Thursday, 25 June 2009

Brown...the new black?

So, a friend said to me the other day:

'I have noticed you like to wear a lot of dark colours'

Today I realised what she meant!

I just finished ironing and folding clothes and was starting think about packing to go away on a conference tomorrow when I noticed a distinct theme in my is mostly brown! I will have to think carefully about the clothes I take away...if I get the balance slightly wrong I may end up wearing brown trousers and a brown t-shirt on the same day!

And to think that when I was a child brown was my most hated colour and the colour I was certain I would NEVER wear! So fickle...

Still...think I should probably get some new clothes!

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Tell me a story...

Tomorrow I have a language check. This is a bit like a test, but less formal. They are just to check how well we have learned modules of language study. Tomorrow’s check is on stories about Jesus in simple Thai. I have enjoyed this module, partly because I got to practice my reading and writing, but mostly because I got to think about Jesus. I have to pick a few stories to tell in the check, out of the 29 that I have read. I have chosen 3, which I hope will be enough.

Here are the stories I have chosen to tell in Thai tomorrow and why:

Jesus Calms a Storm:

Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. Without warning, a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him, saying, "Lord, save us! We're going to drown!" He replied, "You of little faith, why are you so afraid?" Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. The men were amazed and asked, "What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!"
Matthew 8:23-27

This is my all time favourite account found in the gospels. It is such a powerful reminder of Jesus’ power over everything – even the wind and waves obey Him! Just now I was listening to a song on the new kids’ album (To be like Jesus) by Sovereign Grace Music called ‘Peace’. And these lines stood out:

“If you can calm the sea, then you can comfort me,
If winds obey your voice, why should I fear their noise?”

If God is in control over even the weather, how much more can I trust Him with my life?

Jesus Changes Water into Wine:

On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus' mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine was gone, Jesus' mother said to him, "They have no more wine."
"Dear woman, why do you involve me?" Jesus replied, "My time has not yet come."
His mother said to the servants, "Do whatever he tells you."
Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.
Jesus said to the servants, "Fill the jars with water"; so they filled them to the brim.
Then he told them, "Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet."
They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside and said, "Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now."
This, the first of his miraculous signs, Jesus performed in Cana of Galilee. He thus revealed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him.
John 2:1-11

I chose this one because the thing I had never seen in this story until recently. Courtesy of one of John Piper’s Taste and See articles that appeared in my inbox, this account of Jesus’ first miracle has changed in my mind from being a ‘bit odd’ to being ‘amazing’! (As always when I think something in the Bible is a ‘bit odd’, the fault lay with me and not the Bible!) My thoughts before went as follows: ‘I get that Jesus was showing His glory, but why wine? Why did he turn the water to wine!? What was the use?’

Verse 6 holds the clue: ‘Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.’

So imagine the scene. The big pots are full of the water that Jews use to get ‘ceremonially clean’, to be fit to worship, to be clean in God’s eyes. And what does Jesus do? He only goes and breaks all the rules and does something totally shocking…instead of using the water to ‘get clean’ he orders the servants to serve it up as a drink for the host of the wedding!! But then catch is this…even before the servants get their pitchers in the jars, Jesus has changed that water into wine. Wine…the stuff that He later uses as a symbol of His blood shed for us, ushering in the new covenant.

This ‘strange’ miracle is making an important point. There’s only one way to get clean…really clean…clean on the inside. There’s only one way to approach God with a clean and pure heart. The blood of Jesus. The provision of God. The miracle of all miracles. Blood that makes us white as snow.

‘What can wash away my sin?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
What can make me whole again,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.’

The other story I have chosen to tell is the Lost Sheep. But I have no profound thoughts to share...I chose it because it was short…!

Monday, 15 June 2009

Thai Cultural Lessons #3 [Song Thaews]

This is my favourite form of transport in Thailand. It is called a 'song thaew' and is very simple and easy to use! You simply hop on the back, press a buzzer when you want to get off, and then jump off and pay the driver! Different colours go to different places.

Song Thaew drivers are very observant. The vehicles that go up and down the main road that the university is on will slow down as they pass the entrances to smaller roads that come off it, looking for potential passengers. So you may still be 10 metres away from the main road, but if you give them the nod, or even just look like you might want to get on, they will wait for you!

3 cheers for song thaews!!