Monday, December 31, 2012

Won't let go

God won't let go of my hand even if I let go of His. 


Happy New Year 2013, Family! Do not fear for His faithfulness to us is forever. 


Thursday, December 27, 2012

Bolot


Last night was the second day of Christmas. I spent it with some lovely friends in Eindhoven. Didn't know what really struck us, after dinner we started watching Opera van Java. And for the next several hours, we rocked our abs.

In this episode, Pak Bolot was invited as a guest star. He is one of the actors/comedian/artist who was famous in the 70s through the 90s. His signature joke is that he plays deaf. Some have to shout to his ears to get his attention. Others have to have known specific keywords to convey a message to him. Talking to Pak Bolot is a pain.

I have been meaning to write this post for about two weeks. The inspiration was Revelation.

Have you ever been wondering why the letters for the seven churches found in the early part of the last book of the Bible always end with a message to "listen"?

To the church in Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea, the Word says, "Are your ears awake? Listen. Listen to the Wind Words, the Spirit blowing through the churches. (MSG)" One message. The same message. Seven different audiences.

What played in my mind while reading those passages was:
LeftMind: But was it only seven churches that the message was given to?
RightMind: I think that John -the author of Revelation- really needed that message too besides the seven churches.
LeftMind: Why?
RightMind: He saw a completely different new world, unusually beautiful but strange creatures, and a big deal of events happening. He must have been very shocked and distracted from seeing all those visions.
LeftMind: The link between John seeing things and the message to seven churches?
RightMind: Listen. The word: listen.
LeftMind: Go on.
RightMind: It is very normal for human to be distracted. Especially with all the cool things going on around him. John also was a human. He was ordered to write everything he see in that vision but he could have written what he sees as worth-writing about rather than the real message. However, God must have known that human mind is so limited. He repeats to make His point. He said to John, "Listen. Listen to what I say, and write it to these churches."

Is God also telling you to listen, Friends? Or have you been listening to what He wants to say to you? Or instead, you have been telling God to listen to you, to your need, to your requests?

He has our lives, Friends. He bought us full priced. He knows what is best for our future. We are the ones who should have listened to Him. Obey Him. And not Him obeying our orders.

Like John, the message to the churches was for him too, just like this message to you also is for me. Pak Bolot can't hear right in his acts, but outside the stage, I believe he listens to what the director of the show says, lest he won't make such a great entertainer.







Friends,

 7"Are your ears awake? Listen. Listen to the Wind Words, the Spirit blowing through the churches.

Monday, December 24, 2012

All I need is You

The statement, "All I need is You", does not normally come out of the lips of the proud. It comes from a heart-felt statement of those who are troubled, needy, and hopeless.

Thank God of the highest heavens for His presence. Thank God that it is not wealth, health, or bread that makes us whole. It is Jesus.

Merry Christmas, everybody! He is just prayer away.

Let the peace of God guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

So long, farewell Uncle Xiong!

The cancer, eating away his lungs, was acute, stage four. Doctors in Tulungagung thought it was Tuberculosis. For over a year Uncle had not received the right treatment for his sickness. No one thought he would have the big C, his countenance was fresh and red. He just had this cough that seemed immune to all kind of medicines. It was until August 28th, 2012, that this bitter truth surfaced. My mom brought him to a hospital in Surabaya and in a day he was diagnosed. The doctor said that it was just a matter of time. He went back to Tulungagung and died on December 15th, 2012, 8.45 PM.

I do not know much about Uncle Xiong. When I grew up he lived in Kalimantan and while he was in my hometown, Tulungagung, I was away studying. I only met him during holiday season. This is a story that my mom tells me. I am sharing it to you for it has touched my heart and I hope it does touch your heart too.

At his funeral many paid him a respect. Over 500 breads were consumed--a number that was strangely surprising to my mom--at those mourning days. Uncle Xiong was not a public figure nor someone who liked to draw attention to himself. His life was not even a happy jolly life, I would say. He owned the saddest story of this year (my version).

Nine years ago, the reason why he came back to Tulungagung, his hometown, was that he was divorced. His wife cast him away. She took his daughter and wanted nothing to do with him. He was a rich guy; not very wealthy but had more than enough. He had a plantation and lands. His ex-wife took all of them too. I am not sure how that could happen. But he was left with almost nothing. In Tulungagung, he had to live with his sisters in the East house for he had nowhere to go.

My mom said that that event brought him closer to God. He was never serious about God before his expulsion. In his last months of his life, he never complained, mom said. Whenever he felt better, he always joined the 4.30 morning prayer at church. He also served on Sunday services as an usher, counting how many people were in and distributed church flyers. He did not just lay in bed, doing nothing and felt sorry for himself.

The best thing was that he could still praise God in his lowest time. Everywhere. In some emergency rooms. In bed. At home. Outside. He told people that Jesus is enough. He told everyone he met that the best thing in life is to know Christ. To be loved by Christ. He even shared that he has his own experience with God. He met God and God is a big, strong, and handsome man. Then God said to him that if he ever needed anything he should come to God.

A few days before he was called home, my mom asked him, "Are you still angry? Angry about your wife, what she had done to you?" He replied, "No, I have forgiven her."

No wonder he had so much joy and peace even when he was in a deep black pit of sickness. His heart was not bitter. His heart was filled with God. God indeed replaced his sorrow with strength and contentment.

Anyway, I pray that his family would know Jesus like he does. For us, my prayer --and his prayer too-- is so that we can know Christ and follow Him wholeheartedly each day of our lives, to keep trusting Him with everything we have got, and to diligently study God's Word and keep vigil in prayers.

See you one day, Uncle Xiong!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Wasting time is

Wasting time is spending plenty of time doing something halfheartedly and ends up with nothing at all, but resentment and self pity. 
Have you ever been in my situation? 
I work but my mind is not on my work. It is on 'idle' mode. I, therefore, minimize my work, turn the video player on, and relax, but in a few minutes my mind sends alert signals that deadline is coming. I can relax no more and I can work no longer. 

