Wednesday, November 27, 2013

When I live abroad #1

My favorite place when I have nowhere to study or work is La Place. It is a chain restaurant with a strong wi-fi access and good-sized warm meals and sandwiches. Additionally, it has a big dining space, so I could stay as long as I want. It does not stop there either. Water is free and plenty. 
As you know it, I recently moved to Nijmegen. Back in Amsterdam or Eindhoven I would know where to sit. A place with electrical plug in sight. But today, I had searched the place and I could not find anything. My battery was draining too. I asked one of the staffs if they have a seat where I could recharge my laptop, and he just answered, plug out one of plugs for the lamp, and use that. 
Isn't that cool? He puts me, the customer, first. 
I began to wonder, if I ever would start a business, I would definitely bring these values. The coolness. The flexibility. The organic approach. The not too rigid kind of way. Favor. Easy. 

La Place. Customer Service: 5*. 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Lazy Productive People

I read a section in an article from the and it quickly changes my view on how to work smart. I confess that I spend most of the times working hard when I could outsource those tasks. On the contrary, I forget to focus my time and energy on something that really matters (higher pay-offs for the time). 

The article also refers to sending the email to that big client or making that phone call  as jobs that pays $1,000 per hour while fixing the leaky faucets or extracting a virus from the computer as jobs that should be outsourced. Anyways, this is my favorite part of the article. Why? Simply because that I usually feel very guilty when I don't do "much" during the day.

Don't feel guilty about relaxing. The most productive people are a little lazy. If there are really only a few hours a day in which you do $1,000-an-hour work, does it really matter if you screw around for the rest of the day? Downtime gives you the mental space you need to think. You can't be a great strategist when you're hustling from morning 'til night. Feed your brain instead, so you're sharp when you're negotiating the next sales contract.

Read more on The 80/20 Rule of Time Management: Stop Wasting Your Time

Hire a personal assistant, pay her $10 per hour, she will gladly do it and you can focus on making the sale; which will pay you $1000 per hour. 

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Masterpiece in Progress

Tonight I am telling a story of my hills and valleys for the last three days of my weekend. And what I got out of it.

  • First valley: FRIDAY evening. I got out in the right station after fell asleep in the train (and right before the train left for the next destination) only to find myself stuck in another train which brought me to my destination 25 minutes late.
  • Neutral ground: SATURDAY. 
  • First hill: SUNDAY evening. I got a dayticket for free for my return train ticket to Nijmegen. Somebody left it behind and I happened to be the first one to find it.
  • Second valley: SUNDAY night. I forgot my moving boxes on the train. My boyfriend and I had to got through a lot of hurdles to bring them home from IKEA. But when I had to switch trains, I foolishly left them behind on the train (they were in between the train seats and were unseen to my eyes). 
Sometimes I do not understand why I go through so much ups and downs in life.
One thing I am sure of is that I am a masterpiece in progress. Eveything that has happened, is happening, and is going to happen to me are like the potter's hands shaping, adding some water, removing some dirts out, and putting me into the furnace. 

And while I am on the making, it might look ugly. Imagine, the potter's hand full of mud and his clothes splashed with too many colour mixtures and you just want to throw it into the laundry machine. But when the work is done. Rich people are going to fight for it in an auction room. And after a few years, it will stand proudly in one of the greatest museum hall like the Louvre.

Friends, I might not know everything about life now or on my lifetime. But one thing that we can believe on. We are masterpieces in progress. God is the God of artists. He creates beautiful things. And what he creates are always good.

I do not know in what kind of situations your life is in right now. You have experienced disappointments (some to other people and mostly to yourself). You feel that your life is out of control although you have been depending on God as much as your strength could go. Or you feel that you end up in a big mess that strikes you like a lightning. 

God is still working on you.

God is shaping you.

God is carrying out his vision in you.

You are not forgotten. You are here for a great purpose. You are a showcase of God's awesome and mighty works! Don't give up on your life because God has not given up on you. Be willing to be shaped unless you want to make the process longer. Lastly, everyone around you is also a work in progress. You might feel that you are alone in the furnace of life, but you really are not. Everyone can be in the furnace with you. 


Sunday, October 20, 2013


Sunday morning rain is not falling, there is no reason for me to snooze away and tuck me back under the warm blanket. The odd thing happens again. I wake my alarm up. I mean, my eyes are opened before the first alarm even rings. It rarely happens to me. Rarely, except the last few weeks after I moved to Nijmegen.

I still can't figure out why I wake up earlier than usual. However, it seems that it is for my own benefit. 

The one obvious answer is that I do not miss church. I am going to Hillsong Amsterdam this week and as planned (I had checked the train timetable the night before) I need to take the 9:18 train. When I get to the train station at 9:07, that train will not get me to my destination. It will stop half way. In short, I have to find out another way to get to Amsterdam on time. 

I remember that the next train will make me late to church and even after I stare at the train information display, I do not see Amsterdam. I ran to the information desk just to see that the train to Amsterdam will leave in 3 minutes. 

Perfect timing!

I do not know how it is going to be if I wake up late today. I might be very grumpy and would not be able to enjoy God as much in the service. 

Sometimes I do not even realize that little things like waking up early is also a part of God's design in my life. It is his little prompts and small voices to be the best of us everyday. 

Have I been listening to him as much? Have you? Start with obeying the small little thing he asks.

