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Showing posts from 2011

Platitudes and judgement

I am fed up with spiritual platitudes and nice-isms. They don’t work for me. Instead they communicate judgement and rejection. “Take your frustrations to God.” Are you saying I don’t already do this?“Where is your joy?”Are you saying that simply because you detect frustration that there is a lack of joy in me?Seeing through these phrases, all I can see is judgement. Don’t deny it and dress it up in any other language. This is exactly what comes through. By saying these things it creates an atmosphere of insincerity. These comments send the message: don’t be honest and open with me. Wear a pretty smile and all will be well. Keep your frustrations between you and God. Don’t share them with me. Don’t be real with me. Instead, just be like ______________(insert story of missionary who didn't get frustrated when all went against him) – bumble along with thoughts of ‘all will be well’. That’s fine for him, but God (I am sure of this) makes room for all His children – not ju…

Don't be a control freak - Trust God Part 2

The happiest Christians are those who have relinquished all rights and yielded themselves entirely to Christ. Can you think of ONE thing that is truly your 'right' as a Christian? I can think of one: to boldly enter the throneroom of grace to find the help we need! There aren't many more than that!
"But," I hear people say, "I have the right to do what I please with MY spare time." Really? When I got married, this was perhaps the hardest area for me to address in myself. When I was single generally I had complete freedom as to what I did in my free time - watching T.V., reading novels, surfing the internet. Funny, isn't it, how we often end up marrying someone SO opposite from us?! These three activities were not merely a preference issue to my husband, but on occasion he viewed them as moral issues (like, it's morally wrong to waste time)! (Hope Sam doesn't mind that I share this - don't worry people - he has totally changed and…

Don't be a control freak - Trust God Part 1

Okay, I'll admit, a few of my blogs have been merely transferrals of my pre-blogging days. It seems I have the writing streak in me because anytime I get irritated with people I try to figure out what it is that is bugging me and I begin to write my own lectures to them - either in a notebook or now, in this blog.
Well, it seems that I've been around enough irritating people to give me fuel for many many pages of writing! As I analyzed what was wrong with people I think I basically narrowed it down to one thing: discontent. I would not be far off the mark, because complaining (which is basically the outward display of the inward truth of discontent) was/is SO grievous to God! One of our oft-quoted verses is 'When the people complained the Lord was displeased and He sent a plague among them...' So, I had set out to write a book on the matter of contentment because it seemed the Christian book industry had overlooked this topic. I can understand why. Why market co…

Gratitude

"Let's have an attitude of gratitude, and fill our hearts with praise,
'Thank you Lord!' we'll say to whatever comes our way
and with our attitude of gratitude, our lives will tell our friends,
That something special happens
When Jesus lives within!"

This is part of a song from a kids tape I used to listen to (by Joni and Friends - if you want to reflect on gratitude just take a look at her life and be amazed!).
We try to teach kids manners - please and thank you - but it's an entirely different thing to cultivate gratefulness. We can say 'thank you' and not mean it, but since God knows our hearts there's no point in thanking him unless we deeply sense a debt of gratitude towards Him. As the song above says, 'something special happens when Jesus lives within.' Does something special happen when Jesus lives within? What is that special 'something'? It could be many things, one of the most important being gratitude. Are you gratefu…

Thanksgiving - for real

As it is the day before Thanksgiving I thought I should share what my impressions of Thanksgiving have been throughout the years.

Growing up in Hong Kong and attending British schools, it was not customary to have a day off for Thanksgiving - a purely American celebration (and, just a bit anti-British if you think of why they had a Thanksgiving in the first place). However, though my parents were religious about school attendance - and I mean religious, (you had to have a provable condition to miss school), they saw the importance of religiously celebrating Thanksgiving.

I am grateful today for their prioritizing this 'holiday' (read: holy day) because it has profoundly impacted my life.

Because one forms views and ideas of what it must be to be an American in the 'home'land when one grows up outside of said homeland, I formed my ideals around the ways we celebrated as a family in Hong Kong. I wrongly assumed we were just doing what all Americans do for Thanksgiving.…

Caleb's Query

The other day Caleb was asking me if God is always gracious. I said, 'Yes, He is.' Then he asked if God is always just. I said, 'Yes, He is.' Then he said, 'Is God unchanging?' I said, 'Yes, He is.' Then he wanted to know how this can be possible - he views graciousness as being a little bit unjust. And then, if He is truly unchanging, well, how can He be doing both the grace thing and the just thing all at the same time!? Very confusing - not just for a 10 year old.