This is what I realize.
I should do everything wholeheartedly. If I have decided to work, I should work until the work is done. If the work is never ending, I should plan my work so that I will not be over-worked or become a workaholic. If I think I need to rest, I will rest. I will not think about any works that await me and bug me. This way there is no time wasted on being confused. 

Take home points.
Wholeheartedly work. 
Wholeheartedly play. 

Friday, December 14, 2012

10 days before Christmas

I would like to first admit that I have learned hard lessons this year. I went through refining fire. I almost came out burnt as ashes, but praise God, I would not. I believe that He has instilled diamonds quality in me. I will definitely reflects his love more extravagantly once I am out of this furnace. 

Anyways, I just read my own old blog posts from last years. I could see how faithful is my God. He has done great things for my life: saving me from car accident, meeting me with the right people on my traveling, surrounded me with some great folks, allowing me to see the best places of this earth, and many more. Then I wondered if I have had some exciting stories this year. But it is just not the same. This year was less thrilling, less adventurous -- from a story plot point of view. 

Am I being not thankful for this year? I am not. 

I am thankful for everything that God is working on in my life this year. In the top ten of my praise list, somewhere in between God, my coolest family (Mom, Dad, and Lil' Bro), best friends, and church family, there is this guy. He is from Solo. He likes me and I like him. He changes my world. He lightens my burden. He makes me smile. He takes care of me when I am sick and depressed. He surprises me. He listens. 

I know that there is only a few films that tell the after-story of how a boy meets the girl of his life. Those films always end with they live happily ever after. Maybe, film producers that life after that is boring. But I see it differently. I see that things will get much more interesting after 'the end'. 

This post is not intended to tease those who has not found her or his one. I am currently and will be praying the hardest prayer ever prayed, "Lord, let your will be done on me". Courtship is a serious commitment, it is best if I can use this time to really know this guy inside out. Attentive to what God have to say to me, he will give me the strength to do it. 




Map reading

The ultimate GPS system cannot bring us to our destination if we do not carefully read or listen to the instructions conveyed.
Psalm 119:9-10 (MSG)
How can a young person live a clean life?
By carefully reading the map of your Word.
I'm single-minded in pursuit of you;
don't let me miss the road signs you've posted.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

I look to you

This song, originally sung by Whitney Houston, has strengthened me in the last few weeks. Only in God, I'll find my peace and purpose.

As I lay me down,
Heaven hear me now.
I'm lost without a cause
After giving it my all.

Winter storms have come
And darkened my sun.
After all that I've been through
Who on earth can I turn to?

I look to you.
I look to you.
After all my strength is gone,
In you I can be strong
I look to you.
I look to you.
And when melodies are gone,
In you I hear a song.
I look to you.

About to lose my breathe,
There's no more fighting left,
Sinking to rise no more,
Searching for that open door.

And every road that I've taken
Lead to my regret.
And I don't know if I'm going to make it.
Nothing to do but lift my head

I look to you.
I look to you.
After all my strength is gone,
In you I can be strong
I look to you.
I look to you.
And when melodies are gone,
In you I hear a song.
I look to you.

My levees are broken
My walls have come
Tumbling down on me

The rain is falling.
Defeat is calling.
I need you to set me free.

Take me far away from the battle.
I need you.
Shine on me.

I look to you.
I look to you.
After all my strength is gone,
In you I can be strong
I look to you.
I look to you.
And when melodies are gone,
In you I hear a song.
I look to you.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Out in the meadow

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. (Psalm 23:1 KJV)

Other translation says "I lack nothing (NIV)" instead of "I shall not want". In my understanding, it means "I have my shepherd, and it is enough."

But how could I, as human, to be in a state of not wanting anything? I mean, it should be very fundamentally human to want something. I want to take a shower, I want to have fun, I want to eat good food, or even I want a tablet and I want a Google Glass.

So, what does it really show in that verse? How could one say that God's enough?

Maybe what David meant after all is that God knows all we want and need, like a shepherd knows the favorite place where his sheep could feed, the freshest water where his sheep could drink from, and the warmest valley where his sheep could grass and safe out of dangers. Maybe David knows that he should not worry about a thing, for he's got the Mighty Shepherd watching his back.


Friday, November 23, 2012

Esau syndrome


Watch out for the Esau syndrome: trading away God's lifelong gift in order to satisfy a short-term appetite. You well know how Esau later regretted that impulsive act and wanted God's blessing—but by then it was too late, tears or no tears. (Hebrews 12:16:17 MSG). 
Hebrews 12 is filled with some powerful messages. Before getting to the Esau syndrome, the author, reminds the believer in Hebrews to focus their eyes to the goal and be ready to get through anything that comes in their way. He notes Jesus as the perfect example and encourages believers to follow Jesus' lead. He also stresses out that the hardship the believers are going through are merely training and disciplines so that later they find themselves mature in their relationship with God. Lastly, he also encourages everyone to keep running the race and to not to be stumbling blocks by lazying around. 

Friends, allow me to say that we are here for a very long marathon. Stop for a while, drink something energizing, and take a little rest. It is okay that someone else overtakes us (they might eventually get very tired and need a break, and maybe that's the time that we are going to overtake them). But, don't ever give up; how tired and hopeless we are right now. God's lifelong gift is waiting for us in the finish line. 

I hope we all can make it. Godspeed.


Sincerely,
R

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Words of Comfort

Matthew 11 
28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (NIV) 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Near


Hebrews 10
39 But we're not quitters who lose out. Oh, no! We'll stay with it and survive, trusting all the way. (MSG)
39 But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved. (NIV)
Some says that there is always a thousand convincing excuses to quit but very few rational reasons to keep moving on.

