Saturday, April 20, 2013

When God Ran



I sit there amidst all the foods, music, and dancing. I'm not exactly sure what just happened. It seems to good to be true. I pinch myself awake, and ouch it hurts. So is this all real?

Earlier today, I was sitting by the pavement, staring down at my muddy hands and feet. The sun was shining too brightly above my head, but it seemed that I couldn't care less. A couple of birds were chirping loudly, flying and hopping to the trees around. But, I was sure that my stomach growled so loud, that even the two birds flew away. Man, I was THAT hungry. I rubbed my used-to-be-round tummy, telling it to hush a bit. But my head couldn't deny it. I was too hungry. And i literally could eat anything and drink anything I could find, just to fill this tummy.

It occurred to me. Had i made a wrong choice? Would my life be much better still if I had not utter to daddy that four dreadful words: Give Me My Share. Right after, I told myself it was the best decision I could ever make in my life. It was like living the dream, to have friends around at all times, and to be able to get anything, simply anything. It made me look and feel rich.

But it did not last long. Soon after, those "friends" left me alone. Where were they!!  Those scornful empty promises, gahh it even hurt my head to think about them. Apparently, they were never my "friends" to begin with. After I lost everything, I did try to come and beg them for money. I never thought I would kneel and beg, but i did. But guess what they did? They gave me nothing but a disgusted "I-dont-know-you,-get-out-now" look. Sheesh.

Well, the birds had flown back on the trees now. I saw them happy all year round, living a carefree life yet still all so well. I would work all night just to get half of that bird's happiness! Oh wait, that kind of happiness sounds familiar -- in that place I used to call home.

BUT NO!! i couldn't even imagine myself going back. Those four words that I have uttered to my father, i couldn't possibly take them back. There's no way my father could even allow me to step into the gates. Maybe he would send his guards and his slaves to kick me out first. Will he even want to look at me? or will he treat me just like those friends?

Sigh. I can try. It's like i've got nothing to lose anyway. If my father reject me, then well, I could just.... reject my life. Okay come, brain, think of something to say to daddy. "Draft 1: Hi Dad. You remember me?" oh no, it sounded too much like a pen pal letter. "Draft 2: Dear Mr..." Cannot, cannot. I can't take it that way. "Draft 44: Dad, i'm hungry *show tummy*. Spare me some food?" What's wrong with my brain!! Wait, I wasn't even worth coming in anymore as a son right. What if... I came to be his servant. Yea, i think that will do. Just consider me as a hired servant, at least his hired servants are fat and happy. Silly me, why didn't i think of that earlier.  "Draft 45: Dear Father, I have sinned against you, and against the heaven. I can't even be called yours anymore. Hire me as your servants." Alright, that sounds fair.

So, I got up and could hear my bones cracking after sitting on the pavements for too long. I didn't even remember when was the last time I got up. I tried to tidy up this messy hair and straighten up as much as possible the crumpled rags I was wearing. I couldn't even look fashionable nor sharp for the least bit, but at least it must looked like i was up and ready for the job, right. Then, I head towards what used to be my home address, maybe I should get used to calling it a workplace. It was quite a distance to walk, and with every step I took, I could feel my flimsy body to be trembling. I blamed it all on the hunger and the sun, but I felt a pang inside my chest. It was a feeling of fear and uneasiness. Can I even see my dad's face again? Will I be able to look into his eyes? Will he even go to slap me on this used-to-be chubby cheeks? Should i even continue to walk there? I paused for a while, took a deep breath, and told myself "just walk." So, I walked further. I was quite amazed at myself for even remembering the directions all so well still.

Turn left, turn left again, go up the hill, then turn right. Yeah, almost there. I can see my house sitting beautifully up that hill. After I tried to walk a few more steps, I began to notice a figure facing my direction from afar. He seemed to be looking out for something, *shrugs* maybe dad just lost one of his pet cats or something. "Don't bother, focus on the goal," I kept on telling myself. Then, I see a familiar silhouette running towards me. Never before have I seen my father run before. I glinted to see his face, determining if i should run the other way. But no, there wasn't even a face of anger in him. I got a quick glimpse of his smile, wider than ever.

