Tuesday, November 25, 2008

November 26, 2008

Responding to Those Who Suffer

In my experience, people spend their time going in one of two directions. They are either running away from God and His protection, or they are moving closer to Him and feel His comforting Spirit. If we are truly His children, He will discipline us. Even when we turn our faces away from God He continues to love us and waits patiently for us to learn our lessons and come back to Him. When I was out of the will of God, I was afraid to read the Bible because I might have to change my life. That is huge! You can have the best computer in the world, but if it is not connected to the energy source, it has no value. The same is true of people. We can be smart, talented and have personality, but if we are not connected to the Spirit of God, then we can never reach our potential. We will feel stressed and depressed -which leads to illness. There are many ways to suffer. Physical suffering is nothing compared to emotional and spiritual suffering. I worked in a nursing home as a recreation director during my college years. The people who were truly Christians were able to endure pain with dignity that others could not. In fact, after I had my gall bladder surgery I astounded the nurses because I never asked for pain medicine. They said they checked on me frequently because I was the only one on the floor who didn't ring them. Then, I remembered how many churches were praying for me and told them I must have had a host of angels around me! They believed me! Pain and sorrow either builds character and prepares us for Heaven, or it makes us bitter negative people who wouldn't enjoy the presence of God anyway. Time on earth is a vapor. Heaven is forever! If the Bible is true, than those who don't believe will find out what suffering really is! They will not be able to argue with the most Holy God! I personally wouldn't take that terrible chance! It's too much fun having all that extra power in my life! I want to share it with you!
November 26, 2008

My Favorite Thanksgiving!

My first daughter, Keri, was born on September 28, 1969. I loved her so much that I didn't think I could love another baby. When Keri was 5 months old I discovered that I was going to have another baby. It was a complete surprise because I thought I knew how to prevent that from happening. It was suggested to me that I could have an abortion. However, my family assured me that I would have their support. On Thanksgiving Day, November 26, 1970, God gave me another beautiful daughter, Kelli Brooke. Kelli is petite with huge brown eyes. Her gentle smile and soft voice has made it's mark in the world of Christian journalism. As well as being writer/editor for Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids, she leads seminars for Baptist Press in Nashville, and is a freelance ghost writer for people like Rick Warren. God knew exactly what he was doing when he created that baby girl and gave us all a gift to be thankful for on that Thanksgiving Day in 1970!

Monday, November 24, 2008

November 24, 2008
Reflections of Thanksgivings Past
I am especially grateful for spending Thanksgiving in America! Such a holiday does not exist in Japan. For 10 years, Bill and I spent every Thanksgiving Day in the classroom teaching as usual. I remember feeling such loss because I couldn't be with my family. We had always played group games, talked and ate until we felt like stuffed turkeys. While living in Tokyo for 6 years, Bill and I ordered a frozen turkey from the International Supermarket ($70) and invited some of our Japanese friends to join us for dinner on Saturday. That helped make up for some of our feelings of loss. Most Japanese do not have an oven, so they were amazed at the size of the bird! They had never seen nor eaten turkey. Another novelty was my pumpkin pie. Pie in general is not a usual dessert in Japan. In the years that followed, our friends began bringing their own contributions to the table. It wasn't unusual to have sushi and kaki (sweet permissions) gracing the table alongside the other trimmings. I thank God for those experiences, but nothing compares to being with family and friends in America!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Saturday, November 21, 2008

Oklahoma weather is so interesting! One day it is 75 degrees, and the next day it is 45! As I was driving to work I enjoyed the crisp air, a flock of birds flying over golden trees, and mist rising from the fields. Seasons come and go in such an orderly fashion. It's a miracle to me!

I saw another little miracle this week. My former student, Linglu (an economics professor from Taiwan) gave birth to her first baby, Kimberly. I went to the hospital to welcome this tiny black-haired doll!

It has been a miracle week. Fahhad (17 yrs. old) is learning to read English, and actually wrote 4 pages of present progressive answers in his textbook. He made me laugh when he stood up and said, "I love you, teacher. I love America!"

I did some shopping for my mother last evening, and took dinner from Taco Mayo to her apartment to share. Her health is rebounding and she looked pretty. Next Thursday morning I'm driving her to Noel's home in Springfield for Thanksgiving. We'll come back on Sun. afternoon.

