December 30, 2011

Long Journey

What does it take for a marathon runner to reach the finish line? I bet you can guess it ;) Endurance and determination. A great athlete knows the best on how to discipline their daily life in order to prepare for a competition which usually held once every four years. They do make a lot of sacrifices including restraining their foods, spend a lot of time in practicing, and determine to get enough sleep as well. They live only for one purpose ... to run, reach the finish line, and break the world record. They know the best how to delay their momentary satisfaction to attain a greater gain.

I hope that we can see a glimpse of how we need to run for our life. You may have heard before that life is a journey. There is a song sung by Angela Zhang titled "Journey". A very beautiful song with meaningful lyrics. It truly describes that "It's a long long journey ... til I find my way home to You" We do not know for sure how long will we live on this earth, but we can choose how to live our life to the fullest before we go back to our Father in Heaven :)

It takes endurance, determination, and faithfulness along the way to reach God's purpose of our life. I believe that those who will reach the finish line in the end are not the people who are the greatest, the weathiest, or the most famous; yet those who are the most faithful.

God's eyes search throughout the earth to find those who are faithful to Him. Many a man claims to have unfailing love, but a faithful man who can find? (Proverbs 20:6) In his eyes, whether you lead 5 or 1000 people does not matter as long as you are faithful to Him. Why is faithfulness mean so much to our loving God? For He himself IS faithful :) The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it (1 Thes 5:24) A faithful person makes someone trustworthy or in other words worthy of trust :) Never demand trust from one person when you yourself have not show your faithfulness to them. When God sees you as faithful and trustworthy, He will open the gates of His blessings for He knows you will be the channel for others and not for yourself only.

What makes a faithful person so rare nowadays? For it FEELS good to be unfaithful. It feels good to have more than one girlfriend. It makes you proud and being admired with your peers. It feels good to eat junk food rather than stick to your healthy diet. It feels so much easier to go along with the crowd who does not put high value on faithfulness. Many mother even tells her daughters that, "All guys are the same, they are jerks :s" How ironic isn't it? It cannot be denied that faithful persons are minority. That is why God keep searching and treasure them so much :) A person can only be faithful as he is willing to lay down his life to truly follow Christ, the Spirit of God will certainly work in his heart and day by day His character will be revealed. Faithfulness is a product of God's GRACE, not a human effort to follow the rules. And that makes it lasts forever :)

The winner of the marathon is certainly different from the others. He may have practiced more throughout the years, he may have more positive mental regarding the pressures during the competition, and he is for sure have executed faithfulness in a better quality than others. Yes, he exceeds them all :) A faithful person will indeed exceed those who do not pursue it and will reap the indescribable joy at the finish line. Be the winner then, be the faithful person.

I believe that every person has been blessed with different kinds of personalities by God from the very beginning. This nature makes it sometimes easier for someone to be faithful and others not. This tendency becomes even stronger as they learn from their family and friends who either practice faithfulness or unfaithfulness in front of their eyes. But in God, there is no exception in here. Because either you are an easily-get-bored person or the one who loves repetitive activity, God empowers you to be faithful :)

Then how does a faithful person look like? A faithful person always stick with their words and promises. Simply let your 'Yes' be 'Yes,' and your 'No,' 'No' (Matthew 5:37). Do not make promises that you cannot keep. A trust can be built in years while to destroy it only takes one unkept promise. A faithful person will also stick to the end. He will stand throughout the rain and stick to what they have determined to do even more when the rain has become a storm. They do not ignore or run away when there is a problem. They will try to solve it and even when it is has not been resolved, they will endure the rough season patiently. Jesus teaches us to be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer (Romans 12:12). Sometimes when we pray, we ask more about the release of the problem rather than the endurance and the sight of His purpose behind it. We pray, "God, please take this away from me" rather than asking Him, "God, what do you want me to learn through this?" If by taking away your pain ends your growth, then maybe it is better for God not to take it.. not until you have grown enough to have wide heart capacity to contain his blessings :) We can never truly experience who God is until we seek Him in pain and surrendered heart.

When God called you into a marathon of life, He equips you so that you may endure it. Yet it takes us to choose constantly to yield our will and let Him has His will be done in our lives. As we rebel against His plan, we will only find more pain. Because there is no beautiful ending outside of His purpose. No one reaches finish line unless He gives them strength to it. For all of these in the end will lead Him to be glorified. No credit for us. For He must increase, but I must decrease (John 3:30). If it takes long journey throughout the desert, so be it. As we surrender and trust in the faithfulness of God, we will endure well this journey. And one day we will meet up together ... at the finish line :)

Keep fighting!

Love and faithfulness meets together;

righteousness and peace kiss each other

(Psalm 85:10)

December 28, 2011

Healthy Love

There is one popular romantic saying, that we ourselves only have one wing to fly and we need to find other wing to complete us. It teaches us that men are incomplete until they have found their 'ribs'. So does women are incomplete until they have found their 'head'. Sounds like a biology lesson :s Even many people uses the Bible to affirm this thought which is shown specifically in Genesis 2:18:

And the Lord God said, "It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him." [NKJV]

Many people interpret this verse by saying that Adam was alone and that makes him lonely. Yes, Adam did realize that he couldn't find anyone like him while he named all animals, yet the fact was Adam DID NOT feel lonely. He was alone but he was contained. He was ... whole in his relationship with God. He did not find the need of a partner until God himself initiated to give him one :) Hence, Adam was already ... complete.