The next thing I know, it was dad who stretched his arms wide open, embraced me so tight and kissed me like never before. And there i was, standing awkwardly stiff, and not to mention, smelly. After I came to my senses and realized what happen, I quickly pulled myself away. I fell on my feet, I didn't dare to lift my head up to look at him. I'd rather see his knees on my eye level. I tried to utter my well-rehearsed Draft 45 speech in my shaky voice. "Dear Father, I have sinned against you, and against the heaven. I can't even be called yours anymore. Hire me as your serv..." I felt him lifting me up  as he put his finger on my lips. He didn't let me finish my sentences, and instead interrupted mine with his. At this point, I started sobbing.

As daddy was wiping my tears, I can see His eyes for me. These were the eyes that speak volumes of love, that said "No, it's okay. Now, welcome home." He told his servants to bring out all the best celebration for me. He gave me a robe over this filthy rags, he restored a ring that I used to have as I was still his son before. And he told his servants to put on sandals on my calloused feet. I had truly forgotten how comfortable it was to wear a pair of sandals, after such a long journey. Best of all, Daddy told his servants to also kill the fatted calf. FOOD! the very thing that drew me to my daddy's house, indeed he give that to me. but he didn't only give me just that, he gave me all that I needed, even those that I didn't realize I need them.

So yeah, that's what just happened today. As I sit there at a party done just for me, I couldn't help but think, what have I done to receive this. Or what can I ever do to repay my father for everything i had done to him. I realize there is only one answer to both questions, and the answer was "nothing." It's simply out of the father's love that he rejoiced on my coming. Knowing this, will I ever runaway from home to think that there will be a welcome-back feast anyway? No! my heart couldn't afford to think of breaking Daddy's heart yet again. I felt warm and fuzzy knowing that here in my Daddy's house, there is acceptance, there is forgiveness. I can just be who I am, and enjoy being his child regardless of my mistakes.

Now I know how much he loves me, why would I ever think of doing anything that stupid ever again? To think that he ran towards me just to hug me and to lavish me with love, even when I was at my worst point and had done not a single thing right; why would i ever run away from him again?

--
This video has blessed me yet time and time again:


Monday, March 25, 2013

The Glory of the Lord is my Rearguard


Isaiah 58:8 (AMP)
Then shall your light break forth like the morning, and your healing (your restoration and the power of a new life) shall spring forth speedily; your righteousness (your rightness, your justice, and your right relationship with God) shall go before you [conducting you to peace and prosperity], and the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.

I’m glad that this verse begins with a promise of shining light and receiving our healing. Whatever healing we need, be it a miraculous physical healing, a restoration of relationship, or a supernatural restoration for our academics, or a provision of finances; behold that the restoration is coming SOON! It shall spring forth SPEEDILY!

The verse continues that it’s our righteousness, the fact that we have a right standing with God, will go before me to prepare everything for us and show us our future which is so, so good. Knowing this brings a sense of assurance and peace in our heart, and prosperity is a fruit we couldn’t help but enjoy in our life. This affirms what Pastor Ben shared in Romans 14:17, that the Kingdom of God is about His righteousness which will lead to peace, and then joy.

This last part is currently my favorite part when meditating on it recently. The Glory of the Lord shall be my rearguard.  Jesus has got our backside covered, and He is our defense. I’m still learning that I don’t have to worry and wish I could change my past in one way or another.  Thinking about “what if I didn’t do that” and “If only I do it better” are nothing but energy-zapping. Rather, we can just let go and move forward with Jesus, and let Him takes care of the rest. The glory of the Lord will be our defense, covering all our past mistakes and shortcomings; so that when others or even when we ourselves look at our past, we couldn’t help but see the glory of God wrapping all our mistakes in His light and power.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

to be disappointed ...
















"To be disappointed with yourself is to have trusted in yourself."

