I bought this book, by Voddie Baucham Jr. after hearing about it on a podcast, when my older daughter was starting to date. I skimmed it and didn’t think much of it. My daughter has been married for 3 years with a one-year old baby now, and I just read the book thoroughly.

I should’ve read it thoroughly when I first bought it.

Don’t let the title fool you. It’s not only for parents with a daughter. I highly recommend this to everyone – singles, married, at all stages of life.

The book is relevant to show us biblical thinking about the family, about raising children, about launching children, and of course, about dating. It’s important for singles to read this to prepare themselves for dating and marriage. And it’s relevant for both men and women.

After reading the book, I wish I had done more to prepare our son to be a man. By God’s grace, he turned out well. But we could’ve guided him better.

Hence, parents of young children should read this so they can start early to raise their children towards being a godly man/woman with the right view of manhood/womanhood, and potentially as a husband/wife, father/mother.

Also by God’s grace, my older daughter had a biblical view of dating and marriage, and married a godly man. Again, we could’ve done more to guide her and him.

I have one more chance with my younger daughter. She’s not married yet. Again, by God’s grace, she’s a godly woman who has a biblical view of dating and marriage. I trust her, as I trusted my older daughter, to make a good choice of a godly husband.

It’s never too late though. We as parents of adult children still has influence on them. I have opportunities today to impact them in having a biblical view of marriage and parenthood. I’m going to buy them this book!

It’s an easy read, it reads like I’m listening to Voddie talk.

I’ve always been a Voddie Baucham fan. I learned a lot about family and family ministry from him.

It took me a long time to read this book, not because it’s not interesting. I was just caught up in reading a lot of blog posts about church things. It seemed more urgent to learn about how to run a church than to learn about the holiness of God…which of course is a case of wrong thinking.

I will have to read this book again. At the end of each chapter there are reflection questions. I thought about them quickly but not really seriously. If I read the book again, I’m sure I’d get more out of it. It’s a good book.

There were parts I didn’t like. There was a big section on Of Mice and Men that I thought was unnecessary. It wasn’t that great of an illustration of the point on how the world cannot tolerate Jesus.

I also thought there was too much information on Martin Luther’s mental illness.

The book did help me appreciate the holiness and transcendence of God. We tend to make everything casual nowadays. We don’t dress up for church, we hardly dress up for weddings; we do still dress up for funerals. The idea of sacredness is hardly practiced with anything. I do miss that. I miss being in a church that is esthetically beautiful…I don’t miss dressing up for church though. I am a casual person.

I’m behind in reading a book a month. You would like with no where to go during this COVID pandemic I would have more time. But I don’t.

 

I bought this book a while back after listening to them on a podcast. The practical ways they helped couples work through ordinary struggles made a lot of sense. I finally got around to reading it.

I usually give a book to couples getting married. I am now going to give them this book.

While I read this book geared for engaged and newly married couples in order to give me insight to mentor young couples, I found that much of the advice still applies to me after 35 years of marriage. There are always areas to grow in.

The authors are husband and wife, Christian marriage counselors. This book is not expressly Christian, no Bible passages.  But the principles are definitely based on a Christian worldview.

The 2nd chapter on unspoken rules and unconscious roles is worth the price of the book.

This book was recommended by a missionary friend. She said I don’t have to read the chapters in order. Each chapter describes how God is moving among the Muslims in different regions of the world to bring them to Jesus.

I only read one chapter, not the whole book. So this does not count as my book for the month. But I am documenting the one chapter for my own reference.

I chose to read chapter 4 first: the Indo-Malaysia room.

Indonesia has the largest population of Muslim in the world. Is there any hope that they can be saved?

One of the greatest recurring motivations for Muslims coming to Christ is a rejection of the militant expression of Islam itself – Page 56

I learned a lot about the history of Indonesia, the occupation by the Dutch, the fight for freedom and power from political parties, and the massive bloodshed a such a small nation.

Malaysia remains the country where draconian restrictions continue to prevent Malays from turning from Islam to any other faith. Page 56

May God move with power to save more Muslims.

 

Elisabeth Elliot is one of my heroes.

