From Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening, February 9 morning edition.

“And David enquired of the Lord.”—2 Samuel 5:23.

WHEN David made this enquiry he had just fought the Philistines, and gained a signal victory. The Philistines came up in great hosts, but, by the help of God, David had easily put them to flight. Note, however, that when they came a second time, David did not go up to fight them without enquiring of the Lord. Once he had been victorious, and he might have said, as many have in other cases, “I shall be victorious again; I may rest quite sure that if I have conquered once I shall triumph yet again. Wherefore should I tarry to seek at the Lord’s hands?” Not so, David. He had gained one battle by the strength of the Lord; he would not venture upon another until he had ensured the same. He enquired, “Shall I go up against them?” He waited until God’s sign was given. Learn from David to take no step without God. Christian, if thou wouldst know the path of duty, take God for thy compass; if thou wouldst steer thy ship through the dark billows, put the tiller into the hand of the Almighty. Many a rock might be escaped, if we would let our Father take the helm; many a shoal or quicksand we might well avoid, if we would leave to His sovereign will to choose and to command. The Puritan said, “As sure as ever a Christian carves for himself, he’ll cut his own fingers;” this is a great truth. Said another old divine, “He that goes before the cloud of God’s providence goes on a fool’s errand;” and so he does. We must mark God’s providence leading us; and if providence tarries, tarry till providence comes. He who goes before providence, will be very glad to run back again. “I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go,” is God’s promise to His people. Let us, then, take all our perplexities to Him, and say, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” Leave not thy chamber this morning without enquiring of the Lord.

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Spurgeon on Anxiety and Trust

Posted: May 26, 2009 in God, Spurgeon

Psalm 55:22 – Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you;

 

CARE, even though exercised upon legitimate objects, if carried to excess, has in it the nature of sin. The precept to avoid anxious care is earnestly inculcated by our Saviour, again and again; it is reiterated by the apostles; and it is one which cannot be neglected without involving transgression: for the very essence of anxious care is the imagining that we are wiser than God, and the thrusting ourselves into His place to do for Him that which He has undertaken to do for us. We attempt to think of that which we fancy He will forget; we labour to take upon ourselves our weary burden, as if He were unable or unwilling to take it for us. Now this disobedience to His plain precept, this unbelief in His Word, this presumption in intruding upon His province, is all sinful. Yet more than this, anxious care often leads to acts of sin. He who cannot calmly leave his affairs in God’s hand, but will carry his own burden, is very likely to be tempted to use wrong means to help himself. This sin leads to a forsaking of God as our counsellor, and resorting instead to human wisdom. This is going to the “broken cistern” instead of to the “fountain;” a sin which was laid against Israel of old. Anxiety makes us doubt God’s lovingkindness, and thus our love to Him grows cold; we feel mistrust, and thus grieve the Spirit of God, so that our prayers become hindered, our consistent example marred, and our life one of self-seeking. Thus want of confidence in God leads us to wander far from Him; but if through simple faith in His promise, we cast each burden as it comes upon Him, and are “careful for nothing” because He undertakes to care for us, it will keep us close to Him, and strengthen us against much temptation. “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee, because he trusteth in Thee.”

Wa sei! (That means wow in Mandarin).  We landed in China around 2:00 PM on Saturday.  It has become reality now.  Noone looks like me here.  Noone speaks like me here. After picking up our bags we headed to purchase our domestic tickets to get to Chongqing.  We had purchased these previously but lost those tickets due to our delay in the States.  So Charles met up with a Chines guy in a jumpsuit and a handheld credit card scanner to purchase some new ones.  Shady in the States i suppose but par for the course here.  Everyone was staring at us.  I don’t mean just looking at us, but staring.  We were later told that is normal, but it was a bit unnerving when we first experienced it.  I stepped outside the airport to take a picture of a small piece of Shanghai.  The delay would force us to miss our time there.  We headed to Chongqing after a couple of hours in the terminal. 