- Pastor Joseph Prince. (New Creation Church, Singapore - Oct 14, 2012)

[photo taken in Perth, Australia - July 2012]


This quote my Pastor said last week has been resonating so much in my heart for these past days. It's when what we think we've done all we could, but the result did not reflect so. All our tendency is to get irritated and disappointed with the outcome. However, still even if our results are good, we know that in and of ourselves, we could not. It is the power of Christ working in us. If it's only our own effort, it's nothing more but dungs. Thank You Jesus, that despite my weaknesses, my shortcomings, You are stil able and willing to come to the rescue. You abound so much favor in my life, to a greater measure that the world can tell it wasn't Natasha doing it. All glory, recognition, and honor is unto Jesus who does all the work for me. I am restfully secure, that even I'm not good enough, He is perfectly enough to turn everything around for my good.


It's a powerful assurance I found last week as the Word said about Joseph: "Because God was with him; whatever he did, God made sure it worked out for the best." (Genesis 39:23 MSG). I got so comforted in hearing that as I heard the Lord speak "Sit still, my dear Natasha, just rest in Me, and I will make sure that everything that you do, it shall be well with you and even work out the best for you. No, you don't need to compare yourself to other people, I have made you beautiful, wonderful, and glorious. I love you, and I care about you." I'm thankful I am that deeply loved.

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Daddy's Beloved

I am always comforted every time I hear my DaddyGod saying to me: "This is My beloved daughter, in whom I am well-pleased." This isn't just a statement, yet it's such a multi-faceted term of endearment to show His affection for me. This statement contains the facts that:
1. I am HIS.
2. I am His DAUGHTER; not a slave nor a mere acquaintance.
3. He loves me and calls me His BELOVED.
4. He is WELL-PLEASED with me, not because of what I do but because I am His daughter.

Some might have been wondering what verse I have been quoting. It's from Matthew 3:17, when Jesus came out from the water during His baptism, and God the Father said those words. We are rightful to claim these words into our life because "as Jesus is, so are we in this world." (1 John 4:17) When we are made righteous, God has given us the rightful access to be in Christ and receive His Inheritance, His Identity. ain't it beautiful! [ah yes, I changed the 'son' part into daughter coz I'm a girl, so apply it to your own situation accordingly yea haha.]

Furthering a bit more on the statement again, 2 Peter 1:17 says that Jesus received honor and glory upon hearing that exact statement. So, not only we have the 4-pointers God-given identity, we also receive honor and glory from the Lord! What the Lord has given, no one could take it away. He made us so glorious, so honorable in His Image, all for the utmost glory to His Name. :)

I just want to share this precious revelation with you all, coz this has been strengthening and edifying me to be able to go through life with rest. Le us live our day-to-day life knowing that we are accepted and loved by our Daddy. :)

sidenote: photo is taken and edited by me. for more of my travel photos and edited ones like this, feel free to follow my Instagram: @natashacthe. As per publishing this blog post, I haven't uploaded this particular one on Instagram, so you guys get a sneak peek ;)

Blessings!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

VBS 2012

Hello beloveds! :) I trust that you all are blessed and well now! :) I just want to share on what I have gone through recently. 

Here I am in my summer holiday prior to going to my university's second year. wow time flies! This is such a long long 3.5 months holiday which I spend mostly back in Jakarta, before flying back to Singapore right before school starts. It has been a fruitful 1.5 month holiday so far, and I trust that this fruitfulness shall be unceasing! :)

So, upon coming back, I have been offerred of a chance to serve in MSI's annual Vacation Bible School (VBS) 2012. As to experience, I have served annually year after years as volunteers to assist in class. Well I was assigned to be a classroom teacher last year, but due to an unexpected sickness, I have to let that opportunity pass. With passing that opportunity last year, I have promised Ms. Istha, the one who leads and is in charge of the Kids ministry, that I will be make it up and serve in VBS 2012. But even without that promise, I am looking forward to be serving again in it since I really had a great time with the kids year after year. But lo and behold, the chance that I am offered this year is not a usual offer. The offer is not for me to become a classroom helper or even a teacher, but to even speak in the main session, to about 300 kids at once! 