Happy Sunday, everyone!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Switch

God has come to restore broken relationships between
A father and his son,
A mother and her daughter,
A brother and his sister,
A husband and his wife,
A friend and her old friend,
A pastor and his assembly,
A boss and her employee, and
You and yourself. 
It does not matter how bad it looks right now or how hopeless you think it is, God is able to fix it. Do not wait 'til the other party make the first move, release your forgiveness first, bless them first, talk to them first, call them first, whatsapp/bbm them first, and tell them you love them first. And in case you are not in a good term with yourself, cut some slack, treat yourself better, feel good about yourself, and let it (the disappointment) go. 

I do not understand why I write this post out of the blue, but I do believe that there is power in restored relationships. When God has made the broken relationships new, we will be living proves of His work and His love. And we will freely shout that "True love exists. In Christ alone."


A Good Good Morning

I was about 1-minute behind the schedule and I saw my bus passed by me. It was about 200 more meter til I got to the bus stop. I thought to myself, "Oh, great, I am so gonna miss that bus. The driver will not wait for me." So I decided to run after it.

While I was letting go the sad fact that I might have to stand and wait for the next bus that comes in 15 more minutes, I suddenly saw an old lady walking slowly to the bus and she would be the last to enter. I grasped it. That was my chance. I ran for it.

I was still about 5 second run from the bus, but the old lady had entered the bus, the bus' door was closed as well. I almost lost hope 'til I saw that the bus was not moving yet. It waited for me. I could not believe it. It was the first time that a public bus actually waited for a late passenger like me. I finally made it and thanked the bus driver.

He was the kindest bus driver. And even though I ran out of breath, I had a good good morning.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Not Forgotten

God has always been thinking of us. He is preparing many great surprises for us; the ones that we actually need and like. 

In the circle of my close friends, it is known that I have been searching for a job for quite some time. They also know that since two weeks ago I have been offered a trial period in a company in Nijmegen.

Here's the complete version of the story...

For the 7 months I searched for employment, I had been in a long, dark, endless valley. Months passed without leaving any lasting trails and days went by like minutes. Part-time jobs, church, one-or-two days doing nothing except watching TV series, and one-or-two days trampling up and down the internet searching for a job was my weekly routine.

I tried so hard to be financially independent; I thought it was a sign of growing up and having a degree. However, sometimes I would still find myself calling my Mom and asking her to send some money over. Three part-time jobs still could not meet my ends for being able to stay in Europe. [Thanks Mom & Dad for not being stingy with me].

Amsterdam was and is a great city. I like the crowdyness of the streets and the presence of good foods. In my top list of the most frequent visit to a restaurant comes New King, Nam Kee, Kam Yin, Sumo, and the 10€ all-you-can-eat spare ribs place. They make me feel alive and in a movement --in Eindhoven, the city I had stayed before was quieter.

Once I knew that I would move to other city for work, I was very anxious. Since 2008, I had never visit that part of Holland. I did not know what the city has to offer. I was thinking to travel everyday from Amsterdam to Nijmegen. A total of 4 hours of commuting time. 

The first two days of traveling were exciting until the third I began to catch a cold. My will was surely strong but not my body. Thankfully, the boss and colleague insisted me to find a room in Nijmegen and I did send out some interests letters for room ads. That third day, I got a reply and a room. Fourth day of work, I moved in to Nijmegen.

After settling into my room, I wandered to the closest Albert Heijn, chose to take the other route back home, and finally found myself lost in the city.

The rain had just washed the streets of Nijmegen. From the fly-over bridge, the dark orange sky and the sun-setting sun said good-night behind the old church. The down- and up- hills road almost took all my energy away but the views keep giving me a little bit more energy to bike forward. In the oldest city of the Netherlands, I found some artistically-designed museums and city monuments, and some stone-paved roads--must be some left-overs from the Romans day.

At that moment, this thought all flashed down into my head, "It is awesome. Beautiful. Surprising. More than what I imagined the city would be like." And I remembered that God is faithful and the better is really in my future. 

I really believed that there would not be a city better than Amsterdam in Holland but there is. Yes, it took my friends and boss to insist me to move so that I would be able to be where I am right now, but a push and a nudge is sometimes needed for someone like me.

All in all, I am made believe that it is all God's doing. No plans would never fail His plan in my life--I am believing yours too. And indeed, He goes all the way to make it happen for us, even in our reluctance. 

Be prepared for surprises, friends!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Ineke & Clara

Recently I enjoyed watching Friends more than ever. My bestie likes the show too. We often imagine how life would be if our friendship could be as strong as the ones in that classic series of American TV.

Just as we were discussing about it, I was in a train with my soon-to-be colleague and sat beside two elderly women. Out of the blue, they started complementing how pretty we were and how unique our faces and hair colors were. FYI, Soukaina comes from Morocco and I come from Indonesia and it is quite common to find Indonesians and Moroccons in the Netherlands. So, to find them talking some good things about us was shocking.

Ater the shock, we started conversing about stuff and made jokes of why after 5-year living in this land of milk and cheese I haven't been able to speak the language boldly. They were so easy to talk to--they have so much to talk to us about, how generations change, how cool they were when they were younger, their travels, their kids, their lives, and most importantly their friendship.

I was the one who asked, "how long have you two known each other?"

They simply answer, "60 years, this year?"

