Living Without Worries

LIVING WITHOUT WORRIES-Karina's Thought

 

Hello my beloved blog friends, before read my post today I wish to say sorry and will let you know that After this post I will be away from the blog for awhile because I have to prepare my first baby birth. Based on my obstetrician diagnosis, the baby will be born around the 15th of this month. With the humble heart, I ask your prayer so everything will be going well. Thank you so much, God bless you and I love you all!

So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. (Matthew 6:31-32)

How confident we are with the Bible verses above? Whether we really could say “Amen” to these verses confidently in our daily lives? Whether our lives have been completely clean from all kinds of worries? “I know that God is very concerned and can help in any problems, but as human beings with fleshly nature we will still be able to feel worried” Said my friend, one day. Yes, I somewhat agree with my friend statement. Oftentimes although we know and believe that God really cares and can help us, but still we have worries in our mind. Actually, where the worries come from? Often anxiety comes from the mind that is not maintained properly. We worried about many things in life because we do not know where we should hang our hopes; to whom we can rely on and to whom we trust that can give a definite guarantee so we do not need to be afraid.

This time I would like to take you to explore the Bible verses above more complete. (Matthew 6: 25-34)

Talk about worries, Jesus immediately begins by reminding us to do not worry.

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? (Matthew 6:25)

Consider this section carefully. Have not we often behaved like that? We tend to be busy thinking about what we do not have but forget to be grateful for the things that are actually much more important that God has given to us. We think of ‘eat’ and ‘clothing’, said Jesus, but we forgot to take care of actual life is much more important than the fulfillment of a life-support needs. If we are sick and cannot eat, food will be wasted. Or if we can easy get the food, what if our lives are not in God’s guidance, do not walk in His statutes and continue to do the things that hurt God so continue  lead us to  the eternal perdition?

Jesus gave a very simple example in verses 26 and 28-30. If the birds in the sky do not sow, and not reap, not collect any stock in the barn to be fed by God, If the lilies on the field grow without work and spin are dressed by God very beautiful, even more than the beauty of the clothes Solomon in all his glory, are not we as human beings are created much more special according to his own image and likeness, so we are certainly much more valuable and important in the eyes of God? Then why do we have to worry in the face of life?

Next, the Lord Jesus also reminds us that worries are not any good at all or in vain.  Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? (Verse 27) Worries will not prolong our lives, instead will shorten our lives. Worries will not provide any benefits for us. If we look at Matthew 14:22-33, we will see that Peter was initially walking on the water without problems according to Jesus’ command, but then began to sink, just because he worry felt the wind blows. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” (Matthew 14:30)

When we read the last two verses of Matthew 6, there is interesting things,

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:33-34)

Verse 33 is certainly be familiar to us, but unfortunately often used stand alone without looking at the verse that follows and the title of the passage where this verse was. Jesus reminds us of a priority, namely the importance of prioritizing seek the kingdom of God and its righteousness first. But in fact, we often do just the opposite.

We continue to force ourselves to work day and night , even we tend  to trapped to commit fraud because we continues to feel deprived, keep looking for other things that believed by world could bring happiness, while in fact, it will automatically be added to us if we have the right priorities in life. This is a very important message to be noticed, but no less important to see the relationship with the next verse which speaks about hardship. By Following Jesus, fully obey His ordinances, and seek His kingdom does not mean that the problem will not necessarily disappear completely from life. God never promised like that but God promised that He always be with us every time. He promised that He be able to help, restore, release, and lavishes blessings to us. Do not ever thinking that our life will hundred percent free from problems and hardship. What Jesus reminded us is that by obeying God, prioritize God above of all else, God will continue to suffice us including in addressing these challenges of life.

My beloved readers, I exactly do not know what kind of worries you have this time. But I really do know that God knows for sure what is our current worries and struggle. Even things that may be too hard to expressed, too difficult to be said, God knows it all! God really hear the cry of our hearts. He cares and through Jesus we have been reminded in order not focus our mind and feelings on the things that worrying, but replacing it by focus on God’s endless mercy. One thing that often become a cause we continually plagued by worries is the lack of our faith to believe.

if that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? (Matthew 6:30)

God already knows what we need even before we ask. We are always in His care and protection. The problem is do we truly believe it and been embedded in our heart and mind? If it was, so we do not have to worry anymore with everything we need. We do not have to worry about the challenges, hardship and any kind of problems.

From the series of verses in Matthew 6:25-34 Jesus wants to change our mindset. He wants us to fill our thoughts and feelings with the following facts:

We often worried about something excessively, but forget the more important things that actually been given by God to us.

Worries are not adding anything into our lives; even more adds problems into our lives.