Then, why did God need to create a woman as his partner of life? Well, the original purpose of God to create mankind is to reflect his image and glory. And God is love (1 John 4:7). Love is not love until it is given away and perceived by its receiver. How could Adam give love if he did not have the receiver of it? Just the way God created mankind to receive his expression of love, so does God created woman as the receiver of love from man. The love between man and woman is the best one that illustrates God's love to mankind. It is a grand magnificent design since the beginning of the earth.And it is the great harmony of love relationship which indeed glorifying God to the highest. Hence, the motivation to build of relationship is not about we need each other in order to be complete, but because it is the one thing that gives us opportunity the most to be like Him, an endless lover of soul.

When we adopt love as the God sees it, we can develop love relationship in the most healthy way. Love is not built by two persons who simply have mutual feeling, but it is build by two already-whole person in God who are commmitted to help each other to grow into His likeness. It does not talk about romanticsm, it talks about partnership. Why is it important that we need to be complete in God first before we establish a relationship? It is simple. No matter how loving a relationship can be, there will be moments when our need cannot be fulfilled by our partner. No matter how good a person is, they are still imperfect human. If we put our sense of fulfillment on how our partner treats us all the time, we will most likely be dissapointed. Because that is just not how God design it to be. In economic terms, we can say that love supplies but it does not demand. It gives but it does not takes. It gives and it receives. Take notice on the word of 'take' and 'receive'. Take means there is some expectation to be fulfilled while receive is an unexpected response from the opposite that is free from any manipulation. We do not manipulate to get things that we want, all good things that we do are simply the outflow of the love we are consistently maintained in our heart.

Healthy love does not possessive or get burned in jealousy. They realize that their partner does not belong to them but belong to God. They do not treat their partner's body as their own but as the temple of the Spirit of God. It never robs their freedom, but protect and guard it. There is one saying that you know that it is sincere when you let go of their hands but you know that their hands will always by your side. Healthy love does not need to hold tightly to their partner, they can enjoy each other's activity without feeling left out. Of course, if it is possible, they can do some things together. But if a space is needed, healthy love will certainly allows it too. As long as there is no secret activity and they can keep openness toward one another, they have no need to restrict one's activity. Healthy love also can guard each other's heart by themselves. A woman does not need to check every message of his partner's phone all the time and monitor all the female friends of his like a Sherlock Holmes :p She knows that his man know by himself the restriction in relating to women both emotionally and physically :) If some of you realize that either you or your partner do some 'forbidden' things above, then you may consider how healthy is your relationship and discuss how can you both improve it :)

Healthy love in itself relies on the wholeness of the two individuals involved. When you come to a relationship lacking of personal self-worth, all you can offer is neediness. There is no compromise in this area. It takes two to tango. It takes two to make chopsticks functioned well ;) Then how to become whole? Drs. Les and Leslie Parrot stated that there are no short-cuts to personal growth and wholeness. Each person's journey to wholeness is unique, but there are four general guidelines which is to (1) heal your hurts, (2) remove their masks, (3) sit in the driver seat, and (4) rely on God. But the first step, which is the toughest one is the determination of ourselves :)

Many people carried wounds from the past whether they realize it or not. Our memories record generally for things that brings us happiness or pain the most. If you can remember it, then there must be something attached into it. Many people find it hard to acknowledge if there is a problem even just a small one and they repress their feelings. But Drs. Les Parrot stated that the repressed feelings, especially painful ones, have a high rate of resurrection. That's why the place to begin your journey toward wholeness is where it hurts. As we dare to acknowledge our feelings, we can be one step closer toward wholeness.

We often wear masks to guard ourselves against rejection or maintain our so called pride. Yet a whole-people knows exactly that their pride means nothing in comparison with genuine relationship. We can never be whole when we pretend and cover what is inside us with mask. When what you show and what is actually happens in your heart does not match, it means that we wear mask eventhough we don't realize it :) We may guard ourselves against rejection or even can be admired by others, but we'll never be whole for we can never enjoy true intimacy. Yes, healthy love is certainly built on two genuine people. Those who shows vulnerability does not mean they are vulnerable, but they are courageous enough to do what most of people try to hide and cannot do.

Healthy love also contains two emotionally mature individual who knows that they are able to wait and delay some momentary pleasure to attain maximum benefits later on. The degree of maturity of one's person can be measured by how long can he wait and how he perceives a delay. For love is patience and not easily angered. Me, myself, is on this journey too. But to those who pursue wholeness, in the end they may find themselves enjoy a more healthy relationship than another. Wholeness is more like a process, rather than the destination. Thereby, we pursue them by consistent steps and not by some perfection goal.

And then ... we go on depending on God. What would it be a relationship without Him as the main ingredients? Tasteless. Or perhaps bitter and stressful. He is our living water and He promises us that we will never be thirsty as we drink in His words. Draw one step closer to Him and He will run thousand steps toward you. That is how loving our God is. That is how love should be. Let us fight for our love journey and never give up :) We can do all things through Him who gives strengthens us (Phil 4:13)

December 27, 2011

Unbreakable Bond

What does it take to make one's relationship last? You may can list many excellent qualities you think will be great to be added into your relationship such as love, trust, honesty, well money management, understanding, integrity, and so on. All of these qualities are meant not to be a choice. It should be all-included into our relationship. Yet there is one thing lacking here ... the one that can only make an unbreakable bond between the two, commitment. Our culture does not give so much respect on this word. It sounds so 'binding', so unfree, so legalistic, and even so 'ancient'. Who cares about that when we are still on teenage years? Who knows whether we will make it up to the marriage or not? Why bother about commitment on the early stage of relationship? You take it so seriously! Well, marriage IS a serious business. About more than half of your life you will spend it with this one person (if you are monogamous). It is not exaggerating when we state that the quality of our marriage will either create a heaven or a hell on earth. I've heard these confessions from married people! Hereby, it is so much important to prepare how to make it truly last. And we do not want to merely survive, but we want to enjoy it joyfully.

