On prayer, praying, and answer to prayers.

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I would like to quote from Ravi Zacharias’ The Lotus ans the Cross:

Prayer is a constant reminder that the human being is not autonomous. Prayer, in its most basic form, is the surging of the human spirit in its weakness, grasping at the Spirit of God in His strength. Sometimes mere words cannot give shape to the longing of the heart. You see, God answers every prayer by either giving what is asked for or reminding the petitioner that God’s provision is built on His wisdom and executed in His time. But the answer is always for the instruction and nurture of the soul.

Never is new knowledge added to the mind of God.

God doesn’t respond because someone opens up some new insight for Him. No. In persistent, fervent prayer, God prepares the soil of one’s heart to make room for the seed of His answer, from which will flower an alignment with His will. That’s why I often told my disciples to be persistent and pray with faith. When the seed meets the soil and the season is right, the bloom touches heaven.

A prayer doesn’t change God’s mind. A prayer is instead, a preparation for the praying heart. That’s why we say in our prayers, “Your will be done, not mine.” Saying that very sentence at the end of our prayers indicates the act of surrendering to God’s will. We prepare our heart as we pray, that every single day we pray about some specific prayer requests, we’re one step closer to the readiness of hearing whatever the answer will be. The answer maybe a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’. Or maybe something in between.

At its core, the purpose of praying is the relationship with God. We are seeking His will above all else. We are looking for His will in whatever we commit in our prayers. Praying means preparing. Preparing that our will and hearts will align with His. At the very right time of His, we’re gonna be ready for whatever the answer is.

Praying woman hands

 

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Dear young lady (Part 3)

To the one that grew miles apart, but never actually went away… to a sister of mine.

Dear young lady

Couldn’t remember how things started

But ever since the days we spent were never wasted

The long talks

The long walks

You were there

I was there

We were there

We went through the nice dreams and the nightmare

You knew my story

I knew your story

We looked upon the sky so starry

Our bond was never weary

Then

We were apart of distance

And we were too busy even just to glance

Years go by we forgot how we used to dance

Last night it was like things were put back to play

Going back to the good old days

Like the music in the month of May

You are the one that stays

You said things in life are fragile

But there are certain things that last

Even though it has been a while

We both know we could laugh at the past

Dear young lady

Thank you for what we have

Though it seemed that there was nothing left

Thank more to the God we have

Who is always there when there is nothing left

siss

-superriska-

Dear young lady (Part 2)

Dear young lady,
In the busy spinning world,
You’ve got your own world
Your own road to travel
Your own mystery to ravel

Dear young lady,
The world you live in has a lot to offer
And you’re eager to trytill your time is over
You’re always dreaming of flying up so high
You’re always dreaming of touching up the sky

Dear young lady,
You’ve got your steady wings to soar
You’ve got your tough heart to roar

However,
Hearts can be a lilttle fragile
A little too rushy
A little too foolish
And just a little too much of everything

Dear young lady,
Don’t you read and hear this more than a million times…
“Guard your heart above all else…” ?

Butterflies love to tickle your belly
And you’re gonna experience something just too overly
Guarding your heart must be the top of priority
Protecting it from aching and its severity

Dear young lady,
There is one thing to remember
Love can be hard as the rain in the late of November
So, keep sober
Stay in prayer
… and surrender

-superriska-

The beginning of the third year.

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Third year. Third grade. It’s me and my 37 kids. *cheers!*

KELAS3It’s gonna be a whole new experience.

There are gonna be lots of fun and challenges as well.

One thing for sure, we’re gonna learn together this year…

and God’s gonna be with us along the way.

So, bring it on!

We’re ready for the adventure! 🙂

Lots of love from us!

*Ibu Riska and 3rd graders Sekolah Lentera Harapan Palopo*

Shut the noises up!

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I recently read a book, AHA: The God moment that changes everything by Kyle Idleman. There is actually one sentence that hit my attention: “The definition of stillness is silence on the outside and surrender on the inside” (Idleman, 2014, paraphrased).

According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, the word still is defined as: uttering no sound and free from noise and turbulence. From the definitions we can sum it up that still is the state when one is not only uttering no sound but also free from noise or turbulence. Uttering no sound refers to being silent, calm, tranquil. Free from noise or turbulence refers to shutting all the noises up and getting free from them.

Such a pricy and profound definition!