When one is at the end of her rope, should she let go or wait for someone else to come to her rescue?
What would one do if he fought a great battle, but suddenly there was an unprecedented event that turn the situation upside down? In a blink of an eye, he was under attack, wounded, and dying. Should he quit hoping for medics and kill himself? Or should he believe that his troop is winning and he is going to be brought back to the camp safe and sound?

I really love this verse on Psalm 85, NIV.

9Surely his salvation is near those who fear him,that his glory may dwell in our land.

I love how comforting the promise is even though it is built on the bitter truth that men need to be saved, including those who fear God.

At the end of our ropes, at the end of our strength and hope, and at the moment where we are about to quit, Christ will show up and save our day. I believe in that, do you?

Sincerely,
R

P.S. Thanks to Jayesslee for the Taylor Swift's safe and sound cover. Thumbs up to the twin's version.

One day

Psalm 84:10 One day spent in your house, this beautiful place of worship, beats thousands spent on Greek island beaches. (MSG). 
Greek island beaches are very pretty; I have seen them on travel journals and experienced some of them myself. But they do not top a moment spent in presence of God, the Psalmist believed. 
There are some things in life that elevate me. Distilled to three things, it comes: sleeping, eating, and hot shower. O, wait, am I missing something? 
I think, yes, I forget to mention a big fun part of my days. God's presence. 
How come? I can't really explain it with words. If I try to remember them. They were the moments where I would just find the strength to go through my day. They were the moments where I could say to myself, I am loved, I am worthy. They were the moments where I feel no fear and believe that today can be the turning point (where the impossible made possible). They were the moments of joy, of peace, and of divine interventions. 
So, have you met ... God today? 

Sincerely,
R

P.S. He's sitting across the bar and winking at you right now. 




Sunday, November 18, 2012

Does God make a new plan too?


I extract this part of my bible reading plan, Hebrews 8, because it kinda shows that God does make a new plan. The story was set when Christ was confirming the new covenant and nullifying the old one. What do you think? Does he do that: re-planning?

Hebrews 8 (MSG)6-13But Jesus' priestly work far surpasses what these other priests do, since he's working from a far better plan. If the first plan—the old covenant—had worked out, a second wouldn't have been needed. But we know the first was found wanting, because God said,Heads up! The days are coming when I'll set up a new plan for dealing with Israel and Judah. I'll throw out the old plan I set up with their ancestors when I led them by the hand out of Egypt. They didn't keep their part of the bargain, so I looked away and let it go. This new plan I'm making with Israel isn't going to be written on paper, isn't going to be chiseled in stone; This time I'm writing out the plan in them, carving it on the lining of their hearts. I'll be their God, they'll be my people. They won't go to school to learn about me, or buy a book called God in Five Easy Lessons. They'll all get to know me firsthand, the little and the big, the small and the great. They'll get to know me by being kindly forgiven, with the slate of their sins forever wiped clean. By coming up with a new plan, a new covenant between God and his people, God put the old plan on the shelf. And there it stays, gathering dust.

Reading this, I began to think, that God is indeed a great strategist and an awesome lover. He could have opt not to play with us at all; jeopardizing his love and life just to earn our hearts. Or, he could have made us robot-like faithful human who always adore and worship him. But he didn't. He gave us the ability to choose; to choose him or anything else. By doing so, I see that he really wants us to be free. What love is bigger than the one that always wishes that his loved ones to be happy even if he doesn't own her?

More than a lover, he is also an all-knowing God. Like an ultimate chess master, it doesn't matter how well we and the rest of the world and its forces play our game, God will win.

That's my opinion. Do you agree or disagree? Leave some thoughts, questions, and messages on the comment box below or email me. I'd like to hear from you!

Sincerely,
R

Warrior Princess

Who says a girl can't be a warrior?

Captivating: unveiling the mystery of a woman's soul by John Eldredge and Stasi Eldredge brings up that a woman wants to be a part of a great adventure. At heart, she is both a princess and a warrior.

This post is my reflection of the Warrior (Film). We watched it last night; after a few weeks of busy days and busy weekends that made it quite impossible to spare some three-hour slot for movie night.

So here is what I learn from the movie:
1. Father and son relationship
2. Forgiveness
3. Why are you here?

As for the first and second point, they are very straightforward. No men can be a perfect father but one can be a Godly father. I personally think that this world does not need more perfectionist fathers but loving and humble fathers. Regarding forgiveness, I believe, it is the one and only key towards restoration of relationships. Forgiveness is a young green leaf in the middle of a desert. It is beautiful to behold.

The last point, "Why are you here?" is what speaks the most to me. It excites me so much that I wanted to sit before the desktop right away and write this section down.

In my head, it sounded more like this. Why am I here? Why am I alive right now? Why am I doing what I am doing right now? What is my initial purpose? Why, in the first place, I have come so far?

And the voices inside continued with one and two statements reminding me of the real purpose of why I am here.

I realize that it is very easy to forget the real reason of doing things. I can easily begin doing something out of routines and take no account on the fundamental reason that kept me going in the first place. It is true that purpose changes, shrinks or expands, and multiplies over time and situations. However, I should not forget my main mission.

Friends, do you have those short-term goals that you need to complete but you have been ignoring them for the last few days or maybe weeks or months? Obliviousness does not move you forward -it doesn't move me forward. You maybe are not a person of change or learning, you hate moving forward, but at times, there might not be any other options. We go back, the past would crush us. We stay still, the present rejects us. What's left to do is to strive for the better, for what's ahead.

Here is an excerpt of a song that confirmed what I learn this weekend. Moving forward by Israel Houghton. I pray that we all see our divine purpose and keep holding fast to it until we finally say that we made it. Have a great Sunday, family!
I'm not going back, I'm moving ahead
Here to declare to You my past is over in You
All things are made new, surrendered my life to Christ
I'm moving, moving forward.