As human beings we must realize that God really knows us, He cares and puts us in a position far more valuable than the other of His creations.

How important putting God on the right portion and priority in life and not prolong distress within the corridor of our thoughts and feelings.

My dear readers, this evening I would like to ask all of you: Let’s together we change our mindset and our life paradigm to always and continue to give thanks for all the blessings that God has bestowed upon us. Always remember how great God’s love to us so we do not need to worry anymore to live this life. Our lives will not always run smoothly. Tribulation will always be there and  probably will come to us at once, but we can remain calm and feel the peace even joy to deal it all if we realize that we are special in God’s sight. Let us declare that there is no place in our hearts and minds for worries because we have God who cares for us, we are important to Him. He is God who understands, He is omniscient, and He is God who longs to bless us and will always take care of us. Keep our mind not only focus on what we need but focus our mind to seek His Kingdom and his righteousness because God promise to us He will give all things we need. Not just give the material that we need but He also give us strength and wisdom to face vary of problems and hardship. Let’s together with full of trust and confidently says, Amen!

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. (1 Peter 5:7)

There is a song that I always hear when worries come to me. This song really encouraged me and reminds us that God always cares, love and He always watches us like He Eyes is on the Sparrow. To watch and hear the song please click to the song title.

 

Karina – Living by Faith

Photo credit: Wallpapersak.com

 

Living in Humility

Living in Humility -Karina's thought-Paul Militaru

 

Some time ago when I was walking around in the shopping mall accidentally I met an old friend when was in college. I am so excited met her because been many years I have not hear news about her. Afterwards we were deep in exciting conversation. We were talk about many things. But after a while, I felt there was something different from her. I heard sound of arrogance in every of her words.  There was her sayings that really show her arrogance when we talked about business, “If you have a problem in business, you can come to me for help. Now with the position and authority that I have, I can do anything. I can change everything from impossible become possible!”

Honestly I  really sad to saw her changed drastically. I knew her very well before.  A meek young college girl even there was an impression of inferiority. But now she totally changed become an arrogant and snobby woman. Even worse, it seems she was not aware of the changes that happened to him. He felt all she did was reasonable. My husband said to me, “That’s one of the human weaknesses. Many people when they have a great success they could change drastically. When they have high position and powers, they turned out to be an arrogant person. They are forget that it all just a blessing from God”

Of what happened with my friend, I am increasingly aware why in the Christian life God many times advised us to always being humble and always live in humility. As God through Paul advised the Ephesians,

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. (Ephesians 4:2)

 To the Philippians God advised,

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, (Philippians 2:3)

And to the Colossians God said,

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. ( Colossians 3:12)

There are many more advice to always be humble, and this is very important because  “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble” (James 4:6)

I am reminded of the story of Joshua when he wanted to lead the Israelites to cross the Jordan. (Joshua 3:1-17) God spoke to Joshua before entering the Jordan,

“Today I will begin to exalt you in the eyes of all Israel, so they may know that I am with you as I was with Moses.” (Joshua 3:7)

After Joshua receive God’s message, he was immediately conveyed it to the Israelites. Let us pay attention to what Joshua said to the Israelites, he said,

This is how you will know that the living God is among you and that he will certainly drive out before you the Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites and Jebusites (Verse 10)

Please note, Joshua did not say, look, today you all will see how the Lord rearing my name, exalt me among you  …” Joshua did not say, “Here I am! I am the chosen, higher than all of you, and if you survived it all that because of me.”  Not at all! What Joshua said is,” This is how you will know that the living God is among you…” When I pondering this story I found and see Joshua’s humility. Joshua remains being humble because he was fully aware that it is not because his great or strong power Israelites would have crossed the Jordan, but because of God’s care. Joshua focused not on himself but to God. The focus is only to the God that glorified in all things have ever, is and will happen. Joshua did not take over of what is become God’s right. Furthermore, Joshua also explained in detail how they should to cross (Verse 11-13), and that he did to show that what will happen is not a simply coincidence, or not because of the greatness of Israel or himself, but because there is the power of God that works to protect and save them.

Now let we look at a story which opposite with the story of Joshua. Let’s see to the story of Korah. Initially, Korah was a quite influential leader at the time when the Israelites came out from Egypt. As with other Levites, Korah trusted to do the work in the tabernacle of the Lord and has a duty to serve the people. With such a status Korah automatically got a higher trust compared the other Israelites. It was such an honor and a big responsibility. Yet the fact was, Korah fell into the rebellion sin. He became oblivious to the essence of trust which God has given to him after success. He appreciates himself excessively and then fails to recognize the limits that God has set for him. He forgot to what became the line of his duty and he became arrogant.  He was plotting a rebellion.