I salvaged this book from the box of church library books. Never throw away an Elisabeth Elliot book, no matter how old the cover looks! Turns out my daughter purchased a new copy! Sigh…

There was so much in this book to think about as I read it.

“Nobody’s going to tell me what to do!” is the mindset of the modern mind. To be a disciple of Christ is to discipline ourselves to do what Christ tells us to do.

“The most overwhelming losses of my life, those that I feared most, have in fact been “…far outweighed by the gain of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord…” I can never prove it to anybody. I cannot demonstrate it logically or scientifically. I only know that it is true and would say so with all my to others, who, desiring to know Christ in all His fullness – in the power of His resurrection and in the fellowship of His suffering – yet fear loss. Do not be afraid. Do not be afraid. Do not be afraid. The gain will outweigh everything.” p 117-118.

I am afraid. I am afraid of losing my family. I am afraid of losing my health. I am afraid of getting old and useless. I am afraid of the rampant lawlessness in our society. I’m afraid of uncontrollable virus.

Though I’ve experienced loss, and yes, it is true I’ve come to know Christ more through them, I don’t want to go through loss again. I don’t know how I survived this far, I know it is Christ who strengthens me. But now I feel weak. I feel I can’t go through losses again. I’m enjoying my life…I have to let go. I have to gladly surrender.
Thank you, Elisabeth Elliot, for encouraging me – Do not be afraid. Do not be afraid. Do not be afraid.

I am behind in my goal of reading 14 books this year. You would think that staying at home would give me more time to read. But without a fixed schedule, I have not scheduled reading time. And when I sit down to read, I feel guilty. I should be reading something else more immediate ie reopening church.

So here is my April book is “Ten Questions To Diagnose Your Spiritual Health” by Donald Whitney.  I found this book at Goodwill for $1.99. Since I like Whitney’s writing, it’s not much of a risk to buy it at that price. Turns out to be a treasure.

Looking at the table of contents, the questions are fairly typical. But Whitney expands on the many layers of the subject. For example, a growing Christian should forgive quickly. Yes, easy to understand. But he explains the difference between forgiving and being ready to forgive and how that relates to Jesus’ command to forgive 70×7 times.

So often we assess our walk with God superficially – church attendance, spiritual disciplines, prayer life…and we are satisfied. And we are satisfied with pointing new believers in developing these habits. But we stop short of pursuing Christlikeness in many other heart issues.

There are other books on growing in maturity. But have 10 questions (though not exhaustive) makes it easy to digest. And makes it easy to do a study with others.

I would love to go through this book with a small group of 3-4 who want to grow in maturity, and be able to use this with new believers to grow in Christlikeness.

05
Apr
stored in: 2020

The best thing about not going to physical church for Sunday worship is I can relax and enjoy worship at home with my husband and daughter. That doesn’t happen when I am in Children Ministry at the physical church. Even though the online worship is not the same as being together with the church, the worship experience is still nurturing to my soul. This is a call for me to seek out worship when we go back. I used to go to evening service at another church, but I’ve not found a church with a good evening service on Saturday night. I’m usually too tired after the morning to attend a Sunday evening service.

I really value people who think outside the box, seek out new ideas, and are not resistant to change. In this time of a changing world, I appreciate more than ever people who can anticipate the future. I wish I am good at that. I can only ask the questions and want to do things differently, but I have no answers. I think those who truly study the stock market trends are good at that.

When this safe at home order is over and we go back to church, I hope that our church will be different. I hope we would cut the fluff and focus on the main thing. But see, I don’t have any answers. I don’t know what the fluff is, and I don’t want how we should be different.

01
Apr
stored in: 2020

Amidst the COVID-19 distress, I met a nice neighbor up the street with a 3rd grade girl. She and her dad were in their front yard playing while I was taking my daily walk. They were probably desperate for conversation with the outside world. Under normal circumstances, we would’ve waved and move on. But they engaged me with “How are you?” So of course I had to stop walking to answer, one question led to another, exchanged names, and I said she would really like coming to Awana at our church when we reopen. I pray that God will move their hearts to the gospel.