Friday, November 16, 2012

My grown-up not-Christmas list


Hebrews 5
Warning against falling away 
11 We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand. 12 In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! 13 Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. 14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.

I personally say this is no porridge. It is five-course dinner for my spirituality. I almost dropped writing this post today, like I usually do every other day. But as I force myself to write something the truth speaks more loudly to me. I need to face the fact that I am not a baby anymore. Like Britney Spears expresses it, "I am not a girl, not yet a woman". You know what I mean, I have grown, I am supposed to receive more responsibilities, and what I do is to refuse this new identity: an almost woman. Oh my goodness, really, why do I love the idea of Neverland, of not wanting to grow up, of being Peterpan. 

Sooner or later, I realize that I will not be able to escape from the reality. And, instead of waiting for the reality to knock me down all over again, I should better get ready for it. I need to face it. To face my fears of the sad reality and unfairness of life. How am I supposed to do it? 

Based on the scriptures reading above, the way I am supposed to grow is by: 
1. acknowledging that I am no longer a baby (I hope I have done so). A grown-up in many essence has more influence in other people lives than a baby. In this case, I think, we should be willing to embrace the 'grown-up' identity. 
2. eating solid food. Pursue a healthy diet. Make the effort to seek nutritionful intake and avoid junk foods (both for spiritual body and physical one). 
3. constant training. My favorite part (not true, lol): training. Not everyone loves training. It requires a whole lot of dedication, planning, energy, and certain physical fitness. But it is a requirement to be really mature; as the scriptures have said so. It is an active act to get better at something, in this case to get better at understanding a matter or getting wiser. 

I figured, when we were younger, we wanted to grow up so badly, and when we have grown, we want to stay young. With all due respect, I am completely in with being 'young', 'fresh', 'enthusiastic', 'playful', 'cheerful', 
and 'carefree'. Moreover, having faith like children. But in many sense, when we were younger, we were maybe more selfish, naive, witless, reckless, fearful and sometimes foolish. And these are the characters that we should not cultivate as grown-ups.

I think, above all, as we have more Christ-like characters, we will be more ready to step into more of God's promises. In other words, seeing more of 'a whole new worlds'. 

Are you ready for the adventures God is preparing you to take parts in? Embrace the stage of your life right now, make everyday a masterpiece for God, and smile! God is in our side, why fear, why worry?

Sincerely,
R

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Sweet Wake-Up Call


 My close circle of friends know how I love sleep and how difficult it is to wake me up. Sometimes, I don't even care to snooze my alarm. It would go like, "Ring once, ri... *alarm dismissed*." One and a half hour later, "Hoahm", it's nine, "Shoot!"

But this morning went slightly differently. 7:24 AM. I heard the voice inside my head talked to me, "Hey wake up, I am going to bring you to some awesome places."

And, strangely, at once, I woke up. I was puzzled. How could that happen? I guess, it is the feeling that I don't want to miss out on something great.

And when I am fully awake, I think, He does not really have to take me to the central of Amsterdam to show me some awesome works. My life is His works, and I believe, it is going to be awe ... some.

I am so thankful for my God who knows me so well. He even knows how to wake me up sweetly so that I don't have to resent my lack of sleep. And for the works He is working on my life. And today, I determine to live gracefully and wholeheartedly and write this new chapter of mine with more God in the story.

Is God a character in the chronicle of your life, Friend?


R

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Walk on water


Psalm 34:4
I sought the Lord, and he answered me;
he delivered me from all my fears.

Fears can be very haunting and leave us no rooms to hide. 

This morning, I felt a sudden fear in my heart. I didn't know why and where it came from. I could only guess that it's the opposing force who tried to bring me down and ruin my day. Praise God, he sent Holy Spirit to help me drive away the spirit(s) of fear. 

Yes, I figured, it is very human to be afraid and to worry. But fear is not from God. Fear never does us any good too. The only thing it can do to us is to hold us back and stop us from entering the promises of life. 

I just heard a sermon a few weeks ago, about Peter walking on water. Yes, the story has been told so many times and even the Sunday school kids know it, but the message that Sunday was new.

We all know that when Peter walked on that sea, it was during a heavy storm. Above all else, as a fisherman, Peter should know that he could easily be drown if he stepped out of the boat he was on. Moreover, Peter and the other disciples, they were freaking out, afraid that the storm would eat them alive. But, when Jesus showed himself, as repulsive as he could be, Peter said, "Master, if it's you, ask me to come to you." And Jesus did asked him to walk on the water. And he did walk on that water for a little while.

All I can see in this story that morning were three take home points:
1. When Jesus calls, he often calls to do something not ordinary, even at times impossible-for-human-to-do.
2. When one responded to Jesus' calling, he will be able to live a life of wonder (walking on water, building a thousand temples in a night, turn the moon blue, and many more fantasy scenes)
3. The water that one should be walking on or the platform where God would show his power is usually one greatest fear. 

My greatest fear today is the fear of another failure. But I believe, as I try to keep trying and don't give up, I will eventually walk on water.  

Monday, October 8, 2012

Fun = Gift

Friends, in my hard times, I treasure my few happy memories. I long to be in that moments again and again. But, as reality kicks me hard on my dry bones, I can never relive those moments again. It sucks. 

Now, I am left with doing something so monotone. I used to like doing these things. But I don't feel the same anymore. These things become my routines. I hate doing routines. It absorbs away my passion. I feel like my life becomes so very dull. 

However, as I am trying to go on with my life with this routine, I am made understood that having a good time, or simply having fun is a blessing, an awesome gift. And if I can't have a good time by doing something fun right now, why shouldn't I try to make my routine a bit more fun? Maybe, I don't have to try to change things I am not supposed to change, but I simply need to enjoy these moments of torture. 

