Oftentimes, when life gets rough, I need God's Word to keep me going. I know the best place to turn to is the Bible but I am clueless where to look.
Remember bloggy pally Sandra Kovacs Stein, author of Sincerely Wrong: An Improbable Journey? She has blessed me with an invaluable resource. Her new book It Is Written! helps point me to passages I don't know when I need them most.
In her preface to "It Is Written!", Sandra writes, "When I first discovered that my Bible was alive with promises and that it contained a roadmap, so to speak, of the path to follow and pitfalls to avoid if I wanted to experience the very best God had for me, I did something I never thought I would ever do to a book, I wrote in it. I underlined verses, put hearts and asterisks beside promises, and added little TPs (tried and proven) next to the ones I saw manifest in my life."
"My memory, however, does not always serve me well - especially when challenging circumstances test my faith. To help me through these difficult times, I started copying Scriptures into a little tabbed notebook, grouping them according to my various concerns. Now, when fear or depression threaten to overwhelm me, I can't think straight, or my mind goes suddenly blank, the tabbed sections make it easy to find what God's Word has to say about an issue, and I am reminded of what is truth and what isn't."
"This book is an expanded version of my little notebook. I encourage you to personalize it by filling the blank sheets and verses and categories of your own. May it bless and encourage you, and help you live a life of victory in Jesus, instead of as a victim of your circumstances."
Over here on our side of the pond, we get an average of 12 daylight hours all year round. The sun always comes out at about 7:00 AM and it gets dark only after 7:00 PM. I have lived with this comforting certainty all my life and can't imagine otherwise.
I am thinking of a very silly incident that happened when I was in Los Angeles umpteenth years ago.
It was winter and my first time away in a foreign country. I was travelling with a group of Malaysians and Singaporeans on a conducted tour. The group comprised mostly honeymoon couples and a mother and daughter pair. I was solo.
After a sleepless 18 hour flight from Kuala Lumpur, I just had to crash into bed as soon as we arrived in LA and checked into a hotel. Earlier, we had been briefed by the tour leader to assemble at the hotel lobby at 6:00 PM with our luggage as we were leaving for San Diego. It was about noon when I hopped into bed.
I woke up to find the room in total darkness. In my mind, it meant only one thing- Darkness = after 7:00 PM!
It also meant that I had overslept and the group had left without me! I panicked big time. In those days, there were no cellphones or internet. In blind panic, I made a collect call to my parents in Malaysia. Looking back, that was a really stupid thing to do. My poor parents! They were worried sick! Long story short, Dad contacted the tour agency in Malaysia and they managed to contact our tour leader.
There was a knock on my door. Guess who? It was the tour leader who happened to be sleeping in the room next to mine. He didn't look amused having been just woken up from his slumber. Glancing at his watch, he said sarcastically, "It's only 5:00 PM and the coach isn't arriving until 6:30 PM. What is the problem?" "But it's already dark outside! I thought it was way past 7:00", I replied sheepishly. He glared at me like I was the stupidest person on the planet. "It's winter. It gets dark after 5:00 and now if you don't mind, I have to catch up with whatever sleep I had missed. I will be up all night to make bookings for accomodation and restaurants for the rest of our tour. Good Day!"
Dang! Why didn't anyone tell me it gets dark early in the winter?
And yes, I did scare the daylights out of my parents. My dad stayed up all night to say the 9 hourly St Jude's Prayer when he got that desperate call from me. St. Jude is the helper and keeper of the hopeless.
I have some good news to share. My son, Josh, clinched 9As and 1B in the recent SPM examination. He sat for 10 papers. The Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM), or the Malaysian Certificate of Education, is a national examination taken by all fifth-year secondary school students in Malaysia, equivalent to eleventh grade in American's K–12 (education). As his scholarship with the university he is currently attending was awarded based on the results of a pilot exam he sat for earlier before the actual exam, he is now entitled to a further upgrade to the scholarship which commensurates with the actual number of As a student achieves.
Well Done, son!
Josh at a laboratory session
Upon Josh's request, I made these cookies as tokens of appreciation for the teachers from his secondary school for their hard work and dedication in tutoring and mentoring him.
A funny thing happened when I was visiting an uncle in his kampong (Malay word for village). I was greeted by a goat just as I was stepping out of the car. It even nuzzled me! In all the years of my visits to this kampong, I had never seen any goats around.
All over the country, people are looking for goats to pet and touch as it is believed that touching a goat in this Year Of The Goat/Sheep/Ram is supposed to bring good luck. Goats are even brought into the malls for city dwellers to pet.
And a goat came to 'pet' me instead! How lucky is that! I feel good!
By the way, today is the 15th and last day of the Chinese New Year. Bye Bye, Year Of The Horse!
Here's to a better 2015!
I made these Chinese God Of Wealth/Prosperity cookies. Those boat-like thingys are 'yuanbao'. A yuanbao is a small metal ingot used in ancient China as money. Some Interesting Facts To Share
The God of Wealth is a Chinese deity who can bless one with luck, wealth and economic opportunities. Although worshipped throughout the year, he is especially popular during the Chinese New Year when the community welcomes a new year and mark the start of a new social calendar.
During this time, his image appears on posters, New Year cards, red packets, in the shape of a candies and as mascots. Nearing the new year, some organisations even invite an artiste dressed as the God of Wealth to send New Year greetings. Think Chinese Santa Claus!
Usually dressed in the style of a Chinese Mandarin official and in red, he holds symbols of wealth such as a gold ingot or the Ruyi, a sceptre stylised as a celestial fungus.
The most well-known God of Wealth is Zhao Gong Ming but the God of Wealth is also commonly regarded as the manifest of not one but several individuals commonly associated with the ability to bless people with wealth, luck and economic opportunities.