It's been a while! :D
Writing again today just to check whether this blog is still working. :p
Since I graduated from TTC I have been in full-time ministry. As the congregation I am currently serving are using Bahasa Indonesia, I do most writings in Bahasa.
I'm afraid my English is becoming rusty :(
I have been hearing positive feedback about my sermons, so I was thinking of sharing all my sermons online. Then... I was reminded that I have a blog! So here I am... checking whether this blog is still usable. And it is!
But I won't be posting my sermons here. They are in Bahasa, while I want to keep this blog in English.
So... I will just put one of the assignments from my Preaching class.
The instruction was to come out with a 4-minute devotional.
So I imagined myself delivering this devotional to secondary school students in Christian schools during their morning devotion time :)
Please share this if you think that any secondary school students will be blessed by this! :)
I grew up as an obese child. When I was in secondary school, I reached 75 kg. It was painful to grow u
p as an obese kid. I remember when I was 6 years old, my brother’s friend came to my brother and asked him, “Where is your sister? I want to see.” My brother then pointed at me. His friend suddenly shouted, “Wow, your sister looks like sh*t!”
Or when my mom fetched me at school, on the way home she would say things like, “Look at your friends. They are slim, very pretty. Don’t you want to be like them?”
All these things really hurt my self-esteem. I grew up to be a very shy person.
Until I reached my teenage year, I met this one youth pastor. Knowing my issue, he always reminded me of this sentence in 1 Samuel 16 verse 7 “For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart."
This youth pastor asked me to always remember this verse when I felt dissatisfied with how I look. He told me that God examines my heart, not my appearance. It is my heart that matters. When my heart is directed towards God, when I obey God, God is delighted. And that is what really matters in life. “Be like David”, he said, “a person that is after God’s own heart.”
Times when I looked at the mirror can be very tricky. A lot of thought can come to my mind. “Eugh, look at that fat.” “Why do I have to have flat nose?” Or “Why is my hair so thin?”
Then I would be alerted and started to remind myself, “Ita, stop it! Stop! God doesn’t look at those things. God looks at your heart!”
After that I would try hard to shift my focus. Instead of complaining about how I look, I tried to do other things like: listening to my favorite hymn, or remembering some people in prayer. Those 5-10 minutes spent listening to hymn or praying is more worth it than spending it in front of the mirror complaining about how I look. It helps my mind and my heart to focus back on God.
It is very difficult for us to be fully satisfied with how we look. We are prone to think: “My skin is very dark!” or “I hate being short” or “My face got a lot of pimples!” or “I don’t like my hair!”
Then, friends, you are not alone. We are in this journey together. A journey where we need to keep reminding ourselves that God sees our heart much more than our appearance.
So, instead of spending hours lamenting on how we look, we can use those times to do better things that would delight God more, like thinking about our friends who might need help or prayer support and start praying for them, or listen to our favorite Christian band, or read good books. I believe that God will be satisfied when we do those things.
Looking back, I remember that we sometimes joke with this youth pastor about him gaining weight and getting bald. I realized that my youth pastor must have been encouraged by 1 Sam 16 verse 7 and therefore encouraged me with this truth. I, today, would like to do the same thing. I would like to remind you once again, that “…man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.” Amen.