Do Good

DO GOOD- Karina's Thought

 

Once upon a time, in the cold morning, a young woman cries in the front of the old homeless man who had died at the corner of the sidewalk. “Why are you crying, mam?  Are you his family?” Someone asked. The women replied, “No, He is not my family. I don’t even really know who he is” “If so, why you look so sad?” The women replied again, “Yesterday morning, I saw him lying down here. Somehow, my heart was moved and has a plan to buy him a food and drink after I go back from the office. What makes me sad and deeply regret is, I put off my plan and just did it this morning. But it turns out this morning he was passing away. I deeply regret why I put off the chance to do something good while there is an opportunity to do so.”

My beloved friends, here we talk about do good. There are six things that should to bear in our heart and mind in doing good.

Why we should to do good? Every religion has always taught its followers to do good. But there is something different with us as Christian. What is the difference? First, let’s have a look to 3 John 1:11,

Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. The one who does good is of God; the one who does evil has not seen God.

This verse affirmed that for the Christians do good is not just a moral instigation and not just something mandatory to be done, also not as a way to get salvation or so we can live in Our Father’s home in heave but rather as a Christian identity. Do good is a faith expression and a proof that we fulfill the God’s law, reflect the God’s love, we were created to do good in accordance to that has outlined by God.

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.(Ephesians 2:10 NIV)

Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. (Galatians 6:2 NIV)

When we should to do good? Paul was advising the Galatians,

So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith. (Galatians 6:10 NASB)

My beloved friends, we must realize one thing that our life in this world is very limited. We really don’t know how long we will live in this world. We don’t even know until how old we live. We are grateful if we are given longevity by God, it is God’s great blessing. But still we are not able to determine how long we live. God will determine. We live in this world only stay, as it is written in 1 Peter 1:17,

…conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth;

We don’t have to wait the right time and the right place to do good. While there is opportunity to do good, let’s do it. We shouldn’t be like a young woman in the story above who put off the opportunity to do good and finally she got deep regret. We should not miss the opportunity that has been given by God to do good. The opportunity to do good is an opportunity to please and glorify Him, to change our lives and the lives of those who got our help. To do good is a great commission from God.

To whom we should do good? First we have do good start from our household of faith then to all those who in need and deserve.

Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, When it is in your power to do it. (Proverbs 3:27 NASB)

To do good also not consider the race, religion, social status, gender, and so on. The second foremost commandment said,

‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’(Matthew 22:39 NASB)

What the purpose we do good? We have to realize that do good to others is not for a personal interest such as want to be appreciated, or be respected and without expecting to get anything back. We should to do good with full of merciful.

But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend them without expecting to get anything back… Be merciful, just as you Father is merciful (Luke 6:35, 36 NIV)

Where we should do good? Anywhere as long we have opportunity to do good, whether in the office, church, in our family, or in neighborhood around us. Anywhere!  Just because everything we do is only for God.

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters. (Colossians 3:23 NIV)

How we do good? There are so many ways to do good. We could start with these things such as: give big attention, affection, and patience hear someone sharing their problems. Encourage and pray to those who have affliction and suffering. We also could give support in the form of funds to those in need, if we be able.

‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ (Matthew 25:40 NIV)

My beloved friends, have we done something good for other in our lives? Have we utilized opportunity that has been given by God to do good? This evening allow me to encourage all of us to make “Do good” as our lifestyle. Don’t be weary in doing good anywhere, anytime, and to anyone who needs our helping hand for the time comes we will reap the harvest of what we have done.

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. (Galatians 6:9 NIV)

Don’t eliminate our identity as the followers of Christ. Don’t put off the opportunity to do good because it may not happen again. Let’s use the opportunity that has been given by God to glorify His name, radiate His great love to the world through to do good to others. Amen.

Karina – Living by faith

Image source: jenningswire.com

Get up and Eat!

