Monday, January 31, 2011

I and my beasts...

There's a beast inside of me
Roaring and rampaging
Holding me from doing good things
Making me a thorn for everyone

There's a beast inside of me
Slumbering and encroaching
Entangle me with laziness
Making me losing my motivation

There's a beast inside of me
Demanding and unforgiving
Judging people from their appearance
Keeping my pride and belittling others

So many beasts, so many things to conquer
Will I ever win against them?

There's a love inside of me
A love that conquers all
A love that proves itself
By dying on top of a rough cross
Begone, evil beasts, for the love has won
And he is my only king

Saturday, January 29, 2011


One would think that with each passing year the discipline of prayer would get easier, but in fact it doesn’t. Whether early in the morning or late at night, it is always a challenge. 
- Ravi Zacharias, "Has Christianity Failed You?"

Does prayer makes any difference? Is there really anyone listening out there?
We often ask this question. Does God really hear our prayer?

This is a question that is very hard to answer. Sometimes when I pray, especially when I'm feeling down, I have a doubt whether God really listens to me or I'm just wasting my breath on useless words. A lot of my prayers sure are filled with my wish, some are answered as what I asked, and some are not.

I remembered as a child I was praying earnestly, entirely believing that God hears my voice and He always watching over me. But as I've grown up, and started to do things my own way, I found that doubt start to grow in my heart. There are days where I can feel the presence of God easily. I felt joy, and my devotion time was really touching my heart, and I could feel words from God flowing into my heart and instruct me. But other days I cried and prayed, and nothing happened, and it kept going on for one or two weeks before I was able to feel the presence of God again.

Nevertheless, I can't deny the impact of prayer in my life. Even though my prayer went unanswered, I feel secure in my life because above all, I know that someone is in control, and that one really cares for me. In my darkest days I can always pour out my heart, knowing that even though I can't really feel it, he is always listening, and forgives all my sins. Praying for other people helps me to care more about them and less about myself.

But I must admit, praying isn't an easy task. My mind often wanders and I can't concentrate on my prayers, thinking of all other stuff that I have to do. Still, the Bible said that we have to train ourselves in godliness. And one way to train ourselves is, to discipline in our prayer and daily devotion.

I once heard a story of about a man who was instructed by God to push a large boulder. He obeyed and pushed as far as he can, but the boulder didn't move. After a day was ended and the boulder still didn't move, he asked God, is this really your will? God just answered, keep on pushing. The man obeyed, and day after day, he kept pushing, and even after weeks passed the boulder still didn't move an inch at all. The man broke down, said, I can't do it anymore! But God still said to him, keep pushing. Months passed, and then one day the man realized, that even though the boulder still didn't move at all, all those hard works that he spent on pushing the boulder has made his body muscular, and strong.

Just like that God wants us to keep training our spiritual muscles. We wouldn't be able to do a big ministry and keep humble about it if it isn't supported by strong prayer and faith in the Lord. Only by keep praying and believing, and humbling ourselves in front of the Lord, are then we able to live our life in constant relation with Him.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Ethics in the Workplace

From Ravi Zacharias Let My People Think.

Three principles that I have to keep as ethics, remember that these things will always happen in the midst of person who is working and have to do something.

1. Anything that refreshes you without distracting you from, diminishing or destroying your final goal, is legitimate pleasure in your life.

What is the purpose of my life?
What are things that distract me from that?

What is sin?
John Wesley was taught this from his mother.

"Take this rule: whatever weakens your reason, impairs the tenderness of your conscience, obscures your sense of God, or takes off your relish of spiritual things; in short, whatever increases the strength and authority of your body over your mind, that thing is sin to you, however innocent it may be in itself."
   -- Susanna Wesley (Letter, June 8, 1725)
2. Any pleasure that jeopardizes the sacred right of another human being is an illegitimate pleasure.

We are called to treat the neediest of this world with respect, it begins at home, and moves into the workplace.

3. Any pleasure however good, if not kept in balance will distort reality, or destroy appetite.

Lead a balanced life.
If you stay working after closing time, get your spouse permission that you can work overtime.
Works can easily be an escape. We hide and run from greater responsibility, run away from those who we need to be with.