We discussed it a little bit and I said, 'Caleb, I have the answer. Do you want to know what it is?' 'Sure!' he said.

'The Trinity.'

At first he thought it was a joke - kind of like where my Dad asks, 'If a chicken and half laid an egg and a half in a day and a half, then how many pancakes would it take to shingle a doghouse?' (If you want the answer, ask my Dad).

But it wasn't a joke - in that genre anyways.

Here is my answer:
Caleb, if God punished…

Anxiety

Worry. Fear. Guilt. Woulda, coulda, shoulda - what ifs... Do these rule your life? What causes us to have anxiety issues?

On the personal front we have worries that nag at our thoughts: what might others think of me if they knew XYZ? We have guilt: 'I shouldn't have________, I wish I hadn't __________' We have regrets: 'I could've done things differently. We have fears - of the unknown: 'What if I/he/she gets sick? What if I/they face pain or difficulty? What if God moves us from this place? What if my circumstances change? What if something goes wrong? What if I fail?'

Fear, anxiety and worry must be universal to being human. I, for one, thought I had enough worry-ers about me that I thought I could take a pass - I thought, 'I don't struggle with this!' But, having children, especially having them living inside your own body for a while, lends itself very naturally to fear, worry and anxiety.

I wonder, what does God's Word tell …

Anger in Parenting Part 2

I posted on the dilemma of anger as a parent back in July. I just read a great blog on why it is right for us to be angry when injustice is done (by Bryan Hodge at www.theologicalsushi.blogspot.com).

I was glad to hear back from so many of you on the subject - some with verses and reminders and general ideas on the matter.

I don't know if there is a one-size-fits-all approach to this. So much of parenting seems to need constant nuanced adjustments - like steering on a road. Each kid is different and some can hear through the blunders and others require perfectly measured doses of child-sized wisdom to be applied to their hearts.

So that raises the question - do the easy kids (who get things quicker, take it in sooner, respond to your input promptly...) somehow get the brunt of it? Do they get short-changed because they weren't being squeaky wheels?

I am realizing that anger in parenting is/can be definitely harmful and sinful. How can I expect my children to display sel…

Hannah's Trust

Can she feel my love for her?
Does it wash over her in waves of emotion,
the way it washes over me?

She rests in my arms,
Content -
Fully relaxed - fearing nothing, aware of nothing
But the gentle rocking,
the warmth of my body
and the sound of Grandma reading the train book to Andrew.

I wonder if this is why we are told to have faith
as little children do.

She fully trusts all her needs will be met.
She rests peacefully, neither sorrowful for the past,
nor anxious for the future.

In hunger, she cries - and is fed.
When restless, she murmurs and a bleary-eyed Mommy
Lifts her from her lonely bed.

This is what it means to trust -
to know and rest in the confidence
of future comfort.

Let this rest be mine, I pray.
This peace,
this hope,
this trust,
All because I am loved -
With waves that wash over me
From a Father Who loves me
as His precious child.

On a side note...a poem I wrote while teaching English

During the whole time I was day-dreaming about Sam I was also taking classes to be certified in TESL via Cambridge University's program in Hong Kong's British Council. I was also teaching little kids - 3-6 year olds and high school kids conversational English. The little kids had worksheets to practice reading and writing. I was just sorting through a folder to give Timo one that wasn't falling apart and came across this one I had for the young children who could read. I had filled it in to show them how to write sentences with particular words. The first one is basic:
bat, sat, hat, mat, fat, rat, that, cat, mat:

There was a bat who sat
On a hat on a mat,
Then a fat rat sat on that mat -
But the cat ate the rat
That was sitting on that mat.

Then, the next list of words was:
sing, ring, thing, bring, sting, king

Here's what I wrote:

I want a ring,
Then I'll sing.
What a thing, to have a ring.
Bring me a ring, but without a string.
The ring won't sting,
An…

How I met Sam - Our first 'dates' 3

On that walk home, I asked one question, and the rest of the time, Sam talked. I asked him to tell me about his life.

He began with growing up in Zambia, and told me about his family. He had three older sisters (who doted on him with all manner of affection one would expect from having three older sisters). I don't remember all he told me, but he did tell stories of his growing up years. It sounded like he came from a wonderful family - stable, loving, nurturing and who sincerely loved the Lord and sought to serve Him with all of their beings.

He talked of going off to boarding school at Sakeji, when he was just 5 years old. It sounded absolutely horrifying to me - thinking of a little tyke going away for three months at a time! At least for his comfort he did have loving big sisters to cry on and look after him.

