Crazy Thing Called…LOVE

CRAZY THING CALLED LOVE -KARINA'S THOUGHT

There is an interesting song I found when my husband watching a video concert of Michael Buble. The song titled “Crazy little thing called love” That song says that love is a crazy thing. Well, I do agree and disagree. I do agree that love is a crazy thing because there is an incredible power behind the love. Love could change something impossible become possible. Love can move our heart to do any crazy things. Love can make us willing to do unreasonable things, or we might even be willing to sacrifice and be ready to die for the sake of someone we love. Love has a crazy power that’s able to break the wall of difference and unify the humankind diversity. Love makes the world go around! I am disagreeing if it is said in the song that love is a little thing! Love is a great thing! There is love quote said: A flower cannot blossom without sunshine, and man cannot live without love. Yes! That’s so true! We cannot live without love. Love has become an important aspect in human lives. There’s always a love in every side of our lives regardless of its form. My sister in Christ and blog friend Deborah Ann beautifully said in her poem: “When there is light, there is love. When there is hope, there is love. When there is happiness, there is love. When there is forgiveness, there is love…”

I always remember the story of Jacob and Rachel. For me their story was a very romantic love story. Jacob felt in love to Rachel and willing work to Laban for seven years to get Rachel. (Genesis 29:18 NIV) There is an interesting thing here. Seven years wasn’t a short time, but for Jacob it seemed like only a few days. Why Jacob could feel like that? Because Jacob really loves Rachel! Love be able to make time goes by so fast!

So Jacob served seven years to get Rachel, but they seemed like only a few days to him because of his love for her. (Genesis 29:20 NIV)

 Is the story end? No! Apparently, because there was a custom that the older daughter should get married first, then Jacob should to marry Rachel’s older sister, Leah. What was Jacob’s reaction? He was angry, disappointed, and refused to marry Leah? No! Jacob was willing to marry Leah and He had to work for seven years more. (Genesis 29:26-27 NIV) See? Jacob was able to do something that actually wasn’t wanted to do. He willingly married to someone who he didn’t love in order to could marry Rachel that he loved very much. Why Jacob could did like that? Once again, the answer is because love. Jacob really loves Rachel! Oh how deep and great the value of Jacob’s love to Rachel.

My dear friends, if for human the value of love was so great, so does the love’s value for God, even more than human. God is a figure who full of love. God is love! The way He loves us is an innumerable, amazing and very surprising! There was an indisputable proof about how great and marvelous His love to us. Written in very famous verse:

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16 NIV)

An astonishing missions performed by Jesus who down into the world, taking the form of a servant, and was willing to underwent all with obedient, treated with inhumane unto death on the Cross. If we as the father then see our child experiencing all this for a purpose, whatever it is, what do we feel? I am unable to imagine what we feel as the father. But God still chose to allow His only begotten Son just for us so we all do not perish, but have eternal life. He did it all in order to save us from death, moving us to get into the salvation. Isn’t that amazing? Definitely, yes! A question arises, what we have done to God so that God was willing to do all that. If we’ve did amazing and extraordinary things so that God indebted to us? Absolutely no! In fact we did the opposite; we more often hurt and disappointed Him with our deeds that are contrary to His will. In fact we didn’t deserve all that has been done by God. But once again, God still decided to did an amazing thing for us. Not just a little thing, but an extraordinary thing! Why God was willing to do all that? What the power that was able to move God to take this astonishing decision? The one and only answer is: Love! For God so loved…! That’s a power called love, a great thing called love!

That’s why I don’t agree if love defined as a little thing. If we read and looking for quintessence of the entire Bible contents, then we will get love as the quintessence. It all comes down to Love. Paul remains us that love is the greatest.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13:13 NIV)

And the love became the first commandment as Jesus said:

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. ’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:37- 40 NIV)

If God so loved us, what about us today?  How deep and great our love to Him? How the quality of our personal relationship with God? Whether we felt the same way as Jacob? We always feel time is running so fast when we are in fellowship with Him and always feel our time is too short to express our gratitude for the all blessing that have been given to us? Or conversely, we feel so long and get bored when just for one hour we listening God speaks to us through the pastor’s sermon? Whether in our daily lives we have to apply the law of love to our fellow? How far we implement those verses above? Very ironic if God has said to love our neighbor as ourselves but the fact we are more love ourselves and don’t even care about our neighbor. Our lives instead filled with hatred, envy, arrogance, oppression, egoism, and so on. God has said firmly:

Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. (1 John 4:8 NIV)

My dear friends, today as always I encourage all of us once again think and ponder how great our love’s value to our neighbor and especially to God our Father. Let’s take a moment to ponder everything that has done by God to us. God has poured out his love through the Holy Spirit. Please remember, has been poured out! Not will be poured or hopefully God willing to pour out! This means that there is a seed of love which has been embedded in our hearts. Let us continue to cultivate the seeds of love that has been in our hearts in order to continue to grow well so that every deed in our lives is always based on love.

And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. (Romans 5:5 NIV)

  And God has first amazingly loved us by died on the cross while we were still sinners.

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

Furthermore, because He loves us, He adopted us as His child according His pleasure and will.

He predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. (Ephesians 1:5-6 NIV)

If because of love God has done so many wonderful things for us, now what we will do for Him? If our earthly father so loved us, what we will do to him? I am definitely sure we will really love him even trying to love him more. We will always trying to not hurt, make him sad, and disappointing him. We will always do everything the best for him. So it is with our Heavenly Father! God longs for us to love Him and do the best for Him. God doesn’t say: “Give to me your one and only child” as a proof of our love to Him. God just wants us love Him with our heart, soul, mind. He just wants us always living in His righteousness, obedient to His command, please Him, and always glorifies Him in every step of our lives. God also wants us love our neighbor. It is simple, right? But in fact we have to admit that it is not as simple as that. Whether we could still love those who have hurt us? Whereas God said to us:

But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you (Matthew 5:44 NIV)

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God (1 John 4:7 NIV)

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

We would not be able to do all that if only rely on our own strength. Therefore, let’s ask  for strength to God through prayer, let the Holy Spirit always strengthen us to continue cultivate the seed of love that has been poured out into our heart and eventually people will see that in every of our deed always radiate the God’s true and perfect love. Let people know that through the crazy thing called love we could bring joy, peace, happiness, and goodness into this world. Amen.

Karina – Living by faith

Related article : Love the Lord and Love your neighbor as Yourself by Mark Shields

Special thanks to Deborah Ann for your beautiful poem.

To read the original poem “When there is Love” please click here

Love Quote by Max Muller from BrainyQuote.com

Image source: wallpaperbuzz.com

The Head, Not The Tail

THE HEAD NOT THE TAIL - KARINA'S THOUGHT

 

I begin this post with a question. Do you want to be a successful in life? I strongly believe that your answer will definitely, “Yes, of course! I want to be successful in my life.”  That is so true. There is no one in this world who doesn’t want to reach a success in their lives. We all want to success in career, business, marriage, family, study, ministry or whatever it is. Maybe this time you all have achieved a certain level of success in a particular field. That’s great! Be grateful! However, not the least people among us still struggling to achieve a success. There are many people who actually have a life contrary to that I mentioned above. There are still many people who always fail to get a success. Many people said that failure is a part of process. OK, I agree! But it wasn’t supposed to ongoing forever. God wants to put each of us to be the head (successful) and not the tail (unsuccessful). Keep going up, not down. If we continue to be a tail and at the bottom, it could be a sign that there is something within us and it should be fixed.

…The Lord will make you the head and not the tail, and you will always be on top and never at the bottom. (Deuteronomy 28:13 NLT)

Talk about the head and tail position, I love took the Joseph’s story as an instance. We all know since childhood Joseph was different than his other brothers. Jacob loved him more than his other children. (Gen.37: 3) and it made his brothers jealous and hated him. This is the beginning of Joseph’s suffering series. The suffering began when he told about his dream. (Gen.37: 5-7) Heard his dream; Joseph’s brothers hated him more and have a plan to kill him. (Gen.37:18) Fortunately, He wasn’t killed. But survived from murder plan didn’t make his life totally safe. His life still threatened because he was thrown into the dark cistern. Then even though he was free from the dark cistern, it was not a truly freedom because in fact his brothers sold him to the Midianite (Verse 28) Now Joseph’s status is as a slave. His status is not as the head, but the tail. Then what happen next? It turns out Joseph bought by Potiphar one of Egypt’s captain of the guard.

The most of us might think that there is no feat at all to be proud as a slave. But this thought wasn’t applied to Joseph. He was different. As a slave Joseph always get achievement and got the chance to live in Potiphar’s house. How it can be that way?  The scripture said:

The Lord was with Joseph so that he prospered, and he lived in the house of his Egyptian master. (Genesis 39:2 NIV)

Joseph didn’t have a mental that always grouchy. He underwent his “profession” as a slave very well, whatever he did, he always succeed. Even though in the tail position, he could be the head. Why? Because The Lord with him. Joseph’s life journey becomes lighter? Not really. The next problem came. He tempted by Potiphar’s wife. (Genesis.39:7 NLT) But Joseph flatly refused. He wasn’t  tempted by momentary pleasure because he wants to live in obedience. The flesh may be willing, but his spirit refused. Joseph said: how could I do such a wicked thing? It would be a great sin against God.” (Genesis 39:9 NLT) Because continuously rejected, Potiphar’s wife was furious and malign Joseph so he was thrown in jail. Position increasingly dropped! Joseph’s status now no longer as a slave but as a prisoner. How Joseph’s attitude? His attitude remains the same. He didn’t complain or blaspheme anyone, including God, but he still showed remarkable attitude that always obey and please the Lord.

Again we will see the similar condition like in the verse 2 but in the different place, in the prison.

But the Lord was with Joseph in the prison and showed him his faithful love. And the Lord made Joseph a favorite with the prison warden. Before long, the warden put Joseph in charge of all the other prisoners and over everything that happened in the prison. The warden had no more worries, because Joseph took care of everything. The Lord was with him and caused everything he did to succeed. (Genesis 39:21-23 NLT)

Difficulties might be increase but the fact, Joseph remains did as best as he could. Again we see that in the bottom position which lowers than a slave, Joseph can still be a head. Why? The answer once again, because The Lord with him and caused everything he did to succeed.  We all know the end of this story. For he successfully interprets Pharaoh’s dreams, he gets amazing position. From the prisoner became the most powerful man in the all land of Egypt. (Genesis 41: 40-42 NLT ) Joseph eventually became the true head.