I dropped my jaw. 60 years! My daddy has not even lived that long. Anyway, the meeting with those two ladies made me believe that friendship still exists and it is a beautiful scene to behold. 

Friendship looks good on TV but it is much better in reality. 

Why don't we thank God for a moment for the ones we have today and everyday in the next 60 years of our lives?

Very honored and thankful to encounter you, Ineke & Clara. 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Beautiful Things

Along with the ups and downs of my spiritual journey, I admit that I have not been praising God with songs and music as much as I used to. Not that praising God in quietness and solitude is wrong, but it is my style to express my gratitude and my feelings with noise. I switch to immersing myself in and studying the Word more than I used to. I made notes and read the word in different versions, just to get a different rhema each day. 

Strangely, without a clear reason, recently, I miss my old style of praise. But as I try to open my mouth, I can hardly say any words nor sing any songs. I am lost for words. Probably, I am not used to it anymore. However as I keep trying to make it a habit, this song below came to me. It was the song that I used to sing almost everyday before the switch. I have forgotten it for a while. But when I start singing it again, I realize that this is my prayers.
Jadikan Aku Indah (GMB) -- Turn me into something beautiful 
Jadikan aku indah
Yang Kau pandang mulia
Seturut karya-Mu didalam hidupku
Ajarku berharap hanya kepada-Mu
Taat dan setia kepada-Mu, Tuhan
Turn me into something beautiful
So You'll see me worthy (holy)
According to Your works in my life
Teach me to put my hope in You only 
Obedient and faithful to You, O God
Kudatang ya Bapa
Dalam kerinduan
Memandang keindahan-Mu
Kuberikan s'galanya
Semuanya yang ada
Ku ingin menyenangkan hati-Mu oh Tuhan 
I come to You Father
With a longing heart
I admire Your beauty 
I am giving you my all
Everything there is with me
I want to please Your heart, O, God

P.S. Sorry for the rough translation. Hope you get me. 

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Elixir of Life

Every little thing is a blessing,
if only we see it.
Take me to mountain tops,
save me from this darkness.
I want to see it all,
Your goodness to me.
I want to thank you,
Your amazing hands.
Re-blogged from Mumble Bumble Jumble. Check out the link and see the story behind these texts. Your cases may be heavier than mine, but despite all, remember to give thanks. Make a habit out of it. Find out that it is the elixir of life. Hopefully, when difficult times come and we find it hard to give thanks, we'll do it anyway because it is our lifestyle. It is incorporated in our soul, heart, and mind.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Keep Singing

I have started listening to this band since I was in high school. MercyMe CDs I had left at home. Thanks to Spotify, I can hear their songs again. This one, Keep Singing, feels so true recently. 

Another rainy day
I can't recall having sunshine on my face
All I feel is pain
All I wanna do is walk out of this place
But when I am stuck and I can't move
When I don't know what I should do
When I wonder if I'll ever make it through
I gotta keep singing
I gotta keep praising Your name
You're the one who's keeping my heart beating
I gotta keep singing
I gotta keep praising Your name
That's the only way that I'll find healing
Can I climb up in Your lap?
I don't wanna leave
Jesus, sing over me
I gotta keep singing
Can I climb up in Your lap?
I don't wanna leave
Jesus, sing over me
I gotta keep singing
Oh, You're everything I need
And I gotta keep singing


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Will of God

 Rejoice. Pray. Give thanks. At all times.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Many times I find myself searching about what God wants me to do--a grand plan for my life--up to a point where I simply overlook the straightforward truth of the will of God.

Photo courtesy from Ps. Steve's Blog

Seize life!

Seize life! Eat bread with gusto,
Drink wine with a robust heart.
Oh yes—God takes pleasure in your pleasure!
Dress festively every morning.
Don’t skimp on colors and scarves.
Relish life with the spouse you love
Each and every day of your precarious life.
Each day is God’s gift. It’s all you get in exchange
For the hard work of staying alive.
Make the most of each one!
Whatever turns up, grab it and do it. And heartily!
This is your last and only chance at it,
For there’s neither work to do nor thoughts to think
In the company of the dead, where you’re most certainly headed.

~ Ecclesiastes 9:7-10 (MSG)

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Less Helpless

Psalm 121:1-2 say,
I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.

I look up to the mountains;
does my strength come from mountains?
No, my strength comes from God,
who made heaven, and earth, and mountains.
~ Message
There are times when I feel helpless. A helplessness that is similar to what Apostle Paul expression in Romans 7:15 (NIV) "I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do."

At those times, as I do what I hate to do I begin to hate myself, my situation, my limitations, and everything else. Like in the movie, Click, I want to quickly grab the remote and press the skip button.

However, at those times, God's love becomes very real, especially through the word. As I unconsciously recite Psalm 121:1-2 (see the quote earlier), I began to read it in parallel with the Message version. Do you see the red line?

The Psalmist, like me, is looking for help. I was looking for a grand rescue act. I was waiting for somebody to save me. But what does the Message version say about help? It means strength.

Strength is the answer. I never realize if I am strong I can overcome. I have always thought that I need to be rescued. Not once and not twice but all the time. I expect somebody would do all the dirty work, fight the battle, and save me, the beautiful princess whose body is trapped between snapping tree.

