Beautiful Day

    Thursday, January 29, 2004  


So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. (John 8:36)

    As seen by Susan @ 12:04 PM

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    Thursday, January 22, 2004


We all celebrate different things. Like birthdays, valentine's days, anniversaries, Anzac Days, Easter, Christmas... by the way it's Chinese Lunar New year today (but I don't celebrate it). There're always reasons behind each celebration and there're different things people do to celebrate for the particular occasions. Sometimes year after year people celebrate the same thing, and then they forget about what the reasons are behind the scenes, and they just do the things that're involved for the celebration, and the celebration becomes a tradition or a festival. For example, the second largest celebration apart from the Chinese New Year(equivelant to Christmas in China) is the Moon cake festival (or Mid-Autumn festival). Year after year people get together do a lot of eatings and games and lots of other fun things, and they eat moon cakes. Well if you ask them why they have to eat moon cakes, probably only 1 in a 100 will have a bit of clue.
Most people love celebrations. They get to see the families, have parties, give or get presents, take time off, have holidays, eat good food, have a feast, be happy... They go out of their ways to do something special that they wouldn't do otherwise. For example, a traditional Chinese New Year's Eve dinner is a huge feast. Some families would have 30 dishes of all kinds of delicacies. Some families would take a month or even longer to prepare for it. And then every families doing that, the whole country is filled with a special atmosphere of celebration. Same here, Christmas, people eat prawns for breakfast, roast dinners for lunch, and kids have heaps of presents. Different culture has different celebrations. They do different things even if it's the same thing, like kids birthday parties. We have special budget for occations. We can't have the new year's eve dinner every night, neither will we eat roast dinner for lunch every day.

I find this interesting verse in the Bible: Deuteronomy 14:22-26
Thou shalt truly tithe all the increase of thy seed, that the field bringeth forth year by year. And thou shal eat before the Lord thy God, in the place which he shall choose to place his name there, the tithe of thy corn, of thy wine, and of thine oil, and the firstlings of thy herds and of thy flocks; that you mayest leaarn to fear the Lord thy God always. And if the way be too long for thee, so that thou art not able to carry it; of if the place be to far from thee, which the Lord thy God shall choose to set his name there, when the Lord thy God hath blessed thee; Then shalt thou turn it into money, and bind up the money in thine hand, and shalt go unto the place which the Lord thy God shall choose; And thou shalt bestow that money for whatsoever thy soul desireth; and thou shalt eat there before the Lord thy God, and thou shalt rejoice, thou, and thine household.

It is a commandment in the Bible for us to celebrate the Lord! People celebrate things for all kinds of reasons, but we forget to celebrate the Lord! What do we do? Eat, drink, whatever you want! Just have a good time, have fun! With what? Our tithe! That's the budget! Do something to celebrate that you would otherwise not be able (can't be bothered or can't afford to)to do.

When I was in China, this is an element of church life from which I've seen so much blessings coming. People get saved, people get encouraged, they feel loved and treasured, they get fired up! It's a family life among Christian brothers and sisters, just as Christmas is a family thing for most people. When I come to Australia, I find this part of life missing from christian lives. They do fun things and dinners, but it's different: everyone pays for themselves. When I was in China, we would regularly do dinner parties in restaurants, go for bowling games, holiday 3-4 days travel... the church(tithe)pay for everything! People tithe according to their income and willing level, but when they celebrate, they don't have to worry anything about money! We choose lots of birthdays for our days of celebration, especially the new believers. We'd hire a restaurant room and we'd have a huge feast! We invite friends to join our celebration and they love to come for a free feast. After the dinners we'll just have a worship meeting in the restaurant rooms and most of the times the unbeliever friends get saved! It was an essencial part of church life, but I find it missing here in Australia. Celebration is about creating an atmosphere or rejoicing. When you are in an atmosphere of celebration, you just can't help but to join in the celebration.

Celebrate! There's power in celebration.