Joseph experienced a long journey. He traversed three phases of process which is starting from the dark cistern, prison, and finally the palace. The interesting thing here is, Joseph always succeed even though he was in very difficult situation and even at the tail position. The important lesson that we can get from this story is, God always be with Joseph!  I am sure if God not always be with him, Joseph will not be able to pass through all of suffering and he will not be able to be the head. Just because God always be with him the hard problems and suffering not being able to stop Joseph to success became the head. Oh, our God is so marvelous! He not only will make us the head and always on the top, but he also always be with us in the process to be the head.  God gave Joseph strength and wisdom so everything he did always succeed and finally became the true head. It is a precious lesson for us. In our daily lives, we may pass through very unpleasant phases and even very painful. But right now I am telling you one thing: Don’t be afraid! God always be with us! David beautifully said,

Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me. (Psalm 23:4 NLT)

And Jesus also said,

I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20 NLT)

God always be with us not only when we are in the safe and comfort season without any problems but God still be with us even in the outer darkness.

Why God was always be with Joseph in any circumstances? Let’s go back to the Deuteronomy 28:13 to get the answer.

If you listen to these commands of the Lord your God that I am giving you today, and if you carefully obey them, the Lord will make you the head and not the tail, and you will always be on top and never at the bottom.

 More affirmed in verse 14:

You must not turn away from any of the commands I am giving you today, nor follow after other gods and worship them.

From the verses above we can get 5 points. First, listen to God’s command. The Second, obey to His word.  Third, not turn away of His command. Fourth, not follow other gods. And the last is, only worship God, not god. Joseph was successfully went through these 5 points and made it as his guideline. Joseph was obedient did these things no matter the condition he faced. He wasn’t disappointed, not trying to find other alternatives to survive. He didn’t grumble and blaspheme, he didn’t despair, and he hadn’t lost hope. Joseph choose to remain believe and walk with God in obedience and finally God made him the head, not the tail.

My dear readers, maybe this time we are experiencing very unpleasant phases in life. We may facing failures and in the tail position. Or we may currently in a hard struggle to pursue a success. This time allow me to encourage all of us one thing: Don’t be afraid and discouraged because God always be with us in any circumstances. No matter what condition we are today, let’s keep hold fast to the God’s word, believe without doubt at all, don’t tolerate the sin’s trap and don’t be tempted to take other alternatives because we impatient to undergo the process. God has promised that He will make us the head. And not only that, He also promised always be with us same as He was always be with Joseph. Even we walk through the darkest journey; if we always walk very close with Him, at the end of journey we will get success.

We will remain succeed even though we are pressed. We will keep moving forward even though detained. No one can stop God’s will as long we remain do what He commanded. Joseph has proved his obedience with always walk with God and he was succeed! Now it’s our turn to prove that by always listen and obey His word and commands, by not follow other gods, and always worship our true God, we will reap God’s promise that He will make us the head, not the tail and always at the top, never at the bottom. Are we ready? Amen

Karina – Living by faith

Image credit: lingholic.com

There can be Miracles, When We Believe

 

THERE CAN BE MIRACLES WHEN WE BELIEVE - Karina'sThought

 

Hello my dear readers! My post this evening inspired by a song that I heard unintentionally when I was in CD music store this afternoon. The song was a movie soundtrack of Prince of Egypt titled “when you believe” There is a part of the song lyric that makes me thinking and ponders something. There is a lyric in the chorus says, “There can be miracles, when you believe”

I am thinking about our life, especially in our Christian life. Belief oftentimes becomes a serious problem. We are really hard to believe when we are talking about God’s miracles. Without we realize God’s miracle often fails to happen not just because God doesn’t care or doesn’t hear our cries, but in fact caused by our doubt or disbelief. There are so many wonderful and amazing God’s promises that are able to provide the salvation assurance and the life full of victorious in this world. But sadly, when the promises not become a reality, we begin to doubtful, we begin to asking is it true God will fulfill His promises? Eventually, because of our doubts, we will blame and accuse God that He has broken His promises. This is that become the base point of the problem. Our hearts and mind shrouded by the mist of doubt. We are standing on the grey zone between believe and doubt. Whereas, the Bible has been many times affirmed that we have to brushed off doubts from our hearts, Jesus repeatedly reminded and even admonishes us to believe. But unfortunately, we often unsuccessful rid of the doubts and even worse we let the doubt continue to dominate our hearts and minds. And this problem doesn’t only happen at this time but has happened thousand years ago.

For the example let’s have a look to the story of the death of Lazarus in John 11:1-44. Martha and Mary hoped Jesus would come when Lazarus was sick. They knew that Jesus could heal their brother. But their beliefs in God just stop there. Just to heal. Martha and Mary said: “if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” (Verse 21, 32) Then Jesus said: “Your brother will rise again.” (Verse 23) Initially they only believe that Jesus can only heal the sick, and Jesus will raise the dead at the last day. Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” (Verse 24) Where is the disbelief of Martha and Mary? They extremely believe Lazarus will rise again at the last day, but rise physically after death four days?! Their logic cannot believe it! Therefore, they were reprimanded by Jesus because due the low of human belief to the God’s Power.

