January 29, 2012

The Women's Best Friend

What do you think when you hear the title? Hmm.. who is or what is the women's best friend? You may remember a famous tagline which says, "A diamond is a woman's best friend" Yet is it true? Well, maybe generally yes, but for some it may not be even close to their true friend :) Yes, we women love beauty by nature. We love beautiful dresses, flowers, cakes, cookies, ice cream, and many more. We adore beautiful scenery, great interior design, great matched color tone, and heart-touching movie. Yet no matter how much love we give to the stuff mentioned previously, still it cannot replace the longing of our heart for a true friend, the best one. Although we have many girlfriends, there is only one person in this world who can turn our world turn around just like heaven. You probably can guess it ;) Yes, it is the man whom we love. Our diamond is the hearts of men whom we loved :)

I believe that it is an indescribable joy to have best friend turns into lover. Why do I say so? Since I know that feeling is fickle. As the time goes by, you may do not feel the intense thrill as the beginning of relationship. Yet true friendship is the only thing that will last. As we become older, we can realize that we are in need of a bestfriend who accompanies and understands us at the very best rather than for physical pleasure only. Yet how can our man becomes our best friend when friendship stage even wasn't being included in the beginning of our relationship? I found that most of couple begin relationship with a fast-track which cut all the way through friendship stage into romantic phase. We build relationship because there is already attraction from the beginning. It becomes more rare a man is willing to introduce himself to woman with a pure intention of becoming friends. Every body is opening for every chance that could emerge any time, any where, and any how. Then in the end.. we wonder what went wrong when it frustrates or fails us.

So, is there any wrong pattern here. Yes.. impatience. There are many aspects of our lives that should be revealed gradually not all at one time. Being intimate too soon is a great recipe for disaster. Take your time to build friendship and know the man through the good and the bad times very well. I personally doubt my choice when I haven't seen him in bad times. There are many things that cannot be talked, it has to be seen in daily lives. That is why direct communication, togetherness in routine activities, and a strong community are very strong fundamental aspects in building healthy friendship at first. I always feel unease when relationship becomes too exclusive. Surely, the tagline "the world belongs to us" sounds very romantic. Yet true romance for me is when your heart can soar high but your mind can still stand on the ground of truth. The best benchmark that determine whether our relationship is heading to the right or wrong way is by measuring it up to God's word as the absolute truth in our lives. Does our relationship glorify God? Does it pleases Him? Does it bring each of us closer to God? Does my way of doing this relationship brings out my partner's best for his/her future?

I like how Joshua Harris, author of "Boy Meets Girl" described a match made in heaven is when we can combine romance with wisdom. As far as I have seen, there is no wisdom born in a rush. Wisdom is always a result of countless practice in discerning God's will and submitting to His will instead of ours daily. It is only when we truly desire God's will as the best in our lives that we can truly pursue it with all our might. Frankly speaking, there is no wisdom in tossing your hearts here and there before the time you are ready to consider marriage as your goal in certain period of time. This is a common practice which most people do. We do 'trial and error' game in order to gain experience. But a heart should not always need to be broken in order to feel true love in the end. There is another way, a better way. And that way involves patience. It is waiting for God's timing. As Joshua Harris stated, before you are ready on for marriage, wait on romance.

A heart that has been preserved for its very best will be the most beautiful diamond a man can ever give to his woman. He is free to love her with all his heart, without fear that she will break it. His heart can lean on her safely for he knows God who hold their relationship from the very beginning til the end. He doesn't rely on his own wisdom nor experience to find her, yet rely on God's guidance. He doesn't step forward before even God asks him to. It may seem weird to the world, but does it matter? As long as he seeks
to please God, it is just a matter of time that God will bring his Eve to his trust. Wait patiently in Him, and in its due time you will reap a bountiful of harvest. He is always give the best for you. Will you be a woman's best friend?

January 10, 2012

Is He or She the One?


Finding A Life Partner to be Your Spouse

By: Cindy Wright of Marriage Missions

The following is an article that was written when someone asked us the following questions: “Did God create one life partner for one person? What if you miss him or her and marry the wrong one? My answer:

Your question is quite difficult to answer because who knows the mind of God—except God Himself. But I can give you my educated opinion. I truly believe that God created us to marry one life partner (until death parts us). But I don’t necessarily think there is only one husband or wife out there that is the only one for us.