I was quite caught up by surprise with this opportunity, since I didn't quite deserve it due to several factors. 1) I am not officially a part of the church [though yes i'm quite active in the school which is of a same body]. 2) I never serve in Kids ministry before. Perhaps that annual VBS is my only experience serving in Sunday Schools and all that. I like kids, don't get me wrong. But I just never get to particularly join the kids ministry. And now directly to speak in front of like 300 kids is quite a big leap! 3) I am not the best speaker. Like really, there are more people who speak more fluently than I do, who can gain the kids' attention easily and interact with them with ease. So upon that, I said that I need time to think and pray about it first. 

It took me slightly more than 2 weeks to come up with a decision. The offer is on early May while the event starts in June 20. So I got plenty of time to think basically. Through out these two weeks, different thoughts came to my mind. I have to go through a battle against condemnations saying "you're not good enough.", a battle against fear of failure, and a struggle on examining my motive. But God finally placed in my heart a sense of purpose of why do I want to take this up and say yes. The purpose is for me to become a role model for these kids, as I have grown up looking up to role model figures for the past few years in my life. "It's time for me to be one." that's pretty much settles in peace within me, so I told Ms. Istha about my decision, and there goes that she confirmed it without me even stating my purpose, that she is looking for young role models to speak to the kids. So, double-confirm it is! :)

Technically I got about 3 weeks to prepare for this session that I am about to preach. I asked one of my teachers, who usually speak in VBS, but couldn't make it this year as she had to go somewhere else. Pro as she is, she said she prepared it within 1-2 weeks with her sermon. But within that 3 weeks, I also have to go through a training session to preach in one of the Sunday School's session. So 1 week is taken up to prepare that session. And guess what happen on the next 2 weeks, that I'm away to Singapore. I went back to Singapore for like around 10 days for a church youth camp (which is a different post altogether shall I am about to write it, which I am not sure as per now haha). I thought I am able to prepare it whilst I was away in Singapore (and Kuala Lumpur, where the camp was.) But I was too caught up with the excitement and busyness of all the packed event, that I only got to read my materials during my flight and bus ride. I haven't settled anything, not the slides, not even creating the file yet for the slides (that's how usually I begin my urge to do stuffs, creating the files. haha). And by the time I come back, I only get like about 4 days to do up my slides! Thank God that the script is pretty much settled, I just need to improvise and spiced it all up. During those 4 days, I wasn't also totally free the whole day. I was caught up with the technical preparations and meetings at school for this VBS too. So I hurried home, sat in front of my laptop, took Holy Comm, prayed, and went to work. Grace just supplied unceasingly as God dropped ideas one by one and even to the flow of the message and all that. Even to the point of the pictures and illustrations that I used, it all flowed effortlessly and was truly Grace-led. 

the session is called Lifeguard Lagoon
One day before my session, I was down with a bad sore throat that made my voice so coarse and even a bit painful to swallow. I was like "yikes oh no! how can I even do it tomorrow?" So I rested quite early, took up Holy Comm and drank my meds, but still in the morning, it wasn't all well yet. I also got a bit worried as I'm afraid the kids wouldn't be responsive to what I'll be sharing. Coz my material would need some interactions with the kids, but the 'what-if's started to bug me. What if they ignored me. What if they didn't get me. Will I be standing up there in shame? But God reminded me right before I sleep the night before, that those who trust in the Lord shall never be put to shame. So ok, I hold on to His Promise for that. I arrived about an hour early before the event started. After I settled with the technical team about my slides and everything, I went to sit in a corner of the auditorium. I opened my laptop and rehearsed my parts to remember the important bits. But after I got it covered, I felt that I do not need anymore practice of such. So then I turn to just meditate on God's Word and was led to Psalm 34. Even the title has encouraged me a lot "The Happiness of Those who Trust in God." I really want my ministry to be all about Jesus. That His strength is made perfect in my weaknesses. And yes, I am so weak in so many aspects, but He is my Strength. I spent like the next 45 minutes just praying in tongues (yup, practicing my light saber haha), and reading and reminding me of God's love for me over and over. With that, all fears are driven away. I believe that in Philippians it said that God is the one who gave me the desire, and He will then supply me with the ability to do it. 
photo credit: Xena Danella

