Saturday, May 28, 2011

Big Girls Learn Lessons from a Dead Brother Restored to Life

The girls have learned stories of Mary, and stories about her sister Martha. Today, they learned the rest of the story about their brother, Lazarus.
Mary, Martha, and Lazarus were good friends with Jesus. Lazarus became very ill. Believing He could save their brother, Martha and Mary sent word to Jesus to please come. Instead of coming right away, Jesus delayed two days before going to Bethany. By the time her got there, Lazarus had been dead and buried in a tomb for four days. Martha was quite upset with Jesus, as she truly believed that had He come, their brother would still be alive. This was a great statement of faith. She called Him the Son of God, the Messiah. These are the same words used by Peter in Mark 8:29. She had an equal understanding of who Jesus was. Martha sent word to Mary that Jesus had arrived. Her weeping deeply touched Jesus. He asked where the body was. Martha warned that the body had begun to smell. Jesus called Lazarus to come out. And out he came, bound in the burial cloths. 
1) Jesus is the source of life -He is the resurrection and the life.
2) Jesus has power over even death.
3) Jesus had grace and compassion for the sisters.
4) Jesus hears our cries, and answers in His own perfect time.

 Lean on Me
 We started with review questions. The prize today was a silly band from Aunty Jo in SC. Thanks, Jo!
 Neyate chooses her band for retelling a story.
 The girls were eager to answer questions and retell stories when they saw the cute bands.
 Thank you, Aunty Jo!
 Making lemon pudding.

 Making wooden clothespin dolls

Snack time!!

Grace Home Kids Learn More about Prayer

Grace Home Kids are learning the Seven Command of Jesus. We reviewed the first three commands: 1) Repent and believe 2) be baptized 3) prayer. The kids each chose one or more of the stories to tell to the group. They did so much better this week than last. We also reviewed the sword method of Bible study. What is prayer? It is talking to God anytime, anywhere, about anything. Why can we talk to God? We can talk to God because Jesus Christ took our punishment for our sis on the cross more than 2000 years ago that those who believe in Him might have their broken relationship with God restored. 
We read Colossians 1. Terry Gooding developed some personal prayers form several verses in chapter 1, such as: vs 3- Lord God, help me to remember to give thanks to You, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, in all things and to maintain an attitude of prayer.
Sometimes we may not know how to pray for someone. We learned how to pray for others using B-L-E-S-S: B for body, reminds us to pray for the person's health or healing, and for their daily needs to be met.
L for labor, reminds us to pray for God's help in their work, or studies, or their daily tasks.
E for emotional needs, reminds us to pray for hope, joy, peace, reassurance, and comfort.
S for social needs, reminds us to pray for helathy relationships with family, friends, and other people.
And the final S for spiritual needs, reminds us to pray for their salvation, if not saved, and that they would have a hunger for a close relationship with God, if they are believers.
We practiced praying for self and others. 
 Getting equipped to teach others

 Jevan retells the story of Zacchaeus.

Pearly tells the story. After a time of prayer, it was time for ice cream!!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Big Girls Bible Club Learn Lessons From Saphira

 Last week, we learned lessons about giving from Jesus and the the poor widow. This week, we learned from Ananias and Saphira in Acts 5:1-11. Not quite as uplifting as last week's story! Nonetheless, very important lessons: generosity and pride don't mix. Ananias's reason for giving was not altogether altruistic. He and Saphira saw the admiration gained by Barnabas when he gave the proceeds from selling a piece of property. Ananias, with the full knowledge of his wife, Saphira, held back soem of the porceeds from the sale of their property but told the apostles it was the full amount. There was problem; it wasn't that he kept some back, it was the deceit. Peter called him on it, much to Ananias's shock. He told him that it was the Holy Spirit he was lying to. Ananias dropped dead on the spot, was wrapped up, carried out, and buried. Three hours later, Saphira shows up, not knowing about her hubby's demise. She also lied about the amount given from the sale of the property, and had the same fate as her husband. Great fear came upon the whole church.
In Matt. 6:3-4 we learn that Jesus wants us to give in secret, just for the sheer joy of giving, and not because of any recognition gained. I learned this by example way back in 1976 and have never forgotten it. I was just learning to set up house and cook. I really wanted the new Joy of Cooking cookbook, which at the time was the best on the market. But the $29 price was too much for me. I told God. A few nights later, my doorbell rang. When I went to answer it, I found only a brown paper bag on the mat. Inside the bag was a brand new copy of Joy of Cooking! I thanked God for the book, but never found out who sent it through. I hope that person was as blessed as I was. Another example: when I return home to the states to visit, I don't have much money for gas, or eating out with friends. Sometimes I find $10 or $20 dollar bills in my purse or Bible! Other people shake my hand and slip a large bill in my hand! What a blessing! These examples of being on the receiving end have encouraged me to help wherever I can, and encourage others to do the same.
Another lesson we learned: honesty isn't just the best policy-it is the only policy.  I get some of the material for my lessons from Liz Higgins books:  Bad Girls of the Bible and Slightly Bad Girls of the Bible. Jerry and Deborah are enjoying reading these books now.
 Making pancake mix.

