Archive for July, 2008

God’s Sovereign Hand Over My IPOD

Friday, July 25th, 2008

Yesterday I set up a new playlist called “chill out”.  My goal was to listen to this playlist on my way home from work so I would be calm during the journey of over 1 hour with about 2 million people (not exaggerated).  As I was changing trains, my shuffle took me to a song I have not heard for a while.  It was a CD given to me by a good friend Brad Hinton.

I thought about Brad and started to remember a story that is a great illustration of where I am spiritually and how the song lifted my spirits.  So God really does control your IPOD!

Brad and I met in graduate school in Auburn and became great friends.  He helped me on my first “missionary” project of starting a Bible study with our classmates in our MBA program.  One day we decided to go on a hike in the Tuskegee National Forest.  We were going to pray and talk about life, which meant asking what God wanted from us after grad school.  I was deciding on going overseas and Brad was deciding on a large option of employers, he was a lot better student than I was. haha. Being  smart graduate students, we forgot water and it was extremely hot that day, but we laughed because it was going to be a short walk.  The laugh was on us because we ended up lost in the middle of a huge national forest.  I remember at one point being exhausted, hot and frustrated and thinking “what are we going to do?”.  Our choices were simple, keep walking until we see something familiar like a road, or try to retrace our steps. We both decided that retracing our steps was not a good option because we were talking the entire time and not paying attention.

At this point down memory lane, the words to the song on my IPod started to catch my attention ,and I made a comparison of where I was spiritually.  The song is ” You are still Holy” and the part that caught my attention was:

My situation

–  Holy, you are still holy even when darkness surrounds my life.

– Sovereign, you are still sovereign even when confusion has blinded my eyes.

Prayer

– I want my life to be a pure reflection of Your Love

Outcome

– So I come to your chambers and dance at Your feet, Lord

– You are my Savior and I am at Your Mercy

– All that has been in my life up to now belongs to You

– I BELONG TO YOU

– FOR YOU ARE STILL HOLY

Amen

So this is how God directed my IPOD to take me through a string of thoughts that brought me to His chamber and led me to dance at his feet and I felt the wonderful freedom of being at His Mercy.  I still have confusion and the situation still is dark, but I know that Joy comes in the morning.

Our family has remembered this verse:

Romans 15:13 “May the God of Hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in Hope.”

We continue walking forward in the forest with Hope as our guide.  We know trying to go “back” is not an option, but we must believe, and by the power of the Holy Spirit, we will abound in Hope that we will see something familiar.

As for me and Brad, we finally found the road, and after hours of walking, we found his car.  Other than the practical lesson of taking water on a hike, God waited 9 years to show me the spiritual lesson – in the subway in Hong Kong.

Blessings,

Jay
(See picture under same title on the left)

More than One Independence Day

Friday, July 11th, 2008

Our July 4th looked a little different this year. We did get to see some fireworks on nearly the same night as the 4th since Hong Kong celebrates their ‘independence’ from England

and reinstitution to communism on July 1. A little ironic for the fireworks to mean such different things to different people at the same moment. We also were able to bring with us our red, white, and blue clothes! We were a little odd walking around

China dressed like our flag, but we had fun doing it. The best part about the week was hosting our friends from Northern China. (Yes, you can fit two families in a 1000 sq. ft. apartment. And we hosted 20 people for dinner, too!) He is a pastor of a church in China, and they came to Hong Kong to meet with like-minded people here for encouragement and support. He is about to launch a long-term ministry in Sichuan where the recent earthquake occurred. His wife and two-year old daughter speak no English, but it was good for me and the girls to try our limited Chinese – and we all got better at charades. (Click here to view pictures.)
They wanted to treat us to lunch on the 4th, so instead of the usual American BBQ on

Independence Day, we had a smattering of floating fish parts, several types of mushrooms I had never seen before, and lots of other mysterious creature parts floating in equally mysterious watery substances. But I did discover the fried noodle that day for which I am very excited. We are all getting used to chopsticks again. The girls are really into it. Sarah is determined, and Hannah is just dangerous so far. But we are working on it. Hope you all had a great July 4th!

Waiting and Refuge

Sunday, July 6th, 2008

On our trip to church this week, Anne and I were trying to catch up on the sermon series at Bent Tree and heard Joann do a wonderful job explaining God’s sovereignty titled “I’m in the details.”  In her definition of sovereignty, she said God not only wants us to know that He is our refuge but to feel that He is our refuge. She quoted  John Piper who said, “God is not an employer looking for employees, God is an eagle looking for people to cover in the shadow of His wings.”

For the last few months, I have really enjoyed reading Andrew Murray.  I started with his small book Absolute Surrender and then moved to his compilation of essays titled Prayer. He describes waiting on God like this – “You know how the eagles are taught the use of their wings.  See yonder cliff rising a thousand feet out of the seas.  See high up a ledge on the rock, where there is an eagles’ nest with its treasure of two young eaglets.  See the mother bird come and stir up her nest, and with her beak push the timid birds over the precipice.  See how they flutter and fall and sing toward the depth. See now how she “fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings” (Deut 32:11), and so as they ride upon her wings, brings them to a place of safety…. He (God) stirs up your nest. He disappoints your hopes. He brings down your confidence. He makes you fear and tremble, as all your strength fails, and you feel utterly weary and helpless.  And all the while He is spreading His strong wings for you to rest your weakness on and offering His everlasting Creator strength to work in you.  And all He asks is that you sink down in your weariness and wait on Him.  Allow Him in His Jehovah strength to carry you and you ride upon the wings of His omnipotence.”

I cannot think of better words to describe the last few months for us as we have been “waiting.”  Business projects have been postponed, trials have squelched our hopes, weariness has set in on the Clark Family. Looks like God finally has us at a place to use us and take us where He wants us to go in the shelter of His wings.

Oh, how deep the Father’s love for us.  Jay