Jul 182013
 

While living in Beijing, China and teaching English, I would come home each summer and share through pictures and songs some of my life there. One song I sang, “Grace Alone” by Jeff Nelson & Scott Wesley Brown, was particularly close to my heart. I prepared a PowerPoint presentation of pictures I had taken of China and some of my students and friends there.

In April, I was privileged to sing a song at my American church, Sunset Bible Church in University Place, Washington. I chose the song “Grace Alone” and was accompanied by the worship band. They recorded the song, and I sent the link to my daughter Angela along with my original PowerPoint pictures. She put them together and uploaded the final video on YouTube. If you would like to watch it, you may click on the link below or go to YouTube and type in Janie Downing to find the song.

Nothing we can ever do in this life to benefit those around us can be done outside of God’s grace. He is faithful to help us to fulfill what He asks us to do. If He says go, then go. If He says wait, then wait. If He asks you to step out and take a risk, then step out! After all, Your Travel Companion will be with you at every step!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PMJaTgmxbpA

 

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Jan 012013
 

Welcome, Charlie!!! I’d like to introduce my newest grandson. Charlie was born on December 20, 2012 ~ just in time for Christmas!  He joins big sister, Gabby and big brother, Noah, and of course his Mommy & Daddy, Amy & Aaron! I now have 3 grandsons and 1 granddaughter! I am blessed!

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Oct 072012
 

While walking down the streets of Beijing, China, I was often bombarded by a cacophony of sounds—music emanating from loud speakers outside the small shops on the streets, voices of vendors calling out to come for a closer look at what they offered by way of foods and goods to sell, voices of beggars crying out for just a few jiao or yuan. Then there were the mixed smells of cooking foods, spices, and human waste, to say nothing of the sight of unwashed children running through the dirty side streets. There were times when I would cry out in my mind, “Sensory overload! Sensory overload!”

As children, many of us use to sing this little chorus in Sunday School:

O, be careful little eyes what you see
O, be careful little eyes what you see
For the Father up above
Is looking down in love
So be careful little eyes what you see

This simple verse was sung again and again replaced with the words:

  • ears what you hear
  • hands what you do
  • feet where you go
  • tongue what you say
  • mind what you think
  • heart whom you trust

It was a clear reminder that God knows what we choose to watch and listen to; He’s aware of what we choose to do, where we choose to go, what we choose to say and think on, and whom we choose to trust. He understands very well how our senses can lead us to Him or away from Him; after all, we are His creation.

In our world today, we are on “sensory overload.” Television, movies, music, books, advertising, and so much more surround us with the sights and sounds of a world saturated with pleasures appealing to our senses. We have become like the proverbial “frog in a boiling pot.” The “heat” has been turned up in small increments over time, and we have gradually adapted to the temperature not realizing we are dying by staying in the “pot.” Poison has been gradually added to the water, and we are unaware that we are slowly killing ourselves.

We think nothing of filling our minds with scenes from “Criminal Minds” or “Law and Order.” We become sexually excited reading the pages of 50 Shades of Grey. We feast our eyes and minds on fantasy tales such as the Harry Potter series not realizing we are slowly becoming desensitized to the truth of the evil that exists all around us. We justify watching “Dancing With The Stars” claiming, “It’s only entertainment.” However, that which is entertaining us is slowly poisoning us, leaving us spiritually weakened and vulnerable.

In Psalm 101:3, before he became the King of Israel, David wrote, “I will refuse to look at anything vile and vulgar.”¹ After becoming king, he became painfully aware of the consequences of allowing himself to give in to his senses rather than following God’s call for purity in his life.

So much of what we allow to enter through our senses has become idols. We worship at the altar of money, the altar of pleasure, the altar of education, the altar of entertainment, the altar of sexuality, the altar of technology, and the list goes on. God has clearly stated we are to have no other gods before Him.2 His call to us as His children is: “Come out from them and be separate, says the Lord.”3 To neglect His call is to choose death.