But today's word is saying to me that what God does is not to change situations or to send Michael, the Archangel, to come through and help me out of my problems. Instead, he changes me by giving me [enough] strength to overcome.
Drawing near to him is like filling our car's tank with enough fuel, feasting our body with healthy food, or recharging the batteries of our mobile devices with full power. 
Have Super-Powered Day, Folks!

Saturday, June 8, 2013


Today, June 8, 2013, I am officially 23 years old. I am thankful for my family; they are the greatest. My friends; they are my inspirations. My God, Jesus Christ; without Him I am nothing.

Dear Future Raissa,

   Pray boldly
      Live fearlessly
         Love abundantly
            Learn from the ants
               Have fun more seriously
                  Be thankful a little bit more
                     Trust God completely

22 years old Raissa

Monday, June 3, 2013


For those who are not satisfied with themselves and even started to doubting about self-worth. This is for you.
Clay doesn't talk back to the fingers that mold it, saying, "Why did you shape me like this?" Isn't it obvious that a potter has a perfect right to shape one lump of clay into a vase for holding flowers and another into a pot for cooking beans? ~ Romans 9 (MSG)
Inspired by +Ribka Soesilo 

Thursday, May 16, 2013


Sometimes all I need to do is to stop thinking and worrying about others and start thinking and worrying about me instead.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Iron Man's Armor

I was just chatting with my lovely boyfriend, who is now in Venice, traveling with his family and making me stay all by myself in Amsterdam (no, he did not actually make me stay, I chose to stay, red.).  The topic was today's message at church "Hope in Jesus is An Anchor to Our Soul".

Yes, if I were a sailor. 

I began with objecting the analogy. I believed that when a ship sets on its anchor, it is close to shore. If not, how could the anchor reached the bottom and hold the ship still? So, if the ship is now close to the shore, I would be jumping out of the ship and choose to live in the island. Why would I face never-ending water and occasional storms everyday? 

The truth is I am not a sailor. 

This analogy is not applicable for me. The pastor needs to think of another one. What would he say if he's actually preaching only to me?

He's going to think that in the land, I would face mystical tree creatures (see Life of Pi), opposition of the original tribes (see Ace Ventura), dinosaurs (Jurassic Park), and many other challenges.And now he really has to think what would be an equivalent replacement for anchor in the land. 

An invisible cloak? Probably. 

Superman's superpower? Yes. 

My favorite is Iron Man's Armor. 

I guess, if I could put another hope beside in God, I'd like to have an Iron Man's armor. It's going to definitely solve almost all my problems in the land. 

Anyway, I was trying to prove to my he's-going-to-be-handsome-all-his-life, that there can be a life where I can survive without my anchor (God). It was by escaping to the life in the land. But I only come to face much more troubles in the land. 

Really, there is no safe place or real hope on earth and under heaven that I can put my trust onto. Can you think of something? Let me know. 

Jesus is the sole hope for my soul!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

F Words

Happiness is not everything in life, I agree. However, it does not mean that I should not pursue it at all.

Have you been happy lately? Full of joy?

I have and I haven't. Family, friends, food, and films make me happy. Yet sometimes they also make me unhappy. How could the 'f' words be so bipolar? I do not understand and I cannot understand as well. All I understand is that I will cherish them as long as they are around.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Punk Samaritan

I have been thinking to write about this post for over two months. And finally I am able to put this on writing today. I hope it says something to you.

Maastricht, end of January 2013. I am not sure if it was the 19th or the 26th, but it happened after Gereja Misi Indonesia Maastricht anniversary. I was supposed to ride with Om Rene and Tante Chrysant to get to their place and wait for the carpool to Eindhoven. Matheus, my man, got in our car as well.

It was around 8 PM, a few hundred meters after we entered the highway, the engine of the car started going down. Decelerating, the car could not make it to the shoulder of the road. When we turned back, we also realized that we were right after the entrance passage of the highway. Cars passed us by in high speed. Some were also very shocked seeing a car, not moving, blocking their way.

Inside the car, I prayed so hard hoping that those who come out of the highway entry turn, could see us, slow down, and proceed to their journey safely. Tante Chrysant and Om Rene were busy looking for ANWB's number (ANWB's are the emergency roadside assistance in the Netherlands), Matheus braved himself to go out of the car, carried only a mobile phone, and tried to direct the traffic behind.

It took the ANWB a long time to be able to locate us. It almost seemed that we were invisible. Probably, because we were in the highway and we had no GPS with us. Shortly, they were on the way, but the time they took to get to us felt so long since our car was still blocking the way of others and the tail lights were slowly turned off. The car's battery ran out of power eventually. At that moment, every passing car that did not hit us felt like a blessing.

It was dark and cold winter, especially with the razor-felt wind that was cutting through my face. Om Rene had ordered everyone to go out of the car in case something bad happened. Before long, a car stopped, it was not ANWB, it was a guy and a girl in their 20s, punk-like, and smoked so hard who first offered us help. They suggested that we should move the car to the shoulder of the road and also asks if we have the emergency triangle in our car.

After some searching, they could not find anything in our car. We did not know if we have that kind of tools, since it was a rental car, Om Renee's car was broken, and the car that was lent to him by the rental place was, in fact, still broken. Seeing that there was nothing else that they could do there, they leave us.

We kept waiting like lost children beside the road.