“And for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe… “(Verse 15)

Then Jesus said to Martha: “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (Verse 25-26) And finally Martha said that she believed (Verse 27).  The story is end? No! It turns out Martha still has doubts. When Jesus came to the tomb and ordered her to open the stone, Martha said: “But, Lord, by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.” (Verse 39) Martha’s logic said this was an impossible thing because Lazarus was dead four days and had bad odor. Lazarus is impossible to alive again. But behold what Jesus said: “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” (Verse 40) And there was an incredible miracle. Lazarus rose again from the dead.

My beloved friends, sometimes our burden befall so heavy and it makes us cannot keep focus on faith that accompanied with full of beliefs when we ask for help through our prayer. Martha’s attitude was representing our attitude where our beliefs limited on our own logic only. Our logic couldn’t make us believe that God can do miracles and can do anything beyond our logic. Or we are in a condition want to believe but hard to believe. I am reminded a story when Jesus healed a possessed boy in Mark 9:14-24. The boy’s father said: “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24 NIV) The Father’s word also representing what often occurs in our lives today. “I want to believe, but please help to believe” in colloquially, this is that might always we say. So the problem is about belief in God and that’s why God’s miracle often fails to happen in our lives and we seem difficult to see God’s glory.

And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief… (Matthew 17:20 KJV)

And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief. (Matthew 13:58 KJV)

Jesus didn’t say that the miracles will happen only to the selected people that chosen by Him specifically, depending on our turn, or depend on our good fortune.  If we’re lucky we might accept God’s miracles. But briefly and so obvious God said because we are unbelief.  And in other passage Jesus once again reaffirmed:

Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them.

(Mark 11:23 NIV)

Why we could be so hard to believe that there is no prayers that not answered by God and there is no one thing that cannot be done by Him? Well, I will answer these questions with an example based on my daily lives.  Since few months ago I had a new personal secretary. I’ve known her previously but not too close. Has become my custom, I got to know very well the person who became my personal secretary. I got to know her character, personality, mindset, abilities, and even what she likes and dislikes. Why do I need to do this? In order that I could completely believe to her that she could assist me to doing my work and I could believe that she can do anything I ask. That’s why I always preserve and maintain my personal relationship stay close with her. What I did to my secretary also applies to God. How can we entirely believe to God if we don’t really know Him? How we can say love God if we don’t really know Him and don’t even have very close relationship with Him? How far do we know God will be greatly determine how big our belief in Him.

To be able completely believe in God, we must first know Him very well!

Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you. (Psalm 9:10 NIV)

Let us acknowledge the Lord; let us press on to acknowledge him… (Hosea 6:3 NIV)

How do we know God? The potent way is through the scripture that contains God’s word. Scripture is a God’s tool to introduce Him to us and the way He communicates with us. Through the scripture we will know His personality, character, everything He did for mankind, His teachings, and what He wants from us.

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness. (2 Timothy 3:16 NIV)

 Scripture noted so many descriptions about God so we can know Him very well. For example, Psalm 23. David beautifully showed as to what he knew God. Or through very well-known bible verse:

“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

(John 14:6 NIV)

Or this one:

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 (John 15:5 NIV)

Next, to know God’s personality can also be done through our personal experience walking together with Him. When David faced Goliath, he could be bravely and confident because he learn from his experience as a shepherd.  If God had previously accompanies and protects him in facing a wild animal, he also believed that God would remain along with him against Goliath. (1 Samuel 17:34-37 NIV) So it is with us. If right now we are given the opportunity to live, work, could serve God, and do many things; it all is only grace from God. If we still able to face and overcome so many big problems and challenges, it is a proof of God’s providence and inclusion in our live.

My beloved readers, what about us now? Whether this time we are waiting for a miracle or we are waiting for the answers of our prayers but after so long there is nothing happens and our prayer have not answered? Whether our spiritual condition likes Martha and Mary?  Maybe right now we are standing in the grey zone and oscillated between doubts and believe and we are in a spiritual warfare against the storm of doubts? Or we are in a condition like the possessed boy’s father? If so, allow me this evening to encourage all of us once again immediately examines ourselves. How far do we know him? How close our relationship with God? It is so easy we say “I believe” Maybe hundreds times we say it through song that we sang or when someone ask us. But whether it truly came out from the bottom of our heart and in line with our attitude? Let’s come to God and build a healthier relationship with God so we can know Him more closely and our belief in God will increasingly flourished. Pray and ask for help to God to strengthen our faith that fulfilled with unwavering belief, and we are no longer standing in the grey zone.  Miracles would not be happens if we don’t believe, yet there can be miracles when we believe. Amen

Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. (Mark 11:24 NIV)

“What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived” — things God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Corinthians 2:9 NIV)

Karina –Living by faith

Image credit: 7-themes.com

 

 

We are The Clay

We are the Clay -Karina's thought

 

Few days ago got surprised! When I entered my work room, there was a flower bouquet on my table. Which made me more surprised was, the flower made by Play-Doh. Then my secretary said, “Ma’am, I made it for you. It might not been perfect. I am still learning” Looking at the “play-doh” flowers, reminds me when I was 10 my parents took me to Madame Tussauds museum and afterward I was very interested to create mini figures or characters like wax sculpture in Madame Tussauds. Strongly remembered I could spend many hours in my play room expressing my imagination and creativity to create figures or characters I liked. At the time, I really love made characters in fairy tale such as sleeping beauty, Cinderella, or other characters. With highly patient and carefulness I mold it carefully, paint it, and gave the details on its character in order looks realistic. If I made a mistake or the character was broken then I will re-mold from the beginning until I got the best and perfect result.