And they rose up before Moses, with certain of the children of Israel, two hundred and fifty princes of the assembly, famous in the congregation, men of renown: (Number 16:2)

Why did he rebel? Because he felt himself great above others and thirst for positions.  Then Moses rebuked Korah,

Isn’t it enough for you that the God of Israel has separated you from the rest of the Israelite community and brought you near himself to do the work at the Lord’s tabernacle and to stand before the community and minister to them? He has brought you and all your fellow Levites near himself, but now you are trying to get the priesthood too (Numbers 16:9-10)

Arrogance made them forget that they are actually not opposed Moses and Aaron alone but God who has outlined immediately like what they have to walk. And what happens next was very fatal. The wrath of God came upon them and the destruction was befalling them.

And the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them and their households, and all those associated with Korah, together with their possessions. They went down alive into the realm of the dead, with everything they owned; the earth closed over them, and they perished and were gone from the community. (Numbers 16:32-33)

Korah and his people eventually perish, down alive into the realm of the dead. It is God’s punishment for the people who are arrogant and dared against to God. And this is a warning to us not to be destroyed caused by our pride.

The earth opened its mouth and swallowed them along with Korah, whose followers died when the fire devoured the 250 men. And they served as a warning sign. (Numbers 26:10)

In everyday life we could found those who extremely changed just because they reached great success, have a high position and authority, feel the most powerful and can do anything. As a Christian, when God blesses us with success and was entrusted with full authority whether we would to be like them change drastically become arrogant and forget the essence of the trust that has been given by God? Today we could learn from these two stories. Whether we want to be like Joshua who was always focused on God and not take over what is become God’s right? Remain humble because he was fully aware that it was not as great or strong his power the Israelites would have crossed the Jordan, but due to the God’s power. Or we want to be like Korah who appreciates himself excessively and become an arrogant person, thirst for the position and honor, wanted to go beyond the limits that God has set for him, and eventually just got God’s wrath?

My dearest friends, this time please allow me to encourage all of you to always remember that everything that we have is only from God alone. Success, position, honor, affluence, authority, it all is just because blessings from God. Always remember to not steal the God’s glory and do not snatch the right of God to boast ourselves as written in Jeremiah,

Let not the wise boast of their wisdom or the strong boast of their strength or the rich boast of their riches, but let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have the understanding to know me,
that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” (Jeremiah 9:23-24)

Please always remember that we saved to save, we are blessed to be a blessing not to be a stumbling block. All of blessing that we have received is not use to boast ourselves but merely for the channel of blessings for others and just for God’s Glory. Without God we are nothing!

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. (John15:5)

 Do not be oblivious and feel that we are the greater than other then forget and steal the glory which becomes God’s right. When we become successful  let’s keep it well, continue to being humble, bless others over and over again and continue to glorify God.  Do not feel we can do anything just because Intelligence, talent or expertise or even a chance to succeed are only comes from the God’s grace. Amen.

For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be the glory forever! (Romans 11:36)

Karina – Living by faith

Photo by Paul Militaru http://photopaulm.com

 

 

 

 

A True Love

True Love -Karina's Thought- Paul Militaru (2)

 

I begin this post with an old inspiring and touching story from China. There was an old grandfather named Bai Fang Li. He was living in Tianjin, China. What is interesting thing from this old man? The most interesting thing from him is even though he was live in shortage, he had has very rich heart. Poverty was not being a reason for him to keep giving to others. He was called to give donations to schools and universities in Tianjin city to help more than 300 poor children in order to able obtain an education for their future. Many years he was pedaling his rickshaw to get money in order to increase amount of his contributions.

He lived in an old and rusty hut in a slum area of the city where many rickshaw operators and garbage collectors live and he also lived without thinking of his own needs so that he could give more and more. Two raisin cakes and fresh water became his lunch menu and just a piece of meat or an egg for dinner. Regardless of weather conditions he was always pedaling his rickshaw from 6 am to 8 pm. “it is okay I am suffered”, but let that poor children can go to school “he said. When he was 90 years old, he realized that he was no longer able to pedal his rickshaw. His last saving that amounted five hundreds Yuan donated all to a school. He said, “I could not to pedal a rickshaw again. I cannot give a donation anymore. It might be my last donation that I could give” It was makes all teachers in that school crying. Three years later grandpa Li passed away in poverty. Yet, behind his poverty, during his lifetime he has been contributed a total of three hundred and fifty thousand Yuan. He devoted his life fully to help poor children who could not afford to school. What an inspiring story, right?