Strangely, the ANWB took very long time to come. These two kind punks made it to us once again. They even brought a rope for towing and the police light stick. With the police light stick, cars could better see our car from afar. In the mean time, the others try to tie our car with their car. They were going to tow it to a safer place.

In the end, they succeed to bring us to the closest fire department station and there, ANWB could find us easily.

I have learned from this thrilling experience that people still believe in goodness. Yes, I see, many crimes and evil in today's world, but it does not mean that the good has lost. It is in many people's heart. Even though their look or their acts say that I don't care about what's happening in this forsaken world, but some really stop and offer a hand to those in need. And some even go for the extra miles to save people.

How do we react to people's need today? Do we let it pass by, like many other cars that passed by our car that night, without even hitting their brake pedal for a little bit? Or, do we stop, step out of our car, and offer them some help, like what the Punks did to us?

At times, I acknowledge that I do not act like the kind Samaritan. When somebody ask for a direction, I did not bother to stop, take out my Blackberry, and help her locate their destination with my GPS. I struggle with this kindness issue. But I believe, it is not too late for me to change and make the world a better place. Are you ready to fill this world kindness? I think, if we move together, we could make a wave of kindness. And this world won't feel so hopeless that much.

Thursday, April 4, 2013


A recent talk with the greatest mentor of my life, my Mom, resulted in this reflection about Joseph, the son of Jacob.

Joseph's life from the bird's view looks like downsteps. Do you remember how his brothers hated him when he was still in his father's house? And then how his brothers threw him into an empty well and sold him to the Egyptian? Not long after, Joseph became a slave in a foreign land without any relatives surrounding him. He was lonely and forgotten. The worst of the worst, he became a prisoner for a crime he never committed. Step after step is a step down, a step going from bad to worse, worse to worst.

However, the beautiful thing is what looks like downsteps in eyes of man, is the upsteps in the eyes of God. In the end, Joseph ruled over Egypt and saved his kin.

Are you feeling that your life is not getting better? You feel that you are always in difficult places and you don't seem to be able to jump out from the downward spirals. Be strong and have hope, our God is bringing you to a higher ground, he is working on your character and your mentality to get you ready for the challenges of being a ruler, a leader, a history maker, a world changer. Stay put, our time will come!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

To care or not to care?

I have trouble knowing how much I should care about some people. I never know when they would need us and when they do not. I hate the idea of overstaying my presence, but some really need the extra time to open up.

Do you have similar experiences? What did you do? Did you end up having a closer relationship with that person?

Or should I just stop caring too much because some really do not need my care?


Wednesday, March 13, 2013


Some of you may already know that I recently work part time in a restaurant --while trying to look for a full-time job. Unlike my previous working experiences, this part time job gives me a weekly pay instead of a monthly pay.

I used to give my first pay as an offering for honoring God. I did exactly that with my first week salary. The next week, I got extra hours at work and that week salary doubled. I got back what I gave out to God. God really does not owe us anything. On the other hand, he always tests our obedience.

That was the first test. The second test was about tithing. Since my last internship on August 2012, I had not earned anything aside from my parents' pocket money. In some way, I stopped tithing. Now, that I have an income, the question of tithing comes around once again.

Should I set aside 10% for God?

At the end of last week, I decided not to change the way I allocate my money. I supposed since I have given more to God in offering than last year, the tithe can fund the offering budget. I felt fine doing that. I thought, it felt God, I did not lose my peace. I supposed that God was okay with that too.

It was only half a week after that seemingly right decision that God corrected me. Here is how he speaks to me.

I had the urge to throw away the old paper waste this afternoon. Those papers had piled for months and months and no one cared about it, even me. So, I came to my clean and feminine senses, and got a plastic bag and took it outside close to the public garbage bin. I had never disposed paper before although I had lived in this area for over a year. In Eindhoven, the place where I used to live in, paper waste should be separated from the organic waste. I thought that that rule also applies here and I finally just left the bags filled in with paper outside the bin.

It turns out that the act of leaving any garbage outside the bin is a law breach. I get a fine. Not 15 Euros. 90 Euros plus administration costs. And I know it right away that it was a reminder for me not to steal from God. Not that he needs money. It is just that he does not want me to be a thief. That's all. Tithe is his and if in any case, I want it. I am wrong.

He loves me so much so that he does not want to see me going deeper in the wrong way. Whatever it takes, he is bringing me back to his side, to the right place, the correct way.

Rebuke does not always mean hate,
it only tells that a child needs her dad. 

Friday, March 8, 2013

Perfect Timing

I wanted to go straight home after my shift, especially after the last guests came late and we got to finish up much later than usual. It was 9:28 pm and I had two minutes before my metro left --I would not be able to make it for that metro if I walk normally, I got to run. The next one was the 9:40 pm. I really did not wanna wait in the cold much longer. So I ran and I made it.

Inside the metro, I checked my earplug. I thought I had my iTouch in the pocket of my jacket, but all I got was the other end of the cable. Panic attacked. Quickly, I decided to get off the metro in the next station and took a metro back. Thank God, as I looked for it I found it. And I, after all, took the 9:40 pm metro home.

This whole night sport for my heart tells me one thing. Yes, it is about being more careful next time, but more than that, it is about God's perfect timing. I can try as hard as I could or run as fast as I could but if God wants me to take the 9:40 metro, I will take that.