It was a much different flight.  No in-flight movie.  Tiny unspacious seating.  Chinese food served for a meal.  No Americans on the flight.  I was able to meet a young Chinese couple – Sky and Wendy were their American names – who were sitting next to me.  We had a fun conversation which ended when Sky pulled up an episode of 24 on his computer.  I offered my portable speakers and Sky, Wendy and I watched Jack Bauer knock off a few terrorists.  Nothing like Jack Bauer to bridge the gap between culture right?  🙂

We landed in Chongqing and realized that what we thought was China back in Shanghai, wasn’t China at all.  Now we were in the heart of the country and it was evident that much fewer Americans visited here.  There was much less marketing to westerners.  The airport wasn’t as nice.  And we were met with an aroma which we have come to know as a distinctly Chongqingian one.  We grabbed our luggage, I said goodbye to Sky and Wendy and we headed to meet Jeff, our friend who lives here.  It was great too see someone who can speak both languages.  He hailed two taxis for us and we began our journey to the district of Jie Fang Bei where our hotel is.  The taxi ride was amazing in itself.  There were lines on the highway, but they seemed to simply be suggestions, even the divider lines in the middle of the highway were not heeded.  Again, “wa sei”!!!  But, we arrived at our hotel safely, unloaded everything and headed out to get our first real “taste” of Chongqing – the food.  Jeff took us to a “dishes” restaurant and proceeded to order 8 dishes for us to try.  It was spicy!  We washed it down with some Chongqing beer which was really more like alcoholic water.  It was really bad.  We finished dinner around 10:30 PM and walked around the area for a bit.  Amazingly similar to an American city, there were two Starbucks within 1/2 mile of each other!  New China is not like Old China.  Time for bed.  Big day tomorrow.  Finally get to meet some Chinese people!

The condition of the hotel turned out not to matter that much.  I overslept by 45 minutes!  Still haven’t quite figured out how to use all the feature of the World phone.  Jamie, Charles and David headed to the airport without me and i quickly showered and repacked my stuff to catch the next shuttle.  I arrived at the airport and looked for the shortest check-n line.  As i walked up to the back of the line, I looked over to my right and saw the fellas at the check-in counter in a different line.  So, I walked over and handed the lady my passport.  Didn’t have to wait in line even a minute. . . just like i planned. 🙂 

Keeping with our theme of delay, after we were in the security line, one of the guys looked down at the tickets and noticed that the date was yesterday’s date.  After quickly conferring with the security checkpoint lady, we got out of line and went back to the check-in counter so she could print out the correct boarding passes.  Finally we made it through security, took the concourse train to our concourse, had breakfast, chilled in the Crown room again (thanks again) and went to our gate.  The delay then continued as we were told one of the flight attendants from our crew (the same crew as yesterday) had fallen and hurt herself badly enough that she was being taken to the hospital.  Unbelievable.  This of course delayed our boarding because they had to get a stretcher on the plane and then get her off.  It wasn’t life threatening but she landed on her lower back and they wanted to take every precaution.  We finally boarded, but had to sit at the gate for 30 minutes or so because they had to wait on a replacement flight attendant who had the proper visa to fly to China!

We finally took off about 25 hours after our original departure time.  Since it was a 16 hour flight and China is 12 hours ahead of us, we would be landing at 1:30 PM on Saturday in China (1:30 AM in Georgia).  We watched several more movies, read some of The Good Earth, by Pearl Buck and slept as much as we could.

Day Two’s Accomplishments:  We left Atlanta and did not return, watched movies, slept, watched more movies, read part of a novel and slept some more.