What altar calls for your attention? How have you yielded your senses to the things of this world? Is God your highest priority? Is He your first thought in the morning and your last thought at night? Answer His call to place Him in the highest place above all! Will it be easy? No! The decision must be made constantly through the course of each day. Will it be worth it? Yes! Choose life—indeed, choose Life!

“I’ll Worship Only At The Feet Of Jesus” – Gaither Vocal Band

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hzH0IVxebCY

1 NLT
2 Exodus 20:3 (NIV)
3 2 Corinthians 6:17 (NIV)
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Sep 162012
 

"I Will Run To You"

Butterflies filled my stomach as I deplaned in Beijing, China. The flight had been long, and the hours leading up to it had not allowed time for much sleep—I was exhausted and facing a new life path. What would it hold?

It was hot and humid on that day in August 2003. I had been to Beijing once before, but it was in the company of a Chinese friend. This time, I was alone. I made my way through the necessary stations in customs in order to enter the country. As I waited in lines, my mind went back a few hours to my final minutes with my children in Seattle. Goodbyes are never easy, especially if you have already lost a member of your family. I blinked hard to keep the tears from rolling down my cheeks. Would I see them again? Being absolutely certain that I was right where I wanted to be didn’t calm the butterflies. In fact, it felt as though my butterflies were giving birth to butterflies that were giving birth to more butterflies instantaneously!

I made my way to Baggage Claim thankful for the free large carts that were available. Loading my belongings onto a cart, I slowly made my way to the arrivals area where I would be greeted by someone name Sun Rui whom I had never met before. My cart was top heavy with the Roland keyboard friends had given to me and insisted I take with me. Why? “You’ll need the music! It will help!” At that moment, it simply seemed like an unwieldy nuisance, and I worried that there wouldn’t be enough room in the vehicle even though I had warned Ao and the school that I would be bringing it.

As I stepped into the throng of people waiting for their travelers arrival, panic began to set in. There was a sea of Chinese faces; everyone was loudly calling out names. I had no idea what to do. Suddenly, as I scanned the crowd, I saw a large placard with my name on it! It was held by a tall Chinese man who knew right away who I was from the picture that had been sent. My knees went weak with relief as I waved to him. He smiled and immediately came to take charge of my cart and of me!

It was a tight fit, but there was room in the vehicle for all of us—including the keyboard! It took nearly an hour to get to my new home. When we drove up in front of the building, I saw the words “Foreign Expert Building” in large letters above the doors. This became my home for a year. Each foreign expert was given a private room and bathroom, and the facility operated like a small hotel with a service staff.

Going to sleep that first night was hard to do! I was worn out, but the butterflies returned with a vengeance, each demanding its own space until my stomach felt tied in knots. The next day, I was taken shopping and was able to purchase a CD player. That night before I slipped into bed, I placed a CD into the player. With the lights off, I listened to music that became my nightly private concert—“Simply Worship” –  a compilation worship album of contemporary Christian music by Hillsong Church. The song I fell asleep to night after night in those first weeks was “I Will Run To You” sung by Darlene Zschech from the “God Is In The House” album. (See lyrics below) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7s2wCVcmYOU

Even today when I hear that song, I am transported back to those nights in Beijing. God used it to help me make the transition into a new land, a new culture, a new job—actually, a new life! The friends who sent the keyboard with me were right. I would need music, and it helped, but not just any music! I would need God’s music—anointed music that His Spirit would use to soothe my anxious moments, renew my joy, and lift my spirit to Him.

What song has God used in your life? What song brings you back to a time of His expressed grace, mercy, and love extended to you? Send me the song, a link, or the lyrics. If you feel so inclined, tell me the story behind the song. I will be blessed by hearing what has blessed you!

I Will Run To You
Verse 1
Your eye is on the sparrow
And Your hand it comforts me
From the ends of the earth
To the depths of my heart
Let Your mercy and strength be seen
 
Chorus
And I will run to You
To Your words of truth
Not by might not by power
But by the Spirit of God
Yes I will run the race
‘Til I see Your face
Oh let me live in
The glory of Your grace
 
Verse 2
You call me to Your purpose
As angels understand
For Your glory may You draw all men
As Your love and grace demands 
 
Darlene Zschech © 1996 Wondrous Worship (Admin. by Music Services, Inc.)
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Aug 262012
 

Today’s “Sunday Writing” is my chance to share with you the joy I’m experiencing in Chico, CA with my daughter, Angela, my grandson, Teagen, and my son-in-love, Josh!