Is it possible to enjoy a painful process? I don't know. I'm going to give it a try. Do you want to give it a try? If you do, let me know how it turns out for you. Leave comments below. 

Sincerely,
R

You and I


I need You.
You are the air I breathe,
I can die without You.
You make my heart beat,
I have nothing but You,
My only hope and my God.

Release me,
Come through and save me.
I am the one with the little faith.
I am the one who can't see.
I am the one who's not faithful.
Now I turn to You, I want to see You.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Live Creatively

4-5Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don't be impressed with yourself. Don't compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life. Galatians 6 MSG
This is what I need to hear this morning. I came to a point where I didn't have any directions recently. I began to question everything. I doubted myself. I was afraid that I have been walking the wrong path.

Praise God, He always has the right answer. For me the answer is to trust Him by trusting myself more. I am not supposed to lose my confidence. God has my back. I shall be fearless - fearless in the sense of doing the right thing and not in cooking up some illegal conducts and rebellious actions.

Bottom line, God's message for me today is: "What I need to glorify God with my life is in my hands already. I shall not pretend that I don't have any skills at all. That is being oblivious with God's gifts. Be courageous and don't look to my left and right. Keep my focus on Jesus, and Jesus alone."

Be blessed, loves! Have a great weekend!

R

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Sacrifices

"No. I've got to buy it from you for a good price; I'm not going to offer God, my God, sacrifices that are no sacrifice." (2 Samuel 24:24) 
This is what David said to Araunah the Jebusite, in purpose of buying Araunah's threshing floor in order to stop God's wrath upon Israel. The King needed to make sacrifices to ease up the heart of God.

We should feel the sacrifices when we offer something, especially if we need to make up for our mistakes. Luckily, we live in the period of grace when God does not condemn people at once - He is saving all His wrath for the judgment day. Therefore, we don't have to worry about trying to please God to be saved. We are only saved by His grace and not our works. However, it is in God's nature in liking to see us honoring Him with our offerings. Offerings show the sincerity of our love towards God, I would say.

In bringing back the offerings, we have two options:  to give something within our power and we don't feel anything or to give something precious to us but we know that God would like it.

I remember a friend of mine said to me, "Give 'til it hurts."

The best gift is the one that hurts us most.

Friends, gifts have been a symbol of love for thousands of years, that is why the reflection of how you give could indicate on how deep is your love toward somebody. Have you loved him as much? Are you feeling the pain of loving somebody? Be courageous. Love with all you've got. God, the source of all love, will surely refill you with His eternal love.

Sincerely,
R

Season Sale (Almost Over)

Hello World! It's a new morning in Amsterdam. And I don't want to say that it is 'another' day. By now, I should have realized that this should be the day. The day where I take full control and responsibility of my life.

I let many things slip away from my hand and I watch them happen. Most of them were my time. Well, I am thankful that I have started to learn this lesson since I am young. I can't imagine how it would be if I were 45 years ago, and I regretted the things I wasn't able to do just because I haven't felt like doing it or simply because of I was feeling lazy and not in the mood.

Now, I might have second chance -season of grace. However, as it is called a season, there will be a time where it is going to be over. In what area in your life are you now that you feel that you are in this season of grace? Grab the season well! Sow what you need to sow, reap what you need to reap, water what you need to water before winter comes and destroy all your year-long hard work (all my year-long hard work/this-message-is-for-me-too).

Let's work, People! It's not the time to slack behind. The sun is soon setting.

Sincerely,
R

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Seeking God's Heart

I believe that it is not hidden somewhere in heaven. It may only be found by those who seek Him earnestly.

When a girl meets a guy, she doesn't normally give all her heart to him. She longs to be sought after. She wants to be treasured. She is desperate to be romanced.

Man and woman are reflections of God. It can also mean that God has this feminine side. He likes to pursue us the way lovers do. And on the other hand, He might also has the feminine side of being romanced. Sometimes, He can be the jealous type. At other times, He wants our full attention. In any ways, God is a personal God -- He relates to us personally, like a man to another man.

To really understand one's heart, lots of time and effort should be put. As one gets to know one better, the unveiling mysteries become countless. And most of the times it is very interesting and breath-taking to really understand the works done into a person life. Moreover, to dig deep and see the wonders of God's heart must be a heaven of an experience.

Bottom line: knowing God should be the most thrilling experience we have; for we are let known the feelings, the concerns, the desire of God, the Almighty Creator of all heavens and earth. How cool!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Expansively


Does anybody know what these verses are supposed to mean, maybe?

Dear, dear Corinthians, I can't tell you how much I long for you to enter this wide-open, spacious life. We didn't fence you in. The smallness you feel comes from within you. Your lives aren't small, but you're living them in a small way. I'm speaking as plainly as I can and with great affection. Open up your lives. Live openly and expansively! (2 Corinthians 6:11-13 MSG)

Too

You do so well in so many things—you trust God, you're articulate, you're insightful, you're passionate, you love us—now, do your best in this, too. (2 Cor 8:7 MSG)

Sunday, September 23, 2012

5 Rules for Being Human

1. You'll learn lessons.
2. There are no mistakes only lessons.
3. A lesson is repeated until it's learned.
4. If you don't learn easy lessons, it is going to get harder.
5. You'll know when you learn a lesson when your actions change.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Can't wait 'til Sunday

You know when you know you know God is about something to do something great and you can't wait to see what happens. 

I have been preparing for Sunday's Service Praise and Worship and I can't be blessed more than this. I just feel so pumped up that I can't not share this with you, my one and only group of friends online. 

I am a passionate person. I like activities. I like doing things and I don't really like sitting behind laptops and writing blog. No, I am joking, for the latter. But I meant, I usually am an active person. I go out, play basketball or hit some ping pong balls, with no one playing against me -- am unbeatable, what's up y'all. Well, at least I am unbeatable in my family (there you have it, Dad, haha). But please don't come to me in a sudden and challenge me to play with you. I am sure you're gonna kick my ass. 

