Saturday, November 26, 2011

Craftyness

It's the first Sunday of Advent tomorrow, so today / tonight Mom and I went to my aunt's to make wreaths. One for my aunt, one for my sister, one for my cousin and of course one for us.
This late afternoon wasn't as nice as it used to be - there wasn't Christmas music playing, we didn't have so much fun we used to have... I guess we all felt that this was our last time preparing for the holiday together.
So these are the four wreaths from above we've made together. (Somehow we all chose the 3-1 distribution. Ours is the green one made by me.)

The orange is for my sister, deep red is for my aunt and the pink
(it's more purple in this picture, but believe me it's pink!) is for my cousin. 

A better shot to see the green.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

New opportunities!

I can't understand myself!
The editor of our church-newspaper always likes when I write an article. Just a few years back my name appeared in every number until I'd found my new idol. When the time of idol-worship was over in my life I left for Bible school. Every time I came home to visit the editor asked me to write again. I think I could count on one hand how many articles I wrote in the past two years.
Now I'm here again and I wrote one about waiting, advent and the Song of Zechariah.
At the end of the church service the pastor's wife asked me to give a testimony about advent on next Sunday. Guess what was my human and sinful answer: NO WAY! But she actually didn't ask me at all. She already knows - when she asks nobody will do it. She shares the facts and then you simply have to do it. I was about to express my disappointment to a friend at the "bookstore" while looking for the perfect gift to my sister when the editor accosted me. First he thanked for my article then he asked me (well "just shared the facts" with me) to be responsible for our bulletin board on the street from now on.

Since I had to walk home I had many time to think and to pray. I was so selfish and it seemed it was my old self's day. I'm singing again in the choir, I'm writing articles and I should give a testimony (I just don't like to go up front and to talk to so many people) and look for pictures, stories, poems etc. for the bulletin board?
But then I remembered how "little" all these ministries are. It's more a privilege to be responsible for a board so many people on the street read when they are walking by.
God says we always need to be ready to share our testimony to all those who ask us to give an account for the hope that is in us.
And though I don't have any idea what I will talk about (still praying for that, because I don't want to tell the same as I wrote in my article - available to be read on the first Sunday of December) I'm glad I can share.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Compassion

According to the free dictionary, compassion is a feeling of distress and pity for the suffering or misfortune of another, often including the desire to alleviate it. 

"Everyone needs compassion,
a love that's never failing..."
Reuben Morgan: Mighty To Save

I don't know if you have ever heard about the organization Compassion. Releasing children from proverty in Jesus' name. My first time to hear about it was about a week ago when I read a guest post on one of the blogs I follow. But since then I saw a video with CCB, read tweets and am following the posts of Ann Voskamp as she travels in Ecuador with Compassion. The stories I read are sometimes uplifting, sometimes sad but so moving (just read this one about Jonathan - a fifteen years old boy whose mother left him and father avoids encounters with his own son!) and felt the urge to join them.
I can't wait to earn money and be able to sponsor a child!
Would you pray for these children in need?
Would you sponsor a child?
‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ (Matthew 25:40b)



Friday, November 11, 2011

Better is...

Today I woke up again with a song in my mind...
I don't remember what I was dreaming about, but surely I chose God above others. I still was in a half-dream when I began to sing the refrain of this song. Basically and literally I woke up singing:

Better is one day in Your courts
Better is one day in Your house
Better is one day in Your courts
 Than thousands elsewhere
(inspired by Psalm 84)

And here's the entire song if you'd like to sing along with music!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Discovering My Spiritual Gifts


I’ve recently begun to reread The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren as a kind of Bible study. Well recently means 30 days ago. Purpose #4 (= chapters 29-35) is about serving God. In the past two days (including today) questions were asked about spiritual gifts and how you serve the Lord in your community.
Also my home church tries to involve more people in ministry and there was a sign up sheet on the bulletin board where everyone who haven't had a ministry yet in the church could sign up for those which fit their spiritual gifts to build up the body of Christ.

I always wondered what my gifts could be.
When I visited other pages for my Halloween-post and was listening to David N. Taylor’s message I kept on surfing on http://www.gohardforchrist.com and I found a tool, a questionnaire / test for determining spiritual gifts.
According to the evaluation my gifts are:
1. Mercy
2. Music & Serving
3. Giving & Hospitality
4. Helps
The list about my dominant and sub-dominant gifts wasn’t surprising but these are things I was faithful doing also before getting saved. I thought spiritual gifts are gifts you get after you get saved. 