We took a short drive yesterday to a wonderful rustic covered bridge called the Honey Run Covered Bridge. I love covered bridges, and this one was great! It boasts a sweet creek called Butte Creek, although they all laughed at me when I thought I read the sign to say “Butter Cream”! =) What can I say? I love frosting!!! It was priceless to wade into the creek with Teagen with our shoes on! It’s been so hot, and the creek was very cool and refreshing. We watched innertubers enjoying the gentle ride. Angie caught a fish; we chose rocks for me to take to Teagen’s cousins, Gabby and Noah; we watched water skimmers on the creek (they were HUGE). It was a scenic and peaceful place!

It was also a great time to make memories with my grandson. He’s growing up so fast! He’s handsome; he’s funny; he’s smart! I am so very blessed! I’ve enjoyed one-on-one time with Angie and great family times with all of us together.

Angie and Josh, you are such capable and loving parents to this boy. I’m incredibly proud of you! I love you! Thank you!

Teagen, you are an amazing young man! As evidenced in your California STAR test restults, you are a great student having earned advanced scores for your age! I love you and am over-the-top proud of you! Keep up the good work!

Abba, thank You for family and for time away to enjoy each other! \o/ Thank you for blessing us with time together to make more memories! We remember that there are no guarantees for tomorrow, so we gratefully receive from Your hands the blessings of today! ~ Amen!

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Aug 092012
 

As a baby...bald

As a boy...blond

As a teen...long, dark, curly

As a man...bald again

Hmm…the last picture looks like the first one because his eyes twinkle the way they did when he was a baby!
          It was 39 years ago today that I heard the doctor say, “It’s a boy!” (Back then we couldn’t see pictures of our babies before they were born!) I looked at my husband Rich and said, “Oh, Richard, you got your boy! You got your boy!” He looked like he was in shock after watching his first live birth! In a voice that sounded as shocked as he looked, he replied, “How ‘bout that! How ‘bout that!” We named our boy Matthew Dean, but for the longest time everyone called him “Little Richard” because he looked so much like his Daddy! He still does…well, except for the hair! =) He also has his Dad’s voice, sense of humor, twinkle in his eyes, ability to DJ, and love of electronics. His friends call him Chip; his two sisters know him as Brother, and his niece and two nephews (soon to be three nephews) call him Uncle Brother. As “Da Mama,” I proudly call him Son! ♫ Happy Birthday, my good Son! ♫ I love you!
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May 232012
 

A friend found this article on the website of Haidian English Fellowship where I served through music in Beijing, China. It was posted on July 26, 2009. It was written by one of my Chinese Sisters in the Fellowship. This is the English translation of what she wrote. I have chosen to make no corrections.  I was moved to tears when I read it. I had never seen or read the article.

My time in China was life-changing! The students I taught and the wonderful friends I made there will forever be in heart! \o/

From Seattle to Haidian Christian Church

Time: 2009-07-26

Under the caring and leading of our Lord Jesus Christ, we have together witnessed our Lord’s power and amazing doings on the English fellowship of HaidianChurch from its birth to prosperity for almost 3 years. Like a ribbon, what it connects is not only the bond between Lord and us, but also the single-hearted serving by all brothers and sisters, among which there are not only faces with yellow skin and brown eyes of our familiarity, but also the ones of different skin color from elsewhere of the world. As called and assembled by our Lord, we come together to sing and to praise Him. We are joyful for reunion, mournful for departure, but relieved for the spreading evangelic seeds. Particular, to sister Janie who is going to leave Beijing for backing to America, we hereby present our sincerest pray and wishes as well as our deepest emotions to her to fill up her way home.