Anyway, yeah, as how Sunday will go, I am super excited about it because God is so good. He has turned my mourning into dancing. You know, I have been having hard time completing my thesis writing and I still am. But these times I have spent searching for some encouraging songs to be sung on Sunday have already encouraged me a lot. I believe, like He has blessed me today He's gonna bless the ones who attend the service this Sunday. Not because of the songs, but because God is so loving that He wants to bless us with all the richness that He has --caution: it's not just worldly materials that He wants to abundantly pour down on us, but, He's talking healing powers, restoration in relationships, peace of heart and mind, strength to carry on and so on and so on. 

I really hope you would consider going to your home church if you have one this Sunday and if you don't please do pray and look for one, because you will not only have a heap of fun but also witness the awesomeness of God. Jesus Christ.

Be blessed!
Raissa


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Praise You In This Storm

A song by Casting Crown that encourages me today. It is so heart-warming to know that there is someone who is always with me; through the sunny days, the rains, and the storms.

Lyrics: 

I was sure by now
God You would have reached down
And wiped our tears away
Stepped in and saved the day
But once again, I say "Amen", and it's still raining

As the thunder rolls
I barely hear Your whisper through the rain
"I'm with you"
And as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives
And takes away

[Chorus:]
And I'll praise You in this storm
And I will lift my hands
For You are who You are
No matter where I am
And every tear I've cried
You hold in Your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm

I remember when
I stumbled in the wind
You heard my cry to you
And you raised me up again
My strength is almost gone
How can I carry on
If I can't find You

But as the thunder rolls
I barely hear You whisper through the rain
"I'm with you"
And as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives
And takes away

[Chorus]

I lift my eyes unto the hills
Where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord
The Maker of Heaven and Earth

[Chorus x2]



Click to listen to the song.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Remove the Stone

The story of Lazarus normally sounds to me like other miracles that Jesus had done. But today, it played differently in my head.

John 11:38-42 (MSG)38-39 Then Jesus, the anger again welling up within him, arrived at the tomb. It was a simple cave in the hillside with a slab of stone laid against it. Jesus said, "Remove the stone." The sister of the dead man, Martha, said, "Master, by this time there's a stench. He's been dead four days!"40 Jesus looked her in the eye. "Didn't I tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?"41-42 Then, to the others, "Go ahead, take away the stone." They removed the stone. Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and prayed, "Father, I'm grateful that you have listened to me. I know you always do listen, but on account of this crowd standing here I've spoken so that they might believe that you sent me."


This message for me today is about opening up our grave of failures, dead hopes and dreams, and crushed spirits.
Sometimes, maybe most of the times, I bury my broken hearts, I dig a little grave for my sorrows, I build a tomb for my disappointments, failures, bitter memories, and sickness, and try to put a tombstone and engrave "do not dig out, open, nor remove the stone, it is going to stink".  
However, like what He did before Lazarus' tomb, Jesus said, twice, "Remove the stone. Open the tomb up!" His disciples and the dead man's sister kept saying, "But, Lord.". But Jesus didn't seem to want to know the buts and the disbelief. He commanded. It has to be opened. It needs to be opened. It doesn't matter how many times He needs to order people around. I guess, if no one would slide away the stone, He would have done it Himself. He wanted the grave to be opened so that life comes out of it.
Isn't this powerful? He wants to take a look at my 'graves' of misery, 'tombs' of lost dreams, 'coffins' of my broken hearts. He doesn't care if it stinks like crazy, looks so disgusting and deformed, maybe worms all around it. He just wants to revive the dead soul inside me. He goes and will go all the way to do just this. Ultimately, He wants to be known and glorified through those resurrected parts of our lives.
I love this. I love this message. I hope and pray that you also let Jesus, only Jesus, to resurrect you. It is a blessing that we are still alive today. We are not inside the tomb, we are outside, and we are able to remove the stones that closes the tomb. So Friends, even though, it might stink or look really bad, please be brave and remove that stone in your heart and let the living proof of God's love come out of it. The living proof is you: with your resurrected heart. 

His peace be upon us!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Sun and Me

I have been thinking negatively and worrying a lot these past few days. I know I am not supposed to be but I keep doing it. I wonder what happened to me. 

My friend, as she wrote on her latest blog post says something about the reasons people worry. The post is concluded with how worry can be turned into peace of mind while we change our focus -on God and not ourselves. 

I just happen to realize that it could be true. I have been thinking too much about myself. about what I want, what my future would be, what happened if I had done this instead of that. I make me the center of my whole existence. 

Thank God, God is still speaking through His Words and through people around me. The Words tell a whole different story. A story that demands me to go back to the real center, real core of my life. God. Jesus Christ. 

I imagine our galaxy when I think of God as the center. God is the Sun and we are the planets revolving around Him. For thousands or maybe million of years, the Sun has been able to sustain life on earth and to keep any other planet on their own track without crashing into each other. How awesome. The Sun has the power to that keeps everything in motion. 

And then, I think about how I have been unconsciously making me, and my little life, my worries, in the center of it all. I, let's say I am the Earth, replace the Sun. I suddenly feel so foolish, so stupid. I realize that I won't be able to sustain everything that's going on and has been going on for years. I don't have the power to keep it revolving. I guess, everything collapses in the absence of the Sun. 

Now, I try not to dare substituting the Sun with myself. Let Him be the core of my life and let Him have my focus and my devotion. 

In reply to this blog post of a good friend of mine. 

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Power to Rise

No matter how dark the situation may be, God can turn it around. No matter how hopeless life seems, God brings hope. The same power that enabled Jesus Christ to rise from the dead will allow you to rise above your problems.