Nothing is an accident for God. He designs everything for the good of the people he loves. Even my shortcomings, carelessness, and stupidities, he considers them all in his perfect plan. I am now reminded to not worry whether I am in the right place or not. Yes, I am in God's perfect timing.

~ Raissa

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Spread the Rumour

I admit I once lived by rumors of you; now I have it all firsthand - from my own eyes and ears! Job 42:5 (MSG)
I find myself deeply immersed in the reading of this book, highly recommended by a good friend of mine, called Jesus Is. It tells stories about who Jesus really is in a very simple today's language. It quickly captivates my attention --and my emotion-- 'til I can't stop nodding my heads and say, "This is new. This is awesome."

I love good stories, even more the great ones. Well, who doesn't? And as I recall Job, I picture him sitting under a tree with some of his friends just right before his tent, exchanging stories. When the night comes, the audience changes, his grandchildren gather around him, and he began the "Once upon a time..." story.

That is before Job going through hell-on-earth and back. After his unimaginably painful sufferings, Job finally acknowledges that God is mighty and powerful and he is alive. He has an experience with God. It is no longer the stories of his friends.

While pondering on this verse, a thought kicks in. Is it possible for Job to know that the experiences he goes through is from God, if Job has never heard of the story of God before? I personally do not think Job will know. He will rather believe that he is out of luck or all the curse cards are falling upon him.

Job must have felt that it has happened before, to someone in some places, distant. He must have felt that what is happening to him is not new. He hears about it before. Thus, he hangs on --until God returns what is taken away from Job.

What I see in this story was not just how Job experiences God first hand but the stories of how people --and maybe Job's friends-- tell stories about their experiences with God. They do not keep silent. They see the great work of God, his creation, his miracles, and his salvation, and they share it to the world. These sharing of experiences, I dare to say, build up the faith of Job --a man who's known as the most durable man on the history of the earth. Without them, Job might not be as strong as he will be.

Have you shared the goodness and the coolness of God with people in your life today? There may just be a person who needs to hear it lest he will not make it 'til dawn.
Faith comes through hearing, and hearing of the Word of God. Romans 10:17 (KJV)

Monday, March 4, 2013

Energy Booster

The joy of the Lord is my strength. Nehemiah 8:10.

I have always thought that this verse means the divine joy that is GIVEN for us from above to go through our day joyfully. However, even though I still think that my understanding of that verse is not completely wrong, but it is also not complete.

Reading this verse once again yesterday, this verse read to me, "Jesus' joy, God's joy, Holy Spirit's joy is my strength". I began to think that maybe the joy is NOT GIVEN to us. The joy is God's. But instead, strength is given to us. Strength to overcome our obstacles and rise to victories.

The only thing we left to do is to make the joy meter of God full. When He's smiling, happy with our lives, satisfied with our action and decision, proud of us, we will not run out of life energy. Nevertheless, we will surely prevail against the evil forces that are trying to hold us back and keep us from living in the promises of God.

When was the last time you thought of God's feeling when He sees your life?

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Never Before

"What no eyes has seen,
what no ear has heard,
and what no human mind has conceived"
--the things God has prepared for those who love him--
1 Corinthians 2:9
Have I ever told you how I finally had my graduation ceremony? It is not a funny story, so, stop reading.

This is the very short version. I was supposed to have my graduation ceremony on the 21st of February. The event had been fixed since a few months ago. After I passed my final defense in the end of January, I invited Mom to come over and attend the ceremony. She bought the ticket and got her visa and she was ready to fly. However, it got cancelled two weeks before the day. Mom could not believe that the school would do that. We sent a letter of complaint to the school. After a few days of conversation --or two days before the planned event-- the school agreed to hold an exclusive graduation ceremony for me. Mom came and we had a quick, no-hassle ceremony, and accompanied with free three-course meal from the school. It was awesome and never before --at least Mom has never seen anything like it before.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Fear not

Fear not, for I am with you;
Be not dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you,
Yes, I will help you,
I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’
~Isaiah 41:10 NKJV

Lady Wisdom

Wisdom is not too faraway of our reach. It is only as far as how responsive our eyes, ears, and feet to spot and embrace it.

I have read the book of Proverbs for more than a dozen times. But this morning, reading again Proverbs 8 (MSG) has opened my eyes to the secrets of finding this-so-called precious Lady Wisdom.

I have always thought that Lady Wisdom is a treasure, buried deep-down in the deepest ocean. I got to have the most advanced technology to screen the ocean floor (think of the movie, Titanic). However, this morning, I just realized that Lady Wisdom is everywhere. Verse one and two of the passage explain it. It is said,
Do you hear Lady Wisdom calling?Can you hear Madame Insight raising her voice?She’s taken her stand at First and Main,at the busiest intersection.Right in the city squarewhere the traffic is thickest, she shouts,
The only thing I could have done differently to find it is to be more alert, more receptive, with what I hear, see, and think in my daily life. The answer is not deep down in the ocean. But it is around me, in my routines, in the roads that I pass through every morning, and the people that I live and work with every waking moment.

So, have you been listening to what they say? Have you been seeing what they've been trying to show you? Let us not harden our heart and be transformed with the renewal of our minds in Christ Jesus.
Blessed the man, blessed the woman, who listens to me,
awake and ready for me each morning,
alert and responsive as I start my day’s work.
When you find me, you find life, real life,
to say nothing of God’s good pleasure.