Also conversed with another neighbor on my walk the other day. People are less behind their fences now. People do need people.

Except my immediate neighbor is still rather aloof. I’ve seen him next door since he was in high school, now he is married with 2 kids! He’s taken over his parents house while they moved to Irvine. I’ve always tried to chat with him, when he would come home from college, etc. We only see each other if we happen to be outside at the same time, which is rare. He is not the friendly type. I wonder what his wife is like. I’ve not seen her. Maybe with 2 kids, she’d want adult conversation.

Getting news of CV-19 infected people closer to my circle of acquaintances…not happy news but will do my part to pray. Otherwise I really don’t want to hear bad news. It brings up anxiety. I want to hear good news and positive outcomes of this hopefully short period of time. What Satan meant for evil, God redeems it for good.

27
Mar
stored in: 2020

Being a missionary in the jungles of Africa is risky.

Going to the market in COVID-19 pandemic is risky.

I think it’s a dishonor to the missionaries to use the word “risky” in both situations.

I really like online meet ups. Makes relationships so much more accessible, more efficient, and depth of sharing is the same if not better. You cut to the chase without the in-person chit chat to warm up, etc. etc. But when the option of in-person is available, it seems somehow insincere to do online with those without distance barrier. I would never think of webcamming someone 5 miles away, but now I do. And it’s great.

So much good is coming out of COVID-19. Most of all, I am praying for a spiritual revival of turning to God from idols of materialism and self-sufficiency. And that’s including myself in that prayer too.

 

 

I failed.

I want to hospitable but I’m not.

I am too concerned for my own safety.

I’m not willing to go above and beyond.

I did not help a friend.

But God is good.

Another member of the Body of Christ helped. Christ’s name is glorified.

I see God at work in accomplishing His work. I missed the blessing, but I did received the blessing of praying for this friend and seeing that prayer answered by God through someone else.

Lesson learned: It’s not about me. I can trust God to get His work done with or without me. It’s my lost if I don’t participate.

When I need a break from reading heavy material, I read a Christian Hero biography series. I can read one in a few hours and fulfill my monthly book read.

I have not heard of Ida Scudder. I think I will highlight her in mission sharing with the church children one day. She served as a missionary doctor in India as a single woman from 1900-1960!

Ida was born to a missionary family of doctors, and pioneered training women as nurses and doctors in India. She was born in India and died in India.

I’m glad to lived a long life – died just a few months before her 90th birthday. She was healthy until the day she died. That’s a good way to go.

Biographies of Christian heroes inspire me to live boldly. Ida hiked the Himalayas in her 60′s, went back and forth from India to US when travel was slow (2-3 months on a ship) and dangerous. She lived through two World Wars. People in those days have grit.

I am not a bold person. I am too soft and too used to comfort. I blame that on my mom who used to tell me, when I was in elementary school, not to go to school when it was raining or when it was cold.

I thank God for raising up people like Ida who inspires to do just a bit more.

 

I’ve been wanting to read this book for a long time. Finally borrowed it off of Pastor A’s shelf.

JMac wrote the book in response to the issue of people who deny lordship salvation. I didn’t even know that was an issue until recently. I assume everyone knows that when you ask Jesus to be your Savior, you understand He becomes your Lord. However, there are Bible teachers who teach otherwise.

Those who deny lordship salvation thinks a person is saved if he believes in Jesus but doesn’t obey Jesus. His life looks nothing like Jesus or do what He taught. His “faith” in the facts about Jesus that he died and rose again for His sins will get him into heaven.

From the clear explanation of the gospel according Jesus, I don’t see how anyone could deny lordship salvation. However, I do see my own error when I present the gospel to someone saying that “you just have to believe.” Even the devil believes. But it’s putting your trust in a person with your life, not just believing a set of facts about this person.

I do think the initial faith is a simple believe. But discipleship must happen and the fruit of that would be a Christ-like life and love for Christ. If there is no fruit, there was no true faith.

This book encouraged me to be a disciple of Jesus who surrenders to His Lordship in everything, including carrying the cross of suffering.

