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Captured by Jeni Karay

Warna yang sama bisa tampak sunyi dan riang sekaligus. Langit paham hal-hal semacam itu. Kata-katamu bicara terlalu banyak tapi tidak pernah cukup. Langit selalu cukup dengan cuaca dan pertanyaan-pertanyaan.

Jangan percaya pada ksrtupos dan kamera seorang petualang. Menyelamlah ke ingatannya dan temukan senja selalu basah di sana. Kau hanya boleh jatuh cinta kepada ingatan yang menyerupai langit: rentan dan tidak mudah dikira.

Dia meninggalkanmu agar bisa selalu mengingatmu. Dia akan pulang untuk membuktikan mana yang lebih kuat, langit atau matamu.

~Aan Mansyur

When You Get Back

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People at Amai Beach, Papua. Captured by Jeni Karay

And so my prayer is that your story will have involved some leaving and some coming home, some summer and some winter, some roses blooming out like children in a play. My hope is your story will be about changing, about getting getting something beautiful born inside you about learning to love a woman or a man, about learning to love a child, about moving yourself around water, around mountains, around friends, about learning to love others more than we love ourselves, about learning oneness as a way of understanding God.

We get one story, you and I, and one story alone. God has established the elements, the setting and the climax and the resolution. It would be a crime not to venture out, wouldn’t it? It might be time for you to go. It might be time to change, to shine out. I want to repeat one word for you: Leave. Roll the word around on your tounge for a bit. It is a beautiful word, isn’t it? So strong and forceful, the way you have always wanted to be. And you will not be alone. You have never been alone. Don’t worry. Everything will still be here when you get back. It is you who will have changed.

Sunken Treasure

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The book of James says, “You do not have because you do not ask.” To illustrate this scripture, there’s a story about a little boy who had a dream of heaven. In the dream, God took the boy to a room. In the room were various types of material possessions like cars, houses, and other objects needed for daily life. Also in the room were things that seemed grotesque: eyeballs, legs, hands, and feet piled high in various corners. When the little boy asked God what it all meant, God replied, “These are answers to prayers never prayed.”

Even if this story is fictional, it still carries a profound message. The moral of this story is scripturally accurate. People do not possess many of the things God intends for their lives for one simple reason: they have never asked.

Like sunken treasure littering the bottom of the sea, God’s responses to unprayed prayers are left undiscovered and lost. What about you? Is some of the treasure of your life resting with the Spanish galleons deep below your life’s surface and waiting for the salvage work of prayer to excavate them? Are you perhaps missing out on what God intends for your life because you have never asked?

Taken from: Praying For Your Elephant – Praying Bold Prayers.

Wrestling With God When He Doesn’t Seem Good

A few things to remember when it’s hard to believe God is there.

There are days when I feel like I’m in the middle of an invisible tug of war. On one side is my childhood faith, an easy hope in a good and loving God, and a Sunday school answer for just about everything.

On the other side is a front row seat to a brutally unjust world, a seemingly absent God, and an overwhelmed human race.

Then there’s me—somewhere uncomfortably in the middle—grasping for meaning or clarity and often finding neither. Skimming the news online or reading my own tattered journal quickly reminds me the world is falling apart, and most of the time, I am too. Signs of fear, regret, racism, loneliness, insecurity or just ordinary disappointment permeate my Twitter feed by day and my anxious mind by night.

I trust God is present and good, so I try my best to turn worries into prayers as I lay in bed. I ask for help and rattle off a list of things I’m grateful for—the lullaby I’ve long relied on to usher in divine peace. This time, it’s not working.

I lift my eyes up to the hills. Where does my help come from?

Sometimes I don’t know. Hymns, sermons, verses, books and friends remind me that the God I believe in understands suffering, enters into it and sent a Savior to the earth to take it on Himself. This is the pillar of my faith.

But more often than I’d like to admit, it doesn’t feel like enough. Dwelling on the promises of God, if I can muster the strength to remember them, does not always take away the pit in my stomach, the questions looping in my mind, or the heartache that keeps me awake.

The reality sets in: There will always be a discomfort on this side of heaven. Circumstances will rarely turn out the way we want, the world will surprise us with its depravity, and we will remain imperfect people with imperfect responses to imperfect situations.

There will always be a discomfort on this side of heaven. Circumstances will rarely turn out the way we want, the world will surprise us with its depravity, and we will remain imperfect people with imperfect responses to imperfect situations.

Sometimes the distraction of discomfort is so great it becomes hard to hope for anything better and nearly impossible to see where the mess ends and redemption begins. These times can be hard to walk through and difficult to articulate to others.

And as if wading through the normal tornado of human emotion isn’t enough, a heavy dose of guilt usually tops everything off—guilt when the God we want to trust doesn’t feel like our refuge or our ever-present help in times of trouble.