How do you view a commitment? The Merriam-Webster dictionary describes commitment as an act of committing to a charge or trust, an agreement or pledge to do something in the future, the state of being obligated or emotionally impelled. Wow.. that sounds deadly serious, doesn't it? Yet commitment in relationship is not an obligation. It is not also merely a promise to do something in the future. God sees commitment far deeper than that. He sees it as an attitude. Its attitude is similar as being loyal to something or someone. There will be no storm so huge that can ever move the commitment itself. Commitment sees no alternative, no way of exit where there is a problem. Thereby, God's standard of commitment stands still even when the spouse is cheating. It knows no exit, no break up, no divorce. Yes, commitment is an unbreakable bond. Imagine how you can safely rely on your mate who views commitment as the way God sees it. You need not to worry, jealous, suspicious, and distrus. You only know ... a sincere love.

Commitment does not happen at once. If you think that you are committed when you are already married, it may be too late to develop its attitude. People who develop a commitment at once can survive out of an obligation. It can become a burden as the

storm attacks. Commitment is a decision that is being developed from our habits even when we are still single. How we are being committed to small things will determine how well we will do greater things. How we face problems when we are still single will determine how we will solve future problems as well. Do we avoid problems? Do we run from every consequences? Do we able to communicate it openly with our future spouse? Can we accept his or her opinion? If we still cannot do well in these areas, then we may not ready yet to engage in a relationship. For what is a relationship without commitment? It will be a feeling roller-coaster and has great potential to break your heart.

When we realize how important a commitment is, we will never go in a rush in making decision with whom we are going to commit to. Before we demand a commitment from others, make sure that we are a committed person ourselves. Develop commitment as an attitude. And seek for the one who adopts the same value as you are. Never let other degrade your respect of commitment. Surely, the world will mock them. Because relationship based on commitment often takes longer time to develop than relationship based on feeling. The world loves get-it-quick scheme. The world cannot wait, but God teaches us that love DOES wait for love is PATIENCE.

Many heart breaks occur simply because we develop intimacy either mentally or physically before a commitment is being settled. An intimacy without commitment is nothing. Ask those who have engaged many intimate relationship without commitment before and you will find that they are never truly satisfied. They are always hungry and thirst for something more, they feel there is always something lacking in their mate now, then they will try to find another. Over and over again. Heart-breaking cycle. As long as we think that there is another option, there will always be. As long as we think there is no alternative and no way out, we can always stay committed to someone. Of course, we do not need to stick with a wrong person whom you know will just drive you away from God, family, and friends. Make a wise and life-changing decision. Leave them and BE HEALED before you start a new one with a basis of commitment on BOTH sides.

Beware that there may be some people who deceives by promising marriage for the sake of physical advantage. Know a committed person by its fruit of deeds and not by his or her words. Aren't this kind of person rare?? Yes, they are rare. They can only be found in the right growing community of God. And never forget that it is NOT your effort which can make you find them, but it takes GOD to make two whole hearts meet at His time. Draw near to Him and trust Him, them He will make your path straight for sure. Isn't it wonderful?

I believe that once you have this unbreakable bond of commitment, your love will truly cast out fear of tomorrow, and your relationship will be a blast and a blessing for all generations. Develop commitment as your attitude NOW, wait for His timing and He will meet you with the one who respect it also, and together build a heaven on this earth!

December 26, 2011

Music Box

I recall an animation movie titled "Anastasia". It was my favorite movie when I was a kid. It tells about a story of the lost princess who hold the key to the music box and wore it as her necklace. In the end, the reunion between her and her grandmother was proven by the opened music box and she could sing the song that her grandma used to sing to her in the past. I always love the sound of music box :) Of course the good quality ones. It sounds like a combination of sweet ringing bell and touchy melody. Most of the music box has a doll in the middle which can revolve each time we open the box. It can be a ballerina or a princess :) Our life is like a music box. There are moments when we try to recall memories of past by opening the box. We can find a sweet memories being revolved in our mind or the bad ones. We can choose which memories deserved to be repeated over and over again and we can also choose not to open the music box which remind us for something brings us sorrow and anger. We can stop it anytime we like by simply closing the box. Yet most of us are too enchanted with the melody until we reluctant to close it. Then we live by the shadow of the past and fantasy.. either good or bad memories we should not forget that they are just a memory, it does not any longer exist in our present reality.

This music box I am going to refer now talks more than just a memory, it is about forgiveness. Many people who dwells in bad memories find it hard to forgive. It is simply because the memories are still so vivid in their eyes as they keep opening the music box. It is easy to say and write this beautiful words, but in fact we have to admit that it is harder to put it into action. To forgive is to forget. But to forget is not to forgive. Many people choose to forget and think by doing that they have forgiven people who had hurted them. They are simply just ignoring the problem and one day once the music box is opened, the pain can be still there. At the same time, we may ask, "How can we forgive and forget? Aren't memories cannot be deleted as simple as that?" Yes, we cannot forget the bad memories, but we can choose to forget its pain. We can listen to the music box when we have forgotten the pain of the past. "But how can we forget the pain?" God will certainly help you if you are willing and time heals :) When I decided to follow Christ, God challenged me to forgive. I remembered at that day I have to wash a man's feet and I have to imagine as if I wash the people's feet who has inflicted me with pain. I was 15 years old at that moment and it truly became my liberating experience. Yes today they are still making mistakes, but they are no longer hurting me. Jesus forgives us, why shouldn't we forgive others?

