Sunday, March 20, 2011

City Living: Handling Stress

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Sunday service last 6th of March was very inspiring and very applicable to me during that time. For the past few weeks, I am under a lot of stress. Doing two separate roles in work isn't an easy task but sometimes you have to do it as it is your job. It is not about complaining but sometimes you will feel unease to those right and left work. Pastor Jeff gave a moving preach and I claimed that it was for me. The whole service revolved from the verse of 1 Kings 19:1-18. He gave three major points on how to handle stress so that we can comply on it according to His ways.

1. Watch out for dangerous signs (1 Now Ahab told Jezebel everything Elijah had done and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. 2 So Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah to say, "May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severly, if by this time tomorrow I do not make your life like that of one of them. 3 Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, 4 while he himself went a day's journey into the desrt. He came to a broom tree, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. "I have had enough Lord," he said. "take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.". / 9 there he went into a cave and spen t the night. And the word of the Lord came to him: "What are you doing here, elijah?" 10 He replied, "I have been very zealous for the lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too".) - We should always be remided to recognize the signs so that we know how to handle such situation. a) Irrational Fear - sometimes you will wake up 3AM in the morning and you will feel such a fear that you don't understand or those moments that after leaving the office there are some frustrations or questions like what if? how if? or you will be scared of what will come the next day and you will think of it even you were at home. b) Unhealthy Isolation - this is a sign on which we want to be alone and get out of the noise of many people. You'll feel that you need a space that you chose to be by yourself. c) Depressive Thoughts - There's a moment that we want to give up or even wishing to die. We just want to finish it without a resolution or just go away from it, leave out of the country and not facing it. d) Self Pity - These are the moments that you compare yourself to others as a lower class or one who can't do it or that you are useless and deserves nothing.

2. Take care of the physical body (5 Then he lay down under the tree and fell asleep. All at once an angel touched him and said "Get up and eat." 6 he looked around and there by his head was a cake of bread baked over hot coals and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again. 7 The angel of the Lord came back a second time and touhced him and said, "Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you". 8 So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God.) In order to survive the stress, we are advised to be healthy. a) Eat & Drink Well - When we say eat, we should consider the foods that we are eating whether if it is beneficial or will cause harm to our body system. It is also advisable to drink at least 8 glasses of water a day. b) Rest Well - I was advised before that it is good to have an eight hour sleep or that we should sleep before 10PM to ensure that we had a complete rest to prepare for the next day. Ps Jeff also mentioned that our day starts the moment we sleep in preparation for the next morning. c) Exercise - Yeah I know, this part is sometimes not easy but hey, a 30 minute jog a day could be useful. Or upon waking up, we can do push ups and seat ups. Exercise is a very good way of releasing the stress, I have experienced a lot of this before and it is genuine, just sweat out the stress.

3. Clarify my perspective - We should be reminded by this phrase: "God is God and I am not!". Indeed he is above all and He has his own ways that we can't understand but when it comes, the clarity of it will be revealed to us. a) God can work through the Unspectacular - God is still at work even without that "dramatic" effect and that He has His plans, He is always at work for our own good b) God is in full control in all circumstances - The words say it all, let go and let God.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Thanks Mr. Potter!

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It was a solemn day when I read this verse during my early morning devotion. I was attached to the message and made me realize how He is very patient to us. In Jeremiah 18:1-6 (1 This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: 2 "Go down to the potter's house, and there I will give you my message." 3 So I Went down to the potter's house, and I saw him working at the wheel. 4 But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him. 5 Then the word of the Lord came to me: 6 "O house of Israle, can I not do with you as this potter does?" declares the Lord. "Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my had, O house of Israel.)