Each chapter of the book is like a sermon or a mini-book from JMac. It’s not an easy read because of the concepts, but it’s definitely easy to understand.

 

08
Mar
stored in: 2020

“I like the way you dress!” That’s probably the first time I’ve ever heard that said to me!

My sister is the one with the fashion sense. I would wear the same thing everyday if I could. My favorite store is Salvation Army Thrift Store.

Today I wore a trench coat that I bought more than 10 years. Two people complimented me on it. I think it’s because it went out of fashion and now back in fashion. I should’ve kept some of my other old clothes. That’s what my daughter tells me. There’s nothing new under the sun.

Had a nice leisurely lunch and great conversation with a friend. Actually she is one of my daughter’s best friends, and I feel like she is one of my best friends too. We can talk about every subject. Yes, I am her friendtor – friend mentor, but I learn a lot from her too.

I hardly talked to any of the children today. Attendance was low, all the disciplers were there, so I was able to spend time with some of the preschool team. They had concerns about their older children. I probably didn’t listen enough. The thing is, we’ve talked about it before. They are not giving me new information, and just want to vent. I don’t want to let them vent. It ends up as complaining about some people. I understand their concern. They are good parents. If I were them, I’d voice my concern too. From my vantage point now, I am there to give them perspective that maybe they don’t see. Nothing can change for now. We are working on it. They have to accept the situation and be kind and patient. We are a church family. Your kids can grow through this situation.

What I should’ve emphasized more was God’s sovereign control. He knows what your child needs. We are working on it, but if things don’t change for now, God will take care of your children.

I attended worship service today, which I really needed. I was able to concentrate. Attendance was lower, which is actually kind of nice.

 

 

02
Mar
stored in: 2020

It was a perfect day to be outdoors, so hubby and I went to the park. We found a flat basketball on the court, it was so fun just trying to shoot baskets! We probably hit less than 10% accurately haha. No one was there to laugh at us except ourselves.

Now I remember how fun sports is. It’s been a while since we’ve run around like that. Great exercise while having fun. I miss playing tennis/any racket sport. I’ve gotten so lazy.

We put the ball back behind the trashcan where we found it. After our walk, I went back to play some more and the ball was gone! “Let’s buy a basketball and come play for fun every Monday!” Hopefully we will get better. I decided I need to get out more for exercise that is fun.

Our usual date on my day off is Costco and Lowe’s. Today we added Walmart, Pier 1, and Marshalls at the Chino Spectrum because we were there for In N Out using a gift card.

There were 3 cents left on the gift card after our meal.

Cashier: Do you want me to throw that away for you?

Me: No, I’ll keep it.

A penny saved is a penny earned! It’s 3 cents off next time I go to In N Out. Afterall, hubby used over 15 minutes of his life waiting in the Costco gas line to save $3.  (I told him it’s not worth his time, but I think he enjoys his quiet time while I go into Costco first. It’d be stupid for both of us to waste 15 minutes of our life for the same $3.)

I bought dip that was on sample – free samples usually works on me. The toilet paper and bottled water shelves were empty. What’s the point of hoarding water? Will the virus pandemic infect our water supply?? Will the tap water be cut off?? I stored water for the big earthquake and have since used it to water the garden.

A few years ago when we were in Taiwan during a typhoon, we had to hoard water and microwavable food from 7-Eleven. The shelves were pretty empty. We couldn’t go out for 2 days. That’s when you need to hoard. We felt safe in the hotel with our instant food. Water was actually not a problem, but there was a potential for broken water lines.

Speaking of Taiwan, we will most likely not go to Taiwan for STM this year. We’ve been there for the last 4 years. It feels strange not to go back this year. But I felt since the end of last year’s trip that we wouldn’t go back. There are many signs that our part in the ministry there is done, at least for now for the university cafe ministry. This decision was made prior to Coronavirus, and the travel restrictions now is just additional confirmation.

I thank God for the experiences of the last 4 years in Taiwan STM. It’s been more than I can imagine. In a future post I will reflect on highlights and lessons of each year, before I forget.