Well-rested in His love, I trust God that through Him I find my supply of strength, joy and favor (from the kids as well.) Stepping up as my name was called out, I felt a different anointing while being on stage. I don't know how those words could be even structured better than I thought I could do myself. And the kids also respond enthusiastically beyond what I expected them to be. It was really such a rewarding time with the Lord, and I enjoyed my time sharing the story of how Jesus cares about them. Today's topic was to show that God cares about them, and I really get the chance to experience that message first-hand! that Jesus really cares for me and supplies me with all that I would ever need. 


photo credit: Rachel Tjahja 
I am also ever-thankful for my beloved friends and teachers for all the trust and the love they have sown into my life. I know they had been praying for me, hugging me before and after it is done, and sending me messages of encouragements. Those affirmations were just very sweet and comforting, to have leaders and friends who appreciate me and celebrate what the Lord is doing in me and through me. Praise the Lord, it's all pointed back to Jesus anyway! He is the One who appointed me to be serving in this ministry for my first time, and He had finished that good work in the season God has placed me in. Glory to God!

Here's to the end of VBS Day 2! Shall enjoy two more days of VBS tomorrow and Saturday with the kids and my fellow volunteers. I believe that the kids will never be the same as they left the event on Saturday. They shall walk out with a different perspective of God's love and His promises in their life. Amen amen!

Monday, May 21, 2012

More than Conquerors

Most Christians are ever so familiar with the phrase "We are more than conquerors!", we even proclaimed it to ourselves as our faith confession. There is nothing wrong with that, of course. But it amazes me on what God showed me earlier this morning in regards to this verse. 

This verse is taken from Romans 8:37:
"Yet in all these things, we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us." Based on some random samples i ask from my friends prior to writing this, they all only know the part that "we are more than conquerors", without being able to complete the rest of the verse. I have to admit that I don't too, until I learn about this today. 

First of all, in what reference does "in all these things" mean? If we studied the verses prior to it, in verse 35 says "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?" Can all these tribulations, trials, and these sorrows even take us away from God's love? The verse 37 then answered by saying that we are more than conquerors in these things! we are more than conquerors in our tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword. These afflictions represent areas of lack in our life, where we suffer mentally, physically, or spiritually. The Word said we have conquered these lacks! Trouble has no dominion over us. Judgment has no dominion over us. It has all been conquered. The Greek word for 'more than conquerors' here is 'hypernikao', defined as 'to gain a surpassing victory. The victory given for us is not just a 'barely-making-through' victory, but it is a decisive victory, where we defeat them hands down. 

Further on we continue with the verse, we ask then how do we conquer them? Does it depend on our qualification, power, status, or strength? Do we conquer based on how long we have been a Christian? Do we conquer because we are better than our peers? The answer is an emphatic no. This was what has been an often forgotten part of the verse, that we conquer "through Him who loved us." It is based on God's love that we conquer. Some then might wonder, how can God's love be the One through which we conquer, what is actually God's love? We're glad that Paul had laid the foundation in 3 chapters before, in Romans 5:8 "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." God's love is revealed on the Cross! He sent Jesus to die for us, to bear all our griefs, to carry our sorrows, to be stricken and afflicted, to be wounded for our transgressions, and to be bruised for our iniquities, and to be smitten so that by His stripes we are healed (Isaiah 53:4-5). These had double-confirmed our doubts then, that all our lacks have been borne! We should not be bearing anymore trouble, distress, or any kind of lack in our life, because He had provided it all for us. It is through the power of the Cross that we have been made Conquerors! 

