Not A Fairy Tale

Bedtime stories are usually being opened by, “Once upon a time …” and ended by, “… and they lived happily ever after.” Happy ending is everyone’s dream. But here is the good news: happy ending doesn’t belong only to the fairy tale world. Our beloved God also has promised us a happy ending. The Scripture has conveyed the ending of all incidents that happen in this world.

‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” –Revelation 21:4 [NIV]

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When you cry, God cries. He understands your present sufferings. But keep on hoping, because you have assurance that all these things will pass away. Do not give up with the problems that life offers to you.

“Surely the arm of the LORD is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear.” –Isaiah 59:1 [NIV]

Many people ask, “Why did the missionaries who lived for the Lord died tragically? Why didn’t they experience a happy ending?” The truth is, what we see as ‘tragic’ may not be ‘tragic’ in God’s eyes. Jim Elliot was a committed missionary who always aimed to please the Lord, not people. His soul was utterly on fire to share the gospel to those who never heard of it. His enthusiasm found interest to reach the Aucas in Sourth America who had never heard the gospel at all. After carefully planned everything, in January 1956, Jim and the other four missionaries landed successfully on the riverside of Curacay, east of Equador. But two days later, they were speared to death by the very own tribe they would minister, Aucas.

Didn’t it seem like a sad ending? But their death becomes like seeds, which died but at the end produce many fruits for the gospel to spread. Jim’s wife, Elisabeth Elliot, together with the other missionaries’ wives, forgave and came to minister to the tribe who killed their husbands. Many people of Aucas eventually received Christ as their own savior.

Perhaps you are not called in mission field as some people do. But today, God is speaking that wherever you are, no matter how difficult is your situation, God is not finished with you yet. There are a lot of things God wants to work in your life. If you are not satisfied where you are ended now, then it means that it is not the ending. There is always a hope to those who wants to hope. What you are going through now can become just like the seeds die but at the end they become much more fruitful and become blessings for many. Endure the current process with God and God will reveal his beautiful plan for you step by step.

“Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.” –John 12:24 [NIV]

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The happy ending we long for is not just what has been reserved for us in heaven. God is also able to create happy ending on this earth. For those who walk in God’s ways, happy ending can happen. But keep in mind that it may not happen as what we think of, but as what God intends to be.

If it is not happy, then it is not the ending.

God is not finished with you.

Love,
Leticia

Photos by Jennifer Phelps Photography

Repairer of the Broken Walls

We all have experienced brokenness at some point in our lives. Either it is a broken heart from relationship, broken dreams, broken family, broken financially, and so on. The truth is .. we live in a broken and fallen world. No wonder that there are things in our lives which inevitably hurt us. But here is the good news .. God is able to use your brokenness and turn it around to become His greatest glory!

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In brokenness season, there is a tendency for us to respond it with either self-pity or bitterness. Self-pity is a feeling that we are the most pitiful person in this world. It is seeing that there is nothing good in our lives and we mourn over it all the time. When self-pity overwhelms us, it is hard to see the fingers of God in our current situation. It seems like we are in a very big problem but cannot see any way out. That’s why we can only mourn over it. Self-pity seems harmless on its very first stage. It seems so natural to pity ourselves for all the calamities that happen to us. And it may feels … good. But what we don’t realize is … it gives the devil a foot hold in our hearts. It is like a seed of cancer which keeps spreading all over our bodies. There will come a point where we have no ability to be thankful at all to our beloved Creator. It causes us losing our joy, and eventually makes us us losing our strength. ” … Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10). Thereby, as natural as it may seem, self-pity should not linger even for a second in our lives. The cure for self-pity is simply shifting our concerns from ‘self’ to ‘others’. If you desire a compassion, give a compassion to others. If you want to be loved, give love to others. If you want to be comforted, bring comfort to those who mourn. It may sounds weird, but God really gives more abundantly to a cheerful giver.