 Jerry helped them make the pancakes. We had a variety of toppings, but they all chose chocolate chips!
 Jerry taught the girls how to make wired beaded angel pendants.
 Some of the girls display their finished products.
Eating the pancakes. They really enjoyed the chocolate chip pancakes.

6 cups white, wheat, or a mixture flour
6 T baking powder
2 cups powdered milk
6 T sugar
1 T salt
Mix together all ingredients and store in an airtight container.
To Use
Mix together 1 1/2 cups mix, 2 T oil, 1 cup water, and either one egg or 2 T curd.
 Fry in a little oil or butter. Before flipping, add chocolate chips, banana slices, nuts, or berries. Makes 9 pancakes.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Command #3 Pray

Jesus teaches about prayer from Matthew 6:5-15. We notice as we read in verse 5 that He says, "And when you pray..." And in verse 6, "But when you pray..." and again in verse 7, "And when you pray..." He doesn't say if you pray. Jesus commands us to pray, and He gives us a model to follow in Matthew 6: 9-13. The kids from Grace Home understood that prayer is talking to God anytime, anywhere, about anything, but it is also listening to what He says. In verse 9, Jesus tells us to address the One we are speaking to: "Our Father, in heaven." This tells us that we are a part of God's family, and we know where He is. In India, it is important to be specific about the god you are talking about. We do not have a little g god, but a capital G God -the One true God, Creator of heaven and earth, our creator. Make no mistake, we are talking about Jesus's Father, our Father God in heaven, where we will someday be. Then, we praise the Name of God -"holy, or hallowed, is your name." We can add many of the attributes of God in praising Him: Almighty, Merciful, Gracious, Just, Loving, Omnipotent, Omniscient... Then we express that we want His will in our lives, and not our own. We want His kingdom right here on earth, until the time comes for us to join Him in heaven. We ask God for our daily needs. He knows what we need before we ask, but He says we can ask, so we do. Give us what we need for today. Then comes the time we confess our sins and ask for His forgiveness, and the time we forgive others who have sinned against us. This is very important because the Bible teaches us that if we harbor sin in our hearts, God does not hear our prayers. We ask God to keep us from being tempted by things of the world, of Satan. And, we close by acknowledging that all is His and for Him and for His glory.
Because these kids from the Home attend an Anglican church, they can quote this prayer, and do so every week, but now they know what it means. We practiced, using this as a model for our own prayers, and not just quoting it by rote. We went step by step around the room for each part. Deborah said this part was very helpful, and she will use this technique when she teaches.
Prayer is a habit that should be practiced by followers of Christ. There is so much written about prayer, but the basics are that it is a command of Jesus, we can pray to the Father because of Jesus, and God hears our prayers. We will continue to learn about prayer and practice prayer. Some of my personal favorite books on prayer are books by Andrew Murray (The Prayer Life and With Christ in the School of Prayer), Tom Elliff (A Passion for Prayer), and Behind The Ranges : Fraser of Lisuland S.W. China by Mrs. Howard Taylor. What are yours?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Moms and Friends Learn Lessons From the Poor Widow

I had a metal bowl of all different kinds of coins, from Bangladesh, Thailand, India, Europe, China, and the US. I looked up the conversions and told them the values of the coins. The largest were not the most valuable, and the tiniest were not the least valuable. I handed the tiniest two coins to Jerry and a handful to each of the other ladies. I asked them to put 2 coins into the bowl. All of them had coins left -except Jerry. That was my segue to the lesson of the widow's mite in Mark 12:41-44. The best part of the morning was when one of the ladies stayed behind to talk to us. She wanted to know what the Children's Home needed! I told her. She wants to give fruit once a week, some clothing, and some rice! Deborah took her to meet Aunty at the Home to discuss her gifts.She had tears in her eyes as she talking about wanting to help the kids. She said, "God has blessed me."

 Manju's twins come at 12:00 after pre-school. I had to buy another baby book so they wouldn't fight over it! They loved the banana bread their mommy and friends made.

