Author Archives: Sara Sihaloho

Let us say grace…

I would like to take the time to thank God for everything that He has given me in my life.

He has given me:

A great parent who taught me love and sincerity..

Two brothers who are amazingly protecting me from whatever harm may greet me..

Family who is so full of kindness and goodness..

Best friends who are like sisters who care and share laugh and tears together as we grow up..

Friends who brought clarity of how diverse and complicated people are that I learned to respect differences..

Talent that allows me to share my joy, my sadness, my belief to other people..

A job that is shaping my way of thinking about world..

Colleagues who believe in me and my work so that I always strive for the best outcome..

Dogs to take care of so that I learn comfort and responsibility at the same time..

Pain so that I got to bring my faith to another level and believe that it was all necessary for me to be the new and better me..

Patience so that I got to understand that You are in control of my life..

I may have ran out of positive adjectives to explain what God has given me throughout my life, but He is so great that He will keep giving what I cannot imagine. Something that I couldn’t think of.

Let us say grace!

Understand life, enjoy it and get the best out of it.

Allow me to share my notes from Festival of Life, which sermon was delivered by Joyce Meyer. This one is from the 1st session, in Jakarta on January 17th 2013.

Joyce used the analogy of the Israelites’ journey from Egypt to the promise land. I think this is brilliant. The question acted as a teaser was that why they had to take until 40 years to get to the promise land while distance wise they only needed couple of days to get there. The brilliant part was that God used those 40 years to shape them. As He is mighty, He could have just kept them safe and brought them to the promise land right away. This is exactly the same case as in our lives. We could have reached our destination faster if we listen to God. In all those 40 years, you can read it in the bible and find out how many times they complained, turned around from God and then blaming God for their miseries afterwards.

God is so in love with us and through hardship He lets us learn to depend on Him, to count on Him, and most of all to trust Him. I would see myself as a person who is solution-minded. I could easily get stressed out if people around me are talking about the same problem over and over again. And yet after a while they will do the same thing all over again. I managed my life just fine for I was always trying to be solution-minded. But we are human and we are so limited, so then once things got out of control and seemed like there’s no solution to the problem, that’s when our world starts falling apart.

Well, we could change things, some of them, but we definitely cannot change people because only God can change people. As I get to know God day by day, I learn to set my eyes on Him. We all know the truth and believe that:

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And My ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.” (Isaiah 55:8) NLT

“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them” (Romans 8:28) NLT

Our limited mind won’t get it, but have faith knowing that He will work things out. When you trust God, everything will start to fall just right in place.

Joyce also shared some of wrong thoughts that people usually have:

  • “My future depends on my past”

The truth is: it is never too late to start again, to have a new beginning, to cleaning up the mess and to start working on your life again. Why? Because if you have God, you have all you need. And how is that going to work? God has a good plan for you, but you have stop looking back. God has promised this >> Isaiah 61:7.

“Instead of shame and dishonor, you will enjoy a double share of honor. You will posses a double portion of prosperity in your land, and everlasting joy will be yours” (NLT)

God will restore what devil took from you.

  • “This is too hard”

The truth is: If God says so, nothing is too hard. If God wants you to do it, you can do it. As the children of God, we are anointed to do hard things. The last sentence may sound scary or ironic, but I’m so convinced to say that the bigger your problem, the bigger your testimony. God provides everything just enough for you to go through what He puts you through, but the choice is still yours whether you want to use all the equipment provided or to depend on your very own resources and then later saying that things are just too hard.

“I’ve never met a beautiful soul without an ugly story to tell. The greater your test, the greater your testimony.” ~Tony Gaskins

  • “I can’t wait, I need a breakthrough right now”

The sentence just sounds like someone is so impatient. I always believe that the most important material of Christianity is humility, and I still believe it is. But couple of days ago I just realized that patience is just right after that. We can act as a humble person, but without patience we might not be able to reach the plan God has prepared for us. Without it, it is so easy for us to finally screw things up. Be patient. Trust Him and wait for Him, it’s worth the wait. And foremost, no matter how long we should wait, we will wait with patience.