The other ‘natural’ response to brokenness season is by being bitter. Our hearts does not become bitter automatically when people hurt us. Bitterness is our choice. No one can affect our hearts’ condition unless we allow them to. In every situation we can always choose whether we will be ‘bitter’ or ‘better’. The fact is, I never see any bitter person is thankful nor a thankful person bitter. It may sounds strange, but thankfulness is the medicine to bitterness. “Give thanks in ALL circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thess 5:18) Of course, give thanks in the midst of trouble will be so unnatural for us. Some even do it just with a burdened heart simply because they have to (for example they try to obey God). But here is the view point. It is a matter of acknowledging His goodness in our present trouble. Yes, we can admit to God that, “I don’t understand it Lord. But I still believe in your purpose. Keep doing on what You do.” It’s a whole different perspective which can set us free from a bitter heart. Another important key to be free is releasing forgiveness for those who hurted us. It’s difficult and it will take time. But if we are willing to forgive, there is a hope. 

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We need to be sensitive on asking God instead of “Why God?” but “What do you want me to learn from this?” God is in control. He never allows circumstances occur in our lives without any purpose. If you have prayed and nothing changes, maybe God wants to change you first. Instead of seeing the ugly sides of other people and circumstances, ask humbly to the LORD to help you see your own heart’s condition. Is there any unwillingness to forgive and reconcile? Is there any bitterness? God is more than willing to reveal your heart and His plan for you as you come in humbly before Him.

Though it is hard to comprehend, but brokenness season is the only place where we can truly know who God is. It is the only season where we can truly feel His presence in a very intimate way. As someone says, “God does not promise you explanations about everything, but He promises you to walk through the pain.” It is a place where depending upon God is the only choice we have. And that in the end leads us to a deeper relationship with Him.  “Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” (John 17:3) Shouldn’t it all that matters in this life?

As illogical as it sounds, God uses people who are ‘weak’. People who acknowledge that they are nothing without their God. People who come humbly upon Him and surrender their independence to become fully dependent to Him alone. Psalm 51:17 says, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” And sometimes, it takes a series of circumstances to bring us up to this point. Peter was being broken for his failure by denying Christ three times. He wept bitterly. Yet God touched his brokenness by asking “Do you love me?” three times (John 21:15-17) and in the end God used him so powerfully to preach the good news. The fact is, we simply cannot be broken where things are running so good in our lives, can we? Be glad if God breaks your heart right now, for it always meant for a greater purpose beyond your imagination. Yes, you cannot see it now, but one day you will, and you will be amazed.

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Today,if you are in brokenness season, I believe that God wants to speak comfort for you. “For the LORD will comfort Zion, He will comfort all her waste places; He will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord; joy and gladness will be found in it, thanksgiving and the voice of melody.” If a desert can be turned to become a garden in the hands of God, than your brokenness is more than able to be used to  proclaim His glory too. It will be just like a dream, but God’s promise will come true as we respond to our brokenness correctly. Do not harbor anger, self-pity, nor bitterness in this season. Just offer your sacrifice of a broken heart, sincerely trusting God, and offer thanksgiving for His goodness. As you respond in God’s ways, you will be more likely to end up in God’s plan. 

“If you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday. And the LORD will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail. And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; you shall be called the Repairer of the Broken Walls, the restorer of streets to dwell in.” (Isaiah 58:10-12)

One day, in the midst of your current ruins, God will built a new home. He is the ultimate Repairer of Broken Walls, broken soul, broken hearts. He is the ultimate healer. If you respond correctly, pouring your life to serve others instead of focusing on your own wounds, releasing forgiveness, and willing to surrender to God, this will be your destiny. God is more than able to heal the broken hearts, if you give Him all the pieces.

Blessings,

Leticia

Photos by Baby Axioo Photography

Go Round

“In their hearts humans plan the course, but the LORD establishes the steps.” –Proverbs 16:9 [NIV]

I lived in a big city where I usually drive a car as my main transportation. One day I noticed one of the traffic sign which was placed on the roundabout in the middle of roads’ intersections. It requires the vehicles to go round first before turning to the road they want to go. As each vehicle goes round the roundabout, it will have to slow down its speed. Surely, it takes more time to go round the roundabout first rather than taking the turn directly. I found the same principle works in our lives. There are times when we want to go directly to our dreams, but the circumstances require us to “go round”. It causes us to wait for some time until we reach our destination.