Now, what is the message of the inspiring story for us as Christians?  In the midst of the world which centered on self-interest, where the caring to others getting scarce, what was done by grandpa Li pointed out that there are still people who have a noble heart  more than a gold in this world. He was still loves and care to others though he lived in poverty. I called it “A True Love”

Apostle Paul describes love so beautifully in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7,

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Depiction of love in those verses so beautifully summarized by grandfather Li’s action. His contribution was not just limited by sympathy words but all real embodied through the sacrifices that he did for the sake of helping those children who did not have opportunity to get an education. I wonder, from the billions of people in this world, how many grandpa Li who care about each other and willing to sacrifice just for helping others? A poor man like grandpa Li wanted to do it, while many rich people just sat quietly does not have concern for the people around who really need help.

Holy Bible said, Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. (1 John 3:18) Grandpa Li did it so beautiful through the concrete action even in the midst of his poorness. He was not being a selfish or just thinking about himself but he even willing to sacrifice all-out until the last of his strength to help other. He also did all of that was not solely to seek popularity or honored by people. I think, for him have a decent life is more important than having popularity! Please remember he was just a very old rickshaw driver. He really had a sincerity and true love to helping each other.

Grandpa Li was gone but his devotion will continue to be remembered by millions people in this world. I am convinced despite physically he suffered, but his heart happy to be able to do something for others. He realized that it would be happier if can give rather than receive.

…‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ” (Act 20:35)

After I read and ponder this inspiring story, I conclude that there are some important things that we could get from this inspiring story and I called it as the value of true love.

First, Initiative! True love has an initiative. This poor old man has initiative express his love by reaching out his hand to help others. It is same with God.  God loves us not in a passive ways. He not just waiting us to love Him first but God directly reached out His hand to express His love to us with a very beautiful ways. John said,

This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. (1 John 4:10)

Furthermore, Paul said,

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)

The second, beside has an initiative, grandpa Li was active in order to could express his love to others by working tirelessly pedaling his rickshaw. He not expresses his love just by his words but also by action as it is written in 1 John 3:18.

Third, grandpa Li has a great caring to others interests. He realized that there are hundreds poor children need help and threatened could not school and get a proper education. God’s word reminds us to not merely attach great importance to our own need and interests, but also pay attention to others needs and interests.

Not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. (Philippians 2:4)

Be emphasized again in 1 John 3:17,

If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?

Fourth, sacrifice! This is a thing that quite difficult to do. Jesus said,

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. (John 15:13)

Not only with words but directly Jesus proved to be willing to give his life for the mankind salvation by dying on the cross. And this is then followed by His disciples willing to sacrifice their life just for proclaim God’s word to all over the world. Not many people are willing to sacrifice to help others while he himself lives in hardship. This old poor man was doing this thing so beautiful. He was willing to sacrifice for the sake of helping others. He was willing to lived in the slums and eat potluck so he could save his money.

My dear readers, it is so easy we say that we have love. But the question is what kind of love? Are we having true love that has initiative? Whether we have an active love that accompanied with action? How big our concern to others interests? And are we willing to sacrifice to others? Whether in everyday life we have to apply the principles of love as God wants? This evening I would like to encourage you to learn from this inspiring story. Let the story of grandpa Li could be a model for us to express the true love to others. We may not like grandpa Li who really live in poverty, so let us have an initiative to give  what we  could give to helping each others who in need. Do not be discouraged and ashamed if not be able to give much as long as we give with sincerity. God does not look at how much that we can give but rather to look our sincerity, our willingness to sacrifice and truly based on true love. God really appreciate to those who are willing to sacrifices to give in the shortage.

Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.” (Mark 12:43-44)

 Suppose that we could not help people in the form of matter, we can help others in another form such as giving a tender smile and a warm hug to our friends who are in grief, spend our time to giving encouragement to people who are discouraged, or put them in our prayer list, and maybe just do very simple daily things such as say “hello” and asking “how are you. Are you okay?” It all will give a big impact to others. Let’s pray to God ask for the strength, wisdom and have a sensitive heart to the others difficulties so we always could express our true love to others.  Let us pray that true love remain thrives in our lives and keep it warm because we live in the world where wickedness is increased. As Jesus reminds us, Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, (Matthew 24:12) and let us could be a window for those people around us to know and experience God’s love through our true love. Amen.

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. (I John 4: 7-8)

Karina – Living by Faith

For the detailed story and photos of Bai Fang Li click here

I wish to thank you to Paul Militaru for the awesome and beautiful picture

Photo by Paul Militaru  http://photopaulm.com

 

TOUGH HEART AS A DIAMOND (Posted in bahasa “KUAT BAGAI BERLIAN”)

Karina Susanto:

Are we have strong and unwavering heart so we could fave any problem, challenges and temptations in our life? This post is very good reminder to all us that we need to have strong and steadfast heart like a diamond. Worth to read!

