations, "Give me an offer."

Some things had changed since the last assignment. The company had been purchased and so instead of the benefits package being handled within our company but had to go to the corporate office. So I waited for an offer. During that time I spent quite a bit of time praying and seeking God's will. Some days I was feeling, "no thanks, I am staying" and other days it was "I am going". That went back and forth until the middle of July. I still didn't have an offer but I clearly remember one evening as I was walking and praying that God said, "go". A week later I received the offer. I was given the weekend to think about it but I already knew the answer.

So a few weeks later I packed up, putting some things in storage and shipping some things.  I sold my new car. I moved back to Asia. Yes, that was the fourth time that I moved to Asia. I was back in Taipei. Each time I was there the office had moved to a new location and each time I managed it so that they moved while I was living in the US.

I found an apartment not too far from the office. I could actually walk. I had a car and a parking space in the basement of my building. No more having to search for parking. I had a number of the same staff that I had worked with previously. I did have a few additional responsibilities. I was able to connect with my Chinese teacher and began lessons again.

I knew that God had sent me back to Asia and for more than just shipping orders on time. I began attending a different church. It was about a 45 minute bus ride. I began to look for ways to be involved there so I taught Sunday School, helped with the youth group. Then in June 1998 I met a new missionary that was looking for someone to help with a Bible study for returnees. I thought I can relate to returnees. I have lived overseas and then returned. So in September 1998 I began leading that Bible study at my church. I didn't realise how much that would change my life.

I loved my job. I loved the traveling. I loved living in Asia. I had no plans to return to the US.

I was there until March 2001 when I was transferred back to the US office. I had looked at for a position to remain in Asia but that had not happened. I was praying about what was next. I knew I would have a position in the US for a short time. I felt that I wanted a skill that could be used overseas and so I decided to get an MA-TESOL which would give me credentials to teach ESL. I wanted to combine that with ministry. I was on the East Coast for a few months and then moved to the west coast to go to school and work for a mission organisation there.

As I look back on each of those moves, I see the way God worked in my life. He lead me there in a way that I felt safe and then began to stretch me and grow me. I learned to love the people there and realised the needs for the Gospel

That wraps up My Asia Journey. That was not my last move to Asia.


Beth
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