Bill hates missing Thanksgiving, but will return home a few days later on Dec. 3. He will change planes in Tokyo and Minneapolis. Today, he is hiking in the rainforest with his SS class.

Speaking of Bible study class. I will be teaching a lesson on patience. I realized that without Patience you cannot have Faith. Faith produces Thanksgiving. Our generation is faithless because they can't wait for God to act. We have grown up in an "instant" environment. If God doesn't do things exactly as requested ---then He doesn't exist. Patience is a discipline that is developed and has great rewards from God. What will happen next week? I must wait and see!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Lee Strobel Seeks to Defend his Atheism, Nov. 15

Tonight, I was watching OSU football, and at halftime decided to watch Hour of Power. The guest speaker was Lee Strobel. Lee graduated from the University of Missouri, and then received a law degree from Yale University. He then became the legal editor for the Chicago Tribune. Lee was an avowed atheist and married an agnostic. After his wife became a Christian, Lee decided to use his legal and journalism skills to investigate the person of Jesus. He spent two years talking to historians and psychologists who were both Christian and secular in an effort to disprove the Godhood of Jesus. He noted that in every case the facts surrounding the ressurection were the most important. These are his findings: 1. Historically, the execution of Jesus is indisputable. 2. There were early accounts that were reported within 2 days after the execution... No time gap and no opportunity to create a legend. 3. The tomb was empty. The soldiers were accountable, but couldn't come up with a lie. Even the opponents of Jesus admitted the tomb was empty. 4. There were eye witnesses that Jesus was alive and well after the execution (515 people reported - many in documents outside the Bible). It is impossible for 2 or 3 people to have the same hallucination. Lee Strobel reports that after searching the facts for two years he had to make a decision. He decided that it would take more faith to be an atheist than to believe that Jesus was the incarnate God. His wife had not given up on him and had prayed for him everyday of those two years. Lee Strobel has written a book, The Case for the Real Jesus. I hope that all of my friends will read this book and that it will strengthen our resolve to tell others the incredible news of forgiveness and hope.
Saturday, November 15, 2008

My week began with mundane activities such as getting my nails done, paying house taxes for the year, and wrapping presents. Then, on Monday evening Ian and Phyllis came over and helped me put lights on the Christmas tree. It was shimmering when we finished! I was so glad to have the tree up because I had planned a dinner for 7 people on Thursday. My cousins from Little Rock were my special guests. What I didn't realize was that Vic and Ruth were driving from So. Dakota to watch their son coach a track meet at OSU. That meant that more family wanted to come to the dinner. I ended up making sloppy joes and pumpkin crunch for 18 people! Everyone had fun, and the house looked perfect when they left!

After hosting the party on Thursday, teaching on Friday seemed like a vacation. My student, Fahhad, is really progressing. I can tell he's become comfortable with me and English because he's started to joke and loves to tease me. I just dish it back!

Today, Sun and I drove to Edmond to see Jain and Chuk who are both students at UCO. I was lost for awhile, but eventually found the campus. We had lunch at the China Palace which was nearby. Then, we visited as I drove them all back to Sun's apartment on the OBU campus in Shawnee. Another friend from SEI offered to drive them back to Edmond. I feel like a Mom to all of my former students and am so proud to see them doing well in an American university now! They all told me how much finding the power of God in their lives had meant to them. They are active in college Bible study groups and still making "A" grades! I told them that aside from the eteranl hope they have, the power they have NOW is what it is all about! No one can argue away our personal experience. Sadly, some people never reach that mature level in their spiritual lives, and have no idea what we are talking about. Tomorrow is another Bible study on Faith Equals Thanksgiving. I do thank God for helping me direct the choir until Bill returns, and for any other challenges that come my way this next week! Hebrew 11:1

Monday, November 10, 2008

November 9, 2008

The week ahead looks exceptionally busy, so I am going to write this morning. I'm teaching every afternoon this SEI session, but I was called in last week to sub in the mornings for a sick colleague. Fortunately, she was giving tests. Yesterday, I received an email from a former student who is setting up a martial arts studio in Los Angeles. I realized that it is students like him who keep me teaching. My life is worth living if I can make a difference in this world. Our youth pastor, David Jordan, gave the message yesterday. He reminded us that when we share the Gospel, it is "one beggar telling another beggar where to find bread." I keep a California license plate on my desk. It says, "Not Perfect, Just Forgiven".