Originally posted on BeautifulWords:

Tough heart as a diamondHeart is one of the most important areas in our lives. Even the first step of our Christianity journey, begins by opening the doors of our hearts for Jesus.

Once the importance of all things about heart so that God gives thousands verses and many examples of Bible figures successfulness and failures because of their heart manner.  About David, we all know that David was once fall into the murder and adultery sin when indirectly he killed Uriah then took Bathsheba as his wife. But why in Acts 13:22 God called David a man after his own heart? Because when Nathan rebuked him regarding his sins, David had a tender heart (Psalm 51). It was same with Moses. Specifically, bible wrote that Moses was a very meek and humble man more than every mankind over this world (Numbers 12:3). Conversely, which makes most of the Israelites coming out of Egypt…

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~A Living Faith~

A LIVING FAITH -Karina's Thought

 

Few days ago one of my close friends asked me to meet. She wanted to share her business problems and it was giving me an idea to write something. She really got a very hard time and situation in her business. She faced a problem that came consecutive. One problem has not been solved, there is another problem was waiting behind.  Even worse, she felt so difficult to find the way out for any of their problems. She felt like in the middle of very tight wall where there is no a loophole at all to get out and seems there is no one could help. Began to desperate, chaotic, lost its direction and hope, and sadly she starts thinking to try the ways that not supposed to do.

My beloved readers, whether you have experienced the same situation with my friend? I do believe that we all have experienced the same situation or maybe even heavier than my friend. In the life that getting difficult day by day, the problem increasingly feels closer to us and easily hit our lives.  One question arises, when the world goes against us, when all the circumstances aren’t like what we expected, when we feel like giving up because there seems to be no hope anymore, where would we go? In a weakened state, confused and lost its direction, we could easily be tempted to take the wrong roads that not solve the problem but instead will add a lot of our problems list. So where would we go and what would we do?

This time I would like to ask you to learn from one of the Bible story. Let’s take a look at the story of a blind beggar named Bartimaeus who met Jesus in Jericho. This encounter brought the great restoration in his life. Because his condition is blind, he cannot work. So to survive he became a beggar on the roadside. One day Jesus was passing not far from where he begging. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” (Mark 10:47) Bartimaeus was just a blind beggar. For many people there, he was considered too contemptible, impolite, and improper shout to Jesus. Then the people rebuked him. But he did not give up, falter or desperate and not stop shout to Jesus; Bartimaeus even lift up his voice. He realized that it was a great opportunity. He still did not care what people said to him. His faith encouraged him to strengthen his hope. He convinced and trusts that God’s power and miracle will works on him.

Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” (Verse 48)

Then finally Jesus stops and said to the disciples to call Bartimaeus. He immediately took off his robe and hurried toward Jesus. Then Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?”  The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.”(Verse 51)

There was something interesting from bartimaeus’ answer. He did not ask for the wealth, honorable status in the eyes of the society, an abundant blessing and so on. He did not say “God restore my whole life so I can live well today.” He did not complain to Jesus because he was not valued and despised by many people. He really knew that the base of his problem is blindness. If he could see, he would not need to become a beggar again and be able to work normally for life. With eyes which functioned very well he could get his life back, retracing gradually to get a better life. He could try to use his talents that he had to live worthy. Then Jesus healed him with a word, Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road. (Verse 52)

What heals bartimaeus? Let’s take a look to Jesus’ words, “Your faith has healed you.” Yes! Faith heals Bartimaeus’ blindness. When I ponder this part, I got something important lesson from Bartimaeus. Bartimaeus has a living faith where there is power of trust and hope in it and has a spirit to seek and find. He knew where and to whom he should seek. His faith does not depend on human logic, which did not depend on what people say. He knew his faith is not located on the people opinions but merely a connection or relationship between himself and God. Bartimaeus hold fast to it. We do not know how long he suffered blindness and should be outcasts as beggars on the streets. When he met Jesus, he believed that he found the right person who will bring a restoration in his life. His faith moved him to trust that Jesus will and be able to heal him.  He did not remain silent; he proved his faith with action. He did not care and affected by people who rebuked him, he still shouted to Jesus. This is an important lesson that we can get from Bartimaeus. Faith must be accompanied by actions.