I found it so beautiful that with all these "conquering", it is none of our work, because it is based on Christ's perfect finished work on the Cross. It is through His dear and affectionate love that we are able to reign in life, above any kind of trouble and lack in life! What I found further beautiful is that the following verses after that (Romans 8:38-39) talks that there is NOTHING that is able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus. For as long as we are loved, we are conquerors. Since there is nothing that is able to stop God from loving us, there is nothing that will make us stop being conquerors in life! 

This revelation really brought a huge huge smile on my face. This is a fresh reassurance from God that nothing is ever too difficult, and He got everything taken care of for us. We are just to cast our cares to Him, in knowing that He cares for us, that He will work out everything for our good. While we are meditating and bashing on His Love for us, we can be confident that He has made us more than conquerors! Thank You Jesus! :)

So Blessed, 
natashacthe

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Crescentia

out of my curiosity tonight, I went to find out what my last name "Crescentia" means. Yeah actually all these times I never knew what that name means, so I went online to check out. To my pleasant surprise, this is what i found from BabyNamesPedia: Derived from the word crescere which is of the meaning 'to grow' or fromanother source,to increase. Then I went to ask God, to what extent does this grow mean? I mean, I couldn't possible be growing taller physically al my life right. Then God reminded me of Luke 2:52 "And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men." Of course I hold on to 1 John 4:17 "As He is, so are we in this world." So I'm praying that as Jesus increased in widom, stature, and in favor with God and men, so am I!"

I thank the Lord for another revelation of His promise in my life tonight. (and I also thank my parents for naming me Crescentia, haha.)

Saturday, March 24, 2012

#rereadingbookofEsther

Yup that was my Twitter hashtag that I had for tonight. After discussing at the devo last Thursday about Esther, I decided for tonight to reread the book of Esther. So yea I read and studied on this book, and wow was my mind blown! Three particular lessons I learnt from this reading (as tweeted, but with more details than just 140 characters! haha):

1. God doesn't only neutralize the bad things that come to us. He turns it around to work for our good!
In the context of book of Esther, it's that when Haman built a pole intending to hang Mordecai in it, God didn't allow that to happen. But not only to that extent, the situation turned around so that Haman was the one being hanged on the pole he build himself. He unconsciously created his own boomerang when he intended to entrap Mordecai. God's Promise is that in Isaiah 54:17, no weapon formed against us shall prosper. And we also know that all things work for good for those who love the Lord (Rome 8:28). My realization tonight was this: take that our situation was a negative (e.g.: -3), then for God to restore, God can just make it a neutral (0). but God does exceedingly above and beyond all that we could ask or think, so that He turns it around and multiplies it and gives positive (+10)! He is such a rich God that He wants us to receive such an unceasing fruitfulness in our life. The past two weeks, Ps. Prince has also been talking about the shaking that's happening in the world, done by the Voice of Grace. This shaking works to shake out the negatives, and all the man-made stuffs in our world, for us to fully receive God's greater blessing. :)

2. Our promotion might not come immediately, but when it comes, it comes abundantly!
We often question God why we haven't received our deserved promotion. We thought that we have done well, and nothing else we could do to better the situation. But it seems that other people (who may have not done as much as we did) have received promotion, while we haven't. That happens to Mordecai. Mordecai was the one who revealed the plan of the two men in the gates right. and Mordecai told Esther who finally reported to the King and got the report confirmed (Esther 2). Mordecai should have received all the praises and promotion for what he did to save the King and the kingdom, but he was said that he receive nothing for this. But in Esther 3 we saw that Haman got promoted (for an unmentioned cause here). If I were Mordecai at that time, I would be like "Hello?! I was the one saving you, but now I receive nothing and this Haman guy was promoted for nothing?" But we didn't see Mordecai uttering any single complain or putting up an attitude. We thank God that we serve a God who rewards. He does not forgot what we have done and not rewards it. God can use anything, even insomnia in the king to make him realize that Mordecai has not been rewarded as he should. Then after all the reward and promotion that he was eventually given, finally at end of the book, in Esther 10:3, Mordecai was said to be second to the king! When we found ourselves stuck in the similar situation, do not lose hope but we should just fix our eyes on Jesus. When we are fixing our eyes on Christ alone, as Abraham was climbing up that Mount Moriah, know that our "ram" is climbing up also on the other side of the mountain to meet us.