I think God draws men and women together but ultimately He gives us the choice. When we lack wisdom, the Bible tells us to ask for it and God will give it to us generously (James 1:5). I believe this also pertains to who we decide to marry. If we truly want what is best for us in who we marry, we need to ask God for wisdom and then pursue looking for the answer He will provide. But then as the Bible also tells us in James chapter 1, we need to make sure that when we ask we believe without doubting His answer—believing in His loving care.

The problem we often have is we think that God wants to give us what makes us immediately happy. Author Al Janssen gives us a good insight into this faulty way of thinking. He says, “Happiness and self-fulfillment are natural by-products of marriage as God intend —not the primary purpose for marriage. The first marriage (with Adam and Eve) was at least as much about relating to God as it was about relating to each other.”

We seem to get the idea that marriage is all about us and our love and not about how it pertains to anyone else. That’s so untrue! “Marriage is a covenant relationship that God wants to use for His glory to give the world a glimpse of what He is like” (Al Janssen). It’s a living picture displayed through a husband and wife of God’s love for His church the Bride.

Marriage is also “a tool and a test to deepen your love, trust, and obedience for Jesus Christ. Marriage is not about you. It’s about God —reflecting the love and character of Christ in all we do” (Emerson Eggerichs). That’s why it’s so important to “consider the cost” of the sacrifice God intends for us to live out for the rest of our lives before the wedding. Because once we marry—once we make that solemn vow before God, He intends for us to follow through with that which we promised.

As it says in the Bible, “This is what the Lord commands: When a man makes a vow to the Lord or takes an oath to obligate himself by a pledge he must not break his word but must do everything he said” (Numbers 30:1-2). And that’s why it’s so important for us to pray in earnest that we will marry the one who will help us to live out our vows to the fullest.

When we find someone who “seems” like they would be the best spouse for us, we may “pray”—but all too often deep down, we already have our mind made up that we’re sure this would be God’s choice for us because that person “seems” to be the one who would be the best spouse for us. God doesn’t always see things our way.

We want to be careful with whom we promise to spend the rest of our lives. Will that person be the type who will be committed to help you (and for you to help them) live out your lives together to the glory of God so others are affected in a positive way because of your union?

The Bible says, “Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires” (Romans 8:5).What immediately looks good to us—the one we’re certain God would approve of (because they “appear” to be the best for us) may not actually be the best choice for our lives in the long term (it may, but it also may not be). That’s why we need to earnestly seek true wisdom from God and be living in close relationship with God so we know when God is speaking to us.

We need to be patient in deciding who to marry and really look at whether they would be thebest spiritual partner for us as well as life partner—because when we marry God intends for us to be joined with them spiritually for the rest of our lives. And if they don’t live out that which God values as being important, that could forever greatly affect our lives (and our future children and so many others) in very negative ways.

Something to consider on what marriage is really about is living together in an intimate working relationship with each other and with God. As author and speaker, David Ferguson said,

“Maybe God created us with a duality of neediness—both an intimate relationship with God and with meaningful others (like our spouse). Why did God do that? It’s possible that God has given us humans horizontal relationships to serve as a context in which we live out that which we claim to know and believe about God. Maybe the beautiful part of what marriage is all about is to challenge us in an environment of accountability, to live out that which we claim to know and believe about God.”

Someone once said, “The point of life is not to focus on the blessings of life, but to be a part of God’s bigger story.” And being a part of God’s bigger story may not involve marrying the one who looks the most obvious that they’re “the one” for us. It may be like in the Bible when God chose David to be king when everyone else overlooked him and didn’t even start to consider him. His brothers looked like more obvious ones to choose than David. But David is described as “a man after God’s own heart.”

When it comes down to choosing a spouse, I’d much rather choose someone who is a “man after God’s own heart” than someone who appears to look good on the outside but really isn’t the one to team up with to effectively participate in God’s “bigger story” for blessing the world we’re placed in.

