Our Love Story [Part 1]

The story which I will write about is more than just a love story nor a fairy tale. It is a true love story [in case you’re wondering whether it exists or not, it does!], the one which is written by God alone, as the Author of Love.

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The reason I write this is because I see so many people struggle in their love life. Some may be in search for their soulmates, some may wait in extraordinary patience, some may in active pursuit without coordinating with God. It leads us to a one-million dollar question whether God really has preserved “the one” for us or it all depends on our own free will while He only provides guidance. I once having difficulty in answering this question. But I always keep in confidence that the all-knowing God will know certainly the best for me. This is more than just talking about whether “the one” exists or not. It does more about how well we know God Himself 🙂 Based on this conviction, I put on my faith in my God and allowing Him to write my love story according to His will. Practically, I prayed and I waited. I listened to His guidance regarding men who passed through my life and I obeyed whatever His guidance was. Please noted here that I obeyed His guidance more than my own feeling. I did not depend on feeling for feeling can be tricked.

The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure.
Who can understand it?
-Jeremiah 17:9

There were times when I sacrificed my feelings in order to follow God’s guidance. There were times when I prayed regarding men whom I considered to be with, then I clearly sensed that God said, “No.” And I obeyed it because I simply trust in my good God who knows the best for me. This experience may sound awkward to some of you. Maybe you have a doubt that God really cares about the details about your life. Well, the fact is, He does. He even can number your hair! How couldn’t he bother your life-long partner choices? Okay enough for the introduction 🙂 So here we go, my testimony about what I have seen, heard, and experienced about God-written love story …

I came not from a harmonious family. When you are in that kind of family, it is easy not to trust that there is such thing called ‘true love’. But when I was 15 years old, I accepted Christ as my Savior, and being mentored by Mrs. Gloria Adhitya. She has been the living witness of God to me. I saw her marriage was extra-ordinary and her love story as well 🙂 Her husband was her first and last boyfriend for seven years and their relationship even began with a true confirmation from God. It gave me a glimpse of hope. As I began to look for more ‘evidence’ of true love, I am convinced that those who are truly truly [emphasis added] living for Christ do have a great marriage beyond most couples. By then, it doesn’t merely give me a glimpse of hope, but a fire of passion, a divinely purpose, that I want to have such kind of marriage, and I will [by faith and God’s grace]. It doesn’t stop there. When I was 19, I consumed lots of Christian books regarding Godly relationship, and it shaped out my vision to help young generation to build a Godly marriage, family, and a home. That made me who I am today.

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I was committed to wait to build a relationship until I am ready for marriage. I wanted my husband to become my first and last boyfriend. [Okay, it works differently for some people. We may don’t share the same longing or experience here, and that’s okay!]. But I have faith in it 🙂 Back then, I just knew that I could not build a relationship with Senior High School guy who still depended on their parents for living. So I decided in my heart that Senior High School moment exactly was not the right time to build a relationship. The same thing went through when I was in college. I just had not meet yet with “the one” or I could say “Potential Husband” whom God impressed in my heart. Oh by the way, I have list of characteristics whom I wanna be with for the rest of my life 😉 It’s a hint for praying specifically 🙂 Thank God I wrote it down haha 😀 I wrote this list on April 4, 2010.

I believe that he is a guy who …
1) Loves Jesus more than ANYTHING
2) Has the same passion and vision to serve Jesus and people
3) Always wants to learn and improve himself toward His likeness
4) Loves me as God loves him
5) Humble and not self-centered
6) Honest, reliable, has a good sense of humour
7) Definately not smoking (care for his health)
8) Completely secure, confident, love himself
9) Willing to work hard yet always prioritize family and relationships
10) Good looking 🙂 , tall, white, smart

I want to be faithful even I haven’t met him yet. I know our meeting will be special and I will wait for you with all or my heart. I love you.

The lists should not be attributes to satisfy our flesh. But I tried to be honest on my list (see point no. 10? 😀 but of course, it’s not the top of my priority). We need to ask God for His guidance too. Different kind of faith will be unnegotiable. Why? Because I am deeply convinced that a strong faith in Jesus will be the srongest foundation ever to build a house of marriage.

Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain.
Unless the LORD watches over the city,
the watchmen stand guard in vain – Psalm 127:1

The one who share the same burden for ministry and have determination to grow in Jesus will also be my top priority. For I know what God called me to be and being partnered with a man of God will definately support my calling too 🙂 To create an extra-ordinary marriage from the very beginning, we need to partner with man who wants the same thing too 😉

Talking about lists, I was deeply inspired by the list made by a great woman of God, Ruth Graham. At first, she decided that she would be a single life-long missionary unless there was a man whom fulfilled her list as her partner of life [what a high standard!]. In case you’re wondering what were the lists, here they are:

If I marry:
1. He must be so tall that when he is on his knees, he reaches all the way to heaven.
2. His shoulders must be broad enough to bear the burden of a family.
3. His lips must be strong enough to smile, firm enough to say no, and tender enough to kiss.
4. Love must be so deep that it takes its stand in Christ and so wide that it takes the whole lost world in.
5. He must be active enough to save souls.
6. He must be big enough to be gentle
and great enough to be thoughtful.
7. His arms must be strong enough to carry a little child

Wow.. such a poetic list! But her faith was rewarded 😉 She changed her mind when she met … Billy Graham. The one who eventually became one of the greatest preacher on earth.

What I am trying to say here is … God-written love story began with faith which is applied in specific prayer plus boldness. We need to be bold enough to ask for the ‘rare’ thing.. Godly qualities which only a few has. I did not realize where I got such kind of faith.. I guess I was being like a child who trusted fully to the Heavenly Father who is more than able to provide what I asked for. Moreover when I asked for a partner whom I will work with in order to accomplish His mission on earth. He would be more than pleased to give me what He also wants to give at the very beginning 😉

Then what happened after I prayed? I waited. Faithfully. Patiently. I always believe that it is God’s design for a man to initiate a relationship and a woman to wait and respond to man’s initiatives 🙂 Some of us may think that the best place to meet Godly potential spouse is at church. I completely agree with that. It makes sense perfectly. But God can bring up your mate anytime and anywhere. Even in a condition you may never imagine before. My dad enrolled me to a stock analysis course which I often rejected over and over again. I was stubborn enough to decide that ministry would be my path of life and I was not interested to learn stock market. But I obeyed anyway [this obedience led me to God’s purpose ;)]. On the first day of the course I met “him”, one of the lecturer who have achievement already in stock market since he was 17 years old. It was my first time to know who he was. We did not meet often during the course, for he only taught around 3-4 meetings in 3 months. It seemed pretty hopeless to think that we may develop more relationship that lecturer-student. I did not think much either in that direction. Until the day he contacted me ‘accidentaly’ for the first time through short messages. The short message was not for me either.. so we can say it as a ‘lost’ short message whom he intended to send it to someone else. Yet from that moment, we kind of had little conversation for a few times in a week.

I was kind of interested back then. Yet I planned to go to US for a year to study Bible. I was so eager to go until I decided to sacrifice this feeling and just went away. I surrendered that feeling to God and so ready to bear the consequences along the way [Sometimes we are so impatient to wait on God’s timing until we rush into our own plans!] But God’s way mostly different from ours. I wrote the experience of God closed the door in my life in my writing “When God Closes the Door.” Yes, God closed the door when my US visa was rejected. I could not believe it at that moment. It really felt like the door being slammed right in front of your face and your dreams scattered around. It was my gloomy moment in life where God actually taught so many things regarding Him. At that time, he came over to comfort me. Since then, he had been my faithful companion during hard times #hugs. But we did not meet at all. I did not really think that he interested on me since he did never even call nor asked me out. I even sent his birthday present through mail. It was like a sweet friendship ‘with a slight hope of different intention’ at that time. 9 months passed by until He ‘finally’ initiated us to meet on my 22nd birthday 😀 I was so nervous and happy back then …

How would it turn out? I guess I need to stop here and continue later on My Love Story part 2 😀 See you later!

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“A woman’s heart should be so hidden in God so that a man has to seek Him first in order to find her.” – Maya Angelou

Love.
Leticia Seviraneta

The Sparkling Eyes

“Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” –Luke 18:17  [NIV]

I have a little hobby of observing children especially those who are under age of 5. When they ran and fell, most of time they would stand up again immediately, run again and laugh. There are also some children reacted differently. When they fell, they would cried out loud. But when they had calmed down, they were quick to forget the previous “disaster” and played again with no fear. But the most interesting parts about children are their sparkling eyes and their ways to look at things in wonder. If parents teach a child to pray, then in the child’s perspective, prayer can do all things. There was a child who found out that his friend and family member were sick, either just flu or wound, the child will pray immediately. After praying, he would ask, “Have you recovered yet?”