  • “It’s not my fault”

Oh I like this one. When people wrong you, this is exactly what will appear in your head. It is so easy to blame others for our problems. And Joyce was saying a real thing when she said this, “It feels so good to tell people how someone hurts you. How you are a victim.” I would add that it feels even better to see them nodding their heads as we tell them the story. We get back-ups, they are agreeing with us that we didn’t do anything wrong and it’s not our fault. But seriously, how is your life going to change by that? We need to let it go, and see point number one: we have to stop looking back. Hold His hand and move forward.  Letting go means to get it out of your head and to get it out of your mouth. You need to stop thinking about it and you definitely need to stop talking about it. It takes time, but be patient and you’ll see the fruit. This is particularly a serious message for all the ladies out there 😉

At the almost-end of her sermon Joyce was saying this:

Be determined to conquer your problems. Do what you need to do. God is with you.

Keep the Faith

It’s been months since I posted the last piece of my blog. The easiest excuse, as you maybe already thought, I was busy. The particular word popped up in my head while I was browsing and re-reading my own old postings the other day. The truth is, I was actually busy and I’ve been everywhere, business trips and things. But then I think, is that excuse acceptable?

Let me break it down briefly: when I was reading my old postings, I was and am amazed of the words I stated there and could not believe that I was actually the person who wrote that. Don’t worry, I really did. But am not  going to brag about it, because it’s not something I should take credit from. As far as I can remember, I wrote those postings during my personal struggle, my difficult times. Odd but I realize that the most intimate moments I had with God were when I was troubled. Not that it’s a bad thing, but I really want to keep it at its best even when everything is at ease in my life. Judging from what I just explained, I came to a conclusion that I’m not as overwhelmed with His grace as I was back then. Oh yes He showered me with His grace just alright but I was the one who has not been received what He was trying to give me at prime level. Super briefly: God’s wisdom that I always shared through my blog only possible when I truly engage with Him. Less entries equals bad connection.

For the Lord gives skillful and godly Wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding. Proverbs 2:6

It is very easy to turn away from God or mildly speaking to not really paying attention and really listen to His voice while we are living in this world. Me and my friends talked about “What is the strongest factor that can distance us from God” during our bible study awhile ago and the answers were vary, from guys to too much work. But friends, let’s make it broad, how many of you checked your cell phone first time in the morning when you woke up instead of thanked God for a well rest you had? Or refused to leave the couch to pray or read the bible because your favorite TV show was on at that moment? The fact is, all this earthly things could be your god. Your cell phone, your boyfriend/girlfriend, your successful business, your TV, and even your dog or your emotion. God gave us all those things to color our life, not to have control over. We can enjoy it as long as we know our priority, God. Know the limit. Self control is one of the fruit of the spirit, yet as I have said in the past is the hardest thing to do.

We can justify our thoughts and ideas by breaking the limits once in the while, but then once becomes often and often becomes habit. The last thing you know, you already walked away from Him so far that you are lost. The major thing to do during this situation is to maintain our mind and put His words as righteousness-measurement by default. We are human and we are limited with lots of things as very often we are so firm on doing wrong things. Well, here’s what the bible says about that:

There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death. Proverbs 14:12

Let me share my answer during the bible study I had with my friends earlier: “Believe it or not, at the moment my life is very much at ease. Work is fine, financial is fine, my family is doing great..seems like everything is under control. But yet I don’t feel close to God as I did before. I never thought I would say this, but I think when nothing happen can distance us from God”. That’s the truth.

So then what should we do about this? Well, I committed to never stop trying, to fight myself really hard if I have to. Whatever happens, I’m still going to thank God first time in the morning and ask Him to give me peace and joy to go throughout the day. Most of all, I ask Him with all my heart to give me faith so strong that it can move a mountain.

As I type and looking up for reference in the bible, God led me to this particular verse James 1:2-18. Read on, it’s really good.

It’s amazing how He works on people who truly asked and believe, isn’t?

Keep the faith!