With that said, I think there may be several choices in this world of individuals that could make a really good spouse for us should we meet them and eventually choose one of them. I don’t necessarily believe there is only one person in the world for us to choose. The timing of meeting them, the person they are when we meet them, and where we are in our own maturity and the circumstances currently happening in our lives will all play into whether someone would be the best choice to be our spouse for that time in our lives. Continually asking God for wisdom when we meet someone will eventually help us to know whether we should pursue getting to know them better as a potential spouse.

But I also believe that once we marry someone—at the moment we make the vow to “love, honor, and cherish them, forsaking all others, until we’re parted by death” as we pronounce in the marriage ceremony, it then becomes a sacred covenant—not only between us and our spouse—but also with God Himself. And that isn’t something to be taken lightly.

At that moment, they become our life partner—whether it was God’s first choice for us or not. At that moment we need to apply the Bible verse to our life that says, “…forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14).

God has a purpose for us to marry. If He didn’t He never would have created marriage in the first place. And part of the reason to marry is to display what it is to “live a life of love” (as God talks about in the Bible in Ephesians chapter 4) and wants to live within each one of us to give out to others. Another part is to show others the miracles He can do through those who are yielded to His ways. And another part is to display what true, promise-keeping love looks like. God is a promise-keeper and His children are commanded to do no less.

You asked if I believe that God created one life partner for one person. My answer is no. You also asked, “What if you miss that person and marry the ‘wrong one’? I think something author and speaker Zig Ziglar said makes a lot of sense on this issue when talking to someone who thought maybe they HAD married the wrong person when he said,

“I have no way of knowing whether or not you married the wrong person, but I do know that many people have a lot of wrong ideas about marriage and what it takes to make that marriage happy successful. I’ll be the first to admit that it’s possible that you did marry the wrong person. However if you treat the wrong person like the right person, you could well end up having marriage the right person after all.

On the other hand, if you marry the right person, and treat that person wrong, you certainly will have ended up marrying the wrong person. I also know that it is far more important to be the right kind of person than it is to marry the right person. In short, whether you married the right or wrong person is primarily up to you."

I know like that seems like a long answer to simply say, when you marry, even the wrong person then becomes the “right person” because you’ve committed your life to be their team-mate for the rest of your lives. You make a vow to each other before God and WITH God. Your vow from that day forward is to be “promise keepers.”

You need to really be very PRAYERFUL AND CAREFUL on your wedding day to marry someone who is committed to both God and to you. Someone once said this prayer which is so true, “Lord, help me to find a spouse who love Thee, because then I know in my heart they will love me.”

I hope all of what I said gives you some serious food for thought. Not everyone is “called” be married. The apostle Paul talks about that subject and challenges those who aren’t married to realize that marriage WILL bring trouble. And it will. But marriage is also wonderful when you find the right person who is as committed to making it work to the glory of God as you are.

As Bill Hybels, in his wonderful book, Fit to Be Tied says (which I thoroughly agree with),

“Marriage can be wonderful. It can be deeply satisfying and mutually fulfilling. But if it becomes that, it is because both partners have paid a very high price over many years to make it that way. They will have died to selfishness a thousand times. They will have had countless difficult conversations. They will have endured sleepless nights and strained days. They will have prayed hundreds of prayers for wisdom and patience and courage and understanding. They will have said ‘I’m sorry’ too many times to remember. They will have been stretched to the breaking point often enough to have learned that, unless Christ is at the center of both of their lives, the odds for achieving marital satisfaction are very, very low.”

January 01, 2012

When God Closes the Door

There are moments when hope seems to cease, faith struggles with doubt, and faith starts to evaporate. It can be said as the darkest hour, the night, the winter season and many more :) It seems like what you have planned so well ruin with a sudden event or what you long for so long still has not come true. In Old Testament, the Israelites felt it as the desert experience. God had promised them to go to the Promised Land which was rich with honey and milk. Yet because of their lack of faith, 11 days journey became 40 years wondering throughout of the desert! It was very tempting to think that God was not as faithful as He used to say through His promises. It seemed like God called them out of Egypt, set them free from hundreds of years of slavery, promised them very beautiful riches,yet only to make them disappointed in the end. "What a cruel God!" they thought. Yet is God truly like that? What is actually His purpose when it seems like He opened the way at first but closed it later on? What is behind His mind when He makes us waiting for so long?