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I believe that when Jesus taught us to have a faith like a child it means that we use child’s perspective that there is nothing impossible for Almighty God. Oftentimes as we grow up into adulthood, we face the reality of life, and the child’s faith starts to fade out. We use more of our logics and we assume what many people experience in this world as truth. No wonder then if the eyes of grown up people fade. The eyes are no longer sparkling because there is no faith, hope, nor love.

Many people spend a lot of money to upgrade their looks. But Jesus actually has taught us the recipe of keeping our looks beautiful overtime. The beauty recipe is in keep in faith, keep hoping to God regardless of our circumstances. Our optimism will change the atmosphere around us to become more passionate. The same thing happens when people are filled with love. Their eyes will be warm when they greet one another. These kinds of people are beautiful in the eyes of God and the world. Don’t let your circumstances, your past, your problems to dictate your faith. Don’t let what happens to you rob your sparkling eyes you once had. But let your faith influences them and let your life shines wherever you are entrusted by God.

A hopeful heart in the Lord will always create sparkling eyes.

And that is the everlasting beauty.

 

Love,

Leticia Seviraneta

Photos by Jennifer Phelps Photography 

Amazing Grace

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” –Romans 5:8 [NIV]

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There is an Indonesian’s proverb which says, “Milk is being repaid by toxic water” which means “Goodness is being repaid by evil.” Yes, our world perhaps has given so many examples on such practices. When we do good and don’t get the appropriate response from others, it will naturally discourage us to do good to them at other time. It is natural for us to feel that way because we are still human in flesh and live in a fallen world.

But, Jesus doesn’t think that way. He died at the cross not when we were good to him, but when we were sinning against him. His love doesn’t depend on our performance or our spiritual life. He loves us just because of his glorious mercy. Grace is a gift to the undeserving ones (unmerited favor). God’s principle is indeed “Toxic water is being repaid by milk” which means, “Evil is being repaid by goodness.” Isn’t it weird? But that is how amazing God’s love for us!

A sinner will never change when we keep showering him with critics, condemnations, and bad behavior towards him. A sinner can only be changed with a touch of amazing love. The song of “Amazing Grace” was created by John Newton, who was raised in a good Christian family but he left his faith and live according to worldly ways. He became a sailor, was involved in slave trade and gambling, and had addiction to alcohol. One day when he sailed, at midnight, his ship was shaking hard against the storm. He ended  up saying a prayer to God to save his life. Miraculously, as soon as he finished praying, the sea went calm. That incident was his turning point of his repentance. He then surrendered his life to be God’s servant for the rest of his life.

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound

That saved a wretch like me

I once was lost, but now I’m found

Was blind, but now I see

 

‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear

And grace my fear relieved

How precious did that grace appear

The hour I first believed

 

Through many dangers, toils and snares

We have already come

‘Twas grace that brought us safe thus far

And grace will lead us home

 

When we’ve been there ten thousand years

Bright shining as the sun

We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise

Than when we first begun

 

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We are all sinners in front of God’s eyes. But God decides to love us and adopted us to be his precious children. We can do the same thing to people who mistreat us if we realize also how bad we are in God’s eyes. Pray so that God will enable you to love your ‘enemy’ as he loves you. Sow love or ‘milk’ in ther lives. One day you will be amazed by the results.

Sinners do not need condemnation nor judgment.

They need grace expressed in unconditional love.

Love,

Leticia Seviraneta

Photos by Whiskers & Willow Photography

I Will Never Forget You

“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!” –Isaiah 49:15 [NIV]

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There are moments when you may feel lonely. There are times when you lose people whom we love dearly or perhaps you feel that no one loves you. You may have memories and experiences that convince you all the more that you are alone and you need to depend on yourself in order to survive. But is it true that way? No. God never leaves you. He never forgets you. You are so precious to him.

It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” -Deuteronomy 31:8 [ESV]

Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” -Hebrews 13:5 [ESV]

On our verse today, Isaiah 49:15,  it is written that God’s love is deeper than the strongest bond of love between a mother and her newborn child. Though it is very rare, there are some mothers who abandon their children; but God will never do that. I don’t know what happened in your past. You may never know who are your biological parents. You may feel your parents don’t love you. You may feel that no one cares about you in this world. But today, God wants to speak to you specifically, that he is the one whom you have been looking for. He is always beside you and even inside of you, but you just don’t realize it.