The conclusions:

1. All personal pleasures and enjoyments are bought at a price. For the legitimate pleasure you pay it before the pleasure, for the illegitimate, you pay it after the pleasure.
2. There is a place of pleasure. And the closer you come to the pure pleasure and enjoyment, the closer you are to the heart of God.
3. The greatest pleasure of all, is to become a man and woman who knows what is it to worship the living God.

Think and try this!

Speak less, hear more

Yesterday I learned another important lesson. It is really important to hear other people.
I thought that I am quite a man of listening. I tried to listen to other people's feelings and answer accordingly. But no, I am still failed on this matter. More often than not, I try to defend my opinion rather than listening to what other people really think and confirm their feelings.

Thank God, He allowed me to see my error and fix it before it comes too late. As I was speaking with one of my friends, we went into an argument, and especially because I am tired, I responded rather cynically. Then he began to talk about other things that doesn't really related to the problem at hand, but used them to defend himself. (Well maybe not, maybe it's just me that view them as something unrelated, I'm not sure because I can only view from my perspective.) As I am running out of patience, I began to respond harsher and harsher. Then he began to say what he think and would do. At first, I wanted to respond, "So what do you want me to do? You expect me to do that?" but suddenly, God warned me not to do that. So instead, I then just responded with a simple "Ok. Anything else?" and to my wonder, he responded, "Nothing, just that." And then the heat went down from there.

I then realized that people are just simply want to be heard more. We often just want our opinions to be confirmed and accepted. Even if the other party doesn't agree with our opinions, it is okay as long as they hear and know about them.

Learning to hear without answering back is quite a hard task for me to master, but I know that God want me to do that.

Let's do our best to speak less and hear more! Be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger! (James 1:19)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Growth needs time

Today I've learned something important.
As I strive to enter a theology university, I rushed and prepared all things so that I can enter that university on April this year.

But against my expectation, my senior reverend said to me that it's better for me to wait for another year before I enroll on that university.
He explained to me that the church need to know me better and see my resolution before they are able to send me studying there.

I always thought that I need to prepare myself as fast as possible. But growth needs time, and I realized that even though I think that I am ready for the challenge ahead, I need to prove myself through my ministry and life first. We couldn't see the depth of a man's heart, but we can know what inside of them by watching how they live their life. A spring will not produce both sweet and bitter water, and an orange tree won't produce apples on its branches. Just like that, a heart that really wants to follow God, will show and manifest itself in form of a lifestyle that chases after God.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Training for life

It is no wonder for us to train ourselves physically for competitions or meets, or even for reducing our weights. But have we been training ourselves spiritually?
Just as our physical part, we need to train our spiritual self, too. And just like we can endure longer and recover quicker if we train our physical body regularly, we can endure stronger against temptations and recover quicker from our fall if we train our spirit regularly.

So how can we train ourselves?
By reflecting and striving to reach our goal, that is to become like Jesus.
Just like when we want to train ourselves physically, we set our goal and picture the image of ourselves in the best shape, our spiritual goal should be the perfect figure of Jesus.

Let's not spend a day without ever stopping to take our private time with God in our daily devotion.

My goal this year:
-Get closer to God, studying his whole bible along the year, by reading 4 chapters daily.

Monday, January 24, 2011

What is humility?

Just browsing a few blogs, and encountered one that seems interesting:

In it, Rob Rufus defined what humility is according to his thinking:

A: It is not gained through apology and self-deprecation. Humility is the revelation of grace that fills your inner life with security: with such a sense of significance: validated by God’s Love for me ... therefore I am significant, secure and valuable—I don’t have to prove anything! I don’t have to boast or compete with people or be jealous because I feel so significant and safe and secure because I am accepted in the Beloved. 

I think this is very interesting. We often think of humility as thinking of ourselves insignificant, unworthy compared to other people and God's grace. But here Rob gives another viewpoint: We can be humble if we realized that we are already received the grace, and nothing we or other people do to us can reduce our significance in the eyes of God.

So there's nothing to prove or boast about, because everything is from grace.

Thursday, January 20, 2011


The internet is really a mixed blessing, because if it is used properly it can help you tremendously in many ways, but most often if we are not careful, it will take away most of our precious time. And it is often started small, just several minutes, but gradually take over much larger portion of our time.