 

 

 

 

 

 

01
Mar
stored in: 2020

I showed the children some pictures of the beginning of our church up to now. I included a picture of how we had to take out the bungalows, so we can build a new building.

3rd grader: Why did we take out the bungalows?

Me: So we have room to build the new building.

3rd grader: Where is the new building?

Me: Next to us, don’t you see the construction going on?

3rd grader: That’s a new building?

Me: Yes.

3rd grader: Where are the bungalows?

Sigh…

What is obvious to us is not obvious to children. We adults don’t realize how much we assume children understand our adult world. I bet they don’t understand half of what we say. They just have no concept of certain ideas like land and space and size.

4th grade girl: What if someone says they believe in Jesus and then doesn’t believe anymore?

This is in response to my message on 1 Corinthians 15:58 – stand firm, let nothing move you. If we want to receive the reward of heaven with Jesus, we must keep walking with Jesus our whole life. Quitting half way through the race does not give you the prize.

Me: It’s like if I asked who wants to go to Hawaii. You’ll all raise your hand. Then I tell you, go home and pack, get ready to go. But you say I’m too busy, I want to play video games, I’m studying. Will you get to Hawaii if you don’t act like you even care to get ready to go to Hawaii?

Being a follower of Jesus is not a one time decision. If you say I want to believe in Jesus to save me, but you don’t do act like you are a follower of Jesus, you don’t obey what God wants you to do, you don’t like to go to church. You’re not getting to Hawaii.

My own message is an encouragement to myself to stay the course. Work enthusiastically for the Lord for nothing we do for the Lord is useless 1Cor 15:58 NLT

I felt so much compassion for these children. I’m afraid some will not continue on the journey. I know it’s not an easy road, there are many temptations.

“Today we celebrate 35 years of this church not quitting in following Jesus. In another 35 years, I will not be here, but you will. I want everyone of you here to celebrate the church’s 70th anniversary. How old will you be in 35 years?”

“44″, “46″

“You will be here working enthusiastically for the Lord like the aunties and uncles here serving you today. I want some of you to study the Bible so you will take my place to teach the children.”

3rd grade boy: Will you be happy when you see us from heaven?

Oh yes! I don’t know if I can see you from heaven, but if I can, I will be very happy. Most of all I will be happy to be with Jesus and look forward to seeing all of you in heaven.

I was getting choked up. May God be faithful and hold on to their mustard seed faith! May God protect them from Satan’s schemes to pluck out the seed. May God grow the seed to produce 100 fold!

 

23
Feb
stored in: 2020

Today was relaxing, I didn’t have any responsibilities with the kids. I treated myself and went to SS and worship service.

I made my rounds first and made a point to say hi to a 3rd grade boy.

Boy: I wish Maks is here. We can sit together and we can handle it.

 

Last week I was going to separate them, but if they can handle sitting together without playing around, then I’ll give them a chance. And they did well. I’m proud of him that he remembered from last week and said they can “handle it” if Maks was here!

Boy: Johnson hasn’t been here for a few weeks. I miss him.

They aren’t always the best influence on each other, but it is a friendship.

Me: I didn’t even notice Johnson hasn’t been here. I’m glad you’re keeping track of your friends. I’ll call their parents this week and find out what happened. Can you pray for them this week, and I’ll call and let you know.

Boy: ok

I’m praying too, that God will reveal himself to this precious 3rd grade boy.

I hung around and watched a bit of the little ones playing basketball. They are so cute! A few of my former students now in 7th grade were coaching and refereeing. They were quite serious, so cute too!

I wished my kids had this chance to play basketball. We signed up my son to play in NJB but he’s not athletic and didn’t like it. Stopped after one season. It was too competitive for him. I think if he played at church where people are nice, he might’ve had a better experience. I’m pretty sure my daughter would’ve liked it.

22
Feb
stored in: 2020

I spent the better part of the day just reading. But I’m a slow reader and get distracted.

So I set a timer for 10 minutes to see how many pages I read. Guess how many pages I read? 5

At this pace, I can only read 30 pages in an hour. But that’s not bad because even at this rate, I can read an average book of 250 pages in about 8 hours. If I read 1/2 an hour a day, that’s 15 pages, I should be able to finish a book in 16 days.