I DON’T CARE

It was quite a while ago when I had the biggest turning point in my life. I got to really experience and realize God’s love for me when I hit rock bottom. My life has changed. As weird as it may sound, but I’m grateful that I hit that bottom in the past. And at that time, I made up my mind that I was going to put my words into real action. I said that this time, it has to be real. I’m going to walk that talk.

Previously, He was only my last resource and even at that time He was too kind to me. He’ll pull me out of the misery then I will go back to my old life. Like a little child who cried and begged for something and will go happy and forget about everything once the request has been granted.

But as we all know that He is the master of restoration. He took my hand, closed my open wound, healed my pain, wiped my tears, told me how much He loves me, explained why He let me shed tears like a river, and offered me a second chance. He asked me to stand up and walk again, only this time He asked me not to let Him go, ever. He said I have to trust Him, really believe in Him. So I did and I’m still on that walk until now. He made all things new and surely He did make a new me.

You know what is best about faith? You acknowledge that in the past Jesus had gone through all things you are scared of today so that He can tell you how to handle all that. Let’s just say fear of rejection, betrayal, loneliness, physical pain, being looked down, and everything you have in mind right now, He mastered it. He had prepared everything; open the path and now we just have to go through it and even better He walks with us so that we won’t get lost.

So let’s not looking back to our past, it’s over. Let’s not waste that cross. I am strong for God is with me.

If God points one direction for me to take, I will go.

Even if the only person I will find on that road is my self, I will keep on walking.

I will move forward.

Even if I have to go through bumpy road…

Even if the path is pitch dark…

I will move forward.

I DON’T CARE.

Changes change people

Many times in my life sadness said hello, but the worst was always over a goodbye. It was during my time of contemplating things when I suddenly felt the urge to google the origin of the word ‘goodbye’. Why does it have to have the word ‘good’ when it actually brought sadness. What so good about sadness? What’s the good in ‘goodbye’?

So I managed to find the origin of ‘goodbye’ and surprisingly it was actually the short version of ‘God be with ye’. From time to time the phrase got influenced from ‘good day’ and ‘good evening’ and it’s finally transitioned to ‘goodbye’. Knowing its origin then I thought, it shouldn’t be that bad after all, the ‘goodbye’.

I dug deeper and tried to find the reason why people can be so sad when they say ‘goodbye’. Goodbye could mean loneliness and separation, but I came to an answer of why the sadness and separation in goodbye are excruciating for most people. Am I wrong to answer it like this: because goodbye always means changes, and changes change people. When we lose someone close and important to us, everything is changing. Our routines are different. Our views of lives are different. And aren’t we all agree that changes have never been easy and doing things that we already know is always more comfortable? Indeed. But will we ever grow when we reject changes? I’ll let you answer the last question quietly in your heart.

I have learned that it is fine to be sad and to cry, God created emotion anyway. But to stay in that situation and host a pity party is definitely (I believe and am sure) not a part of God’s plan for you. God can use everything and everybody in this world to make you grow and I believe that is what He is trying to do when He lets goodbye greet you once in a while. It is actually a moment He created to give you a chance to grow, to embrace your greater blessings in a new way, new thing, new knowledge.

I’ve experienced so many farewell that really broke my heart, some even caused me pain that seemed unbearable. I was so hard-headed, hard-hearted and angry that everything didn’t happen as I planned it. Grief often blinded us from seeing a bigger plan God has made for us. We choose to stay helpless and hopeless and even worse sometimes we also enjoyed the pity look other people gave us during that situation.

Know this: keep on moving don’t stay still and be happy being miserable. We are too overwhelmed with grace to be miserable. God didn’t let you born in this world to be miserable. Miserable is not available in our dictionary when we are too busy being joyful while embracing God’s grace.

Changes are necessary so that we grow wiser and stronger. Changes happened, are happening and will always happen in the future. But my soul will be still. My heart will rejoice. And that is all because I know God equipped me enough to be so. And majorly because of this verse:

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Hebrew 13:8 (ESV)

The world may change. But my Lord Jesus: He will love me and take care of me forever, and I’ll be just great.