You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. (James 2:22)

Faith can move God to do miraculous things in our lives. Faith is required in order to receive a blessing and a miracle from God. However, this is become a problem. In our daily lives, it is so easy for us to say that we have faith, but in practice oftentimes we have not show that we have faith. How big and strong our faith will be seen through our reaction when we faced so many problems. Whether our faith, trust and hope still remain strong when we have not seen God’s help and we still have not get the answer of our prayers. Holy Bible reminds us so precisely about faith,

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. (Hebrews 11:1)

Faith plays an important role in order to be successful accepting miracles from God to answer every of our problems. Although the problems that afflict us seems having no way out, there is no solution, as if we trapped in the big and tight wall, faith always be able to move God’s hand to do something to restoring us and there is nothing impossible. As Jesus said,

“…Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”(Matthew 17:20)

To those friends who are currently facing hard problems like my friend, allow me this evening to encourage you to learn from Bartimaeus. Let’s imitate what he did. Though outwardly he was blind, but his spiritual eyes are not blind. He has a living faith accompanied with full of hope, trust and not based on what he see. Bartimaeus could not saw Jesus made miracles, he only heard from people who talk over about Jesus. But he really believes that Jesus will make a miracle to him.

Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ. (Romans 10:17)

We might physically could not see and find the ways out for our problems, we might see that everything seems so dark and closed tightly, but let we see every problems with our spiritual eyes. Do not remain silent and just waiting. Our God is omniscient. God knows everything about our lives, both difficulties, suffering, and our needs. But God wants us to act! Bartimaeus action was one thing that attracted the attention of Jesus. Bartimaues has the living faith because accompanied with action.

In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. (James 2:17)

 With a living faith come to our God, shout to Him and we will see what God’s response.

This poor man called, and the Lord heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles. (Psalm 34:6)

The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles.(Psalm 34:17)

Let us realize, fully trust and instill in our hearts and minds that there is no bigger problem than God’s power because our God is so great,

For great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; he is to be feared above all gods. (Psalm 96:4)

Bartimaeus experienced a touch of God not only because God’s power works on him but he has great living faith. His mindset knew rightly how God’s personal is which have love, compassion and can do any miracle things. If God willing to heard and answered bartimaeus’ shout, God also will hear and answer our shout. Through a living faith, let us feel the touch of God, feel the power of God working resolve all the problems of our lives. Is like a plant which always needs fertilizer to grow and live healthily, as well as the quality of our faith. We must continue to fertilize our faith by maintaining our relationship with God to remain intimate through prayer, comprehend and ponder His word every day. Always ask for strength from God so that we can change our mindset from “See first then believe” to “believe first and then see” Just because we live by believing, not by seeing. (2 Corinthians 5:7) Amen.

Faith sees the invisible, believes the unbelievable, and receives the impossible. Corrie Ten Boom

 Related article:

 Without faith it is impossible to please God

 Activating your faith

Karina – Living by Faith

Photo credit: mightymustard.com

The Whole New Creation

The Whole New Creation-Karina's Thought

 

Few days ago when I was gardening, suddenly there was a beautiful butterfly landed on my arm. Closely I watched its colorful wings. It was very, very beautiful. Along I looked to that butterfly, I pondered how amazing and wonderful God’s creation. Butterfly experienced four stages of metamorphosis before becomes a beautiful butterfly. Initially started from the eggs that hatch and give birth to larvae (caterpillars), which may be for many people especially women considered to be a disgusting thing. This caterpillar movement would easily make many people shudder in disgust when seeing or touching it. Then the caterpillar will change into a cocoon, and finally from the cocoon it will come out a beautiful butterfly. Gracefully the butterfly will fly showing its beauty. It is really change in total.
Another thing crossed to my mind. In our Christian living, Metamorphosis that occurs in the butterfly could we use as an analogy / simple model from a change in life. As Christians we change from the old person becomes a new one. I just thinking that indeed the changes that happen to us are no less amazing than the butterfly. When we accept Jesus, we experience a peace process with the Lord. We previously smeared with sins and do not deserve to be saved, now becomes feasible to accept the great salvation solely through the God’s grace and mercy, through the great redemptive work of Christ on the cross. Thus, when we are united with Christ, we also experienced a metamorphosis, totally becomes a new creation.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! (2 Corinthians 5:17)

And all of it, once again, comes from God through Christ,

All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: (2 Corinthians 5:18)

We might previously such as disgusting caterpillars or larvae, now we have a great opportunity to be transformed into a beautiful butterfly with accepting Christ and baptism.

We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. (Romans 6: 4-5)

When we are baptized as a sign of obedience and our faith in Jesus, all our bad habits and all sin in the past is already death. We restored and transformed. Therefore we should no longer devote ourselves to sins, because the power of sin has been defeated.