Like I wholeheartedly created a character, it is the same with God. God totally poured out his heart to make the best and perfect for us. We are His masterpiece.  We all are the mankind that created very good, pleasant, and suitable. We were created with special treatment. We were created so special according to His image and likeness.

Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground (Genesis 1:26 NIV)

And when humans fell into sin, God considers it is important to do a step or mission to save us by sacrificing His only Son so that none of us shall not perish, but have eternal life.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16 NIV)

Not only that, God also had already planned the best for our lives.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)

It means God wants to give the best for us, guaranteeing the lives of those who live according to His will and plan, both in the life on the world stage towards eternal salvation with Him one day in Heaven. See? How special we are. God doesn’t only give the best for today and tomorrow but God also provide the best for our future.

If I make a figure by play-doh as the base material, Actually God also use a material when create us. What used by God to create us?  Let’s have a look to the verse below,

Yet you, Lord, are our Father.  We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand. (Isaiah 64:8 NIV)

We are created by the clay and God himself as the potter. We are of His Hand’s works. Like I was creating a character, I have full of authority to mold a character as I want. It is also the same with God, as a potter He has full of authority to mold us as He wants. And as a lump of clay we could never set the potter to mold us as we like. God already has a “blueprint” for each of us. As a potter God really know very well our character as clay and He will not mold us into something bad and useless. We will be processed into something beautiful and perfect according His “blueprint” through His own way.  A vessel, before it becomes a beautiful and useful vessel, must undergo a very lengthy process, and if the vessel was broken during the process, then the potter will remold another vessel from beginning and until become the best and beautiful vessel. This is the way how God molds us.

But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him. (Jeremiah 18:4 NIV)

My beloved readers, there are two important thing that I want to convey in this post. First, as it is written in Isaiah 64:8, we are as humans have to be aware that our position is only as a lump of clay. As humans we have no right to be bragging with all we have today. Whoever we are, no matter how big our power today in society, we are not more than a figure that bible says is formed only by the clay. In other verse of Isaiah reminds us that human being is nothing more than merely a breath.

Stop trusting in mere humans, who have but a breath in their nostrils. Why hold them in esteem? (Isaiah 2:22 NIV)

So we have to realize that as God’s creation we don’t have put expectation too high on our own power or other people’s power but it should be to God the Father who forms us. We must realize that God ruling above of all and we are just creatures molded by clay and were given the life through His own breath.  We also have to remember that we should not steal the glory of God and let God alone as our potter that always glorified.

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

(1 Corinthians 10:31 NIV)

For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be the glory forever!

(Romans 11:36 NIV)

Now let’s see the second thing. God commanded Jeremiah went to the potter with a purpose. God wanted to show that every human should to experience a process like clay and a vessel. A lump of clay will not automatically or instantly turn into a beautiful vessel. The point is, we have to really know and understand that every moment which happens in our life is a part of life process and like the process of molding clay into the vessel, we have to go through very long, hard and even painful process. There might be times when we absolutely cannot comprehend what exactly is going on in our lives. Maybe there is time we are in the lowest point of life. We may experience very deep disappointment, grief, hurt, has many unresolved hard problems, lost of jobs, business not running as expected, broken family, and many other life issues. But my dear friends, right now seriously I’m going to tell you that it all is  part of process and don’t ever thinking that God is sleeping or being looked away from us. Truthfully, God is watching over us, He stands beside us; God is at work and pouring His great and perfect loving kindness to us. We are being molded by the potter become a wonderful, perfect, and useful vessel.

Therefore my dear friends, in order to the process going well and could give the perfect result, There are three things we have to do:

First, we should have willingness to be molded. Don’t harden our heart. God said:

“Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion.

(Hebrews 3:15 NIV)

Before molded, the clay shall be immersed in order to become mushy and malleable. This also applies to our heart.  We have to soften our heart to be easy to molded, flexible, teachable, and willing to be changed. The hardness of our heart is a form of rejection and it will hinder the process of working and God’s plan for our lives. Let’s open our door of heart widely in order God will easily mold us. If God willing to molds us, then we have to willing to be molded.

Then we should not grumble on all unpleasant things that happen in our life. A vessel must undergo combustion process in very high temperature pressure in order become a strong vessel. It is the same with our live. Every unpleasant and painful thing that happens in our life is a process to make us strong and stronger. Be grateful because God always willing to mold us become a wonderful vessel that radiates His glory.

And do not grumble, as some of them did—and were killed by the destroying angel.

(1 Corinthians 10:10 NIV)

Do everything without grumbling or arguing. (Philippians 2:14 NIV)

The last thing is, be patient. Impatience oftentimes becomes a serious problem and impediment during the molding process underway. Don’t fail in the process just because we are not being patient.