Unforgiveness stands as a wall in our channel of love. We can never truly love someone when we hold onto bitterness toward the same person or the others. Many of us prefer to hold onto the pain for we think that it makes us looks stronger. We stand proudly and gives a revenge by ignoring the person whom have hurted us. I have to admit that loving a bitter person takes an extra grace coming from God. I come to a point where it is not me who can love them, but only God who lives in me. What a humbling experience.. Many of us wait for others to apologize first to us. But is it truly an apologize is all we need? For forgiveness is a decision that we make by ourselves. It is something we give as we release the pain and no longer treat them with hatred whether they apologize or not.

Before you love, make sure you forgive. As I have stated before, we can be angry toward someone but bring that emotional luggage to other 'innocent' person. The more bitterness we hold in our hearts, the heavier the luggage and the bigger potential conflicts in your love relationship will be. We can be dissapointed toward someone, but never let the dissapointment or anger dwell any longer than a day. Aren't we all sinful human? What right do we have to keep our anger toward other human? Never regard ourselves are better or higher than any other, for when we do it we are more likely to be tempted to judge others. Why do we think that we are right and they are wrong? Aren't God is the one who is right? And even that we have studied His Scriptures so well and execute it in our lives, what right do we have? Yes, we are His children, but we are dust too. Our lives are like a vapor which will be gone one day.

What makes a music box beautiful? As we decide to collect the music of sweet memories and repeat it over and over again as we open the box, it fills our hearts with peace, love, and joy. Many music box can be used as the storage of jewelries too. If we want to bring a luggage, please bring the sweet ones. Take the lesson from the bad one, but leave the bad luggage in the past. Hate the sin, but not the sinners. Again, hate the sin, but not the sinners. Even God LOVES the sinners.. Don't we make ourselves higher than God when we think we have the right to hate them?

Our future relationship will depend on what music we have put into our music box now. Do we put jewelries or rubbish in there? But we don't have to go through these all alone. God besides us. He strengthens us. He understands your pain and therefore He is asking you to give it away so that you will no longer suffer from it. Forgive and be free.

Have a fulfilling future relationship :)

December 21, 2011

Now and Forever

Some things are meant to end at some point of time. Even our life too has to end one day. Yes, there are many things that is beyond our control as human being. We cannot determine when things begin and when it stop all the time. But surely, there are also certain things in which we decide to begin and to end, a relationship. It is not something beyond our control. We decide with whom are we going to make friends with, marry with, laugh and cry with, and so on. We also decide whether we will stay in heart-breaking relationship or not. We can choose our own way or God's way in doing our relationship. We can choose good over bad, better over good, and best over better. We can walk through a direction in which leads to eternity. Hence, based on our decision, we can make some things last too.

There is one saying, "If it is not happy ending, then it is not the ending." You may , "What about people who die in poverty? Can it be called as a 'happy ending'?"It is important to know that our definition of a 'happy ending' often different from God's definition. No, God does not like seeing us to suffer. He makes all things work for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28). But somehow what God sees is so unreachable with our finite eyes. We cannot see as far as He sees, but we can only trust that He knows the beginning and the end, and there's nothing is out of His control. We can rely on that. Your 'suffering' now one day will end. For there is nothing last forever on this earth. Our lives is like a mist, a vapor which exists today but gone tomorrow. We are dust, yet God treasures us so much as the apple of His eyes. How marvelous! And from this understanding, we can come with deep humility that we are human and He is God. He can do whatever He pleases. And although we cannot understand now, we can trust the unknown future to the known God, who is all good and all faithful. There is not even a hint of evil and darkness in Him. His ways will always lead to happy ending in a way that we often cannot even imagine.

What I mean by we can make some things last itself is limited in terms of our time on this earth. Our 'everlasting' is until we take our last breath. Although it is quite finite in comparison what God refers to eternity, our everlasting relationship on this earth will give us a glimpse of what God has stored in the later life. There will be such a deep fulfillment when one can enjoy intimacy with their closest people and it lasts until the end of their life. It can be friendship, brother-sister hood, love relationship, family and so on. Yet somehow we invest too little for what gives us the most fulfillment. We get from one activity to another like a buzzing bees and wonder somehow why our relationship ends up like this. We do not even realize how could we get from a nice start to a heart-breaking end. This is where our choice plays a very important role. A relationship does not meant to start without any navigation where it leads to and how we can reach that. Yes there are so many relationship that we make in our lives based on 'coincidence' or blood-bond. We just think that it just happened and flow naturally. This is true in the beginning, but no matter how we start, we need to maintain and bring it through from one phase to another in order to grow.

In love relationship, many couple never plan to end what they have just begun from the very beginning. Yet few realizes that they will not reach some 'break up' point without walking into that direction intentionally. Yes, it is not something beyond our control as a couple. It is the cummulative of our tiny choices along the way. You may often hear that love is not a feeling, it is a decision. Many fall in love as a feeling at first, but in order to survive it has to be a daily decision, a commitment. There are some things that we should never choose and some things that we need to constantly choose to do to revive our love. We should never say hurting words, keep anger inside, and be critical all the time. Instead, we need to constantly show our love through both words and actions. In between, there is faithfulness that binds us together. If all people start a love relationship with such a determination, I am convinced that they will not reach to break up point. They simply never walk into that direction. A foundation is always built before building a home. So does a commitment, purpose, do's and don'ts need to be laid before we enter a relationship.