Microwave Banana Bread
1 3/4 Atta (wheat flour)
100 grams of butter (1/2 cup)
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup dried fruit: raisins, craisins... chopped apricot bits, apple bits..
2 eggs or 4 T Dahi (curd)
2 T honey
3 mashed ripe bananas
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 chopped nuts
1. Mix flour, cinnamon, and BP in a large mixing bowl.
2. Cut in butter with a knife or fork.
3. Add sugar, dried fruit, and nuts.
4. Stir in Dahi (or eggs) and honey.
5. Add mashed bananas to the mixture.
6. Blend together but don't beat.
7. Pour into a greased microwavable baking dish.
8. Microwave on high for 5 minutes, then turn if your microwave doesn't have a turntable.
9. Microwave 3 more minutes and check for donenes. If not done, bake 2 more minutes.
10. Let stand 5 or 10 minutes before slicing* Note: this recipe rises a lot giving a fluffy -not dense texture.

Big Girls Bible CLub Learn Lessons From the Poor Widow

"Each person should do as s/he has decided in her/his heart -not reluctantly or out of compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver." II Cor. 9:7
The story of the the poor widow is found in Mark 12:41-44 and Luke 21:1-4. This story from God's Word teaches us about giving with the right attitude in the right spirit for the right reasons. Sometimes young people think they have nothing to give. There are times in my life when I have felt that way. But it is not true. Jehovah Jireh -God is my provider and He has never failed to provide for my need. You can't out give God, so give freely. 
Jesus was sitting next to the temple treasury where the people were expected to give money for the poor. Some made a big deal out of their gift as their heavy coins made a loud PLINK PLINK as they hit the bowl. They wanted to make sure folks knew they were being obedient and generous giving. But when the poor widow came along and dropped in two of the smallest of coins, He said that she had contributed more that the others because they gave out of abundance, but she gave all she had. She was trusting God to provide for her. God looks at our heart when we give. Are we giving out of compulsion, or reluctantly, or for show? 
In this country, there is no shortage of out-stretched hands asking for money. Even those in Christian service have their hands out. We must give with discernment, a right heart, and cheerfully!

 Making Walnut fingers, a cookie that does not require an oven. Most of the families here do not have conventional ovens, but have microwave ovens.

 Making the foam craft. Thank you Susan and friends!
Eating their Walnut Fingers. They look like what Marley and I find on the road, but they taste good.
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 T milk
2 T cocoa powder
a pinch of salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup of crushed digestive biscuits (wheat or milk cookies- crush to a powder with a rolling pin)
4 T finely chopped walnuts

1. Heat a non-stick pan, add butter, sugar, milk, cocoa powder and salt, and mix well.
2. Simmer on a low flame for 10 miutes till the sugar melts. Remove from the heat and let cool for ten minute.
3. When the mixture has cooled, add vanilla and mix well.
4. Add the powdered cookies and mix completely.
5. Shape in to oblong fingers and roll in the nuts.
6. Refrigerate to chill.
7. Serve

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Women's Fellowship

For right at a year I've been praying, planning, and trying to make arrangements for the meeting that finally came to pass tonight. The pastor's sister helped me arrange it. My vision is to see believing women come together to grow spiritually, encourage each other, pray for one another and others, and share their faith intentionally and practically. They had not been meeting together. I just want to jump start them, and encourage them.
I call these group meetings "Extended Hands." Why? My friends and I extend our hands to our national sisters in fellowship, worship, prayer and ministry. Did you know the word hands can be found in the Bible 437 times?
I shared from God's Word from Colosians 1. Deborah and Jerry helped me make bookmarks with prayers based on Col. 1. On the back side are prayers for others using B-L-E-S-S, and a place to list people they want to pray for regularly. The girls also helped me make cookies for the tea break.
How did it go? I'm not sure. I've got to work on my language skills!
I'm praying for similar groups in other areas of our state. Will you join me?

Command #2 Be Baptized

The kids from Grace Home came back for their basic discipleship training. After singing, we had a time a review and accountability. How many people did you share the story with? The kids did great for their first time. Command #2 is Be baptized from Matthew 28:19. The story is from Acts 8:26-39, Phillip and the New Believer.
 An angel of the Lord directed Phillip to go down the road in the south toward Gaza.
 There, he found an Ethiopian Eunuch who worked for Queen Candace. He was sitting in his chariot reading the Torah. The Spirit told Phillip to go to the chariot. He asked the official if he understood what he was reading.
 "How can I without someone to guide me?" So, he invited Phillip up in the chariot. Phillip began with the verse the official was reading and shared the entire gospel of Jesus Christ.
 When they passed by water, the Ethiopian asked why he shouldn't be baptized. Phillip told him that if he believed with all his heart, he could. So, they went down into the water and Phillip baptized the Ethiopian official.
 Sarah and Suraj take a turn.
Evangeline shares the story. Pray that the kids will share the story with others, and when they are allowed, they will identify with Christ by being baptized.