3. Esther understood the power of prayer and fasting support from her people; not only relying on her own merits. 
I mean come on, Esther had found favor in the eyes of the king even at the first time the King saw her when she was given the beauty preparation. Esther 2:17 also mentioned that "The king loved Esther more than all the other women, and she obtained grace and favor in his sight...and made her queen." But she didn't go boastful with the king's liking for her. Yes she is beautiful and lovely, but she knows that it is all by favor. So when Mordecai conversed with her about saving Israel, she told Mordecai to gather the Jews and fast for her (Esther 4:16). She understood that without God's favor in her life, no matter how the king loved her already, she wouldn't have done it. She wouldn't have got the boldness to say "if I perish, I perish" to defend her people. And indeed, chapter 5 proves us that Esther found favor in the king's sight, that even the King is willing to grant her half of the kingdom. woohoo! but still, we admire that Esther did not only rely on human favor, but also to supplicate for God's favor to be upon her as well, through the people's interceding and fasting. She truly understands that all her favor comes through the presence of God alone. Her merits alone might or might not do; but without God, she would not. 

Yup, those three are my main takeaway lessons after tonight's reading session. I pray that especially us women of God would be granted these characteristics of Esther: favored, wise, bold, and beautiful! :)

Monday, February 27, 2012

Forever Loved: past, present, future

Two weeks ago, God brought me for a week of flashbacks. Throughout that week, moments after moments of my recent life and faith journey's milestones were brought into my mind. I was pretty amazed at how things have changed. Long ago, I never imagine my life to be this way: studying in this university in this country, meeting these friends, and living this life i'm living. But now I have seen how much I have grown - physically, mentally, and spiritually. And If someone were to ask whether I would want it otherwise, I would say no. Though at times I couldn't understand what am I going through at that moment, now looking back it's all beautiful. Beautiful in its time. Another thing that i'm reminded of is that life constitutes of seasons. There are times when we undergo seasons when we have to pray with earnest supplication, also seasons when we wait on His promises and all sorts. The transition from one season to another is often difficult, as to walk out of our comfort zone. But only through that, could His plan be accomplished and our destiny could be more and more unraveled. The season I'm going through, I don't know how long will it last. But I have seen His Faithfulness, and He is my Author and Finisher of my faith. I am assured that He will finish what He had started, for His Greatest Glory and for my greatest good.

Strength for the journey,
Faithfulness for the wait,
Answer for my prayers,
and Promises for my days.

Your Hands never leave me.
Your eyes never wander off.
Your Love always reaches me,
deep deep down to my soul.

Even when I was astray,
even when I least deserve.
Peace comes through,
flowing from Eternal Love.

Blessed! Blessed Blessed!
Strong! Strong! Strong!
Favored! Favored! Favored!
Loved! Loved! Loved!

Not by my own,
Not by my work,
Not because I'm good,
but because You are Good.

to entrust all to Your Mighty Hand.
For You have delivered me,
and have taken all the blame.

For all that has happened,
I give thanks.
For all that is happening,
I seek Your Face.
And for all that is about to happen,
I trust.

After all, I'm forever loved. (:

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Hi 2012!

Greeting, folks! Wow, it's 2012! I'm taken aback by surprise on how 2011 had passed by already, pretty quickly I should say. I could say that 2011 had been the BEST year of my life. It had not come easy, but it is truly worth it, with God displaying all His strength and performing His mighty miracles in my life. 