God is always in control of your life. “The LORD directs he steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the LORD holds them by the hand.” (Psalm 37:23-24) God uses all things either good or bad to finish his plan for those who love him (Romans 8:28).  If you love God, then this promise is definitely for you.

God never allows problems come into your life without your capability to overcome it (1 Corinthians 10:13). If you learn to trust and surrender into God, he will strengthen you in the broken areas in your life. Someday you may serve others who experience the same like you did by God’s strength.

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There is a true story about a young woman who love and serve God with all her heart. One night after she served in her church, she walked down the street and almost arrived at her home. Suddenly, a group of men trapped her, they ripped off her blouse, kissed her in may parts of her body. At some point, they abandoned her on the street. They didn’t completely rape her, but inside she was destroyed. When she arrived at home, she took a shower over and over again and cried loudly. She had just served the Lord, but why did it happen to her? She was still a virgin, but she was full with disgust and hated herself a lot. She didn’t understand at all why God allowed it to happen.

Praise God, the woman did not run off from God. Fifteen years later, after enduring a long process of healing, she finally recovered from the pain. She was empowered by God to release forgiveness unto those men. She was married and already had children. She dedicated her life to serve women who were raped. The women she served often yell at her, “You don’t know what it’s like! How disgusting that your body is being touched by stranger!” But this woman answered, “I know what it’s like.” She was almost raped and she had the same feeling before as those women feels now. God uses her all the more in this area of ministry.

Whatever you are going through now, God never forgets you. Psalm 8:4 says, “What is a man that you are mindful of him?” God’s mind is so filled with you just like a man who keeps on thinking on the woman he loves. That is how much God loves you.

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God will make you so strong at the broken places of your life that you would minister to others out of that hidden strength.

Blessings,

Leticia Seviraneta

Photos by Axioo Baby Photography

A Matter of Heart

“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” –Proverbs 4:23 [NIV]

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Have you ever felt that you were going through a bad day? Nothing was seemed right. From the sun rises until it sets problems keep coming through, people upsets you and disappoint you, and many more. Even a moment after you just have your quiet time there can be something happens that robs your peace immediately. We know that God teaches us to be joyful in all circumstances. But we also know that to put it into action is a whole another level of difficulty. How to guard our hearts to be in harmony with God’s will in practical means?

Let us look what guarding truly looks like. If you have the highest end gadget, what would you do? You will not put it carelessly, won’t you? You will not put it on the public toilet’s floor because you know it will make the gadget dirty and even in danger to be trod upon by others. If you are a typical of person who loves cleanliness and neatness, you probably did not open the plastic cover on your gadget’s screen for some time to keep it clean for a longer time. The thing is, you will treat it more carefully because the gadget is costly and precious for you.

So does with our hearts. Our heart is the place where Holy Spirit lives. Since Jesus has redeemed our sins, our hearts belong to him entirely and he becomes permanent resident in it. Remember that our heart is as expensive as Jesus’ blood! But often we don’t realize how precious our hearts are. We put it carelessly to vain things like wealth, flesh desires, boyfriend/girlfriend. We also feed it with inappropriate movies, gossips, and many more. We put our hearts in places where it shouldn’t be and no wonder that in the end we get dirty hearts in return. But today we have learned this truth, so we can do something with our hearts.

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The practical way to guard our hearts is to guard its cleanliness with guarding our thoughts and make sure that our thoughts are directed to matters which are pleasing to the Lord.