Isn't it awkward to talk about it? Why don't we just let it flow and time will tell us whether we can continue or not? Well, if you want to have one thousand miles trip, you cannot bring food and supplies for merely a day. If we want to have everlasting one, we need to make sure that all of our supplies has been ready and we must convinced that it is enough to sustain us along the journey :) I realize that not many people do these things. Yes, we do not belong to majority. Yet most of the time what most people do does not mean that is right. We even can feel devastated and wonder whether out standard is too high or not. It seems like we are looking for a needle in a stack of straws. Here is where it gets more interesting.. Do you know that it takes God to make a miracle? Do you know that it takes God to bring the suitable ones for you? We can seek by your own effort, but most of the time we will fail. For our eyes simply cannot see as far as God sees. Thereby, our relationship with God is the most important relationship we can ever have. For from that intimate relationship only we can hear His guidance in taking steps ahead. He will not let those who seek Him with all their heart walk in vain. He is so glad to reveal His will for you, but you need to takes steps to draw closer to Him. Afterwards, He will take the thousand steps to reach you. Be fulfilled in your love for Him, then He will give you the desires of your heart. He is your everlasting Father, He is God, He knows the best.

Our honor to God will determine how we live our lives. Many people fall into sins because they are the one who controls their lives. They sit at the throne of their hearts. But God asks us to give up the throne and allow Him to sit completely there so that He can lead you to a rich land. He never takes something if it is not for multiplying it. When He give command to maintain your purity and flee from sexual immorality, He doesn't take what you believe brings you pleasure. He simply preserves it so that you can enjoy it more in maximum satisfaction at His perfect time. He gives you the desires, He knows exactly how it should be directed to. Please wait for His time. There are too many people so impatient to wait and they lose the joy of the gift. God often demands us to wait for only in waiting our trust in Him can be refined. It is like the One saying, "Fix your eyes upon Me and trust Me. Be still and I will fight for you." Your decision to preserve what is sacred until His perfect time will bring you to the everlasting and fulfilling relationship. Some things that last need to be nurtured by costly steps yet in the end it is very rewarding :)

Over all these time

I realize that there are things that meant to be

It is when your eyes meet mine

and your hearts and mine united as one

For sure this is not a dream, not a fairy tale

Now and forever will never be too short neither too long

to wait for the miracle to come

When God say yes, who can say no?

Together we'll walk into the everlasting

For we build this not upon feeling

but upon the truth, the eternal Rock, our God

Whom without we are nothing

and impossibility will be our domain

Take heart, take courage

Good things worth the wait

and you exceeds them all

Have faith and let your soul be still

His timing is coming

Miracle is on the way

To make your dreams come true

-Leticia Seviraneta-

December 19, 2011

Christmas Delight

Soon it will be Christmas :) Many people love this season for its beautiful lights, decorations, presents, tradition, and so on. I do love all those decorations too ;) No doubt about it :p I even built two christmas trees in my house. I love the Christmas' lights the most :D Some of us may also go abroad to spend their Christmas with consideration other place has more beautiful decoration and festivals. But what is actually the delight of Christmas about? I have found that inspite of those beautiful decorations, it will not mean so much more when you are not with people whom you love and with the birthday guy, Jesus Christ ;)

We tend to eliminate Jesus from Christmas celebration for we think that it belongs to Christian 'religion'. Yet Jesus did not born into this earth for the sake of creating religion. He wanted us to come back and build intimate loving relationship with Him so that we can truly experience life. We have to keep in mind that the meaning of Christmas is far away from the glamour lights of Christmas celebration, but in the love of God who is reflected in the life of Christ.It is the celebration of God's love and faithfulness to sinful human through the birth of a Savior of sins. The essence of Christmas is not on the trees, presents, lights, feasts, but in ... love God and love people. We do not love people once a year by giving donation at Christmas time. No, isn't love a daily walk? My greatest reflection on this Christmas is how far I have loved God and people? How can I love them more? I have come to a phase where I find that we can never truly experience joy outside of love. Hence, the Christmas delight is in love.

Dr. Gary Chapman in his book titled, "The Five Languages of Love" described that some people do have their primary love language. So many people get frustated to express their love in the way that their beloved could perceive them as love too. Many women complain that their spouse does not love her anymore, while the husbands state that they have done their job pretty good as their expression of love to their wives. So what is wrong here? Dr. Chapman pointed out that they are simply do not speak the same love language. Once we discover our beloved's primary love language, we can express our love more effectively and avoid misunderstandings. Wouldn't it be great? Why don't we learn our beloved's love language as our Christmas gift for them? Based on his research, he found out that people tend to feel loved in these five languages:

#1 Words of affirmation
#2 Quality Time
#3 Acts of Service
#4 Gifts
#5 Physical Touch

To identify our beloved's love language, we need to observe which language they tend to speak the best. If a person is easy to give gifts for others, most likely they also like to receive gifts the best since gifts are their primary love language. All people have these five, only with different orders. It is very important to do what is primary to them first rather than do the others. Imagine if the same person whose primary love language is gifts and last love language often receive a kiss and a hug from her beloved who never give her gifts.. She can still feel unloved!! Hence, to learn to speak your beloved's primary love language could be the best Christmas give for them :) And it is not for only in the Christmas season, but for every coming day. What a delight!