Rick Warren - The Power to Change Your Life

Monday, July 23, 2012

Lost Found

I lost my wallet today for a short while. Someone stole it but couldn't seem to find what she's looking for. I didn't have any money and credit cards in it. So, she threw it away. Fortunately, she didn't dispose it somewhere too far from the place where I think the stealing took place -- it was inside a store. The shop keepers held it before I came to retrieve it back.

For a moment, I wanted to cry. I was careless. I had been careless for too many times in my life. And now, I am traveling with my mom and brother in a tour across Europe -- I am responsible for the money keeping part -- and I lost my wallet. "How are we supposed to proceed with our journey? We haven't taken some cash out of the ATM." I thought.

Moreover, besides the disappointment to myself, I was more furious than ever. I kept rhetorically asking myself, "HOW did that happen?". I was vigil. So many times I remembered  telling my brother and mom to stay close and watch each other backs and bags. But truth to be told, I was the one who was reckless. Very reckless.

It was no way that I can say grace, or praise. I kept blaming and shouting; taking all my anger out. How in the world, one could do such a low deed of stealing. It is shameful!

In my hopelessness, I let go. I tried to prepare myself for the worst case scenario: dealing with banks and the town hall for issuing new debit card and residence permit. I didn't worry too much about card blocking or anything like credit card frauds. I didn't have any credit cards. At some points, before the wallet was found, I started to push myself to say thank you.

I thought to myself, "It should be the only right time to say thank you to God. Not only for his goodness but also for his works that are above and beyond my imaginations and expectations."

This incident reminded me that I don't own anything. Everything that I seem to have is not mine. It is the creator's. Whenever he wants to take it away from me, he is able and in full right. I don't have the right to claim that it's mine. It hurts to lose something that seems to be mine; how short the possession time is or to lose something that my heart grows super fond of. But ultimately, as I grow content in what I have and not in what I don't have. I do have everything!

Cheers,
Raissa

Friday, July 6, 2012

Jeremiah 17:14

Heal me, Lord, and I will be healed;
save me and I will be saved,
for you are the one I praise. (NIV)


This verse popped out from the rest of my Bible reading of the day. I'm not sure why: maybe I am sick or in need of His mercy, but surely I am dying and helpless without God.


God bless you, Friends! Praise Him all the way.





Friday, June 29, 2012

Chocolate & Help

Just like many other girls in the world, I cannot not say yes to chocolate. Though it seems so sinful, every time someone give me chocolates, I would say, "Ow, another one? OK. Thanks." even when my mind knows that I have had enough chocolate for the day.

Anyway, just like I cannot say no to chocolate, I cannot help not to share this message. It has appeared twice in 10 minutes right after I prayed, "God, I want to write something on my blog today."

So, here is the message: HELP IS ON THE WAY!

These are the web places where I saw the message:
- ODB: June 29, 2012
- Mercies (Israel Houghton ft. Kirk Franklin)

I hope the song and the devotion encourage you like it encourages me! Be strong and faithful 'til our help is here!

Cheers,
Raissa

Everywhere I look

Everywhere I look, I look at Your love.

To the right, I see Your goodness. 
To the left, I see Your mercy.
To the past, I see Your faithfulness. 
To the future, I see Your glory

At this very second, I see You're watching over me.

<3

Heels Heal

Shoes gave me strength to go to work this morning. Pretty strange, huh?


Friday, June 15, 2012

Try

Try. You'll know whether you can lift that weight or not afterwards.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

No Fear

Be strong and take courage! Our Lord is guiding us every step of the way. He's ready to catch us when we fall. (Joshua 1:9)

Monday, June 11, 2012

Joy vs. Rejoice

Philippians 4:4
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!

Today, two people in my close circle mention this same exact verse to me.

I'm in the mood of discussing about having joy in our lives and rejoicing. Is there any difference between the two?

As I have remarked briefly in my previous post. Joy is an outward appearance of peace. I think, it's impossible to be joyful when there is no peace in our lives.

On the other hand, Philippians 4:4 is a command. It doesn't matter what our situation is and what our circumstances are; good, bad, horrible, terrible, or helpless and hopeless. We, as God's children are asked to rejoice.

According to most online dictionaries,
rejoice (v) means:
- To feel joyful; be delighted
- To fill with joy; gladden.
rejoice in (v) means:
- To have or possess

From those definitions, my understanding of rejoice turn from a feeling into an action.

Rephrasing them, to rejoice means to me, an act of giving joy to somebody, or a situation. Let's say we rejoice in the Lord. For me, it means that we are giving God the honor and the glory for everything that He has done. And acknowledging His sovereignty over my life.

And it is different from being joyful. God's peace is a sign that God abides in our life. Sometimes, when we worry or fear about something, God's peace vanishes. And we can't be joyful anymore, for there isn't any peace in our heart. The only way, we can be joyful, is to keep a good relationship with God constantly.

Yes, sometimes, God seems distant. But He's never too far away. He leaves His Holy Spirit to guide us along the way. And as we walk through our tough days with God and keep His peace in our hearts. We'll be able to face the day without worrying too much and fearing unimportant matters.

Conclusion:
joy is a reaction of peace
rejoice is an action of transferring joy into a not-so-joyful circumstances

In a chain line, it can look like this:
God -> Peace -> Joy -> Rejoice

Anyway, these are my thoughts. Please leave a comment if you agree or disagree with me.

Cheers,
Raissa

Peace & Joy (II)

Peace is in inward quiet spirit, not constantly worrying about what will or could possibly happen. Peace is also the kind way we treat others- even when they have done things where we could be mad at them.
Joy is the outward showing of our peace. The face that we are trusting that God will work things out and, in spite of circumstances, we are content.

I have always felt that there is a strong relation between peace and joy, but I've never known what. I googled it and found the above statement in wiki answers. It is very simple but yet very explaining.