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The season of “go round” is the season of preparation and molding our characters. This is the place where our patience is being molded, our hope is tested, and our faith is struggling to stand firm. The Israelites had this phase when they had just left the Egypt’s slavery under Moses’ leadership. The journey from Egypt to the Promised Land should only require 11 days, but they had to go round the desert for 40 years! Why did it happen? Because it took one day for Israelites to go out from Egypt, but it took 40 years for the “Egypt” to go out of the Israelites.

The Israelites had actually reached the boundary of the promised land on the 11thweek, more exactly in a place called Kadesh-Barnea. Out of the 12 spies sent to Canaan, only two of them: Joshua and Caleb, who reported with full of faith that they would be able to conquer the land despite of many enemies there. But the Israelites chose to follow the opinion of the other 9 spies who were full of fear and pessimistic. Because of their lack of faith, God had to mold their faith in the way that took them 40 years and he also punished the whole faithless generation for not entering the land of Canaan. Only Joshua and Caleb in that generation would enter the Promised Land.

“not of of those who saw my glory and the signs I performed in Egypt and in the wilderness but who disobeyed me and tested me ten times –not one of them will ever see the land I promised on oath to their ancestors. No one who has treated me with contempt will ever see it.” –Numbers 14:22-23 [NIV]

God does not work in the same way for each of us. For Israelites, their lack of faith and the memory of Egypt were the factors that they had to “go round”. But God’s children usually have to “go round” as a process to prepare their character and increase their level of dependency to God alone.

Whatever you are going through now, believe that this “go round” situation is only for a time. Let the patience being mold inside us, and let our faith and hope keep shining in the midst of uncomfortable situation. One day, what you are going through now can be used as a beautiful testimony which glorifying God. God is the master to turn your “mess” into a “message.”

Faith is to believe what you do not see;

the reward of this faith is to see what you believe –St. Augustine

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Love,

Leticia

Photos by Axioo Photography

Why Not?

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” –Deuteronomy 31:6 [NIV]

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What is your dream that has not come true yet? Do you think that your dream is too big and feel unsure that you can achieve it? Many of us were dreamers during childhood years. When we were asked what would we want to be later on, we might answered with no doubt, “I want to be famous singer!” “I want to be president!” “I want to have a successful restaurant!” But oftentimes, the reality of life squeezes the dream until we no longer feed it and eventually the dream dies. “Uh, my dream is unrealistic! How can I earn my living with merely singing? I would have a better and stable income if I work as employee in big company. My salary will be guaranteed, I will have fixed working hours, and I will have fun on weekend.”

Many people had a dream, but they do not guard it, nurture it, and they don’t have the determination to achieve it. Life is more than just looking for money. God has planted the seeds of dream inside each of us. He longs to use his children to shine wherever they are, to maximize their potentials, and giving us an abundant life in all aspects.

Surely, there will be many challenges to achieve those dreams. Even parents, our loved ones, could become hindrance to achieve our dreams. But keep on believing that if our dreams come from God which is based on huge passion to bring His kingdom shines on earth, then God himself will enable us and open his way in his time.

On the journey, God may put us in many uncomfortable situations, which require us to do insignificant or small things in regular basis. We may think it is wasting our time because we long to do the big dreams immediately. But God is teaching us at the moment to be faithful.

“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.” –Luke 16:10 [NIV]

Joseph was given a dream that one day he would become the leader of his family.

One night Joseph had a dream, and when he told his brothers about it, they hated him more than ever. “Listen to this dream,” he said.  “We were out in the field, tying up bundles of grain. Suddenly my bundle stood up, and your bundles all gathered around and bowed low before mine!” His brothers responded, “So you think you will be our king, do you? Do you actually think you will reign over us?” And they hated him all the more because of his dreams and the way he talked about them. Soon Joseph had another dream, and again he told his brothers about it. “Listen, I have had another dream,” he said. “The sun, moon, and eleven stars bowed low before me!” This time he told the dream to his father as well as to his brothers, but his father scolded him. “What kind of dream is that?” he asked. “Will your mother and I and your brothers actually come and bow to the ground before you? But while his brothers were jealous of Joseph, his father wondered what the dreams meant. -Genesis 37:5-11 [NLT]