As I am doing my responsibility as a student, I often distracted by many other things during my assignment. One of many things that often lead me off-course from my responsibility as a student is Facebook. It started small, just a few status updates here and there, some replies here and there, but when I realized it, I was spending hours in front of my computer, just waiting for someone to reply to my just-updated-5-minutes-ago status while replying to other people's reply and messaging another at the same time! And at the same time I left other things untended, and when I finally left my computer to do them I was doing them frantically and desperately because I didn't have enough time.

I don't think that using Facebook, nor watching Youtube is wrong, but I know that we have to be responsible for our time. All of us have the same amount of time, 24 hours, but some people are more responsible in using them that others. Even though there are no people watching me, I still have God that watches over me, and looks at me sadly with my irresponsible usage of time.

Today, I am going to do my assignments with my best effort.
I will not open Facebook nor Youtube until I come home.
God please help me, because alone I don't have any strength...

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Do it anyway

People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered.
Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives.
Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies.
Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you.
Be honest and sincere anyway.

What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight.
Create anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous.
Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, will often be forgotten.
Do good anyway.

Give the best you have, and it will never be enough.
Give your best anyway.

In the final analysis, it is between you and God.
It was never between you and them anyway.

-Mother Teresa

First blog

My first blog...
I don't really think that I should or will enjoy blogging, but my brother suggest me doing it, and I think, why not?
I might stop doing this after a while, but if I never try, I will never know if I enjoy it or not, right?

Well, as I am an Indonesian, living in Japan, and am trying to improve my English, this blog will sometimes be written in Japanese, sometimes in Indonesian, and most often in English. I'll try to include a translation later if I do write on other languages.

So the first topic for my first blog: and that will be the main theme of this blog, is humility.

As a christian, one person that I really admire and believe in is Jesus from Nazareth, and his teachings inspire myself in many fields of life. One characteristic that always can be found from his life, is, his humility.
I really wish from the depth of my heart, that I can be a humble person just like him.

I once thought that I was humble enough. I help other people, I pray for other people, I try to please other people as much as I can, and even sacrifice myself for others.
But no, in reality, as I keep living and start to reach a higher importance in my environment, my real self start to show. The more I learn, the more I thought of others less experienced than me to be inferior. The more I sacrifice myself, the more I demand others to either praise me or give me respect for my service.

This keeps on going, and I don't realize that this ugly self of me starts to show until it was too late. As I get puffed up, I started to criticize those that come less often to the church, and think of myself as an important piece in the ministry. I started to talk about Christ to other people without respecting their belief. Oh how I wish that I can realize this sooner!

Then I have some problems with one of my close friend. And when I knew later, it was already too late. I caused his/her partner to view Christians as cruel and condemning people, just because of my acts and thoughts.

That night I can't sleep and my mind is filled with anxiety. At first I tried to justify myself. But then my conscience began to condemn me, and the thoughts of how I had hurt my friend's feelings, how I had twisted the image of Jesus by my actions, kept me feeling unworthy of any self-justification.

Even the next morning, at the church I am still in grief. I tried to convince myself to lift up my spirit and enjoy the Sunday service, but I just can't. I went to the toilet crying myself for around 15 minutes before I can go back to the hall. Even though that day's sermon told me that God will come to my help soon, I just can't feel the presence of God among my condemning thought and guilt. In my mind I know that God has forgiven me, but still I can't free myself from the guilt.

It was later in the evening, after I confess about my sin to a close friend, that I can regain myself again. And we discuss about humility as was taught by the bible, and we promised that we will try to learn to humble ourselves.

Later I learned things as I reading my bible and some literature. Just as Jesus comes to serve and glorify His Father, I should also serve and glorify Jesus. Just as Jesus washed his disciples' feet, I should also learn and be humble enough to do the most unappreciated task. As Jesus taught, those who want to be the greatest must be the smallest.

Being humble is impossible without God's help. I will just fall again to trying to show my humble self to other people. The only way I can stay humble, is by constant awe of His glory, and being a broken people to the core, unworthy of doing His ministry. Only then I can truly serve other people as a servant.