Indeed, He is like a potter. He molds us into something that He wants us to be. Like a potter, it takes too much effort for Him to bring out the best in us. The best thing that we should do is to always obey, follow His commands and ensure that we are doing the right thing in our every ways. In real life, when the potter saw the output as unsatisfactory, he destroys it and remold it, rebuild it and reshape it. Like in our lives, sometimes we fail Him by doing sins and not following His path. But He is a forgiving God that He always forgive us so that we can have a fresh start. But this doesn't mean that we shall abuse it as every actions has it's own consequences. To be a righteous person, the road towards to His way will be full of trials and obstacles which will help us to be molded perfectly. It just like how the real potter put his finished product in the realm of fire to finish it perfectly and be the best piece of art. We should always remember that He is the potter and we are the clay.
One fine Thursday morning, again, during my devotion, a certain verse spoke to me. I'm not sure how it spoke to others but these words became a reminder and an inspiration to me. In Luke 17:11-18 (11 Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. 12 As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance 13 and called out in a loud voice, "Jesus, Master, have pity on us!" 14 When he saw them, he said, "Go, show yourselves to the priests." And as they went, they were cleansed. 15 One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. 16 He threw himself at jesus' feet and thanked him - and he was a Samaritan. 17 Jesus asked, "Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? 18 Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?")

On the above verse, 10 men were healed from leprosy but only one came back to give thanks to Him. Sometimes when we have a blessing we forgot to thank Him. We should always remember that everything comes from Him. Also, there is a time that we are looking on the negative thing, why don't we focus on what we have and what is presently being provided to us. A simple thanks to Him will be sufficient. It signifies that we remember Him not only during our sad moments. I sometimes say, "Thanks Lord ah!" or a prayer of gratitude during a quiet moment. "Thank you", simple words but means a lot to Him, we are remided to be grateful to Him.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Book & A Hand

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Last 6th of February, my shepherd taught about me the importance and the "fruits" of reading the bible. He mentioned that bible stands for Basic Instruction Before Leaving Earth. This holy book is not just a "thing" that after reading the entire pages then will proceed to the next book. At the first instance of reading it, the messages might be not that clear but after reading it over again, different revelations and meanings will be presented to you. In 2 Timothy 3:16-17, "All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work".

You will get many benefits in reading the bible. As they say, all the answers to your questions are in the bible and yes it is true. It also serves as a guide in our decision making. If the food nourishes our body, His words nourishes our soul. We will also be guided with our characters and thoughts, on how we will interact with others. God has a plenty of promises to us and we can discover it by reading the bible. As we go on reading this book, many messages will make your faith to be increased by His power and love to us. As for myself, when I am reading a bible and found a very good and perfect verse that spoke to me, I use a highlighter to emphasize it. Sometimes I share what I have learned using this blog and I believe that many will be blessed. We should keep on reading the bible and for sure you will feel the hunger for His words as many lessons will be learned for sure.

With what we have learned, we can give a helping hand to others so that they can also discover the wonder of His words and how it changed our lives. As for myself, a former officemate lend his hand to invite me and convince me to join him for almost one year and a half. I am very thankful to this guy who brought me to this family as I became closer to God. Outreach was our topic during our shepherding last 13th of February. Aris told me the importance of being connected to others and encourage them to let Him lead the path for them. In Matthew 28:18-20, "Then Jesus came to them and said, 'All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age'".

In outreach, there are two ways that my shepherd taught me. First is through evangelism (we call it evax). This is the way of inviting other persons to come and join our fellowship and experience His presence. Honestly, this part is the hardest thing as I am not used to talk to strangers but I am a work in progress. The second is discovery on which we explains how God really loves us by giving His only son to pay for our sins. The first time I ever did a discovery in our fellowship was also a learning experience for me, I was able to understand and feel more His love for me and what blessings await. In outreach, we can use testimony on how our lives were changed so that it can be an inspiration to others. Sharing is also the best way to connect to others, let them tell their stories and find ways how to be related and give them encouragement and some advise. Then in return, share ours and be open to every feelings, comments and suggestions. It is a great feeling seeing others who has a closer relationship to God with your help.