Raissa Setiawan

Monday, January 21, 2013


I wish I would never have to write this post. But because there are no accidents, I, wholeheartedly believe that this is for you, for us. 

Last week, when I wrote the post entitled Treasure, it was about my Blackberry phone. I lost it. And it was not the first time I lost a mobile phone. It was the fifth. Up to now, I am not sure whether somebody stole it or I carelessly drop it somewhere. 

Losing this Blackberry hit me hard. It had been in my life for almost two years and always been there for me when I wanted to call, message, and talk to somebody. I thought it would still be with me for another decade. I treasured it. 

In a way, I feel rob. I feel that some parts of me are missing. I am incomplete without my Blackberry. Moreover, it is very hard to find as good of a replacement as the lost one. I know, there are many cooler phones out there, but they will not be able to replace the memory that we had. 

On the other hand, I am also strongly reminded about this verse. John 10:10a (NIV).
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; 
John 8:44 says that the thief is Satan (I am not implying about human thief here, but the spiritual thief). Thus I begin to ask me, ask us, these questions. Are we always guarded? Have we build a strong wall or the most advanced security system in our lives to fight against this thief? Or is it more often that we let our guards down and we are not alert that we are in a dangerous zone while the thief is targeting us? 

At times, I admit that I forget that I am in a constant spiritual battle. I think, God is my shield and my salvation, He is gonna have my back. So, I do not really put my armors tight while I am living my daily life. Is this kind of thinking right? Now, no, I do not think so.

Other parts of the Bible also say that (1) our battle is not in the flesh, it is spiritual, (2) we have to put on the full armor of God to be able to stand against the devils' scheme. In other words, we must be guarded all the time, lest we would be bruised, stripped, and left with nothing. 

Losing a Blackberry is not fun. Now I have to pay a big amount of money to get a replacement for it. But I think, it is worse if we lose something precious spiritually (for example: our quality and communication channel with God), because it might be harder and more costly to redeem that. 

I sincerely pray that we will always be ready to fight the devil to stop the devil from stealing from us any longer. We got to fight for more victories in our lives! 

P.S. If God is for us, who could stand against us. Yes, God is there to fight with and for us, but, no, it does not mean that we are free from the battle. We still got to fight, Friends!

Raissa Setiawan

Friday, January 18, 2013


Precious. Lost. Hard to let go.
Better. Treasure them with all our heart. Now. 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


The reflection of the sun from the icy road was so bright this morning. It was like glaring at the sun directly. I got to be really careful while riding my bike home. 

I got to be thankful to God that the sun does not normally shine this bright when it is raining or snowing. I thought, if it does, there could be many more accidents happened in the road, merely because of the limited range of the drivers' sight caused by the bright reflection from the road.

Praise God for He thinks of every little things. 

Monday, January 14, 2013

The Cursed Fig Tree

Mark 11 (MSG)
12-14 As they left Bethany the next day, he was hungry. Off in the distance he saw a fig tree in full leaf. He came up to it expecting to find something for breakfast, but found nothing but fig leaves. (It wasn’t yet the season for figs.) He addressed the tree: “No one is going to eat fruit from you again—ever!” And his disciples overheard him.

...The story suddenly switch to Jesus chasing out the merchants of the Holy Temple. However, the next day...

20-21 In the morning, walking along the road, they saw the fig tree, shriveled to a dry stick. Peter, remembering what had happened the previous day, said to him, “Rabbi, look—the fig tree you cursed is shriveled up!”
22-25 Jesus was matter-of-fact: “Embrace this God-life. Really embrace it, and nothing will be too much for you. This mountain, for instance: Just say, ‘Go jump in the lake’—no shuffling or shilly-shallying—and it’s as good as done. That’s why I urge you to pray for absolutely everything, ranging from small to large. Include everything as you embrace this God-life, and you’ll get God’s everything. And when you assume the posture of prayer, remember that it’s not all asking. If you have anything against someone,forgive—only then will your heavenly Father be inclined to also wipe your slate clean of sins.”

I find this story very odd. It seems to me that Lord Jesus woke up in the wrong side of the bed. For the whole day, He was all so pitchy, cursy, and angry. 

Out of no where, still quite early in the morning, He could not be a little bit more patient to the fig tree knowing that it was not yet the season for figs. I wonder if His disciples were as startled as I am seeing the way Jesus reacted. 

But, He must have a good reason for doing so. 

If I could take a guess, Jesus was trying to say, "Watch out with your words while you are not feeling fine or in a good mood. It can kill a person."

In the later section of the paragraph, the story continues. Jesus explained why He did what He did. And my guess was somewhat right. It was about the power of our words. Our words have the power to:
  • remove mountains,
  • get God's everything (from our smallest need to our biggest one), and
  • forgive the unforgivable. 
As it is written many times in the Holy Book, watch out with our tongue, Friends. If it can make a fig tree wilted in a day, it can also crush somebody in a second. Choose the good side!

Saturday, January 12, 2013


You're not in the driver's seat; I am. Mark 8:34 (MSG)
I have recently started watching Happy Endings as recommended by a good friend of mine. Quickly, I can identify myself so similar to Jane, a control-freak and a perfectionist. Thank God, I am not that severe yet. However, yes, I admit that I often like things to be in my order and my ways.