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. (Romans 12:12)

Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming… (James 5:7 NIV)

Please always remember that during the process, God always stands beside us.  God will never leave the vessel that being molded into half-finished vessel. He will never leave us alone because He said:

“Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5 NIV)

My dear brother and sister in Christ, through this post, I ask all of us to re-ponder on our existence before God. Always remember that we are nothing more than a lump of clay that is totally meaningless if no one takes, use and mold us into something beautiful and useful. We are only useless clay if there is no potter who willing to mold us become a useful vessel. Don’t boast ourselves with the power and capabilities that we have. It’s not merely because ourselves but just because God’s perfect love and power working in our lives.  Surrender all of our life. Let God’s hand works on us; let God process us, cleanse us from the pebbles of ego, vanity, let all bad habits totally scrapped off from us and we become a  clean lump of clay that ready to molded. And finally we will become the best, perfect, and beautiful “Vessel” We become His pride masterpiece and can use by Him to His work and for His glory alone. Amen.

Those who cleanse themselves from the latter will be instruments for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.

(2 Timothy 2:21)

Karina – Living by faith

Related post:

Photo credit: rila-ng.com

 

 

Smyrna, The suffering Church

 

SMYRNA, THE SUFFERING CHURCH - Karina's Thought

To be followers of Christ then our lives completely secure, free of problems, enjoy life without any obstacles at all. Have a life with abundance blessings, and live in prosperity.  I thought this is a misconception about following Christ and sadly, this concept is currently held by many people and becoming a benchmark when they decided to follow Christ.  Personally, I know a businessman who suddenly decided accept Christ in order to save his business that is threatened with bankruptcy. Today, there are many wrong purposes in following Christ. They only think about blessings, help, and miracles from God. Actually, we all know that being a Christ follower doesn’t mean that we will be hundreds percent have a safe life, trouble-free, and without any obstacles.  In fact, when we become a Christ’s follower, we will face so many trials and our faith will be tested.  It is so easy we says, “God is so good” when our lives is free of problems and there is no obstacles and pressure at all. But the question is, have we remain easily say, “Good is so good” when we have so many life pressure and in a very hard situation? Can we remain being faithful and obedient even though our lives in unpleasant condition? These are questions which the answer will indicate how far we love and believe in Him.

My brother and sister in Christ, this evening I would like to take all of us to learn from one of seven churches that received the message from God in the book of Revelation 2. Let’s take a look to the church in Smyrna. Smyrna was a seaport city about 40 miles north of Ephesus. It has been described as the most beautiful of the seven cities. Today it is called Izmir, Turkey. Scripture does not give us any information concerning the founding of this church, nor is it mentioned in the book of Acts. Presumably, this church was founded during Paul’s ministry in Ephesus. Smyrna is the Greek word for myrrh, a flagrant perfume used in burial. Many believe that this church represents the martyrs of all the ages and the sweet-smelling fragrance of their faithfulness until death. There was no rebuke for this church and because they were faithful until death. Why the church in Smyrna mentioned as the martyrs of all the ages and sweet-smelling fragrance of their Faithfulness? Actually, the life of the church in Smyrna was contrary to the conditions the city of Smyrna itself. The church of Smyrna was the suffering church. How suffered they are? Let’s have a look together.

I know your afflictions and your poverty… (Revelation 2: 9 NIV)

The church of Smyrna suffered because of the pressure of the Roman government, at the time, made it mandatory that all citizens should worship the emperor or they will facing the death. They must burn incense and acknowledges that the emperor is God. Here lies the root of the problem. The church in Smyrna refused to do all that and they considered as unpatriotic traitors. Then the affliction begins. Many of them were boiled alive, many others were roasted alive, some crucified, or the Roman authorities took them to the coliseum and fed to the angry and hungry lions.

The church in Smyrna lived in poverty. Based on some of the commentary on the book of Revelation I have read, they were not only poor but they absolute poor. They were absolutely didn’t have anything.  They cannot live their lives normally. They hated, boycotted, people didn’t want to make a trading with them just because they were Christians. They cannot develop their work; there was no way to make a living, and worse it seems the all city dwellers trying to make them starve.

The affliction does not stop there, there is another one. The church in Smyrna was slandered.

I know about the slander of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. (Revelation 2: 9b NIV)

The Jews was making false allegations and reported it to the government. They slandered that the Christians make a practice of cannibalism, immorality, considered atheists, people instigator, and a family crusher.

Another affliction is the church in Smyrna had long suffering.

…I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days… (Revelation 2:10 NIV)

Verse 9 talking about the suffering that has been experienced by the church in Smyrna, but the verse 10 speaks of the suffering that are still will experienced by them. There are many Bible commentators assume that “ten days” refers 10 period of time of suffering for the God’s church that will be experienced during the reign of ten anti-Christ Roman emperors.  And it was true; history noted that there were around five millions Christian dies as a martyr during ten period of Roman emperor.

What lessons that we can take from the church in Smyrna?  After I study deeper this passage, I thought there are two important things we can learn. Being fearless and be faithful. God gives two instructions to handle their suffering.

Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer… Be faithful, until death(Revelation 2: 10 NASB)

Do not be afraid and be faithful! God said these with His omnipotence and omnipresence (These are the words of him who is the First and the Last, who died and came to life again. Verse 8) and His omniscience (I know your afflictions and your poverty. Verse 9) and the church in Smyrna chose to be fearless and be faithful. They are not afraid to die to defend their faith in Christ. Polycarp, a pastor in Smyrna offered freedom by governor if he willing to deny The Christ. But He said: “for 86 years I have served Him and He has done me no wrong. How then can I blaspheme my king and my savior?” Before Polycarp was burned, he prays, “Oh Lord, almighty God, I thank you for counting me worthy of sharing the cup of Christ among the number of your martyrs”. The church at Smyrna knows He is the Word that is the first and the last. What this means is that He is God who fought in the entire history of this world and have full authority over what happens. They also realized and understand in their suffering God always be with them and even will strengthen them. Suffering because of their faithfulness is not due God forgetting to help them but rather God is present in their lives.

My dear friends, what about us today? What season of life are we in today? Maybe we are in a season that everything is going great and we just love life. Things are running smoothly. We are so in love with the Lord. Every day there is just a wonderful surprise and we are just in a great season of life. But I going to tell one thing that God never promises us as a believer that life is going to always be fun. He never promises us that life is just going to be great. As a matter of fact, He promises us that if we are a believer, we will face suffering and you will have some persecution in our life.

In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. (2 Timothy 3:12)

Jesus Himself reminded:

Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. (Luke 9:23-24 NIV)

This evening,  allow me to encourage all of us to learn from the church in Smyrna. We may be hated by the world, received unfair treatment, insulted, slandered, and so on, but it should not make us turn away from God. Jesus had reminded this thing. He said:

“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. (John 15:18-19 NIV)

Let’s emulate the church in Smyrna to remain faithful, never give up, and keep stand firm in their faith despite the torment and suffering continue come upon them. And eventually, they got great rewards. There are two rewards from God. The first is “The Crown of life”

…and I will give you the crown of life. ( Revelation 2 : 10 NASB)

The second reward is, “The Eternal life”

He who overcomes will not be hurt by the second death. (Revelation 2 : 11 NASB)

As a believer, we do have eternal life and He is saying we may suffer the first death, we may die physically, but spiritually we will never die again.

If today we facing so many severe pressures, problems, treated unfair, and any form of inconveniences, Please remember God said:  

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. (Romans 12:12 NIV)

Do not grumble when there is a problem, do not despair and give up. There is a crown of life and eternal life that God provides to all of us who remained faithful to God in all circumstances. Just as the church in Smyrna, let us prove the strength of our faith in Christ through fortitude, obedience and faithfulness whatever our situation. Amen

Karina – Living by faith

Supporting material resources:

Clarke, Adam. Commentary on Revelation, studylight.org

Keeth, Janane. Rekindle the Fire (Revelation 2-3), bible.org

The Pulpit commentaries, revelation 2, studylight.org

Image credit:  The Church in Smyrna. padfield.com

“GOD, MAKE ME YOUR INSTRUMENT”

Karina Susanto:

A simple, short yet powerful post. It makes me think who is really handicapped, us or them? A heart so pure and trusting Christopher and other children with special needs should be what we model ourselves after. Another wonderful proof God can use everything, everyone, No matter what and who they are. Good and worth to read and ponder.

Originally posted on BeautifulWords:

"God, make me Your instrument"Hello guys..! Sometime ago my foster sister in Singapore sent me a video link about a 12 years old blind and autistic teen boy named Christopher Duffley. Wow…! You know what, I have to tell you that I was deeply moved and touched watching his video. Not just because the beautiful song he sung but rather to his previous life background. I do believe all of you have been know about Christopher’s story. Duffley was born prematurely at only 26 weeks, weighing only 1 pound 12 ounces with cocaine in his system, by the time he was born, the doctor said that the chance to live is only 50 percent. But God has another will. God allowed him to survive and later allowing him to involve in His great works. When he was 5, He diagnosed had autistic. As we know the autistic had a problem in make a communication…

View original 617 more words

He Will Carry You

HE WILL CARRY YOU-Karina's Thought

 

In the morning, thousand years ago, stood two men who are physically and power was completely not comparable. The one had six cubits and a span height. He had a bronze helmet on his head and wore five thousand shekels bonze coat of scale armor. He also wore bronze greaves on his legs, and a bronze javelin with six hundred shekels weight on its iron point was slung on his back. While the other one, a young man without any body armor and just armed with a sling. It seems a pretty unbalanced fight will be happen. Logically, we all certainly know who the winner of the fight is. But we also know very well who finally the winner becomes. Yes! The young man was the winner.  This is a very famous story about young man named David and a giant named Goliath.

Why I begin this post with the story of David and Goliath? In these past weeks I really had a hard time. I had many big problems in the office. One problem hasn’t resolved, the other problem already waiting. Knowing that I have many hard problems, my husband tried to encourage me by read again the Bible passage about David and Goliath in 1 Samuel 17.  He said, “This story doesn’t resolve our problems, but there’s a relation between this stories with us today and we can learn from it. Let’s change the figure of the giant with the problems that pressing us today and place ourselves as a young David. Why did David successfully defeat a giant simply by using a stone and sling?”

My beloved readers, Yes! Through this story we can through learn through David how to facing “the giant” which mean our big problems.