 

For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin. Because anyone who has died has been set free from sin. (Romans 6:6-7)

A question arises in my mind. In our everyday life, whether we have truly morphed and become a new creation? Have we really left our old life? Whether we already give an impact to others with our new life? And how we live our life as a new creation? In the difficult and tough world today, I often find and see the sad fact that there are many people claim to be Christians but in their daily lives do not reflect as the new creation. For a simple example, in the business world that I involved, I found many entrepreneurs who known as Christians still not reflect as a new creation. Without any sense of guilt and fear, they still compromise with worldly things which are contrary to what is supposed to do as a Christian and as a new creation just for the smoothness of their business sake. They justify the ways that are contrary to God’s command to get their business benefits as they expected. Very sad but that is the fact. They forgot or maybe even deliberately ignoring what God wants from us as a new creation. Paul emphatically said to the Romans,

 

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:2)

This verse is very clear that God want us truly experience a metamorphosis which is granted by God, like what happened to the caterpillar up to become a butterfly. We have to change our lifestyle, outlook and mindset becomes a new one. If previously we do not know what is pleasing to God, now we know about it, and know what is perfect in God’s eyes. Changes are not just stop at the physical changes alone, but are also able to change what is within us. In the previous verse, Paul also asserted that it is important for us to get to the level where we deserve to give ourselves as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God,

 

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. (Romans 12:1)

Becomes transformed or in my analogy above described as metamorphosis is a beautiful and precious opportunity from God, we should be able to appreciate the amazing grace that God has given to us to live our life as a new creation. All has been bestowed by God to us. The problem is, do we want to make the decision to experiencing the process of becoming a butterfly or just stop being a caterpillar and cocoon only. Are we willing to leave our old life and starting a new better life. As when we wear dirty clothes, we have to throw the dirty clothes then we wear with the clean one. It is impossible if we wearing the new clothes without releasing the old and dirty clothes. Do we are willing and able to leave all of our old dirty lives and abandon all the habits and bad character as Paul said,

Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. (Colossians 3:5-6)

It used to be possible we indulge the various desires of the flesh as mentioned in those verses; maybe we even be controlled by it all. But as a new creation who experience a metamorphosis, we have to totally rid it all as it is written in Colossians 3:8-10,

But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.

On the other side, when we have truly experienced a total change into a new creation, it will enable us spiritually to be fruitful. We changed to become God’s child, to be a “chosen people, holy and beloved”, and in the form of a new creation we have compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience and forgiveness. (Colossians 3:12-13) We also put love as a binder in perfect unity. (Verse 14-15)
My beloved friends, let we think and ponder these; How our spiritual quality now? Whether we are thirsty and longing to be transformed totally into a beautiful butterfly or our metamorphosis just stop being a cocoon only? If we have really took off our “dirty clothes” or we are just wearing a new clean clothes but behind in it still lags behind the “dirty clothes” Have we totally put to the death all of our earthly nature? This evening, with all humility, I encourage you let’s together to do not waste the opportunity that has been given by God to be changed, Let us not waste the gift of God that we have received by returning to the deeds of our sins as in the past.

 

As God’s co-workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain. (2 Corinthians 6:1)

Let’s we win the spiritual warfare against the devil temptations, no longer to be a slave of sin, say goodbye to the darkness live, soon come into the God’s light, living in it and has a light of life.

 

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”(John 8:12)

We also have to always living in the unity of Spirit and remain walk in the Spirit.

 

Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. (Ephesians 4:3)

Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit (Galatians 5:25)

Then we could become a beautiful butterfly that brings God’s grace, to be fruitful to those people around us, and finally people will call us as “The whole new creation” Are we willing to? Amen.
Karina – Living by Faith
Photo credit: http://www.sharefaith.com
Related article: http://astorybyme.wordpress.com/2014/07/09/butterflies-in-the-darkness/

We are One

We are One - Karina's thought

 

One of the natural phenomenons that make me amazed is the rainbow. After the heavy rain this noon, I saw the rainbow and it gave me an idea to write something. Rainbow is a blend of colors that occur due to dispersion of light when the sun penetrates rain droplets in the air, thus making the light breaks down into the colors of the spectrum. I am thinking what if it’s a blend of rainbow colors separated each other. I do believe that the beauty of the rainbow will be much reduced. The series of color looks so beautiful when it appeared simultaneously in a unity. My mind drifted away to the Christian living and the church. There are many church denominations in this world, each of which has different ordinances that may influenced by their culture, they may have different doctrines, teaching methods, or they may have different vision and mission. I analogize the denominations as the colors in the rainbow and thinking how beautiful if those Christians who have different denomination could be united.
I am reminded of the Jesus’ prayer in Gethsemane a few moments before he was arrested.