Mercy (See Luke 10:30-37)
It is the special gift whereby the Spirit enables certain Christians to feel exceptional empathy and compassion for those who are suffering so that they devote their time and energy to alleviate it.

It is the special gift whereby the Spirit enables certain individuals to praise God through various forms of music and enhance the worship experience of the local congregation.

Serving (See Galatians 6:1-2)
It is the special gift whereby the Spirit empowers certain members of the body of Christ to identify unmet needs of people and implement plans to meet those needs. Serving one another is a calling of all Christians, but there are some who have a special desire to find ways to serve, and get great blessing from it. There seems to be a special desire to meet physical needs in the people who have this gift.

Giving (See 2 Corinthians 8:1-5)
It is the special gift whereby the Spirit enables certain members of the body of Christ to offer their material blessings for the work of the church with exceptional willingness, cheerfulness and liberality.

Hospitality (See Genesis 18:1-15)
It is the special gift whereby the Spirit enables members of the body of Christ to open their homes willingly and offer lodging, food, and fellowship cheerfully to other people.

Helps (See Acts 6:2-4)
It is the spiritual gift whereby the Spirit empowers certain persons to willingly bear the burdens of other persons and help them in such a way that they can do their tasks more effectively.


What are your gifts?

Friday, November 4, 2011

1 John week #7

I can't believe week No. 7 is over!
This week we read 1 John 3:11-24.

Monday's application for me was to love even if I don't feel like or it's just hard. I knew my sister and her family would come over to celebrate her baby's 4th birthday. My relationship with my sister could be way much better... My parents just came home at the weekend and I wanted to spend a little time with them before my sister and the family would "attack" us. I didn't want to have them here so soon! I guess my attitude was bad. I asked God to change it and to help me to show His love toward them. He listened to my prayer wonderfully and gave us opportunity to talk and laugh together - to have a mother-sisters share time while washing up. There wasn't a problem with the boys either so it was really a pleasant day with the family. And it's amazing to realize that God gives so much more than you've asked for!

Wednesday... oh how I loved this passage! I just couldn't have enough of it and I read it again and again and again. When I read verse 16 "This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters." - it made me think of a song. I don't know if you know this, I don't like this musical style, but I love this song, because it's about HIM. It's Jaeson Ma's Love.



When I read verse 18 "Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth." - my study partner's old facebook status came into my mind. "I'm sorry, did you say something? I couldn't hear you over your actions."
This study repeatedly was a good reminder that I always need to walk the talk. During my prayer God revealed that I'm not as good as I think I am and I don't always walk the talk - especially when people don't see me and it can be my secret alone. Disappointing...

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

All Saint’s Day and the Day of the Dead (All Souls' Day)

All Saints' Day is celebrated on November 1 in honor of all the saints, known and unknown. It is a national holiday in our country. 
I read it in my book mentioned yesterday that at night from November 1 to 2 the dead are coming back to celebrate a mess in the church, but the living mustn’t see them. If they do… When somebody is in the church at that night, he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. The dead rip off his clothes and kill him! – What a huge lie people believe in my country! 
The tradition on these two days is to visit the graves of deceased relatives and to decorate them with flowers / wreaths and candles. It's a special feeling being late afternoon in a cemetery and it can be really beautiful...



Well on November 2 candles are lit in the homes too for the dead relatives. When I was younger I loved those evenings because you should light a candle for each one. If you have many dead relatives, you will have a large amount of candles burning. And I love candles! But I don’t like the idea beyond. Growing up in a Catholic church doesn’t help much if you want to understand their teachings. I never had a Catechism in my hand at that time. One of my last courses at WOL was Roman Catholicism. Believe me what I learnt there was quite familiar and still so new! I knew they believe in purgatory (where there’s suffering but then they get to heaven) and if you pray for them you can relieve their suffering and shorten the time they need to spend there. But do you know what the role of a candle is? I didn’t. These candles are called prayer or votive candles which represents the prayer. Imagine lightning a candle to pray in your behalf! 

I thought I was upset because of Halloween… until I “got to know” what my people believe. I wanted to protect children from the lies and demonic celebrations of the Western civilization but they need to be protected from them of their own culture.