Perhaps one of the things can be learned from the story of Joseph is that we need to be careful to whom we are telling our dreams. Some people will disbelieve and discouraging us. They may laugh at our dreams. Part of guarding well our dreams is that we should be selective with people around us. Surround yourself with those who are supportive and encouraging your dreams! And you know the story goes that Joseph’s dream did not happen instantly. Instead, he went on a downward spiral situations where he was being sold by his brothers as slave to Egypt, got a great job at last at Potiphar’s house, but eventually slandered for sexual harassment by Potiphar’s wife and ended on prison. However, the Bible didn’t say Joseph complain in any of these situations. Instead wherever he was, he was always doing what was best for his master.

Then his brothers came and threw themselves down before Joseph. “Look, we are your slaves!” they said. But Joseph replied, “Don’t be afraid of me. Am I God, that I can punish you? You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people. No, don’t be afraid. I will continue to take care of you and your children.” So he reassured them by speaking kindly to them. -Genesis 50:18-21 [NLT]

Joseph did not grow bitterness out of his brothers who sold him as a slave back then. Instead, he knew that even God has purpose behind sufferings which he had endured. God is capable to bring out something good out of evil intentions of men. He did not  get revenge against his brothers, instead he repaid their evil deeds with kindness.

If the dream does not happen yet, take it as your preparation phase. Sufferings and hardships develop character. And character is the main thing that will sustain us whenever we have achieved our dreams. As John Wooden says, “Ability may get you to the top, but it takes character to keep you there.”

A dream from God most of the times appears as a dream that is so big and seems  impossible to achieve according to our minds. It is because the dream can only be achieved when we rely on God’s strength and not ours. When I was called to be a preacher, I felt, “Can I do it?” And God’s voice speaks so clearly in my heart for the first time (I had never heard God’s voice before then), “Why not?” And that “why not?” changed my life completely. Yes! With God, we can do anything that seems impossible. He will always be with us and with his strength, we can achieve our God’s given dream.

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“For nothing is impossible with God.” –Luke 1:37 [NLT]

Our God is he God of “Why not?” –Leticia

Photos by Jennifer Phelps Photography

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

Photos by Jennifer Phelps Photography

The Potter and The Clay

“Yet you, LORD, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.” -Isaiah 64:8 (NIV)

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God usually teaches by using word pictures. It is interesting how He can point out such a great wisdom from merely simple things we see daily. As we read the verse above, we may wonder what does it mean to be illustrated as a clay, while God Himself as our potter. However, this illustration was common on those days when the scripture was written, yet not really common on these days. God led me to dig deeper about this word pictures “The Potter and The Clay.” It has been a fascinating adventure ever since, though I may have not found all the pieces yet. Here is what I learn from the word pictures “The Potter and The Clay” 🙂

1. You are God’s Masterpiece

A clay is merely a clay before it goes to the Potter’s hands. It would be just a bulk of dirt and soils being thrown away somewhere on the street. But as it goes to the Potter’s house, the Potter does not see the clay as merely a clay. He sees it as something he can made out of the worthless clay. At the beginning of human’s creation, he does not see the dust as a mere dust. He saw that He could make the reflection of His image out of it. And that is you and me now.

“And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” -Genesis 2:7

Pottery is not a mass product being made with machines in factory. It is uniquely designed and made by the Potter. It is not an instant product, it is a product of consistency and patience. So are we. You are uniquely designed by the hands of God. Do not struggle to be the same like others because you will not. God sees differences as beauty. Imagine what a boring life will be if everybody looks the same. Meanwhile, as a clay being shaped by the potter takes a long process and some time, so are we. At this moment, God is still not finished with you. If you do not see a happy ending right now, it’s because it’s not the ending yet. God is still not finished. There are still more things to discover, more things to embrace, more love He wants to lavish on you.

2. God has a specific purpose for you

A potter has set in his mind of what he would make before he begins His process. Each pottery is a product of deliberate plan and meaningful purpose. No pottery is an accident. God did not simply just made you and allow you to be born to earth to simply live. Just as a glass made to accommodate water, you are made to do something according to His purpose.