For some people they spell L-O-V-E with T-I-M-E. Yes we cannot say we love someone without giving our time. The popular words for this will be 'quality time'. The word 'quality' there is interesting for it emphasizes in the growth that occurs when we interacts with our beloved. There should be growth in intimacy, closeness, and joy. Two people can spend time together without saying a word for they are mad at each other. It cannot be categorized as quality time. The quality time is one of the most essential expression of love which has become so expensive in these busy days. Yet it is better to spend a few minutes and hours daily with our beloved rather than only spend one whole day on the weekend. Our daily interaction matters so much more than an event. The same thing goes with our relationship with God. How can we say that we love Him when we do not even set aside a fraction of our time to be in communion with Him daily? We do not do love when only we have time for it, instead we discipline our time to shower our love daily. Write Him a love letter. You will be amazed when you are finished. Interacting with our God can be so sweet, intimate, and loving that you can never imagine. Spice up your love life with Jesus! Especially on His coming birthday ;)

I observe that most men in Eastern culture cannot speak the love language of WORDS quite well. It is just not common in the culture and sometimes we feel shy to speak it loudly. We tend to keep compliments and give out critics. We are not used to say the three magic words: "I LOVE YOU" and this has become an obstacle many kinds of relationships. Children often needs the words of affirmation from their parents. A daily "I love you" will brighten up their day. You can be sure that when children feel loved and secure, they are least likely to be naughty. The same thing goes with our beloved. Be generous to affirm their goodness and strength. Shower them with compliments. Here is a note for men ;) It has been common to be heard that women tend to be weak on their ears while men tend to be weak on their eyes. Maybe that is why men lies and women put make up :p Well, true compliment is not a lie. It comes from a heart which truly adore and appreciates what it sees. Be sincere in your compliment and give it without particular intention. The more important the woman for you, be sure that you will give her more of your words of affirmation. Do not give it to all women without being sure that they will not misinterpret your intentions #wise.

Do you know that our God is such a poetic guy? He affirms our existence as precious ... we are the apple of his eyes. He carries us close at heart. Wow! How deep is our value for Him! And he affirms us so many times in his collection of love letters ... our Bible ;) Do not make your Bible become dusty. Grab, open, read it with such eagerness to understand what is He going to tell you. Get information how to understand bible. I am sure there are many sites available who can help you. Do not miss His priceless treasure. Do not miss a day without hearing His words of love for you :)

My primary love language is words of affirmation. That is why to hear compliments will definately boost up my spirit. That is why I also love to say, "I love you" and write love letters. For me words can lift up me so much but also at the same time can break me down too. There is nothing that can make me so unloved when people use defeating words for me. I understand the words best too. When you do act of service but do not accompany it along with words of affirmation, I cannot feel loved fully. I am telling this for you to be as an example how you can use this love language effectively. The goal is to speak other love language the best to make sure that they feel loved. For a love is not a love until it is perceived as love :) Here is my experience again.. My mom's primary love language is acts of service. For her it is when I help her to do household's jobs that can make her feel loved the most. Words without deeds for her does not mean so much. Although she likes to receive compliments, but I find that she likes better when I help her:) Knowing this, I can be better in expressing my love for her ;)

Other people may feel loved the most when they receive hugs, kisses, a gentle tap on the shoulders and holding hands. They perceive all these touches as 'love'. Of course in this matter, we cannot do this to everyone on the opposite sex. But be sure to do this to those who are in our family and lover. A new-born baby usually has an intense physical touch need. A baby can be sick more easily and even can be died when they do not receive any physical touch. Thereby physical touch is also essential for expressing our love with a certain condition and do it properly ;) Jesus used variety of ways to heal people. Sometimes he just spoke words and commands to heal paralyzed and sick people. Sometimes he touches them. Interestingly, one of His 'patient' whom He touched was a leprous guy who are well known 'not to be touched by anyone' because of his disease. Jesus knows that his greatest need is a touch of love. Thereby Jesus touched him so that he can be healed both physically and mentally :) Isn't He amazing?

Jesus speaks these five love languages over and over again to us. He speaks "I love you" everyday, He is always by our side any time, He give gifts to us.. the one that is far beyond our imagination and indescribably beautiful gifts, He served us so that we can serve others, and He touches our hearts gently, persistently, and faithfully to draw us nearer to Him all the time. How can we refuse to receive such kind of great love? If we cannot love Jesus who is all-perfect, how can we love imperfect human beings? That is why the genuine Christmas delight lies on this.. Love God and love people. Love your God with all your heart, with all your mind, with all your soul, and with all your strength. And love your neighbour as you love yourself. Never miss a day without experiencing such a delight. This Christmas may only be the beginning of exciting journey of love with Him. Some says that love is about falling in love over and over again with the same person. Fall in love always with God and you will gain the strength to pass His love for others too.

May this Christmas be filled with lots lots lots of love

in your life! :)

December 18, 2011

Not a Fairy Tale

Do you remember Cinderella, Rapunzel,Beauty and the Beast,Little Mermaid, and Sleeping Beauty stories? You may can add one newest fairy tale which can be watched in theatre such as Shrek too ;) Most of us think that these movies are merely for children. Thereby I often have difficulty to ask people to accompany me watching these 'cartoon' movies:p However, all of these stories have one thing in common ... they tell about a prince and a princess who eventually fall in love with one another, overcome their obstacles, get married, and live happily ever after. A fairy tale. Does that mean that these stories are purely fantasy? Many children grow in believing such stories only to trample it down as they start to see the 'reality'. We can say it, "Too good to be true" "impossible" and so on. Well, what does God say about it anyway?