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” –Philippians 4:8 [NIV]

Sins always began in our minds. When we let dirty thoughts creep into our minds, at the same time, we open our hearts to sinful behavior. Hence, the first step to guard our hearts is to keep cleansing our minds with God’s words and good thoughts. If negative thoughts or worries creep into our minds, we have to shift it immediately to the truth, to what God actually says regarding that thought. We cannot never think of negative thoughts, but we can choose not to think about it continuously. Meditate on God’s words every time. You can make Bible verses cards or download Bible applications on your gadgets which you can read while you are waiting in the midst of your activity, while you are at break, etc. My current favorite Bible App are YouVersion and E-sword 😀

Besides guarding our thoughts by filling it with God’s words, we also need to fill our hearts with love. The signs that we have a healthy heart is a heart full of love and forgiveness. If there are still people whom you find it hard to forgive, ask God’s help to enable you to release forgiveness to those people. Know that this process happens throughout our lives. So don’t take it is as something too hard to do. With God, you are able! Keep deciding to guard our minds, to forgive, and to love day by day and we will find our burdens are lifted up. The situations perhaps haven’t changed, but our hearts which stays according to God’s will enables our lives to be filled with joy beyond words could express. God can work more in his children’s lives whose hearts are completely his. Are you willing to surrender your heart entirely to God?

God is the only place where your heart will be safe and unbroken.

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Cheers,

Leticia Seviraneta

Photos by Voir Pictures, Angga Permana Photography, Pinterest

His Beloved

There are days in our lives when we feel unloved and unworthy. In fact, there are so many people out there who are still trying so hard to gain acceptance, love, appreciation, compliments, etc from others. It has become humans’ necessity in life to simply just being accepted. We may struggled with it once we were just children. We may struggle with it now in our various relationship, e.g. with girlfriend/boyfriend, spouse, parents, boss, and many more. Does it sound familiar to you? It seems like there is a big hole in your life which is screaming to be filled with love, love, and love. You may think that once this person does this and that for you, you will find it be enough. But the truth goes … it is never enough.

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I remember the days when I used to feel unloved. At that moment, I questioned about God’s love for me. But in one session of Youth Camp in my campus, one of the speaker told me the story when God made a woman. Its last sentence of the story changed the whole course of my life. Here is the story 🙂

By the time the Lord made a woman, He was in the Sixth day of working. An angel appeared and having conversation with the Lord.

Angel: “Why are you spending so much time on this one?”

Lord: “Have you seen the spec sheet on her? She has a lap that can hold two children at one time and that disappears when she stands up, has a kiss and hug that can cure anything from a scrapped knee to a broken heart, and she is doing all of these with two hands!”

Angel: “Only with two hands, Lord? No way!”

Lord: “Oh, it’s it the hands that are the problem. It’s the three pair of eyes that mothers must have!”

Angel: “Why does she have three pairs of eyes?”

Lord: “Yes, one pair of eyes are to see through the closed door as she asks her children what they are doing even though she already knows. Another pair in the back of her head are to see what she needs to know even though no one thinks she can. And the third pair are here in the front of the head. They are for looking at an errant child and saying that she understands and loves him or her without even saying a single word.

Angel (tried to stop the Lord): “This is too much work for one day, wait until tomorrow to finish!”

Lord: “But I can’t! I am so close to finish this creation that is so close to my own heart. She already heals herself when she is sick and can feed a family on a pound of hamburger and can work 18 hours a day.”

Angel (moved closer and touched the woman): “But you have made her so soft, Lord.”

Lord: “She is soft. But I have also made her tough. You have no idea what she can endure or accomplish.”

Angel: “Will she be able to think?”

Lord: “Not only will she be able to think, she will be able to reason and negotiate.”

Angel (touched the woman’s cheek): “Oops, it looks like you have a leak with this model. I told you that you were trying to put too much into this one.”

Lord: “That’s not a leak. That’s a tear!”

Angel: “What’s the tear for?”

Lord: “The tear is her way of expressing her joy, her sorrow, her pain, her disappointment, her loneliness, her grief, and her pride.”

Angel (impressed): “You are a genius, Lord! You thought of everything, for woman is truly amazing.”

Lord: “Yes, she is. Women have strengths that amaze men. They carry children, they carry hardships, they carry burdens but they hold happiness, love, and joy. They smile when they want to scream. They sing when they want to cry. They cry when they are happy and laugh when they are nervous. They fight for what they believe in. They stand up for injustice. They don’t take “no” for an answer when they believe there us a better solution. They go without new shoes so their children can have them. They love unconditionally. They cry when their children excel and cheer when their friends get awards. Their hearts break when a friend dies. They have sorrow at the loss of family member, yet they are strong when they think there is no strengh left. They know that a hug and a kiss can heal a broken heart. Women come in all sizes, in all colors and shapes. They’ll drive, fly, walk, run, or e-mail you to show how much they care about you. The heart of a woman is what makes the world spin! Women do more than giving birth. They bring joy and hope. They give compassion and ideals. Women have a lot to say and a lot to give.”