Then he told of coming to the U.S. to live for a while, because his Dad had developed some headaches and needed medical attention. He was 12 when he left Zambia…

How I met Sam - Our first 'dates' 2

I wasn't going to be so rude as to say no I won't, but I did have an internal battle going on.

I had told myself I would not date - that I was determined to not let myself fall down the slippery slope of emotional entanglements. This sounds quite silly and reveals something about me which I'm not too shy to share publicly! That at the core I was scared of being hurt - of loving without being loved in return. I recognized the weakness of my own heart and sought to protect myself by remaining aloof from male companionship. However, against my better judgement, I often failed. I couldn't help but to be openly curious. (Curiosity and I have a love/hate relationship!) But it was troubling nonetheless to break one of my personal rules about going on dates. I told myself this was merely being a good hostess and that was the extent of it.

Anyway, we got to the mall, and we began to walk around. Contrary to what my Mom had said, I didn't know of a lot of places …

How I met Sam - Our first 'dates'

I will continue to tell our story - can't believe I've only gotten as far as one week into it - with 32 parts. So I guess that was all like Chapter 1 and this is Chapter 2 - or some such thing.

If you've been following along, I shared some of our emails so you get the picture of what our communication was like.

The second weekend following the burglary, Sam again needed to be picked up from the train station. I don't think I was driving in Hong Kong yet, so my Mom was going to get him. Of course I was a little excited about him coming a second weekend. I wasn't sure how often he'd come, or what our friendship would amount to, but it was a warm and pleasant thought to have a friend - even if our friendship would be minimal - around for a day or two. I also did not anticipate the underhanded, crafty ways of my Mother (for which I am now quite thankful in retrospect - who knows, without her gentle suggestions, we may not be where we are today!)

What am I ref…

The Logan Family Prayer

May we be as fruit-bearing trees planted by the life-sustaining
water of the Word of God.
May the Living Word be on our tongue, in our hearts and
Be our truest Guide in life.
May we be rooted and established in the love we realize in the
Lord Jesus Christ.
Let our purpose be to know, love and serve our Creator with
Ever-increasing joy and devotion.
We ask You, our Father, to bless us as we daily live for Your honour.
For the glory of our risen King:
Amen.

Marriage Thoughts - for those who bother

I've always said there's two kinds of people in this world - those who bother and those who are bothered. I'd like to be neither. Unfortunately I fall on the side of a botherer much more than a bothered person! Pity those who have to live with me! Therefore, my preliminary comments are made to those with my particular kind of weakness (and as much a reminder to me as to anyone else who will read this):

1. When told you are bothering, or when someone is nit-picky and wants you not to do something, or to do it a different way, try not to be defensive. Try to see beyond how a thing is said, and begin to wonder if this added information/input/request could be helpful to your further growth and change. Do not take others and their botherances personally.

2. Consider how you might accommodate those who are bothered by you and the things you do. Once you have done due dilligence and sought to improve, do not live in anxiety or self-discouragement for not living up to others' s…

Heaven

What will I do when I get there?
When I leave the shadows of this earthly sphere,
And arrive at the place reserved for me there -
What will be my occupation - How will I serve
My God, my Maker?

Will He give me talents unknown here,
To magnify His glories in verse and song?
Will I paint His beauties with skill untold,
Or simply worship Him - will it never grow old?

Will my tongue be unleashed with His fathomless grace,
Will I be struck dumb to behold His face?
He hasn't shown me how great it will be,
But still - I imagine the splendour to see -
And wonder with wandering thoughts of that place -
How I'll spend all eternity praising His name.

Mommy-hood - My time, my days

I don’t want to be one of those people who looks back on the earlier days of mommy-hood and wistfully says, ‘I thought what I had to do with my days, my time, my energies were so important that I shoved my kids aside in favour of the things I wanted to accomplish…’ I’d like to realize that now, and willinginly give my time and attentions to the brood of kids that gather around me throughout my days. I was just raking leaves outside with Timo while waiting for his bus. I realized that every day I will have to take a few minutes of my day – my time – and do nothing but wait for his bus. I could ignore Timo while doing this and read a book instead. I could talk on the phone and try to keep him occupied while we wait. Or I can take up the rake, the crayon, or the little hand that still willingly holds mine and give him my full attention and time, and I can choose to reject all the other things calling for my attention. I just hope I do this more each day, and that slowly I won’t ev…

Make Me a Captive Lord

This is probably familiar to most of you, but in case it isn't I want to share it here - one of my favourite hymns.
Make me a captive, Lord, and then I shall be free.
Force me to render up my sword, and I shall conqueror be.
Isinkin life’salarmswhen by myself I stand;
Imprison me within Thine arms, and strong shall be my hand.