I’m going to try that. The problem is, I like to read before bed, and then I get sleepy. I don’t know if I can actually comprehend 15 pages in 1/2 hour. Usually I read the same pages over again the next night…

—–

I am getting over a UTI. I get them chronically. I have a standing prescription of antibiotics from my doctor. Resting at home today was good. I thank God that I was not as worried as I used to be about my UTI. I worried that I would develop a tolerance for antibiotics and will have to go to ER. But this time I wasn’t worried. I told my husband if I die, don’t feel too sad. I don’t want him to feel guilty. He can remarry. And tell the kids they can have a great life without me and I’ll see them in heaven.

This is what you think about when you’re over 60.

20
Feb
stored in: 2020

Yesterday I made yogurt in my instantpot.

Today I made kumquat marmalade and granola.

I’ve succeeded in passing on the love of homemaking to my daughters. They are both successful engineers, but ready to give up their careers to put home as a priority. They don’t think of it as a sacrifice because it’s fun and challenging. It takes great skill to be a homemaker.

Homemaking is not for the brainless and lazy. I know a lot about nutrition, not only because that was my major in college, but I research in order to give my family the best. I don’t believe the advertisements. I read every . single . label on products including shampoos, and face creams (yes, grocery shopping takes me a long time).

Don’t believe it when they tell you it’s “low fat”. Read the label. Don’t buy anything with sugar as the first ingredient. Don’t believe it when they tell you it has no sugar. Read the label. There’s probably artificial sugar.

Never buy low or non fat cream. Cream by definition is fat. Non fat cream is all artificial ingredients.

I research what medicine to take or not take, what natural remedies and supplements we should take. And yes, I believe in using high quality essential oils and herbal medicine (though I’d be very careful with that.)

I know a lot about raising children. My kids and I did a lot of crafts and self-learning together.

I don’t love to garden, but my MIL does. I read labels of fertilizers so we can have organic herbs and vegetables. We have a bumper crop of oregano and thyme if anyone needs any.

At each stage of life there are new challenges. Homemaking is more challenging than engineering and much more satisfying. What job can be compared with the job of taking care of your precious family?

I must say though, living on a farm, the pioneer life doesn’t appeal to me. I know it’s hard work. I only want to do the fun parts of homemaking.

I am sorry that women do not value homemaking. You don’t have to be married to be a homemaker.

 

 

 

18
Feb
stored in: 2020

I have so much to learn, so little time.

I am learning what family ministry looks like for our church.

I am learning what a Christ-exalting children ministry would look like.

I am learning the centrality of Jesus in my walk with God.

Yes, I knew these things before. But lately I feel like I am learning all over again, perhaps at a different level.

I think God is opening up my mind and heart to learn so I don’t get complacent. I am also learning how empty I would be without the Holy Spirit.

I need to learn to cultivate stillness before God so I don’t just learn things about God and miss out on God himself.

17
Feb

I told my son-in-law today that I wish I was younger so I can stay in my job longer. I think I’ve been saying this recently.

At the interview for this job 7 years ago, I told the search committee that I don’t see myself working beyond 5 years. I never wanted the pressure of working in ministry. I thought ministry as a job would take all the fun out of ministry.

But at the ministry training this past Saturday where I had to articulate the vision for the children ministry, I realized how much I believe in the vision. I realized I want to see it through. I wish I were younger.

And talking to my SIL made me realized how God has put me here for such a time as this. “I don’t need job security. I can tell the pastors what I want. If they want the children ministry to go in a direction that I don’t agree with, I can just quit.” No one has disagreed with me. So ministry has been fun.

God is so good to me.

President’s Day allowed us to get together with both granddaughters. Went to the park, picnic, leisurely stroll. I remember how it was to pack the diaper bag and all the paraphernalia just for a few hours out.

If I had 1 year to live, I’d spend my time with my kids and grandkids. Oh, and my husband too, haha. Freudian slip – shows what I always tell people – I’m a much better mom than a wife. So now I tell all young moms, don’t ignore your husband.