Not focus on the problems but to God

When the Israelites faced the Philistines, they were dismayed and terrified because they only looked to the problems and it weakens their mental. But wasn’t to David. A young David not focused to the big problems but he rather focused on who should to rely and who will be with him. Let’s see David’s reaction when heard the Philistines’ threats and intimidation:

David asked the men standing near him, “What will be done for the man who kills this Philistine and removes this disgrace from Israel? Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God? (Verse 26)

How David can say like that?  Because he not constantly focusing to the magnitude of the problem but rather focusing to the living God who be with him. Our minds tend to work like a magnifying glass. The more we focus on our problems, it will look bigger and bigger in our minds and it will not change anything and we can even completely immersed in it. How big our problems today? Is it greater than God’s power so that God no longer be able to help us? Of course not! There’s no problem too big God cannot solve it. If we always focus to God we will not intimidated by the problems but we could remain calm facing and overcome our big problems. God said,

“In repentance and rest is your salvation; in quietness and trust is your strength…”

(Isaiah 30:15 NIV)

Do not lose heart

David said to Saul, “Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine; your servant will go and fight him.” (Verse 32)

Let’s examine how David can be so confident against Goliath and compare it with the Israel army that in fact highly trained and experienced. Isn’t it feels very strange a young man who everyday just herding cattle his father but boldly advised the king of Israel and his troops? David emboldened for he knew exactly who was behind him. David knew that if God is with him, he didn’t need to fear and lose heart to anything. Instead, David took an advantage from Goliath who had giant body. Goliath’s body will become an easy target. This is an attitude of an abundant faith that can give superb results. Why we could be losing heart? Just because our point of view merely focuses on the magnitude of the problems so we forget that God always be with us.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9 NIV)

Learn from the experience

I’m wondering why David technically can be so convinced and courageous to face Goliath. By only looking at the completeness of the arms, very obvious that David wasn’t comparable against Goliath and Saul actually doubted his ability. (Verse 33) But let’s look at the following verses:

But David said to Saul, “Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.”(Verse 34-37)

Yes, David could be bravely and confident because He learns for his experience as a shepherd. Through his own experience he has been felt how God protect him if there was the beast wanted to attack his sheep. When facing the problems David immediately opened his life journey book, recalling his experiences when felt The God’s power and care. For David, Goliath is nothing more than a lion that has been conquered with the Lord. If God is able to make David be able to beat the beast, why should he afraid to face Goliath?

In the book of Psalm 46:1 (AMP) says that: God is our Refuge and Strength [mighty and impenetrable to temptation], a very present and well-proved help in trouble. The word of well-proved was stating something that has happened. The Psalmist knows that his life filled with so many proofs how the God’s power can help us in distress, how God is able to be a refuge and strength as a solution or an answer of every of our problems. If thousand years ago God can help David against Goliath, as well as today, God also still can help us to defeat our big problems.  God is never changes.

“For I am the Lord, I do not change…” (Malachi 3:6 NKJV)

As well as with Jesus, Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8 NIV) Each of us certainly been faced a very severe problem, and we also must have experienced how marvelous God help us solve our problems. If today we again confronted by so many severe problems, don’t be afraid and discouraged because God will remain help us again. Please remember He will never change.

Nothing shall be impossible with God

In the previous post I had discussed and learned that nothing shall be impossible with God through the story of the Israelites against the Moab. Here, through the story of David and Goliath, once again we can see another proof that there’s nothing impossible with God. Because David wasn’t used wearing and using the arms, he said to Saul: “I cannot go in these, because I am not used to them. “ Then he chose a sling and stones. (Verse 38-40) David realized that he wasn’t familiar and untrained using the arms. He will go against Goliath who wore the complete war equipment only with a sling and a stone. Something extremely impossible, isn’t it? But David realized that it wasn’t about the arms but it was about the God hand will work through the simple arms that he uses. He truly believes that as long as God be with, there’s nothing impossible with God. David also believes that a sling and stones in God’s hand can be a potent weapon to defeat Goliath. And it was proved. This was another example attitude of an abundant faith from David.

As I said in my previous post, when we facing very big problems we tend to think that our problems are impossible to be resolved. We tend to only focus on our problems with our limited logic and mind. We forget that there is God who in control all of our lives. Today, once again we can learn through this story that there’s nothing impossible with God. David triumphed over Goliath with a sling and a stone. Without a sword in his hand he struck down Goliath and killed him. This was a proof that nothing shall be impossible with God.

My beloved readers, is there any among us today are being confronted with a “Giant” problems and our shoulder burdened by very hard problems? We become afraid and lose heart, think that we couldn’t handle it, and it seems impossible to be resolved? This evening, allow me to encourage all of us to learn from David to face our problems. David said:

“You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. (Verse 45)

Let us learn to bravely say the same thing to the problems that intimidate us. Problem may come attack us with the complete arms but we are ready to face it in the name of the Lord. We may not have a complete arms but we have God’s power that more powerful than any kind of arms.  The “giant” problems may come to us, the storm of problems probably trying to hit us, but we have to know that there’s no one problem bigger than God. He will carry the weight of our problems upon His shoulders. And if because of the problems we become weary and burdened, God said:

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28 NIV)

I will end this post with a song that I always hear when I face so many big problems. This song truly could strengthen, bring me comfort, rest, and remind me that there’s no problem too big God cannot solve it. “He Will Carry You” Amen.

I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you. (Isaiah 46:4 NIV)

Karina – Living by faith

Photo credit: vinnie1982.deviantart.com