I can still vividly remember how I celebrate the new year of 2011 last year. I was in Lombok, writing a blog post on New Year's Eve by the beach, meditating and contemplating accompanied by the sound of the waves kissing the shore. There, I realize, that I would enter the year of 2011 with great fear of uncertainty. 2011 had some major life intersections and highlights that I have to undertake, and it would be ultimately life-changing, and at that time, I was scared of taking the wrong path. The thought of the senior year busyness, thesis defense, graduating, and applying for university; they all drive me crazy. There were even times I told myself "ah, if only God would have His Second Coming before all these, I wouldn't need to make such decision." But then, the time comes and there there, decision has to be made. I am extra thankful on how God has taken my hand and lead me step by step along the way. He taught me to wait on Him, to trust in Him, and to rely on Him, even against all the odds of the world. God supersedes human timing, because He is the Author of Time. God supersedes human reason, because He is the Author of everything. Even in the times that I couldn't understand God, through all the challenges happening in life, I have come to learn that all that matters is God. Having God is more than enough, and to trust in Him for unfolding His Perfect Plan, that is what we ought to have. God made me to go through humbling processes which mold my character and change my life altogether, to grow more and more like Him. I have to admit that all those processes have not been easy, but His Grace is indeed always sufficient. 

Along the process of embracing 2011, I am also immensely grateful for relationships. God gave me the BEST classmates and form teacher to graduate high school with. Along the way, my friendships with my other friends have also been strengthened, that I found true and encouraging friends and mentors, who have been faithfully supporting me and praying for me, while teaching me to enjoy all the life's moments as well. And also, for the new friendships and acquaintances I have made with my new living in Singapore, I thank the Lord. Yet above all, I thank God for the precious family God has put me in. Living alone in Singapore for like four months make me realize how much I miss my family and the warmth that a home possesses. Yes, I enjoy my life there, but it's still different without my family around. So, during the time of my holiday for the past one month, I gladly come home to spend time with my dearest family and friends. I know that moments like this wouldn't last very long, and therefore I want to cherish every bits and moments of it. 

Looking back to 2011, I am in awe, to the point to say that it is none of my work and none of my strength; yet it's ALL God's work. To graduate high school, to go off to a senior trip to Komodo Island, to be admitted to Singapore Management University (SMU), to finish off my first semester, and to live a life growing as a daughter, student, and friend. I couldn't help but sometimes wonder that if it's really me that God has entrusted with all those. Without His Favor and Grace, I am truly nothing. 

And now, we have taken the step to begin the year of 2012. Even though we have not seen the whole staircase, we have taken a step of faith. And that faith is what God will consider as a seed, that will be watered to grow to move mountains. 2012 may not be as "dramatic" as 2011, where all the pivotal moments happen for me. But then, I believe that in all that, greater challenges will come, yet I have a greater God with me. He has not left me for the past seventeen years plus of life, and I believe He would never leave my side. 

For the year of 2012, God has put in my heart that it will be a year in which God will require my total submission to Him. It is to Him that I should yield my will, my desires, and all my plans. In all submissions, I find my rest. And in that rest shall I be having my restful increase, in trusting that God knows what He is doing. Yes, folks, submit your life to His feet. With that submission, God's power will be able to flow freely in our life, to flow to our weaknesses and strengthen us in times of need. One of the tweets I favorited on Twitter is Adrian Lindsey's tweet last month, saying that "A submitted weakness gives access to heavenly strength.". It is when we tell God that we are powerless, that His power will come through. Whatever challenges that we will be facing in 2012, be it health, academic, family, or anything, we know that we couldn't deal with it on our own. We are to cast our cares on God alone, and believe that He is going to work it out. In reference, I am so blessed reading Pastor's Prince's devotional "Working out of Rest" on last December 2006, read it here.

I hope that I will be able to post more also in 2012. Know that you guys are in my prayer for all your circumstances. Remember that God is for you, and He will never forsake you in your weaknesses. He loves you so much, that He dies for all your sins so you would need to bear it no more. Oh I couldn't be more thankful for having a Savior like this. :) 

Have a blessed new year of 2012, beloveds! May 2012 brings you greater peace, greater joy, greater hope, and greater blessings. Know that you are loved! :) 

never forsaken, 
Natasha Crescentia

"For the moments and for the memories; for the lessons and for the miracles; for the struggles and for the help; for the friendships and for the love; for the joy, for the peace, and for the hope. Lord, I thank You for 2011."