So, when that verse came up in my morning Bible reading today, I was corrected. I should not try to lead things into the purpose that I want them to be but I should be led by the One who knows the way. For me, it also means releasing control and let God take the steering wheel of my life.
What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you? What could you ever trade your soul for? Mark 8:37 (MSG)

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Unreasonably right

FLASH NEWS: I submitted my thesis yesterday! Praise God. What a relief, one year of effort translated in 103 pages of writing.

My story today is about how good and great the work of God is in my life. 

For many people writing a thesis is a piece of cake, but not for some, including me. I did not know where to start and how to finish it. Fortunately, I was surrounded with awesome people who support me relentlessly in prayers and words of encouragement. Thanks, Guys!

And even though I had missed God's prompts, such as buying a black ink cartridge (not just the colored one) and not bringing bicycle lamps, He still allowed me to submit the thesis on time. The not-fun part was that I had to live with the consequences of not 'really' listening to Him. 

Firstly, I had to go the campus, wait for long queues, and pay a higher cost of printing just because I ran out of black ink at home. Secondly, I had to be extra more careful while riding my bike home, since the sun was already set. The police could have stopped me on my way and sanctioned me with a fee for riding without lights. 

It is only after things passed that I knew that it is the voice of the Lord. It was so soft that I could easily think that it is not important, but I was wrong. It was soft because Holy Spirit is soft and not pushy. His intention is for my best. He will get me where I am supposed to be even though I try to work things on my own. His grace is so abundant that I will not fall out of it but I sincerely think that I got to be more attentive and obedient the next time. And save some troubles for myself.

God bless you, Friends! 

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Luxury breakfast

Hello, Friends. I wonder how do you normally have your breakfast: quickly or by taking your time like it is a five-course meal? 

The reason I ask that question is that I do not normally enjoy having my morning meal. I even skip it most of the time. Most of the time I even chew my sandwich on the way. However, this morning was different. It was a Saturday and I had more time to actually sit and eat my roast beef sandwich with butter. And milk. 

The action of sitting and taking my time to eat breakfast strikes me spiritually. I began asking myself, "Do I normally eat the scripture without chewing it?" I mean, when I have busy schedule or I wake up late, I practically do not have much time to read the Words of God and study them. I, then, browse quickly like they are side article of the morning paper. 

Additionally, I also started thinking that if there are ways to stimulate our enjoyment during a meal, there should also be ways to enjoy a spiritual meal. Let us say, in a pancake house, one is normally surrounded by the running water on the river and some Dutch music in the background. Even though, what the restaurant offers is only milk, eggs, and flour mixture, one can really appreciate the meal and maybe tell a friend about her experience. 

What if we apply that to our morning (or late night) devotion? We seclude ourselves from the busy and noisy world, turn up praise songs, take out our study books, and start reading our Bible. I wonder if it is going to make a difference. 

Anyway, I am thinking of start doing it. Let me see if I get healthier and stronger spiritually. Nevertheless, you are welcome to join and share your experiences if you want to do so or you have done so. 


Friday, January 4, 2013


This week is the week where my thesis writing comes to an end. After months of effort, I can only thank God that it is ending. Anyways, in my campus, in order to submit the thesis, I need to also write a reflection report. In this report, I am asked to reflect on what I have learned during the last semester of my bachelor studies and write it down in S.T.A.R.R. framework. Surprisingly I find this framework very useful to explain a situation, my approach, and what I have learned from the situation. I would really like to use the framework for my post today. Hope it helps you understand my writing a little bit better.

I am not sure if I have ever written anything about the topic before: waiting. Especially about waiting patiently and eagerly. So, here is for the first letter of the framework: Situation (S).

Situation (S)
Yesterday I ordered online a rim of paper and an ink cartridge for the preparation to print my thesis. I plan to do it today or at max tomorrow evening. The store said that my order should be delivered the next day but it did not specify the exact time of delivery. So I had to wait for the postman the whole day today. I did not want to miss it because if I did, I had to wait for another day or take it myself from the post office the next day. I did not want to burden myself with some additional task.

Task (T)
Be awake and ready when the bell rang so that I did not miss the delivery.

Action (A)
I tried working, cooking, playing games, watching movies to keep me awake.

Result (R)
The delivery came quite late in the afternoon. It was past three o'clock. But I was awake and ready for the delivery. So, after the first bell, I rushed downstairs to pick it up.

Reflection (R)
I had waited for it to come the whole day. It was not enjoyable. My heart and body was alert all the time. I could not rest. I guess, this what God wants when He said that we should be waiting eagerly for His second coming, for He might come unannounced like a thief. I have learned that waiting is an ongoing process of getting our heart ready for an unexpected turn. Our heart may never be settled while we are waiting but that might be because we are hoping to not missing the big thing when it passes. Lastly, though it seems long, we should keep waiting joyfully and faithfully without neglecting our responsibilities.

Be strong in our waiting, Friends, for God is able to sustain us til it comes.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Divine loss

Sacrifice thank offerings to God, fulfill your vows to the Most High,
Psalm 50:14 (NIV84)

It is obviously difficult to be thankful during an uncomfortably hopeless situation. But this verse implies how God is most pleased with our praise in those hateful moments because it has become a sacrifice of praise.
sac·ri·fice (skr-fs)
a. Relinquishment of something at less than its presumed value.
b. Something so relinquished.
c. A loss so sustained.