Cheers,
Raissa

Peace & Joy

Hey All, I'd just like to share some verses about peace and joy. The thing these people were talking about is real. And it feels great to experience them. I hope that you'd be able to find it too.

Philippians 4:7
Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. New Living Translation (©2007)

Ephesians 3:9
May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. New Living Translation (©2007)

Isaiah 26:3 You will guard him and keep him in perfect and 
constant peace whose mind [both its inclination and its character] is 
stayed on You, because he commits himself to You, leans on You, and 
hopes confidently in You. EAV 
 
G'day!



Friday, June 8, 2012

Double Double

I am officially 22 now.

Like every other 21 years that had happened in my life, I'd never known what 's gonna happen in the next 365 days of my life. As I look back for awhile. I am just awed with my God, JESUS CHRIST, has done in my life. Things that I have never thought and imagined were given to me. I am so very thankful for all the small details that I have gone through.

"Nothing can be wrong when the Sovereign God guides one's path." I'd like to believe that.

This year, anything can happen! Right now I only pray that I'll be obedient enough and diligent enough to hear His small voices in my every day life, even if my Master asks me to do something UNREASONABLE.

Bottomline: I am open to the ways of God! Super curious! Super excited! Super pumped! It'll be a roller coaster! But I'll get off it alive and full of joy!

Friends, help me monitoring my journey with God and people by keeping in touch with me via email or commenting on my posts. Thank you!

Heart you!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Garage Time

God's after the development of one's characters. He wants his daughters and sons to be perfected; everyday shaped to be more like Him.

It's not an easy work, I think, to reshape one's image to His image. If I think about how broken I had been, how deformed my heart was, how nasty my characters were, He must have plenty of work to do. 

I guess, figuratively speaking, He must have seen me as an old, dusty car with broken engine, flat tires, and shattered windows. Maybe, the oil tank is even leaking and the brake does not work. He needs to fix it so badly.

Well, as God is God, I think, He can magically abracadabra this broken car into a new Lambo, but it seems that He does not want to miss the fun. He wants to get His hands dirty and take his time to slowly and painfully work on this hopeless car. I think, He'd like to boast around about it in the end. He wants to say to the world that He has completely transformed the old car to a great, working car in shape. 

We are the chosen people that God loves so much (John 3:16). Being 'worked on', is painful, there are some parts in our lives that needs to be replaced or even molded. Think of, kidney transplant, a patient should be prep for days to get him ready for the surgery. But I believe, it is for the best. He wants to see us roar our engine and hit the road, and go to places He would like us to go. 

Have faith, Friends! What we are undergoing is a temporary 'garage' time. Very soon, we'll be up and running again! Be steadfast til that day comes! 

Friday, June 1, 2012

Work Smard

It's been over three months since I start working on my thesis. I have planned how I am going to do and finish writing it on time but more than occasionally the plan fails.
I can say so many reasons and justifications why the plans have failed but it won't do me any good. There are times when I decide not to plan anymore. I know that the plan won't help much. The only thing it does is to scare me and letting me know that the deadline is approaching. I end up frustrated and unable to do any work.
So, I go to the other extreme. I let it flow. I work whenever I like to work, wherever I am comfortable working at, and with sleeping pj's that I don't care to change. It does me okay but the work progress is still slow. I become easy on myself and let time pass by so easily. The time which I could have used it to work.
I am still looking for the best solution on how to work better. I guess, it is not just about working very hard, but  also about being able to work smart -- and have real fun longer! =D
 In the mean time, I'd like to remind myself to pray, stretch out, have a bit of fun and treats, and back to work diligently. Cheers, Bros and Sisters!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The More

The more we love life, the more we pay attention to small little things that make it so beautiful, grandeur, and majestic above all the mess, chaos, and complexity.

Eyes on the Road

Have you ever found yourself doubting your own belief?

"Doubting is not Godly. It diminishes faith."

I try to learn this by heart. I want to be a woman of faith. But it is not as easy as it seems. I always find myself shaken by someone else's opinion. 

In life, I do not normally get the best options. I only get two mediocre ways out. I have to see the best out of my situation and pick the one with more value. After the decision's been made, I, then, started to realize that my criteria for my decisions were not quite right. This is the point where I silently say, "I wish I would have taken the other way."

I know, it is very normal for human to look back. Looking back can teach us lots of important lessons for facing our today's or tomorrow's life difficulties. However, like in driving, a driver should not look back for too long while he is driving forward, lest he will crash the sidewalk or worse, another car. 

The impact of the act of doubting, regretting, and looking back for too long might not be healthy for our soul, mind, and body. On the other hand, opening our eyes to what's ahead and the views around us will delight our journey and lead us to our destination.

Keep moving on, Friends, and keep your eyes on the road! 

God bless you, 
Raissa

Friday, May 25, 2012

When work becomes a playing ground

I am currently working on my thesis on International Marketing of SMEs. I have not really figured out what I am doing until three months of researching the topic passed.

I have once heard that one ultimate joy that a man could receive in her lifetime is the time when she loves to do her work and is passionate about it. Her work becomes a playing ground.

I am very thankful now that I get the chance to actually spend more time to play with Marketing. I can't say that it is my playing ground yet -it is not my specialty yet- but I would really love to be able to play smarter and with a lot more fun. Who knows one day I'll master the topic.




Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Bravery

Whatever happens, do it with confidence, with bravery! No heroes died in fear.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Life should be lived

A full life is for those who live fully.
A half life is for those who live partially.
A no-life is for those who do not want to live.

Every moment is a gift.
Have we enjoyed every single of them?
Or have we let it pass us by?

Life should be lived. 
Whatever our circumstances are,
We owe it to the one gives life to make the most out of it.


Saturday, May 19, 2012

Dr. Eam



Finn: "Some teachers teach us to drive and some teach us math, but you teach us to dream, Mr. Schue. As far as I am concerned, that's the most important one." ~Glee (edited by: R)