Myheart isweak and poor until it master find;
It has no spring of action sure, it varies with thewind.
It cannot freely move till Thou has wrought its chain;
Enslave it with Thy matchless love, and deathless it shall reign.

My power is faint and low till I have learned to serve;
It lacks the needed fire to glow, it lacks thebreezeto nerve.
It cannot drive the world until itself be driven;
Its flag can only be unfurled when Thou shalt breathe from heaven.

My will is not my own till Thou hast made it Thine;
If it would reach a monarch’s throne, it must its

Shepherd Hymn

Our Father God and Shepherd, Who guides us in Your ways, Who tenderly directs us in paths of truth and grace - Though often times we suffer, beset with many fears, With patient hope and firm faith, help us to persevere.
In mercy love and patience, You hem our lives with peace! Your rod and staff bring comfort though disconcerted we Forget Your Father's heart is set on our holiness - You draw us back to Your fold - to pastures of Your rest.

Appropriate Hymn for our times

I was just trying to sing Hannah to sleep.  (Yes, I've taken a hiatus from blogging - we added Hannah to our brood two months ago!) Regarding my absenteeism from this blog - I just thought I'd mention that I don't make it a goal to just fill space on here. If I have something significant enough to say, I will - believe me, I will! Often I have lots to say but would get in trouble if I said it all. So perhaps an anonymous blog will be started soon. I can't say. It seems Hannah has a bit of colic, so I don't anticipate any regularity with blogging though I intend to at least get back to it and finish the saga of meeting Sam.
I intend also to do a hymn of the day/week/whatever blog regularly, since there are so many gems fallen by the wayside that I'd like to highlight. I regularly make comments about how I feel about hymns, music, and worship in general. I'll just throw this out quickly because it has irritated me and I finally figured out why. It is th…

The Fish Egg Tree: Vietnam’s Great Wall, Harold Camping, The Muong Nhe Massacre & Me: Life of a Guidebook Writer, Journalist and Photographer in Mui Ne Beach, Vietnam and Southeast Asia

Valley of Vision - The Trinity

Prayer to the Trinity, adapted for children
Three together in one, One, but still Three - You are God Who saves me!
Father in Heaven, Son Who delights the Father, and Spirit Who never ends, I love You as One Being, One God in three different persons - and I love You because You bring wrong-doers to know You and to become Yours. O Father, You have loved ME and sent Jesus to get me back from the mess I've found myself in; O Jesus, You have loved me and even became like me when You lived on earth, and still fully understand and exist as a real human person, You gave up Your life by shedding Your blood to wash away all the bad in me - when You did this You took Your own pure goodness and covered over all the ways I fail so often; O Holy Spirit, You have loved me and entered into my heart, and planted there an unending tree of eternal life - You have shown me how wonderful Jesus is. Three Persons and One God, I bless and praise You, for loving me when I really deserve no love, and for loving…

Valley of Vision for children

I sometimes pick up the collection of Puritan prayers and peruse its contents and am very blessed by it. Then I wish the language were just a bit more readable for a wider audience. So I decided to re-write some of it for the sake of simplicity and comprehension. I wanted it to be something a 10 year old can understand and an adult who gets tripped up by thee's and thou's can grasp. Here is the first one:
The Valley of Vision
Lord, high above me and holy - gentle and stooping to reach me, You have brought me to a valley where I can see clearly, where I live in a difficult place down below, but see You clearly high above; sometimes trapped by mountains of sin, I can still see You are wonderful and glorious!
Let me learn from you even when things are puzzling - that the times I am down in the depths, then You are able to lift me up, that to be low is to be high, that when my heart is breaking you can heal it, that the sorry and sincere spirit is one that also rejoices and is glad, tha…

Forgiveness Part 3

How To Forgive
I realize I tend to just muse out loud here on my blog, and sometimes I just throw my thoughts out, drop them like a bomb and run for cover. Sometimes I fail to address how some of my observations can be remedied. After writing the last bit I thought, 'Okay, I've said my bit, had my gripe about lack of forgiveness, and could say lots more, but some people genuinely struggle to forgive. What hope have I offered them?' And I repented and decided to write some more.
How can we forgive - big things or little things? I believe there are two main ingredients that must precursor forgiveness. Take a look at the following verse:
“If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him. If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, ‘I repent,’ forgive him.” The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!”from Luke 17Now, let's for a moment lay aside the part of the repentance - because much of what we have…