GET UP AND EAT- KARINA'S THOUGHT

 

Hello dear readers. In my previous post titled “Never give up”, we’ve learned something from the story of Elijah. We have learned although we could successful overcome big problems, we also could stumble to the small problems and it makes us depressed and want to give up. With God Elijah was successful defeated the 450 Baal’s prophet but it turns out Elijah was really scared when Jezebel threatened him. He depressed and wanted to die. (1 Kings 19:4 NIV)

Well, in this post I want to continue the Elijah’s story. Let’s look further what happened after he came to broom bush and prayed. Let’s have a look what the God’s answer of his prayer. After Elijah prayed, he lay down under the bush and fell asleep, and then an angel came touched him and said: “Get up and eat.”(1 Kings 19:5 NIV) Here there are two important words. This is God’s answer to Elijah’s prayer. This is what God wants so that Elijah can return to the path as God wants.

 “Get and up and eat” I ponder deeply to these words and we can get two important and valuable lessons. Let’s focus on the first word, Get up. In other word we can say wake up! Arise! In our lives, when we face so many hard problems and failed to overcome it all, sometime we feel so tired and difficult to rise again. We feel too tired to start again from the beginning. Even worse we tend to hide behind our tiredness; we are frustrated, depressed, and shy away from the realities of life that should be faced. No hope and no desire to rise again. Verily, God doesn’t want it happens to us. God does want us remain strong to face any kind of problems that always exist and when we failed, God doesn’t want us drowned in failure. God always want us to get up again! Not so easy! I really know it. But we have to remember that with God’s inclusion we will able to rise again. God will strengthen us to get up facing every problem. As He said:

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)

 God even promises will uphold us in His right hand. He said:

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10 NIV)

Life will not always be easy; problems will always be there and there times we have to fall and experience a failure. But it does not mean we should give up. As long as God is still with us, as long as we remain live in the shade of His glory, we have to stay eager to get up and go fight.  What The Lord said to Elijah also applies to us. God does not want us to be discouraged or lose hope when faced with pressure or failure. He wants us to always remember that His love and faithfulness upon us will make Himself always be with us forever.

Now let’s take a look to the second word. Eat! After Elijah did a great job defeating 450 prophets of Baal, he got extremely tiredness. His psychical and spiritual energy drained away so he didn’t have reserves power to face Jezebel’s threat. Then God asked him to eat!

He looked around, and there by his head was some bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank… (1 Kings 19:6 NIV)

But what happens after that? Elijah was lying again. It could mean that the food wasn’t enough to recover his energy and then what happened next was:

The angel of the Lord came back a second time and touched him and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.” (1 Kings 19:7 NIV)

Elijah was eating again, and through the food he was able to walk again. Not simply walk for short distance but he was able to take 40 days and night until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God.

What kind of valuable lesson from this part? Here we talk not just about the real food that we need to recover our energy, but here we are more talking about the needs of spiritual food. After we could to get up again, we also need the spiritual food which can make us strong and able to walk back to face all the problems of life. Jesus said:

“It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God “(Matthew 4:4 NIV)

…that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. (Deuteronomy 8:3 NIV)

It is a very important message. We could eat anything to make us full physically. but if we let our spiritual hungry and thirsty, then we will easily infiltrated by fear, anxiety, easy to depressed, making us easy to give up, even make us forget that God is really cares and is always with us. We are not only need food to alive, to stay strong and to get back on our feet, but we also need food for our soul and spirit. Not only our body could sick, but our spiritual also get sick if doesn’t get good and enough nutrition. Therefore we need to continue to equip ourselves with God’s word, which will be able to strengthen us when we want to rise from failure and facing the life’s problems. God’s word is a nutrition source that will never run out. God’s word is the very best nutrient because it already contained all the needed aspects for our spiritual health and growth.

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

God’s word also guides and directs us when we walk in the dark path and don’t know which way should to go.

Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. (Psalm 119:105 NIV)

Now we come to the last thing. This is my personal thought based on the Elijah’s story. After we successful get up again and fill our soul and spirit with the good spiritual food, we need one more important thing. Courage to step up! Elijah will never get to the Horeb if he didn’t dare to move. If he only get up and eat but without move, he will not get anywhere. It is also the same for us. We must have the courage to tread to face all the problems and challenges of life. We must have the courage to step up make a big change in our lives and achieve what we hoped. When God asked Joshua to continue The Moses leadership to brought the Israelites into the Promised Land, God said to Joshua: “…Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them—to the Israelites. I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses.”(Joshua 1:2-3 NIV) The underlined word means Joshua should to make a step, because if Joshua didn’t move, then he will not stepping on anything. Without stepped up he will not get the God’s promise.