It was a rainy and dreary morning, which could have alerted me of what lay ahead if i looked for those sorts of signs. My alarm went off at 4:15 and i reset it for 4:30. Not sure what i think an extra 14 minutes of sleep is gonna do for me, but anyway. After i showered and packed up all my toiletries i went downstairs to eat some breakfast and get all my gear ready. Steph was on the couch still. I tried not to wake her, but it was impossible. We talked for a few minutes. She was feeling better but still weak and tired. She was beautiful as ever. Josiah was sound asleep. A few minutes before it was time to leave i went upstairs and gave hugs and kisses to the girls and woke them up to tell them how much i love them. They were groggy and did not get out of bed. Micah didn’t budge despite numerous hugs and kisses and “Hey buddy”s. I’m sure he was dreaming of superheroes. I went back downstairs and opened the door to open the garage. The girls heard the door chime and ran downstairs crying because they thought they had missed me! We hugged and kissed several more times. I gave Josiah a kiss and he began to wake up. He looked at me and smiled the same way he did yesterday before i left for work. I hope he doesn’t forget me in ten days. Do babies forget that quickly? Steph and i embraced and traded several “I love you”s and “I will miss you”s. Micah slept.

David and Charles pulled up at 5:30 AM and we loaded the baggage and pulled out. Steph, Em, Grace and Jo Jo waved and blew hugs and kisses through the guest bedroom window. I caught them and blew some of my own. I will miss them terribly.

We swung by to pick up Jamie and were on our way. An hour or so later, after stopping at David’s dad’s house so he could drive us, we arrived at the airport. It was becoming real now. Charles made some comment about it being the last time we would set foot on American soil for 10 days. He would come to regret that statement! Checking in was no problem. Security was a breeze. Had Arby’s for breakfast?? Hung out in the Crown Room for 30 minutes or so (thanks Greg) and then headed to our gate. Everything was going smoothly. We took off on time with all of us in aisle seats, Jamie and Charles across the aisle from each other and David and I directly behind them. Things were looking good.

About 3 hours into our trip we heard of a medical emergency. Didn’t think much of it until about an hour later when we looked at our flight map and saw that, after having made it up to the Hudson Bay, we took a left turn and were headed back to Minneapolis. Apparently an 80 year old man who had a stroke two months ago was having complications. We had to land in Minneapolis to take him to a hospital. After landing in Minneapolis they told us that federal law prohibits flight crews from working too many hours in a row and that we would have to fly BACK to Atlanta and spend the night. We would then leave the next morning at the same time for Beijing. Yep. We arrived back at Hartsfield Interanational Airport at 7:45 PM. Ten hours after taking off we were back to square one. So, they put us up at the Comfort Inn North, a dump of a hotel but we didn’t care that much. We went to eat and have “our last glass of water not from a bottle” (Charles’ words again, he seems to not have learned from the previous day’s comments).

Day One’s Accomplishments: Watched two in-flight movies and accumulated 4000 Delta Sky Miles. Ten hours of travel time. Still in Atlanta. It felt like some time-space continuum.

The Day Before

Posted: April 8, 2009 in Trip to East Asia

This was a long day. I had quite a few things to get finished at work, needed to go shopping for some last minute items and still had to pack everything up. Steph began running a fever today so, being the awesome husband i knew i needed to be given that i’d be leaving for 10 days, i picked micah up from school and let him run some errands and hang out at the office with me. Then i picked up the girls and finished up at the office and went to Walmart for the last minute stuff. This allowed Steph to get some much needed rest. It was evident already that this day was not going to go as planned. Steph was resting on the couch when we returned home and, unfortunately for her, had to remain there the rest of the night. She was miserable. After eating, it was time to put the kids to bed and say goodbye. This was hard especially for Emily and Grace. They cried for 15 minutes or so. Finally they fell asleep on the promise that i would wake them before i left. Micah didn’t really understand what was going on. After the kids went to sleep, it was a very lonely night. I missed my family even before i was gone. I placed some Hershey’s kisses in four separate bowls so they could have a “kiss” from Daddy every night before they go to bed. Man, this is going to be hard.

Let’s Not Be Prudent Now

Posted: March 16, 2009 in Uncategorized

dollar_crashTimothy Geithner’s thoughts on the need for banks to begin lending more money to small businesses, “When banks individually pull back out of a sense of prudence and caution, the collective impact of those actions will make the economy weaker and make each individual bank worse off,” Geithner said.

I get it.  I mean it just makes sense to lack caution and be imprudent when making decisions about lending money.  This is America right?