Tonight, Ian and Phyllis are coming over for dinner and will help me put up my Christmas tree. It's 7 ft. tall, so I can't reach the top and put on the lights properly. I have 12 guests coming for dinner on Thurs. evening. Family from Shawnee, Norman, Little Rock and So. Dakota, will be here. Then, on Saturday, I will drive to Edmond to pick up former Korean students, Jain and Chuk. I'll drive them back on Sun. afternoon after Christmas choir practice.

Bill called again this weekend. He is missing me and Oklahoma. I teased him, and said that if he didn't get back here soon, I was going to get a new boyfriend. The holidays make me feel romantic! I love the music, the candles, cooking for friends, and giving gifts from my heart. I can't imagine no Christmas. God is Love!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Saturday, November 8th

Wow! The colors of the trees are awesome this year! Having grown up in So. California, I really like the change of seasons in Oklahoma. Change is the buzz word this year. I noticed that many people are expecting Obama to be their new Messiah. Change has to come from the hearts of the American people, as well. It is the weakness of humans to want other people to do the changing. My good friend, Shane Jett, won again as Rep. from my district. Go, Shane!

Sofia had her 4th birthday on Nov. 6th. On this important date I thank God for saving Keri's life. I made an emergency flight from Yokohama when I learned that the doctors were taking the baby a month early and fighting for Keri's life. She had HELP syndrome and needed a complete blood transfusion. The doctor told Kevin to activate the prayer chain!! At the time, Keri was an admin. asst. for Cal Baptist Univ. and thousands were praying! God listened!

Jason lost 4 windows in the storm this week, but the lightning show was fantastic!

I still love teaching English at SEI! This week, the SS lesson I'm teaching is, "No Faith, No Thanksgiving". I am so glad that Bill will be back soon to direct the Christmas choir . I'd rather play piano! The movie I saw - "Beverly Hills Chihuahua". Funny and cute! This week, I'll host a dinner to honor my cousin, Sharon, from Arkansas.

Check out www.TheVisionPlusChurch.com and shecklers.blogspot.com (Keri).

Saturday, November 1, 2008

It has been an interesting week since I posted my last blog. Last Sunday, my adult Bible study class was great! I'm really just a facilitator because everyone contributes so much. During the worship service, Pastor Larry spoke about people in our world not wanting to acknowledge the concept of "sin" and therefore very few people really have any values and think mostly about serving themselves. It's much easier to be passe than to stand for something that might possibly take sacrifice. You could feel the Spirit of God and many people were crying. I had not been in a service like that since I listened to my Dad preach. After church, I directed the 20 member Christmas choir practice while Sue played the piano. I met Marilee, a drama coach, who wants to portray the music. Her sidekick, Margaret, has a shop and wants to make the costumes. I said, "Go for it!" After practice, I headed to Cracker Barrel with 3 friends.

On Monday, after teaching my English classes, Sherry and I went to Praise Band practice. We have a drummer, electric guitar, piano and 5 singers. The youngest member of the band is about 45 years old, but we are good!! 'S' The students at the Shawnee English Institute had a Halloween party on Wednesday. They decorated pumpkins and came in costume. Saud was a mad scientist with a blood spattered lab coat and a huge syringe. His curly hair was gelled straight up. So funny! Friday, was graduation for two of our Japanese students.

Sometimes I feel lonely because I'm going through the season by myself. Bill called last night and he is very ready to come home! He is staying busy going to museums, the Raffles Hotel, and eating ethnic foods when he's not teaching. He also said that he had bought me a Christmas present. I'm curious because he always buys me things that are first class! He reminded me of the two vacations we spent together in Singapore. Lately, I have been reading, "In Defense of Israel" by John Hagee, and today I want to go the theater and watch a movie. I haven't decided which one. To be continued next Saturday! The Bible says that God chooses kings and rulers so I'm not going to get tied in knots if my candidates do not win the election. There is a plan that is bigger than mine!