Firstly, we need to keep in mind that our God is a good God. Bring that truth to soak in deeply in your heart. In circumstance that you may not understand it as 'good', God is still good and His love for you never change. Then why does God seem to close the used-to-be opened door before? There are various possibilities for this. Sometimes we are so in comfort zone when we are in good condition until we do not realize how important it is until it is gone. We may be grateful for His blessings yet true thankfulness is born when there is nothing to thank for. Hence, God is asking your attention more. Some closed door will mean that God does not intend you to go to certain direction. Yet it could either mean that it is not the time yet to go through the door. In both cases, God's deepest purpose is for us to pray more. As the true thankfulness is born when there is nothing to thank for, so does sincere prayer is born as we cry out desperately to God. The darkest hour comes as we pray fervently, yet hear nothing in return. Silence. Will we keep trusting in God through that moment?

God closes doors so that you will stop trusting in man. Closed door helps you to see God stands by your side and He is the only one you need. Does that mean that men cannot help us at all? As long as we can rely on God behind the men, yes we can ask for some help. Yet the main source of the help is truly God himself.

Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. They are brought to their knees and fall, but we rise up and stand firm -Psalm 20:7-8

Sometimes we have to give up all we have in order for God to make a miracle. Remember the child who gave up his five loaves of bread and two fishes to Jesus? It was certainly his only treasure. His lunch. If he gave it, he could not eat. And even the thousands of people there cannot eat that too. Yet this young boy believed sincerely in Jesus who can do anything. He gave up his treasure without understanding why but believes completely in Jesus. And then you know what happens next... Jesus made a miracle. The foods were being multiplied with twelve baskets leftovers. The same thing happened to our father of Faith, Abraham. God asked him to offer his only son, Isaac. As Abraham obeyed Him, God pleased with Him. He knew Abraham loves Him more than anything. Then miracle happened again. God had prepared animal as replacement of Isaac. What is the most dear in your heart? Where your treasure is, there your heart will be. As long as you put your treasure in other place besides God, there is always a possibility of heartache. No safer place than under His wings. He is guarding you right now from that.He is asking your heart and faith completely. Are you longing for a future spouse so badly? Are you longing to make your dreams come true deeply? Give them up to God. Do not let you heart too attached to other thing rather than God. Even good things being misplaced can bring you harm.

God closes doors so that you will wait for His time. He often does it to prepare circumstances. Just like an unripe fruit tastes badly, so does unprepared people given His blessing will rob its beauty. Right things being done in wrong timing becomes wrong things. God concerns more on what happen on your inside rather than your outside. Your character, not your performance. Your holiness, not your momentary happiness. He loves you too much to let the right things become wrong when you still cannot handle it properly. Maturity happens not in overnight. It takes time to develop. Just like the muscles need to be constantly trained, so does our heart and mind need such a training before we can be entrusted with His blessings. Too many blessings become disaster in the hands of unprepared people and He does not want that happen to His beloved children. What things you need to improve before God placed His blessings into your hand? IS it your relationship with Him? Is it your character? Is it your holiness?

Rather than seeing closed door as a calamity, we have to consider it as a blessing. Jesus wait four days until Lazarus had died to visit him. People may thought He was too late. Yet Jesus, our God, knows the time perfectly more than any other human beings. He is never too early nor too late. He came perfectly just in His time so that He could work on His miracle. Every closed door opens another door for God to reveal His glory and save His people. You will never know when God will use what you experience right now to those who will experience the same thing in the future. Never let yourself being trapped in a self-pity attitude. When why does not matter much anymore, you can walk confidently with eyes of faith toward Jesus. Let you mutely saying to God, "I don't understand what are You doing, but keep going on what You do"

"See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut" - Revelation 3:8a

What He opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open. If you know that it is God's will but the door is being closed at the moment, keep going. Keep waiting, keep persevering in praying and growing. Surrender what is the most dear to your heart to Him. But if you know that it isn't God's will and the door is being opened, do not go there. Not every opened door is God's opportunity for you. You will know what to do as you grow in intimacy with Him. He reveals his plans and thoughts to those who love Him and seek Him with all their hearts. If He prunes you, it means that He wants you to be fruitful in love and deeds. Do not ask, "Why God?" but ask instead, "What do you want me to learn from this?"

The darkest moment is the biggest turning point in your life.