    As seen by Susan @ 6:00 PM

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    Tuesday, January 20, 2004

My 80's

Living Room is having this fun game, so I thought I'll participate.
I was a student all the time during the 80's. It was a time of dreams. The first thing that came into my mind about the 80's was the burning hot passions toward different dreams. First I wanted to be a volleyball player, then I was crazy about being an Opera singer. I was madly in love with different people, but none of that had any results. By now you probably have already figured out I was then a teenager, your right.
The biggest thing happened to me during the 80's is I became a Christian. Just give you this one glimpse you'll have an idea what it's like to be a Christian in China: While at college, we had 6 people sharing a dorm(for 5 years at college). I was a very active Christian. But none of my roommates knew I was a Christian until years later while in Australia I found out another roommate was a Christian,too! well, maybe one more glimpse, my auntie said something careless in her teenage years, not anything real wrong, just a bit careless, like "so what's that about?"...She was in jail for 10 years. My parents led me to Christianity in my early teens. It only took them 10 minutes. But no more after that for fear factors. So for years I knew there's a God but I had no means to know anything more. I prayed. It was very interesting to read some of the prayers I wrote down in my diary at that time. If you read it, you'd probably laugh and say,"What a vanish girl!"
Then there was the College entrance exam. I have been praying to this God that I didn't even really know- I hardly even knew His name is Jesus. But during the College entrance exam, which is the turning point for so many young people, I experienced a lot of miracles. For example, in my maths exam, there were two problems that worth 20 points each(total full mark is 120). They were whole page problems and would require 30 minutes each to solve. I had worked on both of them for about an hour(altogether 2 hours) and just couldn't figure out how to start. Now there's only 10 minutes left, I was hopelessly thinking, here you go, 40 points gone, no colleges for this year... And suddenly, a fresh thought flashed like a lighting came into my mind. I instantly knew how to solve both the two problems. I ran my pen as quickly as I could, it wasn't my speed of solving the problem, I just let the pen ran almost by itself. and just as I finished the last stroke, the bell rang, and I finished the two big problems in 10 minutes! As I went home I shared this incredible incidence with my mom. She said, she was very busy working that morning, and totally forgot about my exam... then suddenly she had a shake. It was like someone pushed her. She looked at her watch, there were 10 minutes left before my exam finish. So she immediately quit what she was doing and prayed for me. And it was at that precise moment I knew exactly how to do the problem. Well, this is probably one of around a dozen miracles I experienced during College entrance exam, which paved my way to my college in Beijing, where my faith grew. And it was a college I always knew God wanted me to be in. It was a very unique college where there were 5000 foreign students from all over the world. There're lots of missionaries among the foreign students and it was there I had a chance to be presented the whole gospel message.
I experienced lots of miracles as my faith grew.
Another interesting incidence I had in the 80's is I was in an underground church for a while. We were a group of very close friends. Especially this guy, I trusted him so much, I treated him like my own brother, I told him every secret I had, I asked his advice for everything I did(My parents were in south China, too far away)..... and it turned out that he was a spy and he turned the whole group over to the police. And then he and the police made everyone believe that I was the spy and all of a sudden nobody talked to me any more and I lost just about all my friends for the time. And until the end of the 80's I still couldn't find a fellowship. But instead, I had a good time in the 89 Tiananmen movement. I wasn't into politics, but for a few months we didn't have to go to classes and we had lots of fun camping all night at Tian An men square...... lots of love stories and unforgetable memories among the students.

    As seen by Susan @ 4:07 PM

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    Sunday, January 18, 2004

Caroline Huang

Went to a business meeting today to listen to a talk by a guest speaker Caroline Huang from LA. She just shared some of her experiences with business, quite interesting. A few years ago a good friend of her introduced the new business concept to her, but she wans't interested at all. It took her friend 7 months uncompromising effort, finally she (being a Chinese) felt she should just give her friend a face. So she agreed to go to a meeting with her friend one day without any intention to have anything to do with this business. But during the meeting somehow for a slight moment she was a bit open and listened to the plan, and thought, hmm, this sounds easy enough, maybe I'll just have a little go. The business didn't require her to compromise anything for her existing job and she just signed on. And half a year later she was totally amazed herself. And now she's making a residual income of roughly around 10,000 US dollars every week.
She said she was a very ordinary girl. I can see that, she looks ordinary enough. All the way through school her big sisters did all her homework. She said she's very lazy and loved sleeping. And one day her husband got fed up with her and said,"don't you ever tell me any dreams you have." She felt quite hurt and decided that she won't give up easily. She then had her up and downs, but she kept persistance, and it didn't take very long that she became very successful.
"If you dare to will, you'll become what you will. So many people don't achieve it is simply because they don't know what they want." For her, attitute plus knowledge are the two keys for her success.