Janie is the musical leader of our English Worship, so is a English teacher of University Of International Relations, as well as a devout sister who comes from Seattle. Six years ago when she arrived in Beijing, as I thought, she may never know she would have had such nice memories. However, it is the Lord’s amazing arrangement that have all of these come true. Recalling to the commencement of the English Worship, it was in great shortage for hands, particular members of the musical lead. But it was under the leadership of our Lord that all things went smoothly. Janie joined us at the very time to be the electronic organ player and the pianist. Quickly, we got to know from one another, and the musical worship was began with her wonderful song. At the same time, every brothers and sisters who entered the sanctuary with the songs were also impressed with her tender smile and melodious notes.

English Worship is a emerging fellowship initiated and lead by our Lord Jesus Christ. How can it go without young and vigorous bodies? Every weekend, the Church is surrounded with our handshaking greetings and joyful wishes. Janie is a senior to those of youngsters like us; however, her passion never put her to shame compared with any other young people. Every time, she comes earlier to Church, then begins to make preparation with other members of the vocal team, leading every coming brothers and sisters to seat with her wonderful music. She, as well as some youngsters like Hesung and Jessica are well-cooperated and mutually-benefited.

Every of her leading is characterized with vigor and passion and glittering light. Not only are we able to enjoy the ready feedings from our Lord, but also edify with endless pleasures from exotic languages.

Janie is single-hearted with every volunteer in holy works. Sometimes she plays the role of a volunteer English teacher, instructing us in the English correspondence. In consideration to different levels in language for majority of brothers and sisters, Janie tries to pronounce every word accurately and clearly. Many Christian seekers comes with the idea of learning language, but finally they are holy fruited to a rescued disciples due to Janie’s conduct. Therefore, How can we not be grateful for Janie’s service?

Like every one of us, Janie is one of the chosen lambs among people. As our communication broadens, more and more foreign friends are introduced to be our friends, and there are more and more brothers and sisters with different skin colors in the team. We sometimes praise in high or we murmurs in low or we pray hand-in-hand, making the Lord’s grace and lead to be witnessed in the booming development of our worship. Every brother and sister is the eyewitness of sister Janie’s services throughout the 3 years which is also the time that we devote and pray mutually to have the body spread worldwide.

As flashing as time is, sister Janie has to be back home. She has said that she has two homes: one is in Seattle, the other is in Beijing, and both have her family members. While we also have many family members and relative, one is also Janie who is in Seattle. Today we see her off with well-wishing. No matter it is to Janie, or to any brother and sister who serves at the English Worship, we have the same one lovely home prepared and tended by the same Father. We are waited to have forever reunion with you and me and all sons and daughters of temporary departures like Janie.


Holy Comminication


Grasp


I could sing of Your Love forever!


Praising


Listen


Teeedle reappeared


May our Heavenly Father bless the work of our hands.

Photograph:Eric Text:Lwin

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Apr 192012
 

Janie & Janel

This week I had opportunity to do a “duet” with my long-time friend, Janel Campbell. For the two of us, a “duet” means I sing with my voice and she sings through sign language. We “sang” the song “Peace in the Midst of the Storm” at the South Dakota District Council Women’s Luncheon in Huron, SD. I pray God will touch you through His Spirit as you watch and listen.

 

Peace in the Midst of the Storm

Verse 1
When the world
That I’ve been living in
Collapses at my feet
When my life
Is shattered and torn
Tho’ I’m windswept and battered
I can cling to His cross
And find peace
In the midst of my storm

Chorus
There is peace in the midst
Of my storm-tossed life
Oh there’s an Anchor
There’s a Rock
To cast my faith upon
Jesus rides in my vessel
So I’ll fear no alarm
He gives me peace
In the midst of my storm

Verse 2
When in twenty-four short hours
Years of living
Are brought to moments
And when life’s final picture
Is taking form
In the dark-room
Of my suff’ring
There’s a Light
Comes shining through
He gives me peace
In the midst of my storm

Verse 3
When my body has been broken
‘Til it’s wracked in misery
When all the doctors
Shake their heads
And look forlorn
Jesus comes to make my bedside
A cathedral of hope and love
He sends His peace
Right in the midst of my storm

CCLI Song # 23660
Stephen R. Adams
© 1978, 1981, 1998 Pilot Point Music (Admin. by Music Services, Inc.)
For use solely with the SongSelect Terms of Use. All rights reserved. www.ccli.com
CCLI License # 1609208

 
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Nov 182011
 
The Downing 1996

The Downings 1996

There Once Was A Man
by Angela (Downing) Redmon

There once was a man
Though it pained him to stand,
Would run if I ever did call.