“But she has one weakness …”

Angel: “What is it Lord?”

Lord: “She often forgets how worthy she is…”

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Yes, indeed! I used to forget that I am worthy. Just like most people, I grew up in an environment where love may not be verbalized nor be shown expressively. It causes children to doubt parents’ love, wives doubt husbands’ love, and at last God’s children doubts God’s love. And as our confidence of God’s love is shaken, we are most likely to end up in downward spiral of life. We question about the goodness of God, life and its purpose. That was why this story became a huge turning point for me. For the very first time, I was being reminded about that I am always worthy in God’s eyes but it’s just my eyes which fail to recognize it.

You are God’s beloved. When the world tries to convince that you are not, He constantly wooing you to win your heart. God is a Father to the fatherless, friend to the friendless, and husband to the husbandless. In fact, although you have a nice father, a great friend, and a lovely spouse, Jesus Christ still surpasses them all. He is the one who keeps being faithful as the world lies through their teeth. He is the ONLY ONE who has the capacity to fill the longings in your heart. In Jesus, you are loved and accepted. Not because of what you’ve done, but because of who He is, Love.

[Isaiah 43:1-7,11,13]
But now, this is what the LORD says-
he who create you, Jacob,
he who formed you, Israel:
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire, 
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the LORD your God, 
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
I give Egypt for your ransom,
Cush and Seba in your stead.
Since you are precious and honored in my sight,
and because I love you,
I will give people in exchange for you,
nations in exchange for your life.
Do not be afraid, for I am with you;
I will bring your children from the east 
and gather you from the west.
I will say to the north, “Give them up!”
and to the south, “Do not hold them back.”
Bring my sons from afar and my daughters 
from the ends of the earth-
everyone who is called by my name,
whom I created for my glory,
whom I formed and made.
I, even I, am the Lord, and apart from me there is no savior.
Yes, and from the ancient days I am he.
No one can deliver out of my hand.
When I act, who can reverse it?”

God is the One who never gives up on you although you even want to quit. You are His beloved and He will not let you go. He will protect you. For it is your destiny to be loved by Him. 

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“Letting yourself be loved by God is more important  than loving God” -Brennan Manning

 by Leticia Seviraneta

Photos by Jennifer Phelps Photography

The Essentials of Being A Leader at Home

In previous post, I have described the part of women as helper in home. Now it is men’s turn 😀 This one will describe more on Derek Prince’s side. For obvious reasons, the preparation a man needs to make for marriage differs from the preparation a woman needs to make. What are the preparations which Derek believes a man should make?

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The Matter of Headship

The primary role of a man in home will be as a husband and a father. In short, as a head of a family. Paul pictures a descending chain of headship, which starts in heaven and ends in family: God the Father is the head of Christ, Christ is the head of the man (husband); and the man (husband) is the head of the woman (wife). In this chain, Christ represents God the Father (above Him) to the man (below Him); and the man, in turn, represents Christ (above him) to his wife (below Him). Here is the pattern: A man represents Christ to his wife and family. It’s a tremendous responsibility but also a sacred privilege!

Hmm.. What does it look like to represent Christ in your home? I bet it would be such a gentle, wise, and loving figure ever! The key to the life of Jesus was His relationship to the Father. “The Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.” (John 5:19) In like manner, your success as head of your family will depend on your relationship to Jesus. Make Him the source of your words and actions. Rely on His strength and wisdom within you, not on your own. Let Him live out His life through you.

The Importance of Tenderness and Romance

Consider the tenderness with which the Lord speaks to Israel in Jeremiah 31:3: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.Do not afraid of being tender. It is a mark of strength, not weakness. It is by tenderness that Jesus draws His people to Himself. Allow Him to impart a measure of it to you. Throught it all He will draw your bride to you just as He deaws the Church to himself.

Although our culture has little honor for a man being tender, yet the truth is there is something in every woman that longs for it. She will respond to it just as a flower opens its petals to the sun.

Tenderness goes hand in hand with romance. If you want a picture of the two combined, study the Song of Songs. Romance is not some special kind of activity on its own. It is a quality imparted to other activities that makes them more exciting and enjoyable. Romance is not like an extra course on your meal. It is seasoning added to every course.