 

“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, (John 17:20)

Then let’s see the next. When I ponder the next verses, there is an important message through Jesus’ prayer. What did Jesus ask to God? He did not ask God to always ensure that the believers live without suffering, always happy, never got sick or hurt both physically and mentally. But He pray,

That all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one—I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. (John 17:21-23)

I imagine how beautiful if the diversity of church denominations with their difference could be united. United not only in the form of a specific organization or community, but rather the spiritual unity which is based on life in Christ, to know and experience the Father’s love and the fellowship of Christ. Accept, believe and obedience to the truth of the God’s word (John 17:6-8) parting with the Worldliness (John 17:14-16); sanctification in truth (John 17:17-19), desire to bring salvation to the lost (John 17:21-23).

Sadly, I still found some cases there are several denominations underestimate each other. They argued that their church is the truest church and blessed by God. They are also assuming that their worship ordinance is the most appropriate with God’s will and word. Even worse, there is a presumption that their church is the most blessed church because they have a very large number of congregations. They are forgetting that the Lord Jesus comes not only in thousands of congregations, but with the slightest amount gather in prayer, the Lord Jesus comes among them. As written in Matthew 18:20: “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”

 
In His prayer, Jesus wants us to be united, just as the Father is in Jesus and Jesus in the Father, so are we the believers are in this unity with very obvious purpose. He wants the world knows and believe that Father in Heaven sent Him to redeem the sinner through the death on the Cross, and also the world knows that God loves the world as God loves Him. The problem is how the world can believe in Christ and accept Him as the only Savior who redeemed the sinner if we are the believers instead become a stumbling block to the unbeliever with our behavior which still suspicious of each other, judging, look down on one and another and assume that we are the truest than the other. The God’s truth will be seen from how we live our life, and by our attitudes and reaction in life. If we set a good example, then people will be able to see the truth of the God’s Kingdom.

 
It would be wonderful if all the churches with their congregations based not on differences but on similarities, that all are one in Christ and is part of the body of Christ. Where there is no self-interest or seeking a vain compliment, that there is only one common goal to glorify God, radiate God’s love and brings joy to everyone. As Paul advising the Philippians,

 

Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves. (Philippians 2:1-3)

Furthermore, there is no assumption that is the truest, the most important and the best. We are the one body, as Paul said in Corinthians, Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ.(1Corinthians 12:12) and resumed again in the following verses, The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable (1 Corinthians 12:21-22) each of us as a part of the body of Christ has a gift respectively, which if combined would be able to be a tremendous power to show the greatness, the glory and the love of God. We should be more intact in the sameness, do not instead enlarge the discrepancy.

 
Rainbow is a sign of God’s covenant with us. (Genesis 9:13) Rainbow is God’s promise that there will be no more floodwater. (Genesis 9:15). In other words, the rainbow is a sign that there is salvation offered by God to the mankind. How beautiful if we are all united like a beautiful rainbow which has different colors but come together to form beautiful strands in the sky and together we proclaim God’s salvation to those who have not been saved so that they will know and believe that there is a joy, peace, love and beautiful life in God. Let’s unite together, hand in hand appreciating each other, accept each difference, support each other, encourage each other, and help each other regardless of denominational backgrounds where we grow. So the world will see a beautiful rainbow of God who always spreading God’s love to everyone. Let us be one, as Christ is in of God, of God in Christ, where we are therein. Are we willing?
My dear friends, I will end this post with a poem that I have ever written to my beloved blog friend and sister in Christ, Sue Nash. Here it is:

WE ARE ONE
We are apart by thousand miles of distance; we are apart by tunnel of time. We are apart by seasons. We are apart by culture diversity.

But,
We break barriers that divide us along lines of caste, class, gender, race, nation, denomination and age.

We are Community of Christ and we are walking the path together as the one body, called as brother and sister in Christ

We yearn to be united and feel connected by an unbreakable bond, to find a true home.
We also know that we are not alone in Christ

We walk and work together with all those who proclaim the values of Christ.

We are longs to blessed and be blessing, spreading God’s love, joyful and peace to others

We are one in our belief in the worth of every person and the value of every soul in God’s sight

We are called to be a servant of the Lord through the gifts that God given to us

We are one in knowing that we must do, and not only think.

We are one in generosity. We have many ways of giving.

We avoid debates for fear that in winning the argument we will lose each other

We learn to appreciate each other, encourage each other, and strengthen each other through our adversity

We are one, called to tell others about the gospel.

We sing Him. We pray Him. Live, seek, and think Him.

We lift on high the name: Christ Jesus. We testify of Christ Jesus.

We have faith in him. He makes us one.

We are one in Christ

 

So in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. Romans 12:5

Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” – John 13:34-35

Thank you very much to Sister in Christ Nancy for the additional Bible verses.

Karina – Living by faith
Photo credit: hubertsanders.com