Happy Friday and have a great weekend, friends!

Are you for real?

Everytime I see a person who is trying to please everybody, I will instantly think: “Oh dear, you’re in trouble.”

Nowadays, people’s approval is much more important than anything. Commonly, people will do and say what is politically correct or socially acceptable. The fear of rejection crawled and you chose to say what is ‘safe’. But the question is: yet is it true?

The bible has so many things to say about this. About how God doesn’t want you to please everybody. Why? Because God Himself cannot please everybody. I’m going to say that if everybody likes you, there must be something wrong with you. Are you even standing firmly on something?

“Do not join a crowd that intends to do evil. When you are on the witness stand, do not be swayed in your testimony by the opinion of the majority.” (Exodus 23:2 NLT)

God tells us to say the truth, to be brave enough to say “I’m not compromising my God whatsoever,  I AM FOR REAL!“. You know the truth so you have to defend the truth. Keep it real.

Once it was said “Silence means gold.” Yes that’s true, but silence could also mean coward. I believe that approval is important, we all need that in our lives. But whose approval is more important? People’s or God’s? As we really believe in Christ, our mind has changed, our lifestyle has changed. There will be path that we have to reject to go through because we know God will not approve it. It might be unpleasing for some people, but as true believers we have to be bold enough to say no when people want us to say yes.

Then he said to them, “You like to appear righteous in public, but God knows your hearts. What this world honors is detestable in the sight of God. (Luke 16:15 NLT)

“When people commend themselves, it doesn’t count for much. The important thing is for the Lord to commend them.” (2 Cor 10:18 NLT)

God’s approval is what matters to me. Some will say “But I’m a sensitive person and I take other’s approval emotionally.” Well, all christians should know that happiness is a choice. For us, it is always a matter of choice. To choose between firmly believe that God has full control of my life so I got nothing to worry about or let everybody around you take control of your happiness. One thing for us to remember, keep in mind: some people are just plain grouchy and unpleaseable, and that is their problem not ours.

The only one you should please is JESUS, our God. Don’t let any human be your god. Don’t let yourself living for other people’s expectations. God shaped me to be me, not to be anybody else. We should draw the line and know when to say no.

Dear Lord, help me to live a life you want me to live. Give me the courage to be brave to say no when others say yes for I’m defending what is right according to You. Let me not compromising Your grace for earthly satisfaction. Let everything that I do fulfill the great master plan You already have for me. Let me free myself to be brought into a new level of spiritual maturity by You, to able to choose what is right over what is comfortable. Amen.

Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mould, but let God re-mould your minds from within, so that you may prove in practice that the plan of God for you is good, meets all his demands and moves towards the goal of true maturity. (Romans 12:2 Phillips)

Dear my brothers and sisters in Christ, let us be God’s pleaser instead of people’s pleaser. Go!

The Walk

I don’t understand the world better now that I add another point to my age. What’s different now is that I know I’m holding on to something undefeated, so firm, so true, so beautiful, and the best part, to something that is everlasting.

No matter how screwed I was, He forgives me anyway, He pulled me so hard back to Him anyway, He didn’t give up on me anyway, most of all, He still loves me anyway.

I didn’t lose anything nor anybody, as He planned every detail of the story of my life just great. I lost myself, that was what happened. Losing grip, burried in worries and fears. Lack of faith, lack of heaven-connection, lack of daily communication.

I’m so thankful and grateful, so much that my limited brain can’t form the words I meant to say to You. It’s way beyond beautiful, more than earthly lovely and happy.

I’m so far from being the person I shall be, but I promise You that I am not who I was anymore. Your love changed me, changed my whole life.

I’m not completely healed and maybe never will, but I know I’m doing great for I always hunger for Your truth. Truth that brings hope, hope that guides my heart to You and You only.

I’m proud to be Your child and sealed by Your grace.

I forgive my past, let go my pain and I survived, I’m steadily walking forward holding Your hands.

Thank You, dear Lord for the best birthday gift ever: faith by Your grace! You are just beyond awesome.

Casually speaking: LOVE YOU TONS!