However, the fact that we are living in a busy noisy world, it’s a little hard to be still. Our gadgets pop up recent updates like nearly every one second. Not only being distracted by the popping updates from our gadgets, we also have got those noisy voices of worries, doubts, cares and assumptions dancing and spinning around our head. We are also trapped in the endless grooves of day to day life. There seems to be too many things to do but too little time to get them done.

Being still is some kind of a luxury we just cannot afford in our world today. We have been oscillating around all the same efforts to help ourselves over and over again but are still deeply and desperately sunk in depressions with no room for solutions. We cry out to God, “Where are you, God? I am drowned in despair but you don’t seem to show up for help.” Or we may question, “Is God really there to help? Why doesn’t He seem to answer my prayers?”

The definition of stillness brought me to this conclusion: We have been expecting too much from God what we actually failed to do.

We want God to answer our prayers. We want God to speak to us the way we want Him to. At the very core, we want to hear His voice, we desperately want to. But what happens oftentimes is heartbreaking that God does not seem to say a word, He does not seem to answer us in our troubles. It’s not that He does not speak loud enough, it’s us who fail to shut the noises up.

Can you imagine talking to someone who is listening to some music loudly through earphones? You have tried speaking louder but the person still does not seem to hear you. It’s not that your voice isn’t loud enough to be heard, it’s his ears are captivated by the loud music he’s listening through the earphones.

God speaks to us every day, as frequently as the popping updates on our gadgets, as frequently as we’re overwhelmed with our own thoughts. The problem is not His voice or His faithfulness. The problemis our own self. The coming voices of God are blocked by the voices of our own head.

So, what now?

In the midst of our busy day, take some time to be still. Really be still that we do not only shut our mouth up from saying too many things, but also surrender on the inside. Shut our gadgets down for some time alone with God. Shut all the noises inside our head and take some time to listen to what God’s got to say. It takes a commitment and it’s worth trying.

“Be still and know that I am God!” -Psalm 46:10 (NLT).

The long forgotten envelope.

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You’re actually looking for a needle in one of your drawers at home. The drawer is a bit messy that you need to take almost everything out to find the needle you’re looking for. As you’re taking things out, you find that old forgotten purple envelope. You stare at that envelope for a moment and the memory brings you back to one moment of your life in the past. You open the envelope and you find a simple letter written by someone you used to know.

It was a letter you wrote yourself. It contains all the dreams and the things you wanted to pursue. Many years went by and many things happened that you forgot you have once written all those things you’re reading right now.
You suddenly remember all the fire that once burned you. But the busyness of this life has brought you forgetting its spark, leaving it kept for so long in the dark. The spark from who you were in the past. The spark of the spirit you’ve got within you.
The grooves of life have worn you out that you forget all the dreams of your own. The draining routines have consumed all your energy.

You freeze at where you sit.
Now you can see the silver needle you’re initially and intentionally looking for. You never plan on finding that long forgotten envelope in that drawer. It was not something you’re looking for. But now you have found both.

Many times in life, we’ve got our own plan on finding something. We started the quest. We drive off the car and go down the long road. We’ve got the destination pictured right in our head. But along the way we encounter many other things that we never actually plan to find.
You don’t forget the reason you came to the drawer, it was to find the needle. But the fact that you find that long forgotten envelope brings you something else that you can learn.
God can use many things to make us learn. And one of the many things may be found along the long road. You plan to find one thing but God can bring you to find other things you don’t.
In all processes of life you go through, God’s got something along the way. You can actually find that “something” only if you’re willing to take time to pay attention.

On walking.

It is never a good idea of walking along with someone who is in different pace with yours.

Even though maybe the two are actually heading in the same direction and towards the same destination, the different pace of the two fellas can never bring enjoyment of the walk for both. One will get tired of dragging the slow one. And one will get tired of being dragged by the other. At the time they both realize that they’re not gonna make it that way, they both have to choose. Either talking to agree with each other’s pace and continue walking together, or splitting up in the middle of the road, continue walking alone until they meet with the end of the road. Dragging and being dragged hurt and exhausting. Splitting up may hurt too, but life goes on anyway. But you know exactly, the pain’s got to teach these two fellas this important lesson: both options have got them to continue the walk, either with or without each other.

The magic in my mama’s soup

Well, I got a bad sore throat just a day after I got home. My mom, well, she always knows how to make her household feel better when they’re sick. She made me her magical soup, the super ordinary soup but it has a magical effect on me, well, on us whenever we’re sick.

I believe, God has put people to bring the magic of their own. You may think you don’t have anything to impact those around you, but you actually do, and you may have to take quite some time to realize that.