Moms and Friends Learn Lessons From Martha

 I so look forward to my time each week with the neighborhood ladies. A neighbor from Kashmir joined us. Her daughter is five. She also has a set of three-year-old twins! After sharing the story of Martha, a lively discussion ensued. We compared the cultural norms of the time of the story, and now.
 They discussed class differences and attitudes toward women. One mom shared how her mother-in-law burst into tears after she lifted the blanket of her newborn granddaughter. She hadn't even said a word to her daughter-in-law yet. When the twins were born two years later, she suggested her daughter-in-law keep the boy and give the girl away. PTL, the dad supports his wife and adores his daughters. They talked about their Hindu culture strongly encouraging Marthas -a woman's place is in the kitchen and with the children. As you can see, the mom wearing western clothes got quite excited! It was fun. I missed a lot of the good stuff because of language, but I got the jist!
For our activity, Meetu shared beauty tips. I had shared about beauty coming from a heart yielded to Christ, and how daughters with good moral character, who put God first, are beautiful. Moms of sons will fight over those girls.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Book Review: God's Promises Devotional Journal

I waited for two and a half months for this devotional to arrive from Thomas Nelson. After all, I am on the other side of the world, and up in the mountains. They sent it to me for free as a part of the Booksneeze program in exchange for an honest review. I am under no obligation to give a positive review. Well, that's a relief, because frankly, I was a bit disappointed. Not in the beautiful, raised leaf design hard cover book. Not in the impressive list of contributors including Billy Graham, Anne Graham Lotz, Patsy Clairmont, Elisabeth Elliot, and David Jeremiah. Not in the selection of Bible verses used, one for each day of the year. Not in the amount of space provided to journal in reflection of each entry, nor in the very brief length of the devotion. I think it is good to focus on a small morsel of scripture, and reflect on what God is saying to me. If I want a lengthy exposition of the scripture, I would go to a different type of volume. What is disappointing is the organization of the devotional journal. Each month begins with a quote from one of the contributing authors on a beautifully designed page which continues the green leaf theme of the cover. I expected the following devotions to be linked thematically, either by major thought expressed in the quote, or related scripture verses. I couldn't find such a link. If it's there, it eluded me. Yes, they are all (at times) loosely related to God's promises, but no other apparent connection within the month. My thinking is random enough. Speaking of random, there seems to be no organization of the scriptures used, no index to help me find some thoughts on a particular scripture, which is my second disappointment.
In conclusion, God's Promises Devotional Journal is a beautifully presented volume with an impressive list of contributors and adequate space to reflect on their brief thoughts on the day's scripture. It's make a lovely gift to a new believer needing some help in getting into the habit of a daily quiet time and journaling.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Big Girls Bible Club Learn Lessons from Martha

Are you a Martha or a Mary? Do you show your devotion to Jesus by serving others, or by sitting as His feet learning from the Master Teacher? Or, are you sitting at the table in fellowship with your Lord as Lazarus did while his sister Martha was fretting over having to do all the work? There's a time in our lives to practice all these forms of devotion, but Jesus makes it clear that Mary has chosen the better way and it will not be taken from her." Romans 12:13 tells us to practice hospitality. In Matthew 6:33 Jesus tells us tells us to seek the kingdom of God first. Ecc. 3:1 reminds us that there is a time for everything. So, it is a matter of balance -keeping God first, and not letting service take the place of time devoted to sitting at His feet and learning from Him.
For girls in this nation, as well as others, it is important to emphasize how Jesus again, breaks down cultural barriers and makes it clear how He views women. 41 And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. 42 But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her. ”(Luke 10:41-42) In the culture of that time, Mary's place was in the kitchen with Martha, helping to serve the guests. Yet Jesus demonstrated that the Word of life is greater than her role in life. A woman is defined by her creation as an equal to man, not just by the roles she must live out. First, we are children of God, born to bring Him pleasure. Only after that can our culture define our role.
In a culture where boys are still valued over girls, I think it is important for the girls to know that they have worth, and they have choices. They can choose to be a girl of good moral character and integrity, knowing she is loved and valued by her Heavenly Creator through His Son Jesus.
 Having a cookie snack
 It makes a huge mess, but the girls enjoying creating their scrapbooks -and they are good about cleaning up.
 Mannotti and Sanjel just started their scrapbooks today.
 Busy at work creating.
 Martha, far right, tells Jesus (black and white top) to send Mary (pink) to help her.
 Martha (holding tray) serves her guests.