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A Self-Giving Character

Another quality of the love of Jesus is that it is self-giving. “Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” (Ephesians 5:25). A successful marriage must follow that pattern. It consists of two lives laid down for each other. First, the husband, like Jesus, lays down his life for the wife. Then the wife in her turn, like the Church, lays down her life for the husband. Thereafter, each kinds fulfillment in the life of the other. The key is understanding that scriptural marriage is based on covenant.

Self-giving is not natural, however, to fallen human nature. It needs to be cultivated. First it requires a decision. Then it must be worked out in daily living, until it becomes part of your character. Do not wait until marriage to begin to give of yourself. That can lead to much unnecessary suffering for you and your wife. Your marriage will benefit greatly if you learn to give of yourself now in the relationships you have with those around you. If you still live at home, give yourself in small acts of service. Take out the garbage even when it is not your turn. Help with the dishes so your sister can go out with her friend. Babysit your younger brother so your parents can have an evening out by themselves. In the church life, too, there are many opportunities for service. All these seemingly small acts will help to build in you something of the self-giving nature of Jesus, which will one day enrich your marriage and make you a pattern to your own children.

Teaching: A Most Important Task

The picture of Jesus as Bridegroom in Ephesians 5:25-26 brings out another aspect of His ministry -that of Teacher. He gave Himself up for the Church “to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word.” The teaching of God’s Word must make the Church pure and holy, fit to be Christ’s Bride.

Here is another way you will be able to represent Jesus to your wife and family: Make provision for them to receive the kind of Bible teaching that will fit them to be part of His Bride. “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). A mother has her part to play, but the primary responsibility of teaching rests on the father.

How can you prepare yourself to fill the role of teacher in your home? First of all, acquire an overall knowledge of the Bible. There are many ways to study: books, study, discussion, courses, seminars and so on. Many people think that this is the task of a pastor or spiritual leader at church. But a man is a spiritual leader at home too. Thereby, it is unlimited responsibility though you have vocation in marketplace 😉

Intercession: Your Highest Ministry

As teacher, you will represent God to your family. As intercessior, you will represent your family to God. Intercession in simple terms is praying continually with a deep concern to certain people and areas of life. Wherever God places you, you can learn to be a man who stands in the gap on behalf of others. Cultivate a regular personal prayer life. Devote your best time to it. Ask God to lay on your heart the individuals for whom He wants to intercede. Aim in your heart and mind that prayer should become as naturl as a part of your family life as meals or play. Your success in the ministry of prayer will probably determine the extent of your success in other areas.

Your Role in Practical Terms

As the head of family, you will be required to be sensitive to register the needs and feelings of others, to foresee problems and dangers, to accept and apply constructive ideas. You will also need wisdom to make decisions which affect not only your own life, but also the lives of others. It is also required the strength of character. In 1 Timothy 3:4-5, Paul compares the responsibility of a church elder to that of a husband and father in his home:
He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full respect. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?)

To manage means “to stand at the head of or in front of. “This is the position of the husband and father. He goes ahead of his family; he leads the way. Also when evil or danger threatens his family, he stands in front of them, placing himself between them and what threaten thems. In sum, it is about leadership.

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Two Foundations: Faithfulness and Responsibility

There are two foundations on which this kind of leadership must be based: faithfulness and responsibility. In everything you are asked to do, seek the help of Jesus and be faithful. No matter how insignificant things that you do, seek the help of Jesus and be faithful. Proverbs 28:20 says, “A faithful man will abound with blessings“.

Cultivating the Characteristics

Derek was trained for ministry in British Army in North Africa. He faced many confronting tough, real-life situations and accepting the resposibility for the needs of others. His constant companion was his pocket Bible. That ‘desert’ experience provided him a solid foundation for his spiritual development. Joseph cultivated faithfulness and responsibility first in Potiphar’s house, then in prison. The result was promotion. Characters, undoubtedly, are build in uncomfortable situation. As a leader, it is your duty to be outside of your comfort zone, make a path, so that one day people can walk through the same path more easily.

The generations are desperately in need of courageous men who wants to step out and ready to accept the challenge to be the man God intend him to be. A man with a clear purpose on his role and well prepared before entering marriage covenant will determine a better course of his marriage. And yes.. great marriage can be more easily achieved. By God’s grace, we can do it!

Cheers,

Leticia Seviraneta

Photos by Jennifer Phelps Photography