Maybe your presence cheers up somebody weary today.
Maybe your smile brings up joy in someone’s heart today.
Maybe what you posted on your facebook wall curves a little smile to someone’s face today.
Who you are makes a difference in this fallen world.
Everyone’s got their magic of their own.
You’ve got your magic of your own.
So, whenever you’re surrounded with people, know that God placed you there to bring the magic of your own to them. And don’t forget, they may bring theirs for you too.

Have a blessed day, everyone! 🙂

What would Jesus do?

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I remember reading this story somewhere and this story leads up to this writing right now (forgive me of my broken memory, I am just trying to write what I remember).

One day, on a family night devotion, a mom shared about “What would Jesus do?”. At the end of her sharing she told her son to think of what Jesus would do before making any decision. The following morning, as usual, before they left for school and work, they prayed together. It was the son’s turn to lead in the prayer. To his parents’ surprise, this eleven-year-old boy ended his prayer with this: “Lord, in whatever we do today, whatever decision we are to make today, help us think of what you would do. Thank you, Lord. Amen.”

When the mom came home, she found that her son was not in a good mood. He looked unhappy. As a mother she knew something had happened to her son. So she came to him and asked what troubled him. The son stared at the floor that finally he was crying.

Mom: It’s okay son, tell mommy what happened.

Son: Mom, I remember what you shared last night, and I also remember my prayer this morning. That in whatever I do today, I would think of what Jesus would do. We had a math test today and my classmate, Nick, didn’t study for the test. He asked me for the answer. I didn’t want to give him my answer at first, but he kept begging and begging. He also told me that his mom would be very angry if he failed the math test today. I didn’t want to give him my answer but at the same time I didn’t want Nick’s mom got angry. So, I gave him my answer. It wasn’t right… I know…

Mom: Then, what happened?

Son: At the end of the test Ms. Rogers asked us to submit our test sheet. After that she asked us if there was anyone being dishonest during the test. I was scared. I knew I did something bad. I didn’t want to raise my hand. But deep in my heart I knew I had to tell her that I had been dishonest during the test. She asked one more time. I looked at Nick and he gave the signal to stay quiet. I was scared. Ms. Rogers then asked for the third time and I couldn’t hold it anymore. I raised my hand and everybody was surprised. We got called to the principal’s office afterwards. Ms. Rogers gave us zero for the test. I knew Nick was unhappy with that. I think that Nick would hate me. I knew, if Jesus were me, he would not give Nick the answer in the first place. But as I was given the second chance to be honest, I knew I had to take it.

I suddenly remember this story out of nowhere this afternoon and there is actually a huge urge within me to write about this.

Now, let’s question ourselves:

In many situations, have we been asking the same question before we make any decisions? Know what, I think that what the son did is a daring action. He dared himself praying like that and that prayer guards his heart and guides his heart to do the right thing. In my case, no, I have not. Too many times I lean only on my own understanding and you bet I ended up regretting my decisions. But, as I realized that Jesus has been so merciful to me that he gave me more than just second chance. He gave me new hopes and chances every brand new day. As I learned about this, I know, I have to take it.

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An ending is actually a new beginning.

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I used to ask myself why people call it commencement when it’s actually a graduation ceremony. According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, the word commencement is defined as the time when something begins. However, the word commencement is also used to refer to a ceremony during which degrees or diplomas are given to students who have graduated from a school or college (source).

Well, according to its position in the timeline, graduation is actually at the end of your study. It’s the point where you have finished the process of study and you graduate. You’re done with the set of learning goals of that level of education. I am not saying that you’re done with the learning, because learning is a lifelong process. You’re still learning even though you’re not at school anymore. So, it’s kinda funny to realize that graduation is both an ending and a new beginning.

end

Yes, graduation is an ending to your study but at the same time it’s actually e new beginning of a new stage of life. You’re gonna go out there and ready to apply what you’ve got along the process of education. Even though, I must say, all the theory you’ve gotten ARE NOT ALL APPLICABLE. You may have built your own idealism, that you think things should be like this or like that. Trust me, you’re gonna need to tear down everything because you’ll find that everything doesn’t seem to be exactly the same as it is portrayed in the textbooks. I’m not here to scare you, this is just a reminder for you so you won’t get too surprised.

However, for a little while, well, for today, enjoy the end of your study. Enjoy the celebration that you’ve come this far. Be grateful that God’s been with you along the way and just ENJOY THE DAY. Because the moments on the mountaintop will be your strength for the moments in the deepest valley.

Congratulations to you all, cohort 2011! 🙂

God bless.