It is interesting to realize that Jesus often describes His residence in Heaven as "Kingdom". Many parables has been shared to describe the Kingdom of Heaven in His teachings. So what is the Kingdom about? When I think of a Kingdom, I think of King, queen, prince, princess, and soldiers. It can be said that they are the permanent residents who live in the Kingdom. We may have been thought that God is our King of all kings. Try to imagine it for a moment. There are many kings in the world and He surpasses them all. His Kingdom is the largest of all. What all the kings have on this earth may only be just a few fraction of His treasures. You can sum them with a word "BIG" "GREAT" "AWESOME" or let just say it "INDESCRIBABLE" :D And God also tell us us that we are His children!

Romans 8:16-17
"The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs --heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory."

If we are children of King of all kings, then what our titles would be? Well, if you are a man then you are a prince. And if you are a woman then you are a princess ;) Just like the fairy tale you once believed. That is our real identity. Once we realize that we are prince and princess, our attitude will not be the same again. But the difference between the prince and princess in God's Kingdom than the kingdom of the world is that our attitude does not change simply because we have to, but because God who lives in our hearts beautify us naturally as we obey Him :)We do not need a crown, a throne, a place, and a beautiful and luxurious attire to be called as prince and princess. For our royal identity is being revealed more by our heart attitude rather than looks. So what makes a prince is truly a prince and what makes a princess truly a princess?

You are a prince when ...

#1 You highly value women as God's treasure

Wow.. how does being a prince related to how we treat women?? I believe that the real value of man lies on the way they value a woman. For it takes deep humility and respect to see the one as not someone below them. It takes a sacrifice of pride to put their needs above yours. It takes perseverance to understand women, doesn't it? :p For women are designed to think and act differently from men. This too.. will be a great test to shape your patience :) No, it does not mean a man who does that is weak, indeed he reveals they are strong enough to defeat his greates enemy.. himself. Jesus, our Prince of peace, never (never!) devalue women. He appreciated their givings and ministries, he never thought they are under men as the society treated them so. Remember as you enter God's Kingdom, Jesus is your brother. Act like Him :D

#2 You protect women and place their safety as your priority

A prince is simply a protector and defender of women. Remember all those fairy tales? Most of the theme is about how a prince try to rescue the princess (except Little Mermaid and Cinderella I guess haha :p) You should never demand a princess in your life when you do not even prove that you are able to protect them. Not merely protecting them from external enemies, but protecting them from your lust too (sometimes you can be as danger as wolf :p)Blessed will be a princess in the hands of a prince whose main concern is her safety. Surely, she can rest safely under his arms :)

#3 You never forget to shower your woman (not women) with words and acts of love

It is not about being romantic. It is about bringing happiness to the princess. True prince lose sight of himself and highly prioritize his woman needs. As a woman, I believe that these words and acts of love will definately sprinkle my kingdom :p For God has wired women from the very beginning as the receiver ... of love. If a woman has received much love, she could not bear to pass it on for others. Of course, our main source of love should be God first for He is the one who will never dissapoint us. But the second in place.. is simply the man whom we love, our prince.

#4 You are productive in order to provide for their well being

A prince should never be lazy. It is a big no no no! A prince will definately take the responsibility to provide for his Kingdom. He will go out on the battle out there and fight for the sake of the welfare of His Kingdom. And he does that with love as his driven motivation, not ambition nor recognition. For if he does that with the power of love, he will not get worn out easily. He knows his focus, he knows what matter most. It is his Kingdom :)

#5 You honor God and parents as authority in your life

You're still a prince! Remember? Yes, sometimes prince thinks that he is King of all kings, thereby he refuses to be under authority in this life. Know your place. You are a prince for sure and that means you have quite much privilege given by your King. But never forget about the Giver, our God. And never forget from where you came from, your parents.

A prince is not a perfect man. He is a growing man who learn from his past and keep persevering to be a better man WITH God's strength, the King.

So what about the princess?

You are a princess when ...

#1 You respect the men in your life
The men here will include your prince, siblings, and your earthly daddy. As the value of man relies on how he values women, so does the value of woman relies on how she values men. If your prince is the head of the kingdom, then respect is your crown as a princess :) Your crown will make you easier to follow his leading. We are princess when we do not try to manipulate and take control of the kingdom to get what we want. Instead, we furnish them by the example of our love deeds. Yes, a princess is lovely not because of her cute face, but her loveable attitudes. She does not win hearts by force, but by love.

#2 Your mouth speaks kindness and wisdom

Women's mouth often be used to criticize, gossip, nag, scream, and so on. Yet a princess knows that her mouth can either create or destroy life. Hence, she withholds her tongue wisely and only use it for things that lifts people up not tear them down. She encourages her prince knowing that her influence matters much for him. She chooses to remain in silent rather than throw out bad words when she is in anger, but she does not keep the wrongs for a long time. She is able to communicate truth with a gentle tone and kind words to rebuke what is wrong.

#3 You wear modest clothing to guard and honor men

It is our part to help men's eyes who tend to be weak when they see too much skin exposed. A princess knows how to mix and match her clothes so that she can still look attractive but without showing off too much of her skin. Since she honors men, she does not want her fellow men fall into temptation simply because she thinks the clothes will look cute. She knows what has to be prioritized and what has to be sacrificed.