My beloved readers, the process of our lives will continue to run and during the journey we will have so many problems and challenges. We may be facing a lot of failures. We may be so tired, frustrated, depressed, and loss of hope. This evening allow me to encourage all of us to remember these three things. The first, Get up! God doesn’t want us to be discouraged and loss of hope. God wants us to get up again, and again! God really cares to us and He will always strengthen and help us to rise again! As he promised to us He will uphold us with His own righteous right hand! And when we fall, He promises:

Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; For the Lord upholds him with His hand. (Psalm 37:24 NKJV)

We will never successful to overcome our problems unless we are willing to get up to make something better. Don’t be afraid to get up again. We are not alone. There is God who always be with us.

The second thing is eat! Let’s constantly fill our soul and spirit with God’s word as the best spiritual nutritious food. Don’t let our spiritual starving and thirst just because it will make our spiritual get sick. By maintaining our personal relationship with God through our prayer, quiet time, reading, pondering God’s word every day, and do it in our daily lives will strengthen and make our spiritual lives healthy.

The last thing, don’t ever be afraid and doubt to step up! We have God who always be with us and He always watches over the way where we steps. He will never make us stumble.

He will not let you stumble; the one who watches over you will not slumber. Indeed, he who watches over Israel never slumbers or sleeps. (Psalm 121: 3-4 NLT)

Let us vigorously step up to reach what has been promised by God. Without stepping we will not be able to make any change for the better future. Please remember God will never leave us of forsake us, as He promises:

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” (Deuteronomy 31:8 NIV) Amen!

Karina – Living by faith

Image source: sothl.com

 

Never Give Up!

NEVER GIVE UP - Karina's Thought

 

There are so many things that could inspire me to write something. My post this evening inspired by a true story of a pedestrian named Edward Payson Weston. He did several trips by walk in the several years and the longest traveling he did was in 1909. At the age of 70, he was walking along the 4000 miles from New York to San Francisco in a hundred days. It was a very remarkable achievement! A feat that may not be able rivaled by us who younger than him and of course it was a hard adventure! I strongly believe Weston experienced so many hard problems during his trip. In an interview he said: “There are times when my legs felt very sick. I almost gave up and stop this trip. The biggest problem that almost made me give up not feeling tired, not too very long distances up to 4000 miles, nor the blistering heat  that grilling me, but instead of the sands that goes into the shoe makes me hard to kept walking. “

I am thinking about the journey of our life in this world.  Our journey will be same with Weston’s journey. Often times we have to take a long, hard, and tiring journey. And in the journey we will face so many “stones”. We will face so many problems and obstacles, ranging from the little problems until the very hard one. Each of them has its own difficulties and at the one time we might come to a condition where we begin to tired, feel lost hope and wants to give up. Not just the severe problems that can make us give up but a small problem can make us lose the fighting spirit and prefer to wave the white flag. Like Weston who almost gave up because only grain of the sands in his shoes, similarly to us. We often defeated by the problems that may be relatively small compared to the pile of big problems that we’ve ever faced and won before. We often could successfully face the big stones, yet in fact we often stumbled with small pebbles but sharp enough to weaken us. Related with this issue, I remember the story of Elijah. We all know very well who Elijah is. He was one of the great prophets. Elijah referred as “the prophet of fire”, the prophets who brought down fire from Heaven and brilliantly defeated 450 Baal’s prophet. (1 Kings 18:20-40 NIV) He successfully proved that the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel is the true God. With unwavering faith he prayed:

“Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command” (Verse 36)

In another chance, he was also successfully brought down the rain through his prayer so he also called as “The rain prophet”

Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years.  Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops. (James 5:17-18 NIV)

Here we see that Elijah was a prophet who had an extraordinary firmness of faith. But, as James said, Elijah was still a human being who has weaknesses and limitations like us. We could see this thing when Elijah was threatened by Jezebel.

So Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah to say, “May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely, if by this time tomorrow I do not make your life like that of one of them.” (1 Kings 19:2 NIV)

Logically, if Elijah was successful defeat 450 the Baal’s prophet, Jezebel’s threat wasn’t enough to make him afraid. But the fact was, Jezebel’s threat was quite effective to make Elijah afraid! Elijah was so scared, loss of hope, and depressed. Here we see an anticlimax. After he proved the God’s power which was significantly came down through him, it turns out his soul depressed by Jezebel’s threat. His depression escalated and then He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” (1 Kings 19:4 NIV)  Jezebel’s threat actually not comparable with the power of hundreds Baal’s prophets. Jezebel’s threat was a small pebble but precisely because of it Elijah stumbled, weakens him, and even wants to die.

When I really ponder this story, I got an important lesson. Through Elijah we can learn that when we are able and successfully overcome the big problems, we have to be careful with the small problems and don’t underestimate it. Please remember, devil never stop trying to break our faith with many ways. If the devil didn’t  succeed destroying our faith through the big problems, then he will use other ways. Devil will do anything and use anything to tear down our faith, make us despair, give up, and always trying to blow out the light of our hope. Satan can make us so depressed and immediately forget about how Great God’s power and care to us and has been set us free from the big problems in the previous time. Moreover, as a human being who has weaknesses, we have to be careful and realize that devil can use our weaknesses to destroy our faith.

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8 NIV)

“Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”(Matthew 26:41 NIV)

In our lives we also often experience occurrence as experienced by Elijah. There are times the pressures repeatedly hit us, turns starting from the easy to hard pressure or even simultaneously hit us and it makes us getting tired and discouraged to keep fighting. Hope becomes faint, success looks getting far, and we begin to thinking to give up because no longer feel there is a hope. We might have problems in family, career, business, financial, or health problem. It all could make us depressed, scare, disappointed, and eventually could make us want to give up. The question is should we give up like Elijah who lifted up the pessimistic prayer? The answer is, No! We shouldn’t give up! Because why? Just because, praise to the Lord we have an outstanding Father’s figure who really cares. He doesn’t want us to end up like that. God will never be silent and stand idly to see us wracked by difficulties. Jesus, His only son who has been given to us was a real proof how He is the God who really cares and loves us. If for our eternal salvation God is so concerned, why we have to doubt about His caring to the life problems that hit us? Obviously God wants us always living in hope. It is written in Hebrews: Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. (Hebrews 10:23 NIV) Yes! God is faithful to His promises. He never breaks His promises. As long as we always have hope in Him, there is no problem that cannot be solved because God is the source of hope for us.

I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.

(Romans 15:13 NLT)

Indeed, if we rely on our own limited strength, it will be so difficult. But please don’t forget that we have God who the source of strength.

I can do all this through him who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:13 NIV)

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. (Psalm 46:1 NIV)

My beloved readers, There are times we successfully jump over the big stones but we even stumbled by a small pebbles’ attack but quite sharp to weaken us. There are times we even stumbled into a situation that is actually simpler than the hard faith struggle that we have won, but successful make us afraid, depressed, and want to give up. This evening let me encourage all of us, no matter how small or big our problems, no matter just pebbles or big stones that we face, never give up!  God will always give us the way out and not matter big or small our problems and trials will not more than of our strength, as God’s word said:

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. (1 Corinthians 10:13 NIV)

Don’t ever to be afraid and dismayed! Because we have God who has unlimited power and He will strengthen and help us to overcome every problem.

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you;   I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10 NIV)

Keep stand firm in hope with the power of Holy Spirit and keep the light of our hope still shining.  If previously we already feel His help and experience the God’s power and miracles overcoming any of our problems, it means God will remain help us in the future. He never changes now and forever and He is the faithful God. Amen.

Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments.

(Deuteronomy 7:9 NIV)

Karina – Living by faith

Image source: devianart.com

 

 

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