This is part of the wrestle. The in-between moments right in the thick of unhealed wounds, unmet desires, unanswered questions or unyielding pain. Sometimes it’s a short bout; other times it’s a long, drawn-out, frustrating journey.

In the particularly unsettled moments of life, there are a few things I try to keep in mind:

Wrestling With God in the Throes of Life is Completely Normal.

Scripture provides countless examples of people arguing with God, angry with God, or literally wrestling with God (Genesis 32). Part of being human means recognizing things can be kind of awful on earth, whether it’s something we observe or something we experience deeply and personally. Part of being a Christian means learning to trust that God is not taken aback when His people put on gloves, step into the ring and lift our fists toward heaven. Though we doubt and tarry, throw punches and collapse in a heap, we have a steadfast Father who is not fazed by our questions, emotions or struggle.

It Could be Right Where God Wants You.Because so many of us flee from discomfort the moment it nears, embracing tension of any kind seems counterintuitive. Choosing to accept where we are right now, with the struggles we face, the questions we have and the limitations we feel sometimes forces us to stop striving. This is the real practice of being still—admitting exhaustion and thereby making space for God to enter into our mess in the unique way only He can.

We can be so busy looking for an answer or solution to fix the tension we’re in that we miss much of what God is doing around us right now.

Grace Will Come, in Large Doses or in Small Bits.

Grace comes in so many forms—it is the language of God’s love. Small things bring hope: laughing uncontrollably with a friend at a YouTube clip or the unexpected kindness of a stranger on public transportation. Big things bring hope, too: a new career or a restored relationship. We can be so busy looking for an answer or solution to fix the tension we’re in that we miss much of what God is doing around us right now.

Heaven Awaits.

And in the darkest moments, the oft-quoted line from C.S Lewis in Mere Christianity brings a bit of grace in the form of a reminder: “If I find in myself desires which nothing in the world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.”

There are many ways the world is good and we can bring pieces of goodness to it. But when I’m experiencing deep despair or overwhelmed by pervasive evil, I remember I’m not really meant to feel at home here. Strangely enough, that gives me peace.

My help comes from the Lord, Maker of Heaven and Earth.

When I lay my head down to sleep, these reminders are my comforts—where I find rest in the wrestle. It is not up to me to ask the right questions or pray the right prayers. It is up to me to let go of guilt, to look for small doses of grace, and to thank God when it comes.

Source: http://www.relevantmagazine.com/god/worldview/wrestling-god-when-he-doesnt-seem-good

Be Courageous

Rosa Parks (1913-2005) was the unknown seamstress who started the modern American Civil Rights Movement. On December 1, 1955, in the city of Montgomery, Alabama, she refused to move to the back of the bus after a white man got on board and wanted to sit in a front seat. Rosa’s mother believed “you should take advantage of the opportunities, no matter how few they were.” Rosa said that her lifelong acquaintance with fear made her determined and gave her the courage to appeal her conviction during the bus boycott that followed her arrest and conviction. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that segregation on buses was unconstitutional. Parks was the first woman to receive the Martin Luther King Jr. Nonviolent Peace Prize.

Rosa refused to live in fear; she was determined to have what was rightfully hers, and her determination sparked government reform for all.

From Rosa’s life, we see that if one person is courageous enough to step out and attempt to do something about a problem, other people with the same desire will also come forward.

Pray: Lord, help me to always have the courage to not allow others to take what is rightfully mine. Help me to confront what is wrong with the truth of Your Word. Amen.

From the book The Confident Woman Devotional by Joyce Meyer. Copyright 2011 by Joyce Meyer. Published by FaithWords.

Believe in Your Value

Take a minute and look into your heart. How do you feel about yourself? If your answer does not agree with God’s Word, I encourage you to begin today renewing your mind about yourself.

See yourself as God sees you. Study God’s Word and you will find out that you are precious, created in your mother’s womb by God’s own hand. You are not an accident. Even if your parents told you they never really wanted you, I can assure you that God wanted you. You are valuable, you have worth, you are gifted, you are talented, and you have a purpose on this earth.

Not only must we ask God for things He has promised us but we must receive them (see John 16:24). If you feel unworthy, you probably won’t ask, and even if you do, you won’t receive by faith. Don’t let feelings rule you anymore. Take a step of faith and start improving your quality of life today. Believe that you make good decisions, that you are a valuable person with a great future, and something good is going to happen to you today!

Pray: Lord, I ask You to imprint Your love into the depths of my heart. I believe You have a great future for me and that I can walk in Your purpose for my life. Amen.

From the book The Confident Woman Devotional by Joyce Meyer. Copyright 2011 by Joyce Meyer. Published by FaithWords.