There once was a man
Who held on to my hand,
If ever I thought, I might fall.

There once was a man
Who with love in his eyes,
Would discipline when I was wrong.

There once was a man
Though he did not sing well,
From the depths of his soul, sang each song.

There once was a man
Who was gentle and kind,
Yet stronger than any I’d known.

There once was a man
Who would not live to see,
The fruit from the seeds he had sown.

This man who once was
Was the daddy I loved,
Who is now by his own Father’s side.

So, I honor my dad
Who gave his whole life,
And loved with his arms open wide!

It’s been 14 years ago today that Rich went home to be with Jesus! Time has swiftly gone by yet so often stood still ~ so many memories like images frozen in time! My daughter, Angela Redmon, wrote this beautiful poem as a tribute of honor to her dad. She captured the essence of this amazing man. Though we still love and miss him, and always will, we would not wish him back. He’s in such a great place. His legacy of love to his family and to many, many others still lives on! And that’s the way it is with those God has taken.

I always say there’s a song for everything. A dear friend brought this one to us when we were deeply grieving in our loss. Rich lived in constant pain. It’s reassuring to know there’s no more pain for him now!

OUR PRAYERS HAVE ALL BEEN ANSWERED
I FINALLY ARRIVED
THE HEALING THAT HAD BEEN DELAYED
HAS NOW BEEN REALIZED
NO ONE’S IN A HURRY THERE’S NO SCHEDULE TO KEEP
WE’RE ALL ENJOYING JESUS JUST SITTING AT HIS FEET

IF YOU COULD SEE ME NOW
I’M WALKING STREETS OF GOLD
IF YOU COULD SEE ME NOW
I’M STANDING TALL AND WHOLE
IF YOU COULD SEE ME NOW
YOU’D KNOW I’VE SEEN HIS FACE
IF YOU COULD SEE ME NOW
YOU’D KNOW THE PAIN’S ERASED
YOU WOULDN’T WANT ME TO EVER LEAVE THIS PLACE
IF YOU COULD ONLY SEE ME NOW

MY LIGHT AND TEMPORARY TRIALS
HAVE WORKED OUT FOR MY GOOD
TO KNOW IT BROUGHT HIM GLORY
WHEN I MISUNDERSTOOD
THOUGH WE’VE HAD OUR SORROWS
THEY CAN NEVER COMPARE
WHAT JESUS HAS IN STORE FOR US
NO LANGUAGE CAN SHARE

IF YOU COULD SEE ME NOW
I’M WALKING STREETS OF GOLD
IF YOU COULD SEE ME NOW
I’M STANDING TALL AND WHOLE
IF YOU COULD SEE ME NOW
YOU’D KNOW I’VE SEEN HIS FACE
IF YOU COULD SEE ME NOW
YOU’D KNOW THE PAIN’S ERASED
1992 Hold Onto Music (Admin. by EMI Christian Music Publishing)
Integrity’s Praise! Music (Admin. by EMI Christian Music Publishing)

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Jan 022011
 

“Oh, just what I wanted!!!” My granddaughter squealed that about absolutely every gift she opened on Christmas morning. How do I know that? I was there! It’s been a lot of years since I watched little children on Christmas morning! What fun! I spent it with Amy & Aaron, Gabby & Noah. We opened gifts as the cinnamon scent of “Monkey Bread” filled the home. After opening gifts, we got to eat the “Monkey Bread”! It was totally yummy! You can see just a few of the pictures I took on Christmas morning. Enjoy!

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