#4 You have dreams and vision in whatever area you are entrusted for

Being supplied by a prince does not mean a princess sit idly and pamper herself. A princess gives her energy, talent, and attention to meet the needs of others. The princess of the world born to served and enjoy the luxury of life, a princess in God's Kingdom knows her happiness will depend on her contribution in the life of others. She has dream to make a different in what she can do now. When she becomes a wife, she has vision for her husband. When she becomes a mother, she has a vision for her child. She works hard to make these visions come true :)

#5 You draw your love and strength from God alone

The difference between princess in God's kingdom and ordinary women is that she relies on God alone to supply the strength and love to do the best in every thing. It becomes her nature when she does it as an outflow of her love relationship with her creator. She will not nag and beg for attention from her prince, since she has been loved fully already by her God. She has been whole. Her prince gives more colour in her rainbow but God has set eternity rainbow in her heart which will not fade away. She sees life with bright optimism and cheerfulness that comes from ... God alone.

A princess may not have a beautiful face, but attractive. She will have the most amazing heart you will find it hard to find. It is only in growing in love with Christ that you will find her, for her heart is buried deeply in Him ;)

Together a prince who has found her princess is going to build God's Kingdom on earth. Once they have children, they will be the king and queen of the kingdom. The queen will nurture her children so well until a boy becomes a prince and a girl becomes a princess. There is one saying, "You know that the one who appreciates and honor woman has been raised by the hands of a queen." A mother is the queen of the house which will impact so much on the life of their future generation. What a privilege! The king's presence in the each development of his children will make them grow stonger and more confident to conquer the world. Their kingdom (read: family) will be an overflowing blessing to the kingdoms of the world. For it is built not by the hands of men, but the miracle of God who makes two loving hearts met,grow, and multiply. Does this story end well? Yes, they live happily ever after. And this is ... not a fairy tale.

I realize that some of us may come from not ideal background of kingdom. Some of us may never experience how does it feel to be raised in the hands of a king and queen. Most married people have no idea what does it mean to be forever couple and wise parents. Most of us learn by doing and sometimes we fail. Yet if we read this by now, there are some things that you can learn before hand in order to do it wisely in the future. First, remember your identity always. You are a prince and a princess of King of all kings who are going to build God's kingdom on earth. Be like one, act like one. Do not seek examples from the world. Seek example from your Big Brother, Jesus Christ, the Real Prince. Second, have vision in your stage of life for the kingdom and others. If you are a princess now, have a vision for what you can do as a princess. When you have become a queen, have a vision for what you can influence as a queen. Again, this is not a fairy tale... with God's help, it would be the greatest epic in human history with love as its grand theme. And you are the key player in this story. Go, safe, protect, defend, and love your princess!

December 15, 2011

Love Her More and Love Her Less

by John Piper

The God whom we have loved, and in
Whom we have lived, and who has been
Our Rock these twenty-two good years
With you, now bids us, with sweet tears,
To let you go: "A man shall leave
His Father and his mother, cleave
henceforth unto his wife, and be
one unashamed fles and free."
This is the word of God today,
And we are happy to obey.
For God has given you a bride
Who answers every prayer we've cried
For over twenty years, our claim
For you, before we knew her name.

And now you ask that I should write
A poem -a risky thing, in light
of what you know: that I am more
the preacher than the poet or the artist.
I am honored by your bravery, and I comply.
I do not grudge these sweet confines
of rhyming pairs and metered lines.
They are old friends.

And so we met in recent days,
and made the flood of love and praise
and counsel from a father's heart
to flow within the banks of art.
Here is a portion of the stream,
My son: sermon poem. Its theme:
A double rule of love that shocks;
a doctrine in paradox:

If you now aim your wife to bless.
then love her more and love her less.

If in the coming years, by some
strange providence of God, you come
to have the riches of this age,
and, painless, stride across the stage
Beside your wife, be sure in health
to love her, love her more than wealth.

And if your life is woven in a hundred friendships,
and you spin a festal fabric out of all
Your sweet affections, great and small,
Be sure, no matter how it rends,
to love her, love her more than friends.

And if there comes a point when you are tired,
and pity whispers, "Do yourself a favor. Come,
be free; embrace the comforts here with me."
Know this! Your wife surpasses these:
So love her, love her more than ease.

And when your marriage bed is pure,
and here is not the slightest lure
of lust for any but your wife,
and all ecstasy in life,
a secret all of this protects:
Go love her, love her more than sex.

And if your taste becomes refined,
and you are moved by what the mind
of man can make, and dazzled by His craft,
remember that the "why" of all this work is in the heart;
So love her, love her more than art.

And if your own should someday be
the craft that critics all agree
is worthy of a great esteem,
and sales exceed your wildest dream,
beware the dangers of a name.
And love her, love her more than fame.

And if, to your surprise, not mine,
God calls you by some strange design
to risk your life for some great cause,
let neither fear nor love give pause,
and when you face the gate of death,
Then love her, love her more than breath.

Yes, love her, love her more than life;
Oh, love the woman called your wife.
Go love her as your earthly best.
Beyond this venture not. But, lest
your love become a fool's facade,
Be sure to love her less than God.

It is not wise or kind to call
an idol by sweet names, and fall,
as in humility, before
a likeness of your God. Adore
above your best beloved on earth
The God alone who gives her worth.
And she will know in second place
that your great love is also grace,
and that your high affections now
are flowing freely from a vow

Beneath these promises, first made
to you by God. Nor will they fade
for being rooted by the stream
of Heaven's joy, which you esteem
and cherish more than breath and life,
that you may give it to your wife.

The greatest gift you give your wife
is loving God above her life.
And this I bid you now to bless:
Go love her more by loving less.