Don’t Let Me

God, please hold my hand and walk with me.

This is the worst after quite sometimes.

Show me the way and I’ll keep on going with You no matter what.

Let my faith grow bigger over my pain.

If this is the time when I have to water the seeds I planted, let it flow like a river.

Shower me with Your grace and let the joy and peace live in my heart today, this moment, and forever.

I don’t understand, but let me be.
What matter is that I’m standing firm holding Your hand.

Looking forward and setting my eyes on our Father’s kingdom.

Let the calmness greet me for I know that You will never leave me.
That You will even carry me if You have to.

Don’t let me forget what I believe in.

To keep on going. To walk with You.

 

31.03.2012 ~ 19.31
Up in the beautiful sky You created

Kneel with Humility

Many days I’m complaining about how there are too many people who are so full of self-pride on this very earth. They are irritating, self-centered, opportunist, not humble, so lack of sincerity, you name it. People who always think that the world rotates with them as the center. If so, how many centers we have then?

C. S. Lewis mentioned once:

“One of the marks of a certain type of bad man is that he cannot give up a thing himself without wanting everyone else to give it up…”

Often we follow our emotions to do what we think is right, while actually the Holy-Spirit inside of us, the spirit of righteousness, doesn’t say so. We imagine certain pleasures we could get if we do what we want and think that somebody else would do the obligations God asks. Who are we fooling?

“Let there be tears for what you have done. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy.” James 4:9 (NLT)

It is TRUE that God promised us a life full of joy in a place where sorrow would not exist anymore. Here on earth? If He says so, yes. But His promise is valid eternally. It might not here, on the earth we live in, but we must armor ourselves with faith that the eternal life is for us to keep on going. That promise is the aim and to where we should set our eyes on.

We might shed a lot of tears while we are here, but let it be. Let our tears water the seeds that we planted, and on His timing we will harvest it with joy and laughter. As it is written.

“Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up in honor.” James 4:10 (NLT)

Faith is something we ask and receive by the grace of God. But faith does not stand alone, for faith and action work together.

To be humble is part of our action from the faith in Christ. Let us start to put aside our pride and start serving others. We’re not putting others first in our lives, but we put God on the top priority. I know it’s scary to find ourselves in a situation where we say: “Oh God, what did I put myself into?”

But…

My brothers and sisters in Christ always remind me to go anyway.

Because…

In terms of faith, we do it, even if we have to do it afraid, do it anyway.

So…

Let everything we do put a smile on His face. Isn’t that feels amazing?

My Head and My Heart

Often confusion appears when we are facing choices in our lives. Choices are easy when both options are no-harm. But problems will definitely greet us when one of the choices is painful and hurtful, yet is the right one.

Question: How do I know which one is the right one?

Albert Einstein once said “if your heads tells you one thing and your heart tells you another, before you do anything, decide first whether you have ‘a better head’ or ‘a better heart’”.

But then I have an idea… Why has only better one of those if I could have both?

God, the Master and our Creator must know us best than anybody. He knows what kinds of sin we could do. So, He equipped us just more than enough to be like He wants us to be.

“In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit” Eph 1:13 (ESV)

When we believe in Him, He seals us with the Holy Spirit. Spirit of truth, spirit of righteousness, and spirit of kindness. When we invite Jesus to our lives and ask Him to stay there forever, the Holy Spirit will be inside of us.

“God has called us to live holy lives, not impure lives.” 1 Thes 4:7 (NLT)

The Holy Spirit that we received by the grace of God will guide us to live holy. It enables us to recognize the right choice we should take for all options exist. The choice we make through questioning and look for the answer in His words.

So, instead of choosing only to use one of them…

I have made covenant with my heart and my head that I will use them in a right terms and conditions I acknowledged with the strength of the Holy Spirit.

Head will need to step in when heart starts holding on to something wrongly hurtful.

While…

Heart will need to step in when head keeps telling justifications that add hatred.

The main purpose of their existence is to please God. No other reasons.

Heart and head will have to have a great teamwork and communication to help us becoming the person God has always wanted us to be.