“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” -Psalm 139:14

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3. Round, round, round

A clay which has been reshaped into a ball will be thrown to the pottery wheel. Then the potter will wet his hand, turn on the wheel, and his hands will hold the dough of clay steadily. This process looks like a boring one because all we can see is the clay goes round, round, and round. Doesn’t it seem like our lives? Our lives will contain of routine activity which makes us do the same thing every day and at the same time on and on. We get up in the morning, go to work, face the traffic jam, has usual lunch and a view casual conversation with colleague, go home, and go to bed again. We get bored with it. We want to do something extra ordinary or may be to change the world. But we are stuck with boring daily activities. But here, right at this place, God is shaping you. God is more concern on your character rather than your achievements. Thereby, He will deal with it first before He rewards you in achieving your dreams. It has been widely known that, “It takes talent to bring you to the top, but only character will maintain you there.The greater your dreams are, the longer the ’round’ season of preparation in your life. Try to look this season from God’s perspective. Routine stuff should not be boring when we approach it with different attitude, the attitude of gratitude and surrender knowing that God is in control.

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4. The clay must be pressed against every side to avoid cracks

There are times when the potter will press the inner side and both side of the clay. It is meant to ensure that the side will be smooth and leave uncracked after the process. Just like the clay which will feel uncomfortable while the potter is doing this, problems will make you uncomfortable inevitably. Problems in life are not coincidences. God allows it into your life not to break you down, but to strengthen you. You cannot have a strong faith without the storm of doubt. You cannot know what it means to forgive when you have no difficult person to be forgiven. Good and bad, God use it both for your advantage in the end.

5. Being abandoned, but not forgotten

Too much water in the half-made pottery will cause crack when it is being heated. To avoid this, the half-made pottery will be stored in a room tempearture for 1 day or maybe 1 week (depends on its size and shape). In this phase, you may feel like God has abandoned you. You have prayed, prayed, and prayed, but it seems like nothing happens. You wait, wait, and wait, but you start to grow weary in waiting. It is tempting to forget what God is calling you to do. It is tempting to bury the hope that your situation will ever change. But again, God is in control. This is still not the timing yet. God is never in a hurry. You are still a half-made pottery. If He throws you into the fire of furnishing now, you will break down. He may seem slow, but if you keep on trusting Him, one day you’ll reap the sweets fruit of waiting in perseverance.

“At the time I have decided, my words will come true. You can trust what I say about the future. It may take a long time, but keep on waiting -it will happen!” -Habakkuk 2:3

6. Heat makes you stronger

Clay that has been shaped and molded may become beautiful. And as it dries, it becomes harder. But it never achieves its full potential until it has been through the fire. In the great heat of the Potter’s kiln, the clay is transformed. The half-made pottery will be moved to be heated on 1000 degrees of Celcius in order to give more strength to its body. There will be times when conflicts with our loved ones happen in our lives. If we respond to it rightly, it will make the relationship is getting stronger. But if we respond it to our selfish nature, it will not reach its noble purpose. Do not afraid of conflicts, but be prepared to respond it correctly. It is better to hold your tongue rather than speaking out words that you will regret.

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7. All for His Glory

After enduring such a long process, now the shiny and strong pottery is ready to be displayed. As people starts to compliments the pottery, they may start also to wonder, “Who is the potter?” No one compliment the pottery for the sake of the pottery itself. Because on behind of each pottery, there is the reflection of its Potter. There is no space for the pottery to steal the Potter’s glory. As the world recognizes your talents and accomplishments, let it be known to them WHO made you the way you are. Let all the glory goes back to Him.

8. God of a Second Chance

A potter will be greatly offended when his pottery being crushed and thrown away like a rubbish. It is the same thing when we treat people not so valuable. We degrade them with our words, we think ourselves higher than them, and many more. It hurts God. Because they, too, are His reflection who are precious in His sight. But even if the pottery has been crushed into pieces, that does not make all of His work a failure. A potter can make all the pieces become a bulk of raw clay and start over again from the beginning. I don’t know what you’ve been through in your life at this point, but even if the world has crushed you into pieces, God can start over again if you give Him all the pieces. You are a new creation in His hands!

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He who made us, will take care of us very well til the very end

-Leticia-

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