    As seen by Susan @ 12:29 AM

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    Saturday, January 17, 2004

Strong willed child

Last weekend I heard a message about parenting. The preacher said there was a big difference between his first and second child. The first daughter was very compliant, he only need to hold the wooden spoon and she would melt away and begged, No daddy no daddy. But the second child was very strong willed. If he showed her the wooden spoon, her expression would be "bring it on!" and no matter how hard he hit her, she wouldn't fase.
Well this is exactly the same as my first and second child. With Ellie, she's quite easy, I only need to threaten her a little bit or just a pat smack, or just hold my hand up she'll do what she's supposed to do. And if I tell her I'd give her a treat she'd be quite happy to do all her work. But with Jamie, it's totally different. Right from the pregnancy she's different. She wouldn't turn. We had lots of prayers, excercises, moves trying to get her to turn around so I could have a natural birth, she wouldn't. She just wanted to sit up the whole time and there's no way she'd turn around. So I ended up having a C-section. If there's something she doesn't want to do, you'd move a mountain before you can move her. She's a very fussy eater. I've tried everything I can think of, but she would only eat a few things that she recognises. Anything new she'd refuse. No matter how hard I smack her, even my hand stings and hurt, she wouldn't show any sign of compromise. As she's going to a daycare this year where they serve cooked hot lunch, I disgussed with my husband that we'd try to teach her to eat some normal food. We didn't set our goals too high, only two things for the whole summer: mince(as with speghetti) and Pizza. We tried mince first, I cooked a really nice shepherds pie. We promised her she could go anywhere she wants if she swallows just one spoon. She wouldn't. We tried reasoning, didn't work. So we decided to try force... she emptied everything out from her stomach. We did again, she emptied again until there's nothing she could spit out. And I haven't been able to bother her with pizza. She's been doing swimming lessons for a while. She'd have a most beautiful smile on her face until the teacher tries to put her head in the water. and she'd scream and then no one can do anything about it.
The preacher said the strong willed child, if channeled properly, without breaking the spirit, will turn out to be a great leader. I totally agree. But how?
She's very talented and gifted, very smart. But getting her to practise is another thing.
Should I wait for her to make her own decision or is there anything I can do?
Sometimes I just feel frustrated.

    As seen by Susan @ 1:28 AM

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    Saturday, January 10, 2004

Love is ...

If you ask anyone this question, what is love? Apart from the romantic side of the answers, I think most people would probably come up with things like "be nice, affectionate, to give...etc." which will generally belong to the "kind" category.
But the definition of the Bible about love is " Love is patient, love is kind..." Not the other way around. Obviously being patient comes first and more important than being kind. I haven't thought about this before until this week.
Last weekend at Sunday service in our church, our pastors were asking if anyone would like some personal prophecies for the year 2004. So I went forward. Apart from other words concerning our new house, business, family salvation,etc, there's this word,"your patience limit will be stretched." This particular word didn't sound very pleasant to my ears and I was tending to forget about it straight away. But only a week into this new year I was reminded of that word in quite a few different ways: so many things went wrong, and I had a major challenge the second day after that word. I didn't think I could handle it, and I just felt like blowing up all day long. I really couldn't see any way out by myself, but amazingly, someone came up with unexpected grace and favor, and helped me sort the situation out. Then straight after that, we're faced with another major crisis. The Lord really knows what He's talking about last Sunday!
Without challenge, our love is only from ourselves. They're very limited and very conditional. But throughout all the challenges, we'll experience God's favor, His grace and His faithfulness, and we'll learn and experience His love and we'll grow in love as well. Only when we're stretched in our love can we have the ability to demonstrate kindness that's beyond our own level and then we can be a blessing to other people.
Another version of translation of "patient" is "long suffering". This as the first requirement of love really makes me wonder where love comes from. It also reminds me of Job in the Bible, whom was challenged severely in every possible ways. But in the end he was rewarded double blessing. So maybe this is the process: we suffer, we endure, then we run out of ourselves, and the Lord comes in and fill in our empty tank, then we have more than ourselves, and we are able to truly give, ... and then we can be kind. Maybe this is why patient comes before kind?
Interestingly while I'm writing this right now, there's a TV show about what's love. It says that the dictionary explanation about love is "a strong desire, passion...." It all comes down to " I want, give me..."even in relationships. But "Love is patient" actually means "I'll put up with all the trouble that you give me, all the disappointment that I expected you to give me" in relationships, right? How much love we have really means how much trouble we're willing to handle.
Well, this is only the first week of my thoughts along this way, I'm sure there's more to come later in the year.

    As seen by Susan @ 4:35 PM

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    Sunday, January 04, 2004

I hear the sound

1king 18:41-46 And Elijah said unto Ahab, get thee up, eat and drink; for there is a sound of abundance of rain.....and Elijah went up to the top of Carmel; and he cast himself down upon the earth, and put his face between his knees, and said to his servant, go up now, look toward the sea. And he went up, and looked and said, There is nothing. And he said, Go again seven times. And it came to pass at the seventh time, that he said, behold, there ariseth a little cloud out of the sea, like a man's hand. And he said, go up, say unto Ahab, prepare thy chariot, and get thee down, that the rain stop thee not. And it came to pass in the mean while, that the heaven was black with clouds and wind, and there was a great rain...

When Elijah said that there is a sound of abundance or rain, it had been a drought for three years. Nothing in the natural said rain. He couldn't possibly heard anything in his natural ear the sound of rain. He heard the voice of the Lord in his spirit. When he sent the servant up to look toward the sea, the first time the servant might be happy to respond, but he saw nothing. By the fifth or the sixth time, the servant might be grumbling,"come on, I've been there, done that, nothing's happening. It hasn't been raining for three years, it won't rain in a few minutes. Look at the sky, there's nothing out there, don't you have some common sense? what's the point? It won't make any difference whether I look or not..." But Elijah knew he heard the sound. The Lord said it, and he won't give up his hope. So the seventh time, the servant saw a little cloud of a man's hand. To Elijah, that's sure enough. He gave orders immediately. And the rain came pouring down in minutes.
When you heard the sound of the Lord, sometimes in the natural it looks the opposite. You might have tried and tried and it hasn't been working like you have hoped. Well, if it Is from the Lord, you can just keep on looking out, it might just be the next time you try again. And when you see a little tiny cloud rising up, don't brush it aside.... the rain can come pouring down in just a few minutes.

    As seen by Susan @ 1:11 AM

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    Friday, January 02, 2004

My holiday

We went away for a few days over Christmas and the new year's day. It was such a good break. We really needed it. My husband has been flat out busy all year, and he decided if he doesn't go away, he'd still be working. So we went to Port Macquarie for about a week and then to New Castle for the New year's eve and new year's day. It was so fun.
First we went to the beach for 3 straight days. Kids had a great time there. I'm not a good swimmer. But since I bought a new swimmer, I decided to just get wet. I didn't do anything fancy at all, just went into the water about waist deep, and the next thing I knew is I got sucked out! I tried to swim back, but the waves just kept dragging me out. I couldn't really float for too long, so I waved to someone for help. And two men dragged me back. an interesting experience.
Then we went to see a few old friends and spent a few days just catching up, so lots of barbecues and prawns.
I felt a bit sad to find out a few friends ended up with broken relationships. Especially a couple that have been well known pastors. The husband got burnt out from church work, and he just turned back into alcohol and other girlfriends.
Quite a few friends were interested in my business, and that made me feel alive.
It's interesting to feel the difference in the atmosphere of different places. Port Macquarie is like a place of the pelicans, very relaxed and hang out by the water, loving fish and chips; New Castle is definately a place of kookaburras--people go chatty chatty wherever you go. Chatterbox all over the place. Sydney then is a bit like the locusts, busy snatchers with unending lust for materialism and other pleasures.
My husband's back to work today. It was a really nice break, just wish it could be longer. But we also hope to move in our new house end of this month. and hopefully, our life can be a bit more normal after we move in. It's been a very difficult and hectic year for us.

    As seen by Susan @ 6:06 PM

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About Me

Contact Me:

My picture

My beloved
You hold me now
Some Chinese sayings
The Word becomes flesh
Audible voice
A few recent pictures
Back to school
The battle goes on

My other blog
Jia Lin

Some Other Posts
China trip
Death of seed
Mother's day thoughts
Rachel and Leah

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